Chapter 20

Looking at himself in Dara's bathroom mirror, Mac ran his right-hand palm along his face and grimaced when he realized that he hadn't brought any toiletries to Dara's apartment. He made a mental note of items he needed and maybe if they went out shopping today they could pick up some things that he could keep at her apartment. Mac was looking forward to spending the entire weekend with Dara. Even though they had known each other for several years Mac realized that other than the two nights they've spent together, he and Dara have not spent more than a few hours together at each meeting. This weekend would be the first of what he hoped to be many opportunities to learn more about Dara and appreciate the things in her he had grown to love. After splashing some water on his face and drying it off, Mac returned to the bedroom only to find the room empty. He could hear movements from the kitchen or living room of the apartment and he followed the sounds to the kitchen. The aroma of fresh brewing coffee and the sight of Dara, dressed in a short terrycloth robe, greeted him as he entered the kitchen. He was able to enter the kitchen unobserved because Dara was busy looking for something in the refrigerator. Mac crept into the kitchen behind Dara and snaking his arms around her waist he whispered in her ear, "It's too early to get up for a Saturday, let's go back to bed."

Laughing at Mac's suggestion Dara said, "Mac, it is 11 o'clock. Are you proposing to spend the whole day in bed?"

"Not alone I'm not," responded Mac as he turned Dara so that she was now facing him. Mac captured Dara's lips in soft kiss. Grinning mischievously he said, "But to prove to you that I have more than a single interest in you I can agree that we should spend some time in the outside world today."

"Good morning Mac." Dara's hands and arms gently stroked Mac's neck and broad shoulders as he held her and she looked lovingly into his sparkling green eyes. Mac was wearing only his underwear briefs and Dara thought that she needed to put a few more inches between herself and Mac or she might take him up on his previous offer.

"Good morning, beautiful." Glancing in the refrigerator he asked," What do you want me to make for breakfast?"

"You want to cook breakfast?" asked an incredulous Dara.

"Of course. It's my specialty." Mac didn't explain but he had routinely made full breakfasts for Felicia and the girls on the weekends. Dara offered to assist but Mac led her gently but determinedly to the kitchen table where she watched him prepare the breakfast. In less than 30 minutes they were enjoying a pancake and Canadian bacon breakfast and discussing their plans for the day. Because the week had been incredibly busy for both of them, they made a list of errands and tasks - shopping, taking clothes to the dry cleaners, getting gasoline for the car, etc... - that needed to be run and they would do them together. It took more time to run these errands together than to perform them individually, but both Dara and Mac enjoyed spending the time together and learning the mundane, day-to-day details about each other's lives. Around five o'clock that evening they arrived at Mac's apartment to drop off a few things and for him to pick up a few items that he planned to always leave in Dara's apartment. Waiting for Mac while he was doing things in his bedroom, Dara wandered around the living room. She gazed for a few seconds at a family photo of Mac, Felicia, Maxie, and Georgie that must have be taken within the last year or so. It reminded her of Mac's request for her to accompany him to a school play in which Georgie was performing tonight at seven o'clock. Dara had encouraged Mac to go to the play alone and suggested they'd meet afterwards but he was absolutely insistent that they go to the play together. A big part of Dara admired and loved Mac even more because he was making such an effort to involve her completely in his life, but she was still a bit apprehensive about attending a "family" gathering so soon. Then Dara immediately chided herself when she realized that she wouldn't have been pleased if Mac didn't want her to attend the play. There might be a few tense moments at the event tonight but Dara decided that she would just keep in her mind on the fact that she'd be there because Mac wanted her there.

Standing at the open doorway from his bedroom Mac silently watched Dara as she looked at the photographs. He sensed that Dara was reluctant to go with him to Georgie's play but he felt that it would be good for everyone - Georgie, Maxie, and even Felicia - if they all got used to the reality that he and Dara were now a couple. "A penny for your thoughts." Mac teased as he returned to the living room carrying a suitcase.

"You're only offering a penny?"

Taking her hand into his Mac said, "It was a token amount. I already know what you're thinking," he said watching her closely.

Believing that he really did know what she was thinking and feeling her face flush, Dara lowered her eyes from Mac's gaze and changed the subject by noting, "That's a pretty big suitcase. Do you think you have everything?" she playfully inquired.

"I think so. I want to keep some things at your place so that I don't have to tear myself away from you any sooner than I have to," Mac said kissing her lightly on the cheek as he wrapped an arm around Dara's waist. "Let's get going."

At 6:45 Mac and Dara walked into the auditorium of Roosevelt elementary school. About 100 adults and a large number of children were there and it took a few minutes before they were able to find Felicia and the girls in the crowd. At first Felicia grimaced as she watched Mac and Dara approach but by the time the couple reached them, Felicia had a strained smile pasted on her face.

"Mac, we were wondering if you were going to make it or not," Felicia said as a not so subtle way of criticizing Mac. "And Dara, what a surprise."

"It shouldn't have been much of a surprise Felicia because I mentioned to you last week that I was bringing Dara. You all know that I wouldn't miss Georgie's dramatic debut," Mac responded as he hugged and kissed Georgie and Maxie.

"Mac, I've missed you!" exclaimed Georgie, hugging Mac tightly. She was dressed in a long, dark green gingham skirt and blouse with peasant puffed sleeves.

Gently prompting them Mac said, "Georgie and Maxie, you both know Dara."

"Hi," said both of the girls in unison. Maxie had a sullen expression on her face but Georgie greeted Dara with a genuine smile. Georgie did miss Mac since he no longer lived with them but she was very happy that he was attending the play with his friend. Georgie excused herself; it was almost time for her to be backstage for the start of the play. Felicia led the group near the front of the auditorium where Roy, Bobbie, and Tony Jones were sitting. Bobbie was saving 3 seats for them as Felicia had asked. Unfortunately they needed four seats not three but Mac saved the situation by asking a person nearby who was seated by himself if he'd mind giving up his seat. Just as everyone was seated the play began.

The 45-minute play was a story based on the U.S. founding fathers and prominent characters around 1800. Georgie had a role as Abigail Adams and Lucas Jones had a few lines as President James Madison. It was evident that the children had a lot of fun participating in the play and the audience was enthusiastic in their applause. Though she tried to focus on the play and Georgie's performance, Felicia's eyes kept glancing at Mac and Dara during the evening. She fumed silently as she watched them laughing and smiling and occasionally holding hands during the play. "How dare Mac ruin this evening when it was suppose to focus on Georgie and our family outing?" Felicia furiously thought as she fought the tears threatening to gather in her eyes. "How could he be so cruel?" Bobbie Spencer watched anxiously and sadly as she saw her best friend become more and more upset throughout the evening, knowing that there was nothing she could do at the present time to help Felicia. Bobbie hoped that Felicia would not make a public spectacle as the play ended and whispered to Felicia, "Felicia, I can see that you're angry but don't do anything stupid. Wait until you and Mac have a private moment to talk about what you're feeling tonight."

The children took their final bows on the stage and dispersed to meet friends and family members in the audience. Felicia quickly went to Mac's side and asked, "Mac, can we speak for a few minutes, privately?" After telling Dara that he'd be away for only a few minutes Mac steered Felicia to a quieter section of the auditorium. Before Mac could say a word Felicia immediately pounced and vented her rage. "How could you embarrass me and the girls tonight by bringing your girlfriend here! Don't you have any respect for us or for yourself? Whether you know it or not this is a family outing and mistresses aren't invited!"

Blinking his eyes in disbelief, Mac took a deep breath to calm himself before responding to Felicia's tongue lashing. He hadn't expected Felicia to be pleased about Dara accompanying him to the play, but he in no way anticipated the depth of fury in her reaction. "Felicia, what are you talking about? We're separated and living apart and very soon we will be divorced. Don't use Dara as an excuse to keep me out of the girls' lives. For heaven's sake, calm down. Don't hurt them because you don't like seeing me with Dara."

"I know that Georgie wants you to come with us for supper after the play but I don't want you to come if you're bringing her."

Mac could not believe that Felicia was behaving so childishly and being so spiteful. Knowing that Felicia needed to calm down before they could have a reasonable conversation, Mac, not saying another word, headed back to Dara and the others. Reaching them he heard Dara praise Georgie and Lucas on their performances. As Lucas and Georgie continued to talk excitedly about the play, Dara looked at Mac as he took her hand. She had seen Felicia and Mac talking and from what she observed, it didn't look like an amiable discussion. When it was decided that everyone would go to Ruby's diner for a mini-celebration, Mac told Maxie and Georgie that he and Dara couldn't attend it tonight, but that he had a standing date to see them on Monday night and this way there would be 2 celebrations. Saying their goodbyes, Dara and Mac departed. As they left Dara asked softly, "Do you want to talk about it right now?"

Mac stopped walking and kissed Dara. Stroking her cheek with his thumb, he replied, "Not right now, later, O.K.?"

Dara nodded and they headed back to her apartment.


At 2 a.m. Sunday morning after finishing a bottle of white wine and sitting in the living room for 3 hours staring at the walls, Felicia picked up the telephone and dialed an international number. After several rings, a sleepy voice answered "Bonjour?"

In a choked whisper Felicia said, "I'm sorry to call you so early on Sunday morning Robin but I need your help...."