Diego was getting pissed. They were playing mind games – leaving him to sweat this out and wonder what was going to happen. He wasn’t even sure how long he had been there – his watch and cell phone were missing. But no matter what, Diego knew he had to stay in control and focused. It was going to be the only way to live through this.
Muffled voices on the other side of the door caught his attention. It was time.
He went too far, he knew that, but he had been unable to stop himself. The small gasp and wide-eyed look on Sam’s face told him he had gone too far.
Sighing in frustration, Jason pushed his hands through his hair, not sure what to do now. He had pretty much come out and told Sam he loved her – and it was the truth. If he allowed himself to admit it, Jason could honestly say he was in love with Sam.
Needing air, Jason grabbed his keys and headed to the garage. Bypassing the black Explorer, Jason jumped onto his bike and gunned the engine. As soon as the garage door was open, he tore off the property, the whipping wind a catalyst to clear his head.
Sam heard the roar of Jason’s motorcycle as she stood on the back porch outside the kitchen. Her discussion with Esmerelda had given her a lot to think about. Was she really in love with Jason? And how practical was it to be in love with him when he was still in love with Jessica? Sam couldn’t and didn’t want to compete with her dead niece.
What Sam needed to figure out now was how she was going to be able to live with this man without giving away her feelings. What she did know was that if it couldn’t be done, she was going to have to make the decision to leave. It wasn’t going to be easy, not in the least, but Sam knew it might be the only way.
Needing some space and time to think, Sam hurried to the house once Jason had driven off. Reaching her room, Sam found what she was looking for, ran back downstairs, grabbed the keys to the Explore, hoped in and headed to the docks. There was only one way that she could think with a clear head.
“So, I think you and I should get together to make sure Sam doesn’t do anything foolish – like leave town,” Carly said as she walked into the kitchen.
Esmerelda turned and looked at the woman behind her. She had her thoughts about the former Mrs. Corinthos – but Esmerelda was not the type of person to make judgments based on hearsay. Since she prided herself on being a good judge of character, Esmerelda decided to get to know the woman first before condemning her.
“And I suppose you have something in mind?” Esmerelda asked as she turned the flame down on the stove. After all that was going on, she still insisted on cooking dinner, so that it was available should anyone actually remember to eat.
“I might, but I am going to need some help,” Carly said, sliding into a chair. “I’ve been watching Jason and Sam together the last couple of years and there is something there – something they are both denying and all they are going to do is end up hurting each other.”
“And you find it your mission to put them together?” Esmerelda asked. She could see how Lorenzo had become infatuated with this woman. She was beautiful – there was no denying that – she was feisty and she definitely had a mind of her own. And there was this spark in her . . . like Sophie had had . . . not wanting to go down that path at the moment, Esmerelda focused her attention back on Carly.
Carly nodded. “Look, Jason is my best friend in whole world. He’s gotten me out of a lot of scrapes and he’s always there for me without judging, no matter how crazy and annoying I get. I was there during his relationship with Jessica. She and I became good friends and I kind of pushed that relationship along. And I watched Jason suffer when Jessica left town after what Ric put her through. He was willing to not be with Jessica in order to let her heal – and I could see it wasn’t easy for him. And when she died . . . I thought I was going to lose Jason too. If Sam hadn’t been here, none of us would have been able to bring Jason back and Elaina would have lost both of her parents. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”
And there it was. There was the woman Esmerelda admired. Someone who would stand by a friend’s side through thick and thin. “Sam and Jason are confused right now,” she said.
“Okay, I get that, I really do. But Jason can’t live his life alone – I know for a fact that Jessica wouldn’t want that for him. And Sam can’t go on denying what she feels for him,” Carly insisted.
“You’re right Carly,” said Esmerelda with a small smile and a nod.
Carly raised an eyebrow. “Are you saying you’re going to help me?” she asked cautiously. Carly didn’t know a whole lot about Lorenzo’s mother and was sure the woman had already made judgments based on her past with Lorenzo.
“I don’t fully understand what happened between you and my son – but it can’t have been that bad if he has offered you and your children sanctuary here. So yes, I feel the same as you do about Jason and Sam and I am willing to help, within reason.”
“That’s good enough for me,” Carly said with a bright smile.
“Let’s take one more sweep of the docks before checking in,” Max suggested to his brother as they headed in that direction. The more time that passed without any sign or word about Diego, the less likely they were going to find him.
Milo nodded, his senses on alert and his gun within easy reach.
A low moan caught the brother’s attention and they pulled their weapons out and proceeded toward the sound.
Max saw the body first and held up his hand to stop Milo. The body was face down, half-hidden in the shadows. Continuing to move with caution, their guns in front of them, Max and Milo approached the still form.
Crouching slowly, muscles ready to react if need be, Max pushed the body over onto its back.
Looking up at his brother sharply, Max put his gun away and pulled out his cell phone. “Bring the car to Pier 52. We found Diego and he needs immediate medical treatment. We’ll transport him to GH.”
As soon as the elevator doors opened, Lorenzo stormed off and to the nurse’s station. “My son, Diego Alcazar, was brought in a little while ago,” he said, his eyes betraying his anger and fear.
The nurse consulted a chart. “A doctor should be out shortly to speak with you. Your son is still in surgery.”
“Surgery?” Lorenzo said. But before he could start grilling the young woman, he heard his name being called. Turning, Lorenzo saw Max and Milo in the waiting area.
“Tell me everything that happened,” he said to the two men.
Max nodded. “Milo and I took another sweep of the docks before checking in,” he began. “We saw a body on the ground, partly in the shadows. It was Diego and he was badly beaten boss.”
“How bad?” Lorenzo asked.
“He was unconscious, looked like he’d worked over pretty badly,” Max said. “There was a gun shot wound to his leg – it was bleeding heavily, so Milo and I tied it off to stop the bleeding. We brought him here as quickly as we could.”
“You probably saved my son’s life. Thank you,” said Lorenzo, trying to not think the worst about his son’s condition. “Where is Jason?”
“We called him . . . and Sam,” Max said. “Jason is on his way in.”
“We couldn’t get in touch with her,” Max said. “I have Ramon out looking for her.”
Lorenzo nodded. Now all he could do was wait. Wait to find out how his son was. This was going to be another long night.
The wind lifted Sam’s hair off of her shoulders and she tilted her head to meet it head on. Being out on the water was having the effect she was looking for. It was allowing her to think. To see the bigger picture. Sam knew what she was going to do.
Lorenzo was pacing back and forth. He was getting tired of waiting. It couldn’t be good that they were taking this long to come and talk to him. He was about to go and ask the nurse again about hi son when the elevator doors opened and Jason stepped off.
“Have you heard anything?” Jason asked as he approached Lorenzo.
“Nothing yet,” Lorenzo said. “And I am getting sick of waiting.”
Lorenzo turned at the sound of his name and saw Dr. Patrick Drake standing behind him. “Diego. How is he?” he asked urgently.
“He made it through surgery and we were able to remove the bullet from his leg,” Patrick said. “He’s lucky it didn’t hit any major arteries, otherwise he would have bled to death.”
Lorenzo let out a breath and nodded. “Can I see him?”
Patrick nodded. “He’s being settled in a room, I’ll have a nurse come out and get you,” he said. “But I want you to be prepared Mr. Alcazar. Besides the gunshot wound, your son has suffered other injuries, some of which could have been more serious than they turned out to be. Whoever did this to him . . . and I don’t believe it can have been done any other way than by a person . . . stopped just short of killing him. He was worked over very well. Besides being shot in the leg, he has several broken ribs, one of which punctured a lung; lacerations and bruising to his face and neck. There are defensive wounds, so I am going to assume he tried to defend himself. Also, he has a concussion and we’re watching over him carefully. We were able to repair the damage to his lung and he’s breathing easier now.”
Lorenzo took in all that the doctor was telling him. He knew it wasn’t going to be good. “Is he conscious?” he asked, his mouth dry.
“He should be,” said Patrick. Then he paused before asking his next question. “Normally, it’s standard procedure of the hospital to contact the police in a case like this . . . but I am going on the assumption that you don’t want that to happen.”
“No,” said Lorenzo. “That will not be necessary.”
Patrick nodded in understanding. “Feel free to call me if you have any questions about your son’s recovery.”
“Thank you Dr. Drake,” Lorenzo said.
Once they were alone again, Lorenzo turned to Jason, Max, and Milo. “I want Diego to confirm who did this to him, but I already know the answer. Max, Milo, I want you two to find where Ruiz and Corinthos are and let me now immediately.”
The two men nodded and headed to the elevators, they knew better than to argue with Lorenzo Alcazar at that moment.
Once on the elevator, Max pulled out his cell phone. “Who are you calling?” Milo asked.
Max sighed as he punched a number into his phone. “The one person who can keep the boss from flying off the handle and getting himself killed,” he said. When the line was picked up, he said, “Skye, it’s Max. Look, I need you to get down to GH, 10th floor. The boss is going to need you.”
Lorenzo stepped into his son’s room, Jason behind him. His eyes found Diego on the bed. His face was bruised and beaten. A large white bandage covered a gash on his forehead. He knew that under the blanket, Diego’s leg was heavily bandaged from the gunshot wound. Lorenzo had to push images of Jessica out of his head. This wasn’t the same thing. He was not walking into this room to say good-bye to his son as he had his daughter.
As he approached the bed, Lorenzo saw Diego’s eyes open. “Pop . . . “
“I’m here Diego,” Lorenzo said, stopping at the side of his son’s bed. “Diego, I need to know who did this to you. Did you see who did this?”
Diego nodded and then winced in pain. “Yeah . . .” he said, his voice cracking with pain and dryness. “I-it was Ruiz . . . and . . . and Corinthos.”
Lorenzo nodded. He swallowed. “I will take care of this Diego,” he said. Then he turned to Jason. “Get some men on this door, now.” The rage he was feeling was not lessening. Lorenzo needed to do something about it. Looking at his son once more, he left the room.
“Jason . . . go . . .. with him,” Diego said. “I’ll be fine.”
Jason nodded and left. He was going to make sure that if anyone died tonight, it was not going to be Lorenzo.
The docks were quiet when Lorenzo got there. He had calmed somewhat on the way over, going over and over in his head that he couldn’t afford to lose his cool. That’s what Sonny and Manny were betting on, and he was not going to give them the satisfaction.
No one was there. He heard soft footsteps behind him, but they were Jason’s, making himself known so Lorenzo wouldn’t accidentally shoot him.
“They aren’t here,” Lorenzo said.
Jason looked around, his gun drawn anyway. “I called Max on the way here. He said it’s quiet. No activity at the warehouses or any of the safe houses.”
“They’re nearby,” Lorenzo said. “They wouldn’t have taken off. Not now.”
Jason nodded in agreement. “What do you want me to do Lorenzo?”
Lorenzo turned and looked at Jason. “Make sure that no matter what happens, you keep Elaina safe.”
“You know I will,” Jason said.
Lorenzo nodded. “Let’s go. I’m not going to stand out here all night waiting for these cowards to show up.”
Jason and Lorenzo headed to the stairs and walked up them.
Skye walked off the elevator as soon as the doors opened, Carly and Esmerelda behind her. She had gotten Max’s call and rushed over as soon as she could.
“I don’t see him,” Skye said, looking around nervously. She had no idea why Max had called and told her to get here, that Lorenzo needed her. She didn’t even know if he had been hurt or anything.
Esmerelda could see the fear and worry on the other woman’s face and gently put her hand on her arm. “Let’s check with the nurse’s, they should know what’s going on,” she suggested.
Skye nodded and headed in that direction. “Hi,” she said to the woman standing at the counter. “I received a call tell me to meet a Lorenzo Alcazar here. Has he checked in?”
The nurse consulted a list. “There’s no Lorenzo Alcazar here, but there is a Diego Alcazar. He was brought in a few hours ago.”
“What room is he in?” Skye asked, her eyes widening.
“Room 321,” the woman said.
The three women took off for the room. Skye was hoping that Lorenzo was there; Esmerelda hoping her grandson was okay, and Carly ready to fight anyone who stood in their way.
Diego opened his eyes when he heard the door open. “Skye? What are . . .are you doing here?” he asked. The pain medication they had given him was still affecting the way he spoke. Not to mention the bruising and swelling on his face.
“Oh God . . .Diego, what happened to you?” Skye asked as she rushed over to the bed.
Diego shrugged, then regretted it as every muscle in his body screamed out in pain. “I’m fine . . . “ he got out, but did not continue on when Skye glared at him.
“What is it with Alcazar men?” Skye groused. “You are not fine Diego! What happened?”
Diego told them about being run off the road and then held for hours in an empty, cold room. Then he told them about his “conversation” with Sonny and Manny. “I guess I blacked out during the beating and I woke up here,” he finished.
The woman looked at him in horror. “Does your father know?” Skye asked, wondering where Lorenzo was.
“Yeah,” said Diego. “He went after Sonny and Manny.”
Skye gasped. “By himself?”
“No. Jason went with him,” Diego said, fighting to keep his eyes open.
“I am sure with Jason there, he will be fine,” said Esmerelda as she watched her grandson. “Why don’t we go out to the waiting area to wait for him to return. Diego needs to get some rest.”
Skye and Carly nodded in agreement and left after making sure that Diego was settled and comfortable. He was asleep before they even left the room.
The remainder of the night was spent in the waiting area of the 10th floor. Lorenzo refused to leave his son alone – even though he had posted guards on his door and in the room. No one, not even doctors or nurses, were allowed in without having been cleared first. Lorenzo was not going to take any more chances. He had sent Jason back to the house with Carly and his mother, wanting to make sure the property was secure and that Elaina was protected. But he had been unable to send Skye home. She had been steadfast in her decision to stay with him, and he had finally given in and stopped arguing with her. In truth, he needed Skye at his side.
The one thing that worried him was that there was still no sign of Sam. He had left several messages on her cell phone and had men out looking for her, but nothing had turned up.
Sighing, Lorenzo looked down at Skye. She had fallen asleep at some point during the night with her head on his shoulder and her legs tucked up under her. He gently ran his fingers through her deep red hair, taking some strength and comfort from her presence.
After what happened with Sophie, then Elaina, Diego’s mother, and then Carly, Lorenzo was sure he would never fall in love again. It just never seemed to work out for him. But Skye was different. She was determined to be there for him. She wasn’t afraid of what he did or who he was. She accepted him fully with no questions, and she didn’t hide the fact that she worried about him.
Skye is what Lorenzo has been looking for. And now that he had her, he was never going to let her go. Lorenzo understood that Skye Quartermaine was the love of his life and he would protect that love to his death – no matter when that happened.
Sam felt much more relaxed as she walked into the house. She was sure Jason and Lorenzo would be wondering where she was, but she had needed this. The ride on her boat had done wonders and had helped her to realize that she couldn’t go anywhere. This was her home now. Her family needed her and that included Jason. No matter what she might be feeling for him or what he had been feeling for her, she couldn’t run away. Samantha McCall-Alcazar was not a coward and she wasn’t going to start now.
“Where the hell have you been?”
Sam turned in surprise to see Jason standing in the living room, cell phone in hand, and glaring at her.
“Excuse me?” she asked in confusion. Obviously Jason’s bike ride last night had not helped him the way her boat ride had helped her.
“Sam, we have been trying to locate you all night!” Jason said, snapping his phone closed and tossing it on the couch. “Don’t you check your messages?”
Confused, Sam pulled her cell phone out of her pocket. “It’s off,” she said, more to herself than to Jason.
“You think?” Jason snapped at her. “And I’m sure you didn’t even bother to think that we would all be worrying about you!”
“Jason, what is going on?” Sam asked in surprise. She had rarely seen him like this, especially directed at her. “I’m an adult, in case you forgot. I don’t need to check in all the time.”
Jason made it to Sam in two long strides, stopping in front of her. He noticed that her hair looked like she had been out in the wind for a while and there was a healthy glow to her cheeks. Sam’s eyes sparkled, partly in anger and partly with something else . . . he wasn’t sure what. But he did soften. “I’m sorry,” he said.
Sam nodded in acceptance. “Jason, did something happen last night?” she asked.
“Diego was found on the docks last night by Max and Milo. He was badly beaten and had been shot in the leg.”
Sam gasped. “Oh my God! Is he okay?”
“He’s at GH right now, under heavy guard. Lorenzo and Skye are still there,” Jason said. “We were trying to get in touch with you so that you knew and that you knew to be on alert. Diego confirmed that it was Sonny and Manny that did this to him.”
Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Sam pushed her hair off of her face; aware of how close Jason still was to her. “How . . . how did Lorenzo take this?” she asked, worried for her brother and trying to ignore Jason’s close proximity.
“He wanted revenge and went to the docks to find them. I followed him but there was no one there. I have some men working on a sweep to locate them. Luckily, by the time we had reached the docks, Lorenzo had calmed down enough to think rationally, so I’m sure nothing would have really happened.”
Sam nodded and let out a breath. “So what happens now?” she asked.
“Security has been tightened and as of now, no one goes anywhere without a guard. We can’t take any more chances,” Jason said, his eyes on hers. “Sonny and Manny could try to become bolder.”
“I do know that Manny likes to play head games – how are you going to defend against that?”
Letting out a sigh, Jason shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“It’s too bad you’re already dead, Princess,” Manny said, standing in front of the beautifully carved headstone. “You would have come in handy in my plan. But not to worry, I have ways to get to you dear daddy with just your memory.”
Crossing himself and bowing his head in a silent prayer, Manny left the gravesite, an envelope tucked under her arm. Now the games begin.
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