Steele Anxious
by Nancy Eddy <nancye@flash.net>

"Lovely island," Remington commented as the taxi that he had arranged to pick them up and take them into Avalon entered the city. "Reminds me of a quaint little island that I once visited in the Med," he told Laura.

"You'll have to take me there sometime," Laura said, smiling up at him.

"Be delighted," he assured her. "I can't wait until we have another case that takes us to Europe," he said, his lips hovering above hers. "To be able to show you around minus the need for a chaperone . . ."

"First visit to Catalina?" the driver asked, interrupting the kiss before it went further than Laura's fingers slipping inside Remington's shirt.

Regretfully, Remington answered, "Yes," turning to give Laura a surprised look as she responded at the same time.

"No." Seeing his look, Laura shrugged. "It was a- few years ago," she told him, her fingers on his thigh. "Before you were- you."

Remington nodded, but he cast a decidedly assessing gaze over her as the driver launched into a spiel the likes of which the Chamber of Commerce would no doubt be proud. Ignoring him, Remington spoke softly. "Have I met the lucky man you were here with?" he asked.

She shrugged again but didn't answer.

"Wilson Jeffries?" he asked.

"Hardly, " she assured him, her hand sliding inside his shirt again. "Wilson wasn't the type who could - relax enough to enjoy a place like Catalina. Too much of a-"

"Insufferable prig?" Remington suggested.

"Stuffed shirt," Laura finished. 

"Then who-?"

"Say," the driver said, glancing into the mirror as he spoke. "You look awfully familiar. You somebody famous?"

"Me?" Remington asked. So much for maintaining their anonymity, he thought with a sigh.

"Yeah- you're that detective, aren't you? Steele something?"

"Remington Steele," Laura corrected the driver. "And no, he's *not* Remington Steele." She pressed herself as close to Remington as was decently possible. "I happen to think he's *much* better looking than Steele."

She was trying to make him forget about her previous visit to the island by distracting him, Remington decided. Might as well let her think she'd succeeded, he told himself as he smiled at her words. "Really? Wasn't he named one of the most eligible bachelors in Los Angeles awhile back?"

"There's only one bachelor that I'm interested in," Laura told him as the cab stopped before their hotel.

Remington paid the driver, including a sizeable tip, and then put his arm around Laura as they entered the hotel doors.

The man at the desk smiled. "Welcome to the Villa Portafino Hotel. May I help you?" he asked.

"I believe I have a reservation," Remington told him. "Remington Steele," he said quietly, trying not to draw unnecessary attention. 

"Ah, of course, Mr.-" the man modified his volume as Remington winced and brought his hand down. "Are you here on a case, then?" he asked, turning the register toward Remington.

"Possibly," Remington said. "I can't really discuss it. I'm sure you understand."

"Oh, quite, sir. Quite." He took a set of keys from the wall. "Here you are. The Portofino Suite, as promised." He lifted a hand to summon a bell hop, but Remington shook his head.

"That's not necessary. I believe we can find our own way. And- I'd really prefer that my presence wasn't- bandied about, if you don't mind."

"I understand, Mr.- Sir," he said, placing a finger to his lips. "Enjoy your stay."

"Oh, I'm quite certain we will," Laura told the clerk. "Uh, you do have- room service, don't you?"

"Of course, miss."

Laura slipped her arm through Remington's with a smile as they moved toward the elevators.  "We'll be able to order breakfast without ever leaving bed," she told him.

"Be careful, Laura," he cautioned, pressing the button and looking up at the indicator. "The last time you said that, we never got breakfast."

He ushered her into the lift, then pressed the button for their floor. "But last time," Laura reminded him, pressing him against the wall, "you'd just stolen a priceless jeweled dagger." She smiled as her fingers toyed with the remaining fastened buttons of his blue shirt. "I know you haven't been up to *that* particular trick this time."

"Haven't the energy," he mused, glancing at the indicator beside the door.

"What's the matter, Mr. Steele?" she asked. "Too much for you?"

"Not at all, Miss Holt," he replied, pulling her close for a kiss that ended only when the doors opened to reveal an elderly couple waiting for the elevator. Remington simply smiled at them and kept his arm around Laura as they moved away from the couple.

"Still can't get any bloody privacy," he muttered as Laura tried to hide her laughter, watching him put the key into the door to their suite.

Remington opened the door and let her enter first, noticing with a raised eyebrow that she was carrying both of their overnight bags. He placed the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the doorknob and closed the door, then put the chain in place. Turning, he found himself pressed against the door's hard surface by Laura's body. Buttons when flying as she tore open his shirt and pushed it from his shoulders. 

"While our- interlude at the heliport was- wonderful," she said, her fingers tugging at his belt, "it wasn't nearly enough, Mr. Steele," she told him, referring to the fifteen minute wait for the winds to die down, during which time Laura had practically dragged him into a supply closet. After he removed his shoes, Remington's hands went to work on Laura's clothing as well, peeling them from her body with an agonizing slowness that he knew full well was driving Laura mad. When she would have helped him, Remington shook his head and refused the offer, then moaned softly as he felt her hands on him, stroking him as she had earlier in that closet. Only this time, it was going to be far more than her hand on him that sent him over the edge. She was right.  While their mutual -"twiddling" had taken the edge off;hadn't been nearly as satisfying as making love was.

Laura pulled him toward the king sized bed, and Remington followed, needing to be with her more than he'd ever thought possible. He'd never considered the idea that she might have come here with another man- and the realization that she had troubled him. More than he wanted it to.

Then all coherent thought fled as Laura straddled him, lowering herself onto him . . .

***

When he woke, the room was dark, and he reached out, searching for Laura's warm body. When he encountered only empty bed, he opened his eyes. "Laura?"

"Out here," she told him. "On the balcony."

Forgoing the need for the robe - he hadn't brought one anyway- Remington padded out into the darkness to find a similarly unclad Laura standing there, enjoying the view. Her slipped his arms around her and pulled her close against his body, dropping a kiss onto her shoulder. "Couldn't sleep?"

"Just enjoying the view," she said.

"Hmm," he agreed, surveying her in the dim light, glad that the shadow from the overhang would hide them from any of the connecting balconies. "I have to agree, it's fantastic." She turned her head to give him a kiss. "You did it again, you know," he said a she turned into his arms.

"Did what?"

"Called me 'Remington' when you- went over the top."

"Oh." 

"Why can't you do that when we're not making love, eh? "

Laura sighed and turned in his arms again to look out over the glittering lights in the harbour. "I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with being somewhat less- inhibited at that moment."

"Then what say we work a bit more on those lingering inhibitions?" he said against her ear.

"You really think I have any left?" she asked, turning into his arms again. "I mean, two weeks ago, would I have been standing out here, on an open balcony, naked, with you? Or would I have lured you into a supply closet and -" her hand drifted down as if to give a repeat performance, but Remington grasped it in his.

"No, I can't say that you would have," he admitted. "Nor would you have seduced me into making love to you in my office. But there must be some reason why you can't call me anything other than Mr. Steele."

"I daresay it will happen," she assured him. She linked her hands behind his neck. "You know what?"

"What?" he asked.

"I'm hungry."

"Indeed?"

"I think we're going to need our strength this weekend," she said. "Why don't you order something from room service while I go- tidy up?" she suggested, giving him a lingering kiss before moving back into the room. 

"Good idea," he agreed, closing the sliding glass door and pulling the cord for the drapes before turning on the lamp beside the bed. "Anything in particular?" he called out.

"Surprise me," was her reply.

***

Laura finished the last chocolate covered strawberry dipped in whipped cream and settled back against Remington to look into the fireplace. "I feel positively decadent," she declared, looping an arm around his neck. 

Remington picked up his glass of champagne, nodding in agreement. "This place certainly knows how to cater to their clientele," he agreed. "Where did you stay the last time you were here?" He felt her surprised start at his question.

"Uh, at the Seaport Village Inn," she told him. "Just down the road a ways." She turned to look at him. "You're really curious about that, aren't you?"

He shrugged. "It's just that- you never mentioned having been to Catalina before- I suppose that I just- assumed that you'd never been here."

Laura turned to lay on the thick carpet so she could look at him. "You're sure you want to hear about it?"

"I know I don't have the right to- question your past, Laura- not when I haven't been as forthcoming about my own," he told her.

"Deal, then," she said. "I'll tell you about my last time here- if you'll tell me how you met one of your former- lady friends." She held out her hand. "Deal?"

"Deal," he agreed, taking her hand in his. "Who goes first?"

"You," she said. "You've wiggled out of too many of these little wagers by letting *me* go first."

"Okay. Anyone in particular you're interesting in hearing about? Or shall I just-"

"Felicia," she said, cutting him off.

He told her the story about how he and the blonde had met going after the same set of precious gemstones and then decided to "hook up" for awhile. "It was never serious between us," he assured her. "We were each someone to turn to when the nights got cold and lonely." She nodded as he finished. "Your turn, I believe?"

Laura rose from the carpet and went to refill her glass with champagne before she spoke. "The last time I was in Catalina," she said, "I was ten years old and my father brought me over to ride in the glass bottomed boat," she finished quickly.

Remington knew that he'd been had. "You deliberately let me think that-" he pointed his finger at her. "Why you little-" he came to his feet as Laura made a beeline for the bathroom and closed the door, laughing. "Laura? Laura, open this door. I've always been a gentleman before and not picked a bathroom door when you've hidden behind it. But so help me-" he heard the water come on, and ran a hand through his dark hair, then went to retrieve the leather wallet from the pocket of his trousers. Drawing out two picks, he made short work of the lock and opened the door.

Laura was sitting in the bathtub, surrounded by a sea of white, frothy bubbles. "It certainly took you long enough, Remington," she said, scooping up a handful of bubbles and blowing them in his direction. "Why don't you join me? The water's fine."

He shook his head, and then leapt into the tub, ignoring the water that splashed onto the floor. She shrieked with laughter when he playfully threatened to drown her for what she'd done.

"You're the one who leapt to a wrong conclusion," she told him. "I never said I was here with an old boyfriend. And was it so horrible, telling me about a tiny sliver of your past?"

"No," he admitted, pulling her close in the oversize tub. "At the moment, I'd almost be willing to tell you anything- if you'll call me Remington again the way you did a moment ago."

She smiled, her dimples appearing. "Oh, that's an easy one. Remington." She said it slowly, carefully, as her hand drifted from his chest and into the water- and then neither of them spoke with any lucidity for some time . . .

***

The water had turned cold by the time they left the tub, the bubbles gone. As they sat before the fire again, this time on the sofa, enjoying the last of the wine, Remington asked, "So, what do you want to hear about first?" he asked. "My first memories of Ireland? Of being tossed around from family to family? Or maybe my first meeting with Daniel-?"

Laura turned to place a hand to his lips. "None of it- until you're ready to tell it. I was only joking."

He kissed her fingers. "But I want to-"

"No," she said, shaking her head, and Remington was entranced by the play of firelight on the chestnut locks. "It's like my calling you Remington. When the time is right, you'll tell me whatever I need to know." His hand slid behind her neck to draw her closer for a kiss.

Once it ended, Laura rose from the sofa and held out her hand in invitation. "Let's go to bed."

"Ah, you've made me an offer I can't refuse," he said with a smile, taking her hand to follow her toward the bed once again.

"The Godfather," Laura cited, smiling at him as he lay down beside her. "Marlon Brando, James Caan, Al Pacino, Paramount,- 1972."

"Very good," he praised. "You're learning, Laura. You're learning." He settled closer. "So, when do you think we should tell Mildred?"

***

As Remington paid their bill on Sunday, Laura rested her head on his shoulder. "Here you are, sir," the clerk said, sliding the ticket across the counter to be signed. Remington freed his right arm to take the pen he was offering. "I trust your weekend was- satisfactory?"

Remington looked up at the man with a smile, "Oh, I think you could safely say that is was incredibly satisfactory," he agreed.

"Excellent," the clerk said, delighted. "Can you tell me anything about the case?"

"Case?" Remington questioned, tearing up the carbon of the credit card ticket.

Laura jumped to the rescue. "It's very hush-hush," she confided to the eager clerk. "We couldn't possibly talk about -."

"Oh, I understand. Perfectly. Have a nice flight back to the mainland. Your taxi should be waiting outside."

As they turned to leave, Remington stopped and turned back to the desk- "Uh- could I make another reservation?" he asked.

"But of course, Mr.-" He remembered at the last moment not to say the name. Fingers hovering over his computer, he asked, "For when?"

"Next month. The same room, if possible?" He slipped a twenty dollar bill across the counter.

"It's taken care of," the clerk assured him, typing something into the computer keyboard before him. 

"Thank you."

"A month?" Laura asked as they finally started for the taxi.

"Gives us something to look forward to," he explained. "Something to keep us going during those long, dreary days at work, chasing down bad guys- and getting interrupted by bullets- and Mildred."

Laura's laughter made him smile as they got into the taxi. "Sounds like you two enjoyed your weekend," the driver commented.

"Oh, indeed we did, my good man," Remington assured him. "Wouldn't you agree, my dear?"

"Oh, yes. Very much so. You have a wonderful island here," she said. "Absolutely beautiful."

"You go for a ride on the boat?" he asked.

"No," Laura told him.

"How about visiting the Casino?"

"Fraid not," Remington said.

The driver glanced in the mirror before he asked, "Played a little golf?"

"No," they answered in unison.

"Then what did you do?" he asked.

"Never left our room, actually," Remington confided as the taxi came to a stop outside the heliport terminal.

"Oh," the driver said.

Sitting forward, Remington handed him a twenty. "Keep the change. And have a nice evening."

"Yeah. You too." He watched the couple disappear into the terminal and shook his head. Mainlanders were crazy. All of 'em.

***

"Good morning, Mildred," Remington said as he and Laura entered the office the next morning."

The older woman turned and looked at them. "Well, this is a red letter day," she said with a laugh. "You're both here- and on time?" she said, glancing at the clock on her desk.

"Mildred," Laura said, her expression serious, "Would you join us- in Mr. Steele's office for a moment?"

She looked worried, and her gaze swung toward Remington for some hint as to what was going on. But his expression was just as serious. "Miss Holt and I have something to tell you-"

Mildred swallowed, her gaze moving from one to the other, clearly frightened. Slowly she moved into Mr. Steele's office and waited as Laura closed the door.

A few minutes later, if there had been anyone waiting in the reception area, they would have been surprised by the cry of delight that emanated from within the confines of Remington Steele's office as the Agency's self appointed mother figure found out that her two "kids" were together at last.

The End

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