Like she had done everyday for the past week or so, Dara Jensen sat at an unoccupied desk within the Port Charles Police Station. Her legal briefs were spread neatly across the desk, just the way the intense Assistant District Attorney liked it. Major infractions were down in the city, but petty crimes had risen dramatically. It seemed that every day she stood before some judge or other and recited yet another litany of charges against some thug looking to prey upon the weak or elderly.
Privately, she agreed with her friend and fellow law enforcement officer Marcus Taggert. Marcus held Sonny Corinthos and his organization directly responsible for the growth of the criminal population in Port Charles. And though she knew that Taggert’s agenda where Sonny Corinthos was concerned was tinged liberally with a personal dislike for the man, Marcus still had a point. Until Corinthos had settled in Port Charles, the type of petty crimes that crossed her desk were almost non-existent.
Publicly, Dara was careful not to point any fingers Sonny Corinthos’ way. What Marcus did not know was that Dara and District Attorney Schulz had been contacted by a Federal Bureau of Investigation Organized Crime Task Force. At that very moment, federal agents were working to infiltrate Corinthos’ organization in order to bring it, and him, down. The only people aware of the sting operation, beside herself, were the two federal agents, her boss, and Mac Scorpio.
Mac was out of town, spending time with Georgie and Maxie, Felicia’s daughters. Though his input was sorely missed as the small circle helped coordinate with the federal agents, his travel arrangements to Texas had long been planned.
Unlike their impetuous night together, Dara thought wryly. Her hand shook minutely at the thought of the handsome police commissioner. Or more accurately, at the thought of the passionate night they’d shared. . .
Mac ceased his deep, lazy strokes, causing Dara’s eyes to flutter open. She stared up into the eyes of the man who hovered so Tenderly above her and read there all the words neither was prepared to say. So in tune were they at that moment that Mac was able to read the same in hers. With a deep hum of satisfaction, Mac Scorpio began to move anew.
Dara closed her eyes and tightened her thighs around his waist...
Truthfully, Dara was a little relieved that Mac had gone. She wasn’t so sure that she was ready to deal with the ramifications of that passion-filled night.
Arman’s ribs hurt. He had spent the last couple of hours strutting around with his chest puffed up in pride. His family had finally gotten to meet his young charge, Andresj’ Cassadine, and they were not disappointed. Master Andresj’ had charmed the womenfolk even as he impressed the men. And best of all, Arman’s eldest brother Leonides had been left silent.
And Leonides, raised in the ways of the old country, was impressed. There before him was a young man who did credit to his heritage. How easy, Leonides thought at the time, it would be to see the young Master astride a coal black stallion, clad in the elaborate fur-lined mantles of olden times.
“Your family is quite proud of you, Arman,” Andresj’s voice broke into his musings. “Especially your brothers.” Arman’s young charge grinned broadly. “It is reassuring to note that all big brothers tell such stories about their younger siblings.”
“Stories, Master Andresj’?”
“Oh, yes,” Andresj’ leaned back against the padded leather seat of the limousine, “stories.” His wicked smile bode no good where his bodyguard was concerned. “And quite interesting stories they were, too.”
Arman straightened up cautiously. Just which tales of his impetuous youth had his siblings recounted to the young master? The bodyguard’s brow creased with the effort of sifting through countless boyhood indiscretions. How could he have failed to warn his family not to provide Master Andresj’ with more suggestions for his pranks?
A soft chuckle drew his attention back to the present. “Your past is safe from me, Arman. I have come away from this encounter with your family as ignorant of your misdeeds as before.” He smiled at the look of utter relief which flooded the older man’s face. “That does not mean that I will cease in my future attempts to discover more details of what you were like as a boy,” Andresj’ cautioned him. “It just means that for the moment, I will be content in the things you share.”
“Thank you, Master Andresj’,” Arman sighed with relief, happy to let the subject drop. “Sometimes the past is best left there.”
With only the faint hum of the limousine’s engine serenading them, Andresj’ and his bodyguard rode in silence. For many miles throughout the Greek countryside they slowly rode, watching the scenery scroll by the tinted windows like frames from a movie.
The bodyguard looked over at his young charge. In complete contrast to the teasing tones of their conversation moments earlier, Andresj’s voice was now pensive and sad. “Yes, Master Andresj’?” Arman prompted, “what is it?”
“Will you take me home?”
Andresj’s question puzzled his bodyguard. “We are bound for the estates now, Master Andresj’,” Arman replied. “This is the route by which we came, I assure you.”
“Not the estates,” Andresj’ replied before turning his gaze from the passing scenery. “Home. The place where my parents –” the young man paused to correct himself, “the place where Piotr and Ariana Leonivich raised me.”
Mac Scorpio stood in the doorway far across the room and just drank in the sight of her. Engrossed in her work, as usual, he had an unhurried moment to reacquaint himself with every detail of Dara’s appearance. With hungry eyes, Mac watched her rise from her chair in order to consult laughingly with a nearby detective. Clad in a black Sicilian coat dress, the ADA’s shapely figure was tastefully, but definitely, emphasized by the curvy garment. Mac blinked appreciatively.
“Thanks, Marcus,” the smiling Aussie returned the greeting. All the while his eyes never left the corner of the room where Dara Jensen was.
Taggert extended a hand. “You are back early,” he noted. Purposefully the tall, dark detective moved directly in front of his boss. The action effectively blocked Mac’s line of vision. Marcus was convinced that Commissioner Scorpio had no idea how obvious his attraction to the Assistant District Attorney was becoming. In such close corners as the Port Charles Police Department squad room, nothing went by unnoticed.
“Yes, well,” Mac explained after giving Taggert is full attention, “there was something here I needed to take care of.” He shifted slightly and peered around his detective.
Dara was gone.
Though his eyes seemed to be fixed on the road ahead, the Cassadine driver reached down once again and hit the redial button of the limousine’s communication system. The subdued busy signal which resulted nearly made him curse in frustration. He and Arman were in an awkward position, and if Stefan Cassadine’s guidance was ever needed, now was the time. Unfortunately it seemed the head of the Cassadine family was not available for consultation.
The driver looked heavenward and thanked the gods for the unpaved, manmade road on which they traveled. Such circumstances could be blamed for his abnormally slow progress. If they were lucky, their employer would finally return the call and instruct them on just what course of action to take.
“Stop!” Andresj’ suddenly commanded, his voice booming through the car’s intercom system.
The chauffeur began to lower the partition which separated him from his passenger.
“Now!” Andresj’ demanded imperiously.
Arman and the driver shared a look of surprise via the rearview mirror. Occasions when the young master asserted his position were rare. Both men were at a loss to determine just what had precipitated this sudden mood. But there was no time to ponder it further.
The startled men looked around to see Andresj’ climbing out the back door of the big armored limousine. Aside from the fact that the car had not even come to a complete stop, there was the matter of Stefan Cassadine’s youngest son standing vulnerable outside the car while his paid protectors sat frozen within. Were something to happen to the young master because of their inaction, there would be no explaining to his father. Arman had no doubt that despite Stefan Cassadine’s refined demeanor, the lives of both the driver and himself would be forfeit.
Gathering his wits about him, Arman scrambled out of the plush interior. Nearly stumbling, he made his way over a range of large rocks to the overgrown field where Andresj’ now stood. “Master Andresj’?” he prompted diplomatically.
“There is something I must do,” Andresj’ replied, looking all around him before moving further into the overgrowth.
Some instinct led Arman to observe his young charge in silence. Except for his constant glimpses at the surrounding territory, Arman’s attention remained fixed on Andresj’. He watched as the young man gathered an armful of flowers growing wild there in the Greek countryside. Before long, Andresj’ had amassed a large colorful bouquet of white kampanakia, pink-flowered koumaria, and wild Greek crocuses, whose delicate white and pale violet petals provided a lovely contrast.
“Do you think she would have liked this?” Andresj’ asked, thrusting the bouquet toward him for inspection. “Ariana, I mean.”
Finally Arman understood. Andresj’ wished to pay homage in some small way to the woman who had given her life in defense of his; the woman he had grown up believing to be his mother. “I think that she would,” Arman nodded.
Andresj’ stared at the colorful assortment within his hands. “I want her to know-”
Whatever thought the young man began to share was cut off by the urgent sound of the limousine’s horn as it blew. Startled, both Andresj’ and his bodyguard turned their attention its way. The driver stood near the hood, waving them back to the car.
Obediently Andresj’ followed Arman across the overgrown plot of land, and over the range of rocks to the earthen road upon which the limo sat.
“I am sorry, Master Andresj’,” the limousine driver began, taking a quick look at the large bouquet the young master held. “Your father has instructed us to return to the estates immediately.”
Confused, Andresj’ turned and searched his bodyguard’s eyes. “I am sorry, Andresj’. It is your Papa’s wish,” Arman said, gently. “Perhaps there will be time another day.”
The young man allowed the wildflowers to slip from his nerveless fingers. When they had all fallen into the dust at his feet, he climbed silently back into the car.
Dara’s heart thudded wildly with the realization that Mac was back early in Port Charles. She had spoken briefly to him two nights ago and not once had he mentioned cutting his visit with Maxie and Georgie short. It was only by two days, but those two days Dara had decided would be used to figure out just what her complicated feelings for Mac Scorpio were.
Things certainly weren’t complicated that night. From the moment Dara had stepped into the Outback wearing that saucy little Prada number, it was a foregone conclusion that her relationship with Mac would move to the next level. From her attire to the mood of the songs she sang that night, the atmosphere was rife with indicators that neither she nor Mac misunderstood.
There was no awkwardness when the two of them finally surrendered to their passion, though both expected that there would be. It was so easy. Dara had made love to Mac, and Mac to her – over and over again. Their eager bodies moved with the familiarity of long-time lovers, without a trace of hesitation or uncertainty.
The same could not be said for the days which followed. Dara’s encounters with Mac, both professional and private, were awkward, uncomfortable things. Neither she nor Mac seemed self-assured enough to examine in the light of day the connection they made that night in the dark. Perhaps it was a feeling of discovering something ‘too good to be true’. Or perhaps it was the fear of finding out that the words they had left unsaid that night had no truth in the present.
Either way, Dara reasoned as she sped homeward, it was time to find out.
*General Hospital and its characters are not mine. I make no profit from this. The characters Andresj' Cassadine, and Diane Jennings are my creation.*