Bad Times In LA

Parte Once-A

Nancy Smith

Michaela and Sully spent the next two days preparing for their trip to California. However, it wasn't easy telling their friends why they had to go. No one but Cloud Dancing, understood their reasons. All they knew was that Michaela and Sully were dashing off to California but they weren't sure why. Even when Michaela told them that she had had this dream about a small town being in trouble, and she had to go, Dorothy seemed to finally come around but the others were still quite skeptical. To Michaela, it didn't matter. It was a matter of life and death and she knew she had do it! At least Sully understood and that was all that mattered.

Dorothy, Lauren, Robert E. and Grace all agreed to help take care of Brian and Katie while they were gone and promised them they would get the best of care. That in mind, Michaela's mind was cleared to concentrate on getting her medical equipment ready for their long trip to California.

The day finally came for Michaela and Sully to leave. Andrew promised that he would handle her practice while she was away and she thanked him. As they were about to step into the stagecoach, Dorothy and Lauren gave them some extra provisions to take on their trip and Brian gave them his rabbit's foot for luck. Michaela and Sully hugged and kissed Brian and Katie and bid their friends good-bye. They stepped inside the coach and closed the doors and set back for the their long ride.

It was going to be a long trip, but they were used to long trips having taken so many before. To them, this wasn't anything new. The only thing that preyed upon Michaela's mind was the visions she had seen at the reservation and hoped she would arrive in time to help those people she had seen in her dream.

Far away in California, Diego too was feeling some trepidation about leaving on his ride for help after having that dream he had the night before. He still couldn't figure out what the woman with the medical bag had to do with his mother. He remembered her telling him that it was important that he had to find this woman if he was going to save the pueblo, but the whole thing was all so strange. All he knew was that he had to go to Colorado and that was what he was going to do!

While his father was busy in his study, Diego thought about approaching him with this dream he had and how important it was that he had to make this trip. However, as he played the scene over in his mind, it was far too complicated to try to explain. So the next best thing Diego thought that was the most practical, was just to leave a note trying to explain why he had to do this. Maybe when he returned, he would be able explain it to his father in more detail.

It was not always easy trying to explain the things that Diego did because of his concealment of his other identity. It wasn't easy playing two roles at one time, and sometimes it even confused Diego. But he was always careful to protect Zorro's identity for the safety of his loved ones.

Diego went to his room and sat down at his desk and began composing a note that would hopefully suffice until he could fully explain his reason.

Dear Father,

Rather than spending hours trying to explain what I must do, I am leaving you this note to tell you that it is with the utmost importance that I must embark upon a long journey. This decision has been weighed heavily and already put into action. It is for the benefit of the pueblo that I make this journey in hopes of bringing the help that is needed to save these poor people from this terrible epidemic.

Try not to worry for my safety. Zorro has promised to accompany me on this trip and has offered his assistance for any help I need. Therefore, there is no cause to worry.

Take care and promise not to argue with Victoria. As you know, she is a very strong-willed and determined young woman! We will return as soon as we find the help we seek.

Sincerely your son,

Diego

As Diego finished his note, he let the ink dry as he took out an envelope and addressed it to his father, signing it Alejandro de La Vega. He decided to take it to the tavern and ask Victoria to deliver it to him. All day long he had felt guilty for not telling Victoria that he was leaving. All he had said was that he wasn't sure when he would be back. Which to Diego wasn't much of a good-bye! This note would give him an excuse to see her one last time before he left. This time however, he decided to go as Zorro. He wondered if she knew if he and Zorro were one in the same. Now that she loved him as Diego he wondered if she still loved him as Zorro. Maybe tonight he would find out.

Dinner was over and Alejandro had decided to retire early so that he could return to the tavern and help Victoria in the morning. Diego tried to persuade him that he needed another day of rest, but Alejandro was headstrong on going and he finally relented. He cautioned him however to take it easy and get plenty of rest, at which Alejandro finally agreed.

Diego sat in his favorite chair in the den reading one of his many adventure stories until he heard the door to Alejandro's study open and then and heard his father's footsteps echoing through the hall. He glanced up to see Alejandro coming into the den to announce that he was going to bed.

"Diego, don't stay up too late son. I want you to come to the tavern with me tomorrow." Alejandro replied earnestly.

Diego cast a mild look at Alejandro and smiled. "Don't worry father, I won't. I just want to finish this last chapter!" Diego added amiably.

"Well, good night Diego!" concluded Alejandro as he ambled off to bed.

Diego continued reading until he heard the door to Alejandro's bedroom finally shut. He reached over and turned down the reading lamp and left his book in the chair. He walked over to the fireplace and tapped the hidden panel to open the secret door. As the door opened, he quickly ducked in and made his way down to the cave. He grabbed his Zorro attire and quickly put it on. He had just put his mask on when it suddenly dawned on him that he had forgotten the note.

'Dios Diego!' You'd loose your head if it wasn't connected to your body!' Diego shook his head in disgust and quietly made his way back up the stairs. He carefully stepped through the fireplace door and made his way to his room. Luckily it was right where he had left it, lying on his desk. He folded it and slid it into the envelope and stuffed it inside his shirt. Diego blew out his lamp and silently made his way back down into the cave. He quickly saddled Toronado and donned his hat, gloves and cape, hopped on Toronado and rode off to the pueblo.

As he and Toronado neared the pueblo, he slowed him to a trot and steered him to the back of the tavern. Despite all the people there, he knew it would be relatively quiet. Having helped out at the tavern for a few days, he knew the routines of all the patients and knew most of them would be asleep.

He hopped off of Toronado and stepped up to a window behind the tavern and peered in. A slight smile crossed his lips as he saw Victoria in the kitchen alone cleaning a few dishes. He took out his knife and carefully opened the window and quietly slid in.

Victoria was so intent on doing her work, that she was unaware he was standing right behind her. He removed his hat and gloves and lay them on a counter and watched her as she methodically dried and stacked her dishes. He waited until she had set her plates upon the shelf and then announced himself.

"Buenos Noches Seņorita!" he said softly.

Victoria quickly spun around and looked at Zorro in surprise and softly gasped. "Zorro!" she said as she leaned against the counter bracing herself. Her eyes almost wide with amazement.

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