- Steele in the
- Part 8
- Debra Talley &
(This story is part of the Brendan
- Laura had been contrite when she
walked into the office the next morning and returned Remington's
keys. She apologized for running out on him, but made no mention
of his marriage proposal. Following her lead, he did not bring it
up again, either.
- Remington was rather ashamed of
himself, however, that he could not find the courage in the next
few weeks to have another serious marriage discussion with Laura.
He desperately wanted to sit her down and pour out his heart to
her, but kept using the old excuse that the moment wasn't right.
He realized the right moment might never come on its own, but
still he kept hoping some unforeseen circumstance would force the
two of them to face their feelings.
- Several weeks had passed since
that fateful night. It was now May--and Remington was still
waiting for that unforeseen circumstance. He was feeling quite
hopeful as he walked out of the elevator at Century City and made
his way down the corridor to Remington Steele Investigations. He
paused outside the double glass doors and studied his reflection
in the glass, straightening his already straight tie.
- After a few moments of silence,
he looked himself squarely in the eye and said, "I'm not giving up
on us, Laura; I promise you that. If I've learned nothing else
from you, I've learned patience." Smiling at his reflection, he
continued. "This isn't the first time I've taken two steps forward
and one step back, and I suspect it won't be the last."
- Mildred shook her head when she
noticed him standing outside the agency doors talking to himself
again. He had been doing that a lot lately, she realized. It had
almost become a morning ritual. When she had asked him about it,
he had merely said, "We all could do with a little pep talk each
morning, eh, Mildred?" After that, she hadn't mention it
- He was whistling when he entered
the office a few moments later, greeting Mildred with his usual,
"Morning, morning, morning."
- "Miss Holt in yet?" he asked,
pointing to Laura's door.
- "Not yet," Mildred informed
- "Bit unusual for her to be this
late, isn't it?"
- "Oh, she called a while ago. She
had to schedule an emergency appointment, so she's going to be a
- "An emergency? Is she all
- "Oh, sure, Chief," Mildred
assured him, giving him a pat on the shoulder. "There was just
something she had to take care of. Why don't you handle this
message while you're waiting for her to get here."
- Remington glanced at the message
as soon as Mildred handed it to him. "Estelle Becker. Do I know an
Estelle Becker, Mildred?"
- "Not that I'm aware of, Boss. But
she was very insistent that you return her call as soon as
possible. Said it was extremely important."
- "That's what they all say, isn't
it?" he idly remarked, studying at his watch and then holding it
to his ear.
- "Don't sweat it, Boss," Mildred
instructed him. "Miss Holt probably got held up in traffic or
something. You just go on and make that call to Ms. Becker and
I'll buzz you know just as soon Miss Holt gets here."
- "Alright, Mildred," he said,
turning towards his office. "The paper in yet?"
- "It's on your desk, Boss," she
- Walking into his office,
Remington pocketed the message and never gave it another thought.
Settling himself behind his desk, he picked up the morning paper
and turned to the entertainment section. Mildred came in a few
minutes later with coffee and then left, carefully closing the
door behind her. He was just turning the page when he heard his
door open again.
- "I could do with a spot more
cream," he said without looking up, assuming it was
- "I don't believe it!" Laura
screeched as she burst into the room and slammed the door behind
- Startled, Remington jumped.
"Laura, really! It's only cream. If you feel that strongly about
it, I'll get it myself," he said as he stood up, coffee cup in
hand, and moved around the desk. "By the way, it's nice of you to
finally join us."
- "You wouldn't believe the morning
I've had!" she explained breathlessly. "I'm still having trouble
believing it myself!"
- "A bit trying, eh?" he asked,
putting on a manner of concerned sympathy. "Mildred told me you
had an appointment. Did something happen?"
- "Yes, something happened!" Laura
declared indignantly. "The Rabbit died!"
- "What?" Remington exclaimed,
dribbling a mouthful of coffee down the front of his
- "You heard me! The Rabbit died!"
- "Oh, my God," Remington muttered,
slowly walking across the room and sitting down heavily on the
- "My exact words, Mr. Steele,"
Laura told him.
- Remington's cup dropped onto the
floor, but he just sat there in shock.
- "How?" he finally asked. "How did
- "Oh, I suppose it was just one of
those things," she airily replied.
- Remington studied Laura carefully
for a few moments before suddenly jumping to his feet and
escorting her over to the couch. "Here, you shouldn't be on your
feet. In fact, why don't you lie down?"
"Mr. Steele, really!" Laura
protested. "I'll be fine just as soon as I recover from the
- "Of course you will," he agreed,
nodding his head as he watched the coffee stain spreading on the
carpet. "It certainly is quite a shock, I must say. As much for me
as it is for you."
- She looked at him, puzzled. "Why
should you be concerned?"
- "Really, Laura. I *did *have a
part in it, didn't I?"
- "You did?" she asked, even more
- "Well, yes. Oh, come now, Laura.
You surely can't be that ignorant about...these types of
- "No, I'm not," she declared as
she stood up. "But now I've got to decide what to do about it.
- Remington stood also, putting his
arm around her. "Now, Laura, let's not make any hasty decisions.
There's plenty of time for us to weigh all the alternatives. Just
remember, love; I'll always be here for you."
- "Thank you, Mr. Steele," Laura
mumbled, baffled by Remington's overt concern."But I've already
made my decision."
- As she reached for the phone,
Remington caught her arm. "Laura, are you sure? I mean, have you
really thought it over carefully?"
- "Yes, Mr. Steele. I've already
make up my mind. Now give me the phone; I don't want to waste any
more time on this inconvenience. "
- Remington took Laura into his
arms and began rocking her back and forth. "Don't think of it as
an inconvenience, Laura. Think of it as a gift. I mean, this could
work out so perfectly for us. You'll see. Just trust me on
- "Mr. Steele, would you please
stop rocking me?" Laura demanded. "It's making me dizzy."
- He stopped immediately. "Oh, of
course it is. I wasn't thinking. Here, sit back down." He ushered
her back to the couch and pulled her down with him. "Do you feel
faint? Nauseous? Can I get you anything? Perhaps a glass of water?
No, milk! You need milk! Lots of milk. I'll send Mildred out for
some," he exclaimed, starting for the door.
- Laura just stared at him. "Mr.
Steele, get a grip on yourself! Really, I'm fine! I don't need
anything--least of all milk! And I certainly don't understand your
- "Oh, Laura," Remington said as he
sat back down beside her and gave her a hug. "I intend to do
nothing but pamper you. Whatever you need or want..."
- "Thank you, Mr. Steele, but that
isn't really necessary," she said, totally baffled by his
behavior. He had acted strangely before, but never *this*
- "Oh, but of course, it is,"
Remington insisted. "I know your independence has always prevented
you from accepting pampering, but things are different now. You
can just sit back now, take things easy and relax."
- "I can't take the time to relax,"
- "But you have to," he
- "I don't have to do anything,"
- "Laura, be reasonable. It's not
just you we're talking about now," Remington reminded her. Then
suddenly throwing his arms around her and breaking into a big
grin, he said, "Oh, Laura, this is so exciting! The rabbit died!
Do you know how overjoyed I am about this? I mean, this the
solution to everything!"
- Laura stood up and stared down at
him. He had clearly gone berserk. "Mr. Steele," she said sharply.
"I don't know why the news that the Rabbit died thrills you so
much, but I don't find it the cause for celebration that you
obviously do. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why *you*
are excited about it!"
- Remington was stunned. Slowly, he
rose to his feet. "You're not happy with this turn of events?" he
- "Of course I'm not happy!" she
declared, flinging her hands into the air. "Why in the world would
you think this would make me happy?! I'm frustrated, upset
and...and...mad as hell! My morning has been ruined. My whole day
has been ruined. No, my whole *week* has been ruined! Do you
realize how long it will take to fix this problem? Or how
*expensive* it's going to be?!"
- "Laura, if it's expense you're
worried about, you have nothing to worry about. I'm sure our
insurance will cover it."
- "Well, it certainly
- "I see no reason why it wouldn't
offer full coverage. But don't worry; I'll check on it right
away," Remington promised, walking to her side.Then taking her
hand, he said, "Really, Laura. I never realized you would feel
this way about it. I mean, I always assumed this was something you
- "Something I wanted?" she echoed
incredulously. "Where did you get that idea?"
- "Oh, come now, Laura," Remington
said, putting his arm around her shoulders. "I'll admit it's a bit
of a shock, coming out of the blue like this. But it's far from
being the tragedy you are imagining. Can't you just try to think
of it as a wonderful surprise? I feel sure that once you've had
time to adjust to the idea, you'll be as excited as I am."
- "I doubt it," Laura said, shaking
- "Trust me on this, love," he
assured her. "And after you've cozied up to the idea, we'll still
have plenty of time to make plans for..."
- Just then Mildred hustled through
the door, saying, "Boss, that Estelle Becker is on the phone
again. Didn't you call her back?"
- Remington was in such an excited
state about Laura's news that he never even heard her. Instead, he
planted a noisy kiss on her cheek, saying, "Miss Holt has some
- "Yeah, I know," Mildred told
- "You know?" Remington asked,
quite surprised. "I just naturally assumed Laura would have told
"Yeah, isn't it tragic about Miss
Holt's car? Stopped right there on the freeway!"
- Remington's face dropped.
- "You know, honey," Mildred said,
turning to Laura. "I think the estimate they gave you is out of
line. You should check around and get some more estimates before
giving them the go ahead to do the repairs."
- "You're absolutely right,
Mildred. I'll get started on that immediately."
- Remington just stood rooted to
the floor. He opened his mouth several times and attempted to say
something, but apparently he had forgotten how to speak.
- "Your... your car?" he at long
last managed to say.
- "Yes, my car," Laura snapped.
"What did you *think* I was talking about?"
- "Yes, your car. Of
*course*...your car!" he repeated foolishly, the reality of the
situation suddenly dawning on him. "Certainly! The Rabbit died...
and you're upset."
- "Yes, my Rabbit died! On the
freeway!" Laura explained as she suddenly started pacing around
the room. "I had to flag someone down and have them call a tow
truck. Then I had to wait at the garage for a repair
estimate---which, by the way, is outrageous-- and *then* I had to
call Fred to pick me up. I tried to reach you, but there was no
answer. You must have left already."
- "Miss Holt, will you please stop
pacing?" Remington requested. "You're making me dizzy."
- Laura glared at him, but to
Remington's great relief, she did stop pacing. "So as you can see,
Mr. Steele," she added, "I've had quite a morning."
- "Indeed, Laura," Remington
managed to respond. "Rest assured, I share your feelings of
Just five minutes ago, Remington had
been filled with joy and excitement at the prospect of marrying Laura
and becoming a father. Any questions Laura might have had about his
ability to accept responsibility and make a commitment would finally
have been settled. He had been looking forward to showing Laura what
a wonderful husband and good father he would be. And now, just like
that, all of those hopes were crushed.
Laura could tell Remington's thoughts
were a million miles away. "Mr. Steele?...Mr. Steele? Are you
- "Oh, Miss Holt," he said, trying
to snap himself out of his disappointment. "You were saying...Ah,
yes, you were saying your... Rabbit...died on the freeway."
- "I certainly don't understand
your glee about the situation," Laura complained. "Do you find
some sort of perverse delight in my predicament?"
- "Ah, no, Laura. Not at all,"
Remington said, attempting to explain his behavior. "Quite to the
contrary. Like I said earlier, I sympathize with you in
- "Then *what* were you so happy
about?" she demanded.
- "Oh, ah, yes..." he stammered,
trying desperately to think of something to say to explain
himself. "I was just, uh, thinking of the fun we would have
shopping for a new car."
- "A new car?" Laura asked in
disbelief. "Mr. Steele, I can't afford a new car! I can barely
afford the repairs on this one!"
- "Laura, let me take care of the
repairs for you," Remington offered. "It's the least I can do,
under the circumstances."
"Mr. Steele, I hate to interrupt, but
Miss Becker is still waiting on line one!" Mildred impatiently
reminded him. "At least, I think she's still waiting."
"Who's Estelle Becker?" Laura
"I haven't the foggiest," Remington
explained with a shrug. "But I'm sure it's nothing important."
- That seemed to satisfy Laura and
she headed for her office. Mildred returned to her desk, leaving
Remington alone take Ms. Becker's call.
- "How bitter a thing it is to look
into happiness through another man's eyes," Remington said to
himself, thinking of Donald and Sheldon Quarry.
- "What was that?" Laura asked
before closing her door.
- "It's Shakespeare," he
- Laura just shook her head and
retreated into her office. Mr. Steele was certainly acting
peculiar, but she didn't have time to dwell on it. There was work
to be done.
- Remington watched as Laura
disappeared into her office and closed the door behind her. Still
overwhelmed by the whirlwind which had just blown through his
office, he sighed and sadly shook his head. Tomorrow, he told
himself. He'd think about it tomorrow.
- Then remembering his call on line
one, he reached for the phone. "Miss Becker? Remington Steele
here. Sorry to keep you waiting, but my associate had a matter
which demanded my immediate attention. Now exactly how can I help
you?...Well, yes, I suppose I can come down to your office...At my
earliest convenience?...Certainly. Say, in an hour?...Splendid.
I'll see you then."
- Remington hung up the phone,
wondering what the Department of Immigration and Naturalization
could possibly want with him. He puzzled over it for a few
moments, but finally convinced himself not to worry about it. He'd
know the reason soon enough.
- He finished reading the
entertainment section of the morning paper and then made a final
stop at the bathroom. Halfway to Laura's office, he paused. He had
planned to ask her to accompany him, but after further
consideration he changed his mind. After all, she had been through
enough frustration for one day. He would just fill her in
- Besides, he had a bad feeling
about his urgent summons from the INS.
- Bypassing Laura's door, Remington
walked into the reception room.
"Tell Miss Holt I'll be out for a few
hours," he instructed Mildred as he strode by her desk and out the
double glass doors.
"Right, Boss," Mildred said, not even
looking up. "Where can Miss Holt reach you?"
- Remington never heard her. He was
- Author's Note: "Bonds of
Steele" would pick up here, followed immediately by my own
"Steeling a New Life."
- The End
- Written 1986
- Revised April 1999
This story copyrighted 1982-2002 by
Debra Talley. The characters of Remington
- are used without
permission. It is purely for entertainment purposes.