Bad Times In LA

Parte Dos-A

Nancy Smith

As Diego helped Felipe from the carriage, he slightly staggered as he hopped to the ground. Diego quickly grabbed his arm and steadied him.

"Can you stand?" Diego asked looking at him concerned.

Felipe nodded and signed to Diego asking what was wrong with him.

Diego shook his head and momentarily studied Felipe's face. "I don't know Felipe. I hope you're not coming down with something." Diego replied earnestly. "Maybe you're just hungry!" he replied smiling and slightly ruffled Felipe's hair, trying to mask his deep concern.

He walked around to the other side of the carriage and helped Victoria out. As they walked inside, Alejandro came into the den and greeted them.

"Buenos noches Victoria. What a nice surprise! Are you having dinner with us tonight?" Alejandro inquired smiling.

Victoria shot Diego a sharp look. She looked at Alejandro slightly chagrined and smiled. "Diego invited me to dinner, I hope it's all right Alejandro. I just assumed that he had told you." She responded mildly as she looked back at Diego and then at Alejandro.

Alejandro slightly chuckled as he walked up to Victoria and took her hand and patted it. "Of course Victoria! It's always a pleasure having you!" he said smiling. He glanced over at Diego and flashed an admonishing look at him. "Shame on you Diego for not telling me that you were going to invite this beautiful señorita to our hacienda!" replied Alejandro looking back at Victoria and smiling.

Diego shook his head and slightly sighed. "Sorry father! I just thought it would be nice to have Victoria eat dinner with us for a change." He replied slightly blushing.

Alejandro nodded and smiled. "Victoria, you know you are always welcome at our hacienda! Any time you want to visit, we would be honored!" he stated warmly.

Diego glanced over and noticed Felipe slightly rubbing his head and looking at Diego somewhat wearily. He walked over and put his hand on his shoulder and looked into his eyes. He could tell he was not feeling his usual self. His eyes were dark and tired and that usual glint of mischief that was always inside him had suddenly disappeared and was clouded over with whatever was causing this sudden change in him.

Diego touched Felipe's forehead again and shook his head. "Father, if you'll excuse me, I don't think Felipe is feeling well! I'm going to take him to his room and get him to bed." Replied Diego earnestly.

Alejandro looked at Diego worriedly. "What's wrong with him Diego?" he inquired anxiously.

Diego looked at Alejandro earnestly and shook his head. "I'm not sure. He had a slight fever after we came back from town tonight. If he doesn't improve by tomorrow, I'm getting Dr. Hernandez. "Diego replied anxiously.

Victoria looked at Diego earnestly. "I'll go to the kitchen and get him some soup. Maybe that will make him feel better." She replied resolutely.

"Thank you Victoria!" Diego replied sincerely.

He wrapped his arm around Felipe and helped him to his room. He quickly prepared Felipe's bed, helped him put his nightshirt on, then promptly put him to bed. Diego momentarily heard a knock at the door. As he opened the door, Victoria walked in carrying a tray with some soup and juice the cook had given her. Diego helped Felipe sit up as Victoria sat the tray across his lap and fixed his napkin around his nightshirt. She smiled at him and gently patted his cheek. "We can't have you spilling soup on your nightshirt, now can we!" she replied warmly.

Felipe shook his head and smiled. As he started to eat, Victoria noticed his hand slightly shaking. She gently took the spoon from his hand and smiled.

"Here Felipe, I'll help you." She said casting a warm smile at Felipe. She took the spoon and began slowly feeding him and dabbing his mouth.

Diego pulled up a chair and sat beside Felipe's bed and watched as Victoria fed him the soup. In a way he was a bit dismayed that Felipe had suddenly became sick and spoiled his dinner with Victoria. Yet on the other hand, he was worried that this fever had come so suddenly and he was at a loss as to what it could be. Most fevers usually showed symptoms, but considering how well Felipe was feeling this morning and even when they took the food and clothing to Roberto's family, Diego thought it was unusual that Felipe quickly succumb to this illness…whatever it was.

Felipe took a drink of his juice and looked over at Diego and signed that he was sorry that he ruined Diego's dinner. Diego's heart sank as he looked at Felipe lying in bed not being able to feed himself and feeling guilty for ruining his dinner. Diego shook his head and gently patted Felipe on the shoulder.

"No Felipe, you didn't ruin anything! It's not your fault! We're going to find out what's wrong with you and get you well!" Diego said reassuringly as he looked into Felipe's tired eyes. "In the meantime, you need to get some rest! That's the best thing for you!" Diego replied sympathetically.

Felipe nodded and smiled.

Diego gently pressed his hand to Felipe's forehead and then touched the sides of his face. He slightly shook his head and looked at Victoria anxiously.

Felipe shook his head and motioned to Victoria that he couldn't eat anymore. She looked at the bowl and then at Diego worriedly. She took the tray and set it on the nightstand and then stepped up to Felipe's bed and pulled the covers up around him and kissed his fevered brow.

"Do like Diego says Felipe. You try to get some sleep. Maybe you'll feel better tomorrow." She replied as she warmly smiled at him.

Felipe managed a slight smile and then nodded off to sleep.

As Diego and Victoria quietly slipped out of Felipe's room, they saw Alejandro walking through the hallway. He walked up them and looked at them anxiously.

"How's Felipe. Is he all right?" Alejandro inquired earnestly.

Diego shook his head and sighed. "I think he's getting worse. He felt much warmer than he did earlier. He hardly ate anything! I wish I knew what was wrong!" Diego said worriedly as he slightly rubbed his chin.

Victoria and Alejandro looked at Diego intently. Alejandro put a reassuring hand on Diego's shoulder and looked at him earnestly. He could sense the tension in his voice and saw the worry in his eyes. "We'll get Dr. Hernandez out here tomorrow and maybe he'll know what's wrong! In the meantime, why don't you and Victoria go get something to eat and I'll sit with Felipe. You need to keep up your strength as well." Alejandro replied resolutely.

Diego looked at Alejandro decidedly and nodded. "Thank you father. I suppose you're right. We'll be in the dining room if there is any change." He replied decisively.

Alejandro nodded and stepped quietly into Felipe's room and sat down beside his bed. He reached over and lowered the light beside the bed and lightly touched Felipe's face. He shook his head as he felt the warmth of the fever against his hand. As far as Alejandro could tell, Felipe was breathing easily. He didn't hear any signs of congestion or coughing. Alejandro had been around sick and wounded soldiers when he was in the war and he knew some of the symptoms that came with certain illnesses. Luckily Felipe had not shown any signs…not yet.

As Victoria ate, she glanced over and noticed that Diego was just picking at his food and occasionally eating a few bites. He finally took a drink of his wine and got up walked over to the window and stared out into the darkness. She rose from the table and walked over to the window and stood beside Diego. She looked up at him resolutely and put a reassuring hand on his arm.

"Diego, Felipe is going to be all right! Maybe it's nothing serious." She commented anxiously. Diego turned and looked at Victoria warmly and put his hands upon her shoulders and slightly sighed.

"I'm sorry I wasn't any company tonight. I'm sorry if I was rude." He said as he looked into her eyes and managed a slight smile.

Victoria shook her head and smiled. "It's all right Diego. I know you're worried about Felipe." She replied sympathetically.

As Diego stood looking into Victoria's soft brown eyes, it was all he could do just to keep from kissing her. He gently caressed her cheek and smiled. "Thank you for helping. Felipe probably ate more for you than he would have for me. I think he has a slight crush on you anyway!" Diego chuckled as he looked at Victoria and smiled.

Victoria looked at Diego pointedly and smiled. "I have a feeling that Felipe is not the only one!" she commented surreptitiously.

Diego's eyes slightly widened as he looked at her somewhat disconcertedly. He folded his arms across his chest and looked a Victoria earnestly. "And just what do you mean by that?!!" Diego inquired somewhat annoyed.

Victoria shook her head and looked at Diego intently. "Really Diego, I'm not blind! Lately I've noticed the way you've been looking at me. The way you act when you're around me. It's like your whole personality is different." Victoria replied resolutely.

Diego looked at her somewhat decidedly. "I'm not sure what you're getting at, but I don't think I act any differently around you than I always have! I've always thought of you as a very dear friend and someone that's kind, generous, intelligent, compassionate, humorous, understanding, loving, talented. With all those wonderful qualities, no wonder I love being around you! Victoria, you're a wonderful person and not only that, you have a heart that is bigger than all of California. I wouldn't trade the experiences that we've shared or the friendship that we have for anything in the world!" Diego responded endearingly as he looked at her. "Victoria, you mean so much to me… to all of us, I can't begin to tell you how much!" Diego added sincerely as he looked at her with great affection.

Victoria eyed him steadily. "If I'm all those things you say…and I do appreciate the compliments…and if I mean so much to you, then why can't you say what you truly feel…why can't you just come out and say it!" Replied Victoria adamantly.

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