Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 6

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is disappearing into the Witness Protection Program.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 6

Michelle sat quietly as Ben and Ross continued on with their conversation. She looked down again at the pile of identification before her. She whispered the name once more”….Melanie Branson…..Melanie Branson.” She looked at her reflection in the mirrored wall to her left. She didn’t look like a Melanie and she certainly didn’t feel like a Melanie.

Even though she had no intention of letting Ben Warren see her cry, there was little to be done about the floodgates that had just been opened behind her eyes. She watched as the tears rolled down her cheeks. No amount of wiping them away stopped them. Right now Michelle had the most overwhelming sense of loss. It was indescribable. Indeed she was very much alive, but she felt as though she was riding in a funeral processional of a dear and trusted friend. She had had no idea that this is what it would be like.

In fact all of Ben’s taunting had been truthful. She was witness to the death of Michelle Bauer. In one fail swoop she had been buried under a pile of shredded documents. It was funny to imagine that it was that simple. But indeed it had been. All those things tangible things that make up a person’s life were so easily stripped from them.

“Michelle, I will give you one last chance to back out of this deal. Seems to me that you aren’t as sure of your conviction as you led me to believe,” Ben said pointedly watching her wipe away the remnants of her tears.

“Not a chance!” she said voice strained trying to hide her emotions. She didn’t want to give Ben anymore ammunition than he already had.

“Suit yourself then,” he quipped all too sure that Michelle/Melanie wouldn’t last a week alone in the big state of Texas. It wouldn’t be long before she slipped up giving herself away. Then it wasn’t his business if she met with an accident or two.

“Ben, enough with the game of cat and mouse,” Ross stated firmly having had just all about all he could take of his ‘brother’s’ sarcasm.

“This is by no means a game counselor,” Ben countered. “Think it’s your client that you should be explaining that to.”

“How so?” Ross was sorry the minute he asked the question. It only served to give him a forum to continue with his barrage against Michelle.

“Seems perfectly clear to me that Miss Bauer wants it all. And unfortunately she just can’t have it,” he grinned, “In this life you can’t have your cake and eat it too…….”

“I KNOW THAT!!!!” Michelle yelled letting Ben get the best of her.

“You could have fooled me a minute ago. I watched you crying your eyes out. So what’s it going to be? You stay here and hide in the shadows for the rest of you miserable little life or become Melanie Branson? The choice is yours. Either way after today I don’t really give a damn!” That was the first honest thing Ben had said throughout this whole thing.

“THAT’S ENOUGH BEN!!!!!!” Ross’s harsh voice bounced off the walls of the office.

“Not nearly,” he countered.

“I have a news flash for you Mr. Warren,” Michelle seethed, “Take the way you feel about me right now and magnify that a thousand times and you will begin to imagine just how much I despise you!!!! The contempt I feel for you is immeasurable. Not only what you have done to my family but what you have done to Ross’s as well. I actually feel sorry for you.”

“Sorry……for me? Just why is that?” he questioned curious of her response.

“Everything that could have been good in your life has turned to stone. And there is no one to blame for that but yourself. You came to Springfield with an agenda. You set out to destroy good people….hell you even took down a few in the process that you didn’t even know. They just happened to be on the wrong side of your opinion.”

“You mean like you sister-in-law?” Ben added smugly.

“Most definitely! You let her sit in jail for months knowing damn well that she acted in self-defense in killing Roy Meecham. But what did you do about it? Not a damn thing. You toyed with my family and you loved every minute of it. If that video from WSPR hadn’t fallen into the right hands Abby would still be rotting in jail, you Bastard!” Michelle stood taking stance to slap Ben hard across the jaw.

“Now….now Michelle,” Ben reached for her hand before she could make contact, “This little masquerade that you about to embark on could be stopped dead in the water if you aren’t careful.”

“I don’t give a damn. Do what you want Ben…….it would only serve to confirm my opinion of what a lowlife you truly are.”

“Enough…..both of you!” Ross shouted, yet silently he was cheering Michelle on. She had been able to say so many of the things that he hadn’t been. Things that had been welling in him for sometime now, “Are we finished?” he asked.

“NOT BY A LONG SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!”

“Oh what you want more?” Michelle began not knowing where all of this rage had come from. It was as if all her pent up feelings for everything that had gone wrong in her life, feelings that she had pushed to the background for so long now were springing forth. Ben was baring the brunt for it all.

“Ross……you either get your client under control or this discussion is over!” Ben said straightening his suit jacket.

“Michelle, enough. Do you understand me?”

“What do I have to lose now?” she countered turning to Ross eyes blazing.

“YOUR LIFE!” Ross said soberingly, “Is that what you really want? Do you want to be thrown to the lions? He can still do that you know…….but he wouldn’t dare!” Ross looked his brother directly in eye as he spoke.

“Just get her out of here. If I never see her again it will be too soon.”

Ben watched as Michelle and Ross exited the room. The fury the bubbled beneath the surface was like a wildfire out of control. If it wouldn’t have gotten him disbarred, he would have went straight to Carmen Santos with the information on who killed her son and exactly where it was she could find her. Right now though he cataloged the information in the recesses of his mind for safekeeping.


Danny rested his body against the cold surface of the door. The reality of what he had just done hitting him square in the face. He had actually walked away. The ties that bind were no more. It would take some time to sink in.

At this moment in time he wanted to feel joy….relief…anything…. but it was a hollow victory. All he felt was a deep-seated emptiness in the pit of his stomach. Where was the elation that he had expected? Why wasn’t he doing the dance of joy on his way to his car?

NOTHING……absolutely no feelings what so ever.

There wasn’t even anger or rage for a life lost. A life that had been stolen from him at the tender age of fourteen. He had never gotten to experience what it was like to be a normal child with a simple life. Carmen had deprived him of those things that most children take for granted.

He wanted to be furious but couldn’t…..wanted to be delighted but wasn’t. Right now he couldn’t muster but one emotion. All he was was numb. That numbness was little consolation at the moment.

Doing his best to shake off this cloud that encircled his head, Danny walked towards his car. This was the last time that when he turned the key in the ignition that he would fear it exploding. The last time that he would spend his drive time checking the rearview mirror time and time again to see if he was being tailed. All those things that Carmen got a charge from would be no more in the world that Danny would create from himself. A world where being a Santos wasn’t such a bad thing.

The heavy iron gates closed behind him for the last time. He looked as the home he had grown up in vanished into the horizon. “Good-bye, Mama,” he whispered to the woman he once loved.

Danny had sometime to kill before he had to make his flight, before he knew where he was headed he had parked his car before his family’s crypt. Today was the time for farewells.

The marble building stood ominous before him. As much as he wanted to be there that was how much he hadn’t a clue why. The man he remembered being his father was so far removed from the man he actually had been. The years since his death had proven that fact.

Migel Santos led a double life. The mask of mobster was left at the door to his study each night. His two worlds were to never meet. He could be ruthless and heartless when necessary but his children never saw that side of the man they called Papa. Danny had always felt protected when his father had been alive. That nothing bad could touch them.
That illusion had been shattered the eve of his fourteenth birthday. The world as he knew it was about to come screeching to a halt. Slowly Migel had been bringing Danny into the business. He felt the younger he learned the better it would be for all concerned. His eldest son didn’t have the cool headed temperament that his younger one possessed. Migel was certain that Mick would be more of a liability then anything else. Yet at seventeen it was hard for Mick to understand his father’s wishes. All he saw was that what was rightfully supposed to be his was being snatched out from under him.
That evening Migel had taken Danny with him to conduct a business transaction. Mick flamed at the doorway as he watched the limo pulled out of the drive. Before he knew what he was doing he found himself jumping behind the wheel of his 911 Porsche. Dietz had alerted Migel via the driver that Mick was hot on their tail. Danny could still his father’s words…….’I have got to do something with him before he gets us all killed.’
Danny wouldn’t know until later how true his father’s statement would be. He was nervous as he looked on to see the other limos driving up to meet theirs. At the time, Danny didn’t know how to describe the feeling he was having but many years later he understood it to be fear. The fear that on that night he was about to lose his father.
‘You stay here son. I will have Carlos bring you to me when it’s time for you to be introduced.’

Danny recalled nodding. He watched his father make his way to the circle of men. It wasn’t difficult to tell that Migel Santos was the man in charge. Each of the others bent to kiss his hand. At that moment Danny had been proud that Migel was his father, not knowing truly what this world was all about.

Danny heard the shots ring out through the night air. The scene played out in slow motion before his eyes. There was his father lying bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. To this day when Danny looked down at his hands he imagined the faintest stain of his father’s blood still present there.

He remembered Carlos trying to hold him back but his adrenaline forced him from the man’s strong grasp. Danny was on a full tilt run to his father’s side.

At fourteen Danny could have cared less who was standing around him. He didn’t understand what his father’s death meant to these men much less did he care. All the mattered was that his father lay dying in his arms.

He cried “Papa…Papa…..Papa!” over and over until his mouth was too dry to speak any longer. There they were his father’s words again as Danny ran his fingers in the script of his name on his burial marker……….’You care of things now, Daniel. You are now the man at the head of the table’……………..

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Papa. But I can’t do as you asked,” he choked on his own words, “Please forgive me. Try to understand. What I am willing to do is a disgrace to you. For that I am sorry….but this isn’t the life that it once was. It has turned into a blood bath. Long gone is the honor that you and Uncle Albert lived by. It’s nothing more then a circus and pony show only serving to be a farce. I can’t be this….I won’t be one of them,” he sighed doing his best to regain his composure, “Papa, Mick is dead. You are dead. And Mama is someone I don’t even recognize,” he gasped those feelings from earlier rushing forward to claim him. Tears filling his dark eyes, he turned his gaze to the marker that belonged to Mick. “I loved you, man. I loved you with everything that I had to give. I didn’t give a damn about this business. I never wanted any of it. I’m sorry that that got in the way of us. It should never have. I know you are more then likely spitting on me from the afterlife. Seeing as how I can’t find it in my soul to do what you would be doing right now if roles were reversed. That doesn’t mean that I am disloyal Mick. I am ferociously loyal Mick. I miss you, man……..” Danny’s voice trailed off covered by his tears.
Danny stood up and took one final look at the two men he had grown to look up to in his life. But now that vision was a bit skewed. It was time for him to forge ahead and do what he knew what had to be done for him to survive. It was the only way he say himself coming out of this mess a whole person again.

“Good-bye………I hope when we meet again you will understand,” Danny turned away and headed for his car feeling more somber now then he had before.

There was one last stop to make before he headed to the airport. He patted the thick envelope that was hidden in the inside pocket of his leather jacket. That was his insurance policy and he was about to deliver it to a man that Carmen would never suspect.

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