Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 38

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is in the Witness Protection Program under the name of Melanie Branson and she just has committed to a young man she knows as Danny Sampson.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 38

The ringing phone behind the bar persisted as Joe hopped from customer to customer,

“Do you think that maybe you could get the damn phone?” he spat at Carl who wasn’t doing anything more but starring at the device as it rang on.

“I thought Danny instructed you that you were in charge of the bar functions, ALL of its functions,” Carl quipped enjoying every minute of throwing Danny’s words of authority around.

“If you haven’t noticed, I’m kinda busy here,” Joe said stating the obvious.

“Is one of you planning on answering that god damned phone,” the edge to Albert’s voice was a mixture of so many emotions that he was having difficulty wading through the maze of them. “Hello?” he said gruffly into the mouthpiece. “We are quite busy. What is it you want, Jenny?”

Carl’s ear perked at the mention of Albert’s wife’s name. He was a bit disappointed that she had not been at the club that night.

“I will be home after the club closes,” even though Carl could only hear Albert’s side of the conversation it was hard to miss that both were still on the outs due to what had transpired the previous night. “No, Danny can’t close tonight. It doesn’t matter where he is!” Carl watched as Albert’s cheeks reddened and his voice harden. “I am not about to justify anything to you. I will be home when I am. We can talk about this then and only then.”

“Problem?” Carl asked as Albert slammed the phone into its cradle.

“Nothing for you to be concerned about.”

“Albert,” Carl began not certain if he should or not, “You know there once was a time I was your right hand. If you need to head home I can most definitely handle closing up this evening. That’s been my job for years now,” Carl did his best to hide the anger that had been growing inside him since Danny’s arrival. That emotion at the moment wouldn’t serve him in his present endeavor.

“This place is my obligation. Seeing it prosper is as much my dream as it is Danny’s.”

“I have just noticed that things with you and Jenny have gotten a bit strained,” Carl stepped lightly as he navigated this subject. “I couldn’t help but over hear that you were speaking with her. I just want you to know that if you need to go to her,” he paused, “the club will run smoothly under my control,” Carl laid on the concern as thick as his emotions would allow.

“My marriage isn’t any concern of yours,” Albert returned forcefully, “What happens between my wife and I, hell my family in general isn’t open for discussion! Am I making myself clear?”

“I just wanted to do what you pay me for,” Carl countered, “That is what you pay me for….to run this place.”

“You were hired to run my restaurant and if you haven’t noticed…….take a good look around, Carl, this isn’t just a restaurant anymore,” Albert’s voice was ice cold as were his eyes. Carl knew that he had just crossed over some imaginary line into a place where he didn’t belong.

“Understood,” was all Carl said doing his very best to remain tight lipped with his new found information on Albert and his “family”.

“I’ll be in the office,” Albert said as he headed away from the bar.

The door slammed hard, its sound resonating throughout the room. Albert flopped his physically and mentally exhausted frame in the large leather desk chair. In the few short months since Danny’s arrival, Albert felt as if he had aged years. Between the fights with his wife, bolstering Danny’s confidence to make a go of his life and his own inner turmoil about the life he had once led, Albert was completely played out.

His wife was a mere shadow of the woman she once was and his marriage was a shell of what it once had been as well. Albert was swimming in a sea of complete uncertainty. The loyalty that once was the corner stone of his existence was now the rock that had had shattered his glass house.

Albert ran his fingers through his thinning hair and sighed heavily Jenny’s conversation playing over and over again. She insisted on remaining steadfast in her conviction that Danny was the root of all the evil in their lives. It hurt him to admit that he, himself was that evil not his nephew. Danny had only been the spark to ignite a still ever smoldering fire.

He hated himself for the place he had traveled to with his wife. A place where neither one of them knew the other. Albert knew in his heart that that couldn’t be blamed on Danny’s presence. In all reality they had lost each other the night that Richard died. Both of them closed off a part of their soul to the other. A part that was too painful to think about much less talk about. All Danny had really done was push all those hidden feelings and fears to the forefront once again.

Albert’s eyes came to rest on the golden frame sitting on the corner of his desk. There she was. The woman he had pledged to spend his life with. To this day his heart still jumped when she entered a room. Deep down he knew it was the same for her. They had just let so many things get in their way.

For a long time Albert had let himself believe that he was the sole barer of the problem, but now seeing Jenny in this light he knew that she too was caring her share of resentment as well. In a way he should have been thanking Danny, for if it hadn’t been for him they would have continued down same path of coexistence and nothing more.
Albert picked up the phone and dialed his familiar number, “Jenny,” his voice whispered, “I have been thinking and I think we need to talk.”

“About?” she steeled herself for the inevitable. She had always known that this day would come.

“Us,” he couldn’t help but sound exasperated by the wall that Jenny had surrounded herself with. Not that he blamed her for it; he was just tired of trying to scale it.

“I think we both know where we stand in terms of us,” she countered sarcastically.

“Jenny, please give me a chance to explain…..”

“Explain what? You can no longer explain away the past. It is what it is. And unfortunately the past had given me a crystal clear picture of what my future holds for me. And frankly I am not interested.”

“So you think that leaving me you leave it all behind? The things that we have chasing us will always be there. You can’t run…….”

“I know you can’t run from the MOB!!!” she spat.

“That’s not what I was going to say,” he did his best to remain calm, “Why is it that you always bring it back to the MOB and to Carmen!!” Albert’s ire grew even against his best attempts to stop it, “You can’t keep blaming what happened to us on those forces!!”

“The hell I can’t. They took my son away from me.”

“Jenny are you forgetting I played a crucial role in that too?” he winced awaiting for her reply.

“I know,” her voice was barely above a whisper for fear of saying the realization aloud.

“I think it’s time we dealt with that,” he stated.

“I don’t think that we can,” she returned.

“I know we can,” he countered, “and I love you Jenny. As much as I have always loved you.”

“I know. I love you too. I just can’t…….”

“Can’t what?”

“I can’t compete with that life…..with Danny.”

“This isn’t a competition!”

“But it is.”

“Jenny, I am coming home. We have put the pieces of our life back together.”

“And if we can’t?” she questioned.

“We will!”

Albert walked out of the room without even noticing the fact that Carl Beck was lurking in the shadows. He couldn’t help hear the name Carmen Santos once again. He was intrigued as to why Danny’s mother was such a sore spot for them all.

It was obvious that Albert wouldn’t be forthcoming with any other information that he was in need of but he couldn’t give up now. Something told him that if he stirred the pot long enough all he would need to know would bubble to the surface.

Danny listened to Melanie’s easy breathing in his ear, as she lay naked against him. He was completely in awe of what had just happened between them. It wasn’t at all what he had expected to take place. By all rights he had wanted to tell her everything about his life. He wanted to give himself that clean slate so to speak. But that hadn’t taken place. In an instant he had lost the nerve.

But where did his moment of weakness leave them? In the same place he had been before they had made love. He was still Danny Sampson trapped in Danny Santos’s body. He searched his thoughts wondering if he could continue with this charade knowing that sooner or later it was all going to catch up with him and Melanie if he kept her a part of his life. In good conscience, could he keep her in the dark about everything? When he could no longer hide the things in his past, would she hate him for deceiving her? There were so many questions with too few answers or more importantly answers that Danny didn’t much care for.

He let his eyes wander to her beautiful face. She looked so at peace lying there in the crux of his arm. He couldn’t fathom her not being a part of his existence. For whatever reason, she was a part of him. It was more then the fact that they had connected on a physical level. He had felt that connection long before they had ever made love. It was something that ran far deeper then just the physical, it was almost spiritual. Danny found himself thinking about things Ray had always said about soul mates. Up until the time he had met Melanie, he had assumed that was nothing more then just talk, but now he wasn’t quite sure.

Danny lay there looking up at the night sky illuminated with tiny flashes of light from the stars. At this very moment all rational thoughts escaped him. Danny was ready to do whatever necessary to continue to be with her. Damn the consequences.

Damn the consequences he laughed to himself. Those consequences were high ones. He couldn’t bring himself to truly think about them. So what if he had provided insurance for himself. In all reality he knew that that offered little security. The only thing it did assure him was that Carmen would leave him alone. But there was no guarantee about the others. Danny knew how much Bernardo was expecting him to step up to the plate and take the reins. He had waited patiently for the last seven years now for that to happen and it hadn’t. Danny was sure that he had grown tired of the endless waiting.
They would do whatever necessary to rid themselves of Carmen, a woman who they never truly wanted at the head of the table in the first place. It could have been so easy for them to dispose of her. Danny knew how simple it was to have a problem vanish. There was a part of him that was horrified by the thought that his mother could be whacked in effort to bring the organization back into its proper alignment, yet there was a small part of him that couldn’t muster an ounce of feeling for it. And that frightened him. The thought that he had lost all feeling for a woman whom had once meant the world to him. Danny tried to rationalize that those times had been so long ago that they were now null and void. He tried to recall the woman who had been there to pick him up when he had fallen learning to ride his two wheeler for the first time, the woman who walked him to the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten. He couldn’t find that woman in his thoughts. All he could see was the power hungry woman she had become. And that saddened him.

“Hi,” Michelle’s soft voice thick with sleep startled him from his thoughts.

“Hi,” he couldn’t resist leaning in to kiss her again.

Michelle snuggled closer to him letting herself get lost in his warm embrace. “You provide one hell of a picnic supper, Mr. Sampson,” she smiled.

“Thank you,” he returned.

“Actually thank you.”

“For what?” he was a little confused by the gratitude in her voice.

“For showing me how to live again. That I deserved a second chance at…..,” she hesitated in whether to speak these words or not, “a second chance at love.”

For the moment Danny was stunned into silence. He wanted to believe that love was where they were headed but actually hearing the words aloud made him realize how real this all truly was. Part of him was elated by the thought yet a larger part was scared to death. He was scared by the fact that one day she would know who he really was and hate him for it.

“Danny????” his silence left her a bit apprehensive.

“Huh?” he returned still lost in his own thoughts.

“I’m sorry…I didn’t…I mean….” Michelle said tripping over her words as she moved away from Danny in search of her clothes. The crashing reality washing over her like a tidal wave. She was once again getting her heart trashed.

“Melanie, wait a minute,” Danny said fully understanding now what must be going through her mind.

“Wait for what?” she said holding back the tears that were threatening to fall past her thick lashes, “For you to tell me what a fool I just made of myself?!?!”

“NO! NEVER!!!” he couldn’t believe what she was saying. He hadn’t known how deep her hurts actually ran, “That’s not what I meant….not at all.”

“Then why do you have the deer in the headlight look in your eyes as soon as I dared to say the word love?”

Danny struggled with the words to make this make sense. If that was even possible without dragging out every part of his life, which was something he wasn’t ready to do. If he ever would be.

“See, you are still speechless,” she said as she did up the buttons on her shirt.

“Melanie,” he grabbed for her, “Please come here,” he pulled her back to the blanket.

“Why???? Is this the part where you try to let me down easy? For the record, been there done that,” she stated harshly.

“I wouldn’t do that to you, ever. I wouldn’t have made love to you then tell you to get lost!” he was hurt that she would have thought but in the back of his mind he understood why she did, “Listen to me. I am not going to let you down easy. Frankly, I don’t ever intend on letting you go. So what do you think about that?” he questioned with a slight smile.

“What?” she whispered fearing she had misunderstood his words.

“How many times or ways do I have to say this? I want to be with you, Melanie. You are all I can think about. And as for what happened with us here tonight it was anything but foolish. It was magical and spectacular. I have never in my life felt more connected to a person then I do right now. Even if we had never made love, Melanie, I couldn’t let you go. I can’t explain it but you are a part of me. Does any of this make any sense?”

It was now Michelle’s turn to be stunned into silence. She so desperately wanted to believe Danny’s words.

“Melanie, I love you,” Danny stated pulling her back into his embrace.

“Can I trust this? Can I really believe that this is real?” she questioned.

“You can trust my feelings for you. They are real.” Danny couldn’t help but feel a bit of a heel at the moment. Trust wasn’t a word that he should have been bantering around. One day he was certain it would come back to haunt him.

“I want to. I want to so badly cause I can’t help myself. I’m falling in love with you too, Danny,” Michelle said not believing that she let those words pass by her lips.

Ben sat at the large desk looking through all the papers that Dietz had placed before him. He didn’t have a clue what it was he was even searching for. Out of all the things in front of him nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary or gave away any secrets to where the hell Danny had taken off to. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The words of the man he only knew as Bernardo played again in his mind. That there wouldn’t be a Santos Family without Danny, had his mind racing. Exactly what had he agreed to? Right now it looked as though he had agreed to put himself in the middle of one hell of a turf war. That wasn’t a great place to be considering he knew he was the most expendable of all the players here.

“Mrs. Santos would like to know if you have drawn any conclusions yet from the information on Danny,” Dietz questioned.

“What?” Ben was stunned. He had only been looking at these things for less then a half-hour.

“Do you have any idea where Danny may have gone?”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Dead serious,” Dietz said coldly still angered by the fact that Ben now sat in the spot he used to occupy.

“Well, you tell Carmen I am far from being psychic and if she expected me to wave my magic wand and come up with the answer in a matter of minutes, she is going to be highly disappointed.”

“She expects you to perform the job she instructed you to do,” Dietz forced.

“And if you would leave me in peace I might actually have a chance to do that,” Ben countered with the same attitude given to him by Carmen’s henchman.

“Let’s get on thing straight, Warren,” Dietz said leaning across the expansive desk, “You may be the man of the hour, but you are as replaceable as the next. So don’t forget that shall we?”

“Oh Dietz, are we a little jealous?” Ben quipped, “Angry that you are no longer Carmen’s right hand man?” Ben was enjoying playing games with this stooge.

“Think what you want, Warren, but I know far more then you ever will!!”

Dietz shut the door behind him wondering if it was about time to join forces with those that he knew would soon be taking over.


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