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
Felicia definitely had not lost
her touch, either--a fact of which Remington was all too 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
Remington couldn't help but think
of the irony. Finally he and Laura could have an uninterrupted
evening together--and here 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 Remington;. 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withdrawn and preoccupied; he was just a shadow of a man.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. After sending Fred
on his way, he slowly shuffled into the Agency lobby. Walking
right past Mildred without as much as a glance, he headed toward
Remington was as much of a wreck
as Laura was, Mildred noted. Her heart ached at the sight of him
disheartedly walking through the office with sagging shoulders.
She didn't think she'd *ever* seen his shoulders sag; he always
stood tall and proud so as not to ruin the line of his suit. But
then, he had far more important things on his mind at the moment
than the line of his suit. She had heard every word of his
argument with Laura in the wee hours of the morning. She'd spent
the morning comforting a repentant and guilt ridden Laura, who was
sure she'd never Remington again--that she had finally driven him
"Boss, you look awful!" Mildred
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. Without saying a word, he just walked around her and
continued on his way to the sanctuary of his office.
"Uh, Boss, you have company.
She's waiting in your office," Mildred informed him.
"Get rid of them, Mildred. I'm
not in the mood for company. I'll just wait in Laura's
"I remember, Mildred; only too
well," Remington sighed sadly.
Realizing he had no choice, he
took a deep breath, turned the knob and entered his office.
"Good afternoon, Miss Becker," he
said blandly as he sat down behind his desk. "What can I do for
"Something's come up, Mr. Steele.
Our routine investigation of Justice Bailey has uncovered a slight
"A problem?" Remington
"Well, nothing that can't be
easily taken care of. But, yes; a problem. It seems that the
Justice Bailey's license expired the day before he performed your
marriage ceremony. He's since received a new license, but it will
be necessary for you and Miss Holt to get married again as soon as
possible. Immigration understands that these things happen, Mr.
Steele. We're more than willing to give you a few days if you'd
like to plan something special," Miss Becker explained.
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
"Mr. Steele? Mr. Steele? Are you
all right?" Miss Becker asked, concerned. "You don't look
"You're very perceptive, Miss
Becker. Uh, listen...I'm really sorry for the inconvenience, but
I'm afraid you'll have to excuse me. I have a personal matter to
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, concern evident in her eyes.
"That remains to be seen, Miss
Becker. Good day," he said as he opened the door.
Mildred surprised them all by
tumbling into his arms.
"0h, Mr. Steele...I, uh, I
tripped," she explained lamely.
"Of course, you did," Remington
said, knowing full well she had been eavesdropping.
Miss Becker left quickly after
saying her good-byes.
"You heard?" Remington
"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
"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
"Where are you going?" Mildred
asked, suddenly afraid.
"I'll call Fred," Mildred
offered, grabbing the phone.
"I think I'll walk," Remington
explained. "Goodbye, Mildred." Leaning over, he gave her a kiss on
"See you tomorrow, Chief?" she
asked hopefully .
Remington just looked at her with
pain filled eyes, turned, and walked away.
At that point, Mildred's strong
maternal instincts took over. Laura had cried on her shoulder that
morning and now it was Remington's turn. If ever he needed
sympathy and understanding, it was now and Mildred intended to be
there when he needed that shoulder. She grabbed her purse and
headed out the door, keeping a discreet distance behind Remington.
He took one elevator and she took another.
She loved those two kids, but
they had danced a dance around each other long enough. Never had
she known two people more perfect for each other or more anxious
to deny it. It was time she brought them to their senses once and
for all, even if it meant cracking their heads together and then
locking them in a closet until they settled their problems. She
owed so much to her surrogate children and she was determined to
see them through this crisis.
Mildred followed Remington for
what seemed like hours, although actually it was only one. She
ached with him as he wandered aimlessly and despondently through
the streets of LA. Finally, he paused in front of a seedy watering
hole which sported a couple of hookers conspicuously hanging
around in front. Remington eyed the girls, giving them more than a
Mildred knew he was depressed,
but she hoped he wasn't so desperate that he...
She was just about to leave her
hiding place, run across the street and intervene when Remington
finally walked away. She breathed a sigh of relief and continued
trailing him. But now instead of wandering aimlessly, he seemed to
be looking for something. He finally spotted a phone booth on a
nearby corner and headed for it, searching through his pockets for
a quarter. When he came up empty, he did the only thing he could
think of...He broke into a conveniently located parking meter.
Somehow, that did not surprise Mildred at all.
Remington made his call. Mildred
wondered who he was calling. She hoped it was Miss Holt, but
feared it was not. He soon concluded his call and stepped away
from the phone. Then standing on the nearest corner, he began
pacing and watching the street. Occasionally, he glanced at his
watch. Mildred decided he must be waiting for someone.
Finally that someone arrived and
Mildred's jaw dropped. It was Clarissa. And she was sitting behind
the wheel of a sporty red car wearing a very large smile.
Mildred hustled across the street
as quickly as she could.
"Hold it right there, Buster!"
she yelled at Remington just before he stepped into the car. "And
you, too, honey," she ordered Clarissa.
Remington turned, shocked to see
Mildred standing there. "Mildred, please; this is not your
concern," he declared.
She addressed Clarissa first. "I
can't believe you. After Mr. and Mrs. Steele took you in and
helped you, this is how you pay them back? Why, you
"Mildred!" Remington insisted.
"It isn't what you're thinking."
Mildred whirled around and
verbally attacked him. "And you! You really think this is going to
help you and Laura? Maybe she was right about you. Maybe you are a
no-good, two-timing, philandering..."
"Mildred, will you just calm
down?" Remington pleaded as he placed his hands on her shoulders.
"I told you it's not what you think. I'm not running into
Clarissa's arm on the rebound, and I'm not doing anything out of
"Ok, so just what are you
"Clarissa and I are getting
"WHAT?!" Mildred couldn't believe
her ears. "Maybe you'd better repeat that, Boss. I could have
sworn you said you and Clarissa were getting married."
Remington hastily explained. "I'm
going to marry Clarissa in a fake ceremony, but it's merely to
appease Immigration. I'm just trying to buy some time until Laura
cools off. Then hopefully, Laura and I can be remarried. But the
important thing right now is to buy some time with Immigration.
I've still got all the paperwork from our first marriage, so all
I've got to do is to find a phony minister. I know a few old mates
who might help."
"Hold it right there, Boss,"
Mildred interrupted. "This is the dumbest idea I have ever
"But it just may work," he
"Even if Immigration does buy
it-- and I have my doubts, because I know how these bureaucracies
work-- what about Miss Holt? What's she going to think when she
finds out you've married a hooker?"
"She doesn't have to
"But what if someone should tell
her?" Mildred slyly threatened.
Remington put his arm around her
shoulders. "Oh, come now, Mildred. I thought you were on my
"I'm on your side *and* Miss
Holt's side. Come here; we need to caucus," she demanded, dragging
him away from the car and from Clarissa.
"Boss, I love you and Miss Holt
as if you were my own kids. I don't want to see the two of you get
hurt and completely ruin your lives...but that is exactly what
will happen if you go through with this half-cocked idea of yours!
Buying time? You've already got time! Miss Becker said she's
willing to give you a few days so you can plan something special.
Use that time, Chief, but not for some con! Talk to Miss Holt!
Apologize to here! Reason with her! That's where you should be
right now--talking with her."
"Mildred, you don't understand.
Laura doesn't want me within ten miles of her, let alone talking
to her. She's in no mood to listen to reason."
"I think you'd be surprised,"
Mildred assured him. "If you'll just go home now, I think you'll
find her quite willing to discuss things. Especially if you tell
her the things that she needs to hear."
"And what would that be? That I'm
leaving her for good? That she doesn't have to worry about a
divorce because our marriage was never legal in the first place?
That I'm going to be deported and I hope she's happy? That maybe
she was right and she was better off without me?" Remington stated
"Oh, no, Boss," Mildred
corrected. "Just tell her what's in your heart. Explain the whole
situation to her up front. Be totally honest with her-- for once,"
she added pointedly.
"Mildred, I just... I just don't
know," he hedged.
"You've got nothing to lose,
Boss, but just think how much you've got to gain."
Remington still seemed hesitant,
so Mildred took matters into her own hands. Leading him back over
to Clarissa's car, she pushed him inside and then somehow squeezed
herself in beside him.
"We're going to Mr. Steele's
apartment," she instructed Clarissa in a no-nonsense tone.
"Does this mean you've changed
your mind, Remington?" Clarissa asked.
Mildred answered for him and he
didn't contradict her. "Mr. Steele is going home to his
Clarissa didn't dare argue; she
merely started the car and took off. Mildred could tell by the
look in her eyes that she was disappointed, but to her credit,
Clarissa kept her feelings to herself. She dropped Remington off
at his Rossmore condo and left to take Mildred home.
He slowly made his way across the
lobby and punched the elevator button for his floor, hoping it
would be a long wait. It came straight away, however, so taking a
deep breath, he stepped inside. He had the car to himself, so he
took advantage of the privacy and rehearsed what he was going to
say to Laura. He tried a couple of different approaches, but
nothing sounded right. He was normally good at punting, but not
when it came to something as important as this. Not when
everything he held dear was at stake--his life, his happiness, his
very reason for being.
Remington didn't know what to
expect when he cautiously walked through the door of his apartment
and everything was quiet and empty. According to Mildred, Laura
should have been there, but there was no sign of her. As he stood
there pondering his next move, he heard a sound coming from the
bedroom. He headed that way and stood nervously in the open
There was Laura, leaning over the
bed and packing clothes into a half-filled suitcase. A closed
suitcase was standing by the foot of the bed. Walking into the
bathroom, she quickly emerged carrying an overnight case.
He had no idea what he was going
to say, but he knew he had to say something.
"Laura?" he asked
He was startled when he heard
himself speak Laura's name. It sounded slurred, betraying just how
nervous he really was.
Laura whirled around at the sound
of his voice and they stared at each other, neither quite knowing
what to say.
After what seemed like an
eternity, Remington stated the obvious. "You're packing."
"Yes," Laura agreed, almost in a
"Then I assume that means you're
"Yes," she said as she set the
overnight case on the floor beside the closed suitcase and resumed
packing the clothes, which were in neat piles on the bed.
Remington swallowed hard and
nodded, almost as though he were resigning himself to the
inevitable. Again, he was surprised to hear himself
"Laura, about last
"We've already been through that.
I don't want to go through it again. I understand that Felicia was
an unexpected twist in your plan to nab Keyes and you were merely
doing what you had to do," Laura unexpectedly explained.
"You do?" he brightened. "You
really understand why I went with her last night?"
Laura didn't respond.
"You * do* understand, don't you,
"Yes," Laura sighed softly. "I
understand that Felicia is a part of your past. And as I told you
once before, some people from our past are meant to never leave
us. As much as we might wish otherwise."
'So you really do trust me?"
Remington asked, unconsciously raising his hand to his lips and
biting his thumbnail.
"I trust you, but I don't trust
Felicia," she admitted.
"Well, it's a start," Remington
said with relief.
"I just wish your old flames
didn't have such lousy timing!"
They both laughed
"Yes, well, perhaps you can help
them work on that," he suggested.
Remington decided to be brave and
delve deeper. "Estelle Becker from Immigration paid me a little
visit this afternoon at the Agency. It seems Justice Bailey's
license expired the day before he performed our nuptials. It was
just an oversight; he's already applied for and received a new
one. But that means our marriage wasn't legal in the eyes of the
law or Immigration. According to Miss Becker, we will need to
repeat our vows, or... "
"..or what?" Laura asked, already
knowing the answer.
"...or I face
She paused for a few moments as
she pondered the implications. Then looking him calmly in the eye,
she said, "Well, I guess it's settled then. There's only one
Remington sighed. "I guess there
is. Look, Laura, I won't ask you to do something that you don't
want to do. I'll send for my things. Maybe after I'm settled
somewhere, you'll consent to come and visit me. With those new
super saver fares, you can go just about anywhere in the world for
He tenderly cupped her chin with
his hand before turning to leave.
"Wait!" Laura exclaimed with an
urgency that surprised even her. "You're leaving? Just like that?
You're walking out on me?"
"I don't see that I have a
choice, Laura," he said dejectedly.
"Isn't that's just like you? Just
run out on me when the going gets tough. Just leave me to pick up
the pieces and carry on. Good ole Laura, always volunteering for
every thankless job, always sticking her neck out." Laura's brown
eyes were burning as she lashed out at Remington, who had turned
her life upside down in the course of just a few days. "After
everything I've done for you, this is how you repay me? I've given
you a sterling reputation, put clothes on your worthless back,
kept a roof over your head-- a very expensive roof, I might add.
I've stood by you when you were framed for murder, when you were
wanted by the French police..."
"Really, Laura!" he exclaimed
indignantly. "I'll say it again: I am sorry for Cannes! How many
more times do you need to hear me say the words?"
She continued her tirade,
ignoring his apology. "I was by your side, the reputation of the
Agency be damned, when you were wanted by the Mexican police! I
graciously endured all of your cockamamie schemes to solve our
cases, in spite of the fact that you have no detective training
whatsoever! I've done *all* of that, and here you're leaving me!
Well, I always knew the day would come when you'd leave me in the
lurch. And you know what? I don't care. I don't care what you do,
you miserable swine!"
"Do you really mean that,
"Of course, I mean it. Now go.
Just get out of here," she ordered, quickly turning away so that
he couldn't see the tears brimming in her eyes.
"I love you, Laura," he said
softly as he looked at her one last time from the doorway.
"I love you, too, but that has
nothing to do with it!" she exclaimed, her back still to
She angrily wiped the tears from
her cheeks as Remington walked through the doorway and out of her
sight into the living room.
"Wait a minute..." she said aloud
as she suddenly realized that Remington had just said those 3
little words she once thought she desperately needed to
Remington also turned back,
realizing what she had just said, as well.
They met halfway and faced each
other in the bedroom doorway.
"You said 'I love you'," they
declared in unison.
Remington grabbed Laura and
pulled her to him, saying, "Yes, I love you, and I'll even say it
again... Laura Holt! I love you! "
When Laura started crying again,
he looked into her face and tried to discern the reason for her
"Do you know how long I've wanted
to hear you say those words?" she blubbered as she hugged him
tightly. "Surely you know that I love you, too, Mr. Steele!
"Mr. Steele?" he questioned with
"Old habits die hard," she
laughed, smiling through her tears.
They clung to each other for a
moment longer and then Remington led Laura to the bed and they sat
down. Grabbing a handful of Kleenex from the night stand, he began
drying her tears. It was then that he noticed for the first time
exactly what was in the suitcase on the bed.
"Laura, these are my clothes," he
exclaimed. "Why are you packing my clothes? I thought you were
packing for yourself; that you were leaving because you wanted out
of the marriage. But you were packing for me. You were going throw
me out, weren't you?"
Gently touching his arm, she
said, "Yes, I was packing for you, but not because I was throwing
you out; I was packing for our honeymoon!"
Remington stared at her, open
mouthed. "You were what?"
Haltingly, she explained.
"Mildred called when she was following you earlier. She told me
all about Miss Becker's visit and the problem with Justice
Bailey's license. I told her I'd do whatever was necessary to make
things right, if only you'd come and talk to me--tell me how you
felt. Mildred assured me she'd do everything she could to see that
"She certainly did that,"
Remington chuckled, relaying the entire tale to Laura. Sheepishly,
he even told her about Clarissa's involvement, figuring now was
the time for total honesty. He had expected that might raise
Laura's ire, but instead she was touched by his
"That was a dumb idea, you know,"
she chastised as stroked his cheek.
"That's what Mildred
"She was right," Laura
"You know what the alternative to
involving Clarissa is, don't you?" he asked rather
"Yes, Mr. Steele; I know what the
alternative to involving Clarissa is. But I don't hear you
"Asking for what?" Remington
asked, feigning ignorance.
"For my hand," Laura
"Well, in that case..." Remington
began as he got down on one knee. "Will you marry me, me
Laura laughed. "You call that a
"Well, if I recall, it was you
who did the proposing the first time around. Maybe we should just
stick with tradition. Eh, Miss Holt?"
Laura laughed again. "Well, in
that case, will you marry me, Mr. Steele?"
"I'd be honored, Miss Holt," he
Laura looked at him and leaned
forward. It was all the invitation Remington needed. He took her
head in his hands and pressed his lips to hers for a sweet
"When the bride-to-be does the
asking, you know it's going to be a liberated marriage," Remington
"You're not already regretting
it, are you?"
"On the contrary, my dear, on the
contrary," Remington assured as he kissed her again. "Now, exactly
what kind of wedding would you like to have for our second and
final time? Miss Becker says we can have a few days to plan
"I don't care what kind of
wedding we have; I just want it to be soon," Laura said as she
pulled him close for another kiss. "The thought of marriage scares
the hell out of me, but the thought of losing you scares me even
Remington lifted each of her
hands and placed a kiss on them. "What would you have done if I
had been deported?" he asked.
She didn't even hesitate. "I
would have gone with you. I think there's enough money in the
Agency's account for two $99.00 fares."
Remington clutched Laura to him
as his eyes filled with tears.
Gradually they pulled away and
Remington dried his wet cheeks with the Kleenex Laura handed him.
He wasn't even ashamed to let her see his tears; he was just
relieved and happy. Laura had forgiven him, they had worked
everything out and they were making a start at a bright
"I'm sorry about this morning,"
Laura apologized. "I should never have said those things to you. I
regretted them the moment you left." Then she added softly, "I was
so afraid I'd driven you away for good."
"Not a chance," Remington assured
her. "You're stuck with me, Lady. I'm not going anywhere; at
least, not without you." He kissed her forehead, then her cheek
and finally her lips.
While Laura reveled in the
feeling, she knew they had plans to make. Reluctantly, she broke
their kiss. "I believe we have a wedding to plan," she reminded
"Now, Laura? Today?" He was
surprised. When she'd said ASAP, he'd assumed she meant sometime
the next day. "I understand the need for expediency, but there are
some things that can't be rushed, you know."
"I don't see where there's any
problem. We have all the paperwork from last time. We just need to
contact a Justice of the Peace and set a time." She added
teasingly, "Could it be that you are getting cold feet, Mr.
"On the contrary, my blushing
bride. If a wedding right now is what you want, then a wedding is
what you shall have." He picked up the phone and punched in a
number. "Mildred?...Yes, everything is just fine. In fact, it
couldn't be better. How about doing a favor for us... Contact a
justice of the peace and make arrangements for him to perform a
marriage ceremony ASAP... Yes, Mildred, our marriage. Oh, and
Mildred, thank you."
Laura tugged on Remington's
sleeve and said, "Tell her to get Justice Bailey again."
"Mildred, make that Justice
Bailey... That's right... Let us know as soon you set a time.
We're at my apartment." He hung up. "Mildred is going to arrange
everything and call us back in a few minutes with the details. One
harmless query, though, Luv. Why Justice Bailey?"
"Well, he's been issued a new
license, so there shouldn't be a problem there. Besides, he did
perform our wedding the first time. Tradition, I guess."
"I sense more," Remington
"Oh, all right. Stuart Bailey was
my childhood idol. I must have been his biggest fan."
"Justice Stuart Bailey?"
Remington was incredulous.
"No. Stuart Bailey from
"77 Sunset Strip. It was one of my television shows," Laura
"Sorry, Laura but you know you've
lost me where American television is concerned."
"Never mind," she sighed.
* * * *
The next two hours were hectic,
but memorable. Remington insisted Laura purchase an appropriate
wedding dress and she was pleasantly surprised by his
thoughtfulness. She found the perfect dress at a quaint dress shop
she had visited with Frances on several occasions. As an early
wedding present, the owner closed the shop and completed the minor
Within the hour, Laura was
sitting in the back seat of the Agency limo as Fred hurried to the
church. Mildred had would be picking up Remington at his condo and
giving him a ride to the 6:00 ceremony. Laura smiled as she
imagined Mildred straightening Remington's tie and fussing over
him as she hustled him out of his condo. She allowed herself a
moment to catch her breath, knowing things would become even more
hectic when they all arrived at the chapel; Mildred would be
transforming her into a bride and Fred would be taking Remington
to his favorite florist. Suddenly, she was filled with a warm rush
of emotion and gave in to an overpowering urge to burst into
Fred smiled as the lilting
strains of "Going to the
Chapel" echoed throughout
In two hours time, Remington and
Laura were standing before Justice Stuart Bailey at the Little
Chapel of Perpetual Happiness. Mildred, who had been asked to
serve as a witness, was sitting in a front pew weeping
uncontrollable tears of joy. Remington thought Laura had never
looked lovelier than she did as she walked down the aisle towards
him carrying a bouquet of white orchids. Her long, white gown with
off-the-shoulder sleeves and flowing train suited her to
They smiled lovingly at each
other as Laura took the hand that Remington extended to her. They
turned to Justice Bailey and he began. It was a short and simple
ceremony, very similar to their first one, the only difference
being that the word "obey" was omitted from the vows. Laura had
spoken privately with Justice Bailey beforehand and requested that
Laura was expecting Remington to
place the simple gold Peppler wedding band on her hand, but
instead he slipped a ring of emerald cut diamonds onto her finger.
Laura gasped in surprise. When they were officially pronounced
husband and wife, the groom kissed his bride with great relish.
Mildred took that moment to blow her nose and they separated,
Congratulations and best wishes
were offered by Justice Bailey as he signed the marriage license
and handed it over to Remington.
"May I have the privilege of
being the first to kiss the bride?" he asked.
"Be my guest," Remington
Justice Bailey placed a light
peck on Laura's cheek. "You make a lovely bride, my dear. It has
been a pleasure performing your wedding--this time *and* the first
time." He looked at Remington in his gray morning suit and added,
"You make a handsome couple, indeed. My congratulations and
sincere best wishes to both of you."
Then it was Mildred's turn. She
hugged Laura and then Remington, then hugged them both together,
and then cried some more.
Mildred managed to compose
herself long enough to put the camera she'd brought along to good
use, taking several wedding photos of the happy couple. As they
left the chapel and headed to the waiting limo, which was
decorated with Kleenex flowers and streamers, she showered them
with bird seed. She hadn't had so much fun in years!
Remington helped Laura into the
limo. As an afterthought, she remembered to throw her bouquet.
They waved their farewells and departed with Fred behind the
wheel. Mildred stood with Laura's bouquet in her arms and
tearfully waved until they were out of sight.