Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division
Steeling a New Life
Part 6
A Sequel to "Steele in the Mood" and "Bonds of Steele"
Debra Talley, with Thekla Kurth
Written Summer, 1988
If Laura lived to be one hundred, she would never forget the haunted took in Remington's eyes when she found him in Daniel's room. Those eyes told her everything she needed to know. Remington had found his father, made peace with his father, and lost his father. Her heart went out to him as she shared his grief. Words were unnecessary at that moment. Laura merely sat beside the man she loved, placed an understanding hand on his shoulder, and held him in her heart
Their quiet moment of grief did not last long, however, as Mickeline and life abruptly intruded. Remington put his emotions on hold as he dealt quickly and effectively with the problems at hand. Tony was taken into protective custody and plans were made to put the three coffins purchased by Daniel to good use.
Laura knew Remington was on the emotional edge, so she made arrangements for Mildred and Mickeline to accompany Daniel's body to the village for preparation. She feared Remington would insist on going himself, but he seemed content to go with her to the authorities in Dublin while Mildred went with Daniel.
It was during the ride to Dublin that Remington's emotions and grief surfaced. Laura had insisted Terrence drive them in the limo. She realized Remington was in no condition to drive, and she wanted to be free to comfort him if the need arose.
At first Remington sat quietly, using Laura's hand as a lifeline. Laura respected his need for silence. She just tightly held his hand and tried to pass a small measure of comfort to him through her touch. Soon afterwards she felt a tear on her hand as Remington brought it to his lips and kissed it. One tear turned into several, but still he held her hand to his lips.
When she calmly leaned over and kissed his wet cheek, all of Remington's grief spilled forth. Deep sobs racked his body as he cried unashamedly. Laura simply took him in her arms and let him cry. He collapsed against her shoulder and held her tightly as the anger, pain and grief slowly flowed out of him. No words were spoken and none were needed as love slowly but surely helped Remington's pain to subside. The bonds of Steele had never been stronger than at that moment.
The Dublin authorities were filled in on Remington's plan to clear Tony and transport the real traitor to London. The other details of the plan were explained as well, with Remington somehow managing to make Daniel come off as the real hero of the whole thing. Laura knew it was Remington's final tribute to his father. She was proud to be married to a man who had turned out to be such a good son. Indeed, he would make a good father himself.
They were briefly allowed to see Tony. Remington had nothing to say, but Laura assured the unwelcomed intruder that Remington's plan would work. Tony didn't like the way Laura was looking at Remington; he didn't know what had happened to cause that look he saw in her eyes, but he certainly didn't like it. As far as he was concerned, the sooner he got out of jail and swept Laura away, the better.
Much later that evening, Laura stopped off in the Ashford Castle kitchen and prepared a pot of tea. During their ride back to the castle, she and Remington had filled each other in on the events of the past two days, but they still had a lot to discuss before the night was over. A hot, strong cup of tea seemed to be the perfect drink to accompany such as discussion, so Laura prepared a tray with two cups and a hot pot of tea.
She had already showered and dressed for bed and hoped Remington would be finished with his shower when she returned to their room. She really hadn't wanted to leave him alone, not even long enough for a shower, but he had insisted. Realizing he probably needed a few moments to himself, she had agreed.
She took a deep breath as she stood outside their closed bedroom door. There was no turning back now, she realized; the moment for total honesty had arrived. It was time for the truth about their marriage, the truth about her pregnancy and the truth about their feelings for each other. She entered their room and quietly closed the door behind her.
She wasn't sure what she had expect when she entered the room, but she hadn't expected to find Remington sitting on the floor by the fireplace staring into space. His hair was still wet from his shower and he was clutching a comforter to his chest. He had never looked more vulnerable. As she took a few moments to study him, she couldn't help but reflect on all he had recently been through and what he must now be feeling. The pain of finding and losing a father in one day was unfathomable, but her Man of Steele seemed to be holding up reasonably well. Or was he? She wondered what was really going on inside him. She hated to see him hurting so and her heart went out to him. All she wanted to do at that moment was put her arms around him, hold him and comfort him.
Laura approached him and set the tray on a nearby table. In an attempt at lightness, she said, "The lady of the castle with some tea for you, my lord."
He looked up and blinked. He hadn't really heard her, but her voice had startled him out of his reverie.
"I made some tea," she repeated, sitting beside him.
He wrapped her up in the comforter as well, not wanting her to catch a chill. He didn't say anything, however, and retreated back into his own private thoughts.
Laura was relieved that at least Daniel had told him the truth. She tried to imagine what it would have been like to live with such a secret, but she couldn't. How would she ever have been able to tell Remington if it had been left up to her? How could she have found the courage? She knew deep down she would have told him; she simply couldn't have lived with the knowledge. She was more than relieved that she didn't have to wrestle with that choice tonight; there were too many other things they had to air between them tonight.
Laura slowly started to rise from her position beside Remington.
"Where are you going?" he asked nervously.
"To get the tea," she explained with a reassuring smile as she picked up the tray and set it on the floor beside them. She poured them each a cup and handed one to Remington. Then she wrapped up in the comforter with him again and began sipping her own tea.
"We've been through a lot in the last 48 hours, haven't we?" she asked. It wasn't very clever or very witty, but it got the ball rolling and that was what counted.
Remington nodded. After a pause, he added, "The past month, actually." He set down his cup, though he hadn't drank any tea. Then taking a deep breath, he added, "Laura, this might be as good a time as any to get something off my chest. I just hope you can forgive me."
"For what?" she asked.
"I lured you into something under false pretenses," he hesitantly admitted.
"What are you talking about?" she asked. Even though she knew full well what was bothering him, but she wanted him to say it.
"Laura, Juan wasn't the captain, but he *was* acting captain, vested with all the rights and privileges of a captain. Same difference in the eyes of the law. We were three miles out, in international waters--I made sure of that. And the marriage was registered." He paused only long enough to take a quick breath, then quickly continued. "Under those circumstances we didn't need paperwork, phony or otherwise. So, as Mildred would say, our marriage is legal as hell. Perhaps a bit fishy, but it will hold up."
He studied Laura carefully for a response, but her face was emotionless.
"I never meant to lie to you, Laura," he continued, desperately wanting her to understand. "I was merely being vague. I had to be, but not just because of Immigration. You see, I was afraid you wouldn't agree to marry me, and if you didn't...well, I'd have had no reason to stay. All I ever wanted was for us to be married--truly."
Laura's right eye began to twitch ever so slightly as she said, "Are you telling me this whole thing was just a ruse you devised to get me to marry you?"
"I'm a terrible . . . rotten . . . degenerate human being..." he said apologetically.
"That is, without a doubt, the most . . ."
He flinched, waiting for her verbal assault,
". . . romantic thing anyone has ever done for me," she finished with a grin. "This even tops our ill-fated weekend in San Francisco."
"You mean, you're not angry?" he asked hopefully, still not believing his good fortune.
"Angry? I'm beside myself with joy," she declared, flinging her arms around him and kissing him. Then pulling away slightly and looking sheepish, she admitted, "I, also, have a confession to make."
Remington looked at her, fear and trepidation obvious on his face.
"The day after our wedding, I went down to the Hall of Records and discovered our marriage had been registered by Juan who, by the way, wasn't only the acting captain, but a minister as well."
"So then you knew it was legal all along," he stated.
Laura nodded.
Still a bit stunned by her admission, he said, "Now let me get this straight--what you're saying is that I just wasted my confession."
She captured his hand in her own. "No! You didn't waste it. To be perfectly honest, I was waiting for you to tell me. I figured that was only fair."
He touched her cheek with his fingertip and smiled. "Yes, it was."
"I'd already decided I was going to tell you I knew the truth tonight," she added. "After all that's happened since the wedding, all the game playing suddenly seems a bit juvenile."
Remington smiled again. "I should have suspected you'd get to the bottom of the truth. Maybe I was even hoping you would."
"Coward!" she said with a laugh.
"Careful there," Remington warned. "That's your husband you're talking about."
"Yes, my husband, the conniving con man," Laura said. "But still, the most wonderful husband a girl could ever want." Then looking down, she added, "I also paid a visit to Clarissa."
"Oh?" he said. Somehow he wasn't surprised.
"We had an enlightening chat, and he told me all about your little scheme."
"She did?" he asked, swallowing hard.
"Frankly, I'm flattered that you were willing to go to all that trouble just to stay with me," Laura confessed. "I'm glad she and I had the opportunity to talk; she made me aware of just unfair I've been to you. I've been wanting you to tie yourself to me with words, but yet I've withheld those very same words from you. I guess I was just being stubborn... waiting for you to tell me first."
Remington looked at her, surprised. His mouth tried to form words, but just opened and closed.
"Oh, what the hell," she finally blurted out. "Remington Steele, I love you."
Remington gave Laura a smile so bright that it warmed the entire room. He wanted to say something, but once again the words stuck in his throat. He had to settle for taking each of her hands in his and bringing them to his lips for a caressing kiss.
In a moment Laura removed one hand from his grasp and used it to wipe away the tears which were spilling from his shining eyes. "Well, don't you have something you want to say to me?" she finally asked with a laugh.
He swallowed a couple of times, but finally said, "Laura, I don't know quite how to respond except to that except to say that...Well, I do love you."
There. He'd said it.
"You do?" Laura asked, wanting to be sure she had really heard.
"Laura, why must you always doubt me? Yes, damn it, I love you. I love you."
She threw her arms around his neck. "If you'd told me that when you attempted to propose last month, I would have said yes. I wanted to say yes later, after I'd had a chance to cool off and realized what you had meant. I kept hoping you'd try again...and then all of this happened. If I hadn't been so pigheaded, we could have avoided this whole mess."
"Come now, Laura; don't berate yourself. It's not entirely your fault," Remington admonished, patting her on the back.
She went on as though she hadn't heard him. "We could have been married then instead of now and have avoided Estelle Becker and Gladys Lynch and the whole rotten bunch of them down at Immigration. Not to mention Norman Keyes!"
"Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about Keyes; he was out for blood. He would have found a way to get to me, one way or another. And speaking of Keyes and Vigilance Insurance, I supposed we should think about updating our policies, now that we're married and all...Maybe even start thinking about adding a family clause."
Laura agreed, saying, "Good idea; it's never too early to start planning for the future. I mean, who knows? You may become a family man before you know it."
"Family man, eh?" Remington said, warming up to the idea very quickly. "I like the sound of that, actually. It has a nice ring to it."
"I'm glad you feel that way," Laura said as she twirled a lock of Remington's still damp hair. "Remember last month at the office when I told you the Rabbit died?"
Remington recalled the disappointment he had felt when he discovered that Laura was referring to her car. "Yes, I remember. But what's that.. .?"
"It occurred to me later that you had mistakenly thought I was pregnant."
"What made you realize that?"
"Because the rabbit really did die this time, hypothetically speaking," Laura explained, looking intently into Remington's eyes so as not to miss a thing when realization hit him. "And I *don't* mean my car this time."
Remington briefly scowled in confusion, but then face shone as realization dawned. "Laura, are you trying to tell me that you...that you and I...that we..."
She smiled at him, nodding. "I haven't even gotten used to calling you 'Remington' yet, and now there'll be *another* name for me to learn. You realize, of course, this makes *two* names you've earned since walking into my life."
Remington couldn't stop the tears from welling up in his eyes as he gathered Laura into his arms. "Oh, babe. Are you sure?"
"Well, I haven't seen a doctor yet, but I took a home pregnancy test...You know, the kind you find on grocery store shelves, along with panty hose and tooth paste and flea collars. When the test was positive, I fully intended to see a doctor. But London sort of got in the way."
"You mean you've known since before we left for London?"
"Yes," Laura admitted. "I intended to tell you as soon as Gladys Lynch left that night, but the timing wasn't right."
"That's a quaint way of putting it," Remington said, caressing Laura's cheek with his finger. "The timing has certainly been less than perfect ever since our wedding. But something tells me the times, they are a changing."
Remington gave Laura a gentle kiss and rocked her in his arms. "Oh, babe," he muttered against her hair. "You've made me so happy. A baby... Our baby!"
He released her and held her at arm's length. "For most of my life, I never belonged anywhere. I just wandered about, always on the outside looking in. But then I found you and everything changed. Now I belong somewhere; I have someone who loves me. Thanks to you, I have a whole new life."
Laura gently brushed aside the damp lock of hair she had been twirling on Remington's forehead. "I'm sorry Daniel won't be here to enjoy his first grandchild," she said.
Remington captured her hand and kissed her palm. "Being a father is a responsibility I won't take lightly, Laura."
"I know. I think we both realize how important a loving and stable home is for a child."
"And that's exactly what our children will have--a loving and stable home. Right, Mrs. Steele?"
"Right, Daddy."
They smiled at each other and kissed. Afterwards, Laura leaned her head against Remington's shoulder. "That day in the office when I told you the Rabbit died? I didn't realize it at the time, but I must have already been pregnant then."
"Just how far along are you?" Remington asked.
"I'd guess about a month."
"And you really haven't seen a doctor yet?"
"Not yet. Women often wait several weeks, a couple of months even, before they see a doctor."
"You could see one here in Ireland," he suggested.
"Plenty of time for that when we get home," Laura assured him. "Believe me, I'm sure. I've had all of the signs for several weeks now."
Remington recalled Laura's morning sickness each morning in L.A. Here he'd been afraid the stress of their marriage had made her ill, and it was just old-fashioned morning sickness.
"I'm pretty sure the baby was conceived during the Temptation Cola case. The timing is right, and I suspect that with all of the excitement I forgot a pill or two."
Remington chuckled. "And with our uninhibitedness during that case, our other methods of birth control didn't work."
"What other methods?" Laura asked, puzzled.
"Oh, ringing telephones, buzzing doorbells, flying bullets. You know, the usual stuff."
Laura was silent for a moment. Then looking at him through lowered lashes, she added, "I'd like to think it happened the night you proposed. You were so sweet that night."
"You didn't think so then," Remington pointed out. "If I recall, you stormed out of my apartment and drove off in the Auburn."
"You just overwhelmed me."
"Yes, well, I suppose I did," Remington said gallantly.
They sat in silence for several moments more, staring at the fire and enjoying the closeness.
"You were trying to tell me about the baby when you babbled on and on about Temptation and its side effects, weren't you?" Remington asked shortly.
"I never babble!" Laura said defensively.
"No, of course you don't," he promptly agreed. "But am I right?"
"Yes, you're right. I wanted to tell you, but I couldn't seem to find the right words--and then the phone rang."
"So I'm not the only one who has trouble with words. Eh?"
Laura laughed when she saw the grin on Remington's face.
But then just as quickly, he became serious again. "How do you feel about having a baby now, Laura?"
"Scared. Happy. Nervous. Thrilled... All of the emotions any mother-to-be experiences."
"No regrets or reservations?"
"Only in the sense that I worry and wonder what kind of mother I'll make. I know the baby will bring a lot of changes into my life--into *our* lives. I only hope I can deal with them all."
"You will," he assured her. "I'll be here to help you, Laura. We'll do it together, as a family."
Those words warmed Laura's heart. Her smile portrayed her love as she looked at him, bathed in the fire's glow.
Without a word, Remington swept Laura into his arms and carried her to the bed. Their long awaited magical moment had finally arrived. In that silent darkness, with only the fire for warmth and light, he removed her robe and his own. They huddled together, their loving sweetening the time until morning.
Remington awoke first the next morning. He relished this time, just watching his bride sleep. It wasn't long, however, before Laura began to stir. She yawned and stretched, then opened her eyes, staring directly into her husband's smiling and loving face. She stretched again before he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close for a warm good morning kiss. They snuggled in contentment.
Laura was surprised to find she wasn't suffering from morning sickness, but it was a nice surprise. She figured it must be due to the fact that she had experienced the most satisfying night of her life.
She soon became aware of Remington's silence; he seemed unusually deep in thought and she wanted him to share those thoughts with her. They had kept their thoughts to themselves for far too long and she wanted that to change.
"A pence for your thoughts," she offered.
She was a bit surprised when he looked at her, but continued his silence. He finally lifted himself up on one elbow and began running a finger lightly over her face.
"Laura, let's get married again," he finally said.
"What?" The question had caught her off guard.
"That fiasco on the tuna boat was far from the wedding of your dreams. You deserve better. At the very least, you deserve to be clean and have your hair combed."
"That's very sweet of you, but it really isn't necessary," Laura insisted.
"Oh, come now. Doesn't every little girt fantasize about her wedding?"
"Maybe, but I never wanted a fancy wedding."
"It doesn't have to be a big, fancy wedding. We can have whatever kind of wedding you want."
"All I ever really wanted was to have you as my husband. I never cared that much about what kind of wedding we had. Well, not much, anyway. And besides, it's the life one has after the wedding that's important."
"Maybe it's not necessary for you, love, but it's important to me. I want us to have a better wedding. I want you to know that I *mean* the vows when I repeat them. I meant them when Juan said them, but I don't think you realized it."
"Oh, come now. You don't have the vaguest idea what Juan said."
Remington looked at her, his eyes serious. "'Do you, Reming-ton, accept this woman for your beloved and faithful wife; in the rich and the poor, in the good and the bad, until the death which separates?'"
Laura was speechless. She never dreamed Remington had actually understood what Jan was saying.
Sensing her confusion, he explained. "I had a translator tell Juan basically what I wanted the ceremony to be like. I wasn't just pulling a scam, Laura. You see, I've dreamed of our wedding for years. And while that certainly wasn't the wedding of my dreams, it was the best I could do under the circumstances. So please, marry me again so we can fulfill my fantasy. You don't know how many times I've dreamed of you walking down the aisle in white Irish lace."
Laura just smiled, putting her arms around Remington's neck and drawing him close for a kiss. "I'd be proud to marry you again. As long as you know I didn't marry you the first time merely to keep you from being deported. I wanted to be your wife, and to have you as my husband. I married you because I love you."
"And I want you to know I didn't marry you just to avoid deportation. I love you, Laura. I want to be your husband, and the father of your children."
When he kissed her, tears of joy filled Laura's eyes. Remington felt the wetness on his own cheeks. Pulling away and cradling her face in his palms, he wiped her tears with his thumb. Laura couldn't stop smiling or crying. She had never felt happier. Remington just pulled her to him and held her.
"Do you want to get remarried here?" she asked when her tears subsided.
"Actually, I was thinking more in terms of a couple of weeks from now, when we return to Los Angeles. I'd really like your mother and Donald and Frances and the kids to be there."
Laura was touched, but a bit confused. "That's awfully thoughtful of you, but I'm not sure I understand."
"It's just that now, more than ever, family seems so very important to me. I didn't really have a father until yesterday, and now even he's gone. Your family will have to be my family now. They've always seemed that way, but now it's even more important. I want to share our happiness with them. I want them to be able to tell our children that they were at our wedding. And besides, we need someone to take pictures! I'm sure you don't want our only wedding picture to be one that a deckhand took on Juan's boat."
Laura gasped. "Do you mean there's actually a photograph of that fiasco?"
"Well, I haven't seen it yet, but Ferdinand promised to bring it to me as soon as he got it developed." When Laura groaned, he added in mock surprise, "And here I thought you didn't care what kind of a wedding we had!"
"But that doesn't mean I want a picture of it! How will I ever explain it to Mother?"
"Laura, I assure you, Abigail won't care what kind of wedding we had the first time. She'll just be glad to be with us when we repeat our vows."
"Since when did you become an expert on my mother? She has yet to forgive me for learning to ride a tricycle out of her sight," she teased, smiling at the memory of her mother running behind her, yelling for her to stop before she rode through her petunias.
"Maybe you're right this time though," she conceded, kissing him. "I'll agree to a second wedding on one condition--that we take our second honeymoon here and now, in Ireland."
"Are you serious?"
"Absolutely. I want an Irish honeymoon with my Irish husband. We can rent a car and you can show me all of the places you knew as a child. After all, I can't very well tell our children that I don't know anything about your childhood, can I?"
Remington laughed.
"So we stay an extra week?" Laura asked.
"Certainly. I'd like nothing better than to share Ireland with you."
"Nothing better?" she asked coyly.
"Well, I can think of one thing I'd like better," he admitted.
Taking her in his arms, he proceeded to show her exactly what that one thing was.

Laura signed contentedly as she lay in Remington's arms in the front parlor. She couldn't keep from smiling as her eyes fell upon the bullet holes left three days earlier. She and Remington had come a long way since then. The openness and honesty they had shared since that fateful day had drawn them together in some wonderful way she could not even begin to understand.

Remington was still grieving for Daniel, but had allowed her to share his pain. She had never lost a father to death, but she had lost a father. She could sympathize. In a way, she even envied Remington. After all, his father had walked into his life; hers had walked out of hers. As painful as Daniel's death was, Laura was able to help Remington realize the selfless gift Daniel had given him. She was able to help him see the ray of sunshine hidden behind the clouds.
It seemed fitting that Daniel should be buried as a national hero in two difference countries. Remington was right; Daniel deserved nothing less.
Laura sensed Remington's relief that the funerals were finally over. It had been hard on him, not being able to give Daniel a funeral. Even though he hadn't wanted to accompany Daniel's body to the morgue or to the airport, he still felt somewhat cheated out of the chance to say good-bye to his father. Laura had suggested they attend the ceremony in London, but Remington hadn't wanted to go. After all, Daniel wasn't really there; Daniel was in Moscow.
After his refusal to attend the ceremony, Laura had come up with an idea to enable him to say a final farewell to his father. Mildred and Mickeline had promised to would follow through with her idea while she and Remington were gone on their week long Irish honeymoon.
Remington would have been content to share an intimate moment with Laura there in the parlor, but she preferred the privacy of their bedroom. It had quickly become the room of her dreams. No matter that it was damp and drafty and had a cold floor; it was definitely the warmest, coziest room she had ever stayed in.
Remington had carried her over its threshold several times already, but tonight he insisted on carrying her all the way from the parlor. Absolutely nothing stood between them and the bedroom door. No servants, no Mickeline, and no Mildred.
They should have realized it was too good to be true.
Laura answered the phone while Remington went upstairs to plump their pillows. He fully intended to plump the pillows; it was one of his favorite compulsions. But when the name 'Tony' caught his ear, he paused at the top of the stairs, just out of Laura's sight.
Laura realized too late that she should have been more forceful; she should have told Tony the game was over and that he had lost. But at the time, all she could think of was the fact that Remington was plumping their pillows and she would be in his arms as soon as she got rid of her caller.
As Remington carried her over the threshold yet again, she was once again completely mesmerized by his eyes. They were deep pools of emotion overflowing with love. If ever she had looked through the eyes of love, it was at that moment. His eyes freely spoke the words she had so desperately needed to hear. She only wished she had listened to those eyes when they first began speaking to her four years ago. Standing there in the shadows of Ashford Castle's master bedroom, she vowed never again to ignore them.
Early the next morning, Laura and Remington said their farewells to Mildred. Their one shared suitcase was already packed away in the car they were taking on their honeymoon. Laura had known that marriage involved sharing, but she had never dreamed the simple act of sharing a suitcase could feel so intimate.
Before they could make their exit, however, the phone rang. They knew without a doubt it was Tony. He had called repeatedly after his initial conversation with Laura the night before. It had actually added an extra element of passion to their lovemaking, knowing Tony was at the other end of the telephone. But enough was enough.
Laura answered the phone. "Ashford Castle. Mrs. Steele speaking."
"I meant what I said, Laura. I'm not giving up on you," Tony said, getting right to the point. "I care about you."
Laura's brown eyes met Remington's blue ones as she firmly declared, "Frankly, Tony, I don't give a damn."
With a self-satisfied flair, she hung up the phone. The smile on Remington's face matched the one on her own as she put her arms around his neck.
"Now that old business has been settled, what say we get on with new business?"
"I never quite thought of our honeymoon as business," Remington commented, holding Laura tightly.
She gave him a kiss. "What I mean is, let's get down to business and let the honeymoon begin." Her voice was light, but her eyes were suggestive.
Remington read the message.
"My sentiments exactly, Mrs. Steele," he whispered as their lips met.
To be continued...

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.

"Life in the Steele Lane" Index


Disclaimer: The characters of Remington Steele are used without permission.
This story copyrighted 1988 by Debra Talley. It is purely for entertainment purposes.