Chapter 4

Mac walked out of the elevator on the 6th floor at General Hospital. He paused for a minute to remember the direction he should take to the pediatrics ward when Amy Vining walked up to him and planted a kiss on his mouth. As Mac recovered from the shock, Amy grinned, pointed up, and said, "You're standing under the mistletoe." Sure enough, Mac was standing under a piece of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.

"Have you been pouncing on everyone who's come out of this elevator?" laughed Mac.

"No, I'm pretty selective," said Amy. (Author's note - yeah, right!) "Merry Christmas Mac."

"Merry Christmas Amy. Let me move on so that you can surprise the next person."

Mac walked down the left corridor and passed through a set of double doors to enter the pediatrics wing of GH. About a half-dozen members of the PCPD was in the lobby of the pediatrics ward. A large Christmas tree was in the lobby and a few tables were covered with various snacks, cookies, and drinks. Two members of the PCPD were serving the refreshments. About 2 dozen children in aged from 2 - 13 were standing or sitting in various areas of the lobby. Mac recognized Tony Jones dressed in a Santa suit telling the children how busy he was delivering presents on Christmas Eve but he had to make this special trip on Christmas to see them at GH before heading back to the North Pole. Marcus Taggert and Dara were Santa's helpers giving each child a present after the child finished visiting Santa. Dara was dressed in a red and green sweater, a pleated red skirt, and wore a red beret on her head.

"Hi Mac," Taggert said. "What made you decide to drop by?" From Taggert's question and tone of voice, Mac could tell that Dara didn't mention that he was going to come to the event.

"Oh, an elf told me about the great work that some of the officers were doing on their time off and I wanted to come down and support them," Mac said. "He looked at Dara and said warmly "Hi Dara."

"Hi Mac, Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas, to both of you," said Mac.

Dara asked for an officer to take her place giving out presents for a few minutes while she took a quick break. Mac and Dara then walked over to refreshment table and each got a cup of eggnog.

Mac noted, "The children seem as if they are really enjoying this."

"I hope so," Dara replied. "There can't be many things more depressing than being in the hospital on Christmas. These aren't all of the children. Some are confined to their rooms. We're going to go in pairs a little bit later to visit those children and deliver presents. Do you want to go with me to deliver the presents together?"

"Of course."

"We'll do it after the Christmas songs, which are next."

When they returned to where Tony & Taggert were standing, the last child had just finished visiting with Santa.

"O.K." said Dara. Let's all sit down and sing a few Christmas songs. Everyone, the adults and children sat on various pillows, couches, and small chairs in the area. "What songs would you like to sing?" Dara asked the children. The children suggested Jiggle Bells, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman and Dara led them in singing each song.

"What is your favorite Christmas song Ms. Jensen?" asked one little girl.

"My favorite Christmas song is titled Oh Holy Night. Do any of you know that song?" Only two children said that they were familiar with the song but neither of them knew the words. "It's my favorite song because it really explains why we celebrate Christmas. Listen to the words of the song and try to remember them this Christmas night." And Dara started signing the song a cappella.

"Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;

Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!

Oh night divine, Oh night when Christ was born.

Oh night. Oh holy night. Oh night divine!"

There was a long pause after she finished singing and then everyone started clapping. "That was fabulous," Mac whispered to Dara. Dara blushed and told everyone thank you. "Why don't we go on and visit the other children now who couldn't come out and join us," she suggested.

The nurses had put together a list of the children who were confined to their hospital room and distributed the list among the adults. Mac and Dara visited 5 children and delivered presents. A few parents were in the rooms when they were made their visits, and the parents seemed to enjoy the visits as much as the children did. After they visited the last child, Dara mentioned that she really should get on the road to Buffalo in order to make it to her friend's house by nightfall. Mac said that he needed to leave also so they said goodbye to everyone and headed for the elevators.

Dara pressed the down button and turned to say something when Mac quickly kissed her. Before she could say anything Mac nodded his head upward to the mistletoe and said, "I have Amy Vining to thank for this opportunity." Mac and Dara looked at each other as he continued to hold her. The audible indicator that the elevator had arrived brought them out of the trance that seemed to hold both of them.

"I didn't know that you needed Amy's help to kiss me," Dara said with a grin and in a sultry tone of voice as she entered the elevator. Mac stood there half-shocked at Dara's response with his mouth opened and he had to run to get into the elevator just before the door closed. There were 4 people in the elevator already. Mac thought that if the elevator had been empty he would show Dara just how much help he needed. Dara had the same thought and that's why she said what she did as the elevator door opened. She knew that Mac couldn't follow up on her remark with an elevator full of people and was having a bit of fun with him.

"I didn't need Amy's help last night, did I?" Mac asked Dara as he stood next to her in the elevator.

Dara gave Mac a sideways glance and smiled as she said, "Yeah, you did pretty well on your own." They both broke out laughing and had the attention of the other passengers in the elevator. The elevator arrived on the ground floor and Mac walked Dara to her car.

"I'm really glad that you came Mac. I do this every year but it was more special with you here today," Dara said as she used the car's remote control device to unlock the car door. "Thanks for coming and helping."

"Thanks for inviting me. It was special. It really reminded me what Christmas really means. Drive carefully to Buffalo," Mac said as he moved a within a few inches of Dara.

"I will. I'll see you at work when I get back." Before Mac could move Dara quickly kissed him on the cheek and got into her car.

"Bye." Dara said through the open window as she drove away. Mac smiled as he waved goodbye and watched her drive away. He thought, "O.K. Dara, you win, this time."