Dante, My Inferno

Chapter 21 Changes

Bob called Jean and explained what had happened. He told her to bring the boys to where we were getting Dante a suit. She knew where we were going and headed our way. 

We all met at the store. Amelia announcing she was going to help Dante pick a suit. But Linzie reminded Amelia that Dante had my help. And that she needed a dress for the funeral.

I helped Dante pick a lovely dark green suit as it brought out the blue in his eyes. We went ahead and got him several matching shirts in a lighter green. We also got him a nice pair of Black Roper boots.

Bass and Charlie picked suits of a Charcoal gray. With matching light gray shirts. Daniel and Angel chose matching dark blue suits. But they chose a lilac colored shirts.

The girls of course took a little longer. But they picked some beautiful dresses. Amelia was stunning in green dress. An obvious match to Dante’s green suit.

Antonia picked a lovely purple dress, a lavender in fact. Which Bass said to her, made her look lovely. I smiled at the looks on both Linzie and Donna’s faces.

Alice showed up with her mother to get a dress. She found a lovely peach colored dress. That Charlie said made Alice look truly lovely.

Then Ethan showed up with his family. Philip, Ethan's father in law, introduced Sharon’s brothers. They were a little subdued.

When they arrived, Peter rushed up to hug Charlie. Kevin shook Charlie’s hand, and Katie gave Charlie a hug. Which Alice didn’t like, but kept her cool.

We introduced the kids to each other. Amelia was taken with Kevin and vice versa. Dante said they looked cute together.

Jean offered to help Sarah Haas and Ethan’s mother Kim McCall get the kids outfitted. But Sarah kept an eye on her sons.

My eye kept going to nice Black hats. When I tried it on it felt right.

Dante asked how I wanted it shaped. Then took it to the haberdasher to get it shaped. 

“Sir, can we get this shaped for my love?” Dante asked the haberdasher. 

“Sure can,” the haberdasher replied. “What happened to the other hat Hickok?”

I smiled and told him how that hat kept me from being harmed. Then I showed him the pictures.

“Well let me know what this costs. Because I’m paying for it,” Ethan said as he walked up.

“No you are not!” I told him.

“But I have too!” Ethan said.

“Marshal McCall take care of your children,” Dante told him. “Because I told Billy that I would buy him a new hat.”

“Dante’s right,” Philip told his son in law.

“Ethan we talked about this son,” said his father Walter. “Take care of your children.” Tears trickled down Ethan’s face. His children hugged their father.

“Ethan, my love has this,” I told Ethan. “You can pay me back by bringing your kids out to the ranch.”

“Let’s help them and you heal,” I added.

“Well it will be next week,” Ethan said. “Because our family is staying until Sunday.”

“Well let’s give them a proper send off,” Dante said. “Bring them out Saturday for a cookout. Everyone is welcome.”

“Right my love?” Dante asked me with a kiss on the cheek.

“Most assuredly,” I said giving Dante a kiss. I loved him so much for what he was doing. Two men had walked up.

“Marshal Hickok, Dante,” said Philip Haas. “This is my son Julian and his boyfriend Daryl Francis.”

“Marshal Hickok,” Julian said, offering me his hand. While Daryl shook Dante’s hand. Then we switched.

Three other men and who I took to be their wives walked up. 

“These are my other sons and their wives,” Philip said an introduction. “Steven, Joseph, and Evan. Their wives Kim, Ruby, and Jillian.”

“So you’re the one who killed our sister?” Steven asked as they squared off on me.

“Stop it!” Sarah said suddenly. Stopping them. Which definitely shocked her family.

“You three need to know the why of all this,” She told them. “But you understand. It was her Problem!”

Jean suggested a quiet corner so Sarah could explain. She told them about Nicholas Wellman. They were shocked. As they were still friends with him.

“She didn’t know?” Joseph asked.

“How couldn’t she?” Evan asked. “I mean everyone knew.

“Not till he told her he had fallen in love with that other boy,” Sarah told them. 

“Lee Toliver,” Steven said. “They were one of the first gay couple’s to get married back home.”

The Haas boys seemed to relax. But they shook my hand and told me they were sorry for what they had not been able to do.

 Well went home to get ready for the next day. The funeral itself was early. George and Jessie were the last two pallbearers. Bob and I both felt it would be in bad taste for us to do it. Sarah Haas gave the eulogy. She explained what her daughter's problem was. And how it had twisted her.

The next few days passed quickly it seemed. Friday after the funeral we had Angel’s palomino shod. Angel had to hold his head to keep him calm.

Then Saturday Ethan brought the families out early enough to take the kids riding. Angel and Daniel lead our little caravan. Dante and I brought up the rear.

But Sunday Linzie went back to Washington. Surprisingly Bass and Amelia weren’t bothered by their mother leaving them here. It felt like Amelia was even enjoying it. Since I had taken Linzie to the airport, I picked up the airline tickets for Dante and I.

Monday morning Bob and I were back to work. George also decided to stay at work. At Sherry’s request would be my guess. Both his and her mother were staying to help out.

At breakfast that morning I learned two things. That Sam and Diane were going, at the request of Attorney General Ashworth. And Dante had never flown before. I don’t know which he was more scared about. Meeting the Attorney General or flying for the first time.

At about 2 pm I grabbed Dante from the university. And he was very quiet.

“Are you okay?” I asked as we walked through security. Sam and Diane looked at their son for his answer.

“I’m scared,” Dante said giving me a hug. “I don’t want to lose you or cost you your job.”

“Well I’ve had a great career,” I told him as we walked down the concourse. “And I don’t think Attorney General Ashworth plans on doing that.”

“Why wouldn’t he?” Dante asked me. I smiled at him.

“He would have done it already,” Sam told Dante. “There’s no need for us to go to Washington D.C..”

“It’s simply this. He wants to know more about us,” I told Dante as we boarded our plane. Then I kissed him. “And it comes down to this. I love you.” Dante then kissed me back.

 I had gotten us all first class seats. So as the plane roared down the runway. Dante squeezed my hand very hard. But as we leveled off he finally relaxed.

He ramped up again as we started our descent. I had to chuckle at it. We went to get our luggage. There was a man holding a sign that said Hickok party.  

“What’s with the sign?” I asked the Marshal holding it. Marshal Clint Tilghman.

“Billy,” Clint said with a smile.

“Clint this is Dante Green and his parents,” I said making introduction. “This is Sam and Diane.”

“So this is the youngman,” Clint said shaking Dante’s hand. “The boss filled me in on a few things.”

 “And?” Dante asked Clint rather sternly. Clint just smiled back.

“I figure if the boss is vouching for you,” Clint told him. “You’re okay with me.”

“Clint you got something we can put these bags in?” I asked Clint.

“Sure,” Clint said with a funny smile. “We have a van out front.”

And out front was a U.S. Marshals prisoner transport van. Sam and I laughed. 

“Our other van was in an accident last week,” Clint told us.

“Come on,” I said. “Let’s get to the hotel. We have an early day tomorrow.”

We loaded up and headed for our hotel. To say we caused a bit of stir would be an understatement. Which appealed to my sense of humor for some reason.

We ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. That night Dante slept fitfully. We held each other tightly. Truth be told I slept fitfully as well.

Linzie joined us for breakfast not far from the Justice Department. But Dante’s appetite wasn’t the best. 

“Dante you need to eat something,” a concerned Diane told him.

“I’m not hungry mom,” Dante told her. “I’m sorry.”

“Eat a little more Dante,” Linzie told him. “A growling stomach gives the Attorney General the advantage.” I smiled at that. I remembered when Terry Graff had said it.

“Then eat some cereal,” I told Dante with a kiss. “It’s going to be alright.” 

Dante collapsed into my arms sobbing.

“Dante listen to me,” I said in his ear. “You are what makes my life right, right now.”

Dante felt a little better and ate some cereal. Then we were off to the Justice Department. It was a beautiful morning so we walked.

As we entered the Attorney General’s outer office. His secretary announced that we were there. Before we could even say who we were.  

“Yes sir,” she said. “Detective and Mrs. Green. The Attorney General wants to see you first.” Dante started to go in with his parents.

“Sorry. Only your parents,” she told him. “You and Marshal Hickok will get your chance.”

“Get our chance. Get our chance to what?” Dante demanded of the secretary. He was upset, heck he was mad. Now he was ready.

“To talk to me,” Attorney General Ashworth said from his doorway. “Now if we’re going to make lunch. Let’s get started.”

Sam and Diane talked to Attorney General for about 30 minutes. Before Linzie was called in about another 30 minutes later. 

Dante was stewing the whole time. I was only a little better, But then we were called in.

As we walked in. I noticed smiles. Though Linzie tried to hide her smile to mess with me.

“Marshal Hickok,” Attorney General Ashworth said as we shook hands. “It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“Sir, “I said as we shook hands. Then he offered his hand to Dante.

“So you’re Dante Green?” A.G. Ashworth asked him with a smile.

“Yes Sir,” Dante said rather sternly. “ And I want you to know. That if I have to stay away from Billy. So he can keep his job…”

“You don’t need to do that Mr. Green,” said A.G. Ashworth with a broad smile.

“I had to find out if you two were truly in love,” A.G. Ashworth said to us.

“I have talked to  your parents, Director Graff, by phone Marshal McCall and his in-laws.”

“Even a youngman named Peter gave me an earful.”

“You should also know that Ned Blount has been asking questions,” the A.G. said. “So have been both Senators and a Congressman from New Mexico.”

“Now what do you have to say Marshal Hickok?” he asked me.

“I won’t give Dante up,” I said in answer. As I pulled some papers out of my jacket pocket. “Here are my retirement papers. All they need are a date and my signature.”

The A.G. took them from my hand. Carefully checking them as he walked around his desk to sit. Then he dropped the papers into the shredder.

“I’m sorry. But I agree with young Mr. Green’s parents,” he told us. ”You two belong together.” 

“But I needed to find out more so that I could answer questions. That way I can give first hand answers.”

“For who?” Dante asked worried. “Not Ned Blount?”

 “Not Ned Blount,” A.G. Ashworth told us. “But the Senators and the Congressman definitely.”

“But the Senators will be joining us for lunch,” A.G. Ashworth told us. “I expect they’ll ask some of these questions themselves.”

“”Oh! Dante I called your Professor,” he then told Dante. “You’re cleared for the rest of the week. Since I’m having you shown around the Justice Department.”

“Which we can talk about tonight,” A.G. Ashworth told us. “Because you all are invited to my home for dinner.”

“I’m afraid that my wife wishes to meet you Dante,” he told us. “She doesn't usually get involved but. Well this time is different.”

“Me?!” Dante asked as stunned as the rest of us.

“Yes young man. You,” A.G. Ashworth told Dante with a chuckle.

We sat and talked until it was time for lunch. A.G. Ashworth had arranged for a small bus to take us.

Dante was feeling a little overwhelmed. So he and I sat in the back of the bus.

“Having doubts?” I asked him. As he rested his head on my shoulder.

“I’m sorry for all this,” Dante told me. “I’ve ruined everything when I fell in love with you.”

“No you haven’t young man,” A.G. Ashworth said as he changed seats to be closer. As did they all. “You’ve brought the discussion of love to another level.”

“Remember what the AG did to my retirement papers?” I asked him.

“Of course. He shredded them,” Dante replied.

“So do you love me?” I asked Dante. Dante just stared at me as tears started running down his face.

“Dante, it was a rhetorical question,” Linzie told him. “So just tell him that you love him.” 

Dante leaped into my arms. Kissing me and telling me that he loved me.

“Dante you need to love him no matter what,” A.G. Ashworth told him. “Love is like Spartan law.”

“How’s that Sir?” Dante asked him.

“Never retreat,” I said.

“Never surrender,” Sam said.

“Your love,” A.G. Ashworth finishing it.

Dante and I looked at each other. I just had to kiss him. As we arrived at the restaurant. The Maitre D lead us to a secluded table. Where both Senators were waiting for us.

Once we were seated. A.G. Ashworth introduced us to Senator Zachary and Senator Baca. Both from New Mexico. There were other Senators and Congressmen around us.

“Well ladies and gentlemen I would like to start,” Senator Baca said. “I would like to say that I have talked to both Judge Avaloes and Mr. Bozeman. And I am very satisfied with the outcome of those conversations.”

“I’m with Ignacio on this,” Senator Zachary said. “Basically we just wanted to meet you both.”

“It’s a bonus having Detective and Mrs. Green are here,” Senator Zachary told us.

“Why is that Senator Zachary?” Diane asked suddenly curious.

“It shows us that you support your son and Marshal Hickok,” Senator Zachary told her. I felt myself blush at that.

We took a few minutes to order. Which was a good idea since Dante’s stomach was growling like the day I met Sam and Diane.While taking our orders the waiter warned us. Ned Blount was in the main room.

 “Director Graff. I want to ask your opinion pitched to me yesterday,” Senator Baca said to her.

“What’s the idea Senator?” I asked. As I suspected it involved me.

“Gilberto Montoya is my uncle,” Baca told us. “He thought your posse should be made a permanent thing. For Search and Rescue that is. He stated that he had never worked with a better group.”

“Well we currently do not have any authorization for such a thing,” Linzie answered. “But I do like the idea.”

“It comes down to two things,” she said.

“That is?” asked A.G. Ashworth with a puzzled look on his face.

“We would need your authorization for one. And then to see what Marshal Hickok thinks.” Which caused me to smile.

“Well I can write up a temporary authorization,” A.G. Ashworth told her. “Marshal Hickok.”

“It was good having the help with the Search and Rescue,” I told him. “I’ll start with my deputies I work with. Marshals Driscoll, McGuire, and Holmes.”

“Then we have Marshal Driscoll’s sons Charlie and Daniel. Their friend Angel Montoya. And Dante of course.” I was so up at the idea. I had to kiss Dante.

“Well hello Marshal Hickok,” said a pleased Ned Blount. He had seen me kiss Dante. 

“Senators, Director Graff, Attorney General Ashworth. Dante Green isn’t?”

“Yes Mr. Blount. It is,” Dante told him.

“Well Blount,” A.G. Ashworth said. “This is a private area. How did you get in here?”

“I’m sorry folks,” said a waiter. “Mr. Blount told me he was suppose to meet Senator Baca.”

“He is,” Senator Baca confirmed. “But in my office this afternoon.”

“Well I saw the Senator,” Blount replied. “I was hoping we could get it over with. Since I was here.”

“You mean you saw us,” Dante told him. “What do you really want, Mr. Blount?”

 “The truth about you and Marshal Hickok,” Blount said very straight forward.

Dante looked at me. Then he nodded. Knowing what I was thinking. But I bit my tongue.

“Dante Green is a member of my new Search and Rescue posse,”  I told him. “That’s what we are here to discuss.”

“But you did kiss him,” Blount said. “Deny it.”

“Deny what?” Dante asked. Causing Sam to laugh.

“Mr. Blount. It is not your right to know,” A.G. Ashworth told him. 

“Mr. Ashworth have you heard of Freedom of the Press?” Blount asked.

“I have Mr. Blount,” A.G. Ashworth told him. “But  that does not give you the right to the answer. Only to ask the question.”

“Mr. Blount,” Senator Baca interjected. “I understand Marshal Hickok is planning on teaching tracking. To the Cub Scouts he brought out of the National Forest.”

“And?” Blount asked.

“Well if the parents are okay with it,” Senator Baca said. “How about you doing a story on that?”

“And on the new Marshal’s posse,” Linzie added.

“Marshal’s posse?” Blount asked. “Tell me more about it.”

Linzie and the Senator looked at me to take it. But we were still ironing things out.

“Well we are only in the discussion faze,” I told him. “But since we are talking a Search and Rescue posse. We will start with a core group I took out this last time. If they want to be involved”

“You think they won’t want to?” Blount asked me, suddenly interested.

“I actually think they will want to,” I told him. “I simply can not speak for them at this time.”

“So when might you know more?” he asked me.

“How about Thursday afternoon,” Linzie told him. “After out planning is roughed out.”

“I will have to make some phone calls to see if they want to,” I told Blount. “We will probably add some people.”

“Is Donna on your list?” Linzie asked. “She is a nurse.”

“That’s a good one to add,” I replied. “Along with Jean, Antonia, and Alice.” Linzie chuckled.

“What about Amelia and Bass?” Dante asked. Linzie flinched at the names. Blount caught  it and became curious.

“Who are Amelia and Bass?’ Blount asked. Dante blushed realizing what he had done.

“They are friends of the Driscoll boys and my Godchildren,” I told Blount. “Who are currently visiting me.”

”Which I’ll have to check with mom and dad on this,” I said hoping to throw him off.

Blount looked at Linzie. But kept silent if he had it figured out.

“Well Director, What time tomorrow can come by the Marshal’s to learn more about this?” Blount asked.

They were all looking at me. So I did some quick thinking.

“Well we have to have some talks first,” I said. “So let’s set our eye on 2 P.M. tomorrow.”

“And you‘re welcome to come out this weekend,” I told , surprising even myself. “You can see how I teach tracking..”

“Are you serious?" Blount asked. I wanted to say no but I didn’t. “Can I film?”

“If we the parents okay it,” I told him as Dante squeezed my hand under the table. I knew this worried Dante. But something told me not to worry.

“Sure,” I said. Even Linzie looked at me.’I should be able to tell you more tomorrow.” 

“Now our food is here. So we would like to eat and talk more.” 

So Blount left. Saying tomorrow as he left.