SENSITIVE STEELE--AN ADDITION
By: Melissa Jones
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #4
Summary: Putting things right after the big argument in Sensitive Steele.
Disclaimer: This “Remington Steele” story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with “Remington Steele,” the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
Laura stared into the misty abyss, unable to move or escape. She could hear Remington's voice echoing through the greyness. His voice grew louder, and his violent tone carried the words that had cut Laura so deeply earlier that day. She tried to raise her hands to her ears to block the painful sounds, but her hands--like the rest of her body--seemed weighed down by an impenetrable force.
"I'm not your father! I'm not the man who left your mother!" Remington yelled over and over, bombarding Laura's mind. She squeezed her eyes shut, but that did nothing to relieve her suffering. Suddenly, Remington's voice died away, and was replaced by two other voices. Laura's eyes flew open at the familiar sounds. The swirling mist cleared, and she found herself staring at her mother and father, embroiled in a heated argument.
Abigail Holt was sobbing uncontrollably, and Frank Holt was gesturing to her with obvious frustration. The argument continued for a moment longer, then ended abruptly as Abigail turned away from Frank and covered her face with her hands, still sobbing. Frank moved toward the door, a suitcase suddenly appearing in his hand. He stopped at the door at the sight of a teenager. Laura gasped as she recognized herself as an emotionally overwrought sixteen-year-old.
"I'm sorry, Laurie. I have to go," Frank said, kissing the teenager's tear-streaked face as he brushed past her and left the room. Laura cried as the painful memory became solid again--as she watched her father walk away. Only this time, she knew what the crying teenager didn't. She knew he would never return--that there was no hope. As the teenage Laura called to her father to come back, Laura stared at her mother. Abigail's back was still turned toward her, and she stood perfectly still, like a zombie. Laura suddenly felt free from her invisible bondage, and she moved toward her mother to comfort her. She touched Abigail's shoulder gently. The woman spun around, staring at Laura with unfeeling eyes. Laura gasped as she recognized her own face instead of her mother's. She turned toward the doorway where her father had exited. The teenage Laura was gone, and Laura saw the retreating figure of Remington Steele.
"No! This isn't right! This is my parent's life, not mine! This isn't right!" she cried.
Laura sat up in bed, her breath heavy with fear. Her satin pajamas clung to her sweat-soaked body. Her chocolate-colored eyes glanced wildly around the room, trying to re-orient herself. She finally recognized the room at the Freidlich Sensitivity Spa that she and Remington were sharing while working on a case.
Laura's mind reeled from the dream, as all the pain she had witnessed and felt came flooding back to her. She felt the tears coming again. Laura stared over at Remington, relieved to find him still asleep on the chaise. She had to get away. She couldn't let him know how much she was hurting right now. Laura rose from the bed, donned her bathrobe and slippers, and snuck out of the room.
Remington stirred from his uncomfortable sleep. It seemed a relief to wake up, since all he could do was dream about Laura, and the argument they had had in their Latent Hostility class. He glanced over to the bed, and was startled to see it empty. Remington sat up, confusion clouding his handsome features.
"Laura?" he called in a loud whisper, looking around the moonlit room. He rose and crossed the room to the bathroom, futilely looking inside the small, darkened cubicle. He wandered over to the window, glancing out to the beach below. He recognized the small figure huddled on the sand, her head in her arms. Remington felt his chest tighten. He knew he had hurt her earlier that day with the words that flowed almost unconsciously from his mouth during their argument. She had hurt him as well, perhaps more than she knew. When he walked out, he did it almost as a payback for her cruel admission of being better off without him, but he never intended on hurting her this much. He had run from the pain she had caused him with her words, as he had always done when someone had hurt him. But she meant far too much to him to let her continue to suffer like this. He had to stop running. He had to help her.
Remington grabbed his bathrobe from the chaise, put on his slippers, and headed for the beach, and the delicate lady that he knew needed him now.
Laura wiped her cheeks with her left hand for the countless time. It seemed as if the tears would never stop coming. She wrapped her arms tightly around her legs, pressing her knees closer to her chest. She rested her chin on her knees as she sniffed, trying to stop the tears. The strong ocean breeze whipped her bathrobe around, smacking her ankles. Laura didn't feel the cold, or even the wind. The only thing she could feel was the turmoil inside.
She had tried to suppress the memories of her dad's departure, but the memories cascaded through the barriers that had long stood to hold them back. As much as she hated to admit it, Remington was right. She was basing their relationship on the doomed one between her parents. She was trying so hard not to become her mother that, in her own mind, she was forcing Remington into the role of the father that had abandoned her. Laura knew it was unfair to him, but she was so afraid of being hurt again.
Remington knew about her past relationship with Wilson Jeffries, but she had never told him the entire story. Laura threw herself completely into her relationship with Wilson. She centered her life around him. When he left, it devastated her, more than she ever thought possible. She finally knew how her mother felt when her father left. Laura swore it would never happen again. She became the perfect businesswoman--efficient, concise, and totally professional. She had dated off and on over the next several years, but no one could ever break the cold barrier she had put up around her heart and soul. No one could touch her, or hurt her again.
Until the mysterious stranger entered her life.
Despite her desperate struggle, Remington Steele had touched her emotionally, in ways she never thought possible. Not even Wilson had made her feel so strongly. Wilson had made her pulse race on occasion, but usually with a kiss...or something more passionate.
Remington was different. He made her pulse race merely by walking into the room, or staring at her affectionately with his alluring blue eyes. His touch warmed her instantly, and when he kissed her, she felt as if her heart would beat its way out of her chest. Her passion, her need for him was so strong that it terrified her. She knew he cared about her, but she wasn't completely sure that he loved her.
There were times where it seemed as if he did. Laura smiled slightly as she recalled all the times he had rescued her from premature death, his face full of concern and terror at the thought of losing her. She remembered the times that he had been there to comfort her and hold her when she needed him. Or the time when he had held her in his arms and cried because he thought she had been killed by a gunshot. Or when he had taken her in after her house was destroyed. He had fed her, clothed her, and given her a shoulder to cry on. When she finally agreed to sleep with him that night, in part to soothe her pain, he refused. She knew he couldn't take advantage of her in her overwrought state. Besides all that, there were the numerous romantic evenings. So many memories testified to his feelings for her. So why was she so afraid?
The worst part of it all was the argument that had torn them apart earlier that day. Typical of her short temper, she had spoken without thinking of the consequences. The moment she had told him she was better off without him, she knew it was wrong. She had lied to herself, and now she was lying to him. As long as she lived, she would never forget the pain in his eyes as her words cut into his soul. Her tears flowed again at the thought of causing him so much pain. She never wanted to hurt him. How could she? As much as she hated to admit it, and despite her greatest efforts, she had fallen in love with him. Deeply.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, tilting her wet face up to the ebony sky. "I'm so sorry."
A throat being cleared behind her startled her. She turned to see Remington standing behind her. He approached her cautiously, his face lined with concern and sympathy.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," he said, standing directly behind her. Laura lowered her gaze to the surf before her, wiping the tears from her face quickly. "Do you...uh...do you mind if I sit down?" He pointed to a spot on the sand next to her as Laura glanced up at him again. She gestured to the spot, and stared again at the crashing waves, hugging her legs tighter to her body. Remington sat down next to her. He crossed his ankles and wrapped his arms around his bent knees, grasping his wrists to support his open legs. They sat side-by-side on the beach in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes, before Remington dared to speak.
"Nice night," he said, trying desperately to sound casual. He stared forward, as did Laura.
"Yeah," Laura replied, forcing the words out, although her throat seemed to be closing. She sniffed, forcing back the last of her tears.
"Better than a rainstorm, eh?" Remington asked.
"What?" Laura inquired, looking at him in confusion. He turned his gaze to her. His eyes were soft with sympathy and aching.
"A rainstorm," he said softly. "Remember? After your house burned." He stared at her silently for a few seconds. "That was the last time I saw you cry like this." Laura lowered her head guiltily, staring at the sand between them. Remington sighed painfully. "Of course, I wasn't responsible then." Laura's head snapped up, and she stared at him questioningly.
"Responsible? What do you mean?" she asked.
"I mean, I didn't cause your pain last time. For once," he muttered, guilt covering his face.
"This isn't your fault," Laura consoled.
"Isn't it?" Remington returned. "Are you saying that I didn't hurt you today?" Laura looked down again in silence. Remington squirmed uncomfortably. "That's what I thought. I'm...I'm sorry, Laura. I was out of line today."
"No," Laura whispered, the pain of her guilt returning. "I'm the one who should be apologizing. I hurt you. I never wanted to do that." She forced herself to look into his eyes. "I didn't mean what I said. I wasn't better off without you." She tried to laugh off her uncomfortableness as she dropped her eyes again. "I admit, life was easier before you came." She looked at him once more. "Easier. But not better."
Remington stared at her affectionately, a slight smile playing on the corners of his mouth. He lowered his eyes, then turned toward the ocean.
"I know what you mean," he said. "Before, it didn't matter where I was or who I was with, even the next morning. I always liked it like that. It was safer that way--easier. But that all changed the day I met you," he explained, looking back to Laura.
"Changed for the better?" she asked hopefully. Remington chuckled.
"Oh, I don't know... sometimes I wonder about that," he said, gazing at the waves. "But...I'm still here." He looked at her, the hope in his eyes mirroring the hope in her face. Laura smiled gently. Her smile melted away into suffering as she thought about the reason for her being here. She stared guiltily into her lap. Remington looked at her expression with confusion and concern.
"Laura? What is it? Did I say something wrong?" he inquired.
"No," she answered softly, lifting her head slightly but refusing to face him. "It's just...I've been doing a lot of thinking tonight. I realize now that I've been totally unfair to you. You were right. As much as it hurt to hear it, you were right about my family standing between us. I put them between us. I've been so busy trying not to become my mother that I've ended up looking at you like my father. Not as the hero, but as the man who left my mother--and me. It's not fair to you. I'm so sorry," her voice trailed off as her tears began again. "I never meant to hurt you. I've been so busy struggling for control of my emotions that I didn't realize I'd completely lost control of my memories, and the pain that goes with them." Laura fought to get the words out through her sobs, the pain once again flooding her. Remington scooted next to her, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders. She buried her face in his shoulder as her body convulsed with sobs.
"Shhh..." he whispered, holding her tightly and kissing the top of her head to comfort her. "Shhh...it's all right, Laura. It's just as much my fault as it is yours. I haven't exactly been open in this relationship. Besides, give me a little credit. I'm tougher than you think." Laura looked up at him with curiosity. "I mean, I knew you'd been hurt before, and that it would be difficult for you to let go with someone like me. I knew that going into this relationship. The important thing is, I was willing to take that risk, just as you were willing to risk putting up with me and my mysteries. Despite all our fears, I'm still here, Laura. We're still here," he finished softly, squeezing her to him. "And I'll be here when you're ready to let go of the past. When we're both ready to let go."
"That is the problem, isn't it? Letting go of the past?" Laura asked, straightening up and wiping her cheeks again. Remington loosened his grip slightly, but kept his arm around her comfortingly. "It's hard, isn't it?"
"Yes," Remington answered softly. "It is hard. Especially when the past is a painful one. When you aren't sure who to trust."
"You haven't trusted many people in your life, have you?" Laura inquired sympathetically. Remington chuckled softly.
"No, I haven't. Not completely, anyway," Remington answered. "In fact, there's only two people I can think of that I've ever completely trusted."
"Only two?" Laura asked, astonished.
"Mm-hm. Just two," he said quietly. "Daniel, naturally." He stared at Laura adoringly. "And you."
Laura smiled warmly at him. "Really?"
Remington turned to face her fully. He took her face delicately in his hands, wiping the remnants of tears from under her eyes.
"Really," he whispered, staring into her eyes for a moment. He slowly leaned toward her, and brushed his lips gently against hers. Laura turned toward him, lowering her legs to the sand and pulling him closer to her as she kissed him again. Remington wrapped his arms tightly around her as he kissed her once more, his lips displaying his rising passion to her. They broke the kiss slowly, regretfully. Laura stared deeply at Remington, her heart accelerating from the warmth he was giving her.
"Does this mean you forgive me?" she whispered to him, a feeling of anxiety rising in her chest. "For everything?"
"Only if you can forgive me...for everything," he replied, delicately pushing a strand of hair from her face with his fingers. Laura smiled and nodded. "Good. Then we'd better get back to the room and get some sleep. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. Okay?"
"Okay," Laura smiled, her anxiety melting away. Remington rose and pulled Laura up with both hands. They walked silently back to the room, arm-in-arm.