Laura and Remington Steele sat side by side at the outdoor café table. Laura was nervously playing with her napkin.
"Relax, Laura," her husband soothed, taking her hand.
"Easy for you to say," she replied, never taking her eyes off the patio door. She stifled a groan as the door opened and she saw the hostess leading her mother and sister toward them.
Remington stood to greet his in-laws.
"Remington," Abigail greeted him with a kiss on the cheek. "I didn't expect you to be joining us."
"Oh, I'm not," he answered, holding out her chair. "I'm actually off to meet a client. I was just waiting with Laura for you to arrive." He greeted Frances and held out her chair as well.
"Are you sure you can't stay?" Frances asked, and Laura noted the slight blush on her sister's face.
Remington looked at his watch.
"I really should be going."
He walked over to kiss Laura goodbye.
"Coward," she whispered in his ear.
He gave her a lopsided grin as if to say, "You're damned right I am."
"I'll see you back at the office, Darling," he said to her as he began to walk away. "Abigail. Frances. So good to see you again."
"Goodbye, Remington," Abigail said as Frances just giggled.
Laura rolled her eyes as she watched him leave the restaurant. She was amused by the effect he had on her mother and her sister. Just like their chocoholism, it seemed the three of them shared another weakness.
"All right Laura," Abigail said, instantly switching to demanding mother mode. "Why are we here?"
"I wanted to talk to you about my wedding," Laura answered, trying to keep control of both the conversation and her temper.
"Isn't it a little late for that?" Abigail said sharply.
"Now, Mother," Frances said.
"No, no, Frances," Abigail replied. "Laura has always been difficult, but to run off and get married without even notifying your family…" Abigail said, turning to Laura midway through her statement, "…Really Laura, how could you?"
"Mother, there wasn't time!" Laura's voice rose a little more than she had intended.
Abigail's eyes grew wide, and Laura realized her mother's assumption.
"No, Mother. I'm not pregnant," she answered her mother's unspoken question. "There was a problem with Remington's papers. He didn't want to worry me, and by the time I found out about it, we only had one option. If we hadn't gotten married right away, Remington would have been deported."
"Deported?" Frances asked as the waiter came up to the table.
The Holt women gave their orders and waited until the server brought their drinks before continuing their conversation. Abigail spoke first.
"So you married your boss to keep him in the country?"
"No Mother," Laura blew out a long breath of frustration. "First of all, Remington is not my boss. He and I are equal partners in the agency. And I married the man I love because I didn't want to live without him."
"So it isn't just a marriage of convenience?" Abigail asked. "You are such a modern woman after all…"
"Oh Mother, of course not," Laura said, closing her eyes and covering them with her hand. She sighed and then turned her attention back to her mother. "I may not have always done things in the traditional sense, but…"
"Mother hasn't been around you and Remington," Frances said, interrupting. She turned to her mother. "If you had seen them together, Mother, you could see that Remington and Laura have been in love for quite some time."
"You could see it?" Laura asked, surprised.
"Of course," Frances answered. "And it didn't hurt that Remington was always talking with Donald about family and commitment."
"He was?" Laura asked, her smile growing at her continued surprise. She wondered if Remington would ever cease to amaze her.
"Oh yes," Frances answered, nodding as she sipped her iced tea. "They speak on the phone quite a lot."
Abigail seemed pleased to learn that Remington Steele had in fact married her daughter for the right reasons, but she still had not gotten an answer to her first question.
"So Laura," she said. "I assume you didn't fly me out here just to tell me that I'd missed your wedding."
"No, we didn't," Laura answered. "Since our marriage was so rushed and we missed having any family there, Remington and I have decided to have another wedding." She took a deep breath before continuing, "And I want both of you to help me plan it."
The glass doors to Suite 1157 swung open as Laura Holt-Steele entered the offices. Without greeting Mildred, she went straight into her husband's office. She closed the door and slumped against it.
"Nice lunch, Dear?" Remington asked with a grin.
"Don't," she said, walking over to collapse on the sofa.
He tried not to smile as he got up from the desk and walked over to sit down next to her. She saw the look on his face and shook her head.
"Go ahead and laugh," she said, smiling as she leaned into his embrace. "Next time I'm leaving YOU alone with them."
"That bad, eh?"
"Typical," she said with a sigh. "Mother thought my boss forced me to marry him so he could stay in the country."
Remington gaped in shock. "You set her straight, didn't you?"
"Of course I did," she answered with a grin. "I told her that you and I are equal partners in the agency."
"Laura," he drew out her name.
"And I told her that I married you because I love you," she went on. "I did, you know," she added softly.
"Marry you because I love you," she answered. "As angry as I was, I couldn't imagine my life without you in it." She looked up into his blue eyes, "I would have gone with you." Her voice was soft.
"Where?" he asked, staring directly into her warm brown eyes.
"Anywhere," she told him truthfully. "If you had been deported, I would have gone with you. I couldn't stay here without you."
"But what about the agency?" he asked. That was one of the reasons he hadn't wanted to involve her in his plan. He had almost lost the agency for her on more than one occasion, although not exactly through his own fault. Nevertheless, he knew how much the agency meant to her, it was her lifeblood in many ways. She could make an income without it, but she had put so much of herself into it. It was so much a part of her and her of it.
"There was a time…" she began, "… not too long ago, when I would have put the agency above all else. But when the reality hit me that you might really leave, nothing else mattered. I couldn't have come back here and run this place without you. Remington Steele Investigations has been you and me longer than it was just me or Murphy and me. You are Remington Steele. I guess I COULD have done it without you, but I wouldn't have wanted to."
"Laura, I'm sorry I didn't tell you," he began softly, "about the INS, Clarissa, the whole bloody mess. I could really have botched things up…"
"Shhhh," she turned in his arms and leaned against his chest as she spoke. "It's over, well for the most part anyway. And it's worked out all right. You're here. I'm here. And now we're getting married." She smiled as she looked down at the diamond solitaire on her finger.
"I did, too."
"You did what?"
"Married you because I love you."
Although he couldn't see it, her smile matched his as he felt her beginning to relax against him.
"We don't have any appointments scheduled this afternoon," he said, running his hand down her arm. "Why don't we go home early? I think I know just the thing to relieve some of this tension."
"I don't think I have the energy, Mr. Steele," she said with a sigh.
"Laura, you wound me. I had in mind a nice hot bubble bath," he said as he began massaging her shoulders. "Some candles, a little champagne perhaps…"
Laura closed her eyes and sighed. It did sound heavenly, but after taking a long lunch, Laura felt like she should finish some of the paperwork that she had started that morning. There were case reports to write up, security contracts to go over, and she and Mildred had been working on a new filing system.
"That sounds delightful," she told him. "But I can't. There's too much to do."
"Like the security contracts?" he asked.
"Yes, for one," she answered.
"Done," he told her. "And the write-ups for the Andrews and Logan cases?"
She nodded, turning to look at him.
"Also finished, AND Mildred and I took care of the filing."
"You did paperwork?"
"And filing?" she asked, hoping her shock wasn't too evident.
"I'm quite capable, you know," he answered her, leaning in for a soft kiss.
"I know that," she answered. "I just never thought YOU did."
"We are partners, after all," he said, kissing her again. "And I must admit, when you left this morning, I got to thinking. If I took on some of the more mundane chores around here, then my lovely wife would have more time to relax with me."
"Ah, yes. Very logical, Mr. Steele," she said as she stood and headed toward the door. "Coming?"
"Right behind you, Mrs. Steele."
Laura leaned her head against the back of the tub. Remington was right. This was just what she had needed. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if he had joined her. He insisted on letting her enjoy the bath on her own. He had drawn it, lit the candles and poured the champagne. He had even helped her into the bath. She smiled as she realized how just how well he knew her and how he always made sure she had exactly what she needed.
"Mother," Laura said, as she sat on Frances' sofa going over Abigail's guest list. "Are you kidding me?"
"What are you talking about, Laura?" her mother asked.
"This list," Laura answered. "You can't be serious."
"Laura, you're marrying one of Los Angeles' most eligible and most famous bachelors. Your wedding should reflect that."
Laura let out a long sigh and glanced out the bay window to see Remington and Donald sitting on the front porch. She would have given just about anything to be out there with them at this moment.
"First of all, we're already married," she said, trying not to sound as exasperated as she felt. "And he'sNOT eligible."
"I know that, dear, but…"
"But nothing, Mother. Our first wedding made the papers. The entire city of Los Angeles already knows we're married. This is just a formality…"
"Laura," Frances interjected in her usual perky tone, "Mother's right. Based on Remington's fame alone, your wedding will be a big event."
"Jack Nicholson?" Laura asked. "Kevin Costner? The PRESIDENT and Mrs. Reagan?"
Even Frances glared at her mother over that last one.
"All right," Abigail acquiesced. "Maybe that is a little too far. But Mayor Bradley will be there and I think we should ask the governor, too.
"Mother!" Laura exclaimed, throwing up her hands. "We're ALREADY married. This wedding is really so that we can share our marriage with you—our family, and our close friends. We want something small," she went on. "Intimate, elegant. It doesn't need to be the social event of the season. In fact, that's the last thing either of us wants."
Abigail listened, shaking her head. She'd never understand her younger daughter. She looked up as Laura handed back the list.
"Pare it down," she said. "Please?"
As Abigail took the list from her, Laura turned to go outside and join her husband. She needed some fresh air… and sanity.
Remington smiled as he walked toward the coffee table. He stopped and picked up a copy of "Modern Bride." It had taken some time, but Laura was finally excited about planning the wedding. She'd convinced Abigail and Frances to scale back, and what had started out as a three-ring circus was rapidly shaping up to be the wedding of Laura's dreams. Remington couldn't have been happier.
While his wife finished her shower, he went out to the kitchen to prepare her breakfast.
He was just finishing up and getting ready to carry the food out to the table when Laura joined him in the kitchen.
"Good morning, love," he said, walking over to greet her with a kiss.
"Good morning, Mr. Steele."
He momentarily forgot what he was doing as he looked at her. Even in jeans and a t-shirt, she took his breath away.
She moved past him and filled two mugs with coffee as he turned to pick up their plates. She followed him into the dining room where he set the food on the table and then held out her chair.
"Thank you," she said as she sat down.
"You're welcome," he answered, leaning over her shoulder to place a gentle kiss on her cheek.
"This looks delicious," she said as he sat down at the table. "You spoil me."
"Get used to it," he said with a wink and a smile.
She smiled back at him. He was right; it was going to take some getting used to. It had been a long time since she'd been in a serious relationship--and Wilson had never been as attentive as Remington. She knew her husband enjoyed pampering her, and she was learning to love it as well.
"So what's on the schedule for this lovely Saturday, Mrs. Steele?"
She smiled. She loved being called Mrs. Steele.
"We've got two appointments: the florist and the bakery," Laura told him. "After that the day is yours, Mr. Steele. Any ideas?"
"Oh yes," he answered. "I've got plenty of ideas as to how to spend the afternoon with you, but if I continue to elaborate, we may never make it to those appointments."
"Hold that thought," she told him. "I'll make it up to you, later. I know picking out flowers and tasting wedding cakes isn't your idea of a rollicking good time."
"On the contrary, Laura," he said. "Any time I spend with you is a good time. We can rollick later."
Laura laughed. She was as happy as she'd ever been and she was enjoying their comfortable camaraderie. There were still times when she let her old fears creep in, but most of the time it was just like this: easy… loving… fun… She laughed when she thought about it. How many women get to create their perfect partner out of whole cloth?
They made small talk about their current cases and the wedding as they finished their breakfast. Laura cleared the table and stacked the dishwasher. She always insisted on cleaning up--that was her contribution to the meal.
Remington stood watching her. He loved how at ease she seemed in his kitchen… in his apartment… in his life. This is how it was meant to be and even though they both already considered themselves married, he was sure it would only get better after the wedding.