“Well what else do we need to do?” I asked Dante.
“Well we need to go to see Marshal McGuire and his family,” Dante reminded me with a kiss and a smile.
“I want to take them something they could use,” I told Dante. “I wonder what they could use?”
I knew Jean would tell us what they could use.
“A food dish they just need to heat up,” Jean told us. “They won’t have time to cook. And they’ll be home tomorrow afternoon.”
“Do we have a soup pot?” Dante asked with a smile.
“In the pantry,” I told him. “I’ll get it and some stew beef out to thaw.”
“In the fridge. Second shelf,” Dante told me still smiling. Sam, Jimmy, and Andrew were laughing.
“That’s my boy,” Diane said proudly. Getting a pat on the back from Jean.
“That’s why I love him,” I said as I kissed him again. And right then I didn’t care who saw me.
We quickly cleaned up then. And soon it was just Andrew, Jimmy, Dante and me enjoying the late afternoon.
We finally got up and went into the kitchen. Andrew and I peeled potatoes and carrots. Jimmy did the onions and cabbage.
Dante was getting tomatoes and grabbed peppers. But then I reminded that chilis peppers might not be a bad idea because of the baby.
“Good point,” he replied. Then put them up. “Next time.”
When it was done there would be nearly a gallon of stew. I also got out some mason jars to put it in.
“Well while that cooks,” Dante said putting his arms around my neck. He had a serious look on his face.
“Okay,” I said being suspicious. “What’s up?”
Dante took my hand and lead me to our bedroom. Turning to do a TaDa like motion.”
“Can we do something with this wall?” he asked me.
And my heart sank. It was a wall that Ann had decorated. The wall we had argued over, our last argument, our worst argument the night she died.
She had done it as a surprise. And I blew up plain and simple. It was stupid. Just plain and simple stupid. And I needed to tell Dante about it.
And Dante could see the emotions cross my face. He was surprised.
“If you don’t want to,” he said apprehensively. Afraid he may have hurt me somehow.
It was my turn to take his hand. And I lead him to the bed. Jimmy and Andrew had come to the door. And I motioned them into the room.
“Can we do this later this week?” I asked him. “There is a reason.”
“What is it?” he asked.
So after I took a deep breath. I told them about what happened to Ann. The argument, the law enforcement picnic, and how we had made up by the end.
Then I told them about the drunk driver who got on the highway on the off ramp. How he hit her car head on before she could do anything. He staggered out of his car with cuts and bruises. While we had to fight to get Ann out of her car before it burst into flame.
Broken glass from somewhere had cut an artery. And Ann had bleed to death in my arms.
We were quiet for a few minutes. Dante’s face told me he was sorry that he had brought it up. But I hugged him.
“We just need to start and finish the same day,” I told him.
“No! We won’t do a thing,” Dante said emphatically.
“Yes we do,” I told him. Then I leaned over and kissed him. “It’s time and you asked me.”
“But…” Dante started.
“It’s time for him to him to move on Dante,” Andrew told him with a pat on the shoulder.
“All right then,” Dante said feeling better.”We save it all.”
“Unless you say otherwise.”
I looked at him for a few minutes. I was awestruck by this youngman’s maturity. This was another reason I loved him so much.
“How about we make some room in the closet for the rest of your clothes,” I told him. “I’ll give you the whole left side.”
Before he could answer the doorbell rang. So I went to see who it was. I opened the door to see two young men standing there. One was a younger version of Andrew.
“Excuse us sir,” the youngman said. “Are you Marshal Hickok?”
“Jason?” Andrew said hearing the youngman.
“Yes I am,” I said as I opened the door wider. “Come on in.”
Andrew walked up as Jason and the other youngman came in. He grabbed his youngest and hugged him.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Andrew told them. “Both of you.” And he then hugged the other youngman as well.
“Billy, Dante. This is my youngest Jason and his lovely boyfriend Peter Roberts.”
“You’re his boyfriend?” Jason asked very surprised looking at us.
“Dante is my fiance if you must know,” I told them. They looked at each other.
“How old are you Dante?” Peter asked.
“Peter!” Andrew and Jimmy both scolded him.
“It’s fine,” Dante told them. Then he smiled. “And in answer to your question.”
“I’m seventeen, and I proposed to Billy yesterday.” he told them. “And I was lucky enough to have him say yes.”
I took Dante in my arms and we kissed. Jimmy and Andrew did the same.
“And we were there,” Jimmy told them after they were done kissing.
“And it was beautiful,” Andrew added. “I thought Billy was going to faint.”
“Ha, ha,” I said back to Andrew.
“We’re sorry,” Jason said. “We’ll go find a hotel to stay at.”
“Not when there’s room here,” I told them.
“Are you sure?” Peter asked sheepishly.
“Yes,” I told them. “It’s forgotten.”
“Very forgotten,” Dante added. “Now let’s get you guys settled in.”
“How did you guys get here?” Jimmy asked them.
“Here, I’ll pay your cabbie,” Andrew said stepping outside. But only saw a rental car.
“I rented a car at the airport,” Peter told us. “Jason’s idea to throw Andy Jr. off.”
Jason smiled broadly at the praise.
“That’s what took you so long,” Andrew said realizing what they had had to do.
“We flew from Chicago to Kansas City,” Jason explained. “Then when we were at KC we bought tickets to Denver.”
“Then when we got to Denver we bought tickets to Albuquerque. And all on different airlines.”
So we carried their bags to the next largest guestroom we had. They did a basic unpack. Then we headed for the Kitchen. Dante and Jimmy checked the soup and added a few spices.
“Now what were we about to do?” I asked Dante. While Andrew took everyone else out onto the patio. We went out and got them towels.
Then we opened the French doors to our bedroom. And Dante started on the closet.
“I have this,” Dante told me. “We have guests.”
“Besides this is more room than in my closet at home,” he told me as I kissed him again.
“If you need me!” I told him. “Just holler.”
“Later,” Dante said. “When it’s time for bed.”
When I went outside Jimmy was hugging Andrew from behind. And Jason was coming around the table. Andrew was obviously upset.
“I’m sorry Andrew but Andy Jr is just an ass,” Jimmy told him.
“Dad, he’s right. Because Andy has had everything listed as company property,” Jason told his father. “Cars, phones, your home, the farm, and your planes.”
“Did Teddy do this?” Andrew asked as I got closer.
“He may have written up the paperwork. But I’m not sure he filed them,” Jason told them.
“Teddy is his nephew and the company lawyer,” Jimmy told me when he saw me.
“If he has I’ll have his license,” Andrew roared. “I had all my paperwork sent here to my new lawyers.”
“Well you Jason and Peter had better turn off your phones,” I told them. “Now so they can’t track then.”
They all quickly turned them off. I took them to put in one of my gun safes.
“We’ll get you guys some new phones tomorrow or the next day,” I told them. “Now I know some cops and Feds in Chicago if we need them.”
“I’ll get my lawyers on it tomorrow too,” Andrew said. He was furious.
Just then we heard something break from inside.
“Oh! My God!” Dante yelled from inside a moment later. He ran out onto the patio. Seeing me he panicked. He turned to run for the kitchen door but I grabbed him.
“What?” I asked him as I pulled him in to my chest.
“I’m sorry,” Dante sobbed as he collapsed into my arms. “I didn’t know she was there. I’m so sorry.”
“Who are you talking about?” I asked as i lifted his chin so I could look into his face.
“Ann! Her ashes!” he told me. He put his face back onto my shoulder and cried. For a moment I was lost.
“Dante you need to stop,” I told him. “Ann was not cremated.”
He raised his head, and looked at me. He was stunned. I nodded at him.
“She’s buried in Colorado in a family cemetery,” I told him.
“What! But it says…” he said as he pointed toward the closet.
“Come on,” I said leading him back inside to the closet.
Seeing what looked like ashes I smiled with understanding. I bent over and picked up the tag and fully opened it.
“Ann’s memory of White Sands,” I read out loud to him. Then I handed it to him.
Dante broke down crying again with some laughing. So I lead him to the bed to sit down.
“My love there is nothing you could do that will cause me to stop loving you,” I said as I held him as he cried.
“I saw the tag and what I read…” he sobbed into my shoulder. “I thought…”
I put my finger under his chin and lifted. Then I took his face in my hands.
“Now you listen to me carefully,” I told him forgetting everyone else. “I’ve lost a love of my life before.”
“And I’ve been given a second chance with you. And I am not losing you to some misunderstanding.”
“I love you with all my heart and soul,” I told him. “There is nothing nor no one, who will drive a wedge between us.”
He smothered me with hugs and kisses. Then we heard the cheers and clapping of applause. We looked up to see all four of them standing there.
Andrew stepped toward us. The rest of us didn’t know what he was up to.
“Dante I want to thank you for showing me something important,” Andrew told Dante.”Something I need to do.”
“What’s that Andrew?” a confused Dante asked as he collected himself.
“You showed me what I need to do,” Andrew said as he took Jimmy’s hand and knelt.
“Oh My God! Andrew!” Jimmy yelled. Jason and Peter had to grab Jimmy to keep him from falling back.
“James Everett Cassidy will you do the honor of marrying me?” Andrew asked. Jimmy dove into Andrew’s arms as he answered.
“Yes! Yes I will!”
Stunned Jason and Peter turned to each other. They grabbed each others hands and knelt.
They both tried to ask the other the question. But stopped as they realized they were both asking.
“Jason, Peter,” Dante interjected. “On a count of three just say yes.”
“One, Two, Three,” I counted off for them.
“Yes!” they both said then hugged each other. I kissed Dante on the cheek tasting his salty tears.
“See what you’ve started,” I said jokingly to Dante with a big smile. Dante promptly punched me in the shoulder and laughed.
“I have an idea,” Jimmy said gathering the others around him.
I looked at Dante and he looked at me. We shrugged in answer to each others unasked question.
“Jimmy that’s brilliant,” we heard Andrew say. Then they walked over to us.
“Dante, Billy,” Jimmy started. “If it’s okay with the both of you?”
“We want to make it a triple wedding?” he asked finally.
Dante was frozen. His mouth fell open but was silent. Then turned to look at me and I smiled at him.
“Dante?” Jimmy asked getting Dante’s attentioned. “Well what do you think?”
When Dante recovered. He took a deep breath and looked at me again. I nodded my answer.
“We would be honored to have you get married with us,” Dante finally said. “But where will we get…”
I put my finger to his lips to stop him. Then I kissed him.
“We have eleven months to plan everything,” I told him. “There is plenty of time to figure it all out.”
“Now let’s toast us,” I said. “Then the last one in the hot tub has to clean up.”
We all went into the kitchen. Dante got out the wine glasses. While I opened a nice bottle of German Riesling. Then I pour some wine into each.
“Gentlemen a toast,” I said raising my glass. Followed by the rest of them. “To us and the loves of our lives.”
We tapped glasses. Then we drank down our wine. Then we kissed our respective partners.
We poured some more wine. Then went outside. As I took my shirt off. Jason and Peter gasped. And I’ll admit I had forgotten to warn then.
“What?” I asked them acting unaware of my scars. “I’m not that hung.”
“Ha, Ha. You’re not that funny,” Dante said with a forced laugh. “Your scars. We forgot to tell them.”
“And I’ve been a little preoccupied.” Dante said.
“May I ask what happened?” Jason asked me.
“Sure,” I told him. “I was bringing in four escaped prisoners about three and a half years ago. We were near Yellowstone in the spring.”
“We were making camp when a boar, sorry male, Grizzly decided to fight me for the horses.”
“I was carrying an issue Sig in .40 Smith & Wesson caliber. And it wasn't up to the fight I had to have.”
“One of the convicts stepped in with my shotgun. He called for help. Did first aid on me. And kept the others chained up til help got there.”
“I haven’t carried a .40 Smith & Wesson since.”
“How long were you in the hospital?” Peter asked me.
“Nearly six months,” Dante told him suddenly. “That bear made a mess of him.”
“I forget you were there almost everyday,” I told Dante.
“How did you know?” Dante asked me in amazement. I just grinned.
“The nurses,” he said figuring it out. I kissed his cheek. Then I squinted at him.
“Oh Hell!” I said suddenly setting my glass down. Then I threw Dante over my shoulder.
“What are we doing? Dante asked. “It’s too early to go to sleep.”
“Who said we were going to sleep,” I told him with an evil chuckle.
“Well pull the drapes at least,” Dante said as we stepped in through the French Doors. “And the doors too.”
“To hell with the doors,” I said as I drew the drapes.
“But they’ll hear us!” Dante nearly yelled.
Then I walked Dante over to the bed. And dropped him on the bed.
“Get these jeans off,” I ordered Dante. “Now.”
Then I walked back to the doors to tell the guys.
“Sorry guys,” I said starting to close the doors. “I guess he’s bashful.”
“Hey! I am not that bashful,” Dante told them.
Then I closed the doors. Then I raised an eyebrow with a smile.
“Someone needs a spanking,” I told Dante. “Like the one he got on his birthday.”
“No! No!” Dante said with a smile and laugh. But as I dropped my jeans he realized.
“Remember your birthday?” I asked him.
“I think more of the same is called for,” I told him.
“Now you can turn yourself over to me. Or you can run and face even more of the same.”
Then there was a commotion from outside. “Jimmy Cassidy don’t you run from me!”
When I looked back I realized Dante was edging to the toward the bathroom door. He made a dash but I caught him by the wrist.
“Now see what you’ve started,” Dante said as Andrew carried Jimmy past our door.
“Thanks for the idea,” Andrew said as they went by.
“Dante what did you do?” Jimmy asked after Andrew finished.
Dante lunged for the bathroom. Forgetting I had his wrist. And I pulled him to my chest.
“I’ve tried to tell you what you mean to me,” I told him as I held him close. “But know this.”
“You! Dante Green have my heart and soul forever.”
And as we went to lay down. I gave him a smack on that beautiful bubble butt of his with a smile.
“Tomorrow is going to busy,” I said to Dante.