FAMILY STEELE, PART 10B - STEELE SENTIMENTALLY STEELE
By: Phaedra Phelan
Summary: Remington and Laura in 1996 plan to celebrate ten years of marriage in a very special way, but find their plans complicated by a troubling case that touches their hearts in a special way.
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.
The Grand Case Beach Club was situated right on the sea and consisted of a hotel as well as several villas. Remington and Laura were shown to their accommodation, a large airy two-story villa with upper and lower decks facing the water.
"It's lovely, Remington. And so large! We don't need all this space."
"Well, this way I thought we could have our choice of places to, um . . . sleep, darling," Remington said, drawing her close to him.
"We could have brought all the children with us."
"Perhaps we will . . . some day. But this is our trip, darling. Come here, let's go upstairs and look at the Caribbean," he said taking Laura's hand and leading her up the stairs.
When Remington and Laura stood on the upper deck and looked out at the sea, the view was breathtaking. The blue of the water was reflected in Remington's eyes as she turned from the ocean to look up at him. Laura's thick long hair was blowing in the sea breeze and when her eyes met his, they did not have to say a word.
Remington nodded at her and Laura simply nodded as their lips joined and their arms wound slowly around each other.
They went into the bedroom, shed their clothes, and lay down together in a large mahogany sleigh bed dressed with crisp white linen.
"Laura," Remington sighed as he kissed her all over her body.
"Remy. . . Remy, I love you too . . . so much. Remy!"
"Thank you for loving me, darling. Thank you for marrying me this very day in May ten years ago."
"I always loved you . . . from that very first day when you walked into my life. You knew that. You always knew it, didn't you?"
"Yes, darling. And you knew that I loved you too. I loved you from the first moment. It was so hard for me to say those words back then, and now I can't stop telling you over and over."
Remington stared at Laura, tracing around her lips with the tips of his fingers.
"It's our time, darling. According to my calculations, your lovely ovum should be in just the right spot and I'm shooting nothing but bullets today. Are you ready to make a baby with me?"
Laura put Remington's hand upon her flat belly and he sensed her answer.
"Make love to me, woman."
Laura did not hesitate to take the initiative, touching and pleasuring him till he was groaning in ecstasy, driven wild by the heat in the pit of his belly, his pupils dilated, his body flushed all over.
"Yes . . . yes . . . Laura!"
"Remy, I love you. I love you so."
Remington lay on his back, drew his wife onto him, and traced the outline of her features with his finger. When Laura caught his finger between her lips, he sighed and rolled her onto her back again kissing her neck and her breasts. When they came together, the sensation of joining was so powerful that they both cried out loud, but the sound of the surf drowned out the sound of their voices. The rhythm of coitus captured them as Remington and Laura found their pace in the tropical heat. When they began to sweat profusely and the fragrance of Laura's perfume bloomed and mingled with her own personal scent, it excited Remington so that he lost all sense of everything except the woman in his arms caught up in the rhythm of procreation with him.
But Remington continued to pleasure her. The special scent of his flesh overlaying the fragrance of the sandalwood cologne he wore became a powerful aphrodisiac, and as ecstasy swept her, Laura lost all sense of where she was, shaking and trembling.
"Remy, please," Laura moaned as her teeth began to rattle.
"I'm . . . I'm intoxicated, love . . . so intoxicated . . . with . . . you. No one . . . no one to hear us here, babe. Yes! Yes! God Almighty! Laura!"
Remington felt the pressure in his loins give way and he ejaculated, giving spurt after spurt of his semen to Laura as the blue and white lights of the acme burst in front of his eyes. They were both completely incoherent. But then Laura's surrender swept over her, and Remington held her tenderly, kissing her again and again as her pelvic muscles contracted involuntarily.
"Yes, yes! Oh, babe. Tell me you love me."
"I love you so . . . so much . . . I do, Remy."
Remington cherished Laura in his embrace as spasms continued to seize her, diminishing only very gradually. As he kissed her gently, smoothing her hair, telling her over and over how much he loved her, Laura was overwhelmed and began to cry and then they both were weeping for joy.
"I never knew I'd ever be this happy, Rem."
"I never knew I'd be happy in any sense of the word, love."
They gazed at each other in wonder and then Laura sighed and Remington could barely croak her name as the passion gripped him and they were lost in one another again.
* * * * * *
It was evening when Laura awakened to the sound of the surf. At first she was disoriented but the sound of the sea recalled where they were. Remington was still sleeping on his back but when Laura moved from his chest, he stirred and drew her close.
"Rem, aren't you hungry? It's nighttime."
"Um, good idea, darling," Remington said as he came fully awake and sat up in bed.
"I want to thank you for a lovely afternoon, darling."
"It's beautiful here. I'm glad you brought me," Laura said softly and kissed him lightly before getting out of the bed.
They were both rather quiet as they showered, dressed, and then prepared to go to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner. The afternoon had had a profound effect on them and they were still trying to sort it all out. The realization that they may have conceived another child together had somehow lifted it apart from their normal passionate sessions together.
Remington watched Laura padding about barefoot on the polished wooden floor of the bedroom. She stopped to put on a pair of silk tap pants, her long hair down on her shoulders, her bare breasts round and soft and bouncing gently as she moved and he could not help staring at her. He never tired of watching her dress. In the early years she was still somewhat shy to be completely naked with him unless they were involved sexually, but finally she had become comfortable with her body, confident that she was truly attractive and Remington treasured these shared moments.
"You look marvelous, Laura," Remington said simply.
He was lounging across the bed, still wet from his shower and Laura smiled at him and, reaching into her open suitcase, tossed a handful of black silk to him.
"Just a little something I'd like to see you wear. You know you are always buying me lingerie. I thought I'd pick up something for you for a change."
"My God, woman! I appreciate the thought but there is nothing here . . . just barely a front."
"All the same I'd like you to try them on. I used to daydream about you wearing something like that back in the day." Laura looked like the cat that ate the canary.
"Well, I aim to please, ma'am," Remington said as he got up from the bed and, turning his back to her, put on the scant piece of underwear.
"I do love the back view," Laura said, gazing at his sculptured hips completely revealed and framed by just the slightest bit of black silk.
When Remington turned to face her, they both began to laugh.
"Oh my goodness! They're too small!" Laura's hands flew to her cheeks as she blushed at the sight before her.
"Well, I'm a big boy, lassie. It'll take more than this to carry the family jewels," Remington said, his blue eyes twinkling, unable to hide his pride in his masculine girth. "I'll probably have to wear a truss to carry my equipment when I'm an old man and gravity takes over, love." Remington reached for Laura and drew her close. "But I appreciate the thought. I know a place that does special orders. I'll have them make me up a few of these to size. Black silk, eh?"
"I love you in black silk underwear."
Laura rubbed his bare hips and then pinched them.
"That's why you like them. You love to do that, don't you?"
"They're mine, aren't they?" Laura said, her eyes wide and all-seeing, watching his passionate response to her touch.
"Yes, they are absolutely yours and you will find out just how much yours they are if you persist in this activity. I thought we were hungry."
"We are," Laura said.
"Are you quite certain, Mrs. Steele?"
"I think so, Mr. Steele."
Laura patted his muscular hips once more before she released him to finish dressing and resumed dressing herself. Slipping her dress over her head, she let it settle on her body. The white bias-cut cotton broadcloth dress clung slightly to her slender hips just hinting at the panties underneath, and announcing at the same time that they were all that she was wearing with that fabulous dress. The bodice of the dress was designed as a halter attached to an empire midriff line and it easily supported her full bosom, yet revealed a generous portion of freckled décolleté and all of her back. Remington's mouth dropped open at the sight of her.
"I thought I would get something different for the trip-something a bit less conservative," Laura said shyly. "I know that scar on my back shows."
"Your back is beautiful . . . all of it. I haven't seen you expose it completely for so long. Don't worry anymore about the scar, darling."
Remington inhaled the scent of her and bent to kiss her back where the bullet had nearly taken her life more than eight years earlier.
"And you-you are so handsome tonight. A white linen dinner jacket certainly becomes you."
"I always love you in white. It's perfect. And please leave your hair down, darling. There is just one thing that might complete this look." Remington reached into his pocket and, taking out a diamond pendant, placed it around Laura's neck where it nestled just above the freckled cleavage he loved so.
Laura was speechless as she stared into the mirror at her reflection.
"Happy anniversary, darling," Remington said as he hugged her and kissed her bare freckled shoulder.
Laura turned to face him and kissed him soundly, her eyes full of mischief. "Now I think that you have something in your pocket that might interest you."
Remington put his hand into his jacket pocket and drew out a heavy white gold linked bracelet.
"Laura, it's fabulous. Thank you, love."
"Happy anniversary, Michael Harrison Daniel Chalmers O'Sullivan Remington Steele." Laura stood on tiptoe and kissed him full on his mouth and then helped him put the bracelet on his wrist where the white gold shone handsomely against the dark hair that adorned him and fell comfortably against the cuff of his shirt.
"I am a very satisfied man, Laura. I have spent the afternoon with the woman I love more than my life and the only appetite she left unsatisfied is my appetite for food."
"I'm hungry too."
Remington took her by the hand and they left the villa and walked across to the beach side restaurant. When they came in, Pierre, the maitre-de promptly seated them in a quiet corner of the veranda that encircled the main part of the building.
"Monsieur Steele, bienvenue, Nous sommes à votre service. Et Madame Steele. Votre femme est vraiment belle. Mes compliments." (Welcome, Mr. Steele. We are at your service. And Mrs. Steele. Your wife is truly beautiful. I compliment you.)
"Merci, merci, Pierre ... vous avez raison. Elle est belle."
Laura flushed under the admiring gaze of her husband.
"I think that champagne would be in order, don't you think?"
"Sounds great to me," Laura said, smiling at him. "What are we having to eat?"
"I see they have grouper filets, poached in white wine with a Parisienne sauce. Does that sound good to you, love?"
"Umm, I think so. I always love what you select in these situations."
"Est-ce que bon, Pierre?" (It is good, Pierre?)
"Oui. C'est magnifique. C'est un specialité de la maison." (It is excellent. It's a specialty of the house.)
Remington and Laura sat in the balmy evening and quietly sipped the dry champagne when it came.
"You've been here before-to this very place, haven't you?"
"Yes, many years ago Monroe and I came to St. Martin for the first time. I would say that we 'made our mark' here. He quickly got us connected with some of the fetching local girls here. We were quite young and it was rather a 'no holds barred' time we had. Then I came back again just a year before you and I met. I was following some stolen gems, working for my finder's fee. I looked for some of those girls but most had either married or moved to France."
"And did you get your gems?"
"Oh, yes. A fabulous collection stolen from a countess in Cannes. I got it back and claimed my fee . . . stayed here a few nights when I was lying low before leaving for France. I thought then how much I would have enjoyed this place with a worthy partner."
"Don't tell me that you were without a woman. I thought that you never did without back in the day."
"I wasn't without someone to answer my physical need, but I was very lonely in this place. It was the first time that I remembered feeling lonely as an adult. I hadn't seen Daniel for a long time. He was elsewhere then, off on another jaunt. Felicia . . . Anna . . . Shannon . . . none of them were around. And I just didn't feel like initiating something new.
"I remember sitting in a beach chair watching a family that was staying here. They had two grammar school age children running about and a baby. As is very common here, the woman was taking the sun topless. It had no particular sensual meaning to them. They were a family on holiday. But her breasts were full and lush and I caught myself staring at her from behind my sunglasses. Then she took the wee one and nursed him right there. I had never seen anything so beautiful and natural. Suddenly I wanted that kind of life-for just a few minutes."
"I have that life with you, Laura, the life I would never have dreamed possible back then."
Remington reached for Laura's hand and kissed it and then turned her hand over and kissed her wrist at the pulse point.
Pierre brought their food at that point and Remington and Laura turned back to the matter immediately at hand and set about doing justice to the excellent meal. It was the ideal conclusion to a very full day as they shared an excellent chocolate mousse, spoon-feeding it to each other over coffee laced with cognac.
The champagne, marvelous cuisine and the tropical night left them totally mellowed out and when they left the restaurant over an hour later, they took off their shoes and walked along the beach in the moonlight, holding hands, stopping to kiss again and again.
"I can't seem to get used to seeing your back completely bare again. It has been having such a positively erotic effect upon me all evening," Remington said as he lifted her hair so that he could kiss her at the back of her neck as he ran the tip of his finger up and down her spine. Laura sighed and then moaned at the exquisite pleasure of his touch as they stood with the incoming surf lapping around their bare feet.
"Take me to bed, love," Laura begged as his hands slipped around to embrace and cradle her breasts.
"Yes, Kitten, I'll take you to bed."
They turned and walked hand in hand from the far end of the beach back to their villa where they promptly undressed each other and fell into bed. There was no need for preliminaries. Remington had been wooing Laura all evening and she had flirted audaciously with him; so now they simply came together.
* * * * * *
The next morning they wakened to enjoy warm croissants and brioche, assorted cheeses and imported jams along with steaming cups of coffee on their balcony. Then they went to lie in the sun and play in the clear clean salt water.
At first Laura would not think of removing the top of her bathing suit, but as the morning went on, she became a bit less timid and finally, much to Remington's delight, did cast it aside.
"Darling, you must be careful. Topless sunbathing is quite addictive," he teased as he gazed down at her lying beside him. "You will not be able to indulge yourself this way back in the States unless you plan to invest in a stretch of private beach property."
Laura blushed under his unabashed stare.
"You're going to make me want to put it back on."
"Don't, love. You're too beautiful like this. And besides we practically have the beach to ourselves this morning."
When they could take no more sun, they retired to the villa and Remington picked Laura up and carried her off to bed again.
* * * * * *
Late in the afternoon they wakened very hungry so they got dressed and drove down into the town of Grand Case and found one of the lo-lo's, Maison d'Amie, a small family-run restaurant directly on the beach.
They ordered whole barbecued lobster and shrimp, served along with local rice and peas and crisply fried green plaintain slices along with a huge salad. Sitting at a table right on the sand they became a part of the scene, a mixture of French nationals, local natives of St. Martin, and American, Canadian and European tourists. And when the music of Asnavour poured from the sound system, they got up to dance on the sand as the sun dipped below the horizon and left them in soft darkness.
At first they gave themselves to an energetic merengue, but then the tempo slowed and they did the sinuous movements of the dance with their pelvises almost touching, standing close cheek-to-cheek stealing kisses as if no one else were there on the beach with them.
"Did I tell you how I love to look at you dressed like this . . . simple tank top, unfettered breasts . . . soft skirt . . . your hair down."
"Well, you are quite gorgeous with two days' growth of beard."
Remington suddenly caught Laura's hips and drew her so close to him that the sensation of his body against hers took her breath away, and when Laura slipped her hands into the back pockets of Remington's soft white linen slacks and squeezed his firm buttocks in response, they stopped dancing.
Remington looked down at her and asked, "Good Lord, woman. I love you so."
He claimed her lips in a passionate kiss that went on and on, as all the while the sounds of the music and surf swirled around them.
"Babe, I can't hold out like this. We . . . we should make our way back to our villa, don't you think?" Remington's hands were trembling as he struggled to maintain a semblance of control.
They left the beachfront of the restaurant and were threading their way between the tables through the house and toward the exit when a woman called out.
"Michael . . . Michael O'Leary is that you? C'est toi-même?" (Is that you?)
Remington turned to see a tall slender dark woman, a native of the island coming toward them. She had high cheek bones, and full lips and walked with the grace of a model.
"Aliane! How nice to see you again."
"You come for visit. Good to see you. And?" She turned to Laura.
"This is my wife, ma femme, Laura."
Laura greeted the woman warmly.
"Je vois que la vie est bon, n'est-ce pas?" (I see that life is good, isn't it?)
"Oui, il va tres bien. Et à vous?" (Yes, it is very good. And you?)
Aliane dropped her head sadly, her posture suddenly reflecting total dejection.
"Vous avez quelques minutes? J'ai le besoin de conseil. Vous étiez un bon ami dans le passé." (You have a few minutes? I need advice.) Aliane St. Louis jumped in fear as a huge pallid Frenchman many years her senior approached them. "Mon Dieu, il viens, et il est fâché." (My God, he's coming and he's mad.)
"Meet us at villa numero five at Grand Case Beach Club . . . anytime."
"Viens ici, tu est à moi, catin! (Come here, you belong to me, slut!) He has a woman. He will not pay for you tonight."
The Frenchman grabbed Aliane roughly and dragged her away from the Steeles.
Remington instinctively reacted but Laura caught him by his arm, keeping him from getting involved in a brawl in the place. They hurried from the restaurant and started to walk toward their car in the parking area across the tiny street.
Remington swore and slammed the door as he put Laura into the car and got into it himself.
"I abhor seeing a woman treated like that. How the deuce did Aliane ever get involved in that terrible business."
"You knew her from um . . . one of your previous visits?"
"Yes, Monroe and I . . . we shared her I guess. But she was his actually. She wasn't a prostitute then, just a beautiful young girl who was quite generous with her charms. He still mentions her in passing. Then she was barely eighteen," Remington's voice trailed off and he shook his head.
"Well, she apparently has gotten in over her head. That man handled her like that in a public place and there was hardly anyone even taking notice. Do you remember ever seeing that man with her?"
"No, I don't think so. But I know that man. I may have seen him in one of the casinos. I don't know."
"Well, that really jolted us back to reality, didn't it? You forget how unhappy some people are when you are as happy as we are."
"That was quite a jolt, Laura. I wonder what she wants."
"I guess we'll find out, if she pays us a visit." Laura reached for Remington's hand. "In the meantime, can we take a midnight walk on the beach and finish what we started back there."
"Why, yes, ma'am," Remington said, winking and leaning over to kiss her.
When they got back to the Beach Club, it was nearly midnight. They walked slowly to the far end of the shore where they had been the night before. There was a thick grove of sea grape trees where Laura turned and kissed Remington in a manner that left no question as to her wishes.
"Do you know how many nights I dreamed of having you in a setting like this when I was a suffering celibate?" Remington whispered into her ear.
"Show me. Make it real, Remy."
Remington shed his shirt and laid it on the sand for Laura. She was wearing just the tank top and a skirt of filmy handkerchief linen that buttoned down the front and little else with the exception of silk panties.
"Let's have a dip, love," Remington said as he unbuttoned her skirt.
Laura unfastened his slacks and soon they were free of their clothes and walking in the little waves at the shoreline of the deserted beach.
Remington kissed Laura and they held each other as they had at the club on the sand earlier . . . Remington gripping Laura's hips and Laura squeezing his in return.
"Laura, Laura," Remington groaned as he drew her down with him into the shallow water at the shore. "Ah, this is the wild woman that I love so much. Is this Lorelie?"
"I'm whoever you want me to be. I'm your woman, you're my man, and you are never going to forget this night."
Remington lay between her open thighs and easily found the soft breasts that he loved, kissing and suckling them till Laura was weak with desire for him.
They came together easily, as the warm tropical surf lapped gently against them. Lying in the shallow water with the sound of the ocean all around, they rocked in perfect synchrony till Laura began to climax over and over, each time with more intensity than the time before. Remington watched the moonlight play over her face as she was seized again and again.
"Rem . . . Rem . . . help me, Rem," she moaned, her nails digging deep into his flesh.
He had seen her like this before, caught up in passion, begging him to take her over the edge.
He picked her up, as she all the while protested even a moment of separation from him, clinging to him, wrapping her legs around him as he carried her and laid her on his shirt under the grove of sea grape trees.
"Babe, babe, I'm here. I'll take care of you. I'll always take care of you," he cried as he joined with her again.
"Yes! Yes! Oh, yes! I . . . I love you. I love you so much."
"God Almighty!" Remington cried out as the pressure in his loins became impossible to bear and he immediately began to ejaculate in spasms of pleasure. They both groaned out into the night as moonlight and sunlight melded in one brilliant explosion in front of their eyes.
Clinging to each, kissing tenderly, whispering words that they shared only when they were like this, describing the pleasure they had shared and given, gently teasing one another other, the afterglow claimed them. Finally, they went back into the water together and washed the sand from their bare bodies. Remington pulled his slacks on and put his shirt on Laura and they walked back to their villa arms around each other.
As they approached their door, someone appeared out of the darkness. It was Aliane.
"Michael, merci Dieu. I think you never come home."
"We . . . we went for a late swim and walk on the beach."
"Come inside, Aliane," Laura said as she opened the door and walked inside and went to find a robe. When she looked at her husband naked to the waist, his soaked pants turned almost transparent, Laura went to get a robe for him as well.
Aliane gave both of them the once over and smiled before continuing.
"What can we do to help, Aliane?" Remington asked as he wrapped the terry robe around his body and gestured for her to take a seat.
"Only two of you here?" Aliane gazed around at the large spacious house.
"It's our anniversary . . . ten years. C'est une grand chose pour nous. Nous sommes très content." (It's a big thing for us. We are very happy.)
Aliane began to cry. "C'est terrible, ma vie. Je suis une esclave a Jean-Jacques Faubert." (It's awful, my life. I am a slave to Jean-Jacques Faubert.)
"Faubert. C'est l'homme avec vous à la restaurant. Je connais ce nom." (Faubert. That's the man with you at the restaurant. I know the name.) Remington turned to his wife. "I know who he is, Laura. He was involved with the matter of the jewels that I mentioned to you earlier."
"He didn't recognize you?"
"Well, that was more than fifteen years ago. It was dark and I do have a couple days' growth of beard." He turned to Aliane. "Quel est votre problem avec Faubert?" (What is the nature of your problem with Faubert?)
"Il me force de travailler pour lui comme prostituée. Je n'ai pas une choix. Il me bat. Il a ma passaport dans son sauve-garde dans son bureau. Il pense que je suis en train de servir un client maintenant alors." (He forces me to work as a prostitute for him. I have no choice. He beats me. And he has my passport in a safe in his office. He thinks that I am with a client now.)
"Ou est son bureau?" (Where is his office?)
"Dans la même place, La Casino Royale." (It's in the same place as always, The Casino Royale.)
"He . . . is forcing her to work as a prostitute. He has her passport. He beats her."
"I wish to leave, come to U.S. but is impossible. Can you help me get to U.S., Michael?"
Aliane wrung her hands. She was a beautiful woman in her mid-thirties, but wearing the garb of the world's oldest profession, a skimpy mini dress of bright red elasticized fabric.
"I am known now as Remington, Remington Steele. My wife Laura and I have a detective agency back in Los Angeles. Perhaps we can help. We will be here for four more days and then head back home. Let us try to think this out."
"I go. I have no more time. He beat me if I am late."
"Quel est le prix courant de plaisir en St. Martin?" Remington asked. (What is the current price of pleasure in St. Martin?)
"Vingt-cinq dollar, US," (Twenty-five dollars, US) Aliane replied with head bowed. "I am too old to do this thing like this. C'est trop." (It's too much.)
Remington took fifty dollars and handed it to her.
"I . . . I cannot take this."
"Tell him you had a truly hot rendezvous. Revenez ici demain soir à dix heures. Vous n'êtes pas avec lui dans ses autres activités illegal, Aliane? Dites-moi la verité. Nous devons avoir toutes information si nous allons vous aider." Come back here tomorrow evening at ten o'clock. You aren't involved with him in his illegal business, Aliane? Tell me the truth. We must have all the information if we are going to help you.)
"It is truth."
"D'accord. À demain soir." (Agreed. Till tomorrow evening.)
"Merci, Michael . . . Remington . . . and Laura."
Aliane took her leave and Remington and Laura were left to wonder where this encounter would lead them.
"So what do you have in mind. I can tell that you are going to do something to help her," Laura said sensing his mind sorting through the conversation with Aliane.
"I don't know exactly. I can't abide seeing her victimized and doing nothing to help her."
"I would imagine that it would be pretty difficult to get away from a man like that on a tiny island in the middle of the Caribbean. No domestic violence hotline to be sure," Laura said, her voice tinged with sarcasm.
"We'll call Mildred in the morning. I want to check with the French authorities to see if they have anything on Faubert."
"She can run it through La Sûreté. Aliane will need a sponsor if she is to leave here," Laura said as her keen mind began to sort through the problems that would have to be solved to bring Aliane out of St. Martin.
"Yes, she will."
"I'll do it . . . if you think this is what we should do here. I don't want you to involved with the INS in any context."
"Absolutely. I don't want my name mentioned to the INS."
Remington caught Laura's hand and drew her to him.
"And I'm sorry that our evening was interrupted. It has been quite marvelous."
"Let's shower and call it a night," Laura said, shedding her robe and heading for the bathroom, pulling Remington by the hand. She turned to him and whispered, "It seems like an eternity since yesterday morning . . . in Boise."
"Yes, it does, doesn't it?" Remington said. "I'm sorry that Aliane's coming round interrupted that marvelous romp we were having."
"It's all right. It was a perfect day, a perfect evening."
"Yes, it was."
"And it's not over. It was just . . ."
"Interrupted?" Remington said as he caught her close and kissed her mouth.
Laura simply wound her arms around his neck and kissed him back.
* * * * * *
The next morning Remington and Laura lay in bed till noon.
"I hate to get out of this bed, love," Remington whispered as they lay entwined, "but I am quite ravenous. The croissants and coffee are calling me."
Remington got up, wrapped his robe around him, and went to make coffee, leaving Laura dozing till he brought the tray of fresh bread and cheeses and assorted jams back to the bed.
Laura lay staring at the ceiling and Remington knew that look.
"You're trying to figure how we get Aliane out of here, aren't you?"
"Umm, it shouldn't be that difficult-if you can get her passport."
"She said it's in the safe in Faubert's office. His office was in the Casino Royale in Marigot when I was here the last time.
"Then I think that we should visit the Casino Royale this evening? I am sure that you could get that passport if you were to gain access to that office. We can find out Faubert's pattern-frequency of visits, etc. from Aliane."
"You amaze me, darling. You simply amaze me."
"Well, I can't turn away from that young woman. At any rate, you would not stand for it, would you?" he quipped.
"No, I wouldn't," Laura said, regarding at him in a way that left no question as to her feelings on the matter. "You are quite affected when you see a woman physically abused by a man, aren't you?"
Remington nodded and fell silent, a brooding expression in his blue eyes, as his mind rolled back thirty years to when he was a fourteen year old living by his wits in the mean streets of Brixton.
"Her name was Molly and she was a prostitute, a whore nearly thirty years old, who worked out of a pub that I sometimes cleaned in exchange for a place to sleep when it was too cold to stay outside. She had green eyes and long blond hair and I thought she was bonnie, even though she was worn out from street life. She would smile at me, tousle my hair . . . nothing sensual, more as I would have imagined an aunt or cousin perhaps.
"Her pimp, Artie was his name, was a creep who forced her to do unspeakable things to make money for him. I was cleaning up the bar about three in the morning and I heard them in quite a row. A 'John,' a client, had wanted her to do somethin' that Molly refused to do. The client had walked away and Artie was hoppin' mad. He started to slap Molly around really bad. I dropped my broom and ran to stop him, but the barman grabbed me and held me back." Remington dropped his head as he remembered the scene.
"Stay outta the fray, laddie. It's between the bird and the bloke."
Molly was screaming as Artie struck her again and again in her face and then punched her in her belly and breasts till she lost consciousness. After that, he kicked her in her head and left her there on the barroom floor.
"Sammy, you got to get the doc," young Michael cried as he watched Molly twitching on the floor, bleeding from her mouth and nose.
"Ain't no doc for the likes of 'er, laddie. She knew the chance, working that life. You help me take 'er out to the street and then bugger off. Won't do for the coppers to find 'er in here."
"I helped him carry her to the street and I . . . I couldn't leave her. I stayed with her till she died right there. I was holdin' her hand and her grip loosened. I looked into her green eyes. They were just starin' at nothin' at all. I knew she was dead. She was the first person I ever saw die. They never pinned Artie for it. I vowed then and there to never lay a violent hand on a woman. And I've kept that vow." Remington's eyes filled as he recalled Molly's terrible death.
"I'm sorry, Remington. I'm so sorry."
"I think that's what was the most disconcerting aspect of that time when I thought the Earl of Claridge might have been my father. The thought that I was the offspring of a man who treated women like that, not matter what sort of women, was inherently repugnant to me. One of the things Daniel taught me was that a gentleman treats all women with respect . . . the harlots the same as women of the highest station. I've tried to live by that code, Laura."
"That is just another of the reasons that I love you so much. Please teach our boys to be just like you." She patted his hands and then kissed them. "Now I am going to make that call to Mildred and get going on this. Are you going to bring Monroe in at this point?"
"I think I should. He may still have some contacts down here that I might need to pull this off. And I agree that we should pay a visit to the Casino Royale this evening."
* * * * * *
By late afternoon Mildred had responded with the results of her research on Faubert and it confirmed their suspicions.
"Sooo, it appears that Monsieur Faubert has continued to involve himself in a number of illegal activities," Laura said, as she read through the information that Mildred had faxed to them. "Prostitution, counterfeit art work, smuggling . . . you name it, he apparently has done it."
"Well, we shall have to cause this chap some real problems, darling. I spoke to Monroe and there is a fellow we used to run with who is still down here, a certain Hans Bloch. He lives on the Dutch side of the island. I think that he might be helpful. We're going to see him before we go to the casino. He will meet us here."
"And Monroe . . . he will take Aliane on if we get her to LA?"
"No question about it. She was one woman that he took quite a tumble for back in the day. I doubt that he has been seriously involved since Aliane. In those times when we shared . . . everything . . . Monroe and I nearly had a falling out when he realized that she was as generous with her charms with me as she was with him."
"And what did you do about that?" Laura asked him.
"I left her alone on that score. No need to have a woman come between mates like that."
Laura stared at Remington at he saw the look in her eyes that reflected her shock at his past escapades, and lack of principle.
"You're disappointed in me, because of my old ways."
"I . . . I'm not . . ."
"Please don't deny it. I know you too well, Laura."
"I just never cease to be amazed. It makes me sad in a strange peculiar way. I guess I am disappointed on some level. I can't help it."
"I'm not proud of the way I was as a young man, Laura, but I am never going to lie about it to you. You must know what I was . . . as much as I would that it had been different. But I had my limits. I did draw the line at some things."
"Such as?" Laura asked him what she had never dared to ask him before in all the years they had been together.
"I never had sex with another man . . . even though the opportunity was often there. My early experience . . . with that bastard McGinty . . . I would not allow that violation of my body, and besides, I was always drawn sexually to women. I have never engaged in a menage à trois. I always felt that sex should be between two people at a time. More than that was a complication that never held any attraction to me. Let's see. What else must I confess to you? I've stolen, cheated, deceived."
"This is not a confession, Remy. You don't have to . . ."
"Yes, it is and I do. And it is going to be right now." Remington continued. "I never participated in sado-masochism or any other of the extremes of perversion with anyone. Beyond a bit of cunnilungus with certain partners, and being fellated from time to time, my sex life before you was quite straightforward, though excessive in the extreme.
"I have been with women old enough to be my mother, even grandmother, but with none that were children. I was a gigolo, Laura, a boy toy, a companion to any attractive woman who would take care of me in the way to which I had become accustomed. That was what Daniel taught me. You can't go around stealing jewels and paintings all the time. You have to have something steady to fall back on. And that was women . . . wealthy women who would give me anything to shag them regularly and shag them well."
"I'm amazed that you changed," Laura said simply.
"You changed me. The day I met you I knew that I wanted you. I sensed that it was going to be different, but I didn't know in what way. I had only dealt with women in one way. Get them to bed, enjoy them for as long as you want them, and then move on. The idea of a lifetime with one woman, a family . . . children and babies with one woman, that was completely foreign to me. But after I became Remington Steele and we connected emotionally the way we did, the idea of life without you became inconceivable. As rocky as it was between us, as difficult as you made it for me . . . forcing me to celibacy and all the rest, I could not think of leaving you. And we had not even had intercourse. Those four years, Laura, those four years aching for you and doing without brought me to my knees. Then when we did come together, when you took me that night . . . Laura, it was like I had never been with another woman. God knows, I never dreamed that it could be what it has been with you."
"I'm proud of the way you are now. And I know you will always tell me the truth. That's why I love you so much."
Remington caught Laura's hand to his lips and kissed it.
"I wish I'd met you when I was sixteen, Laura. So many things would never have happened."
"What would have happened?" Laura asked softly.
"I would have fallen in love with you, just as I did when I was thirty. We would probably have gotten into all kinds of trouble together, but I would have never looked at another female. This thing between us . . . would have held me captive then, just as it holds me captive now."
"And I wouldn't have made you wait four years either, darling."
"I know you wouldn't have," Remington said. "I would have loved to see you when you were fourteen or fifteen, just turnin' into a woman."
"You've seen those old school photos. I was so skinny and undeveloped."
"You were just fresh and lovely in those pictures. Wish I'd been the first bloke to kiss those lips."
"Remy," Laura said, reaching out to take him close, "I love you so much."
"Let's go meet Hans Bloch, darling," he said, smoothing her thick chestnut hair as he smiled pensively at her. "He should be here about now."
By six in the evening Hans Bloch had found the Steeles at Grand Case and they sat down together at the café to discuss the situation with Aliane over rum punch.
"What brings you back to St. Martin, Michael?" he asked as they walked along the sand together. "You seem to be doing quite well . . . lovely wife and all that. You have become quite respectable."
"I'm a private investigator, Hans, and that puts me on the right side of the law these days. In reality I am simply here to celebrate ten years of marriage to my woman. Laura and my children are the most important things in life to me now. lt was to be a time away from work. But I saw Faubert abuse Aliane in a lo-lo down the street. It would have worried me at any rate. But then Aliane came to us for help."
"She wants to get away from Faubert. I know that."
"We will take her out of here. But we need help. We must neutralize Faubert so that he cannot think about anything except saving his own skin. I know that La Sûreté holds him responsible for a number of things."
"But he feels untouchable here in St. Martin. The Casino Royale brings a tremendous amount of revenue to the island. The traffic in prostitutes, counterfeit art work, all pale into insignificance when compared with what the Casino brings in."
"What is he interested in . . . the art work? Where does he keep it?"
"I do know that he has a stash of important pieces in a shop that he runs in Marigot. He features works of fairly recent vintage . . . valuable . . . but not well known. Tourists buy, thinking that they have the real thing, and only find out when it is too late to do anything about it."
"And at customs?"
"He has agents bribed at Juliana Airport to pass the pieces off as genuine. The people who have been taken only find out what has happened when they are back at home and go to have the piece appraised."
"Then we need to cause some diversion at Faubert's place of business perhaps. While his attention is there, we can retrieve Aliane's papers from his office in the casino. We have a couple more days here in St. Martin, Hans. I would like to engage this plan the night before we leave. I would also like to leave Faubert with major problems with La Sûreté as well."
"Then you may want to let La Sûreté know that recently Faubert has taken captive a young woman who is a relative of the Prime Minister of France, a young woman reported missing by her friends when they were on holiday in Guadeloupe. He is keeping her as a sort of sex slave. Unfortunately the world takes much more seriously these matters when the victim is white, and it was quite risky for Faubert to take a girl like that from a well-known French family. Aliane is simply a local girl who is expendable."
"How do you know this?"
"Don't ask me that, Michael. I tell you the truth. Nicole Lafayette is currently Jean-Jacques Faubert's number one plaything, and she is not, according to the reports I have received, a happy camper, as you Americans might say. He has a private hideaway up in the hills above Anse Marcel. That is where she is."
"Then we will endeavor to restore her happiness, mate," Remington said resolutely as he turned to shake Hans Bloch's hand.
* * * * * *
That evening Remington and Laura dressed and went to the Casino Royale so that Remington could reconnoiter the situation there with his plan in mind for the night before they were to leave St. Martin.
"You look lovely, darling. Do you feel lucky?" Remington said as he dropped a kiss on her bare shoulder.
"I know that I am lucky . . . and it has nothing to do with anything going on in a casino," Laura said, turning to face him.
"It's true, love," Remington concurred. "But tonight try to remember that time we went to Vegas. Don't get carried away like Mildred did. We're going to the blackjack table and you will lose no more than a hundred dollars while I check the place out. Then you will go to the slots and spend another twenty dollars or so. By that time I should have the information we need and I will retrieve you."
"And suppose I win, love . . . at the blackjack table?"
"Not to worry. These places are set up so that you will not win more than three or four times. Then they win it all back. My concern is that you will attract the attention of some persistently amorous chap in that dress."
Remington hugged Laura close, entranced by the sight of her. She wore a dress of shiny black paillettes and lace that was cut low in asymmetrical fashion in back revealing most of her freckled back.
"Jacqueline sent it over for the trip . . . for that special occasion. You like it?"
"I love it, darling." Remington pursed his lips and growled softly as he bent to kiss her neck and shoulders.
"Well, I have to keep up with you. When you don a tuxedo, I feel like the little country mouse with you. You don't realize how very handsome you are, do you?"
"You will have to wear something else if you want to be the 'country mouse' tonight, darling," Remington murmured, ignoring the compliment Laura had paid him. "You look positively ravishing."
Remington and Laura got into the late model Peugeot they had rented and headed for Marigot and the Casino Royale. It was after eleven when they arrived and the place was in full swing. Remington got champagne for Laura, pointed out the blackjack tables to her and then sauntered away as if he were simply looking for a men's room.
Laura settled in at the table and began to play as Remington had directed her. Amazingly she won and continued to win. A small crowd gathered to observe, as her stack of chips continued to grow. When she had won over a thousand dollars and was totally caught up in the game, Laura suddenly remembered that Remington was rambling about, trying to locate Faubert's office.
"Oh, my goodness, my goodness! I'm going to have to cash all this in!" Laura fanned and pretended to have to excuse herself.
"Madame a finé?" the dealer asked, surprised . . . and relieved. (Madame is finished?)
"Oui, j'ai finé, monsieur. Merci beaucoup." (Yes, I'm finished.)
Laura backed away from the table with her hands full of chips and into the path of Jean-Jacques Faubert.
"Excusez-moi, s'il vous plait," Laura said. She was quite flustered at the sight of Faubert, but quickly regained her composure.
"I think madame should like to cash in these lovely chips, n'est pas? It is lucky night for you," he said suavely as he guided her toward the cashier. "Surely such beautiful woman is not alone at Casino Royale?"
"No, no, my husband went to . . . to toilette?"
"He takes chance leaving you all alone, madame."
"Jean-Jacques Faubert. I work here."
"Oh, very interessant, M. Faubert," Laura said as she received the payoff on her winnings. "Would you like to sit, s'asseoir avec moi . . . till my husband gets back? I'd love to try those slots over there."
"Certainment, madame," Faubert said expansively, watching Laura's hips sway as she walked in front of him to the slot machines.
"Can you help me? I can't remember what coin to use," Laura said, giving him a look guaranteed to cause a meltdown.
"C'est facile. Regardez," (It's easy. Watch.) Faubert said as he held her hand and put the appropriate coin in it, practically inhaling her beauty all the while.
Laura put the coin in and pulled the handle and a flood of coins poured out into her lap and onto the floor as she chortled gleefully.
At that moment Remington found her.
"Look, Remy, I won at the slots. I won!"
"Ah, Monsieur . . ."
"Steele. C'est ma femme. Et vous êtes Monsieur?" Steele. This is my wife. And you are?"
"Faubert, Jean-Jacques Faubert. C'est bien à faire votre connaisance. Votre . . ." (Faubert, Jean-Jacques Faubert. Nice to meet you. Your . . .)
"Laura is my wife, ma femme."
"Oui, mais vous parlez bien la française. Et votre femme a eu la bonne chance ce soir. Peut-être c'est parce que elle est si belle." (Yes, but you speak French very well. And your wife has had good luck this evening. Perhaps it is because she is so lovely.)
"Peut-être. Neanmoins, l'heure est en retard et nous devons partir alors." (Perhaps. Nevertheless it is late and we must leave.)
"Naturellement. Je changerai l'argent de votre femme." (Of course. I will change your wife's money.)
Faubert went to the cashier to obtain large bills for Laura's winnings.
"Darling, please tell me what the hell you are doing?" Remington said.
"I think it's my lucky night. Did you find . . .?"
Remington kissed her on her mouth as his answer as Faubert came back.
"Merci, Monsieur Faubert. Peut-être nous vous visiterons encore avant la fin de notre vacance. Bon nuit." (Perhaps we will visit you again before the end of our vacation. Good night.)
"Je l'espere, Monsieur Steele." (I hope so, Mr. Steele.)
Remington led Laura from the Casino and they quickly found their car and headed back to Grand Case, laughing all the way.
"I can't believe it. You nearly broke the bank, love."
"I just kept winning . . . blackjack, and then the slots. It was like getting high on something. I must have won over a thousand dollars."
"Be careful. Gambling is addictive . . . almost as addictive as topless sunbathing," Remington teased. "And you flirted outrageously with our Monsieur Faubert, didn't you?"
"Yes, I did. After I bumped into him and realized who he was, I wanted to keep him occupied. I believe that I succeeded. Of course he was definitely not my type."
"You mean you were never attracted to the Sydney Greenstreet type?"
"He played Kaspar Gutman, 'The Fat Man' in 'The Maltese Falcon,' (Warner Brothers, 1941) a huge three hundred pound bloat of a man like our Mr. Faubert. And just as crafty and wicked."
"I'm sure. And you did get into Faubert's office?"
"Sure. I went into his safe. The passport was there. I have it. No need to have to chance getting in there again."
"You have it!" Laura said excitedly.
"Aliane doesn't have to know that we have it. I don't want to chance Faubert's getting it out of her. He probably will never know it's missing till she is gone."
"So we can relax and enjoy these last two days in this beautiful place without thinking about work."
"Yes, and that is as it should be. We needed this time together."
They got out of their car back at the villa and there was Aliane in the shadows waiting for them.
"Je regret, Michael. J'ai peur." (I'm sorry, Michael. I am scared.)
"C'est bien, Aliane. Vous devez d'être à l'aeroport à 10 du matin samedi, pret d'aller. Pas de baggage, simplement vous-même. Tout est arrangée. Ne demandez pas des questions, Aliane. A l'aeroport à 10 du matin samedi." (It's all right, Aliane. You must be at the airport at ten Saturday morning, ready to go. No baggage, just yourself. Everything is arranged. Don't ask questions, Aliane. Just be at the airport at ten Saturday morning ready to go.)
"Merci, Michael. Merci."
"Et il ne serat pas bon si vous soyez avec nous avant samedi. Nous ne voulons pas avertir Faubert." (And it will not be good if you are with us before Saturday. We don't want to warn Faubert.)
"D'accord, d'accord. Merci, Madame Steele, merci."
"À samedi matin, Aliane," Remington whispered as Aliane slipped away into the darkness.
"Well, darling, I guess that job is done, well taken care of." Laura said as Remington unlocked the door to the villa.
"Yes, and now let's give attention to our own mysteries. The sight of your hips swaying as you walked in those lovely high-heeled sandals, the scent of you, the way you were poured into that stunning frock . . . you have been flirting mercilessly with me all night, woman."
Laura's eyes widened, "I . . . I wasn't . . ."
"Yes, you were. Tell me the truth. You must know what you do to me." Even in the dark Remington's eyes were blazing.
"Yes, I do. I was . . . flirting with you. I love to flirt with you."
"Do you love me when I am crazed with passion like this, feeling like my loins are going to burst if I don't have you, when it takes all of my restraint to keep from injuring you when I make love to you?"
Remington caught Laura up into his arms and kissed her wildly as they stood in the moonlight on the steps of their villa.
"My God, woman! I never dreamed it would be like this with us," he murmured, as he picked her up and carried her into the house, kicking the door closed behind them.
They made love as if they would never make love again on the living room sofa, on the living room floor, in the downstairs bathroom, unable to get enough of each other. It was in the early morning hours when they wakened, still tangled in their lovers' embrace on a large reclining chair near the stairs.
"Laura, darling, I think that we should get into . . . bed."
"I thought we were . . . in bed."
"We are . . . in a sense. I'm completely knackered, love. You're quite a woman, you know," he quipped as he kissed her tenderly. "I don't know if I can stand up . . . much less make it upstairs. I must be getting old."
"Well, I know you aren't thirty anymore . . . but you couldn't prove it by me."
Remington helped Laura up and they made their way upstairs and fell exhausted into bed.
* * * * * *
The next two days Remington and Laura simply lay on the beach indulging themselves in the tropical sun. Laura continued to lose her inhibitions and found it easier and easier to lie topless on the sand, which amused and delighted Remington. When they had as much sun as they could take, they lay in bed with the Caribbean breeze wafting through the windows of the villa, confirming their passion for one another again and again. Afternoons they prowled the shops around Marigot like all the other affluent tourists on vacation. They made a point of visiting Faubert's art store to pick up a couple of pieces that Remington could use as proof of his traffic in counterfeit art work. Nights they went dancing in the lo-los on the beach, dancing barefoot on the sand till after midnight.
The day before they were to depart for home, Remington sent an e-mail to La Sûreté and informed them that Faubert was keeping captive the missing relative of the French prime minister, Nicole Lafayette, at his place in the hills above Anse Marcel.
"So everything is set. Laura, are we forgetting anything?"
"I don't think so. The passport. Aliane will meet us at Juliana Airport . . . we have the counterfeit art work. And Faubert will be busy explaining to La Sûreté why he has a missing young French woman held as a sex slave in his lair at Anse Marcel."
"Are we going to go into Marigot this afternoon. I want to pick up a few more things for the children at the craft market this afternoon. Also, I want to pick up a pregnancy test. I feel different . . . somehow."
"Sure, we can go there. But you don't need to take that test. You are definitely pregnant, darling."
"And how are you so sure?"
"Among other things the color of your lovely udders changes when you are carrying . . . from a rosy pink to the color of honey. I've been looking at your bosom all week, love. I should know."
Remington drew her into his arms and kissed her solemnly.
"Are you as happy as I?"
Laura's eyes filled and spilled over and then Remington's misted as well.
"I am so happy, Remy."
"Then do we have to go into Marigot right now?"
Laura shook her head and simply caught his hand in hers and led him up the stairs to the bedroom.
* * * * * *
It was nearly two hours later before Remington and Laura could recover from their afternoon romp and head to Marigot for the few final errands they needed to accomplish before leaving St. Martin. As they rode along the narrow two-lane road from Grand Case to Marigot, Laura rested her head on the back of the seat, still feeling the effects of their prolonged tryst. Remington smiled at her. This lassitude she was experiencing was further proof to him that she was indeed pregnant. She was generally very energetic and recovered quickly from their most passionate sessions, but when she was carrying, Remington had observed that it took her much longer to return completely to herself. She craved him as much as he craved her but she was often left in a state of dreamy langor that persisted for hours afterward.
His attention was suddenly drawn away from Laura when he glimpsed a late model Renault sedan bearing down on them from behind.
"What the . . !" he exclaimed as the car forced him off onto the narrow shoulder.
"My goodness!" Laura became instantly aware of what was happening as the car came parallel with them and two men jumped out of the car with guns drawn.
"Venez, maintenant!" one of the men shouted as he dragged Remington from the car at gunpoint.
The other man pulled Laura from the car and both of them were pushed into the other car and the driver sped off in the opposite direction toward Anse Marcel. With his eyes Remington signaled Laura to remain silent.
"M. Faubert veut parler avec vous, M. Steele. Je pense que vous comprenez pourquoi." (Mr. Faubert wishes to speak with you, Mr. Steele. I think you understand why.)
"Pas vraiment, pas de tout. Je suis un citoyen des états-unis et ma femme et moi sont en train de préparer de retourner chez nous demain." (Not really, not at all. I am a citizen of the United States and my wife and I are preparing to return home tomorrow.)
The men did not respond but continued to drive higher and higher into the mountainous part of the island above Anse Marcel. Just before reaching a security checkpoint they turned off onto a road that was all but hidden in the underbrush and soon emerged into a clearing where an imposing stucco house sat behind an locked gate.
Remington and Laura were taken into the house and into a lavishly decorated sitting room, where Jean-Jacques Faubert sat behind an antique desk.
"Ah, M. Steele. Bienvenue. Je regret que il était necessaire de vous prendre comme ça mais je pense que vous avez quelques chose de moi." (Ah, Mr. Steele. Welcome. I regret that it was necessary to bring you here in this manner, but I believe that you have something that belongs to me.)
"Je ne pas rien de vous, Faubert. Et je démand que vous nous rélâcher immediament." (I have nothing of yours, Faubert. And I demand that you release us immediately.)
"Vous avez Aliane, M. Steele. Elle dit que elle a l'intention d'aller a Amerique avec vous. Elle dit que elle aime vous alors. C'est comique, n'est pas? Une prostituée comme elle. Mais peut-être vous avez un gout pour quelques variété dans votre vie?" (You have Aliane, Mr. Steele. She tells me that she plans to go to America with you. She even says that she loves you. It is humorous, isn't it? A slut like her. But perhaps you have a taste for some variety in your life.) Faubert turned his attention to Laura. "Madam Steele, I cannot understand why your husband want a common whore when he have so beautiful woman as you."
Laura tried to glare at Remington. She had to pretend a reaction to Faubert's remarks.
"I knew it! What's going on here?" Laura spat the words at Remington.
"Darling, it was nothing. She's just a plaything. Do not get upset? Don't you have your boy toys? Don't we have an open marriage?"
"You're about to see how open it is, buster!"
Faubert watched amused.
"Alors, le problem . . . we do not know where is Aliane. I think that maybe you know where is Aliane, M. Steele."
"Elle reve, Faubert. Elle a dites que elle veut venir avec moi à les états-unis et naturellement j'ai dit 'oui.' J'ai voudrias seulement le cul à ce moment. Vous comprenez." (She's dreaming, Faubert. She said that she wanted to come with me to the United States and I said 'yes.' I just wanted her arse at that moment.)
Faubert chuckled wickedly.
"You are not taking that tramp back to the States with us," Laura said in no uncertain terms. "You used her enough while you were here. You'll find something else to amuse you when we get back to California."
"Darling, I only told her that she could come with me. You know that I couldn't take her back even if I wanted to. She can't just walk into the US. She has no documents, no papers, no sponsor. Don't be ridiculous."
"You make me sick, you two-faced piece of crap!" Laura screamed at him.
"But you want me just the same, don't you, love." He turned to Faubert grinning. "She's ravenous . . . can't get enough of me. She isn't going anywhere, because she loves what I do for her." Remington turned to Laura and gripped her arm hard. "Don't you love it?"
Laura shook her head in denial but he gave her his most menacing blue-eyed gaze.
"Yes . . . yes," she said helplessly, capitulating.
Remington kissed her with bruising force and then thrust her away from him in mock disgust.
"You are very . . . interessant, M. Steele. A man d'apres mon coeur. You know how to handle woman."
"Yes, and now I must go and prepare to leave for my flight. I hope that you find Aliane. Nothing like some good black arse when you want it, eh?"
"D'accord, M. Steele."
Faubert waved, signaling his men to take Remington and Laura back to their car. Remington grabbed Laura's hand and summarily yanked her after him, causing her to nearly stumble.
"Watch it, darling. You might fall," he said sarcastically and smacked her on her backside as he pushed her in front of him.
Laura and Remington continued their role-playing as they were escorted back to the car by Faubert's men. When they got into the car, Laura pulled as far away from Remington as physically possible but Remington drew her to him and kissed her hard, well aware that they were still being carefully observed.
"Don't act like you don't want it. You're as shameless as that whore, Aliane."
Laura started to cry and this time the tears were real. Her fears over their close call were expressed in painful sobs.
"Shut up, woman. I can't abide tears," Remington said, turning away from her and shoving her back away from him, determined to continue to play the role, even though his heart ached with concern for Laura. He had sensed the moment her tears became real, and he wanted nothing more than to take her in his arms and comfort her.
At that moment there was the sound of sirens and three police cars came down the narrow road to the house where they were parked, blocking them from leaving. Uniformed police got out with guns drawn and the men who were with them jumped out of the car and into the dense underbrush around them. Police from one of the cars scattered in every direction to hunt them down. The other cars drew up and a man in plain clothes got out and approached the car where Remington and Laura were crouched for safety.
"Monsieur?" queried a man dressed elegantly in a tropical linen suit.
"Oui," Remington responded lifting his head.
"Ah, c'est M. Remington Steele, n'est pas?"
Remington dropped his guard.
"Oui. Et vous?"
"Marcel Rochambeau de la Sûrété. Votre oncle, David Chalmers, est un ami de moi." (Marcel Rochambeau from la Sûrété. Your uncle, David Chalmers, is a friend of mine.)
At that moment there were screams of terror from the house.
"He had Aliane all the time!" Laura exclaimed.
"There are women in danger in there," Remington said, jumping from the car. "Veillez sur ma femme, s'il vous plait." (Watch out for my wife, please.)
Rochambeau gestured for two of the men to stay with Laura.
The police surrounded the house and broke through the front door.
Faubert had Aliane tied to a chair and was threatening her with a pistol. She was barefoot, wearing only a camisole and panties.
"Je le tuerais, mes amies. Je ne pas peur de mourir," he said softly. (I will kill her, my friends. I am not afraid to die."
Everyone seemed to freeze in place.
"C'est ne pas les gendarmarie locale, M. Faubert. C'est La Sûrété. Nous sommes autour la maison." (This is not the local police, Mr. Faubert. This is La Sûrété. We have surrounded the house.)
"I thought you had left, M. Steele. Regardez votre prostituée." (Look at your whore.)
"I thought you did not know where to find Aliane," Remington said quietly.
"C'était un mensonge." (It was a lie.)
"C'est fini, M. Faubert. C'est inutile de resister," Inspector Rochambeau said calmly. (It's over, Mr. Faubert. It's useless to resist.)
At that point they all heard a cry for help from deeper in the house. Faubert was distracted momentarily and Remington took firm hold of an ornamental vase on the table near him and threw it directly at Faubert, hitting him squarely in the face. Immediately Rochambeau's men moved on Faubert as Aliane broke free from him and ran to Remington Steele. Remington shed his jacket and gave it to her to cover herself.
"Look for the other woman," Rochambeau said.
"Elle est dans la chambre à coucher . . . en bas," Aliane said. "Suivez-moi." (She is in the bedroom . . . in back. Follow me.)
Remington and Rochambeau followed Aliane to a back bedroom and there they found Nicole attached with handcuffs to a bedstead. She was wearing nothing but a silk teddy and seemed to be struggling to come out of a drug-induced state.
"Je m'appelle Nicole Lafayette. Aidez-moi . . . s'il vous plait." Then she passed out. (I am Nicole Lafayette. Help me . . . please."
Laura, discerning that the situation was in hand when she saw Remington and Aliane coming out of the house onto the veranda, ran to meet them. Remington caught her around her waist and hugged her close.
"It's over. They found Nicole Lafayette handcuffed to a bed. I dare say Faubert will never see the light of day again."
The police brought a stretcher in to get Nicole and brought her out to a waiting ambulance with a sheet over her. She was pale and dazed, but she would survive her ordeal, the physical part at least. The emotional damage done to her was another issue entirely.
"Merci pour votre aide, M. Steele. J'espere que elle peut être rétabli. Faubert est vraiment un homme méchant, n'est pas?" (Thank you for your help, Mr. Steele. I hope that she will recover. This Faubert is truly a wicked man, isn't he?)
"D'accord. Mes compliments. Vous avez arrivé exactement a l'heure, Inspectateur. Et maintenant ma femme et moi veulent passer notre dernier soirée ici." (I agree. And I must take my hat off to you. You got here exactly on time, Inspector. And now my wife and I wish to spend our last night here.)
"Pour vous, Madame?" (For you, Madam?)
"Yes, we are celebrating ten years of marriage with this trip. It has been a bit more exciting than we planned," Laura said.
"This woman . . . this Aliane?" Rochambeau asked, gesturing toward Aliane.
"She comes with us tomorrow. . . to Los Angeles. All is arranged."
"Then we must expedite matters for her. D'accord?"
"D'accord," Remington answered.
Remington and Laura went to Aliane, who stood aside, still somewhat shaken from her ordeal.
"Ça va mieux, Aliane?" Remington asked gently. (You're okay, Aliane?)
"How did Faubert know there was a connection between you and us?" Laura asked.
"I behave different . . . more happy. He know something going to happen. He demanded me to tell or he will beat Maman."
"I see," Remington said. "It's over now. Be at the airport at noon tomorrow."
"Merci, Michael, pour ma vie." (Thank you, Michael, for my life.)
Aliane kissed Remington and Laura each on both cheeks and left with the officers.
Faubert was led in handcuffs from his liar along with a half dozen of his henchmen.
Finally Rochambeau's driver took Remington and Laura back to the Grand Case Beach Club and their villa.
They simply went up the stairs and fell onto the bed. At first they were so keyed up from the resolution of the case that they couldn't stop talking, but finally Remington poured a stiff drink of rum for each of them and they were able to relax and fall asleep.
After midnight Laura awakened and realized that Remington was not in bed with her. She found him sitting on the balcony, watching the waning moonlight play upon the Caribbean for the final time. After nearly a week without shaving, his beard was completely out, and this, combined with his bare chest and hair tousled from sleep made him quite a sight.
"You wakened, eh?"
"I missed you in bed, love."
"I'm glad to be missed, darling."
"I will miss that handsome beard you've been sporting when we get back home. You know that as much as I love the look of you in an Armani suit, I am crazy about you when you let yourself look like this."
"I must say that I am quite partial to you in tank tops, breasts unfettered, wearing those simple skirts that are little more than a petticoat. I prefer that to the suited businesswoman I normally see everyday . . . even though you wear that fabulous sexy lingerie underneath it all."
"You just like me half-naked," Laura quipped.
"Half?" Remington quipped back.
"You are so very bad, love."
"I know. I can't help it. But I must apologize to you, darling," Remington whispered.
"For even pretending to be an abusive philanderer when we were in that situation with Faubert this afternoon. I am so completely committed to you and this marriage that even playing that role seemed felt uncomfortable. I love you, woman."
"We were pretty convincing, weren't we?"
"Faubert had to believe that I had no intention of taking Aliane away from here or we would never have gotten out of there alive."
"I knew he had Aliane there. Did you sense it?"
"Yes, but I couldn't be sure. I had no way of knowing how he had made the connection between Aliane and us."
"But tell me, Remy, that you don't ever crave a bit of variety, that after ten years it isn't rather humdrum having plain old Laura every morning and night?"
Remington shook his head and drew Laura onto his lap so that he could embrace her. "First of all, there is nothing plain about you. Look at you. Furthermore, that was no life, Laura. When I was 'out there' . . . before I met you, and I ached for a woman and had to settle for a total stranger, or someone that I barely knew to try to satisfy that need, there was no real joy in that. We all knew what the terms were . . . live for the moment, no commitment. The next morning I scarcely could remember whom I'd been with. It was sufficient that my loins weren't aching for the moment."
"You told me once that all of that changed the day we met."
"It did. You fascinated me . . . and you got inside my head as well as my heart . . . and other places. I knew that if we ever got together, I would never need any other woman in my life. And that is true, my darling."
Remington bent to kiss her breasts. They were escaping from the front of her sheer cotton batiste gown and his hands slipped up her thighs as she sat straddling his lap.
"Well, what I said was true back there as well. I can't help myself. I love you absolutely and completely. And if the idea of another woman ever crosses your mind . . ." Laura kissed Remington, first upon his cheeks, then brushing his lips lightly, and then planted a long kiss upon his mouth that wakened all of his passions in no uncertain fashion.
"Not to worry, darling," Remington said as he picked Laura up in his arms and carried her off to bed again.