A New Beginning
                                                                              Chapter Three

After passing news of Anna Maria on to his father and the governor, Diego left the library followed by the two gentlemen.  As the three men conversed their eyes fell on Leonar sitting alone in the sala visibly shaken.  Diego ran directly to the young woman.

"Diego, Father, Don Alejandro," she said greeting the men while wiping away tears.

"Leonar, tell me quickly has something happened to Anna Maria?" questioned Diego.

"No, not Anna Maria," Leonar replied placing her hand on his arm.  "I am sorry if I frightened you.  It is Enrique that has upset me.  Sergeant Garcia and he have returned to the cuartel.  Enrique does not wish to impose on your generosity now that he is well."

"Hmm, the man has some dignity," spouted Don Alejandro.  "We are well rid of him."

Upon hearing the don's harsh words Leonar began to sob.  Her father took her in his arms to comfort her while Diego shook his head at his father.  Don Alejandro shrugged realizing his remark hurt Leonar but it was too late, the remark could not be taken back.  Diego gestured to his father to take the governor out to the garden while he spoke with Leonar.  Once they left Diego sat down with Leonar.

"Leonar, I am sorry for my father's harsh statement but he and the commandante have had their moments," Diego said.  "I know he did not mean to hurt you."

Quietly pulling her self together Leonar replied, "Don Alejandro is very much like my father.  They both say what is exactly on their mind.  It was not your father's words that upset me but the sudden departure of Enrique.  Oh Diego he was so...different."

"What do you mean?" asked Diego.

"It was as though he was lost...I am so worried.  He never returned to say goodbye before leaving for the cuartel."

"Leonar, are you aware of what brought about this sudden decision to leave?" Diego questioned.

"Si, Enrique felt responsible for all the trouble at the hacienda and for Anna Maria's problems.  Diego, your father has always been angry with Enrique but are you now?" 

"No, I do not believe Monastario is responsible for Anna Maria's illness," he said taking her hand. "The commandante has made many mistakes but I believe he has changed.  In recent months I have seen the difference.  He helped Anna Maria the first time she became ill and was willing to give his life during the incident with Don Miguel.  The people are content in the pueblo and things go well."

"Oh gracias Diego," she said with a smile.  "You are a friend. I do feel better."

"As a friend I will speak with the commandante and see if I can help," he added patting her hand.  "Be patient, there is many things our "friend" must work out for himself."

"Again gracias Diego," Leonar kissed his cheek just as Bernardo entered.

"Leonar, why do you not go into the garden and join the men.  I will see that Bernardo has the cook prepare a lunch for all of you.  It is a beautiful day and the garden would be an excellent place to relax."

"That is a wonderful idea.  I will do that at once," Leonar said walking through the sala's open french doors.

Diego quickly gestured to Bernardo to come into the sala and join him.  Diego explained the situation with Leonar and the commandate.  Bernardo shook his head knowing the concern in Leonar's heart. He motioned to Diego that he would accompany him into the pueblo whenever he was ready. Diego smiled and patted his friend on the back before climbing the stairs to check on Anna Maria.  Bernardo watched his friend and sighed.  He knew Anna Maria came first in Diego's life.  As soon as things were right with Anna Maria, Diego would go into the pueblo and see the commandante... perhaps play matchmaker.  Smiling to himself he made his way toward the kitchen.

Dr. Avila stood on the landing outside Diego's bedroom.  The doctor's face showed a deep concern.  Diego walked slowly toward the doctor almost afraid to ask about his wife.  Swallowing hard and speaking softly so that those on the patio could not hear Diego spoke.

"Dr. Avila, has there been a change in Anna Maria's condition?"

"Diego, my boy," said the doctor.  "I have known you since you were a small boy and I would not keep anything from you.  Anna Maria is the same but there is something bothering her.  We must get to the bottom of this or it will affect her and the child she carries.  I do not wish to alarm you but this is very important.  Anna Maria must relax and not have any tension."

"I will see that she remains in bed," Diego added..

"If only it was that easy.  Staying in bed is helpful but having a clear mind is most important.  She is too tense.  This is not good for her.  Please go to her and see what you can do?"

"Gracias doctor," Diego said taking a deep breath.

Diego entered his bedroom to find Anna Maria sleeping in the bed in which they made love for the first time and where their child had been conceived.  She looked so beautiful.  Anna Maria had become part of him and he was not about to lose her.   Diego suddenly understood how the commandante had become so bitter over his wife's death.  However he would not sit back and let that happen.  Diego closed his mind of all adverse thoughts as he raised Anna Maria's soft hand to his lips.

"Diego, mi amor, I was just dreaming of you and here you are," she said her eyes still filled with sleep.

"Of course I am here.  I promised I would never leave you.  I love you, mi corino," his lips touched her small delicate hand.

"Diego, just in case something should happen...," she began.

"Nothing is going to happen to you or our child,"  he said firmly.  "You will follow all the doctors advice and there will be no further problems.  First you must tell me what has been troubling you."

"I started to tell you before the doctor knocked on the door.  I know I promised not to worry about Zorro.  It is your business but...oh Diego I believe the commandante is not the only one who knows the secret of Zorro."

Surprised Diego asked, "Who is this unknown person?"

"It is Sergeant Garcia," she replied.

Diego began to laugh uncontrollably until he saw the look on his wife's face.
Obviously she was not joking and she really believed what she said.  Gaining control of himself he leaned over and kissed her cheek.

"Anna Maria, I am sorry for the outburst," he said humbly." This is just hard to believe.  Garcia has not given me any reason to believe this is true.  After sending for the doctor all he could speak of was your health and his concern for me.  Why do you believe this?"

"Diego, perhaps it is woman's intuition but I saw the way Garcia looked at you in the garden.  I know that I am not wrong."

"Alright, then I must talk to him at once.  No, no there is nothing to worry about, mi amor.  Garcia is a friend.  I trust him just as I trust the commandante when he gave me his word to keep silent.  Everything will be fine.  You have my word.  Anna Maria you mean everything to me, please do not upset yourself.  This will all be cleared up.  I promise you."

"Si, I will be strong just as you are my husband," she said confidently.  "Go do what you must and I will be here waiting for you."

For just a moment the two held each other tight and then Diego was gone.  Anna Maria trusted Diego with everything she held dear and laid back against the pillows as she promised.  Garcia was a soldier but his high ideals and friends always came first.  The time for Zorro was coming to an end.  Monastario had become the right sort of man to run the pueblo and Garcia a good second in command.   She laid her hand on her stomach and smiled before drifting off to sleep.