Months pass. One afternoon while workmen from Rangeman Construction are upstairs making alterations to the bedroom configuration, Jes hides in the kitchen with a book, some magazines and Hershey for company.
There is a sudden knock at the patio door, throwing Jes into a panic. Before she can find an escape route, Vasquez steps through the unlocked door. Frozen in place, she can only stare.
"Buenos tardes, Jace."
"Vas . . . Vasquez! What . . . what are you doing here?"
He takes a step closer but is halted by the look of sheer panic in her eyes.
"I must speak weeth you. I have tried to call but you do not answer. I have left messages, but you do not return my calls."
"Why . . . why would I want to talk to you, Vasquez? You took Colette's and Diego's baby! You hit me!"
Vasquez has the grace to look ashamed. He raises his hands in admission.
"I deed everytheeng you say, Jace, and I am very sorry. You know why I took thee baby. I have returned her to Colette and Diego, and they have forgeeven me."
He searches her face, hopefully. "Can you find eet een your heart to do thee same?"
Jes studies Vasquez with uncertainty. The old mocking, overtly sexual Vasquez seems to have completely disappeared, leaving this humble stranger in his place.
He takes another step closer.
Jes struggles to her feet in a panic, and his eyes grow wide at the obvious swell of her belly.
"Jace? But . . . ."
Jessy's hands quickly cover her belly.
"No. Not yours."
Expecting to see a look of abject relief, Jes is surprised to see a fleeing expression of disappointment cross his face, rapidly replaced by concern.
"Jace . . . are you all right?"
That question more than anything else brings home to Jes the change in her former lover.
Puzzled, she replies. "Yes, I am all right. Why are you here, Vasquez?"
"I came to apologize. For everytheeng. I . . ." He hesitates, then forges onward. "I was wrong, Jace. I deed not treat you as you deserve. For that, I am sorry. I am also sorry for draggeeng you eento thee mess when I took thee baby . . . Carmen." A fleeting softness crosses his face as he thinks of his "niece". It is quickly replaced by a return of the earnest hopefulness he projects.
"I would . . . I would like to begeen again. Eef you weell allow eet." His eyes cut to her belly, then back to her face. "Ees . . . ees thee father . . . "
"No." she answers curtly, not meeting his eyes. "The father is not involved."
She is puzzled by the flicker of relief in his eyes as she returns her gaze to his face.
"Jace, will you . . . can you forgeeve me? Can we begeen again?"
"But Vasquez . . . what about . . . ?" She glances at her growing belly, still covered protectively by her hands. "What about . . . this?"
"Eet does not matter, Jace. I meess you, and I want you back. Under any circumstances. Besides," he smiles, "I have found that I rather like cheeldren."
Jes is still wary. "I don't love you, Vasquez. I never did. You were just . . . what I needed. To forget . . ."
"Eet does not matter. You weell come to love me, I promeese." A little of the old Vasquez reappears in the confident smile that lights his face.
A tiny smile quirks the corner of Jessy's lips.
"What are you suggesting, exactly? Surely you don't want . . . ." Again, she glances at the obvious changes that have occurred to her once-sveldte body.
"Not eef you do not weesh eet, Jace, but I weell admeet that I would have you on thees table right now eef that was your weesh as well." He smiles his most sensual smile.
This time Jes grins in earnest.
"That probably wouldn't be the best idea, since there are workmen upstairs and since Zellie is in the other room. Any other suggestions?"
Relief floods Vasquez and the vice around his heart loosens just a bit.
"Eef you weell allow eet . . . may I take you to deener thees eveneeng, beauteeful lady?"
Jessy's eyes grow reflective. "Dinner. What a novel suggestion, coming from you, Vasquez! It might be interesting, at that, to see if you can pull off a regular 'date'."
"Bueno! Muy bueno! Seex o'clock?"
"'Seex' it is. My wardrobe is somewhat limited as of late, however. How should I dress?"
Suddenly she feels as if she's dressed in nothing at all, stripped to the skin by the naked lust in his eyes. The moment passes, and Vasquez manages a less seductive smile. "Let us take thees slowly, Jace. Do you like Mexeecan food?"
Jes smiles delightedly as her hands once more go to her belly. "Not only do I love Mexican food, but the baby seems to have an appreciation for it, too. That sounds perfect. I think I might have some jeans that fit."