Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 1

Republisher’s Note: What would have happened if Michelle turned to the witness protection program? Turns out she and Danny are still destined to meet. This is a pretty good take on the story even if it does make Ben Warren more evil than I think he really was and constructs an aunt and uncle¬† for Danny out of thin air.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 1

Ben Warren and Ross Marler stared each other down from opposite ends of the table. Both with an agenda not matching the other’s.

“For once in your miserable life, do the right thing!” Ross implored.

Ben sat there eyeing Michelle up and down. He wasn’t to be DA for much longer. What did he care if this girl went into the witness protection program or not? Besides Mick Santos had been a thorn in his side from the word go. It seemed only fitting to allow her to walk. Ben would finally have the last laugh.

“What’s in it for me, counselor?” Ben said true to form.

“You know damn well that this was a pure case of Michelle defending herself. Mick was attacking her. She had no other choice,” Ross pushed all the while trying to remain calm.
Ben Warren had the ability to push every one of his buttons. It made his skin crawl at having to admit that this man and he shared the same mother. It was incredible to think that the same woman could have two completely opposite children. And that was only the tip of the iceberg in the long list of reasons that Ross despised his ‘brother’. They were too numerous to even fathom.

“I agreed not to level charges against her. What more could you want?” Ben smirked. He so much enjoyed twisting the knife. It gave him great pleasure to inflict the pain he had as a child being bounced from on foster home to the next on his beloved ‘brother’.

“You know damn well what I want!” Ross felt the anger brewing, “Who gives a damn if you don’t go forward with this case. That’s not the problem here and you know it!”

“Please…do enlighten me.” Ben folded his arms against his chest and waited. Waited for what he knew was to come next. Ross was about to go into a lengthy sermon as to the evils of Mick Santos’ family.

“How can you be such a bastard?” Ross quipped. He wasn’t sure if this was more for the game that Ben was playing with Michelle’s life or for what he had done to his own family. It was difficult to put things into perspective when it came to dealing with Ben Warren.

“If you have a point, I suggest that you make it.”

“My point is that Michelle isn’t safe in Springfield. Whether you prosecute or not, that doesn’t really matter to the Santos family. I know damn well either way she’s a target for them. You don’t kill one of their own and get away with it.”

“That’s really not my problem,” Ben countered smugly.

“I’m making it your problem,” Ross forced.

“Exactly what is it you want me to do? As you know I will no longer be the DA in a few days. What clout do you think that I have?”

“I want Michelle in the witness protection program. It’s the only way that I see her staying alive. You have the power to make that happen.”

“You over estimate me big brother. I got my fingers slapped don’t you remember? I think you are barking up the wrong tree.”

“Don’t give me that! Have you forgotten that I once too was District Attorney? I know all the rules Ben. You still have the power to make this happen. Just do it!”

Michelle sat quietly listening to the two men banter back and forth. Her heart in her mouth with each new argument. This had been a complete nightmare. In all her life she had never expected to be sitting in the DA’s office bargaining for her life. She had also never thought that she would have killed a man…….in self-defense or not. That day on the beach still a vivid memory. Every time she closed her eyes all she could see was Mick’s face leering at her. How he told her of all the things that he wanted to do to her. The memory still caused her to shudder.

It had been her life or his that night. Pure survival instincts took over. Michelle would have done whatever it took to stay alive. For all intents and purposes she had. She could still hear the thud when the rock made contact with his skull. It was a deafening sound that haunted her. Every slammed door, every object dropped to the floor, any noise caused that image to emerge in her mind’s eye. All she remembered doing was running. Running as fast and hard as she could away from the beach. It wasn’t until the following day that she realized that she had actually killed him. The story was plastered over every newspaper, TV and radio station in town. The headline read “CRIME HEIR KILLED: NEXT IN LINE TO HEAD THE SANTOS CRIME FAMILY FOUND DEAD ON THE BEACH”. It was at that moment that Michelle understood what was about to happen to her. It was a well known fact that the Santos’ were ruthless. They played by their own set of rules. And this was a game she wasn’t about to win.

Now the only way to save herself was to become a different person. If Ben agreed to Ross’s deal Michelle Bauer would cease to exist. That was a thought that she wasn’t quite prepared for.

“Are we in agreement or not?” Ross’s voice returned Michelle to the present.

“I think I can accommodate your request. I won’t have the paperwork for a day or so. That means that Michelle will have to stay at a federal safe house until everything is in place.”


“Are you sure you are ready for this, Michelle?” Ben directed his comment directly to her,

“You understand that this means you can never come home again. That as of right now Michelle Bauer is no more. And Springfield will be a distant memory for you?”

“Yes…..yes I understand,” she said knowing it in her head but her heart ached all the while.

Danny sat absently drumming his fingers along the edge of his mother’s expansive desk. As a child he loved to crawl up in her lap. He would play man in charge. Mimicking all the actions that he watched his mother do so well. It was a game for him then, but now that he was on the perch getting ready to take the reins it somehow lacked the luster that it had when he was a child. Now it was more then play acting it was so very real. A reality that left Danny with a much too sour taste in his mouth.

Danny let his eyes wander to the mantle. It was laden with family photos. So many memories to be found there. Memories of much happier times for Danny. Times that he and his bother were able to be the children that they had been meant to be. Not the person that Danny now saw when he looked at his reflection in the mirror. The features were familiar but that was where his knowledge of himself ended.

His gaze fell on the photo of him and Mick the day that he had gotten his driver’s license. Danny had to smile remembering all the grief that Mick had given him while he claimed to be ‘teaching’ him the finer points of the art of driving a five speed. It had been a test of wills for both brothers. Danny doing his best to spread his wings and fly while Mick liked being the dominate one. That’s the way it had always been for the brothers. A unhealthy competition that forced both of them to become the men they were today.

A tear wound it’s way down Danny’s cheek. The thought that Mick’s life had been cut short sent a stabbing pain through his chest. It had been weeks since Mick had been murdered and Danny was still no closer to finding out who had been responsible. All the his leads brought him to dead ends. It was maddening.

His eyes came to rest on that picture once more. Danny missed those days with his brother. As of late their relationship was strained at best. Danny and Mick had gone in completely opposite directions. Danny saw so much potential that lay untapped in the depths of the ‘family’ business. Things that could ultimately lead them into the world of legitimate businesses, along side the likes of the Spaulding and Lewis clans. Sancorp could have been a force to be reckoned with without being pulled into the darker side of life. Unfortunately, his brother and mother had other ideas in mind. They were content to be the embroiled in that life. They thrived on it. Carmen was the brains and Mick was the brawn. Which he enjoyed greatly. It was the thrill of the hunt and taste for blood that sucked Mick in. In the beginning Mick played by the rules. The rules that Carmen had ingrained into both boys from the time that their father was gunned down doing business until the present day. It wasn’t until more recently that Mick branched out into his own rules. Which were highly questionable and a far cry from what Carmen had taught. Mick’s skewed view of things was something that Danny was certain had ensured Mick’s ultimate demise. Still Mick was his flesh and blood. And no matter what Danny’s view of the business was family was everything!

As much as he detested the journey he was about to embark on, there wasn’t anyone left to carry the torch. Danny was the Santos Family’s last chance at greatness, or so his mother said.

Carmen saw her son as the shining beacon that would lead the machine forward into the new millennium. Danny had been her husband’s choice to head the family. Even at the age of fourteen, Miguel saw the potential that lay just below the surface in Danny. Yet Danny lacked the taste for what it actually took to make it in his father’s world of business. Carmen did her best to bring him to the fold but at each turn Danny found reason to hang back. Now though there were no excuses. Mick’s murder called for swift action on his part. There was no turning back now.

The ice clinked in his glass as Danny polished off another scotch. The amber liquid brought little clarity to his rambling thoughts. There was so little information to process. It was as if the person responsible for this act had disappear. Vanished into thin air without a trace. At each and every turn, Danny had one person or another breathing down his neck. If it wasn’t Carmen and Dietz, it was the heads of the other families. They were angry that Danny had suspected them of this crime. What choice did he have though? Danny knew that Mick was living on a razor’s edge. He cared little about the code of honor that the others lived by. It was only natural to think that Mick had pushed one of them too far and they had pushed back with enough force to get their message across loud and clear.

At this moment Danny had hit a wall. Each time he made headway he was stopped dead in his tracks. He was beyond frustrated. He was fighting a losing battle at every turn. And the look of disappointment in Carmen’s eyes was more then he wanted to deal with. As much as he knew that avenging his brother death was his responsibility, Danny could have cared less at this point in time.

All he wanted right now was a life removed from here. The constraints of being Carmen Santos’ son….the future of the Santos Family was a heavy burden to Danny. One that he would have done just about anything to relieve himself of. If he only had a clue how to do that.


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