Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 40

Republisher’s Note: Michelle has moved to Texas in the Witness Protection Program and is now living under the name Melanie Branson. she just consummated her relationship with a young man she knows as Danny Sampson.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 40

As much as Ben was enticed by Carmen’s offer, more importantly by the woman herself, that’s just about how much he detested being summonsed at the drop of a hat.
It had been less then twelve hours since he left the Santos compound and again his car was rolling up to the heavy iron gates. The morning sun was making its way across the horizon. Ben had barely time to peruse Danny’s files much less delve headlong into their contents. He was sure that was something that wasn’t about to make his new found associate happy.

“Ben Warren to see Carmen Santos,” he said as the man at the gate eyed him suspiciously. He watched the man pick up the phone inside the elaborate guardhouse.
Ben absently thought about Carmen’s instructions to Dietz the other day. She had been completely serious about not taking any chances. Keeping her back pressed to the wall would give her the opportunity to avoid a sneak attack.

“Your name again?” the burly man said poking his head out of the door.

“Ben Warren. I am here to see Carmen Santos, by her request I might add,” he quipped.
After what seemed like hours, the gates finally swung open and allowed his car to pass through. Ben wondered what he might encounter next as he rang the doorbell for the second time in two days.

“Mrs. Santos is expecting you,” Dietz said without an ounce of inflection to his tone,

“She’s in the dining room,” he pointed to the room up the hall.

Each room that Ben encountered in this house confused him. Each one was so different from the last. It almost felt like you were walking through an interior designer’s gallery. It gave him a feeling that he was unable to explain. The only thing he was certain of was that Carmen Santos was a woman with many sides and he intended on staying on her good ones.

“Good morning, Ben,” she said directing him to the seat across from her, “Coffee?”

“Yes, thank you.” Carmen nodded to Dietz for him to comply with Ben’s request. It took every fiber of his being to not dump the steaming pot of coffee in Ben’s lap. The smug look on this man’s face was one that Dietz would have loved to have the pleasure of removing.

“That will be all, Dietz.”

“Excuse me?” he asked stunned that again he was being sent from the room like some child being scolded.

“Mr. Warren and I have business to discuss. I wish to do it in private.”

“Carmen,” Dietz knew he was stepping well out of place but his rage was getting the better of him, “What is going on here?!?! One minute I am your right hand and now suddenly all my loyalty is forgotten? I don’t think I am quite understanding what’s going on here.”

“I told you what is going on here. Ben and I have business to discuss. Nothing more, nothing less,” she said matter of fact.

“I don’t think he likes me very much,” Ben said as Dietz removed himself from the room with much hesitation.

“I am far more concerned with you attempt at locating Daniel, then Dietz and his ruffled feathers. Besides Dietz was Miguel’s right hand. I think it’s time I had one of my own choosing,” Carmen placed her hand on Ben’s and gave it a knowing stroke.

“Damn you, Carmen,” Dietz seethed outside the archway that led to the dining room,

“Two can play this game.”

“I thought you didn’t mix business with pleasure?” Ben eyed her cautiously.

“In this instance I think that they are one in the same.”

“How so?” Ben was curious.

“I see us as much more then just business partners, Ben. I think you do as well. So you handle the business at hand, that is find my son, and we will move on to the pleasure,” she smiled seductively her eyes undressing him as he sat before her.

“Finding Danny isn’t going to be as easy as you thought.”

“Nonsense. He can’t just have vanished. Besides I gave you all the information on his contacts. You mean to tell me you haven’t come up with anything yet?”

“Carmen, you dropped this mountain of information in my lap less than a twenty-four hours ago, and had Dietz lurking about making sure that I was working, which let me tell you was more of a hindrance then a help.”

“And your point is?”

“What do you think I am a computer? Feed me the information and I spit out the answer instantly?” Ben couldn’t help but laugh.

“We don’t have a great deal of time to find Daniel. I can’t have any precious time being wasted.”

“What’s really going on here?” Ben asked pointedly.

“I need to bring my son home!”

“Then why on earth did you let him leave in the first place?”

“It wasn’t of my choosing.”

“Do you think that maybe we could for once stop playing the game of cat and mouse and lay our cards on the table?” Ben stated not wanting to continue running endlessly on this hamster wheel that she had placed him on.

“You know all that you need to know for the time being.”

“No not good enough.”

“WHAT!?!?!?”

“You heard me. I won’t keep doing this without knowing what it is I am exactly doing. I have never been a man to come running at the snap of a woman’s fingers. I certainly don’t intend to start now, even if the fingers doing the snapping are attached to the body of THE CARMEN SANTOS.”

“You do have balls, Mr. Warren,” Carmen suppressed a grin.

“So I have been told. So are you ready to tell me what’s really going on here?”

“It appears that you haven’t left me much of a choice.”

“Apparently not.”

“Daniel, as you know has made it perfectly clear that he wants nothing to do with this business.”

“And from what I gather that was fine with you until he decided to do his vanishing act. You were content being the boss. Am I getting close here?”

“Yes.”

“But the men from the other day have much different plans from what I could gather. You were not their choice to head the organization.”

“Yes. Women are not looked on as anything more then a pretty accessory. I am far from just that.”

“There is no denying your attractiveness, Carmen,” Ben couldn’t stop himself from saying the words. He could have sworn that he detected a faint blush pass across her ivory cheeks.

“Bernardo and the others have been waiting for almost seven years for Daniel to step up to the plate and take his rightful place. The place that was once his father’s,” she continued ignoring Ben’s remarks completely.

“With Danny being gone, it leaves you vulnerable?” Ben raised a brow.

“I see you catch on fast.”

“I do my best.”

“There is another fly in the ointment.”

“What’s that?”

“Daniel issued a very loaded threat upon his leaving.”

“Which was?”

“He may not have wanted to be involved but he was involved. In ways that could hurt all of us should he decide to use the information against the others and myself.”

“Are you saying what I think you are? Are you telling me that Danny threatened to turn your books over to the FEDS?” Ben did his best to suppress a laugh. This was not at all what he had expected and couldn’t help finding it all quite amusing.

It looked like Carmen Santos wasn’t as powerful as he had once thought her to be.

“Yes,” her conformation of his questions was nothing more than a whisper.

“So finding Danny gains you what exactly? From where I am sitting it looks like you are screwed whether I locate him or not.”

“I know that if I can just talk to him….I can make him see that it’s in everyone’s best interests to come home.”

“You mean your best interest.”

“His as well. Bernardo and the others aren’t just going to let this go. You heard him yourself. Without Daniel there is no Santos Family. I don’t think I need to draw you a picture as to what he was saying without actually saying it.”

“I still don’t see how Danny’s return is going to help you. He doesn’t want this business. That’s so obvious, especially if he went to all the trouble in orchestrating his departure.”

“I don’t need Danny to want the business. I just need him to sit at the head of the table. Everything else will remain the same.”

“Why does this sound way too simple to work?”

“It’s worked this long hasn’t it?”

“Apparently not all that well by the looks of the shambles things are in now.”

“JUST FIND DANIEL!!!!!” Carmen was irritated by Ben’s words. Words she knew to be true. Daniel wasn’t about to just walk back through the door and do her bidding. But she couldn’t think about that right now. And she most definitely wasn’t about to go down without a fight.


Michelle rested her hand on Danny’s as he down shifted bringing the car to rest alongside hers. The lot had long since been empty. It was hard to believe that it was almost four o’clock in the morning. It was as though time had stopped while they were together.

“Looks like you were successful in giving me a night that wasn’t business related.”

“So I did,” Danny leaned in and kissed her, “What would you think about going and grabbing some breakfast?” The last thing he wanted was for this date to come to an end.

“Are you sure? Don’t you want to go check and make sure things are okay with the club first?”

“No,” he smiled, “I have to be in the produce yards in a few hours. The club can wait until then, besides I am starved.”

“I’m up for it if you are,” she returned knowing that she was going to pay for it later. She had chem lab in a little less then five hours. She’d be lucky to stay awake during the experiments, but none of that mattered right now.

“Well then let’s eat.”

Danny drove across town to a small diner on the edge of the Interstate. It mainly served as a truck stop but Albert had taken him there soon after his arrival and even though the surroundings were grim the food was excellent.

“Well, you really know how to show a girl a good time,” Michelle gingerly ran her hands along the top of the table fearing they would stick to it.

“They make one hell of a Spanish omelet.”

“We are supposed to eat here?” Michelle questioned Danny’s sanity at the moment. From the looks of things in this place she had a feeling even the roaches didn’t eat there.

“I know what you are thinking. It’s not as bad as it looks. Albert brought me here a few times….and look I’m still alive,” he said reaching across the table giving her hands a squeeze.

“I don’t know,” she hesitated as two truck drivers made their way to the counter.

“Come on haven’t you heard the saying that truck drivers know the best places to eat?” Danny was enjoying teasing her.

“You want me to take their word?” she countered as she discreetly pointing the direction of the men who had just entered, “NO WAY…..I don’t think so.”

“Come on live a little,” he laughed, “Thank you,” he said to the waitress who was filling the coffee cups in front of them.

“That was my intention,” she countered in all seriousness.

“You are too cute.”

“Ah hah,” the waitress cleared her throat, “Are you two gonna order or what?”

“Yeah……..NO!” they said in unison.

“Well which is it? Yes or no?”

“I’ll have the Spanish omelet and toast please.”

“And you?” she turned addressing Michelle.

“A bagel and cream cheese.” She assumed that was about the safest thing on the menu before her.

“Chicken,” Danny hissed when the waitress was out of earshot.

“Better to be a live chicken then a dead duck,” she laughed.

“So Ms. Branson, I told you my most embarrassing moments I think that it’s time you told me a few of yours.”

“I don’t have any.”

“Oh now why don’t I believe that one?” he smiled his eyes peering at her over his coffee.

“No really I was a very backward kid. Especially after my mom died. I was a book worm. Can’t get into too many embarrassing situations that way.”

“I find it incredibly hard to believe that a girl as beautiful as you, was a bookworm.”

“Well maybe not all the time, but certainly nothing as funny as the story you told me about you and your cousin. Hell my sides still hurt from laughing so hard.”

“Yeah it was a hell of a sight. Imagine the blackmail material I had on him for years. I mean all I had to do was pretend to blow a kiss his way and Ray would go ballistic. I sometimes wonder if the experience was so traumatic that’s what made him become a priest?”

“A priest huh? Ever catch him in a nun’s habit?” Michelle laughed.

“Oh that was so bad,” Danny chuckled.

“Sorry I couldn’t resist.”

“Obviously not.”

“Spanish omelet?” the waitress said standing by their table.

“That’s mine,” Danny answered.

“So then this must be yours.”

The tacky pink waitress uniform made her look like she just stepped out of an Alice rerun. Michelle could almost hear Mel banging his spatula on that damn bell that always sat on the window and yelling for Vera to pick up. “Nothing gets past her huh?” Michelle joked as she did her best to inspect the knife she was about to use to spread cream cheese on her bagel.*

“Enough already,” Danny said as he forced her to stop her incessant cleaning of the face of the knife, “Didn’t anyone ever tell you a little dirt never hurt anyone?”

“That’s not what all my medical textbooks say.”

“Medical text books?”

“Yeah I am studying to be a doctor.”

“My, my, we are full of surprises aren’t we?”

“Not really,” as she said those words Michelle felt her stomach churn with the lie.

“That’s really cool though. How long have you wanted to be a doctor?”

“Since I was a little kid. It’s a family thing.”

“Family thing?” Danny had to laugh thinking that it must be nice to have a family occupation that was reputable. Unlike the one he had been born to.

“Yeah both my parents worked in the medical profession. My dad was a doctor. Chief of staff actually and my mom was a hospital administrator.” Michelle tried to reign in her thoughts and remember the words from that file that now defined her. It was difficult to meld them together. Each moment longer she spent with Danny was a minute closer she came to telling him everything.

“What hospital is your dad chief of staff at?”

“He’s not.”

“Huh?”

“He died a few years back………in a plane crash,” Michelle was now on a wing and a prayer. The story that she had been given about her deceased parents was that they had both died together in a car accident shortly before she moved to Texas, but since that wasn’t how it had come out earlier she needed to think fast to make sure this all came together.

“You are kidding right? You lost you mom and your dad?”

“Yep,” she took a swig of coffee so, as she didn’t have to look into his eyes.

“That’s horrible. And I thought my situation was bad.”

“What do you mean, your situation?”

“Just that I lost one parent……but losing two that is unimaginable.”

“Believe me, this wasn’t how I expected my life to turn out,” Michelle said knowing that was the first entirely truthful thing she had said thus far.

“No doubt.”

The awkward silence that they had thought was behind them was creeping its way around them again.

Michelle looked into Danny’s all consuming black eyes and wanted to cry. For the first time in her life she felt completely connected to another human being and she couldn’t even be honest with him.

“Hey look, the sun’s coming up,” Danny’s voice broke her from her trance.

“So it is.”

“Melanie, are you okay? I’m sorry if I upset you.”

“You didn’t.”

“Believe me I know memories can be rough.”

“That they can be.”

“Let me pay the bill and we can be on our way.”

“Sure thing.”

Michelle stood outside the diner watching as the sun slowly made its way to its destination. The morning hues were pinks, magentas, purples and misty blues cutting across the various portions of the giant orange ball. She caught herself thinking what perfect scenery for Jesse to paint.

The thought sent the hairs on her neck on end. Why after all she had shared with Danny that night would Jesse find his way to her thoughts?

Right now everything in her mind was a jumbled mess. The closer she became to accepting that she was Melanie Branson now the more that Michelle Bauer reared into the main stream. Michelle wondered if this was what it was like for a person with multiple personalities. Each having their own identity and each wanting to be in the forefront. The only difference with her was there wasn’t anything she could do about these two warring personalities that really weren’t all that different


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