Marcus did not miss the expression of enormous relief that shaded Dara's lovely features. Things must have gotten really interesting with his mother after he left. "Hey," he greeted Dara. "I thought maybe I had better make a quick stop over here to see how you and Mama were getting along."
Dara grabbed Marcus by the arm and dragged him into the living room. She turned on the television set and adjusted the volume to a dull drone. "Marcus, I love your mother, you know that." Dara did not need to voice the word for Marcus to know that a giant disclaimer was attached to her declaration. "But she can be really...persistent."
"Let me guess," Marcus laughed. "She wanted all the details of why you and I broke up."
"That was just in the first hour. Then we moved on to the subject of getting us back together as a couple, and finally, to giving her some grandchildren." Dara chose to spare Marcus the details of the other very uncomfortable conversation she'd had with Florence about her impromptu 'close encounter' with Marcus in the early morning hours.
"I don't believe that woman! I've only been gone a few hours," Marcus marveled, "and already she has us married with a baby on the way!"
Dara shook her head. "Who said anything about marriage? Your mother says she is at the point where she would learn to accept us 'shacking up' if it meant we would give her some grandchildren." The lawyer laughed at the way Marcus' jaw dropped. "Hey, those are your mother's words! Not mine!"
They enjoyed a moment of quiet laughter over Dara's experience with Florence. And despite the uncomfortable nature of the entire discussion with Marcus' mother, Dara was glad it provided her troubled ex-lover with a momentary diversion from his thoughts.
Marcus sighed and Dara knew the interlude was over. "This thing is like a snowball rolling down the side of a mountain." He referred to the recent revelation of his paternity. "Mac knows and he thinks Larkin does, too. It is only a matter of time before the guys at the station are looking at me sideways."
The ringing of a cell phone stalled Dara's reply. Both she and Marcus reacted by reaching into their pockets. "It's mine," Dara announced. She flipped the little phone open and held it to her ear. "Hello?"
"Listen closely. I need you to get a message to Taggert."
"He is standing right here," Dara interrupted. She handed the cell phone to Marcus. "It's Justus Ward."