Yes...Katrina knocked me for a
loop, BUT, even without a 'puter
yet...I did find time to get creative and go to the public library to
type and save...so...happy reading!
SUMMARY: What determines that someone have a will
to fight, a need to
win, a stubborn, headstrong will of cold, hard steel? What made Laura
so damned set to prove she could do it all on her own?
STEELE WILL (a VERY pre-RS story)
copyright 2006 by Connor McBride
January 28, 1956...
"What's wrong with them? What
do you mean, a respirator? Why can't I
see them?" Jack put a comforting arm around his hysterical wife.
Abby had never been good in a crisis. He rubbed her back soothingly.
"Abby, calm down and let the doctor talk."
"But Jack, our babies-"
"Abby, it's gonna be okay." Jack hugged his wife and faced the
doctor. "Why can't we see them?"
Matthew Goldberg, M.D., sighed. News like this was the part of the
job he wished he could avoid. "Mr. Holt-" he paused, placing a
comforting hand on the soft one of Abigail's. "Abby, your pregnancy
was very hard. The twins were early by three months, and they
shouldn't have come this early-"
"Doctor, my wife and I want an answer." Jack Holt's voice was
razor-sharp, that of a military man, a voice that expected
obedience...immediate obedience. Goldberg shook his head and
continued. "They're both very small. Both of their lungs aren't
fully developed and...well, we'll have to see what the next
forty-eight hours bring. I just want you to be prepared--"
A teary, "For what?"
Goldberg smiled gently at the young woman, knowing it was all he
could do. He was a doctor, not God. "For the chance that you may
lose one or both. They're just too early."
"It's not-" Abigail Holt (nee Brenner) broke down, pulling away from
her husband. "I didn't do anything They weren't supposed to come
Goldberg shook his head and walked
out, Jack Holt following. The
young Army captain grabbed the doctor's arm. "Sir, honestly, what
chance do they have? Losing them is going to kill my wife."
The elderly doctor stared at him, not mincing words. "The older
twin, the girl, we had to attach to a respirator almost immediately.
She stopped breathing a few times. The boy...same thing. I don't know."
"The chances, Doc. That's what I asked."
"Realistically Jack, you should probably call your rabbi and be
prepared to sit shiva."
He turned on his heel and walked off. Matthew Goldberg would need a
drink tonight. Badly.
January 31, 1956
"I'm sorry." He wanted
to close his eyes and turn away. There was
nothing more heartbreaking than a mother weeping over her child's
too-soon passing. "His heart just stopped."
Jack Holt's voice sounded like it was in a tunnel. "We lost our son."
Goldberg nodded. Abby's sobs grew convulsive. He barely heard Jack's
question. "-our daughter?"
He looked up, not daring to give false hope. "She's still on a
respirator and can't breathe by herself. And she's so small. I don't
know. Even if she does survive, she'll probably never be very
strong...have difficulty with asthma, bronchitis, things like that.
And...as weak as she is now, even if she lives, she'll probably die
very early, possibly of an asthmatic attack...or even a heart attack."
His eyes were suddenly watery. Goldberg turned and walked out and
the young couple mourned the loss of their youngest.
February 1, 1956
Matthew Goldberg slowly pulled off
his glasses and massaged his
temple in exhaustion. His tired eyes could barely make out the scrawl
on the certificate of death. Name-Seth John Holt. Sex-Male. Age at
Death-4 days. Reason for Death-Cardiac arrest. Date of Birth-January
28, 1956. Date of Death-January 31, 1956.
Slowly he reached into his file. Might as well get ready to mail
them together. He filled in everything he could. Everything but her
name, cause of death, date of death, and age. He gave the female
infant twenty-four hours. If by some miracle she should live, five
years. She was so damned small.
February 1, 1956
The young couple stared through the
plexiglass into the intensive
care nursery. There lay their surviving twin, their middle child..
They wouldn't tell Franny yet. How did you tell a seven-year-old her
little brother and little sister were dead? Did you tell her they
slept with the angels? Did you say they were now angels?
Their new little girl could probably fit in only one of Jack's palms,
so small was she. Her smallness made her nearly impossible to see
among the various tubes which pushed oxygen into her underdeveloped
little body. The only noticeable feature was her head of dark hair.
"What are we going to call her?"
"I'm not naming her yet." Abigail looked up despondently from her
"What? Why? " Jack looked at her askance. She took a deep breath.
"Jack, she's so small...Dr. Goldberg said she probably won't survive
the next two days. She's getting weaker instead of better." Her
voice began to crack. "I only gave our boy a name because they needed
a name for the death certificate, so I named him after my father and
you And I lost him I can't get attached to another baby that's
going to die too I'm going to lose my little girl too And
Franny-she'll never know her brother and sister-" She broke down
Jack knelt down beside her, taking
her beautiful smooth, pale hands.
"Abby, she has a cha-"
"No Jack, she doesn't. That was Dr. Goldberg's-"
"We'll prove him wrong honey "
The pretty blonde looked back at the window. "I can't Jack. Not yet."
Jack stared blankly at the incubator. He wanted to name her now, to
let her know (as silly as it sounded), that he believed she could
survive. That she was a fighter. He looked down at his heartbroken
wife and then back at his remaining earth angel (did Dion sing that?
Or was it the Penguins)...his little earth angel. She needed a reason
to fight. Everybody needed a reason to fight. And Abby couldn't give
her one right now. He could. He had to.
"Let me name her."
Jack never took his gaze off his daughter. "Let me name her."
Abigail shook her head. "Jack-"
He gripped her hands tightly. "Please You named Francis. You
named Seth. At least he had a name Let me name her She deserves a
Abigail knew Jack. This was his way of grieving. She stroked his
dark wavy hair. "Alright."
Captain John Lee Holt, U.S. Army,
knew the tiny doll-girl, his little
doll-girl, needed a strong name. Names meant something. She needed a
fighting name. His mind drifted back to Western Civilization, his
favorite subject from high school, thinking of all the great
names...Napoleon, Alexander the Great-Alexandra? No, she didn't look
like an Alexandra...Churchill, Pericles, the great Greek ruler,
wearing his crown of laurel branches in victor-Victory...victory in a
fight. The laurel branches. Laurel...Laurie....Laura.
"Laura." He whispered the name, his eyes never leaving his baby girl.
Was it his imagination or did his little...no, avenging angel's chest
just move in a struggle to breathe on her own? He said it louder.
"Her name is Laura."
Abigail sat back slowly in her wheelchair, wondering, daring to
believe Jack could actually make her daughter...no THEIR daughter live
because he willed her to live. "Laura. It's a pretty name."
Jack's gaze never wavered from the baby. He didn't pick the name
because it was pretty. He picked the name for victory.
What sounded good with Laura? Again his mind drifted back to the
victorious leaders of the world. But she was a little girl. Was
there any woman who had ever dared to shake her fist at the world and
scream, "It's mine. I want it?" Had there been any woman in history
who had ever ruled a man's world? Again his mind drifted back to high
school Western Civilization. Queen Isabella of Spain...the woman who
dared to finance a silly dream of riches...Katherine of Aragon...her
daughter who dared to tell Henry VIII she would remain queen. No,
neither sounded right with Laura. Laura Isabella, Laura
Katherine...not quite right. Was there another woman who had dared to
make up her own rules and rule the world? Elizabeth I.
"Laura Elizabeth." He whispered the name almost reverently.
Abigail, too, turned her gaze to the window. The young parents were
each lost in their own thoughts.
/She's so small. I'll always protect you if you live. You'll always
be taken care of. You'll be just like Frances...a happy, perfect
/You'll live Laura. I'm going
to teach you how strong you really
are. You'll never need anybody. You're going to live./
Little Laura Elizabeth Holt's respirator
pumped up and down, pushing
oxygen into all four pounds of her.
The beginning of the woman who created Remington Steele....