Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division
Steele in the Mood
Part 3
Debra Talley & Thekla Kurth

(This story is part of the Brendan Universe.)

Remington and Laura shared a bottle of cola as they walked around the grounds of the observatory following Danny and his two friends. When they joined the tour at the entrance, Laura quickly pointed out the sign which said No Food or Drink Allowed. Not wanting to waste any of the cola, Remington finished off the bottle in one gulp.
Remington and Laura soon found themselves lagging behind the rest of the tour group. As they walked along holding hands, Remington slipped his arm around Laura's waist and stole a quick kiss. The guide frowned, but moved on to the next exhibit. Remington and Laura lagged farther and farther behind as they walked arm in arm whispering to each other. The guide repeatedly cleared her throat in a futile effort to draw their attention.
"Let's sneak away,"Laura finally suggested, placing a kiss behind Remington's ear. "I know the perfect place. We can meet up with the kids later."

Remington did not hesitate. They quietly slipped off as the group moved on to a new exhibit. The guide gave a sigh of relief and continued with her lecture.

Laura lost no time in leading Remington to the observatory wall with the Marty Klopman/Laura Holt heart painted on it. As soon as they climbed the wall and dropped to the other side, Remington took Laura in his arms and kissed her hungrily. He paused only long enough to murmur, "Remind me to send Marty Klopman an extra big box of chocolate this Christmas."

A while later, Remington and Laura dropped down from behind the observatory wall and casually brushed away the wrinkles in their clothing. The smiles on their faces, however, were not as easy to brush away.
Their timing was impeccable. The tour had just ended and Danny and his friends were just exiting the planetarium.
"Wow! That was some star show!" Danny exclaimed.
"Did you see the size of that telescope?" one of his friends asked.
"I did," Laura whispered, caressing Remington's back.
"Periscope, Laura. Periscope," he whispered back.
She only smiled wider.
"How did you like the observatory, Mr. Steele?" Danny's other friend politely asked.
"Oh, very much. There's something very stimulating about an observatory," Remington admitted, his grin even wider than Laura's.
Suddenly Laura looked at her watch and exclaimed, "Oh, no! If we don't hurry, we'll be late for dinner. And you know how your mother hates to be kept waiting when she's got dinner on the table."
They all hurried to the waiting limo. After dropping off both of Danny's friends, they headed for the Piper home, where there found Donald standing in the driveway looking for the family dog. As soon as the trio climbed from the limo, the Piper patriarch gave Laura a hug, shook hands with Remington and greeted his son.
Then showing them the dog collar in his hand, he said, "I got this new flea collar for Max, but now I can't find the dumb dog to put it on him. Hold this for a second, will you, Remington?" he asked, handing the collar to Remington.
Donald then walked off, alternately calling Max and whistling for him. Not knowing what to do with the collar, Remington shoved it in his pocket and followed Laura and Danny into the house.
"Hi, Laura. Remington. Danny, go wash up. We're ready to eat," Frances instructed as she met them in the front hallway. "Where's Donald?"
Just then he came in, saying, "I still can't find that stupid dog. I'll look for him again after dinner. Remington, maybe you can help me."
"Be happy to, Donald," Remington assured him.
Laura, suddenly remembering the cola stashed in the limo, said, "Oh, Mr. Steele. Why don't you run out to the limo and bring in a few bottles?"
"Certainly. Donald, think you could lend me a hand?"
"Bottles? Sure. What did you bring? A new wine?"
"Actually, it's a new cola," Laura explained to Frances as the two men left. "It's not even out on the market yet. We're protecting it until it's officially released."
After Remington and Donald returned with several bottles of cola, everyone sat down to enjoy Frances' delicious dinner. The adults drank cola, but Frances insisted the children drink milk. She did, however, agree to let them have some later if they cleaned their plates.
"How was your visit to the observatory, Danny?" Frances asked conversationally.
"We had a neat time," Danny explained. "Aunt Laura and Mr. Steele let us ride in the limo! I can't wait to tell the other kids about it tomorrow at school! "
"That's nice, dear. Laura, you always loved the observatory when you were a teenager. Was it as much fun as you remembered?"
"Even more so," Laura told her sister as she sipped her cola.
"What about you, Remington? Are you as fond of observatories as Laura is?"
Remington grinned broadly. "Absolutely. I've always had a great admiration for heavenly bodies."
He stifled a scream as Laura kicked him beneath the table.
"What was that?" Frances asked.
"Ah, uh...As always, you've outdone yourself once again, Frances."
Frances glowed. "Thank you. It's always nice to have your efforts appreciated. You know, Laura, I'd be happy to give you some tips in the kitchen."
"I'm discovering that Laura's talents lie elsewhere, Frances," Remington quickly explained, taking another swallow of cola.
He swallowed even harder a moment later as Laura's toes began inching their way up his leg beneath the table. He gave her a warning look, but she just smiled coyly and calmly took another swallow of her cola.
"My little Frannie Pooh here really knows how to cook --and I don't just mean in the kitchen," Donald said, winking at his wife.
Frances blushed and swatted at him, saying, "Oh, Donald. You're such a tease."
"Yes, I certainly am. But not nearly the tease you are, Sweetie Pie."
As Laura watched Frances and Donald cooing at each other, she decided to throw caution to the wind. She began inching her foot higher and higher up Remington's leg, enjoying the look of bemusement on his face.
The kids by now had seen more than enough lovey-dovey stuff from the adults.
"Can I be excused?" Mindy begged. "I've got homework!"

"Me, too," Danny and Laurie Beth echoed.

"Since when do you have homework, Laurie Beth?" Donald asked.
"Not homework, Daddy. I just need to give my dolly a bath," Laurie Beth clarified.
"Yeah, and I said I'd help her!" Danny blurted out.
"You said you'd WHAT?!" Donald asked incredulously, almost choking on his cola.
"Don't you want dessert?" Frances asked. "It's your favorite--chocolate cake with chocolate frosting!"
"Can we just have it for our bedtime snack, Mom?!" Mindy pleaded. "Please?"
"All right, kids. You're excused," Donald said.
The 3 of them hastily pushed back their chairs and ran from the dining room, hoping to get out of there before the adults started getting mushy again.
"Just don't get near the dog!" Donald yelled at their retreating forms. "I don't want fleas in the house!"
"Let's skip dessert," Frances whispered none too quietly into Donald's ear. "Better yet, I'll be dessert."
They giggled at each other and exchanged a long kiss. Remington and Laura, totally mesmerized by this highly unusual display of marital affection, could only sit and stare.
Frances suddenly came to her senses, saw Laura and Remington staring at her across the dining room table and quickly pulled herself together.
"Yes...Well, give me a minute to clear the table and I'll get the dessert," she said as she began stacking the plates. "Why, Laura. You hardly ate anything. Is anything wrong? Are you all right?"
"I'm fine, Frances. I just wasn't very hungry," Laura explained, looking first at Frances and then at Remington.
Remington could see by the look in Laura's eyes that food would not satisfy the type of hunger she was experiencing.
He tried to hide his embarrassment by clearing his throat.

"Here, honey. Let me give you a hand," Donald said, handing Frances the remainder of the dinner plates.

"Laura, why don't you and Remington go on into the living room," Frances suggested. "Donald and I will bring out the cake and coffee in just a minute."

Donald then pulled Laura and Remington up from their chairs and practically shoved them through the swinging door into the living room. They just looked at each in wonderment.
As soon as they were alone, Frances ran to Donald and gave him in a kiss which was full of promise. As he put his arms around her, they toppled backwards on to the table. Dishes rattled and a few pieces of silverware fell onto the floor, but they didn't notice. Even if they had noticed, they wouldn't have cared.
When they were forced to come up for air, Frances said, "Come on, Donald. Let's get out of here."
"And go where?"
Frances walked over to Laura's purse, which was laying on the counter. Rummaging through it, she located with Laura's keys. Holding them up for Donald to see, she said, "Laura's loft. Remember all the fun we had there before, Lamb Chop?"
"Oh, Frannie!" Donald exclaimed as he planted a big kissed on Frances' mouth. "You're as outrageous as ever!"
She grabbed his hand and started dragging him towards the back door.
"Hold on a minute! Shouldn't we ask Laura first?" Donald asked.
"She won't mind," Frances insisted, once again pulling him toward the back door.
"Frannie, wait! What about the kids?"
"They'll be fine!" she insisted. "Laura and Remington chase crooks and capture murderers every day; Watching three children for a few hours should be child's play compared to that!"
"Still, don't you think we should let them know we'll be gone?"
Frances poked her head through the swinging door and hollered, "Laura, you and Remington don't mind watching the kids for a few hours, do you? We won't be long!"
She was gone before Laura or Remington could utter a sound.
"It's all set. Let's go," Frances explained as she tempted Donald with caresses as they headed once again for the back door. "Oh, and grab the cake!"
Donald grabbed the cake and rushed out the door behind Frances.
"I sure don't know what's gotten into us," he said as he unlocked the door to the limo with Laura's keys.
Frances sighed wistfully, "Neither do I. But whatever it is, I like it!"
"Me, too, Honey Lamb," Donald agreed, throwing the limo into reverse and backing out of the driveway. "Me, too."
Laura and Remington sat primly on the couch in the living room, trying desperately to behave themselves.
"Care to tell me what we're supposed to do with three kids for a couple of hours?" Laura asked, not at all pleased by Frances and Donald's sudden desertion.
Remington reached over and lightly touched her cheek. "I don't know, Miss Holt. But I know what I'd like to do with *you* for a couple of hours."
"Oh? And just what is that?"
He gazed at her with such intensity and longing that she suddenly felt weak. Sighing, she crossed her arms and moved to the far end of the couch, saying, "We can't. The kids, remember?"
Remington sighed reluctantly. "Oh, yes. We're playing house. "
Laura glanced at him, focusing on his words. He hadn't meant it as an innuendo, but that's how she took it. Inching herself back over in his direction, she said, "Playing house... Hmm...I hadn't thought of it in quite that way, Mr. Steele."
Remington never had a chance to respond. Laura tackled him, pinned him beneath her on the couch and began kissing him. But before things could progress further, all three kids walked into the room. The embarrassed couple hastily straightened themselves, hoping their charges hadn't noticed anything.
"Can we watch TV?" Danny asked. "Our homework's all finished."
"I didn't have any," Laurie Beth piped up.
"Uh, yeah. Sure. That'll be fine," Laura responded, having no idea whatsoever what the question was.
"Where are Mom and Daddy?" Mindy asked.
"Uh...They stepped out for a moment. Had to take care of an urgent errand," Remington replied. Then suddenly he got an idea which lit up his entire face. "Say, kids! I noticed one of those small carnivals set up in that big vacant lot next to the shopping center. How about if Miss Holt and I take you down there? We can drop you off and pick you up in say," he glanced at his watch, "a couple of hours. How would that be?"
"Mommy doesn't let us go out on school nights," Mindy informed him.
"Oh, but this is a special school night," Remington said. "I'm sure your mother would understand."
"But I want to watch TV," Danny said.
"Reruns. All reruns," Remington said.
"I want to go," said Laurie Beth.
"Of course you do," Remington encouraged. "You all do. Come on, kids! Everybody into the car!" Not giving them a chance to protest further, he began ushering them towards the door.
"Mr. Steele, what are you doing?" Laura demanded, grabbing him by the arm before he could follow the kids outside.
"Giving us an opportunity to be alone," he explained. When she looked at him like he had lost his mind, he explained further. "It's simple, Miss Holt. We drop the kids off at the carnival and then we come back here for a few hours of uninterrupted bliss. Afterwards, we'll simply go back and pick up the kids."
Remington took a quick look outside and saw the kids climbing into the family station wagon.
"Well, I guess we won't be taking the limo," he groaned. "It appears Donald and Frances confiscated your loft *and* the limo."
"My loft?"
"Certainly. Where else would they go for a romantic interlude?"
"A motel?" Laura suggested.
"Frances and Donald? Really, Laura," Remington said, horrified by Laura's suggestion. "Now, back to the situation at hand. With the limo gone, we'll just have to use the family station wagon. But I'd really rather you drive. It wouldn't look proper for Remington Steele to be seen driving such a symbol of suburbia. "
"Really, Mr. Steele," Laura sighed, rolling her eyes. "Even if I *did* agree to drive, we can't just leave the kids at the carnival by themselves. If Frances ever found out they weren't being supervised, she'd kill me."
"Um, I suppose you're right," Remington reluctantly admitted after he had thought about it for a moment. "I'm open to suggestions, Miss Holt."
"Well, you did promise them the carnival. And since you are a man of your word, I suppose the carnival it will have to be."
"We go with them," Laura said.
That obviously did not sit well with Remington.
"And we take them on all of the rides," she added.
That sat even worse with him.
"You know, Laura; somehow I get the feeling this is your idea," Remington said as Laura locked the front door and they headed for the car. "You want to go to that carnival as much as the kids do."
She didn't mention that the kids didn't even want to go in the first place. She merely shrugged and patted his chest, saying, "Well, you know how I love circuses and carnivals, Mr. Steele. Cheer up; it won't be all bad. Maybe we can find a Tunnel of Love --or at least a dark, secluded corner."
"Knowing you, the mood will probably strike while we're on the roller coaster," Remington grumbled, getting into the passenger side of the car while Laura got behind the wheel.
Just then, a large furry dog bounded up to the car.
"Max!" all three kids exclaimed.
"Max?" Remington and Laura echoed.
"I'll bet he's been in that patch of poison ivy in the backyard near the fence--the one Mom told Dad to dig up," Danny explained. "Max always acts this way when he's been in it."
"Jumping higher than the car, eh? Must be some poison ivy," Remington remarked as Laura drove off, leaving the dog to his antics.

"No Tunnel of Love. Not even a dark, secluded corner," Remington grumbled for the fourth time in the past half hour. "And this place is even noisier than your sister's house."

But Laura didn't seem to mind. She and the children were enjoying themselves.

"Why don't you get us something to drink, Mr. Steele?"she suggested as they all came out of the Fun House.
"I'll go back to the car and get some cola," Remington offered. "The refreshments here are too terribly overpriced."
"We brought the station wagon," Laura reminded him. "The cola is in the limo. Remember?"
Remington smiled. "Actually, Donald and I put a couple of bottles in the station wagon when we went out to the limo before supper."
"What an unexpected pleasure!" Laura exclaimed with glee. "I don't know what it is about that stuff, but it does begin to grow on you after awhile."

"Yes, it does," he agreed. "It's not exactly Dom Perignon, but it does have advantages of its own."

"You certainly weren't complaining last night in the limo," she teased.

"Shh...not in front of the children," Remington quickly warned, pointing to the kids walking behind them happily munching on cotton candy.

"Of course," Laura quickly agreed. "We'll just go ahead and get in line over at the ferris wheel. You can meet us there after you get the cola."

A few minutes later, Remington was working his way through the ferris wheel line to where Laura was standing with the kids.

"Uh, pardon me. Excuse me. Watch you backs. Excuse me, ladies. Coming through."
"Hey, who said you could cut in?" a large man bellowed, giving him an icy stare.
"I'm not cutting in. Not really," Remington tried to explain. "My associate...I mean, my wife is up there holding our place in line. That's her with our three little ones."

That did the trick; the man let him through.

"What took you so long?" Laura asked when Remington finally caught up to them. "We're almost to the front of the line."

"The crowd is terrible, Laura. Very hostile," he explained, handing her a cola. "Here, you'd better drink fast if you want to ride on this round. They won't let you on with refreshments."

"Didn't you bring the kids anything?" she asked.

"There were only two bottles, and I already drank mine."

"Then I'll have to share mine with the kids. Find me some cups somewhere," Laura instructed Remington.

Luckily, the kids had noticed a water fountain earlier and remembered there were paper cups beside it. They gave Remington directions and he took off running, barely making it back in time for Laura to pour each of the kids a few swallows. She quickly finished off the rest just as it was their turn to climb aboard the ferris wheel.

The kids crawled into the first enclosed basket while Remington and Laura crawled into the next one as it came around. They were the last ones allowed on the wheel during that round.

"Lovely view," Laura commented as they were lifted high into the air and began going around. She snuggled closer to Remington as the wind began to ruffle her hair. He slipped his arm around her, savoring this rare carefree side of herself she was providing him with.

The ride was soon over. The kids were deposited on the ground and Remington and Laura were waiting for their turn to disembark. Something, however, went wrong. The wheel jerked and inched backwards, putting Laura and Remington back on the very top of the wheel. The operator pulled and pushed on the wheel's workings, but nothing happened. The ferris wheel would not move.

"Don't worry, folks!" the operator yelled up at Remington and Laura, who were the only two people still aboard. "We'll have you down in a jiffy! I'll go get some help, so just sit tight!"

Remington looked at Laura and shrugged as the operator ran for help. "Well, you heard him," he told her. "Just sit tight."

"I guess that's about all we can do," Laura agreed. "Unless you'd like to climb down another ferris wheel."

He shook his head. "Not tonight. Besides, like you said, there's a lovely view up here."
"Really, Mr. Steele," Laura said, blushing slightly under his penetrating gaze.
Remington leaned over and kissed her. Laura responded, returning his kiss with very evident enthusiasm. If the ferris wheel had been powered by passion, it would have begun spinning wildly. Because it was such a tight squeeze, it was a very unlikely spot in which to 'trip the light fantastic.' But as Laura and Remington were very aware, where there's a will, there's a way. They certainly had the will and they somehow made a way. The enclosed basket came dangerously close to tipping over several times, but Remington and Laura were oblivious to everything except each other.
The operator returned shortly with a maintenance crew. For a minute, the men just stood on the ground watching the swaying basket. They were clearly undecided what to do regarding the couple at the top. Should they bring them down now and risk embarrassing them, or leave them up there until they were more composed?
They began working on the wheel slowly, hoping that by the time the ride was repaired and in working order, the couple would be ready to come down. It wasn't too long before the gears began to grind and groan. Following a series of jerks, the wheel began to move again.
Remington and Laura braced themselves as the wheel started up and began bringing them down. They were surprised to hear the crowd applauding as they finally stepped out of their basket, but they assumed it was because they had been safely rescued. Little did they know they had been the most fascinating sideshow at the carnival that evening. It wouldn't be until later that they would realize exactly what they had been doing, where they had been while doing it and how very dangerous it had been.
"Splendid job, gentlemen. Thank you very much," Remington told he maintenance crew. "Please, carry on."
"He certainly has been," commented a crew member under his breath.
At the first sign of Remington and Laura's antics, the Piper children had retreated in embarrassment. After frantically searching the crowd, Laura and Remington finally spotted them sitting by themselves on a bench in a far corner of the park.
"Ah, there you are!" Remington exclaimed. "As you can see, we're safe and sound."
"Why did you run off?" Laura scolded. "We've been looking all over for you! Why didn't you just stay put by the ferris wheel? You knew they'd get us down eventually."
Mindy replied, "Aunt Laura, Mr. Steele, can we please go home now? We're tired."
"Yeah; real tired," Danny agreed.
"So soon?" Remington asked, surprised. "Well, I suppose if you're really that tired, we should leave now."
The kids bolted for the car, running with their heads down.
"They don't seem that that tired to me," Remington said as he and Laura hurried to keep up.

Frances and Donald still weren't back when the gang returned to the house. The kids left Laura and Remington to themselves and headed to the den to watch television.

"I worked up quite a thirst on that ferris wheel," Remington said as he headed into the kitchen. "How about you, Miss Holt?"

Laura nodded, so he poured them each a glass of cola. Taking their glasses into the living room, they sat down on the couch.
"You know, Laura," Remington idly commented, sipping his cola. "I rather enjoyed myself tonight at the carnival."
"You mean you enjoyed yourself on the ferris wheel," Laura said, snuggling up to him.
"Well, yes, that too. But you know, I never knew what a truly unique experience it would be accompanying children to an amusement park. Taking them on the rides...Feeding them cotton candy...Seeing the joy on their faces. It's something I wouldn't mind doing again in the future."
Even though Laura was barely listening, she had caught the words "unique experience." Nuzzling Remington's neck, she said, "Our day has been filled with unique experiences, hasn't it, Mr. Steele?"
As they began to share another kiss, they heard a slight cough. Looking up and seeing Laurie Beth standing in the doorway, they lost no time in moving to opposite ends of the couch.
"Ah, yes. What can we do for you, Mary Beth?" Remington asked.
"*Laurie* Beth," Laura corrected with a laugh.
"Tommy's at the back door," Laura's youngest niece said in a small voice. "He wants to know if he can come in and play for a while."
"Who's Tommy?" Laura asked.
"He lives next door."
"Well, I don't see any harm in that," Remington replied.
"But only for a little while," Laura added.
Laurie Beth scampered off and returned shortly with a boy a few years older than herself. They waved to Laura and Remington as they headed to the family room.

As soon as the children were safely out of sight, Laura began cautiously inching her way back into Remington's arms. She would have made it, too, if Mildred hadn't suddenly walked into the room.

"Mildred!?" Laura exclaimed in frustration.

"Where did you come from?" Remington asked, slapping Laura's hand away from his leg.
"Nobody heard me when I knocked at the front door, so I went around to the back and came in with that kid Tommy," she explained. "Care to explain why you two didn't hear me knock? I mean, you *are* sitting right by the door."
Laura opened her mouth to explain, but Mildred stopped her. "Never mind; I don't think I want to know."
"That explains how you ended up in the living room, Mildred, but it still doesn't explain what you're doing here, " Remington said.
"You're not going to like this, Boss," Mildred said hesitantly. "And I really hate to have to tell you about it, but..."

"Mildred!" Remington said impatiently, encouraging her to get on with it.

"Okay. Ralph and I were out earlier this evening and we stopped for a minute at the market so I could pick up a few things. So we were at the checkout counter and Ralph noticed that evening's issue of The L.A. Inquirer, hot off the press. Afraid you two made the cover again," she explained, holding it up for them to see.

Both of them gasped as they looked at the latest edition of the daily rag.
"At least the headline isn't as large as the other one. And the picture isn't quite as... revealing," Mildred pointed out, trying to look on the bright side.
"Let me see that," Remington said, snatching it out of her hands.
Beneath a picture of Remington and Laura on the upper corner of the cover was the caption Snub Splits Remington Steele Pair. Remington turned to the page and began reading aloud: Detective Remington Steele outraged secretary Laura Jolt when at the last minute, he refused to join her as presenter at an awards bash. The coordinator of the event dumped Ms. Jolt and brought in three actresses from a popular soap opera to hand out the awards. Ms. Jolt was steaming."
Hoping there was nothing more but fearful there was, Remington flipped through the rest of the tabloid. "Oh, no," he groaned as he encountered yet another offensive headline.
He made no protest as Laura grabbed it from him and read it aloud: Famed P.I. Remington Steele Checks Out Another Ladies' Room. Well, at least it can't get any worse," Laura rationalized.
"I'm afraid it can," Mildred said as she pointed out a picture of Remington with a the bandage on his forehead. The accompanying blurb had him claiming that Laura had caused the injury by hitting him.
"That was a joke, Laura," Remington exclaimed.
"We know that," Laura sighed, "but unfortunately, no one else does. Everyone will think we're having a feud and that I get my kicks beating you up. "
Remington sighed remorsefully. "Even worse, everyone will think I get *my* kicks by going into ladies' rooms."
"Yeah, Boss. They'll think you're a some sort of a pervert. Or at the very least, a peeping Tom," Mildred said.
Remington glared at her. "Mildred, is it really necessary to elaborate?"
"I guess not," Mildred answered sheepishly. "Guess I should just leave now, huh?"
"Just a minute, Mildred," Laura said as she suddenly got an idea. "Would you mind staying with the kids for a little while? They're in the family room watching TV."
"Well, actually, Miss Holt, Ralph and I ..."
"Thank you *so* much, Mildred!" Laura said as she grabbed Remington's arm and began pulling him to the front door. "Mr. Steele and I will only be gone a few minutes. The kids won't be a bit of trouble!"
Laura gave Remington a shove and pushed him out the door before rushing out herself a moment later.
Mildred never had a chance.
To be continued...

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.

This story copyrighted 1982-2002 by Debra Talley. The characters of Remington Steele
are used without permission. It is purely for entertainment purposes.