Chapter One

Laura Lee Winslow sat cheerfully with a smile on her face at the end of the dinner table, facing the back door of the kitchen. Sitting there in the kitchen was her favorite spot and nobody could take it away from her – not over her dead body. Laura was reading her favorite magazine and not once did her eyes leave the page that she was currently focused on. Slowly turning the page, she chuckled softly after reading one of the paragraphs toward the bottom which continued onto the next page.

"Here's a recipe for hot and spicy spare ribs. Maybe Dad should see this. It'll probably get him out of his rut of only cooking burgers and franks," Laura finished with a sarcastic grin and a habitual flick of her wrist.

Looking at her watch, she saw that it was 7:22 am. Both of her parents, Carl and Harriette Winslow, had left earlier in the morning for work. 3J and Richie ran out of the house in a hurry a few minutes prior to catch the bus to school. Knowing that it was only Steve and herself in the house, Laura felt a little less worried as well as congested now that she had more privacy and space. Dressed in her blue robe along with her white, comfortable slippers that conveniently warmed her feet, Laura was surprised that she was actually up at 7 am. But she had to be up bright and early in order to make it to her first class on time. Almost through with her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Illinois Occidental University, Laura knew that she would not be able to afford the tuition at Harvard but felt that IOU would suit her for now. Other schools such as Columbia University, Northwestern University in Illinois, University of Michigan Ann-Arbor, and New York University showed interest and would have welcomed her as a freshman with open arms. But she did not feel as excited about going to either school when she received their acceptance letters. Laura knew that nothing could compare to how her heart fluttered in her chest and excitement overwhelmed her entire body when she received that letter stating that she was accepted to Harvard.

Shaking her head, Laura decided to return to the present and turned to the next page of her magazine. Humming one of her favorite songs, Seal's "Kiss from a Rose", her eyes followed every word of a particular macaroni and cheese recipe that caught her eye. Laura was aware that she was becoming more and more interested in cooking now that she was engaged to her current fiancé Steven Q. Urkel, and nowadays reading recipes began to pique her interest.

Hearing a low monster sounding growl bark repeatedly in the distance caused Laura to turn her head from side to side to see where it was coming from. Taking a peek at who came through the kitchen door gave Laura's chest a warm, fuzzy feeling as she saw who it was. The growls repeated a few more times before they became louder and came to a stop, signaling that the person was very close. Lifting her head up to see the man standing a few feet in front of her, Laura looked into his eyes and waited for what he was going to say.

"Good morning Laura Lee!" The man exclaimed in his trademark high pitched voice, bending over to kiss his fiancée quickly on the lips before walking over to the kitchen counter. Dressed in his blue robe, tan pants and his dinosaur slippers which were the cause of the growling noises sounding with each step he took, Steve Urkel peeked into the refrigerator. Loudly humming "Zippity Do Da", Steve took out a jar containing his mung beans, one raw trout wrapped in paper and plastic wrap, a milk container, and a few other important ingredients he was looking for from the refrigerator. Taking them out one by one, he placed them on the counter beside him. Steve couldn't go a day without having his favorite breakfast drink – his brain food smoothie.

"Good morning Steve," Laura said back to him in a loving and in an almost hypnotized tone, resting her chin in the palm of her hand. For some reason, all she could think about was the man in front of her.

"I wish those professors would stop being so easy on us," Steve remarked, reaching up into the cabinets above the sink to grab the blender and place it in front of him. "No homework on the first day? Puuuuuuuh-leeeeeeeeeease! Now we may not complete every chapter the way the syllabus has it laid out for us…" Steve sardonically muttered, rolling his eyes.

"Steve…" Laura stood up from her seat, placing the magazine she was reading on the table. She slowly eased her way up to where Steve was standing and stopped a few feet away from him. Before Laura could get two words out of her mouth, Steve jokingly shushed her and continued what he was doing.

"Shhhhhhh! Not while I'm pouring…" Steve whispered, pouring the right amount of milk he needed into the blender with the trout, mung beans and other ingredients that Laura could not recognize as they had melded into a giant, green lump. Laura grinned and shook her head, not believing what just happened. He's still the same old Steve. She thought to herself, placing a hand on her hip and watching him create his concoction. After a few minutes of using the blender, he was finished. He smiled at the light green smoothie in front of him, anticipating what it would taste like. Pouring some of the smoothie into a glass, he licked his lips a few times before taking a sip. Smacking his lips to absorb the full taste of the drink into his taste buds, he frowned and shook his head.

"Needs more mustard…"

"Um, Steve? I was wondering if you could drive me to school today. My car's in the shop and won't be available until tomorrow."

"Sweetums, you don't even need to ask," Steve reassured her, patting her on the shoulder. "We can go in about twenty minutes."

"Thanks a lot Steve," Laura thanked her fiancé with a quick peck on the lips.

"Well, in that case," Steve put on his "cool" face, strutting around behind the kitchen's island with his "cool" smirk. "I'll drive you to school every day, baby."

"You just hurry up and get ready to take us to school," Laura giggled and tapped Steve playfully on the shoulder, sitting back down in her seat at the dinner table.

"No sweat, my pet. I'll be back in a jiff!" Steve set his glass full of brainfood smoothie down and walked up the stairs. Laura heard Steve's usual stumble on the sixth step, followed by his usual 'Something needs to be done about that step! For some reason it just hates me!' and smiled a little. She was glad that things were still the same, at least for now until they become married in a few more months. Laura's dream of walking down the aisle in front of her closest friends and family members was going to become a reality and she could not wait. What made it more special was the fact that she would be married to someone who truly loved her for who she was, accepted her strengths and weaknesses and would not even think of taking advantage of her – something that the boys in the past that she was involved with would not consider doing for even a second.

Hearing the telephone ring, which was on the wall by the kitchen door, Laura was stirred out of her perfect daydream of saying 'I do' to her wedding vows and having Steve Urkel as the newest addition to the Winslow family. Walking over to the telephone, she picked it up and placed it to her ear, surprised that someone would be calling this early.

"Hello…yes, this is she…yes, I know a Maxine Johnson…she was out in Detroit with my friend Waldo at a cooking competition, and…oh my God…God please, don't let this be true…this must be a mistake…" Laura's voice began to tremble, as did her hands that were gripping the telephone tightly between her fingers.

"Oh my God…" Laura drudgingly hung up the phone after the other person on the line hung up. She began to bite her lip and sniffle, trying as hard as she could not to release any tears from her eyes. The impact of the news was still heavy on her heart as she roughly leaned against the wall by the telephone with a loud thump, crossing her arms. Laura sighed and looked down at the ground. It seemed as if time stood still and everything around her had stopped and ceased to move. She did not even notice a jovial Steve Urkel descending the stairs and walking over to where she was standing. He was fully dressed and ready to take Laura with him to school. Laura could tell that she heard him say his usual 'Hidey ho' but to her it only came out as a bunch of muffled syllables.

"What's wrong, Laura? Laura? Laura! Laura!! LAURA? LAURA!" Steve asked, waving a hand in front of her face. After the sixth time of repeating her name, it appeared to get her attention. Laura looked up at him with eyes that were sparkling brightly due to fresh tears forming in her eyes.

"Steve…it's Max…"

"What about her?"

"The hospital in Detroit called. They say she was shot twice…and she's in critical condition…"

"Oh my God…what are we gonna do?"

To Be Continued…