Chapter Fifty-Four

“Where the hell is my son?” Lorenzo yelled at Milo. “Someone is supposed to be with him at all times!”

Milo swallowed hard, his eyes wide. “I was with him sir,” he said, trying not to stammer.

“And where was that?” Lorenzo demanded.

“At General Hospital, sir,” Milo answered. “We returned to the house about an hour ago.”

“Then where the hell is he?”

Milo swallowed again. “He . . . he must be around sir.”

“Find him!”


“Good ride, Raven,” Diego said to the large black stallion as he led him into the stables. Diego had taken Lainey’s advice and done something for himself. As soon as he arrived back at the house from his session with her, Diego had changed into a pair of worn jeans and a soft, button down shirt, saddled up Raven and took off up the trails. It had been a long time since he had taken the time to ride and really enjoy it.

Grabbing a brush, Diego started to brush Raven’s silky coat, while still talking softly to him. He was going to have to make sure to tell Lainey how right she was. The ride had helped to relax him and he felt ready to face whatever chaos was waiting for him up at the house.


“JASON!” Lorenzo yelled as he slammed the front door to Jason’s house. Not seeing the man he was looking for in the living room, he headed to the back of the house where Jason’s office was. It was empty.

Frustrated at the incompetence of the men that were supposed to be protecting his family, Lorenzo headed up the back stairs to find Jason. He wanted answers and he wanted them now.

Reaching Jason’s bedroom, Lorenzo threw open the door without knocking.

“Lorenzo!” Sam exclaimed, pushing Jason off her and pulling the sheet up to her chin. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Lorenzo ignored his sister. “In case you wanted to know, while you’re up here screwing my sister, my son is missing!”

“Missing? What are you talking about Lorenzo?” Sam asked, sitting up. “Diego is not missing.”

“Then where the hell is he?”

“He took Raven out for a ride an hour ago,” Jason said calmly.

“And why is he out there without a guard?” Lorenzo demanded.

“Lorenzo, enough!” Sam said angrily. “You need to leave.”

“I am not going anywhere until I get some answers!”

“You want answers? Fine. So do I. Why don’t we start with what you think you’re doing barging in here and acting like a first class ass?”

Lorenzo glared at his sister. “There are more important things to do right now than having sex in the middle of the day!”

“Oh really? You should try it sometime Lorenzo, it might help get rid of that lousy attitude of yours,” Sam shot back.

Lorenzo angrily took a step toward the bed.

Seeing the confrontation brewing, Jason grabbed his jeans off the floor, pulled them on and moved between the two of them. “I’ll talk to the guards and make sure they know where Diego is at all times and someone always has him in sight,” he said, trying to diffuse the situation.

Glaring at his sister a moment longer, Lorenzo switched his attention to Jason. “Where are we on locating Manny?”

“It’s being worked on,” Jason responded.

“I can see how you work,” Lorenzo retorted before leaving the room.

Sam jumped out of bed and headed for the door, only to be stopped by Jason.

“Don’t Sam,” Jason said, stepping in front of her.

“Why not Jason? He needs some sense knocked into him!”

“No. What he needs is our patience and understanding. What he went through . . . none of us can even begin to imagine it . . . he’s trying to deal with it all.”

“Jason, he’s not dealing with anything,” Sam said. “He’s lashing out, he’s being paranoid. How is that dealing? Dealing is seeking and accepting help from those that care about him, not acting the way he’s acting.”

“I know,” Jason said. “I just think we need to be more patient with him. He’ll come around.”

Sam wasn’t so sure.


Walking back up to the house, Diego rolled his neck to loosen some tight muscles. The ride had been great and now he was looking forward to a hot shower and calling Lulu.

Pushing open the kitchen door, Diego toed off his boots and left them outside the door, not wanting to track in any mud.

“What will it take to get it through your head that you shouldn’t be out there alone?”

Diego looked up, finding his father sitting at the kitchen table, anger radiating off him. “Huh?”

“Don’t ‘huh’ me Diego,” Lorenzo responded. “You know that Manny is still loose out there and yet you go out riding without guards.”

“It was fine Pop,” Diego said. “I stayed on the trails of the property.”

“That doesn’t matter!” Lorenzo yelled, slamming his fist down on the table. “Manny has been able to get on the property before, or have you forgotten that he was able to take Sam and Elaina right out from under our noses?”

Closing the door behind him, Diego eyed his father. “No, I haven’t forgotten,” he said. “I promise to make sure to have a guard next time.”

“There will be no next time Diego,” Lorenzo said, standing. “Until further notice, there will be no more riding anywhere.”

“Pop, you’re overreacting. You just need to calm down,” Diego started.

Lorenzo’s fist came down on the table again, shaking it. “I do NOT need to calm down!” he yelled. “I will NOT lose you like I lost Jessica!”

Diego took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You won’t Pop,” he said gently. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve been under a lot of stress . . . which is why I think you need to talk to someone.”

“I don’t need to talk to anyone,” Lorenzo responded. “What I need is for Jason to do his job and find Manny. What I need is for everyone to stay off my damned back!”

“Pop, Jason is doing all he can to find Manny and end this, you know that,” Diego said.

“No, what Jason is doing is screwing Sam when he should be protecting this family!”

“Lorenzo! That is enough!” Esmerelda exclaimed, coming into the kitchen.

“Don’t start with me, Mother,” Lorenzo growled.

“Oh, I will start with you if I feel like it,” Esmerelda shot back. “You need to stop walking around here acting like the dictator of this family! Everyone is doing what they can to help you so you need to stop throwing it in their faces.”

Glaring at his mother, Lorenzo turned to leave the kitchen, stopping when he saw Skye standing in the door.

“Going somewhere?” she asked, her arms crossed over her large abdomen, her eyes hard as she stared him down.

“I thought I told you to get ready to leave,” he said to her, not really looking at her. He couldn’t. If he did, he wouldn’t be able to send her away. It was for her own good, for the safety of their children. She had to understand that.

“And I told you I wasn’t going anywhere,” Skye answered, not moving from her spot.

“What’s going on?” Diego asked. “Where is Skye going?” This was the first he had heard of anything like this.

“No where.”

“To a safe house.”

“I told you I wasn’t going anywhere Lorenzo,” Skye stated firmly.

“And I told you that it’s not safe for you here,” Lorenzo reiterated. Why couldn’t anyone just listen to him for once?

“Pop, I think it’ll be better to keep Skye close,” Diego said, trying to diffuse the tension between his father and Skye.

“I don’t agree,” Lorenzo stated. “I know what Manny is capable of, so do you and so does Jason, and yet I am the only one who seems to be taking any kind of action.”

“That’s not true,” Diego said. “Jason has been working to find where Manny is. Everyone is doing what they can.”

“It’s not enough!” Lorenzo yelled. “You’re out riding horses unguarded while Jason is having sex with Sam!”

“Lorenzo!” Esmerelda admonished her son.

Lorenzo glared at his mother before turning his back on her and facing Skye and Diego. “If I cannot trust your safety to the people that I employ, then I need to send you away. It’s the only option I have.”

“No it’s not Lorenzo,” Skye said, softening her voice. She picked up on the fear in his eyes, in his voice. “You have to stop this Lorenzo. We’re all in this together. I am not going anywhere. Neither is Diego. We’re stronger together.”

Diego nodded. “She’s right, Pop. We’re a family. We’re in this together. All we want is to stay together and help you.”

“I don’t need help,” Lorenzo insisted, hating the break he heard in his voice.

“You do,” Skye said, gently, walking over to him. “Please Lorenzo.”

“Lainey is more than willing to help,” Diego said. “I can all her and set something up.”


“But Pop-"

“I said NO!” Shaking, Lorenzo pushed past his son and out of the kitchen. He needed some air. Some space to think.


Manny sat in his spartan room, a laptop perched on the rickety wooden desk, trying to find a way in. A way to get to Alcazar and Morgan. A way to put them down once and for all.

He had worked through many different plans – kidnap Alcazar’s pregnant girlfriend, hold her and their unborn children hostage until his demands were met; kidnap Morgan’s little girl – maybe even kill her as leverage.

He kept all of these possibilities in mind. All he had to do was find a way to make it all happen.


He breathed in the scent of the burning candles, the incense still hanging in the air after the last mass. He kneeled in the pew, a solitary finger, head bowed in prayer.

He prayed for his brother Manny, for the people that he felt he needed to exact revenge on, for those who had already lost their lives to all of this. Or at least, he tried to pray. For the first time in years, the words wouldn’t come. His mind drifted to areas it hadn’t gone in years.

With his eyes closed, he could see, hear, and even feel what it was like to be out on the streets. What is was like to have the power and control. The euphoria he felt when someone begged for their life.

Swallowing, Mateo opened his eyes, looked up at the alter. “Help me Father. I am not strong enough.”


Manny smiled in satisfaction as he stood at the back of the church. He had left his dingy hotel room to try to convince his brother to join forces with him, but it seemed he wasn’t going to have to do too much convincing after all.


“If you want to go and lie down, I cleaned up the glass on the floor of your bedroom,” Esmerelda said, approaching Skye.

“Thank you. You didn’t have to do that,” Skye said, looking up at the older woman. “I was so angry; I just grabbed the nearest thing and threw it.”

“Probably wishing it was at his head,” Esmerelda said.

Skye nodded with a small smile. “I’ve never seen him like this before. After all he had gone through . . . losing Jessica, everything Manny has done . . . he always made it through. I don’t know what to do anymore.”

Esmerelda sat next to Skye on the couch, taking her hand. “Lorenzo is a man who feels so much. He had always been like that, since he was a child. He felt more deeply – I always figured he was making up for what Luis didn’t feel or show if he did. I always believed that that’s what has helped Lorenzo to survive into the world he was born in.” She stopped a moment, thinking back on it all. “He’s scared Skye. He knows how evil this Manny is – he experienced it first hand. And he’s afraid that something like that will happen to those he loves.”

“So, what, do I leave like he wants me to?” Skye asked, not sure what to do anymore.

“No. You stay by his side and fight. Fight with him. For him. Even against him if you have to. Don’t let him push you away.”

Skye took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “Don’t worry Esmerelda, I didn’t get this far by sitting back and let things happen to me.”

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