- Holt Loosening
a Steele Grip
- by Wolfgang
- AUTHOR'S NOTE: Regular
Mysterynet-visitors will recognize most of the things mentioned
in the story, and I admit that the discussion there was responsible
for me writing it. I also took this or that detail from one or
another story, so I hope the authors don't bother; I have read
so many stories that I couldn't be always sure to link it with
the right one, so I didn't start asking for permission at all
and beg those who think I have violated their copyright for understanding,
but if you feel like venting about it, who am I to prevent you
from that? Comments can be sent to: Wolfgang050972@freenet.de
It's an integral component of democracy to have different views
and opinions. Without it development in general would be slowed
down. This story isn't meant as an attack, it's just my opinion
about the most reasonable and probable (and perhaps desirable)
continuation after the lights went down at the end of the fifth
season - or should I say before Bonds of Steele? - but I'm willing
to discuss about it.
Then I want to thank Nancy for her patience. I hope you can enjoy
it in spite of this serious beginning.
- Disclaimer: I don't
own the characters of Remington Steele and Laura Holt. Just borrowing
them for entertainment.
- Rriing - rriing - rriing.
- "Agh!" With a start Laura sat up. For some seconds
she didn't know where she was, then she realized she was sitting
on a sofa - her sofa.
- She reached for the receiver. "Hello?" - "Mother,
why are you -" - "What? I don't think I -" - "Mother!!
Remember I have a job to -" - "I'm not sure -"
- "I can try, and of course I'm happy that you're coming,
but it's been rather busy lately -" - "Mother, all
I promise is that I'll try. Why don't you ask Frances -"
- "You wouldn't dare -" - "Ok, I'll fetch you
from the airport! Bye!"
- 'Great!' Laura thought wiping away the cold sweat from her
forehead. 'First this terrible nightmare, and then Mother's coming!'
She looked at the clock - 10 p.m. She didn't feel like sleeping
now, she remembered far too well the events in her dream that
had been mercifully interrupted by the phone. 'Would it really
go that way?' Laura started to think about the last four years,
years of up and downs, years of surprises, challenges, arguments,
- "Morning, morning, morning." Remington's cheerful
greeting didn't match his mood. He didn't feel so cheerful, but
Mildred was the last person he could make responsible for that.
- "Morning, boss!"
- "Miss Holt's already in here?"
- "Yeah, but obviously she hasn't slept well. She looked
quite pale and hardly acknowledged me when she came in. What
have you done this time?"
- "Nothing! At least nothing that would have such an effect
on her." He sighed. "I'll look after her a as soon
as I have some coffee. You didn't try to ask her?"
- "I tried but it was like talking to a brick wall. What's
- "Mildred, honestly I don't know, but I'll find out!
- "She went directly to the conference room."
- That was strange. Why not her office?
- After preparing two cups of coffee he walked to the conference
room, knocked at the door and entered it without waiting for
a reply. Yes, Laura was sitting on the sofa looking pale and
uncomfortable. She looked up not at all surprised to see him.
He didn't know what to say so he just offered, "some coffee?"
- Surprised she stammered, "oh, yes, thank you."
After a pause she continued. "We have to talk. About us,
our relationship. And I mean real talk, not just accusations!"
- Thinking about the spa some time ago he inwardly agreed.
That quarrel had left too many questions unanswered, and they
both had avoided picking up this sensitive subject again. But
he was curious as to what had made Laura change her mind about
- After laying down the two cups on the table he went to the
still open door. "Mildred, please hold any calls. Until
this city lies under nuclear attack, someone's going to pulverize
this building or the police wants to arrest me for some reasons
I don't know -" he knew his joke was quite weak, "-
or may know, we're not going to be disturbed by anything!"
- "Got it, boss!"
- Laura watched him locking the door and taking seat opposite
of her. She wasn't sure how to approach the subject. She silently
admitted that she never have been good in admitting mistakes.
"Well..." she started silently praying he knew what
she was going to say but also knowing that it would have been
a great shock if this had been the case. "I thought a lot
last night, about our relationship, how we handled it."
- 'Great beginning,' she thought sarcastically half awaiting
some remarks from him just to distract her but also grateful
he wasn't doing it. She had to go through with it, and the sooner
the better. He was still silently gazing at her, awaiting her
to go on and silently, so it seemed to her, encouraging her to
- "In fact I had a nightmare about us, it included our
marriage, and most of the things that could have gone wrong went
wrong." She couldn't sit any longer and started to pace.
"When it finally seemed to come to a *Happy-Ending* the
telephone started to ring. It certainly reminds me of our usual
way." From the corner of her eye she saw him trying to say
something and she stopped him immediately. "Don't say anything
until I have this out of my system. Please!" He nodded.
"The funny thing about it is the fact that all started to
go this bad in this dream because of something I had done. I
usually don't give a damn about interpretations of dreams, but
this was - scary. I started to wonder whether things could have
gone this way or if they're already going this way. First of
all I think I have to apologize to you." She was now standing
right in front of him. She was searching for signs of triumph
in his face, which would have been an indication that her fears
might not have been in vain, but all she could see was sadness
and sympathy displayed on his features. This made it both easier
and harder to go on. "I apologize for accusing you that
you'd only stayed for the *ultimate moment*!" She was still
using a euphemism for that. "I should have realized that
this wasn't your final goal after my house was blown up."
She was thinking shortly about the half-year that followed this
incident: the time he thought she was shot, her second *art theft*,
the affair with the Auburn, how he tried to protect her because
of the framing scheme of Descoine, all those times he showed
how much he cared for her - until Cannes. She had realized last
night that she never really had forgiven him that. She had thought
that she was ready to commit to him, but he was anything but
paying attention to her. But she'd also realized that she couldn't
blame him for that: he'd tried to be loyal to his friends - wasn't
loyalty one of the properties she linked with Remington Steele?
- And he'd tried not to confront her with his shady partners,
he hadn't wanted to choose between them and her. She hadn't handled
his former friends well, especially the female ones, although
one time with good reason.
- Then some weeks later the Rutherford-affair: he'd lied to
her because he knew she wasn't fond of Daniel. Daniel meant trouble
everytime he was involved, she mused, and Steele had thought
she wouldn't let him go with him. He still hadn't trusted her,
and that had hurt. But would she have trusted him? Would she
have believed him that someone was trying to kill him because
he was part of a long-time con he didn't want to finish? She
wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer, and she wasn't sure
if she told Daniel the objective truth or a subjective lie when
she explained Daniel her relationship with 'Harry'.
- Also annoying was the fact that he now and then had disappeared
without saying a word. Ironically he'd tried to find out what
his name was just to show her how much he cared for her, love
her - to surprise her, and, honestly, it would have been a nice
surprise she admitted - but both times he stumbled over something
that would have killed him if she hadn't been there. And after
the third time he'd vanished, obviously having gambled away the
agency, she didn't even try to visit him in prison because she
thought he might pull the ultimate con. She had comprehended
the night before that he'd never risked the agency voluntarily.
- "I also want to apologize for not trusting you."
While saying this she realized that she was sitting again, because
one arm was laying around her waist now and gently pulled her
to his side. It was comforting, and she laid her head on his
shoulder and closed her eyes. She wouldn't have noticed that
she was crying if he didn't wipe away her tears with his thumb.
She suddenly felt relaxed - relieved - comforted - understood
- secure. She didn't want this moment to end but she knew this
was only an illusion. While the most nagging feelings had gone
now, not everything was resolved - yet.
- "Oh Laura", he said still stroking her cheek, "is
this your way to say that you love me? If it is you will make
me a very happy man, because I do love you!"
- She almost stopped breathing. Did she hear what she thought
she was hearing? But wasn't she expecting to hear it? It somehow
was too good to be true. She opened her eyes and looked straight
in his. They seemed to be full of love - for her. 'How can he
still love me after all what I have put him through?' she wondered
- He continued. "I know you wanted to hear this before
- badly - but I, ah, was afraid of losing you if I told you this."
- This aroused her curiosity. Why should telling her that he
loves her make him lose her?
- It was as if he read her mind. "You know, the times
we were talking about our relationship and you wanted me to tell
you how I feel for you it seemed to me you were always pinning
it that way that we were going to consummate it afterwards. I'd
lie if I told that I don't want to do that," he smiled,
"but, as you put it, it isn't my final goal. With you constantly
telling me that I'm just staying for that reason I was afraid
that you'd think it was a trick to make it happen. I was afraid
of losing every bit of respect I ever earned, afraid of losing
every bit of faith you ever had in me."
- She gulped. Had she really combined both things all the time?
She blushed. If this was the case she really had put him into
a dilemma. She remembered the spa. While she expected him to
say the words she also accused him that *the only part you're
interested in is a little lower than the brain*. She felt like
- Now she felt his second arm moving around her and she felt
him embrace her. She returned it in understanding.
- Somehow he managed to make her sit on his lap. Now he could
make eye contact without bending his head awkwardly. He pulled
her closer and kissed her, a kiss of love - reassurance - forgiveness.
- "Yes, I love you, too," she managed to answer the
still open question.
- For some minutes they just sat there holding each other,
not knowing what to say or to do. He then cleared his throat.
"Well, I know, Laura, I haven't made it easy for you. I
certainly have my faults. I don't like talking of my past, and
keeping it secret or not revealing too much was not encouraging
your trust in me. The truth is it contains many unpleasant things
and memories, mistakes I don't want to be reminded of. One conclusion
I drew was never to trust anybody more than necessary. It became
a second hide. I also wanted to be as independent as possible,
so I was used to do things without informing anybody because
only few people would have cared - if at all. I thought that
by staying with you, losing my independence, making my face known
to everybody, it would be obvious to you that I intended to stay
here with you as Remington Steele, but I was expecting too much,
you couldn't know what this meant to me. Although I learned to
trust you it is still hard for me to talk about it, but I want
you to know that you can ask anything."
- While he was pausing she thought briefly about what he just
told her. He was right, she never would have thought that giving
up his anonymity would be some kind of commitment, but she realized
that it would be quite risky for him to return to his former
trade: his face was well-known now. "And you succeeded in
becoming Remington Steele. I think I never realized how close
you come to my fictional boss. Perhaps even too much..."
- "I take it as a compliment, but what is wrong about
taking over the ideals of Remington Steele?"
- "By becoming the man I envisioned I could easily forget
that you have your own personality. So I just expected you to
do things *my* Remington Steele would have done and was disappointed
or even angry when you didn't act that way."
- "I think there were times when I was quite unbearable
as Remington Steele," he admitted ruefully. "When I
bought those flowers and charged the agency, when I tried to
make you feel like a subordinate..."
- She grimaced. That she would subscribe wholeheartedly. Now
talking about subordinate... "I wasn't fair to you, either.
While I expected you to be a team player I didn't play by the
same rules. You were right complaining that at the Courtney-doll-affair."
- She knew that they weren't finished yet, but the most pressing
points were taken care by now. She snuggled closer, enjoying
the soft movement of his chest while he was breathing.
- After some minutes of peaceful silence he asked: "Would
you like to tell me about the nightmare that made you wanted
to talk about us? You said that things went terribly wrong and
perhaps we could avoid them."
- She sighed and wondered why he had to bring this up disturbing
their peaceful moment, but she had to admit that sooner or later
they would have to take care of the office, and she knew he was
curious. Even she would have been. The sooner they could close
that chapter the better.
- "Well, it all started that you acted strangely while
we were taking care of an embezzling affair. I later learned
that you were preparing your marriage with Clarissa, the call
girl and friend of Bernard, to avoid deportation. Immigration
got a hint from Norman Keyes who wasn't overjoyed by the fact
that his insurance firm signed a contract with RSA that would
make him contact us in important cases."
- He chuckled. "Me and Clarissa? Even I could think of
a better bride than her. She may be a nice girl, but it would
have taken Immigration less than two days to look through the
She couldn't help but smile. Of course he was right. No sensible
human being and no employee of Immigration in general, would
have taken this marriage seriously, not under those circumstances.
"Naturally you hadn't told me of your little problem,"
she saw him making a face and regretted the sarcastic tone; didn't
he admit a half-hour before that confiding people wasn't his
strongest point? Hastily she went on. "Well, Norman Keyes
wasn't happy about this event, either, and after finding out
about her business he made the police arrest her. Without a bride
you were going to be deported and I would have lost everything
so I agreed to marry you under the condition the marriage would
be a fake. I didn't want to have a real marriage with somebody
who preferred someone like Clarissa over me." She bent her
head down about this thought. She felt him squeezing her gently
and she looked up.
- "Laura, I don't know how I would react if Immigration
had been after me, but I know one thing for sure: a fake marriage
would have been out of question, and a real marriage without
you participating as my bride would have been unthinkable. Both
alternatives would have meant that I lose you. I probably would
have tried to get some papers with Daniel as back up and I would
have told you about this problem. I know what this agency means
to you and I would have realized the threat it meant. I remember
quite well what you went through losing your license while investigating
the background of William Westfield. You wouldn't be the Laura
Holt I've fallen in love with if you were without the agency.
There were many times I wished I could have taken you to some
place safe and secure, but I did comprehend that you wouldn't
be yourself anymore."
- "I believe you," and she really did. She had felt
the same way. She was thinking of their dispute after he was
beaten up at the Courtney-doll-affair. That had also lead to
the conclusion that their *no-mixing-business-with-pleasure-agreement*
of Cannes was worthless.
- She knew she was walking on thin ice but she couldn't resist:
"In case this falsifying of papers would have failed, would
you have asked me to marry you?"
- He sighed and shook his head. This question lead to nowhere.
"Laura, I accept the agency as part of you, but I never
would marry you because of the agency." He was wondering
if he should say something more, but this topic was far too sensitive
for his taste right now. Not that he wasn't sure about his feelings
and wishes concerning her, but he still wasn't sure how'd she
react. He didn't want to rush things or push her to something
she wasn't ready. He had waited over a year to hear her saying
that she loved him, that she would overcome her insecurities,
he didn't want to give them the chance of taking the better part
of her again by rushing her.
- Laura accepted the answer. She felt that there was something
he was holding back but she decided to trust that he may have
good reasons not to reveal everything. There were some things
that even she would rather not discuss with him - at least for
- She continued with her nightmare. "After this marriage
you became, well, if you think you were unbearable as Remington
Steele then you were right near to impossible! I won't tell details
because I know you wouldn't do anything like that," 'I hope,'
she silently added. "We went for our honeymoon to Mexico
which was paid by Mildred as wedding present. We arrived at a
tumbledown hotel in a god-forsaken province. We decided to leave
the hotel but you couldn't pay the bill because they didn't accept
traveler's checks there. So you had to leave me as deposit while
you were searching for a way to Las Hadas. While I was quite
angry because of you, of Mildred and of this hotel I took a walk
in the jungle and met there a man, I think his name was Tonio
or something like that. He said he was an archaeologist. He was
friendly and took care of me because I had lost my way somehow.
We finally met at an exquisite hotel in Las Hadas, you didn't
show any signs of jealousy towards Tonio who was still accompanying
me, and we met Keyes. He provoked you and you had a quarrel.
Later you found him murdered in your room and you were arrested
while trying to remove his body. To make it short, Keyes had
everything arranged, even his faked death and we could prove
it with help from Tonio. We were returning to LA and tried to
convince this Immigration person that we were the perfect couple.
While awaiting her I found an old female friend of yours in our
bed and I dealt her as bad as I dealt every former acquaintance
of yours, didn't even give you the possibility to explain. Before
the eyes of this new employee of immigration I flew in the arms
of Tonio introducing him as my brother. We later learned that
he was supervisor in this Immigration-affair." She stopped
for breath, shuddering with disgust over this whole thing.
- "If you don't want to talk about it, just leave it.
I don't want to know all its gory details if it makes you feel
sick," he gently offered.
- "It's okay, I just go on with the *highlights*. This
older acquaintance of yours, Shannon, tried to marry you because
she had debts. She knew that you had inherited something form
the Earl of Claridge what we didn't know at this time. You tried
to get rid of her and eventually told her that our marriage was
a fraud. She told this Tonio hoping that so our marriage would
be stopped, but he had other plans. He blackmailed you for some
espionage affair, and you did your best just to keep me out of
everything so I couldn't see through his double game. After that
we went to your heritage, a castle with lots of debts. On the
way we met Tonio who was framed and accused you of being responsible
for that. Although I learned of his double game I didn't get
rid of him nor did I really want it. He had told me some time
before that he had fallen in love with me, and I could so easily
believe this." She snuggled closer while he stroked her
trying to think of the best way to end the story. She was relaxed
by his soothing caress and was surprised how tense she had become.
"To make things more complicated we met Daniel there. I
found out by coincidence that he was your father, but he refused
to tell you because he was afraid of losing you. He was there
to help someone get someone out of the USSR. Conveniently their
embassy wasn't this far away. With Tonio trying to prove his
innocence as double agent and Daniel trying to offer him as payment
for the information he needed, there was a happy to and fro from
castle to embassy with the Soviet attaché. At last we
managed to persuade the Soviet attaché to desert his country
for his own sake. He revealed the true double agent, Tonio's
superior. The police had to take Tonio away because of the warrant,
but he was cleared. Daniel was dangerously ill when we arrived.
I knew it but had promised not to tell you. He told you that
he was your father, and after you made his peace with him he
died, not telling you your real name. He managed to get two funerals:
one as a hero by exposing the double agent in London, while he
was buried in Moscow as dead Soviet attaché, of course
also with all honors."
- She could feel him shaking with inner laughter. As crazy
as this nightmare has been, it seemed to be so typical for Daniel
to con even when he was dead. She couldn't resist and had to
smile herself, but her smile faded when she thought about the
end of the dream.
- "After watching the news about both burials we went
to our room to finally consummate our relationship, but the phone
was ringing and I had nothing better to do than answer it."
She gulped, and her tears almost started to fall again. "It
was Tonio, he explained that he was released and wanted to meet
me. I believe I hadn't given him the impression of a happily
married woman, and during an earlier conversation concerning
this I think I said something like I couldn't go back."
She felt him squeezing her gently and managed to relax lightly.
- "Laura, it was only a dream, a bad dream, everything
will be alright!" he tried to calm her.
- "Well, after not granting his wish and hanging the phone
up I went upstairs to our room where you were awaiting me with
open arms when the phone started ringing again -"
- "Figures! Was it Mildred this time?"
- "- And I woke up." After she had finished his comment
sank in and she had to smile. "No, it was my mother announcing
that she would arrive tomorrow and she threatened that she would
call you to ensure my fetching her. I don't know what I shall
do with her. What do you suggest?"
- "Laura, you can't avoid your mother eternally. And I
don't think that you really want to do that. I know you can't
stand the way she's trying to make you lead a life that she thinks
fits you, but I think it's just her way to show you how much
she cares for you. And I think you know this deep down inside
you. And you love her, too. Can you imagine her suddenly not
interfering your life? I don't think you would take it well."
- He was right. How could he manage to see all those things
that escaped her?
- "Well, Laura, to make things easier for you I could
escort you and we both fetch your mother from the airport. I
think our timetable will allow that. Perhaps she will be more
reserved with me being around - and maybe we could make her speechless
by shocking her."
- "Shocking her? How?" Now Laura looked alarmed.
'What the hell did he have in mind?'
- "We, ah, could announce - our engagement!" Now
the bomb had dropped.
Laura tried to get to her feet, but he wouldn't let her go. His
grip was firm but not painful. She knew she could break it easily
but after seeing his eyes calmly watching her she stopped struggling.
- "Laura, if there's any sense in this conversation, then
we have to go on with our personal relationship. I won't ask
you to marry me right now, which would be too soon - for you.
An engagement wouldn't bind you to anything. You should see it
as a symbol of our commitment. It would give us time to adjust
our lifestyles. I won't rush you to anything you don't want to
do. All I ask is to spend more time together, not just one evening
here or there. We should spend more nights together. It wouldn't
be the first time, and nothing has to happen, if you're afraid
of that. But if we ever decide to take the final step, then it
should be on a solid base. We could learn more of each other,
learn to accept the darker sides of our characters, our fears
and our demons. I know it's just a formality, but if we both
mean it honestly we're both bound to it. And if we realize that
we can't work it out - may God spare us from that - we can separate
as friends and continue as partners knowing that we care for
- Laura tried to relax. He certainly had a point. What did
they really know of each other? She thought about the time she
had spent with Wilson. They both had thought that they had loved
each other, but he couldn't cope with her impulsive streak. He
also wanted her to change. But what about Remington? He hadn't
seemed to be offended by her acting in this *Harry*-affair. This
had been the real Laura Holt, this had been the Laura Holt that
would dance with only some fans covering her. She had to smile
at that thought. She'd told him that she maybe would show him
this dance. She wasn't sure if she really wanted to uncover her
old self. It contained too much sad memories, for example Wilson's
leaving without a word. Perhaps she had been so angry all those
times when Remington had left without leaving note because it
reminded her of Wilson. She realized that all those thoughts
lead to nothing, only time would tell. She - they - couldn't
stand there frozen in time. They had to move forward and hope
for the best.
- "You're right. We have to move forward, and I think
what you said is sensible." She heard him sighing with relief.
"I think we both have to overcome this or that, and it will
probably be easier when we're doing it together." It was
true, talking about her faults and hearing him admitting his'
hadn't been this hard after she learned that he understood her
- or tried to - and she tried to understand his motivation. It
dawned her that this was the difference. Wilson had never understood
her, he may have loved her but he never wanted the whole package
she consisted of.
- It was also different from Cannes; that time they both had
just been concerned for themselves thinking that they both were
doing what was right. She shook her head sadly when she thought
about all the times they suffered when it could have been avoided
had they communicated well. But this was part of a process to
maturity, and she hoped that they were both mature enough for
living together. He had spoken of adjusting lifestyles. They
both had completely different backgrounds, and this had lead
to different opinions, priorities and habits. They both had to
find the balance of tolerance and right for individuality. But
they had the will to try.
- He saw the determination on her face and leaned slightly
forward to kiss her forehead. That seemed to break the spell
she had fallen under, and she turned her head and smiled. "You
haven't come prepared yourself for this occasion, have you?"
- "If you're talking about an engagement ring - I have
one piece in mind that I think would fit nicely to you. If you
give me half an hour..."
- "Well, if we want to celebrate this appropriately I
certainly need much more time, and you probably, too."
- "What about Mildred and the office?"
- "I don't think that Mildred will have any objections
for our early leaving if she knows the reason. As far as I remember
we don't await any clients today, I intended to finish some case
files, but that can wait until this afternoon, and with your
help we'll finish it before the night starts and have a long
cozy evening." 'It's the right time to show him what I expect
from him,' she thought. 'I can't tolerate it that I'm doing the
dull work while he's reading the papers.'
- She was surprised to see him smile. "I agree. I hope
your mother won't mind us staying this long in the office and
not entertaining her."
- "Speaking of my mother, why should it be shocking for
her if we tell her that we're engaged? I think she will be overjoyed!
She was almost expecting it."
- She saw him trying to hide a wicked grin. "Did you ever
do what your mother wanted you to do?"
- She took a deep breath and tried to look serious, but after
some seconds she had to give up and smiled. "If you put
it that way, it certainly will be the shock of her life."
- The End - or the beginning - or the beginning of the end
- or the end of the beginning?
- It's up to you to decide.
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