Woman of Steele - An Addition 1/2
Date: Tuesday, May 02, 2000
Steele Chic <steelechic@hotmail.com>

This story blurs the line between what actually occurred in the episode "Woman of Steele" and what might have been. It's very much a "what if" story where I have filled in the gaps between actual scenes to suit my purpose, namely that, without, and indeed, despite Laura's words to the contrary, one could almost believe that they-...well, read for yourself and see, hopefully it all makes sense. You may like to watch the episode or read the transcript if you get confused, or alternatively, by all means e-mail me at steelechic@hotmail.com and I will be more than happy to discuss the story with you.

Woman of Steele - An Addition 1/2

"I'm leaving early to run some errands," Mildred called out, "I'll see you in the morning Miss Holt."

"Mmm-hmm," came Laura's absent-minded response.

"Bye chief," Mildred said as Remington helped her on with her coat.

"OK, Mildred, see you tomorrow," he told her.

On the way back to his own office, Remington stopped outside the door to Laura's and looked in on her.

She sat with her legs draped over the corner of the desk, an open file in her lap and a tub of yoghurt in her hand, and he stood, out of her line of sight, watching her eat.

Each spoonful of yoghurt was eaten in two separate mouthfuls. First she carried the heaped teaspoon to her mouth and swept half of the creamy snack inside using only her lips. Then, she flipped the spoon upside down and finished the mouthful with an action that was all tongue.

Remington had never considered the simple act of eating yoghurt as being overtly sexual before, but with Laura....It seemed that every time he looked at her or thought about her, his thoughts drifted to the sexual, and he'd been thinking about her a lot these past few days, ever since that night...

That night. Laura resisted the urge to laugh at herself as she sat in contemplative silence, finishing her snack, the motion reminding her of other things she could be doing with her mouth and her tongue.

The sound of his office door closing reverberated through her own. Lately she'd been hypersensitive to every little sound and movement from the next room. Ever since that night...

Like a teenager, she'd named it - That Night. Wasn't that the name of a movie? Or was she thinking of It Happened One Night? Either one, both were applicable. She had been flipping through the completed case file on security for Caroline Welles' exhibition, but nothing was actually registering so she closed the file and put it aside.

As the silence stretched, her own words echoed in her ears, "Mr Steele and I, we've gone out, we've had our fun, but we've *never* done anything more!"

Her lie echoed in her ears. She had lied to Mildred the other afternoon. Why? It wasn't that she regretted what had happened. She didn't. She could never regret making love with him. But perhaps she regretted how it had happened.

From the moment he'd spied the woman across the room, the ghost from his past, before he had even know for sure that she was Anna Simpson, someone he'd once known, Laura had sensed his withdrawal.

In an instant, Laura had felt terribly threatened, like her already tenuous hold on him was slipping further from her grasp as he became distant. And, despite what had happened late That Night, they had been distant ever since, so polite, so professional, so sterile.

He had come to her That Night like she'd never seen him before. Distressed, emotional, confused. He had volunteered information about his past, something for which Laura knew she should have been grateful, but still he seemed...different.

When he kissed her, Laura had held him, intending to offer comfort, provide support, but as she'd felt him slipping away, she'd yearned to re-establish a connection. Driven by fear, a fleeting thought crossed her mind - perhaps if she surrendered the one part of herself he had yet to possess, she could make him stay.

This time she did laugh at herself. At the twisted logic she'd used that night. It was funny really. For the longest time she had been convinced that, once she had slept with him, there would be no more challenge, he would have no reason to stay. And yet, in the heat of the moment, she had managed to convince herself of just the opposite.

He was a wonderful lover, just as she had known he would be, warm, sweet, passionate and attentive. He had made her feel things she hadn't felt in a very long time, and more. He made her feel things she had never felt for anyone else.

When he had left her bed That Night, she had let him go, knowing it was what he needed to do. But knowing, too, that it was the hardest thing she'd ever done. And so she had lain awake, paralysed with fear, forcing herself to trust that he would be there in the morning.

He was. But her joy had been cut short by his demeanour. Distant and brusque, he was gone almost as soon as he had arrived, leaving her hurt, confused and just a little angry.

She didn't know what had happened. Had it really been that bad? Without knowing what was going through his mind, it felt like she was losing him to an invisible threat.

Watching him walk out like that had nearly killed her. At any rate, it had loosened her tongue. There was a barely restrained delight in Mildred's eyes as Laura had hinted at the events of the previous night but left the rest to the older woman's imagination as she went after him.

He had gone to her. Anna. The other woman. And again, Laura had been struck by the feeling tat her precarious grip on him was being loosened, by the sensation of drowning in quicksand, reaching out yet falling further from her goal.

It had taken every ounce of strength and courage she possessed to push aside her fear of losing him long enough to confront him, but it had to be done. She needed to know, to force him to choose, now, before she fell any deeper.

His words were persuasive, she wanted to believe him, but she refused to let him see how hurt and scared she was. Amazingly, her own arguments were logical, coherent and equally as persuasive.

In hindsight, Laura realised that her impromptu confrontation had probably not helped his confusion and turmoil at all but, unfortunately, one doesn't get to act with the benefit of hindsight. A split second. That's all the time any of us ever gets to make some of life's most important decisions.

She returned to the office with renewed vigour, hot on the heels of a realisation - "I have no hold on him."

"But this morning you said -" Mildred was confused.

"That was this morning!" Laura told her. She'd be damned if she was going to sit back and watch as she lost another man from her life.

Mystery woman, huh? Well then, she had to be investigated. No more letting personal emotions cloud her judgement. This was Laura Holt, PI.

"Mr Steele and I, we've gone out, we've had our fun, but we've *never* done anything more!" Laura had lied. Why? Well, an ounce of prevention...

The fewer the people who knew about the depth and extent of her relationship with Remington, the better. This way she would suffer less humiliation if he left her. It was pretty pessimistic thinking but, in the interest of self-protection
...Laura did and said a lot of things in the interest of self-protection.

She had deliberately gone fishing for information, there was no use in going off half cocked, so to speak. Besides, she wanted to help him through this, not to mention try to deal with her own insecurity.

When she had presented him with what she had discovered, he hadn't believed her, and that had hurt. Who was this woman? What role had she played in his seemingly insurmountable past? She must have really been something for Remington to trust her over Laura.

Even so, Laura had refused to give up the fight. If she couldn't get it from him, she'd go straight to the source - Anna.

Laura resisted the urge to scratch the other woman's eyes out, that wasn't going to solve anything, but she was desperate to try and figure this out. At the time, Laura hadn't been sure whether she was doing it for him or for herself, but she knew now that it had been for both their sakes.

Three days had passed since That Night before it was all over, but, even then, was it really? Sure, he had come to her, so endearingly earnest, "I felt the urge to see you." Despite her sarcastic comment, he had been the one to toast to the future. Their future. After confessing that Laura had made him realise that Anna belonged in the past. After admitting, essentially, that Laura meant more to him.

Their evening had ended like any other, music, champagne, a few chaste kisses and an empty bed. Everything was back to normal. But that wasn't true. Firstly, their relationship had never *been* normal, and secondly, they could never go back, no matter *how* hard they tried. And they *had* tried.

For the past couple of days they had been painfully polite and almost forcefully cheerful, but a curious distance had formed between them that both yearned to bridge but that neither knew how.

The silence was excruciating. Laura looked at the closed connecting door and sighed, "This is ridiculous." She stood up, wondering what he was doing on the other side.

In his own office, Remington was reading the newspaper. Or at least he was pretending to. In truth, he couldn't stop thinking about Laura and he wondered what she was doing.

He, too, had gone over and over the events of the past week. As much of a shock as it had been for him to come face to face with what had literally appeared to be a ghost from his past, the was no excusing the way he had treated Laura. She had at least tried to remain objective, which was more than he could say for himself.

She had tried to help him and he had...what? Used her? Taken advantage of her? Well, not quite, but that's what it felt like.

He couldn't begin to imagine what she was thinking, nor could he decide how, or indeed if, he should broach the subject. So he had said nothing, done nothing, in the vague hope that having known her, just once, would allow him to get her out from under his skin. But instead, it only made him want her more, made this semblance of a working relationship more unbearable and made the lonely nights more lonely..

Remington heard a sound at his office door and looked up in anticipation but it remained closed. He heard the outer door to Laura's office snap shut and he sat back in disappointment. She must have needed something from Mildred's desk, that was all.

Just then, the connecting door opened and Laura walked straight to him, with an air of determination and a confidence that belied the butterflies in her stomach.

"Mr Steele," she said, matter-of-factly, edging between the desk and his chair to stop directly in front of him. She lifted herself easily to sit firmly in the center of his desk and crossed her legs where they dangled over the edge, "We need to talk."
End Part 1
To Part 2