Spinelli gulped. “B-be assured Great One,” he stammered, his head bowed down and not making direct eye contact with Lorenzo Alcazar. He had heard stories about Alcazar and his family. Had heard about his daughter who had been killed and gave birth to a little girl. Had heard about his sister. Had heard about what could happen to him if he didn’t deliver. “The – the Jackal will not let you down.”
Lorenzo narrowed his eyes at the kid in front of him. Then he looked at his son. “Is he serious?” he asked. There was no time to fool around with this kid and if all he did was waste his time, Lorenzo knew it would be easy to make him disappear.
Diego sighed. “Look Spinelli, this is serious. A little girl’s life is at stake. And we need you to find her.”
Spinelli turned his attention to Diego. He was just as formidable as his father, but a little easier to look at – being that he didn’t have the look of death in his eyes. “The Jackal understands that,” he said. “What I don’t get is why you can’t find her yourself.” This he directed at the man currently sitting behind a lap top.
Stan visibly bristled and rose from his seat. “Diego, we don’t have time to deal with this no-hack stoner. I can get back in the systems and locate the tracking device in Elaina’s bracelet. I just need time.”
“Hey,” said Spinelli, offended by that description. “I may turn to herbal . . . enhancements . . . every now and then,” he said. “But I am the assassin of cyberspace . . . do not doubt my abilities.”
Stan rolled his eyes. “And I know the systems better than you do,” he said.
“Well . . . from what I have been told, you’re locked out man.” Spinelli shrugged innocently.
“ENOUGH!” Lorenzo bellowed when Stan opened his mouth to reply.
Spinelli jumped and practically shrunk into himself as he turned back to Lorenzo Alcazar. Getting on his bad side was not the way to stay alive at this point. Even he was smart enough to know that.
“We do NOT have time for you two to argue. So shut up and work together or I am tossing you both out!”
Diego stepped to his father’s side and put his hand on his shoulder. He looked at Stan and Spinelli. “Spinelli, get into the systems and access the tracking program. It’s under Elaina’s name. Anything else is off limits. Got it?”
Spinelli nodded, not daring to open his mouth and find himself swallowing a bullet.
“Mommy, I hungy,” Elaina said as she looked up at Sam.
“I know sweetie, but we have to wait a little while longer,” Sam soothed her, not sure how long they were going to be there. She wasn’t even sure how long they had been there already. The room had no windows and no way for her to determine the time.
“Mommy, will Daddy be okay?” Elaina asked as she shifted on Sam’s lap and looked up at her. She knew her Daddy was hurt and that the ugly man had done it. Elaina was scared. She wanted her Daddy. She wanted to go home. She wanted to be with her Poppi and Deego. She wanted to play with Michael and Morgan and go swimming in the lake. She wanted to ride her pony.
“I’m sure Daddy is fine,” Sam said, looking down at the little girl. She looked so much like Jessica. Sam just hoped that whatever was happing to Jason, that Jessica was watching over him right now.
The opening of the door had Elaina moving closer to Sam and hiding her face in her shoulder. She hated looking at the ugly man. He scared her.
Sam looked up as she held Elaina close to her. She knew she couldn’t be too rash and trying to fight her way out of here with Elaina was not going to happen. She didn’t even know where they were and that would prove deadly if she attempted an escape now. All she could do was hope Lorenzo and Stan were able to activate the tracking device in Elaina’s bracelet.
Manny walked into the room carrying a tray with food on it. He had been watching them and was disappointed that the beautiful Samantha Alcazar was not putting up more of a fight. He was sure the little brat was the cause of it.
“Seeing as how I need you both alive, I suggest you eat,” he said as he put the tray on the floor. Neither of them moved. Without saying another word, Manny left the room, closing the door behind him. He returned to the control room to see what progress his tech guy was making.
Elaina looked up at Sam when the ugly man left.
“I know you’re hungry sweetie, but I don’t know if that food is safe,” Sam said, eyeing the tray with sandwiches and fruit. She wouldn’t put it past Manny to have done something to the food.
Elaina cuddled back into Sam. She would do anything her Mommy Sam told her to. Even if it meant not eating the food the ugly man brought to them.
Lorenzo sighed as he paced. The Spinelli kid was sitting on the couch, leaning over his laptop, lost in whatever it was he was doing. He still doubted this kid could do it.
“How much longer?” he growled, barely stopping his pacing as he looked at the kid.
Spinelli didn’t even look up. “I’m working as fast as I can,” he muttered, his eyes glued to the screen as his fingers flew over the keys. Stan was sitting next to him.
Lorenzo turned his eyes to Stan, whom he trusted more than this outsider. “Well?” he asked.
Stan looked up. “He’s good,” he admitted, grudgingly. “I’ll admit that. I’ve never seen anyone who could move around a system like that.”
“Good to know,” Lorenzo snapped sarcastically. “Is it working?”
“I hate to admit it Lorenzo, but yeah. This kid might actually be able to do it.”
Not lifting his eyes or pausing in his work, Spinelli said, “Never doubt The Jackal,” as he hit a key and the tracking program opened on his screen. “And I’m in.”
Lorenzo moved to the couch and hauled Spinelli out of his seat, pushing him aside so he could see the screen.
“Hey!” protested Spinelli. “Easy there Big Al.”
Lorenzo glared up at Spinelli and he backed off, his hands up in front of him. Lorenzo turned his attention back to the screen. “Can you pinpoint the location?” he asked Stan.
Stan pulled the computer closer to him and started hitting some keys. “I got it,” he said triumphantly. “Elaina’s tracking device is in a house at the edge of town. Five minutes from here,” he said.
Lorenzo got up. He turned to his son. “Get Milo and Juan and as many men as you can. Meet me in front of the house,” he said as he left the room.
“What? No gratitude?” Spinelli grumbled as Lorenzo Alcazar stalked out of the room, Diego on his heels with his phone to his ear.
Stan snorted and shook his head. “You don’t get it man,” he said.
“Don’t get what?” Spinelli asked. “I just found what Big Al was up in arms over and I don’t get so much as a thank you.”
Stan just shook his head again and turned back to the computer.
“Skye?” Lulu found Skye sitting on the back porch, a cup of tea in her hands as she looked out over the grounds. “Are you okay?”
Skye looked up. She hadn’t even heard Lulu come out. She smiled. “Just thinking,” she said, indicating that Lulu should join her. “It’s beautiful here. I just wish I could actually enjoy it more.”
“How did things go with Lorenzo?” Lulu asked as she sat on the lounge next to Skye’s.
“I know he has to save Elaina and Sam. I don’t fault him for that. But it doesn’t stop me from being worried Lulu.” Skye leaned back against the lounge and turned her head to Lulu. “I never thought I would fall in love with someone like Lorenzo. I had been with so many men over the years . . . and it wasn’t until Lorenzo that I really knew what true love was. And now with the baby . . . another miracle I never thought would happen . . . it just makes me want to hold on to him even more.”
“Wow . . . having that kind of love for someone – being loved like that by someone . . . it’s got to be amazing,” Lulu said wistfully.
Skye heard the wistfulness in Lulu voice and smiled gently. “It is,” she said. “And it makes me fiercely protective of it.”
“My parents had that kind of love,” Lulu said softly. “No matter what my father did, my mother was always at his side. But then she went crazy.”
“Lulu, you do know that wasn’t because she loved your father,” Skye said.
Lulu sighed. “I know,” she said. “But sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it in the end.”
“What do you mean?” Skye asked.
“Well, my parents have this great love that survived one tragedy or adventure or whatever after another. Then my mother did something that her mind couldn’t handle and she got lost in herself. My father’s love, the love that they shared for so long, wasn’t enough to keep her with us. So why put in all the effort and heartache when in the end it might not mean a damn thing.”
“That’s a very cynical look at true love,” Skye said. “But I do understand where you’re coming from Lulu. Love is scary, but it’s also amazing and beautiful at the same time. You’re young Lulu, you have a lot of life ahead of you and sharing it with someone you love and who loves you is the best adventure of all.”
Lulu looked over at Skye. She wanted to feel what Skye felt. She wanted to believe that what she was saying was true. “How do you know who the person is that you want to go on this adventure with?” she asked.
“Trial and error,” Skye said with a laugh. “Look at me – I have been married more times than I care to count and it took all of that experience to know when Lorenzo was right for me. And it didn’t happen right away. Lorenzo and I built a friendship and a trust in each other first. We didn’t jump right into a romance and I think that that’s what has worked for us. We moved through this slowly. Both Lorenzo and I have experienced the pain oflosing love too much to move too quickly. We got to know each other. Spent time with each other. Learned each other faults as well as triumphs and didn’t let either define our relationship. There are ups and downs in every relationship Lulu – it’s a given – but its how you get through them together that determines if the person you are with is worth it in the end.”
“What if I never find that person? Look how long it took you!”
Skye laughed again. “You’re smart Lulu. You know what you want. And I am beginning to wonder if you have already.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Diego,” Skye said simply. “I’ve been watching the two of you Lulu. And maybe he might not be the one . . . but I think it’s worth giving it a shot.”
“You think so?” Lulu asked biting her lip.
Skye nodded. “There’s a lot of Lorenzo in him,” she said. “He’s strong, intelligent, kind and caring. And I know he cares about you.”
Lulu continued to bite her lip. “We’re just friends.”
“Exactly. And you might stay that way and its fine,” Skye said. “But if something else comes of it, I think you should go with it.”
Lulu nodded. She was going to have some heavy thinking to do tonight.
Manny pulled the cap down over his eyes as he moved down the hallway, a mop bucket ahead of him. He made his way to the ICU ward unnoticed. There was a guard outside of the room. Manny kept his head down as he moved down the hall toward the man. He was in luck. Morgan’s doctors were standing out in the hall with the body guard Max. Making sure he wasn’t too close to be noticed but close enough to be able to hear what was being said, Manny pulled the mop out of the bucket and pretending to mop the floor.
“Jason’s vitals are getting stronger,” Monica said as she glanced at her son through the observation window. “He was lucky – once again. The bullet barely missed his heart, but he’s strong and he’ll make a full recovery.”
Max nodded. “So does he still need to be sedated?” he asked.
“Yes. I plan on keeping Jason sedated long enough for his body to heal. The moment he wakes up he’s going to want to take off out of here – and yes, I do understand that Elaina is missing, she is my granddaughter too – but Jason’s body needs time to heal and this is the only way. I will not let my granddaughter lose her father because Jason is too stubborn to stay in bed and heal properly.”
Max agreed and didn’t say anything to challenge the doctor - Jason’s mother. He was just going to make his report as was to Lorenzo.
Manny smiled as he moved back down the hall. It was a shame Morgan wasn’t dead, but by the time he got done with Samantha and that little brat, he was going to wish he was.
Lorenzo was in the lead car as the small group of black SUVs pulled up in front of the building where the tracking device indicated Elaina was. Lorenzo turned in his seat. “You’re sure this is the place?” he asked.
Spinelli nodded, his laptop open in his lap. He just hoped things went well or he was sure he would not be leaving this car in one piece.
Lorenzo turned back around and looked at the nondescript, rundown house. Somewhere in there were Sam and Elaina. And he was going to make sure he brought them out of there alive.
Looking at Milo, who had been driving, Lorenzo nodded. “Let’s do it,” he said, giving the signal to the other cars and the men waiting in them.
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