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Title:  Hey Laura, Where Are You Now

Author:  Paradise

Summary:  Luke and Laura after a lot of time and pain find their way back to each other, but by the time they do, something unstoppable is standing between us.  Bring Kleenex if you’re really into Luke and Laura!

Quote:  Kristina Wagner needs to get her butt away from Anthony Geary.  Genie and Tony were made to be together and Kristina with him makes me want to barf!  She belongs with Jack!


Keyword:  Luke/Laura Romance

Rating:  NC-17 for sexual situations

October 16th, 2000

            Laura Webber Spencer walked into Luke's club.  God, earlier, Mac Scorpio had asked her out on a date...well, maybe not a date, but close enough.  She said she'd call him, but then, what would happen?  She liked him, she'd always liked him, and the comfort would be nice.  To say nothing of what it would do to Felicia.  But was that reasonable?  Even if they both had openly thought about it before, even if she felt an attraction?
            "My intentions are far more selfish."  Mac had said, which completely surprised her.   How generous he was to make her feel like she was still desirable, after all Luke and Felicia had done to them.
            Laura's beautiful face searched for her husband.  She loved him so much, she needed his love, she needed to kill him, and then just hold him, if she could ever get over the anger.  As her eyes looked for Luke, she saw him, happily and flirtingly dancing with Felica.  Laura froze, tears threatening to form, and she just exhaled, thinking "of course".
            She chose not to leave.  In most situations she'd leave, but she hadn't had a chance kill her husband yet.  She quietly sat down at the bar, and the music stopped, as well as Felicia and Luke's dancing.  Laura sarcastically clapped along with everyone else.
            Laura's eyes never left Bobbie, Roy, Felicia and her husband's, but none of them saw her.  It was as if he'd forgotten her.  That she existed.  She'd been replaced over and over, and everytime she saw her husband, she was being slapped.  Felicia was making an idiot of herself, and Laura was through.  She needed the liquor.  Right now.
            "Excuse me," Laura said angerily.  They all turned towards her, ashamed and frightened of what she would say.  She was perfectly calm though.  "Hate to interrupt your little *party* over there, but I'd like some service."
            Laura tapped her hands against the bar, and bit her lower lip while raising both her eyebrows to show she was not going to fall over and cry.  Luke slowly stood up, looking at her. She opened her eyes wide and smacked her lips together.  He just stared.
            "I'd like a drink!  Ooh, have I interrupted a private party?"
            He slowly walked to the inside of the bar, facing her.  She was so calm, yet burning with anger.  How much had she seen?  She looked so beautiful.  He wouldn't look at Felicia or his sister.
            "You sure a drink's what you want?"
            "Positive.  Scotch on the rocks," she said deliberately.
            He kept looking at her, then slowly poured her this drink.  He knew why she'd chosen it.  She drank an enormous gulp of it, and looked up at him, exhaling.  She smiled cruely.
            "Ooh...better get back to your party.  Wouldn't want ya to keep her waitin'."
            Luke looked annoyed, and embarrassed a little.  She poured herself the next drink and drank it again.  He walked back over to Bobbie and everyone.
            Laura was not so calm anymore, she walked over to Felicia.
            "You happy now, Felicia?  My husband, your husband, my kids, your kids.  Do you know how many lives you've ruined?  Well honey, you can have him!"
            Laura hated how beautiful this woman was.
            "Do you understand now how it feels, Luke?  Did she comfort you that night?  Did she help you?  Did she save you from going insane?  You can never degrade my reasons again, now can you?"
            "Laura," Luke said, putting his hands on her shoulders.
            "Any part of you that touches me, Luke, you're not getting back."
            "Luke and I care about each other, and it was over between you two long before I EVER came into the picture," Felicia said, "I saw you with Mac, so I came here-"
            "Oh!  Your husband and I were having a conversation, about how we both understand what you did, so automatically what, he’s the bad guy, or just me?"
            "Stop it," Luke said.
            Laura whirled around and looked at Luke.
           "You're attacking-"
            "What?  An innocent woman?  When did you listen to me about not attacking my son?”

"Laura, please, let's go outside and talk," Bobbie said softly, taking her hand.
            "I bet you didn't even mind!  I bet none of you cared about my children, about my
            "Stop, Jesus!" Luke said, but Bobbie told him to shut up.
            Bobbie took hold of Laura gently.  "Laura, come with me, let's talk.  I know you're in pain, just come on-"
            "Oh you bitch!  You never cared about me!  You always hated me!  You helped Luke so that you could take my husband!"
            Bobbie wasn't offended.  "Laura, come on, you know I care about you, come with me."
            "Isn't this perfect, Bobbie?  Luke's best friend is your lover, and your best friend is your brother's lover!  Now you got what you always wanted!"
            "Laura," Bobbie said, trying to hold her.
            Laura exhaled a scream of pain and let Bobbie hold her for a minute.
            "I'm sorry, Bobbie, but I can't believe that you ever gave a damn about me now that I see the situation that is perfect for you!"
            Bobbie nodded, understanding. 
            Laura looked back at her husband.  "You lied!  You've always lied.  I knew you were sleeping with her.  I thought you didn't want me to come back and support you because you wanted to protect me-"
            "I did!"
            "You never stop lying and you make me sick!  I lied because I knew the truth!"
            Roy had just come back from the other room.  He cut in front of Luke to get to Laura. He remembered Laura from 1979.
            "Laura, would you like to just walk over to the bar with me, and another drink?"
            She breathed hard.  He took her, supporting her, to the bar.  Luke felt like a prized horse's ass.  Roy gave her another drink, then walked over and held her.
            "You don't have to cry, I know you want to..."
            "Oh why did I do this?  Why did I come here and embarrass myself and everyone around me, but I'm not done."
           Luke came over, grabbed Laura’s arm and started to drag her away, but she swung it free and looked out of control.
            "Why didn't I just stay with a man who would love me?  A man who is now dead!  Why didn't I stay with the man that would never hurt me the way you hurt me?  The man that didn't start our lives with rape and didn't end it with betrayal and lies?"
            Luke's heart was just ripped out of him.  He grabbed her harshly again and pulled her out of the back room.  He slammed the door behind them.
            "Look, Laura, calm down.  Why are you doing this?  You're only embarrassing yourself-"
            "Me?  Embarrass myself?  Why should I have to do that?  You've done such a brilliant job of it for me!"
            He started to argue, but the locked door blew open.  It was Scotty.
            "Laura, you all right?"
            She flew into his arms, which he gladly wrapped around her.
            "Scotty," she said in a tiny voice.  "You always saved me.  You were always there.  Scotty, hold me in your arms please," she said, meaning it, which hurt Luke even more.  "Please, get me out of here."
            "Let's go.  This place is kinda dead, it's kind of a dump."
            He helped her out the door.  After Scotty slammed the door behind them, Luke knocked everything off of his desk to the floor.

Laura awoke in her own bed, with a terrible headache.  She heard someone loudly
knocking on the door, but she ignored it, trying to go back to sleep, hopefully to rid herself of the headache.  Suddenly, just as she was drifting into unconsciousness, her bedroom door slammed open.  She sat up screaming.
            "Luke, what..." she said, holding her head.
            "What the hell was last night?"
            "What the hell was June 9th?"
            Laura fell back against the pillows and placed one over her head, hopefully to shut him up.  He came over though and pulled her out of bed.
            "Do you mind," she said with her eyes half closed.
            "Yeah, I do.  You come into my bar, get totally stoned, and then you make a scene-"
            "And what, Luke, I made you feel bad?  I hurt your feelings?  I shouldn't have come to your bar to get drunk because it would make you feel bad?  Do you see a pattern here?"
            "Now, if you'll please excuse me, I need to go back to sleep."
            "Laura, this is not you-"
            "Like you know me anymore!  I was there all the times you said we were long gone, you're going to deny those things?"
            "Scotty," he almost laughed.  “Scotty is such a joke in your life.”
            Her eyes lowered.  "And to think I once preferred you to Stavros."
            That did it.  It was an angry kiss, and she met it with equal anger.  This son of a bitch would never beat her at anything again.  They bruised each other's mouths, and then she forced his lips apart, his lips battling hers.  They continued, as if pressing each other to the limit to see who would win. Neither of them gave in.  Finally though, she felt his anger turning into passion, and she pulled back.
            She smiled, wiping her mouth.
            "Get out, Luke."
            "Not a chance."
            She raised her eyebrows innocently.  He didn't say anything, but she didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know what that kiss meant.
            "Luke, this is a time when I am ready to kill you-"
            "And how is that different from any other time?"
            He had her there.
            "You break my heart, you throw it away, and now you think you can pull it out of the garbage to prove some stupid point?"
            He kissed her again.  This was their game, it was almost as though every time they were angry with each other, they'd do this.  Well, this time, she'd win.  She made love to him, deliberately, purposely.  She didn't need him, she might still love him, but she wasn't about to fall down and cry because her husband's a lying, cheating, pig!  She'd make him sorry, whatever it took.
           "All right, thanks, get off me now," she said the second they finished.
            He was so stunned he didn't even move, so she threw him against the pillows as she stood up and put on a robe.  She headed for the door, but he grabbed her arm.
            "Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a sec."
            She looked into his eyes innocently, waiting for him to just try and say something to her.
            "Why did you come to the bar last night?  Before you knew what would happen."
            "Because I was giving you a chance."
            "A chance for what?"
            "I don't know, a chance to talk to me, a chance to tell me how you felt.  I wasn't exactly expecting what I saw, but that answered my questions.  It's over.  You made it over."
            She turned from him, but again, he pulled her back.
            "Hold it, what if I don't want it to be over?"
            "It's a little late for that," she said.  "What just happened was nothing.  It never happened.  Get out of my house."
            She left the room.

            Luke came back to Laura's house a week later, and she was playing with Lulu.  It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.  Laura looked up at him, and smiled an incredible smile.  It was an immediate reaction.
            "Look, honey, here's Daddy!"
            "Come here, cupcake."
            Lulu ran into his arms.  He almost cried with the feeling of his daughter in his arms.  Laura stood up, smiling.  As a family for once, they played with Lulu for hours.  Luke wore his daughter out, throwing her in the air, twirling her, kissing her. Laura laughed softly at how silly Luke was.  
            After five brief hours of them being a family, Amy walked through the door.
            "Oh, Luke!  You're here!  Are you and Laura talking?  There's a rumor that-"
            "Amy, Amy, AMY!" Laura said, to shut her up.
            "Sorry," she said quickly.  "Let me steal my niece for a little while," she said taking Lulu.
            Laura really didn't want Amy to leave.  But she of course did.             

"You want anything, Luke?  Scotch on the rocks?"

            He smiled a little.  "Not particularly, no."
            "Is there something else you need?  You know you're welcome to see Lulu anytime you want."
            "What about seeing you?"
            She then sat down on the couch, motioning for him to sit in the chair across for.
            "Laura I don't know whatever went wrong-"
            "You couldn't forgive me, that's what wrong.  You couldn't forgive me for having
Stavros's child.  You act as though I was in love him and trying to hide some deep, dark secret of his and mine."
            "You couldn't completely blame me.  For over fifteen years you lied to me about something as important as that."
            "Yeah well, whatever you felt, whatever you feel now, it cannot compare to what you have done to me."
            "Which is what?"
            She widened her eyes.  "Never forgiving me.  And throwing Felicia in my face."
            "Well, I had a romance with her, to replace what I'd lost."
            "Replace?  Threw out!  You made me feel there was still a chance on our search for Lucky, I kept hoping, and every time I hoped, she'd appear, and you'd go with her."
            "I'm sorry I hurt you, I didn't mean-"
            "You didn't think leaving me to go off with another woman would hurt me, Luke?  When we were there for OUR son, not your girlfriend."
            "What do you want me to say?  I regret it-"
            "Is there anything you regret more?"
            He nodded.  "Raping you."
            She frowned, shutting her eyes, not wanting to talk about it.
            "Luke, Luke, that's not the hot topic right now-"
            "Laura," he said firmly.
            She sighed again.  "What?"
            "Remember when you thought you were pregnant?"
            "Yes, of course I do."
            "I did the cruelest thing to you, in a way to keep myself from feeling I'd lost everything.  I had to believe that you were there with me.  I didn't even hear you say no.  I didn't hear anything.  I just needed something to hold onto, and you were there, and I loved you.  I didn't know what was real in that moment, I didn't know.  I didn't mean to hurt you, I couldn't even see anything but those stupid disco lights.
            "And afterwards, I didn't know what had happened, I wasn't there at all.  But I looked down and I saw you scared and hurt, and I reached out to help you, to tell you I was sorry, that I didn't mean to hurt you.  Then the damn phone rang, and Scotty asked if you were there.  I didn't remember what I'd done at all.  I didn't know had happened, or where you'd gone.  After I hung up, I found your jacket on the floor.  I slowly walked over, and placed it against my cheek, and then it came back to me, and I realized what I'd done.  How could I do that to you?  That was the biggest mistake of my life, scaring you."
            A tear fell from his eye, she hugged him tightly.  
            "Luke, I wasn't afraid that you would hurt me.  It's so hard to explain.  I loved you too, I just hadn't even thought about it really.  I wasn't afraid you would hurt me.  I wanted you too, but not like that, not then, not when you were so scared, and so angry, and afraid.  I trusted you then, and I wasn't afraid of you, I was afraid of everything at that moment, my feelings, your feelings, the reality of our feelings, and the possibility that you were going to be killed.  I told you what you wanted to hear a few years ago when you asked.  That wasn’t my thoughts, that was what you wanted to hear."
            She sniffed a little, looking up at him, trying to be cheerful.
            "And Luke, the sailboat incident pissed me off a little worse than that."
            He laughed a little, and she smiled.  He grabbed her intensely.
            "But you didn't leave me.  You never left me, and I'll never understand that.  I keep hurting you, and tearing you apart and I don't get why you don't just walk away from me, the way we both know I deserve to be-"
            "You don't know why?" she hissed.  "Because, I love you, you stupid, STUPID MAN!"
            His face filled with relief, and rolled her eyes, regretting she'd said anything.  She turned from him, but he yanked her back.  She had tears falling down her face.
            "I never believed you'd hurt me, not even that night," she said.  "I never believed you'd stab me in the heart, but you did."
            "I didn't mean to hurt you, I never wanted to hurt you, but our lies, and our
betrayals, in your mind, do they measure up to the rest of our lives together?"
            "You were the love of my life," she said slowly.
            "You are still the love of mine."
            She looked down, her beautiful damp face.
            "I just wanted you to still love me, but you didn't-"
            "Yes I did.  I just couldn't let go of the lies."
            "Why not?  I let go of the lies you tell me every minute."
            "Because I always knew I wasn't good enough for you, and you having another man's child and not feeling comfortable telling me, not trusting me..." he saw her face.  "All right, Laura, it's all over now.  It's done now, and you're here, and I'm here."
            "I know that."
            Her eyes never left his, and she was afraid, and she stopped him.
            "Please don't, Luke.  You can't just blow a hole in my heart and then patch it up like this."
            She tried to push his arms away, but he tried to hold them towards her.  She finally dropped the grip around his wrists she’d held to stop him and just ran up the stairs.  He turned and watched her run.  As soon as she reached the top of the staircase, she popped her head back down to his view.
            "And I am not sending you signals like a firefly and this is not a follow me up the stairs stomp!"
            And then she was gone.  She got in the shower, tears prickling her eyelids, and she couldn't even tell if any fell because the beautiful water splashed on her face.  She ran her fingers through her wet hair, washing her body, closing her eyes.  She heard Natalie Cole singing, "Pink Cadillac", and she smiled at the crazy things she and Luke had done.  She rubbed the soap all over her body, and rinsed it off, watching the suds flow off of her skin.  She choked back her tears and got out of the shower.
            She put a robe on and looked in the mirror.  She hadn't even looked in the mirror in weeks it seemed.  She took a good look at the woman she'd become.  No, she wasn't proud of who she was now, but would she really have changed anything?  Sure, small things, but the big things.  Scotty, Luke, Stefan, Nikolas, Lucky,, all of those things were there for a reason, no matter how painful some of them had been.
            She looked down, finding her toothbrush, and when she looked up, Luke was standing behind her.  She threw the toothbrush against the mirror, jumping in fear, and screaming loudly. Somehow though, she wasn't a bit surprised.  How dare he ever call her stubborn.
            "Laura, I wasn't through talking to you."
            She was still breathing hard from the fear.  " eyelids are clanking shut, can you come by tomorrow and we'll talk."
            His eyebrows rose.  "No," he said slowly.
           She made her way in front of him, but he grabbed her, lifted her up a little, and placed her on the edge of the sink.  Her eyes were still wide in anger, her face ready to kill.  He touched her face, and she made no reaction.  His hand cupped her face, then slipped down her neck, caressing her skin.  Her face didn't change.  He then placed his hands between her knees, and began to move them apart slightly.  He didn't succeed in moving her legs too far apart, but that didn't really stop him.  Now her face had changed from pure hate to just disbelief.  He touched her shoulders, then very slowly slid his hands beneath the material of her robe, and pushed the robe away from her shoulders.  Her eyes widened a little, and shock.

            The robe fell, exposing her upper half, and he touched her face.  She leaned into him, touching his face, feeling it, as if an examination.  Her eyes focused in concentration, and pain.  Her fingers ran over his lips, the skin of his face, so slowly to remember.  She touched his face as if she’d never touched skin before in her life.  She leaned in very slowly, and touched his lips to hers, feeling his lips against her own, for a very brief moment, until a tear fell out of her closed eye, and she pulled back.  He looked at her with pain himself.  He gripped her face and she inhaled, looking at him, then finally, the damn broke and she cried.  She began to lose her balance from the tears.
            "Laura, Laura, baby, what happened?  I'm sorry, what?"
            He grabbed her arms as her head tucked under.  He quickly and thoroughly pulled up her robe and helped her off the sink.  He helped her walk to the bedroom.  She sat down on the bed, reaching to the nightstand for a Kleenex.
            "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
            "No, Laura, come on.  I did this to you.  I'm always doing this to you."
            She blew her nose, and coughed femininely.
            "It was just that moment in the bathroom, Luke.  You were there and I was there, and we were kids again.  Maybe not kids, but we were together, and in that moment, I reached out and touched you again, just...I guess needing to one more time, to remember, and I did, and I couldn't take it."
            "Couldn't take what?"
            She looked up and him, then smiled, looking at the ceiling.
            "No!  I don't wanna hear it.  I was so naive.  I let you go, and I watched you have your moments with her.  But I thought that *our* love, OUR love, was still there, and that it meant something more than anything you could ever have with anyone else."
            She stood up and began walking around the room, going on and on.
            "...and I was stupid enough to believe that twenty years ago, you meant forever when you said it.  That this Felicia thing couldn't possibly be what it all seemed, that you still loved me! Do you stupid that makes me?" 
            She was shaking, half from anger, half from tears.
            "But it's the thrill isn't it, Luke?  It's that thrill of the married blonde again."
            "Laura stop-"
            "It's that thrill of the Unavailable woman!  Well, now you've got her, she's not divorced quite yet, but she's sure as hell on her way, so you won again.”
            Laura moved to the dresser and grabbed some clothes, then slammed the door behind herself.  He waited downstairs for her.  She took over an hour, and when she made her way down the stairs, he could tell she'd been crying, and reapplied her make up.
            "Just shut up," she hissed.  Just then, Lucky and Liz came through the door, and Lucky's smiling face melted to fear when he saw his mother's face.  Liz held his hand. 

            "Lucky," Laura breathed.  "It's a good thing you're here.  You and your father have made me the bad guy for so long.  Acting like I was either too stupid to know what I was feeling, or insane to feel however I did."
            "Laura, this is not about Lucky-"
            "Luke," she said coolly, tears forming in her perfect sapphire eyes, "You're gonna have to shut up, because you don't know anything at all, about what's going on inside of me."

            Laura was in too much of her own pain to worry about Elizabeth.  "Both of you thought I didn't have a right to feel the way I felt after that night.  Lucky thought I was insane for marrying the man who "raped" me.  And you, Luke, you thought I was denying that night!  You know something, neither of you know what it was like, not even Elizabeth, because Elizabeth was raped, and I wasn't."
            A tear fell out of Laura's eye, as she shook with anger.  It slipped down her cheek and on to the floor, but the anger was still burning.
            "I loved Luke before that night, and after that night.  Lucky, I can understand how you felt, but you had no right to hate me for something that no one could ever understand.  It happened to me!  Me.  Not you, not your father.  Something happened to your father, but you can't yell at me for something you will never understand completely.             

            "And Luke, to tell our son your side, making it as dark as you could, you didn't know what I was thinking!  You didn't know anything!  Stefan probably discovered that you'd been accused of raping me, thank you, and he probably dug his way to what somebody else had heard.  None of you know.  Luke, I'm so sick of these last few years!  I'm so sick of all of it.  First it was Nikolas, how you made me choose.  Then Lucky finds out your version, which was not true, and he hates both of us.” 
            Lucky let go of Liz's hand, but didn't dare interrupt his mother.  She was right.  How could he have been so childish?  He'd gotten so consumed in his own anger.  It happened to her, not him.  It was her heart, her business, not his.  Sure, he hated his father half the time, but...she was making so much sense.
            "Your father loves you, Lucky.  One night of pain makes him your mortal enemy?  And Luke, loved me."  Laura couldn't believe she said that now, and she had to force those words out.  "He did," she said.  "And if you knew what I knew, what I know, you would know that my father loved me so much-"
            "I do Mom.  That's why this whole Felicia Scorpio thing is so unbelievable."
            Lucky ran to her side.
            "Mom, I love you, I'm so sorry..." he began to cry, holding her.  "The things I said, the way I said it, the anger, you never deserved it.  Please, Mom, don't cry."
            She held back her tears and just held him.  Liz walked over, as Lucky let go of his
           Liz walked over to Luke.  "Liz, I'm so sorry you had to go through this."
            Liz held out her hand to him.  "What happened to me and what happened between you and Laura are as different as they can be.  I want Lucky to see that.  May I say one thing that's none of my business?"
            Luke smiled, taking her hand.  "Anything, Elizabeth."
            She looked over at Laura, then back at him.  "Felicia, when you had what you had with Laura," she said, and he heard loud and clear that she was actually giving him crap.
            Liz had overstepped the boundaries, and she was embarrassed.  She turned and went to Lucky and Laura.
            "Lucky, why don't you go talk to your father, and let us women talk, is that all right, Laura?"
            Laura laughed and wiped away the tears.  She opened her arms out for Elizabeth Webber, where she quickly walked in to.
            "Oh Elizabeth, I love you."
            "Laura, everything's gonna be fine.  Lucky, why don't you and Luke leave, and let us talk."
            Lucky looked at her like she'd lost her mind, but then realized she was right.
            "Come on Dad," he said not too thrillingly.  Luke also very reluctantly left.

            Lucky tossed his father the keys, and plopped himself down into the car.  Luke slowly got in, turned the car on, and pushed the accelerator to the floor, backing away.
            "What's up, Dad?"
            "Well, at the moment, I'm tired, I'm angry, I haven't eaten or slept well in months, and I really have to pee.  You?"
            "I've been great, though I wonder why my father has gone mentally insane."
            Luke rolled his eyes.  "To which situation are we referring to, cowboy?"
            "You know, we're a lot a like.  But the difference between you and me is...I realize I screwed up.  I had no right to say the things I said to Mom, what I did to her.  You, I still see you hanging out with Felicia Scorpio, and it's disgusting."
            "You don't know anything-"
            "I know you had some kinda cheap affair with her in a hotel room, which was your only way out of spending the rest of your life in jail for supposedly killing my brother's uncle, and that my mother was in the courtroom, hearing it all, and all you could think about was how it would hurt Felicia."
            "Look, your Mom and I were already..." he couldn't even think of the words.  "This is not your business, it doesn't effect you."
            Lucky's beautiful face frowned at his father's.  "You completely destroy the heart of the most amazing woman in the world, for Felicia Scorpio, and it's none of my business?  You’re right.  What goes on between you is none of my business.  But I’m throwing my two cents in telling you I was there and I saw you and Mom, and your love.  And knowing my mother has been screwed to the bone because my father who did nothing but betray her, leaves her for a younger blonde?"
            "Son, my life with your Mom, and Felicia, is not your business."
            "Man to man, Dad, how much do you really care about Felicia Scorpio?"
            "That is not your business-"
            "Dad, shut up and tell me.  Or have you even thought about it?  Do you wanna marry her?  Have a life with her?  Take her on the run everytime you get into some Cassadine trouble? Just tell me, what are your plans with her?"
            Luke's hands were digging into the steering wheel.  "Lucky, I love you.  I've always loved you, but this is not something I am willing to discuss with you.  Though how marriage ever came into the same sentence with Felicia is beyond me."
            "Well, tell me this, do you love her?"
            Luke thought real hard.  "I care about her, amazingly deeply, and she brings out the happiness that I haven't had in a long time, since..."
            "Since you dumped my mother for having Stavros Cassadine's child, then wanting
Nikolas to be a part of her life?  Or since my mother ran into the arms of Stefan, and your ego couldn't take it?  Since you left my mother for weeks at a time when I was being controlled by Faison, and you were doing God knows what with Felicia?"
            "Since...a lot of things.  You will learn life is not that simple."
            "Oh, growing up with you as a father, I know life is not simple.  But I also know that there was never going to be two people who loved each other the way you and Mom did, and I think do.  Why do you keep hurting her-"

            "I don't-I don't know."
            "Drive back to Mom's, Dad."
            "I was, we're almost there."
            "Look, Dad, I know you've completely lost your mind, leaving my mother, but I don't believe you deserve her now.  When you leave someone and choose Felicia over someone like my mother, I don't think you deserve a second chance.  However, it is not my place.  It is my mother's.  So, just decide what's important, what you want, and then maybe you can enlighten the rest of the world.  In the meantime, think about your heart, not your...."
            Lucky got out of the car, but before he slammed it, he said, "Oh, and Dad, I really like Scott Baldwin.  He's really good to Mom."
            Lucky slammed the door, and Luke banged his head against the steering wheel.  He had to make it right.


November 16th, 2002           

It was their twenty first anniversary.  She got a package in the mail.  Her body was beginning to ache, deeply.  She swallowed the tears of each day, seeming to become shorter, and more precious.  Lulu was asleep, but how much she wanted her to wake up.
            She sat down with the mail in front of her, and opened the package.  Enclosed was a small box and a note.  The note said, "Happy Anniversary, Angel."  And of course, there was that little paper ring, the cigar band.  Laura's face smiled, but the tears began to swell in her eyes.  She wanted so badly for everything to be okay again, she loved Luke so much.  The major problem was she always had.
            She slowly placed the delicate ring over her delicate finger, and looked at it.  Something that sounded like a knock rang through her ears.  She walked over, answering it.  It was Luke, her worst fear.
            "Hi," she breathed.
            Without saying anything, she hugged him.  She closed her eyes, so afraid.  God, she was so afraid, but she didn't want to tell him.
            "I love you, Luke," she whispered.
            "You do?"
            She shut her eyes tightly.  "Of course I do."
            "It seems like forever since I've heard you say that.  Where's Lulu?"
            "She's upstairs, asleep."
            Laura let go of him, and walked away.  She hoped that if she didn't look at him, he wouldn't know.
            "Laura, what's wrong?"
            "Nothing.  Nothing."
            "Laura," he said firmly.
            She said nothing.  "No wait a minute," he said, turning her swiftly towards him.  "You're scared.  Tell me, I'll make it better.  I'll make it all go away, angel.  Don’t hide something again, something that scares you."
            She sniffed lightly, then coughed.  She should tell him, it's not like he wouldn't find out.  But it would kill him.
            "I was in some unusual pain, Luke.  So I went to the hospital, and I asked Monica to examine me.  She found about six or seven...cancerous tumors in my uterus.  It's not ovarian cancer, but it's...cancer."
            Luke frowned, confused.  "What...Laura, what are you saying?"
            "I'm going in for some treatment, and of course they're gonna try to remove them, but it''s cancer-"
            Before she could finish, he hugged her, tightly.  Then just as quickly, he released her.
            "Are you all right?  Am I hurting you?"
            "No, no.  No, you're not hurting me.  Um...I just want you to know that I love you, but I don’t want you to be around me anymore."
            "What," he asked, like she'd lost her mind.
            "I just, I just don't wanna put you through anything that...could happen."
            "Shhh," he said, pulling her towards him.  "You're not putting me anywhere, I'm here because I want to be here."
            Luke’s eyes widened as he held her, what did this mean?  He hugged her again, but her tight grip loosened and she began to sob.  He held her upper arms, trying to get her to face him, though her head was ducked down, as if trying to hide her face.
            "Laura, Laura, it's gonna be fine.  You'll get better-"
            "This doesn't get better, Luke.  Cancer is cancer, it eats at you, destroying you as an invasion."
            "Shut up, shut up, please shut up," he said, shaking.
            "I have a nearly nine year old daughter!  My daughter needs me-"
            "And she has you.  And she will.  Please, baby, come on, don't give up hope."
            "I want you to go, Luke, because you'll just get hurt-"
            "SHUT up!"
            He carefully sat her down on the couch, and got her some tissues for her extremely damp face.  Then, he just held her.
            "Laura, would you please stop worrying about me, and talk to me."
            She shut her eyes in concentration.  His arms were so warm.  They surrounded her like vines.  She looked up at him with more fear in her eyes than he'd ever seen.  Her eyes were wide, her face extreme in expression.
            "I'm scared, Luke.  Oh I'm so scared."

Four Months Later

            Laura was going through treatment.  They had removed the tumors after two operations, but they told her the cancer would probably spread throughout her entire uterus.  So, she'd begun the radiation and the chemotherapy.  She slept long hours, and Luke watched her, every minute. Bobbie Spencer often told him to leave to take a break, but he couldn't.  She often watched him cry while Laura was asleep.
            One night, Laura began twisting and turning.  Luke reached out for her.
            "Laura, Laura, wake up, it's okay...shhh, Laura!"
            She opened her eyes, still in terrible fear.  "Oh, Luke.  Oh God, I'm so nauseous."
            She began breathing in and out, heavily.
            "Want me to get someone-BOBBIE!"
            Bobbie came running in, looking at Laura's painful face.
            "Barbara," he said.  "Do something about the pain she's in, please."
            A tear fell down Bobbie's face.  "Luke, um...the chemo and the radiation are gonna give her extreme discomfort and nausea, there's nothing we can really do.  Laura, can I get you water, I could make you some real food, honey-"
            "Bobbie," she breathed.
            Laura reached out to Bobbie, and she came near, holding Laura's hand.
            "Bobbie, please, if I don't come through this-"
            "You WILL, Laura," Luke said.
            "Have you gotten the new test results," Laura begged.
            "Monica Quartermaine should have them, let me go get her."
            Bobbie left the room, and Laura closed her eyes, breathing, praying the nausea would ease.
            "Laura, baby," he said, more scared than her.  "What can I do?"
            "I don't know...I don't know, Luke, I'm sorry."
            "For what?  You're sorry.  You're gonna get better because we're gonna get married again, and I promise I'll never let you go."
            Monica walked through the doors, and Laura's desperate eyes met Monica's.  Monica looked frightened, she’d been through the cancer, the pain, the shame.  It was ugly, and Laura was so much younger.  A tear slipped from Laura's eye.
            "Stop the chemo and the radiation, Bobbie."
            "Why," Bobbie said.

Monica sat down by Laura, holding her hand and caressing her face.
            "Laura, the cancer has spread to your bones.  God, the only thing we can do is to slow down the process, but..." Monica couldn't finish.
            "Doc," Luke said, "You've made some mistake if you're telling me she's not gonna get better.  You do whatever you have to-"
            "Luke," Monica said, "We will, we are, but..."
            Bobbie's face was already drenched with tears.  Laura's were still full of fright and
            "But, Monica, please, my daughter, Lucky," she cried.
            Luke looked at Monica like she'd lost her mind.
            "Luke, can I talk to you for a minute," Monica said.
            "Go," Bobbie said.  "I'll stay here with Laura."
            Luke walked reluctantly out with Monica.  Bobbie sat down in the chair Luke was in, and held Laura's hand, tears falling endlessly.
            "Bobbie, I know you've never been my biggest fan-"
            "Laura, for God's sakes, stop it.  I love you.  I will do anything for you because of your strength.  And your heart."
            "Then please, promise me something."
            "Anything, what, tell me."
            "Lulu," Laura said with fear.  "Would you watch over her and Luke, and Lucky and Nikolas?"
            "Of course.  Lulu is gonna grow up so beautifully thanks to you, you were the greatest mother."
            "Oh I sucked!"
            Laura plopped her head back on the pillow and looked up at the ceiling.  The nausea was eating her, and she was in so much pain she could barely move.
            "Laura, you are a wonderful mother.  You put your children more than once over the love of your life.  You would do anything for the people you love, and so would my brother, though the last two years of his life make me wonder a bit about his mental health."
            Laura smiled a little.
            "I was always envious of you, Laura.  I did terrible things to attract the man I wanted to me, but you, every man that's ever loved you has been damn near obsessed if not completely gone.  And you did nothing.  That's because you have something so special inside you, that no one else does.  You have that light that shines inside you that never fades.  I will do anything for you and I will never leave."
            "Am I really dying?"
            "I'll have to talk to Dr. Quartermaine," she trailed off.  Bobbie tried to brighten things up.  "Do you want me to bring Lulu in tomorrow?  I'm sure she'd love to see her Mommy."
            "NO!" Laura was so fierce in her reply.  She grabbed Bobbie's arm and pulled Bobbie towards her.  "There's another favor.  I don't ever want Lulu to see me in a hospital.  Not like this.  Please, get me out of here Bobbie.  If I'm dying, there's no reason to keep me.  I wanna go...I wanna go..." she said shaking up.  "I don't...want it to be over, not yet.  My little girl, Luke, Nikolas, my mother-oh my God, my mother's gonna be so upset-"
            "Shh, Laura, Laura, I'll do everything to get you out of here.  I'll drag you out myself.  Monica will understand, but there is treatment to slow it down, do you want that?"

            "Yes, as much time with my family as possible."
            "All right, you will get through this, and we all love you, so much.  Just, try to sleep-"
            "I'm scared Bobbie, I'm so afraid, my little girl's gonna grow up and I won't be able to hold her, anymore-"
            "Yes you will."
            "Promise me, you'll watch her-"
            "I promise!  Lulu will never want for anything."
            Laura tightened her grip on her arm.  "And Luke, take care of him for me-“

“You are...everything to him."
            "And I'm dying," she said with a crumbling face.
            Bobbie for all her years of experience in the hospital, didn't have a clue what to say.  She held Laura, and cried tears of her own.

“Luke, she’s fine for the time being, but I mean just for the time being. There's going to be a lot of pain, and I will prescribe drugs for her to lesson the pain, but it's going to be so hard for her-"
            "But she will get better."
            Monica frowned in her own pain.  "Luke, you know that bone cancer is something that doesn't...get better."
            Luke's eyes widened and he began breathing heavily in fear.  Monica tried to keep him from keeling over, but he grabbed the file cabinet and threw it the floor, crying.  Monica grabbed him harshly, now tears falling down her own face.  Other members of the staff knew, and just watched.
            "I've gotta see her!  I've gotta see Laura, let go of me, Monica!"
            She grabbed his jacket swiftly and pulled him towards her, holding him face to face with her.
            "Luke, Laura is going through enough of her own pain.  She's dy-you are not going to go in there and hurt her more.  You have to calm down-"
            "You're telling me my entire life is dying!  A life I've screwed up and hurt, and just when I have a chance to make it right, it's all being blown away from my reach!"
            "Luke, stop.  You still have that time.  Go in there, and love her, but don't scare her, or hurt her.  I will not allow it, Laura deserves better than that."
            Two large tears slipped from Luke's blue eyes

Five Hours Later
11:02 PM

            Laura lie sleeping, Luke by her side, holding her hand, silently crying.
            "Please, baby, don't leave," he whispered over and over.
            Laura awoke and he rushed to her side, kneeling in front of her.
            "Are you in pain, can I get you anything?"
            She shook her head.  "Are you cold? Hungry?  Ooh, I bet you're hungry!"
            She giggled a little.  "Even I won't eat the hospital food."
            "Well, I'll go order some food, and I'll bring it back in twenty minutes."
            "That's tempting, but at 11:00 at night?"
            "Hey, I know the guy, if I pay him enough, he'll give me the food."
            She smiled a real smile, a laugh that he had ached to hear.  He covered her up, cupped her face, and then turned to leave.
            "Yeah, darlin'?"
            She lifted her hand, showing him the cigar band.  "I still love you," she said.
            He ran back to her, sitting himself on the bed, kissing her deeply.  He tried to be delicate, but it had been years since he'd kissed her like this, he prayed he wasn't hurting her.  He reached his hands beneath her back and lifted her a little, then realized that would definitely hurt her, though she weakly wrapped her arms around him, kissing him back.

            "Marry me again,” he said, holding her against him.
            She laughed again.  "I don't wanna hurt you anymore than I already am-"
            "Of for Christ's sake, Laura, just say yes and shut up!"
            She smiled at him, tilting her head innocently.  "I told you, I don't wanna put you through anything that might happen, I-"
            He covered her mouth with his hand.  "I need you back, I don't care if it's 40 minutes.  I want those 40 minutes more than anything, please, you know how I need you.  Just for one second is worth anything.  When I take my hand off your mouth, I want a yes, only then will you get your food."
            She playfully bit the hand that was covering it, and he tickled her lightly, causing her to giggle more.
            "Say it, Laura!"
            "Okay!" she said laughing.
            "Good," he said casually.
            He jumped off the bed.  "Luke!  I have this," she said waving the cigar band.
            "It's a cigar band, Laura.  That's not enough."
            "Oh yes it is."

A Month Later

            Laura was out of the hospital, and she's just married Luke for the second time.  She had visions the night before of Felicia catching the bonquet, so she didn't do that at all.  It was a small wedding.  Her mother, Amy, Lucky, Liz, Nikolas, Gia, Emily, Zander, Alan, Monica, Lila, Edward, Roy, Bobbie, Tony, Carly, Sonny, Mac, Lulu, and a few others.
            Thanking the Lord, Laura was in very little pain that day, and was able to last.  More people showed up for the reception, wanting to see Luke and Laura married again.  They had a fabulous time.
            Luke noticed though that Laura was beginning to fade away.  She was getting thinner, and although her smile was just as bright, he could tell her heart was too afraid that the face behind her smile wasn't as happy.  Luke took her home, being very delicate with her.  Lulu was staying with Bobbie, give Laura a break from having to pretend that she still felt fine.  Lulu knew the truth though, Laura just made it seem better, of course.
            "You all right?"
            "Yes, Luke, I'm fine physically."
            "Please don't be scared.  Everything's gonna be fine."
            She looked up at him, reaching out.  He took her hand and kissed it.
            "Laura, not to pressure you, because I don't want to at all, but I want you."
            She nodded, smiling, telling him yes.  They walked up the bedroom, and as the reached the bedroom, he stopped and pulled her back.
            "I keep forgetting to carry you over the threshold!"
            She burst out laughing as he picked her up a little too fast, so fast that it caused her slight pain, but the laughter covered up the pain.  He placed her softly on the bed, and they kissed for a matter of minutes.  He ran his hands through her hair, pulling it so her head tilted back, as his lips ran down her neck.
            "Laura, look at me."
            She opened her eyes wide, innocently.
            "I want you to tell me if I hurt you, or if you're scared, or uncomfortable.  If I hurt you, you've got to tell me, I will understand.  I'll be gentle."
            She shook her head.  "I'm fine, Luke.  For tonight, nothing is wrong.  Make love to me."
            Laura looked at Luke, and finally, he covered his mouth over hers, seeming to swallow her.  She leaned towards Luke, and their lips met.  Mouths opened and closed, tongues explored tentatively, and teeth clicked together in a slow rhythm.  Luke feared that this might be there last night together, though they'd predicted a year. Don't worry about that now, she's here, I'm here, we're together.
            Luke pulled Laura up off the bed, and slowly pushed her dress off of her body, as it slipped down and hung at her stomach.  She looked down, eyes closed as Luke’s hands caressed her shoulders and brushed against her chest.  She turned her head up very slowly and looked at him.  He leaned down and softly kissed her.  She held his lips and placed her hands lightly against his chest. 

Luke moved her thick locks of hair so he could kiss her neck.  His hands felt the perfect skin of her back.  She lifted her hand to his face and kissed him again.  Luke placed his hands on her waist and lifted her to the bed, the dress remaining behind.  He wrapped her up in the sheets, and again, they kissed for many precious minutes, feeling each other's bodies together again.  Laura's hair was thicker than ever, and she glowed so brightly, she was all he could see.  Luke slid off the bed, with Laura on top of him, surrounded by the sheets, and she seductively sank on the floor with him.
            They just lied there, touching each other, Luke's hands clenched in her hair, refusing to let her go as he caressed her neck and collar bone with his tongue.
            His hands had disentangled themselves from her hair and began to gently cup her breasts, kneading them as he teased her mouth with his.  Luke traced the outline of her nipple before enclosing his mouth over it.
            "Luke," she said.
            He was afraid he'd hurt her, so his face in half a second was over her's.
            "Yeah?  You okay?"
            "Yeah, I want to tell you something."
            "Are you hungry?"
            "No, well yeah, but that's irrelevant at the moment.  Please don’t be afraid."
            She smiled.  She grabbed his face, pulling his mouth down to hers.

Sixteen Months Later

            Laura was dying.  The cancer had spread very quickly, and it was killing her.  She lie in the hospital, once again, tired, and her entire body ached in unbearable pain.  Luke never left, though she told him to over and over.  Lulu was at home, and Nikolas sat on the other side of his mother.
            "I love you-"
            "Oh shhh, Nikolas, I love you.  I always loved you and I’m so sorry for all my stupid mistakes.  I love you.  Watch over Lulu for me, okay?"
            He cried.  He hugged her, and Luke thought he couldn't take it if she left him again.  She was in so much pain, and she felt herself just drifting farther and farther.  She was grateful for the feeling of her spirit detaching from her broken body.
            "I've always loved you, I've always loved you.  Please watch over your sister, and love her-"
            "Oh Mom," he said crying.
            Laura didn't want to tell him how much pain she was in, she didn't want to let him know.  This was all that mattered.  Elizabeth Webber came in, with Lucky.  She has tears in her eyes also.  Laura had always been special to her.  Laura was always someone to admire.

“Lucky,” Laura said and Lucky came to her.

He hugged her tightly, maybe too tightly but she didn’t care.  She ran her fingers through his blonde hair and held him.  She remembered his first smile, his first bad dream, she remembered his first time on a bike, the first time he told her he loved her.

“You are person in my life that made me laugh, so hard, made me smile just at the thought of the way you looked at me when you were nine years old.  I will be there forever, and I want you to believe in my love.”

She felt him shaking, she felt him cry and she shhhed him, Nikolas pulled him back to let Laura rest.
            "Elizabeth," Laura said happily.
            She reached out to her, and Elizabeth slowly came into her arms.
            "Laura," she said hugging her.  "I'm gonna miss you so much."
            "Oh," she breathed.  "I'll miss you too.  Take care of my son, I know you will.  I love you, Elizabeth."
            "I love you."
            "When you marry my son, I'll be watching."
            Elizabeth's face was drenched with tears.  "You'll be there."
            "You'd better believe it."
            Liz stood back, and Laura saw Monica, Alan, and Bobbie.  The only people in the room with her were Luke, her sons, Elizabeth, and her mother.  Leslie was trying to be strong for her daughter.
            "Monica," Laura said.
            "Oh honey, do you know how much you've changed Port Charles and all the lives around you?  How much you've touched us?"
            Laura laughed a sarcastic laugh.  "I feel like I've been pretty stupid my whole life."
            "Yeah well, look who I married," Monica said.
            "Same here," Laura said.
            Alan smiled.  Bobbie was crying so hard she had to leave the room.  Monica walked over to Laura.  Laura realized that only Monica gave her the strength she had.  She sat up and hugged Monica.  It hurt her, but Monica always gave her strength.
            "You always taught me strength, I trusted you with my life, and I will, forever.”
            Laura smiled, and looked over at her mother.
            "Mom.  I'm so sorry, if I could change things-"
            "You have been every dream of mine, every hope, and I love you more than I've ever loved anything."
            Laura began to cry, and Leslie came into her arms.  They hugged each other crying.  Monica had tears streaming down her face too.  Lucky was holding Liz's hand, Nikolas held the other.  Elizabeth sat Lucky down in a chair, he couldn’t stand up.  If he had ever known an amazing woman, it was his mother.  Alan walked over and held his wife.
            "Laura," he said.  "You've always been so strong, and here you are, still amazing us.  We love you, and I love you."
            She smiled, reaching out for his hand.  "Thank you, Alan."
            "Mom," Nikolas said.
            Laura looked over at him, love washing over her eyes.  She motioned for him to come over.  He sat down on the bed next to her.  She caressed his hair affectionately.
            "Even from where I'll be going, I will be watching you.  Making sure you're okay, and NO ONE will harm again," she said, looking over Nikolas's shoulder, giving her husband the eye.
            Luke put up his hands in defeat, and understanding.
            "Stefan loves you.  He loves you more than anything.  He loves you the way I do, so don't you doubt that.  I remember a few days after your birth, Stefan waited outside until Stavros had left, and then he came in and saw you.  His heart stopped when he saw me holding you, caressing you.  I looked up and he was there.  I reached my hand out to him, and he asked to hold you.  I handed you to him, and in that moment, nothing else mattered but you, and him, and me.  That was one of the best moments of my life."
            Laura wiped the tear off Nicholas's face.  She pulled his head down on her breast, and held him maternally.  For moments she whispered her love for him, her eyes closed and in pain.  She didn’t want to leave him again.  She didn’t want to leave at all.  Bobbie came into view.
            "Um, Laura has a visitor, why don't we clear out just for a few moments."
            Luke looked at Bobbie liked she'd lost her mind.  "Who the hell is it, Barbara?"
            Stefan Cassadine revealed himself beside Bobbie.  Luke stood up, but Laura grabbed his head, pulling him to her.
            "Luke, I would like to see him.  Just chill out."
            "Come on, Luke," Bobbie said.
            Only Bobbie could make him do anything.  He slowly walked away from Laura, and the rest of the visitors cleared out.  Laura smiled.
            "I was just telling Nikolas about the first time you held him."
            Stefan sat down, a little nervous about what to say.  This woman had given him that night so many years ago, on that island, that night lasted a lifetime in his heart.  He wanted to hold her one more time, but would she object?
            "Laura..." was all he that came from his mouth, but he said so much more.
            Her face cringed in tears, and she held out her hand to him.  He took it, she pulled him to her.
            "Don't ever let Helena hurt Nicholas, I trust you.  You saved me before, please save me now."
            Stephan smiled.  Their faces were only a few inches away.
            "I would do anything for you, Laura.  I will do that.  I will never let Helena or anyone else ever hurt him."
            She lowered her eyes to his lips, and he leaned in, tenderly touching hers to his.
            "You are the love of my life, Laura," he said.  "I never fell out of love with you, and I never will."
            "Neither did I.  You saw me and I loved you for it, I love you still."
            She sat up and hugged him, looking at him with such love, she cupped his face and kissed him.  Kissed him showing her love, not holding anything back.  He kissed her back, a little surprised.  He held her face with his hand and used the other to cup the back of her head.  They kissed for a matter of minutes and neither one of them ever wanted to stop.

“I love you,” she said, resting her head against his shoulder.  He wrapped his arms around her.  “I never loved anyone the way I loved you.  I’m sorry I didn’t say it every time I felt it.”

Stefan cupped her face, kissing her softly, pulling back enough to tell her he loved her and kissed her again.  She touched his face with her fingers as she kissed him, remembering all the ways he had reached his hand out to help her, and how she took it.  He held her against him, rocking her as she shivered from the fear of leaving him once again also.
            Laura then heard arguing outside.
            "Help me up, Stefan.  Please, I want to walk, but it hurts."
            He placed his hands on each side of her waist and pulled her up.  She moaned in pain, her hair tumbling around her shoulders.  She found the strength to walk with his help out of the room. Luke was arguing, and Laura then saw Scotty.  She broke through the circle of people.
            Bobbie grabbed Luke.  "Don't," she said slowly.  "Don't you move, Luke.  Breathe and shut your mouth."
            "Why don't you help Laura back into her bed, Scott, and we'll wait out here, but just a few minutes though, okay?"
            "Thank you, Bobbie."
            Luke's eyes were full of hatred as Scotty helped Laura into her hospital bedroom.
Bobbie still hadn't let go of him.  Stephan was smiling a bit.  He would never be a fan of
Spencer's, and this was at least interesting.
            "Barbara, let me go-"
            "You have to promise me that you're not going to go in there and make an idiot out of yourself.  While you were parading around with my best friend, Scott Baldwin was there for Laura, and deserves a few minutes alone with his first wife."
            Luke stiffened.  But he listened.

            Scotty helped Laura back into bed.  He was shaking, and his eyes were watering.
            "I would've been here sooner, Laura, but I didn't know how it might look.  But I had to see you."
            "Scotty, I never stopped loving you.  You never stopped being my hero.  I will always love you."
            "And you know I've never loved another woman the way I love you, and I never will. There are so many things I want to say to you, but now that we're here, I don't have anything to say."
            "You can say them to me, even if you can't see me."
            "What can I do?"
            Laura thought.  "There's one thing-"
            "Kiss me, hold me one more time."
            He stood up, and slowly leaned over towards her.  She was so thin, thinner than he'd ever seen her, but she still shined.  He cupped her face and kissed her.  She felt his arms around her, and she forgot the pain for that moment.  She leaned in even closer, trying to become one with him.             

"I love you, Scotty.  You saved me, you were good to me."
            "And you were everything to me," he said, holding her.  "God, don't leave me," he cried.
            She wrapped her arms around his body.  "I wish I could just be with all of you forever in the way I want to, but I can't.  I'm in so much pain, Scotty, that I'm praying it comes soon.  This pain, no matter how much morphine, is destroying me.  It's my own body destroying itself."
            "I would rip it all out of you and save you if I could."
            "You have."
            She moaned in pain, and lied her back against the pillows.  She held his hand really tightly, trying to keep her tears from falling.
            "Scotty," she said.  "You are my first love, and that love never faded. Never.  I love you."
           Scotty turned and left.  The minute he left her room, tears slid down his face.  Bobbie ran to him, holding him.  Luke ran back in to see Laura, and so did Leslie and Lucky.  Nikolas hugged his Uncle, Stefan never left, just stayed out of sight.

            "Mom," Lucky was so afraid.
            "Come here," she said, holding her arms out to him.
            He ran into her arms.  "Mom please..."
            "Shhh, I know Lucky.  Oh Lucky I'm so proud of you.  I love you so much.  I love you more than anything."
            "And don't ever doubt that I always loved you.  I was wrong in so many areas, my
thoughts, my accusations-"
            "It's okay-"
            "No it wasn't!  You didn't lie, you never lied.  You loved Dad, and he loved you.  I saw that love for over ten years, and that is what's real, not what I said, or what I thought."
            "I understand.  You and your brother and your sister, you all have to know that I would've done anything for you.  Throughout all of my mistakes, you were all were always my life, the first in my life."
            Lucky hugged her again.  She wiped his tears with her beautiful hands, and smiled at him.
            "I want you to go, Lucky.  I want you to go and be with Lulu.  And Nikolas.  I love you so much, you have no idea!  You will never know until you have your own children, and then you will understand the depth of my love for you."
            "You have more depth than anyone, Mom.  I love you."
            He reluctantly left, and they both knew it might be the last time he saw her.  But she asked him to go be with Lulu, and Lulu needed him.  Laura had only been in the hospital a few days, but she refused to let Lulu see her in the hospital, with the wires, the machines, and the drugs.  Lucky did her last request.
            Luke sat down again, holding Laura's hand.  He stood over her, kissing her, his tears falling on her face.  He could hear that song, "Think of Laura".  He heard the words, "Think of Laura, but laugh, don't cry, you know she'd want it that way."  She wrapped her weak arms around his neck.
            "Luke, can I have a minute alone with my mother?"
            "Of course, angel."
            He left, walking outside.  The hospital seemed empty, nothing mattered.  The world was blurry.  His whole life was leaving him.  Her beautiful eyes, her hair, her smile, her heart, would all disappear.  She was being taken away from him again.  He was flooded with memories.
            "Laura, can't we PLEASE...sleep in the same bed."
            "No.  No-"
            "I won't touch you, I swear I won't touch you.  Laura, I don't even have the strength, I mean even if I wanted to, I couldn't!"
            She looked over at him, the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.  "No," she said again.
            "Okay.  Okay you win, but let me tell you something.  This will NOT go on forever!  We can have twin beds, we can have twin ROOMS!  Dammit Laura, I am a man and I want you!"
            She turned her innocent face into a stunned one.
            "And for the time being, I LOVE, this bathTUB!"
            He slammed the door behind her.

            Luke's eyes were filled with tears, and for what seemed like eternity, he waited.  Finally, Leslie came out, tears in her eyes.
            "She wants to see you, Luke.  She wants you."
            She hugged him, breaking down and crying.  She began to sob loudly, and he tried to hold her up.  He was trying so hard to not break down himself.  He sat her down in a chair, and Bobbie came running over.
            "Luke, go on back to Laura, I'll stay with Leslie."
            He ran back in the room, where Laura's eyes were closed.  He feared the worst.  He sat down in the chair, and took hold of her hand.  Her eyes opened.
            "Hey," she said softly.
            "I want you to be happy, Luke."

“You made me happy.  You’ve always made me happy.”
           She smiled.  "I don't want them to take off my cigar band."
            "No one will ever take it off.  I love you, Laura.  Every part of me, loves you.  Every thing I ever had, everything I ever was loved you."
            "I love you."
            Just then, she began to breathe hard.  "Luke," she called.
            "Yeah, I'm right here, what?"
            "Window, take me to the window, I wanna see the world one more time, please, help me."
            "Okay, okay, hold on."
            He pulled back the sheets, slipped one hand underneath her legs, and the other behind her head.  He lifted her off the bed, but she was suddenly too tired to talk.  He held her head up, and made her look outside the window.
            "See angel, there's the world, the world that we have seen so much of.  Laura, I love you."
            Her head fell, and he just kept talking.  Finally, through his own broken heart, he put her back on the bed and yelled for help.  Bobbie and Tony ran in.  They examined her, but said nothing.  Luke held Laura's hand, still talking to her, and Bobbie watched, large tears colliding down her face.
            "She's gone, isn't she Bobbie?  I mean, she's really gone."  He touched and caressed Laura's face.  "And this is for real.  She's not gonna come back in two years, running into my arms, is she?"
            Bobbie closed her eyes slowly, wondering how Luke would ever go on.
            "Bye angel," he said, kissing her.  "I love you."
            Luke kissed her cold lips one more time, then turned to leave.  He saw Bobbie standing there, wanting to comfort him.  She couldn't.  She couldn’t believe a life without Laura.  He walked right past her, and Bobbie looked at Laura's lifeless body.  Laura, the woman she'd hated, loved, envied, and admired was gone.  Really gone.  She left herself, she couldn't take it.  She bumped into Monica.
            "Oh, Bobbie."
            Bobbie's face was streaked with tears, her mascara running down her face.
            "It happened, didn't it?  Laura's...gone."
            "No," Monica breathed.
            Roy came in the hospital, and ran towards Bobbie.
            "What," he asked.
            "It's Laura," she cried, sinking to the floor.
            "Whoa," he said grabbing her.  "She's...she's dead?"
            "Oh no, no!  Not Laura!  Her daughter's not even ten years old, and she just wanted to love everything she could!" she cried.
            Monica was incredibly surprised.  Bobbie had seen so many people die, but then again, this wasn't somebody, this was Laura.  Monica sucked her tears and went to see Laura, to talk to her even if she wasn’t inside her body anymore.  Roy pulled Bobbie up from the ground, dragging her to a chair.  He held her.  Tears threatened him also, Laura was an incredible woman.  Roy loved Laura.  He had stayed with Lulu a lot of the time.  Roy would’ve done anything for Laura.  Bobbie wiped her nose with the back of her hand.  A nearby nurse got her a sedative.  She knocked it out of the woman's hand.
            "I don't...I don't want that!  Dammit!"

            Just then, Lucky, Nikolas, and Elizabeth walked through the doors.  Bobbie stood up, and they all knew what had happened.
            "No," Lucky breathed.
            Bobbie walked over to him, her arms open.
            "Noooo," he screamed as she held him.
            "Lucky, it's over now.  You're mother's out of pain and you've got to let it GO!"
            "NO!" he cried, pulling on her.  "Why didn't you save her?  Where is she?  I gotta see her!  Please!"
            "Lucky, your father was with her, she's fine now.  She's not in pain anymore, she's free."
            Lucky's eyes were incredibly wide.  "No," he said desperately.  "She's my mother!
She's..." he trailed off, Bobbie pulling him into an embrace.
            Nikolas was looking around the hospital, for no real reason.  Elizabeth's hand was over her mouth.  She hugged Nicholas.
           Lucky broke free of his aunt and ran to his mother's room.  Nikolas ran after him, and Bobbie had to pull herself together to follow them.  Lucky ran to his mother's side, kneeling beside her.
            "Hey, Mom.  It's me.  It's all right now.  You can open your eyes.  Come on, I need you to love me, I need you with me, please, Mom!"
            Elizabeth pulled him to her, and he just looked stunned as she embraced him.
            "Lucky, I love you.  Laura loved you, both of you.  But she's not in that body now, she's everywhere."
            "Oh God..." Lucky cried.

Later That Night

            Luke sat with Lulu, holding her.  He apologized for missing out on those precious years of her life.  He told her over and over that she was an angel just like her Mommy, and she cried.  He just held her, telling her stories about Laura, not moving.  She fell asleep in his arms, but he just kept talking.
            Leslie walked in.
            He turned around, thinking for a second it was Laura.  His face lit up, then melted again when he saw Leslie.
            "Hi Les."
            "I'm taking care of the funeral preparations, why don't you go for a little while, just go out."
            "I wanna stay here," he said, sounding like an eight year old.
            "Luke," she said firmly.
            "Oh all right, dammit!  God you're like your daughter!"
            She smiled a little, and he stormed out.  Luke ran to the docks, looking at the water, listening to it.  A hand came over his shoulder.  He looked up, thinking it was Laura, and hugged her.  He smelled her, and it wasn't Laura.  He pulled back.  It was Felicia.
            "I'm sorry, I thought you were Laura."
            "I'm sorry she died."
            "Yeah, well..."
            "What can I do?"
            He exhaled with anger.  "Nothing.  Look, please, just go.  I don't wanna hurt you, I just want you out of my sight.  Please, Felicia."
            She left, hating what she’d heard him say.  He then heard footsteps.  He looked up.
            "Barbara," he cried.  "It's you."
            She ran to him, holding him.

            Stefan sat beside Laura’s body, holding her hand, telling her he was sorry.  He thought he felt her squeeze his hand, but she hadn’t.  But she still loved him, and she was gone.  He couldn’t save her this time.

Two Days Later

            The funeral was almost through.  Luke had survived.  Lucky and Nikolas, Elizabeth, and Emily were all together.  Roy, Mac, Monica, Alan, Lila, Edward, Ned, Alexis, Chloe, Carly, Bobbie, Sonny, Stefan, Scotty, Lucy, Kevin, almost everyone in Port Charles was here.  Luke made sure the cigar band was on her hand, and tried hard to invite all the people that loved Laura, not just the people he could stand.  Leslie was crying, and Amy was holding her, crying harder.  Luke was ice cold, but dying himself inside.  Bobbie spoke.

            “Laura didn’t start out as my favorite person.  I remember I could barely stand the sight of her.  I remember now how much I hated every little thing she did, but now I don’t remember why I hated her, if there was something specific she did.  Now I know it was all inside me.  Laura could take pain and just turn it around, make it matter, make it beautiful.  She glowed inside and although her face fooled you into thinking you were taking care of her, she was always the one taking care of you.”

            Stefan realized how true that was.  Laura took care of him when he would save her life.  It was really Laura.

            “And she was never weak, never breakable.  She could do anything and she did.  She didn’t regret any of it.  She took the pain she gained from the things she did and always made it good.  And no matter her mistakes, her love was never false.  Her words were never unreal.  She taught me…about the kind of person I always wanted to be.  And I want to give her my faith, my acceptance, my understanding, and my love.  I want her to know I believe in her.”

            Bobbie wiped her tears and stepped down.  Roy, Monica, Mac, Alan, and Sonny spoke.  Lucy finally managed to, worried about hurting Luke, but she actually made him smile.  Elizabeth was the last to go up.  Laura’s children didn’t speak, neither did Luke, Stefan, or Scotty.

            “I always thought Laura and I had a connection.  We met in very strange circumstances…but somehow I needed her.  Before I knew her, before I really spoke to her I knew that she was someone I needed to be with.  Someone I needed to tell my thoughts to.  The first time she ever saw me she pulled me into her arms and gave me a safe place to go.”

            Audrey cried a little at that.

            “And I was never not on her side.  She thought in a lot of ways I did.  She knew me, she could read my mind and still love me.  I never dared to question anything she ever thought or felt, I believed her.  I trusted her and I found out how much I felt the same.  I wish I’d known her all my life, I wish I’d gotten on the motorcycle I made her promise she’d get on with me.  But I know someday I will.  I will be able to hold her and tell her all the things I think I missed here, and I will see her smile at me.  That big smile, and I know that my life was worth just seeing her smile at me, the way she did.  She saved my life, she saved my heart. 

“If there was one thing I knew about Laura though, she just wanted everyone to be okay.  So the least I can do for her is be okay, be better than okay.  And make her proud of me.” 

Elizabeth stepped down, kneeled in front of Luke, and held him.  He wrapped his arms around her, holding her.  Elizabeth was so much like Laura.  Elizabeth gave a promise to Luke, he was the one that made her laugh, and she would be there forever.  For him and for Laura.


            Two weeks later, Luke had his own gathering.  His tombstone was placed next to his wife's.  There was no body, no witness, no real evidence, other than pretty obvious death inside his heart, then he disappeared.  No one doubted he believed he couldn't live without Laura, and Bobbie cried hardest, losing the only family member she had left.  Bobbie prays he's just on the run, and that someday soon he'll show up on her doorstep, saying, "Barbara Jean, don't you look FINE!"          

            Laura held Luke now, where Bobbie couldn’t see, but knew.  Bobbie trusted Laura to take care of him for her, forever.