A Sequel to
"Steele in the Mood" and "Bonds of Steele"
with Thekla Kurth
Laura, meanwhile, was alone in
their empty honeymoon suite, tossing and turning in her own lonely
bed. Earlier she had gone to the jail to see Remington. She'd been
quite persuasive, but the police captain hadn't let her see him.
She'd had no choice but to go back to the honeymoon suite and wait
until morning to try again.
Why hadn't she just gone with
Remington for questioning?
For that matter, why in the world
had she insisted on taking that consulting contract with Vigilance
Insurance? That was when the whole mess had started. Even though
Keyes hadn't actually become their shadow until after their
wedding, his ugly presence had haunted Remington since he spoke
out against them at that first consulting meeting with Vigilance.
Remington had been leery of Keyes ever since.
She felt terrible about her
display of anger when she first arrived in Las Hadas. Remington
certainly had enough on his mind at that point without her getting
mad because he wasn't jealous of Tony! And then she'd pranced
around in front of him, purposely trying to entice him before,
she'd stormed into the bathroom. Recalling her behavior, she
covered her face in embarrassment. How could she have been so
childish? It certainly wasn't the ideal way to start a marriage,
Until she talked with the hotel
manager after Remington's arrest, Laura hadn't given a lot of
thought to what her husband had gone through during their brief
separation. He let her to believe his trip to Las Hadas had been a
breeze. But then, she really hadn't given him much of a chance to
explain, had she? She had jumped on him first thing and twisted
his words. Why couldn't she have seen the relief of his face when
she first arrived? Of course he wasn't jealous--he was just glad
she was safe. Why didn't she see that? Why couldn't she have just
followed her first instinct and thrown herself into his arms when
he answered the door? Why had she taken her frustrations of the
day out on the man she loved?
Now was not the time for
self-pity, Laura decided. It was time to use some good detective
know how and come up with some answers. First question: What was
Keyes doing in their room? She was positive Remington hadn't
invited him by for a nightcap, and she was equally certain he
hadn't come by to sell them an insurance policy. Had he broken
into their room to ransack their belongings in hopes of finding
evidence their marriage was a fraud? If that was the case, Laura
mused, he'd have been better off going to the Hotel del Amor.
After all, that's where their luggage was. She made a mental note
to retrieve it first thing in the morning.
Perhaps Remington discovered
Norman ransacking their room. Perhaps they had fought and, during
the struggle, Keyes struck his head on the broken lamp. That made
sense, didn't it? But was it also possible that Remington had lost
his temper and hit Keyes with the lamp? Or that he had attacked
their adversary in a rage and killed him before he realized it?
Laura knew Remington had never killed anyone. He had been
devastated when he thought he had accidentally killed the elusive
Henry Spellman with the Rabbit. But Remington's nerves had to have
been on edge --she'd certainly made sure of that!
Laura looked deep into her heart
and quickly reached a decision. She loved her husband, and she
knew he was a decent and honorable man. Even if he had over
reacted and his anger had resulted in Keyes' death, she would
stand by him. After all, she had contributed to Remington's frame
of mind, so she shared the responsibility for what happened to
Laura tossed and thumped her
pillow in frustration. The bed was too big. Too big and lonely.
She got up and wandered around the room. She picked up Remington
's champagne glass and caressed it She then ran her fingers across
his hair brush that lay on the dresser and smiled as she noticed a
few strands of dark hair among the bristles. Her mind returned to
his comment four years earlier about how he was forever plucking
stray hairs from his brush.
Had it really been four years?
Laura shook her head. Sometimes it seemed like yesterday. She had
never felt so alone. They were on their honeymoon, for heaven's
sake! They were supposed to be staring into each other's eyes and
sharing a magical moment in worthy surroundings.
Laura wandered into the bathroom
and splashed cold water on her face.From her reflection, she could
see she was pale. She gently placed her hand on her abdomen,
smiling at the thought of the baby that hopefully was inside her,
beneath her troubled heart. She said a silent prayer that her
tumble over the waterfall and her walk through the hot and steamy
jungle hadn't done any harm. First the Unidac case and now this.
If her baby survived, it was because he was already a scrappy
little fighter, just like his father.
Her thoughts then turned to
darker things. She found herself wondering what it would be like
to raise a child alone. How would it feel to bring him or her to
visit Remington in jail? She knew how cruel children could
be--would they say unkind things to their child about having a
jailbird for a father? Laura shook herself out of her horrible
imaginings, vowing they would never come true. If necessary, she'd
break Remington out of jail herself!
She glanced in the mirror again
and noticed the reflection of Remington's black and white striped
shirt hanging on a towel rack. He had apparently washed it after
his earlier shower. She tenderly picked it up and rubbed the soft
cloth against her cheeks. It was still damp, but she didn't care.
The coolness felt wonderful against her face. Besides, she needed
a security blanket tonight.
If she couldn't hold Remington in
her arms as she slept, at least she could hold a part of him close
to her heart. Exhausted, Laura climbed back into bed. She had her
work cut out for her tomorrow, and she knew she needed to rest.
Her sleep wasn't peaceful, though, as she was haunted by
"With all due respect to the
Hotel del Amor, we've waited far too long not to capture the
moment in a more worthy setting."
"If Las Hadas has phones, it
must have other amenities," Laura said, thinking of a king-sized
bed with silk sheets, a hot tub for two, Dom Perignon, and room
Remington grinned. "I'll get
"And I'll check us out," Laura
She turned to go, but then
suddenly and grabbed him. "Oh, what the hell," she muttered,
dragging him deep into the jungle.
"Laura, really!" What has
gotten into you? Oof!"
Before he could protest
further, Laura shoved him down into a soft patch of greenery.
"You'll find out," she
whispered seductively into his ear.
Remington squirmed as she
nibbled on his ear. "Laura, I hate to put a damper on the mood,
but exactly what sort of bushes are we wallowing in?"
She didn't even bother to
look. "I don't know and I don't care," she said as she pulled off
his shirt and tee-shirt and began smothering his chest with
"Laura, you will care if these
bushes are poison ivy. Remember the Pipers' back yard?"
"Oh, don't be such a wet
blanket, Mr. Steele." She kissed him deeply, stopping only long
enough to work off his pants.
Remington was still concerned
about the greenery, but those thoughts were quickly being pushed
to the back of his mind. Laura's hands and lips were all over
Still, he had to offer one
final word or warning. "The bushes..."
"...are not poison ivy." She
pulled a flower from them to prove it. "Margaritas.
Remington took the flower from
her and tucked it into her hair. Then he kissed her.
Laura moaned, urging him on.
"Oh, hurry. I'm too hot."
"It's the jungle. It's
supposed to be hot."
"No, that isn't it. I'm still
wearing all of these clothes," she hinted.
Remington wasn't dense. He
rose to her bait and began inching off her dress, feeling her
shiver as he touched her thighs.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a
bullet whizzed past them, lodging itself into a tree behind them.
"What the bloody hell?"
Remington exclaimed. He tried to sit up, but Laura held him down
"Always something," she
muttered, annoyed by the disruption. "You worry first about bushes
and now about a bullet."
"A bullet?" he
Another one whizzed
"Malvados?! But I thought they
only shot at the bus."
"Apparently not." She was
doing her best to distract him from what she thought of as merely
a mild annoyance. "Just ignore them," she said as she planted tiny
kisses on his face.
"But, Laura, they're shooting
"Someone always shoots at us
when we're kissing. Let's be daring for a change and forget about
them. Now come here and kiss me."
"Laura, really." Remington
could hardly believe his ears. Was Laura actually saying to ignore
More shots rang through the
"Laura, if we stay here much
longer we could get our buns shot off!"
"Oh, we couldn't have that,
could we?" she said, caressing him.
A bullet passed dangerously
close to them.
That was Remington let it slip
out. "Laura, if the event we don't live though this, I have to
clear my conscience. I want you to know our marriage is legal and
I love you!"
"I know. And I love you, too,
Mr. Steele," she said as she kissed him, covering his body with
He went on with his
confession. "And I'm really sorry our wedding and honeymoon turned
out to be such bloody disaster!"
"Somehow, I never imagined our
marriage would be consummated any other way," Laura exclaimed,
setting his mind at ease so they could get on with
There were some things he
could ignore and some things he couldn't. At that moment, he could
not ignore Laura. They reached the height of their passion and
their cries mingled with those of the other jungle animals.
Laura, drenched in perspiration,
hugged Remington's damp shirt even closer and smiled. At least in
her dreams, she and Remington were together.
Laura's morning sickness was
worse than ever the next morning. She yearned for Remington' s
comforting presence, but had to settle instead for hot tea and
toast by way of room service. As she lay propped up on her pillows
forcing down the dry toast, she realized just how very much she
missed waking up with Remington. True, they had not really slept
together since their wedding, but he had been by her side almost
as soon as she awoke each morning. His gentleness and concern had
made being sick bearable.
But that wasn't all there was to
it, Laura admitted to herself. Not by a long shot. She just
enjoyed the intimacy of Remington's presence. Laura smiled to
herself, almost surprised that it hadn't hurt a bit to admit she
enjoyed having her husband near her. She prayed that by the next
morning, she would awaken in his arms. She needed him far too much
for him to be rotting away in jail.
Feeling less queasy, she showered
and dressed in the white pants outfit Remington had bought her the
night before. It was still early, but she wanted to retrieve their
luggage from the Hotel del Amor before visiting hours began at the
jail. It was going to be a long, hot day, Laura surmised, but she
had hopes that she and Remington would be together by
Laura's prayer to awaken in
Remington's arms the next day came true, but not quite the way she
had hoped. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined they would
spend an entire night of their honeymoon spying on Keyes' niece
from behind a wall. But then, this was Mexico. Why should she have
expected anything different?
Laura didn't entirely approve of
Mildred breaking Remington out of jail, but was too relieved to
see him to put up much of a fight about it. By the time she found
him changing undershirts in their bedroom she was already a time
bomb. She appreciated Tony's help with the case, but being near
him only served to make her want Remington more. After all, she
was just a girl trying to have a honeymoon. It was only natural
that being near any man in her anxious state would turn her
thoughts to what she and Remington were missing.
If the police had not arrived
when they did the day before, Laura suspected she would have
pushed Tony out the front door and tackled Remington then and
there. But the police did arrive, and the magical moment was once
again put on hold. Laura tried not to concentrate too much on what
they were missing as they sat amidst the bushes behind the wall,
but it a lost cause. The bushes and nearby vegetation just served
to remind her of the dream she'd had the night before. It took all
of her restraint not to drag Remington beneath the bushes and have
her way with him.
Somewhere in the deep recesses of
her mind she remembered a song that perfectly expressed her
feelings. How did it go? Something like...
Let me love you like my dream
Let me hold you: let me hold
you so tight.
Love or desire, my heart's on
Let me love you like my dream
Laura didn't realize she had been
humming until Remington interrupted her.
"Nice tune. What is it?" he
"I'm not sure," Laura lied. She
could feel her face getting hot and knew she was blushing. "I was
just, uh, thinking about our situation and it came back to
"And exactly what were you
thinking about our situation?"
"Oh, just that we'd have been
better off if we'd stayed at the Hotel del Amor."
Laura diverted her eyes, afraid
that Remington might think she was crazy. Instead he squeezed her
"I know what you mean. I found
myself thinking the same thing as I lay in jail last night. I even
dreamed that we did stay there."
"You did?" Laura was touched that
Remington would admit to dreaming about her. She wondered if his
dream had been as erotic as hers, but she didn't dare ask.
"I dreamed we stayed there, too,"
she finally admitted.
"Well, then," Remington said. "It
appears we were together in our dreams last night, anyway."
"But I don't want to just *dream*
about a honeymoon--I want to have a real one!" Laura wailed, her
eyes quickly filling with tears. "I'm sorry. This isn't like
Remington tenderly wiped her
tears away with his thumb and kissed her. "I know, I know. You've
been crying a hell of a lot lately. But with any luck, tonight
we'll be able to make those dreams of ours come true."
The luck of the Irish was indeed
with the honeymooners. They tracked down Keyes and proved he
wasn't dead after all. Keyes, however, was not so lucky. While
running from Remington and the police, he was shot and killed by
Malvados. Everyone concerned felt that justice had been
Laura and Remington agreed to
cancel the remainder of their Las Hadas honeymoon and return to
Los Angeles. They vowed never again to set foot in Mexico. Somehow
they didn't think the Mexican authorities would mind.
Laura didn't want their honeymoon
to be a total waste, so she suggested they spend their last
evening dining and dancing at the elegant outdoor restaurant
moored just off shore. She had been by there with Tony the night
of Remington's arrest, and now she found herself wanting to share
it now with her husband. She wanted to share memories of that
lovely romantic setting with Remington, not with some
The evening was perfect The
dinner was delicious and the wine was superb. Laura managed to
only drink a few swallows by sipping slowly. Remington, caught up
in the magical spell of the evening, he didn't even notice. All he
knew was that Laura was radiant. She was wearing the blue jeweled
gown she had worn to the Earl of Claridge's wedding in London. It
was Remington's favorite gown and she knew it. His eyes reflected
The decorative lights danced on
the water. A soft, cool breeze caused the wind chimes to tinkle
merrily. A small band was playing a medley of Barry Manilow songs
as a singer softly crooned the lyrics. The adjoining open-air
dance floor was peppered with slow dancing couples.
Laura was puzzled when Remington
excused himself and made his way over to their waiter. He
whispered something in his ear and then handed him what Laura
assumed was money. She smiled as her handsome husband his way back
to their table. She couldn't get over how handsome he was. Even
after all these years, she was still sometimes overwhelmed by the
perfection of his features.
"Could I have the pleasure of
this dance?" Remington asked as he took Laura's hand and kissed
it, giving her a smile that turned her legs to mush.
"I'd love to," she finally
managed to reply. She allowed him to pull back her chair and
escort her to the elegant dance floor.
They danced in silence until the
medley ended and everyone politely clapped. As the applause died
down, their waiter walked up to the vocalist and whispered
something in his ear.
After giving some instructions to
the band members, the vocalist returned to the microphone and
announced, "On behalf of Richard, we dedicate this next song to
Laura glanced at
"Shall we dance, Ingrid?" he
asked, gathering her into his arms again.
Laura recognized the song
immediately as Who Needs
to Dreamby Barry Manilow. She lost herself in the
beauty of the words as she and Remington glided her over the dance
You were in my dreams, always
in my dreams -
That was long before I ever
saw you standing there.
When I felt afraid of the
choice I made
I would close my eyes and hope
my dreams would comfort me.
But now I'm free.
Who needs to dream when there
Who needs a heaven to look
For my whole life through, who
needs to dream?
You're my dream come true.
In my fantasy you believed in
And as long as you were there,
then I believed in me.
Now you are my
You are my only dream.
I'll hold you in my arms
Who needs to dream?
Who needs to dream?
When I see you there
Then I see my every dream come
Laura's heart was overflowing.
Since she could not find the words to express what she was
feeling, she simply threw her arms around Remington's neck and let
the tears flow.
Remington understood how Laura
felt and held her close. He knew this was one time she didn't
expect words. His deed had been enough.
Mildred was asleep on the couch
when the honeymooners returned to their suite after a leisurely
moonlit stroll on the beach. Actually, she was pretending to be
asleep. She had felt guilty about intruding on the newlyweds, but
they had insisted she share their suite. After all, they said, it
wasn't her fault there were no available rooms.
Laura and Remington quickly
prepared for bed. Laura turned back the spread and crawled beneath
the cover while Remington finished in the bathroom. She was
wondering how they could make their dreams come true without
disturbing Mildred when Remington joined her beneath the sheets.
He quickly gathered Laura in his arms and kissed her.
"Hmh, this is more like it,"
Laura muttered. "You can't imagine how big and lonely this bed
felt last night."
"I think I can," Remington
confessed. "This may sound crazy, Laura, but that tiny flea ridden
pile of lumps I slept on last night felt just as big and empty to
me as this bed must have felt to you."
"That's not crazy at all," Laura
said, rubbing her hand over his chest.
She stopped when he suddenly
began kicking his legs wildly.
"What th...?" Remington abruptly
sat up and tossed aside the sheet.There at his feet beneath the
covers lay the shirt he had worn on their first day in Mexico. He
held it up, puzzled. "Now how in the world did that get
Laura looked sheepish. "I, uh,
slept with it last night."
"You slept in my shirt?"
"No, I didn't sleep in it; I
slept with it."
"I missed you. The shirt reminded
me of you, so I sort of used it as a security blanket."
Remington said nothing for a
moment. Then he tossed the shirt to the floor, saying "Good thing
I washed it first, eh?"
"This hasn't exactly been the
honeymoon of our dreams, has it?" Laura asked.
"Oh, l don't know," he said with
a yawn. "I'd say my dream last night certainly fulfilled my
fantasies. And I suspect yours did, too."
"Want to see if reality can
exceed our wildest dreams?" Laura suggested.
Remington muttered something
unintelligible and then became quiet.
"I'm sure we won't disturb
Mildred. She's been asleep for hours, and you know what a heavy
sleeper she is," Laura continued, wishing he hadn't stopped
playing with her hair.
Remington smacked his
"Umh .Yes... Anthony..."
"What about Anthony?" Laura
asked. Receiving no answer, she poked his shoulder. "Mr.
"Hmh. Anthony's right- have to
start calling your husband... something besides... Mr.
Laura could tell Remington was
asleep, so she tenderly kissed his cheek. "Pleasant dreams,
Remington," she whispered as she stroked his hair.
She settled herself against her
husband and relaxed. Time enough later to consummate their
marriage. For now, she was content just to be in Remington's
As Laura settled back against the
plush seats of the limo the next day, she smiled as she remembered
the toast she and Remington had shared on the plane during their
morning flight home. With any luck, tonight would be the night
they finished what they had started in Mexico. Laura was excited
about that prospect, but she was also looking forward to the
evening for another reason.
After they had finally gotten rid
of the horde of clients awaiting them at the agency, Laura had
left the office so she could return to her loft and pack. She had
assured Remington that by the time Gladys Lynch arrived for
dinner, they would be the picture of wedded domesticity and her
clothes would be safely stashed in his closet.
But before she went to her loft,
however, Laura had Fred stop at a nearby grocery store, where she
purchased a home pregnancy kit. It was for sentimental reasons
that she had returned to this particular store to make her
purchase. She and Remington had shopped there for Aveeno during
the aphrodisiac cola case just the month before. He had been worse
than a child, trying to get her to buy everything in sight. He had
even suggested she buy a home pregnancy kit, so it had seemed
fitting that she return to the same store to make her purchase
She had been so excited when she
got a positive reading that she almost called Remington straight
away. She finally turned her attention to filling her suitcase
with the odds and ends she needed to convince Gladys Lynch that
she and Remington were indeed living together. She wondered if she
should show the results of her test to Gladys. Surely that would
Fred had loaded Laura's clothes
and suitcase into the limo. But before they headed for the condo,
she had him make one final stop. It only took her a few minutes to
purchase the baby backpack she had put on hold before their trip
to Mexico. She insisted the sales lady wrap it in a large brown
bag. After all, she couldn't have Fred learning her secret before
As she relaxed against the plush
seats of the limo, Laura tried to think of how she would tell him
the news. Since nothing sounded quite right, she changed her focus
and instead tried to imagine how he would react when she broke the
news to him.
She was lost in thought when Fred
finally stopped on Rossmore and opened her door. As they got her
clothes out the limo, Laura couldn't help but notice the
fur-wrapped tall, slender, dark-haired woman entering the
building. Laura noted that the mystery woman would probably have
been Remington's type several years ago, but she didn't dwell on
it. Instead, she gently touched her abdomen and thought about the
new life Remington had given.
Laura's steps were light as they
carried her clothes up to the fifth floor. She had the definite
feeling that tonight would be very special. If Mildred had been
there, Laura would have taken her by the shoulders and exclaimed,
"Tonight's the night!" just as she had done in Cannes.
Of course, *that* night had
turned out to be a disaster, but tonight would be different. She
and Remington had both matured since that ill-fated night. If they
could just get rid of Gladys Lynch they would have a night to
Laura was sure of it.
It was a night to remember all
right, but for all the wrong reasons. Before Laura knew it, she
was walking on yet another beach with Tony. As she walked along,
she tried to make some sense of the evening's happenings.
Actually, it wasn't the events that concerned Laura--it was the
way she had reacted to them.
It certainly wasn't the first
time she'd found a strange woman in Remington's apartment. After
all, there had been Felicia, Joelle, Clarissa, and even the bimbo
in Las Hadas. As it turned out, Remington was totally innocent
each of those times, and Laura had no doubt he would be just as
innocent this time. The bimbo in their bed was probably just
another ex-lover with lousy times who needed a favor.
Laura had wanted the evening to
be something really special, and Shannon had ruined
Well, that wasn't exactly true,
she realized. Shannon wasn't the one who had lashed out at
Remington. Shannon wasn't the one who had kissed Tony within an
inch of his life. And Shannon wasn't the one who probably had
given Gladys Lynch all the evidence she needed to prove that the
Steele-Holt marriage was a indeed a sham.
Laura was ashamed of her immature
behavior. They could have explained Shannon's presence to Gladys'
satisfaction if she hadn't decided instead on doing whatever she
could to hurt Remington's feelings. She wondered how Remington had
explained her actions to Gladys. What possible explanation could
he had given?
Laura had a sudden, overwhelming
urge to apologize to her husband. She should never have walked out
and left him to the wolves, and she wanted to tell him so. She
just hoped it wasn't too late to pacify Gladys.
She gradually snapped out of her
reverie and was immediately aware of the sand between her toes and
the surf pounding beside her. She realized that Tony was walking
with her and that he had apparently been talking for quite some
time. Was that something about following her from Las
Laura really didn't care what he
had to say. She only wanted to hurry back to Remington.
Assuming, of course, that he
hadn't been deported.
Remington had spent a miserable
evening. He had explained the whole rotten truth to Mildred, and
surprisingly enough, she had been sympathetic. He chastised
himself for not kicking Shannon out in the first place. At the
very least, he should have introduced her to Laura when she first
arrived. Mildred agreed with him there, but assured him that Laura
would forgive him. All he had to do was be honest with her.
Well, honesty had never come
easily to him, but he realized Laura deserved nothing less. So
Remington was sitting up on the couch, waiting for Laura to return
home so he could apologize. He didn't even bother to make the
couch into a bed. With any luck, they just might end up in the
same bed after all.
It was now 2 a.m. and Remington's
patience had worn thin. For heaven's sake, where could Laura be?
Surely she wasn't still with Tony! It still made Remington's blood
boil when he thought of Laura kissing Tony at their front door.
What kind of woman was she, anyway, to throw herself at another
man while she was still on her honeymoon?
He knew Laura had once displayed
a sort of bizarre attraction to Neanderthal types, but he had
hoped that was behind her now. After all, she was a married woman!
Well, maybe she didn't know she was a married woman, but that was
a mere technicality.
Remington's anger and jealousy
grew in direct proportion to the increasing lateness of the hour.
What were they doing? In fact, what had Tony been doing at their
doorstep in the first place? There certainly weren't many ruins to
excavate in Los Angeles. Could it be he had designs on Laura and
had followed her? Had she unwittingly led him on, as she had done
with numerous men in the past? Could it be that right now they
were in each other's arms? Could Laura really be so upset that she
would let Tony take advantage of her?
Laura's cruel words still rang in
Remington's ears: "I don't
care what you do, you miserable swine!"
His foot still ached, but not as
much as his heart.
Remington knew it had been
Laura's anger and hurt speaking, and he also knew he was to blame
for that anger. Could it be that he had unwittingly sent her into
Tony's arms with his thoughtlessness? Just like Mexico, he
thought. Some coincidence that Tony always seemed to be around
when he'd let Laura down lately. Or was it perhaps *more* than a
Where were they? Remington
wondered angrily. His jealous mind conjured up images of the
adulterous couple behind the Observatory at Griffith Park. He
imagined them high atop a Ferris wheel at an all night amusement
part. He pictured them in the wooded depths of McCullum Park. And
with each new image, his blood pressure rose.
He heard a noise at the door and
jumped to his feet as Laura entered. The room fairly sizzled with
electricity, but neither spoke for a few moments. Remington
carefully gave Laura the once over and noticed the sand clinging
to her legs and ankles.
"I'm surprised you came back. I
figured you and 'damned attractive' Anthony were really getting to
know one another. So what if you have a husband at home? Easy
come, easy go, eh?"
"Where's Shannon?" Laura
countered. "I figured the two of you would still be reliving old
memories. What's the matter? She didn't find our bed comfortable
enough? Surely you could have found a bed somewhere to relive old
"I don't know where she is, and I
don't care! Mildred kicked her out right after you left!"
"What I 'd like to know, is why
*you* didn't kick her out?" Laura demanded in anger.
"She was an old friend-- you
don't just kick an old friend out when they suddenly appear after
"What did you do? Hide her under
the bed with the lint?"
"Actually, I stuffed her in the
Laura couldn't believe what she'd
just heard. "In the closet? Our bedroom closet? You mean she was
watching while we were rolling around on the bed --when we
almost--Why, you pervert!"
"I'm sure she would have closed
her eyes if we'd --you know--well, if anything had
Laura stormed into the bedroom
and jerked open the mirrored closet door. Giving a quick kick to
her pile of clothes lying on the floor, she quickly grabbed some
covers and a pillow for the couch. Clutching them to her chest,
she turned and stormed back into the living room with Remington
still at her heels.
"If you think I'm sleeping in
that bed tonight, you're crazy!" she snapped as she popped a sheet
in Remington's face.
"But I changed the sheets," he
assured her. Then realizing her mind was made up, he sighed and
said, "Here, I'll take the couch."
She ignored him, so he grabbed
the sheet from her. "Laura, give me the sheet. I said I'd sleep on
"Nooo!!!" Laura yelled as she
struggled with him for the sheet.
Remington finally realized the
futility of their struggle and relinquished the sheet to her.
"Okay; you can sleep on the couch. But I'd rather we share the
bed, like a normal married couple," he said in a quiet
"Since when have we ever been a
normal couple?" Laura's voice was calmer.
Remington just sighed. "Good
night, Laura. I'm sorry tonight turned out to be such a
"I'm sorry, too," Laura said
They stared at each other
awkwardly for a moment, but neither made a move. Finally,
Remington walked dejectedly into the bedroom. Laura sadly watched
him go, wanting desperately to stop him.
"I'll, uh, leave the door open,"
Remington said nervously. "If you need anything, call me."
I need you! Laura's heart
Remington heard her silent plea,
but ignored it. This was one time *he* needed to hear the words.
His blue eyes reflected the pain in his heart as he bade Laura
good night and walked away.
Laura frantically finished making
her bed. Angrily tossing the couch pillows across the room, she
crawled under the sheet. What was that old saying about making
your bed and then having to lie in it?
She thumped her pillow a few
times and then crossed her arms across her chest.What was she so
mad about, anyway? She was the first to admit she deserved a
tongue lashing for what she had done to Remington earlier. He had
every right to be angry after the cruel things she had said. So,
why had she jumped on him when she really wanted to make things
right between them?
Laura felt her eyes sting and
vowed not to cry. Just because she was pregnant was no reason to
turn into a blithering idiot, she told herself. She thought of
Remington alone in their bed and realized he was probably as
miserable as she was. It would be so easy just to slip in beside
him. So easy, yet so hard.
Laura thought how differently
things might have been in Shannon had just stayed in that bathroom
in Paris. Gladys would have been convinced she and Remington were
the happiest married couple in America and Remington would now be
excited over the prospect of fatherhood. If only things could have
been different, Laura thought to herself as she drifted off to
sleep. If only things could have been different...
Remington grabbed Laura in a
big embrace as she tried to open the closet door and gave her a
"What's gotten into you?" she
Remington tumbled them into
bed, pinning Laura very effectively beneath him."Have you
forgotten Mexico?" he asked. "Let the chips fall where they may?
Remington went in for another
kiss, but Laura rolled him to the side. "What about Gladys Lynch?"
she asked, struggling for air.
"Well, she said she wanted
proof!" he said, pinning her down for another kiss.
Laura quickly rolled him back
to the side, saying, "I don't think this is what she had in mind!
Remington was back on top of
her again. "Let's live dangerously," he said, giving her another
By now Laura had stopped
fighting. "Why not?" she exclaimed as she sent both of them
rolling onto the floor.
The Magical Moment had finally
arrived. Remington forgot all about Shannon hiding in the closet.
He forgot about Gladys Lynch and her much dreaded visit. Nothing
mattered to either of them now except the fact that they were in
each other's arms. Clothing was quickly shed as their passions
Shannon turned her head in
embarrassment and put her hands over her ears. This was certainly
not what she had in mind when she had arrived to see
Laura and Remington were
oblivious to their surroundings. The wool carpet burned their
exposed flesh, but they didn't notice. Their entire bodies were on
fire and burning out of control--
but they weren't the only
Shannon suddenly noticed a
strange smell coming from somewhere in the apartment. Had Dougie
said something about cooking a duck? Was that what she smelled?
Suddenly nervous, she decided to sneak out of the bedroom and run
for her life. She slowly removed her hands from her ears and
listened. The moans had subsided a bit, so she slowly eased the
door open a bit and peeked out at the newlyweds.
Good Lord! Now she had seen
everything. The room was thick with smoke, but Dougie and Lu Lu
hadn't even noticed! They were too busy starting their own fire!
Still, in spite of the desperate situation, Shannon couldn't help
laughing. Wouldn't Dougie and his bride make a lovely picture
running from their burning apartment in their current state of
"What was that?" Laura asked,
in between kisses.
Shannon quickly clapped her
hand over her mouth to muffle her laughter.
"Just my heart bearing in
rhythm to yours," Remington muttered as he once again captured
"Oh, good Lord! They're at it
again!" Shannon muttered to herself. "We're going to burn to
death, and they won't even notice!"
Just then she heard the
doorbell ring. She breathed a sigh of relief, assuming that rescue
was merely moments away.
Shannon's relief was short
lived, however. Apparently Dougie and Lu Lu were still too caught
up in the moment to hear anything except each other. Shannon
started praying--and amazingly the bell started
Still the newlyweds heard
Finally there was a loud crash
and Shannon assumed that the front door had been kicked in. Then
she made out the sounds of a several, people coughing and
"There's a fire extinguisher
in the kitchen!"exclaimed a woman's voice.
Obviously they had all run
into the kitchen, because Shannon didn't hear anything more for a
few minutes. She dared to take another quick peek at the
honeymooners, figuring that the racket would have brought them
back down to earth.
But no; they were still at
The sound of footsteps
returned and a different woman said, "I'll check the
Shannon heard the door open
and close in record time. Somewhere in between, she was sure she
had heard a gasp.
"Ah...ah... the kids are sorta
...busy... right now," a woman's voice said. "I don't think we
should bother them about the fire."
Shannon had just settled down
for a nap when she heard Laura and Remington moving around. She
breathed another sign of relief, hoping against hope that they
were finally getting dressed.
"Do you smell smoke?"Remington
suddenly asked, sniffing the air.
"Now that you mention
it...yes," Laura admitted.
"My duck!" Remington yelled as
he frantically began pulling on his slacks and shirt.
Laura barely had time to shrug
into her dress before Remington took her hand and they raced into
the living room.
There, sitting on the couch,
were Mildred, Tony, and a strange woman they assumed to be Gladys
Lynch. Tony was scorched from head to foot. The trio stood and
faced the newlyweds.
exclaimed. "When did you all get here-- and how did you get in?
And why is it so smoky in here?!".
"You mean to tell me you
didn't hear the doorbell?" Mildred asked.
"No! The only bells I heard
were the ones ringing while we were, uh...kissing," Remington
explained awkwardly. "After all, we are on our honeymoon," he
added with a grin.
"Well, we got a little
concerned when we saw smoke billowing out from beneath your door,
so Tony here kicked the door in," Mildred continued.
"Annoying little habit you
have there, Anthony," Remington replied, waving the smoke away
from his eyes and coughing.
"Next time, I'll just let your
duck burn," Tony said.
"My duck burned?" Remington
exclaimed in horror. "Oh, no...!"
Before anyone could stop him,
he ran into the kitchen to mourn his dinner.
Laura smiled nervously at her
guests as she waved smoke from her face.
"Nice dress, Laura," Tony
said. "But I think you've got it on backwards."
Laura looked down at her
dress. Tony was right; she did indeed have it on
Before she could reply, Gladys
spotted Shannon crawling on the floor behind Laura and heading
toward the remnants of the front door.
"I've got just one question
for you, Mrs. Steele." Gladys said briskly.
"Please, I prefer be called
Holt-Steele. You know, Laura Holt-Steele."
"All right. Mrs. Holt-Steele,
just exactly who is this woman crawling toward your front
Laura turned, confused, and
Shannon smiled weakly as she
Laura quickly looked back to
Gladys. She had to think fast to come up with an explanation. She
couldn't very well tell her that Shannon was probably one of her
husband 's ex-lovers who had undoubtably been hiding in their
"Uh, oh... she's the cleaning
lady," Laura finally said.
"Then why is she wearing a
formal gown and a fur coat?"
"Uh, she was cold," Laura said
lamely. "I loaned her my coat. And, well, she always wears a
formal gown when she cleans. It's the, uh, uniform of the company.
They have a lot of clients in Beverly Hills."
"Okay. How about this one--why
is she crawling around on the floor?"
"Oh, her contact! She lost her
contact and was just trying to find it."
While Laura was explaining,
Shannon made a run for it and sprinted through the splintered
"Her time was up," Laura said,
realizing how ludicrous she must sound. "She was due at her next
Gladys turned and clomped to
the to the front door--or what was left of it.. "Don't bother to
have this place cleaned up, Mrs. Holt-Steele. You and your husband
will have cozy, little jail cell to live in for the next five
"Wait!" Laura screamed. "I can
explain! I know it looks bad, but I can explain! Please
Laura awoke found herself lying
face down on the floor. Thanks to her dream, she had rolled right
off the couch. Rubbing her aching head, she climbed back onto the
couch and huddled under the covers.
She had been better off in
Mexico, she decided. At least there, she had been able to use
Remington's shirt as a security blanket Here, she had nothing but
empty arms and an empty heart.