When the telephone rang fifty minutes earlier, Attorney Dara Jensen had been silently grateful to the unknown party on the other end.  The call had effectively ended her mother’s latest, not-very-subtle commentary on everything that was wrong in Dara’s life.  Carlotta had been making similar comments from the moment she settled into Dara’s place after returning from London.  Now, though, Dara wasn’t so sure the call was a blessing.

Dara listened to her mother’s telephone conversation with a sense of déjà vu.  Carlotta was deep in discussion with Dara’s younger sister Dawn.  The topic of their discussion was – as always – Dawn’s ‘tortured’ love life.

Dara loved her little sister deeply.  But lately she had no patience for the way Dawn seemed unable to commit to any one person at a time.  She was always in the midst of one relationship with an eye toward what she thought might be a more suitable one.

The current situation with Nikolas Cassadine was a prime example.  As soon as the newly married prince had gotten news of Dawn’s close proximity to the terrorist attack in London, he had flown directly there.  Dara suspected that Nikolas’ decision was influenced by the fact that his half-brother Lucky was also in harm’s way.  But Dawn had immediately concluded that the disaster opened Nikolas’ eyes to the true desires of his heart.  Never mind that her previous relationship with Nikolas ended because Dawn could not deny her attraction to Nikolas’ brother Lucky.

“…course it is understandable.”  Dara was pulled from her thoughts by her mother’s words.  “Make the necessary arrangements and then come on home.”

“Dawn is coming to Port Charles?” Dara asked.

“Yes.  She is canceling the rest of her concert tour and coming here.  She’s been through an ordeal and wants to spend some quiet time with us.”

Dara’s skepticism must have shown on her face.  “Give your sister the benefit of the doubt,” Carlotta said sharply.  She stared at her daughter for a long time.  “Or maybe you’ve forgotten how to do that now that you’re such close friends with Nikolas’ aunt.”

“Mama, are we really going to get into a discussion about who has the stronger connection to the Cassadine family?”  Two weeks of silently enduring her mother’s unsolicited commentary on her life had eroded Dara’s patience.  “Cause I don’t believe it was me who spent the night with Stefan Cassadine in my bed.”

“Watch how you speak to me, little girl!  I am still your mother.”  Carlotta tapped her fingernails on the tabletop for emphasis.  “And for the record, nothing happened between Stefan and me.  He was just showing me a little compassion and support.”

Carlotta’s face softened.  “Baby, I know that you think that I am nagging you.  I just don’t want you to be alone.  You need someone in your life.  A man who loves you and is there for you.”


“No matter how complicated her situation might be, Dawn is out there putting her heart on the line.  That takes courage,” Carlotta told her daughter.  “And courage is a Jensen trait.”

Dara had a flash of memory, a recollection of an intimate late night conversation.  ”Why do I want you when I have so much more to lose than you?” she repeated slowly.  “Cause the heart wants what it wants,” had been the reply.

Dara rose quickly from the table.  She grabbed her jacket from the back of her chair and headed for the front door.  “Don’t wait up for me, Mama.  I won’t be coming home tonight.”

~ 37,000 feet, somewhere across the Pacific Ocean, one month later ~


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