Planning a party with three young children underfoot is no easy task. More than once Colette whishes that TEKville had an event planner, but as yet she is on her own.
Arrangements are made with the church. Invitations are sent out. Even Diego's mother from Puerto Rico will attend, making Colette even more determined that everything be perfect, as she has never met the woman after whom her eldest daughter is named. Since all three of their girls share a single bedroom and the condo does not have a guest room, the elder Mrs. Rodrigues will stay at TEK Hotel, relieving Colette of at least some of the stress of meeting her mother-in-law for the first time.
As the day of the christening grows near, one afternoon the doorbell rings unexpectedly. As Diego makes his way from the girls' room in the back of the condo where he has been putting their daughters down for a nap, Colette flings open the door, expecting yet another package delivery. To her surprise, a tattooed, shirtless man with a familiar look about him lounges in her doorway, grinning.
"So. You must be thee famous Colette."
Colette is astonished when the man strides into her living room uninvited, bends her over backwards in a familiar embrace, and plants a very sensual kiss on her unsuspecting lips.
At that moment Diego enters from the hallway and stops dead in his tracks, dumbfounded. It takes him mere seconds to size up the scene before him.
"VASQUEZ!" he roars. "Get your feelthy hands off mi esposa!"
The stranger grins mockingly as he releases the stunned Colette. "Que pasa, mi hermano! She is muy delicioso, si?"
Diego grabs Colette by the arm and pulls her to him. "Vasquez, why are you here?"
The man called Vasquez continues to grin mockingly at Diego. "And why should I not veeseet my leetle brother, eh? Especially for such an eemportant occasion."
Colette looks from one to another in confusion.
"Diego, what . . . ."
Diego glares at Vasquez, and with a clenched jaw says, "Colette, thees ees my brother, Vasquez."
"Your brother? Diego, you never mentioned a brother!"
"He is not parteecularly proud of hees brother, Mamacita." Vasquez leers at Colette, then turns his attention to Diego. "So, where ees thees child named for our madre, and thee others?"
Diego's eyes go steely. "Stay away from my cheeldren, Vasquez! You are not welcome here! Crawl back eento whatever hole your sleethered out of!"
Vasquez laughs. "I weel go, Diego, but you have not seen thee last of Vasquez. I theenk I like thees leetle town of yours. I weel be seeing you around, Mamacita," he says to Colette, his eyes straying to her bosom.
Without another word, Diego's brother turns and swaggers out the door, not bothering to close it behind him.
Diego holds his head. "Caramba! Why NOW?" Colette moves to close the door, then turns to Diego, confusion still written large upon her face. "Diego, I don't understand. What is going on?"
Diego sighs. "Come, mi Corazon. Seet, and I weel tell you thee saga of my brother Vasquez."
Diego draws Colette to the chair behind him, where they sit side by side. He takes her hand in his and slowly begins.
"When we were cheeldren, I idolized my brother. Everywhere he went, I followed. Everytheeng he deed, I wanted to do. He was a good boy, but I was always mi madre's and mi padre's favoreete. When mi padre died, Vasquez changed. He began to run weeth a bad crowd. Mi madre tried everytheeng she could but he would not leesten. He started weeth thee tattoos and thee gangs and was een trouble all thee time. Finally mi madre had enough. She deesowned Vasquez and has never spoken of heem again. I have not seen heem for years."
"Colette, he ees dangerous. Eef he ees going to stay here in TEKveelle, I want you to promeese to be careful. I do not weesh thee cheeldren to be exposed to heem. Do you understand?"
"Si . . . I mean yes, Diego." Colette's face is troubled. "But why would he want to harm the children?"
"I do not know, mi esposa. I do not presume to understand why Vasquez does thee theengs that Vasquez does. I seemply do not trust heem. Eef he wants to see thee cheeldren, he must have a reason . . . and it cannot be a good reason."
"You know I would guard the children with my life, Diego. If you think they are in some kind of danger from your brother, we mustn't allow him anywhere near them."
To be continued . . .