Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 7

Republisher’s Note: Danny is on trial for his crimes during the annulment separation. Michelle is trying to help get him off.

Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 7

I have been pacing the room for over an hour.

The verdict comes in today.

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the courtroom. I know I’m supposed to be the supportive wife, hanging on Danny’s arm, but I just can’t be there. Not today. Besides, the jury’s already made up their mind. My being there won’t change that. Saying good-bye to Danny this morning was physically painful. I had woken up long before he had and spent a good half hour watching him sleep, wondering when the next time I’d be able to do that would be. At around seven, his eyes had fluttered open and without so much as a “Good Morning” had pulled me to him in a kiss. He’d kissed me like that before. Back when I still lived in “Casa Santos”, after the big wedding, he would kiss me in the morning when we first woke up: a slow, sleepy kiss that never failed to jangle my nerves. This morning, I had leaned into him, clutching him, never wanting it to stop.

It had been he who had pulled back first. “As much as I’d love to continue this, I have to get going,” he’d said softly. I had laid in bed and listened as he took a shower, then watched him get dressed. I wanted to memorize all of it. The way he tied his tie, how he buttoned his cuffs, hell, even the way he slid on his jacket. What if he never comes back? a little voice inside my head began to chant. What if they throw him in jail?

I had shook my head. No. I couldn’t think like that.

Instead, I had followed him to the door as he went to leave. His hand paused on the knob and he turned to look at me. “Michelle-” he began, but I cut him off my pressing my lips to his. He had groaned as he wrapped his arms around me, kissing me back with the same desperation I felt.

“I love you,” he whispered fiercely as we broke apart. “No matter what happens today, know that.”

Tears we beginning to form in my eyes, but I couldn’t let him see them. “I love you too,” I had said. “No matter what.”

He had kissed me softly one more time and then he was gone.

I stared at the door for a long time after Danny left. I wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come.

Instead, I laid back in the bed, our bed, and tried to sleep. No luck.

Every time I shut my eyes, visions of the night before danced in my mind. My whole being ached for hands that weren’t there, hands that might never be there again.

So I got up and started pacing.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

I am trying to clear my head of its jumbled thoughts.

Back and forth.

I love Danny. He loves me.

Back and forth.

But I can’t be a mafia bride and he can’t just abandon his family, no matter how bad they are.

Back and forth.

I can’t imagine a life without him now anymore than I could imagine a life with him three months ago.

But do I want to spend forever waiting for him? Praying for parole?

Bringing our children, if we had any, to a jail cell once a week to see Daddy?

Back and forth.

I stop in mid pace.

This is crazy and it’s not getting me anywhere.

It’s eleven now. Danny should be home soon. No matter which way it goes, he said he’d be able to come back and tell me himself. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I look awful. The lack of sleep I’ve had shows and my hair is a wild tangle around my face. I can’t let him see me like this.

Choking back a sob, I gather my makeup bag and a towel and head into the cavernous bathroom. I walk over to the huge glass and marble shower and turn the faucet and a powerful blast of water shoots out.

Shrugging off Danny’s shirt, I step under the stream and continue to turn the faucet until the water is so hot I can barely stand it.

Good. The nearly scalding water hitting my skin seems to clear my head a little. Clouds off steam rise up around me as I massage some divine smelling shampoo into my hair. As I scrub, I am reminded of an old song about washing that man right out of my hair. I laugh at that.

God, if only it were that simple.

I duck back under the shower, rinsing the suds out of my hair. With the shampoo goes all my confusion.

I love Danny. He loves me. End of story. No matter what, he’s not getting rid of me. I know what I’m getting into now.

And I’ll make this work, goddammit.

I turn back towards the water, closing my eyes as it pulses against my face.

Just then, I feel a sudden gust of cold air against my back and give a small yelp.

I turn, trying to see what’s causing the draft and find myself face to face with my husband.

“Wh-what…how…?” I manage to sputter before Danny steps into the shower, $3000 suit and all, and takes me in his arms.

His kiss takes my breath away and I have to hold onto him to keep from practically slipping down the drain as it ends.

“We won, baby,” he says over the noise of the shower. “We won!”

I step back and lean against the shower wall. “We won? You’re…you’re not going to jail?”

Danny laughs and strokes my face. “Not in this lifetime.”

An excited squeal bursts from me and I launch myself into his arms. “Oh, God, Danny, I was so worried.”

Danny laughs again and holds me tighter. “You and me both.”

Suddenly, I become acutely aware of our surroundings and pull back again.

“What is it?” Danny asks, concern coloring his voice.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” I ask shyly.

Understanding lights his eyes and I breathe a sigh of relief. “Of course, I’m sorry. I love you.”

My shoulders sag a little. “No, I don’t want you to say you love me-I mean I DO want you to say that, but that’s not…I wanted…” I am turning beet red now and hating myself for it.

Now Danny looks genuinely confused. “What Michelle?”

I look down at my toes and mumble my answer.

“What? I can’t understand you, baby.”

I speak louder, my eyes looking anywhere but him. “I said you’ve never seen me naked before.”

Danny stares at me for a moment and then throws his head back and laughs.

“Don’t laugh at me!” I say indignantly as I slap his arm.

“I’m sorry, Michelle,” he says still chuckling. “But you have to admit that the idea of Miss Michelle Bauer fishing for compliments on how she looks naked is pretty damn funny.”

I look at him from under my lashes and begin to laugh myself. “OK,” I relent. “So it is a little funny-”

“A little?”

I slap at him again. “Alright, it’s REALLY funny. But still…it-it is the truth.”

Danny’s eyes soften and, holding both my arms out to the side, he steps back and really looks at me.

Which, of course, embarrasses me half to death.

When he raises his eyes back to mine, they are shining in a way that makes me shiver.

“Michelle-” he says in a voice that flows over me. “I have seen a lot of beautiful things in my lifetime. The sky right after it rains in Costa Rica, the Duomo, the way the sun sets over the ocean in Greece. He steps closer, pulling me into his arms. “But I would trade all of that, every last sight, for just a glimpse of what I see before me now.”

My knees weaken, but I manage a shaky smile as I say, “Aw, come on. I bet you say that to all the girls.”

He shakes his head. “No, I’m usually much smoother than that.”

I step back, a look of mock hurt on my face. “Oh, you’ll pay for that, Mr. Santos.”

Danny’s eyes roam over my body again. “I hope so, Mrs. Santos. I certainly hope so.”

He reaches for me, but I hold up a hand to stop him. “One more thing. Our bet. Who wins?”

Danny looks above my head, jaw clenched. Then he looks back at me.

With a low growl, he pulls me against him and says, “To hell with it. You. You win.”

I sigh happily as he lowers his lips to mine. His tongue gently outlines my lips and I grip his shoulders.

That’s when I realize something.

He’s still completely dressed. Soaked to the skin, but dressed none the less.

“Danny” I say, laughing and pulling away. “Your suit. It’s ruined!”

Danny glances down and for the first time seems to realize he’s standing under a shower in a suit that costs more than most people’s entire paycheck.

“So it is,” he says. “At least I took off my shoes.”

I look down at his bare feet and laugh.

“There is a reason I still have this on though.” Danny says, eyes glinting.

“And what’s that?” I ask, intrigued.

“Well, let’s see…” he says. “I’m not sure, but I think it could have something to do with something in a pocket.”

Tired of playing games, I shove my hand into his right pocket. He gasps and I say in a sultry voice, “This pocket?”

“No,” he says through clenched teeth as he removes my hand. “But we’ll get to that in a minute.”

Danny reaches into his coat pocket and pulls a little black velvet box. “This pocket,” he says and I feel happiness in the purest form race through me as he gets down on one knee.

The box is opened to reveal the most stunning ring I’ve ever seen. The diamond in the center is large, but not ostentatious. It’s pear shaped, probably three carats, flanked by two emeralds. I can’t think of anything to say.

“I know we’re already married, Michelle,” Danny says. “And I’m not suggesting we go through that circus again. I meant every one of my vows at our wedding. I know you did, too. So I don’t need another wedding. However, you never got an engagement ring, or a proper proposal for that matter. So that’s what this is. Michelle Bauer Santos, will you continue to be my wife?”

I look down at him and begin to giggle.


The giggle turns into a full fledged laugh as I say, “Oh, Danny, how will I ever tell the story of your proposal to our grandkids?”

Danny looks around. I’m naked, he’s on his knees in an expensive suit and we’re in a shower that’s pouring out steaming water on both of us.

His laugh echoes mine as he rises to clutch me to him. “Grandkids, huh? Is that a yes?”

I kiss him soundly. “Yes, that’s most definitely a yes.”

Danny takes the ring and slides it on my finger to rest above my wedding band. “I love you.”

I look deep into those black eyes and say with absolute certainty, “I love you.”

We kiss then and it is a kiss like no other we’ve ever shared. It’s tender and passionate, gentle and demanding, all at once.

“Make love to me, Danny,” I murmur as we pull apart.

He laughs softly as he trails his lips down my throat. “Nothing could stop me, Michelle.”

He goes to open the shower door, but I stop him. “No. Here.”

He looks at me with fire in his eyes and says, “That’s not exactly traditional.”

I wrap my arms around his neck, burrowing my fingers in his dark hair. “Since when is anything we do traditional?”

He smiles at me, that smile that never ceases to make my heart flutter. “I guess you’re right.”

With that, he slides his coat over his arms and it lands with a wet smack against the marble floor. I remove his tie as he pulls his shirt from his waistband. Our eyes never leave each other as I unbutton his shirt and it falls with his coat and tie.

My fingers undo his belt and then the snap on his slacks. Desire makes me bold as I slide the zipper down and help him slide his pants over his hips. He steps out of them and his boxers as well.

He kisses me again before saying teasingly, “Well?”

“Well what?” I ask, knowing exactly what he wants.

“You’ve never seen me naked before. Shouldn’t you be telling me what you think?”

The mocking smile disappears from his face as I run my nails over his stomach, up his chest.

“I’d much rather show you,” I murmur.

He backs up against the wall of the shower, pulling me with him as our lips and tongues meet frantically.

My hands dig into the muscles of his back as his move over my breasts, my belly, and finally slip between my thighs.

I cry out, memories of the night before surging through me.

Danny lowers his head, his tongue finding the hardened peak of my breast.

I didn’t think it was possible to want him any more, but my desire seems to increase tenfold.

I hear myself gasp his name, but my voice sounds strange in my own ears.

The steam circling around us and the hot water raining down on our bodies is making the whole thing seem like a dream.

But this is no dream, I think as I feel him slide into me. This is all too real.

I remember an off-hand comment Drew made to me one day, not long after I married Danny the first time. “Listen, Michelle, you’ve slept with on guy, you’ve slept with them all.”

God, how wrong she was.

Having sex with Jesse was sort of like being worshiped. He came to my body like one comes to a church or holy shrine. Respectful, humble, and slightly ashamed. Jesse made love to me like he was afraid of offending me.

With Danny, there is no holding back. He wants me and he wants me to know it. We’re equals.

My back against the shower wall, I wrap my legs around Danny’s waist as we move together. The moans he is wringing from me are like none I’ve ever heard myself cry. Even with Jesse. And sex with Jesse wasn’t bad. It was fine.

Never in a million years will I ever describe sex with Danny with so tepid an adjective as “fine.”

This time, when I tumble head first into that glittering void, Danny is right there with me, his cries matching my own.

It takes us a long, long while to catch our breath and return to earth.

“Oh, God, I love you,” I manage to say breathily.

Danny kisses me gently. “I love you too. I had no idea how much until just now.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, my eyes still closed, my legs still around him.

“It’s…it’s never been like that before.”

I chuckle softly. “Yeah. I know the feeling.”

Finally, we get the energy to pull apart and look at each other. I run a hand down his cheek and watch my ring glitter. “Danny?”


“As much as I hate to admit this…I think you won too.”

He laughs and kisses my neck. “So we both won the bet?”

“Uh-huh…” It’s hard to concentrate when his tongue is doing such lovely things to my ear.

“So that means that you get to remain my wife, we move out of the house, and you get out of my life, right?”

I giggle. “Yep. Those were the terms.”

Danny gives an exaggerated sigh. “Well, I guess we have a lot of work to do.”

I place nibbling kisses against his jaw. “We sure do. After all, we have to move out of your house, and get an annulment AND try to work on this marriage.”

He laughs and scoops me up in his arms. “Will anything ever be simple with us?” he asks, carrying me out of the shower and to our bed.

“I hope not,” I say sincerely as he lays me down on the pillows and we start to make up for lost time.


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