Chapter Thirty-Four

Tony jumped when Danny threw something down on the table in front of him.  Picking it up he saw it was the local newspaper and looked at Danny quizzically.  “Just read it will you?  You won’t be disappointed.”

Deciding to humor his cousin Tony dutifully started reading.  And his mouth dropped open in shock, “Is this for real?”

“Apparently so.  Guess the people in prison didn’t like him anymore than we did.”

Tony looked back down at the “breaking story”.  Talk about a blast from the past, figuratively of course.  There was definitely no love lost between those left of the Santos family and Vinnie Salerno.  That he had been killed in prison wouldn’t cause either one of them to lose any sleep.  “I say good riddance.”

Danny nodded, “Things got even worse after you left and that damn imposter took over your life.  Actually it wouldn’t surprise me if Salerno and Romeo had been working together all along.”

Tony hadn’t thought of that angle.  Afterall Maria just orchestrated Romeo’s escape from prison he would have needed  financial backing to operate his organization, and to keep Tony hid away for over six years, “Could be.  Anything is possible.”  He looked back down at the article and laughed.

“Something funny?”

Danny was looking at him as if he’d lost his mind.  Maybe he had, but Tony  wasn’t going to dwell on it.  “Look the old Tony would be out for retribution.  And a part of me would love nothing better than to spit on his damn grave.  But it looks like I came out on top.  I have everything that Romeo tried to take from me and I am…happy.  So I am not going to waste my time with all that.”

Danny looked thoughtful for a moment, “I think the same thing whenever Carmen crosses my mind.  I look at my beautiful wife and my three amazing kids and realize that I have everything she tried to destroy.  So I must say you have grown up cuz.”

Tony tossed the newspaper in the nearby trashcan, “Yeah well don’t go spreading that around, I have a reputation to protect and all.”

Danny laughed, “Yeah wouldn’t want to shatter everyone’s image of you as the mafia underboss with anger issues.”

“Very Funny.  So are you guys packed and ready for the big move tomorrow?  Because Marah has been raving about the place for weeks now.”

“I’ve been ready for damn near twenty years.  I will miss the home Michelle and I made for our children, but this is the home we’ve been dreaming about since we first fell in love.  That  alone makes it worth the aggravation of another moving day.”

***

Danny and Michelle lay curled up on the couch together.  The movers had left hours ago and Marah and Tony had departed for their own home after celebrating another successful moving day.  But best of all was that the kids were sleep and it was just them, in their own little cocoon of happiness.

“So what do you think?  Marah did a good job decorating the place.”

Michelle looked around the room and snuggled deeper into her husband, “She did an excellent job.  But to answer your first question I think it’s perfect.  But even without Marah’s great design sense it would be perfect.”

Danny didn’t miss the sensual hint in Michelle’s voice.  And his body reacted accordingly.  “So I guess we better get some shut-eye.  Those kids of ares are going to rearing to go bright and early.”

Michelle sat and up and grinned at him seductively, “I have a better idea.” Which she promptly whispered her “ideas” in her amazing husband’s ear.

“I love the way you think.”  He stood up and held out his hand, pulling her close after she had joined him, “Now let’s go christen our new bedroom in style.”

She squealed in delight when Danny picked her up like a hero out of a romance novel.  Sometimes Michelle wondered if it was normal to be this happy.  But as she looked up at her husband’s beautiful rakish grin she decided even if it wasn’t she wouldn’t change a thing.

***

Long after the afterglow had faded and Danny’s breathing indicated he was asleep Michelle couldn’t turn off her brain and join him in slumber.  She had passed the time by scanning the room’s furnishings and determined that Marah knew them all too well.  Marah had run her plans by Michelle but she had kept the actual details and surprise.  And surprised she was.  The bed was like something out of a fairytale.  It almost reminded her of the one Danny had once brought to Laurel Falls when they had finally made love for the first time.

Talking with Marah this afternoon Michelle had learned that they really hadn’t solidified any wedding plans.  Tony was busy with Infierno and Marah had been busy with all the projects Reva had lined up.  Which gave her an idea.

She reached over and shook husband gently, “Danny?”  When he just mumbled something in his sleep she shook him harder, ” Danny wake up.”

Danny groaned at having his sleep interrupted, “Michelle I love you but I swear you are trying to kill me.  I’m not twenty years old anymore you know.”

“I didn’t wake you for that, although you do rock my world Danny Santos.” He was still half asleep and simply lifted an eyebrow and waited, “Marah and Tony haven’t set a date for their wedding.  In fact, they haven’t made any plans at all except for buying rings.”

“You woke me up for Marah and Tony?  Honey that doesn’t have anything to do with us.”

She grabbed his shoulder and pulled him back when he attempted to roll over, “Do you remember what they did for us?  When they threw us that surprise wedding with the whole town there?  I want to do something special like that for them.”

Danny raised himself up on his elbow and looked at his wife patiently, “Michelle that wasn’t our first wedding though.  Marah is a first time bride, don’t you think she’d want all the fanfare?”

“Oh I think I can still manage fanfare while making it a surprise.” She started telling him some of her plans, her eyes alight with joy, “So what do you think?”

Danny already knew Michelle’s mind was made up, all he had to do was hang on for the ride.  “I think you’re going to get us in trouble.”

Michelle laughed, “Like that is anything new.”

They were both silent for a moment until Danny grinned mischievously, “So, while you have me up we might as well…”

Michelle just playfully slapped his arm but still snuggled deep into her husband’s strong arms, “Go back to sleep Danny Santos.  Our kids still like to wake up bright and early.”

***

Once Michelle got an idea in her head she ran with it, and planning a surprise wedding was no exception.  Which was why two days after having her brainstorms she was meeting Reva at Towers.  If she could get Marah’s mother in on the plan then they were golden, no matter what Danny said to the contrary.

Michelle had to smother a laugh when Reva arrived.  The woman was wearing a big floppy had and dark sunglasses.  Which would be fine if it was May instead of the middle of December.  “Reva what’s with the disguise?”

“You said to keep the meeting a secret.” She removed her glasses and set them on the table, “Meeting in Towers isn’t exactly secret though.”

Michelle really was trying to hold in the laughter but it wanted out in the worst way, “I only said not to tell Marah.  I didn’t say we were doing a rendition of Mission Impossible.”

Reva just waved it off, “I’ve always had a flair for the dramatic.  So why did you want to see me?  Not that I don’t love your company, because I do.   But I admit you asking for a secret meeting has my interest piqued.”

“A wedding.  More specifically Marah and Tony’s wedding.”

Looking over the menu in front of her Reva raised an eyebrow in surprise, “What about it?”

“I was talking with Marah the other day and she mentioned that they hadn’t even started planning yet.  She was even saying they might just go before the Justice of the Peace!  So I was thinking that between you and me we could plan something better than a quickie wedding.”  Michelle was thinking about her own ‘quickie wedding’ years ago, its intention to protect her from the wrath of Carmen Santos.  She found it strange to think that there was actually a time when she didn’t love Danny Santos with every fiber of her being.  It seemed like another lifetime ago and she wouldn’t change where they were now for anything.

Reva seemed to ponder what Michelle was proposing, “What do you have in mind?  I assume because you didn’t want to me to mention this to Marah that you are want this to be a surprise.”

As Michelle laid out her ideas she could tell by the excitement in the other woman’s eyes that Reva was more than interested, she was loving the idea!  Oh Danny you’re going to owe me big tonight.  “So what do you think?”

“What do I think?  I think you’re a complete genius Michelle Santos!”

Michelle let out the breath she didn’t know she was holding.  Even though Reva had seem excited a small part of her had wondered if Danny was right.   “I don’t want to steal any fanfare though.  I want it to be a legitimate wedding celebration with all the bells and whistles.”

Reva smiled crookedly, “Michelle you’re talking about my only daughter.  Trust me, her father and I will spare no expense for fanfare.   But are you sure you want to take on the planning on top of your duties at the woman’s wellness clinic?  And you just had a baby not too long ago.”

“Marah is my best friend.  She did the same for me and more importantly I want to do this for them.  They deserve their happily ever after and definitely deserve a real wedding.”

Reva had to agree, “Alright Michelle, I just had to check.  Where should we start?”

And just like that Operation Wedding was off and running.

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