Laura kissed Steele passionately, her body completely covering his. He was more than a little surprised by her inexplicable forwardness, but he surely wasn't about to complain. Usually when they got horizontal - which wasn't very often - they were side by side. But whenever he would make his move to position himself on top of her in hopes of having a physical relationship, they'd be interrupted. . . or she'd pull away.
But tonight, there was no more case to pursue, no loose ends to wrap up, no client with lousy timing clamoring for their services. And Mildred wouldn't dare to interrupt them. . . Not after the Auburn fiasco. No. Tonight it was just them. . . Alone together. . . With odds in their favor that they wouldn't be interrupted.
It was at times like these that he would turn on the ol' Irish charm and try to advance their relationship into the bedroom. But his dates with Laura always ended the same way. . . With her leaving and him taking a very long and very, very cold shower.
It was quite a stark contrast to the life he had led before he assumed Remington Steele's identity. He had been a master at the fine art of seduction. If he had to wait until the second date, his "catch of the day" was playing hard to get. Nowadays, however, he was only interested in seducing one woman. . . And getting her into bed was proving to be quite the challenge. But, like he told her the day they met - he was a man who enjoyed impossible challenges.
Steele coveted these seemingly rare moments when it was just the two of them. Actually, it was the first time they had been alone at his apartment since London, so it really was somewhat of a special night. London was a disaster and it was best not to dwell on it. However, he'd left with something very special. . . a passport in his name, Remington Steele, and a seat home beside Laura. She'd come 6000 miles to find him.
The first weeks since he returned were a blur. Mostly he'd spent it in bed, alone, sleeping. Laura insisted. The odyssey he put himself through exhausted him. Mildred would stop by to check on him, mostly alone, but sometimes Laura would be with her. He retrieved his clothes from his tailor, watched lots of old movies and was bored out of his mind. But it gave him time to stop and take a breath. And think.
The second week, he returned to the office. He signed lots of reports. Gave a couple of short interviews to the press. . . mostly drivel about how he'd been gone working a case - all very hush-hush. A couple of rubber-chicken luncheons glad-handing a bunch of windbags. Laura filled him in on the cases he'd missed while he was gone. . . starting with dropping a stack of files on his desk and marching out. She and Mildred had done a marvelous job without him, he fretted. Laura would bring a client in and Steele would anticipate starting a new case. . . looking forward to it actually, when he would discover that Laura simply brought the client in to say, "goodbye" and "thank you". Just like when he first assumed the role, with he and Laura feeling their way around what was new ground for both of them.
Then, finally, the Veenhoff case. Laura didn't feel the need to involve him on that job, either. But Steele threw himself into it head first after the FBI came calling. . . and when he saw a seemingly naked Laura in the pages of a smut magazine.
By the end of the case, they were back working together as partners. . . side by side. . . just as it used to be. As it should always be.
But tonight. . . Something was definitely different about tonight. They had just finished a bottle of wine and were tossing copies of "Bedside Babes" into the fireplace. Steele hadn't even attempted to make a pass yet when Laura suddenly pushed him onto his back and climbed on top of him.
Yes, tonight was different indeed. Tonight, *she* was the aggressor. *She* was the one who initiated the physical contact. And *she* was the one with her tongue in his mouth.
He was quickly becoming erect. And for the first time, he didn't try to hide it from her. His sudden and obvious arousal startled her. In all honesty, she was well-aware of the effect she had on him - even though Mr. Steele was a gentleman and tried very hard to conceal it.
But tonight was different. *They* were different. Ever since she had given him a passport in the name of Remington Steele, things had changed somehow. Though she tried to keep him at arm's length while he was recovering from those nasty fence wounds, she knew that it was only a matter of time before they would be back together. Yet tonight as they spent the evening with each other, there was no denying that their relationship had a new feel to it. A new closeness.
So, the alumni were going to get a big kick out of this? Then that damn smirk of his. Laura was at first irritated, then amused, then thrilled that he was even *there* making those quips in the first place.
A few short weeks ago, they had teetered on the brink of disaster. . . until she finally came to her senses and walked off that plane bound for Mexico, leaving William Westfield behind. . . to come here to tell Mr. Steele that she'd had all the time away from him that she was going to take and would he please make love to her. Only to find an empty apartment. Him gone.
The first time she saw him in London, she was shocked to see him in such a state. Long, greasy hair, ratty clothes, a few days growth of beard, smelling more than a little like Au de Alley. But those blue eyes blazed when he asked her, "What are you doing here?" Her heart skipped a beat and then he was gone. . . those blue eyes twinkling as he said, "Keep in touch". It was those blue eyes twinkling again as he voiced that smarmy comment about the Stanford alumni. . . and this time, she was going to have the last word.
They had certainly teetered on the brink of disaster, Steele thought. But it wasn't because of any case. It wasn't DesCoine. It wasn't Cannes. It wasn't even him almost losing the agency's license. No. Disaster was Laura telling him, in this very apartment, how they needed some time apart. And he just sat there. . . too hurt and too stunned to reply. What could he say to her? He was a man with no name. With everything on his back, in his closet and in his wallet engineered by Laura's fertile imagination, astounding intelligence and sheer guts.
That's when Steele decided to take that time to find his name - on his own, with no help - with just his own leads and his own memories to guide him so he could present it to her. She'd listen to whatever he had to say to her then. He hadn't really though of what he'd *actually say* to Laura, but she'd certainly sit up and listen. But he didn't have to say much of anything tonight. He just made a truly innocent remark about her alumni when. . . There she was on top of him. And it felt good. . . *Really* good.
When he got his breath back from the shock of Laura on top of him, Steele decided that he wasn't going to let her slip away this time.
His strong hands moved down her back and stopped just below the small of her back. He pulled her hips firmly into his and slowly rocked her against him. She gasped as her legs finally parted and she felt the full extent of his hardness pressed at her center. Her whole body was tingling.
"Laura," he whispered, breathing heavily.
Steele slipped her suspenders over her shoulders, and without really thinking, she pulled her arms through. He pulled the back of her blouse free from her pants and ran his hands up her naked back to her bra.
Then, just as quickly as she had pounced on him, she recoiled. She had to stop. She just had to. As much as she wanted to continue, she just had to stop.
"Don't." She sat up. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have started this," she declared breathlessly, her face flushed.
But he wasn't about to let her get away that easily. Not this time. He reached out for her and continued his onslaught of demanding kisses. She gave in to the sweet pleasure for a moment before once again pulling back.
"I can't do this, Mr. Steele. . . Please let me go," Laura pleaded, trying to extricate herself from his embrace.
He grabbed her arm before she was able to make a clean getaway. "Not until you tell me that you don't want me."
She tugged her arm free and pulled her suspenders squarely back on her shoulders before looking at the man she had longed for, desired and, yes, dammit, loved for the past three years. His piercing blue eyes were burning with uncontrolled passion.
"We all *want* things, Mr. Steele," she stated matter-of-factly. "I want the end of poverty and famine. I want world peace. . . " She stood up and threw her hands in the air. ". . . I want a pair of three inch heels that don't hurt my feet when I run. . . But just because you want something doesn't mean you're going to get it."
"But you can have me, Laura," he declared, getting on his feet.
"No. . . I can't," she said indignantly. "Not when you won't tell me why you left without a word. Not when I can't be sure that you won't leave again for whatever reason."
"I left without a word because I didn't want you to follow me."
"I know that!"
"I didn't want you to follow me because where I was going was dangerous."
"I can take care of myself, Mr Steele. I have for a long time. Even before you came along."
Damn this woman is stubborn, he thought. His mind raced back to the day she tracked him down at the compound where he was posing as an assassin.
"Those miners could have killed you, Laura!" Steele remembered how his heart literally stopped in his chest as they shot at her running form. And the endlessly long hours waiting for word that she had indeed escaped unharmed.
"I thought we had already settled it that you weren't ever going to leave me for my own good. Dammit, Mr. Steele!"
"I know I should have let you know what I was doing and where I was going. But if I had, could you honestly tell me that you would have simply stayed here and let me do it?"
Laura couldn't answer him. He blew out a frustrated breath.
"It's always going to be something with you, eh, Laura? My desire to call the shots as far as my own life, my past, my failings, my inability to let you in, my inability to say just the right words?"
He shook his head in disbelief. "Don't use my past as an excuse for your bloody little inhibitions, Laura. This has nothing to do with my past," he seethed, trying unsuccessfully to maintain control. "No. It's because of you and that impenetrable fortress you've erected around yourself to keep people who care about you at arm's length. Don't let anyone in; don't let anyone get too close. Then you can't get hurt, eh? Is this starting to sound familiar, Laura?"
She glared at him, trying desperately to keep the tears that were welling up in her eyes from falling.
"To hell with other people's needs and desires. . . Just as long as Laura doesn't feel too much too soon or get in too deep or - heaven forbid - lose herself in the moment with someone who cares for her!"
"Don't start playing shrink with me, Mr. Steele," she shrieked.
"Well it's about time *someone* did," he yelled. "Just how long do you think I can suppress my urges - basic human urges, Laura? How many more lonely nights do I have to spend wishing you were here with me?"
Laura stood there. . . stunned. Lonely nights? "Are you telling me that for the past three years. . . "
"I've lived like a bloody monk for the past three years in the hopes that maybe - just maybe - I could show you how I feel, and you'd finally realize that I'm committed to you and that we'd become lovers. Instead, I'm stuck here living a life of imposed celibacy. And I don't know how much more of this I can take!"
"Well, if you're so unhappy, Mr. Steele, why don't you just leave again? Tell me that I'm impossible and just leave. Go on! Get it over with! LEAVE!!!"
"I can't ever leave you again. Those weeks I was gone? They were hell, Laura. I knew that it wouldn't be safe for you to come with me. But if I told you where I was going, I knew you'd follow. . . and I couldn't have that."
His voice became softer now and was filled with heart-wrenching emotion. "I had to do this myself. I had to prove to you once and for all that I could be your partner - your *full* partner. And I knew I had to present you with my real name before I dare ask you to be my partner in other things."
He sighed and shook his head. "I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I didn't realize how from the second I left you that it would be hell."
"It was hell for me, too," Laura said quietly, tears shining in her eyes. She remembered how hard it was to go through the agency doors with his name on them. How she couldn't go into his office. How she dreaded getting a call from some foreign police chief with news of a body for her to claim. Then the dreams she had at night. . . hot, sensual dreams.
"You almost got killed out there. . . How would I have gone on if you came back to me in a damn box?"
"I have to find out who I am, Laura."
"I know who you are. . . You are the man I went 6,000 miles to find. I wasn't looking for a name on our agency door. . . I was looking for you."
Steele looked up and let the words slowly sink in. She came looking for *him*. He reached out and quickly gathered Laura up in his arms. . . holding her tightly. . .
"All I wanted the entire time I was gone was to be with you again. . . Like we are tonight. . . so I could show you how happy I am that we're together." His voice was soft and sincere, though he was a little more than nervous navigating through this unchartered territory.
"I'm glad we're together, too, Mr. Steele," Laura sighed.
Steele chuckled and held her away from him. "Laura, why won't you call me anything but Mr. Steele?"
"I don't know," she pondered. "Well, you are supposed to be my boss, and calling you Remington seems sooooo. . . personal. And I didn't want to slip and call you Remington in front of a client. Besides, you know where I got that name from."
"I know it's from a typewriter. But is that all you think of when you hear my name?"
"No," she admitted softly.
"I know I came up empty-handed in England and Ireland. . . and in all the other places I've searched. So Remington is all that I have and all that I can offer."
Laura nodded and searched his face with her eyes. She reached up around his neck and kissed him hard. Their lips parted briefly before she kissed him again with a burning desire. She pushed his finely tailored sport jacket off and started fumbling with the buttons on his shirt. He grabbed her hands and broke their kiss. They were both breathing heavily.
He took a step away from her. . . holding her at arm's length. . . then reached out to touch her lips gently. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself and give Laura time.
"Laura. . . I still don't have a name to give to you."
"It's Steele. Remington Steele," she answered. "It says so right on your passport."
Steele chuckled ruefully.
"We'll look for your birth name together. I want that for you. Until then. . . I hope the one you've made your own will do."
Steele said nothing, but nodded his head in agreement.
Laura took a step back, looked at him with a steady gaze, and took a deep breath. "Well. . . This is it," she thought as she kicked off her heals and shrugged off her suspenders. She unbuttoned her blouse with conviction and let it fall to the floor, revealing a shear red lace bra that took his breath away.
She unclasped her belt when he grabbed her hands to stop her. He brought them up to his mouth, kissed each one gently and placed them down at her side before he knelt down in front of her. He unbuttoned her pants and lowered her zipper, revealing tantalizingly shear, red lace French cut bikini bottoms. Her pants fell to the floor. She stepped out of them and kicked them out of the way.
He reached down and pulled off her knee-highs one by one. He ran his hand slowly up her calf and along her inner thigh as he placed a warm, moist kiss just above her panties. She felt amazing. . . so very soft and smooth. . . yet he felt muscles rippling under that soft skin. None of the women he'd been with before had been anything like her. His hand continued to inch its way up as he licked his way over her navel and between her breasts. He captured her waiting lips as his hand finally reached her panties.
Steele's long, strong fingers gently stroked and massaged her folds through the flimsy layer of material. She gasped at the sweet sensation. Her heart raced and her knees became weak. She leaned against him for support as his fingers worked their magic. He held her close and rubbed his cheek over the top of her head.
Laura's breathing became ragged. So close. So very close. She finally grabbed his hand to stop him and to give herself some much-needed relief. It had been a long time since she felt this type of pleasure. . . and she didn't want to lose control. Not quite yet.
She took a moment to steady herself. It was her turn now. With hands trembling ever so slightly, she untucked his shirt and finished undoing the remaining buttons. She froze when she saw the two puncture wounds the fence had inflicted upon him. They were mostly healed now, but it still looked sore and tender. And the scars would undoubtedly be with him forever.
"What's wrong? Why did you stop?"
She looked up into his eyes with love and concern. "Does it hurt?"
He took her hand in his and ran her fingertips lightly over his injured flesh.
"I'm fine, Laura. . . I promise."
He kissed her tenderly on the lips and held her close against his body. Very slowly and leisurely, Steele began running his hands up and down her back. Their kisses built in intensity as her lips finally parted, eagerly waiting for his tongue to find hers. He undid the buttons on his cuffs as she pushed his shirt off his shoulders. He stepped off his shoes and toed off his socks.
Laura worked at his belt buckle, but her now obviously shaky hands didn't seem to work properly. Clearly, she was nervous. Steele grasped her hands and gently guided them from his belt to his hips before he put her out of her misery and completed the task she was unable to do.
She leaned her forehead into his chest and let out a sigh of frustration. He kissed the top of her head and moved her hands back around to the front of his pants. Startled by the tightness of his trousers, her head sprung up and she peered into his handsome face. He cocked his eyebrow and gave her his best lopsided smirk. Laura unbuttoned his pants and unzipped his zipper excruciatingly slowly before she raised her eyebrow and smirked back at him. Damn, she was good.
Steele reached up, unclasped her barrette and ran his fingers through her silky hair, letting it fall gently around her face. He took her lovely face in his strong, lean hands and gave her a kiss that made her loins burn. She let out a low moan and pushed his pants to the floor. He stepped out of them and kicked them aside.
God, how he wanted her. He had never wanted anyone so badly in all his life. But he had to slow down or it would be over before it began.
Both were breathing heavily, fraught with anticipation. . . each wondering who would make the next move. Finally, Steele wrapped his arms around Laura's waist and went in for a kiss.
He kissed her ardently as he unclasped her bra and pulled it off her shoulders. She tugged his underwear down and he returned the favor. Now they were naked and in each other's arms for the first time. They stood there with their arms wrapped tightly around each other, amazed that they'd gotten this far.
"Oh, shhhh-ugar," he said with a hint of desperation in his voice. "I'll be right back. I have to get some protection."
He turned to leave and prayed that she wouldn't change her mind while he was gone. She grabbed his hand, knelt down and pulled him down along side of her.
"We're OK," she whispered.
He raised his eyebrows questioningly. She smiled and nodded her head.
Steele lowered her gently to the floor. His hands roamed over her naked flesh - tentatively at first. For as much as he knew that this was the night, there was still a small part of him that feared she would pull away. He didn't want to do too much too soon.
His fingertips meandered up and down her arm, over her shoulder, down her chest, across her stomach, over her hip and down her thigh before he made his way back up to her breasts and touched her there for the first time. When he was sure she wasn't going to stop him, he lowered his head and began to gently suck and tease her nipples as she wove her fingers in his hair.
Bolder now and feeling how Laura was reacting to his touch, his hand wandered downwards once again. This time, he pulled her legs apart and ran his fingertips up her inner thigh. He looked into her beautiful eyes as he delicately inserted his finger into her and rhythmically caressed her. Steele stopped his ministrations after a short while when he heard Laura begin to moan and gasp for air. He didn't want to make her come quite yet. He wanted to *really* be inside her when she experienced her first orgasm with him. Besides, there was something else he wanted to do first.
Steele reached over and grabbed an ice cube from the bucket the wine had been chilling in earlier in the evening. He stretched out beside Laura and traced her lips with it. The corners of her mouth turned up and her eyes closed. She gasped as he guided the ice cube over her chin.down her neck. . . across the peaks of her breasts. . . and down to her bellybutton before it completely melted. With his lips and tongue, he ever so slowly retraced the liquid trail he had just made, starting at her navel and working his way up. . . relishing the briny taste of her body. Laura began to quiver. She spread her legs and he positioned himself at her opening. He looked deep into her radiant eyes.
"Say my name, Laura. Please," he whispered.
She kissed his lips softly and whispered, "Remington."
His heart soared. "Say it again."
"Reming - " she inhaled sharply and arched her back as he pushed himself inside of her. "- ton."
Remington. It was the first thing she said when their bodies became one and it was what she cried out when he brought her to her first climax in front of the fire.
Afterwards, he held her as they both came down from bliss. Laura and Steele threw a few more "Bedside Babes" into the fire, then came together again on the sofa. They finally finished the night in his bed in the wee hours of the morning. . . utterly exhausted, and utterly satisfied. . . For now.
He awoke the next morning to the sound of Laura's lilting voice. ". . . Thanks, Mildred," she said and hung up the phone.
"Morning, Luv," he greeted, pulling her near.
"Good morning, Mr. - " she smiled coyly. "Remington."
"Mmmm. . . I like the sound of that." He kissed her neck leisurely as he tangled his long fingers in her hair. She ran her hand over his stubble-covered cheek. God, he looked sexy when he didn't shave.
He gave her a toothless grin with a hint of mischief in his eyes.
"What?" she asked self-consciously.
"You really do look lovely in the morning, Laura."
Her smile reached all the way up to her eyes.
"Why are you up so early?" he inquired.
"It's 10:30. I hardly call that 'early', Remington. Anyway, I told Mildred we were tied up and she'd have to hold down the fort until we arrived."
"Tied up, eh? I'm not really into that, Laura, but my horizons are yours to expand," he quipped, running his hand up her thigh.
She hit him playfully. "You're incorrigible, Mr. Steele." They kissed passionately before Laura finally pulled away. "We need to talk."
"Why do you want to talk when there are so many other more rewarding things to do?" His hand wandered up towards her breasts and he nuzzled her neck.
She grabbed his hand and held firm. "I mean it, Mr. Steele. . . We need to talk."
He was usually gone and onto his next conquest before the 'we need to talk' part of the relationship came up. And even now, a very small part of him wanted to run away. But the other part of him was happy he had been caught and was excited about forging a real and lasting relationship with the woman he loved. No. He couldn't run anymore. He was in far too deep. . . just like Laura.
"OK. Let's talk," he agreed somewhat apprehensively, motioning to her to take the lead.
"Well. . . " She pulled the covers closer to her chest. "What happens now? You know. . . I mean now that we've experienced the. . . 'ultimate moment'?"
"Actually, Laura, I think we experienced the 'ultimate moment' three times. . . But who's counting, eh?" he smirked, wiggling his eyebrows.
She was clearly becoming vexed. "Can you please be serious? I need to know. . . What happens now?"
He knew she wanted answers, but he was unsure what she needed to hear. And as well as he knew her, she was still quite an enigma. This was probably the most critical point in their relationship yet. . . And he didn't want to blow it.
"I, ah. . . I'm not sure. . . " His heart began to race and his palms became moist. "Do you - " He absentmindedly started chewing on his thumb nail and his brow furrowed. "Do you want to get. . . you know. . . um. . . "
"Good Lord, no!"
A huge look of relief swept across his handsome face. . . followed by a quick flash of disappointment.
"At least not yet, anyway," she added softly.
He flashed her a cautious smile. She smiled back nervously. He took her hand in his and laced their fingers together.
"Well, then. . . Do you want to. . . maybe move in together?" he ventured.
"I. . . I'm not sure," she answered tentatively. "What do you think?"
"I, ah. . . I don't know, Laura," he said honestly. "Maybe we should take things slowly."
"Take things slowly? *You* want to take things slowly? I thought that was *my* mantra."
They both smiled and let out a nervous chuckle.
"I'm sorry, Laura. I'm not really good at this. I wish I knew what to say."
Well, he's not ready to say those three words yet, Laura thought. . . somewhat relieved and somewhat disappointed. That's all right. He had said and done enough last night.
She looked down at nothing in particular. He raised her chin and gazed into her eyes. "But whatever comes next. . . Let's find our way together, eh?"
She nodded her head. "Together," she reiterated.
He kissed her tenderly. "I'm not going anywhere, Laura," he assured her. A brilliant smile lit up his face. "Especially after a night of the most incredible sex I've ever had."
"Oh, *that*," she said, running her finger up and down his hairy chest. "That was. . . pretty good."
"Pretty good?! *Pretty good*?!?!" He was shocked and insulted by her dismissiveness. "Laura, what we did last night was - "
"But, Mr. Steele," she interrupted. "If I admitted that it was the best sex of my life, then we'd have nothing to aspire to," she said seductively. "And you know what they say, Remington. . . Practice makes perfect."
He pulled her naked body on top of his and kissed her fervently.
"Indeed, Miss Holt. Indeed."