Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 9

Reproducer’s Note: Michelle is afraid Danny is being pulled back under his mother’s influence. Also, be aware there is a monster at the end of this chapter.

Full Circle  by Erin РChapter 9

“I can’t believe you actually think I’m going to let you do this!” I say angrily as I put another of Danny’s shirts on a hanger and put it back in the closet.

Danny grips the suitcase on the bed with both hands and says through clenched teeth.

“Dammit, Michelle, give me back that shirt.”

We’re back in the honeymoon suite at the Santos estate. We’ve been arguing for over an hour. Actually, we’ve been arguing ever since Carmen showed up at Rick’s two days ago. Carmen had barely looked at me as I stood there, clutching Danny’s hand like I was five. I hated myself for blushing, but I knew Carmen could tell exactly what we’d been doing only moments before.

“I would like to speak to my son alone, Michelle,” Carmen said in that voice that always raked itself over me like broken glass.

I had glanced at Danny, trying to see if he wanted me to go. But his eyes never wavered from his mother’s.

“Go on, Michelle,” he had said softly. “I’ll find you in a minute.”

I had been a little hurt at being dismissed, but I had given his hand a quick squeeze and run upstairs to my old room to repair the damage our closet tryst had wreaked.

I had changed my shirt, deciding I could use the excuse that I’d spilled something on the old one. My jeans were fine, but my hair was a wreck. As I brushed the tangled mass out, I tried not to think about what Carmen was doing at Rick’s.

Something told me she hadn’t stopped by for burgers and beer, although the idea of Morticia munching on a burger and swigging back a brew in her perfectly tailored Armani made me giggle. Honestly, is that woman ever not overdressed?

But my giggles gave way to worries. Why was she here, dammit?

“You’re being stupid, Michelle,” I scolded myself. “Danny is with you now and nothing can change that.”

I had just finished putting my hair back up when Danny walked in the room.

“There you are!” I exclaimed, jumping up to give him a kiss. He kissed me back, but something was wrong.

“What is it?”

He shook his head. “Nothing. We’ll talk about it later.”

It wasn’t until after the barbecue, back at the lighthouse, that Danny told me what Carmen had said. She wanted him to go help out his uncle in California with his business for a couple of weeks.

My eyes had widened in disbelief. “God, she just doesn’t get it, does she? You’re not her little gopher anymore.” Danny hadn’t met my eyes. “Danny?”

“It’s actually a good opportunity-” he began lamely.

I exploded.

“Oh my God! You’re going to go, aren’t you?”

“It’ll just be for a few weeks, baby,” Danny said, coming around the bed to hold me. I jumped back.

“No! Don’t touch me! I am so mad at you right now, I-I…”

“Dammit, Michelle, I’m doing this for us!”

I stared at him and a hysterical laugh bubbled out of my throat. “How do you figure that?”

“My uncle’s business is as close as they come to legitimate in this family. If I can edge my way in, I could turn it legit in a year, maybe even six months. Think of what that could mean for us, Michelle. For our family.”

Tears of anger were trembling in my eyes as I said, “We don’t have a family, Danny. And we won’t as long as you continue to put YOUR family ahead of us.”

He had had no reply for that and, for the first time since we’d left Chicago, we went to bed without touching.

Now we were back at Carmen’s house and Danny was trying to pack, but for every one two things he put in the suitcase, I put one thing back in the closet. Danny stalks past me into the closet and grabs the shirt I just hung up. “Baby, look-”

“Don’t call me baby!” I say, whirling on him, jerking the shirt out of his hands.

Danny looks at me and he’s practically shaking with controlled rage. “OK, fine, Michelle-”

“Don’t even call me Michelle.” I say, striding out of the closet and back into the cavernous bedroom.

Danny groans in frustration. “OK, brat, if you would just listen to me for two seconds-”

“Listen to you?!” I cry, my voice raising an octave. “Danny, nothing you can say will change my mind about how I feel about this.”

“And nothing you can say will change my mind about going.”

That gets me.

We stand on opposite sides of the room, our breath coming hard and fast. I feel my anger draining away.

“You’re really going, aren’t you?” I ask softly.

Danny gently takes the shirt from my hands and folds it, putting it in the suitcase. “Yes, I am.”

I stare at the wall, my eyes unseeing. “Nothing I can say can make you stay?”

Danny pauses in the act of packing another shirt. “No.”

I sink down in the chair and study him. He continues packing with slow, almost robotic, movements.

“What if I told you I was pregnant?”

Danny visibly pales and he lifts his eyes to mine. “Are you?” he asks, fire in his eyes.

I look down at my hands. “No.”

Danny sighs. “I see.” He folds a pair of slacks.

The anger begins to rise again and I cross the room to stand beside him. He glances at me when I begin to help him pack, but I won’t look at him.

“So I can’t make you stay, but a baby could, is that it?” I say finally.

Danny throws down the shirt that he’s holding and sits down on the bed, his face in his hands.

“Dammit, Michelle, stop this. I’m going to California for three weeks, four at the most. If you’re that concerned about it, you can come too.”

“Right,” I sneer. “I can just quit school again and uproot my life so I can stand back and watch as you try to fulfill your destiny as mob prince extraordinaire.”

The pain and anger in Danny’s eyes as he looks up at me makes me step back. “Like it or not, Michelle,” he says evenly, standing to stare down at me, “that IS my destiny. And if you don’t like it, you can just go find yourself a new ‘bad boy’ to warm your bed. Isn’t that what you did when Jesse got to be a hassle?”

I gasp, and even though I know he doesn’t mean it, that he’s speaking form a place of hurt and anger, I could kill him for what he just said.

My hand flies out to slap him, but he catches my wrist in mid-swing. Our eyes lock and I’m just about to attempt another slap with my left hand when his mouth comes crushing down on mine.

Instead of fighting him, I pull him closer, my lips insistent against his, my tongue eager. He tastes like desire and anger and I feel both raging through me as I fall back on our bed, my hand reaching out to sweep aside the suitcase.

I hear my shoes hit the floor with a muffled thump and pull my feet up onto the bed, my thighs bracketing his hips. His lips close over my nipple through my dress and I dig my fingers so hard into his back, he winces.

Then he’s kissing me again and my hands are tugging impatiently at his belt.

Danny and I have made love many, many times, and every time has been unique. But this…this is in a whole different category.

We aren’t making love. All this is is an extension of our fight, a way to spar, to weaken, without using words.

We don’t even remove our clothes. We just undo the necessary buttons and zippers and then he’s pushing inside of me and I’m moaning his name.

When release comes, I couldn’t care less if Morticia, and Dietz and the whole stable of servants in this house hear me cry out. I’m oblivious to everything but what I’m feeling.

We lay there, gripping each other, panting, for a long while. When Danny finally rolls off of me, I roll with him, so that he’s on his back and I’m cuddled against his chest.Danny speaks first. “Michelle, as amazing as that was, it doesn’t fix anything.”

I close my eyes, but I know he’s right. We can’t just fall back on the one thing that’s always come easy to us when we run into a problem. Danny kisses my temple and sits up, adjusting his clothes. He finds the suitcase on the floor and resumes his methodical packing. I get up and go to the bathroom to make myself more presentable.

When I emerge, Danny is through packing.

“Ready to go?” he asks.

I’ve lost this battle. I know that. He’s going.

I nod and gather my purse and shoes. Danny runs a hand over my hair. “You know I’m sorry about all this.”

I nod again, my throat constricting.

Danny studies me for a moment. “Do you want me to take you to the lighthouse or your brother’s?”

I stare at him, uncomprehending. “What?”

“Before I go to the airport. Where do you want me to drop you off?”

“I’m not…I’m not going to the airport with you?” I ask in a small voice, tears in my eyes.

Danny gives a muttered curse and pulls me into his arms, dropping the suitcase. The night we said good-bye in my kitchen so many months ago floods through me.

“Oh, baby,” Danny breathes into my hair. “It’ll be so much easier to go if you’re not there.”

He’s right again. The thought of watching his plane take off makes me sick to my stomach.

I know that sleeping in our bed at the lighthouse without him will be miserable. But that’s where I want to go. So that’s where he takes me.

“I’ll call every night,” he promises as we stand beside the car.

“You better,” I say, sounding lighter than I feel.

He kisses my forehead. “And I’ll miss you every second I’m gone.”

I sigh and lean into him. “Believe me, the feeling’s mutual.”

He holds my face in his hands and looks into my eyes. “You can go with me, you know.”

God, that’s so tempting.

But I shake my head. “I have school and you’ll be so busy.”

He lowers his lips to mine in a kiss that’s so different from the one of fury we shared less than an hour before. I run my fingers through his hair, pulling his head down to mine, never wanting him to stop.

But he pulls away, regret and heat in his eyes. “If my flight was only a little later…” he sighs. So do I.

“I love you, Michelle,” he says, hugging me once more.

“I love you, too,” I say, sobs welling up in my throat.

One last kiss and he gets in the car and drives away.

I go upstairs, lay down on our bed, and cry.

Big surprise. I can’t sleep.

Our bed isn’t that big, certainly nothing compared to that island we used to sleep in at Casa Santos, but without my husband in it, it’s huge. Endless expanses of empty white sheets stretch out on either side of me.

Another sob escapes me. My hands ache for the feel of his hot skin beneath them. My lips feel swollen with wanting his kiss. My skin feels too tight and my whole body is on fire. I moan and flop over onto my stomach. I keep waiting for the sweet escape of sleep to claim me. Maybe I can dream about Danny and ease some of this ache.

Instead, I lay awake, my ears picking up every single creak and groan of the house.

I never realized how safe I felt sleeping beside him.

Now that he’s gone, every shadow is sinister, every sound ominous.

“This is silly, Michelle.” I keep telling myself. “There’s nothing to be scared-”

That’s when I hear them.

Footsteps.

For a moment, my heart sings. Danny!

I’m halfway out of bed before a prickling of danger creeps up my neck. Something is wrong. I freeze, listening for the steps, which are coming closer and closer. I wait for the door to open, my heart in my throat. I’m too terrified to react and I can’t seem to think of an escape plan.

The footsteps are so loud now. Why hasn’t the door opened yet? I think frantically. They sound like they’re- Nausea rises as I realize the footsteps aren’t coming form outside.

They’re in the room.

I open my mouth to scream and a hot, sweaty hand closes over it.

One hand reaches to claw at the hand that’s holding me.

The other goes instinctively to my abdomen.

I lied to Danny.

I am pregnant.

“Please,¬† please..” I hear myself whimper as I’m spun around to face my attacker.

It takes everything I have not to throw up as I gaze into the face of the man that’s holding me.

The whole world tilts and I begin to shake.

“Miss me beautiful?” he leers.

Mick.

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