It was the very last time, Dara Jensen Port Charles' ADA repeated to herself. Tears nearly blinded her. Quick and frantic, she moved around the master bedroom of the penthouse, grabbing her clothes from the closet and her toiletries from the bathroom. A few things slipped from her hands. She stumbled. Curses spat from her mouth. Things her mother would never believe her oldest daughter would say. Dara shrugged that thought off and left her things on the floor. She grabbed what was packed and raced for the door.
All her rushing was a futile effort. Sonny Corinthos, Port Charles' resident crime boss, stood in the doorway, blocking her hasty exit. His dark piercing eyes zeroed in on her. Her legs became numb. She couldn't move.
Sonny looked from the bags on her shoulder to her watery eyes. His dimples flashed as he moistened his lips with the tip of his darting, pink tongue. Arms outstretched, he stepped toward her. "Dara. What are you doing?"
Her limbs might have betrayed her, but her mouth hadn't. "What does it look like?"
"I'm not stupid," his voice grated. "It looks like you're leaving."
"You stand corrected," she said. "You're not stupid."
The Adam's apple at his smooth, olive-toned neck bobbed. Dara supposed he hadn't expected the sarcasm. Other than that, she wasn't sure about anything else concerning him. All she knew that after what happened during the last few days, her heart couldn't take any more. She'd sacrificed enough to be with him. She'd die before she relinquished her self-respect, too.
Sonny's eyes narrowed. He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Carly's memorial service is in a couple of hours. Michael still doesn't understand that his mother isn't coming back… You'd leave now?"
Why not now? She wondered. He left to search for Carly's body after the car crash. His money paid for the privately manned Foresenic lab to conduct the DNA test. After the tests proved conclusive—his ex-wife was dead—he locked himself away inside his Paradise Lounge. No one could get close to him, not even Dara. The woman he professed to love and need above anyone else. To Dara's understanding, he left her long ago. If he was ever even hers to begin with.
"I should have left a long time ago," she managed to choke. Emotions overwhelmed her. Until he came into her life, she kept sentiment at bay. Nothing penetrated the shell around her heart. She witnessed her mother's bitter divorce from her father. The toll it took on the family and especially Dara's younger sister was enough to make Dara swear off love forever. Then two years ago, she and Sonny connected…
Tears rolled down her cheeks. She brushed them away with the back of her hand. Now wasn't the time to weep for what was lost. The locomotive out of Sonny's world was boarding. Dara needed to climb aboard.
Sonny pushed the door closed behind him. The tumble of the lock clicking into place filled the silence. Dara's hold on her bags tightened. She hardened her resolve to leave. Even if it meant kicking and screaming to do so.
"I can't let you leave, Dara." His voice melted over her. Silky, smooth and needy. "I can't get through his without you."
"You have Mike, Jason and Bobbie," Dara said. "You don't need me."
He shrugged out of the black Armani suit jacket, allowing it to fall to the floor. Reaching out, he pulled the luggage from her nerveless fingers and set the bags down. He closed the distance between them. His warm hand cupped her cheek. The caress was tender and mirrored the emotions glittering in his eyes.
"I need you." His words came out in a low, hoarse mumble, but clear enough for Dara to understand. Yet, she wasn't sure if she could believe.
His hands moved to her shoulders. The jacket to her pantsuit landed on top of her luggage. His fingers sent tingling sensations through her as they traced the line of her collarbone. He moved closer. Their bodies were less than an inch apart. His heat enveloped her. The heady scent of his cologne filled her senses.
He was inside her. Not physically. Not yet. But in all the other ways that counted. In the ways that she'd never forget.
Sonny leaned forward. His forehead pressed against hers. Moist, warm breath fanned her cheek. She drew in a quick breath and breathed him in even more.
Dara's shoulders shook as the tears fell harder and faster.
"Don't cry," he murmured, placing kisses on the swell of her cheek and the tip of her nose. "Don't, Dara."
She couldn't stop the words that came.
"Things will change," he promised. Cupping her face, he stared intently into her eyes. "She can be laid to rest now. Carly can't come between us anymore . I have to be there for her son. I have to take care of Michael. You understand that. Don't end us, Dara. Don't leave. I love you."
Her head came up with a million reasons for her to run and never look back. Her career, her family, her life. But all it took was one reason for her to stay.
Despite the pain, the confusion and the secrecy, she knew he loved her. In his way, the only way he knew how…he loved her.
(Song Credit: "Foolish" by Ashanti)