On their last night in London Remington awoke sometime after midnight to find the now familiar warmth of Lauras body not next to him in the bed. He looked around the hotel room then saw her standing out on the balcony, his robe wrapped around her. Deep in thought as she gazed out over the city lights she didnt hear him come up behind her and slip his arms around her.
"Couldnt sleep?" he asked softly. She shook her head as she covered his hands with her own. There was a slight tension to her body that he knew signalled she was worried about something. "Whats wrong my love?" he whispered in her ear as a smile crossed her face at how well he knew her.
She sighed as she leant back into him a bit as he tightened his embrace. "Just thinking," she replied, her voice quiet. Hmmm Laura thinking not always a good sign he mused, knowing how that pretty little head of hers often got carried away thinking too much.
"About? he pressed her gently as he rested his head atop of hers.
She hesitated for a moment. "About Harry and Kate and us," she confessed.
At that he turned her around to face him, a concerned look crossing his face. True, the time theyd spent in London over the past week had been emotionally intense for all of them as he came face to face with his son for the first time and had revealed to him he was his father, but he thought Laura had been okay with it all. At least thats what shed told him. Not wanting to rush her, Remington waited patiently for her to explain.
She looked up at him and he caught the faint glimmer of tears in her deep brown eyes. "Harry needs his parents," she stated simply as Remington suddenly understood what she was getting at and what was troubling her.
"Yes he does," he agreed, "but that doesnt necessarily mean they have to be together. I know its only early days and theres still a lot I need to work out with Kate about when hell spend time with us, but I think together well be able to make it work."
Laura looked at him as he said the word us and it lightened her heart somewhat. "Laura as I told you when I first found out about Harry, this doesnt change anything between us, not from my perspective anyway. Does it for you?" he asked, not knowing if he wanted to know the answer.
"No," she answered truthfully as he breathed a sigh of relief. "I guess I just wondered if you had known about him before, would you have chosen Kate over me? That is, if she hadnt made the choice for you by walking away," she voiced her fears.
With that Remington lifted her chin to face him. "No," he stated without hesitation, knowing in his heart it was true. "She didnt make the choice for me Laura - for me there was never any choice, not really, he reassured her with a smile. "And if I had chosen to go back to her I wouldnt have been being honest with myself or Kate and I think she knew that. I suspect thats why she didnt tell me when she was in Los Angeles. Ultimately that wouldnt have done Harry any good either, for Kate and I to be trying to play happy families, when all the time I would have been thinking of you," he confessed with a smile. "He did ask Kate and I if that was a possibility, his mother and I getting back together I mean, but we both explained to him why it wasnt."
At that Laura avoided his intent gaze. "He probably hates me - thinking Ive dragged you away from his mother," she stated as she shook her head. "I remember when my father left he ran off with his secretary. I hated that woman with a passion for taking him away from my mother and from me," she confessed, the demons of her past still haunting her.
"Laura, this is different. Youre not taking me away from him," Remington pointed out gently. "He likes you Laura in fact Id go so far as to say he has a bit of a crush on you. And what teenage boy wouldnt? Remember that young fellow Chris, when we drove him & his sister to Arizona? I must say Harry takes after his old man in that regard," Remington quipped with a devilish grin, trying to lighten the moment as despite herself Laura found herself smiling.
"Look Laura, you & Harry are the two most important people in the world to me and as hes going to be dividing his time between me & his mother hell be spending quite a bit of time with us, so it heartens me to know the two of you get along. And I can assure you no-one thinks youve dragged me away from his mother. That was my choice a long time ago."
When she didnt reply Remington brushed a stray hair from her face. "Laura I love you more than Ive ever loved another woman, or ever will, including Kate," he stated sincerely, his blue eyes shining with his love for her. "Granted shell always have a special place in my heart I guess she is the mother of my child and was my first love, but Laura, you are my life," he reassured her, his gaze intense as he kissed her tenderly, kissing her fears and doubts away.
Sensing she needed to know more about what he had shared with Kate, in order to fully understand how it was different to what he felt for her, he took her by the hand and led her back inside. "Come back to bed love theres things I need to tell you."
She followed him as they sat down on the bed. He put an arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. He paused for a moment wondering where to start. "When I met Kate I was a brash, angry young sixteen, almost seventeen year old street kid. Id met Daniel a couple of years before and he was in the process of trying to refine me for want of a better word, but well I guess there were still a few rough edges, he stated wryly as a smile crossed Lauras face. "I guess Kate and I just clicked we had a bit in common, both Irish, both orphans."
"I guess I was a bit jealous of that all the two of you had in common, as well as your shared past," Laura confessed. "It seemed logical youd be with her and that youd choose her over me."
"Well by that reasoning you should be with Murphy then," Remington pointed out with a grin as she grinned too despite herself.
"Touché," she replied, realising he had a point.
He then continued. "Before I met Kate Id never really had anyone that I cared about, let alone loved Id never spent long enough anywhere to have a chance to really." As he said this, Laura looked at him and suddenly caught a glimpse of that lonely, unloved, unwanted young boy he had once been and she reached up to caress his cheek, trying to take away the pain those memories clearly caused him. He gratefully covered her hand in his & kissed it.
"I guess we sort of clung to each other in a way kind of us against the world, he reminisced with a smile.
"Sounds romantic," Laura commented.
He nodded. "Yes I guess it was. I trusted her like Id never been able to trust anyone before. She didnt want me for what I could do for her, she just wanted me for me and that was certainly a new experience for me. But I guess my old fears still didnt let me trust her enough," he added somewhat regretfully as Laura realised his past, just like hers, had created all these trust issues that they both had, that the two of them had fought so hard to overcome in their own relationship.
"We were so young and naïve though," he went on. "We were just learning about life and love and ourselves I guess. It was a very innocent type of love that we had really."
At this Laura raised an eyebrow at him and as he realised what she was getting at a chuckle escaped his lips. "I dont mean innocent in the sense that it wasnt a physical, passionate relationship, obviously it was, otherwise Harry wouldnt be here. We were hormonal teenagers after all," he stated with a grin. "I mean we really had no idea about relationships, certainly not what it took to have an adult relationship. In some ways I guess we were just kids playing at being grown-ups. And when it started getting all very grown-up with Kate getting her record deal and her career taking off I guess it started to get complicated. And thats when I got scared," he admitted.
"Do you think you would have stayed with her if youd known she was pregnant?" Laura asked the question that had been on her mind since theyd learnt about Harry.
Remington sighed. "To tell you the truth Laura I really dont know. Im sure I would have felt an obligation to do the right thing by her and our son, but I was so young and I admit, immature. I dont know how good a father I would have been at that age," he confessed. "In some ways that may have been worse for Harry if wed stayed together just for his sake. Maybe we could have made it work I dont know."
Laura nodded, wondering to herself if her own father had stuck around for as long as he did in an unhappy marriage just for her & Frances.
"There are two things I will always be grateful to Kate for though. The first obviously is Harry...," Remington went on.
"And the second?" Laura asked, curious. "The second is for teaching me how to love. A young, adolescent love, true, but a love all the same. Its taken me a long time to realise that."
"How so?" Laura inquired.
"After I left her, I convinced myself that love, commitment, emotional attachments, whatever you want to call it, had no part in my life. It hurt too much and I was loathe to hurt anyone again like I knew Id hurt her. So I went from one woman to the next, not letting any of them get too close. Until you of course," he said with a smile as he brushed her temple with a kiss. "The day I met you I knew that I was a goner. And the more I got to know you the harder it was to stick to my no commitments rule. Despite my best efforts another stubborn, spirited, petite brunette stole my heart - with all the skill of a master thief may I add, he quipped as she looked up at him with a dimpled smile.
"Oh really? Why do you say that?" she laughed.
"Well you disarmed my defences, sussed out all my weak spots and finally broke down the walls Id built to protect my heart. And then you stole it from right under my nose, before Id even realised I think my love," he replied with a chuckle.
Laura laughed too as she rested a hand on his chest. "Well it takes one to know one Mr Steele," she retorted with a grin as she kissed him tenderly.
He was silent for a moment then said "As Ive said to you before the romantic part of the relationship I had with Kate is well and truly over but the friendship that we always had still remains luckily for Harry I guess. And I hope on that basis we can be there for Harry and for each other." Laura nodded knowing it was true.
Remington then sighed with a smile. "In some ways I guess meeting Harry and telling him Im his father was the easy bit. Now the hard bit comes actually being a father to him. I dont have the first idea how to be a father and its not like Ill have his baby years or anything to figure it out along the way either. Suddenly Ive got a teenage son on my hands and to tell you the truth Laura that kind of terrifies me," he admitted as Laura looked at him with a loving smile.
"As I told you when we first found out about Harry I think youll be a great father. Im sure itll be a learning curve for both of you Harrys never had a Dad before either remember. But I know Kate and I will be here for the two of you," she reassured him. "Im sure Donald would be happy to give you some tips, she added in reference to her brother-in-law, who as the father of three children had quite a bit of parenting experience and his & Frances son Danny was almost the same age as Harry.
"I might take you up on that," Remington replied with a smile as he pulled her closer to him. "So no more midnight worry sessions okay Miss Holt? he added as he tenderly ran a hand through her hair.
"Deal," she agreed with a smile, her fears relieved.
"Anyway, I can think of so many other fun things we could be doing instead in the middle of the night," he added with a mischievous wiggle of his eyebrows.
"Oh really - such as?" Laura replied with a cheeky grin of her own as he proceeded to show her, his thoughts momentarily drifting to the little box he had tucked away in his luggage. He had wondered if given their discussion he should have given it to her tonight to prove his commitment to her, but then he decided against it, wanting to carry out the plans he had so carefully put in place, so he could ask the most important question he would ever ask in his life in the most perfect way possible
To Part 1-6