A Devotion of Steele
By Chris
Author's note: This is kind of a continuation of "Holt Sang to Steele". It's brief and sweet so enjoy. Oh, and for those of you who do not know any German: "Liebestraum" means "Dream of Love".

New Year's Eve 1984

Steele and Laura are taken by Fred in the limo back to Mr. Steele's apartment.

"My favorite piece tonight was Adagio from the Oboe Quartet by Mozart. The oboe almost sent chills down my spine with its somewhat sad tone. It is my favorite instrument as the softness of its sound kind of mesmerizes me." Laura says, leaning her head onto Steele's shoulder.

"So the evening was to your satisfaction?" Steele asks in return, using his chin to lightly stroke her hair.

"Very much so, Mr. Steele. 1.5 hour of famous classical pieces. Truly an enchanting evening." Laura says with a slight sigh as if remembering the emotions the music has created within her. "And how was it to you?" Laura asks, raising her head to look at Steele.

"In your company, you know I'd do anything." Steele begins, leaning forward to give Laura a light kiss on her forehead.

Before he is able to continue, Laura comments with concern, "You hated it, didn't you? You put up with taking me only to please me."

"Oh, no. Don't misunderstand me. Even if I had hated the music, your company would have made the concert more than bearable. I have to admit that classical music is an acquired taste with me but the pieces selected for tonight were indeed to my liking. My personal favorites were Ave Maria by Schubert and Liebestraum no 3 by Liszt." Steele explains, looking intently at Laura when finishing.

"Liebestraum" Laura repeats. "Yes, that was a wonderful piece. So full of emotion, so passionate." She continues, looking firmly back at Steele, then leaning in for a light, tempting kiss, a kiss evoking a glimmer in Steele's eyes.


It is somewhat after ten in the evening when they get to Steele's apartment. About hundred candles in different shapes and sizes light the entire apartment, the light from them giving the rooms a golden glow. A fire is lit in the fireplace, creating a faint, crackling sound.

"How nice!" Laura exclaims as she enters through the door, stopping to admire the scene. "Who…?" She begins to ask.

"A few 'acquaintances'" Steele responds with a subtle smile, helping Laura with her bolero. "I had told them about us going to the concert tonight and that I wanted to make a special evening for you and me. My instructions were very brief so I didn't really know myself what to expect." He finishes as he removes his dinner jacket and bow tie.

Completely taken by the scene in front of her, Laura walks up to the glass doors leading to the balcony. Steele cannot help looking at Laura, as the light from the candles makes her whole appearance glimmer as a sky full of twinkling stars.

"Laura, I don't tell you often enough, but you look absolutely gorgeous." Steele begins, causing Laura to turn around. "The way you look tonight reminds me about the wondrous sky we gazed upon that Christmas Day evening. The beads and sequins on your dress and the pins you've used to set up your hair glow in the candle light." Steele says as he walks up to Laura and embraces her. "You truly are the woman of my admiration." Steele finishes, placing a light kiss on Laura's hair.
Putting her head on Steele's chest, with her arms firmly placed around Steele's back, Laura says, "It isn't the beads or the sequins that make me glow. You do, Mr. Steele. You've helped me rediscover myself." Her embrace tightens as she finishes.

After a minute or so of silence, Steele asks "Are you ready for some food? Music seems to over and over find a way to fill our hearts but it will not fill our tummies."

Releasing the grip of one another, Laura says "Yes, we'd better not let the efforts of your friends go to a spoil."

As Laura walks over to the coffee table, where there are a number of chafing dishes, Steele puts on some music.

"Oh, Mozart. How sweet of you. You know that's my favorite composer." Laura says to Steele as they sit down on the sofa, rubbing one of his arms in an act of gratitude. "Should we?" Laura motions with her head towards the covered dishes.

"Please, let's begin. Curiosity is almost killing me. And hunger as well." Steele responds, leaning forward to remove the first lid.

The food is very much to their liking. There are mini-quiches with exciting vegetable combinations, miniature sandwiches with curried chicken, miniature salmon bagels and fresh vegetables to dip in aioli. On a hot plate, lobster claws are resting on a pile of saffron risotto accompanied by appropriate garnishes. In a cooler there is a perfectly balanced white wine from the Napa to go with the lobster. As they are finished, Laura comments with a slight undertone of disappointment, "No dessert?"

Steele doesn't respond, but takes Laura's hand and says, "Come."

Laura gives Steele a curious look as they get up and Steele takes her over to the fireplace. There he motions at her to wait. Then Steele goes into his bedroom and returns shortly with his arms full. With Laura intently following every move of his, Steele places two sheepskins and a couple of pillows with a swift motion on the carpet in front of the fireplace. He then helps Laura to get seated on one of the skins. Thereafter Steele, stopping only to put a new record on the recorder, disappears into the kitchen with Laura's curious eyes firmly set on his back. Laura can hear Steele opening the fridge and a few cupboards, and the clinking sound of glass touching glass. After only a few minutes he returns with a tray full of things. There is a bowl of strawberries, a plate with Belgian truffles and a bottle of Steele's favorite champagne, Dom Perignon. And there is a narrow vase with a single, large, deep red rose.

"Mr. Steele. It's just fantastic." Laura says when she sees what is on the tray. "Strawberries and champagne…and chocolate truffles. I know you like things elaborate but this is…." She continues, unable to find an appropriate word for the delight she is feeling, her gestures though revealing her emotions.

"No effort can be too much when it comes to you, my dear Laura." Steele states simply as he sits down on the other skin, a statement that causes Laura to lower her eyes and blush slightly. Turning to face Laura, he picks up the rose, smells it briefly, then holding it up in front of Laura, continuing "Like this rose, you have added a indescribable scent to my life. The scent of this rose may come on strong at first but when you smell it further, you find nuances of lightness and gentleness…and fragility. And it is a smell that takes you in whole-heartedly and that remains with you for a long time… A scent not easily forgotten. It doesn't wear on you but rather each time you smell it, you are reminded of all its pleasantness and you cherish it more each time you encounter its delicate bouquet… And its petals are rich in color. Not too bold, just intense and expressing true warmth. The stem, slender and gracious, carries the bloom with pride. It has thorns, which may sting you if not handled with care but the rose needs its thorns to protect itself from illicit manners. The thorns are just part of its true beauty… Laura, my words may not have been appropriate and I may have alarmed you with my honesty, but yes indeed, this rose truly signifies my feelings for you." Steele finishes, handing the rose over to Laura, who tentatively accepts it and puts it under her nose to smell it.

There is a short silence, a silence which does not seem awkward or uncomfortable to either of them. Then, by whispering "Thank you." Laura breaks the silence momentarily. She then continues to smell the rose and she reaches out with one hand to touch one of Steele's.

Allowing Laura some time to let his words sink in, Steele opens the bottle of champagne and fills the two glasses. Looking at his watch, he notices that the year has almost come to an end.
"Your words don't frighten me, Mr. Steele." Laura begins but Steele, him pointing at his watch, silences her.

Steele reaches out for the champagne glasses and gives one to Laura. By looking at his watch, Steele starts counting down, "Seven…six…five…four…three…two…one…Happy New Year Laura."

Raising her glass to toast Steele, Laura returns "Happy New Year, Mr. Steele.". They then sip the champagne and lean in for a kiss that grows in intensity as they let their emotions loose. Upon breaking the kiss, both feel the need to taste the remains of the kiss on their lips. When looking at one another, they both realize that there is passion in their eyes.

"Laura, you may think I have spoken enough for tonight, but on this night I want to make you a promise." Steele begins, his eyes firmly on Laura's, which do not deflect from his. "We may have our disagreements and you don't always approve of what I do. You're stubborn and proud but you know that I like those things about you. Overall you're caring, loving and very good at what you do. Above all, you've made me want to make a choice about my life, to choose a new life vastly different from my past. This past comes back to haunt me at times and I'm not always direct with you about it. You have a hard time trusting me because of my past but you know by now that I continue to struggle with coming to terms with it. Therefore I want to promise you this, that whatever happens, I won't divert from your side, ever. I'll be there for you whenever you need me. You know I want more out of our relationship, but I'm ready to wait until you're ready. I want you to be reassured that I'm totally devoted to you."

The room is silent for a few seconds. Then Laura says, "I'm beginning to understand that you are, Mr. Steele. I know you care a lot about me and I hope I've been able to show that I care deeply about you. Please be patient with me Mr. Steele as I fight my own demons. I want to trust you…and your intentions but I can't just yet."

"I know." Steele says gently, stroking Laura's chin with one of his hands. This causes Laura to take his hand a place a kiss in his palm.

"I can't however walk the full line, not yet. The guts I had in Cannes haven't returned." Laura begins, smiling somewhat embarrassed, then continues "But I want to spend the night with you tonight. I need to be close to you, feel your scent, feel your arms around me, be able to kiss and hold you, talk to you. Would that be OK with you, Mr. Steele?"

Reaching out to hold Laura's hands, Steele responds with warmth in his voice, "Whatever you feel comfortable with Laura. Whatever feels right for you is right for me."

Steele then slowly moves his hands to hold Laura's head and as he leans in for a kiss, Laura embraces his shoulders. After a light, tempting kiss, Steele moves one hand behind Laura's back to help her lie down on the skin. As passionate kisses are exchanged, Laura's dress continues to sparkle in the light from the candles and the fireplace.


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