STEELE IN A FAMILY WAY
By: Becky Schie
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #5
Summary: Laura comes to terms with the fact that she’s pregnant. Takes place nine years after Laura and Remington met and five years after they were married.
Disclaimer: This "Remington Steele" story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with "Remington Steele," the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
Laura Holt-Steele blinked sleepily in the warm California sunshine streaming through the bedroom windows, then sat up, stretched and walked over to a set of French doors, grabbing and putting on her bathrobe on the way. Opening the doors, she stepped out onto the balcony and regarded the stunning ocean view with a smile of perfect happiness.
She took a deep breath full of salty air and blooming flowers, then abruptly turned around and bolted through the doors and into the adjoining bathroom.
As she splashed cool water on her face, the attractive brunette glanced at her pale reflection and wondered just what in the world could have made her so sick in the past few days. It might just be an extended case of the flu, she reasoned, but because she kept herself in excellent physical condition, she hadn't had so much as a sniffle—much less an upset stomach—ever since she was a kid. She then realized she hadn't had any other flu symptoms, either: no fever, no dizziness or headaches, and no severe fatigue- there was only the nausea, and a slight twinge in her belly that worried her. Laura knew she was pretty good at solving mysteries, but when it came to ones involving her own body, she decided she'd better leave it to a professional.
Deciding she felt at least marginally better, she left the bathroom and picked up the phone on the bedside table. After dialing and waiting for a reply, she said, "Yes, this is Laura Holt-Steele, and I need to see Dr. Krasny as soon as possible. When's the earliest time she's available?"
"Why, Mrs. Steele," exclaimed Mildred Krebs as Laura walked through the agency's doors, "What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be home in bed? I thought you said you were sick."
Laura didn't reply at first, but looked at the overweight blond secretary with a worried expression on her face. Then she abruptly shook her head and said, "Sorry, Mildred. I...I feel better now, thanks. Is...is Mr. Steele here yet?"
"No, he's not. He had that criminology lecture at USC this morning, remember, and it looks like the question-and-answer session's running late."
"Fine, fine..." Laura replied distractedly. "I...I'll be in my office. Let me know as soon as he comes in, would you please?" Without waiting for a reply, she turned and walked into her own smaller office and shut the door behind her.
After a few puzzled moments, Mildred got up from her desk and followed her inside.
She found the younger woman sitting at her computer, staring absently at the monitor. "Are you okay, Mrs. Steele?" she asked the detective.
Laura looked up, startled. "What? Yes, Mildred, I'm fine. Didn't I already say that?"
"Yeah, you did, but..."
"Mildred, I appreciate your concern, really I do, but I'm feeling much better, thanks. Now, don't we have any clients to see this afternoon?"
"No, not really," the secretary replied. "the boss didn't know how long the stuff at USC would take, and with you being out sick, we didn't think it'd be wise to schedule anything for today, but I thought I oughta come in anyway, just to hold the fort and keep things running." Laura's only reply was a distant nod of approval.
There was an awkward silence for a few minutes, then Mildred tentatively asked, "Mrs. Steele...Laura...We've been friends for a while now, right?" The brunette merely nodded in reply, and she continued, "I've kept your secrets and stuck by you when the chips were down, you know that. I can tell that you're not really as fine as you say you are; don't you know you can still confide in me?"
She sat down across from the younger woman and said, "Please talk to me, tell me what's wrong. Are you and the boss having trouble at home or something?"
Laura glanced at the older woman and saw the look of genuine worry and concern in her eyes, then sighed heavily. "Oh Mildred, if only it were that simple. But then, nothing's really been simple since he and I met, you know..." She stood up and walked over to the window. After a few pensive moments staring out at L.A.'s cityscape, she continued, "I saw my doctor this morning, to find out why I've been so sick lately, and she ran some tests..."
Mildred gasped. "Oh, no! Mrs. Steele, you...you're not gonna die, are you? Please tell me you're not gonna die!"
Laura smiled faintly and shook her head. "No, Mildred, I'm not going to die. In fact, something that's very much the opposite of that is going to happen."
She turned around and faced the older woman, her eyes shining and her voice trembling with excitement. "Mildred, I'm pregnant!"
"She's pregnant, boss," Mildred said joyfully. "That's exactly what she told me—you and she are gonna have a baby!"
Remington Steele practically collapsed onto the couch behind him and stared up at her in astonishment. "Surely you're joking, Mildred—aren't you?" She shook her head and couldn't help but smile at his poleaxed state. "Good lord," he whispered half to himself. "Pregnant. She's pregnant, and I'm going to be a father. A father," he whispered again, his deep blue eyes wide with surprise. "Unbelievable. Where...where is she now, Mildred?"
"She's at your house, I guess, but I don't really know. After a while she left, without saying where she was going; that was about two, three hours ago, and it's nearly four now. Do you think we should be worried, boss?"
He thought for a moment, then said, "No, I don't think so, Mildred. I'm sure Laura's all right. She probably just went out for a walk or something; maybe even out buying toys and nursery furniture as we speak—you know how much she likes to plan ahead.
"You know something, Mildred," Remington continued as he stood up and headed for the door, "I have a brilliant idea. In celebration of this wonderful news, why don't we close up shop early for a change? I'll swing by our house and pick Laura up, then all three of us will meet at one of L.A.'s finest restaurants for a celebratory dinner."
"Sounds great, chief," the secretary replied, "but I don't think I'll join you. This should be a private party, I think, just between the two of you. It is your baby, after all." She stopped him as he passed by her and gave him a hug. "Congratulations, chief. You're gonna make a wonderful father, I'm sure of it."
"Thank you, Mildred. I hope so too." He returned the hug, then grinned and said, "A father. I'm actually going to be a father. Simply amazing, isn't it?" Shaking his head in wonder, he left the agency, intent on reaching home and his wife.
Laura placed a hand on her belly and looked out at the moonlit ocean. Her thoughts were a jumble of past memories, present worries, and future speculations, and she felt like she was helplessly adrift in the middle of it all, without any true sense of stability in her life.
She freely admitted to herself that for the first time ever she was truly scared. Scared for her future, for her marriage, for her unborn child—and most of all for her own self. It was the ultimate irony in her life, Laura reflected, that after years of always being in the line of danger and putting her life on the line for others' sake, she didn't have the courage to face this new miracle of life growing now right inside her.
"I don't know what to do," she said softly. "I don't feel worthy of you, little one."
Behind her, Remington cleared his throat and said lightly, "The guest room would make a perfect nursery. Lots of light, plenty of fresh air circulating around. All we'd have to do is put some new paint or wallpaper up and get new furniture, maybe even a couple of stuffed animals. We'd probably have to start looking for good schools now, too—they say you can never start planning your child's education too early, these days..."
She said nothing in reply, so the thief-turned-detective walked up behind her, kissed her neck, and put his arms around her, his hands resting very gently on her belly. "Oh, Laura, I love you so much," he sighed. "I'm so very proud of you, too. I never thought I would be a father, and here I am, with the most beautiful woman in the world as his or her mother." When she still didn't answer, he said, "Laura, speak to me, tell me how you feel about it, please."
Laura turned around in his arms and looked at him. "I...I don't know how I feel," she finally said. "Happy, I guess—very happy. But also very scared at the same time."
"I understand, Laura. You're afraid that your pregnancy and future life as a parent will interfere with your job as a detective, and you may be forced to give one or the other up sometime soon. Well, you don't have to worry about that; we'll fix it so that you can do both without being guilty about neglecting either obligation. There's nothing that says you can't have both a career and a family you know, especially not these days. It'll all work out for the best, my darling, you'll see."
She reached up and wiped at tears that were threatening to escape from her deep brown eyes. "That's not what I'm really worried about, although I have thought about that, too. It's...it's...oh, damn!" she said finally. Frustrated, she pulled away from her husband's warm embrace, walked inside the dimly-lit bedroom, and sat on the edge of the bed, resting her elbows on her knees. The detective buried her head in her hands and sighed heavily. "I really thought I could handle something like this when the time came," she said, her voice muffled. "I thought I could handle this in a calm and rational way. But now that it's really happening, I don't know..." Her voice broke off as the tears started to flow again.
Remington was at her side in an instant, sitting beside her and taking her again into his arms. All he did was hold her, stroke her hair, and murmur soothingly and reassuringly. Gradually, Laura stopped crying, and she looked up into his compelling, deep-blue eyes, full of pure love and concern. Hesitantly she reached over to touch his cheek, knowing fully that all barriers between them—especially their respective pasts—were completely gone, gone since the first time they'd made love. They could trust each other with absolutely anything. If there was anyone to whom she could bare her soul, it had to be Remington.
"After Dr. Krasny told me I was pregnant," she began, "there were so many thoughts running through my head. I was elated and excited and proud—but I was mostly very scared." She paused, then said very softly, "I was so scared, I even thought of deliberately losing the baby."
His eyes widened at her revelation, but all he fortunately asked was, "Why were you so scared, Laura? It wasn't just because of your job, was it?"
She smiled faintly. "Very perceptive of you. No, it wasn't just because I was afraid I'd have to give up the agency for full-time motherhood. It was rather because of something far more personal, far more terrifying for me."
Not knowing any other way of saying it, she shrugged and stated, "I was afraid history would repeat itself somehow. I was—still am—afraid that after we'd been married for a long time, with kids and everything, that you and I would fight so much that one of us would simply leave, and..." Laura stopped and wiped at her eyes again.
"And that you'd be left to raise the kids all by yourself and never hear from me again," Remington finished her unspoken thought and sighed. "My love, I said this to you when I was framed for the diamond exchange heist, and I'll say it again now: I'm not going anywhere, Laura. Not now, and I hope not ever."
The man who had so easily stolen both the identity of her fictional creation and her heart nine years ago kneeled in front of her, took her hands in his, and gently kissed them. "I...I admit I've had the same fears too," he admitted quietly. "When I was still living on the streets, I knew I'd rather die than subject any child I might have to that kind of life, to suffer amongst all that poverty and misery and grow up without knowing a parent's love. I don't want my child—or children, if we should have more than one—to be as abandoned as we both were, Laura; you by your father and I by every relative who kept passing me around without any concern for my welfare. That is definitely not a legacy I want to pass on to future generations—they deserve better than that, by far.
"I'm as scared of what the future may hold for us as you are, and I know as well as you that our lives aren't very conducive to the successful raising of a family, but I promise you that I shall do my absolute best to stand by you and love you and our family no matter what. You're the one who's changed my life, Laura. You alone showed me that ideas like truth and beauty and goodness are worth fighting for, for other people as well as myself. I believe I owe my life to you, and I'm more than willing to stay with you forever to repay that debt."
During his speech, Laura realized that he was holding nothing back; everything he told her was sincere and straight from the heart. He was as serious about his commitment to their future as a family as he was about their roles as partners in the agency. And within herself she realized that she was serious about her own commitment to him; a thought that was as scary to her as the knowledge of the presence of new life in her own body. My little one, she thought to herself, I promise I will do whatever it takes to be worthy of you—and of your father. I promise I'll love you both with all my heart and soul. I swear to you that you'll never be abandoned.
"Remington...Harry...I believe you," she finally managed to say out loud. "And...I feel I owe my life to you in return. I only hope I have enough strength to keep that same commitment to you and our family, too." She leaned over and put her arms around him. They kissed deeply, and in that kiss was a promise to each other—as well as to the unborn child—that would hopefully last the rest of their lives.
They stood up together and continued the kiss. When it finally, reluctantly, ended, Remington said, "And now that we've put our pasts behind us once and for all, there remains a very important issue to resolve in the fairly-near future."
"Oh?" replied Laura coyly. "And what might that be, my dear Mr. Steele?"
"Why my dear Mrs. Steele, the issue of finding the perfect name for our child. What else could possibly be more important?"
She laughingly agreed with him, and the two private detectives bent their analytical skills towards that formidable task.