Mac and Rachel Cory were the longest-running couple in Another World's entire history (and my second-favorite couple ever, behind Cass and Frankie). They met in 1974, when Rachel picked up her then 12-year-old son Jamie Frame at Mac's house, where Jamie had gone swimming with his best friend, Mac's grandson, Dennis Wheeler. From that unexpectedly auspicious first meeting came arguably Another World's greatest love story, which was the emotional center of the show for fifteen glorious years. Between Valentine's Day 1975 and June 1989, Mac and Rachel married three times, divorced twice, survived the wrath and first reign of terror of Carl Hutchins and several catastrophes and emergencies both man-made (Janice Frame trying to murder both Mac and Rachel; the explosion at the Cory Complex; the car accident that stole Rachel's eyesight for several months; Mac's plane crashing in the Canadian wilderness) and medical (Mac's stroke; Rachel's amnesia after being shot by Carl Hutchins), and built a blended family of five children (Iris, Sandy, Jamie, Amanda, and Matthew) that eventually grew to include four grandchildren (Sandy's daughter and son Maggie and Alex Cory; Jamie's son Steven Frame; and Amanda's daughter Allie Fowler). The vows they took at their third and final (and grandest) wedding in the summer of 1983 were the ones that stuck. That they loved each other always, and would until death parted them, was never in question, even from the earliest days of their relationship. But by 1983, they were both wise enough (especially Rachel) to know what it took to make their marriage last this time, and so that's finally what they did.

Another World lost its anchor, its moral and emotional center, and Rachel lost her soulmate, when Douglass Watson, who brought Mac Cory to life for those fifteen magnificent years, passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Arizona on May 1, 1989.

At that time, the foundation was in place for the next big story involving Mac and Rachel: Mac's estrangement from his daughter Iris Wheeler after he and Rachel learned that Iris was the one behind the attempted hostile takeover of Cory Publishing in the summer of 1988, a few months before the character of Iris returned to Bay City after an eight-year absence from the canvas (and now played by Carmen Duncan, as the original Iris, Beverlee McKinsey, was busy playing Alexandra Spaulding on Guiding Light). In the early years of Mac and Rachel's relationship and throughout their first marriage, Iris, who was much closer to Rachel's age than Mac was, was insanely jealous of Rachel and despised her for marrying Iris's beloved daddy. Iris, in fact, did everything she could think of to break her father and Rachel up. But by 1988, Iris had realized that Rachel was in her daddy's life to stay, while Rachel, for her part, realized how happy Mac was to have his firstborn back in the family fold after so many years spent apart. Therefore, when Rachel uncovered the truth about Iris's role in the attempted hostile takeover of the company Mac built from the ground up, it didn't surprise her, but they had one hell of an argument about it, which ended when Rachel gave Iris a simple ultimatum: you tell Mac what you did, or I will. Iris, knowing Rachel well enough to know that her stepmother was not bluffing, did as Rachel asked...breaking Mac's heart in the process. Mac banished Iris from his life and fired her from Cory Publishing, wondering what kind of monster he had raised and voicing the thought that Rachel was right about Iris, that she had tried to warn him all these years about the kind of person Iris really was, but Mac had never believed it...until now. Iris desperately wanted to make it up to her father. She had only tried to initiate a hostile takeover of his company in the first place so that she could prove to him how much he needed her, and how much she cared about him. What Iris didn't realize was that, despite their physical distance in those eight years, her father had never stopped loving her, and that he didn't need her to swoop in and be his savior in business to earn that love. Even at the end there, Mac was bitterly disappointed, more deeply hurt than he had ever been in all of his sixty-some years, and very angry at Iris because of the way things had spiraled out of control, landing Mac himself behind bars for a short time in the summer of '88, but you knew that underneath all that, he did still love his wayward, self-destructive daughter.

Douglass Watson's death prevented the story of Iris's redemption in her father's eyes ever making it to air. I have often wondered, in the years since, how that story would have played out if Douglass Watson had not died when he did, how Iris would have made up to Mac for his ending up in jail, for Drew Marston, her cohort in the takeover attempt, going after Mac and Rachel's daughter Amanda at Iris's behest and actively working to bring down Mac in ways that Iris never wanted and certainly never signed off on. How long would it have taken Mac to forgive Iris? To let her back into the family home, and the family company? To be able to look at her without feeling disgust and disappointment above all else? And what, if any, role would Rachel, who had her own moments of disgusting, disappointing, deeply hurting Mac, and breaking his heart, have played in Mac and Iris's ultimate reconciliation?

This story will hopefully answer those questions. Obviously it's AU, because Mac does not die in this story. It covers several months in 1989. I'm planning to leave most of the rest of AW canon from 1989 alone (i.e., Jamie leaves Vicky after finding out she slept with Jake and he might be Steven's father, and all of the divorce, paternity test, custody arrangement drama plays out with them and Jake and Marley; Amanda can't stay away from Evan Bates, to the detriment of her marriage to Sam Fowler; Matt still spends most of his summer in New York City, rooming with Olivia Matthews in her father Russ's apartment and looking for his runaway girlfriend Josie Watts; Iris is dating the enigmatic Lucas, who shares quite the past, and eternal love, with Felicia Gallant, whose marriage to Mitch Blake is beginning to founder in the wake of Lucas's return and the revelation that the daughter they had as teenagers was not stillborn, as Felicia was told, but was taken from them at birth and put up for adoption by Felicia's stepfather's vindictive sister Abigail), but I will be changing a few things, some big (the presence of Sandy and his family, and Rachel's sister Nancy; I liked Nancy and adored Sandy Cory, played by Christopher Rich) and others small. This story, at its heart, is about Mac and Rachel, Rachel and Iris, and Mac and Iris, though the rest of the Cory family will play a big part, including those, like Sandy and Nancy, who were not actually on the canvas in 1989. A few other characters from both the present, as in 1989, and the past will be mentioned and/or make appearances as well, like Vicky, Donna and Michael, John Hudson, Russ Matthews, Felicia, Cass, Frankie, Alice Matthews Frame, and Larry and Clarice Ewing.

I would like to thank my friend and graphics guru Carol for the icon of Mac and Rachel that serves as the image attached to this story.

And now, on with "Come What May..."