As Michaela handed the parchment to DeSoto, Felipe momentarily stepped out of the tavern to empty a bucket of water. He glanced up and saw Diego standing beside a young man and woman as DeSoto prepared to take a piece of paper from the woman. His eyes widened with excitement as he saw Diego. He dropped his bucket and quickly rushed inside to get Alejandro and the others.
Alejandro had just finished helping doctor Hernandez with a patient when Felipe came rushing up to him and began tugging on his shirt and pointing toward the door looking very excited. Alejandro flashed a surprised look at Felipe as he continued pointing toward the tavern door.
"Felipe, what is it? What's the matter? What's all the excitement about?" Alejandro replied as he put a firm hand on Felipe's shoulder and cast an earnest look at him.
Felipe made a sign for Diego and pointed to the outside of the tavern.
Alejandro's eyes lit up as he grabbed Felipe by the shoulders and smiled. "Diego has come back?" Replied Alejandro excitedly.
Felipe gave a big nod and grinned.
"Gracias Dios! He's finally come back!" Replied Alejandro as he crossed himself and released an anxious sigh of relief. He looked at doctor Hernandez and smiled. He glanced around the tavern and saw Victoria sitting across the room with a patient. He hurriedly walked over and gave her the good news.
Victoria's eyes widened as she looked up at Alejandro and smiled. She momentarily turned her attention back to a young girl she was giving aid to and smiled warmly.
"I have to go right now, but I promise I will be right back! I will bring you something to eat when I come back!" she replied as she brushed a lock of hair from the young girl's eyes with her hand and smiled. The young girl nodded and smiled back.
Victoria stood up and followed Alejandro and Felipe outside. Doctor Hernandez soon followed.
As the four of them hurried outside to greet Diego, they walked up to DeSoto and his men, just as he was about to read the parchment that Michaela had given him.
The moment Diego saw Alejandro, Victoria and Felipe, he quickly stepped around DeSoto and his men and walked over and gave Alejandro a warm hug.
As Alejandro hugged Diego, he suddenly felt tears well up in his eyes as he held him close. He released him from his embrace and took out his handkerchief and wiped his face and smiled.
"I'm sorry Diego! I was so worried about you the whole time you were gone! Why didn't you tell me where you were going?" he inquired anxiously.
Diego cast a decisive look at Alejandro and slightly smiled. "I'm sorry I wasn't very explicit in my letter. I just felt that it would have taken too long to explain and I just didn't have time! Besides, the most important thing right now is, that I'm back and I've found someone that can help us!" Replied Diego glancing over at Michaela and Sully.
He looked back at Felipe and stepped over and gave him a big hug and smiled as he parted from his embrace.
"I missed you Felipe! I hope you behaved yourself while I was gone!" he teased as he patted him on the shoulder.
Felipe slightly blushed and smiled as he nodded.
Victoria looked at Diego thoughtfully and smiled she watched him slightly ruffle Felipe's hair and smile. A part of her was still a bit hurt because as Diego he didn't tell her good-bye when he left, and yet another part of her was just glad that he was home safe and sound. As he stepped up to her and gazed warmly into her eyes and smiled, the part that was glad he was home seemed to outweigh the other as she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him close. The moment he wrapped his arms around her and hugged her, she released a small sigh of relief and inwardly prayed that he would never go away again.
As they parted from their warm embrace they gazed affectionately into one another's eyes and smiled. There was a moment of silence as they stood memorizing each other's face as if they had been away from one another for years instead of days. Finally Diego smiled and broke and the silence as his eyes studied the soft features of her face.
"I missed you most of all Victoria!" he replied sincerely as he tenderly caressed the side of her face with his hand and smiled, his eyes never leaving hers.
As Diego stood gazing into her eyes, Victoria felt her heart slightly beat a little faster. It was a selfish thought, but she wished that she and Diego were the only two people standing there and maybe he would kiss her like he did before. She inwardly cleared her mind of her wishful thinking and slightly blushed as she smiled at Diego.
"I missed you too Diego!" she replied as her eyes seemed to melt into his. "I'm glad you're home!" she added affectionately as she stood gazing warmly into his eyes.
Diego smiled and took her hand and kissed it. He wanted to kiss her, but he was bound by tradition and a code of ethics that didn't allow such public displays of affection. He wasn't too upset however. He knew he would get another chance to make up for the time they were apart and he hoped it would be soon.
"It's good to be home!" he said simply.
DeSoto took the parchment and unrolled it and scanned the document with an inspecting gaze. He momentarily glanced up from the parchment and looked with disdain upon the familial scene being played before him. He put his fist to his mouth and gruffly cleared his throat.
"Excuse me, I hate to interrupt such a momentous occasion, but can we get back to the business at hand!" he remarked sardonically as he shook his head and sighed in disgust, a wry smile crossing his lips.
Diego's eyes narrowed as he flashed an intensely heated look at DeSoto. He had to inwardly restrain himself from walking over to DeSoto and shoving his fist into his face. For Diego, this took a lot of self-restraint. As he stood glaring at DeSoto he faintly heard another familiar voice speaking to him.
"Welcome home Diego! I'm glad you're back!" replied doctor Hernandez as he placed a congenial hand on his shoulder.
Diego sighed and his vengeful gaze softened as he turned to the kind doctor and smiled.
"Thank you doctor, I'm glad to be home!" he replied earnestly. He momentarily put his arm around the doctor's shoulders and directed his attention to Michaela.
"Doctor Hernandez, there's someone I want you to meet!" Diego said as he proceeded to steer the doctor toward the beautiful doctor and her husband.
DeSoto returned his attention back to Michaela and cast an inquisitive look at her.
"This document says that you received your medical training from Boston Women's School of Medicine? I've never heard of a school of medicine for women before! However, this document looks authentic and it does have a doctor's signature on it." He examined the document once more reading it from top to bottom. DeSoto rolled up the parchment and handed it to Michaela and cast a decisive look at her.
"All right doctor Quinn! You and your husband can enter this pueblo but only on one condition. Since you will be working with doctor Hernandez, you must be under his direction and supervision." Replied DeSoto eyeing Michaela resolutely.
Diego stepped up to Michaela and prepared to introduce her to doctor Hernandez.
"Doctor Quinn, I'd like you to meet the physician for our pueblo, doctor Hernandez." Replied Diego amiably as he directed her attention to doctor Hernandez.
Michaela smiled and extended her hand. Doctor Hernandez slightly bowed and took her hand and lightly kissed it. He looked at her and smiled.
"It is so nice to make your acquaintance, Seņorita Quinn!" Doctor Hernandez replied amiably.
Sully stepped up beside Michaela and cast a meaningful gaze upon the doctor. Michaela looked at Sully and slightly blushed. She looked at doctor Hernandez and smiled as she directed his attention to Sully.
"Doctor Hernandez, I'd like you meet my husband Byron Sully." She replied casting an affectionate gaze at Sully.
Doctor Hernandez slightly blushed and smiled. "My apologies Seņora!" he glanced over at Sully and extended his hand. "I am glad to make your acquaintance Seņora Sully. It is unfortunate that we have to meet under such unpleasant circumstances." He replied as he held an attentive gaze on Michaela and Sully. "Seņora, I mean no disrespect, but I would like to examine that parchment you are holding, with your permission." He commented earnestly.
Michaela handed doctor Hernandez her parchment and smiled. "I understand doctor! Of course!" she replied amiably.
Doctor Hernandez carefully read the document and then handed it back to Michaela and smiled. "Well Seņora, everything looks in order. So, you are truly a doctor of medicine! How interesting, a woman doctor! Diego said he would bring back help, but I had no idea!" he gazed at her in amazement and shook his head.
Sully slightly glared at the doctor as he noticed his expression. "My wife is a good doctor! She's saved a lot of lives back in Colorado and even performed some very successful operations!" Sully stated defensively as he eyed the old doctor resolutely.
Doctor Hernandez shook his head and held up his hand in a yielding gesture. "Forgive me Seņor, but I was not doubting your wife's capabilities as a doctor. It is just that she is the first woman doctor I have seen in this territory. With your permission Seņora, and a very beautiful one at that!" he commented earnestly and smiled.
Sully affectionately slipped his arm around Michaela's waist and gently pressed her close to his side and smiled as he gazed at the soft blush that came to her cheeks as the doctor complimented her.
"Yes she is!" replied Sully gazing affectionately into her eyes and smiling.
Michaela glanced at Sully and smiled.
Doctor Hernandez smiled as he gazed at Sully and Michaela. He momentarily cast an earnest look at DeSoto.
"Alcalde, I will take full responsibility for doctor Quinn while she is here. If she is the kind of doctor that I have a feeling she is, then God has truly sent us an angel of mercy and hopefully this epidemic will come to an end very soon!" Hernandez commented resolutely. He cast a supportive look at Michaela and smiled. He briefly took her hand in his and cast an examining gaze upon her palm and slender fingers and marveled at the softness of her hand as he held her hand in his. He gently patted her hand in an amiable gesture and smiled.
"Yes, this is truly the hand of a doctor Seņora. I can see the experience in your eyes as well. It appears that we both have seen a lifetime of joy and pain doctor Quinn!" he slightly blushed as he released her hand. "Forgive me Seņora, I hope I have not embarrassed you. I am just an old man hoping for a miracle." He sighed as he gazed warmly into her eyes and smiled.
As Michaela looked into the doctor's eyes she seemed to sense a feeling of trust and admiration a doctor held for a fellow colleague that he had worked with and respected. Although they had just met, the moment he held her hand and looked into her eyes, it was as if he had known her from another lifetime.
Maybe she was just being too sensitive to the situation. But so far the events in her dream had all come true. Their arrival, meeting the man in black and then coming to this pueblo. It was all so strange, yet doctor Hernandez's faith in her was unwavering and deep. With the exception of Sully and her father, no one had ever had such faith in her before. That feeling of awe and humility seemed to swirl inside her all over again. She was in awe of this experienced doctor who was relying on her to help save them from this life-threatening epidemic. And yet, she was humbled by his faith in her ability as a woman doctor to help make things right.
Michaela shook her head and smiled at this kind and devoted doctor that stood before her. She put a reassuring hand on his shoulder and gazed earnestly into his eyes.
"No doctor Hernandez, I'm not in the least embarrassed. You're right, I have seen a lifetime of joy and pain and I am sure that through it all it has made us both stronger for it. I must confess however, that I am no miracle worker. But I can tell you this, I will do my best to help you all I can! Maybe with both our experiences we can learn from one another." Concluded Michaela casting an admirable gaze upon the learned doctor's face.
Michaela's last comment brought a warm smile to doctor's lips. This was the first time he had ever had another doctor to share experiences with. Everything that had ever happened in his years of practice was written in a journal only to be read by his eyes only. Now the thought of actually sharing these stories with a fellow doctor and a woman no less, seemed to make his heart a little lighter. A glint of hope came to his eyes as he looked at her and smiled.
"Gracias Seņora! I have a feeling that together, you and I will cure our pueblo of this deadly virus!" he responded earnestly.
Michaela and doctor Hernandez looked at one another and nodded. Diego briefly eyed the two doctors thoughtfully and smiled. The vision in his dream had come true too. By the same strange event that had suddenly brought Michaela and Sully, the same event had enabled Diego to bring this woman doctor to his dying pueblo to help bring them back to life. Somehow he didn't have to wonder whether or not they would survive. Something inside him knew they would. Maybe it was faith or maybe it was what his mother had said in his dream. Whatever it was, there was no doubt in his mind that his pueblo would be saved.