Everyone laughed as they sat around the table in the kitchen. By then, Elaina had awoken from her nap and happily joined the group. At that moment, she and Morgan were sitting at a small kid’s table coloring while the adults talked.
“Now, I remember my son as being a very inquisitive little boy. There was that one time when you wanted to see if it was true . . . that holding up a magnifying glass to the sun would cause something to catch fire . . ."
Lorenzo burst into laughter as he too remembered. “Her hair grew back,” he said, nodding to Sam.
“Hey! I remember that!” Sam exclaimed, her fingers touching the ends of her thick black hair. “It took forever for it to grow long again!”
“You sound like you were quite the trouble maker when you were little,” Skye said with a laugh to Lorenzo.
“Oh believe me . . . when these two got together, I never knew what was going to happen,” Esmerelda said as she looked between her son and the woman she had come to love as her own daughter.
“I take offense to that,” Sam said pouting. “Lorenzo is the one who caused the trouble . . . I just tagged along.”
“Tagged along? And who was the one who dared herself to climb the big tree in the yard? And then was too scared to come down?” Lorenzo said with a raised eyebrow.
“I was not too scared,” Sam protested. “I just didn’t realize how high up I was.”
At that moment, Lorenzo’s cell phone rang. Standing, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and excused himself from the table to take the call.
Skye watched him step into the hallway.
“Hello,” Lorenzo said as he put the phone to his ear.
“Mr. Alcazar? This is Georgie, I was wondering if Diego was there.”
Lorenzo could hear worry in the young woman’s voice. “No, Georgie. Diego left a while ago to meet with you. He’s not there yet?”
“Well, he called me telling me he was on his way and was only a couple of minutes away . . . but that was forty-five minutes ago. I’ve tried calling him, but there’s no answer on his cell phone.”
Lorenzo didn’t like the sound of that. He knew that if Diego were running late, he would have called Georgie back. “I’m sure he’s fine Georgie,” Lorenzo said, trying to calm the girl and not get too worked up himself. “Maybe he had car trouble and is out of range. Where are you?”
“On Pier 52 where we were supposed to meet,” Georgie said. She looked around her. She was alone, but was beginning to feel creeped out.
“Alright, I want you to go over to Kelly’s and wait there. I’ll see if I can track Diego down and call you back,” Lorenzo instructed. He did not want her standing out on the Pier alone anymore.
“O-okay,” Georgie said.
Ending the call, Lorenzo dialed his son’s cell number. The phone rang until the voicemail picked up. Lorenzo left a short message, telling Diego to call him back as soon as possible. Something wasn’t right and Lorenzo had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.
“Max!” he called as he walked into the living room.
Max opened the doors and stepped inside.
“I need you to get a couple of guys and find Diego. He was supposed to meet Georgie Jones on Pier 52, but she said he hasn’t shown up yet. I just tried calling his cell and got his voicemail.”
Max nodded. “I’ll take care of it,” he said as he left.
Lorenzo watched Max walk away. Then he ran his hands through his hair. He couldn’t lose another child. He couldn’t go through that again.
Diego groaned, bringing a hand to his head. What the hell happened? He asked himself. His whole body ached – he felt like he had been hit by a truck. Prying his eyes open, he instantly regretted it as the bright light above him shot needles of pain through his eyeballs and into his head. The one thing he did know was that he was no longer in his car.
Opening his eyes again – a lot slower this time – Diego rolled onto his side, realizing he had been lying on a cold, hard floor. Now that the harsh light was not burning into his retinas, Diego’s eyes were better able to adjust and take in his surroundings.
The room was empty with no windows and only the bright bare bulb above his head. He figured he was in a basement somewhere, but the question forefront in his mind was why, and who did this?
Rolling onto his hands and knees, Diego closed his eyes against the waves of nausea that hit him. He was pretty sure he had a concussion. Once his head cleared slightly, Diego pushed himself onto his knees and cried out at the sharp pain in his side – sending another wave of nausea sweeping over him. Before he attempted to move again, Diego decided to take inventory of his injuries – whoever was behind this was bound to not leave him alone for long and he needed to be ready.
Jason walked into Lorenzo’s office. “I just heard from Max,” he said grimly. “Diego’s car was found in a ditch. There’s damage to the passenger side – he may have been forced off the road.”
“Is Diego hurt?” Lorenzo asked, trying to hold tight to his fast slipping control. His heart rate sped up and his breathing hitched slightly, Lorenzo took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself.
Knowing what this was going to do to the man who he had come to trust and admire, Jason rubbed the back of his neck.
Lorenzo watched Jason’s body language and knew something was wrong. Dreading the answer, Lorenzo knew he had to ask. “Tell me Jason,” he said, his voice strained as his heart pounded in his throat. He couldn’t do this again. He couldn’t lose both of his children.
“I don’t know how hurt he is, Lorenzo,” Jason responded. “Diego wasn’t in the car or anywhere near it.”
“What are you talking about? What does that mean?” Lorenzo asked, his voice rising. “If he’s hurt, he couldn’t have gotten far.”
“I know,” Jason said calmly. “I have some men out there looking for him. They know to check in. But Diego’s phone was found in the car. I don’t think he left on his own.”
Lorenzo was thinking the same thing. He knew Sonny or Manny or both were involved in this and he was sure they were waiting for him to fly off the handle. He couldn’t do that. He couldn’t afford too. If he did, not only would his life be at risk, but so would the lives of the rest of his family.
“If he’s not found at the check in, pull the men together and we’ll put a plan in action. Diego was with me when I met with Corinthos earlier – this may be his way, or Manny’s, of sending a message.”
Skye nervously paced back and forth between the couches. Something was going on – and it wasn’t good. Tension settled over the house and it was felt by all. Carly had taken all the kids back to the cottage to keep them out of the way. There were more guards in and out of the house, and Jason and Lorenzo were in the office dealing with whatever was going on.
“My dear, please, sit down,” Esmerelda said gently, catching hold of Skye’s hand as she passed by.
Sighing, Skye sat. “I want to help,” she said. “I know something is going on.”
Esmerelda nodded. “Skye, listen to me. I have been in this life since I was eighteen-years-old, and I am going to tell you what I have learned. Sometimes not knowing, or just being there as a quiet support system, is all the help they need. Lorenzo is very good at what he does – and it’s the reason why he has survived as long as he has. Trust in him Skye. If Lorenzo feels you need to know, then he will tell you.”
Skye looked at her. “I know. And I don’t have a problem with what Lorenzo does,” she said honestly. “I’m just worried, that’s all.”
“I am too,” Esmerelda said gently. “And that’s perfectly fine. I would be worried if you weren’t worried. I know you love my son Skye. And he loves you. And that’s all he needs right now.”
“I hope so,” said Skye quietly.
Diego was finally able to stand without almost throwing up. But he still had no idea where he was. No one had come in since he regained consciousness and it was getting to him – which is probably what his captors wanted. Get him on edge. Paranoid even. Get his guard down so they could attack him in some way. Diego wasn’t going to let whoever they were do that.
“How long are we going to keep him down there?” Sonny asked. He hadn’t been sure Manny’s plan would work, but so far it looked like it was.
Manny shrugged. “Long enough to get Big Poppa all worked up,” he said nonchalantly.
“And you’re so sure this will achieve that?” Sonny asked skeptically.
Manny didn’t even look at him. “As far as he knows, his son was in a car accident and is missing. I think that will get him worked up enough,” he said.
“Then you don’t know Lorenzo Alcazar as well as you think you do,” Sonny said. “Alcazar has this knack for separating his business life from his family life. And he will do anything he has to to protect them.”
Manny laughed and shook his head. “His daughter is dead, isn’t she?”
Sonny looked at him. “What does that have to do with anything?”
“You need to start paying closer attention,” Manny said, shaking his head. “Alcazar’s life got his daughter killed. And now, his son is in trouble. He has a granddaughter I am sure he is willing to die for. And a very beautiful woman at his side. Not to mention that sister. I say, Alcazar has a lot to lose. And we’re going to remind him of that.”
“Where’s Mamma Mella?” Sam asked as she walked into the living room and saw only Skye.
“She went to finish unpacking before dinner. And she insists on cooking it, too,” Skye said.
Sam laughed. “Get used to that,” she said. “Mamma Mella can be very stubborn and hard-headed when it comes to what she wants.”
“I’ve noticed that,” Skye said with a smile. “Can I ask you something?”
“Sure,” said Sam as she sat on the couch opposite Skye and folded her legs under her. “What’s up?”
Skye got comfortable on the other couch. “Why do you call Esmerelda that?”
“Yeah. I thought she wasn’t your actual mother?” Skye said.
Sam smiled. “She isn’t. Lorenzo and I share a father, but Mamma Mella is the one who practically raised me. See, my mother was not exactly the mother type. She even told me – I think I was about six – that she didn’t even want me. She was only keeping me because my father was giving her money.”
Skye gasped. “That’s horrible!” she said.
“I guess I would have been more upset if my mother actually acted like my mother. But what she thought and felt and said didn’t bother me too much. I so looked forward to my times at my father’s and Mamma Mella was always so nice to me. She was more my mother than my own was. And one day, I was there during a school vacation, I think I was about seven. And I stayed. No one said anything. And I loved it. Sure, Luis was a pain in the ass a lot and I know he was jealous, but I didn’t care because I was where I wanted to be. With my family.”
“Wow Sam, that is so sweet,” Skye said with a smile. “But why Mella?”
Sam laughed. “When I was little, I couldn’t say Esmerelda and I thought of her like my mother. But knowing she wasn’t . . . I thought calling her Mamma Mella was as close as I was going to get.”
Skye could see in Sam’s eyes and hear in her voice how much she respected and loved Esmerelda. And she felt honored to know the woman and hoped to be as close to her as Sam was.
Lorenzo sat behind his desk. Jason had gone out to join the search for Diego. Lorenzo had wanted to go with him, but Jason convinced him that putting himself out there – in the line of fire – was not a good idea. Sonny and Manny were gunning for him and Jason didn’t want to give them the opportunity to follow through.
But he hated sitting here, waiting. Waiting to see if his son was found and in what condition. Waiting to hear that his son was dead. Just waiting. Sure, he had a lot of patience, but right now, it was wearing dangerously thin.
The soft knock at the door had him lifting his head and calling out for the person to come in. He hoped it was Jason, but it wasn’t.
“Everything okay Mamma?” he asked when his mother stepped into his office and closed the door behind her.
“You tell me,” Esmerelda said. She walked over to the sitting area on the other side of the room.
Lorenzo knew better than to continue to talk to his mother from his desk, so he got up and moved over to the couch with her.
“I know you can’t always tell me what’s going on Lorenzo – remember, I know this life. But you’re troubled and I don’t think it has to do with just business,” Esmerelda said as she looked at her son. She saw the worry in his eyes. She saw the shadows under his eyes and knew from Skye that he was still not sleep well. She saw the touches of gray in his black hair. “Lorenzo, you know you can’t keep everything inside. You know that too. It gets you nowhere – and only brings you more suffering. And right now, I don’t think you could afford more suffering.”
She was right. She always was. “Diego’s missing,” he said, not looking at his mother. “He was supposed to meet with his girlfriend after a meeting we had, but she called to say that he hadn’t shown up. His car was found in a ditch, appears to have been run off the road. And Diego was no where around the crash site.”
Esmerelda sighed and took her son’s hand. “And how much does Manny Ruiz have to do with this?” she asked.
Surprised, Lorenzo looked at his mother. “You’ve been talking to Sam,” he stated.
“And she told me about you being attacked and badly hurt. Now, I won’t get into how you failed to inform me of this yourself,” she said with a raised eyebrow. “But I will tell you that we have known the Ruiz family for a long time, you know how they work. And if it is Manny running the show . . ."
“I know . . . he’s a loose cannon who doesn’t play by the rules,” Lorenzo said. “And I have this feeling deep in my gut that he’s behind Diego’s disappearance . . . but he’s alive. I know he is. Manny is all about head games . . . and he wants to play with my head.”
“And if I know you as well as I think I do,” Esmerelda said.
“I won’t let him do that,” Lorenzo finished, looking at his mother. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“So am I,” Esmerelda said. “Now, I know Jason’s on the job and you have a lot of very competent men working for you, so I know my grandson will be found and returned home soon. While I have your attention . . . why don’t we talk about that wonderful woman you are so in love with . . ."
After her conversation with Skye, Sam headed back to the house. She decided to leave Elaina at Carly’s for now. Like Skye, Sam knew something was going on. As she followed the path between the two houses, Sam hoped Jason was home so she could get some information out of him.
Stepping into the house, Sam saw Jason on the phone, his back was to her, so she stayed by the door.
“He couldn’t have disappeared into think air, Max!” Jason said his voice laced with frustration. He had wanted to be able to tell Lorenzo that they had found his son. “Alright. Get Juan and Marco – I want to know where Sonny and Manny are now and where they were at the time of the accident. I also want someone canvassing the site and seeing if they can find any witnesses who might be able to tell what really happened. And send Ramon to check in with Georgie. See if there’s anything else she remembers.” Jason stopped and listened a moment. “I want a check-in in one hour. I’m going to need to tell Lorenzo something.”
Sam stood there in shock. Pushing the door closed, she watched as Jason turned at the sound. She could see in his expression that he knew she heard his conversation. And she was not going to make any apologies for it.
“What happened to Diego?” she asked.
Jason knew he couldn’t lie or brush her away. “Diego is missing,” he said simply.
“I gathered that much,” Sam said. “Sonny did this, didn’t he?”
“We don’t know for sure,” Jason said, but saw the flash of anger in her eyes.
“The hell you don’t!” Sam exclaimed. “Come on Jason! Don’t sugar coat this! Sonny took part in Jessica’s murder! Of course he’s behind Diego’s disappearance!”
Jason knew there would be no calming Sam right now. She was right. But it wasn’t only Sonny – Manny was a big part of this. He needed to make sure Sam understood that.
“I understand where you’re coming from, Sam, and you are right – Sonny is involved. But he’s not alone. You need to get that. Manny Ruiz is more volatile and dangerous than Sonny. He’s the mastermind behind all of this.”
As he talked, Sam calmed enough to process the point Jason was making. She nodded. “I do understand that Jason,” she said in a low voice. Jason knew that voice. And he knew an explosion was coming.
“Good,” said Jason. “And I want you to stay out of this.”
That was it. Sam erupted. “No way!” she shouted. “Jason, this monster took the mother of your child away! And now he’s teamed up with another monster just as bad as he is and you aren’t doing anything abut it! Why are you protecting Sonny? Why wasn’t he dead the instant he stepped foot back in Port Charles!”
“I am not protecting him Sam,” Jason said, his own anger starting to rise. “And when the time is right, he will pay for what he did.”
Sam barked out a sharp laugh. “And when will that be Jason? Huh? When Diego’s body turns up? Or when Elaina joins her mother in her grave!”
Jason snapped. He slammed his hand down on the desk next to Sam. She jumped. “Get this straight Sam. I am not and will never protect Sonny. He is dead to me and soon, I will follow through. But I will not jeopardize my daughter . . . or you . . . for revenge.” Jason took a step closer to Sam. “I will not lose anyone else I love,” he nearly whispered.
Sam stood there, he eyes opened wide. She could feel the rage boiling in him. A rage he has spent the last two years containing. But it wasn’t the rage that shocked her – it was his words and the intensity they possessed.
Esmerelda looked up when the back door opened and Sam stepped into the kitchen. “Are you okay?” she asked when she saw the look on Sam’s face.
Sam was still shocked. Did Jason say that he loved her? No. That’s impossible. She must have misunderstood him. Sure, she knew he cared about her and appreciated how she was there for him and Elaina – but love? It couldn’t be.
Esmerelda watched Sam. She looked shocked – with her eyes wide and her face white. Putting her spoon down, Esmerelda went over to her and took Sam’s hand. “Come, sit down and tell me what’s going on,” she said, pushing Sam down into a chair at the table.
"It's nothing, really," Sam protested. She really didn't know
herself what was going on, so how could she explain it to someone
"Is it Jason?" Esmerelda asked.
Sam's eyes snapped to Esmeralda’s. Doe's she know? "I - I don't
know," she said, still trying to sort things out in her head.
"Did something happen between the two of you?" Esmerelda asked
trying to pull out of Sam what was going on. She had seen how they
were together. How they were with Elaina. And it would take a blind
person to not see what she saw. There was a deeper connection between
Jason and Sam - one they were not aware of and if they were, they were
hiding it. "Did you and Jason have a fight?"
Rubbing her hand over her face and then pushing her hand through
her hair, Sam shrugged. "You know, I'm not really sure. I walked into
the house while Jason was on the phone, so I waited for him to finish.
"While listening in on the conversation?" Esmerelda said with a
"Don't act like you've never done it," Sam said.
"I wasn't . . . go on," she prompted.
"Anyway, when Jason got off the phone, he saw me and knew that I
had heard everything, so we started talking . . . and I will admit, I
kind of jumped to conclusions and made accusations . . . " Sam didn't
know where to go from there. Collecting her thoughts, Sam sighed and
tried to see if she could find the right words. "Anyway, I think I
might have pushed him a little too far."
"What did you say to him?" Esmerelda asked. She knew a lot more
about Jason Morgan than she let on and knew Sam had to have said
something that hit him hard if she felt she pushed him too far.
"I don't know . . . I might have said something about Manny and
Sonny and how Jason was going to have to do something about them if he
didn't want to be burying Elaina next. I didn't mean it Mamma Mella -
really - it just came out . . ."
Esmerelda sighed and closed her eyes a moment. She knew how much
Jessica's death had hurt the young man and how much his daughter meant
to him. "What happened after that?" she asked gently. She could see
Sam needed to get this out.
"Well . . . Jason got intense . . . this intense anger that was
simmering under the surface . . . he said . . . he said that he was
not going to let anything happen to those that he loves . . ."
Esmerelda understood the meaning behind Jason's words. "And you
were shocked by that?"
"Of course I was!" Sam exclaimed. "I mean . . . look, today, Elaina
started asking me and Jason if we liked each other like a mommy and
daddy do . . . and it got me starting to think about what my role in
their lives is and what Jason's role is in mine."
"And what were Jason's feelings about Elaina's questions?"
Esmerelda asked the wheels in her head turning at this development.
"He said he expected this at some point, but not this soon . . .
which is understandable. And he said that he had reassured Elaina that
he likes me and likes me being with them . . . I guess I'm confused. I
don't know what to think or feel or do . . ."
Esmerelda put her hand on Sam's.”Tell me one thing. And don't
think about the answer. Just answer as honestly as you possibly can .
. . no doubting yourself."
"Okay," said Sam, not sure what Esmerelda was up to.
"Do you love Jason?"
"Yes," Sam answered without thinking and her eyes widened.
Before Sam could say anything, Esmerelda held up her hand to stop
her. "Good. Now, are you in love with him?"
"Honestly? I don't know . . . I do love him Mamma Mella . . . and I
believe I am in love with him . . . but I can't be."
"Do you want to tell me why not?" Esmerelda asked with interest.
"Because he is still in love with Jessica and he always will be."
"And that means that there can't be room in his heart for you?"
"Exactly. And I don't want to take her place in his heart. Or in
Elaina's life." Sam took a breath and let it out. "It might be easier
to just start to distance myself from them. You know, when all of this
with Sonny and Manny is over, maybe take a vacation. Hop on my boat
and just go. Give Jason and Elaina a chance to be together without
Carly slid away from the kitchen door. There was no way in hell she
was going to let Sam run away from Jason.
Lorenzo decided to take a shower to try and relax before checking
in with Jason on what was going on with Diego. He was hoping for some
good news this time, but was not betting on getting it.
As he stepped into his bedroom, starting to unbutton his shirt
along the way, he saw Skye already in there.
Skye turned from the dresser. "Hey," she said with concern. "Are you okay?"
"I am now," Lorenzo said as he pulled her into his arms.
Wrapping her arms around him, Skye held him close. "I'm for you
Lorenzo, please don't forget that."
"I never will," Lorenzo said as he pulled back slightly from her.
"I was thinking of taking a hot shower before dinner. Want to join
Skye smiled. "You don't even need to ask," she said, sliding her
hand into his and turning toward the bathroom.
As Lorenzo walked with her, he reached out as Skye swayed on her
feet. "Hey, are you okay?" he asked, moving over to the bed and making
"Ye-yeah . . . I think so . . . I just got dizzy for a moment
there," Skye said as she sat.
"Has this happened before? Is anything else wrong?" Lorenzo asked worriedly.
"I'm fine Lorenzo, really. The dizziness is gone," Skye said, feeling better.
"Skye, have you felt dizzy like this before?" Lorenzo asked again.
"No . . . I didn't eat much today . . . I'll be fine after dinner.
Now come on, I think the shower is waiting for us."
Standing up, Lorenzo pulled Skye up with him and watched her in
concern as they continued into the bathroom.
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