Coming Home to You by Alisia – Chapter 3

Republishing another classic Manny fanfic.

Coming Home to You by Alisia – Chapter 3

Michelle smoothed the material of her black dress over her hips in the ladies room of Towers. She felt out of place among Pilar’s family, even though Mrs. Santos had insisted that Michelle was family, too. She had bought the dress she was wearing especially for parties like this one. It was sleek, elegant, and very expensive. At the store Michelle had thought it was perfect and classic now with the nerves building, she was finding fault with how snugly it conformed to her and how simple the design was. Maybe she should have just gone to dinner at Rick’s. He was her brother after all. They would have things to talk about and Michelle wouldn’t have to worry about looking like an uncultured simpleton, because that’s always how she felt when she spent time with Pilar’s whole family. Pilar’s family was wealthy, cultured, and well-educated, as was Pilar herself. However, Pilar was informal and low-pressure. Her relatives did not give off the same air of ease. Michelle thought back to when she was a kid. She always felt nervous when Mr. Santos, Danny, or Abuela, Pilar’s grandmother, would drive them places. She had the same feeling of nervousness in her stomach now what would she have to talk about with these people besides the wedding?

Michelle took a deep breath and ran her hand through her curls, which were being really unruly on this particular evening. Time to go into the dining room. Michelle turned and walked down the hallway into Towers private dining room. She made her way over to where Pilar was standing with her parents.

“Michelle, you look lovely this evening,” Mr. Santos said taking her arm.

Michelle smiled at the compliment, and the knot in her stomach began to loosen. She became engrossed in a conversation with Mr. Santos about the improvements being made to Cedars hospital, a topic dear to her heart as a result of her family’s involvement in the hospital over the years. All of a sudden, she heard Pilar squeal, and both Michelle and Mr. Santos looked up.

“Danny!”

Pilar practically ran over to her brother, who picked her up off the ground and swung her around as he had done since she was little. The whole room took in the scene with smiles. The bond between Danny and Pilar had always been strong.

“Hello, Peanut.” Danny laughed as Pilar hugged him tighter. “I missed you, too.”

“What? No hug for me?” Tony asked in jest. Pilar let go of Danny and kissed Tony on the cheek, returning immediately to her big brother.

“Come say hello to Mama and Papa and then tell me all about Spain.”

Danny kissed Pilar’s forehead. “Plenty of time for that apparently I’m not allowed to return to Spain for three weeks.” He raised his eyebrow and Pilar smiled and tried to look innocent.

“Yeah, about that we thought…” she gestured at Tony.

“Oh, no, don’t bring me into this. You did all the sneaking around on your own. Well, you and your father,” Tony declared.

Pilar laughed. “Yeah, I guess we did.”

Danny finally managed to detach Pilar from his arm, and Tony took her to get a drink as Danny made his way to his grandmother and then his parents. Michelle stood off to the side, trying not to intrude on a family moment.

“Papa,” Danny said hugging his father.

“It’s good to see you, son. It has been altogether too long. We need to see more of you.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Mama, I’ve missed you.”

“My Daniel. It’s good to have you home,” Mrs. Santos sighed as she hugged her son. All of a sudden, she remembered Michelle, standing off to the side. “Daniel, you remember Pilar’s friend Michelle, don’t you? Michelle, I’m sure you recall Pilar’s older brother Daniel.”

Danny turned, and expecting to see the cute kid he remembered, he was completely taken aback by Michelle. She was gorgeous. He couldn’t believe how beautiful she was; the curls, the doe eyes, the perfect figure accented by an amazing dress. Still somewhat shy though, she was standing back from the family.

“Michelle?” Danny managed to choke out. “You look wonderful. How are you?”

Michelle was shocked that Danny remembered her. He was as beautiful as she remembered from when she was a kid; the curls, the chocolate colored eyes, the amazing smile. “I’m great. It’s good to see you again, Danny.” She was a little surprised when Danny reached out and pulled her towards him as he stepped near her to kiss her cheek. The sensation was not at all unpleasant, Michelle thought, just surprising. She assumed it was just Danny’s nature to be charming, and the kiss hello was very European. After all, he had been in Spain for several years, obviously he’d picked up some of the local habits. What she didn’t realize was that Danny just really wanted to be near her.

Danny tried valiantly not to stare at Michelle, but it wasn’t working very well. On and off through dinner, he would look up and get lost in her. He couldn’t believe how he was acting. Danny Santos did not get all romantic over a girl he had just met. Well, to be fair, he’d know her for a long time, but that was hardly the point. He just saw her, and it was like he lost his ability to think like a rational human being.

Danny heard his fathers voice call his name. “What was that, Papa?”

“Suffering from jetlag, are you?”

“No, Papa,” Danny laughed, “just lost in thought. Well, maybe a little tired. What did you say before?”

“I said,” Mr. Santos rose dramatically, “don’t you think it’s time we start the dancing?”

“Absolutely,” Danny replied, even though he was almost too tired to move. Mr. Santos took his wife’s hand, and Tony and Pilar followed suit.

Danny stepped over to his grandmothers wheel chair, and bent down to kiss her cheek. “You know, Abuela, I’m sure you could still out dance us all.”

“Flatterer!” Abuela grinned. “I was quite the dancer in my time, but I think tonight the dancing must go on without me.”

“Well, then I’ll just have to ask this other beautiful lady to dance.” He turned to Michelle, “Would you do me the honor?”

Michelle smiled and tried not to look too eager. “I’d love to.”

Danny took Michelle’s arm and led her to the dance floor. Michelle never thought of herself as much of a dancer, but Danny made it very easy. He guided her effortlessly.

“How is your family?” Danny asked politely.

“My brother is wonderful. He got married a few years back. His wife Abby is great. My Dad is in Europe somewhere. I can’t say I’m entirely sure where at the moment. He’s not very good about keeping in touch.”

“I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s fine. How is Spain? I hear you are quite the successful businessman.”

“I do alright. I like the fast pace and the challenge of heading up the Spain division.”

Michelle just nodded and smiled, almost indulgently.

“What is that look?”

“You like being the boss, being in control.”

“I beg your pardon?” Danny laughed.

“Honestly, Danny. You look like I uncovered some great secret,” Michelle smiled. “You always liked being in control and you hated it whenever anyone told you what to do.”

“So you do remember me?”

“Of course, I remember you.”

“Good.” Danny spun her around. “Because I remember you, too.”

Mr. Santos chose that moment to cut in, so Michelle didn’t have to find a response to Danny’s last statement. It wasn’t what he said that left her feeling flushed, it was the way he looked at her when he said it. His eyes looked right through her. His forehead was practically touching hers, and he looked in her eyes like it was the most interesting place he had ever seen. Michelle shook her head and admonished herself for having such ridiculous thoughts. Schoolgirl fancies, thats what Aunt Meta would call them. Danny was just charming and engaging. He was always somewhat flirtatious; it was just his way. He exuded charm even when he didn’t try. Michelle convinced herself he was just like that with women, and she managed to avoid him for the rest of the night, embarrassed by the way her pulse sped up and her heart pounded when she thought he was looking her way.

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