Skye stood at the French doors, looking out over the backyard and Lorenzo. He was walking through the gardens, apparently deep in thought. She ached to go to him, but didn’t want to push – pushing wasn’t going to bring him back to her any faster.
“Go to him Skye. He needs you.”
Skye turned to Esmerelda. “I want to . . . he’s been hurt in a way I don’t think I can ever understand. How can I help him when I don’t really understand what he went through?”
“Skye, listen to me,” Esmerelda said, taking the other woman’s hands in hers. “My son loves you in a way he has never loved another woman before – including Sophie. My boy has had his heart hurt many times; it is hard for him to trust his heart to another. You have captured not only his heart, Skye, but his soul. He will come back to you.”
As far as Skye was concerned, Esmerelda could be talking about her. Just as Lorenzo had been hurt by love, so had she. She and Lorenzo had experienced so many of the same things concerning the matters of the heart, it connected them.
“Falling in love with Lorenzo was so uncomplicated. We knew so much about each other before a deeper relationship began. We accepted each other for who we were – faults and all.”
“Then use that,” Esmerelda said. “You are a fighter Skye, don’t forget that – use it. Fight him. Don’t give up on him and don’t let him give up on himself. Remind him of who he is, what he has accomplished, and what he has to look forward to. Lorenzo is strong. He can do this. And so can you.”
Skye could see where Lorenzo got his strength and heart from. “If I’m going to get through this, I need a nap first,” Skye said with a small laugh.
“And lunch,” Esmerelda agreed with a nod. “How about a grilled chicken salad and fruit?”
“That sounds wonderful,” Skye said. She hugged Esmerelda before heading upstairs.
Esmerelda watched her go and then looked out at the garden again.
The fresh air and relative quiet of the garden helped to clear his head, allowed him to start thinking rationally. What he had experienced at Manny’s hands took over who he was, but he couldn’t let it continue to keep a hold on him. It was poisoning his family and if he continued to allow that to happen, Manny would continue to win.
Taking in a deep breath, Lorenzo held it a moment and slowly let it out. When he had been in college he had learned to meditate to help deal with the stress of his course load. He hadn’t meditated in a while.
Finding a clear spot on the grass, Lorenzo sat, got comfortable and closed his eyes.
Lorenzo opened his eyes to see his little granddaughter running toward him at full tilt. He knew it was useless to tell her to slow down.
“What you doing Poppi?” Elaina asked when she had reached him. “Why you sit on the dirt?”
“I’m trying to meditate,” he said.
“It means to think quietly,” Lorenzo said, keeping it simple.
“I medate too?” Elaina asked.
Lorenzo smiled. “You have to stay quiet,” he told her.
Elaina put her finger to her lips. “I be quiet,” she promised.
“Okay,” Lorenzo said. “Just follow what I do.”
Elaina watched and then copied the way he was sitting.
Lorenzo closed his eyes and began his breathing patterns. He cleared his mind, pushing away the hurt, the fear, the anger. Instead, he focused on the positives: Skye, Elaina, his son, sister, and Jason, his new son and daughter and the possibilities they presented for the future. He focused on his mother’s strength and determination. He breathed in the fresh air, fragrented by the flowers and plants around him. He focused on the gently caress of the breeze and held onto the peace and calmness of it, drawing on it, letting it flow over and through him.
Opening his eyes, Lorenzo took a deep cleansing breath. He was going to have to make time to meditate more often. Looking down, Lorenzo couldn’t help chuckling at the now sleeping Elaina. Her legs here curled under her and her head rested against his leg.
Sam raised her eyebrows when Lorenzo carried in a sleeping Elaina. “How did you manage that?” she asked, stepping back from the door. “I usually have to fight to get her to nap.”
“Meditation,” he responded, walking in.
“Meditation?” Sam asked following as he carried Elaina up to her room.
Placing Elaina on her bed, Lorenzo covered her with a light blanket and kissed her gently on the head. He joined Sam in the hallway. “I want to apologize for my behavior earlier today,” Lorenzo began. “I was out of line.”
“Damn right you were,” Sam agreed. “If it weren’t for Jason stopping me, I would have kicked your high and mighty ass.”
He knew she would have.
“I’m just glad you were able to find yourself again.”
“So am I,” Lorenzo said.
“Now go and talk to Skye. You need her Lorenzo.”
Lorenzo nodded. Before leaving, he leaned down and kissed her cheek. “I love you little sister,” he whispered.
Sam blinked back a swell of tears. “I love you too big brother.”
Manny waited in his brother’s spartan room – Mateo would be returning soon. The seed was planted, roots were taking hold and all he had to do was add water and sunlight and Mateo would be at his side again.
They would be unstoppable. They would finally have it all – just as they deserved.
As the church emptied and quiet returned to the vaulted room, Mateo kneeled in the first pew. He never forgot the life he used to live but he had spent the years after his release from prison trying to change his ways. He hadn’t wanted to continue on that path, but now, with Manny here, exacting revenge on those who have destroyed his family intrigued the person he used to be – the man he really was –.
He and Manny were the only ones left. They couldn’t just lie down and let them get away with it.
Rising, Mateo pulled the white collar from the neck of his robes, dropping it onto the plush, red-carpeted floor. It was tie to stop hiding. It was time to act.
“You look like you’re in a better mood,” Jason said when he came down the stairs from his shower to find Sam puttering around in the kitchen. “And how did you manage to get Elaina down for her nap? I didn’t hear any screaming while I was in the shower.”
“That’s because I didn’t put her down for her nap,” Sam said, pulling sandwich making ingredients from the fridge.
“She put herself down?” Jason asked with a raised eyebrow.
Sam shook her head. “Lorenzo did,” she said. “Apparently he had been meditating and Elaina wanted to try it too. She fell asleep.”
Jason nodded, impressed. “Nice,” he said, walking over to Sam and wrapping his arms around her from behind. “So I take it Lorenzo’s feeling a little better.”
Leaning back against him, Sam nodded and looked up at him. “Yeah, I think he’s going to get through this. I sent him to talk to Skye.”
“So . . . Elaina is sleeping . . . Lorenzo is making amends with the rest of the family . . .”
Sam giggled as Jason leaned down and nipped at the side of her neck. “Jason, come on,” she said, wiggling in his arms. “I need to take advantage of this nap to get some stuff done around here.”
Jason nipped at her neck again, tightening his hold on her. “I know another way we can take advantage of Elaina napping,” he whispered huskily in her ear.
“What took you so long?” Diego demanded when his companion finally arrived. Diego pushed out the chair across from his with his foot. “Sit.”
Spinelli sat, removing the strap of his laptop bag from around him. “The Jackal was in a most delicate of levels of doom and couldn’t just halt and come running when the Young Alcazar beckoned.”
Diego rolled his eyes. “Whatever,” he said, dismissing Spinelli’s explanation. “I need you to do something for me.”
Spinelli looked at Diego warily. “And what might the Young Alcazar require of The Jackal’s amazing computer prowess?”
“Where are you on finding Manny Ruiz?” Diego asked, leaning back in his chair. With his father acting the way he was, Diego figured Jason was going to need all the help he could get.
“Oh, well, the Demented One has proven to be a very sneaky, nefarious individual,” Spinelli said as he pulled out his laptop and pulled up the file on Ruiz.
“That’s to be expected,” Diego commented. “Can you find him?”
“You doubt the abilities of The Jackal?”
“At this moment? Yes,” Diego stated. “It’s been two months Spinelli and you haven’t been able to locate him or any other family he might have gone to? I find that a little hard to believe.”
Spinelli sputtered. “Well . . . seeing as most of the Ruiz clan has been decimated . . .”
“Most? Besides Manny, who’s left?” Diego asked, pouncing on that little but of information.
Spinelli pulled up a folder and clicked it open. “There is another brother,” he said, turning the computer to face Diego. “Mateo Ruiz . . . The Demented One’s identical twin brother.”
“Looks like your cooking for an army,” Lorenzo commented to his mother as he walked into the kitchen.
Esmerelda turned. “I’m making lunch for the mother of your children,” she commented. “Cut up that watermelon, will you?”
Lorenzo rolled up his sleeves and grabbed a knife and started cutting. “Mother . . .” he began.
“I saw you meditating out in the garden,” Esmerelda interrupted him. “I had thought you had forgotten how to do that. I can see it helped.”
“It did,” Lorenzo said. “Although that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten what’s happened.”
“Of course it hasn’t,” she replied. “All it means is that you have been able to prioritize what it is important. And I hope it means you have apologized to your sister and Jason.”
“I have,” Lorenzo said. “And you know Sam can never stay angry with me for long.”
Esmerelda nodded in agreement. She turned to her son. “Your family is what’s important Lorenzo. You’ve always seen that. For Luis, for your father, it was always business and power that came first. It was never that way for you. I knew you would come around once you learned to deal with what happened.”
They continued to work on finishing preparing lunch together in a comfortable silence.
“Now, take this up to Skye and don’t blame her if she throws more than a vase at your head.”
“A twin brother? Are you serious?” Diego asked, pulling the computer closer to him.
“Extremely serious,” Spinelli said gravely. “They are identical down to the last tattoo.”
Diego studied the picture in front of him. “I’ve never heard of another brother besides Manny and Javier.”
Spinelli turned the computer back to face him and pulled up more information. “According to police reports from the Sunshine State, the Demented Twins spent a number of years as guests of the Florida State Penitentiary for gang violence,” he read off the screen. Hacking into to the Florida State Police systems had been a piece of cake. “After their release . . .” Spinelli clicked around some more.
“What is it?” Diego asked when Spinelli stopped.
“The Before Unknown Twin – Mateo Ruiz – is now a holy man . . . he’s an ordained priest.”
“You’re joking!” Diego exclaimed. “A priest?”
“A priest,” Spinelli confirmed.
“Where? Manny might have gone to him for help.”
Spinelli did some more searching, then looked up. “Queen of Angels, Port Charles, New York.”
“Well, I was wondering when I was going to see you,” Skye commented as Lorenzo walked into the bedroom carrying a tray laden with the salad, fruit and milk his mother had ordered him to bring up.
“I thought you were sleeping,” he said, putting the tray on the low table in front of the couch.
“I was,” Skye said, watching him. “But these little ones didn’t feel up to resting.”
Lorenzo walked over to her, placing his hand on her large belly. He looked into Skye’s eyes. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I should not have treated you the way I did. It was uncalled for.”
“What was uncalled for is what Manny did to you. I’m just glad to have you back. We all are,” she said, putting her hand on top of his.
He was glad to be back too. “While I was . . . being held . . . all I could think about was getting to you. I knew I had to survive. I knew I had to get back you and our son . . . and daughter.”
“I know it can’t be easy to talk about Lorenzo . . . but I want you to know that I am here, you can talk to me,” Skye said, twining her fingers with his.
“You’re pregnant with twins Skye, I can’t burden you like that,” Lorenzo said. “You’ve already been put through too much because of the world I live in.”
“You mean the world we live in. I chose you, Lorenzo – the business and all. But if you can’t talk to me about it I want you to talk to someone . . . maybe Lainey.”
Lorenzo had been considering that. He had been surprised to learn that Diego was seeing Dr. Winters on a regular basis, but it seemed to be helping. “I guess it can’t hurt,” he said. “I’ll call and make an appointment.”
Skye was shocked. She thought she was going to have to do a lot of convincing to get him to go. “Wow, that wasn’t hard at all,” she said with a smile.
“It’s something I was thinking about doing anyway . . . if it’s helping my son, it can’t hurt to give it a try.”
Sitting up, Skye cupped his cheek, looking deeply into his eyes. “No, it won’t hurt at all,” she whispered, leaning in and kissing him.
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