Chapter One

Has it really been two years already? Jason walked through the darkness. It was early enough that it was still dark out. That didn’t bother Jason. He knew exactly where he was going. He didn’t even need to look at his surroundings; he had been there enough times in the last two years. Two years?

Walking through the wrought iron gates, Jason followed the path that was now ingrained in him. The early morning air was cool, with an underlying hint of the warmth that will come with the sun.

Jason finally reached his destination. The words on the marble headstone were a part of him as his eyes skimmed over them.

BORN AUGUST 22, 1985
DIED APRIL 3, 2004

Placing his hand on top of the cool marble, Jason sighed. “Until I met you, I was never much for talking, but now I find myself wanting to tell you things all the time. Elaina is growing up so fast . . . she’s beautiful Jess – she looks just like you, even has your personality. I know you would be so proud of her. I am. I have your ring and I plan on giving it to Elaina when she’s old enough – I tell her about you all the time.” Jason pulled in a breath and let it out slowly. “You would be proud of your family, too Jess. Lorenzo and Skye are closer than they have ever been – I wouldn’t be surprised if they were to marry soon. Diego is excelling in school. And he and Georgie are doing great together. Sam is . . . .Sam,” he said with a small smile. “Talks too much and all the time. But she has been a wonderful help with Elaina. We all miss you Jessica – and I know you would want us to all move on with our lives and be happy.”

Standing with his head bowed in a silent prayer, Jason looked at the headstone one more time before leaving. Today was his daughter’s second birthday and he was headed home to spend the day with her.


Skye stirred and rolled over, her hand coming in contact with an empty pillow and cool sheets. Rolling to her side, she opened her eyes and saw a tall figure standing by the window. Sitting up, Skye slid out of bed, pulled on an emerald green silk robe. Tying the belt, Skye walked over to him, wrapping her arms around his waist from behind and resting her cheek against his bare back.

“How long have you been up?” she asked quietly.

Lorenzo sighed, placing his hands on hers. “A little while,” he said his eyes on the darkness outside.

“Are you okay?” Skye whispered.

“I have lost so many people in my life,” Lorenzo said, his voice low and soft. “First Sophie . . . a woman who showed me great love, who showed me there was a life beyond the business, a woman who helped me to realize my dreams; then there was Elaina . . . a woman who I wanted to make a new beginning with, a woman who gave me my beautiful daughter . . . .” Lorenzo stopped a moment to swallow past the lump that had risen in his throat at the mention of his daughter. Taking a deep breath, Lorenzo slowly let it out.

Skye waited, knowing he needed a moment to collect himself and continue on. That was something she learned about him in the last two years. Lorenzo was a man of great passion and felt so deeply – a man who tried to shield those he cared about from what he was feeling or thinking. But Skye managed to get through to him, get him to talk, to feel, to work it out and not leave it bottled up.

The lump of emotions pushed down, Lorenzo let out another breath, wet his dry lips. “Luis had always been impulsive . . . hot-headed . . . power hungry . . . he lived and breathed for the business . . . until it killed him. Sage was barely out of childhood, just starting her life . . . she had dreams and goals . . . she wanted to be a singer . . . she wanted a family who supported her . . . losing so many people who had been close to me doesn’t even come close to what is has been like to lose my first born child. I was never there when I lost before – somehow that it made somewhat easier to accept and move on. But I was there Skye . . . I watched the life drain out of her . . . her blood was on my hands . . . I was there when they told me my daughter was gone . . . that her dreams would never be realized . . . that she would never see her daughter . . . teach her daughter all she knew . . . she would never marry the man she loved and live the life she wanted. Losing my daughter tore a piece of my heart away Skye . . .two years later, the ache is still there.”

Skye closed her eyes as he talked, as he opened up his heart and poured it all out. She knew that losing Jessica had hit Lorenzo hard. Skye had been worried about him – afraid he would fall and never be able to come back.

“I’ve never lost a child Lorenzo . . . but I know that a loss like that . . . it runs deep. Maybe the ache will never go away, not fully. But you can’t let it consume you Lorenzo. I watched you these last two years; I have watched you build a relationship with Jason in honor of your daughter. I have watched you with that little girl, how her face lights up when she’s with you. I have watched your relationship with your son grow and change. Losing Jessica was hard on all of us Lorenzo, but I like to believe that she left us all with a great gift . . . a family that bonded together and grew in their grief.”

Lorenzo turned to Skye, his hand coming up to stroke through her hair. “It is a gift I will always treasure,” he whispered.

“So will I,” she whispered back, leaning in to rest her head against his chest, listening to the beat of his heart.


Diego rolled over and groaned as his alarm clock started buzzing. Hitting it with his hand, he pulled the pillow over his head a moment before pushing it back. Opening his eyes, he saw the picture he had sitting on the bedside table. It was of him and Jessica, taken just after they moved in together. He sighed. He knew what today was.

Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Diego sat up and rubbed his hands over his face, trying to wake up. Today was going to be a day of mixed emotions for everyone. On the one hand, it was the day his sister’s life was taken from them. A day of mourning and remembering. On the other, it was his niece’s second birthday. A day of celebration.

Getting up and heading into the bathroom, Diego started the shower. He knew this was going to be hard on his father and Diego was glad that Skye was there for him. Deciding he was not going to go to class today, Diego stepped into the shower. He needed to make sure his niece had the best birthday possible. Jessica would want that for her daughter.

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