Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 10

Republisher’s Note: Michelle makes a new friend.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 10

Michelle spent the remainder of her flight lulling herself into thinking she was an ordinary girl on her way to the state of Texas, but that illusion was quickly shattered the moment that she and Sarah parted company.

Reality came crashing back the minute she saw the man in the dark gray suit holding out a sign that read Melanie Branson. In the brief plane ride Michelle had let herself believe that she could really do this. Listening to Sarah and her resolved had enabled her to think that she could make it on her own. But now that she was faced with the cold harsh truth as it was she was afraid all over again.

Michelle looked over her shoulder as Sarah milled about the people waiting at the gate for their loved ones. Her heart went out to her. No one was there to greet her. As much as Michelle hated to admit it, she had been luckier then Sarah at least she had someone there for her. Even if he had been paid to be.

“Miss Branson?” The agent remarked as Michelle approached him.

“Yes.” Her talk with Sarah on the plane made it easier for Michelle to remember her new name but she was still having trouble seeing that person when she looked at herself in the mirror.

“I’m agent Lucas. I will be your contact here in Texas.”

“Contact?” Michelle questioned unsure of his meaning.

“Yes, I will be here to aid you in this transition.”

“I was told that after today I was on my own.”

“Those weren’t the orders that I received from my superiors. Apparently Agent Reynolds felt that you would need some assistance getting settled.”

Michelle let a smile pass across her face as she thought back to his words as she walked up the gangway. Agent Reynolds was making sure that she would end up with the dark cloud with that silver lining yet.

“That was very nice of him,” she commented.

“Yours is a unique circumstance so he thought that it deserved a special way of being handled.”

“Meaning?” she was curious.

“Well most relocations are for an entire family. That makes it a bit easier for everyone. Seeing as how you have come here alone that makes it all the more stressful. He and I both,” Jeremy Lucas had taken one look at this beautiful girl before him and understood Reynolds insistence. For once he was thrilled with his assignment. Looking after Michelle Bauer would be his pleasure, “want you to be comfortable here and acclimate to your surroundings before we leave you to your own devices.”

“Thank you,” she let out a sigh of relief, “I have to tell you that I was petrified about all of this.”

“Understandable. How about we go grab your bags and get started on making the rounds necessary to get you settled here?”

“Okay.” Michelle’s demeanor had changed considerably. As much as she hadn’t wanted to admit it but being out of Springfield was a relief. There was no longer the constant need to be looking over her shoulder or fear opening the door to see who was standing on the other side. The ever-present threat to her and her family as well was no more. It was as though a weight had been lifted and she could breathe again.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Ask away.”

“How will you explain my dropping out of sight. I mean I had many friends in Springfield. Won’t my disappearing act draw attention to me even more?” This was the first time in weeks that Michelle had been thinking clearly enough to piece these thoughts together to form a logical question.

“That has already been taken care of. Your brother and his wife have been given a cover story to use if anyone asks about you.”

“Cover story?” Michelle echoed, “What kind of story?”

“That I really don’t know. It’s better that way. The less you know about your past life the easier it will be for you to move ahead with this one, Melanie,” he returned pointedly.

“I just want my family to be safe.”

“I assure you that they will be.”

Michelle watched as agent Lucas picked up her bags from the carrousel. They looked like any other young couple in the airport that day. It was such a mystery to her how on the surface everything could look so neat and tidy but underneath lies so much more to everyone’s story.

“Here,” he handed her a folder as he placed her things in the trunk of the car.

“What’s this?”

“It’s your background information. It tells the world who Melanie Branson is. Read it….memorize it….then burn it.”

“Burn it?” she questioned.

“Yes. There can be no trace of that information. You have to commit everything….even the minutest piece of information to memory. You have to appear as though you have been Melanie Branson for the past nineteen years.”

“That’s going to be tougher then you all expect it to be. I haven’t been that person,” Michelle stated, “You want me to recreate myself in a matter of hours. I think that you are expecting miracles.”

“It has to be done. For this to work and be effective for your safety….you have to follow the procedures. The witness protection program has been around for a long time. They have worked out all the bugs so it runs like a well-oiled machine. The powers that be know what they are doing really.”

Michelle gave a half hearted laughed as she absently thumbed through what appeared to be a mountain of information on the person she now was.

“We really should be going. They are expecting us at the bank and it closes in less then an hour.”

Michelle opened the passenger door when she caught sight of Sarah out of the corner of her eye. There she was standing on the curb completely alone. No one even vaguely resembling the photo she had showed her was anywhere around. Michelle swallowed hard around the lump in her throat. Sarah looked so lost at the moment.

“Do you think it would be a problem if we dropped someone somewhere?” she asked nonchalantly never averting her eyes from this girl she felt a kinship to.

“Excuse me?” he asked not understanding what Michelle was actually asking him.

“Do we have time to take someone somewhere before we go to the bank?” she said doing her best not to sound annoyed.

“SOMEONE?!?!?…….SOMEWHERE?!?!? Can I ask who the hell you know in Galveston, Texas? I mean this spot was picked for the very reason that you had no connections here.”

“It’s a girl I met on the plane. She’s having a rough go of it. I just thought if we could help her………”

“Okay let’s get on thing straight right now is not the time to be playing ‘Dear Abby’ !!”

Michelle quickly thought back to all the times that she had used that same line on her sister-in-law. It had been too cute of comparison to pass up.

“How the hell do you know that she isn’t a plant for the Santos Family?” he questioned.

“Apparently if she is you and your people haven’t done a great job of keeping my safe!” Michelle retorted with her usual fire.

“Very funny!” he quipped thinking back to what else Reynolds had told him about this young woman. She was a spitfire at times. It was easy to see why he had thought that.

“So can we pick her up or not?” Michelle continued with her original idea.

“NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he said with disbelief that she had even asked the question again.

“Why?”

“Get in the damn car!” he forced completely ignoring her inquiry.

“I just wanted to help.”

“How about you just stick to helping yourself?”

“Whatever,” she retorted in the way that had always made Rick’s hair stand on end.

She couldn’t help but stare as they drove past Sarah Wainwright perched on her suitcase on the sidewalk. The tears that wet Sarah’s face glistened in the sunlight. Her father had let her down again.


Danny was anxious as he walked away from the plane. It was one thing to talk about starting a new life but it was completely different thing to be actually doing it.
He wondered just how much like his family he really was. Could he actually break free from all the things that Carmen had instilled in him? There had been ten or more years of lessons drummed into his head. Danny didn’t want to disappoint his uncle and certainly didn’t want to endanger the life that he had built.

Danny caught sight of the man that looked so much like his father that the resemblance stopped him dead in his tracks. If he hadn’t known better he would have sworn that Migel Santos was standing before him.

“Daniel,” Albert came forward to embrace his nephew.

“Where’s Aunt Jenny?”

“At home readying the place for your arrival,” Albert couldn’t bring himself to tell Danny that Jenny was still reluctant to have him as a houseguest.

“She shouldn’t have gone to any trouble. I promise that as soon as I can I will find my own place.”

“It’s no trouble really. And you are welcome to stay for as long as you like. There is no hurry for you to leave us.” Albert hugged him again. It was so wonderful to have a tiny piece of his family around him again. He loved Jenny but there were times when he craved the company of people who understood him in a way that she would never be able to.

“It’s wonderful to see you again,” Danny said feeling for the first time that he was in the presence of the one family member who he had anything remotely in common with. Looking at his uncle gone were the doubts that he had as he exited the plane.

There was more to him then the lessons that Carmen had taught. He was a person of a much stronger character then his mother had ever imagined.

“You too, Daniel…..you too, son.

Albert used the drive from the airport to his home to fill Danny in on his life. Albert and Jenny have been living in Texas for fifteen or so odd years and there was so much that Danny knew nothing about.

“I’d love it if we could stop at the restaurant on our way to the house,” Danny mentioned when Albert launched into a monologue about how his restaurant was on the verge of busting at the seams.

“That will keep. I want you to get settled first besides my manger Carl can handle things for the day. This is our time to get reaccquitanted, Daniel.”

“Uncle Albert…….” Danny hesitated.

“Yes?”

“Would you please call me Danny. Daniel was something that my mother called me…………………….”

“I understand. Jenny and I haven’t been Santoses in many years. I found it much easier to start fresh without the name sake hanging over our heads.”

“What?” Danny asked quizzically.

“I am not Albert Santos any longer. We are Mr. and Mrs. Albert Sampson. I know that you father went to great lengths to insure us a new life but you mustn’t forget that I was well aware of what I was leaving behind and I took steps to further our safety. You can be anyone you want to be. Danny. Don’t let the name you were born with pigeonhole you into a place you don’t want to be in or better yet don’t belong in. You can take our name if that’s something that you want to do. I would welcome the thought of having a son again.”

“I don’t think I could do that,” Danny returned hesitantly. It was one thing to want to be removed from the lifestyle that had been forced upon him but it was a completely different thing to erase Danny Santos from the world.

“You do what you feel is best, but the offer is on the table should you change your mind.”

“Thank you.” Danny turned to watch the scenery pass by him. He couldn’t remember seeing a flatter place before. It was a stark contrast to the place he had just left in more ways then one.

“Here we are,” Albert said turning up his drive. The house was nothing like Casa Santos and for that Danny had been grateful. It was by no means merger but it was inviting in a way that his home had never been. The house was bright and welcoming rather then dark and foreboding as Carmen had always kept theirs.

“You have a beautiful home.”

“Thank you. We do our best.”

Jenny steeled herself at the door upon hearing Albert’s car come to a stop before the house. She had wanted more then anything to be supportive of her husband’s decision but she couldn’t. The very thought of letting Carmen’s son live with them made her skin crawl.

She hadn’t cared about all the things that Albert had told her. She had been more then content for them to live their life without ever hearing the name Santos again.

“How was your flight?” she asked pasting on her best smile.

“Fine once I figured out what was going on,” Danny returned referring to the mix up in his original plan.

“Are you hungry?” Jenny was pulling out all the stops to be a gracious host but Albert read his wife like an old novel. He knew that she was doing her utmost to make Danny feel welcome all the while biting her tongue.

“Please don’t go to any trouble. I want you to pretend like I’m not even here.”

“I fear that might be rather difficult to do,” the edge in her voice was noticeable to both men.

“I came here to be a help to your expand your restaurant, Aunt Jenny…nothing more,” he stressed.

“Albert tells me you have some interesting things planned for the club part of the business,” she said avoiding the obvious direction that Danny wanted the conversation to take. She wasn’t ready to go there just yet. She needed time to size up Danny Santos for herself.

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