Merry Christmas Danny Santos: Part One

Took a break from writing Marah and Tony’s story when this little one shot popped into my head.  Basically it takes place around the same time as Marah and Tony’s short story Making New TraditionsSo Christmas of last year.  One of these days I might just get caught up!  Maybe around New Years when I *crosses fingers* hope to get story two rolling.  So here is Danny’s story with plenty of Manny and Marony to go around.  It’s kind of a mix between It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol.  Hope you like it…..

***

Danny

Sitting alone in his home office drinking wasn’t exactly his favorite pastime but at that moment Danny couldn’t muster up the energy to change the situation.  In fact he should be downstairs with Michelle and the kids decorating the tree and getting ready for Christmas in their new house, the house Michelle and him had dreamed of building for years.  Instead he kept pouring.  He leaned his head back against his chair and groaned, “What the hell is wrong with you Santos?”  He had so much to be thankful for this year.  Michelle and him were as happy as ever and their kids were healthy, he was a lucky man and he knew it.   And, like a miracle, Tony came back to them.  Not some replacement Tony but the real true blue Tony that had stood by him through thick and thin.  The Tony that he had loved like a brother.  It was enough to make him want to weep.  Instead, he drank.

He brought his glass and finished it off but it didn’t alleviate the tightening in his gut.  And perhaps that was the source of all this morose thinking tonight.  Just thinking about how he failed Tony made him want to beg for forgiveness.   Tony, Ray, and himself were practically raised together.  He should have seen the signs that there was something not quite right about Tony’s behavior.  Like when Tony came back and announced he was buying a horse farm?  Not at all like his cousin who grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Chicago.  And Tony’s suddenly turning his heart away from Marah, the one woman who had owned his soul since she was just a teenager?  Maybe if he had noticed the signs then his cousin wouldn’t have spent years locked away from the world.  Locked away while he continued to be happy and free with the woman he loved and the children he adored.  Danny wondered how Tony came out of that situation without bitterness towards him, how he didn’t wish it wasn’t Danny that had been locked away instead.  Or even wondered what a life without Danny Santos would be like.  He wouldn’t be the only one.  Danny reached for the bottle of Brandy…

“Do you really think Alcohol is going to solve your problem Daniel?”

Danny blinked his eyes to focus on the newcomer, certain that he was seeing things.  “Dad?”  He brought the bottle closer to inspect the label, “Okay I know this stuff packs a punch but to make me see dead people?  I think I need a refund.”

The apparition moved closer until it he stood right in front of Danny, the only thing separating them was the desk. “I am not some drunken hallucination.  I am your guide.  Your guía if you will.”

“Thanks but no thanks.  I have no interest in replaying some dysfunctional Santos version of It’s A Wonderful Life with you dad.  I am sure you can buy off someone for your wings, even in Heaven.” He pinned the ghostly figure of his father with a look, “If that’s where you ended up.  You weren’t exactly Heaven material growing up.”

At least the ghost had the decency to look remorseful, “I know I failed you, Mick, and Pilar.  I failed your mother and then she went and failed you.  But I have seen you and you are a good father Daniel.  And tonight I am going to show you what a life without Danny Santos would be like.”

“Oh goodie.”

A brilliant white flash engulfed the room and then there was darkness during which Danny felt himself fly through the air, through space and time.  This was going to be a long night….

***

Danny landed in the middle of Company with a THUMP!

“You need to find a better way to travel.  That wasn’t particularly graceful.”

His father’s ghost just looked at him before shaking his head, “Just wait.”

Danny took the opportunity to look about the room.   Some of the people he had known for years, some were strangers, but it was all part of Springfield.  Part of home.  Part of the reason Michelle and him decided to move back here.  He saw the usual; Josh and Reva in the corner having a heated discussion, Rick and Mindy, Frank and Blake flirting with each other in a back table.  At one time he and Frank had been enemies, then they could have been called friends, now they had somewhat of a truce.  He missed the friendship though but…

“You and Marina were not meant to be together.  There was no destino.  Your destiny is about to walk in that door,” His father pointed towards the entrance and sure enough, there was Michelle.  Strange how just the sight of her after all these years could still make his heart race.  But when he went to walk towards her his father held up a hand to stall him, “She cannot see you.  You do not exist.  This is a life without Daniel Santos remember?  Just listen.”

***

Rick stood up to greet Michelle warmly with a hug, “Hey little sister!  Glad you could join us.”

“Thank you for inviting me.  With Bill traveling so much these days the house can get so quiet I think I might go mad.”

“Where is he this week?  He seems to be gone an awful lot these days”

“Venezuela.  Can you believe it?  And right before Christmas too!”  Michelle shook her head before looking over the menu in her hand, “So what looks good today?”

“Michelle I know when you are trying to look happy for the sake of others.  Talk to me.  Let me help you.”

Michelle tossed her menu on the table and glared at her brother, “Okay Rick you want me to bare my soul here in the middle of Company for all to see and hear?  Here goes!  I married my best friend and settled into the perfect suburban life just like every Hallmark special.  I should have 2.5 kids and drive a minivan by now.  My days should include complaining to other mothers about the school districts and running for the PTA but instead my husband runs off on business trips whenever I dare mention the idea of having children.  And you know how I mentioned how boring and mundane our life had gotten?” Rick nodded hesitantly which prompted Michelle to proceed, “Well I suggested we do something new to spice things up.  Salsa lessons.  Not like I asked him to go skydiving it’s just dancing.  But it still got shot down.  And right now my dearly beloved is in Venezuela with Lizzie Spaulding   Bet he wishes he took those salsa lessons now because Lizzie loves to dance.”  Michelle had fire in her eyes.  Bill was probably safer in Venezuela and he knew it.

Mindy held out a hand to stop the tirade, ” Wait, Lizzie Spaulding is with Bill?  Why?”

Michelle just rolled her eyes, “Something about Spaulding and Lewis vying for the same project.  My guess is that they are really vying for who gets to be on top first.”  Buzz had made his way over to the table and looked like he would rather be anywhere but there at that moment, “Now can we order please?  I’m hungry.”

***

Danny turned to his dad, “Michelle’s not wrong is she?”

Miguel shook his head, “Let’s just say that somewhere there is a room with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door.  But come, there is still more to show you.”

Danny took one last look at the love of his life, so lost and desolate.  A new ache formed in his stomach, “I hate to see Michelle’s heart-broken.  She deserves the world.”

“Yes she does.  Now come.”

A brilliant white flash engulfed the room and then there was darkness during which Danny felt himself fly through the air, through space and time.  Danny really hated this part.

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