By: Phaedra Phelan


Summary: What may have happened after Remington Steele and Laura Holt solved the case and left for that "cup of tea." This really an "entre-episode" piece placed between "Steele in Circulation" and "Steele Away with Me."

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.

* * * * * *

As Remington Steele and Laura Holt walked out of the agency offices early Monday morning after extricating Alfred Hollis from his problems with the United States Federal Reserve Bank, they were surprised that they were not exhausted from the long night's work, but instead strangely exhilarated.

"So, Mr. Steele, where are we going for 'tea?' " Laura asked as they reached the front of the building where Fred was waiting with the limo.

"How about my place? I have all the elements there. I have several varieties of excellent tea-Darjeeling, Earl Gray-others. Actually I got a package from Marks & Spencer this week with my latest supply of Twining's English Breakfast tea. Also I have the makings of a very good breakfast. What do you say?"

"Why not?"

As they rode along, Remington Steele turned to Laura and started to talk.

"You know, Laura, I sensed something happening with our staff over these past few weeks and it seemed to crystallize this weekend."

"And what was that?"

"I sense a certain pulling away-a kind of separation-especially as far as Murphy is concerned."

"I hadn't really noticed, but I guess it is true, isn't it?"

"I dare say."

"Do you think he's planning to leave the agency?"

"Yes, I believe that he is."

"And why do you think he's leaving?"

"Well, I believe he has been in love with you for a long time and he may realize that what he was hoping for may never happen. He may be ready to cut his losses and call it a day."

"Did he say anything to you?" Laura asked this tentatively.

"Last week he said that there didn't seem to be any reason for him to waste any more of his life here."

Steele's mind rolled back to the previous week.

"Listen, Steele, I'm going to lay my cards on the table. I intend to have this conversation with you only one time."

"Go ahead. Speak your mind, Murphy."

"I want to know what your intentions are concerning Laura."

"And why must I be accountable to you?" Steele's voice revealed his extreme irritation.

"Because I have loved her for a lot longer than you have known her, but I can't compete with you. She's taken with you. A man has to know when he's beaten. What I have to know is how you feel about her. Is this just a passing fling-just one of those things-or are you genuinely serious about her?"

"Do I have your word that this conversation goes no further than you and me?"

"Sure. This is me and you-man to man."

"I love her. I love her as I've never thought possible to love a woman." The words sounded strange to Steele even though he was the one saying them.

"That's all I need to know. Just don't break her heart, man, or I'll come back here and beat the crap out of you."

"You don't have to worry about that if she will have me."

"She's a tough one, Steele."

"I realize that there are obstacles, challenges here, but as you know, I am a man who enjoys impossible challenges."

"I see you seem to have stopped catting around." Murphy stated it as a fact.

"I have to prove the seriousness of my intentions toward her, Murphy. Of course I must say that this has left me quite literally climbing the walls."

Murphy grinned wickedly, relishing Remington Steele's situation in a perverse way.

"Well, perhaps she won't make you wait that long. Hang in there, buddy."

"Thanks, mate."

Now Steele turned to Laura as she registered her surprise that Murphy had indicated his determination to leave the agency to Steele.

"I think he already has some sort of plan in the works, Laura."

"Well, since he just met Sherrie Webster, I guess she is not a part of his long term plans."

"Perhaps not. She is quite an interesting woman nonetheless. I think that she has Murphy somehow outclassed, shall we say?"

"Because she's a psychologist?"

"Well, she is a gifted woman-we might call her a 'Jill of all Trades?' " Steele smiled slyly.

"And he just picked her up in a bar! What's wrong with Murphy?"

"Maybe he is just a man, Laura, a man with needs. He obviously tried for you and failed. Must you judge him quite so harshly?"

Laura looked directly at Remington Steele trying to assess his mood before she spoke again.

"Bernice is dating this trombone player. He's been in town for just two weeks and they've been going at it hot and heavy."

"Hot and heavy, eh?" Steele smiled. "Sounds good to me."

"He's asked her to come with him on the road. She's so taken with him that I wouldn't be surprised if she bolted on me."

"I thought her goal was to find a rich husband. What happened?"

"Uh . . . according to her the sex is, um-fabulous. I guess that would be a nice way to put it."

"So our trombone player knows how to play Bernice as well. More power to him." Remington Steele paused. "So . . . that leaves just you and me, doesn't it?"

"You haven't been going out much lately-not that I know what you do with your free time, or necessarily have a right to."

"No, I haven't-gone out. I'm waiting on you, Laura. I'll never go out again with any one else if the possibility exists that you will have me. Are you going to have me? I'm yours for the taking, you know." Remington Steele's eyes were the clearest blue that Laura had ever seen as he seemed to look straight into her heart.

"Um . . ." Laura smiled at Steele without really answering him.

They arrived at Steele's place on Rossmore. Fred dropped them off and Remington Steele escorted Laura to his apartment and let her in.

"Make yourself at home, Laura. I'll get our tea under way. I, for one, am ravenous. What about you?"

"I'm hungry too. I guess working through the night will do that to you."

They looked at each other suddenly, intensely aware of one another. Laura felt herself flush and Remington Steele sensed his own heart pounding in his chest.

"I'm going to change my clothes and then I'll . . . I'll make us breakfast, Laura."

Remington Steele was surprised at his own nervousness. Normally he viewed an opportunity for physical conquest as an exercise in sophistication, an occasion to show off his considerable prowess and technique, but now he simply was filled with anxiety and longing as he contemplated this time alone with Laura.

Laura sat down on the sofa in the living room and tried to collect herself. She felt strangely reckless being alone with Steele in his apartment for no reason other than that they wanted to be there together.

Steele went into his kitchen and tried to concentrate on finding the ingredients to make a smoked salmon omelet. He had planned this morning in his mind for quite a while but he hadn't counted on his emotions assaulting him as if he were a randy sixteen-year-old.

Laura wandered into the kitchen and saw Steele opening a bottle of ice cold champagne, which he poured into two slender glasses.

"Just the thing to start us off, Miss Holt."

"I-I thought we were having tea."

"We will have the tea, but this is just a little something to relax us a bit."

"I don't usually drink before noon." Laura smiled and took a cautious sip from the glass. "Oh my, that's nice. I just don't know if I should drink the rest of this. It leaves me with no resistance."

Remington Steele stopped what he was doing and looked directly at Laura.

"What are you resisting, Miss Holt?"

"You, Mr. Steele."

Remington Steele smiled, pursing his lips slightly in his most charming manner.

"Then why did you come home with me this morning?"

"I-I wanted to."

"Laura, as I mentioned in the limo, I haven't been out with anyone. It's been more than three months."

"I noticed. Bernice noticed. Murphy noticed."

"I've never been that long without-without . . ." Steele attempted a somewhat descriptive gesture.

"I understand."

"You were with Wilson. You are not a woman without experience. You must realize that I am serious in my intentions, Laura."

"I do." Laura's answer was simple and to the point.

Remington Steele turned his attention to the smoked salmon omelets again and Laura sat at the table watching him. He had changed from the black turtleneck sweater into a soft deep blue cotton shirt wearing it with its sleeves rolled back and unbuttoned halfway revealing the beautiful chest hair that intrigued her and just a glimpse of the silver medallion that he always wore around his neck.

Laura got up from her chair and came behind him as he finished the eggs, and leaned against him, letting her hands rest lightly on his rib cage.

"I suggest we eat, darling, before we go down that road." Steele turned to face her, kissing her lightly on her cheek, a plate of food in each of his hands, as he sought distraction from the ache in his loins.

Laura sat down and they ate the breakfast together-the omelets stuffed with brie cheese and salmon, the warm toast with black currant jam-more ice cold champagne-until they were completely relaxed. Toward the end of it Steele brought out the tea-hot and steaming-and they drank cup after cup of the fragrant brew as they talked about the case they had just solved.

"Laura," Steele stood up and extended his hand to her. "Come sit near me. I want to be close to you. Isn't that what we both want?"

"Yes, but I may not be able to go the distance. I don't want to lead you on, Mr. Steele."

"You already have, you hopelessly wicked lass." Remington Steele caught her close to him, walking her backward toward the couch.

"Why ever are you calling me 'wicked?' Mr. Steele," Laura asked, her eyes wide in an expression that of mock surprise.

"Because you are tempting me beyond human endurance, Laura. I meant what I said the other night when we were inside the bank. I can't bear at all the thought of losing you. When that crane lost power and you fell, my heart-my heart was in my mouth. The thought-just the thought that something might have happened to you-frightened me beyond description."

Remington Steele kissed Laura now gently-on her cheeks, her temples-then pushing the soft cashmere of her mauve turtleneck sweater out of the way, his lips followed the throbbing of her pulse down the side of her neck. As his hands wandered over her waist and down to her hips and then squeezed them, pulling her up close to him, Laura felt all her resistance melting away.

"Oh, Mr. Steele, Mr. Steele," Laura sighed overwhelmed by the sheer force of his sensuality.

Steele eased her down onto his sofa and continued to kiss her, his lips searching for hers and claiming them for himself. Laura's mouth opened in complete surrender to his kiss and suddenly they were fully engaged with one another. Laura was kissing him back, clinging to him, her hands pulling his shirt out of his slacks so that she could touch the smooth muscled skin of his back. Steele felt such an intense arousal in his flesh that he could only groan helplessly as his slender sensitive fingers rubbed her thighs through her slacks.

"Laura, Laura," his voice was hoarse, ragged with desire. "Please, Laura, I'm overcome. Tell me to stop if I must. Tell me now, woman."

"Don't you think we-we're moving too fast?"

"I don't know, Laura. I can't think like this. I can't think about anything except wanting you."

Remington Steele released Laura and lay back on the cushions of the sofa, unable to hide his need from her.

"I'm embarrassed, Laura. It's been three months and I'm in rather dire straits. Forgive me. When we come together I want it to be because you want it to be and for no other reason. We both have our physical necessities but this is more than that for me and I dare say that it's more than that for you as well. I've wanted to have intercourse with you from the first day we met. Did you know that, Laura?"

"Maybe I'm the one who should have made an appointment with Murphy's friend, Sherrie Webster this morning-to get some help with my psyche, but she didn't inspire me with the way she seemed to be conducting her own life-picking up Murphy in a bar no less."

"I thought you were going to suggest that I might need to have my performance analyzed," Steele quipped. "I just don't usually get cut before a full audition."

"There is nothing wrong with your performance," Laura said, flushing slightly as she recalled Remington Steele's masterful wooing of her just a few moments earlier.

"You didn't allow the performance its . . . full run, let us say."

"Let's just say that the preview of coming attractions was very powerful, Mr. Steele. Listen, I don't want to seem like some sort of uptight female. You know about Wilson-and there were others-so that would be rather hypocritical."

"I wouldn't figure you for hypocrisy, but then I don't presume that previous relationships indicate an open door policy either."

"Thank you for not presuming. I-I haven't been with anyone like this for a long time . . . a very long time."

"We were well under way a few minutes ago, Laura." Remington Steele's finely sculptured nostrils flared as he remembered.

"I'm sorry. I know that it doesn't help-me letting us get involved like that if I'm not prepared to follow-things to, to. . ."

"To their logical conclusion." Steele finished her sentence. "That is not your problem. I've never forced myself on a woman, Laura. When that time comes, I want you to want the same thing that I want."

"And you want me?"

"Yes, darling."

"Because?" Laura wanted him to say the words that would tell her that his interest was more than physical.

"Because I want you, Laura. I've wanted you since the first day we met."

The heat emanating from his cobalt blue eyes was the most intensely sensual force she had ever experienced from a man and Laura just dropped her eyes, unable to continue to meet his gaze. She focused on the silver medallion that lay just below his collarbones and tried to change the subject.

"Your . . . that medallion is . . . very interesting. Is there an inscription?"

"No . . . no inscription yet. I would like to have your name engraved on it one of these days."

Laura just did not know what to say at this point. The man before her, his shirt undone by her own hand revealing a stunning display of thick silky black hair, every pore of his flesh seeming to exude his need, was much more than she had bargained for when she let him into her life as Remington Steele. The desire for him had been building for nearly a year and now she wanted him on a level so primal and visceral that it frightened her and he knew it.

Steele tried valiantly to bring his flesh under control. The contact with Laura had stimulated him right through to the core of his being. It had hit him powerfully in his loins and then gone straight to his heart and he knew that he would never be the same again. He had dreamed for months about getting this close but this day it had become a reality and that reality was more powerful than any dream he'd ever had.

"I think that it would be wise to call Fred to take you home, Miss Holt, don't you? We seem to have taken this as far as you are willing to take this today."

"Yes, I believe so. I am suddenly so very tired. I think I'm going to go home and, and spend the rest of the day in bed."

Remington Steele reached for the phone and Laura heard him calling for Fred to come for her. Tears suddenly welled up in her eyes as a strange mixture of emotions swept over her.

"Fred will be here in twenty minutes . . ." When Steele turned from the phone, he saw her tears and realized that Laura was as stung by her need for him as he was for her. He held his arms open to Laura and she eagerly sought the comfort of his embrace.

"Here, here, darling," he whispered, smoothing her hair, kissing her forehead.

"I'm sorry. I'm supposed to be an adult-but I've got all this baggage. If only we had met five years ago-before the others, before Wilson."

"We would probably be married with a couple of wee ones by now."

"You think so?"

Remington Steele nodded. "Timing . . . timing is everything. I think I came in on the wrong reel of this movie and I'm havin' to pay for the sins of all the others. Those blokes from Wilson's bank got the fan dance on the bar plus the free strip tease in the winery and I run up against a mental block here when we are just trying to be two adults showing how we feel about each other. That's what it is, isn't it, Laura."

"I guess so. I didn't care about them. There was nothing to lose."

"You won't lose me, Laura. I told you that the other night when we were in the bank."

"I wish I could believe you-totally, completely. I wouldn't want to lose you now."

Remington Steele and Laura stared at each other, caught up in a yearning unlike anything either of them had ever experienced .

"Oh, God, I can't help myself here, Laura," Steele murmured as his lips claimed hers again, drawing her up onto him.

Laura melted in his arms, her own lips parting in surrender to his kiss as they literally drank from one another, seeking to quench the powerful thirst, the need that enveloped both of them as they continued to kiss. Laura drew her tiny feet up onto his couch and wound her arms around Remington Steele, touching his bare flesh under his open shirt as Steele hands slipped under her sweater, groping for the fastener to her bra.

"It's in front," Laura gasped as she caught her breath between his kisses.

"God, Oh God!" Steele groaned as he found the soft warmth of her breasts and touched them gently with the tips of his fingers. Dropping his hand from her breasts to embrace her slender midriff, searching for the fastener to her slacks, his lips found hers again in a kiss so deeply passionate that they both almost saw stars. Laura responded to his kiss, her fingers gripping the thick hair that adorned his chest as all the while Steele's caresses became so intimate that she completely lost control of the situation.

"Touch me, Laura. Help me, please," Steele implored in agony, as he kissed her breasts.

Laura could feel all the excitement in his flesh as she lay against him and she wanted to relieve that agonizing need consuming him. She instinctively knew what to do. It happened so easily, so naturally, his cries of relief communicating to her his gratitude as Laura at the same time knew his most intimate caress. She could do nothing except receive the pleasure that he so wanted to give her. There was no will to resist in her anymore. They were both so excited that they only thought of meeting the needs of the other.

That was when the phone rang. It was all the Remington Steele could do to pick up his phone and respond to Fred.

"Do you really want to go home now, Laura?" Steele's voice was full of all the emotions he was experiencing as he said those few words.

"I think that I'd better, don't you, Mr. Steele?"

Steele nodded, unable to speak for the moment, overcome at the sight of Laura so flushed and excited and yet realizing that she would be unable to give in totally to her emotions now that their passionate moment had been interrupted. He sensed her drawing away from him.

Laura went into his bathroom to try to pull herself together. Her legs were literally weak and she was slightly dizzy. Her clothing was awry and she couldn't even remember how it got that way as she tried to pull herself together, fastening her slacks, her bra. She leaned against the sink cabinet staring into the mirror, saw the reflection of all the passionate energy she had expended and dropped her head. She had let things go farther than she intended. It was much too early to be involved like this if she weren't completely sure. She was sure of herself, of her own feelings for this man, but she was afraid to be sure of Remington Steele. She looked at her hands and remembered touching him, remembered how he felt. He had been in such pathetic need. Laura put her hands to her breasts, still tingling from his caresses and then to her cheeks flushing as she remembered the sensations she felt when he had fondled her so intimately. They had behaved like a couple of teenagers, necking and petting with abandon. But they weren't teenagers and the emotions they had felt were the full-blown desire of two adults who were finding themselves desperately in love with one another.

Steele lay on the couch in a complete state of disarray himself unable to believe what had happened to him and Laura. They had somehow bypassed so much and suddenly were in the midst of a full-fledged passionate relationship. And yet he knew that it was going to perhaps be much harder to take the relationship the rest of the way. But he wanted her so. Little did Laura know it but this morning had sealed Remington Steele's fate. He would do whatever was necessary to claim her completely. When he had touched her and she had moaned helplessly in response to him, he had known for a certainty at that very moment that she was as warm-blooded and passionate as he had imagined. He realized that her reticence was not borne out of frigidity, but out of fear and distrust that in reality had not as much to do with him, as to all the other events of her life that had come before she ever met him.

Laura came out of the bathroom and went to get her purse. She stood at the back of the sofa and regarded Steele, deriving a certain satisfaction at seeing him so undone by their passionate tryst. He was so overwhelmingly manly and yet so like a little boy with his clothes disheveled, his hair tousled, his face still flushed. It was all that she could do to hold herself back from going to his arms once again.

"I enjoyed breakfast, Mr. Steele, and . . . everything."

"Everything was a bit more than you planned, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was . . . more," Laura smiled weakly. "It was much more . . ." Her voice trailed off.

"Thank you, Laura. I'm sorry if I may have taken undue liberties . . . "

"You did nothing that I did not allow you to do. I only wish . . ."

"Please don't regret what happened between us today, Laura. I will never forget a moment of it."

Laura bent over the sofa and kissed Remington Steele gently upon his lips. "I'd better go home and to bed."

"Sleep well, darling. Please forgive me if I don't get up right now. I'm still rather . . . indisposed."

"I'll let myself out." Laura smiled shyly, herself somewhat embarrassed and at the same time amused at his discomfiture.

Remington Steele heard the door open and quietly close behind Laura as she left.

"Lord help us," he murmured, overwhelmed by his passion for Laura.

* * * * * *

Laura went home to her loft and straight to bed. She was both physically and emotionally exhausted. The weekend of around the clock effort to solve Alfred Hollis' problems with the U.S. Reserve Bank had been draining enough but then the passionate morning with Remington Steele, losing herself like that with him, had finished her off completely. She lay in her bed, stunned by her experience with Remington Steele, and let sleep wash over her.

It was nearly four in the afternoon when Laura awakened. She was first conscious of the warmth in the pit of her stomach, the memory of being in Remington Steele's arms. She realized that she had been dreaming, that the dream had continued from where the morning with Remington Steele had left off, and Laura just buried her head into her pillow as her mind took her beyond where she and Remington Steele had ever been.

Just before five o'clock Laura called in to the office. She wanted to catch Bernice before she left for the day.

"Well, Laura, I hope that all of you had a really nice day. I had a great time here handling an office full of unhappy people," Bernice said with her characteristic touch of sarcasm.

"I'm sorry that you were left manning the office alone, Bernice."

"I just hope that you enjoyed your 'tea,' Laura."

"Actually I did. . . we did."

"You and Skeeziks-you finally did it. I can tell by the tone of your voice."

"We didn't, well, we almost did. Oh, Bernice, I should be there now, but I got so scared when we got that close."

"Well, did he live up to your expectations?"

"Yes, he was-fabulous."

"Then you'd better nail that man down, Laura. Have you forgotten how to nail a man down or do I have to remind you?"

"I want this man, Bernice, but not like all the others. Is it possible that he could be 'it,' you know, 'love of my life' and all that stuff?"

"I think that you should think about 'love of right now' and stop worrying about what comes after, Laura. And speaking of what comes after-I was hoping to talk with you today."

"You and George?"

"Yes, me and George. I need a couple weeks, Laura, beginning next Monday. George wants me to go to Lake Tahoe with him and I said 'yes.' Is that going to work?"

"Well, I don't see why it can't work out. I'll talk to you in the morning. Meanwhile can you get me a professional number for Sherrie Webster? She's a psychologist-might be in a group."

"Oh, Murphy's friend. She's a psychologist! Murphy's moving up in the world."

"That's what I said."

Bernice gave Laura Sherrie Webster's number and she quickly dialed it and asked for Dr. Webster.

"Sherrie, this is Laura Holt."

"Oh, Laura, hello. Say this weekend was truly fun. You guys have an exciting time of it, don't you?"

"Yes, it is exciting, Sherrie. I-I was hoping that I could talk with you-on a professional basis. Could I get an possibly get an appointment?"

"Well, my appointment book is full for this week, and I am starting behind my schedule after the weekend with you people. But I'm in the office this evening-till nine o'clock. Do you want to come by now? I have an hour."

"Sure. I'll be there by seven."

"When Laura sat down with Sherrie Webster, she felt at first hesitant about discussing her situation with Remington Steele, but Sherry quickly dispelled this with her easygoing professionalism and Laura relaxed and spoke freely with her.

"Mr. Steele came into my life nearly a year ago through a series of unusual events that I could not have possibly anticipated. I-I was immediately attracted to him-and he to me, but I thought it would be a short term thing and pass over."

"Is that really what you felt, Laura? Or did you sense then that this was possibly going to be a very important relationship in your life. It's very helpful if you can be truthful about your feelings here."

Laura was taken aback when forced to face the truth on this basic point.

"I-I guess that I knew it was going to be serious between us. I wanted it to be serious. You're right. I had never met a man who affected me as he did-as he does."

"Good. We start with truth and move on from there. Now how has he said that he feels?"

"He wants us to be lovers. He started by flirting mercilessly, making all kinds of overtures, but he was kind a playboy type-a different woman every night of the week."

"And you were not about that."

"No. I wasn't going to be one of 'many.' I never would put up with that from a man. Then, about three months ago he stopped going out-with other women."

"Tell me about the significant men that have been in your life previously."

Laura settled back in her chair and put her head back as she reflected back.

"I guess that I was a normal teenager growing up in the late sixties and early seventies-boyfriends, going out-the normal."

"Would you mind telling me how old you were when you had your first sexual experience?"

Laura paused, thinking before answering. She clearly recalled the event.

"It was the year following my sixteenth birthday. My father had left my mother that summer. We were very close-my father and me-and I felt quite abandoned when he left. We had no warning. One day he was just gone-vanished into thin air. He wrote back after a couple of months from Hawaii-said that he just had to go and follow his-dreams."

Laura's eyes filled and she choked back a sob as she remembered. Dr. Webster just waited patiently for her to compose herself.

"Before that happened I had been going out with this boy from school-Marty Klopman. I had intercourse the first time with him. It-it wasn't what I thought it was going to be like so I just kept 'sampling,' you know. I must have gone through half a dozen boys that school year. I had sex with every one of them.

"Then college came-Stanford. I was celibate for long periods and then I would break out and have sex with a series of guys. When I was a senior, I decided that I needed to try someone more mature and I got into a long term relationship with my English professor."

"Did that satisfy you-what you were looking for?"

"Sherrie, can I tell you something in strictest confidence?"

"I am speaking to you as a clinical psycholigist. Our discussion is confidential."

"I couldn't reach orgasm-not with any of them."

"You pretended." Sherrie stated it as a fact.

Laura dropped her head.

"Something is the matter with me. I lived with a man-Wilson Jeffreys-for nearly a year and he-he left me. I don't know why he left. He says now that I was just too wild and crazy-unpredictable for him. But he never told me that. He just left one day and called me and said that he couldn't live with me any longer."

"Now I am going to break a rule that I have about bringing my own personal life into my work her, Laura, because of the peculiar circumstances we find ourselves in here. I will preface this question by stating that I am not seriously involved with Murphy Michaels. We met. We had a good time over the weekend, and he and I both know that that was the beginning and the end of it. I have not found the man I want to spend my life with as yet. That having been said, have you been involved with Murphy?"

"Yes. A couple of times when we were at the Havenhurst Agency, we went out, drank beer together and had sex. He never understood that I couldn't be with a man who couldn't fulfill that need I have to surrender completely. He doesn't know. He thought he did the job-but he didn't. I wish that we had never gone down that road, because I do love him as a friend. He has been very protective of me-very resentful of Mr. Steele from the outset-viewing him as some kind of rival. They have almost come to blows over it."

"And now that we are down to your Mr. Steele. Do you think that you are more afraid of Mr. Steele or of yourself?"

"Afraid of myself?"

"Afraid of your inability to achieve orgasm more than of his amorous nature, afraid that your passions will not match his in some way, that you will not please him, and that if he finds this out, he will leave you."

Laura sat stunned as she analyzed Sherrie's pointed analysis of matters.

"I don't know, Sherrie. I have never met a man who stimulated me so. Today-earlier we came very close to crossing that line. Actually we did cross the line. If we had not been interrupted . . . I lost control of the situation."

"Do you feel that you must 'control' the situation, Laura?"

"I always have. At least I felt that I have."

"You are never going to experience sexual fulfillment by controlling anything or anyone. If you ever let go of the need to control him, you will probably find that you will experience the full gamut of sexual fulfillment. Letting go of control is a major criterion."

"Yes, but if I let go like that and then he leaves? I don't want him to leave me."

"If he leaves, he leaves. You are not going to stop him from leaving by maintaining control. Obviously he could have left before now. You say that he has given up the other women, the casual sex partners. I think that you are going to have to be willing to trust your Mr. Steele. Trust seems to be the crux of your problems rather than any inability to achieve orgasm. It's evident that your father's leaving at a critical juncture in your life has left you with a crisis as to this matter of trust. But Remington Steele is not your father. Never forget this when dealing with him. You will make a serious mistake if you transpose your feelings of resentment about your father to him. Also you are going to find it difficult, if not impossible, to 'control' him-from what I have seen of him."

"I want him. That is a fact."

"And it is very clear from my observations that he wants you. I thought from the subtle behavior between you that you were lovers already. Remington Steele may not be willing to be 'just another man who passed through your life.' You may have to decide whether you want this relationship to be the defining male/female relationship of your life."

Laura sat quietly in her chair and tears began to stream down her cheeks. She didn't try to wipe them away. She just let them flow.

"It's deep, isn't it, Laura?"

"Yes, it is." Laura finally stopped weeping.

"I would not suggest that you let him walk out. You will beat yourself up emotionally for the rest of your life about what might have been."

"How do I keep him from walking out? Everyone else has walked out."

"Let go of that need to control him. Aren't you controlling him enough?"

"Am I controlling him?"

"You have forced him to change his sexual habits and I am sure that these habits were of long standing. I am sure that he has made other changes that you are aware of. I don't think that in your heart of hearts you want a man that you can completely control. That's why you didn't want Murphy. You love the intellectual and emotional challenge of a man like Mr. Steele. It is an aphrodisiac as powerful as any concoction humans have ever come up with."

"This is true. You are very good at what you do, Sherrie."

"I wish that we could have a few more sessions. I am leaving next week-going to Australia for a year to study life among the Aborigines. I could refer you to another psychologist."

"No, I think that I will take this session and try to digest what we have talked about. Thank you for fitting me in like this on short notice."

"Don't mention it, Laura. I enjoyed the weekend with you and your group on that case. It was a blast. And I would like to know what happens with you and Mr. Steele in the future."

"I'll keep in touch, Sherrie."

The two women said their good-byes and Laura got in her car and drove home. There was so much to sort out, so much to think about.

Sherrie Webster checked her calendar for the next morning before leaving for the day. Her first appointment for the following morning was with Remington Steele at ten. She smiled as she turned out the lights and left her office for the evening.

When she sat across from Remington Steele the next morning, Sherrie Webster saw a man who was quite uneasy in his role as patient in this setting in spite of his impeccably tailored appearance. She had anticipated that this might be the case and endeavored to put him at ease quickly.

"I really had a great time looking in on what you do this past weekend, Mr. Steele. I guess that you wanted to see what I do here."

"I guess that you might say that, but I somehow felt that you might have the objectivity that may prove useful in this circumstance."

"You refer to what circumstances, Mr. Steele. What would you like to talk about here?"

"I want to talk about myself and Laura Holt." Remington Steele said the words simply, without emotion.

"Why don't we start with you, Mr. Steele. Tell me about yourself-your family background."

"Well, actually I am an orphan. I really believe that my mother is deceased. I am still looking for my father." Remington Steele paused realizing that he was vocalizing something that he had always kept in the deep recesses of his heart.

Dr. Webster just waited for Steele to continue.

"My early life is a blur somehow-a succession of relatives who did not really want me and then foster homes. All of this took place in Ireland, the country of my birth. When I was ten, I ran away from the foster home where I was, joined the circus."

"What precipitated your running away at that young age?"

"Abuse, pure and simple. All kinds of abuse-sexual, physical. I had to get out of there and I did."

"How do you feel that these early experiences have affected you?"

"Affected me? I dare say that I learned that you can't believe what people say-no matter who they are. Even relatives-family will betray you if it is to their advantage to do so."

"What happened after you ran away with the circus, Mr. Steele?"

"I spent a year with the circus, finally ended up in London-on the streets basically. I lived by my wits. Most of the time in Brixton-a tough place where you will either sink or swim. I had plenty of run-ins with the coppers in those days and I became a very tough young man. Then when I was fourteen, I met a man who really rescued me from that. He is like a father to me, an older brother perhaps-Daniel Chalmers."

"And this Chalmers showed you a different sort of life?"

"Oh, yes! He taught me to be a gentleman, to mix with all kinds of people. He also taught me his 'business.' "

"And that was?"

"Let's say that he retrieved stolen property so as to subsequently obtain the 'finders fees.' It was quite lucrative actually."

"So that is what you did before coming to America?"

"Yes, before coming to America, before becoming Remington Steele." Steele hesitated before going on. "Dr. Webster, we are speaking in strictest confidence here."

"Of course."

"Laura-Laura Holt was Remington Steele first. She invented him so that she could do her job in a world that didn't seem to be quite ready to accept a private investigator from the distaff side."

Sherri Webster sat totally fascinated and surprised at this unexpected wrinkle in Steele's story.

"And you . . ?"

"I quite literally became Remington Steele a year ago. I came here to Los Angeles to retrieve some stolen gems and return them to their rightful owners for my usual finders' fee and the Steele Agency had been engaged to protect those very gems. That is when I met Laura Holt and through a series of highly improbably events became Remington Steele. The whole character of Remington Steele was an elaborate ruse. I discovered the charade and then somehow managed to be introduced as Remington Steele, a man who had been quite an enigma prior to that. The rest is history."

"And how did Laura Holt react to your assuming Remington Steele's identity?"

Steele chuckled now, relaxing in his manner with Sherrie Webster.

"Neither of us will ever forget that-ever. And-and I started to fall in love-in love with her then and there. That is actually why I am here. I love her more and more each day that I am around her and I think that she loves me, but there is a barrier-a block between us and I don't know what it is. Dr. Webster, I am thirty years old and I consider myself a man of the world. I have been with countless women from every part of the earth, but I've never run up against anyone like Laura."

"Have you ever loved anyone before this, Mr. Steele?"

"When I try to remember my childhood, I seem to recall a woman who held me, cherished me, and I remember loving her. I just don't know who it was-my mother, or someone else. I am fond of Daniel Chalmers, my mentor, very fond of him. But I have never consciously loved someone like this."

"And how has it felt-loving someone?"

"It's been exhilarating and unsettling at the same time."


"I don't know how to proceed. I have such anxiety about it. I never met a woman I couldn't walk away from but I can't walk away from this one. I cannot walk away. I haven't been with a woman for three months. That's the longest I've been celibate since I was sixteen years old. I didn't plan this but it just happened. Yesterday-yesterday I thought that it was going to happen for us. To be quite honest, it almost did happen-but then this woman, who was in my arms driving me crazy, turned into-into 'Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm' on me and it was over. Over-just like that!"

"Have you told her that you have these feelings for her?"

"It should be obvious to her. I have stopped going out with anyone else. When I hold her in my arms, it should be obvious to her that I am in love with her. I became Remington Steele-to be with her." Steele stopped for a moment, surprised at what he had just said, then capitulated, and continued. "Hell, yes! That's why I became Remington Steele. I am your original 'rolling stone,' getting my kicks and moving on without a backward thought. I'm here because she's here."

"Perhaps that is her fear, Mr. Steele. That you will get your so-called 'kicks' with her and do just that-move on without a backward glance."

"That doesn't make sense, Doctor. If I haven't had sex with her and can't move on, what makes you think that if we do become lovers, that I will love her and leave her."

"You have to try to see things through her eyes, Mr. Steele."

"Well, she has me between the proverbial rock and the hard place now. I will never leave her. As long as there is the slightest possibility that one day she will accept me completely into her life, I cannot leave. And when that day comes . . . that she is willing to have me. . . Dear Lord, I am smitten."


"An old lover came through recently. Normally upon seeing one another like that we would, as she put it, 'brush up on our bacchanalian whirl,' so to speak. She put her arms around me in the old familiar way and I felt nothing. She said that I had a different feel about me, as if I'd been 'smitten.' It is true, isn't it? I'm done for."

Remington Steele could not continue. He dropped his head as the intensity of his emotions overwhelmed him.

"My suggestion to you, Mr. Steele, is that you vocalize your feelings to Miss Holt. Your early life experience has made you feel that words are not the most important thing. People who should have been there for you disappointed you, took advantage of you. But you must realize that Miss Holt's early life experience may have made her need the very thing that you find so difficult to give to her."

"The words are here-inside of me, but trying to say them is all but impossible for me-at least for right now. If I tell her that I love her, she might use that as leverage to control me, even to hurt me."

"She controls you already, doesn't she? You have stayed here in Los Angeles when you should have left a year ago. You have learned the business, her business. You are playing the role that she created. Everything that you are doing tells me that you love Laura. Don't you realize that she can hurt you emotionally where you are now? The words that you are holding back are just an imaginary barrier that protects you from nothing when you are feeling what you seem to be feeling for this woman."

Dr. Sherrie Webster saw the fear in the blue eyes of her handsome patient as he realized the truth of what she was saying and she felt deep compassion for him. It was obvious that his early life had damaged him so deeply that it was not going to be easy for him to take the leap of faith required to say the words that Laura Holt needed to hear. The road ahead for these two troubled, yet beautiful people was not going to be an easy one to travel.

"My God! I'm in some sort of emotional box here. There is no way out, is there?"

"No, Mr. Steele. You and Miss Holt are going to have to let this road take you where it will. Hopefully, somewhere along the way your paths, which have converged, will somehow intertwine. In lieu of spending a great deal of time in therapy of this sort, you must accept that it may take a while for you to both get to where you want to be in this relationship."

"I never envisioned going celibate at this stage of the game. I'll be ready to join the priesthood when this is over. I envision a lot of sleepless nights ahead of me, Dr. Webster."

"Well, if it is any consolation, she will probably not be sleeping either, Mr. Steele. As to going celibate-if you want her, you will have to do that while you wait for her. She is an extremely intelligent, even brilliant woman and she will know if you fall back into your old ways and you will be back, not just at square one but at minus square one, all over again."

Remington Steele's eyes brimmed with tears and spilled over as he sat in Dr. Webster's patients' chair looking like he had lost his last friend, discouraged, deflated, lost in an emotional tailspin such as he would never have imagined.

"Before I met Laura I had not cried since I was a little boy. When I ran away at ten, I resolved to never let anyone make me shed tears. I kept that resolve. I am a man now and here I am crying over this woman. God in heaven! Look at me!"

Steele reached into his pocket and took out a spotless linen handkerchief and covered his eyes as his tears continued to flow.

"You are in love with her. Love makes all sorts of other emotions surface. You are altogether normal, Mr. Steele. Tears are not the province of women only. You are perhaps, for the first time in your life, feeling these very deep emotions. And this is good. Try to keep from regressing in your relationship with Miss Holt. She has opened up somewhat and relaxed, let you have a degree of intimacy with her. Don't let that go. Endeavor to maintain that level of intimacy. It might be difficult to exercise the restraint necessary, but relationships grow and I hope that the two of you eventually find what you are seeking in each other."

"Thank you-for at least giving me hope. I will try to exercise patience. I seem to have no choice." Steele sighed as he contemplated his situation. "I truly appreciate this time spent today, Dr. Webster."

"I wish that we could continue with this. Next week I leave for Australia to spend a year doing research for a book that I am writing. I can refer you to another psychologist in our group if you like."

"No, at least, not for now. I think that you have given me rather a great deal to ruminate over. I hope that this not the last time we meet."

"I certainly hope not, Mr. Steele."

Sherrie Webster extended her hand and they warmly shook hands before Remington Steele left her office.

Sherrie Webster poured herself a cup of coffee and went into the next office to confer with her partner and colleague, another woman psychologist like herself, Constance Somerset.

"What's up, Sherrie?" Constance was a black career woman in her forties, the senior partner in the group. She was never shocked at the difficult emotional circumstances their patients found themselves in, and Sherrie often found it helpful to bounce certain problems off her.

"You know, Connie, some women just don't know what to do when they find a good man. They have him in the palm of their hand, crying his eyes out over her no less, and they can't figure out what to do with him. That man that just walked out of my office-if he was for me like he is for that woman in his life, there would be no way I would put him through what she is putting him through."

"What's she putting him through?"

"Hell, pure and simple. And there is nothing that he can do about it."

"Somebody else probably put her through hell. That is usually the bottom line, you know."

"You got that right," Sherrie Webster said, as she left to go back to her own office for her next appointment.