Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 27

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is in a Witness Protection Program and going by Melanie, she’s recently started a relationship with Danny trying to start a new life with a new name in Texas.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 27

Tony Rodgers stood to the sidelines watching his newest employee. In the last week he had seen such a drastic transformation in Melanie. The once sullen creature was now so full of life.

She had been truthful before in saying that her lips were sealed when it came to talking about the nephew who was now running The Two Step. For all his poking and prodding, she had remained silent. Still he was more then certain that Melanie’s new found happiness was in one way or another tied to him.

“Thank you, come again,” he heard her sweet voice ring throughout the store.

“So what are your plans for the weekend?” he asked nonchalantly as he joined Melanie at the counter.

“I’m not really sure,” she returned in her usual noncommittal manner smiling just the same.

“You are enough to drive an old man insane you know that?” he huffed.

“See and you said you always wanted a girl,” she laughed as she rearranged the display case.

It amazed her that only weeks ago she had been a complete basket case. Afraid of her own shadow most times and now suddenly she had come into her own finally. It was as though Melanie Branson had at last blossomed. Each time that Michelle looked in the mirror lately she didn’t let herself get so caught up in the that was then this is now scenario that had surrounded her before. She was actually comfortable with the skin she was now in and the name that went along with it.

She most certainly missed the family that she had left in Springfield but looking now at all the wonderful prospects that lie before her here in Texas and that at home she would have had to watch Drew live the life that she once thought would be hers Michelle was ready to move forward.

“I have never seen a girl as tight lipped as you,” Tony Rodgers commented, “I mean most of the time you can’t shut you women up,” he joked.

“I don’t want to jinx myself.”

“AH HA…..,” he sounded pointing his finger in her direction, “So there is something going on with you and the nephew,” that was always the way Tony referred to him since she had neglected to furnish him with a name yet, “I knew it….I just knew it!”

Her smile was a dead give away. She was no longer able to contain her excitement, “Well maybe.”

“Maybe?!?!?”

“Danny,” Tony Rodgers gave her a quizzical look, “The nephew……his name is Danny Sampson,” she laughed.

“Ahhhhhhh,” he said rubbing his chin.

“It’s nothing really. I mean we are just going to this club. He’s scouting a band for The Two Step,” Michelle wanted to sound like it wasn’t anything more then a business thing for Danny, but her animation was getting the best of her.

“You can’t fool me, little girl,” Mr. Rodgers razzed her, “You can pretend all you want but I know better. You like this neph…….I mean Danny,” he was quick to correct himself, “You might as well stop trying to deny it. It’s written all over your face.”

“I’m not planning on getting my hopes up. For all I know it’s nothing more then a pity date.”

“What? Why is it that the pretty ones never have any confidence in themselves. This Danny Sampson would be one hell of a lucky guy to land a catch like you!”

“If you only knew.”

“Knew what?”

Michelle recounted the events of several nights before. How she had way too much to drink and ended up throwing up in the parking lot while Danny stood watching. Before she knew it Mr. Rodgers was laughing and not one he was trying to hide but a full blown roar that caused his entire body to shake.

“You find that funny?” Michelle said in a mixture of annoyance and disbelief.

“Quite frankly yes….yes I do,” he said through his next wave of chuckles.

“Well thanks a lot!” she slammed the stack of books she was carrying down on the counter in a huff.

“Melanie, now come on be honest it’s funny,” again a fit of giggles wafted in the air.

“FUNNY!?!?! Yeah if it’s happening to someone else.”

“If you step back you’ll see that it’s funny even when it’s happening to you. I’ll share a little secret with you,” he said leaning in close to her face.

“What,” she countered skeptical.

“That’s exactly how I met my wife.”

“Oh yeah how convenient,” Michelle said not believing a word he said.

“No really. It’s true. Marge was so nervous at this frat party she just kept drinking and drinking. Before she knew what hit her she was drunk off her ass…….”

“And what you came to her rescue?” Michelle said knowing the scenario all too well.

“Well yes and no. I mean I had been watching her the whole night. She was beautiful. When I finally got up the nerve to walk up and talk to her, she got sick all over me.”

“You expect me to believe that? Sounds like a carbon copy of what I just told you,” Michelle leaned in and punched at his shoulder playfully. She was happy that he was doing his best to make her feel better about the mess that she had gotten herself into but believing his story wasn’t about to happen.

“It’s the truth. I swear to you. It happened just like that. You can ask Marge yourself. I’ll call her as soon as we close up shop.”

“That’s not necessary really.”

“NO…no I can’t have you thinking that I’m a liar. You get the register closed out and I’ll go make that call.”

Michelle looked up when she heard the knocking on the glass window of the bookstore.

There was Sarah ready and waiting to hit the malls in search of the perfect outfit for Michelle’s date the following day.

After a careful combing of Michelle’s closet, Sarah declared that nothing in there would do for such an auspicious occasion as this. All Michelle could do was laugh at her friend. She would use any excuse in the book to hit the mall scene.

Michelle walked over to the door and let her friend in, “Aren’t you ready yet? We have some serious shopping to do,” Sarah said in all seriousness. Tony Rodgers poked his head out from the back room at the sound of Sarah’s voice.

“I do have a job you know,” Michelle countered.

“You go,” he piped up, “I can handle closing up for one day. Where are you ladies off to?”

“To the mall,” Sarah said, “We are on the hunt for the most perfect outfit.”

“Oh really? Thought this was a business thing?” Tony Rodgers chided.

“Business?????” Sarah turned to give Melanie a look as if to say what the hell’s this man talking about, “No it’s a dat………..”

“Let’s go Sarah before it gets too late,” Michelle said pushing her friend out the door. She wasn’t about to let herself get sucked in by all this just yet. She wanted to bide her time a little longer before she started having visions of her and Danny walking down the aisle and crazy things like the names for their children.

Danny couldn’t keep his mind on his work. As he sat behind the desk in the office of The Two Step all thoughts went to Thursday night. He still couldn’t believe that she had said yes to his invitation. It was hard to fathom it.

It had been forever since he had been on a date. Hell, if he had ever been on one at all. He highly doubted the dinner engagements that had been forced upon him by his mother qualified. Carmen had used his good looks and charm as a pawn in the bigger game she always played.

She was constantly looking for a way to expand their business or force the hand of some unsuspecting client who hadn’t learned their place in the game. Danny had served her well in that aspect of her plan. In the beginning, he had just thought that she was just being a doting mother lavishing praise on him. It wasn’t until Danny got a hard dose of reality that he understood that nothing that Carmen did didn’t come at some cost to him. With each set up he lost a further piece of himself until he no longer felt anything at all. He was nothing more the a robot going through the motions that his mother had controlled by remote control.

That was until less then a week ago. When he had been introduced to Melanie Branson it was like his circuits were recharged. Feelings that he had long since buried rushed forward to reclaim their rightful place in his brain. It was frightening actually. They were so foreign to him. In the last years he had become so numb that these new found sensations caused him to grow dizzy.

“Danny,” Joe, the bartender, voice startled him.

“Huh?”

“The liquor order is here. You want to check it in or should I?”

“Would you mind?”

“Sure no problem.”

Other then his uncle Albert, Joe was the only person at the club that Danny felt he could truly trust. He couldn’t shake the feeling that Carl was doing his best to form an army of his own. That he was looking for the right opportunity to strike. Danny wasn’t about to let that happen. He had too much riding on this to let a man like Carl start a war.
He had to smirk at that thought. Why was everything still a war to him? Why was it like he was still trying to stake his territory? Or trying to be sure that no one got the upper hand against him?

Those were things that he was trying so desperately to escape but no matter where he ran they followed him. He wanted to heed his uncle’s words. Wanted to believe that in time he could put the things that Carmen had instilled in him in their proper place. Albert had been able to do that, but Danny didn’t know. Somehow he knew in his heart that Carmen would forever have hold of him in one way or another.

Danny walked out into the club and watched as those around him began to gear up for the night that was just about ready to begin. So far the popularity of The Two Step was growing by leaps and bounds. That made him pleased. It gave his aunt less reason to be angry all the time. Still it seemed as if the better the club did the louder the silences in Albert and Jenny’s house grew. The gulf between them widened with magnum force.
Danny had tried in vain to make her see that he wasn’t a threat. That he wasn’t there for any other reason then but to make a name for himself as well as them. No matter what he said or did he was met with brick wall after brick wall.

“Where do you want the DJ to set up?” Carl said gruffly.

“In the booth…like any other time,” Danny countered with the same attitude.

As for Carl Beck, Danny would have liked to tossed him under the nearest cattle stampede.

“Just making sure. I mean you ARE the man of the hour.”

Danny walked away before he let himself be pulled into another shouting match with Carl. That was becoming somewhat of a regular thing as of late and he didn’t want to do it again.

Danny watched as Matt Johnson began hauling his CD’s into the DJ booth. He absently wondered if Sarah would be there tonight. Seemed as if she and his DJ had hit it off rather nicely. And Danny knew if Sarah was there that there was a good possibility that Melanie would be as well.

He hadn’t seen or talked to her since their phone conversation the other day and he hated to admit that he was getting worried that she just might have second thoughts about this ‘date’ of theirs.

“Hey, Matt.”

“Danny.”

“Where’s your sidekick?” Danny asked.

“Sidekick?” Matt questioned, “Oh you mean Sarah?”

“Yeah. Seems like you two are getting along pretty well.”

“Yeah we are. She had something to take care of tonight. Something about having to make sure she found a killer outfit for that friend Melanie. I guess she’s got this really hot guy she wants to impress,” Matt said without realizing that he had just answered Danny’s prayers.

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