Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 42

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is living under the name Melanie Branson in the Witness Protection Program and dating a young man he knows as Danny “Sampson.”

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 42

Dietz toyed with the phone weighing his options carefully. He had a pretty good idea that when this ended it wasn’t going to be pretty and he wanted to be sure he aligned himself with the winning side.

He had worked for the Santos Family for so many years now that he had lost count. So in his own warped way it pained him to be playing with such thoughts.

He had always admired the way that Carmen had manipulated her spot at the table. As a matter a fact he had been in complete awe of it. It had been a masterpiece in the making, but right now the painting that she was laying out on the canvas before him and the others lacked the greatness, which he knew she had in her.

Danny’s walking away had left her desperate. And working under the guise of desperation in the business was the fastest way to disappear. And as loyal as he may once have been, he wasn’t about to evaporate into thin air.

“Mr. Sandoval please,” Dietz heard his voice shake as he spoke Bernardo’s name. He knew that he was playing with fire and hoping he wasn’t about to get burnt. His only saving grace right now was in the fact that Bernardo had had enough games and Dietz would use that to his advantage.

“Yeah,” the gruff voice came through the line.

“Nino?” Dietz questioned knowing that he had been given the wrong Mr. Sandoval.

“Yeah, who the hell is this?” Nino was his usual crass self.

“Dietz. I was calling to speak with you father. Is he there?”


“Could you give him a message? I would like to speak with him privately if he would grant me the opportunity of meeting with him,” Dietz trotted out all the correct codes and protocols.

“What?!?! I ain’t good enough for you to tell?” Nino was just about as hot headed as Mick had been. There was an unspoken bet between a number of the families as to whom would be the first to die between the two.

“It’s nothing like that. This is something that I am sure that your father would wish to hear first hand.”

“What does Carmen want now?” Nino’s distaste for Carmen was as evident as Bernardo’s.

“It’s more like what she doesn’t want him to know,” Dietz dangled the bait before him, knowing full well that Nino would jump for it.

“Are you telling me what I think you are?”

“What is it that you think I am saying, Nino?”

“Are you looking to join forces with our family?” Nino’s interest was seriously peaked. He remembered Dietz from when he couldn’t have been more then six years old. Dietz had been a permanent fixture within the ranks of the Santos organization.

“I will only discuss this with Bernardo. Will you give him the message that I called?”

“You bet I will,” Dietz was satisfied in knowing that he had caught Nino’s attention enough to be sure that his message would be delivered to the intended recipient.

Ben had gone through his list of private investigators, twice maybe even three times, the minute the hint of the Santos name came up it was as if the voice on the other end turned to ice.

No one wanted to touch this job. Not even for the enormous amount of money that Carmen had left as his disposal.

He looked over the information for the ten thousandth time. None of it made any sense. If Carmen really thought there was something in all of this mess that would lead him to Danny, he sure as hell couldn’t see it.

Ben was certain the time that it was going to take him to locate Danny would not fit into the table of those men he just met. That coupled with the fact that he now knew that they had been waiting for seven years already, Ben was even more sure that he was steadily coming to the end of the rope.

Another thing that struck him, as odd in the whole scheme of things was that Carmen had never once made mention of Mick, or the fact that Mick had been blackmailing him. He couldn’t believe that she hadn’t known about all of that.

Ben was starting to wonder if he was just a pawn in Carmen’s elaborate plan? A further concern of his was Dietz. On the surface Ben knew that he could hold his own with him, but his words loomed around Ben’s head. Dietz was far more knowledgeable in the game. And as much as Ben hated to admit it, he was at a great disadvantage. Disadvantage wasn’t a place he wanted to be given the people who had the upper hand.

“I see you took care of the orders early today,” Carl jabbed as Danny headed for the exit.

“Yeah I did. Want to make something about it?”

“No, I just wanted to know if there was anything that you needed me to do. I know that Jackson’s daughter Alexa and her band are playing here tonight. I just making sure that you didn’t need any help with that.”

Carl’s simple approach had caught Danny off guard. This wasn’t the Carl Beck he had been dealing with from day one and he certainly didn’t trust his sudden change of heart anymore then he did the one his aunt supposedly had had.

“Between, Reggie, Joe, Albert and myself, I think everything is under control.”

“I am beginning to feel as if there isn’t a place for me here anymore,” Carl commented.

“Think what you like,” Danny said turning his back to him. That position served Carl’s temper well. For had Danny still been facing him, he doubted that he could have contained the rage that filled his posture. It had been his sweat that had helped bring this place into the forefront and suddenly he wasn’t good enough? That a goddamned bartender had more say here then he did. Enough was enough! He wasn’t about to let all he had worked for go up in smoke.

Danny slid behind the steering wheel and breathed in deeply. Melanie’s sent still hung in the air. Immediately he was drawn back not so many hours ago. There she was standing in front of him the gentle morning wind tossing her curls about. He ached for her. It felt more like days instead of hours that they had been apart.

This was all so foreign to him. He wasn’t sure exactly what to do with all these emotions that coursed through him. They were the antithesis of what Carl conjured up from his fiery depths.

Carl brought out every true Santos quality he had. Carl had the ability to turn him into a mobster through and through.

Everything about Carl Beck was suspect from where Danny stood. And this sudden nice guy was one ploy that wasn’t about to work. Danny wasn’t going to let his defenses down with him anymore then he planned on doing with Jenny no matter what Albert’s wishes were.

He caught sight of Jenny sitting on the terrace. He imagined that she was just finishing up breakfast. It was barely eight o’clock in the morning. At this point Danny had been up for a little over twenty-four hours and until right now he hadn’t noticed how truly tired he was. Having confrontation number two thousand was low on his list of things to do at the moment.

Danny’s car rolled to a stop in front of the garage. He cut the engine and tried to remember what Albert had said about his attitude. However the mere thought of sitting down and having and intelligent conversation with Jenny, well it was just a foreign to him as the feelings that Melanie elicited in him. None the less this was something that he had to do. Albert expected it of him and Danny respected his uncle enough to do what was expected of him. Even if the results would be far from what Albert expected.

“Good morning, Danny,” Jenny said as she watched him pensively climbing the stairs to meet her, “Would you like a cup of coffee or maybe something to eat?” Jenny shifted uneasily in her chair waiting for his answer.

“Sure.” Danny dropped himself in the seat across from her and waited for the inevitable fireworks.

Jenny poured Danny a cup and searched for someway to start this conversation. What words were there to explain this all away? I’m sorry, well that wasn’t nearly enough.
She looked at his face and pushed Richard’s resemblance into the far corner of her mind. Yet maybe that was where she needed to pull from.

“Albert thought we should talk,” Danny said first tired of the silence.

“So did I,” she added.

“Oh really?” Danny had trouble hiding his sarcasm.

“Hard as that is to believe, yes, I did.”

“So what will it be this time?” he quipped, “You going to tell me again what a gangster I am……or better yet that I robbed you of your son?!?!” Danny knew that was hitting below the belt but he couldn’t stop the words from rolling off his tongue.

“No,” she said gently.

Danny was taken aback, “What?”

“I won’t be doing that anymore.”

“What’s with the complete 180?”

“I can’t keep doing this….and not keep my husband and my marriage.”

“And what you aren’t blaming the demise of your marriage on me?”

“No, I Albert and I did that all on our own,” Again Danny was forced into silence, “What was broken between us happened long before you ever even thought about coming to Texas. I was just too bullheaded to admit it.”

“So now you expect me to believe that you are welcoming me with open arms?” Danny was certain that this wasn’t exactly what Albert had in mind when he said keep your attitude in check, but Danny didn’t know any other way to react to this.

“No. Too much has been said for either one of us to believe that.”

“Then what? What exactly are we doing this for? Or is it just some elaborate show for Albert?”

“No,” Jenny knew this wasn’t going the way she had wanted. There was no simple explanation for her actions. They were all rolled into something that took place fifteen years ago. The hurt and grief that was never allowed to come to the surface then now rearing it’s head was far too twisted to make much sense to herself much less someone who was only a small child at the time.

“Then what?” Danny questioned far too tired to even care about the answer.

“I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry?” Danny repeated with disgust in his voice.

“Doesn’t quite do the job does it?”

“Not hardly! Jenny, I came here with the best of intentions. I only wanted a fresh start. I told you that time and time again. You just chose to assume the worst in me at every turn. And now suddenly you expect me to trust this? Haven’t we done the I’ll try thing far too many times already?” Danny heard the strain in his own voice to hold back the tears that were now collecting in the back of his throat.

Jenny didn’t know what to say in response to that. He had been correct in that assumption. They, more like she, had offered her support in previous times but it had fallen short each and every attempt. She really couldn’t blame him for not believing her.

“What can I do?” she feebly asked.

“Nothing. You could have accepted me for the very beginning. You could have given me a chance to prove that I wasn’t the monster you thought I was. You could have not put a roadblock up at every turn……..” Danny could have gone and on with the could haves but there really was no point to it. Nothing could turn back the hands of time. What was done was done. Like most things in his life.

“I should have. Can’t you just understand the fear I felt?”

“What was there to fear? I wasn’t a threat. That wasn’t my intention.”

“No it wasn’t, but from my standpoint you were. You were everything that we had left behind. The violence, the secrecy, the fear, the minute I picked up the phone and heard your voice it was like hearing Miguel all over again. Those were times that I never want to relive.”

“You must be missing the point. I don’t want those things either. That’s why I came here in the first place!” Danny shouted angry all over again.

“I know that here,” she pointed to her head, “but it’s here I am having the trouble with,” as her finger came to rest at her heart.

“I don’t understand.”

“I lost my son. Each time I look at you I see him. I am angry that he is dead. I hate the fact that my boy’s life was cut so short. After all these years watching you walk through my door brought back all the ghosts. Things that neither Albert nor I ever talked about. Danny I can’t even visit his grave. Do you know what that feels like?”

Danny couldn’t fathom that thought. There had been so many times when he was struggling with one thing or another that he went to his father’s gravesite. It brought him peace and clarity of thought. To imagine never to have been able to do that well it was unthinkable.

“Richard was not a topic of conversation in this house ever. I couldn’t speak his name without Albert throwing his hand up in the air as if to stop my words.”

“I’m sorry,” Danny reached out for the first time in effort to truly comfort her. Maybe they weren’t so different after all.

In Jenny’s sentences if you replaced the names Carmen for Albert and Miguel or Mick for Richard, she had pretty much describe the way things had been in the Santos house after each of those deaths.

“So can you see why suddenly it was like getting run over by a Mack truck? It was as if I was watching a replay of my life only you had been recast as the part of my son. That made me angry. I didn’t want a replacement. I wanted Richard. Everything that you did was an irritation to me. Just one more thing that took what little I had left of my life.”

“But that wasn’t how it was. I was looking for a place to fit in.”

“I know, but when you aren’t thinking rationally it doesn’t really matter what is or isn’t taking place. So do you think there a ghost of a chance of making this work?” she asked.

“I wish I knew.”

Danny and Jenny sat there well into the morning talking. For the first time since his arrival Danny felt that he belonged there. Jenny had brought out the pictures of Richard that had been tucked away in secret for years now.

One caught his attention. It was a photo of Richard, Albert, Miguel and Mick. Without thought Danny reached out and stroked the glass. Like by doing that he would be tied to the father he missed more then he realized. He had to wonder if his life would have been simpler or more complicated if his father had been part of it. Unfortunately that was a question he would never have an answer for.

“Tell me this Danny, in all honesty how long do you think that you can run?” Jenny’s question pulled him from his thoughts.


“You know what I am asking. I am not as naive as you would like to believe. Just because I chose to pretend I didn’t know what went on behind closed doors, doesn’t mean that I was oblivious to it. I know that you were the person that Miguel wanted to run the business. Just as I knew that Albert fully expected Richard to be your second as he had always been your father’s.”

“You did?” Danny wondered if his jaw was scrapping the grown at this realization.

“Yes. So I ask you how long do you think you can hide out here? That is the part of this all that frightens me the most. That sooner or later we are going to get pulled back in no matter if Albert wants to or not.”

“I assure you the minute I get wind of trouble I am gone.”

“And won’t that be a bit too late?”

“I hope not,” Danny said his voice barely a whisper.

“That’s what I am afraid of.”


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