Chapter 3 – Valentine’s Day Party
In the evening of the day that celebrates the patron of love, the entire tavern was beautifully decorated with tables lined up against the walls and packed with food and wine. Guests from all over the area had a great time, interweaving various games with music and dancing. Even Padre Benitez tied his robe higher and danced with older señoras.
Valentine’s Day was special. Very often young men from the pueblo started courting young señoritas on that day, causing a harvest of weddings after Easter. Not to mention that, unless someone greatly overdid it, a blind eye would be turned to a certain loosening of morals.
There were also games being played, especially in the second part of the evening. Victoria was serving the guests, but still had a chance to dance a few times, unfortunately not with Diego. Don Alejandro had promised all his son’s dances to eligible señoritas, so the young caballero had no choice but to satisfy his parent. However, Victoria was not jealous because she knew him perfectly well. He smiled politely and behaved gallantly, but his whole face expressed pure boredom that only she noticed. That didn’t stop her from admiring the lightness and grace with which he moved on the dance floor, though.
After a few hours, Diego relaxed a bit and smiled while watching various games. He even volunteered to eat cake with his hands behind his back, just because everyone was expected to take part in such activities.
Victoria admired his struggle with some warm feeling inside her.
“Diego probably volunteered only because this is his favourite flan. I could bake it every day for him if he ate it so eagerly.”
Young De la Vega had just licked a small piece of pudding from the corner of his lips. That simple gesture was so erotic that she melted and felt butterflies in her stomach.
xxx Zorro xxx
Half an hour later it was time for another game. Felipe quickly signed to don Alejandro, who smiled brightly and nodded.
“I promise, Father, that today I will atone for that accidental kiss with Victoria. You can break up with her as Zorro, but I can perfectly see how she has been looking at Diego during the past few months.” The young men thought.
Felipe approached the taverness with a mischievous spark in his eyes. He bowed low and held out his hand in a welcoming gesture. Victoria was led to the dance floor, where the dancers – volunteers (or forced volunteers like Diego) were blindfolded. Felipe gently tied a blindfold over her eyes and put one over his as well.
The tavern owner felt his warm hand in hers, and when the first sounds of the music sounded, the young man placed his other hand on her waist, and they started dancing together. However, being officially deaf, Felipe tied the headband casually and everyone saw him peeking a bit to keep the rhythm, but no one objected.
Halfway through the song, the guitarist ordered a pair change with a little help from the onlookers. Felipe positioned himself right next to the blindfolded Diego and quickly changed partners. He managed to notice the proud and mischievous look of Don Alejandro, who was smiling widely.
A few minutes later the song finished. But the guitarist ordered the pairs to remain where they were. The dancers were supposed to kiss and guess who their partner was. Loud laughter, whistles and cheers were heard across the room, especially considering that two pairs were carrying out the command to kiss very eagerly.
Diego stood frozen because he didn’t know who he was holding at a decent distance from his shoulders. However, he knew other couples were starting to guess, and he didn’t want to be the last and gain all the attention. So he tried to aim at the cheek and say the name of his previous partner. But, at the same time, Victoria did the same thing and their lips met again in less than 24 hours.
They both shivered because they recognized each other immediately. Diego lowered his voice to the tone he used as Zorro “Victoria, don’t guess, please. Just keep your eyes closed for a moment longer. I swear it wasn’t my intention to participate in this stupid game, and I’m truly sorry. Forgive me!”
Victoria nodded and didn’t peek, as Diego mingled with the crowd.
“Just my luck! Now that I’ve got Zorro out of my head, I could find out his identity already a second time and no one would be wiser. But it no longer matters. I wonder who Diego had to kiss?”
Only now Victoria felt the hint of envy.
xxx Zorro xxx
The whole evening Diego was upset. Not only had he set free the love of his life the night before, which meant that he was certainly not in the mood for romance, happiness and women, but now it turned out that his father and Felipe had other ideas.
Diego would have just preferred sitting in the corner undisturbed, drinking a glass of wine, and forgetting about the cheerful people around. Had it not been for the memory of a painful hangover a few days earlier, he would have probably considered something stronger and in greater quantities, but one evening of stupidity was enough of a lesson for him.
Unfortunately, he was not left in peace. Don Alejandro arranged all his dances, and young De la Vega was too well-mannered to refuse or mistreat innocent señoritas. So he danced but kept glancing with longing at the busy hostess.
As long as his father had insisted on him socializing, Diego had been safe. He had even played that silly game only because he had the chance to eat Victoria’s delicious flan. But then the betrayal came. That little Brutus, Felipe, united with Don Alejandro, sent him for another game.
Blinded, the caballero danced politely, preserving the absolutely proper distance, but then collided with another pair and the band leader ordered a switch. During the kissing Diego realized the other pair must have been Victoria and Felipe.
He mixed into the crowd before Victoria opened her eyes. From then on, he tried to avoid her like fire. He also gave Felipe such a look that the young man loosened his shirt collar and gulped.
He was relieved to see that the taverness was occupied only with serving food and drinks, and turned down all invitations to dance or play. She didn’t want to take any chances, either. They both waited for the end of the party impatiently.
xxx Zorro xxx
But Diego forgot one thing. After big events – Christmas, Easter, Saint John’s Eve, The Day of Los Angeles and, obviously, after Saint Valentine’s Day, the De la Vegas frequently stayed longer and helped with the cleaning. This tradition was started by his parents when the tavern was run by the Señor and Señora Escalante.
Diego was moving empty tables and Victoria was collecting dishes. Don Alejandro went to take down decorations hanging outside the building. Felipe was sweeping the floor and waiting for a good opportunity.
“Come on, you can’t go on like that! I have to push Diego to act a bit. But how?” He wondered.
At one point, the tall caballero and Victoria found themselves close to each other. This was exactly the moment Felipe had been waiting for. With all his strength he literally pushed Diego so that he fell on the young woman with all his weight. They both dropped to the floor, and their lips accidentally met again.
Victoria was stunned. “It is you!”
Diego read it as an accusation and began to explain himself. “Yes, it is me. But, please believe me when I say I never wanted to deceive you for so long! I love you more than life itself. Forgive me, mi preciosa! I can’t lose both your affection and our friendship at the same time.”
The alcalde entered the tavern at that moment, and he also heard the last sentence.
“I just wanted to find out why the tavern is still not closed at this late hour. All right, to be honest, I came to arrest that menace who surely wanted to use this stupid romance day to visit you, señorita. And what do I learn? That poor Zorro was dumped for the most boring and the most cowardish caballero in the area. So now I understand why he threw you at De la Vega a week ago. This deserves a celebration!”
Laughing devilishly, he returned to the barracks before the interested parties could articulate any sound.
But if Diego, Victoria or happy Felipe thought it was finally time to kiss, they were wrong. In the doorway, the alcalde passed Don Alejandro, who took in the sight with wide eyes.
The couple got up from the floor, still holding hands. Diego looked uncertainly at his beloved, but her eyes said everything he needed to know.
“Yes, Father. Victoria is free now, and I have every intention of marrying her as soon as possible.”
“Well, then, this is really an occasion to celebrate!” The old don stated joyfully.
Diego leaned towards the laughing Victoria with the intention of kissing her.
“Hold on! Diego, I know what day is today, but a true caballero doesn’t treat his novia like that. From now on, I demand that you be chaperoned all the time. Felipe, it will be your job! No kissing, no hugging. I don’t even mention other things. ”
Diego growled “Father!”
Alejandro was inexorable. “Don’t ‘Father’ me, my son! Now we go home and start preparing the wedding!”
xxx Zorro xxx
If Diego thought it was torture to be in the same room with Victoria after they broke up, he was in hell for another month. Felipe fulfilled his duties very well and knew all his secrets and tricks, so the lovers had no chance of even one sneaky midnight meeting.
Diego loved his son, but in that month he was tempted to strangle him with his bare hands. And the young man had the time of his life teasing him.
A month later, when Diego didn’t wait for the padre’s permission to kiss the bride, Felipe’s smile was the widest in the entire pueblo.
xxx Zorro xxx
Author note: So which kiss did you like the most? 😉
- Kissing Zorro… or someone else (Valentine’s Day Challenge) Chapter 1
- Kissing Zorro… or someone else (Valentine’s Day Challenge) Chapter 2
- Kissing Zorro… or someone else (Valentine’s Day Challenge) Chapter 3