Prologue - This story starts in the General Hospital story timeline in December 2000 when Mac is still police commissioner, after Felicia has testified at Luke Spencer's trial, and after Felicia starts her PI firm. Mac is debating whether to renew his personal and professional relationship with Felicia. Dara, who on GH has no personal relationships whatsoever and is underwhelmed by the effectiveness of the Port Charles District's Attorney office, is also debating whether she needs to make some major changes in her life.
The wind is whipping through the air as Dara holds her coat collar up and rushes in to Kelly's. "How could I forget my scarf at home on a day like today?" Dara chides herself. "After all, it is almost Christmas and winter is here!" She pulls off her woolen hat and combs her hair with her fingers as she takes a seat at the counter.
Tammy greets Dara and asks her what will she have. Dara places a takeout order of a spinach salad and lasagna and prepares to wait the ten minutes or so to have the order prepared. The diner isn't very busy at 6:30 p.m. It's still a little early for the dinner rush. "Hopefully I'll make it home by 7 o'clock and then I'll put a couple of hours in reviewing the files for the upcoming Norvell trial," Dara thought. "Maybe we'll be able to put this guy away for a long, long time."
Her attention went to the restaurant's door that had just opened. Mac Scorpio walked in. Dara grinned as she thought that she wasn't the only person not dressed for today's cold temperature. Mac was wearing no hat, gloves, or scarf. He had on a brown leather jacket and grey pants. His face was slightly red from the cold air.
"Hi Dara," he said as his took the seat next to her at the counter. "I haven't seen you much in the last few days."
"I know, Mac. I've been in court all of this week trying an assault case. Tonight I'm going home to work on the upcoming trial against Thomas Norvell for drug trafficking. At least I'm keeping busy."
"Well, while you're putting them away, at the moment we're not locking a lot of people up at the PCPD. Hopefully crime will take a bit of a holiday for the next week or two. Do you have any plans for the holiday?" Mac asked.
"No, not really", Dara replied. She paused before asking "How about you?" She knew that Mac was still separated from Felicia and she wasn't sure if Mac wanted to have a conversation about his holiday plans.
"I'm not sure yet", he replied. "I'm actually meeting Maxie here in few minutes to take her home. Felicia got tied up with something and I'm going to help Maxie and Georgie finish the decorations tonight. I'm probably going to try and spend time with the girls because this is the first holiday after the separation. Felicia has invited me to dinner on Christmas Day and to a couple of activities with her and the girls, but I'm not sure yet that I want to go. "
Dara held her tongue as she privately fumed. Felicia had publicly humiliated Mac with her affair with Luke Spencer and now she wants to invite Mac to spend the holidays with her and the girls? It's probably because Luke has skipped out of town for a while and Felicia considers Mac a good backup. It's bad enough that Felicia pulls these "I need you" stunts on Mac. What's more grating is that Mac continuously falls for them. Grating? Dara thought "Why does it bother me if Mac goes back to Felicia or not? Because he is my friend and I don't like to see my friends treated as doormats," her logical mind replied. But another part of her being thought "Your friend, so that's the reason it bothers you? Hmmmmmm."
"Well, I know that you want to spend time with Maxie & Georgie." Dara said. "But if things get difficult and you want to hang out a bit with a friend, give me a call. I'll probably be around."
Mac looked up and looked directly into Dara's eyes and smiled. He had been operating on automatic pilot for the last few months keeping his emotions in check and working just to get through this mess with Felicia. He hadn't been able to spend much time with Kevin because Kevin was caught up in his own problems with Eve. Now, all of a sudden, sitting here with Dara and talking to her gave him a warm feeling he hadn't felt in quite a while. He reached out and touched her hand and said "Thanks. You know, I might just take you up on that. After all, you shouldn't spend the holidays by yourself. I'll call you and we'll make a date to do something."
Dara looked at Mac and was about to speak when Tammy returned with her order. Dara pulled her hand away from Mac and paid for the dinner. "I'll see you Mac. Have a good night." She quickly got up and left the restaurant. As she opened the door to leave Maxie walked in.
"Bye Dara," Mac said as she left. He was still a little surprised how much better he felt since he started talking to Dara. It would be nice to just be with someone and not be reminded of the disaster his personal life had become during the last few months. He and Dara have always been friends. They've always liked each other. But they really hadn't spent a lot of time together outside of work. Mac wondered....
"Mac? Mac?" Maxie asked again. "Are you ready to go? Is anything wrong?"
"No," said Mac interrupting his thoughts. "Just thinking about holiday plans. And speaking of holiday plans, let's go decorate that tree. Georgie is probably waiting for us."
Later that night a few hours later, Mac had just put Maxie and Georgie to bed when he heard the front door open. He went downstairs and saw Felicia as she took of her coat.
"Hi Mac. Thanks for being with the girls tonight. I got a new client today and it took me some time tonight to get started on her case." Looking at the glittering lights and the fully decorated tree she commented, "You guys did a great job decorating. I'm sorry that I couldn't be here to help."
"Yeah, right," Mac thought. Instead, he said, "The girls missed having you here but we're pretty pleased with the results. Well, it's late and I have to go."
"Mac, don't leave yet. I just got in. Let's have a cup of coffee."
"Felicia, like I said it's late. I'll see you later." Mac grabbed his jacket and walked towards the door.
"Are you coming to dinner on Christmas?" Felicia asked. "You know it's only 3 days away. And are we going to go Christmas shopping together for the girls' presents?"
"Felicia, I will come to dinner. But I can shop for gifts on my own. I'll bring them with me when I come to dinner. What time should I be here for dinner?"
"Well, I thought that we all could go ice skating that afternoon and come back and have dinner. So why don't you come over at noon?"
"Felicia, I really can only make dinner. I'll be here at 5 o'clock."
"Mac really," said Felicia exasperatedly. "It's Christmas. What's more important than spending time with your family? It isn't like you have somewhere else you have to be on Christmas day."
"Felicia, I'm not going to get drawn into this discussion. I'll see you at 5 on Christmas. Tell the girls that I'll call them tomorrow night. Goodnight" said Mac as he left the house.