Diego's Dilemma

Parte Once-A

Nancy J. Smith

The next morning after breakfast, Diego was anxious to try out an experiment had read about concerning amnesia and personality changes. He had read where often severe blows to the head could cause amnesia and changes in personality as well. However, in this case, he was more concerned with getting Victoria's memory restored so Vargas and Pico could be sent to prison.

"Victoria, come into the Library, I think I have found a way, to help you remember the incident at the tavern." he stated earnestly.

Alejandro and Felipe looked at Diego curiously.

"What are you going to do, Diego?" Alejandro asked.

"Yes Diego, what are you planning on doing?" asked Victoria with a slight hesitation in her voice.

Diego looked at them reassuringly.

"It's something I read about in one of my books concerning the human mind. It had to do with restoring memory loss." he replied.

Alejandro looked at him with concern.

"Diego, will this be dangerous?" he asked.

Diego shook his head.

"No. It will be completely painless. It's a form of hypnosis." he replied.

Alejandro's eyes widened.

"Hypnosis? Diego, you mean you're going to hypnotize Victoria?! I don't know about this, Diego." he replied anxiously.

Diego looked at Alejandro with reassurance.

"Don't worry, father. She won't be completely hypnotized. Under the right circumstances, it's all quite safe." he replied.

Victoria looked at him anxiously.

"I don't know, Diego. Remember what happened to you, when that traveling Doctor Lozano hypnotized you. It was as if you were someone we didn't even know!" she replied.

Diego smiled. "Trust me, Victoria, you won't end up being some villain or demon. I wouldn't dream of changing your personality. I love you just the way you are. I'm only going to try to unlock that part of your memory that you seem to be suppressing or trying to forget." he stated.

Victoria looked at him anxiously.

"Do you think it will work, Diego?" she asked.

Diego nodded.

"Hopefully. It mainly depends on you, Victoria. Only if you want to remember it, then we have a chance, of it working." he replied.

Victoria nodded.

"I do want to remember, Diego. I want those men to go to prison, as bad as you do!" she replied.

Diego nodded.

"Good! Well, let's get started." he replied.

As they walked into to the Library, Diego escorted Victoria over to a chair near a small table. Alejandro and Felipe, sat on the couch and watched. Diego set a single candle on the table and lit it, then pulled up a chair and sat down beside Victoria. Victoria looked over at Diego somewhat apprehensive.

"I don't know about this, Diego." She remarked.

Diego put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, and looked into her eyes.

"Don't worry, Victoria, I'm right here. Nothing is going to happen to you. All you have to do is just relax, and look into the flame on the candle. Try not to think about anything. Just let your mind flow free. Just relax!" he repeated softly.

Victoria sat back in the soft cushioned chair, and gazed at the flame, flickering on the candle, and sighed.

"Now, just relax and concentrate on the flame. Forget everything around you, and concentrate." Diego repeated calmly. He looked at Victoria and noticed her gazing at the candle.

"Are you relaxed?" Diego asked.

Victoria nodded.

"Ok. Now, cast your mind back to that night at the tavern." replied Diego.

Victoria nodded.

"I'm beginning to see something now."

Diego nodded.

"What do you see, Victoria?" he asked.

"It was very late, and everyone had gone home, except for Pilar. She stayed to help me clean up." said Victoria.

Diego nodded.

"What happened next?" he asked.

Victoria gazed into the flame.

"After we finished cleaning up, Pilar left, and I locked the tavern doors. Then I went into the kitchen to finish the dishes." she replied wistfully.

"What happened after that?" Diego asked.

"I was busy washing dishes, when I heard someone knocking on the kitchen door. I thought it was Pilar." She replied.

"Who was it?" asked Diego.

As Victoria gazed into the flame, her eyes became wide, as she saw the face of Vargas shoving her against the table, as he burst into the kitchen. She quickly grabbed Diego's hand.

"It's him, Diego!" she replied in a fearful tone.

Diego put his hand on hers and looked at her reassuringly.

"It's all right, Victoria, he can't hurt you! Who is it?" he asked.

"It's Vargas. The man who was in the tavern that day. The one you fought with. That other man is with him too, Pico! They're pointing their guns at me." She replied worriedly.

"Can you see anything else?" asked Diego.

"The other man, Pico said that they were there to rob me. He left and went into the tavern to get the money. Vargas stayed in the kitchen. He tried to force himself on me, and I bit him. He shoved me back against the wall. He started coming toward me, and I grabbed a knife." Suddenly tears came to her eyes, as she looked at Diego.

"Diego, I remember now! He was going to hurt me. We struggled, and I stabbed him! He hit me and I hit my head against the tile and was knocked out." She said tearfully.

Diego put his arms around her, and held her in a warm embrace.

"It's all right, Victoria. He can't hurt you now. You're safe." he said tenderly.

Victoria lay her head on his shoulder, as she wrapped her arms around him, and sighed.

"I remembered, Diego." She replied.

Diego sighed, and smiled.

"Yes, you did!"

They gently parted from their embrace, and briefly gazed into one another's eyes, and smiled. Diego took his handkerchief, and gently dried her eyes.

"I'm sorry it was so painful for you, Victoria, but we had to know the truth. Can you forgive me?" he asked compassionately.

Victoria nodded.

"Yes, always. Thank you for helping me to remember, Diego. Now I can give the Alcalde my statement, and send those men to prison." she stated earnestly.

Diego nodded.

"You certainly can!" he replied. "By the way, Victoria, father and I thought that after we see the Alcalde, we'll go to the tavern. Maybe once you're at the tavern, it will bring back some memories." he stated.

Victoria smiled.

"I'd like that. Diego, just being here with you, your father, and Felipe, has brought back a lot of memories for me. And all of them have been good memories too. I'm sure it will be awhile before I remember everything, but you have helped me remember so much! Thank you Diego, Don Alejandro, and Felipe." she replied warmly.

Alejandro nodded, and smiled.

"You're welcome, Victoria. I'm glad your memory is coming back. I'm glad you're back, Victoria." he said warmly.

Diego nodded. "So am I!" he replied warmly, as he pressed a tender kiss to her hand, and smiled. Felipe smiled too. He was glad that she was better too.

As Alejandro, Diego, Felipe, and Victoria rode to the pueblo, all the sights and sounds that surrounded Victoria, seemed to bring back memories of her life in the pueblo. As they rode through the gates, and into the pueblo, people who knew her, waved and smiled as they greeted her. Victoria waved, and smiled back. There were still people who were unfamiliar to her, yet there were others whom she recognized, the moment she saw them. She glanced over and saw her name on the outside of the tavern. Tavern Victoria. Victoria smiled. It was good to see her tavern again.

They trotted their horses up to DeSoto's office, reined them in, then dismounted. Victoria straightened her skirt, and sighed.

Diego looked at her with concern.

"Are you all right, Victoria?" he asked putting a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Victoria looked at him smiled.

"I'm fine, Diego. I'm just a little nervous." she replied.

Diego smiled. "You'll do just fine. There's nothing to worry about. Father and I will be with you, in case anything happens." he replied warmly.

Victoria nodded, and smiled.

"Thank you, Diego." She replied.

Diego asked Felipe to stay with the horses, while they talked to DeSoto. As Alejandro, Diego, and Victoria walked up to DeSoto's office, Mendoza stepped up and greeted them.

"Buenos días, Don Alejandro, Don Diego, and Señorita Escalante! How are you doing? Ah Señorita Escalante, I'm glad to see you are feeling better. I heard about what happened. I'm so sorry!" he stated compassionately.

Alejandro and Diego nodded and smiled.

"Buenos días, Sergeant." They replied.

Victoria smiled.

"Buenos días, Sergeant Mendoza. Thank you for your concern. I am feeling much better, thanks to Don Alejandro, and Don Diego." she replied warmly.

Mendoza smiled.

"The tavern hasn't been the same without you. I'm glad you're back, Señorita!" he replied warmly.

Victoria smiled.

"Thank you, Sergeant. It's good to be back." she replied.

Mendoza looked at them earnestly.

"Do you have business with the Alcalde?" he asked.

Diego nodded.

"Yes. Señorita Escalante has come to give her statement to the Alcalde." he replied.

Mendoza nodded. "I will see if he is busy. One minute." He knocked on the door.

"Come in!" replied DeSoto in his usual tone.

Mendoza stepped into the office.

"Mi Alcalde, Don Alejandro and Don Diego have brought Señorita Escalante here, so that she can give you her statement." He replied.

DeSoto looked up from his paperwork, and nodded.

"Send them in." he replied.

Mendoza motioned for them to come in.

As they walked in, DeSoto rose from his desk, and smiled. He stepped out from behind his desk, and gazed at Victoria, and smiled.

"Ah, Señorita Escalante, it's so good to see you, again. I'm terribly sorry about what happened. I'm glad to see that you have recovered, from your ordeal." He remarked kindly.

Victoria gazed at DeSoto with a discerning look.

"Thank you, Alcalde. If it hadn't been for Zorro, and the de la Vegas, I wouldn't be here. Zorro saved my life, and the de la Vegas, saw me through my recovery. I'm grateful to them, for their help." She replied warmly.

DeSoto looked at her with a decisive look on his face.

"Yes. Don Diego told me about Zorro saving you. You're lucky he didn't try to rob you, Señorita, along with Vargas and Pico." He replied sternly.

Victoria's eyes flamed.

"Vargas and Pico are the real criminals, not Zorro!" She stated sternly.

DeSoto sighed and nodded as he held up his hand.

"Don't worry, Señorita, I have no intention of arresting Zorro. I was merely pointing out..." Victoria broke in.

"You were merely pointing out, that you have no regard for Zorro, and that you consider him nothing more than a common criminal!" she stated with a heated tone.

Diego put his hand on Victoria's shoulder, as he looked at her resolutely.

"Victoria, please. We didn't come here to discuss Zorro." he remarked earnestly.

Victoria sighed, as she looked at Diego, then at DeSoto.

"I apologize, Diego, Alcalde. I'm sure you know, how I feel about Zorro. It' s a shame not everyone can appreciate him, as much as I do!" she replied with conviction, as she glared at DeSoto.

DeSoto cast a discerning look at Victoria.

"Yes Señorita, I'm well aware of your feelings toward Zorro! However, Don Diego is right. Are you ready to give your statement, concerning your incident, Señorita?" he asked.

Victoria nodded.

"Yes, I will tell you everything, I know." she stated resolutely.

DeSoto walked back around to his desk and sat down.

"Well, let's get on with it. Please be seated." He stated motioning for Victoria, Alejandro, and Diego to sit down.

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