Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 46

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is in Witness Protection in Texas.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 46

Michelle almost walked into the metal doorframe as she starred at the information, or lack there of, that Carl had given her. Unfortunately it wasn’t much more then what she already knew. The one thing she had secured was a picture of Amanda, Sarah’s mother, holding her infant daughter. It was a start but far from the vision she held in her head.

“What’s so interesting there, that you are willing to risk bodily injury to keep reading it?” Tony Rodgers asked as he guided his ever-faithful employee and friend away from her impending crash into the jam of the door.

“Huh?”

“What’s this your Christmas list?” he joked tugging at the paper held tightly in her grasp.

“In a way, but it’s not mine.”

“Must you always speak in riddles?” he sighed still never sure exactly what to make of this girl.

“Sorry. I was hoping that my friend Sarah’s father could have helped me more.”

“Helped you?”

“See Sarah’s mother died a while ago. This is her first Christmas without her and I was hoping to do something special as a reminder. You know like a scrapbook or something like that. Anything to make her feel better.”

“That’s very nice of you, Melanie.”

“It would have been, but I keep hitting a dead end.”

“Why?”

“It’s a really long story but here’s the condensed version.” Michelle went on to explain what she did know about Sarah’s life and why and how she had ended up here in the first place.

“So, that’s all her father had?” Carl asked looking at the picture Michelle had been starring at.

“Yeah and a few names but nothing all that solid.”

“Do you have an address for them or even the name of the city she is from?” he asked. “It’s pretty sketchy.”

“Anything will be better then nothing,” Michelle handed over what she did have to him,

“Follow me,” he said heading for the backroom.

“I’m supposed to working,” she said looking back at the store.

“Do you see customers breaking down the door to get in?” he laughed, “Besides I think I might be able to help you.”

“Really……….how?” Michelle heard the dial tone ring through as Tony Rodgers sat at the computer, “The internet!?!?” she said slapping her forehead mockingly, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

“That’s why they pay me the big bucks. I know it’s a long shot but it couldn’t hurt to check here.”

“Thank you so much,” Michelle leaned and kissed the old man’s cheek, “God really must have been looking out for me when Ben picked this place to send me?” she commented before even realizing her words.

“What?” he turned confusion filling his face.

“Ben, my father,” Michelle cringed at the thought of putting father and the name Ben in the same sentence, but this would just be another thread to add to her web of lies, “This was his alma mauter, so when he died arrangements were made for me to come here. I didn’t want to at first. I mean they had to drag me kicking and screaming. But now I’m glad that I’m here,” The lines to Michelle’s real life and the one concocted on paper were beginning to blur a bit.

“For more reasons then just a friendship with a dautering old fuddy duddy like me.”

“First you aren’t old or a fuddy duddy. And there have been lots of reasons that I am thankful for coming here. Sarah, you, my school work………………..”

“Danny,” Mr. Rodgers said breaking her stream of thought.

“Well yes…..and Danny.” Michelle blushed.

“So things are going well?”

“Better then I ever imagined.”

“See what did I tell you?”

“You are a wonderful man, Mr. Rodgers,” Michelle said kissing his cheek again.

“For heaven sakes call me Tony already. Well here’s the search engine, why don’t you sit down and see what you can come up with on Sarah and her mother?”

“Thank you so much.”

“Don’t thank me until you find what it is you are looking for.

Tony Rodgers closed the door giving Michelle privacy to concentrate on her task. Why was it every time he thought he knew her, there was something to rethink. As much as he would have liked to believe her tale about her father and how she had ended up here, he just couldn’t bring himself to do it. The far off look in her soft brown eyes; the way she looked away from him as she spoke; they were signs to him. Signs that told him there was more to this then met the eye.

He busied himself with his own work hoping to get lost in his chores so as not to dwell on his nagging thoughts.

“Excuse me.”

Tony Rodgers looked up to see the young man who had harassed Melanie not so long ago. His protectiveness for his young employee took center stage. The encounter between Melanie and this man was just another piece that didn’t add up.

“Can I help you?” Tony feigned ignorance.

“I was hoping to catch Melanie. She is working isn’t she?” Jeremy strained his neck glancing around the store.

“No I’m sorry she isn’t.”

“What?”

“As you can see it’s rather slow in here this time of year. It’s not really necessary for there to be anyone but me working.”

“Do you know where I could find her?” Jeremy pressed.

“Sorry, I can’t help you there. Not her keeper,” Tony said trying to not smile.

“Damn!” Jeremy whispered under his breath.

“Is there a problem?” Tony asked innocently enjoying the fact that he was pulling the wool over this arrogant young man’s eyes. No matter what he did or didn’t know about Melanie, he was certain that this guy was bad news all the way around.

“No…..no. I just thought I could catch her.” Agent Lucas regained his composure and took the reigns from the overly love crazed man lurking underneath.

“Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.”

“Yeah….no problem,” he said absently turning to leave.

Tony watched through the glass windows as the man headed in the opposite direction. This had been one more puzzle piece. Sad thing was right now he couldn’t help but think that all the pieces surrounding Melanie were all from very different puzzles but in one way or another they worked together to form an abstract one at best.

He turned when he heard the sound of the doorknob against the strike plate. Melanie emerged with a smile stretching from ear to ear.

“From the look on your face, I would have to say your mission was a success?” He breathed a silent sigh that she hadn’t come out minutes sooner.

“Actually yes. I think this might just all come together after all.”

“I’m glad.”

“Me too,” Michelle added, “I just hope to have this all done before the party.”

“Party?”

“Yeah, I thought I would do a little tree trimming kinda thing. You know the traditional Christmas stuff. Hoping to put Sarah in the holiday spirit.”

“That sound’s like a very good idea.”

“Here’s an even better,” Michelle said.

“What?”

“Why don’t you and your wife come too. It’s short notice I know but it’s going to be this Friday night.”

“Why on earth would you want an old couple like us at your party?” he questioned.

“Because if it hadn’t been for you Mr. Rodgers…….Tony,” she corrected herself before he could, “I don’t know where I would be right now. And if you feel funny about the age thing, I will ask Danny’s uncle and aunt to join us as well.”

“So the infamous Danny Sampson will be at this little shing dig?”

“Most definitely.”

“Then you can count my wife and I in. I think it’s about time I met this man of yours,” he kidded.

“You have to be nice now,” Michelle pointed her finger at him just as if he had been her true father.

“Who???? Me????? Would I be anything but nice?”

“So say about sevenish or so?” she said ignoring his mocking smile.

“We’ll be there. And Melanie.”

“Yes?”

“Thank you for thinking about us. It was sweet of you.”

“What’s Christmas if you can’t share it with those the closest to you?”


Albert looked at the door and back at Danny. His stomach fell to his feet at Carl’s words of blood money. The venom in the remark hit him like a ton of bricks, yet Danny was too consumed with his own satisfaction of ridding himself of an enemy to see the enormous storm they had just set a brew.

“Problem solved,” Danny rejoiced.

“That might not be the case.”

“What?”

“Were you so blinded by your own wants that you missed Carl’s pointed remarks. The way he said we could keep our blood money. Danny that is a term I haven’t heard in over fifteen years. And even I know what it means still.”

“Blood money?” Jenny’s voice filled with fear as she repeated the words, “What….what’s going on here?” Both men looked to each other neither knowing what to say next. “Somebody please tell me what’s going on here.”

Jenny felt the panic rising in her chest. All the strides that she and Danny had made over the last few days immediately came back to slap her in the face. As hard as she tried to keep them in check, that’s how hard they were pushing in on her.

“Jenny, come sit down please,” Albert finally said in the calmest voice he could muster.

“Albert, what’s going on? You are scaring me.”

“There’s no need for you to be frightened.”

“I disagree. What??? What is it Carmen?”

“No….Carl.”

“Carl?” Jenny heard the breath she had been holding since she entered the room escape her lips, relieved in knowing that she must have misunderstood what she thought she heard.

“Yes. Danny and I felt that it was time that we let him go.”

“You let him go?” she echoed in disbelief.

“If you are going to be angry, be angry with me. It was my idea,” Danny spoke first not wanting to ruin the newfound closeness that Jenny and Albert had gained.

“Why?”

“Would you believe that in my gut something wasn’t right?”

“What?”

“I can’t put my finger on it but I didn’t trust him.”

“Trust him? Danny you are a hell of a one to be spouting words like trust!” Jenny’s tone was razor sharp.

“Jenny, hear us both out,” Albert added he wasn’t about to let the family they were just starting to build crumble.

“So what? He now has you convinced that Carl is a bad guy? He has been a loyal employee since we first opened the doors. And suddenly just because he is miffed by the fact that a man he barely knows is here running what should have been his position, that makes him a threat?!?!?!” Jenny shouted flabbergasted by it all.

“Jenny, it’s more then just that. And it’s just not Danny who saw it.”

“Oh please enlighten me.”

“Jenny, do you trust me? Trust my instincts?” Albert questioned.

“Yes.”

“Then believe me when I say that Carl posed a threat to this family. I just hope that we handled it right.”

“Of course we did,” Danny spoke up.

“I think your father would disagree. There’s an old saying…. keep you friends close and you enemies closer, Well Danny, I think we just dropped the ball on that one.”

The high-pitched ringing of the bells on the phone startled the three of them as they stood starring at each other.

“Hello,” Danny’s voice was detached when he spoke thoughts centering on Albert’s last words.

“Danny hi,” Melanie said.

“Hey you,” he did his best to put things in prospective as he began his conversation with her.

“Albert,” Jenny strained to keep her emotions under control.

“Come here,” he drew her close to his chest. All the old senses of protection of the things most precious to him came rushing back.

“I’m scared. I don’t know what’s really happening here. Are you trying to tell me Carl could hurt us?”

“No……no. You know me, Mr. Over Cautious.” Albert kissed the top of his wife’s head as he put order to his thoughts. Many things were now falling into place. His only prayer was that what he thought might happen didn’t.

“Uncle Albert, Aunt Jenny,” Danny’s voice again broke the silence in the office.

“Huh?” they returned looking in his direction.

“Melanie would like to know if you two would like to join us Friday evening for a tree trimming party at her place.”

“I don’t know……” Jenny began.

“We would love to,” Albert cut her off, “and it’s been a long time since we celebrated Christmas properly. I think it’s about time we did.”

“Melanie, yeah they said they would love to come. Are you sure that you don’t need me to have Reggie whip up some stuff? It’s not any trouble.” Danny chuckled at how adamant she was about taking care of everything herself, “Okay….okay I get the picture, but at least let me bring the wine.”

Albert watched his nephew as he continued his conversation. He wasn’t about to let his own fears get the better of him. For the first time in longer then he could remember, he was at a point in his life he wanted to be. He wasn’t about to let some off handed words said by a disgruntled employee get the better of him.

“That was very sweet of Melanie to include us,” Jenny said.

“Yeah it was. She is trying to help out Sarah. This is the first Christmas since her mother’s death…….”

“Are you saying Carl will be there?” Jenny asked astonished that they would be attending a party with a man that had just been fired.

“No. Sarah and Carl aren’t on the best of terms. Actually she is staying with Mel during the holidays. Carl apparently isn’t big into Christmas.” The phone rang again, “Hello, Two Step,” Danny answered.
“Hello Daniel,” Carmen’s voice dripped with false sweetness.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: