- Steele in the
- Part 5
- Debra Talley &
(This story is part of the Brendan
- They hadn't made it out of the
living room before they heard the pitter patter of little
- "Aunt Laura," Laurie Beth
whimpered, clutching her Cabbage Patch doll. "Can I have a drink
- Laura excused herself and
escorted her niece back to bed, leaving Remington and Mildred to
prepare the movie treats.
- She finally got Laurie Beth
tucked into bed and settled, but not before giving her two glasses
of water and a back rub. When she finally returned to the den,
Laura found Remington and Mildred stretched out in front of the
television, already munching on popcorn.
- Remington, his shoes off and feet
up, patted the couch beside him. "Ah, Miss Holt, just in time. I
managed to save you a seat."
- After Laura sank onto the couch
and settled into his arms, Remington began feeding her a handful
of popcorn. When she had finished, she meticulously licked the
salt from each of his fingertips. Mildred tried to ignore them,
concentrating instead on the movie. Laura and Remington ignored
both Mildred and the movie, concentrating instead on their new
method of eating popcorn.
- Mildred suddenly cleared her
throat but Laura and Remington, caught up in themselves, didn't
hear her. She quickly cleared it again, louder. This time they
heard her and looked up.
- Laurie Beth was once again
standing in the doorway, looking like a ghost in her long white
nightgown, clutching her Cabbage Patch doll and her teddy
- "Aunt Laura, there's a monster
under my bed," Laurie Beth whimpered.
- Laura sighed and reluctantly rose
to her feet. "He wouldn't by any chance be a popcorn eating
monster, would he?"
- "How did you know?" Laurie Beth
asked as Laura took her hand and led her back to bed.
- Remington got a faraway look in
his eyes as he watched Laura walk away hand in hand with her
- The look did not go unnoticed by
Mildred. "Getting ideas, Boss?"
- "Umm. Watching Laura with Laurie
Beth makes me wish..."
- "...that this was your home and
Laurie Beth was your daughter? That you and Miss Holt were doing a
lot more than just 'playing house'?"
- "Perhaps," Remington hesitantly
admitted. "But if it's so obvious to you how I feel, why isn't it
equally obvious to Laura?"
- "Oh, she knows. She'd be blind
not to," Mildred assured him. "She's just afraid to admit she
knows, even to herself. But she'll come around; just be patient.
- "I hope you're right. Otherwise,
we're going to sound awfully silly some day making verbal passes
at each other when we're both in wheelchairs," Remington
- Mildred laughed. "You have a
movie quote for everything, don't you?"
- "Misspent youth," he explained.
Then remembering his interrupted proposal earlier that evening in
Bel Air, he added, "Who knows? I may even propose with a movie
quote. Assuming, of course, I ever get up the nerve to propose in
the first place."
- "Don't worry, Boss. When the time
is right, you'll know it. And if the right time doesn't arrive
soon enough, just create it."
- "What do you mean?" Remington
asked, reaching for his back.
- "Oh, just that Miss Holt may need
a little nudge to force her to admit she loves you," Mildred
- Remington perked up on hearing
the word love. "You really think Laura loves me,
- "Are you kidding? If she didn't,
you think she'd be giving you such a hard time?"
- Remington grinned from ear to
- Warmed as he was by Mildred's
encouraging words, he didn't even realize he was scratching.
Mildred watched him until she could stand it no longer. "You got
an itch, Boss?"
- "Several, actually," he
- "Didn't I hear the kids say Max
keeps getting in the poison ivy in those bushes in the
- "Perhaps," Remington
- "You don't think maybe
- "Absolutely not! Why in the world
would I have been wallowing around in the bushes in the
- "That's what I'd like to know,"
Mildred said, her tone assuring Remington that she already knew
exactly what he had been doing.
- He just gave her a chastising
look and continued to scratch. Before either of them could say
anything more, Laura walked back into the room, scratching her
- Mildred couldn't resist, in spite
of the glaring look Remington gave her. "Got an itch. honey?" she
- "Several, actually," Laura
admitted as she once again took her place beside Remington.
- "Well, maybe you two can scratch
each other. Mr. Steele seems to have developed an itch,
- Remington shot Mildred a look
that spoke volumes. She wisely hushed, but she simply couldn't
- "I think she's finally asleep,"
Laura said as she snuggled against Remington's chest. "I sang
every selection from Snow
White I could think
- "Wish I could have heard you,"
Remington said wistfully.
- "Maybe someday," Laura said,
patting Remington's knee.
- Remington's face lit up like an
airport beacon. Had he heard her correctly? Had Laura made another
illusion to their future together, or was it just wishful thinking
on his part? As he contemplated exactly what it was Laura had
implied, he began chewing on his thumbnail. He always chewed his
nails when he was nervous and Laura always nagged him about it.
Tonight, however, she was so engrossed in the movie she hadn't
- They continued to watch and
Remington continued to chew, but after a while Laura became aware
that something wasn't quite right. Remington had been holding her
hand and she had even been vaguely aware of him kissing her
fingertips. Eventually, it occurred to her what the problem
- "Ah, Mr. Steele, I believe that's
my fingernail you're chewing on," Laura pointed out with a teasing
- Remington stopped chewing and
glanced down. He had indeed been chewing Laura's nail instead of
his own. "Sorry," he said sheepishly, placing her hand in her lap
and giving it a pat. "Guess I got carried away."
- In no time at all, Remington was
contentedly chewing his own thumbnail, once again engrossed in the
exploits of John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.
- It wasn't long, however, before
they once again heard the pitter patter of little feet.
- "Aunt Laura, I can't sleep,"
Laurie Beth whimpered, clutching her Cabbage Patch doll, her teddy
bear and her Raggedy Ann.
- Laura sighed and started to get
up again, but Remington stopped her. "My turn," he offered,
- "Be my guest," Laura said. "But
no pillow fights, Mr. Steele! You know tomorrow is a school
- Remington scooped Laurie Beth up
in his arms, saying, "Aunt Laura's just an old spoil sport, isn't
she, Sweetheart? Don't you worry, though; we'll have another
pillow fight one day real soon. Now, say good night to Aunt Laura
and Aunt Mildred."
- "Good night, Aunt Laura. Good
night, Aunt Mildred."
You know what I think?" Remington
asked conspiratorially as he headed towards Laurie Beth's bedroom. "I
think Aunt Laura is ...No, wait; maybe I'd better whisper it in your
ear." Leaning close, he whispered something in her ear which caused
her to giggle.
Laura savored the sight and sound of
them until they disappeared from view. She had the same faraway look
in her eyes Remington had displayed just a few moments
- Once again, the look did not go
unnoticed by Mildred. "Getting ideas, honey?"
- "Umm; watching Mr. Steele with
Laurie Beth makes me wish..."
- "...that this was your home and
Laurie Beth was your daughter? That you and Mr. Steele were doing
a lot more than just 'playing house'?"
- "Yes," Laura admitted hesitantly,
suddenly absorbed in tracing the patterns of the couch with her
finger. "But I'm afraid Mr. Steele isn't the 'settling down'
- "What makes you say that?"
Mildred asked, puzzled.
- "He told me," Laura said.
- "And when was this exactly?
- "No, not exactly," Laura
"Well, when then?" Mildred
"The first year we met. He told me
he'd always avoided commitment like the proverbial plague," Laura
said remembering that night on the Devil's Playground when Remington
had wanted to be honest.
- "People change, honey. That was
over three years ago," Mildred pointed out.
- "That may be, Mildred, but he's
never actually *said* anything to me to imply otherwise."
- "You're wrong, Miss Holt. He says
it every day--with his actions, with his deeds, with his eyes. If
I ever knew a man who had made a commitment to the woman he loves,
it's Mr. Steele. You're just too afraid to acknowledge it."
- "What do you mean I'm too afraid?
*I'm* not the one who's afraid of commitment!" Laura
- "Are you sure about that?"
- Laura just stared at her, really
taking in what she was hearing.
- "You're so busy demanding the
words that you're ignoring the deeds. It's like a defense
mechanism for keeping him at bay. Don't you think Mr. Steele
- "Is it wrong of me to want to
hear the words, Mildred?" Laura asked nervously.
- "Don't you see, honey? That's the
whole problem. He says the words every day, in his own way. You
just don't listen. And besides, it's a two-way street, you know.
How many times have you given him the words he needs to
- Laura had no answer to that
question. It was true; she demanded the words from Remington, but
yet she had never given him those very same words. Perhaps Mildred
was right. Perhaps she *was* the one afraid of commitment. After
all, she never dreamed he would stick around for four years--and
yet here he was. True, he had left earlier that year and gone to
London, but hadn't she driven him to it? And besides, he hadn't
really left her; he'd merely gone in search of his identity. And
that was her doing, as well.
- Could it be that maybe Remington
*was* ready to settle down and make a real commitment? After all,
he'd been reassuring her that he wasn't going anywhere ever since
the Cranston fiasco. And he had certainly never given her any
reason to doubt the sincerity of those words. Maybe Mildred was
right. Maybe Remington did say the words to her every day. Perhaps
it was time she started listening with her heart. Perhaps it was
time they broke their self-imposed stalemate and got on with their
- After several moments of silence,
Laura stood up and said, "I think I'll see what's keeping Mr.
- "Sure, honey," Mildred said. "Why
don't you do that?"
- Mildred smiled to herself as
Laura, still deep in thought, left the room. She was satisfied
that she had done a good night's work. After all, what could be
more satisfying than helping the two people she loved more than
anyone else in the world? Besides, while Laura and Remington were
wistfully thinking of children, Mildred was wistfully thinking of
godchildren. And the first step towards achieving that end was to
get her surrogate children happily married.
- Maybe after tonight, Laura and
Remington were at least one step closer to matrimony.
- Laura found Remington sitting on
Laurie Beth's bed surrounded by three enthralled children. Laurie
Beth was sitting in his lap while Mindy and Danny sat on the bed
in front of them with their legs crossed. Since Remington's back
was to the bedroom door, Laura leaned against the doorway and just
took it all in. It was indeed one of the most beautiful scenes she
had ever witnessed.
- She was soon as enthralled with
the story of The Children
of Lir as her nieces and
nephew were. She couldn't help feeling great empathy for the four
hapless children who had been changed into swans for 900 years by
their jealous aunt. But in spite of her interest in Remington's
mesmerizing retelling of the classic Irish fairy tale, Laura was
transported to other times, other scenes and other people.
- She was reminded of Marcos
Androcos and Xenos and the soul wrenching night when she wouldn't
have been able to say no. She was reminded of little Joey and
"McNamara's Band" and her prediction that Remington Steele would
prove to be a good father one day. She was reminded of a holy
terror named Angel being fed five bowls of Fudge Ripple ice cream
by a man who couldn't connect a sewage line to an RV. She was
reminded of a cheap little pickpocket named Jackie who was saved
from a life of crime by a man who had once been there himself. She
was reminded of a man who gave horsie rides and ordered pineapple
pizza and started pillow fights.
- But suddenly it was no longer
scenes from the past which occupied Laura's thoughts, but a scene
from the future. She was no longer seeing Mindy, Danny and Laurie
Beth but three dark-haired, blue-eyed, dimpled children who looked
remarkably like Remington. Laura would have known those children
anywhere. They were her children...His children... Their children.
- Laura suddenly realized the story
was over. As Remington hustled Danny off to his own room and Mindy
off to her own bed, Laura receded into the shadows before anyone
could notice her, stealing a few more undetected moments to savor
this wonderful side of Remington.
- "In you get," Remington told
Laurie Beth as he scooted her under the covers and tucked her in.
"Now, we had a deal, remember?"
- "I remember," she
- "Of course you do. Now, if you
have any more trouble sleeping, just try telling Annabel Lee,
Pookie and Raggedy Ann about The Children of Lir," Remington suggested. "The next thing you
know, it'll be morning."
- "Do you love my Aunt Laura?"
Laurie Beth innocently asked.
- "Ah...why, yes, I believe I do,"
Remington admitted after only the slightest hesitation. It rather
surprised him how easy it was to admit the truth.
- "Are you going to marry
- "I'd like to, very much. But that
depends on your Aunt Laura."
- "You mean she doesn't want to
- "Well, I'd like to think she
wants to marry me," Remington explained, searching for the right
words. "But sometimes I think your Aunt Laura is afraid to get
married to anybody."
- "Well, because when she was a
little girl, her daddy ran away from home and left her mommy all
alone. And now she's afraid that if she gets married, her husband
might run away just like her daddy did."
- "That's silly," Laurie Beth
declared. "You wouldn't leave Aunt Laura like Grandpa left
- "I certainly wouldn't. But
sometimes when a person has been hurt, it takes a long time for
them to get over it."
- "Do you think Aunt Laura will
ever get over it?"
- "I hope so," Remington admitted.
"And until she does, I'll just have to stick around, won't
- "Well, if she won't marry you, I
will!" Laurie Beth offered, throwing her arms around Remington's
neck and giving him a tight hug.
- "I'll remember that," he said,
giving her a squeeze in return. "Now, to sleep with you, before
your Aunt Laura comes in here and has my hide because you're still
- 'Will you stay for just a minute
after you turn out the light?" she asked.
- Remington assured her he would,
so Laurie Beth snuggled under the covers with her bedtime
companions and allowed him to turn off the bedside lamp. He kept
his promise, watching her for several moments more before quietly
leaving the room.
- Laura walked back to the den
slowly, knowing she had a few moments after Remington turned off
the light. She found herself digesting all the wonderful things
she had just seen and heard. Those last few moments had touched
her to the very depths of her soul. She knew without a shadow of a
doubt that she wanted marriage and a family with her man of
- She had listened with her
- "Did the swans ever turn back
into children?" Mildred nonchalantly inquired as Laura sank back
onto the couch.
- "Yes, but after 900 years they
were so old they turned into dust," Laura answered in a daze. Then
realizing she had been tricked, she turned to Mildred. "How did
you know Mr. Steele was telling Irish fairy tales,
- Mildred just shrugged. "So I was
spying. So fire me. You must admit, you two were gone for quite a
while. I had to be sure you weren't having a rendezvous behind the
rubber tree plant or the under the kitchen counter or in the
- "Mildred, really!! You've been
reading too many sleazy romance novels!" Laura declared.
- "From what I've gathered about
these past couple of days, you and Mr. Steele could write your own
book," Mildred teased.
- "Well, you're certainly one to be
talking! What about you and Ralph in the supply room?"
- "But that was just one time!"
Mildred pointed out. "It's a wonder the two of you aren't
exhausted! You've been holding a marathon!"
- "Just listen to us!" Laura said.
"What are we arguing about, anyway? This isn't a contest, you
know. The fact is, we're all just innocent victims of an
- "But it sounds so tacky when you
put it like that," Mildred complained.
- "I just mean that we aren't
responsible for our recent interludes of spontaneity," Laura
explained. "We were under the influence, so to speak."
- "Whatever you say, honey."
- Just then Remington bounced into
the room, rubbing his hands together. "She's all tucked in and I
can practically guarantee we won't be hearing the pitter patter of
little feet again tonight."
- "Indeed, Mr. Steele. In that
case, you can use your gourmet skills and fix us some more
popcorn. We're about out," Laura said, munching on the few
- "You're not serious?! John Wayne
is about to drag Maureen O'Hara from the train station. Surely you
can't expect me to miss that?!"
- "Will you two sit down and shut
up?" Mildred ordered. "Some of us are trying to watch!"
- When the movie was over, Mildred
gave Remington a pair of Donald's pajamas and escorted him to the
spare bedroom. She then retired to the master bedroom with
- Remington spent a miserable night
tossing and turning. Being down the hall from Laura was bad
enough, but that was the least of his worries. By the wee hours of
the morning, Remington was suffering from a full blown case of
poison ivy. He knew he shouldn't scratch, but he never had been
one to resist temptation.
- Finally, about 4:30 a.m., he
decided he could stand the agony no longer. There were some itches
he simply couldn't reach. He padded to the bathroom and rummaged
through the medicine cabinet, hoping to find some sort of
medication to relieve his discomfort.
Nothing. Hoping there was something
in Donald and Frances' bathroom, he tiptoed to the master bedroom and
quietly knocked. After calling Laura's name several times and
receiving no response, he was debating whether or not to try the
To his relief, however, the door
opened. To his disappointment, it was Mildred.
"What is it, Boss?"
- "Ah, is Miss Holt awake?"
Remington asked hopefully, twisting awkwardly in an attempt to
reach a particularly irritating itch.
- "Sleeping like a baby," Mildred
assured him. "What's wrong?"
- "A slight medical emergency," he
explained, scratching frantically. "I seem to have developed a
rather nasty rash and I'm in desperate need of some sort of
- Remington was scratching like a
mad man now. It wasn't a pretty sight.
- "Oh, you poor thing! You've
really got it bad! Whatever you do, don't scratch!" Mildred
- "That's easy for you to say,
Mildred! You're not the one covered with a rash!"
- "Covered, Boss?"
- "Just find me some medicine,
Mildred. Okay?" he pleaded impatiently.
- "Hang on. I'll check the medicine
cabinet," Mildred promised, turning and closing the door behind
- Remington knelt down and tried to
see through the keyhole.
- "Drop something?" Mildred
inquired as she practically fell over him when she opened the door
- "Ah, it's just easier to reach my
ankle from down here," Remington not too convincingly explained as
he straightened up. Thrilled to see Mildred holding a bottle of
calamine lotion, he exclaimed, "Ah, Mildred, you're a life
- "Careful, Mr. Steele. You don't
want to wake up the children," Mildred reminded him.
- Watching him attack the small of
his back with a vengeance, Mildred instructed, "Take off your
- "What?" he asked,
- "Take off your top, so I can rub
some of this stuff on your back."
- "Oh, with pleasure!" Remington
declared as he began unbuttoning with great fervor.
- Mildred rubbed the soothing
lotion gently over his pitiful back and he sighed his
- "If the rest of you looks this
bad as this, maybe I'd better..."
- "Thank you, Mildred, but no
- "You sure, Boss? It wouldn't take
that long. I mean, how many places could have been
- "Believe me, Mildred; you'd be
surprised," Remington explained dryly.
- "How come Miss Holt isn't
suffering similar side effects from your interlude in the bushes?
I mean, she's been scratching a little, but nothing like
- "I'm sure I don't know, Mildred,"
Remington replied testily. "Ahh, ahh-- just a little lower. Oh,
- "I guess that about does it,
unless you've changed your mind about..."
- "That'll be fine," Remington
assured her quickly as he began buttoning his pajama top. "Just
leave me the lotion."
- "Right. Hopefully, you'll be able
to get some sleep now," Mildred said.
- "Maybe, if I can just keep from
scratching myself raw," Remington said. "Maybe if you could just
tie my hands behind my back..."
- "That sounds kinky, Boss. You'd
better let Miss Holt handle that," Mildred said wickedly.
- Remington gave her a blank stare,
then said, "Good night, Mildred."
- "Good night, Mr. Steele. Oh, and
Boss....Maybe you and Miss Holt should scratch those bushes off
your list of romantic getaways."
- "Good night, Mildred!"
- Remington applied calamine lotion
to the rest of his affected areas the best he could and crawled
back into bed. He made a valiant effort to sleep, but it was a
lost cause. What he really needed was for Laura to apply some
lotion to those areas which were so awkward for him to reach. Of
all nights for Mildred to be playing chaperone!
- Reaching a decision, he climbed
out of bed and headed to the kitchen. If he couldn't breach
Laura's bedroom door, then perhaps he could breach her
Laura couldn't sleep. She had been
awake ever since she heard Mildred rummaging through the medicine
cabinet. She scratched her arm, wishing there had been an extra
bottle of calamine lotion. Her outbreak of poison ivy was mild, but
still irritating enough to keep her awake.
Suddenly she became aware of
something hitting against the window. Crawling cautiously out of bed
so as not to disturb Mildred, she quietly crept across the room.
There in the moonlight stood Remington, holding a small box of some
sort. When she saw him throw another item from the box, she quickly
opened the window and found herself being assaulted by a chocolate
- "Ah, Laura. Thank goodness,"
Remington whispered. "I was afraid Mildred would show up."
- "Are you alright?" Laura asked,
- "Yes, and no. Meet me at the back
door and I'll explain. And whatever you do, don't wake Mildred!"
- "Throw me another bonbon first"'
- Remington threw it and Laura
- "I knew if I threw you chocolates
you'd follow me anywhere," Remington teased.
- Then suddenly there were two
forms in the window instead of just one. Remington groaned and
shook his head, suddenly feeling like an errant school boy who had
just been caught by his mother.
- Mildred just smiled at him across
the bushes. "Nice try, Boss, but you're busted."
- Laura shrugged her shoulders and
gave Remington an apologetic look. "You heard the lady.
- Mildred smiled again and shut the
window. Remington slowly turned to walk away, but paused when he
heard the window being opened again. Perhaps Mildred had taken
pity on him and had changed her mind, he hopefully thought.
- "Mr. Steele, could you throw us
that box of chocolates?" Mildred asked.
- "Get your own chocolates!"
Remington snapped as he turned and walked away quickly. The nerve
of that woman! Refusing to let him see Laura, and then expecting
bonbons in return!
- A dejected Remington walked to
the back door and turned the knob. Or rather, he tried to turn the
knob. Unfortunately, the door was locked. He could have sworn he'd
left it unlocked!
- Glancing at his watch, he
realized it was 5:15. He certainly couldn't ring the doorbell at
that hour and wake up the children. And he couldn't very well pick
the lock without any of his tools. So, having no other
alternative, he sat down on the steps to wait for the morning's
activities to begin.
- It could be worse, he decided. He
couldn't sleep anyway, and at least he could scratch outdoors just
as easily as he could scratch indoors.
- About that time, Max realized
Remington was planning to stay for a while. He galloped up, gave
him big sloppy kiss and then stretched out beside him. Remington
was too tired to argue. Instead, he reached into the box and
pulled out a piece of candy.
- "Care for a bonbon, Max?"
- Receiving no answer, Remington
ate the bonbon himself.
To be continued...
This story copyrighted 1982-2002 by
Debra Talley. The characters of Remington
- are used without
permission. It is purely for entertainment purposes.