Changes 3 1/4
Date: Sunday, April 02, 2000
Tracy E. Aiken firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the next part of Changes. It is part of a series and it is necessary to have read that to understand this story. If anyone needs a copy of previous stories, please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to forward them on to you.
No infringement is intended. A special thank you to Jax for doing a great beta job! You're the best, thanks again!
Changes 3, Part 1 of 4
The sun was barely peeking over the horizon as Laura sat looking out her office window holding the telephone to her chest.
"Laura," he said peeking his head in her doorway. She, however, didn't respond to his calling her name. Coming fully into her office, he dropped their breakfast on her desk and saw tears running down her cheeks. Kneeling down beside her chair, he took her hand in his. It was as if his touch announced his presence at her side. The next thing he knew, Laura was in his arms sobbing and the telephone had fallen to the floor.
She felt his arms tighten around her and then they began to tremble. She knew she was scaring him with her actions. He hadn't seen her react this way very often, actually, maybe one other time. Hearing him ask what was wrong, she pulled back so she could see his face, and said, "I'm okay," and then moved back to bury her face between his shoulder and neck.
Her muffled voice interrupted his thoughts with, "I have to go to UCLA's med center."
His arms instinctively tightened around her.
"Frances is in the hospital."
"She's under the weather?"
"It's a bit more serious than that, I'm afraid," she said easing herself out of his arms. He helped her to her feet and led her over to her couch. "I received a call from Donald," she said sniffling. Taking his offered handkerchief she wiped her eyes and nose.
"Was she feeling sick?"
"She's not felt 100% in a while, and decided to get checked out. They did some tests and immediately admitted her. She has a form of leukemia that's all Donald knew they are going to be doing more tests today."
"What can I do," he asked.
"I need to go to the hospital, then I need to call Mother once I know what's going on."
"We need to go to the hospital."
She smiled and hugged him. "I love you," she whispered into his ear.
"Anything I can do, Laura, I'm happy to, anything at all. Do the kids know?"
"Not yet, Donald called me first and he's waiting for me."
"Come, then, let's get going," he said, grabbing her coat off the rack and held it for her. "Would you still like this," he asked holding up the bagel he'd gotten her for breakfast.
She shook her head no. He was going to start playing mother hen from the look in his eyes. "I can't, not now."
"Are you feeling sick?"
"Yes, but it's not morning sickness."
He understood that she was too worried to eat, but she did need to keep up her strength; this was going to become a very trying time very quickly.
"We'll grab something later. Let's go see Frances and Donald," he said leading her out of the office.
Their drive to the hospital was quiet; each was lost in their own thoughts. However, once they arrived and found parking, Laura took his hand and did not let go. Lifting her hand still in his, he kissed her fingers and said, "remember, anything I can do, I will."
She smiled, "this family is lucky to have you as a member."
His eyes widened at her statement. He was still getting used to the idea that he was Laura's family.
"You are a part of this family, you have been for a very long time. You may just now be realizing it, but trust me, this family needs you as much as you need this family." Reaching her arms around him, she hugged him tightly.
In a very small voice he whispered, "thank you. You will never know how much your acceptance means to me. I'd never really had a family before. But yours has welcomed me into the fold, and for that I will always be grateful. I will do anything I can to get all of us through this, I promise."
She was taken back by his confession. When she pulled back, he could see the tears in her eyes. "We are the lucky ones, Harry."
He leaned in to kiss her gently.
"Let's go see what they've found out," she whispered in his ear, not yet wanting to remove herself from him.
It was his turn to take her hand and
not let go. The love he felt for the woman at his side was immense.
"I love you, Laura," he said, squeezing her hand for
"I love you too, Harry."
Inside, the reception area was a buzz with people everywhere, some with upset family members, others just sitting quietly, but in a daze.
When it was their turn to speak with the receptionist, she spoke first, "Aren't you Remington Steele?"
He smiled and said, "yes, I am. I need to find a patient, Frances Piper. She was admitted earlier today, I believe."
"Of course, Mr. Steele, just one moment."
"Shall we take flowers," he asked.
"No, we'll have some delivered later ."
The receptionist interrupted Laura, "Mrs. Piper is in room 423. You can take the elevators just down the hall up to the fourth floor."
"Thank you, you've been very helpful." The woman just smiled, flirtatiously.
"If you need anything else, I'll be around until 3," she suggested.
Harry simply led Laura away from the desk to the elevators. "She was very friendly, too friendly."
"Laura, women flirt with me all the time, that doesn't mean I take any of them up on their offers. I have exactly what and whom I want. I love you, I want you, only you."
Her response was a kiss and when she pulled back she said, "good answer, Mr. Steele," and led them onto the elevator.
When they reached the fourth floor, Donald was speaking with a doctor outside Frances' room.
"Donald," Laura said.
"Laura, I'm so glad you're here," he said taking her into his arms. "Remington, you, too, thank you," he said shaking his hand. Realizing the doctor was waiting, he quickly introduced Dr. Moore.
"Can you tell us anything more than that she has Leukemia? Are the test results back," she demanded.
Obviously the doctor had not expected her questioning, as he appeared taken back just a bit, but quickly recovered.
"As I was explaining to Dr. Piper, we don't have the test results back yet, they should be here soon. What we need to start immediately is Chemotherapy. I don't want to guess at anything further, because it would be just a guess, so until then, I'm going to get Frances an appointment, and when I know anything, I'll be certain to contact you all. If you'll excuse me," he said and walked to the nurse's station.
Laura was watching Donald and his reaction to what the doctor had said. "Donald, come, sit." When she had him sitting, she asked, "when was the last time you had anything to eat?"
"I can't," was his immediate response.
"Laura, why don't you go see Frances and I'll take Donald to get some coffee?"
When Laura had disappeared through the doorway, Remington said, "she means well."
"I know, but if I have anything, it's going to come right back up."
"Listen, mate, if you don't have something, you're going to collapse. Your hands are shaking and I'm sure you're nerves are frazzled, but you've got to be strong, and if you don't eat, you won't be able to be strong for Frances." Donald just stared at him. "Laura will be here, she won't leave, she won't be alone, I promise."
"Thank you, for being here, with us at such a time."
"Hey, Donald, I wouldn't be anywhere else," he said as Donald stood and they began walking down the hallway.
Meanwhile, Laura had entered her sister's room to find her asleep. She sat quietly just watching her sleep for a few moments and then she awoke.
"Frances," Laura said, moving her hair from her face. Frances threw herself into her sister's arms, crying. "I'm right here, we're going to get through this, and I promise you."
"Oh, Laura," she sobbed.
Time passed them by, but eventually Frances leaned back against her pillows. "Did you talk to Dr. Moore?"
"Yes, we saw him in the hallway. He said your test results weren't back yet. Did he talk about a treatment with you?"
"Chemotherapy as a start, but nothing else until we know more specifically what we're dealing with." Sitting up, she asked, "did you call Mom?"
"Not yet, I wanted something more to tell her than you were sick. She'll be on the first plane out here. Have you talked to the kids?"
Closing her eyes, she laid back in the hospital bed. "It's okay, Frances, we can talk later, just rest."
"Har Remington took him to get some coffee."
A smile appeared on Frances' face, "what do you call him?"
"His name, Remington."
"No you don't. Now I know we don't see each other very much, but I can tell from your face how much your relationship has changed with him. Now tell me about it." At Laura's eye roll she added, "come on, it'll take my mind off things."
"I love him and he loves me." She really didn't want to have to explain her relationship with Harry. Theirs was such an unconventional relationship in some respects. They loved one another and were a family, but she hadn't explained to the rest of her family about his past. Perhaps it was better that way. What really mattered was the here and now, and he was certainly right there with them. No one would ever hurt him again, if she had anything to say.
"Come on, Laura, I want details not about that, get your mind out of the gutter, when did your relationship change?"
"You mean, when did we admit that we loved one another, almost six months ago."
"I know you don't call him Remington ."
"There's a reason for that. I call him Harry."
"Can I ask why?"
"It's a very long story that I'm not ready to tell just yet, but one day, I'll explain it all to you." As if reading her sister's mind, she said, "you'll be around to hear it, with all the details you want."
The door opened and in walked Donald followed by Remington. Remington came next to the bed and kissed Frances on each cheek. "How're you feeling?"
"I've been better," she replied honestly.
"If you need anything, and I do mean anything, all you'll need to do is to ask."
They all sat around the hospital room talking for hours, about anything and everything. Finally, about 4PM, the doctor came in and explained that he had her test results. Laura volunteered them to leave, but both Frances and Donald asked that they stay.
It was explained that the type of leukemia that Frances had was best treated with both chemotherapy and with a bone marrow transplant. The chemotherapy was set to begin tomorrow and the testing of family members for matching her bone marrow would begin immediately. Parents had the best chance of matching bone marrow, then siblings and finally children. Laura had volunteered to have her blood drawn first and left with the doctor.
All the time she was gone, Remington was a nervous wreck. The Pipers couldn't figure out why he was all of a sudden so jumpy. When Laura came back, Remington asked if his blood could be tested, so she showed him where the nurse took her blood. Once they were outside Frances' room, he asked, "is it safe, for you I mean?"
At first she was confused as to what he was asking, then realized that he meant with the pregnancy. "I told both the doctor and nurse I was pregnant. Having the test won't do any harm."
She could tell he felt guilty about asking. Before entering the room to have his blood drawn, she pulled him into her arms. "I love you, thank you for being here."
"Please don't think that I ," her fingers on his mouth stopped his words.
"I don't. The chances that I will be a match are a very long shot, but I have to try."
They remained in each other's arms for a few moments, until the nurse came out to see what was keeping the next family member.
"I think that's my cue," he said, and followed the nurse into the room.
A few minutes later, he came back out and saw Laura waiting for him. "Thank you for waiting, you didn't have to."
"I wanted to wait for you," she said going easily into his arms. "I needed to be right here for a little while."
"You'll get no arguments from me, I really enjoy you, where you are."
"I'm so glad you're here, I'm not sure I could do this without you," she said.
"Hey, love, you are the strongest person I know."
"I don't feel very strong right now."
Quickly leaning back so he could look into her eyes, he asked, "are you all right?"
"I'm a bit hungry, but other than that, I'm okay. Let's go back to Frances' room and I'll call Mother."
"I will, call I mean, if you wish?"
"I need to, but I want you close by when I do call her."
With their hands intertwined they walked back to Frances' room to find Donald in bed holding her while she slept.
"We can come back," Harry offered.
"Don't be silly, come on in."
Remington sat down and pulled Laura onto his lap. She seemed to be very comfortable in his arms. Soon she was asleep, like her sister across the room.
"How long," Donald asked?
"I've loved her for years, but we admitted it about six months ago," he said with a smile.
They remained quiet until the doctor once again came in to let them know that none of them were matches. "Are your parents alive?"
The doctor didn't see Laura flinch, but Harry did and tightened his arm around her.
"I don't know where my father is, but my mother is and she'll be flying in soon."
"That's good, we can test her when she gets in, but if anyone knows how to contact your father, I would suggest doing so, he may be the only match, we just don't know until we test."
With that the doctor left and Donald asked if he could speak with Laura and Remington outside. Frances wasn't too happy about being left out of their conversation, but agreed to let him talk with them alone.
"Laura, I know how you feel about your father," Donald began and all the blood rushed out of her face, knowing what he was about to ask her do.
"No, you don't ."
"Fair enough, I don't, but I do know that my life is laying inside that hospital room, dying and he may be able to save her," with each word his voice got steadily louder.
"Easy mate," Remington said.
"Donald, I have no idea where he would even be, if he's still alive."
"You two are world famous private detectives, I need you, she needs you, please try to find your father," he pleaded and then with tears rolling down his cheeks he moved to the end of the hallway to look out the window.
"How about I call Mildred and we do some digging?"
"How about we go back to the office, call Mildred and Mother. We can search until her plane lands."
"Sounds good, do you want me to tell Donald?"
"No, I need to talk to him. Why don't you keep Frances, company?"
Remington walked in and sat on the side of the bed. "He asked you to find Daddy, didn't he?"
"He did. Laura's talking to Donald now and then we'll go do some digging and call your Mother."
"Laura told me your relationship has taken a more serious turn. I'm glad, you're good for her."
He smiled shyly. "Thank you."
The door opened to allow Donald to enter the room. Laura remained in the doorway and held her hand out for Harry.
"We'll be back later with Mother. You take it easy, Frances."
"Thank you, for looking for him, I know how much that hurts you." Laura smiled at her sister.
"If you need anything, give a call," Remington said taking Laura's hand.