“I am so glad to be out of there,” Diego said as he rode in the limo with his father.
Lorenzo nodded. “Just remember Diego,” he said, making sure his son was paying attention. “You are still healing, and you’re going to need to rest.”
Rolling his eyes, Diego sighed and shook his head. “Come on Pop, you wouldn’t just sit back if you were in my position. I want to help bring them down.”
“Diego, you need to listen to me,” Lorenzo said. “You’re right, I wouldn’t want to just sit back and wait – but you were hurt badly and if safety wasn’t an issue, I would have made sure you stayed in the hospital longer. Manny and Sonny are unpredictable at best, Diego, and I will not have this happen to you again.”
“Look Pop, I get that, okay? But I’m not a kid. I can handle myself.”
Lorenzo looked at his son. He saw the determination in Diego’s eyes – a determination he understood, but he was not going to lose another child. “Jessica wasn’t a kid either,” he said in a hard tone. “I lost my daughter, I will not lose my son as well.”
Ready to argue again, Diego stopped himself. He knew that if and when his father needed him, he would let him know. “Alright,” he said reluctantly. “I’ll rest. But I’m not going to like it.”
Lorenzo smiled. “Good enough for me,” he said.
After making sure Diego was settled in his room, Lorenzo headed to his office. He had some things to check on.
“How is my grandson?” Esmerelda asked from the couch.
Lorenzo stopped. “Mom? What are you doing in here?” he asked.
“I should be asking you the same thing,” Esmerelda said.
“What are you talking about?” Lorenzo asked, rubbing his face.
Esmerelda got up and went to her son. “You just brought Diego back from the hospital. You had to deal with a major threat to your family. The woman you love is carrying your child. You do not need to be in here right now.”
Lorenzo sighed. “Momma, I know you want to help, but the best way I know to protect my family is tracking down Manny and Sonny and stopping them,” he said.
“And you have men you pay to do that,” Esmerelda insisted, making him sit on the couch. “What you need to do is focus on being there for your family. Not holing up in here.”
Closing his eyes, Lorenzo leaned his head back on the couch. His mother was right. There were plenty of competent people working on this.
“Lorenzo, listen to me. I know what happened to Jessica is weighing heavily on you. It does on all of us. Jessica was a very special young woman – in life and in death. She may not be with us any longer Lorenzo, but look at what happened because of it. You are closer to a son you barely knew two years ago. You have a precious little granddaughter who idolizes you. Your sister is back in your life. You have a woman who finally accepts you for who you are without any strings attached and she is now carrying your child. Yes, you may have a lot to lose, but if you don’t enjoy what you have now Lorenzo, it will all be gone before you know it. Are you willing to chance that?”
Lorenzo looked at his mother. Leaning over, he kissed her cheek. “You are a very wise woman,” he said with a smile.
“I know,” Esmerelda said with a smile of her own. “Now get out of here. I happen to know that Skye is out in the garden with Elaina.”
Lorenzo got up and headed to the door. He stopped and turned back to his mother. “Thanks Momma,” he said. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“So am I.”
Feeling very satisfied with herself, Esmerelda left the office. One down and one to go, she thought as she went to find the other stubborn man of this family.
“You wanted to see me?”
Manny looked up from the pictures that were spread on his desk and nodded. “I want you to tail Corinthos,” he said. “He’s become fickle and I don’t want him backing out on his and going to Morgan and Alcazar and tipping them off.”
The man nodded. “What do you want me to do if I see anything?”
“Take him out, no questions asked, no hesitation,” Manny said.
Alone again, Manny sat back in his chair. Things were moving along like they were supposed to, and he was not going to have Corinthos ruining all of his hard work because he decided to have a conscious.
“Poppi!” Elaina squealed when she saw her grandfather. “Wanna have tea?” she asked, indicating the tea set on the blanket.
“I would love to,” Lorenzo said as she joined her and Skye on the blanket.
Skye smiled, leaning over to kiss him gently. “How’s Diego?” she asked.
“Deego home?” Elaina asked, jumping up and getting ready to take off into the house.
Lorenzo caught her on the fly and put her in his lap. “Diego needs to rest princess,” he said. “You can see him later.”
“Okay,” said Elaina. “Have tea Poppi.” She climbed off of his lap and over to her tea set.
Skye turned back to Lorenzo. “And how are you?” she asked.
Lorenzo let out a breath. “I had a nice talk with my mother a few minutes ago and figured I would rather be out here with you, Elaina and our new baby than sitting in my office.”
Skye’s smile widened. “I’m glad. I was worried about you Lorenzo.” She gently put her hand on his face.
Lorenzo covered her hand with his. “I know. And I’m sorry for worrying you. I guess I just need a reminder every now and then about what’s really important.”
Skye looked over at Elaina, who was busing herself with pouring colored water into the tiny cups. No matter what they were facing, Skye was confident they would all come out of this stronger than ever.
Jason looked up when the kitchen door opened and Esmerelda walked in. “Morning,” he said, getting up to pour her a cup of coffee.
“Thank you my dear,” she said as Jason set the cup in front of her. This gave her a moment to study the young man. Besides the obvious, Esmerelda felt she had become to know the man that had captured her granddaughter’s heart and now her daughter’s.
Jason nodded and sat. He had a feeling that Esmerelda’s visit had a purpose. “Sam isn’t here and Elaina is with Skye,” he said.
“That’s okay. I’m here to talk to you anyway,” Esmerelda said as she sipped her coffee.
Jason smiled. “Okay,” he said. “What can I do for you?”
Esmerelda didn’t answer right away. She sat a moment, collecting her thoughts. She was never one to rush.
Jason waited patiently. He had gotten to know the woman sitting across from him and he felt honored that she would come over here and talk with him.
“Jason,” Esmerelda began. “Since I arrived, I have had the great fortune of getting to know you better – and I must say that I am very happy about that.”
“Thank you Esmerelda,” Jason said. “And the feeling is mutual. There aren’t many people that I know of that can keep Lorenzo in line.”
Esmerelda smiled softly at the mention of her son. “Yes, well, he’s always been a good boy, and his life choices have not changed that. I do know that things between you and Lorenzo were not always good, and I am glad to see that you two have resolved your differences and are able to work and live together.”
Jason nodded as he listened. “I’m not going to say it was an easy transition. There were a lot of trust issues between us in the beginning – but I like to believe that Elaina brought us together and has kept us that way.”
“She is a spitfire, that’s for sure. So much like her mother,” Esmerelda said with a soft smile. “I remember when I first met her. With her big eyes and dark hair. As soon as I saw her, I knew without a doubt that she was Lorenzo’s little girl. And so polite! Oh! And reserved. It took a little while to get her out of her shell.”
“Reserved? Jessica?” Jason asked with a laugh. “From the moment I met her, she never stopped talking.”
“Yes, well, like I said, when she came out of her shell, we couldn’t get her to stop talking!” Esmerelda laughed. She liked to hear Jason laugh – it made his sapphire blue eyes dance. Elaina got that from him. “Tell me, how did you and Jessica meet?”
Jason thought back, realizing that the memories didn’t hurt as much now as they did before. “We ran into each other – literally – on the docks one night. She mesmerized me right away. After that, I kept finding reasons to be around her . . . including going to Carly’s club a lot, where Jessica was working. She was like no one I had ever met before.”
“And I’m sure she felt the same way,” Esmerelda said. “And I am sure that Lorenzo did not make things easy for either of you.”
“No, he didn’t. But that never stopped her. Not even when I broke up with her to keep her safe. She fought me. She fought her father. She was amazing to watch when she was like that. And she found an ally in Diego.”
“I am glad that my granddaughter had you to love her Jason.”
“I still miss her so much,” Jason said, looking down at his hands. “When I think of all that she’s missing with Elaina – my heart aches.”
Esmerelda took Jason’s hands in hers, making him look at her. “And it always will Jason. You’re love for Jessica will never go away. It lives on in your daughter. But you can’t let her loss dictate the remainder of your life. You might not think it, but you will be able to love again Jason. In fact, I think you already do and it makes you scared. Which is fine. It’s normal. But you can’t let it consume you. Follow your heart.”
With that said, Esmerelda got up and left Jason with his thoughts.
After tea with Elaina and Skye, Lorenzo found Jason still sitting in his kitchen. “Are you okay?” he asked the younger man.
Jason looked up. He hadn’t even heard Lorenzo come in. “Yeah,” he said, nodding in an effort to clear his head. “Just had some things on my mind.”
“Anything in particular?” Lorenzo asked as he poured himself a cup of coffee and sat at the table.
Jason sighed and rubbed his face. “I had a nice conversation with Esmerelda a little while ago, and she left me thinking about some things.”
Lorenzo chuckled and nodded his head. “She usually does,” he said. “Was it helpful?”
Jason nodded. “Actually, it was,” he said. “And there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
“Go ahead,” Lorenzo said, focusing his attention on Jason. He could tell that this was going to be important.
“I know how you first felt about me and Jessica being together,” Jason said. “And although I didn’t want to at the time, I did understand why. And as I watch my own daughter grow – I find myself dreading the day when she starts thinking about boys.”
Lorenzo laughed. “Believe me, I’ll be right there with you. Between me, you and Diego, I don’t think we’ll have too many problems with that.”
“Once thing that Esmerelda said was that I shouldn’t let my loss of Jessica consume me,” Jason continued. “That I should let my heart love again.”
“She’s right,” Lorenzo said. “And you might think it’s not possible, but it is. You’ll find someone who you will want to love and protect. The love won’t be the same as what you had with Jessica. And it won’t erase it either. I love Skye with all of my heart. She has opened my heart and eyes to a life I never thought I deserved to have. But that doesn’t mean I love Jessica’s mother any less.” Lorenzo watched Jason as he talked. “Is there someone who you want to open your heart to again?”
Jason nodded, not looking at Lorenzo. There had been so much tension between the two men, for a lot of different reasons, when he and Jessica had been together. He wasn’t sure how Lorenzo would react to what Jason was now feeling for Sam.
“It’s scary Jason. And you’re probably feeling some guilt as well,” Lorenzo said. “And that’s fine. But you know Jessica wouldn’t want you to be alone for the rest of your life. She would want you to love and be happy. Build a family for yourself and Elaina.”
“You’re right,” Jason said, finally looking at him. “But it’s hard to act on it.”
“I understand,” Lorenzo said as he stood up. “Take your time Jason. Don’t rush it. Sam can be a patient woman – sometimes.”
“Okay, so what happened with your dinner last night?” Carly asked Sam, practically pouncing on her when she walked in the door.
“It was beautiful Carly, thank you,” Sam said with a smile as she greeted Skye. The three women were having lunch together at Carly’s. The kids were all occupied in the kitchen at Lorenzo’s making cookies.
“That’s it?” Carly asked in disbelief. “Details Sam. I want the details.”
Sam rolled her eyes. “Carly, it was a nice dinner that was cut short when Elaina showed up complaining of a stomach ache,” she said.
“Alright, I already got the lecture from Jason about that. But I swear she was fine when I put her to bed! And I didn’t even hear her leave!”
“Carly, I’m not blaming you. I know Jason talked to you, I heard the conversation loud and clear.”
Skye laughed. “I think we all did,” she said. “But before you were interrupted . . . anything happen?”
Sam looked at Skye. “Hey! I thought you were on my side!”
“You know, she wouldn’t be protesting this much if nothing happened . . ." Carly pointed out.
“Fine!” Sam exclaimed, giving in. “He kissed me. That’s it!”
Carly and Skye looked at each other and then back at Sam. “And?” They both said.
“And? Nothing,” Sam said. “He kissed me and then Elaina came.”
“I swear, getting details out of you is like pulling teeth!” Carly groused. “How was the kiss? I mean, when Jason used to kiss me . . . oh my God . . . my knees would get weak!”
“Carly!” Sam said, shaking her head, although Carly had described it perfectly. If Jason’s hands hadn’t been on her, she would have fallen to the floor. “That was over twelve years ago!”
“Believe me, you never forget a kiss from Jason Morgan!”
The three women dissolved into laughter.
Manny held the picture in his hands. She was a beautiful little girl. And much loved. He knew that he would be able to get whatever he wanted once he had her in his possession. All he needed to do now was find the perfect opportunity and everything would be his.
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