Until You by NotSew – Chapter 5a

Republisher’s Note: The good people of Springfield have been transported to 1800s Richmond. Michelle and Danny met at a gala and sparks flew leading to a sword duel and a kiss.

Author’s Note: This chapter takes place 2 weeks after the Weston Gala. Michelle is attending an opera with her beau, Jesse Blue.

Unit You by NotSew – Chapter 5

Sitting in the Bauer Box seats above the stage of the opera house, Michelle turned to smile with false gaiety up at Regis “Jesse” Blue.

He had just told an utterly unamusing joke about three sailors and a mermaid.

Michelle had been seeing Jesse for about four weeks. He wasn’t the brightest tool in the box. But his candor and unfettered view of the world was like a breath of a fresh air. He never failed to make Michelle laugh, whether it was intentional or not. And the biggest bonus of seeing Jesse was by far the fact that by seeing Jesse Blue, Michelle was thumbing her nose at the idea of social status. Jesse was leagues under her place in the social structure. And Michelle found it deliciously entertaining to watch the reactions of her fellow upperclassmen whenever she and Jesse appeared in public together.

Maria Sandoval’s lilting soprano chorus found Michelle’s ears from the stage.

She really had a beautiful voice, Michelle thought, returning her focus to the stage.

As the soulful keening of Maria’s song of love surrounded Michelle, she couldn’t deny the thoughts of Danny Santos that had been plaguing her for the last two weeks. Every where she turned, he was there. She couldn’t swallow without remembering the taste of his kiss. She couldn’t breath without remembering the smell of his skin. And she hadn’t had a moment of sleep in the last two weeks that his face didn’t occupy. Danny had inspired a want in her that had consumed her life and her body. If she let it, her fascination with him would control her every moment.

So she had stayed away.

The opera was the first public appearance Michelle had made since the duel.

She had thought that putting distance between Danny and her would change the yearning in the pit of her stomach every time she said his name in her head. It didn’t work. The distance had only added an empty feeling to yearning.

A short distance away, a woman’s light laughter disrupted Michelle’s thoughts. She turned her head to discover the source.

Michelle drew in a sharp breath.

Sitting three boxes away, on a diagonal from the Bauer box, was none other than Danny Santos. Michelle’s heart jumped to her throat.

He was not alone.

By his side sat a stunning beauty with dark hair and perfect doll like features. She had her arm wrapped in Danny’s and she was smiling adoringly up into his eyes. Danny leaned over and placed a sweet kiss on the girl’s temple.

Michelle felt as if someone had kicked her in the stomach. The shock of seeing that Danny was attached to another woman made Michelle physically ill.

Why was she letting this effect her? So what if Danny was courting someone else? She had absolutely no claim on him.

So why did it hurt? And why was this irrational regret clogging her throat to the point that she couldn’t breath?

Tears begin to build in front of Michelle’s eyes. But she couldn’t blink them away.

Suddenly Danny’s eyes turned and caught Michelle’s.

Danny had just finished remarking to Pilar how much Carmen would have loved the opera and how equally as much Mick would have hated it, when he felt the presence of someone’s gaze. He turned his head and immediately locked eyes with Michelle Bauer.

After two weeks of accepting every invitation that came his way and attending more functions in that period then he ever wanted to attend over his whole life, all in attempt to see her again, she shows up there.

Sitting a hundred feet away and staring into his eyes was Michelle.

Michelle, who had haunted his every waking moment since the night of the duel.

Michelle, who inspired feelings in him that he thought he’d never feel for anyone.

Michelle, who made him furious because she apparently wanted to hide from what happened between them the night of the duel.

Did she think that hiding from him was going to change things? If she hadn’t come tonight Danny had already decided that whatever it took he was not going to wait to see her again. And there wasn’t a place she could go that he wouldn’t find her.

Danny didn’t have romantic thoughts very often, but he felt his soul connect with Michelle’s the first time he laid eyes on her.

It was the same feeling he was experiencing now, even across the distance between them.

Danny watched as Michelle tore her eyes from his and turned to say something to the man beside her. His eyes rose with Michelle as she got up and moved to the exit at the back of her box.

She was running. And if she thought for one second that he would let her go, she was sorely mistaken.

“I have to go look into something, Peanut. I’ll be back,” Danny told Pilar.

“What are you looking into?” Pilar asked of Danny’s retreating back.

He had already left.

Michelle had just rounded the corner and started to head for the stairs when a hand reached out and grabbed her arm in a vice grip.

Michelle turned to stare at the face of Danny Santos.

“Let go of me,” she bit out between clenched teeth, trying to shake his hand off.

“Now why would I want to do that?”

“Because if you don’t I’m going to create the biggest scene you have ever seen, causing us both great embarrassment. I mean it, Danny. I’ll scream this place to the ground.”

Danny stared at Michelle for a long hard moment before leaning in until they were face to face.

Michelle’s heart beat heavy in her chest as she felt the heat of Danny’s breath flutter across her face.

Then cold shock coursed through her veins as he laid his cheek against hers placing a hot kiss just below her ear.

“Go ahead and scream,” he whispered silkily.

“Do you think I won’t?”

“I wouldn’t put it past you, Michelle,” Danny drawled lazily.

“How do you know what I would or wouldn’t do? You don’t even know me!”

Danny reached out and brushed a finger across Michelle’s cheek.

“I know you.”

Michelle found herself drowning in the onyx pools of his eyes. It was as if they were putting her in a trance. And what she saw there is what frightened her the most about Danny Santos.

She saw herself.

And everything was stripped away. Everything that had ever passed before this moment in her life didn’t matter. All that mattered was the rawness of what she saw in the depth of this man’s eyes.

It was the only real thing she had ever seen in her life.

His eyes took her to a place that she could curl up in and stay forever.

In his eyes she saw peace.

In his eyes she saw life.

In his eyes she saw home.

The hardest thing she ever had to do in her life was to look away, but slowly she dropped her eyes.

Danny’s heart was pounding in his chest.

He knew without a doubt this woman was meant to be his. He felt it with every fiber of his being. He already loved her so much that it hurt. It physically hurt to be anywhere near her and not be able to touch her.

She was standing in front of him with his heart in her hands and she didn’t even know it.

And she couldn’t know it. If she knew how much power she had over him….

“Shouldn’t you be getting back to your companion?” Michelle said her eyes glassy with tears.

“What companion?”

“Oh, don’t feign innocence,” she said her chin trembling.

“Michelle, I’m not feigning anything.”

“I saw her,” Michelle interrupted, “She is very pretty. I’m sure you two will be quite happy.”

Michelle adverted her eyes to stare at some point over Danny’s shoulder because if she looked at him the tears hovering on the brink would spill over.

Danny reaching out and took Michelle’s trembling chin in his hand.

“Look at me.”

Michelle stubbornly refused to look into Danny’s eyes.

Danny bent and placed a soft kiss on Michelle’s lips before pulling back.

“Look at me.”

Slowly Michelle’s eyes rose up to meet his.

Danny cupped Michelle’s face in his hands.

“Pilar is very beautiful. She is. But she could never, ever be as beautiful to me as you are.”

Tears began to spill down Michelle’s cheeks. She felt her body go weak with relief.

“Is she…is she a lady friend of yours?”

“She’s a little more than that.”

“She is?” Michelle croaked.

“Yes. We go a long way back,” Danny said wiping the tears from Michelle’s cheeks with his thumbs.

“So she is someone important to you. Why are you here then? Why did you leave her side to come to me,” Michelle said some of her anger returning.

“Pilar and I are very close, but as much as I enjoy spending time with her, I couldn’t let you keep running from me. From us,” Danny said tucking a stray strand of Michelle’s hair behind her ear.

“Don’t do me any favors,” Michelle said slapping Danny’s hand away and turning her back to him.

“I don’t believe it.”

“What?!” Michelle said spinning around.

A smile curved Danny’s lips.

“You’re jealous. You are jealous of Pilar.”

Michelle’s eyes widened.

“Don’t be ridiculous! I am not jealous.”

“You are,” he interrupted.

“I beg to differ. You see Mr. Santos, I would actually have to give a damn about you for that to be possible and I promise you I… ”

Michelle never got to finish her statement because Danny pulled her body tight to his and captured her lips in a kiss.

She struggled for a moment before relaxing into his arms. You can’t fight bliss.

Danny suckled Michelle’s lips like he was savoring nectar from the gods. And he knew he could never tire of having her soft lips under his, nor having her soft body pressed against him.

Michelle curled her hand around the nape of Danny’s neck trying to pull him closer.

“Michelle,” Jesse exclaimed coming around the corner, “Good God! What is the meaning of this?”

“Jesse!” Michelle exclaimed, detaching herself from Danny and rushing to Jesse’s side.

Danny calmly folded his arms across his chest.

“Who is this cad? And why did he have his hands all over you?” Jesse sputtered.

Michelle’s face bloomed pink and she cast a guilty look in Danny’s direction

“Jesse this is Danny Santos. Um..he..he uh….”

Danny lifted an artful brow at Michelle’s feeble attempt to find words.

“Well, ehhe..um……”

A sardonic look came over Danny’s face and he inquisitively inclined his, waiting to see if she could pull something out. A few more sentences of gibberish and he decided to save her.

“What Michelle is so eloquently trying to say, is that I have just mistaken her for someone else. I thought she was a female acquaintance of which I’m quite familiar. ”

Michelle sent an incredulous glare in Danny’s direction. Jesse passed a confused look between Danny and Michelle.

“That is scandalous! Do you accost all of your acquaintances? I find it hard to believe,” Jesse started.

Danny sighed with apparent boredom. “Believe what you will.”

“Well, I most certainly do not believe this tale of mistaken identity! This is…”

“Please Jesse, you’re going to cause a scene,” Michelle interrupted.

“This is not,” Jesse started more softly, “this is not a poorly lit area, nor does Michelle bear any resemblance to anybody else in attendance tonight.”

Michelle seeing that Danny wasn’t even going to respond to Jesse’s claims decided to step in before the situation got out of hand. “Jesse, Mr. Santos was recently struck with a disease that stole his vision.”

Danny’s eyes widened at Michelle’s utterly absurd lie. He thought, Come on, Michelle, you might as well have told him that he didn’t really see my tongue in your mouth.

“Is this true? He really can’t see?” said and astonished Jesse.

Michelle hammed it up, casting an overly sympathetic look in Danny’s direction and nodded her head pitifully.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” Jesse said contrite.

Danny couldn’t believe this dimwit was buying Michelle’s story about bogus blindness.

“It is quite all right,” Danny said getting past the knot of mirth lodged in his throat, “I’ve been trying to keep it under wraps. You understand.”

“Its very understandable,” Jesse said nodding.

“Well now that that is cleared up,” Michelle said grabbing Jesse’s arm to leave, “we really must be going.”

Just then Jesse was struck with a sudden inspiration.

“Look Santos, I know it must be difficult finding your way in a new country, among new people, especially losing your eyesight the way that you have. We are having a get together over at the Lewises after the show, I’m sure everyone would appreciate your company.”

“Really Jesse..,” Michelle began, her pleading eyes begging Danny to refuse.

“I’d love to.”

“Smashing. We’ll see you there,” Jesse said obliviously the pale faced woman at his side.

Danny watched as the pair turned and walked away.

Well, Michelle, I’m blind, am I? Oh this is going to be fun. He threw back his head and laughed.


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