Chapter 27

The fifteen-minute drive between Dara's and Ellen's apartments seemed to take much longer on this cold winter night. Both Ellen and Kevin were uncomfortably silent and carefully avoided direct eye contact with each other until they arrived at the Ellen's apartment building.

After entering the apartment and removing his overcoat, Kevin sat down on the living room couch. Feeling extremely uneasy about joining Kevin on the couch, Ellen took a seat on the leather easy chair, which was located a few feet from the couch. Biting his bottom lip to suppress a smile - Kevin knew it would be deadly to laugh at Ellen during such a serious moment - he calmly retrieved one of the dinette chairs from the kitchen and placed it in front of Ellen. As he sat down in the chair Kevin explained, "I don't want that much distance, physical or otherwise, between us when we're talking now." Not wanting to agitate Ellen, Kevin didn't try to touch her but instead he intertwined the fingers of his hands, resting them on his knees and he leaned forward so that Ellen and he only saw each other.

In a low thoughtful voice, Kevin began. "Let me speak first Ellen since my actions have brought on this discussion. We've been friends for quite a while now, haven't we?"

A dimpled smile slowly made its appearance on Ellen's face as she remembered first meeting Kevin shortly after her arrival at General Hospital. He had impressed her with his intelligence, humor, fairness, and to be honest his disarming good looks. They became friends immediately, which surprised Ellen somewhat at that time, because she didn't allow herself to become close to people very quickly. "Yes, we have. For more than three years now. That's why..."

Anticipating her question, Kevin interrupted her response, "And you want to know why have my feelings for you changed and why I am telling you know?" His brow furrowed as he tried to answer his own questions. "The second part is easier to answer than the first. I know that telling you this six weeks before you're suppose to marry Matt is unbelievable from your point of view. But you are engaged Ellen, not married. Maybe I should have said something much earlier but the time was never right for either one of us. I've been attracted to you on a certain level since we've first met. But when we first met I was involved with Lucy and you were still closed to having any type of romantic relationship with a man. Then you started dating Matt and Lucy and I broke up. I suppose I should have approached you then but I didn't. Instead I fell into a relationship with Eve and we wound up married. When our marriage ended I wanted to wait a bit of time before approaching you so it wouldn't seem as if I was asking you out on the rebound. And then in early December you told me of your engagement. Do you remember the day that you told me of it, and what my reaction was to your announcement?"

Ellen's eyes widened, as she remembered how puzzled she was at Kevin's lackluster congratulations to her news. At the time she assumed a totally erroneous explanation for his reaction. "I do remember your reaction, Kevin. I thought, I thought that you weren't happy for me because my engagement somehow reminded you of your recent breakup with Eve." Looking back, knowing what she knew now, his reaction made total sense.

Giving her a barely perceptible nod, Kevin could see Ellen now realized the reason for his reaction to her engagement announcement. "Ellen, I know that this isn't a fair question but I'm going to ask it anyway. Until I spoke outside of Alan's office you never probably seriously thought of me as anything other than a friend. But sometimes, when we're together, don't you feel a connection between us? And, yes, an attraction too?" Knowing that saying how he believed Ellen felt about him could backfire, Kevin plowed on, being totally open and honest with her. Speaking warmly now he smiled and continued, "I know that I feel it, and I know from experience that rarely do such feelings exist for only one of the two people involved. I couldn't have these feelings for you if you didn't share some of these feelings for me. I can see it when you smile at me sometimes or when you look into my eyes, as you're doing now."

Ashamed that her feelings were so easily read, Ellen sharply inhaled her breath and shut her eyes for a few seconds in an attempt to get her emotions under control. Of course she felt something for Kevin, with him sitting mere inches away from her telling his feelings for her. She would have to be a zombie to not feel something for him, on an emotional as well as a physical level. But she would have to ignore these feelings, and he would have to also.

Opening her eyes as she gave him a stern look, she countered, "Kevin, people feel attractions for other people all of the time. An attraction alone doesn't mean they should become involved, especially when other people will consequently be hurt."

"You mean Matt."

"And Lucy," Ellen added.

Kevin waited for Ellen to continue speaking. When she didn't and realizing she had made her argument for them not to become involved, a barely suppressed look of triumph came into Kevin's eyes as he spoke slowly, "So the only reason we shouldn't move beyond a friendship is because we'll hurt Matt and Lucy, who are not our spouses?"

Realizing that she had not stated her thoughts correctly and Kevin had pounced on her misstatement, a horrified Ellen tried to clarify her point. Shaking her head she said, "No Kevin, I love Matt and I want to marry him."

"Matt is a great guy and he fought like hell to be with you," Kevin conceded. "To be fair, maybe that is why he should be with you instead of me because I was too cautious and didn't press you on your possible feelings for me." However at the moment Kevin didn't want to be fair because he knew that once Ellen was married to Matt, he would have no chance of being with her, no matter what she felt for him. "But I can't just let it go at that Ellen, and I am going to press you now. Look at me and tell me that you could never feel for me what you now believe you feel for Matt."

This is it, Ellen thought. If she could just tell Kevin that she'd never love him as much as or more than she loved Matt then this torture would come to an end. Ellen's mind told her to take this way out, but something in her heart made her alter her response to Kevin's challenge and from her lips came the words, "I don't love you Kevin." It was the truth Ellen spoke, yet her statement sounded weak, even to her own ears it wasn't said with striking conviction.

"I know," Kevin agreed, leaning forward even more and breaking his silent promise not to touch her. He encircled Ellen in his arms and slowly, deliberately pulled her to him. Just as his lips touched hers he huskily said, "At least not yet," and he captured her lips in a sizzling kiss. Ellen couldn't suppress the shiver that racked her body when Kevin's tongue touched hers. For countless seconds she gave into the kiss and ignored the warnings from her head. Sensing Ellen beginning to pull her head from his, Kevin quickly placed his hand in Ellen's hair and deepened the kiss by forcing her mouth open further. Both Kevin and Ellen moaned as their senses started spiraling out of control.

But finally common sense did take control and Ellen placed her hand between their lips, with her fingertips on Kevin's lips, to break the overwhelming kiss. "This is so wrong," Ellen whispered softly, desperately trying to catch her breath. "What has come over me?"

Still holding her with one arm, Kevin gently clasped her raised hand and kissed her fingers. He released her hand and used his hand to lift her chin so she could no longer avert his gaze. He could see the guilt and confusion she felt, but there was no going back now. Kevin consciously slowed his breathing, amazed that he had almost lost control of himself. Wryly he thought that maybe it was a good thing that Ellen brought things to a halt by breaking the kiss. Knowing himself and Ellen, it would be a mistake of monumental proportions if anything more than a kiss happened between them tonight. Looking into her eyes again he murmured, "I know that you have no idea now what you feel for me but I'm asking for you to give yourself time to find out. That's all I'm asking for Ellen. Time for us to know what this is between us."


"Dara!" Mac shouted from the kitchen to alert Dara of the ringing telephone. Removing the cooked sausage from the pan, Mac listened more closely and heard the running water from the shower in the bathroom. After a momentary hesitation he lifted the telephone receiver and said, "Hello."

"Hi." Mac detected surprise in the feminine voice that uttered the greeting. "May I speak to Dara? My name is Janice Williams."

"Oh hi. Dara has spoken of you Janice and we met once previously. This is Mac Scorpio."

"Yes, I remember. Is Dara busy right now? I can call back later."

Mac was momentarily stunned by the lack of cordiality in Janice's voice but shrugged it off and offered, "One moment, I'll see if she's available." He took the cordless handset into the bathroom just as Dara was drying herself after the shower. Handing her the cordless phone, he kissed her quickly and said, "Your friend, Janice, is on the phone," and added, "Breakfast will be ready in ten minutes."

Dara flashed him a grateful smile and waited for him return to the kitchen before she placed the phone to her ear.

"Hi Janice."

"Hi stranger," Janice gently admonished her friend. "It's been weeks since we've heard from you."

Dara put on her terrycloth robe and stretched out on her bed as she chatted, "I know. I've been really busy for the past few weeks but you have discovered that the phone is a two-way device, I see." Dara could give as well as take when it came to teasing. Yeah, Dara was the one that usually called but nothing was stopping Janice from picking up the phone herself.

"O.K. I admit that I could call more often too. But I thought that we've become a casualty of your newly active social life." Against her better judgment Janice could not stop herself from saying, "You know, you and your new boyfriend even rated a blurb in our local scandal sheet up here in Buffalo." Janice wasn't totally truthful about the news article. Bonnie Fitzgerald previously had been fired from a Buffalo TV news program because of her scandalmonger style of reporting and the news article mentioned that the Buffalo native was up to her old tricks with her report of the Scorpio-Jensen affair in Port Charles. Janice was aware of Fitzgerald's less than sterling reputation and originally she called Dara with the intention of lifting her friend's spirits, but somehow hearing Mac Scorpio answer Dara's telephone brought out the witchy side of her personality.

Dara wasn't thrilled to be sparring on the telephone with Janice but she wasn't going to be bullied into feeling defensive about her relationship with Mac, especially from someone who should know better such as Janice. "I'm surprised we made the news up there. The reporter is an ally of Mac's soon-to-be ex-wife and the report was broadcast here more to hurt Mac and me than to report 'news'. Is that why you called, friend? To let me know that I made the news in Buffalo?"

"I wanted to remind you of the open invitation to visit us here and the report made me think that maybe you could use a few days away from Port Charles." Janice knew how much that report hurt Dara, who definitely liked to keep her private life private. She thought a few days away from Port Charles and Mac Scorpio could give Dara some much needed time to assess the path she was currently taking.

"Mac had just asked me what I wanted to do next week," Dara remarked. Valentine's Day was on Friday and Mac wanted Dara to give some suggestions on what they should do to celebrate. "I have a major trial that should hopefully wrap up within a day or two. Maybe Mac and I can take a few days and come to Buffalo and visit you and Robert. I think that it's time that we all get together."

Having anticipated that Dara might suggest bringing Scorpio with her, Janice had a ready reply. "Of course, Mac is welcomed to come here with you but you can't take a trip anymore without him?"

Giving a steely-voiced response, Dara said, "No Janice. I choose not to take this trip without him. Is he really going to be welcomed at your home or not because I can just come another time by myself."

After being assured by Janice that Mac would indeed be welcomed, Dara said that she'd get back to her with final details once she spoke to Mac. They spoke for a few more minutes to discuss the Janice's latest news and agreed to talk again on Sunday night. Dara joined Mac in the kitchen where they leisurely enjoyed the late morning breakfast together. Mac was going to suggest a long weekend in New York City for a Valentine day celebration but he quickly agreed to Dara's plan to see her friends in Buffalo, with a slight suggestion of his own. "We'll visit your friends on Friday and Saturday, but let's leave Sunday and Monday morning open, O.K.?"

"What will we do on Sunday and Monday?" Dara asked quizzically raising an eyebrow.

Mac smiled and said cryptically, "That's my surprise. Just wait and see."

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