Chapter 35 The Right Thing
It actually wasn't too long before Shannon arrived with a young man in tow. He was about 12 years old if I had to guess. Though his clothes were shabby and some too small for him now. He and they were clean and neat.
"So Shannon," Dante said, starting off.
"Who is this young man?" Dante asked. He had asked our four musketeers to stay close. But all the boy decided to stay close. Which was making the boy a little nervous.
"This is Justin Wilde," Shannon told us, her arm around him. "He's with me because we need a new home to place him in."
"He looks familiar," Angel said to Daniel quietly. But Justin heard and turned bright red.
"It's okay Justin," Daniel told him. "There's no need to be embarrassed by anything."
"Daniel's right," Angel told them. "I'm sorry. You have nothing to be embarrassed about," Justin took a deep breath before speaking.
"I was kept by a sex ring they just took down," Justin told us ready to cry. "So my parents don't want me back."
"They said it was because I was gay and asking for it," he said squeezing Shannon's hand even harder.
"They don't want to know how I was targeted, raped, or kidnapped. Like you guys, they don't care. Because you're not gay!"
"Now wait a minute!" Daniel barked standing up with Angel.
"My name is Daniel. And this is Angel." Daniel said as he kissed Angel on the lips. "And he's my boyfriend."
"Billy and Dante helped me, US!" Daniel told him.
"How?!" Justin demanded.
"First they helped me come out to my parents," Daniel told him. "They were fine with it fortunately. And I was happy."
"Then I told them about Angel and everything was fine," Daniel added.
"Almost everything," Bob reminded him with a smile. Who just said ,"Oh yeah."
"And Daniel's coming out helped me," Jeff told Justin. "And my parents are like yours. They threw me out."
"But I have Uncle Bob and Aunt Jean. They have taken me in," Jeff said with a smile.
"I also got to meet Mattie here," Jeff said and followed it with a kiss with Mattie. And all the kids cheered.
That was the first I had heard that detail about Jeff. The look on Bob and Jean's faces told me the rest. Bob looked my way and I nodded. With that, he knew I had their back.
"Justin we would love to take you in," Dante told him. "But..." I kissed his cheek as a tear ran down it.
"We need to talk to some people first," I finished for him.
"There's more than Dante and my getting married," I told him. "But I may have a solution." As I remembered something.
"Jean?" I asked her. Jean leaned over and kissed Bob's cheek.
"Boys?" Bob asked of Charlie and Daniel. Who looked at each other and smiled.
"We're okay with it dad," they chorused . Each got a kiss on the cheek from their respective love.
"You mean You want to be foster parents?" a shocked Shannon asked them.
"No ma'am," Charlie told her. "We want to be foster family. If Justin's okay with it?" Charlie and Daniel fist bumped. Shannon looked at Justin who was crying and nodding yes.
"All we need to do is certify the Driscolls," Shannon told us.
"Marshal Driscoll and Jean have been certified with the state for years," said a lady coming around the corner with a man. Judge Avelos and Troy were coming through the kitchen.
"Mrs. Dominguez! Mrs. Dominguez is my supervisor and her husband is..."
"Judge Alejandro Dominguez. Family court Judge," Judge Avelos said as they shook hands.
"Carlos, an unexpected surprise," Judge Dominguez said.
"So as I was explaining," Lisa Dominguez continued. "Bob and Jean Driscoll are up to date as foster parents."
"And since Justin here is under the protection of the US Attorney's office," Judge Dominguez said. "It's a good thing you are here Carlos." With that my hackles went up.
"Now we brought the paperwork for the foster parents to sign," Judge Dominguez told us. "We have more than enough witnesses for the job."
"So Justin is in our family?" Daniel asked his honor.
"Well he will soon be, young man," Judge Dominguez said with a chuckle at the boy's enthusiasm.
"But first. Barbara how is the environment here?"
"Honestly. It's the best," Barbara told him. "To tell the truth. They are one big family."
"Damn straight," Bass blurted out
"Bass Reeves Graff!" Amelia barked. Then. "I agree with you." Getting the eye from Linzie.
"The kids cheered and affirmed that Barbara was correct.
"So you want me?" Justin asked Bob and Jean.
"Yes we do," Jean said as she walked over to him.
"Well come here," Jean said, holding out her arms. She hugged the happy young man. Bob and the boys soon joined her.
"Carlos, Troy. If you would be the witnesses?" Judge Dominguez asked them.
"Of course," Troy told him
"We would be honored," Judge Avelos said Kissing Troy with pride.
"Well gentle people," I said getting up. "If you don't need us. I'm taking my fiance for a ride."
"First a thank you both," Jean said. Kissing me on the cheek, then Dante.
"Just one more thing," Bob said. "Jean and I have sold the house. And bought a small ranch just south of here,"
"That's Great!" Dante roared over the kids. Charlie and Daniel were totally surprised. You could tell by the look on their faces.
"Really Dad! Our own ranch?" Daniel asked. . As Charlie was totally speechless.
"Sure. Where else are we going to keep all our horses?" Bob told his youngest. "Now how about you guys take Justin to the bunkhouse to get him settled in."
"Then the corral, to find him a horse."
"But I can't ride," Justin told them.
"I think we can fix this," Angel told him with a big grin. "Right Petey?"
"They taught me," Peter said with pride. "They had me riding in a week."
"You can learn along side Lotte here," Andrew told him. "You'll just need a saddle."
"Com on Justin," I said, taking the hint. "Unless you need him for something, your honor?"
"No, Marshal Hickok. All we have is some boring paperwork to get through," Judge Dominguez told me.
"Well come on you all," Dante said leading the way to the barn.
When we got there. I showed Justin the saddles he could pick from.
"How do I know which one to pick?" Justin asked.
"They put it on this thing," Lotte told him. "Then you try sitting on it."
"It's all about how it feels," Peter explained. Proud of Lotte's explanation.
"Try these two," he said touching them.
"Not a bad choice," Charlie said grabbing one. While Daniel then grabbed the second one.
It didn't take them long to help Justin pick. It was a basic roper's saddle like Dante's. Then I sent the boys down to the lower corral to pick a horse for Justin. Dante and I went to saddle our horses.
"If I had said let's get married early. What would you have said?" Dante asked me when were alone. I looked at him with a smile.
"After we talked to the others. And they were up for it. Yes," I told him. Getting a puzzled look at first.
"Oh! I hadn't thought of that," he said, having figured it out finally. "Do you think the others would be okay with it?"
"I think if you wanted it. They would have been all for it," I told him. "But they would have pointed out the date you chose . And why."
"That's why they're the best," Dante said a we got to the lower corral.
When we got there. Justin was in the corral with Peter and Tally. A grulla mare was sniffing at his out stretched hand.
"She looks like Mouse," I said off handedly. Turning there were tears running down Dante's cheeks.
"Dante," I said, scooping him into my arms as he cried softly.
"I'll be okay, Eventually," he said. "It still hurts me, and will for a while."
I kissed him "Better?" I asked and Dante smiled.
"Much," he answered me. Then kissing me back.
"What do you guys think?" Bass asked walking over to us. "She reminds me of..."
"How's her temperament?" I asked him. Cutting him off.
"Well Petey and Tally just started breaking her yesterday," Charlie told us. "They've had a hackamore on her."
"She won't take a bite," Bass added.
So I picked up Justin's saddle and walked into the corral. I held it while she sniffed it. Then Tally put the hackamore on her and her blanket.
"Justin if you'll hold the reins please?" Tally asked him. Then I eased the saddle into place on the mare. She pricked her ears and snorted. Peter and Justin patted her neck and talked calmly to her. Justin called her Minnie and I smiled.
"Easy Minnie," I told her. As I patted her neck. Then i reached down and tightened the cinches. She humped her back and took three hops.
"Oh my!" Shannon said when the mare took the hops.
"It's okay Miss Graham," Ethan told her, standing next to Linzie. "Tally and Peter have this under control."
Peter went and got Hermosa and walked her up besides Minnie. It had an immediate effect calming her down. Justin turned looking at the fence.
"You want help up?" Bob asked him. But turning I saw Justin was staring at everyone watching. And he had a rather large audience.
"Here Justin," Bob said, "I'll help you up."
"Is she okay Petey?" Bob asked him.
"Sure. She's fine Marshal Bob," Peter told him. "Come on Justin. We've got you."
So Bob helped Justin into the saddle. While Charlie, Daniel, Bass, Angel , and Lotte rode in near him and Minnie.
"Thank you," Justin said as Bob stepped back. Minnie then hopped three more times. Justin shrieked then laughed.
"Now what?" Justin asked.
"You gently kick her with your heels," Lotte told him. Then she showed him, "Like this."
I swung the gate open as i came out. And Dante handed me Zeb's reins.
"Let's go for a ride," Dante said as he mounted Spot.
"Justin you stay with Petey," Charlie told Justin. "You're doing fine."
"Who's got Lotte?" Peter asked, a little panicked.
"I have her Peter," Antonia told him. We had grown in number.
We rode up the same trail that Dante, Peter, and I had ridden up, weeks ago. Dante and I were bringing up the rear. Until Bob and Jean caught up to us.
"How's he doing?" Jean asked as they caught up.
"You heard him when she took the hops with him up on her?" Dante asked with a chuckle.
"Yes! He screamed," she said a little mad.
"But then he laughed," Bob pointed out.
"That remind you of anyone?" He asked her with a smile.
"The first time the boys mounted up, " she said with a grin and a laugh. Charlie and Daniel turned to scowl at their parents. Angel and Bass were laughing.
"I don't know what you're laughing at Bass," I said. "You did the same thing."
"And Angel. I think we'll ask your mother about you," Dante said.
"Hey Petey! Hold up here," Charlie called out. They turned their horses toward Dante and me. "We brought some things up here to your wickiup yesterday."
"Like?" I asked
"We put a futon mattress and a few blankets up here for you two," Bass told us.
"That way you guys could stay here," Peter said with a smile. "Okay?"
We both smile, turned and kissed each other.
"Thank you boys," Dante said. "We appreciate it."
"But remember," Jean said. "We're not holding lunch for you." Bob punched her in the shoulder.
"You'll have to lead your horses from here," Bass reminded us.
"Thank you," Dante said as we dismounted.
We led our horses through the juniper and pinion. They had also made a small corral for our horses. And had brought up some hay for them. We unsaddled the horses and corralled them.
I spun Dante around quickly, just outside the wickiup. I drew him to me and kissed him. Long and hard. We then took our clothes off and hung them on the wickiups domed shape. Then we slipped through the mosquito net draped over.
I had been gone for three weeks. And in about two hours we had made up for a lot of lost time. I pinned Dante down and started working on his neck. He moaned with pleasure. Then he pinned me down.
But as Bob and Jean got the kids back to the house. A Lincoln Town car was dropping some people off. Linzie and Ethan walked down from the house. The back door opened and out got Mr. Ashworth, the Attorney General, and his wife Samantha.
James Ashworth turned to offer his wife his hand. While Linzie stepped forward. While most of the others dismounted around them.
"Mr. Attorney General! What brings you to New Mexico?" Linzie asked him.
"Well we were headed back to DC from LA. And I got a call from the President," he told her. "He would like me to have a press conference Monday about the Sanchez case. With Marshal Hickok and some of his team."
"Where is the good Marshal and Dante?" Mr. Ashworth asked.
"They're up at their wickiup," Peter told Mr. Ashworth.
"Well I do need to talk to him as soon as possible," Mr. Ashworth said.
"Can someone go get him?" he asked.
"I'll go get them," Peter said, swinging Hermosa around and putting his heels to her. And he and Hermosa were gone.
Realization hit Angel first.
'PETER! WAIT!" he yelled as it registered with the others.
"Well stop him!" Ethan barked as Daniel and Angel mounted again. They wheeled their horses and were gone.
Diane and Sam Ashworth started laughing.
"They won't get him stopped," Tally informed him with a chuckle. "Hermosa's the second fastest horse on the ranch right now."
"Who has the fastest horse right now?" Linzie asked.
"Billy does ," she smiled. "Zeb's the fastest."
They all just laughed at the look on their faces.
Authors note: there is a lot going on right now. With more things to come, Thank you for reading and hope you enjoy.