Chapter 24

Mac was wavering in that zone between deep sleep and consciousness, resisting the urge to open his eyes and awaken. After viewing channel 7's scathing report on his relationship with Dara, he spent the remainder of the night in a fitful restless sleep. However now, after sleeping only a few hours, Mac knew that he was dreaming because of the warm, pleasant sensation he was experiencing, and he wanted to prolong it as long as possible. Light, feathery kisses and the tinge of a warm breath moved from his face to his neck to his chest. For some time two soft hands gently played with his curly hair and caressed his face. Now they teased him, sliding to his shoulders and chest lightly touching him. Instinctively he reached out with his right hand but Dara's quickly reached up to restrict his movement. As his eyes started to flutter open Dara moved her body over Mac's and he heard her whisper into his ear, "Don't move. Let me do this, let me make love to you."

Never before, no matter how much she wanted to be with Mac, had she initiated their lovemaking. Dara saw the night before how angry and hurt Mac had been by the television report, knowing that most of his distress was on her behalf and due to how the report depicted their love. The couple said very few words for the remainder of the night and later Dara had felt Mac toss and turn in the bed until early in the morning. Nothing could really take away the momentary pain experienced that night, but Dara wanted to show Mac that the report or whatever Felicia said or could do would not affect what she felt for him. Tightly gripping the sheets, Mac held in a groan as Dara's warm body moved over his. Slowly, methodically and with incredible tenderness, Dara completely focused on giving Mac pleasure. Only towards the end of their lovemaking after their bodies had became one did Dara urge Mac to join her in an intimate dance that spiraled them both towards ecstasy.


Long ago Marcus Taggert first admired Dara's skill as a district attorney, but today watching her give her closing argument in Moreno's trial, he believed he had witnessed her best professional work. Dara's closing argument was perfect, emphasizing all of the strengths of her case and skewing the defense's strained attempts at generating reasonable doubt. When countering the defense team's disparaging comments regarding the character of key prosecution witnesses, Dara deftly reminded the jury of Moreno's character and what it said about him that these witnesses were close associates of his. Yep, Taggert thought, Dara ought to be pretty proud of herself today. Or she would be if everyone weren't talking about that news report broadcast. Understanding Dara as he did Taggert knew that she despised having her private life made public and that news report was a doozy. He wasn't going to bring it up first but he would be there for her if she wanted to talk about it. Leaving his seat in the rear of the courtroom Taggert quickly strode to the prosecution's table just at the court adjourned for lunch. "You did good today," he praised Dara, gently touched her arm. "I need to go out now and get some champagne to celebrate. Want to come along with me?"

"Oh no." Dara shook her head as she flashed an incredibly attractive smile. "I'm not going to jinx this by getting overconfident. How about going to lunch instead?"

"I haven't had a better offer today." Placing his hand at Dara's waist, Taggert escorted her from the courtroom and the two friends enjoyed their lunch date.

Meanwhile, in the 6th floor GH open lounge area, Lucy Coe cornered Ellen for an impromptu meeting regarding her wedding plans. Ellen was not successful in completely suppressing her skeptical expression as Lucy chattered on. "Ellen, we can do so much more to make your wedding THE event of the year in Port Charles if only you'd consider some of my suggestions." Lucy was doing her best to convince Ellen to "spice up" her wedding. "Think how romantic it would be to release a dozen white doves just as you and Matt leave the church for the reception. And my new boutique can provide ALL of your bridesmaid dresses. Can't you picture how chic the wedding party will be if my team works with all of you on the wardrobe? Plus, you and I need to get together to start on your trousseau for the honeymoon."

Those doves would have shortened lives if there were released outdoors in early March, Ellen mused. Fighting mightily to hide a smile as she imagined how Lucy would dress her bridesmaids, Ellen did her best to gently refuse Lucy's good-hearted gestures. "Lucy, this is my second marriage, not my first. And even though my first wedding was not a 'dream' wedding, I certainly don't want my wedding to Matt to be an extravaganza."

Exasperated, Lucy pouted. "I thought that you promised to change your mode of operation after our adventure in the woods?" Bringing out that long-ago promise might be a way of getting Ellen to agree to Lucy's plans for the wedding. Ellen was saved from responding when she spied help, in the form of Kevin Collins, on the way to aid her in dealing with whirlwind Lucy.

"Hi Kevin!" Ellen said enthusiastically. "Come and join us for a minute." Being so caught up in escaping Lucy's proposals Ellen almost missed the slight scowl on Kevin's face as he approached them. But she knew that something was going on when Kevin asked to speak to Lucy alone for a few minutes. Ellen quickly excused herself and headed to the nurse's station while Kevin sat down on the couch.

"You're a difficult man to catch, Doc," Lucy teased as she gazed lovingly at Kevin. She truly missed having Kevin in her life and Lucy was on a mission to get him back.

Kevin took in a deep breath and prepared himself to hear Lucy's explanation. "Lucy, what were you thinking when you agreed to take part in the news interview I saw last night? Felicia wasn't on screen but that was no doubt her handiwork. How could you do that to Mac?"

Silently Lucy cursed for agreeing to help Felicia. She didn't want the first words for Kevin to say to her after weeks of silence to be criticisms and chastisements. Then, upon reflection, Lucy didn't think that she really did anything wrong and proceeded to tell Kevin so. "Hold on a minute Kevin. I don't need to apologize for anything. The interviewer asked me about public servants' responsibilities when it came to their personal life and I gave a reasonable, fair answer. Mac is my friend too but if he isn't seen in a positive light after that news report then it's due to his actions, not mine."

Lucy never ceased to amaze Kevin with the justifications she gave for her actions, and this time was no different. "Are you going to sit here in front of me and say that you didn't give that interview to help Felicia? Why would the reporter pick you to give an opinion on public servants and morality?" an incredulous Kevin inquired.

"I gave the interview as a favor to Felicia, just like you did when you escorted her to the New Years Eve party," retorted Lucy. Arching a well-shaped eyebrow she asked in a challenging tone of voice, "And why shouldn't the reporter pick me for such an interview? I'm a prominent person in Port Charles and it makes sense that they would want to interview me on this topic."

Wisely, Kevin cautioned himself NOT to go there and state how ludicrous it was to consider Lucy the Port Charles authority on morality. Instead he warned, "Lucy, I'm doing my best not to get sucked into this mess between Mac and Felicia. Let them work it out alone and between themselves. I'm just giving you some advice as a friend not to get involved."

Somehow, in this strange moment, Lucy would have infinitely preferred for Kevin to be passionately enraged by her actions, rather than giving her friendly advice. Biting her bottom lip, Lucy swallowed her disappointment on how her encounter with Kevin was unfolding. It didn't go unnoticed by Lucy that something was different about Kevin in his reaction to her, but she couldn't pinpoint what was different. Hoping to get more insight into his state of mind about their relationship she offered, "Doc, I really don't want to talk about Mac or Felicia now; I'd really like to talk about us and our relationship. Can we go somewhere now and talk in private?"

Kevin knew that it wasn't fair of him to keep putting off Lucy's advances without being honest with her and telling her how he felt. But there were a few things that he wanted to do before he had that fateful conversation. Rising from the couch Kevin made a suggestion. "I can't meet right now Lucy. But maybe we can get together on Saturday or Sunday and talk. Can I call you Saturday morning and let you know?" Upon obtaining Lucy's agreement to meet later, Kevin went to catch up with Ellen who was just leaving the nurse's station. Ellen was heading for a meeting with Alan Quartermaine and Kevin informed her that he was going the same way, so maybe they could talk. He first mentioned Mac's dinner invitation and Ellen immediately acquiesced to the plan that they go together to Dara's apartment. Ellen noticed that Kevin's meeting with Lucy was unusually brief and she quizzed her friend about it.

"I saw that you didn't draw any blood." Giving a full-dimpled smile to Kevin's puzzled look, Ellen explained." You didn't look too pleased with Lucy when you first approached us."

"Did you overhear any of the conversation?"

"Kevin, I was at the nurse's station. Of course I heard everything!" They both laughed at the obvious truth in that statement. Ellen's laughter gave way to somberness. "I saw the news report last night," she confided. "It was pretty brutal on Mac and Dara."

Running his hand through his hair in a sign of frustration, Kevin pointed out, "Lucy, in her typical fashion, feels that she didn't do anything wrong of course."

When they arrived at Alan Quartermaine's office, Ellen stopped walking and turned her back against the wall to face Kevin. "Of course she feels that way," agreeing with Kevin's assessment, "but in this case she may be technically correct."

Astonishment registered on Kevin's face as Ellen defended Lucy. "Keeping away from the fact that you and Dara are now friends, would you have given that interview, no matter how innocent your words may have been?"

Ellen didn't have to think at all to respond, immediately replying, "No, I wouldn't have done it."

Unexpectedly pleased to receive the response he had anticipated from Ellen, Kevin smiled. "I didn't think so. Neither would I." Noting Ellen didn't seem inclined to rush into Alan's office, Kevin decided to continue talking. He moved very close to her and asked, "Hey, how are the wedding plans going? The date is coming up pretty soon. Are you nervous?"

Ellen had to tilt her head up a bit to look at Kevin directly since he was standing so close to her now. "Nervous? No, it's not like I'm a blushing bride of twenty."

"I know, but you don't have any reservations? I mean, Matt is the only man that you've dated since Sam's death. Do you wonder if he is really the right man for you or that you're with him because he was the first person to make his feelings known to you?" Kevin knew that Ellen sometimes saw him in the role of a confident, but he anxiously hoped she'd be open to seeing him in another way, perhaps soon.

Smiling broadly, Ellen was somewhat amused by Kevin's line of questioning. "Oh right Kevin. I've really had to beat that long line of suitors off with a stick."

"Don't sell yourself short Ellen." Speaking slowly and deliberately, Kevin continued, "I'm sure that there are a number of men who want to have a closer relationship with you, especially if they thought they had a chance to do so." Wanting to touch her but knowing that it would be foolhardy to do so now, especially in such a public area, Kevin placed his hand on the wall a few inches from Ellen's hair. He leaned in even closer and inquired, gazing at her intensely, "Have you ever opened your eyes to such a possibility?"

Slowly perceiving the undercurrent of his words, Ellen's eyes widened in shock and a gasp escaped her lips. She involuntarily pressed herself further against the wall. She was completely taken aback as to what was unfolding and found that she had trouble breathing. Kevin was excellent when it came to reading people. He saw surprise, confusion, and possibly even fear in her face, but he was thrilled not to see outright rejection. "Ellen..."

Upon hearing Alan's door open, Kevin quickly moved back from Ellen. "I thought I heard voices out here. Hi Kevin, Ellen." Speaking directly to Ellen, Alan said, "I'm ready to meet with you now Dr. Burgess, if you're ready."

Still at a loss for words, Ellen finally broke her gaze with Kevin?s and turned to enter Alan's office. Pull yourself together, she thought. Ellen briefly glanced back as she entered the office and she heard Kevin's voice remind her, "I'll pick you up at 7:30 on Friday night for dinner."

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