Author's Note: I love you guys. In three days, y'all pushed this story over eight other much older ones in number of reviews. I liked some of those better, but that's alright. I still love a story and my reviewers if I don't hit double digits. I have posted 17 stories‼ All thanks to you guys! It's been a great year!
Warning: …yeah…no warning because I'm being good. Rated T, suitable for teens 13yrs and older with suggestive adult themes. Modified from original version to fit your tastes, but I hope I did a better job with this than I did with Conquer. Any complaints about either version, please don't hesitate to holler.
I hope you enjoy.
Victoria wondered if she was still dreaming. She'd dreamed about Diego before. The passion and enthusiasm he'd shown today when talking to the emissary must have fired her imagination. She never imagined Diego would kiss her like this, never imagined the sound he made when her fingers threaded into his hair.
Most of the time, she was happy being his friend. Sometimes, though, she wished Diego would see her differently. Zorro paid attention to her. He was charming and romantic, just and courageous. He looked at her as if she was the most beautiful woman in the world, in a way Diego never did. But she didn't know Zorro like she knew Diego, because he was never around. Diego was. He was her best friend, and often she dreamed of more. Then she'd hear him conduct business with more money that she earned in a year, or listen to other people plan his marriage. He'd told her once a fish and a bird could fall in love, but where would they live? Said he read it somewhere.
She must be dreaming, because there was no bench between them anymore and Diego was still kissing her. Then Dream Diego wrapped his arms around her, pressed his body over hers. Diego would never do that in real life, but she suddenly felt so warm. Dream Diego was very hot, but sometimes her dreams were hot. His hand cupped her cheek, then brushed the hair away from her neck so he could press his palm against the rapid pulse there. His thumb stroked over the skin of her jaw and she could hardly draw a breath. Her eyes widened. She could hardly draw a breath because she had a quite heavy man on top of her.
And he loved her.
Her hands came up to his shoulders, but she didn't push him away. Her fingers went to his lips as he spoke again, though she knew he'd said enough. More words didn't matter. She felt the heat of his body through his thin shirt, and now she knew she wasn't dreaming. She'd never be so bold in real life, but she was. Her fingers explored his arms, his chest, because here in the windmill there was nothing to keep them apart. Her hands once again found his hair as he bent to kiss her again. He bypassed her lips this time and she gasped when he kissed her neck.
She was suddenly so hot…but Diego knew. His hand smoothed down her neck, down the length of his jacket and pulled it away from her so she could breathe. Then his hands smoothed back up her body and she gasped when she felt them caress over her breasts. Her fingers clenched in his hair as he tasted her shoulder, his mouth trailing lower. The rough sound of her name as he spoke against her skin seemed to penetrate through the fog he was weaving around them both. The windmill was safe, it wasn't the real world, yet something pulled at her mind, trying to drag her away from the delicious things Diego was doing.
She inhaled sharply as his lips became more bold, and then she tugged his hair to pull his mouth away from her. She sniffed again and avoided his gaze as she looked over his shoulder and saw smoke curling into the air. Now Diego turned, too, and she felt cold when he jumped away from her before she could blink.
She glanced to her side to find his jacket and pushed her weak arms through the sleeves. She pulled it tight around her shoulders and high around her neck, but it didn't help. She could still feel every kiss, every touch of his tongue where it had burned her skin. She had thought her blouse was rather modest, but now she was hyper-aware of just how much skin it left exposed for a lover to explore.
She blinked. Lover? She curled on her side to find Diego, who was waving his arms to disperse the smoke. Diego had thrown the bench out of his way earlier, as if it had been a feather. Thrown it far enough it had landed in the fire, which he now bent to build up again after the bench – it apparently wasn't good kindling – had tried to smother and scatter it. She looked up at Diego and wondered at the changes in him, wondered if it mattered. She took a deep breath and tried to release it slowly as she considered the strength and the passion of the man in front of her. Strength and passion he'd hidden from her – from everyone – since she'd known him.
Now he stood still, and she tried to imagine what he was thinking as he stared at the fire. She tried to sort out what she was thinking, but her brain didn't seem to want to come back down to earth.
Maybe Diego had the same idea. He fidgeted with his clothes and barely glanced back at her. "I could heat some water. Make some tea."
Their eyes locked for a long moment, then Diego shook himself and went to a pot he'd found earlier, dumping it out before he ducked outside. She pulled his blanket off the floor and wrapped it around her shoulders. Several moments later he was back, soaked to the bone. She glanced into the corner, and she could see their canteens against the wall with the rest of their things. Diego was smart. He'd made sure they were full before the storm broke. Victoria hugged her knees and watched Diego cross his arms, obviously freezing now as he stared at the fire.
"Took a long time to get a little water." Victoria tried to get a hint of what he was thinking. Did he regret what had happened? Did he consider not coming back inside? "Dry off. Then come sit down."
Diego eventually turned to look at her and could see the nerves beneath her brave façade. "Victoria…"
Victoria shook her head and he stopped. "Dry off first. Then come talk to me."
Diego glanced around again, found an old sack or something which looked like it would do. He started trying to soak the water from his clothes, but once again Victoria interrupted. "Your clothes are soaked."
He turned to her and she gestured toward his bag. He pulled out the extra clothes he'd brought and glanced around awkwardly at the open room.
"Diego," Victoria caught his attention again. "Will you marry me?"
Diego's eyes widened and Victoria felt a moment of panic. "Of course I want to marry you." Diego ran a hand through his wet hair and held her eyes before staring back at the clothes in his hands. "There was never any doubt about that."
Victoria smiled at his nervous fidgeting, but knew there were serious things to discuss. "No more secrets. Just get out of your wet clothes and sit down. Don't think."
Diego's hands fell to his sides as he took in what she said, his eyes filling with heat again. Victoria wrapped the blanket tighter around her shoulders. "Change your clothes. Sit down to talk. Don't look at me like that. You have a lot of explaining to do."
Diego looked back at the ground guiltily as he slowly unbuttoned his shirt. He found a place to hang it, and was oblivious to Victoria's wide eyes as she watched his muscles dance in the firelight. She gasped when she saw scratches on his back.
"What?" Diego turned, alert to danger.
"Nothing," Victoria replied as she hoped he couldn't see her red face.
Victoria's body loosened at the simple phrase. It took a while for her eyes to stop ogling his chest and realize he was still staring hard at her. "Nothing's wrong." She blushed at his doubt, remembered she'd said no more secrets. "I think I scratched your back." She chuckled when he looked behind him as if he could see.
He reached down and put his fresh shirt on and she sighed in disappointment. Diego's hands clenched at his sides and he glowered at her. "Stop making noise. You're driving me crazy."
Victoria grinned. "I am?"
Diego stalked to the other side of the room and yanked his pants down before he had any more time to think. She smiled as he grumbled to himself, but was disappointed she couldn't see into the dark corner through the bright flame. She was still smiling when he approached her.
"Now you get my jacket and my blanket?" Victoria grinned bigger at his gruff attitude. He reached a hand down to her and she stared in confusion before she let him pull her up.
He cupped her cheek and his voice turned soft. "I'm sorry I lost control. You're safe with me. I promise."
Diego pressed his lips against her forehead, but Victoria put a hand to his neck and pressed her lips to his. "I know." She shivered as Diego looked at her, his love for her shining through after so long hidden behind a mask. She finally felt desired by a real man, someone with a name and a future. Someone who said he wanted a future with her.
Victoria knew she did trust him. He released her to see to their sleeping arrangements again. She blushed as she watched him spread the one blanket closer to the fire this time, the bench long forgotten in the corner. He seemed more confident, more in control now as he stood to face her again. Diego held out a hand and she took it, not resisting when he wrapped his arms around her and kissed her hair. He rubbed his hands over her back and cupped her cheek, but he didn't kiss her again.
"It's still chilly. We'll just get warm again, okay? I'm sure you have questions." She nodded and didn't hesitate when he gestured for her to join him on the blanket. This was much better. The fire warmed her from the front, and Diego pressed his warm body against her back before wrapping the other blanket around them.
"Next time I'll pack extra blankets."
"I guess I didn't give you much choice. You weren't expecting company."
"I never complained." Diego enjoyed holding her for a few moments, not at all disappointed she wasn't interrogating him and didn't seem upset. Why wasn't she upset? "I always thought you'd be angry." He squeezed her tighter. "Or disappointed."
"Why would I be disappointed?"
"You said that schoolteacher was too much woman for me." Victoria tensed in his arms, recalling she hadn't always been nice to him when she tried to cover her jealousy of a man she couldn't have. "You laughed when I said people might gossip."
"That wasn't what I meant." Victoria turned to face him. "It was the idea that you would want someone like me. I wanted you, you know. Diego, not Zorro." She smiled when she saw his surprise and she put her hand to his face to touch what she'd wanted for so long. "You're so kind. Gentle. Smart. You treat me with more respect than anyone."
Diego cupped her cheek and Victoria blushed, then turned even deeper red when Diego seemed fascinated by the change in skin color. His hand left her cheek, smoothing down her neck and across the exposed skin on her chest. She intercepted his hand and held it, and his eyes flew to hers with a whispered apology and a kiss to her palm.
"It's been three years. You don't think you could have let me know?"
Victoria laughed. "Me?" She shook her head. "You only ever wanted to be my friend. I knew I didn't have a chance with you."
"I can't imagine why you'd think that."
Victoria stroked a hand over his furrowed brow and smiled at him. "That's why I love you."
Diego's eyes caught fire again and Victoria shivered. "What do you think now about me damaging your reputation?" Diego pressed his body closer, his hand slowly caressing down her side to her hip and Victoria sucked in a breath.
The fire popped and Victoria grabbed his wandering hand. She turned back over to face the fire, wrapping the jacket, the blanket, and Diego back around her. "I thought we were going to make tea."
Diego got comfortable and hugged her tighter. "You want me to move?"
Victoria smiled. "Go to sleep. We'll talk tomorrow," Victoria said with a pat to the hand wrapped around her stomach.
Diego kissed her lips and tugged her closer, nuzzling her neck before settling behind her. They'd talk tomorrow. Words were powerful. Words were important, and needed to be said in front of God and friends before actions could follow. But they'd be alright. Because when it came down to it, words did matter.
Three most powerful words.
Not I am Zorro.
She'd chosen I love you.
Author's Note2: A thousand thanks to LaCorelli for the idea and Marla for the beta. Marla has a really freaky talent for finding errors and improving phrasing, and she's made me a better writer. I hope you enjoyed this story, it was fun to write. Maybe I'll put a plot in a story sometime, but short reveals are just so fun, don't you think?
Contribution time: I have a lot of time for Diego and Victoria to kill in other stories. Anyone have anything unusual they could do for fun? If you have any ideas, and aren't writing about them yourself, drop me a line.
The end of the semester is approaching, but it also brings final exams…which are cumulative of all the other previous impossible exams. Fun! After that, hopefully I'll have time to write more.
I hope you enjoyed, hope you review :)