“Oh, they are so adorable!” exclaimed Lulu as she looked down at little Lawrence and Nadia Alcazar.
Laughing, Diego scooped up his baby brother, being careful to support his head. Lawrence shared a thick head of dark hair with his older brother and face, and when he opened his eyes, they were the same light blue as Lorenzo’s.
Nadia, on the other hand, was the spitting image of her mother. The soft fuzz on her head was coming through as a deep auburn and her green eyes shone from under thick dark lashes.
“Wanna hold him?” Diego asked, holding Lawrence out to Lulu.
Lulu’s eyes widened. “Oh, I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head. “What if I drop him?”
“You won’t drop him,” Diego assured her. “Come on, I’ll show you how to hold him.”
Biting her lip, Lulu looked down at the baby in Diego’s arms. He did look really cute and cuddly. “Okay, I’ll give it a try.”
Diego gently handed Lawrence over, helping Lulu to position her arms correctly and support his head. “You’re doing fine. You don’t have to be so stiff, Lulu. Relax. He won’t break.”
Not taking her eyes off the baby in her arm, she responded, “I don’t want to drop him.”
“You won’t. See, he’s comfortable. He’s fine.”
Letting out a breath, Lulu relaxed. Lawrence wasn’t too heavy and he had that new baby smell about him.
“How are your dad and Skye doing?” she asked gently rocking Lawrence as Diego picked up Nadia.
“Between Grandmother, myself and Sam, it’s not too overwhelming for them,” Diego answered, putting Nadia on his shoulder and rubbing her back. She was all soft and warm against him.
“Now that we’re on break from classes, I’d like to hang out and help if you want,” Lulu offered.
Diego smiled, then leaned over and kissed her.
“Hey, hey, none of that over my babies,” Skye said as she came into the nursery with a smile.
Lulu laughed. “Sorry,” she said. “You look amazing, Skye,” she added, looking at the woman. For someone who had given birth to twins barely a month ago, Skye seemed to have gotten her figure back pretty quickly.
“Let me tell you, I’m doing a good job of faking it,” Skye said as she reached for her daughter. “Lunch time,” she said. “Lulu, maybe you can help me give them a bath when I’m done feeding them.”
Looking down at Lawrence cuddled in her arms, Lulu smiled. “I’d love to,” she said, gently putting the baby back in his bassinet. “Just let me know what you’re ready.”
Leaving Skye to feed the babies, Lulu and Diego headed downstairs and through the kitchen. They had promised to play soccer with Elaina.
“Lulu! Did you see the babies?” Elaina asked as she ran up to them, her long ponytail flying.
“Yes I did, and they are so cute!” Lulu said, scooping Elaina up. “So, you ready to play?”
Elaina nodded and wiggled out of Lulu’s arms. “I get ball!” she said, running away.
“How’s she been doing with the babies?” Lulu asked Diego as the followed at a slightly slower pace.
Diego shrugged. “She’s okay with them,” he said. “Skye and Pop are good with giving her attention as well and letting her help with them as much as she could.”
Elaina found the soccer ball and the trio began kicking the ball around.
Rolling her eyes, Sam plunked a glass of water on the windowsill in front of Jason, holding out her open hand and offering him the two pills on it. She sighed when Jason refused them. “Jason, you know they’ll help with the pain. And I know you’re still in pain after playing with Elaina this morning.”
After taking care of Mateo, Jason had been rushed into surgery – where the large amount of blood he had lost made getting through the surgery difficult. A long recovery process and physical therapy put Jason on the mend, but after a couple of months, he still had twinges of pain and rarely followed the doctor’s orders to rest and limit how physical he was.
“I’m fine, Sam,” Jason said, watching his little girl playing in the yard with Diego and Lulu. He was alive. His daughter was safe and happy. Skye had given birth to a beautiful little girl and boy. For the first time in a long time Lorenzo was happy and relaxed. So if he was in a little pain, so be it. “You know I don’t like how those pills make me feel.”
“How about this . . . you take the pills and I’ll run a nice hot bath for you.”
Jason couldn’t help smiling as he turned to her. “And how is a bath that you enjoy soaking in supposed to be an incentive for me?” he asked with a raised eyebrow. Sam was always trying to get him to take a bubble bath with her – and he sometimes gave in to please her.
Slipping off the simple cotton dress she had been wearing, Sam sauntered toward the bathroom – now clad in nothing more than the late afternoon sun coming in through the window. “Maybe I’ll even join you . . .”
Looking at the pills Sam had left on the windowsill with the water, Jason scooped them up and swallowed them dry as he followed Sam. Maybe he could use the rest for a little bit. And a soak in a hot couldn’t really hurt all that much.
“As par my brilliant efforts, all charges pending against you, your son, Jason and Sam, not to mention your various bodyguards, have been dropped,” Diane informed Lorenzo.
Lorenzo leaned back in his desk chair with a sigh of relief. “Thank you,” he said, already planning on giving her a large bonus for her hard work. With the charges dropped, Jason on the mend, and his children safe and healthy, Lorenzo actually felt himself relax for the first time in a long time. It was a good feeling.
“Poppi! Poppi!” Elaina called as she ran down the hallway to the office. A small knock sounded on the door a moment later. “Poppi! I come in?”
Laughing, Lorenzo got up to open the door for his granddaughter. “Hello there my Little One,” he said as she skipped into the room.
“Hi Diane!” Elaina greeted happily.
Smiling, Diane leaned down to hugged the little girl. “Well, hello to you too,” she said, taking in grass stained jeans and messy ponytail. “And what were you up to?”
“I pway soccer wif Deego and Lulu,” Elaina said. “I made goal!”
“Congratulations!” Diane said with a wide smile. “Well, I should be going.” She stood, gathering her briefcase.
Lorenzo walked with her to the front door. “I’ll be in touch, Diane,” he said, opening the door for her. Then he turned to his granddaughter. “How about we get washed up for lunch?”
Elaina looked down at her hands, streaked with dirt and grass stains. Then wiped them on her jeans. “All cwean, Poppi!” she said, showing him her hands.
“Nice try,” Lorenzo said, scooping her up and slinging her over his shoulder.
“POPPI!” Elaina squealed, kicking her little feet happily.
“See, I told you this would help,” Sam said as she leaned back against Jason chest, the tub full of hot water, bubbles and soothing bath oil. “Admit it.”
Sweeping some long strands of dark hair clinging to her neck, Jason skimmed his lips over her glistening, soft skin. “I’ll admit you were right,” he gave in. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. “You know, my life has taken so many different twists and turns . . . sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was going to get through it. For years it was one thing after another . . . losing Jessica had been the hardest of all of it . . . finding out she was gone because of the actions of someone I deeply trusted and respected . . .” Jason turned Sam’s face to his, looking into her deep chocolate brown eyes. “If it weren’t for you I don’t think I would have made it through these last two years. I would have walked away from my daughter, thinking it was the best way to protect her. But you showed me differently, Sam. I didn’t want to feel anything after losing Jessica the way I did . . . and now I can’t imagine loving you more than I do right now.”
Leaning in, he gently brushed his lips over hers. Sam shifted, so she was now facing him, sitting on his lap, her legs on either side of his waist. She pulled back from the kiss. “I’ve always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason, Jason. Jessica’s death was horrible and heartbreaking for all of us . . . and it could have destroyed this family beyond repair. But you and Lorenzo fought against the despair and are now stronger than either of you have been before. It’s what Jessica would have wanted. For you. For her father. And for her little girl. I love you Jason. I love Elaina and I am so honored that you want me to be her mother. It means so much more to me than I can even put into words.”
Sam brought her mouth back to Jason, the kiss starting out slow and gentle, then becoming more urgent and passionate.
“Look Sye! Poppi make pbj samiches,” Elaina said, holding up her sandwich half to show off.
“Very nice,” Skye said with a smile, ruffling the little girl’s tangles. “I’m very impressed,” she added, looking at Lorenzo.
Lorenzo shrugged. “Nothing to it, really,” he said.
“How can your mother be such an amazing cook and you’re lucky if you can make a passable peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” she said.
“Good one,” Lorenzo said, shaking his head. He looked over at the woman who had changed his life, who was the mother of his children and soon to be his wife. “How are the little ones?” he asked.
The smile that graced Skye’s face lit up her green eyes. “Sleeping . . . for now,” she said. She couldn’t get enough of her babies. Of spending time with them. Just holding them, watching them sleep.
Lorenzo loved the way her face lit up at any mention of Lawrence and Nadia. She truly shined. He often found that he couldn’t resist peeking in on them, watching their little chests rise and fall in slumber. Not even the two a.m. feedings bothered him. He would often get up with Skye and occupy each baby while the other was eating. He couldn’t wait until they were eating from a bottle and he could take more of a part in feeding them.
“Hey Pop,” Diego said as he and Lulu walked into the kitchen. They washed their hands at the sink and then Diego started pulling stuff out of the fridge for lunch.
“Are you planning on feeding an army?” Lorenzo asked his son as he watched Diego pull out lunch meat, cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, bread, pickles and even some left over grilled chicken from the night before.
“Hey, I’m a growing boy,” Diego said around a piece of cheese in his mouth. “Anyway, that little monster gave me a run for my money playing soccer.”
“I did Poppi!” Elaina said as she fished a dollar bill out of her pocket and held it up.
“You played her for money?” Skye asked in astonishment.
“Hey, I got one too,” Lulu said, pulling a dollar out of her pocket. “Girls rule, right Elaina?”
Elaina giggled. “Girls rule!”
“Now, that’s what I like to here,” Sam said. “And where did you get the money?” she asked Elaina.
“Deego! I win it!”
Jason raised an eyebrow at Diego. “Excuse me?”
Lulu jumped to Diego’s defense. “Actually, I won it and shared with my partner.”
“Don’t rub it in,” Diego grumbled as he finished his sandwich and walked to the table, taking a big bite.
“Hey! What about me?” Lulu asked, still standing at the counter.
“You got two hands, Miss Moneybags, make it yourself,” Diego said, his mouth full. The food almost flew out of his mouth as he was hit upside the head by both his father and Jason. “Fine, fine,” he said, getting up.
Lulu smiled sweetly at the two men as Diego made her a sandwich. “Ewww . . . none of that nasty turkey,” she said, stopping Diego.
Esmerelda stood in the doorway of the kitchen, watching the antics going on in the kitchen. She sighed, happy and content. It was about time that the Alcazar and Morgan families had a chance to just be.
“Do you, Jason Morgan, take Samantha Alcazar to be your wife, to love her and honor her, until death do you part?”
Jason turned his gaze from Father Coates to the woman standing beside him. She was a vision of beauty, her dark hair caught up on her head and a white dress that showed off every curve he loved and knew intimately. “I do,” he said, not taking his eyes from Sam’s.
After Father Coates asked the same of Sam, and she too proclaimed, “I do,” he announced them husband and wife. The kiss lasted long enough for Diego to call out, “Get a room!”
“Welcome to the family, man,” Lorenzo said, shaking Jason’s hand. “It’s now more than official.”
Jason laughed – something he found himself doing a lot more of lately. “Yes it is,” he said.
Elaina came running over, her hair flying behind her. “Daddy! Daddy!” she called as he scooped her up. “Daddy! I have secwet!”
“You do?” Jason asked with a smile. “And what secret is that?”
Elaina’s eyes widened in shock. “But, it secwet, Daddy! I no tell!” she shook her head.
Before Jason could question her further, Elaina had wiggled out of his arms when she saw Skye and the babies. “I go see babies!” she called over her shoulder.
“Attention span of a nat,” Jason said, shaking his head.
“Seems to run in the Alcazar family with the women,” Lorenzo said, clapping Jason on the shoulder. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe I owe my beautiful fiancé a dance.”
Feeling a tap on his shoulder, Jason turned to find Sam behind him. “I was wondering where you were,” he said, pulling her into his arms.
Sam pulled back, taking his hand in hers. “Come here, I want to tell you something,” she said.
“What is it?” Jason asked as he followed her. They were in the backyard of their home, where they were just married.
Once alone in the gazebo, Sam handed him a small picture.
Jason took it, a flash of memory . . . Jessica slowly let out the breath she had been holding and looked down at Jason’s hand over hers. Without saying anything, she used her free hand to lift the poncho from her body and took their joined hands, placing his over her belly. Only when his hand was splayed over the slight roundness there and she heard him pull in a breath did she look up into his blue eyes; eyes that mirrored the ocean she used to spend hours staring at over the last four months.
Jason looked up at her, his eyes wide and watched as Jessica smiled and nodded. “Yes Jason, I’m pregnant. I found out just after I left here. This is the main reason why I came home. I wanted you to know and be a part of our daughter’s life.”
For the first time since she had left, Jason felt a smile coming to his lips. He swallowed past some dryness in this throat before he could speak. “A daughter?” was all he managed to get out.
Smiling, Jessica nodded. She then opened her bag, pulled out the last sonogram picture, and handed it to him. Jason took and it looked down at it. He was able to make out the baby’s head and hands.
Swallowing, Jason lifted his eyes from the picture in his hands, to his wife’s eyes. “Sam . . .?”
Sam smiled. “So, Elaina is thrilled to know she’s going to be a big sister,” she whispered.
In a secluded area of the backyard, the setting sun behind them, Lorenzo held Skye in his arms as they gently swayed to the music.
“I know our lives won’t always be as peaceful and content as it is now, Skye, but you, Lawrence, Nadia and Diego are my life. No matter what the future brings . . . knowing that I have you and my children by my side will make any obstacle easier to get through,” Lorenzo said, brushing back some of her auburn hair.
Skye closed her eyes at his touch. “Deep in my heart, Lorenzo, you’re the man I’ve been waiting for. You are the love of my life . . . no matter what the future brings; I will always be by your side. Our love will always be enough to endure anything.”
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