Chapter 36 What Now?
Dante and I were enjoying the solitude of the wickiup, after making love twice. We were sweaty and sticky and drying fast, because of the summer heat. An afternoon rain shower was threatening though.
"Come on," I told Dante. "We need to get cleaned up before we head back. Besides, I think it's about to rain."
"You sure you don't want to spend the night?" Dante asked , running his hands across my chest. Then he gave me a kiss.
"if you want to get away after lunch. Sure," I told him as it started to sprinkle. We grabbed our clothes and tossed them into the wickiup.
I pulled Dante in close as we kissed in the rain. I vaguely heard the ponding of horses hooves and the crash through the trees.
"Marshal Billy! Dante!" Peter yelled as he came crashing through the trees.. Then he was in the clearing and.
"Oh!" was all he could say.
I held Dante's naked body close to mine. Peter stood frozen and speechless somewhere behind me. Then more pounding hooves.
"Peter! Wait! yelled Angel and Daniel as they ran into the clearing.
"Sorry Billy, Dante," Daniel said as he turned Peter around.
"But Hermosa is one of the fastest horses," Angel told us. "And we had to mount up to catch him."
"So what brings you boys up here like this?" Dante asked nonchalantly over my shoulder. Causing me to smile and whisper smartass in his ear.
"Go ahead Petey," Daniel told him softly.
"But they're mad at me, " Peter said now in tears.
"No we are Not Peter," Dante told him.
"I promise were are not Peter," I told him.
"We are surprised though," I told him with a chuckle from me and Dante. "What you need to do is learn to curb your enthusiasm. So you can think things through."
"Now what's so important you had to race up here?" Dante asked them.
"Go ahead Petey," Angel told him softly.
"Yeah! Go ahead," Daniel added in a low voice.
"Well there's a man here to see you, " Peter told us. "He's the General of Attorneys." Causing the rest of us to laugh a little.
"He's called the Attorney General Petey," Angel told him. "He's here with his wife Billy."
"Mr. Ashcroft is here?" Dante asked in amazement.
"Boys, if you'll wait for us on the trail please?" I asked them. "We need to get cleaned up and dressed."
"Sure thing Billy," Daniel said. "Come on Petey. It's okay." The boys led Peter back out to the trail. But Peter's head was hanging.
"Peter feels bad," Dante said as we walked to the spring.
"Well, we can fix that," I told him as we washed off. "I like that boy. So nothing happened more than him telling us about Mr. Ashworth.
"What are you talking about?" Dante said with a grin.
"Exactly," I replied.
We dried off using our T-shirts as towels. Dressed we tightened the cinches on our saddles. When we got to the boys. Daniel was holding a crying Peter.. So we knelt down next to him.
"Come here," I told him., as I held out my arms. He jumped into them sobbing. Dante and I both held the crying quivering Peter.
"I'm sorry!" Peter wailed. Tears running down my bare shoulder.
"There's no need for you to be Peter," I told him. As I pulled him away to dry his tears.
"Did you learn anything Peter?" Dante asked.
"I should have stopped and called out before I went in," Peter replied.
"Well we've all been there sometime," Dante told him.
"Really?" Peter asked with a sniffle.
"Really," I told him, remembering a time or two with a smile.
"Yeah!" Daniel informed him. "Charlie and me rushed into Mom and Dad's room one time." Promptly stopping and turning red.
"What were you going to ask them?" Peter asked him. Causing Daniel to turn a deeper red.
"Come on boys," I said as I sat Peter up on Hermosa. "We need to get back to the house."
"And Peter got us the message. And that is it," Dante told them.
"Sure thing Dante," Daniel replied.
"Got it," Angel said as well. Peter was silent.
"You got that Peter?" I asked him with a smile.
"Dad will know," Peter told me.
"Probably. But we don't need to confirm it for him," I told him as we were mounting. "Besides, he will understand."
"Let's go," Dante said turning Spot.
When we got back. Ethan promptly walked over to us.
"Billy, Dante I want to apologize for..." Ethan started but I cut him off.
"Ethan wait. There's nothing to apologize for," I told him. "All Peter did was tell us about Mr. Ashworth the General Of Attorney."
"That's right Ethan," Dante confirmed. "Daniel? Angel?"
"There was no need to worry Marshal McCall," Daniel told him.
"Though we did have a laugh at the General of Attorneys," Angel told him.
"Well it is something he'll need to learn about. Especially if he want s to be a member of the Marshal's posse," Ethan said. But we knew he understood.
Then we took the boys saddle to the tack room. As we walked. Ethan got up next to Dante and me.
"Thank you. Both of you," Ethan said in a low voice the boys couldn't hear.
"For what?" Dante asked with a big smile.
"Peter loves it here," Ethan told us. "To be honest. So do Katy, Kevin and me."
Then the three of us shook hands. Peter came running over to us with a puzzled look. Ethan then grabbed and hugged his youngest. But when he tried to pick him up.
"DAD!" Peter said in protest. "I'm Not a little baby!"
"No I guess not. I'm sorry," Ethan apologized. "You certainly are no little boy anymore." But he did kiss his son's cheek.
"By the way Billy. There are some FBI agents here to talk with the Dominguez's," He added.
When we got there. The Ashworth's had change cloths to something more casual. But Mr. Ashworth was talking to the FBI agents. Along with Bob, Mary, Judge Avelos, and the Dominguez's.
"So what brings you out to my Ranch Ben?" I asked the senior Agent, Benito Estevez.
"We came to talk to Mrs. Dominguez about the boys," Ben told us. "Justin Wyld and Tyler Johnson. They have a $100,00.00 bounty on them. Dead!" Justin was within earshot. He was turning pale.
"Mrs. Dominguez, where is Tyler right now?" I asked her, having a bad feeling.
"We've two other agents on their way there," Victor Backus, Ben's partner told me. Just as Ben's phone rang.
"What! We're maybe 30 minutes away," Ben said to the caller. "Call APD and see if they have closer units."
"Ben we're coming too," I told him. "Give us the address."
"He's at the Deluca home on Cedar Hill," She told me. Just off Juniper Hill. 3952."
"George, Jessie and Shawn. You guys follow us," I ordered. "Sam get my Power wagon while I get some carbines."
"I'll get you the keys dad," Dante said running into the house. Jessie followed me into our bedroom.
As we got out front. Jessie got in with George, and Shawn. While I jumped into the passenger side of my Power Wagon. Dante was planted in the back seat. I looked at him.
"I'm Going! he told me. "Period!"
"Am I arguing with you?" I asked him. "But you stay in the truck until I call for you."
"Sure thing," He told me as Sam laughed.
We hit the lights and sirens out on the road. Three vehicles going as fast as they could.
Even with speeds of 50 to 60 mph at times. It took us just over 20 minutes to get there. Six APD patrol cars were deployed along the street. The two nearest the house were badly shot up.
A suspect was on the ground, handcuffed. Blood was pooling around him. He was dead. Seeing us a Sargent walked over to us.
"How is everyone?" I asked him. Two ambulances were on scene.
"Four dead, and two wounded," he told us. "The father is one of the dead and an FBI agent has a through and through."
"One of the suspects has four in the chest. I don't think he'll make it to the ambulance. Let alone the Hospital."
"Mr. Deluca ghosted two of them with his shotgun."
"We still have one at large. Hopefully in the neighborhood."
"Hey Sarge. We need some CS gas," A patrolman said. We have the last guy barricaded in a neighbor's tool shed.
"I'm driving a loaner," the Sargent told him. "So I don't have any."
"I have some," George Said. and headed for his truck.
"Shawn. Take my M-4," I told him. "You two go as back up."
Then Judge and Mrs. Dominguez pulled up. They had obviously followed us.
"How are the Deluca's?" Mrs. Dominguez asked us. The smashed front door clearly visible.
"Mr. Deluca is dead," I told her. "And three suspects. And that's pretty much it."
"He took two of them with him," Sam told her.
Just then Dante came running over His phone in his hand.
"It's Judge Avalos and Mr. Ashworth on speaker," he told us before I could say anything.
"Yes your honor," I said.
"Just so you know. Mr. Ashworth has asked for a Federal order of protection for those boys," he told me. "Which I'm granting. Putting them in your teams charge."
"Now is Judge Dominguez there."
"I'm here Carlos and I concur," Judge Dominguez replied. "And I would like Marshal Hickok and Mr. Green to take charge of Tyler Johnson as well."
"Can I print everything up when we get back to your ranch Marshal?"
"Of course your honor," I told him.
"Billy, Dante, just one more thing," Judge Avalos said handing it over.
"Tell Tyler I'm waiting for him," Justin said..
"We will Justin," Dante said before I could. I smiled at him. Then they hung up.
"Now you stay here. While we go find out what's going on," I told Dante.
"I'm coming," Dante said defiantly and headed for the house.
The five of us went into the Deluca home. Mrs. Deluca was in the living room with five boy. She was holding the smaller boys as the oldest stood nearby. I suspect he was Tyler. Lisa Dominguez went to her to try and comfort her.
The assailants had smashed the front and side doors to the house. They had thrown in flash bangs to disorientate those inside. The EMTs were getting the FBI Agent and the suspect ready to go.
"What are we suppose to do?" Mrs. Deluca asked Lisa Dominguez. "We can't stay here!"
"Mrs. Deluca, I'm Marshal Hickok," I said introducing myself. "I'll get you a place to go for you and the boys. You just need to pack food and clothes."
"But they're after Tyler," she cried. "I'm sorry Ty but I have to think about the safety of the other boys."
"Don't worry about that," I told her. Looking at the pain in Tyler's eyes. "Tyler's coming with us for protection."
"We have an order of protection for him and Justin Wyld."
We got everyone moving. I called Tonya and asked her bring her husband. Carl was a contractor we used. He had also handle things like this for me and other agencies. We had a team of FBI and US Marshals coming for Mrs. Deluca and the boys.
"Hello Tyler," I said to him. I'm Marshal William Hickok, but you can call me Billy."
"So I heard," Tyler said defensively.
"Tyler my name is Dante," Dante said introducing himself. "Justin said to tell you he's waiting for you at our ranch."
"What! You brought your son to babysit me?" Tyler asked upset. But Dante, Sam, and I laughed at that. Only making Tyler madder.
"Dante's my fiance," I told him "And Sam's son." Then Dante and I kissed.
"Fiance!?" Tyler asked as Dante dialed his phone.
"Yes," Dante said. "It means we're getting married."
"I know that!" Tyler said as Dante put his phone to his ear.
"Daniel. Could you give your phone to Justin?" Dante asked.
"Justin? Here's Tyler."
Then Dante handed his phone to Tyler.
"Justin?" Tyler asked. "Justin!" And his face lit up.
They talked for just a moment.
"I will," Tyler told him. "I'll be there soon."
"I can't wait."
"Thank you Billy, Dante," he said. His attitude doing a 180 degree turn.
"Lets go get your things," I told him. Tyler took us down the hall."
When we walked into the room. The younger boys swarmed him. Ty they called him. Dante, Sam, and I were smiling.
"Don't go!" said the smallest boy.
"We'll help protect you!" said another. "Just like poppa did."
"I'm going to miss you guys," Tyler said. Tears threatening to run down his cheeks.
"Guys," I said getting the boys attention. "Tyler has to come with us for his protection."
"But I promise you this. He'll be able to stay in touch. I'll see to it."
"If he wants to," Dante told them. "He can have you out to our ranch."
"And if he wants. He can teach you all to ride."
"But I can't ride," Tyler chirped.
"Well we can fix that quick enough," Dante told him.
"I'd like that," Tyler told him. Then he got down on his knees to hug the smaller boys. Then up to hug the bigger boys and Mrs. Deluca.
"Now you two listen to your mom and you two listen to Mrs. Deluca as well. She's going to need your help to get through this."
"Could Ty come my husbands funeral?" Mrs. Deluca asked. Ty looked at me and I smiled.
"I liked Mr. Deluca," Tyler told us.
"We will see to it," Dante told them.
"Count on it," Shawn said from the hall.
"For sure," Jessie told her.
"Definitely," I told her as well. "My team has spoken."
I picked up a pad of paper and gave her a name and a phone number. It was a funeral director. He would help her with everything.
Then Tonya and Carl arrived. A few words and quick look told them what they needed to know. their detail arrived. Tonya took them to a safehouse we used. Carl waited for his guy and plywood.
He took some measurements. Doors, windows and one room. It would need new carpet.
I had left Tyler and Dante to pack Tyler's things. They found me in the entryway.
"Billy. He doesn't have much of anything," Dante said in my ear. "And most is to small for him."
"They didn't want us wearing cloths," Tyler told us. "Even in the winter time."
"Looks like we're off to a box store," I told them. "Sam could you call Jean and ask if Justin could use some basics?"
"What are you thinking?" He asked me.
"Well basics. Jeans, underwear, socks, and T shirts," I told him.
"That sounds like a good start," Dante said.
"We both could use a pair of sneakers," Tyler said, showing us his. "We're the same size."
"George you three head back to the ranch," I told him. "Keep your eyes open."
"You got it boss," George said. Jessie, Shawn. Let's load up."
They loaded up and headed home. While we went shopping.
We got the boys 3 pair of jeans each. two packs of cotton socks, 3 packs of underwear and T shirts. Sneakers and two regular shirts that met with Tyler's approval.
On the way home. Tyler relaxed enough to ask us questions. Some got a laugh out of Sam for some reason. Then we could see the house.