Bad Times In LA

Parte Treinta Y Uno-A

Nancy Smith

The next morning, Diego, "volunteered" to give Victoria, a ride to town. Ever since the tavern, had been opened for business, Victoria, was more eager than ever, to serve her patrons. Michaela however, was feeling the pangs, of homesickness. She longed to be back, in Colorado, where she too, could continue her work at the clinic, and be with her children, and friends, whom she missed, most of all. Sully too, was beginning to feel, a longing, to return to, Colorado. Like Michaela, he too, missed the children, their friends, and just the sense, of being home.

They were grateful, for the de la Vega's kindness, and generosity. But now that the epidemic was over, they both longed to return, to where they really belonged. They only wished, that they knew of a way, to get back. In the meantime, Michaela, had decided to help out Doctor Hernandez, with his patients, as he went on, his daily rounds. While Michaela, helped Doctor Hernandez, Sully kept occupied, by helping Alejandro's Vaquero's, with the livestock, at which Alejandro, was very grateful.

Alejandro and Felipe, had decided to ride to town, with Diego, and Victoria. Alejandro, was very anxious, to get to know, this Don Xavier Miguel Francisco Carroga. If he was to be, the new Alcalde, Alejandro wanted to make sure, that he had, the people's best interest, at heart. God forbid, that they should have, another Alcalde, like Ramon, or DeSoto.

As the de la Vegas, and Victoria, rolled up to the tavern, in their carriage, they saw DeSoto, strolling across the plaza, toward the tavern. He had a very determined look, on his face, as he approached them.

"Brace yourself ... " began Diego, turning to Alejandro. "I have a feeling, that we are about to be, interrogated." He stated, with a smug look.

Alejandro slightly smiled, and nodded in agreement.

Victoria put her arm around Felipe, and directed him into the tavern.

"Come on, Felipe. It's almost lunch time. Go find a table, for you, Don Alejandro, and Diego, and I will fix you all, some lunch." She stated, amiably.

Felipe smiled, and nodded.

Diego, and Alejandro, were about to walk into, the tavern, when they briefly turned, as they heard DeSoto, "cheerfully" calling their names.

"Ah, buenos días, Don Alejandro, and Don Diego. How are you?" he greeted, amiably.

Alejandro, and Diego, briefly exchanged smug looks.

"Buenos dias, Alclade. We are fine. How are you?" Alejandro replied, smiling.

"Never better. Thank you for asking." He replied, amiably.

"De nada." Stated Alejandro.

Diego eyed DeSoto, intently, then spoke up. "By the way Alcalde, I'm sure, that you didn't walk all the way over here, just to inquire, about our health." He stated, with a discerning look.

DeSoto looked at Diego, in disbelief.

"Really Diego! I'm surprised at you! Don't be such a pessimist." He admonished.

Diego slightly shrugged. "Forgive me, Alcalde. But life's experiences, do tend to leave one, jaded." He remarked, with a sardonic tone.

DeSoto slightly narrowed his eyes, as he flashed an intense look, at Diego. Alejandro sensing a confrontation, quickly broke in.

"What can we do for you, Alcalde?" inquired Alejandro, with a slight smile.

DeSoto slightly blinked, then looked at Alejandro. He gave his tunic a quick adjustment.

"Come to think of it, Don Alejandro, there is something, that I wanted to talk to you, about." He stated, earnestly.

Alejandro put his hand, on DeSoto's shoulder, and smiled. "I have an excellent idea, Alcalde. Diego, Felipe, and I, were just going to have, lunch. Why don't you join us, and we'll talk about it, while we eat."

DeSoto nodded, and smiled. "Gracias, Alejandro." He replied, amiably.

As the three men, walked into the tavern, Alejandro saw Felipe, sitting at one of the tables.

"Ah bueno! Felipe has saved us a table. This way gentlemen." He remarked, as he directed Diego, and DeSoto, to their table, and sat down.

It wasn't long, until Doctor Hernandez, Michaela, Sully, and some of Alejandro's vaqueros came into the tavern for lunch. Michaela, Sully, and Doctor Hernandez, saw Diego, and Alejandro, sitting with DeSoto. They found a vacant table near them, and sat down. Michaela looked at Alejandro, and Diego, and smiled.

"Buenos tardes, Alejandro, Diego, and Felipe." She greeted amiably. "Buenos tardes, Alcalde." She greeted, with a dry look.

DeSoto gave a slight nod, and smiled.

"Buenas tardes, Michaela. I hope yours' and Doctor Hernandez's day, hasn't been too busy." Alejandro stated, warmly.

Michaela shook her head. "Oh no, Alejandro. It was just an ordinary day; stitching a few cuts, setting a few broken bones." She stated smiling.

Doctor Hernandez smiled. "I might add, Doctor Quinn did most of the work, and she did an excellent job, at that." He stated.

Michaela slightly blushed. "I must say, that I've had, plenty of practice." She stated, smiling.

Sully nodded in agreement. "Remember when Brian, broke his arm?" he remarked, with a reflective gaze.

Michaela nodded and smiled. A wistful look mirrored in her eyes, as she looked at Sully, and sighed.

"I wish we were back, in Colorado, Sully." She remarked, thoughtfully.

Sully reached over, and put his hand on hers, as he gazed into her eyes. "So do I." He replied, compassionately. He gave her hand, a gentle squeeze.

Diego looked at Michaela, thoughtfully. He still wasn't sure, how they got here. Yet he was even more uncertain, about how he was going to get them, back. He knew, that they had arrived here, under unusual circumstances. Maybe it would be, those same circumstances, that would get them back. Diego inwardly smiled, as a plan formed in his mind.

Soon two waitresses came, and took everyone's order, then returned to the kitchen. As they waited for their order, Diego looked up, and saw their three visitors, walking into the tavern. Emissary Escanto, looked over, and saw the de la Vegas, sitting at a table, with DeSoto.

"Excuse me, gentlemen ... " he began, as he looked at Veranos, and Carroga. "I think that I will give my regards, to the Alcalde." He stated, with a wry smile.

Veranos and Carroga, nodded, then walked over to a table, and sat down.

Escanto strolled up the de la Vega's table, and smiled.

"Buenos tardes, Don Alejandro, Don Diego, and Alcalde." He greeted amiably.

DeSoto stood up, and extended his hand. "Ah Emissary Escanto, it's good to see you again!" he remarked, amiably.

Escanto shook his hand, and smiled. "Ah Alcalde DeSoto, it's good to see you again, too. It's been a long time!" he stated, warmly.

DeSoto nodded. "Yes, it has. Would you care to join us?" he asked.

Escanto shook his head. "Oh, no thank you. I'm having lunch, with some friends of mine." He stated, gesturing to the other two men.

"Oh, I see." Replied DeSoto. "By the way, Emissary, I want to apologize, for not officially greeting you, when you arrived, the other day. I had no idea, that you were coming. If I had known, that you were coming, I would have given you, a proper welcome." He stated, regretfully.

Escanto smiled, and shook his head. "There's no need to apologize, Señor. My business here, is strictly, unofficial. Despite my ordeal, the last time I was here, I must say, that I was so enchanted, by this lovely pueblo, that I couldn't wait, to come back! I'm sorry, for not informing you, of my arrival, but just to honest with you, I didn't think it was necessary." He stated, earnestly.

DeSoto nodded. He looked at Escanto, with a mild expression. "I quite understand, Emissary. I was so busy, getting caught up, on all my paperwork, that I didn't get a chance, to see you, the other day. We've been through some trying times, lately, and everything, seemed to just pill up." He slightly shrugged.

Escanto nodded. "Ah yes. I heard some of the people, talking about an epidemic, in your pueblo. I'm glad, everything, is back to normal. It's obvious, that your pueblo, made a complete recovery. It's as if, nothing ever happened." He remarked, slightly shaking his head.

Alejandro's expression grew stern, as he looked at Escanto.

"I beg your pardon, Emissary, but many people died, in that epidemic. The rest of us, are lucky, to be alive, thanks to our good Doctor Hernandez, and Doctor Michaela Quinn." He stated, with an earnest tone.

Escanto looked at Alejandro, compassionately. "Please forgive me, Don Alejandro. It wasn't my intention, to imply that, the epidemic, was a trivial matter. On the contrary, Señor, I am quite aware, of the devastation, that an epidemic, can have, on a pueblo. Especially, one of this size. I was merely observing, what a remarkable, recovery, your pueblo, has made. My sincere apologies, Don Alejandro." He stated, sympathetically.

Alejandro nodded, and smiled. "Please forgive me, Emissary, for being so abrupt. As the Alcalde said, it was a very stressful time." He remarked.

Escanto smiled. "I understand. There's no need to apologize." He stated. Escanto paused, and looked at Alejandro thoughtfully.

"Don Alejandro, did you say that there was a woman doctor, here in your pueblo?" he asked, with curiosity.

Alejandro nodded, and gestured to Michaela sitting at the next table. ", Emissary. Doctor Quinn, is a real doctor, just like Doctor Hernandez." He stated. He rose from the table, and walked over to Michaela.

"Excuse me, Señora Quinn. I was just telling Emissary Escanto, that you are a doctor." He stated.

Escanto looked at Michaela in amazement. "Señora, are you really a medical doctor?" he asked.

Michaela nodded. ", Emissary. I obtained my degree, from Boston's Women's Medical College. I'll be glad to show you my credentials." She stated.

Escanto shook his head. "There's no need, Señora ... I mean, Doctor Quinn. I just find it amazing, to find a woman doctor, in a small pueblo, like Los Angeles. I hear you were beneficial, in helping Doctor Hernandez, save the pueblo, from the epidemic." He stated, earnestly.

Michaela slightly blushed, and looked at him modestly.

"I only brought the medicine, that they needed, to cure, the influenza. The rest, was up to the patients." She stated.

Alejandro smiled. "Michaela, you're being much too modest. If it hadn't been for you, and Doctor Hernandez, our pueblo, would have suffered, a greater loss. As it is, you helped save, many lives, and we are truly, grateful." He stated.

"Gracias, Alejandro." Replied Michaela, warmly.

Escanto nodded in agreement. "I too am grateful, to you Señora. I hope that in the future, more women, will become doctors, like you." He stated, earnestly.

Michaela gave a discerning nod. "I have a feeling, that they will, Emissary." She smiled.

DeSoto stepped up to Escanto. "Pardon me, Emissary. Forgive me for interrupting, but I was just wondering ... how long, will you be staying, here, in Los Angeles?" he inquired.

Escanto turned to DeSoto. "I really don't know, Alcalde. I suppose, until I decide to return to Spain. For now, I plan to make the most, of the time, I'm staying here." He smiled. He glanced over, and saw the waitress, bringing his, and the other two men, their food.

"Well, if you'll excuse me, Señores, and Señora, my lunch awaits me." He stated, smiling.

"Well Emissary, as I said, it's good to see you again. I hope that we can get together, while you are here." Stated DeSoto, amiably.

Believe me Alcalde, we will definitely, be spending a lot of time, together. I guarantee it!" Stated Escanto, with a discerning smile. He turned, and walked off, to join his companions.

DeSoto slightly smiled. He briefly put his hand to his chin, as he cast a thoughtful gaze, at Escanto. 'I wonder what he meant, by that?' He thought. He slightly blinked, and shook his head, as he walked back to his table, and sat down.

Soon the waitress came, with everyone's lunch, and passed them out. As they ate their lunch, Alejandro briefly looked at DeSoto.

"By the way, Alcalde, what was it, that you wanted to talk to me about, anyway?" Asked Alejandro, with a curious tone.

DeSoto wiped his mouth, on the cloth napkin, and slightly shook, his head.

"It was nothing, Don Alejandro. Besides, I think I found out, what I needed to know." He stated, as he looked over at Escanto, pensively. He reached into his pocket, and placed several silver coins on the table.

"Allow me to pay for our lunches, Señores." He stated amiably.

Alejandro shook his head. "Alcalde, that's really not necessary." He stated, with an abashed look.

DeSoto nodded. "I insist! I'm feeling very generous, today, Señores. I suggest, that you take advantage, of this generosity, while you can." He remarked, with a slight smile. "Well, I must get back to work. Good day, Señores." He stated. He rose from the table, and walked over to Sully, Michaela, and Doctor Hernandez. He looked at Michaela, and smiled. "Good day, Doctor Quinn." He said, amiably.

Michaela nodded, and smiled. "Good day, Alcalde."

"Señores." DeSoto said, to Sully and Doctor Hernandez. He turned, and walked out the door.

Alejandro, looked at Diego, in disbelief. "I wonder what that, was all about?" he asked.

Diego gazed thoughtfully, at the coins, and then sat back in his chair, and gazed, at the entrance of the tavern.

"I'm not sure, father." He said, shaking his head. "However, I'm sure, it's only temporary." He stated, with a wry grin.

Alejandro slightly chuckled. "You're probably right."

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