Written by: J.P.G.

{"Beneath the Mask" is pure fiction. As I am writing this story, I am above the age of 21. If you want a story with lots of sex, look elsewhere. This is a love story. Seeing, as it is a love story, sex is in there, but it is in realistic balance in the characters' lives.

Any similarity to any real events, names, or life events is purely accidental. If you are underage, (according to your state laws, a minor), if this literature is offensive to you or to anyone around your viewing area, or it is illegal for you to view such content where you are reading it, stop reading the story.

This story cannot be distributed in any way, shape or form without authors' express written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Editor: Daddy Rick

I have a home page for you to see what the characters look like or what the places look like. If you want to walk in their shoes, please go to: http://jacobmillertex.com/

Chapter 63

The slamming of the door not only got the attention of Alvarez and Luke, but most of those that were still working on the floor where the Chief of Police's office is at. Luke and Alvarez turned to see a very angry Falster looking back at them as he made his way to his desk. He didn't say a word, but they could tell he had enough with the bad press about the officers under his command. Officers that seem to be all bad, none of them upholding their sworn oath.

After the events in the garage in the court house, the press has been on the feeding frenzy. They have taken on the cleaning up the police force of El Paso as their civic duty since they believe their new police chief isn't up to the task. The only problem with that line of thinking is its wrong. Every officer in the police department is in fear of their new police chief. They are afraid they are next to be walking out the door without being allowed back.

Falster has already sent over fifty officer's packing since he was sworn in as the new police chief, but he knew before the events of last Friday, he was far from being done. The old ways of doing things in the department is in every veteran of the EPPD and will be very difficult to get them to think a differently. However he had no idea the officers were as bad as the one that dealt with Carlos in the courthouse parking garage, until he got the call that evening.

As he sat down, Falster pushed aside the files that were on his desk. He wanted a clear line of site to his two assistant police chiefs as he spoke with them. The two he handpicked to help him clean up the department. One that never worked in the department, like him, and the other was a detective who was well known as a person who followed the law to the T, not the ways of the department, which ruffled a lot of the old upper leadership.

"Just like me..." Falster spoke low, but in a commanding voice. "You guys can't be blamed for what one of our officers does when they are called out on a call. But the buck has to stop somewhere and that has to be me. I'm the man in charge, but you guys are my assistants, which means you two have to answer to the wrong our officers do as much as I do."

Both Luke and Alvarez shook their heads in agreement. "The thing I don't understand is why our officers are doing the things are doing. Neither they nor we are above the law, but someone has instilled in them that they are. That they are allowed to break the laws that they are sworn to up held in order to get the arrest! Can either of you two explain why they think that way? I know it isn't taught at the academy. So that means it is picked up once they get out."

Even though the question was thrown out at both Alvarez and Luke, Falster was just looking at Alvarez. Since Luke wasn't a veteran of the department before he came along, Alvarez was the only one in the room that could answer that question. He started out in uniform, climbed the ranks to detective and now assistant chief of police. So he should know what is being told to a new officer once they make it out of the academy by their training officers.

Alvarez looked back and forth between Falster and Luke a couple times before leaning forward and keeping eye contact only with Falster. "Sir, believe it or not what you think is the biggest problem of this department is, isn't. I mean yes our officers are being trained one way and then when they get assigned to their training officers, they are told to throw out what they have learned. But again that isn't the biggest problem I see."

"Then what is!" Falster showing frustration in his voice. "Come on now Mr. Alvarez just spit it out. That is the only way the problems of this department can be fixed is by you just spitting out whatever you think it is. If it isn't being retrained once they get to their substation, what is it? Is it that these guys believe the hype they are the law, so they don't have to obey the law."

"Some of them might believe that, but most of those you have already weeded out. No sir the problem is a lot larger than that." Alvarez took a minute to gather his thoughts before he continued. "The biggest problem that our police force faces today to the border town." That got confused looks from both Falster and Luke. "The war that is going on over there is leaking over the border and getting into our department. It has been for years."

"What do you mean?" Falster more confused now than he was before the conversation had started. "I was briefed by the mayor about the gang wars going on in Mexico, but he led me to believe that hasn't affected us here." Falster broke a smile for the first time since he walked into his office. "Damn it I knew I was being lied to. Any that watches the news could see that the war going on in Mexico is coming over the boarder."

"Exactly sir, the violence in Mexico at times has made it to the streets of El Paso. The mayor and the city council don't want to talk about it because of fear it would affect the little tourism we are getting right now. So they do everything they can to sweep it under the covers the best as they can. Sometime though they are not able to! You know that to be true because you were aware of the violence before taking the chief position."

Falster shook his head as he leaned back in his chair. He knew deep down that he was lied to by the mayor when he questioned the affects the gang wars in Juarez are having in El Paso. There was no way what he was being told was true due to the cities being so close together. So close that there is nothing separating them except a fence, which doesn't do much.

"The mayor of Juarez actually lives here in El Paso, out of reach from the drug cartels in Mexico, which is making them angrier by the day. There is a standing order on Fort Bliss that no American soldier is allowed to go over the border for any reason. We have alerted the citizens of our fine city on what might happen if they go over, but we can't keep them from going over.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because I'm sure you were not told it by the mayor or the city council. Plus it kind of gives you the feel on what is going on, laying down the ground works on what I'm trying to get out." Alvarez could see by the look on Falster's face that he is running out of patients. He doesn't care about the fillers; he just wants to know the facts.

"Let me get to the point here!" Alvarez stood up. "The drug cartels have actually gotten their teeth into our department. There are officers on the take, and we don't know who they are. We don't know how far up the chain it went. Or we don't know how many officers are dirty. The only thing we did know for certain was the former chief of police was on the take, but didn't have enough proof to take to a judge and have him removed from his position."

"Yeah..." Luke chuckled! "If you did find the proof you were looking for and took it to a judge, you didn't know if that judge was on the take as well. If the drug cartels got in here to our officers, the chances of them getting judges in their pocket is very likely. Assuming that, we have a huger problem than you originally thought."

"No I didn't ignore that possibility." Alvarez snapped back. "There was only one judge I trusted before the governor brought in Judge Evans and that was Judge Garcia. All the other judges on in that court room I don't trust as far as I can throw them. Since I can't throw them, I don't trust any of them. If they are not dirty with the cartels, they are duty another way."

"Enough!" Falster slammed his hand on his desk so hard causing everything on it to move from its original position. "If what you are saying is true Alvarez, we do have a major problem. No police force can function right when they have dirty officers within their ranks. And to make matters worse we have a mayor and city council more worried about the city image than letting the citizens of this city know on what is exactly going on here."

Falster got up and walked over to board where Alvarez was standing with a marker in his hand. He had three lists written on it. Officers he was sure were on the take on the far right hand corner of the board, officers that might be on the take in the middle and judges that they could trust in the far left side of the board. As he read through the list, Falster couldn't believe some of the names he was saw among them. Officers he had met and thought were good ones.

"How sure are you about this list you have written here?"

"One hundred percent!" Alvarez said as he tapped the board with the marker. "When I started to notice weird things happening with evidence, calls being ignored and cases being closed without any kind of investigations, I started investigating my own department. Since I was doing it without anyone knowing, I was only able to do so much. But as you can see by this list we are in trouble. If I found these officers by the way I was investigating, there has to be a lot more."

When Falster saw a few of his captains and sergeants on the list, he had enough. "What do you need to complete this investigation the right way? Name it and if I can get it done it will be done." Still stunned by the names on the board, Falster didn't make eye contact with Alvarez.

"To tell you the truth what I need you can't deliver! I mean we don't know as of now who we can trust in this department and who we can't. If we put together a task force like we should, we might actually put in that task force officers on the take. I really think we need to remove ourselves from investigating our own department and bring in an outside team to get it done."

"Come on now, you know that is almost impossible to get done!" Luke got up and joined the other two at the board. "Even if we can find an outside department willing to come in and clean up our house, we don't know if any of them might be on the take as well. If the cartels got into this department as deep as you say they have, there is no telling where their reach ends."

Not wanting to admit to himself, more so out loud to his boss and Luke that what Luke had just said could be right. The cartel could have gotten into the police forces all through the state of Texas. They could even have gotten an agent or two in the FBI and DAI as well. However, he knew that is really the only avenue open to them at that moment.

"Look I'm not kidding myself and I will not stand here and tell you guys that the cartels reach stops with our department. I know that would be a lie! But I don't know of any other solution to this problem. All I know is if we don't get the hooks the cartels have in our department out, we will never be able to have a clean department. That is a fact!"

Falster still hadn't budged from the spot he was in when he got to the board of names. He was half listening to the back and forth of his two assistant chief of police, but his attention wasn't completely on that conversation. He was trying to figure out a solution to the problem they have without going outside of his department, but he couldn't find a way.

As he turned to look at his seconds in command, Falster cleared his throat. "There is really no easy solution to these problems gentlemen. It took years to get to this point and it won't be fixed overnight. No matter how much the three of us want it to go that way, it just won't. These problems we inherited from the old regime are ours now to fix."

The Chief moved for the first time since he walked up to the board almost thirty minutes ago. He made his way back to his seat and sat down staring out the window speechless. Alvarez and Luke looked at each other, than the chief and back at each other a little confused about the silence in the room before deciding to take their seats again. They sat not saying a word for almost twenty minutes before Falster broke the uncomfortable silence in the room.

"For now we are going to have to investigate our department." Falster pointed back and forth between the three of them. "I will talk with the governor to see if he could send in a team of Texas Rangers that he trust to take over, but until then the three of us in this room will be doing the investigation. Don't trust anyone in this building or any of the other substations. Don't even talk about this investigation with your wives. I don't want water cooler talk to alert those that we are investigating. If that happens, we won't ever clean up this department."

At the same time, Alvarez and Luke shook their heads. Before letting them go to end their day, Falster went over what each of them were going to do. It was a lot of work for just three people, but they don't care. They are determined to do what it takes to clean up the mess that received from the old regime. Even if that means working night and night for a while.

Meanwhile back at the hotel Alex was trying to figure out a way to get his little brother out of the mix of things that was going on in the middle of the hallway. He had no idea what was going on and he didn't care. All he cared about at that very moment was to get his little brother as far away from this mess to safety as possible. However, he didn't know how being in the wheelchair and unable to maneuver at all in the crowded hallway.

Seeing that thinking wasn't getting him anywhere, he decided to through caution to the wind and just ram himself into the middle of the pile. Pushing his chair as far as he could away from the guys fighting to get a running start, Alex started to move his chair as fast as he could towards the pile, hitting the few guys that were fighting outside the bunch. When he hit the most crowded part of the pile it felt like he hit a wall. His chair stopped so fast he almost got thrown from it.

Not able to see his brother anymore, Alex started calling out for him, but he could barely hear his voice. There was no way his brother would be able to hear him. Knowing that time was an issue, Alex backed up his chair once again to the end of the hallway and with all his strength, he moved the wheels faster than he has ever done. By the time he got to the pile of guys fighting, he was going faster than the time before enabling him to reach the middle.

Frantically Alex looked around for his brother, but he didn't see him anywhere. The longer he stayed in the middle of the guys fighting, the more he was being swallowed up by them. What seemed like minutes, which was just seconds, the piled closed up on Alex. However, no matter how much he was being pushed around, he didn't try to get back out. He wasn't going to leave without taking his brother out of there.

However the longer he stayed in the middle of the pile, the more of that decision was being taken away from him. He was being pushed around like a pen ball in a game. Several times his chair almost tipped over, but somehow he was able to keep it up right, but that didn't last long. Just as he thought he saw his brother, several guys got pushed into his chair with huge force causing his chair to tip over.

No matter how much Alex tried to keep his chair up right, it was in vein. The floor started to come closer and closer to his face. Just as he prepared himself for the hit, someone grabbed a hold of the chair and put it back on both wheels. Before Alex could turn and see who saved him from tipping over, he was being pushed out of the pile of guys fighting.

Just as they cleared the pile, Alex turned and saw it was Aaron who saved him. He had no idea that Aaron was mixed up with the fight, more so in the hotel, but was thankful. If Aaron didn't come when he did, Alex knew he would be eating carpet and more than likely being pulled out of there with his legs broken even worse and many other bones in his body.

Not forgetting why he was in the middle of the fight, Alex looked back to the pile and spoke for the first time to Aaron. "Hey I am thankful for you saving my ass in there, but I need to get back in there." Alex looked up at Aaron with a worried look on his face. "One of my little brothers is in there. He called out for me. So I need to get back in there and pull him out."

"What do you mean one of your little brothers are in there?" Aaron looked over where Alex was pointing. He was a little confused at first, and then it hit him. "I didn't see one of your little brothers in there and i was there from the beginning." Now Alex was confused and it showed on his face. he was certain that he heard his brother calling out for him. "Maybe you were mistaken. Or maybe you heard someone that sounded like one of your little brothers."

"No I'm certain it was one of my little brothers calling out for me. I was in there..." Alex pointed to the room that he was using for his office. "When I heard the fight break out and I came out right away. At first I was going to ignore what was going on out here and head back into the room, but a figure in the middle of the pile caught my eye. A figure that was the size of my brothers, but I didn't get a good look at the person. Then he called out for me." Alex looked straight into Aaron's eyes. "So as you can see I need to help him. Will you help me please?"

Alex was pleading with Aaron, but he could see he wasn't getting anywhere with his pleads. Not happy with the reaction he got from Aaron, he turned and started to make his way back to the fight. Before he was able to make it two feet, Aaron reached out and grabbed the handles to Alex's chair and stopped him. Alex tried to wrestle free, but no matter how hard he tried to get free, it was useless.

"Alex my friend please stop fighting me!" Alex tried a couple more times to get free before giving up and turning his chair to look Aaron in the eyes. "First, I hope you know that I would walk through fire for you for all the things you and your friends have done for me already." Reluctantly Alex shook his head. "It wasn't one of your brothers that saw and heard when you first walked out of that room."

"What do you mean it wasn't one of my brothers I heard or saw?" Alex yelled, causing Aaron to take a couple of steps back. "Are you saying I'm crazy or something?" Aaron nervously shook his head. "Then what? You stood there less than a minute ago and said I was mistaken by what I saw and heard. I know what I saw and I sure in the hell know what I saw! So either help or get out of my way!"

Aaron refused to let go of Alex's wheelchair or move out his way. Alex wasn't listening to him, which was frustrating Aaron. He was acting like a man that has been lost in the dessert for days without water and sees a lake that isn't there. No matter how many times he is told the lake isn't real, he keeps going towards it and lands up drinking sand thinking it is water. Alex's lake is his brother, who isn't in the mix of the mess before them. The person he saw wasn't one of his brothers, but Aaron and he won't let Alex go until he understands that.

"If you would just calm down and listen to what I'm saying, you will see what you think you saw and heard wasn't what you thought it was." Alex stopped fighting Aaron, but Aaron could see that his friend looked more confused than he was before they started talking. "Thank you! Can we please go back into the room where you came out of? I promise you that you won't regret it."

Reluctantly Alex led the way back to the room where he came out of. However, every step of the way, or should be said for him, every turn of his wheelchair, he looked back over at the pile of guys fighting for his brother. He couldn't make out those fighting on the outside of the pile. More so anyone towards the middle, making him worry even more. As soon as they walked into the room, Alex turned and demanded Aaron to spill it without beating around the bush.

Clearing his throat, Aaron began in a low voice, but as he got to the middle of his first sentence, his voice was at regular level. "As I was trying to tell you out there it wasn't your brother who you saw and heard calling out for you, it was me." Alex's expression changed from angry confusement to stunned. "I was the one calling out for you when you came out of the room."

"No, no, it wasn't you, it was my brother!" Alex began to back up towards the door. "I know my brothers voice and that is the voice I heard calling out for. Why are you trying to keep me from going out there and saving him? Are you involved with those that are trying to hurt him, are you?" Alex started to yell. "Tell me the truth, are you trying to hurt one of my little brothers?"

"I don't know what I have ever done to make you think that way of me." Alex heard the disappointment in Aaron's voice. "I would never hurt you, your brothers, anyone in your family or anyone in this hotel for that matter. Look at me..." Aaron moved his hands up and down his body gesturing to his body size. "I couldn't beat up anyone even if I wanted to."

"I'm so sorry Aaron, please forgive me!" Alex relaxed for the first time since Aaron pulled him out of the pile. "It's just I have lived a life that can and will more than likely come back to haunt me someday. And when it does I'm afraid my sins will be visited upon my family, not me because they are easy targets. I on the other hand are always on the lookout for someone wanting to hurt me. So whenever I think that might be happening to my brothers or anyone I love, I will go on the defensive really quickly and do whatever it takes to keep them safe."

"Don't think I don't understand what you are saying because I do. The minute I moved into this hotel not only I heard stories about you, but was warned to stay away from you if I want to see my next birthday." That got a chuckle from Alex, which put a smile on Aaron's face. "I listened to what the others had to say, but never made judgment because I wasn't and still am not in the position to make judgment on anyone."

"Don't sell yourself short Aaron! You are no longer that scared little kid I saw in Principle Michaels office that day. In such a short time you have gotten very strong. So whatever you are doing, keep doing it." Aaron sat down as Alex moved towards him. "Anyone else out there wouldn't have been able to bounce back as quickly as you have on what you went through over there at your old school. Not only you had to change schools and move away from your family in order to do so, but you have to see your attacker almost every day. I don't know how you are able to do it. If it was me, I would have jumped that asshole the first chance I got."

This time what Alex said got a chuckle out of Aaron. "Oh man trust me I have wanted to do that ever since I found out he was being sentenced to the probation floor here. Then when I saw him for the first time I wanted to hurt him as bad as he hurt me, but I knew I wouldn't be able to do if I got a clear shot at him. Not only am I not built for fighting, but I don't know how. Plus I'm afraid of my own shadow when it comes right down to it."

Not meaning to, Alex showed his feelings in his facial expression, sad and petty for his good friend Aaron. He has taken for granite his natural ability to defend himself. Not for sure where he got it from, his mom or father since they both knew how defend themselves and never hesitated to do so. However, he never cared since he could remember he has had to use what he inherited from his parents, physical strength.

"Aaron I know I have not really spent the time with you like I should have." Aaron tried to interrupt Alex, but Alex didn't let him. "Let me say my peace before you say anything, okay?" Not liking it, Aaron agreed. "Good! As I was saying I really haven't spent the time with you like I should have and promised Principle Michaels and your father. That is going to change from this point on. I will find time every day to check in with you to see how things are going, okay?"

"Sure I would love that, but you don't have to do that if you don't have the time. I know between school and everything else you do after school the time you have left you want to spend it with Matt. I don't want to be the cause of you not having time to be with Matt or your brothers and family." Before Aaron could go on Alex interrupted him, causing him to lose his train of thought.

"If I couldn't do it or it would take away from the other things I want to do, I wouldn't offer it. Plus as I said before I promised Principle Michaels and your father that I would be here for you and I never break a promise to anyone. Even if I'm forced into the promise, I don't break it." By the expression on Aaron's face Alex knew he miss spoke and needed to correct it. "And the promise I made to be here for you I wasn't forced to make. I wanted to and that is the truth." Wanting to get away from the subject he miss spoke on, Alex quickly changed the subject. "So why are you here when you should be in school?"

"Well I needed someone to talk to and you were the only that came to mind. There is this guy at school by the name of Chris who likes me." Aaron went into detail on what he and Chris have discussed and done so far. As he talked the boys didn't notice the noise in the hallway has quieted down. As they talked, the guards got control of the boys who were fighting. "So what do you think? Should I try and see where this leads with Chris or should I walk away. I'm scared it's too soon!"

"First of all it is never too soon to start dating if you think you found the person for you. And second of all, I have heard about this guy Chris, but I don't put any weight behind rumors. I don't like it when it is done to me and there is no way I will do it to anyone else. Until I meet a person I pass judgment on them." Alex leaned forward in his chair, closing his hands together. "So tell me more about Chris and how you feel about him."

Aaron had no idea what else to tell Alex. He had already told him everything, but figured to go over it once again, but in more detail in the parts he left detail out. It didn't take long for Alex to get a complete picture on what Aaron wanted from it. It wasn't so much if it was okay to be dating, but it was okay to be dating this guy. That only meant one thing, Alex thought, Aaron has heard the rumors about Chris as well is and worried about them.

"I won't lie to you Alex, I'm afraid for many reasons. I'm afraid that I might be jumping into this to soon with a guy I really don't know. I'm afraid of what my father and brother are going to say if this goes where I hope it will go. They are barely getting use to me being who I am. If I go to them this quickly after moving to a new school with a boyfriend it might set things back with them. And I won't lie to you! I'm afraid on what the guys here and at school will think about us once it goes public. They know me as the kid that, well you know and Chris, you know that to."

"Yes you are right I know about both of you, but who gives a shit." Alex could see that Aaron was shaking so he placed his hands on Aaron's knees. "You don't pay attention to those fucks out there that say things about you and your relationships behind your back. If they don't have the guts to tell you in your face, they are cowards and don't deserve to be given the time of day.

As far as your father and brother I really don't know what to tell you there except I think they will be happy for you." Alex cracked a comforting smile. "Your father did everything in his power as a father and a principle to get you somewhere safe and somewhere that you could be yourself. I doubt he or your brother will shy away from you now that you are in a relationship. In fact, I think they would be happy for you and want to meet the guy that stole your heart.

About Chris, well again I really don't know what to see there about him. I never met the guy so I can't say anything good or bad about him. Don't get me wrong I have heard the rumors about him, but as I said before I don't put any weight behind rumors. He must be a nice guy if one of the governor's kids went out with him at one time. All the bad rumors of him came after that, but I think it was because he was lost, and maybe you are his savor as he is yours.

And you jumping into a relationship to soon, there is nothing written in stone that says when we should get into a relationship with another. Look at me and Matt for example. I screwed up my life and landed up in a detention facility where I met him. I knew who I was and who I loved, but had to hide it because of who I became, the gang leader, my father's son. But when I saw Matt my walls went crumbling down and I couldn't hide my true feelings. It wasn't weeks or months before we decided to be with each other. It was days after we opened up to each other. And that was in a detention facility. If you love Chris and Chris loves you, time doesn't matter."

Everything Alex had just said made Aaron think. There was silence in the room for a while as he fell into deep thought about the advice he was just old. Not one word was wrong or misspoken and that gave Aaron confidence he didn't have before. It also gave Aaron the strength to say the hell with everything and everyone and to follow his heart for the first time in his life.

After what seemed like an hour of silence, Aaron spoke. "You are right, you are right on everything you just said." For the first time since they sat down to talk, Aaron sported a complete smile across his face. "I need to stop thinking too much into things and just follow my heart. I want to see where things lead with Chris. And I hope it goes where I have dreamed it would go, to a relationship that blossoms to a long lasting one."

"If you keep that positive outlook on it, it will, I promise you it will. When Matt and I got released from that detention facility, I did the same thing you are about to do and look where we are right now. Deeper in love than we ever have been with family and friends that support who we are and not judge us for who we love and how we live. I don't see my life anymore without Matt at my side and I know Matt feels the same way about me."

Hearing that completely reinsured Aaron he understood what Alex was saying and he made the right decision on where to go with Chris. The two boys talked still another hour or so before Aaron headed up to his room to get ready to see Chris later that afternoon. Even though he landed up not going to his afternoon classes, he still planned on meeting up with Chris like they normally do in the same spot after school.

At the same time while Alex and Aaron were in their meeting, Stefano and Dante were in Juarez in a little run down market place waiting for their meeting. They had been sitting there in the room alone for almost thirty minutes before several guys walked in and joined them. They didn't say a word; they just sat down at the table looking straight forward. Seeing that Stefano was certain they were under links, not the man they came to see, the boss.

A few minutes after they sat down, the door opened again and several more guys walked in. This time Stefano was certain that one of the guys was the big man by the way the guys that walked in before them reacted. They immediately jumped up and stayed standing until the main boss took his spot at the head of the table. Not knowing the correct procedure or wanting to not show any kind of disrespect to the boss, Stefano and Dante stood up as well. Nervous as can be, but the two boys didn't show it. No sat back down until the boss took his seat.

No said a word. They sat there looking in the direction of the boss waiting for him to start the meeting. "I took this meeting out of respect to Mr. Garcia." The boss spoke in a commanding voice in Spanish. "I know you two thought I took the meeting because of family connections, but you would be wrong thinking that. Yes you wanting a meeting with me was brought to my attention through family connections, but I wouldn't have taken the meeting until I was able to clear you two with Mr. Garcia."

Stefano thought Mr. Garcia was intimidating whenever he spoke, Mr. Velastegui is worse. The guy reeks don't screw with me and if you do you are the walking dead. He stood almost six feet tall, but one would think he was a lot taller than that on the way he held himself. He dressed in a suite, which surprised Stefano. Stefano was suspecting a guy to walk through the door in jeans, cowboy shirt and cowboy boots, but not him. Not only the way he dressed surprised Stefano, but he was clean shaving and his hair was nicely cut and combed. Nothing what Stefano suspected. However, the way he was talking was exactly what Stefano was suspecting.

"I hold a lot of respect for Mr. Garcia and when we talked he told me that you Stefano are his appointed captain for this area. For that reason and that reason alone is the reason I decided to take this meeting." Mr. V looked over at one his guys who quickly handed him some papers. "I understand you are reaching out to us for help on finding one of your own you know has run here to Mexico." Stefano knew better than to answer Mr. V with a head shake. So he verbally said yes. "Well after speaking with Mr. Garcia, I had my men start shaking some trees to see what fell out. So far nothing worthwhile has, but that doesn't mean anything."

Stefano took a few extra seconds to make sure his response was worded before speaking. "Sir I'm thankful for what you have already started to do to help us get our hands on our missing member before the police get to him, but that is my biggest worry, the police. They already had him, but he escaped from their custody. While doing so, he killed several of police officers. So to say they want Ashton really bad would be an understatement. They are doing everything they can to get him before we do, which includes breaking the law. We need to get him and soon."

Mr. Velastegui started to laugh, which got the other guys in the room to laugh. Stefano and Dante looked around the table trying to figure out what they were laughing about, but couldn't figure it out. All they knew it had to be something that Stefano had said, but Stefano didn't think he said anything that was funny, at least in his opinion. Mr. Velastegui and his guys think differently and Stefano and Dante wishes they would be let into the joke.

"Look boys, you guys are young and have no idea how things are done. I know those assholes pigs on the other side of the border are looking for your guy, but they won't get to him before we do." Mr. Velastegui looked at his guys who were shaking their head in agreement. "And if they do by any chance, they will hand him over to us so where we can get our justice first."

That confused Stefano even more than them laughing at what he had just said. What does Mr. Velastegui mean that the police are going to hand over Ashton to them if they get to him first? He agrees he is new at their world, but he is sure of one thing. If the police get their hands on Ashton first, there is no way they are just going to hand him over. If anything, they might let them get their justice in lock up, but even them that is most unlikely. The guy killed two of their own and the police don't take to kindly to that, and more so here in Teas.

"I'm sorry Mr. Velastegui, but I don't understand when you say the police will simply hand over Ashton to us if they get to him first. After all the guy killed several of their own and several incent bystanders as well! There is no way they are going to hand him over. If anything, they might throw out their own justice before he makes it to lock up."

"They might, but I high doubt that if they know what is good for them!" Once again that statement confused Stefano. "Let me put it another way Mr. Rivera, I not only run the police in this city, but our sister city across the border. Some of them think they answer to that asshole of a chief-of-police who is trying to clean things up over there, but they don't. They answer to me and me only. If anyone wants to question that at any time I will answer them immediately."

Mr. Velastegui formed his right hand into a gun and aimed it to one of his guys before pretending to shoot it. Ashton got the message. If anyone would stand up to the big man, they will find themselves six feet under in an unmarked grave somewhere in the middle of the Texas dessert. And there is no doubt in Ashton's mind that he has sent that message not only to the police on both sides of the border, but to those who attempted to unseat him many times.

"My men may have not found anything yet, but they will. Just give them time. For now just go back to El Paso and get all the other issues you are dealing with Mr. Rivera under control. Mr. Garcia was telling me that you guys are having problems with the drugs and getting the drugs up to him and his people in the prisons. As you know that is our money maker and how we keep control of things. So you need to get that fixed and I mean now."

Stefano didn't need to be told once again what he needs to fix. He knows and is doing everything he can to get it done. However, he inherited all the issues, but he knows he can't say that. Not if he wants to walk out of that room alive. He knows he knows the boss is looking for him to have answers and plan to be laid out in front of him right there and then.

Thinking quickly on his feet, Stefano did just that. "Well sir I agree with you that our drug trade is not only a money maker, but it keeps us on top in the prisons. So I have pulled in my guys and made it clear to them that our number one priority is to get the pipe line going again and I have put in steps on getting that done. By the end of the month we will be back to full strength on the flow of drugs through the pipeline to our guys up there in the prisons."

The boss smiled as he shook his head looking at his guys sited around the table. "You sound like a very educated man, something new from the past. Those that have sat where you sit right now ran their position by muscle and intimidation, but those days are gone." Mr. Velastegui stood up and waived his hands up and down the front of his body. "Look at me and the way I'm dressed and talk. In order for us to survive, we must adapt to the new world. But don't get me wrong, if someone fucks with me, I have no problem killing that person."

Mr. Velastegui sat back down with an evil grin on his face. "You are the new generation of leaders and I like that. I like the way you talk and the way you handle yourself, but I'm afraid of one thing." Mr. Velastegui looked at Stefano straight into his eyes. "I'm afraid that you don't have the balls to do what needs to be done when things are not going right. There will be times you are going to have to either order the killing of someone or you doing it yourself. I don't think you will be able to do neither."

"With all due respect sir, you are wrong." Stefano straighten up in his seat, not breaking eye contact with the boss. "I will never be the one pulling the trigger, but I have no problem given the order to my under links to get it done. That is what they are there for, to do the dirty work. I have to keep my hands clean in order to stay where I'm at right now, in the seat of power!"

That got a reaction from Mr. Velastegui that Stefano or Dante didn't suspect to get. He started to laugh hard, hitting the table at the same time. Stefano thought he was dead after he heard the words that were leaving his mouth, but couldn't stop himself. Now he has no idea where he stands. The only thing he is certain of is the boss is completely different than he thought he was.

"I really like you, I really do!" Mr. Velastegui reached over the table and started to pat Stefano on his shoulder. "Mr. Garcia chose wisely when he chose you to lead up one of the most important area of the drug trade. We are going to work well together, we are." Mr. Velastegui stood up and walked around the table to where Stefano was sitting. "We are going to have a long and very prosperous relationship together. I can see things going well, very well!"

Stefano stood up and shook Mr. Velastegui hand that was extended to him. "Thank you sir and those are my wishes as well. Both sides of the border need to work together like a well-oiled machine if we are to stay in power the way we are today. And at the same time as you said we have to change with the time, but don't forget who we are. If someone tried to step up to us and test our power we can't hesitate to show them we are the same as we always have been."

Leaving the meeting wasn't as spooky as it was for the boys when they arrived. Once Mr. Velastegui left the room, they were allowed to leave. The guy that met them at the door when they first walked in saw them out. All the way back to the car, neither of the boys spoke a word. It wasn't until they got into the car and had driven several blocks away from the old market before the silence was broken. Even then it was small talking until they reached the bridge.

They talked about how the meeting went. Both of them were surprised that the two head men were able to talk when one of them was in prison and the other was more than likely a wanted man. The conversation quickly moved on to how it looked to them that Mr. Velastegui had given his stamp of approval for Stefano's appointment. Having that approval gave the boys confidence to move forward on what they wanted to do within their ranks in El Paso.

It didn't take long for the conversation to move to the two main points that were talked about in the meeting with the boss and his guys. The Ashton problem looks like it will be handled and they will have him in their hands when the guy shows his face. However, the boys knew the drug pipeline issue wasn't solved as Stefano led Mr. Velastegui to believe. The long wait on the bridge and the rest of the way back to Stefano's home, they came up with a plan and how to execute it.

Back at the hotel Alex and Aaron had headed up to their private rooms. Alex felt good how he handled things with Aaron. He was in such high spirits that on his way to his room he popped his head in to see how Jeremy was doing. He wasn't surprised to find his friend in his room doing the same thing he always finds him doing, drawing and playing with Cupid in his lap.

Not wanting to take Jeremy out of his daily routine, Alex turned to leave. As he reached the door Cupid ran between his wheels of his wheelchair making him stop quickly. He didn't want to crush the poor little fur ball. Once he was able to reach the fluffy fur ball, he picked it up and as he turned to take it back to Jeremy he found Jeremy had made it to his feet and was heading over to him with a big smile on his face.

'You need to watch Cupid' Alex started to sign. 'I almost ran her over with my chair. What would we do if I had done that.' Jeremy didn't respond to Alex at first. He gently took Cupid from his hands and held her tight to his chest. 'You really do love that do don't you.' Alex didn't get a response. 'Well I can understand why since she is probably your only company all day long.'

Jeremy placed Cupid down on his bed so where he could respond. 'I know you Alex and you wouldn't have run over my Cupid. You are always looking around all the time, so there is no way you would run over my dog.' Jeremy smiled as he reached for his drawing book. 'I have something for you that I wanted to give you the other day.'

Pulling out a drawing from his notebook, Jeremy walked over to Alex and handed it to him. Alex couldn't believe what Jeremy had drawn for him. To say it was good would be selling the drawing short. It was a picture of him and Matt together and there was no mistaken it was him and Matt. The picture was very detailed. It actually looked like a professional had done it.

'This is really nice Jeremy, thank you!' Alex moved closer to give Jeremy a hug. Normally Jeremy doesn't let anyone touch him, more so hug him. There are very few people he allows that type of contact and Alex is one of them. So when he reached out his arms, Jeremy knelt down and allowed Alex to wrap his arms around him. Even though Jeremy didn't wrap his arms around Alex, Alex knew Jeremy was returning the hug.

Just as they broke the hug, Matt walked into the room. He and Jeremy aren't as close as Jeremy and Alex are, so he stayed at the door and it was the smart move. The minute Jeremy saw him; he quickly moved back to his bad and turned away. It wasn't that Jeremy was afraid of Matt. This is the way he is with everyone that he doesn't really know or has let in.

Alex turned his chair around to see who freaked out Jeremy. "Hey there Matt, what are you doing back here so soon?" Alex looked over at the clock on Jeremy's night stand. "You should be at school in fifth period, not here. You can't afford to miss any more days of school." Alex spoke with concern in his voice as he turned back to Matt.

"At lunch I talked with Principle Michaels and told him how important it was for me to go with you to the bank. He was reluctant at first to let me go, but after explaining what the meeting at the bank was for, he told me he will cover me. He will make sure I don't get counted absent for my last two periods today, but I had to promise him it was the last time."

"Man that guy is so cool. When I first met him I thought he was going to be a prick, but he has shown me how wrong I was by judging him by the position he has." Alex chuckled as he turned and moved his chair over to Jeremy. He tapped Jeremy on his shoulder to get him to look up. 'I will be back soon and we will hang out, is that okay with you.' Jeremy signed back yes. "Good now come back over here and give me a hug before I head out.'

Without hesitation Jeremy walked over to Alex and gave him a goodbye hug. Before Alex turned his chair to leave, he signed goodbye and Jeremy signed goodbye back. Alex felt bad not able to spend more time with him, but he had to take care of a couple of things at the bank before it closed. The only thing that put his mind at rest for leaving Jeremy so soon was the promise he will follow through on hanging out with him when he gets back from the bank.

With Matt's help, Alex was dressed and ready to go in less than thirty minutes. On their way out, they stopped in to see if Franseca still wanted to join him now that Matt was there. She didn't need to be asked twice. In one move she grabbed her purse and coat and met the boys at the front door of the hotel. As they walked out, Alex asked his mother if it was okay if Matt drove. At first Franseca was suspicious of the request, but when Alex followed it up with that he had something to tell her and needed her full attention, she ignored her suspicions and climbed into the passenger seat after helping her son in.

Matt already knew what Alex was going to talk with their mother about, so he didn't pay attention to the conversation. Not beating around the bush, Alex cut straight to the heart of what he wanted to tell his mother. After telling his mother about the meeting he had with the attorney the Friday before, he pulled out the check and showed it to her. When she looked at the check she couldn't believe what she was looking at. She has never seen so many zeros in her life.

"I don't know what to say! I really don't know what to say!" Franseca kept saying over and over again as she stared down at the check. Finally after repeating the same fraise for almost five minutes, she looked up at her son with a proud look on her face. "You know I was already very proud of you son before this, right?" Alex shook his head. "This is the guy above looking down at you and helping you out, answering you prayers!"

"Answering our prayers mom because this money isn't just mine, it's ours!" Franseca started to shake her head, but Alex wouldn't hear any of it. "Mom you have worked so hard all your life and been given the short end of the stick every time. It wasn't until Jacob and his family opening up their doors to us that our luck started to turn around. Now with this money, you don't have to worry about anything anymore. You don't have to work for no one, and that includes Jacob."

"Alex I like working for Jacob and his family. I can't see myself retiring this young." Franseca handed Alex back his check. "As you just said they have been the only ones that have been good to us and we don't return that goodness by throwing them the middle finger when one of us gets money. I know I brought you up better than that."

"Yes mom you did! You misunderstood what I was suggesting." Alex felt bad that his mother was thinking the way she was thinking about him at that very moment. The evil Alex has returned. "I was just trying to tell you if you wanted to relax and not work so hard like you have done since I could remember, you can. There is no longer a worry for money anymore like in the past. We now have enough money that will last a life time for all us and even more once I talk to Jacob's grandfather and ask him to invest it like he did Jacob's."

That put even a bigger smile on Franseca's face. She sees now in her son a man, a true man that doesn't look just at today, but at tomorrow as well. The old Alex would have taken the money and spent it as if it was burning a hole in his pocket, but not the new one. Not the Alex that is sitting next to her right now. He is thinking about the future and best way to handle his money.

"I know Al will help you out on investing the money. In fact, he would be proud to because you are bettering yourself." Franseca leaned over and kissed her son on the forehead. "Just wait a couple of days before calling him up and asking for the favor. He just left yesterday back to Austin with the governor. By what I have read and seen on the nightly news they arrived to a mess and they need a couple of days to get things under control."

"I was thinking the same thing as far as when to call him up. I was thinking about calling him on Friday before we leave to Disneyland, what do you think mom?" Franseca agreed. "Now I have another concern I need your opinion on." Alex's expression quickly changed. He now has a serious look on his face. "Matt and I are at odds here and we agreed to leave it to you to tell us what the best avenue we should take here." Franseca matched Alex's serious look with her own.

"After what happened the last time between me and those at the bank I don't want to take the loan from them now that we can buy the building with cash, but Matt wants to take the loan. He feels that we need to do it so where we can establish our credit as a company, which I agree. But I believe we can do it a different way, just not with this bank and with this loan."

Franseca understood where her son was coming from, but at the same time she understood where Matt was coming from as well. She hated the bitterness she tasted right now because she didn't agree with her son. She agrees with Matt on taking a loan if nothing more than to establish their business as a business, not just a news stand.

"Well you guys both have right and wrong at the same time, but Matt is less wrong." That blew Alex back and Franseca saw the disappointment in her son's face. "Alex I understand how angry you are about how you were treated when you went in for the loan, but you have to be bigger than those that treated you wrong. You and Matt are now business owners about to grow your business and add another branch to it. Forget what those pricks did and said at the bank the last time you were there. Take their money and laugh at them as you walk out."

"Yeah, but mom if we take the loan instead of buying the building straight out, we are going to land up paying for the building a lot more than what we financed. We did a lot of back and forth to get the price down and we are about to throw all that away. I don't want to do that. I want to own the building straight out like Jacob and his grandfather does with theirs."

"First let me touch on the last thing you said. Jacob and his grandfather are able to own their building straight out, but remember they couldn't do that at first either. Now that they are so big with so many different companies, they can pretty much afford to buy anything in this city. The other day I overheard a conversation between Jacob's parents that Jacob is about to break the billion mark. That is a hell lot of money."

Matt couldn't believe his ears. He looked at Alex through the rear view mirror to see if he heard right. All he got back from Alex was the same surprised look that he had. Neither of them, as well Franseca, knew that Jacob had that much money. They figured he was in the hundreds of millions, but not about to break the billion mark. Even harder to believe that is the way Jacob and his family act, not rich.

"Now on the other issue you raised Alex about what you guys are going to land up paying for the building when it is all said and done. You are right the contract will be written out that when you do get finished paying for the building you are going to pay a lot into interest, but you are not forced to pay that interest rate. Banks like interest, but they like their loan paid more.

So this is what you will do. For the next couple of years let Al do his thing with your money. Let him invest and make you guys money like he did Jacob. While he is doing that, you guys keep up the payments on the building. Pay the loan before the due date every month. Once Al makes you guys enough money to pay the building off, pay it off."

Alex loved what he was hearing. They take the loan from the bank today before depositing the check he has. Once the check clears, he and Matt talk with Jacob and Al and see what they could do to at least double their money, if not more. Also it will allow Alex to do the thing he wants to do the most, pay Jacob back in full on the loan he gave him and Matt to start their business.

They talked the rest of the way to the bank what they were going to do when they got there. Each of them agreed on everything, making the conversation go a lot easier. By the time they got there and parked the SUV, they had a plan of action. Unlike Friday, they will walk in and be calling the shots, not the bank manager or the loan officer.

As promised when Alex got back to the hotel, he went straight up and spent several hours with Jeremy and Cupid. When Jeremy was tuckered out and started to get ready for bed, Alex made his leave and went looking for Matt, who he found walking in from work. He joined him and the other guys for dinner in the restaurant before heading up to their room.

The next day was a little slower than the day before. However, there was a big difference in Alex's schedule from the days before since he had been released from the hospital. Principle Michaels sent Alex his work from his classes, which didn't make him happy. He thought that he wasn't going to have to do school work while his doctor kept him home, but he sees now how wrong he was assuming that.

It didn't take Alex long to catch up with the work he had missed and do the work that his fellow classmates were going to be assigned that day. Once he was done, he went up and spent some time with Jeremy before lunch. After lunch he went to the room that he has been using for his office and did the little bit of work he was able to do from there, which wasn't much.

Mainly he worked on moving his and Matt's business. He knew he needed to hire a moving company to move the machines since they were so huge. Plus he and the others had no idea how to take them apart and then set them back up. So he had to get a company that knew how to do that, which he called on Jacob for help on that since Jacob hired the moving company twice already to move the machines and set them up.

The rest of the afternoon went slow for Alex after he completed the work he had to do. Once Matt got home from school, he jumped into the SUV with the others and headed downtown with them to drop the guys off before heading over and taking a look at their new building.

When they drove into the parking lot there were a couple of cars parked in front, but when they drove around the back they saw truck after truck backed up into the loading bays. They counted the trucks as they drove past them, and then recounted them again when they drove back around to get back to the front. Even though they owned the building, they felt it was right to go through the front doors of the building instead of the back bays since the employees didn't know them.

Once Matt parked the SUV, he quickly got down, pulled out Alex's wheelchair and helped him into it. Once Alex was settled into his seat, Matt started to push him into the building. As soon as they got through the double glass doors they were greeted by a secretary. Alex introduced himself and Matt, but didn't tell the secretary that they were the new owners. He asked to speak with the manager and that was it. She tried to get more information why, but got none.

She took another look at the two young men before heading back to her desk. She picked up her phone, said a few words into it before hanging it up. A few minutes later a middle age man dressed in the company shirt and badge slacks walked in and over to the window. He looked out and when he made eye contact with Alex and Matt, he waived them over.

"Good afternoon gentlemen, my name is Vincente and I'm the branch manager here, how can I help you?" Vincente presented Alex and Matt his business card as he extended his hand. He was not going to take any chances after hearing that they were bought out. Although he had no idea who the new owners were, he knew whoever it was will be visiting soon.

"Thank you Vincente..." Alex looked down at the card he and Matt was presented. "Mr. Delgado my name is Alejandro Garcia and this here is Mathew Robinson. We are the new owners of the building, which makes us new owners of this vending company." It was very noticeable that the three secretaries behind Vincente were trying to hear what was being said. "Is there a place we can talk in private?"

Without hesitation Vincente buzzed Alex and Matt in. He met them at the door and escorted them to his office. Before shutting the door, he asked the guys if they wanted something to drink. At first, Alex and Matt said no, but when prompted again they asked for a couple of sodas. It took Vincente a couple of minutes to grab their drinks and return.

"Okay, I'm sorry about the girls up front, but you can't blame them." Vincente spoke low as he shut his door and then handed the boys their drinks. "For the last year we have been walking on egg shells here. We were told that if we were not bought within a year, we will be closed and right at the eleventh hour here you guys are." Vincente looked closer at the two young kids sitting before him. "Before I say what I'm about to say that I don't mean any disrespect, but you two don't even look like you are out of high school. How can you own us?"

Alex laughed as he looked back and forth from Matt and Vincente. "You are right we haven't graduated high school yet, we are in our junior year. But we can and are the new owners of this vending company. Alex looked around the office. "And to tell you the truth we didn't want the vending company, we just wanted the building for our print shop. But in order to get the building, we had to take the vending company that was in it."

"So if you didn't want this company you will more than likely shut us down?"

"I didn't say that did I?" Alex shot back establishing that he and Matt are the bosses. "We were not in the market for a vending company, but we got one through the purchase of this building. Now that we do have it, we are going to make a go of it. We are going to do everything humanly possible to get this company back in the black and keep it that way. But in order to do that there are going to be changes like in any buy out, and I know you already know that."

"Yes I was suspecting that and so are the employees here. I hope before you make decisions regarding layoffs you will at least meet the employees. You will see that they are fine group of people that have families they are supporting. If they get laid off, their chances on getting a job in this field is very slim to none, and they aren't trained for anything else."

"This is a company Mr. Delgado and we have to run it as such. We can't allow our hearts to make decisions regarding how this company is going to be run." Alex looked at Matt and saw a look on his face that he didn't like seeing. "With that said, we are not going to walk in here and start firing people. If anything, we will move the employee around into different areas of the company without a deduction in pay before laying them off. Matt and I don't believe in firing. The only way an employee separates from our company is by his or her own free will. They are the ones that decide their time with us is over and give us their two week notice."

Vincente liked what he was hearing. Alex and Matt took turns going into more detail how things were going to work. By them bringing in a print shop gives more security to the employees than they have now. If their positions need to be eliminated, they will be offered a job in the other section of the company. It would be up to them to take it or leave it at that point.

Then when Alex mentioned that they were tied into the Angel Corp., Vincente breathed in a side of relief. He knows about the new corporation and how big it has gotten in the last year. Being part of that company means they are more secure than ever before. On top of that, they will more than likely take over the vending machines in the company's buildings. As of right now it is a big chunk of business that their competitor has and he wants. It will secure jobs.

After going over briefly everything they would like to do, Alex asked for a tour of the building, which Vincente was eager to give. The first areas Vincente showed Alex and Matt were the vending part of the factory, which blew the boys minds away. They had no idea so much went into filling the machines they have bought from in past. After seeing that, the boys have a different view of the vending machine business.

When Vincente finally got to the huge empty part of the factory he stopped. He couldn't go any further because he didn't have the keys to that part of building, but Matt did. Fumbling through the huge ring of keys, Matt finally found the key that unlocked the door. As soon as the three guys walked through the door, they stopped in their tracks.

They stood there in awe of how huge the place was. Vincente knew on the other side of the wall the place had to be big, but he underestimated how big it was. Both Alex and Matt were setting up their print shop in their minds in the open space. Where each machine was going to go and how many other machines they were going to be able to put in that they have been wanting to, but didn't have the space where they are at now.

Alex turned and smiled at Matt. "Well this is exactly what we needed, right?" Matt shook his head as he pushed Alex onto the open floor of the factory. "Not only we will have room for the machines we have now, but a lot more room to get the machines we have wanted and then some. Man o man we made the right decision here."

Both of the boys tried to hide their excitement from Vincente, but weren't able to. They didn't want to look like kids and lose respect from an employee of theirs, which they didn't. Vincente liked seeing the energy in his new bosses. He felt that is exactly what the vending company needed, energy and youth in the highest anarchy of the management.

Not much more was talked about between Alex, Matt and Vincente. Alex and Matt weren't certain if they were going to keep Vincente in his position or not. They didn't want to give him false hope that he is safe. It could come out that it isn't his fault that the vending company has been run to the ground, but on the other hand it could have been his miss management that caused it. Until they were certain, they had to keep their distance from getting too chummy with him or anyone else for that matter within the vending company.

After leaving the new factory, Matt and Alex went out to eat. They hadn't really had any alone time in a while. So they decided to steel the couple of hours Matt had before having to go and pick up the guys at the print shop and take them home for themselves. It wasn't much, but Alex and Matt were happy with that time and used it wisely.

By the time Matt had gotten home after picking up the guys, Alex had already made it up stairs to their room and was in bed. Matt tried to wake him up when he crawled into bed, but Alex was out. Not even a bomb going off next to him would bring him out of his coma. Being out and more active than he has been since he came home from the hospital and the pain meds he took when he got up to their room is the reason why he couldn't be woken up.

Before the sun even had come up, Judge Garcia was stumbling into the poorly lit courthouse. Since he was one of the few courts in session that early in the morning, the court house lights were not completely on, which angered Garcia. He knew his way around the lobby, but things were moved by the janitor staff who was waxing the floor, which the judge seemed to find every piece of furniture from the door to the elevator and run into them.

He was already angry being called in when he wasn't scheduled to be the court in session to hear bail request, and by the time he got to his chambers his mood was worse. His secretary met him at the elevator with cup of coffee in one hand and his docket in the other, but it didn't help his mood. Then when she wished him a good morning, the response she got back wasn't pleasant.

"What is so good about this morning?" Not yelling, but not talking in his normal medium voice, Garcia responded as he hung up his jacket. "The only good thing I can say is good about this morning is that it is the beginning of hump day." That got a smile from his secretary. "After today, we have only two days before the weekend, which means two weeks off for me."

"Yes sir two weeks off." Garcia's secretary smiled back at her boss as she pointed at a name on the docket. "By you taking two weeks off for vocation, it gives me two weeks to spend with my lovely husband and two boys. And those two should brighten your morning because when I saw them on our docket it pulled me out of my bad mood."

It was no lie seeing the two names that his secretary pointed at brightened his morning. He had already forgotten about hitting every piece of furniture in the lobby and being there when he wasn't scheduled wasn't bothering him to much either. Every judge in the courthouse wanted to be the judge to preside at this bails hearing and he was the lucky one.




{Welcome back one and all to another filled chapter of `Beneath the Mask'. It has been almost a month since we had a chance to see what is going on in the lives of the characters in this saga. There was so much I wanted to fit into this chapter, but couldn't find the space. Well that is a lie. The space was there, but if I did put every plot I wanted to cover into this chapter I would have never left that Monday and gotten as far as I did in the timeline.

Enough with that, let's get on with why this corner is written, the summation of the chapter. It didn't start out where the last one ended. I did that because I wanted you all to sweat a little longer to see what happened with Alex. Now I'm wondering how many of you skipped over the beginning of the chapter to where Alex was to see what happened. That is one of many questions I will never get an answer to in this life, LOL!

Even though had you guys wait a little bit to the conclusion to the cliff hanger in the last chapter, this chapter started out with a very good plot. Finally we now know why it seems all the police in El Paso seem to be dirty think they are above the law. I stole this plot line right out of today's news and put it into my saga. So you guys do know it is happening, just now not back then.

Falster wanted answers on what was going on, but by the looks of it he wasn't prepared for he answers he got back. The drug cartels have their hands into the EPPD and it is going to take a lot more than Falster and his two assistant chief of police to clean house. I hope he is able to sell to the governor that he needs help and the governor sends in the Texas Rangers.

Now to the cliff hanger of the last chapter. It wasn't one of Alex's little brothers after all. It was Aaron who he saw and heard. And instead of Alex saving Aaron from the pile it was the other way around. I'm glad that Alex settled down enough to hear Aaron out because if he didn't he would have been in that pile again and who knows what would have happened.

Many of you probably had forgotten about Alex being asked to help out Aaron. I hadn't written about since he was asked so it could have been forgotten. Anyways I'm glad that Aaron went to Alex for advice on Chris. He needed a person to look at the relationship that wasn't in it to give an opinion on it, which I liked and hope Aaron does follow it.

Stefano and Dante got back to El Paso safe and sound. The meeting in Juarez went well and by the looks of it Stefano has the approval of the main boss, but don't relax just yet that nothing can happen to Stefano. He is in a life that one day you are up and the very next day, heck the very next minute, you are down. And down doesn't mean a bad day, it could mean death.

Alex and Matt went did their business with the bank and got the loan instead of using their own money to buy the building. I like the way Franseca handled the issue and got Alex to see it clearly. Now he is establishing his and Matt's business as a real business at the same time investing some of the settlement to make them more money.

Alex's start if the week was the busiest since he left the hospital. From all the meetings he had on Monday to his small date with Matt on Tuesday evening and everything in between, he was busy. Besides taking time out to talk with Aaron, he took some time out to spend with Jeremy. Those two are getting thicker than peas they are. I'm glad that one of Jacob's friends is able to spend time with his older brother when he can't. I'm also glad that Jeremy likes Alex.

The tour of the new building was a little exciting. Alex and Matt got to meet a few of their new employees, but who knows if they are going to survive the chopping block. They saw the open space where their print shop is going to go. I wish I was there to see their faces. Finally they are moving out of Jacob's building and moving on their own. I wish the best for them.

The ending what can I say except I'm a dick, LOL! Hey in the last chapter the cliff hanger I thought sucked, but this one is a good one. Maybe not as good as some of the past ones I have come up with, but it is a good one still the same. Who do you guys think are the two names that made the judge's frown turn upside down?

There are a lot of open plots still dangling out there in the air that will come back and as well a whole lot of new ones. So please stick around as I have said and keep on reading. I hope that you all enjoyed what you have read and will keep coming back week after week to this saga and the other three I write.

I do not want to say too much more and spoil the future chapters to come, so I will not. I warn you though! Do not skip a chapter, or you will be lost. There is a so much to answer in the chapters to come. Keep reading the future chapters, and enjoy! Please email me and let me know how I am doing at jacobmillertex@aol.com, Thanks!}

EDITOR'S CORNER: (March 20th, 1992, Wednesday early in the morning at Judge Garcia's courtroom. He is about to go out and hear bail request but is happy about two names that were pointed out to him on his docket.)