Chapter 15 Meeting the Parents II
You could see Jimmy was getting nervous as the afternoon wore on. Andrew kept trying to reassure him. But Jimmy was becoming a nervous wreck. So I tried to ease his nerves at Dante’s request.
“You need to talk?” I asked as he was hand washing dishes from lunch. Which he barely touched.
“No, I’m okay,” he said dropping a glass. Fortunately this on was plastic.
I bent over and picked it. As I put it away. Jimmy collapsed into a chair at the table. Putting his head in his hands.
“How about I pour you a drink and I tell you how Dante introduced me to his parents?” I asked Jimmy.
“Well Dante told me,” Jimmy said as I poured him a shot. “He said you went to lunch to meet his mom.”
“Well that’s how he remembers it,” I said with a chuckle. “I’m sure.”
“Hey! That’s how it happened!” Dante yelped as he eavesdropped.
“But you didn’t tell me your mom was going to be there. Till after I saw her,” I reminded him.
“And then your dad showed up,” I explained. “To both of our surprise.”
“Come to think of it. It was your mother who told me it was your 17th birthday.”
“Your dad only confirmed it,” I added.
“Dante!” Jimmy roared as we heard laughter. Andrew, Jason, and Peter were eavesdropping from the patio too.
“That was when I said I loved him for the first time. And I wanted him to move in with me,” I said pulling Dante into my arms for a kiss.
While Jimmy was distracted. Andrew walked up behind him. Leaned over and kissed him. Jimmy promptly kissed him back. You could see the weight coming off Jimmy's shoulders.
“Understand James Everett Cassidy,” Andrew told him. “I love you no matter what.”
“And Andrew I love you with my heart and soul,” Jimmy replied. “I love you like I never thought possible.”
“And your parents will have to accept that,” Diane said having come in with Sam.
“And Dante. Here are the keys to my baby,” Sam said giving the keys to his Pinto to Dante. “So who are you teaching to drive a stick shift?”
Jimmy turned red instantly. As Andrew and Dante patted him on the back.
“Jimmy if Dante says anything to put you down,” Diane told him. “You let me know. And I’ll tell you about his learning to drive a stick.”
Which caused Sam to laugh. And Dante to turn red.
“Thank you Mrs. Green,” Jimmy said with a smile. “I’ll enjoy hearing any story you have about Dante.” Dante looked hard at Jimmy. Who just smiled.
“Thanks for bringing it out Sam,” I said since Dante was distracted. “We’ll take care of it.”
“Sorry dad,” Dante said. “Thanks for bringing it out.”
“Is the card for the Ford only repair place still in the glove box?” He asked his dad.
“Yes!” Sam chuckled. “I laminated it it years ago.”
“You’re not talking about Ford On Road Daily?” I asked.
“That’s them,” Diane said. “They always manage to get it going again.”
“Hey guys. We need to get ready,” Jason said. “We need to get Dad and Jimmy’s vehicles.”
“True,” said Andrew. So we all scattered to our rooms. For showers and to get dressed.
Dante and I as usual showered together. Which put us a little behind. Diane was a little worried by it.
“What took you guys so long?” she asked. “What possible could you have been doing?” At that she froze with realization.
Sam busted out laughing. And the guys followed suit. Dante and I tried not to real hard. And failed.
“Really! In the shower?” Diane asked. Sam walked up behind her.
“Sounds interesting though,” Sam said as he gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
“Now let’s get going,” Sam said. “Jason, Peter you’re with us.”
“Are you suggesting that we?” Diane roared.
“So do you want to in the new Jacuzzi tub?” Sam asked getting a punch to the shoulder from Diane. Who laughed at it all.
“Mom don’t knock it till you’ve tried it,” Dante told her.
“Dante Green you go to your room and…” Diane stopped.
“Jimmy I’m sorry,” she said. “Today is all about you and Andrew.”
“And call me Diane please.”
“Diane if it makes you feel better,” I said. “When we get home. I'll make Dante go to his room and stay there till tomorrow morning.”
It earned me a punch to the shoulder. But we ALL laughed. and a kiss on the check from Diane.
So Dante and I took Jimmy and Andrew to get their vehicles. Then we were off to the restaurant. As we got out, Jimmy saw his parents car. Andrew quickly took Jimmy’s arm. And with a kiss on the cheek as we went in.
We had arranged for a banquet room. The hostess lead us to the room. Diane was the first to spot us.
“Here they are Rose,” Diane said. “Finally.”
“It’s alright Diane,” Rose said as she and he husband got up to greet her son and Andrew.
“Mom, Dad,” Jimmy said as he walked up to them. He froze for a moment as his parents drew near. But Andrew whispered his support in Jimmy’s ear.
“Mom, Dad this is Andrew,” he said introducing them. “He’s my… fiance.”
“Andrew I have only one question for you?” Henry, Jimmy’s dad asked.
“And that is sir?” Andrew asked.
“Do you love my boy?” Henry asked.
“As our friend Billy said when asked about Dante,” Andrew told him. “With all my heart and soul.”
Jimmy kissed him, and Henry held out his hand to be shook. While Andrew and Henry shook hands. Rose hugged her son and cried. Diane and Jason cried as well. And Dante gave me a kiss on the cheek.
“Mom, Dad, you know my friend Dante,” Jimmy said introducing us. “This is his fiance Billy Hickok a U.S. Marshal”
Dante got a hug from Rose and Diane. And I shook Henry’s hand. While Sam patted me on the back.
“Now who asked who?” Rose asked as we sat down. We all looked around at each other.
“Well Dante asked me first. Before I could ask him that is,” I told them. “And I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
I promptly got another kiss on the cheek from Dante, and one for Diane.
“And the next day Andrew asked me,” Jimmy told them with a big smile.
“And the Jason and Peter asked each other,” Dante said. “So there are three wedding at once.”
"When is this all to happen?” an amazed Henry asked. We all looked at Dante to tell it.
“That will be on the 23rd of May,” Dante told him. “That’s my birthday.”
“Sam it looks like we’re going to have to dig deep to afford this,” Henry said.
"Well Andrew will be putting in as well,” Sam told him. “Since Jason is his son.”
“No its not guys,” I said. “Andrew and I have talked about this.”
“That’s correct,” Andrew said. “We can afford to pay for It all. But we want to keep it subdued.”
“Now I think you two can’t pay for it all,” Sam said with Henry agreeing. “Henry and I need to be part of this.”
“I don’t have a daughter to do this for,” Sam told us.
“Neither do I. And Jimmy means the world to us,” Henry added.
“James Everett there is something we never told you,” Rose told us. “But there is a reason you are an only child.” Henry hugged his wife and gave her a kiss on the cheek. You could feel their mood change.
“There were complications with your birth. And well, we were never able to give you brothers or sisters,” she said as a tear ran down her cheek.
While Jimmy went to hug his parents. We were all quiet for a moment. I asked Dante and Andrew asked Jimmy. We agreed.
“We agree Henry, Sam,” Andrew told them.
“We have the time to iron it all out,” I said. “So why not divvy it up evenly.”
The waiter came and we ordered our food. We talked, we laughed.
We even floated a few wedding ideas.
“So when did you know you loved Marshal Hickok?” Rose asked Dante.
Dante looked into my eyes and smiled. But it was Sam who answered her question.
“I found out Dante was gay when he was twelve,” Sam started.
“A boy Dante was friends with. Told me he needed to be checked, and I did.”
“Now Dante was down in the dumps about losing this friend. So I took him to the mustang adoption for his thirteenth birthday,” Sam said. “And Dante fell in love with a little filly paint pony.”
“He had seen Billy talking with the wranglers, and other adopters.”
“So he asked me to get a wrangler to talk to about the filly. I could see there was something else too.”
“Well while Dante thinks I went to talk to a wrangler.” Which caused Dante to look at his father differently.
“I saw him ask Billy about her. They talked for nearly twenty minutes with stars in his eyes. And I watched my son fall in love.”
“But Billy didn’t fall in love with Dante then. He didn’t need to.”
“Dante looked up everything he could on Billy. And read everything,” Sam continued. “But there is one thing Dante does not know.’
“Which I will tell you later my son,” Sam said. “You may have forgotten Billy.”
I hoped my face didn’t give away what I remembered. But I remembered that night so long ago. Dante tried to read my expression.
“And you never worried about the age difference?” Henry asked him.
“No. Not one bit,” Sam told him. “I was a little worried that Dante might have his heart broken."
“Not that Billy would have done it deliberately. But if Billy didn’t fall in love with him.”
“But I did,” I said kissing Dante. I loved him and I didn’t care who knew it.
“You knew everything Dad?” an awestruck Dante asked his father.
“Almost everything Dante,” Sam told him. “You’re my son. And it's my job to protect you.” Dante got up and hugged his father.
All of us were teary eyed. Diane and Rose were out and out crying.
It was a great evening. We were there for nearly 3 hours. But we did have to call it a night. So we paid our bills and headed home.
We had the three vehicles now. Jason and Peter drove Jimmy’s Corolla. So Jimmy could ride with Andrew. And of course Dante rode with me.
It was getting dark when we got home. I told them I was going down to check the horses. Dante followed along with me.
“The horses don’t need fed,” Dante said as he wrapped his arms around me at the corral.
“No they don’t,” I agreed. “But they need to be visited.”
“What else is there?” Dante asked me turning to look into my eyes. I smiled at him. I pulled him in close.
“I was thinking how much my life has changed since you came into it,” I said as we stood next to the corral. “I didn’t think loving someone so much was possible.”
By then Zeb and Spot had walked down to the rails. Zeb nuzzled me while Spot nuzzled Dante.
“I’m fine big man,” I said scratching his jowl. “I still love you.”
“He’s worried,” Dante said just before I kissed him.
“Come on,” he said. “ We need to get inside. So they don’t think we don't want them here.”
“And you’re supposed to be in your room anyway,” I said getting a punch in the shoulder. We laughed as we walked in.
“Let’s walk slow and enjoy the sunset,” I said as we walked up to the house.
As we walked in we heard. “But Dad. What if they want us gone?” Jason asked.
“Well we don’t,” I told him. “I just needed some alone time with my fiance.”
“The sunset was just too beautiful to pass up.”
“Besides, your realtor friend Tonya called,” Andrew said. “She’ll be out in the morning to show us some ranches."
”And I asked her for something for you and Peter,” he told Jason. “She has some rental townhouses and one house close to the University.”
“All with options to buy,” Andrew told them. “And they’re all owned by Billy.”
“I forgot about the house,”I said genuinely surprised. “Tonya handles them. I didn’t know it was even done being renovated.”
“Wait!” Peter said grabbing Jason. “A house near the University.”
“You could finish your classes here and get your degree,” Peter said enthusiastically.
“What about you?” Jason asked him.
“Well Mama Fernandez has been talking to me,” Peter told him. “She plans to open a larger and fancier restaurant. And she wants me to be the chef there.”
“I will start in the diner. Choosing what to bring over to the bigger restaurant.”
“We can look at it if you want Jason, Peter,” Andrew told them.
“No Dad!,” Jason told him. “Peter and I can look at it. Because it’s our decision.” Andrew smiled at his son. He grabbed Jason and hugged him.
“I guess it should be you two looking at it,” he told his son.
“We could take you two to look at it. While you and Jimmy go look at those ranches,” Dante said. “We’ll just need to let Tonya know if you want to rent or buy.”
I looked at Dante and smiled. Then I kissed him.
“That way we all aren’t gone all day,” Dante added. “And you can see what they did to the house.”
“Good point,” I replied. “I’ll call and tell Tonya I want the keys.”
“So you haven’t seen it yet?” Peter asked.
“Well I have been busy,” I said grabbing Dante. “You know. With things.” Dante smiled that evil smile of his.
“What time did Tonya say she would be here tomorrow?” Dante asked Andrew.
“She said by 8 am,” Andrew told us. “She said she had two ranches to show us. I said I wanted to talk to you about them first.”
“I’ll call her,” I said dialing her number. “We can talk over breakfast.”
I told Tonya that she was invited to breakfast. And we would talk about the ranches while we ate. But she let me know which ranches. And I knew them both. They were twenty minutes south of mine as the crow flies. But you had to go around to get to them.
They were both good buys. I knew which one I would buy if I were looking. We talked as I went over them with Andrew. Then my phone rang. I looked and it was Amelia. I told Dante who looked puzzled.
“Hey short stuff,” I said as I answered the call. I said it to get under her skin. That way she would know I wasn’t going to put up with the way she treated Dante.
“Can I talk to you and Dante, Uncle Billy?” she asked. “In private please.”
“Amelia,” I said to mess with her. “Well you are in Virginia.”
“You know what I mean Uncle Billy,” she asked. Her voice cracked and I knew she was serious. “Please.”
“Sure thing Amelia,” I said motioning for Dante to follow me.
“She wants to talk in private with us,” I told Dante. Putting my hand over the speaker.
“Well let’s go to OUR ROOM,” Dante said so she could hear.
We headed for our room. As we reach our bedroom I put the phone on speaker.
“Almost there,” I told her. Dante closed the door behind us. “Now we’re in our room Amelia.”
“Dante, Uncle Billy. I owe you both an apology,” Amelia told us. “If you’re mad at me I’ll understand.” and she sniffled.
“We’re not mad at you,” Dante told her immediately.
“I want to hug you for caring for Billy the way you do,” Dante told her. “Okay?”
We could hear her crying. Then her bedroom door burst open.
“Amelia are you okay?” we heard Bass asked her.
“She will be fine Bass,” I told him to calm him down.
“Uncle Billy?” he asked hearing my voice.
“Yes Bass,” Dante told him. “We were asking your sister to be one of our flower girls for the wedding.”
“Yeah Amelia,” I said to cover for her. “You didn’t answer us.”
“I would love to,” she said with a sniff. “Now Bass what are you doing in my room?” We heard him kiss his sister.
“I won’t tell mom you were crying,” he said told her. “Later Uncle Billy.” Then we heard the door latch as he left.
“Thank you Dante,” Amelia said. “But if…”
“But nothing,” Dante told her cutting her off. “It’s what we want. What we need. So we asked.”
“Now are you in as our flower girl?” Dante asked her.
“Yes!” she said crying even harder. Then her door opened again.
“Amelia. What wrong?” Linzie asked her daughter.
“Hey Linzie,” I said to get her attention.
“Why is my daughter crying Hickok!” Linzie demanded.
“Sorry Linzie,” Dante said. “Sn`he called us afraid we were mad at her.”
“And we told her we were not,” I told her. “And Dante asked her to be our flower girl to prove it.”
“Oh,” Linzie said taken aback. “And she apologized?”
“She did Linzie,” Dante told her. “And she also said yes to being our flower girl. We would really love that.”
“Did you say yes baby?” Linzie asked Amelia.
“YES!” Amelia answered. “You’re not saying I can’t? Are you?”
“No baby,” Linzie told her with a kiss. “Now we’ll talk more about it when we visit Uncle Billy and Dante for the fourth of July.”
“You mean Uncle Billy and Uncle Dante,” Amelia corrected her mother.
Dante and I looked at each other surprised. And I was happy she had said it. Dante was excited.
“Okay baby,” Linzie said. “You got it. Uncle Dante.”
“Is that okay with you Uncle Billy, Uncle Dante?” Linzie asked us. And I smiled at Dante.
“That sounds great Linzie, Amelia,” Dante said. “We can’t wait for you all to come to visit.” And Dante kissed my cheek. Joy written all over his face.
“Have you made your travel plans yet?” I asked Linzie. “We can pick you up at the airport.”
“I have tickets for us for the first of July,” Linzie told us. “I’ll comeback the seventh.”
“If you don’t mind. The kids will come home the fourteenth.”
“That is if you can handle it,” Linzie said with a little snark.
We heard the kids hooping and hollering. And Linzie trying to get it under control. And she finally got them under control.
“Well?” Linzie was finally able to ask.
“Yeah Uncle Billy?” Bass asked overjoyed.
“Yeah Uncle Dante?” Amelia asked. That she had fallen in love with Dante without ever meeting him was obvious.
Dante looked at me. I nodded at Dante and smiled so he would take it.
“Well if you kids promise to take it easy on us,” Dante said. “I think we can handle it.”
“Thank you Uncle Dante, Uncle Billy,” Amelia chirped with glee.
“Well we will say goodnight since they have school till Friday,” Linzie said firmly. I realized what time it was there.
“Goodnight Bass, Amelia,” Dante and I said together.
“Goodnight,” they chorused.
“I’ll see you later partner, Dante,” Linzie said hanging up.
We eventually got dressed. And went back out to talk to the guys. We told them about Amelia was going to be our flower girl. So we decided each set of us would have a flower girl. And each of us a best man.And a ring bearer for each set of us. Plans were coming together.
I was going to call Bass tomorrow and ask him. Dante was going to ask Angel. While Charlie and Daniel were going to be our Ushers/Groomsmen.
Then we went back to our room. As I turned from putting up my pistols. Dante was doing a striptease with a grin. I smiled. "Well if you insist."
The next morning we were all talking and preparing breakfast when the doorbell rang. I went to let Tonya in and was surprised by Henry and Rose. Tonya was walking up from her car.
“Henry, Rose,” I said showing my surprise. “We weren’t expecting you. But I’ll just tell them to fix more.”
“Jimmy didn’t tell you?” Rose asked. “At all. Did he?”
“That’s our boy,” Henry said. “If you want us to leave.”
“Not on your life,” I said honestly. “Tonya this is the Cassidy’s.”
“Henry, Rose this is Tonya our realtor friend.”
Tonya talked with Henry and Rose as we walked in.
“Jimmy! Your folks are here,” I said as we walked into the bustling kitchen.
“Oh God,” Jimmy said while frying bacon. “I forgot.”
“James Everett! The bacon,” Rose roared at her son as he turned away from the frying pan.
“Sorry. Sorry,” Jimmy said turning back.
“I got this,” Peter told him taking over.
“I’m sorry I forgot I asked them to come,” Jimmy said. “Billy I meant to tell you.”
“Jimmy it’s fine,” I told him with a smile and a hug. “Why don’t you and Andrew take them and Tonya out on the patio and talk.”
“Are you sure?” he asked me. Just as nervous as last night.
“He’s sure,” Dante said grabbing plates and silverware for out on the patio.
“Where are they?” Jimmy asked looking around.
“Oh! Dad took them on out to the patio,” Jason told him.
As Dante and I followed Jimmy out onto the patio. Tonya was outlining the two ranches. Henry had just asked a very good question. He even suggested Miguel for any adobe work that needed to be done. Because both ranches were considered historic properties.
We found out what type of eggs everyone wanted. And what everyone wanted to drink. Before long we had food on the table.
At breakfast Tonya told us about the house. She even had a few pictures. It had all new flooring, no carpet. A totally remodeled kitchen. Top to bottom. Jason and Peter were anxious to see it.
So Andrew and Jimmy went with Tonya to see the ranches. Henry and Rose were going along. Jason and Peter hopped into Dante’s truck. And we were off to see the house.
I suggested that we meet at Mama Fernandez’s for lunch. And everyone was up for it. But then who wouldn’t be.
As we pulled up to the house. Jason and Peter and I were impressed with the outside. I handed Jason the keys.
“Really?” he asked.
“Go,” I told them. “We’ll be along. I figure you guys might like some privacy.”
As they opened the door. There was terrazzo tile and hardwood in the living room, hall, and into the kitchen. As we walked into the kitchen. Peter was giddy with joy over the layout.
“Billy whoever laid out this kitchen. Did a great job,” Peter said with pleasure. “But let’s finish looking at this place. Before we buy it for the kitchen alone.”
The three bedrooms and two baths were also well done. The master bath mirrored ours at the ranch. But then the same designer laid it out.
“Looks familiar,” Dante said with that smile I loved so much.
“Yeah. You guys could spend a lot of fun time in here,” I said kissing Dante. Jason and Peter smiled at each other.
“Do you mind if we walk down to the University?” Jason asked.
“Sounds good,” I said grabbing Dante around the waist. “We’ll show you the Duck Pond.”
We walked down and around the campus. Some of the guys were at the Duck Pond. So we introduced Jason and Peter around.
Walking back to the house. We gave Jason and Peter some room to talk. But it also gave me time to talk to Dante.
“What would you say to sleeping out under the stars tonight?” I asked Dante.
“You mean out on the patio?” he asked. “But what about Frankie?”
“Well I have another place in mind,” I told him with a smile.
“Well I have a wickiup* hidden on the place,” I told him. “You know what a wickiup is?”
“I do,” Dante told me. “Let’s check it out. Sounds interesting.”
“Billy can you hold up a minute?” Jason asked. So we stopped not far from the truck.
“So what’s up?” Dante asked with a smile.
They were both smiling from ear to ear. It was easy to guess what they wanted to talk about. Then they kissed before answering.
“We’ll take it,” they said together. Then kissed again.
The whole house is set up right for us,” Jason told us.
“And that kitchen was set up like a chef’s kitchen,” Peter told us. “Whoever they were, was genius.”
“Sounds good to me,” I told them. Then I handed them the keys.
They were surprised. As was Dante. I smiled.
“You are buying? Right?” I asked. They just smiled.
I called Tonya as we walked to the truck. Tonya asked me to put the sold sign on top. It was inside a compartment in the center of the sign.
Then she told me Andrew and Jimmy had picked a ranch and put in an offer. Tonya said they fell in love with after talking with the owner and the hands. Both of them.
It turned out it was the one I had recommended.They had called Miguel to come look at what needed to be done. So he drove out to check it out.
Jason and Peter were planning a celebratory dinner after hearing the news. So we stopped at the grocery for some extra items Peter wanted.
At home I told them. That after dinner Dante and I were going to sleep out under the stars.
“Why?” Jimmy asked with an evil smile. But we both just smiled back. Andrew laughed real hard.
After dinner we walked down to the corral. We saddled up and rode out. The sun was moving through the early evening sky. And I showed Dante a little hanging valley. The wickiup. And a fire?
I slide out of the saddle and looked around.
“JOHN!” I called.
*Wickiup- a brush shelter used by Native Americans. There are temporary or more permanent in style.