Steele Holted After All These Years- Conclusion
Date: Monday, August 13, 2001
by Alicia Huberman
Feedback can be sent to Krebbie, and she'll forward it to Alicia.

Steele Holted After All These Years Part VII - CONCLUSION
by Alicia Huberman

I do not own the characters, MTM does. I am not profiting from this endeavor.Permission to archive, any feedback welcomed.

This part rated PG 13. Many thanks to Lauryn, my invaluable Beta reader.

Having finished his shower, Steele emerged from the bathroom clad in only a white towel. He noticed Laura's hair was styled in loosely flowing waves and she was just pulling on a peach miniskirt that matched her preppie Izod polo shirt. "Surely, Laura you are not going to lunch with Patrick dressed like that!" Steele exclaimed.

"Why not? What is wrong with the way I look?" She asked indignantly.

"You look good enough to eat, Laura, and therein lies the problem!" He came up behind her and nuzzled her neck sensuously. "You wouldn't want him to get the wrong idea by showing him that long expanse of lovely leg. I think trousers are just the thing for a day like today."

Laura rolled her eyes heavenward. "But Remington, it's 85 degrees out today! I never imagined you'd be this possessive! It doesn't become you, you know."

"I am not possessive, Laura, merely cautious!" Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Steele practically leapt in front of Laura to open it after readjusting the towel. "Ahh, Patrick, how delightful to see you again, do come in." Steele's voice rang with false cheer.

Patrick looked puzzled. "Did I get the wrong room? I was looking for Laura. She was late meeting me for our lunch date." Patrick's face dropped as Laura came into his view. His gaze went from Laura to Steele in the towel and back.

"Hi Patrick! I am finally ready, sorry I am running late!" Laura looked uncomfortable.

"No problem, Laura, ready whenever you are," Patrick replied through a clenched jaw. Laura grabbed her purse and headed for the door.

"It was a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Steele," said Patrick with sarcasm.

"You can rest assured the pleasure was all mine," Steele replied smugly.

"So I see, Mr. Steele, so I see," responded Patrick, eyeing him warily.

"Goodbye, Mr. Steele," said Laura, "I will be back in an hour or two."

"Don't dawdle, Laura, if you get back soon enough we might still be able to make it to San Francisco in time for Tony Bennett . . . and perhaps even dinner at Marty's."

"But Laura," Patrick interrupted, "You'd miss the class clambake tonight."

"I wouldn't want to tear you away from your friends, Laura," his blue eyes were silently pleading with hers.

Laura paused for a moment and thought about how a little compromise might go a long way towards appeasing her Mr. Steele. "Well, I suppose I have gotten to see the whole gang. After lunch, I will say goodbye to the girls from 4 East and we can rent a car to go see Tony." She smiled up at him warmly.

"Great! I will make the all the arrangements, Laura. Don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy your lunch, you two." He was beaming as he ushered them ceremoniously out of the room. Patrick looked very unhappy.


As they waited for their lunch, Laura's finger traced the rim of her water goblet as she stared pensively at the table. She lifted her head to read Patrick's questioning gaze. "Remington and I came to an understanding last night and I finally realize now how much he truly cares about me. I am sorry, Patrick."

"Because of me?" Patrick asked.

"No. Not entirely, anyway. I think maybe you were the catalyst."

"Are you sure this guy is serious, Laura? Why the sudden change of heart? Are sure he just didn't say those things to . . . "

"To sleep with me?"

"Well, yes."

"No, I don't think so. He could've tried that years ago and he never did. I have to believe he really means it now."

"I just don't want to see you get hurt with a guy like that, Laura. I hope you aren't the proverbial toy he has to have now that he has seen another boy enjoying you."

"You mean he only wanted me because he felt he couldn't have me?'


"Believe me, Patrick, I have thought of that. But Mr. Steele and I have been running circles around each other for a long time and well, we have been through a lot together. Trust me when I say that there is more to his feelings for me than that. And hey, it's a two way street. I need to stop second guessing him all the time. I need to stop letting my fear control me and give this relationship a real chance."

Patrick knew he was fighting a losing battle. "A chance that doesn't include me, I would imagine?" He smiled ruefully.

"I am afraid not. But you are going to make some young woman a very lucky lady, Patrick." She smiled her warmest smile and looked at him right in the eyes. "You are handsome, brilliant, famous, not to mention a terrific dancer."

"Biggest mistake I ever made," he said half under his breath, but Laura heard him.


"Letting you go."

"Oh, no we were so young and in college - we would have grown apart anyway."

"I suppose you might have but . . ." he drifted off and then he cleared his throat and sat up straight. "Well, Laura, I hope he makes you very happy and if he doesn't, you know where I live." He laughed. The tension in her released as she found herself joining in his laughter.


When Laura got back to her hotel room after a lingering goodbye with her friends, Remington was waiting for her. Surprisingly, he had packed for both of them and arranged for a car. "Everything with Patrick all straightened out?" He asked, kissing her lightly on the forehead.

"Yes, all taken care of."


"No more lunch dates on the calendar?"

"No more lunch dates."


The drive to San Francisco was beautiful and relaxing. Fortunately, he had been too upset at Laura on Friday to remember to cancel the reservations that he had made for his romantic birthday getaway. They dropped their bags off in the beautiful two bedroom suite he had reserved at The Mark. The larger bedroom featured a king size bed and a deluxe Jacuzzi for two. "We could try it out, Laura. Make sure it's in full working order and all," Steele as his eyes darted from the Jacuzzi to the bed.

"Oh, Mr. Steele," Laura purred as she pressed herself against him intimately and placed tiny little kisses on his neck, "We can't. We'd miss dinner and besides I am quite confident after last night that everything is in good working order."

"Laura, it's not good to tease a man so. It isn't healthy. Besides, who needs food when I have you to . . . ."

"How do those baby scallops broiled in butter sound, Rem? The tender fried calamari . . . mozzarella marinara . . . veal parmigiana . . . a fine bottle of Merlot?" She asked in breathy, sensuous tone.

His stomach growled audibly. "OK, Laura, you win. My own words coming back to haunt me. First the food at Marty's and then you."

"Oh and don't forget Tony Bennett!"

"Really, Laura, I enjoy Tony immensely but he just isn't my type." Laura swatted him playfully.

The meal was absolutely delicious and the conversation was even better at their candlelit table. At one point Steele placed his hand atop Laura's and held her gaze. "I don't know about you, but I am enjoying this trip to San Francisco a lot more than our last one."

"Well, no one is trying to kill us. So that gives it a leg up right there," she giggled. "On a more serious note, yes, I am having a wonderful time with you. You really know how to show a girl a good time." They exchanged warm looks. Laura thought she couldn't eat another bite but when the dessert tray came around and Steele ordered the tiramisu she heard her own voice asking for the chocolate truffle mousse cake. Steele had them put a candle on it for her birthday. The truffle cake was worth it. She was beginning to think she should listen to that voice more often.

Remington was his usual attentive self all evening except when they first found their seats in the concert hall. He excused himself to go to the bar for drinks and was gone for quite some time but returned empty handed. He looked a little nervous and slightly distracted.

"Is everything OK, Remington?"

"Sure, love." He smiled reassuringly and took her hand. "Everything is fine."

The concert was wonderful. They marveled at how good his voice was for a man in his 60's. Tony played all their favorites including "I left My Heart in San Francisco", "The Good Life", "Rags to Riches" and "I Wanna Be Around." When he sang "Cold, Cold Heart" Steele winked at Laura and she nudged him with her elbow when Tony started "I May Not Be An Angel." "I think I'll string along with you but just until an angel comes along," she whispered.

"Of course, Laura," Steele replied feigning hurt. "I understand. Even after I have worked so hard to free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart you are ready and willing to throw me over for an unearthly visitor."

"You talk too damn much, Mr. Steele, you know that?"

"You started it. Ahh, "The Shadow of Your Smile," now that song always makes me think of you, too. Such a lovely smile."

"OK, you can keep on talking."

Mr. Bennett's next number was "While We're Young." "Hey, "whispered Laura, "isn't that the song we danced to the last time we were in San Francisco?"

"Yes, when we were hiding out on the dance floor."

"I was so scared."

"But we got through it - together. Sometimes, Laura, I am quite confident we can get through anything together. Even my mysterious past, should that ever rear its ugly head." His blue eyes questioned her wordlessly.

"I think you may be right about that, Remington." She took his hand in hers as the music wafted around them:

Songs were made to sing while we're young

Every day is spring while we're young

Though it may be just for today

Share our love we must while we may

Time flies so fast

Too dear too lose

And too sweet to last

"That song really rings true for us, Laura, eh?"

"Are you saying that what we have is fleeting?" Laura looked apprehensive." Is it your way of saying this is only a weekend thing between us?"

"No!" He was impatient with her lack of faith in him. "That's not what I meant at all. It's really saying carpe diem! Life is short, you have got to enjoy it to its fullest while you can, Laura."

"I thought that's what we were doing."

"This is wonderful. But I don't just mean this. I don't want to waste anymore time just squeezing our relationship in between cases. I know I have a somewhat checkered past, but I have done nothing that should endanger you, Laura. I will do anything in my power to stay by your side - if you'll have me."

"What are you saying?"

Just then they were interrupted by Tony Bennett's introduction of his next song. "That last song I sang folks has a special significance for a couple of lovebirds out in the audience tonight. Remington is an old friend of my stage manager and I had the pleasure of meeting him backstage this evening. He wanted me to sing this next number and dedicate it to Laura, the love of his life. A pretty special gal, this Laura, from what he tells me. So here goes. And good luck, buddy."

Laura was open mouthed in shock and a blush crept up her cheek. It only got worse when she heard the song playing.

Heaven bless people who marry young

For I guess that if you marry young

You can stumble and fall till you stand

But at least you're stumbling hand in hand.

Never mind what they say marry young

While it's spring and the song is trembling to be sung

Let it slip off the tip of your tongue

I love you, you love me, people do, why don't we marry young?

Laura's brain was in a fog as she tried to process the ramifications of this dedication. "You can't mean . . .?" she asked.

But Steele was already kneeling in the isle adjacent to their seats. He pulled out a jewelry box from his coat pocket and opened it to reveal an apparently flawless one carat diamond ring set in platinum. "Laura, I know this seems sudden but I have been thinking about it for some time. I am not very good with words, as you well know, that is why I had Mr. Bennett help me out. But I do love you, Laura. And I think . . . that is I hope that you love me too."

"I do but . . ."

"Thank God! What I am trying to say, damn it, is that I want to spend the rest of my life loving you and would you consider becoming my bride?" Steele looked flustered as his blue eyes fixed nervously on Laura's.

"I . . .I . . . must admit to being utterly shocked!"

"In a good way?" Steele asked tugging on his earlobe.

"It's too soon!"

Steele sprung to his feet. "But we have been together for three entire years now!"

"Yes but not together together," she raised her eyebrow suggestively.

He sat back down in the seat next to Laura's. "In most ways we were."

"But not all."

"If you are worried about that I think we demonstrated last night that won't be a problem for us, hmmh?"

"I am not worried about that."

"It wasn't a problem, was it Laura?"

"No, damn it, it was wonderful, you were wonderful allright? God, men are so insecure sometimes!"

"So, what is it then, Laura?"

"What if we can't hack a real relationship? What if we drive each other crazy?"

"Of course we drive each other crazy. That's half the fun! Let's give it a trial period, see how it goes. You wear the ring, see if I meet your expectations. If you aren't happy, you can sack me."

"I might enjoy that."

"Getting me in the sack?"

"Just make sure you live up to expectations, Mr. Steele."

"Count on it, Miss Holt. A year and then we plan the wedding if all goes well."

Laura considered this for a moment. "Done." She offered her hand and he took it and brought it to his lips in a tender kiss.

"It is a beautiful ring," she said as he slipped the ring on her finger.

"So it's official! We are engaged!"

"Engaged?" Laura sounded slightly panicked.

"Customarily, that is what its called when a woman is wearing a diamond on the third finger of her left hand, Laura."

"But you said it was a trial, no fair!" Now she was laughing at how childish she sounded.

"Allright then, a trial engagement. Everything is fair in love and war."

"The problem is most of the time I can't tell if we are in love or at war."

"Its a delightful mix of the two, I would imagine. Maybe you can capture me as a prisoner of love and torture me endlessly." He bent to kiss her. It was a soft, sensuous kiss that held tremendous promise.

"Did you really mean it earlier when you said you . . . ." she asked in a husky voice after they broke the kiss.

"I meant every word."

"There is just one more thing."


"Well, now that we are engaged it seems silly to call you Mr. Steele, but I still don't feel comfortable calling you Rem or Remington - God knows I've tried. I made it up from a typewriter for God's sake. What I am going to call you?"

"Well, hmmm, I think we should make up pet names for each other now that we are," he wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, "intimately involved."

"Like what?"

"Well, I'll call you my lovebunny and you can call me . . . irresistible." He smiled crookedly and Laura swatted him.

"Insatiable is more like it, I am afraid," Laura stated wryly.

A grey haired man seated next to Laura suddenly nudged Steele and said, "Ey, paisan! Do me a favor. You two get a room or get married already! I'm tryin' to listen to Tony over here!"