Steele Resolve
Date: Monday, November 27, 2006
"screechmonkeys" <>
OK, I'm going to hurry up and post this before I lose my nerve. (I'm more than a little freaked out about doing this and I'm pretty sure I will regret this right after I press the "Send" button!)
I have to thank Zinger and Nora Bolt for their wonderful input and help (not to mention their beta reading). I also want to thank Lissa, Neeners and Isabel for their encouragement as I jump off this cliff. (Someone catch me, please!)
So, here it is. I'd appreciate feedback.
Steele Resolve
Laura blinked her eyes open and inhaled deeply.  5:43am.  Ugh.  She rolled over, looked lovingly at her handsome husband sleeping soundly next to her and smiled.  Her mind reeled.  It had been about three-and-a-half months since that ill-fated night at Ashford Castle.  The night they were finally going to consummate their marriage.  Heaven knows they waited long enough.  Laura still remembers that night vividly, as though it were just yesterday. 
They had just finished watching Daniel Chalmers' funeral on the evening news.  To think that Daniel was Mr. Steele’s father.  After all that time, all the searching.  And then to have him taken so quickly – before he could tell her husband his real name.  It just wasn’t fair.  But she and Remington had other things on their mind that night.  After years of dancing around each other – of touching and pulling back – they were finally both ready to overcome their inhibitions and give in to their desires.  He lifted her into his arms and started up the long staircase to what was supposed to be their honeymoon room.  She felt so safe in his embrace, so secure…so ready. 
And then the phone rang.  It was Tony Roselli.  She shooed Remington away and spoke with Tony briefly while Remington prepared their bedroom.  She hung up and met Remington half way up the staircase.  He kissed her with a promise of what was to come and carried her effortlessly into the bedroom.  She slid down the length of his body until her feet reached the floor.  They stared a lifetime into each others’ eyes before they shared a smoldering kiss and turned out the lights.  But then…then the phone rang…again.  Laura winced at the thought of what happened next.  Remington ripped the phone from the wall and threw it violently across the room.  That was it.  The spell had been broken.  All the anger and frustration Mr. Steele had felt since Tony entered their lives exploded out of him in a verbal tirade.  He didn’t trust her anymore.
She remembered the desperation she felt as she tried to explain her actions and begged his forgiveness.  It was all so surreal.  They came to an understanding that night – actually the next morning.  They were going to try to forget everything that happened and give their relationship another shot. 
When Tony showed up at their doorstep later that evening, she was terrified at what Mr. Steele might do.  To her surprise, he was rather amicable…Too amicable for her liking.  He invited Tony in and then excused himself from their company…But not before giving her a burning kiss that offset her equilibrium.  He had claimed her as his own on no uncertain terms, leaving Tony more than slightly agitated.  And Laura was determined to set the record straight…Finally…Something she should have done from the very start.  She apologized to Tony for leading him on and confessed her true feelings for Mr. Steele.  Her last words were, “We have no future together, Tony.  If you truly care about me, please don’t contact me again.”  To his credit, he hasn’t.
Laura and Remington agreed to “date” and let the chips fall where they may.  He spent hours showing her around Ireland and mesmerizing her with delightful stories of his past.  She knew not all his memories of Ireland were fond ones, but she was more than content to accept what he offered.  They were falling in love all over again.
Each night after an evening of wining and dining, dancing and romancing, he walked her up to their bedroom, kissed her deeply and retreated to another room to sleep.  Laura was going out of her mind with anticipation and yearning, but she knew she needed to earn back his trust before he would make love to her.  She grinned at the thought that perhaps he had been punishing her for all those times she made him “retract his periscope” over the years.
Alas, their time in Ireland had come to an end.  Remington signed over ownership of the castle to the servants, and Mr. and Mrs. Steele went back home to live at his place as husband and wife.  That evening, they were both quite exhausted from their travels.  They slept in Mr. Steele’s bed, but that was all they did.  She was beginning to wonder if they would ever cross that line, turn that corner… 
But the next night, after a wonderfully romantic evening, they made love for the first time.  It was warm and gentle and filled with a passion Laura had never known before.  She felt her whole body flush as an uncontrollable shudder shot through her at the very thought of it.  It was that night – their first time – that she knew Remington loved her…Really loved her.  Though she sometimes doubted it before, all her fears were laid to rest.  But why couldn’t he say it?  Laura sighed as she closed her eyes, hoping to catch a few more Zs before their alarm went off.
Remington yawned and rubbed his eyes as he peered over the lovely brunette who has shared his bed for the past few months.  6:24am.  Too damn early.  He laid his head back down on the pillow and sighed.  Laura looked so beautiful lying there so peacefully.  It was hard to believe it had been four months since their fishing boat wedding.  It was hardly the ideal place to get married, but he was sure that some day she would laugh about it.  Maybe.  Perhaps.  OK, probably not any time soon, but certainly one day in the distant future.  He smiled at the notion.  At least he finally convinced her that he had no intention of marrying a “love broker” – that it was all a big ruse so that she would marry him to keep him in the country.   He knew she wasn’t thrilled about it, but she had forgiven him for his deception.
Then, Remington remembered the whole honeymoon debacle.  It wiped the smile right off his face.  It was bad enough that the INS was all over him and Laura, and that he was framed for murder.  But Anthony…Anthony blind-sided him and almost destroyed the best thing in his life – his relationship with Laura.  He tried to trust her – he really did.  But Anthony kept showing up at the wrong place and the wrong time.  The worst part was that Laura didn’t seem to mind.  She seemed to welcome it, in fact.  Remington felt his stomach churn at the thought of it.  The bloody bugger kept pursuing Laura – even after he was hundreds of miles away in a different country.  He even called her right when they were finally going to make love…TWICE! 
Remington recalled all the angry words and accusations he hurled at Laura and the terrified look on her face as she wept with remorse.  He remembered the tears he held back as she tried to explain that her ever-present neuroses were to blame and that she didn’t want Tony – she wanted him and only him.  But it was too late.  His trust in her was shattered and he felt like giving up.  Laura, however – stubborn, bull-headed, obstinate Laura – held on for dear life and somehow convinced him to give “them” another chance.  With that thought, he offered a silent “thank you” to his lovely bride lying beside him.
And then he thought about how they made love for the very first time in this very bed…How she responded to his every touch, every move…How she made him feel physically and emotionally…How he had finally showed her how much he loved her even though he hadn’t said it.  Why couldn’t he say it? 
He let out a long sigh, placed a light kiss on Laura’s cheek and drifted back to sleep.
The music blared and an all too familiar voice clucked out, “You’re wakin’ up with Tyler and Austin on 14-KROT.  We’ve got another – “  BAM!  Laura smacked the snooze button and groaned.  Running her fingers through her hair, she turned back over to see the most intoxicating blue eyes staring back at her. 
“Good morning, Mrs. Steele,” Remington greeted with a particularly lustful sparkle in his eyes.
“Good morning, Mr. Steele,” she countered before engaging in a most ravenous kiss.  “Why, Mr. Steele,” she purred, “To what do I owe this pleasure?”
He gently whisked back a stray strand of hair that had fallen into her face and gazed wantonly into her cinnamon brown eyes.  “Oh, you know me, Laura…I just want to keep my staff happy.”  He trailed kisses along her jaw towards her ear as his hand made its way up her thigh and under her shirt.  “A happy staff is an efficient staff,” he whispered as he continued his onslaught of kisses and caresses.
“I’m sure Mildred will be thrilled to hear that, sir.”
He stopped dead in his tracks.  “Really, Laura.  You certainly know how to kill the mood,” he huffed.
“Come on,” Laura chirped as she bound out of bed and turned off the alarm clock.  She was wearing one of his white silk dress shirts with nothing underneath…which didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.
“Laura, there is a reason for the snooze button, you know…so you can snooze…or in our case, engage in more…stimulating activities,” he suggested, thrusting his hips slightly to get his point across.  “And you can hit it multiple times, too.  Do you know what we could all do, what interesting – “
“Come on, Remington,” she interrupted, interlocking her fingers and stretching her arms up high, revealing a fair amount of thigh.  “Get up!!!”
“I’m already ‘up’, my dear,” he said lasciviously, raising an eyebrow. 
Laura gave an exasperated sigh.  She really, really wanted to crawl on top of him and have her way with him…but duty called.  “You’ll just have to hold that feeling until tonight.  We have a new client coming in at 9:00 and I have a 1:30 with Detective Jarvis.”
“Can’t we reschedule the new client?”  he pleaded. 
“No…But I’ll tell Mildred not to schedule anything important until 9:30 from now on, OK?”
“Make it 10:00,” he smirked.
Laura gave him a promising kiss and announced, “I’m jumping in the shower.”  He wiggled his eyebrows.  “Don’t even think about it, Mr. Steele.”  He felt the wind being taken out of his sails.  “Why don’t you make yourself some breakfast.  I won’t be long.”  She sauntered over to the bathroom, turned back and blew her gorgeous husband a kiss before disappearing into the shower.
A few minutes passed and she threatened, “REMINGTON?!”
“I’m up!  I’m up!”  he yelled back.  He wasn’t and she knew it.  Funny how well they knew each other after only a few months of marriage. 
As the hot water beat down on her tired body, her thoughts drifted to him and a grin appeared on her face that reached all the way up to her eyes.  God, how she wanted to pounce on him this morning.  Her libido was raging.  Sex with Remington was unlike anything she’d ever experienced before.  Sometimes it was deliciously slow and dreamy.  Sometimes it was teasing and playful.  And sometimes…Sometimes she thought they’d put porn stars to shame – though she wasn’t really sure about that.  She never was one to watch porno movies.  The closest she ever got was when she and Remington had to spend the night in that god-awful theater when they were temporarily homeless.  Even then, she wouldn’t look up from her lap.  How Remington got any sleep that night, she’ll never know.
Remington threw on his silk robe and padded over to the kitchen.  He opened the fridge and surveyed his options.  But his mind was on Laura…his Laura…Finally.  He was never one to compare his many conquests, but Laura was by far the best he’d ever had.  He surmised that love really did change everything.  Sure, he loved Anna…or so he thought.  But they were so young and it happened so fast and it was all based on deception and lies.  No, it wasn’t love.  He didn’t know what it was exactly, but it wasn’t anything like his love for Laura.  Damn that 9am meeting, he thought.  One cold shower coming up.
“Laura, come on.”  He gave a quick knock as he opened the door.  “I need to take a sho– “
”Oh God, Remington,“ she gasped, jumping involuntarily.  The small round case in her hand went flying.  “You scared me,” she panted.
“Sorry, Love.”  He picked up her birth control pills and handed them to her.  “Didn’t mean to…You alright?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.  I was just deep in thought.  I’ll get out of your way.”
Birth control pills.  Laura just started taking them about a month ago after their second “oops”.  The first time, they were working late into the night at the office.  One thing lead to another and their passion erupted…right on Mr. Steele’s desk.  Good thing there was never anything on it.  A few weeks later, they took a detour through the hills in the Auburn.  They found themselves at Las Amantes Lookout and, well, they tripped the light fantastic, so to speak.  That was the first and last time they tried that – Remington pulled his sciatic nerve and walked funny for a week, and Laura ended up with a baseball size bruise on her outer thigh.  It was immediately after that little misadventure that Laura decided to take matters into her own hands and go on the pill.
Laura put the finishing touches on her make-up, slid her “Peppler” wedding band on and sighed.  Why was she wearing this stupid ring?  It was 14-carat gold-plated and was beginning to turn her finger green.  Why couldn’t she have just accepted the matching bands he bought for them from Starbright Jewelers?  Why did she insist on returning them?  She knew why.  Because as beautiful as they were – and they were genuinely beautiful – they weren’t really getting married.  And she’d be damned if she was going to wear a real wedding band without being truly married.  She now wished she hadn’t been so hasty.
Laura grabbed her briefcase and the keys to the Rabbit.  “Remington, we’re late,” she chastised.
“Coming, coming.”
Remington.  She loved calling him that.  Sure, Laura had used “Remington” and “Remy” in public after their marriage to placate the INS, but it was always “Mr. Steele” when they were alone.  She only started calling him “Remington” in private after that name involuntarily escaped her lips in little more than a whisper during their first night together.  From that moment on, Laura knew that he was Remington…Remington Steele.  Not the Remington Steele she invented.  No, he was better – despite his flaws…maybe even because of his flaws.
Remington. It felt so good when she called him that.  He remembered how she once asked him at the castle if he preferred she call him “Harry”.  He thought about it but decided against it since he really didn’t know if Harry was his real name.  Besides, “Harry” was something that people from his past called him…a name he used before he started living his life on the straight and narrow.  No.  Not Harry, he decided.  Daniel would understand.  He became lost in his reverie…
“But what do I call you when we’re alone?”
“Whatever you decide is fine by me, Laura.”
And then came the night when they first made love.  Remington.  It was Remington.
It wasn’t all bliss for the couple, however.  Their place was rather small for the two of them.  In fact, three-fourths of Laura’s “things” were still in a storage facility.  He complained bitterly about how her toiletries were invading his already over-stocked medicine cabinet.  She resented that he had more closet space than she.  He railed against work files being stacked on the dining room table.  She hated that his videotape collection was so extensive that there was no room for her music cassettes.
They bickered endlessly as they had before they tied the knot, but somehow it was different.  Laura now came to view it as a form of foreplay…and she was sure Remington did, too.  Work hard.  Fight hard.  Play hard.
As they drove from the Rossmore en route to the office, Laura broached the subject of moving.  “You know, the Dekkers are leaving for Boston next month.  Brian got transferred.”
“Oh?”  Remington shifted uncomfortably as Laura continued driving.
“You know Brian and Jennifer Dekker?  They’re the ones in the penthouse.  They have three bedrooms, a study, two full baths complete with Jacuzzi…”  Dead silence.  “I was thinking maybe we could move up there.  We could get that beautiful piano you bought for me out of storage and convert one of the bedrooms into a music room.  We could put my bedroom set in the other room and I could finally have some space for my things.  The money that we’re saving from not paying rent on the loft and on the storage facility can be used to help pay the monthly mortgage.”
“I said, ‘no’,” he reiterated emphatically and clenched his jaw.
“Why?” she asked incredulously, raising her voice in annoyance.
“Too expensive.  No.”
Laura was dumbfounded and more than a little miffed.  “I though I was supposed to be the frugal one, remember?”  She bit her lip and fought back with everything in her power to stifle what she really wanted to say when she thought about all the money Daniel had left him.
This was shaping up to be a glorious argument. 
His blue eyes were blazing.  “Damn it, Laura, I said ‘no’.  End of discussion.”
After teaching the road a lesson it wouldn’t soon forget, Laura brought the Rabbit to a screeching halt in the parking structure.  “This isn’t over,” she seethed and slammed the door so hard that the car shook. 
They both stormed in silence from the elevator up to the 11th floor and through the doors of Suite 1157.  “Morning, Mr. and Mrs. Steele,” their ever-endearing secretary and detective-in-training chirped out.
“Morning, Mildred,” he answered callously with a mock smile before slamming his office door behind him.
“Our client?” Laura inquired.
“Not in yet, hon.  What’s up with the boss?”
“Don’t ask.  Let me know when Mr. Grant arrives, OK?”
“Sure thing, Mrs. Steele.”
Judging by the way Laura stomped into her office, Mildred figured they had one doozy of a fight.  Normally, this would have worried her.  Their marriage was so new and the circumstances surrounding their union made their relationship that much more tenuous.  However, any fears she had all but dissipated about two weeks ago when she saw them holding hands as they emerged from the elevator and walked down the hall to the office.  They were holding hands…an act that most couples engage in without a second thought.  Then again, Miss Holt and Mr. Steele had never been your average, ordinary couple…and she doubted they ever would be.  But this act – this one simple act of holding hands – was so intimate for the two of them and proved that it was more than just a marriage of convenience.  No, they’d be alright.  She knew it.
By the time Mr. Grant came and went, Laura and Remington were back to normal.  The argument was over…for now anyway.  They grabbed a quick bite to eat in the office before Laura’s impending meeting with Detective Jarvis.  As she was leaving, the mailman arrived.  They exchanged pleasantries before she hastily rifled though the mail and opened the agency’s credit card bill. 
“That tears it,” she yelled as she blasted into Mr. Steele’s office and slammed the door. 
Look out, thought Mildred.  Here comes Hurricane Laura.  Maybe it’s that time of the month.
“Why?  Why do you do this?”  She ranted, waving the bill furiously.  Remington came around to the front of his desk and leaned against it with a look of trepidation on his face.  All hope of having a civilized conversation was thrown out the window.  She was pissed and there was no calming her down.  “We’ve been together for almost five years – five years!  You’d think by now – “  Her mouth went on autopilot.  Her mind, however, was someplace else.  All she could think about was him…naked…on top of her…then underneath her…then – DAMN!  Damn him for being so irresistible!  When did I lose control?  DAMN!  Focus, Laura, focus.
“We’ve been together for almost five blah, blah, blah – “  She’s very sexy when she’s angry.  I wonder what bra she’s wearing.  I hope it’s the little black lacy number that opens in the front.  I always like taking that one off of her.  Mmmmm.  And those freckles.  I can’t wait to connect every last one of them with my tongue.  I wonder which route I’ll take tonight… Maybe I’ll – Ooooh!  Pants getting tight.  Focus, old chap, focus.
“ – be so irresponsible!” 
Oh, shhh-ugar!  She stopped talking.  Don’t let her know you weren’t listening.  Punt, mate!  With as much consternation and indignation that he could muster, he bellowed, “What?!?!”
Oh God, Laura.  What did you say?  Think…fast!  “Men!” she railed.  Their eyes locked, neither one backing down.  A moment later, she turned on her heel.  “FINE!!!” she fumed and marched out.
“FINE!!!” he roared back before she slammed his door.
“Mildred,” she barked, “Tell Mr. Steele to take the Rabbit home without me.  Good-bye!”  Laura careened through the swinging doors, took a few steps down the hall and stopped dead in her tracks.  “What the hell just happened?”
Remington was still leaning on his desk.  He was bewildered.  But at least his pants were a little less tight now.  “What the hell just happened?” he asked himself out loud.
Mildred knocked twice on his door and then poked her head in.  “What the hell just happened, boss?”
“Mildred, I have no idea.”  Then he broke into one of his million dollar smiles.  “Get the florist on the line, would you?”
“Will do, Chief.  But why are you so happy?”
“Mildred…Has it really been that long for you?”
She broke out into a wide grin and gave him a couple of winks.  Make-up sex, she thought.  “Right away, Mr. Steele.”
Back at home, Remington was planning a romantic “I’m sorry” evening.   The duck was in the oven, the flowers were in a crystal vase, Tony Bennett was crooning in the background…If everything went as planned, they should be done with dinner by 8:30 and he should be connecting her dots in bed by 9:00.  There was just one thing missing – Laura.  He finally heard the key in the door.  Laura walked in with her briefcase in one hand and a small brown paper bag in the other.  She set them both down by the door and threw her keys on the glass table.
“Hi.  Sorry I’m late,” she announced noticing the dim lights, enticing aroma coming from the kitchen and the beautiful bouquet of flowers.  ‘While We’re Young’ was playing on the stereo.  That was one of their favorites.
The next few hours were spent talking about everything and nothing.  Laura was distracted and barely touched her canard au vin rouge.  After dinner, Remington refilled his glass of wine and handed Laura her still full glass.
“No thanks.”

”Laura, what’s gotten into you?” he inquired, sensing that something was amiss.
“I think I might be pregnant,” she blurted out.  That was tactful, she thought and winced.
Remington stopped breathing and all the color drained from his face.  The silence was deafening.  He made his way over to the couch and flopped down.  He was stunned.  “I don’t deserve this,” he stated.
“Oh, God,” Laura whispered as she wiped away a flood of tears streaming down her face and went out on the balcony.  I don’t deserve this.  It echoed in her head.  Her mind raced a mile a minute.  What if he thinks I did this on purpose?  What if he hates me?  What if he leaves me?  What if –
“Laura?”   She brushed away all the tears as quickly as she could.  He grasped her shoulders and turned her around to face him.  “I meant what I said – I don’t deserve this.”  His eyes avoided hers as he confessed quietly, “Bloody hell, Laura, I don’t even deserve you.”  He dropped to his knees, placed his cheek to her belly and hugged her tight.  “A baby.”
“You’re not mad?” she choked out.
“Mad?”  He was taken aback.  “Stunned…Shocked…Scared – yes.  But not mad.  This is just happening a little sooner than I expected.”
“Sooner than you expected?”  Now it was her turn to be stunned.  That louse!  Was that his plan all the time – to marry me and get me pregnant?  That no-good, conniving… wonderful… incredible louse!
“Laura.”  He backed away from her but still stayed on his knees.  “I wish I had…Oh, wait.”  He unfastened the clasp from his ID bracelet and held it out to her.  “I know this isn’t exactly a ring, but…Will you marry me?  For real this time?”
Tears welled up in her eyes again and spilled over uncontrollably.  “No.”
“No?”  He jumped to his feet.
“No.  I won’t marry you just because I’m pregnant.”
“Laura, I didn’t – “
“Look, I don’t even know if I am for sure.  I bought a home pregnancy test today, but I haven’t done it yet.”  Then the words flew out of her mouth as if the more she talked the better things would be.  “There are so many variables involved.  I started taking the pill mid way through my cycle, but I started at the beginning of the wheel which I don’t think I was supposed to do.  And it’s only been one day since I’ve been on the placebo…”  Remington was trying to follow her, he really was.  “…Plus, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately with the Stephens case and all those late night stakeouts.  My diet has been sorely lacking as of late despite your wonderful gourmet creations.  And heaven knows my cycle hasn’t exactly been – “
“Laura, Laura, Laura.  Slow down a minute.”  She stopped and took a much needed deep breath.  “Forget all that.  I’ll ask again.”  He took her left hand in his and presented his bracelet in the other.  “Laura Holt…Will you marry me?  Not because of immigration or because you might be pregnant…Marry me because we can’t live without each other and we want to grow old together.  Marry me because…”  He swallowed hard.  “…Marry me because we love each other.”
“What?” she asked almost inaudibly.  She couldn’t have heard him right, could she?  Her heart began to pound in her ears.  Breathe, Laura…In and out…In and out…
He looked into her eyes until his gaze penetrated to her very soul.  “I love you, Laura Holt.  Always have, always will.”  He felt naked and exposed and incredibly vulnerable.  In all of his years, he had never – ever – said those three words to anyone.  He had been too afraid to think it let alone say it.  And yet, for the first time, he wasn’t afraid anymore.
Her tears started all over again, only this time they were tears of joy.  “I love you too, Remington.  Yes…Yes…Of course I’ll marry you.”
He quickly clasped his bracelet to her wrist.  Their bodies seemed to meld into one as they held each other closely and kissed for what seemed like an eternity.  When they finally came up for air, Remington broke the silence.  “Now, we have a few things to take care of, eh?  First, let’s get the ball rolling on the Dekker’s penthouse.”
“What?  I thought you said we couldn’t afford it?”
“Really, Laura.  You know we can.”  It was truth time.  “I was worried about the whole three bedroom thing.  I rather enjoy having you share my bed – our bed.  I’ve grown accustomed to holding you in my arms until we fall asleep after a night of lovemaking.  I love waking up with you in the morning and seeing you lying beside me.  I love the scent of your hair on the pillowcases.”  Remington sighed and tugged on his ear.  “With the extra bedroom, I was afraid you’d want to sleep in your own bed in your own room.”
“Not a chance.”
“Really?” he asked with the most perfectly lopsided grin.
“Really,” she stated emphatically, smiling and revealing her irresistible dimple.  “Now, what else?”
“Beg your pardon?”
“You said there were a few things we needed to take care of.”
“Ah, yes.”  Remington cleared his throat.  “After we take care of the penthouse, what say you and I go shopping for a real engagement ring, eh?”
“Oh, no!  You don’t think I’m gonna give your bracelet back for some stupid engagement ring, do you?  No way.  This is mine now and I’m not giving it back.  Uh-uh.  We can shop for new wedding bands, but that’s all.”  He cradled her head in his hands and they kissed again with unrestrained passion.
Laura and Remington knew that whatever lay ahead for them wouldn’t be easy.  Then again, nothing with them was ever easy.  But whatever it was, they would handle it together.
“Come on, Laura.”  He grabbed her hand and led her back inside.  “Let’s go see if we’re pregnant…”
The End