Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 31

Republisher’s Note: Manny had a rough first date last night, but it ended hopefully after Michelle meets Danny after the Witness Protection Program takes her to Texas.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 31

Danny opened his eyes to the early morning light that filtered its way through the sheer fabric that hung over the sliding glass door in the living room. It took a second for his eyes to adjust and his memory to register to his surroundings. There was Melanie nestled deep along side him still sound asleep. It all came rushing back. The date from hell that ended up to be rather promising. The fact that Melanie had finally confided in him was a sure sign of things to come. He only wished that he had been able to do the same. The opportunity to open up never presented itself or if it had Danny conveniently overlooked it.

How was he to explain something to this angelic creature that more times then not he himself didn’t understand? Unfortunately Danny knew that thought was a complete lie. He understood his life very well and what that life was forcing him to become. That’s why he had been looking for an escape for awhile now. Any way to be able to look in the mirror again without cringing at the reflection that looked back.

When he had told his uncle that he had never ordered a hit that hadn’t been the complete truth. He may not have given the order but he had been part of one, once. He cringed at the memory that invaded his thoughts.

The time after his father’s death was such a blur. Even to this day many things that had taken place in the ensuing months were still a bit hazy. It wasn’t until then that Danny learned exactly what his father was and what happened when the men came to gather at his house.

“Your mother would like you to join her in the study,” Dietz said upon entering the kitchen where Danny sat quietly starring off into the distance as he had been doing for months now.

“What?”

“Mrs. Santos expects you in her study.”

“What for?” Danny asked.

“Business,” was all Dietz said.

“What is he doing here?” Mick spouted as he saw Danny entering the room, “Papa would be alive today if it wasn’t for him!”

“Mick, that’s enough! Come, Daniel, sit,” she guided him to a chair at the head of the table to her right.

Danny couldn’t get Mick’s words out of mind. What could have meant that it was his fault that his father was killed. That didn’t make sense.

Danny watched as the men he knew only as his father’s associates filed into the room taking their respective seats. Some had been there on the day that Migel had died.

“Thank you for coming gentleman,” Carmen arose.

“What’s this all about Carmen?” Tony Sanchez asked edge to his voice. The men at the table weren’t used to taking orders from a woman.

“I am aware of the fact that you feel that I am not the rightful heir to my late husband’s place at this table. I also am well aware that the individual that you would like to be sitting here has refused.”

The men eyed one another knowing that Albert Santos was the rightful man to take the head of the table. They also knew it was a long shot in their asking him to do so. It was out of their great respect and loyalty to Migel that they had not forced the issue and left Albert to have the new life that he had asked for upon his son’s death.

“Your point…..Carmen?” Manuel Santiago questioned.

“I’m sure that all of you sitting here know what Migel wanted and intended to happen with this family.”

“So……what if we do? It’s a completely different now. There is no way for what Migel wanted to happen. Daniel……”

“DANNY?!?!?!?!?!” Mick’s angry voice boomed throughout the room.

The men in the room went about talking as if Mick hadn’t even spoken which only served to feed his rage. “Daniel is by no means ready for what is expected of him. Migel barely had the time to bring him into the business and there is still such a thing about him making his bones.” Manuel looked at the child before him. He could see the greatness that Migel saw but at the tender age of fourteen he couldn’t see his way clear to agreeing to this.

“I understand that,” Carmen agreed.

“THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT!?!?!” Mick’s voice rang out again, “You mean to tell me that Danny is the chosen one? That after what he has cost this family he still gets to sit at the head of the table?!?!?!” Mick questioned flabbergasted at the thought.

“Mick!” Carmen said in a controlled violent whisper, “If you can not contain yourself I will have Dietz escort you out!” She wasn’t about to let her eldest son, the hot head that he was, jeopardize the intended goal.

“DON’T BOTHER…..I’M OUTTA HERE!!!!” Mick threw his chair to the ground in frustration as he stormed from the room.

“Where were we?” Carmen asked as if the outburst with Mick hadn’t even happened.

“You were about to agree that Daniel isn’t ready to take the reins,” Tony replied.

“Take the reins???” Danny thought to himself, “Making his bones???? What was going on here? These were things that Danny had never talked with his father about.”

“Yes and no,” Carmen returned, “I have a solution to this problem.”

“And what might that be?”

“I will sit in Migel’s place until such time that Daniel is ready to resume his rightful place.”

“Excuse me? I don’t think I heard you?” Manuel said bringing his hand to his ear.

“I will head the Santos family with Daniel by my side until such time that he is ready to take over.”

“Now it’s my turn to ask……..Is this some kind of joke Carmen?!?!?!”

“Not hardly!” she countered.

“This is by no way acceptable,” Manuel stressed.

“And my son losing what’s rightfully his is?”

“We would not let that happen,” Bernardo said finally speaking. He and Migel had been friends and associates for longer then he could remember. He had been there when Migel was shot. The image of Danny holding on to his father would be one that he carried with him always. “Daniel will have a place in this organization. That was never in question.”

“Yes, but not the one that truly belongs to him. The place at the head of this table. The place where his word is law.”

“Carmen, he’s fourteen years old for god sakes!” Manuel stressed.

“Carmen, you have my word that Daniel will have all that Migel wanted for him. I will see to that personally,” Bernardo said.

“What I am to trust my family’s existence to you?” Carmen gestured towards the men that surrounded her, “While I know in my heart that one of you at this table is responsible for the death of my husband?!?! ”

“You were given a courtesy today, Carmen. Let’s remember that shall we?” Bernardo stressed as he watched the others at the table ire grow at her accusation.

“As well as I am asking for another, I want Migel’s place at this table until such time as Daniel is able to move into it.”

********

Danny eased himself off the sofa as not to wake Melanie. The memories of what had happened after that were hard ones to swallow. Carmen had gotten her place at the table and Danny sat there along side of her as nothing more then a figure head until the day he turned seventeen and had been forced “to make his bones”. Bernado had been the one to set up the hit. It was something more for his family then the Santos but he felt that it was the right time to bring Danny completely into the fold enabling The Commission to be finally rid of Carmen.

An associate of Bernardo’s had come to him for help. His daughter had been raped and rather then bring shame on her and the family he asked for the young man to be disposed of quickly and quietly. Bernado had no reason not to comply. The associate standing before him was a good man and had brought much business for the families as a whole. And it was a simple job one that Daniel could handle. The elaborate plan was set in motion.

In the seven years since Danny had taken that man’s life, he could still feel the cold steel of the gun in his hand. Even though the gun had been silenced, Danny thought he could hear the shots he fired ringing in his ears.

Danny moved away from Melanie. The things in his past making him feel dirty again. He headed again for the kitchen to put on another pot of coffee. He needed something to occupy his thoughts, something to rid him of the images of the young man not much older then himself at the time laying dead in the darkness. The room was bathed in the warmth of the Texas morning sun. It’s light drew him to the window. It was his attempt at using the burning rays to cleanse himself of all he felt was contemptible about him.
What right did he have to waltz into Melanie’s world and turn it upside down? From the sounds of what he heard last night, she had had more then her fair share of rough goes in life. And he had far too much baggage of his own to work through.

Danny walked back to the doorway that adjoined the kitchen with the living room. She looked so peaceful lying there. Images of the past night flew through his head as his hands rubbed against her soft skin as he pulled the cotton throw over her to cover her in his absence. His breaths caught in his throat as he thought about her half naked body before him, how she gasped when his tongue teased at the peaks of her breasts. It had been magic in the making. Danny could only dream what heights they would experience together. If what they had begun to share the night before was any indication of the titillation that they would partake together……Danny stopped himself from going any further. It didn’t really matter that he had dreams of grandeur. He was what his was. His outburst last night at The Yellow Rose of Texas proved to him in spades that Danny Santos, the Mafia Prince, would live deep within him no matter what he did or what name he hid behind.

What kind of life was that for Melanie? From where he sat it wasn’t. But he couldn’t bring himself to imagine himself without her. How strange that in the matter of one unconsummated evening together that Danny felt the need to never let her go. As the war waged on in his head, Danny picked up his mug from the table and went for some coffee.

He took his place again at the window watching as the heat of the sun’s light began burning off the morning dew that hung in the air. If life were only that simple. If he could have just been born a normal child to a normal family.

“Good morning,” he heard a soft voice whisper in his ear as a pair of arms encircled his waist.

Danny was instantly aroused by the touch of her body to his. The battle of his conscious would have to wait, “Good morning to you, too,” he pivoted in her arms placing a sweet kiss on her lips, “I made some coffee if you want some,” he said gesturing to the counter.
“I think maybe after another one of these,” she stood on her tip toes and gently kissed him again. Easily Danny lifted her from her feet deepening the kiss. He wasn’t able to stop himself. When he was in her presence it was like the world stopped spinning. That in those times he could forget about everything but them. He wanted to enjoy the euphoria while it lasted.

The shrill ringing of the phone broke their embrace, “Ahhh,” she groaned, “Excuse me while I pull the plug on that thing,” she laughed heading for the phone that hung on the wall, “Hello,” she sang expecting it to be Sarah wanting an early morning update on her date.

“You sound pretty chipper this morning,” Jeremy Lucas’s voice escaped through the wire,

“Just calling to check on you.”

“I thought we decided that wouldn’t be necessary anymore,” Michelle said turning her back to Danny who was still admiring the morning view from her window.

“I just thought…….”

“Thought what?”

“It is my job you know to ensure your safety,” he spouted.

“I’m fine really. I thought I made myself clear that I would call you if I needed you,” she whispered hoping not to draw attention to her conversation.

“I’ll be the judge of when you don’t need me anymore,” he countered imagining his features were now green filled with envy of the man who had been her date night before.

“Fine whatever, I have to go. I have to get ready for work. I am allowed to go to work right?” she quipped. Michelle had long since tired of him. She absently wondered if it would have been better if Ben had been right when he told her she would be left to her own devices.

“I’ll be in touch.”

“I’m sure you will!” she say placing the phone in it’s cradle.

“Something the matter?” Danny asked sensing that she was now on edge.

“Nothing that you can do anything about,” she said before thinking.

“What?” he pulled back trying to read her expression.

“Nothing unless you can’t get Sarah ready for her big date with Matt,” Michelle smile as she moved away from him. Lying had never been her strong suit and she was more then certain that Danny could already read her like a book.

“Big date huh?” he laughed. “I didn’t think Sarah needed help in that department.”

“We all have our trade secrets and apparently she is in need of mine.”

“You two are pretty close, huh?”

“Close enough.” Michelle wasn’t really sure how to answer that. Yes, they were close, but how could she explain their meeting. Sure she had all the information on her new life but it seemed so unreal when she said it to him. Something about Danny Sampson made her want to tell him everything about her. Who she really was. Why she was really there. Every minute detail of her life. The mere thought of that was frightening. She didn’t want there to be any secrets, nothing to stand in the way of whatever was growing between them, “I think I better get ready for work,” she said steering the conversation away from things she wasn’t quite sure just how to address yet.

“Yeah, look at the time. I should be heading out too. I have some orders that really need to be taken care of,” Danny replied.

“Isn’t that what Carl’s for?” she asked.

“Let’s just say I’m a hands on kinda guy,” Danny stated without divulging his distaste for her friend’s father.

“That’s a good way to be. That way nothing gets by you.”

“You really do have a good head for the club scene. You know we never really did get to talk shop at all. I still would like to hear your ideas.”

“I don’t know. I don’t think I handled myself all that well last night,” Michelle said knowing that she had lost her cool a bit too quickly.

“Forget about last night,” Danny said as he tucked his shirt into his jeans, “That’s been forgotten and so has Alexa if you know what I mean,” he winked.

“Danny, wait,” she said pulling him back to look at her, “I don’t want you not to hire the band. They were awesome. I just…….”

“You just what?” Danny questioned.

“I couldn’t stand to see her hanging all over you.” She held her breath waiting for what he would say in return.

“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” he said sheepishly.

“What?”

“The other night….the one when you had too much to drink.”

“Oh god don’t remind me,” she groaned.

Danny couldn’t help but laugh at the expression of horror on her face, “I had a little touch of the green eyed monster myself. I didn’t like the idea of you cozying up to that goon at the bar.”

“Oh really?”

“Yep, so I would say that we are even in the jealousy department.” Danny didn’t know why he had confessed his feelings to her, but it had been easy, as easy as breathing.

“Seems that way.” Michelle wondered if her face now showed her delight in knowing a bit more into how Danny truly felt about her. She didn’t want to believe that she could be happy again but maybe there was hope for her yet.

“Can I call you later?” he asked as they walked to the door.

“I’d like that.”

“Well then I’ll talk to you later.” Danny leaned in a softly kissed her good-bye.

“Bye,” she returned breathless as she watched him climb into his car an zoom off.

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