Mistaken Identity By Lisa Chapter 23

Republisher’s Note: Michelle gets ready to try to getĀ  a date with Danny. She’s fitting into her new life in the Witness Protection Program.

Mistaken Identity By Lisa Chapter 23

Michelle heard the beep….beep….beep blaring beside her head, yet in her dazed state she couldn’t place the sound. Even as she covered her ears with the pillow, the annoyance found its way to her.

Rolling over she did her best to focus her eyes on the bright red numbers starring back at her. Immediately she shot up in her bed. It read quarter to seven. She couldn’t believe that the alarm beside her head had been sounding for over a half hour and she was just now hearing it. At this rate she wouldn’t be ready by the time that Sarah came knocking on her door.

This wasn’t exactly how she envisioned her evening starting out. She always hated when she would wake up for school late. It was like for the rest of the day she was always running to catch up.

Michelle threw open the door to her closet and stood there dumbfounded. What was she supposed to wear. The first time she had gone to The Two Step she hadn’t been going for any effect but tonight was different. She had every intention of catching Danny’s eye for certain. Exactly how she was to go about doing that she hadn’t a clue.
She pulled potential outfit after potential outfit from the closet discarding them on the bed until she had more lying there then hanging before her.

She let her eyes travel to the blue velvet halter dress still on it’s hanger. Michelle’s heart tugged at her. That had been the dress that she had worn when she and Jesse had gone to see the production of Romeo and Juliet. The images of that night prodded at her. How Jesse gracefully held her hand, the walk they took in the park after the final curtain call and how she had made love to him for the first time that night.

“STOP IT!!!!!” she yelled at herself, “Stop it! Jesse chose Drew. He’s with Drew now!” That thought was one that still caused her mouth to go dry. She didn’t think she would ever truly get over his betrayal. Seemed as though the men in her life were always doing that. First her father and now Jesse. She absently wondered if she was setting herself up for another fall with Danny Sampson. More then likely he would find a way to let her down…hurt her the way all the others had. Her heart pushed forward drowning out those thoughts that her head wanted her to believe. She could hear a tiny voice whispering in her ear……….’Don’t underestimate the power of love my dear. Love can do wonderful things if you just let it,’……….. It was with those words that Michelle saw her mother’s face. The thought was something that Maureen had told her long ago. She only hoped that her mother’s words would serve her well tonight.

Michelle fingered the soft fabric but couldn’t bring herself to remove it from the closet. That was a part of her life that she wasn’t ready to revisit but she just couldn’t let it go, not just yet. Instead she turned again to rummage through the pile of garments on her bed. Finally deciding on her red tank dress.

She groaned realizing that she had less then a half hour to be ready and waiting when Sarah arrived. There was no way that she was going to do it, no way.

Michelle stepped under the stream of water stopping her thoughts from traveling back to the fantasies from earlier that morning. There was no time for her to get lost in them again.

In her haste to shower and shave, Michelle ended up with so many nicks on her legs that she looked like someone had pricked her with a thousand needles.

“DAMN!” she said as she went about the ritual of pasting toilet paper upon each blood spot. “Get a grip Michelle or you might end up bleeding to death before you even make it out of the bathroom,” she stated all kidding aside to the empty room around her.

With towel tightly wrapped around her head, she settled herself down in front of the vanity mirror. She was all thumbs as she spread the make-up tray before her. She couldn’t believe how nervous she was. It was like she had forgotten what she was supposed to be doing. All she could think about was Danny and seeing him again. Her nerve endings began singing with excitement. She wanted this to be a night of new beginnings. She wanted to leave the baggage of the life that she couldn’t lead anymore behind her and start anew.

Michelle uncoiled her hair from its constraints and began to dry her honey blonde curls taking special care for them not to frizz. She wanted everything about her appearance tonight to be perfect. Satisfied with the created effect, she started with her make-up. When Michelle pulled back and took a long hard look at herself, she couldn’t have been more pleased. Her hair and make-up were perfection in the making. She would knock Danny Sampson clean out of his socks tonight.

She heard the doorbell ring just as she straightened the seams on her stockings. What possessed her to wear the garter and hose she didn’t know, but all that mattered was they made her feel completely feminine and most definitely sexy.

The bell sounded for the third time. Michelle could imagine Sarah pacing at the door waiting for her to get there. “Hang on!” she called fastening the gold hoops in her ears.

“Hello,” Michelle said as she threw the door open to expose her friend.

“WOW! What a great dress!”

“Thank you. Come in for a minute. I have a few things left to do.”

“Sure. I love your apartment,” Sarah said looking around wondering just how it was that her friend could have all of this on her salary from the book store.

“Thanks. When my father died he made sure that I was set,” Michelle said remembering the lies of her new life well now.

Sarah walked over to the bookcase and fingered the frames she found there. She wished that she had memories of her family the way that Melanie did.

Sure she had photos of her and her mother. But from all the photos before her it appeared as though Melanie had an extended family that had no boundaries.

“Ready,” Michelle emerged from her bedroom.

“Great,” Sarah’s voice sounded distant as she never removed her gaze from the pictures.

“Sarah?” Michelle’s voice filled with concern, “What is it?”

“Nothing,” Sarah brushed away a few stray tears, “Just thinking about my mom again.”

“I hear you. Christmas is a hard time of year for me too.” Especially this year Michelle thought to herself.

“I just can’t imagine her not being there this year.”

“I’m sorry,” Michelle knew how hollow those words were. Because for many Christmases after Maureen’s death she was inconsolable.

“Forget it! Let’s go have some fun okay?”

“You got it.”

Michelle followed Sarah closing the door behind them. She had to come up with a way to help Sarah get through this first Christmas without her mother. And maybe it would help her as well. Since she was still dreading the thoughts of waking up alone on Christmas morning.

“Nice car,” Michelle commented as she slid into the leather interior of the black BMW,

“You said you were going shopping, but I didn’t expect this.”

“Very funny! It’s Carl’s” Sarah still hadn’t gotten used the idea of calling a man she barely knew dad.

“Thought as much.”

“Hey, by the way how was lunch this afternoon?” Sarah asked off handedly trying to cover her true excitement.

“Lunch?” Michelle sounded confused, “What are you talking about? We didn’t have lunch remember?” Michelle rested her hand on Sarah’s forehead to see if she was sick.

“You mean Danny didn’t bring you lunch this afternoon? He was supposed to.”

“DANNY!?!?!?!” was all Michelle could say.

Danny couldn’t resurrect himself out of the funk he was swimming. At this moment he could have cared less about the night’s action at the club. All his thoughts centered around Melanie Branson.

The more he thought about what Uncle Albert said that afternoon the more he was kicking himself for walking away. What would it have hurt to knock on the damn door? He could have used what he had rehearsed about the lunch being from Sarah, but he let his pride get in the way.

“Albert wants to know if you are about ready to leave for the club?” Jenny’s voice came after the sound of her knocking.

“No,” Danny hadn’t any intentions of riding to the club with his aunt and uncle that evening. His mind was too full to be forced to make idle small talk with a woman who he knew could have cared less for him, “Tell Albert that I am going to drive myself. I’m not quite ready yet,” he lied.

“Fine,” she was just as happy to not have to spend the ride with him as he had been.

Danny stood back and looked at his reflection in the mirror. He still had a tendency to dress in black. That was a habit that he doubted he would ever get away from. His silk suit glistened in the over head light. He straightened his charcoal tie and liked the image that looked back at him. He wondered if all his efforts would be in vain. Would Melaine even show up at the club tonight?

“So where is he already?” Jenny said, “Look it’s only the second night under his leadership and he’s slacking off already.”

“Jenny please,” Albert said putting his hand in the air to stop any further conversation on the topic. He understood what Danny was going through. He was having doubts about coming here. Doubts about what he thought it would be like. He assumed that life here would be tied in a nice neat package with no surprises and when it hadn’t turned out to be so Danny was running scared, “Let’s just mingle and enjoy the evening shall we?”

“Why are you so blind when it comes to him?”

“Jenny,” Albert said in his most controlled voice, “I will not do this with you here! Do you understand me?”

“I just………………..”

“STOP!”

“Albert…….” Jenny watched her husband turn and walk away in the manner he had been doing all too often.

Danny swung into the parking lot, he could hear the music permeating the walls. By the looks of the lot it was going to be another packed house. That thought should have made him happy but he could have cared less. The only thing that would have made him happy at that moment was to walk through the door and see Melanie there. Danny’s hopes were dashed the minute that he entered the room. Even in the crowd he knew that she wasn’t there. He would have felt her if she had been.

“Danny,” Albert’s friend Jackson, from lunch earlier that day, walked up to him slapping Danny on the shoulder.

“I didn’t expect to see you so soon.”

“I thought I would come back and check out the action here. Albert can’t stop talking about the wonderful things you have accomplished.”

“Uncle Albert is a bit of a bragger,” Danny joked.

“That may be true but in this case I would have to agree with him. I think it was a great idea hooking up with the college radio station. Their DJs have a great following. That alone should bring you a great deal of business.”

Danny’s memory shot back to words so similar to those. That’s what Melanie had said about the band from last night. He was so caught up in his own thoughts that Jackson’s words were lost on him.

“Jackson…..ole boy!” Albert joined the pair, “Couldn’t stay away huh?”

“I was just discussing business with Danny. I think I might have a band to play here.”

“That’s great….isn’t it Danny?” Albert asked knowing that all too familiar dazed look in his nephew’s eyes. Danny hadn’t heard a word Jackson had said.

“Yes,” he said not really knowing the question he was answering.

“So tell us a little more about this band,” Albert took over giving Danny the chance to come back to earth.

“I have to admit that I am a bit biased. The lead singer is my daughter,” Jackson smiled, “But really the are very good. They play every Thursday night at The Yellow Rose of Texas. You could go by and take a listen if you would like. I mean you aren’t obligated to have them play here,” Jackson said trying not to push.

“No that sounds like a great idea. I was just telling Carl that the band from Thanksgiving agreed to play again tomorrow night. Actually I am pretty sure that they are going to be playing here once a month. I could really use some other good talent. Thanks for the information.”

“Great. I’ll be sure that there’s a table reserved for you. Alexa will be so excited. They have been trying forever to get themselves out there in the market.”

“Well if they are as good as you say maybe we can work out a deal with them as well.”

“Excellent!”

“Okay enough shop talk. How about I buy you a drink?” Albert asked his friend.

“You’re buying?” Jackson said in mock disbelief.

“Well it is one of the perks of owning this place.”

“Well then how can I refuse an offer like that?”

“Didn’t think that you could.”

Danny watched as the two men made their way back to the bar. He wondered if he would ever have friends like that. TheĀ  comradery that was between those two was wonderful to watch. He thought to himself that if he could ever get past his own hang ups that maybe he could have the life that he wanted for himself.

He let his eyes search the room one more time. Still no Melanie. He couldn’t stop himself from wondering if she was with HIM. The images of them from this afternoon were still burned in his mind. “You better get a grip Santos!” he scolded himself heading to the DJ booth trying to pretend that the evening’s events mattered to him in the least bit.

Carl stood in the far corner of the room surveying the scene around him. Last night hadn’t been the fluke that he had hoped for. The people continued to flood through the door. It infuriated him. How was he ever supposed to compete with this kind of success? There was no way that he could. All of this should have been his glory. It had been ripe for the plucking but Albert had let his nephew take what should have been his. Carl took a long hard swig of Scotch. The amber liquid set his throat on fire. The feeling matched his mood.

It was then he caught a glimpse of the fire in Jenny’s eyes. He watched as her glance darted between her husband and her nephew. Maybe he had read the signs incorrectly yesterday. From where he was standing now, it certainly didn’t appear that she was so smitten with her golden nephew.

So there was hope for him yet. All he needed to do was bide his time. All might not be lost to him after all.

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