As the ambulance raced away with Jason barely hanging onto life, Lorenzo stalked into the house, Diego behind him.
“Get cleaned up and meet me down here. One hour,” he said to Diego as they both headed up the stairs. There was a lot that needed to be done.
In his bathroom, Lorenzo stripped off his blood soaked clothes and stepped into the hot shower. He needed to wash away not only the blood of his friend, but the weariness of the hours spent at the PCPD.
Lorenzo stayed under the spray of water until it turned cold. Shutting the water off, he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist. Back in his room, Lorenzo got dressed, his eyes going to the picture of Jessica on top of the dresser. It had been two years – but Lorenzo knew that no matter how long it was he would never stop missing his daughter.
“I know he still loves you,” Lorenzo said as he looked at his daughter’s picture. “But I will be damned if I let him go now. Elaina needs him, Jessica. And so do I. He has to fight. We can’t let Manny win.”
“Pop, are you okay?” Diego asked from the door.
Lorenzo put the picture down and turned to his son. “Yes. I’m fine.”
Diego nodded and walked into the room to his sister’s picture. “You know she would be fighting us every step of the way to be involved in this.”
Lorenzo smiled. “And she would be fighting Jason to pull through – I’m sure that’s what she’s doing now.”
“I hope so,” Diego said. His little niece never knew her mother. And she was attached to Jason. Losing him would destroy that little girl. Diego wasn’t going to let that happen.
Elaina didn’t like this man. He was mean and he hurt her Daddy. She wanted to go back to her Daddy.
“When we go home Mommy?” Elaina asked, looking up at Sam.
“Soon,” said Sam as she held Elaina tighter. She had to make sure to keep a cool head and stay calm. But she couldn’t get the image of Manny shooting Jason in the leg, of Jason using all of his strength and will power to stay on his feet and not show his pain in front of his daughter. She had no idea what had happened to Jason once she and Elaina had been led away. She could only pray that he was still alive.
“Mommy, that man hurt Daddy. Where Daddy?” Elaina asked, twisting around in Sam’s lap. “Wanna see Daddy.”
Sam looked down at Elaina. “We’ll see Daddy soon,” she said, trying to soothe the little girl. She could see the fear in her eyes and the dried tracks of her tears. “Now, I need you to listen to me.” Sam waited until Elaina nodded. “This man is very dangerous – remember when Daddy told you about people who are dangerous?” When Elaina nodded again, Sam continued. “So I need you to listen to everything I tell you and to not do anything that will make this man angry. Can you do that?”
Elaina nodded with wide eyes. Then she snuggled into Sam’s arms. As long as she had her Mommy, she would be safe.
Sam wrapped her arms around Elaina and gently fingered the thin silver bracelet encircling the little girl’s wrist. They would be found soon.
“Are you sure they haven’t shown up yet, Lulu?” Max asked, not liking what the young woman was telling him.
Lulu nodded her head. “I’m sure Max. Diego called a couple of hours ago to say that Jason called him and said that Sam was bringing Elaina on her own. They should have gotten here by now.”
Max didn’t like this at all. He pulled out his cell phone. “Milo. They aren’t here and Lulu hasn’t heard from Sam at all. Get on the route from the house to here and search for her car.”
“Max, what’s going on?” Lulu asked. By then, Skye and Esmerelda had joined them in the living room. “Did something happen?”
Max sighed and looked at the three women. “Sam and Elaina are missing. And Jason has been shot.”
“WHAT?” All three women gasped. Skye was the first to speak. “How badly?” she asked.
“He has a gun shot wound to his leg, in the upper thigh. And another in his chest. The boss and Diego found him on the property, unconscious and losing blood fast. I’m sure he’s at GH by now.”
Skye slowly sank onto the couch behind her. “Are you sure Sam and Elaina are missing though? Maybe they were hiding from the attack.” She didn’t want to believe that they were missing.
“I’m sorry Skye, but the entire property has been searched, including the other safe houses. They aren’t there. And we can’t reach Sam on her cell phone.”
“But Jason called and said they were on the way,” Lulu said. “He wouldn’t have lied about that.”
“We think he may have been coerced into saying that to cover their being taken and buy some time. We checked the time stamp on Jason’s phone. The call was placed before he was shot a second time.”
Skye was trying to process all of this. “Wait . . . get Stan. There’s a way we can find them,” she said, her eyes lighting up.
“What are you talking about?” Max asked, looking at Skye. He had been cautioned by Lorenzo to keep an eye on her as he tried to get information about Sam and Elaina’s whereabouts. He did not want her getting overly upset.
“Last year, Jason had a bracelet made for Elaina – a thin silver one – and had Stan install a tracking device in it. It can be activated any time from Stan’s computer without detection to the kidnapper. Elaina always wears that bracelet.”
“I’ve seen it,” Lulu said, remembering the bracelet.
“I’ll let the boss know and get Stan on it,” Max said as he pulled out his phone again and headed to the door. “I have guards all around this house. Do not open the door to anyone who doesn’t identify themselves as one of our men. And do not leave for any reason.”
Once Max was gone, Esmerelda sat down next to Skye and took her hand. “Lorenzo will find them and bring them home,” she said.
Skye nodded and looked at the woman. “I know,” she said. She knew Lorenzo would not let anything happen to his sister and granddaughter. Her fear was that Lorenzo would put his own life in the balance to save them.
Lorenzo leaned over Stan’s shoulder as his phone rang. “Keep trying to track it,” he said as he put the phone to his ear. “Alcazar.”
“Boss, its Max. Sam and Elaina haven’t contacted Lulu or anyone else at the safe house,” Max said.
Sighing, Lorenzo ran his hand through his hair. “Alright. Then Manny has them. Max, I want you to get to GH, check on Jason’s status and put guards outside his room – I don’t care what the hospital personnel have to say about it. If Manny discovers Jason is alive, he may want to finish off the job.”
“I’m also supposed to tell you about a bracelet . . .” Max began but was cut off by Lorenzo.
“I already know about it. Jason told me when he got it. Stan’s trying to activate it now. I’ll let you know when we have a location.” Lorenzo just hoped Elaina hadn’t taken it off or lost in when they were taken. “How is Skye?”
“Worried, but calm,” Max said, looking into the living room. “Your mother is with her.”
Lorenzo let out a breath. He had been worried Skye would become overly upset and put herself and their child in jeopardy. “Check in with me when you know what’s going on with Jason.”
Stan sat back and rubbed at his face.
“Did you get it?” Lorenzo asked, slipping his phone back into his inside jacket pocket.
“I’m locked out,” Stand said, looking up.
“Locked out? What are you talking about?” Lorenzo asked, not understanding.
“Meaning, Manny must have a tech pro of his own. This person managed to get into the system and shut me out.”
Lorenzo took in a breath, held it a moment and then let it out – trying to reign in the impulse he had to pick up the laptop and hurl it across the room. “Can you get through?”
“It’ll take some time,” Stan said. “But I might be able to break through.”
That’s not what Lorenzo wanted to hear. Jason was fighting for his life. His sister and granddaughter were in the hands of a psychotic mad man. The woman he loved and their unborn child were in hiding with his mother. There were too many people he cared about spread out in too many places.
“I think I might be able to help,” Diego said as he walked into the room.
Both Lorenzo and Stan turned. “Diego, man, if I can’t get in, you won’t be able to,” Stan said with a shake of his head.
“Not me,” said Diego. “There’s this guy at school . . . and according to him, he’s the assassin of cyberspace. I’ve seen him work . . . I think he can get through.”
Elaina had finally fallen asleep curled up in Sam’s lap. With her sleeping, it gave Sam time to think. She had to figure out how they were going to get through this. But her thoughts kept going back to Jason. It had been hours since the shooting and Sam prayed that someone found Jason or that he had been able to get some help. She knew the gunshot wound to his leg wasn’t that serious, as Jason had been able to stay on his feet while Manny took them away.
Sam looked down at Elaina. She was so innocent. Sam wished she could have cried herself to sleep the way Elaina had. Then she wouldn’t have to sit here and worry. Worry about how they were going to get out of here. Worry about what Manny was planning. Worry about Jason. What if no one had gotten to him? What if he was lying on the ground, bleeding, unable to get help? What if he were dead? NO. Sam pushed the thoughts from her head. She didn’t want to think about it. Jason wasn’t dead. He was stronger than that. And he would live. He had to live.
Manny sat at the desk in a room adjoining the one where he had stashed Sam and the brat. His tech guy was sitting across from him. “Is it done?” he asked.
The guy looked up. “Yeah,” he said. “I bugged their systems so badly; it’s going to take them months to figure it all out.”
Manny nodded in approval. “Keep an eye on it. I don’t want to run into any surprises.”
The guy nodded and focused on his computer screen.
Getting up, Manny left the room and headed to where his captives were. Time to have a little fun.
“Have you heard from Lorenzo yet?” Skye asked Esmerelda as she walked into the kitchen. She still wasn’t able to keep too much food down, but knew she had to eat anyway.
Esmerelda turned from the lunch she was preparing. “Not yet, my dear,” she said. “Lunch is about ready.”
Skye sighed and sank into a chair at the table. She was glad he was out of the PCPD and was not being charged with Sonny’s murder, but now he was out there, hunting down Manny. She barely looked up when Esmerelda set the turkey sandwich in front of her with a tall glass of milk.
“Skye, I know you’re worried. I am too,” Esmerelda said, putting her hand over Skye’s. “But Lorenzo has lived this life for a long time. He has never been careless and has been the only Alcazar to survive as long as he has.”
Skye looked up. “I guess that helps,” she said. “But now there’s more than just me and him. Or Jason. Or Sam. Or even Elaina and Diego. We have this child we created together. A child I was never supposed to have. And, I don’t care how selfish this sounds, but I want Lorenzo with me to raise this baby. I know I can do it alone if I had to, but I don’t want to.”
Esmerelda smiled gently. “It’s not selfish Skye. And I understand how you feel. Knowing he has this child with you . . . Lorenzo will not take any unnecessary risks. I know my son. He’s lost one child. He barely knows his son. And he has been trying to do right by his granddaughter. But you are giving him the chance to be a father right from the start Skye, something he has never had. I know Elaina – his first wife – loved him as best as she could, but she was unfit to live in his world and couldn’t accept him. Maria . . . I never knew her and Lorenzo doesn’t talk about his time with her . . . but if she was able to keep his child from him, not even let him know Diego existed, then she was not good enough for my son. But you . . . Skye, you have accepted Lorenzo for who he is, flaws and all. You fit into his life. You are strong and determined and you don’t let him get away with keeping you in the dark. Lorenzo would never walk away from that. From you.”
Tears had pooled in Skye’s eyes as she listened to Esmerelda. It was so obvious that this woman loved and understood her son deeply. “I do love him Esmerelda. More than I have ever loved anyone in my life. And I refuse to let him go easily.”
“And I refuse to let you go,” said a voice from the doorway.
Skye turned, seeing Lorenzo by the door. She got up and rushed to him, throwing her arms around his neck.
Lorenzo held Skye to him tightly. He knew there was a lot to get done, but he couldn’t do it unless he saw Skye for himself. He needed to know that she was okay. Then he could go after Manny before the man tried to destroy his life any further.
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