Quench Me by Amy – Conclusion

Republisher’s Note: This is the final chapter of Quench Me. Another Manny fanfic will be restored starting tomorrow.

Author’s Note: Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters. All lyrics are in italics are from the song “Blessed”, written by Travon Potts & Brock Walsh. The song can be found on Christina Aguilera’s self-titled CD.

Quench Me by Amy – Conclusion

“You look absolutely smashing,” I say to Danny as we make our way up the sidewalk toward the Country Club.

I nearly fainted when I saw him walk out of the bathroom wearing a tuxedo earlier this evening. I knew that he would look gorgeous, no matter what he wore, but never did I expect a tux. He told me that since he didn’t have to wear a tux for our wedding, he figured he could stand to wear it for our reception.

“I could say the same for you,” he replies, stopping just outside the door. “You are some kind of fine in that dress.”

He gently toys with the spaghetti strap of my soft peach dress, and his eyes travel toward the plunging scoop neck line. He leans down and places sweet kisses along my collar bone, and whispers, “Are you sure we have to go in? Can’t we just go home and be alone?”

Smacking him in the butt with my beaded hand bag, I answer, “You are so naughty! You know we can’t disappoint Rick and all our guests, but I promise I’ll make it up to you later.”

“I’m holding you to that,” he answers, as he swings open the front door.

Quickly, we make our way to the party room, music and commotion already audible in the hallway. Our attempt to make a sneaky entrance is thwarted once Rick notices that we’ve arrived.

“There’s the happy couple!” Rick exclaims, as he crosses the room. As he reaches where Danny and I are standing, he continues. “My sister and her husband… Michelle and Danny Santos.”

Applause echoes throughout the room, as I begin to take notice of the guests. I knew that Rick invited practically the entire town, but I didn’t expect that everyone would actually show up. Phillip and Harley are across the room, sipping champagne and talking with Frank, Eleni, and Buzz. Carmen and Pilar are seated at a small table, and I’m pleased to see that Matt and Vanessa are seated with them. Carmen Santos didn’t exactly have a stellar reputation when she left the country, so it makes me happy that Vanessa is being cordial. I’m sure that Carmen and Pilar are telling Matt and Vanessa about their plans for the creative arts center in Madrid, and I’m positive that Vanessa will be most impressed. Ross and Blake Marler are standing near the enormous picture window on the opposite wall, with Holly Reade and Billy Lewis. Josh and Reva join them momentarily, and I smile when I notice how close Billy and Holly have become. It’s about time Bill’s father found some happiness in his life. Ray stands near the terrace doors, surrounded by several people who I don’t recognize. Danny tells me that they are several of his colleagues from Spaulding, as well as a couple of boyhood friends who are now a part of Ray’s parish.

Just as Danny and I start to make our way around the room to greet our guests, I feel a slight tap on my shoulder. I whirl around and my mouth flies open in surprise when I see Bill Lewis.

“Bill!” I scream as I throw my arms around my best friend. I haven’t seen Bill in over a year. He landed a great job with a huge software design company, and promptly moved to Boston and began working his fingers to the bone.

“You think I’d miss this, Michelle?” Bill replies, as we both take a step back to survey the other. “You look great. Marriage must agree with you.”

“It does!” I say. “And you don’t look bad yourself!”

“You must be Danny,” Bill says, looking over my shoulder at Danny.

Danny reaches out to shake Bill’s hand, saying, “And you must be Bill. Michelle has told me so much about you.”

“Yeah, we’ve known each other our entire lives,” Bill replies. “That’s why I couldn’t say no when Rick called and invited me. He wanted to surprise you.”

Just then, I notice the beautiful brunette standing to Bill’s right, slightly behind him. “Looks like you didn’t come alone,” I say slyly.

Bill reaches behind him and takes the lovely woman by the hand. “Michelle, Danny, this is Sherri Wilder. Sherri, this is my best friend Michelle, and her husband Danny.” Danny and I are busy greeting Sherri, when Bill adds, “Sherri and I are getting married.”

“Bill! You’re engaged!” I exclaim, hugging him first and then Sherri. “I’m so happy for both of you. When is the big day?”

“I think we’ll take things a tad bit slower than the two of you did,” Bill jokes.

“We haven’t set an exact date yet,” Sherri says. “Hopefully it will be sometime in December. I hope the two of you can come.”

“Oh absolutely,” I reply. “As soon as you set the date, let us know, and we’ll make plans.”

After a few moments, Bill and Sherri excuse themselves to find Billy, Vanessa, and Matt. Danny and I make our way around the room, and manage to greet everyone in record time. I still can’t believe what a huge event this turned out to be. Rick has really outdone himself, yet again.

“Excuse me, can I have your attention,” Rick says as he steps up to the microphone. “I’d like to make a toast.”

A quiet hush falls over the room, and all eyes are on Rick as he continues. “My little sister has always done things by the book, so when she came to me and told me that she got married one weekend while I was out of town, my first reaction was disbelief.”

Gentle laughter rumbles through the crowd, and I feel Danny slip his arm around my waist and pull me closer to him.

“But then I saw the look of complete joy in her eyes, and I knew that she was happier than she’s ever been. I could say so many good things about Michelle, because as you all know, I’m as proud as a big brother could possibly be, but tonight, I just want to celebrate with her, and with Danny.”

The warmth of Rick’s smile touches my heart, and I feel tears begin to form in my eyes as he goes on. “Michelle, I love you so much, and all I’ve ever wanted for you was happiness. I have no doubt that you’ve found it. You and Danny are proof that true love does in fact exist in this world, and I want nothing but the best for both of you. So please, everyone, join me in honoring my sister and her husband. To Danny and Michelle.”

Glasses of champagne are raised all across the room, as I notice a lovely woman in an emerald green suit enter the room, directly behind Rick. She makes her way to my brother, and when he sees her, his arms encircle her completely. It’s then that I realize who the woman is, and I’m completely astounded. I grab Danny’s hand and practically drag him across the room.

“Rick?” I softly question as we near him.

He takes Abby’s hand and says, “Abby and I ran into each other in Dallas.”

“In Dallas?” I say. “I knew there was something different about you when you came back from that trip.” My eyes back and forth between Rick and Abby, taking in the smiles on both their faces.

“I was speaking at the convention,” Abby explains. “I had no idea that Rick would be there. We saw each other in the lobby of the convention center, and all those old feelings came flooding back.”

“We realized that we gave up too quickly,” Rick interjects. “We spent the entire weekend talking, the way we didn’t talk all those months ago. We still love each other, Michelle, and we realized that the problems between us could be resolved, with time and effort. And we’re willing to put forth the effort. We want to put our relationship back together.”

I’m totally stunned, and it must show on my face, because Abby quickly continues. “I know that I hurt Rick a lot when I left, and I don’t expect to erase that pain. But I love your brother, and he’s the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. I flew in from Washington tonight because I wanted to be here, for this family celebration. I want to be a part of this family again.”

Without another word, I embrace Abby, and silently thank God for bringing her back to my brother and to our family. “Abby,” I quietly begin. “I want you to meet my husband, Danny Santos.”

“Rick has told me so much about you, Danny,” Abby says, as she and Danny greet one another. “I’m so glad to finally meet the man who has made Michelle so happy.”

We’re busy introducing Abby to Carmen and Pilar, and Bill’s new fiancee’, when I see Rick slip out of the room. I almost go after him, but stop myself, knowing that he’s probably got something else up his sleeve and I don’t want to ruin it for him. As quickly as Rick left the room, he reappears, and with his index finger motions for me to join him near the door. I leave Danny standing with Abby and the rest of the crowd, and swiftly make my way to where Rick is standing.

“I have one more surprise for you, Michelle,” he says.

“You’ve already gone to way too much trouble, Rick,” I scold. “I don’t know if I can stand another surprise.”

“I think you’ll like this one,” he replies, as he opens the door to the hallway.

My heart pounds and my knees almost give way as I see him. There, standing directly in front of me, is my father, Ed Bauer. A million questions run through my mind, as well as a million nasty remarks that I’d like to make to my father, but none of them come out of my mouth. All I can focus on is that my father is here, for my wedding reception, and I can do nothing but go to him and allow him to hug me, the way a father hugs his daughter.

“Daddy,” is all I manage to say before the tears come vigorously.

“I’m so sorry for everything, Michelle,” he says, and I realize that he too is crying. “I regret so many things.”

For this moment, his words are enough. There are many things that need to be said between us, but for now, his presence and his words are enough. I couldn’t stop my heart from opening to him if I tried.

Somewhere, in the midst of all this, Danny finds his way to where we are. As I look up and see him, the smile on his face tells me that he understands. He understands that finally, my father has given me what I needed… in much the same way his own mother did for him a few days ago. Our marriage has not only given us immeasurable happiness, but it has also brought our parents back into our lives, the way we needed them to be.

“Danny, this is my father, Ed Bauer,” I say, reaching out to put my arm around my husband’s waist. “And Daddy, this is my husband, Danny Santos.”

“It’s good to meet you, Dr. Bauer,” Danny says, still a bit reserved knowing how much my father’s absence has hurt me in the past.

“Likewise,” my father replies. “I can see that you’ve made my little girl a very happy woman.”

“I’m a very lucky man, Dr. Bauer,” Danny says.

Once again, Rick makes his way to the microphone and claims everyone’s attention. “I know this isn’t a traditional wedding reception, but we are celebrating my sister’s marriage, so I thought it would be nice for Michelle and Danny to have the traditional first dance.”

There’s no possible way we can refuse with everyone clapping their hands and nodding, and to be honest, I don’t want to refuse. I love to dance with Danny, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate all the wonderful things that I’m feeling than by dancing with my husband.

Hand in hand, we make our way to the center of the room, and Danny takes me in his arms. The music begins, and I’m struck once again by how naturally and perfectly our bodies fit together. We were born for one another. There’s no doubt in my mind.

When I think, how life used to be Always walking in the shadows Then I look at what you’ve given me I feel like dancing on my tip toes I must say every day I wake And realize you’re by my side

I know I’m truly blessed For everything you give me Blessed, for all the tenderness you show I’ll do my best, with every breath that’s in me Blessed – to make sure you never go

Danny presses his forehead to mine, and stares into my eyes, the way he’s done so many times before. And like every time before, his eyes transport me to a magical place that only he and I share. The smile that crosses his face is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen, and my heart races even faster as he whispers, “I love you”, and places a soft kiss on my cheek.

There are times, that I test your faith ‘Til you think you might surrender And baby I’m… I’m not ashamed to say That my hopes were growing slender You walked by, in the nick of time Looking like an answered prayer

I know I’m truly blessed For everything you give me Blessed, for all the tenderness you show I’ll do my best, with every breath that’s in me Blessed – to make sure you never go

“I can’t believe everything that’s happened,” I say. “First your mother and Pilar, then Abby, and now my dad.”

“I know,” he whispers back. “It’s amazing.”

“But the most amazing thing of all is the way that you love me,” I reply. “You are the greatest blessing of my life.”

“And you’re mine,” he says, as he holds my body tightly to his.

I’m blessed with love and understanding blessed when I hear you call my name I’ll do my best, with faith that’s never ending Blessed – to make sure you feel the same

Deep inside of me You fill me with your gentle touch

“This is forever, Michelle,” Danny whispers. “I don’t care what we go through, I’ll never give up on you. We’ll always be together. I promise.”

“I’ll never give up on you either,” I softly answer. “I promise.”

“And you will always be the most important part of my life,” he replies. “Nothing or no one will ever come before you.”

“And I will never ask you to be anything besides what you are,” I say. “I’ll always love you for exactly who you are.”

“We’ve learned a lot from our parent’s mistakes, haven’t we?” he quietly asks.

Nodding, I say, “And we won’t make the same ones.”

“Never,” he says. “I love you with everything in me, Michelle.”

“I love you too, Danny,” I say, smiling up at him. “As long as I have breath in my body, and beyond.”

I know I’m truly blessed For everything you give me Blessed, for all the tenderness you show I’ll do my best, with every breath that’s in me Blessed – to make sure you never go

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