Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 29

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is in the Witness Protection Program in Texas under the name Melanie Branson. Manny are on their first official date.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 29

Danny wound his car through the crowded parking lot of The Yellow Rose of Texas. He had used the ride from his club to this one to steal glances at Melanie.
He couldn’t take his eyes off of shapely form. Her leather skirt rode low on her hips revealing just enough of her flesh to cause his pulse to quicken and mind to race. He couldn’t recall ever seeing a sexier woman in his life as Melanie Branson. The image before him now mixed with the one from nights ago was more then he could handle. Danny imagined what it would be like to hold her skin against his own. He could feel his lips exploring the crux of her elegant neck as his fingers moved through the curls that had escaped from their hold atop Melanie’s head. His intense vision was causing heat to raise from his loins. Danny shifted positions to find some relief from his growing desire for Melanie.

He was thankful that he had finally found a resting spot for his car giving him something to think about other then just how much he desired the woman who sat beside him.

“Wow, this place is packed. If the parking lot is any indication of their popularity, I think you should do whatever it takes to get them to play at The Two Step,” Michelle laughed.

“Jackson said they had a decent following. He wasn’t kidding. Shall we?” Danny asked motioning towards the awaiting club.

“I think we better or we just might not get a seat at this rate.”

“No, Jackson assured me that he would reserve a table for us,” Danny said as he opened the door for Michelle to exit his car.

“And may I ask just who is this Jackson?” Michelle said wondering exactly what kind of royalty he may have been.

“Jackson is a friend of my Uncle Albert’s. I guess you could call him the band’s manager.”

“It’s nice of you to give them a listen.”

“Looks like it will be well worth my while.”

“I think you just might be right.”

“IDs please,” the bouncer said in monotone.

Michelle once again felt the knot tighten in her stomach. She wasn’t sure if she would ever really get over the fact that she was always afraid of being found out. Agent Lucas’ words of caution resounded in her head.

“We are guests of the band,” Danny returned.

“I don’t have any guests listed.”

“Check again, the name’s Danny Sant….Sampson,” Danny stuttered for a moment flustered that he had almost made a slip. Maybe subconsciously he wanted to. He had come here to free himself of the chains that surrounded him but in essence he had yet to actually to that. To really emancipate himself he had to come to terms with who he truly was. And if he wanted Melanie Branson to be a part of his future she had a right to understand his past. That was if he could make sense out of it himself. “Jackson Packerd was to have a table reserved for me.”

“Nope…nothing on here, man.”

“This is ridiculous. I am here doing him a favor!” Danny growled a little too quickly.
Michelle stood along side of Danny watching his whole demeanor change within an instant. Gone was the gentle man that had just been talking to her. He had been replaced with a man that possessed a razor sharp tongue.

“Danny,” she said softly, “I’m sure that it’s just a mistake.”

“Well, I am doing him a favor.”

“Would it be possible for you to locate Mr. Parkerd so we could get this straightened out?” Michelle was the calming force between the two angry storms.

“I’m not to leave the door,” the bouncer countered not willing to give an inch.

“You know what just forget it!” Danny shouted, “I don’t have time for this. I have my own damn club to run!!!!!” With that being said Danny turn on his heel and strode away from the door not looking to see if his date was in tow or not.

It was like that monster that he was trying to exercise from his being reared its ugly head with vengeance. There was nothing he could do to stop the scene from playing out. As much as he professed to hate the world he came from, he had grown accustomed to being treated in a certain manner and it was going to take a hell of a lot longer then a couple of months for that to go away if it ever truly did. He couldn’t help believing that he commanded respect. He knew that he wanted the best of both worlds and he wasn’t about to get that.

“DANNY WAIT!!!!!” he heard the voice call to him. Danny turned to see Jackson standing with Melanie. “Well, you just made a hell of an impression,” he scolded himself as he headed back towards them.

“Your date here was just telling me about the mix up at the door. I’m sorry. Things have been really nuts here this evening. I did leave your name with the manager but he had to take off tonight. So the assistant didn’t know anything about it. It’s just a zoo here,” Jackson did his best to apologize at the angry man who stood before him.

“What did I tell you, Danny? It was just a mistake,” Michelle said softly again as she mover closer to him. Without even touching him she sensed the tension in his frame.
This didn’t really make much sense to her. It wasn’t that big of a deal from where she stood. But the expression between the two men was that of predator and prey.

“Please, don’t let this ruin the evening. The band is really excited about your being here tonight,” Jackson spoke again.

“Come on, Danny. Let’s just forget about it, okay?” Michelle said tugging at Danny’s arm.

“I’ll be sure to have a bottle of the best champagne sent to your table,” Jackson added thankful for the pretty girl on Danny’s arm.

“So then we do have a table?!?!” Danny countered harshly.

“OF COURSE. Like I said Danny this place is nuts tonight. I mean with the holiday just around the corner all the crazies are out,” Jackson had grown a bit weary of apologizing for the third or the forth time now.

“Fine send the bottle.”

“Your table is to the right of the stage. I’ll be sure to let the band know you are here.”

“Yeah, you do that,” Danny quipped.

Danny placed the champagne bottle in the bucket of ice after pouring a glass for himself and Melanie. She didn’t even bother to protest this time. The fire in his eyes was still burning far too brightly for her at the moment.

She sat across from him doing her best to read him. Yet she was failing miserably. In a flash the man before her wasn’t a person she remotely knew or wanted to for that matter. It was a harsh dose of reality that came crashing down on her with tidal wave force.

She by no means knew anything about him except that he was extremely handsome. But just how far would that carry them if he was about to fly off the handle about something as insignificant as his name being omitted from a list?

The awkward silence from earlier again encircled them as Michelle felt unable to reach him. Those black eyes that had a hint of gentleness hid within them were harden pieces of coal now.

The band took their place on stage for the first set. Michelle watched as Danny sat starring at the members but not really seeing them at all. He was in his own private world where very few were welcome. She was sure she would regret trying to enter, but she couldn’t stop herself.

“Danny?” her hand made contact with his arm.

“Huh?” he mumbled.

“Are you all right?”

The question was a simple one by nature, but the answer however wasn’t simple in the least. He saw by her face that she was utterly confused by his irate behavior. Even now to him he didn’t understand it either.

It was frightening how simple it was to slip back into a personality that he wanted to be rid of. How….why had he gotten so furious with Jackson. He knew all too well what happens when the night starts off with one mishap……it always seemed to have a snowball effect.

“I’m sorry. This really isn’t how I wanted our first date to turn out,” Danny said looking in her soft mahogany eyes. He didn’t know if it was a combination of nervousness or him just trying to protect himself that had caused his asinine behavior, but it was time to put a stop to it.

“Me either. They say the third time is the charm,” she smiled sweetly. “Hi, I’m Melanie Branson and you are?” she extended her hand across the table.

“Danny Sampson. It’s nice to meet you. Would you like to dance?” The band had kicked into a round of slow songs. Danny wanted to take this opportunity to get lost in her.

“I’d like that.”

The slow set had turned into one with a more driving beat all the while Danny and Melanie remained fixated to the dance floor. There Danny didn’t need to talk he let his body do that for him. Without any words it was simpler, he could delude himself into thinking that he was just an ordinary man with ordinary dreams. That wasn’t the case at all, Carmen had seen to that.

*******

Ben Warren sat in the far corner watching the door to Millennium open and close repeatedly. He was awaiting his dance with the devil so to speak. He wasn’t left with much choice. Losing his position as District Attorney and having his dear brother Ross turn him into the pariah of Springfield, left his well running dry.

Besides the thought of actually working for Carmen Santos didn’t appall him actually it was quite intriguing. The way this meeting had come about was quite odd to say the least. Given all he knew about Michelle Bauer’s involvement in Carmen’s sons death he found it strange that suddenly she would have sought him out.

He had done some checking of his own. He most certainly wanted to be sure he wasn’t walking into a set-up. Through a few contacts that he still had in Chicago and New York word on the street was that Carmen’s heir apparent had just disappeared. Ben found that more then odd. There was nothing said about a hit being made on Danny Santos or even something connected to Mick’s death it was as if Danny had just vanished into thin air.
Ben’s curiosity had gotten the better of him when Carmen Santos herself had called him saying she had something that she wanted to discuss with him. He wasn’t about to turn such an opportunity down.

Ben saw Carmen Santos enter with henchman Dietz in tow. She slipped the black mink off her shoulders to reveal a black cocktail dress that forced Ben to sit a little straighter in his seat. She was a striking woman, alabaster skin in complete contrast to her ebony tresses.

Ben Stood as she made her way towards his table, “Good evening, Mrs. Santos.”

“Mr. Warren,” she said in a seductive tone. Just hearing his name roll off her tongue made Ben wonder exactly what it was this woman had on her mind and up her sleeve, “Dietz, leave us,” she instructed.

Dietz obeyed without protest but none the less didn’t like the locked eyes of the pair before him. He hadn’t a clue as to what his boss was thinking. He didn’t much like the fact that she had chose to keep him in the dark with regards to this meeting.

“Can I get you a drink?” Ben asked as he offered Carmen her seat.

“White wine.”

“I shall return.”

Carmen watched as Ben made his way to the bar. What she was about to do was highly unusual but she had been pushed to the wall leaving her no choice but to push back.
Danny’s leaving her the way he had had started an unrest that she needed to put a stop to immediately. The last thing she wanted or needed was a turf war. She had overplayed her hand sometime ago, and the heads of the other families weren’t liking the fact that Danny hadn’t taken his rightful place.

The Commission had only agreed to Carmen’s placement on the condition that once Danny was of age he would stand where his father had once stood.

Carmen knew that wasn’t about to happen. Which left her wide open to losing everything that she had worked her whole life for. She had just as much if not more brains than the men that surrounded her but she had not been born one of them so that left her at a great disadvantage.

“Thank you,” she said as Ben took his seat across from her.

“Might I ask why it is you wanted to meet with me?” Ben decided to take the position of aggressor while it was still up for grabs.

“I have a business proposition for you, Mr. Warren.”

“Oh really?” Ben leaned back in the chair arms folded against his chest.

“Yes. Right now there is some unrest among my associates and I feel that you are the man to help me put a stop to it.”

“And exactly why do you think that?” Ben’s curiosity was seriously peaked now.

“You and I see things in a very similar fashion. Wouldn’t you agree?” Carmen gestured sipping on her wine.

“Similar? In what way?”

“We know what angles to play to achieve a specific goal. I have watched you, Mr. Warren, and I believe that you and I could set Springfield a blaze. That is if you are interested.”

“Exactly what is it you are offering Mrs. Santos?”

“Well it’s common knowledge that you can’t even get a job in the public defenders office,” Carmen said with a smirk. Leaving Ben wondering if there were more forces working against him other then his beloved brother, “I would like to offer you a position as my private counsel.”

“Private counsel? And you don’t have men for the job already?”

“I have attorneys but what I am looking for is a man with vision to see things the way that I do. I think that you are that man, Mr. Warren.”

“And what if I turn out not to be? Will I meet with some untimely accident? Or perhaps maybe one evening I will end up in the middle of some deal gone wrong?”

“I don’t have any idea what you are talking about,” Carmen said eying him cautiously over the rim of her glass all the while her eyes saying much more then her words, “I suspect you listen far to closely to the rumors on the street.”

“That maybe I do,” Ben chided.

“You and I will be working very closely. Will you have a problem with that arrangement?” again the seductiveness of her voice got the better of Ben.

“I’ve had far less attractive bosses,” Ben joked.

“I assure you, Mr. Warren, this isn’t a game. I am business from the word go,” instantly Carmen’s tone was sharp as nails.

“I had no doubt.”

“Can I be assured that you are on board?”

“Well, I will say that you have my curiosity.”

“Don’t forget curiosity killed the cat, Mr. Warren. All you need to know is that if you join forces with me there won’t be a thing that you will want for.”

“I like the sound of that.”

“I will be in touch,” Carmen said getting up.

“I will be waiting,” he countered.

Ben sat back as he watched Carmen and Dietz exit the club, her image burned in his eyes. He knew she was the devil incarnate but that wasn’t about to stop him from joining her in her ring of fire. Her offer was far too mesmerizing for him to turn down.

*********

Michelle sat at the table as she watched Danny talking to the band. It was hard to miss the lead singer flirting mercilessly with Danny. It took every ounce of strength she had not to walk over to them and let this girl have it.

She and Danny had finally gotten past whatever had been between them. Again emerged the Danny she had seen at the restaurant earlier that evening. He was laughing and talking like the incident at the door had never taken place.

Michelle wasn’t about to let this girl waltz in and screw that up for her. Funny it was like watching a bad rerun of her past life. Only difference being Danny had replaced Jesse and this Alexa person had replaced Drew. Michelle knew how the first version ended and she wasn’t about to let this one end in the same fashion.

Alexa’s forced high pitched laughter set Michelle’s nerve endings on fire. She watched Danny being sucked in by her feminine wiles. Before she knew what was happening the green streak down her back had propelled her to where Danny and Alexa were standing.

“So do you have a new band for The Two Step?” Michelle asked in midst of Alexa’s words.

“Melanie,” Danny turned to her, “I’m so sorry. We were just working out the details but yeah I think we have a deal.”

“You bet we do, sugar,” Alexa’s voice was so sweet that Michelle imagined she go into sugar shock at any minute, “Daddy says your club is the hottest in all of Texas!” she cooed.

“Oh god gag me,” Michelle thought to herself.

“I think both Jackson and Albert exaggerate just a bit,” Danny countered, “But if you can pack my place the way you do this one I think that we will be well on our way.”

Michelle couldn’t believe that Danny was playing right into her hands. What had taken her all night to achieve with him, Alexa had managed in all of fifteen minutes. Michelle vaguely wondered if there was steam coming out of her ears yet.

“I’d do anything for you, sugar!” Alexa cooed once more as she easily draped her arms around Danny’s neck.

Michelle stood there wide eyed as she watched the scene unfold before her. Here she was supposedly Danny Sampson’s date and it was as if at the moment she was invisible.

Before she let herself be made a fool of any further, Michelle headed in the direction of the bar, “Could you call me a cab, please?” she asked the man behind the counter.

“Sure thing,” he returned.

“What are you doing?” Danny’s voice came from behind her.

“What does it look like I am doing? I’m finding my own ride home. It appears to me that you are going to be rather busy this evening!” she said huffed.

“WHAT!?!?!”

“Oh what did you expect a threesome?” Michelle couldn’t believe she had heard herself say that.

“You are kidding me, right?”

“You looked awfully cozy back there.”

“It’s all part of the game……………………”

“So what? I’m a game then too?” she asked trying not to cry.

“NO!!!!!!” he was amazed that she would even think that.

“Could have fooled me!” she countered angrily, “I mean I had to work like hell to even get you to talk and the minute you were around her it was like you were flapping your gums.” Michelle knew how utterly ridiculous she sounded but she didn’t care. She had pinned some many things on this one lousy date that she wasn’t about to walk away without speaking her mind.

“It’s different with her.”

“Oh that’s a ringing endorsement!”

“No, that’s not what I meant!” Danny called after her as she made her way to the awaiting cab outside, “MELANIE, WOULD YOU WAIT A DAMN MINUTE?!?!? Let me explain myself.”

“Not necessary. I understand perfectly. You certainly don’t need to draw me a picture!”

Danny slammed the cab door shut and motioned for the driver to leave as he threw a twenty dollar bill on the passenger seat.

“What did you do that for?” she shouted.

“So I could do this!” Danny scooped her in his arm before she knew what had hit her. His mouth was crashing down on hers with such an intense desire that she was breathless.

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