- What Steele Comes After 1/1
Date: Thursday, January 17, 2008
- "Lori" <LJLanham@gmail.com>
- Just a short one..
I've been reading a lot of fic lately and noticed
that most of the "angsty" morning after stories had
R pushing L away
because of his grief for Daniel. I thought it might go a little
something like this.
- Thanks to Brenda, Lea
and Susan... your input means a lot. And as always
to Michael Gleason et al for letting me borrow the amazing characters.
don't own them, I just love them.
- Permission to archive.
- What Steele Comes After
- He woke with a smile on his face.
Last night was all he always knew it would be---and more. He
reached for her, but found nothing more than a cold pillow. He
opened his eyes. She wasn't there. He sat up and called out to
- There was no reply.
- He pulled on his robe and headed
toward the bathroom. Something stopped him and he went to the
window instead. He saw her and his heart dropped. She was crying.
This wasn't the way this day was supposed to start. This was
their day---their new beginning. It was supposed to be joyous
and full of fun
and love. He was going to wake up with
her in his arms, tell her he loved her and spend the rest of
the day showing her just how much.
- Fate had another plan.
- He woke up alone and she was in
the courtyard crying. As he quickly dressed, he wracked his brain
trying to figure out what it was he'd done to cause her pain.
He grabbed her sweater from the armoire and left the room. He
ran down the stairs and out the front door. He turned up his
collar and stuffed his hands in his pockets to ward of the chill
of the early morning air. He slowed his pace as he neared to
where she was sitting.
- She felt him before she saw him.
- Wiping the tears from her eyes,
she took in a deep breath. She didn't look up or turn to face
him as she spoke.
- "Good morning, Mr. Steele,"
she said softly.
- "Is it?" he asked. "This
isn't exactly how I expected to find you this morning."
- "I know," she said. "I
couldn't sleep. I thought I'd go for a walk, and I ended up here."
- He could see that she was shivering.
He walked up behind her and placed the sweater across her shoulders,
letting his hands linger. She reached up and covered his right
hand with her left.
- "Laura," he said. "What
- "What do you mean?" she
- "You've been crying,"
he said, moving around to sit next to her. He took her hand
in his, lacing their fingers. "Why?"
- She laughed softly, sniffing back
her remaining tears.
- "I don't know," she said,
glancing at her feet. "Today should be one of the happiest
days of my life, but I woke up with this overwhelming melancholy."
- "That's Ireland," he said
with a smile.
- "I guess now we know what comes
- "Do we?" he asked.
- His question was met with silence.
- "You're freezing," he
said. "Let's get you inside."
- She nodded and they stood together.
They walked silently, but hand in hand through the garden and
into the castle. She followed without protest as he went for
the stairs. They reached the master bedroom and he closed the
door behind them. She sat on the bed as he continued on toward
the bathroom. She listened as he turned on the faucet.
- "Let's get you into a hot bath,
eh?" He walked toward her, reaching out for her hand. "You'll
feel better," he promised, turning her toward the bath and
beginning to go the other way.
- "You're not coming?" she
asked, and he was heartened by her genuine surprise.
- "No," he said. "Tempting
as that sounds, you go on. I'll see to breakfast and after your
soak, we'll talk."
- "Okay," she said softly
as the door closed behind him.
- She went over to the armoire and
took out the silk nightgown and matching robe that she'd planned
to be wearing today. She went into the bathroom and turned off
the water. He'd drawn the bath with the lavender bath oil she'd
brought with her. It had been a gift from him on her last birthday.
She smiled at the thought that he was forever trying to get her
to pamper herself, or to let him do it.
- She sank down into the tub and the
hot water felt amazing. As the water enveloped her body, the
fragrance captured her soul. She immediately began to relax
as she leaned back against the tub and closed her eyes. She tried
to clear her mind, but one thought kept coming back. She hadn't
been completely truthful with him. She did know the source of
her sadness. Should she tell him about her dream? After all,
it was only a dream. Why was it affecting her so much? Maybe
it would help to talk about it.
- But what if it wasn't just a dream?
- Stop it, Laura.
- Maybe it was a premonition. After
all, it was Daniel who told her he was only sticking around until
the magic moment
and Daniel knew him better than anyone.
He was his father for goodness sake.
- Stop it, Laura.
- It WAS just a dream. He's still
here. So what if he can't say the words? It's not like you've
said them, either. He's still here. You're the one who snuck
out of bed in the middle of the night. You're the one who's running.
Give him a chance.
- He's still here.
- When Remington returned to the bedroom,
he found her sitting in front of the fire. She was a vision in
soft blue silk. He thought briefly of forgoing the planned conversation
and carrying her back to bed. It was only a brief thought. As
incredible as making love with Laura had been, and as much as
he was looking forward to doing it again, it wouldn't solve their
problem. Hell, he didn't even know what their problem was.
- "Better?" he asked tentatively.
- "Much," she answered semi-truthfully.
- "Mikeline will be bringing
breakfast up shortly," he said. "Mind if I take a quick
- "No," she said, grateful
for a few more minutes respite from the inevitable conversation.
- "Care to join me?" he
asked with a smile and a wiggle of his eyebrows.
- "Not this time, Big Fella,"
she said with a smile of her own.
- As tempting as it was, falling into
bed with him wasn't going to solve anything. But it might give
her another lovely memory for when he was gone
- She sat staring into the fire. She
thought of the past four years and everything that had led them
to this moment in time. She thought about that first magnum of
champagne, those incredible blue eyes, that dazzling smile, and
last night---the way he touched her, the way he made her feel.
No other man had ever come close, no other man ever would.
- She was pulled from her reverie
by a knock at the door. She tightened the belt on her robe and
went to answer it.
- "Good morning, your ladyship."
- "Good morning, Mikeline."
- "His lordship asked me to bring
this up myself," he said as he pushed the breakfast cart
into the room. "And I'm t'see that ya not be disturbed."
- "Thank you," she said.
- "Will that be all m'am?"
- She glanced down at the spread on
the cart. He'd thought of everything.
- "Yes Mikeline," she said.
"That will be all, thank you."
- As Mikeline left the room, she poured
herself a cup of coffee and sat back down next to the fireplace.
- "Ah, I see Mikeline has come
- She looked up when she heard his
voice to see Remington emerge from the bathroom. He was wearing
a pair of black silk pajama bottoms, his robe was hanging open
and he had a towel around his neck. Why did he have to be so
damned gorgeous? It made letting go that much harder.
- "Yes," she said. "It
looks like you thought of everything."
- "Yes, well
" He paused,
suddenly self conscious. "I wasn't sure how hungry you would
- Very, she thought, but not for anything
that was on the cart.
- He set the towel down on the foot
of the bed and went to sit in the chair across from her. He poured
himself a cup of tea. They made small talk as they nibbled on
fruit and scones, both of them staying away from heavier fare---both
in food and conversation.
- It was Remington who turned that
corner first. Try as he might, he couldn't get the image of Laura
sitting on that bench in the courtyard out of his mind. He had
to know what had hurt her.
- "Laura," he said.
- "Are you ready to talk about
- "About what?" she asked.
- "This morning," he said.
"You left our bed and I found you outside, crying."
- Our bed, she thought. She smiled
a rueful smile.
- "It all goes back to that age
old question," she said.
- "What's a nice girl like you
doing in a place like this?" he asked with a grin.
- She couldn't help but smile back
- "What happens now?"
- "I thought we might finally
have a honeymoon," he said. "There's some business
to be done---transfer of ownership of the castle and settling
- Is he being deliberately obtuse?
- "And then?"
- "And then we go home and get
on with our lives."
- Just like that?
- "As the happiest married couple
in America," she said with just a hint of sarcasm.
- "As the happiest married couple
in America," he repeated, without the sarcasm.
- "For the next two years,"
- "If that's what you want,"
he said, hoping it wasn't.
- She couldn't take it anymore. He
WAS being intentionally obtuse. She stood and began pacing. She
exploded. She turned to him.
- "But what do YOU want?"
she shouted. "Do you even know?"
- Instantly, he was on his feet and
looking her square in the eye. He grabbed her hand and pulled
her to him.
- "You!" he said. "Damn
it, Laura. I want you. What do I have to do to make you believe
- "Stay," she said quietly,
turning away from him.
- He closed his eyes and sighed. So
- "Laura," he said softly.
- She didn't turn around.
- "Laura, look at me."
- As she turned around, he took her
other hand in his. He waited until she looked up to meet his
eyes before continuing.
- "I'm not going anywhere, Laura,"
he said. "How could you think I could ever leave you?"
- "Everyone leaves," she
- His heart was breaking at the pain
and fear he saw in her eyes.
- "I'm here," he said, as
he had the night her house was blown up. He pulled her into his
- "The man with no name,"
she said, recalling the same night.
- "Ah," he said, "Not
true. I have a name, it's Remington Steele
and you are
- "For two years," she said.
- "Forever," he corrected.
- She stepped back and looked at him
with genuine surprise.
- "Really?" she asked.
- "Yes, really," he said.
"Laura, I don't understand how you could think that I could
ever leave you. Especially after last night
- "Daniel said
- "Oh Laura," he said. "If
he wasn't already gone, I'd kill Daniel for putting that doubt
in your head. He told you I was just sticking around until I
got what I wanted." She nodded, sniffing back the tears
that threatened to fall.
- "Think about that," he
said. "If all I wanted was a wink and a tumble, as you once
put it, I'd have had you in my bed years ago. But what we have
is so much more than that. I had hoped that last night would
have shown you that."
- "Last night was amazing,"
- "Yes, it was," he agreed.
"No one has ever made me feel that way, Laura. No one else
- Say it, say it, she thought.
- "I love you, Laura."
- "Are you sure?" she asked.
- He laughed. What other response
could he have expected? "Yes, Mrs. Steele," he said.
- She looked into his beautiful blue
eyes and saw the love he'd professed looking back at her.
- "I love you," she said,
and paused a moment before choosing her next word carefully,
- He pulled her close and held her
like he would never let her go. Calling him by what he considered
his given name meant almost as much as hearing that she loved
- Much later, they lay wrapped in
each other's arms, each lost in their own thoughts. They'd gotten
past the biggest hurdle, but they still had such a long way to
- "What are you thinking about?"
Laura asked, softly running her finger across his chest.
- "You," he said, drawing
circles on her shoulder with his finger. "Us."
- "Good thoughts?"
- "Mostly," he admitted.
"I just can't believe we finally got out of our own way."
- She smiled. He was right; they themselves
had always been the biggest obstacle to their happiness.
- "It wasn't just us," she
observed. "I could've done without Felicia, or Anna, or