Tales from TEKville by TheEvilKaren

Photo stories featuring 1:6 scale dolls

Page 9 - The Finale

The police set up a tap on the Rodrigues' phone line, assuming that there will be a ransom demand.  Colette and Diego know that there will be no such thing.  They know that the child was not abducted for financial reasons.  They wait through several tense days and sleepless nights for word of Vasquez's apprehension, but to no avail.

There is a sudden knock at their front door several days after the baby's disappearance.  Colette gasps as she opens the door to a very chastened Vasquez, Baby cradled gently in his arms.

Her instinctive reaction is to snatch the child from him, but she is brought up short by Diego's hand on her shoulder.   An awkward moment of silence ensues.  Finally Vasquez speaks.

"May I come een?"

Confusion evident in his eyes, Diego simply steps back and holds open the door. 

Colette's eyes follow the baby as Vasquez makes his way into the room, pulls a chair from the dining room, and sits.

Diego silently closes the door, takes a dazed Colette by the arm, guides her to the couch, and pulls her down next to him.

Finally Colette finds her tongue.  She drags her eyes from her cooing daughter and looks pleadingly at Vasquez as she holds out her arms.

"Please!" she begs softly.

"Wait, Colette," says Vasquez, holding out a hand to stop her.

Diego places a restraining hand on her arm and asks quietly, "Vasquez?  What ees going on?"

Vasquez has the grace to look ashamed.  He looks down to avoid Diego's gaze, and his eyes soften when they alight upon the child gurgling on his lap.  He smiles at her gently, then raises his eyes to Diego's.

"I . . . I am sorry, Diego." he says, simply.

Diego waits suspiciously, disconcerted by this new version of his brother.

"You . . . you know thee truth, then?  That thee child . . ." His eyes go to her again and he cannot avoid smiling indulgently.  " . . . the child ees mine, not yours?"

"Si."  Diego answers curtly.  "Si, we know."

Vasquez sighs.  "Ines . . . Ines was a fool to do what she deed.  Ines has always been a fool.  I was blinded by my jealousy of you, and when she asked me . . ."  He pauses with a sidelong glance at Baby.  "When she asked me for a certain favor . . ."  His lips quirk upward.  "I agreed.  Later, when she returned to our neighborhood weethout thee child . . . I realized that I had been as much of a fool as she."

He pauses again, looking for some sign of softening in his brother's eyes.  Not finding what he seeks, he plows onward.

"I came to TEKveelle to find thee child.  I met Jace, and I thought . . . well, I do not know whether I was actually theenkeeng when I met Jace.  At least not weeth my brain." He smiles suggestively, a little of his old arrogance returning momentarily.  His smile quickly fades.  "I began to theenk that eef I had thee child . . . Jace would help me . . . and we could be a family."

He clears his throat.

"I admeet that I was not theenkeeng very clearly.  On some level I must have known how wrong eet was or I would have told Jace of my plan, but I deed not.  She was as surprised as you when I took thee baby at thee chreesteneeng party and dragged her along weeth me.  There was sometheeng . . . broken . . . een her that made us perfect for each other. . . . or so I believed."

"She pulled a gun on me!"  He laughs self-deprecatingly and shakes his head.  "What a woman!"  He continues to smile with the memory of that moment in the clearing.

After a moment he continues.

"She held me at gunpoint while I told her my story.  She began to soften and I heard thee searchers growing closer, so I overpowered her and tapped her with thee gun.  Oh . . . here eet ees, by thee way."  Vasquez pulls Jessy's beloved handgun from his waistband and hands it casually to Diego. 

"I deed not weesh to harm her, but I had to get away and knew she would slow me once she had reached a deceesion not to come weeth me weelleengly."

He steals a glance at Colette, whose eyes are still glued to the baby on his lap.

"She changed."  He says, simply.  "One moment she was followeeng along obediently and thee next . . ."  An odd expression, part puzzlement and part something else, crosses his face.

"So, I heet her weeth thee gun and I ran.  I heed where I knew I would not be found and I set about getteeng to know mi hija bonita."  He smiles at the little one in his lap.

"Eet was an experience for wheech I was not prepared."  Vasquez laughs.  "I know notheeng of careeng for leetle ones.  I tried my best, but . . ." He laughs again.  "She got thee best of me."

He picks up Baby and smiles at her fondly.  "Deed you not, leetle one?  Si, Vasquez ees no match for thee likes of you!"

Hope dawns anew in Colette's eyes.  Once again she drags them from the baby and searches her brother-in-law's face.  "Vasquez . . ." she begins tentatively.

Once again he holds up his hand to stop her.  "Wait.  One theeng first." 

He hesitates, clearly uncomfortable, and clears his throat, looking beseechingly first at Diego, then at Colette.  "Eef I geeve her back . . . when I geeve her back . . . can I steell . . . could I . . ." He pauses yet again, then forges ahead.  "Diego, Colette . . . can I steell see her?  Can I be . . .her Tio Vasquez?"

Colette's eyes brim with tears.  She rises and goes to Vasquez, hesitating for a moment and then putting her arms around him in a chaste hug.  "Of course you can still see her, Vasquez.  Just promise me that you will never, EVER take her from us again without our permission."

There is a suspicious shine in Vasquez's eyes when he looks up to meet Colette's gaze.  "I promeese on mi padre's grave, mi hermana Hermosa."

Diego is not as trusting as Colette and still eyes Vasquez with suspicion.

"On our father's grave, Vasquez??  How can I trust you after all you have done?

Vasquez stands and hands the baby to a grateful Colette, then turns and puts his hands on Diego's shoulders. 

"I weell prove to you that I am worthy of your trust, Diego.  I promeese you that." 

Reluctantly Diego raises his arms to grasp his brother's shoulders, wanting very much to believe in his redemption but weighed down by the many years of suspicion and distrust.

"Eef eet ees true, then . . . welcome back to thee family, brother."

The End.  (For now!)