Steele of My Innocence 1/?

Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000
Linda <>

No bad language, no adult situations

My father always promised us
That we would live in France,
We'd go boating on the Seine
And I would learn to dance. . . .

When they threw open the apartment door, Harry was struck by its spare interior. This was Paris after all! The room was almost completely devoid of ornamentation. Almost. For on every horizontal surface, every table, window sill, and bookcase, were photographs, and in them he was astonished to see his own life documented, or at least his life since he met Laura. Mingled among the glossy photos of Frances, Frances and Donald, and their children were photographs of Laura alone and Laura with Harry. Even their wedding
portrait was prominently exhibited on the fireplace mantel. Newspaper clippings that documented their more sensational cases were also displayed.

The room was dusty, the air was heavy. Through an open window came random street-sounds.

Laura and Frances slowly walked into the room, while Donald and Harry hung back. Harry was gladdened to see that in grief and sorrow the Holt sisters drew strength from one another. Frances gripped Laura's hand tightly as they
stared at the tableau of their father's life, laid bare before them, or at least his life since he gave up the right to call himself their father. Laura brought a hand to her mouth, spinning silently around the room, trying to take it all in, to analyze it, to discern its meaning. As she did, Harry caught sight of her profile, and his eyes trailed downward, over the growing evidence of the child who was soon to be. The barely suppressed rage for Thomas Holt boiled to the surface once again. The last thing Laura needed was this intrusion into their lives, especially now.

And yet-----and yet something wasn't quite right. How did Holt acquire all of these intimate mementos of his daughters' lives? Their triumphs, their joys, even their daily existences, were authenticated here, in their father's home, six thousand miles from their own. The newspaper passages were certainly easy enough to come by. But how to decipher all the rest? A kernel of a theory occurred to Harry, and as it enlarged he became terrified for Laura. He began to suspect that there were more revelations yet to come, and exposed truths that Laura might not be prepared to confront.

Unnoticed by the four occupants, a woman entered the dwelling silently. She remained near the door, watching Thomas's children unearth their father's love for them. Harry noticed her first, a tall, elegant woman, with upswept
gray hair. She bore tragedy in her visage as well, and Harry instinctively took a step toward her as Laura, Donald, and Frances noticed her also. She glided past the two men to where Laura and Frances clung together near the window.

"My dear Laura and Frances. You should not have learned the truth this way."

End of part 1
**Lyrics are from My Father, written by Judy Collins