Steele Holted After All These Years
Many thanks to Lauryn,
my excellent beta reader!
This is purely for amusement purposes. I do not own the characters from Remington Steele, MTM does. This part rated PG Permission to archive granted. Any criticism is welcome.
Part III Steele Holted After All These Years
Steele was next seen entering the lobby of an upscale hotel adjacent to the Stanford Campus. He smiled at the attractive blond at the front desk. "I'm here with the Stanford Reunion. Decided to come at the last minute. May I have room 204? It holds a special significance for me, Miss . . . " He gave her one of his most charming smiles and she melted. "Call me Sabrina," she said with a sexy smile. "And here is the key to room 204. At least this way I will know where to find you."
"Certainly, Sabrina, and thank you," Steele responded with a wink, "I will let you know if I get lost. By the way, Sabrina, I seem to have lost my schedule, can you tell me where the Class of 1976 is gathering tonight?" he asked.
Steele settled into his room and took out his tux from his garment bag, inspecting it for wrinkles. Meanwhile, Laura was in the grand ballroom eating dinner with her classmates. She was clad in a beautiful floor length designer gown. It was a black silk creation with a silver beaded bodice that clung to her slim body. The halter neckline and princess seams enhanced her curves in all the right places. Laura was having a great time giggling with her former sorority sisters, catching up. Andrea "chem by day, men by night" Bacon had become an ob/gyn in Washington State. She was a beautiful buxom curly haired blond who had finally settled down with a pediatrician. Sarah, an attractive redhead with a pixie haircut, had become a pension and benefits attorney in a large firm in NYC where she joked, they paid her enough to own her soul. She was engaged to a gorgeous dark skinned blue eyed veterinarian named Javier. The girls all found this deliciously ironic since in college, Sarah had always fantasized about having a mysterious Latin lover named Raul. Javier's contrasting features reminded Laura of the face of a certain mysterious Irishman that she'd just as soon forget for tonight. Roxanne had become a geophysicist and after a postdoc at Caltech, had landed a great job with the government. They all teased her endlessly about her top-secret hush hush assignments. Barbara Frick, whom she'd run into during a case last year, had of course become a child psychologist and was happily married with two children. "We hear you, Barbara!" they all sang in unison, mimicking her watchword, especially after the first few drinks. Young, a Korean American woman with exotic good looks had become a high-powered computer consultant at a firm in Tokyo where she had just been made partner. She and her similarly employed handsome husband were expecting their first child in a few months. Pregnancy brought a glow and a sense of relaxation to her face that Laura never remembered seeing at Stanford.
They were all suitably impressed by Laura's career as a licensed PI working for the most famous detective in the state of California. Laura explained that Remington and she were actually partners but that the agency used his name because "it is still an altogether too sexist society which we live." "I'll drink to that, Laura," said Sarah, raising a champagne glass, "Half of those male lawyers are pigs." "I hear you, Laura," stated Barbara soberly, then she started to giggle at her own use of the catch phrase that had become the joke of the night among her sorority sisters. Those who'd seen Remington Steele's picture in the paper prattled on about how handsome he was and how lucky she was to work with such a debonair, enlightened man. Laura rolled her eyes at that comment. "Oh yeah," she began sarcastically, taking a large sip of her white wine, "that's our Mr. Steele, a real sensitive man of the 80's. Don't let that air of suavity fool you ladies, Mr. Steele can be just as stupidly macho as the next guy!" Laura later found herself denying Barbara's intimation that she and "Mr. Steele" were romantically involved. What they had was so hard to define, she told herself, even she wasn't sure what their status was, half the time. It wasn't like what her college friends had found. He wasn't committed to her, and she couldn't imagine he ever would be. Maybe, Laura thought, it was time to give up the dream of being with him and find a man who could really give her what she needed.
Steele edged into the ballroom with the stealth of a panther. He ensconced himself into a shadowed corner of the bar in time to observe a very tall handsome man approach Laura's seat from behind. Steele noticed the man had an athletic build and a ruggedly handsome face with green eyes and sandy hair. His face lit up with a brilliant smile as he got Laura's attention and held her eyes with his. Steele's gut clenched when he realized that Laura seemed just as delighted to see him. "That must be Patrick," said Steele in a quiet, bitter voice into his martini as he downed it in one gulp. Patrick took Laura's hand to his lips and kissed it as he pulled her out of her chair and embraced her lingeringly before leading her out onto the dance floor. This was not getting any better, Steele thought to himself. He maneuvered his way around the other side of the dance floor behind a potted plant to eavesdrop on their conversation unobserved.
"My god, Laura, you are even more vibrant and beautiful than you were in college, if that's possible. This detective work really must suit you," Patrick stated, as he slow danced with her to the soft music.
"Oh, Patrick", she blushed slightly, "You know you don't look so bad yourself but isn't that laying it on a little thick, even for you?" She laughed softly and he smiled. "I heard about your last dig in Africa, it was all over the papers, congratulations!" Laura couldn't believe how utterly striking he had become. It was as if he had grown into his looks. "Now that must be exciting work, archeology, all the travel to exotic locales, discovering ancient relics . . . ."
"I enjoy it Laura, but did I tell you I just accepted a position at UCLA? I am feeling ready to settle down in one place. I will be in your neck of the woods, Laura, just think of the possibilities." Laura winced slightly at the familiar phrasing. "I couldn't help but notice there aren't any rings on your lovely fingers. Am I correct in presuming?"
"Well, no, Patrick, I am neither engaged nor married, but . " she hesitated
"Are you seeing someone?" he asked probing her eyes with his.
"You might say that," Laura replied
"Is it serious?" he asked.
"Well, lets just say he has a little trouble with commitment." Laura looked uncomfortable.
Steele, still behind the potted plant, winced when he heard that. How could dismiss Laura their relationship so easily? he thought. Didn't she realize by now how much she meant to him even he couldn't bring himself to say the words? He went over to the bar to get himself another martini before returning to lurk in the dark corner adjacent to the dance floor. He saw they were now dancing very closely now to Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight."
"Doesn't sound serious to me. Besides, when I left our junior year to do that archeology program in Egypt and got back to find you had moved on with Wilson, I regretted it. This time, I have no intention of letting you get away." He smiled confidently and laughed softly. Laura blushed again. She was flattered and a little overwhelmed by the whole thing. "When I heard through the grapevine that you and Wilson had split, I seriously considered getting in contact with you again but I realized," Patrick hesitated, searching Laura's face, "I realized that I wasn't ready professionally at that point to get as serious with you as I wanted to."
"But we were together years ago. You don't even know me anymore . . . " Laura started
"Nonsense, Laura, we had a great time together dancing the night away at the 5th year reunion, didn"t we?" Laura nodded. He continued. "I am willing to take things as slowly as you like but I know what I need to know: you are an intelligent, successful, perceptive, vibrant, and spontaneous young woman. I won't lie to you, Laura. There have been many beautiful women since you, but not one of them made me feel quite the way you did. There is something so intoxicating about all that passion hidden just beneath the surface, especially when it's in a woman who can do calculus derivatives at the speed of light!" They both laughed. Laura was amazed at how easily they slipped back into their old intimacy. At that moment, it was as if the years that had passed between them had never happened.
"Patrick," said Laura looking
at his jaw, "How did you get that scar?" She traced
the outline of it gently with her finger, and he seemed to shudder
slightly in response to her electric touch.
Steele was watching in agony. The man looked like he wanted to devour her, for Christ's sake. It was a feeling that he was all too familiar with. He tossed back another martini in one gulp. "Oh, you know how rough and tumble we archeologists are, Laura," he replied raising one eyebrow. "I hit it with my bullwhip!" He winked and Laura laughed softly in her lilting way.
"Just like Harrison Ford, huh?" she joked. All the while she was thinking how much he really did resemble a slightly younger Harrison Ford. She didn't know if it was the champagne or the man but being with Patrick suddenly seemed so easy.
"I hate to admit it," he added, "but I just cut myself shaving. I was trying to show off on a dig with some brash young undergrads and was using a straight razor." They laughed together again. Patrick had so much more honesty and humility than you know whom, thought Laura. Then she shook her head slightly as if trying to dispel the comparisons racing around in her brain. Patrick pulled her closer and whispered, "Laura, tomorrow's your birthday . . . "
"I can't believe you remembered that!"
"Of course I did Laura. What do you say you let me take you to a celebratory lunch at our old favorite restaurant tomorrow before all the official reunion festivities start?"
"I guess that would be OK sure that sounds like fun!" answered Laura after some hesitation. "So I guess that is your way of saying goodnight?"
"No way, Laura. You can't get rid of me that easily." They moved off the dance floor together towards the tables. "You are stuck with me for the evening at least." His green eyes were dancing with laughter. He took in an audible breath. "Now tell me about this mysterious man who is so stupid and shortsighted that he won't commit to you."
"Please allow me to introduce myself, Patrick," said Steele extending his arm to a startled Patrick as he appeared from seemingly out of nowhere. "Its Steele, Remington Steele and apparently," he appraised them both coldly, "I am playing the fool tonight in more ways than one."
The look on Laura's face was one of disbelief and fury. "What the hell are you doing here?" she shouted without giving him the chance to answer. "Did you follow me here? Have you been spying on me?" she asked more quietly, in a voice that was deadly calm.
"I wouldn't have had to find out where you were from Mildred if you hadn't lied about your whereabouts, Laura."
"I didn't lie, I merely . . . " she started. "You have no right!" she finished.
"What then, Laura, distorted the truth, hmm? Is that it?"
"Mr. Steele, you are making a scene at my 10th year college reunion! I hardly think that this is the time or the place . . . ."
"It's never a good time or place for you Laura, maybe that's our whole problem, eh?" Steele's accent was getting stronger and they both looked ready to explode. Laura noticed Steele's breath smelled of alcohol. "You talk about trust, Laura, you talk about commitment and then you pull this? I can't bloody believe it!"
Patrick draped his arm protectively around Laura and asked her "Laura are you OK with this," he gestured vaguely towards Steele, "or do you want me to take Mr. Steele here for a little night air to cool him off?"
"Laura doesn't need to be protected from me, Patrick," Steele said quietly. "Do you, Laura?" There was just a hint of desperation in his voice now.
"No of course not, Patrick, I'm fine." She subtly shrugged her way out of Patrick's embrace.
Laura turned to Steele. "We will talk about this tomorrow. Now go get some sleep. You look like you need it."
"Thank you, Laura." Said Steele sarcastically. He raised his empty martini glass to her in mock salute.
"No, Mr. Steele, I mean it, we aren't going to solve anything with you in this state and I don't want to be embarrassed any further tonight."
"All right, I'll go. I never thought of myself as an embarrassment before, Laura." He replied and the hurt and betrayal he felt showed in his eyes. "Goodnight, Laura. Patrick, I'd like to say it was a pleasure meeting you but . . . Goodnight." He left the ballroom disheartened. Laura could see that his back was stiffened with rage and he and swayed almost imperceptibly as he walked. Laura's heart went out to him in spite of herself.
Patrick grabbed her hand. "Are you all right, Laura?" "Yes, Patrick, but I am sorry you had to see that. Let's go for a walk. I'm the one who needs to get some air."