Chapter 23

Sweating profusely and trying to catch his breath, Mac panted, "Twenty-one, eighteen. Whew! Either you have been practicing in secret or I need to get in better shape." During their intense racquetball game Kevin made several incredible shots, forcing Mac to scramble to win every point he got.

Kevin shook his head ruefully. "No, you're my only racquetball partner. You're just the target of my frustration about my lack of a social life," he wryly noted as he wiped himself down with a towel.

Mac looked sympathetically at his best friend as they headed to the locker room together. Other than Tony Jones, no decent guys in Port Charles had more bad luck when it came to women than Kevin and himself. Mac was thankful that his streak of bad relationships had ended now that he was with Dara and he hoped that Kevin could find someone also. It was common knowledge in Port Charles that Lucy Coe was working furiously to get back together with Kevin, but as much as Mac personally liked Lucy, he wasn't sure that Lucy was really the best person for Kevin. He didn't offer this opinion and instead joked, "Don't tell me that you're sitting by your phone hoping for it to ring. I'm sure that Lucy knows your telephone number and she's probably not shy about dialing it."

"No kidding," Kevin thought silently as he stripped off his t-shirt and shorts. Sitting on a bench to remove his shoes and socks, he responded, "Yes, she knows my home number, cell phone number, and office number, all of which she calls most days. In some ways I'll always love Lucy, but somehow I feel that I'll be taking a step backward if we get together again. In reality, nothing has changed between us so what will keep us from making the same mistakes again? I guess I'm looking for someone to make me as happy and 'peaceful' as you seem to be with Dara." Kevin was truly thrilled for Mac, but a part of him longed to find the same type of happiness that his friend had found with Dara. The unfamiliar emotion of envy slowly crept into Kevin's voice as he continued speaking. "I haven't had a lot of opportunity to spend time with both of you together but I don't think that I've ever seen you this happy."

Nodding, Mac agreed with Kevin's observation. "I am very happy, even with all of this conflict with Felicia." Taking a seat next to Kevin on the bench, Mac asked, "So you don't want to get back together with Lucy, at least not right now. Is there anyone else you're interested in dating?"

Slowly, and somewhat reluctantly, Kevin replied, "Well, now that you've mentioned it, there is someone I am interested in seeing but I haven't told her yet."

Knowing that shyness was not a typical characteristic of Kevin, Mac queried, "How long have you been thinking of asking this woman out?"

"I'm been seriously thinking about her for the past few months..."

"Months?" Now Mac's interest was really piqued. Who was this woman that could occupy Kevin's thoughts for months without him asking her out? Not able to stop himself Mac immediately spewed out a series of questions. "Who is she? Do I know her? Why in the world...?" Mac stopped speaking abruptly and then cautiously asked the next question, "Kevin, is she married?"

Kevin's blank expressionless face gave Mac no clue to the thoughts that were going on in his mind. Mac had never known Kevin to lie about anything but something about the silence that preceded Kevin's response troubled Mac. "No, she's not married, but she is involved with someone. I really don't want to tell you who she is because most likely nothing will happen. She's probably never given a romantic relationship with me a thought."

"Well, to be candid, given that she's involved with someone else, that's a good thing she hasn't had romantic thoughts about you." Mac continued watching Kevin's face and expression as he was obviously thinking of this woman. "Damn, he's got it badly," thought a slightly shocked Mac. Speaking hesitantly Mac suggested, "Perhaps you should let her know how you feel Kevin. I mean, it would be different if she was married but..." Knowing that he was treading on delicate matters Mac asked, "You really care about her, don't you?"

Surprising himself with his answer Kevin said, "More than I ever thought possible. I've been thinking about telling her my feelings for her. I just look at you and Dara and I don't know if I will be lucky like you two, getting another chance to be with her. So I'm considering letting her know how I feel before it is too late." Pushing the wistful musings from his mind, Kevin attempted to change the course of the conversation. "I know that you and Scott met with Felicia and her lawyer the other day. How did it go?"

Mac's face started to flush and his anger briefly surfaced as he recalled the meeting on Monday. Standing up and slamming the locker door, Mac conceded," You were right about Felicia's determination in stopping the divorce. It's unbelievable. Somehow in her mind she's made my relationship with Dara the cause of the breakup of our marriage." After a pause in speaking, Mac continued astutely commenting, "Just because something's a lie doesn't mean that people will ignore it or that it won't hurt. But Dara and I have talked about what might happen as Felicia tries to stop the divorce and Dara has said that she'll support me and will help me get through it. Scott has petitioned a judge so that I can get visitation rights to see the girls. I'm now able to see them twice a week in unsupervised visits as long as I see them alone and not with Dara." Felicia had pettily instructed her lawyer to insist that Dara could not accompany Mac during any visits with the girls. She contended that having the woman responsible for the breakup of their marriage with Mac would turn the visits into traumatic events for the girls. Scott pointed out the important thing right now was to get immediate visitation rights for Mac and he assured Mac that they would later attempt to modify the rules regarding the visitations, so Mac reluctantly agreed. "I'm seeing the girls tomorrow night at Kelly's." Mac's mood brightened at the thought of finally being able to see the girls again and he had an idea.

Heading with Kevin towards the showers he proposed, "Well, let's fix this problem about you not seeing Dara and me together. How about coming over to dinner on Friday night?" Stemming Kevin's protest on how he'd be a fifth wheel at dinner Mac countered, "No, you won't. Dara mentioned that Ellen Burgess will probably be joining us for dinner that evening. Dara's helping Ellen with her wedding preparations. Her fiancÚ is out of town for a medical conference and she's staying for dinner. So come on over and join us." To Mac surprise, Kevin changed his mind and offered, "I can probably give Ellen a ride to dinner. What time should we be there?" They agreed to get together on Friday evening at 8 p.m. for dinner.

For the first time since she agreed to help Felicia in her scheme, Lucy Coe was having second thoughts. She and Felicia were walking to the building where the local ABC news station was located for an on-camera interview to be conducted by a reporter who was also a friend of Felicia's. It wasn't as if she was going to actually lie during the interview. And any publicity or anytime she would be on TV would be good for her new fledgling cosmetic company. But Kevin and Mac were best friends; the outcome of this interview may hurt her attempts to get back together with Kevin. Felicia noticed that Lucy was deep in thought and was slowing the pace of her steps. "Come on," encouraged Felicia as she linked her arm in Lucy's. "We're almost there and this interview won't take fifteen minutes, especially if they're already set up and waiting for us."

Wary about what they were going to do, Lucy wavered, "Felicia, I don't know. You know that I want to do anything I can to help you and Mac get back together. But I'm trying to work out things with Kevin and I don't want to do anything right now that will make Kevin mad."

"Lucy, you know that I wouldn't ask this favor unless I really, really needed you, and I do. Mac may be mad at you but you're going to speak the truth and even though Kevin is Mac's friend, he's my friend too. Initially he may be angry in support of Mac but the truth is the truth, and he loves you. It will all work out. I just want us all back together again. Please don't let me down now; I need your help." Felicia pleaded.

Knowing that Felicia was in dire straits, Lucy sighed and relented, "O.K. Let's do it."

~~~~*~~~~~

"I know that you're looking forward to seeing Maxie and Georgie tomorrow." Dara was snuggled in Mac's strong arms as she relaxed with her back against his chest in a reclining position on the leather sofa. They had eaten a very late supper and were waiting to watch the 11 p.m. news before turning in for the night.

"I am anxious to see them," Mac confessed. He nuzzled his nose behind Dara's left ear and his light kisses sent shivers throughout Dara's body. Dara's increasingly labored breathing and the way her hand tightly gripped Mac's thigh encouraged Mac to try to convince Dara to skip watching the news tonight. "Tell me once again what's so important to see tonight on the news?" he whispered seductively as one of his hands slid under her light cashmere top to gently massage her breasts. With the fingers of Dara's other hand running through his curly brown hair and while he continued to kiss her neck and cheek, Mac himself fought to maintain some type of control as Dara began to writhe and move against him.

Struggling to remember what was important in the news tonight, Dara moaned when Mac unsnapped the top of her jeans and started to unzip them. "The trial," she said with a gasp. "I give my closing argument to the jury tomorrow. I...I just want to see what they're reporting on ... on the news...ahhhhh!" Dara moaned again as Mac continued to arouse her and knew if she didn't get off of the couch in the next few seconds she could forget completely about television tonight. Twisting her head to kiss Mac passionately on the lips, Dara took advantage of Mac's loosened grip on her and she leaped off of the couch. Mac groaned fiercely as he watched Dara disappear into the kitchen. "We'll only watch it for a few minutes," she promised as she tried to compose herself. "Turn on the TV." Rr Grabbing the remote control, Mac did as Dara requested. "They had better say something about that trial in the first 15 minutes or else the VCR will start taping," Mac shouted to Dara from the living room. Dara laughed in response and joined him again on the couch again just as the news started.

February sweeps period was just beginning and the local stations were doing their best to get higher ratings. Sometimes this meant broadcasting shocking and headline grabbing news, and tonight the ABC affiliate news station was leading the program with 'a local political scandal'. Bonnie Fitzgerald, a former weathergirl and aspiring network news anchor, was the reporter. "You don't have to go to Washington D.C. or New York City to see public officials shamelessly flaunt their mistresses in front of unsuspecting constituents. Bill Clinton and Rudy Giuliani have nothing on Port Charles' own local police commissioner Mac Scorpio. Commissioner Scorpio is in the process of divorcing his wife and has left his home and two children. He's currently seen about town with Assistant District Attorney Dara Jensen." A photo of Mac and Dara smiling and with their arms around each other, probably taken at the New Years Eve party, was flashed in the background on the screen as Ms. Fitzgerald continued her commentary. "Apparently the commissioner doesn't mind mixing business with pleasure. He recently insisted on expensive extra round-the-clock security for his girlfriend, at the taxpayers' expense of course. The round-the-clock security does seem a bit redundant since the commissioner is known to be spending almost every night in Ms. Jensen's apartment these days." The news program then displayed a brief videotaped comment of City Councilman Reynolds stating how he opposed the extra security details for A.D.A. Jensen but Commissioner Scorpio had ignored his concerns. Ms. Fitzgerald returned to the screen stating that several Port Charles citizens were asked to comment on the topic of public servants and private behavior. The first citizen to comment was a burly, half-drunk man in a bar identified as Ralph Harden who said, "Whatever a man does after hours or behind closed doors is his own (bleep, bleep) business! A man's got to do what a man's got to do."

The second citizen to comment was the prominent local entrepreneur Lucy Coe. "While generally everyone has a right to privacy I do believe that it is the responsibility of public servants to be role models for the community," was Ms. Coe's civic-minded response. The news segment ended with Ms. Fitzgerald urging viewers to call the number listed on the screen and respond to the poll on whether the commissioner's and ADA affair was their own business or whether they were an embarrassment to the community. Stunned and shocked into deadly silence, Mac held Dara tightly in his arms. He picked up the remote control again and turned off the television.

Across town, Felicia Scorpio smiled to herself as she also turned off the television. She definitely owed Bonnie for the story that was just broadcast; in her opinion it was fantastic. Thinking that step one was a success, Felicia started planning her next actions to bring Mac back home. "Poor thing," she slyly mused as she prepared for bed, "he'll never know what hit him."

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