Bad Times In LA

Parte Treinta Y Uno-B

Nancy Smith

When everyone had finished eating, Alejandro excused himself, as he walked over to the table where their three visitors were sitting.

"Buenos tardes, gentlemen." Alejandro greeted.

"Buenos tardes, Alejandro." Replied Escanto, smiling. Veranos, and Carroga smiled, and nodded.

"By the way, gentlemen, if you don't have any plans, I would like to invite you to come to the hacienda. I'd be glad to show you around." He remarked.

Escanto, Veranos, and Carroga looked at one another, and nodded in agreement.

"Sí. Gracias, Don Alejandro. That would be very nice. We'd love to." Replied Andres, smiling.

"Bueno!" smiled Alejandro, with an approving nodd.

Diego looked over at Micheal and Sully. He walked over to their table, and smiled.

"Ah, Michaela, I hope Doctor Hernandez, hasn't been working you, too hard." He remarked.

"Oh no, not at all. I've really enjoyed, going with Doctor Hernandez, and helping him, with his patients. In a way, it gives me a chance, to get to know, the people, who live here." She stated.

Diego stated. "That's true. I'm sure the people, are just as anxious, to get to know you, as well. They were really surprised, to see a woman doctor, helping Doctor Hernandez, during, the epidemic. I'm sure, they were even more surprised, to see you helping him, out on his rounds." He remarked.

Michaela nodded. "You're right, they were. However, most of the women, were rather glad, to have another woman, to discuss, some of their medical problems, with. I was glad to be of help." She stated, smiling.

Diego nodded in agreement, and smiled. "I'm sure, they were very grateful, for your help." He stated. "By the way, if Doctor Hernandez, doesn't need you, anymore, I thought, perhaps, you and Sully, would like to go for a ride, at the hacienda, with Victoria, and me. I'm sure, you two, could use the rest, after working hard, all day." He remarked, warmly.

Sully and Michaela nodded. "That would be nice, Diego. Thank you." Smiled Michaela.

Soon Alejandro, came walking over, with Veranos, Escanto, and Carroga.

"Diego, I've decided, to give our three guests, a tour, of our hacienda. Would you like to come along?" he asked.

Diego shook his head. "No thank you, father. I've invited Sully, and Michaela, to go for ride with Victoria and me." He stated.

Alejandro nodded. "Bueno! Well, in that case, Felipe, you can come with me, and help me, show our friends, around." He stated, looking at Felipe.

Felipe smiled, and nodded.

Diego looked around, and saw Victoria, standing behind the bar, pouring a drink, for a customer. He excused himself, from Alejandro, and their guests, and strolled over, to the bar.

"Ah buenas tardes, Victoria. Looks like things, have been pretty busy, today. I think half of California, came for lunch, today." He remarked, looking around the tavern, and then back to Victoria.

Victoria nodded with a slight smile. "You're right, Diego. It's been very busy, today. But I'm glad to see it, this way." She smiled.

Diego smiled. "So am I. Victoria, since you're finished serving lunch, how would you, like to go for a ride, with Sully, Michaela, and me? It's a beautiful day, and I would hate to see you waste it, washing dishes, all day." He remarked, warmly.

Victoria smiled. "I'd love to Diego. I'll just get one of my girls, to take care of the tavern, while I'm gone, and then, I'll go change. It won't take, long." She replied.

Diego nodded. "Bueno!" he replied, smiling. He walked over to Alejandro, and their friends.

Victoria, put one of her helpers, in charge of the tavern, then quickly, changed her clothes. Michaela, graciously thanked, Doctor Hernandez, for letting her, help out. Of course, Doctor Hernandez, was more grateful, than she was. He was glad, to have the extra help, not to mention, the company. He thanked Michaela, for her help, then said, good-bye.

When the de la Vegas, and their friends, arrived at the hacienda, Miguel, and Felipe, saddled some extra horses, for Alejandro, Diego, and their friends. While Alejandro, and Felipe, showed their three guests, the hacienda, Michaela, Sully, Diego, and Victoria enjoyed an afternoon ride, across one of the lovelier sections, of the de la Vega property. They even stopped, beside a beautiful lake, with two large trees around it, and rested the horses, before continuing, their ride.

As the day wore on, it began to get late. Soon, everyone returned, to the hacienda, where they later enjoyed, another fine dinner, prepared by Maria, and her helpers. As everyone sat in the Library conversing, Alejandro, was able to talk Diego, into entertaining their guests, by playing a short sonata, on the piano. It was a very lively piece, and everyone was very impressed, with Diego's talent. They all clapped, when he finished. Sully, even talked Michaela, into playing a short piece, on the piano. She told Diego, that it was a duet, and asked him, to play it with her, and of course, he did.

When they had finished, Diego looked at Michaela, in amazement, and smiled.

"Well, for a doctor, you play quite well!" he remarked.

Michaela slightly blushed. "Well, it was a piece, my uncle taught me, years ago. I'm surprised, that I still remember it." She stated modestly.

Alejandro smiled. "Well, you did an excellent job!"

He and the others, clapped, as Michaela and Diego, stood up.

The hour was getting late. Veranos pulled out his watch, and quickly observed, the time. He glanced at his two companions, with a discerning look.

"Well, gentlemen, I think it's time for us to go." He stated.

Alejandro looked at them, curiously. "So soon, gentlemen? You're welcome to stay the night." He stated, amiably.

Veranos shook his head. "No thank you, Alejandro. We have some business, to attend to. We need to get back, to town. We had a very, nice time. Thank you, for showing us, the hacienda. I must say, I was quite, impressed." He stated.

"Oh yes, Alejandro. You have a beautiful hacienda." Stated Escanto.

Carroga nodded. "Oh yes, I too, was very impressed. It's obvious, that you' ve put a lot of work into this place. It's beautiful." He stated, smiling.

Alejandro smiled. "Gracias. I'm glad, you gentlemen, enjoyed it. This hacienda, has been in our family, for years. Ever since my wife and I, arrived from Spain, when Diego was a baby, we've worked hard, to keep this place going. We're very proud of it." He stated.

Escanto nodded, and smiled. "You should be. It's a wonderful place." He remarked.

"Gracias." Replied Alejandro.

Escanto looked at Alejandro. "Thank you so much, for a wonderful evening, Alejandro. By the way, we hope, to have this situation, with DeSoto, settled, by tomorrow. I think Señor Veranos, and I, want to see him, brought to justice, just as much as, Señor Carroga does." He replied, with a resolute nod.

Carroga nodded. ". I have been studying, Alcalde DeSoto's career, and in my opinion, he should have been arrested, a long time ago. He is a very, ruthless man." He stated, with an edged tone.

Alejandro nodded in agreement. "How right, you are."

Veranos looked at Alejandro, and smiled. "Well, Alejandro, as I said, we had a wonderful day, and a very enjoyable, evening. Now, we must be going." He stated, with a decided tone.

The three men, shook hands with Michaela, Sully and Victoria, and smiled. They also expressed their appreciation, for the wonderful entertainment. They bid everyone "Buenas noches," then finally left.

After their guests had left, Michaela looked at Diego, and smiled. "Thank you for inviting, Sully and me, to go riding. We had a wonderful time. Those men, were right, you have a lovely, hacienda." She stated.

Sully nodded in agreement. "Yes, thank you. It's very nice."

Diego smiled. "De nada. I'm glad you had, a good time. I thought this would be, a good day to show you, around. I'm glad you, enjoyed it." He stated.

Michaela slightly sighed. "I've had a rather busy day, today. I hope you don't mind, if I turn in, early." She remarked.

Diego shook his head. "Not at all." He stated warmly.

Sully nodded in agreement. "I guess, I'll turn in too." He stated.

Diego nodded. "Buenas noches. Sleep well." He added, amiably.

Sully said good night to Alejandro, then strolled off to bed.

Diego turned to Victoria. "Victoria, you're welcome to stay the night, as well." He remarked, warmly.

Victoria shook her head. "I should get back, Diego. I have a feeling, that it will be, another busy day, tomorrow." She stated.

Diego looked at her, with a captivating smile. "Well, in that case, I think Zorro, should be your personal, escort." He stated, as he took her hand, and kissed it.

Victoria smiled, as she slightly blushed. "I think I would like that, very much." She remarked warmly.

Diego smiled. "I'll tell father." He stated.

"Tell me what, Diego?" asked Alejandro, walking into the Library.

Diego turned, and looked at Alejandro.

"I told Victoria, that I would take her home, tonight." He stated.

Alejandro looked at Victoria in mild surprise. "You're welcome to stay the night, Victoria." He stated, smiling.

Victoria smiled. "No thank you, Alejandro. As I told Diego, I have a feeling, that it will be busy, tomorrow. I really need, to get back to, the tavern." She stated.

Alejandro smiled. "Well, I'm sure you will be in good hands." He gave a quick wink to Diego. "In that case, I guess I will turn in for the night as well. Buenas noches, Victoria." He stated warmly.

"Buenas noches, Alejandro." She replied, smiling.

Alejandro nodded, and smiled, then turned, and ambled off to bed.

Diego turned to Felipe. "Felipe, go saddle Toronado, while I help Victoria with her coat, please." He stated.

Felipe nodded. He walked over to the fireplace, and pressed the hidden panel, and stepped through the secret door, as it swung open.

Diego collected Victoria's coat, and helped her put it on. He gestured to the fireplace. Victoria stood by the mantle, as Diego pressed the panel. As the door swung open, Diego took Victoria's hand.

"This way, Señorita." He stated, with a discerning smile.

They stepped through the fireplace door, and walked down the stone staircase. Diego briefly stepped into a room, and quickly changed into his Zorro outfit. Victoria looked around in amazement, and shook her head.

"Oh Diego, I had no idea, that this was here. I always dreamed, of seeing where, Zorro and Toronado, lived. This is truly fascinating." She said, walking about the cave, and observing all the furniture, and laboratory equipment.

Diego smiled. "Well, it was originally, a hiding place, in case of Indian attacks, or other emergencies. I just happened to find it, one day, and decided, that it would be a perfect place, for a hideout. I can't wait, to show it, to father." He stated.

Victoria looked at Diego, in surprise. "You mean he doesn't know about this place?" she asked.

Diego shook his head. "Not yet. Well, I think we should be going, it's getting late." He stated.

By then, Felipe had saddled Toronado, and stood beside him, waiting patiently.

Diego patted Felipe on the shoulder. "Gracias, amigo. You may as well go to bed, Felipe. I'll be gone for quite awhile." He stated.

Felipe nodded, then signed, 'Be careful.'

Diego smiled. "Don't worry, Felipe, I will. Buenas noches, Felipe."

Felipe signed 'Good-night,' then trotted up the stairs, and off to bed.

As Diego and Victoria walked over to Toronado, Diego patted him on his neck, in reassurance. Victoria gave him a pat, and smiled.

"Diego, he's beautiful."

Toronado whinnied. Diego chuckled. "I think he said, Gracias."

Victoria smiled, as she gave Toronado another pat. "You're welcome."

Diego put his foot in the stirrup, then swung himself into the saddle. He leaned over, and took Victoria's hand and quickly pulled her behind him. She wrapped her arms around his waist, and pulled herself close against his back and sighed. Diego smiled, as he felt her arms about his waist.

"Hang on." He said, in a subtle tone.

"Don't worry, I will." Replied Victoria, warmly, as she snuggled against him.

As he turned Toronado around, Toronado depressed the hidden pad, with his hoof, and stood patiently as the large stone door, slowly opened. Diego gave a clicking sound, as Toronado bounded out of the cave.

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