A New Life

Chapter 1 - The fight

It had been a quiet evening so far. Diego and Alejandro had sat down after dinner for a game of chess before it was bedtime. Tomorrow would be a strenuous day. Alejandro planned for an early start for his three day ride to Monterey.

"Diego, why don't you accompany me to Monterey? Felipe would be very happy to see you again after the four weeks he spent alone in Monterey. I know you're missing your new brother." Alejandro smiled proudly thinking of Felipe.

After Diego had announced he would adopt Felipe, they had discussed it in the family. Alejandro had suggested that it would be better if Felipe became his brother and not his son. Not only because of the age difference, Diego was merely ten years older than Felipe, but also when Diego married, Felipe would become the firstborn son taking precedence over other sons.

Diego didn't mind and he knew Victoria wouldn't either, but it did matter to his father and also to Felipe, once Alejandro explained the situation to him. Felipe felt he would be cheating Diego's sons of their inheritance - that is, if Diego was to ever have sons.

Upon their insistence Diego had reluctantly agreed to Felipe becoming his brother.

Now that the adoption was finished, they had made plans for Felipe's future. The boy had expressed his interest in studying the law and the lawyer in Monterey had agreed to take him in for a trial period of four weeks. The time was coming to an end now and Alejandro was going to Monterey to ride home with him.

Alejandro was right about Diego missing Felipe and he would love to go to Monterey, but he knew he couldn't leave Toronado alone, not with both Felipe and him gone. There was nobody to take care of the horse in the cave for the week or more he'd be away. And riding on Toronado to Monterey in his father's company was out of the question.

"Father, I can't come with you. I have too much to do here that I can't leave alone on short notice." Diego tried to explain.

"But what is it you're doing, Diego, that you can't even come with me to Monterey? It has been months since you have been there and the three of us have never been there together."

"I have some experiments running that I can't interrupt, Father," Diego said a little impatiently.

"You and your pointless experiments, Diego," Alejandro started to get angry again, it wasn't the first time they had this discussion. "Whenever I ask you to do something and to accompany me, you hide behind excuses. It's either experiments or books or whatever you are doing. It has been like this ever since you returned from Spain. I can hardly believe you are the son I sent there. I have been waiting and waiting for you to change your way of living, but it seems it will never end. When will you finally start to behave like a true de la Vega, Diego?"

"And what do you expect from me, Father? Protesting against the alcalde without thinking about the consequences? Always waiting for Zorro to solve your problems for you?" Diego was tired of defending himself.

"It's better to protest than to be like you, Diego! You're wasting your time doing nothing the whole day."

"Is that how you see me?" Diego was deeply hurt by his father's accusations. "As someone who does nothing?"

"Maybe you are doing something, but I can't see anything useful coming of it. And do you know what Diego? It has to stop. Stop it now and do something useful!"

"And if I don't?" Diego challenged him.

"Then you should stop wasting my time, too. I need a son who is helping me with the hacienda and not one who is never there. If you don't want to change your ways then do it somewhere else, but not here anymore."

"Are you telling me to leave the hacienda?" Diego couldn't believe it.

"Yes, you understood me right. Either you start acting like a true de la Vega, or you can leave."

"Fine, Father. Just as you wish. When you return from Monterey, I will be gone. But don't expect me to come back, because I won't, even if you beg me!" Diego was hurt and angry too.

"Don't come back, then." Alejandro hadn't expected his son's defiance. "And there is one more thing. When I return with Felipe, the boy will stay with me. I have adopted him. He is my son now, a role you don't seem to care about. Since I don't want him to turn into someone like you, you'd better stay away not only from the hacienda but from him too."

"No, Father, you can't do that. Felipe belongs to me. You can't keep him away from me." Diego never felt so hurt before.

"I can and I will, at least as long as you don't understand what is really important in life and that can't be found in a book!"

"Is that your final word, Father?"

"I think I have made myself clear, Diego. And don't father me anymore." Alejandro turned around.

Diego was shocked. He couldn't believe how this peaceful evening had suddenly taken such a bad turn. They had these discussions before, but it had never ended like this. What was he to do now?

Not wanting to meet his father anywhere in the house, he opened the door to the cave and slipped inside.

He needed to get out of here and that meant turning into Zorro and riding out into the night.