Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division
 Steele for Better or for Worse
Part 8
Debra Talley and Thekla Kurth

Felicia counted her lucky stars. She never dreamed she'd get be able to enter the bedroom undetected if Remington were in the room. She noiselessly crossed the room and leaned over her former lover's sleeping form. Putting his leg back under the covers, she lowered her face to within a millimeter of his and began placing little kisses all over his face.
Remington was aroused out of his slumber, but just barely.
"Uh, Laura...,"he mumbled. "Mmmm, no fair...they'll hear...hmmm." Without opening his eyes, he put an arm around Felicia's neck and gave her a sleepy, half-hearted kiss.
His arm dropped limply. "Ah, Babe - it's too bloody early," he mumbled, barely opening his mouth, which was buried in his pillow. After a beat, he muttered, "What time is it?"
"It's the right time, honey," Felicia purred seductively as she ran her fingers through his rumpled hair.
"Hmm. Dark at the Top of the Stairs. Dorothy McGuire, Robert Preston. Warner Brothers, 1960," Remington mumbled into his pillow. "Go back to sleep, Luv."
Felicia captured Remington's face between her hands and gave him an extremely passionate kiss. He slowly dragged himself back into consciousness as Felicia's passion increased. His passion rose, also, as he once again put his arms around her neck.
Then suddenly he knew that the soft creature in his arms was not Laura. Suddenly wide awake, he sat up and found himself staring at a very smug Felicia. She started to speak, but Remington clapped his hand over her mouth. After reassuring himself that Laura was still asleep, he angrily flung back the covers, grabbed his robe from the foot of the bed and literally dragged Felicia into the bathroom. After closing the door, he reached blindly for a towel and stuffed it beneath the crack under the door to insure their privacy. Then flipping on the light, he quickly scrambled into his robe.
"Oh, must you?" Felicia asked disappointedly as she caressed Remington's bare chest.
He slapped her hands away, tied the belt and crossed his arms angrily over his chest.
"What exactly are you doing here?" Remington demanded in a whisper.
"Oh, I just dropped by for a little visit. It was awfully thoughtful of you to leave the rope out for me," Felicia explained as she ran her finger across his cheek.
He stopped her by taking hold of her wrist.
"Really, Michael, you hardly seem glad to see me at all."
"You always were a sharp lady, Felicia," Remington said, adding extra emphasis to the word 'lady'.
"Really, Michael; I don't know why you're so upset. I obviously wasn't interrupting a passion filled evening between you and your blushing bride Nora."
"Laura," Remington corrected.
"Whatever. The fact is, there were miles between the two of you in that bed. Hard to believe, since you're still on your honeymoon. Trouble in Paradise already?"
"Quite the contrary. Everything is perfect- except for a couple of details- which, incidentally, are none of your business," Remington warned, pointing a finger in her face.
"Michael, Darling, they hang people for a couple of details," Felicia said with a grin.
"I see you're still playing the movie game, Felicia," Remington noted.
"I had an excellent teacher," Felicia explained seductively, stepping closer to Remington. "And the movie game wasn't all we studied together, was it? Surely you remember."
"Now that I'm married to Laura, I have no reason to remember those old days. I'm far more concerned with my present and my future than I am with my past," Remington explained.
"Really, Michael, you disappoint me. You never struck me as the marrying kind. I mean, getting married is serious business. It's kinda formal, like funerals or playing stud poker," Felicia explained with a pout.
"William Gargan to Charles Laughton. They Knew What They Wanted. RKO, 1940," Remington quoted. "And you'd be surprised how stimulating stud poker can be. Now enough pussy footing around, Luv. Why are you here?"
"Actually, Michael, I'm in desperate need of a loan and I was hoping you would find it in your heart to help me out, for old times sake," Felicia explained.
When Remington said nothing, Felicia was afraid he was going to turn her down. Instead, he asked, "How would you like to earn the money instead?"
"It depends on what you have in mind," Felicia explained.
"Oh, it's perfectly legal," Remington insisted. "In fact, you'd be helping put a jewel thief behind bars."
"Sounds stimulating, but it couldn't begin to compare with the thrill I felt when I caught my first jewel thief," Felicia said suggestively.
"Yes, but that one got away, my dear, whereas this one won't. Not if you want to be paid, that is," he explained.
Felicia sighed. "You drive a hard bargain, but what choice do I have?"
"There is one condition, however," Remington told her.
"And what would that condition be?"
"That you behave yourself. That means you stay away from Laura and keep your distance with me. This is purely business."
"As you wish," Felicia conceded with a sigh. "But I do hope that on occasion you're reminded of our times together and find yourself smiling. Is it a crime to want to be remembered?"
Remington smiled and lifted Felicia's chin tenderly. "No. The pharaohs built the pyramids for that reason."
"It's always a movie quote with you, isn't it?"
"What did you expect?" Remington asked with a lopsided grin. "Friends?"
"Friends," Felicia said rather unenthusiastically. "I suppose I'll just have to make do with that, won't I?"
"Like I said, you always were a sharp lady. Now come on; we better set this plan in motion. First, we've got to go and locate an old mate of mine and sell him on the plan. The rest will have to wait till the light of day. "
Remington instructed Felicia to stay in the dark bathroom while he quickly dressed in basic black in the darkened bedroom. He then led her to the bedroom door and opened it. After taking about two steps into the living room, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. Turning quickly, he pushed Felicia back into the bedroom and closed the door.
"Can't go that way... Mildred or Clarissa might hear," Remington explained.
"Got them waiting in the wings already, Michael, dear?" Felicia teased.
Remington shot her a dark look and motioned to the window. Felicia grabbed the rope first and began her descent. After one long last look at Laura and a silent prayer for her understanding, Remington quickly followed her. With any luck, he could find Monroe, explain the plan and be back in bed with Laura before she realized he was gone.
Unfortunately, however, Lady Luck was not smiling on Remington this night.
As soon as he and Felicia disappeared into the dark LA night, a very angry Laura sat up in bed, grabbed her husband's pillow and flung it across the room. How dare he sneak out the window with Felicia! That man! And to think she'd come *this close* to giving in to him! Well, he certainly had another thing coming if he thought he was going to climb back into her bed.
Remington silently scampered back through the open window of his bedroom just as dawn was creeping over Los Angeles. He was in luck; Laura was still asleep! As he quickly changed back into his pajama bottoms, he noticed his pillow lying in the middle of the floor. Puzzled, he picked it up and turned it over several times. Then shrugging, he crawled back into bed and settled the covers under his chin. He was overwhelmed with the temptation to take Laura in his arms, just to hold her close, to feel her body against his. But Laura was the early riser, not him, and she might be suspicious. So he waited quietly for the alarm to go off .
Minutes later, the alarm insistently signaled the start of the day. Laura turned it off and lay back down for another quick 40 winks--or at least that's what Remington thought. Actually, she was trying to decide the best way to confront her philandering husband. After weighing her options, she decided to let him make the first move.
She didn't have long to wait. Remington yawned several times and lazily stretched. Then rolling over beside his bride he took her in his arms, burying his face in her hair. "Mm--finally--l wake up with you in my bed. Hopefully, tonight it will be just the two of us--alone," he said dreamily as he placed little kisses on Laura's neck.
Puzzled, he felt her stiffen.
"You seem awfully chipper this morning, Mr. Steele. I thought it took you hours to wake up," Laura said.
"Yes, well, actually I've already been awake for quite some time now," Remington admitted.
"Really?" Laura asked, using a tone of voice which dared to explain.
"Couldn't sleep. I was distracted by the beautiful warm body just inches away from me," he explained, nibbling on her shoulder and slowly easing the strap of her nightgown off her shoulder with his teeth.
"How dare you?" she declared as she scrambled out of bed and stood glaring at him, hands on her hips.
Remington was shocked; he just sat there in silence, rubbing his stinging jaw. What had happened to the warm receptive creature he'd gone to bed with just the night before?
"How dare you sneak out the window with Felicia for an evening of fun and games and then crawl back in our honeymoon bed as though nothing had happened!" Laura declared indignantly. Then grabbing her pillow, she hit him with it full force across the chest .
"You double-dealing, philandering, two-timing, deceitful, conniving snake in the grass!" she yelled as she repeatedly hit him with her pillow, ignoring his protests.
Finally, he grabbed his own pillow and jumped off the bed, anger blazing in his blue eyes. "You spy on me and then call me deceitful?" he accused.
"What was I supposed to do? Invite myself along for the fun and games? I assure you, that's too kinky for my blood!" Laura declared.
Remington slapped his pillow across her chest and she retaliated.
"I don't believe what I'm hearing, woman! You really think I'd jump out of bed with you and into bed with another woman?" Remington declared.
"What else was I supposed to think? I saw you leave with her! And then you had the nerve to climb back into our bed and
act as though nothing had happened!"
"That's because nothing did happen!!" Remington said, popping her with his pillow.
"Hah!!" Laura screamed, slapping him across the face with her pillow.
Remington grabbed her pillow and flung it to the floor. Then he dropped his own and faced Laura with a look in his eyes that frightened her.
"You still don't trust me," Remington stated in clipped tones. He was breathing heavily now, as was Laura.
"Well, you've certainly never given me much reason to trust you, have you? Our entire relationship has been based on deceit--the most recent example, before tonight, being Cannes," Laura spit out bitterly.
"Cannes, again! I'm beginning to think we'd have been better off if we'd just ended it then and there!" Remington declared.
Laura continued to breath heavily, but did not speak.
Remington said nothing, either. He just walked to the closet and grabbed some clothes. With his back to Laura, he couldn't see the look of panic on her face. Clothes in hand, he turned to face her.
Laura squared her shoulders. She wasn't about to let him see how scared she was.
"That's it--take your clothes and just get out!" Laura yelled bitterly. "All you've ever wanted from me anyway is a roll in the hay. I should have given in to you years ago just to get rid of you! We've done nothing but bring out the worst in each other. I swear, if you existed, I'd divorce you! It'd serve you right to be deported! You've been nothing but trouble since the minute I met you, and I was better off without you anyway!"
Remington breathed heavily, stunned and hurt by what he'd just heard. "You mean that, don't you?" he said quietly.
"Just get out! Get out of my life!" Laura yelled as she shoved his shoulder.
He forcefully grabbed her wrist, causing her to grimace. He was so stunned by what he'd just heard that he failed to realize the strength of his grip. When Laura began beating her fists on his chest, he dropped his clothes and gripped her shoulders.
"Let go of me, you miserable swine!" she demanded.
Abruptly, Remington released her.
Her eyes stinging, she bent over, gathered up his clothes and flung them in his face. "Just take your clothes and get out of here! I can't believe you've stayed around this long!"
Remington silently snatched his clothes. He gave Laura a look so full of hurt and pain it sent shivers up her spine. Then he quietly turned and walked to the door.
His hand on the knob, he slowly turned and faced her. "I stayed around because I thought we cared for each other," he explained softly. "Perhaps I was wrong."
He opened the door and left, closing the door softly behind him.
Laura backed up against the mirrored closet door and slid slowly to the floor. Burying her face in her knees, she cried.
Remington went through the day in a daze. His plan to bust Keyes, set in motion the night before with Monroe and Felicia, had worked to perfection. Having realized that Keyes had seen him with Clarissa at the jail and would be suspicious, Remington had convinced Monroe to take his place at the poker game. Monroe was one of the best. He and Remington had once spent countless days on Barbados playing poker while recovering from injuries they received in a scheme gone bad. Remington was relieved to see that Monroe hadn't lost his touch.
Felicia definitely had not lost her touch, either--a fact of which Remington was only too recently aware. She had, however, kept her word. She had played up to Keyes admirably and kept him distracted. He hadn't even noticed that Monroe was cheating. Monroe busted him at the table, Keyes retrieved the gems to pay off his losses and Vigilance Insurance and the Police nailed him.
Finally, Clarissa's problem was solved.
Remington couldn't help but think of the irony. Now that he and Laura could have an uninterrupted evening together, he doubted she'd let him within 10 miles of her. He had never felt so despondent. His whole reason for living had just vanished.
Monroe could tell something serious was bothering him. He'd never seen Mick so withdrawn and preoccupied; he was just a shadow of a man. Monroe wanted to help, but Mick wouldn't let him get close. Having no choice, he watched Mick settle into the Agency limo and head for who knew where.
Remington wasn't ready to return to his condo yet; indeed, he wondered if he'd ever be ready. Instead, he had Fred drive him to the Agency. With sagging shoulders, he shuffled into the Agency lobby, walked right past Mildred without a glance and headed in the direction of his office.
Mildred's heart ached at the sight of him. She had heard every word of his argument with Laura in the wee hours of the morning. As a result, she'd spent the morning comforting a repentant and guilt ridden Laura. Laura was sure she'd never see him again, that he'd been hurt once too often--that she had finally driven him away.
Remington was as big a wreck as Laura was, Mildred noted.
"Boss, you look awful!" she said as she walked over to him. "You're all haggard and pasty; your right eye is twitching."
Remington just stared at her with bleary eyes. With no comment, he walked around her to his office door.
"Uh, Boss, you have company," Mildred said.
"Get rid of them, Mildred. I'm not in the mood for company. I'll wait in Laura's office."
"Uh, Boss--it's Estelle Becker from Immigration. Remember her?"
"I remember, Mildred; only too well," Remington sighed sadly. Taking a deep breath, he entered his office.
"Good afternoon, Miss Becker," Remington said blandly as he took a seat behind his desk. "What can I do for you?"
"Something's come up, Mr. Steele. Our routine investigation of Justice Bailey has uncovered a slight problem."
"A problem?" Remington asked.
"Well, nothing that can't be easily taken care of. But, yes, a problem," Miss Becker explained. "It seems that the Justice's license expired the day before he performed your marriage ceremony. He's since received a new license. Immigration understands that these things happen, Mr. Steele, but it will be necessary for you and Miss Holt to get married again as soon as possible. We're willing, however, to give you a few days if you'd like to plan something special."
Remington was lost in thought. He could still hear Laura's voice: 'If you existed, I'd divorce you! It'd serve you right to be deported. You've been nothing but trouble since the minute I met you, and I was better off without you anyway!'
"Mr. Steele? Mr. Steele? Are you all right?" Miss Becker asked, concerned. "You don't look well."
"You're very perception, Miss Becker. But I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me; there's a personal matter I must attend to that simply cannot wait." With that, Remington stood and escorted Estelle to the door.
"Are you sure you're all right, Mr. Steele?" she asked, truly concerned.
"That remains to be seen, Miss Becker. Good day," Remington said as he opened the door.
To everyone's surprise, Mildred tumbled directly into his arms.
"0h, Mr. Steele, I'm so sorry. I, uh, I tripped," she explained lamely.
"Of course, you did," Remington said, knowing full well she had been eavesdropping.
"You heard?" Remington asked as soon as Estelle said her farewells and left.
"Every word. Listen, Boss, I can call Justice Bailey right now and schedule a time for another marriage ceremony ASAP," Mildred offered.
"No," Remington stated flatly.
"What do you mean 'No'?" Mildred asked in disbelief.
"Mildred, unless you suddenly went deaf, I'm sure you heard our little domestic confrontation this morning. Perhaps the best thing I can do is to just leave. As of this morning, I seem to have no reason to stay."
"But, Boss, all newlyweds have little spats!" Mildred explained sympathetically.
"Perhaps, but I think our confrontation this morning far exceeded a little spat," Remington explained dejectedly, walking past Mildred and heading for the door.
"Where are you going?" Mildred asked, suddenly afraid.
"I'll call Fred," Mildred offered as she grabbed the phone.
"I think I'll walk," Remington explained. "Goodbye, Mildred." Leaning over, he gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"See you tomorrow, Chief?" Mildred hopefully asked.
Remington just looked at her with pain filled eyes, turned, and walked away.
To be cont... part 9

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.