Bad Times In LA

Parte Nueve-B

Nancy Smith

"I'm trying to Diego, but sometimes it just seems so hard! It seems like everything is against us! I wonder if there will ever be a right time for us!" she replied remorsefully. She wrapped her arms around Diego and hugged him tightly.

Diego hugged her close and kissed the top of her head.

"There will be a time for us Victoria, I promise!" he replied as he hugged her.

As Victoria stood wrapped in Diego's tender embrace she suddenly felt the tears well up in her eyes and slowly roll down her cheeks. She pressed her face against his chest trying to hide the tears flowing from her eyes. Diego felt the dampness against his shirt and he slightly pulled her from him and looked upon her tear stained eyes. He suddenly felt a sharp tugging at his heart. It was as if his whole heart was being ripped from his chest. An overwhelming feeling of sorrow suddenly came over him and it was becoming harder and harder to hold back the tears that were threatening his eyes. As he blinked, he felt a small tear roll down his cheek.

They never made a motion to brush away the tears upon their faces. They seemed to know what the other was thinking and the sadness that was not only around them, but the sadness that had been in their lives. They definitely shared a common bond. They had both lost people that they loved, yet found people that they loved and people that loved them in return.

Diego sighed and managed a smile as he reached into his pocket and pulled out his handkerchief. He gently took Victoria's face in his hand and tenderly dabbed her face drying the tears from her eyes. Victoria reached up and took the handkerchief from his hand and gently dabbed her nose and smiled.

"I don't suppose you want this back do you?" she asked as she managed a smile.

Diego managed a slight chuckle and shook his head. "It's all right! I have more where that came from!" he smiled. He reached up and wiped his face with his hand.

Diego momentarily reached up and scratched his head. "You know, .....I forgot what I came in here for?" he slightly blushed and smiled. He really didn't, he was only saying that as a distraction.

Victoria slightly chuckled and shook her head. "Oh Diego! You'll never change!" she replied smiling. She stepped up and placed a tender kiss on his cheek and smiled.

As Diego stood gazing at Victoria he suddenly heard the echo of his father's voice calling to him as he neared the kitchen. He momentarily blinked and flashed a look of recollection at Victoria. He suddenly slapped his hand to his forehead and chuckled.

"Now I remember! I came in here to tell you that father and I are going back to the hacienda for awhile." Replied Diego slightly shaking his head and smiling.

Victoria flashed a look of surprise and curiosity at Diego. "What's wrong Diego? Are you or Alejandro sick?" she inquired looking concerned.

Diego shook his head. "Oh no. I was just concerned that father was getting a bit tired and needed some rest. Come to think of it, I think I might get some rest myself! I just wanted to tell you so you wouldn't worry. Oh yes, is it all right if Felipe stays here with you? I'm sure you could use his help and I know how much he enjoys helping you!" He replied amiably.

Victoria nodded. "Oh yes, it's quite all right! I can understand your concern Diego! We've all been under quite a bit of pressure these days! When will you be back?" she inquired earnestly.

Diego's eyes quickly turned serious. "I can't speak for father, he may be back tomorrow. As for myself, there's something I have to do and I don't know when I'll be back. I would appreciate it if you would keep an eye on Felipe and my father." Diego replied casting a concerned look at Victoria.

Victoria's eyes slightly narrowed as she cast a thoughtful gaze upon his face. "What is it Diego? Are you going somewhere?" she inquired as she briefly grasped his hand

Before Diego could answer, Alejandro stepped through the curtains and flashed a surprised look at Diego and Victoria as he noticed her holding his hand.

"Did I interrupt something here?" he asked with a smug look on his face.

Diego and Victoria quickly snapped their heads around and looked at Alejandro with surprise. Diego shook his head and smiled.

"Oh no father. I was just telling Victoria that we were going back to the hacienda." Replied Diego with a mild expression.

Victoria looked at Diego and then at Alejandro. "Alejandro is Diego......."

Before she could finish, Diego quickly intercepted her question. "No Victioria..." he began with a subtle tone to his voice. I'm feeling quite well thank you!" he said as he looked at Victoria with an intense look in his eye.

Victoria's eyes slightly widened and she flashed a curious look at Diego. As she looked into his eyes, she could tell there was something he didn't want her to say. She slightly nodded. "Oh, I see! I'm glad you're all right Diego!" she replied looking quite serious.

Diego cast an earnest look at Victoria and slightly smiled. "Remember what I told you Victoria! Don't forget!" he said as his eyes slightly softened and he pressed a tender kiss to her hand.

Victoria slightly blushed and smiled. "Thank you Diego. I won't forget!" she replied warmly. She momentarily cast an earnest look at him. "Be careful Diego." She remarked with deep concern.

Diego smiled as he cast a warm gaze upon her face. "Don't worry, I will!" he replied sincerely.

As Diego and Alejandro walked out into the tavern, Alejandro momentarily caught Diego by the arm and cast an inquisitive look at him.

"Diego, what did Victoria mean when she told you to be careful. We're just going to the hacienda!" he stated earnestly.

Diego slightly chuckled as he glanced at Alejandro. "Oh you know how Victoria is father! She a very sensitive and caring person. She just wanted to make sure we were going to be all right!" Diego stated mildly.

Alejandro nodded. "You're right Diego. Victoria is very sensitive and she does care a lot about people. You know Diego, you should set your cap for Victoria! After all, I'm not getting any younger and I would like to have some grandchildren!" Alejandro exclaimed as he cast a compelling look at Diego.

Diego shook his head and sighed. "Don't worry father, these things have a way of working themselves out! You'll have your grandchildren one of these days!" Diego replied resolutely and smiled.

Before they left the tavern, Diego asked doctor Hernandez to give him a quick examination at the insistence of Alejandro. While the good doctor was making examinations, Diego asked him check Alejandro as well! Fortunately they both passed with flying colors. However, doctor Hernandez did recommend that Alejandro get plenty rest as well as Diego. They thanked the doctor and paid him, and then rode home.

When they got home, the first thing Diego did was make sure Alejandro ate a good dinner and then went straight to bed. Normally Alejandro would have argued with Diego about fussing over him, but it seemed that helping out at the tavern had taken its toll on Alejandro and the moment he went to bed, he fell into a deep restful sleep.

After dinner, Diego too quickly realized how tired he was and wearily pulled off his boots and removed his jacket and just let them fall to the floor. He found that he was so tired that he didn't even bother to turn down the covers on his bed. He just lay back and released a weary sigh and closed his eyes.

Unlike Alejandro, Diego's sleep was not so restful. As he began to fall into a deep subconscious sleep, faces of the patients at the tavern drifted through his mind. Some were the faces of the ones that had lived and some were the ones that had died.

The ones that had died seemed to stare back him with their pale gaunt faces. They seemed to have an ethereal presence about them as they drifted toward an almost blinding bright light. They glanced back and exhibited a rather peaceful smile upon their faces and then turned and headed toward the light. In his dream, Diego saw himself shielding his eyes from the light and then as he looked up, they were gone.

As Diego's dream progressed, a billowy gray cloud drifted through his mind making it difficult for him to see what was happening. He could see himself stumbling through the thick layer of fog trying to find his way out. He momentarily paused and stood still as the fog seemed to slowly fade away.

As he gazed into the clearing, he suddenly saw in the distance the shape of a woman as she seemed to slowly drift toward him. His eyes slightly narrowed as he tried to make out who this woman was. He began walking toward her as she slowly came into view.

When it became clear enough to see her face, darkness seemed to cloud his mind as he ran through a myriad of familiar faces. Hers was not among them. He wondered where she came from. As he gazed upon her face, he noticed how pretty she was. The features of her face were thin yet soft like Victoria's and her eyes were a pretty hazel color. Her hair was long and a beautiful auburn color and fell in soft curls about her shoulders.

Her attire was somewhat plain, but neat. She wore a soft white linen blouse which she had left unbuttoned at the top, with long sleeves that buttoned at the wrists. With her blouse, she wore a long dark blue skirt with soft pleats that came just a few inches above the tops of her shoes. Even her shoes were different. They were brown with short heels and the toes were slightly pointed and laced up to the top which came just a few inches above her ankles.

Who was this beautiful woman he wondered. He stood eyeing her for a moment and suddenly noticed she was holding something in her hand. Was it a handbag? He wondered. He looked again. As his eyes focused on the object, he noticed it was a black medical bag like the one doctor Hernandez carried. Why would a woman carry a medical bag he wondered.

She momentarily paused and turned and her head and looked behind her. Diego followed her eyes and stared off into the distance. He suddenly saw a man coming into view. As the man got closer, Diego could tell he was different than the men he had seen around the pueblo.

His hair was dark blond and came to his shoulders. His attire was quite different than his. He was dressed in buckskin except for his shirt which was made of a dull white linen material that buttoned only half way. He had a tanned slightly rough complexion but not old, compared to the woman whose complexion was light and soft. She too had a youthful yet learned appearance. Around the man's neck, he wore a strand of Indian beads and a small pouch that hung on a thin leather cord.

As the man neared the woman, she reached out and took his hand and together they walked up to Diego. As they stood facing one another the woman seem to be trying to tell Diego something but he could not understand what she was saying. She paused and put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and smiled. Diego smiled back and nodded. Diego suddenly glanced over the couple's shoulder and saw a town slowly come into view. He watched intently as he focused on the name of the town as it became more visible. He momentarily shook his head. What was it? His eyes widened as he saw the name. Colorado Springs? The couple smiled as Diego glanced back at them. A cloud suddenly enveloped Diego and the couple and for a moment all was a smoky gray haze.

When the cloud lifted, Diego suddenly saw his mother coming toward him. His eyes widened and he found himself running toward her and calling her name. He stopped just a few inches in front of her and looked in amazement at how beautiful she was. She reached out and caressed his cheek and smiled. He suddenly felt her arms wrap around him and hug him close. Diego hugged her as she held him in her tender embrace. As he hugged her, he tenderly kissed her cheek and smiled. He suddenly felt a warm feeling come over him as they broke from their embrace.

She gazed into his eyes and smiled. As he gazed at his mother he smiled and said "I love you!"

"I love you too Diego" she said warmly and smiled. She momentarily glanced back and looked thoughtfully to where the couple had stood and looked at Diego earnestly. "Diego, Zorro must save the pueblo. You must find this woman. She can help you!" she said in a rather spiritual tone.

Diego looked at her somewhat surprised. "But how?" he asked somewhat confused.

She cast a warm smile upon his face and nodded. "Zorro will find a way! Look inside yourself Diego! Trust your heart and have faith and you will find a way!" she replied.

Before he could speak, she seemed to fade away into the mist. He suddenly heard her voice one last time. "I love you my son!"

"I love you mother!" Replied Diego as he felt a tear roll down his face. Suddenly Diego felt a softness brush against his face as if someone had kissed him. He felt a warmth in his heart as he put his hand to his face and smiled.

Soon Diego felt himself being pulled back into consciousness as he began to wake up. As his eyes slowly opened he stared blankly at the ceiling and sighed. When his mind became clearer he slowly raised up and sat on the side of the bed and shook his head.

'What was that all about!' He thought as he replayed the dream in his mind. First a man and woman he didn't know from a town he had never heard of, then his mother telling him that he had to find this woman and that Zorro had to save the pueblo. That last part he understood. He knew that if the pueblo was to survive, that Zorro would have to try to save them.

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