Chapter 38

Ellen's shift in the emergency room wasn't scheduled to start until 8 a.m., yet Matt made his way down the corridor towards Ellen's office even though his watch indicated it was just 07:05. The couple hadn't spoken to each other since Matt left Ellen at her apartment more than two nights ago. Despite the fact he'd told Ellen emphatically that night he'd get back in touch with her when he was ready to talk, every call to his apartment this past weekend made his heart leap in anticipation that it was Ellen calling him. And each hope was dashed when Matt heard Joe, Karen, or Grace's voice on the other end of the telephone line. So early this Monday morning after his third sleepless night, Matt decided to go to Ellen's office to see her after not being able to reach her at her apartment when he called an hour ago. Matt wouldn't allow his mind to travel down the path of where Ellen might be instead of her office or apartment at 6 a.m. this morning. No matter what had or hadn't happened between Ellen and Kevin Collins, Matt still believed that he knew Ellen better than anyone, even better than she knew herself. There was a slim chance Ellen might be with Alice this morning but he was certain Ellen wasn't with Kevin. She'd never move forward with the relationship until they'd finished their conversation from Friday night; of that he was sure. He smiled wryly when he saw the light stream underneath the door from Ellen's office. Knocking quickly on the door and not waiting for a response, Matt entered the office.

Blinking her eyes, Ellen turned towards the opened door and struggled to rise to a sitting position on the couch. She had spent two miserable days not leaving her apartment and decided to do something productive by going to work to prepare for the coming week. Ellen also knew that Matt was due to work on Sunday night and she'd hoped to see him at GH, but Grace coolly informed Ellen upon inquiring that Matt had traded shifts with Eve Lambert and he wouldn't be in the hospital until Monday morning. Upon finishing her paperwork and bone-tired, Ellen decided to lie down on the couch for a few minutes before leaving the hospital, but the worry and lack of sleep during the past several days finally caught up with her, and Ellen slept in her office until the knock on the door awakened her.

"Matt," Ellen said groggily as she rubbed her eyes. "What time is it?"

"A little after 7:00," Matt replied. Stating the obvious he asked, "You were here all night?"

"Yes, I guess subconsciously I didn't want to go back to my apartment after work last night so I slept here, even though I can't say that I had a restful night," Ellen ruefully commented as she rubbed the back of her neck.

Matt had to tightly grip the side of his car; it was almost a natural instinct for him to want to go to Ellen and massage her neck and shoulders as he had done so many times. Seeing Matt look at her, Ellen read his mind and nervously lowered her hand to the couch. Dropping her gaze for a moment, Ellen said, "You don't know how many times I fought from calling you this weekend. I must have picked up the telephone at least a dozen times, but when I realized I didn't know what I'd say, I'd just put the phone down."

In a wistful voice Matt asked, "Could you say that you love me?"

Looking at Matt again with tear-filled eyes, Ellen said brokenly, "I do love you Matt but I don't know myself anymore. I can't understand how I can love you and ... and still have these feelings for ... Kevin." As Ellen wiped the tears starting to stream down her face, Matt saw she was no longer wearing her engagement ring.

"It seems you've already made your decision about me even though you aren't sure about Kevin yet." Matt said bitterly. "Where is your engagement ring?"

Pulling a gold chain from under her silk blouse, Ellen displayed the diamond and sapphire ring on the chain. Unclasping the chain, Ellen removed the ring and held it in her hand.

Knowing Ellen was going to return the engagement ring to him, Matt struck out at the man who came between them. "Are you willing to end our engagement to take up with Kevin who's gone through relationships with Lucy and Eve during the three years that we've known him? Women he supposedly loved?"

"Matt, I wouldn't break up with you for a fling or a spurious affair. You know that. If it was just a sexual attraction or something, I could write it off as something stupid and know that it wouldn't affect you and me. But what I feel for Kevin is much more than that. We're close; we always have been close. And I can't marry you and always think, "What if?" We might be able to make it work for a while, but you know it would always be there between us. You'd think of it sometime if the future when we would see Kevin here at GH or in Port Charles. And sometime...I would too. I don't know if Kevin and I really have a future. I honestly don't know. But I do know that I can't marry you now."

For a fleeting second Matt was going to tell Ellen he'd didn't want the ring and she should keep it, but what would be the point? He rolled his chair directly in front of her on the couch and sat forward as Ellen placed the ring in his hand. Matt wrapped his arms around Ellen and pulled her into his embrace. Kissing her face, Matt felt the moistness on her cheek from the tears, and he smiled sadly as he felt her return the kiss. Pulling his head away from hers and looking into her lovely brown eyes, Matt cupped her face in his hands and stated, "I love you Ellen. You know that. But I can't wait for you anymore."

Ellen kissed the inside of Matt's left hand, nodding, and agreed, "I know Matt. I know."

Releasing her, Matt rolled back in his chair still looking at Ellen and only turned around when he reached the door. Without speaking another word, he left the office.


"You'll pay big-time Mac for throwing me in that snowdrift this morning," Dara yelled as she grinned mischievously and used the hairdryer to dry her freshly shampooed hair. After awaking early to watch the sun rise, Mac coaxed Dara out of the warm, comfortable, cozy bed to dress and look at the area outside around the cabin. An 18-inch snowdrift immediately greeted them upon opening the cabin door and Dara shot Mac a "you've got to be out of your mind" look. Before she could protest Mac wrapped his arms around Dara's waist and pulled her along in the snow. Living in Chicago Dara became used to cold weather and snow but she never, ever really liked it.

Thinking it was absolute folly to be outside walking in knee-deep snow for 'fun', Dara asked and answered a rhetorical question. "How many black people do you see competing in the winter Olympics Mac? Darn few and you know why? Because we generally don't like cold weather," Dara declared emphatically. "There may be exceptions but I'm not one of them."

"Come on," Mac crooned. "We won't be out here that long but you at least have to see the lake. And it really isn't that cold."

Grudgingly Dara had to admit that it wasn't 'that' cold, especially since they were warmly dressed in boots, parkas, ski pants, and mittens. The walk to the lake took ten minutes, and that was 7 minutes more than normal due to the large amount of snow. The lake was not completely frozen but huge chunks of ice and snow floated in the sub-freezing water. Mac noted that if there was less snow and if it were a bit colder they could have gone ice-skating. Dara rebuked his idea mentioning she didn't have ice skates and Mac smiled and announced yes she did. He'd bought them for her as a surprise but Mother Nature didn't cooperate and it was one part of his surprise this weekend that didn't go as planned. Shaking her head in disbelief, Dara pulled Mac's face to hers and gave him a deep sensuous kiss that literally took his breath away. Knowing Dara had successfully made her case for heading back to the cabin, Mac laughed, agreeing to cut their nature walk short. But he did have his fun when he started a snowball fight just outside of the cabin and the couple found themselves falling over each other in the snow. Dara put up a good fight with a killer aim as Mac was hit several times by her snowballs. In the end though Mac fought dirty when he literally lifted Dara's petite body and tossed her in a snowpile. Yet Mac didn't get away unscathed since Dara had a tight grip on Mac's parka when he lifted her in the air, she yanked him into the pile of snow with her. Laughing uncontrollably at their admittedly juvenile antics, the pair finally entered the cabin exhausted and drenched in perspiration and melted snow. After showering and shaving, Mac made a peace offering by suggesting he'd cook breakfast while Dara dried her hair. He grinned broadly upon hearing Dara's comment about the snowdrift and knew he'd have to be on his guard for the next few days in case Dara really intended to follow through on her promise.

"Breakfast, or more accurately brunch, is ready," he announced. Exclaiming she was starved, Dara did justice to the delicious meal Mac had prepared and ate everything on her plate. Dara watched Mac as he finished eating and marveled at the effort he'd gone to make this weekend so special for both of them. Mac's eyes locked with Dara's and he could discern she was deep in thought as she watched him closely. "What it is?" Mac asked. Not getting an immediate response from Dara, he teased her by inquiring, "Are you plotting your revenge for this morning's snowfight?"

Scooting her chair right next to his, Dara leaned in to kiss Mac and whispered, "I was just thinking how much I love you Mac."

"You don't know how happy that makes me," Mac replied hoarsely as he captured Dara's lips and deepened the kiss. Mac was beginning to lose himself in warmth and passion of Dara's embrace when his sharp ears heard the sound of a vehicle approaching the cabin.

Immediately breaking the kiss, Mac swiftly rose from his seat and instructed Dara to stay at the table. No one should be coming to the cabin and thoughts of Moreno and his threats quickly rose in Mac's mind. His gun was in loft on the dresser and Mac thought of retrieving it first, but instead he raced swiftly to the window to identify the unexpected visitor.

"I can't believe it!" a thunderstruck Mac exclaimed. He turned to look at Dara and said almost as an apology, "It's Felicia and Robin." Dara was shocked in disbelief and she joined Mac at the window. Twisting her mouth into a wry grin Dara said, "I guess we have to let them in, don't we?" Mac laughed and was grateful Dara was taking Felicia and Robin's arrival so well.

"Well, they can have the cabin all to themselves because we were just about ready to return to Port Charles anyway," Mac replied. "But let's stay long enough to hear why they are here." They walked together to the door and Mac opened it just as Felicia entered a key in the lock.

Mac raised his eyebrows, seeing Felicia with her hand in mid-air holding a key, and asked sarcastically, "You weren't going to even knock?" His estranged wife pushed her way past Mac into the cabin; Robin followed closely behind.

"It's freezing outside Mac and the snow is a foot deep," Felicia sniped, tracking snow into the cabin and stamping her feet. Even though she was not looking forward to catching her husband in bed with Dara, that scenario would sound much more salacious and scandalous on the evening news than Mac and Dara being fully dressed and virtually greeting her at the cabin door. She drove for three hours in really awful weather for this? Immensely disappointed that her surprise visit didn't turn out exactly as she'd planned, Felicia decided to stick to her story and play the part of the concerned, but cuckolded wife.

"Robin told me about your accident yesterday," Felicia said sympathetically. "When we couldn't get in touch with you on your cellphone and with the weather and all and knowing the SUV was damaged, we got worried and decided to come up here to help."

Mac didn't buy that explanation for a second and fairly snorted upon hearing it. He was ready to explode over Felicia malicious prank when he felt Dara loop her arms around his waist. Dara didn't believe Felicia any more than Mac did but she wanted Felicia to be upset; not Mac and her touch prompted Mac to look at her face. Almost instantly his anger abated and he knew that he shouldn't let Felicia ruin their almost perfect weekend.

Dara smiled and said smoothly, "Well, as you can see we are quite alright. In fact, we're just about ready to return to Port Charles so it's too bad you came all the way up here for nothing. But thanks ever so much for thinking about us."

"There's no reason to be nasty," Robin accused Dara, looking at her with a fierce stare. "Felicia really was concerned about Uncle Mac and you're trying to make fun of her because she still loves him."

"Little girl," Dara said using a truly condescending tone, "you have no idea what's going on here and you would do very well to stay out of this." Up to a point Dara was willing to take some crap from Felicia because even though she had treated Mac shamefully, strictly speaking Felicia was still his wife. However Robin was a completely different story and she wasn't about to be upbraided by her, niece or no niece. Dara didn't have a particularly close relationship with Keesha Ward when she lived in Port Charles but she remembered Justus speaking of Keesha's pain when Jason Quatermaine's accident transformed him to Jason Morgan, who wanted nothing to do with Keesha. Dara vaguely remembered Robin being friendly with both Jason and Keesha, especially during Stone Cates' illness and it always rubbed Dara the wrong way that Robin could so easily take up with Jason Morgan after he had treated Keesha so shabbily.

"Uncle Mac!" Robin wailed.

Acting as if Robin and Felicia weren't even there, Dara told Mac she was going to clean up the breakfast things so they could leave the cabin in a few minutes. Mac nodded and agreed, adding he would pack their bags. Going up the steps to the loft, Mac said informed Felicia and Robin that they were welcomed to stay in the cabin as long as they'd like to warm themselves up before returning to Port Charles. Felicia stood shivering in the cabin, not from the cold air outside but from the tremendous rage that roared inside of her body. She was almost too angry to cry and too furious to hurl insults her husband and the tramp who acted as if Felicia didn't matter. "Well, I do matter!" she thought to herself. "I won't be ignored and they'll regret every humiliating scene they've put me through during the last few months!" Feeling Robin touch her arm in an attempt to comfort her, Felicia looked at her through tear-filled eyes and cried, "I was a fool to come up here and be worried about Mac. He's abandoned me and the girls and couldn't care less about us. Let's go back home."

Upon hearing the cabin door open, Mac expelled a sigh of relief and was glad Felicia was leaving without making a huge scene. But it was only fate that kept her from ruining his weekend with Dara, and remembering that he said loudly from the loft, "Felicia, leave the key to the cabin here before you leave." Screaming an obscene remark, Felicia flung the key in the air outside and challenged Mac to go and find it for himself. Robin left the cabin door wide open as they trudged through the snow to their vehicle and the women departed.

"Whew," Dara said, closing the door of the cabin. "I don't think Felicia expected to find us dressed and finishing breakfast upon her arrival today." Shaking her head in disbelief, she added, "Why in the world would she put herself through something like this? I don't understand it."

Mac kissed Dara softly, replying, "Because she's miserable right now and she wants us to be miserable too. But that's not going to happen."

"Oh you are so right Mr. Scorpio, you are so right," Dara concurred, drawing Mac in for another breathtaking kiss.


Later in the day, 5 p.m. at General Hospital...

"How long has she been gone?" Frustrated and disappointed after hearing Ellen had left the hospital for the day, Kevin ended the call and sat at the desk in his office, wondering if he should try calling Ellen at her apartment or better yet, go by her apartment. Even though they had spoken on the telephone during the weekend, Kevin missed not seeing Ellen and the telephone calls were a poor substitute for sharing physical space with her. As much as he continued to want a romantic relationship with the beautiful Dr. Burgess, Kevin realized that he deeply missed being with his friend. He understood Ellen's request that they shouldn't see each other until she settled things with Matt, but he truly ached to be with her. Thinking Ellen wouldn't object to seeing him in a public setting and hoping to see her at the Recovery Room or Ruby's Diner, Kevin retrieved his winter coat from the hook on the office door. His plans for leaving immediately failed to take place when upon opening the door, Kevin faced Matt Harmon who obviously was just about to knock.

"I'm sure that you can spare me a few minutes of your time Kevin," Matt tersely stated. Not waiting for an invitation to come in, Matt rolled himself into Kevin's office. "I have a problem and I was hoping you could help me with it."

Kevin closed the office door and placed his coat back on the hook. Taking a seat on the arm of the couch, just opposite of Matt, Kevin began, "I know you are furious with me and there's ..." Whatever Kevin was going to say was lost because Matt reached forward to grasp Kevin's jacket and swung his right fist, landing a solid punch on Kevin's jaw and cheek. The blow was powerful enough to make Kevin lose his balance on the arm of the couch and he fell to the floor, along with Matt who was still holding Kevin's jacket. Matt's fist struck Kevin's face again but the second blow wasn't as powerful as the first due to Kevin turning his head slightly in an effort to avoid Matt's assault. Wrenching Matt's hand from his jacket, Kevin shoved Matt away and was finally able to scramble to his feet. He walked back several steps and watched and waited as Matt struggled to get back in his chair. It was obvious that Matt had injured his right hand during the fight and the pain made it difficult for him to get back in the chair, but Kevin just waited and didn't offer to help. What Kevin knew of Matt, he knew the very last thing Matt would want was for Kevin to offer any help. If anything, Matt would use the opportunity to renew his assault Kevin thought. Not that he blamed Matt; whom he felt was totally justified in his anger. Feeling blood in his mouth and on his lips, Kevin used a handkerchief to wipe it away.

Upon settling himself in his chair, Matt thought he was hallucinating when he heard Kevin ask, "Are you alright?"

Matt spat back in an angry voice, "Like you give a damn Kevin. No, I am NOT alright. Ellen has just broken our engagement because of you so I am definitely not alright!"

"Matt, I know you love Ellen. But I do also. I love Ellen also," Kevin declared. He thought it was strange he had told Mac, Lucy, and now Matt he loved Ellen but he had not said those words yet to Ellen. And Kevin knew it might be some time before she would be ready to hear and accept those words from him.

"So you think that makes everything you did O.K.?" Matt asked contemptuously. "Taking advantage of her friendship? Making your moves on her when I was out of town? Hitting on her when Lucy and I were blissfully ignorant of your agenda?" Matt remembered Kevin's, "You don't mind if I dance with Ellen, do you?" request at Luke's on Valentine's Day. Just thinking of it made Matt want to go after Kevin again.

Kevin shook his head ruefully and answered, "No. My love for Ellen is an explanation, not an excuse. There is no excuse for my behavior so I won't try to offer one."

Matt initially wished he had gotten a few more hits on Kevin's body but sitting there now he knew no matter how many times he would have struck Kevin, he would not feel better. He'd lost Ellen, and nothing would make him feel better for a long, long time, if ever.


Upon entering the house Robin looked at Felicia and said, "Why don't you just rest tonight? I'll take care of Maxie and Georgie; you just take care of yourself."

Knowing Robin was doing her best to lift her spirits, Felicia accepted Robin's offer. "Thank Robin. Bobbie is probably upstairs with the girls now. Why don't you tell her she can leave and if you could be with the girls most of the evening, I'd appreciate it."

As she sat alone in the living room, Felicia was trying to work out in her mind the format of Bonnie Fitzgerald's next news story. Bobbie had suggested Felicia herself should appear on camera and talk of her misery since Mac has walked out on his family. At first Felicia was resistant to the suggestion but after today is sounded like a fabulous idea. As soon as Bobbie left, Felicia would arrange to meet with Bonnie. Hearing someone walk down the stairs, Felicia, not turning her head, said, "Bobbie, thanks for watching the girls for me."

"Right family, wrong sibling darling." Felicia's eyes widened in surprise as she watched Luke Spencer approach her. All thought of her miserable day left her conscious mind.

"Luke!" Felicia shrieked, running to him. "You don't know how happy I am to see you."

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