“Jason, wait!” Sam exclaimed, clutching the bed covers around herself. She tried not to laugh as Jason pulled open the bedside drawer to get the gun she knew he kept there.
Spinelli still stood in the doorway, clutching his laptop bag to him.
“Spinelli, why don’t you wait downstairs,” Sam suggested, keeping a restraining hand on Jason’s arm to keep him where he was.
Spinelli blinked finally and started stammering, “Ummm . . . uh . . . yeah . . . I’ll, ummm . . . just be right . . . right downstairs.” Then he turned on his heel and darted out of the room.
Once he was gone, Sam flopped back against the pillows, laughing.
“You would find this hilarious,” Jason grumbled as he tossed the covers off and grabbed his jeans from the floor.
“Come on Jason! It is hilarious! Did you see his face? I think we traumatized the poor kid!”
Shaking his head, Jason finished getting dressed. He looked at his watch. “After I finish dealing with Spinelli I have to head over to GH for my meeting with Dr. Winters.”
Sam nodded as she got out of bed as well, the sheet still wrapped around her. “Just don’t kill Spinelli while I’m in the shower,” she said over her shoulder.
“I’m not making any promises,” Jason responded.
“Elaina, come on! We need to go,” Lorenzo said, heading over to the sandbox where Elaina had been playing.
“Where we go Poppi?” Elaina asked, looking up at him.
“Remember, Skye has a doctor’s appointment for the baby,” Lorenzo responded.
Elaina’s eyes widened as she got up. “Can I see baby?”
“Of course you can,” Skye answered as she came over and handed Lorenzo the blanket and Elaina’s backpack. Bending down, Skye then helped Elaina to brush the sand off her hands and clothing.
“How I see baby?” Elaina asked reaching out and putting her little hands on the roundness of Skye’s belly.
Skye smiled. “The doctor has a special machine that will help us to see,” she explained.
Elaina bounced on her toes in excitement. “Let’s go Sye! Let’s go Poppi! We see baby!”
Laughing, Skye took Elaina’s hand and the three walked to the waiting car.
Lorenzo watched Skye and Elaina. Skye was able to calm Elaina or keep her entertained or distracted if need be. She was going to be a wonderful mother.
“So, do we have a deal?” Manny asked after detailing his plan. He had chosen Johnny Mendoza to help carry out his plan because Johnny was ruthless and he went after what he wanted full force. Johnny Mendoza had been sitting on the sidelines, biding his time – and his time was coming now. Manny was going to see to it and form a strong alliance at the same time.
Johnny sipped the scotch he had been nursing while Manny mapped out his plan. There was a lot of potential, that was obvious, but there was also a lot of risk.
Setting his glass done, Johnny cleared his throat, his arms folded across his broad chest. “Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t you recently kidnap Morgan’s daughter and Alcazar’s sister only to be thwarted by a child?”
Manny glared but was not going to be baited. “This plan is going to work. And neither of us has to get our hands dirty while we reap all of the benefits.”
“It does have its potential,” Johnny agreed.
“And it will effectively bring you the attention and notoriety you deserve.”
Johnny nodded. It was true. He was getting tired of waiting to take the reigns of the organization from his father. He was tired of his father sitting back while Alcazar and Morgan called all the shots. If he teamed up with Manny, he could reach his goals a lot faster.
“I’m in,” Johnny said with a nod.
“S-Stone Cold . . . the Jackal is sincerely sorry for bursting in on an intimate moment between yourself and the Goddess.”
Jason held up his hand to stop him. The kid was giving him a headache. “What did you want?”
Spinelli nodded and pulled his beloved laptop from his bag. “The Jackal has stumbled upon a jewel of info. In his monitoring of the movements of the Evil One.”
“Show me what you’ve found,” Jason said with restrained patience.
“Coming right up, Stone Cold,” Spinelli assured as he accessed the file. As soon as it opened, Spinelli clicked on the folder with the surveillance photos. “Voila! It appears the Evil One is fraternizing with a known ally to you and Big Al.”
Jason looked at the screen – looked right at the captured image of Johnny Mendoza.
After her shower, Sam pulled on a pair of low-ride jeans and a simple white t-shirt. Leaving her feet bare, she headed downstairs. Jason and Spinelli were both gone. Sam decided to use the time to just veg on the couch and read a couple of magazines.
Just as she was getting comfortable, the front door burst open and Lulu rushed in. “Oh, thank God you’re here!” she exclaimed upon seeing Sam.
“What’s going on?” Sam asked, putting her magazine down.
“Diego asked me out to dinner tonight . . . at the Metro-Court and I have NOTHING to wear! I need you’re help!”
Sam bit her lip in amusement. “Wow. So is this a real date? I mean, you and Diego hang out all the time . . . is this dinner something more?”
“I think so,” Lulu said as she sank onto the couch next to Sam. “I know I have deeper feelings for Diego than friendship . . . but what if he doesn’t feel the same way as I do?”
“Lulu, if Diego asked you out to this dinner . . . maybe he does,” Sam said. “And if he doesn’t, then you still have his friendship.”
Lulu let out a breath and nodded. “I guess,” she said.
“You know, I think I might have the perfect dress for you upstairs,” Sam said, getting up. “And I think the shoes will fit you perfectly.”
“Thank you so much Sam!” Lulu exclaimed, jumping up to hug the other woman.
Diego didn’t know how he was going to make it through the rest of his classes. He knew that today was an early day for Lulu. She didn’t have any late afternoon classes while he had two.
But all he could think about was his dinner with Lulu that night. He knew this dinner would chart the course for the rest of their relationship.
Walking into the room for his next class, Diego slumped into his seat and looked at the clock. This was a three hour class and it was going to be pure torture.
After talking with Spinelli, Jason called Max and told him to contact Stan and Lorenzo and have them all meet back at the house for a meeting. He told Spinelli to continuing monitoring Mendoza’s actions. He also sent word to Stan to check in with surveillance team to see what they could find out.
Jason stepped off the elevator and headed to the nurse’s station. “Hi. I have an appointment with Dr. Winters,” he said.
The nurse looked up and smiled. She checked the computer. “I’ll let her know you’re here Mr. Morgan,” she said.
Jason thanked the nurse and moved over to the couches to sit. Talking to a shrink was not ideal for him. He had been forced to talk to a shrink after his accident and it had been a disaster. But this was for his daughter. He was going to buck up and do this.
He looked up and saw Dr. Winters. He had heard wonderful things about her. He stood up.
“Let’s go to my office,” Lainey suggested and led the way.
“You didn’t really say why you wanted to meet,” Lainey began as she sat in the chair across from him.
“Actually, I’m here to talk about my daughter, Elaina,” Jason said. “She’s been going through some tough stuff lately and has been having nightmares.”
Lainey made a couple of notes on a pad on her lap. “Okay, let’s start at the beginning. What are the behaviors you’re seeing?”
“She’s having nightmares on a daily basis and usually ends up in my bed when she has them. She’s always having issues not being with me.”
Lainey nodded. “Was there some kind of incident that can pinpoint why this started?”
Jason leaned back and sighed. He nodded. “A little over a month ago she witnessed me being shot in the leg and was kidnapped along with Lorenzo’s sister Sam.”
“I see,” Lainey said, making another note. “Do you know what happened to her while she was abducted?”
Jason nodded again. “She witnessed Sam being beaten and had a gun put to her own head. She managed to escape and made her way home . . . and pretty much saved Sam’s life.”
Lainey had stopped writing and looked at Jason. “My God,” she said. “How old is your daughter again?”
“Two,” Jason said. “Going on twenty.”
Lainey smiled. “What you’ve describe to me and her reactions to it – especially the separation anxiety issues – I would have to say she’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder of some sort.”
Jason sat back and rubbed his hands over his face. “So what do I do?” he asked, hating the thought of his daughter having to go through this.
“Well, I’d like to meet with her a couple of times. She’s young and has a supportive family . . . so I am confident that we can help her through this,” Lainey said confidently.
“Okay,” Jason said. “When do you want to start the sessions?”
“The sooner the better,” Lainey said. “I have an opening tomorrow afternoon.”
“I’ll bring her,” he said, standing up. “Thank you.”
Lainey stood up as well. “I want to help. You don’t have to thank me – yet.”
Lorenzo smiled as he watched Elaina’s eyes, which were glued to the sonogram monitor. “Do you see the baby?” he asked.
Elaina nodded, barely blinking. “Is baby ready to come now?” she asked, not looking away from the screen.
Dr. Kelly Lee smiled at the little girl. “Not yet,” she said, moving the wand around. “The baby has to stay in a little while longer to get big and strong.”
“How longer?” Elaina asked, finally tearing her eyes from the screen and looking at the doctor.
“About four more months,” Kelly said.”
Elaina’s eyes widened. “That’s a long time,” she said. “Can I play with baby then?”
“Remember, we said the baby was still going to be small? But you can help Skye take care of him or her,” Lorenzo said.
“Speaking of him or her,” Kelly said, moving the wand some more. “We may be in luck. This little one seems to want to show off a bit.”
“You mean you can tell what it is?” Skye asked, speaking up for the first time. She looked at Lorenzo. They hadn’t yet decided if they wanted to know ahead of time what the baby was going to be.
“Do you want to know?” Skye asked Lorenzo.
Lorenzo looked from the monitor to Skye. He could see she was anxious to know, even though they had never really discussed it. “I do if you do,” he said, leaving the decision in her hands.
Skye bit her lip and looked back at the monitor. She looked at Dr. Lee. “Okay,” she said. “Tell us.”
“You are going to have a healthy little boy,” Kelly said.
Jason pushed the button for the elevator as soon as his session with Lainey Winters was over. He was going to go home and talk to Sam about Dr. Winter’s suggestions. He wanted to get Elaina through this, but he had to admit to himself that with the life he led, something like this was bound to happen again.
Sighing, Jason waited for the elevator, but turned when he heard his daughter’s voice.
“Daddy! Daddy!” Elaina yelled as she pulled away from Skye and Lorenzo and ran to him.
Jason bent down and caught his daughter, swinging her up into his arms. “Hey my princess,” he said, hugging her. “What are you doing here?”
“I see Sye and Poppi’s baby!” she said excitedly.
“Really?” Jason asked. “Was it fun?”
“Everything okay?” Lorenzo asked once they had reached Jason and Elaina.
Jason nodded. “Yeah. I had a meeting with Dr. Winters,” he said.
“Daddy sick?” Elaina asked, putting her hands on her father’s cheeks.
“No sweetie,” Jason said. “I’m fine.” Then he looked at Lorenzo and Skye. “How did the appointment go?”
Skye couldn’t help smiling so much. She put her hand on her belly. “Perfect,” she said. “Dr. Lee said we were having a boy,” she said.
“Congratulations,” Jason said, hugging Skye and slapping Lorenzo on the back.
“Daddy, we go home now?” Elaina asked.
“Yes. Sam is there and I know she’d love to see you,” Jason said to his daughter. Then he looked at Lorenzo. “This evening we need to talk,” he said. “Something’s come up.”
With his last class finally over, Diego practically sprinted to his car. He wanted to get home, shower and change before picking up Lulu.
Getting home as quickly as he could, Diego pulled into the driveway and jumped out of his car. Grabbing his backpack, he ran into the house and right up to his room. He didn’t have time for interruptions.
“Mommy! Mommy! I home!” Elaina yelled and ran through the living room once her father had put her down.
Sam came out of the kitchen as Elaina ran to her. “Hey there munchkin!” she said as she scooped the little girl up. “Did you have a good time with Poppi and Skye?”
Elaina nodded. “Mommy, I see baby!”
Sam’s eyebrows went up. “You did? Where?”
“In Sye’s belly!” Elaina said. “I see on screen.”
“Skye and Lorenzo had a doctor’s appointment and brought Elaina with them,” Jason explained at Sam’s look. “She saw the baby on the sonogram machine.”
“Wow! I bet that was pretty exciting!” Sam exclaimed.
Elaina nodded happily. “Can I have juice Mommy?”
“Yes you can. And very nice asking,” Sam said. “Why don’t you go and get your cup and I’ll be right there.”
Elaina ran into the kitchen to find her cup.
“How did the appointment go?” Sam asked Jason once Elaina was in the kitchen.
“She wants me to bring Elaina in tomorrow,” he said. “Dr. Winters thinks she might be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress.”
Sam bit her lip. “Are you going to do it?” she asked. Jason had told her about his aversion to talking to psychologists, or cooperating with doctor’s in general.
Jason nodded. “Yeah, I am,” he said. He took a deep breath. “There’s more.”
Sam recognized the look in his eyes. “What’s going on?”
“It looks like Manny contacted an associate of ours – Mendoza,” Jason said. He knew Sam was well versed in the business and didn’t have a problem telling her what was going on. Sam was more than capable of understanding what was going on and taking the necessary measures to be safe and keep those she loves safe.
“Mendoza? I thought he was an ally of Lorenzo’s,” Sam said. “Why would he be meeting with Manny?”
“Not Alberto – Johnny,” Jason said. “Spinelli managed to get photos of Johnny meeting with Manny at his estate in Miami. I don’t know what’s going on yet, but I’m meeting with Lorenzo to see what we’re going to do.”
“Okay,” said Sam. “Let me know what you need me to do.”
Jason walked over to Sam, taking her face in her hands. “You know I trust you with Elaina’s life,” he said. “That’s all I need for you to do for me.”
Sam looked up at him. “You know I would do anything to keep her safe,” she said.
Jason leaned in and gently kissed her. “I know,” he whispered.
“Mommy! I weady!” They heard Elaina call from the kitchen.
Johnny lounged back on the couch in the library. He and Manny had spent a majority of the afternoon working out the details of their plan. If he was going to be involved in this, he was going to make sure it was fool-proof. He wanted nothing to go wrong.
“Are you sure Antonio is not only reliable, but qualified for this operation?” he asked Manny as he sipped his iced tea.
“More than sure,” Manny said. “He’s been with my family for years and is loyal to me.”
Johnny nodded. “Fine,” he said. “I am also going to bring in some of my own men – those that I can rely on.”
Manny nodded in ascent. He was fortunate to have been able to get Johnny on board; he was not going to begrudge the man anything – for now. But he was the one in charge, not Mendoza, and Manny was going to make sure that was made clear.
Johnny nodded again as he watched Manny. He knew of the Ruiz family and his father had had some dealings with the family in the past, before aligning with Alcazar. Johnny knew Manny was the ruthless one. The one willing to sacrifice his family for the ultimate power – and he did. Morgan may have been the one to kill Javier, but Johnny knew it was Manny who had taken his father’s life. Senior Ruiz had been weak. He had sat back when he could have acquired more territory, more power, and more money.
Johnny saw the potential in Manny. But he also saw the risks of working with someone as unpredictable and volatile as Manny Ruiz. He was going to be keeping his eye on his partner . . . and he already had plans in the works if Manny got too out of hand.
Diego checked his watch as he pulled into the Quartermaine driveway. He didn’t want to be late picking up Lulu.
As he pulled up to the front door, he was surprised to see Lulu already outside. He watched as she ran to the car and jumped in. “Okay, let’s go,” she said as she secured her seatbelt.
“Everything okay?” Diego asked as he shifted the car into gear and headed back down the driveway.
“Everything’s fine,” Lulu said. “I just didn’t want you to have to endure the Quartermaine’s.”
Diego smiled. “It wouldn’t have bothered me,” he said. “I would have endured them for you.”
Lulu felt her cheeks heat.
They arrived at the Metro-Court quickly and Diego climbed out of the car. He went around, opened the door for Lulu, and took her hand to help her out.
“Thank you,” Lulu said with a smile as she got out of the car.
Diego gave the valet his keys and guided Lulu into the lobby, his hand at the small of her back.
Once inside, they headed for the elevators to take them to the restaurant. “This is really nice of you Diego. You really didn’t have to go to all this trouble for me.”
Diego looked down at her. “Yes I did,” he said. He took Lulu’s hand in his. “You’re special to me Lulu . . . and I wanted to do something special for you.”
“You think I’m special?” Lulu asked, lifting her eyes to his.
“Yeah, I do,” he said. “Lulu . . . we’re more than friends. At least . . . I want us to be more than friends.”
Lulu’s breath caught. It was exactly what she had wanted to hear. “Diego . . .”
Lifting a finger to her lips, he stopped her. Then he leaned down and replaced his finger with his lips.
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