“You’re joking, right?” Mac asked with a shake of his head. “You are seriously standing here telling me that you think we should let Lorenzo Alcazar go?”
“Yes,” said Lucky without hesitation. He didn’t usually stand up to Mac, but he also didn’t believe in holding someone for something they didn’t do. “Look, we barely have enough to hold him on.”
“We have physical evidence and a body, Lucky,” Mac said. “How is that not enough to hold him on?”
Lucky sighed. “Look, yeah, we have a bracelet with his name on it – a gift given to him by Skye. But think about it Mac, if this was Lorenzo’s doing, do you really think he would have left the body somewhere it would be found easily? And do you think he would have left something behind that would implicate him?”
“Maybe he got sloppy,” Mac said.
“No,” Lucky said. “Not Alcazar. It’s not how he does business. There is no way that after all these years he is going to get sloppy all of a sudden.”
Mac thought about it. And even though he didn’t want to admit it, he knew Lucky was right. “Fine,” he said. “But then who does that leave? Morgan?”
“He would never be that sloppy either.”
“Then there’s still a murderer out there,” Mac pointed out.
Lucky nodded. “I think we should look into Manny Ruiz,” he said. “I think he might be able to answer some of our questions.”
“Alright. See what you can find out. And Spencer? Make sure whatever you find sticks. Someone is going away for this.”
“So what do you need me to do?” Lulu asked as Diego drove them back to the house.
Diego thought about it a moment. “My Dad wants me to take Skye to one of the safe houses if things get dice,” he said. “When that happens, I want you to stay with her. I need someone to keep an eye on her and Elaina while I go and back up Jason.”
Lulu nodded. “I can do that,” she said. “But you know Skye won’t go easily.”
“I’m hoping she does. It’s in hers and the baby’s best interest.”
Skye kept pacing. She needed to figure out how she was going to get Lorenzo out of jail. He didn’t belong there – and she had to make Mac see that.
“You’re going to wear a hole in the floor, you know."
“Jason,” said Skye when she turned and saw him. “Have you found anything? Can we get Lorenzo out of there?”
Jason sighed. “We’re doing what we can. Diane is a good lawyer-"
“Well, if she’s so good why has he spent hours there?” Skye exclaimed. “He needs to be here Jason! Not sitting at the PCPD!”
“You’re right,” said Jason. “And he’s getting out. But in the meantime, I want you to go with Diego to a safe house. Elaina as well.”
“I am not going anywhere Jason,” Skye said, shaking her head. “I need to be here for Lorenzo.”
“Lorenzo wants you to go Skye. He needs you to,” Jason said, trying to make her understand. “As long as he knows you and that baby are safe and out of the way, then he can focus on stopping Manny.”
Skye sat down. He was right. She would just be a distraction and Lorenzo couldn’t afford that. “Okay,” she said, giving in. “I’ll go.”
“Thank you,” Jason said. “Why don’t you pack a bag? I’ll have Carly get Elaina set up and bring her over here. Diego’s on his way home.”
Skye nodded. Once Jason was gone, she went up to her bedroom. It was going against everything she was to run and hide, but she knew she had to do what she could to protect the miracle child she and Lorenzo had created. She owed that Lorenzo.
Jason headed back to the house, relieved that Skye had finally agreed to go to the safe house with Diego. Carly was getting Elaina ready while Sam worked with Stan and Max on security. They had decided to use Manny’s technology against him – setting the mikes and cameras around the perimeter and woods of the property. Jason just hoped it wasn’t too late.
Manny watched, seething as the equipment he had paid dearly for was installed against him. But it was too little too late. He was already on the property, his eyes on Samantha Alcazar.
Jason carried Elaina out of the house, a small suitcase in his hand. Diego had called to say he was on his way to pick up Skye and Elaina. Lulu was with him to help. Lorenzo had informed him of Diego’s role in what was going on.
Seeing Sam, Jason headed over to her with Elaina.
“The safe house ready?” Sam asked as they reached her.
Jason nodded. “Diego is on his way,” he informed her.
“You’re not going to need it,” said a hard, accented voice.
Jason and Sam turned, seeing Manny standing there, gun in hand.
Jason passed his daughter to Sam, stepping in front of both of them. “Get her out of here,” he said to Sam.
Without warning, a shot rang out, the bullet embedding itself into Jason’s leg. Elaina screamed as Sam tried to turn her head away.
Knowing his daughter was witness to this, Jason managed to stay on his feet.
“They stay or the next one is in the head,” Manny warned.
“She’s just a child,” Jason ground out, biting back the hot, searing pain in his leg. He needed to stay focused to keep his daughter safe.
“That’s not my problem,” said Manny. “Move away from them,” he instructed by motioning Jason to the side with his gun.”
“This is between you and me, Manny. Leave them out of it,” Jason gritted through his teeth. But he didn’t move. He was not going to leave Sam and Elaina vulnerable.
Manny smiled and shook his head. “You know, fatherhood has softened you Morgan. By now you would be in the middle of a firefight. Too bad,” he said sadly. “Move away from them.”
Jason never took his eyes off of Manny. Then he felt Sam’s hand on his back. He felt the warmth through his shirt. Sucking in a breath against the pain, Jason did as he was told.
“Alright, you’re client is free to go,” Mac said to Diane Miller as he handed her the release papers. “But I would suggest you tell your client to stick around town and keep his nose clean.”
Diane took the papers and looked them over to make sure everything was in order. It was. She turned to Mac. “My client, I can assure you, is not going anywhere and has no need to.” With that said, she went into the interrogation room.
Seeing the papers in her hands, Lorenzo straightened in the chair. “Am I free to go?” he asked.
“With the reminder to stay in town,” Diane said as an office came in and released Lorenzo from the cuffs.
Lorenzo nodded in understanding. After thanking his lawyer, he collected his belongings that had been taken from him when he was brought in and left as fast as he could.
Once Jason was away from Sam and Elaina, Manny motioned with his gun again and four men came out of the shadows. “Take them to the van. Anyone stops you, kill them.”
One of the men nodded and indicated that Sam should start walking.
“Don’t worry about them,” Manny said as he screwed a silencer onto the end of the gun barrel. “They’ll be well taken care of.”
“You hurt them Manny and I swear, there will be nowhere you can hide,” Jason growled, his pain forgotten.
Manny laughed. “Big talk. We both know this is the end of the road for you.” He lifted the gun.
The property was quiet. Too quiet. Lorenzo didn’t like it. Pulling out his cell phone, he hit the speed dial for his son. “Diego, where are you?” he asked.
“I just dropped Skye and Lulu off at the safe house,” Diego said. “I’m on my way back now?”
“What about Elaina?” Lorenzo asked as he headed toward Jason’s house, bypassing his own.
“Sam is bringing her over,” Diego said, telling his father about the message he had gotten from Jason.
“I’m on the property now,” Lorenzo informed his son. “Something’s going on. Get here as fast as you can.” He clicked off the call and pulled his gun out, keeping it at his side as he walked.
Diego had heard the urgency in his father’s voice and hit the gas pedal. He was only a couple of blocks from the house now. Screeching to a halt outside the gates, Diego jumped out of the car, his gun at his side as he moved onto the property. The quiet was almost overwhelming. Taking a deep breath to calm his racing heart, Diego forced himself to slow down and be on alert. His father was here somewhere and Diego needed to back him up.
As he cleared the front gates and started to move past the main house, Diego lifted his gun in front of him, the safety released and his finger hovering around the trigger.
He struggled to stay focused. His daughter needed him. Sam needed him. He couldn’t fail them. He had already failed Jessica – he couldn’t let that happen again. He was just going to rest a moment and then he had to get up and find Sam and his daughter.
He couldn’t move. Why couldn’t he move? It was getting harder and harder to focus. He was so tired. He would just rest a little bit. Just for a moment . . .
Jason opened his eyes. Something was different. He sat up and looked around. He was still on the property. Looking down at himself, he no longer saw the blood gushing from his leg where Manny had first shot him. Then he looked at his chest, where the second bullet had gone after Sam and Elaina he had been taken away. No blood there either. What was going on?
Getting to his feet, Jason looked around. Had he dreamed the whole thing? Or was the stress finally getting to him? Was this him finally cracking?
“You’re not going crazy Jason.”
He knew that voice. He would never forget that voice. Not in a million years. Turning slowly, Jason’s eyes widened. “Jessica?”
She nodded. Man, she was as beautiful as he remembered her.
“I know you must be confused Jason . . . but you’re not crazy.”
“Am I dead?” That had to be the only explanation. The reason why he was seeing her. He had died from all the blood loss. Lying on the ground between the two houses – his daughter now left an orphan.
But Jessica only shook her head. “No, you’re not dead. You’re in between life and death Jason . . . and I need you to fight for your life. You need to be there for Elaina . . . you have to find her and Sam. You have to live.”
He still didn’t understand what was going on. “I miss you so much Jessica,” he said, taking a tentative step toward her.
“I know. And I miss you too Jason . . . but you need to move on. You need to open your heart again. Don’t be afraid to love again,” Jessica said, reaching out and taking Jason’s hand in hers.
Jason swallowed hard as he twined his fingers with hers. “How can I move on Jessica when I sill love you?”
Jessica smiled sadly. “You will always love me and I will always love you Jason. But I can’t be with you . . . or our daughter . . . anymore. I know you’re confused by your feelings for Sam . . . I know you want to love her, and you should. Let her in Jason. Let her experience the love I felt.”
Jason shook his head. “I can’t betray you Jessica.”
“You never could Jason. You have been doing a wonderful job with our daughter. She’s beautiful and happy. And that’s because of you and Sam . . . and my father and brother and Skye. She has all the love she needs and could ever want. Give yourself this chance Jason. Open you’re heart.”
“I failed them Jessica. I failed you.”
“No, you didn’t fail us. You never could. You’re strong Jason. Fight. Fight to live. You’ll find them. You can do this Jason. Just please . . . don’t give up.”
“I love you Jessica.”
“I love you Jason. Always and forever.”
“Put more pressure on his leg Diego!” Lorenzo said as he pressed his own hands to the gushing wound on Jason’s chest.
Diego did as instructed. “Where the hell are the guards?” he asked as he tried to stop the flow of blood.
“The security cameras in this area were knocked out,” Lorenzo said. “I found two men unconscious not far from here.”
Diego knew there was only one person who could do this. He applied more pressure as he felt the blood seeping through his fingers. The sirens of the ambulance he had called when he found his father kneeling over Jason’s body could be heard as they approached the gates.
Minutes later, the paramedics had Jason stabilized and were moving the gurney he was strapped to into the back of the ambulance. Diego and Lorenzo stood there watching, willing their friend to pull through.
“I don’t want to leave you Jessica,” Jason said. “Not again.”
“Our daughter . . . your family . . . needs you Jason. You have to go back.”
“I don’t know if I can,” Jason said, feeling the pull to stay here. To be with the one woman he had ever loved, again. This is what he had been longing for – to have Jessica in his arms.
“There are so many people who need you Jason. They love you and care about you. You have to go back. It’s not your time,” Jessica said, reaching out and cupping his cheek. “I am so proud of you Jason.”
“You are?” Jason asked in surprise.
“Yes, I am,” Jessica answered. “Our daughter is happy because of you. And you and my father have formed a bond, a friendship, which will last a lifetime.”
“It was because of you,” Jason said.
Jessica shook her head. “No. I think it would have happened anyway. Now, I need you to go back Jason. I need you to fight. And I need you to go and find our daughter . . . and Sam. Let her into your heart Jason. Let her love you. And let yourself love her in return.”
As soon as the ambulance was gone, Lorenzo headed toward the house. “Find Max, see if he’s okay and do a sweep of the property,” he said to Diego as they walked. “Round up the men, find out what happened. Someone had to have seen something.”
Diego nodded and headed off to the small cottage that served as the security station.
Inside the house, Lorenzo leaned against the door a moment and took a deep breath. When he had found Jason, he just jumped into action – trying to keep his friend and the father of his granddaughter alive. There had been so much blood. And Jason had been so pale – barely breathing. He hoped that what he had done was enough. That in some way, he had kept his friend alive.
Shaking himself, Lorenzo headed to the phone on his desk, dialing the number of the safe house Diego had taken Skye too. He needed to tell Sam what happened and make sure they were all okay.
“Hello,” said Lulu as she picked up the phone.
“Lulu, this is Lorenzo,” he said. “How’s Skye doing?”
“She’s fine. Taking a nap,” Lulu said. “Does your calling mean you’ve been released?”
“Yes, I’m at the house now,” Lorenzo said. “Let me talk to Sam.”
“Sam? She’s not here,” Lulu said, looking at her watch.
Lorenzo was doing the same thing. “What do you mean she’s not there Lulu? Jason had called Diego to tell him Sam was bringing Elaina there herself. They should have been there by now.”
“I know, but they aren’t,” Lulu said, starting to get worried. “Do you think something happened?”
“Something already did,” Lorenzo said. “Listen, stay with Skye. Don’t tell her anything about Sam and Elaina – I don’t want her upset. I’m sure they were just held up somewhere for some reason. I’ll call back later to check in.” Then he disconnected the call.
This wasn’t good. Not good at all.
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