Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 7

Republisher’s Note: Michelle and Danny leave Springfield, separately, for the last time.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 7

Michelle let Ross lead her to the awaiting unmarked car that would whisk her away to the airport. She stared intently at the scenery before her. Hoping to etch every detail in her memory. As the car made its way through the heart of Springfield, Michelle took a snapshot of every place that she held dear. There was Company, Cedars hospital, Laurel Falls, the lighthouse, her own home and even Millennium. She did her best to catalog all that she knew and loved.

Michelle wrestled with the daunting task that lay ahead of her. She pulled out her driver’s license again. The picture was the face she knew all so well but the name was a complete unknown.

“Who is this?” she whispered, “Who am I?”


“Don’t you mean Melanie?” she quipped.

“What’s the matter, sweetie?” Ross asked foolishly.

“WHAT’S THE MATTER?!?!?!” she echoed with much more fury, “You have got to be kidding, right? This is far worse then any nightmare that I could imagine,” she cried.

“I know,” Ross tried to embrace her lending his support, yet all she could do was stiffen under his touch.

“I don’t think so!” she spat. “I don’t think that you have a clue, Ross!” she stared into his disbelieving eyes. She knew that none of this was his fault. That he had done the best for her in a horrible situation, but right at that moment all she could see was what he was costing her.

It didn’t matter to her that ultimately it had been Mick and what she had done to him that had really gotten her to this place in time. All she could see was that Ross and his plan was ripping her from this place that she loved with all of her heart.

“Michelle?” Ross spoke softly. He completely understood Michelle’s anger and rage. He had been surprised at how long she had actually held this all in check.

“What am I supposed to do with all of this?” she held out the documents that Ben had furnished her with, “So what if you call me Melanie rather then Michelle……exactly what does that mean? How am I supposed to change the person inside of me? I don’t understand any of this.”

“Honey, the only thing that has changed here is your name,” Ross countered.

“But my name is who I am!”

“That’s so untrue,” he forced, “A name doesn’t make you who you are. It’s only a label. You can be the same person you are right now. That wonderful, beautiful girl I have watched blossom into an incredible young women. You can be the same person no matter what name is on that driver’s license.”

“I want to believe that,” she gasped.

“Then believe it! I can’t imagine what you are feeling right now. I won’t even pretend to. But the one thing that I do know is you are a strong women who has endured many catastrophes in her lifetime. You need to look at this as a minor hurdle……….”

“A hurdle!?!?!?” Michelle returned exasperated, “How about we call it a concrete barrier,” she countered. “Ross, I can’t ever come back to this place,” she cried, “I can’t ever see my family again. I can’t so much as pick up the phone and talk to them. How am I to do that Ross?” the tears cascaded once more.

“In time you will find a way,” Ross knew just how hollow those words sounded.

“I don’t think so!” Michelle turned her head away from Ross. The airport loomed in the distance. Her chest tightened as her time in Springfield was swiftly coming to a close. All the things that Ross said she knew in her head were true but her heart wouldn’t let them be true. She was so stuck in the mind set that this new identity required a complete new personality as well. It was something that was beyond all comprehension. For the last nineteen years she had been Michelle Bauer…the daughter of the chief of staff….future doctor herself and now the slate had been wiped clean. It was impossible for her to think that she could just replace one name for another and still remain the same individual underneath.

“I’ll help you with your bags, but this is where I have to leave you,” Ross said as the car came to rest at the curb, “Agent Reynolds will escort you to the gate. We can’t take a chance that someone might recognize me,” he watched Michelle’s face fill with terror.

“You said you would be with me every step of the way,” she countered.

“Michelle, you have to understand something….from now on you are not Michelle Bauer. You are Melanie Branson. Melanie doesn’t know Ross Marler. So it makes sense that I shouldn’t be walking you to the gate.” Ross hated the way his words sounded. They were so cold and harsh in much the same way Ben’s had been earlier. The look of utter desperation on Michelle’s face tugged at his heart strings yet this was one time that he had to stand firm in his conviction. The integrity of Michelle’s new identity depended on it.

“I can’t do this………I won’t! Let the Santos family kill me for God sakes!!!” she shouted sounding more like a spoiled child then the adult that Ross knew her to be.

“That’s enough!” he growled looking around to see just how many were watching Michelle’s rant. “You need to get a hold of yourself right now.”

“I’m sorry,” she whispered clutching her stomach trying so hard not to throw up on Ross’s expensive Italian leather loafers.

“I will miss you, sweetie. But I would rather miss you then mourn you,” Ross said solemnly.

“I know.” His words were sobering and very true.

“Now get your carry on and follow Agent Reynolds. He will be escorting you to the ticket counter and the gate. His cover for right now is your boyfriend. So don’t freak when he goes to kiss you. You understand me?”


“I love you.”

“I love you too, Ross.” With that said she let agent Reynolds take her by the hand as they walked towards the awaiting swinging doors. Michelle looked over her shoulder one last time to catch a glimpse of the man who had become like a father to her, but he was gone. Much in the same way the she was too.

Danny felt for the thick envelope again. It was hard to imagine that he was about to do what he was but he needed someone he knew he could trust. And since trust was an emotion that didn’t come easily in his circle, Danny knew that he had come to the most logically place to get it.

Danny had gathered his evidence carefully from the moment he had decided to leave the family business. Mick’s death had been a brief diversion from his original plan. Carmen used Danny’s love for his brother to force his hand. Hoping to turn him into the man she had always wanted him to be. It turned out that she ended up with the booby prize. It was now Danny’s turn to force his own agenda for once.

He had information in his possession that the Feds would have died to get their hands on. It was quite sad actually. That the only things his family would have been remembered for were those most horrible. The Santos Family had done some wonderful things too, but those weren’t the things that made headlines. They were lucky to have made the paper at all. People cared little about the contributions that Danny was the most proud of. Things like the homeless shelter on Fifth Street that Sancorp had been a major backer in, the youth center at St. Michael’s that the Santos Family particularly built or the many children’s charities that Sancorp had made substantial donations too. Danny never let his mind wonder to where some of the money for that had come from. He wanted to believe in the good that they had done. He tried to forget that some of that good had come from someone else’s pain. But that was past for him. There was little he could do to change his mother. She was quite content on living out her life status quo. He had come to accept that as long as he wasn’t party to it any longer. He was virtually alone now. The family he had known was no longer and even though that saddened him it was all right. It was time for him to make his way in the world unencumbered by the weight of his mother’s expectations.

Danny shifted uneasy in the driver’s seat as he watched the man he was waiting for pull in and park his car across the lot. Danny absently wondered what he would think as he approached him. Unfortunately Danny had a pretty good idea what would be running through his head. More then likely the same thing that did every time he entered a room. The people would fall silent watching and waiting for what he was to do next. If it hadn’t bothered him so, Danny would have found it amusing that a man the tender age of twenty-four could illicit such a response.

“Mr. Marler,” Danny hollered as he removed himself from his car, “I need to speak with you.” Danny’s tone was ominous to Ross’s ears.

“Mr. Santos,” Ross returned meeting Danny square in the eye. The last thing he wanted was to show any emotion at all.

“Could we go inside and talk? What I wish to discuss I would prefer not to be done on the street.”

“Certainly.” Ross turned the key to his office door. His hand trembled as he quickly pushed it open with Danny following close at his heals, “What can I do for you Mr. Santos?”

Hurriedly Ross cleared his desk of everything and anything that even remotely dealt with Michelle Bauer certain that was what Danny Santos had come for.

Ross stood there uneasy wondering if the things that he had heard were really true. There was a part of him that didn’t believe so. There was very little written about Danny Santos. Ross assumed that he was more the order giver then the one who acted on them.

“I would like you to be my lawyer.”

“You don’t have a family lawyer?” Ross questioned.

“Not in this situation……no, I do not.”

“Exactly what is it that you want from me?”

“Nothing illegal if that is what you are asking,” Danny returned easily reading Ross’s thoughts, “This is my last will and testament. I am leaving town with no plans on returning any time soon…….”

“I need to be sure that should anything happen to me that my wishes are acted upon.”

“What are you saying? Are you telling me that you expect to………”

“Be whacked?” Danny finished his sentence for him.

“Well…yes,” Ross again felt uneasy.

“Unfortunately that is an all too real possibility. I will not lie to you Mr. Marler what I am about to do will anger many in the underworld. But frankly I don’t give a damn.”

“What are you doing?” Ross asked not really wanting to know more even though he continued asking the questions.

“These are my walking papers,” Danny threw the envelope on Ross’s desk.

“Walking papers?” Ross was more then a bit confused. He reached for what Danny had laid within his grasp, but Danny stopped him.

“It’s not necessary that you know what is in there. The only thing you need to know Mr. Marler is what to do with them if I die unexpectedly. And this,” he threw his will along side of the fat envelope, “explains it all.”

“Can I ask why me?”

“Because you are the one person that I could think of that was above reproach. One person that no one would guess that I came to. I needed to be sure that this was carried out to the letter. And from all that I have heard and read about the great Ross Marler you were the man for the job.”

“And if I don’t want the job?” Ross countered having no desire to be involved with Danny or any other Santos for that matter.

“Then I would be forced to take this to a less creditable lawyer and I really have no intention of that happening,” Danny returned hardly as he leaned his body across Ross’s desk.

“I think I deserve to at least know what I am holding for you.”

“Believe me Mr. Marler, the less you know the better it will be. As for this meeting it never took place. I took great care in being sure that I would speak with you alone. Just do as I have instructed and that’s all that you truly need to know. Should it be necessary for you to come forward with this,” Danny waved the envelope in Ross’s face, “The rest will be history in the making and you won’t have a thing to be concerned with.”

“Is that so?”

“Most definitely.”

“How will I be able to get in touch with you if I find that I need to?”

“There won’t be need for that. I am moving on with my life………”

“What expanding the Santos Crime Family to bigger and better things?” Ross couldn’t help but retort.

“Mr. Marler, may I suggest that you stick to that which you know?” Danny said coldly.

“Do we have an understanding?”

“Do I have much choice?”

“Everyone has a choice, Mr. Marler,” Danny said slyly.

“Fine. I will do as you have asked, but the minute I sense any trouble what so ever I plan on dumping whatever this is.”

“I assure you there will not be any trouble. I have made most certain of that.”

Ross watched the door closed as Danny Santos made his way across the street to his car. He let out a sigh of relief. Part of him was so tempted to open that envelope but a greater part of him knew that if he did there would be no going back to his safe existence.


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