Ah, guys and dolls, Gail has treated us yet again. This is a story that definitely resides in the realm of a satisfying romance. And please be aware, it is not G rated........
Diego, Alejandro, Tornado, and Bernardo all belong to Disney and Zorro Productions... I don't think they'll want to go back after this story.................. Teresa is Gail's creation and, although you are welcome to ask Ms Manfre to use this lovely creature, I don't think Teresa will want to leave our hero's side.
November 8, 1822
Diego de la Vega finally admitted the truth to himself. After his father had prevented him from taking advantage of the Governor of Alta California’s offer of amnesty, he had fallen into a deep despair. “Am I not worthy of a woman’s love? Must I spend the rest of my life alone, without female companionship or the physical aspect of love with a woman who cherishes me for myself?
But that was the old Diego/Zorro. One day toward the end of the previous year, Zorro had spent an exhausting night being chased all over the countryside until it was nearly dawn. When at last the Fox determined that it was safe to begin the return journey to the secret cave, he turned an equally worn out Tornado toward a nearby brook and dismounted. His steed drank for several minutes and while Tornado satisfied his thirst, the Fox used some dry cloths that he kept in his saddlebags to wipe down his beloved horse when he became overheated.
“Easy, boy. Here, I have two carrots for you.”
Tornado thanked his master by nuzzling Zorro’s face.
“I know. I am completely fatigued myself --and hungry. But what I want now is a nice clean and warm bed!”
Both rider and steed were suddenly startled by the sound of gunfire. Zorro listened carefully. “Pistolas! Now who in heaven’s name could be traveling on Camino Real at five o’clock in the morning?" Then he heard a woman scream.
“Andale, Tornado! I think the screams came from that direction” He dug his heels into the great coal dark horse’s sides and soon he reached his destination.
A richly appointed carriage was parked haphazardly across the Camino Real, with all of its doors flung open. Ay yi yi! Banditos! The fox thought to himself. A blur of motion in the corner of his peripheral vision got his attention. One of the thugs was pawing his way through the passenger’s luggage while two other men were climbing back into the carriage. The woman screamed again, then nothing but vague noises emerged from the vehicle. He belatedly realized that the robbers were trying to ravish her. Zorro could understand men stealing food when they were desperate and hungry or take others’ money when they had no means to support their families. But I can not abide men who lack respect for women! Madre de Dios! How I shall make them pay!
He easily dispatched the first outlaw by sending a rider less Tornado running past the carriage and then sneaking up on the bandito and slapping the cabron on the head with the hilt of his saber. Hurling him towards the carriage, Zorro grasped onto one of the wooden doors and leapt into the carriage feet first.
“UHHHHHHH!“ The second bandito fell against the opposite side of the carriage as the Fox’s boots obliterated the breath from his lungs. As for the lone remaining robber, he wisely jumped through the window and climbed onto his palomino, disappearing in a cloud of dust.
Zorro’s gloved hand brushed against something soft. It was the señorita! She had been hurled to the carriage’s rough wooden floor. One of the attackers had left his calling card with the young lady in the form of a red imprint of a large male hand that was clearly visible below her left eye.
He ran back to Tornado and as he retrieved his water canteen from his horse, he ordered his magnificent stallion to watch the two still unconscious robbers. The Fox tenderly lifted the señorita back onto the seat and wet one of her lace handkerchiefs that he found next to her with cool water. He cradled her limp form in his strong embrace and gingerly patted her bruised flesh with the lacy fabric. Thank the Virgin! She is waking up!
“Senorita, do not struggle so! I shan’t harm you, I am El Zorro.”
These last words had an almost magical effect on the young lady for she immediately ceased fighting his ministrations. “Z-zorro...the Fox.have heard of you, gracias! Those men..”
“Slowly drink some of this water, Señorita--”
“Teresa Angelina Diaz y Planares.”
“A lovely name, Teresa Angelina.” he murmured huskily, his lips perilously close to her ear. “You are quite safe now, but tell me, why are you traveling without a duenna? Surely your father would never permit you to run about the countryside unchaperoned!" he commented teasingly.
“My parents are muerte, Señor Fox, and those beasts killed my guardian, Don Ignacio Juan Ulloa y Diaz.”
Zorro gasped when she turned up her chin to gaze into his eyes. Señorita Planares possessed the sexiest pair of blue eyes he had ever seen. They were like multi-faceted sapphires, reflecting the dying sunlight of a late afternoon as if they were tiny flames. He deliberately held her closer to him, inhaling the heady, musky scent of her perfume. Tendrils of radiant red hair framed a perfectly delicate face, the only defect being a bruise that was now noticeable against her ivory complexion. Dios! “A woman such as you should be kissed very thoroughly and often!” the Fox whispered. She vainly attempted to push him away, but he placed one leather-gloved hand behind her head and the other around her waist. Zorro effortlessly closed the distance between them and pressed his mouth hungrily against her soft lips. Teresa had never been kissed by a man before and her body tensed.
“Do not worry Teresa,” Zorro sighed against her cheek. "I shall not harm you. You are so.. innocent and so beautiful!”
Abruptly the black clad magician broke her enchantment. Her lips felt bruised but wonderful and her entire being was smoldering. So that is how a woman feels when she is kissed by a man! Señorita Planares thought dreamily. When she finished composing herself, Zorro had remounted his horse and was waving goodbye to her.
“Soldiers will be here soon, Señorita Teresa! Hasta la vista, chiquita!’
For a long time after he kissed her she held her hand against her mouth as if to seal the feeling of mustached lips into her flesh.
Don Alejandro thought he was going to lose his mind. Diego had promised him that he would return home for breakfast to discuss the fiesta Alejandro had planned for one of his old friends’ daughters. She was only nineteen years old and an orphan. He had sworn an oath while still in Spain that if anything were to happen to Don Roberto, Alejandro would take Roberto‘s only child into his home to raise as his own.
The expected carriage finally arrived at the de la Vega hacienda one hour late. Don Alejandro was already upset over Diego’s habitual tardiness and the sight of the carriage being escorted by lancers only increased his discomfort. But when his manservant Jorge Paco opened the carriage door for his guest to disembark, he was shocked speechless at the disheveled appearance of his new female ward.
Her velvet forest green cape was torn in several places and her lovely gown hung dangerously low on one side. Alejandro glanced at her face and finally cried out “BY ALL THE SAINTS! What happened Teresa?”
Diego was just descending the staircase to the edge of the patio when he saw the passenger emerge from the by now very familiar carriage. My father’s legal ward is Teresa Diaz y Planares? By St. Gerolamo and all the Doctors of the Most Holy Mother the Church!
He rushed to take the weak-kneed señorita into his arms and quickly laid her down on a divan in the sala. “Banditos?” Diego asked, unable to focus upon anything else but the exquisite beauty stretched out on the sofa before him.
“Sí, Don Diego,” replied Corporal Reyes. “Sergeant Garcia captured one of them a little while ago!”
“Bueno.” Diego muttered soto voce. “Oh, pardon my manners, Corporal. Bernardo will serve refreshments for you in the patio.”
“Gracias, Don Diego!” The young caballero had never seen Reyes move so fast in his entire life!
Teresa awoke the next day in a feather bed underneath a silk coverlet, in a very pleasant smelling yet strange bedroom. An older woman, who was obviously a maidservant wished her a hearty good morning and then told her that she would inform Don Alejandro and his son that the Señorita was awake. Teresa gratefully accepted another maid’s offer to help her dress.
As she walked into the patio with his father’s help, Diego’s heart turned over yet again. He felt a familiar tightness in his loins and groaned. Diego vowed by the three Marias that he would cherish Teresa forever with his heart and soul. After she explained how El Zorro rescued her from the banditos he asked her if she would like to stroll in the de la Vega garden.
Don Alejandro asked Diego to remain behind for a private talk, so Bernardo escorted her into the cool garden where she fell in love with its peaceful charm.
“Father, it was Señorita Diaz y Planares whom I saved from certain ravishment by the banditos!’
“Sí.” Don Alejandro chuckled. “Is it my understanding that you find her charming, Señor Fox?” His father winked at him.
“More than you know my father. I can not explain it. When I was trying to calm her down, Teresa looked so vulnerable, so lost... Somehow I felt quite drawn to her.”
Alejandro sipped his Jerez and replied “and of course, El Zorro behaved like the perfect gentleman he is, eh?”
Diego blushed to his hairline. “Well, I--”
“I only kissed her father.” He glared in feigned shock at Alejandro. “Teresa was so scared but I explained to her that the soldiers were coming and me being an outlaw, I had to leave.”
FEBRUARY 14, 1823
Although their whirlwind courtship scandalized the Pueblo, Diego and Teresa were married a little more than two months later. He had grown impatient in waiting for his wedding night. At last she was his wife, and he was extremely eager to instruct her in the ways of how a man pleasures a woman. Teresa had been closely chaperoned since he proposed to her and by this Diego meant sufficatingly so. Before his marriage, the “boldness” of his lovemaking consisted of few and far between brief kisses on her delectable lips and lightly caressing her neck with the back of his hands.
Now his wedding night was here and Diego was doing his best to slow down his raging hormones and make Teresa’s honeymoon night a memorable one. She clung to him tighter than the black silk gown that seemed to be painted on her body. He knew from the rigidity of her form that she was frightened of what he might do to her. But Diego finally realized that Teresa was simply scared of him due to her inexperience. His eyes focused on her voluptuous breasts and then he smiled down at her. Together he led Teresa to the small dining table and poured champagne into two glasses.
“Drain your glass, beloved. This will definitely help you to settle down.”
Teresa did as her husband requested. “Diego, I long to become a woman, yet I do not know what to do.”
He kept his eyes trained on her face as he carefully, slowly removed her negligee and tossed it aside. Indulging himself in running his hands sensuously over and over again on her entire bare form, he kissed her thoroughly. Diego placed his mouth against the sensitive areas behind her earlobes and was pleased that Teresa was finally conquering her earlier anxiety. Then her body turned scarlet and she began to tremble. Diego wrapped her inside his silk brocade robe and she gasped when she realized that he was not even wearing undergarments.
“Be still my darling. Everything will happen as nature intended. Just have faith in me, Teresa.” She relaxed slightly. “Si, my husband. Husband! I love the sound of that.” Teresa laughed softly. And I am Señora de la Vega, the-”
“--most beautiful woman in the world.” Diego spoke seductively into her ear. He traced a sensuous line with his long fingers from the hollow of her throat down to the very supple skin between her bosom. Teresa was both surprised and pleased by the depth of her reactions at the merest touch of his fingers. As if he were reading her mind, Diego pushed her down onto their bed and hungrily claimed her upper body with his lips. She moved seductively in tandem beneath him.
“Teresa, sweetheart that feels so good does it not?”
She could not answer her husband since he repeatedly sought her mouth with his own. At last Teresa opened her eyes. Santa Maria! Her mind raced back to last November when that devilish rogue dressed in black, El Zorro, held her in his embrace and kissed her in the same manner. The intensity of that memory inundated her senses and she cried out “Zorro, my love! You are he, Diego!”
Diego stared down into her bluest of blue eyes and smiled sheepishly. “I knew that I would not be able to hide my secret long from you. What exactly gave me away?”
Teresa reached out to stroke his devastatingly handsome face. “The hazel eyes ... only one man could possess such luminous eyes. But your kiss just now... how I dearly remember the brush of your moustache against my lips. You are the very first man to have me, Diego.” she shyly told him.
El Zorro/Diego rolled his lean and muscular body against the invigorating tenderness of her bare skin. His mouth coursed again over her earlobes, as she floated further and further away into her owns passionate universe on waves of mounting desire.
”Happy St. Valentine’s Day, Teresa,“ he said between gasps for air.
GAIL D. MANFRE