STEELE IN LOVE
By: Melissa Jones
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #2 & #3
Summary: After their first night together in Ireland, Remington and Laura grow closer as they read a letter from the late Daniel.
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.
February 19, 1987. The cold Irish wind swept a bitter chill around the premises of Ashford Castle, sneaking in whenever the doors were opened. The wind created a chill through the foyer of the castle as Mickleen, the castle's butler and now part owner, hurried to open the front door.
Tony Roselli stood on the other side, his curly brown hair whipping about his face in the wind, his eyes staring at the door with intent, his hand poised for more insatiable pounding.
He stormed into the castle, past a protesting Mickleen.
"Laura! Laura, where are you?" Tony called out, heading for the parlor and glancing in the room. Seeing it empty, Tony headed for the main staircase, only to be stopped by Mildred Krebs, a portly blonde woman, who was coming down the stairs in a fit of anger.
"What is going on here?" Mildred demanded, blocking Tony's path to the stairs.
"I'm sorry, Millie, but he just came running in," Mickleen apologized, apparently flustered.
"Where is she?" Tony looked squarely at Mildred, ignoring Mickleen and his excuses.
"Who?" Mildred retorted, a look of pure defiance and dislike across her rounded features.
"Laura. I need to speak with her immediately. Now, where is she?" Tony demanded, standing rigidly as if refusing to back down from an enemy's challenge.
"Mrs. Steele isn't up yet."
"It's almost noon. You’re telling me she's still asleep?" Tony asked, a note of skepticism in his voice.
"Well, I didn't say she was still asleep, although I'm sure she had an...eventful night," Mildred boasted, a gloating smile crossing her face. "She and her husband were already in bed when we got back, and their door has been locked ever since. Who knows, maybe she is up, and is just...occupied at the moment."
"Yeah, right. For your information, Laura told me herself that she had feelings for me. I don't think she would go rushing off into the bed of a man who forced her into a fake marriage knowing she was attracted to someone else, do you?" Tony returned defiantly.
"For your information, Mr. Roselli, I have been around these two kids for the past three years, and I can tell you that no matter what Miss Ho...I mean, Mrs. Steele, told you, I know she and Mr. Steele are very much in love, and they have been for a long time. I also know that they've both waited for a long time to be together, and no ‘archaeologist’ is going to break that up!"
"I am going to speak to Laura," Tony said gruffly, attempting to push his way past Mildred. She stepped in front of him again and gave him a cold glare.
"If you really need to talk to Laura, then wait in the parlor until she comes downstairs. Otherwise, leave. It's your choice, but I can promise you, no one is going to disturb her or Mr. Steele right now."
Tony moved as if preparing to push past Mildred again, but Mickleen rushed quickly to Mildred's side, blocking Tony's only escape route. Tony stared at the two barriers and thought about his predicament.
Finally, he raised his hands in surrender, and turned toward the parlor. He stopped midway, and turned to Mildred, who was still guarding the stairs.
"I want to know the moment she comes downstairs," Tony ordered. He turned again and entered the parlor to wait for Laura.
"Maybe we should inform her Ladyship of Mr. Roselli's...er... insistence," Mickleen whispered to Mildred, a worried look on his face.
"Nah, let the bum stew. Besides, for all we know, Mrs. Steele could be waking up right now."
Laura Holt-Steele slowly drifted awake to the feel of warm lips on her shoulders and back. She glanced up briefly, trying to remember where she was. It certainly wasn't her bedroom. Suddenly, the images of blue walls and Gothic ceilings brought the memories of her surroundings back to her.
Memories of the castle in Ireland. Memories of the elegant master bedroom. Memories of last night.
Laura smiled, and slowly turned over, her brown eyes meeting the blue eyes of the man lying next to her.
"Good morning, Mrs. Steele," Remington Steele whispered, caressing her long, brown hair. He stared at her, studying every feature as if to memorize them for remembrances when he was alone.
"Mmm...morning, Mr. Steele," Laura smiled up at him, now lying flat on her back.
Remington lay to her left side, supporting himself by his right elbow as his hand continued to stroke her forehead. His left hand wandered slowly down her right side and came to rest on top of her stomach.
"Sleep well?" Remington asked, staring into her eyes.
"Mm-hmm. Like a baby. You?"
Remington squinted in thought and moved his head from side to side briefly. "Oh, fairly well. Actually, I didn't sleep for very long," he said, smiling knowingly at her and staring into her eyes again.
Laura grinned. "I know. For someone who was up most of the night, you sure had a lot of energy."
"I think motivation is more the word," Remington said, bending to kiss her softly on the lips.
Laura reached up to his face and caressed his left cheek as he pulled away. She let her hand wander through his ebony hair, enjoying the feeling of it as it slid silkily through her fingers.
"Last night..." Laura began, staring at him as if to lose herself in the emotion of his eyes. "No one has ever made me feel the way you made me feel. I've never experienced so much...passion before."
Remington chuckled softly. He looked at her with undisguised adoration. "Neither have I," he replied, gently kissing her forehead before laying flat next to her and pulling her into his arms.
Laura rested her cheek on Remington's chest, wrapping her arms around his torso. The hairs of his chest tickled her cheek and nose, causing her smile to widen.
"Really? I thought you were such a playboy in your youth," Laura teased, trying to hide the nervousness she felt at probing into his mysterious past, and at being compared with the women of his past, how ever many there were.
Remington lay in silence for a few moments. Laura grimaced slightly, afraid she had over-stepped her bounds, as she often had a habit of doing. Just before she was going to apologize, he spoke.
"I once knew a real playboy, in every sense of the word. He had it all. Elaborate houses, a yacht in which he used to hold parties almost every week, and a different girl each week. He told me that he had had sex with more women than he could count, but that he had only made love twice in his life. He said emotion was everything.
"At the time, I had no idea what he meant by that. I thought having sex and making love were one and the same." Remington paused. "Last night," he said softly, "I finally understood. There is a difference."
Laura turned her head upwards to look at Remington. He stared down at her, an unmistakable look of love in his eyes. Unmistakable. How could she have ever doubted it before, or not have seen it? He was in love with her. He had to be. She smiled softly at him.
"Emotion does make all the difference, doesn't it?" Laura asked.
Remington caressed her face delicately. "Yes, Mrs. Steele, it does."
He pulled her into a deep passionate kiss, wrapping his arms tightly around her. Laura rolled onto his chest, losing herself in the warmth of his embrace again.
Mickleen rushed to the front door to answer another healthy bout of pounding. He opened the door to see a gruff-looking man on the other side of it. The man's salt-and-pepper hair stuck out in irregular tufts from his derby, and his gray tweed suit bore the wrinkles of long travel. He held a worn-leather briefcase in his right hand, and a cane umbrella was hooked over his left arm, which he held in midair above the door's knocker.
"May I help you, sir?" Mickleen asked, flustered.
"I'm here to see Mr. Remington Steele," the man boomed. "I am Henry Ladsworth, of Farley, Henler and Ladsworth of London," he said, sounding as if everyone should know immediately who he was.
Mickleen obviously didn't, as he stood in the doorway with alook of confusion on his face.
"Um, well, come in, Mr. Ladsworth." Mickleen stepped aside to let the man in and quickly closed the door. "His Lordship is upstairs at the moment, but I will inform him that you are here."
Mickleen led the man down the hall to the parlor, then stopped when he remembered that Tony Roselli was still waiting in there for Laura to come downstairs. He guided Mr. Ladsworth toward the library instead. "May I tell him what this concerns?"
Mr. Ladsworth looked at Mickleen with an air of distrust, but seemed to renege after pondering the situation for a moment.
"Tell him that I need to speak with him about the late Mr. Daniel Chalmers’ estate," Mr. Ladsworth commanded, entering the library with Mickleen.
"Ah, yes, his Lordship's father. I will give him the message. I'm sure he'll be down shortly. Please make yourself at home. Would you care for some tea?" Mickleen motioned to an easy chair off to the side of a round coffee table.
"No, thank you, I will just wait here for Mr. Steele," Mr. Ladsworth said, sitting in the chair rigidly, still clutching his briefcase to him.
"Very well, sir. I will fetch him," Mickleen said, bowing slightly and exiting the room, making sure to close the door. He spotted Tony emerging from the parlor, and rushed over to him before he could cause any more of a stir.
"Has Laura still not come down, or did you conveniently forget to tell her I'm here?" Tony asked nastily.
"I'm afraid she hasn't come down yet, but I believe she will soon. I must go fetch her husband, you see, and I will let her know that you are waiting for her in the parlor," Mickleen answered skittishly. Tony turned and walked back into the parlor in a huff.
Mickleen headed for the stairs just as Mildred came wandering in from the kitchen. He quickly crossed over to her. "Millie, dear, I'm afraid we have a problem."
"Let me guess. The Italian Stallion getting restless?" Mildred said sarcastically, sipping at the mug of tea in her hand.
"Well, yes, but it's not just that. A man is here to see his Lordship about Mr. Chalmers’ estate, and he's waiting in the library for me to fetch him. Now, I'm not one to interrupt anyone's honeymoon, but I'm afraid we have no choice but to disturb them. After all," Mickleen finished in a whisper, "it's after twelve-thirty."
"Daniel's estate? As in inheritance?" Mildred asked, her eyes widening. "Well, I'm sure the boss would understand if it's something that important. I'll go knock on their door," Mildred said, handing Mickleen her mug and heading up the stairs toward the main bedroom.
Laura stood before the full length mirror next to the chifferobe and brushed her damp hair. She gazed at the reflection of Remington behind her, scrubbing the water out of his hair with a towel and combing it straight with his hands. She smiled as she watched him reach for the white shirt he had laid out on the bed to wear.
As he slipped on the shirt, he glanced up at her and caught her staring at him in the mirror. He strode casually up to her and put his arms around her slender waist. She laid her head back onto his shoulder, and he kissed her right temple.
"Have I told you how incredibly beautiful you look in the morning?" He asked, his words slightly muffled against her head.
"No, but it doesn't really matter, since it's the afternoon," she laughed, still staring at him through the mirror.
"Mmm...guess we spent a little longer in the bathtub than I planned, eh?" He said, studying her reflection.
Laura laughed again. "That, and maybe a little too long in bed," she chided.
"Really, Laura, there's no such thing as staying too long in bed," Remington said defiantly. The playfulness in his eyes contrasted his gruff tone.
"Is that spoken from a lazy point of view, or a romantic one?"
"Mmm, bit of both, actually," he said, his British accent curling around the words.
"Ah," Laura nodded, smiling at him in the mirror.
"Of course, at the moment," he recovered, slowly turning her around to face him, "it's more of a...romantic...viewpoint," he said, kissing her deeply.
Laura moved her arms up his back, pulling herself even closer to him.
Suddenly, a timid knock at the bedroom door interrupted their moment of passion.
"Ten to one it's Mildred," Remington muttered, breaking the kiss.
"What makes you say that?" Laura grimaced.
"Because whenever we kiss, it's always Mildred at the door, when it's not bullets flying or phones ringing." Remington paused, debating whether or not he really wanted to answer the door, then released Laura and went to answer the knocking.
Laura smiled at the situation as she set her hairbrush on the bedside table, and moved around the bed toward the door.
Remington opened the door, giving a final glance to Laura before releasing their blissful privacy.
"Ah, Mildred, do come in," Remington exclaimed, making a sweeping gesture into the room, and sending Laura an ‘I told you so’ look. Laura forced herself to hold back her smile.
"Oh, Mr. Steele, I'm so sorry to interrupt whatever it is I may be interrupting, and believe me I would never interrupt if it weren't vitally important." Mildred entered the room, a look of worry and apology on her face.
"It's all right, Mildred. You weren't really interrupting anything. Mr. Steele and I were just...getting dressed," Laura smirked knowingly at Remington, who returned her playful gaze with one of his own. Laura pointed at Remington's opened shirt, and he quickly began buttoning it and tucking it into his jeans.
"Oh, ho ho..." Mildred chuckled, glancing back and forth between the two. She caught herself, and replaced the grin with a look of seriousness. "Anyway, I really think you should come downstairs, Mr. Steele. There's a man here who says he needs to speak with you about Daniel's estate."
Remington's expression grew suddenly solemn. "Daniel's estate?" he asked, his voice barely audible.
Laura noted the pain of the recent loss of his father in his eyes, and moved to his side, putting her hand on his shoulder for comfort.
"Yeah. I guess you've inherited it, or something. Who knows," Mildred answered.
Remington stood in silence for a moment, staring off into space. Laura tightened her grip on his shoulder, a look of concern crossing her face. Remington seemed to snap out of his reverie and gave Laura an acknowledging nod. He sighed deeply and straightened.
"All right, Mildred, we'll be down in a minute," he said, glancing around the room as if looking for something. He spotted his sweater on the bed and went to put it on.
"I'll tell him, Boss," Mildred said, turning to go. "Oh, I almost forgot. Tony's downstairs in the parlor waiting to speak with you, Miss H...I mean, Mrs. Steele. He's been giving us fits, but I managed to keep him from disturbing you," Mildred smiled triumphantly.
"Tony?" Laura asked, glancing nervously at Remington as he returned to her side. "Maybe I should tell him to come back later. That is, unless you'd rather I not go see this man with you."
"It's all right. I can handle it," Remington told her, but the look on his face seemed to hint at how much both visitors troubled him.
"Really, I won't take any time at all with Tony. I mean, we don't have much to say. I can be there with you, help you if you need me to," Laura explained in a rush.
"Laura, it's okay," Reming-ton insisted. "I'll be fine, really. Go talk to Tony, and join me whenever you can. Don't rush."
"Are you sure?" Laura's concern grew, knowing Rem-ington's dislike of Tony and her attraction to him. She hoped he wouldn't think the wrong thing. Not after last night.
"I'm positive. I know you want to help. It's okay. Go to Tony. I know I'll see you later," Remington smiled, relieving her fears with a caress of her cheek. Laura nodded, her concern abated.
"Well, then, shall we?" Laura said, stepping out the door, followed by Mildred and Remington. The three headed down the stairs. They reached the hall that separated the parlor and the library.
Remington gave Laura a reassuring nod before disappear-ing into the library.
Laura straightened her sweater and hair, took a deep breath, and entered the parlor, where Tony was pacing nervously.
"Finally," Tony muttered, crossing the room as Laura closed the door. He grabbed her and pulled her into a harsh embrace, kissing her passionately.
Laura fought to pull away, and finally managed to break from his arms. "Tony, don't," she said, moving past him and toward the couch where she had laid in Remington's lap last night, before he had carried her upstairs to the bedroom. She stared at it, the warmth of the memory filling her.
"I told you I wasn't giving up on you, Laura. I still intend to be with you," Tony said, moving toward her.
"That can never happen. Not now," Laura tore her eyes away from the couch and looked straight at Tony with determina-tion.
"Has that much changed?" Tony asked, reaching out to caress Laura's cheek.
Laura moved away from Tony's hand and took a few steps toward the fireplace behind her.
"A lot has changed. Every-thing has changed," Laura confessed. "Remember I told you that Mr. Steele...Remington...and I had tried for four years to get close? Well, we're...close...now, and I can never forget that or hide from it." Laura again turned to Tony. "I love him, Tony. More than I have ever loved anyone. It's taken me so long to realize just how much this man means to me. I've been such a fool for so long," she said, speaking more to herself now than to Tony.
She turned away from him and began to pace. "I always knew he cared about me, but I never let myself believe he felt more than that. Well, I believe it now. He does love me. He probably has for a long time."
Laura again became aware of Tony, and turned back to him. "I can't ignore what he feels for me, or what I feel for him. And I could never betray him. I'm sorry, Tony, but I'm afraid you'll have to settle with just being my friend," Laura finished softly, a feeling of apprehension growing in her. She awaited Tony's reply, and hoped it would be a good one.
Tony stared at her for what seemed like an eternity. "So that's it? Yeah, I'm attracted to you. Yeah, I feel something for you. Oops, I slept with my boss, so I don't want you around anymore?" Tony's voice rose with every sentence.
"That's not fair, Tony. It's not like that. There's more to it," Laura protested.
"How can you say you're in love with this man after what he did to you? How in God's name can you say he loves you? Laura, he forced you into a bogus marriage in order to keep from being thrown out of the country! You call that love?" Tony yelled, his anger building rapidly. "I call it rotten. He doesn't give a damn about you! He only cares about himself!"
"You're wrong! You don't know him like I do. You don't know what it's taken for us to finally be together like this!" Laura countered. "Besides, he didn't force me into anything. I volunteered for this! I knew what I was getting into when I agreed to marry him. I knew the whole situation, and I went ahead with it. I realize now that I did it because I was hoping things would work out like this, that we would somehow turn this into a real marriage. And we have! We will!"
"What about me? Are you saying that you no longer have any feelings for me?" Tony urged.
"I care about you. I admit that. I want your friendship. But I can't--I don't--feel anything beyond that, and I don't want anything more. I can never be anything to you other than a friend. I'm in love with someone else. Please, Tony, just accept this, and let me be happy. Just be my friend, and don't ask for more, because I can't give anything more than that," Laura finished breathlessly. She stared at Tony with a pleading look in her eyes.
"Fine," Tony said after a minute. He pursed his lips together in frustration. "If that's what you really want, I'll leave you to your--husband," Tony spat out the last word like a bitter taste. "Have a good life, Mrs. Steele." Tony turned and headed to the door. He flung it open, stopped, and turned around. "But, when he leaves you heartbroken one day, I'll be there to pick up the pieces. He hasn't won yet." Tony left the room, slamming the door behind him.
Laura stared at the door for a long time, a chill running through her as she contemplated his last ominous words. She felt over-whelmed with the pain she knew she had caused Tony, the confusion of her feelings toward him, and the apprehension of what he might do next.
Remington gave a final glance to Laura before entering the library.
He felt a certain bit of apprehension about letting Laura near Tony. He knew Tony wanted her for himself, and wouldn't hesitate to get Remington out of the way. He also knew Laura felt some attraction to Tony.
But she had learned to trust Remington, even though he often gave her reason not to, and he knew he must trust her just as implicitly. Besides, he knew that last night meant a great deal to her, especially after the four-year struggle the two had endured to arrive at that point.
He only wished he could find the strength now to tell her how he felt. He couldn't bear to lose her, especially to someone like Tony Roselli. Not now.
He had to tell her the truth.
Remington closed the door behind him, glancing over at the pudgy man sitting rigidly in the easy chair.
"I understand you're here to see me. I'm Remington Steele," Remington said, going over to shake the man's hand.
"Mr. Steele. I am Henry Ladsworth, of Farley, Henler and Ladsworth of London," the man boomed, rising from his seat. He moved past Remington's extended hand and placed his briefcase on the nearby coffee table, setting his umbrella and hat next to the briefcase. "I am here to settle the matter of the estate of the late Daniel Chalmers." Ladsworth opened his briefcase and pulled out a stack of papers. "It is a simple matter to settle, actually. After paying of any and all debts, the remainder of Mr. Chalmers' estate is to go to you. I have seen to paying all said debts, and I am prepared to sign the rest of the estate over to you immediately."
"Very well. Um, what exactly does this estate consist of? Hopefully not another castle. I had enough trouble giving the last one away," Remington said half-jokingly, referring to his recent relinquishment of Ashford Castle to its long-faithful staff.
Ladsworth gave Remington a quizzical look, then returned to his seriousness, separating the papers.
"No, no castle. Just a cottage outside of London, a villa in the French Alps, and liquid assets. Sign here, please. This is simply a letter of acceptance to show that you have had the estate turned over to you," Ladsworth shoved a set of duplicate sheets toward Remington and handed him a pen from his front vest pocket.
Remington took the pen and papers, glanced over the papers quickly, and signed at the bottom.
"What ‘liquid assets?’" Remington asked, handing the forms and pen back to Ladsworth.
"The assets in question include past investments and savings accounts. It seems Mr. Chalmers did quite a bit of investing throughout his life. After selling all the investments, as ordered in his will, the profits combined with the money in four different savings accounts in Europe and the United States come to a rough total of one point seven million pounds."
Remington gasped and choked. He stared at Ladsworth, wide-eyed. "One point seven million?" Remington asked, catching his breath.
"Roughly. I could be off by a few hundred pounds," Ladsworth said, tearing off a copy of the acceptance form and handing it to Remington. He put the papers back into his briefcase with the same businesslike efficiency with which he had taken them out, not acknowledging Remington's shock. "He said he wanted to provide for his son after he was gone. He believed that amount would be more than adequate."
Remington stared down at the form in his hands, his mind reeling from the news.
"I had no idea he was that wealthy," Remington whispered.
"I don't believe he wanted you to know. Ah, I almost forgot." Ladsworth opened his briefcase again and pulled a bulging, sealed envelope out of the upper pocket. He handed it to Remington, closing his briefcase. "He ordered me to give this to you. He said it would explain everything, and tell you all you want to know about yourself." Remington took the envelope, staring at the ecru paper. "Well, Mr. Steele, I have a ferry to catch back to England. If you need anything, feel free to call. My name and office number are at the top of the form. I can show myself out," Ladsworth said, picking up his briefcase, hat and umbrella and walking out of the library. He left Remington standing next to the table, still staring at the envelope.
Remington moved slowly to the leather chair and sat down. He stared at the form in one hand and the envelope in another. As he stared at the objects, Remington thought back on everything that had happened to him in the past few days. Finding out Daniel was his long-lost father after twenty years of silence, only to lose him the same day, without having been told about his past or his real name.
Now, to inherit a vast fortune and be given what could be a complete explanation of who he was and how his life started.
That, and his new relation-ship with Laura.
Remington rose and left the room quickly to tell Laura. She had always wanted to know about his mysterious past, and she had always been there to help him through anything. Remington knew she would want to know about all of this, and he had a feeling that he would need her support now more than he ever had before.
He headed for the parlor.
Laura forced herself to calm down, and she wiped her moistened eyes defiantly. As she dried the last of her tears with her hands, the door burst open, and Remington walked in, shutting the door behind him. He started to speak, but noticed her pitiful expression.
"Laura, are you all right?" he asked, crossing over to her. He placed the envelope and form on couch next to them and put his hands on Laura's forearms.
"I'm fine," she sniffed, taking a deep breath and staring up at him. The concern in his eyes reassured her that she had made the right choice. She managed a crooked smile.
"Where's Tony?" Remington asked, glancing around the room.
"Gone," Laura said, looking to the floor.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Remington asked, placing his right hand on her cheek and wiping the remnant of a tear from under her eye.
Laura nodded and looked at him again. "Yeah, I'm all right," she said, straightening and taking a deep breath. "So, who was it that was here to see you?" Laura asked, putting her ordeal behind her and concentrating on Remington.
"Heh...you are never going to believe this," Remington answer-ed, pulling her toward the couch. He picked up the papers and sat down in there place, seating Laura next to him. He sat in silence for a few seconds, staring at the papers now in his lap.
"What is it? What's happened?" Laura asked in concern. She faced him fully and placed her right hand on his shoulder.
"The, uh, the man who came to see me was Daniel's lawyer. It seems I've inherited his entire estate," Remington said, chuckling in disbelief. He looked up at Laura. "Want to hear the funny part? Daniel was loaded." He laughed again, trying to hide the pain of Daniel's secrets, his sudden death, and these new revelations. "I've inherited his two homes, as well as all of his money. Ready for this?" He asked, a look of amazement and pain lining his face. "I've inherited one point seven million pounds."
"What?" Laura asked, staring at him incredulously.
Remington began to nod rapidly. "Uh, huh...uh, huh, one point seven million," Remington said, laughing again. "He wanted to make sure I was ‘taken care of’ for the rest of my life."
Laura stared at Remington, her mouth hanging open in amazement. She sobered at the expression of agony on Remington's face. She moved her hand up to stroke the back of his head in comfort. "Are you all right?" she asked quietly.
Remington nodded. "There's something else," he said, looking up at Laura. He held up the envelope and waved it slightly to draw her attention. "According to the lawyer, this envelope contains an explanation of everything, including my past. Perhaps even my real name."
Laura inhaled deeply, staring at the envelope. "Do you want me to leave you alone to read it?" She asked after a moment, looking up at him again.
Remington shook his head. "No. Actually, I was hoping you would read it to me. I'm not sure how far I could get through it. Some of it may be painful," he said, his voice cracking slightly with emotion. He bowed his head, struggling to control his emotions. "I have a feeling I may need you there. Besides," he said, looking up at her, "I want you to know everything, especially now. Um...as I recall, you once told me that if we ever became lovers you would want to know these things. I intend to grant your request. God knows I've wanted to for a long time." His blue eyes burned with a mix of passion and intrepidation. "Will you help me, Laura? Will you read this to me?"
Laura smiled a slight smile, her eyes clouding over with tears of sympathy and love. She moved her hand forward to his face and stroked it reassuringly. "Of course I will. I'll always be there to help you. You know that."
Remington smiled at Laura, lowering the envelope to the couch. He pulled her into a tight embrace, holding her as if he would never let go.
Laura's eyes blurred with tears as she gripped Remington, hoping that she could give him the comfort he so desperately needed.
After a few moments, Remington slowly pulled back. Laura looked at him, and noticed the remnants of tears in the corners of his eyes. Remington noticed hers as well, and placed his hands on either side of her face.
Now. He had to tell her now.
He opened his mouth as if to speak, but the words seemed to come to him with great difficulty. Finally, he managed to force the words out.
"Laura, I..." he said, emotion shaking his voice. "I know...that I haven't been the easiest person to live with the past four years. I've hurt you more than I dare think about, especially with this marriage I've forced you into," he said.
Laura opened her mouth to protest, but Remington stopped her with an upraised hand. "Please, Laura, let me say this. Anyway, I've always tried in the past to avoid the truth, especially when it concerns my feelings. I've always been taught to hide them, and it's difficult for me to stray from that philosophy. But, I did a lot of thinking last night while you were asleep, and I realized that last night was a major compromise for you, and that if our relationship is to continue, I should be just as willing to be as open.
"Laura, I don't ever want you to doubt me again. You're all I have left now, and I don't want to lose you." Remington tried to fight back his emotions, but the tears in his eyes gave everything away. "I have wanted to tell you this for a long time, only I was too much of a bloody fool to ever say anything." He stared at her with a pleading expression, as if hoping she wouldn't reject him.
"No matter what has happened or will happen, no matter what we find out from this letter, and no matter what Immigration or anyone else says, I want you to know that..." Remington struggled with the words. He took a deep breath and looked directly at her. "...that, I love you, Laura. I have for a long time, and I have a feeling that I always will."
Laura gazed at him, first in amazement at the long-awaited confession, then with joy at the realization of hearing what she had always wanted, and had always hoped for. She cried along with him, barely able to choke out her response.
"I can't believe it," she said, half-laughing, half-crying. "I mean, I can, but I can't. I always suspected you did. I mean, sure, you did things sometimes that would make me doubt your feelings for me, but most of the time, you showed me how much you cared.
"I guess I've always known, but I was just as afraid of giving in as you were. But you have nothing to worry about. There's no way you're going to lose me." She laughed at the absurdity of her ramblings. Laura smiled at him, and said softly, "I love you, Remington Steele. I always have, and I always will."
"Remington Steele. Or whomever I may be?" Remington smiled at her, wiping away his own tears and laughing in relief.
"You are Remington Steele. Regardless of who you were. You're not the same man who came into my life four years ago chasing after Royal Lavulite. You've changed so much. That man would have never told me how he felt about me, or even fallen in love. You're everything I ever envisioned in Remington Steele and more. No matter who you were, you have become Remington Steele," Laura stroked his hair again, her tears ceasing.
Remington was silent for a moment as he stared down at the envelope. Finally he looked up at her.
"Thank you," he said in a whisper. "For everything." Laura smiled and nodded, her eyes closing briefly in acknowledge-ment.
"Do you want to read that letter from Daniel now? Or do you need a little more recovery time from all this honesty?" Laura teased. Remington laughed.
"Actually, I think I do need a little time to myself," he said, gaining strength in his voice again. "I think I'll take a walk, clear my head, if that's all right with you."
"Of course. I understand," Laura said, releasing him. She sat up rigidly and smiled at him. Remington handed her the papers.
"Take care of these until after I get back, okay?" He said.
"I will," Laura answered.
Remington grabbed her head in his hands and kissed her passionately. Laura moved her left hand up Remington's arm to his shoulder, her right hand grasping the envelope and form.
They slowly parted, after what seemed like an eternity. Remington looked into her eyes for a few more seconds, his face displaying love and gratitude to her. He finally released her and rose from the couch.
"I'll be back soon," he said softly, stroking her chin with his fingers. He turned and exited the parlor. Laura stared after him, overwhelmed at everything he had told her.
He loved her. He had actually admitted to loving her. She had waited so long to hear those words from him. They echoed in her mind. I love you, Laura.
She laughed slightly with happiness as she raised her eyes heavenward in a thankful posture, then lowered them to the papers in her hands.
Her mood sobered as she stared at the envelope he had entrusted her with. The thought of what might be contained in it frightened her a little.
Remington had been on such an emotional roller coaster lately, she wasn't sure how much more he could stand.
Laura prayed that the contents wouldn't bring very much pain, but she knew that there would have to be some.
Her only hope was that whatever was in that envelope would answer all of his questions, and put the ghosts of his past to rest once and for all.
Laura switched the television off for what seemed like the hundredth time. She rose from the couch and began pacing across the parlor again, stopping at the window occasionally to gaze out in hopefulness. Remington had been gone for over four and a half hours, and Laura was more than a bit worried about him. She had asked Mickleen to let her know the moment Remington returned, but there was still no word.
Laura turned excitedly as the parlor door opened, but slumped in disappointment as Mildred entered.
"Is Mr. Steele back yet?" Laura asked.
"’Fraid not, honey," Mildred said sympathetically, closing the door. "Mickie just wanted me to ask you if you were ready for dinner, or if you'd rather we wait for the boss to get back."
"Uh, you go ahead and eat. I'll wait. I'm not really hungry right now, anyway," Laura answered, wringing her hands.
"What happened? Did it have something to do with that lawyer that showed up today? Or was it..." A look of horror covered Mildred's face as she gasped, "You two didn't have an argument, did you? I mean, you're not splitting up or anything?"
"No, no, it's nothing like that," Laura laughed softly. "In fact, he told me he loves me. After all these years," she finished softly.
"Then what happened? Where did he go?"
"He...he found out that Daniel left him a fortune. And a legacy. He can find out everything about himself now. He's just not sure if he's ready to open Pandora's box yet. So, he went out to think things through, clear his head," Laura explained, pacing again.
"And he didn't tell you where he was going or when he'd be back?" Mildred inquired. Laura shook her head.
The two women turned as the door opened again. Laura sighed with relief as Remington entered the room.
"Thank goodness, I've been worried sick! Where have you b.." Laura caught herself. "Are you okay?" she asked softly, walking over to him and placing her hand on his arm.
"Fine. I'm fine," Remington said, in apparent forced happiness. "Uh, Mickleen just stopped me and told me you were waiting for me. I'm sorry I was gone for so long, but it couldn't be helped. Anyway, Mickleen said dinner was prepared, and I don't know about you, but I'm starving. I mean, I haven't had lunch, and I sort of...missed...breakfast," he smiled coyly at Laura, who blushed slightly. "So I thought I would come in here and fetch you ladies for dinner. So, shall we go?" He crooked arm and held it out for Laura. She stared at him, trying to figure out what he was thinking. Mildred chuckled and moved out the door. Laura accepted Remington's arm and followed him out of the parlor. She slowed him on their trek to the dining room.
"Are you sure you're all right? I thought..." she trailed off, unable to find the right words for the delicate situation.
"I'm fine. I just had an errand to run, and a lot of thinking to do. It's all right, Laura. I haven't forgotten what we need to do. I thought we'd go upstairs sometime after dinner; retire early. If that's all right with you," Remington looked at her as they stopped outside the dining room.
"Whatever you want to do is fine. Your feelings are what's important. If you want to wait for a while, it's okay, I don't mind. I told you, I'm perfectly happy with you being Remington Steele. I don't have to know any more," Laura smiled tenderly.
"Thank you," Remington whispered, kissing her softly. "Ahem....well, shall we have dinner, Mrs. Steele?" He extended his arm again and gestured with his left hand toward the dining room.
"Absolutely, Mr. Steele."
Laura and Remington entered the master bedroom as the chimes on the mantle clock sounded eight o'clock. A roaring fire was already prepared for them, and the orange glow created macabre shadows which danced around the antique furniture in the room. Laura walked over to the hope chest at the end of the bed, withdrawing a key from her pocket as Remington locked the bedroom door to ensure their privacy. Laura opened the chest and removed the envelope she had stored there. She rose, and slowly moved toward the fire, where Remington was moving the two leather armchairs. He positioned them facing each other, and put them close to the fire, so its glow reflected off of the smooth leather. Laura walked up to him, holding out the envelope.
"No, you keep it. I still want you to read it. Please," Remington motioned to the chair in front of him. Laura sat down reluctantly, staring at Remington with seriousness and concern. Remington sat opposite her, sighed heavily, and bowed his head. He rested his elbows on his knees, as if bracing for the impending news.
"Ready?" Laura whispered ominously.
"Mm-hmm," Remington nodded, still staring at the floor. He glanced up at Laura briefly. "Please." He gestured toward the envelope.
Taking a deep breath, Laura slid her fingers under the seal and opened the envelope. She pulled the folded papers out, laying the envelope on the floor. She glanced up at Remington one final time. Tilting the pages toward the firelight, she began to read.
"'My dear Harry,'" Laura began, trying to keep her voice from shaking with nervousness.
"'If you are reading this, it means that I have probably died. I knew when I wrote this that I had only a short time left, but I didn't want to burden you with the sadness of my current state of health. You seem to have a good life now--one you more than deserve--and I didn't want anything to disrupt it. I especially didn't want you to feel obligated to leave that life to come to England, or wherever I may be, to take care of me. You have suffered so much in your young life, that I couldn't bring myself to add more prolonged pain. Unfortunately, I have kept many secrets in my life. Secrets that you must finally know, but that will probably bring you some pain. I pray that you will be able to look beyond the pain and find comfort in the knowledge of your arrival into my life. I hope that somehow I found the courage to tell you all of this before my death, but in case I didn't, this is the full story.
"'For most of my life, I have been the consummate con-artist--always doing things that would benefit only me. I also have had my share of romances, none of which (I am somewhat ashamed to say) held much meaning for me. Then in 1952, I met the most exquisite lady I have ever known. Her name was Sarah Rachel McEyre. She was a beautiful young Irish girl that I met in Dublin, with long black hair and deep blue eyes. She was everything I didn't look for in a woman. Strong, stubborn, highly intelligent, fiercely loyal. Actually,'" Laura stopped and smiled briefly. "'Actually, she was a lot like your Miss Holt.'" Laura looked up at Remington, who smiled at her. Even in the fire's dim light, she could see the ache in his eyes. He diverted his eyes from hers and placed his chin in his clenched, upraised hands. Laura continued reading. "'Hard as I tried, I couldn't help falling in love with her. I can honestly say, she was the only woman I ever truly loved.
"'I only spent a few weeks with Rachel (I always called her that), but in that time I got closer to her than I ever had to anyone. While it was a wonderful feeling, it scared the hell out of me.'"
Remington chuckled. Laura kept reading, moving on to the next page. "'It was in September of 1952 that I made the biggest mistake of my life. I agreed to join in on a reckless, dangerous heist. I knew we had an excellent chance of being caught. I had a choice between this risk, or the risk of giving my life and my love to a beautiful, wonderful young woman. Instead of staying, I ran. I joined the heist as an accomplice, and I was caught red-handed. I was sentenced to two years in prison. The thing I regret most from that incident wasn't going to prison, but breaking Rachel's heart.
"'While incarcerated, I learned that Rachel was with child; my child. This extraordinary news caused me to do a lot of thinking about my life and what I wanted out of it. I decided that as soon as I was released, I would go back to Rachel, and we would raise our child together. I sent a message to Rachel, telling her of my decision and begging her forgiveness for running away. I never heard from her, but I believe that she did forgive me. You see, when my son was born on May 16, 1953, she named him after me, by reversing my first and middle names. My son was named,'" Laura paused. Remington looked up at her questioningly, tears forming in his eyes. Laura swallowed hard, her own eyes watering. "'My son was named... Harrison Daniel McEyre.'"
Remington shuddered, his tears flowing. "I have a name," he whispered. He began to laugh through his sobs. "Harry. I should have known."
Laura smiled as she tried to stop crying herself. "I always said you look like a Harry," she said, reaching out to touch his knee. He laughed, and grasped her delicate hand in his own.
"Yes, you did tell me that once, didn't you?" He smiled at her, his wet face glistening in the fire's glow. He sniffed, threw back his head, and sighed deeply, composing himself. "Uh, why don't we continue, eh? I mean, there can't be much more."
"Actually, there's three pages left," Laura said, flipping through the remaining pages. "You sure you're ready to continue?" Remington nodded, sitting back in his chair and putting his finger to his mouth, as if to keep himself silent. Laura began reading again.
"'Unfortunately, Rachel was strong in spirit, but small and weak in body. She had a very difficult pregnancy, and she wasn't even expected to carry the child to term. Rachel died shortly after giving birth. She sacrificed herself so my child could be born, and I shall never forget her for that. She was a very brave lady.'"
Laura cried softly, stopping to compose herself in order to continue. Remington looked at her, pain etched in his features and tears covering his face.
"We can stop for a while, if you need to," Laura said, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
Remington shook his head madly. "No!" he cried out. He closed his eyes, sighing. "No, please, I need to finish this," he whispered. He looked at her with a pleading expression across his moist face. Laura nodded and looked again at the letter, trying to make out the words, which seemed to be swimming in her tears. She wiped her eyes again and resumed her sorrowful task.
"'I wanted to see my child after my release from prison, but by the time I got out of prison, my son had been adopted out; passed from home to home, until I had lost track. I tracked down Rachel's father, hoping he could tell me where my son was, but he detested me. He blamed me for Rachel's death, and swore to me that I would never see my son again, and he would make certain of it. I wandered aimlessly for a time, honestly believing that there was no hope. But after a while, I realized that I desperately wanted to find my son. He was the only link I had to Rachel, and to the fulfilled life I could have led.
"'I searched for my son for many years, but I always seemed to be a step behind. I was still searching twelve years later when you came into my life by picking my pocket on a London street.'" Laura laughed briefly. "Figures," she said, glancing at Remington with a sparkle of amusement in her eyes. Remington raised his eyebrows in acknowledgment and smiled slightly. He gnawed nervously at his right thumbnail, his eyes turning toward the fire. Laura stared a moment longer, then continued.
"'I saw an angry youth with a rare talent. Since I was restless to raise the son I had been searching so long for, I turned my attentions to you, as a form of practice, if you will. I honestly had no idea who you were at first. I often fancied that you were my son, especially since you bore a striking resemblance to Rachel. But the more you told me of your past, the more names and places I recognized from my search for my son, and the more I began to suspect the truth. I decided to find out for certain if you were indeed my son. When you cut your hand that day while learning to pick a lock with a knife, I had the blood on the towel I gave you analyzed. It proved what I suspected, and what I had hoped for. Harry, it proved that you are my son.
"'Believe me, I wanted to tell you. I rushed home to tell you. But as soon as I mentioned your father, you began ranting angrily. I realized then that if I told you the truth, you would run away, and I would lose you again, possibly for good. After twelve years of searching, I couldn't bear that thought. So I kept silent, and became your mentor instead. I hoped to tell you one day. I'm sorry if the truth comes too late, Harry. It is my greatest regret.
"'There is a reason why I am telling you all of this now. It is not just because of my short future. In fact, it concerns your future. More specifically, your future with...Laura.'" Laura paused at the mention of her name. She read ahead silently, shocked at the words.
"What is it?" Remington asked, sitting up. Laura looked up at him, a smile spreading across her face and tears streaming down it again. She looked down and choked out the words on the page before her.
"'You told me last year that the reason you came to London was to find your father so you could find out your real name. You wanted to tell it to Laura, as a sign of your commitment. Harry, I know I have objected to her several times before, but in reality, I hope you do find a way to commit to her fully. As I said before, she reminds me of your mother. I loved Rachel deeply, but I lost her because I was too afraid to make a commitment. I don't want you to make the same mistake I did.
"'Harry, Laura loves you very much. It is obvious, especially in the way she fights me so hard for you and protects you so. And even though she may not see it as clearly as I can, I know you love her deeply.'" Laura sobbed with happiness at the realization of Remington's love and Daniel's acceptance. She looked up at Remington, who was staring at her, smiling softly. She returned his smile, and continued.
"'I've known you far to long not to see it. Harry, if she means anything to you, tell her so. Don't let her slip away the way I did with Rachel. Give yourself to her, and build a new life with her. You deserve all the happiness you can get, and I know that Laura makes you very happy. Hold on to her, Harry. Don't ever let her go, or believe me, you will regret it for the rest of your life, just as I have.
"'There's only one thing I don't regret about this whole story, and that's having you around for the past twenty years. You've been more than a son; you've been a best friend, and a hell of a partner. I am happy for you and your new life as a private detective. It is a very honorable profession, and you seem to do it very well. I am very proud of you, Harry, and all you have become. I wish both you and Laura all the best.
"'One final thing. I know how hard you have worked the past four years to build your life as Remington Steele, and I want to encourage you. I have taken the liberty of assuring that you never have trouble being Remington Steele. You will see what I mean in the enclosed copy of your birth certificate. I assure you, everything is legal,'" Laura read slowly, pulling the last piece of paper out from behind the one she was reading. She glanced at it briefly, but not long enough to make anything from it. She handed it to Remington, who tilted it toward the firelight to read it. As he struggled with the certificate, Laura completed the letter.
"'I hope this answers all your questions, and I hope you can forgive me for keeping this from you. I did what I thought was best for both of us. I can only ask for your continued friendship, and I hope that you will have a good life. Take care of yourself, Harry, and take care of Laura as well. Your father and friend, Daniel Harrison Chalmers.'" Laura returned the last page to the back of the stack, folded the papers, and held them out to Remington. He didn't notice. He was staring at the birth certificate in disbelief. He started chuckling, hanging his head and shaking it from side to side.
"What is it?" Laura asked, placing the papers on top of the envelope on the floor. Remington handed her the copied birth certificate.
"Take a look at the name," he said, his voice wavering with intense emotion.
Laura grasped the piece of paper and tilted it toward the light. She gasped as she read the child's name printed on the birth certificate.
"Remington Harrison Daniel Steele?" She gasped. She looked up to Remington, amazed. Remington nodded, laughing and crying simultaneously.
"He made it official. I really am Remington Steele," he said quietly. He chuckled. "You were right. I have become Remington Steele. Bet you never expected Remington Steele to become a real person when you invented him, eh, Laura?" He laughed again.
"No, but I couldn't be happier that his is real," Laura responded. She handed the certificate back to Remington. "So now I guess I can really call you Remington."
"Or just Harry. Whatever you want," Remington told her, drying his face with his hands. Remington reached down and picked up the letter and envelope off the floor, and placed the certificate in the envelope with the letter. He stared at it for a few moments, then rose and walked over to the chest. He replaced the letter in the chest, and walked over to the dresser. Remington opened the top drawer and removed something. Laura strained to see what he was doing, but was unable to make out the object he had pulled from the drawer in the pale light. Remington hesitated at the dresser, then placed the object in his front jeans pocket, before returning to his seat opposite Laura. He pulled his chair as close to Laura as possible, and took her left hand in his hands, patting it gently, then rubbing it. He stared down at her hand for a while in silence, then looked up at her.
"I don't know how to thank you...for reading that letter, I mean. I realize how difficult it was for you. Almost as difficult it was for me," he said, trying to sound humorous but failing.
"It's all right. I know how much it meant to you to find out who you are. I'm glad I could help," Laura said, squeezing his hand.
Remington grew serious again. "Well, you've certainly helped. Actually, you've been there for me more times than I can count over the past four years," he said softly, continuing to stroke her hand as he stared down at it. He sat in silence for a few minutes. He looked up at Laura again, his eyes displaying a mixture of adoration and nervousness. Laura stared at him with curiosity. He obviously wanted to tell her something, and was having a hard time doing it.
"Are you okay?" Laura asked, placing her free hand on top of his. Remington nodded, sighing deeply.
"Daniel was right. About us, I mean. About my feelings toward you," Remington replied, gesturing between the two of them. Laura smiled. Remington cleared his throat anxiously and glanced up at her.
"I did a lot of thinking today, Laura. About my life, and what I really want out of it. Now, hearing about Daniel...well, it just enforces what I decided this afternoon." He looked rigidly at Laura, fixing his gaze on the deep brown of her eyes. "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, Laura. I've made quite a few of those mistakes with you, by trying to hide my true feelings, always running from commitments, trying to be something I'm not. Anyway, I decided that I'm tired of running. I wish I could correct my past indiscretions, but I can't. At least, not all of them. However, there is one mistake I can correct," Remington explained, digging in his front pocket. He grasped the object in both hands, shielding it from Laura's inquiring gaze. "When Estelle Becker informed me that I could avoid deportation by marrying a U.S. citizen, the first thing I thought of was marrying you. I mean, I had thought about it before then..."
"You had?" Laura interrupted, surprised.
"Well, I'd, uh, tossed the idea around," Remington answered uncomfortably, averting his eyes from hers. Laura ogled him in enthrallment and wonder. Remington cleared his throat and resumed his serious dialog, looking again at Laura.
"Anyway, I realized that if I did ask you to marry me, given the circumstances and the fact that I'd never told you before exactly how I felt, well...I figured you probably wouldn't understand. I didn't want us to spend the rest of our lives together with you doubting my love for you. Not that you wouldn't have had a good reason to doubt me," he recovered quickly. "Anyway, I did intend on explaining everything after I had gotten Immigration off my back. I guess I didn't think things through. I didn't think about how much my plan would hurt you. I'm sorry, Laura," Remington said regretfully, lowering his eyes briefly to the floor.
"It's all right. I understand. Besides, that's all in the past now. I figured, after last night, and this afternoon's confessions, we could start over, and forget about all of the problems we have had in the past," Laura consoled.
"I agree," Remington said, looking down at the object in his hands. He looked up at Laura, relief playing across his stress-haggard features. "I want to start over. This is mostly what I thought about all afternoon. Since my biggest mistake was our so-called wedding, I've decided to do something about it."
Laura stared at Remington, completely puzzled. Her curiosity grew as Remington slid out of his chair and knelt before her.
"Laura," he began, gripping the object in his right hand and balancing himself on the chair's arm with his left. "I told you earlier today that I love you, and I meant it. And after last night, well, I realized that what I really want most in my life is to spend it with you. I don't want what happened between Daniel and my mother to ever happen to us. I don't ever want to lose you, and I don't want to ever feel responsible for letting you slip away. I intend to hold on to you, and what we have together, no matter what." Remington reached down to his right hand and opened the tiny box he had concealed there. He held it out to Laura. She gasped at the sight of the diamond solitaire ring perched inside the velvet lining.
"Laura," Remington said, his voice shaking with nervousness, "will you marry me?"
Laura's shocked stare passed back and forth between Remington and the ring. Her mouth hung open in amazement. She searched Remington's face for any indications of a joke, but the seriousness etched across his face proved to her that he meant every word. She recovered from her shock enough to force her words out.
"I...I don't know what to say," Laura said, amazed. "I never would have guessed that you would ever want to propose to me. I always thought that you hated the idea of marriage."
"I did," Remington explained, "but that was before I met you. I guess it just took meeting the right woman." He smiled at her, still holding the box in the air. Laura laughed sporadically, still stunned.
"I just can't believe this," she gasped. "I don't know what to say."
"Well, merely a suggestion, but ‘yes’ would be a rather nice start," Remington teased anxiously.
Laura smiled broadly. "It would be nice, wouldn't it? Being married for real?" She took a deep breath. "Yes, Mr. Steele, I will marry you."
It was Remington's turn to be stunned. "You will?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes!" Laura laughed both with happiness and the look of pure relief on Remington's fire-lit face. Remington joined in on her laughter. Slowly, the laughter died away.
"Well?" Laura asked, still giggling. "Aren't you going to put the ring on my finger?"
Remington took the ring from the box and set the box on the floor. He took Laura's left hand, and slipped the cool gold band over her finger. Laura stared down at the ring, unable to suppress the joy welling inside her. She looked at Remington, who seemed unbelieving of the events that had just occurred.
"Say something," Laura urged, reaching to stroke the back of his head.
"Well, how do you feel? Are you happy about this, or have you already started to regret it?" Laura teased.
"No, no, no regrets, absolutely none," Remington recovered. "I'm...I'm..."
"Ecstatic! I mean, you said yes. We're going to be married. For real! Of course I'm happy," he said, finally realizing the full impact of the situation. "I love you, Laura."
"I love you, too. Harry," she emphasized. He smiled broadly and leaned in to kiss her. She placed her hands on each side of his head, losing herself in the passion she felt from him. Remington pulled Laura as close to him as possible. He lost his balance, and they both tumbled to the rug, their giggles breaking the kiss. Remington embraced Laura tightly, and resumed the kiss.
"Well, when do you want to do this, eh?" Remington said as their lips parted. He kept a tight embrace around her. Laura lay on top of him, tossing her hair to one side and getting it out of their way. "The sooner the better for me. How about in a week?"
"A week?" Laura thought a moment. "Mm...better make it two. I don't know if we can plan a wedding in a week."
"All right. Two weeks from Saturday then. That will give us time to get back to Los Angeles and get things settled before planning begins. And perhaps, if you don't mind, we can have our honeymoon in the London cottage Daniel left me. That way, I can see what's there, and take care of anything that needs to be taken care of. What do you think?"
"That sounds perfect," Laura said, giving Remington a quick kiss. "I want to get started right away. I think we should head back to L.A. as soon as possible."
"Agreed," Remington said, rolling Laura onto her back and pinning her to the floor. "But not tonight," he said romantically, lowering his head to hers and kissing her passionately.
"Mm...maybe we should...go to bed early," Laura responded in between kisses.
"Why bother?" Remington said mischievously, continuing to kiss her.
Laura moved her head out from under his. "You're not suggesting that we stay here! On the floor?"
"Why not? I've always dreamed of making love to a beautiful woman in front of a roaring fireplace," Remington said, grinning wickedly. Laura smiled, a daring expression crossing her face.
"Well, far be it for me to deny your dreams to you, Mr. Steele," she said coyly. Remington grinned triumphantly, and leaned down to kiss her again.