With apologies for the delay, we’re back! We last left Mr. Steele pumping Charlotte Knight … for information about her writing process. Some time later:
Mr. Steele is back home, scuffing up his expensive coffee table while he examines some small device. Ah, there’s someone at the door!
Or technically, across the hall. It’s Laura, and she looks like she plans on staying awhile.
Steele declares he still thinks this is a waste of time. Laura is more upbeat – and she brought snacks: “…popcorn, diet soda, a little salami, some cheese…”
“You really want to spend an evening doing this?” Steele inquires as Laura makes herself comfortable on the floor. I’d think the sight of Laura in a semi-prone position on the floor would make the exercise worth it, Mr. Steele.
“Bring on the papers,” Laura answers, putting on a pair of big honkin’ glasses. Mr. Steele, amused, expresses surprise that she wears glasses. Laura explains that she got them in college as a means of seducing her calc professor.
“I thought they would make me look brainier,” she notes.
Mr. Steele wants to know if Laura scored with the prof.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” she says coyly.
So … if Laura doesn’t need glasses, and only bought these to bring the sexy on back in college, why did she pack them for tonight’s seemingly work-related activity? Hmmm. Ulterior motives, Miss Holt?
In any case, now ocularly prepared, Laura is ready to read.
“Not read,” Steele corrects her. There won’t be any eyestrain this evening. “Charlotte Knight doesn’t write at all; she dictates,” he explains.
He shows Laura the little machine he was studying earlier. It’s a mini-recorder. And the pile of little tapes? Each tape represents one chapter of Charlotte’s latest opus.
“Shall we begin?”
He pops in Chapter 1, and the steamy recitation begins: “He couldn’t get over her velvet thighs and crimson smile -“
Steele is increasingly uncomfortable with the … er … plot. He quickly assesses that there is nobody jumping out of the window in THIS chapter and turns off the recorder.
Steele suggests they try another tape and press on. “By all means,” Laura agrees. “Press on.”
Something tells me Laura is enjoying this!
The next tape is similarly lurid: “He stood there all of him, his body was a dare, a dare she had decided to take -“
Steele has had enough.
“What say we break out the salami?”
Oh, dear. I’m not sure Laura is ready for the salami, Mr. Steele.
Laura asks Steele what he thinks he’s protecting her from. Steele protests that he wouldn’t presume to protect her from anything!
That’s good, because, Laura explains,
“Remember the calc professor? The glasses worked.”
Note: This confession has always bothered me, perhaps because I worked many years in academia and saw enough of this kind of thing. For some reason, the idea of Laura sleeping with her prof makes me queasy. It just seems kind of … cheap. Anyway …
Mr. Steele doesn’t seem offended by Laura’s spicy past. Indeed, one gets the feeling he’s rather intrigued. “Did the trick, did they?”
Laura reaffirms her academic indiscretion. “Why don’t you turn the tape back on and let’s get this over with, OK?”
I wonder if she’s having second thoughts about her candor?
Steele turns on the recorder and we hear Charlotte’s bodice-ripper continuing: “And at that moment they knew more about each other than either had thought possible. They didn’t need.words – only time, and each other.”
Steele and Laura seem strangely discomfited by these lines …. and the scene fades from Steele pensive face to:
The mini tapes, scattered over the carpet.
The camera pans to Mr. Steele’s body, laying on the floor. Just what went on after that fade out?
Then on to Laura, who is positioned perilously close to Mr. Steele’s … pleats.
Meanwhile, the tape is still playing, but the voice is different: masculine now. “First one rung, and then another, and then he reached it – the window – and it was as if she had known for just the slightest -“
Laura is (a)roused by this passage and begins to stir.
She picks up the recorder, puzzled by the change in timbre of the narrator. She shakes the recorder, but nothing changes.
Laura gives Mr. Steele a little shove to wake him.
“I’ll be out in a minute, Mother,” he mumbles.
Without going into what we don’t yet know, this seems a strange thing for Mr. Steele to sleep-talk. This is the second mention of his mother in this episode. Is there something about this case that is reminding him of his childhood? Is there something in his past that is behind his seeming reluctance to get involved with this case? Perhaps we’ll find out!
“Listen,” Laura urges him. Mr. Steele does, and pronounces the storyline “disgusting.”
“No! No! Listen! Listen!” she insists.
“And he watched her…” the male voice intones from the recorder.
“Sounds like Mitchell Knight!”
Steele listens while we look at his gold necklace. It’s not his usual watch-back pendant. He likes his bling, does Mr. Steele.
The tape continues: “Day after day, studying her, the way her body would rise and fall every time she took a breath, the way it glistened when she would perspire….”
Well, THAT sounds familiar. Who do we know that has a sweat fetish?
“It IS Mitchell Knight!” Steele declares.
“He wrote the books,” Laura surmises. “So where does that leave us?”
“A long way from the Caribbean,” Steele concludes sadly.
In this scene we see Laura and Steele working together – after hours – on the case Steele didn’t want to pursue. Murphy is nowhere in sight (presumably Mr. Steele didn’t invite him to participate.) I’m slightly surprised that Mr. Steele seemed genuinely prepared to work; I might have expected soft lighting and champagne on display. It’s Laura who seems flirty this evening. Is the lusty literature causing her to fantasize about being the seductress in her own little passion play?