“MAX!” Lorenzo yelled, the note clutched in his hand.
Max stepped into the room, an envelope in his hands. “Yes boss?”
“I want all of this . . . stuff . . . swept for bugs and then destroyed,” Lorenzo said, his anger barely contained.
Max nodded. Then he looked at the envelope. “I’ll call Stan for the sweep. This arrived for you.”
Tossing the crumpled note onto the table, Lorenzo took the envelope, tearing it open. He pulled out the contents and froze.
The first thing Lorenzo saw was a picture of Jessica. He recognized the picture from her 18th birthday – he had taken her to Venezuela, to their home, where they had gone horseback riding in the mountains and he had taken her to dinner at her favorite restaurant in the city. It had been a wonderful day. And now he was looking at a picture of his beloved daughter on her horse. Lorenzo swallowed, pushing down the grief that was building inside of him. Feeling there was more in the envelope, Lorenzo dumped the materials on the table.
Skye gasped as she saw what Lorenzo was looking at. There were pictures of Jessica – with Lorenzo, with Diego, pregnant, with Jason, as a child . . . there were also pictures of Skye, Sam, and Elaina. A DVD had fallen out as well. It was unmarked, and Skye wondered what was on it.
“Lorenzo,” she said gently, putting her hand on his arm.
Lorenzo stiffened, his eyes on the pictures. “I will not let him do this,” he whispered.
Skye bit her lip. She had seen what Lorenzo had gone through when he lost Jessica. How he blamed himself for what happened to Diego. And she knew, deep down, that if anything were to happen to this baby – a miracle niether of them had expected – there would be no coming back from that. Not for Lorenzo. And that scared Skye more than she had ever been scared in her life.
Just as Jason went to deepen the kiss, a noise had him pulling back. He turned, pushing Sam behind him at the same time, and would have pulled out his gun until he saw his daughter at the bottom of the stairs of the gazebo.
“Elaina?” Jason said, relaxing and going to her. “What are you doing up? It’s late.”
“My tummy hurts,” Elaina said in a small voice, her hands on her tummy. She had seen her daddy kiss Sam and knew it was something special – like when her Poppi kissed Skye.
Jason picked Elanina up in his arms and carried her to the table, sitting down. “Why didn’t you tell Carly? It’s too dark for a little girl to be out by herself,” he said. Not to mention too dangerous with Manny and Sonny out and about.
“No want Carly. Want Daddy and Mommy Sam,” Elaina said, resting her head on her father’s chest.
Jason looked up at Sam, who was watching them.
“You know what? That sounds like a good idea,” Sam said. “Why don’t we go back to the house. I know there’s some of that juice you like in the fridge and I bet that will make your tummy all better.”
Elaina nodded. She wrapped her arms around her father’s neck as he stood. She asleep before they even reached the house.
“Are you sure you want to watch it?” Skye asked as Lorenzo remove the DVD from it’s case and moved over to the television. Esmerelda had not left the room and was also watching her son.
“I have to,” said Lorenzo. But before he put the disc into the machine, he turned to Skye and his mother. “Skye, you should rest. It’s late and you’ve had a long day.”
“No. I’m not going anywhere,” Skye said stubbornly, crossing her arms over her chest.
Esmerelda looked from Skye to Lorenzo. Finally, here was a woman who could handle her son and his tendency to become overprotective to the point of annoying. She too crossed her arms. “You might as well put that into the machine Lorenzo. Niether of us are going anywhere.”
Lorenzo sighed. He knew there would be no use in arguing with them – he definitly would not have won. He nodded, turned back to the player and inserted the disc. Grabbing the remote, he took a few steps back and hit play. Skye and Esmerelda each stood beside him.
As the DVD started, Lorenzo’s focus was completely on the screen. His chest tightened as he saw his son. He was lying on a cot, motionless – but then he started to stir. Unable to tear his eyes away, Lorenzo watched as Manny and Sonny stepped into the room, two large men with them. Lorenzo didn’t even flinch when one of the men shot his son in the leg, although he heard Skye gasp.
His blood boiled with rage as he watched his son being beaten to within an inch of his life. Lorenzo clenched his fists. Then the scene changed to the park and focused in on Elaina playing with Michael and Morgan. Carly was seen nearby, as was Juan – who had been assigned to them.
As Lorenzo watched his granddaughter running and laughing, the scene changed one more time. The video zoomed in on Jessica’s headstone. Then he heard the voice. “So many of your family have ended up here. Your brother. His daughter. And now yours. How many more will you lose before you finally join them all?” Then the screen faded to black.
Sky looked up at Lorenzo warily. He had been so quiet and still – it was unnerving. “Lorenzo . . ." she said gently, unsure of how he would react.
Lorenzo moved away from Skye and his mother. He grabbed the phone. “Find Jason and have him meet me in my office – NOW.” Slamming the phone down, Lorenzo ejected the DVD, put it back into the case,grabbed the pictures from the table and left the room.
Worried about Lorenzo, Skye moved to go after him, but was stopped by Esmerelda.
“Leave him Skye,” Esmerelda said. “He needs time.”
Skye fought the urge to ignore the woman and go after Lorenzo. Instead, she sat down. Lorenzo had been right – it had been a long day, and it was starting to catch up with her.
Esmerelda sat down beside her. “So, if I understand correctly, there is happy news among all of this tension.”
Skye’s hand went to her belly instinctively, where the child she and Lorenzo had created was growing. Skye looked over at Esmerelda. “Truthfully, it was such a shock to us that we haven’t had a chance to really process it.”
Esmerelda took Skye’s hands in hers. “I have been watching you and Lorenzo since I arrived,” she said. “You’re good for my son, Skye. You not only love him, you respect him and you accept him – and his faults.”
Skye nodded. “I do, Esmerelda. My life has bever been perfect – I’ve done a lot that I am not proud of, so I can’t pass judgement on the way Lorenzo lives his life. Lorenzo is the first man who has loved me without strings attached. He’s the first man who has allowed me to be me and not want to change me to suit him. I’ve never loved anyone as deeply as I love Lorenzo, and this baby – this little life – is proof of our love. I wasn’t supposed to get pregnant Esmerelda – I was in a pretty bad car accident years ago – and now I am. It’s a miracle. And I will do everything possible to keep our child happy and healthy, including making sure his or her father is there.”
Esmerelda squeezed her hands and smiled. “Lorenzo was always been a protector – he protected Samantha from the moment she came into our lives. But Lorenzo has also always been hard on himself when he feels he is unable to protect those he loves. He will take full responsibility – whether or not he was responsible. Losing Jessica hit him had. And I think he would have had a harder time handling it without you and Diego and Sam in his life. This truce with Jason? He did it out his love for his daughter. And the friendship that has developed between them has occurred naturally, because Lorenzo sees a lot of himself in Jason. What happened to Diego was another blow. And now he has not just his granddaughter to look after, but a bew baby on the way. In Lorenzo’s mind, he has a lot to loose if he doesn’t keep on the ball.”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” Skye said. “What if he shuts down so compeltely that none of us can reach him?”
Jason rubbed his face as the screen faded to black. He looked at Lorenzo. “We need to be the ones to end this,” he said.
Lorenzo nodded. While waiting for Jason, he had a moment to calm down, to step back and really look at their situation. To think about what to do next. “There’s another complication. Skye and I found out today that she’s pregnant.” Then he explained Skye’s condition and Manny’s gift and note.
“He’s tailing us,” Jason said. “He wants to mess with our heads Lorenzo. We can’t let him control us like that.”
“I know,” Lorenzo answered. There was too much at stake for him to fall apart now. “I had Max sweep the gifts Manny sent for bugs and then destroy them. We’re also increasing security – particularly on Elaina, Diego, and Skye.”
“We need to be the first ones to move,” Jason said. “If we continue to sit back and then react to whatever they do, they win.”
Lorenzo nodded in agreement. “Contact Stan. Have him hack into the Ruiz family databases – he’s done it before, shouldn’t be too hard – see what he can dig up. We need to start hitting him where it will hurt. Also, find who might not be too happy with Ruiz at the moment. Let’s start building some alliances against Ruiz and Corinthos. It won’t hurt to have backup.”
Jason nodded and stood. “They won’t win,” he said.
Lorenzo stood as well. “Let’s make sure they don’t. Our families are depending on us.”
Nodding once more, Jason headed to the door. He stopped and turned back. “Congratulations.”
“Thank you,” Lorenzo said with a small smile.
Once Jason was gone, Lorenzo ran his hands over his face and into his hair. It was late. Looking at the envelope that contained the pictures Manny had sent, Lorenzo opened it once more and pulled out the picture of Jessica. He gently ran a finger down her face. “I’ve been give another chance with this baby,” he whispered. “I just hope I don’t mess it up like I did with you.” Putting the picture back in the envelope, Lorenzo put it into his desk drawer.
Leaving his office, Lorenzo decided to try and get some sleep. He needed to be on his game and alert, and depriving himself of sleep was not going to accomplish that. Opening the door, his thoughts still on the events of the day and what needed to be done next, Lorenzo stepped into his room.
Skye was already in bed, fast asleep. Her deep red hair was spread out on the pillow and she was turned on her side with her hands under her cheek. Gently closing the door, Lorenzo moved over to the bed. He undressed, slid on a pair of black silk pajama pants and slipped into bed beside her.
Pulling Skye gently into his arms, her body molded to his as he slid a hand over her still flat belly, where their child was growing. Letting out a breath, Lorenzo focused his thoughts on that baby as he drifted off to sleep.
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