Chapter Twenty, Part 2

~ Decisions ~

Dara ended up not joining Ned and Brenda at the coffeehouse and Sonny couldn't have been more relieved. He knew about a jazz club that was just a few blocks over. Dara agreed to go with him. He didn't wonder about her motive. Just the fact that she said yes was enough for him at the moment.

They chose a secluded booth on the upper level of the club where they were close enough to see the live performance, but not so close that conversation would be difficult. Dara ordered a glass of white wine and Sonny asked for a scotch on the rocks. They waited until after the waiter return with their drinks before they spoke again.

"I can't believe I'm sitting here with you like this," she said, her fingers playing with the stem of the glass. "I should be at the hotel in bed asleep."

"You're here because it's where you want to be," Sonny commented quietly.

"Please," she said with a shake of her head, "not that nonsense about you making me happy. My life is more fulfilled than it's ever been...with my music and my marriage. I couldn't ask for more."

"You should," he said, pushing aside his glass as he leaned forward. "I didn't ask you to join me because I wanted to talk about Scorpio. I asked you here to discuss us—"

"There is no us."

He expelled a low breath. "I didn't mean us in the sense that we're together, Dara. I'm talking about us as individuals. I made mistakes in the past with my life, how I chose to live it and how I treated the women in it. I want to apologize for how I hounded you after we came back from Hawaii. That was wrong and I'm sorry."

Her brown eyes danced with suspicion. "Why are you apologizing now? What do you hope to gain?"

"Nothing. I don't want anything from you...well, nothing you can't give willingly."

Dara folded her arms across her chest and gave him a hard look. "What's that supposed to mean? I'm married and I'm not about to forget my vows or the commitment I've made."

"I don't know what I mean," he said after a moment of silence. "You're the one woman who's never taken any of my crap. Many of them have shown resistance, but they always back down. Not you. You didn't lose sight of yourself just because we became lovers. That attracted me to you and made me obsessed with wanting to tame you, possess you."

"And that's what you want now," Dara said. "You want me to fall at your feet. It's not gonna happen, Sonny. An apology can't negate the things you said or how you harassed me. You stalked me. Do you realize how terrifying that can be?"

"Now, I do and I'm sorry. I truly am. If I could take it all back, I would." He leaned back against the leather cushions of the booth. "Prison was good for me in countless ways. I faced the man in the mirror and realized I didn't like him that much. You're probably wondering what this has to do with you and the truth is... I'd like to be given another chance."

She swallowed a large amount of wine. After setting the glass on the table, she looked down at the stage. A balding man stood center stage. The spotlight beamed on him and he produced the most haunting note from his saxophone that Sonny had ever heard. Sonny glanced at Dara for her reaction. Tears glistened in her eyes and her bottom lip trembled. The urge to comfort her hit Sonny like a ton of bricks. Common sense stopped him from pulling her into his arms. He told her he would accept what she was willing to give him. Taking was no longer a personality flaw for him.

"Do you hear that?" she asked, softly. "That's the sound of a soul crying out."

Sonny nodded. "I recognize the sound."

"You want an answer that I don't even begin to know how to give you," Dara said. "Another chance... Hawaii wasn't supposed to happen. We weren't supposed to meet and become lovers. I was there trying to resolve personal issues. I wasn't looking for a lover. Definitely not you. And I definitely didn't expect you to affect me the way you did. The answer you want is one that I sadly admit I'd like to give, but I can't. Not right now."

"I'm not asking you to be unfaithful to Mac—"

"Yes, you are." She stood and slipped her purse strap over her shoulder. "We couldn't be just friends. It wouldn't work. You said all the right things tonight, Sonny. For a moment, I was so tempted... I'm not ready to fall like that. I have to go."

She strode away before Sonny could respond. He rose to follow her, but she moved so quickly. She was running, and he decided it was better to let her. One day, she would stop and realize that although she denied him tonight, she didn't say goodbye. Their time would come. Maybe not now, but someday. Then, Dara would be ready to admit that she'd already fallen and he'd be there to catch her.


"Good morning!" Katherine greeted Mac with a wide smile and a steaming cup of coffee. "Did you sleep well?"

"As good as can be expected," he said, taking the coffee from her. "How about you?"

She joined him at the dining room table where she'd prepared a breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and English muffins. While he filled his plate, she said, "I can't complain. I have an idea and I'd like to run it by you."

Mac stopped buttering a muffin to look at her. "What kind of an idea?"

"It's about Kevin. Do you think he could help me remember through hypnosis?" She pushed a lock of blonde hair behind her ear. "I can't stay with you forever and I know the authorities will come after me eventually. Before they do, I'd like to know the truth. Do you think he could help?"

His hunger for breakfast faded. Mac set his muffin on the plate and leaned back against the chair. "I don't see how it could hurt. Kevin would love to help. I'll give him a call—"

"You don't have to." Katherine stood and headed to the telephone. "I can do it. Just enjoy your breakfast."

Mac slowly ate as he listened to her half of the conversation. She seemed nervous, her fingers fidgeted with the coiled telephone cord, but determined. A sudden smile came to her full lips and he knew what Kevin's response was. While she wrapped up the call, Mac couldn't help but notice how much Katherine had changed since they were a couple. She was more open and less calculating. Her culinary skills were divine and she had a sweetness about her warmed her to him. Kevin warned him that he was treading on dangerous ground. Mac reluctantly admitted that was true. His attraction to Katherine was growing daily, and he'd better do something to stop it.

"He said he'd do it," Katherine reported as she returned to the table. She filled her plate and sipped coffee. "He'll come by after he checks in at the hospital and his office."

"That's great." Mac kept his tone even. Although the possibility of learning the truth excited him, he suspected that a display of that excitement could mislead Katherine.

A flicker of doubt flashed in her blue eyes. "Will you stay?"

"That's up to you," he said. "I have a case that I'm working on, and I'm expecting a call from Interpol. Robert could take it for me, but he has his own cases."

"You should go to work then," she said. "I'll be okay."

Inwardly, Mac groaned. The crestfallen expression on her face was a punch to his gut. But he couldn't change his mind. She was dependent on him. Being hypnotized without his presence would be good for her and for him.

"You can call me when it's over," he said. "If you're nervous about doing it alone, call Felicia. I'm sure she'll be happy to sit with you."

"I don't need anyone to sit with me," she said, jutting out her chin. "I'm not a child. I can be hypnotized without someone holding my hand. Don't worry about me, Mac. I'll be fine."

He gave her a half smile and directed his attention to his breakfast. The food lost its appeal during the wordplay with Katherine, but he managed to finish it anyway. As he left for the office, he thought about Dara and hoped that she was having a better time than he was.


"Business is booming!"

Bobby smiled as Rebecca bounced into his office. She looked pleased as punch with herself and he couldn't wait to hear what brought such a happy light to her face.

"That's good news."

He left his desk to cross the room and close the door behind her. The office wasn't full that morning. Eleanor and Jimmy were working up a case in the conference room while Lindsay and Eugene were in court. Lucy was at the receptionist desk, chatting with a friend. Bobby intended to speak to her about personal calls later.

"It is," she said. He moved to stand just inches from her. Her eyes widened. "Bobby, the office is quiet, but we're not alone."

He took a step closer. "We are alone. The door is closed and no one would dare to enter my closed door."

She laughed. "Yeah, right. Every one of them would open that door without a second thought. Don't forget that." She turned and quickly sat on one of the chairs that faced his desk. As Bobby sighed with disappointment, she said, "I just spoke to Sonny Corinthos. He's in Boston and wants to meet with us. He was serious about hiring us on as counsel."

"We handle criminal cases," Bobby said, perching on the edge of his desk. "Has he been arrested again?"

"He says it's time we branched out." Rebecca shrugged. "He's planning to open a legitimate export/import business and wants inside counsel. He wants us to think about it."

He nodded. "It would be a step in the right direction. How long will he be in Boston?"

"Until the end of the week."

"Okay. I'll have Lucy call him and set up an appointment." Bobby rested his hands on his thighs and leaned toward her. "So talking with Sonny Corinthos put that lively bounce in her step. I think I'm jealous."

She blushed. "Don't be. I spoke with another potential client. She's in Port Charles."

"Clients?" Bobby rolled his eyes. "I'm doing something wrong if speaking with clients makes you giddy."

"Bobby, stop it!" She laughed again. "Anyway, this client has been accused of trying to kill her former fiancé's current fiancée. The case is very high profile. What do you think?"

He frowned and reached for the day's paper. He'd been following that story in the news for curiosity sake. "Is that the Cassadine case?"

"The one and only. I just finished speaking with Katherine Bell. She said she's heard good things about the firm and wants to meet with us. She specifically asked for you and me."

"Do you have any objections?"

She shrugged. "None that comes to mind. I'm curious. What about you?"

"Russian royalty, a jilted lover, wild engagement parties." Bobby nodded. "Yeah, I'm curious. After the meeting with Sonny, let's take another trip back to Port Charles."

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