“I ran into an old friend in the pueblo. You know Ernesto, yes? We shared stories of the old days.” He let his fashionable jacket fall to the ground and waved toward Ernesto, who reached for a valise and carried it into the sala.
Everyone stepped backward to give him plenty of room. Ernesto’s black hooded cape made him look like a giant bat. He breathed hard, stank of liquor, and kept his head down, not looking anyone in the eye.
“Tío, I am Clara. This is my little sister Alicia and our dear family friend Captain Harris.” She did her best to take charge of the unexpected arrival and ignored Ernesto’s awkward presence. “I’m sure you will welcome a good rest after your long journey. We have everything prepared for you.”
Salvador put his hand on the drunkard’s shoulder. “We met years ago when your papa rescued his shipmates and brought some injured men to Monterey. So many stories, eh?”
“Yes, but it is so late.” Clara wanted the drunk removed.
“Not too late to ask after your mama and papa.” Tío Salvador slowed down Clara’s hastiness. “Oh yes, they are off to Laredo with your older sister, true?”
“They are all fine, thank you. Captain Harris, if you please.”
“Let me assist you to your wagon, Ernesto.” Harris interpreted Clara’s instructions, removing the drunk from the house.
“Adiós,” everyone muttered. “Buenas noches.” Salvador followed the other two men to the wagon. The sisters were alone for a moment.
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