Chapter 10

As Dara left the interrogation room with Mac, she could tell that Mac was ready to explode because of Moreno's threat. Before she could speak, Mac touched her arm and said, "Let's talk over here for a moment," as he guided her to a corner in the hallway. Dara started to ask Mac not to over-react to Moreno's threat but Mac interrupted her this time.

"Dara, I thought that coming over here and talking to Moreno was pretty much a waste of time but we came because his lawyer requested the meeting. And it was a waste of time in that Moreno has no intention whatsoever of cooperating with us. Moreover, he threatened you, the A.D.A., in front of me the police commissioner in order to get more time for his trial." Mac grimaced as he spoke that last sentence. He placed his right hand on Dara face and stroked her cheek and hair as he continued speaking. "You can put it down to ego, machismo, or whatever you want but I'm going to make sure that nothing happens to you and that Moreno is put away as soon as possible for as long as possible. I'm not going to lie and say that his threat didn't mean more to me because of how I feel about you, because it did. But regardless of that fact he threatened the A.D.A. in front of me and I would take steps to insure the district attorney's safety no matter whom he or she was. So please, don't fight me on this. Let me do my job and I'll let you do your job, O.K.?"

Dara took his right hand into hers and agreed, "I know, it would be stupid to totally ignore his threat but on the other hand I don't want to go overboard about it either. I trust you and I'll let you do your job."

Mac took her in his arms and kissed her. He murmured, "Thank you," and held her for a few seconds. He grinned and said as he released her, "I know how you feel about public display of affection at the workplace so I'd better let you go now."

Dara laughed, "You know, these rules aren't written in stone. But we'd better get back to work. Are we getting together tonight?"

"Of course, unless you have other plans. How about dinner at my place tonight?"

"Sure, I'll be there around 7:30. Should I bring anything?" Dara asked as she started walking down the hallway to the exit to the building.

"Just yourself, beautiful. Will see you later." Mac smiled dimmed as his thoughts returned to Moreno's threats. "We're going to take care of you Moreno, just you wait..."

Immediately upon returning to his office, Mac called Taggert, Garcia, and a woman officer Donna Richards into his office. He briefed them in all details of the Moreno case and he told them of the threat that Moreno made to Dara that morning. "Officer Richards, I'm placing you in charge of A.D.A. Jensen's security. She's to have 24-hour protection at least until the end of the Moreno trial. Officer Richards, you or another female police officer will be with her at all
times when she is not in her office, at home, or a private residence. Someone is to always be outside of the office or building where she is located in order to insure her safety. That means a minimum of one person and sometimes two will be guarding her at all times. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." Officer Richards replied.

"Garcia, you are in charge of contacting all of the potential witnesses to Moreno's crimes whose names were given to us by Bannion. Moreno has at least two reasons for wanting to delay the trial. One is to probably to gain time for intimidating the witnesses into not testifying. Garcia, make sure that every lead regarding the information given to us by Bannion is followed-up and protect the witnesses if necessary. Taggert, you are in charge of protecting Bannion. Only you, Dara, I, and the people who will personally protect him will know his location, understood?

"O.K. Mac. We'll take care of it," responded Taggert.

"That's it. We'll have brief meetings every morning to discuss the issues," stated Mac as he concluded the meeting. After the officers left his office Mac placed a call to a friend in the FBI and called in a favor. He knew that the FBI probably had Moreno's close associates under surveillance and he wanted to be made away of any communications regarding Moreno's trial.
The FBI agent promised to give Mac daily summaries of any communications that may be related to Moreno's trial. Upon ending that call, Mac thought that there was one more avenue for information regarding Moreno that he should pursue. He grabbed his coat and left the office.


Immediately after leaving the police station, Dara headed to General Hospital for a lunch date with Ellen Burgess. They decided to have lunch at the Recovery Room so that Ellen could return quickly to the hospital if necessary. The two women ordered lunch and remarked how much they enjoyed the New Years Eve celebration. They had enjoyed each other's company that night and both were pleasantly surprised that the warm feeling continued during their lunch that day.
They initially spoke of Ellen and Matt's wedding plans but eventually the conversation turned to Dara and her new relationship with Mac.

"You and Mac certainly seemed to get along together fabulously," Ellen remarked as he started eating her Cajun chicken salad. On New Years Eve Dara mentioned that she and Mac had just begun dating but you'd never know it by looking at them. They just seemed so comfortable with each other that night. Maybe it was because they had been friends for such a long period of time before dating each other, Ellen reflected.

Dara smiled at Ellen's comment. "We've always gotten along well together. If I just close my mind off and think of only the two of us, I don't think that I could be any happier," Dara admitted. "But a lot of external things - like Mac's relationship with Felicia and our work - make me want to keep the relationship on the slow track."

Ellen had a puzzled look. "Who's Felicia?"

"Girl, our lunch won't be long enough for me to give you the 411 on Felicia Jones Scorpio," laughed Dara. "I forgot that you might not know her. In summary, Felicia is Mac's estranged wife. They separated after Felicia left Mac and her two daughters several times to run off with a man with whom she had an affair. In my opinion she's still carrying the torch for that guy but since he's not available she's looking to get back with Mac. Felicia and Mac have a long history and I guess I'm waiting to make sure that Mac is sure of his feelings (for Felicia and for me) before he and I get too serious."

"Was Felicia the woman Kevin escorted at the New Years Eve party?" asked Ellen. Dara nodded and Ellen remembered watching Felicia as she cut in on Dara and Mac's dance. "I can certainly understand you wanting to be cautious Dara. And Matt can tell you how I stubbornly kept our relationship in first gear for more than a year," Ellen said with a laugh. "But you know, it isn't like any of us are teenagers or capricious people. I don't know Mac well but he doesn't strike me as a person who doesn't know what he ants. If he wants to be with you and you want to be with him, the external things will work themselves out or you'll learn to live with them. But if I had to do it over again I wouldn't have waited so long and suppressed my feelings for Matt." Ellen blushed a bit when she thought of how happy she was and how thankful she was that Matt didn't give up on their relationship. "And it sounds like you and Mac have been suppressing your feelings for each other for quite some time. As I said, I can understand being cautious, but you yourself told me on New Year's Eve that this was a second chance for you and Mac to be together. Keep that in mind when you're thinking of taking it slowly with him."

Dara had stopped eating and was listening to what Ellen said. She took a sip of water and slowly said, "You've given me something to think about it. Thanks,
and I'll keep it in mind."


"Is he inside?" Mac asked the bodyguard outside of Sonny Corinthos' penthouse. Not waiting for an answer he said, "Tell him Mac Scorpio is here to see him." Johnny went inside of the penthouse and less than a minute later he opened the door indicating that Mac should enter.

"Mac, this is the first time that you've visited me since Robin has been away in Paris. What brings you here tonight?" Sonny asked. He was curious and surprised to see Mac. If it were official business, Mac would have had Taggert escort Sonny to the police station.

"You know that Moreno is on trial for extortion, conspiracy, and murder. You also might have heard that our case against Moreno has gotten significantly stronger within the last few days and because of these developments Moreno is seriously looking at being convicted of the charges. This may make him a desperate man who may do stupid things in order to avoid going to prison. I'd like for you to let me know if you hear of anything that Moreno might do to get out of these charges." Mac looked directly at Sonny as he waited for the response.

Now Sonny became even more intrigued. He finished making himself a drink and sat down on his sofa while Mac continued standing. "Why, Mac, would I want to help you put Moreno in prison?" he said looking back at Mac.

"Because your plan to become or stay a 'legitimate' businessman is likely to be more successful with Moreno in prison," Mac replied. "Also, when things went down in Port Charles and you were the most likely suspect, I tended to give you the benefit of the doubt because I knew that you were trying to sever certain ties with your past associates. Even though it turned out you weren't usually involved, most people would have made your life a lot harder until it was proven
that you were innocent, based on your past record. You know it and I know it. So I'm unofficially asking for any help that you can provide with Moreno."

Mac was right Sonny thought. It was suppose to be innocent until proven guilty but in real life it
didn't work like that. So maybe Sonny did owe Mac something. But there was something else going on and Sonny couldn't put his finger on it. Why was Mac asking him for this favor? "So what exactly should I keep my ears open for?"

Trying to keep any emotion out of his voice Mac replied, "Basically let me know of any moves Moreno might make against Alex Bannion, who just ratted Moreno out; against other people in Moreno's organization who might follow Bannion's lead; or against district attorney Dara Jensen.

"Moreno might try something against the D.A.?

"I heard him threaten her myself today."

Now it was becoming clear to Sonny. He remembered seeing Mac with Dara at the New Years Eve party. Perhaps this wasn't solely a business request, which meant that if Sonny could help it would definitely clear the slate between him and Scorpio. "O.K.," Sonny nodded. "I'll let you and only you know if I hear something."

"Thanks Sonny. I'll let myself out now." With that, Mac left Sonny's penthouse.


At 07:30 that evening Mac went answer the doorbell of his apartment. As he opened the door he greeted Dara, who entered the apartment. She was still wearing her suit from the office. Officer Joan Allen, who escorted Dara, stayed in the hallway.

"Hi Commissioner," Officer Allen greeted Mac. "I'll be outside in the patrol car whenever Ms. Jensen leaves."

"Thanks Joan. I'll walk her outside when she's ready to leave." Mac replied as he was closing the door.

"You certainly don't waste anytime," Dara said as Mac turned to face her. Before she could finish her thought Mac captured her lips in a passionate kiss. Mac loved the way Dara felt in his arms and he definitely wanted to make up for not being able to touch her intimately during the day. As Dara pulled away from the kiss she caught her breath and said, "What was I saying?"

As he continued to hold her Mac smiled as he looked down into Dara's eyes and said, "You said that I don't waste any time and you're right, especially when it come to something that's very important." He silently added to phrase "to me" to finish the sentence.

"You can image my surprise when Officer Allen introduced herself to me at General Hospital and she told me that she would be with me until I went home this evening." Mac loosened his arms around Dara and led her to the kitchen as she continued talking. "I won't ask you if all of this security is necessary because obviously you feel that it is. But try not to worry, O.K.?" Dara asked.

Mac couldn't honestly reply that he wouldn't worry so he changed the conversation by asking Dara to help him finish dinner. After eating the pasta and salad for dinner, Dara leaned back in Mac's arms as they sat with their feet on the couch and listened to music. Dara mentioned her lunch with Ellen that day and she asked what Mac did for lunch. When he told her that he
met with Scott Baldwin she was a bit surprised.

"I asked him to handle my divorce proceedings for me," Mac said. "I know that he takes very few cases these days and divorce really isn't his specialty, but he agreed to represent me. We're going to meet again later this week to get things moving. Felicia was able to stall the proceedings with my previous lawyer; I don't think that she'll be able to pull anything with Scott." Mac noticed that Dara was quiet and he asked, "What are you thinking?" as he turned her face up to
his so that he could see her eyes.

"I don't know," Dara hesitated. "It's been so long since I've had a really intense and complete
relationship with a man. I've been saying that I want you to be sure about us. But I think some of it is whether I am ready to move into a committed relationship with someone that I care deeply for." Dara paused and said, "I know that I want this, but it's still a bit scary." His face was so close to hers and Dara closed her eyes as she leaned up to kiss him.

Mac held her closer to him and deepened the kiss after a few seconds. Any tension he felt in her a moment ago as he held her was disappearing. Mac broke the kiss and looked at her and said, "I know that I don't want to just 'date' you. I want much more than that, and I'll wait until you're sure about us too. O.K.?"

"O.K." Dara replied. "Let me just lie here for a few more minutes before we have pity on Officer Allen and let her take me home."

"Moreno ought to have 20 years added on to his sentence just for interfering with our love life," Mac retorted. Dara laughed and said, "Somehow I don't think that I'll mentioned that to the judge during the sentencing phase." After another twenty minutes of relaxing, Mac and Dara put on their shoes and coats and Mac walked Dara to her car outside. He glanced at the patrol car that followed Dara as she headed to her apartment. The two cops in the car were among the best
on the force and he was reassured that Dara was in good hands for the rest of the evening.