Republisher’s Note: Sharing another story recovered from The Rustle of the Sheets. For the uninitiated TWV stands for The Walking Vegetable. It’s the online Manny community “fond” nickname for Jesse.
Summary: A short vignette about a meeting between Danny and Michelle after they’ve been separated. Rick, Abby, Drew and TWV also appear.
Timeline: This takes place a couple of weeks from now (assuming Danny does decide to give Michelle an annulment and assuming Michelle does waver between her feelings for the Neanderthal and Danny Boy.) This ‘scene’ is the first time Danny and Michelle have seen each other [in my (albeit brief) future universe] since he promised her the annulment and they are still legally married.
Rating: PG-13 for some kissage.
Disclaimer: Danny, Michelle, Dr. Rick, Abby, Oh-Whining-One (I do like Drew, really. Yes, some people do actually like her), and the Neanderthal all belong to Proctor & Gamble, CBS, etc., etc. Although, the idea that anyone would actually claim TWV is about beyond ludicrous.
So Many Emotions in His Name By Jennifer Hallmark
Danny stood outside the Bauer residence, twisting the wedding band about his finger as he mentally berated himself for his presence on her doorstep.
“This is stupid, stupid,” he muttered under his breath and without even knocking, he turned to leave. He’d just taken a few steps when the front door opened behind him and he heard his brother-in-law, Dr. Rick Bauer, call his name. A question and disaffection were evident in his tone, at least to Danny’s ears. He stopped and swore quietly under his breath and then turned around, a grim smile upon his lips.
“Dr. Bauer — Rick,” he offered and stood ill at ease before Michelle’s older brother. “I, uh, I was just gonna stop by and see how my,” he paused and tightened his lips, “Michelle, I just wanted to see how Michelle was doing.”
Rick looked at the young man speculatively, “Fine, but she’s not here right now.”
Danny let out a slight exhalation of breath and took a step back, “Oh, well, then I guess this really was a waste of time.”
Rick shook his head, “No, you can come on in, wait for her. She shouldn’t be much longer.”
Disbelief flowed across Danny’s face, “You’re kidding, right? You’re inviting me into your house?”
Rick smiled, “You’re still legally my brother-in-law, and I think Michelle would like to see you. So, yes, I’m inviting you,” he held out his hand and stepped back, indicating that he could enter. Danny nodded and walked into the house.
~~~ There were wedding pictures of Rick and his wife, Abby, on the mantle next to a photo of an older man and woman — Michelle’s parents, Ed and Maureen Bauer, Danny knew from a picture Michelle had shown him what seemed like centuries ago, but in reality was only a month. He turned towards the kitchen when a loud noise filled the air. Rick uttered a few choice words and looked up at Danny, “Dropped the can.”
Danny smiled, “It’s okay, I’m not really that thirsty.”
“Oh, okay,” Rick set the distorted can on top of the counter and walked into the living room. He headed to the fireplace and stood beside Danny, remarking idly “She did look beautiful.” Danny glanced over to the wedding photo that Rick was talking about at the other end of the mantle and found his gaze fixated.
“Why –” he cleared his throat, finding his voice suddenly hoarse, “why is that there?”
Rick turned to him, “What do you mean? All the family wedding pictures are up on the mantle.”
“But, it’s over. We’re getting an annulment and once that’s done it will be as if the marriage never existed.”
“True,” Rick conceded and then with a sideways glance towards his brother-in-law, he added quietly, “but Michelle wouldn’t hear of it being taken down.”
“She wouldn’t?” Danny asked, his voice soft as he gazed still at his beautiful bride in white, facing him, the corners of her lips curved, her forehead pressed against his as they smiled their ‘secret smile.’
“No,” Rick replied.
“Yes, yes,” he belatedly answer Rick’s earlier query, “she was very beautiful.” His voice lowered to a husky near-whisper, “she is beautiful. So beautiful.”
The opening of the front door broke the silence, followed by Michelle’s buoyant voice, “I can’t believe we were able to get that. I mean, a cashmere sweater for that price, I’m in heaven!” She laughed, a big smile on her face. “What?” she asked of Abby as the answering smile faded on her sister-in-law’s face.
“Hello, Michelle,” Rick called softly, his voice pensive. She turned to face him, and her eyes widened when they fell upon the man standing beside him. “Danny,” she breathed quietly. Her smile was gone, but a soft blush spread across her face as she carelessly dropped her shopping bags and purse upon the floor. She took a step forward and then paused as if unsure of what she was doing . . . of what she wanted to do.
Danny felt no such uncertainty. Without a word, he walked around the sofa and headed straight to Michelle. As he moved closer, her head tilted up and her breathing came quicker, as an almost breathless anticipation suffused her being. In one smooth movement, Danny cupped her face in the palm of her hand, while his arm swept about her waist and pulled her against him. His lips were upon hers before she could offer a protest.
And that protest would not have been forthcoming judging by her response as she wrapped her arms about his neck, her fingers ruffling in his thick, black curls. She leaned into him, her entire heart and soul poured into her kiss as her lips parted against his, their breath intermingling. His hand was soft upon her cheek, his fingers tracing patterns upon her skin, running down the column of her throat, and then swimming in the weight of her honey-blonde curls.
“What the hell?!” Jesse’s bellow split the air and Michelle pulled away abruptly, her hands falling from Danny’s shoulders. However, her husband kept his arm around her waist even as his hand slipped from her hair. Michelle turned to face Jesse and Drew, who stood slightly behind him. A deeper pink flushed Michelle’s face and she bit her lip, trying to move away from Danny’s possessive grasp. He held tight.
Jesse rushed forward and without warning slammed a fist into Danny’s face. He staggered back, but did not fall as Drew cried out Jesse’s name and Michelle jumped back in shock. Danny straightened up as Rick rushed to stand between the two young men. He laughed harshly without humor and rubbed a hand against his jaw where Jesse had struck.
“Hey, Jesse,” he drawled lazily. Jesse stood still, heaving in anger, his fists clenched at his side. Michelle glared at him and moved to Danny; she reached up to check his face, but Danny brushed her away. “It’s okay.” He turned to Rick, “sorry.”
Rick looked at him for a moment and then turned to Jesse, his eyes hardening slightly, “For what?”
Danny offered a genuine smile and replied softly, “For this,” as he moved towards Jesse and leveled a quick sucker-punch to the gut, followed by a swift right hook. Jesse doubled over and then fell to his knees before anyone in the room could react. And then again, Drew cried out his name. Abby was still and Rick knelt down before Jesse and then glanced up at Danny, “I think you –“
“– should leave, I know.” He nodded and again his smile was genuine as he turned to Michelle. “Goodbye, Michelle,” he looked down at Drew huddled in concern next to Jesse, “Drew,” his smile grew slightly, “Jesse, always a pleasure.”
“Get out of here,” Jesse growled. Danny’s smile widened and he walked out of the house. Michelle stood indecisively for a moment and then she gazed down at Jesse and then to the front door that was closing. She looked back at Jesse, who was looking at Drew and then she ran out to catch up with her husband.
“Danny!” she called out as the door shut behind her with a sharp crack. He turned around, “Michelle?” his voice was filled with surprise. “What?”
She slowed down and gingerly took the last few steps to him, “I, uh, I just wanted to know if you were okay.”
“I’m fine, Michelle. It takes more than a little hit from Jesse Blue to bother me.”
She nodded and then rushed forth with the real reason she’d come after him, “Why are you here? I mean, why did you come?”
He looked at her silently for a moment and then glanced away, debating whether or not to answer.
“Danny?” she questioned softly and he looked at her again, his gaze gentle.
“I wanted to see you.” He took a step closer and reached out a hand to her face. “I wanted to see your face, your smile. I missed your voice, the way you say my name.” His hand rose and he feathered her golden hair through his fingers, Michelle sighed and leaned slightly towards him. “I missed the way your hair curls and clings to my finger. I missed talking to you.”
His other hand rose and he gingerly traced the curve of her lips as he moved closer, his body less than a hands span away from hers. “I missed your lips, the feel of your mouth when I kissed you. And I wanted to kiss you again.” He leaned down and pressed a soft, sweet kiss upon her lips. “And again,” he whispered huskily as her lips parted in wanting beneath his once more. “And again,” his hand tightened in her hair as he took a deeper kiss from her, his fingers gently massaging her neck.
He pulled away reluctantly and Michelle’s eyes opened slowly, a dazed expression upon her face and he smiled softly.
“Again,” she murmured and leaned up, her hands pressing against his chest as she initiated a fourth kiss, this one much more passionate. He slanted his lips over hers, their mouths parting as they exchanged breaths. He wound his arms about her waist, holding her tightly to him and she clung to him almost desperately.
At last they pulled away and with a sigh, she whispered his name and then even quieter, “I’ve missed you, too.”
He stepped back and offered her a sweet smile, “So maybe there’s hope for me yet.”
“Maybe,” she replied, a matching smile on her face and in her voice. She moved back a few paces, her hands entwined behind her back.
He grinned widely and gestured towards the house, “Of course, you gotta get rid of the Neanderthal in there first.”
“Danny!” she admonished, but couldn’t help but return his smile. “Jesse’s a really sweet guy.”
“Jesse’s a moron,” he responded succinctly.
“Danny!” her warning was more severe and the smile was gone. She closed her eyes and sighed. Danny’s smile faded as well. He clasped his hands together and took a few more steps back.
“That’s my cue to leave.”
Michelle nodded and then looked up at him, “see you later.”
He was silent for a long moment, “later,” he repeated and he walked away. Michelle didn’t return to the house until his car had driven out of sight. When it was no longer visible, she raised a hand to her mouth and pressed her fingers lightly to her lips and with a sigh, she again whispered his name, “Danny,” and a wealth of pain, desire, confusion and love resided in that one word . . . her husband’s name.