Like Vito Once Said...


It was sheer doggedness that made him continue to chew and swallow the twelve-ounce porterhouse steak on the plate before him.  The perfectly grilled meat, which initially had been so appetizing, now tasted like sawdust in his mouth.

Marcus Taggert pushed his half-eaten lunch away.  The anger roiling inside him threatened to choke him; the tasteless porterhouse only made the sensation worse.

Against his better judgment Marcus looked over to the left once more.  Nikolas Cassadine sat at a corner table deep in conversation with his former girlfriend Dawn Jensen.  The couple had been there nearly fifteen minutes.  Not once had they taken their eyes off one another.

A fleeting image of his baby sister’s heartbroken face crossed Marcus’ mind.  Gia had been married to Nikolas Cassadine less than six months.  Already it seemed the young heir had begun to regret their decision to marry.  Two months earlier Nikolas had flown to London to be at Dawn Jensen’s side in the wake of near tragedy.  Now he flaunted his disrespect for Gia by meeting with his ex-lover right in Port Charles where Gia could see.

A glint of light off metal hit Marcus in the eyes and made him wince.  The muscular detective shifted a bit, just in time to see a crouching photographer snap several pictures of Nikolas and Dawn unawares.

Powerful legs propelled Marcus across the room.  He was atop the photographer before the startled man could even react.  “Hell, no,” Marcus growled, wrestling the camera away.  “Not again.”  He popped the back of the camera open and tore the film out. 

The photographer, in his desperation to retrieve the precious film, accidentally landed a weak blow to Marcus’ jaw.  Marcus felt his control snap. He drew back his fist to retaliate but suddenly found himself immobilized by two unsmiling Russian bodyguards built like twin giants.

~end flashback~

“Focus, man!”  Marcus shook off his thoughts.  He peered into the mirror and made a tiny adjustment to his necktie.  According to the bedside clock, he had roughly forty minutes to finish dressing and then drive across town to meet with Commissioner Mac Scorpio and his review board.  Mac had wasted no time in reprimanding his top detective about Saturday’s altercation with the press.

The tabloids had somehow gotten his phone number and continued to call in attempts to persuade Marcus to talk about his baby sister, who they were calling ‘The Betrayed Bride’.   He’d gotten tired of refusing them.  After a while Marcus had just taken the phone off the hook.

Now the doorbell rang.  “Who the hell is that?” Marcus barked.  He strode angrily to the door, almost wishing to find an unsuspecting tabloid reporter on the other side.  He was still angry about what he witnessed and more than a little frustrated that he had been denied the opportunity to throw even a single punch – at the photographer or Nikolas.

“Alexis! What are you doing here?”  Marcus filled the doorway and prevented the beautiful lawyer from entering his home.  “You really don’t want to talk to me about your nephew right now.”

Attorney Alexis Davis placed her hand against Marcus’ chest and futilely began to push.  “Yes, I do,” she grunted softly.

Marcus took a moment to enjoy the feel of her slender fingers against the hard planes of his chest.  But only a moment.  “Alexis, I have a hearing across town that I can’t be late for.”  Marcus gripped her wrist and removed her touch from his chest.  The loss of contact saddened him.  “And believe me when I say that there is nothing you can say to me about Nikolas that I want to hear.”

“First,” Alexis explained, “there is no more meeting with the Police Review Board.  That has been taken care of.”   She looked at her wrist, which Marcus still clutched firmly in one warm hand.  He tried to release Alexis but she swiftly reversed their positions and maintained contact.  “And I don’t want to talk to you about Nikolas.”   Alexis stepped aside and allowed her nephew to appear in Marcus’ doorway.  “He is hoping you will give him the opportunity to speak for himself.”

~ California, Late Monday Night ~