When I woke the next morning, shafts of sunlight were starting to show through the windows. So I eased out of bed but I kissed Dante on the cheek. I went to one of the other bathrooms so I wouldn’t wake Dante. As it was still fairly early.
As I slipped outside to go to the corral. I heard the alarm go off. But I went on down to the corral. I put out a fresh roll of hay for the horses and the cows in the training corral.
When I was finish I leaned up on the top rail. Zeb walked over to me to get a scratch, which I gladly obliged him with. Spot then came on down and I smiled, Dante.
I pretended I hadn’t noticed till Dante put his arms around me. Then he leaned over my shoulder and kissed my cheek. And I smiled and turned to kiss him.
“You snuck out again,” Dante scolded me. “Are you that worried?”
“Only about keeping my temper under control,” I told him. “And you didn’t sleep to well either.”
I turned to Dante. I kissed him then hugged him. Because I was worried.
“What else is wrong?” He asked me.
“I don’t want this to start a war with Ethan,” I told Dante as was walked up to the house. “So we need to keep our cool my love.”
“Keep calling me your love and I can do anything,” Dante said with a smile and a kiss.”
“And how about your mom?” I asked Dante who frowned a little.
“I’ll have to talk to her I guess,” Dante told me. “But I offer no guarantees.”
“Fair enough,” I said as we got to the house. “So what are you fixing this morning?”
“Wait! Isn’t it your turn to cook?” Dante asked looking at me with a crooked smile.
“So it is,” I said as we stepped in to smell frying bacon and potatoes.
We enter the kitchen to Peter at the stove. Jason was scrambling eggs. Andrew had just started coffee. While Jimmy was setting the table in the kitchen.
“Jimmy thought it would be a good idea for us to get breakfast started,” Andrew told us seeing us first. “So are you two feeling better now?”
“Andrew!” Jimmy scolded half turning. “We figured you two needed to talk.”
“Well we have the plan from last night,” Dante said. “We just need to follow it.”
“I don’t think that’s what he meant,” I told Dante and Jimmy.
“Well Dante was so understandably upset,” Andrew said.
“Well if I want to feel better,” Dante said. “We crush that bitch.”
“Now that’s my love,” I said with a kiss.
“Dante let’s get our trucks pulled up and ready while they finish,” I said.
“Sounds like a plan,” He said with a smile. So we went out and pulled up the trucks.
The food was ready when we got back inside. We loaded our plates and did some serious eating. Peter was a top notch chef. Come to find out he had started as a short order cook.
“Jimmy when you’re ready, we need to go,” Dante told him. ”Billy we’re pre-registered. So this shouldn't take us to long.”
“We’re only registering for two classes so we can enjoy the summer,” Jimmy added.
“Once you two are done get over to the lawyers office,” I told them.
“And remember what we talked about,” I told Dante as I handed him the lawyers card. Ready my love?” And I kissed him.
I called the law firm letting Andrew drive. Tom said he should have everything ready when we got there. Or at least most of it.
When we got there they were printing the last of what we needed. So we started to go over all the paperwork. Then in walked Dante and Jimmy. Dante hugged and kissed me as Jimmy did the same to Andrew.
“Tom this is my love Dante Green,” I said making introductions. “Dante this is our lawyer, or should I say one of our lawyers. Tom Black esquire.”
They shook hands as Tom said. “Pleasure to meet you Dante.”
We signed the powers of attorney. They we notarized by one of Tom’s secretaries. Extra copies were made for each of us to carry on us. Then we got to Andrew’s will.
“Well Mr. Collins I've notified my office and partner in Chicago. So he is filing your will there,” Tom told Andrew. “That’s since you’re still an Illinois resident.”
“But once you are a resident here. We can file it here as well,” Tom told Andrew.
“Tom I thought Eric was in Chicago right now?” I asked. “What’s he think.”
“Well I am Billy. And it was my idea to file in Illinois first,” Eric said over the phone speaker. “Oh! And congratulations are in order since Tom didn’t say anything.”
“Now wait a minute,” Tom said. “I wanted for business to be finished before we got to pleasure.”
“Congratulations Billy, Dante.” Tom said.
“Thank you Eric and Tom,” I said.
“And we are expecting an invitation,” Tom told us. “”If that’s okay with you Dante?”
“I think that would be fine Mr. Black,” Dante answered blushing.
“I told you he would say yes,” Eric said. “And?”
“He’s just as cute as Billy said he is,” Tom told Eric. “Does it give you any ideas?”
“Are they…?” Dante started to ask me.
“That they are my love,” I told him giving him a kiss. “But we need to get down to the federal building.”
“Sounds good,” Dante said then. “Let’s end this bitch!”
“So Billy what’s up?” Eric asked. I was silent for a moment.
"We’re having a problem Ethan McCall’s wife Sharon,” I told them. “I’m hoping we don’t need you.”
“Billy, I’m going to free up the afternoon,” Tom said motioning to his secretary.
She left the room immediately. You could hear her yell for someone.
“How about we buy you lunch today Tom?” Andrew asked him.
“Sounds good to me,”Tom replied. Then louder. “I hate eating alone.”
“Okay, Okay,” Eric answered. “I’m bringing Jamie back with me. Then we can talk about another senior partner.”
“And for the record. I hate sleeping alone,” Eric added.
We all chuckled. As Tom turned red.
“You two should finally tie the knot,” I told them.
“Tom?” Eric asked him. “How about answer.”
“We could make it four couples in the wedding,” Dante said. “If you guys want to join us.”
“Four couples!” Tom said in amazement.
“Tom!” Eric scolded him.
“Okay,” Tom said. “And Eric it’s yes.”
“Well it’s about time,” Eric said. “I’ll be home by Thursday.”
“Well that’s another engaged couple,” Dante said. Then my phone chirped a text message notification.
“We need to go,” I told them after reading the text. “Linzie got in early.”
“Mr. Black. You can ride with me if you don’t mind riding in a truck,” Dante asked him.
Tom and Eric laughed. As did I. Because I knew them both.
“Tom, owns a Ford Raptor,” I told Dante.
“Oh,” was all Dante could say.
So we loaded up and caravaned down to the Federal building. We parked on the roof of the parking garage. Tom and Dante took a moment to admire each other’s truck.
As we entered the Marshals offices. I could see Ethan’s office door was closed. So I herded everyone toward the conference room
Jeanie the secretary spotted me and hollered at me. But I opened the conference room door. And there they all were. Dante grabbed hold of my arm, tightly.
“Madame Director, Judge Avelos,” I said. “Ladies.”
“Glad you could finally make it,” Linzie quipped. Obviously upset with me.
“Linzie!” Judge Avelos scolded her. “Billy’s finally on vacation. And it’s not like we haven’t been productive.”
“Productive sir?” Dante asked sheepishly.
“Yes. Marshal Driscoll, and Mrs.Montoya have told us about yesterday,” Judge Avelos told us.”Your mother and father have told us about you and Marshal Hickok. Mr. Green.”
With that, Dante’s, fingers dug into my arm. Why I wasn't bleeding I didn’t know.
“Sir!” Dante said totally surprised.
“You are in college?” Linzie asked pointedly. “What you are starting your second year?”
“We just registered for the start of our third year ma’am,” a slightly mad and very proud Dante told Linzie.
Judge Avelos hide a smile from Linzie. As several of us coughed to keep from laughing outright.
“Dante,” Diane said to calm her son down. But the look he gave her. She threw up her hands.
Linzie raised her eyebrows at Dante. Who definitely put his hands on his hips. And glared at her. It was all I could do not to laugh. But I knew better.
“Billy could you introduce everyone?” Judge Avelos asked me.
“Well sir this is Dante my Inferno as you have guessed,” I said in answer. And I got a kiss for good measure.
“This is Jimmy Cassidy and his fiance Andrew Collins.” We had left Jason and Peter in the waiting area.
“And I believe you both know our attorney Tom Black.”
“An attorney?” Linzie asked. “Do you really need an attorney Marshal Hickok?”
“Just in case,” I told her. “As a reminder Director. I love him!”
“Councilor,” Judge Avelos said chuckling. “So when is the wedding Marshal?”
“All three,” Dante started turning to look at Tom. “Maybe four couples will be on my birthday on May 23rd.”
“Would you two like to come as our guests?” Dante asked. Taking everyone by surprise.
They didn’t get a chance to answer. The door burst open and in came Sharon and Ethan McCall. Seeing us Sharon stopped for a moment.
“In answer to your question young man,” Judge Avelos said. “For me and mine. Yes.”
“Director?” Judge Avelos asked Linzie. Reading Sharon McCall correctly I believe.
“Well are you ready to talk to me now? Or not?” Sharon demanded. Which ticked Linzie off. I could tell.
“Sharon this is Judge Avelos federal Judge!” Ethan told her. “I’m sorry your.”
“Who are you two again?” Sharon asked to to get under Ethan’s skin. Causing Ethan to roll his eyes.
“Mrs. McCall, this is his honor Judge Carlos Avelos, Federal Judge,” Linzie snapped at her. “And I’m Director of the U.S. Marshal’s Service Linzie Graff.”
“Oh! And your husband’s boss.”
“Now tell us what you think is wrong? And that we need to fix?” Linzie asked her.
“What’s wrong. What’s wrong!” Sharon McCall roared. “He has seduced this boy. And is trying to seduce the other three boys.”
Jean started to jump up. But Diane and Donna grabbed her arms to keep her seated. And to Sharon’s amusement.
Just then the door opened and in came Bob and the boys. And Daniel started at Sharon McCall. Charlie and Angel grabbed him.
“Ma’am, your honor. If she’s making the same outlandish claims that she made yesterday,” Bob said as he came to a stop. ”So I figured that the boys had a right to be here to be heard.”
“Excellent idea Marshal Driscoll,” Judge Avelos agreed. “But Mrs. McCall you can finish your statement. Before they have their say.”
“Finish my statement!” Sharon roared again. “Why do you think this pervert’s relationship with this under age boy is okay?”
“Well as I understand it,” Judge Avelos said. “Marshal Hickok is in a relationship with young Mr. Green.”
“And are you aware of the age of consent in the state of New Mexico?” he asked her.
“Why should that matter?” she demanded. “They’re perverts.”
“Your honor,” Daniel spoke up. “I’m Daniel Driscoll. She said the same things insulting all of us yesterday.”
“She insulted me, my brother, and my boyfriend. And my brother is straight and has a girlfriend.”
“Your honor she keeps calling us perverts,” Angel told the Judge. “I would like to know why?”
“It’s a fair question young man?” Linzie said still glaring at Sharon McCall.
“A fair question indeed,” Judge Avelos said. “Tell us why Mrs. McCall?”
“Homosexuality is an abomination!” Sharon almost yelled. “What more is there?”
“Unfortunately for you it is the only thing you have. It is your right to express your opinion,” Judge Avelos told her. “But it is NOT illegal in the United States.”
“And your right to free speech is crossing a line. And is actionable by nearly everyone.”
“Director Graff my suggestion would be to warn her against further statements. Her statements need to cease and desist or legal action needs to be taken.”
“And if she doesn’t. We should have her charged?” Linzie asked his honor.
I had seen that look on his honor’s face before. And the look on Sharon McCall’s face was easy enough to read. His honor might as well have slapped her.
“Mrs. McCall,” Linzie said. “If you make anymore of these outlandish accusations. You’ll have ME to deal with.”
“You are no longer allowed in this office anymore,” Linzie said. “And if your Honor would. Issue us a court order to that effect.”
“Mary if you will draw that up,” Judge Avelos answered. “Director I will have it ready by the end of business today.”
“It’s being brought down as we speak your Honor,” Mary told us.
“ETHAN! Are you going to let them speak to Me this way?” Sharon demanded of Ethan.
“YES! I am,’ Ethan roared in response. “Your anger comes from your brother’s coming out.”
“You hate that he broke your best friends heart. Because you pressured him into proposing to Heather. And it’s all your fault.”
“Well not all your fault,” Ethan said. “Because I should have stopped you back then.”
“So now I’m telling you I want a divorce!” Ethan told her. ”And I want custody of the kids.”
“You are defending my faggot brother!” Sharon roared as she slapped him.
“Go home Sharon,” Ethan told her. “We will talk while I pack tonight.”
“And we need to talk about this.”
“You’ll never get my children,” Sharon told him. “I’ll see to that.”
“They are our children!” Ethan told her.
“Mrs. McCall. You assaulted your husband in front of several fellow Marshal’s,” an angry Judge Avelos said. “As well as the director and myself.”
Sharon wheeled and stormed out. We all gave Ethan a few moments. Then the boys, all three, shook his hand.
“Ethan I’m available to testify when you need me,” Judge Avelos told Ethan. Shaking his hand as well.
“Whatever you need Ethan,” Linzie told him giving him a hug.
“Billy, Dante. I owe you two an apology,” Ethan finally said. “”Director this was a waist of your time.”
“Not if it helps you Ethan,” Linzie said giving him another hug.
“Ethan you can use townhouse Number 2,” I told him. “Bob can get you the key before you leave today.”
“And it has three bedrooms if you need them.”
“Thank you,” Ethan said as Bob went to get the key.
“Director,” Dante said. “You never got the chance to answer about coming to the weddings.” I had to kiss him.
“I would love to,” Linzie said. “as the kids would as well.”
“Billy where did you find him?” Judge Avelos asked me with a smile.
“I didn’t,” I told his Honor. “To my joy he found me.”
Dante grabbed my around the waist and kissed my cheek. Which I gladly did as well.
“Better?” I asked him. His smile, a nod of his head, and kiss was his answer.
“Now your honor are you bringing anyone?” I asked with a smile.
“I think I can talk my husband into it,” Judge Avelos answered with a smile. Dante’s head snapped around to look at me shocked.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Dante asked me.
“He didn’t because I made him promise not to tell anyone without my permission,” Judge Avelos told Dante.
“I’m sorry,” Dante told him. “Thank you for trusting us.”
“You are welcome young man,” Judge Avelos said.
"So your honor. I just had an idea,” I said getting everyone’s attention. “Would you officiate our weddings?”
“I will check to be sure I can,” Judge Avelos said. “I would be honored to.”
“And Troy is a state justice of the peace.”
“Well how about you and Linzie join us for lunch?” Dante asked him.
“Well where are you going to take us?” Linzie asked looking at me.
“How about your favorite,” I told her. “The Ranch House.”
“Well let’s get a move on then,” Linzie said enthusiastically.
So we all went to the Ranch House. They put us in a banquet room we were so many. They were ready for us. So we were able to order quickly.
“So Dante I have a question for you,” Linzie asked. And my eyes narrowed.
“Ask Director,” Dante told her. But out of view he squeezed my hand. Hard.
“Do you really love Billy or his money?” she asked. Sam grabbed Diane. And Dante held onto my for the same reason. And she’s my friend.
“I ask not as the Director of the U.S. Marshals Service. But as Billy’s friend and former partner.”
“I could care less about his money,” a now mad Dante told her. Then pulled out the bank card I had given him.
“Here!” he said. “I don’t want it!”
“If it makes you happy. I’ll sign a prenup.”
“Billy is my heart and soul director,” Dante told her. “He means the world to me.”
“Mom I’m guessing you want to say something?” Linzie asked Diane.
“I do!” Diane replied.
“Billy loves my Dante, and Dante loves Billy,” Diane told her. “But if you ever talk to either of them like that again. You and I will have a problem.”
Diane stared at Linzie with fire in her eyes. Then Linzie smiled at her. Diane was obviously confused.
“We won’t have a problem,” Linzie told Diane. “I couldn’t be there for Billy when he lost someone he loved dearly.”
“You mean Ann,” Dante said with a tear running down his cheek.
“I mean Ann,” Linzie told him. “Now he’s his old self again.”
“And give him that card back,” she ordered me.
“I care about him and I had to be sure,” She told everyone.
“Now Dante. You let me know when to be there. We’’ll be there for you and Billy.”
“And Dante. Call me Linzie please.”
We smiled and Dante went around to hug Linzie. When she kissed his cheek. I saw tears on her cheeks as well.
I got up to hug Linzie myself.
“I’m happy for you,” Linzie whispered in my ear as we hugged. Tears streaming down her cheeks even more.
Which got Diane up to hug her as well.
“So Dante,” Linzie said. “I hear you surprised Billy on your birthday.”
Now I looked at Bob who shrugged. Now only three of us knew about that. Not even Diane knew. And Dante was looking at me.
“How did you…?” Dante started to ask. Then he took a deep breath.
“Yes I did,” he answered staring down at his mother. “And it was beautiful.”
“Dante!” Diane said.
“I cooked him supper mom!” he told his mother. It wasn’t a lie.
“That’s true,” I affirmed for Diane. “Right Bob.”
“I can say it smelled very good,” Bob said between coughs.
“You were there dad?” Charlie asked his father. Daniel and Angel leaned in to hear better.
“Just for a few minutes,” Bob said defensively.
The food came. We talked some more. Linzie talked to Daniel and Angel. Then she asked about Charlie’s girlfriend Alice.
The Judge left first with Bob. They had to get back to work. Jean followed with Donna and the boys.
Well have seen the last of the wicked witch? It seems like one does not want to get on Dante's mom bad side.