Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 13

Republisher’s Note: Danny and Michelle separately start to build new lives.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 13

Two months later…

Michelle looked up from behind the counter at the sea of coeds before her. She never dreamed that taking this job in the college bookstore would be so much work. It seemed like for the last month she never left this building.

In a way that had been good for her. It had brought some structure to her floundering life. Up until the time that she had met Mr. Rodgers, the manger of the store, Michelle had spent endless days and nights rambling around her apartment. There was only so many times she could rearrange the furniture and clean an already spotless apartment. The help wanted sign that stared back at her from the window the day she registered for her classes was welcoming.

Mr. Rodgers was a gentle soul who Michelle had taken to immediately. She found a comfort that she had lost since leaving Springfield. His kindly manner and calming way he spoke reminded her in many ways of Aunt Meta. As hard as she had tried to push thoughts of her family from her mind she found the effort fruitless. Everywhere she turned she could see them in those around her. She saw Ross in her many professors faces and actions, Rick in all the doctors she passed as they made their rounds at the hospital, Abby in the woman at the corner grocer and now Aunt Meta in the man who had taken her under his wing.

Agent Lucas had done his best to keep her mind off of the obvious with trips about town. He took his job quite seriously. He had every intention of making sure that she was settled into her new life. At first Michelle had been thankful, but lately nothing seemed to make much difference. Thanksgiving was drawing near and she was lonely for all things familiar. She missed the sounds and smells of the Bauer kitchen this time of year. If she closed her eyes tight enough she was able to see Abby and Meta scurrying around the kitchen with Rick under foot. She couldn’t help but smile at the vision. This would be the first time that she wouldn’t be part of the annual festivities. That realization further chipped away at her resolve on her new life. Mr. Rodgers had been kind enough to invite her to his home, but she felt uneasy about intruding on him and his family. Agent Lucas too offered to join her for the holiday, again she had begged off. She was getting tired of being his charity case. But now with Thanksgiving less then two days away she was beginning to feel sorry for herself.

“Melanie?????” the familiar voice said to Michelle’s bent head.

“Yes?” she said surprised that someone knew her name.

“Melanie, remember me?” the dark hair girl asked.

“Sarah?!?!?” Michelle’s voice filled with shock. She hadn’t seen her since the day she had left her to fend for herself at the airport. The picture of Sarah crying was still one that Michelle hadn’t been able to shake. She tried to no avail to locate her. Up until moments ago Michelle had given up hope of ever finding her.

“Yes…….”

“How have you been?” Michelle questioned her head filling with thousands of things she wanted to know.

“Hanging in there.” Sarah’s expression was less then convincing.

“And your dad? How was he?” It was hard for Michelle to forget the anxiety that Sarah felt over meeting the man who had sired her and nothing more.

“He’s trying. But he’s not around much he works a lot. The business he manages is expanding……………….”

“Excuse me?” a gruff voice came from behind Sarah, “Do you think I could get waited on in this century?” he ask sarcastically.

“Over here,” Mr. Rodgers directed the young man towards the register resting on the other side of the bookstore. This was the first time that he had seen Michelle smile in her time working there and he wasn’t about to put a stop to it.

“I am so glad to see you,” Michelle said taking Sarah’s hand in hers, “I wanted to get in touch with you but I couldn’t find your father’s number in the phone book. He must be unlisted. Thought it was funny though there wasn’t one Wainwright in the entire Galveston area,” she commented.

“Oh….Wainwright was my mother’s name. My father’s name is Carl Beck. My parents were never married so I have always used her maiden name as my own.”

“I see,” Sarah’s beautiful blue eyes met Michelle’s brown ones. She looked into their depths and saw the same sadness that she had that day on the plane. As much as Sarah was trying to hide it, Michelle was certain that her father had let her down all over again.
“It’s okay really. I like being Sarah Wainwright. My mom always said that the Wainwright woman were strong and independent….looks like I’m getting a big dose of that now,” she sighed.

“How so?”

“Well she may have made arrangements for my continued education, but that’s about it.”

“Sarah?” Michelle was confused.

“I was a fool. I know that I let my guard down. I wanted to believe that I would find the father that I have spent my entire life dreaming about. Well, that didn’t happen. I have barely seen the man since I got here. And now it’s my first Thanksgiving without my mother and I’m supposed to go live it up at some big grand reopening with my father’s associates.”

“This is my first holiday away from my family too. It really sucks!” Michelle stated solemnly.

“I used to love this time of year with my mom. We would cook and bake for days on end. Mom was really active with our church. She said that she was giving back to all those who had helped her when I was younger. I miss that. I miss the feeling of being part of something,” Sarah cried, “I didn’t think I could feel anymore alone then when my mom died but I was wrong. It’s far worse being here!!!”

“I know I’m not your mom, Sarah….but I would love to share my Thanksgiving with you. I have to say that I have some great recipes that are much better when made for more then one.”

“I wish that I could. But I have to attend this party thing……’daddy dearest’ doesn’t have time for me on a day to day basis but he expects to parade me around this party like some prize pony,” she spat.

“I’m sorry,” Michelle returned knowing that did little to ease Sarah rage with how little her father truly cared for her.

“It’s not your fault my dad is an ass!”

“I know but…….”

“Hey I have a great idea.”

“What?”

“How about you come to this little wingding with me? I mean I would love to have a friendly face there with me. I mean that is if you don’t have any other plans.”

Michelle thought of her prospects. Sitting at home alone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade pass by her on the television and a cold turkey sandwich from the frig didn’t seem all that enticing. Besides she felt drawn to Sarah. Like in some way they were meant to be friends. She wasn’t about to let the only person she could share her loneliness with get away.

“I think that would be great. Are you sure that it will be okay though? I mean I don’t want your dad to get mad at you.”

“Don’t worry about that. Once I make my rounds for him I doubt he’ll even notice that I’m there.”

“Okay then it’s a date,” Michelle concurred.

“Great! Here’s my phone number. Call me Thanksgiving morning and I will give you directions to the place. And Melanie, it was great to meet up with you again,” Sarah said paying for her things and exiting the bookstore.

For the first time since she had arrived in Texas, Michelle felt like she was finally making her way there.


Danny looked over the list of things that still needed to be taken care of. He had jumped into this with both feet. It was nice to have a goal to focus on again. It was also nice to have a man like Uncle Albert willing to listen to his ideas without shooting them down at every turn in the way Carmen had always done.

There they were again, the thoughts of his mother that he couldn’t shake. He didn’t know if it was just the holidays that were getting to him or if there was more to it then that.
It wasn’t like there was much holiday cheer at Casa Santos. Somehow everything that ever took place there was so sterile. Even when cousin Angelina had gotten married in the courtyard, it felt somber rather then the joyous occasion that it was meant to be. Carmen bred those kinds of feelings. She was one to hang a dark cloud over everything that she touched. Even after the time he had spent in Texas he hadn’t been able to shake the haze that she had encircled him in.

It hadn’t helped any that Aunt Jenny was still holding back. As much as she had said she had wanted to try to heal, little had been done on her part. On more then one occasion, Danny had caught her starring intently at him. Her eyes burning holes in his body. He didn’t have a clue how to get passed the wall that she had built around herself. And now he was beginning to wonder if he even wanted to. Yes she had lost her son to the violence of the life he represented but he had lost loved ones as well and it was time for them to move forward.

He had been with them for over two months now and there hadn’t been as much as peep to indicate that Carmen even cared that he had left or was looking for him.

Danny’s intuition about him mother had been right on the money. She was far too fearful of losing her powers if Danny followed through with his threats then was she worried about losing the son she professed to love so much.

Jenny may still have been filled with the pain and anger of Richard’s death but Danny thought that his presence was doing a great deal to ease his uncle’s broken spirit. Having Danny there was like giving Albert a second chance. This was his time to make amends for the role he had ultimately played in his son’s death. Danny was glad for that because he too drew a sense of closure from his uncle. Albert was playing the part that his father should have gotten to play. Danny even absently wondered now and again if this father figure was the one he really had needed.

As much as Danny had loved his father, he always wondered if his lack of drive for the life his father led would have eventually cost him his father’s love. Much in the same way that it had cost him his mother’s. He wanted to believe that wasn’t the case. That had Miguel been alive things would have played out very differently. That Mick wouldn’t have been dead and maybe, just maybe, his father could have kept his wife’s need for power in check. In reality Danny would never know but he kept that idea tucked neatly in the back of his mind.

“I just don’t understand why we have to do this over the holiday,” Danny heard Jenny say again to her husband. He had grown tired of her resistance to every idea that he had brought to the table.

“It will be good for business,” Albert retorted with obvious annoyance in his tone.

“Business has always been fine. We have never had to grand stand to get customers,”

Jenny shot a look of anger at her nephew.

“Jenny, please…..enough already. This is a go. You know that we have worked too hard to just drop it now.”

“We have never asked our employees to work on a holiday before. We will end up paying out more in overtime then we will make!”

“NOT TRUE!!!!!!” Danny spoke up angered by her words.

“So you say!”

“Jenny,” Albert sighed. It was quite obvious to all those around that if Danny said black Jenny would say white. She was content on taking the opposite side of every argument they had, even if she didn’t believe it to be so. She wasn’t about to let her guard down.
“I assure you that we will make more money in one evening then you could imagine.”

“That’s what you keep saying….but I doubt it!!!!!!!!!!”

“With all the colleges and universities in the area letting out for holiday break this place will be packed. I have booked a well known band that have played the college circuit in this area. They are working for peanuts…………….”

“What did you threaten them????” she quipped the Santos Family image still stuck in her mind.

“JENNY, THAT’S ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Albert shouted. He had had just about all he could take of his wife.

“I won’t even dignify that question with an answer. I told you my reasons for coming here. So you can choose to believe me or believe the warped vision you have of me. I am tired of trying to make you see past my name! I know it’s easy for you to forget that you are as much a Santos as I am…..even if you did change your name!!!” Danny seethed as he threw the clipboard against the bar.

“How dare you?!?!?!” Albert said in a controlled whisper, “I have indulged your attitude towards Danny far too long. I told you that Danny is family and family is everything to me! You keep this up Jenny and it will be you and not Danny who puts our way of life at risk!” Albert walked away without giving her the opportunity to return fire.

Jenny watched as her husband ran after his nephew. His words resounded in her ears and stung her heart. The bizarre thing was she already knew that, but kept right on pushing and pushing. It was as if she was trying to push Albert far enough away as to steel herself for the inevitable. That being his return to the mob life or far worse his death.

“Daniel…..are you out here son?” Albert called into the darkness of the night. The blood coursed through his veins. Jenny’s absurd behavior was more then he knew how to handle. He loved his wife more then life itself but he couldn’t let her bulldoze her way over Danny out of some unfounded fear. He wasn’t about to let that happen. He had meant it when he said he wanted them to heal…..all of them. But he couldn’t force Jenny to come around but he wasn’t about to stand idly by and let her rip apart piece by piece his own flesh and blood.

He found Danny leaning against the concrete wall hands covering his face, “Son?”

“I have tried and tried with her! I’m sorry that Richard is dead……………” he cried, “But for god sake’s I didn’t kill him!”

“I know.”

“Do you? I mean do you know what it’s like to have her look right through me or worse yet constantly make pointed remarks about the man she thinks that I am! I have never even ordered a hit, Uncle Albert. I could never do it. Lord knows that Carmen did her best to make it happen, too. I found one way or another to get out of it. That woman in there that you call wife sees me as some god damned animal who takes pleasure from other people’s misery!”

“That’s not true,” Albert found the need to defend his wife.

“Oh really?!?!?” Danny returned with disbelief.

“Yes, really. I will admit that she’s been more then out of line with you. That will chance from now on. But she’s afraid. She afraid of all the things that you represent. Try to understand that will you? Unlike your mother, Jenny never knew much about the business, that was until Richard died. Then she got it with both barrels. She lost her son that day Danny. The only child that she was to ever have. See when Richard was born, Jenny developed an infection that left her unable to have any other children. Richard was her heart and her very soul. So when he died a big part of her died along with him.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“You wouldn’t have. You were far too young when all this happened. Can you try to understand that when she looks at you she sees Richard? I have to admit that I do it too. You look so much like him that there are times when I lull myself into thinking that you are him.”

“What am I supposed to do? I can’t take much more of this.”

“I don’t have a good answer for you. All I can say is that time will bring her around. She has to be sure of you. All the things about you.”

“But…..she can’t see past her own ideas much less let her guard down to even get to know me,” Danny countered.

“Let’s just take it one day at a time, shall we? You are a strong man with a generous heart. Please try for me Daniel.”

Danny found himself nodding that he would all the while wondering just how he was going to be able to manage the daunting task his uncle asked of him.

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