Something About You – Part 23 by ShellyLynn

Republisher’s Note: Sadly more Evil Bill tonight.

Something About You – Part 23 by ShellyLynn

The party was just starting to get in swing when Danny and Mikey arrived at the Springfield Country Club. Danny hadn’t ever been there before, but he recognized the main ballroom from seeing it on television. Anyone who had any standing in Springfield society was a member and the Bauers definitely led the way as far as money went. In fact, the Bauers, Lewises, and Spauldings were well above the rest of the local socialites, in a class by themselves. Everyone knew them and wanted to be them. In fact, from what he’d read in local magazines, Bill Lewis was one of America’s most eligible bachelors. Millions of women threw themselves at him and it was hard for Danny to believe that it seemed as though the one he actually wanted, had chosen someone else, someone not even on the scale of social elitism.

“Maybe,” he thought to himself, “that’s why I dislike Bill so much, yet pity him. He has everything money can buy but the most precious thing life has to offer has eluded him thus far.” That something, was exactly what Danny had so recently found for himself with Michelle. Danny knew all about Bill’s playboy ways. In fact, at each of the parties he’d attended, Bill had several girls surrounding him at every moment. He didn’t think that one woman would ever be enough for Bill Lewis, and he couldn’t imagine that he thought his ways were good enough for such an incredible woman as Michelle.

He lead Mikey into the private room where Michelle’s party was to be held, eagerly looking around for the lovely guest of honor, his date. He reached his hand down into his pocket and reassured himself that the ring was still there before spotting her in a casual conversation across the room. She was wearing a simple knee-length flowered skirt with a red short-sleeved sweater, but he didn’t remember a time when she had looked more beautiful to him.

She turned toward him and a huge smile lit her face as she caught sight of the handsome duo. Excusing herself immediately, she crossed the room and stepped into his waiting arms. “I’m so glad you’re here,” she smiled, giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. “I wasn’t sure if you’d be able to come, I know they’ve been keeping you pretty busy at work.”

‘Yeah,” Danny sighed, “but I stayed up and worked late last night. I only have a few more things left to finish up tomorrow. Besides, I couldn’t let myself miss the birthday party for such a special lady. You wanted me here and I’d do anything for you.”

“Same here,” she smiled, “I would do whatever it took to make you happy.”

“You.”

“Huh?” she asked, confused by his statement.

“You. That’s all it takes to make me happy,” he grinned, “And Mikey,” he laughed, feeling the tug on his arm and looking down.

“Well, don’t you look handsome?” she addressed the young boy at his side. “I’ll let you in on a little secret if you want.” Mikey shook his head eagerly, awaiting the precious information. “Well,” she whispered as she bent down to his level, “In that room over there, is a play area with tons of toys and games. If you ask Danny real nice, he might let you go play.”

His face beamed with excitement as his gaze traveled to his uncle’s face. Danny tried to look angry, but one shy smile from Michelle had him turned to mush. “There are people to watch them,” she added for his benefit.

“Please,” Mikey asked, “Can I go play?”

“Yeah, just be careful,” Danny answered, watching as his nephew ran across the room to the play area and walked in.

“There are lots of kids in there to play with, I’m sure he’ll love it,” she said, trying to ease Danny’s obvious fears.

“He’ll be fine,” he reassured himself, “I know, it’s just that after everything that’s happened, I’m really protective of him. He’s the only family I have left and I don’t think I could bear to lose one more person I love.”

“I understand,” she nodded, placing her head against his shoulder as they began to cross the room. “We’re both lucky to have you. Let’s dance.”

* * * *

The crowd of people continued to grow as the night went on, but two people were noticeably absent. Neither Michelle’s father nor Bill Lewis had made an appearance at the festive event. She was surprised that Bill wasn’t there, but not overly upset at the reprieve. She had spent enough time with him over the last few weeks to last years. Her father’s absence on the other hand, had her slightly shaken. She knew that he was a busy man, in fact she’d gotten used to him missing important events in her life such as birthdays, school plays, even graduation, but this time, he had promised her that he would make it. “It’s not everyday my little girl turns 21. Of course I’ll be there,” he’d told her this morning. Now, it was nearing 9:00pm and there was still no sign of him.

She knew that she had really blown it last time when she allowed her father to think Bill was her date and she wanted more than anything to tell him the truth about her relationship with Danny. If she was reading the signs right, and judging by what Haley told her that afternoon she was, they were going to be making a commitment to one another that very evening. She wanted to shout it to the world, but she needed to do her father the courtesy of telling him how she felt about Danny first.

She grabbed two glasses of champagne and made her way back to where he was, standing with a group of men he knew from work, enjoying the view of him in his dress pants as she approached. She wasn’t sure that she would ever get over the fact that this wonderful, gorgeous man was hers, that he loved her. He hadn’t actually said it yet, but she was sure it was how he felt. It was such an incredible feeling to know that someone loved her for her, not for who they wanted her to be or for what status she could bring them, but for who she really was. It left her soul feeling more glorious than she’d ever imagined possible.

She handed him a glass and took a sip from hers, “Still no sign of him?” Danny asked as he placed his arm around her and led her away from the group.

“It’s not a big deal,” she responded, shrugging her shoulders despite the tears she could feel welling up in her eyes. “I don’t know why I’m even surprised, it’s not like he’s never done this before.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, pulling her into a warm embrace. “I think I know exactly what you need to feel better.”

“And what would that be?” she asked, a slight smile gracing her lips as she finished off her glass.

“A Super Duper Mikey hug of course,” he grinned, taking her hand and leading her toward the play area. “They always make me feel better.”

“Sounds great,” she laughed.

As soon as they were at the door, Mikey came running over to the two of them excitedly. “Did you come to play with me?”

“No. Actually, Michelle’s sad and she needs one of your special hugs,” Danny told him, squatting down to his level as he spoke.

“I sorry,” Mikey says, reaching out his arms. She bent down and he wrapped them around her, squeezing her tight. “Is that better?”

“Yep,” she smiled, still holding onto him as she wiped away a few tears, “Hey, why don’t we go get you some cake and ice cream?”

“Yippee!” he shrieked as she took his hand and lead him away.

When they arrived at the table, Danny handed him a small piece of chocolate cake and a scoop of ice cream, “And what will the lady have?” he asked.

“I’m not hungry,” she responded, glancing around the room one more time, hoping to spot her father.

“You haven’t eaten anything all night sweetie,” Danny reminded her, “Are you sure you don’t want any?”

“Yeah,” she repeated as Danny grabbed a piece for himself and they went to sit down, her eyes scanning the room every few seconds for a sight of her dad. When she was younger, it wasn’t as big of a deal that her father wasn’t around because she always had her mother by her side. Maureen Bauer was the best woman Michelle had ever known and it had shattered her to find out that her mother was ill.

After finishing his snack, Mikey asked if he could go back and play and returned to the playroom. “Can we step outside for a moment?” Danny asked, taking her hand and helping her to her feet. A waitress walked past and Michelle grabbed another champagne to ease her nerves. This was it, the moment she had been waiting for all night. Her hands were shaking and she felt like a child, she wasn’t aware that Danny’s were doing the same.

They were silent for a few moments as Danny tried to put his thoughts in order. He had rehearsed this many times, yet he couldn’t even come up with the words to begin. His heart felt like it was going to beat out of his chest and he knew that if he waited much longer, he would lose what little nerve he possessed at the moment.

“Michelle,” he sighed, taking the empty glass from her hands and holding both of hers in his. “I love you. I don’t know exactly when it happened or how, but I know that I do, I love you with all my heart. When I lost my sister, I thought that my life was doomed, that there was something about me that made me undeserving of love, but you’ve shown me that I was wrong….”

The music stopped, catching him off guard and for a second he took his eyes from hers, making his words stumble. She looked at him steadily, her gaze unwavering despite the tears forming and threatening to fall. “You’ve shown me,” he said, regaining his composure, “that true love does exist, even for me.” He reached into his pocket and grabbed the ring, placing it between his thumb and forefinger as he prepared for one of the most important moments of his life.

“Michelle Bauer,” was heard resounding throughout the club, disrupting their moment. They both paused for a moment before Michelle finally broke their connection, stepping to the door and watching her father stand on the podium, microphone in hand.

“Let’s here it for the birthday girl. Michelle, come up here.”

She looked back at Danny, her emotions torn. She had waited all night for her father to come and he finally had, he hadn’t broken his promise to her this time. Yet, Danny was her future, at least she wanted him to be. He was about to propose to her… he admitted that he loved her, how could she walk away from him right now.

“Go ahead,” he told her, forcing an awkward smile. “I’ll still be here when you’re done.”

She gave him a thankful smile and kissed him on the cheek before returning to the main room to a chorus of cheers. She made her way up onto the podium as Danny stood in the back of the room, admiring her beauty as she caught his eyes. He knew how much her father being there meant to her and he wasn’t going to make her choose, not tonight. They were going to tangle with Mr. Bauer enough later. Tonight was a time to celebrate.

“I want to wish my beautiful daughter a happy birthday,” he began, taking her hand in his. “She has turned into quite the young woman, and I’m not the only one who feels that way.”

Danny’s stomach began to churn violently. Something bad was about to happen; he could feel it in his very soul. He started to move toward the stage when he saw Bill Lewis make his way up the stairs.

He continued his path, making his way through the large group of people who were watching the scene excitedly. “Michelle,” Bill began, walking toward her. “We’ve known each other for a long time…”

She looked around anxiously, trying to find Danny’s calming face in the crowd. This couldn’t be happening. It was only a dream, or a nightmare, she reasoned. She was going to wake up any minute now and laugh at her foolishness. Danny was the one who was supposed to propose to her tonight, not Bill. Never Bill.

“Over the years I’ve grown to love you and I know that we will have such a happy life together. Michelle, Will you marry me?”

Those were the last words Michelle heard before she felt her body hit the floor and everything went black.

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