Jason faced Sonny. The last two years have taken their toll on the other man. Sonny was thinner than Jason remembered. His cheeks and eyes were more hallow with dark shadows under his eyes – like he hadn’t slept at all in the last two years. His usual slick appearance was disheveled and unkempt. This was not the same man Jason had come to respect and admire. This was not the man who taught him right from wrong, how to live his life for himself and make his own choices. This was not the same man who gave him a place to live and a job he was good at. No. That man died long ago. What was left in front of him was a shadow. A shadow that was barely hanging on anymore.
“You shouldn’t have come back here,” Jason said. There would be no pleasentries. They were beyond that.
Sonny sighed. “I have a right to see my children Jason,” he said.
Jason shook his head. “No, you don’t. Carly has full custody of the boys. You no longer have rights to them.”
Sonny ran his hands through his hair. It was no longer stylish, but a mass of unruly curls. “This is between me and Carly, Jason. Stay out of it.”
“No. This is between you and me,” Jason said. “Carly is just an excuse for you. She doesn’t want to see you again Sonny. So don’t bother wasting your time.”
“Wasting my time? They are my family, Jason! And you and Alcazar took them away from me!” Sonny yelled, the thin hold he had on his rattled emotions stretching to the breaking point.
“You gave up your family when you took Jessica away from me,” Jason growled.
“I was wondering when you would bring that up,” Sonny sneered. “I had nothing to do with her murder and you know it.”
“You conspired with Faith Roscoe. It was as if you had pulled the trigger yourself Sonny!” Jason growled. “How could you do that?”
“How could I do it? Is that you want to know? I needed to stop him someone Jason! You couldn’t see what they were doing to you! I needed to save you!”
Jason looked at Sonny like he finally lost all touches with reality. “Save me? How was taking part in killing the woman I loved . . . while she was pregnant with MY child . . . saving me?”
“You don’t see it. You still don’t see it Jason! This was his plan all along! Get his daughter to seduce you. Make you fall in love with her! Make all these threats to make it like he didn’t approve. It was all part of his plan!”
“What plan Sonny? What the hell are you talking about?” Jason asked in disbelief. “You were there through all of it! You saw how Jessica and I fought to be together! There was no plan Sonny!”
“The plan was to turn you against me! And it worked perfectly, didn’t it!” Sonny yelled.
“Hey, how are you feeling?” Sam asked her brother as she walked into the living room.
Lorenzo looked up from the file he was looking through. “Better,” he said, putting the work aside. “How about you? Are you okay?”
Sam bit her lip. “Yeah . . . ummm . . . have you talked to Carly yet?”
“Carly? No, I haven’t seen her. Skye and I just left the hot tub.”
Sam smiled. “Hot tub, huh?” she asked.
“It helped with the stiffness,” he said.
“I’m sure it did,” Sam said.
Lorenzo looked up at his sister. “Funny,” he said. “So, have you heard of Elaina’s latest accomplishment?”
“Accomplishment? Oh God, what did she do?” Sam asked.
After Lorenzo told her, Sam couldn’t stop laughing. “Oh my God! I wish I had seen that!” she said.
“No, you don’t really,” Lorenzo said, grimacing. “It’ll be a while before I can use my bedroom again,” he added.
“But you have to admit, Lorenzo, it was sweet. Elaina was worried about you and wanted to make you feel better,” Sam said. “And the last time she fell and scraped her knees, she said Goldie made her feel better.”
Lorenzo nodded. “You’re right,” he said. “She is so much like Jessica . . . when she laughs or gets that look in her eye . . . it’s like I’m looking at my daughter again.”
“I miss her too Lorenzo,” Sam said, putting her hand on her brother’s arm. “And she’s living through Elaina. I know Jessica would be proud of what you have built with Jason.”
“I hope so,” he said. “So, why did you ask if I’ve seen Carly today?” he asked.
Sam groaned. “Okay. Earlier today, I kind of walked in on Jason after he got out of the shower . . . and I was only half dressed myself,” she said in a rush of breath, feeling her cheeks turn red.
Lorenzo looked at his sister with wide eyes. “Wow,” he said.
“Wow? Wow? That’s all you can say? Wow?” Sam asked.
“Ummm . . . what did you want me to say Sam? I’m surprised it took two years before this happened.”
“You were expecting it?” Sam asked in astonishment. “Lorenzo, Jason is the father of your daughter’s child! They were in love! They were engaged! And all you can say is it’s about time?”
Lorenzo sighed. “Sam, sit down,” he said gently, waiting for her to sit. He took another moment to gather his thoughts before starting to speak. “I loved Jessica. So much that I thought I was protecting her by keeping her away from Jason. But I wasn’t. And I watched as Jason and Jessica grew closer and closer, their love grew despite me.” Lorenzo stopped a moment and smiled. “I finally came to accept them Sam. And Jason made my daughter happy. Even if it was for a short time, she was happy Sam. I miss her so much, and I watched what could have happened to Jason if he didn’t have you in his life. Sam, Jason is the man, the father, he is today because of you.”
Sam looked at him in shock. “I didn’t do anything special Lorenzo,” she said.
“You didn’t have to. You were there Sam. You didn’t let him fall. If you hadn’t been there for him . . . Elaina would have lost both of her parents. Because of you, Jason lived. And not just for his daughter, or Jessica’s memory, but for himself. You gave that to him, Sam.”
Sam blinked back her tears. “I was just doing what I thought was right Lorenzo. I know what it’s like to not grow up with your father in your life. I didn’t want that for Elaina.”
Lorenzo nodded. “You care deeply for the people in your life, Sam. And we’re all lucky for that.”
Sam smiled. “So . . . Carly thinks that there could be more between me and Jason . . . what do you think?”
Lorenzo laughed. “I think Carly could be onto something, but whatever happens or doesn’t happen between you and Jason should be on your terms or timeline and no one else’s,” he said.
“Thanks Lorenzo,” Sam said as she leaned over and kissed his cheek. “You are a great big brother.”
Lorenzo laughed again. “Thanks,” he said.
Carly breezed into the kitchen through the back door and saw Skye looking through the fridge. “What are you doing?” she asked.
Skye turned with an armful of vegetables and various other ingredients. “Making dinner,” she said.
Carly raised an eyebrow. “Dinner? You? Since when could you cook?” she asked, leaning against the counter and watching the redhead.
“I can’t . . . really. But I figured I should start learning. And how hard can it be anyway?” Skye said as she dumped everything on the counter next to Carly.
“Ummm . . .do you even know what your making?” Carly asked, continuing to watch her.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do,” Skye said, grabbing the cook book she had found. “It’s called Chicken Kiev,” she read.
Carly looked over Skye’s shoulder. “Wow,” she said. “Yup, that sure looks easy.”
“Oh, be quiet. At least I’m making the effort,” Skye said as she looked through the ingredients listed in the book and then at the stuff on the counter.
“Why are you making the effort Skye?” Carly asked curiously. “I mean, you’ve been living here two years and the most I have ever seen you make is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”
Skye sighed. “Because I love Lorenzo and I want to do something for him. Carly, you didn’t see him the morning of the second anniversary of Jessica’s death. He looked so lost. And I didn’t know what to do to help him.”
“Skye . . . Lorenzo loves you. Deeply. You being here is what he needs,” Carly said.
“I know. But he also needs his family. Especially with Sonny doing whatever it is he’s doing.”
“He does have his family around him,” Carly said in confusion.
“Well, I was thinking of flying his mother in for a visit,” Skye said.
“His mother? Esmeralda?”
Skye nodded. “I can have her come in for his birthday and stay for a while. You know Lorenzo never thinks about himself and what he needs. And I think he needs his mother nearby for a while.”
Carly thought it over. They had all met Esmeralda Alcazar when Jessica had died. But she hadn’t stayed long and they hadn’t gotten to know her very well. “I think it’s a great idea,” she said.
“Good,” said Skye as she looked at the cook book again. “So, are you going to help me or not?” she asked.
“I used to look up to you, Sonny. You taught me so much . . . and then you turned on me,” Jason said. “That’s why I walked. That’s why I took away everything you had. Because killing you wasn’t good enough. Killing you would have been too easy. I wanted you to live with what you did. With the fact that you took part in an innocent woman’s death. That you left a little girl without her mother. You are no longer the man I respected and admired. All you are is a cold-hearted, back-stabbing killer. And I will tell you this Sonny, you continue on this path, and I will take pleasure in killing you with my bare hands.”
“Is that a threat?” Sonny asked, pulling himself to his full height, which was not as impressive as he thought it was.
“No. It’s not a threat Sonny. It’s a promise. And just know, if you push me, I will follow through.”
Without saying another word, Jason turned and walked away, leaving Sonny on the docks.
“Skye, what’s a green onion? I didn’t see any green onions.” Carly said in confusion as she poked through the vegetables on the counter. “None of these is green.”
“I don’t know Carly,” said Skye as she looked at the book again as she tried to make the chicken breast look like the one in the book.
“Well, you can figure the green onion out,” Carly said as she reached for the flour. “How much flour does it say we need?” she asked.
“Ummm . . . A quarter of a cup,” she said, referring to the book.
Carly pulled down the measuring cup. Picking up the container of flour, she checked the measuring cup again and started pouring. Then the container slipped and she ended up dumping half of the flour all over the counter. “Oops,” she said.
“What oops?” Skye asked, turning. “Carly! What did you do?”
“Hey! It wasn’t my fault,” said Carly. “Who knew flour was so heavy.”
Skye rolled her eyes. “Well, clean it up. I need the quarter cup of flour to coat the chicken in.”
“Why should I clean this up? I told you we couldn’t do this,” Carly said huffily. “We don’t need to do this Skye.”
“Maybe you don’t Carly. But I want to do this. And if you’re not going to help, then leave me alone,” Skye said, shaking her head and turning her back.
“You are taking this whole cooking dinner thing too seriously Skye,” Carly said as she scooped up some of the flour in her hand.
“I am not,” said Skye. “I just want it to be perfect. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“I didn’t say there was anything wrong with it,” said Carly with a shrug. “Hey, Skye, did you figure out that green onion yet?”
Skye sighed and turned, gasping when she got a face full of flour.
“CARLY!” she shrieked, trying to wipe the flour off of her face. “What is wrong with you?”
“This is boring Skye,” Carly said with a shrug. “Wouldn’t you rather just order something from the Metro-Court like usual?”
Instead of answering, Skye scooped up some flour of her own and threw it at Carly. “You’re as bad as the kids!” she exclaimed.
Carly looked down at the flour that covered her green tank. “Hey! This is a new top!”
“Well, you started it,” Skye said haughtily as she turned back to her chicken.
Carly narrowed her eyes at the woman as she used both hands to scoop up more of the spilled flour and dumped it over Skye’s red hair.
Lorenzo looked up when Jason walked into the room. He saw the look on the younger man’s face and knew something was up. Putting down the paperwork he had resumed after his conversation with Sam, Lorenzo turned his attention to Jason.
“Sonny tried to see Carly and the boys. He went by her house. Max sent him away and then called me,” Jason said as he sat in the armchair. He shook his head and rubbed his face. It seemed like one thing after another today.
“What happened when you saw him?” Lorenzo asked, intuitively knowing what had happened.
Jason sighed and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “He’s delusional. He feels that everything between me and Jessica was a set up orchestrated by you. He says it was your plan all along to take me from him.” Jason shook his head. “The more he talked . . . the more I could see he believed everything he was saying. He seriously thinks he was saving my by working with Faith . . . by taking part in Jessica’s death.”
Lorenzo sighed and closed his eyes. “He’s become too dangerous.”
Jason nodded in agreement. “Don’t worry. If and when the time comes, I will not hesitate to take him down.”
Sam stood in the kitchen doorway shaking her head. “You have got to be kidding me,” he said, looking at the two flour covered women in the middle of the now flour covered kitchen. “Lorenzo is going to have your heads for this mess.”
Carly and Skye looked at each other. They had each been holding more flour and squaring off. Now they looked at Sam.
Sam saw the looks on their faces. “Don’t even think about it,” she said, holding up her hands and backing out of the kitchen.
Manny stayed on the fringes of the property, sticking to the trees and shadows at the edge of the woods. He smiled when he saw the little girl scampering in the yard, a large guard not too far away. He had seen Jason Morgan arrive not long ago. And he had seen Alcazar’s son, Diego, cuddling with a young woman by the lake. Now all he needed to do was set up some surveillance so he could keep an eye on the Alcazar/Morgan family. Because watching and waiting was the only way to guarantee success.
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