Dante, My Inferno

Chapter 7 The Surprise

The next day we were on our way to the Double Eagle II in Dante's new truck. When I realized we had forgotten something.
 
"You know there is something we forgot about," I told Dante. I could see him thinking about it for a minute. 
 
"Oh Damn!" He said as he realized. "Our promise to Daniel and Angel. What are we going to do?"
 
I had already been thinking on it. I pulled out my phone and started to dial.
 
"Well it's not really our call," I replied. "We've plenty of rooms. And we gave our word."
"And I like to keep my word."
 
"So what do we do?" Dante asked me.
 
"Well I'm calling Bob,"  i told him. "It's up to him, Jean and Angel's mother to decide."
 
I called Bob and explained what was going on. He said he would call Jean. She'ld ask Angel's mother and he'ld call us back .
 
"Well it might be better to have extra eyes to help," Dante told me. "I've known boys like Angel."
 
"He's thirteen!" I said with a chuckle.

                                       
"Exactly!" Dante agreed. "And his hormones are on full."

 
"Like Trevor Bond's were?" I asked him. Dante frowned.
 
"I'll tell you about Trevor later," Dante told me. "Had he not messed up...I'll tell you more later. I promise."
 
"Okay,"I replied as we turned into the Airport. 
 
One of the security guards met us at the gate. They checked my credentials and Dante's ID. Then they led us over to the FBO office.
 
When we got there. There was a youngman waiting out front with luggage. We parked and Dante jumped out.
 
"Jimmy!" Dante yelled with joy as he ran to his friend.
 
"Dante!" Jimmy yelled as he ran to Dante. 
 
Jimmy was a hair taller and a little heavier than Dante. They hugged as they came together. And as I walked toward them.
 
They stepped back to look at each other. Jimmy had been gone nearly three months. And Dante was happy to see his friend  again.
 
"Wow you look great, " Dante said after a moment. 
 
"Jimmy this is Billy," Dante said introducing us. "Billy this is Jimmy. My bestie."
 
"Pleased to meet you Jimmy," I said as I shook his hand.
 
"Marshal," Jimmy said getting a smack from Dante. "Or can I call you Billy?"
 
"Please," I told him. With a chuckle. "Call me Billy."
 
"So where's your Andrew?" Dante asked him.
 
"He's putting his plane to bed," Jimmy told us. 
"It's the Cessna Citation X there," he told us pointing it out.
 
"Very nice," I said as two men came toward us on an aircraft tug.
 
"Mr. Collins your plane is in good hands," said the driver. Then he shook Andrew's hand after they stopped.
 
"Sounds like you guys know what you're doing," Andrew replied.
 
"I'll have the long term paperwork ready for you next week,"
the man told Andrew.
 
"You have my cell number," Andrew told him. "My ride is here. Just call me when it's ready."
 
"I'll do that."
 
"I'll bring my Piper down later," Andrew told him.
 
"No problem," the man said. "I'll want to hear the rest of that story."
 
"So I guess you're moving here?" I asked being a cop.
 
"That's right," Andrew said as he grabbed Jimmy around the waist. Then pulled him in close and kissed him. For a few minutes.
 
"Do you suppose that's how we look?" Dante asked. Whispering it in my ear with a kiss.
 
"I'm officially retired since last friday," he told us. "My children now run the business."
 
"Andrew Collins," Jimmy sad introducing us. "This is my best friend, Dante Green. And this is his boyfriend Marshal Billy Hickok."
 
We both shook hands with Andrew. I saw the question run across Andrew's face when I was introduced. 
 
"Yes, I'm related to Wild Bill," I told him answering the always asked question. "He's great grand uncle."
 
"Well let's load up," Dante said. "Are you guys hungry?"
 
"We could eat," Jimmy said after looking at Andrew. 
 
"Well Billy has shown me a great restaurant," Dante said beaming at me.
 
We all grabbed a bag or two. Andrew picked up his saddle, blanket, and bridle. There was more to this man. I liked him.
 
Then we left the Airport. The ride would be enlightening for us all.
 
Jimmy told us how he had met Andrew. Through Andrew's youngest son, Jason and his boyfriend Peter. Jimmy was instantly taken by Andrew's charm and interest in him.
 
Then Dante told them about us and his birthday present. I keep quiet. But when he was done I kissed Dante on the cheek. He blushed.
 
"So you two are kind of go, a la natural?" Andrew asked with a wicked little smile.
 
"And if you wouldn't mind for us to go a la natural?" Jimmy asked.
 
"Well not tonight," Dante told them. "But tomorrow night we may have some other guests as well after the picnic."
 
Jimmy and Andrew were obviously puzzled. 
 
"Do we need to make other arrangements?" Andrew asked.
 
"No," I said as my phone rang. "We'll  know shortly. Bob."
 
"Hello Bob," I said after turning on my blue tooth.
 
"So Jean has talked to Angel's mom, Bob told me. "We're okay with it.
"Besides, you may need the extra eyes," Bob said chuckling. 
 
"Dante were still on," I told him. Dante was thrilled. To say the least.
 
"Now what's the rest?" I asked Bob. He chuckled some more.
 
"We caught them in the old tree house," Bob told me.
 
"Ah! So how did you catch them?" I asked drawing Dante's curiosity. 
 
"So some of their cloths got knocked out of the entry hole. And we've  kept them where we can see them all the time."Hope is you and Dante can slow their roll."
 
"We'll see what we can do," I told him with a chuckle. "But boys that age."
 
"What?" Dante asked as we pulled up to Mama Fernandez's.
 
"Well if you want to bow out..." Bob said.
 
"No. We'll be fine," I told him. "Besides Dante wants to talk to them about a surprise for me." Which got me shot to the arm from Dante. 
  
"Well I've got to go. Dante's beating on me," I said getting another shot to my shoulder. "We'll see you guys tomorrow."
 
"First! Daniel and Angel know nothing," Dante told me.
 
"But there is something for them to know?" I asked. 
 
"Second. What did they get caught doing?" Dante asked totally ignoring my question.
 
"What you suspected," I told him without saying more to get his dander up.
 
"Details please."
  
"They caught them in the boys old treehouse," I explained. "Apparently naked. They knocked their cloths out."
 
"If you need us to stay elsewhere...." Andrew started to say.
 
"We could try to stay at my parents," Jimmy said. "Though I still haven't told them a lot about Andrew though."
 
"I thought you had done that already?" Andrew asked Jimmy.
 
"I did, mostly," Jimmy told us. "I told them that you're a little older than me."
 
"Just not how much older."
 
"Jimmy!"
 
"Dante, Billy are you two busy Tuesday?" Jimmy asked changing the subject. 
 
I looked at Dante. He was looking at me with those pleading puppy eyes. And I smiled and nodded.
 
"Jimmy I can't think of anything," I told Jimmy. "Whats up?"
 
"Could you two come with us to meet my parents?" Jimmy asked tentatively. 
 
"Jimmy," Andrew said shaking his head.
 
"We would love too," I told him as we walked into Mama Fernandez's. And I promptly got a kiss from Dante. 
 
"So Dante," Jimmy asked cutting Andrew off again. "How did your dad take it all?" 
 
Dante smile at the question.
 
"My dad's known the whole time," Dante told him. "Him and mom. Are totally okay with my being with Billy."
 
"Really," Jimmy said. "They've known the whole time?"
 
"Really," I told him while we waited for our food. "Sam's also the one who told me that Dante is 17, not 18."
 
"No, No," Jimmy said. "Dante just turned 18. I'm sure of it." 
 
"I never said I was turning 18," Dante said. "I told you I would be legal. Which is 17 in this state."
 
"So Dante. You're only 17?" Andrew asked.
 
"Yes," Dante said kissing me again. "Besides it's cool with my folks and Billy."
 
"Well I hope Jimmy's parents are as okay with it as Dante's parents are," Andrew said. Then he kissed Jimmy on the cheek.
 
Jimmy was staring at Dante in amazement.  
 
"How about I see if my parents can join us? Dante asked Jimmy. Hoping to ease his uneasiness. 
 
"Well give them a call," I told Dante. "That way Jimmy knows. And he can sleep tonight."
 
"Oh, good idea," Dante said calling his parents. He explained why he was calling. He asked them then smiled. "They would love to to come Jimmy," Dante told them.
 
"Jimmy you should have been there when Sam told me Dante was 17," I told Jimmy and Andrew. "It was the same moment Dante found his dad had known he was gay."
 
"Billy!"
 
"Dante!"
 
"Yes it was," Dante giving up and admitted it. 
 
"Dante we're going to talk about this later," Jimmy told him. "And thank you for asking your parents."
 
"And we're going to have a talk about you not telling your parents about me," Andrew said causing Jimmy to nervous chuckle.
 
"You are welcome," Dante told him. Then he had an idea. "So what about your car?
 
"Oh we're shipping it down with my Power Wagon," Andrew told us. "They'll be here Monday or Tuesday at a receiving lot."
 
"Your bringing your 69? I asked. Andrew smiled and nodded.
"I've got a 70 crew cab, 4X4, 4 speed,"I told him.
 
"And the Chevy too," Andrew said. "I was surprised you let Dante drive it."
 
"Why wouldn't I let Dante drive his own truck?" I asked with a smile.
 
"It's Dante's?" Andrew asked slightly in shock. "And he can drive a stick."
 
"Yes," I told him. "Its was his as of Tuesday."
 
"My dad taught me to drive a stick. Before you ask," Dante told Andrew a little insulted.
 
Andrew told us he had tried to teach Jimmy how to drive a stick. Using the 69 and it had cost him his transmission.
 
 "How bad did he hurt the transmission?" Dante asked.
 
"The gears, the pressure plate, and cracked the bell housing," Andrew told us.
 
Dante and I laughed. Causing Andrew to join in. Jimmy just huffed at us.
 
"So I'll teach him either on my truck," Dante said. "Or with dad's Pinto."
  
"You're joking," Andrew said.
 
"No! A Pinto," Dante told him. "My dad's first car. My mom hates it."
"Original yellow paint and 4 on the floor," Dante added. "Dad even taught mom how to drive a stick on it."
 
"I meant, you'll willing teach him," Andrew told him.
 
"I'll do it," Dante told him. "If he really wants to learn."
 
Jimmy looked at Andrew. Then he nodded and they hugged.
 
It wasn't long before we headed home. Andrew and Jimmy were amazed at the ranch. As we got close to the stable. 
 
"Stop here," I told Dante. I hopped out . "I'll put Andrew's saddle in the stable."
"You take these two on up to the house. Put them in the large guest room," I told Dante. "While I feed the horses as well."
 
"Okay," Dante said cutting the motor. "We will wait for you."
 
"He's hard headed," Andrew observed as he got out. Grabbed his saddle gear and followed me.
 
"Askin for a spankin," I said smiling. Dante's head snapped around as he heard me.
 
"Hmmmm," Andrew said while looking over the saddles in the tack room. "There's more to that story. But that'll be later."
 
"Yes," I said. "There is."
"Anything about you and Jimmy?" I asked Andrew. 
 
"If you hear laughing from our room," Andrew told me. "I'll tell you I'm not that funny."
 
As we stepped back to the truck. "So what were you two talking about?" Dante asked.
 
"Yeah, I heard you say something about spanking?" Jimmy asked. Dante just stared at his friend. And Jimmy just smiled back. 
 
"Oh, it's nothing really," I told him. "Dante finds it enjoyable. 
 
Dante huffed but kept his mouth shut. But then Jimmy realized something.
 
"Did you tell him I was ticklish?" Jimmy asked Andrew.
 
"No! I said I wasn't funny," Andrew told him with a chuckle.
 
"Well?" Jimmy asked Dante. Who was grinning ear to ear. Because the focus was now on Jimmy.
 
"Well what?" Dante asked him. "I already knew that. Remember the New Years party?" Jimmy promptly turned red.
 
"Oh!"
 
"Oh, I forgot to tell you," Dante said. Sebastian is dating Tommy now."
 
Dante continued to grin like a Cheshire cat though. But you could see Jimmy had a thought.
 
"So what was it you told Andrew about Dante?" Jimmy asked  me. But Dante kept his cool. Though he was sweating just a little.
 
"Oh, nothing really," I lied as we grabbed their bags. "Dante we'll leave your truck here for easy loading tomorrow."
 
As we walked in the answering machine beeped. But ignored it for the moment.
 
"You guys put your cloths away," I told them as we showed them to their room. "Then how about we get into the pool."
 
"Thank you for allowing us to stay," Jimmy said.
 
"Yes Billy. Especially since someone hasn't told their parents everything about us," Andrew said. 
 
"No problem," I told them. "I love my Dante who asked for this." Then I kissed him.
 
After getting them squared away. We went into the living room. When I listen to the message. It was my Adobe guy, Miguel Ybarra, letting me know he would be out Wednesday. He was free til August if need be.
 
"So what kind of work are you having him do?" Andrew asked.
 
I explained the I was having him and his crew rebuild the bunkhouse. And if we had time add to the stable and a separate tack shed. 
 
"Well let's get into the hot tube," Dante said. 
 
"Towels?" I asked Dante. 
 
"On the table," Dante said with a smile.
 
"Well let's go get changed," Andrew said to Jimmy. "I hope I remembered to pack my trunks."
 
"You won't need them til tomorrow," Dante told him with a smile. 
 
So Dante and I went to take our cloths off in our bedroom. Jimmy and Andrew went to their room. 
 
"Put your shoes up on the bench," I told them when we got outside.
 
"Why not just drop them on the patio?" Andrew asked me.
 
"Around here we have the three Ess's," Dante told him. "Which are scorpion, snakes, and spiders."
 
"Oh!" Andrew said standing bolt upright. He was looking around. The rest of us just chuckled.
 
I looked at Dante this magnificent youngman. I grabbed Dante by the wrist and pulled him in close. I kissed him . Then I threw him over my shoulder. 
 
"Lets go to the pool," I said to them.
 
"Ha, ha," Dante managed as I carried up to the pool. Dante realize to late what I was planning.
 
As I reached the top I threw him in the pool. Dante shot up out of the water. Spitting, sputtering, and shaking his head.
 
Andrew and Jimmy were right behind us. They were laughing with me. 
 
"Hey! That's not funny!" Dante squalled in protest.
 
"Gives a man food for thought," Andrew said with an evil smile.
 
Jimmy wasn't paying attention to what Andrew said. Suddenly Andrew grabbed Jimmy and threw him in next to Dante. Jimmy shot to the surface.
 
"What the hell!" Jimmy yelped as he came up. But we were all laughing. Even Dante.
 
"I thought I'ld give that a try," Andrew told him. "I thought it would be fun. I was right."
 
"You're forgiven for now," Jimmy said. "Kiss me."
 
"Hey! Where's mine?" Dante asked me. So we both leaned in for kisses. Dante and Jimmy grabbed us and dragged us in.
 
We both came up spitting and shaking the water out of our eyes. Then we all started laughing. We grabbed our boys and kissed them.
 
While we enjoyed the afternoon. Andrew told us about himself. How his wife of 22 years had passed away a few years ago. He still had his youngest son Jason in high school. Jason was openly gay since he was twelve. That's how he had met Jimmy.
 
His older children were upset with Jason for it. Andrew had four children. His oldest Andrew Jr., Jessica, Eric, and of course Jason. 
 
But Andrew explained that he and his wife had an open relationship. Even being founding members of a Chicgao sex club. Where they played safely from time to time.
 
Their children knew they played. And even some of them played when they were older. Jimmy obviously hadn't heard all of that til now.
 
"So I thought I would  retire and follow Jimmy to Albuquerque," Andrew told us. "Andy and Jessica have the company. He's the President and she's the Sr. Vice President."
 
"And if they don't let it go?"I asked suspecting something.
 
"I have a few trump cards to play," Andrew told us. Then he kissed Jimmy again long and deep. "Because he means as much to me as my Kim."
 
"Well you two are welcome to stay to stay as long as you need to," I told him. Getting a kiss from Dante. "I know some realtors who can find you what you want."
 
"I appreciate that," Andrew said. 
"Out of curiosity. How are you able to afford a place like this?" Andrew asked me.
 
 I smiled at the question. I stood up and grabbed my towel to dry off.
 
"Andrew!" Jimmy said. But he was obviously waiting for my answer.
 
"It's alright," I told them. "It wasn't anything illegal." 
 
"Well it happened about seven years ago," I told them. "I was chasing an escapee across Wyoming. We were both on horse back."
 
"So as I top this ridge following his trail. There sits a state road and a grocery store."
 
"I follow his trail right down to the store parking lot. I picketed my horse on some grass and went in."
"I asked some questions. I bought a few supplies. And lottery commercial came on."
"The big Megalotto for $458 million. So I bought a dollar ticket."
 
"And you won the $458 million," Dante said.
 
"I took the cash payout," I today them. "$254 million."
"After taxes I divided it four parts."
 
"You invested some of it?" Andrew asked me.
 
"Four different ways," I told him. "One paid for and funds the money to run the ranch. I rolled it into the funds I have with...Collins Investment Company."
 
"Well if you need me to look at your investments..."
 
"Andrew!" Jimmy said stopping him.
 
"Hey, I need to keep my hand in," Andrew told Jimmy. "Besides these people are loyal to me. I brought them into the company."
 
"Are you sure you haven't lost some to your son?" I asked him.
 
Andrew  didnt say a word at first. "I see your point."
 
We decided to get out and fixed some dinner. Dante explained the rule about being clothed when we eat.  I smiled. So he and Jimmy went after sweat pants and t-shirts.
 
We ate a light supper. Basically salads and sandwiches for some of us. Jimmy looked up and noticed the view. The sun was setting and the colors were changing.
 
 "Would you look at that," he exclaimed. Andrew looked up and whistled.
 
"Now that's a view!" Andrew said
 
"That's why I bought the place," I told them. "Had I not bought the place. It would have become a part of the National Forest."
 
"Well we've had a full day," Andrew said. "How about we go to bed Jimmy?"
 
"I think that's an excellent idea," Jimmy said returning Andrew's smile.
 
 I looked at Dante with a smile and a raised eyebrow. And he smiled back.
 
"My love," Dante said.  "We've a long day tomorrow. How about we go to bed?"
 
"To bed or to sleep?" I asked. 
 
"To bed," Dante said with a sly smile. "To sleep eventually."
All I could do was laugh.
 
Dante and I rose early the next morning. I was helping Dante prepare breakfast. Andrew and Jimmy eventually come in.
 
"Dante how about I help you," Jimmy said. "That way we eat before noon."
 
"Jimmy!" Andrew scolded him. 
 
"Well Jimmy is right," I said getting a punch to my shoulder from Dante. Then Andrew's phone rang. He frowned at first.
 
"Jason, my youngest," he told us.
"Hey Jason," he said answering the call. The he turned a little red.
 
"Just tell your brother to call me Monday afternoon. And tell him the Citation Is Mine!"
"It has always been mine. And if he files..."
"I thought so!"
"Andy we are Not going to talk about Jimmy. I won't have it!"
"Now I have a picnic to go to," Andrew said emphatically."We will discuss this Monday and no sooner."
"Now let me talk to your brother Jason!"
"Are you and Peter okay?"
"Jason, if you need to get out of Chicago you come to Albuquerque," Andrew told his son looking at me. I nodded.
"You can come to Marshal Hickok's ranch."
 
Jimmy had moved over to be next to Andrew. Sliding his arms around him.
 
"Of course bring Peter. Use my private airline account."
"You know about it and Andy doesn't."
"I love you Jason," Andrew told him. "Just let me know."
"My eldest son is an ass," Andrew told us after hanging up.
 
"So it was a ruse to talk to you about me?" Jimmy asked Andrew. But he didn't say anything. Then he kissed Jimmy on the cheek. 
 
"Hey Andrew,"  I said. "I could use some help feeding the horses."
 
"I think I can handle that," he replied kissing Jimmy on the cheek again. "That's if they can fry eggs without us?"
 
"Hey! No insulting the cook til after you've eaten his food," Dante quipped with a smile.
 
"Andrew if you need someone to talk to, or any help," I said as we walked down to the corral.
 
"Thanks, I could actually," Andrew said with a sigh. "Let me tell you what my older kids are doing.
"This is tearing Jimmy and Jason up," Andrew told me.
 
"And you," I pointed out.
 
Andrew started filling me in on was going on. Andy Jr., Jessica, and Eric were upset with Andrew falling in love with Jimmy. And they blamed Jason for introducing them.
 
It didn't make sense to Andrew. But they were mad at Jason for introducing them.
 
"So I'm guessing you have a plan?" I asked as we walked back up to the house.
 
"Is it that odvious?" Andrew chuckled. "Well Monday morning I go to a local law firm about my new will."
 
"My former lawyer in Chicago is my company's lawyer. And my nephew."
"He won't hesitate to tell them any changes I make."
 
"We thought we were going to have to come get you two," Jimmy said obviously concerned as we walked in.
 
"We were just talking," I said. "Besides, Dante's eggs are better off cold."
  "Hey! Not funny," Dante yelped with a smile. And he gave me a kiss.
 
"Andrew if..." Jimmy started to say. But Andrew cut him off.
 
"NO!" Andrew stated sternly. "I've told you that's not going to happen. I love you."
 
Andrew walked over hugging and kissing Jimmy. "I'll say it again. I love you and I'm not giving you up."
"So let's eat."
 
We ate breakfast and cleaned up. Then we loaded Dante's truck.
 
We got to the picnic area a little before noon. Bob, Jean, Alice and the boys were already there. Mary and Paula had a table next to theirs. We grabbed a table opposite of Mary and Paula. 
 
Dante made introductions of Andrew and Jimmy.  But Jimmy introduced Andrew to Sam and Diane when they arrived.
 
When George and Sherry arrived I asked. "Where's the baby."
 
"Still baking," Sherry told me with mad look. "He's not due for another month." Then she sat down.
"And no one in my mother's side has delivered farther than a day from their due date."
 
"I'm with the boss on that," George said kissing his wife.
 
"Sorry but I'm winning this," Bob said getting a wack from Jean. "Hey!"
"I still say a week early," Bob said stepping out of Jean's reach.
 
"Sorry kids," I said. "That baby will be here this week. If not sooner." I looked around and realized.
 
"Hey where's the newbie?" I asked.
 
""Here he comes," Bob said with a broad smile. We all turned to look.
 
"Marshal. Sorry, Billy I'ld like to introduce you to my boyfriend, Shawn Mays."
"So if you have anything say..."
 
"Well nice to meet you Shawn," I said shaking his hand. " Jessie, Shawn, I'ld like to introduce you to my boyfriend. Dante Green." I kissed Dante on the cheek.
"Better known as Dante, My Inferno."
Dante this is Jessie Holmes and his boyfriend Shawn Mays. "
 
"Really Dante, My Inferno," Dante said in my ear after shaking hands. "You've been thinking about that one."
 
"No," I said. "It just occurred to me."
 
Jessie and Shawn seemed to relax. And I gave Dante another kiss.
 
"So where's your dad?" I asked Dante looking around. "I need to talk to him."
 
"About?" Dante asked me. 
 
"Work stuff," I lied.
 
"I think dad's gone over to the ballfield," Dante told me. " You know getting ready for the the softball game."
 
"Billy can you help me up?" Sherry asked. "I have to go to the bathroom."
"Give me hug and pick me up," she said.
 
"Hey Jean, Diane I need your ladies help," I said picking Sherry up. 
 
"You okay?" Jean asked.
 
"Just a bathroom run," Sherry answered. "Heck its been over twenty minutes."
 
They laughed as we walked her to the restroom. Mary and Paula came along. 
 
"Jean, Diane we've got this next time," Paula told them.
 
So I lead the way down to the restrooms. We were slow but steady.
 
"So Billy. Does Dante know about Ann?" Sherry asked me.
 
"Who is Ann?" Diane asked concerned as my stomach sank.
 
"She was Billy's fiance," Sherry told her. "And she was my godmother."
"We lost her five years ago in a horrible traffic accident."
 
"We were coming home from Sherry and George's wedding rehearsal," Jean told Diane.
"A drunk entered the highway from the off ramp," Jean continued. "He hit her car head-on. She and Billy were in seperate vehicles."
 
"We jumped out as gas poured out of her car. We managed to pull her pull her out. Just before it burst into flames."
 
"So she died in the hospital?" Diane asked.
 
Sherry stopped me. She squeezed my arm. 
 
"She bleed to death from a cut to her femoral artery," I told her. "In my arms."
 
"Billy I'm so sorry," Diane said. "Does Dante know about Ann? "
 
"Only the high pionts," I told her. "Oddly Sam does though. He was the first officer on scene that night."
 
"I want you and Sam there  when I tell him the whole story," I told her. 
 
"Just tell us when and where," Diane said.
 
Then the three went into the ladies room. I waited to walk them back. So on the way back.
 
"Hey Diane," I said. "Can I get a moment with you and Sam?"
 
"To talk to us about Ann?" She asked me back.
 
"I want to ask Dante a question. But I want to talk to you two first."
 
They all looked at me. All three were smiling. "What?" I asked.
 
"Nothing!" they chorused with bigger smiles.
 
So we did the typical picnic things. Softball games, tennis, badmitten, and even a few throwing frisbees. The sheriff's office took on the P.D. and lost. The DEA took on and narrowly beat the FBI.
 
As we walked back. I tried to talk to Sam and Diane again. But the got away from me. And headed for the tables. But then I saw Sam head for the parking lot. 
 
I knew something was up. Then I headed back to the tables. As I approached there was a crowd. And it was Dante's friends. Then Dante saw me.
 
"Thank you," Dante said to his friends as I got close.
 
"Okay, what's up?" I asked as I got close. "Because we didn't bring enough to feed this crew."
 
"Well we did," Diane said with a big smile. My stomach sank again.
 
"Yes we did," Sam said carrying a box as he came back from the parking lot. "Dante called use to bring more."
 
"Yes I did," Dante told me. "I need Daniel and Angel. Where are they."
 
"They went with you Bob," Jean said looking at bob.
 
"No, they stayed here to help prep everything," Bob replied.
 
"They're in the gazeboo," Diane told them. "They asked me to keep an eye on them. And they've been visible the whole time."
 
"Are you sure?"Jean asked her. 
 
"We all are Jean," sherry told her. Mary and Paula raised their hands too.
 
"They just wanted some alone time," Diane told her.          "I've been there," she added messing up Dante's hair.
 
"Charlie go get them," Jean said fuming a little.
 
"Mom really?" Charlie asked in protest.
 
"Hang on," Diane said. Then she let out a loud whistle. Daniel and Angel bounded out of the gazebo. But they stopped short when they saw everyone looking at them.
 
"Well come on!" Dante yelled. "I need you two."
 
"Need them for what?" I asked him. "You said they didn't know any thing."
 
"I talked to them when we got here," Dante told me with a smile and a kiss. "As for the rest. Patience."
 
"Thank you Mrs. Green, Sherry,  Mary, and Paula," the boys said as the got closer.
 
"We will talk of this later," Jean said. 
 
"Mom we didn't do anything," Daniel said. "So don't ruin this for Dante."
 
"Ruin what Daniel?" I asked hoping to catch him off guard. All Daniel did was smile at me.
 
"Jean," Bob said helping the boys out. "He's right."
 
"I'm sorry Dante," said Jean.
 
"Its okay Mrs. Driscoll," Dante said  a little scared. "Charlie, Alice here please. Daniel, Angel here please." 
 
"Dad?" Dante said looking for some reassurance.
 
"Relax. You have this Dante," Sam said  patting his son on the shoulder. Then Sam and Diane took up position on either side of Dante. 
 
"Okay," Dante said taking a deep breath. Everyone went quiet and Dante turned to face me.
"Billy I want you give me something special for my 18th birthday next year."
 
"Okay? What?" I asked  him. A funnier feeling deep in my stomach.
 
"William Samuel Hickok." I dropped to the bench behind me. "Will you give your hand in marriage?" Dante finalky asked me.
 
I was stunned. I looked around at everyone staring at me.
 
"Yes, yes, " I told and smiled. "I wanted to ask you the same question. You beat me to it."
 
Dante flew into my arms. We were kissing when everyone erupted. I think we were crying with joy.
 
People were congratulating us. Patting us on the back. Everyone shook mine and Dante's hands. Diane gave us both a hug and a kiss.
 
"I've never seen Dante so happy," Diane whispered in my ear as she cried.
 
"So Billy. What was it you wanted to talk to us about?" Sam asked. "I seem to have time to talk to you now."
 
"Funny," I said as we all started laughing. Then I shook Sam's hand. "Dad."
 
"Good one," Sam said continuing to laugh.
 
We had a toast. Sam had brought a decent bottle of wine. Then we started to cooking. 
I looked up to see Ethan McCall and his wife walking over to see what was going on.
 
"So what's going on over here?" Ethan asked. "Sounds like a celebration."
 
"It is," Bob said as he shook my hand again.
 
"Well let us in on it," Ethan said smiling.
 
"Yes. We love a good celebration," Sharon McCall said smiling at me.
 
"Ethan this is Dante Green, " I told him. "He's Sam's son, college student, and my fiance."
 
As Ethan started to give me his hand. Sharon lost her smile and her attitude changed. He noticed but he gave me his hand.
 
"Well I guess congratulations are in order," Ethan said shaking Dante's hand then mine.
 
"Thank you sir," Dante said with a smile.
 
"Thank you Ethan," I said as he shook my hand.
 
"So how old are you youngman?" Sharon asked rather kurtly.
 
"Sharon!" Ethan barked at his wife.
 
"I don't mind sir," Dante said. "I'm a 17 year old college student."
 
"So you asked this boy to marry you?" Sharon demanded from me.
 
"No!" Diane told her stepping up. "Dante just asked Billy."
 
"Oh, and with our blessing," Sam added. "Problem!"
 
"I see!" Sharon said. "You condoned this homosexual relationship." 
 
"Lets go Sharon!" Ethan barked at her. "This is what your brother did."
"Billy I'm sorry," he said. "I'll see you when you get back to work."
 
Then he lead his wife back to their picnic table. That she wanted go say was obvious.  
 
"That one's trouble," Jean said. "I've heard her talk on gays."
"She hates them with a passion."
 
"Lets forget about her," I said. "Lets eat everybody."
 
We had a great time after that. Vert little food was left. Clean up was aided by the extra people. 
 
But Ethan managed to sneak back over by himself. But he kept an eye on his table and his wife.
 
Csorrybabout that,"Ethan told us as we got a chance to talk. "But seriously, congratulations again."
 
"I suspect there's a story there," I replied. 
 
"There is,"he told us."if you get a chance to stop by. I'll buy lunch."
 
"Well Monday afternoon if I can," i told him. "I'm taking Andrew Collins to talk to a lawyer."
 
"Andrew Collins of Collins Investment?" Ethan asked.
 
"That's right," I said. "I forget you were at Chicago before here."
 
"So why is he here?" Ethan asked me.
 
"Andrew decided to move to Albuquerque after retiring," I told him. 
 
"And how did you two meet?" Ethan asked.
 
"Andrew's boyfriend Jimmy is Dante's best friend," I told him. Spotting them I motioned them over.
 
"Ethan McCall let me introduce you to Andrew Collins and his..."
 
"Boytoy Jimmy Cassidy," Andrew finished it giving Jimmy a kiss.
 
"Hey! I like that," Jimmy said. "Nice to meet you. Jimmy Cassidy."
 
"See what you've started?" Dante asked with a smile.
 
Funny," I said  while they shook Ethan's hand.
 
"I hope you like Albuquerque," Ethan said. "But I have to go now. Later Billy. "
 
"Later Ethan."
 
McCall cut his wife off. As she headed our way. The odviously had a words. But they managed to keep their voices down. Then he herded his wife back to their table.
 
"That one's going to get a beating," Diane Green said.
 
"MOM!" Dante replied.
 
"Let me know when," Jean said. Chill sell tickets or give you a hand."
 
"Jean!" Bob said.
 
"I'm not joking Bob," she told him seriously. "And if Diane doesn't do it. I will."
 
"MOM!" chorused the twins.
 
"All right," she said. "Daniel, you and Angel go get your bags."
 
She didn't need to tell them twice. They were gone in a flash. Whooping and high giving each other.
 
"Now Billy  if they give you any trouble..." Jean started.
 
"Well be sure to handle it," I told her.
 
After getting a hug from Daniel. Jean let us get going. The boys thanked Jean for allowing them to go to our house. And I stared at my lovely Dante in amazement.