** Tony Bennett was crooning in the background as Laura and Remington enjoyed a slow dance at the Top of the Mark. It wasn't all pleasure, unfortunately. They were waiting for Rita del Rio to show up. Laura was a little fidgety knowing that some officers in the San Francisco Police Department were trying to kill them.
"Relax. Relax," Remington said in a quiet voice.
"We can't very well spend the rest of our lives hiding in the middle of the dance floor," she stated.
"We're not hiding. We're waiting."
"Rita del Rio isn't going to show," Laura concluded. "Maybe we should go back to the bar and try and find her."
"Well, if we bump into Inspector, uh, Barney Neal, what do you suggest we do. . . call the cops?"
"Well, providing those other gentlemen are also members of San Francisco's finest," Laura questioned, "Why do the police want to see us dead?"
"Don't happen to have any unpaid parking tickets, do you?" he quipped.
She laughed. "I can see you're taking this with your usual blend of caution and concern."
"If these are to be our last days, I mean, at least we're spending them in elegant splendor, don't you think?"
"Oh, the hell with our killer cops," she mused. "Let's enjoy the night and the music."
"Now you see the wisdom of my strategy."
Laura stopped dancing. "You know, that is one of the problems with us. It came to me on one lonely night. It wasn't exactly the burning bush. . . but still, it got my attention. You're, uh - You're one of the things that I have to guard against. The part of me that I can't ever allow myself to be - reckless. . . indulgent. . . frivolous. . ."
"Seductive at any rate," she answered honestly. "And very dangerous."
"I wish you'd stopped after seductive."
Laura and Remington began to dance again. They exchanged sweet, short kisses until Laura slid her arm around his neck and lengthened the kiss. **
Reckless. Indulgent. Frivolous. Such a stark contrast to the woman Laura had become. She hadn't always been this way. In fact, those three words described her quite well when she was younger. But when her father left, part of those qualities disappeared with him. And then when Wilson abandoned her, well. . .
Reckless. Indulgent. Frivolous. Such an intoxicating brew. . . Especially when wrapped up in such an attractive package as Mr. Steele. Was it really so wrong? She was beginning to have her doubts. Here she was in the middle of the dance floor being held gently in the strong arms of the most dangerous, intriguing, seductive man she had ever known. She was here because he wanted to spend a little time alone with her - a few days of uninterrupted bliss. And yet, here they were. . . Embroiled in another crazy case that seemed to conspire to keep them apart. Only now, she was thinking less and less about the case and more about him. If it were to be their last days, she couldn't think of a better way to spend them. Well, maybe she could. . .
They continued dancing. Each kiss deepened and became more intense as Laura began to let her guard down. She pressed her body close to his and put her other hand up around his neck.
She felt good in his arms. She *always* felt good in his arms. Remington wanted to hold her and kiss her like this forever. . . among other things. His body was quickly becoming rigid. He expected her to pull away like she always did. . . but she didn't. Why didn't she pull away? A slight moan escaped her lips as she slid her hand up his neck and wove her fingers in his thick hair. They savored the moment until Remington finally pulled his lips from hers.
He was confused. Just minutes ago, she told him she had to guard against him. Now she was acting like. . . this. But, then again, Laura *always* confused him. First she was afraid of getting in too deep. Then she was afraid of feeling too much too soon. She told him she worried about losing herself in him. And then she was concerned he'd cut a fast tango through her life. Sometimes he felt like he needed a score card to keep track of where they were in this strange but wonderful relationship of theirs. What was it about this woman that made him want to stay? Why didn't he give up long ago? And why hadn't she pulled away? Why?
Her words said 'no'. . . but her kiss and her hands said 'yes, yes, yes'. Must she always touch him that way when he was so near death? She might shut him down at any moment, but he wasn't going to give up that easily. . . Not without a fight.
"Ah, Laura. . . " he ventured, not exactly sure of himself. He cleared his throat and did his best to muster up the confidence he needed to ask her the next question. He was never this insecure or uncertain of himself around women. . . Never. . . Except when it came to the radiant slip of a lass swaying back and forth in his arms.
"Yes, Mr. Steele?"
Her body was still pressed taut against his and she continued to fiddle with his hair. Definitely a good sign.
"What say you and I go back to your room and continue this in a more intimate setting, eh?"
"But Mr. Steele. . . What about Rita del Rio?"
"Let her get her own room."
Maybe it was the fact that they might not get out of this alive. Maybe it was the fact that they were in the most romantic city in the country. Or maybe - just maybe - it was the fact that she wanted to throw caution to the wind and finally make love with him. Whatever the reason, she didn't want to wait any longer. She kissed him ardently.
"Let's go, Mr. Steele."
Always the gentleman, he motioned for her to take the lead. He placed his hand at the small of her back and walked a half-step behind. Remington's mind was beginning to race along with his heart. Could this really be happening? Did she really intend to go back to her room and spend the night with him? Was he misinterpreting her signals? She was surely acting like tonight was the night. . . But this was Laura. He could never be sure about anything when it came to her.
Life was certainly never boring since he decided to take on the challenge that was Laura Holt. Stepping into her scenario, her creation, her life, was by far the craziest, most ingenious thing he had ever done.
She grabbed her purse from the table as the waiter brought their first course of mozzarella marinara. Laura looked questioningly at Remington. He smirked and then looked at the waiter.
"Keep it hot." He offered Laura his arm. "Shall we, Miss Holt?" he asked, hoping for the best.
She placed her hand in the crook of his elbow. "Most definitely, Mr. Steele."
Hmmm. . . Maybe this *was* the night. His confidence was building. They walked in silence to the elevator where two other couples were waiting.
**What's taking so long,** she thought, fraught with anticipation.
**Bloody hell, this elevator's taking forever. Maybe we should take the stairs,** he thought. **After all. . . Desperate times call for desperate measures.**
"Finally," she said aloud.
The other couples entered before Remington motioned for Laura to enter.
Upon hearing that sound, he pulled her back out of the elevator, practically yanking her off her feet.
"We'll catch the next one. OK. . . Bye-bye," he stated and gave a wave to the other people.
"What did you - "
The group exited from the other elevator.
"Sorry, Laura. I thought this one might be more. . . private," he said, taking her arm and leading her into the empty lift.
"I like your thinking, Mr. Steele," she purred as he pressed the button for the fourth floor.
He smiled. **Yes. . . Tonight *is* the night,** he thought.
They stood side-by-side, each looking up at the numbers above the door. They shot a sideways glance at one another, each filled with a fiery anticipation. He hit the "Close Door" button repeatedly, but to no avail. Finally, the doors started to slowly close.
"Hold the elevator!" a man called out, scurrying towards them with his wife.
"Sorry, we're all full," Remington answered, letting the doors close.
Alone at last. Laura wasted no time. **Damn the torpedoes,** she thought. She launched herself at Remington. He staggered back a bit before he caught his balance. She kissed him hard, pressing her body as close as she could to his. She had certainly caught him off guard, but who was he to complain? Their tongues met in a passionate duel as he held her close.
The fourth floor at last. She placed her hand around his arm as he dabbed her lipstick off his lips with his handkerchief.
When they arrived at her room, Laura positioned herself with her back against the door and her front against Remington. She handed him the key and kissed him deeply. He fumbled with the lock for a few seconds before opening the door. Laura playfully grabbed him by the tie and pulled him into her room. He closed the door with his foot behind him before taking her in his arms and holding her tight.
After a kiss she felt all the way down to her toes, Laura pulled back. She stepped out of her heels and walked over to the bed. Remington kicked his shoes off, threw his suit coat on the chair and loosened his tie. They locked eyes.
"Teach me how to be reckless and indulgent, Mr. Steele."
"My pleasure, Miss Holt," he said, moving closer to her and removing his tie. Then he cringed and hesitated. "Laura, I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?" she questioned with a hint of desperation in her voice.
As reckless and indulgent as he wanted to be with Laura, he didn't want any little Lauras or Remingtons running around. . . Not yet, anyway.
"I need to get some. . . you know," he said, gesturing towards his nether region.
"It's all taken care of, Mr. Steele."
He flashed her a brilliant smile before capturing her lips with his. She pulled his shirt from his pants, unfastened his buttons and pulled it off. He popped open the button at the back of her dress and lightly ran his hands up and down her spine. She relieved him of his pants as quickly as she could. He toed his socks off and kicked everything off to the side. She ran her fingers through his chest hair and kissed him zealously. He trailed his hands down her slim body. . . over her hips. . . down her thighs. . . past her knees. . .pausing briefly to lightly caress her calves before he finally got to her hem line. He reached under and slipped the dress over her head, revealing a rose-colored satin and lace teddy that barely covered the areas he most wanted to see. She grabbed the elastic waist band of his white cotton briefs and yanked them down forcefully.
"Ah! Laura! Stop!" he cried out.
She looked down. "Oh. . . sorry," she said, blushing.
This time, she made sure to go up and over before pulling his underwear down. He reached over and pulled back the bedspread and linens. She crawled into bed and pulled the white sheet up around her.
Laura looked at Remington and thought he looked like an Irish god standing there with his thick, black hair. . . those deep pools of azure blue eyes she always wanted to drown in. . . his magnificently crooked smile. . . his broad, hairy chest. . . that flat, hard stomach. . . his - oh, my. . . an Irish god, indeed!
Remington pulled back the sheet to join her.
"Wait," she said, much to his chagrin. "Did you put out the "Do Not Disturb" sign?"
"Ah, Laura. . . I'm kind of naked here."
"That's OK. . . Just hide behind the door and stick your arm out."
"Laura," he pleaded.
"You don't want us to be interrupted, do you?"
Part of Laura really *was* concerned that someone would come knocking at an inopportune moment. But the other part of her just wanted to see what his tush looked like.
"OK. . . OK. . . ," he conceded. Remington turned and did what she requested.
Oh. . . My. . . God!!! Even his tightest jeans didn't do it justice! She grinned in spite of herself.
"There you go. Yeah," he said, rubbing his hands together. "Now. . . Where were we?" He lifted up the sheet again.
"Don't forget to disconnect the phone."
He shot her a look.
"You don't want Mildred to call, do you?"
"Right. OK," he agreed and disengaged the receiver.
"What about - "
"OK. . . Never mind," she said, pulling the linen back.
Remington crawled in next to her and wasted no time showering her with burning kisses. He slipped the strap of her teddy down over her shoulder and ran his hand over the satin and lace covered curves of her body.
"This is *so* much better than waiting for Rita what's-her-name," she declared breathlessly.
His hand stopped its exploration and his kisses became slow and labored.
Sensing that something was amiss, she questioned, "What. . . What's wrong?"
He sighed. "I can't do this."
"What do you mean, you can't do this?" She lifted the covers and peered down. "It sure looks to me like you can do this!"
"'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'," he stated.
Laura was more than a little upset. "Look, Mr. Steele, I'm well aware of your propensity for leggy, buxom blondes. . . But if you think I'm gonna - "
"Really, Laura. . . The only woman I'm interested in these days is a petite brunette with beautiful brown eyes and freckles. . . " He lifted the covers and took a peek. ". . . apparently all over," he said lasciviously. "Mmm. . . yes." He shook his head and snapped back to the issue at hand. "'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'. Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell. 20th Century Fox. 1953."
"What does that have to do with anything?" she inquired.
"I don't know. . . I'm not exactly thinking straight right now, Laura. But when you said Rita what's-her-name, I thought of the beautiful but rather ditzy Marilyn Monroe."
"Look," she seethed, "If you're gonna interrupt. . ." she made a back and forth gesture with her hand. ". . . *this* with a movie reference, at least try to make it relevant to the case - like. . . like. . . like. . ." She snapped her fingers. "'Some Like It Hot'. Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe. United Artists. 1959."
"Laura, in that movie, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis were running from the mob, not from crooked cops."
"A minor technicality. Besides, you didn't come up with anything better."
"Yes, well I think we owe it to Miss del Rio to be there if she *does* show up, eh? She and Fred Melneck - sorry. . . Seymour Glass - seem to be in real trouble and need our assistance. Let's just help them and get it over with. Then when this case is finished and we've eaten something, we can continue where we left off." He kissed her softly. "What do you say, Laura?"
She sighed in defeat. "That's what I love about you, Mr. Steele. . . Always willing to help a damsel in distress." She pulled her strap back up over her shoulder. "You're right. . . Let's go."
Deflated by yet another missed opportunity, Laura and Remington got dressed slowly and returned to the dance floor at the Top of the Mark. A short, bittersweet dance later, Laura spotted Rita del Rio. . .
AN:(And the story continues as originally written by Michael Gleason. For those not yet satisfied by that addition, read on. Part Two takes place in the hotel room as they're getting ready to leave. . .)
** There was a knock at the door. Laura opened it for the bellhop. "Come in."
"Here you go, my good man. Take it away," Remington said, motioning towards his luggage. "Thank you very much indeed. Wallet. . . Keys. . . That's what I need." He grabbed his keys which were lying on the bed. "There you go. Right. OK."
He was hesitant to go given what had transpired between him and Laura the other night. He sat down on the bed. "You know, it's going to be a pity to leave this place after everything has finally calmed down."
"Well, it's not your fault the entire hotel was booked for a chiropractors' convention," Laura agreed. "Still. . . it's the thought that counts." **
"Mmm. . ." he agreed reflectively. "What's that old expression? So close. . ."
"But yet so far," she finished and sighed.
"Shall we, Miss Holt?" he asked, offering his arm.
"We shall," she replied with a heavy heart.
They joined the bellhop who was waiting patiently in the hallway.
"After you, old chap," Remington told him.
The ride down in the elevator was excruciatingly long. Remington and Laura stared at each other, both longing for a repeat of what happened in this very lift not too long ago.
Why couldn't things work out for them? Why were they always interrupted? Why was everything so. . . difficult? They both wanted each other - that much was evident. But somehow, they were always derailed at the crucial point.
"Here we are," the bellhop announced.
"Yes, here we are," Laura answered halfheartedly.
A group of middle aged men deep in conversation were waiting to get on the elevator. Laura and Remington couldn't help but overhear.
". . . It would have been a real blast if his wife had let him come. Too bad she found out about our last convention. . ."
Remington raised his eyebrow. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Miss Holt?"
"It's worth a shot, Mr. Steele."
They told the bellhop to wait for them and hurried to the reception desk.
"Ah, checking out, Mr. Steele? Was everything to your satisfaction?"
"For the most part, yes." Remington pulled his wallet from his pocket. "Say, you wouldn't have had any cancellations, would you?" he asked, flashing his million dollar smile and sliding a $50 bill towards the man.
"I don't think so," he answered, taking the bill and putting it in his pocket. "But let me double-check." With a few clicks of the computer, it was revealed that there indeed had been a cancellation.
"We'll take it," Laura and Remington said in unison.
The man typed in all the information, swiped the agency's credit card and handed Remington the key.
"Here you go, sir. Room 317. . ." He smiled at the two of them. As they turned to leave, the man grabbed Remington's arm and waited until Laura was out of earshot. "So much for 'separate but equal'," he quipped, raising his eyebrows.
By the time the bellhop had dropped off their luggage and received a more than generous tip, it was obvious that Laura was losing her nerve.
Remington took off his suit coat and threw it on the chair. Laura jumped.
"What are you doing?" she asked.
Sensing her fear, he reassured her.
"Relax," he said, enveloping her in his arms. "We don't have to do anything you don't want to, OK?"
He kissed her tenderly on the forehead. She nodded.
**Damn,** she thought. **What's wrong with me?**
"Why don't we change into something more comfortable and then hop on a cable car and make our way to Fisherman's Wharf, eh?"
"Sounds delightful," she answered, relieved that he wasn't going to push the issue.
"You change first. I'll call Mildred and let her know our plans have changed."
Laura kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks," she said and smiled warmly at him.
Remington and Laura spent a wonderful afternoon on the wharf doing touristy things - mostly shopping and eating. They even managed to steal a few kisses here and there in between buying souvenirs for Frances' kids and Mildred. They laughed often and thoroughly enjoyed each other's company. He even bought her some cotton candy. Simply put. . . It was the perfect afternoon.
Laura squeezed his arm. "Come on, Mr. Steele. Let's go back to the hotel."
It was about 6 o'clock now, but neither one of them was remotely hungry. . . for food, at least. Laura disappeared into the bathroom and came out a few minutes later in her blue satin and lace nightgown - the one she had worn at the Devil's Playground. Funny. . . this was only the second time she had worn it.
Remington's jaw dropped and he found it very difficult to breathe.
"Laura, you ah - wow. . . um. . ." It seemed like forever before he was finally able to put together a coherent sentence. "Laura. . . You look beautiful."
She went over to the bed, turned it down and placed the pillows against the headboard. Normally, he would have helped her. But right now, he couldn't move.
She sat down on the edge of the bed and said, "Why don't you go change."
As stunned as he was, he still managed to remember to be romantic.
"In a minute." He picked up the phone and made a quick call. "Ah, yes. Room service? This is Remington Steele in room. . . ah. . . um. . . room. . ."
"317," Laura reminded.
"Thank you. . . Room 317. I need a bowl of fresh strawberries and whipped cream, and a bottle of Dom Perignon. . ."
"'76 if they have it," Laura added.
Remington grinned. ". . . '76 if you have it. . . . . . Fifteen minutes?" He looked at Laura. "There's a $50 tip if you get it here in five. . . . . . Wonderful. Yes. Bye."
He walked over to Laura and placed a deliciously soft kiss on her lips before disappearing into the bathroom with his suitcase.
A mere four minutes later, there was a knock at the door. "Room service."
Remington emerged from the bathroom wearing a pair of dark blue silk pajama bottoms and a dark blue and maroon robe.
Laura was now sitting in bed against the headboard with the sheet covering her up to her waist. Not really quite sure what to do or where to hide, she pulled the linen up and tucked it underneath her arms nervously.
Remington opened the door. A young gentleman wheeled a cart into the room, lit the two accompanying candles for ambiance and offered to open the bottle of Dom Perignon for them. Remington declined his kind offer, tucked a $50 bill into the employee's outer breast pocket and ushered him out of the room. Never once did the fellow turn an eye towards Laura. He was obviously a well-trained professional, much to Laura's relief. . . And Remington's, too. The last thing he wanted was for Laura to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable.
Before he closed the door, Remington remembered to put the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the knob. He then walked over to the phone and disconnected it. Laura followed his every move knowing that they were only moments away from finally being together. He turned off the lights. The warm glow of the candlelight illuminated the room. He popped the cork, filled two fluted glasses, handed one to Laura and sat down on the edge of the bed.
"What should we drink to?" she asked.
He gazed deeply into her eyes with a look of love and desire. "To you," he said sincerely.
She smiled. "To us," she countered.
"To us," he agreed.
They both took a sip of the sweet nectar of the gods. . . their eyes never straying from each other's gaze.
"Why don't you take your robe off and join me?"
He was more than happy to oblige.
"Strawberry?" he asked.
He dipped a luscious red berry in the whipped cream and fed it to her. She licked his fingers clean when she was done.
"Mmmm. . . That was delicious," she purred. "Would you like one, Mr. Steele?"
He took the crystal glass from her hand and placed it next to his on the night stand. He tangled his fingers in her hair and pulled her in for a kiss. She tasted sweet.
"Mmmm. . ." he groaned.
She reached out and caressed his cheek and jaw line before resting her hand over his heart. Slowly and ever so gingerly, he moved his hand down her neck, over her shoulder and down her silk-covered side. He paused at her hip, giving her a gentle squeeze before slowly pulling her gown up. She raised her arms up as he pulled it over her head. His eyes roamed leisurely over her body, committing every last inch of her to memory. She reached down and stripped him of his pajama bottoms.
They laid down side-by-side facing one another, locked in each others arms. Both savored the sweet torture of full skin-on-skin contact. . . their warm bodies pressed tightly together. . . their hearts beating in unison. They stared into each others eyes, both conveying what neither could say.
Remington lightly swept aside a stray strand of hair that had fallen over her eye and caressed her face. He traced the outline of her lips with his fingertips before separating them ever so slightly. He kissed her top lip first. . . Then her bottom lip. . . And then explored her mouth more thoroughly with his tongue.
Laura reveled in his touch as his hand roamed leisurely over her bare flesh. She dug her fingertips into his strong shoulders demonstrating her enjoyment and desire. Her leg rubbed up and down against his as he groaned his pleasure.
After a long while, Remington gently rolled Laura over onto her back and positioned himself above her. His legs parted hers, though he didn't really need to as she did so willingly. He placed warm, moist kisses on her abdomen and gradually worked his way up to her breasts where he lingered, much to her pleasure and delight. She began to subtly undulate beneath him. He rocked his hips gently against her, matching her rhythm.
"Remington," she whispered.
He immediately stopped his ministrations and raised his head to look at her. His eyes were wide, hoping he had heard what he thought he had. He searched her eyes. Laura laced her fingers in his hair and smiled.
"Remington," she whispered again.
That word - his name - spoken by the woman he loved caused a flood of emotions he never encountered before. He had to have her. He had to prove his feelings and commitment to her. And he had to do it now.
He kissed her softly and took one last, long look at her before the mysteries of her flesh would finally be revealed. She was so beautiful lying there in the flickering candlelight with her hair sprawled out over the pillow.
"Laura," he whispered before his tongue met hers and he thrust himself into her eager body.
They moved together in an unhurried and sumptuous rhythm. Their bodies fit together perfectly - like two pieces of a puzzle.
Remington was always a firm believer in ladies first, but he couldn't last much longer if they continued this way. She felt amazing. He rolled over, pulling Laura on top of him, their bodies still entwined. He kissed her fervently before cradling her face in his hands and staring into her eyes.
"Sit up, Laura," he whispered.
She averted her eyes, shook her head slightly and hugged him tighter. She wasn't sure she was ready for this. Not yet.
"Laura. . . Look at me." His voice was deep and soft. "Please, Love."
Nervously, her brown eyes met his blue eyes.
"I want to see you. Please, Laura."
He caressed her face and gazed into her eyes lovingly. She started to tremble slightly.
"It's OK, Love. I promise. . . Please."
Usually Laura loved this position. . . A position of power. . . of dominance. She always felt so. . . in control this way. So why did she feel so out of control with him? Working up all the courage she could, she sat up on top of him. He stroked her thighs tenderly as he took in her beauty.
"So beautiful," he managed to whisper, though he was barely able to breathe.
Remington grasped her hips and gently rocked her until she let go of her inhibitions and moved on her own. Laura closed her eyes in bliss. **Don't think. Don't analyze. Think about it tomorrow,** she told herself. His hands caressed and teased her mercilessly. . . squeezing here. . . rubbing there. God, he was good. He made her feel incredible. Did she make him feel the same way? Was she as good as his many buxom blondes? **Don't think, Laura Don't think,** she reminded herself.
"Laura, open your eyes. . . Watch," he implored softly.
She closed her eyes tighter and kept rocking. . . harder. . . and faster. Only when she heard him groan her name did she finally open her eyes to look at him. At that moment, all her fears dissipated. She smiled as she studied his handsome features. He *definitely* was enjoying himself.
Before long, he sat up, too, so that they were face-to-face, holding each other close. They became lost in each others eyes. They swayed together until Laura's breathing became audible and uneven.
Sensing she was close, Remington leaned himself over her until she was on her back once again. He soon brought her to the point of ecstasy before letting himself go, too. Both finished with an intensity neither had experienced before.
After they caught their breath, Remington took Laura's hand in his. He kissed it tenderly and placed it over his heart. Tomorrow they would be returning to Los Angeles, filling Mildred in on all the details of the case and meeting with potential new clients. But tonight. . . Tonight they would spend safe and secure in the warm embrace of the one they loved.