When the de la Vegas, and their friends, arrived at the hacienda, Michaela, and Diego, decided to help Maria, prepare the menu, for their guests, that night. Alejandro, and Felipe, however, decided to give Sully a tour of the ranch. Alejandro, was very proud of his ranch, and was always glad, to show it to anyone, who was interested.
The main thing, that Sully, was most interested in, was cattle. So Alejandro, and Felipe, showed Sully his prized cattle. Needless to say, Sully, was quite impressed. He even helped, some of Alejandro's vaqueros, round up a few head of cattle, that needed to be, branded. Alejandro, was quite impressed, with Sully's roping, and branding abilities.
"Señor, you do that, quite well! It's obvious, that you've done this type of work, before." He stated.
After Sully finished branding the cow, he brushed the dust off of his pants, then retrieved his rope. He looked at Alejandro, and smiled.
"You're right, I have. I've been working with cattle, ever since I was, Felipe's age. Michaela and I, even went on a cattle drive, once. I even showed her how, to rope a cow." He chuckled.
Alejandro shook his head, and laughed. "I can't imagine, you wife, on a cattle drive, and roping, a cow." He smiled.
Sully nodded, and smiled. "It's true! We only did it once, but she got, pretty good at it. She could almost do it, as well as I could. She's a fast learner." He stated proudly. "That was some time ago, though. I'm sure she's forgotten how." He added.
Alejandro smiled. "Well Señor, what Michaela lacks in cattle roping, she makes up for it, in her doctoring. She's an amazing woman, Sully." He stated, amiably.
Sully smiled. "Yes, she is!" he replied, warmly.
After Alejandro, Sully, and Felipe, finished helping the vaqueros with the cattle, Alejandro decided to show Sully, his prized Andalucians. He even let Sully, ride one of his stallions. He smiled, as he watched Sully, handle the horse, with such gentleness, and ease. Sully smiled, as he patted the horse's neck.
"He's a real beauty, Alejandro. You've done a good job, raising him, and training him. Thanks for letting me ride him." he remarked, graciously.
Alejandro smiled modestly. "De nada. But I can't take all the credit, Sully. Miguel, my head vaquero, takes care of the horses on this ranch, and he does a fine job, at that! I just ride them, from time, to time. It's a lot of work, and I don't know what I'd do, without Miguel." He stated earnestly.
Sully smiled. "It's obvious, that Miguel really knows, what he's doing. I've never seen, such beautiful horses!" he remarked, as he gazed thoughtfully, at the horses.
Alejandro smiled. "Yes, these are definitely, my pride, and joy! I wouldn't take anything, for them." He stated.
Sully nodded in agreement. "I can see why!"
Alejandro pulled out his watch, from his vest pocket, and looked at it.
"Well, I guess we should be getting back, to the hacienda. We need to get ready, for our guests, tonight." He stated, decidedly.
Sully nodded in acknowledgement.
Sully, Felipe, and Alejandro, turned their horses, and rode back to the hacienda.
Don José, Andres, and Don Luis, had just freshened up, from their long trip, and decided, to have a drink, before going, to the de la Vega, hacienda. The three men ambled down the stairs, found a vacant table, and sat down. They smiled, as they saw one of the waitresses, come to their table, and take their order. While they waited for their drinks, Andres glanced around, and saw Mendoza, sitting at a table, eating some soup, and occasionally, sipping on a drink. Mendoza smiled, as he noticed Andres, looking in his direction.
Andres, looked at his other two companions, rather cautiously, as he slightly leaned toward them.
"I suggest, that we keep our conversation light, gentlemen. I have a feeling, that we're being watched." He stated, as he gave a slight nod, to Mendoza. Don José, and Don Luis, nodded, in agreement.
As they sat back in their chairs, they gave a hardy laugh, as if one of them, had just told a joke. Soon the waitress came, and passed out, their drinks. They smiled, and politely thanked her.
"De nada, Señores. Enjoy your drinks." She stated, smiling. The three men nodded, and smiled, as the waitress strolled off, to tend to her other customers.
Mendoza finished his meal, then strolled over, to greet the three visitors. As he walked over to their table, they looked at him, and smiled.
"Buenos tardes, Sergeant. How are you doing?" inquired Andres, amiably.
Mendoza smiled. "Quite well, gracias. By the way, I didn't get yours and the other gentleman's name today." He stated, gesturing to Don Luis.
"Terribly sorry, Sergeant. I am Andres Veranos, and this is my friend, Don Luis Franscisco." He stated amiably.
Don Luis nodded, and smiled.
Mendoza nodded. "Nice to meet you, Señores." He replied, warmly. He looked at Andres, thoughtfully.
"Señor Veranos, your name sounds very familiar. Have we met before?" he asked, with an inquisitive look.
Andres shook his head. "I don't think so, Sergeant." He stated, earnestly.
Mendoza looked at Andres pensively, as he put his hand to his chin. He slightly nodded. "Well, I'm sure it will come to me later." He stated, decidedly. He looked at Emissary Escanto. "Well Emissary, what brings you to Los Angeles?" he asked, curiously.
Emissary Escanto smiled. "I was so enchanted, by your pueblo, when I first saw it, that I decided to come back. I even invited Señor Veranos, and Señor Francisco, to come with me. We decided to come here, for a little vacation, Sergeant." He replied, smiling.
Mendoza nodded, and smiled. "Well, I hope you gentlemen, enjoy your stay here, in Los Angeles." He remarked, amiably.
"Gracias, Sergeant. I'm sure we will." He stated, smiling. Don José, pulled out is watch, from his vest pocket, and checked the time. "Well gentlemen, it looks like, it's almost time, for us to go, to the hacienda. I suppose we should finish our drinks, and be going." He stated, decidedly. He looked up at Mendoza, and smiled. "Sergeant, it was very nice talking to you. We will see you, tomorrow." He remarked.
Mendoza looked at Don José, curiously. "You wouldn't happen to be going, to the de la Vega hacienda, would you?" he asked.
Don José nodded. "Oh sí! We have been invited, for dinner there, tonight." He stated.
Mendoza nodded. "Well, I'm sure you will have, a good time. Don Alejandro, is an excellent host! Enjoy yourselves, gentlemen." He stated, smiling.
The three men nodded, and smiled. "Gracias, Sergeant!" remarked Don José.
"De nada." Replied Mendoza. He gave a nod to the men, and walked back to his table. He collected his hat, paid the waitress for his meal, then casually strolled out of the tavern. The men watched Mendoza leave, then Andres sighed in relief.
"Well, that was close, Señores. I only hope he believed you Emissary." He stated, earnestly.
Don José nodded, and smiled. "Don't worry, Andres. Sergeant Mendoza, is very gullible. I'm sure he believed me." He stated.
Andres nodded in agreement. "I suppose, you're right. He looks the type, that could be easily, fooled." He remarked, with a slight chuckle.
Don Luis looked at Andres, earnestly. "We may have fooled Mendoza, but I have a feeling, that DeSoto, won't be so easily, fooled. I have a feeling, that he knows that something, is going on. Especially, with you here, Emissary." He stated, anxiously.
Don José nodded. "You may be right, about DeSoto. We'll just have to be careful, that's all."
They nodded in agreement. "Well, I guess we should be going." Don José stated.
They finished their drinks, and generously paid the waitress. As they walked out of the tavern, they went to the livery stable, and purchased some horses, then rode to the hacienda.
Alejandro, Sully, and Felipe, had already returned to the hacienda, and had finally finished dressing, before their guests, were to arrive, for dinner. Michaela and Diego, had changed their clothes, as well, and were ready, for their guests. Alejandro went to the kitchen, to make on last minute check on the dinner, to make sure Maria, and the other servants, had everything, properly prepared. Diego walked into the Library, and saw Michaela, and Sully, sitting by the fireplace, having a drink, and eating a few hors d'oeuvres, that one of the servants, had brought out, on a silver tray. Diego smiled, then looked at his watch.
"Well, I guess it's almost time, to get Victoria. She's having dinner with us, tonight, along with our guests." He stated, warmly.
Michaela and Sully smiled, and nodded. "Well, at least I won't be the only female, at the dinner table." Michaela smiled. "I'm looking forward, to seeing Victoria, again. I really enjoy, her company." She added, warmly.
Diego smiled. "As I am sure, that she enjoys yours, as well." He stated amiably. "Well, I will return, shortly." He stated. As he started walking toward the foyer, he heard a rapid knocking, at the door. One of the servants, prepared to answer the door, but Diego, politely waved them away. The servant nodded, then returned to the kitchen to help Maria. Diego walked over, and opened the door. He smiled, as he ushered Don José, Andres, and Don Luis, into the house.
"Ah, buenas noches, gentlemen. It's good to see you. I'm glad you could come, for dinner. Please make yourselves, at home." He stated, warmly. He briefly turned to Felipe.
"Felipe, go tell father, that our guests have arrived." He remarked.
Felipe nodded, then strolled off to get Alejandro.
Diego looked at his three guests, and smiled. "Dinner, is not quite ready. However, you're welcome to wait in the Library, with our friends. You can help yourselves to some wine and hors d'oeuvres, there." He stated warmly.
The three men nodded, and followed Diego, to the Library. As they entered the Library, Sully rose, and greeted the men, as he shook their hands. Michaela gave an acknowledging nod, and smiled. Alejandro and Felipe, soon walked in.
"Ah, buenas noches, gentlemen. I'm so glad you could be here." He greeted warmly.
"Thank you for inviting us, Señor." Replied Don José. Andres and Don Luis, nodded their thanks as well, and smiled.
Diego looked at Alejandro earnestly. "If you'll excuse me, father, I have to go pick up Victoria. I promise, that I'll be back in time, for dinner, this time." He smiled.
Alejandro smiled. "I'm going to hold you to that, Diego!" he replied, humorously.
Diego smiled. "Adios, father." He turned, and walked out the door. Diego, had requested that Miguel, bring the carriage, to the front gate. As he walked out to Miguel, he informed him, that he would be driving himself, to town. Miguel nodded, then hopped out of the carriage. Diego stepped into the carriage, then quickly slapped the reins on the horse's back, and trotted off to the pueblo.
Victoria, had already closed her tavern, for the night. Everything had been cleaned, put away, and ready for the next day. She rushed upstairs to her room, quickly bathed, and dressed. After she had dressed, she put on her makeup, and brushed her hair. Victoria, walked over to her jewelry box, opened the drawer, and took out the ring, that Diego, had given her. She held it up to the light, and gazed at it, as the diamonds and ruby, sparkled in the light. She started to put it on her finger, when she heard a loud knocking, at her tavern door. Victoria slightly blinked, inwardly shaking herself, from her reverie, and put the ring, back in the drawer. She turned, then hurried downstairs, to answer the door.
As she opened the door, she smiled, as she saw Diego, standing in the doorway, with one hand, behind his back.
"Come in, Diego. I just have to get my wrap." She stated, smiling, as she ushered him into the tavern. Diego walked in, and closed the door. With his free hand, he took Victoria's hand, and tenderly kissed it.
"Buenas noches, Victoria. Oh by the way, these are for you!" he stated, handing her the bouquet of roses, that he had hidden, behind his back.
Victoria's eyes widened. "Diego, they're beautiful!" she remarked, smiling. She carefully took the flowers, and lightly smelled them. "Thank you very much, Diego." She slightly blushed.
"De nada." He replied, warmly. "They remind me of the blush, upon your face." He added, gazing passionately into her eyes.
Victoria smiled. "Gracias, Diego. Wait here, while I find a vase for them." She remarked. She walked back to the kitchen, and briefly returned, with her roses, neatly arranged, in a beautiful crystal vase. She carefully sat them on the bar, and looked at them, and smiled.
"They're beautiful!" she commented again, smiling.
Diego stepped up behind her, and turned her around to face him.
"Not as beautiful, as you, Señorita!" he stated, gazing into her eyes, and smiling. He wrapped his arms around her, and tenderly kissed her lips. When they parted, Victoria slightly blushed, as she looked into his eyes, and smiled.
"Well, I guess we should be going. You wouldn't want your father, angry at you, for being late." She stated.
Diego smiled. "Speaking of father, I finally told him about Zorro, and about our engagement." He remarked.
Victoria smiled. "Thank goodness, Diego. I'm especially glad, that you finally told him, that you were Zorro. I hope he wasn't disappointed." She commented, earnestly.
Diego shook his head. "On the contrary, he was glad, on both counts. In fact, I think he was happier, knowing that, we were going to get married, than me being, Zorro. I think he was a bit stunned, when I first told him, that I was Zorro. But after awhile, he finally came around. I even told him, about, Felipe. He smiled.