Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 11

Republisher’s Note: Danny and Michelle each separately start a new life in Texas. Melanie Branson is Michelle’s new name in the witness protection program.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 11

Michelle was having a difficult time keeping her thoughts on the task before her. She had visions of Sarah crying as she was left to fend for herself at the airport parading through her head. In many ways she and Sarah shared similar experiences. Both had lost their mothers and both had absentee fathers. Sarah’s father may have walked away before she had been old enough to remember him and Michelle didn’t know if that was better or worse then the way in which her father had left her and Rick.

Ed Bauer had had the time to know his family and he still chose to walk away without as much a single thought for their well being. Michelle knew that she was being harsh. She had known all the reasons why her father had gone but looking at them through her eyes each one seemed trivial.

“Melanie,” Agent Lucas said calling her back to the real world.

“What……ah I’m sorry. Still trying to adjust to the time zone change,” she said thinking how easily she was beginning to be able to embellish the truth.

“Miss Branson,” the older gentleman behind the desk said again, “Here is your account information. This ATM card will give you access to both the checking and savings account that have been provided for you. As it stands right now there is a five thousand dollar balance in each account.”

“Five thousand dollars……in each account!?!?!?!” there was no hiding the shock in Michelle’s voice.

“Yes. That’s how it’s usually arranged. If you would require more for one reason or another agent Lucas would have to handle the paper work.”

“More????? You have got to be kidding right? Have you forgotten that I’m nineteen years old? That’s more money then I have ever seen in my savings account, not to mention my checking.”

Michelle thought back to her measly account back in Springfield. She had been lucky if she had two thousand dollars between both of those accounts back home.

“Do you have any other questions?” the man asked pushing the account information towards Michelle.

“I don’t think so.”

“Good, if you need anything please be sure to contact me….at least until you feel comfortable.”

“Thank you I will do that.”

“Nice to see you again, John,” Agent Lucas said shaking the man’s hand as he stood to leave.

“You too, Jeremy.”

“Ten thousand dollars,” Michelle said again in disbelief as they made their way to the car again.

“You’re pretty stuck on that number aren’t you?” he couldn’t help but laugh.

“I have never had this much money at one time!”

“Come on……your father was a doctor for heaven sakes. You mean to tell me that you didn’t have access to money?”

“Not like this,” she retorted angered by this man’s assumption on her life.

“I had you figured for a daddy’s little girl.”

“Well, then you were guessing wrong,” she stressed. “You must have forgotten to read between the lines of that file you have on me. Somewhere it should say that my father is off saving the world and to hell with his family.”

“What?” he returned quizzically.

“Never mind,” she said deciding to not go on any further with this conversation. What did it matter anyway? As of a few hours ago Michelle Bauer and her family stopped existing.

The drive to her new home was a silent one. Jeremy Lucas didn’t know what to say now. He realized that he had upset her but wasn’t sure as to why. He had only been teasing her about her family’s money and being a daddy’s girl, but she hadn’t taken it as such.
“Here we are,” he said bringing the car to rest in front of a large apartment complex building. The sign read…………….The Sands Apartments. “Before we head up to your apartment I want to show you your car.”

“My car?”

“Yes, your car. How else do you expect to get around town?”

He led her to the parking space where a shiny emerald green Chrysler Sebring sat. Michelle ran her fingers along the hood. This was all a little too much for her. She had left a beat up Cavalier in the driveway back in Springfield. Right now it was hard to remember why it was that she had been fighting this so.

“Are you sure this is mine?”

“Yep,” he handed over the keys and motioned for her to get in and start it up.

“This is totally unbelievable.”

“Why?”

“This isn’t what I thought it would be like.”

“What did you think would happen when you got here?” he asked. He always loved to listen to exactly what each new person in the witness protection program thought they had signed on for.

“I thought I was being sent to some hole in the wall. And would be left to my own devices.”

“Not hardly!”

“That’s the impression that I was given.” Michelle said thinking back to how horrible Ben Warren had made this all sound.

“Let’s go check out your apartment now.”

Michelle couldn’t wait to see what she was getting next. And she was by no means disappointed. The two bedroom apartment was beautifully furnished and there wasn’t anything there that she could find fault with. She explored each room as agent Lucas spoke.

“The utilities have all been put in your name and the kitchen has been well stocked. Classes at the university start shortly so you will need to be sure that you go to register. Your transfer from Springfield U has already been taken care of.”

“What do I do about my tuition?” Michelle asked knowing that her money would soon be gone once that bill had been paid.

“For the first year that you are enrolled the tuition has been paid in advance.”

“What?”

“It’s done that way to give you the time needed to become Melanie Branson. We don’t want to draw attention to you just yet with state and federal loan applications.”

“I guess that makes sense,” she returned.

“For the time being you need to just blend in like any other transfer student. And don’t forget to read that file and burn it when you are finished.”

“I will be sure to do that. So what now?”

“It’s time for me to go.”

“Go?” Michelle couldn’t help but panic a bit. The thoughts of being alone still frightened her.

“Here’s my card. My beeper number is on there. You can get in touch with me anytime of the day or night,” he smiled slyly hoping she didn’t notice. He was definitely gunning for a night time call.

“Thank you,” she reached for the card that he held in his hand.

“You’ll be just fine. In a few months you won’t remember ever being anyone but Melanie Branson.”

Michelle had her doubts about that as she closed the door behind him.


Danny sat down at the dining room table well aware of the tension in the room. Tension that his being there was causing. He watched as Albert and Jenny eyed one another from either end of the expansive table. Danny wanted to break the ice but hadn’t a clue what to do or say.

His aunt had every right to want him gone. It was understandable that she would want nothing to do with him. He was certain that each and every time she looked at him she saw the son that she lost. Parents were not supposed to bury their children.

“This is wonderful Fettuccine Alfredo,” Danny said directing his remark at Jenny.

“Thank you,” she returned curtly.

“I have been trying for years to get her to cook for the restaurant….but she hasn’t given in yet. She says she saves her best cooking for me,” Albert said patting his middle all the while shooting his wife the evil eye. It wasn’t hard to notice how uncomfortable Danny felt.

“Well, you’d have to add on just to accommodate all those who came for the great cooking,” Danny smiled looking for a window into this woman’s heart.

“We don’t need any more publicity,” Jenny retorted, “We have a fine little business as it stands. Bigger isn’t always better.”

“Jenny,” Albert said with a strained voice, “Daniel has a good head for business. I think we should see what he has in mind for us.”

“I can only imagine,” she quipped letting her animosity spill over.

“Aunt Jenny,” Danny began.

“Let me handle this son,” Albert cut him off before he could say anymore.

“No, really I think this needs to be addressed,” Danny returned stopping Albert short, “I say we lay our cards on the table and clear the air.” Danny’s forcefulness only served to heighten Jenny’s fear that he was just like all the other Santos men that they had broken free of, “Aunt Jenny, I can only imagine what you are thinking of me. Rightly so I would have to say. You know virtually nothing about me. All you know is the imagine that you have in your mind. I assure you that I am not here to bring harm to you. Or bring the families swooping down on you again. I have lived that nightmare for ten long years now and enough is enough.”

“See Jenny, isn’t that what I have been telling you?” Albert questioned.

“Let the boy speak,” she countered forcefully.

“There is no need for him to explain his actions. He is FAMILY and that’s all we need to know!” Albert’s voice boomed off the walls angered by his wife’s need to continue with her distrust of Danny.

“Need I remind you that this FAMILY that you speak of with the sweetest of tones cost us our son? Have you conveniently forgotten that Richard died in your arms from a gunshot wound meant for you?!?!?!?!” The rage that grew from her core caused her body to tremble.

“No, I haven’t but that isn’t Danny’s cross to bare…………..it’s ours,” Albert said in a controlled whisper.

Danny sat as a silent bystander in a war that he had incited. The anguish that fill his uncle’s eyes at his wife’s words was indescribable. Just listening to the events on Richard’s death pulled out all the memories again of his own father’s demise. He absently wondered if he would ever truly escape the ghosts. If all of them would carry the scars that their lives had inflicted forever.

“Please stop!” Danny called, “This is my fault. You would not be fighting if it wasn’t for my being here. This was wrong of me to force my way into your home and life. I shouldn’t have come,” Danny pushed his chair away from the table in attempt to exit the room.

“No wait!” Albert instructed, “Please sit back down.”

“But……..”

“No buts you wanted to clear the air, Danny, so lets clear it shall we?” Jenny watched her husband take command of the situation at hand. She saw the mask of the once powerful crime boss fall over his face. What she feared most was happening right before her very eyes. “I have tried time and time again to get you to see that HE,” Albert pointed to Danny, “is not a threat to us. He only wants what I wanted all those years ago. I still have nightmares of the night that Richard died. There isn’t a night that goes by that I don’t wake up in a cold sweat the visions of him crumpling to the ground at my feet! You don’t have to continually remind me why that happened, Jenny! I very well know why. My greed got the better of me and for that need I paid dearly. I paid with the life of my only son. That’s my hell to pay for my sins. ‘SINS OF THE FATHER’ are a horrible thing. And if there is only one thing that I can do for my brother’s son so that he doesn’t have to pay for his father’s sins then God damn I’m going to do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Albert had not shed a tear but as Danny looked closer he could see those that hung in his eyes.

“I can’t live like this!” Jenny shouted, “I can’t go back to looking around every corner waiting and wondering who is lurking there. I can’t take the chance that a bullet meant for him,” again Danny found a finger being pointed in his direction, “finds you!”

“STOP….both of you!” Danny brought his voice above theirs. “I don’t intend on tearing this family apart. That wasn’t what I can here for. I came here looking to be a part of something that was the opposite of what I left behind. Aunt Jenny, there is no need for you to worry…….my mother would never endanger the life she now leads. My continued good health ensures her the way of life she had grown to treasure. To treasure more then her children. I would have given anything to have a woman like you for a mother. Then maybe just maybe I wouldn’t have had my father die in my arms or a brother who was stoned to death doing my mother’s bidding!” Danny too felt the unshed tears welling in his eyes.

The room fell silent. All three pairs of eyes searching the others for any sign of understanding. Albert was the first to make a move. He walked to his wife taking her by the hand and then found his way to Danny. He brought Danny’s hand into Jenny’s. “We all need to heal. I think that we can help each other do that if we try hard enough.”

Jenny examined the young man she saw before her. For the first time since entertaining the thought of Danny coming to stay with them, she actually tried to imagine what his life had to have been like. Carmen was never meant to be a mother. Just because biology had given her the physical capabilities she was sorely lacking in all else that made a woman a mother.

How could she punish Danny for the things his parents had done, for a life that he hadn’t chosen? It had been forced on him at such a young age. Jenny could here Carmen now as she used Danny’s love for his father to trap him in her spider’s web. Those dark brooding eyes that looked back at her were filled with such pain that she couldn’t turn him away no matter what fears were in her heart.

“I would like to try,” she whispered kissing her husband gently on the cheek.

“Thank you,” Danny returned, “Thank you both,” he brought his aunt’s hand to his lips kissing it softly.

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