Chapter Two

Diego peeked through the hole in the cabinet of the empty sala room.  No one was there. He opened the cabinet door and walked over to the window impatiently looking into the garden.  No one was there, either.  Diego picked up a book from the table and sat down to read. The words did not penetrate his thoughts for his mind remained in the past.  What would life have been like if he had accepted the governor's promise of amnesty?  Diego knew he could not dwell on the past for he had done what was right or had he?  Don Alejandro was an honest and just man and he looked up to him but had his father been right this time?  Diego was no longer sure.

As the carriage pulled up to the hacienda a vaquero came to hold the horses while the passengers descended.  Don Alejandro and Anna Maria walked through the patio to the entrance of the hacienda while Bernardo unloaded the baggage.  Once in the hacienda Don Alejandro made his way swiftly to the chair where his son appeared to be deeply engrossed in reading.

"Diego," said Alejandro. "Put down that book we have a guest."

Slowly Diego stood up and turned around.  He gave the appearance of surprise as he spoke, "Anna Maria, I can not believe you are here."

Diego moved quickly to Anna Maria reaching for her outstretched hand.  Raising her hand to his lips he kissed it softly and for a moment she felt a familiar stirring as they looked deeply into each other's eyes.

"Diego," blushed Anna Maria faintly. "It is wonderful to be with you again. I have missed you a great deal."

"What are you doing here," said Diego. "Is Don Grigorio with you?"

"No, father is not here. Don Alejandro invited me for a visit and I hope you are happy to see me. I have missed our conversations," smiled Anna Maria.

"And our fights," said Diego with a twinkle in his eye.                                                                                                                           
Don Alejandro walked over to Diego after seeing Bernardo enter carrying the baggage and said, "Diego, please show Anna Maria to a room upstairs and have Bernardo bring her things.  I will ask Amalia to take up a basin and water so she may freshen up."

Diego looked at his father and smiled. He took Anna Maria by the arm and together walked out to the patio. After ascending the second floor Diego showed Anna Maria to her room.

"When you have rested and freshened up come down to the patio so we may speak before supper," said Diego.

Don Alejandro watched Diego from the window of the sala as his son practically bounced down the stairs with a radiant glow all about him.  He wondered if he had done the right thing by asking Diego to refrain from exposing his secret identity in Monterey. Could there have been another way?  At the time this seemed the only solution but was it the right one?

As Diego entered the sala he said, "Anna Maria is even more beautiful then I remembered. Thank you, father."

"I have thought for a long time if asking you to conceal your identity was the right thing to do.  I am not sure this was fair to you my son," breathed Alejandro heavily. "You and Anna Maria belong together."

"What of Zorro!" Diego replied. "You saw how Anna Maria responded to Zorro this afternoon. She is in love with him."

"You are Zorro, my son. Tell her the truth and she will understand."

"I wish it could be that easy father. I do not know if she will understand or forgive me that quickly. I must think on this."

Near the door Bernardo listened to the conversation between father and son.  Diego became aware of Bernardo and walked over to him.

"You heard," said Diego.

Bernardo shook his head. He agreed with everything Don Alejandro had said.  A mistake had been made.  Diego must wait for the proper opportunity to tell Anna Maria the truth and hopefully it was not too late.


The Visit