- Steele Livin' Large 4/4
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2000
- Linda <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Anne Rose <email@example.com>
After setting her internal alarm clock the night before, Laura
rose early Wednesday morning. She gingerly climbed out of bed,
jostling Harry as little as possible. She needn't have worried,
though, as he merely murmured softly, clutched her pillow to
his chest, and easily drifted back to sleep. Packing was a breeze;
she chose clothing just right for the Mediterranean weather they
would soon be enjoying. Finding their passports was another matter:
although usually stowed in the center desk drawer in their home
office, this time Laura found them jammed into the kitchen junk
Satisfied that they were as ready as they could be, but content
to let her husband sleep as much as he could before their long
flight, Laura poured a cup of coffee and carried it out to the
patio. Still clutching their passports, she sat down at the wrought
iron table and began to sip the
comforting brew. She absently opened her husband's passport,
but something stopped her short. Maybe it was the memory of their
struggle for that document, or the memory of her abject horror
at the thought of his possible deportation so many years ago,
that made her sit up and take notice of her
own feelings for a change.
Was it really only a couple of months ago that she had found
Steele sprawled on the steps, clutching his chest, in the dimly
lit stairwell at Pulsatech? How much had happened since then!
All those emotions were called up anew, as
Laura revisited the terror that had welled up in her. All the
times in those early days when she'd mistrusted him, when she
doubted he was there for the long haul, when she was afraid to
love him for fear of losing him, came
tumbling back to her, but in a different guise. Her fears were
made real again, and Laura choked back tears contemplating that
loss. She knew what Harry would say, if she confessed her panic
over such a possibility. He'd tell her that there were no guarantees,
but he'd promise her anew to live each day with her as if it
were his last.
"Laura? Laura, what's wrong?" Harry appeared at the
door, and seeing her distress, crossed the distance between them
in a flash. He knelt alongside her, gathering her in his strong
For a long while, she sobbed. The words couldn't come, but the
emotions racked her. Finally, when she could draw a breath and
look in his eyes without dissolving in tears, she told him. She
confessed to the sleepless nights, to the panic she'd felt, to
her own twisted logic about loss and
abandonment. He uttered the words she knew he would, he made
the promise she knew he'd make. . . but Laura was astonished
to find that this time, the promise was enough.
"What do you mean, you can't tell me where we're going?"
"It's a surprise."
"How about a hint?" he teased, a broad smile on his
lips. He knew she couldn't have any idea how happy he was with
her efforts to please him, to show him that he could be her top
priority every now and then.
"Nope. You'll just have to wait." Laura squirreled
the tickets in her purse, away from Harry's inquisitive eyes.
Even at the airport, she sent him to a Starbucks stand while
she checked them in. But of course the jig was up when their
flight was announced and Laura led him to their gate to board
"Ah, Paris. Just as I suspected. Excellent choice, Laura,"
Steele smugly declared as they waited in line. Laura said nothing,
just smiled to herself.
The flight was long, and even champagne and chocolate-covered
strawberries couldn't make up for it. The couple watched a succession
of airline-edited films ("Butchering!" pronounced Steele)
until somewhere over Canada they managed to fall asleep. When
they blearily stumbled off the plane many hours later, it was
the next morning in Paris. But instead of marching them off to
the taxi stand after they endured customs, Laura prodded Harry
to hurry so they could catch their connecting flight. They nearly
missed it, and in all likelihood their luggage did, but Laura
and Harry sank into their seats for the short leg to Cannes.
The lights dimmed, and Harry recognized that excitement he always
felt when the first reel was about to start. Loaded with concession
purchases, he hurried down the aisle and found Laura without
After sliding into the seat next to his wife, Steele leaned over,
planting several kisses in Laura's hair, nuzzling with his nose
until he found her ear. "Now *this* is what I call a surprise!
And a delightful one at that."
Laura turned toward him, her eyes shining. In an idle moment,
it had occurred to Laura where the perfect destination for her
husband was. "Where else would I take my favorite film fanatic
but the Cannes Film Festival?"
"'Fanatic' is a bit of a --- pedestrian --- term, isn't
it, Laura? 'Connoisseur' is more the ticket." Steele's eyes
flicked to the screen, where 'A Conversation with Gregory Peck'
was about to begin, and back to his wife.
"Connoisseur works for me. As long as you're around to go
the movies with me for a long time to come."
"Indeed, Mrs. Steele."
"Pass the popcorn, Mr. Steele. You *did* tell them to hold
the butter, didn't you?"
Author's notes:Read about the film that the Steeles saw in
Anne and I thank you for reading. Please let us know what you
thought about our story.