The grounds were quiet and Manny knew that now was his chance – before the guards patrolled pat this area again. Slipping through the shadows, Manny made his way to the back of the main house. Sticking to the shadows created by the house, he scaled the trellis, which allowed him to climb onto the balcony outside of Alcazar’s bedroom. Climbing over the railing, Manny soundlessly put his feet onto the floor and slid over to the French doors. They were locked – not surprising. Using a tiny penlight and his fingers, Manny felt along the door for wires that would trip an alarm. Not finding any, he pulled lock picking tools out of his pocket.
Once the doors were open, Manny waited to see if he heard anything through the crack when he gently pushed one side of the door open silently. He heard nothing. Peeking into the room, he could see the forms of two people in the bed across from the doors. He slid into the room, staying low. He gently reclosed and locked the doors behind him. Keeping an eye on the sleeping Skye and Alcazar, Manny moved around the room – not making a sound – placing time microphones and cameras around where he needed them. He had been assured by an associate that they were the best out there.
“You’re sure they’ll be able to pick up everything?” Manny asked, eyeing the small microphones and camera spread out on the table in front of him.
“I’m sure,” the man said. “They are the best and the newest technology has to offer. With the microphones, you’ll be able to pick up any sound at all – even a whispered conversation. And the resolutions on the cameras are state of the art.”
“And they will be undetectable?” Manny asked. The last thing he needed was for his hard work to be discovered before they could be put to use.
“Unless they know to look for them . . . no one will know they are there.”
Manny finished placing the mikes and cameras in the bedroom and moved out into the hall. He found Alcazar’s office easy enough. Once the main house was done, it would be time to move to Morgan’s house.
“Daddy . . ." Elaina whimpered in her sleep and her eyes popped open. It was only a bad dream, she knew that. But that didn’t mean she wanted to stay by herself. Climbing out of bed, Elaina padded across her room and pushed open the door. There was a small night light on in the hallway. Clutching her bear to her chest, Elaina stepped out into the hallway and found her Mommy’s room. She just barely reached the doorknob, but was able to get the door open and go inside.
Damn brat, Manny thought as he slipped around a corner. He had almost gotten caught by Morgan’s daughter. He waited until she went into the other room. Figuring it was Morgan’s. Manny waited a moment before moving down the hall to the other room. He could bug Alcazar’s sister’s room while he waited to make sure the little brat was asleep. He didn’t need all of his hard work ruined by a two-year-old.
Slipping into the room, Manny’s eyes adjusted to the dark quickly and he was surprised to see that this was, in fact, Morgan’s bedroom. He was going to have to make sure to be more careful here. Manny doubted that Morgan was a heavy sleeper.
Inching further into the room and making sure to keep low, Manny looked over at the bed. It was empty and still made. Morgan hadn’t been to bed yet. He was going to have to work quickly to make sure he wasn’t discovered.
Jason rubbed his face as he climbed the stairs. After dragging Sam away from the lake – and the eyes of the bodyguards – Jason had needed to go out and check on things down at the warehouse. And now, before heading off to bed, he wanted to check in on his daughter and made sure she was settled.
As he neared Elaina’s door, Jason stopped. Her door was open. Pulling his gun out and holding it at his side, Jason stepped into the room, not seeing his daughter in her bed. His heart rate accelerated as thoughts of what could have happened raced through his mind, Jason forced himself to remain calm. He didn’t want to overreact if there was no reason to.
Leaving Elaina’s room, his still in hand, Jason moved over to Sam’s door. Her door was also open. Looking in, he relaxed when he saw Elaina curled into Sam, both of them asleep.
Tucking his gun back into the waistband of his jeans, Jason moved over to the bed to fix the covers around both of them. As he did, Sam stirred and opened her eyes.
“Hey,” she said, looking up at him. “Is everything okay?”
“Yeah,” Jason said. “You have a visitor.”
Sam turned and saw Elaina cuddled next to her. “I didn’t even hear her come in,” she said.
“She must have had a bad dream,” he said. “I’ll go and put her back in her bed.”
“No,” Sam said, stopping Jason from picking Elaina up. “You can leave her.”
“Are you sure?”
Sam nodded. “She looks so comfortable . . . I don’t want to disturb her.”
Jason nodded. He leaned over to kiss Elaina when she woke up.
“Daddy . . . bad dream,” she said, pouting.
“I know. Do you want to stay here and sleep with Sam?”
Elaina nodded. “And Daddy too,” she said, reaching for him.
Jason looked over at Sam. “I don’t think there’s enough room for all of us,” he said.
Elaina got up on her knees and looked over Sam – seeing there was plenty of room on the other side of her. She started to push on Sam’s shoulder. “Move over Mommy,” she said. “Daddy need room too.”
Laughing, Sam scootched over, making room.
Elaina moved over and got under the covers. “Now room Daddy,” she said.
Jason sighed. He looked at Sam again. “Are you okay with this?” he asked.
“Sure,” said Sam with a smile. “We’ll have a slumber party.”
Jason nodded. He sat on the bed, put his gun on the nightstand next to him and pulled off his boots. He then lay down with Elaina in between him and Sam.
“Night Daddy. Night Mommy,” Elaina said as her eyes drifted closed.
“Good night princess,” Jason said, resting on his side and supporting his head with his hand.
Sam turned onto her side and kissed Elaina, wishing her sweet dreams. Then he eyes lifted to Jason’s. “Good night Jason,” she said softly.
“Good night Sam,” Jason whispered. He stayed awake, watching Sam and his daughter long after they had both fallen asleep.
Manny listened at the door, rolling his eyes, at the whispered conversation. There was no way he was going to be able to get in that room tonight. Not with Morgan in there. He was going to have to get in there another time.
Jason groaned and tried to move when he felt a weight on his chest. Opening his eyes, he looked down and saw Elaina sprawled across his chest, her head on his shoulder, an arm draped over his face. Turning his head, he saw Sam cuddled into his side. Moving an arm, Jason gently ran his fingers through Sam’s hair, pushing it back from her face. She was so beautiful . . . and he knew he was falling more and more in love with her everyday.
Manny settled into the chair in front of the bank of monitors. He switched them on, one by one, making sure all of the cameras were operational. A smile spread across his face as the images came onto the screens.
Alcazar’s office, still empty at this early hour, came into view. Look studied the image, committing the layout to memory in case he needed to get back in there again.
He shifted his eyes to another screen.
Alcazar’s kitchen, where his mother was already up and moving around, preparing breakfast. Manny remembered the woman from past dealings with the family.
Manny flipped another switch and an image of Alcazar’s bedroom popped into view.
Lorenzo started to wake, moving his hand and realizing Skye was no longer in the bed beside him. Opening his eyes, Lorenzo looked around, seeing the door to the bathroom slightly ajar.
Pushing himself out of the bed, Lorenzo grabbed his robe and was just tying the belt when Skye came out of the bathroom. She looked slightly pale. Lorenzo rushed over to her.
“Are you okay?” he asked in concern, helping her back to the bed and making her sit.
“Morning sickness sucks,” Skye moaned as she sat. She looked up at Lorenzo, seeing the worry in his eyes. “I’ll be fine Lorenzo. It’s a normal part of being pregnant you know.”
Lorenzo nodded. “Is there anything I can do?” he asked, feeling helpless at the moment.
“Never touch me again,” Skye muttered under her breath as she pushed down another wave of nausea. She looked up at him again and plastered a smile on her face and shook her head. “No, I’m fine. Some ginger ale might help.”
Lorenzo nodded. “I’ll go and get it. Why don’t you lie down for a little longer? It’s still early.”
Not arguing, Skye did lie back against the pillows while Lorenzo left the room to get her the ginger ale. She put her hands on her belly, a small smile coming to her lips. “Alright little one. I’ll make a deal with you. You stop making me throw up all the time . . . and I’ll eat nothing but ice cream the whole pregnancy.”
Esmerelda looked up as Lorenzo walked into the kitchen. “Good morning,” she said, kissing him on the cheek.
“Morning,” Lorenzo said as he continued to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of ginger ale and a glass.
Esmerelda watched him as he poured the drink and then started to make some toast. “Skye not feeling well?” she asked.
“Morning sickness,” Lorenzo said as he continued to move around the kitchen.
Esmerelda watched her son in amusement. “And you’re giving her soda?”
Lorenzo stopped and looked at his mother. “It’ll help settle her stomach,” he said, looking at the tray he was preparing.
Esmerelda shook her had. “Sit down,” she said, taking the glass and plate of toast off of the tray. She then made some tea and put a plate of saltine crackers on the tray instead. “The tea is better for her than the soda and if you don’t want her running back into the bathroom, the crackers will sit better than the toast,” she said when she was done.
Lorenzo nodded, committing this to memory. “Thanks Momma,” he said, kissing her on her cheek and heading back upstairs.
Manny shook his head as he watched on the screen. How pathetic. Alcazar was supposed to be one of the best in the business, made stronger by his alliance with Morgan, and here he was, being all domestic. It was too laughable.
Making some notes on the pad of paper at his side, Manny turned his attention to another set of screens. “Let’s see what Morgan is up to this morning,” he said, settling into his chair.
Jason closed the door to his office and sat at his desk. He had spent most of the night not just watching Sam and Elaina sleep, but also thinking about Sonny and what he might be up to in wanting to meet with him. For the last two years, Sonny had been all about revenge – feeling Jason betrayed him, claiming no responsibility in Jessica’s death, showing no remorse for his actions. And now, he was acting like he was having a change of heart and Jason didn’t believe him for one moment.
Looking at the three pictures on his desk, Jason sighed and picked up the one of Jessica. “I don’t trust him, not by a long shot,” he said to the picture. “But if I can use this lapse to information out of him on Manny . . . then I have to take it.” Putting the picture back down, Jason sighed again and leaned back in his chair, thinking. He knew what he had to do.
Jason picked up the phone. “I heard you wanted to meet,” he said. He waited a moment for the response. “On the docks, one hour,” he said.
Well, this was interesting, Manny thought as he watched Morgan end the call. He then watched as the man moved around the office, tucking a gun in the waistband of his jeans, another at his ankle, a pocket knife going into his back pocket. Man sure knew how to prepare.
As he continued to watch, Manny reached for his phone. “What’s Corinthos up to?” he asked.
“He’s getting ready to head out sir,” said the man that had been put on Sonny to watch him. “Sounds like he set up a meeting, on the docks in one hour. Do you want me to continue to follow him?”
Manny thought about it a moment. “No. I’ll do it myself,” he said. He snapped his phone closed, his eyes scanning the monitors in front of him. It looked like he was going to have to step up some of his plans. But first he had some things to take care of.
“Come on Pop! I don’t see why I can’t help out in some way,” Diego said in frustration from his bed.
“Diego, you have only been home less than twenty-four hours, you still need to rest,” Lorenzo said. “I will not have you risking your recovery.”
“I won’t risk anything. I know I have to recover Pop,” Diego said. “But there has to be something I can do. I am going to go stir crazy sitting here all day.”
Lorenzo thought about it a moment and could see that Diego was right. He would have felt the same way – and had before. “Okay,” he gave in. “I’ll check in with Stan and you can work with him on surveillance and tracking.”
“Thanks Pop,” Diego said, feeling satisfied that he was at least going to be helping in some way – even if it wasn’t in the most active way – but at least it was something.
Esmerelda smiled as Skye came into the kitchen. “Feeling better?” she asked.
“A little,” Skye responded as she sat at the table. “And thanks for the crackers, they did help a lot.”
“It’s no problem. You’re looking at a woman who brought two very stubborn-headed boys into the world,” Esmerelda said.
Skye laughed. “Believe me; I am going to need all the help I can get.”
“With what?” Carly asked as she and Sam walked into the kitchen through the back door.
“This pregnancy,” Skye said. “And how to get through this morning sickness without killing Lorenzo.”
Carly plopped herself into the chair next to Skye and grabbed a muffin off of the table. “Well, you came to the right place. I can’t even tell you the cravings I had with Michael – and it was even worse with Morgan!”
“What kind of cravings?” Skye asked.
“Okay, let’s see . . . I couldn’t go with out chocolate – it didn’t matter in what form, I had to have it,” Carly said as she thought. “That was the main one and believe me, I loved every moment of it.”
“Of course you did Carly,” Sam said with a laugh. “You’re the junk food queen!”
“Well, cravings aren’t the only thing,” Esmerelda said. “There might be foods you have always loved that will make you sick to your stomach.”
“Oh, joy. I can’t wait,” Skye muttered.
Esmerelda smiled and put her hand over Skye’s. “But even with all of that, the best part of the whole thing is seeing that beautiful face for the first time. And knowing that you will love him or her for the rest of your life.”
Skye brightened up. “I can’t wait. It makes everything else about the whole experience worth it.”
Esmerelda and Carly nodded in agreement, each remembering the births of their own sons.
“Just keep alert Jason,” Lorenzo said as the two men stood outside by Jason’s truck. “Sonny could be getting desperate and will not have a problem double-crossing you for his own gain.”
Jason nodded. “I know,” he said. “I plan on this being short and sweet and to the point. If he doesn’t have anything useful, I walk.”
“Max and Juan will be there – we can’t take any chances,” Lorenzo added.
Jason pulled open the door of his truck and climbed in. “Keep an eye on Sam and Elaina for me,” he said.
Lorenzo smiled. “I will,” he said. “Be careful.”
Starting the engine, Jason pulled out of the driveway and headed to the main gates. He had a feeling this meeting might just be a waste of time, but with the lives of the people he loved and cared about on the line, he knew he had to do this.
Sonny stood on the pier, looking around. He felt too exposed. Like he was being watched – and he didn’t like it. He looked at his watch again. He had arrived early and all it was doing was making him more and more nervous.
Turning at the sound of footsteps, Sonny saw Jason. “You came,” he said.
“I said I would,” Jason said as he came down the stairs. “What do you want?”
“You know, I always liked that about you Jason – you never beat around the bush, get right to the point,” Sonny said, trying to bring back that familiarity that had once existed between them.
Jason didn’t respond. Too much had happened to even think about the way things used to be.
Sonny took a breath and let it out. “I know you still blame me for what happened to Jessica . . ."
Shaking his head, Jason glared at Sonny with cold, hard eyes. “I didn’t come here to talk about what you did Sonny. There is no coming back from that. You told Carly you wanted to talk to me. That it was important. Get to the point.”
It was clearer to him than ever that he had lost Jason for good. That this was something Jason would never forgive. Sonny could walk away. He could decide to not do this. But then he thought about that innocent little girl. How she had already lost her mother.
“All right,” he said. “I thought you should know that Manny has ordered me to kidnap your daughter and bring her to him.”
Jason didn’t show any reaction on the outside . . . but his blood was definitely boiling at the thought of that monster putting his hands on his little girl. “Why are you telling me this?” he asked.
“Because no matter what has come down between us Jason, I have always respected you. I messed up two years ago. I was jealous and greedy. But I will not put a child in harms way to get what I want. Manny gave me 48 hours to grab her- 24 have already passed. If I don’t follow through, he will do it himself.”
Jason watched him. Sonny wasn’t lying. And by telling him this, Jason knew that Sonny was sacrificing himself to save his daughter. He nodded. “Just know this changes nothing between us.”
“I know,” Sonny said his deep brown eyes sad. Then he walked away.
Manny’s eyes hardened. He knew Corinthos couldn’t be trusted. And now he was going to have to clean up the mess he just made.
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