"Steele Stringed Hearts"© 2016
Chapter 6
by NorahBolt56

Laura awoke later that night with a splitting headache wondering at first where she was then realising with some surprise that she was in her own bed, still fully clothed except for her shoes. She wondered for a moment how she had got there and then the events of the day (or what she could remember of them) came flooding back to her. Going to Mr Steele's apartment in the morning to find Kate Kelly there and the hurt & anger she had felt, then the awful fight she had had with him in the office, then going to confront Kate, and then it all got a bit blurry. She remembered a lot of beer, talking & laughing with Kate and then Mr Steele arriving at Kate's door to both her & Kate's surprise. With more than a little embarrassment she also remembered how she had pretty much thrown herself at him, but ever the gentleman, he had politely refused her drunken advances. Of all the times she didn't want him to be gentlemanly, she thought wryly as she ran a hand through her messed up hair. The last thing she remembered was him bundling her into the limo and getting in beside her and then she guessed she had fallen asleep.

She gathered he had carried her up here and put her to bed. As she looked around she saw the water & aspirin on her bedside table and gathered he'd left that for her too. A smile crossed her face at his thoughtful gesture, especially after some of the things she had said to him earlier that day which she knew had hurt him. As she thought that, she remembered all the other things both big & little he had done for her over the time they had known each other, all the thoughtful gestures, like the piano he had bought her to replace her grandmother's one that she had lost when her house had burnt down. She also remembered during that dreadful time how instead of taking advantage of her vulnerable state, he had held her and comforted her, let her cry, instead of making love to her. As she remembered that night a part of her felt disappointed (as she had felt earlier that day) that he had not 'asked the question', but another part of her was grateful to him for giving her what she really needed then, ignoring his own needs.

Although she knew the words she longed to hear didn't come easy to him, he had shown her countless times how much he cared for her - maybe she had just been too blind to see it she realised, too fixated on having to hear the words rather than seeing it in his actions. "Oh Laura you've been such a fool," she berated herself, as tears sprang to her eyes, remembering the angry words they had both said to each other earlier that day. Had she finally pushed him away one too many times - pushed him back into the arms of his first love? Subjected him to one too many little tests? she thought desperately as she swallowed the aspirin to help with her aching head, but she knew it was no help to her aching heart. How long did you think he was going to wait around Laura, she thought to herself, while you made your mind up? In a moment of clarity she also realised that deep down it wasn't him she didn't trust, it was herself. Didn't trust herself to risk her heart again. But maybe some people are worth the risk, the little voice inside her head said to her.

She also suddenly realised that her fears may have inadvertently led to the thing she feared the most - losing him, and then another thought sprang into her head - why had he turned up at Kate's hotel room that afternoon? Was he there looking for her or had he gone to see Kate? How can I compete with a rock star? she though desperately to herself. But she also knew their connection went much deeper than that. Kate shared a history with him and had a lot in common with him as well - both orphans, both Irish, both had lived on the streets of Brixton, helping each other to survive. Kate had known and loved him when he was just 'Harry', before he became all the other personas he had adopted during his life, including the one Laura had given him, and she had obviously meant a great deal to him at one point in his life. Laura wondered how she could possibly compete against all that.

In an attempt to take her mind off her troubled thoughts, she got out of bed & made herself a sandwich, forcing herself to eat although she didn't have much of an appetite. She flicked on the tv as a distraction but when a commercial for the upcoming rock concert came on and Kate's face came on the screen she switched it off and shook her head wryly. As much as she didn't want to, she had to admit that there was something about Kate that was so goddamn likeable. Unlike some rock stars there was no superficial pretence to her or diva like attitude - she was instead down to earth and called a spade a spade. In fact, if the circumstances had been different she could easily see herself being friends with someone like Kate. Since Bernice had left to move to New York she had missed that female companionship - someone to have a few drinks and a laugh with, tell her innermost secrets to. Though she got on well with Mildred it just wasn't the same due to their age difference - she thought of Mildred more like a dear aunt or almost a mother figure at times.

Sure she had female friends, like her old college friends from 4 East at Stanford, but they were either married with children or busy with their own careers as much as she was, so she didn't get to see them as much as she would have liked. Though her 'bonding session' with Kate had started off a little awkwardly, by the end of it they were chatting & laughing like they were old friends, although she knew that was probably partly due to the amount of alcohol they had both consumed. Kate had also given her several insights into the man she called Remington Steele and his background, something Laura knew she didn't have to do.

As she thought about Kate she also thought about his other former lovers, Felicia and Anna and when they had re-entered his life. Felicia he hadn't spoken much about as it was still early on in their relationship when she'd reappeared - he'd just told her that as well as being lovers they had been partners-in-crime for a while. She remembered with more than a little hurt how he had initially shut her out when Anna had come back into his life as he tried to process the fact that she was actually still alive when he'd thought she'd drowned.

And now Kate, his first love, had come back into his life. How many more were there? she thought with a rueful shake of her head. At least he'd been honest with her about Kate though - he'd told her pretty much everything there was to tell. That's got to count for something, the little voice in her head told her - the fact he wanted to be open and honest with her. Why was she so afraid of his past? she wondered. Hell, we all have a past, she realised. He'd coped okay with Wilson coming back into her life, albeit briefly. But I didn't sleep with Wilson when our paths crossed again, the other little voice in her head argued, feeling that wave of jealousy again.

Her mind then kept going back over all that Kate had told her, especially when she had told her that Remington (or Harry as Kate still called him) loved her. She was afraid to believe it and after what she had said to him earlier that day when they'd fought she wondered if he did in fact love her, was that still the case? She briefly considered calling him but she didn't really know what she'd say, so she decided against it, knowing she would have to face him tomorrow at any rate.

Instead she had a shower to freshen up a bit then went back to bed, her head still pounding. She slept fitfully and when she finally fell into a deep sleep she dreamt of him...

She first dreamt she was back in the Mexican restaurant with the women who'd been suspects in the Malcolm Marcall case they had investigated a couple of years back, when she & Mr Steele had gone undercover as the Pepplers, a married couple contemplating divorce. That had been the last time that she had got drunk like she'd done earlier today with Kate. Instead of Margaritas and vodka though as they had actually drunk on that occasion, in the dream they were drinking beers like she'd done with Kate earlier that day. She recognised the three blonde women she was with - Janet, Angela & Megan but instead of the brunette woman, Beth, the one who'd ended up getting back with her husband, another brunette, Kate in fact, was sitting next to her. The women sipped their beers while they shared their stories of how their exes had done them wrong. "I can top that," Kate remarked after Megan had shared her story. "How about giving everything to a guy, and I mean everything," she said with a meaningful look, "only to have him leave you with just a note? Didn't even have the guts to break up with me to my face - after all we'd meant to each other. He just disappears!" The other women, Laura included, nodded sympathetically.

"And then after 14 years our paths cross again and he thinks he can just flash that smile of his and twinkle his blue eyes at me and get me into bed again. And here is stupid me falling for it, thinking there's a chance we could get back together. But oh no, he'd conveniently forgotten to tell me he's actually in love with someone else - called me her name even! Can you believe that?? Well good luck to her I say - she's gonna need it! 'Cos he'll do the same thing to her eventually - once he gets what he wants he'll be gone like the wind. God if he were here he'd probably quote a bloody movie reference!" Kate laughed bitterly, as despite herself Laura laughed in the dream too.

With that the man in question walked into the restaurant, accompanied by Malcom Marcall. "Oh my goodness, what is that with Marcall and is it taken yet?" Megan exclaimed in admiration as she spied Remington.

"That's Rem…Robert," Laura stated as she looked at him, correcting herself quickly, in reference to his undercover name of Bob, as she had done that day. "My ex,, my ex to be" she added as she stared longingly at him. "He's mine. You can't have him - not yet". She murmured the words aloud in her sleep.

At that Kate looked at her with a sly grin. "I've got news for you honey - he was mine first. And I've already had him - many a time. Just the other night in fact," she taunted her.

Unlike what had happened in reality when he'd walked out of the restaurant with Marcall, in the dream Remington came up to the table. "Ladies," he greeted them with a dazzling smile as they all looked at him adoringly, falling for his charm.

"Robert…what are you doing here?" Laura greeted him, still trying to keep up the cover.

He looked at her quizzically. "Sorry do I know you?"

Laura looked at him in shock & anger. "What do you mean 'do you know me'? Of course you know me - I gave you your name for God's sake!" she yelled at him furiously.

"And what name's that?" he shot back at her. "Not my real one that's for sure. Isn't that right Kate?"

"That's right Harry," Kate agreed with a knowing smile.

With that he grabbed Kate and pulled her up to him and kissed her passionately. When they finally drew apart (which seemed like forever to Laura) he turned to Laura, his expression cold.

"How long did you expect me to wait around for Laura? Like I said earlier today, I'm a flesh and blood man and I need a flesh and blood woman who's not afraid to show me how she feels about me. You're the one who just wanted a professional relationship after all," his words stung her as his intense blue eyed gaze seemed to bore right through her. With that he walked out of the restaurant with Kate, their arms around each other.

"No.. he's mine. You can't have him!" Laura cried out in her dream, repeating her earlier words, startling herself awake as she did so. She looked around in the darkness, realising to her relief that it had just been a bad dream but it had seemed so real - too real for her liking.

She tossed & turned for a while before falling back to sleep and dreaming of him again. This time she was alone with him in the dream. They were in the hotel elevator as they had been that afternoon but this time when she started kissing & caressing him he didn't hold her off. Instead he hit the Emergency Stop button and pressed her urgently up against the wall of the elevator, his hands & mouth ravishing her, their pent up passion for each other finally overflowing. In her dream she was bolder than she'd ever been with him, unbuttoning his shirt with an urgency that surprised both him and herself, as he did the same to her blouse. His hands found her breasts that ached for his touch as her hands did their own exploring, trailing through the thick hair on his chest before coming to rest on his belt buckle. "Oh Laura," he groaned as her hand travelled lower over his very evident arousal, and his did the same to her, running up her leg under her skirt, touching her where she needed him most. She moaned in her sleep, then an insistent ringing noise interrupted her dream. In her sleep haze she first thought it was the alarm going off in the elevator as she let out a frustrated cry at the interruption. She then came out of the dream and awoke to find it was the phone ringing next to her bed. Her heart was still racing and she could feel her face was flushed from the erotic nature of her dream, a fact another part of her body was also reminding her of.

She fumbled for the phone. "Hello.." she said sleepily into the receiver. To her embarrassment the object of her fantasy was on the other end.

"Morning Laura - sorry to wake you but I figured you may have failed to set your alarm last night", Remington greeted her as he heard the sleep in her voice, his voice doing something to her already aroused body as she felt herself blushing. She was suddenly glad he wasn't there to see her reaction.

"Ah no I hadn't set it.. thanks for the wake up call," she replied hurriedly. He went on, his voice suddenly serious.

"I've just had a call from Miles Walker - there's been another accident. Unfortunately someone got hurt this time."

"Who?" Laura asked, suddenly awake.

"Johnny Cole - a light fell on the stage while he was rehearsing, clipped him on the head. He's in hospital with a nasty concussion. No serious damage luckily but he won't be able to perform at the concert. Miles wants us over there as soon as possible. How about I swing by and pick you up in about half an hour or so?"

"Okay I'll see you then," Laura replied as she said goodbye and hung up the phone, wondering how she was going to be able to face him.

She quickly jumped out of bed grimacing a bit as the sudden movement jarred her still aching head, courtesy of the amount of alcohol she'd imbibed the day before with Kate. She hopped in the shower flicking on the radio in the bathroom as she did so. "Now folks here's 'Baby Don't Change Your Mind' from Gladys Knight to start your morning off with KROT," the announcer's voice said. As Laura listened to the lyrics of the song she tried to blink back her tears, but a few managed to escape and trickled down her cheeks where they were washed away by the water.


Your ex is back in town
What you gonna do when she comes around
And she starts going through her act
Will she make you change your act
Will your love for me remain intact
Or will you run to her
Baby, my love is on the line
Baby, don't change your mind, don't change it
Be strong and leave the past behind
Baby don't change your mind
Don't change it, don't you change it.

Trying to compose herself, knowing she'd have to face him shortly, she got out of the shower and quickly got dressed and did her hair and makeup, doing her best to cover up her red, puffy eyes. She was just finishing up when she heard her doorbell buzz. "Icy calm Holt", she told herself as she took a deep breath then went to answer it.

"Morning Laura," Remington greeted her, as she tried to tear her eyes away from him. He was dressed in a navy suit and tie with a sky blue shirt that matched those gorgeous eyes of his.

She was momentarily reminded of the dream she's been having about him earlier that morning when he'd rung and could feel a blush starting to colour her cheeks. "Morning Mr Steele," she replied a little hurriedly, the two of them feeling a bit awkward after the day before and all that had happened. "I'll just grab my handbag," she added in an attempt to get away from his intent gaze as he nodded, wondering if he'd imagined the blush he's seen on her face and what had caused it. He gathered she was feeling a bit embarrassed about her rather intoxicated antics the day before.

They walked down to the awaiting Auburn in silence. Remington opened the car door for her and closed it quite firmly, the noise causing Laura to wince a bit. He tried to hide the smirk that was starting to cross his face.

"How's the head?'" he asked as she put her sunglasses on and he started the engine and revved it a little for good measure.

"Just peachy thanks," she replied between gritted teeth, the noise of the engine rattling her head, as he averted his gaze so she wouldn't see the grin on his face.

"I thought you'd sworn off alcohol Laura," he couldn't help reminding her in reference to a conversation they'd had during the Marcall case.

"So did I," she muttered ruefully as she rubbed her forehead. They were silent for a few moments as they drove along then she said quietly, "Thank you for leaving me the aspirin and the water and for.. taking me home yesterday."

"You're welcome," he replied, his tone somewhat clipped.

She realised they had a lot to sort out after what they'd said to each other yesterday, not to mention her drunken behaviour. 'Crazy Laura's' got me into trouble again she thought ruefully. She hesitated for a moment then bit the bullet. "I think I owe you an apology for yesterday."

He raised an eyebrow at her, wondering what part of yesterday in particular she was referring to. Quite frankly it had been a hell of a day - one he preferred to forget.

"I… I said some things that I didn't mean in the heat of the moment. And then there's the way I behaved at the hotel," She focused her gaze on her feet, not being able to bring herself to look him in the eye.

"Yes well I can't say the way you behaved at the hotel was ah.. all bad," he quipped, trying to lighten the tension between them somewhat as despite herself, a small smile crossed Laura's face. He then took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at her intently. "I guess we both said some things we regret saying," he confessed, a muscle working in his cheek.

Laura hesitated then asked, her voice quiet, "Why did you walk out like that yesterday?" His doing that had brought to the fore all of her old fears and insecurities, borne out of her painful memories of first her father, then Wilson walking out on her. For a dreadful moment when he'd stormed out of her office so angrily the day before she'd wondered if he was coming back. Granted, he had come back, but still, it had really thrown her.

Remington blew out an exasperated sigh. "I thought it best to leave before I said anything else I might regret. "

"Like what? Hadn't you said enough already?" she snapped as she pushed her sunglasses on top of her head to glare at him, her insecurities getting the better of her.

Remington clenched his jaw. He really didn't want to get into this with her now, given they would be at their destination shortly. Plus he was tired of fighting with her. "Hadn't I said enough? What about you? You said so yourself you said some things you didn't mean in the heat of the moment. Do you really want to get into this now Laura?' he retorted angrily.

"It's as good a time as any," she shot back at him, her temper rising to match his.

"I came back didn't I?" he stated in frustration.

"Did you?" she countered, her furious gaze boring into him.

Her response puzzled him. "What do you mean Laura?"

She paused for a moment, trying to work up the courage to ask him the question that had been torturing her since the day before, not sure if she really wanted to know the answer. "Who did you come back for?" the question was on her lips, but she couldn't bring herself to say it. "I...it doesn't matter," she started but then chickened out.

"Of course it bloody matters," he exploded, then added, in a softer tone, almost pleading with her, "Talk to me Laura,."

This has got to be a first, Laura thought to herself, him wanting to talk and I don't have anything to say. Remington pulled the car over outside Miles' office, switched off the engine and turned to look at her. He reached out a hand to tilt her face up to his, the tender gesture bringing a tear to her eye. "Laura?" he asked gently.

"You're right - I don't think we should get into this right now," she replied hurriedly, putting her sunglasses back on so he wouldn't see her tears, the strength of her emotions starting to overwhelm her a bit. She pulled away from him and got out of the car.

"Fine - have it your way," he muttered in frustration as he got out of the car, slamming the door behind him and followed her into the building.

To Chapter 7

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