A Sequel to
"Steele in the Mood" and "Bonds of Steele"
with Thekla Kurth
Way to go, Sport, Remington told
himself as he lay in his lonely bed. You've been married almost a
week and haven't had a wedding night yet. That must be some sort
of a record.
But then, his marriage to Laura
was probably the most unique affair in the history of romance. A
wedding on a tuna boat preformed by a Mexican fish cleaner? A
cactus for a wedding present? A honeymoon in a Mexican jail? Not
even a TV writer could come up with such a ludicrous plot. But, as
Laura had said, when had they ever been a normal couple?
So what if they weren't a normal
couple? Who wanted to be normal, anyway? The fact was, he and
Laura had both experienced less than typical upbringings. They
both had experienced life in the fast lane and it was their unique
experiences that made them so right for each other. Remington
didn't expect their relationship to fit the mold and he didn't
expect their marriage to, either. But he did want to sleep with
his wife like a normal husband! Was that too much to hope
Looking back over their recent
argument, Remington realized he had been the one to take the first
jab. Even if Laura had wanted to apologize, her pride wouldn't
have allowed her to after he started in with the hurtful remarks.
That was part of their problem. They were both too proud. And what
had pride gotten them? Nothing but hurt feelings and separate
Remington felt like a louse. He'd
been feeling that way quite often lately, he realized. He never
intended to wait this long before telling Laura the truth about
their marriage. That in itself was enough to make him feel
guilty--and now he had this fight on his conscience about as
He wondered just how long Laura
would put up with him if he didn't make things right between them.
Could it be that he had already waited too long--that he had
pushed her too far? Was she seeking comfort in Tony's arms? Had
she actually meant it when she said she didn't care what he did?
Her actions indicated she cared very much, but what if she didn't?
She had promised him two years to satisfy Immigration, but would
she care enough to stick around after those two years were
On that bleak thought, Remington
drifted off into a troubled sleep...
Remington turned over in bed
and reached for his wife of almost two years. She wasn't there. He
sleepily opened one eye and stared at Laura's empty side of the
bed. Glancing at the bedside clock, he noted the time: 11:40 p.m.
Where could she be at twenty
minutes until midnight?His first reaction was that something was
wrong with the twins, so he crawled out of bed and checked their
No problem there; their
15-month old son and daughter were sleeping soundly. So where was
After a quick check proved she
wasn't in the bathroom, he took a long thoughtful look around
their bedroom. Surely she had left him a clue of some sort as to
her whereabouts. Once he set his mind to it, it didn't take him
long to notice that something wasn't quite right about the
dresser. Laura's comb and brush were missing. She had placed them
there on the dresser each night since their marriage, but tonight
they were missing.
Suddenly, Remington had a very
bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
He checked her side of the
mirrored closet. Empty. Even her suitcases were gone. Then
Remington remembered all of the late nights Laura had put in
during the past week. She claimed she had a lot of filing to catch
up on, but wasn't that Mildred's job?
And besides the late nights,
there had been something else strange about Laura's behavior
lately. She had never spent much time with the twins, but during
the past week she had barely even looked at them. She claimed she
was coming down with a cold and didn't want to infect them, but
Remington had his doubts.
Nothing added up. Or rather,
it all added up, but Remington didn't want to believe the
implications. Their second wedding anniversary was tomorrow. Their
two year obligation would be over then. And Anthony Roselli was
back in town. Laura had never even tried to hide her affection for
Anthony. Could it be that she was actually leaving him for
A noise in the living room
caught Remington's attention. He moved to the bedroom door and
slowly opened it. There in the shadows he saw Laura and Tony in a
"Well, Anthony. It appears
that mi casa es su case. I'd ask you in, but you've already made
yourself at home, I see."
Laura and Tony broke their
kiss moved apart, Laura threw her shoulders back in a defiant
"I suppose you're wondering
what I'm doing here in your apartment," Tony said.
declared. "I think it's pretty obvious what you were doing.
Kissing my wife, wasn't it?"
"I won't lie and say I didn't
enjoy it," Tony admitted.
"So, you're an honest man. Eh,
Anthony? I like that in a person. So does my wife."
"You should know that I find
your wife very attractive, but I'm not the kind of guy who'd go
after a married woman," Tony said.
"In case you haven't noticed,
Anthony, my wife *is* a married woman," Remington pointed
"No. I'm your pretend wife,"
Laura clarified. "I promised you two years and our two years will
be over tomorrow. You'll have met your requirement with
Immigration and I'll be free to marry Tony."
"But why?" Remington asked.
"We've had a good marriage. We've got two beautiful children. Why
would you want out?"
"All we've had is a living
arrangement based on trickery and deceit," Laura said sadly. "And
you know the twins were an accident."
"But Laura, I love you,"
"And I loved you, once. Before
you resorted to this sham of a marriage to deceive
"But the marriage is legal!
Juan was the captain!; well, the acting captain. I always meant to
tell you; I just never got around to it. I'm sorry I didn't tell
you sooner. I always meant to."
"Saying you're sorry after two
years of living a lie isn't good enough. If you'd told me the
truth to start with, maybe it would have made a difference. But
"But since the marriage *is*
legal, you can't just walk out and marry Anthony. You'd be
committing bigamy and I don't think many people would be
interested in hiring a bigamist detective, now would
Remington hoped threatening
Laura with the agency would bring her to her senses.
"It wouldn't matter anyway.
I'm leaving you the agency. My lawyer will draw up the necessary
Remington was shocked by the
revelation. "You're giving up the agency? But why? You've always
loved the agency like it was your own child."
Laura sighed. How could she
make him understand how she felt? She took a deep breath and
plunged ahead. "I need a new beginning. Everything close to me
these last few years has been tarnished by deceit and dishonesty.
Even the agency was founded by a man who didn't exist. I just want
to start over someplace where everything is as it appears. I want
to share my life with someone who doesn't get by on charm and
"And Anthony is that
"But what about the twins?
What could be more honest and innocent than our
Laura stared at the floor. "I
haven't been honest with you about the twins," she finally
confessed. "Remember when I said they were conceived after we
returned from Mexico?"
"Well, that's not quite true.
They were conceived while we were in Mexico."
"But that's not possible. We
were never together in Mexico," Remington protested.
"But we were," Tony announced.
Remington was stunned by this
news. "Are you telling me that while I was stuck in jail, you and
Anthony--that the two of you actually --Oh, my God! Laura, how
could you? How can you stand there and talk to me about honesty
after you betrayed me on our honeymoon?"
"It just happened. It wasn't
something I planned. And then when I learned I was pregnant, I
just let you assume you were the father. After all, you could have
been. But after they were born and I learned their blood type, I
knew Anthony was the father. You were so proud of them that I just
couldn't tell you that truth. But every time I looked at them or
held them, I hated myself for my dishonesty. I'd grown to resent
your dishonesty and here I was as dishonest as you had ever been.
l knew I couldn't go on living like that, so when Tony returned
last week I saw the opportunity to start a new life."
Remington scowled at Tony.
"You can just walk away from your own children? What kind of man
Tony shrugged. "Hey. I don't
like kids. You can have them with my blessings. Them, for Laura.
Sounds like a fair trade to me. Come on, Laura. Let 's get out of
He grabbed her arm and pulled
her to the front door.
"But Laura, I love you! I need
you! Your children need you!" Remington pleaded. He tried to run
after them, but his feet felt bolted to the door.
Laura stopped in the open
doorway and looked back at Remington. She started to say
something, but what else was there to say?
Remington watched as Tony
jerked her into the corridor and slammed the door.
The slamming of the door awoke
the twins. They both began to cry, sounding like a strange duet.
Remington instinctively went to comfort the crying babes, but he
stopped as he reached their cribs. All this time, he had thought
they were his children. He had diapered them, fed them, burped
them, played with them, spoiled them, disciplined them--and loved
them. And all that time, he had been loving someone else's
children. They had no claim on him, and he owed them nothing.
Wrong, Remington decided as he
picked up his daughter and rubbed his son's back. They had the
most important claim on him of all--they had claimed his heart. If
ever these twins had needed a loving home, it was now. Maybe Laura
could walk away from her children, but he could not. They were
*his* children now, and he vowed to always be there for
Remington carefully bent over
and picked up his son, also. He carried the squalling babies to a
nearby rocker and began singing one of his favorite songs from the
musical Shenandoah. He hoped the soothing words would have a
calming effect on all three of them.
Papa's gonna make it
all right, babe.
Papa's gonna make it
So hush-a-bye and
don't you cry,
Papa's gonna make it
You're gonna flourish
and grow, babe,
You're gonna flourish
Suddenly the front door was
forced open and the apartment was swarming with people. Two
uniformed women rushed into the bedroom and tore the sleeping
twins from Remington's arms, causing them to cry again. Handcuffs
were then clapped on his wrists and he was roughly jerked to his
"Hey, what in blazes is going
on here?" he demanded.
"You, Mr. Steele, are being
arrested for trying to stay in this country illegally," declared
"But I'm married to an
"You *were* married to an
American citizen. She just walked out on you, and now you're
nothing but an illegal alien."
"But we were married two
years! I met your bloody requirement You can't just come in here
and arrest me!"
"Wrong, Mr. Steele. You were
married *almost* two years. Your wife left you at precisely six
minutes before midnight. *Tomorrow* you would have met
Immigration's requirements, but *today* you're just out of
"But what about my children?
They need me! I'm all they have now that their mother deserted
"They'll be placed in foster
homes. Don't worry; they'll be fine. They won't be the first
children to grow up without parents."
Remington watched broken
heartedly as his children were taken from the room. Their screams
mingled with the bonging of the grandfather clock in the living
room. Remington put his hands over his ears to muffle the
maddening sounds, but he could still hear them.
As the clock struck midnight,
he could stand it no longer and his own screams mingled with those
of his twins...
Remington awoke with a gasp and
bolted upright in bed. Good heavens, what a nightmare! He glanced
around the room to assure himself it had been just a dream. What a
relief to see no babies, no rocker, no crib...
...And once again, no
For some reason, he needed to
reassure himself that Laura was still there. He crawled out of
bed, padded into the living room, and stood silently over the
couch. He couldn't help smiling at the picture she made as she
slept there with the moonlight streaming over her face and
sparkling in her hair.
"Oh, Laura," he whispered. "Why
is it so hard to be honest with you? Why is it so hard to tell you
how much I love you?"
He stood there in the shadows for
what seemed like hours, contemplating whether or not he should he
wake her and share his feelings with her once and for all? He
finally rationalized that since she had already waited four long
years to hear the words, she could surely wait until morning.
Besides, he told himself, she hadn't been well and needed her
sleep. It would be kinder to let her rest. Wouldn't it?
Okay, so maybe he didn't have the
courage to bare his soul just yet, but his nightmare had made him
painfully aware of one thing--he certainly wasn't going to wait
two more years to tell Laura the truth! He leaned over and
tenderly kissed her on the forehead. She smiled in her sleep.
Remington straightened up and smiled, also. Perhaps, just perhaps,
she had a least forgiven him in her dreams.
Remington awoke once again to the
sounds of Laura being sick. This time, however, she had locked the
bathroom door. He didn't even consider picking the lock. He would
grant Laura her privacy if that was what she wanted.
Still, he felt the need to
comfort her. Throwing back the covers and slipping on his robe, he
headed to the kitchen to fulfill that need.
While Remington was puttering
around in the kitchen, Laura studied her face in the bathroom
mirror. She couldn't remember ever looking so pale or feeling so
wretched. Good Lord, how long was her morning sickness going to
last, anyway? She'd heard about women who were sick their entire
nine months. Sighing, she prayed she wouldn't be one of
More than anything else at the
moment, Laura wanted to be soothed by Remington's comforting
presence. She knew if she had left the door open-- or even
unlocked--he would have been by her side as soon as he heard her.
But as much as she wanted his comfort, she felt far too guilty to
accept it. She wanted to apologize for treating him so dreadfully
earlier that evening, but she didn't want to do it during a wave
She splashed cold water on her
face again and squared her shoulders. She didn't exactly dread
facing Remington, but she would be glad when they had finally
aired things out between them. She didn't like feeling awkward
around her own husband. She wanted to be held in his arms again.
It would sure beat holding him at arms length.
Laura gathered her courage and
opened the bathroom door. She took a few steps into the bedroom
and then stopped in shock. There under the covers was her husband,
fast asleep. That was the last thing she had expected to see! How
could he possibly still be asleep? She had made enough noise to
raise the dead! There she was, sick as a dog, and her lousy
husband hadn't even had the decency to feel sorry for her? Well,
if he wasn't the most selfish, ill-natured, self-centered,
egotistical man she'd ever met!
Laura stomped her bare foot and
stormed into the living room. As soon as she approached her
makeshift bed, though, something on the coffee table caught her
eye. Shakily, she walked around the couch and sat down. She smiled
through glistening eyes at the silver tray containing hot tea and
toast. She gingerly touched the single rose and picked up the note
propped against it.
It read simply: "From your not-so-secret
She ran her fingertips over the
words and then held them next to her heart. She felt a sudden
desire to thank Remington for his thoughtfulness. Chances were
he'd only been faking sleep so as not to spoil her surprise, so
she didn't think he'd mind if she showed him now just how grateful
She hurried into the bedroom.
Carefully sitting down beside him on the bed, she ran her finger
across his beard. She was surprised she had never realized just
how very sensuous stubble was! When her fingers failed to rouse
him, she decided he must have fallen asleep again while waiting
for her nausea to pass. Well, she could hardly blame him for that.
She had put a locked door between them, after all. He had been a
real gentleman to respect her privacy. Part of her wished he had
gone ahead and picked the lock, but a bigger part of her was glad
he hadn't. Because then, he would have ceased to be the gentle,
honorable man she'd fallen in love with four years ago.
She decided to let him sleep
awhile longer. She had heard him cry out in the night, so likely
he hadn't gotten much sleep. Even a man of Steele needed his
sleep, and he'd better get it while he could. With any luck,
neither of them would be getting much sleep later that
Laura let her sleeping husband
lie and walked to the dresser. She took the underthings she would
need and headed to the closet to choose a dress from the pile of
clothes still on the floor.
It took all of her resolve not to
scream bloody murder when she spied a long black fur coat lying
The nerve of that two-timing
scoundrel! Hiding his ex-girlfriend's fur in their closet, of all
things! He could at least have had the originality to stuff it
someplace where she wouldn't find it! Or could it be that he had
once given the coat to Shannon and now he was planning to give it
to her? The creep! He wouldn't give her a wedding ring, but he'd
give her a used fur?!
Laura kicked the offending fur
aside and grabbed the first outfit she could get her hands on. She
marched into the bathroom and closed the door. She would have
slammed it, but she didn't want to awaken Remington. She was too
angry to face him just yet. She wanted some time to fume before
she had to took into those lavulite blue eyes of his and forget
why she was angry. She needed to feel angry for a while, and
nothing was going to take that pleasure away from her.
The sound of the front door
slamming startled Remington out of a sound sleep. After calling
Laura's name several times and receiving no answer, he checked the
living room. Her covers were still scattered about the couch, but
she was nowhere to be seen. He noticed, however, that she had
eaten the toast and drank the tea he had provided for her. Then
realizing his note was gone, he smiled. Dare he hope she had put
it aside for sentimental reasons? Could it be that his small
gesture of comfort had caused her to soften toward him?
He hoped that was the case, but
he couldn't get the sound of the slamming door out of his head. If
Laura had decided to forgive him for last night, would she have
left in such a huff? It didn't seem likely. But then, Laura had
been more enigmatic than usual lately. Her constant mood swings
were causing his head to spin. He felt as if he were constantly
walking a tightrope when he was around her. He never knew whether
his actions would reward him with tears, a tongue lashing or a
Remington shook his head. "You're
a hard woman to understand, Laura Holt-Steele," he said out loud.
"But I guess that's part of your charm, isn't it?"
Picking up the silver serving
tray, he carried it back to the kitchen. Then he straightened
Laura's bedclothes and headed into the bedroom to get ready for
the day. He was anxious to get to the office, confront his
schizophrenic bride and have a long talk with her. The sooner the
As it turned out, Remington was
too preoccupied with Tony and Shannon to have his talk with Laura.
He arrived at the agency to find that Laura had already left with
a new client. He tried to give Mildred the impression that he had
left Laura sleeping like a baby, but she didn't buy it for a
minute. She knew that all wasn't right at Honeymoon Manor.
Mildred's computer spewed out
some very interesting information about Laura's muscle man. It
turned out he wasn't what he pretended to be. Well, Remington was
familiar with the type, and he wasn't about to let some impostor
steal his wife out from under him.
Remington couldn't believe his
good fortune when Tony walked into the agency lobby; it saved him
the trouble of tracking him down later. Tony had no doubt after
his meeting with the ticked-off detective that he was dealing with
a very determined man--hypothetically speaking, of course. He left
quickly, not even remembering why he had gone there in the first
Tony was sure of one thing,
though. Remington Steele didn't take kindly to having anyone kiss
his woman. He wasn't sure if Laura was really and truly Mrs.
Steele, but there was no question in his mind that she was
definitely Remington's woman. And Tony didn't like the
implications of that one bit.
The entire confrontation had left
Remington with a definite feeling of deja vu. Hadn't he and
Anthony already had almost that exact same conversation? The
details were foggy at the moment, but Remington knew this wasn't
his first confrontation with Anthony, and suspected it wouldn't be
Next, Remington was off to
console Shannon, who had supposedly collapsed in her hotel room.
Before confronting his flighty ex, however, he had Fred stop at a
nearby bakery. Mildred's comment about tarts had reminded him that
he hadn't eaten breakfast yet, so he had Fred order some cherry
tarts. No doubt Shannon would still be alive and kicking when he
arrived after his brunch.
Unfortunately, his supposition
was correct. Shannon was the healthiest picture of poor health he
could ever remember seeing. He firmly reminded her that he was a
married man now. What he wanted to do was spank her for ruining
his honeymoon, but he feared she would mistake it for foreplay. He
settled for wiping off her kiss with his handkerchief. As he did
so, he made a mental note to discard the smeared silk at the
nearest trash receptacle. The last thing he wanted Laura to see
was another woman's lipstick on his clothing.
Remington then spent the greater
part of the day aimlessly wandering the streets of Los Angeles. He
spent an hour in a run down theater watching part of a movie he
couldn't even remember the name of. All he could think of was
Laura, reclining in a Maltese
gondola wearing a white gauzy dress. Laura, smothering him with
kisses while they burned every issue of Bedside Babes. Laura, sharing a flea ridden cot with him
in a flop house. Laura, walking barefoot on the beach, reading his
letter. Laura, staying awake all night tending a gangster's
grandson. Laura, crying beneath a rain streaked window in the dark
after her house was blown up.
Remington fondly remembered
comforting her in her time of grief. He had bared his soul to her
on that rainy night in a way he had never done to anyone. None of
his old lovers had been shown that part of him. None of them had
seen the real man beneath the polished facade. None of them,
Xenos the Stranger had ceased to
exist that rainy night, only Remington hadn't realized it until
now. As he held Laura in his arms and shared her pain, he had
become bound to her forever in a way he was only now beginning to
understand. All those years of searching for himself had ended
when he found Laura. He realized that now.
Remington felt a great need to
show Laura just how he felt about her. But even more than that, he
wanted to show the world how he felt. Tony's earlier visit
reminded him of what he had said in Mexico about Laura not having
a wedding ring. That was it! He'd get her the perfect wedding band
with just the right inscription. And if he was lucky, maybe he
could give her an engagement ring of Royal Lavulite.
He left the theater with a
lighter step. He couldn't believe he hadn't already thought to get
Laura a set of rings. Clarissa had furnished her own, but he
certainly didn't expect Laura to do the same. After all, he would
allow women's lib to go only so far!
An inscription. He definitely
wanted an inscription in the wedding band. A dozen movie quotes
came to mind immediately, but was a movie quote what he wanted? He
wasn't sure. These had to be the right words. Words were important
to Laura. And since there would only be room for a few, he would
have to choose them carefully.
For the time being at least,
Remington forgot all about Tony and Shannon. He stopped thinking
about honeymoons in Mexican jails and human leech Immigration
officials out to draw blood. He even forgot about long delayed
magical moments. All he could think of was finding just the right
words for Laura.
"I can't believe what I'm
hearing!" Remington bellowed as he stood in the agency lobby.
"Laura called and you actually told her she could reach me at
Shannon's hotel room?"
"Guess I screwed up. Huh, Boss?"
Mildred asked with a cringe.
Remington growled through
clinched teeth and took a deep breath. "Just exactly how much of a
pension do you have with the IRS, Mildred?"
Mildred ignored his comment and
Mildred went straight to the heart of the matter. "Oh, Boss. Are
things really that bad between you and the Mrs.?"
Remington nervously ran his hand
across the smooth surface of Mildred's desk. "Let's just say this
hasn't been the honeymoon I've always imagined."
"Oh, but it will be. You two kids
love each other; you'll work things out."
"Kind of hard to do that with so
much competition about," Remington complained as he started
plucking the leaves off the nearby Jade plant.
"But I already explained to the
Little Woman that Shannon is history. And Laura assured me that
Tony the Tiger is merely a friend."
Remington continued to pluck
leaves. "Somehow, Mildred, that doesn't reassure me. Shannon
doesn't give up easily. I don't know what her game is, but I'm
willing to bet she hasn't played her ace yet. And Anthony strikes
me as another Butch Beemis type. Don't ask me why, but Laura has
always been attracted to his type. I just never figured she'd
suffer another momentary aberration on our honeymoon!"
"Don't worry about that Bozo,
Boss. He's just Laura's latest weapon in the Battle of the Sexes.
Laura doesn't care a hoot for him, except as a way to make you
"Yes, well, I know that, and you
know that, but does Anthony know it?"
"I wouldn't worry about him
anymore, Chief. I'd say you made your point quite effectively a
while ago. Hypothetically speaking, of course."
Remington gave Mildred a
"Well, somebody's got to look out
after you," Mildred retorted.
Remington suddenly realized he
had stripped Mildred's plant clean. He stood up and straightened
his shoulders, saying. "Well, it appears I've done all the damage
I can do here for the time being. Exactly what was Lindstrom's
Mildred wrote it down for
When he started to leave,
however, she stopped him. "Boss, just in case Mrs. Steele is a
little bent out of shape when you find her, maybe this will help
lighten the mood."
She reached into her bottom desk
drawer and pulled out a bottle of Temptation, the cola of
Remington was aghast. "Mildred, I
thought I told you to throw every bottle of that nasty stuff away!
It brought us nothing but trouble and I will not have it in our
"But I thought, seeing as how you
and Mrs. Steele are at odds with each other, this might be just
the thing to help you patch things up. It certainly put the two of
you in a romantic mood last month."
"Mildred, I am thoroughly and
completely shocked and outraged that you would even suggest such a
thing! When Laura and I are ready to experience the 'magical
moment,' we won't need to resort to such barbarian means."
Remington straightened his tie, adding, "Besides, it'd be just my
luck that Anthony would arrive on our doorstep just as we finished
off the bottle, and I'm not about to take a chance on him reaping
the benefits instead of me. Let him get is own bride."
"Good point. Boss. Want me to
dump this down the drain, too?"
"No," Remington said on his way
to the door. "I may get desperate enough to use it if Laura and I
don't get together soon. Just keep it someplace where it won't
fall into the wrong hands."
"Got ya!" Mildred said as
Remington exited through the glass doors.
She was looking around for a safe
place to hide the aphrodisiac cola when suddenly Remington's head
popped back through the double doors.
"Oh, and Mildred," he added. "I
owe you a new plant."
"Just make sure it's not a
Remington's conversation with his
bride later that evening at Lindstrom's was the most intimate one
they had shared all day, which wasn't saying much. He had almost
taken Laura's head off when she attacked him in the dark. If
Metzger hadn't flipped on the light when he did, however,
Remington might have lost his head and taken advantage of the
situation in far more satisfying manner. After all, what better
way the break the ice wall between them? So what if they were in a
suspect's house? It was the first time Laura had been in his arms
since their romantic roll on his bed the day before. And who would
have blamed him for mixing a little business with pleasure during
As it was, though, Metzger had
been Johnny on the Spot. The lights came on and Remington found
himself facing a seething Laura. He could tell by her sarcastic
tone that Shannon had laid it on thick. Well, if his own wife
didn't have more faith in him than that, he wasn't about to
explain. She either trusted him or she didn't.
Laura filled him in on the
details surrounding the gun shot, somehow managing to relate the
entire incident without once looking him in the eye. While she sat
and fumed, Remington found an itinerary which placed Lindstrom,
their prime target, a continent away at the time of the shooting.
And if Lindstrom didn't do it, then Remington could think of only
one other person who could have.
What was it Shannon had said the
night before when she had appeared on his doorstep? Something
about loving it when he took charge? Well, she was about to get
Shannon wasn't in her hotel room
when Remington arrived there, fully charged. He picked the lock
and made himself at home. The longer he waited, the angrier he
became. For the second night in a row, Shannon was coming between
him and his bride. Her unwelcome presence was one thing, but
shooting at Laura was another kettle of fish entirely.
What if the bullet hadn't missed?
What if Laura had died before he had told her how much he loved
her? Before he had told her the truth about their marriage?
Remington thought of Laura's cold lifeless body being lowered into
a grave surrounded by cacti. Just the thought of life without
Laura scared him, but the thought of her dying before he told her
he loved her was more than he could imagine. If it ever came to
that, he realized, he would welcome a five-year jail
He stood and started pacing. To
take his mind off Laura, he concentrated on how he would handle
Shannon. He didn't have much time to formulate a plan, however,
because Shannon soon returned from her evening
If she had expected a charming
reunion with Dougie, she was in for a shock. All signs of her
Douglas Quintain were gone. In his place stood a very upset, very
determined Remington Steele. Shannon wasn't so sure she liked
Dougie's new persona. He was no fun at all! All he wanted to talk
about were his phony passports, his possible deportation and his
marriage to Lu Lu.
Remington hadn't intended to say
anything to Shannon about the rotten mess with Immigration; it
just sort of slipped out in the heat of anger. He just prayed
Shannon would accept his lop-sided description of the situation at
face value. If she stopped to analyze his story, she would realize
he was full of blarney.
Unfortunately, she believed it
all too well.
It was late when Remington
returned to the apartment for the night. He found himself hoping
Laura was asleep. He was too tired to argue, much less make up.
All he wanted to do was collapse someplace soft.
He smiled as he walked past
Laura, sleeping upright on the couch with a cushion clutched to
her chest. He looked about, but saw no bedclothes anywhere. Maybe
they were making progress, he surmised. But then again, maybe she
had fallen asleep while waiting to give him a tongue
Remington decided to get ready
for bed before carrying Laura into the bedroom. He certainly
couldn't let her sleep sitting up, and he'd take a chance that the
absence of bedclothes meant she wanted to make up.
If worse came to worse, he'd
sleep on the couch himself.
Walking into the bedroom, he
turned down the covers on the bed and plumped the pillows. It was
a ritual Laura often teased him about and he found himself
chuckling. Then locating his pajama bottoms, he began changing
"And exactly what do you think
you're doing?" Laura suddenly asked.
Remington jumped, startled. After
a brief pause, he resumed his task of changing clothes. "Laura,
please! Don't go sneaking around like that. You're liable to give
me a heart attack!"
"Speaking of sneaking around,
where were you tonight?" Laura asked tersely.
"Out," Remington said calmly as
he stepped out of his trousers and into his pajama bottoms.
He smiled inwardly at the sight
of Laura staring at him with wide, appreciate eyes. He then
casually moved her out of the way with an "Excuse me,
She followed him into the
bathroom and watched spellbound as he calmly began brushing his
"Out where?" she finally
Remington calmly brushed a few
more strokes. "Just out," he eventually mumbled through a mouthful
Laura grred and stalked out of
In a moment, however, she stalked
It wasn't fair! she groaned to
herself as she watched him brush. He was even handsome with a
mouth full of toothpaste!
He eventually rinsed and splashed
cold water on his face. What he really needed was a cold shower,
but he wasn't about to let Laura know that. For once, he seemed to
be in control of an argument and he didn't want Laura to know how
close he was to losing that control. He patted his face with a
towel, hung the towel on the rack, and turned to leave.
Laura, however, was blocking his
"Uh, would you mind moving just a
tad to the left?" he inquired, indicating with his hand exactly
where she should move.
Angrily she stepped to the right
and let him pass. He silently sidestepped her and headed to bed,
humming a tune as he walked. She stared incredulously as he
crawled beneath the covers and made himself comfortable.
"Uh, Laura, would you be an angel
and get the light?" he asked, not bothering to raise his
He was surprised when the light
went off a few moments later. He was even more surprised when
Laura crawled into bed beside him. But the biggest surprise came
when Laura shoved him right off the bed onto the floor.
A well aimed pillow to his head
kept him from completing the question. Sitting up quickly, he
threw the pillow aside. He saw Laura's face glaring at him over
the edge of the bed and he glared back.
"If you think I'm sleeping on the
couch again tonight, you've got another thing coming,
"I was rather hoping we could
sleep in the same bed for a change!" Remington explained.
"Think again! Now get your pillow
and get out of here before I get angry!" Laura demanded.
Remington scrambled to his feet
and grabbed his pillow. Giving Laura a growl, he headed for the
"Wait!" Laura yelled.
Remington turned expectantly,
hoping against hope that his hot-headed bride had softened.
He should have known better.
Laura stomped to the mirrored closet, removed a pile of black fur
and then stomped back over to him. Even in the dark, he could see
the anger in her eyes.
"Don't forget your covers," she
said as she flung the fur in his face. Then with a quick stomp to
his foot, she marched back to bed and barricaded herself beneath
Remington stifled a scream as he
hobbled out of the bedroom and to the couch. Even barefooted, that
woman's stomp packed quite a wallop. By the time they finally made
up, he'd need foot surgery! He plopped his pillow down on the
couch and wrapped up in Shannon's fur. Actually, it made pretty
good comforter. He just wished it smelled less like Shannon and
more like Laura.
Taking one final look at the open
doorway leading to his bedroom, he smiled. Yes, he and his bride
were definitely making progress. At least they were no longer
putting closed doors between them. There was hope for them
Laura was sick again the next
morning. Remington had been listening for her from his bed on the
couch. A great wave of relief swept over him when he did not hear
her close the bathroom door. He tossed Shannon's fur to the foot
of the couch and walked to the bathroom door, which was standing
The sound of Laura's retching
tore at his heart. He was worried about her. Perhaps she had
picked up some virus from the Mexican jungle. No, the timing
wasn't right, he realized. She had been sick every morning since
their marriage. Whatever it was, it was time she saw a doctor. He
would insist she make an appointment at the soonest possible
Remington took advantage of a
momentary silence and knocked on the bathroom door. "Laura?" he
asked, poking his head in. "Do you do this all day?"
Laura hesitated. If she said no,
he might suspect she was enduring morning sickness, and she didn't
want him to know until she was ready to tell him.
"Whenever the mood hits me," she
"Is there anything I can do to
"Yeah," Laura said as she ran her
fingers through her bangs. "Tell the captain to stop rocking the
Her attempted smile warmed him
all over. He didn't even try to stop the silly grin he felt
spreading across his face.
"I'll give him your message right
after I order room service," he said.
He was off before the next wave
of nausea washed over her.
Remington and Laura spent the
next hour in leisurely companionship. Propped against their
pillows, they laughed about old cases and speculated what favorite
past clients might be doing. Both knew they were avoiding the real
issue, but at the moment it didn't matter. They were together, and
they were enjoying each other's company.
Remington's supposition that
Jackie was class president at reform school nearly cracked them
up. They could just see his "family" coming to hear his inaugural
address and lifting the wallets of half the student body.
When their laughter died down,
there was a moment of silence. Each nervously glanced at the
other, searching for a way to break the stillness.
Remington was the first to gather
his courage. "Uh, Laura, considering you've been sick several days
now, don't you think it'd be a good idea if you saw a doctor? I
mean, maybe you picked up a bug in the jungle or
"I was sick before we left for
"Yes, well, then maybe you
encountered something in the jungle that made you worse..."
"If you're worried about catching
something from me, you can relax. I can almost guarantee that
whatever I have, it's not contagious."
"I'm not worried about catching
something, Laura. I'm worried about you. I hate seeing you this
way every day. I'd just feel better if you'd see a doctor; that's
Laura got a far away took in her
eyes and drew her legs up against her chest, resting her chin on
her knees. Should she tell him now? Was this the right time to
tell him he was going to be a father?
Why not? she decided. They'd just
had a lovely breakfast in bed. They were both feeling very
affectionate. What better time?
"Remember when we succumbed to
Temptation?" she asked, dreamily.
"Which time?" he asked with a
"Take your pick," she
"Are you trying to change the
subject? Because if you are, it won't work. I'll make the
appointment myself, if I have to."
"Remember the bushes at
Frances'?" Laura asked, oblivious to Remington's previous
"How could I forget? I still itch
just thinking about that poison ivy!"
"And remember that night in the
limo when you poured the cola all over my...?"
"I remember. Fred had to have the
entire back seat reupholstered," Remington said, puzzled as to
where this was going.
He turned his head in an effort
to examine her more closely. She had a far away look in her eyes
and was smiling contentedly. Could this be the same woman who had
pushed him out of bed the night before, and had been deathly ill
just an hour before?
"Uh, Laura, is this conversation
leading somewhere?" he inquired.
"I was just wondering how that
aphrodisiac cola worked."
"What do you mean, how it worked?
We drank it and then we, uh..."
"No, no--that's not what I
"Well. what do you mean?"
"I'm not sure, exactly. But I
have a theory that all that cola did was lower our inhibitions. It
didn't cause us to have sudden feelings for just anyone."
"You mean we didn't drink it and
suddenly develop an overwhelming desire to make love to the first
person we saw?"
"Exactly! Think about it. I was
around Fred, but I never had a sudden urge to..."
"And you were around Mildred, but
you two never..."
"Laura! How could you even
suggest that I --that we--Good heavens, woman! I'm her boss! We
have a professional relationship to maintain! And as for you and
Fred, I never dreamed...!"
"Calm down, Mr. Steele; I'm just
trying to make a point. The cola worked for you and me; it worked
for Mildred and Ralph; it worked for Donald and Frances. It even
worked for Laurie Both and her boyfriend next door."
"In other words, it only worked
on people who already had feelings for each other."
"Right! It just lowered the
inhibitions of whatever parties imbibed."
"Does this mean you're admitting
you have...feelings for me?" Remington asked, moving in close for
"Well, yes, I suppose so."
"You suppose what?"
"That I have feelings for
"And what might those feelings
be?" Remington asked as he put his arms around Laura's
Laura put her arms around his
neck. "Well, I am...fond of you."
"Fond? You're *fond* of
"Well, certainly! You don't think
I'd marry someone if I wasn't fond of him, do you?"
"I wouldn't know."
"Well, I wouldn't. I do have my
standards, you know," she insisted.
"That I do. So you're fond of me.
That's the best you can do?" he prompted.
"Well, I'm very fond of
"Very fond of me, eh?" Remington
leaned in for that kiss.
"One might even say that I
The phone rang, drowning out
Laura's last few words. Remington just pursed his lips and shook
his head as if to say, It
After three rings Laura leaned
over and picked up the receiver. Remington just sat and made a
mental note to sue the phone company for pain and suffering. He
then made a mental note to kill Mildred.
Laura finally hung up the phone.
"That was Mildred. Metzger is already at the office. He says he
has some new evidence against Lindstrom. I'll get dressed and meet
with him as soon as l can. Fred can pick you up in the limo
Laura was already up, gathering
"No. You need to see a doctor,"
Remington insisted. "I'll see Metzger, and Fred can pick you up in
the limo later for your doctor's appointment."
"Don't be silly. You have to
shower and shave; all I have to do is get dressed."
"Laura, I'm serious about the
doctor," Remington said soberly, his voice a challenge.
Laura's first reaction was to get
angry. How dare he tell her what to do! After all, he was her
husband; not her father. But that reaction passed quickly,
however, when she saw the love and concern on his face.
She walked to his side and
tenderly caressed his rough cheek. "I'll have Mildred make an
appointment for me this afternoon," she promised.
"I just want to be sure you're
okay," Remington explained.
"I know," Laura said, giving him
a quick kiss on the cheek before she returned to the business of
"Oh, Laura--that conversation we
had earlier about Temptation..."
"I was just thinking out loud.
Don't worry about it."
Laura had really intended to tell
Remington her secret. If the phone hadn't rang, she was sure she
would have. Oh, well, she decided; she still had close to eight
months before the baby was due. Surely she would find the right
words before then. Unless, of course, he found the back pack in
the trunk of the limo first.
The doctor's appointment would
have to wait; Mildred ended up making plane reservations to London
instead. Even though the trip was for business, both Remington and
Laura felt a sense of excitement. London had been good to them.
After all, it held special memories of their first magical moment.
They were confident that as soon as they dispensed with Lindstrom
and the stolen painting, they would have plenty of time to make
even more special memories.
Remington and Laura packed in
silence, each caught up in their own private thoughts. It wasn't
long before Remington, whistling a lively tune, triumphantly
closed his second suitcase.
"There! All done!" he declared.
Then realizing Laura was struggling to close her first one, he
said, "Here, let me help you with that."
Laura fought the urge to scream
as he smashed several piles of her clothing in his zealous desire
to close the offending piece of baggage,
"There you go! All shut tight!"
Remington finally announced with a grin.
Glancing at his watch, he put his
arms around Laura. "Our plane doesn't leave for a couple of hours
yet," he explained, planting little kisses across the bridge of
her nose. "What say we, uh, take up where we left off in
"But I haven't finished packing,"
Laura protested weakly.
She was finding it difficult to
put up much of a struggle when Remington was kissing her neck and
unbuttoning her top buttons with his teeth.
"Oh, why not?" she finally
declared, throwing her arms around Remington with great
Her enthusiasm caught him off
guard. They both fell backwards onto the floor and landed beside
Laura's other suitcase, which was still only half full.
"You seem to have developed a
fondness for the floor lately," Remington teased.
As soon as he said it, he
realized it was the wrong thing to say. Laura stiffened
"Laura, I promise you, there are
no old girlfriends in the closet, or under the bed, or anywhere in
Laura coolly rose to her feet.
"Just the same, we do have a plane to catch and we can't afford to
be late. This is a business trip, you know."
Remington slowly stood, also.
"Yes, indeed. And heaven forbid we mix a little pleasure with that
"Just because we're pretending to
be married doesn't mean we can turn all of our cases into pleasure
trips. We do have a reputation to maintain."
"Of course! Our reputation! We
wouldn't want to tarnish that, now would we? To hell with the
marriage; let's protect that agency's reputation at all
"Will you hush and finish
"I am finished!" Remington
declared, grabbing a suitcase in each hand. "I'll wait for you in
the living room."
"Fine!" Laura declared.
Remington staggered out of the
room with his luggage. Laura returned to her packing, but not
before she wiped the tears from her eyes.