Chapter Three: Almost Too Real
Laura cheerfully sat outside at one of the few tables in front of the coffee house across the street from Ferguson's, feeling the cool wind blowing softly on her face. The day was winding down faster than she had thought, even with Daylight Saving Time not for another few months, and she was thankful for the time flying by so fast because it was Friday. Laura also realized that the birthday of someone very special was only a few months away: Steven Q. Urkel, and she had her eyes set on . At the thought of his name, her cell phone began to vibrate in her purse that was sitting in her lap. Taking her silver phone out, she flipped it open and put it up to her ear.
"Hidey ho Laura Lee!"
"Hey Steve!" Laura said as she took a sip of strawberry lemonade through her straw sitting in the tall glass. She felt relieved to hear his voice, as it was usual for him to call her at lunch time since he returned from space last year. Sensing that it may have been due to his life almost being in danger and not being able to see her again during his trip, she took it at first only as a favor. However, she began to become used to it and felt as though her day was not 100% complete unless she received his phone call.
"How's it going, my sweet?"
"Good! I'm here at the coffee house not too far from work. How are you?"
"Swell! I just got out of class after taking our first midterm and I was the first to finish! I wish these teachers would CHALLENGE ME!" Steve joked, causing Laura to laugh.
"I expected that from a genius like you."
"Well…I also called to tell you I miss you sugar bottom."
"Awww…I miss you too, Steve."
"Well, I'll let you get back to enjoying your break. I'll see you when you get back! AHHHH!"
"Steve?!" Laura asked, concerned about what had happened. "You okay?"
"No sweat, my pet! Agh! Accidentally bumped into a doorway, but I'm fine!" Steve answered through his hand covering his nose and part of his mouth.
"Well Steve, when I get back home, you'll forget that you hurt yourself."
"Ooooooooooh!" Steve humorously said, making Laura smile. After the two expressed their goodbyes, they hung up. Looking through her large, black planner and looking at today's date, she realized that she still had a few more duties to take care of at Ferguson's, not to mention some more sales she had to make before reaching her quota for the day.
"Well…I guess this break's gonna be cut short…" Laura said sarcastically with a wave of her hand as she stood up with her drink, purse in hand, and left to walk over to the corner to wait until it was time to walk across the street. "OH! AW SHOOT! I forgot! I need to remind Eddie about something!" Laura quickly ran through her purse for her cell phone and dialed his cell phone number, hoping that he would answer.
"Hello?" Eddie walked out the front door of the Chicago Police Department building with his cell phone to his ear, ready to return to his apartment where his girlfriend Greta would be waiting. It was close to 1 PM and surprisingly, it was not Greta on the phone, but his sister.
"Eddie, remember I had asked you to stay at the house while Steve and I are gone because his science books are coming in the mail!"
"Oh, right sis! Do you know when it'll be there?"
"They said any time."
"Well, what do I get from staying at your crib while I'm waiting?"
"The fridge is all yours."
After saying goodbye and hanging up, Eddie decided to call another person on his phone while he had them in his mind.
"Waldo, you busy?"
"Let's jet on over to Laura and Steve's!"
"Why, Eddie? We can just drive there. We don't need a plane. You don't live far from their house."
Shaking his head and having a look of doubt on his face, he quickly decided to pass on saying anything in response and pretended that he did not hear what he said.
"Look, I'll pick you up and we can crash there until the evening."
"All right. Cool!"
"Yo Waldo, thanks for fixin' us some food while we're waiting for Steve's package to get here!"
"No prob', Bob!" Waldo chimed in as the two of them sat at the dinner table in the kitchen, which Laura decorated to match what her old kitchen used to look like. As soon as they arrived to Laura's house and took out the house key hidden under the doormat, they rushed into the kitchen and began to prepare their food. Eating their food rapidly as if they had not eaten in days, they slurped, licked and smacked their sustenance until it could not be chewed on anymore. Both men had big white napkins stuffed down their shirt collars as they continued to eat and drink their way to satisfy their hunger. Hearing the doorbell, Eddie stopped eating from his plate and stood up, his napkin still in his shirt.
"I'll be back."
Running out of the kitchen to the living room, he opened the front door to see a UPS Delivery man waiting with clipboard in hand and a big box resting on a giant, red dolly by his side.
"Package for Mr. Steven Q. Urkel?"
"Right here!" Eddie answered as he took the man's clipboard and signed the paper on it. The man soon after walked in with the dolly holding the package and looked at Eddie, wondering what to do next. "Just put it over in the corner, we'll deal with it later. Thanks." Eddie told him as he gave him some change as a tip before seeing him leave out the door.
"…Stefan?" Eddie raised an eyebrow as he stared at the man in front of him, wearing his usual black blazer and slacks with black shoes and and white buttoned up shirt underneath to match. "What are you doin' here?"
"Well, I haven't seen Steve, Laura or you guys in a while so I decided I wanted to catch up on old times."
"Oh okay. Well, Laura won't be back for a few more hours and neither will Steve, so 'til then just chill and she'll be here in no time."
"No prob, bob!" Eddie responded as he headed back into the kitchen, quickly making a confused face as he realized he uttered his friend's usual saying which was unlike what he would usually do. "After this, I need a break from Waldo…"
"Steve?" Laura shut the front door as she walked inside, looking to see if someone was around. Turning her head to see if anyone was around, she neither saw nor heard anyone. Hearing only the sound of her high heels echoing in the room, she pushed the kitchen door open, only to see no one there as well. "Eddie?" She asked, looking up the staircase that was set up next to the refrigerator similar to her parents' home. Walking back into the living room, she sat down on the sofa and set her purse by her side. Feeling a little tired, Laura decided to wait a little while before calling Steve or Eddie to find out what had happened in case either of the two showed up. Kicking off her high heels and reaching for the remote control sitting conveniently on the coffee table in front of her, relaxation began to seep into her skin. Turning on the TV, her favorite soap opera came on as she sat the remote control down and leaned back a little in her seat to get comfortable. Suddenly feeling a few hands massaging her back, she closed her eyes and moaned a little in comfort as she guessed who it was behind her.
"Thanks Steve…I sure did need this massage…"
"No sweat," A different yet familiar voice answered as the face belonging to said voice bent down lower so it was right next to hers. "…My pet."
"STEFAN??!!?" Laura jumped out of her seat, almost knocking herself over as she bumped into the coffee table and stumbled to the side so that she was almost close to the front door. "What are you doin' here?!?"
"Just wanted to say hi…" Stefan slowly walked toward Laura, whose eyes were wide in surprise and in shock. "…You know, talk about the good ol' days. Finish where we started."
"Finish where we started??!" Laura's back was leaning on her coat rack as she continued to see Stefan approaching her. "Stefan…we already agreed…that I chose Steve to marry me, and that you would move on. We talked about this after Steve and I agreed!"
"I know, but…I LOVED you, Laura!" Laura was surprised by Stefan's sudden raise of his voice, as well as the pain that was visibly seen on his face. "…And I still do."
"Stefan…you're a special person."
"But…I love Steve. He's the only one I love."
"I said that I love…Ste-"
Interrupted by Stefan's hand slapping Laura unexpectedly on the cheek, he clamped Laura's mouth shut with his other hand with a serious and fierce look on his face. Pushing Laura up against the door and wrapping his hands around her neck, Laura raised her hands up in an attempt to release Stefan's grip but to no avail. Screaming and shouting, Laura gave Stefan a swift and powerful kick to his groin area out of desperation as warm tears started to slide down her face. Heavily sobbing and wailing, she watched through teary eyes as Stefan stumbled around and bent over before falling to his knees. Laura ran over to her purse sitting on the sofa, fumbling around for her cell phone to call either her father or her older brother. Finally finding it buried under her wallet and other miscellaneous items, she flipped her phone open and ran upstairs past Stefan, who was beginning to get back up to his feet. Deciding to dial Eddie's cell phone number due to her father still on his vacation with her mother, her hands shook uncontrollably and almost dropped it as she waited for him to pick up. Running into her bedroom which she and Steve agreed to put in the same room where her old room was in her parents' home, she started to push her dresser in front of the door with her free hand in case Stefan tried to come in.
"Laura? What's up?"
"EDDIE PLEASE, YOU'VE GOT TO HELP ME! STEFAN'S HERE AND-"
"Oh yeah, don't worry Laura! I let Stefan in before I dropped Waldo off and went back to work on my beat!"
"BUT STEFAN, HE…HE TRIED TO CHOKE ME!" Laura continued to push the dresser with both hands after putting her phone between her shoulder and her cheek. However, it turned out to be heavier than she thought as only a very small portion of it was in front of the door.
"WHAT?!" Eddie shouted, suddenly hearing what appeared to be a loud boom noise repeatedly coming.
"PLEASE EDDIE, -AHHHHHHHHH!"
"Laura?!?!" Eddie shouted over and over, believing that he heard her connection cut off. After only hearing silence coming from her end, he felt his gut feeling about Laura being in trouble turning out to be true. Luckily he was in his patrol car as he turned on his ignition and turned on his siren and his police lights, quickly pulling out from the side street he was parked on at the moment and driving into the main street to head toward his sister's house. "Thank God I'm only a few miles away from Laura's house on my beat! I had a feeling something was going on with Stefan showing up all of a sudden!"
Quickly opening the front door with gun in hand, Eddie heard the sound of rumbling going on upstairs. Placing the safety of his gun off, he ran up the stairs as he quickly heard Laura's screams; the same one he had heard through the phone. Kicking her bedroom door open, his eyes locked onto Stefan who had Laura pinned down onto her bed with both of his hands around her throat.
"Stefan! Let's talk about this!" Eddie shouted as he held his gun out at Stefan.
"We don't need to talk!" Stefan answered, still holding Laura down as she tried kicking him and hitting him on his arm with her hands.
"C'mon Stefan! Let her go!"
"…You know what…" Stefan switched between looking at Eddie and Laura before deciding to let go of Laura, who was gasping for air and remained lying on the bed in fatigue. "You're right."
"Yeah…let's just have a talk. You and me…" Eddie kept his gun aimed at Stefan as he started to walk toward Eddie with one of his hands up.
"Yeah…Except it'll only be me!" Stefan in the blink of an eye pulled out his own gun, shooting Eddie in the chest as he stumbled backward in the doorway, falling on his back.
"EDDIE!!!!!!!!!!" Laura shouted as she looked on at her older brother who remained lying on his back without any movement from his body.
"And since you won't love me, no one else will," Stefan looked at Laura, slowly raising his gun up so that it was staring her directly between the eyes. "Goodbye Laura Winslow." Stefan said as the only thing Laura could remember was the loud explosion and bright fire from his gun's barrel before her vision became pitch black and all noises around her came to a silent halt.
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" Laura shrieked as she shot up out of bed so that she was sitting straight up. Hearing the sudden thunder and lightning outside, she whimpered and pulled the covers up to her chin in fright.
"Laura! Laura!" Steve, awakened by Laura's screams, quickly wrapped an arm around his wife as she continued to pant and a tear fell down from her left eye. "Are you okay, Laura Lee?"
"Steve…Steve, I…" Laura shivered incorrigibly, trying to get the words out of her mouth about what had occurred in her dream but she was unable to as she finally let giant sobs escape from her mouth and uncontrollably let more tears ran down her face. Pressing her head into his chest, Steve wrapped his arms around Laura and began to run his hand up and down her back in an effort to calm her down and keep her from quivering.
"It was just a dream, my sweet."
"But Steve…it was so real…almost TOO real…"
"I know…but if your dreams ever get bad, you know that I'll be here for you when you wake up." Steve told her in his usual relaxed tone, although his voice was a little hoarse due to his sleepiness.
After hearing those comforting words come from Steve's mouth, she lifted her face out of his chest to look her husband, appearing blurry due to her tears that had fallen from her puffy and slightly red eyes.
"I love you Steve. And only you." Laura hugged Steve tighter as he smiled, knowing that he would always be there for her and that she would do the same for him.
"I love you too, Laura Lee. And only you."