Chapter 8

Dara arrived early at the DA's office on Monday morning. Over the holidays there was a big development in the case the state was preparing against mobster Anthony Moreno. The PCPD arrested one of Moreno's workers, Alex Bannion, on a drug charge. Because this would have been his third felony conviction if he were found guilty of drug trafficking and possession
charges, Bannion was told that he would get a minimum of 25 years without the DA's intervention. Dara offered to reduce the sentence if Bannion gave them more details about his involvement with Moreno. Bannion accepted the deal and now Dara wanted to submit paperwork to amend the current charges against Moreno.

"Hi Dara," said Marcus Taggert as he entered her office and placed a folder on her desk. "I just wanted to drop off this additional paperwork regarding Bannion's arrest and confession."

"Thanks Marcus. You guys did a great job catching Bannion. His evidence is really going to help us put away Moreno for quite a long time."

"That's what they pay us for," replied Taggert. He paused before continuing but thought what the heck, it's the talk of the squad room and I might as well get some details from the source. He smoothly said, "Not all of us could be dancing New Years Eve away at the Port Charles Hotel." He looked at Dara and observed that her face was becoming flushed as she waited for his next comment. "By the way, I hope that I didn't disturb your evening that night when I called Mac about the news on Bannion."

"Not at all. In fact, Mac didn't mention it to me until the next day. I remember when he took the call that night but he didn't say what it was about." Dara took a sip from her cup of coffee. Gee, Dara thought, I didn't expect to get grilled about my holiday activities within 10 minutes of walking into the office.

"O.K. Are you going to make me come out and ask a pointed question? How long have you and Mac been seeing each other? The news got back here at the station before the New Year was rung in."

Dara answered, "We've just started dating the last two weeks. Mac and I have always been friends and lately it has gone to a different level. Listen, this won't affect our friendship right? I mean, since you work for Mac and because...?

"You and I used to be lovers?" Taggert finished the question for her. "No Dara, it won't affect our friendship. I want you to be happy." But Taggert did wonder how he would feel if he saw Mac kiss Dara or touch her intimately. He wasn't ready for an exclusive relationship when he was dating Dara so it was decided that they would part as friends. However, that didn't
mean he didn't have deep feelings for her. He thought, "I guess that I was an idiot to think that she would wait around forever until I was ready for something more than friendship."

"That's great," said a relieved Dara as she squeezed his hand. "You're one of the few friends that I have around here so I wouldn't want anything to change that. Listen, I've got to get to work and get moving on this case. Maybe we can catch up with each other later this week, O.K.?"

"Sure Dara, " agreed Taggert. "We'll hook up later this week for lunch."

After working the morning on the Moreno case, Dara gathered the relevant papers and headed over to the police station so that she and Mac could meet with Moreno and his lawyer. As she walked through the squad room, which was usually noisy, she couldn't help but notice that the noise and activity level dropped a bit as she knocked on the door of Mac's office.

Mac heard the knock at his office door and he looked up just as Dara poked her head into his office.

"Are you coming with me to talk to Moreno and his lawyer?"

"Sure, come on in Dara," Mac said as he placed his hand over the received of the phone. "I'll be ready in a minute."

It didn't go unnoticed by Mac that Dara left his office door open as she entered his office. He
finished his telephone call and walked over to the window where she was standing. Just as she turned to face him as he quickly, lightly kissed her on the lips and took one of her hands. "Good morning, beautiful," he whispered in her ear.

"Hi." Dara willed herself to stay calm. But it was hard with Mac looking at her like that and standing inches away. ?It's just like this now because we've just started dating and we have these pent up emotions,? she thought. ?However, we are at work so get your mind on work and off of other things girl,? Dara said to herself. She let go of his hand and backed away a few inches. As she glanced away Mac asked her what was the matter.

"Nothing," she said looking at him again and smiling. "It's just that I've never really had to make an effort to separate my personal life and professional life. Even during the brief time that I dated Marcus it never was an issue. But with you..." Dara's voice trailed off and she wasn't sure what she wanted to say.

Mac started to raise his hand to touch her cheek and he stopped when he realized what Dara was speaking of. "So you want for us to be totally professional at work all the time? There isn't an issue of me working for you or you working for me. And while I can understand not using every meeting in an office as a make-out opportunity," Mac said as he grinned, "I really don't see a problem with a quick kiss or caress, do you?"

"No, I agree."

"Good," said Mac as he closed the space between them. "Because I can't see myself turning my feelings off completely at 8 a.m. and waiting until evenings or the weekend to turn them on again. And I don't think that you could do it either."

"You're right," Dara agreed as she smiled and looked into his eyes. "Listen, let's go and get to this meeting."

Mac led the way to the door as he winked and said, "O.K. Counselor."