Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 32

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is now living in Texas as Melanie Branson in the Witness Protection Program. She just had a date with Danny Sampson who is using his uncle’s cover last name.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 32

Michelle leaned against the door and couldn’t help but sigh. This all seemed like too good to be true. Nothing had been this easy in her life, ever! From the time that Maureen had died, her life had been nothing but up hill battle after up hill battle. Culminating in what had led her to Texas.

Mick’s death found it’s way to the forefront of her mind. The vivid pictures of events sprung forth again. She had been in Texas for months now but there was still no escaping the past. She changed her name, started a new life, actually was beginning to find happiness again and there was the memory of that horrible night coming to smack her in the face again.

As much as she wanted to tell Danny everything, how could she? What words would she be able to find to explain away that she had murdered a vibrant young man. Yes, she could say self defense. Yes, she could say he was attacking her, that he had no regard for her life at all but none of that erased the fact that she had taken another human being’s life. That was something that she would have to live with for the rest of her life no matter if she was Michelle Bauer or Melanie Branson. That was a cross hers and hers alone to bare.

Michelle walked over to the sofa and picked up the throw. Danny’s scent lingered there. She brought it to her nostrils and was immediately transported back in time. She could see the events of last night playing out in her head. Things between them had fallen so easily into place without much thought on either of their parts. In closing her eyes, Michelle could again feel the hardness of Danny’s chest against her fingers. The way his body’s reaction to her soft touch came forth in a way he couldn’t deny. The thoughts of it again had her growing hot with desire. The way that she had responded to him then and the way she was now was so foreign to her. She couldn’t help but think about Jesse again. Putting Jesse and Danny in the same thought seemed a bit bizarre. Jesse had fallen in love with someone else but she hadn’t expected to be doing the same.

“Falling in love?!?!?!” she said to the empty room. The thought was dizzying. Was that what was really going on here? How could she be falling in love with someone when she could never really be honest with them?

There was no way for her to bring together the fact that she still felt utterly tied to her old life. That she felt the need to cleanse herself of the demons that had brought her here in the first place. By all rights she was free. There was no explanations necessary but she couldn’t see her way clear to believing that. Melanie Branson had nothing to hide from except for the fact that she would forever be Michelle Bauer and there wasn’t a damn thing she could do about that.

The sound of the doorbell forced her back to the here and now, “Did you forget something?” she asked before seeing the person standing at the door.

“Forget something….huh?” Sarah laughed all knowing as she walked inside, “And just who might I ask did you think you were talking to cause it certainly wasn’t me.”

“Never mind,” Michelle said closing the door and joining her friend on the sofa.

“No….no never mind…..so I guess I can take it from you question at the door it obviously went well last night?”

“Yeah if you call strained silences and almost inciting a fight well,” Michelle wasn’t about to let how well things actually turned out just yet. She was enjoying stringing her friend along far too much.

“You’re kidding? Please tell me you are kidding. I know you were nervous but it looked to be going pretty good from where I was sitting in the club.”

“You want some coffee?” Michelle asked ignoring Sarah’s questions.

“Forget the coffee! I want to know what happened with you guys last night. Don’t leave me hanging….I don’t think I can take much more,” Sarah said padding after her friend into the kitchen.

“Nothing really worth talking about actually.”

“Yeah like I believe that,” Sarah quipped as she picked up the coffee mug that Danny had left sitting on the table, “Unless you have stared drinking for two,” she countered with a grin, “He spent the night here didn’t he?”

“Yes, but not in the way that you think,” Michelle said trying to put a stop to Sarah’s already racing mind.

“What other away is there to think about it?” Sarah joked.

“Mind out of the gutter please.”

“Okay…okay,” she relented, “Please go on. Tell me what happened.”

Michelle set off to tell the tale of how things started off bad at the door and smoothed out in the middle yet ended up with a bang.

“Jealous huh? Well I can’t really blame you. I wouldn’t want to be watching some girl hanging all over my man. Business or no business.”

“Danny’s not my man!” Michelle countered still reserving judgment. One date did not a relationship make. She had learned that from experience.

“Oh please tell me another one. Danny Sampson has it so bad for you that even a blind man can see it,” Sarah chuckled.

“STOP!!!” Michelle slapped at her friend’s arm.

“So you are trying to tell me that you can’t see what’s right in front of you?”

“I see it….I see it. I’m just not putting any stock in it just quite yet.”

“Why?!?!?!” Sarah was completely confused.

“I’ve been down this road before. Love isn’t always what it seems to be.”

“See you even you think it’s love,” Sarah countered using Michelle’s own words against her.

“Sarah come on it was just one date.”

“One date that turned into a over nighter.”

“Nothing happened!”


“Well maybe something,” Michelle finally gave in to Sarah’s chiding.

“See…I knew it. I knew it!” Sarah said overjoyed by the fact that she hadn’t totally lost her mind, “So are you going to tell me or what?”

“There’s really not much to tell. We fooled around a little then I got cold feet.” That was about as detailed as Michelle was going to get. She didn’t think it was right to divulge the intimacies of the previous night. It just didn’t feel right to her. Then again she had never really had a true girlfriend up until now. Her only real friend had been Bill Lewis and when it came to her and guys that was the last subject he wanted to chat about. So Michelle was treading on some pretty new territory when it came to the ins and outs of friendship with another girl.

“Cold feet?” Sarah echoed.

“Yeah. I just felt weird all of the sudden. It was like this alarm was sounding in my head. I couldn’t keep going.”

“Why?” Sarah pushed.

“Too much baggage I guess.”


Michelle had to admit that she was getting ticked at Sarah’s persistence. There was too much running wild in her head right at the moment. She was afraid that given her current state of mind that she could slip up at any time.

“I had a boyfriend back home that was less then faithful. I’m just scared of making the same mistakes this go round.” Michelle kept it as simple as she could.

“I get it now. Being burned really sucks. I’ve been there a few times myself. But you can’t let that sour you to a really great guy. From where I was sitting last night Danny Sampson is quite smitten with you,” Sarah said recalling her mother say that time and time again to her as she was growing.

“You really think?” Michelle asked interested in the outside observation.

“Most definitely! Watching you was like watching to pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly. I can’t explain what it was but whatever it is going on between you two, it’s electric.” Sarah fell back onto the sofa wishing that she had something like that she just described in her life.

Michelle wasn’t about to argue with that. She had first hand experience at just how electric it was.

“You think maybe you and Danny would want to double with me and Matt?” she asked, “Maybe some of your electricity will rub off on us.”

“What? I thought things were good with you two.” Michelle questioned.

“They are. I mean as good as they are supposed to be. It’s just after watching you and Danny I wonder if I will ever have anything like that.”

“Get out of here! I really think you are seeing things that aren’t there. We have only been on one date. Or have you forgotten that?”

“Well if one date caused that much electricity I would have to say look out to the city of Galveston when date number two rolls around. We are likely to have a black out,” Sarah playfully tossed a pillow in the direction of her friend. She didn’t want to talk about her lack of chemistry with Matt. He was sexy but for her that spark just wasn’t there.

“Who says there is going to be a date number two?” Michelle countered.

“Oh you know it and I know it. There will be a date number two.”

“Can’t be all that sure.”

“So what are you saying that you are ready to lose another twenty bucks to your dear old friend?”

“I don’t think so.”

“See that’s cause you know I’m right.”

“Get out of here,” Michelle said motioning towards the door, “I’m already late for work as it is.”

“Fine…..fine I’m going but mark my words you have not seen the last of Danny Sampson!”

“I hope not,” Michelle replied as she shut the door.

Albert set his cup of coffee on the table as the sun made it’s way into the morning sky. He had spent the greater portion of the past night watching his wife sleeping. Trying to come up with a way for this arrangement to work out for all of them. He wasn’t about to send his nephew packing but if he didn’t do that was he ready for the alternative, sending his wife? At the moment that Jenny had spilled the names Carmen Santos and Danny Santos in the club, he had wanted to take her by the throat and close off the breath that was forming the words. It was an instinct that rushed back without him realizing that it still lived deep within him.

He had been taught many years ago that you have to take care of the weakest link in the chain no matter who or what that was. It frightened him that he saw his wife as such. Without realizing it, Jenny was causing them more danger then Danny ever could. Danny had slipped into his new role quietly without drawing much attention to himself. Unfortunately Jenny couldn’t let sleeping dogs lie. She had so much pent up rage that she let that cloud her better judgment. Let that anger feed into Albert’s worst nightmare. That nightmare being that the life they had formed for themselves in Texas would now be up for scrutiny. They would become the weak link that needed to be taken care of.
Albert had vowed a code of honor and silence when he left the family business and even when Migel died the others had honored that. Though Albert wasn’t sure of anything anymore. He didn’t know what his wife would do next. And if he expressed his fears to her that would only serve to heighten the feelings already so apparent in her. He felt as if he was stuck between a hard hard place and a rock.

“Good morning,” Danny said as if he had just stepped off of cloud nine. He wasn’t about to let his fears consume him. On the drive from Melanie’s to home, he had decided that no matter what he had to do, what game he had to play, he wasn’t about to let Melanie go. The demons were his and his alone so he intended on dealing with them alone. It wasn’t until he got a good look at his uncle that he knew it was anything but a good morning.

“Daniel,” Albert returned never looking up.

Danny took the seat across from the man who had granted him this wonderful opportunity, “Albert what is it?” he asked even though he was already sure of the answer.

“Ah………….where do I start?” he threw his hands up in utter frustration.

“Did something happen with the club last night after I left?” Danny was hoping it was just that simple.

“Well, in a way yes and no.”


“I don’t think all that much damage was done…….”

“Damage?” Danny cut him off, “What kind of damage………….”

“Not that kind of damage son.”

“Oh……then what exactly are we talking about?” Danny’s chipper mood was fading fast

Albert was at a loss for words. There was no explanation for what had happened last night. At least not one that he could come up with at the moment.

“What’s going on, Uncle Albert?”

Danny’s use of the word uncle wasn’t helping Albert to come up with the words any faster. “Your Aunt Jenny and I had a little bit of a disagreement last night.”

“So what’s new about that?” Danny countered. Their disagreements were somewhat common place these days. He had grown far too used to them that he barely was aware of them for the most part now. Yet the expression on Albert’s face told him this one was different.

“Danny, I had no idea just how much my wife despises your mother…….”

“I’d tell her to get in line,” Danny joked.

“This is serious! She has such a deep seeded resentment, much deeper then even I imagined. She feels like you are here to take Richard’s place. She’s mad as hell that her son is dead and Carmen’s is not.”

“Understandable. But how am I supposed to fix that?” Danny asked all kidding aside.

“You can’t.”

“Then as I see it we are back to ground zero. Jenny is never going to see me for anything other then a mobster, gangster, hell whatever label she chooses for the day,” Danny was so exhausted from fighting this battle that he ultimately was always going to end up on the losing end of, “She has doomed me to be that man. A man that I don’t want to be!!” Danny shouted.

“You are who you are!” a voice came from the doorway. Both men turned to she Jenny standing there, “You can run but you can’t hide from the shadows that creep up inside you….either of you,” she pointed to both men.

“Aunt Jenny, you know what I am not going to defend myself to you anymore. I can’t. I have done nothing but……”

“Take what little I had left away from me,” she interjected.

“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT!?!?!?!” Danny yelled.

“My husband. You took him back in time.”

“Jenny,” Albert tried to speak but Jenny run over his words.

“It’s like listening to him all those years ago. The hush words and knowing silences between you two. It was that way with Richard.”

“I’m not trying to be Richard!!!!” Danny shouted. “I’m just me, whoever the hell that is!”

“You’re Danny Santos and hiding behind our name won’t change that fact!!”

“Hiding behind your name?!?!” Danny parroted her words with far more rage, “You are a Santos, too or have you conveniently forgotten that to suit your own needs at the moment?”

“THAT’S ENOUGH!!!!! Both of you it’s enough already,” Albert said stepping between the pair.

“Not hardly!” Danny bellowed.

“Daniel, please,” Albert asked.


There’s something you need to know about last night. I don’t think that anything will come of it but you should know.”


“Jenny had a bit too much to drink and in our arguing she let your name as well as Carmen’s slip…………………..”

“WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Danny’s voice was loud enough to rock the chandelier overhead.

“Like I said I don’t think anyone was even paying attention to us,” Albert hoped that the words sounded more believable to Danny then they did to his own ears.

“I can’t believe this. After all the work I have put into this and she blows it because of something she doesn’t know a damn thing about!!”

“I know enough to know that you are trouble from the word go. I know that your coming here was a mistake the minute I heard your voice on the other end of the phone!” Jenny’s voice was cracking as she tried to hold the tears at bay.

“Danny, please hear me out,” Albert said desperately looking for some neutral ground between this two wagging forces. He had loyalty to his wife and loyalty to his nephew at this point though he didn’t know who he had more for.

“What can you say that already hasn’t been said? She hates me. She despises everything she thinks that I represent and she too damn stubborn to think that I deserve the same chance that MY FATHER,” Danny stressed that word, “Gave to the two of you!”

“Migel was a powerful man. Just as you are. He was also generous and kind hearted when the time warranted. But there was a side to your father that you never saw. A side that was ruthless. He took charge of everything that he had to. Made orders that were necessary. And yes I am thankful every day that he afforded me the option of walking away. And that’s why I accepted you into my home. However that acceptance doesn’t give you the right to disrespect my wife. As she should not you,” Albert said turning to look into his wife’s eyes.

“Albert…..tell me you are not choosing him over me,” she cried.

“I’m not choosing either of you. I love you both. In ways that neither of you can comprehend. Both of you are so stubborn that you can’t see your way clear to looking at the other’s point of view. Danny needs me and as sorry as you are going to be to hear this, Jenny, I need him. You have to stop seeing Danny as the old life. That’s not what I mean when I say I need him. What I want or need is family. Yes, Danny and I share the same experiences. Things that I don’t or can’t share with you but that by no way minimizes what I do share with you. And until you can understand that we are going to be at this bump in the road.”

“What are we going to do about my name being bantered about the state of Texas,” Danny said not caring about anything other then the fact that as hard as he tried there was no escaping The Santos Legacy.

“Daniel, there is no need to worry. As I said before I am more then certain that no one even was paying attention to us. Please for the sake of all our sanity can we try to coexist under one roof without another meltdown?”

“I wish I was as sure about that as you, Uncle,” Danny said walking away without giving answer to the obvious question.

Carl Beck watched his daughter as she exited the house. His first instinct was to use her to help him gather information on Danny Sampson……Santos whoever the hell he was. Carl knew that Danny had it pretty bad for Sarah’s friend Melanie. He could use that to his advantage if he could just figure out a way to do it without being too obvious.
Sarah was less then thrilled about the man she called dad. So Carl knew that gaining her trust enough to have her open up about her friend and boyfriend would be a daunting task. A task however that just might reap him heavy rewards.

The was no mistaking the fact that Albert had been extremely agitated with his wife at her use of the name Danny Santos. It was as if it was a dirty word or something. The name really didn’t mean that much to him. Nothing glaringly stood out in his mind. It was frustrating because he knew very well that there was something to all of this. But what? It was time for Carl to use his eyes and ears wisely from this point forward. He had to treat everyday as though it was a fact finding mission. Sooner or later he was bound to turn up something. Seemed to him that Albert’s nephew just might have a few skeletons in the closet and he was just the man to dig them up.


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