Republisher’s Note: Michelle is struggling to get out of the trap Bill and Ed have set for her.
Something About You – Part 32 by ShellyLynn
Michelle climbed the stairs up to the balcony of the lighthouse, wrapping a blanket tightly around her shoulders as she looked out over the water. It was so beautiful, so peaceful. So many times in her life she went there and just the calm of it made her feel better. It was a place that helped her to solve so many of the problems she had encountered in the past. This time however, it wasn’t a solution she was searching for. This time, it was a way to reconcile within her own heart what she wanted and what she knew she must do.
She had always dreamed of finding the kind of love she had with Danny, but ironically, that love is the one thing that was forcing her to give him up. She knew what losing Mikey would do to him and she couldn’t be the cause of his despair. He had already lost so much, so many people in his life, she wasn’t sure he could handle losing the last remaining member of his family.
Right then, she supposed, he was probably really worried about her though. She was way late for her date to meet him at the Falls and she contemplated calling him to let him know she was okay, but decided against it. She didn’t think she could steady her voice to talk to him anyway. He would be able to read her like a book, even from miles away.
She wondered how she would find a way to tell him. Sure, he would be hurt by her news, but he would get over her, she swallowed around the lump in her throat at the thought. He would be able to find someone else and have a family. He would be able to continue raising Mikey into the kind of man anyone would be proud of. He would find happiness and she would hold onto that hope and the wonderful night they spent together to get her through the rest of hers. Knowing that he was okay would make it worth the pain. It was the only choice she found herself in the position to make. She only hoped she could find the strength to go through with it.
The wind blew her hair into her face and she reached up and tucked the stray strands behind her ears. If she closed her eyes, she could almost feel Danny’s hand doing the very same thing just hours before. She tried to block his image from her mind, knowing that it was the only way to get through this, but the harder she tried, the more his face invaded her thoughts. His smile… his laugh… his kiss.
“Ugh,” she sighed, shaking her head violently, making a mental note that she must have run out of tears a long time ago. “Go away, please,” she pleaded, trying to convince her heart she was doing the right thing.
“I just got here,” a voice came in response.
“How did you know I was here?” she asked, keeping her eyes trained on the water before her.
“I know you, Michelle. We’ve been friends for a long time,” the voice responded. “You have always come here when you get upset.”
“You could fix that you know,” she answered, her voice wavering slightly. “You don’t have to do this.”
“Come on, Bill,” she said, turning to face him. “If we were really friends, you wouldn’t put me through this. If you cared about me at all, you would want me to be happy.”
“You will be. Come on, Michelle. Our marriage will make us some of the most powerful people in the world. We care about each other. That’s enough,” he said, he said calmly, as if his reasoning would be enough to convince her to see clear to his way of thinking.
“It’s not,” she refuted him, “I have exactly what I want with Danny. How do you expect me to walk away from that? How do you expect me to tell him that I’m marrying someone else? I can’t do that. I’ll never be able to look him in the eye and convince him that I don’t love him as much as he loves me.”
A noise at the bottom of the stairs caught her attention, her eyes turning to the doorway. “Michelle?” she heard, ‘Michelle? Are you here?”
“Oh my God, it’s Danny,” she gasped, both excited and terrified at the same time. It looked like the moment she’d been dreading had finally arrived. She would have to tell him her decision. She would have to look him in the eye and break his heart.
She heard his steps getting closer as he climbed the stairs to the observation deck. She looked at Bill, detesting the smug, almost excited look on his face. She couldn’t help but wonder how she had ever considered him to be one of her closest friends. Now, against her wishes, the man she could now barely stand to look at would be becoming her husband. She couldn’t think of any other way out of it.
The door began to open and she took a step away from it, holding her breath as she waited for Danny’s arrival. She couldn’t do this to him, she realized suddenly, at least not in front of Bill. There had to be another way, didn’t there? She couldn’t break his heart and humiliate him at the same time.
Before she got the chance to change her mind, Bill grabbed her and pulled her close to him, planting a firm, rough kiss on her lips. “Michelle?” she heard Danny’s meek voice from behind.
“Danny,” she gasped, finally able to break free. “This isn’t what you think…”
“She didn’t want you to find out this way, Danny. She wanted to tell you in person, face to face with no distractions, but now that you’ve caught us, we might as well tell you. Michelle and I are getting married.”
“You’re a liar,” Danny gritted through his teeth, taking a step toward Bill even as he said it.
“Tell him, Michelle,” Bill said firmly, holding onto her arm.
She gazed at him with a look of pure hatred before turning to Danny and taking a deep breath, “It’s true,” she managed, holding onto Bill’s arm in what appeared to be a gesture of love, but was really the only thing keeping her knees from collapsing beneath her.
“It can’t be, Michelle,” Danny tried, unable to grasp her quick turnaround. “You love me, I know you do, and I love you. We belong together…”
“We’re getting married in two weeks,” Bill stated firmly, surprising both of them. “You’re welcome to come, Santos.”
“No thank you,” Danny said, fighting to contain his emotions. This couldn’t be happening again. She swore she would never leave him, how could she do this. “I thought you were different. I thought that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together, but I guess you were playing me for the fool. Maybe everyone was right, I was okay to slum with, but not to marry. Sorry to interrupt your lovefest,” he choked, knowing he had to get out of there before he broke down. “Have a happy life.”
He turned around and walked back through the door as Michelle collapsed into a heap on the ground. “How could you do that? I can’t do this to him, not this way.”
“I did what had to be done,” he said nonchalantly, gripping the rail as he looked at her. “You weren’t strong enough to do it on your own, so I did it for you. You should be thanking me. Come on, let me take you home and make you forget all about this.”
“Let’s get one thing straight. I may be marrying you, but I’m doing if for Danny’s sake and I will never betray our love by sleeping with you,” she choked, finding a few tears that apparently were waiting for that moment to be shed. “I want you to leave.”
“Fine,” he said, taking a step toward the door to leave, “He’ll get over it you know. He’ll find another woman to seduce, maybe not as rich, but at least he’ll have the kid.”
She shook her head, remembering Mikey, the reason she was doing this. “Mikey is lucky that he’ll never have to know what a despicable man his father is.”
Bill laughed, easily shrugging off her insult. “You need to drop by and talk to the coordinator. We have a wedding to plan.”
He shut the door behind him and Michelle looked up at the sky. “Lord,” she prayed. “Please forgive me for what I’m doing to Danny. Please help him to deal with this and move on. All I want is for him to be happy, even if it can’t be with me. Please help him to find forgiveness in his heart for me as well, I never wanted to hurt him. If there’s any other way out of this, I pray that you’ll help me find it.”