Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 13

Republisher’s Note: The first of two highly improbable things that happen in this story, happens in this chapter.

Full Circle by Erin – Chapter 13

I’m not scared as I ring the doorbell at the Santos house.

Carmen has ceased to frighten me and I’m not leaving here without my husband.

After I escaped from the shack, I made my way to the highway. I only had to walk about two miles before I found a payphone and called Bill.

Sweet, wonderful Bill who came and picked me up and didn’t ask any questions until I was fed, showered, rested, and ready to talk.

It was Bill who told me to wait to come here. He thought I needed to bide my time and not go rushing into Casa Santos.

He was right. I was too tired, too emotional. Of course, I wanted to see Danny as soon as possible, but there was no sense in seeing him as a tired, dirty, incoherent mess.

So I waited two weeks. And when I woke up this morning, I knew today was the day. I was ready.

I can hear the doorbell chiming through the house.

My heart is racing at the idea of seeing Danny again. Will he kiss me? Will he cry? Will he pick me up and take me away from this god awful place?

I smile to myself. I hope he does all three.

The massive front door swings open and I’m greeted by one of the many Santos maids, Esperanza.

Her dark eyes fly open. “Senora Santos! I-that is, we-”

I keep a bright smile plastered to my face. “Buenos Dias, Esperanza. Is my Senora Santos home?”

Esperanza continues to stare as though she’s seen a ghost.

“Si, Senora…” she finally sputters. “Senora Santos is here, but-”

“Wonderful.” I say and breeze past her into the main hall. “Where is she?” I call over my shoulder.

Esperanza is tugging nervously at her apron and her eyes are darting around. “The-the family is having breakfast right now, Senora. If you want-”

“Gracias,” I say, cutting her off, and striding into the dining room.

Carmen sits at the head of the table, reading the paper and sipping coffee. Mick is to her left, apparently engrossed with his glass of orange juice. Danny’s chair is empty.

My head high and my tone bright, I step into the room. “Well, hail, hail the gang’s all here!” I announce and am treated to the rare sight of Carmen nearly choking on her coffee. Mick does a double take and I hear Esperanza mutter a prayer behind me.

“You!” Carmen seethes, rising from her chair. “How dare you show your face in this house! After what you did to my son-”

I slap my hand down on the table, silverware and china rattling. “Don’t even try it, Carmen. We both know I didn’t leave Danny. And we both know exactly where I was.” My voice drips with sarcasm as I say, “Gosh, Carmen, I bet you were really worried about me when you discovered I was missing. Where’s the thug that was supposed to be watching me, huh? The bottom of the lake? A dumpster?”

Carmen is nearly purple with rage. “I have no idea what you’re babbling about. You ran out on my son five weeks ago, Michelle Bauer. How typical of you to want to turn that around on me.”

I throw up my hands, “God, Carmen, when are you going to get it? This game is over. I’m going to tell Danny what you did to me.”

Carmen fixes me with a deadly stare. “You’ll do no such thing.”

I smile. “Oh yes,  I will. And then Danny’s coming home with me.”

“No, I’m not.”

I whirl around to find Danny standing behind me.

At first, I’m too happy to see him to realize what he just said. He’s wearing a dark suit and he’s so tall and handsome. Suddenly I feel as though I haven’t seen him in years. Love for him coupled with hope, whirls through my body. I gaze at him like he’s some sort of mirage, too dazzled to say anything.

Then his words sink in.

He’s not coming with me? And why isn’t he smiling?

“Danny…” I begin, confused.

He doesn’t even look at me as he strides past me to sit at the table.

“I said I’m not going anywhere with you, Michelle. So you might as well leave.”

I walk towards him. “Danny, I don’t understand-”

He looks at me then, his eyes like burning coals. “What is there to understand? You left me. Now, five weeks later, you come crawling back and expect me to be happy to see you? I hardly think so, Michelle.”

He fills his coffee cup, looking like this entire situation is boring him. “Esperanza will show you out. I’ll have Ben bring the divorce papers by your brother’s.”

I shake my head. This is like a bad science fiction movie. I go to him and try to take his face in my hands. He shrugs me off as though my touch annoys him and I feel my heart splinter.

“Danny, I didn’t leave you. Your mother and Mick, they kidnapped me and stashed me in this little rundown cabin. They tried to make you think I’d left you. They tried to drive me out of your life again but-”

He looks at me, eyebrows raised. “Really, Michelle, is that the best you can do?”

“It’s the truth!” I cry, my voice breaking.” Two weeks ago, you came by that very shack. You argued with the guard posted at the door. Dammit, Danny, didn’t you even suspect?”

He rises from the table to glare at me. “OK, fine, say you were kidnapped. When did you escape?”

“The day after you came by.”

He snorts. “I see. So, you managed to escape from that place and then decided to wait a whole two weeks to let me know what had happened.”

I lower my forehead into my hands. “I was tired, I was weak…I needed to rest before-”

Danny brushes me aside. “Save it. You know, Michelle, for all your faults, I thought you at least had some dignity. This little show is pathetic. What? Was life all alone not as great as it should be? Hmmm? When exactly was it that you concocted this plan? Was it when your money got scarce or when your body got lonely?”

Mick snickers and Carmen gloats. I’d forgotten they were even there. My whole body is shaking as I fix a stare on my husband. “May you rot in hell for that, Danny Santos,” I say tremulously.

After all that I’ve been through, after all that I did for him and for us and for our baby, when it all goes down, who does he believe?

Carmen.

Always Carmen.

My legs are weak, but I manage to hold my head high as I walk out of the dining room. Tears are cresting in my eyes, but I won’t let them fall.

You’ll be all right, Michelle, I tell myself. So you have lousy judgment in men. You don’t need him. You have your baby and the two of you will be just fine.

I am one hell of a liar, aren’t I?

And I’m strong. I actually manage to make it into the hallway before I faint.

*********************

When I wake up, it’s dark outside. Confused, I glance around my surroundings. I’m lying on the bed that Danny and I shared at his mother’s wearing one of the nightgowns from my trousseau. For a few seconds, I actually think that these past few months have been a dream.

That Danny and I are still back where we started.

Then, recollection seeps through me and I remember fainting.

“You’re awake.”

I turn towards the sound of the voice and see Danny sitting in the chair a few feet away.

I slowly sit up. “What…what happened?”

“You fainted.”

Damn him and his two word sentences.

“I know that, Danny.” I say, irritation creeping into my voice. “I mean after that.”

He gets up and shrugs. “You just kept on sleeping. The doctor said you were fine and just to let you rest.”

I come fully awake, alarmed now. “Doctor?”

Danny sighs as he begins to unbutton his shirt. “Yeah, Esperanza saw you faint and panicked. She called a doctor and he came and checked you out.”

“Did he…did he say anything else?”

Danny slips out of the shirt and walks into the closet. “Nope.”

I sigh with relief and sag back against the pillows. He doesn’t know about the baby. Good. That way, leaving him won’t be a hassle. And I will leave him. I was stupid to think Danny ever loved me. Maybe he did, in his own way, but he never trusted me and I can’t be with him if he won’t believe me.

Danny emerges from the closet wearing only a pair of pajama pants.

“What are you-” my mouth has suddenly gone dry. “What are you doing?”

He slides between the sheets next to me.

“Michelle, it’s nearly midnight. You’ve slept for about fifteen hours. Now it’s too late for you to go home, so I suggest you just close your eyes and go right back to sleep. I was just waiting for you to wake up before I got in the bed with you. Didn’t want you to wake up in the middle of the night and think I was trying to ravish you.”

He turns off the lamp and we’re plunged into darkness.

“I wouldn’t have thought that, Danny,” I say at last. “I know you hate me now.”

“You got that right,” he mutters as he rolls, his back to me.

I bite my lip to keep from crying. Bastard.

The dark hours tick by. Despite the sweet allure of sleep, I remain awake, trying to plan a future without Danny in it, wondering where this whole thing went wrong.

My wonderings are interrupted by the warmth of Danny’s hand on my hip.

I lay very still, thinking he must be sleeping.

But I can hear the raggedness of his breathing and know he’s quite awake.

He inches closer to me.

I hold my body stiff. He must be out of his mind if he thinks I’m going to let myself be some sort of receptacle for his unsatisfied lust. After the things he said to me – He pulls me roughly so that I’m suddenly beneath him. A gasp escapes my lips. I try to peer through the darkness to see him, but he’s nothing more that a darker shape against the velvety blackness of the night.

His hands quickly rid me of my nightgown. The cool air is a shock to my skin and I give a little shiver. I can feel his lips quirk in a smile against my neck. I know I should stop this. This isn’t about love or missing me. This is about a revenge and he’s taking it the only way he knows how. This is wrong.

But then his tongue starts making lazy circles against my nipple and I clutch handfuls of his hair, not caring if it’s wrong anymore.

His mouth moves to my other breast and his knee comes up to part my legs.

I groan and press against him, my mind humbly bowing in submission to my body. I feel the muscles of his shoulders move under my hands and a slight sweat breaks out all over my body. His lips and tongue make their way down my stomach, his teeth gently nipping the flesh around my navel.

His lips move lower to lovingly caress my abdomen and reality begins to pervade. Does he know? How could he? But still, the way he’s kissing that particular spot-But reality and all it’s worries are immediately banished when I feel the heat of his tongue and lips between my thighs. I don’t care how angry I am at him, I don’t care that he hates me. All I care about is the intensifying but glorious ache his mouth is creating in me. I can’t even say his name. Only incoherent moans fall from my lips as desire turns me inside out. The world begins to fall away and I’m sliding blissfully with it.

Suddenly, the heat of his mouth is gone, but I barely have time to absorb that information as I feel him push inside of me. My whole back comes up off the bed as the first climax tears through me. I want to fall against the sheets, exhausted, but his slow, smooth strokes are starting another fire in me. My hands are clutching his back, wanting to feel as much of his skin as I can. My hair sticks to me in sweaty tendrils and my legs are aching from being wrapped so tight around him. He grimaces as my teeth find his shoulder.

But neither one of us lets up.

I still haven’t recovered from the first explosion when the second one nearly blinds me with it’s force.

This time, he falls with me.

We lay against the sheets, completely drained.

As I begin to come back to myself, I realize that we didn’t say a word thorough the entire encounter.

In the past, when Danny and I made love, we were always calling each other’s name, professing love, making “requests”. But this time…well, this time…hell, there are no words for what just happened.

Danny raises his face from the crook of my shoulder and I can feel his eyes boring into mine.

I hold my breath, waiting for him to say he’s sorry, that he believes me.

Instead, he disentangles himself from my arms and sits on the edge of the bed.

I hear him take several slow, deep breaths as I stare at the darkness that’s his back. Then he reaches behind him and fishes in the sheets until he finds his pants. Standing, he slips them on and, without a word, walks out of the room.

I lay still for a moment until a realization dawns and makes me curl up into a weeping ball on my side of the bed.

He never kissed me.

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