Chapter 31

Taking advantage of the recently snow-cleared path, Dara practically sprinted up the courthouse steps. Working mightily to suppress a smile by biting her bottom lip, Dara somehow didn't think the judge would appreciate the reason for her late arrival in the courtroom this morning. She and Mac must start setting the alarm 30 minutes earlier or one day they'd pay the price for their morning wake-up routines. But the payment would not be required today because Dara entered the courtroom at 09:01 a.m., just as his honor Judge Marshall sat down at the bench. The jury was ready to give the verdict in Moreno's trial. Dara held her breath as the jury foreman read the verdicts - guilty on three counts of racketeering, one count of murder in the first degree, and one count of conspiracy. Judge Marshall ordered "quiet" as the courtroom became abuzz with conversations and commotion. He set a sentencing hearing for 2 weeks from today and the bailiff escorted the handcuff Anthony Moreno from the courtroom.

Taggert immediately paged Mac, who was unable to be in the courtroom this morning, with the news of the verdict. Officer Donna Richards was sitting next to Taggert in the courtroom, and both of them proceeded to the prosecutor's table to congratulate Dara on the victory.

"Now, can I congratulate you?" teased Taggert as he gave Dara a hug. He grinned remembering she didn't want to jinx the trial by celebrating too soon.

"Yes, you may." Dara was supremely happy that the trial had ended successfully. Winning this verdict would certainly be one of the highlights of her professional career. Looking at Marcus and Donna, she remarked, "We did it together, the DA's office and PCPD finest officers."

"How about going out and celebrating tonight?" Taggert suggested. Dara regretfully gave an apology and declined the invitation for dinner, but she agreed to get together briefly for a drink after work today. She knew that Mac would spend most of the evening with Maxie and Georgie and she had decided before hearing the verdict that she'd spend the evening quietly alone at home. Taggert couldn't completely hide the disappointment from his face when she declined the dinner offer, and both Donna and Dara noticed it.

For the last month Donna had been an observer of Taggert 's interactions with Dara and Mac. This morning she quickly decided to move from the observer role to an active participant in the attractive detective's life. Displaying an uncharacteristic boldness she turned to Taggert and offered, "Hey, I'm available to go out tonight to celebrate. Why don't we make reservations for dinner at La Margerita's tonight?"

The pretty redhead's dinner invitation momentarily stunned Taggert. He had had no idea that Donna might be interested in seeing him outside of work, but he swiftly recovered and accepted the dinner date. The three of them agreed to meet at 6 p.m. at a nearby bar for a congratulatory drink.


Mac had just ended a telephone call when Robin arrived at his office for a visit. To Mac, she seemed friendly and open and he was hopeful that he'd be able to explain the recent changes in his life to his niece. After offering Robin a seat and asking her if she'd like anything to drink, he inquired, "How are you doing at the house with Felicia and the girls?"

"I'm very glad to be home and to be able to spend time with them," Robin replied. Not seeing an easy way to tackle a difficult subject, Robin spoke bluntly but not harshly. "They're really hurting Uncle Mac. Do you really think that it is best for everyone that you're not living in the house with them?"

Sighing, Mac noted, "Robin, Felicia and I are getting divorced. Moving back into the house would just confuse the girls and give them hope in a hopeless situation."

"Uncle Mac, you have never really explained it to me. Why are you divorcing Felicia? She told me about her fling with Luke Spencer and I wouldn't for a moment presume to defend her actions. But she does love you Uncle Mac. I always thought she did; remember when I mentioned that to you once? Can't you find it in your heart to forgive her and get past this bad moment in your marriage?"

Mac felt his jaw clench as he silently swore at Felicia. It was obvious that she had spent quite a bit of time already telling Robin her side of the story. "Robin, I'm not sure what Felicia has told you but her relationship with Luke Spencer was quite a bit more than a fling. She repeatedly went off on numerous adventures with him, leaving the girls at home with me and putting herself in considerable danger. Several times I asked her not to see Luke again and each time she rebuked my request. I'm not going to go into a lot of the details of her affair with Luke but the breakup of our marriage was not just about Luke. Time and time again Felicia lied to me, put her own needs or Luke's needs before mine or the girls, and basically never acknowledged that she did anything wrong until she was forced to testify in court about the relationship. The bottom line is that Felicia doesn't now nor has ever loved me as much as I loved her. I understand that now and accept it. No amount of time in the house with Felicia will fix that and I'm ready to move on with my life."

Robin threw caution to the wind and asked, "I can't think of a better way to ask this, but wouldn't you give Felicia another chance if you weren't involved with Dara Jensen?"

Anger momentarily flickered in Mac's green eyes but he kept his voice calm, responding, "Robin, I love you more than I can say, but I'm not going to defend my relationship with Dara to you or anyone else. You're much younger than I am, and for years now you never wanted me to question your relationships with Stone Cates or Jason Morgan. Eventually with Stone and always with Jason I respected your wishes in this matter, and I expect no less from you now."

Robin winced when she heard Mac's response. Many times in the past she had chastised Mac for his comments on her relationship with Sonny, Stone, and Jason, so it was like a splash of cold water in her face to have her words turned back at her. Immediately contrite, she tried to apologize. "I didn't mean to be offensive Uncle Mac. I wasn't asking you to defend your relationship with Dara."

Leaning forward and frowning, Mac disagreed. "Yes, you were. And you are asking me to defend my decision to divorce Felicia. Because you're my niece I told you my reasons. You don't have to agree with them but I'm asking you to accept them. I always intend to be an important part of Maxie and Georgie's lives. And maybe eventually Felicia and I will be able to move towards friendship. But I won't be a convenience for her anymore and I won't be her husband for much longer." Feeling there was nothing else to say on this matter, Mac tried to relax again. He stood and suggested, "Why don't we get out of the office and go for a walk and you can tell me more about Paris and your friends and your studies."

Unfortunately, after their discussion Robin didn't feel in the mood for an uncle/niece bonding experience. She needed some time to mull over what Mac had said to her. "Can I take a rain-check? Maybe we can talk some more tomorrow or Wednesday before you leave town."

Mac was disappointed that Robin obviously wanted to leave now but he didn't try to change her mind. Instead, he put on his coat and escorted Robin from the station. He then decided to head to General Hospital to catch up with Kevin.


Ellen was busy discussing a chart of a patient recently transferred from the emergency room with Grace Sullivan when she heard the exclamation, "There you are! I've been looking all over for you! Where have you been?"

"Working," was Ellen's flippant reply to Lucy's interruption. "Hold on for a minute." After giving Grace a few more instructions, Ellen remained at the nurse's station but gave her complete attention to Ms. Lucy Coe, who was obviously very excited about something.

"Oh, oh," Ellen said with a wary look in her eyes. "Every time I see you like this it means only one thing - trouble. Maybe I should make my escape now."

"Not a chance," countered the flamboyant Lucy Coe. "You still owe me big time for saving your life in the woods last summer and this is a way for you to make significant progress on paying that debt."

With great reservations Ellen asked Lucy for details and she was in total shock when she heard that Lucy had arranged for Matt, Kevin, Lucy, and herself to spend Valentine evening together at Luke's. Apparently Lucy had been unsuccessful lately in getting Kevin to agree to spend some quality, romantic time alone with her, so Lucy came up with a brainstorm. Maybe Kevin and Lucy could double-date with Matt and Ellen on Valentine's Day. In Lucy's opinion, the happy engaged couple were the perfect people to help Lucy put Kevin's mind on the romance track on Valentine's Day. Ellen tried to beg off by saying that she probably had to work that evening but Lucy had already arranged with her ex-husband, Alan Quartermaine, GH's chief of staff, to make sure that both Matt and Ellen would have Valentine evening off. As Ellen continued to argue against meeting that evening, Lucy's mood changed from exuberance to exasperation.

"Ellen, what is the problem?" Lucy pouted. "Both Matt and Kevin have already agreed; why are you resisting?"

"What do you mean Matt and Kevin have already agreed?" Ellen couldn't believe that Kevin had agreed to Lucy's suggestion.

"Well, I just saw Matt on the 6th floor when I was looking for you and he agreed immediately. And earlier today, after a few moments of resistance Kevin agreed also. You are the last person that I would have expected some problems from. You're going to do this for me, right?"

Not being able to come up with a plausible reason for not accepting Lucy's proposal, Ellen finally agreed. Hugging Ellen and kissing her on both cheeks, Lucy soon departed. Tapping her pen on the counter of the nurse's station and deep in thought for a minute, Ellen forgot about continuing her work with Grace and she headed to Kevin Collin's office. Grace had been a silent observer of the Lucy-Ellen discussion and she watched Ellen as she headed down the hallway.

"What? Did Burgess just do something to tick you off?" Chris Ramsey had just arrived and he saw the intense look that Grace had on her face as she watched Ellen.

Ignoring his question, Grace turned to face him and asked, "Chris, do you have plans for Valentine Day already?"

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