Reading Steele Into It
by Gilmoradict

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(Not the Dark Prince, but Mildred's caught up in romance again!)
A crashing wave broke on a sandy white beach, foam leaping into the air, to settle once more into the crystal blue sea. Two persistent sandpipers raced repeatedly to the receding waters edge only to retreat each time a new wave washed the shore. The birds' frantic escape took them within inches of four entangled feet, twining around each other in the soft sand at the edge of a of hastily thrown down blanket. Had the birds cared they might have blushed at the hungry melding of bodies taking place so close to them. Long, elegant fingers traced paths through thick sun streaked brunette hair, pushing it back from a lightly freckled and deeply dimpled face. The man's dark head occasionally obscured that lovely face, as his lips explored those of his partner, as indeed she must be. Her hands, buried in that dark hair, showed her to be just as dseperate to know him. Remington Steele, LA's most popular and successful private investigator, and his associate, the beautiful Laura Holt, were oblivious to any spectators, feathered or otherwise, as they finally allowed the passionate love they had long denied to explode in full, fragrant bloom.
A door slammed, and startled, Mildred clapped the pages of the romance novel she was reading together and shoved it under her desk as Miss Holt strode into the reception area of the office.
"Could I have the Parker file, please, Mildred?" Laura's voice rose sharply at the end of this request, as it often did when she was angry.
"Sure, Miss Holt, right away." Mildred flushed. She hoped Miss Holt hadn't seen her reading at her desk. Meekly glancing up at her employer Mildred quickly decided that Miss Holt was upset with the supposed occupant of the adjoining office, not yet arrived this morning. Gathering the papers she had finished typing earlier, Mildred began pulling the feed dog slag from the page edges in order to place them in a folder for Miss Holt.
"I'm sorry Mildred. I didn't mean to bark at you." Laura squared her shoulders and closed her eyes. "Mr. Steele and I - had a rather heated discussion last night. I told him not to bother to come in today, and apparently he's taken me at my word."
"Oh Miss Holt. You two were celebrating your birthday last night, weren't you?" Mildred searched for something encouraging to say. "Well, it's still early. There are lot'sa days Mr. Steele doesn't come in before coffee break." Personally, she couldn't understand HOW Miss Holt could be angry with Mr. Steele. Mildred had a hard time resisting Mr. Steele's charming smile when he turned its full mega watt power on her. He might take a few liberties now and then, but Mildred knew he cared deeply for Miss Holt. "Do you want some coffee Hon?"
"No. Thanks." Laura turned to head back into her office, then pausing, asked, "Mildred, has Mr. Steele said anything to you about taking time off in the near future, travel plans, anything like that?"
"Not since we got conned into helping find that guy Shepherd in the Mediterranean - and we all got bamboozled on that one!"
"I know Mildred, I know." Laura resolutely resumed walking. "O.K. Back to the Parkers."
Mildred shook her head as Laura's office door closed behind her. She would never understand how two people who were so clearly meant to be together spent so much time at arm's length. Keeping her eye on Laura's door, she bent over to pick up her book, flipping through the dog eared pages. Miss Holt and Mr. Steele were the couple she pictured in her stories.
The cool weather kept all but lovers from the beach. Holding her sweater close against the chill Laura skipped every couple of steps to keep up with the long legged Steele's brisk pace.
"Why, why must you leave, Mr. Steele?" The misty rain left dewy beads on Laura's skin, her hair had long lost it's smooth coif, and now curled with abandon around her face.
"You know I would do anything to stay with you if I could Laura. We have no future here though until I settle this problem in London. But Laura, we do have a choice. You have a choice." Steele's voice caught in his throat, knowing what he asked was too much, too dark with unknowns.
"What choice do I have?" Laura pleaded. "How can I leave everything I've built here? My home, my work, my family? To follow you on this hopeless search for a man you've never even met? One of us has to be level headed!"
"According to what law? Throw caution to the wind, Love. Come away with me!" The man turned to the woman, and roughly took her face in his hands, bruising her lips with his as he claimed her as his own. Tears mingled with the dew on her cheeks. A sob escaped her lips, as she threw her arms around Steele's neck, lifting herself on tiptoe to rub a satin cheek against his rough one, leaving a trail of damp kisses across his jaw.
"Laura!" Steele groaned, easily lifting her into his arms. A short distance down the deserted beach was a small cottage, and Steele strode towards it with certain steps….

Mildred jumped as the agency door swung open, once more dropping her paperback to the floor under her desk.
"Ahh Mildred!" Steele declared warmly as he swept in, a brilliant bouquet of wildflowers - blossoms of every color and size - secured in his left arm. He deftly removed a large sunflower from the group and presented it to Mildred with a flourish. "As usual you have begun the morning without me. You are to be commended for your diligence."
"Oh, Mr. Steele, Miss Holt is worried sick about you."
"Is she now? I would have guessed based on last night that she didn't want me here at all this morning." Steele didn't seem overly concerned, despite his words, deeply breathing in the fragrance of the flowers. "I'm forever managing to rub our Miss Holt the wrong way - mores the pity. But I'm determined to make love not war this morning. Wish me luck, Mildred."
"You got it Chief." Mildred beamed at Mr. Steele.
Steele winked at Mildred over his shoulder, pausing to shine each shoe on the opposing pant leg before confidently swinging Miss Holt's door open wide. "Good morning, good morning, good morning." Allowing the flowers and his greeting to lead the way, Steele eased into Laura's space, closing the door firmly between the two of them, and Mildred.
Mildred sat as still as the proverbial mouse, hoping against hope to hear SOMETHING from behind the closed door, to no avail. Shrugging, she bent to pick up her book once more, thumbing purposefully to a page with its corner turned back.
The only light in the darkened room came from a single candle which burned feebly from where it rested on an overturned crate. Its pale flame revealed a small cottage, its windows shuttered; dust thick on the few objects stored there, primarily items used by some devoted fisherman. Only one corner of the room had been tidied, a few rough blankets pulled from a chest, and spread over a pile of boat canvas. Dark head bent low over tangled brown curls; his arm warmed her, encircling her shoulder where she lay curled against him. Their breath made tiny puffs of condensation in the chill of the room. Steele's free hand was laced with Laura's, their thumbs caressing each other's palms.
"We can't stay here much longer, darling. You're freezing" Steele said, punctuating his words with the kisses he dropped on Laura's head; his fingers caressed her smooth shoulder as he drew the blanket closer.
Laura shivered without wanting to. "No, don't talk about leaving. This place feels enchanted, separate from the world. No obligations, no rules, nothing that says we can't always be. I won't go back to schedules, questions, legalities."
"No food, no drink, not nearly enough blankets to stay warm." Steele said gently. "The only one who makes you follow the rules out there is YOU. We can break the rules if we choose to Laura."
At this her tears began again, silently falling from her lashes. "Will you come back?" she asked in a voice so small it took up no space in the room.
Steele's heart broke at her words. He couldn't form an answer. How, indeed could he leave his heart, his love behind? Did he have the strength, even if it meant life itself for them both?

"…most stubborn woman I have ever met!" Steele's voice rose to penetrate the deep red door that separated him and Laura from the outer office.
"No, no it's you. Always thinking about yourself and your infernal need to get away. Well, GO! I've got no hold on you!" Laura's voice trembled as she shrieked at Steele.
At the resounding BAM, the slamming of the door between Miss Holt's and Mr. Steele's offices, Mildred winced. Waiting for a moment, her book resting in her lap, Mildred picked up the sunflower Mr. Steele had given her earlier. Pulling first one petal off, then another, she recited under her breath,
"He loves her, she loves him not. She loves him, he loves her not." Rising with a deep sigh, and heading to the workroom to locate a vase for Mr. Steele's flowers, Mildred shook her head. In a few minutes she had rinsed a dusty red art deco vase, and run clear, cool water into it. She knocked softly on Miss Holt's door. Receiving no reply, Mildred eased the door slowly open and peeked in. Miss Holt was no where to be seen. The door to Mr. Steele's office was ajar. Mildred peered cautiously into the larger office.
The boss stood just behind the door, with his hands braced on the wall before him. Miss Holt was captive in the prison his arms created. She was holding two airline tickets in the hands she clasped behind Mr. Steele's back. It seemed clear that for the moment the two had reached a truce. Mildred backed away smiling; quietly retrieving Miss Holt's flowers from her trash can.
Once the flowers were happily soaking up water on the corner of Mildred's desk, the plump blond pulled her novel from her desk drawer, opening it to its final pages.
The lovely young woman stood perfectly still at the entrance to the gate, wondering if she had misunderstood his flight information, or if his plans had somehow changed. It seemed as if everyone had already exited the plane. Closing her eyes to stem the flow of tears that threatened at the corners of her dark lashes, she could hear only her own heart beat. The airport and its clutter of noise disappeared in the sudden overwhelming pain.
"Laura!" He called her name as he walked towards her, trembling at the sight of the woman who had filled his every thought for the weeks they had been apart.
Opening her eyes as if in a dream, Laura gasped, and without realizing she had moved, flew to cover the remaining steps between the two. He lifted her into his arms, his tears now mingling with hers, his hands wrapped around her slim frame so tightly she could barely breathe. Allowing her to slowly slide down against the length of his body, he gazed at her perfect face, smiling foolishly, searching for words of some kind, yet unwilling to leave this moment of joy.
"It's done, Love." He whispered finally. "I'm free of the past, free to plan a future for us."
"Darling!" Was all Laura could manage as she hungrily lifted her lips to his.
The crowd in the terminal continued to ebb and flow around the pair as…
"Mildred! What are you doing?" Laura questioned, looking at the book in Mildred's hands, stopping short only when she noticed the flowers on the desk. "When did you…"
Laura's cheeks flamed, as Steele strode out of his office with a beaming smile on his face.
"Hold down the fort here, would you Darling? Miss Holt and I find we have a fascinating new case to pursue in Catalina, and we can just make our flight if we hurry."
"No problem Chief. Is there a number where I can...." Stopping short Mildred grinned at her employers and added "On second thought, good luck, kids. If something comes up that I can't handle it'll just have to wait until you get back. Now get outta here!"
Eyebrows arched, Steele smiled broadly as he put an arm about Laura's shoulders and pulled his slightly flummoxed partner through the agency doors before she could protest.
Mildred opened a drawer and pulled out a box of peppermints. Popping one into her mouth, she leaned back in her chair, propped her feet up on the open drawer, and opened her book to read.
The End
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