AN: This is one I wrote a while ago... in response to a conversation about what might have happened if Laura and Remington hadn't waited to act on their attraction. This is one of the first times I could have seen it happen. It picks up at the end of "Steele in Circulation." Feedback is always welcomed, please R/R.
Steele Ahead of Their Time
Laura Holt and Remington Steele were laughing as they exited his office. They stopped when Bernice Foxe confronted them.
"All right. That's it. Now, I want to know what's been happening here," Bernice demanded.
"Ah, let's see," Steele answered, tugging on his ear. "We prevented a man from committing suicide, although trying to commit suicide actually saved his life…"
"…and we broke into a bank…" Laura added.
"…and we helped to see that more than two and a half million dollars was properly destroyed," Remington said, summing up their weekend.
"Come on, I'm serious," Bernice said in disbelief.
"Well, I'd like to elaborate Miss Wolfe," Steele said, putting his arm around Laura's shoulders and pulling her close. "But right now, Miss Holt and I have a pressing conversation to complete."
"Well, should I even bother to make the coffee?" Bernice asked.
"Uh, no thanks," Laura answered, turning her gaze to Mr. Steele. "We'll be having tea."
When they arrived at his apartment, Remington wasn't sure exactly what to do next. He and Laura hadn't said much on the way from the office. As he busied himself in the kitchen, he remembered Laura's words to Bernice. He thought that maybe a pot of tea was in order. They could sit down, have some tea and continue their very important conversation. He did want to talk. He wanted to know everything about Laura…her dreams… her desires. He had wanted Laura from the very start. That had been his game in the beginning---pursuing her. No other woman had ever resisted him the way that Laura had, which of course made him want her even more. Remington didn't know exactly when things had changed, but when he almost lost her on that beam the night before, many things became clear. There was no doubt that he wanted her, but what he felt for Laura Holt was so much more than physical. She had stolen his heart.
Laura sat back on the sofa as Remington carried in a silver tray with a full tea service.
"Tea, Miss Holt?" he asked, setting the tray down on the coffee table.
She only nodded, watching him. Though she had made that remark to Bernice, she didn't expect Remington to make tea for her. She wasn't sure what she had expected, although she was fairly certain it would involve tearing each other's clothes off. What was it about this man that stripped her of all her inhibitions? She thought about their kiss in the wine cellar at St. Costello's Monastery, when she had admitted to feeling too much too soon. She had wanted him then. Hell, she'd wanted him practically since the moment they had met. Itchy. That was what she had told Bernice. She was itchy to be with this man. But last night, something changed. It was more than just fantasizing what it would be like to make love with him. She realized that her feelings went deeper than that. When she had fallen off that beam, she realized that she might never have the chance to share more than a case or a fleeting kiss with this beautiful mysterious stranger who had become so important to her. She wanted more. She needed more.
Remington poured the tea and watched Laura's face. There was something playing behind her eyes, as if she were having some inner monlogue. He braced himself for the fact that he may be about to be put off yet again, and then she spoke.
"This is lovely, Mr. Steele," she said, sipping her tea. "But tea isn't really what I had in mind." Reign it in, Laura, she thought to herself. This boldness was a side of her that few people saw - and she meant to keep it that way.
"Right you are, Miss Holt," he answered, sitting down beside her. "I believe we have a conversation to finish. Something about shared fantasies…" He leaned in to kiss her.
She accepted his kiss in a way that she never had before and returned it with equal passion. He had always thought that she wanted him as he did her, but one could never be too sure of anything with Laura. Although she called him a man of mystery, she herself was quite an enigma.
As the kiss ended, she looked into his deep blue eyes. "It's obvious, I think…" she began, "…that we share a common goal…" She turned her gaze to her teacup.
He studied her with rapt interest as she continued. She was trying so hard to maintain a cool façade, but she was even more beautiful when she was flustered.
"…but we never seem to be in the same place at the same time or at least never when it's convenient. So we've put it off…" Laura went on.
"…because we assume we'll both be around when the proper time comes," Remington interjected, repeating her words from the night before as he kissed her again.
"And we know there are no guarantees," she said breathlessly. This time, she initiated the kiss. It was a deep, penetrating kiss.
"We owe it to ourselves," he said, kissing her softly, "to explore the possibilities."
As he kissed her, his hands began pulling her sweater from the waist of her trousers. He ran his hands up underneath it and she melted at his touch. When the kiss ended, he pulled the sweater up over her head. He looked at her with eyes full of desire . . . along with something he had never felt before, and did not quite understand. He had never wanted a woman as much, and he knew that was because he had never felt this much.
"So beautiful," he said softly.
She stood, holding her hand out to him. She led him into his bedroom. There was no going back now.
Laura awoke with a start. She looked over at the dark form sleeping next to her. If it was possible he was even better looking as he slept, his features bathed in sunlight. She smiled as she watched him. She couldn't believe that she was here, in his bed. She had told herself a million times that they shouldn't, they couldn't cross that line. She had wanted him, but felt that acting on that desire would have been foolish - selfish, even. It was for the good of the agency, she had told herself. He was actually becoming a competent detective and she feared they would never be able to work together if they became lovers.
What now? she wondered. Wild and crazy Laura had struck again. Making love with Remington had been incredible and although it was like nothing she had ever experienced, Laura was terrified that she had made a huge mistake. The old Laura acted on her impulses and worried about the consequences later. But the current Laura, who was more interested in her agency and playing it safe than in her own needs and desires, would never have allowed herself to go to bed with Remington Steele. She needed time to think.
She slipped quietly out of his bed, careful not to wake him. Gathering her clothes, she tiptoed out of the room and closed the door quietly behind her. She dressed in the quiet living room, and then collected her jacket and her purse and left the apartment. As she reached the parking lot, she was grateful she had the foresight to insist they take the Rabbit instead of having Fred drive them. She contemplated her next move as she drove home through the busy afternoon traffic.
Remington stretched and reached for Laura, but all he found was a cold pillow. He sat up and considered calling out or going to look for her, but quickly realized that her clothes were no longer on the floor. He didn't have to get out of bed to know that she was gone. He leaned back against the headboard, his hands clasped behind his head. In the past, he had been the one who left, having been temporarily sated and not needing any sort of any emotional attachment.
He had wanted to spend the night with Laura. He had wanted to wake up with her, to lay entwined in her arms and discuss what fantasy they could fulfill next. However, that was the mystery of Laura Holt - each time he thought he knew her, there was another twist in the plot.
Laura arrived at home, but she couldn't focus on anything but what had happened that morning. She needed to clear her head, so she decided to go for a run. When she was running, she could either block out everything or solve the world's problems. It had always been her peace and solitude, but not on this particular Monday evening.
Tonight, she couldn't get Remington out of her head. Part of her was afraid that she would never see him again, but another part was afraid that she would. Being with him had not sated her curiosity; if anything, she wanted him more now because she knew what she would be missing. Could they still work together? Would he even want to? What would happen if Remington Steele suddenly disappeared? The agency was her life's work and she would not let it go without a fight.
That night sleep eluded her, she spent most of the night sitting at her dining room table, drinking coffee and planning her next move. So, early Tuesday morning, Laura steeled her resolve and pushed her way through the doors of Suite 1157. She was a professional; she could make this work. At least she had Murphy there for a buffer. It would all work out---it had to.
"I didn't expect to see you so early this morning," Bernice said to her, looking up from her desk.
"And why not?" Laura asked, back to trying to maintain that cool façade.
"Laura," Bernice said, glaring at her with a look that told her to remember who she was talking to.
Ignoring her, Laura asked, "Do I have any appointments this morning?"
Bernice decided to let it drop, for now. "Yes," she answered, looking down at her calendar. "Mr. Metzger will be here at 9:30 - he's a reschedule from yesterday. You're back to back until lunch."
"Thanks, Bernice," Laura said, picking up the mail and heading to her office.
No sooner had the door closed than Bernice looked up to see a deliveryman. He was carrying what had to be at least three dozen red roses. She smiled, knowing it was par for the course with a man whose opening move had been a magnum of champagne. In spite of herself, she was growing fond of the blue-eyed stranger and he seemed to be good for Laura, too.
She signed for the flowers and tipped the man from her petty cash fund. When she was alone again, she carried the flowers into Laura's office without bothering to knock and set her burden down on Laura's desk.
"Now are you going to tell me?" she asked, sitting in the chair opposite Laura's desk. She stared at her friend with a look of bemused curiosity.
"Oh, Bernice," Laura said with a sigh, covering her face with her hands. When she removed her hands, she gave the other woman a conspiratorial grin.
Laura nodded and Bernice's eyes grew wide.
"Well? How WAS it?"
Laura's grin grew wider and she raised her eyebrows as she said, "Let's just say it might be time for a dentist's appointment."
When Laura stood and reached for the card in the roses, Bernice uncharacteristically decided to give her some privacy. "I'll go get you some coffee," she said, leaving the room.
Laura held the card in her hand and inhaled the scent of the roses. They were lovely, and the gesture was so "him." She smiled as she realized she still didn't know what to call him. Although he had said he'd become accustomed to the name, he wasn't Remington Steele. She blushed as she remembered calling out "Mr. Steele" in the heat of passion. They would have to work on what to call him outside the office, assuming of course that they would be pursuing this relationship.
In the outer office, Bernice rolled her eyes as Murphy Michaels walked in grinning from ear to ear. Was she the only one around there not getting any?
"Morning, Murphy," she greeted him.
"Hey, Bernice," he said in reply. "Is Laura in yet?"
"She's in her office."
Murphy walked over to Laura's office and entered without knocking. She was lost in thought and smiling fondly as she looked at the card she held in her hand. He couldn't help but see the enormous bouquet of flowers on her desk and knew instantly who had sent them.
"What's he done this time?" he asked.
"Who?" Laura replied, looking up at him.
"Steele," Murphy glared. "He must have really screwed up to send something like that."
He noticed the blush returning to his partner's face and realized that the flowers might not have been an apology at all. Deciding he didn't want to know, he changed the subject.
"So," he said tentatively, "what did you think of Sherry?"
"She seemed nice," Laura answered. "Quite flexible - and smart, too. I don't think I would have wanted one of your usual dates along on a bank heist."
Murphy winced and Laura grinned.
"I think the question is what do YOU think of her, Murph?"
"I really like her, Laura."
"I'm happy for you, Murphy. I've always said you needed a strong, intelligent woman."
Murphy smiled at the irony of her statement, considering he had always thought that, as well… but he'd had a different woman in mind.
It was nearly 9:30 when Remington Steele breezed through the office door. Smiling, he greeted the receptionist.
"Good Morning, Miss Wolfe."
"I'm sure it is," she retorted as he headed toward Laura's office. "She's got a client coming in any minute."
"Stall," he instructed her over his shoulder.
He knocked and then opened the door to Laura's office just in time to see Murphy retreating into his own office.
"Good Morning," he said quietly. "But I rather hoped I'd be saying that to you in another setting."
She looked down at her desk. "I'm sorry," she said. "I just needed some time to think."
"You don't regret our becoming lovers, do you, Laura?" he asked, his voice just the slightest bit unsteady as he walked around behind her desk and leaned against it.
"No," she said, probably too quickly. Then glancing at her watch, she said, "I have a meeting any minute."
"Okay," he said, leaning over to kiss her softly. "I can wait. But we do need to talk, Laura. Have lunch with me."
She nodded and smiled, grateful that he didn't press the issue. "And thank you for the flowers. They're lovely."
"They're nothing compared to you," he said, disappearing into his office.
When he closed the door, she went out to greet the potential new client.
"For goodness sake, Laura, it's Friday night. You have to stop burning the midnight oil like this!" Bernice said, sticking her head into Laura's office. "You can't avoid him forever, you know."
"Who says I'm avoiding anyone?" Laura asked as Bernice sat down in the chair across from her desk.
"Laura, it's been over a week since you…"
"I know, Bernice. I know."
"Yet here you are night after night, working on files that are already finished, cases that have already been put to bed and who knows what else, when you have a perfectly gorgeous man out there waiting to have his way with you. I don't get it."
"I don't, either," Laura admitted. "When we were working on the Hollis case and I fell off that beam, all I could think about was that I could die without ever having told him how I felt about him."
"And how DO you feel about him?"
"That's just it, Bernice. I don't know. I do know that it's about a lot more than getting my teeth rattled. It meant something to him, too. I think that's what frightens me the most. I mean, I could almost handle that heart-stopping fling you mentioned once… but real, genuine feelings? It scares the hell out of me."
"Are you in love with him?"
"No!" she answered emphatically. "Not yet, anyway. But I could… I could fall for him very easily. And then what?"
"Then you go on with your life… together."
"But I don't even know his real name," Laura protested. "How do I know he's really going to be here for the long haul?"
"You don't," Bernice answered honestly. "But isn't that what this is all about? Go to him, Laura. You have to at least talk to him."
As Laura knocked on the door of his apartment, she let out a long breath. She had no idea what she was going to say to Remington, but she knew they had to talk.
"Laura," he said, opening the door. "What a pleasant surprise." He stepped away from the door to allow her to enter.
"I'm sorry I didn't call first," she said, not meeting his eyes.
"I'm glad you're here," he responded, leading her to the sofa. "Would you like a drink - or a glass of wine, perhaps?"
Scotch, straight up, she thought. "A glass of wine would be nice," she answered.
Remington went into the kitchen and came back with a bottle and two glasses. He poured for both of them and then sat down on the other end of the sofa. She took a gulp from her glass as he sipped from his own.
"I'm sorry we haven't spent much time together lately," she began. "I've just been so busy…"
"Duty calls, Laura. I understand."
Why was he being so nice?
"That's not it, entirely," she said. "It's just that… well, I…" She paused as she swallowed the rest of her wine and set the glass on the coffee table. She then reached for his glass and set it next to hers. "Oh, hell," she muttered as she flung herself into his arms.
Remington fell back against the armrest as Laura landed on top of him. She was kissing him with a pent-up desire that seem to match what he had been feeling these past several days. He wrapped his arms around her and returned her kisses, volley for volley. However frustrating, this dance of theirs was becoming quite interesting.
This time when Remington awoke the next morning, Laura was sleeping beside him. She was beautiful in the early morning sunlight with her hair spread out across the pillow. He watched her for a few minutes before sliding quietly out of the bed. Then grabbing his robe, he headed for the bathroom. When he came out and she was still sleeping, he decided to make breakfast.
Laura awoke to the most enchanting smell. She was somewhat disappointed that she was alone in the bed, but this way she had time to brush her teeth and make herself presentable. She pulled on his pajama top and headed for the bathroom. After she washed her face and brushed her teeth, she ran her fingers through her hair, letting it hang loosely about her shoulders. She padded out to the kitchen and stood silently in the doorway watching him.
He looked so comfortable in the kitchen as he busily prepared an exquisite meal. He was making chocolate breakfast crepes with strawberries and baked bananas. How could he have known about her weakness for chocolate? He was gorgeous, great in bed, he put up with her moods--- most of the time, anyway --- and now he was about to feed her chocolate. Could life get any better?
She walked into the kitchen, sat down on a counter stool and said, "Good morning."
"Indeed it is, Miss Holt," he said as he leaned across the counter for a good morning kiss.
"That smells heavenly," Laura told him, nodding toward the crepes.
"Something told me you would enjoy them," he said, flashing a wicked smile. "Want some coffee?"
"I'll get it," she said, getting up from her chair and walking over to the coffee pot.
Remington watched her as she walked past him, the sway of her hips leaving little to the imagination in his shirt. He just hoped he could make it through breakfast without throwing her over his shoulder and taking her back to his bed.
Returning his focus to the meal before him, he filled two plates with the sweet confections and carried them out to the dining table. Laura followed with two steaming mugs of coffee. He then pulled out her chair and made sure she was situated before returning to the kitchen to gather the remainder of what they would need for breakfast.
They enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, alternately making small talk and silently appreciating each other's company.
When he asked her what she wanted to do for the rest of the day, he saw something change in her. Was he wrong to assume they would spend this lovely Saturday together? She had stayed the entire night, but was sharing the afternoon too much to ask? He decided to press on.
"They're showing a Cary Grant retrospective at the Rialto," he said. "I was thinking of going and I'd love for us to go together."
"The Philadelphia Story, To Catch a Thief, and An Affair to Remember," he answered.
"I'd love to," she said. Then indicating her state of undress, she added, "I can't exactly go like this."
"Don't worry," he said. "We can swing by your house on the way for you to freshen up."
She bit her bottom lip, looked at him and said, "That won't be necessary." When he just looked at her, she continued, saying, "I brought an overnight bag, but I didn't want to be presumptuous enough to bring it in. It's downstairs in the car. Would you mind?"
"Not at all," he said. He disappeared into the bedroom and returned a few minutes later in jeans and a sweatshirt. "Why don't you go ahead and shower while I go get your bag," he told her. "And I'll clean up when you're finished."
They spent a lovely weekend together, but Monday morning it was business as usual. Remington sat in his office, occasionally staring at the door that separated them. He didn't know where they would go from here, but he was sure the road would have plenty of twists and turns. When it came to Laura, he never knew what to expect. He'd come to realize that her steely resolve, mixed with a vulnerability she tried to hide, was one of the things he loved most about her. He resolved himself to take each day as it came, knowing that one day Laura would realize they indeed were meant to be together.