Clutching Mac's hand tightly as they walked together
to the house, the word 'set-up' repeatedly ran through
Dara's mind. Under normal circumstances, she would
have been pleased to meet Mac's niece. In fact, Mac
had spoken a few nights earlier of taking Dara to
France in the spring and at that time telling Robin
about their relationship. It was obvious that Robin's
visit took Mac by complete surprise and she wondered
if Felicia was involved in getting Robin to come home.
Dara didn't underestimate Felicia's ability to use
anyone or anything at her disposal to stop Mac from
divorcing her, but she fervently hoped that Robin
wouldn't be dragged into this battle.
"We'll only be here for a few minutes," Mac repeated
again, interrupting Dara's silent musings. "I don't
want to talk to Robin now with Felicia and the girls
there, but I do want to welcome her home."
Upon Mac opening the door, both Maxie and Georgie ran
with arms spread wide open to embrace him.
"Come on in and sit down. Robin will be downstairs in
a few minutes," Felicia said, relieving Mac and Dara
of their winter coats. Felicia was being the perfect
hostess for the impromptu gathering. A tray of sugar
cookies were on the living room coffee table and the
lighted fireplace gave the room a warm, welcoming
ambience. With a grudging smirk on her face, Dara
expected Felicia to be dressed as a 50s sitcom mother
in pearls and an apron and high heels when she
returned from the kitchen. She was certainly adroit at
presenting the picture of a perfect home. Maxie and
Georgie joined Mac and Dara on the living room couch
and they talked excitedly of greeting Robin's flight
that afternoon at the airport.
Standing to help Felicia with the tray of coffee and
tea she was bringing from the kitchen, Mac inquired,
"How long have you known that Robin was going to be
"Robin called me last night and told me that she was
on her way home," replied Felicia as she poured the
coffee. Her response wasn't an actual lie, she
reasoned. Robin did call the previous night to say
that she had finally arranged with her professors to
work on her college assignments for a few weeks from
the States and that she would be on the next flight
from Paris. "The girls are thrilled that she's here,"
and she silently added, "and so am I."
Mac and Dara exchanged a brief glance. It was obvious
that neither one of them believed that Felicia was
completely surprised by Robin's visit but they said
nothing because at that moment Robin herself came down
"Hi Uncle Mac," Robin said warmly as she kissed Mac on
the cheek and hugged him. Robin wasn't surprised to
see Dara, in fact Felicia had cattily stated that Mac
couldn't seem to make a move these days without Dara's
approval, and she cordially said hello. Robin found it
hard to believe that her uncle Mac would abandon
Felicia and the girls for a fling with a co-worker and
she came back home to see the situation for herself.
During their brief telephone conversations Mac had
only said that he and Felicia were getting divorced
and he hadn't wanted to give any details on the
telephone. After everyone was seated Mac asked Robin
what prompted her sudden visit.
Robin didn't look directly at Mac when she responded
to his question but instead reached for a sugar cookie
from the platter. "I wanted to surprise everyone Uncle
Mac. I know that everyone was disappointed when I
didn't come home for Christmas, and to be honest I was
feeling a little homesick myself. Once my classes
started I saw that I could easily take a week or two
in February to come home and visit, so that's what I
decided to do."
Mac gave Robin a somewhat disappointed smile. "Well,
it's wonderful to have you home Robin but I wish that
you had let me know earlier. I've made plans to be out
of town for several days starting Thursday so we may
not be able to see much of each other during your
Biting back an unusually scathing comment, Felicia
widened her eyes in mock surprise and slyly murmured,
"Oh Mac, surely you can change whatever your plans
were. What could be more important than visiting with
Robin during her short visit here?"
Dara willed herself to remain silent and let Mac
handle the situation. She wanted to volunteer that
they could cancel their planned trip to Buffalo but
somehow she didn't feel comfortable doing it in front
of Felicia and Robin. In a way, she felt that is what
Felicia expected her to do and she didn't want to give
her that particular satisfaction. Instead, she decided
to wait until they left and tell Mac that it was O.K.
for them to reschedule the trip for a later date. But
Mac had no intention of changing his upcoming travel
Instead, after taking a sip of his coffee he offered,
"Well, what I can do instead is take off even more
time from work this week and spend more time with
Robin in the daytime and the girls in the evening.
That will give us plenty of time together before I
leave on Thursday."
Not able to restrain herself any longer, Felicia
quickly disposed of her happy homemaker fašade as she
listened to Mac's suggestion. "Maxie, Georgie - go
upstairs now," she ordered with a somewhat shaky
voice. "I need to talk to Mac alone for a few
moments." As soon as the girl's bedroom door closed,
Felicia cut loose, sarcastically advising, "You'd
better not take off so much time from work now Mac
since you're trying to force me into this divorce.
You'll need the income for alimony and child support
Dara felt that this visit had gone on more than long
enough and calmly suggested, "Mac, we really have to
"And you," interrupting and turning the full force of
her fury on Dara, Felicia bitterly remarked, "When Mac
lived in our home with us his work always came first
and his family and marriage were a distant second. Now
he's willing to ignore his work, his niece, and the
rest of his family for an out-of-town rendezvous with
you. If you had any decency you would tell Mac to act
more responsibly, but you're too selfish to do that."
"Felicia, stop it!" Mac barked fiercely to cut short
Felicia's diatribe. Seeing that his sharp rebuke had
stunned Felicia momentarily into silence, he turned to
Robin. "Robin, do you plan to stay here, or do you
want to come stay at my apartment?"
"Robin, you should stay here with me and the girls,
especially if you don't want to be alone in Mac's
apartment all of the time. 'We' want to see you,"
Felicia said with the emphasis on we, implying that
Mac didn't care about seeing Robin.
"Uncle Mac, I'll stay here, especially since you'll be
leaving on Thursday." Robin understood that she was at
fault for not giving Mac advance notice of her visit,
but she felt somewhat slighted that he didn't even
consider changing his travel plans. There are two
sides to every story Robin reasoned and she hadn't
heard Mac's side yet, but Robin could understand how
Mac's new relationship with Dara Jensen could hurt
Felicia so deeply.
Mac could sense that Robin was siding with Felicia
based on her last response, but he planned to explain
things to her as soon as possible when they were
alone. "Can you come by my office tomorrow afternoon?
That will give me the morning to take care of some
business and then we'll have time to talk." Upon
receiving Robin's acceptance of his suggestion, Mac
rose from the couch and took Dara's hand as she stood
also. He reminded Felicia that he was to visit the
girls tomorrow on Monday night and quickly departed
"Mac," began Dara, but she was silenced as Mac
captured her lips in a sweet, yet passion-filled kiss.
Upon breaking the kiss Mac looked at Dara and assured
her, "Don't worry. I'll talk to Robin. But we're
leaving Thursday so that I can meet your friends and
so we can have a weekend away from this madness,
"O.K." Dara replied. They held each other tightly and
walked to the car.
Slowly stirring the vegetable tofu soup she was
preparing for Matt, Ellen couldn't keep her mind from
drifting back to a brief encounter earlier that
afternoon. At 12:30 she was ending her shift in the
emergency room of GH and had just changed clothes when
someone knocked on her office door. Kevin Collins was
standing there with a particularly attractive and
infectious smile on his face. He was in an overcoat
and obviously on his way out of the hospital.
"Hi," Kevin said warmly. "I came to pick up this file
on a patient I'm seeing for the first time tomorrow,
and I wondered if you were in today."
"I just finished my shift and I'm on my way out too.
What has you so busy that you're working weekends
these days?" Ellen inquired. She considered not having
to work on Sundays as one of the nice benefits of
being a psychologist on staff at GH.
"It's my own fault. I just got behind in my
preparation work; I guess I have had other things on
my mind lately," Kevin said with meaning, looking
directly into Ellen's eyes.
Averting her eyes away from Kevin's, Ellen murmured,
"Oh." As she removed her coat from the hanger, Kevin
smoothly took it from her and held it open for her to
put on. Against his better judgment, Kevin couldn't
stop himself from letting his hands slide down Ellen's
arms as she stood with her back to him and buttoned
her coat. Hearing the sharp intake of breath from
Ellen, Kevin quickly broke contact with her and
stepped back a few paces in order to place some
physical distance between them.
Fumbling with the pencils on Ellen's desk, Kevin
worked to steady his voice. "I'm on my way to grab
something for lunch. I would really love it if you'd
join me for lunch today," Kevin asked, hoping that
she'd say yes.
Slowly turning around, Ellen shook her head, "I would
love that also, but I can't. Matt is coming back this
evening and I'm leaving now for his apartment to
prepare some homemade vegetable soup for him." For
some reason, Ellen wanted to kick herself because she
thought her reply sounded a little too disappointed,
which was ridiculous. She and Kevin could have lunch
anytime; why did she sound so disappointed?
Kevin shrugged and nodded. "Well, maybe we can get
together later this week. Come on, I'll walk you to
your car." As they exited the elevator for the parking
garage, Kevin and Ellen encountered Mary Scanlon and
Grace Sullivan. It was probably Ellen's imagination
but something about the way Mary said, "Dr. Collins,
Dr. Burgess," made Ellen face flush with
embarrassment, and she swiftly continued walking to
her car. Kevin was almost a full foot taller than
Ellen yet he had to walk fast to keep pace with her.
When she reached her car, nervousness and
embarrassment made Ellen clumsy as she fumbled with
the key trying to place it in the door lock. Her
shaking hand actually chipped some of the car paint on
the door with the key.
"Stop, let me." Kevin large hand enclosed Ellen's
smaller one as he steadied her hand to unlock the
door. Opening the door with one hand, Kevin released
Ellen's hand but moved his other hand to gently rest
at the small curve of her back and looked at her and
waited. They stood there for several seconds, not more
than an inch of space between them, watching and
waiting for the other person to make a move, and
barely breathing. Finally Kevin whispered hoarsely,
"Do you really think that we can do this?"
Ellen closed her eyes and sharply turned her face away
from Kevin's, her voice cracking as she said, "I don't
know. I don't seem to know anything anymore. I have to
go." Dropping quickly into the car seat, Ellen started
the car and briefly locked gaze with Kevin again
before she drove away. Ellen was still replaying these
memories in her mind when the sound of the apartment
door opening interrupted her thoughts.
"Ellen?" Matt called out. He had missed her terribly
during the week. More than once he joked that she
should hop on the next plane to New York City to join
him and he was a little disappointed that she didn't
take him up on the offer. But the week was finally
over and he was ecstatic to be back home with his
fiancÚ. Ellen promptly turned off the stove and rushed
from the kitchen to welcome Matt home.
Mike, who met Matt at the airport, carried Matt's
suitcase at they entered the apartment. "I am so glad
that you are back home Matt," Ellen said as she hugged
and kissed Matt. From the few occasions Mike had seen
Ellen during the week, she seemed troubled and Mike
was starting to worry about her. But seeing how happy
she was that Matt was home, Mike's worries
"Hey, I brought him home for you? Shouldn't I get
something too?" Mike joked.
Ellen laughed and replied, "Your good deed hasn't gone
unnoticed. Can you join us for dinner in an hour?"
Mike shook his head and smiled, "Oh no. I'm not going
to intrude on your first night back together. I'll
just put it on your tab." Mike deposited Matt's
suitcase in the bedroom and left to give Matt and
Ellen some much needed privacy.
For the rest of the evening Matt enjoyed the delicious
dinner that Ellen had taken a lot of time to prepare
and told her of his week in New York City. He
mentioned some of the sightseeing he was able to do
and the major speakers at the medical conference.
Ellen filled Matt in on most of the new news from
General Hospital. During their telephone conversations
Matt thought Ellen had sounded somewhat distracted but
tonight he only saw her joy at his being home. Ellen
debated for several days whether she should tell Matt
anything of her recent encounters with Kevin, but as
soon as she heard Matt's voice tonight she didn't have
to think about the issue anymore. She didn't want
anything to take away from their reunion tonight.
Maybe, one day in the future she might tell Matt about
what happened with Kevin but tonight definitely was
not the right time. Snuggling in Matt's arms on the
sofa, she was just glad he was home and told herself
as she drifted off for a brief nap that everything
would turn out all right.
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