STEELE ‘O MY HEART, PART ONE: ALONE AT STEELE
By: Susan Deborah Smith
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #13/14
Summary: Laura and Remington are finally left alone after all that happened in the fifth season.
Disclaimer: This “Remington Steele” story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with “Remington Steele,” the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
The funerals were grand and dignified, and well-reported. The military processions, distinguishable one from the other in detail only, marched across the flickering screen.
Laura lay in Remington's arms, thinking how really it was not such a shock to learn the reality of the relationship Daniel had forged.
Remington flicked the remote, and the screen went black.
"Only Daniel could end up being buried as a national hero in both London and Moscow," she said.
Remington stared out into space. "It's the ultimate con," he replied. "He deserves nothing less."
"You're a good son," she told him gently.
He continued brooding. "I only wish I would've had more time with him."
Turning in his arms to face him, she said, "On the other hand, you had twenty years with him."
At last, she was graced with his smile as he acknowledged the truth of her words. He gazed down at her. "One thing's for certain," he said. "I'm not going to waste precious time showing people close to me how I feel for them."
As if to illustrate the point, he kissed her deeply, passionately, but without demand. With delicate fingers, he moved her hair off her neck, behind her ear. She held his wrist, exploring the moment, then slipped out of his embrace.
On her feet, she gave him her hand. "Care to elaborate, Mr. Steele?" Her manner was straightforward and suggestive.
He rose. "We have the castle to ourselves, Mrs. Steele," he announced, swinging her up in his arms.
"Where are the servants?" Laura asked, as he carried her out of the parlor.
"Out celebrating. I decided to give them the castle."
"That was awfully generous of your lordship."
"The act of a desperate lord, I assure you."
She laid her head against his shoulder. It was difficult, and wonderful, to imagine that now, at last, they were alone, without fear of interruption. Then a thought struck her. "Where's Mildred?" she asked.
"I decided to give her Mikeline."
Her eyes smiled into his. "Then there's nothing between us and the bedroom door?"
In reply, he bent his head to kiss her; suddenly the phone began to ring. They winced; in a flash they could see it: nothing would ever go right, it was fate, they were lost.
Laura dropped lightly to her feet. "I'll get the phone," she suggested. "You turn down the covers."
She kissed him gently to seal the plan. As he went on up the stairs, he aimed his thumb and forefinger at the offending appliance and in his dreams blew it out of the water.
Laura picked up the phone.
In a Dublin police station, Steele's rival was strapping on his watch and checking through his wallet.
"Well, they finally released me."
She smiled. "Never doubted it for a moment."
Tony Roselli waited as a sergeant passed by. "I still think Steele's plan was a little risky."
True enough, but it seemed to matter less and less. "Kemadov cleared you, didn't he?" she said.
This wasn't the subject he’d planned to discuss. "Laura, listen," he said. "What we talked about earlier still stands."
From far above her, she heard Remington, heard her name echoing in the empty halls of the castle. "Laura?"
Automatically, she lowered her voice. "This isn't really the best time to discuss that, Tony."
Her husky whisper gave him hope. "Laura, I'm serious. I'm not going to give up on you."
"Bed's turned down!"
"I have to go," she insisted. "Right now!"
"What about us?" Tony demanded.
"Plumping up pillows!" A frantic note had crept into the voice from upstairs.
"Coming!" Laura cried. "Gotta go," she said quickly to Tony. "Bye!" She hung up at once, cutting off any protest. Then she took several deep breaths, trying to compose herself and sort herself out.
Hearing Remington's step above her, she shook her head to clear it, and began to climb the stairs. He came halfway down, almost hesitantly, to meet her. Laura continued right up to him, took his head in her hands and kissed him. The phone began again to ring. He pulled away.
"Let it ring," said Laura. She meant it.
He scooped her up and carried her up the stairs to the bedroom.
He set her down and pushed the door shut; she turned to face him, wordless, overcome suddenly as the weight of time oppressed her, held her from rushing forward with the urgency she felt.
Something held him back as well. He searched her eyes, searched her heart, but said nothing.She clasped her hands behind his neck. It was all right, then. He held her close and kissed her hard.
Laura tried to speak around his kiss. "Just," she said, "give me a minute to change, all right?"
"Into what?" he asked, shrugging out of his jacket.
"Something more... provocative." But she didn't move away from him. Her hands on his waist, she tugged his shirt out of his pants.
"Nothing," he said, his voice thick with longing, "could be as provocative as what you've got on right now."
She kicked off her shoes. The sudden movement spilled her hair around her shoulders. "Big sweater?" she said. "Wool socks?"
"Beautiful," he breathed.
She smiled and unhooked his belt. "Sure, and doesn't your American lordship have a sweet way with the words."
"Indeed." He kicked his trousers aside and pulled her sweater up over her head.
Laura took a sharp breath as the night air pricked her skin into gooseflesh. The one lamp fell into darkness. Then Remington gathered her into his arms and lifted her onto the bed; she pulled him down with her. As he kissed her, she opened her eyes, saw his face illuminated in the cool darkness by the flickering glow from the hearth.
"At last?" she whispered.
"At last," he agreed.
Somewhere, far away, a phone began to ring; she held him close in her arms and didn't hear it.
Much later, she fell away from him, gasping for breath. He rolled over with her, the insistent, irregular rhythm of his heart pounding against hers proving that they were together and alive. She turned her mouth from his kiss, struggling for air. Then she began to laugh, and he smiled, resting his forehead against her shoulder.
She was in no way sated. The deep fulfillment only created a craving for more until at last, exhausted, they had nothing left for each other but sleep.
Remington was rudely awakened by a banging on the door. He opened his eyes, squinting against the light. He was at first surprised to find Laura curled in his arms; then he was not surprised, and carefully extricated himself from her embrace. She muttered in her sleep and turned over on her stomach, clutching his pillow.
Shrugging into his bathrobe, he picked up his watch from the bed table.
The knock came again.
"Yes, yes," he hissed. Surely it couldn't be one o'clock! He opened the door. "What is it?"
"Only me, your lordship," said Mikeline apologetically. "And if it isn't Mrs. Flanagan wondering what you'll be after for your breakfast. Or is it lunch you'll be wanting at this hour?"
Remington glanced over at Laura. "Breakfast, I think, Mikeline."
"Breakfast it is," Mikeline agreed. "And what, exactly, should the good woman prepare for your morning repast?"
He tore his eyes away from her. "Anything," said Remington, pushing Mikeline out the door. "Anything. On a tray. Just give us a knock and leave it out in the hall, okay? Good man."
"Yes, your lordship, and I might.."
Remington closed the door and got back into bed.
Laura opened her eyes. "What is it?" she asked.
"Shhh. Nothing. Back to sleep." He slipped his arms around her.
"Your feet are like ice," she said.
"Then warm them up for me, will you?"
She smiled. "Warm me up, Mr. Steele," she replied.
There was no way for Mikeline O'Flynn to know that the Steeles, after more than a week of marriage, had only just celebrated their wedding night. He had no way of knowing that after four years of hunger and longing and opportunities missed and plans overturned they had captured the magical moment at last, and were loath to let it go. Thus, he could hardly be blamed for hurrying Mrs. Flanagan with the cooking, nor for bringing the breakfast tray up himself. He could hardly be blamed for wishing to give a higher level of service than was expected, so, after giving a knock, he sailed into their lordships' room, breakfast in hand.
Two flushed and startled faces blinked at him from under the down comforters.
"Breakfast, your lordship," he explained.
"Just -- leave it over there," said Laura in a strangled voice.
The consummate professional, Mikeline turned and carried the tray to a table by the window, opened the drapes, gave a little salute, and went out.
Able to breathe again, Remington said, "In five minutes we'll be a legend downstairs."
"You're already a legend upstairs," said Laura.
He lowered his head to her mouth. "Your ladyship has a sweet way with the words, indeed," he replied.
"Breakfast is getting cold," he said later.
"Let it," she answered as she got back into bed. She'd warmed him up after held snuck off to take a shower; she expected him to do the same.
"Come now, Laura. Must keep up our strength, eh?"
She let him pull her to her feet. "If we must," she said with a languid smile. "And I thought I was the practical one."
She seemed perfectly content to stand naked on the cold floor in the weak sunlight, but lovely a picture as she made, Remington saw no reason to let her freeze. He searched through her things and came up with a heavy dressing gown.
"Here," he said, wrapping her up in it.
She sat down again. "Breakfast in bed?" she suggested.
Obligingly, he fetched the tray. Laura tucked her legs up under her and lifted the lid from a plate. It was still steaming.
"Mmm," she said. "Poached eggs on toast. Who told them?"
"Mildred, no doubt." His were scrambled. "I didn't know you preferred your eggs poached."
She made herself a neat sandwich and took a bite. "You never served me breakfast."
"Not for lack of trying, I assure you."
She'd turned her attention to the jam jars; his words struck her, and her hand, and a spoonful of marmalade, stopped halfway to her mouth. She looked up at him.
"I feel like I've spent four years, struggled for four years, getting to this one moment."
He caught her hand. Dropping the spoon back in the jar, he licked the marmalade from her fingers. "No more than I," he agreed. "But what could be more perfect, eh? Tucked away in our own castle, a pack of servants bowing and scraping to our every whim..."
"It is wonderful," she agreed.
"So perhaps it was worth it."
"Certainly the long pursuit has heightened my appreciation."
"Has it really?"
"Not to imply, however," he went on, "that I wouldn't have been properly appreciative at any stage of the game."
She rubbed at her hand with a napkin. "I'd be lying if I said me, too," she told him. "And you know it. But there've been times..." Oh, how many! "...plenty of times, when I've been ready, more than ready, and fate intervened."
How often he had cursed fate! But now he lifted his cup of tea.
"To fate," he said, touching it to hers.
"And to the Immigration and Naturalization Service," she suggested.
"Hotel del Amor," she added.
The list of places where they'd tried and failed was long, but it all now seemed to them to be part of a strange conspiracy, some grand design to put them, at last, in the right place at the right time, and to heighten, as he said, the appreciation of what they'd found together.
Remington could indeed see the very great benefit of waking up beside a Laura who was happy to be waking up next to him; there had been times, he admitted to himself with chagrin, when he would have been glad to seduce her with no thought at all given to the next morning, or week, or year. It was surely better to be thus, happy and alert, with no regrets -- or at least, with regrets related only to time lost, and not to the business at hand.
Laura sipped her tea, thinking how appropriate it was to thus toast fate. There had been times when she would have done just about anything to get him into bed and had been thwarted by events beyond her control, and other times, when she had been poised on the brink and then twisted herself away, for her own very good, if not easily understandable, reasons. She felt now perfectly at ease, perfectly happy, perfectly fine, and that, as much as anything, was what she'd been waiting for.
Putting down her cup, she began again with the bread. She spread the triangle thickly; before she could get it to her mouth, a large blob of marmalade dripped onto her chest.
Color rose in her cheeks. "Oops."
He snagged a large square of Irish linen from the tray. "Napkin, Mrs. Steele?"
An amusing thought popped into her head. "Do I need one?" she asked, a teasing sparkle in her eye.
Oh, yes, this was the Laura held dreamt of, the Laura that was hidden away too much of the time, the Laura held have tracked to the ends of the earth for as long as it took -- because this was the real Laura, freed now from all considerations save for herself and for him.
He leaned forward and flicked the jam up into his mouth. She shivered as his tongue fluttered against her skin, but when he looked up at her from under his lashes, she was laughing.
Sitting up again, he reached for one of the jars. "If this is breakfast in bed," he proposed, "let's at least try a flavor I like, eh?"
"You don't like marmalade?""Irish marmalade? No, no, no. Bitter stuff. Take the American every time."
"Take this American," she agreed.
His eyes were dark and secret. "In my own good time, Mrs. Steele," he replied.
He held the spoon high above her, and waited patiently until the strawberry jam slipped off and fell against her left breast. It slid down slowly, leaving a glossy pink trail.
He tipped another spoonful onto her stomach. Letting her bathrobe fall open, she leaned back on her-elbows; the preserves flowed into a little pool at her navel. When the next spoonful landed somewhat lower than that, a pleasing tremor went through her; stretching out her legs, she nearly overturned the rest of breakfast.
"Ah, careful," he said. "Mind the china." He lowered the tray to the floor, and laid himself out beside her, thinking that however well one thought one knew a person, there would still be surprises at every turn.
A little titter of nervous excitement broke from her. "I hope there's some left," she said.
"Plenty more where that came from," he assured her.
"Hand it over," said Laura. "Strawberry's okay with me."