Archive for the ‘Michelle and Danny Santos’ Category

Ties That Bind: Ch. 21 by Blue Eyes

April 24, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Sadly we’re picking up this story near the end. Mick didn’t die, he’d been to prison and Danny feels the need to help him when he gets out. Mick paid him back by kidnapping his and Michelle’s son, Justin. Even though I don’t have a lot of the story, I want to share what we have.

Ties That Bind: Ch. 21 by Blue Eyes

Danny steered his car into the deserted parking lotthe same parking lot Michelle had been to just the night before. Images of her face full of pain and fear plagued his mind along with the happiness he had just witnessed at their house. Switching the ignition off, he squinted as the setting sun reflected off his side mirror, blinding him for a moment. It probably wasn’t a smart thing to summons Carlos to a meeting, especially in broad daylight. But he was tired of his family being in limbo, always worrying when something else was going to happen. No, they couldn’t live that way, not anymore. One way or another, this would all end tonight.

Slamming the car door shut behind him, he entered the side door of the warehouse, surveying his surroundings. His eyes danced across the cracks in the hard cement floor, imagining his son there, cold and alone and scared. What had happened to him here? What had they done to him? He shook his head back and forth trying to get those thoughts out of his head. He wanted to be under control when Carlos showed up and with this train of thought he was more likely to beat the hell out of him the moment he walked through the door. Why had Carlos been so careless to allow his goons to use this place to keep Justin captive? Despite his hatred for the man, Danny knew he was a very intelligent man. You had to be to stay alive in this business. All the families knew the Sandoval family had used this place for years to store all kinds of stolen goods which now included kidnapped children. The Sandovals could push him around all they wanted, but now they had messed with his son,his family. He had kept his cool all these years for Michelle and his children’s sake, allowing his mother to fight these battles for him. But this time they had gone too far. This time it was his turn to push back.

At the sound of approaching footsteps, he jerked his head around, the anger boiling up again at just the right time. This was a battle he was ready to fight. A battle that would end this war once and for all. The image slowly entered the building, the footsteps easing closer and closer, stepping through the shadows cast by the setting sun. His eyes squinting trying to bring the image into focus, suddenly widened as the realization of who was standing before him stabbed at his heart.

“Mick, what the hell are you doing here?” he snapped, shoving him back toward the door, hoping against hope that his first instincts about his brother were wrong. “Listen, you have to get out of here.”

“I can’t do that, Danny,” his voice barely audible as he locked eyes with his brother. “Carlos sent me.”

Danny dropped his hands to his sides as he swallowed, trying to get his dry throat to allow his breath to escape. The silence between them was unbearable as each waited for the other to speak. Stunned disbelief quickly evolved into anger again as Danny’s mind snapped, his voice finally exploding past his lips. “You were involved in this from the beginning, weren’t you?”

“It’s not what you think,” Mick began, nervously reaching toward Danny. “Give me a chance to explain.”

“Explain what?” he roared, throwing his arms into the air. “Explain how you took my son away from me? Explain how you watched me and Michelle for a week living in torment thinking we may never see our son again? And all along you stood by knowing exactly where he was!”

“Listen to me!” Mick shouted, his hands clasped in front of him, begging for a reprieve.

“Go ahead,” his voice shook with pent up rage, his hands planted firmly on his hips. “You go ahead and you explain this to me. Make me understand how you could do something like this to my family – to me.”

“God, I’m not even sure where to start,” Mick mumbled, bowing his head as he turned to pace. “I guess it all started years ago before I even went to prison.”

“I don’t give a damn about that,” Danny gripped the sleeve of Micks jacket, spinning him around forcefully. Danger glaring from his eyes, he pointed his finger in Mick’s face. “I want to hear about you kidnapping my son!”

“Just let me finish, please,” Mick pleaded as Danny pushed him away with a shove. “You know I was messing around with Nino and his drug contacts. Well, one night things got out of hand and I ended up killing one of the dealers. I don’t even remember exactly how it happened, but the next thing I knew this guy,a friend of Nino’s, was calling someone in to help us dispose of the body. Within an hour the body was gone. Gone just like nothing had ever happened. I knew I was in too deep now. Whoever Nino’s buddy had called had me over the ropes and I knew I was tied to him forever. I hated losing any sense of power, but I knew how things worked. I still know how things work. There was no other way. If I was going to get on top, if I was going to have the power I wanted, I had to do whatever this guy told me. I never saw him,I never even met him until after I was in jail.”

“Mick,” Danny stopped his pacing to shoot him a look. “How does any of this relate to you taking my son?”

“This will all make sense, I promise. Just listen,” he continued, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his oversized leather coat. “One night Carlos got wind there was going to be a bust so he got Nino to set up his buddy to take the fall. There was some kind of bad blood between Carlos and this guy’s father and he wanted revenge. I didn’t know the whole situation then and I still don’t know all of it, but I knew how to play both sides so I helped Nino. That was the night, the night Michelle was with me. He paused to clear his throat. Something didn’t go right and this guy never showed. Me and Nino were the ones caught with the goods and, well you know the rest of the story about that night. After I was arrested, Nino told me who this guy was.”

Mick paused, looking up at his brother. Danny’s eyes continued to shoot daggers in his direction, impatiently waiting for him to continue. “Danny, the guy was David Grant. His father, the esteemed Dr. Charles Grant was the man holding me over the ropes. He was the man who was laundering money and using me and his son to set up drug deals for him.”

“What?” Danny grunted, shaking his head in disbelief. “You’re telling me that Charles Grant, a doctor and someone my wife has known since she was a little girl, is the leader of some kind of drug ring? And he helped you hide the corpse of a man you murdered?”

“I know it’s hard to believe, but I swear to you, Danny, I am telling you the truth,” he pleaded, inching his way closer to his brother’s motionless body. “I don’t know what all happened between Carlos and Grant, but I heard both Dr. Grant and his son skipped town right after all this went down. I still can’t believe David Grant is a cop after everything he…”

“None of this explains why you kidnapped my son!” Danny snapped, cutting him off.

“Carlos came to me when I was still in prison with an offer,” Mick continued with a heavy sigh.

Danny’s head jerked up, staring into his eyes. “What did Carlos want with you?”

“He wanted you,” Mick mumbled. “He wanted you and he wanted San Corp. He was going to use me to make sure that happened.”

“What did he want from you?” his voice shook with anger.

“He had tried to get you to come on your own and when he realized you wouldn’t come willingly,” he decided to force your hand, Mick began.

“What the hell did he want you to do?” he repeated, his voice rising higher and higher.

“He wanted me to kill Michelle,” he spat.

Danny’s breath caught in his throat as he stumbled backwards. “Oh my God. I don’t….no, I can’t believe this.”

“I couldn’t do it, Danny,” Mick pleaded. “Yeah, I agreed initially but only because Carlos said he could get me out of prison if I did. Danny, I was dying in there, I had to get out. I would have made a deal with the devil to get out of that hell hole.”

“A deal with the devil, is exactly what you did,” Danny scowled at him. “How dare you bring this danger back into my family’s life?”

“He would have found someone else to do it,” Mick shook his head. “If I hadn’t agreed to do it, someone else would have. You know I’m right. He figured with Michelle out of the way, by my hands, it would be enough to push you over the edge and bring you back. But Danny, I couldn’t do it. Once I came back to town and saw you with Michelle and the kids, I saw how happy you were. I couldn’t take that away from you. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew I couldn’t hurt her or you – not again. Then everything became clear the day Michelle mentioned Charles Grant being back in town. I knew I had my way out. Carlos wanted you, but he wanted Grant more. So I offered to bring him Grant in exchange that he never threaten you or Michelle or the kids again.”

“Then what the hell happened?” Danny threw his hands up in the air, tears of anger and emotion stinging the backs of his eyes. “My son was taken! For days I had no idea if he was alive or dead. How the hell do you explain that?”

“Grant was blackmailing me,” he sighed. “He found out Carlos wanted you and San Corp and he wanted to steal both right out from underneath him. He knew he had a connection to you through Michelle, so he was going to use her. He was going to get close to her, Danny, and use her to get to you. There’s no telling what he would have done to her, but when he found out I was back in town I guess he just decided it would be easier to use me. He threatened to tell the cops about the guy I killed if I didn’t help him get you involved. He knew all the details, he knew were the body was buried. He still had me over the ropes. He knew it and I knew it. I couldn’t go back to prison, Danny, I just couldn’t. Grant had to think I was going along with his plan if my plan with Carlos was going to work. So, yes I helped Grant kidnap Justin. I told him you and Michelle were out of town and I followed Abby to the park that day. But I swear to you, I never would have let anything happen to Justin. I never would have let anyone hurt him. I knew you would be upset, but I knew once Justin was home and all this was over, you would be safe, safe from Carlos, safe from Grant, your family would be safe. But yesterday I saw you and Michelle in the kitchen and for the first time I let myself really see how much pain you were in and I knew I couldn’t do this anymore. I called Carlos and told him I would hand over whatever information I had on Grant and I would return Justin to you.”

Danny shook his head as silence descended over the room, trying to process the words coming out of his brother’s mouth. He looked at the man before him and he no longer saw his brother,all he saw was the man who was responsible for taking his son away from him, the man who had put his wife through day after day of torture, the man who had taken away a degree of innocence from his children. Anger and hurt boiled over as he threw his fist into the air, slamming hard against Mick’s jaw. Caught off guard, he stumbled backwards as Danny grabbed the lapels of his coat, shaking his body with his hands.

“I should kill you right here and now, “Danny seethed as tears of anger finally spilled down his reddened face.

“And you’d have every right to,” he whispered. “I know you are angry with me, Danny, but I swear to you I was trying to protect you, all of you.”

“Protect us?” he half laughed, his fists gripping the leather jacket tighter. “You kidnap my son. You put my wife and my children in danger. And you expect me to believe you were trying to protect us?!”

“I wanted all of this to be over for you,” Mick’s voice broke with emotion. “Danny, I knew I was in this life for good, but I wanted you to be able to get out. I just wanted you to have the life you wanted, the life you deserve. I didn’t want you to fear for your family’s safety anymore.”

“What about that damn note you left behind, huh? Was that supposed to put our minds at ease?”

“Grant did that,” he sighed, trying to squirm from Danny’s grasp. “Danny, I didn’t know anything about that note until after you were already on your way to pick up Justin. But you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Carlos is taking care of Grant as we speak. He’s not a threat to you anymore, neither one of them are.”

“What about you?” he shouted, his grip easing as his hands pushed hard against Mick’s chest. “I let you come into my house with my wife and with my kids. After everything you did, I was still willing to give you another chance.”

“Don’t kid yourself, Danny,” Mick snapped, his own anger reaching the surface. “There was still a part of you that didn’t trust me.”

“With good reason, don’t you think?” his face contorted in rage. “You haven’t changed a bit! You’re still the worthless punk who cares about himself and no one else.”

“Have you heard a word I’ve said?” he crossed the room, pointing his finger in Danny’s face. “I did all of this for you, brother. I risked my life to make sure you and your family had the life you deserve! I never…”

His voice faded as he glanced over Danny’s shoulder, his eyes landing on the dark shadowy figure in the doorway. Seeing his brother’s eyes diverted and focused on something behind him, Danny whirled his body around as his eyes found the source of his brother’s distraction. Standing side by side, neither of them moved as the realization of the situation rained over their minds. His body finally finding the ability to move, Danny pushed Mick down to the hard cold floor, shoving him behind the stacks of large wooden crates and dove behind him just as the piercing sound of bullets ripped through the stifling air.

**************

Michelle checked her watch for the tenth time over the past five minutes as she continued to pace in front of the large bay window in her living room. Rick entered the dimly lit room, watching her as she stopped pacing long enough to search the headlights that made their way down the dark street and continued past the house.

“You know, despite what you thought as a kid, you don’t really have magical powers. You can’t make his car appear just by staring out the window,” he chuckled.

“Ha, ha,” Michelle groaned, turning her head to find her brother with a smirk on his face. “I just don’t know where Danny is. He should have been home hours ago.”

“Did you try his cell phone?” he questioned, his hands gently massaging the tense muscles in her shoulders.

“Yeah,” she sighed, her eyes resuming their task of scanning the darkened street. He isn’t answering. He turns it off sometimes when he’s at the office working, but he said he wouldn’t be there long. He knows how important tonight is.”

“Come on,” he kissed the back of her head through her soft curls. “Everyone is in the family room, your son is of course eating up all this attention.”

“Yeah,” she whispered, bowing her head as the moonlight reflected off the brilliant diamond on her finger. Clenching her fist to her mouth, she laughed softly. “I know he’s loving that. You know, other than his reaction to the movie last night, he doesn’t seem to have any problems dealing with what happened.”

“Well, he’s a strong little boy,” he replied. “Who obviously inherited his mother’s ability to bounce back from anything.”

“He gets his strength from his father,” she whispered, turning around to face him. “Danny has been so great through all of this.”

“And so have you,” Rick affirmed. “Life has thrown you one curve ball after another, but you’ve hung in there and never let any of it change who you are. You’ve grown into such an amazing woman.I’m so proud of you, Michelle.”

She smiled as tears pooled in the corners of her eyes. “Well, I think I have you to thank for that, big brother. It was really hard on me after Mom died, then Dad left. but you stayed, you never left me.”

“And I never will,” he placed a gentle kiss to her forehead as her arms rested against his back. “Speaking of pestering you,” he pulled her back as a soft giggle emerged from her lips.

“You don’t pester me.”

“Oh, don’t lie to me little sister,” he smiled. “You’ve told me on many occasions how annoying I can be.”

“Not annoying,” she winced. “Just overprotective.”

“Okay, then,” he began. “Here comes the overprotective side of me again.”  He lifted her chin with his fingertips as she lowered her eyes, knowing the lecture that was about to come. “You look really tired. You have to get some rest.”

“It hasn’t been easy,” her eyes returned to his. “The whole time Justin was gone, it just hurt too much every time I closed my eyes I would see my little boy. I thought last night would be better, but these nightmares just won’t let go.”

“You know you can take some more of those sedatives if you need to.”

“No,” she shook her head, rubbing unsteady hands over her face. “I don’t like the way I feel when I take those things.”

“You need to start taking better care of yourself, though,” Rick scolded. “Are you at least eating?”

She fell silent as she looked uncomfortably at him. “I haven’t had much of an appetite with everything going on. But don’t worry. Danny is at my side every time I turn around trying to shove some kind of food in my mouth. He’s taking care of me.”

“Well, I’m glad to hear that,” he smiled. “You know I had my doubts about that man from the very beginning. And I know it took me a while to accept your marriage, but I have to admit it’s pretty obvious how much he loves you.” He rolled his eyes playfully, shaking his head. “He must love you a lot if hes still hanging around after witnessing all your many moods and temper tantrums.”

“Stop it,” she laughed, punching his arm. “I am not moody. And I do not have temper tantrums!”

“Oh really,” he scoffed. “This coming from the same person who threw her Speak & Spell out her second floor bedroom window when she was eight.”

“Well, it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do,” she defended shyly.

“But that wasn’t a temper tantrum?” he laughed. “I’m afraid, my dear sister, that both your children are going to inherit that quality from you.”

“Oh I know,” her eyes grew as she shook her head. “You should have seen Rachel a couple of months ago when I suggested throwing Betsy out and getting a new doll. You would have thought I told her to give all her toys away. She refuses to part with that doll, no matter how torn it gets.”

“I knew when I saw that doll in the store it had Rachel written all over it,” he smiled, draping his arm around her shoulder. “I told her Betsy would always keep the monsters away and whoever had Betsy in their arms would be protected from anything bad ever happening.”

“No wonder she held onto her so tight last week,” Michelle exhaled sharply. “That doll never left her sight.”

“Well, if you want, I’ll try to find Betsy’s sister for Christmas,” he smiled. “They have the same powers you know.”

“No, Betsy’s been good to my little girl,” she shook her head. “I think we can keep her around a little while longer. We may have to perform a few more surgeries on her, but I think she can make it.”

Michelle turned back toward the window as the shadow of headlights danced against the wall. “Danny?” she whispered, hoping her husband was finally home. As her eyes peered through the darkness, she saw a car she didn’t recognize pulling into her driveway. Without a word, she spun around with Rick on her heels as she headed for the front door. Flinging the door open, she saw a figure on the dimly lit stone pathway leading to her house. As the figure moved into the light, she saw Frank, concern etched deep on his face.

“Frank,” her stomach suddenly twisting in to knots. “I’m glad you could make it for Justin’s party. He’ll be so glad to…”

“Michelle, I’m not here for the party,” his voice as sullen as the look on his face.

“What is it?” she questioned, her voice quivering. “Did you find out something about the kidnapper?”

“No,” he shook his head sorrowfully. “We’re still waiting on forensics to send us their report.”

“What’s going on, Frank?” Rick moved closer, laying supporting hands on Michelle’s shoulders.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news,” his voice cracked with a whisper.

“No…no, “she shook her head slowly as her body fell limp against her brother’s chest, her heart knowing the next words that were about to come out of his mouth. “Please, please don’t tell me this.”

“There was a shooting and Danny…” he swallowed hard as her watched her collapse before his very eyes. “I’m so sorry, Michelle.”

Rick held her close as her body convulsed with each sob. Just when he thought this nightmare was over for her, another one was just beginning.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Epilogue

April 23, 2014

Republisher’s Note: And so ends another quality Manny fanfic.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Epilogue – The Introduction

It has been two months. The police put Nino’s death down to bad blood within the Mafia. And although it was never spoken aloud, the other families have concluded that Danny finally put Nino in his place. He has done nothing to disabuse them of that notion. I still wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, seeing his face, his bloody, sprawled body on the cold concrete. When I wake though, sweaty and in tears, Danny is always there. He holds me, he listens, he talks, he comforts me, kisses me and tells me that he loves me. He always loves me. Yesterday was our first anniversary … of our first wedding, the civil ceremony. I had wondered aloud to my mother’s memory that it was ironic. Because I killed a man, I am a married woman and because I killed another, the foundation of my marriage is stronger than ever before. Danny heard me say that and came up behind me, winding his arms around my waist, his voice low and soft in my ear.”You are a married woman because I fell in love with you. And our marriage is strong because we love each other, we trust each other. We talk to each other.” And then he turned me around to look into my eyes. “We are together because of love … not death. Love.”And he had kissed me. I silently promised myself that I would put the past behind me. As much as I love Danny, I have to believe that we would have found each other with or without his brother. It was love that brought us together. It is love that will keep us together. Love. And I kissed him back.The toast is black, the eggs are brown and the bacon is in brittle pieces. Danny looks up at me with a smile. “The orange juice is fresh.”I grimace, “frozen from concentrate.” Standing up, I gather our plates and walk over to the sink. “So, pizza for breakfast again?” I mutter as I unceremoniously begin to dump my attempts at cooking down the disposal.

“Speed-dialed Pizza Queen when the fire alarm went off,” he responds cheerfully. I nod and turn to face him.

“Sorry, I just wanted to be a proper wife and make you a proper breakfast.” He walks over and pulls me into his arms. “I like you just the way you are – improper,” and his smile becomes a leer as his eyes rove up and down my body, then he sniffs the air, “and incapable of not burning everything to a crisp.”

I slap his arms and push away, “you say that now, but what happens when Pizza Queen closes down?”

“There’s always Chinese,” he offers with a grin. I can’t help but smile back, but I really do feel terrible. He walks over and kisses me on the cheek, ‘babe, it’s okay. Really.” He looks down at me, “really,” he repeats as the doorbell chimes. “I like pizza. I love pizza. I’m gonna get my pizza.”

I watch him go, pulling off my apron with irritation. I glance over at the charred remains of breakfast and glare at my culinary effort. Feeling incredibly childish, but not caring, I stamp my feet, “arrggh!” I cry out and feel slightly better. Danny’s voice floats in from the living room and I shake off my annoyance, going to join him.

“Do I know you?” I hear him say and there is an edge in his voice. I feel a momentary twinge of apprehension. He is standing in the doorway, blocking my view, and I’m sure it’s not our breakfast being delivered. And then the visitor responds. “No, you don’t, but you will.”

And all feelings of unease dissipate in a rush of shock and elation. Danny moves slightly and I see him. “Oh my God!” I cry out, running to the door, pushing my husband roughly aside in my joy and haste.

I throw myself into his arms, and am crying before another moment has passed. We stand there in the doorway embracing, crying, laughing. And then I pull away slightly, and turn to look at Danny. “This is Daniel Santos, my husband,” and I know that pride and happiness fill my voice, beaming from my smile. “Danny, this is my father, Dr. Ed Bauer.”

The End

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 14

April 22, 2014

Republisher’s Note: We’re almost over, I’m sorry to say. This is one of my favorite dark fanfics. I think it very nicely shares that conversation they needed to have and addresses that so much in the early relationship it’s Danny focusing on Michelle rather than both on each other.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 14 – Look at Me

He is quiet then, as am I. I have no more words to say. I can think of nothing else that will appease him, that will make him believe in me, believe in my love for him.

He begins once again making patterns in the sand and I find myself looking closely, trying to discern what he is drawing. I catch a crescent shape, two designs that I can not make out, a straight line followed by another and then one more shape, similar to an earlier one. He repeats the markings over and over, and I move over slightly to him, angling my head and after a few more run throughs, I realize that they are letters. M-I-C-H-E-L-L-E. He is spelling my name. Over and over again, he is spelling Michelle.

I gaze up at him, but he is concentrating, intent on making each letter as distinct and clear as he can in the sand. I open my mouth to speak his name, but something inside tells me to remain silent.

And so I do. I sit in silence, looking at him, re-memorizing the lines of his face, the juts and planes, the shape of his lips, their shade, the length of his lashes. He stiffens slightly, his body, his face tensing and I know that he is aware of my scrutiny, but still he does not speak. Neither do I.

Moments pass and the determined etch of his sandwork slows down. Still he will not speak. He will not look at me. The longing to say his name, speak to him grows within me, but I do not. I will not. It is his move to make.

Minutes pass and he is no longer making sense in the sand. Half-circles, wavy lines, long pauses, squares, rectangles, another pause, triangles, circles and then he is gripping the sand in his hand, watching the grains slip through his fingers. I watch this out of the corner of my eye; my main focus remains his face.

I lose track of time and he is still, a tension spiraling around him. I watch his face and his eyes are darting from the sandy floor before him, to the rocks, to the ocean, back to the floor everywhere but at me.

The tension shadowing him grows to enclose us both. Everything inside of me screams out – LOOK AT ME! TALK TO ME! He remains silent. And the minutes drag and drag and I find myself studying his fingers, the length of them, my body instinctively remembering their suppleness and strength, their magic. The slight pressure of his fingers against my cheek, my throat.

I gaze at his arms, encased in leather. The feel of them wrapped about me. His lips. Soft and insistent upon my own, tasting of chocolate… of Brandy… of Danny. Moving across my face, lightly dancing across my brow, my eyelashes, moist across the column of my throat, the rise of my collarbone, pressing against the swell of my breast, suckling my nipple. His lips, soft and sugary upon my stomach, grazing my inner thighs. His tongue, slipping inside me, tasting me, unnerving me, unwrenching my soul.

I can not sit still. I squirm, but do not fight the rising tide of hunger racing through me as I look at him. His thighs. His hands. His face. His eyes.

His eyes.

He is looking at me.

______________________

His eyes are dark, heat spiraling within them. I wait for him to speak, but he does not, he merely stares at me and as I look at him, I realize no words are necessary. Passion clear as the moon in the sky burns feverishly in his eyes. My breath is caught and I find myself suspended in a moment of rapture as he moves closer to me. His eyes never leave my own.

His hand crosses the distance between us, his fingers resting softly upon my cheek and in his eyes, alongside the heat lies an instant – long enough – of understanding. His thumb glides softly, slowly upon my bottom lip and I at last release breath; it is shaky and uneven.

His eyes are so soft — soft and warm like honey, like velvet — and so full of the heat and desire I know so well. I can not bear their intensity, mine own shut as he parts my lips, his thumb slipping inside to gently brush against my tongue. And then he speaks and his voice is that husky entreaty – a verbal erection, “Open your eyes. Look at me.”

I am helpless to resist. I open my eyes and immediately I am captured, lost and drowning; he is my anchor and so I hold onto him. My hand reaches out, gripping his arm tightly. His thumb exits my mouth, trailing down my chin, my throat leaving a moist thread of desire across my flesh.

He leans in slowly and as he closes each inch of space between us, I feel a millennium pass. Once again my lids slide shut and once again he speaks.

Look at me.

And I do, my eyes opening to gaze upon that face I love so. His lips brush softly against my lower lip, just the slightest caress and his eyes remain open, looking down upon my mouth. Pulling away slightly, his fingers curl about my throat and cheek as his eyes meet mine for an instant before slipping to my lips once more.

I lean into him, answering his kiss with my own. I lightly run my tongue across his lower lip and then the top one before sliding it into his mouth, finding his and he meets me as his fingers press more firmly into my flesh, as his hand curves about my waist, moving up my back. He rises above me as he cradles the nape of my neck within his palm, his lips, his tongue, his mouth devouring me and I welcome the ravishment. My fingers have moved from his arms; I clutch at the folds of his leather jacket as he lowers me down onto the sandy beach.

I am lost in him. Gently, he rests my head upon the sand as his lips leave my own, once more traversing the flesh of my throat. His hand glides down before his mouth, riding over the snug bodice of my white wedding day dress, cupping my breast and then catching my nipple between his thumb and forefinger.

I gaze up at the moonlit, star-struck sky and think again, I am lost in this man. And then he lifts his head and looks at me.

“Look at me,” he commands once again. And I do.

And I realize, as our eyes meet that I am not lost, never lost with him again. I am found.

______________________

I rest against him, sitting between his knees. My arms entwine about his neck as his lips trail down my throat. His fingers push the wide strap of my dress down. His tongue tastes the curve of my shoulder. And then the other strap is pushed down and he pulls back, his head descending to capture my lips in a kiss that leaves me breathless.

I feel the cool night air upon my breasts as the straps slide down my arms, the bodice slipping to my waist and again he pulls away, gently lying me down upon his leather jacket, spread out upon the sandy floor. My arms fall away from him, my fingers trailing in the sand. His head dips, his lips pressing soft kisses upon my collarbone, the swell of my breast. His teeth graze the hardened peak for a moment and I cry out.

And then his tongue is a loving balm. And then his teeth again. His hand moves to cup my breast and I rise slightly, my back arched as he takes my nipple into his mouth … as his fingers caress and fondle, stroke and ease the tormenting ache of heaviness building within me.

Sliding my dress down over my hips, his lips trail across my stomach, his tongue encircles my belly button and I giggle despite the sensations roiling through my body. At the sound, he glances up and a smile is alight upon his face — a beautiful, beautiful smile of happiness. I find myself smiling back and then I am sitting up, my hands cupping his face as I take his mouth with my own.

He slides the dress down my hips as my tongue settles easily into the rhythm that it knows so well, dancing with his. And then his hands are in my hair, his fingers tangled in the curls. Our lips part, meld, his palm now cupping my face, I breath between a kiss, “I love you,” and as his lips part from mine, he pulls away and looks at me. Looking straight into my eyes.

He gazes at me for a long time. Even as our breathing resumes normalcy, he looks at me, staring into my eyes and I am held captive and silent by his gaze. And the smile is gone from his face and he looks as serious as I have ever seen him, but there is a confidence with which he gazes at me. A knowing surety and I feel an ache in my heart that I was not even aware that he had never looked at me so before with such assurance. “I love you,” I whisper and he nods slightly.

“When you look at me, who do you see?” he asks and his voice is solemn. I shake my head slightly, puzzled. “Do you see your father? The man your father was with your mother?”

And then I understand. Shaking my head I reply just as solemnly, “no, not anymore. I look at you and I see only you. I don’t see my father, or your brother. I see you. Danny. My husband.” And I find myself smiling again, that smile filling my words. “The man I love. The man that I thank God is in my life, because you are my life, Danny. We are my life.”

He nods once more. “I believe you.” He says. And I can see that belief in his eyes, in the faith in his voice. He believes me. Our lips meet again as he once more lowers me to the sandy beach, his hands move down by body, pushing my dress all the way off. The urgency of moments before returns with a fiery vengeance as his fingers grasp the corners of my underwear and his tongue is once more tracing a pattern down my throat, over the slopes of my breast.

I am lost. I am found.

______________________

“Danny,” I sigh into the cool air, the cool air a soothing balm for the fever rushing through me as his head descends, his breath hovering over the honey blond curls below, his tongue dipping out to taste me and then withdrawing in an instant. I moan as my fingers clutch at his hair, “Danny,” I cry out, my voice a plea of longing and desire. And again, his tongue brushes against the moist core of me for a moment, no longer, but I want more. I need more.

My back arches as I push my hips up, silently entreating the touch, the feel of him. An eternity seems to pass before his tongue returns, his hands on either side of my inner thighs as his lips and tongue – God, his tongue – his fingers render me speechless, incoherent with their magic. I squirm beneath him, my body writhing upon the sandy beach, the sound of the waves crashing mirroring the blood pounding, pumping through my body.

And I am soaring, cast outside of myself as colors rainbow and then bleed to black beneath my closed lids. My breathing saunters from ragged and desperate to soft and steady and soon it matches the feel of his breath against my thigh. We lay still for a moment and I hear the faint sound of a snap, a zipper and then just as I have recaptured a semblance of calm, he rises above me suddenly, moving atop my body. One hand curves about my neck, his lips devouring mine.

I taste myself as his tongue thrusts into my mouth … as he thrusts into me. My body rises to the rhythm he creates, my arms wrap tightly about his shoulders, my nails dig into his back and our lips part. My head falls back, my eyes shut as he moves within me, filling me completely and we are one … one body, one soul. His voice dances through me, soft and husky, sexy as a dream, wanton as a fever, “look at me. Baby, open your eyes and look at me.”

And I do. I open my eyes and find him looking at me and the reality, the life, the love, the everything I have found with this man, in this man fill me. I love him. I love him, I think. “I love you,” I say and he comes inside me at that moment, at the sound of those words and I cry out, fulfilled passion scattering reason, thought, everything, everything but pleasure, but joy … but love.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 13

April 18, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Even if you haven’t read one word of the rest of the story, read tonight’s. This is basically the conversation they must have had off screen somewhere after Carmen revealed Drew slept with Danny.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH  Chapter 13 - An Illusion of Control

“I can’t take it back.” My voice is heavy with regret. He nods and looks away. “Danny, I can’t take it back, just I like I can’t take away what happened that night on this beach. I can’t take away his death, or the fact that Drew was here and I never told you.” I seem to have lost the capacity for tears. My throat is sore, but my eyes are drying.”We have both made so many mistakes, done so many things that we can’t — ” and I look up at him, needing him to look at me and he is already gazing straight at me. “We can’t just take it all back.””If we could,” he says softly.”If we could, I never would have killed your brother, but then would I have met you? I wouldn’t have called the FBI. You wouldn’t have slept with Drew. So many things, Danny, we’re only human, we make mistakes. You do. I do. And last night, I made a mistake, I said something in my grief in my guilt that I didn’t mean. You have to know how much I love you.”He shakes his head back and forth. I don’t know what to say then. I am at a loss.

“I know you love me,” he finally speaks, “but it hurts because when you said that last night, I felt it. I believed it. I still do.”

And then the tears return. And I am once again helpless to stop them.

“I love you so much.” His voice is so soft, its nearly a whisper and I can hear the tears choking his voice. “Michelle, I love you….” I love you too, I think, but do not say. “I would give anything for you, to be with, do anything and I look at you sometimes and I think, it’s not the same for you. I wonder: when is she gonna leave me? When is she gonna walk away? When is she gonna realize that she doesn’t really love me? I question that you love me every single day of my life, of course I believed you last night. How could I not?”

______________________

He is quiet and so I am. The moments pass by and the air around us goes thick with words spoken and unspoken. Finally, he sits down in front of me, his hands gripping fists of sand. I look up at him, but his gaze is directed downwards.

“Danny, Aunt Meta told me something once.” My voice is surprisingly steady. Perhaps he looks up because of this. My eyes are clear and I see his face without the veil of tears.

“She told me that its better when a man loves a woman just a little bit more. I never forgot that, thought it made sense and besides it’s always been the case for me.” I smile slightly, not in joy or bitterness, just in acknowledgment.”I’ve known Bill since we were practically born and everyone thought we would be together someday, marry, have 2.5 kids, the picket fence, the dog in front of the fireplace. The whole nine yards, you know?”

He nods, but I can see the confusion in his eyes still, he is listening. He is listening to me.

“It worked in theory, you know, because Bill always liked me better. I was in control. I made the decisions; I had the final say. But then we grew up and I didn’t like him that way, and maybe he still liked me, but I was in control. I had the final say and so the scenario changed. I knew a few other guys, but Jesse was my first real boyfriend and it was the same with him. I was in control. He loved me just a little bit more. And that was how it should be. And I believed that that is how it was with you.”

I look down, my gaze trapped by the gentle patterns he is making in the sand. “I love you, but I wanted to believe that you loved me just that little bit more,” and a silent tear slips from my eye, “because that meant I was in control. I couldn’t be hurt … not really. Not completely.”

I stop and let out a heavy sigh. “I’ve never talked about this; I’ve never wanted to. It’s been easier – so much easier – to just keep it locked away.”

“Michelle?” his voice is quiet, just the slightest tremble in the word. I shut my eyes tight, a few more tears spilling forth and then I open them, looking at my husband.

“My mother loved my father so much. She was already a forgiving woman, but for him, she went the extra mile she was willing to forgive him just about anything. She loved him so much. His late hours, his dedication to his patients that often superseded the needs of his family, his affairs, his alcoholism…. she forgave him, she supported him, she accepted him completely.”

I laugh lightly and look up into the sky. The stars are so bright, the moon glowing like a beacon and I think that I can feel my soul being cleansed the same pristine color as I speak. “I never told you this, I don’t like to talk about it, but I was conceived out of one of my father’s affairs.”

I glance at him quickly to catch his reaction – his expression does not change. He looks reflective, he is listening to me. Truly listening to what I am saying and hearing what I mean, what is behind the words.

“So Maureen Bauer is not…” he begins.

“-my birth mother. No, she’s not. Claire Ramsey is my birth mother’s name. Basically, she was a lousy mother, so lousy that after my mother — Maureen, that is – forgave my father, they petitioned the courts for full custody and it was granted and Maureen adopted me. I don’t know even know what Claire Ramsey looks like now. I saw her picture once. She wasn’t my mother.”

I look away again as I ask him, “do you know how my mother died?”

“A car accident, right?”

I look at him,” technically yes. My mother died in a car accident. But do you know why she was in that car?”

“No,” he says softly as he shakes his head.

“She had just found out that he had an affair with Lillian Raines, one my mother’s best friends. I was upstairs in my room, covering my ears, trying not to hear their fighting. Her cries, the pain in her voice. His useless, stupid defense. Lillian was sick, Lillian needed a friend. Lillian needed comfort.” I laugh and it comes out harsher than I intended, as do my next words, “just like Drew.”

______________________

My eyes follow the sudden tightening of his hands, but I don’t take the words back. I couldn’t if I tried. “It hurt me so much, because it wasn’t just a drunken, one night stand, not to me. Just like my father, you slept with a friend when she needed comfort.”

“No,” and he looks up at me. “No,” he repeats with more vehemence in his voice. “Not because she needed comfort. I didn’t care about her. I cared about me – I cared about what you had done to me. It had nothing to do with her – and it certainly wasn’t the first or second or hundredth in a line of affairs. I am NOT your father. If I had believed once during that night that you cared about me just a little, that our marriage had even the slightest chance of working I wouldn’t have touched her.”

I close my eyes, nodding my head. “I know. I know that now, but then, that’s all I could think of, but I couldn’t tell you that. I couldn’t tell you all of it why it hurt me so much, Danny.”

“Why not? Why couldn’t you tell me? Why now?” There is so much confusion in his eyes, in his voice and I realize how much I have held back from him without ever meaning to, but I had.

“I couldn’t give myself to you completely. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t give you the power to hurt me like my father hurt my mother. I refused to allow that I could love you as much as you loved me – I needed that extra bit that you gave me. I needed my control.”

“But last night, when Nino,” and I stop, his face and then his lifeless body swarming before my eyes. I breathe in and out, trying to hold on to the words I need to tell my husband, trying to escape the horror of what I’d done. And then Danny’s hand is on my arm, he doesn’t take me into his embrace, but he touches me and that contact is enough to give me back my equilibrium.

“It’s hard,” I say shakily. “It just keeps hitting me, you know? What I did.”

He nods and the rubbing on my arm lightens until it is just a caress, a soft, soothing caress. Neither one of us speaks and the mood shifts slightly in the air. I find myself swaying towards him and our eyes meet. His are dark and smoky and I want him, I want to be with him with everything in me but I can’t.

I tear my gaze away, and hear his sigh as he drops his arm.

“What about Nino?” he asks shakily.

I am silent for a moment, searching for my train of thought. My mother. Nino. Control. My control. “When Nino called and he said that he was going to kill you, something inside of me snapped and I didn’t even realize it. I didn’t. But I do now. I realized it this afternoon. Cassie asked me if loving you, if the good times were worth the bad times and I knew they were without doubt, I knew.”

“And I knew that I said those things last night because I wanted to hurt you. I wanted to make myself not love you so much. I wanted my control back. See, that’s what snapped, that’s what I lost. Or maybe it was always just an illusion. An illusion that I’ve held onto for so long because when you slept with Drew, when you did that, it was my father all over again.”

“I get that, Michelle, I do. I get that now, but -”

“-Danny,” I have to cut him off, because he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t. It’s not about Drew. It’s not even about my father and his affairs. “Last night, what I said to you – it was because of the realization that I did love you, I loved you as much as you loved me. I would do anything, ANYTHING for you. I was just like my mother. And those words came from that twelve-year old girl who heard her mother’s heart breaking – not from the woman who loves you now.”

 

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 12

April 17, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Michelle tracks down Danny.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 12 - The Long Walk into His Arms

The straps of my heels dangle loosely from my fingers as I make way to the spot where Mick died – where I killed him. I haven’t been here since the evening of January 8th, almost a year ago.

I pause, thinking of that date – January 8th. January 8th was my wedding day, I think in shock for a moment. Truly it was, yet I never think of it so. I glance down at my white dress, sparkling in the moonlight and realize that it was the July 2nd ceremony at Laurel Falls with just Danny and myself, Ray officiating, that is my heart’s wedding day the day I will remember fifty years from now.

I wonder what day Danny will remember if he’ll want to remember at all. I glance ahead at the upcoming turn of the path, wondering if I’m ready for this. Wondering again why I am so sure that he is here. Why would he be here? I’ve asked myself that question over and over during the drive the same question that Cassie had asked.

I just told myself the same thing I’d said to her. I just know. He is here.

And here I am and I am frozen, unable to take another step towards him but I must. One step at a time. The sand shifts beneath my bare feet and each one seems to ease the heavy ache I am carrying. One step and then another and this is the longest walk I have ever taken, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep on going because Danny will be there at the end.

______________________

His back is to me when I round the curve. He is sitting down; his head bent slightly, his fingers making angry dents in the sand. I pause in this moment to study him without his knowledge.

He is wearing his leather jacket and black pants. Sighing heavily, one hand rises and runs through those curls of his, grains of sand falling softly. I open my mouth to speak, but I don’t know what to say. I raise my foot to step forward, but find even that is too much for my cowardice to overcome.

“Mick really liked you,” his voice is emotionless and my first response is a helpless “oh” of startlement. Of course he would know that I am here. The connection goes both ways. “Did you know that?” he continues. “Did you know that he thought you were different too? I’d see him, meet up with him here and there – he was rarely at home. But those last couple of weeks, there was a new life in his step, a ready smile or smirk in his case.”

“He was such an asshole. I knew that of course, but he was my brother. I loved him. Just like you love your brother, right?” And then he turns and looks at me at last. “Right? You love your brother even if he’s an asshole?”

Everything in me wants to look away from the pain in his red-rimmed eyes. Everything, but I can not. I will not.

“I guess that’s family,” I manage to whisper.

“Yeah, family.” And then he looks away, back out to the undulating waves of the ocean. “He would talk about you, about your blond curls, that luscious mouth, a body that wouldn’t quit. He’d tell me how much he hated Jesse, hated the fact that Jesse got to fuck you on a regular basis.”

I wince at the vulgarity, but if he notices he doesn’t show it.

“He wanted you so much. He’d tell me his Goddamn wet dreams about you. And when I saw you for the first time I mean alone, when you were sitting at the table all by yourself, those curls wild and falling all over that place. You were wearing a tight sweater, I think it was red or pink,” he glances over at me and smiles – a genuine smile, “probably pink,” and then his smile fades and he looks away again. “Anyway, I looked at you and I thought of Mick’s fantasies about ripping your clothes off, awakening the wild woman beneath that Quaker girl front.”

He looks back down at the sand. “That’s what he called you. A Quaker girl. And I thought, I thought at first before you told me what really happened that night….” and then he laughs, “not that you really told me what happened that night.”

“Danny…” I begin, but he holds his hand up and I fall silent.

“I thought that Mick was onto something, about you, I mean. That maybe behind those angry words about Mick, that supposed dislike that you wanted him too or maybe just someone else, a lot of someone else’s. Maybe it was all just a facade. The way you would look at me some times, the way you didn’t react to my kiss. Do you remember the first time I kissed you?” And he looks at me again.

I nod helplessly. My mind drifting back to that day outside the diner. The way he walked up to me, the feel of his hand wrapped around my neck, the hard, yet soft brush of his lips against mine, the urgent pressure his thumb applied to my cheek, the amazing sensations that flitted through my body physical, sexual sensations that I had never come close to feeling before.

“I expected you to push me away, to hit me, to yell at me. I expected anger, disgust, but you didn’t do that, any of that. You just stood there and let me, more than let me, your lips moved beneath mine, soft and giving and I had to pull away because I – I was losing myself, I wanted to keep on kissing you forever and that wasn’t the objective. See, I just wanted to shake you up, but you shook me up because I thought that you would have let me go on kissing you.”

He looks away again and rises to his feet, his back to me. “But I thought, I thought maybe Mick was right about you. You claimed to not want to have anything to do with me, but your actions, the way you would look at me some times, the way you let me kiss you, touch you , didn’t say that didn’t reject me and I’d think, is this what she did to Mick? I mean, no wonder she drove him so crazy. You were driving me crazy.”

“Danny,” I try again and his stance stiffens, but I go on none-the-less. “It was different with you. It was always different – “

“-I know that.” And he turns to me. “I know that now, I knew after the night on the beach, Thanksgiving, the fear in your eyes, in your voice when you said that Jesse didn’t even know what he’d done to you. I knew that you were scared of him. And when you said that to me, when you told me something that you hadn’t even told Jesse, I knew then that it was me. The same way I felt about you, you felt it too, you just denied it a hell of a lot longer than I did.”

I take a step towards him. “Yes, I did. But I’m not now. I haven’t in a long time. I love you, Danny.”

“Yeah,” he turns to face me, bitterness drawn in his face. “You love me so much that you would give anything not to love me.” And then he laughs, a harsh, painful laugh.

______________________

I want to run to him. I want to just take him into my arms and hold him close forever, take away his pain. I actually step towards him and perhaps my intention is on my face because he turns from me quickly and his body shudders as he painfully whispers “no.”

And so I stop.

“Danny, I’m sorry.” And I can feel the tickling in the back of my nose, my throat, the prickling behind my eyes, the painful heat as the tears beg to fall. “I’m so sorry about what I said. I didn’t mean it. I love you. I love you so much. I love you more than anything, more than anyone ever in my life. I would never give up what we have, what I have in you.”

And then I do step forward and although the shifting of the sands is slight, he hears my approach and his body stiffens. Again, I stop. “Danny, I am so sorry. If I could take it back,” and then the tears break free and I am crying, trying to speak over the sobs building in my throat. I step to him and reach out, my hand brushing against the leather and he shrugs me off. “Go home, Michelle.”

“No, Danny, look at me. You’ve GOT to look at me.”

He shakes his head slowly and it is too much. He needs to meet me halfway. It’s not as if he is perfect. Damnit, he’s made mistakes too and the frustration that has been building in me all day, the remaining anguish and guilt from the docks, all of it rushes through me. He has to look at me.

“LOOK AT ME!” I scream and he does; he turns to face me and there are wet tracks on his face. He angrily brushes them away and looks at the space above my head. “Danny, I love you! I didn’t mean it. I swear, I didn’t mean what I said.”

His eyes close, “you did -” his voice is hard and I interrupt frantically, “no, I didn’t. I was crazy, I was stupid, but I didn’t mean what I said.”

And then he finally looks at me, his eyes as hard as his voice is no longer. His voice shakes and the tremble is from anger and pain and I don’t know. I don’t know. “You did. You were at your mother’s grave. You wouldn’t lie when you were standing on her grave. You wouldn’t do that. You were upset, right? Right?”

“Yes! Yes! But that doesn’t mean -”

“- it does! Michelle, it does! You weren’t thinking of protecting me or my feelings, you were speaking from the heart. You don’t want to love me. I make you miserable-”

“No!” I close my eyes. I try to breathe, try to control my emotions, try to find the words to make him understand. “No,” I repeat quietly. “You’re wrong. I was wrong. I do love you,” and I pause and then he jumps in.

“Yes, you love me, Michelle” and his voice is bitter and the way he says my name is like a curse, “but,” and he steps towards me, towering over me, his eyes meeting mine completely for the first time that night, “you wish to God that you didn’t.”

I shake my head back and forth as he steps away. “Go home, Michelle,” he mutters again, his voice dead once more and he turns away.

“What do I have to do? What do I have to say to convince you? I was wrong! Okay,” and I reach out and grab his arm, pulling at it with all my strength, forcing him to face me. “I was wrong!” and the tears are garbling my words. He jerks his arm back and I fall to the ground, on my knees. I fall down on all fours, my breathing ragged, my heart broken.

“What do you want me to say?” I demand of the ground and he doesn’t respond. I push myself back up and gaze at him. I kneel before him on my knees, desperation awash in my gaze. “Do you want me to beg you for forgiveness? I’ll beg. I’ll do whatever you want. Just believe me.” The tears continue falling and they are hot, so hot and so thick that I can barely see. “I love you. I love you, Danny. I was wrong. What do I have to do? Tell me, just tell me and I’ll do it.”

He looks down at me and the pain I know that is on my face is mirrored on his and his voice is hoarse and husky and filled with more anguish than I’ve ever heard.

“Take it back. Make it so that you never said those words to me. Take it back, Michelle.”

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 11

April 16, 2014

Republisher’s Note: More positive Cassie stuff tonight as Michelle looks for Danny.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 11 - For Us

I call Pilar first. She hasn’t seen Danny and as far she knows he hasn’t been to the house. I swallow my pride and speak to Carmen as well. She too doesn’t know where he is.I set the phone down with a sigh. Lost and confused I turn to Cassie, “I was so sure he would be at his mother’s house.”She sits down next to me, “okay, but now you know he’s not there. So where else would he go?” She is trying so hard to be my voice of patience and sanity, but the knowledge that Danny is out there suffering because of me and I don’t know where he is, I can’t help him, is tearing me apart.I look at her, shaking my head. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t think and then the tears overtake me again. “What have I done?” I cry out, my voice hoarse. I drop my head, the sobs now controlling my body. I wrap my arms tightly around my waist, my eyes sealed shut and I see his face in the graveyard under the soft light of the moon I see the anger and the pain God, how could I say those things when he was in so much pain when I was the one causing him that pain?

I tear open my eyes and Cassie is kneeling before me. Her face is blurry before my tear-filled eyes, “I caused him so much pain. I hurt him so much. How could I have done that to him? How could I have hurt him so badly? I love him.”

She rises up and wraps her arms around me, “Michelle,” her voice is soft, a soothing comfort,” it’s gonna be okay. I promise, it will be okay, you just have to find him. And when you do, he’ll understand. He will.” She pulls away and looks at me straight in the eye. “You just have to find him.”

______________________

I try the lighthouse, but there is no answer. I call Rick, catching him in his car and he swings by for me. Danny’s not there.

Ray. Abby. Bill. Matt. Josh. Jim. I call them all and then after I have exhausted our friends, I call Bernard and the other underworld figures I know by name. Following that, I resort to dialing every number in Danny’s address book.

Nothing.

No one has heard from him or seen him. I throw the phone down after hearing the hundredth no and glare at Cassie. “Just have to find him, right?” As the only witness to my pain and frustration, she is bearing the brunt of my roiling emotions. “Damnit!” I cry out and that heavy ache begins to grow in my chest, a tight pressure that just builds and builds. And the tears are sliding down my cheeks again, my world falling apart inside of me. I fall onto the sofa, deplete of anything other than pain.

“Michelle?” Cassie’s voice is hesitant as she sits beside me, “maybe you should call the police?”

I turn to look at her, “what are you suggesting?” I ask angrily.

She backs away slightly, “he might have gone drinking, and then a cop pulled him over for DUI. Wasn’t that his reaction the last time he….” her voice trails off.

“Left me? Walked away from me?” I close my eyes and dampen my anger. “No, he wouldn’t do that. Drink and drive, I mean. He just -” and then I stop abruptly, sitting up sharply. “Oh, God.” I get up and grab the fallen phone.

“Michelle? What?”

I swear to God I’ll kill her. And him. I’ll kill them both and then the phone drops from my suddenly slack hand before I’ve even finished dialing Drew’s number.

Nino’s face, his malicious leer forming between the bruises, flashes in my mind and then Mick. Mick. I have killed. Twice, I have. I press a shaky hand to my mouth, breathing in shallow gasps. I remember the sound of the bullet ripping into Nino’s body, the impact as he fell onto the concrete. The horrified shock on Mick’s face as death overtook him, the sand flying up around him .

And then suddenly my breathing catches. I drop my hand and look up at Cassie, my eyes wide.

“I know,” I whisper softly.

I know where he is and my guilt is suspended as the certainty blooms within me.

I know where he is.

______________________

I gaze at my reflection in the mirror. I left the curls alone today, my hair pulled back on both sides with butterfly combs. Danny always preferred my hair natural. My eyes are bright – partly due to the make-up, partly to the anxiousness, fear and hope running rampant through my body. I chose red lipstick. I don’t know why, I often wear pink, but my fingers seemed to reach for and turn the tube of Scarlet Dreams without thought. So lips of Scarlet Dreams it is.

I run my hands down my dress, curving over my body. I hadn’t intended to grab this dress, but again my mind wasn’t in control when I picked it. I suppose it was my heart. It is the white dress — snug and fitted — that I wore to Laurel Falls, the day we renewed our wedding vows.

I close my eyes for a minute, lost in remembrance of our wedding day.

The sun was shining so brightly, golden rays blushing through the green leaves, creating patterns upon the branches and tree trunks. We were getting married again – renewing our vows. I was filled with a happiness and peace I’d never before known. I looked up at him — my husband — and that same joy, that same serenity was all around him.

“When we got married the first time in front of everybody and we kissed, I was fighting it but I just realized that I was falling in love with you and I know it’s gonna last forever.”

I had to smile, remembering his vows on that day, how handsome he looked, how I knew somewhere inside of me that this man would love me forever.

“I want to promise my love for you before God right here.” He said quietly, speaking of love as he hadn’t that day so long ago.

“Me too, me too. And you know what’s so great about this? I am already yours and I always will be. We just get to say it again!” The joy, the thrill of being with him, in the setting of my childhood dreams was almost more than my body could take. I had never known, never dreamed such happiness was possible.

” Just us,” he intoned quietly.

And I had to agree, “just for us.”

And he repeated my words, “just for us,” with a smile beaming on his face.

“For us,” I say to myself softly as my eyes open and I face my reflection once more.

For us.

Danny Proposes March 19-20 2001

April 15, 2014

UPDATE: This clip should have been in the last episode guide post.

Mon., March 19, 2001 – At Bauers: Michelle is walking around the house talking to the baby. She tells him things will work out now that they have his Daddy back and she will do all she can for him. There is a knock at the door, it’s May. May claims to be there to bring a baby gift. It’s three of her favorite children’s movie (including The Red Balloon, but not The Wizard of Oz that they were sold out of).  May says she likes Michelle, and Danny is a nice guy caught in a bad situation but the danger is real. She hopes now that the baby is here, Michelle is motivated to cut a deal for her and Danny. Danny comes in having overheard the conversation. Danny: “What kind of deal?” May congratulates Danny on the baby and tries to lie about why she is there. Danny doesn’t let up. Michelle tells her she has to tell Danny the truth. Michelle tells him that she is FBI and that she is trying to find out info on Danny and the other families. May introduces herself as Mary Murdo, FBI special agent. Danny tells Mary she put out for her government. All of his instincts told him that her bimbo act couldn’t be real. She says she really likes old movies and most of all she told him was the truth. She tells Danny that they have to get down to business, federal business. She tries to gets tough. Danny tells May she doesn’t have anything on him. She tells him she does. He tells her to prove it or get out of there. Michelle tells Danny to listen to May. Danny doesn’t want to, but Michelle thinks May can help them. May says she has been authorized to cut him a deal. She can offer him immunity in exchange for his testifying. But she assures him she has enough to send him to jail. She reminds him that his parents are dead and he could be next. She tells him there is a contract out on him and she wonders why he isn’t taking the threat seriously. She asks him to at least meet with her boss. She gives him a phone number and tells him to think about it and get back to her soon. May leaves. Danny says May set him up and he will not help her. Michelle wants him to think about her offer. Danny says he gave his grandmother his word not to betray the other families. Michelle says he should at least talk to May’s boss. Danny says this only proves he will never have peace. Michelle strokes Danny’s shoulder. Danny is worried and says either way he loses. He can either be killed for ratting out his family or spend the rest of his life in jail. He wishes his child had a father he could look up to. Michelle says they will come through it as a family. Danny only wishes he had her faith.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlQ800if6pk (Part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hmB4-_VzRs (Part 2)

Tues., March 20, 2001 – At the Bauers: Michelle is watching the baby sleep. Danny is talking to her about May and the feds. Michelle tells him that May doesn’t want him to go to prison; she wants to cut him a deal. Danny asks Michelle how long she has known about May. Michelle tells Danny the whole story and how May had probably already gotten into the computer. Danny hopes May had so many headaches trying because there was nothing illegal on it. He tells Michelle he only used a laptop at the house to do anything the feds would find suspicious. Michelle asks if the laptop is still at the house but he tells her he brought it there and he will go destroy the hard drive so there will be no record. Michelle doesn’t think May has a case and that is why she needs Danny’s testimony. Danny says even without a case the Feds can still destroy their lives. Danny says the Feds have a lot of leeway with the RICOH statutes, and they can seize his assets. They can seize the clubs and the shirts off their backs just to apply pressure. Michelle says that doesn’t sound fair. Danny says that is the way the federal government works. Michelle offers to put everything in her name since they are divorced but Danny says it doesn’t work that way. Michelle says it is just “things” and they will survive. Danny says it is like a house of cards, and the other families will see the pressure he is under. Danny says people turn against each other and the feds know this. They are just as ruthless as the mob but they will use the law instead of violence. They will pressure everyone he knows, including Michelle’s family. They will all be buried in red tape and everyone they care about will be in a living hell. The feds will go after Michelle the most trying to get her to talk. Michelle says she is worried about them finding out he the truth about how Carmen died. But she promises she would never tell. Danny says she doesn’t realize how sneaky they can be. Michelle tells him she knows how to get them to leave her out of it and asks him to marry her. Danny says he would love to marry Michelle again for many reasons but not for that. Even besides that it is possible that they will still make her testify but he doubts it, since the prosecutor will see her as a hostile witness. Michelle thinks they can beat them at their own game. She holds out her left hand and says her finger is empty. He tells her it does look naked. She tells him that it is a shame that the unwed mother of his illegitimate son has a naked finger. Danny tells her that they are still married in God’s eyes and he has always felt married to her. Michelle says she also feels married to him but would like it more official. Danny agrees to marry her ASAP. She tells him that was such a romantic proposal so he tries again. He kneels at her feet, takes her hands and asks her to marry him for the fourth time. She says she would marry him 100 times and they kiss. Danny looks at Robert. He and Michelle are holding hands. Danny wants to protect Michelle and his son. She tells him to take it one step at a time. She suggests leaving town. Danny says they are beyond that and he doesn’t feel that is any longer an option. The first step is for him to meet May’s boss and find out what she knows. He can let them think he will cut a deal until he can get the info he needs. He thinks he can buy time to figure out his next move. Danny thinks all May could possibly have is maybe wiretap information or some conversations. He goes upstairs and destroys the hard drive of the computer. He comes back down and calls May. He tells her to set up a meeting. She tells him she will be in touch and hangs up. Michelle thinks this could be a blessing in disguise. Danny hopes so because he thinks it could be the biggest mistake of his life.

(Proposal – Bare finger)

Michelle wiggles her bare finger.

Danny “What’s that about?”

Michelle “This is a bare finger pal, where there should be a gold band.”
Danny “It does look kind of naked.”
Michelle:  ”Yeah, the naked finger on the exhausted, postpartum body of the unwed mother of your illegitimate son.”

Danny: ”That doesn’t sound good.”

Michelle: “That’s because it isn’t.”

Danny: “We’re still married in God’s eyes. I still feel married to you.”

Michelle: “And I to you, but if it’s all the same to you I’d like it in writing all nice and official. My finger is feeling a tad insecure and that kid over there needs a last name.”

Danny: “OK, let’s do it. Let’s get married again as soon as possible.”

Michelle: “Oh what a romantic proposal, I may faint from joy.”

Danny: “That was kind of lame. I admit that. (gets down on one knee and kisses her knee) Michelle Bauer Santos Bauer Santos Bauer Santos Bauer will you marry me for the fourth time.”

Michelle: “I’d marry you 100 times, Danny.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF3gJE-II74 (Part 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxNOoSTX7Gs (Part 2)

An alternative version, I think it has a little more of this conversation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWr1y6c0hTE

Comments:

I don’t understand why the Bauer living room was used so rarely (I haven’t found one scene with Joie in it yet) and so frequently during Nancy’s run. Not that object to it being used in Nancy’s run, it’s one of my favorite sets, but I find it odd.

I’m glad Danny told Michelle about the threats, things only work out for them if they didn’t keep secrets and that Michelle soon reciprocates about May. This version of Abuela is evil, but she’s not lying. She did try. She only betrayed Danny because it was the easiest way to save her own neck. This early Robbie/ Michelle scene is just SO beautiful.

Paul Anthony Stewart does a wonderful job with this scene. I understand why Danny is furious, but honestly it’s his own fault his go to when he thinks he’s lost Michelle forever is to get drunk and grab the nearest willing woman. The fact that Danny is slowly turning over a new leaf is shown in the way he can now with all honesty say “Those cops happen to be our friends.” He can completely mean the friend and the our part now which he never could have a year ago.

And THERE is the first on screen mention of Gus Aitoro. Even just standing there Danny can’t help touching Michelle putting a hand on her shoulder and moving his finger back and forth. It is a nice conversation around the proposal. This attitude that Michelle wants it to be legal makes FAR more sense then the ridiculous storyline around their next wedding where Michelle isn’t sure if she wants to make it legal, especially because all along they ARE married in the eyes of church because they never get an annulment.

Danny’s argument to go to jail makes sense, but is partly just his guilt complex at work. I’m glad he’s got Aunt Meta to talk with here. From now until the end is really the only time Danny really has someone older and wiser to turn to. There’s a Mike Bauer sized hole in the overall Manny storyline. Mike Bauer would have added so much as an older, serious man of the world, but on the right side of the law for Danny to confide in.

 

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 9

April 15, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Sorry I flipped the order on these two, that’s what I get when I worked ahead.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 9 - The Desolation of His Heart

The door slams behind me, its sound a distant thud in my mind. I take off his overcoat and let it drop to the floor. I don’t care. I walk from the living room to the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, I wonder if I’m hungry. Before I’ve even answered the question, I’ve closed the door and walked out of the room. I suppose Danny is upstairs in bed.

I don’t want to face him. Not yet. I can’t.

I enter the living room again and note that the fire has burnt out. Without thought, I start it up again and then curl in the chair by its slowly simmering warmth. I listen for the sound of his footsteps. They do not come. He must not want to see me either right now.

Good, I think as my lids shut. The fire crackles before me, the wind howls outside. Life swirls around me, but inside I am dead. Dead like Nino. Dead like Mick.

I am dead.

______________________

The chill in the room wakes me. I glance over at the fireplace, surprised that Danny didn’t keep it going. This isn’t the first time I’ve fallen asleep down here, studying, reading; normally he covers me up and makes sure I’m comfortable. Sometimes, he picks me up and carries me to bed.

I stretch and rise to my feet, yawning widely.

“Danny?” I call out and glance at the clock on the mantle. It’s just after six; he should still be home. “Danny?” I call again as I head up the stairs, wondering idly why my mind is such a blank. As my hand trails along the banister, I notice bruising around my wrist. Pausing, I inspect one wrist and then the other nearly identical marks on each one.

“Why…” I begin and then in a rush everything comes flooding back .

The phone ringing, if you want to see your husband before he dies I suggest you come down to Dock 17. Rummaging through the drawer of scarves and ties, looking for the gun.

Nino smiling, his face bruised and bloodied.

The look on his face as he stared at my body. You first. My finger pressing down on the trigger. The sound of bullets hitting into flesh. Danny on the ground bleeding. I killed a man because I love you.

Throwing a bucket of dirty water onto bloody concrete.

Danny knocking me to the floor in answer to my desperate sexual need. Mick’s eyes. The feel of the spring flowers tickling my face as I lay on my mother’s grave. This is about Drew being there that night. You lied to me.

I wish to God that I didn’t love you. I see the woman that I thank God every day is in my life. I see the one who has brought me peace, who makes me feel whole.

If you want to see your husband alive The sound of bullets hitting into flesh. My mother’s grave. You lied to me. I wish to God that I didn’t love you. I see the one who has brought me peace.

“Danny!” I cry his name as I run frantically up the stairs. “Danny! Danny!” and then I am at our bedroom door and my flight stops as I see what he has done.

______________________

Drawers are open, clothes spilling out. My dressing table is covered with spilt powder, my perfumes, makeup, hairbrush and accessories scattered across the top and falling onto the floor. The sheets are ripped off of the bed, pillows all around the room. The closet is opened and three of our four suitcases are falling haphazardly from their position.

I step into the room slowly and my eyes continue to gaze at the ruin before me, unable to comprehend, unable to admit to myself what this means.

I think of last night, my words, his words at my mother’s grave

I killed a man because I love you. That is what I have become because I love you.

“You wish you didn’t love me? You wish is that what you see when you look at me? Someone you love despite yourself?”

“Yes,”

“When I look at you, I see the woman I love. I see the woman that I thank God every day is in my life. I see the one who has brought me peace, who makes me feel whole. I see the woman I love with everything in me. Everything good I have ever been, everything good I am capable of being I see when I look at you. And you see a man you wish you didn’t love.”

“Sorry to disturb you. Sorry to disturb your life.”

I crawl onto the bed and try and swallow over the lump forming in my throat. The tears are scalding hot down my face, burning my skin. I stretch out across the bed, burying my face within the folds of the crumpled, displaced sheets desperately trying to find a trace of his scent, his presence.

“I wish to God that I didn’t love you.”

“I see the one who has brought me peace.”

I wish to God that I didn’t love you.
I wish to God that I didn’t love you.
I wish to God that I didn’t love you.
I wish to God that I didn’t love you.

I open my eyes and look about the room, seeing the desolation of his heart in its horrible chaos.

He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone. He is gone.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 10

April 13, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Michelle has driven Danny away. This a bit of strange fanfic because Michelle and Cassie remain close friends. That didn’t really happen on screen and as a general rule most Manny fans aren’t that found of Cassie it doesn’t happen in many fanfics either. If you like her, you’ll love this.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 10 - Only the Love

I am still wearing his shirt. My hair is not brushed. I haven’t eaten. I am a mess. And I don’t care.
“Michelle, let me make you some soup?” Cassie’s voice comes from a distance. I shake my head. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to sleep. I don’t want anything.She begins to speak again and then stops. Out of the corner of my eye I see her slump back onto the sofa. We we’re supposed to meet for lunch today. Of course I didn’t show up. And so she came here. And I told her everything. My voice emotionless dead. She just listened and I just talked and talked. If she was shocked that I killed another man, she didn’t say. She already knew about Mick. She already knew why Danny and I originally married.The joys of bonding during rescue missions.At last I look up at her.

“He’s gone. He left. He didn’t even leave a note. Why should he?” And then I am crying. “How could he do this to me? How could he leave me?!” And then she is beside me, holding on as I cry, incoherent words stumbling from my lips and then everything boils down to one word, why?

She pulls back and looks at me, pushing my hair back. “Sweetie, I know you’re going through a lot right now, I can’t even begin to guess….” but she trails off and looks away. She can’t even meet my eyes.

“What?”

“Michelle, when you told him that you wished you didn’t love him, you just, well, you ripped him apart, you broke his heart, you basically said I don’t want your love, I don’t want you, but hey I can’t help myself. You struck away his belief of your togetherness.”

“But I love him. He knows I love him.”

“Michelle,” and she looks at me again, “yes, you love him, but you told him that if you had the choice you wouldn’t. You rejected him. You said he wasn’t worthy of you. No, you didn’t exactly say that, but you broke his heart.”

And then the tears overtake me again. “I didn’t mean -”

“-I know. I know that. And I’m sure he realizes that too, but still, it’s gotta hurt. Michelle, tell me this: Do you honestly wish you didn’t love him?”

I shake my head, but my words belie the action, “but things would be so different. I’d be happier. It’s because I love him that I’ve done the things I have.”

“Michelle, you can’t blame Danny for your actions. And what you did last night you were protecting him. Almost any woman in love would do the exact same thing. That’s love. You look out for that person, you want them safe. When Hart died, he died because he took the bullet that Dinah meant for me. And Michelle, if I had had the means, I would have killed Dinah if it would have saved Hart’s life.”

I look up at her, and she meets my gaze steadily despite the sheen of tears there.

“Cassie, I’m sorry…”

“No,” she shakes her head slightly and brushes a falling tear away. “This is about you. Now, I’m asking you again: Do you really wish you didn’t love him? Think about it. Would you really give up all of the joy and the love that you have known with him because of the bad times?”

“Well,” I close my eyes, my head hurts. I can’t think. I’m so confused. I see Nino and Mick and Danny and everything is swirling together in this cacophony of noise in my brain. And then her voice reaches in, calm and clear and restores some sanity.

“Are the good times good enough that they are worth the bad times? Ask yourself that. If you had the choice, would you give up every happy moment with him, if it meant that you wouldnt have had to experience any of the bad? Is the good worth the bad?” Cassie sits back and looks at me, the clarity of her gaze demanding an answer.

______________________

“Michelle, if the answer is no, than he was right to walk away. But if the answer is yes, then get yourself cleaned up, girl, and you go find him and you tell him that. You tell him that you were crazy with grief and guilt and panic and whatever else last night and you weren’t thinking and you were wrong. You were so wrong to say what you did.”

I close my eyes, my head shaking back forth. Suddenly her hands are on my shoulders and she is jolting me out of my refusal.

“What is your answer?” And her voice is firm. I turn my head to the side. “Michelle, yes or no? Is the good worth the bad?”

I slowly open my eyes and look at her. “Yes,” and then my eyes close again, tears seeping from beneath my lids, “yes.”

“Okay,” she lets go of me and stands up. “Get up.”

“I can’t -”

“Oh, yes, you can. You get up, you get ready and you go and find him.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?” And her foot is tapping on the floor, the rat-a-tat-a-tat pounding in my brain.

“Because he hates me. Because he left me. If he loved me, he wouldn’t have left, he wouldn’t have walked out like that. When he comes back here, I’ll talk to -”

“– Michelle! Listen to yourself,” she interrupts me, refusing me my self-pity. “I know you are upset, but think about Danny. No, think about your relationship. If you don’t go to him, the distance between you is going to grow. And if he does come back, a part of him will always wonder, always think that you don’t really want to be with him. You don’t really love him.”

“Cassie,” and my voice is withering. Who the hell does she think she is? “He knows that I love him. He knows that.”

“Why? Because you told him that you love him despite wishing to God you didn’t? Is that how he knows? Is that how you want him to think of you loving him?” She sits back down next to me and her voice is softer. “Michelle, I’ve been in love before and I’ve seen people in love before, but the only other couple I’ve seen who love each other as much as you and Danny do is my sister and Josh.”

“When the two of you are together, there’s like some invisible connection between you. That doesn’t come along everyday. Most people live their entire lives without feeling anything even remotely like that. But you have it. Now, when you’re so young, when the both of you have the rest of your lives to be together – whether it be a year or sixty you have true love, the kind they write fairytales about. Do NOT throw that feeling away because of your pride.”

I look at her and she looks so sincere, but I can’t.

“It’s not my pride,” I say softly, she doesn’t understand.

“Then what it is?” And her voice is so quiet, she is trying so hard to help me, but she doesn’t understand. I look away. I stand up and turn my back to her and when I speak, it is barely in a whisper.

“It’s my shame.”

______________________

Cassie is quiet as am I. I walk over to the fireplace and gaze at the pictures on the mantle. One of my father and mother. Rick and Abby. Aunt Meta. Bridget, Dylan and Peter. Carmen, Pilar and Ray. Alan-Michael and Lucy. And our wedding picture — our secret smile captured on film. I reach out and carefully pick up the gilded frame, my finger tracing his face, the smile on his lips.

Move in closer, the photographer cajoled as we stood away from our guests, wrapped in each other’s arms, posing for posterity.

A huge grin lit Danny’s face, okay, and a slightly self-conscious smile curved my lips as the photographer commanded, okay, now hold hands. Danny and I clasped hands rather awkwardly and the cameraman demurred, nah, nah, nah, not like this.

“Okay, not like this,” Danny repeated as we tried a different handhold. The photographer stepped over to us and re-arranged our hands, laying one on top of the other, “like this, both hands,” he explained.

With laughter in his voice, Danny commented, “I guess we should have skipped Psych and taken, uh, wedding reception 101.”

I laughed at his joke as the photographer stepped back and we leaned our heads in close, smiling broadly as the camera snapped. “All right, now, I want you to look into each other’s eyes, come’on.” Danny’s smile dimmed slightly, but obediently he turned to look at me, “look into each other’s eyes,” the photographer repeated, and smile your secret smile.

Laughter danced at the edges of our grins as I repeated in bemusement, “secret smile?” and a slight chuckle emerged from Danny as he leaned forward, resting his forehead against mine.

“All right, right there. Beautiful!” the photographer congratulated as he took his shot.

“Michelle?” Cassie’s voice is soft behind me. “Pride or shame doesn’t matter. Only love. You love him. Let him know that you love him, that you would always choose to love him. Give him that security, give him that much. You have it. You know how much he loves you. Give him the same confidence. Nothing else matters. Only the love.”

“Only the love,” I repeat quietly and turn to look at her. “It’s so hard. I don’t know how to face him. I don’t…” I trailed off and the tears were in my eyes.

“Do you love him?”

My gaze returns to our secret smile and I nod. I love him so much. So much.

“Then you do know how.”

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH Chapter 8

April 10, 2014

Republisher’s Note: Michelle and Danny deal with hard truths.

Author’s Note: This story is NC-17.

The Long Walk Into His Arms by JenniferH – Chapter 8 - He Must Understand

“You’re not a bad person. You’re not.” And he kneels before me, taking me into his arms. I curve into him, my arms wrapping about his neck as he rains kisses upon my head, upon my face, murmuring “love you, you’re good. You’re wonderful. I love you so much.” He says and I cling to him, I cling to his words, needing to believe him. He sits back and I fall into his lap and he is cradling me, holding me as he strokes my hair as he comforts me.

I look up at him, needing to believe him. “I’m not bad, you don’t think I’m bad?” He shakes his head and wraps his arms tighter around me. I bury myself within the haven of his arms, speaking quickly, quietly.

“I had to talk to my mother. God, I wish you knew my mother. I wish she were here. I wish she were alive. I had to tell her. I never told her that I killed Mick. I never told her how I met you. I had to tell her. I told her about Nino, and about Mick. I told her that her daughter is a killer.”

“No,” he says immediately and his voice is firm and hard and there is just the slightest tremble in the word. He is fighting something, something inside. I know. I know him too well. I pull away and then I am out of his arms kneeling across from him before he can stop me.

“You do think I am.” It isn’t a question, nor a statement. It’s an accusation. “You think I’m a killer, a murderer. You think I’m a bad person.”

“No, I do not,” and he reaches for me again, but I pull away further. “Michelle,” he begins and then just stops. He looks down, away from me, his entire frame sighing in frustration? In anguish? In what? I don’t know. I don’t know him. I don’t know him at all.

“That night, that night I killed your brother, I’ve pushed aside. I’ve ignored. I’ve pretended that it didn’t happen -”

“-Michelle,” he interrupts me and I hear that trembling in his voice again. I cannot define it. Is it fear? Why is he afraid? Why would he be afraid?

“But it did happen. Danny, it did and I’ve spent so long pretending -” again he interrupts me.

“-Michelle, I don’t want to talk about this now.” And the tremble is still there.

“Why? I want to talk about it.”

“I don’t. I don’t want to talk about this right now. Let’s go home. It’s late, it’s cold. You’re sitting here in a shirt and an overcoat. You’re gonna get sick -”

“I don’t WANT to go home!”

“We’re GOING HOME!” And the tremble has become a roar and I realize at last that it is anger.

______________________

“You hate me,” I look away from him. “I killed your brother, of course you hate me.” I feel dead inside. And then I laugh, not dead – Mick is dead. Nino is dead. I hear the dirt shift and stand up quickly, moving so that he can’t touch me.

“Michelle, I don’t hate you. I could never hate you. I just don’t,” and he paused, “want,” again a pause, “to talk about this,” and he sighed and silence fell between us before he exhaled in a rush tonight. “I can’t.”

“You could talk about it earlier.” And I finally look at him and he nods.

“Earlier, I didn’t know that you lied to me. You’re hurting right now, you don’t need accusations, and you don’t need a fight. You just need to come home and try to get some sleep. We’ll talk about this later.”

And I remember. Yes, I lied to him. Drew. I never told him that Drew was there. “This is about Drew being there that night.”

He is quiet and then softly, “yes.” And it is his turn to not look at me. “Can we please just go home?”

“Why does it matter? Nothing is different. Mick is still dead. I still killed him. I still killed your brother. I still killed Nino. What does it matter if Drew was there?” And I am before him, that slight taunt is back in my voice. He keeps trying to shut me down, doesn’t he see that I need this? Can’t he see that I need to talk about this?

“It matters because you lied to me. I don’t want to talk about this!” And he steps back, his arms spreading out. “I can’t. Because I am so,” he paused and exhaled, the air shaded white before him. “I am so hurt and angry right now. On top of that, I was shot. You -” and he is silent once more.

“I killed someone again.”

“Yes. You killed someone again. And you’re right, I don’t know how it feels. And I wish to God that you didn’t either. And I’m trying to understand; I’m trying to put aside the fact that you lied to me. You lied when you thought I would kill you and you still lied. It makes me wonder – what else have you lied about?”

______________________

“What?” I stumble back, lost in a rush of pain again. “I didn’t. I haven’t. I didn’t – Danny, this was a long time ago. I was scared, I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was trying – I haven’t ever lied to you since then. I mean, not about anything like that. I haven’t. I wouldn’t. I love you. I just need you to understand that. Understand what happened to me, I don’t see why it matters. Drew being there made no difference.”

“It makes a difference. It makes a difference.” He is quite for a moment and then he looks at me, smiling – but his smile is full of anger and there is nothing wonderful, nothing real in it. “Okay, fine, you want to talk about it. We’ll talk about it. Why didn’t you tell me about her?”

“I don’t know, I guess, you knew and you thought it was just me.” I find myself stumbling over words, avoiding that ghastly smile. “I was afraid if I changed my story that you would think I was lying, trying to protect Jesse. So I just stuck with what you knew. And I haven’t told you since then, because I NEVER thought about it. I ‘want to think about.”

“Okay. Okay, Michelle,” he says my name and I look back at him and thank God, the smile is gone and he is just Danny, his expression open, trying to understand. And so I must make him understand. I must help him, explain how I feel.

“-Danny, don’t you understand how hard this is? A year ago, I was a normal girl with a boyfriend, going to college. I had my whole life planned. And then your brother came along and that night on the beach changed me. But I couldn’t deal with it and maybe I would have if you hadn’t come along.”

“If I hadn’t come along” and his voice is a whisper, and there is pain in that whisper.

“Danny, I was a different person and maybe I could have dealt with that night and just moved on, but I became your wife, I became immersed in this world and I didn’t even realize it. A year ago, I never, ever would have done what I did tonight. I killed a man. I took a gun and I killed a man.”

“That’s not me! That’s not the daughter my mother raised. She’d be ashamed of me. She would think I’m a bad person,” and again that truth hits me.

“So, now this is all my fault?”

God, he doesnt understand.

“Is that what you’re saying?” and the anger is now riding alongside the anguish and his eyes are so dark, so full of hurt and a part of me wants to run to him and take away the pain. But I can’t. I can’t. He must understand

“It’s not your fault. I’m not saying that. I’m trying to say that it’s because I love you.”

“Because you love me? What?” Now there is confusion. I must make him understand. He must understand.

“Because I love you, I’ve changed so much. Do you think that if I had a choice, I would be with you? Do you think I would live like this? Do you think that I would love you? I wish to God that I didn’t love you. I wish that I didn’t love you so much, that I didn’t love you at all. Tonight…. tonight would never have happened. I never would have killed a man….”

“You killed him to save me! He was gonna kill me, Michelle -”

“Yes, Danny, that’s it right there. I killed a man because I love you. I love you so much that I took another life. That is what you make me do. That is what I have become because I love you.” Why can’t he understand? I beg silently. I ask God, I ask myself, I ask my mother. “Why can’t you understand?” I ask him. He must understand.

“You wish you didn’t love me?” And I can hear the tears in his voice. I look at him and they are falling down his cheeks. “You wish…. is that what you see when you look at me? Someone you love despite yourself?”

“Yes,” I whisper softly. He understands.

“You see someone that you would give anything not to love? Not to want to be with?”

“Yes,” and I am crying too because he does understand. Because it is hurting him. Well, damnit, I’m hurting too. I am hurting. I am dying inside.

“It’s funny,” and he laughs, but there is no humor in the painful sound. “When I look at you, I see the woman I love. I see the woman that I thank God every day is in my life. I see the one who has brought me peace, who makes me feel whole. I see the woman I love with everything in me. Everything good I have ever been, everything good I am capable of being I see when I look at you.” And he laughs again. “And you see a man you wish you didn’t love.”

He turns away.

“Where are you going?” I ask his retreating form. He turns back to me and there is no emotion in his voice.

“Home. You stay here. You finish communing with your dead mother. Sorry to disturb you.” And his voice is fading as he walks further away from me. “Sorry to disturb your life.”


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