Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division

"Born to Steele"
Epilogue to "Steeling a New Life"
by
Debra Talley, with Thekla Kurth
Written Summer, 1988 

 

December 22,1986

Remington followed Laura down the theater aisle until she stopped at a row about halfway to the front.

"Are these seats all right?" she asked.

"Yes, they're fine," he assured her, helping her sit down. "But I still don't think coming here to a matinee was such a good idea."

He had been arguing the point--and getting nowhere--ever since Laura had suggested a movie. But she was restless and bored sitting around the condo. She felt she'd go crazy if she didn't get out of there for a couple of hours. The office was off limits to her, thanks to her husband and Mildred. But she had known he couldn't say no to a movie.

"What about those pains you had in the car?" he asked, concerned, as he sat down beside her. "Have you had any since we came inside?"

"I told you; it's only indigestion," she assured him.

He dryly added, "Probably from the pineapple pizza you had at 10 o'clock last night. The whole pizza. Really, Laura," he tsked.

"I'm eating for two," she said, shrugging it off.

"Two or six?"

"Before the movie begins, why don't you get something from the snack bar?" she suggested, ignoring his remark. "A large popcorn, a large soda, and a chocolate bar. And get something for yourself, too," she added, patting his chest.

Remington just shook his head, half amazed and half bemused. He rose and went back up the aisle to the lobby.

Laura settled back into the seat to await her husband and her snack. It was only seconds later that she felt the tightness in her abdomen again. The discomfort had begun in her tower back late last night, but it had passed and she'd written it off as overwork from rearranging the nursery for the umpteenth time. On the ride to the theater, she'd had a few pangs in her abdomen. Surely it was just indigestion, she rationalized as she shifted around to a more comfortable position. She wasn't as concerned about the pain as her husband obviously was. After all, it was too soon for the baby. She still had three weeks to go before her due date. At the very worst, it was probably false labor and she refused to be one of those women who raced to the emergency room at the slightest twinge.

The pain passed a few seconds later. She smoothed her hands over her tent-sized denim jumper. She felt like a balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

She had two more bouts of indigestion before Remington returned, frantically juggling the food.

"I hope you won't be in need of anymore sustenance,'' he said. "l just used my last cent. I'll be forced to run outside and break open a parking meter if you want another candy bar."  

She kicked his ankle, then said, "I think I have a few dollars in my purse."

After munching on a handful of popcorn, she added, "Besides, this theater takes credit cards."

The movie began.

Less than halfway into the film, Remington noticed that Laura had barely touched her popcorn and soda and had not even opened her candy. This was unlike her. The movie was forgotten as he began to watch his wife more closely. Her face was slightly pale and clammy, her forehead was beaded with perspiration, and she had one hand resting on her abdomen.

Remington didn't like the way she looked. Something was definitely going on. He gently touched her arm. "Laura," he whispered," are you all right?"

Before she could answer, she dropped her popcorn and pressed her other hand to her abdomen, biting her lip to suppress a groan. Remington moved to help her up, but she grabbed his hand and clutched it until he pain passed.

She whispered raggedly, finally admitting, "I don't think it's indigestion after all."

He quickly helped her to her feet and with one arm about her for support, ushered her up the aisle. He wanted to say "I told you so," and chastise her for insisting they come here instead of going straight to the hospital when she felt the first pain, but it wasn't the time. He needed a clear head to think; he needed to be calm for Laura.

Speed and time were of the essence, so he headed for a pay phone in the lobby to call for an ambulance. Helping Laura lean against the wall, he frantically searched his pockets for change. Then he remembered he'd used it all at the snack counter.

"Laura, you said you had some cash in your purse..."

She handed it to him without a word.

He opened her wallet and found two $5 bills. "You don't have a quarter?" he groaned. Then he had an idea. "Wait here while I get this changed at the candy counter."

He bolted over to the counter, where the clerk was busy flirting with an usherette.

"I need some change," Remington said breathlessly.

The clerk didn't even took up at him. "You going to buy something?"

"No, I just need change for the phone."

"Sorry. I can't give out change without a purchase."

"Oh?" Remington reached over the counter and grabbed the clerk's shirt. "My wife is in labor. Give me a quarter and you can keep the bloody five!"

"Yeah? Okay."

The usherette looked from Remington to Laura and then back at the clerk. Frowning, as though feeling forewarned at the sight of an obviously uncomfortable pregnant woman, she patted the clerk's hand and headed back into the theater.

The clerk took the five, reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. Remington snatched it from him and raced back to Laura.

"I heard that. If you'd carry cash, this wouldn't be happening," she moaned, turning an even lighter shade of pale.

When she started sliding down the wall, Remington grabbed her just in time, never losing a beat. "That's a worn out subject, Laura," he reminded her.

They were surprised when the clerk dragged a padded bench over to them. At their startled nooks, he shrugged and returned to guard his popcorn. Laura ignored the layers of dried cola on it and sat down.

Remington squeezed her arm in reassurance and returned to the phone. He had already dropped in the quarter when he noticed the cord to the receiver was pulled away from the base. The machine refused to return his quarter.

"The phone's out of order," he said as much to himself as to Laura.

"The limo..." Laura groaned. "It's out front ..."

"I'm not driving you all the way to the hospital," Remington declared. "What if you start having the baby? I'm calling an ambulance."

"The limo phone!"

"Of course! How stupid can we be?"

"Speak for yourself, buster!" Laura said sharply.

He started toward the door, but stopped when heard Laura yelling, "Don't leave me!"

Remington ran back and pulled her to her feet, but then thought better of it and picked her up. It would be better if he just carried her to the limo.

"Anything I can do?" the clerk asked.

"Yeah. Fix your phone," Remington snapped, using his back to open the door.

"Hang on, Laura," he pleaded. "I don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies."

"I knew you'd say that sooner or later!" she said, breathing deeply.

The rest of the day's events went by so quickly that, when everything was done, even Laura and Remington weren't sure what had happened. The ambulance delivered Laura safely to the hospital, and Remington was certain he had never been through a more terrifying, nerve-shaking, exhilarating ordeal in his life. 

But he was sure of one thing: he had never known a more wonderful moment than watching Laura hold their infant son in those first few seconds after his birth.

*****
Remington sat on the side of Laura's hospital bed and held her hand as she slept. Her finger still looked naked to him without her wedding rings, but she had been forced to stop wearing them several weeks earlier. She hated taking them off, but the swelling in her fingers left her no choice.

He glanced at his own wedding band as he continued to tightly hold Laura's hand. It still seemed like yesterday when they had exchanged wedding rings and repeated their vows in front of Laura's immediate family. They couldn't help laughing when they realized they had both chosen ring containing Royal Lavulite.

But it wasn't until they were alone that evening that they discovered the true treasures of their rings. Their special worth lay not in the Lavulite itself, but in the inscriptions. Both had searched for and found exactly the right words to express their feelings. The inscription in Laura's ring said "I'll be loving you always," while Remington's said "Who needs to dream? You're my dream come true."

Remington's s eyes filled with tears as he relived the night they'd first read those inscriptions. He caressed Laura's ring finger and brought it to his lips for a kiss.

The motion awakened Laura. She gave him a weak smile when she saw his beaming face.  When she noticed he was holding her left hand, she said, "I should be able to start wearing my rings again soon."

Remington just smiled. "Brendan won't care whether you're wearing them or not."

Laura laughed. "You're already calling him Brendan."

"Well, it *is* his name."

 "I know, but Frances called each of her children 'The Baby' until they were several years old. It almost sounds funny to hear you call such a tiny baby by a real name."

Remington once again kissed Laura's hand. "I just want to make sure that our son knows his name," he explained, lovingly gazing into her eyes.

Laura smiled in understanding. She knew exactly how important it was to Remington that their son had a name. She recalled the special poem she had found in a calligraphy shop during her fourth month of pregnancy. She had bought it for Remington and he had proudly displayed it in the nursery. She smiled, thinking of Brendan soon sleeping in that lovingly prepared nursery.

Her thoughts then returned to the present and she asked, "Did you get some change so you could call everyone?"

"All taken care of," he assured her. "Mildred thought it only fitting that Remington Steele's son was almost born in a movie theater. Your mother said she might have known you'd be too patient to wait the full nine months. And Donald congratulated me on finally finding the correct freeway exit."
 
"What freeway exit?" Laura sleepily asked.

"Maybe someday I'll tell you about it," Remington vaguely promised. He smiled, squeezing Laura's hand. "But for now, I think you need to get some sleep. You know Mildred and Frances--they'll be knocking down your door just as soon as visiting hours start."

Laura mumbled something in agreement and closed her eyes. Remington thought for a moment she was already asleep, but then her eyes fluttered open. "We did good, didn't we?" she half whispered.

"Indeed, Mrs. Steele," Remington assured her with a kiss. "Indeed."

*********
Remington noticed the bright Christmas decorations that adorned the nurses' station as he made his way to the nursery for yet another took at his son. What a difference a year could make, he mused. Last Christmas he and Laura had been held hostage by a trio of crazed Santas. And now here he was one Christmas later, a happily married man with a new son. With any luck, he would be able to taken Laura and Brendan home for Christmas. He couldn't imagine a better Christmas gift than that.

He finally arrived at the nursery window. His son was sleeping soundly in his crib, even though the nursery was filled with a dozen infants seemingly auditioning for a Christmas cantata. Remington marveled anew at how tiny, yet perfectly formed, his son was.

He felt he would burst with pride. Stopping a passing nurse, he proudly proclaimed, "That's my son. Brendan Daniel Steele."

The nurse smiled as he pointed out the baby and said, "I know, Mr. Steele. He's darling." She walked on, thinking that all new fathers were alike, famous investigators or not.

Brendan Daniel Steele continued to sleep, oblivious to the fact that he was beginning a new and wonderful life. He wouldn't have to live on the streets and wonder where his next meal would come from. He wouldn't have to sleep under a box in an alley and stuff newspapers inside his ragged clothes to keep warm. He wouldn't have to wonder what it felt like to be wanted and loved. And he wouldn't have to wonder who his parents were or what his name was.

Remington remembered the night Laura had surprised him with the poem by Edgar Albert Guest. The poem itself was beautiful, but what really touched Remington was the significance of Laura's gift. It meant she had truly accepted him as Remington Steele and that she understood the importance of his proudly passing that name on to their children.

Remington unconsciously repeated the verses of to himself:
You got it from your father;
It was all he had to give.
So it's yours to use and cherish
For as long as you live.
If you lose the watch he gave you,
It can always be replaced,
But a black mark on your name, Son,
Can never be erased.
It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear;
When he got it from his father,
There was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely;
After all is said and done,
You'll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son.

He was brought back to the present as his tiny, dark-haired son yawned and slowly opened his eyes. Remington tapped on the window and waggled his fingers in Brendan's direction. Brendan gazed at his smiling father and fell back into a contented sleep.

The End
Written Summer, 1988
Poem "Your Name" written by Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)

 
 

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.

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dtalley@mindspring.com

 

Disclaimer: The characters of Remington Steele are used without permission.
This story copyrighted 1988 by Debra Talley. It is purely for entertainment purposes.