Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 39

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is part of the Witness Protection Program under the name of Melanie Branson and is involved with the also newly arrived in Texas, Danny “Sampson.”

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 39

Michelle stood to the side and looked on as Danny gathered the remains of their picnic. This night had turned out nothing like she had expected it to. All thoughts of a broken heart were now nothing more then faded memories. The whole thing that had transpired between them was unimaginable. She felt the need to pinch herself to be sure that this wasn’t all just some elaborate dream of sorts.

She let her eyes follow Danny’s frame as he made his way back to the car. Goose bumps raised on her flesh at the recollection of the perfection they had experienced in one another. In the blink of an eye, Jesse and the times she had spent in his arms paled by comparison to those of Danny Sampson. The titillation that still resonated about her body was intoxicating. Michelle never wanted this dizzy feeling to leave her. It was pure elation.

“What are you smiling about?” he questioned coming to stand face to face with her.

“I just can’t believe that this is real. I keep waiting to wake up and find out it was all just a beautiful dream.”

“Does this feel like a dream to you?” Danny wrapped his arms around her slender waist and gave her a tight squeeze.

“No,” she gasped feigning breathlessness all the while reveling in having his body next to hers once more.

“I can assure you that I won’t be vanishing by the light of day.”

“Good.” Michelle smiled brightly as she said it. The thought of this being some vivid fantasy was one she didn’t care to entertain. The growing bond she felt with Danny was finally restoring her faith in the idea of falling in love.

She knew eventually that she would find a way to reconcile her need to be completely truthful with him and remaining safe. But right not that was the furthest thing from her mind. All that mattered at the moment, was just that, the moment. This wonderful place and the fantastic experience that they had shared.

“It’s pretty late. We really should be heading back,” Danny said the words without completely meaning them. He would have been happy to fade into the blackness of the night and disappear.

“One more walk around the pond?” Michelle asked as if reading his inner most thoughts.


Danny cupped his hand in hers and started at the water’s edge. It amazed both of them respectively with the secrets that each carried inside them that their conversation was effortless.

Danny found himself telling stories from his childhood that he had long thought to be buried. The pranks that he and his cousin Ray pulled on the girls of the sister school to the all boys’ prep school they had been forced to attend. How one time they had actually snuck into the school on a dare. A few of the other boys in their group of friends told them they would give them twenty bucks to dress up as girls.

“I bet you made a nice looking girl,” Michelle couldn’t help but tease him.

“Damn straight!” he laughed, “Ray on the other hand……he was such a gawky kid back then. He was way too tall. I mean when was the last time you saw a 5’7” girl in the seventh grade?”

Michelle did her best to picture the scene that Danny had just scripted. All she was able to do was laugh, even without ever seeing or meeting Danny’s cousin she could only imagine how funny he must have looked.

“Well, did you win the twenty bucks or not?” she questioned.

“Not exactly.”

“What happened?”

“We got caught.”

“No kidding. I could have figured that one out all by myself,” she punched him in the arm.

“See we had to bring back something to prove that we had actually gotten inside.”

“Naturally.” Michelle had a pretty good idea where this was about to go.

“So it was Ray’s bright idea to bring back a pair of one of the girls panties…….”

“Oh and I bet he had to twist your arm with that idea, right?!?!” Michelle was enjoying the playfully barbs and jabs being bantered between them. It was so natural.

“Well……,” Danny’s large grin and ever growing crimson cheeks told the real story.

“I didn’t think so.”

“Are you going to let me finish this or what?” he tried to sound frustrated but he was enjoying this just as much as she.

“Please,” she said waving him on with her hand.

“Thank you. So anyway all we had to do was get in grab the panties and get out. Piece of cake right?”

“Apparently not.”

“Got that right. Getting in and grabbing the underwear was simple. It was the getting out that turned out to be tricky,” Michelle found herself laughing at the seriousness of his expression. He looked like he had stepped back in time and was that teenaged boy dressed like a girl, “Well, thinking we were home free of course being thirteen and cocky as all hell, we just sauntered out of there like we owned the place.”

“Not too smart.”

“No shit,” he laughed, “Well, all of the sudden here come the flood light and there we are, me and Ray standing there like some rejects from a beauty pageant,” Michelle was holding her sides at all the images her mind was letting her entertain, “So we take off running, chiffon flapping in the wind. I’m over the fence without giving it a second thought. But Ray on the other hand, can seem to figure out how to climb the fence in those stupid high heels you women insist on wearing. I know what you are thinking……..” Danny stopped her before the words were out of her mouth, “What does a 5’7” girl need with high heels? Don’t ask me. To this day I still don’t have a clue.” Danny was even chuckling now. It felt so good to do that. He didn’t remember the last time he had laughed like this.

“So what happened?”

“Well, of course I’m screaming at him from the other side of the fence to kick off the damn shoes and get over the stupid fence. Well, just as he was about to get to his second leg over and jump down the material of his skirt got caught in the top links of the fence and there was Ray hanging upside down by his skirt…….” the remainder of the story was drowned out by both of their roaring laughter.

“So I am sure you and Ray caught hell for that,” Michelle said when she finally caught her breath.

“Oh yeah my dad and his were so pissed. I mean I don’t think I sat down for a week. Seriously. And to this day I don’t think Ray can look at a prom dress without cringing,” Danny broke out in another fit of giggles.

“I’ll bet. So was that last of your pranks I hope?”

“Pretty much so. My father thought it was time for me to come back home. Said that he could take better care of my needs then the school seemed to be doing.”

“I bet that was fun,” Michelle said, “NOT!”

“Actually it wasn’t all that bad. Up until he died.”

“Oh Danny I’m sorry.”

“He was killed. Random shooting the police called it,” Danny knew there wasn’t a damn thing random about it and the police definitely weren’t involved but this was as much of the truth as he could handle right now, “Nothing was the same after that,” and Danny knew that was the one true thing that he had said.

“That’s horrible.”

“Yeah not really the present I wanted for my fourteenth birthday. I was thinking more along the lines of a new bike or a video game,” Danny quipped looking for some levity.

“I know I’m sorry is a pretty hollow, but I am sorry. It’s a horrible thing to lose a parent.”

“How about two,” Danny thought to himself. In the wake of the aftermath he had lost his mother even though she was alive and well and going about her business as if nothing had ever happened.

“It is what it is. Not much more to say about it,” Danny’s voice hardened a bit again. Michelle couldn’t miss the edge that had returned to his words.

“Danny, you don’t have to pretend you don’t miss him,” she reached out to stroke his cheek, “I miss my mom every single day.”

“Your mom?” Danny looked at her questioning.

“My mom died in a car accident when I was twelve. I went to bed one night with a mom and the next day I didn’t have one.”


“Yeah. Not what I’d have asked for as a present either.”

Michelle knew she should have stuck with the story that had been furnished to her by Agent Lucas, but in good conscious after hearing Danny talk about his father’s brutal death she couldn’t lie to him. She knew all too well the pain of losing a parent. She wanted to share something completely real about herself with him, even if it could only be done in generalities.

“Seems as though we have a great deal more in common than I ever expected,” He said drawing her close to his chest.

“Appears that way. I am sorry about your father.”

“Thank you. And you’re right. I do miss him. I miss all the could have beens if he hadn’t have died.” Danny had to stop himself from thinking that had his father not been cut down would he have been here right now? Would he have had the opportunity to meet Melanie? He didn’t think so. And that stabbing realization gnawed at him.

“Me too Danny, me too.”

Albert turned off the engine and sat in the darkness of the garage. Somewhere between the club and his home he began wavering in the facts that he and Jenny could ever get past this insurmountable blockade.

For himself he didn’t know whether he could or wanted to for that matter dive head long into that black pool that represented his sordid past. He had walked away from so much ugliness then and now he was looking to dredge it up all over again. For the sake of his marriage he knew he had to. His only concern now was would Jenny want to hear him out.

The house was quiet and even a bit eerie. The moonlight bounced shadows off the walls as he made his way into the living room. There was Jenny sitting on the sofa holding a picture of Richard that Albert hadn’t seen in years.

“Jenny,” he said trying his best not to startle her as he came up behind her.

“He would have been thirty-two years old next month. He could have been a father by now and me a grandmother,” she said looking lovingly into the eyes of the only child she would ever have.

“I know,” Albert rested his hands lightly on his wife’s shoulders.

“Do you understand what you robbed me of? What you and your needs robbed him of?”

“Yes,” Albert was stunned by the calm way that Jenny was speaking.

“Then why is it so easy for you to think you can replace him? Replace him with a man not one-tenth the man Richard could have been.”

“Danny is not a replacement for Richard.”


“Jenny, I have said this every way except standing on my head…..I am not looking for a replacement of my son.”

“I wish I believed that,” she sighed looking back again at the boy dressed in his fishing gear holding his first great catch. Which was nothing more then a tiny blue gill, but from the smile on Richard’s face you would have thought he had just reeled in a prize winning bass.

“Jenny, we can’t keep coming up against this brick wall. I can’t take the collisions anymore. I love you. I have loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you.”

“But you loved that life more.”

“That life as you call it is all I ever knew. It was what Miguel and I were bred to do. I know you can’t understand that.”

“No, I can’t understand being bred to kill.”

“It was never like that.”

“Liar! I know what you did for “the family”. I knew. I never let you know that I knew but I did.”

“Why did you pretend to be in the dark all that time?” he was astonished by her revelation.

“I did it to be able to lie down next to you at night. I did it so that I when I looked at you I didn’t see a killer.”

“It was never like that.”

“Yes it was.”

“You really don’t understand.”

“I understand enough to know that when Miguel gave an order it was you who carried it out. I understand enough to know that you were grooming Richard, my flesh and blood, to fill your shoes when the time came. I understand that that damn rite of passage cost him his life.”

“You make it so black and white….so evil!”

“What else am I supposed to call it? My husband killed people and we prospered from their misery. I can’t seem to come up with a better definition.”

“Jenny, sometimes force is a necessary evil.”


“Yes, as ugly as I know it is. That’s the nature of the beast.”

“Albert, you can’t explain this away. Your words of code, honor and loyalty they are warped. Did you ever look them up in the dictionary? I mean really see what they stand for?”

“Your point?” he questioned.

“They don’t have Mafia Code of Justice written beside them.”

“You want this to be simple Jenny. It’s anything but simple.”

“But you see, Albert, it was simple. Very simple up until a few months ago. We were happy. Going about our lives as if nothing had ever happened to taint our gleeful existence.”

“Apparently that isn’t the truth.”

“No as a matter of fact it was exactly the truth. I would have been happy to live out my days as Mrs. Albert Sampson. But your need for the things you left behind shattered that idea.”

“Danny didn’t harm our life. WE DID……DAMN IT!!!! I did. I was a fool to think that we could run from what cost us Richard. Those ghosts live on in each of us, even if we never speak his name again. They are ever present.”

“Then why didn’t you take the place that rightfully belonged to you? Why did you pretend that you wanted the life we had made for us?”

“What are you talking about? I did want what we had. I turned down Bernardo and the others for not just you. I did it for me. Watching Richard die in my arms was horrific. It brought so much into focus that up until then had been fuzzy. I couldn’t go on that way anymore. Miguel knew it. He knew that I had lost the taste for the life that we had been taught to live. That’s why he granted me absolution. The freedom to move on.”

“But you haven’t!” she cried.

“No, Jenny, I think that it’s your the one who hasn’t!” he countered.


“I mean that you immediately let Danny negate all that we have had for the past fifteen years. You let a boy who only wants the same thing I did fifteen years ago turn you into a spiteful woman that I don’t even recognize.”

“Why is it that you trust him? Danny is Carmen’s son and you know damn well that she can’t be trusted.”

“Danny is Miguel’s son. That’s the point that you aren’t grasping. As hard as it was for me to have my son die in my arms, Jenny, turn the tables and put yourself in Danny’s place. At fourteen years old you hold your father in your arms, blood draining out of the bullet holes riddled throughout his body without a clue really as to why and tell me that you would want the only man you have known to walk away alive from that life to turn you away at the door.”

“I don’t trust Carmen.”

“Neither do I. But I trust Danny. I know in my heart that he isn’t out to get us. He didn’t come here to bring me back in. If anything Jenny you and your intolerable behavior pushed more of those buttons then Daniel did.”

“What do you mean?”

“Jenny, please don’t insult my intelligence and yours by making me go through the long list of things that you have done to undermine Daniel.”

“I can’t stand to look at him, Albert. Do you know how much he reminds me of Richard. It breaks my heart.”

“I know. But he’s not Richard.”

“I miss him so much. I just wish I had one more day with him.”

“As do I. Maybe instead of trying to bury him in here,” Albert pointed to his heart, “We should start pulling out the pictures and the wonderful memories and start rebuilding our lives to include him.”

“I’d really like that.”

“I would too. He made be gone but he doesn’t have to be forgotten.”

“Do you think that Danny will ever forgive me?”

“Daniel is a good man. It will take some time but I think we all can make amends.”

“I still can’t help worrying about Carmen. I can’t believe that she would just let her only son go, especially Danny given that he was the chosen one.”

“Danny feels that he has Carmen backed into a corner that she will gladly stay in. So for now I plan on backing him on that instinct. But please Jenny,” he said taking her hand in his, “The family’s business stays in the family. That is one code that we still need to observe.”


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