Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Division

Steeling a New Life
Part 7
A Sequel to "Steele in the Mood" and "Bonds of Steele"
by
Debra Talley, with Thekla Kurth
Written Summer, 1988
 
 
The seven days which followed were pure enchantment. This was what a honeymoon was meant to be. Las Hadas and L.A. were quickly forgotten as the Irish mist spun a Romanesque web around the newlyweds, drawing them ever closer. Even Laura's daily morning sickness couldn't break the magical spell they were under.
 
Laura had never realized just how Irish Remington really was. She learned more about his past in those seven days than she had in the previous four years. He talked openly, and sometimes even fondly, of his childhood in the Irish countryside. He took her to places he had frequented in his boyhood and shared memories of those times with her. Some of those memories were bitter, but he shared them all.
 
Laura could almost see that slender, shaggy haired, mischievous six year old running through the sheep on the hillside, or riding a borrowed donkey through the neighbors potato patch, or playing a tin whistle on the edge of a rippling Irish steam, or gleefully climbing over stone walls. But it wasn't really Remington she was seeing; rather, it was their son.
 
Laura vowed that their son would know the fulfillment and excitement that Remington had known, but not the loneliness and pain. She felt confident they would be able to give their children just that. After all, their children would have parents who loved each other. And hadn't she read somewhere that the best thing you could do for your children was to have a strong marriage? She and Remington had been through the fire together and emerged e stronger than ever.
 
Remington knew all the right places to take his bride. They went horseback riding through the Gap of Dunloe. They toured Kilkenny Castle, where Remington good-naturedly sang "McNamara' s Band " at Laura's request. They took a damp but exhilarating curragh ride across the waters to the Aran Islands, where they strolled arm in arm in peaceful solitude. They huddled together during a chilly jaunting car ride around the breathtaking Lakes of Killarney. They held hands and watched in awe as the sun went down on Galway Bay. Laura even talked Remington into climbing Blarney Castle's 180 narrow spiral steps. Anything for his new bride, he had said.
 
Laura, of course, was familiar with the legend of the Blarney Stone. Lying backwards on a ledge 180 feet off the ground and kissing the mystical stone was supposed to give one the gift of eloquence. Being married to the Prince of Blarney, Laura figured she needed all the help she could get! She almost lost her resolve when she saw the awkward position that was required to kiss the famed stone, but quickly regained it when Remington demonstrated the feat with great agility.
 
Laura wasn't about to let her new husband get an extra helping of charm while she stood there cowering. She was the former gymnast in the family, after all. As she planted a kiss on the cold stone where Remington's lips had been only moments before, she made her first official Irish wish. She wished their unborn child would inherit his father's Irish charm.
 
Before their honeymoon was over, Laura had made wishes all over Ireland. She and Remington walked backwards down the rough stone steps at Blarney Castle's Rock Close with their eyes closed. Between their stumbling and their laughing, their eyes had not really stayed closed, but it didn't matter. They had no doubts their wishes would still be granted.
 
Then at Glendalough they held hands backwards around St. Kevin's Cross and made a wish. Legend said a person's wish would be granted if they could put their arms backwards around the huge cross and make their fingers touch. So maybe they hedged a bit. Did it really matter? On this honeymoon, all of their wishes were already coming true. Love was proving to be a powerful magician.
 
In the city of Cork, Laura found the perfect Irish memento. When Remington had first suggested she find a wedding dress for the renewal of their vows, she was a bit reluctant to agree. It was hard for her to put aside her frugal sensibilities and buy something she could wear only once. But as soon as she saw the window display of a particularly elegant dress with yards of delicate Irish lace, she changed her mind.
 
The romance and magic of Ireland had seeped in Laura's subconscious. She no longer thought of a wedding dress as a frivolous expenditure. She saw it instead as a tangible piece of Ireland she could take home with her. But it wasn't really herself Laura was imaging in the dress; it was her future daughters. She would be purchasing a family heirloom--starting a family tradition.
 
Remington could see all of Laura's thoughts reflected in her face. It was obvious she wasn't just seeing lace; she was seeing their future together. The realization filled him with wonder. He couldn't help himself; he pulled her into a gentle embrace there on the streets of Cork.
 
He was disappointed, however, when she left him to fend for himself while she had the dress altered. Even though he had seen the gown, Laura was still sentimental enough not to want him to see her in it before the wedding. Remington's argument that they were already married held no sway with her; she merely kissed him on the cheek and sent him on his way.
 
Remington spent his time browsing in a nearby gift shop. He was about to pay for his postcards when something caught his eye. Without hesitation he walked to a display on the opposite side of the shop. Yes, it was the perfect first toy for their child. He paid for his purchases and eagerly hurried to meet Laura.
 
*********
 
Laura found Remington waiting for her on the bench outside the dress shop.
 
"All done?" he asked, putting his hand on her knee.
 
"All done! It should be waiting for me at Ashford when we return."
 
"Model it for me then?" he asked hopefully.
 
"Absolutely not! You'll see it on your wedding day, like any other groom. You wouldn't want to break tradition, would you?"
 
"Oh, certainly not. A traditional couple--that's us, all right," he declared with a lopsided grin, leaning in close for a kiss.
 
Laura kissed him, but then looked around sheepishly. "Remington, please. What will people think?"
 
"That we're a couple on their honeymoon. Hmh. I love it when you do that."
 
"Do what? What did I do?" Laura asked, puzzled.
 
"You called me Remington."
 
"Well, it is your name," she said, smiling.
 
"Yes, it is. But it took you four years to say it," he pointed out.
 
"I didn't want to be accused of getting too friendly with the boss."
 
Remington kissed her again.
 
"I'll have to remember not to use it in public. It seems to have the same effect on you as that aphrodisiac cola did."
 
"Laura, please. If you don't want me to kiss you in public, then don't remind me of those restless days and nights of unbridled passion when we couldn't keep our hands off each other."
 
"Remington, please..."
 
"You said it again..." he said, kissing her again.
 
Laura returned the kiss, but then pulled away with a laugh and looked around to be sure no one was watching.
 
"Laura, if you keep looking around every time I kiss you, people will think we're up to something illicit whether we are or not."
 
Oh, what the heck," she suddenly said, grabbing him by the collar and pulling him close for a kiss of her own. Then quickly changing the subject, she reached for the paper bag on the other side of him. "What did you buy?" she asked.
 
Remington stopped her by taking her hand in his own. "Laura, I couldn't resist," he explained, his excitement evident in his voice. "As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to buy it. For our baby, I mean."
 
"For our baby?" Laura repeated, touched.
 
Remington smiled as he withdrew a large stuffed leprechaun from the bag and handed it to Laura, saying, "After all, our children will be half Irish. I want them to grow up with the Little People, the same way I did. There were times in my childhood when they were the only real friends I had. I want them to be a part of our children's heritage, as well."
 
Laura was holding the leprechaun in her lap, but was unable to see it through her misty eyes.
 
"Laura?" Remington asked, concerned.
 
Laura just laughed, took the silk handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped her eyes. "Atomic Man and the Little People," she mused. "Our children will have quite a heritage, won't they?"
 
Remington grinned broadly. "What else would you expect from a traditional couple like us?"
 
Laura laughed with him, and then was silent for a moment as she studied the object in her lap. "Speaking of your Irish heritage . . ."
 
"Yes?"
 
"Would the Children of Lir happen to be a part of it?"
 
"Ah, yes! The four children who were turned into swans for 900 years by their wicked stepmother," he recalled. Then he paused, slightly puzzled. "I didn't know you were familiar with Irish fairy tales."
 
"I wasn't, until a few weeks ago when we stayed all night with Frances' kids."
 
"Ah, yes; I told that story to the kids to get them to sleep."
 
"And I overheard you."
 
Remington gave Laura a quizzical took, asking, "What else did you hear?"
 
"Enough," she said mysteriously, grinning at Remington and raising her eyebrows. "Enough to know that you'll make a wonderful father."
 
"And...?" he asked, urging her to continue.
 
"And... enough to know I better not leave you alone with Laurie Beth when she gets a little older."
 
"Do you mean to tell me that. . ."
 
"Icy calm, Mr. Steele," Laura soothed, patting Remington on the cheek. "You know too much excitement isn't good for expectant fathers."
 
"Is that so?" he asked.
 
"Absolutely. Now take our child's first toy..."
 
"King Brian," Remington said, stuffing the leprechaun back in the sack. "His name is King Brian."
 
"You've already named him?"
 
"Of course. King Brian is the king of the leprechauns."
 
"Well, Mr. Steele, it appears I have a lot to learn about Irish folklore. Think we can find an Irish fairy tale book around here so I can start my education?"
 
"We'll see what we can find. And when we get back to L.A., I'll call Max and see if he has any old Atomic Man books we can have."
 
"Why, Mr. Steele, how very generous of you!"
 
"Well, we wouldn't want our children to have a lopsided heritage, now would we?"
 
"Certainly not," Laura said as Remington helped her to her feet and put his arm around her. "Now, back to this King Brian. Have you ever met him--in person, I mean?"
 
"Ah, me Aschula, do you mean to say I never told you about my adventures with King Brian when I was but a wee spaleen? Well, it all started one fine, misty morning..."
 
********

The honeymoon was perfect, but all good things must come to an end, even on the Emerald Isle. Laura and Remington had just finished a leisurely picnic lunch in a field of shamrocks beside a low stone wall. They were returning to Ashford that afternoon and were savoring their last few moments of privacy.

 
Laura, drinking the last few swallows of her tea, sat watching Remington as he absentmindedly plucked the leaves from the shamrocks.
 
"Making wishes?" Laura asked, hoping to draw him out of his silence.
 
"No need for that. All my wishes have come true."
 
"All of them?"
 
"Well, not all. Not yet. But one must leave some wishes for later on in life."
 
Laura scooted over beside her husband and placed her head on his shoulder.
 
He acknowledged her presence by tenderly stroking her arm, but several moments passed before he said anything. "It's ironic," he finally said.
 
"What is?" Laura asked, placing her hand on his and caressing it.
 
"That we had to come to Ireland, the country of stone walls, to tear down the wall between us."
 
Laura turned in his arms so that she could see his face. His blue eyes were once again speaking to her heart. She was too overcome with emotion to speak, so she squeezed his hand instead.
 
"Promise me something, Laura. Promise me that from now on we'll only build bridges between us. No more walls."
 
Laura smiled from the bottom of her soul. "That's a promise, Mr. Steele. No more walls. Only bridges."
 
There, beside a stone wall, amid a field of shamrocks, Laura and Remington sealed their promise. Remington could have sworn he heard the laughter of the Little People, but perhaps it was just Laura's contented sigh.
 
*********
The drive back to Ashford Castle that afternoon was made in silence. Neither Laura nor Remington wanted to break the magical mood that was created during their picnic. Both had learned in the days following Daniel's death that shared silence could be intimate indeed.
 
As Laura rested her head against Remington's shoulder, she found herself hoping her special surprise for him was ready. They were anxious to return home to Los Angeles and begin their new life together, but they simply couldn't leave Ireland until her surprise was delivered. She would simply have to find some way to keep him occupied until then.
 
As soon as they arrived at Ashford, however, Laura could tell by Mickeline's beaming face that her gift had been delivered. She breathed an inward sigh of relief as she and Remington accompanied their packages and luggage to the master bedroom.
 
As soon as the servants left, Remington closed their door and locked it. Taking Laura into his arms, he gave her a tender kiss.
 
"Well, Mrs. Steele. I'd say that the past week more than made up for Mexico and London."
 
"I couldn't agree more. It's been absolutely perfect," Laura agreed.
 
"Yes, it has been, hasn't it?"
 
"Think we can take the magic back to Los Angeles with us?"
 
"We make our own magic, Mrs. Steele," he assured her. "As long as we're not afraid to love each other, the magic will always be with us."
 
"I keep thinking we've been in a fairy tale this entire week and as soon as we land in L.A., the spell will be broken. Then everything will be like it was before."
 
"No chance of that, love," Remington said, placing his hand on her abdomen.
 
Laura smiled as he drew her close for another kiss.
 
"As wonderful as it's been this week," he said as he swept her into his arms and carried her to the bed, "I've rather missed this particular setting."
 
"Well, we can't have that, can we?" Laura asked.
 
Another magical moment was in order, and Laura momentarily forgot all about her special gift for Remington.
 
************
 
Remington was in the bathroom when Mickeline knocked on the master bedroom door later than evening. Laura hastily made herself presentable and greeted him. Joining him in the hallway, she closed the door behind her.
 
"I hope you have good news," she said quietly.
 
"Indeed, your ladyship. It was delivered two days ago. If I've checked it once, I've checked it a dozen times, and tis glad I am to say that everything is exactly as you requested."
 
"Wonderful," Laura said. "I can't thank you enough for handling everything for me, Mickeline."
 
"Oh, 'twas my pleasure. But there's also another matter I need to speak to you about," Mickeline said, pulling a bulky legal sized envelope from his jacket pocket. Handing it to her, he explained. "One of the maids found this while she was cleaning Mr. Chalmers' room. It had apparently fallen behind the headboard of the bed."
 
The envelope simply said Harry, but Laura recognized Daniel's handwriting immediately.
 
"I thought it might be best to give it to you first," Mickeline explained.
 
"Thank you, Mickeline. That was very thoughtful of you. I'll see that Mr. Steele gets it."
 
"Thank you, your ladyship. And don't hesitate to call if you be need anything. Anything at all."
 
"We won't be needing anything for a while," Laura assured him. "Actually, I believe Mr. Steele and I will be taking a leisurely stroll down to the churchyard."
 
Mickeline excused himself quickly and Laura returned to the master bedroom.
 
**********
 
When Remington emerged from the bathroom, he found his bride rummaging through their suitcase.
 
"What do you need?" he asked.
 
"I'm looking for my sweater. I want to take a stroll and it might get a bit chilly before we get back."
 
Remington watched her rummage several more seconds before calmly removing three items and handing Laura her illusive sweater.
 
"How did you know exactly where it was?"
 
"It was under your pink teddy. And any new husband worth his salt can spot a pink teddy. It's kind of a sixth sense. Right along with knowing exactly when his wife needs to be kissed."
 
"Is that so?" Laura asked, amused.
 
"Absolutely. Now, exactly where do you want to go on this stroll of yours?" he asked, finishing his sentence with a kiss.
 
"Oh, somewhere very special that Mickeline was just telling me about," Laura answered vaguely.
 
"Then lead the way. My feet are yours to command."
 
They left the room with their arms around each other.
 
*********
 
Sliding her free hand into her pocket, Laura fingered the envelope Mickeline had given her. She could distinctly make out the outline of a pocket watch. She was relieved that Daniel had wanted Remington to have it in spite of his angry outburst upon first learning the truth. Remington still felt remorse for the harsh words he had spoken, even though Laura had assured him that Daniel understood. Perhaps the watch would convince him that he was forgiven. Then he could forgive himself.
 
Laura didn't know exactly what Daniel's letter said, but she hoped that between Daniel's last words and her own gift, Remington would be able to say goodbye to his father. She had been cheated out of that privilege when her own father had left, and she wanted Remington to have that chance.
 
Remington was so mesmerized by Laura's nearness that he didn't notice their surroundings as they strolled arm in arm down the narrow country road. He was content merely to be walking beside the woman he loved. They were in the village churchyard before he realized it. Then still leading the way, Laura squeezed his arm as together they entered the quaint peaceful cemetery behind the church. Remington was puzzled, but followed her without question.
 
After strolling for several moments between the ancient and not so ancient headstones, Remington could control his curiosity no longer. "Did our excursion to Glendalough give you a new appreciation for cemeteries?" he asked.
 
"Yes. I do believe it did. I never knew how peaceful it could be to wander among the headstones in a beautiful green valley on a misty day," Laura confessed. "We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but what have we really accomplished in the end? What difference does it make if we're famous or rich? In the end, it's the same for everyone. The only thing that really matters is that we love and are loved along the way."
 
"The Irish have always know the importance of love, Laura," Remington explained. "For hundreds of years it was all they had. They've always valued family and friends above all else. For a time, I almost forgot that part of my heritage. You--and Daniel--helped me find it again."
 
"Love is still very much alive in this place, just as it was in Glendalough," Laura said with a sense of awe. "Just being here gives me a warm feeling."
 
Remington studied Laura's face for a moment. "Is this your way of telling me that you'd like for us to be buried here someday?"
 
"Actually, I rather like that idea, but no, that's not why I brought you here."
 
"And why did you bring me here?"
 
"To show you something very special," Laura said, taking his hand in hers. "Come on; I want to show you something."
 
With purpose, she led him to a brand new headstone beside a freshly planted rose bush. Remington was speechless as he slowly read the brief inscription. Beneath Daniel's name and the dates of his birth and death, it said simply
 
Father,
Mentor,
Friend.
 
When Laura saw the tears in Remington's eyes, she tenderly put her arms around him and held him close. It was several minutes before he was able to speak, but Laura could sense his gratitude and love.
 
"Oh, babe," he finally said, his voice filled with emotion.
 
"Because I never really gave Daniel anything other than a hard time while he was alive, I really wanted to do something special for him now. It somehow seemed fitting that a man who is buried in two countries should have a headstone in two countries. And what better place than here at Ashford, where you and Daniel found each other?"
 
Remington took Laura in his arms and lightly rocked her back and forth. "Oh, babe," he repeated softly. "What I ever did to deserve you, I'll never know." Then giving her a quick kiss, he released her and put his arms around her waist as he stood looking at Daniel's headstone.
 
Laura stood in his embrace and fingered the envelope in her pocket. Was this the right time to give it to him? she wondered.
 
"You did give him something, you know," Remington finally said, having had a chance to absorb the last few moments.
 
"What?" Laura asked, baffled.
 
"You gave him the peace of mind of knowing that I was being left in good hands. I only wish I could have apologized for hurting him and throwing the watch across the room," Remington confessed softly. "I'll never forget his face."
 
"I'm sure he understood," Laura said consolingly. "He loved you. He knew you would probably have a hostile reaction, but he loved you too much not to tell you."
 
"I looked for the watch after he died," Remington explained, obviously quite upset about what he could never change. "I looked in both his room and ours, but I couldn't find it. I told him I didn't want it, but that wasn't true. I'd give anything to have it back now. It would have been something to pass on to our first son. A sort of family heirloom."
 
Remington paused and chuckled. "I'm starting to sound like a sentimental fool, aren't I? I'm becoming like the characters I used to sit in dark theaters and snicker at."
 
"Every father wants something special to pass on to his own son," Laura said gently.
 
"Just like every mother wants something special to pass on to her daughters?" Remington asked. "Something like a wedding gown of Irish lace?"
 
Laura just smiled. "Once I was scared by how well you know me."
 
"But not anymore?"
 
"No, not anymore."
 
Remington gave her a tight squeeze and kissed the top of her head.
 
Totally lost in thought, he didn't notice when she took the envelope from her pocket.
 
"I've got something for you," she said, holding it out to him.
 
"What's this?" he asked as he took it from her.
 
"Something you can pass on to our first born son," Laura explained. "Mickeline handed it to me earlier when you went into the bathroom. One of the maids found it in Daniel's room after we left. It must have fallen behind the headboard."
 
Remington nervously took the envelope in trembling hands. Opening it carefully, he reverently removed the treasured watch. He flipped open the lid and the twinkling tones of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" echoed through the serene cemetery. Then carefully closing it and enfolding it in the palm of his hand, he slowly removed two folded pieces of paper from the envelope.
 
He stood staring at them for several moments, unable to speak. Finally, he said, "Laura, could you please. . .?"
 
"Of course," she said, answering his question even before he finished asking it. Silently, she took the two letters from him and studied them for a moment.
 
"It says to read this one first," she explained.
 
Remington nodded for her to continue, so she carefully unfolded the letter and began reading aloud in a calm voice:
 
"My dear Harry,
 
It has now been 30 minutes since you first learned the secret I have carried with me for 20 years. Please know that I truly understand your reaction and in no way do I blame you for your anger. I assure you, my love for you has never been stronger than it is at this moment.
 
As your father and your friend, I hurt knowing that you hurt. I only hope that in time you will come to understand why I didn't tell you sooner. As hurt and angry as you were today, I have no doubt that the bitter 14 year old I found on the streets of London would have been even angrier. And while I am sure Johnny Todd would never have forgiven me, at least I can hope that Remington Steele will one day be able to do just that.
 
Whether that forgiveness comes before my death--or even if it never comes --please know that a father never loved his son more than I love you. I have always been proud to be your father. Nothing can change that. I'm so very pleased that you've finally married your lovely Laura. She's the best thing that every happened to you, my boy, and I have no doubt the two of you will have a very fulfilling life.
 
Laura loves you very much, Harry. She was determined that I should tell you the truth. Without her 'encouragement,' I'm not sure I would have had the courage to tell you in person. But thanks to her, I can now face the Grim Reaper with dignity rather than regret. Even if you cannot find it in your heart to forgive me, I'm still glad I told you.
 
I wish you and Laura a long and happy life together with lots and lots of children. I shall miss bouncing them on my knee and spoiling them. Not having been able to bounce my own son on my knee and watch him grow, I would truly have loved experiencing those moments with my grandchildren. But time waits for no man, no matter how persuasive he may be. We must all accept the hand we've been dealt.
 
The second letter was written several weeks ago. At the time I feared I would never have the courage to face you with the truth, but I knew I couldn't leave this world without letting you know. I could never have died with my secret; I want you to understand that. In fact, I named you as my son and beneficiary in the will I had drawn up when you were 14 years old. (Never fear, I had it revised when it became obvious that despite my fabulous invitations you were going to remain Remington Steele!)
 
I see from my window that you are still walking by the lake. I hope you are able to reconcile yourself to the truth--and to me. But whatever happens, know that I love you. Nothing will ever change that.
 
Your loving father,
Daniel"
 
Laura handed Remington the letter when she finished reading. He just held it in his hands and smiled.
 
"He understood," Remington finally said, relieved. "He really understood."
 
"Yes, he did," Laura said as he took her in his arms for a hug.
 
Giving her a tight squeeze and a kiss, he released her and began running his slender fingers again and again across Daniel's words.
 
"Do you want to read the second letter now?" Laura asked.
 
"No," Remington said, refolding the letter and returning it to the envelope. "I want to savor this one first. We can read the other one later."
 
"Daniel was truly a fine man. I only wish I'd realized it before it was too late to make amends."
 
"Now who's feeling guilty?" Remington asked.
 
"I've been thinking about it, and I would really like for the name Daniel to be part of our first son's name," Laura said. "What do you think?"
 
Remington smiled at her through misty eyes. "I think Daniel was right; you are definitely the best thing that ever happened to me."
 
"So you'd like to name our first son after him?"
 
"I don't think I'd want it to be a first name, but it would be perfect for a middle name. I'm touched that you would suggest it."
 
"We're talking about our son's heritage, Remington. What better way to acquaint our son with his grandfather than to give him his name?"
 
Remington once again took Laura in his arms and kissed her.
 
"Ready to go home?" she asked when he broke the kiss.
 
"Indeed, Miss Holt. Home."
 
After a moment, however, Remington furrowed his brow and asked, "What if we don't have a son? I mean, we could have half a dozen girls."
 
"We'll have a son, Mr. Steele."
 
"You sound certain."
 
"I am. Aren't wishes made in Ireland always granted?"
 
"Yes," he agreed softly. "I believe they are."
 
As Laura and Remington strolled arm in arm out of the peaceful churchyard, the twinkling strains of "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" filling the chilly twilight air.
 
*****
 
The newlyweds enjoyed a delicious meal during their last evening at Ashford Castle. After dinner, Remington made sure that everything was in order for their return trip to Los Angeles. They would be catching the ferry to London the next afternoon and then spending a few days at Daniel's flat in Belgravia, tying up loose ends. After that, they would be on their way back to L.A. It was the first time they would actually be returning home together and the prospect was exciting to them both.
 
When Remington finished his calls, Laura suggested he return to their room and start preparing for bed. She promised to join him as soon as she called Mildred. He reluctantly left her alone, but not before giving her a goodbye kiss.
 
Laura really did have a phone call to make, but that wasn't the only reason she sent Remington on his way. She knew he was anxious to read Daniel's letter and she wanted to grant him his privacy. She hoped he would share it with her later, but for now she thought father and son deserved some time atone.
 
As she hung up the phone following her conversation with Mildred, Laura found herself staring at her naked ring finger. She couldn't help but wonder what kind of wedding ring Remington would give her. It didn't have to be a family heirloom that had belonged to Napoleon; she'd be happy with a ring from a box of Cracker Jacks. All that really mattered was that Remington gave her the ring out of love.
 
Laura returned to their room to find Remington in the bathroom preparing for bed. He hollered through the open doorway for her to read Daniel's second letter. After laughing about the turned down covers and plumped up pillows, she sat down on the edge of the bed and picked up the unfolded letter which was sitting on top of Remington's pillow. Then with a deep breath, she began reading.
 
As Laura was reading the letter for the second time, Remington emerged from the bathroom and sat down close beside her. Without a word, he slipped his arms around her waist and kissed her neck. When she finished, she carefully refolded the letter and placed in on the night table.
 
"That was beautiful," she said softly, not quite sure what to say. "You're very lucky to have had a father like Daniel."
 
"Yes, I am. Very lucky indeed."
 
"It's really a pity he never learned where your mother was buried. She had a lovely name, didn't she? I'd be proud to name one of our daughters after her, if you like."
 
"Megan," he said thoughtfully. "Megan Steele. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Yes, I'd like that."
 
Remington kissed Laura's neck again and then leaned his head on her shoulder. Laura would have been perfectly content to sit there like that forever; she had never felt as close to Remington as she did then.
 
"Laura?" Remington then asked, his breath tickling her ear.
 
"Umm?"
 
Taking a deep breath, he plunged ahead. "Does it bother you that Daniel wasn't sure what my real name was?"
 
"He did say he suggested the name Harrison to your mother," Laura pointed out.
 
"Yes, but he doesn't know if she named me that."
 
After giving Remington a feathery kiss on the cheek, she cupped his chin in her hand and looked deeply into his eyes. "I've said it before and I'll say it again: I don't care what your name is. I was wrong to use that as a weapon against you. As far as I'm concerned, your real name is Remington Steele. It has been since the day you first walked into my life. Subject closed. Okay?"
 
Remington smiled from ear to ear. "Subject closed," he agreed.
 
"Now, what say we finish packing so we can get on to more pleasurable pursuits?" Laura suggested.
 
"I applaud your thinking," he said, hopping from the bed.
 
Laura began removing her clothing from the dresser drawers, totally oblivious to what Remington was doing. She didn't even notice when he removed her tissue paper covered wedding gown from the closet.
 
"You're sure I can't talk you into modeling this for me now?" he asked, holding it in front of him to get a better look at it.
 
"Give me that!" Laura demanded, jerking the gown and hanger away from him.
 
Seeing his disappointed expression, however, she moved closer and smoothed the collar of his robe. "Tell you what. I can't model this gown, but I can model the new blue nightgown you bought for me in Ballymoran. How does that sound?"
 
Remington grinned. "I say let's hurry and finish packing. And don't you dare pack that blue gown by mistake!"
 
When the packing was finished and Laura was wearing her new blue gown, they settled down before the fireplace and enjoyed a midnight snack of hot tea and scones. They laughed as their efforts to feed each other resulted in jam smeared faces. It didn't really matter, though--it just make their kisses all the sweeter.
 
The scones were soon forgotten as Remington held Laura close. They gazed into the crackling fire and savored the silence. Laura soon became aware of Remington's hand gently stroking her abdomen. Pleased, she rested her hand upon his.
 
"I've been thinking about a first name to go with Daniel," Laura explained.
 
"As long as it isn't Anthony."
 
"I hadn't though of it, but now that you mention it. . . Anthony Daniel. What do you think?"
 
"I think you'd better be kidding."
 
"Actually, I do have another name in mind. Brendan."
 
"Brendan?" Remington sat up straight in surprise, causing Laura to shift her weight.
 
"Yes, Brendan. What do you think of it?"
 
Remington started laughing.
 
Laura, puzzled and upset by his outburst, punched his arm. "What's wrong with the name Brendan? It's a good Irish name, and it sounds good with both Daniel and Steele."
 
Remington continued to laugh.
 
"If you're going to react like this every time I suggest a name, maybe we shouldn't even give him one."
 
"Like father, like son, eh?"
 
Laura regretted the words as soon as she said them.
 
Remington stopped laughing, not because he was angry but because saw the regret in Laura's eyes. Quickly taking her in his arms, he said, "I wasn't laughing at the name, love. I was laughing at the irony of it."
 
"The irony of what?"
 
"It just so happens I was going to suggest the same name," he explained.
 
"You're kidding! I know we think alike on occasion, but this is positively bizarre."
 
"Well, I wouldn't go so far as that," he said, "but it does give one pause."
 
"Maybe it's not so bizarre after all," Laura suddenly realized. "Remember when you were laid up with your last broken leg, after you had fallen down the elevator shaft?"
 
"How could I forget?" he asked, absentmindedly scratching his leg in remembrance.
 
"Remember when Frances dropped the kids off and she brought along with her neighbor's baby? She forgot to tell us his name, but the kids told us his name was..."
 
"...Brendan," they said together.
 
"Well, that has to be it," Laura reasoned. "We both must have liked the name and stored it away for future use."
 
"No. I don't think so," Remington said softly, his squinty eyes showing that he was deep in thought. "I seem to remember having some dreams while I was bedridden."
 
"Dare I ask what kind of dreams?"
 
"Oh... dreams about us and our future together. It seems we had a rather large brood of children, and the oldest one was named..."
 
"...Brendan," they once again said in unison.
 
"I must have heard you talking in your sleep, because I think I dreamed about our family, too," Laura admitted. "That was the first time I had dared hope we might actually have a future together."
 
"It wasn't the first time I dared to hope, but it *was* the first time I worked up the courage to say something. Amazing the courage those pain pills can give you."
 
"Maybe I should have given you a few extra ones. Then maybe you would have come right out and told me how you felt instead of beating around the bush!"
 
"Bush beating? Me?" Remington asked with feigned innocence. "But just think what you would have missed if we'd gotten married then. There'd have been no wind tunnel coiffure . . ."
 
"And no custom splattered wedding suit with matching Reeboks . . ."
 
"No Spanish wedding vows repeated on a tuna boat with a boat full of fish serving as witnesses..."
 
"And no wedding reception attended by two deck-hands and a Mexican fish cleaner with his own accordion..."
 
"Actually, Laura, we were lucky there," Remington pointed out. "It isn't often the minister provides the entertainment as well as preforming the ceremony."
 
Both were laughing long before they finished reminiscing about their wedding. Laura laughed so hard she had to wipe the tears from her face with the back of her hand.
 
"You know what we're doing, don't you?" Remington asked as he tried to compose himself. "We're laughing about our wedding. I'm sure you didn't believe me when I told you we'd laugh about it one day, but here we are."
 
Laura grabbed a nearby cushion and stood up. When Remington's eyes flashed a dare, she threw it at him. He threw it back and stood up, also, grabbing a pillow of his own. In mere seconds a full-fledged pillow fight was in session, accompanied by wails of loud laughter. After a few moments of reckless abandon, Remington managed to grab Laura's pillow and wrestle her to the floor. They were breathing heavily, but it wasn't merely from the tussle. Somewhere along the way, their teasing had turned into passion.
 
Remington gazed deeply into Laura's smoldering eyes. "I love you, Laura Holt-Steele," he said softly.
 
Laura smiled and caressed his rough cheek. "And I love you," she whispered.
 
The turf fire flickered and crackled as Laura and Remington spent their last magical night in Ireland by a crackling turf fire. They didn't even notice when the fire eventually burned itself out. Their love was more than enough to keep them warm.
 
To be continued...
 
 

Steele, Inc.-Atlanta Div.

"Life in the Steele Lane" Index

 
 

dtalley@mindspring.com

 

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