Republisher’s Note: Don’t count out Maureen in this chapter.
Something About You – Part 31 by ShellyLynn
Michelle walked slowly to her mother’s room, taking deep breaths in an attempt to contain her emotions. She had been driving around town for a couple of hours, searching in her head for some way out of the precarious situation she now found herself in. Each time she came near campus she came so close to turning around and heading straight for Danny. It would be so easy to tell him the truth and let him help her through things, but she knew that no matter what, he would put his needs aside for her, which, unfortunately meant putting Mikey’s in danger as well. As much as she wanted to be with him, she couldn’t allow him to do that for her.
She was unsure of what to say to her mother. As much as she knew that she could trust her to understand and to do her best to help, she was also well aware that her mother might not physically be able to do anything. Even though she had always been lucky enough to come on good days before, she was still terrified of watching her own mother in a condition she knew to be common to those with Alzheimer’s. One of these days, she was sure, the day would arrive when her mother failed to even recognize her. It was that terror alone that kept her from visiting her beloved mother every single day.
She said a short prayer for her mother’s health and help. She wanted more than anything for her mother to tell her that everything would be all right, that she could fix things. The only problem was, she wasn’t six years old anymore and the days when her mother could magically kiss things and make them better had passed. Maybe, she hoped, there would be another, more practical way for her mother to save her life from disaster.
When she opened the door and walked in, she noticed the steady rise and fall of her mother’s chest against the warm blue blanket lying across her bed. She tiptoed over to the chair next to her and sat down, her mind searching for the right words to say when the beautiful eyes she needed to draw strength from opened to see her.
“Michelle,” her mother whispered, licking her dry lips. “What are you doing here? Is everything okay sweetie?”
No matter how hard Michelle tried, she couldn’t stop the tears from coming. They flowed down her cheeks like waterfalls, soaking the sheet of her mother’s bed as she laid her head down and sobbed. Mrs. Bauer brushed her head softly with her hand, wondering what exactly had happened to hurt her daughter so badly. From what she’d recently been told, she assumed it had something to do with the Lewis boy.
“Mama,” Michelle said, raising her tired head, “Do you remember Danny?”
“Of course sweetie,” she replied, “He was the handsome young man with the adorable little boy. You brought him here before…”
“Yes, that’s him. I’m in love with him Mama. He’s the most amazing man I’ve ever met. He’s kind and sweet…smart… strong… and he loves me, more than I ever thought anyone could…”
“That’s wonderful,” her mother smiled warily, waiting for her to say what she was expecting to come next. “So what’s wrong?”
“Bill…” Michelle said, choking back her threatening tears once again, “He’s blackmailing me. He’s going to take Danny’s nephew away from him if I don’t agree to marry him. It turns out that he thinks he is Mikey’s biological father. He’s already arranged to have a paternity test and I know he wouldn’t go through with it if he weren’t sure it was true. You know he wouldn’t risk a scandal for nothing.”
Mrs. Bauer sighed, turning her head away as her mind began to churn, trying to come up with some possible way to help her daughter. “Have you talked to your father about this?”
“He’s backing Bill. Apparently, his business matters more to him than I do. He’s even willing to help Bill get custody if that’s what it takes to get me to agree to this. What am I supposed to do? I can’t let them take Mikey away from Danny, it would kill both of them.”
“Are you sure he’s on Bill’s side? He told you that he was choosing Bill over you?”
“I just came from talking with him. He was with Bill and they were celebrating our impending marriage,” she reaffirmed, rubbing her tired, red eyes. “I love Danny so much. Mama, we made love last night and it was the most beautiful, wonderful experience of my life, just like you said it would be. He was so tender and loving. I can’t imagine ever being happier, but this morning, I was faced with reality. I may have to give him up to protect him. I can’t think of another way. Mama it’ll kill me. I don’t think I can live without him.”
Mrs. Bauer turned her head, covering the expression on her face. She was elated that it appeared her daughter had found what she’d been wishing for her to have, a true love, but it also looked like she may be forced to lose him. She sighed, putting on a bright face for her daughter, “Michelle sweetie, I don’t know what to tell you except don’t give up on love. You have to do everything you can to hold onto Danny. If you don’t you’ll never forgive yourself. I’ll do whatever I can to try and help you.”
“I know you would, but I think it’s out of our hands now. Thank you for listening to me mama, I love you.”
“I love you too sweetie. Remember what I said Michelle, don’t give up.”
Michelle nodded, turning her head and walking to the door. As soon as she closed it behind her, she leaned against the wall and slid to the floor, resting her arms on her knees. “I would never forgive myself if he lost Mikey either.”
* * * * * * * *
As soon as Michelle closed the door, Maureen picked up the phone and dialed a familiar number. “I need you to get over here now. Ed broke the deal. I’m not going to let him hurt my daughter, we’ve got to do whatever we can to stop him,” she said into the phone. As soon as she got her answer that the person would arrive in ten minutes, she hung up, sitting up and taking a drink of water. “He’s going to pay for crossing me,” she whispered to herself, looking out the window. “I have to find a way to protect her.”
* * * * * * * *
A knock on Maureen Bauer’s door shocked her into silence. After the events of the day, she was more than surprised to be receiving another visitor, especially at this time of night. “Hello?” she asked tentatively, her eyes quickly darting to the person sitting next to her to see if they could give any insight into the possible identity of her surprise guest.
“Mrs. Bauer? It’s Danny Santos. I’m a friend of your daughter’s.”
The man sitting along side of her stood up and kissed her on the cheek, “This sounds like a conversation you’ll want to have alone. I’ll give the two of you some time to talk…” he told her with a soft smile. “Don’t worry, I’ll be back later.”
“Thank you,” she whispered, holding onto his hand. “I know how hard all of this has been for you.”
He nodded before walking to the door and opening it. “Good night, Maureen,” he said formally, taking a long look at the man in front of him before allowing Danny to pass and take his seat next to the bed.
“It’s nice to see you again, Danny, Michelle has told me how highly she thinks of you. I’m glad to know you’ve been taking such good care of her.”
“Have you seen her lately?” he asked, hoping that the woman before him could shed some light on her possible whereabouts. He had already checked all the places he could think of with no luck. There had to be somewhere he didn’t know about that she might have gone. He was hoping her mother would be able to give him some clue as to where exactly that might be.
“Yes, she came by earlier. Why do you ask?”
“She was supposed to meet me at… Well, she never showed up. Was she upset when she was here?”
“She seemed okay,” her mother covered, unsure what the best strategy would be for this. She wanted to do what would best benefit Michelle, but she wasn’t sure what that was in this situation. “It’s not like her to miss her plans. Are you sure she knew where to go?” Mrs. Bauer asked, praying that she was wrong about the reason Michelle didn’t show up. If she was avoiding him, it could only mean that she had made up her mind to go through with breaking his heart and marrying Bill.
“A couple hours ago. She took off this morning while I was in the shower,” he blushed at his admission but continued nonetheless “and I haven’t heard from her since. I think there might be something wrong. Can you think of anywhere she might have gone?”
“Did you try Laurel Falls?” her mother asked, knowing that ever since Michelle was a child it was her favorite place, especially when she needed to think.
“That’s where she was supposed to meet me,” he sighed, his nervousness apparent to the women before him.
Maureen racked her brain, trying to find some clue as to where her daughter might have disappeared to. “The lighthouse,” she said finally, “I bet she went there. She used to go their all the time when she was a child. Our family owns it and she used to use it as her very own playhouse whenever she got the chance.”
“Thank you so much Mrs. Bauer. You know, I love your daughter very much. She’s the most incredible woman I’ve ever met,” he smiled.
“I can tell,” she smiled, “and she loves you too, more than you’ll ever know. Promise me that no matter what happens between the two of you, you won’t give up on what you have together. Promise that you’ll remember how much you love her and never let her go,” she requested, the urgent tone of her voice not lost on Danny.
“I promise,” he answered, unsure of why she was so insistent on making sure he gave her his word. “I love her too much to ever let her go.”
“I’m going to hold you to that,” she smiled half-heartedly.
“Thanks for the help Mrs. Bauer,” he said, standing to leave. “I’m going to give it a shot. Something is going on and I am going to find out once and for all what it is.”
He left her alone in the room and as she stared out into the night, she said aloud, “I hope you can handle it once you do son. No matter what she says, Michelle is going to need you now more than ever, even if my plan works.”