Public Relations by Alisia – Part 2

Republisher’s Note: This is the second and last part of this classic Manny fanfic.

Author’s Note: Hello! Here is the end to my little challenge fic – not a literary masterpiece, but I hope you enjoy. What can I say other than that I love happy endings?

Same disclaimers as last time. Thanks for your patience – I’ll try not to be so late next time.

Alisia

 

Public Relations by Alisia – Part 2

When the door to his office swung open, Danny couldn’t help but agree with the little voice in his head that observed that Michelle Bauer who he had always considered pretty was beautiful when she was angry. Thinking like that wasn’t going to help matters, though, Danny decided. The best way to avoid an all-out fight with Michelle was to remain calm – calm, unemotional and detached. He would be the voice of reason. Yeah, no problem.

“Did you know about this?” she practically snarled.

“I just found out this morning.”

“What are you going to do about this?”

“Me? What am I going to do about this?”

“Yes, you. Phillip would never have come up with an idea like this on his own. It has to have been the influence of your family and your archaic sense of family duty. Really, Danny, it is not the nineteenth century anymore.”

“Thank you for the update.”

“I’m serious, Daniel!” Well, at that Danny needed to sit down. She used his full name and it reminded him more than a little of his mother in full-battle mode. That was a heady realization.”I can’t believe anyone could even consider an arranged marriage in this day and age. This is the most ridiculous PR stunt you could have ever come up with!”

“Excuse me?”

“I mean if you need good PR get a better marketing staff or…”

“Are you under the impression that I am the architect of this plan? If you are, you are flat out wrong. I can’t stand the idea.” To be honest, Danny was starting to think there might be worse things in the world than being married to Michelle Bauer. She was feisty and he liked that. But, under no circumstances was he going to take the blame for this little idea, nor was he going to let her see that he was softening to the idea. His proclamation seemed to surprise her though.

“You had nothing to do with this?” She looked confused.

“Absolutely not.”

Michelle was still totally against the idea of adding Santos to her name, but the thought that Danny didn’t want her as much as she didn’t want him was slightly disturbing. She was sure he’d be smirking and arrogant and all together too pleased with himself over his current situation. Not like she expected him to be drooling over her, just sort of smug at the prospect that he would have her. She was looking forward to knocking the smug look of his face only it wasn’t there. That was fine, she decided. She didn’t want him either. Well….. she maybe used to want him…. a little.

“You don’t have to sound so repulsed by the idea,” she declared. Danny smirked. His thoughts exactly. “There are worse things that could happen to you than marrying me – like for example marrying one of the bimbos you’ve been seen around town with. Or worse, who was that girl you were with in college? Teresa, right?”

“I’m flattered that you keep track of those things, but I…”

“You arrogant creep!”

Danny laughed. It really was a funny situation in one breath she was arguing against the situation they had found themselves in and in the other feeling offended that he felt the same way. He walked around the desk and took Michelle’s arm. She was so angry, he was worried she’d try to hit him if he just put his hand on her shoulder or back. She was too furious to really even notice that they were moving, however.

“Just sit down for a minute. Stop yelling, and maybe we can figure out what to do.” He guided Michelle into a chair and perched himself on the edge of his desk.

“What do you propose?”

“I thought we already decided that proposals were totally out of the question.”

“Danny!”

“All right. Well, I suppose the obvious answer is that we say no. We just refuse. They can’t make us do this, they’ll just threaten our jobs and our family ties if we go against them. The prospect of us causing a fuss over a forced, arranged marriage something which is totally illegal – might keep them from going through with any of the threats they will make when we tell them we refuse.” Michelle shook her head in agreement. “The key is that we stick together on this.”

“When will we tell them?”

“How about now?”

“What?”

“My mother’s in her office. You call your father; I’ll call Phillip. We’ll tell them now.”

“My father was in on this?” Michelle suddenly looked very pale.

“Yeah. I thought you knew that.” He reached out from where he was sitting and took her hand in his. “You can do this, you know.”

“How can I go through with this? I thought you said…”

“No, Michelle. I mean you can call your father and then tell him that you won’t do this just because he asked.”

“I’m really not sure if I can.”

————

When the family meeting was over, though, nothing much had changed. Carmen, Ed, and Phillip had all gathered, but Michelle and Danny did not emerge victorious from the meeting. When they had left, it was just Michelle and Danny alone again trying to figure out what to do.

“I can’t believe he threatened to cut me off from my own family. The company, maybe. Phillip would do that. But my family?”

Danny looked at Michelle from his chair, where he was rubbing his temples. She looked defeated, which was how he felt. His gaze left her and centered on the edition of the Springfield Journal his mother had brought with her. Page three held a massive engagement announcement. Somehow his mother had found the picture Pilar had taken the night of Danny and Michelle’s first and only date in college, if you could even call the sorority nightmare a date as Michelle had pointed out. Carmen had threatened Danny with everything she could think of the winning strategy though was to attack his family honor. Tell him his father would have wanted this. That was something he just couldn’t go against.

“I can’t believe they got it in the paper so fast,” Danny said. “They must have put it in before they told either of us. I just can’t believe it.”

“What are we going to do?”

Danny hated to see Michelle so heartbroken. The little voice in his head told him it was because he was falling for her. He told the little voice to mind its own business.

“Well, I guess were going to go through with this,” Danny sighed, but managed to smile at his bride-to-be.

Michelle looked up at him. Something inside her tingled at the sight of Danny’s smile.”They already have the church and the reception planned. The invitations are almost done. They even figured out the honeymoon and the living situation what with my dad having the lighthouse remodeled. They probably already bought the rings. All we need is a dress and a tux.”

“I have a tux. I must say though that the thought of Phillip Spaulding and my mother planning my honeymoon is a bit disturbing.”

“Really?” Michelle said in a small voice.”That was the only part I liked. I have never been to Spain.”

“It’s beautiful. You’ll enjoy it. I’ll make sure of it.”

Michelle looked up surprise on every feature. “Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.”

————-

“Miss, please turn a bit to the left.” The seamstress sighed. “No, your left.”

Michelle giggled. The whole situation was funny. If any member of her staff walked into her office right now expecting to see their boss up to her elbows in work, instead they’d see her up to her elbows in white silk and lace getting fitted for her wedding dress and having trouble telling her right from her left.

Michelle had planed to wear her mother’s dress, but it was in terrible shape. It had not been cared for properly through the years. Michelle had told Danny about her disappointment just the night before. They were having dinner together. They decided they should at least get to know each other better before they pledged their lives to each other and Michelle explained she was expecting to just get her mother’s dress tailored so she hadn’t looked at any new ones. Time was definitely going to be an issue. They were getting married in three days.

Then this morning the most amazing thing had happened. She walked into her office to find a dozen cana lilies on her desk, and a note from Danny.

Good morning Michelle,
Make sure you are in your office at 9:30. I’m sending someone over to see you.
Danny

Michelle had no idea how long Danny agonized over whether he should send roses or lilies. She had no idea how torn he was over whether to sign the note Danny or Love, Danny. All she knew was Danny was continuously surprising her with how sweet he was, so she would most definitely be in her office at 9:30.

She was still stunned, though, when she opened her door and found a team of seamstresses and designers. They had a picture of her parents’ wedding day, she could only imagine Danny had managed to get one, and already had the beginnings of a dress that looked just like her mother’s. It was now almost 2 o’clock, and aside for some embroidery on the veil and the train that the women insisted would be done on time, Michelle was able to look in the mirror and see her wedding dress. Her dream wedding dress.

Well, she would be able to see it if the woman kneeling behind her would stop insisting she turn to the left.

“OK, I think I’ve got it. Spin around once, and let me make sure the hem is perfect.”

Michelle followed her orders and twirled around like she had wanted to do for the last hour. She was so enthralled with her dress she didn’t even notice that the door to her office had opened, and Danny had entered.

Well, he hadn’t come in very far. One look at Michelle, smiling and laughing in a dress that made her look like an angel pretty much rendered Danny motionless. He could hardly breathe, much less speak and announce his presence.

The seamstress had no such problem, however. “Oh no! Out, out! It’s bad luck for the groom to see the bride in her dress!”

Danny just chuckled, and Michelle turned and smiled. “Don’t worry. We haven’t really done anything by the book. I don’t think that tradition is going to cause a problem.” She looked back at Danny. “What do you think?”

He let his gaze travel over her from head to toe. “It’s perfect. You’re perfect.”

“Oh. Thank you.” Michelle was more than a little flustered at how sincere Danny looked when he said that. “Let me go take this off so these ladies can take the dress with them.” She took two steps off the pedestal they had set up, and then asked Danny, “Have you had lunch yet? I’m starving.”

He smiled. “I was just coming to see if I could take you for a late lunch.”

She nodded. “I’ll be ready in two minutes.”

—————

At the knock on the door, Michelle sighed. At least fifteen people had come and knocked on the door of the little bride’s room at the church. How could she be expected to get ready if she had to keep getting the door? “I’ll be ready in two minutes, Dad.”

“Michelle?” The door opened and Michelle heard a gasp.

She turned and came face to face with her soon-to-be-husband. “Danny! What are you doing here?”

Danny merely closed the door behind him and then reached for Michelle’s hands. He held them out to her sides and took in the sight of her in her dress. Michelle blushed to the roots of her hair.

“Danny? Is something wrong, because otherwise…”‘

She couldn’t talk, and it took Michelle a second to figure out why. Danny was kissing her. It took another second for her to realize she was kissing him back. She wrapped her arms around Danny’s neck, and she let out a contented sigh when he ended the kiss and pulled back slightly without letting go of her.

“You couldn’t have waited another half an hour to do that?”

Danny laughed, and brushed a curl behind her ear. “Nope. I couldn’t wait another minute.”

“That’s why you broke every tradition in the book and came back here to see me in my dress before the ceremony?”

“I’ve already seen you in your dress though I must say it looks better without all the pins in it.”

“I thought so, too.”

Danny took Michelle’s hand again, and suddenly she realized how nervous he was. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing,” he answered quickly. “Well, something is wrong. I wanted you to…. I thought you should…. maybe you would want….  I was hoping you see… oh hell.”

“Danny, don’t swear in church.” Michelle giggled. He was so flustered it was adorable.

“Sorry. Right. Good point.”

“Danny? Did you need something?”

“Yes. I wanted to give you this.” He held out a small, black, velvet box, and Michelle took it.

“What is it?”

“Open it.”

Danny stared intently at Michelle’s face as she opened the small jewelry box.

“It’s beautiful,” she breathed when she saw the diamond solitaire inside. “Danny, I-”

“I thought you should have an engagement ring even though were going to have a real short engagement here.” She didn’t say anything, so he added, “It will fit with your wedding ring.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“That’s probably because I’m doing this wrong. Hold on.” Danny took the box and knelt down.

“Michelle Bauer, will you marry me?”

“Well, since I’m already in the dress…” she laughed. “Yes, I’d love to marry you.”

Danny let out a breath he didn’t even know he was holding, as he slipped the ring on Michelle’s finger. He knew she was going to marry him there was no reason to be nervous. It was just that with this ring and proposal, they were saying it was something more than a public relations solution. And he had to admit he was a little nervous she wouldn’t want that. Though, now that he took a good look at her, she looked as happy as he did.

“Do you think we’re ready for this?” she asked, smoothing out the material of her dress as she looked up at him.

“I do.”

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