Chapter 17

Considering it was a cold winter's day in late January, there were a surprisingly large number of people in Port Charles Park. After walking for a few minutes, Mac caught sight of Sonny Corinthos watching Carly and Michael build a snowman. As Mac approached them, Sonny spied him and told Carly to continue playing with Michael while he had a conversation with Mac.

"You have information for me?" Mac briskly asked.

Sonny suppressed a smirk as he thought that Mac went straight to the point of their meeting. He was meeting Mac to give some him information but he wanted to get some information in return. Instead of answering Mac's question Sonny responded, "How is D.A. Jensen? I heard that she wasn't hurt the other day."

Mac raised his left eyebrow and looked quizzically as he replied, "I'm sure that Dara would be surprised about your concern, but she's doing fine."

"She was lucky. The guy who shot her must have been interrupted." Sonny didn't finish the rest of the sentence but both Mac and Sonny knew that professional hit men routinely shot their targets at close range in the head. Only Mac's timely arrival in the garage parking lot stopped the driver from exiting the car and delivering the fatal shot. That grim thought made Mac irritable and he snapped, "Do you have any information about the shooter or is this purely a social call?"

Sonny watched Mac's expression change as he thought of the shooting and was surprised by the intense emotions Mac was unsuccessfully trying to hide. "He's really serious about her," marveled Sonny. "This information is more valuable than I originally thought."

"Roger Griffith is the guy Moreno hired. He's based in Florida and in addition to being a successful assassin, it's believed that he owed Moreno a personal favor. I heard that he hired two local guys who were helping him out with the hit on Dara, but they bailed on him when the attempt was unsuccessful and now he's going to make the hit on Bannion alone."

Mac didn't trust Sonny implicitly but he knew that Sonny wouldn't deliver this information unless he was absolutely sure of its accuracy. This was the break they needed to apprehend the shooter quickly before he left Port Charles. Having a name would give them information about his methods of operating and help the police in anticipating his next move. "We'll follow up on your information. Thanks."

"No problem. So this closes the account between us, right?" Sonny smoothly asked.

"If your information is correct, yes, it does."

"Give my regards to D.A. Jensen," Sonny said as he moved to join Carly and Michael again. Walking out of the park, Mac placed a call on his cellphone to Taggert for new security arrangements for Bannion.


The trial had gone as expected today for Dara. The murder victim was a finance officer at an international bank that had a branch in Port Charles. Relatives and friends of the deceased man's testified about his relationship with Moreno and how Moreno was forcing him to launder drug money through the bank. When the man was on the verge of making a deal with the FBI to testify against Moreno and break his ties with organized crime, Moreno hired Al Gwynn to kill the banker. After his apprehension, Gwynn made a deal with the DA for a 20-25 year prison sentence and to place his family in the witness protection program in exchange for his testimony that Moreno gave him the order to kill the banker. He was scheduled to testify tomorrow at Moreno's trial. Bannion was present when Moreno gave the order to Gwynn to shoot the banker and he was scheduled to testify on Friday, the day after Gwynn testifies. At the moment, everything with the trial seemed to be going well. Dara picked up the telephone to call Mac to see how his day went and to tell him of her plans for the evening. He was still working when she called at 7 p.m. and she told Mac that she'd drop by his office on the way home.

"I'll only be a few minutes," Dara informed her security escort as she entered Mac's office and he closed the door. Dara wrapped her arms around Mac's neck and kissed him sweetly as she asked, "Hi, how was your day?" She heard Mac exhale and could feel his body relax as he held her. It gave her an indescribable pleasure to know that some of the tension Mac experienced through the day left when he saw her.

Mac just held Dara closely to him for several seconds and grazed his face against her cheek before replying. He pulled his head back to gaze into her eyes and replied, ?It was a mixed day." On the downside he thought of his earlier personal conversations with Taggert and Felicia. On the plus side they'd made a lot of progress in identifying the person who attempted to kill Dara and this was what he decided to discuss with her now. Later during the week or the weekend he'd share with her the conversations he had earlier with Taggert and Felicia. "I do have some news for you." Keeping his right arm snaked around her waist Mac led Dara to his desk where he picked up a photo and handed it to her. "Based on a tip from Sonny Corinthos, this is who we believe fired those shots at you last night."

Dara stared at the photograph for almost 30 seconds. It was a photo of a clean-shaven man in his late 30s or early 40s with short, light brown hair, grey eyes, and aquiline features. Dara had seen the man for only a few seconds and he was wearing tinted glasses, but the shape of the face and the haircut of the man in the photo and her attacker were similar. From the police file that was also on Mac's desk Dara read of Griffith's past arrests and that he was suspected of committing at least 7 homicides. As she remained silent looking at the file and the photo, Mac cupped her face in his hands and gently kissed her. "We're still looking for him, Dara. We really think that he's going to go after Bannion now and that you aren't in any danger. But we're going to keep the extra security on you for a while."

Dara reassured Mac, "I'm not worried, really. It's just that I was a little taken aback by possibly seeing his face again. And even though I couldn't testify to it as a certainty, I agree, this probably was the person who tried to kill me." Wanting to turn the conversation away from her attack she asked," What are you going to do to keep him from Bannion?"

"We actually moved Bannion today from his original safe-house location. But we left the security in place as a decoy for Griffith and we're making it seem as if Bannion is still there. Bannion will stay at the new location for only the next 36 hours or so and after he testifies he'll go directly into the witness protection program with the Feds."

Glancing at the clock Dara said," I have to go. Ellen Burgess and I are having dinner together tonight and we're meeting at my apartment at 8 p.m." Tilting her head toward the stack of papers on his desk she inquired, "Are you going to be here much longer?"

"I'll be here little while longer," sighed Mac. For a few fleeting seconds he thought of asking about dropping by her apartment after Ellen left but he decided not to rush things. Instead he offered," Why don't I give you a call tonight around 10:30 to say goodnight? I should be at my apartment by then."

Dara agreed and with a last kiss goodbye she left the office.


"I'm so glad to see that you're O.K.," Ellen said as she placed the Italian sausage pizza on the kitchen table. "I was horrified to read in the newspaper this morning about the shooting. Have they captured the person yet?"

Finishing up making the dinner salad and bringing it to the table, Dara told her that the police had leads on who the man was and they hoped to capture him soon. The two women sat down to dinner and discussed Ellen's plans for her upcoming March wedding to Matt. Ellen took Dara up on her previous offer to help with the wedding and asked Dara to sing at the wedding ceremony. Dara quickly and happily agreed. After discussing the wedding plans and her life with Matt for most of the evening, Ellen was able to turn the conversation to Dara. Sipping a cup of herbal tea after dinner she remarked, "If I was in shock about hearing of your attack, I bet Mac must have been out of his mind with worry."

Pausing a few seconds before responding, Dara replied, "He was very concerned and very kind." She felt herself becoming warm thinking about the previous night. "He actually stayed the night with me to make sure that I was O.K."

"Oh," Ellen said watching Dara as she flushed and averted her eyes under Ellen's knowing gaze.

When she raised her eyes again Dara said, "You know Ellen, being a prosecutor, I prize myself on having 'a poker face' and not letting people know what I think and feel. But this is the second time today that I've given myself away when I mentioned that Mac came over last night. Are my feelings really that transparent?"

"I think that it's hard for you to hide how happy you are. And you are happy, aren't you?"

"I'm very happy," a smiling Dara admitted. "I've been alone for so long I'd had almost forgotten what this feeling is like. But it's a little scary you know what I mean?"

Ellen nodded, "Absolutely. I was terrified of caring deeply or loving someone again as I loved Sam. But you know, there are no guarantees in life. If you're lucky and fortunate enough to find someone whom you truly care for and who cares for you, you have to live in the present and revel in those feelings. You look forward to the future and remember the past, but you live fully and enjoy the present. Believe me, a year or two ago you would not have heard those words from my lips!" Ellen said laughing. "But I've been blessed and have learned a few things along the way."

"You're right of course," Dara mused as she thought of how well things were going in her life. "Right now I'm not going to worry about the future and just enjoy the present and having Mac in my life. For right now, I'll let the future take care of itself...."


"You're still in your office." Kevin Collins had interviewed a prisoner in the Port Charles Jail for a competency hearing tomorrow and he decided to see if his friend was still at work.

"I'm on my way out now," Mac said as he grabbed his coat. "Do you have plans for dinner? If not, how about going to the Outback with me?"

"That would be great. We really haven't spent a lot of time together lately. Let me call Victor and tell him that I'll be in late tonight."

The two friends spent time catching up on each other's news and commiserating their recent failed relationships. Kevin mentioned that he wasn't seeing anyone at this time but that Mac seemed to be doing well now that he was dating Dara. "You two looked really happy at the New Year's Eve party," he noted grinning. "Felicia literally couldn't take her eyes off of you two."

Mac shook his head in disbelief and said, "That couldn't have been a very enjoyable evening for you Kevin. Why did you come there with Felicia?"

"Obviously I probably wouldn't agree if I had known that I would spend so little time with her that evening," Kevin wryly remarked. "But I didn't relish being at home alone on New Years Eve. Even Victor had a date. And I didn't want to spend the evening thinking about Eve or Lucy and what they were doing." Pushing thought of his own personal relationships from the forefront of his mind, he said," You and Dara looked serious. Is it, I mean serious between you two?"

"Yes Kevin, it is very serious. It's like something wonderful that been in front of my eyes for years but I was too blind to see it. But I see it now Kevin and luckily I think that Dara feels the same way about me. We're taking our time and we still have a lot to learn about each other, but I have no doubts about us. I'm looking forward to having Dara in my life for quite a long time, if not for the rest of my life."

"Well that's bad news for Felicia. You know that she wants to get back together with you Mac. In fact, she's dropped several hints that I should talk to you 'as a friend' and help you two get back together." Kevin grimaced and narrowed his eyes thinking how Felicia had tried to manipulate him into helping her get back together with Mac. "I've always had a weak spot for your estranged wife but I told Felicia that I was keeping out of your marriage difficulties."

Mac was relieved that Kevin wouldn't be roped into Felicia's schemes to bring them back together. "Thanks Kevin. I always plan to be there for the girls and if things get better between Felicia and me, maybe we could be friends again. But honestly I can't see it right now. And I certainly don't want to get back together with her. Our marriage has been over for quite a while. I know that now and I'd wish that she'd realize it too. I really did love Felicia but in a way I think that our marriage was a marriage of convenience for her. She didn't consciously think that but the bottom line is that she wants to be with me only because she perceives me as safe and a sure thing. She and the girls could always rely on me. But she never really loved me, at least not as I loved her." Mac took a large gulp of beer and said, "But that is all over now. I'm meeting with her and the lawyers Monday about the divorce. Hopefully she won't put up a lot of resistance."

Reflecting on his last few conversations with Felicia, Kevin gave Mac a look of sympathy and said, "I think that is wishful thinking on your part. But good luck pal. You know that I'm here for you if you need my help."