Family Matters: Addicted To You
Rating: T for mild language and suggestive adult themes
Synopsis: After years of rejection and denial, Laura Winslow and Steve Urkel reflect on their complicated relationship and trace their steps to how they finally came together.
Author's Commentary: This fic was written with the intent of tying up what I thought were a few loose ends of my favorite storyline in the series: Steve and Laura's relationship. I always loved how it evolved and I thought it would be fun to dig much deeper into the perspectives of both characters. Here's your chance to find out what they were really thinking as it all went down. I will be updating as often as I can until it's complete so please follow, share, and review!
Disclaimer: This story follows the events of the final season and for fluid storytelling and overall context, I re-tell a lot of scenes from the show throughout. I DO NOT own Family Matters, any familiar characters, familiar scenes, or show references therein, credit and kudos goes to the amazing creators of this series - this is just my creative take on it. On the other hand, any characters or scenes you don't recognize is from my own dome. Written for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!
CHAPTER 1: The Kiss Heard 'Round the World
Summary: After kissing Steve twice in her sorority's auction, Laura is starting see her embarrassment of a friend in a surprisingly different light. Steve, on the other hand, can't believe his luck.
"But then it hit me! You weren't trying to hurt my feelings. You were trying to spaaare my feelings. Right?!"
"Well, I was just afraid that if you were in the auction and no one bid on you ... you might be humiliated," Laura admitted in a small voice, shamefully shriveling into the speculation that she more or less knew Steve wouldn't be bid on. Everyone seemed to know but him that he was about as attractive as a monkey in a tutu to most women. Fun to look at - and point at - but you wouldn't imagine putting your lips on it.
"And you're right. I would have been. But I want you to invite me anyway!"
"Why?" Laura asked with a twist of her nose as she handed Steve the rest of her pastry, standing from the table and heading for refrigerator.
"Well, Laura ... I've always been comfortable with myself. Maybe it's time I faced the fact I can stand a little improvement," Steve said matter-of-factly, "Y'know! My voice, my clothes."
"You know, I've been suggesting that for years. Often quite loudly," Laura remarked sardonically.
"I know. And finally, I'm gonna listen. YUP!" Steve took a huge, sloppy bite out of the pastry, his confident declaration muffled by a mouthful of frosty dough, crumbs dripping from his chomps. "No longer..." chomp, chomp, "...is it I gotta be me! From now on ... it's I gotta be better!"
Yeah, right. Hope he doesn't hurt himself trying, Laura thought skeptically to herself, giving him a pitiful pat on the shoulder as she brushed past him. "That's good for you, Steve."
She almost felt sorry for him, catching herself before she could reach over to flick a few of the crumbs from his mouth. It was as if he was completely unaware that he chewed like a horse ... actually, no, a horse chewed way neater than that. Ew. "Goodnight."
As he continued to smack loudly, Laura disappeared upstairs, conceding to the lost cause Steve Urkel had always been.
"Yup!" Smack, smack, smack! "I could be better!"
LATER THAT NIGHT...
The back door of the Winslow house swung violently ajar, slamming against the adjacent wall as Steve plowed through it, a few of the knick-knacks and dishes balanced delicately on the shelves above the windows crashing to the ground. He hung from the knob of the door like a rag doll, his legs dragging behind him as the motion of the door swung his scrawny body inside the kitchen. Having lost absolutely all feeling from the waist down, he held on for holy survival. Wide-eyed and huffing madly, he looked as if he'd polka'd til he'd plotzed and this was the plotzing part.
"...Whaaaooooooahh, mama! Help! I'm being swept away by love's deliciously unforgiving undertow!" he exclaimed through a choked, desperate whisper ... to nobody in particular since the kitchen was empty. Exasperated and faint as he struggled to catch his stolen breath, his clunky saddle shoes shuffled wildly to find their footing. He strained to pull himself upright, only to find that the wobble of his knees was far too severe to support him. Finally, he managed to pull himself up with a quick yank against the door.
"Yeeeoow!" ... only to inadvertently toss himself into the dining room table with a resounding crash.
Smashing into a center-pieced tea set, a saucer and cup - or ten - shattered loudly on the ground as he quickly scrambled to gather the tumbling dishes in his arms before they fell, though doing so only managed to soak the front of his new light blue button-up, leaving a wet tea trail from his chest to the thighs of his khakis. The more he scooped up, the quicker and harder the dishes slipped from his grip into a pile on the floor. In classic Urkel fashion, it took at least five minutes for him to stop slipping on the broken china long enough to stabilize his stance. Sheesh.
"Good Lord, man! Pull yourself together!" he squeaked in frustration, chastising himself sharply as he poked his chest out and reached for a lone napkin hiding beneath the shattered glass. Because moments like this were the perfect time for pep talks and he was the only one there, the conversation with himself ensued.
"It was just one kiss!" he mused, trying to convince himself he was seeing hearts and cupid arrows for nothing. "... Actually, two ..." Suddenly recalling this fact, his brows wiggled haughtily, tonguing his cheek as his wobbly body suddenly steeled, poised with confidence. "Dos. Big. Wet ooonnnes." A wiggle of two fingers for good measure.
His eyes sparkled impishly behind his glasses as he swayed wistfully, his pep talk bringing him to one distinct and steadfast conclusion: "Oh, there's no doubt about it. I got that woman wrapped around my pinky toe. Wearing her down like arthritis." Momentarily distracted as he patted himself dry, he hadn't even heard the back door open again.
"Steve?" came that familiar, angelic voice that caught him off guard and he flinched as he looked up ... and the sight of his beautiful lady love was absolutely devastating, more so than usual if that were even possible! As if on cue, the wobble of his knees instantly returned full force, his heart pounding as a surge of blood flushed from his head to his ankles and stealing his will to stay upright. "Whoauh-oh..." Stumbling back into the table, he once again felt like he was standing in quicksand, sinking at the whim of his knocking knees.
"Steve, are you okay? Did you wander through the Red Light district again?" Laura asked as she stepped over the shattered glass, her brows furrowed in confusion as she took a look around, noticing he seemed unsteady. The last time she remembered him being this dazed was that time he saw Greta buck naked when she modeled for art class. He came home and bumped into everything that wasn't nailed down that same night - the family ended up sweeping for three hours.
Putting two and two together pretty quickly, all she could do was hope her mother didn't choke him when she saw this mess. Then again, her mom probably wouldn't have been surprised - she must have just forgotten Steve Urkel lived there or she wouldn't have thought twice about keeping the china hidden.
Blinking madly as he struggled to recover, Steve turned to face her and fixed his glasses on his nose. "N-not this time, my little love bug, I'm just fine," he replied bashfully, "But I hope your mother has a backup set." He nodded sagely and pointed to the bare spot on the table cloth where the china used to be before it fell to its demise.
Laura waved a hand dismissively, a relaxed smile on her face. "Don't worry. Even if she doesn't, Dad had all breakables in the house insured months ago."
Steve melted at the sight of her, as he always had, and he silently watched her cross the room and sidestep the jagged glass in order to move closer to him - with a dazed tilt of his head and a sunken bend of his knees, he stared at her like she was the 8th Wonder of the World. What was puzzling to him was that ... well, he noticed that she was staring back.
There was something odd about her scrutiny this time, though! She wasn't rolling her eyes or ... shaking her head with pity and disgust ... she actually wasn't using any of the typical vitriolic indicators she used to make it clear that he repulsed her and he knew that those reactions had become almost second nature to her at this point; it was like a reflexive twitch developed after having the same annoying scratch-proof itch in the same place all your life.
There had been times when they were younger when he could feel her turning her nose up at him when his back was turned. And it hurt like salt in a wound every time, even though he always kept the durability of his poker face in steady cadence with his unyielding hope. But this time, he didn't feel the urge to shrivel under her scrutiny. He caught how her gaze dipped from his head to his knees and then back to his hypnotized four eyes. She seemed almost ... swoony...
...Naaaaah! Laura Lee Winslow would never swoon over him. It was a sad concept his maturing mind was starting to vaguely accept. Extremely vaguely. The man had ordered a marching band for her once for christsake! Perched on her roof in the middle of a winter storm just to ask her on a date! Almost gotten beaten to a pulp numerous times in the name of her honor! He'd even gone so far as to transform his own DNA completely just to be compatible with her only to somehow end up spliced from the scene completely. He'd pursued her his entire adolescent life and no matter how hard he tried, the answer had always been 'no' and even now, he was still prepared to chase the stars for the rest of his life if it meant there was a smallest million-in-one-chance of catching her one day. But tonight? Oh, boy, tonight his hope was impervious!
Tonight had turned out sooo much different than he expected. He'd made the effort to improve himself as he'd promised - he'd ditched his suspenders and actually bought pants that fit! He had even almost gotten contacts too but his eyeballs couldn't support the weight of them. After poking himself blinder than he already was and getting a crick in his neck every time he tried them on, he just figured he had a better chance of surviving without them. His voice was lower, though! ...Sorta.
But as usual, nobody seemed impressed at the effort. The place had more crickets than an alligator swamp when he walked onstage. After conceding to his humiliation with a bowed head and a defeated soul, he figured he must've been insane to show up at the auction and believe he was worthy of a kiss from anybody - Myra seemed to be the only one hard up for some Urkel-lovin' and quite honestly, that notion was beginning to scare him.
He had felt even more foolish to expect that Laura would see him as anything more than an embarrassment to mankind no matter how hard he tried. But then something so astounding happened, he was still trying to reel his heart back into his chest ...
Laura bid on him! For a whopping Benjamin's worth, at that! A pity bid, no doubt, but ... she still bid on him! What shocked him more than anything was that she actually kissed him when she predictably won the bid.
Even though he initially knew she had bid on him as a way absorb the embarrassment for him - which, by the way, made him fall in more madly devoted to the woman - everything in him also knew she would just hand him an I.O.U with an expiration date that never expired with the words "Dream on, Urkel" written as her signature. Instead she delivered to him the shock of his life for the first time since prom night.
And Good Merciful Lord, it was a kiss that ripped the laces right out of his shoes. He was still on cloud nine and drifting higher still. It was only after reliving that wonderful moment in his mind for the millionth time that night did he realize he recognized this look in her eyes - it was a look he thought he'd imagined earlier.
That look she gave him right after she came to her senses and realized there were at least 70 sets of eyes watching her kiss the most annoying person in their phone books and vehemently wondering how she could conceive of kissing nerdy Urkel... twice. Just the mention of his name had become like an inflammed, itchy boil on the rear end of humanity. But her look said otherwise - it was almost as if her eyes were revealing to him: 'Wow, I had no idea...'
...But that was just his imagination. Of course it was. Besides, after being rejected over a thousand times, it was easy to let his imagination run awry!
"L-Laura, my pet...can I tell you something?"
"What is it, Steve?"
He stiffened as she inched towards him slowly, his shoulders slowly rising to his ears as her flowery scent assaulted his nose. For some reason, all of a sudden, he felt incredibly bashful being this close to her - his fists nervously curled into his chest as he bended elbows tucked into his sides. All these years of tactical bluntness and declarations of blinding passion and now? He could barely say three words to her ... Oh, man, this woman's lips have destroyed him! And he knew things would never be the same ... at least not in his eyes. He also knew that Laura would forget all about it tomorrow and act like it never happened. He had to make sure she realized how much it'd meant to him regardless if it was a pity kiss or not. Even though there was a good chance she may not listen.
"Well ... I just wanted you to know that I don't really care if what happened tonight was because you felt sorry for me. You were right, Laura. I was foolish! I probably shouldn't have expected to be bid on; it's like going to sleep as Pee Wee Herman and trying to convince yourself you woke up as James Bond. But, I wouldn't change it for the world. I just want to thank you for making it the best moment of my life, Laura Lee Winslow." He swooned. When she gave no response, just a guilty little drop of her eyes, he started to slowly turn away towards the stairs. "Well, good night."
He whipped around quicker than a tornado and scurried towards her again, giving her a hopeful stare. "Yeeeeees, my love?"
It was only when he was within her proximity again that he realized she was still ... looking at him like that. "... I wanna show you something."
Yowser! She grabbed his hand and started to tug him towards the back door. What threw him off even more was the fact that her voice could melt butter. Hesitant but FAR from reluctant, he skittered behind her and onto the back deck and before he knew it, she had closed the distance between them completely. Alarmed, he stumbled back towards the closed door and collided against it with a high-pitched yelp. Suddenly her toned, skirt-clad body was pressed against him and gravity could barely hold him to the earth.
"L-Laura, w-wh-at did you wanna show me?" Suddenly, he was violently silenced by a passionate pucker of her lips as she captured his in yet another kiss that would have snapped his suspenders had he kept them. Instead, his heart thundered in his chest as he relaxed and fell against her lips with an ease that surprised even him.
He almost always wanted to escape for the hills whenever Myra would dominate him like that, but never for Laura Lee. She was as gentle as a daisy blossom and tasted as sweet as honeydew ... kissing Myra felt more like being tackled by an aggressive, albeit gorgeous, halfback.
This had been simply one of those things he knew never to count on happening to him and yet ... here he was, being kissed by the love of his life not once, not twice, but three times in one night!
His arms embraced her lithe waist as her hands lifted to cup the ridge of his jaw, knocking him right back to those wonderful few seconds on the stage when she fearlessly seized a similar moment in front of everyone. EVERYONE Laura knew saw her kiss him. Like ... everyone. He was still wondering how she could even stomach the thought of the embarrassment she must've had to face! ...More than that, he wondered if Stefan saw - he had been there earlier that night after all ...
But now that they were alone, she seemed urgent to prolong what seemed stolen from them earlier that night by so many judging, scrutinizing eyes. And he shamelessly poured his life-long feelings for her into every precious moment they shared in that kiss, the stars shining brightly, persistently, above them.
"Laura? Hey, Laura? Laura!"
Laura snapped back to reality as a hand waved across her face, coaxing her from an incredibly vivid fantasy that had her heart racing. She felt a slight flush heat her face as her eyes caught her own reflection in the windows of Steve's glasses as he looked at her inquisitively. "Huh? W-what?"
"You said you had something you wanted to show me. What's on your mind, ladybug lips? You looked like you were on the moon there for a second."
"I ... I think I was," she confessed in whisper, the words leaving her lips before she could stop them, breathless as she found her gaze fixated on him in mild shock. Did she ... just visualize herself kissing Steve Urkel? Or was it his fantasy she was having? - for a second there, she couldn't really tell. Lord Jesus, what was going on tonight?
First, she bid on him after she absolutely couldn't stand to see that look of disappointment on his face ... and then, just her luck, she won him. She actually wasn't sure what else she was expecting - they wouldn't even go for five dollars!
And now she couldn't stop thinking about that kiss she shared with him. Realizing she actually hadn't breathed in several seconds, she let out an exhale as a hand inconspicuously lifted to cover her defiant heart, as if to demand it to slow down, lest it would reveal the dark secret starting to stir in her.
The fact that he had just destroyed her mother's favorite china and was now soaked in tea seemed irrelevant. And as she looked at him, it was the first time she actually acknowledged something about the way he always stared at her like that ... like she was the most delicious cheddar topping to his cheese sundae. That look used to annoy the hell out of her.
But now, she was mesmerized. Besides Stefan, she had never seen eyes on a man that were so sincere ... why hadn't she noticed that before? Maybe it was the reflective shimmer of those big glasses - they tended to mask his eyes.
Brought to her senses by the confusion that overtook Steve's dreamy expression, she stuttered her way back to recovery as she climbed out of her seamlessly deep and disturbing thoughts and broke the tense silence.
"I-I wanted to, uh ... show you how much money we made from the auction tonight." Reaching into her sweater pocket, she retrieved the "Kiss List" with the names of the participants and the amounts auctioned for each. Steve's face lit up with pride when he saw his name very last on the list next to his lady love's. And it cost her a hundred bucks to boot! It was actually quite satisfying when he saw that had been 30 dollars more than that bonehead Curtis. Ahh, yes, tonight was definitely a red letter date in his nerdy, romantically deprived life. And further proof that he was wearing his Laura-poo dooooown!
"Thank you for helping us out. My sorority has more than enough to donate to that new community center now," she said, catching herself staring at the ridge of his jaw, suddenly noticing things about him that she never gave enough notice. Like how he actually DID have a little facial hair! ...One whisker, but enough to convince her it was at least possible to sprout a manly factor here and there.
And those lips ... now that she'd kissed him more than a few times and knew that he didn't actually taste like rancid cheese - he was actually quite minty - it was safe to say that she definitely wouldn't mind getting used to them, if nothing else. There you go again, Laura. Being superficial.
Her brows knitted - she was actually surprised to catch herself reprimanding herself about ... STEVE URKEL? On top of that, she was thinking about ... getting used to his lips. Just the thought of getting used to him gave her nightmares at one point! Oh, God ... I'm losing my mind, aren't I? I've died and gone to hell; it's official.
She couldn't remember how many times she'd told him "it'll never happen" only to be standing here now, regretting with every fiber of her being that he hadn't kept count. Though, knowing Steve...
"Why, that's great, doodlebug! I'm glad I could be apart of it, even if the other ladies chose to be unfulfilled tonight. And whenever you need use of these lips again, just ask! I rent them out by the hour, free of charge to you! Wouldn't want you to go too broke, babycakes." With that and a goofy, flirtatious wiggle of his brows, along with his nasally laugh and snort, Steve turned and proceeded towards the stairs.
He snapped back around a final time, twice as hopeful as before. "Yeeeeees, sweetums?"
Laura paused as she carefully picked through the words that came to mind. She knew that if she were too honest, the man would follow her around like a lost puppy for the rest of the night. One fleeting thought led to another and she realized the only reason she didn't want him to be on her heels tonight wasn't because he was annoying her ... for once, it was quite the contrary. As she stood less than three feet from him, she took note of the butterflies doing gymnastics in her belly and they were reason enough to find distance between them and fast before she fainted of shock ... or worse! Before she let on to what she was really thinking...
"... Thanks for giving me my money's worth." That wasn't too forward, right? She could only hope that the honey in her voice didn't sound as sultry to him as it did to her. She cringed internally, hoping the urge to compliment him wouldn't spring him into Romance Rambo mode but to her surprise, he simply tugged his pants over his navel and shuffled confidently from one foot to the other. Must've meant she pulled it off with enough of a platonic flair he could discern and she was satisfied with that. She sighed with relief.
"No problem, my lovely. Like I said - these lips are free all week." A dramatic point to the pucker of his lips and he swiveled on the heel of one saddle shoe before nerd-waddling up the stairs, the sound of tripping and falling resounding down to the kitchen followed by a squeal of pain, Laura wincing at every crash she heard. "Oof! Oww!" Seconds later, his falsetto voice echoed in the staircase hallway: "Don't worry! I'm fine ... can't say the same about these stairs!"
Left with nothing but her pensive silence as she found herself staring at the spot Steve had just stood in, she suddenly felt incredibly deprived of his annoying presence ... she settled in her silence, assessing just how serious this situation was.
"Ohh, man! What happened in here?"
Laura flinched out of her thoughts, interrupted by the booming bass of her big brother's voice. Thank God, a distraction. Pivoting, she turned to face him as he sauntered through the back door, the sound of glass crunching beneath his boots as he crossed the kitchen. Just like Laura, Eddie took his guesses pretty quickly as his gaze swept the room, a brow quirking as he shot Laura a knowing look. "Steve got lost in the Red Light District again, didn't he?"
Laura shook her head dismissively and fell into contemplative silence, ignoring Eddie's question since a heavier matter weighed on her mind and her brother could tell by the thoughtful furrow of her brows. "Yo, Laura. You all right?" Eddie inquired, pausing at the door to the living room as he looked on, concerned.
"Eddie ... can I ask you something?" she asked hesitantly, her hands perching on her hips.
"Sure, sis." He inched closer, giving her his attention. "What's on your mind?"
Laura once again paused, trying to desperately find the right words that wouldn't give the tip off to her mind-boggling dilemma. "Have you ever ... known somebody all of your life and then suddenly, out of nowhere, you find yourself starting to look at them completely different?"
Her shoulder momentarily tensed, hoping to the death of her that he didn't think she was talking about herself. Lucky for her, the hint seemed completely lost her big brother. Ever eager to be helpful, he took a moment to think on her question.
"Hmm. There was the time Waldo tap-danced on Greg Jameson's face in a fight." Seemed like a good enough example to him. Laura looked at him with a baffled knit in her brows. All she could do was shake her head. "I definitely never saw him the same after that!" He firm nod of his head.
"Eddie ... that wasn't a fight - Waldo slipped while he was practicing on a patch of ice and tornado-kicked Greg in the chin as he was walking by."
Eddie scoffed indignantly. "Well. The fact he can tap-dance at all is reason enough to look at the man different." His job done and her questions presumably answered, he popped his collar and swagger-walked out of the kitchen.
Further disconcerted at the lack of insight, all Laura could do was sigh. Maybe she should just try to forget about it. One ... well, two kisses ... that she thoroughly enjoyed ... didn't mean she was really into somebody like ... that! She had just felt sorry for him, like Steve had a tendency to make people do. He had the gift of annoying the ever-loving heck out of you until you were ready to run him over with a steam-roller, only to crush your heart with his innocent pouting. It was really no wonder anymore why the Winslows still put up the nerd - it was almost impossible to stay mad at Steve no matter how much chaos followed in his wake. But still - never in this lifetime would she ever, ever consider giving somebody like that the time of day ... right?
Besides ... she knew exactly what would distract her from her troublesome and downright worrying musings. Almost as if to brush off the perturbation, she shimmied her shoulders and forced a smile as her hands brushed out of the wrinkles of her skirt. Stepping with purpose over to the phone, she picked it up and dialed a number. Lifting the receiver to her ear, she waiting with almost anxious anticipation for an answer. The kind of anticipation that brought perspiration.
"Talk to me."
"Hey, Stefan," she said with a whimsical grin, her voice as airy as a spring breeze when she heard his sexy, suave voice ... a voice that always gave her goosebumps and sent chills of desire up her spine. Only then could she picture his handsome face. He was all she needed to feel like she wasn't losing her mind. Steve over Stefan? No way. Never in a million years.
"Hey, baby. You disappeared on me after the auction; I didn't get to say goodbye. Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, everything's fine now," she said with a heavy sigh of relief, a bead of sweat forming on her forehead. "I'm just so happy to hear your voice."
CONTINUED in Chapter 2...