Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis Chapter 20

Author’s Note: I want to thank all the people that have written and a big thank you for those that participated in the poll. I have struggled since November with the choice of the dress or gown for Michelle to wear at her wedding in Puerto Rico. Jeanette257 gave me a neat idea and I chose to go in that general direction of course with a touch of my taste. Read and enjoy!

Mob’s Cardinal by Phyllis – Chapter 20

The intensity of the late afternoon storm increased after the security gate closed. The rumbling of the thunder and lightening clashing overhead displayed the battle for the souls in the house. Danny’s final card had been played in the plan. The security system closed all of Michelle’s possible escape routes. His cell phone ringing in his jacket verified the activation. Jimmy was alerted to the situation. Everyone was in place for the final evacuation. Danny released Michelle’s arms and he saw the horrible red marks of the imprints of his hands on her lower arms.

Gasping for air in between her sobs, Michelle didn’t hold any of her defiance back. The first words out of her mouth were, “Your world of fantasy isn’t going to happen.”

“Michelle, you think this is fantasy?” Holding his arms out to indicate the reality of the world in which they were living. “Look around, I’m standing before you as a man in love with every strand of hair on your head.  Pinch yourself and tell me where you are standing.”

“Danny, this isn’t a mind game that we are playing.”

Michelle gradually moved to get the kitchen island in between her and Danny. The barrier of the island gave her some sense of a safe space to stand and do battle with this unexpected foe. Danny stood in his position between the counter and the door. The man standing in front of her was a man she feared. Michelle had seen a glimpse of this dark side only temporary.

“Michelle, what are you thinking in that pretty head of yours? See, I know you think the counter will protect you while you plan your escape route. The tape is playing in your mind and you are hearing a voice telling you to run and get outside. I’m right and you are scared like a little rabbit. Michelle, do you see me as the bully on the playground? Have I ever hurt you?” Approaching Michelle, Danny lowered his voice in an attempt to ease the tension.  “Honey, you and I have been as close as a man and woman can get. If you search inside your heart, our hearts had met before we met. Your destiny is with me. You have to be overwhelmed with the uncertainty.”

“Danny, you have the nerve to say, Gee Michelle, you are overwhelmed! Buddy, let me tell you one thing, I am more than annoyed with this, this three ring circus.”

Rubbing the back of his neck, Danny stepped forward to the counter. “My family is a three ring circus, huh Michelle?” Pointing his finger at her, he almost laughed at the picture in his own head. The analogy of the Santos family or the mob as a big circus tent and under the big tent was Abuelá, Carmen and himself. Interesting that Michelle unthinking had identified three generations of Santos power. “ Michelle, if I were you and standing before the big bad mob boss; I would tread lightly on the La Familia.”

Danny moved the objects on the kitchen counter off to the side counter in preparation of leaping over to Michelle.

“Danny, don’t think about coming over the island.” Stepping backward, Michelle anxiously awaited the leap and the repercussions from Danny.

“Michelle, since you are going to be a doctor; do you have a remedy for this situation?”

“Danny, you can let me leave this house today.”

“Wrong, because your solution will satisfy only you! What is going to fix my situation or make me happy? Can you write the prescription?”

“Danny, I don’t know what you want from me. I refuse to be part of a mob Family.”

“Michelle surely, you can be more creative. The situation is pretty simple as I see it from my rosy colored glasses. You are already in the family. This is a fact which you cannot deny; you are pregnant from my seed. The issue of blood is very important.  The babies which you are carrying are a part of the Santos family.”

“Danny, why are you being so cruel to try and use the babies as a tool to force me into this family? There is a little technical issue here, the babies have some Bauer blood in their veins. They don’t belong to the Santos family alone.”

“The struggle is here pointing to her head. I don’t care how you get this settled in your mind but the reality the Santos family is your future.”

“What future are we talking about, Danny?”

“You want to know about your future life-ask on.”

“Danny, before we start with the future, I want some answers from the past. Were you ever going to tell me of this La Familia?”

“Yes, I tried to tell you the night when we were watching the Northern Lights.  The night was so special, especially after I had treated you like a jerk earlier in the evening. It was so peaceful with you. This isn’t the way I wanted you to find out about my family.”

“OK, the next question is a little more difficult. Who created the scheme of withdrawing me from medical school? I never requested or signed a form and since I’m on a roll with the question and answers. What’s wrong with the telephone beside the bed that rings into eternity? Another thing that is pretty obvious, your buddy Jimmy’s face is always appearing in my car’s rear mirror.”

“Honey, you are observant and Jimmy is a good place to start. Jimmy provides security for the Santos family. In the organization, he is known as a lieutenant. His paychecks are signed off from the San Cor budget. I’m not going to tell you the details of the withdrawal. You did sign the form the day in Dr. Sedgwick’s office. Michelle, what you assumed as an insurance form was the withdrawal form.”

“Oh, how clever of you!”

Danny described how his company owned major stock in the telephone service and the phone rang into some boardroom.

“Danny, you didn’t trust me enough to make my own decisions. What is really sad, you will never know the truth. Did I love you with such a passion to have made the same decision?”

“Michelle, it wasn’t about trust.  I wanted to protect you from making judgments of me and my family. Can’t you see how you are reacting now? I was afraid of loosing the opportunity to be with you! Everything happened so quickly. I wanted us to date and have fun. I wanted you to fall in love with me as much as I was in love with you. The pregnancy was totally unexpected. I wanted to have you totally for myself longer.”

“No, no it was never about protecting me. You used your power to get your selfish way. Danny, I have one last question and I don’t even want to know the answer but I hope it stings into your soul. How much did you pay for me? Don’t you know that what you purchase, you never really own the object? If I am the purchased object; what are you?”

The stinging words from Michelle had pierced Danny’s armor. The formation of the tears rolled up from inside of his emotional wrecked body. Choking back his own tears, Danny answered Michelle’s question with the answer of his legit position. “I am President of San COR.”

“Stop the games Danny! I want to know where you fit into this mob thing.”

He was surprised at the ease in which the truth came forward as if a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. She wanted the truth about the mob.

“The Santos family is the head of the different crime families. The territory or turf which we control is in the Midwest. Let’s just say, I am the designated head of the Santos family.”

“Oh my God, you are the godfather!”

“Michelle an older person carries that position. Those were the old ways, we operate in more legit arenas today.”

“The one thing, I am sure of this minute is I would rather die than have a child in this lifestyle.”

“Michelle, please don’t ever say those words.”

“You have to think this through. What options do you have?”

“Danny, I hate you so very much at this moment. My life is ruined.”

“This is your life. Why don’t you get it? Your life will never be the same, but it will be better. I promise you will always be loved and I will never abandon you. Look at your life and what I’m offering you This is a quick review. Dr. Bauer destroyed the only mother you ever had. Where is your father, Michelle? He is in some backward country in Africa with a bottle of alcohol for comfort. The fact is simple and in your heart the evidence is cruel. He abandoned you when you needed him the most. I may be the bad guy but I’m here and I’m not an alcoholic. Michelle, you can have everything. When you are able, you can return to the medical school and a normal life.”

“Go to hell!” Michelle stormed away from Danny to go into the bedroom where the babies were created from their intense passion. At the door, she turned to deliver her final words. “Don’t ever come near me again.” The sound of the door being slammed in his face and the click of the lock on the door offered little hope of a reconciliation. Danny heard Michelle’s sobbing in the bedroom and then the silence. He lost the ability to concentrate on any work after the first hour of separation.

Olga returned to the house after the last storm to begin the preparations for dinner. Danny was subdued and visibly distracted. The closed bedroom door was the focus of his attention. The homemade spaghetti sauce and fresh made noodles failed to alter Danny’s demeanor.

After setting the table for two, Olga poured the Sangria into the wine glasses. “Daniel, you will like this Sangria. This is the first batch of Sangria which Michelle made with my help. She insisted on the apple and orange slices be fresh.”

“Olga, why don’t you take some time off? I can clean up the kitchen. I don’t think the atmosphere is going to be very pleasant around here.”

After Olga left, Danny talked through the bedroom door to Michelle. “Michelle, Olga has prepared a nice dinner. I can bring it on a tray and you won’t have to look at my face when you eat.” He waited for the response, which never came. “Honey, please eat some food or at least drink some juice.” Danny waited to hear the slightest sound of movement or noise.

The noise Michelle heard was the sound of a wine glass breaking against the stone fireplace. Her fingers were numb from the pressure of holding her own hands together. The last place to seek refuge from Danny was the bathroom. In the bathroom, she sat on the cold white tile floor. The insignia of the black S stared back at her as she began to retrace the pattern on the floor over and over. With the darkness of night approaching, she had devised her route of escape. She would play her own cat and mouse game. The French doors in the bedroom opened to the porch. From the porch, she had the big backyard to hide in until making it to the water. Swimming had been one sport which she excelled in during her high school and college years. Long distance swimming was very familiar to her. The 200-meter pool where she trained had given her the endurance to out swim most males.

Danny’s choice of alcohol beverage switched to whiskey as his patience started to wear thin with Michelle. His deeds had been exposed and he was suffering the repercussions. Danny was powerless over Michelle. She had challenged his authority and withstood all of his manipulations. His anxiousness increased as the clock chimed each hour reminding Danny of the reason the door was locked. Danny was concerned for Michelle’s physical condition. The first weeks of the pregnancy had been difficult and her emotional state had been shaken. How long was he willing to allow the isolation to continue?

At one am, Danny searched the pantry for the key to unlock the inside door to the bedroom. Michelle was at the French door preparing to leave when she heard the key being inserted into the lock of the inside door. Waiting to hear the lock unclick, Michelle tipsy toed back to the bed. The door remained locked.

Michelle felt Danny’s presence outside the door. It was scary and if she was aware of him, she assumed he felt her presences. The sound of Danny walking into the bedroom was promising. Michelle prayed; please be tired and go to bed Danny. Danny placed the blanket and pillow on the sofa. He was ready for his vigil. Michelle had refused to respond to any attempt of communicating. She was digging in and fighting back. Danny was sure if the opportunity arose, she would attempt to escape from the house.  From the briefcase, he withdrew Michelle’s personal file. The attached picture of Michelle from her senior year at college was a vivid reminder of the driving force behind his motives. Glancing over the information which hadn’t seemed relevant until he saw her hobby listed. He was barely one step ahead of Michelle. Michelle was laying low for the chance to get to the water.

Danny turned the lights off inside the house. He waited on the porch outside the French doors for Michelle to appear. The sound of the clock striking three am came and went when the noise of the turning doorknob occurred. Michelle slowly stepped on the porch. Wanting to see her expression Danny turned on the flashlight. The light startled Michelle at first. “ Ready for a lake swim, Michelle?”

“I wanted some fresh air.”

“Fresh air and some lake water go together, I do believe.”

“Danny, where did you come up with that strange idea?”

“A little birdie told me your hobby was long distance swimming. What better place to put that talent to work than here on the lake.” Danny stood from the chair and walked over to Michelle. “In case you get the urge again, your buddy Jimmy is waiting with some of his buddies in a boat on the lake. I’m tired and you have to be exhausted.” Opening the door, he pointed to the direction of the bedroom.

“You can’t stop me from leaving!”

“I’m not really keeping score but haven’t you tried three times and I have to say your record isn’t looking good.”

Michelle watched Danny call Jimmy on the cell phone. “I think my swimmer is going to bed. If she decides to take that swim be sure you let her swim the entire distance then bring her back… muzzled if you have to.”

********

Danny had prepared a partial breakfast when he awakened Michelle. Pulling the summer blanket off her body to get her attention, Danny gave his first orders for the day to Michelle. “Michelle, it’s time to rise and shine. Breakfast is ready and next on your schedule is a shower.” Raising her sleepy head from the pillow, the irritated stare from her eyes displayed the look of get off my back buster. Watching his watch and seeing the continuation of the lack of any co-operation from Michelle, Danny reached for Michelle’s body.

“What are you doing Danny?”

“I say its time for a shower.” Dragging her into the shower, Danny turned on the cold water at full force.

“Stop this cold water, you are freezing me to death.”

Holding her underneath the showerhead to receive the full force of the cold water, Danny told her the water was to cool her down. “We are going to talk today and I want to make sure I have your attention. Take off your wet clothes and get a warm shower.”

Danny stepped out of the shower and waited for the wet clothes. While Michelle showered, Danny started the washer with the clothes. He was waiting for Michelle to step from the shower. Holding a large white towel for her, she walked into the towel that he wrapped around her body. Snuggling his face next to her neck, he kissed her neck and cheek. The clean scent of her body rejuvenated his juices to see this to the end.

At the dinning room table, Danny waited for Michelle to begin to eat the grapefruit. “Danny, I am not really hungry.”

“Pacify me and eat a couple of the wedges and then I have some hot peach flavored oat meal ready.”

“How long do you think you can keep me here against my will? My brother and Aunt will be back soon and Aussie will tell them what has happened to me. This is kidnapping and the FBI will arrest you!”

“After we finish eating our breakfast, we are going to have as we call it in the mob ‘a sit down meeting.’ We have some company coming.”

Michelle sat at the computer screen waiting for the system to come on when Jimmy came into the house. The screen was black and the computer non- functioning. Speaking to Jimmy, Michelle accused the man of closing the system down. “Michelle, I haven’t touched your computer. It must have been the storms yesterday. Did you have the computer on when the storms came through? If you did, then the lightening came in and you may have had a power surge that has messed up the computer. Boss, I’ll have it checked today and it will be up and running ASAP.”

“Michelle, this is where you are going to sit for our meeting. We are going to establish some guidelines for you. Jimmy is going to responsible for your safety. Be sure that he isn’t the only one watching. Today, in this house, you aren’t going to close and lock any doors. If you want to go outside to swim or get fresh air, you will tell me or Jimmy if I am not here. Since the computer is down, Jimmy is available to pick up the class assignments until we have the computer up and running again. Olga is going to be away for some time. Jimmy and I can eat any type of food but I want you to make a list of food you want in the house. Jimmy will have his wife shop for you….This is important. From this moment on into eternity, I am going to tell you what is going to happen. If I need you to write a note or sign your name on a form, I will ask just you, Michelle.”

“Danny, you and that hired gun haven’t won. I will refuse to eat or drink.”

“Michelle, I guess you are going to need some gentle persuasion.” Passing his cell phone over to Michelle, he instructed her to call the medical school office. The voice answering the phone was Dr. Andersen.

“Good morning Michelle, my secretary was going to call you with the professors’s assignments. The whole computer system in the hospital and medical school had crashed.” He was shocked to have received the transfer request from Aussie Spencer in his mailbox. “I thought you would like to know.”

Danny heard Michelle’s question and smiled at the ease in which Dr. Andersen had given the evidence of the persuasion to Michelle.

“Where is she transferring to this time of the year?”

“Some place in Australia, I believe she told one of the professors.”

A tear slipped out of the corner of her eye. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she finally understood the extent Danny was willing to go to keep her. “Aussie is transferring to a school in Australia. Why are you doing this to her?”

Danny squatted next to Michelle to whisper in her ear. “Aussie got off easy. She got into MOB BUSINESS. A major mistake on her part even if she had the silly idea of helping you. Do you agree?”

“You are both bastards.”

“Jimmy, do you have the license from Puerto Rico?”

“I put it in your brief case yesterday.”

Opening the briefcase, Danny located the form and placed it in front of Michelle with an ink pen. “Michelle, this requires your own signature. After you have signed the form, don’t put the pen away. Your brother and Aunt will require a letter explaining the trip to Puerto Rico.”

“IF I refuse to do either.”

“I happen to trust your instinct to make the right decision. Jimmy has been putting together a nice package on Puerto Rico. There are several travel guide books and videos to help you to create the perfect explanation of why you have decided to elope to an island paradise. In fact, I want both of your creations on my desk by 2 pm today. Our little committee will go a field trip to deliver your letter to your house. Michelle, this is a last minute thought but you need to make a list of what you want to pack for your wedding. After the stop at the Bauer home, we are going to do some shopping for a trousseau. The sky is the limit.”

Jimmy handed Danny the large manila envelope to Danny. Danny placed it on the table in reach of Michelle. Ignoring the package, Michelle stood up next to the table. The swiftness of her response gave her some satisfaction as the table was overturned and she watched Jimmy land on the floor in an attempt to move out of the way of the flying table. “Danny, this is my answer. Why don’t you get your hand writing experts to do your dirty deeds? Following your guideline, I am going out to sit on the porch for some fresh air.”

Author’s Note: Originally, I had intended to have the wedding in this chapter but the flow of the chapter dictated it occur in the next chapter. I promise you Michelle’s true character will not change and Danny will begin to walk in a new light.

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