"I truly do hate alarm clocks," Dara thought as she
quickly reached towards the nightstand to silence the
nagging ringing. She smiled to herself as Mac's firm
grip around her waist just barely allowed her reach
and touch the clock. Turning her head to face him,
Dara gently brushed her hand through Mac's curly brown
hair as he continued to sleep. The intense feelings
that she had for Mac continued to bother her somewhat.
In some way Dara felt that having these feelings made
her more vulnerable, which was a state she
instinctively fought to avoid. However nothing she'd
felt in the past compared to the happiness and joy at
having Mac in her life, so she tried to focus on those
positive feelings. After taking a few more minutes to
relax, Dara prepared to leave the bed and gently tried
to loosen Mac's hold on her. To her surprise, Mac
tightened his hold on her, pulling Dara closer to him.
"And where do you think that you're going?" growled
Mac with his eyes still closed as he kissed Dara
softly on her neck. "I thought that you didn't believe
in using alarm clocks, especially on the weekends."
Sighing, Dara said, "I don't. But since we didn't get
to sleep until early this morning I didn't want to
take the chance of oversleeping." Dara felt her face
blush and she broadly smiled when she remembered why
they got so little sleep last night.
"Oversleeping?" Mac repeated as his kisses moved from
Dara's neck to her cheek.
"Hm Hmmm. I'm going to church this morning."
Still half-asleep, the mention of church and Dara
leaving him this morning brought Mac to full
consciousness as he opened his eyes.
"You're going to church - this morning?" Mac asked in
disbelief staring at her. He always noticed that Dara
bowed her head for a few seconds before each meal to
say grace and he knew that she believed in God, but he
never realized until this moment that religion was
possibly important to her. Other than attending
weddings or funerals, Mac never entered a church
building and he had never belonged to a church home.
Dara smiled gently as she detected the surprise in
Mac's face and voice. She could tell that "church" was
an alien concept to Mac. "Yes, I don't go every Sunday
but today I have a solo part in the choir today and I
really need to go."
Curious now, Mac inquired, "What church do you
"I attended Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in
Carpentersville, about 30 miles from Port Charles."
Knowing Mac would wonder why she would drive 30 miles
to attend a church she explained, "The congregation of
the church is almost all black. I started attending
that church shortly after moving to Port Charles from
Chicago and I haven't change my membership to a church
in Port Charles, even after I started to know more
Mac could tell that Dara was going to leave, and he
knew that he shouldn't try to persuade her to stay.
This was obviously an important part of Dara's life.
Kissing her softly on the lips and stroking her face
and hair, he said, " Even though the members are
primarily black, anyone can attend the church, right?"
"Yes." Dara's eyes widened a bit in anticipation of
Mac's next statement.
"Can I come with you this morning?"
"Sure," Dara answered looking directly at Mac. "But,
why do you want to come?"
Sitting up in the bed, and pulling Dara next to him
with her back to his chest and with his chin resting
on shoulder, Mac sat silently for a minute before
responding. At last he said, "I think there are
several reasons that I want to go with you this
morning. The first is curiosity. I don't remember ever
attending a regular church service. The second is
this, religion, is important to you. Religion is a
very personal thing. I guess you can classify me as an
agnostic. I don't personally believe in God and to be
honest, virtually no one who's been close to me has
had a strong belief in God or practiced a religious
faith. But you are important to me and I want to try
and understand this aspect of you. And finally, I
don't want to be away from you this weekend, not even
for a few hours."
"I don't want to be away from you either," Dara
confessed. "Let's hurry and get ready."
The couple arrived at the church about 10 minutes
prior to the start of the 11 a.m. service. Even though
he wasn't wearing a suit, Mac was thankful that he
kept a charcoal grey jacket and matching dress slacks
at Dara's apartment. With those clothing pieces and a
beige turtleneck sweater he didn't feel as if he was
dressed too casually. However, Dara looked great he
mused. She was always dressed nicely and
professionally at work but he was very surprised at
how well dressed she was for church. Her makeup and
hair were flawless. Her shoes and purse matched the
mauve two-piece suit she wore. And the multi-colored
beret went well with her tweed woolen winter coat. As
they entered the church Dara explained that she'd be
sitting at the front of the church with the choir for
most of the service but that she'd try to join Mac by
the time the pastor started his sermon. Dara snaked
her way though the crowd of people gathered just
inside of the doorway of the church as she led Mac to
an older woman dressed in a white suit and wearing
white gloves. The woman hugged Dara enthusiastically.
"Dara, I'm so glad to see you. I heard about that
shooting early last week and everyone was praying for
"Thank you Mrs. Jennings. Mac, this is Sister Mary
Jennings, one of the deaconesses of the church."
Pausing briefly, Dara said, "Mrs. Jennings, this is my
friend, Mac Scorpio. He's visiting us today." Dara
hesitated introducing Mac as her boyfriend with his
divorce to Felicia not being final yet. But when Mac
took hold of Dara's hand during the introduction, Dara
was pretty sure that no one was going to be deceived
about her relationship with Mac. "I'm singing in the
choir today. Can you seat Mac in the service this
morning for me?"
"Of course, dear. You go on and I'll take care of your
friend for you." Gently squeezing his hand, Dara said
goodbye. Mrs. Jennings escorted Mac towards the front
of the church and seated him. After taking a few
minutes to welcome him to the church, Mrs. Jennings
excused herself to help other people. Mac noted that
the church was filling quickly. As Dara had said,
everyone other than Mac at the church was black. He
would later learn that there were a few mixed raced
couples who were members of the congregation, but none
of them were in attendance today. There were more
women at the church than men and there were quite a
few children attending also. Mac took a few moments to
fill out the visitor's card; he was interrupted when
he heard someone call his name. Looking up he saw
Florence Campbell smiling at him. Moving over so she
could join him, he asked her how long she had been
attending this church.
"Almost since the day I arrived in Port Charles,"
Florence replied. "In fact, Dara invited me
"Is your son attending today also?" Mac asked. He was
hoping not to have a run-in with Taggert about Dara at
the church today.
Mac's mind was relieved when Florence answered, "No,
he doesn't attend that often." They stopped speaking
as the church service started. Florence Campbell had
her own Bible with her and she handed Mac one of the
church's Bibles so that he could follow along when
someone read a passage. As the choir came in Mac
immediately saw Dara and smiled at her as their eyes
met. The service itself was about ninety minutes in
length and the theme of the service was faithfulness
to God's plan. Dara sang a song unfamiliar to Mac that
was titled "Trust Me". The choir's and the
congregation's singing throughout the service was
magnificent Mac thought, but Dara's rendition of the
song was truly inspirational and many of the
congregation members were moved to shout or clap
during her song. Shortly after her solo and during the
introduction of the pastor for his sermon, Dara
quietly left the choir and joined Mac in the
congregation. They listened together as the pastor
spoke of Jonah's story and related it to contemporary
events. Even though Mac enjoyed the service he knew
that his thoughts on religion were not significantly
changed after a single visit to church. However, even
he could understand the need to believe in a higher
power than man, especially considering he'd witnessed
some of the terrible things men could do to each
other. And he did thank someone earlier this week when
Dara wasn't harmed during the shooting attempt. He
would think on this in the coming weeks and he looked
forward to attending some services in the future with
Dara, if she agreed. It took almost twenty minutes for
them to leave the church after the service ended
because numerous people came up to Dara to say hello.
Mac remarked on Dara's popularity as he opened the car
door for her. Laughing, Dara said, "People may have
come up to me to say hello but believe me, they were
looking at you."
"Well, everyone was very nice to me today," offered
"It is a warm and friendly church, which is one reason
that I still attend it. I'm sure that everyone is
curious about you. Other than Florence, you're the
only other person I've ever brought to church."
"You didn't invite Marcus Taggert here with you?"
"I invited him once but he didn't want to come with
"Will you invite me again?" Mac asked, taking one of
his hands from the steering wheel and clasping her
Dara's eyes glittering, she replied, "As often as you
want to come."
After having a very late brunch at Dara's apartment,
the couple decided to view a premium-pay video using
the cable T.V. service. They spent the remainder of
the afternoon curled on the couch watching "Crouching
Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Both of them loved the movie.
Dara especially liked how strong women were the
primary characters in the movie. Mac was thrilled by
the martial arts special effects. Both Mac and Dara
believed that the movie and the actors would be
nominated for many academy awards in February.
"I'll be a little busy for the next 2 nights," Mac
remarked as he continued to hold Dara in his arms as
they cuddled on the couch. "I need to spend some time
with Maxie and Georgie, especially starting tomorrow.
Scott Baldwin and I are meeting with Felicia and her
lawyer tomorrow, and I'll probably try to spend the
next evening or two talking to the girls to explain
things to them."
"I understand Mac. I'll be busy continuing to work on
the Moreno trial in the evenings myself, but maybe we
can get together for an hour or so during lunch this
Mac grinned," I hoping for more than an hour or two
this week but we'll start there."
Trying to express her thoughts in a nonchalant tone of
voice, Dara asked, "If you can't come by tomorrow
night, will you give me a call and let me know how the
meeting with Felicia and her lawyer goes?"
"Of course I will," Mac said, a bit surprised by her
request. Turning Dara so that she was now facing him,
he reassuringly stated, "Hey, don't worry. Felicia is
not happy about this breakup but she's not blameless
in this and I'm not going to let her drag out the
Biting her bottom lip, Dara responded, "I know Mac.
But she said that she's not going to let you go and I
don't think that you know what she's going to do."
Puzzled, Mac asked, "She said? What do you mean 'she
said'? Did Felicia contact you?"
Nodding, Dara told Mac of her bitter encounter with
Felicia in his office on Monday. Remembering how he
sensed that something was troubling Dara that
afternoon, Mac felt himself becoming angry. Felicia
had no right to accuse Dara of interfering with their
marriage and he planned to straighten her out on this
issue tomorrow. Stroking her back with his hand and
capturing her mouth in a passionate kiss, Mac broke
the kiss briefly to vow, "Don't worry, sweetheart. I
love you and I plan to make it so that when we go back
to your church in the near future, you're going to
feel comfortable introducing me as something other
than your friend." His green eyes twinkled teasingly
as he placed emphasis on the word friend.
Dara laughed when she realized Mac had noted her
wording when introducing him earlier. She loved the
way that he could understand what she was feeling
without her explicitly telling him. Leaning in to kiss
him she said," I know. I trust you, Mac."