Chapter Fifteen

~ Dealing ~

A school bus met an oily patch on the road and toppled into a ditch. GH's ER soon became filled with the injured parties and worried parents. Most of the doctors moved quickly to the bottom floor to assist with the emergency. Simone followed a nurse behind the curtain and discovered a crying seven-year-old with a broken arm. She spoke soothingly to the little girl while she set the child's arm. When she finished, the child wrapped her good arm around the doctor's neck and gave Simone a strong hug. Tears burned Simone's eyes at the sudden demonstration of gratitude. Instantly, she was reminded of Tommy's younger years and she couldn't help but return the child's hug.

"What excellent bedside manner you have," Doug Ross commented as he entered the enclosed area and the little girl left.

Simone ignored the suggestive gleam in his dark eyes and pulled off her latex gloves. "Shouldn't you be assisting with patients?"

"Everything is under control," he said. "Broken limbs have been set in casts. Bloody wounds have been bandaged. The parents are outside now, claiming their children."

"Good," she said. "My services are no longer needed."

She moved to stride past him, but she never made it. He caught her wrist. His grasp was light, but firm. Careful of someone noticing a scuffle, she didn't try to break free. Instead, she faced him and waited.

"We can't work like this."

"Like what?" Simone asked, although she knew he referred to the tension between them.

She'd always been able to maintain control of her emotions. This new inability to separate the past with the present was foreign. The night they shared at a medical conference happened years ago. They talked and she shared things with him she never said to a soul. Not even Tom. The moment was more intimate than a night in his hotel room would have been. Simone sighed. It was pointless to continue to harp on all of that now. It was just one brief moment in time.

He dropped her hand. He shoved balled fists into the pockets of his green scrubs. "I didn't move to Port Charles because of you. I thought you were still in Africa, but now, that I've seen you again, I can't forget how well we connected."

"Doug, drop it."

"I can't." He drew in a harsh breath and took a step closer to her. "You're not happy, Simone. You're a brilliant doctor and a caring, beautiful woman. You deserve happiness."

"And you think I can find that with you?" She shook her head. "I'm also a married woman with a son. I'm not a cheater."

"You wouldn't have to cheat to be involved with me."

Simone rolled her eyes. She couldn't believe him. This conversation was what she had feared the most. She had been right to avoid him.

"I won't be involved with you."

"Not even as my friend?" he asked, his voice low and pleading. "That's all I'm suggesting, Simone. I know you won't leave Tom until you realize he's not right for you."

"And you are?"

He grinned. "Probably not. I have a reputation and I've made bad choices. I'm simply offering friendship and a stress-free working environment."

"Do you really believe you're capable of that?"

"I hope so." He extended his hand. "Let's shake on it. That will keep me honorable."

Simone felt her resolve slip. She smiled and accepted his hand. "Okay. Just friends."


Keesha watched Jason process everything she told him. Disbelief shone vividly in his blue eyes to be followed by horror. Seeing the emotions flicker across her face, Keesha regretted having said a word. She should have listened to her inner voice and kept Jason Morgan's actions away from Jason. He would try to make sense out of his other persona's lifestyle where none could be made. She knew because for the past two years she had been doing the same.

Jason felt Keesha's concern as strongly as if it had been a warm blanket wrapping around him on a cold winter morning. He wished he could reassure her that he was okay, but he couldn't. Knowing the depths he sunk—lying about his brother's child, treating Keesha horribly, mob boss for Sonny's organization—made him ill to the very depths of his soul. Murmuring false words of comfort would be another atrocity, and he refused to commit any more.

He crossed the room and planted his hands on her shoulders. Her glassy brown eyes brimmed with tears, mirroring the turmoil he felt deep inside.

"I shouldn't have said anything," she said. "I wish I could take it all back."

He shook his head. "No, you did what I asked. I have to face up to it all now."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Make amends," Jason answered. "I have so much to apologize for that I'm not sure where to start."

Keesha frowned. "You don't have to apologize for anything. That was the past. Everyone knows you're not that man anymore."

"That's an excuse," he said, "but it's not necessarily true. Jason Morgan lived inside of me, and somewhere deep inside he's still there. In order to deal with him, I have to come to terms with his actions and the people he affected." He hugged her tight to his chest and placed a kiss on her lips before releasing her. "I have to go out for awhile. If you want, go to the station. I'm not sure when I'll be back."

"Where are you going?"

Jason grabbed his keys and jangled them in his hand. "I need to be alone to decide what's next."

She stepped toward him. "What do you mean?"

He sighed. There was no easy way to say everything that was on his mind. It was hard enough for him to try to focus on any one thing. "I have to make decisions. I've been putting that off, too. It's time for me to stop running away."

"What does that mean for us?" she asked quietly.

"I love you. That hasn't changed," he said. "But before I can move on with you, I... There's some stuff I have to do."

He kissed her again, and then he left.


Mac finally took Tony's advice and went home. The echo of silence hung ominously in the air. The house seemed so empty. He felt like he hadn't been there in days when just last night he stormed out to visit Katherine instead of staying and talking things out with Dara. Why did he do that?

He bounded upstairs and while under a steady spray of water in the shower, he pondered his actions and what that meant to his marriage. Katherine needed someone. Mac couldn't deny that. Especially after the scene at the hospital with Petrukas Christofides ordering the police to arrest her right then and there. Fortunately, for the older man, Stefan showed up and talked some sense into him. Mac was ready to deck him, regardless of the twenty plus age difference.

The entire scene was something from one of those daytime serials, Mac decided as he toweled off. Garcia and Keesha showed up with a couple of uniforms in tow. When they saw him, both did a theatrical double take. He wondered if he hadn't been there if they would have been as patient with Katherine. God knows, she certainly didn't make it easy for them to get any answers. For most of their questions, her response was the same: she didn't know anything.

Mac believed her and after a brief chat with Garcia and Keesha, he knew they felt the same. He suggested that she be put into his custody and they said they'd discuss it with the DA. With Christofides raising such a stink, Mac doubted if his suggestion would be given its due. He hoped so. At least with him, Katherine would be safe until they found out who or what was truly behind her crazed attack on Stefan's fiancée.

Which brought his thoughts to Dara. Mac groaned. She wouldn't be happy with his brilliant idea, he thought as he got dressed. Dara supported his concern for his friend, but that didn't mean she believed in Katherine's innocence the way he did. Hell, she proved that last night.

"Cut her some slack, Scorpio," Mac said under his breath.

Dara was a reasonable, compassionate woman. Those qualities, as well as her beautiful smile, drew him to her. She hadn't changed. If they talked, they could come to a decision. She would see things his way and agree. Mac was sure of it.

An hour later, his wife walked through the door, and he was ready for her. Dinner warmed in the oven. A bottle of wine chilled in the fridge. The dinner table was set for two complete with roses and candlelight. A smooth Miles Davis CD played softly in the background, and when Dara's mouth dropped open in surprise, Mac was there to cover her lips in a slow, sensual kiss.

"Welcome home," he said, hugging her close. "I'm sorry about last night, and I'm even sorrier that I didn't call. Are you mad at me?"

"I'm not sure," she said as she pulled away to look at him. "I'll need another kiss and I want to know what is that delicious smell coming from the kitchen."

Mac smiled and complied with her demands. The kiss left them panting and Mac horribly aroused. Dara noticed and leered at him suggestively.

"Can dinner wait?"

"Hell, yeah!"

Mac took her hand and they raced up the staircase. Their lovemaking was quick, but very satisfying. Later, as they lay glistening with perspiration and in each other's arms, Dara rolled onto her stomach and stared at him.

"Are we in trouble?" she asked, quietly.

Mac swallowed hard. Where did that come from? "I don't think so. Do you?"

"Two days ago, I would have been certain." Her fingers traced tiny circles on his chest. "Right now, I'm not sure. You were gone all night, Mac. Why didn't you come home to be with me? Is Katherine more important than our marriage?"

"No!" He took her hand and kissed each of her fingers. "I care about Katherine, but she's not more important than you. It's just that she was so scared there all alone. She doesn't remember anything and no one else seems to care."

Dara nodded slowly, as if she was processing everything he said. "I'm glad that you care. No one should be alone."

"Do you really mean that?"

"Yes." She paused before she added, "I wasn't sure what to expect when I came home. Today was so weird that I was afraid to pull into the drive. I saw your car and didn't know what to do."

He brushed a stray tendril from her cheek. His eyes narrowed with concern. "What happened? You should know you don't ever have to be afraid of me. I love you, Dara."

"I love you, too," she choked in a hoarse voice. "One of Sonny's attorneys spoke with me today. They know about my relationship with him. They said the arrest wasn't on the up and up and you railroaded him because of what happened between me and him."

"They said that?!" Mac's blood boiled with sudden rage. He sat up and would have left the bed, if Dara hadn't grabbed him.

"Don't go," she said. "Don't confront them. It's not worth it."

"It's worth it to me. I won't let them drag your name in the mud."

Dara shrugged. "Let them drag. I'm more concerned about them using you. They don't have the right to question your integrity."

"That's all they have going for them. Corinthos knows that so he's using you." Annoyance grated Mac's nerves. "There has to be a way to stop them."

"Mac, please. Just leave it be," she said. "If you do anything, it will only give credence to their argument. The arrest warrant you had for Sonny was legitimate. The charges will stick. Let's not talk about him or Katherine anymore. We only have a few more days together until my tour starts. There must be better ways we can spend that time."

Mac pulled her into his arms again. Later, he would tell her about Katherine staying at the house. For now, he'd enjoy this time with his wife.


Carly's feet ached. Break time rolled around and she jumped on it, disappearing into the Staff Lounge before anyone could stop her. The second her backside touched the sofa cushion, her entire body sighed. Damn, this felt good. Almost as good as—

Nope. She wasn't gonna think about that. Although his heart wasn't it, the act was pretty damn—

"Come on, Carly," she muttered. Thinking about Nikolas Cassadine was pointless. He'd never be seriously interested in a woman like her. Not in a million years. But it sure felt good just once...

"Hello, little darlin'."

The stench of cigars and stale liquor floated into the room as her uncle breezed through the door. His blue eyes lit up with a wicked gleam and the smile on his face made her stomach turn. Luke didn't know the full details of her plan to break up Nikolas and his little stuck up girlfriend and Carly was damn grateful about that. The look on his face was bad enough. She'd hate to imagine what he'd do if he knew she had sex with Nikolas without his consent.

"Luke," she said, dryly. "You're not allowed in here."

"Rules were made to be broken," he said, plopping down next to her on the sofa. "How did it go?"

Her eyebrow arched. Her stomach clenched. He couldn't possibly know. He was fishing.

"What are you talking about?" she asked.

"Your night with the bastard Prince?" Luke asked. He laughed as Carly felt the heat of a blush color her face. "I know you didn't spend the night at your place. You were at Spook Island. I know because I followed you there. There could only be one thing that would keep you there all night and cause you to hightail it out of there the next morning."

Carly didn't respond. She couldn't. This was embarrassing!

"Don't be shy, little darlin'," he said, patting her back. "Uncle Luke doesn't need all the gory details. Just tell me that it worked. Pain and destruction are brewing on the horizon."

"They're brewing all right," she muttered. "Nikolas hates me."

"Who gives a damn about him? Did you tell his girlfriend?"

She shook her head. "I didn't have to. She saw us."

"Hot damn!" Luke clapped his hands and released a loud guffaw. "What happened? Did she vow to string the Prince up by his...privates?"

"No. She ran out of the room," Carly said. "She didn't say a word to Nikolas. He told me he'd kill me if I told her, so I'm biding my time. It will come out."

Luke smiled and stood. "You did good. You'll have little Michael away from those crazy Quartermaines in no time."

"That's what you keep saying."

"Believe it. Spencers look out for each other and I'm definitely watching over you."

He slipped out the door. Carly groaned, wondering if she had made a pact with a devil and if it was already too late to save her soul.

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