Chapter 11 The Die is Cast
With our clothes on the floor. I put my arms around Dante. And as we kissed my phone rang. The ringtone let me know who was calling me.
“Really!” Dante said with a frown.
“Ethan McCall,” I told him. “It must be important to call after this morning.”
“Ethan you’re on speaker,” I told him when I answered. “We have an escape?”
“I’m afraid not,” Ethan said. His tone raised the hair on the back of my neck. “It’s worse than that.”
“What is it?” I asked him.
“Sharon got into my phone and called the director,” he explained.
“Then she called me.”
“She wanted to know what was going on. And why my wife was calling her.”
“And the rest?” I asked him knowing the answer.
“She’s flying in tomorrow,” Ethan told me. “I tried to tell her what was going on.”
“But she wants you in the office tomorrow when she gets there.”
“And what time is that going to be?” I asked as Dante was getting angry. And I couldn’t blame him.
“Well she doesn’t have a ticket yet,” he told me. “But she’s thinking noon.”
“We will Be There!” Dante said before I could say anything. But I smiled and kissed him.
“Are you sure you..?”
“Yes I do,” I said cutting Ethan off. “Besides she needs to meet Dante.”
“I’m sorry about this Billy, Dante,” Ethan said sounding truly sorry.
“We’ll see you tomorrow Ethan,” I told him. “And you need to give us the story behind her problem.”
“And I will tell you the whole story,” Ethan told us. “But I’ll do it tomorrow, and in person. Because I have a decision to make.”
“Okay,” I said. “We’ll wait then.”
Then we hung up. But as I looked at Dante. I could tell he was fuming. He was so mad he was shaking.
“Dante,” I said stepping toward him. I pulled him into my arms and kissed his cheek.
“What’s your director like?” Dante asked pulling back to look into my eyes.
“Well just so you know,” I told him. “Linzie Graff is a friend and a former partner of mine.”
“Really? She is?” Dante asked me.
“Yes she really is,” I told him.”Now we need to get everyone ready for tomorrow.”
“I want to crush Sharon McCall and end this,” I told him.
Just then my phone rang again. The area code was Virginia. And Linzie Graff was on the caller I.D..
“Behave!” I told Dante as I answered the call.
“Excuse me?” Linzie demanded as I put the phone one speaker.
“Sorry Linzie. But I was talking to someone else,” I told her. “And you are on speaker.”
“Well I guess he’s there!” she snapped at me. “And it’s director.”
“Pull that again Linzie and I hang up,” I told her sounding mad. “Then we do this all tomorrow.”
There was a pause. While Linzie was thinking it over.
“How old is he Billy?” she asked me. Her tone had changed.
“I’m 17 years old , Ma’am,” Dante said diving right in. “So that means I am at the age of consent in New Mexico.”
“Let’s face it Linzie. Sharon McCall has some problems,” I told her. “She has no business in our business. And not a legal leg to stand on.”
“OH! And you’re invited to the wedding,” Dante threw in unexpectedly. I almost laughed.
“What?” Linzie floundered at that. “Wedding? When is it?”
“My 18th birthday. The 23rd of May next year,” Dante told her. “It will be a triple wedding too.”
“Hickok! What the hell?” she demanded.
“Yes a triple wedding. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow when I introduce you to everyone,” I told Linzie. “Tomorrow.”
Again she paused. I knew Linzie Graff well enough to know she wasn’t conflicted. She was happy.
“So what do you want me to do Hickok?” Linzie asked me.
“To be honest. Say yes to coming to the wedding,” I told her. “Just come listen to the facts. This thing with Sharon McCall is being blown out of proportion.”
“So he’s worth pulling out all the stops?” Linzie asked me. Dante looked into my eyes and I smiled.
“If I have to… I'll retire to keep him,” I told her. Dante sat down hard on the bed.
“No! You don’t have to!” Dante said. “You can’t retire. I won’t let you.”
“Billy Hickok are you serious?” Linzie asked me. “Are you really going to retire.”
“If nothing else works,” I told them. “I’ve put in the time. Because he’s most certainly worth it.”
I sat down next to Dante. I kissed away his tears, as he said you can’t quit several more times.
Jimmy, Andrew, Jason, and Peter finally came in. They had heard Dante’s outburst. They came to check on us.
“Now Linzie we will talk more tomorrow,” I told her. “Or should I say Madame Director?”
“Tomorrow then,” she said with a bite of snark. “Smart ass.”
“Better a smartass than a dumbass, “ I said, then I hung up with a, “Good bye.”
“Billy you can’t quit,” Dante blurted out. “You can’t give up your career.”
“Quit?” Jimmy asked amazed.
“What?” Andrew asked. “What is he talking about Billy?”
I hugged Dante again. I kissed both his cheeks before answering.
“Dante I am not planning on retiring or quitting because of this bitch,”
I told Dante. “That means that bitch wins, and she is not going to win.”
“Can you two explain what the hell is going on?” Jimmy asked getting as upset as Dante.
Dante and I explained about Sharon McCall’s phone call to the Director. And that the Director was coming to Albuquerque, all because of her call.
Dante called his parents afterwards. While I called Mary Weathers to get some help. She said she would get Judge Avelos onboard to help out as well.
Then I called Bob and Jean. I don’t know who was madder, Jean or Daniel. It seems Daniel was listening in on another phone when he wasn’t supposed to be.
After Dante’s call, Sam called me to let me know Diane was furious. She had talked to Donna and Jean. They said that all promises were off. If we didn’t take her down, they would.
I finally went to the living room when I was finished. They were all waiting for me, especially Dante. He got up and came over to me, wrapping his arms around me.
“Well tomorrow is going to be busy,” I said as Dante snuggled up close. “So Dante I’m going to say something, and I want you to let me finish what I have to say.”
“But…!” Dante said. Wilting under my gaze.
“No. I’ll give you your chance to have your say,” I told him. “But I need to say this.”
“Okay,” Dante huffed.
“First you and Jimmy need to go register,” I told him. “Then you guys meet us at the Lawyers office.”
“Now Dante if we do as we have planned,” I told him. “We win.”
“Then after the lawyers. We go to the Federal Building and deal with this bitch.”
“Having to wait will push Sharon McCall into making mistakes,” I told them. “Like getting mad and making outbursts.”
Dante glared at me for a moment. Then he took a deep breath.
“And she doesn’t know about your mom, Jean, and Donna are going to be there. And that they want their own crack at her,” I said.
“I also called Mary Weathers an Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) for some help. And she’s calling Judge Carlos Avelos, for help.”
Dante huffed before he said anything.
“Okay. Your right,” Dante said. “But if it comes down to it. Don’t you retire.”
“It won’t,” I told him. Then I kissed him.
“It sounds good,” Jimmy said giving Andrew a kiss.
“Hey Dad, Billy,” Jason said. “Can we join you tomorrow. Peter and I want to get powers of attorney too.”
“That sounds good to me too,” Andrew said. “Billy?’
“Sounds fine to me,” I said. “I’ll email everyone’s information later. So they can have everything ready for us.”
Then my phone rang again. Dante rolled his eyes.
“Now who?” he asked still upset.
“It’s Judge Avelos,” I told him before I picked up. We talked for a few minutes.They could see my smile getting bigger.
“Thank you sir,” I said. “I’ll see you after Court tomorrow morning.”
“Well?” Dante asked me.
“After Mary told him what was going on. Judge Avelos said he’d be happy to help.”
“He’s Judge Carlos Avelos?” Dante asked. I had forgot Dante was taking Law classes.
“That’s him,” I answered him.
“Jason and I will start dinner,” Peter said with a kiss on Jason’s cheek.
“Sounds fine,” I said. But Dante was quiet. Jimmy and Andrew both noticed.
“Peter’s quite the chef,” Jimmy said.
“True,” Andrew added. “My future son in law is a bonafide chef.”
Dante got up and went to our bedroom. I followed him. When I got there he was already in bed. So I crawled up next to him.
I wrapped my arms around him. Then I kissed him on the cheek. He rolled over to look at me.
“Are you worried or scared?” I asked him.
“Both,” Dante told me.”This lady has a serious problem.”
“I’ve been scared all these years of not getting you,” Dante cried.
“Don’t be,” I said as I wiped away his tears. “You have my heart and soul.”
“So tomorrow we will end this problem,” I told him. “That’s why I was happy that Judge Avelos is on our side.”
I wrapped my arms around Dante. I pulled him in close. And he finally quit crying. Somewhere in there we dozed off. Then a knock on the door woke me.
“Supper,” Andrew said from the otherside.
I kissed Dante to wake him up.
“What?” a groggy Dante asked.
“It’s time to get dressed,” I told Dante. “Supper’s ready.”
“Do we have to get dressed?” Dante asked as he got a text.
“Now what if your mom shows up?” I asked. “And some of us sitting there buck naked?”
Dante laughed at that. He laughed hard and it made my heart soar.
“It’s dad,” Dante said holding up his phone while he continued to laugh. “She’s already on her way, with dad as a passenger.”
We both rolled with laughter.
“We all need to get dressed before she gets here,” I said as pulled on my jeans. I handed Dante his.
“I’m going to go tell everyone else,” I said pulling on a T shirt.
“Why?” Dante asked still laughing.
“I don’t expect Jimmy wants your mother to see him naked,” I said and we both rolled. As I opened the door. There was Jimmy looking a little confused.
“I heard laughing,” he said. “Is he okay?”
Dante cracked up again. Jimmy just looked from Dante to me.
“Dante’s mom is on the way,” I told Jimmy. “You would have had to have been there for the rest of it.”
“Hurry up or she’ll walk in on you while you’re naked,” Dante told him. Andrew walked up while Jimmy was trying to figure Dante out and got his ass slapped.
“Hey!” Jimmy yelped.
“Well hurry up,” he said to Jimmy. “You don’t want Dante’s mom to see you naked. Do you?”
“I’ll go tell Jason and Peter,” I told them.
“They’re dressed and setting the table,” Jimmy told us. Then ran into their room.
Ten minutes later we were on the patio getting ready to eat. Peter was a good cook. There was no denying it. Then we heard gravel crunch.
“Dante!” Diane yelled from around the corner. “Are you all descent back there?”
“We’re eating supper mom,” Dante said while shaking his head. We all were trying not to laugh. Then Sam and Diane came around the corner.
“What did you think mom?” Dante asked her. “That we were all naked?”
We had brought the others up to speed. So with that we all broke out laughing, and only Sam and Diane didn’t know what we were laughing about.
“Sam, Diane,” I said as the laughing started to subside. “This is Andrew’s son Jason and his fiance Peter Roberts.”
“Jason, Peter,” Dante said. “This is my mom and dad.”
They shared pleasantries and shook hands. Then Diane looked at me.
“Well?” Diane asked me.
“Oh!” I said acting surprised. But I knew what she wanted.
“They arrived about an hour after you all left. And we’re having a triple wedding,” I said.
“What?” Diane asked totally amazed. “No! That’s not what I meant.”
“Yes mom,” Dante said trying to keep his mom off balance. “You see Andrew asked Jimmy, and Jason and Peter tried to ask each other.”
“So we helped them out there,” Dante added. “So it’s a triple wedding.”
Diane stared at us for a moment. Then she smiled.
“Oh Hell,” Sam said when she smiled, “You’re on your own. Both of you.”
“”What about tomorrow?” she asked me.
“Well you, Jean, and Donna are going to join us,” I told her. “And we have Judge Carlos Avelos in our corner.”
Everyone was quiet for a few moments. Then finally.
“Wow,” Sam said finally breaking the silence.
“Now if you want to join us for dinner?” Dante asked them. “We have enough for the both of you.”
“And you never answered my question mom,” he said pushing his mom’s buttons some more. “Did you think we were all naked?”
We all snickered a little. Even Sam caught on to what was up. Then Diane started laughing outright.
Then Diane walked around and hugged her son.
“How are you feeling Dante?” Diane asked her son.
“Better. I was feeling down in the mouth,” Dante told her.
“He was scared,” I told her. “But...”
“But this and Billy made me feel hope,” Dante finished. “We can beat this bitch mom.”
I set their plates I just brought out for Sam and Diane. Diane grabbed me and hugged me to my surprise.
“What’s your plan?” she asked as well.
I went through everything we had talked about. They listened and asked a few questions. Then the question I wish they hadn’t asked.
“What if it comes down to your career or Dante?” Sam asked me.
“I’ll tell you both this. Like I told Director Graff and Dante,” I said.
“I will retire rather than give him up,” I added.
“Stop!” Dante yelled. I leaned over and kissed him.
“Now Billy, you don’t need to do that,” Sam told me. “We’ll keep him for a while if you want us to.”
Which promptly earned him a punch in the shoulder from Diane. I hugged Dante a little tighter.
“Hey I’m just saying,” Sam said drawing chuckles.
“Sorry Sam,” I told him with a smile. “But I’m keeping him.”
“If that’s alright with you two?” I asked them.
“Sure.” Sam said.
“Because if I lose him. I lose everything worth living for.” And I kissed Dante’s cheek.
Dante was in my arms the very next second. While it lasted for a few minutes. It felt like hours. Then we kissed to applause.
At that moment I didn’t care if Sam and Diane saw. The guys were still cheering and applauding.
“Now I’m sure Dante made the right choice,” Sam said getting a hug from his wife.
“Thanks,” I said.
“Boys let’s finish dinner before the food gets cold,” Diane said. “We’ve got a rough day to give someone tomorrow.”
The rest of the evening went quietly. We even did some rough wedding planning. Which picked Dante’s spirits up even more.