Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 68

Republisher’s Note: Michelle turns to God. I still don’t understand about Sarah and Matt.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 68

Apprehensively Michelle followed Sarah inside of the small chapel within the hospital. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe in a force greater then what she could physically see, however since her mother’s death and all that followed it Michelle didn’t put much stock in divine grace.

She watched Sarah walk to the tiny altar and rows of lit candles, lighting one of her own as she stood before them. She didn’t know if she was still in shock of all that had ensued or it was just the fact that God had done very little in answering her prayers up until this point that caused her to silently scoff at Sarah’s actions.

After lighting the tiny candle in the red glass votive, Sarah then knelt down, signed a cross and bent her head in prayer. Michelle couldn’t bring herself to move forward. There were so many thoughts coursing through her mind. So many unanswered prayers. She couldn’t imagine adding even one more to the list. Especially not one of such great importance to her.

“Michelle,” Sarah’s voice permeated the silent room, “Come join me. Light a candle and say a prayer for Danny.”

“Why?” Michelle said dryly.

The question caught Sarah off guard. She searched for an answer. To her it was only second nature to turn to God when the burden she was carrying was too heavy to do so on her own.

During her childhood, Sarah was well aware that church had been the rock on which her mother had clung to when it seemed like all hope was lost. And at this very moment, Sarah had the very same feeling. She knew that whether Danny was to live or die was out of their hands. The man upstairs was the guiding force now.

Sarah looked at her friend. The vacant stare that looked back at her brought tears to her eyes. Michelle was a lost soul. A sudden shell of the vibrant person that she had come to know and love. Sarah could only imagine the toll her life had taken on her.

“What makes you think that he,” Michelle pointed upward, “even gives a damn about my prayers?” Her biting words made Sarah realize just how much Michelle truly needed to be there. “He hasn’t yet,” Michelle quipped.

“That’s not true,” Sarah countered guiding Michelle into the first row of pews.

“Give me a break! Oh yeah my prayers have been answered,” she gasped, “Let’s see my father cheats on my mother…..and his infidelity more or less caused her to die. So at the tender age of twelve I am left without a mother and a father I despise. Oh yeah but the jokes still on me see cause all my making my father’s life a living hell forced him to move half way around the world and then when I really did need him he never so much as gave me a thought,” Michelle’s voice grew louder with each sentence, “Okay let’s see then there was Jesse. Jesse was to be the man that I was to spend the rest of my life with but Drew Jacobs had other plans.”

“Michelle,” Sarah interrupted, “Stop.”

“Why???? There is so much more that I have to be thankful for,” she laughed sarcastically.

“Yes actually there is,” Sarah countered quite seriously.

“You are kidding right?”

“Hardly.”

“Oh I can’t wait to hear this,” Michelle listened to her words and her tone and couldn’t help but wonder who the person was speaking them. She didn’t recognize herself at the moment. Too many things in her life had been turned end over end that she couldn’t move passed all the rubble to find the center of her world again.

“Michelle, I know life has given you a raw deal……….”

“You too,” Michelle countered cutting her off.

“In some ways yes.”

“In all ways,” Michelle forced, “You mean to tell me that you didn’t pray for your mother to get better. That you didn’t ask the all mighty to make her well?”

“Of course.”

“Well look where that got you. SHE’S DEAD!!!!” The second those angry words fell from Michelle’s lips she regretted them. The look that Sarah wore on her face was a sheer pain. Yet Michelle didn’t know how to stop herself. Her own pain clouded her better judgment.

“Yes she is,” Sarah spoke softly trying to remember that Michelle was scared and angry and overlook her hurtful words.

“So what makes you think I want to light a candle and pray for Danny? When we all know how this is going to end up?”

“Because you don’t know how this is going to end.”

“I have a pretty good guess.”

“Michelle! STOP THIS!!! Look how Danny has fought the odds already. He could have very well died from the gun shot wound he sustained but he didn’t. He could have died the minute that heart monitor flat lined, but he didn’t. So now why do you suddenly think that he’s not going to keep fighting?”

Michelle turned away from her friend as the tears silently made tracks down her already tear stained face. She couldn’t let herself believe Sarah’s words. She wanted to be prepared for what she knew was going to happen. She was about to lose another person she loved. Absently she wondered what it was about her that made her so undeserving of love.

“Michelle,” Sarah placed her hands on Michelle’s shoulders as they rose and fell with her sobs, “Prayers work. I know that for a fact. You were right I prayed for my mother to get better every day, but then one day I was suddenly praying for her suffering to end. She was in so much pain I couldn’t bare it any longer. So I finally found the courage to let her go. Then I found you. You were like my guardian angel. I didn’t ask God for you. He just gave you to me freely. Now I thank him everyday that my mother had the sense to send me to Texas. I am thinking now it wasn’t so much to meet a man who’s only tie to me was that he gave me life but to meet you.” Sarah now choked on her own tears.

“I’m sorry,” Michelle turned to face her friend. The first true friend that she had every really had. “I didn’t mean what I said about your mom……..”

“Don’t worry about it. I remember the stage you are in right now so well. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to wonder what the hell this life is for. But God isn’t up there with a score pad. He’s not like that and I think you know that Michelle.”

“I want to believe that. But right now I seem to be on the losing end.”

“I don’t believe that. Yes, your life certainly didn’t turn out the way you had expected it to. It never does. I know you have lost a great deal but look at all you have gained.”

“Gained? I lost my mother, basically lost my father as well. He may be alive and well but in most aspects he is dead to me. I lost Jesse. I killed a man. I lost what little family I had left when I had no other choice but to move to Texas. I could very well lose Danny……..”

“Stop right there. Danny is what you gained. You said you loved Jesse. But without what Jesse’s hurt you would have never found Danny.”

“I killed Danny’s brother. A really great way to start a relationship don’t you think?”

“And Danny has forgiven you right?”

“Yes,” Michelle whispered still unable to believe that he had done that.

“Then I have to believe that the events that led you here were supposed to happen. Everything that happens in our lives shapes the person we become.”

“You sound like my mom,” Michelle smiled.

“See so maybe both of our mother’s are looking out for us,” Sarah smiled back.

“Yeah maybe.”

“Do you want to light that candle now?”

“In a little bit. Do you mind if I sit here for awhile?”

“No, I’ll go grab us something to eat. I did promise Jenny to take care of you.”

Michelle stood up and embraced her friend tightly. “Thank you. Thank you for being my friend.”

“The thanks is mutual.”

“Matt!?!?!” Sarah said stunned to see him sitting across from the Chapel, “What are you doing here?” she questioned. After what had happened earlier, Sarah hadn’t expected to see him so soon, if ever again.

“I thought we should talk.”

“I am pretty sure we have said all we needed to say to one another. You made your position very clear. And so did I. I don’t really see what there is for us to talk about.”

“How about the fact that I love you?” he stated.

“What?” she returned breathless.

“I love you, Sarah. And I am sorry for losing my cool with you before.”

“So are you telling me that suddenly you have changed your mind about Albert and Danny?” Sarah wasn’t trusting his words just yet.

“Yes…..no….hell I don’t know what to think about them really. All I do know is that I love you. And if this is where you need to be then I need to be here too.”

Sarah stood her eyes riveted to his face. She wanted to believe him. As much as she hadn’t expected to fall in love with him, she had. And walking away from him earlier had been the toughest thing she had done. It took all her strength not to run into his awaiting arms. To let herself be buried in his safe embrace. Yet she hung back not wanting to have another argument about her decision to stand with Michelle and the others no matter the cost. Sarah was certain that her friend’s state of mind was far too fragile at the moment to withstand being the cause of but another upheaval in someone she cared about life.

“Sarah?” Matt questioned.

“Huh?” she said pulling her mind back to the matter at hand.

“Did you hear me?”

“Yes.”

“Then why so quiet?”

“I don’t know what to think.”

“Why?”

“Not so long ago you were hell bent on making me see that the Santos and Michelle were monsters and suddenly you want me to believe that you have changed your mind? I don’t think so.”

“I love you Sarah. That’s all that really matters. All the rest is not important.”

“Matt, you don’t believe that anymore then I do. Your opinion couldn’t have changed in a matter of minutes.”

“I don’t want to lose you, Sarah.”

“I think you already have.”

“What?” he said flabbergasted.

“You heard me. Your declaration of love doesn’t change the feelings you harbor for the people I hold dear. You are stuck in some Mob Movie mentality………..”

“Well they are the MOB!!!!!” Matt’s anger bubbled again, “You don’t have a clue what you are in for!” he scoffed.

“And you do?” she countered.

“I know that you are walking into a minefield if you keep up this friendship with a marked woman.”

“I would have to say we all navigated the minefield rather nicely thank you…..except maybe Danny,” she whispered still hearing the low sound of his flat line ringing in her ears.

“What? What are you talking about?” Matt questioned.

“Sorry to disappoint you, but this isn’t some Mafia movie. This was real. Danny’s mother had a gun pointed at Michelle. She would have killed her if Joe and I hadn’t walked in……..”

“OH MY GOD!” Matt came forward and embraced her tightly. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine. It’s Danny and Michelle I am worried about. If Danny dies….his mother may as well have killed Michelle too.”

“Danny dies????”

“Danny flat lined. He’s back in surgery. Things aren’t looking too good right now. I really should get Michelle something to eat and get back to her. I don’t want to leave her alone for too long.”

“What are you her protector now?” Matt said with an edge in his voice. He couldn’t stop the visions of Sarah being caught in the crossfire from dancing across his mind. No matter what was going on with them at the moment he did love her.

“Not hardly,” she countered with her own angry tone, “I am her friend.”

“I just don’t want you to be a dead friend.”

“Matt,” she gasped.

“Well it’s true.”

“Threats have been taken care of.”

“Like I believe that.”

“I was right there when it happened. Danny’s mother I can assure you posses no more threat to anyone.”

“And how do you know that?”

“I have it on good authority that’s all I am going to say.”

Sarah suddenly felt as though she was part of the Santos family. And knowing that Matt would never feel the same led her to be closed mouthed. It was funny how loyalty worked she thought.

“Who’s authority?” he asked.

“Matt, I really don’t see any point in continuing this conversation.”

“But Sarah……..”

“No Matt.”

“Is this the end?” he questioned knowing full well the answer.

“It ended the minute I walked away from your car.”

“But I love you……..” he cried out in desperation.

“And I love you too. I just don’t see us ever getting past this. I am sorry.”

“So am I,” he relented seeing the determination in her eyes. “Please take care of yourself,” he said leaning in to kiss her gently.

“I will.” She wiped a tear from her eye as she watched him make his way to the elevator.

Michelle sat watching the tiny flames flickering in the dimly lit chapel. Their light caused red reflections to dance off of the cream walls.

The ideas that Sarah planted in her mind were slowly taking root. What if everything in her life had been preparation for what was coming next? Each disaster shaping her to be the person that she was to become.

She thought back to all the lessons that Maureen had taught her. How to look as someone for who they were inside not the facade that they portrayed on the outside. That advice had made Michelle willing to look past the person Jesse had been when they first met. It had let her love him rather then be fearful of him.

Even though Jesse had broken her heart, he had also healed it as well. It wasn’t until that very moment that Michelle let herself remember that. It had been much easier to just remain angry with him. But in the chain of events, she was certain that Sarah was right. Everything that had happened to her had been the lead in for meeting Danny Santos. Even Mick’s death. As hard as it was for her to comprehend something so horrific blooming into something so wonderful it had.

Michelle carefully walked forward to the rows of candles. Taking a slender match in hand, she lit a candled and knelt down.

“Dear Lord,” she began, “I wish I could say that I have the faith that Sarah does. I want to believe that you have a bigger plan for us. But please don’t let my lack of faith take away from the fact that Danny deserves a second chance. A chance to make a life outside of the pain I know his mother and the others have caused him. I am asking this for myself as well. I love him. I need him. Please Lord, please do whatever it takes to keep him in this world,” she cried softly.

Sarah stopped short at hearing Michelle’s words. A smile filled her face. She was glad to hear that Michelle had taken their talk to heart. She had a long way to go in believing in the greater power the way Sarah did, a start was still a start.

“Michelle,” Sarah said softly not wanting to startle her.

“Hi.”

“Are you feeling better?”

“Yes,” Michelle smiled.

The minute that she had lit that candle and spoke those words a sense of peace filled her.

It was something that she couldn’t describe and wasn’t ready to completely believe in but the relief that she felt was welcoming.

“I am glad. Would you like to go get a bite to eat now? I don’t want Jenny saying that I didn’t take care of you.”

“Actually I don’t think I could eat anything even if I wanted to. Could we just stay here?”

“Michelle, when was the last time you had something in your stomach?”

“I don’t even know. I just can’t think about it until I know that Danny is going to be okay.”

Sarah understood Michelle’s reasoning but she still looked so pale that it was difficult for her to agree with her friend.

“I’ll make you a deal. If we don’t hear anything in a half hour we go to the cafeteria and get you something.”

“Okay,” Michelle relented.

The pair sat in silence for sometime both lost in their own thoughts and prayers. Michelle mulled over the things that had happened in her life while Sarah’s thoughts wondered to her conversation with Matt. She could feel her heart breaking but her head knew that she did what she had to do. There would have been no way for them to repair the damage given the fact that she knew that Matt’s opinion wasn’t about to change no matter what his words were.

The sound of the voice overhead startled them both from their respective worlds.

“Would Albert and Jenny Sampson please report to the surgical waiting area. Albert and Jenny Sampson to the surgical waiting area…….”

Michelle and Sarah instantly looked at one another neither wanting to think about what could be next. Sarah squeezed her friends hand.

“You ready?” she asked.

Michelle took a deep breath before answering, “I don’t know,” she said looking back at the altar hoping that this time her efforts were not in vain.

“Things are going to be fine. I just know it.”

“I wish I had your confidence,” Michelle said looking back as the door swung on their exit.

Michelle steeled herself upon entering the waiting room seeing Dr. Hacker still in his scrubs. She swallowed hard around the lump in her throat.

“Dr. Hacker,” she said, “How’s Danny?” her voice was meek.

“I need to speak to Mr. and Mrs. Sampson.”

“Please Dr. Hacker,” she pleaded, “You must know something.”

“Do you know where Mr. and Mrs. Sampson are?” Dr. Hacker continued without answering the question at hand.

“They went home to get some rest,” Sarah spoke up knowing full well that Michelle wouldn’t be able to make a coherent thought at the present moment. The doctor’s lack of compassion for Michelle irked her.

“Can you get them back here?” he asked.

“I am sure we can, but first could you please tell us about Danny’s condition?”

“I really need to discuss this with his family……….”

“Michelle is as much his family as Albert and Jenny are!” Sarah forced.

“Is he alright?” Michelle whispered.

Dr. Hacker eyed both young women before him. Nothing about this case had been orthodox so far why did he think it would start now.

“The surgery was successful.”

Michelle let out the breath that she had been holding since she walked into the small room.

“Mr. Santos is still in for a long recovery but I believe that it will be a full one.”

“Thank you,” Michelle said relief washing through her. “Can I see him?” She had an immediate need to be with him.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“Why not?” Albert asked entering the room hearing the conversation.

“The last time I let Mr. Santos have visitors we all know what happened. He is my patient and right not I feel it’s in his best interests to be left alone,” Dr. Hacker said smartly.

“I assure you doctor there will be no problems this time.”

“We can’t afford to take any chances. Mr. Santos’ condition could not withstand any further complications.”

“Dr. Hacker,” Albert said, “Michelle is the best medicine you could ever give my nephew.” He pulled Michelle in close to him knowing that she had to be as elated as he himself was.

“Never the less I still feel that Mr. Santos needs more time before having visitors.”

“Need I remind you that we are still his next of kin?” Albert forced.

“Need I remind you that it’s against medical advisement if any of you enter his room.”

“So noted,” Albert countered.

It was hard to miss the fact that Dr. Hacker was irate as he walked out of the room. Yet it made no difference to Albert he knew he spoke the truth. Michelle was the one and only thing that Danny needed right now.

“I think it’s time you went to see Danny,” he turned to Michelle.

“Albert, I don’t know. You heard the doctor. Maybe it would be better to wait. I mean he’s been through so much already. I don’t want to do anything to upset him.”

As much as Michelle was jumping out of her skin to see him she couldn’t stop thinking that maybe her presence would be a reminder of all that his mother had cost him.

“Upset him is the last thing you will do. He needs to know that you are alright.”

“I’m alright?” she echoed.

“Yes you. Things were very out of hand. He needs to see that Carmen has done nothing to harm you.”

“About Carmen……..”

“Enough,” he said cutting her off, “Carmen is a name I never expect to hear again. I meant what I said earlier. We, the Santos Family, are out of the business.”

“What if Danny wants to know?” she asked.

“When the time is right, I will handle that matter with him. It’s nothing that you need to worry about. All that you need to be concerned with is Daniel.”

“Albert……”

“Shhhh. Trust me. I know what I am doing.” Albert looked away knowing that he had done what was necessary to preserve his family while still doing what he had to to ensure that he could live with himself.

“I’m………”

“I can go in with you if you want,” Sarah added sensing that Michelle was apprehensive about seeing Danny after all they had learned.

“I would like that.”

“You two go ahead. I need to call Joe and have him bring Jenny over.”

Sarah and Michelle walked the corridor to Danny’s room. Michelle rested her hand on the handle yet didn’t enter. As much as she wanted to see him she couldn’t bring herself to move.

“Michelle?”

“I’m scared. I have come so close to losing him so many times. What if this is all just a set up to the final curtain call?” Michelle said angst filling her voice.

“That’s not true. Michelle your prayer was answered. Danny is here and he is alive. What you do now is up to you. There are no guarantees in life. We of all peoples should know that. Just make the most of what God has given you and the rest will fall into place.”

Michelle hugged her friend tightly then pushed the door open. Danny was lying still. She pulled up a chair to his bed and reached for his hand. This time however the coldness that she once felt was no longer there. He was warm to her touch. Tear instantly pooled in her soft brown eyes.

“Danny,” she said softly, “Can you hear me? It’s Michelle.” Michelle looked at Sarah who was standing next to the door. Her eyes pleading for some any response from him.

“Just keep talking to him,” Sarah offered.

“I love you, Danny. I have never loved anyone as much as I do you. You are going to make it through this. Dr. Hacker says you will make a full recovery.” Michelle’s voice shook as she tried to stop the tears, “I thought for sure I was going to lose you. I couldn’t bare that. Albert said you were too strong to give up……..”

“Michelle,” Danny’s hoarse voice questioned.

“Yes…yes Danny, it’s Michelle.”

“Thank god. I thought I had lost you,” he remarked opening his eyes finally.

“NEVER!” she gasped.

“Carmen was going to shoot you,” he strained.

“Danny, please don’t. I promised the doctor that I wouldn’t let you get upset.”

“I’m not. I just couldn’t remember what happened.”

“I am fine. That’s all you need to know right now.”

“I love you, Michelle.”

“As I love you.”

Michelle laid her head against his shoulder as she thanked God for the one prayer that had been answered.

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