“Alright, what do we know so far,” Lorenzo said as everyone gathered in his office. Jason had told him about Spinelli’s findings. And he didn’t like what they implied.
Stan was the first to speak up. “According to what Spinelli found, Johnny Mendoza is meeting with Manny. We don’t know why.”
“How long has this been going on?” Lorenzo asked pacing back and forth.
“He arrived this morning. As far as we can tell, he’s still there,” Stan answered.
Lorenzo nodded. He didn’t like this. “How did you get this information Spinelli? I’ve had teams down there that haven’t been able to get close to the compound. How did you?”
“Ummm . . .” Spinelli sputtered a moment. “Well, the amazing Jackal . . . managed to tap into a satellite that . . . happened to be right over said compound.”
Lorenzo raised an eyebrow. “It just happened to be right where you needed it?” he questioned.
“Well . . . Magnanimous Al . . . the Jackal might have . . . nudged it a little – but fear not,” he rushed on to assure. “The Jackal’s never been caught and never will.”
Closing his eyes a moment, Lorenzo took in a deep breath and then let it out slowly. “Fine,” he said. “See if you can keep the surveillance on them as long as possible – without getting caught – and keep me informed.
“Will do Magnanimous One!” Spinelli said with a salute.
Lorenzo nodded and then turned to Max. “Increase security here and on the kids. Johnny is a wild card . . . Alberto is having trouble controlling him – and this is a prime example. No one goes anywhere alone. If he’s teaming up with Manny . . . it won’t be good.”
“You got it boss,” Max said, getting up to make arrangements.
He turned to Stan next. “I want you to check on the Mendoza accounts and see what you can find out from Alberto – see if he’s even still alive. I wouldn’t put it past Johnny to take him out. If he hasn’t already, he will.”
Stan nodded and headed off to do his task.
Once the meeting was over, Lorenzo turned to Jason. “What are your thoughts?” he asked.
“Johnny’s been wanting to break free of Alberto for a long time – we knew that. It was only a matter of time before he made his move. I don’t like that he went to Manny . . . Manny’s psychotic on his own and Johnny is power hungry. That’s a lethal combination.”
“I agree,” Lorenzo said. “We stay alert. Keep our eyes open and everyone on their toes. Have you told Sam?”
Jason nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “She understands what’s going on. And I know she’ll protect Elaina. Have you told Skye?”
“Not yet,” Lorenzo said. “I don’t know how much she should know. With the baby and all . . .”
“That’s why she should know Lorenzo. Skye is strong. And her knowing is what will keep her on guard at all times,” Jason pointed out. “You should tell her.”
“Tell me what?”
Lorenzo and Jason turned, seeing Skye in the doorway.
“Mommy, do you wuv Daddy?” Elaina asked as she sat in the bathtub, filled with her favorite bubbles.
Sam was kneeling beside the tub. “Of course I do,” she said as she squeezed some shampoo into her hand to begin washing Elaina’s hair.
“You and Daddy get married?” Elaina asked closing her eyes.
“What do you know about being married?” Sam asked in amusement laethering the shampoo in Elaina’s hair.
“My fwends Mommy and Daddy married cause they wuv each uver,” Elaina said matter of factly. “You wuv Daddy. Do Daddy wuv you?”
“Yes, I do,” Jason said from the doorway.
Elaina opened her eyes. “Hi Daddy!” she said happily. “I have baf.”
“I can see that,” Jason said as he stepped into the bathroom. “And I can also see you’re having your special bubble bath.”
Elaina nodded. “Daddy, you wuv Mommy?” she asked, going back to her original conversation.
Jason looked at Sam and then his daughter. “Yes, I love your Mommy very much,” he said. “Are you okay with that?”
Elaina looked between the two of them. Then she nodded. “I happy,” she said. “I have two mommies. Mommy Sam and Mommy in Heaven.”
Sam smiled. “And I think that is wonderful,” she said, tears pooling in her eyes.
Jason gently rubbed Sam’s back. “Why don’t you finish up your bath and then we can have some dessert before bed, okay?”
Elaina’s eyes widened happily. “What kind?” she asked.
“Ice cream,” Jason said with a smile.
“Chocowat?” she asked.
“With whipped cream,” Jason said. He leaned over and kissed his daughter on the cheek. “I’ll see you downstairs,” he added to Sam.
Sam nodded. “Okay Little Miss,” she said. “Let’s get this bath done so we can have some ice cream.”
“What’s going on Lorenzo?” Skye asked. After Jason had left, – rather hurriedly – Skye refused to back down. “And don’t tell me it’s nothing. It’s something and I want to know.”
“Alright,” Lorenzo said. He knew it was best that she knew. It would put her on alert and keep her that much safer. “Manny is conspiring with the son of a known ally – Johnny Mendoza.”
“Okay,” said Skye. “But if the Mendoza Family are allies, then why is this . . . Johnny . . . working with Manny?”
“Johnny was always a loose cannon. He wants to take control and is getting tired of sitting on the sidelines. Alberto is not looking to make changes in the way he runs things – Johnny wants to change. I am sure he’s teaming up with Manny to do just that.”
“Didn’t Manny kill his own father?” Skye asked.
“Yes, he did.”
“Do you think this Johnny would do the same thing?”
“I wouldn’t put it past him,” Lorenzo said. “In fact, I’ve sent a team to increase security around Alberto. I’m hoping it won’t happen.”
“And if it does . . . then the alliance is broken and you’ve gained a new enemy,” Skye said.
Lorenzo confirmed with a nod.
“Okay . . . what do we do?”
“I’ve increased security here and at Jason’s, including on Carly and the boys. I will not let my guard down with Johnny and Manny now working together.”
Skye slid closer to Lorenzo on the couch. “I know you’ll do everything you can to keep us all safe,” she said. She took his hand in hers. “But I do not want you – or Jason – putting yourselves at risk to keep us safe. We need you too,” she added, taking his hand and putting it over her belly.
“I am not going anywhere,” Lorenzo said, his eyes on their hands as he felt their son moving. He smiled at Skye. “Feels like we have a kicker on our hands.”
Skye laughed. “Tell me about it,” she said. “And he is definitely a night owl.”
Lorenzo leaned over and gently whispered to Skye’s belly, where their son was growing, “Comportese para su mama, mi hijo. Su mama necesita resto.” (Behave for your Mommy, my son. Your Mommy needs rest.)
Skye smiled and gently brushed her fingers through Lorenzo’s hair. She loved when he was like this. A lump formed in her throat. He had missed this with Jessica and Diego . . . but now he had the chance to experience having a child right from the beginning.
“I will do everything in my power to keep you safe,” Lorenzo whispered. He looked up at Skye. “You are both my life.”
“And you’re ours,” Skye whispered, taking his cheeks in her hands. “I love you Lorenzo. You have given me the most precious gift . . . and not just our son . . . but a family.”
Lorenzo pulled Skye into his arms, holding her tightly and burying his face in her silky hair.
“Good morning, Big Brother,” Sam said as she walked into Lorenzo’s kitchen and leaned up to kiss him on the cheek.
Lorenzo looked at her with raised eyebrows as he sipped his coffee. “Good morning to you too,” he said. “What has you so chipper . . . wait . . . do I even want to know?”
Sam laughed as she pulled a mug out of the cabinet and poured herself a cup of coffee. “Well . . . I will tell you that mine and Jason relationship has taken a new step.”
“Yeah, I was right . . . I don’t want to know,” Lorenzo said, holding up a hand to stop her. “But I am glad things are changing for the better between you and Jason.”
“You are?” Sam asked. “I know you had a problem with him and Jessica . . .”
“And I regret that now. Especially now that I know Jason as well as I do,” Lorenzo admitted. “I have gotten to know the honorable man Jason is. The man Jessica fell in love with. And I know how much losing Jessica killed him. Moving on has been hard for him. So I’m glad he’s had you in his life.”
Sam put her cup down and hugged her brother. “Me too,” she said. “I didn’t expect this to happen . . . I wasn’t even looking for it to happen . . . but now that it has, I know that I never want to lose it. I love Jason. I love Elaina . . .”
“Are you saying that you – the world traveler – want to settle down and have a family of your own?” Lorenzo asked in feigned astonishment.
“Yeah,” said Sam with a smile. “That’s exactly what I want. I love that Elaina wants me to be her mommy. That Jason and I are moving on together. And . . . I want to have a baby . . . with Jason.”
Lorenzo reached over, wrapped his arm around his little sister, and pulled her to his side. “You are doing a wonderful job with Elaina. And I know you would make a wonderful mother, Sam.”
“Thank you. That means so much to me. And I know . . . for a fact . . . that you are going to be a wonderful father to your new little boy.”
“Where we go Daddy?” Elaina asked as she walked beside her father. She was thrilled that they were spending the morning together. They had gone to Kelly’s for breakfast and her daddy let her have whipped cream on her waffles and strawberries, her favorite.
“Well, we’re going to see a friend of mine who wants to talk to you,” Jason said as they neared General Hospital.
“Is fwend sick?” Elaina asked as they walked into the lobby.
“No, she’s not sick. Lainey is a doctor.”
Elaina’s eyes widened in fear. “I get shot?” she asked.
Jason picked Elaina up as they headed to the elevators. “No. She’s a different kind of doctor,” he tried to explain. “She’s a doctor that talks to people.”
“Oh,” said Elaina, not really understanding. “I get lollie pop if I good?”
Jason smiled and kissed his daughter’s soft cheek. “We’ll see,” he said.
“So, how did it go?” Skye asked when she saw Lulu. Last night had been wonderful with Lorenzo – he had been so open with his business problems and so loving about his son. She was being honest when she said that he had given her a family. She had never really been a part of family like this one. The feelings of love and respect were heartfelt, and Skye was determined to never lose that.
Lulu couldn’t help the smile that blossomed on her face. “Oh Skye, it was a wonderful night!” she gushed as she sank onto the couch next to the older woman.
Skye raised an eyebrow. “Wonderful . . . like in a nice dinner, maybe some dinner . . . or wonderful as in . . . wonderful?”
“Wonderful as in a nice dinner, some dancing . . . and the most amazing kiss I have ever experienced – and that’s all Skye. Diego and I have too much respect for each other to jump into bed just as our relationship could be changing.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Skye said. “Diego is a wonderful young man . . . and I can see how much he cares about you.”
Lulu nodded. “Last night . . . it was amazing Skye. And not awkward at all. It was as it always has been between us – there was none of that first date uneasiness. We had fun . . . but I was able to still feel what’s changing between us . . . and I liked it.”
Skye smiled. “I’m happy for you Lulu. You and Diego deserve this time with each other. I’m glad it’s working out for you two.”
“Me too,” Lulu said. She bit her lip, twisting her fingers together. “I know this might sound . . . I don’t know . . . but I think – I think I’m falling in love with Diego.”
“Hey Pop,” Diego greeted as he walked into the kitchen.
“Morning,” Lorenzo said as he watched his son. “You must have come in pretty late last night. I didn’t hear you.”
Diego nodded and joined his father at the table after pouring himself a cup of coffee. “After dinner Lulu and I went for a walk through the park.”
“So I take it things went well?” Lorenzo asked with a small smile.
“It was great Pop,” Diego said. “Everything about last night . . . and before you ask, no, we did not sleep together.”
Lorenzo held up his hands defensively. “I wasn’t going to ask. I trust you to make the right choices for your life Diego.”
That really meant a lot to him and he said as much to his father. “So, did I miss anything while I was out last night?” he asked, moving the conversation to another topic.
Lorenzo nodded and filled Diego in on what was going on with Manny and Johnny.
Diego shook his head. “Manny must be desperate if he’s recruiting,” he commented.
“And that makes him even more dangerous,” Lorenzo pointed out. “Manny has always been a loose cannon and now he’s recruited someone even more power hungry than he is. The two of them together is not a good combination. I need you to stay on alert Diego – keep everyone safe . . . and that includes Lulu. She means something to you Diego, so she may become a target.”
Diego understood that. He had known it was going to happen and he needed to talk to Lulu about it. He needed to give her the chance to back out now. Before it was too late. “How is Skye taking all of this?” he asked.
“Better than I thought she would,” Lorenzo admitted. “She’s strong. She’s determined. And I trust she won’t do anything to put herself or our son in harm.”
Diego looked up at his father. “Son? She’s having a boy?”
Lorenzo nodded, not bothering to hide his smile. “We found out yesterday afternoon.”
“Wow, Pop, that’s great,” Diego said happily. “And Skye and the baby are doing okay?”
“They’re good,” Lorenzo answered. “I did tell her all that’s going on – I felt it was important for her to be aware. And she’s willing to move to a safe house if I feel it’s necessary.”
“I think you finally found her Pop,” Diego said.
Lorenzo looked at his son questioningly. “I don’t think I understand what you mean.”
“The one woman who is able to accept you for you – including all of your faults and the life you live. She isn’t going to hold your child over you. She isn’t going to run away from you if things get dicey. You’re pretty lucky.”
“Yes I am,” Lorenzo agreed with a nod. And he was not going to ever let anything happen to Skye or the life they were building together.
Lainey smiled at the little girl sitting in the large armchair. “Hi Elaina,” she said, leaning forward slightly. “My name is Lainey.”
“Like my name!” Elaina exclaimed happily.
Lainey couldn’t help laughing a little. “Yes, just like yours,” she said. She liked Elaina Morgan instantly. Right away, Lainey could tell how bright she was. How she engaged a person, even an adult, easily. “Do you know why your hear?”
Elaina nodded. “Daddy say you like to talk,” she answered. “Why we talk?”
“Well, your Daddy and I were talking, and he was a little worried about you,” Lainey said. “Have you been having some troubles?”
“I get in twuble,” Elaina said. “Poppi yelled at me.”
“I see,” said Lainey with a nod. “Did he say why he yelled at you?”
Nodding her head up and down, Elaina shifted in the big chair so that she was now sitting on her knees. “I twy to run away. Poppi no like that.”
“I bet he was pretty scared when you did that,” Lainey responded. “Where did you try to go?”
“To Daddy. But Poppi said I not go . . . Daddy needed rwest.”
As the session continued, with Lainey asking some leading questions, she observed Elaina’s body language as she answered. Little by little, Elaina was tucking herself into the corner of the chair. Almost rolling herself into a little ball. Lainey stopped.
“You know what? You did such a wonderful job Elaina, I think we can stop here,” Lainey proclaimed. It hadn’t been a full hour, but Elaina was a little girl and Lainey could see this was starting to tire her out.
Elaina nodded and uncurled her legs from under her. “I good?” she asked.
“You were very good,” Lainey confirmed. “Are you worried about being good?”
“Daddy say I get lollie pop if I good,” Elaina informed her.
“Well, you earned it,” Lainey said. “In fact, I’m pretty sure I have one you would like.” Getting up, Lainey went to her desk and found the lollie pop she had put there that morning.
“Tank you,” Elaina said as she took the treat and let Lainey help her out of the chair. “I talk to you again?”
“Would you like to?”
Elaina shrugged her shoulders. She liked this lady whose name was like hers. But they talked about things Elaina didn’t want to talk about or remember.
As soon as the door was open, Elaina ran to her Daddy in the waiting area, the lollie pop clutched in her hand. “Daddy!” she called out. “I good!”
Jason swung her up into his arms. “I can see that,” he said.
“Are you happy?”
“I’m very happy,” Jason said, kissing her cheek.
Lainey hung back a moment, watching the interaction. She could see how much father and daughter loved each other, how connected they were. It was no wonder that Elaina was so upset when bad things had happened to Jason. They were a part of each other.
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