Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 47

Republisher’s Note: Michelle is living in Texas under the name Melanie Branson in the Witness Protection Program and dating Danny.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 47

Ben watched as Carmen paced the room. The phone call that just ended had set everyone’s present mind spinning. Each lost in their own thoughts and each with their own set of questions. Curiosity finally getting the better of him, Ben spoke first, “Who is Albert Santos?”

“You know all you need to know, Warren,” Dietz spat his own mind whirling. This unexpected development would seriously haunt him. He cursed himself for jumping the gun in contacting the Sandovals. It never failed. In every situation Carmen found a way to come out on top. He should have known better then to underestimate her.

“DIETZ!” Carmen shot him a calculating look, one that he knew better then to challenge.

“Carmen,” Ben said prodding her to answer his original question.

“Albert is…..was Migel’s brother.”

“Is….was which is it?”

“I never expected Danny to go there,” Carmen said ignoring Ben totally.

“Didn’t I just ask you if you could think of anyone that Danny would have contacted? You said there was no one. And suddenly he is with an uncle you forgot about?” Ben’s tone was a mixture of disbelief and anger. He had been jumping through everyone of Carmen’s hoops and for what? She could have led him to Danny with one name.
There was a nagging question he couldn’t get past as well. When the check was run on locations to place Michelle Bauer why didn’t Albert Santos and Galveston Texas red flag? None of this made much sense.

“Dietz,” Carmen’s commanding voice startled him from his own thoughts of how to handle damage control for himself, “DIETZ!!”

“What?!?!” he said gruffly before realizing the tone of his voice.

“You realize that this changes everything.”

“It does?!?!?” Ben said feeling as if he wasn’t in the same room as them.

“What do you want me to do?” Dietz answered.

“I want you to call the others. Get them here. Everything is about to change.”

“Carmen?!?!?!” Ben’s voice again was ignored.

“So what is the plan?” Dietz questioned.

“EXCUSE ME!!!!” Ben brought his body between the two forcing them to finally see him.

“Not to worry Ben. You are still an integral part of all of this. I just need Daniel right now………………..”

Now it was Dietz’ turn to be shocked, “WHAT?!?!?!” he cut her off.

“Dietz,” Carmen was taken aback by his complete lack of respect for her authority.

“I can’t believe that you are still so blind to this guy! His only job was to find Danny and he failed miserably! Yet somehow he still comes out on top!?!?”

Carmen felt as though she had traveled back in time to the day when she had gained control of The Commission. Dietz’s behavior resembled that of her eldest son. She hadn’t tolerated it then and didn’t intend on doing it now.

“You have your instructions Dietz!” Carmen said not wavering in her original plan.

“So what he’s still in on it all?!?!” Dietz raged.

“DIETZ!!”

“You really think that Bernardo and the others are going to accept him?” Dietz pushed the envelope of his anger further.

“That’s no concern of yours. You have a job to do, am I right?” Carmen said ignoring the man’s fury. There was no time for such triads. Dietz’s insubordinate behavior could be dealt with at a later time. The only important thing at the moment was finishing what had been started.

“When would you like this little meeting to convene?” Dietz asked harshly gaining enough of his senses to know that this wasn‘t the way to win when dealing with Carmen.

“As soon as you can get them all assembled. The sooner the better.”

“Yes mame,”

Dietz closed the door behind him as the wrath that Carmen’s alliance with Ben Warren again ignited in him spilled over into his every thought. That should have been his place. He deserved it for all his years of loyalty; for all the messes of Mick’s that he had dutifully cleaned up; for being the one to dispense the Santos justice each and every time necessary. But no that wouldn’t be the case. Some slick lawyer who frankly didn’t know his ass from a hole in the ground when it came to the business was about to reap all that he had sown.

The wheels of Dietz’s mind spun as he went to place the calls that Carmen had asked. There had to still be a way to bring Ben Warren down and cover up his own tricks in the process.

“Carmen,” Ben said complete frustration in his voice.

“What?” she returned absently still trying to grasp that Danny had turned to Albert and Jenny.

“An explanation would be nice,” Ben sighed thinking that was the least that she owed him.

“Daniel is in Texas.”

“That’s no explanation….that’s a fact.”

“But the most important fact! Now I have the leverage I need to buy more time.”

“So what you think you are just going to call him up and ask him to come home and he’s going to politely oblige?”

“I will get him home!” Carmen’s tone sounded over confident even to her own ears.

“So is or isn’t Albert your late husband’s brother?”

“By all rights, yes, Albert is Miguel’s brother. But he hasn’t been part of this family for more then a decade maybe even two.”

“Then why would Danny choose him? And more importantly why hadn’t you thought of him? Would have made my job much easier.” Ben knew where Dietz was headed with his accusations. All he needed to do was plant the seed of doubt in Carmen’s mind about him. Well Ben wasn’t about to let that happen. One way or another he would be prepared for whatever Carmen and the others threw at him. “All that information you shoveled at me said nothing of an Uncle Albert.”

“I didn’t actually know where Albert was myself. Never thought that Daniel would have even thought about him. Albert hasn’t been in Springfield since The Commission offered him Miguel’s seat at the table.”

“You mean your rightful seat,” Ben corrected slyly.

“Albert’s son, Richard, was killed in a job gone wrong. Died in his arms. After that Albert was never the same. Miguel finally had no choice but to let Albert go start over.”

“Then that explains the man’s use of the name Sampson.” Ben said while he thought it explained why none of this information red flagged with regards to Michelle’s placement.

“Apparently Albert was smarter then I gave him credit for. Didn’t take any chances on being traced back to the family.” Carmen smiled recalling the many times that she and Albert had sparred in the past.

“Why Texas though?” Ben asked.

“I don’t know and that’s not all that important to me at the moment. The only thing I am concerned with is getting Daniel back here.”

“And if he won’t come?”

“I will be sure he has no other option but to return.”

“And his threats? They suddenly don’t exist?”

“One thing at a time, Ben. Right now I think it’s time that I called my son.”

They had been unsuccessful in redialing the number of the original call and Ben found it highly amusing watching Carmen going about the menial task of calling information to locate the phone number of her brother-in-law.

Carmen replaced the receiver in its cradle and fingered the slip of paper that held the nine numbers that were about to determine her fate along with her son’s.

Ben wondered where the once commanding Carmen Santos was at this moment. The longer he starred at her the less she resembled that person. But somehow the expression on her face this time wasn’t like that of before. The threats that Bernardo and the others had made about the Santos family had angered her; that was obvious and maybe they had even served to scare her but right now what Ben was seeing was pure fear. A fear that held her hand captive inches above the receiver.

Carmen looked again at the tiny slip of paper resting beside the phone. The inner voices tugging at her from so many directions. The one that stood out above the rest was actually one she hadn’t expected to hear. As a matter of fact, one she hadn’t heard for so many years she had forgotten that it even existed.

Its melodic tones were that of Danny’s mother. The mother she had been before she had metamorphosed into the power hungry woman she was now. The voice now was allowed to cry for the loss of her husband and son; to want the best for her child rather then the need to fit him into her twisted agenda for him.

Carmen forced the tears that were in jeopardy of falling past her lashes to the back of her eyes. She had failed Danny in every way possible. She picked up the receiver and set it down again thinking about what her choices had cost her and him.

“Carmen?” Ben questioned as she began pacing around the room again. Doing the best she could to collect her scattered thoughts. She wasn’t expecting to be feeling this way. She had thought finding him would have been the answer but in turn it only produced more questions. Ones that she wasn’t ready to deal with.

“Boss,” Dietz entered.

“Yes?” she turned forced to be Carmen, Mob Boss, again.

“Bernardo is out of town. He won’t be back for a few days.”

“Be sure that they understand I want to see him, everyone, first thing when Bernardo gets back into town.”

“It’s done.”

“Carmen?” Ben’s voice again was questioning. In a matter of minutes he had seen the emotions on her face run the gambit. He was uncertain what was truly going on inside of her.

“Would you leave me? I’d like to make this call in private,” Her voice was hard but her posture showed the apprehension she was feeling.

“I could stay,” he offered.

“No….please go.”

“As you wish,” Ben reached for her hand and brought it to his lips, “I will be waiting when you have finished.”

“Thank you.”

The tender thoughts that she had just entertained were gone. Carmen had sealed her fate the day that she took it upon herself to ensure Daniel’s rightful place. She tried not to laugh at the thought. Daniel had never crossed her mind then, and sad to say she knew in her heart that she wasn’t crossing his any longer either.

Carmen brought the receiver to her ear and listened as the number rang through. At cheerful tone in Danny’s voice, she almost hung up but didn’t, “Hello Daniel.” Jenny and Albert watched as Danny’s face grew ghastly pale. “No kind words for you mother?” she asked sarcasm covered any other emotions she possessed.

“Danny?” Albert questioned immediately realizing that the devil had finally come knocking.

“We have encountered a bit of a problem in Springfield. It requires your attention,” Carmen went on.

The image Danny held of his mother in his mind came crashing in on him as her words pierced his ear drums. His mouth was too dry to rage and suddenly the world stopped spinning throwing him in a heap on the floor.

“You are needed here right away.”

“I thought I made it clear to you…..not to need me,” Danny’s mouth formed the words but it was all done without thought on his part.

“This is beyond my control.”

“NOTHING IS EVER BEYOND YOUR CONTROL!” he spat gathering his senses finally.

“We need to band together in an effort to rid us of the impending disaster.”

“IT’S YOUR DISASTER NOT MINE!!”

“Everything about this family is yours, Daniel. Your father wanted it that way and I ensured that it would be as such.”

“WHAT A CROCK!!!! How many times have you told that lie? Enough that you are finally believing it?!?!?!” he said mocking.

“I have done what was necessary to guarantee that the Santos Family would live up to the greatness that it was destined for. You are that destiny, whether you see it or not!”

“FOR ONCE IN YOUR MISERABLE LIFE……..ONCE CAN’T YOU JUST BE HONEST, MOTHER?!?!?!”

Albert heard his wife’s breath catch in her throat as Danny’s words confirmed what he had known the instant Danny picked up the phone. He felt her grip on his hand tighten as all the things she feared most were beginning to unfold.

“There isn’t time to discuss this, Daniel. I expect you on the first flight back to Springfield. Albert isn’t one of us. You need to be here with your family.”

“I am with my family,” Danny said eying the pair across the desk only being able to imagine what was going through their minds at the moment.

“Please Daniel, you can’t possibly think of Albert as part of this family. He abandoned us when we needed him most. Things would have been so much different, had Albert just done what was expected of him,” Carmen said playing the last guilt card in her hand.

“Maybe, but from where I sat you got exactly what you always wanted! So I think it’s time you learned how to deal with it!!” Danny seethed into the mouthpiece before slamming the phone down ending a conversation that he never wanted in the first place.

“DANIEL…….DANIEL……DANIEL,” Carmen screamed into the phone. The only sound that returned her words was that of a dial tone. “Damn you!!”

“I take it the conversation didn’t go as planned,” Ben asked as he slipped back into the room.

“This is far from over!” she returned jaw clenched in anger.

“So what do we do now?”

“Not to worry. I have enough information to buy myself more time. Daniel, will see things my way one way or another,” Carmen said determination in her voice.

“Danny?” Albert questioned.

“How the hell did she find me?!?!” Danny asked not really talking to anyone in the room.

“That really was Carmen?” Jenny asked knowing the answer but needing Danny’s confirmation to fully appreciate what that meant.

“Yes,” he whispered knowing in his heart he had put the life she had built there in jeopardy and hating himself for it.

“What did she want?” Albert asked.

“Apparently the natives are restless,” Danny commented giving Albert a knowing glance.

“Natives……restless……what natives…….what are you talking about?!?!?!” Jenny’s voice rose an octave as she spoke.

“Bernardo and the others,” Albert said as soothingly as he could to calm his wife’s nerves, “It’s obvious they have come to know of Danny’s absence and they are less then pleased.”

“She wants me to return to Springfield,” Danny continued, “I guess she thinks that as long as I play puppet to her puppeteer that things will stay the way the always have been.”

“So what’s your next move son?”

“I’m not going back to Springfield, and I certainly can’t stay here now……….”

Danny ran his hands along his face and sighed heavily. All the months that he spent building his new life, it was all washed away like a sandcastle at high tide. It all had been so fragile and now there was nothing left but a mound memories that Danny would carry in his heart forever.

If he closed his eyes tight enough, he could see Melanie’s smiling face looking at him. The stabbing pain in his chest radiated throughout his entire body. He couldn’t stop himself from thinking what right did he have at happiness? It had never been his friend and happy ever after was never meant for him. Yet Melanie had been his taste, she was his fantasy but now it was time to lose that faith and hit reality.

Yet the actual idea of walking away from her left him breathless. He didn’t know if it was something that he could do when it came right down to it. There again was that tug of war. His heart and his head on either side fighting for what one desperately wanted and the other knew had to be.

“Where will you go?”

“I don’t know. Anywhere Carmen can’t find me.”

“Is there such a place?” Jenny questioned.

“Probably not. All I know is I can’t stay here. I won’t let my world spill into yours. I promised I wouldn’t do that.”

“Stay,” Jenny whispered it surprised her as much as the men in the room.

“What?” Albert could do nothing but stare blankly at his wife.

“Did I hear you right?” Danny too asked.

“Stay,” she said louder this time.

“Jenny, you do understand what you are saying right?” Albert almost put his hand on her forehead to feel for fever.

“I understand perfectly.”

“Why?” Danny asked completely flabbergasted by her words.

“It’s time.”

“It’s time?” they both echoed.

“It’s time for all of us to stop running. And the only way to do that is stand up for what you believe.”

“If it were only that easy,” Danny shook his head.

“Let us help you,” Jenny said placing her hand gently on Danny’s shoulder.

“How?”

Jenny looked up at the ceiling half expecting it to tumble down around them with her words, “By doing whatever it takes to make sure that you are allowed the life, and love,” she added looking into his eyes knowing that his heart was heavy with the idea of never being with Melanie again, “you deserve. Your father did that for us and now it is time that we do that for you.”

Both Danny and Albert starred at her mouths wide open in disbelief. If this had been a month ago, there would have been ranting, raving, screaming and maybe even a few things thrown around the room. Danny didn’t care what brought them to this point. He had no plans on questioning it. His only thoughts right now were of exactly what Carmen had up her sleeve and what he could do to stop her.

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