Posts Tagged ‘Pilar Santos’

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 5

August 25, 2017

Republisher’s Note: I have no idea why they bothered to put in a specific address for the Bauer House when it was the wrong one. The Bauer House is located next to the Spaulding Estate on Skyline Drive. The background as Aussie gives it messes with the timeline of the original story making it seem like Manny were dating longer before they got married than they actually were.

Author’s Note at the bottom.

Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 5

Michelle removed the egg, cheese and mushroom casserole from the top oven and placed it on a warming tray to keep it warm until the remaining Santos family members arrived for a light breakfast. Danny leaned over to Michelle’s neck to lay a soft kiss on her skin. Giggling at her husband’s attention, “Hey, you are supposed to be entertaining Bethany and Gabby!”

“Honey, I am. They are sitting in their sleds with no place to go. Perfectly content.”

“Danny, you are being cruel to them. They are waiting for us to take them outside for another ride in their sleighs.”

“I’ll let Pilar and Bill have the next honor.” With one arm wrapped on the side of Michelle’s waist, “It is all your fault. I’m dragging my ass this morning because of your naughty ways last night. I bet Bill Lewis would be shocked to see what the prim and proper Michelle Bauer Santos does in the privacy of our bedroom!”

“Sweetie, you promised not to tell anyone. Remember it was in the privacy of our bedroom.”

Sipping his second mug of coffee, “I might have to invite your old boyfriend to look in your lingerie drawer.”

“Danny, I know you to well. You are teasing me. Bill and I are still close friends and we did go skinny dipping when we were ten years old at Laurel Falls. Bill can testify to the fact that there wasn’t much to see back then and it sure discouraged any future interest.”

“So my sister’s fiance has seen the diamond in the rough but lacked the imagination to see the shining diamond.”

Handing Danny the oven mitts, “Can you take the Cinnamon Buns out of the lower oven? I know this is supposed to be a light breakfast but I want be able to make it to Carmen’s for her Christmas Day Brunch.”

“Honey, I told Carmen that you have a shift to cover at the hospital. She is OK with it.”

The banging of the bags of presents on the glass panes diverted the couple to the arrival of Danny’s family. Opening the door for Pilar and Bill, Danny kissed Pilar’s cheek. “Merry Christmas, Peanut! What do you have in all these bags?”

“Presents for my niece and nephew. I couldn’t resist buying for them. Ask Bill I spent one entire afternoon shopping for your two children.”

“Danny, I can vouch for Pilar. Pilar hit every children’s shop in Chicago. Your sister can do some serious damage when turned loose in a store.”

“Oh Danny and Michelle, I found the cutest clothes and I had the hardest time deciding which to buy. You will love the cute pink and purple bathing suits for Bethany Joy and the little sundresses. They make the cutest little boy sun suits to match the sundresses. I actual caught a couple of sales and I purchased clothes for next year as well.”

Michelle counted the bags, “Pilar, are these all clothes?”

Hugging her sister in law, “No, I did buy a few toys. I saw the neatest box of make believe food for Gabby and Bethany Joy to use in their pots and pans. Michelle, the rest are for Danny and you.”

“Why are Gabby and Bethany Joy sitting in the sleighs with their fleece hats on their heads?”

Michelle punched Danny in his side, “Danny, why don’t you tell Pilar and Bill what you have in mind for them to do after we eat breakfast.”

“Peanut, Santa bought the sleighs last night and Michelle and I were out at 6am this morning pulling your niece and nephew on the snow. After we came back inside, Gabby and Bethany kept on crawling back into the sleighs and getting out and walking to the door. I gave them their hats to assure them that they were going outside again soon. They have been waiting patiently for Bill and you to take them for another ride. Did Carmen and Abuell follow you here?”

“They were stopping by to pick up Ray from the church parish. When we left the house, Dietz was packing the car with presents. ”

The front door bell rang twice before Danny opened the door to see two enormous white bears with red scarfs hiding the two small Santos women. “Why didn’t you call me on the cell phone so I could come out and help with the bears.”

“We wanted to see how Gabby and Bethany Joy react to the bears. The bears have big sunken stomachs where Gabby and Bethany can crawl on and rest.”

“Mam, I hope you are planning on keeping them at your house. We are running out of space quickly today.”

“Where is Dietz? He is gathering the remaining gifts after he helped Maria up the walkway and steps. You might want to help him. There are several heavy boxes of antique china boxes and silver serving pieces for Michelle from Maria. I have a nice contemporary painting for Michelle as my gift. The same art dealer in Boston made me a deal that I couldn’t refuse.”

Danny grabbed his navy double-breasted coat from the coat rack and went quickly down the steps to Carmen’s car.

“Dietz, did you check with Jimmy last night?”

“I did. Boss. The Spencer girl spent the evening in Chicago. The neighbor said, She is going back to Australia before New Year’s Day. Right now, the girl is in Chicago and not in Springfield.”

Shaking his head at the good news, Danny lifted one of the boxes. “Michelle has a shift at the hospital from 12noon until 6pm. You can take the rest of the day off.”

“OK, Boss.”

Back inside the house, Danny watched while the ladies opened the Christmas gifts for the twins. Carmen had Gabby sitting on her lap and Maria rocked Bethany Joy in the Boston rocker with Pilar holding the outfits up to each child. Danny poured fresh coffee in all the mugs and prepared another batch of fresh ground beans to brew another flask of coffee. The room was quickly becoming a scene of strewn boxes and colorful wrapping paper with opened gifts piling up on the floor.

Bethany Joy spotted Maria’s string of pearls and pulled the pearls up to her mouth, which prompted Danny to scream “No Bethany.”

The shock of the loud noise had Bethany crying spontaneously.

“Daniel, why did you scream No to Bethany? You have scared my baby.”

“Abuella, she was putting your pearls in her mouth. I didn’t want her to break the string and she needs to learn what No means. Yesterday, Bethany hurt her finger with a sharp needle from the Christmas tree and I was afraid of her swallowing a pearl.”

Michelle laid a present down and reached up to take Bethany from Maria. “Bethany was probably fascinated with the pearls and thought they were a toy. It is fascinating to witness the insatiable curiosity of a child-especially when a forbidden object presents itself. The battle usually begins with a parent’s gentle warning be careful or don’t touch. Initially Bethany Joy is alarmed until the overwhelming urge to see for herself takes over usually resulting in a broken vase, a broken string of Marias pearls or a hurt finger. How many times have we seen Maria and Carmen drape expensive jewelry on Bethany’s neck?”

Abuella supported Michelles statement, “Your wife is right, I have given the pearls to Gabby and Bethany Joy to play with but I watch what they do with them. Curiosity is a normal thing. They have to learn what will hurt and still keep a sense of curiosity. At High Ridge, we have had to do house keeping and put breakables up higher out of their reach.”

Giving Bethany back to Maria, “I’m sorry but I have to leave to go to the hospital. Thank you all for your generosity Please make sure the twins get a good nap this afternoon; they have a long day ahead with dinner at the Bauer House tonight. I put several new books in their activity bag.”

Pilar stood up and hugged Michelle, “I promise to read to Gabby and Bethany. Bill and I can bring you a late lunch this afternoon. We are spending the later part of the afternoon and night at Vanessa and Matt’s lake house home.”

“No, you don’t have to that; I will get a free lunch today at the hospital. Part of the deal of working a holiday.”

Scraping the ice and snow off of the Mercedes together, Danny pulled Michelle in his arm for one last hug and kiss before releasing her to go to work. “I’m going to miss you today. Last Christmas I was sick but we spent all of the day together. This sucks with you leaving to go to work.”

“Danny, there are sick people at the hospital that are never going to have another Christmas.” Flipping the snow from his dark thick curls, “But we will be together looking at the watch on his right wrist in six hours. It has always been this way at the Bauer house. Daddy often missed most of the day.”

Opening the door for Michelle to climb up in the SUV, “Please choose a specialty that will allow you to be home on the holidays.”

“Honey, you married the wrong woman!”

Leaning inside the car,” I married the right woman but she is very determined to be a doctor on call all the time.”

Giving one last kiss to Danny and remembering the odor of her husband’s body before backing the SUV out of the parking place, “One reminder Danny, no meat for Gabby and Bethany until tonight.”

Danny stood and watched Michelle drive away from him. Saluting with his hand at Michelle until the SUV was out of sight, Danny returned to his family and their Christmas celebration. In six hours, the new generation of Santoses would be sitting down to dinner at one of the most respectable families in Springfield for Christmas dinner. Miguel Santos had to like how the family had turned the corner in the social part of society.

The sun had set early in the late afternoon when Meta stood in the Bauer dining room recounting the forks, spoons and knives. She straightened the table-runner before lighting the candles on the table and the sideboard. The increased noise level in the Bauer kitchen was Daniel Santos arriving with Gabby and Bethany Joy for their first Bauer Christmas. The bells on the hallway clock were striking half past the hour, which meant if all was well with Michelle’s schedule; she would be arriving shortly.

Abbey had finished pouring the red wine after placing the last favorite, green bean and onion casserole on the warming plate. “Aunt Meta, this Christmas dinner is special for the Bauer family. We have Michelle’s two children and Rick and I have Freddie. Even Ed seems less restless and he has stayed for more than a year.”

Smiling at the inner peace that was evident in Ed and patting Abby’s graceful hand that showed the evidence of the hard work from her days spent living on the Amish farm, “Yes, we have three new grandchildren and all at once we are getting crowded in the dining room.”

Abbey sighed with the vision of seeing the three highchairs in the dining room and going through her mental checklist again, “To tell you the truth I don’t feel the spirit of adventure as I did early this morning when we invited our extra guest for dinner at the last minute.”

“Abbey, I know what is right and wrong and today, I am correcting a social injustice.”

“Now, we need one of the men to bring in Gabby and Bethany’s highchairs and warming their plates in the microwave.”

In the kitchen, the large turkey sat on the carving tray with Ed doing the carving honors on the cooked bird. “Merry Christmas Danny and Merry Christmas to Bethany Joy and Gabby. Danny, do you think Gabby and Bethany are still too young to chew on a turkey leg? This will be the last year for them to have the honor of claiming chewing rites since Freddie isn’t equipped with a set of teeth.”

Admiring his children’s outfits, “Ed, Gabby and Bethany will pass on the chewing rites. My sister Pilar went a little overboard this year with their outfits and this is their third outfit for the day. I have specific orders from her to make sure that Michelle saw the twins dressed in the red velvet outfits. Bethany’s dress with her white lace underskirt is a sure target for any grease and you saw last night what Gabby does with his hands.”

“Did they get their naps at your mother’s house this afternoon?”

“Yes, they both took nice long naps after brunch but I suspect they are exhausted and might fall asleep at the dining room table. We are fast approaching the hour when the Sandman comes and they fall asleep for the night.
Have you heard from Michelle? I called and left a message on her cell phone but she hasn’t returned my call.”

“Meta heard from Michelle a few minutes before six and she said that she was starving to death- no lunch today and a typical Bauer mode of operation for a holiday.”

The lights from a car pulling in the driveway flashed in the kitchen window. “That’s my girl and she is right on time for a change.”

Flashing her high beam lights twice to call for help, Rick gave Freddie to Danny. “You hold Freddie while I help my sister. She wants help to bring in something.”

“Rick, I can go out, I forgot all about the pile of gifts for the Bauer family.”

“No Danny, Freddie wants to get a close up view of his Uncle Danny. With our schedules, we hardly have time for a nice leisure visit.”

Catching her breath as she ran in the kitchen, “I’m almost on time.”

Danny with his free hand helped her with her coat after she dropped the pile of packages on the loveseat near the door. “Thanks, honey. What can I do to help in the kitchen?”

Meta answered, “Nothing honey, I saved the dishwashing for you, young lady.”

Michelle kissed Danny and then rubbed her cheek on Freddie’s fat chubby cheeks. “Freddie has the cheeks that you want to squeeze.”

“Michelle, did you have the heat on in the Mercedes?”

“I got here before the car warmed up, but I’m not sure if the blower is working properly. I like the car but the diesel engine is very slow in producing heat. Have you feed Gabby and Bethany?”

“Oh my Michelle, I forgot to put their water based plates in the microwave! We have been discussing your children’s wardrobe. Bethany and Gabby are cute as buttons with the matching outfits. I don’t think that I have ever seen small fur boots until today. And may I say that you look pretty nice today as well.”

“Danny gave me the black man made leather mini skirt with the red lamb’s wool sweater. I even got a few cat calls from some teens in the ER today. The clothes caught their eye. I informed them that I was the mother of twins after they called me a Sexy Lady One of the boys said, Then you are one Sexy Mama and I then got my revenge by checking for undescended testicles.” Winking at Danny, “I must show you how this is done.”

“Hey this is enough of medical shop talk, why don’t we all gather in the dining room and I’ll bring in the baby plates with their food.”

“Aunt Meta, you go ahead, I’ll get Bethany and Gabbys food. You have to be tired.”

Danny motioned Meta out of the kitchen, “Michelle and I will take care of the food for our children. Plus I want to talk with Michelle about the lack of heat in the Mercedes….Why didn’t you tell me that the heater wasn’t working in the car?”

“It happened gradually and today was the first day that the blower didn’t function. The heater wasn’t working this morning when I left our home.”

Throwing his hand up in the air, “You go ahead, I’m calling the car dealership. They are going to tow the car tonight and I want the heater fixed before we get back from Puerto Rico or a new loaner in my driveway for you to drive. Come here Michelle, baby you could get a cold or pneumonia driving in subzero weather.”

“Danny, please don’t make a big fuss of all nights. The tow driver has a family too. Did Daddy take Gabby and BJ in the dining room?”

Nodding his head and indicating YES, Danny spoke sternly into his phone in the quick Spanish phrases, which Michelle recognized as curse words.

The sight of their Mother energized the tired toddlers bodies as they almost jumped from their grandfather’s arms to the extended hands of Michelle. Gabby smothered Michelle’s cheek with his wet kisses and locked his hands in Michelle’s thick curls. “How’s my big boy? Mommy missed your beautiful face.” Turning her attention to the small replica of herself, “Miss Princess, your Aunt Pilar must have had this dress under the tree at Granny C’s house.” Bethany hooked her arm and hand tightly around Michelle’s neck. The tiny petite fingers of her left hand touched Michelle’s lips for a kiss. “Danny, you have got to come and see what your daughter has learned!”

“I’m sorry to be holding up dinner but Michelle and I are leaving town early in the morning and I wanted her car towed tonight so that they will have ample time to fix her car while we are away. What’s this with Bethany Joy?”

“Danny, watch where Bethany puts her fingers on her left hand.”

Danny bent down to the eye level of Bethany. “Do you want Mommy or Daddy to kiss your fingers?”

Switching to her Daddy’s lips, “Dada.”

“Oh Bethany, you want Daddy to kiss you!”

Answering Danny in his native language, S, s Shaking his head and laughing at his daughter’s response, “Tell Mommy what No is in Spanish.” Gabby and Bethany, both moved their heads sideways indicating their answers with a physical response and yelling “No” to their audience in the dining room.

Beaming as a proud parent would after seeing Bethany Joy and Gabby respond with their bilingual talents, Michelle asked her brother and sister-in-law, “OK Rick and Abbey, when is my nephew going to display his IQ?”

With his own joy of finally having a child and loving every moment, Rick went into his silly face routine for his son. At the right moment, Freddie smiled and laughed at his Daddy. “Michelle, this is the best that we can do this year but next year Freddie Bauer will be able to keep up with the Santos twins.”

Danny and Michelle sat next to each other with one of their children on the other side to help minimize the confusing sitting arrangement in the dining room. “Did you bring their pajamas?”

“Carmen packed the diaper bag with an extra set of PJs but we shouldn’t stay out tonight very late. We have an early departure in the morning at 10am. And I hate to wake them up transferring them from here to the car and back in the house. If it is possible, I want to leave after we open our gifts. You still have to pack and I know how long that usually takes you……Meta when I went outside to give the keys to Michelle’s car to the tow truck driver, I saw a car attempting to pull in your driveway. I think the driver went down the street to turn around or decided to wait until the tow truck was out of the driveway.”

“Hum, I thought our guest had gotten lost. Ed, will you and Rick go out the front and kitchen door and see if you see any hungry guest wondering in the backyard or out on the side street.”

Ed responded, “I’ll turn the security lights on out front since Meta has invited a lonely and evidently lost Springfield new resident.”

Abbey looked at Michelle, “How can anyone get lost finding 5 Church Street?”

Michelle hunched her shoulders, “Please hurry, I’m starving!”

Outside Ed and Rick walked out to the street. “Dad, did Meta mention to you whom she invited to dinner?”

“Dr. Heidi Rasmussen and one of Michelle’s friends. No doubt, Meta is trying to fix me up with Dr. Rasmussen.”

The tow truck backed into the Bauer driveway blocking the entrance to the driveway forcing Dr. Heidi Rasmussen to choose an alternative-parking place. And after turning at the end of the street, she stopped the car in front of the house with the #5 address.

“Wasn’t that Michelle’s car being towed? Must be urgent to have someone out on Christmas night to pick up a car!”

“Michelle’s husband isn’t exactly the patient or tolerating type of business man. You can bet that he demanded and got immediate service for Michelle’s car.”

“He has a reputation of being totally fixated with Michelle. Do I detect a little bitterness with your friend’s husband?”

“No, not really, it is his arrogant attitude. Michelle had a life and friends before Danny met her but in his mind, everything and everyone is non- existing before the time of Daniel Santos. Michelle’s life started with him and will end with him.”

“Tonight will be interesting and I thought that I was attending a routine dull Christmas dinner. Will there be fire works tonight?”

“NO not at the Bauers. They are genuine good people and have always kept an open door policy. Besides Meta Bauer is known for her reputation of being gracious and an outstanding cook.”

“I’m glad Meta Bauer invited me to dinner. I haven’t made many new friends in Springfield and the holidays can be lonely in a new setting.”

“Oh I know what lonely means and I miss seeing my friend Michelle everyday.”

“Meta told me that you had transferred to a medical school in Australia.”

“Yes, I did transfer and it has been almost two years.”

“If I may ask, why did you transfer?”

Waiting a moment before answering, “I went to Australia to help a friend. A new turn of events suddenly appeared on the horizon one day. I ran with the offer because it was the best offer on the table. Dr. Andersen, the former Medical School Director, that you replaced had ties with the mob. One afternoon, the medical staff and hospital board voted to remove him from the Medical School.”

“Are you saying that the mob had reasons to infiltrate the power base at the medical school? Very unusual activity for the mob to be active in a hospital setting.”

“Dr. Rasmussen, don’t ever underestimate their power! They can find or make friends in high places where ever they need control. They have an uncanny way of finding the right people. For all I know, you might be on their payroll.”

“Aussie, you are bitter and it might be wise for you to learn to hide your true feelings.”

“Dr. Rasmussen, I am well beyond feeling bitter. I have my life back such as it is and I have moved on to a new life in Australia. I like Danny Santos will never forget what he ordered done.”

Waiting on the sidewalk for Dr. Rasmussen to exit and lock her car, Aussie saw the front outside lights shining to light their way in the house where she had first met the single man, that had bounced into her friend’s life so suddenly. Danny Santos had come in Michelles life with the mystery and charm, which had fascinated and won Michelle’s attention. She recalled how Michelle started to disappear for dates with the mystery businessman. For the first time, Michelle took time out from her more than busy schedule to smell the roses of life with a man obviously in love with every ounce of her body and soul.

In her mind, she had replayed the events leading up to when she had connected Pilar Santos and Danny Santos. What for all purposes had seemed a giddy love story had turned sour quickly. The horrifying minutes had grown into hours while she waited for Michelle to reappear at this house. Her imagination had created every possible evil scenario and when she didn’t hear from Michelle, she knew Danny had prevented her friend from contacting anyone outside of his compound. Aussie felt the emotion of fear rising from within her stomach. Aussie wanted to run from the house but the voice of Rick stopped her response.

“Dad and I have circled the front and backyard twice trying to find Meta’s guest. Welcome to the Bauer house Heidi. Aussie, do you mind hanging Heidi and your coat in the closet? You are like family and Michelle will be glad to see you again. The gang is all in the dining room. Heidi follow me and the aromas coming from the dining room.”

Danny swallowed two gulps of wine when he saw the two guests. The last person, which he expected the least was Dr. Heidi Rasmussen with his nemesis Aussie Spencer. Danny stood up to greet Dr. Rasmussen, but ignored Aussie.

“I apologize for being late but I forgot what time it was in my office this afternoon with the early sunsets.”

Meta pointed to the place setting next to her side, “Oh, don’t give it a second thought, we have a history of serving dinner late at the Bauer hospital. Michelle arrived and her new car has a non-functioning fan for the heater. Michelle and her family are going out of town tomorrow so Danny made arrangements for the car to be picked up tonight for repair. I assume the tow truck delayed you parking the car.”

Underneath the tablecloth, Michelle placed her hand on Danny’s upper thigh in an attempt to divert his attention from Aussie’s presence. Whispering in his ear, “Do you want to leave?”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Michelle, we have to eat dinner and I’m not going to embarrass you in front of Dr. Rasmussen. We are staying.”

Tapping her fork on the water glass to her right side, “Many Christmas dinners have been enjoyed in this dining room and each year since Maureen’s death, I have chosen to continue Maureen’s tradition of hunting for lonely people to share Christmas dinner. My choice as you can see are Dr. Rasmussen for obvious reasons; she is new in town without family and Aussie is visiting from half-way around the world. It is my gift to Michelle. Alan Spaulding has dropped the Lighthouse Restoration Project in my lap. He suggested having an Art Show with a Masquerade Ball. Alan is one person in Springfield with the taste and desire for fine art. He saw an original Jackson Pollack painting in Heidi’s office and pointed me in her direction. I met Dr. Rasmussen and issued the invitation. If we could all put our best efforts forward in producing a high powered art auction, it would provide funds rather quickly for the restoration. The Bauer family owns the property but we have kept it open for general public use. Even with the historic funding, the project must have matching funds.”

“Danny, this where you come into the equation. Michelle told me about the painting that San Core purchased and donated to the Art Museum in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Would San Core possibly be interested in co-sponsoring the Art Show with the Spaulding Corporation?”

Meta Bauer had done what no other man in the world had ever done with spreading her spider web to trap him. Had Meta connected his family to Dr. Heidi Rasmussen or how far was she willing to push his button tonight was his first concern. “Aunt Meta, San Core is a diverse company. We are always interested in listening to any good public relations project, but my company doesnt usually buy art. Our subsidiary in Puerto Rico was contacted as a source to purchase a painting that was on loan from a local artist to the Art Museum. The Museum was afraid that the painting was going to be sold on the world market. I made the decision to purchase the painting to keep it in Puerto Rico to be enjoyed by the people of Puerto Rico.”

“I’m sure you are aware that most well known art ends up in private collections and is lost to public viewing. Periodically pieces are loaned to Museums and the pieces of fine art manage to find their way out in a world market where deals are made in secret. And it is not unusual for very good copies of art to appear and the buyer has to be able to identify the fraud or loose good money on a painting worth hardly the cost of the paints. Perhaps, this explains Dr. Rasmussens Pollacks painting in her office in Springfield. I don’t think any insurance company would pay if it was loss or stolen.”

Picking up on his cue, “Mr. Santos, I can assure you that I have it insured. I have a friend in New York City, that fell on hard times and made me a very good deal. The museums staff was aware of my love of Pollack’s procedure of dribbling paint on a canvas to produce a painting instead of a brush or spatula. The painting finally made its way to my office where I think the security of the Medical School keeps it safe. And quoting your words, the painting is in my private collection and I’m sharing the fine art with anyone that visits my office.”

“An interesting point Dr. Rasmussen, I have never seen a Pollack painting. I would love to see yours.”

“I have an open door policy and I invite you to stop by anytime.”

“Michelle and I are leaving tomorrow for Puerto Rico; I’ll call you when I get back in town.”

“Speaking of leaving Aunt Meta, Danny and I must get Gabby and Bethany Joy home early. They have had a long and busy day with all the excitement of enjoying their first Christmas Day.”

Looking over the top of her glasses at her niece, “Sit still Michelle and enjoy the dinner with your family. Gabby and Bethany Joy can’t do anything but fall a sleep and we have your old baby-bed set up in your old bedroom.” Folding her napkin with the embroidered green holly and red berries, “It isn’t just the twins, I will be up most of the night packing for the trip.”

“Honey, Carmen and Pilar packed two bags for Gabby and Bethany Joy this afternoon. We don’t have to leave early. I want to talk with Meta concerning the fundraiser.”

Directing her statement to Michelle, “Your husband and his family are supportive of your career. It is a strong family that unites in a common cause and it must be reassuring to leave your babies at home with family providing care for the twins.”

“Danny has made my life at home to be almost problem free but my family has been by my side all the way.”

The noise of Ed Bauer pushing Gabby in the large orange dump truck on the hardwood floor had Michelle in stitches at the sight of Gabby trying to see who was behind his ride. “Grandpa, I dont know which person is having more fun, the pushier or the one being pushed.”

“I am daughter and Princess Bethany is going to get a ride in her white wicker doll carriage before you leave this house tonight. I’ve been thinking of getting your old doll house down out of the attic and putting a fresh coat of paint on it for next Christmas.”

“Daddy, you are rushing Bethany Joy? I know what I’m doing. Your big brown eyes that Christmas was worth all the work. It was one of our best Christmases. Maureen spent six months making the tiny furniture in secret. Rick and I built the house out in the garage under the pretense of building a table tennis table.”

Hugging her Daddy, Michelle stroked the brownish hair in the early stages of graying. “You aren’t thinking of leaving again are you?”

“Michelle, the agency called last week and I’m going to miss all this here but there are many children over in Africa that need me too. When I leave this time, I will be back. I want to see Gabby, Bethany Joy and Freddie grow up. They change very quickly. I’ll come home when my leave is due this time. Michelle, you have a husband that will be by your side always. He isn’t the man that I would have chosen for you but Danny is your soul mate. You found him and Danny found you.”

Wiping the tears on her cheek with his handkerchief, “Why don’t you stay in here with me while Danny is in the kitchen getting his spanking from Meta?”

Danny stood across from the dishwasher where Meta busied herself waiting for her niece’s husband to begin settling the score. “Aunt Meta, I understand that this is your turf and you are righting an indiscretion in your eyes. I respect your age and wisdom but don’t ever try to do this again if you want Michelle and our children spending time here at the Bauer house. Even in my line of business, the holidays are off limits.”

Closing the dishwasher and punching the start button, Meta smiled her I got you where I want you look at the handsome man standing with his arms crossed in front of her. The noise of the dishwasher hid the increase level of Meta’s voice, “Danny, I did it for Michelle. Michelle is so busy trying to be a super student at the medical school and super mom to your children. What I saw yesterday at your home was scary! Michelle was raised by a woman driven by her passion, compassion and love for her family. Michelle doesnt have a clue how to fight equally with you but I do! Danny, you are smothering Michelle. Don’t you love Michelle enough to let her dance alone occasionally without arranging or manipulating everything in her life? Trust Michelle to do the right thing. Maureen’s spirit lives through Michelle. I promise you, the spirit will be good for the Santos family.”

“You are not use to hearing people talk back to you but I have one more issue to settle with you tonight. You are slick, but I have lived in this city a long time and there are only two families in Springfield with the funds to purchase a Jackson Pollack painting, Alan Spaulding and San Core. When I learned that one of his paintings was underneath our noses in Springfield, I connected the dots from Dr. Rasmussen to your family. Heidi was good tonight in the way that she followed your lead. I don’t how your family did it but Dr. Rasmussen is another Santos stooge just like Dr. Andersen.”

Feeling her heart beating through her clothes, Meta finished her speech. “No doubt, Heidi is there at the medical school to protect your interest or investment as you see it. My niece isnt going to be used like a pawn on your family’s chessboard. Let Michelle find her own way.”

Looking past Meta to Michelle holding Gabby, “I guess we are at a checkmate.”

“Yes, we are.”

“When the right time comes and as much as it will grieve my heart, I want you to take Michelle away from your mother. If and when you do this, I will believe that you are committed to Michelle.”

Danny sat in the darkness at his desk sipping the whiskey. He had long lost count of the refills. The usual sleep hadn’t come after he watched Michelle struggle with her choices of clothing to pack. In bed, Michelle immediately fell asleep while his mind replayed Meta’s life speech. Fearing his restlessness was going to awaken Michelle, Danny left their king-size bed. He picked up the Nursery monitor in his hand and placed the monitor in front of his seat at the desk. Listening to the breathing sounds of his children, he checked the red-lighted numbers on the clock before closing his eyes again. Opening his eyes when he smelled the familiar odor of Michelle’s body, the white shadow standing in front of him sent chills down his back.

“How long have you been standing here?”

“Oh long enough to know that you are far away and something is eating away at you tonight.” Taking the glass of whiskey from his hand, “You are drinking Jack Daniels alone to erase or ease the pain.” Holding Danny’s face in her hands, “I’m your partner in life. Why can’t you share your problems with me? Haven’t you ever heard that two heads are better than one?”

“Seeing Michelle’s warm brown eyes, Why are you awake?”

Kneeling in front of Danny’s legs, “I was dreaming and the dream turned into a nightmare.”

“Michelle, you are shaking like a scared rabbit and I’ve only see you this way once before. Tell me your dream.”

“I was at the hospital and you met me in the cafeteria with a prepaid ticket to Australia. You asked me to decide if I wanted to stay in the Santos family. I was crying and pleading with you but you acted cold and detached.
The dream skipped to the airport where I was late arriving and I saw the Santos jet taking off without me and you were looking out of the window at me. I was forced to take a commercial flight to San Juan and arriving at the villa in a taxi. Everything was wrong at the villa. We shared the same bedroom but you refused to be intimate with me. Late one night, you announced that we were going out to a Casino where you danced with a beautiful Latino woman named Jasmine. Hot salsa dancing. The next night was New Year’s Eve and your family had a large party and Jasmine was there. Carmen told me to enjoy the party that my usefulness was over. I floated around the room attempting to make conversation with the guests. The guests seemed to ignore me and I had every kind of paranoia vision of you having sex with Jasmine in our bedroom. The dream was so real and I was struggling to wake up from the nightmare. When I was finally awake, I realized that I was alone in our bed. The Nursery monitor was gone and I was afraid the dream had become reality.”

Breathing in deeply to absorb Michelle’s pure essence, “Oh baby, I’m sorry. I didn’t want to disturb your sleep. You were dreaming, but what I have to tell you is worse. I have been awake all night struggling with how to tell you the truth. No that is a lie. I have been fighting my own demons. The truth or another lie.”

“Danny, what truth?”

Barely touching her face with both hands for fear of hurting her face, “Michelle, you know I would use these hands to kill anyone that was the cause of me losing my children or you.” Gritting his teeth, “I have a problem if I lose control. Apparently, I am not programmed like the social acceptable Bauers. To often, my initial response to displeasure or stress is to strike back violently against the source of my frustration.”

Michelle smelled the booze vapors coming from her husband’s mouth. “Hmm, where is this all coming from with your new insight? I haven’t heard any glasses breaking on the stone fireplace. Danny, you are drunk and on a pity-pot. When you sober up in the morning, we can talk.”

Shaking his head, “No, No, tonight Aunt Meta informed me that my lifestyle is smothering and destroying you. His breaking voice continued, I want to be truthful to you because it is a matter of time before Meta tells you what she suspects.” Rubbing both hands through his hair, “You are going to hate me! Dr. Heidi Rasmussen has been doing a job for my family. When Dr. Andersen was released from his position, we searched and found a very qualified candidate to replace him. Heidi agreed to come to Springfield until you finished medical school and in return for her services; Carmen magically arranged for a Lost Pollack Painting to become a priceless possession of Heidi’s.
Unfortunately Heidi’s greed and pride was placed on public display for your friend Alan Spaulding to recognize in her office. Alan is a very astute business man; he had to wonder how a doctor had the painting in her possession. The rest of the story, you heard tonight. Meta, Meta Bauer is one tough lady.”

Moving her head closer to hear Danny’s mutterings, “Yes, she can be tough if the situation calls for her to be tough.”

Touching the tight long curls, Danny pushed the strands back from her face hoping to wipe away the hurt and confusing thoughts showing on Michelle’s face. “Do you understand what I am saying to you?”

“I think that I do.”

“Meta was meddling where she shouldnt have been, just like Aussie! Tonight, Meta and I had a small conference in the kitchen. A light bulb went on in her head after her meeting with Alan and she connected the painting from Heidi to the Santos family.”

“Are you telling me that I’m not really in my third year of Medical School?”

“Honey, you are in your third year. Heidi implemented the process of getting the hours of your volunteering at Ray’s clinic transferred to the hours that you missed with the pregnancy and birth of Bethany Joy and Gabby. The board voted unanimous to credit the hours and they didn’t have a heavy standing behind their backs with a gun at the back of their heads. What I am telling you now has to shake any confidence that you might have had in me. Meta has issued her own ultimatum; she wants our children and you far away from Carmen and her daily influences. I brought you into the family and I am the only one that can let you go without any repercussions from the family. I have struggled with pleasing Carmen and myself and keeping you clean. Meta is right; my family will crush and smother you. There is only one solution; I’m ready to let you take our children and go.”

Standing up from the knelling position, Michelle stomped her foot down hard down on the floor. “Damn-it Danny, it’s not your decision alone to decide. I can’t imagine a day beginning or ending without you. You are my morning, my day and my night. My children aren’t going to grow up without you. And yes, I’m furious with your control issues and I do not understand why you keep repeating the same mistakes over and over. I’m here to stay!”

“Michelle, don’t you get it! I can’t ever promise you that I won’t do it again.”

Rubbing the sides of her temples on her head and trying to absorb the words that Danny had said to her, “OK Danny, for the first time, I believe you. I didn’t sign the marriage license with my eyes wired shut. I will fight with every ounce of my body to save our marriage for Gabby and Bethany Joy. Gabby and Bethany Joy are you and I. Life isn’t any fun with only one parent. I know. I’ve lived and done that and it isn’t any fun.”

Danny stood up and wrapped his arms around Michelle’s shaking body. “I don’t deserve you. You are Maureen’s daughter. Together, you and I will escape from my mother’s interference. Michelle, it is going to cost you, also. Long separations from your own family. I’m sure that you have issues with Dr. Rasmussen but she is a top notch administrator. She has suggested the Philadelphia area if you choose to do a residency in a specialty like pediatrics or research but we can go to any city in the world. If we go to Philly, I have to meet with other bosses for us to dwell safely in the city. They have to understand the reason why the Santos family is residing in their territory. They have to be courted. Other than that, we will live a normal life. No attention being drawn to our family. But you have to choose the city.”

“Last night, I listened to Gabby and Bethany’s respirations and they breathe exactly like you do when you are sleeping. Their physical traits lean to the Santos family but they are a true extension of you. I want Gabby and Bethany to grow up and show the world that they are Maureen’s grandchildren. I never met Maureen but she did one hell of a job raising you.”

The twins babbling noise on the monitor interrupted the healing moments for Danny and Michelle. The time had come to refocus on where their family would journey next. Michelle loosened her arms from Danny’s neck. “I have to go to them.”

Catching her hand in his hand, “Can you wait? I have to tell you this before the time slips away and this morning has slipped into the back of our minds. And it won’t be because of the loss of importance of today but we will move on with our dream of finding a place for our family to be the family that you deserve.”

Whispering the words, “I want to believe you, Danny. If we have been given the dream then surely God will provide us a solution to make it happen.”

“Michelle, I have to express in words what you mean to my family and most of all to me. When I was a little boy, I would stay up late at night to watch the full moon shining with its brightness lighting the dark sky. I didn’t know the moon’s light source didn’t come from its own energy source but from the sun shining on it out in space. You bring warmth and light to a fairly cold family that can and has been ruthless in the past. Your inner qualities of goodness and love shine in the darkest corners of the Santos world.”

Touching the new growth of his beard with her soft fingertips, “Once before I had decided to marry you, Father Ray tried to rationalize why I was good for your family. It is hard for me to separate where my Bauerness begins and ends with the Santos family. Your family heritage is powerful and strong. There are times when I am overwhelmed and I’m afraid for Gabby and Bethany Joy. Their heritage, good and bad, comes from both families. Danny, you have always had at least one parent in your life. My father abandoned Rick and me for years; yet he was from a respectable family where this behavior wasn’t expected. Danny, I’ve seen the good side and the bad side of the Bauers.
All I want is for my children to be free of the La Familia. What I fear is down the road that one of my children will be the chosen new leader of the families. I can’t see you designating your power to someone outside of the immediate family. Danny, you and I know the time will come and the ring on your right hand will be passed to the next generation.”

The moment of silence grew from seconds to what seemed as an eternity. Michelle locked her eyes with the dark mystery eyes in front of her face. “Your silence is yes that from our union will come the future leader.”

“Michelle, I didn’t answer because I agreed with you that neither twin would be placed in the position. We are discussing a male child that hasnt been born.”

I really had fun writing this chapter. Nice to have Danny caught in a place where he couldnt escape Aunt Meta. I wanted Danny and Michelle to mature in their relationship. The emotion of fear had to be there in their relationship even with their love always coming to unite and keep the couple together.
Thank you for all the comments and e-mails that I have received from the site where this fiction is being archived.

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Fair Winds and Following Seas by Phyllis Chapter 4

August 24, 2017
Republisher’s Note: A very nice Christmas with the Santos family.
 Author’s Note: Finally we get to the funny and entertaining section of the twins first Christmas. Christmas has always been a much-anticipated holiday in my youth and older days. Our tree was never decorated until Christmas Eve and the tradition has continued in my family. The activities on Christmas Eve seemed to never finish and this is the background that I have chosen to give the young Santos family. Thank you for all the nice compliments.

Fair Winds and Following Seas Chapter 4 by Phyllis

In his heart, Danny knew how cold the words were to Ray. The words had bounced back to Danny. Michelle and Danny had danced and tipsy toed around Aussie Spencer since Thanksgiving. Less than six hours, he would face the young woman. The christening was the formality for the twins in the Catholic Church, which connected his children to the faith of the Santos family. The 5pm Mass would be filled with children and adults of all ages. They would be eyewitness as Michelle and he dedicated their twins back to God and swore to raise them in the Catholic faith. Instead of Michelle raising Gabby and Bethany Joy outside of the Catholic faith; she was allowing the Catholic Church to become influential in the future twin lives. Strange as it seemed, Danny chuckled at the thought of Aussie being a part of the final push of Gabby and Bethany Joy deeper in the Santos circle.

Danny smirked at the thought of Aussie Spencer being in the room with the very family that if she had had her way would be far today from his grasp. The official christening service had opened a door through which Jimmy and he could monitor Michelle’s communication with Aussie. The hospital with all the staff was the perfect place to hide her communications with Aussie. Michelle maintained her silence with him and never had mentioned the distant medical student till the question of the godparents
had come to be debated in multiple heated discussions.

Starting again with Aussie wasn’t going to happen when Danny heard his name being called from the direction of the end of the snow-covered walkway. “Danny, we are hoping you can use two more sets of hands; we can wrap presents or vacuum.”

Hugging Aunt Meta, then running his hands through his long curls. “I’m so happy to see Ed and you. I promised Michelle to get to the barber shop today and if you can help with the tree, I might be able to make my appointment.”

Taking the metal container from Meta’s hands, “What do you have in the cookie tin?”

“Cookies for Michelle and you. Maureen baked these every Christmas for Michelle and Ed. Today is special with Maureen’s grandbabies being baptized that I thought the cookies might give Michelle the gift of knowing that Maureen is never far from her presence. The distant days are as close as closing her eyes and remembering.”

Kissing Meta’s cheek, “Meta, you are a lady of wisdom.”

Opening the door for the two added visitors, Meta and Ed entered the Santos home. “Merry Christmas Michelle!”

“Daddy and Aunt Meta-I can’t believe you took the time to come here.

“Sweetie, we have another day to finish cooking the famous Bauer Christmas dinner. Rick has taken Abby and Freddie to the mall.” Smiling at Ed, “We were lonely and thought why are we here when we can be with Gabby and Bethany Joy. Plus I baked Maureen’s favorite sugar cookies and,” handing the tin to Michelle,” These are for you.”

“Oh how generous to share with the Santos clan.” Opening the green and red plaid metal tin container, Michelle chose the blue frosted angel cookie. Taking a bite of the soft cookie, “This will be Gabby and Bethany’s first Christmas to eat one of the best ever cookies.”

“I see where my hands can be put to quick use. Meta, you can use your careful interior decorator eye to guide my placement of the light bulbs.” Ed picked up the first set of colored lights and started stringing the lights from the top of the tree. Meta carried the untangled lights from Danny to Ed on the stepladder and pointed to spots on the tree where the lights might be placed. The trio finished the light-stringing job when the knocking of a foot on the outside door alerted the decorating crew that the twins were returning with Father Ray. Michelle ran to the porch door, “I cant wait to see how they react to the tree. Danny grab the cam recorder!”

Michelle opened the frosted glass door and extended her arms to take the twins from Ray. Rubbing her nose into their cheeks, “You have cold faces. Thanks Ray, we are almost ready to add the ornaments and I shopped wisely this year. We have gold mesh ribbon to wrap as garland on the tree and then we can add the two new boxes of non-breakable ornaments on the bottom of the tree.”

First removing his winter coat and gloves, Ray untied the hats and zipped the snowsuits on Gabby and Bethany Joy. “These two really enjoy being out in the cold and today a female cardinal ate seeds from Bethany’s hand. Do you know how unusual that is for a bird to come near an active small child?”

“Oh Ray, the birds know that you are the one bringing the seed.”

“True Michelle but the female cardinal is easily scared; she took a risk and landed on Bethany’s hand.
Michelle, there is a bucket of three eggs outside from the chicken house. While outside, we had to make the rounds and check the chickens. Mr. Rooster and Hinny are safe and cozy in the straw after I raided the nest.”

“Good, I can use them in my egg and cheese casserole for tomorrow morning.”

With one child on each hip, Gabby and Bethany Joy look at the Christmas tree with the lights. Michelle watched the Christmas lights being reflected in their dark glassy eyes. “See the pretty lights. But do not touch!”

Ed came down the stepladder. “Come to Grandpa.”

Switching from their mother’s arms to their grandfather’s large arms, “We are decorating the tree because a magical man dressed in a red suit is coming tonight to bring you presents. By the way are you two going to go along and teach about the Santa Claus myth?”

Danny and Michelle turned to each other. “Ed, I hadn’t thought much either way. I grew up with the idea of Santa existing until my older brother Mick told me otherwise. Michelle, how did your family handle Christmas?”

“We had presents and Dad dressed up in a Santa suit and passed out the presents. I knew Santa was Daddy. Well, I guess we will have to make a decision next year when the twins are older about Santa.”

Michelle broke a cookie in half. Placing the sweet sugar cookie in their left hands. “Hum, a good cookie and Aunt Meta made the cookies for us.”

Taking a bite of the cookie, Bethany moved her cookie to her right hand. The cookie lost its charm to the glowing lights on the tree with her leaning out to touch the tree with her hand. Crying in a sharp squeal from the pain inflicted on her fingers, Bethany Joy laid her head down on Ed’s shoulders and started whimpering.

“No, no Bethany Joy, do not touch the sharp tree needles.” Ed patted her back and kissed her fingers.

“I hope Bethany has learned her lesson and babbles to Gabby to stay away from the tree.” Danny moved immediately to Ed’s side, “Come to Daddy.”

Bethany raised her head from Ed’s shoulders and stretched her hurt fingers to Danny.

“You want Daddy to kiss your fingers and make the boo-boo go away?”

“Danny, I didn’t mean for her to get so close to the tree; it happened too fast to stop her.”

“Ed, it wasn’t your fault, the princess has a reputation of exploring. Bethany likes to check out her surroundings….Bethany, do you want to play with the pots and pans with your wooden spoon in the cabinet drawer?” Sitting Bethany in front of the open drawer, Danny watched his daughter hit the pot with her spoon. Next Bethany was busy trying to fit all the misfit tops on the pans and taking the plastic blocks out of one pan and putting them in the next pot. Michelle placed Gabby in front of his drawer and watched him pull the cabinet door open to gain access to his set of pots. “This is the best toys, they love to spend time with the one cabinet door and drawers where they can open and play with the metal pots and pans. Olga went to a yard sale and came home with various sizes of pans and misfit lids. They are charmed by the noise and the big spoons. The only time that we have trouble with the pots is when one of the twins takes both spoons. They haven’t figured out that you can take it back from the other twin yet but I guess that is good for now.”

Ray was the first to leave the lake house after the ornaments found their special place on the green tree boughs. Ed and Meta followed his exit. The Bauer and Santos family would next meet at the church parish where they would enter the church as a unit.

Bethany Joy and Gabby sat in their highchairs with the warm vegetable soup being spooned into their opened mouths. In between swallowing the soup, they ate the cheese fish crackers on the tray of the highchair. For dessert, they had an individual cup of fruit yogurt. Wiping their faces and hands with the warm washcloth, Michelle removed the bibs, “It is time for a nap and Daddy can run to the barber shop.”

“Oh yea baby, I almost forgot the haircut with Bethany hurting her fingers on the tree. Do you think I really need to get it cut today?”

Kissing her husband on the cheek and running her fingers at the nap of his neck, “Yes but a small trim, I like the curls. The back of your neck needs the haircut more than anything.”

“Michelle, you could do that for me.”

Shaking her head at his newest suggestion, “I don’t think so unless you want it to look like I put a bowl on your head.”

Smacking at her butt with the dishtowel, “I’ll help you put the twins down and then run to the barber shop.”

At 2:30, Michelle had the twins in the bathtub giving them their Christmas Eve baths. “Am I confusing you today by giving you your baths this early? We are going to get dressed up in our pretty new outfits and go to church where the man dressed in red will pour warm water over your hair just like we have been practicing here at home. There will be lots of children in the church with us today and my friend Aussie will be there.”

The four o’clock chime was ringing after Michelle had finished dressing Gabby and Bethany Joy in their white velveteen outfits. Gabby’s white John-Boy pants fastened on the shoulders with single S shaped buttons. The white jacket covered the long sleeve white turtleneck with a monogrammed S on the portion of the turned down collar. Rubbing baby oil in her hands, Michelle applied the oil to the short thick hair curls on her son’s head. “You smell perfect Gabriel Santos and I’m turning you over to your father to finish getting you dressed with the white leather shoes…. Honey, Gabby might keep the shoes on his feet if you put them on today.”

Standing back to admire Gabby, “I love our son with his black curls against the white suit.”

“Well, he finally did get some hair and when it came; it came in a hurry. Michelle, he took after his old man with the color but the curls are yours.”

Switching Bethany Joy back to Michelle’s arms, “Do you think Bethany will keep the hair pins in her hair with the tiny white rosettes?”

“Honey, your guess is as good as mine. I think all the white streamers on the rosettes are going to be the problem. Pull her hair back further with the hairpins and maybe she won’t feel them dangling on her neck or the side of her face.

Michelle brushed the thick long curls around her finger creating rows of curls with the white rosettes holding the curls in place. With a quick squirt of hair spray to the back of the curls, Michelle announced, “I’m finished. Your little daughter is radiant in her first white long dress. The large satin bow tied in the back with the pointed lace on the border makes the dress like a tiny gown. Carmen insisted on the white ballet slippers for Bethany. The dress is a tiny replica of a wedding dress.”

“Michelle, please do not say the words, the time will come too soon for me to give her to another man. Bethany is my little princess and going to be my girl for along time. The guy hasn’t been born that is good enough for my princess. Bethany, your granny has started you out wearing designer dresses early in your life.”

The Santos family started gathering at the Parish house at 4:30 pm. Carmen and Abuella had arrived with their large yellow manilla envelopes for their annual contribution to Father Ray’s church. Inside they sat waiting for Bill Lewis and Pilar to arrive with the gold crosses.

“Carmen, you did tell Pilar to close the shop early today?”

“Yes, for the last time Maria, Pilar is on her way with the crosses.”

The door opened and two young women with wrapped gifts came into the living room. Speaking in Spanish to Carmen, “One must be Aussie Spencer. Do you know which one is the trouble maker?”

Carmen whispered back to Maria, “The one with the Australian accent.”

Ray saw the young women entering the house. Smiling as he approached the two with the gifts, “I’m Father Ray Santos and one of you must be Aussie Spencer, Michelle’s friend.”

The young woman with the green wool suit extended her hand to Ray. “I’m Dr. Aussie Spencer, the Godmother.”

“This is a neat way to meet. I’m the Godfather to the twins. Michelle and Danny should be arriving any minute with Gabriel and Bethany Joy. I believe this will be your first time to see the two in person.”

“Actually, Michelle and I had dinner at Caitlin’s apartment a couple of days ago. I saw Gabby and BJ that night. We watched a lot of videos of the twins and I feel that I’m pretty much caught up with the toddlers. Michelle has done wonders with her career and raising the preemies till now.”

“Carmen, did you hear what that girl said to Ray, she is giving Michelle all the credit for raising Gabby and Bethany Joy! What is this BJ thing?”

“Maria, the letters are Bethany Joy’s initials. Evidently, Michelle calls Bethany Joy BJ.”

Ed Bauer, Aunt Meta and Rick with Abbey rushed inside the house. “There is a wreck at the nearest light and we had to almost bribe the police to let us get here on time. Where are Danny and Michelle?”

“They must be stuck in the traffic.”

Carmen had the cell phone in her hand and dialed the number, which she had on speed dial. “Where are you?”

“I’m parking the car in front of the parish house. We had to go back over the Nickel Bridge but it looks like we made it with a few minutes to spare.”

Carmen closed the phone down to its compact size.” Danny has saved the day again, the Santos family will be entering momentarily.”

Michelle came in holding Gabby and the traveling diaper bag followed by Danny with Bethany Joy. Father Ray gathered the group in a circle. “This is a copy of the service and where the baptism is listed in the program. The Godparents and family will approach the altar where the Cardinal Monahan will perform the baptism.” Ray immediately lined the family up to enter the church. “I forgot to mention it but this service has the young Christmas pageant and if history holds true it can be very entertaining.”

The loud organ music struggled to overcome the sounds of the joyful voices singing “Joy To the World” with the procession of the cross and Bible followed by the small children dressed as shepherds, sheep and angels with wings made of every imaginable material. The littlest angel with stars in her basket stole the show as she dropped gold stars on the floor. When she reached the front of the church, she spotted the two toddlers. Pulling a star from her basket, she handed one of her stars to Bethany Joy. Looking at her empty basket, she ran back down the aisle and picked up a star from the floor. Running back to where she left her last star, she handed the star to Gabby. Gabby and Bethany held the stars in their hands and cautiously watched the strangely dressed children. Michelle whispered in each of her children’s ears, “The angel is the star bringer angel and she is sharing her stars with you.”

Tapping Carmen’s shoulder, “Mam, I’m here with the crosses. The stupid police finally let us through the intersection with the wreck. Michelle and Danny are striking with Gabby and Bethany Joy. The white and black theme is clean and fashion forward. Bethany Joy is going to turn some eyes in the future.”

The Cardinal served as the Celebrant:
Blessed be God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The people responded: And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen

With the normal responses read until Pilar stood to read the lesson and closing with: The Words of the Lord and the people responding: Thanks be to God. Then, all standing, Ray began the reading of the Christmas birth of Jesus Christ. After the conclusion of his reading, The Gospel of the Lord. The people: Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Standing, the Cardinal motioned for Danny and Michelle to come forward with Gabby and Bethany Joy.

Celebrant: The Candidates for Holy Baptism will now be presented.

Danny and Michelle together said: I present Daniel Gabriel to receive the Sacrament of Baptism. I present Bethany Joy to receive the Sacrament of Baptism.

Celebrant: Will you be responsible for seeing that the child you present is brought up in the Christian faith and life?

Danny and Michelle: I will, with God’s help.

Father Ray and Aussie: I will, with God’s help.

After reading the list of renouncing Satan, all spiritual forces of wickedness and the evil powers of this world, Danny and Michelle answered on behalf of their children.

Next the Celebrant moved to the vessel containing the warm water.
We thank you, Almighty God, for the gift of water. Over it the Holy Spirit moved in the beginning of creation. Through it you led the children of Israel out of their bondage in Egypt into the land of promise. In it your son Jesus received the baptism of John and was anointed by the Holy Spirit as the Messiah, the Christ, to lead us, through his death and resurrection, from the bondage of sin into everlasting life.
We thank you, Father, for the water of Baptism. In it we are buried with Christ in his death. By it we share in his resurrection. Through it we are reborn by the Holy Spirit. Therefore in joyful obedience to your Son, we bring into his fellowship those who come to him in faith, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Pouring the water in the basin and touching the water:
Now sanctify this water, we pray you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, that those who here are cleansed from sin and born again may continue forever in the risen life of Jesus Christ our Savior.
To him, to you, and to the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forever. Amen.
Leaning over to whisper to Danny, Please give me Daniel Gabriel. Handing Gabby to the Cardinal, Danny wrapped his arm around Michelle’s waist. The Cardinal held Gabby up for the audience to see and laid the toddler in his arms with his head over the basin. With the ocean shell, he poured the water onto the dark curls. “Daniel Gabriel, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” Wiping off the excess water, Gabby was returned to Danny’s arms. Turning his attention to Bethany, the priest took Bethany in his arms. Bethany reached back to Danny and called “Dada.” Puckering her lips to cry after she was lifted up for the audience to see. Bethany cried as the warm water touched her scalp. Drying the excess off quickly, the Priest smiled at the bundle in his arms. “Bethany is mad at me for messing up her curls.” Back in the safety of Michelle’s arms, Bethany cuddled into her mothers neck.

“Bethany Joy, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christs own forever. Amen.” Marking a cross on the forehead of Gabby, “Daniel Gabriel, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christs own forever. Amen.”

“Let us welcome the newly baptized.”

Carmen and Maria stepped forward and placed a gold cross on the necks of Gabby and Bethany.

The priest waited until the families had returned to their seats. “What a wonderful way to begin the Christmas season. We are here to celebrate the birth of a young child over 2000 years ago in a tiny village in a country suffering under the occupation of a foreign nation. It wasn’t until the time when the child was a grown man that we had to learn to deal with our relationship with God’s son. My homily is short tonight and in your program; you will find a poem, which I am giving to you as a present.”

The Word is born this very night:
Hail, Mary, full of grace!
A hanging lantern sheds its light
On Joseph’s anxious face.
The Word must come in human form,
In God’s redemption plan.
A Babe takes every heart by storm,
But who will heed the Man?
The Word is born this very night,
And humble is the place;
The world is dark, but hope is bright
And sinners look for grace.
The Word has come to end the war
Which Adam first began.
O bless the Babe who sleeps on straw.
And listen to the Man!

Words: Fred Pratt Green

The first Adam gave us the bondage of sin, the second Adam offers us freedom from darkness. I ask that each of you listen to the Man. Listen to what he is saying to your hardened hearts and follow the words of the Man.

The final blast from the organ pipes signaled the end of the 5pm. Service. At the different pews, the members greeted each other and many approached the young Santos family. “Mrs. Santos, I remember you reading at the Midnight Mass last year. And to see your children being baptized this year brought tears to my eyes.”

Michelle took the older woman’s hand with her one available hand. “Thank you Bethany Joy is at that stage where she won’t go to strangers. Did you hear her calling for her Daddy?”

“Yes and that was what made it special. It is evident that she is very close to her father.”

Danny spoke with many of the members after Carmen had relieved him of holding Gabby. Reaching down to pick up the diaper bag, Danny spotted Jimmy standing at the door with Aussie and Michelle. “Excuse me but I see a person that I need to speak with this evening.”

Aussie gave the two wrapped presents to Michelle. “The gifts are two Children’s Bible Stories books.”

“Aussie, you didn’t have to buy Gabby and Bethany a gift. But you can come to our home for dinner. You did promise to help bring them up in the Christian faith and life, which includes regular visits.”

“Michelle, we both know that your husband isn’t exactly crazy about me. I think we have tested his endurance.”

“Aussie, there will be a crowd at the house and I’m sure Danny and you can manage to avoid each other.”

Jimmy placed his hand on Michelles white coat. “It is time to wrap up the conversation, the Boss is ready to leave the church.”

Michelle pushed Jimmy’s hand away. “I’ll leave when I’m ready to leave. I’m having a private conversation with my friend.”

“Well Michelle, you can tell it to your husband personally. He is heading in your direction.”

Aussie hugged Michelle goodbye. “I don’t want to get you into trouble with the Boss on Christmas Eve. Caitlin and I are having dinner with her family tonight. ‘Ill see you tomorrow at the hospital when you do your shift. Go before the man in black explodes in church. Bye.”

Michelle dabbed at her eyes with the handkerchief that Jimmy gave her. “Don’t you have something else to do tonight?”

“I just saved your butt from Daniel Santos. He had that evil eye from across the room and you and I know how he can get. Aussie did the right thing by refusing to come to the house. Let’s go.”

“Michelle, we will have hungry guest appearing at the house expecting to be fed and we want be there to greet them.”

Stomping her foot, “You always have an answer and dance around the elephant in the room but I hate the way you have treated my friend Aussie. The priest should give you the poem written in stone that he read to us and make you wear it around your neck. You listen to the man inside the evil side of your heart.”

“Michelle, we aren’t going to get into this tonight. But it is time to deal with the elephant in our lives.”

The ride back to the lake house was silent with Gabby and Bethany sleeping in their car seats. Michelle watched the snowy road through teary eyes and Danny listened to a Spanish Christmas CD. Several of the guest cars had arrived before Danny parked the car in the warm garage. Michelle unsnapped the car seat on her side and carried Bethany Joy up the steps to the back hallway. From the front of the house, the sounds of the music played and the aroma of the mixed spices boiling in a saucepan greeted all entering the house.

The catering service had placed red and white poinsettias on the floor and tables with the bayberry scented candles. Carmen hurried with the help removing the poinsettias from the floor where Gabby and Bethany might crawl and pick up a poison berry.

“Who ordered the poinsettias?”

Danny answered his mother, “I did.”

“Oh Daniel, the flowers are dangerous with toddlers crawling and putting any new fascinating object in their mouths.”

“I’ll have the catering service take the flowers out to the garage. We can let all the guests take one home to add to their decorations.”

“Oh Michelle, your white woolen pant suit went well with Bethany and Gabby’s outfits.”

“Carmen, the suit was another unexpected gift from you. You have to stop all this gift giving.”

Carmen exchanged glances with Danny. “Michelle, the suit isn’t from me.”

“Honey, I had the designer in NYC work up the pant suit. It was one of your Christmas gifts from Gabby and Bethany. You evidently didn’t check the label very closely.”

Clutching Bethany tighter in her arms, “I didn’t. I assumed it was from Carmen since it came with the Christening outfits.”

“Why don’t you help Carmen with the poinsettias and I’ll get Gabby and Bethany in their pajamas.” Taking Gabby in her other arm, Michelle carried the twins into the nursery.

“OK Daniel, what is wrong with your wife? Why is Michelle so bitchy tonight? Can I guess?”

“Mam, Michelle is angry because I didn’t invite Aussie to the dinner tonight or fall at Aussie’s feet. Then again she might be having PMS.”

“Daniel, speak with Michelle in private, her behavior is out of order for tonight. The Sandovals and Machedos are here.”

At the laundry room door, Meta Bauer stood listening to the end of the conversation between Carmen and Danny.

“Where is my niece?”

“Aunt Meta, Michelle is changing the kidos in the nursery.”

“I’ll see if I can help Michelle.” Meta walked down the hallway to the nursery.

Leaving the two Santos in the laundry room, “How much did she hear, Daniel?”

“Meta isn’t the kind of lady that stands and listens for information. Carmen make sure the booze is flowing generously with the guest. Michelle and I are going to talk briefly in the nursery.”

Meta had left with the twins and Michelle was in the closet hanging up the new clothes. “Hey sweetie, you have had a lot on your mind lately. I was wrong to accuse you of not taking the time to check the label.”

“Danny, it isn’t the suit that baffles me, but how easy it is for you to apologize to me when you can’t apologize to Aussie for completely disrupting her life. You had a golden opportunity to offer her a token of peace by inviting her to dinner. Just for your information, Aussie and Caitlin had other plans for dinner and they wouldn’t have soiled your precious house or gangster buddies.”

Turning to leave the nursery, Michelle’s body was suddenly blocked by Danny’s forearm. “No Michelle, you aren’t getting off that easy. I gave you what you requested. You wanted Aussie to be their Godmother. The damn dinner wasn’t included in the deal. It maybe petty to you but it isn’t to me. If she had gotten to you in some other place besides here; I wouldn’t have a wife and two children. It is no doubt in my mind that she and her buddies would have convinced you to have an abortion.” Holding his wifes face tight in his hand, “Do you understand my contempt for Aussie?”

The voice in the room was Meta’s voice speaking, “What is going on in here? Daniel, take your hand off of Michelle’s face. I’m normally not a busybody but I have heard quite enough tonight. You both should be ashamed. This is a dinner in celebration of your children’s Christening and you are choosing to fight over water that has spilled over the dam. Michelle, you are asking Danny to do what he isn’t able to do yet in his heart. Danny, you are asking Michelle to choose you constantly over her friendship with Aussie. Aussie was right to have other plans for dinner even though it is highly irregular. You have guest waiting to see the entire family together not in shifts. I suggest that you attend to that matter.”

At the door, Gabby and Bethany crawled into their nursery to hunt for their parents. “I see Bethany and Gabriel have found their parents and want attention. And Danny, I do not ever want to see you manhandling Michelle again.”

Squatting down to their eye level, “Everything I do, I do for Gabby, Bethany and you.”

Resting her body against the door of the closet waiting to regain her public composure, “Danny, I believe you think you are always right. This is where our worlds collide and clash but it doesn’t have to be a struggle of Bauer power against Santos power. This is how I see my world today; I go to the hospital and play doctor and in our home, Carmen and you make all the major decisions with our children. I find out after when you are ready for Michelle to know even down to buying my clothes. The suit is gorgeous but white would have been the last color that I would have chosen.”

“The designer suggested the color scheme with me dressed in black turtle neck and suit and you in a white sweater and suit. Honey, you have been hunting for a fight since your talk with Aussie at the church. We have had two fights and it is interesting that Aussie has been the root of both. Michelle, what message are you sending me?”

“Danny, I don’t have any message. All I want is for you to treat her as a human being. She isn’t exactly crazy about you either.” Swallowing hard, “I admit that I did get pissed off at the church but I wasn’t hunting for a fight.”

Handing Gabby to Michelle, “Michelle, Carmen and Meta both picked up on your vibes. It was your Aunt Meta that had the nerve to approach you. I rest my case.”

Leaning to kiss Michelle’s forehead, “I don’t know how many times do I have to tell you that I’m sorry.” Checking his watch, “It is time to give Gabby and Bethany Joy solid food before they go to bed. Do you want to breast feed them before or after they eat?”

“After.”

In the kitchen, Danny pulled the highchairs to the counter while Michelle pulled the frozen packages of vegetables from the freezer. Most of the attention went to the guest watching the twins eat and their ability to handle the water in their cups. Alternating between the pureed vegetables and applesauce, Danny shoved the food in their tiny mouths as fast as they opened their mouths. In between the pauses, Bethany and Gabby held the spill proof cups up their mouths for sips of water. With their small plates empty, Danny gave them their spoons to play with and watched how they mimicked eating.

Ed picked up a silver fork and hit the tongs on a crystal glass. “I hate to interrupt my grandchildren’s show but many of you here know that Gabby and Bethany will celebrate their first birthday a week from tomorrow. Danny and Michelle will be in Puerto Rico on their birthday, which makes it impossible to share the special day with Bethany Joy and Gabby. Aunt Meta has made a birthday cake for Gabby and Bethany to share with everyone here tonight.”

Meta and Abbey carried the cakes with a lighted single candle toward the two highchairs. “Everyone with cameras and video equipment get ready! This is a moment to save on film. The cake is chocolate and the icing is a seven minute frosting, which is perfect to make a mess on their faces.”

“Oh Dad and Aunt Meta, I love the cakes and I bet Gabby and Bethany will like the frosting and cake. I don’t think they have ever had cake before tonight.” All joined in singing Happy Birthday to Gabby and then repeated the chorus for Bethany. Michelle made a wish for Bethany and blew out her candle and then Gabby’s candle. Slicing thin servings of the devil food cake, Meta placed the cake on the tray of the highchairs. The tiny fingers touched the new texture of the cake and frosting. With small segments of the cake and frosting in between her thumb and fingers, Bethany tasted the sweet delicacy. Gabby’s two hands mashed the cake into mush before tasting the cake and rubbing his frosted covered hands in his hair.

Laughing at the mess and the chocolate covered faces, Danny and Michelle watched with a lighter weighted spirit and mind. The children had done what had seemed impossible; they had cleared the air of the anger and hurting words. They were back on track with what meant the most to both parents.

The music playing in the background was from a Kenny Rogers CD The Gift. Michelle hummed along with the tunes while wrapping the books that she had carefully selected at the Corner Bookstore. Pressing the edge of the paper down with her fingers, the memories came rushing fast from the past. The special books had always been included in her Christmas gifts from Ed and Maureen. The book covers were removed when Maureen and Michelle curled up in front of the fireplace on a snowy afternoon with hot chocolate and the famous soft sugar cookies. Maureen read the magical words to Michelle and they traveled to distant real and make believe countries.

Today had been nearly perfect in an imperfect world. The empty space in her torn heart reserved for Maureen was slowly healing. The gifts of the cookies from Aunt Meta gave Michelle’s new family a piece of the Maureen history.
Danny sat the glass of red wine down on the counter in front of Michelle. “A penny for what you are thinking.”

Wrinkling her nose at Danny, “How do you know that I was in the process of thinking?”

“You have a distant look in your eyes.”

Letting the past slip back into the past, “I was with Maureen in front of the fireplace with a book. Danny, do you think that I went overboard and bought too may books for Gabby and Bethany Joy?”

Tightening his hold on her body,” You tell me how many books do you have to have to have too many books? The way, which you read to Gabby and Bethany, I would have to say the stack of books will take care of next month.”

Snuggling closer to the area behind Michelle’s ear where Danny hinted his true intentions. “If I was Santa, I would throw all the books in one big box. This year, Gabby and Bethany aren’t going to be counting presents. You can see how I handled the wrapping. I didnt wrap anything at all.”

“Danny, I think Santa purchased the right amount of toys for Gabby and BJ. You bought the action toys and I took care of the intellectual side.”

“Honey, where did you get the idea of the pull sleds with runners and wheels?”

“I saw a young father in the park pulling his son. The two Good Humor trucks were added at the last minute. I saw them at Toys R Us. I wanted to give the twins their first riding wheel toy. They can push the truck with their feet until they learn to peddle with their feet. The storage portion of the truck has make believe ice cream and I bet in the future we might find other toys stored in there. When I was young, Mick and I use to get money from Maria to buy ice cream from the Good Humor man.” Biting the edge of Michelle’s ear, “It is a wonder how we got all the aspects of Santa covered.”

“Michelle, I probably need to give you a heads up alert with Carmen’s gift to Gabby and Bethany Joy. I saw the gift being delivered last week.”

Smiling one of her OK what has the master manipulator done this time looks? “Are you ready to think big?”

“How big?”

“Carmen bought a miniature carousel. You know one of the ones that you see outside of a K-Mart or grocery store where you drop quarters in a box and ride two or three minutes.”

Turning her head to meet Danny’s dark eyes, “You have got to be kidding! Carmen is never going to sit and drop money in a machine.”

“Michelle, you do know Carmen better than I thought. Carmen had it jerry-rigged and the carousel is now Push Button operational.”

“And what is Carmen giving our children for their first birthday? Live ponies with a cart!”

“No, my mother was actually sensible with her birthday gift. An outdoor gym and swing set, which she is having installed in her backyard.”

With the last gift resting in front of her, Michelle held the bright red paper with Santas down on the box for Danny to apply the scotch tape. Pulling a large section of tape from the dispenser, Danny intentionally taped Michelle’s hand with the gift. “I couldn’t resist being a naughty Santa’s helper.”

“Interesting, I have a naughty surprise myself from Santa.”

The cry of mommy from the baby monitor moved Michelle quickly in the direction of the nursery. “It is Bethany Joy calling me. I wonder what is wrong?”

Inside the nursery, Michelle checked her daughter and found her soundly sleeping. Tracing her fingers on Bethany’s hair, Michelle waited to see if the toddler opened her eyes or if there was any indication that Bethany wasn’t feeling well. The monitors were working quietly while the toddlers traveled with the Sandman to sleepy time land.
Satisfied that all was well in the nursery, Michelle turned up the volume on the hand unit of the monitor and returned to the living room where the roaring fire burned perfect in the last minutes of the Christmas Eve.

“Was Bethany awake?”

“No, she and Gabby were sound asleep. It must be a new stage in their growth and development. Dreaming.”

“Bethany did eat a lot of the cake tonight and I’m wondering if the chocolate has affected her. Come sit with me in front of the fire before it burns down for the night.”

Lying on the floor with her feet resting on Danny’s lap, Michelle continued to ponder the mystery call from Bethany. “Danny, it did sound like Bethany and Gabby put most of his cake in his hair.”

“Honey, that is why we have the monitor and it hasn’t failed us yet.”

Danny began to massage Michelle’s feet. “How long have you been wearing the 3 in. heels?”

“Oh, I didn’t take the time to change but my feet are tired and I’m ready for bed myself. Have you ever wondered why the fire glows the best right before you have to go to bed?”

“I haven’t a clue but it is essential to be in the right place at the right time to see the burning logs. Also having good dry maple wood.”

“Danny, I am going to get dressed for bed. Our growing toddlers will be up in less than five hours and we have a busy morning to still face with the Santos family coming for breakfast.”

From behind his back, Danny pulled out an oblong box with a big red bow tied to keep the valuable gift secure until it found its home in Michelle’s jewelry box. “Then, this is the best time to give you my Christmas present.”

“You have got to stop buying me expensive jewelry but I do love the thought of you caring for me to buy them for me.”

The red ribbon fell to the floor when Michelle saw the blue sapphires and green emerald in a heart shaped setting on a gold band bracelet. “Hubby, you never cease to amaze me but my present is one of a more practical sense. I hope that you won’t be disappointed. Do you remember that next semester, I am studying alternative medicine. The use of body massages is highly recommended and I signed you up for free body massages.”

Smiling at the news, Danny winked at Michelle. “Are you going to be my masseur?”

“Certainly, I’m not crazy to allow another woman to touch the gorgeous parts that only my eyes get to enjoy.”

“I might have to classify this Christmas as my best. Actually, I’m ready for bed also.”

Kissing her husband’s wet lips, “I have another present but I have to go get dressed for bed.”

“Michelle, I get your drift. We are moving the action from here to the bedroom.”

“Maybe but Santa’s elf has to take care of business.”

After brushing his teeth, Danny waited in bed underneath the white down comforter for the young woman that increased his heart beat whenever he saw her. Michelle reappeared wearing a new short red robe, which had been tied especially tight. Michelle smiled the sexy smile to Danny. “I’m embarrassed that I thought and even bought this present for you.”

“Oh Michelle, I think we are far from being embarrassed with one another.”

Promise me that you want ever tell anyone that straight Michelle Bauer did this for you.”

Patting the bed with his left hand. “Let me see what you are hiding under the robe.”

Michelle untied the robe and watched Danny’s dark eyes grow larger. “Yea baby, this stays in the family. Where did you buy the red bra and throng?”

“It was a special at Victoria’s Secrets in the downtown mall. I thought you might enjoy seeing what Santa’s reindeer are giving Santa for Christmas. Michelle crawled in the bed beside her nude husband with the red lace bra and tiny reindeer with small buckets on each nipple with the sign Food for Santa. Embroidered on her red throng was the simple message Santa’s toys.”

Smiling with total glee, “Mrs. Santos, you have been bad and a very naughty tonight.”

Rustle of the Sheets Storyline Summary

May 25, 2017

Below is The Rustle of the Sheets storyline summary from Danny first walking into Millennium through the end of Reva Rescue Rangers Storyline during the Indian Summer.

Republisher’s Note: I fixed obvious typos, but did not edit actual content even though there are several mistakes in the summary apparently from how they were described before shooting. There are also in [brackets] some notes of descriptions of some scenes that weren’t included in the final versions of the episodes. Do a find control for a left hand bracket [ to find just these cut scenes. I had heard about the famous missing Psychology class scene, but not the others. The Michelle telling Danny about being blind was an especially important one to the story. Someone *Hint, Hint* should take a hand at writing them up as lost scenes. Not sure of where they got the synposes from. I wish I did.

Find the original post:
https://web.archive.org/web/20120407081911/http://members.fortunecity.com/rustlingsheets/dmhistory.html

Danny and Michelle’s Story

[Author’s Note: The synposes are written before the airing and several times all of the scenes described don’t make it onto the air. Any scenes that I know of that didn’t, I will make a note of in square brackets.]

November 11, 1998 . . . Mick’s brother Danny comes to Millennium, looking for answers to his brother’s death. His visit leaves the foursome unnerved — Jesse, Drew, Michelle and Bill –, especially Michelle.

At Millennium, Jesse asks Drew if there has been any sign of Danny. Drew tells him no and wonders why there should be. Jesse is sure that Danny isn’t through with them yet. Michelle tries to study but finds that she has trouble concentrating as she relives hitting Mick on the back of the head with a rock. Jesse sneaks up behind her and asks how she is doing. Michelle thinks that her dream of saving lives (medically) has been ruined by taking Mick’s life. Drew’s bartender quits on short notice; Danny walks in and offers to do the job. Drew is impressed with his knowledge of drinks and reluctantly hires him.

New barkeep Danny tells Drew that even though brother Mick was older, Danny played the “man of the house” after their father died. Jesse and Michelle discuss how she feels about killing a man. Jesse tells Michelle that Danny is out for revenge and that no one must ever know what really happened. Drew informs Michelle and Jesse that she hired Danny and they must play it cool. She is going to make Danny fall in love with her.

Drew is in a drop dead gorgeous dress. She tells Bill, Jesse and Michelle about her plans to seduce Danny in order to distract him from finding out they killed Mick. She comes on to Danny. Danny brushes off Drew who only tries harder. He says he is only here to find Mick’s killer and that’s it. Drew is crestfallen. She lies to Jesse that Danny is attracted to her, but after Jesse keeps pushing her, she admits that Danny brushed her off. She adds that Danny scared her because he was so cold.

Later, Danny questions Michelle. Drew is crying brokenheartedly to Jesse. She goes back to the “I killed someone” rant and Jesse hugs her. Danny continues to quiz Michelle and only succeeds in unnerving her. She tells him to leave her alone and walks away.

At the diner, Michelle speaks with Mick’s angry brother Danny, who is incensed that Michelle and her pals hadn’t bothered to attend Mick’s funeral. She asks if there is any way she can make it up to him. Danny snarks, yeah — she could help him find his brother’s killer.

Michelle and Drew are up to their usual bickering, but when Danny comes in, they team up, deciding that Michelle should stick close and keep tabs on him. Michelle invites him to stay for Thanksgiving dinner and suggests that she might be able to help him find his brother’s killer.

As she spouts off false information to send him on a wild goose chase, he calls her bluff. He finds what she is saying interesting, but says he doesn’t believe a word of it. He continues to insist that he doesn’t believe what Michelle has told him, he thinks she knows more than she is offering. Michelle claims that she is ready to tell him the truth — no one is sorry that Mick is dead. Mick was a bad guy who’d been dealing drugs in the club and that’s why no one came to his funeral.

Jesse isn’t pleased to find Michelle alone with Danny. He tells him to get out, but Danny says that he had been invited to dinner. Jesse uninvites him. Once alone, Jesse warns Michelle not to try to take this guy on, he wants Danny to stay away from her.

Jenna realizes that her two charges, Marina and Lizzie, are no longer with her. She frantically starts looking for them, but to no avail. Jesse and Michelle fear that Danny might have taken them. Danny finds Lizzie and Marina hiding and returns them safe and sound. Everyone apologizes for suspecting him. Michelle spins out and Danny follows her.

The four teenagers argue because Jesse threw Danny out and now Michelle is missing. The four are still arguing as Selena enters, back from her trip to California. Bill and Jesse leave. The two women are alone. Selena guesses that the kids are involved in Mick’s death. Selena warns Drew that, according to word on the street, even though Danny looks and sounds good, he is much more dangerous than Mick. She adds that if they get in his way, they are dead.

Michelle, meanwhile, is on the beach by herself remembering the scene with Mick and Drew. Danny comes up and confronts her. He presses her because he believes she knows something about Mick’s death. He clearly unnerves Michelle. Danny reveals that before he died, Mick told him that he had a crush on Michelle and they used to flirt all the time. Danny’s theory is that Jesse killed Mick in a jealous rage. He adds that he is going to make Jesse pay for killing Mick.

Michelle denies that Jesse killed Mick. Danny keeps pushing. He starts manhandling her. She screams. At this point, Michelle drops the bomb that when he died, Mick was attacking her. Jesse arrives at the beach and pushes Danny down while yelling “get away.”

Jesse threatens Danny and keeps screaming at him and pummeling him. Jesse says if Danny goes near Michelle again, he will kill him. Danny leaves with the cryptic message, “I have learned a lot tonight. It’s been a real education.”

Michelle and Jesse talk about their difficulties regarding Mick at the diner. She is finally able to share how Danny has been coming on to her. Jesse asks her to please tell him the next time that Danny starts making her feel uncomfortable. After Michelle gets a hug from Frank outside the diner and tells him to say ‘hi’ to Marina for her, Danny intercepts her and kisses her passionately on the lips.

Drew and Jesse talk about the pain of losing someone, as Michelle finds out there is a new student in her class — Danny. Michelle is ready to blow a gasket! She vents to Drew that Danny Santos has annoyingly shown up in her psychology class, claiming he is there to audit the lectures. She feels like he is really there to stalk her. He has even signed up to be her study partner, but does he really want to study? — no; he just wants to sit there and torture her.

When the assignment is analyzing ink blots, Danny had insisted that each one looked like two people making love — Michelle and himself. Michelle replied curtly that the ink blots looked more like pictures of Danny getting hauled off to jail for harassing her.

[Note: these scenes were not filmed, only related to Drew. Paul Anthony Stewart had pneumonia. Thank God, they didn’t have someone fill in for him that day!]

Drew suggests that Michelle might consider chilling a bit. After all, as long as Danny keeps sniffing around Michelle romantically, he’d probably forget all about trying to investigate his brother’s death. But Michelle get her dander up all over again, when a sheaf of ink blots — a little gift from Danny — arrives in the mail. She phones him and sets up an urgent meeting.

At the mall, Michelle spells things out for Danny in plain English: no more calls, no more packages in the mail, no more auditing her college classes and no more intimidation tactics, period. A kinder and gentler Danny tries to explain that his only intention here is romantic. He’d even decided that his brother’s death was an accident, so he was closing up shop on his one-man investigation. Michelle, however, doesn’t soften a bit. She tells him firmly that they are not a couple and will never become one; she loves Jesse.

After Michelle turns on her heels and leaves, Danny confers by cell phone with an unidentified collaborator. He reports that things are taking a little longer than anticipated, but he remains as determined as ever to find his brother’s killer.

Michelle stops by Holly’s and suggests that Holly come to the Bauer house for a holiday meal. Her response is, “What kind of mother would I be if I weren’t here when my Meg got home?” She offers Michelle some egg nog in hopes of changing the subject and Michelle was shocked to taste alcohol in Holly’s drink. Holly agrees that drinking is a bad idea and rushes Michelle off, promising to come for dinner after Meg arrives. Michelle exits only to find Danny waiting for her with a Christmas gift. It is a picture of Michelle alone in the park, a reminder that he is always around.

Danny arrives just as Michelle, Drew, Jesse and Bill are arguing, and the tension changes to rage when he walks in and kisses Michelle. Jesse goes after Danny with all of his might, but is pulled back by the news that Michelle and Danny are partners in a class at school.

Drew pulls Danny outside to see what is really going on with him. Danny suggests that if Jesse got this angry over a kiss, he may have had similar rage if Mick had ever hit on Michelle. Maybe Jesse killed Mick, he wonders and Drew suggests that Danny no longer cares about Mick’s murder. She thinks that Danny has developed a thing for Michelle.

When Michelle lets it slip that things had happened with Danny lately, Jesse pushes for more information from her. When she tells him about the first kiss from Danny at the diner, Jesse’s anger is palpable. Simultaneously, Danny admits to Drew that he does have a thing for Michelle. He says that if he could take Michelle away from Jesse and pin Mick’s murder on him at the same time, then all the better.

Jesse shares his plan to save Michelle with Bill. He plans to leave town throwing suspicion totally his way. Jesse covers his plan by telling Michelle that he had been called to New York by an art dealer. Meanwhile, Danny is told that he only has 48 more hours to wrap up Mick’s murder. If he can’t do it, all four under suspicion would die.

Drew overhears Jesse telling Bill his plan to leave town and his request for Bill to watch over Michelle. Drew can’t bear the thought of Jesse leaving and wants to send Michelle away instead. Jesse not only asks Drew to understand, but asks an even bigger favor … tell Danny that Jesse is the one who killed Mick. An upset Drew goes to Danny and blurts that Michelle killed his brother.

Danny accosts Drew, demanding to know who killed Mick. Drew says it was Michelle. Danny does not believe this; he thinks Jesse did it. She also reveals that Jesse is leaving town to throw Danny off the trail. Upstairs, Michelle and Jesse are saying good-bye. She asks to go with him. Jesse says no.

Danny doesn’t believe that Michelle killed Mick. Through tears, Drew tells Danny that Mick was hurting Michelle and the death was an accident. Selena interrupts. Danny drags Drew upstairs to confront Michelle. Danny tells Drew someone will have to pay because his family wants revenge.

Danny is racing upstairs to find Michelle and encounters Dietz on his way to find Michelle. She and Jesse are outside saying good-bye. Jesse tells her he will never forget her. He rides off on his motorcycle, leaving Michelle alone just as Danny comes up angrily behind her. He confronts her and yells, “there is only one way to finish this!” She is terrified.

Danny is devastated to learn that Michelle was the one who had killed his brother. As she begs him not to kill her, he drags her out of the alley. Danny brings Michelle to the beach where is brother had died. He wants to know exactly how she killed Mick. Michelle desperately tells him the story of what happened as it related to her, leaving out Drew’s involvement. Danny says that he believes her, but unfortunately her confession isn’t really in her best interest.

He asks who else was there that night, saying that his brother was twice Michelle’s size. He doesn’t believe that Michelle could have done it alone. She insists that it was only her. He says that he knows what kind of person his brother was and that he believes her. Michelle collapses into his arms with relief, but he pulls away, saying that no matter what, he can’t excuse her killing his brother.

Since Danny is being watched by one of his father’s men, he tells Michelle that if he doesn’t take care of her, someone else will. Sirens rng out in the distance, heading toward the beach. Michelle begs him to run and save himself. He looks back to see that he is still being watched. Desperate, he pulls Michelle further down the beach. As the sirens grow closer, the beach is left empty.

Michelle tries to convince Danny that she had acted in self defense and that his brother’s death was an accident. Danny tells her it does not matter. Dietz shows up and wonders why Danny has not killed Michelle yet. Danny sends him to check if there are any cops around. Then, Danny points his gun and orders Michelle to turn around. She refuses and he forcibly turns her around … Suddenly, there is a gunshot and Michelle is face down in the river.

Dietz returns and seems pleased. After he leaves, Danny helps Michelle out of the water. She asks why he had ordered her to jump in. Danny says he’s done it because he believes her story, and she thanks him for not killing her. He says it isn’t that easy. He wonders if she is worth the fact that he is risking his life. He says that in order to remain safe, she absolutely has to follow his instructions.

Danny and Michelle argue over Danny’s plan. She isn’t sure it’s any better than the alternative of being dead and doesn’t think “the boss” will believe their story. Danny says “the boss” better believe it, for her sake. Michelle panics and realizes that she isn’t as safe as Danny had told her she’d be. The boss agrees to see them, and Michelle is surprised to find out that the boss is a woman and Danny’s mother. Michelle explains that killing Mick was an accident; she did it in self-defense because he was attacking her. Danny’s mother doesn’t care and says that Michelle must pay for killing her son. Danny stops her and tells his mom she can’t kill her because Michelle is his wife.

After Danny drops this bomb, Carmen is clearly upset as she points a gun at Michelle. Carmen is still threatening Michelle. When Michelle finally talks back to her, Carmen slaps her face. Meanwhile, Jesse is positive Michelle is not dead. He tells Drew that if she were, he would feel it. He figures out that the Santos family is hiding Danny and Michelle. He goes off to find them and refuses Drew’s offer to come with him, but she does so anyway. Carmen is still angry. Jesse and Drew enter and spot Danny. As Carmen goes to the door, Danny tells Michelle to make the marriage look real or else.

Jesse speaks in Spanish to Carmen, which seems to impress her. He says he has information about Mick. Inside, Danny warns Michelle that her friends’ lives depend on her making their involvement look real. He sees Carmen enter the room and draws Michelle into a passionate kiss. In walk Drew and Jesse, interrupting the kiss. Jesse runs over and hugs Michelle. In front of Mama, Danny and Drew, Jesse tells her that she doesn’t have to pretend anymore. She can come with him. Michelle shocks everyone by saying no — she is staying with Danny.

Michelle is heartbroken as Jesse stands before her, pleading to take her home. He explains that the police know everything now. Carmen blames Danny for bringing trouble into her home by marrying Michelle. Michelle then has to turn to Jesse and break the news of her marriage to Danny. Jesse blows past this news as if she never said it. Carmen leaves, giving Danny the task of removing Jesse and Drew from her home.

Danny reminds Michelle that their marriage has saved the lives of her loved ones. She turns to Jesse and claims to love Danny in a way she had never loved him. Jesse refuses to believe that. Danny warns Jesse that it is time for his departure. Michelle is forced to go farther, pointing out all the problems that she and Jesse had endured in their troubled relationship, and adding that she was happy to be past that now. As a distraught Jesse exits, followed by a not so distraught Drew, Danny moves to comfort Michelle. She pushed him away as Carmen looks on. Carmen steps in, asking Michelle to call her mother. She says that she is making plans for a proper church ceremony.

The Bauers are summoned by Dietz to meet Carmen. They are relieved to hear that Michelle is alive, but shocked to learn about her marriage to Danny. Jesse tries to explain the situation, but they don’t completely believe him. Once at the country club, Rick tries to convince Michelle that what she is doing was wrong. Michelle tells her brother that she has no choice.

Jesse crashes the party and pleads with Michelle. He says if you tell me that you don’t love me anymore I will leave you and Danny alone. Michelle tries, but she can’t say those words and they kiss. Mrs. Santos sees this and informs her son that Michelle is welcoming a guest in the hallway.

Michelle tells Jesse that they are over with and her life is with Danny. In response to his mother’s newsflash, Danny interrupts and orders Jesse to leave. Jesse believes that Danny is holding something over Michelle and tells him to let her go. The two men end up fighting, and Dietz throws Jesse out. Danny and Michelle argue over her kissing Jesse goodbye. Danny warns her to be careful because his mother is filing away everything she does for future reference.

Mrs. Santos whispers in Michelle’s ear that Danny is having second thoughts about the marriage and that is very bad for her. Later, Mrs. Santos has Jesse brought by for a little chat. She wants his help in breaking up Danny and Michelle. Jesse refuses to go along with her. Michelle is upset to find the bedroom she is supposed to share with Danny lighted with candles and decorated with flowers like a bridal suite.

Upon entering their bedroom, Michelle is stunned. The room is decorated as a bridal suite with flowers and champagne. Michelle tells Danny that she wouldn’t sleep with him if her life depended on it. It does, Danny reminds her. He adds that she could be a little bit grateful. Carmen enters and asks if they like the room, reminding them that she wants grandchildren, as she stares at Michelle who just looks sick. Carmen asks Michelle how many children she wants. Carmenthen recites a blessing in Spanish asking God to make Michelle very fertile. Once she leaves, Danny admits to Michelle that he will do whatever it takes to keep Michelle safe. He says it’s not about his brother anymore or revenge; it’s just about her and him.

Michelle says there is no “them” and she doesn’t love Danny. He says she is stuck with him and she should try to make the best of it. He insists there is something between them if Michelle would only admit it. He rubs her shoulders. She breaks away and tells him it will never happen. Michelle repeats her mantra: there is nothing between her and Danny, and she will find a way out of this mess without anyone she loves getting hurt. She adds that she will never sleep with Danny. He tells her that she can’t get away from his mother. He begins to undress for bed. He informs her that he wears nothing to bed. As Michelle slips into a pretty negligee, she tells him that tonight he will wear something to bed. “Touche” is his answer. They are now both in the same bed. Michelle has her back turned; grinning, Danny says good night.

Michelle is looking for Danny and finds his mother who tells her Danny has gone out. They have a heated conversation and Michelle tels Mrs. Santos that she is aware that she does not believe her marriage is real.

Mrs. Santos receives a phone call and speaks in Spanish. She tells Michelle to get used to it and snidely tells her to let her know when she felt left out. Abby arrives and she and Michelle use sign language. Mrs. Santos is visibly angry and Michelle tells Abby that because she doesn’t sign she is feeling left out, taking an opportunity to throw Carmen’s words back in her face. Michelle lets her know she expects privacy and as she leaves the room, Mrs. Santos says she will spare no expense at the wedding and that Michelle would get all she deserved.

Abby wants to know what is going on and she lets Michelle know her family was worried. She tells her they would fix everything. Michelle tells her she has made both a choice and a committment and asks her to accept this. She also asks Abby to help her convince Rick and Jesse. She tells Abby that she needs them to give her some space. Abby sayes it seems she is a prisoner. Michelle admits that she and Mrs. Santos don’t like each other, but they are adjusting. She tells her again that this is the life she wants. Abby doesn’t believe her and Michelle tells her not to come back. As she leaves, Michelle asks her to tell everyone “Hi” and that she is fine.

Michelle wakes up wondering where Danny has gone to. When she calls for him, he jumps up from the floor at the foot of the bed. He says that he decided that it would be easier to sleep on the floor than worry about accidentally brushing against her. He quickly joins her in the bed when his mother knocks on the door, but forget to take the blankets with him. Michelle explains the blankets away saying that she had gotten hot during the night and thrown them off. Danny insists that his mother honor his and Michelle’s privacy.

Once alone again, Danny asks Michelle to meet his grandmother. She declines. The afternoon brings a meeting with the priest, where they have to prove that they are ready for marriage. Michelle assures Danny that she would ace their test with the Father, and she would do it by thinking about Jesse when answering every question. Her test proves successful, however, Michelle is a little surprised to hear how compatible the priest finds them.

It is brought home for her when Danny reads the answer on his questionnaire about what he hoped for in a marriage and it is almost the same as hers. She says that she had never realized until then how much Danny had given up by marrying her. She had only thought of what this marriage had cost her. She asks Danny to help her find a way for both of them to be happy. Danny says that the difference between the two of them is that he doesn’t expect life to be perfect.

Carmen explains to Dietz that Jesse is her only real hope of breaking up Michelle and Danny. Jesse comes in with reservations, still not understanding why Carmen would want to work with him. She says that she wants Jesse to help show Danny that he is making a mistake. Jesse is willing to hear her plan. When Danny and Michelle arrive home from their meeting with the priest, Carmen is very excited for the two of them to meet her newest employee. She pulls them into the dining room and says, “I think you know Jesse Blue.”

Carmen informs Danny and Michelle that Jesse is now working for the family. Michelle looks green. Danny turns crimson with anger. Privately, Danny tries to argue Carmen out of putting Mr. Blue on the family payroll. She bluntly reminds her rebellious son that she is the boss, her word is sacrosanct, and if at any time Danny gets bored with this foolish marriage and divorces Ms. Bauer, Carmen is quite ready to put a contract out on the infuriating interloper.

Carmen remains staunchly convinced that Michelle will only wind up breaking Danny boy’s heart. Later, Carmen gives Jesse a personal tour of the mansion and takes particular delight in showing him the newlywed’s much-rumpled bedroom. She cunningly points out that the bed sheets were in such disarray, because Danny and Michelle couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Jesse listens politely to Carmen’s beaming comments, all the while vowing to find a way somehow to rescue Michelle from this elegant snake pit.

Then, while Carmen and Michelle go off to huddle over invitations (for Danny and Michelle’s big church wedding), Mr. Blue and Mr. Santos lock horns. Danny wants Jesse to quit. Jesse insists that he isn’t ditching his new job at the Santos compound until he can take Michelle with him.

Later, when they’re alone, Danny tells Michelle there is only one way to get Jesse to leave the premises for good. They have to convince him that they are really in love. Jesse will have to catch them in bed together. Michelle and Danny have it out in their bedroom. He declares that she isn’t the only prisoner in this marriage and they have to make their domestic situation look as real as possible.

Danny leaves angrily to speak with Jesse, and Drew comes over to see Michelle. Danny and Jesse have a tense confrontation. Danny threatens Jesse’s life when Jesse refuses to quit working for Carmen. Drew is compelled to tell Michelle the truth: Jesse is still carrying a torch for Michelle — and it could all get them killed. Drew thinks there is only one way to convince Jesse that Michelle and Danny are happily married. He has to catch them in the act of making love.

Michelle wonders how she can go through with it. Jesse knocks on her door and tells her they have to talk. Michelle insists that he needs to stay away from her as Drew listens from behind a curtain. Jesse reminds her of the past — how they’d once taken wedding vows in the lighthouse — but Michelle tells him that it’s over between them. Nevertheless, she doesn’t resist kissing him. Then she asks him to leave, even though she breaks down and cries when he does. Afterwards, Michelle makes a decision and asks for Drew’s help.

In the meantime, Danny goes to confession and tells the priest that he may have to kill someone in order to save his wife’s life. The priest prays that he won’t have to do it and warns him that if he commits murder, his soul could be in mortal danger. Michelle calls Danny on his cellphone and informs him she has a way to get rid of Jesse without killing him. He needs to meet her at the lighthouse.

Michelle tells Danny that they have to make love at the lighthouse in order to convince Jesse that she doesn’t love him anymore. Danny wonders if she can go through with it. Michelle answers by kissing him. The newlyweds undress and climb into bed. But suddenly Michelle can’t go through with it, after all. When Jesse arrives, she tries to keep him out of the lighthouse, but he pushes his way in and finds Danny in bed.

Danny and Michelle are in bed. Danny starts to take off her negligee saying, “We have to do this.” Michelle backs away screaming, “No, there has to be another way.” Jesse is outside knocking on the door while all this is going on. She runs to the door with Danny’s jacket covering her negligee crying, “No, Jesse, I don’t want to see you.” Jesse keeps pushing to come in. He forces the door open, sees her and Danny scantily clad and asks, “Why?” Michelle just looks guilty. Jesse is very hurt.

Michelle apologizes to Jesse for the scene he just walked in on. Jesse is incredulous as well as hurt. Danny sits quietly in the background as Michelle tells Jesse in a teary voice that it’s over. Jesse finally relents by telling her he won’t bother her anymore. He leaves and Michelle cries bitterly in front of Danny. Danny expresses his concern to Michelle. He tries to comfort her as well as offer his sympathy and help. Michelle rejects it all. She tells Danny to stay away from her. This angers Danny. Michelle reminds Danny he will never have her love.

Danny and Michelle get dressed while he lectures her. She says she would rather be dead than be with him. He reminds her that unless she acts like she loves him, she and Jesse will be dead. To this, she reiterates that she will never love him. Danny thinks that just as his grandparents met for the first time on their wedding day and had a happy life, so too, there may be hope for him and Michelle. Nevertheless, Danny denies having feelings for Michelle in response to her statements.

Danny orders Michelle to pull herself together, because Carmen should not see that she has been crying. Danny tells Carmen that Jesse is gone; and furthermore, he and Michelle are tired of jumping through Mama’s hoops. He adds that it’s time for her to show Michelle the respect due his wife.

At this point, Michelle comes in and asks for a private chat with Carmen. She asks Michelle what happened. Michelle says she wants Drew to be her maid of honor and she wants white roses at her wedding. Carmen replies that a big wedding is not really necessary. Michelle insists that a big wedding is what she wants — in fact, “the bigger the better.” Carmen says a big shindig would be in questionable taste because Michelle killed Mick. Michelle then announces that that she will go all through their family rituals and she will earn their respect and trust; she wants Carmen to be proud of her. She adds that she sincerely wants to be part of the Santos family and feels that a big wedding with all the relatives on hand is a good way to start. Carmen says, “I’ll consider it” (through clenched teeth) as she leaves the room.

After Carmen leaves, Michelle tells herself that she will get in as deep as she can, infiltrate herself into the Santos clan, find out all their weaknesses and then use that to “as God is my witness, bring this family down.” She finishes the speech by saying “I will get my life back!”

Michelle informs Drew of her plan to bring down the Santos family. Drew thinks Michelle’s going to get herself killed trying to get Jesse back, but an impassioned Michelle tells her that it’s not about Jesse, it’s about Michelle getting her life back. Things get honest between the two, as Michelle advises Drew to make sure Jesse’s what she really wants and not to settle for someone who doesn’t want you as much as you want them. Later, Jesse thanks Drew for comforting him last night and asks to take her out in return. Drew makes a decision to lie that she already has a date, and we know Michelle’s words have had an effect on her. Michelle returns to the Santos home, and tries to press Danny for information regarding his family and business. Wary off Carmen’s warning that Michelle is up to something, Danny becomes defensive.

Michelle and Drew meet and talk about Michelle’s plan to bring down the Santos family. Drew tells Michelle that she turned down a date with Jesse because she doesn’t want to be the “next best thing.” The two share a warm moment.

Danny doesn’t really want to go into Michelle’s house. He gets the idea that Michelle is trying to pull something over on him. She suggested Danny accept that she might actually like him. While she didn’t love him, she suggests that maybe that would come in time. When they go inside and tell Rick and Meta that a wedding is set for the day after tomorrow, they are met with less than a happy welcome. Rick says that if Danny is going to marry his little sister, it is time for them to have a talk. Meta confronts Michelle, saying that she knows she isn’t in love with Danny.

Meanwhile, Rick is upstairs showing Danny the real Michelle in her old bedroom. Rick says to Danny, “you’re destroying my sister’s spirit.” He adds, “the greatest gift you could give my sister is to let her go.”

Michelle asks her family to be at the wedding to support her. She rushes upstairs when she realizes that Danny hasn’t come down with Rick. She finds Danny looking at the nude drawing Jesse had sketched of her. Danny says that Jesse had a beautiful subject and that the drawing doesn’t do her justice.

Rick says it is time for them to love Michelle and support this marriage. Meta hopes that he is right. Michelle asks for a few minutes alone in her own room to collect a few things. Alone, she calls the FBI offering to help them get the Santos family. As she is offering her help, Danny walks back in. Danny walks in on Michelle on the phone with the FBI, but assumes that Michelle was trying to call Jesse. She covers, and is relieved he doesn’t know who she was really talking too. Then Danny informs Michelle that he wants them to consummate the marriage after the ceremony. Michelle is floored, and tries to tell him she needs to take things slowly.

Later back at Casa Santos, Michelle is trying in vain to take a nap. She tosses and turns. Danny enters carrying the box of souvenirs that Jesse sent over. Michelle insists she does not want it; he can toss it. Danny says it’s okay for her to have memories — she can keep the box. She stubbornly maintains that she does not want it. Danny leaves and Mama Santos watches in the wings as Michelle poignantly goes through the contents of the box. Michelle is reading Romeo and Juliet. Carmen comes in with her own wedding dress and mantilla. Carmen says it would mean a lot to Daniel’s grandmother if Michelle wore the dress instead of the new one she bought. Michelle replies that she would be honored to wear it. Michelle tries on the beautiful lace mantilla. Carmen remarks that Michelle may have fooled Danny, but she knows that Michelle does not love him, and she is not fooled.

Michelle continues to insist that she loves Danny. Drew enters. When Carmen leaves, Michelle and Drew laughingly refer to her as “Morticia.” The two young women commiserate. Michelle reveals that she phoned the FBI about the Santos family.

Jesse opens the door to Danny. Danny tells Jesse to back off and to leave Michelle alone. The two men argue. Danny tells Jesse to stay away from the Santos compound. He warns that if Jesse comes to the wedding, he is a dead man. After Danny leaves, Jesse calls Mark Endicott and cancels the show because of the wedding.

Drew counsels Michelle to earn the trust of the Santos family. She tells Michelle about Jesse’s upcoming art show tomorrow. Carmen tries one last time to talk Danny out of the marriage. Danny chillingly says if she doesn’t stop, he will leave the family forever.

Carmen tells Danny that she won’t stand in his way regarding Michelle. Rick, Abby and Meta arrives to witness an event that they know to be a charade. Drew coachs Michelle in the bride’s dressing room to make this wedding look real. Danny greets his family and tells his cousin that Michelle is truly special. As his grandmother takes her place next to Carmen, her first time out of her room since Mick’s death, the wedding gets underway. Rick apologizes for not doing a good enough job stepping in when their dad went away. He says that he would do anything for her, even right at that moment. Michelle just says, “please Rick, it’s time to give me away.”

He does as asked and walks her down the aisle. As the priest gets to the part of the vows asking anyone to speak now or forever hold their peace, Jesse stands in the back looking on. He imagines stepping forward and asking Michelle to tell everyone that he was the one she loved. In his mind, she tells Danny that Jesse is the only man for her and runs out with him. But in reality, the wedding moves forward. Michelle and Danny shares their vows with one another and become husband and wife in the eyes of God.

Michelle is surprised Danny has planned a honeymoon. Drew assures Michelle she’ll be her go-between with the FBI and comments on how genuine her and Danny’s kiss seemed. Nervous but determined to go through with everything, Michelle approaches Danny and, at her suggestion, they head upstairs. Michelle is surprised by the gifts of money they were given. When Danny asks Michelle if there’s anything she wants, she drops her dress and moves toward him. Clad only in her trousseau, she tries to be passionate with Danny, but her feelings of guilt prevent her from consummating her marriage vows. Danny then tries to make Michelle comfortable by giving her a massage and whispering sweet nothings in her ear, but it doesn’t work.

They are interrupted by the FBI, thanks to Drew having contacted them. Danny is livid that FBI agents burst in on his wedding night. Carmen is sure Michelle’s behind it, but Danny defends his wife and does not want her harassed. Michelle says it’s OK, she can handle it, as one agent questions her while the other questions Danny and Carmen. Michelle talks to him about bringing Carmen down, but the agent makes it clear that if Carmen goes down, Danny goes down with her. When Michelle defends Danny, the agent reminds her she must choose between saving herself or Danny. Once alone, Danny embraces Michelle, promising to protect her and telling her she is his life.

Michelle is grilled by the Santos family’s lawyer about her conversation with the FBI. Danny defends Michelle to Carmen and the attorney. Carmen speaks with Rick about her son’s death at Michelle’s hands, and Rick advises her to allow Danny to run his own life.

[This was probably a great scene between Rick and Carmen, but alas, it is on the cutting room floor and we never saw it.]

Later, Michelle secretly gives money to a woman threatened by the Santos family, in exchange for information about their illicit operations.

Michelle contacts the FBI to let them know about her speaking with Mrs. Silva. At church, she runs into Mrs. Silva, who wants to tell Danny about the money Michelle gave her. At Michelle’s request, Mrs. Silva reluctantly agrees not to. Michelle insists that she wants to help Danny get out of the crime business, but she needs Mrs. Silva to tell her all she knows. Ray overhears Mrs. Silva thanking Michelle, and later assures Michelle that Danny would never harm her for being generous to Mrs. Silva.

Danny, meanwhile, is having dinner with Carmen, who continues to relay her suspicions about Michelle. Danny wants to earn an honest living for Michelle and their future family. Carmen, disturbed, tells of their family history, explaining that his grandfather and father had dreams of building the Santos family to be a force to reckon with in the community. Though touched, Danny remains firm about wanting to go legit. Carmen offers to accept Michelle only if she passes a test of her loyalty, but Danny refuses, and vows that Carmen will lose him if she acts against Michelle. Still, he assures Carmen that if Michelle or anyone else betrayed his family, he would exact revenge against them. Soon after this, he’s shocked when Ray tells him that Michelle gave Mrs. Silva the money.

Michelle tells a suspicious Danny that she didn’t know Mrs. Silva was a “client,” and was just helping a poor woman out. Danny learns that Dietz is still following Michelle, and orders him to stop. He also tells Michelle that his mother had better not be right about Michelle’s working against the family. Reminding him that she’s his wife, Michelle kisses him. Danny takes her into their bedroom, and the two begin to make love. But Danny picks up on her hesitation. Aghast that he nearly forced her to do something she doesn’t want to do, he storms out.

Danny brings Michelle flowers to apologize for last night. Michelle tells him they need to trust each other. She and Danny tell each other of their first heartbreaks. Michelle discusses losing her eyesight, and then presses Danny to tell her about his family’s crime business. Danny questions whether she’s ready to take his life in her hands. He describes a litany of criminal activities — including a shipment of Cuban cigars arriving tomorrow night.

[While Danny did tell Michelle about the Cuban cigars, we did not see the scene where Michelle told him about losing her eyesight, nor did Danny talk about anything other than the cigars.]

He makes her promise she won’t tell anyone about this, since he could be arrested. She promises, but knows she must call the FBI. Danny privately hopes his wife won’t betray him.

Michelle privately tells Drew to call the FBI about the info she obtained from Danny. Drew presses Michelle for her feelings about Danny. She warns Michelle that Danny will come after her if he finds out. Danny, meanwhile, makes a call to guard against the possibility of an FBI raid, hoping he’s wrong about Michelle. Michelle overhears him telling his grandmother that he loves Michelle. Changing her mind, she calls Drew to tell her not to go through with calling the FBI. But it’s too late. Danny tells Carmen about the setup to test Michelle’s loyalty. He implies that if Michelle fails his test he’ll kill her. Later, Carmen tells Dietz make his girlfriend call the FBI posing as Michelle.

Michelle, having discovered she was too late to stop Drew from calling off the FBI, pretends she’s losing her eyesight again. Danny takes Michelle to the hospital. Rick examines her and privately asks her why she’s faking blindness. Drew and Jesse rush to the hospital, worried that Danny’s done something to Michelle. Jesse enters Michelle’s room and vows to help her. Danny orders Jesse to leave, since he can take care of his wife. Rick pushes both men out. Privately, Drew tells Michelle she knows Michelle is faking. Danny later comforts Michelle and promises he’ll stay by her side. Dietz then appears, secretly showing Danny pictures that prove the FBI showed up at the docks … at Michelle’s request.

The next day at Millennium, Michelle tells Drew she won’t involve her anymore in the plan to bring down the Santos family. Michelle unconvincingly denies being in love with Danny. Changing the subject, she comments on a box of artifacts from Drew’s past, which Drew plans to use in an interview about Millennium. While looking through the box, Michelle finds a letter that reveals Drew was adopted. Horrified, Drew rushes out.

Carmen, glad that Danny believes Michelle’s guilty of calling the FBI, reminds her son that he must punish Michelle for her betrayal. She wonders if Michelle also lied about Mick’s death, and if she’s still seeing Jesse. Danny’s doubts increase, especially when he later finds Michelle packing her bags. Michelle claims she’s spending time with Rick because of her eyesight. Danny calls her a liar.

Danny and Michelle are arguing. Michelle denies that she called the FBI. Danny puts his hands around her throat and says if she really did something so stupid as calling the FBI, he does not know if he would be able to forgive her. Michelle tells Danny that she overheard him talking with his grandmother and admitting he has feelings for her. She adds that hearing that made her feel good. She tells him he needs to trust his feelings for her. Danny talks softly to Michelle but places his hands around her throat again. Danny tells her he will protect her and take care of her. Michelle replies that she is glad he wasn’t there when the FBI showed up. Michelle is going to Rick’s house for a couple of days. Danny gets very emotional saying goodbye to her.

Danny tells Carmen he’s ready to avenge Michelle’s betrayal. Believing Michelle’s days are numbered, Carmen feigns sympathy for Michelle’s blindness, and cruelly tells her that life’s too short for animosity. Michelle doesn’t buy the sympathy act, and sticks up for herself. Danny overhears Dietz thanking his girlfriend for making the call to the FBI, as ordered by Carmen. He confronts his mother about the revelation, and embraces Michelle, now sure of her honesty. He tells Michelle he’ll come with her to Rick’s, to take care of her.

Jesse reveals to Drew that he called Rita, the woman who wrote the letter implying Drew was adopted. Drew is stunned when Rita appears, explaining that she lied about the letter. She describes Drew’s adoption, and Drew’s father’s decision to keep it a secret. Drew is devastated and angry with Jesse for going behind her back. Jesse begs for forgiveness, but she goes off to drink alone. Jesse goes to Selena to tell her Drew knows the truth.

Carmen talks with Dietz, and after playing a cat-and-mouse game with him, threatens him for his stupidity in letting Danny find out Dietz’s girlfriend called the FBI at Carmen’s request. Frightened, Dietz apologizes. Carmen acknowledges that he’s been a loyal employee for some time, but reminds him of the Santos need for vengeance.

Danny and Michelle go out to dinner with Rick and Abby. Privately, Abigail tells Michelle that it’s obvious Michelle has true feelings for Danny.

[Unfortunately, this is another scene that didn’t make it to the air. I would have loved to have seen it.]

Later, the newlyweds dance together in a moment heavy with sexual tension. Michelle — touched by his affection and encouraged by her growing feelings towards him — admits that she faked the blindness. She then learns that Danny gave her false info to test her. She realizes that she’s failed the test, and hesitantly admits as much to Danny.

[Another scene gone … Although we did see Michelle confess to faking her blindness and calling the FBI, we did not see Danny tell her that it was a test.]

Enraged at her for betraying him, Danny tells Rick and Abby to take Michelle home — he can’t even look at her right now. Later, a distraught Drew joins Danny for a drink at the bar.

Rick urges Michelle to tell him what happened with Danny. She refuses to admit the truth, just saying she married Danny to prevent Carmen from having her prosecuted. Meta privately confronts Michelle for omitting the truth — that Michelle’s life is in danger. Meta wants Michelle to leave town, but Michelle trusts Danny loves her… and admits she’s drawn to him.

Back at Millennium, Danny and Drew continue to drown their sorrows. Wanting to get away from everyone, Drew grabs a bottle and starts to leave. Danny asks her if she wants company. Drew takes Danny to the loft, where they bond over their mutual betrayals. Drew says she’s not afraid of Danny, despite his tough act. They continue to drink and bitterly damn everyone who hurt them. Soon their angry feelings lead them to passion. But after they had sex, Drew is horrified that she’s slept with Michelle’s husband. Just as she asks Danny to keep their night together a secret, Jesse arrives home.

Michelle is pouring out her heart to Meta as she tries to sort out her feelings for Danny. She admits to Meta that she cares for Danny for real now and wants to tell him so. Meanwhile, Danny and Drew are in bed together. Drew is expressing regret over having made love to him a few minutes ago. Danny tries to calm her down. Jesse unlocks the door, and as he struggles with the chain, she puts on a robe and Danny hides.

Jesse apologizes for inviting Rita over. Drew tells Jesse to leave and won’t open the door. By this time Danny has gotten dressed. With a guilty look on his face, he nods to Drew to open the door. They make the bed together. Danny hides in the bathroom while Drew opens the door to Jesse. He apologizes again for inviting Rita over. Drew insists she is okay. Jesse sees the rumpled bed, finds a man’s wallet and realizes that Drew did not sleep alone. He becomes angry and walks out. Drew cries. Danny comes out and apologizes. Danny notes that Jesse sounded jealous. Even though Danny denies it, Drew forces him to admit that he loves Michelle. But he adds that Michelle betrayed him and he is clearly furious about that.

Meta tells Michelle not to go and talk to Danny. She warns Michelle that no matter how nice, polite and polished he is, Danny was raised to be ruthless. He was also groomed for a certain type of lifestyle. Michelle insists he can change. After Meta leaves, she hears her voice in her head telling her not to go to Danny as she toys with her car keys. She calls Drew not knowing that Danny is still there. Drew simply says she can’t talk now. Once off the phone, Drew refers to herself as a slut. Danny jumps to her defense. They agree to keep what happened strictly between the two of them. Danny leaves, but his wallet is still on the floor.

Michelle has her head down on the kitchen table, asleep. She dreams that there is a knock on the door. It’s Danny and they passionately kiss and make up; but at the end of this beautiful scene he pulls a gun out, loads it and says, “You leave me no choice.” She wakes up, hears a knock at the door for real and goes to open it. Danny stands there looking dark, brooding and dangerous. This time it is not a dream.

Danny shoves his way past Michelle into the Bauer kitchen. She brandishes a knife and shrieks, “I know you came here to kill me!” Danny can’t believe his ears; she drops the knife. He thought they had gotten past their initial misgivings about each other, but he was wrong. He has made the only decision he can, and declares their marriage over. A desperate Michelle insists that she’s ready to be his wife and won’t do anything to make him unhappy; by severing their relationship, he’s giving her a death sentence. He gives his word that she’ll be safe from his mother’s wrath. He kisses her goodbye and places his wedding ring in her palm.

[Note: This scene was a hell of a lot more emotional than this description makes it sound. Danny could not leave without holding her in his arms one more time and Michelle clung to him as if her life depended on it, sobbing openly. And when he kissed her, Michelle kissed him right back. In fact, this was the first true kiss between the two of them. It was so beautiful, but so heartbreaking.]

Danny tells Carmen at Towers about breaking up with Michelle, and orders her not to hurt Michelle. Carmen maintains he’ll soon be a widower. Danny threatens to turn a ledger detailing Carmen’s illegal activities over to the FBI if she hurts Michelle… even if it means he goes to prison too. Later, Carmen fires her lawyer for allowing Danny to obtain the ledger, and asks Ben to join her team of lawyers. He refuses… but she’s still impressed with him.

At Jesse’s loft with Drew, Michelle spots Danny’s wallet, which he’d left the other day. Drew makes up a lie to explain why the wallet’s there. Jesse arrives, and Michelle reveals that her marriage is over. Wanting her old life back, she asks him to forgive her. She invites him to dinner, but he has to think about it. Michelle leaves and sees Danny in the hallway. She returns Danny’s wallet. Jesse, seeing them together, accepts Michelle’s dinner invitation.

Drew and Danny commiserate at Millennium on Michelle and Jesse’s apparent reunion. Danny admits he’s miserable but is convinced his marriage is over. They agree to keep their night together a secret. Jesse and Michelle arrive, and Michelle is distressed to see Danny. When she goes to the restroom, Jesse notices Drew and Danny’s closeness, and realizes Danny was the man in Drew’s bed last night. As he confronts them, Michelle appears and asks what’s going on.

Carmen meets Ben again to convince him to accept her job offer, and says he’d be working for her, not Danny. They make plans to meet tomorrow night.

Jesse confronts Danny and Drew about their night together when Michelle enters. Jesse privately challenges Danny to tell Michelle, saying he won’t be the person to hurt Michelle. He blasts Danny for taking advantage of Drew.

[This exchange between Danny and TWV (The Walking Vegetable) was cut. Damn, probably had some fabulous Danny reaction shots.]

Later, he warns Drew not to tell Michelle the truth, and warns her about Danny. Drew claims at least Danny could offer her what Jesse can’t — physical affection. Danny urges Michelle to reunite with Jesse, saying he only pretended to love Michelle. Michelle agrees she pretended as well. However, after she walks out, in anguish, Danny whispers to himself, “I do love you.”

Later, she talks with Meta about Jesse and Danny, claiming that she wants to start her life with Jesse over again.

[Argh, another great scene where Michelle talks about Danny, and is totally in denial about Jesse, on the cutting room floor. Again, may I say, arrggghhh!!!]

Jesse arrives, and asks Michelle why she really married Danny. She reveals she married Danny so he wouldn’t have to avenge Mick’s death — and that she never slept with Danny. Later, Michelle gets a phone call and agrees to meet someone. Jesse thinks he knows where she’s going, and starts to head out. Meanwhile, Danny talks with Ray and asks for an annulment. Ray says as long as he loves Michelle, an annulment would be wrong. Michelle arrives, and Ray challenges her to swear she doesn’t love Danny.

Jesse guesses that Michelle is with Danny, since she lied about being with Meta. Meta defends Danny to him, but Jesse later leaves to find Michelle. Michelle can’t tell Ray decisively that she doesn’t love Danny. Danny asks her why she’s prolonging this, reminding her that she’s the one who wanted out of their marriage, and storms out. Ray reveals that Danny threatened to turn Carmen in to the FBI in order to save Michelle. When Michelle runs to stop Danny from leaving, Jesse arrives and sees them together.

At Carmen’s home for dinner, Ben and Carmen discuss the terms of Ben’s employment. Carmen explains she’d have to “terminate” him if he wanted to dissolve their partnership. Ben tries to seduce Carmen but she says she’s not impressed. He counters that he’s not impressed by her threats either. With the two at a mutual understanding, Ben leaves.

At Millennium, Danny and Drew discuss their drunken night together. He reveals he’s seeing a woman tonight following a business meeting. Danny tells Juan to make a “delivery” without Carmen’s knowledge.

Michelle prepares a romantic dinner for her and Jesse, but calls Jesse by Danny’s name. She apologizes profusely and he accepts. The evening continues with a few mishaps, but they toast their relationship. Jesse asks her why she’s still wearing Danny’s ring. She removes it, and they start off to Jesse’s apartment. They go to the Millennium, where Michelle is shocked to see Danny with a pretty young girl.

At Millennium, upset about Danny’s closeness to this pretty young girl (Pilar), Michelle leaves with Jesse. Pilar wonders why Danny didn’t tell Michelle that Pilar is Danny’s sister. Danny gives Pilar a very brief, censored version of his and Michelle’s marriage, avoiding mention of their family’s threat to Michelle’s life.

Meanwhile, Michelle and Jesse head to Jesse’s loft, where Jesse feels she’s forcing herself to get close to Jesse. She assures him this isn’t true, that she wants to recapture their life together. Drew walks in and orders them out, and tells Jesse he has to move out altogether. Jesse apologizes to Drew, and she warns him to be careful of Michelle, considering her feelings for Danny. Jesse agrees to look for another place to live.

Carmen is both thrilled and annoyed to find Pilar in Springfield. Pilar maintains that she wants to stay in town, but Carmen refuses, saying she has to go back to Barcelona to school. Privately, Carmen asks Danny if he brought Pilar here as vengeance for what Carmen did to Michelle. She doesn’t want Pilar to learn the nature of their business.

Michelle asks Rick if Jesse can move in with her, claiming that she and Jesse belong together. Rick asks her if she has feelings for Danny, and she says she doesn’t. He vows to give her independence, but later expresses his concern about Michelle’s welfare to Abigail.

Jesse and Drew argue, and Jesse admits he cares for her — he doesn’t want her to get hurt again. Hurt, Drew says she doesn’t need a brother, and tells him to move out so she can pursue a social life without being judged. Jesse warns her off Danny. Drew packs Jesse’s things and throws them out the door, telling him she doesn’t want to see him until he looks at her as if she’s the only woman for him. Jesse pulls her close to him, just as Michelle appears.

Drew tells Jesse to choose between her and Michelle. Jesse reveals to Michelle he’s moving out of Drew’s place, and Drew storms off. Michelle notes the passion of his argument with Drew, asks him if he has feelings for Drew. Jesse avoids the question, reminding her that he witnessed her marriage to Danny, and says he needs time to think. Michelle leaves just as Drew returns. Drew tells Jesse to leave as well, but Jesse says he’s staying. A fuming Drew tosses him out anyway.

Pilar announces she plans to stay in Springfield. Carmen privately warns Danny to fix this situation and leaves. Danny and Pilar talk about Michelle and his feelings for her. Pilar urges him to tell Michelle of his love for her. But he claims his marriage is over. Pilar sees Michelle on the phone with her father planning a visit. The young girl goes to Michelle and introduces herself, correcting Michelle’s assumption that she’s Danny’s girlfriend. When Danny tells Michelle they need to meet with a priest for an annulment, Michelle reveals she’s leaving town.

Danny orders another “shipment” from a supplier, and argues with Carmen, who doesn’t want him taking on more business while Pilar is in town. He’s acting recklessly because of Michelle, Carmen warns. Danny leaves to attend to business in an alley — where he and a worker are discovered by David and another cop! The cop insults Danny, and they end up fighting. David arrests Danny for attacking a police officer.

Frank questions Danny about being caught stealing electronics. Pilar arrives and, to Danny’s dismay, Frank tells her about the charges against the Santos “mob family.” Carmen appears with Ben, who produces proof that the electronics were the property of the Santos family. Frank reluctantly agrees to release Danny, who reasserts to Pilar that the family isn’t involved in crime. Carmen is impressed with Ben, and tells him he’s proven himself — he’s earned a place working for her.

Jesse and Drew talk about Michelle, and Drew assures Jesse Michelle will call him. He admits feeling reluctant about moving out of the loft, saying he’ll miss Drew.

Pilar confronts Danny with newspaper listings about the family’s criminal activities. He claims their business is legitimate. Pilar then asks Danny to tell her the truth about Mick’s death. When she mentions asking Michelle, Danny decides to send Pilar back to school. He leaves her alone. Pilar spots Bill, and pretends to him that Danny has been hitting on her. He agrees to help her, and by the time Danny returns, Pilar and Bill have left.

Pilar lies to Bill about who she is, and presses him to tell her what he knows about Danny. Bill describes how Michelle was forced to marry Danny in order to prevent Carmen from having her killed. He refers to the Santoses as a family of killers. Pilar is devastated, and Bill is surprised by her reaction. Danny finds them together and orders Bill to get his hands off his sister.

When Danny tries to take Pilar home by force, Bill punches him. Danny learns that Bill told Pilar about the Santos family’s criminal nature — in particular, the hit Carmen placed on Michelle’s life. When Pilar states her disgust at Carmen, Danny is forced to explain that Michelle killed their brother, Mick. Pilar wants revenge. Dismayed, Danny doesn’t want Pilar to end up like Carmen — or like himself — and asks her to return to school. Later, Danny threatens Bill, warning him to stay away from his sister.

Bill tells Danny how much suffering Michelle has done because of Danny. Danny acknowledges this and vows that their relationship is over. Bill adds that Danny should keep away from both Michelle and Pilar. Danny drives off, distraught, meanwhile Pilar confronts Carmen, demanding more information about the crime business. Carmen tries to defend everything that has been done, and says she’s only wanted to protect Pilar. Pilar doesn’t accept any of Carmen’s explanations, even when her mother starts to weep. The girl proclaims that she’s no longer a part of the family, and leaves to call Bill. Carmen assumes Pilar called a cab, and Pilar defiantly claims she called for her lover!

Danny drives to the lighthouse, and remembers the night he and Michelle pretended to make love for Jesse’s benefit. Michelle appears, to his surprise. She explains that she needed time alone, and has been staying here rather than visiting her father. Michelle wonders why Danny is here ….

Bill arrives at Carmen’s house, and Carmen unleashes her wrath at him — thinking that he’s Pilar’s lover. Bill protests that this isn’t true, and Pilar defends Bill. She lashes out at her mother, saying she hates her — and Carmen slaps her. Apologizing for losing control, Carmen begs for forgiveness, but Pilar rushes off with Bill. Bill is worried that Pilar’s a danger to him, but is concerned that Pilar doesn’t have any place to live. Pilar ends up falling asleep at his place.

Jesse tells Drew that he knows now he belongs with her … he loves her. Drew’s elated, but makes Jesse promise to talk to Michelle before they pursue their relationship further.

Danny tells Michelle he was out driving and ended up at the lighthouse. He starts to leave, but Michelle tells him not to go. She admits she came here to think about Jesse, but can’t stop thinking about Danny. At long last she admits that she has feelings for him that she can’t deny. She kisses him, and he responds. Michelle tells him he can get away from his family and they can live together. But Danny knows he can’t leave his family… he can’t be with Michelle if she wants to change him. He leaves, despite Michelle’s protests.

Carmen laments Pilar’s hatred for her. She blasts Danny for bringing Pilar home, but Danny tells her that Carmen’s the one who destroyed their family. After Carmen rushes out, upset, Ray gives Danny the annulment papers. Carmen later tells a henchman to do whatever it takes to convince Bill to turn his back on Pilar, giving Pilar no choice but to return home.

At Millennium, Michelle tells Drew that Danny made it clear he doesn’t want her. Drew responds that it’s too late for Michelle to return to Jesse. Drew admits that she and Jesse are in limbo while Michelle tries to work out her feelings. Michelle protests that she’s chosen Danny, but he refused her. Danny enters the restaurant, and Michelle goes to his side, hoping for a reunion. But instead, Danny hands her the annulment papers.

Michelle insists to Danny that she wants to continue with the marriage, and even tears up the annulment papers. But Danny purposely acts cruel: he describes the family legacy of deceit and crime, and claims that he only feels lust for Michelle. He describes how she’d be destroyed by his way of life, and wonders how she’d feel if he brought their children into the family business. Devastated, Michelle leaves, telling him to send her new annulment papers. Later, Michelle is shocked when she discovers Jesse and Drew in bed.

Michelle enters Jesse’s loft and discovers Drew and Jesse in bed. She lashes into Drew for chasing after Jesse, but Jesse defends Drew and calls Michelle a hypocrite. Drew leaves, certain Jesse and Michelle will reunite. But Michelle calms down and tells Jesse she wants him to be happy, and leaves, devastated. Drew returns and Jesse assures her that he only wants Drew.

Pilar and Danny are shocked when a battered Bill arrives at Millennium. Bill accuses Danny of having him beaten up, but Pilar guesses that Carmen was responsible. She tells Bill to stay away from her world. Bill says he wants to help her.

Danny confronts Carmen in fury, and chokes the thug who attacked Bill. He vows to help Pilar get away from Carmen. Carmen asks if he’ll ever stop punishing her for Michelle, and Danny storms off.

Michelle returns to live at home with Rick and Abby. She talks with a concerned Abby, who doesn’t believe Michelle’s protests that she’s ready to start a life without Danny.

At Millennium, Danny gets drunk and claims to Pilar that, thanks to Carmen, his life is over. Pilar encourages him to pursue Michelle, not to let Carmen win. Carmen later offers Danny a chance to work in California for his uncle. Pilar begs him not to accept the deal, but Danny does — making the condition that Carmen agrees not to interfere in Pilar’s life.

Michelle learns that Bill was beaten up, and Bill assures her Danny wasn’t responsible. Michelle warns him to stay away from Pilar, but Bill focuses on Michelle’s love for Danny.

Carmen talks to Ben and asks him to help her with her financial records, citing Danny’s threat to expose the family’s crimes to the IRS. Ben refuses to alter the records, but agrees to defend her if worst comes to worst. In return, he asks for a company under Carmen’s control that could rival Spaulding Enterprises. He kisses Carmen and leaves. Carmen calls her henchman and tells him that Michelle is “as good as dead …”

Pilar is upset that Danny gave up his life with Michelle in order to help her. Danny insists that he’s not right for Michelle, but Pilar doesn’t believe him. Bill arrives and Danny asks him to look after Pilar when he leaves for California. Pilar arranges for Michelle to walk in on Danny.

Bill tells Pilar that Danny isn’t good enough for Michelle, which upsets Pilar. Pilar says that Bill won’t even introduce her to his mother, and storms off. Bill defends himself, reminding her of all he’s done for her. Pilar apologizes for overreacting, and Bill assures her that he doesn’t see the Santos family when he looks at her — only her.

Danny tells Michelle he’s leaving town tonight. Poignantly, they talk about meeting the right people at the wrong time in their lives. Danny apologizes for hurting her. Danny flashes back to passionate moments in their relationship, and Michelle sorrowfully gives him her wedding band. They say their good-byes as Michelle exits. Heartbroken, she breaks down in tears.

Michelle talks to Rick about focusing on college, revealing that Danny has left town. Rick is glad that she’s no longer involved with the Santos family. Alone, Michelle fantasizes that Danny returns and asks her to marry him. Later, she gets a call from Carmen saying that Danny wants to see her.

Danny calls Carmen from his car phone to remind her that if Michelle is hurt, he’s prepared to use Carmen’s bookkeeping ledgers to bring down the family. Carmen hangs up and turns to Dietz, telling him to kill Michelle. But the phone was left off the hook by mistake, and Danny hears the order for Michelle’s death! He swings his car around at once. When Michelle arrives at Carmen’s house, Carmen announces that today is Judgment Day for Michelle. As this occurs, Danny’s speeding car crashes!

Carmen taunts Michelle, preparing to kill her. Michelle lashes back at her, saying Carmen’s blaming her for the loss of her children, when in reality Carmen’s to blame! Carmen gloats about Michelle’s impending death when David arrives, informing them of Danny’s car accident!

They rush to the hospital, where Rick is in charge of Danny’s case. As Danny’s wife, Michelle takes responsibility for Danny’s care, and signs a release form for surgery as an angry Carmen watches. Later, Danny awakens and squeezes Michelle’s hand.

As Danny is taken for a CAT scan, Michelle insists to Carmen that he was driving so fast because he was returning to save Michelle from Carmen. But when Danny awakens, he doesn’t remember what led up to the accident. Later, Carmen promises Michelle that if Michelle leaves Danny alone, Carmen will never hurt her or her family. Michelle refuses to leave Danny’s side.

Danny awakes, still unable to remember what happened to him. When he drifts off to sleep again, Michelle promises to remain by his side. Pilar arrives and says she knows Michelle cares for Danny. Michelle reveals she’s banned Carmen from visiting Danny.

Carmen asks Ben for help in dealing with Michelle. Ben gives her finalized divorce papers for Danny and Michelle, which means she can now be in charge of Danny’s care. Intending to take Danny home, Carmen visits his room — but he’s gone!

Danny awakens at the lighthouse, and wonders why Michelle has taken him there. She vows to take care of him until he remembers everything.

Selena and Drew talk about Drew’s night with Danny.

[The above is another scene on the editing room floor.]

Carmen approaches Drew, wanting to know Drew’s secret. Drew doesn’t realize that Carmen’s under the impression that Drew helped Michelle move Danny from the hospital. Instead, Drew reveals that she and Danny slept together.

Michelle tells Danny she brought him to the lighthouse to protect him from Carmen… she doesn’t want Carmen to brainwash him against her. Danny kisses her, and they apologize to each other for their missed chances. He remembers he was coming back to Michelle when he had the accident. As he tells Michelle he knows why he was driving so fast to get to her, Carmen reaches out to open the door.

When Carmen arrives at the lighthouse, Danny suddenly remembers her plan to kill Michelle, and orders Carmen to leave. Michelle claims her bond with Danny is unbreakable, but Carmen reveals that Danny slept with Drew. Danny tries to explain what happened, but heartbroken Michelle doesn’t think their relationship can be salvaged.

Danny pleads with Michelle to understand that his sleeping with Drew meant nothing, but Michelle remains wounded. Michelle reminds him that he told her that he never really loved her. Danny reveals that he was just trying to protect her, and tells her to fight for their marriage.

Meanwhile, Danny admits to Pilar that he slept with Drew. Pilar can’t imagine how Danny could love one woman and sleep with another. She rails against all men, and pushes Bill aside as she passes him and Vanessa.

Michelle lashes into Drew for sleeping with Danny. Drew apologizes and tells Michelle that Danny loves Michelle, but Michelle is too hurt to believe her. Things get worse when Jesse arrives and defends Drew. Michelle leaves and heads to Millennium, where she meets up with some college friends. She steals a drink and pronounces herself ready for fun. The frat boys invite her to a party. As she drunkenly accepts, Danny enters.

Danny spots a drunk Michelle acting up with the frat boys, and refuses to let her leave with them. He takes her home despite her protests, and takes her shoes and car keys so that she can’t leave. She blasts him for trying to help her when he’s the one who hurt her in the first place. He pledges to keep her here until she sobers up. Demanding a party, Michelle draws Danny into a kiss.

Carmen reveals her misery to Ben over the widening rift between her and her children. Ben counsels her to remind Danny and Pilar how much they love her. Together, they come up with the plan to stage an attempt on her life — to have one of her men strafe the empty house with gunfire, and see how fast the kids come back to help her!

Michelle and Danny kiss, and she asks Danny if she’s as good as Drew. She starts to tug off her clothes, challenging him to sleep with her. Danny scoops her up and dumps her into a cold shower. He tries to break through her barriers, promising to stay away from his family. Affected, she’s about to respond when Ben calls, revealing that an attempt has been made on Carmen’s life.

Pilar apologizes to Bill for treating him badly the other day, and they decide to go dancing. Needing some clothes from her mother’s house, Pilar gets Bill to help her sneak inside. Once within the darkened, empty house, they start to kiss. At that moment, outside, Carmen’s thug loads his gun and prepares to open fire….

Bill successfully pushes Pilar away from the spray of bullets as Carmen’s thug shoots up the house. Carmen, Ben, Danny and Michelle arrive, and Carmen is horrified to see that her plan nearly got her daughter killed. Michelle is suspicious at Carmen’s obvious guilty response, but Ben explains it’s normal maternal instinct.

Danny pledges to find out who’s responsible for the “attempt on Carmen’s life,” but also assures Michelle he won’t break his promise to leave the family when possible. Michelle tells him she’ll stick by him. Carmen privately thanks Ben for helping her, and kisses him.

Danny tells Carmen he’ll stay in the family only as long as necessary to find out who set up the shooting of Carmen’s house. Carmen decides that in order to keep Danny within the family, she needs to get him to focus on an outside enemy.

Michelle warns Bill about getting involved with Pilar and her family. She guesses that Carmen set up the shooting, but Bill convinces her that Carmen wouldn’t put her own daughter’s life in jeopardy.

Bill invites Pilar to the wedding. Worried that his life is in danger, Pilar refuses, claiming she needs to stay close to her family. Later, Danny calls Michelle and vows to make a life with her away from his family.

Danny convinces Carmen to encourage Pilar to accept Bill’s invitation to the wedding. Thanking her mother, Pilar runs off to meet Bill. Danny, meanwhile, talks with Ray about Michelle, and pledges not to lose his chance to be with the woman he loves. Later, he visits Michelle in her bedroom, where they kiss passionately.

Pilar surprises Michelle by warning her that Danny belongs with Carmen, and that Michelle and Danny can never be together. Michelle presses her for the real reason for her change of heart, and Pilar mentions Vanessa’s harsh reaction to the idea that Bill and Pilar are together.

Ben warns Carmen that her schemes to bring her family together are going to backfire. Concerned about the near-deaths of Pilar and Bill thanks to the shooting, Ben announces that he’s decided against being Carmen’s attorney. Carmen, furious, decides to make Ben the fall guy for the shooting. She shocks Danny by informing him that Ben was responsible for the attempt on her life. Danny, enraged, promises to take care of Ben. Meanwhile, Ben leads Blake into an elevator and presses the “stop” button. Outside, Danny crosses to the elevator, out for revenge.

Finding Danny at Towers, Michelle tries to tell him that Carmen was behind the shooting, but Danny doesn’t believe her. Distracted by his desire for revenge, he tells Michelle to keep away from him, that he doesn’t want her to be in danger. Later, he finds Ben and pointedly warns him that he’s promised to destroy the man who tried to kill Carmen. When he leaves Ben alone, Ben realizes at once that Carmen is setting him up.

At the hospital, Michelle tells Rick about the shooting at Carmen’s, but says Carmen was behind it. Rick worries that she’s putting her life in danger by trying to find out the truth.

Ben confronts Carmen and tells her that Danny seems to think Ben was behind the shooting. He acts desperate, begging her to set Danny straight. Carmen agrees, but warns Ben against telling Danny that she was responsible for the fake attempt on her life. When she leaves, Ben privately makes sure he got everything on his tape recorder.

Carmen and Danny walk in on Bill and Pilar kissing. Danny stops Carmen from chastising Pilar and sends the young couple out. Carmen tells Danny about her confrontation with Ben – and says she’s now sure Ben tried to kill her! Ben arrives and Carmen pretends she’s afraid of him. Danny searches Ben and finds the tape recorder. Ben challenges Carmen to tell Danny what’s on the tape.

Ben threatens to play the tape recording of Carmen incriminating herself for the shooting, but Carmen promises to clear things up. Realizing he’s in the power seat, Ben also demands money and power – including a company so he can go up against Alan. Agreeing, Carmen tells Danny that she lied about Ben because he turned her down romantically.

Michelle tells Danny they should be together, danger or no danger. Being apart is driving her crazy! Danny firmly shuts her out of his life, for her own good.

Michelle interrupts Bill’s date with Pilar in order to reconstruct the events of the shooting. She learns there was a time discrepancy that could point the finger towards Carmen.

Ben teases Carmen, wondering why the story she used with Danny happened to include being in love with Ben. A phone call interrupts them, and Carmen rushes out, claiming that Danny’s taken a step that could put all their lives at risk.

Michelle steals into the house to get the clock, which stopped as a result of the shooting, but is forced to hide when Ben and Carmen enter the room … followed by Danny, who vows to take a dangerous step to get back with the woman he loves.

Danny has called a meeting of the local crime families in order to learn who was behind the attempt on Carmen’s life. He announces that the Santos family is going legit! Carmen covers in public, but privately tells Ben she has no intention of making the business legitimate.

Another crime boss, Nino, shows contempt at Danny’s plans. Privately with a colleague, he expresses his mistrust of Carmen. Nino mutters to himself that he’s not going to sit around waiting to be killed.

Danny calls a family meeting to discuss taking the Santos business legit. Pilar is overjoyed at the news. Ray announces that he’s going to be ordained on Friday, and everyone’s invited to the mass. Privately, Ben tells Carmen he knows her desire for power will prevent her from allowing the family to go legit. Carmen accuses him of the same ambition.

Carmen’s henchman Dietz secretly calls Nino, the member of a rival crime family, and tells him that the entire Santos clan will be in church on Friday…it’ll be a perfect time to “take care of them.” Later, Danny visits Michelle and proposes that they remarry in church on Friday after Ray’s ordination. Michelle, on Bill’s advice, doesn’t tell Danny about Carmen’s setting up the shooting.

prepare for their secret wedding ceremony after Ray’s ordination later this afternoon. Danny asks Rick for Michelle’s hand in marriage, promising to take care of her. Michelle shares Abigail’s joy at the success of her operation.

Carmen admits to Ben that she’s determined to keep the Santoses in the crime business because of the vow she made to her dying husband. She decides to meet secretly with her rivals after Ray’s ordination ceremony to announce that she’s still in business.

Dietz, meanwhile, plots with Nino to kill off the Santos family. As everyone arrives at the church for Ray’s mass, it’s revealed that Dietz and Nino have planted a bomb.

The Santos family gathers for Ray’s first mass, along with Michelle, Bill, Rick and Abigail. As Ray speaks, Abigail hears a sound she doesn’t recognize. Rick reminds her that the doctor warned her there might be some trouble with the implants, but she’s still troubled.

Ben notes that Dietz has left the church, but Carmen says Dietz is just checking to make sure everything is safe. Ben remains uneasy, especially when Abigail exclaims that she hears a strange sound. She searches for the source of the noise, and she and Danny discover the bomb!

Everyone tries to leave the church, but the door is locked. Ben realizes that whoever did this wants the Santos family dead, and probably barred all the exits to the church. Bill, using his computer knowledge, tries to disarm the bomb. Afraid to pull the wrong wire, he hesitates as the clock ticks down. Danny takes over, reaching in as he prepares to pull one of the wires with less than twenty seconds to go!

As the seconds tick away, Danny manages to cut the right wire to defuse the bomb. Dietz lies and says some stranger left the bomb. Carmen orders Dietz to tell the other crime families that the Santos family is back.

Rick tries to take Michelle home, where she can be safe. Danny agrees, but Michelle refuses to leave with her brother. When Carmen insults Michelle for bringing Danny down, Michelle at last tells Danny that she can prove Carmen was behind the shooting at the Santos house.

Rick’s concerns about Michelle are growing thanks to the bomb scare. Abigail attempts to calm him down, but he can’t help but worry about his sister, as long as she stays with Danny.

Michelle again demands that Carmen confess to being behind the shooting. At last Carmen admits that it was her doing, but that she did it for her family. She warns that Danny can’t leave the family now – he’ll put them all at risk. Danny is disgusted and calls her a monster. Michelle announces that if Danny must stay with the family, she will stay by his side.

Rick and Phillip talk about Michelle, and how to protect her from the Santos family. Phillip mentions that if necessary, they can force her to stay at home – or Rick can talk to Danny and convince him that Michelle is safer away from him.

Danny tells Michelle that he wants her and Pilar to stay at the family’s home in San Cristobel for a while. Michelle refuses, claiming that she’d rather die than leave Danny’s side. They kiss, and she says she wants to make love to him. But Rick arrives, and tells Danny to send Michelle home to her family!

Rick makes an impassioned pitch to Danny, saying that if Danny really loves Michelle, he’ll send her home. Danny claims that he is responsible for Michelle now. Rick leaves, and shares his frustrations with a sympathetic Phillip.

Meanwhile, Danny secrets Michelle in the lighthouse to get her away from the turmoil…and so they can finally have their first true night as husband and wife. Danny gets a call about a bomb threat at the Santos home, and he hurries off.

Meanwhile, Carmen gets a call from Bernard, the head of a rival family, who admits his son was behind the bomb. She tells him he can make up for his son’s mistake by doing her a favor. When Danny arrives at the house, he realizes he’s been tricked into leaving Michelle alone. He threatens Carmen, telling her that he’ll kill her if anything happens to Michelle. But it’s too late – Michelle is abducted from the lighthouse by two shadowy figures!

Danny accuses Carmen of hurting Michelle. She denies it, and Ben defends her. Danny leaves and, at the lighthouse, sees the sign of Michelle’s struggle. Deciding against Carmen’s involvement, Danny tracks down the true culprit ….

Carmen thanks Ben for sticking up for her, though he wryly states that he doesn’t think she’s innocent. She rewards Ben by making him president of Sancorp, her late husband’s first company in Springfield. Ben’s thrilled, knowing he can finally go up against Alan.

Locked in a hospital room, Michelle is aghast to find Rick is her captor! Rick explains that to protect her, he’s authorized a 72-hour psychiatric watch on her. Michelle blasts him for frightening her and Danny. She vows to return to Danny.

Danny arrives at the hospital and argues with Rick. He asserts that he and Michelle will one day have a safe future together. Rick is unconvinced, and says that he’s responsible for Michelle’s safety. As Michelle pounds on the door, Danny promises to find a way to free her.

Michelle yells at Rick for not respecting her choices. She vows she’ll never see Rick again once Danny gets her released. Rick tries to defend himself to no avail. Dr. Bradford visits Michelle and grows concerned when Michelle claims Carmen has made attempts on her life.

Rick allows Danny to visit Michelle as long as Abigail stays to chaperone them. Michelle and Danny profess their love, and Abigail is greatly affected. She tells Rick that if he continues to separate Danny and Michelle, he risks a great deal…including Michelle’s love.

At dinner with Abigail, Rick realizes that Danny has followed them to the restaurant. He complains to Abigail that Danny’s been following him all day, and goes to have it out with Danny. Rick harshly tells Danny that he won’t be intimidated.

Abigail tries to make Rick understand that Michelle and Danny belong together. Rick dismisses her feelings and leaves for a phone call. When he returns, Abigail is missing – and he finds a note on the table: “Your wife’s with me – now you know what it feels like.”

Rick learns that Abigail was seen leaving the restaurant with Danny. He races to confront Danny, accusing him of kidnapping Abigail. Danny pretends sympathy and advises Rick to go look for his wife. When Rick becomes agitated, Danny’s bodyguard throws him out. Abigail emerges from hiding, distraught that her plan to change Rick’s mind didn’t work ….

Carmen visits Michelle in the hospital, sincerely attempting a truce. Michelle doesn’t believe her and orders her out. Offended, Carmen lies and claims that she’s here to sabotage Michelle. Michelle lunges at Carmen, and orderlies hold her back. When Michelle tries to explain to her doctor that Carmen’s out to get her, the doctor isn’t convinced ….

Carmen talks to Ben about the incident with Michelle. Ben warns her that Danny will blame Carmen if Michelle’s not let out of the hospital because of their argument.

Abigail shares her worries with Danny, afraid that she’s ruined her marriage by trying to show Rick what it’s like to lose a loved one. Danny agrees to take Abigail to Rick. They arrive at the hospital and Rick is overjoyed, but furious with Danny. Abigail reluctantly admits that the “kidnapping” was her idea.

Dr. Bradford fails to calm Michelle, and orders a nurse to give Michelle a sedative. After a talk with Phillip, Rick apologizes to Michelle, thinking she’s asleep. When he learns she’s been drugged, he goes ballistic and demands her release. Dr. Bradford refuses, saying that Michelle has to stay another two weeks.

When an emergency sends the doctors and orderlies away from Michelle’s room, Danny sneaks in and carries his sleeping wife out of the hospital.

Abigail apologizes to a stunned Rick for planning the fake kidnapping. Rick’s devastated that she’d frighten him this way. They learn that Danny has taken Michelle from the hospital.

Danny takes Michelle to his home, planning to send her to San Cristobel. They bump into Ben and Carmen, who are on their way to the bedroom. Danny blasts Carmen for threatening Michelle, but Carmen claims she wanted to make peace – and Michelle confirms this. Michelle says she’s willing to start again with Carmen in order to have a life with Danny. Danny still doesn’t forgive his mother.

Rick and Abigail find Danny and Michelle, and Danny challenges Rick to call the police. Rick refuses, saying that he’s taken full responsibility for everything – and he knows he can’t keep Michelle and Danny apart. Michelle remains furious with Rick. Rick and Abigail leave, distant with each other. Danny and Michelle cling to each other, vowing their love.

Michelle takes Danny to Laurel Falls, thrilled to finally be reunited with him. She’s stunned to learn that he’s arranged a surprise wedding for her, right out of her childhood fantasy – completely with beautiful music, flowers, and Ray to perform the wedding ceremony.

Danny and Michelle renew their vows before God and themselves, speaking of their deep love. Later, they dance together, ending up in each other’s arms as they begin to make love at last.

After their magical night together, Michelle and Danny spend the morning making love and talking about their happiness. Danny tells Michelle he wants to be a better man. She insists she’s accepted the realities of his criminal life, and wants to get along better with Carmen. They talk about how far they’ve come in their relationship, and how much they look forward to the future. And then they make love again.

Returning to Carmen’s house, Danny tells Michelle about their home in San Cristobel. Carmen tries to get Danny to postpone his honeymoon, claiming that the family is still in danger. Danny refuses, and leaves to pack.

Michelle talks with Carmen, trying to forge an understanding. Carmen pretends to agree to a truce, and gives Michelle the San Cristobel villa as a present. At Carmen’s request, Michelle agrees to bring a box to a banker friend in San Cristobel. This box turns out to contain chocolates. But Carmen privately tells Dietz that next time, Michelle will be bringing more than candy overseas ….

Arriving at the Santos home in San Cristobel, Michelle is awestruck at the beautiful house. Danny is visited by Prince Edmund, the successor to the throne (and a family friend). Edmund admits to Michelle that he never really got along with Carmen, but he’s very close to Danny. Later, Michelle and Danny prepare for a romantic evening, certain San Cristobel will be a blissful escape.

In San Cristobel, Josh insists that he and Reva leave for Springfield. Reva wants to stay and pick up the pieces of her missing years, but Josh is too worried that something dangerous is going on. Michelle and Danny bump into them, surprised, and at once the young couple notices the Lewises’ distraction. Reva mentions having left her ring at the jewelers’, and Michelle offers to pick it up for her.

As they pack, Reva is now worried about having gotten Michelle involved. Josh understands but demands that they get out of this country, where they have no legal rights whatsoever. They hasten out of the hotel. Meanwhile, Danny debates with Michelle, since he doesn’t want her to be involved in someone else’s trouble. They are astonished to see the police following Josh and Reva. As they watch, the Lewises are stopped by the police and arrested.

Michelle begs Danny to help Josh and Reva. Danny speaks with Prince Edmund, who – shaken after seeing Josh and Reva’s picture – agrees to “take care” of them. He refuses to let Danny come with him. Danny and Michelle prepare to spend a romantic evening together.

Danny massages lotion onto Michelle after she gets sunburned. Their romantic moments are interrupted by Alden, the head of the Santos Bank and a friend of Carmen’s. Michelle remembers to give him the box of chocolates from Carmen. Later, she and Danny talk about their perfect future together.

Alden calls Carmen and tells her that he received the box. Carmen reveals that she’s using Michelle as a carrier because Michelle wants to be a member of the family. The next package will consist of bearer bonds.

In San Cristobel, Michelle tricks Danny into going to the jewelry store to retrieve Reva’s ring, though he didn’t want her to get involved. She’s worried that Edmund never called to confirm Reva and Josh’s release, but Danny assures her Edmund is trustworthy. When the jeweler claims not to have any ring, Michelle and Danny grow concerned and they visit Edmund. He says Reva and Josh left the country.

Reva overhears Michelle in conversation with Edmund and tries to get to her, but Richard grabs her and keeps her silent until Michelle and Danny pass by.

Prince Edmund takes Danny and Michelle on a tour of the palace, and informs them that Josh and Reva have left the island. The honeymooners are relieved, not realizing that Danny’s friend has lied to them. When alone, they grow passionate, nearly making love in the palace!

Olivia secretly calls Josh in Springfield. She offers to help him rescue Reva. Josh, determined to save his wife from possible death, agrees to return to San Cristobel. He calls Danny for help.

Returning to Springfield, Danny is shocked when Josh tells him that Edmund forced him to leave without Reva. He agrees to help Josh to rescue Reva, and Josh makes him promise not to tell Michelle of the plot. Danny offers the use of the family’s private plane and landing strip in order to help Josh sneak back into the country.

Michelle and Drew have a warm conversation in which Drew reveals that Jesse has proposed to her. Michelle sincerely congratulates Drew, and sympathizes with her for Max’s disappearance.

Cassie tries to warn Josh against trusting Danny, worried that he could be setting Josh up. Josh asserts that he believes in Danny, because Danny knows what it’s like to lose the woman he loves. Cassie suggests hiring a professional who specializes in rescue missions, but Josh thinks his love for Reva gives him an edge over any outsider. She asks him to be careful, and prays he’s right in trusting Danny.

Michelle’s romantic plans for the evening are interrupted when Danny reveals that he has to leave on business. She’s upset, worried that he’s doing something dangerous with the family business. Danny assures her that this has nothing to do with the Santos family. Michelle wants to come along, but Danny refuses. Danny leaves, but has a change of heart. He re-enters and tells his wife the truth about Josh’s request for help. Michelle’s grateful but is still afraid for him. He vows to return and exits.

Edmund says he’s arranged for his security force to allow Josh’s entrance. Sure enough, with Danny’s assistance, Josh sneaks into the castle to search for Reva. Prince Edmund, meanwhile, makes a phone call expressing his worry that Reva might regain her memory. It’s revealed that he’s talking to Carmen!

Waiting for Josh to arrive at the San Cristobel airport, Danny calls Michelle. She thanks him again for being honest and revealing the true reason for his “business” trip. Danny assures her he’ll be all right, although he’s worried that Josh hasn’t arrived. Later, Michelle talks to Bill about his new software, learning that it can access computers all across the country. She warns him that Ben and Carmen might use it on their competitors, but Bill dismisses the ability of the program to work in that way.

Meanwhile, Danny looks for Josh and sees Edmund, approaching his old friend, he confronts him in lying about Reva’s leaving San Cristobel. Edmund threatens Danny and warns him that he could be locked up. He backs away from the threats and promises that Reva will receive a fair trial. Danny pretends to believe him.

Later, he catches up with Josh and Reva and expresses concern that they must leave now. Josh tells Danny to go back to the place, and he will bring Reva. After leaving, Danny spots Edmund and Carmen talking together, despite their alleged mutual dislike. He realizes that Edmund and his mother are doing business together.

After Danny leaves, Edmund tells Carmen that Reva must die for the good of the country. Carmen reveals that she will arrange for Michelle to carry the next shipment of bearer bonds. She says she wants Michelle arrested and sentenced to at least twenty years.

Danny and Michelle are reunited, and Danny tells Michelle about everything that happened in San Cristobel. Danny can’t imagine being in Josh’s predicament. Michelle vows that they’ll never be apart. They make love, and remember how different things were when they first shared a bed. Danny promises not to take their love for granted. They’re interrupted when Josh calls Danny, telling him he needs help in bringing Reva home.

Billy and Josh try to work out a plan to rescue Reva, though Billy objects when Josh reveals he called Danny Santos for help. Danny arrives and admits he told Michelle about their trip to San Cristobel. Josh is upset but accepts Danny’s help. Cassie is worried that any violent plan could get Reva killed, and claims she can talk Reva into leaving the country. Josh is dubious, and Cassie leaves with Michelle, vowing she’ll save her sister’s life.

Cassie tries unsuccessfully to reach Reva at the palace, hoping to prevent Josh and Billy from carrying out their drastic secret plans. Michelle wonders if she’d have more success, considering the Santoses’ relationship with the royal family. Cassie’s afraid Reva is in danger but won’t leave the island because of her lost son. Michelle realizes that Reva’s family means everything to her…so maybe if Cassie pretends to be ill, Reva would return home! Cassie agrees.

At the ER with Michelle, Cassie pretends to faint in front of Lillian. Blake arrives, and figures out that Cassie and Michelle are plotting something. Cassie explains the plan, and Blake helps, telling Lillian about Cassie’s “symptoms.” A doctor admits Cassie for examination. Michelle calls San Cristobel to tell Reva that Cassie is ill.

Carmen is surprised to learn that Danny knows of her meeting with Edmund. She denies knowing anything about Reva’s situation. Danny reminds her that she’s promised to legitimize the family so he and Michelle can raise a family they can be proud of. After he leaves, Carmen breaks down, and Ben comforts her. He advises against trying to hurt Michelle, since it would mean losing Danny. Carmen vows to have Michelle arrested if she visits San Cristobel again. Ben isn’t certain that her plan is a good one, but Carmen is determined.

When Danny learns Michelle was at the hospital earlier, he wonders if she’s pregnant. Michelle assures him she’s not, explaining that she was only checking on Cassie. She reveals that she couldn’t be pregnant, since she’s on the Pill. Danny is surprised, and says he was excited at the idea of her having his baby. They agree to wait until the family is safe before starting a family … but they can still “practice.” The two begin to make love.

Hoping to help Reva, Michelle asks Danny if they can attend the masked ball in San Cristobel. Danny notes the danger involved, but Michelle is firm in her desire to rescue her friend. She reveals that her mother would want her to help Reva. Danny embraces her, but shocks Michelle by still refusing to let her go.

[Oh give me a break! Talk about totally understating scenes. They had their first REAL fight as a married couple …oh, and Michelle’s comparison between Maureen and Reva was left on the cutting room floor. Typical.]

Josh reveals his plans to rescue Reva, and asks Danny to take Michelle back to San Cristobel as a cover to get Josh, Matt and Jim into the country. Danny doesn’t want to put Michelle in danger, but he is reluctantly convinced. Cassie is outraged to learn that the men are making plans to free her sister and are not including her.

While Michelle is over at Drew’s place trying on dresses for the ball in San Cristobel, Jesse arrives and announces to Drew that he’s accepting a job in an art gallery…in New York. Drew is upset, and Michelle wonders why they’ve broken up before leaving.

Carmen confronts Danny about his wanting to use the family yacht to rescue Reva. Danny tries to figure out what kind of partnership Carmen and Edmund have, aside from the Santos family’s using San Cristobel to launder money. Carmen wants Danny to take bearer bonds with him when he returns to San Cristobel, and threatens to ruin his rescue plans if he doesn’t comply. Danny reluctantly agrees. Michelle arrives and embraces Danny, glad that they’re honest with each other unlike Drew and Jesse. Danny is guilty but doesn’t reveal Carmen’s threats to his wife. Privately, Ben talks with Carmen about the bearer bonds and realizes that Carmen intends to trap Michelle for possession of the bonds.

Carmen gives Danny the bearer bonds for him to smuggle into San Cristobel. Pilar arrives to warn of the (fake) police raid. Danny doesn’t trust information that came from David, but Pilar defends him. Spotting the bearer bonds, Pilar offers to sneak them out of the house in her backpack. Carmen reluctantly agrees, not having wanted Pilar to be involved.

Frank and another cop arrive at the Santos house, but Frank feigns outrage as he guesses that someone tipped them off. After the cops leave, Michelle demands to know what’s going on, but Danny remains silent. She knows Pilar is somehow involved, but Danny only repeats that Carmen never wanted Pilar in the family business. Upset that he’s not telling her the whole truth, Michelle runs upstairs.

Pilar and Bill are at Company when the police arrive. Pilar, afraid that they’ll find the bearer bonds in her bag, gets Bill to take her upstairs to his room, where she acts passionately in order to distract him. Danny arrives for the backpack. Pilar privately tells him what happened, and how thrilled she was by the adventure. Aghast, Danny insists that this is the last time she’ll be involved in the family business. When Bill tries to recapture the passionate moments between him and Pilar, Pilar – no longer interested – blows him off.

Tensions run high between Danny and Michelle when she demands to know what his plans are for their trip to San Cristobel, and expresses her dismay that he’s keeping secrets from her regarding the police raid last night. He vows not to lose her, and they promise not to go to bed angry. They make love and reaffirm their feelings for each other. Later, Danny hides the bearer bonds in his suitcase, hating that he’s involving Michelle in anything illegal. Dietz secretly switches the bonds into Michelle’s case, on Carmen’s order.

Cassie calls Michelle asking for help about the San Cristobel trip. Michelle promises to help her.

Josh, Jim, Matt, Danny and Michelle board the Santos yacht to head off for San Cristobel. Josh laments endangering his friends’ lives. Michelle brings on a large box of costumes for the masked ball, and Danny is suspicious. Josh reveals that there seems to be someone stowed away in the cabin closet. Jim opens the door, causing Cassie to land in his arms.

Josh is furious to find Cassie has stowed away, thanks to Michelle’s help. Danny pulls Michelle aside and chastises her for her dishonesty. Michelle reminds him of his own secrecy. He promises one day things will be different.

When they arrive at the island, they all comment on its beauty. But Danny spots a boat with police approaching them. The police want to search the luggage of the rescue team, but Danny cites his friendship with Edmund. Michelle makes up an excuse and the police back away. Later, Jim and Josh talk about the bomb, which will be used to create a distraction at the masked ball. Michelle asks Cassie if there’s anything between her and Jim, and asserts that she thinks Jim likes Cassie romantically.

Cassie walks along a beach when Richard appears on horseback. He apologizes for startling her, and the two hit it off – though she introduces herself as “Tami Lemay.” He kisses her hand and starts off again…and Cassie is charmed. Danny and Jim learn of their meeting and convince her to distract Richard at the ball. She admits to Michelle that she can see why Reva fell in love with Richard.

Matt, Jim, Danny and Josh go over the rescue plan, and Josh admits his worries that Reva won’t want to return home. Later, everyone but Danny gets into the yacht, which zooms off for the palace. Michelle appears in a gorgeous costume, striking Danny silent with her beauty. He later tells her that he needs to conduct some business before the ball, assuring her that it’s not dangerous.

Danny makes a call rescheduling the exchange of the bearer bonds. He wants to make the exchange when Michelle isn’t at home. Danny’s stunned to find that the bonds in Michelle’s suitcase. Michelle walks in and realizes that the bonds are for laundering money. He explains that he agreed to transport the bonds to pay a family debt. Tearful Michelle is appalled that he’d jeopardize the rescue mission. As they argue, the police arrive.

Thanks to Michelle’s quick thinking, Danny is able to evade the police as they search the villa for the contraband bearer bonds. He slips out to burn the bonds in a fire before the police can find them. When they leave, Danny tries to apologize to Michelle but she blasts him for getting her involved in the business.

Carmen calls Danny in San Cristobel and is upset to learn that her plan to get Michelle arrested was foiled, and that the bearer bonds were destroyed. Danny promises to think of a way to repay their debt. When she hangs up, Ben suggests that Danny’s guilt feelings could bring him closer to the family.

Danny again apologizes for the bearer bond situation. Michelle can’t get used to the violence of the family business. Frustrated, Danny says he has a responsibility to his family. She demands that he trust her enough to be honest. Danny embraces her and promises that after taking care of Carmen’s debt, he’ll make a real change in his life.

Upset, Michelle breaks away and realizes that Carmen was responsible for the bearer bonds. She offers the use of her trust fund to repay the debt, but Danny refuses. They argue and she storms out. Michelle jumps into the pool for an angry swim, and Danny joins her. They kiss passionately.

Later, Danny, Michelle, Jim and Matt resolve to split up and search the island for Josh, Reva, Richard and Edmund. Michelle suggests that they ask a police officer if he’s heard anything. Danny approaches Colonel Dax, who informs them that Edmund died at the hands of Josh and that Prince Richard is missing. Danny explains that they’ve formed a search party of their own, but Dax informs him that they’re not going anywhere. The cops round up the foursome, suspecting that they were also involved in Edmund’s death. When Danny mentions the business that his family does in San Cristobel, he is then accused of treason as well.

Despite their protests, Danny, Michelle, Jim and Matt are lined up against a wall to face a firing squad as Colonel Dax orders the officers to shoot. Just then, a guard approaches and informs Richard that they’ve captured the foreigners who accompanied Danny to the ball. Josh and Richard race off to save them.

Just before the guns can be fired at Danny, Michelle, Jim and Matt, Richard and Josh run in. Richard orders the guards to drop their weapons and reveals that Edmund was the bad guy. The group makes plans to leave San Cristobel as soon as possible.


 

Once In A Lifetime by France

April 16, 2017

This photo is of Rebecca Budig at the time she won the only season of Skating With the Stars. Budig had been the Michelle before Joie Lenz and even though she’s much older than 13 in this photo, it’s a Michelle with ice skates, winning an ice skating award it was as close as I could get.

“Once in a Lifetime” (1 of 2 with this name) – Michelle Bauer is a national champion skater who at 13 is finding her way to her first boyfriend, her friend Pilar’s older brother, Danny.

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-1-2 (Chapter 1)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-2-2 (Chapter 2)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-3-2 (Chapter 3)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/11/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-4-2 (Chapter 4)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/10/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-5-2 (Chapter 5)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-6-2 (Chapter 6)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-7-2 (Chapter 7)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/14/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-8-2 (Chapter 8)

https://glmanny.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/once-in-a-lifetime-by-france-chapter-9-2 (Chapter 9)

Archived Links Version
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/978?l=1 (Chapter 1)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/977 (Chapter 2)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/936 (Chapter 3)

http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/945 (Chapter 4)

http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/927 (Chapter 5)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/861 (Chapter 6)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/857 (Chapter 7)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/851 (Chapter 8)
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/836 (Chapter 9)

Robansuefarm is the handle of one of Manny and Guiding Light‘s biggest fans following in her family’s footsteps of Guiding Light fandom since 1939. This blog is an effort to make it easy to find Guiding Light and especially Manny online. Check back here for her blog, find fanfic previews and fake WSPR newscasts on her YouTube, find podcasts that look back to old shows and audios of her fanfics on Blog Talk Radio, and finally follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 9

April 15, 2017

Republisher’s Note: And this is the end of what I have for Once in a Lifetime. I hope you took the author’s advice and enjoyed it. 🙂

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Thanks for the wonderful and much appreciated feedback. Enjoy!

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 9

“Bend your knees to get some more height.” Michelle was trying hard to concentrate on what she was supposed to be doing and follow her coach’s advice but her concentration was not there and she found herself slipping on the cold hard ice instead of landing gracefully on one foot. Gathering herself she cast a quick glance at the coach and prepared to finish the run-through of her program like she always did in practice.

“Get off the ice!” the coach called a mixture of worry and impatience in his tone.

Giving him a confused look she does what he says and skates to the boards.

“You are here, but your mind isn’t and until I have your full attention, I don’t want you back on this ice, the last thing we need is an injury,” he lectured. “I’m not sure what is going on with you Michelle but your qualifying round is tomorrow and you have yet to put together one complete program since we got here. We have an hour of ice time left for this session, you can use that to deal with whatever is on your mind and use the evening session to practice or you can use half this session to skate, it’s up to you but I want 100% concentration when you step back on this ice, clear?”

Nodding Michelle made her way up to the bleachers and into her mother’s waiting arms.

“What’s the matter sweetie? What or should I ask who is on your mind?”

“It’s nothing.”

“Nothing, huh? Does nothing wear a leather jacket and answers to the name Danny Santos?” she inquired gently.

Momentarily stunned her mother knew what was on her mind she nods.

“How did you know?” she asked quietly

“I’m your mother, it’s my job to know.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Michelle shrugged, “There’s nothing to talk about.”

Looking at her daughter gaze absently at the ice Maureen knew nothing really meant a lot. Looking at her daughter with concern she put a comforting hand on thin shoulder, “So let’s talk about nothing.”

After a long silence Michelle looked up at her mother her voice so low her mother almost didn’t hear, “I like him, Mom—a lot.”

“I know you do sweetie, but I also know that’s not the reason you are so sad.”

“I told him I didn’t want our relationship to change although later I told him I wanted it to, he probably just thinks I’m some little kid who can’t make up her mind.”

“Why do you think he thinks that?” Maureen asked gently.

“Because since Pilar’s party he has pretty much ignored me.”

Maureen wrapped an arm around her daughter and pulled her close. “Come here baby.”

“Mom, I’m not a baby.”

Smiling she hugged her little girl. “You will always be my baby. You know, not too long ago you and Danny were fighting over toys and now you two are trying to figure out relationships. Michelle, I’m not thrilled at the thought of my 13 year old getting into a relationship, but I’d be lying if I say that I didn’t see this coming with you two, but Michelle…”

“Mom, Danny and I are not going to run off to Vegas and get married or anything. A relationship to me, is talking to Danny, walking to school with him, holding hands, going to the movies, hanging out with friends and maybe an occasional kiss—or not,” she quickly added laughing.

Maureen looked at her daughter with a mixture of pride and amusement in her eyes. “You better be kidding. I don’t think your dad is ready for you to grow up just yet.”

“The truth is, we just want to spend time together that’s all.”

“I’m so proud of you, do you know that?” Maureen asked seriously.

“I know.”

“You and Danny are going to be okay, he is probably just a bit confused, like you are.”

Michelle crossed her arms stubbornly a small smile on her face she playfully whined, “Yeah, but does he have to ignore me.”

Maureen laughed, giving her daughter a quick hug “You better hurry, you still have 30 minutes of practice left.”
—————————————————————————————————–
Michelle could hear the loud cheers from the crowd as she went through her program mentally backstage. She was lucky enough to draw the last position in two consecutive big competitions. Most skaters loved skating last because the judges tend not to save scores.

“One more skater and then you are on,” her coach reminded unnecessarily. Since having that talk with her mother, her practices had improved and she was able to concentrate on her jumps. With all the reporters, and video cameras constantly in her face she had very little time to think of anything but skating. Going into the World Championships as the youngest national champion ever, Michelle knew the media would be focused on her, but she didn’t know how intense that focus would be, everything she did found its way in the newspaper. It was hard to forget all the expectations heaped on her shoulders and she was more than a bit nervous about her upcoming free skate. The cell phone in her gym bag her parents had gotten her in case of an emergency rang and she reached for it, knowing exactly who it was on the other end.

“Hey, Danny.”

“Don’t tell me you are psychic on top of everything else,” Danny teased.

Michelle laughed, “Let’s just say, I know you very well.”

“I just saw you on television and you looked a bit nervous.”

“You’re watching?”

“Of course I’m watching, what else would I be doing? They aired a clip of you walking into the arena.”

“Are you kidding me? I’m sure people were just dying to see me walk into an arena.”

“Aww you don’t like being a celebrity?” she could hear the laughter in his voice and couldn’t help but smile despite her nerves.

“Have a camera follow you around all day and see how you like it.”

“Michelle?”

“Hmm.”

“I miss you.”

“I miss you, too.”

“Hey, you have nothing to be nervous about that girl is missing every jump.”

She smiled at his effort to calm her,” Sure Danny, that’s why the crowds cheering so loudly.”

“They are Figure Skating fans they have that polite reputation to maintain.”

“Thanks Danny.”

“For what?”

“For knowing I was a bit nervous, for being there. For being you.”

“Just go out there and show them how a real champ skates.”
———————————————————————————————————–
Exhausted Michelle threw her bags on the floor and flopped down on the sofa in the spacious living room.

“I’m going to do nothing but sleep for the next two weeks,” she vowed.

Maureen laughed, “Just a little glad to be home I see.”

“Are you kidding me, if I never see another hotel room it will be too soon.”

The past two weeks seemed like a blur of activities to Michelle. Her nervousness faded as soon as she stepped on the ice and much sooner than she wanted it to, the free skate of her life ended. After the medal ceremony, she politely spoke to one reporter after another, skated in an exhibition the following day, and got on an airplane headed for New York that afternoon. New York was a lot of fun even the interviews were fun. Los Angeles was next up, so were more interviews, photo shoots and even a few commercials and finally it was home to Springfield, school, friends and Danny, but not before a parade in her honor.

“So, pretty heady stuff for a teenager huh?” Ed asked

“Hmm?” Michelle asked tiredly.

“Parades, photo shoots, commercials…”

“Dad, are you worried this will all go to my head?”

“Just a little bit.”

“Don’t, I know that there is probably another little girl training everyday in a cold ice rink somewhere and next year she will probably jump a little higher, skate a little faster, have better spirals, better footwork and better spins than I do and she will get the medals and the interviews and parades. I know this won’t last forever and I don’t want it too. I’ll be fine when it ends. If I didn’t win the gold medal two weeks ago, I’d be okay, because I’d still have my family and my friends. Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like some of the perks, like not waiting in line to get on rides at Disney World and free tickets to the Oscars,” she giggled. “I can go, can’t I Dad?”

“Not if it’s a school night.”

“Daddddddd.”

“I’m kidding kiddo, of course you can.”
———————————————————————————————————-
With Worlds being the last big competition of the season Michelle had a lot of time to do the things she liked doing, pool parties, sleepovers, even homework. Her skating schedule had diminished a great deal and she was able to spend the extra time with Danny.

“Hey, ready to go?” Danny asked.

Breaking away from the group of friends standing in the entrance to the mall Pilar listened in on their conversation,

“Where are you two going?”

“To catch a movie,” Michelle said a bit guiltily, throwing her friend a pleading look.

“Do I have to remind you that you told your parents you were going to the mall with Niki and me?”

“I know I did and I was, but I thought Danny was going fishing with your dad and Mick, but they cancelled at the last minute. Pilar, I haven’t spend any time with him since….”

“…..yesterday when you ditched us to go to the basketball game—- with him.”

“Look Pilar, the movie is only an hour and fifteen minutes long I promise I will help Michelle track you guys down after it’s over and you can do all the shopping and makeovers you want,” Danny said trying to convince his little sister.

“You really want to go to some stuffy Movie theater, don’t you? Here’s the deal hand over a $20 and you two can go to lunch after your movie.” She kidded.

“Hmmm Michelle if your dating Danny is this profiting to me, I will be able to afford that computer game Mama won’t buy me in two weeks,” Pilar joked, surprised that her brother was willing to pay her off. “Seriously, have fun you guys, and Danny,” she said before walking away “…I would really like to have my friend back once in a while.”

“I’m really sorry, Pilar.” Michelle apologized for the fifth time. “Sleepover next week just us girls?”

Laughing Pilar grabbed Niki’s hand and walked in the opposite direction, “You’re on. Come on Nik, help me look for a ‘No Dannys Allowed’ sign for my door next week.”
————————————————————————————————————

“I really hated doing that to them,” Michelle said as they found their seats in the dark theater.

“Doing what?”

“Ditching them.”

“You didn’t ditch them, you are still going shopping with them after the movie.”

“Yeah, but we were suppose to spend the whole day shopping and Pilar is right this isn’t the first time I have left them hanging to go and do something with you.”

“You really feel guilty don’t you?”

“Just a little.”

“If we hurry we can probably catch them before they begin shopping,” he offered.

Michelle pouted, “But I wanna stay here with you.”

“I thought you wanted to go with them,” Danny laughed.

“I do, but I also want to be here. Why does it always have to be one thing or another?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, for instance if I want to win the Olympics I have to devote 99% of my time to skating, I can’t do both school and skating full time although I would love to do both. I hate being tutored. I barely even know my classmates because I go to school for two hours a day for two weeks every other month. But I can’t imagine giving up skating to go to school full time. I love skating too much to do that. I can’t be here with you and there with Pilar and Niki, although I enjoy spending time with you and spending time with them.”

“In other words why can’t you be superwoman?” he smiled.

“Yeah, why?”

“For what it’s worth I like Michelle Bauer a whole lot better than superwoman. Seriously though, Michelle, you don’t have to be everything to everyone. I love spending time with you, but I don’t want to monopolize all your time, so if you ever feel like I’m suffocating you tell me.”

Taking his hands in hers she forced him to look at her, “If I had 24 hours to do what ever I wanted with, I’d spend 23 of them with you. Danny, you are not monopolizing my time or suffocating me. Every minute I spend with you seems like one minute to little.”

“What would you do with that 1 hour?”

“hmmm?”

“You said you’d spend 23 hours with me if you had 24 hours to do whatever you liked.”

“Hmm, probably think about you.”

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 8

April 14, 2017

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey guys–I know some of this may be a bit much for Manny at this age, but I am reluctant to SORAS them too quickly and this is a conversation I felt they needed to have at this point. So Please bare with me.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 8

Standing in the shadows hidden from the view of the party goers, Danny watches as Lucky and Michelle dance to some corny pop song by one of those boy bands Michelle and Pilar liked to listen to. The unmistakable sound of Michelle’s infectious laughter floats through the air and a wave of jealousy comes over Danny. As the song ends, he thinks he sees her eyes look to the door, was she looking for him? He quickly dismisses the thought, ever since the kiss in Pilar’s room she acted like it never happened, but did she really? She was a lot shyer around him, that’s for sure, but maybe, like him she wasn’t sure what the next step is supposed to be. She knew he liked her a lot, but did she know his feelings were much deeper than that? Did she feel the same way? The sound of giggling interrupts his thoughts, he looks up to see Lucky and Michelle walking towards a table with snacks on it, now or never he thinks as he walks towards them.

Her eyes positively light up when she sees him, making it hard for him to hide the goofy grin that came over his face whenever he was around her.

“Hey, when did you get here?” she asks smiling at him.

“A little while ago, hope you saved a dance for me,” he half jokes, his eyes boring holes into the lanky ninth grader standing next to his Michelle.

Understanding dawns on her and suddenly she seems uneasy standing there between two guys who are shooting daggers at each other.

“Um, Lucky I think, I’ll skip that snack,” she says politely.

The teenager nods. “You still owe me a dance, you promised,” he reminded as he walked away, the words were aimed at her but it was Danny he was looking at when he said them.

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Danny mutters under his breath.

The volume of the music made it hard to have a conversation without shouting. “Can we go somewhere and talk?” she asks.

“Follow me.”

She follows him down a brightly lit rocky path not to far away from the party the sound of water catches her attention causing her to give him a curious look.

“It’s a stream,” he replies to her unasked question. “I come here a lot when I need to think,” he adds.

Making his way closer to the stream with her following closely behind he finally settles on a huge rock, making room for her to sit next to him.

“It’s beautiful,” she sighs, taking in the scenery around her and quiet.

They both sit in comfortable silence, Danny aimlessly throwing pebbles into the stream.

“It was no big deal you know,” she says breaking the silence

“What wasn’t? Our kiss or you dancing with him and enjoying it?”

The first part of the question catches her off guard, but she chooses to focus on the easier question first. “My dancing with him. I was waiting for you to get here, but when you didn’t show up after an hour and a half I didn’t think you’d come. I was not having fun, Lucky wanted to cheer me up so he asked me to dance. He was just being nice, Danny.
Where were you anyway?” she inquires.

“Here, thinking about us.”

Surprised by his revelation, words escape her, so she waits for him to continue.

This is it he thinks now or never, he is deathly afraid of what he is about to say to her but he has to know. Taking a deep breath he fights the fear that threatens to envelope him and looks into her eyes.

“What are we to each other, Michelle? I know that you like me a lot and I,… well I um, I.. lov..I like you a lot, and I liked kissing you that day, but ever since that kiss you seem distant, was it a mistake? Kissing you that is, because if it was then I’m sorry and I assure you , it..it won’t happen again,” he stammers..

Every nerve in her body is on edge, as a mixture of emotions consumes her. Did she hear him correctly? Did he just say he loves her? Sure, he corrected himself and said like, but who makes a mistake like that? How does he know that he loves her? He is only 15 and she 13, do you know you love someone at that age? She knew what she felt for him was more than friendship but love? She didn’t know what to do she felt like running away from him and his questions, but there was another part of her that wanted to jump up and down in glee over his almost revelation. Deciding against both impulses she gazes absently at the stream and speaks quietly. “Danny, I honestly don’t know what we are to each other and what this thing that’s between us is. I don’t know why I look forward to your calls or seeing you, or thinking about you every minute. I don’t know why I liked that kiss and I…I’m not sure if I want to know.” She finishes, looking to him for a reaction but none is forth coming. He is tossing the pebbles more forcefully into the stream now, his eyes unreadable. It seems like an eternity before he speaks to her again but in actuality it was only 3 minutes.

“I’m not sure if I want to know either, and all of this is very overwhelming, I mean we are teenagers, how many people our age do you know that are having this conversation?”

The question is rhetorical, but she feels the need to answer. “If anyone else was I’d be surprised,” she laughs nervously.

“I guess what I am trying to say is, until we are sure about what we have here or if we want it at all, we should go back to what we know?”

“What we know?” she asks

“You know, you are Pilar’s friend, I’m her brother, I annoy you and tease you mercilessly, you have a huge crush on me…..” the last item on his list invokes laughter from both.

“Why do I have to be the only one with the crush, you were the one who can never keep his eyes off me whenever I come to visit Pilar, mister,” she jokes, poking his side playfully with her index finger.

“Oh I couldn’t keep my eyes off you? How do you know that, if it wasn’t just as hard for you to keep your eyes off of me,” he teased.

“Pilar told me,” she replied smugly.

“Sure she did, and I have a desert in Alaska to sell you….”

Laughing uncontrollably, the tension of just a scant few minutes ago begins to dissipate. A stray curl hangs loosely on Michelle’s face and he reaches over to brush it out of her eyes. He softly brushes the curl back in place and gingerly traces his finger along the side of her face, finally resting it on her chin, she tilts her head up and gazes into his eyes. He hesitates briefly and then leans in and kisses her softly on her lips, pulling away almost immediately, their eyes still locked she takes the initiative this time and kisses him softly, it’s nothing more that a feathery graze that didn’t last past 20 seconds, but it is the most satisfying kiss he has ever shared.

Smiling shyly she stands, “I think…..I think I should go home now,” she says softly almost apologetically and he immediately regrets kissing her not because he didn’t like it but because it made her uncomfortable.

“I’ll walk you,” he offers.

The party is dying down once they get back there, until now neither noticed they had been seating by the stream for over an hour. Michelle said her good-byes to Pilar and apologized for missing the gift opening, avoiding Pilar’s questioning gaze she follows Danny out the door and both walk the short distance to the Bauer house in silence. Reaching the top of the long driveway Danny whispers a quick good-bye and turns around to leave.

“Danny,” the sound of his name is barely over a whisper.

“Yeah?”

“I don’t want to be just Pilar’s annoying friend and I don’t want you to be just her dorky brother,” she smiles.

He returns her smile “We’ll talk.”

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 7

April 13, 2017

Author’s Note: I honestly had no intention of finishing this fic, but for some odd reason all I’ve been doing since I got down here is writing. Its not very long. Enjoy.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 7

Michelle flung her brush across her bedroom and flopped down on her bed. She had been sitting in front of the mirror for twenty minutes trying to decide how to wear her hair, but her wild unruly curls were not cooperating. She had to be at Pilars 14th birthday party in less than 15 minutes and she wasn’t even close to being ready.

“Michelle!” Her mother called, knocking on her bedroom door before entering. “What’s the matter sweetie?”

“I have the most awful hair ever!” the teenager complained.

Maureen laughed.

“I’m glad you find this amusing, Mom.”

“I’m sorry sweetheart. It’s just– Michelle, do you know the trouble women go to, to get these gorgeous curls you have? Your hair is gorgeous, sweetie. Come on sit here let’s see what we can do with it,” Maureen said to her daughter.

Fifteen minutes and three hairstyles later Michelle waved good-bye to her mother and walked over to the Santos house.

“Hey Michelle, don’t you look gorgeous today,” Carmen said letting her in. “Everyone’s in the backyard.”

Music was blasting from the stereo system some kids were dancing while others just stood around in groups talking. Michelle saw Pilar, Bill, Ashley, Kyle, Justin, Niki and Lucky standing on the far side of the pool talking. She scanned the backyard quickly, a look of disappointment clouding her face when she didn’t see the person she was looking for.

“Hey Michelle, come over here!” Pilar said waving her over to a small group of friends.

“Happy birthday!” Michelle squealed greeting Pilar with a warm hug. “Hi guys,” she said acknowledging the rest of her friends.

The group went back to their conversation, which largely revolved around the latest gossip in school, since Michelle was training for the world championships she had not been to school much, this past two weeks. She hadn’t done much of anything but skate, catch up on schoolwork and hang out with the other skaters at the rink. Danny came by the rink once last week and they talked for a little, neither brave enough to bring up the kiss in Pilar’s room.

“Hey Michelle, we are all going to the movies tomorrow, do you want to come?” Lucky asked.

“Umm, I…”

“Come on, Michelle, you are not skating tomorrow,” Bill told her.

Normally Michelle would jump at the chance to hang out with her friends, but the group had always had a couple dynamic to it. Though no one was officially going steady, they always ended up being paired off, Pilar and Bill, Ashley and Kyle, Justin and Niki, and Michelle and Lucky. If Michelle went she would undoubtedly end up seating next to Lucky.

“Look, um I’ll think about it, okay?” she said nibbling on some finger food.

As the party wore on, everyone was dancing, laughing and having a good time. Michelle kept looking at the door leading to the backyard hoping Danny would walk in.

“Hey,” Lucky said walking up to her.

“Hi.”

“You look bored,” he commented.

“I’m just tired,” she lied.

“Do you want to dance?” he asked her

“Not really.”

“Come on, Michelle, it’s a party, you’re suppose to be having fun,” he teased.

Michelle knew he was right, the last thing she wanted to do was ruin Pilars party by being a downer.

“Okay, okay, I’ll dance with you,” she laughed, “but you can’t complain if I step on your feet.”

“I’ve seen you dance, I’ll take my chances.” He smiled

“Yeah well, that’s on ice and every step is choreographed down to the position of my pinky finger.”

“Michelle Bauer is that your way of saying you don’t want to dance with me?”

“If I didn’t want to dance with you I’d tell you so, trust me I would,” she smiled.

Laughing they head to the dance floor, with Danny looking on.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 6

April 12, 2017

Author’s Note: Thanks for the feedback everyone. Enjoy!

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 6

“Michelle sweetie, Pilar is here,” Ed Bauer called from downstairs. The family had just returned from New York where Michelle taped several interviews with the morning talk shows, when Pilar called to ask if Michelle could sleep over at her house. Ed knew that his daughter needed to unwind and get away from all the hoopla of becoming the youngest US Figure Skating Ladies Champion and a sleep-over with her best friend was the perfect way to do that.

Michelle came running down the stairs and into her best friend arms for a congratulatory hug. Ed stood back listening to the two girls talk excitedly about their sleep-over after a quick mention of Michelle’s win. He couldn’t help but smile, at the conversation. He always knew Michelle was a very down to earth kid, but the kind of media attention Michelle had gotten since her win would make even the most level headed kids big headed, and he was worried the attention would go to Michelle’s head. Thankfully so far it hadn’t, skating was something she loved and the last thing Ed wanted was for her to feel any pressure to live up to hype.

“Hey dad, we’re gonna head over to Pilar’s now, okay?”

“Okay sweetie have fun.”

Michelle kissed her father on his cheek and the girls left for their sleep-over.

The two girls sat in Pilar’s room giggling as Pilar filled Michelle in on everything that went on in school while she was gone. In the middle of their very animated conversation someone knocked on the door.

“Go away, whoever you are, ” Pilar yelled!

“Shut up brat, ” Danny said walking into the room “I just came up here to umm borrow your calculator,” he said scanning the room. “Oh hey Michelle, I didn’t know you were here.”

Pilar rolled her eyes at her brother “Sure you didn’t, you only asked me fifty times what time Michelle would be here,” she reminded him.

Michelle flashed a shy smile at Danny.

“Okay, I just came up to say congratulations,” he conceded.

“And you couldn’t wait till dinner to tell her that? We are having dinner downstairs with everyone else you know.”

“Give me a break here will ya?” a frustrated Danny begged his sister.

“Whatever, I’m going downstairs to get a snack, be gone by the time I get back got it? Hey Michelle you can eat real snacks now right?”

“Huh? yeah a snack would be good,” Michelle answered distracted.

Pilar rolled her eyes at the two of them and headed down to the kitchen for snacks.

They both stood silently, neither knowing what to say, this was the first time they saw each other since admitting they “liked each other” and to say the situation was awkward would be an understatement.

“So, congratulations,” Danny finally said breaking the silence.

“Thanks.”

“Did you bring the medal?”

“No, it’s at home but I did bring some pictures,” she said as she dug into her backpack for the snap shots.
They sat on the floor looking at the pictures “These are great, you look, you look great in these pictures.”

“Thanks.”

“Not that you don’t always look great,” he added

“Thanks..again,” she smiled nervously.

“…..So, you really are back,” Danny said after another long awkward silence.

“I’m really back.”

“Finally,” he said

“Finally.”

Michelle laughed, “This was a lot easier on the phone wasn’t it?”

“Tell me about it,” he laughed.

Talking over each other: “Michelle.” “Danny.”

“You go first,” he said.

“This is so weird, umm how are you?”

He laughed, “Happy you are back.”

“So am I.”

“I think we have established we are both glad you are back,” he smiled.

“I’m sorry. It’s just I’ve never done..this before,” she explained

“Don’t be, it’s pretty new to both of us.”

“Really? Didn’t you do this with Halle already?”

“Halle was just a girl I dated, while I waited for this cute curly haired blonde to grow up and finally notice me.”

“Yeah right, like you even noticed me when Halle was around throwing herself at you,” she half kidded.

“Seriously Michelle, you are not like Halle. You are different from the other girls I know, and that’s not just a line. Michelle, you are special, do you even know how special you are?” he asked gazing at her intently.

They both sat there staring at each other, Danny slowly leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Michelle’s unexpecting lips. It all happened so quickly, Michelle didn’t even realize what happened till it was over.

“I’m umm…” Danny began, before Pilar interrupted.

“I’ve got ice cream, chips, Pepsi and chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven,” she said placing the food on her desk.

“I’m sorry,” Danny whispered to Michelle.

“It’s okay,” she whispered back.

“I’m gonna go shot some hoops with Mick in the backyard, have fun at your slumber party.” Danny said as he grabbed a cookie from Pilar’s tray.

Michelle watched as Danny walked out of the room, once he was out of sight, she touched her lips with her index finger. “My first kiss” she whispered to herself smiling.

“Why do you have that silly grin on your face?” Pilar asked

“Huh?..ummm ice cream, I haven’t had ice cream in month?s” she covered.

“What are you waiting for then, dig in.”

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 5

April 10, 2017

Republisher’s Note: We continue with skating Michelle and learn that there is only a two year gap in their ages in this story.

Once In A Lifetime by France Chapter 5

Danny sat in front of the television set next to his sister a big bowl of popcorn between them. He had never watched a Figure Skating competition on television before and frankly he hoped this was the last one he would be watching, although he knew it would not be. His eyes were trained on the set as he tried to conceal his nervousness, he knew how much Michelle wanted to win that gold medal and how hard she worked for it.

As what seemed like the 20th commercial aired, thoughts of Michelle invaded his mind. He didn’t know exactly when Michelle suddenly became more that just his sister’s smart-mouthed friend or when spending time with her became more fun than shooting hoops with the guys. She occupied his thoughts constantly and people were beginning to catch on. After witnessing their good-bye two days ago, before Michelle flew out to Michigan, Mick had teased him mercilessly about how uncool it was for a 15 year old guy to hang out with a 13 year old girl. He knew he would catch hell for it if his friends ever found out, but he couldn’t help the way he felt, Michelle was not just any thirteen year old she was special. He smiled as he remembered how excited she was about competing, her excitement was contagious.

“Can you believe I am actually going to skate on the same ice as people who have been to the Olympics, how cool is that?” she inquired happily as they sat at the edge of the pool in the Santos backyard. “Thousands of people are going to watch me skate, well they won’t all be there just to see me,” she babbled on “but it’s still so unreal to think about skating in front of that many people and plus millions of people who will be watching on television,” she paused and looked at him “Danny?” she asked her voice suddenly barely audible

“Yeah.”

“I know that Figure Skating, isn’t exactly your ‘thing’ and I know you have better things to do on a Saturday night than sit at home and watch television but will you watch?” she asked shyly

“Of course I will, are you kidding?! Do you think I’d miss seeing you win that gold medal, besides what else am I gonna do?”

“Oh I don’t know, go to the movies with Halle,” she offered.

“Michelle, after I left her at that movie theater and went out to find you, the last thing Halle wants to see is my face, trust me.”

Michelle giggled.

“Really? So does that mean she has stopped hanging all over you?”

“I guess you can say that,” he laughed.

“In that case I think you owe me a thank you.”

“What?” Danny couldn’t help but laugh “I owe you a thank you?”

“Well, I helped rid you of the obnoxious cheerleader didn’t I?”

“Ahh so that was the plan all along huh? You wanted me all to yourself didn’t you?” he joked.

As soon as the words came out of Danny’s mouth he wished he could take them back. He liked Michelle a lot and did not want to push her or hurt her feelings, just being here with her like this, kidding around meant the world to him.
The atmosphere of laughter quickly dissipated, replaced by silence. Both Michelle and Danny sat quietly their feet dangling in the warm water of the pool. Finally Michelle broke the silence.

“It wasn’t a plan, but I’m glad you left with me and…” she paused “I’m glad you are here hanging out with me tonight and not off somewhere with her.”

Danny reached for her hand and held it loosely between them “So am I.”

“Ohh isn’t that just sweet,” a voice interrupted from behind them. “My baby brother is in love.”

“Shut the hell up, Mick,” Danny yelled at his brother.
————————————————————————————————————————–

“Oh there’s Michelle,” Pilar’s voice interrupted his thoughts. He turned his focus back to the television set as an image of Michelle looking gorgeous in her powder blue costume stood talking to her coach at the far end of the rink, all the while absently fingering the pendant he had given her.

“Do you think she looks a bit nervous?” he asked

“Just a little, but Michelle said that’s a good thing–something about adrenaline.”

Pilar stopped talking as Michelle began her program. Danny sat nervously on the edge of the sofa, both watched quietly as Michelle nailed jump after jump, before she was even finished skating the arena erupted in cheers the whole crowd were on their feet. “Wow, she really did I!” Danny said awed.

“Did you ever doubt she would?” Pilar asked

“One thing I have learned about Michelle Bauer is that when she wants something she makes it happen, she is one tough kid,” he answered.

“Now, she is a kid?” Pilar teased “Two nights ago at the pool you were acting like she was much more than a kid to you ‘oh I’m glad you are here Michelle,’ ” Pilar mocked.

“You were spying on us?” Danny asked incredulously “You litlle brat!”

“Chill, I wasn’t spying on you. I was just coming to tell Michelle her mom was on the phone,” Pilar explained.
“Danny, you really like her don’t you?”

“Michelle is a great ki–person, everyone likes her.”

“Arghh you jerk, that’s not what I meant and you know it,” Pilar yelled as she went up to her room.

“I do like her,” he whispered to himself.

Two hours later as Danny was getting ready for bed the phone rang.

“Hey there champ,” he said before she had the chance to say anything.

“How did you know it was me?”

“You are the only one who would call me at 2 in the morning, Michelle?”she laughed.

“So, how does it feel?” he inquired.

“Oh My God Danny it was awesome. I have never felt anything like this before, it’s the most amazing, incredible, exciting feeling ever. Everything was perfect, absolutely perfect..except for one thing.”

“O yeah, what was missing.”

“You, I sorta wish you were here.”

“You do?”

“Danny?”

“Michelle?”

“It probably doesn’t mean that much to you, and maybe tomorrow I will bang my head on a brick wall for saying it. But being here for two days, away from Springfield winning this medal, hearing the crowd cheering for me, all of it was great but the whole time all of this–this chaos was going on all I could think about was you. And I don’t know what that means and I don’t know why I am telling you this. Maybe I feel like I can take on the world tonight” she laughed “and I don’t care that it sounds crazy but I think I really like you.”

“I’m a likable guy, how could you resist?” he joked.

She laughed, he loved hearing her laugh, it was contagious, indescribable—a uniquely ‘Michelle laugh’.

“Michelle?”

“Yeah?”

“As crazy as it sounds, I really like you.”

It’s My Party by Alisia

April 3, 2017

Republisher’s Note: A great high school fic. I wish it went on a little longer. And although it really never read that way, Michelle and Pilar must be about the same age if you start calculating things out.

Author’s Note: This fic was inspired by the Lesley Gore song of the same name, though I totally changed the implied meaning. For this fic, you have to accept that Pilar and Michelle are the same age and high school friends. You also have to believe that Michelle had a huge crush on Danny in her youth that continued through to high school (but that’s not hard to imagine is it?) Also, I gave Michelle a May birthday just because it made the story easier I actually have no idea when her birthday is. This is fluff, and its not very good fluff, but my editor said it was ok, so here it is.

Disclaimers: Michelle and Danny Santos are not mine. One of life’s little disappointments. Lyrics (also not mine) are in italics.

This is for Mere because she gave me the idea in the first place, and in the hope that shell forgive me for writing a fic for that other couple that she didnt want me to write. (If that confused you, dont worry. It confuses me, too).

Alisia

It’s My Party by Alisia

Nobody knows where my Johnny has gone
Judy left the same time
Why was he holding her hand
When he’s supposed to be mine

Michelle rearranged some snacks on a long table on the patio. Her guests were starting to arrive, but she was not focused on the party forming around her. Her 18th birthday party it took her quite a long time to decide whether or not she even wanted a birthday party at that age was to be the last big party with all her friends from high school before they all parted for college. One last hurrah that’s what Rick called it. He and Abby had been great about the party. They hadn’t complained about the cost or the number of people she was inviting, and they had disappeared to Phillip and Harley’s just as the first guests arrived.

Michelle, however, was having a very hard time enjoying this freedom. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, Jesse, the week before. Despite her best intentions, he was on her mind again, but it wasn’t because she wanted him back. Michelle had decided she wanted to break up with Jesse before the end of summer vacation. He was moving clear across the country to go to art school, and she didn’t want to start college with the added pressure of a long-distance relationship. She thought long and hard about the decision. Jesse was her first love, but she decided they were already on different paths. When Jesse had begun talking about the whole long distance situation the day they had picked up their caps and gowns for graduation, Michelle had tried to explain that she just wanted to make the most of the summer and then take it from there. Jesse had, as usual, completely overreacted. By the end of the day, they had broken up. Michelle found that she was not particularly upset over this decision, further convincing her it was the right one to make.

Now, however, she was regretting the timing. Jesse had come to the party anyway. Michelle didn’t mind that so much it was more awkward than anything but he brought a date. To Michelle’s party. A week after they broke up. And not just any date Jesse brought Drew. Drew, a whiny, loud, self-absorbed girl that Michelle had disliked since the fourth grade when Drew had accused her of stealing a shiny pencil. Not really something to hold a grudge over Michelle realized, but Drew always seemed to think Michelle had somehow gotten what Drew felt that she, herself, deserved, including Jesse. Not a good basis for a friendship. And now Jesse, who apparently took the break up much worse than Michelle had realized, was being mean.

Michelle couldn’t see where Jesse and Drew had disappeared to. She didn’t really want to see either of them, but they were ruining the party for her. Michelle did not want them to cause a scene during such a fun occasion. All her friends would feel sorry for her, and she would spend the remainder of the school year, however short, feeling embarrassed. Michelle bit back tears as she thought of what her party was supposed to be like.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

Michelle sighed and plopped down in a patio chair. It was probably immature to be upset, but she couldn’t help it. She didn’t want Jesse. If she was honest, she hadn’t wanted him for a long time. If she was brutally honest with herself, which she rarely was, he had just been a replacement for someone who didn’t see her as girl-friend material. Maybe she had been wrong about Jesse and their relationship, but did he have to be so rude and mean? He knew how much this party meant to her.

“Happy birthday, Michelle!”

Michelle looked up and forced a smile. “Hey, Pilar.”

“Well you don’t look particularly cheery for someone celebrating a birthday.”

“I was just thinking.”

“Jesse’s a jerk.”

“That was pretty much what I was thinking,” Michelle laughed. She stood up and took the present Pilar was holding, depositing it on a pile of other gifts.

Seeing Pilar just reinforced that Jesse wasn’t the one Michelle wanted. The one she wanted was Pilar’s brother Danny. He was the only one she had ever wanted, but he was older and rarely had time for his sister and her little friends since he started college. He was always nice to her; Danny is a nice guy. But, whenever she saw him, Michelle couldn’t help but think Danny seemed uncomfortable around her, almost nervous. It was almost as if Danny knew Michelle had a crush on him and was afraid she would do or say something about it. Michelle grimaced, and Pilar saw it. She had told Pilar to mention the party to Danny, casually of course, but she didn’t really think her crush would show up.

“By the way, Danny said he was going to try and come today.”

Michelle’s eyes flew to her friend. “I wasn’t thinking of him.”

“Uh huh.”

“Pilar! I wasn’t.”

“Sure, if you want to lie to your best friend, you just go right ahead. I’ll let you get away with it since it’s your birthday. But, he really did say he was going to try. He had a study session, but he thought he could make it. He really likes you, you know.”

“Do you want something to drink?” Michelle asked in an attempt to change the subject.

“I will pretend not to have noticed how you just side-stepped the issue there, and tell you that a lemonade would be great.”

Michelle swung her arm around Pilar’s shoulder and led her to the coolers, happy her friend was with her but disappointed she was spending her birthday pining for a school-girl crush.

Playin’ my records, keep dancing all night
Leave me alone for a while
Til Johnny’s dancin with me
I’ve got no reason to smile

Michelle greeted her guests at the door, danced with as many friends as she could, and tried to ignore their pitying looks when they asked how she was feeling.

“Michelle?” Pilar asked.

“Yeah?”

“You’re depressing your guests.”

Michelle laughed out loud. “I am not.”

“Well, maybe not, but you are depressing me. What would make you smile?”

“Jesse pushing Drew in the pool and dancing with me in front of her.”

“Really?” Pilar asked. “I could probably push her in the pool, she crooked her head to the side, seemingly thinking it over. You’d really want to dance with him?”

“Nah, not really.” She laughed at herself. “It’s stupid. I only feel dislike for him now. It’s just a bad situation is all.”

“Good. He’s not good enough for you.”

“I’m going to go take a walk for a few minutes and clear my head. I promise to come back in a party mood.”

Pilar watched Michelle wander towards the garden, just as a pair of hands came over her eyes.

“Guess who, Peanut?”

“I think you just gave yourself away, brother dear.”

Danny laughed and sat next to Pilar. “Yeah, well, being sneaky was never my forte anyway.”

“That’s for sure. Stealthy you are not.”

“Thanks.” Pilar laughed as Danny scanned the party for Michelle. “Where’s the birthday girl?”

“She went for a walk; she needed a minute alone.”

Danny considered this. “Why?”

“This guy she was dating….”

“I’ll kill him.”

Pilar laughed. “Danny! You don’t even know what he did!”

“I knew he did something!”

“You’re impossible.”

He smiled sheepishly. “I would do the same for you.”

“Do not attempt to sit there and convince me you think of Michelle as a little sister. You have had a thing for her for ages.”

Danny just shook his head at Pilar. “You read way too much into things.”

“Uh huh. Sure. The two of you are driving me crazy. Go do something about it for heaven’s sake!” She thought for a second and then added, “She usually goes to sit under the oak tree in the garden when she’s upset.”

“I should probably go check on her,” Danny said a little to quickly.

“That’s a good idea.” Pilar watched her brother go, fully aware he was trying to build up his courage as he walked towards Michelle. Pilar decided right then that if Michelle and Danny couldn’t manage to admit their feelings to each other out in the garden, she was going to lock them in a room together the first chance she got.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you

Michelle kicked a pebble with her sandal as she attempted to put on a party face. She was not going to give Jesse the satisfaction of seeing her cry, and she would never let Drew know that she had managed to ruin her party.

Michelle looked up as she heard someone approaching her. Why couldn’t Pilar just let her be?

“Michelle? Are you back here?”

Michelle almost fell over when she heard Dannys voice. Why was Danny looking for her?

“Yeah, ummm, I’m here.”

Danny came through the little gate, and gave her a smile that managed to make Michelle smile in return. “Hi.”

“I didn’t think you’d be able to come.”

He looked a little confused. “I told Pilar to tell you that…”

“No, I meant I figured you would be busy or something.”

Danny got a teasing glint in his eyes as he looked at the petite, blond girl he had always liked; the girl who, over the past two years, had blossomed into the gorgeous creature he saw before him. Pilar was right, he had a thing for Michelle. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t tease her a bit. “So you only invited me because you thought I wouldn’t come?”

She rubbed her hand over her face in an attempt to avoid his eyes, “Not really. I thought you wouldn’t want to come.”

“I wanted to be here.” He walked over to her, kissing her cheek as he sat down next to her. She tried not to blush, but Danny noticed the color rising in her cheeks. “So, I heard you broke up with Jesse. You OK?”

“Don’t,” Michelle said stiffly.

“Don’t what?” Danny asked, more than a little surprised at the angry tone.

“I don’t want anyone else feeling sorry for me. I already have a big brother. I don’t need another one.”

Danny was so startled that he laughed, more out of irony than anything. When he stopped, he quietly added, “I am not trying to be a big brother.”

So upset by his laughter, Michelle turned to walk away, but the quiet words he said brought her to a stand still. Neither seemed to know what to say after that, and the awkward silence which ensued was deafening. Michelle sighed and headed for the gate, but Danny jumped up and put a hand on her shoulder to stop her. “Michelle, I….”

“You laughed.”

“I only laughed because the idea of me being like a brother to you is ridiculous.” He took a deep breath. “I have feelings for you that are not even remotely brother-like.”

“What do you mean?” she asked as she turned to face him, shock written all over her features.

“I mean, I don’t want you to think of me as….. never mind.”

“No. What do you want?” Michelle asked angrily, assuming he was just trying to be nice since she was hurting.

Danny didn’t answer. He wasn’t quite sure how to respond. So, he acted instead.

The minute Michelle felt Danny pull her to him and press his lips to hers, she lost her ability to think or speak. She was absolutely incapable of any movement except for kissing him back.

Danny pulled back much sooner than he wanted to it occurred to him Michelle hadn’t exactly given him permission, or expressed interest, or done anything but get angry at him. And right now he couldn’t judge the look on her face.

“Well, I didn’t expect that. That’s what you wanted?” She felt stunned, and she knew she probably looked it, too.

“Yeah, it’s what I want. How do you feel about that?”

“Amazingly good.”

“Good.” Danny let out the breath he had been holding. You could probably make the case that he had been holding his breath since the week before when Pilar mentioned that Michelle and Jesse had broken up.

Feeling slightly awkward, Michelle motioned towards the box in Danny’s hand. “Is that a present for me?”

“It is, yeah.” Danny laughed and handed her the box. “I forgot I was even holding it.”

“Did you make Olga wrap this?” Michelle asked as she opened the brightly wrapped package.

“No…. well, yes, but I helped.”

“You did a very good job,” she smiled, and Danny almost fell over with the relief of having Michelle joking with him again.

“It’s an SU sweatshirt.”

“Yup. I figured you could use one now.”

“Good idea. Thank you.” She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

“You don’t like it.”

“I love it!”

“Michelle.”

“No, I do.”

“Did you look at what else was in the box?” he asked nervously.

Michelle looked back at the tissue paper. “Oh!” she said with real pleasure. “It’s a pendant. How pretty!”

“It’s my fraternity charm.”

“Really?”

“You’re supposed to wear the necklace.” Michelle didn’t respond so Danny just kept talking. “That is, if you accept it. It’s kind of like giving you a high school ring.”

“So, youre saying that kiss wasn’t just to make me feel better? You want to be with me?”

Danny leaned closer and whispered, “If you weren’t sure we should probably do it again.”

“That is an excellent idea.”

Judy and Johnny just walked through the door
Like a queen with her king
Oh what a birthday surprise
Judy’s wearin’ his ring

Michelle and Danny were dancing, but Michelle kept playing with the pendant that lay against her throat. Danny just smiled at her. “I’m glad you like it.”

“I adore it.”

Suddenly the smile left Danny’s face, and he gripped Michelle a little tighter.

“What’s the matter?” she asked, trying to turn and see what upset him. When she did she saw Drew and Jesse, and Drew was showing someone her hand. Jesse must have given Drew his ring.

Danny practically growled. “Why is he here?”

“Because he has no tact.”

“Are you OK?”

“I am a million times better than OK.” She leaned up and kissed him. Danny relaxed at her touch and leaned into the kiss. If they had noticed anything going on around them, they would have seen Drew looking furious that Michelle wasnt jealous or even aware of her new status as Jesse’s girlfriend. But Michelle had much bigger things on her mind.

Danny cupped Michelle’s face in his hands as he kissed her, and looked up when he felt moisture on her cheeks. “Baby? What’s wrong? You shouldn’t being crying at your party!”

“You would cry too if you got everything you ever wanted as a birthday gift. And besides,” she smiled up at him, “It’s my party. I can do whatever I like.”

Archived Links Version

http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/983/t/Alisia-It-s-My-Party-stand-alone-PG.html
http://stenzmania.yuku.com/topic/664


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