Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 8

Republisher’s Note: Both Michelle and Danny head for the Springfield Airport.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 8

The line at the ticket counter moved slow as Michelle stood with Agent Reynolds waiting her turn. She was just steps away from embarking on her new life.
“Can I help you?” the woman behind the counter asked. Michelle handed the electronic ticket that Ben had given her in his office to be exchanged for a boarding pass and seat assignment. “Miss Branson, I will need to see your identification.”

Michelle continued looking about the terminal oblivious to the fact that she was being spoken to, “Miss Branson,” the woman said once more.

It wasn’t until Agent Reynolds tapped Michelle on the shoulder and pointed to the woman speaking to her that Michelle realized that the individual was questioning her.

“Excuse me….what were you saying?” she returned in her very dazed like state.

“I need to see your identification to confirm your reservation.”

The woman’s eyes darted between Michelle and agent Reynolds trying to read this situation, “It’s her first time on a plane,” he said coming up with something off the top of his head so as not to draw suspicion to them anymore then Michelle already was. The expression on her face resemble one as if he was holding a gun to her back. “She’s a bit edgy is all. Aren’t you, honey?” he asked turning to face Michelle. “It doesn’t help that we are going to Texas to meet my folks,” he continued. “She’s just a bundle of nerves.”

“I remember those days,” the woman said with a smile, “It wasn’t half as bad as I imagined it would be when I met my future husband’s parents for the first time. Don’t worry you will make it through.”

Michelle stared at the two of them dumbfounded. She would have laughed had she found anything funny about this whole mess. Here she was standing before a woman she didn’t even know and having her give her marital advice on a man she hadn’t met until two days ago. It was all so surreal.

“That’s what I keep telling her,” Agent Reynolds added.

“Well, enjoy your visit,” the woman said, “Your flight to Galveston boards at gate 596A.”

“Thank you,” he said leading Michelle away by the hand once again.
“What was with the story?” she asked harshly once they were out of the woman’s ear shot.

“Somebody had to do something,” he countered with the same harsh tone that he had been given.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” her voice growing louder.

“It means that you need to pull yourself together and damn quick, girl!! If you don’t, you won’t last but a minute on your own.”

“You know what, all of you think that this is a walk in the park but it isn’t!!!!! You have no idea what this is like for me. I have never been out of the state much less the city of Springfield. And now I going half way across the country to God only knows where to do God only knows what. I’m sorry if I’m a bit shell shocked!”

“So you are saying that you would rather stay here and hide for the rest of your life hoping that the next time to you answer the door or start your car that it isn’t your last?” his words were harsh.

“NO……YES……hell I don’t know anything anymore……………….” Michelle’s words were covered by the sobs that she was no longer able to hold at bay. She buried her face in the folds of his jacket as she shook with each new wave of tears. Agent Reynolds wasn’t able to do more then stroke her golden curls. He had been involved in so many witness protection cases in the past, yet this one was different. In most cases they were relocating an entire family. There was a support system there that wouldn’t be for Michelle Bauer. Not to mention that most people were much older then this waif before him. At the age of nineteen, he couldn’t imagine being taken from the only place that he had ever known and then told to boot that there could be no contact with his loved ones. He didn’t envy her situation.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered when her tears had run dry.

“Would you like to go freshen up before we head to the gate?” he asked softly.

“Yes, thank you.”

He stood just beyond the entrance to the ladies room as Michelle entered. She was thankful the room was empty. She gazed at herself in the mirror. The tears had wreaked havoc on her make-up but what did she care really. It wasn’t like where she was going anyone would give a damn. Michelle splashed cold water on her face remembering why she was doing this in the first place. Remembering that her life, no matter what her name was depended on her doing this. There was no backing out now. She was in this for eternity.

“Ready to go?” Agent Reynolds asked when she emerged. The look in her eyes was different. He wasn’t sure just how but he sensed that she had somehow turned a corner. He doubted that her apprehensions were gone but for the time being he thought that she was making the best of a very bad situation. “I’m sorry that Mr. Marler wasn’t able to see you off. I know that would have helped you, but you do understand why don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Try to remember that this is the beginning of a long journey for you. I know right now it seems very dark and frightening……..”

“Yes….yes it does,” Michelle concurred.

“It will not always be like this. You may not believe me but one day you might actually be glad that this happened to you. I am a strong believer in fate and the things that happen to us happen for a very pointed reason. So on your darkest of days try to remember that.”

“I’ll try,” she relented only to make the man before her feel as though he had helped her in some way. Yet really his words had fallen on deaf ears. The last thing she would ever be is thankful for the hell that was now her life.

“You better get boarded. That was last call for your flight.”

“Okay.”

Michelle tucked her purse under her arm and began walking to the boarding gate. Her feet felt like lead weights heavier with each step that took her closer to the plane.

“And Melanie,” Agent Reynolds called. This time Michelle remembered to look back, “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” he smiled.

Michelle shot back a half smile at him all the while thinking that this was terminal darkness.


Danny slid into the driver’s seat content in what he had just accomplished. It had been harder for him to approach a man like Ross Marler then it had been to stand up to his mother.

All Danny had ever craved in his life was respect from men the likes of Ross…..all of those citizens of Springfield who actually were men of honor and integrity. So much the antithesis of the men he had grown up with. It was hard for Danny to place his father in the same caliber as Carlos, Bernard, Antonio and the others. He wanted to believe the image that his father had done his best to preserve. But now it had been shattered and Danny had his mother to thank for that. Carmen was everything that his father had not been. There was no way for her to separate herself between business and the family that she held so dear. They were melded into one entity. Where as Migel wore many masks Carmen only possessed one. And it certainly wasn’t the one of loving mother.
Danny had wanted to tell Ross everything that he had done. What actually was in the envelope he was holding in case of his demise. Yet he held back. Held back for many reasons. One being the fact that it was much safer that Ross hadn’t a clue what went on in his family’s business. The less he knew the better it would be for him and his own family. Another reason being that for some bizarre twist of things Danny did honestly believe in the code of honor that he had been taught growing up. That problems were taken care of within the ranks of the family. In his own way he had done just that. The hand that he had play against his mother was legal within all realms of their code. Danny had to laugh at the thoughts of the word legal and the Santos Family being used in the same sentence. Carmen just never expected her son to be smart enough to use it against her in a way that she couldn’t come out on top.

Danny shifted into drive and pulled out of the parking lot. He half expected to feel sad about leaving the place where his only roots were but that wasn’t coming. It was as if the further he went away from the center of his life the less tight the noose around his neck felt. For once he was able to breath freely again. The shroud of darkness that had encircled him was becoming light again. The deep dank tunnel that he once traveled through had opened up into and expansive highway of endless possibility.

Danny looked down at the watch on his wrist. There was just enough time for him to reach the airport for his flight. The state of Texas called to him. The many possibilities that lay ahead were astounding. He much looked forward to jumping in with both feet where Uncle Albert’s business was concerned.

Danny had kept track of his uncle through the years. It was as if somewhere in his heart he knew that this day would ultimately come. He most certainly wanted to be ready for it. Uncle Albert’s restaurant “The Two-Step” was ripe for expansion. Danny envisioned the bar and grille as so much more. Lately Albert had been dabbling in the local band scene and Danny couldn’t wait to get his hands on some talent. In one of his many attempts to get out from under his mother’s clutches Danny had worked with booking local talent back in Springfield. His boss at the time had told him that he was a natural and offered him a full fledged contract but as quick as the offer had been put on the table it was rescinded.

Carmen sworn up and down that she had had nothing to do with it but every time that Danny had gotten close to a career outside of the family business something always seemed to go awry. He cursed his mother for all the missed opportunities in his life. For all those things that she had successfully squashed for him.

The roar of the jet engines overhead signaled that Danny was drawing close to the airport. His anticipation was growing with each mile that brought him closer to his new life. For the first time he was about to have a clean slate to be whatever and whoever he wanted to be.

“Yes?” the woman behind the counter asked.

“My name is Daniel Santos. Marie at Springfield Travel phoned in my reservation to Galveston.”

“Certainly Mr. Santos,” the woman tried to hide the quiver in her voice. The man standing before her carried an ominous name even though he had a soft face. She wasn’t about to take any chances on her impression being wrong.

Her eyes scanned the computer screen. There was no Daniel Santos listed there. No Santos name anywhere. She bit her lip as she checked again.

“Is there a problem?” he inquired seeing the uneasiness in the woman’s posture.

“Ah……….,” she wavered.

“Well is there or isn’t there a problem? I have my itinerary right here if that would help.” Danny was having flashbacks of all the ways his mother had stopped him before. It wouldn’t surprise him in the least if she had again found a way to foil his plans.

“Yes, may I see that please?” Danny handed over the information that Marie had faxed to him the day before. The paper she held in front of her indicated his flight to Texas was the one boarding at gate 596A right now. Again she brought her eyes to the screen. Plugging in the information that she now knew, she was still drawing a blank.
“I’m sorry Mr. Santos…..it appears as though your reservation was never made.”

“You have got to be kidding right?”

“I wish that I were. I put in the information that you gave me and your name is no where on the passenger list.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do now?” he bellowed, “I am expected in Texas tonight.” Danny ran his hand through his chocolate curls trying to come up with a solution to this dilemma. He had no intention of heading home to mama. He’d sleep in the airport if need be.

“Would you like me to contact your travel agency and see if I can come up with the problem?”

“That won’t be necessary,” he countered wanting to have the pleasure of reaming the person responsible for this confusion himself. And if by any chance he smelt his mother’s involvement all bets were off. He would take the information he had on her and the other families to the Fed’s right now.

“It’s really no trouble. We do it all the time for many of our passengers,” she pushed trying to tell if her was angry with her or not.

“Thank you but I will take care of this myself. I know that it is in no way your fault,” Danny returned knowing full well by the look on the woman’s face that she was waiting for his wrath.

“Well, please do let me know if I can be of any assistance.”

Danny waved his hand in the air as he turned to go. She was well meaning and all but right now he had more important things to contend with. Like what the hell happened to his reservations. His Uncle Albert and Aunt Jenny would be waiting at the airport for his arrival and it would be in vain because at this rate he would be lucky if he got to Texas by tomorrow.

“Marie, please,” Danny spoke into his cell phone.

“This is Marie, how can I help you?’

“You can help me by telling me just what the hell happened to my reservations!!!!!!” Danny growled.

She need not ask the person’s name on the other end of the receiver. It was quite obvious who the man was. “Mr. Santos,” she cleared her throat, “I tried to contact you earlier but I was informed that you had left. There was a problem with you flight arrangements. For some reason you were bumped from the original flight.”

“WHAT?!?!?!?” he bellowed.

“There was a last minute booking that was top priority and I was forced to make other arrangements for you. I did book you a flight but you will have a layover in Kansas before you will fly into Texas. You should reach your party about three hours later then anticipated. I left a message on your voice mail. I just assumed that you had gotten the information.”

Danny looked down at the screen on his phone. He had completely missed the flashing indicator for his voice mail, “I must apologize. I was just taken by surprise that there was no flight information for me.”

“Given the lateness of the changes that I made there wouldn’t be. I gave you the flight numbers you would need to give to the ticket counter when I left you that message.”

“Would you mind giving them to me again?” Danny asked awkwardly upset by his original anger.

“Sure…..hold on a second while I pull up the information again.”

“Now what happened to my original flight again?” he asked now that he was thinking clearer. He wanted to be sure that his mother had nothing to do with this little problem.

“I really don’t know. I received a message back from the airline that you had been bumped from the flight. So I scrambled to make other arrangements for you.”

“Do you know who bumped me?” he asked curiously waiting to hear the reason.

“The information came from The State Department. It was pretty vague really.”

“Why me I wonder?” Danny questioned more to himself then to the woman on the other end of the phone.

“That I don’t know. I’m sure there were more passengers then just you. You just happened to be the only one from this agency on that flight. Here we go……….”

Danny listened as she read to him the information regarding his new flight plan. Given the reason that she had told him for the mix up, Danny was relatively certain that Carmen had not been behind this attempt at thwarting his plans. The State Department and Carmen Santos were not a likely combination. Not even to keep Danny under her thumb.

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