Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division
 Steele for Better or for Worse
Part 10
Debra Talley and Thekla Kurth

"Ah, Laura, you look lovely," Remington said as Laura emerged from the bathroom at his condo. She was dressed in a simple pink sweater and skirt. "I can see that we're ready to go somewhere, but where? I didn't exactly make any plans for a honeymoon. I didn't even know for awhile if there'd even be a wedding."
Laura smiled in understanding. She knew what he meant. "Well, I sort of took care of that," she shyly admitted. "I was hoping that we'd...hoping we could....well, you know... Anyway, I went ahead and made some reservations."
She pulled out two airline tickets from her purse and handed them over to Remington.
He glanced at them. "Open return, eh? I'm impressed."
"Is that all you have to say?" she asked. "What about the destination?"
"Hawaii is an excellent choice, my dear. I definitely approve," he assured her.
"Thank you. Then shall we be off?" she suggested.
"Certainly, Mrs. Steele," Remington agreed as he picked up the two suitcases.
Laura grabbed her overnight case and purse, following him into the corridor and then into the elevator. The elevator proved to be the perfect place for a few more stolen kisses. They didn't even notice the neighbors smiling at them when the elevator door opened into the lobby.
Fred drove them to the airport, where they boarded the late flight to Hawaii. Soon they were sitting in the first class section toasting each other with champagne, their arms entwined.
It was late when they checked into the honeymoon suite overlooking the beach. Remington appreciatively glanced at the complimentary champagne and began looking over the complimentary fruit and cheese basket when Laura announced she was changing for bed. Her tone was casual, but her look was enticing. Remington merely nodded, almost afraid to get his hopes up. He'd been getting them up often these past few days only to have them dashed to bits.
Since Laura was using the main bathroom off the bedroom, Remington decided to change in the smaller half-bath. He found a pair of blue silk pajama bottoms and a robe in the suitcase that Laura had packed for him. He also noted admiringly that she had packed all the right things for him. There was just the right mix of clothes for a tropical vacation, including soft cotton shirts, tank tops and loose fitting trousers.
After changing, he carried the chilled champagne into the bedroom. He turned down the covers and fluffed the pillows, placing both chocolate mints on Laura's pillow. He then lay down on the bed to await his bride. He hoped tonight would be their wedding night, but if not, there'd be other nights. Neither of them was going anywhere. They'd come to terms with each other at long last and admitted their true feelings. He loved Laura with all his heart and she loved him. They had their whole future ahead of them now.
As Laura was getting ready for the night, she couldn't help reflecting on the recent turn of events, also. That morning, after her horrible argument with Remington, she'd been afraid she would never see him again. She smiled to herself as she remembered the comfort she had received from crying on Mildred's shoulder. Mildred had promised to 'talk some sense' into him, even if it meant giving him a good "klonk" on the head. Mildred had been so sure she that could convince him to give their relationship another chance that Laura believed her. She even promised that she would pack and make honeymoon reservations while Mildred searched for him.
Laura didn't know it then, but Mildred had gone ahead and made wedding arrangements for Justice Bailey to meet the three of them at 6 p.m. at the Little Chapel of Perpetual Happiness. Mildred had known she'd feel silly if they didn't work things out, but she had taken that chance. Laura wasn't even mad when Mildred confessed what she had done. Without Mildred's meddling, their last minute wedding wouldn't have been possible on such short notice.
Laura knew without a doubt that her current happiness was real. It was no dream and no figment of her active imagination. Remington had declared his love for her, saying the words she had longed to hear. They'd been married in a beautiful wedding which surprisingly enough came close to the wedding of her dreams. She had vowed to be a good wife to the man she loved, and she knew they would have a wonderful life together.
Laura finally emerged from the bathroom and discovered her husband lying on the large king-sized bed. She was so filled with emotion, she could only stand and gaze at him.
"Laura? Is everything all right?" he asked.
His voice brought her out of her retrospection.
"Fine," she reassured him with a smile, walking closer to the bed. "I was just thinking how lucky I am."
"Funny. I was just thinking how lucky *I* am," Remington confessed as he held out his hand to her.
He pulled her down beside him on the bed and kissed her. With a chuckle he noticed she was wearing her terry cloth robe, which was not the most provocative of apparel for a honeymoon. He reasoned that maybe she was too tired after all. He could understand if she was. Their true wedding night could be postponed one more night. Holding Laura close and sleeping beside her would be enough for tonight. It wouldn't be the torture it had been those first few nights following their unexpected first marriage. The barriers had finally fallen away between them.
"Laura?" he asked.
"Tired?" he asked, stroking her hair.
She curled against him, resting her head on his shoulder. "A little," she admitted.
She was looking at her left hand, which was lying on his bare chest. "Where did you get this ring?" she unexpectedly blurted out. She'd been curious about it ever since he'd slipped it onto her finger, but she hadn't had the courage to ask until now.
"Meaning did I steal it?" he joked.
"No, I never thought..." she said, though that thought *had* actually crossed her mind.
"Don't worry, Laura. I obtained it quite honestly," Remington assured her, placing his hand over hers and intertwining their fingers. "I suppose you'd like to hear the whole story?"
She nodded.
He began, having no qualms about revealing this facet of his past. "I did a bit of recovery work for a South African gentleman, just shortly before I came to Los Angeles and assumed the mantle of Remington Steele. Two jewel encrusted pendants had been stolen from his family. They were worth a fortune, but he didn't care about that. He wanted them back for sentimental reasons since they had been in his family for generations. It wasn't too difficult to track down the culprit. I mean, one-of-a-kind pieces like that are extremely hard to dispose of. I caught up to him in a bar in Marrakech--did him in with a displaced ice cube. I recovered the pendants and the grateful South African gentleman paid me with the largest uncut diamond ever unearthed from his diamond mine."
"I suspect there's more to the story than you're telling me," Laura teased.
"Well, maybe it was a bit more harrowing than that, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it."
"Just one thing," Laura mused. "If the stone was uncut, how in the world did you manage to have it cut and mounted in just a couple of hours?"
Remington sighed. "It was already cut and mounted into a ring for you. All I had to do was retrieve it from my safe."
"What safe?"
"The one behind my Casablanca poster."
Laura looked surprised.
"You never knew it was there, did you?" Remington asked.
She shook her head.
He laughed. "Well, now that you do know, I'll give you a crack at it when we get home."
"And what will I find when I do crack it?" Laura inquired.
When Remington smiled enigmatically, Laura knew there had to be a catch. Probably when she opened it, she'd find it empty. That would be just like him.
"Wait a minute. You said you'd already had the diamond made into a ring for me. When was that?" she asked. "The first time we were married?"
Remington leaned back against the pillows, lacing his hands behind his head as he answered. "Actually, I had it done about a year or so ago - soon after your house was blown up."
"You had a ring made for me then? But we had no intentions of getting married then," Laura reminded him.
"The ring and I were just waiting for the right time," he said sincerely.
Laura was touched, but still a bit confused. "Why didn't you use it for our first wedding?"
"That was merely undercover work, or so we thought at the time. No, the ring wasn't going on your finger until we had a genuine marriage based on love and commitment."
Laura raised her head and gently kissed him.
At the completion of the kiss. Remington reached over and retrieved the two mints he'd set aside earlier. Popping them into his wife's mouth, he then let her lick the chocolate from his fingers.
"Sorry, I'm afraid that that's all there is for now, my dear. But tomorrow I'll send out for boxes of chocolate, bushels of chocolate, truckloads of chocolate..."
"Oh, please," Laura groaned. "What are you trying to do?"
"Merely trying to please my bride," he answered innocently.
"And what do you want in return?" she asked suspiciously.
"Well, I admit, there is something I'm curious about," Remington admitted.
"And what would that be?"
"Why did you have Justice Bailey omit the word 'obey' from the ceremony?"
She laughed, seemingly relieved at this minor point. "Does it really matter?"
"Not really, but I'm curious. Indulge my curiosity," he requested.
"I don't make promises lightly," she explained, "and that's one promise I don't think I could have kept."
He chuckled at the absurd notion of Laura obeying anyone. "I'd never have used it against you," he sincerely told her. "You know that."
"I know that. But I did promise to love, honor and cherish," she reminded him. "Isn't that enough?"
Remington smiled at her. "It's all I've ever wanted, Laura. For better or worse, eh?"
"For better or worse," Laura repeated. "I think we've had enough of the worse. It's time for the better," she said suggestively.
Remington feigned shock. "Why, Mrs. Steele, that sounds practically lascivious."
"It is," Laura admitted as she stood up and slipped off her robe. "I didn't pack a single nightgown," she stated matter of factly.
Remington gulped and stared as Laura turned off the bedroom light. The only light in the room was the moonlight streaming through the patio doors.
When Remington didn't speak for several moments, Laura bagan to feel self-conscious. She was afraid he was disappointed by her unexpected and daring move or by what he was seeing.
On the contrary, Remington was flattered by Laura's overtness. He wasn't seeing her freckles or that she was not the most buxom of ladies. He had never seen a lovelier sight.
"Oh, Laura," he finally managed to gasp.
He held out his arms to her, too overwhelmed to speak. He never thought he'd be speechless when they finally experienced their magical moment, but there were no words to express what he was feeling. Instead, he just gazed at her with love.
Finally, his voice choked with emotion, he asked, "Now, Laura?"
Laura laughed softly and replied enthusiastically, "Now, Remington!"
Then they both laughed, hardly daring to believe it was finally going to happen.
"I hate to ask, but are you sure there will be no more interruptions?" Laura asked.
Remington pulled Laura close, feeling the touch of her skin against his. "The Do Not Disturb sign is on the door, I've left word at the front desk that we are not to be disturbed under any circumstances, and Mildred is an ocean away," he assured her, brushing his lips across her forehead. "So baring fire, flood, earthquake or any other natural disasters, it's just you and me.
"We'll create our own earthquake," Laura suggested as she kissed him.
Remington pulled away for a minute and raised himself to look squarely into Laura's face. "What you said earlier about wanting more than a wink and a tumble...You don't really think that's all I'm interested in, do you? Granted, that may have been my initial reason for taking on the mantle of Remington Steele, but..."
Laura hushed him by placing her finger over his lips. "...but it's not the reason you've stayed around for over two years, and it's not the reason you married me."
Remington took her hand in his own and slowly brushed it with a kiss. "And what is the reason I married you?" he inquired.
"Because we're partners, not just at work but in every way that matters," Laura declared simply. "Because you want to spend the rest of your life with me as much as I want to spend mine with you. And because...because you love me."
"Indeed, I do," he echoed as he kissed her.
She gently stroked his cheek, gazed into his eyes and winked.
"Why, Laura Holt-Steele. Is that yourself a-winkin' at me or is it merely the light playing tricks on me eyes?" he asked in playful Irish brogue.
"It wasn't the light," Laura assured with a smile. "And just what are ye aiming to do about it, you sweet talking American?"
Remington had never seen Laura's eyes shine as brightly as they did at that moment. Then to his amusement, she winked again. They both laughed as he pulled her into his arms and tumbled them across the bed. Their laughter soon turned into passion as the honeymoon of their dreams finally became a reality.
The next morning Laura and Remington were enjoying a leisurely brunch on their private patio.
"Do you want to go for a walk on the beach later, maybe take a swim?" Remington suggested.
Laura shrugged noncommittally between bites of her melon. She was enjoying just watching him.

"Body surfing, perhaps? No! I know! We could build a sand castle!" he exclaimed excitedly. Receiving no response, he continued to brainstorm. "We could always rent a boat, hmmm? Or maybe you'd rather just take in some of the local sights and do a bit of shopping. I mean, we do need to bring back some souvenirs for Mildred or she'll think we spent our entire honeymoon in our room."

"I think that's what she'd like to think," Laura said, knowingly. "But enough about Mildred."
"You're absolutely right," Remington said as he disappeared inside for a moment, returning with a large box of chocolates.
"I promised you chocolate, my dear, so open wide," Remington ordered as he began feeding the candy to Laura one piece at a time.
She oohhed and ahhed, but then became suspicious. "Why do I suspect you just have ulterior motives, Mr. Steele?"
"Because you have a suspicious mind, Mrs. Steele." He fed her one more chocolate and then closed the box. "Actually, I've heard that chocolate is a powerful aphrodisiac, so I had these delivered just in case. But I don't think we'll be needing them, will we?" he teased.
"Oh, you," Laura laughed as she lunged for the candy box Remington was holding in his hand.
He calmly left the patio and walked into their honeymoon suite. Chasing him into the bedroom amid wales of laughter, she finally tackled him onto the bed.
"My, you are the eager beaver, aren't you?" he exclaimed, a tad surprised.
Laura blushed at his assumptions. He chuckled in amusement and then willingly surrendered the candy.
Laura looked from the chocolates in her hand to her husband beneath her. She had no more doubts about the love she and Remington shared, but that didn't mean she couldn't have a little fun with him.
"Would you mind getting me a glass of champagne?" she asked sweetly as she sat up in bed.
"Certainly," Remington said pleasantly as he fetched her glass from the patio.
"Thank you," Laura said sweetly, smiling mysteriously.
Taking the glass, she sipped quietly as he joined her on the bed. Then without a word, she calmly proceeded to pour the contents of her glass down the front of his chest.
"Laura!" Remington declared as he jumped and gave Laura a threatening look.
"I've heard that champagne is a powerful aphrodisiac," she stated matter-of-factly before breaking into laughter.
Remington's fleeting anger disappeared as the lilt of his laughter soon blended with Laura's. They discovered that laughter was also a powerful aphrodisiac. As they gazed lovingly into each other's eyes, they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the worst of times were over and the best of times were only beginning.

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.
This story copyrighted 1982-2005 by Debra Talley. The characters of Remington Steele
are used without permission. It is purely for entertainment purposes.