Author's Note: Thanks to the Steele Watchers Chatroom for their help with names and such. Thanks to my beta-reader Amanda couldn't do it without ya! The rest is the same as Part 1 email comments (good, bad, all) to firstname.lastname@example.org Now our feature presentation
Laura looked at Ian and shook her head. It's not like that. It's not a question of whether I want children or not. It's a matter of being not legally married to a man who might just up and leave me, anytime. Laura was hedging the real question, and Ian knew it.
Why? Why does this all matter? You have to worry more about yourself and this baby right now, than about these other problems. That life in you takes higher precedence, Ian looked at her. She knew he was right, and he knew that he had her attention. The way I see it, you have two choices: 1) you can continue on with your life, and tell that man out there, who, incidentally, loves you, that you are pregnant with his child, or 2) you can choose to end this pregnancy without telling him that you didn't want to have his child. It all boils down to the real question, Laura: Do you want this baby? Even if you don't tell him, you need to choose to have this baby or not. Ian turned away from her, busying himself elsewhere to give her time to mull over what he had said.
I guess I have to figure that out on my own. I want to thank you, though, for all you've done. I think I just had to hear it coming from someone else to realize it. Are you done? I think I need to go and be alone right now, to think things through. Ian bent down to write on some papers, before turning to Laura.
Well, I'm finished examining you, yes, but I have some things to say to you. This, Ian said as he handed her the first slip of paper, is a prescription for painkillers for your arm. This is a prescription for oral antibiotics for your arm, to deal with possible infection of the wound. Change the wrapping on that wound each day, but do not get it wet for at least 48 hours. Make an appointment with the receptionist out at the front desk, for when you get the stitches taken out. Ian stood watching Laura take all the information in. When he was satisfied that she had comprehended and remembered it all, he went on.
Now, Ian said handing her the final piece of paper, this is a referral slip for an Ob/Gyn I would like you to see. Seeing the uncertain look on Laura's face, Ian continued, I know you don't want your husband to know about the child right now, so the appointment won't be listed as a meeting with an Ob/Gyn. It will be made, as an appointment with another doctor, for therapy for your arm. Dr. Krosov is the one of the top doctors in her field, and a personal friend of mine. I will give her a call and tell her to take good care of you. Think about what I said, okay Laura? Ian Wexlan helped Laura off of the examination table and opened the door for her. He guided her through the door and out into the hallway, making sure that nothing touched her arm, now in a sling.
Remington jumped up from the sofa that he had been sitting on, when he saw them coming towards him. Dr. Wexlan was silent, as he and Laura stood in front of Remington. Laura had a look of deep thought on her also silent face. 'And something more,' thought Remington. Remington reached his hand out to shake Ian's hand. I want to thank you, Ian. She seemed to be hurt pretty badly, eh? I know she was in your good hands, though. Laura remained silent and impassive throughout the exchange.
Ian informed Remington of the prescriptions, and that Laura might need 'therapy' for her arm. He mentioned the referral for this 'therapy' briefly, but did not even hint at the unique conversation that had actually taken place in the other room. He had told Laura it was up to her, it was her decision, and he had stuck to that agreement. Laura's thoughts weighed heavy on her mind. After bidding a restrained farewell to Ian, Laura allowed Remington to lead her through the maze of hospital corridors, and back out the garage. Following a one-sided conversation in the Auburn, Remington talked and Laura didn't answer, he led Laura up the stairs to the Rossmore Arms. The elevator ride was silent and so were the first few minutes in Remington's apartment.
Laura sat herself down on the couch and curled her feet beneath her, careful to avoid humping her injured arm against anything. Remington had gone into the kitchen, and the sound of dishes and the refrigerator door drifted into the living room. Laura moved herself around, and laid the prescription papers onto the coffee table. She had already pocketed the referral sheet. 'Best to keep Remington out of this for now,' she thought. By the time he came back into the living room, she had dozed off, curled up into a ball on the sofa. He walked over to her and gently lifted her head onto a pillow, before covering her tiny body with a very large blanket. Slowly he tucked her in, watching her every intake of breath, every movement of her eyelids, every contour of her face. 'If she knew I were doing this, taking care of her, she would kill me,' Remington thought, 'but it would all be worth it.'
Remington finally moved away from her sleeping form, and picked up the prescription slips from where she laid them. He picked up his jacket and was halfway out the door, when he thought better of it. He should leave her a note, 'so she doesn't worry', he thought. Picking up a pen and pad, Remington scribbled off a quick message to her. He told her not to worry, that he would be back. He was going to fill her prescriptions and cleanup her loft. Remington was about to sign off, when he decided to add the line: 'Love you always' to the end of the note, then signed it with 'Remington'. Convincing himself that the note from him would be sufficient to keep her worrying suspicions at bay, Remington headed out.
Hours later, Laura woke up confused and dazed, not quite sure of her whereabouts. Gradually her mind stretched itself enough to remember all that had happened. Some pain from her wound, after hitting it on the arm of the sofa, helped too in recalling past events. She knew almost immediately that he wasn't home. Stupid as it may sound, she couldn't feel him near her. Almost directly after that realization, her nagging suspicions flooded her brain. 'He left.' 'He doesn't care.' 'He doesn't want to be with you.' 'He's out of your life forever.' And the most frightening of them all: 'He doesn't love you.' These thoughts incapacitated Laura for a few minutes, until she found the white bit of paper. Laura read it, frowning, until she came upon his last sentence, which drew a smile from her lips. It looked as if he had added it, afraid that she would think the opposite. Laura had thought the opposite, he knew her too well, but she always knew when to change her mind. This was one of those times.
Laura pulled herself off of the couch, and moved into the kitchen, the blanket still draped around her slender shoulders. Laura stopped short upon seeing the food on the counter. Before he left, Remington had fixed her something to eat. Laura moved toward the sandwich and other foodstuffs. She had just realized she was extremely famished. And of course, she had to remember that she was now eating for two.
She finished and found herself sleepy yet again. Moving into his bedroom, Laura found one of his blue dress shirts and put it on. It wasn't a pajama top, but it would serve the purpose just fine. Lying on the bed, Laura couldn't help but think about her conniving con man. Thoughts about Remington flooded her brain, as she was gently coaxed into slumber.
Remington strode down the sidewalk slowly, hesitantly. He wasn't ready to go back to her; he wanted to stay out longer. He knew she was hiding something from him, but what that secret was eluded his mind. Thinking and thinking and thinking came up with nothing. Unknowingly, he found himself at Mildred's, knocking on her front door.
Answering the door, Mildred couldn't help but gasp. Chief! What're you doing here now? It's not about a case is it? Is it Mrs. Steele? Mildred continued to stand in the doorway of her humble abode, shocked.
May I come in, Mildred? I think we need to talk.
Remington was quiet, quite sedate as he waited for her to stand
Sure, boss, come on in. Are you in some kind of trouble? Is Mrs. Steele? Mildred led Remington to her sofa, and bustled herself into the kitchen where a kettle of hot water sang. Why do you need to talk to me? Mildred was confused. Wouldn't he rather discuss this with his wife? Then again, if it was bad news, he might not want to tell Laura. Mildred hurried back in with two delicate china cups, full of tea.
There is something wrong, and it is about Mrs. Steele. The only thing, Mildred, is that she's lying to me. Keeping secrets from me, not telling me her problems. I found her this morning, bleeding and wet on her bathroom floor. I don't know anything. Remington's face contorted into a genuine look of concern, mingled with intense love, as he poured out his woes to this sort of surrogate mother.
Oh God, Chief! Is she all right? Did you take her to the hospital? What happened? Mildred's words came as a flurry of harried questions, all dealing with Laura and Remington's well being. Mildred was literally on the edge of her seat, until Remington filled her in on their interesting morning. Mildred relaxed briefly, only to become stressed over Mrs. Steele's current state of affairs.
As far as I know, she's at home in the apartment. Mine, that is. She was napping on the couch when I left, but that was about four and a half hours ago. She seemed tense during the ride home; like something was on her mind, but she couldn't decide whether to tell me or not. Do you have any idea what is going on with her, Mildred?
No boss, and I can't think of any current case that could set her off like this. Maybe she found something out she didn't want to know, and doesn't know how to share her pain. You two don't exactly have a history of brilliantly open communication between you two, you know. It took you two this long, and a smelly fishing boat, to get you together, so don't think things are gonna change overnight. It'll be awhile until you're both fully comfortable as man and wife. Mildred had administered similar words of wisdom to her kids before, only this was different. They were married now.