Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 69

Republisher’s Note: And so we come to the end of another of my favorite Manny fanfics, but don’t worry another one will be starting soon.

Mistaken Identity by Lisa Chapter 69

Eight months later………………..

Michelle watched as Danny lay sleeping. He looked so peaceful there. It was hard to believe that he had made such a complete and quick recovery. With that thought her eyes were drawn to the bright pink scar traveling the length of his chest. It would forever be a reminder of just how close she had come to losing him.

Gently she eased her body off of the bed as not to wake him. Grabbing for her robe at the end of the bed, Michelle made her way into the outer areas of the apartment. Even though the rugs had been changed there were still times that she could see the outline of Danny’s blood. As hard as she tried the chain of events had a way of seeping back into her thoughts. She was certain they did for Danny as well even though he had professed otherwise.

She pushed back the sheers on the sliding glass door and watched the morning sun cresting the horizon as it had done day upon day. Today somehow it seemed different. Today she was going home to Springfield. It had been nearly a year since she had left. It was hard to think of the Bauer house as home anymore. Her life was here in Texas now with Danny, Jenny, Albert and Sarah. She found it so odd that so many months ago she would have given anything to have been able to go home…..but now looking around she was home.

Rick and Abby were delighted that she was coming home for the christening of the newest Bauer. Jessica Anne was born a little over six weeks ago and was all her proud parents could talk about. Michelle felt a pang of guilt at not wanting to return. It had nothing to do with this beautiful baby that his brother and Abby so richly deserved. It was more for the fact that Michelle didn’t want to again be forced to relive the life she had once known. She also wondered what being in Springfield again would do to Danny.

“Hey,” his voice thick with sleep, “I woke up and you weren’t there,” he wrapped his arms tightly around her tiny waist.

“Just watching the sun rise,” she said turning to kiss him gently, “Want some coffee? I was just about to make it.”

She moved away from the warmth of his grasp a little too quickly for his liking, “Hey get back here,” he pulled her back into his arms, “What’s the matter?” he questioned softly.

“Nothing,” she said looking away.

“Michelle,” Danny questioned again.

“Nothing really.”

“When are you ever going to learn I can read you like a book?”

“I’m just not sure you are up to traveling just yet,” she remarked. The answer was partly true but her bigger fear was that being in Springfield again would force all the ghosts that they had worked so hard to vanquish back into their lives.

“Dr. Hacker gave me a clean bill of health over two months ago. There is no reason that I can’t travel. Besides I have been back to work full stream and have not had one problem.”

“Yeah I know but I just think you are pushing yourself too much,” she said gently running the back of her hand across his stubbled cheek. It amazed her how much she loved him. How that every breath she took was in way or another tied to him. The last thing she wanted to do was bring him pain by forcing him back to Springfield, yet she couldn’t imagine going there without him.

“Michelle, baby, really what’s the matter?” he asked again noticing the tears that pooled in her deep brown eyes.

“I’m scared,” she sighed laying her head against his chest listening to the easy rhythm of his beating heart. A sound that was music to her ears.

“Scared?” he repeated bringing her eyes to meet his, “What’s there to be scared of? We are going to Springfield for such a great celebration. I know how much you want to see your niece.”

Michelle looked at Danny and couldn’t believe how lucky she was. His only concern was for her and her happiness.

“I know but…….” Her voice trailed off not knowing the right words for what she needed to say.

“But what?”

“Won’t going back to Springfield be hard for you?” she asked.

“Hard for me?” he echoed, “No harder then I believe it will be for you.”

“Danny……your mother…….”

“Shhh,” he placed his lips against hers to silence the words, “My mother is dead to me. She died along with my father more then ten years ago.”

Michelle looked at him again and still saw the pain in his black eyes that his mother had caused him; all the things that she had cost him. She was indeed dead. Michelle had known that Albert had seen to that. And even though no mention was ever made of it again, Michelle couldn’t help getting the feeling that Bernardo had had a way of letting Albert know that what was needed to be done was taken care of in such a way the Carmen Santos would never be a threat to her, Danny or Jenny ever again.

“Danny…………”

“Michelle, I know what you are thinking but don’t. Nothing is going to change the way I feel about you. Certainly not returning to Springfield.”

“How can you be so sure?” Michelle hadn’t a clue where all of this insecurity was coming from. It was like suddenly she was transported back in time to the place when she was forced to tell Danny just how and why Mick died.

“Because I love you!” he stated firmly drawing her onto his lap, “I have loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. And if you think that I would ever let you go….well that’s just crazy.”

Michelle smiled faintly as she nuzzled her nose against Danny’s warm neck. In her heart she was certain of Danny’s love for her just as she was certain of her own for him but there were times when the old demons had a way of making her doubt everything.
Jenny had told her it may always be that way. It was for her. There were times when she had to force herself to remember what was right in front of her and not the images that plagued her mind. Michelle and Jenny had formed a bond that was maternal. She had taken Michelle and Danny under her wing nursing them both back to health. Michelle spiritually and Danny physically. Michelle never expected to love anyone as much as she loved Maureen Bauer but in Jenny Sampson she had found such a woman.

“I am sorry.”

“Sorry for what?” he asked.

“For getting all weird on you. It’s just that I haven’t been back to Springfield since……..”

“Mick died,” Danny finished her sentence.

“Yes,” she whispered.

“And you’re afraid?”

“Yes.”

“Don’t be. Mick can’t hurt you anymore. No Santos will ever hurt you again.”

“Danny, look at all that I have cost you.”

“You didn’t cost me anything. You gave me the greatest gift. You gave me peace, love and understanding. Those are things that a precious and priceless to me.” He leaned in and kissed her fully on her mouth. It was a kiss that held so much love within it Michelle never wanted it to end.

“I love you, Danny,” she whispered.

“I love you too. We better get moving or we are never going to make this plane,” he laughed.

Michelle and Danny were greeted by Abby, Jessica and Rick as they made their way down the ramp from their departure gate. The instant Michelle got a look at this precious baby girl all her fears about being there vanished.

Danny looked on as Michelle cradled that sweet baby in her arms. He suddenly wanted that for them. He wanted a life full of children and all the dreams that he had never once entertained until he met Michelle.

“We are so glad that you were able to come with Michelle,” Abby said sweetly.

“I wouldn’t have missed it,” Danny offered as he watched Rick eyeing him, “Why don’t we go grab the bags,” he said to Michelle’s older brother.

“Sure,” Rick said in his most noncommittal way.

Danny and Rick walked through the airport terminal in silence. Danny searched for the words to address what he surely knew this man was thinking. Who could blame him?

Here was his sister with the brother of them man she had killed in self defense. Danny was sure that Rick Bauer had a great many questions for him.

“Rick,” Danny began by clearing his throat, “I don’t really know where or how to begin so I’ll just start by saying that I love your sister.”

“So I have been told.”

“You sound as though as you doubt that?”

“Yes maybe I do.”

“Can I ask why?”

“I find it hard to believe that suddenly Michelle is safe. She was ushered away from the only life she has ever known and months later she is returning home with the man she was being protected from.”

“Yeah does sound a bit strange, huh?” Danny smiled.

“STRANGE?!?!? I actually find it ludicrous.”

“You shouldn’t. I don’t know what Michelle has or hasn’t told you but the Santos Family is no longer a crime family.”

“Yeah right!”

“Believe what you want however there have been some events that enabled us to be removed from all activities. For that I am grateful. I am free to make a strong solid life with Michelle. And really that’s all I truly want.” Danny breathed a heavy sigh wondering how long he would carry the Santos curse.

“Events? What kind of events?”

“That’s really not important.”

“I think it is,” Rick pushed.

“No it’s not,” Michelle said as she approached the pair. She knew her brother all too well and when the two of them hadn’t returned she could only imagine the riot act that Rick was reading Danny.

“How can you say that?” he directed his remark to her.

“Quite easily. What happened to free Danny is in the past. And I know that it will stay in the past. Everyone involved got what they wanted or what they deserved.”

“Michelle,” Rick was taken aback by Michelle’s matter of fact attitude.

“There is nothing more to say, Rick. I love Danny. We have virtually walked through fire to get to one another and I am certainly not going to let you try to destroy what we have built. So you can either accept Danny in my life or you can forget that you have a sister.”

Rick eyed the girl standing before him. She certainly wasn’t the poor lost girl that had left the Bauer kitchen so many months ago. Somewhere along the way she had gained an inner strength.

“I love you, Michelle,” Rick said pulling his sister close to him. “I have missed you. But you are right I don’t have any right to control your life. All I want is for you to be happy.

And if Danny makes you happy……” Rick swallowed hard, “Then I am happy for you, both of you,” he stretched out his hand to meet Danny’s.

“Thank you,” Danny said.

Michelle and Danny sat in the back seat as Rick made his way up the long driveway to the country club. It was a different feeling being back there then she had expected. Michelle wasn’t as tense as she had expected to be. And Danny was much more at ease then she thought he would be as well.

“Rick, are you sure this is the right room?” Michelle asked as he and Abby lead them down the dark corridor. Danny suppressed a smile that was creeping over his face.

“Yeah Michelle, this is it.”

As soon as those words were out of his mouth the light came up and there was a chorus of voices yelling SURPRISE. She gasped at the sight of Albert, Jenny and Sarah standing in the room along side of the better part of Springfield.

“OH MY GOD!” she cried. “What is this?” she turned to ask Rick.

“I had nothing to do with it. It was all Danny’s idea.”

“You!?!?!?!” she laughed.

“Guilty as charged.”

“Why?”

“You’ll see. Let’s not keep our guests waiting.”

The pair made their way around the room. Danny was surprised at for once not being treated as the pariah that he had been. It amazed him to be having a business conversation with Phillip Spaulding of all people. Maybe he wouldn’t be eternally damned after all.

He watched as Michelle made her way from person to person with Sarah in tow. He was glad that he had included her as well as his aunt and uncle since without those three he and Michelle would have never come to be.

Danny smiled as he watched Michelle playing a little match making of her own between Bill Lewis and Sarah. One good turn deserves another he thought to himself.
He caught sight of Ross Marler and made his way over to him, “Ross, good evening. Having a good time I hope.”

“Yes Danny, thank you I am. This was a wonderful idea you had for Michelle.”

“I think so too. She was rather nervous about returning home. I wanted her to see that nothing bad was going to come of it.”

“How are you?” Ross asked. He was still in shock as to all that he had been witness to in Texas not so long ago. It amazed him as well that out of all of it he had come unscathed. Not quite the picture he envisioned being tied to a Mob family. He wished he could have said the same thing for his brother. Ross’ many attempts to locate Ben had been fruitless. He had truly wanted to make Ben pay for all of his misdeeds with regards to Michelle. Yet Ross had a sneaking suspicion he already had. Ben’s need for power had drawn him into a minefield that was the Santos Crime Organization and Ross was only to assume that he was one of the causalities of Carmen’s war.

“Fine,” Danny’s voice drew Ross out of his private thought, “Perfect health.”

“I am glad to hear that.”

“There is something that I would like to discuss with you.”

“What might that be?” Ross asked.

“Do you still have that envelope that I gave you?”

“Yes as a matter a fact I do. Why?”

“I would still like you to hold on to it. No one other then myself, my uncle and my aunt know about it. Even though I have been assured that we as a family will be left alone, I would like to know that I still have some insurance if that should change at some point in time. Especially now that I have every intention of staying with Michelle.”

“Certainly.” Ross had been holding those papers for nearly a year now. At times he even forgot they were in his safe, “But Danny, I have to ask. What exactly am I holding for you?” Ross’ curiosity couldn’t take it much more.

“The documents contained in that envelope are an extensive paper trail that I can assure you the FBI would love to get their hands on. And if need be some day they just might.”

“You are telling me I have enough information to bring down the largest crime organization in the mid-west?” Ross’ voice was barely a whisper.

“Something like that.”

“And you were going to use this against your family?” Ross was still a bit confused.

“If I had to yes. And I still will if the time ever arises.”

“What about you, Danny? Don’t you think that you will be implicated as well?” Ross was the ever present lawyer.

“Maybe, but I would imagine that I could get a hell of a deal, don’t you?” Danny smiled.

“I suppose you are right.”

“Well I best get back to the party. And Ross thank you for everything that you have done for me.”

“Done for you?”

“If it hadn’t been for you and your idea to place Michelle in the Witness Protection Program I don’t know where I would be right now. So thank you.”

“Sure,” Ross said as Danny turned and walked away from him. He caught sight of Blake making her way to where he was standing. She was a beautiful as ever. If Michelle Bauer and Danny Santos could find their way to one another maybe he could find a way to put his marriage back together as well.

Danny delicately took Michelle’s hand and led her to the bandstand. He raised his hand for the band to stop.

“May I have everyone’s attention please?” he asked as the room slowly quieted. “First I would like to say thank you to all of you who came to share this evening dedicated to Michelle Bauer. As you all well know, she is a very special person. A girl that can fill any room with light and warmth. She has done that for me. Michelle has showed me what my life was really for. She has enabled me to be a better man and that man wants to spend the rest of his life showing her how much he truly loves her.”

Michelle watched as Danny took a small black velvet box from his suit jacket pocket. She felt dizzy as he bent down on one knee taking her left hand in his.

“I know we met under wild circumstances. I know that without you I am nothing. You have brought me great joy at a time when I thought I was deserving of nothing for that I will be forever grateful. I love you Michelle and I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

For a second Michelle was speechless. She hadn’t ever expected any of this. “Yes,” she whispered, “YES!!!!!!”

The round of applause in the room was deafening. Danny scooped her up in his arms and held her tight against him. Suddenly everything he ever wanted was right within his reach and he wasn’t about to ever let go of it.

The End

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