Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 50

Republisher’s Note: Everyone seems to be working out for Danny Santos/Sampson and Melanie/Michelle.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 50

Michelle stood in front of the closet in her room debating what exactly to wear. It was one thing to be the host of a party it was another story completely when you were an invited guest.

Danny had called the afternoon after her own tree trimming party to say that his aunt and uncle were so taken with the idea they decided to have one of their own. He also made mention of the possibility of attending midnight mass. The thought of setting foot in a church made her tremble. She feared the roof might fall in on them all if she dared to enter.

She had never actually asked for forgiveness in the role she played in Mick’s death.

Everything had happened so quickly that somehow that had gotten lost in the shuffle.

“Hey do you have a pair of black hose I can borrow?” Sarah asked popping her head in Michelle’s room.

“Yeah, top drawer in the chest by the window,” she returned absently still lost in her own thoughts.

“I really wish we were spending Christmas Eve together,” Sarah sighed.

“What……worried about meeting the family?” Michelle asked. Matt had invited Sarah to spend Christmas Eve with his family much in the way that Danny had her. She could tell by the look on her friend’s face that the whole idea was terrifying.

“NO!!”

“Then why is it you are looking for any excuse not to be ready when Matt knocks on that door?”

“I don’t know,” she sighed throwing herself down on the bed.

“Sarah, what’s going on in that head of yours,” Michelle asked perching herself along side Sarah’s outstretched body.

“I don’t know.”

“Yeah like I believe that.”

“I just didn’t expect to feel this way.”

“What way?”

“Remember me saying that I wanted what I saw between you and Danny?”

“Vaguely.”

“Well last night I think I finally saw that in Matt and now I’m scared to death,” she groaned.

“That’s good.”

“GOOD?!?!?!” Sarah said exasperated.

“That means that this is the real thing. Besides a little fear keeps you on your toes. Now go on and get out of here so I can get dressed myself before we are both late,” Michelle giggled.

She went back to the task at hand. Her eyes were instinctively drawn again to the blue velvet dress hidden in the back of the closet. She moved away the articles of clothing that stood between her and that supple fabric. Pulling it out to stare at it, she was still reminded of what it represented about her past. But in the here and now she found herself thinking how what she had shared with Jesse was more for the preparation of what was to come with Danny.

The relationship that she had with him showed her many things that up until this present moment she hadn’t been able to see.

The time had come to know that without Jesse, she would not have been able to have what she now had with Danny. For that Michelle owed Jesse a great debt. In more ways then one.


Danny moved about the club still unable to understand why three local companies had booked their Christmas parties on Christmas Eve of all days. The clock on the wall was nearing four in the afternoon and there was still so much to be done at the house for his own family’s party.

Aunt Jenny was certainly making up for all the Christmases that had gone by unnoticed in the previous years. Not only was she doing a major portion of the cooking herself, she had given him a list of things that she had wanted Reggie to prepare as well. There would be enough food to feed the entire city of Galveston, if not the state of Texas.

“Are these people ever going to leave?” Danny asked half-joking half-serious to Joe.

“The way it looks right now, I would have to say no.”

“Thanks,” he frowned, “Not quite the answer I was looking for.”

“Well we are set to close in an hour. So whether they like it or not the party is just about over,” Joe said falling into his new managerial skills rather nicely.

“Now that’s what I wanted to hear.”

“Thought it might be.”

“You are coming to the house tonight right?” Danny asked the only man other then Albert he considered a friend.

“I will try. My family does the big Christmas Eve thing too. They don’t take too kindly to those of us who make other plans,” Joe smiled in his usual cocky manner.

“Albert, better yet Jenny will have your hide if you don’t show your face. So tell your family if they want you to keep your job……..”

“I get the picture,” Joe cut him off smiling, glad that Danny had come here.

“Danny,” he heard a voice call to him as he headed towards the kitchen to check on the progress of things in there, “Hey Danny man can I talk to you for a minute?” Matt asked as he approached him.

“Yeah sure. What’s up?”

“I need some advice.”

“Okay?”

“What should I buy Sarah for Christmas?” Matt knew how utterly ridiculous the question was given the day and time but he asked it none the less.

“You are kidding, right?”

“NO!!!!!”

“What on earth did you wait to the very last minute for?” he questioned.

“I don’t know!” Matt sounded baffled by the simpleness of Danny’s words.

“So what are you going to do now?”

“I don’t know. I thought you might be able to help me.”

“Me? Why me?”

“I have watched you with Melanie. You are a natural at this and me well I’m a natural screw up. I mean look how I handle the whole Alexa interview thing. That was a complete disaster,” he sighed.

“It’s Alexa. She has that effect on women.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. So do you even have an idea of what you want to buy Sarah?”

“Ah,” he paused, “No.”

“I need a bit more help then that,” Danny tired not to laugh.

“Sorry. I just never expected to still be together. Things there for a while weren’t going so hot. Thought for sure that she was going to give me the boot. Then suddenly it was like everything just fell into place. Go figure. Can you please help me?”

“I’ll give it my best shot. Don’t count on any miracles though,” Danny said thinking he had enough problems with his own gift buying. But after seeing the present that Melanie had given him he knew that he had picked the right things for her.

“Go grab a drink at the bar. I need to check on a few things and then we can get going.”

“Don’t take too long. We don’t have a lot of time.”

All Danny could do was shake his head at the absurdity of Matt’s remark as he walked away. Once he was satisfied that all would be ready for Jenny’s party he made his way back to where Matt was sitting slamming down what Joe indicated was his third shot.

“You better let me drive,” Danny remarked, “What the hell’s gotten into you man?”

“I wish I knew.”

“Would you like a hint?” Danny joked holding the door open for him.

“Yeah!!!”

“Think you finally figured out you love the girl and you are scared shitless? Am I getting warm yet?” Danny laughed wondering if this was how he must have looked the minute he had fallen for Melanie, “Come on let’s get going, before there isn’t anything left to buy.”

“Hey Danny wait a minute,” Joe yelled to him, “I almost forgot this package came for you awhile ago.”

“You know what just toss it the office. Probably just another sample from a purveyor. It will keep. Besides can’t you see we are on a mission?”

Joe laughed as Danny and Matt walked towards the car, feeling happy for once to be married and not expected to come up with anything too spectacular for Christmas. Those days for him and his wife had long since past.

After endless hours of fighting all those people, mostly men Danny gathered, in search of the perfect gift twenty minutes before it was to be given, Matt and he headed out to the parking lot.

“Thanks man.”

“Not a problem,” Danny remarked until he looked at the time, “Shit!”

“What?”

“I am supposed to be picking Mel up in less then hour. I still have to go back to the club gather up all of the food Reggie made for the party. DAMN!!!!”

“Hey I’m so sorry,” Matt apologized.

“Forget it,” Danny countered as he pulled out his phone and began dialing, “Hey Albert, it’s me……..I know, I know……..things got a little away from me……..no, no nothing like that……..I had to help Matt pick out a present for Sarah……..I know…..don’t ask. Can you do me a huge favor……..go to the club and pick up the food……..yeah I have to pick her up in less then an hour…….I have to shower and all of that…..thank you.”

“I can’t believe I screwed up your evening.”

“It’s no big deal. Albert will get what we need from the club and I will pick Melanie up in plenty of time.” He hoped.

“Thanks again for helping me out. It’s amazing you knew just the right thing.”

“Don’t start handing out the awards just yet. Let’s at least wait to see what Sarah has to say.”

“There’s no doubt about it. She’ll love it.”

“Why don’t the two of you drop by my uncle’s this evening. I’m sure that the ladies would like to compare gifts.”

“Sure. That sounds like a plan.”

“Okay great see you two later then,” Danny said as Matt exited the car.

“Thanks again,” Matt remarked for the billionth time.

“Would you go already……,” Danny laughed.

“See ya.”

Danny looked around the living room. Between the previous night and this afternoon his aunt and uncle’s home had been transformed into holiday spectacular. He even thought about going out and coming in again just to check the number above the door ensuring that he had entered the correct house.

It was a wonderland of lights, garland, holly berry wreaths and more poinsettias then Danny ever remembered seeing in one place before. This house was such the antithesis of what he could only imagine his own home back in Springfield must have looked like. Even in the hay day of the Santos family, Carmen had never gone to such extremes as he saw here.

“Well, what do you think?” Jenny asked motioning towards the enormous blue spruce whose bows nearly reached the top of the vaulted ceiling.

“It’s……unbelievable,” Danny gasped.

“Well Melanie got Albert and I thinking that it’s been a long time since we celebrated the holidays in the fashion that they should have been. And it’s funny all the things you find stashed in the attic when you really start looking,” she laughed.

“Obviously.”

“You think it’s too much?” she questioned.

“It’s perfect!”

“This is all so foreign to me. I can’t tell you the last time I threw a party, any party not to mention a holiday one,” she gushed her own excitement getting the better of her.

“Foreign or not I think it’s stunning. Everyone will have a wonderful time not doubt about that.”

“And does that everyone include yourself?” she asked hating to dampen the festive mood.

“YES……it includes me too.”

“I am glad to hear you say that. I couldn’t help but notice the photo of you and Melanie in your room. I wasn’t snooping,” she said quickly the old habits used upon his arrival still lurked now and again, “I had some decorations stored in the upper portion of the closet…….”

“Aunt Jenny, we are past that aren’t we?” he smiled doing his best to reassure her of that fact.

“Yes….yes I guess we are. Melanie is a very special girl. She amazed me with the care she took in all the gifts she gave last night. You are very lucky.”

“I am just wondering when that luck is going to run out?” Danny remarked still torn.

“One piece of advice,” she began, “As long as you make your decisions from here,” Jenny pointed to his heart, “All else will fall into place.”

There was a rustling from the kitchen, “Uncle Albert must be back,” Danny pointed out.

“That he is. I better go see to the rest of the food. Just don’t forget what I said, understand?”

“Understood,” Danny replied still not sure.


Michelle heard the doorbell sound and the butterflies in her stomach began circling again. They had been doing their nonstop dance ever since she slipped the soft blue dress over her petite frame. She did her best in resisting the urge to rip it off and find something else to wear. But now it was apparently too late, as Danny had arrived.
She gave herself one more look in the mirror. As much as she hated to admit it, she had always loved this dress and until now didn’t realize just how much she missed wearing it.

“Coming,” she yelled as the bell rang again, “Oh Matt,” she sounded disappointed.

“Not who you were expecting, huh?” he asked still feeling guilty about the part he played in Danny’s obviously being late in picking her up.

“No, I just thought you were Danny. I’m sorry, please come in. I think Sarah is about ready. Go easy on her tonight. She is petrified at the thoughts of meeting your family. And I swear to god you tell her I told you I will deny it all!” Michelle laughed.

“I will,” he laughed, “As long as you promise to do the same for Danny if he’s a bit late in picking you up tonight. It’s all my fault.”

“Your fault?” she returned quizzically.

“I was a doofus and waited until the very last minute, no make that second to get Sarah a present, and well I kinda roped Danny into helping me pick something out.”

“I see,” she shook her head knowingly, “Well I promise to only raze him a little bit,” she chuckled.

“Matt,” Sarah said a bit shocked that she hadn’t heard the doorbell.

Matt let his eyes travel over the length of her body. The gauze emerald green fabric of her dress clung to her effortlessly, “You look beautiful,” he said barely able to find his voice.

“Thank you,” she whispered looking away trying to hide the blush that had crept across her cheeks. Michelle smiled thinking how sweet it was to watch two people finally realizing that they loved the other.

“Have a good time tonight,” Michelle said as Matt helped Sarah with her wrap.

“We’ll probably see you later. Danny invited us to join you at his uncle’s,” Matt stated.

“That would be great,” Sarah sighed relieved glad in the fact that she would get to be with Melanie after all.

“He thought you two would enjoy it.”

“Danny’s………”

“I’m what?” he questioned coming to the door before Michelle could finish her comment.

“I was just about to say what a wonderful man you are for thinking about Sarah and I,” she kissed him instinctively.

“The more the merrier.”

“Well, then we will see you later,” Matt said leading Sarah through the doorway.

“Thank you,” Michelle said.

“For what?” he questioned not actually paying attention to her words his eyes focused on how breath taking she looked standing there in front of him.

“Danny,” she said snapping her fingers in front of his glazed chocolate eyes.

“Huh?” he was embarrassed to be caught off guard.

“Never mind,” she smiled.

“I’m sorry,” he countered scooping her in his arms, “You just look so fabulous I can’t take my eyes off of you much less think clearly.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment then,” she giggled.

“That’s the way it was intended.”

“Well Mr. Sampson, you don’t look too bad yourself, I might add.”

Michelle pulled back and took a long look at the man before her. His charcoal gray Armani suit was a change from the normal black business type she had gotten used to him in. And looking at his heather gray silk shirt with its faint hue of blue, she knew now the reason for wearing her dress. Besides its meaning of putting the past in the past, she and Danny made a perfect match standing side by side. And in her mind that was in keeping with exactly what her heart felt.

“We better be going. Jenny and Albert will be expecting us.”

“Danny……”

“What?” he asked sensing the tension suddenly filling her.

“I’m nervous,” she said knowing full well how childish she must have sounded.

“For what? You have already met my family,” Danny said doing his best not to choke on his words.

“It’s one thing to give a party. I didn’t have much time to think about things. But now I don’t know, what if they don’t like me?” her remarks were getting more ridiculous by the minute.

“Not like you?!?!?” he joked, “After last night, Mel, they love you. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jenny doesn’t have us married off already.” The words fell out of his mouth before he gave them much thought yet suddenly self-conscious of them.

“Oh really?” Michelle raised a brow, not wanting to show that her heart had just leapt into her mouth.

“You know what I mean. You don’t have a thing to worry about.”

“I hope not.”

By the time they arrived back at the house, it was filling quickly with more people then Danny thought his aunt and uncle even knew. He recognized some of them the markets, others were suppliers from the club and many faces that he was at a loss for their names.

“Danny, my boy,” Jackson Packerd said, he and his daughter came to stand before him.

“Jackson, Alexa,” he nodded in the girl’s general direction. He wasn’t looking forward to round two where she and Melanie were concerned.

“What a splendid party. I have to say that you have certainly brought out the best in Albert and Jenny.”

“As they do me,” he said more for himself then those around him.

“In the years that I have known them, I have never been invited to such an event.”

“Well then you have Melanie,” Danny said reaching for her arm as she skirted past him on his aunt’s heels. The thoughts of not being liked long since lost. Jenny and Melanie were the perfect hostesses. It made Danny feel good to know that the picture he was watching unfold before him felt so right, “to thank for this. If it hadn’t been for her tree trimming party, Jenny would have never come up with the idea,” Danny kissed her lovingly on the cheek.

“Oh how sweet,” Alexa said sarcasm in her tone, “Daddy, there are some people I need to see.” She walked away before Jackson had time to object.

Michelle felt suddenly ashamed of herself for ever doubting Danny’s feelings for her and more over ever being jealous of the girl who just walked away from them. It was crystal clear now that she had been nothing more then how Danny had originally described her.

“If you’ll excuse us, Jackson? We really need to make our rounds.”

“Certainly. And Danny, thank you again for the opportunity that you have given my daughter. I am sorry she was too rude not to say so herself,” he apologized.

“Don’t give it a second thought. The band did as much for the club as the club did for them. Let’s just call it even.”

“Thank you.”

“I LOVE YOU!!!!” Michelle crooned over the music being piped in from overhead.

“Oh do you now?” he laughed.

“I have never felt so completely and utterly connected to anyone in my life as I do you.”

“Well that goes without saying for me too.”

They mingled among the crowd. Stopping to be introduced to the many new faces and chatting with those Danny now knew from the club. Michelle felt as if she was walking above the clouds. She was so at ease here. Almost like she belonged there and up until she had come there everything before had been a trial run.

She had never expected to think of the life she left behind as a precursor to something bigger and better. But somehow it had turned out to be just that.

Danny led her to the portion of the floor in the living room that had been cleared for dancing, as the crowd started to thin. He had let himself get lost in the magic of this evening. Everything but this night had fallen away. Tonight he had spent the first genuine Christmas being totally fulfilled. Being Danny Sampson or Danny Santos didn’t matter at the moment. Nothing mattered but the way he felt holding Melanie in his arms. He almost believed that anything was possible; almost believed that together they could conquer the world.

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