Skye sighed contentedly as she settled in Lorenzo’s arms. “Mmmm . . . I think I just found the cure for morning sickness,” she said, rolling over to look at him, her chin resting on his chest.
“Oh yeah, what’s that?” Lorenzo asked, lightly stroking his fingers through her auburn hair.
Skye smiled. “You,” she said. “Being with you like this . . . being in your arms . . . knowing how much you love me – how much we love each other.”
Lorenzo looked at her. “I do love you. More than I can ever put into words. I have lost so much in my life, Skye . . . but you have given me so much more in return.”
“We’ve given a lot to each other Lorenzo,” Skye said, taking his hand in hers and putting it on her belly.
Lorenzo closed his eyes a moment, his fingers splayed over her growing belly. This baby – their baby – was a miracle and a treasure for both of them. He had missed out on Diego’s and Jessica’s births and was determined to be there for this baby. It was his second chance to be the father he wanted to be.
Skye watched Lorenzo’s face. Using her free hand, she cupped his cheek and made him look up at her. “You’re going to be an amazing father Lorenzo. I see how you are with Diego – how you guide him and listen to him; I’ve seen you with Michael and Morgan and how you’ve made them feel like they belong and how you spend time with them so they don’t feel left out because their father died. And with Elaina . . . you are patient and attentive with her. You listen to her and treat her like the smart little girl she is and not a baby. All of that Lorenzo has shown me the amazing heart you have and I couldn’t have asked for any more in the man who is the father of my child.”
Lorenzo was floored by Skye’s declaration. “Wow,” he managed to get out. “Skye . . .”
Skye put her fingers over his lips. “You don’t have to say anything,” she said with a smile. “I just wanted to express what I feel.” She leaned in and replaced her fingers with her lips.
Lorenzo responded to the kiss, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to him. He deepened the kiss as he pushed Skye onto her back, moving over her. Breaking the kiss, Lorenzo moved down her neck, kissing and biting at the soft skin there.
Her body arched into his, a small sigh escaping her lips as he continued to move lower, his lips and teeth grazing over her breasts – eliciting more cries from her. He moved over her as her body arched and writhed under him. Being careful to put all of his weight on his arms – which were placed on either side of her on the bed, Lorenzo slid into her, the both of them gasping as they came together.
Moving with him, Skye wrapped her arms around him, wanting to feel him closer to her. As she pulled him closer, Skye captured his lips with hers, kissing him deeply and passionately.
Elaina sat at the kitchen table on her knees – Jason would have preferred her in a booster seat, but he was not in the mood for another fight. She poked at the vegetables on her plate and put a tiny piece of chicken into her mouth. As she chewed she looked up at her Daddy. She still didn’t want to go to her Poppi’s house tonight – she wanted to stay with her Daddy. It wasn’t fair.
As he ate, Jason watched Elaina out of the corner of his eye. He and Sam had finally gotten her to calm down and understand that he was going to be okay even if she wasn’t there. And that Sam was going to stay with him. He could tell Elaina still wasn’t too happy about the situation. “Eat your vegetables,” he said, tapping his daughter’s plate with his fork.
Elaina sighed and poked a piece of carrot with her fork and put it into her mouth. She made a face as she chewed. Then she opened her mouth and spit the partially chewed up carrot back onto her plate.
“Elaina!” Jason said, putting his fork down. “What are you doing?” She was seriously testing his nerves.
“Yucky vegibles Daddy,” Elaina said, pushing her plate away. “Want ice cweam.”
Jason shook his head. “No,” he said. “Remember what I said about not having dessert tonight because of your behavior? If you’re done eating, then I want you to go upstairs and make sure you have everything you want for Poppi’s house.”
Elaina stared at her father a moment. He was still making her go? And she wasn’t even going to be able to get any ice cream first? Pouting, Elaina climbed off of the chair and ran out of the kitchen.
Sighing, Jason put down his fork and moved to get up, but Sam’s hand on his stopped him.
“She’ll be fine,” Sam said, intertwining her fingers with his.
“She’s never acted like this before Sam. And it’s more than just the Terrible Twos,” Jason said, sitting back in his chair and pushing his own plate of food away.
Sam could see how much this was upsetting him. “I think its all part of what happened to her Jason,” she said. “The nightmares. Being afraid to leave you. She’s still scared that something is going to happen to you or her if you’re apart from each other. I know it’s hard, but you both need to be apart tonight. You need sleep Jason. And Elaina needs to know that there is plenty of other family here that will take care of her.”
Jason knew Sam was right, but that didn’t make it any easier. “I’m thinking of talking to Lainey about what’s going on, see if she can suggest anything.”
“I think that’s a good idea,” Sam said as she popped a carrot into her mouth. She made a face and spit it out into her napkin.
“Sam!” Jason said in the same tone he had used with his daughter.
“What? Well, Elaina was right, that’s gross,” Sam said as she gathered up their plates and put them in the sink.
Jason just shook his head with a small smile on his lips.
“Jason is going to be here soon with Elaina,” Skye said, although she was reluctant to leave Lorenzo’s arms.
“If you’re not up for this Skye, I can spend the evening with her so you can rest,” Lorenzo said, kissing her temple gently.
Skye sat up, reaching for her robe as she swung her feet to the floor. “No way. I love spending time with Elaina. And anyway, I could use all the practice I could get.”
Lorenzo flopped onto his back, the dark silk sheets draped across his waist. “True,” he said. “But you also need to get some rest.”
Skye stopped on her way to the bathroom. “Well, if you were so concerned about my getting rest, we wouldn’t have gone for that second session.” Giving him a sly, seductive smile, Skye went into the bathroom.
Throwing the sheets off, Lorenzo got up and followed her. “You might need some help in there.”
“Have you found anything I can use?” Manny asked as his head of security walked into the office.
“Not yet,” Antonio said. He knew it wasn’t what Manny wanted to hear.
Manny shook his head. “So you’re telling me that there is no one associated with Alcazar or Morgan who wants to get even with them or is not happy being associated with them?” he asked.
“I’ll look harder,” Antonio said.
“Do that,” Manny snapped and turned to the window, dismissing the man. He needed to find a weak link. More than just a family member snatched away from them. There had to be something more – something he could use to take them down once and for all. And once he found it, he was going to come down on them hard.
“Now, you remember that if you have a bad dream, Poppi and Skye will be there for you,” Jason said as he and Elaina walked down the path between the two houses.
“No wanna go Daddy,” Elaina tried again. “Wanna stay wif Daddy.”
Jason stopped and kneeled down in front of his daughter. “Elaina, I love you, you know that, right?” He waited until she nodded. “Good. But Daddy has been doing a lot lately and I need some sleep. And so do you. Poppi and Skye will not let anything bad happen to you while you’re at their house, understand?”
“But bad man come and hurt Daddy,” Elaina said, tears pooling in her big emerald eyes. Jessica’s eyes.
“No. He won’t come back,” Jason said. “And I won’t be alone. Sam is going to be there.”
“Mommy pwotet you?” Elaina asked, sniffling.
“Yes, she will protect me,” Jason said. “And I want for you to be a good girl. Can you do that?”
Elaina didn’t answer right away. Then she only shrugged and hugged her bear tighter to her.
Sighing, Jason stood and took her hand and they continued walking. He hoped Lorenzo and Skye knew what they were in for.
Diego parked his car by the garage and sat there a minute. Lulu had been acting strange during lunch and that hadn’t changed the rest of the afternoon. He had just dropped her off at home after their last class and she was still acting weird.
Although he had to admit, maybe he was acting weird with her too. Could he seriously be jealous of Spinelli and all the attention he paid to Lulu? They were friends. Lulu was the first friend he had in a long time that accepted him for who he was – not who she wanted him to be. She was okay with the life he lived – and even though she worried, she never tried to tell him how he should live. She loved his family and fit right in. She was the best friend he’d ever had.
But what if this was becoming something more than friendship? Could he possibly be falling for her? No. They were friends. Just friends. Right?
Skye heard Jason and Elaina downstairs. She smiled when she saw them. “Hey sweetie,” she said, going to Elaina.
Elaina latched onto Jason’s leg and held on tight.
Jason sighed. “Elaina. We talked about this,” he said, bending down to try and pry his little girl off of his leg.
Skye bit her lip as she watched Elaina hold on tighter, shaking her head.
Lorenzo had come out of the kitchen and walked over to Skye, putting his hand on her back. Sam had warned him about what was going on.
“No go Daddy!” Elaina yelled. “No go way!”
Jason closed his eyes, digging deep to find an ounce of patience.
Lorenzo saw this and went over to the two of them. This was hard for both father and daughter and it was painful to watch. “Elaina, you’re going to be fine here. And Daddy will be just down the path.”
“No want Poppi! Want Daddy!” Elaina cried.
Jason looked at Lorenzo. “I’ll just take her home . . .”
“No. Jason you need to sleep. You know that. And she is going to be fine here with us. Elaina will stay here and you will go home.” With that said Lorenzo crouched down and pried Elaina off of Jason, lifting her in his arms.
It was rare for Elaina to go into full tantrum mode – but this was one of those occasions. As she screamed and cried, trying to reach for her Daddy, Lorenzo had Skye walk Jason out.
“She’s going to be okay Jason,” Skye tried to reassure him over the screams and cries of his little girl. “She needs this as much as you do.”
Jason knew she was right, but that didn’t make it any easier. “If it gets worse, call me.”
“That won’t be necessary,” Skye said. “Lorenzo and I are here. As well as Diego and a house full of guards and staff. She’ll probably just cry herself to sleep.”
Fighting off the impulse to go and get his daughter, Jason left the house.
Skye returned to the living room to see Lorenzo walking around the living room, Elaina still in his arms as he gently rubbed her back and sang softly to her in Spanish. Elaina was still sniffling, but had stopped screaming as she listened to the song. It was one of her favorites that her Poppi would sing to her. The scene brought tears to Skye’s eyes as she watched.
Lorenzo walked over to the back doors, looking out at the fading light as he continued to softly sing to Elaina, feeling her body calm in his arms. She had been so distraught and angry and it had taken a little while to calm her down, but it seemed to be working. Lorenzo made a mental note to check with Jason about his talking to Dr. Lainey Winters about what was going on.
Turning, Lorenzo saw Skye come into the living room. “Is she sleeping?” he asked, turning so Skye could see Elaina.
Elaina’s face was streaked with tears, her thumb was in her mouth, and her eyes were still open, although she didn’t look like she would last that much longer. “Not yet,” she whispered. “But she’s getting there.”
Lorenzo nodded and continued to walk around the room, singing so only Elaina heard him. Her screams had almost tore his heart apart – he could only imagine how Jason had been feeling as Lorenzo forced him to leave.
That was the hardest thing Jason had to ever do since losing Jessica. The screams of his daughter as he left tore at his heart. But they both needed this. And after her display that evening, Jason knew he was going to have to contact Dr. Winters as soon as possible about what was going on.
Pushing open the back door, Jason stepped into the kitchen. It was empty and he could see that Sam had cleaned up. Sam. She always said he was a steadying force in her life, but he was sure she had done so much more for him than he did for her. She moved in and helped him care for his daughter without his asking her. She made the penthouse and now this house a real home. She brought joy into his daughter’s life. And into his. Sitting at the kitchen table, Jason put his head into his hands as he remembered that dream he had of Jessica. It had seemed so real as she pleaded with him to move on with his life. Maybe she was right. He had to move on. He couldn’t continue to stay stuck in the past – she was not coming back to him. It wasn’t fair to him. To Elaina. And to Sam.
Getting up, Jason decided it was time to be honest with himself and with Sam. He was going to find her and use this time alone to talk to her, make her understand.
Sam stopped pacing when she heard the back door into the kitchen open and close. Jason was back. She then heard the scrape of the chair as he sat at the table. Sam wanted to go to him, but wasn’t sure if she should. He had to be hurting over what was happening with Elaina and how she was reacting what Manny put her through. Sam swore that once she was able to, she was going to make Manny Ruiz pay for what he did to that little girl.
Taking another pass around the living room, Sam stopped and gasped when she saw Jason standing there. She hadn’t even heard him come into the room. She took a moment to look at him. There were dark circles under his eyes. His face was pale. His blue eyes not as bright. All Sam wanted to do in that moment was wrap her arms around him. And that’s exactly what she did.
Diego found his father sitting in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in front of him. Pouring himself a cup he joined his father at the table.
“Elaina’s sleeping?” Diego asked, sipping from his cup. He had heard Elaina’s cries when he came in and had spoken to Skye about what was going on. It had been hard to listen to and not step in, but his father seemed to have it under control.
Lorenzo nodded. “She wore herself out.” He had felt horrible making Jason leave and enduring Elaina’s screaming, but it was what they both needed. “She’ll probably sleep for a few hours – I don’t expect her to sleep through the night.” Hence the coffee.
“Resting,” Lorenzo said. He looked at his son. “Is there something you want to talk about?” he asked. Since sitting down, Lorenzo noticed how fidgety Diego was in his chair. Something was on his son’s mind.
“It can wait,” Diego said, moving to get up. “You have enough to handle for one night.”
Lorenzo stopped Diego. “Elaina’s sleeping. Skye’s resting. Spinelli is . . . somewhere around here. So talk. What’s going on?”
Diego sighed and sat back down. “Alright. Here’s the thing. Have you ever had a friend – of the opposite sex – and you two are the best of friends. You know, can tell each other anything, always have each other’s backs, all of that. But then . . . you’re feelings for that friend start to change?”
Smiling, Lorenzo looked down into his cup and then to his son. “I’m going to assume you’re talking about you and Lulu,” he said.
“Yeah,” Diego answered. “I mean, Lulu gets me. She doesn’t criticize my life. She supports me. And knows when to give me space. At first, it was nothing big – like she was a kid sister. But now . . .” Diego trailed off, figure if he put into actual words what he was feeling it would make it real and there would be no taking it back.
“But now you’re feeling something deeper,” Lorenzo said knowingly. “And yes, I’ve been there.”
“You have?” Diego asked. “Who?”
Diego realized his father was right. He and Skye had started out as friends, leaning on each other when they needed support, backing each other up through thick and thin. And now they were in love. They were having a child together. And Diego was sure they would marry soon. “So . . . what do I do?” he asked.
Lorenzo thought a moment. He knew his situation and his son’s were different in some aspects. “Well, do you think Lulu feels differently about you as well?” he asked.
Diego shrugged. “I don’t know. I think so. She’s been acting kind of weird the last few days. Something’s on her mind, but she won’t talk to me about it. And Lulu has never kept anything from me.”
“Maybe she feels the same way you do and isn’t sure how to bring it up,” Lorenzo suggested.
“But, if she is . . . how do I get her to talk about it?” Diego asked. Why did this have to be so complicated?
“I wish I knew son,” Lorenzo said with a shake of his head. “Just hang in there son.”
“Thanks,” Diego said with a roll of his eyes. He had been hoping for something a little more insightful.
Sam held onto Jason tightly a moment before pulling back. “That bad, huh?” she asked, taking his hand and leading him to the couch.
“Worse,” Jason said miserably, dropping heavily onto the couch. “I almost couldn’t do it Sam. I couldn’t leave her there like that.”
“I’m sorry Jason,” Sam said. Moving behind him, she started to massage his shoulders. They were so tense.
Jason moaned, dropping his head forward a moment. This felt so good. Under Sam’s hands, Jason started to relax, his eyes slipping closed.
Sam smiled as she felt him relax. This was exactly what he needed. As he relaxed further, Sam moved from behind him and to his side. Lifting Jason’s chin, she turned his head to her and leaned in, kissing him.
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