A New Beginning
                                                                            Chapter 2

The young Senora de la Vega with her energetic temperament brought a new life to the somber rancho.  During the years following the death of Don Alejandro's beautiful wife there had been only a male influence felt at the rancho.  Many suitable women had approached the new widower but he never took another wife.  Don Alejandro was satisfied raising his young son, Diego, and caring for the rancho he loved so much.  Soon the young don was sent to Spain by his father to receive the education necessary for a young cabellero.   Rarely during the three years Diego was at school had Don Alejandro opened the hacienda to any merriment.  Anna Maria changed life at the hacienda for the better.   The joy of years gone by returned to the hacienda through her bubbling personality and the many parties given at the rancho.
Now sadness and fear were felt by those at the hacienda since Anna Maria's sudden illness.  Don Alejandro and the governor remained in the library playing a game of checkers to pass the time while Leonar, the commandante, and Sergeant Garcia spoke quietly in the sala anxiously waiting for news of Anna Maria and her unborn child.  Diego maintained a steady vigil at his wife's side even after she regained consciousness.  Almost immediately Anna Maria tried to get up but Diego insisted she not move until the doctor arrived to examine her.

"Anna Maria there is nothing to discuss," Diego said flatly.  "I know how stubborn you can be but it is not just your health we are speaking of but our child."

"Of course you are right as always, my husband," she smiled.  "What would I do without you."

"Well you will never have to worry about that for I plan to be by your side for as long as you wish."

"Oh Diego if that were only true but...Diego, we must speak of something...," she began just as there was a knock.  Diego opened the bedroom door to find Dr. Avila waiting.

"Doctor, gracias for coming so quickly," Diego said standing aside to allow the doctor to enter.  "Anna Maria has had another spell and we would feel better if you would let us know all is well."

"Of course," replied Dr. Avila.  "Anna Maria, I hope you have been taking my advice and resting.  Now, let us take a look at you."

In the sala, Monastario showed increasing impatience while waiting for news of Anna Maria.   Leonar and Sergeant Garcia tried without fail to focus the commandante's mind on something other than Anna Maria.  Finally hoping to change the commandante's mood, Leonar suggested a walk in the garden.  Taking the capitan by the arm Leonar led him through the french doors leaving Sergeant Garcia alone in the sala.  Once alone Sergeant Garcia meandered over to the table on which sat a bottle of wine and serveral glasses.  Lifting the top off the wine bottle Garcia poured himself a glass.  The first sip of wine was so good that in one gulp the sergeant swallowed all the wine in the glass.  Looking around the room while wiping his mouth with the back of his hand Garcia lifted the carafe and poured himself another glass.  Walking toward the windows looking out on the patio Garcia observed the commandante and Leonar walking in the glow of the afternoon sun.

"Enrique, I am worried about you," she said concerned.  "None of this has been your fault.  Anna Maria is a strong lady.  She will be fine."

"Leonar, I know you are trying to make me feel better but..." Monastario said bowing his head.  "I have already been the cause of one incident and now Anna Maria could lose the child or worse.  If something happens to her or the child..."

"Mi amor, you must not think this way," she said frightened.  "Nothing will happen."

At that moment they turned to see Diego coming toward them.  Diego's face showed the strain of worry yet he met them with a smile.  

"Leonar, capitan," he said forcing a smile.  "Anna Maria is resting and the doctor, who arrived just a while ago, informs me there is no danger at the moment.  Con promiso, I wish to inform my father.  I am sure he is eagerly waiting for some news."

"Gracias Diego," Leonar said breathing easier.  After Diego was out of sight she turned to Monastario and continued.  "Enrique this is very good news, do you not think?"  

"Leonar, I am happy that Anna Maria is doing well but I still blame myself for her troubles. Right or wrong, I do.  I am going into the sala to speak with Sergeant Garcia.  I think it would be better if I returned to the cuartel now that I am well"

"Why must you do this now?" she asked.  "I thought we could spend more time together.  There is so much I want to say to you.  That we need to say."

Trying not to show the disappointment she felt, Leonar smiled and followed the capitan back to the hacienda where Sergeant Garcia waited.  The rumpled soldier, who was watching the young couple in the garden, quickly stepped away from the windows and set down his glass.   As the capitan entered the sala, Garcia stood erect and raised his arm in a salute.

"Sergeant Garcia," said Monastario forcefully.  "I have decided to leave the hacienda.  I will be resuming my duties at the cuartel.  Please see that our horses are saddled and brought to the front gate so you may accompany me into the pueblo."

"At once, mi capitan," Garcia said grabbing his hat and heading for the open sala door.

"Enrique," Leonar said softly.  "Is there nothing you wish to say to me?"

"I have no right," he said leaving her standing alone in the sala.