Skye stirred and began to awaken. Opening her eyes, it took her a moment to realize that she wasn’t in her own bed in her newly redecorated room, but instead was on a couch in the waiting area of General Hospital.
Sitting up and stretching her back, Skye looked around and saw Lorenzo sitting upright in a corner of the couch. His head was propped on his hand and he was asleep. Getting up carefully, so as to not wake him, Skye found a nurse who got her a blanket and a pillow. Returning to Lorenzo, Skye gently eased his legs onto the couch and put the pillow under his head. She then covered him with the blanket. Leaning over, she gently kissed his brow.
Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, Skye jotted a quick note and left it where Lorenzo would see it. LORENZO, I DIDN’T WANT TO WAKE YOU AS YOU NEED THE REST. I WENT TO CHECK ON DIEGO. SKYE. The last thing she needed was for him to wake up and freak out when he didn’t see her. After assuring herself that Lorenzo was settled, Skye headed toward Diego’s room.
Georgie rocked back and forth on her feet about ten feet away from the door to Diego’s room. She had been there for the last fifteen minutes, trying to decide if she wanted to go in there.
One of the guards – someone she didn’t recognize, but who knew her – had let her know that Diego was sleeping, but that if she wanted to go in, she could.
The thing was, did she want to go in there? Did she want to get mixed up in all of this? Sure, Georgie cared deeply about Diego – maybe she could even say she loved him in some way – but was it enough to ignore the life he was choosing to live?
Georgie sighed for the hundredth time. She may only be eighteen, but she knew what she wanted for herself. She wanted to finish college – find what she was really good at and explore it further. She wanted some kind of career that was intellectually challenging. She wanted to fall in love with someone who would put her first and cherish her. She wanted a family some day. And after what happened to Diego . . . Georgie wasn’t sure she could have any of that with him.
She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t want to walk in there and see how badly hurt he was. She didn’t want to see the bruises and cuts. She didn’t want to see the pain in his eyes when he moved. She knew it would be there, no matter how much he might try to hide it from her. She didn’t want to have to look at him and tell him that she couldn’t do this. That she couldn’t be a part of this life that he so desperately wanted to be a part of. A life that took his sister from him in the most violent of ways. A life that left a little girl without her mother. A life full of pain and heartache. It wasn’t what she wanted for herself.
So how did she walk in there and say all of that to a man she knew cared about her deeply? How could she look him in the eye and say she couldn’t do it?
Georgie knew it wasn’t going to be easy – it wasn’t supposed to be. They had spent two years growing closer and closer . . . and she knew she was going to break Diego’s heart.
Georgie spun around and saw Skye approaching her. Even with her clothes wrinkled and her hair a mess from sleeping, she still managed to look radiant.
“Are you going in to see Diego? I’m sure he’d love to see you.”
Georgie looked at the door then at Skye. “I can’t go in there,” she said.
“Make sure this is left where it will be found,” Manny instructed the man in front of him. He handed the tall, burly man the envelope he had been carrying. It contained the first step in his plan to bring down the mighty Alcazar/Morgan organization.
Elaina pushed open the door of her father’s room. The sun was just beginning to slant in through the windows and illuminate the bed, where her father was asleep in the center of the bed, on his stomach. The sheets were a tangles mess.
Tiptoeing across the room, Elaina climbed onto the end of the bed without waking her father. Then she carefully moved up the bed until she could see his face. Reaching out, Elaina pulled up his eyelid and smiled.
“Morning Daddy,” she said.
Jason groaned and turned his head away from Elaina’s prying fingers.
Elaina giggled. “Time wake up Daddy,” she said, shaking his shoulder.
Jason groaned again and pulled the pillow over his head. He knew she wasn’t going to go away, and he was going to have to wake up.
Huffing that her father was not doing what she wanted, Elaina pulled the pillow off of his head. “Daddy!” she exclaimed in exasperation.
Moving quickly, Jason rolled over, grabbed Elaina and started tickling her.
Elaina squealed with laughter as she tried to wiggle out of the way. “DADDY!” she shrieked as he tickled her belly.
“See what happens to little girls who wake up their daddies?” Jason said as he laughed. He stopped tickling her and rolled onto his back, sitting Elaina on his chest. “And what are you doing up so early?” he asked.
Elaina caught her breath. “I hungy,” she said.
“I see. And what would you like to eat?” Jason asked as he pushed her hair off of her face. It was as silky as her mother’s.
“Hmmm . . ." Elaina said, thinking. “Pancakes!”
“Sounds like a plan. Why don’t you go and wake up Sam and I’ll get breakfast started,” Jason said.
Elaina scrambled off of Jason and ran out of the room yelling. “SAM! DADDY MAKE PANCAKES!!!”
Jason sat up shaking his head. He was sure Sam was pretty much in for the same wakeup call he had.
“What’s wrong Georgie?” Skye asked gently. “Why can’t you go in to see Diego?”
Georgie bit her lip and twisted her fingers together. She wasn’t sure how to explain it. Would Skye, a woman who was in love with a man even more entrenched in this world than Diego, be able to understood Georgie’s concerns and fears? Or would she think they were selfish and petty?
Skye watched the young woman. Something was obviously distressing her. “Why don’t we sit down?” she suggested, indicating a couple of chairs in the corner. “I know it’s scary to walk in there and see someone you care about hurt,” she said. “But Diego will be okay.”
“This time,” Georgie said under her breath, but knew Skye had heard her.
With those words, Skye had a feeling she knew what was going on. “Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.
“I know it might seem callous and selfish of me Skye, but . . . I was just standing there wondering if this is how I want to live my life. You know? Always wondering and worrying . . .waiting for the moment when I would be told that Diego was dead because of this life he chose to live in. How do you live in this world by choice?”
Skye sighed. What could she tell this young woman? It was obvious that Georgie was not in this for the long run, and maybe she shouldn’t be expected to be. She was young. Still had so much life to live. “I stay because for me, the love I have for Lorenzo is stronger than my fear of losing him. Remember, I’ve already almost lost him twice in the two years we have been together, but I can never walk away.”
Georgie shook her head. “Am I a bad person for not wanting this for myself?”
“No. You’re not. You shouldn’t stay because you feel obligated to Georgie; you should stay because you want to. But I think that before you fully decide to walk away, you need to talk to Diego. And the sooner the better.”
Skye was right and Georgie knew it. “Shouldn’t I at least wait until he’s released?” she asked, wanting to put it off as much as she could.
“No sweetie,” Skye said with a gentle smile. “I know it’s going to be difficult, but you have to be fair to Diego and yourself. He needs to know the truth sooner rather than later.”
Georgie took a deep breath and let it out. She nodded. “You’re right,” she said as she stood up and straightened her shirt.
The man approached the gates of the Alcazar Estate, the thick manila envelope tucked under his arm. He had strict instructions to make sure the information was delivered.
Juan stepped up to the gate eyeing the man on the other side.
“I have a delivery for Mr. Alcazar,” the man said, his steely gaze not wavering.
Juan glanced at then envelope. “You can leave it with me. Mr. Alcazar will get it.” There was no way he was going to allow this man onto the property.
The man passed the envelope through the wrought iron gates.
Juan took it and looked it over. He was going to have to put it through an intensive security check before it went anywhere near Mr. Alcazar.
Lorenzo looked up when he saw Skye returning to the waiting area. “How’s Diego?” he asked. He had just woken up and saw Skye’s note.
“I didn’t see him yet,” she said as she sat beside him, reaching up to smooth his rumpled hair. “Georgie was there when I arrived.”
Lorenzo nodded. “How is she?”
“Not too good,” Skye admitted. “Georgie pretty much admitted that she doesn’t think she could be a part of Diego’s life anymore.”
“Damn,” Lorenzo muttered. He knew how his son felt about Georgie and now she was going to walk away.
“She’s young Lorenzo, but she already knows what she wants for herself . . . and this life isn’t it,” Skye said gently. “But I don’t think it means she cares any less about Diego.”
Lorenzo nodded. The same thing had happened to him – more than once. “I guess it’s better for it to happen now instead of after they became more serious.”
Skye saw the pain in his eyes. “I know you can help Diego through this, Lorenzo, because you have been there. Use your experiences to support him and get him through this. And the sooner the better.”
Lorenzo nodded again and ran his hands over his face. It was time to sit down with his son and have a heart-to-heart talk with him.
Sam rubbed her eyes as she walked into the kitchen, the smell of pancakes and maple syrup invading her senses and waking her up.
“Mmm . . .that smells delicious,” she said.
Jason turned to comment and froze. Sam was still in her pajamas, which consisted of a pair of light blue silk pants that hung low on her hips and a white tank that hugged her upper body and showed off her flat abs.
Tearing his eyes away from her, Jason attempted to swallow past the dryness in his mouth and calm the reaction coursing through his body. He turned back to the stove to distract himself.
Sam noticed Jason’s reaction and wondered about it. This is what she usually wore – so it was nothing new. Shrugging it off, Sam sat at the table and pulled the platter of pancakes towards her.
Jason finished with the last batch at the stove and went to the table. He busied himself with his breakfast, doing everything he could to avoid focusing on Sam. Elaina’s bouncing arrival was a welcome relief for him.
Pulling a plate over, Jason put two pancakes on it and cut them up before adding syrup and putting the plate in front of his daughter. By the time the plate was ready, Elaina had settled herself in her chair.
Sam watched Jason out of the corner of her eye as he did everything he could to not look in her direction. Maybe a day ago it would have bothered her, but today, it made her wonder. Was it possible that things were going to be changing between them?
Lorenzo pushed open the door to his son’s room and stuck his head in. “Up for some company?” he asked.
Diego looked up. “Sure, come on in,” he said with a slight shrug.
Lorenzo stepped into the room and could tell by the look on his son’s face that Georgie had left him. “Skye told me about a conversation she had with Georgie . . .” he began.
Diego sighed and shook his head. “You know, I thought she was going to be different Pop,” he said. “She was nothing like Brook Lyn. She wasn’t controlling or belittling and she meant what she said. But I guess, in the end, they were the same after all. They just couldn’t handle the life I live.”
Lorenzo sat in the chair next to his son’s bed. “I know it hurts son,” he said. “I’ve been there.”
Diego looked over at his father. “How did you handle it? I mean, you never left the business, even though the women in your life kept leaving you.”
Lorenzo smiled and nodded his head. “Sometimes I just let it go . . . and other times, I was pretty self-destructive. But you’re right, I was never hurt enough to leave the business. And Diego, you need to decide if living in this life is worth losing your heart at times.”
“This is a part of who I am Pop. A part of my legacy. I can’t just walk away. No matter who can and can’t handle it,” Diego said firmly.
“You know, the family business was not my first choice . . . I was a little older than you are now when I first fell in love.”
“With Sophie?” At his father’s look, Diego said, “Jessica kind of told me about it.”
“Yes, with Sophie. I was a student at Oxford . . . and she was strong and beautiful and very intelligent. She wanted to save the world and I was willing to do anything to be by her side. But the business kept pulling me back in. Your uncle Luis needed help – again – so I went. I left her behind and she was killed in an attack on the village she was working in. After that, I just didn’t think I would ever love again. So I went into the business full time – leaving my plans and my dreams behind. I got in so deep, there was no getting out.”
Diego listened intently to his father. This was the first time since he knew him that he had ever opened up like this. Diego didn’t want to interrupt him.
Lorenzo continued on, knowing he needed to do this as much as his son needed to hear it. “Once I was in deep, I met Elaina . . . Jessica’s mother. She woke up a part of me . . . made me see that my heart could heal and I could love again. But I made the mistake of lying to her. I never told her what I really was and it cost us both. She was kidnapped by a rival shortly after we were married and she learned everything about me. Things were pretty much over for us after that. Elaina would not divorce me due to her beliefs, and I would divorce her because I was in love with her. So we separated and lived our own lives. I became self-destructive . . . took risks . . . your mother was one of those risks.”
“Did you love her?” Diego asked. It had been a question that had been on his mind since he had found out about the lies and who his father really was.
“Honestly? I don’t know. Maria was young, and in a bad place when I met her. I thought that if I could help her, it would be redeeming. She knew who I was from the beginning – I could tell she was scared, but I didn’t care. When I found out she was taking drugs, I forced her to give them up. Made threats to keep her off of them. But when I was shot in an ally, she was afraid I would blame her for it and took off. I never saw her again until she showed up in Port Charles and I found out about you. I regretted the way I treated your mother, Diego. There are many things I have regrets about, but I can’t change any of them. What I can do, is continue on with my life as best as I know how.”
“What about Carly? How does she figure into all of this?” Diego asked. He had heard things, but wasn’t sure what was real and what wasn’t.
Lorenzo let out a sigh and rubbed the back of his neck. “When I arrived in Port Charles, it was to avenge my brother’s death; a death I felt was brought on by Sonny Corinthos. I happened to walk in on a situation between Sonny and his brother Ric. Ric had kidnapped Carly, who was pregnant with Morgan at the time. He had her locked in a panic room, chained to a wall. He was planning on taking her baby from her, and raising it with his wife after they had lost their child. When I first met Carly, she reminded me so much of Sophie. She was strong. Stubborn. Beautiful. I rescued her from Ric, but saw the benefit of keeping her from her husband. I needed to unload some shipments and he wanted his wife back. But I fell in love with her along the way. Or at least, I thought it was love. I spent the next two years after that chasing after what I could never have.”
Diego nodded. “But you found what you’ve been looking for, right? With Skye?”
Lorenzo smiled. “Skye is like no one I have ever met before. She has her own demons and a past to rival mine . . ."
“But she accepts who you are Pop. She understands the world you live in and she hasn’t run away. And I don’t think she will. She loves you.”
“And I love her. This time, I am not going to make promises I cannot keep. I am not going to hide who I am from her. And I will move heaven and earth to protect her – whether she wants it or not.”
“See, that’s what I want Pop,” Diego said. “I just don’t want to wait as long as you have had to to find it.”
“You’ll find it Diego and you have plenty of time. You’re still young. And I believe that the right woman is out there. You just have to be patient and find your way to her.”
“You know, I think that’s the best advice your father can ever give you Diego,” Skye said from the doorway, a smile on her face.
“Hurry Daddy!” Elaina exclaimed as she pulled on her father’s hand. “Wanna swing!”
Jason tightened his grip on his daughter’s hand when she would have pulled away to run ahead. He knew she wouldn’t understand why he was being overly cautious, but he was not going to take chances with his daughter.
“Elaina, the swings will be there when we get there,” Jason said gently but firmly as he scooped her into his arms.
Elaina looked over her father’s shoulder at Sam. “Push me on swing?” she asked.
Sam smiled and tickled the little girl. “Of course I’ll push you,” she laughed.
“Way up high?” Elaina asked excitedly.
“All the way up to the clouds,” Sam said. She knew how much Elaina loved to swing high.
“Daddy, can I sing up to Mommy?” Elaina asked her father.
Jason looked into his daughter’s sapphire eyes. “I don’t know if you can swing that high.”
Elaina thought about it a minute. “That’s okay.”
Jason sighed in relief when Elaina dropped the topic. He was unable to understand the guilt he was feeling.
They reached the play area and Jason put Elaina down and watched as he ran straight to the swings. “Come on Sam!” she called.
Sam put down the blanket and picnic basket Esmeralda had paced and joined Elaina at the swings.
She was beautiful – a combination of her mother and father. He smiled as he watched her settle herself on the swing, her little legs swinging in anticipation. The dimples in his cheeks deepened as he heard her squeal in delight as the swing started to go.
Moving his eyes from the little girl, Sonny saw Jason sitting on a bench not too far away, his eyes on his daughter.
Sonny sighed. In the blink of an eye he lost everything because he made the mistake of trusting a psychotic woman bent on revenge. A mistake he made based on his own jealousies. If he really let himself think about and admit it, Sonny knew he had been jealous of Jason’s connection to Jessica. Theirs was a love Sonny had always wanted, but had never been able to obtain. Sonny had seen how Jason gave his heart to her – something that Sonny knew was not easy for Jason to do – and he saw what the man went through when his heart had been ripped away.
Then and there, Sonny knew that he couldn’t take part in hurting Jason again. Revenge didn’t seem as important anymore – not in the face of the little angel begging to swing higher and higher.
“So, how much did you hear of my conversation with Diego?” Lorenzo asked Skye as they walked down the hallway. A nurse had come in behind Skye to give Diego another dose of pain medication that knocked him out.
“Not too much,” Skye said as they continued down the hall. “But I have a feeling the conversation went better than you thought it might.”
Lorenzo nodded. “It did. Knowing that I was able to share my experiences with my son . . . I wasn’t sure we would ever be able to really connect on a level like that. I thought too much time had passed for that to happen.”
Skye smiled, wrapping her hands around Lorenzo’s arm. “I think it did the both of you a world of good.”
Lorenzo looked down at Skye. “Thank you,” he said.
They stopped walking and Skye looked up at him. “For what?” she asked.
“For being here with me. For not running away . . . I don’t ever want to lose you Skye.”
“I will never run away from you Lorenzo,” she whispered.
Lorenzo dipped his head down and gently kissed her. After pulling back, he smiled. “How about some breakfast?”
“Sounds wonderful,” Skye agreed. She had barely been able to eat much the night before.
They continued walking toward the elevators. As they reached them and Lorenzo pressed the call button, Skye felt her head spin, much like it had the night before.
Reaching out to grab Lorenzo’s arm, Skye barely got his name out before everything went dark.
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