Written in honor of the 30th anniversary of “Remington Steele”

“Steeling Back the Past”

By Debra Talley, 2012


As Laura stood in the soft Irish mist and watched Remington disappear behind the red door, she unconsciously hugged herself and rubbed her arms. She wasn’t really cold, but she couldn’t stop shivering. She had traveled over 5,000 miles to find Remington and take him back home but if found his father, would she be returning to Los Angeles alone?


She hoped Remington’s present life with her in LA meant as much to him as it did to her, but what if it didn’t? What if her little Maltese roadblock caused him to leave Remington Steele behind in order to start a new life with his newly discovered father?


Relieved to see the red door open and Remington emerge, she rushed across the road to be by his side. When he shook his head and told her it was a dead end, she restrained herself from throwing her arms around him to comfort him. Instead, she rubbed her arms and gave him a heartfelt and genuine, “I’m sorry.”


His eyes were full of warmth as he looked at her and said, “Home, Miss Holt?” Taking his arm, she returned his look and said, “Home, Mr. Street.”


They silently walked arm in arm to the waiting car. Remington opened Laura’s door and then walked to the driver’s side and crawled behind the wheel. He put the key in the ignition, but rather than starting the engine he gripped the wheel, lost in thought.


Turning to face Laura, he asked, “What would you say to a little adventure before we return to the hotel?”


She thought for a moment, then said, “An Irish adventure with the great Remington Steele? How could I possibly refuse?”


“Let me clarify that, Miss Holt. Remington Steele will not be joining us on this little jaunt.”


“Oh? And who, pray tell, will be joining us?”


“All in good time, Miss Holt,” he assured her. “All in good time.”


“Well, I suppose an Irish expedition with a mysterious stranger would be interesting. And we are free for the day.”


“We are indeed, Miss Holt,” he said as he studied Laura’s face. Then lost in thought again, he said,  “It was such a strange feeling, not having any memories at all. It was like I lost myself and didn’t know how to live again.”


“You remembered me,” Laura reminded him.


“Yes, I did.” He took her hand in his and patted it. “I’ve always worked hard to erase the memories of my past, Laura, but perhaps it’s time to start remembering them – to learn from the bad ones and savor the good ones. And who knows? Maybe we’ll make a few of our own today.”


Releasing her hand, he turned the key, saying, ”Tighten your seat belt, Miss Holt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”


***      ***      ***


It was a short drive, but they were thankful they were in the rental car and not Flanagan’s vehicle. By the time Remington finally pulled the car to a stop at the end of a dirt road, they felt as though they had received a thrashing from Mrs. Armdale’s late husband.


“Gorse Cottage,” Remington announced with a smile as they crawled from the car. Reaching into the back seat, he picked up one of the boxes of chocolates he had purchased at a small grocery not far from their final destination.” Taking a deep breath, he said, “Ah, this place brings back happy memories.”


“Memories like those from the flea pit and the hayloft?”


“Not at all. This was home – at least, for a while,” he explained. “Come along, Laura. My heart’s dancing a jig!”


They walked across the front yard and around the house to the back, where Remington knocked on a door dressed with white ruffled curtains. “Gammy!” he said loudly as he knocked on the door. “Gammy O’Reilly! I have a special delivery for you!”


They saw a wrinkled hand with long, slender fingers pull the curtain aside. A moment later the door opened, revealing a tiny older woman wearing a silver braid coiled atop her head like a crown. Putting on the glasses that hung around her neck, the wisp of a woman gave Remington the once over.


Soon recognition occurred and her face lit up as she exclaimed, “Brian! I’d know your lop-sided grin anywhere! And here you are, bearing gifts, no less!”


“I always promised to buy you chocolates when I had some money, and my word is my bond,” he told her as he gathered her small frame in a gentle embrace and gave her a kiss on both cheeks. “Oh, Gammy, I’ve missed you,” he told her in a voice filled with emotion.


The older lady put her hands on Remington’s cheeks and took a long look at the man her Brian had become. Then pulling a lace handkerchief from her pocket, she wiped at the tears that flooded her pale blue eyes.


Remington pulled Laura closer, saying, “Laura Holt, I’d like you to meet Grania O’Reilly.”


“And is this lovely girl your acushla?” Gammy asked.


“Ah, no, Laura and I are just – friends,” he explained with a tinge of sadness in his voice.


Laura smiled as she held out her hand to Gammy. “We’re far more than just friends,” she corrected.


Gammy ignored her offered hand and drew Laura into a hug, saying, “Oh, lass, thank you for helping Brian find his way back home.”


“Brian, is it?” Laura asked Remington. “You’re name is Brian?”


“Ah, not exactly. Brian as in Brian Boru, the High King who united the clans of Ireland and fought off the Vikings in 1014.”


“Figures, “ Laura mumbled.


“These days, Gammy, I go by the name Remington Steele.”


“Well, come in, Remington Steele, and tell me all about yourself and your charming lady over tea and scones,” Gammy said, inviting them into her cozy kitchen and showing them where to sit.


“Is she really your grandmother?” Laura quietly asked Remington as Gammy bustled around the kitchen preparing their refreshments.


“Oh, Gammy isn’t a blood relative – not that I know of, at least,” he explained. “But I liked to pretend she was.”


Gammy obviously still had sharp hearing. “Everyone calls me ‘Gammy’, dear. I always thought of Brian as me own grandson. My grandson Kevin, who was eleven at the time, died of an illness a few weeks before Brian showed up. He was the same age as Kevin and before I knew it, the empty space in my heart began to heal.”


“How did the two of you meet?” Laura asked.


“She caught me stealing,” Remington confessed.


The words ‘I might have known’ popped out of Laura’s mouth before she could stop them. She hoped Gammy hadn’t heard her, but she knew she had.


“Remember the little grocery where we stopped for chocolates?” he asked Laura. “I was there, waiting for the owner to get busy helping Gammy so he wouldn’t notice me snatching the sketchbook and pencils I wanted.”


“It happened just that way,” Gammy agreed as she placed a plate of warm cranberry scones and cups of hot tea on the table and sat down. Then opening the box of chocolates, she popped one in her mouth and savored the glorious taste.


“The storekeeper didn’t see me, but Gammy did,” he explained.


“Such a sight, he was, with his shaggy hair and dirty clothes. And he was so thin! But in spite of his ragged appearance, he had that charmin’ lop-sided grin that I found irrestible,” the older woman told Laura.


“Rather than turn me in, she wheedled out of me my tale of woe and made me a proposition: if I went home with her and helped with odd jobs around her place, she’d furnish my room and board.”


“What about the sketchbook and pencils?”


“I bought them for him after I made him promise to stop stealing,” Gammy replied.


This time, Laura managed to keep her thoughts to herself. Instead of commenting on his oft-broken promise, she instead picked up a scone and asked, “When she found you, were you just wandering around the countryside?”


“The, uh, cousins I’d been staying with had taken off in the night and left me behind. They didn’t want me and that was fine by me. Gammy’s demands seemed fair, and I really wanted that sketchpad, so I agreed to live with her at Gorse Cottage.”


“He’d been skipping school, but I put a stop to that, I did. In time, we fell into a routine that was pleasing to the both of us”.


“Gammy let me wear Kevin’s clothes and shoes. It was the first time I’d ever had nice, warm clothes,” Remington admitted. “But more importantly, it was the first time I was happy.”


“We were together a little over a year,” Gammy said.


“I didn’t leave because I wanted to,” he explained. “When I arrived home from school one day, I found Gammy on the kitchen floor with a broken leg. I fetched Doc Fleming and he agreed to let me go to hospital with them.”


“Brian tried so hard to convince the doctor and social worker that he could take of me, but he was only twelve. They were going to put him in an orphanage until they could locate some of his kin.”


“I wasn’t about to let that happen, so I took off with just the clothes on my back,” Remington explained.


“It broke my heart when you left, Brian. It was like losing Kevin all over again. I knew you had to leave, but I never stopped loving you or praying for you. And today, one of those prayers was answered.”


Remington took Gammy’s hand and gently gave it a squeeze. “I owe you so much more than a box of chocolates,” he told her.


“Ah, away with you,” she told him. “You owe me nothing except the story about how you became Remington Steele. What kind of name is that? If I didn’t know you better, I’d say it was the name you were born with because no one would make up a name like that.”


“Actually, Laura is the one who made it up. The fact is, I’m just a figment of her imagination.”


“It’s a long, complicated story,” Laura admitted.


“And I want to hear all about it over a bite of dinner.”


Laura and Remington protested, but Gammy wouldn’t take no for an answer.


Finally, Remington said, “We gladly accept your invitation, but only if you allow me to help you cook the meal.”


“He’s a wonderful chef,” Laura assured her.


“It will be a pleasure to share my kitchen with you once again, Brian. Have you taken Laura to Glendalough yet?”


“Not yet.”


“Well, then,” Gammy said, “while you two young folks explore, I’ll get a wee bit of a nap so I’ll be fresh for dinner – and for your long, complicated story. But first, I’ve got something for you. If you’ll just wait here. . . .” She popped another chocolate into her mouth and then disappeared into the hallway, which led into the living room.


Remington and Laura enjoyed another scone while waiting for Gammy to return.


Watching Laura devour the pastry in a mere four bites, he said, “Guess I better ask for her cranberry scone recipe, eh?”


“Absolutely,” Laura mumbled, her mouth full of crumbs.


“Laura, you better take a sip of tea before you choke to death,” he warned, handing her teacup to her.


Gratefully, she grabbed the cup and inhaled the remaining tea.


“I packed this away after you left,” Gammy explained as she walked back into the kitchen and handed Remington an Irish tin whistle. “You can practice a bit and then play us a bit of a tune after dinner.”


Remington gave Gammy a kiss on the cheek as he took the instrument from her. “Oh, this sets some happy memories stirring,” he said as he ran his hand up and down the length of it.


“Now off with the pair of you while the sun is still shining!”


******            ******            ******


Remington had no trouble remembering the way. They followed the worn path from Gorse Cottage, which meandered beside a rushing stream. A sturdy wooden bridge was up ahead in the distance, leading the way into the lush valley below. The view made Laura gasp, so they paused to breathe in the beauty.


Brushing the dirt and leaves from the top of a large stone, Remington motioned for her to sit down and he joined her. Then pointing to the lush valley before them, he said, “That’s Saint Kevin’s Kitchen beside the round tower.”


“His kitchen?”


“It’s not a real kitchen; it’s a church. It’s called that because the belfry looks like a chimney.” Sweeping his eyes over the valley, he shook his head in wonder and said, “Of all the beautiful locations I’ve seen in my wanderings, Laura, this is my very favorite. I used to get my after school snack of cheese and soda bread and eat while sitting here on this rock Sometimes I had my sketchbook and pencils with me and I would draw my favorite views so I could carry this beauty with me.”


“And when you abruptly left, you had to leave your sketches behind. I’m so sorry.”


“The actual sketches were lost to me, but I carried the scenery with me here. . . and here,” he told her, pointing to his head and then his heart.


Taking a look at the sky prompted him to recall Gammy’s warning about the weather. Gently pulling Laura’s arm, he said, “Come on – maybe we can stay ahead of the rain.”


******            ******            ******


Laura and Remington spent a carefree afternoon breathing in the beauty and peacefulness of Glendalough. As they walked along, Remington threw himself into re-mastering the tin whistle, forgetting for the moment the disappointment he had felt earlier that day at Patrick O’Rourke’s wake.


The music energized Laura and made her feel like dancing among the tombstones, but she was afraid that might be disrespectful to the souls buried there. Instead, she hummed along with the music, half expecting to see a group of laughing children skipping along behind them.


Laura was so intrigued by the centuries old tombstones and Celtic crosses that she didn’t notice when the rain started. “Come on!” Remington told her, grabbing her arm and pulling her along with him as he broke into a run. “I know where we can wait out the rain!”


Expertly leading them through the confusing maze of gravestones and crosses, he stopped by a grouping of several tumbled tombstones. Several headstones on the left had tumbled onto the  headstones on the right, resulting in a tombstone tunnel.


“We’ll both fit inside if we scrunch down,” he explained as he gave her a slight nudge and then followed her into the shadows.


The grass beneath them was soft, plush and dry, so they awkwardly sat down on the ground their tombstone umbrella. It was a tight fit, but neither minded their snug quarters.


“You knew exactly where this place was,” Laura said. “This must have been your Fortress of Solitude.”


“I suppose that’s as good a comparison as any,” he admitted. “This was my own private sanctuary. I’d slip inside and sketch or play tunes on the whistle. I even did school work here on occasion. I wanted to just blow off my lessons, but I respected Gammy too much to do that because they were important to her.”


“I see,” Laura said. “So your aversion to paperwork goes all the way back to your childhood.”


“I suppose . . .” His voice trailed off as he gazed intensely at, studying her face in the shadows.


After several more seconds had passed, she broke the silence by saying, “Mr. Steele, is something wrong? Do you have a headache? You had two pretty bad clonks on the head . . .”


Brushing aside a strand of hair from her forehead, he finally said, “I’m trying to memorize your face. I’m trying to memorize everything about you so that no matter what happens, I won’t forget you.”


She suspected it was a movie quote, but rather than call him on it and break the mood, she said, “Mr. Steele, you didn’t forget me. Even when your mind was a blank slate, something in you remembered me.”


“I used to tell myself that memories were just dead weight that tied me down. But I don’t want to live that way any more. I don’t want to be twelve years old again, living on the run and telling myself that I don’t deserve anyone or anything - and certainly not good memories.”


Laura looked into his blue eyes and saw the eyes of a twelve-year-old staring back at her. Leaning closer, she gave him a kiss on the cheek and said, “That was for the twelve-year-old who made beautiful memories with a lonely guardian angel with a brogue. And this is for the remarkable man that child has become,” she said, kissing him gently on the lips. The kiss quickly became more passionate than Laura intended and within moments, they were both breathless.


They slowly pulled apart and in the silence of the moment, they could hear that the rain had stopped. The moment was gone, so Remington crawled out of their shelter while Laura said, “And now, Mr. Steele, we need to come up with a version of the truth about how you became Remington Steele.”


Helping Laura to her feet, he said, “I don’t want to lie to her, Laura.”


“Okay, but we don’t need to tell her everything.”


“Agreed,” he said as they brushed the grass from their clothes. “We’ll keep it simple, like the explanation you gave back me at the hotel.”


The air smelled even more pure and fresh after the brief shower and the sun glistened like diamonds on the grass and gravestones.


Taking in their surroundings, Laura said, “Who would think that something in ruins could be so hauntingly beautiful?”


“Perhaps the true beauty of some things isn’t obvious until the passage of time has given it perspective,” he speculated.


Laura thought for a moment and then said, “I think . . . the same thing could be said for people and their relationships.”


Remington smiled and silently put his arm around Laura’s shoulder to ward off the chill as they leisurely made their way back to Gorse Cottage.


******            ******            ******


If former clients of the Remington Steele Agency had happened upon the kitchen of Gorse Cottage that night, they would not have believed their eyes. While Gammy showed Laura how to made Irish soda bread, Remington expertly diced and chopped potatoes and leeks for Gammy’s famous leek and potato soup.


Amid the bustle of preparations, Remington and Laura did their best to satisfy Gammy’s curiosity and fill in some of the gaps in his mysterious past. It was a tricky thing to find the right balance between telling her enough but not too much.


“You always had an active imagination, but how the devil did you come up with all those names you adopted?” Gammy asked, trying to make sense of what she was hearing.


“Some of them were the names of characters Humphrey Bogart played in the movies,” Laura explained.


“The rest I just . . . made up,” Remington added. “Those names served their purpose of hiding my true identity while I struggled to survive. But the only name that stuck was the one Laura created - Remington Steele.”


“Perhaps Remington Steele was always inside you. Perhaps it just took some it just took an  

extraordinary person to bring him to the forefront,” Gammy suggested as she popped the bread

in the oven.


Remington pondered Gammy’s insight as he brushed flour from her nose and then raked the last of the chopped leeks into the already bubbling soup pot.


“Have a seat while we wait for the bread to cook and the soup to finish simmering,” she told them. Then walking into the hall, she pulled a spiral bound book from the bookcase and walked back into the kitchen with it. “I’ve always felt that the kitchen table is the heart of a family, so we’ll just sit here.”


After they were seated, Gammy leaned over and pushed the spiral bound book across the table to Remington. When he realized what he was holding in his hands, he broke into the lop-sided grin both Laura and Gammy loved so much.


“I kept it safe, hoping that someday I’d be able to return it to you,” Gammy explained as he opened the book. When he turned to the first page, she said, “You had a God given artistic gift. I hope you’ve continued to nurture it.”


Remington didn’t trust himself to speak, so he just slowly turned through the pages of his childhood sketchbook. Laura recognized many of the places she had seen as they explored Glendalough. There was the tombstone tunnel where they had found refuge from the rain and the view of the valley from the rock they had rested on, as well as the wooden bridge, St. Kevin’s Kitchen and numerous sketches of Celtic crosses and tombstones.


One drawing of the round tower caught Laura’s eye. “I don’t remember seeing a rope ladder hanging from that large window opening,” she said, pointing to the ladder in the picture.


“The rope was there only in my imagination,” he told her. “I always wished I could scale that wall and have a look inside.” He quickly showed her the drawing on the next page, saying, “Here’s my impression of what the interior of the tower might have looked like.”


“It looks so real; it’s like you actual saw it with your own eyes,” Laura declared in amazement.


There were sketches of Gorse Cottage and of Gammy hanging clothes on the line behind the house and even churning butter in the kitchen. Laura’s favorite, however, was of the inside of the grocery she and Remington had stopped at earlier that day. In the sketch, Gammy was holding a basket full of necessities such as matches and laundry soap, socks and salt. Her thoughts were not on her purchases, however; they were on the item she wanted but could not afford to buy – a box of chocolates. Remington had captured the look of longing in her eyes as she ran her hand over the shiny wrapper.


“It’s grateful I am that you’ve returned to me and restored life to that hollow corner of my heart that appeared after you left,” Gammy said with a catch in her voice. “But before I’m completely undone, play us some music on that whistle of yours.”


He pulled the tin whistle from the zippered pocket of his raincoat, which had been placed nearby in an empty chair. He lifted it to his lips, took a deep breath and began to play. In seconds, every corner of the little house was filled with the sound of lilting music and laughter.


******            ******            ******


When the dishes were cleared from the table and then washed, Grammy sent Remington and Laura back to the their seats. Mysteriously, she opened the refrigerator, took out a glass pitcher of milk, filled three glasses and then set them on the table.


“I confess, I did more than nap while you were in the valley,” Gammy confessed as she removed something from the pie safe and placed it on the counter. They couldn’t see what she was doing, but soon she turned and placed three saucers of gingerbread with lemon sauce in front of them on the table.


“I knew I smelled gingerbread when we returned from the valley!” Remington exclaimed as he jumped up from the table and rushed over to Gammy, pulling her into his arms and dancing her around the kitchen amidst peals of laughter.


After he led Gammy back to her chair, he hurried back to his own seat, saying, “Laura, Gammy makes the best gingerbread in all of Ireland. The rule was that I couldn’t have mine until my lesson were all done.”


“Is that what it’ll take for you to do your fair share of Agency paperwork?” Laura asked.


Remington took a huge bite of gingerbread and moaned with delight. “Laura, I’ll do my paperwork and yours if you bake this for me,” he declared.


“Careful, Mr. Steele. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver,” she warned as she took her first bite of culinary paradise. After she swallowed, Laura moaned and quickly stabbed another bite with her fork. With her mouth full of gingerbread, she said,  “I’ve got a better idea. You cook this for me and I’ll do all the paperwork!”


******            ******            ******


Remington knew Gammy was getting tired, but he wasn’t ready to leave just yet. “Any chance you can find me a pencil?” he asked her.


Walking to the bookcase in the hall once again, she picked up a circular, zippered pouch and handed it to him.


“My pencils!” he exclaimed. “You kept them all these years?”


“I put them away with your sketchbook, hoping that one day you would use them again.”


Remington instructed Gammy to stand in front of the kitchen door with its white ruffled curtains so he could sketch her. He worked quickly but carefully, realizing she wouldn’t be able to stand for an extended length of time. When he finished drawing, he pulled her chair out for her as she sat back down at the table.


Returning to his own seat, he continued to sketch. Wondering why he was still drawing, Laura leaned over so she could watch his hands. Realizing what he was up to, she smiled and said, “Mr. Steele, you never cease to amaze me.”


Then turning to Gammy, Laura said, “I can’t believe I’m asking this, but while Mr. Steele finishes his project, would you mind letting me copy your recipe for gingerbread and lemon sauce?”


Startled, Remington dropped his pencil.


******            ******            ******


When Remington finished his drawing, he signed his name and carefully tore the page from the sketchbook. Gammy had just finished preparing a box of gingerbread and lemon sauce for them to take when they left and was drying her hands. Remington walked over to her and said, “I can’t possibly repay you for all you’ve done for me. You provided me with food, clothing, a roof over my head, acceptance - and most importantly, unconditional love. Please accept this small token of my affection,” he said as he handed her the sketch on which he had been working.


She looked at the drawing he handed her and her eyes overflowed with joy. There she was, standing in front of her kitchen curtains with Remington behind her and looking over her shoulder, his arms encircling her shoulders and his hands clasped together in front of her.


“Oh, Brian, it’s speechless I am. It will have an honored place on my mantle and every time I look at it, I’ll remember this glorious day.”


Remington gave her a warm embrace, hesitant to let go of the extraordinary woman who had reminded him that past memories were a precious part of his present. He released her only when Laura appeared beside him holding his black raincoat.


As Remington shrugged into his coat, Laura took one last look at the amazing sketch the petite older woman was still holding. Then putting her arms around Gammy, Laura said, “Thank you for such a magical day.”


“Indeed, it has been magical,” Gammy agreed. Turning to Remington, she said, “I’m going to steal away your lovely lass for a bit. Have another piece of gingerbread while you’re waiting.”


Remington didn’t need to be told twice. He quickly sat down and served himself a big piece of heaven.


******            ******            ******


Laura followed Gammy through the living room and into her small but cozy bedroom. Walking over to a large trunk at the foot of her bed, the older lady said, “Laura, love, would you please help me lift the lid?”


After they raised the lid together, Laura watched as Gammy began to rummage through a lifetime’s worth of lace handkerchiefs, hand-pieced quilts, embroidered pillows, elegant Irish linen, and clothes in sizes that would have fit both a baby and an eleven-year-old boy.


Finally, Gammy exclaimed, “Ah, here it is” and eased a black, lacy, hand-crocheted black shawl out of her memory trunk. It was sprinkled with flecks of silver threads that gave the whole creation the illusion of bright stars sparkling in the darkest night.


Laura couldn’t help herself – she reached over and fingered it. “Gammy, it’s exquisite and soft as velvet. It’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen.”


“Laura, I know you spoke truth when you told me Brian was far more than just a friend. Perhaps the two of you are still in the process of sorting your feelings and putting a name on it.”


“Are you sure an Irish fairy didn’t pay you a visit while we were at Glendalough?” Laura asked with a shy smile.


“When you reach my age, lass, you won’t need to rely on the fairies to tell you what your heart already knows. Now, put it around your shoulders and take a look at yourself in the mirror,” Gammy instructed as she helped Laura to straighten the shawl.


She led Laura to a full-length mirror in the corner of the room and watched as a glowing smile lit up the face of her Brian’s charming young acushla. “It was made for you, darlin’. When you wear it, I want you to remember the happiness we all shared here today.”


Laura didn’t even consider refusing the gift. Giving the older woman a hug and a kiss on the cheek, she said, “Thank you, Gammy. I’ll cherish it always.”


“Don’t be afraid to love him, lass,” Grammy told her. “Love is too precious a thing to be wasted.”


******            ******            ******


Remington was drinking a glass of milk when they returned to the kitchen. “Laura!” he exclaimed, grabbing a napkin and wiping his mouth. “You look spectacular!” Rising and walking across the room to where she was standing beside Gammy, he said, “Model it for me, eh?”


In spite of feeling self-conscious, she managed to perform a couple of slow twirls, feeling the soft yarn wrap around her body like the softest of embraces.


“You look like a lovely, fresh-faced Irish lass,” he said with a twinkle in his smile. Then putting the whistle in his pocket and picking up the sketchbook, pencil pouch and box of gingerbread tied with string, Remington took Grammy’s hand in his and recited an old Irish blessing he thought he had forgotten:


Sure, and this isn’t just blarney,

For what I say it true,

The luck of the Irish was with me

The day that I met you.


He kissed each of Gammy’s hands in turn and gave her a final embrace. Then he opened the kitchen door and he and Laura disappeared into the misty night.


******            ******            ******


Mildred had returned to LA earlier that day, so Laura and Remington had the room to themselves. Laura showered in the bathroom down the hall, drying her hair with the adapter Remington had gotten from the owner of the B&B. By the time he showered and returned to the room, Laura was already asleep. Giving her a kiss on the cheek, he crawled into his own bed and tried to settle down for a few hours of sleep.


******            ******            ******


Laura awakened in the wee hours of the morning and noticed Remington’s empty bed. Giving the room a quick look, she saw him sitting in a chair near the window. Using the little bit of light the window provided, he was drawing in his sketchbook. Not wanting to disturb him, she closed her eyes fell asleep again.


******            ******            ******


Laura’s travel alarm went off and she automatically hit the snooze.


“Sorry, love, but our flight leaves bright and early. No snoozing this morning,” Remington reminded her as he gathered his shaving kit.


“Shouldn’t you be the one hitting the snooze while I tell you to rise and shine?” she mumbled into the pillow.


Walking around her bed, he threw back her covers and swatted her feet. “I’m going to shave in the bathroom while you get dressed,” he informed her. “And then I’m taking our gingerbread down to kitchen for a quick warm up and some milk.”


“Gingerbread?” she exclaimed, sitting up and abruptly jumping to her feet. “Give me a second in the bathroom first!” she said, rushing to the room down the hall. 


In less than a minute, she rushed back into their room and found Remington sitting on her bed, still holding his shaving kit. “Out! Out!” she manically told him as she pulled him up by his arm, pushed him out the door, and then shut the door behind him and locked it.


Quickly throwing on some clothes, she French braided her hair as she walked toward the window and looked outside. Turning around, she noticed Remington’s opened sketchbook lying in the chair. She picked it up and sat down, debating with herself whether or not she should look at what he had drawn during the night.


Deciding he would have put it away if he hadn’t wanted to her to take a look, she tentatively glanced at the open page. It was the tombstone tunnel from Glendalough, but it was different from the childhood drawing she had seen the day before. In this new version, the two of them were sitting under the tombstones and she was kissing him.


Holding her breath she turned to the next page, where she saw a new rendering of Remington’s favorite view in all the world. In this version, however, they were sitting on the large stone beside the rushing stream and the valley stretched out before them. He was looking at her and pointing to the breathtaking view down below.


Laura was touched that Remington had placed her in scenes from a time when he was happy. She had placed a roadblock in this path in Malta, but somehow he knew just how to detour around it.


Hearing a knock at the door and his voice calling her name, she guiltily placed the book back on the chair, opened to the page he had left open. “Coming!” she said loudly as she walked to the door and unlocked it.


He entered the room, tossing his shaving kit on the nearest bed. Then picking up the care package from Gammy, he said, “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”


Laura quickly sprang into action again, swirling around the room like an Irish rain on a desperate day. She finished getting herself ready and then started throwing things into her suitcase, wondering the whole time why in the world she had brought so many clothes.


******            ******            ******


A breakfast of Gammy’s gingerbread and lemon sauce in their small room was a fitting conclusion to their Irish adventure. As they placed their dishes outside their door and gathered their luggage, Remington looked at Laura and said, “Well, Miss Holt, I guess we revert to the status quo once we return to Los Angeles, eh?”


Laura didn’t trust herself to speak. After all that had happened to them in the last few days, she realized that the status quo was looking less and less appealing.


The End


Author’s Note: Pierce Brosnan said in an interview that the 3rd season of “Remington Steele” was aired out of order. I would place “Steele Your Heart Away” in the second half of the season with “Have I Got a Steele for You” following not long afterwards.