"Okay. Now, that's the jam," Nikolas's passenger said with conviction, as she increased the volume. "Step back. You're standing kinda close…"
Nikolas reached over and lowered the volume of his stereo.
"Hey! What happened? Next is jamming."
"No pumping up the volume…" began Nikolas, but was interrupted by incredulous laughter, "…until I know your name."
"Dawn Jensen," she replied.
"Dawn. That's pretty. It means break of day."
"Yeah, I know. Hey, do you have any cool cds? Like Janet or Erykah Badu or maybe KISS?"
"Jensen. That sounds familiar… KISS?" He began to laugh. "You're kidding, right?"
She smiled. "Nope. What's so funny? You think a black girl wouldn’t listen to KISS?"
Nikolas immediately sobered. "No, of course not. I didn't mean to imply… I apologize if I offended you."
"You didn't. I like teasing you and watching the way the blood rushes to your face when you get embarrassed. It's cute."
Nikolas felt the heat rise to his face again, and then something clicked. "Jensen is the name of the Assistant District Attorney assigned to my uncle's case. Her name is Dara. Are you related to her?" he asked.
"Yeah. She's my sister."
Dara kicked off her heels as she made her way through her condo, sinking her feet in the flush chocolate-colored carpet. Aah.
She set her leather briefcase and her Coach purse on her desk. She placed her unopened mail in her tray. She would go through it later. Right now, all she wanted was a nice, long bubble bath and a warm bed.
While preparing for her bath, she thought of the day's activities. Favors had been called in and the Cassadine court date had been moved up. In your face Alexis Davis, chuckled Dara. Dara normally didn't hold grudges, but she had worked too hard for her position to allow someone like Alexis to take it away. What happened during the Tony Jones trial would never, ever happen again, she promised herself. Cassadine killed Katherine Bell, and he was indeed going to jail.
Her mind then wandered to the two extremely different men she'd shared her evening with. Marcus Taggert. Umphf! What a man. Marcus oozed sex. He would be a handful for a woman looking for that kind of action. He was rough around the edges, but deep down, he seemed to have a heart. The things he said about Deke, being a father to him, made her think that maybe she had pegged him all wrong. She knew how important father figures were in a child. The influence they have over you could last a lifetime.
Alex Garcia. He was another piece of work. He seemed so stiff and reserved at the precinct. He rarely cracked a smile or told a joke. Neither do you, she thought. But I'm different, she answered herself. Alex was so warm and thoughtful, helping her out tonight. The way he showed up like that, out of the blue, reminded her of the guardian angel stories her mom told her as a child. I'm sure Alex would get a kick out of being called a guardian angel. Besides, he said so himself, what he did was an act of friendship. And a woman could never have too many friends.
Dara was just about to step into the tub when her phone rang. A quick glance at the clock told her that it was a little past mid-night. In her mind, any call after mid-night was an emergency.
Without bothering with slippers, she re-tied her robe, ran barefoot into her bedroom, and grabbed her cordless.
"Oh, Dara. Thank God."
"Mama. What is it? Is it Daddy?" Dara inquired.
"No, honey. It's your sister," answered Carrie Jensen.
"What's wrong with Dawn?"
"Don’t you check your messages? I've been trying to reach you all night. Dawn left."
"Mama, slow down. What do you mean she left? A 17-year-old girl doesn’t just leave."
"She and Robert fought again. I swear between the two of them," Carrie sighed.
"She and Daddy always fight. She's a teenager. Mama, c'mon. She's a smart girl. She wouldn't just run away. She's probably at a friend's, cooling off."
"No, honey. It was different this time. Besides, I called her friends. None of them have a clue. She's gone. I was thinking that maybe she contacted you. Have you checked your messages? Did she call?"
"No, I haven't. I just walked in the door. Mama, listen. I'm going to check my messages and then I'll call you back. Hold on. We'll find her," Dara said, trying to reassure herself, as well as her mother.
Driving along the empty streets, Alex looked at the world around him. In this part of town, nobody cared. The pavement was littered with trash. Buildings were rundown. The people in this area were as hopeless as their surroundings. Refusing to bring himself down, Alex thought of the one bright spot of his day.
Dara Jensen. She was intelligent, strong, and beautiful. She also seemed to see straight through Taggert. Now, that's a real woman. Alex laughed to himself. He hadn't even thought about 'women' since his almost romance with Lily.
Lily. She loved a man who couldn’t love her back and then to top it all off, she died because of him. Her and her unborn child. Dead because of Sonny Corinthos, who still lives on. Such a damn waste.
He glanced at his watch. Half past midnight. What was he doing, he asked himself. Here he was thinking about a woman who probably wasn’t thinking about him and looking for a kid who didn’t want to be found. What the hell was going on with his life?
The ringing of his cell phone transported him out of his musings.
"Alex, I apologize for calling you at this hour, but I really need another act of friendship. Could you come back to my place?"
"Dara, I can be there in ten minutes," he answered.
"So, do you have some KISS in here, or not. I don’t play when it comes to Paul and Gene," Dawn said teasingly.
"You're not serious," Nikolas answered, as he glanced at her. She's really cute, he thought.
"Even when I'm teasing, I'm serious," she laughed. "They're a new phase for me. I never even listened to them until earlier this year."
"A guy?" he asked, hoping he was wrong.
"Oh, I'm hurt," she laughed. "Okay, I confess. He's a musician I hung with for awhile. Steven. My dad hated his guts."
"Oh? Wait a minute here. It's not what you think, which seems to be the same as what my father thought. Platonic friendship does exist, Nickie."
"Oh," he smiled to himself.
"Yeah, oh. You know, you can drop me off up here," she said, indicating the bus station.
"Here?" Nikolas took a good look at the bus station's surroundings. There was no way he'd leave her here. "I can't leave you here."
"No, really. It's cool. I'll be okay," she said, biting her lip.
"This place is filthy. What about Dara? I'll take you there."
"No!" she exclaimed. "Uh, I mean, no. I can't go there. Look, it's complicated."
Nikolas raised his hand to stop her. "You don’t have to say any more. I know all about familial complications. But I can't just leave you here. I have a better idea. Are you interested?"
"Yeah, I'm interested. Drive on, Nickie."
Nikolas drove out of the desolate neighborhood and headed for the docks.