“Thanks Max,” said Lulu as he let her into the house. “Have you seen Diego since he got home?”
“He was pretty much ordered to rest by his father,” Max said. “And I’m sure he’ll love to see you. I bet he’s going stir crazy by now.”
Lulu laughed. “I bet,” she agreed. Making her way down the hall, Lulu stopped when a small form came running down the hall, barefoot. Bending down, Lulu caught the little figure. “Hey there little miss!”
“Hi Lulu!” said Elaina with a wide smile. “You see Deego?”
“Yup,” said Lulu. “Is he resting?”
Elaina looked around and then whispered in her ear. “Deego walking. Poppi say no.”
“Well, I bet you won’t tell on him,” she teased. Elaina shook her head. “I’m going to find him so he doesn’t get in trouble.”
“Okay Lulu,” Elaina said. “See Goldie?”
“Absolutely,” said Lulu. “I’ll come and find you after I visit Diego.”
Nodding, Elaina took off again. As long as she avoided her father, Mommy Sam or her Poppi, she wouldn’t have to worry about a bath. Maybe she could find Morgan to play with.
Watching Elaina scamper away, Lulu shook her head and then went in search of Diego. She decided to try his room. Pushing open the door, she saw Diego walking at the other end of his room, limping due to the bullet wound in his leg. Slipping into the room, she made sure he didn’t see her. Then she pushed the door closed loudly. “Busted!”
Diego jumped. “Lulu! You could have given me a heart attack!”
“Serves you right! Diego, you just got out of the hospital! You should be resting,” Lulu said, as she tossed her purse on the bed and walked over to him.
Diego took a step back, afraid she was going to hit him. “Since when do you care about following orders?” he asked.
“Since you were beaten practically to death and shot in the leg!” Lulu exclaimed. “Do you want to end up back in the hospital?”
“Look, I need to get stronger so I can help my Dad and Jason,” Diego said. “I can’t do that laying around in bed all the time.”
“Diego, you aren’t going to be able to help them in your condition,” Lulu said. “Why can’t you just let them handle this?”
“Because I can’t just sit here and let Sonny and Manny get away with what they did to me. Besides, I owe Sonny for the part he played in Jessica’s death.”
“Then I’m going to help you,” Lulu said.
Jason and Lorenzo sat in Jason’s office. They were going over what they knew about Manny and his alliance with Sonny, as well as the surveillance tapes of the property. There was a lot at stake for both of them if they screwed up.
Leaning back in his chair, Jason sighed and rubbed his face. “Ruiz is too unpredictable,” he said. “There is no way to anticipate what he’s going to do next.”
“My family has come up against the Ruiz family before, and from what I remember, Manny was the worst of them,” Lorenzo said. “He plays head games. He’s psychotic – with no remorse. And that’s what makes him so dangerous.”
Jason knew this already and was starting to feel his frustration rising. He already lost one woman he loved to a psycho’s revenge, he couldn’t lose another. Or his daughter. “Short of sending the kids, Sam, Diego, and Skye out of the country, I don’t see how we’re going to be able to keep Ruiz from going after them.”
Lorenzo knew this was true, but there had to be a way. With Skye pregnant now, he didn’t want to send her away, but he needed to make sure he kept her and their unborn child safe. “No. They stay. You know the fight they will put up over this, particularly Sam and Skye. And I think it’ll be safer for them to be closer than in hiding where we can’t get to them easily.”
Jason nodded. He hadn’t been looking forward to having that conversation with Sam. “Have you heard from the Mantalvo family?” he asked. The Mantalvo family was distant associates of Lorenzo’s who also had a grudge with the Ruiz family.
Lorenzo nodded. “We have their full support when needed,” he said. “They are also sending over whatever they have on Manny, but I am sure it’s not going to be too different from what we already know.”
“At least we have their support,” Jason said, finding hope in that. He hadn’t had any contact with the family as of yet, but had heard about them. They were loyal to the Alcazar family and he knew they would do what they could to help.
Lorenzo nodded. “Now we just need to find a way in.”
“Before you find that way in, there’s something you need to know,” Carly said from the door.
“You’re going to help me?” Diego asked.
“Yeah. Diego, I’m not Georgie – or Brooklynn for that matter– I am not going to dissuade you from doing something you feel strongly about. And if it’s dangerous, then that’s more of a reason for me to help you,” Lulu said. “So, where do we start?”
Diego looked at her. “Don’t tell anyone I’m doing this.”
“Done,” said Lulu. “Are you hungry? You need to eat if you want to get stronger faster.”
“Yeah. There should be something in the kitchen.”
“Alright. I’ll be right back. And I’ll keep the door closed. You wouldn’t want your father walking in here and finding out what you’re doing.”
Diego smiled and shook his head as she left. She really was something. And she was right; she wasn’t Georgie or Brooklyn – thank God.
Manny looked at the candid pictures he had taken of Elaina. She was a very beautiful little girl with her dark curls and bright blue eyes. She looked happy, her smile lighting up her whole face. It was hard to believe she was Morgan’s child. The guy didn’t seem to have any emotions at all – it was a wonder he was raising such a happy little girl. He just had to find the right moment to snatch her away. And then he would have it all.
Then all he had to do was take care of Corinthos. He was becoming more trouble than he was worth.
“Sonny approached me the other day when I was leaving Kelly’s,” Carly said as she got comfortable on the couch.
“And you’re just now saying something?” Lorenzo asked incredulously. Carly still never ceased to amaze him.
Jason stopped held up his hand to stop him. “Just be lucky she’s saying anything at all,” he said, rolling his eyes.
Carly chose to ignore them. “Do you want to hear what I have to say?” she asked.
Lorenzo sighed. “Go ahead Carly.”
“Anyway, I was leaving Kelly’s when Sonny came up to me,” she began again. “Max was there, but I decided to let him speak.”
Jason rubbed his head. “Carly . . . what happened?”
Carly glared at him a moment. “Sonny said he wanted me to convince you to talk to him.”
“He wants me to talk to him? Did he say why?” Jason asked.
“I didn’t give him a chance,” Carly said. “I know what this is all about Jason. He wants to lure you to him and Manny and then kill you. I am not going to allow that to happen.”
Jason looked over at Lorenzo.
“Could he be having a change of heart?” Lorenzo asked. He didn’t believe it himself, but then again, he didn’t totally understand Sonny’s mental illness and didn’t know how the man functioned.
“I don’t know. But Sonny has been known to be erratic when it comes to loyalties when he’s like this.” Jason said.
“Hello! You can’t seriously be thinking of taking him up on his offer! Come on Jason, you know what Sonny’s like! He took part in Jessica’s death!”
Jason turned back to Carly. “I will handle this based on how Lorenzo and I feel is right. Thanks for the information Carly.”
“Fine,” said Carly. “Just don’t trust him Jason. At all.”
Sonny walked into the room after being summoned by Manny – again - and stopped when he saw the pictures on the table. “What is this?” he asked.
Manny looked up and smiled. “Our next conquest . . . yours actually.”
“What are you talking about?” Sonny asked, hoping he wasn’t talking about what he thought he was. Manny was going too far.
“I am talking about you taking Morgan’s daughter and bringing her back here.”
“Kidnap her?” Sonny asked. “No. No matter what has happened, I never involve children.”
“There’s a first for everything Corinthos. My faith in you has been slipping. Prove to me that I shouldn’t just kill you where you stand.”
Sonny looked at him. “I’m the one that brought you into this,” he said.
“Yes, you did. And I am the one that’s going to finish it,” Manny said. “I want the little girl here in forty-eight hours. You’re life depends on it.”
“Hi Esmerelda,” said Lulu as she bounced into the kitchen and went to the fridge. Seeing some left over chicken that she could make into a sandwich. Pulling it out, she also grabbed some lettuce and bread and the jar of mayo. A nice thick sandwich should do the trick. She piled everything on the counter and grabbed some break.
Esmerelda watched her. “A little hungry?” she asked.
Lulu laughed and shook her head as she built the sandwich. “It’s not for me,” she said. “It’s for Diego. I figured he needs a good lunch after being in the hospital so long.”
“Well, if that doesn’t build up his strength nothing will,” she said.
Lulu didn’t answer. She had promised Diego she wouldn’t say anything about what they were doing.
“So, I take it my grandson is rearing to be on his feet sooner than he should,” Esmerelda said with a knowing smile.
“I guess,” said Lulu noncommittally.
“Just don’t let him overdo it,” Esmerelda said.
Lulu turned. “What?” she asked as innocently as she could, but she could see the older woman wasn’t buying it.
“Diego is so much like his father. Headstrong. Stubborn. And feels that he has to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders,” Esmerelda said. “Lorenzo may not have raised Diego, but that doesn’t matter. They are the same.”
Lulu sat at the table. “He just wants to help. I saw what Jessica’s death did him. He hurt so much and I know he still does. And now that Skye is pregnant . . . he doesn’t want to lose any more of his family that he already has.”
Esmerelda put her hand over Lulu’s. “You’re a good friend Lulu,” she said. “Diego is lucky to have you in his life.”
Lulu smiled and looked down. “So you’re not going to tell Lorenzo, are you?”
“No, I’m not,” Esmerelda said. “But I am going to ask that you keep a close on Diego and not let him get in over his head. Lorenzo has enough to worry about right now.”
“I promise,” said Lulu as she got up and grabbed the plate with the sandwich. “Thanks Esmerelda.”
After his meeting with Lorenzo, Jason needed a break. Looking at his watch, he saw it was time for Elaina to have a bath and get ready for bed. Jason knew this task would relax him. Now, finding Elaina was another story.
Heading upstairs, he found his daughter’s room empty, as he knew he would. Checking Sam’s room, he saw it was empty too. Going back downstairs, Jason saw the back door leading to the terrace open.
It was warm out and Jason shielded his eyes from the early evening sun, searching the backyard for Sam and Elaina. Not seeing them, he headed toward the lake. He could see Max and Milo nearby. The looks on their faces had him wondering what was going on.
“What are you two . . .” Then he saw what they were looking at. Sam was coming out of the lake wearing a light blue bikini that showed off everything he saw that night when she walked into his room in her underwear. Jason felt his heart race and his mouth go dry. She was breathtaking. The water formed droplets on her bronzed skin that caught the light of the sun. Jason swallowed. Then he remembered Max and Milo. He turned to them. “Don’t you two have work to do?” he practically barked at them.
The two men jumped and hurried off, looking over their shoulders in envy at their boss.
Sam looked up. “Jason,” she said, surprised to see him there.
Jason moved over to her. “What the hell are you doing?” he asked, grabbing the towel lying on the grass.
“What? Jason, I was just swimming in the lake,” Sam said as Jason wrapped the towel around her. “What are you doing?”
“Sam, there are guards all over the place; you shouldn’t be dressed like that out here!” Jason said.
“You’re jealous,” she said.
“No, I’m not,” Jason protested. “You’re distracting the guards.”
“Really?” Sam said with a raised eyebrow. “They weren’t complaining.” Then she unwrapped the towel from around her.
“Sam . . .” Jason said his eyes on her body as she tossed the towel aside.
“I don’t see any guards around right now,” she said, stepping closer to him.
Jason swallowed. As Sam closed in, he reached out, pulled her to him and brought his mouth down to her in a hungry kiss.
“What are you looking at?” Lorenzo asked as he walked into the bedroom and found Skye standing at the French doors leading to the balcony outside their room.
“Come and see,” Skye said with a smile, waving him over.
Lorenzo walked over and stood behind her, looking over her shoulder as he wrapped his arms around her. He saw Jason and Sam kissing.
“About time,” he said.
Skye turned and looked up at him. “You knew about this?” she asked.
Lorenzo nodded. “Jason talked to me about it,” he said. “I think he was feeling guilty about what he was feeling for Sam after Jessica.”
Skye could understand that. “Looks like he’s getting over that,” she said.
“I hope so,” he said. “I know I was against it, but I knew how much Jason loved Jessica . . . and how much he hurt when she died. I know Jessica wouldn’t want him to be alone the rest of his life and Sam . . . Sam is good for him . . . and Elaina.”
Skye smiled. “I’m glad to see you’re okay with this Lorenzo,” she said.
“I learned the hard way that I shouldn’t interfere in the love lives of my family,” he said. “I paid dearly for that already.”
Tilting her head up, Skye kissed him. “Have I told you how much I love you?”
Sliding his hand down to her belly, Lorenzo smiled. “I love you too Skye.”
Manny smiled from his hiding place, watching Morgan and Alcazar’s sister wrapped in each other’s arms. Using his binoculars, he found Alcazar’s bedroom window and found his other targets in the window. This was going to be fun. Now all he had to do was make sure Corinthos followed through – if not, he was going to have to finish the job himself.
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