Changes 3 3/4
Date: Sunday, April 02, 2000
Tracy E. Aiken <>

Fred interrupted them with his announcement that they'd arrived at the terminal.

He exited first and held his hand out to assist her, which she took and held as they walked into the terminal. From the monitors, Abigail's plane had landed a scant five minutes ago and the passengers were beginning to deplane.

They watched for Abigail from outside the gate. She was one of the last ones off the plane. Her head was twisting to and fro looking for them. When she finally spotted them she rushed over and took Laura in her arms.

"Hi, Mom."

"Oh sweetheart, what are we going to do?"

Pulling back, Laura said, "we're going to be strong for Frances and you are going to get tested to see if you're a match. We are going to find Daddy."

All of a sudden, Abigail saw Remington, as if he wasn't there before. "Remington, thank you for being here and making the flight arrangements," she said before hugging him.

Kissing her cheek, he said, "Anything you need, love."

"Did you check luggage," Laura asked?

"No dear just brought the carry on."

"Why don't we go get some breakfast and then we can head over to the hospital," Remington suggested.

Abigail immediately began to protest, "there's no way I could eat at a time like this."

"Mother, you've been flying all night. I know you're upset, but we've got to be strong for Frances and in order for us to be strong, we must keep up our health. We'll take you to see Frances and get tested right after breakfast, okay?"

He could tell Laura didn't really feel like dealing with her mother, she actually looked a bit pale which he figured was a bit of morning sickness.

"I know a great breakfast place not too far from here," Remington suggested. "The limo is just outside," he said taking her luggage and guided her out of the terminal.

Once they were settled in, Remington said, "my apartment please, Fred."

Smiling, he said to Abigail, "I make a mean omelet."

"He really does," Laura added.

"And you can rest while I fix breakfast, you must be tired after the flight."

"I am tired. I can't sleep on planes, not very well, at least."

"Then you can catch a nap, that's not a problem, Abigail," he said taking her hand.

"You're lucky to have such an understanding boss, Laura."

"Abigail, one day soon, you and I are going to have a long talk, okay," he asked.

She was a taken back by his words and was a bit flustered. "Okay."

The rest of the ride to his apartment went on without a hitch. Remington could feel the stress coming off of Laura.

Once inside, he pushed Abigail off to his bedroom and brought Laura into the kitchen with him and sat her next to him, at the bar. "How about some milk?"

"Do you have orange juice?"

"Certainly," he said, pouring her a glass of orange juice.

"Thanks, milk wouldn't have stayed down right now."

"Do you want to lie down?"

She just shook her head no. "I'm right where I want to be, Harry."

He smiled at her and began their breakfast. "What would you like in your omelet?"


"Okay, anything else, maybe some avocado?"

She just smiled at him. "Can I help?"

"You can sauté the mushrooms if you'd like."

She gathered the mushrooms from his refrigerator and cut them into pieces and added them to a pan with butter. "This, I can do."

"You do a lot of things very well, Laura," he said and leaned in to kiss her.

They finished preparing their breakfast and were getting dishes to set the table when he saw her weave and grab hold of the counter. His arms were immediately around her. "Laura?"

Turning around she hugged him and lay against his chest, "just dizzy, I'm okay." He held her until he heard a soft cough in the doorway.

"I hope I'm not interrupting…."

"No, you're just in time, breakfast will be served momentarily." He looked into Laura's eyes and silently asked if she was okay, then he took the dishes and sat the table.

"Would you care for coffee or tea, Abigail?"

"Coffee sounds wonderful, thank you." He fixed himself and Abigail coffee and another orange juice for Laura and took them to the table.

"You're not having coffee, Laura," her mother asked?

"No, I'm cutting back on the caffeine."

"Ladies, breakfast is served," Remington announced.

There was little talk over breakfast, but Abigail noticed how Remington was watching Laura. Which got her to thinking about the embrace she walked in on a few minutes ago.

"Can I ask you two a question?"

Laura froze and Remington said, "of course."

"Your relationship with my daughter, is it purely professional?"

He looked over at Laura and could see how she was dreading this conversation. "No, Abigail, it's not."

"So what does that mean, Remington?"

"Mother, please."

"I'm just trying to find out what your relationship is, you'll never tell me."

"Perhaps that is because it is between us and that's the way we want it to be, Mother."

"You are so much like your father."

Hoping to take the conversation another direction, he asked, "did you bring the letter you mentioned?"

"Yes, I'll get it for you," she said getting up from the table and walking to the bedroom.

Remington took Laura's hand and asked, "are you all right?"

"I will be."

He was out of his seat and kneeling next to her chair. "I love you and if you need anything, you know I'll do anything to get you though this."

She reached out for him and he took her into his arms.

"I seem to keep interrupting," Abigail said, taking her seat again and placed the letter on the table.

"When did you receive this letter, Mother?"

"A few years ago."

"May I," Remington asked?

She handed him the letter.

"It's postmarked San Francisco."

"Sounds like we have a trip to make, Mr. Steele."

"What, no, you can't go anywhere right now, what about your sister."

"She asked me to find Daddy."

"Remington can go," Abigail said.

"We are going to be going to San Francisco as soon as we can. The sooner we are able to find Daddy, the sooner we may be able to help Frances."

"He left us," she said quietly.

"Yes, he did. But he is still my father and I want to find him. We will drop you at the hospital and check on Frances, but then we are going to find him," Laura said, standing up and walking out to the balcony.

"He'll just hurt her. She's better off remembering him as a little girl."

"We don't know that, Abigail. But she has to find out why he left her. Now, I'm going to check on her, if you'll excuse me," he said placing his napkin on the table.

"Laura," he said before he stepped out onto the balcony.

She turned to him and smiled. Holding her hand out was her invitation for him to join her.

"Do you want to head up to San Francisco this afternoon, or do you want to do a bit more digging?"

"I think," she said, "that we need to do some digging, then head up either tonight or tomorrow."

"Do you want to read this now," he asked, holding the letter out to her.

"Will you read it aloud?"

"It's postmarked May 15, 1997," he said before opening the envelope.

"Dearest Abigail, I know you probably never expected to hear from me ever again, nor may you want to. I needed to explain my behavior, not that I expect you to forgive me for leaving you and our children. I think of them daily and wonder what they've grown up to be and how their personalities changed over the years. I digress, however. This is the hardest letter I've ever written. Not that I'm trying to make my behavior seem any less abhorrent, but please accept this apology as it is meant. I know you'll probably never forgive me, and if I was in your shoes, I may not forgive me either. Please know it wasn't anything about you or the children, it was all me. I had lost myself. I do think I've finally found myself. However, it has been at the cost to you and the children. I keep calling them children, however much they've grown, and they will always be my children.

After I left all those years ago, I began traveling and studying art again. I have made a good life for myself in San Francisco. I'm an art dealer for select museums and individuals. As much beauty as our family brought to my life; it wasn't enough. Part of me was missing. None of this was your fault. I so want you to believe me. I feel as I failed you and I suppose I have failed you. I know you'll find the enclosed check not acceptable. I'm not trying to buy your forgiveness, but I want you to be comfortable. I left you at possibly the worst time imaginable, I know that.

If you need to reach me, or need me for anything, please, please feel you can come to me. My door will always be open to you and the children,



"There's a check for half a million dollars that's never been cashed," he said. "Laura," he questioned?

Tears were streaming down her cheeks. "I still don't understand why he left."

"Perhaps," he said wiping her tears, "it doesn't matter why. It's obvious that he loves you and will be there. We've just got to find him."

"Doesn't sound like that will be very hard? Why didn't she ever show this letter to me, or even to Frances? He's asking for all our forgiveness."

"Maybe she wasn't ready? She may have never been ready, but circumstances demand…."

A voice from the doorway said, "he's right. I don't think I would have ever shown that to you."

"Why not? He wanted all our forgiveness. I'm not a child, Mother, I can make my own decisions."

"Because I didn't want to lose you to him, again," she said and turned back into the apartment.

Laura and Remington followed her into the living room. Laura sat next to her mother on the couch. "What do you mean, lose me?"

"Laura, all while you were growing up, anytime you needed anything, you went to him. I know he was everything to you. You're ready to forgive him. Once you have him back, you won't need me anymore."

"Oh, mom," she said hugging her mother. "I'll always need you. You're my mother. We may not have always gotten along, but I will always love you, just as I love Daddy. I may not understand why he needed to do what he did, but he at least deserves to tell his side."

"You'll still need me," Abigail asked?

"I love you," Laura said. "Yes, we will still need you."

"Do you think he'll get tested?"

"From this letter," Remington said, "this is a man desperate to have his family back, in some form, so yes, I believe he will."

"Why didn't you cash the check, Mom?"

"I didn't need or want it."

"Actually, it's good you didn't. It gives us a place to start looking," Laura said.

"Can we go see Frances, now," Abigail asked?

"Of course, just let me change and we'll be off," Laura said and walked into the bedroom.

Abigail just looked at Remington and he smiled nervously.

"We are going to have a long talk, Remington."

"Whenever, you'd like. Let's get through this first, then, I'm all yours."

Laura came out a few minutes later and felt the tension in the living room. "Everything okay out here?"

"Do you live here, Laura," Abigail demanded.

"Sometimes I do, and sometimes we live at the loft, but we're always together. I love him and he loves me. Do you have any other questions?"

"No. Thank you for telling me," she said almost sarcastically.

"Mother, this is our life. We are lovers and are happy together. Please be happy for us, but if you can't, we don't want to hear about it, do you understand?"

He'd never seen Laura stand up to her mother quite that way before.

"Let's get going," she said holding her hand out for him. He immediately took her hand and they walked out of the apartment with Abigail following them silently.

Fred took them to the hospital. The entire drive was tension filled, with no one speaking. When they pulled up at the hospital, they all filed out and took the elevator up to Frances' room.

Donald was again, outside speaking with the doctor. Donald greeted them and introduced Abigail.

"How's my daughter, doctor?"

"We have her set up for her first treatment later this morning. We'll need to get you tested as soon as possible. Can you come with me?"

"Of course," Abigail said and followed the doctor to the nurse's station.

"I'd ask how things are going, but I bet I could tell you," Donald said.

"How's Frances," Laura asked, changing the subject.

"Sleeping. We told the kids last night. They're doing okay."

"How're you, mate?"

Donald smiled and shrugged. "I'm okay. Did you have any luck with your search?"

Laura knew what he was asking. He was asking about Jeff Holt. "We have several leads. We'll be going up to San Francisco this afternoon to follow up on them."

"I know I don't understand what this is like for you, Laura, but thank you for doing this," he said hugging her.

"You just take care of things here, we'll find Daddy. We're going to take off. Let us know if you find anything out," she said giving him a quick hug and Remington shook his hand.

They walked down to the limo and once inside, she was immediately in his arms. "Hey, love, it's going to be okay, I promise."

She didn't respond to him. She remained in his arms, hugging him tightly.

He held her the entire way to the office, just trying to comfort her. When the limo stopped she didn't move out of his arms. He kissed her temple and stroked her hair. "I love you, Laura."

"Love you, too."

"Do you want to go up and start the search again?"

"All we need to do is to confirm the address on the check and catch a flight."

"I'll go," he offered.

"Together, okay?"

"Always, love."

She eased herself out of his arms and then opened the door to get out of the limo.

Once they were upstairs, he gave Mildred the address to check while they made reservations for a late morning flight.

A few minutes later Mildred came in smiling. "Pay dirt."

"You confirmed it," Laura asked?

"Yes, I spoke with an assistant who confirmed Jeffrey Allan Holt will be at home all day at the address listed. He's going under Allan Holt."

"Thanks, Mildred. Do you mind holding down the office today?"

"No, honey, you go find your father and bring him back."

Laura hugged Mildred.

"Yes, thank you, Mildred," he said.

"You kids get out of here and go find Allan Holt," she said walking out of his office.

"Do you want to pack a bag, or just fly up, find him and fly back?"

"As much as I just want to go and come back, I need to talk to him and that's going to take some time, so we should pack."

"Okay, let's go to the loft and get you packed," he said.

To Be Continued---
To Part 4