Something About You – Part 41 by ShellyLynn

Danny opened the door to his apartment and was suddenly overcome with the thought of how wonderful it felt to once again be bringing Michelle home with him. He had spent far too long without her and he was anxious to get everything resolved so that hopefully, he could make her his bride and turn this into an everyday occurrence.

He walked her over to the couch and laid a blanket down across the rough material for her to sit on. After she took her spot, he grabbed a fringed pillow from the chair and set it on one end for her head. “Is Mikey here?” she asked, looking around the small apartment for the adorable young boy that she had come to love as if he were her own. “I’ve missed him.”

“He’s missed you too. This whole situation has been a little hard for him to understand… I haven’t told him much, just that I would do my best to make sure you were okay,” he said, tears welling up in his eyes as he recalled the image he had seen the last few nights before he went to bed. “Every night he climbs down off his bed and prays that you are going to come back to us and love us again. I tried to explain to him that you still loved us, at least I hoped you did, and that you would come back whenever you could.”

“I’m so sorry. This whole thing has been so terrible for you. I should have told you what was going on and trusted you to help me. I can’t imagine how the two of you have felt through all this,” she said, reaching out to grab his hand and clinging to it as her lifeline. “Where is he?”

“He’s on a trip to the zoo with a couple of his friends and their parents. He should be back in a couple of hours,” Danny said, nervously twirling the fringed edge of the blanket around with his fingers as he sat on the coffee table in front of her.

“I hate that I’ve put both of you through all of this…”

“It’s not your fault,” he retorted, trying to keep the hurt out of his voice. He knew why she had done what she had and he understood her desire to protect them because he knew that he would do anything to protect her and his nephew, but understanding and dealing with the pain she caused him were two different things. What he knew for sure was that he loved her too much to lose her again.

“Maybe not, but you have been hurt because of mine and my mother’s mistakes…” she said, not able to keep the hurt out of her voice. “Please tell me what you’re feeling.”

“The whole time you were gone, it felt like a piece of me was missing,” he said after a few seconds of silence, trying to voice his feelings. “Every time the phone rang… every time I heard a knock on the front door or even a noise in the night, I was sure it was you. Mikey started having terrible nightmares again so I had to sleep in his room, but that was easier anyway since I couldn’t shut my eyes in my bed without feeling you beside me. No matter what my heart was telling me, my head kept yelling that you wouldn’t have left like that if you really loved me.”

“I do love you,” she sighed, wiping a few escaped tears from this eyes. “You believe that, don’t you?”

“Of course I do,” he reassured her with a kiss on the hand and a gentle smile. “But I couldn’t come up with any other reason for what you did. Do you have any idea what it was like to think you were with Bill?”

“I’m sorry,” she repeated, causing him to slump his shoulders in defeat.

“I’m not trying to blame you. I know why you did it. I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from. We have to really talk about this if we are ever going to move on.”

“Everything is going to be okay now,” she said, not sounding as if she believed her own words. “We’re together now, I know my family secrets and I’m dealing with them. There’s no where to go from here but up, right?”

He knew that she was just trying to put off dealing with the events of the afternoon, but his mind drifted back to the predicament in which he found himself. The entire trip back he had been struggling with the decision of what he should tell her and how. He was aware that he couldn’t allow her to walk into her mother’s room again without any warning of the things she would be hearing, but he couldn’t help but feel it wasn’t his place to tell her something her mother had managed to keep from her for so long.

“Danny?” Michelle asked, snapping him out of his trance as she patted the spot on the couch next to her, enticing him to join her.

“How about I make you some tea?” he asked, suddenly standing up and taking off for the kitchen. “It’ll make you feel better,” he told her over his shoulder as he departed without giving her the chance to object.

When he arrived in the kitchen he chastised himself for his juvenile behavior moments before. “What the hell was that?” he asked himself aloud. They had been having a much needed conversation and he knew that she simply needed him to comfort her, to be there for her and support her. Hadn’t he wanted her to confront her problems just moments ago? He simply couldn’t help but feel guilty that he was holding something back from her that would have such a huge impact on her life.

He closed his eyes and looked up at the ceiling. He knew what he had to do, he had to tell her the truth and help her to deal with it in anyway he could.

“Look, Michelle,” he began as he headed back toward the living room, “I wasn’t really going to make tea…” his voice trailed off as he noticed her asleep on the sofa. “But it can wait. You are going to need your rest before you deal with what I have to tell you.”

He walked over to her still body and covered her with the blanket he retrieved from the back of the chair. “Somehow,” he smiled slightly, “I have a feeling that is going to be the only peaceful look I see on your face for a while.”

He sat back down on the coffee table, brushing a curl out of her face as he watched her sleep. She looked angelic in her sweet repose and it seemed to him that with every second that passed, he fell even more in love with her. He thought about the pain that his news would cause her and began to rethink his decision. He wondered if it would it hurt to wait just a little while longer and give her some more time to come to terms with what she’d already been told. Wouldn’t it be better to let her deal with the rest of it first before putting any more stress on her? She already looked so pale and fragile. He wondered if she had been eating. He knew from her recent history that when she got stressed, food was usually the first thing she began to cut back on.

He shook his head and rid himself of his cowardly thoughts. No matter how much he disliked the idea of telling her the news, he was well aware that she would take it better from him than from her mother after the earlier events of the day. He also knew that the longer the information was kept from her, the more anger and hurt she would feel. He felt a wave of protectiveness come over him and he knew that he would do whatever he had to do in order to minimize the pain she felt, even if it caused her to be angry with him in the process.

He ran his hand through his curls and decided to make her some tea after all. He knew she should eat as well, so he made his way to the kitchen and decided to make a late dinner. Even if he were about to do more damage to her already frail psyche, he would at least help take care of her body.

He searched the cupboard, realizing that she hadn’t been the only one neglecting food lately. He couldn’t remember the last time he went grocery shopping and he had fed Mikey the last remaining food in the apartment. He walked in and checked to make sure she was still sleeping and then made his way next door to see if he could borrow something from the neighbor to feed his sleeping beauty.

Five minutes later, he returned with a can of chicken noodle soup in hand, prepared to at least provide her some nourishment for her seemingly ailing body.

“And then a huge bear came up close to us and growled wealy loud, but I wasn’t scared,” he heard as he walked into the room.

“You’re a really brave young man,” he heard Michelle respond sweetly, bringing a smile to his face.

“Mikey,” he scolded, smiling in spite of himself. “You shouldn’t have woken Michelle up, she needs her rest.”

“It’s okay,” she smiled, reaching for the boy’s hand. “I’m glad he did, I’ve missed him.”

“Are you going to stay this time?” the young boy asked innocently.

“I’m not going anywhere as long as you want me here,” she smiled, ruffling his curls. He looked so much like his uncle and she found herself imagining a child of their own with those same curls.

“Stay forever!” he shrieked, jumping onto the couch next to her and leaning his head against her shoulder.

“You got it cutie,” she smiled, a stray tear escaping her eye. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Aunt Michelle,” he responded, giving her a huge bear hug. “You are going to marry unca Danny aren’t you?” he asked, looking up at her with his dark brown eyes.

She looked up at Danny for help but his face remained stoic. She wasn’t sure if he wanted to see what she said or if he didn’t have an idea of what to say either. Finally he came to her rescue, “Mikey, Michelle’s really tired right now. Why don’t you go take your bath and then you can see Michelle for a few more minutes before bed.”

The young boy looked up at the man who had been a father to him through the first years of this life and knew by the seriousness of his tone that this was not the time to disobey. “Okay,” he relented, climbing off the couch, “I’ll hurry back.”

Danny sat down next to her on the couch as the boy disappeared into his room. “He really loves you, you know?”

“Yeah,” she smiled slightly, “I love him too.”

A silence ensued at the end of her statement, neither one of them sure of exactly what to say next.

“About earlier…” she finally spoke up, “I’m sorry I accused you from holding things back. I know that you wouldn’t do that to me. I was just so angry and I took it out on you. I’m so sorry. After all of this, do you think you can forgive me?”

“Michelle,” he said, “You had just learned that your whole life had been a lie…” he winced as a look of pain crossed her face. “I wouldn’t blame you for anything you did. However, I can’t let you feel bad about your accusation…” he took a deep breath as he reached for her hand. “What you said earlier wasn’t all a lie.”

She looked at him quizzically, pondering the change in his demeanor. “I don’t understand,” she whispered, half to herself.

“I didn’t… don’t,” he stuttered, correcting himself, “want to hurt you. You have already been through so much these last couple of weeks and if it were up to me, you’d never feel another ounce of pain for the rest of your life.”

“But…” she interjected, “you’ve decided that since that’s not possible, you’ll just go ahead and do it.”

“It’s not like that. Michelle, I know something about your mother… something that you don’t even know yet. She swore me to secrecy and until a couple hours ago, it was best off that way. She’s your mother and despite her faults, she loves you and I know that she wanted to be the one that told you this…” he said, standing up and trying to rid himself of his nervousness by pacing the floor.

Michelle moved toward the edge of the couch, holding the pillow that had been behind her head moments earlier across her chest.

Danny stopped and looked at her, the devastation on her face already telling him to stop now, but he knew he couldn’t. Not only did she deserve to know, but he also knew that she would never forgive him if he didn’t tell her now. He decided that the best thing he could do was tell the truth.

“Your mother is very sick,” he began, sitting back down next to her and taking her hand as she nodded in agreement, “but she doesn’t have Alzheimer’s.”

“Of course she does… now what is it really?” Michelle almost laughed at his suggestion.

“That’s really it. She doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, she has cancer,” he repeated. She didn’t move a muscle, just closed her eyes for a few seconds and then opened them again. He was prepared for her to yell or argue, even cry, but this silence unnerved him.

Finally, she spoke without looking at him. “How long have you known?”

“A few days… I wanted to tell you…” he repeated, hoping she would understand the position he had been in.

“All day we have been talking about honesty and trust. I have been tearing myself apart trying to find a way to make up for what I did to you and all the time you knew and didn’t tell me. How could you?” she cried, her still red eyes filling with tears yet again.

He bent his head, fully understanding her pain. “How could she?” she added, standing up and moving across the room. “I have to go.”

“Michelle, come on honey,” he pleaded, moving across the room to stop her. “You aren’t in any position to be going out,” he said, placing his hand on her arm.

“Let go of me,” she said, looking up at him and staring into his dark eyes. Normally, she would be mesmerized by there depths but at that moment, they only reminded her how much she didn’t know about the man she’d fallen in love with “I can’t be here right now. I have to do some serious thinking and I can’t do that with you so close. I need to be by myself to sort things out.”

“Don’t do this, Michelle,” he tried, “let me help you through this…”

“Right now, Danny,” she said, trying to wipe away her tears, “you are half of the problem.”

She pulled her arm away from his and walked out of the apartment, leaving him behind. He wanted to follow her, he needed to be with her, but she needed time to cool off and he had to stay with Mikey. She’d be back… he hoped.

He walked back to the kitchen, picking up the can of soup and sitting it back on the counter as he wiped a stray tear from his own eyes. He hadn’t even realized he was crying.

“Where’s Michelle?” he heard, causing him to turn and look into the eyes of his nephew. “I heard her crying. Is she okay?”

“She’s going to be fine…” Danny answered him, hoping with all his heart his words were true.

“No…” the boy cried suddenly. “You made her cry and that’s why she left. She doesn’t love us anymore and it’s all your fault. I hate you!”

The boy turned around and ran back to his room, shutting it behind him so as to muffle the sounds of his sobs. His uncle moved to the door and listened. “It’s okay, Mikey. Right now, I hate myself too, but Michelle’s going to come back. She has to, otherwise, I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

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