STEELE 'O MY HEART, PART IV: STEELE IN THE FAMILY
By: Susan Deborah Smith
First printed: More Red Holt Steele #13/14
Summary: It's time for Laura to tell her mother.
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.
Remington handed her the phone. Laura took it, poised to dial, then put it back in the cradle.
"Laura," said her husband. "Call your mother."
"I don't want to call my mother."
"Because," she said finally. "Because why?"
"Because I don't want to tell her I'm married!" she exclaimed, and turned and ran into the kitchen.
For one puzzled moment, Remington stood and looked at the phone, then at the place where Laura had been. Then he went in search of her.
She had wasted no time in pulling an enormous supply of cold cuts and cheese from the icebox, and proceeded to make them up into a sandwich. He waited, and his silence had some effect.
"Pastrami or roast beef?" she asked, laying out two more slices of bread.
"You don't want to tell her you're married," he said. "Is that the gist of it?"
"That's it. Pastrami or--"
"Roast beef," he said. "You don't want to tell her you're married?" he suggested. "Or you don't want to tell her you're married to me?"
"I don't want to tell her I'm married." She began to spread mustard on the bread.
"That's going to make it a bit awkward at Christmas, isn't it?" he told her. "She'll think we're just living together. She'll try to put us in separate rooms."
"Just forget it, all right?"
"Why don't you want to tell her?" he demanded.
"Because it's what she wants to hear!" she shouted.
The escalation of the conflict surprised them both. "Eh?"
Laura put down the knife and leaned on the counter. "All through school, she was always calling and writing," she explained. "Had I met any nice boys? Had I met any prospects? And out of school, when I was building my career, it was, 'When are you going to stop all that and settle down, Laura?' Well, I didn't want to stop all that, and I didn't want to settle down!"
"I see." He narrowed his eyes.
"That's not what I meant," she said. "I just never wanted it her way, and that's not what I have now, and I don't want her to think it is."
"I'm sure you can spell it out for her," Remington told her. "Modern marriage, two careers..."
"I don't want to talk to her."
"Then call your sister," he said.
"Laura!" her sister exclaimed. "How are you! I got your postcards!"
"I'm fine, Frances."
"Got back home okay, I see. I tried to call, but your line's out of order."
"Yes, I know. That's why I'm calling. You see, Franny, I
Remington fed her the line. "Got married," he said.
"I got -- "
"Married," he prompted.
"I got married, Franny," she said in a rush.
"What?" said Frances, over increasing background noise. Then she yelled, "Shut up, can't you? It's your Aunt Laura! Tell me again, honey."
"Frances, I'm married," Laura repeated.
"Married?" said Frances. "What? To who?"
"Whom. To whom," said Laura automatically. "Steele. Remington Steele."
"You mean that hunk of a boss of yours?"
Laura flushed. "He's not my boss," she said. "He's my partner."
"Laura, I just don't know what to say. I'm flabbergasted. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever expect my baby sister to call with news like this!"
"I know. I'm a little surprised myself."
"I mean, you have your career."
I've still got it."
"You were always so... Well, let's face it, Laura, you always looked down on me for getting married and not going to college."
"Frances, don't start on that again. I never looked down on you for getting married."
"Yes, you did. You know you did. Girls with degrees from Stanford always look down on us housewives."
"Frances, shut up!"
"I'm very happy for you, Laura."
"Thank you, Frances."
Equilibrium restored, Frances asked, "Honey, when did all this happen?"
"Last month. July, actually."
"That explains all the travelling. Where'd you do it? L.A.? Or Mexico, or Ireland?"
Well, actually we did it twice. We got married in L.A., by the captain of a ship --"
"How romantic!" Frances exclaimed.
Laura winced at the memory. "And then Remington wanted a religious ceremony, so we did it again in Ireland."
"Oh, Laura, how could you keep this a secret from your big sister?"
"That's the thing, Frances," said Laura, glad to be on practical ground again. "We haven't told anyone yet. You're just about the first."
"You mean you haven't told Mother?"
"No, and really, that's why I--"
"A secret wedding," said Frances, in rapture. "A secret honeymoon. You remember, I told you your boss was about the most romantic man in the world."
"He's not my boss, Frances! We're partners, all right!"
Remington took the phone from the infuriated Laura. "Hello, Frances?" he said. "Steele here. What Laura's trying to tell you is that we haven't told a soul about the big event, and you know Laura -- she's such a shy, sensitive little thing." With an agonized groan, he doubled over as Laurels high heeled shoe was planted firmly on his foot.
"Remington? Are you there?"
"As I was saying, Frances," he continued with merely a catch in his voice, "would you be a true friend and call your mother and explain it the best way you can? Laura's a little tongue-tied on the subject, and you probably have more experience delivering news of this sort."
"It'll be quite a shock," said Frances.
Break it to her gently," urged Remington.
Laura came out of the bedroom with her hat and purse.
"Where are you going?" her husband asked.
"Out," she replied.
Rising to his feet, he barred her path. "Out where?"
"Laura -- "
"In five minutes, that phone is going to ring, and I don't want to be here to answer it."
"Now, Laura -- "
"Out of my way, please."
"Laura -- "
"She'll ask stupid embarrassing questions." Laura's distaste for the entire situation was clearly reflected on her face. "Like, what did I wear, and have we started a family yet?"
Such an idea had never struck him before. "That's something to think about, Laura," he said warily. "Have we?"
"Not to my knowledge," she replied.
"Perhaps we should discuss the possibility."
"Later," said Laura. "When I get back."
The phone began to ring.
"Too late," he said.
"Not too late," said Laura, heading for the door.
"Laura!" He caught her wrist and pulled her back to him. She resisted, but he held her, and kissed her, and murmured, "Talk to your mother, Laura."
Half-persuaded, she caught it on the next ring. "Hello?"
"Mrs. Steele?" said a strange, harsh voice.
"This is Laura Steele," she said automatically.
"Oh, Laura, it's true!" her mother exclaimed. "I thought Frances was having one of her -- spells."
"That was a nice Donald Duck, Mother."
"How could you do this to me, Laura? Getting married and not inviting me, your own mother!"
"I didn't invite anyone, Mother. It was a very small ceremony."
"Did you go to Las Vegas? Frances said you got married on a ship."
"I don't think you can get married on a ship in Las Vegas."
"Well, that's what I thought. I knew she was making that up."
"Actually, Mother, we were married on a ship."
"Mother? Mother, please stop that!"
"Mrs. Holt?" said Remington, coming to the rescue. "Abigail? Yes, I know you're wildly happy. I can certainly appreciate that. Yes. So am I."
"Wildly happy?" said Laura.
"Truly," he told her, then, to the phone, he said, "Abigail, I know this came as a bit of a surprise, and frankly, we'd like you to surprise everyone else for us."
"What?" said Laura's mother.
Steele put his arm around Laura, a showman, even on the telephone.
"That's right, Abigail. Laura and I are ordering the formal announcements, and naturally she and I want you to do the announcing."
"You're the mother of the bride, after all. Now I know Laura's not a very traditional sort of girl, but in matters such as these, tradition's the thing, eh?"
"Oh, Mr. Steele."
"Bit formal for a son-in-law, don't you think?" he said. "Please call me Remington."
"I need an aspirin," said Laura.
Holding her closer, he said, "We have a sample here, fully embossed on heavy ivory card, waiting for your approval. Permit me to read the text." He cleared his throat. "'Mrs. Abigail Holt is pleased to announce the marriage of her daughter, Laura, to Mr. Remington Steele, on February 17, 1987, in Los Angeles, California. A religious ceremony took place in Ireland a month later. The couple are at home in Los Angeles' etc. etc."
Abigail, who had managed to restrain her emotions for a moment, began sniffling. "Oh," she sobbed. "That's beautiful. It's like music. Put Laura back on, please, Remington."
"Certainly, Abigail. And let me say how happy I am to be a member of the Holt clan."
Laura rolled her eyes and accepted the phone. "Mother?"
"Oh, Laura," her mother said tearfully. "I wish I could have been there."
"No, you don't."
"I mean, it was all a bit of a rush. Spur of the moment. You know."
"Laura." Her mother's voice became suddenly stern. "You didn't have to get married, did you? I mean, you're not -- "
Laura covered the mouthpiece. "It's worse than I thought," she told Remington. "We've gone back to 1962."
She allowed the phone to dangle from its cord. Abigail's voice could be clearly heard.
" -- Because if you are, I want you to know I won't be judgmental. These are modern times, people have modern relationships, and as long as you're married now, that's all that counts;.at least I can still hold up my head in public."
"Now do you understand?" asked Laura.
"Laura, I can't tell you how much I admire your -- restraint."
Only silence emanated from the phone. Then, "Laura? Darling, are you there?"
"Oh, sorry, Mother. Dropped an earring. What were you saying?" said Laura, ever so sweetly.
Mrs. Holt had possibly caught on to the response Laura was struggling to suppress, because the conversation returned at once to her distress at the secretiveness of the entire proceedings.
"Just tell me this, Laura," she said severely. "How could you write those little notes and not even hint that you were in the midst of the happiest days of your life?"
The happiest days of her life? Laura glanced at her husband. "Simple," she said. "I'm a detective. Deception is my business."