"Come on, Laura," he coaxed, taking her by the hands and pulling her slowly into the hotel room. "You know you want to."
"No," she replied, not too convincingly. "I, I, I. . . I have to get home."
"Why? No one has to know."
"Sure you can," he whispered as his lips caressed the side of her neck and made their way down to her clavicle.
Her breathing became audible as she tried to resist his advances. "No, I don't want to jinx it."
"Come on, babe. . . Give in," he implored.
Damn. Why did he have to call her 'babe'? She couldn't resist it when he called her that. . . and he knew she knew he knew it. He wasn't playing fair.
"Just one last time before midnight." His lips claimed hers as he tugged her blouse free from her pants. "You want me just as much as I want you." He nimbly started unbuttoning her blouse. "I know how to touch you. . . how to excite you. . . " He slowly pushed her blouse off her shoulders and it fell to the floor. ". . . how to please you."
He put his hands on her hips and pulled her tight against his body. Her lips parted as his tongue found hers, teasing and coaxing until her tongue was in his mouth and she became the aggressor. She tangled her fingers in his thick, luxurious hair and inadvertently moaned in delight. He forcefully rocked her hips back and forth across him. Clearly, he was aroused. . . and not just with curiosity. She felt a burning in her loins as a wave of desire rippled through her body.
She broke their kiss, panting heavily and quietly pleaded, "Please. . . We can't."
"Sure we can," he whispered in her ear. He backed up, Laura still solidly against him, until the back of his legs hit the king-sized bed. "Let me pleasure you, Laura. Let me give you what you need. . . what you crave. Come on, Love." His hands moved up her back. He skillfully unclasped her bra and relieved her of it immediately as his hands touched and caressed her masterfully. "Let me fulfill your every desire. . . every whim. . . every fantasy. . . "
That was it. She pushed him backwards onto the bed, kneeled over him and straddled his hips.
"Shut up and put out, Mr. Steele."
Remington looked at the time. 11:57pm. She was gone. He picked up the phone and dialed. "Hi, mate. Steele here. Laura kicked me out. . . "
The lock to Mr. and Mrs. Steele's flat clicked open. Child's play. The agile figure dressed in all black slipped into the bedroom quietly as Laura lay silently, clutching her husband's pillow close to her. With the skill of a seasoned thief, he crept over to Remington's dresser and removed a blue velvet box from the drawer. With nary a sound, he catted back towards the bedroom door to make his escape.
"Night, Monroe," she groggily called out.
"Goodnight, Laura. And try to get some sleep. After all, you're getting married this afternoon."
Back in his apartment, Monroe poured himself a most excellent cognac and phoned the hotel. "It's done, Mick. . .Got it right here, mate. . .Of course I'll bring it. . ." He grinned widely. "You wound me, my friend - those days are over for me. I'm a legitimate businessman now. . .OK. . .Get some sleep, Mick. . . .Goodnight."
Monroe opened the box, curious to know exactly what Mick had bought Laura for their wedding gift. His eyes widened when he saw the Royal Lavulite. It was emerald cut and set in white gold on a diamond-cut rope chain. It was exquisite. Engraved on the back was simply "Mr. & Mrs. Steele 10/22/87".
"Poor boy," Monroe quipped aloud. "He's smitten. . . Hopelessly and irrevocably smitten."
Laura sat in bed, leaning against the headboard with the receiver to her ear and a grin plastered on her face. "Only a few more hours and we'll be Mr. and Mrs. Steele - again - only for real this time. . . . . . No, I can't. . . . . . Not again! I have to get ready. . . . . . You don't want me to be late, do you?. . . . . . You're incorrigible, Mr. Steele. . . . . . OK. . . . . . " She was tempted to say those three words they had yet to profess to each other, but right now it didn't seem appropriate. Instead she simply ended with, "Bye, Mr. Steele. See you soon."
She hung up the phone and sighed. In less than two hours, she would be meeting her mother and Frances at McCullum Park and getting ready to become Mrs. Remington Steele. . . Again. . . For real this time. Thank God Mildred would be there, too, to put a buffer between them.
Laura padded over to the refrigerator and opened the door. There on a silver serving tray was a delectable Danish pastry, fresh fruit salad, a single red rose and a small envelope with "Mrs. Steele" written on it. Laura smiled, placed the tray on the countertop and read the enclosed note.
** I'd rather be serving this to you in bed. **
She shook her head and sighed. Typical. The phone rang again. "Hello?. . . . . . Thank you for the lovely breakfast, Mr. Steele. . . . . . Stop!. . . . . . No, I don't have time!. . . . . . You'll just have to wait. . . . . . Has anyone ever told you that you're relentless?. . . " She laughed. "Yes, I guess that is good - but not today!. . . . . . NO!!!. . . . . . I'm hanging up now." Oh, that man! He could be so exasperating at times.
Laura threw her hands up in the air. "Oh, for Pete's sake!" She picked up the receiver and stated emphatically, "For the last time - I will not have phone sex with you again this morning!"
"Geez, Laura. I know this is the 80s, but I never thought you'd be into the girl-on-girl stuff. But, hey, whatever blows your skirt up!"
"Oh God, Bernice! I thought you were Mr. Steele!" Laura stifled a laugh and shook her head in embarrassment. At least it was Bernice and not her mother. She shuddered at the thought.
"Mr. Steele? You still call him *Mr. Steele*?!"
"Old habits die hard, I guess."
"Evidently, so does abstinence!" They laughed. "I can't believe you made him wait five years to, ah. . . scratch your itch! His hand must've gotten really tired."
"Bernice!!!" she cried in shock.
"Sorry, Laura, but it's me you're talking to, remember?"
"Yeah, I remember. But believe me, we've made up for lost time," she snickered. "I've missed you, Bernice."
"Me, too. I'll see you in a little while."
"Laura, in case I haven't said it. . . I'm really happy for you two."
"Thanks, Bernice. So am I."
"Ready to go, Mick?"
"Ah, let's see. . . Got my tux, the rings. . . You have the necklace?"
"Right here," Monroe answered, patting his breast pocket.
"Did you confirm our reservations?"
"You're all ready to go. My associate will take you and your lovely bride in his private jet to San Francisco. A limo will whisk you away to The Mark Hopkins Hotel where the Honeymoon Suite will be prepared just as you asked."
"Rose petals on the bed?"
"Bath salts and massage oil?"
"A magnum of champagne?"
"Right next to the bed, my friend, chilled to perfection."
"Thanks, mate." Remington rubbed his hands together and flashed his pearly whites. "Come on, Monroe. I'm getting married!"
"Oh, no. Who could that be?" Laura raced out of the bedroom to the door. "Fred?! Am I *that* late?" In all the years Fred had worked for them, he *never* came to get them. He always waited patiently by the limo, no matter how late they were.
"No, Mrs. Steele. Just thought you could use a hand on your wedding day."
"Thank you, Fred. That's awfully kind of you."
Together, the two of them carried down a plethora of suitcases, garment bags and a gift bag and placed them in the limo.
"You *will* be joining us for the wedding and reception, won't you, Fred?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, Mrs. Steele. . . Wouldn't miss it for the world."
"Just let me do it, Mick."
Remington fumed as he looked into the mirror in the Groom's Room at McCullum Park Pavilion. "I can tie my own bow tie, Monroe. Been doing it for years. Daniel taught me when I was just a lad. Told me that all gentlemen must learn to tie a proper tie. He taught me the Windsor knot, the Double Windsor, the Half Windsor, the Four-In-The-Hand knot and the Shelby knot - right down to the dimple. . . I can tie a perfect bow tie with my eyes closed."
"So what's the problem?"
Remington undid the less-than-perfect knot for the seventh time. "Fine," he conceded. "You do it."
Monroe skillfully fixed it just so. "He'd be proud of you, you know."
Remington smiled a sad smile. "I hope so."
"I know so, Mick. I know the three of us didn't spend a lot of time together. But when we did, it was apparent how much he cared for you and respected you. He loved you, Mick. That much was obvious. And now - look at you - an up-standing citizen, a pillar of the community and marrying the woman of your dreams. . . Yes, my friend - Daniel would be proud."
They embraced and Remington slapped Monroe on the back. "Thanks, mate."
"Mildred!" Laura cried in exasperation. "Where have you been?!" She threw her arms around her trusted secretary and friend.
"They're driving you bonkers, aren't they, honey?" she whispered in Laura's ear.
"Uh-huh," Laura replied with a forced, frozen smile on her face.
Mildred turned toward Laura's family. "Hi, Mrs. Holt. . . Frances."
"Hello, Mildred," they greeted.
"Sorry I'm late. We took the wrong exit off the freeway and had to backtrack."
"*We*, Mildred?" Laura sounded surprised. "Got a hot date?"
Mildred laughed sarcastically. "More like lukewarm. . . It's George."
"As in 'George Edward Mulch' George?"
"Yeah. He's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he'll do in a pinch."
"Mildred, I had no idea you two were seeing each other," she stated incredulously.
"Well, it's nothing serious, hon. We'll just go out to a movie or something, he'll drive me batty and then we won't see each other for a while. It works out pretty well." Mildred leaned in towards Laura. "But I'll let you know if anything develops. You know," she winked, "gal-to-gal?"
"Gal-to-gal, Mildred," Laura smirked.
"Oh, Laura," Frances gushed looking at the bouquet arrangement of ivory and white roses, stephanotis, salal and seeded eucalyptus. "Your flowers are beautiful!"
"Well, of course, dear. Laura and I picked them out together," Abigail preened. "And they *should* be beautiful. After all, it's not every day that your youngest daughter *finally* gets married - and to one of LA's five most eligible bachelors. . . *Twice* now, isn't it darling?"
Laura smiled an annoyed smile. "Yes, Mother."
"Well, at least you invited your family to *this* one."
"Now, Mother. Laura didn't mean anything by not including us in her first wedding. It was just an impulsive thing. Right, Laura?"
"Yes, Frances," she replied through gritted teeth.
"Besides, you're getting your wedding now, Mother," Frances appeased. ". . . even though it's been a whole five months after the fact," she muttered under her breath.
"Yes, well, I guess I should be thankful," Abigail conceded sarcastically. "But Laura, dear. I just don't understand why you and Remington didn't get married at St. Luke's Church. Frances and Donald have an 'in' there, you know. Father Eric could have presided and you could have walked down that long aisle and we could have invited half of Los Angeles! *And* you could have had it on a Saturday like normal couples. Really, Laura. Who gets married on a Thursday?"
Frances intervened after Laura gave her a pleading look. "You know perfectly well that Laura and Remington wanted a small, intimate wedding."
"Besides, we don't know Father Eric, Mother. We're being married by Pastor Johnson from Wallace's mission."
"I'm sorry, dear. . . Who is Wallace?"
"Wallace was a friend of Mr. Steele's. He ran the - Oh, never mind. It's a long story. But Pastor Johnson is the one we wanted. . . And just so you know, Mr. Steele and I chose today to say our 'I do's' because it's the anniversary of our first kiss."
"Oh," Frances gushed, "that's *so* romantic! Mother, isn't it romantic?"
"Well, yes, I suppose it is," Abigail admitted. "But for heaven's sake, Laura. . . When are you going to stop calling him *Mr. Steele*?"
Poor Laura. Even Detective Jarvis wouldn't interrogate her like this on her wedding day. Mildred had to run interference - and fast. "What's in the bag, hon?" she blurted out, pointing to the package on the dressing table.
"It's a wedding gift for Mr. Steele. We didn't have time to get each other anything last time, so I thought. . . "
"Well, what is it, Laura?" Frances' eyes widened with anticipation.
"I got him a t-shirt and jeans."
Abigail's and Frances' faces fell. "A t-shirt and jeans? *A t-shirt and jeans*?! For a *wedding present*?!" Abigail gasped. "Isn't that rather. . . rather. . . "
". . . Anti-climactic?" Frances finished.
"Not if you've seen the boss in jeans," Mildred mused. Laura and Mildred shared a knowing glance and smiled.
"I need a breath of fresh air," Abigail fumed. "Frances, are you coming?"
"Yes, Mother," she replied, ushering her out of the room.
"Where did I go wrong, Frances?" Abigail inquired in a loud whisper. "Where did I go wrong?" Frances closed the door behind them.
"Mildred, do you have the papers?"
Mildred opened her purse and fished out an envelope. "Right here, Mrs. Steele."
"Great," Laura said excitedly. "You got a pen?"
"Here you go."
Laura glanced through the papers hurriedly. "You're sure everything's in order?"
"Yep. You just sign here," she pointed as Laura wrote her name on the line. ". . . And here. . . " she indicated again. ". . . And then all that's left is to have Mr. Steele sign here and it's a done deal. Remington Steele Investigations will be in both your names. A true partnership."
Laura smiled warmly. "Thanks, Mildred. I can always count on you." She gave Mildred a big hug, sealed the envelope and slipped it in the bag. "I don't know what I'm more excited about, Mildred - seeing the look on Mr. Steele's face when he reads these documents or seeing him in those jeans."
Bernice hopped out of the cab, paid the driver and surveyed the old McCullum Estate. To think that this beautiful landmark, now a tourist attraction and popular wedding location, used to be someone's home. Oh, to have seen this place in its heyday.
She saw him pacing back and forth in front of the grand entryway, no doubt working off some nervous energy. He looked absolutely magnificent in his white dinner jacket with black trousers, cummerbund and bow tie. **Some things never change**, she thought to herself. She scurried up the stairs.
"Ah, Miss Wolf," Remington called out in that tone that always made her want to give him a good swift kick up the backside.
She gave him a look of annoyance. "It *was* 'Fox'", she said, holding up her left hand and wriggling her ring finger. "And it's 'Mrs.' now. You should know - you and Laura were at our wedding, remember?"
"Ah, yes. Your wedding in New York. Completely slipped my mind. You know, when Laura and I came back home, they had pronounced us dead. We were homeless for a while. . . Had to sleep in a porno theater and under a freeway. Yet somehow I couldn't figure out who suffered more - us or the chap who married you."
"Listen, Skeeziks. I'd love nothing more than to stand here all day exchanging unpleasantries with you, but I need to find Laura and try to talk some sense into her."
"Yes, well, good luck with that. By the way, where is your venerable saxophone-playing husband?"
"If you must know, Tom has a gig at Carnegie Hall and couldn't come. Some people actually work for a living, you know. It's a unique concept. . . You should try it sometime."
"Why? Things have worked out well so far. Why break with tradition?"
"Whatever," she spat. "Oh, and just for the record, it's Bernice *Richard* now."
Remington raised his eyebrow, cocked his head and flashed a devilish smile. "Mrs. Di - "
"Don't even think about it, Mr. Steele, or I'll tell Laura how you *really* spent that $1,500 expenditure you claimed was for charity."
His face dropped. "You wouldn't," he challenged.
"Try me," she said triumphantly. She stood a little taller and flipped her hair back with her hand as she turned on her heel to leave.
Remington grabbed her arm, turned her towards him and flashed her a brilliant smile. "I've missed this, Bernice. . . Save a dance for me?"
Truth be told, Bernice missed the sparring just as much as he did, though she'd never let on. She pulled away and smirked. "If you're lucky." With that, she turned and slunk away, slightly exaggerating the wiggle in her hips. It was good to be back.
There was a knock at the door. "Everybody decent in there?"
Laura flung the door open with a huge smile that lit up her whole face. "Murphy!" She threw her arms around his neck and squeezed him tightly.
"Hi ya', partner. Long time, no see."
"Thank you so much for coming - and for agreeing to walk me down the aisle. I've missed you, Murph!"
"I've missed you too, Laura. Look at you," he mused, looking her up and down. "You're more beautiful than ever."
"Aw, thanks, Murph. You're not looking so shabby yourself."
Bernice walked up behind Murphy. "Well, isn't this just like old times?"
"Bernice!" they exclaimed in unison. They all hugged each other, rekindling their friendship as if no time had passed at all.
"Don't look now, but here comes our titular head," Bernice stated sardonically.
Laura gasped. "He can't see me!" She disappeared into the Bride's Room.
Bernice followed. "Sorry, Murphy. I have to change."
"Aw, come on, guys. Don't leave me alone with him," Murphy pleaded. "Please!"
"OK, fine," Laura conceded, wedging a wastepaper basket in place so as to keep the door from closing. "I'll run interference from here."
"Ah, Murphy, old chap," Remington greeted all too happily. "How are you? I see you're still wearing your favorite color - plaid."
"Laura?!" Murphy implored.
"Mr. Steele?!" Laura warned.
"Boys?!" Remington and Murphy turned around to see the very lovely and very pregnant Sherry Michaels - nee Webster - approaching with an adorable two-year-old boy in tow.
"Well, if it isn't Murphy's better half! Good to see you again, Sherry," Remington said genuinely. "Looks like you've been busy, Murphy. Autopsy reports not keeping you warm at night anymore?"
Murphy kissed his wife on the cheek and placed a hand on her belly. "Yes, I *have* been busy, thank you very much," he shot back with a hint of braggadocio in his voice.
"And who is this?"
"This little guy is David," Murphy answered with pride.
Remington squatted down to David's level. "Well, hello there, little sir."
"Hew-whoa," David replied and gave Remington a big bear hug.
Remington's heart soared. He always had a special affinity with children, though he tried to deny it. And at that moment, he couldn't help but think about the children he and Laura might have one day. David was adorable - the spitting image of his dad - sandy brown hair, brownish-greenish eyes, the same strong jaw line.
Remington cleared his throat, stood up and locked eyes with Murphy. "Cute kid. Looks exactly like his mother."
"Well?" Laura asked the ladies as she modeled her gown.
"Oh, Laura," Frances whispered, tears welling up in her eyes.
"You look absolutely radiant," Bernice gushed.
"Is that how you're going to wear your hair?"
"Yes, Mother. I thought you liked my hair down," Laura seethed, trying to maintain control.
"Well, yes, I do. I just thought you might want to wear it up for your wedding day."
Bernice turned her back towards Abigail and whispered out of ear-shot, "Oh my God, she hasn't changed, has she?" Laura simply shook her head.
"Oh, Mother. Laura looks perfect just as she is. I love your hair like that. You look beautiful, Laura."
"Thank you, Frances."
"Oh, of course you look beautiful, darling. Don't mind me. Do what you want."
"How ya' doing, Boss?"
Mr. Steele was back to pacing outside while Murphy and Monroe finished getting ready. "Great, Mildred. Couldn't be better. . . It's a beautiful day, our family and friends are here, and I'm just minutes away from marrying the woman of my dreams. I'm a lucky man, Mildred. . . a lucky man."
"Oh, Boss, I'm so happy for you and Mrs. Steele. You know, I thought I'd have to klonk you two on the head for a while there. The dance you two did around each other was enough to make my head spin."
"Well, yes. But we're together now, eh? And, in a way, I guess we have you to thank for that."
"What do you mean? I thought I was always interrupting you two at the wrong moment." She was clearly embarrassed and very apologetic. "Sorry about that, Chief."
"Well, yes, you did have impeccable timing, Mildred. And it was rather frustrating." He chuckled. "But you've been our staunchest supporter, you've given some great advice and you gave me a good stiff kick in the pants when I needed it. I guess what I'm trying to say, Mildred, is thank you. . . You're the mother I never had. And for that, I'll always be grateful." He hugged her affectionately.
"Oh, Chief," she said, brushing away her tears. Her heart was bursting with all the joy of a mother. "Come on. . . It's time for my kids to get married."
"How ya' doin', partner?"
Laura took some deep, cleansing breaths and smiled from ear to ear. "I'm great, Murph. A little nervous. . . but great."
"You look beautiful, Laura."
"You really think so?"
"I *know* so." They smiled at each other. "It's not too late to change your mind, you know," he said, half seriously.
"You really love him, don't you, Laura?"
"All right then. Let's do this thing." He smiled and offered her his arm. She slipped her hand in the crook of his elbow and gave him a squeeze.
Remington and Monroe took their places by the trellis adorned with white roses. Pastor Johnson indicated for the music to begin. Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" played on the stereo system as Donald Piper accompanied his mother-in-law, Abigail, down the white satin runner. She wore a matronly lavender dress, no doubt a leftover from her disastrous relationship with Dr. Harvey Fennerman, and nodded and smiled at all the guests. Then came Bernice wearing a flattering periwinkle dress. Remington winked at her as she made her way down the aisle and took her place adjacent to him. Laura's nephew, Danny, was the ring bearer and came down the aisle next followed by flower girls Mindy and Laurie Beth, who peppered the runner with rose petals.
There was a brief pause before "The Wedding March" started playing. Family and friends stood as Laura appeared at the end of the aisle. Remington's eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat as he saw his beautiful wife-to-be gazing lovingly at him.
Laura was a sight to behold in her simple yet elegant strapless white gown with a sweetheart neckline, fitted bodice and flowing skirt. As she stood there, Remington thought she had the elegance of Grace Kelly, the sophistication of Ingrid Bergman and the all-American, girl-next-door beauty of Audrey Hepburn all rolled into one. Of course, underneath it all, she also had all the spitfire and sass of Katharine Hepburn, too. . . which only made him love her even more. Slowly, Laura started down the aisle. Their eyes locked, never wavering.
Monroe touched Remington's shoulder. "Breathe, Mick, or you'll pass out."
Remington inhaled deeply and gave Laura the most perfect lopsided smile as she finally made her way to him. Murphy placed Laura's hand in Remington's.
"Make her happy and take good care of her."
Remington looked Murphy squarely in the eye. "I promise," he told him before looking into Laura's beautiful brown eyes. "I promise," he said softly.
Laura's heart soared. Murphy gave her a gentle kiss on the cheek and then joined his wife and son.
"Family and friends. . . We're here today to join in the celebration of the union of Remington and Laura. Marriage is not something to be taken lightly. . . " Pastor Johnson continued his speech, but Laura and Remington were each lost in their own thoughts as they stared into each other's eyes. . . thoughts of the past - both good times and bad. . . and thoughts of the wonderful future that lay ahead of them.
"Amen," the congregants answered, cajoling them out of their reverie.
"Laura and Remington, please join hands." Laura handed her bouquet to Bernice before facing Remington. He reached out and took Laura's hands in his. "It's time to declare your intent."
Laura suddenly became aware of the gravity of what they were doing and it hit her like a ton of bricks. This was it. She was getting married. . . *really* married. Her mind raced as her neuroses kicked into high gear. **Is this really happening? Do I want this kind of commitment? Will marriage keep him from leaving me? Does he even love me?**
"Laura, will you take this man to be your husband. . . to live together in holy matrimony? Will you love him and keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others? Will you comfort him, honor him, be faithful to him and obey him as long as you both shall live?"
Laura looked like a deer caught in the headlights and her breathing became labored. A look of panic crossed Remington's face. He squeezed her hands. "Laura?" he whispered.
Laura turned towards the congregants. "Will you excuse us for a moment?" She grabbed Remington's arm and huddled with Pastor Johnson.
"Maybe she's come to her senses," Murphy quipped. Sherry elbowed him a good one right in the ribs. "Ouch! I'm just kidding."
"Oh, this is just wonderful," Abigail stated incredulously and with exasperation. "Good thing there's not a laundry hamper here because if *she* didn't hide in it, *I would*!"
"Now, Mother. Everything will be all right. Donald, tell her everything will be all right." Donald opened his mouth to speak, but Frances continued. "It'll be all right, Mother." She started hyperventilating and turned back towards Donald. "I need some chocolate." He pulled a box of Malted Milk Balls from his breast pocket to placate her.
"Friends. . . Friends. . . Let us continue," Pastor Johnson smiled as Remington and Laura once again faced each other. They stood at arms length, holding hands, both looking relieved and happy. "Laura. . . will you comfort Remington, honor him and be faithful to him as long as you both shall live? Sorry folks. . . Laura had a hard time with the 'obey' part."
"Ha! You're telling me!" Abigail huffed, rolling her eyes.
Laura had finally stifled the voice of doubt that invaded her mind as she gazed at Remington. She grinned from ear to ear, satisfied now that she could fulfill her promises. "I will."
Pastor Johnson then asked the same of Remington - minus, of course, the part about obeying. He smirked, raised his eyebrow and said, "Sí." Laura smiled and shook her head. "I will," he restated seriously.
"The bride and groom will now recite the vows they've written. . . Remington?"
"What are you doing way over there?" Remington pulled Laura taut against his body, enveloped her in his arms and laced his fingers together at the small of her back. Laura did the same as he swayed her ever so slightly and peered into her soulful brown eyes. "Laura, I - ah -" He swallowed hard. "I had everything I was going to say to you memorized. But now it all seems so trite. I mean. . . how can I possibly put into words what you mean to me? For the past five years, you've given me a home. . . a *real* home. . . *You're* my home, Laura. And now, you're my family - something I've never had but always wanted." His Pacific blue eyes became moist with unshed tears. "I know what you want me to say, but. . . " His voice trailed off. He unclasped his fingers from behind her back, cradled her face in his hands and searched her eyes. "You know, Laura. . . You know."
Tears flowed freely from her eyes as he brushed them away with his thumbs. "I know," she whispered. They both smiled at each other and let out a tension-filled sigh of relief.
Laura, too, decided to scrap what she was planning to say and spoke straight from her heart. "I thought I was prepared for this whole marriage thing. But to tell you the truth. . . it scares me." A look of concern washed over Remington's face. "The only thing that scares me even more, though, is not being with you."
"In too deep?" he asked warily.
"Yeah." She let out a nervous sigh. "When you. . . " she chose her words carefully, ". . . walked into my life five years ago, I never would have imagined it turning out like this. But I'm thankful it did because there's no one in the world I'd rather have by my side for the rest of my life than you, Mr. Steele. You're better than anyone I could have invented."
His smile lit up his eyes, making them appear bluer than ever. "I'm not going anywhere, Laura," he assured. "Looks like you're stuck with me."
"Looks like we're stuck with each other."
"Forever," he added.
"Forever, Mr. Steele."
Their lips met in a gentle, slow kiss. Pastor Johnson cleared his throat, bringing them back to the realization that they were still standing at the altar in front of all their guests. Slightly embarrassed, Laura and Remington took a step back from each other.
"You jumped the gun there a little," Pastor Johnson teased. "Don't worry. We're almost done. . . Danny?"
Danny presented the matching gold wedding bands and Pastor Johnson blessed them.
Remington slipped the ring on Laura's finger. "With this ring, I thee wed."
Laura slid the ring on Mr. Steele's finger as well. "With this ring, I thee wed."
"By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. *Now* you may kiss the bride."
Laura and Remington looked at each other with all the love that was in their hearts and pressed their lips together in a perfect kiss.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. Remington Steele."
In back of the last row of seats and behind the stereo system set-up, Tony Roselli sighed and hung his head in defeat. He turned abruptly to leave and bumped into a scurrying blonde bombshell. "You're too late," he stated.
Mr. and Mrs. Remington Steele greeted all their guests one by one in the reception line. Congratulations and hugs abounded until the last guest approached.
"What is *she* doing here?"
"Well, I didn't invite her, Laura. . . Felicia, to what do we owe this. . . surprise?"
"Relax, Michael. I'm not here to cause any trouble."
"Why *are* you here?" Laura inquired. "And how did you know we were getting married?"
"Well, if you wanted to keep it under wraps, try not to inform the media next time. It's all over the radio. . . And the half-page article in the society section of the LA Tribune didn't help either."
Laura turned to Remington and rolled her eyes. "Mother!"
"Icy calm, Mrs. Steele. . . Icy calm."
"I even heard about it in Cannes, darling. . . They were talking about Inspector Vouvray and the Hapsburg Dagger on the tele. Of course your name came up, Michael, and they said you were getting married. . . Again. Well, I just *had* to come here and offer my condole -" Felicia changed her mind when she saw the look on Remington's face. "- congratulations."
"Thank you. . . I think," Remington replied, slipping his arm around Laura's waist.
"Well, Lisa. . . "
"Laura," he corrected.
"Whatever. . . I guess you've won this round, my dear. But Michael will always have something over *both* of us that will prevent you *or* me from winning the game."
"What's that?" Laura inquired.
"His real name."
"But, Felicia. . . I already know his real name," Laura stated without missing a beat. "It's Steele. . . Remington Steele."
After a wonderful dinner catered by their favorite restaurant, it was time for Laura and Remington's first dance as husband and wife. "Teach Me Tonight" played over the speakers.
"May I have this dance, Mrs. Steele?"
"Of course, Mr. Steele."
They walked hand-in-hand out onto the dance floor to thunderous applause and cat-calls. Remington pulled her close as they danced slowly and sensually, kissing softly as the music filled the air.
Did you say I've got a lot to learn?
Well don't think I'm trying not to learn,
Since this is the perfect spot to learn -
Oooh, teach me tonight!
Starting with the ABC of it,
Right down to the XYZ of it.
Help me solve the mystery of it,
Oh, come on and teach me tonight!
Laura and Remington soon became lost
in their own time, in their own place. Everything and everybody
ceased to exist. It was just the two of them. . . alone. . .
together. . . like it was supposed to be. They danced like lovers,
swaying in perfect synchronization. . . their hearts beating as
Laura looked deep into the adoring eyes of the man who was now her husband. "I love you, Remington."
"I love you, too, Laura. . . I love you, too."
FREEZE FRAME on one last perfect, tender kiss. . . FADE TO BLACK. . . ROLL CREDITS. . .
Author's Notes. . .
At the end of the first segment, instead of having Laura telling Mr. Steele to "shut up and put out", I was going to put "Oh, Tony. . . Take me now, you Italian Stallion!" as a joke, but I didn't want anyone to have a coronary!!!
"Teach Me Tonight"
was written by Gene DePaul and Sammy Cahn in 1953. It has been
recorded literally dozens of times by various artists including
Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Al Jarreau,
Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. My favorite version is by jazz
great Etta James. Her soulful and sexy version is what I envisioned
Laura and Remington dancing to. . . but it wasn't released until
the 1990s. (And knowing what sticklers some of you are for dates,
I decided just to list the song title instead. LOL!) I hope
you check it out.