STEELE 'O MY HEART, PART IX: STEELE OF THE IMAGINATION
By: Susan Deborah Smith
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #13/14
Summary: A long drive opens up Remington and Laura's imaginations.
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.
It was Remington's idea that they might entertain each other on the long drive to San Diego by reciting some little fantasies that might be languishing unexpressed.
"Fantasies?" Laura repeated.
"Scenarios," he explained. "Innocuous little dreams, tasty little visions of erotic romance that shall soon have us both scanning the roadside for a clean, cheap motel."
"The purpose of which is?"
"To divert our minds from the lack of stereo."
"So, then: You first."
"I'm all ears. So to speak."
"Okay." She frowned, trying to think of something. "I'm not going to be very good at this."
"Nonsense. You're a story teller from way back. Remington Steele, crack detective, for example. Before he became flesh and blood, he was an exceedingly fine work of fiction. You'll be excellent. I am awaiting your juicy little tale with bated breath, yes."
She studied the view. "All right," she said. "Purely out of the realm of the imagination."
"Okay." Taking a deep breath, she began, "When I was seventeen, I had a rich friend, and for New Year's, her family was planning a trip to Brazil. They invited me to come along."
"Reckless youth, foreign locales, a fine start."
"Right." Laura was wracking her brain, but it began to get easier. "Brazil was amazing to behold," she went on, she who hadn't been south of Acapulco, "but it was hard for us to find stuff to do, since Chris and I were in high school, and her brother was ten, and then there were twin sisters in nursery school. And of course, they'd promised my mother to keep an eye on me, so that further limited the possibilities."
"Entirely," he agreed, accelerating around a truck.
"Fortunately, there was something we all could do: Go to the circus. It wasn't a big circus, of course, but it was adequate. I insisted that we sit all the way down in front, right by the center ring where I could get a really good look at the flyers."
"Of course," he said. "All those fellows in tights."
"Exactly." She grinned. "The only thing I'm paying any attention to is the trapeze work, which is really good. There's one guy who is fabulous. He's slim, he's got terrific muscles, be --"
"You can tell all this from the front row?"
"And it's not bad watching him go up the little ladder, either."
"Really, Laura! I'm blushing."
His wife had warmed to her story. "Okay. So. Time goes by too fast, and it's all over. He lets go of the bar and drops into the net. He has the most beautiful, glossy black hair. He comes off the net right in front of me, and our eyes lock. It's as if we've known each other forever, and I can see the whole world in his eyes. They're just the deepest blue, like clear water, or steel."
He glanced over at her. She was smiling, but she wasn't smiling at him. "Are they?" he prompted.
Her reverie broken, she went on with the story. "He's wearing gray tights," she said, setting the scene, "and his shirt has dark blue sequins sewn all over it." She paused. "When the show is over, Chris' brother wants to try some games of skill, and Chris is going to have her fortune told. The fortune telling takes a long time, because she has to use her dictionary for everything that's told to her. So I go off to look for more entertainment. A couple of coins gets me three baseballs to throw at bottles."
The ocean came into view once more, but she didn't see it. "All of a sudden," she said, more quietly, "there's someone beside me. He takes the rest of the balls, winds up for the pitch, and knocks down all the targets. He's won the prize, and hands it over very gallantly. Of course, it's the flyer. 'Gracias,' I say.
"Obrigado," Remington corrected.
"Right. 'Bella signorina,' he replies."
"Bella signorhina," said Steele.
Laura was detail-oriented and did not quibble with the interruption. "Thanks. Anyway, I try to find my dictionary. 'I don't speak,' I mumble, trying to look up some verbs. 'Portuguese?' he suggests. 'Neither do I.' Then he bows, flinging his cape back over his shoulder. 'The Great Savini,' he says, pressing his lips to my hand."
"Ah," said Remington. "Of course." He had, up until this point, been following her narrative with interest; now he felt his pulse quicken as she reached the punchline.
"He invites me to dinner after the evening show. I decline, knowing Chris' parents will keep me on a leash. No boys, Brazilian or otherwise, they promised my mother."
"Little do they know what they're up against," said Remington.
She wasn't sure what he meant. "The Great Savini, seducer of young girls?" she proposed.
"The nefarious Laura Holt, wise virgin," he replied.
"He suggests that we have dinner in my room at the Savoya. I'm astonished that he knows where I'm staying, until I realize I'm wearing a Savoya T-shirt. I decline again, explaining that I'm staying with my friend, her parents, etc. A look of charming regret comes over his face. With a little shrug, he kisses my hand again and turns away." Laura paused dramatically. "All of a sudden, I don't even know what I'm doing, I call him back. The Great Savini hesitates, and I run to catch up. 'I could pretend to be sick," I tell him; he is intrigued. 'I'll tell them I'm sick, and then they'll go out without me.' 'I'll see you at nine,' he promises with a kiss. 'Room 415,' I yell after him, but I'm not sure he's heard me."
"He heard you all right," said Remington.
"Right after we get back to the hotel, I come down with some handy undefinable complaint. My head hurts, my eyes hurt, my stomach hurts. I just want to lie down in a dark, quiet room.
"They leave me to myself, and promise to be home early. I beg them not to think of me. I'll be fine. Probably too much cotton candy. I peek out and watch them get into the elevator. After a ten minute safety margin, I jump out of bed, try to do something with my hair, and put on a little backless dress."
"Clouds of perfume?" her husband suggested.
"On the off-chance that the Great Savini likes that sort of thing. I order room service. I wait. I wait and wait and wait. I think I've fallen asleep when I hear a tapping on the window. The Great Savini is kneeling on the ledge."
"Obviously a man with extraordinarily good balance."
"I can't believe it. I push the window up, and he climbs in, carrying a red rose and a bottle of champagne. 'What are you doing out there?' I ask him. He takes me in his arms. 'I couldn't very well compromise you by coming up the elevator could I? Eh?' he replies."
There was a long pause. "And then?"
"And then what?"
"What happens next?"
"We spend a lovely evening."
She smiled. "I'm not going to describe it in lurid detail here in the car."
"But that's half the fun."
"I'm sure it is, but it makes me a little uncomfortable."
"Why? We're all alone."
"You know how I get," said Laura. "I'm liable to grab you right here in the car, and then God knows what'll happen to our rates."
"Do I have your promise that you'll go on with this tantalizing story in a more appropriate locale?"
"Absolutely, Mr. Steele," she agreed, reaching over to give him a kiss.