Steele Not The Real Thing
Date: Thursday, February 15, 2001
Breezy <>

Hey guys,
This is just a little story for all of those Valentine's cynics and a way of venting the days events... to a certain extent. Please do archive and I welcome any and all feedback. The idiot of hearts,

Steele Not The Real Thing

Laura Holt sat staring at the toaster oven in her dorm room waiting for her pizza to finish cooking. The night had not turned out to be exactly what she expected; actually it hadn't turned out to be anything she had expected. Right now she was pretty down on everything.

It was Friday night before a long weekend and she had nothing to do. She had made plans earlier in the week and had turned down four other people since, but that afternoon she had a huge fight with the guy she had made the plans with.

Ryan Perkins, he was in all of her classes this semester. Last semester he had been in her Western Civ class and they had been in a study group together. They had started talking and she found out they were both in the math program, that's why they were in all of the same classes.

Not only were they both in the same major, but they listened to the same music, had some of the same hobbies, he made her laugh constantly, constantly told her how wonderful she was, made her feel special, and to top it all off was drop dead gorgeous.

She had fallen hard for him. She had told all of her friends, even her sister Frances that she was going to marry him. He was perfect. There was not one flaw she could find. Sure, he was three years older than her and he had partied a little harder than she would have in his high school days, he had even dropped out, but now he had changed. The whole world amazed him and it warmed Laura's heart to know that she amazed him more than anything else.

Since the second week of classes they had spent every moment during the day together, talking about everything, going to guest lectures, and having fun. He had never mentioned that he already had a girlfriend. This wasn't the part that had upset Laura though.
She knew she was special to him. He let her know that everyday with the way he'd wink at her when he used a joke only they shared or when they were studying he would quietly move his hand so it rested against hers. He also bought her lunch on more occasions than she could count. That's why she couldn't understand how he could do what he had.

She had started the day off in an unusually chipper mood at the crack of dawn. When she got to the front of the building where her first class was she saw Ryan talking to one of the girls in their class. As Laura walked up and said hi, she noticed that they changed the subject. She also noticed that Ryan looked a bit uncomfortable. She looked at him a second time, trying to appraise where his discomfort originated.

That's when she noticed he was wearing a huge sweater. She thought about it for a minute, but froze in place when he moved to push his hair back. Right in the middle of his neck, there was no denying what that giant purple mouth shaped bruise was. She wasn't sure of what she should do next.

"Ryan Perkins! Is that what I think it is --," The other girl started to ask.

"Bahhh, Danni," he paused and mouthed to the other girl that he didn't want Laura to know about the mark below his ear, "Yeah, I like large collars, speaking of which, why don't you ever wear that boa that you told us you bought in ...Frisco?"

Laura smirked, what did this guy think she was? A moron? A blind moron? She felt like pounding the life out of him, but decided against mutilation instead opting for quiet seething. She ignored the rest of the conversation and walked into the room.

The class was small which had afforded her the luxury of getting to know the professor. This also allowed the professor to get to know her. They were actually very funny together telling all sorts of tame jokes that had been told since the beginning of time.
Unfortunately Dr. Biggs noticed immediately that Laura was not her usual enthusiastic self. He had been watching her and Ryan since the start of the class knowing that Laura was very interested in the boy. He had also noticed that Ryan had developed more than an academic relationship with her. Thinking that they were more than just study buddies he started off class with a question.
"So, how is everyone spending their long weekend?" He looked around at the predominantly female class, "Ryan, are you planning on spending the weekend with your lucky lady?" Biggs glanced over at Laura and winked.
"Uhhh, no, sir, I, ummm, I'm just going to spend the weekend with myself. She won't be- er, just alone," Ryan stared down at his notebook and pulled the over sized collar of his sweater up a little further.
The professor looked quizzically over at Laura then started to teach class. When the class got out Laura leapt out of her seat and grabbed her books. She rushed over to the cafeteria to get a chocolate milk for lunch and sit in a corner.
When she found a spot she pulled out her notebook and began to burry herself in her notes. She reached for her carton without looking and encountered a large hand covering the box.
"Hey Laura, where are you?" Ryan grabbed her hand and willed her to look at him.
She looked up and spoke just loud enough for him to hear her, "Nowhere. I am just trying to study for the quiz."

"Great, you want me to quiz you?" He shot her a smile that would have melted her if she had been looking at him.

"No, I think I have it under control," and she did if he would just leave and never talk to her again. Did he really think I was that stupid? Maybe if I mention it he'll tell me he punched his neck.

"Fine, would you mind quizzing me? I don't think I have it down," he passed his notebook over to her hopefully.
"I guess so," she opened the book and started looking for the page where he had all of his vocabulary listed and sighed, "Ready?"
"No. What's wrong, Laura? You're positively sedated. I haven't ever seen you this quiet. I'm a little worried to tell you the truth," he had put his hand on her wrist and tried to make eye contact with her.
Laura twisted her wrist loose and stared at the papers in front of her, "Nothing is wrong with me. I am perfectly fine," it's you who has the problem you jerk.
The hour went by with that same anger and awkwardness until their next class. The test was pretty easy. Laura finished it in a tie for first with the girl from the morning and Ryan. As all three were leaving the room, Dr. Biggs grabbed her and talked to her.
"Laura, are you sure you're ok? You look like you were hit by an eighteen wheeler."

Laura mustered all of her strength not to loose her composure. She wasn't sure if she would scream or cry if she tried to admit how she felt, "I'm fine, really. I just need to take a nap."

"Well, as long as you're fine I recommend giving Ryan a piece of your mind the next time the two of you are alone, that's one doosey of a hickey that boy has and I can tell you didn't put it there. If you want you can borrow my office."

Laura grinned, "Thanks, I'll tell you about it when I get back on Monday."
As she walked outside she saw Ryan leaning on the wall and decided to talk to him now before they left for their night of pizza and movies.

"Hey, Ryan, tell me, do you think you're starting a trend wearing that enormous sweater in sixty degree weather?" Laura tugged at his collar and he tried to cover the mark with his hand, "Or is it that gargantuan love bite that makes you wear it?"

"Uh, Laura, I thought you hadn't noticed. I, um, I should tell you I have a girlfriend. We aren't serious or anything, but she got a bit over excited and--," he was fishing for something to say.

"That is none of my business, whatever you do outside of class is none of my business and from now on nothing I do outside of class is your business," she turned to walk away when Ryan grabbed her shoulder.
"Laura, I care about you. You are the best friend I have here. You have helped in so many ways you can't understand. If we work out I'll dump her like--."

"If? If we work out you're going to dump her. How kind of you," she was ready to rip out his throat and stomp on it, but her voice remained deathly even, "Don't worry yourself with that. We won't be working out ever. You can go home to your vampire and not have to worry about me ever again. Have a great God damned weekend. I won't!" Laura finished her tirade at a much higher decibel level than when she first began and stormed off.

That left her here; all alone in her dorm room waiting for her frozen pizza to cook. She sat and wondered if she had just let the man of her dreams slip through her fingers. Her eyes burned, but she fought the tears. She wasn't going to let any guy get to her like that. She was tough as nails Laura Holt. She pulled the pizza out of the toaster oven and devoured it as if it would fix everything. All it did was make her stomach feel a little off kilter.
She spent the rest of the night getting lost in Rebecca, a book she had read a few times and had fallen in love with. If only she could find a mystery man like Maxim DeWinter. She laughed sadly knowing for sure she wouldn't ever be so lucky to find someone who was worth keeping such a large secret for. That night as Laura fell asleep she promised she wouldn't let herself get strung along again like that and as she drifted off a single tear fell down her cheek.
The End