THE UNWELCOME GUEST
Juan Ramon Glorioso, Visconde de Estrada
groomed himself very meticulously the following morning because he was going to visit the object of his desire
and lust, the exquisite, socially acceptable Señorita Selena de Rojas.
He oiled his silver streaked black hair just so; leaving his a little
disheveled with a few curls teasing his forehead. The capitán adjusted
all of his military decorations and in a very conceited touch, replaced
the customary dress white braid with two golden ones. Perhaps I
should consider growing a thicker mustache. I am certain that would only
increase my appeal to the Señorita. Glorioso grinned at his
handsome reflection in the mirror and continued his mad daydreaming.
With her fortune and my ancient title, Visconde de Estrada, I will have
more power than ever before! Who knows perhaps I can eventually return
to Mexico. Then El Jefe, Santa Anna, will finally appreciate me. Perhaps
one day I will even challenge Santa Anna for control of Mexico!
Garcia watched disgustedly as Capitán Glorioso mounted his horse,
Bellum, and ordered the Cuartel gates to be opened. "What an ego
the Commandante has! I am certain that he wants to wed Señorita Selena
de Rojas and I feel sorry for her if she excepts his proposal of
marriage. He is a bad one, much worse than Monastario ever was,”
Garcia said to Corporal Reyes.
Reyes sighed wistfully. "You have to admit Sergeant Garcia that Señorita
de Rojas is very beautiful. I wish that I had money and I could marry
could not believe his ears. "Why in the world would Señorita de
Rojas want to marry you? You only a corporal in the Spanish army! You
are like a worm to her. And besides, where would you get enough
money to court her?”
Sergeant, if I had that much money, then the Señorita might consider my
courtship. Do you not think so?" Reyes responded innocently.
Even if you were the King of Spain, she would not look at you. It will
take more than money and a title to win that lady’s generous heart.
Are you not afraid for her?“ Garcia stood with his large hands his
hips, looking with disgust at the corporal.
mouth fell open and his large brown eyes widened in genuine surprise.
“She is in danger? Who has threatened the Señorita, tell me Sergeant
Garcia and I will rush to her aid immediamente!”
Calm down!” Garcia leaned closer to him. “Do you want someone to
hear you? You know that this Commandante is a scoundrel! He wants her
and he would force the Señorita to marry him!”
shook his head. “That is terrible, Sergeant Garcia! Everyone in Los Ángeles
knows that Don Diego wants to marry the señorita. But I have one
what is it, now corporal?” replied the sergeant, now anxious to get
out of the sun and take a siesta.
is a scoundrel, Sergeant Garcia?”
you see corporal, a scoundrel is ...oh, baboso, never mind!” He
pointed to the stables and ordered Reyes to help Lancer Peldar clean out
the stalls. “Immediamente!” The sergeant looked heavenward and then
his wide shoulders drooped. “Madre de Dios! Even that horrible
place, La Casa, looks inviting due to this unusual October heat and my
dealings with Reyes. Just when I thought he was making sense for the
first time in his life! he thought disgustedly. “Well, I will just
have to drown my sorrows in a mug of wine.” Garcia said aloud as he
stalked from the Cuartel and headed for the tavern.
rubbed his head in bewilderment as he watched he portly sergeant head
straight for the La Casa. “What did I do, eh?”
Perrileaux was in the patio arranging some roses for the sala’s
table and sipping some café au lait when she heard a rider stop outside
the patio gate. She peered through the gate’s peephole and frowned.
“Oh, no! I had forgotten today is Wednesday! Mon Dieu! C’est Le
Diable himself, Commandante Glorioso!” Amontildar collected her wits. Me,
I had better receive him first and then go warn my mistress.
odious Spaniard glared at Mam‘selle Perrileaux as if she were some
sort of annoying insect that needed swatting. Selena’s criada
greeted the capitán civilly. “May I help you, Monsieur Commandante?”
She asked without smiling.
said imperiously. “You may. Please you will inform Señorita de
Rojas at once that Capitán Juan Glorioso is here to see her! “
Le Capitaine, may I inquire-” Amontildar began.
interrupted Selena’s personal maid as he lost his patience. “You
may not! Just obey my orders, Negro! I will not explain myself to you
again! Now go!”
curtsied politely and asked him to please sit down. “Of course,
Monsieur. But first, please be seated and I shall obtain the
refreshment,“ she replied amiably as she rang a silver bell on the
nearby patio table. Sauvage bete! [Savage animal] She mumbled
just out of the capitán’s earshot.
Señorita Perilleaux?” Teodores strolled into the patio. “You wish
something?” The giant Chumash Indian contemptuously watched Glorioso
through narrowed eyes. But
Capitán ignored the question, because, after all a Grandée never spoke
to servants, especially Negroes and Indians.
some hot chocolate and service for two, Teodores,” Amontildar asked.
señorita, at once.” Teodores slowly walked away from the patio full
of fear, not for himself, but for his mistress, Selena.
bowed to Glorioso. “Your pardon, mon capitaine. I must take your leave
to fetch the señorita. Excusez-moi, s’il vous plait.” She
scurried as fast as she could up the stairs to Selena’s’ bedroom.
Mam’selle! That couchon the Commandante is in the patio
demanding that you see him tout de suite!”
on earth could Glorioso want with her? Selena wondered. It was ten thirty in the morning and she was
trying to close up the hacienda in preparation for her move into
Diego’s house. “Oh, by my faith Amontildar! I completely forgot I
invited the bete for refreshments today but it was for this
afternoon! Do not antagonize him Amontildar. I shall go to the patio
whispered to her mistress as they descended the stairs into the sala.
“Please, chere, you watch him like de faucon, [hawk] you hear?
Me, I watch dat Spaniard from de bay window.”
beaucoup. J’espere que vous avez tort du capitaine mais je crains que
vous corrige le plus certainement en ce qui concerne lui. Il est un
homme tres dangereux! [“Thank you. I hope you are wrong but I fear you
are most certainly correct regarding the capitiane. He is a very
mam’selle,” [Agreed mistress]. replied the Creole servant,
held her head high and glided effortlessly from her sala into the
patio. “Capitán, you should really send a messenger before you decide
to visit me earlier than I expected. Then I could have had the red
velvet cake ready for our tête-à-tête!” Selena poured on all the
charm she possessed and raised her right hand for him to kiss.
like to surprise people,” he responded cryptically. The capitán
looked around the patio and noticed packages and bundles stacked in a
corner. “Ah, Señorita, your hacienda is in splendid
condition,” Glorioso said in between sips of his hot chocolate,
“surely you are not renovating?”
no. I am preparing to move.” Selena hid her delight behind one of her
silk fans as Glorioso’s eyes widened. Mi Commandante, perhaps I
should have Teodores bring you some brandy rather than hot chocolate
when you hear my reason for moving.
do not understand señorita,” replied an obviously bewildered Glorioso.
you may call me Selena.”
bowed his head. “’Selena, a most endearing name. You are leaving Los
Ángeles?” Glorioso began sweating as his blood pressure rose. Dios!
I pray not. Then all my plans for uniting our Grandee blood will be
useless, to say nothing of the size of her dowry I will lose. He
laughed. “No I am engaged to be married and my fiance believes that
he gasped. “Your indulgence, Selena, but am I to understand that you
are betrothed? Already?” The sinister sycophant retorted in
astonishment. “Surely not, señorita!”
was all she said. How I love seeing you squirm! Selena wryly
noted to herself. “More hot chocolate?” Selena asked,
pretending to be oblivious to his distress.
face twisted with anger. No, I can not permit anyone to interfere
with my plans! But he calmed himself down and asked her the name of
the caballero through gritted teeth. His normally icy blue eyes
remain riveted on her face as the white-hot fires of lust flared in his
soul. “Who is the lucky caballero?”
Diego de la Vega.” Selena was now acutely aware how agitated Glorioso
had become. The capitán’s veins bulged in his neck and his pupils
seemed to grow exponentially with each passing minute. Then his entire
body went rigid.
I find it difficult to believe that you would entertain the idea of
wedlock with such a weakling as de la Vega. I simply cannot
believe that you would accept second best ...a lady of your Grandee
class should marry a physically strong virile man, such as myself!” Glorioso
shouted as he slammed his cup with such force that it shattered against
the patio’s iron table.
Selena replied coolly. “Gracias for your vastly inflated opinion of
yourself, Commandante Glorioso. Now please leave! Oh, Mon Dieu!”
she jumped as he suddenly leapt from his seat.
lunged for her before Selena finished speaking, tossing aside the
wrought iron patio chairs as if they were light as feathers. “Come
here, señorita!” he hissed.
señorita moved with surprising swiftness as she deftly eluded his first
attack. Selena then picked up the heavy silver chocolate pot and hurled
it at his face as she turned to run into her hacienda. He merely
laughed at her and used his mañuelo to hastily wipe the hot
chocolate, which had landed on the left sleeve of his uniform.
Unfortunately for Selena, Glorioso was far more agile then she was and
not encumbered by a long dress and heels.
threw the table aside, grabbed Selena and tried to kiss her but failed.
Selena managed to break his hold around her waist and, backhanded him
across the face. She
by her formidable physical strength, he said menacingly, “I shall not
make the same mistake twice. Nothing can stop me, Selena. Nothing. You
are alone, woman, all alone!” He circled around her, edging himself
closer and closer toward Selena. Glorioso carefully feigned his next
attack to his right, and the señorita sidestepped him.
Selena! Now you have nowhere to run!” he crowed.
she saw that Glorioso had positioned himself between her and the hacienda’s
entrance Selena did the only thing she could. She yelled for her Indian
J’ai besoin de vous! Aidez-vous moi! Maintenant! [Now, Teodores! I
need you, help me!] TEODORES! TEODORES!”
paralyzed by the shock of seeing her worst fears realized regarding
Glorioso, Amontildar also shouted for the Indian servant. Desperately
searching for anything to use as a weapon, she grabbed a broom and ran
is your beloved fiancé, Diego de la Vega?” Glorioso sneered as
finally succeeded in grasping her wrists and pulling them behind her
back. He adjusted his grip and used one hand to keep her arms pinned
against her body to grant her the high honor of his kiss.
“Maravillosa. So beautiful, he murmured into her ear.
Selena finally realized the futility of
breaking free from his excruciatingly hard embrace and temporarily
relaxed her body against him. When Glorioso’s lips touched her own,
Selena bit him on his mouth as hard as she could.
END OF CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE