These were my impressions - I could pretty much cope with Laura in Mexico, by England she had me annoyed but by the time we got to Ireland I was ready to throttle her! My problem essentially, concentrating on Steeled With a Kiss, was two-fold . First, her choice of words when she was talking to Tony in the street, she said "I can't pull back now" as opposed to "I won't" or "I don't want to", which hinted at obligation rather than desire. Second, that phone call at the very end, that she even answered it at all, but mainly that she stood there having a conversation and didn't make a very big effort to get rid of Tony, discourage him or tell him he never stood a chance, but instead stood there with a smile.
So, now that I'm done
ranting, enjoy, although I don't think that's the right word.
Lifting her into his arms again, he moved them both towards the bed and sank down onto it as the damn phone began to ring again.
Kissing her neck, he asked softly, "Who was on the phone?"
"Nobody," Laura lied, unsuccessfully, she had never been very good at keeping things from him.
"Well, you spoke to Nobody for a fairly long time, it must have been something," he teased, "What was it, because they're not giving up on us."
"Nothing," she lied again, her slight hesitation not escaping Remington's notice.
He raised his head from her neck, "Laur-a" Uh-oh, the elongated "a" was never a good sign, "Who was on the phone?" He looked into her eyes but she looked away, "It was Tony wasn't it?"
Her silence was all the confirmation he needed. Even with the man in prison, he still managed to come between them on their honeymoon. Remington rolled away from Laura and stood up.
"Why did you try to keep that from me? What did he want?" he asked her, keeping his eyes turned away from her so that she wouldn't see his insecurity.
"Do we have to talk about this now?" Laura asked coaxingly, moving to stand in front of him and slide her hands over his chest.
"Laura, I want to know why that man is still a part of our lives. What did he want?" Remington insisted, stepping away.
Laura sighed, "He wanted to let us know that they finally released him," she told him.
"Hmm, I rather hoped they wouldn't," Remington said archly, "And it took up all that time?"
"Well, that, and that he wasn't giving up on me," Laura admitted, "But I told him I didn't want to speak to him and I hung up, so that I could be here, with you."
"Laura, how could you...?" he trailed off softly, but almost immediately began again, "I don't understand you Laura, all this time you've been the one not trusting me and now I find that it's me who can't trust you."
Laura's eyes widened, her voice was shrill as she tried to defend herself, "You never tell me how you feel, what was I supposed to think, how could I not have been confused? You even chose to marry Clarissa before me, how is that evidence of you trusting me?"
"I told you why I did that," he explained quietly as he paced across the spacious room, "What good would it have done the agency if we were found out, I'd be in prison, you'd lose your license, it would be just as you said, all your dreams and hard work up in smoke. As for telling you how I feel, well, I thought that's what I just did, what about all the things we said to each other in Mexico as well as what I told you only moments ago, it's never enough for you, is it Laura?....Is it?.... Do you love him? Although I don't really expect you to know the answer to that, since after four years you obviously still don't know how you feel about me."
He paused and gazed at her searchingly from the other side of the suite. Laura was silent as his accusations and his pain washed over her. Remington continued.
"Can I ask you something Laura? What made Antony so easy to trust. You trusted him immediately, believed whatever he told you even after you found out he'd used you to get to me, and yet you've never trusted me that way. I've done everything I could ever think of these past four years to get you to trust me, I gave you time, I tried to understand what your father and Wilson leaving did to you, admittedly my past created doubts but I stayed with you and I tried my best to explain them, but in less than a week you give your unconditional trust, your help, and God knows what else, to him."
Laura's face drained of color and she reeled for a minute. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, even Remington could hardly believe he'd said it. It was a low blow and uncalled for but he was too hurt to think carefully about what he was saying.
Laura recovered in time to cry out, "I trust you! I do!"
Remington turned haunted eyes to her but it was too dark for her to read his expression. His tone of voice told her all she needed to hear. Quietly and slowly he answered her.
"Well, I'm sorry Laura, if I don't quite believe you. I don't know if I can trust you anymore," he said, "Who knows what you told Antony, obviously something that made him think he stands a chance with you."
"No," Laura argued meekly, "I told him nothing was going to happen, that you and I had spent four years trying to reach this point and that I couldn't pull back now -"
"You couldn't?" Remington interrupted, "That you couldn't pull back now? I see.... not that you wouldn't or that you didn't want to, but that you couldn't?"
Laura closed her eyes to their horrible conversation, but when she opened them she was still in the darkened bedroom of the castle, still trying to figure out how things had gone so horribly wrong.
Desperately, she pleaded in a small voice, "But I'm here now, with you."
"That's just geography," Remington all but whispered, "I want you Laura, all of you, for who you are, not just because we're here, and I need you to want me for me, not because I just happen to be the one who's here at the moment and not because you feel some obligation to me."
Laura let him speak. Never had he been so open and so honest with her and far be it for her to stop him now.
"I'm acutely aware that this isn't the ideal situation for you. Once we get through this thing with Gladys Lynch, I'll leave you to live your own life and, after the two years are up, we can stage a divorce. Of course if you'd rather, I can just choose to deport myself and stay here in Ireland, you can return to Los Angeles without me."
He turned and walked away, shutting the bedroom door quietly with a frightening air of finality. Laura stared at the closed door in despair, wishing for anything but the unnerving calm he had shown. She wished he'd shouted and yelled, she would have welcomed the hostility. If the people at that Sensitivity Spa were to be believed, hostility was the soul mate of intimacy and if that were true then maybe all wasn't lost. Still staring at the door, Laura sank to her knees beside the bed, her hands covering her mouth and tears filling her eyes. She wished for anything, anything but the confusion which swamped her still, the terrible hurt she'd seen in his expression and heard in his voice and the knowledge that it was all her fault.