Written by J.P.G.

{Jacob Finding His Way is partly fictional. 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's 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 can't be distributed in any way, shape or form without the author's expressed written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Love Scenes Written By: Daddy Rick

Edited By: Daddy Rick

Chapter 65

Al made sure that his entire morning was clear so he could be in the phone conference meetings with the Governor and the rest of the staff. Governor Lopez had informed everyone that he plans to send down a bill that could ensure that he is a one term Governor to the state houses. That really got Al's attention and he wants to make sure that the Governor's concerns and feelings don't become reality.

The first thing Al did when he walked into the office was to clear his desk of anything dealing with the McDonalds. At first he was going to give some of the work to Ana, but decided against it. In his mind that could be stepping on Jacob's toes. He will leave what work is to be given to Ana up to Jacob. Knowing Jacob the way Al does, he knows that Jacob will hand Ana the same work he had planned to do.

Just as he walked back into his office, the direct line to the Governor rang. Al sat down and picked up the phone. This line only rings when Governor Lopez or someone in the Governor's office needs to speak with Al. Whenever a call comes in on this line, Al's secretary doesn't even answer it.

The Governor's secretary asked Al to hold for the Governor. The next voice Al heard was the Governor. After getting through the pleasantries, Governor Lopez informed Al what the two main items are that they are going to discuss. One of them Al isn't surprised with, but the second caught him totally off guard. If it isn't handled right, the Governor is right; it could make him a one term Governor.

Before putting Al on speaker, Al asked the Governor if he could talk with him privately after the meeting. Governor Lopez was instantly concerned that Al wants to quit. Not meaning to, Al started laughing. He informed the Governor, after he stopped laughing, that he isn't going anywhere unless the Governor asks him to leave. That got the Governor to chuckle as he confirmed to Al there is no way he is going to do that.

After they got that out of the way, Governor Lopez put Al on speaker. "Okay, now that we have Mr. Serna on speaker phone, we have everyone here. Good morning to everyone and thank you all for coming in so early. I know I took everyone away from your schedules, but we need to start planning how we are going to go about selling the two packages I am about to send to the houses."

Governor Lopez picked up the first and opened it. Al spoke up that he didn't have any of the packages. That surprised the Governor since he had asked his Chief-of-Staff to send it certified mail to Al. When the Governor said that, he asked them to hold so he could check with his secretary to see if she signed for the package.

Just as Al walked out to the hallway, his secretary was running towards him with a white box in her hands. As she handed the box to Al, she kept apologizing to him. Al took the box telling her not to worry about it. As he walked into the office, he checked the box to make sure none of the seals were tampered with. It's not that he doesn't trust his secretary; it was just the procedure they put in place since he has chosen to have his office in El Paso.

Once he was satisfied that the seals weren't tampered with or broken, he pulled out the blue light to make sure it was the seals put on at the Governor's office. For more security, the Governor had certain water marks put in his labels. Each person on his staff had a certain label and they are the only ones that know what their water mark is. Confirming that nothing was tampered with, Al opened the box and pulled the bills out.

"Mr. Governor I have my copies, sorry for the delay. Please go on!"

"Okay the first bill you should be looking at is my crime bill. I am going to be the first Governor to mean what he said when campaigning. I will be tough on crime on those that break the law, but at the same time, fair. When it comes down to those that break he law, one glove doesn't fit all. We have to change the laws to give the judges more flexibility when it comes to handing out sentences. Not too much more, but some."

For the next hour and a half they went line by line of the bill. Some of the items everyone agreed on and some there were those that wanted it changed or out of the bill. The Governor listened to their points of view, but if they weren't backed with facts, he dismissed the objection. The Governor feels that too many people let their personal feelings cloud their view to what is the right thing to do.

He is as guilty of that as everyone at this table. One of the items he dropped from the bill was getting rid of the death penalty. He doesn't believe in it and he has his reasons, but he had to drop the provision in order to have any chance to get the bill to pass. There are so many other items in this bill that will give those that are going to vote on it a reason to fight against the passage of the bill so the death penalty is a fight for another day.

The Governor's Director of Prisons spoke up once again. "Governor I have a problem with what you want to do with the gangs in the prison systems. By putting them all together in one prison, aren't you afraid by doing that, the prison where they go won't be able to keep our control? Remember what happened a when you had to deal with a prison up rising. It took a lot for us to dig out of all the bad press of that. If you do this, you are asking for a prison uprising."

"There is a pilot program going on right now in El Paso. The way it is set up, it is working. The City of El Paso collected all the gang members in their system and put them all in one place. Once they are processed in, they are put alone in a single cell, twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week. If you would look at the next page, you will see how that pilot program works."

Everyone turned the page and looked at what the Governor is talking about. "Plus by putting all the gang members in one prison, it will bring down their recruitment. If everyone that is already in that prison is a gang member, they can't add any new members. I am not saying that we can keep them from getting new members all together, but we can bring down the recruitment substantially.

At the same time many of those that go into a prison that were not a gang member have a better chance to come out not a gang member. All of us have seen the report the major majority of those that get released from prison, end up going back. They come out a lot worse than they went in. This is one of the ways we can lessen the chances."

Everyone nodded their heads in agreement. "Look, we can't continue to do as we always have with the prison system. If we don't find a way to make sure that prisoners that get released don't commit a crime again, most of our state budget will be going to taking care of our prisons. We will have more prisons in this state then we do corner stores. I believe this bill is the first step in solving this problem.

In fact if it works the way it is hoped, we could be closing prisons, not opening them. Once we free up that money, we can take it and put it to use for other state projects and needs. If there are no other projects, then we can lower the taxes. So much can be done if we fix this one problem."

No one objected and they got through the entire bill before taking their first break. The couple of changes they all agreed on really don't change much of the bill. It will take less than a day to rewrite and then it will be ready to be sent to the state houses.

The break was only fifteen minutes, and the Governor's staff was back at the table working on the second bill. They all scanned the bill before they started to go through it. When they scanned it, they all at once tried to talk the Governor out of sending this kind of legislation to the floor. All them except Al and Rich that is!

"Would everyone please quiet down? I can't understand any of you when you all are talking all at once! I know this bill is going to have a problem as far as passing, but I am going to send it. Once I do, I want this entire staff out grabbing every microphone, going on every talk show, morning show and writing to every newspaper you can. It is going to take a lot of work to make sure the haters of this bill don't confuse the people."

Several of the Governor's staff didn't agree with what he just said. As they took their turns explaining their feelings on the bill, Governor Lopez knew they were part of the group of haters. So he asked anyone that can't stomach this bill to leave, but they can't talk about it to anyone. The Governor went further and warned the three that did get up to leave the room, if this bill leaks; he will fire the person that leaks it.

Once the door closed, the Governor looked to those that were left. "There comes a time when people either need to stand up and do what's right or shut up and never speak about the very thing they could have fixed. All of you knew when you joined this staff what type of person I am. I won't be afraid of what is not popular.

This bill is long over due and needs to be signed into law. All of our citizens are created equal, no matter what our personal feelings are about our neighbor. I wish we didn't have to do this. I wish that it didn't take a law to be passed for people like my son to have equal rights under the law, but it does. It is high time to get a law on the books that mean something, not just feel-good legislation."

Governor Lopez got up from his desk and walked over to the window. He looked out gathering his thoughts. Just moments ago he was preaching not to let personal feelings about a bill get in the way, but the bill they are looking at right now is really personal to the Governor. He wants the bill passed and signed into law, even if it means losing his reelection to get it done.

"All the bills on the books really don't mount up to a hill of beans. A percentage of our country can't serve in the military, get married under the law, have equal rights under the law like decision making if their partner is ill in the hospital and I can go on." The Governor turned and walked back to the table. "You know what I am talking about and I am not going to take your time going over it.

As you know I have a gay son and I love him with all my heart. I love him the same as I love my other three sons. It saddens me when I see that he can't marry his boyfriend legally. They are going to live in the same house, do the same things we as what is considered regular couples do, but won't have the same rights under the law. How fair is that to my son and everyone like him?

I am not asking to change church law. I have no right to do that. I am not asking for those that don't like people like my son to change, which I wish they would. All I am asking is that under the law of this state, all of our citizens are treated equal no matter who they love. That doesn't affect anyone's daily lives.

So let's be the first state to really pass a bill that gives equal rights under the law for our gay citizens. None of you are risking anything. I am the one that is willing to risk it all to get what needs to be done accomplished. With that said, let's get down to looking at this bill and make sure nothing is bending or breaking the laws on the books right now."

Just like before, the Governor and his staff went over the second bill line by line. The Governor does this because he wants to make sure the bill is written correctly and it can't be torn apart because it doesn't adhere to state or federal law. At the same time he hears objections and if they are good ones, he does the change. Now of course if they are bad, he tosses the objection to the side and proceeds forward.

This bill only took an hour to go through because there were only three objections those were dealt with fast. When it was all said and done, the bill was not changed. It is ready to go down to the state houses for them to start debating the bill. The Governor isn't going to send the bill down just yet. He wants to send the bill down with the crime bill. That way the press will have two very controversial bills to report on. No one will dominate the air waves, at least the Governor hopes.

As soon as everyone left the Governor's office, he picked up the receiver. "Al thank you for helping me out with my staff on both bills. I am going to need you up here in Austin once I send the bills to the floor. It is going to take a lot of arm twisting to get both bills passed. You are good getting through to those that seem dead set on going against everything I do."

"Mr. Governor you know I will do what it takes to get these bills through. I agree with both of them. It is high time that we have someone in a position like yours willing to do what is right even if it is not popular. All the politicians of today govern by the polls, not what's right. They, just like you, need to be willing to risk it all to get the right bills passed."

"Thank you Al and I know it hits at home with you on the second bill as much as it does me. Now you asked to speak with me in private before the meeting started. I have a few minutes before my next meeting, so lay it on me."

"Well Governor you might not want to do what I am about to ask you. Not after hearing your first bill, but I am going to ask anyway." Al pretended to cough, trying to still a little time to get his words together, "Governor you know the story about what happened to my grandson several years ago. You in fact helped get the young man that did that horrible thing out of lock up. So what I am about to ask you is going to sound strange.

The same young man that tried to kill my grandson just saved his life. Jacob needed a kidney and fast. If he had to wait on the list, I am afraid that Jacob would still be in the hospital if not dead. Alex, the young man that I am talking about, donated one of his kidneys to my grandson. He wasn't asked to do so and in fact he doesn't want anyone to know it was him that did it. That shows me that Alex has grown up a lot in these last couple of years.

I know you went on the limb when you did what you did to get Alex out of lock up. I also know that being put on that monitoring device is a lot better than being incarcerated. But at the same time, Alex knows he did wrong and every day he is trying to pay back for the wrong he has done. I was wondering Governor if you might consider signing a complete pardon for Alex since he is truly trying to atone for his past."

"Al you should know better than to say the words going out on a limb. If I am to preach second chances, I must show I mean it. If you truly believe Alex has changed and isn't going to go back to his old ways once the device is removed, I have no problem signing the pardon for him. After all, doing what he did for your grandson warrants that.

Now I made myself clear on that point, I am worried about the others that got out with the young man in question. I know they didn't give a kidney or that you have seen them really trying to change, but is it fair that Alex is the only one that gets the device removed? You know when the other individuals find out, and they will, they are going to kick up a shit storm over it."

Al didn't think about that. He knows the Governor is right, but how fair is it to Alex to be kept on the device because of the fear of the others complaining about it. At the same time Al thought it can come back to haunt the Governor. It could be sold to the press that the Governor is giving special favors to his staff and friends. That is something the Governor can't afford right now, Al thought.

"I do understand where you are coming from Governor, thank you for hearing me out. I just thought to ask since this young man helped out my grandson without asking for anything in return, it was the least I could do for him."

"Wait a minute Al; I am not saying I'm not willing to do what you are asking. I just wanted you to understand what might happen if I do pardon this young man. I will have the attorney general get the pardon written up and on my desk as soon as possible. Hopefully by the end of the week the anklet will be removed from his ankle. By what you have said, he surely has shown he deserves it."

"Governor I don't want you to do anything that might get you into another feeding frenzy with the press. Alex only has a few more years with this thing on, so let's not give the press anything more to challenge you on. When those two bills hit the floor, they will be all over you. In order to get through that, we can't give the press getting free shots at you."

"Let me worry about the press. A pardon normally doesn't get released to the public unless the Governor or President wants it to. It will be public record, but you, the Attorney General nor I will direct the press to it. They never found out about the first pardon, and they won't find out about this one. And to tell you the truth, I don't care if they do."

The Governor and Al spoke for a few more minutes before the Governor got called away to his next meeting. When Al hung up with him, he wanted to call and tell Franseca the news, but decided not to. He will wait until the anklet is taken off and even then he won't take credit. Just like Alex, he doesn't want anyone to know what he did.

The morning flew and before Jacob knew it he was walking to the cafeteria for lunch. He half expected to find those guys that want to run his campaign to pop out from a locker. It seems they appear out of nowhere when Jacob least expects them to.

When Jacob got to the table, he liked what he saw. David, not Tom's boyfriend, found his way to the table. Not only he joined the group, he actually is involved in the conversation that is going on. With a smile across his face, Jacob sat down and joined into the conversation that was already in progress.

Jacob noticed Chase and Patricia sitting almost in each other's lap. He looked across to Ethan and saw that he wasn't paying attention to Chase. That confused Jacob about what is going on with these three. This morning it looked to him that Chase and Ethan were going to be together, and now it looks like Chase and Patricia are together. Jacob gave up trying to figure these three out. Whatever is going to happen, will happen and he is going to stand well clear, just in case.

The only problem Jacob sees right now is Chris. Jacob didn't see Chris at the house this weekend and he isn't here eating lunch with them. That means something happened late last week   ended whatever it was between Ethan and Chris. It wasn't a relationship, but could have been. It looks like he is the first to lose out over whatever is going on.

When Jacob got up and left to go to the ROTC building, the group headed outside. As they made their way out of the cafeteria, Patricia pulled Ethan and Chase down another hallway. When they reached the stairs, Patricia looked around to make sure that no one was around or followed them.

The night before Chase called Patricia to let her know about what he has come to realize about himself. The conversation that Patricia dreaded has finally come. During the conversation he informed her that he does have feelings for Ethan. After he admitted his feelings, neither of them talked for a few minutes.

It took Patricia to break the silence and when she did, it surprised Chase. Chase had thought that Patricia would not follow through with what they talked about days ago. Chase couldn't help but be thankful that Patricia is willing to be his girlfriend after finding out for sure he is at least bi.

Before they hung up, they both agreed they all needed to sit down and talk as a group. That way there is no misunderstanding where any of them stands. Chase agreed, and before first period this morning he informed Ethan about what he discussed with Patricia. At first Ethan was angry, Chase outted him, and that he can't have. After settling down, Ethan decided to at least talk with them.

All morning long all Ethan thought about was the dreaded sit down with Chase and Patricia. No matter how he looks at it; he will come out on the losing end. First he isn't out, which makes a problem all on its own. Second, he wants to date before becoming a couple. By the looks of it, Chase wants to do what Chris wanted to do, go right into a relationship. And finally, Patricia, she is going to want to have the most time with Chase. If that is the case, Ethan knows he won't be able to get to know Chase.

Now here it is; moment of truth time. Ethan stood there looking at Patricia, over to Chase and back to Patricia. How will this threesome work, if it will work at all? A relationship with two is already hard. Then you add another person, it makes it even more difficult. Patricia broke the silence and kicked started the conversation.

"Look I think we need to set some ground rules right now before we go any further. I believe if we don't, things could get ugly." Patricia looked squarely in Chase's and Ethan's eyes. "What we are about to embark on is something I can say with complete confidence no other couple has done in this high school. If I'm wrong, they really kept it a secret.

You and I like the same guy Ethan, and why not, look at him. Hell, you are a very good catch yourself Ethan. Any girl or guy would kill to have you. And you Chase are pretty sure you are bi, not gay or completely straight. At least that is what I got from our talk on the phone last night and this morning."

"Yes, I know for sure I love women, but at the same time I have feelings for Ethan. That doesn't make me gay, but it doesn't make me straight either. Ethan is the only guy I have had feelings like this for. Since I started dating you Patricia, I was up front about what I was feeling. Ethan and I have talked a lot the last week or so. We know where each of us stands. Now what are we going to do about it?"

"Like I said we need to lay some ground rules if we are going to go any further. I think while we are at school, it has to look like Chase and I are a couple. That shouldn't be a big thing for you Ethan since right now you aren't out. If later you do come out, we can revisit this rule. Above all else, I want to be fair."

"Patricia I have no problem with that at all. What I would like sometimes is to go out with Chase to the movies or something like that alone. I am not asking for a lot of time. I don't have much free time anyway with working and going to school."

"Fine, if Chase has no problem with that, I don't." Chase nodded his head. "Now we need to decide how we are going to split the time with Chase when we aren't in school. I think it is best that we are together most of the time whenever we are in the group. Again it goes back to neither of you two being out to your friends or family."

Both Chase and Ethan agreed with Patricia on that as well. From there they moved onto equal time being alone with Chase. That made it hard for Ethan because they can't spend time alone in Chase's room or his house without raising questions. They decided leaving that part to the end to figure out. It isn't like they can ask Patricia to be with them on their alone time. They wouldn't be able to do things like kiss if she was there.

The remainder of the issues that needed to be discussed were minor. They agreed on almost everything that was discussed. Ethan couldn't believe that Patricia was this understanding about Chase. If he knew this, he wouldn't have worried as much as he did all morning.

Ethan summed up his thoughts; "Patricia thank you for your understanding. It is amazing to find anyone that would be willing to do what you are doing. Just look at the few girls around here that had boyfriends that finally were truthful with themselves on their sexuality on how they reacted when those boyfriends told them. I was afraid we would end up like them.

With that said, let me say this to both of you. Call me old fashioned or whatever, but I believe in getting to know the person before getting into a relationship with that person. I want to get to know you Chase, before we even start thinking of a relationship, if that is even in the cards. The reason I say that is because this set up is absolutely out of the ordinary.  I am gay, you are bi and that might be a problem."

"I don't see where that is a problem Ethan. We both like each other and that should be enough to see what is to come. If by any chance we do see a future together, we will then come out to our friends and family. But I don't see a problem right now. Let's just take it one day at a time and see where it goes."

Ethan couldn't believe Chase isn't getting it. "Chase what I am trying to get at is that if I fall for you or we both fall for each other, it more than likely won't happen. You are bi, and those that are bi most often make a life with a wife, have kids and live happily ever after. They have their guy hidden on the side so when they get an itch to be with him, he has him. That is not a relationship I want to get into."

"Hold on guys, let's not over think this too far in to the future. We are just getting started. I see where you are coming from Ethan and Chase you need to think long and hard about what Ethan just said. I do agree with what he said and that will be a problem for him. Right now we are able to work together, but eventually someone is going to end up being the one on the side. Just like Ethan, I won't be that person."

Chase stood thinking about what both of them just said. He thought that everything is working out great, at least until now. All through this, he never thought about what ifs. Never did he think that he would need to decide what placements each of them took. In his eyes and heart he loves them the same. He wants to be with both of them the same way and the same amount of time. He also sees that they are right.

"Why don't we just go forward as we just agreed? Whenever we reach that bridge Ethan brought up, we will deal with it. Until then let's just get to know each other and see what the future holds. I really want to be with both of you, Ethan and Patricia. Please let's not mess this up by over thinking stuff that hasn't happened yet."

Both Patricia and Ethan agreed to drop it for now. As they headed out to join the others, Ethan was deep in thought. Chris' face kept haunting him. The look Chris had when he told him that he jumped the gun; a look he doesn't want to have himself. If he goes along with this, Ethan feels he will be the one on the side.

All through lunch and during fifth period, Jacob worked on what the team commanders asked him to help out on. He never knew how hard it was to get ready to for state. Jacob thought all they had to do is learn the two drills, inspection and the rifle team continuing to shoot the way the have been. Now he sees there is a lot more behind the scenes, which need to be done before they even leave to state.

When the school day was over, Jacob couldn't wait to go to work. At least there he knows what he is doing and the pressure isn't as bad. On the way out of the building, Jacob caught up to Alex and the guys. He asked them if they wanted a ride, but they said `no'. Alex and the guys didn't want to hitch a ride with Jacob because they didn't want Jacob to feel that he needed to stay.

Since they didn't take him up on his offer for a ride to work, Jacob offered them a ride to the house and didn't take no for answer. They agreed  so on the way to work, Jacob dropped the guys off to pick up their own vehicles. When they were getting out of the truck, Jacob offered one more time, but again they thanked him and said `no'. Jacob accepted their answer and didn't push it anymore.

The very first person Jacob saw when he walked in to work was Ana. Not wanting to get into a huge conversation with her about how she handled the problem he handed her, he asked her how the meeting went when they walked into his office. Ana started to go into detail about the meeting when Jacob stopped her; "You know the   labor laws a lot better than I do. There is no way you are going to do something that breaks the law. With that said, I trust you on whatever decision you made on this issue and any issue in the future. If you tell me you handled it, we can leave it at that. We have a lot of work between the two of us, so there can't be any second guessing decisions that are made."

Ana loved hearing that coming from Jacob. "There is nothing to worry about, it is taken care of. Now I ran into Al earlier this morning and I asked him if he had any work I needed to do. He directed me over to you. I know you barely got in and haven't even taken off your jacket yet, but I was wondering if there is any work that you need done."

Jacob looked at his desk, which is piled with files. As Jacob looked down, it caused Ana to look. He started to clear off some of the files thinking to himself that there is going to be plenty of work for her to do once he gets through all this. But until then, he will need to find something else for her to do.

"I want to visit all my stores, but I just can't seem to get the time to do so. There are a few stores I still haven't even stepped foot in. You need to help me out on this and visit all them. You've got to pop in and let them know who you are and that you will be the face of the main office. If you see anything wrong, correct it on the spot. I am pretty sure that there is a huge mess out there that we don't even know about. I don't want anything coming back to bite me on the butt. You can't tell me I am thinking wrong after what you have seen."

Ana agreed with Jacob. As they started going through the files, they discussed what they might find in the stores. They based their thoughts on what they have seen so far. For the next couple of hours they worked side by side until Ana called it a night. When she walked out to go home, she had plenty of work to keep her busy for at least a week, along with going to the stores.

Ethan kept to himself all evening long. That got Chase thinking that Ethan might be having second thoughts. If Chase only knew how right he is. Ethan just can't get out of his mind what will more than likely happen if he goes along for the ride. He will be left hanging out to dry.

At the same time, Ethan doesn't want to pressure Chase to choose between him and Patricia. It will make him look like the bad guy when the dust settles. He realizes if he wins with Chase here, there is always going to be another Patricia in Chase's life because Chase isn't gay. This isn't what Ethan is looking for in a relationship.

When they dropped him off at home, Ethan threw out a simple goodnight and headed in. His head was swimming with so many thoughts he didn't hear when his father started to talk with him. It took his Adam to raise his voice at him to pull him out of his thoughts. He looked up at his father and asked him to repeat himself.

"I was saying that your friend came through for me today. I went into the office as he told me to and put in for a company loan. Although your friend wasn't there, his grandfather was. He dealt with me and when I left the office I had the loan. So please, tell your friend thank you and I will pay every red cent back."

"Dad I know he knows that you are thankful. Jacob isn't the type of person that needs others to tell him that. I also know he didn't think  twice about giving the loan. In the little time I have had to get to know Jacob, I learned that he doesn't really put much value in what a person says verbally. He looks into the person's eyes and face to see if they are telling him the truth. In other words he reads people's facial expressions to get the truth."

"You kids now-a-days and how you do things," Adam said shaking his head in amazement. "Just tell him thank you and I really do appreciate what he did for me." Ethan's father got up and walked out of the room.

The one thing that Ethan and his father don't know is that the company they work for doesn't give company loans. The night before Jacob talked with Al and asked him to cut Adam a check for whatever amount he is asking for, but take the funds out of his personal account. Al at first objected, but agreed after seeing that he wasn't going to win the argument.

All through the night, Ethan tossed and turned. He finally gave up trying to sleep and got up from the floor. He walked over to the kitchen and sat down in the dark thinking about what he should do. When he finally tired from his mind thinking to much, he headed back to living room and crawled under the blankets. One thing he did decide on before falling asleep is that he can't get into a relationship with Chase.

After getting ready for school, Ethan ran out to the front porch and waited for Jacob and the guys. When Jacob drove up, Ethan got into the truck on the passengers side, like he has always done, except for the day before. The only two that realized that Ethan changed back to his normal routine was Jacob and Chase. The others didn't even know that Ethan had changed his routine the day before and went back to his regular routine today.

As Jacob drove off, Chase looked over to Ethan. All the way to school, Ethan didn't even look once at Chase. That freaked Chase out. He now knows for sure Ethan is having second thoughts about everything. He needs to talk with him and settle him down soon or he will lose Ethan before they even have a chance to see if the plan will work.

When Chase got out of the truck, he wanted to pull Ethan to the side, but he decided not to. If he does that, it will bring attention to them for sure; attention that Chase doesn't want. He decided to bide his time until they could get him away without the group questioning what is going on. That also means he needs to keep his mind from running away from him. He needs to wait and talk with Ethan and not make assumptions.

Jacob ate his breakfast as fast as he could so he could head over to the ROTC building. He has so much work to do to have everything ready for the trip to state. Just as he walked in the door, the battalion sergeant major walked up to him. He informed Jacob that Colonel Pigeon needed to speak with him before the officers' meeting.

With a wry grin and knowing what the Colonel wants to talk to him about, he headed over to the office. Jacob didn't even need to knock because as soon as he reached the door, Colonel Pigeon waved him in. Before taking two steps into the office, the Colonel asked Jacob to close door. That got Jacob thinking that this meeting must be important.

"Jacob please take a seat." Jacob walked over to the seat the Colonel was pointing to. "I am afraid I have some bad news for you. There is a rule that only members of the teams that qualified to go to state are allowed to go. Something about insurance and what the school district can cover and what they can't cover. Since you aren't part of any of the teams, you can't go to state.

On top of that rule, there is barely enough money to take those that are part of the teams. I know how hard you have been working and I wish I could bend the rules here, but I can't. Of course this doesn't keep you from doing what you have been doing for your battalion. All the work you have done has really helped out the teams."

"With all due respect sir, I have changed almost everything that I have been taught since you got here. I did it without complaining because you are the SAI now. But this is asking too much. I can't see why I can't go. After all Major Moore let me go to NMMI at the beginning of the year, and I am sure the rules were the same then as they are now."

"I can't say what Major Moore was thinking when he let you go since you weren't part of the teams then either. One thing I have learned since I have taken over here is that Major Moore bent a lot of the rules; rules that are there to protect the student, the battalion, the brigade and the school district! I am sorry, but I am not going to be Major Moore and bend the rules on anything."

Jacob got up from his seat. "I need to get going to start the officers' meeting, but before I leave let me say this. With all the faults Major Moore had, which were many,   bending the rules wasn't one of them. He knew that not all cadets in this battalion could be part of one of the teams for one reason or another. He let those cadets live through the cadets that are part of the teams, which also let them feel the same joy those cadets are feeling when they win a meet.

Major Moore and I didn't agree all the time but I can say when the day was over; Major Moore finally made the right decisions. He might have taken the long way around to get there, but he did. He let me be part of the teams since I couldn't do it because of my health.

Let me stop there before I end up talking for an hour or more. You don't have to worry I will do what I am supposed to do as battalion commander. Your teams will be ready to go to state by Thursday as far as what I am in charge of. I really do hope our teams win, they worked too hard not to."

Jacob stood there waiting for Colonel Pigeon to excuse him. After a few moments of staring into space, Colonel Pigeon excused Jacob. As Jacob walked out, Colonel Pigeon couldn't help but let what Jacob just said sink in. He wants to let Jacob go, but he isn't like Major Moore, willing to push the envelope.

Not letting the news affect him, Jacob took the high road. He ran the meeting as if he was given no bad news in the office. Once he released the officers, he went right to work on clearing the cadets from Friday classes. After finishing up at the attendance office, Jacob went to get the permission slips that are needed for the cadets to take home to have signed by their parents before heading back to the ROTC building.

As he walked in, he found the commanders in the small classroom. "Here you guys go, you need to hand these out to your members of your team." Jacob gave the commanders the permission slips. "They need to be turned in by no later than Thursday. If a cadet doesn't turn in their permission slip by Thursday morning, they won't go. No extension will be given to any cadet. I need to call each of the parents and make sure they are the ones that signed the permission slip and that is why it needs to be turned in on Thursday."

After making sure that the commanders understood they need to stress the due date, Jacob headed to the main building. He has done everything that he is responsible on doing except the phone calls. Those calls he can't do until he gets the permission slips back from the commanders.

So Jacob wouldn't think about what happened in Colonel Pigeon's office, he put his head in his school work. Before he knew it, he was walking into the ROTC building for fifth period and even that period flew by.

Both Colonel Pigeon and Jacob talked with each other as if the conversation didn't happen in the morning. They inspected the company and then talked about what is left to get ready for state. Colonel Pigeon was surprised to hear that Jacob pretty much has everything done on his side. So he asked Jacob for one last favor; to arrange for the busses.

Since he had no idea where Major Moore rented them the year before, he stopped by Major Moore's office when he went into the work after school. Joe was happy to see Jacob. They talked about everything under the stars before Jacob asked him about the busses. Instead of telling Jacob, he placed the call and lined up the busses for him.

"So you are going to state for the first time Jacob? It is going to be fun, but make sure you keep the teams' heads in the game. They will stop focusing on why they are there and start planning what they are going to do that night after the competition. If they do that, they will lose because they don't have their heads in the game."

"I agree with you sir, but I am not going to state." Major Moore looked over to Jacob confused. "Colonel Pigeon said that the insurance doesn't cover anyone that isn't part of the teams. There's something about there is not enough money to take anyone that is extra. So I am going to help where I can, but I am staying here."

"That is bull shit Jacob, and Colonel Pigeon knows that. The permission slip covers you as far as insurance questions. You are a registered student at the school and the battalion. If you weren't covered by the insurance, I would not have taken you to the meets that I did. I bent the rules sometimes, but not when it came to safety of my students."

"Don't worry sir, I am okay with it. I am barely getting over the surgery and I want to spend time with Dewayne. We don't have that much time with each other during the week. We really look forward to the weekends to be with each other. Going on this trip, I would have to wait another week to be with Dewayne. That alone brings me out ahead. I love the program, but I love Dewayne even more."

"You two seem to be right for each other. The last several weeks I have had a chance to get to know Dewayne. I see why you love him so much. You are a strong guy Jacob, and you don't let things get to you. You know I am talking out of experience because I put you through a lot. Keep that positive outlook, and you will win every time."

Jacob laughed as he got up from his seat. He thanked Joe and tried to tell him he wasn't that bad, but Joe wouldn't hear of it. They both agreed to disagree as they shook hands. Jacob thanked Joe one last time for his help getting the busses before heading upstairs to his evening meeting with Ana.

The week seemed to drag on for some of the boys, and for others it flew by. The more and more they start to think of spring break, the more time seems to drag on for those who are already looking forward to it. It is still three weeks away and a lot can happen in the mean time. Just look at what happened the Friday before spring break last year. No one ever thought something like that would happen   here in El Paso.

Several times Chase tried to talk with Ethan, but it seemed each time it looked like they were alone, someone appeared out of nowhere. By the end of the week, Chase was hitting his head against the wall. He knew without a doubt that Ethan isn't comfortable with the set up that they put together. The only problem is that Ethan hasn't told Chase anything one way or the other.

Patricia tried to calm Chase down, but as the days wore on, he got worse. She finally had enough and cornered Ethan after lunch on Thursday at his locker. Not beating around the bush, she asked Ethan straight out what is going on. Just like her, Ethan didn't beat around the bush when he answered her questions.

"You can't be so blind Patricia or stupid. Both of us know when it comes time for Chase to decide who he is going to introduce to his friends and family as his life partner, it's going to be a woman, not a guy. If it is not you, it is going to be another girl. There is no way he is going to come out and say he is bi and he wants a guy to be his life partner.

I am not willing to be anyone's dirty little secret, stashed away in the closet somewhere. No matter how I look at it, I am on the losing end of this. After I realized that, I decided I need to get into a real relationship when I am comfortable in my own skin. Right now I am not there yet, so I better not take on a relationship let alone one this complicated."

"You are breaking Chase's heart and you know that. Instead of thinking about yourself, you need to think about others that you are hurting here. Plus you said you aren't even comfortable in your own skin yet. This set up will give you the experience you need to get comfortable with yourself. Stop over-thinking this and just go with the flow. See where it takes you. Who knows? You might be wrong!"

Ethan couldn't believe that Patricia just told him to stop thinking about himself. In his mind she should be telling that to Chase not him. Right now the way it stands Chase wants everything his way no matter who ends up losing at the end. All Ethan is doing is making sure he isn't the one that gets hurt. Any rational person would do the same thing if they were in the same position.

"Listen I will sit down in the next couple of days and talk with Chase about what I am feeling. But for you to tell me to stop thinking about myself, that's wrong. You need to go back and tell that to Chase! The guy is being a little kid that wants everything in the candy store. Well it's time for someone to tell the spoiled kid that he isn't going to get everything. If that sounds mean, sorry, but it is the truth." Ethan's own words echoed in his head and he instantly recognized that his backing away from Chase is the right thing for him to do.

Before Patricia could reply, Ethan slammed his locker closed and walked off. She stood there watching Ethan walk away from her. At no time has she ever thought of Chase being a spoiled little kid before. To her knowledge Chase hasn't had anything handed to him. In fact he has had to deal with bumps in the road that others his age haven't.

Still she decided not to tell Chase about this conversation. She is going to leave it up to Ethan to be a man of his word and sit down with Chase as he promised. Until then, she has no other choice but to deal with Chase's mood swings.

Jacob helped out his teams to finish getting ready for state. He spent all morning on Thursday in the ROTC building calling parents. He needed to make sure they are the ones that signed the permission slips. Normally they don't do this, but since this is an over night trip, they make sure all the t's are crossed and all the i's are dotted.

Since Jacob dealt with the permissions slips, Colonel Pigeon asked him to see him and the team off on Friday morning. So he arrived at school earlier than normal and made sure that there wasn't a student on the bus that wasn't cleared to go. Once he confirmed everyone on the bus was able to go, he wished his teams luck as he got off the bus.

Colonel Pigeon thanked Jacob for all the work he did to get the teams ready. When he started talking to Jacob that he wish the rules were different, Jacob stopped him. Jacob knew the words that were coming out of his mouth were lies, so he stopped him so he didn't lose what respect he had left for the Colonel.

After the buses pulled away, Jacob went back home to pick up the guys. When he walked in, it hit him. All week he has been telling himself and everyone else that it didn't bother him that he couldn't go, but it does. Jacob felt empty inside, somewhat like he felt when he lost Joey. These feelings felt weird to Jacob because he didn't lose anyone.

As he sat down and joined the guys at the table, Jacob put on a smile. He didn't want the guys to know that it has finally hit him. But no matter how much he tried to hide it, Dewayne saw right through Jacob's guise. He wanted to make Jacob forget and feel better, so he pulled him upstairs so they could be alone.

Dewayne closed the door and walked over to his dresser. "You know I love you with all my heart and there is no one else for me but you Jacob. I also know that I am not your first boyfriend, but I would like to be your last. This I know you were promised once before, but this time you can believe it. I am not going anywhere."

Dewayne turned around and started walking towards Jacob with something behind his back. Jacob tried several times to see what Dewayne is concealing, but couldn't. He gave up and waited for Dewayne to show him.

"I was going to wait until Sunday to ask you this, since that is my birthday." Jacob didn't know that Sunday is Dewayne's birthday. "The only thing I want for my birthday is what I already have and that is you, Jacob. Will you make it official and accept this promise ring from me?" Dewayne opened up a ring box with two matching gold rings with diamonds in the middle. Jacob just looked down at the rings, speechless.

"I promise to always try and make your life as stress free and happy as I can. My eyes will never wander or look at anyone else but you. You are the only one I ever want in my life. Will you please be my one and only; my life partner Jacob?"

Tears of joy started to roll down Jacob's face as he said `yes'. Dewayne took Jacob's left hand and placed one of the promise rings where, at one time Joey's ring was. After slipping Jacob's on, Jacob took the ring box and pulled the second ring out. He gently pulled Dewayne's hand over to him and slipped his ring on his finger.

"I never thought I would ever slip a ring on another again in my life. You came in my life when it was going down in flames. You picked me up and put me back together. I don't want anyone else in my life but you. I promise to always be truthful and faithful to you Dewayne. I love you with all my heart."

Jacob barely got out his words as he choked back sobs. When Jacob finished, Dewayne pulled Jacob into a hug, whispering over and over again that he loves him. He didn't let Jacob go until Jacob put himself together. Even then they held onto each other as long as they could, but it came time to let each other go.

Before leaving the room, Jacob straightened himself up. They walked down to the others, holding hands and comparing their rings. The guys knew something was up when they saw Jacob, but left it alone. Tom opened the door, and the guys followed him out to the truck. Jacob kissed Dewayne one last time before running out of the house.

All the way to school, Jacob told the guys that Sunday is Dewayne's birthday. So he needs their help to put together a surprise party for him. Right away they all went for pool party, but Jacob tossed that idea out. He wants something other than a pool party since they have been having a pool party very weekend since the pool was done.

David shut everyone up before he gave Jacob his idea. "You know when we went to Western Play Land and Dewayne loved it. Why don't you rent out the entire park for the day? That way he could ride all the rides as many times as he wants and not have to wait in line. Invite his family, us and his friends and just let him go wild."

Jacob thought about what David said and thought it was a great idea. "Let me call my dad when I get to school and ask him to make the calls for me. Since I am going to be in class when the offices open at Western Play Land and I want it done first thing this morning, since it's such short notice."

The guys started to get on Jacob for not remembering Dewayne's birthday, but when Jacob told them he never knew they left him alone. Just then they drove up to pick up Ethan. When he got in, they asked Ethan what he thought about the idea on renting out the entire park of Western Play Land for Dewayne's birthday. At first Ethan stayed quiet, but then he opened up.

"I guess it is a good idea. You guys are forgetting that I am not from here and I have no idea what you are talking about. If this place you want to rent for Dewayne's birthday is a place that Dewayne's likes a lot, I say go for it. If it's something you guys want to do, and Dewayne doesn't like it, then don't do it. Since it's his birthday, you guys need to do what he likes."

Each of the guys took turns telling Ethan about the last time they went to Western Play Land and how Dewayne liked it. After hearing about how much fun Dewayne had, Ethan agreed it was a good idea. As the guys told the story about their last visit to the park, Jacob had already made up his mind that he is going to try and rent the park for the day.

Before heading to the cafeteria to get breakfast, Jacob called his parents home. To his surprise his mother answered. Jacob asked his mother to speak with his dad after he talked a little with her, but she told him that his dad had already left for work. The next thing she said put a damper on Jacob's plans. His dad won't be back until the evening, which means he has to ask his grandfather to do the calling for him.

"Jacob is there anything I can help you with? I am off today since it is a training holiday for the soldiers." Gloria's voice broke through the silence.

"No, that's okay mom, thank you. What I was going to ask dad to do for me isn't up your alley. I will call grandpa instead and ask him to do the favor for me. I just thought of dad first because I know how busy grandpa has been getting ready to go to Austin."

"I hate to be the person giving you the bad news, but your grandpa told me last night he is going to be in closed door meetings all day today. Something about getting things done so he doesn't leave you a lot of work when he is gone. You know your grandfather; he doesn't want you to miss school if you don't have to. So please tell me what you need and I will do what I can to help you."

Jacob thought about it, but he knew he has not other choice but to ask her. "Mom please do me this favor. If you know you aren't going to do it, let me know after I ask. That way I know I need to find a reason to get out of class in order to make the calls myself."

"Jacob please ask me and I will do it for you. I know you guys are having a hard time trusting me, but I am trying to show you I can be trusted."

"I just found out this morning that Sunday is Dewayne's birthday. I would like to rent out the entire park of Western Play Land for that day. Could you please call their offices the minute they open and see if that can be done. If it can, tell them we would like the park for Sunday. I don't care about the price, I want the first birthday of Dewayne's we spend together to be something he will remember."

"Let me say this to you, Dewayne will remember every day you guys spend together no matter where you guys are at or what you guys are doing. I am not just saying that because I am your mother. I am saying that because I see how he looks at you. To him you hung the moon and stars. If only everyone had someone that loves them like Dewayne loves you.

I will make the calls for you and do what I can to give you the chance to give Dewayne the birthday you want for him. Call me during lunch and I should have an answer for you. If they need the money immediately to take us seriously, I will run down a check to them. I know you won't let me bounce a check!"

"Thank you mom and I won't leave you hanging. If they need a check, please take one to them. Also don't tell Dewayne what I am planning. He didn't even want me to know about his birthday. The only reason I found out about it is because he gave me something that he was saving for that day. I was in the dumps, and being who he is, Dewayne cheered me up. He gave me a present when he should be the one getting them."

"Don't tell me that Dewayne gave you the promise ring." Jacob couldn't believe his mother knew and said as much. "Come on Jacob, Dewayne and I have been talking a lot since I moved in. I screwed up with your first boyfriend; I don't want to do that again with Dewayne. Plus I really like him more than Joey; he isn't afraid of his own shadow."

Jacob found out that his mother went with Dewayne to the jewelry store to help him pick out the rings. Once again Jacob was surprised by his mother. For the second time this morning, he started to tear up. The mother he knew growing up seems to be back and it looks like she is back for good.

He thanked his mother for everything and hung up the phone. As he turned around, Jacob found Chase standing behind him. He thought at first Chase was going to ask him about Ethan, but he didn't. Instead he told Jacob about some more ideas he can use for Dewayne's birthday party, which Jacob liked.

As he sat there eating breakfast, Jacob debated with himself if should go to the ROTC building like he normally does. After all, both his army instructors are gone for the day, leaving them a sub. So Colonel Pigeon wouldn't even know if he broke away from his routine. Still a voice in the back of his mind warned him not to play hooky.

Listening to that voice, Jacob headed over to the ROTC building. When he walked in, he was thankful that he did listen to the voice in his head. He found Colonel May and another guy from his office talking in the back of the large classroom. Colonel May looked up and saw Jacob before he could make a run for it, he waved Jacob over.

"Jacob I know you wanted to go with your teams to state, but we need you here, I asked Colonel Pigeon not to take you so you could be here running things. Before you say no, I have already cleared it with the principal so you won't be counted absent in any of your classes. So suit up and get ready to run the show."

"Colonel May with all due respect, we have officers in each class able to step up while the higher command is gone. That is why we have the chain of command in the companies. We need to give them a chance to prove to us they are ready to step up to the next higher position. If they can't, they won't get promoted."

"Exactly Jacob and that is why I need you here. We are here just to observe and have an instructor in the class room. You need to observe and take notes on what you see. If you see that a cadet can't cut it, then you will know not to promote that cadet. I am in charge of every battalion in this school district. I don't have time to report back to Colonel Pigeon on what I saw here today, but you do and that is where you come in."

Jacob didn't object anymore. He talked a little more with Colonel May before he made himself comfortable at the desk in the back of the classroom. All morning long the platoon leader of the first platoon took over for the company commander and ran the classes. It got boring for Jacob since all he was doing is sitting there.

When Jacob headed to lunch, he called his mother to see if she was able to get the amusement park for Sunday. She gave Jacob his second piece of good news he heard so far today. She was able to rent the entire amusement park, even though they never do that. Gloria explained to Jacob that they told her the business has been slow and they will make more money renting out the park than opening up to the public.

After hanging up with his mom, he joined the others in the cafeteria. After lunch it was exactly the same for Jacob as it was during the morning. He did see some areas that need some work, but not enough to hold back anyone from getting promoted. The mistakes that were made happened because they either were nervous or it was their first time.

When the final bell rang for the day, Jacob checked out with Colonel May and headed to work. He had his afternoon meeting with Ana and then went to check in with Al. It was almost time for a meeting they had scheduled to interview Gloria to possibly be Ana's executive assistant. When he didn't find Al in the office, he went to check with their secretary. As he walked up front, he found her throwing folders into her briefcase.

"I was just in my grandfather's office, and he isn't there. Do you know where he is? We have a meeting on the books this afternoon."

"Yes, I was just about to come and tell you. He just called to let us know that the meeting is going to be at your house. So I told the office staff they could leave early to start their weekend and still get paid for the rest of the day since it isn't their fault. Let Ana know and I will be ready to head out whenever you are."

"That is fine with me. Let me grab a couple of things from my office, and I will be ready to go. You guys will need to follow me in your vehicles if you want to go straight home from my house after the meeting. If you want a ride to my house and back here, I am fine with it either way. Just let me know how you want to do this."

Shirley told Jacob she is going to follow him in her own car. When he informed Ana where the meeting is going to take place, she also told Jacob that she will follow him. Not having a problem with the ladies following him, Jacob grabbed the couple of things from his office before joining them at the elevators. On his way out, he made sure there was no one left in office before locking it up.

Jacob ran into Alex, Matt and Joe in the lobby of the building. They were standing at the bank of the elevators when he got out. Jacob informed them that the meeting has been moved and it is now being held at his house. Alex and Matt started walking with Jacob, but Joe headed up to his floor to let Dewayne and Tony know that the meeting location has been changed.

When they got to the house, Franseca needed to speak with Alex and Matt. Jacob let them go since the first meeting has nothing to do with them. But he made it clear to Alex and Matt that this meeting is going to last no more than an hour. So they need to be at the study in that time period. They understood and promised Jacob if they are running behind, they will let him and his grandfather know.

Shirley had already headed to the study with Ana. When Jacob walked in, he found his mother and the others already there. He took a seat, and Al informed them what this meeting is about. It is an interview for Gloria to become Ana's executive assistant.

Al went through the duties of what the executive assistant does. Once he got done, he asked Gloria if she had a problem those duties, and she said `no'. Then he talked about the work hours and the pay. Once again he asked Gloria if she had a problem with any of that, and once again she said no.

At this point Al opened the floor for Ana or Jacob to ask Gloria questions. Ana went through a list of questions she had written down. When she was done, she was satisfied with the responses she got from Gloria. Jacob had only two questions, and he was also satisfied with his mother responses. Al didn't have any follow up questions, so they asked Gloria to leave in order for them to talk in private.

It didn't take more than five minutes for them to call Gloria back in and offer her the position. She accepted it. This position is a big bump in money, and she doesn't have to deal with the military anymore; two things she loves and made her decide to take her father's offer for employment.

Just as they finished up their meeting, Dewayne, Tony and Joe walked in. Shirley went out and asked everyone to come in. When Alex and Matt walked in, Jacob saw that they had a big smile across their faces. He wanted to know why they were smiling, but Al started the meeting so he will have to wait until after the meeting.

"Okay, I am glad that all of you came down on short notice. I am sorry for changing the location of the meeting and giving you late notice on that. There is so much I need to get done; I just don't have the time to get it done. Still you found your way here and once again, thank you.

With that said let me tell you why I have asked for all of you to come down. As you know I am one of the Governor's advisors. There are two controversial pieces of legislation about to be sent from the Governor to the houses to get debated and, hopefully, passed. He needs all hands on deck because of the controversial nature of the bills. That means I am going to be gone from two weeks at least, up to a month.

Since I am going to go to Austin, I won't be able help out when something arises. What I need of each of you is to take care of your own companies or departments. Keep the boat centered in the channel, going down stream. If you do that, nothing should come up that needs my attention.

Jacob is the equal partner  with me in this company, so if something comes up, go to him for the answers. He has a great head on his shoulders and I know he won't lead you guys wrong. Plus there is Joe and Ana here that you guys can go to. But they can't make any decision that changes company policy or procedure without Jacob's approval. I got Jacob a cell phone that he can be reached at all times now."

Al handed Jacob a cell phone the size of his hand. He looked at it and couldn't figure out where he would put it while he is in school. It isn't huge, not like the first cell phones, but it is thick and bulky. He pressed several numbers on the keypad and that number appeared on a green screen, in green. Jacob laughed to himself as he laid the phone in his lap and saw Al hold up another one just like it.

"All of you will get Jacob's number, but only Jacob will get mine. If he doesn't have an answer to whatever has come up, he will call me. Other than that, I shouldn't hear this phone ring. The reason for this set up is because I will more than likely be in and out of the Governor's office, and I can't be disturbed every five minutes. Do any of you have any questions about what is going on and who to go to if anything comes up?"

Each of them asked Al a few questions and Al answered them leaving no doubt or room for misunderstandings how things are going to be done. After everyone asked their questions, Al thanked them again and let them go. Jacob and Shirley stayed behind for a couple of minutes to talk with Al before leaving.

When Jacob walked out into the hallway, he saw Dewayne, Tony and even Joe around Alex and Matt. He walked over to see what was so interesting that got Joe's attention. As he reached Alex, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Alex looked up and smiled at Jacob. Before Jacob could react, Alex pulled him into a hug and started whispering.

"Thank you for everything Jacob, thank you so much. You are really a true friend."

Jacob had no clue what caused this. Everyone looked on, Matt and Franseca had tears rolling down their cheeks. Ever since Saturday, this house has been a roller coaster ride of emotions. Saturday Alex was breaking down and saying how sorry he was for the past and now he is holding Jacob in a hug thanking him for everything. The only thing left is to figure out what this is all about and see what is going to happen next.



{Wow man, what can I say about this chapter? It covered a lot and I hope I didn't lose any of you along the way. This chapter once again is bringing in two of my other three stories in. Some of the plots in this chapter that got opened or continued will go into more detail where the characters belong, either "Shadow of My Father" or "Beneath the Mask." So don't skip over any of my stories, or you will be lost.

At the beginning of the chapter, Al was in a conference call with the Governor and his staff. We now know what the Governor plans to do. He is willing to risk his reelection to a second term as Governor in order to do what is right. This plot will continue in this story, but it will go into more detail in "Shadow". Eventually Al will be spending equal time in both stories.

What do you guys think about Al asking the Governor to pardon Alex? Do you think Alex deserves to be completely removed off the monitoring device? Or should he be kept on it to at least his eighteenth birthday? I know all of you have your own opinions on this. Let me know your thoughts. Even if I don't agree, I still want and need to hear your thoughts!

In the last chapter I set up Jacob going to state. But in this chapter, Colonel Pigeon says hold your horses, Jacob isn't going. Who knows who is telling the truth here? When Jacob talked with Major Moore it made more sense. The permission slip should cover any student as far as insurance. And as far as funds, Jacob knows how much money each unit has because he helped get those funds for each unit. I don't think Colonel Pigeon has malice towards Jacob; he just doesn't know what he can and can't do since this is his first time.

But hey it all worked out for Jacob at the end. He would have been at state and missed Dewayne's birthday. I really think that Dewayne didn't tell Jacob about his birthday because he knew Jacob would have not gone to state if he knew. But the Lord works in mysteries ways. Jacob is at home, throwing Dewayne a surprise birthday party.

The promise ring, I love it. If the Governor gets his legislation through, they could make those promise rings to wedding rings. Do you guys see that in the cards for Jacob and Dewayne? Dewayne really loves Jacob and Jacob is really in love with Dewayne. You can see it the way they act with each other, talk about each other and willing to go with out to make each other happy. So I see them getting married, but who knows?

What a mess we have with Ethan, Chase and Patricia! I am glad that Ethan came to his senses and decided against this relationship. Can you imagine if they went through with this, what it would look like? Ethan is right when he said that he will be the one on the losing end. I hope Chase lets it go and Ethan moves on with this guy he got introduced to by Chris. Who do you guys think it is?

At the end of the chapter a lot was covered. Gloria took the position as Ana's executive assistant. I hope she doesn't try any funny business. I don't think so because look at how she is changing. She is trying to get to know Dewayne. She went out with Dewayne to help pick out the promise rings. Then she helped Jacob get the amusement park for Dewayne's birthday. There are other small things we have seen her doing. She is trying to change; I think she will get there.

Al being gone for an at least two weeks, if not a month, is going to be strange for everyone because they are used to going to him. Jacob is now going to be the one that everyone goes to. I really hope nothing happens while Al is gone. If something does come up, I hope Jacob can deal with it, without having to call Al. You guys need to check in on the chapters to come to see what happens there.

I opened so many plots in this chapter I think I skipped some of them in this summation. Don't worry if I did that, they will continue in the chapters to come. My editor will let me know either when we talk or by his Editors Corner. Talking about my editor, I would like to send out thanks to him. Daddy Rick has been my editor and friend now for over a year. Thank you Rick for coming aboard, working as hard as you do and putting up with my hard headiness. I truly hope we have many more years of working together on these stories. This last year has been lots of fun and thank you for that.

As always I can go on and on about the open plots in the story! If I do that, I can actually write several more chapters. There are so many plots that can take a turn at anytime. You might think it is going to go one way, but is lands up going another. Don't miss out on anything, or you will be kicking yourself for it.

There is a so much to answer in the chapters to come. Stick around and keep reading the future chapters, and enjoy! Please email me and let me know how I am doing at jacobmillertex@aol.com, Thanks!}


Greetings from Dallas, one and all!  Yes, it has been over a year since I teamed up with Jacob and became his editor. It has been great fun and these stories have become a passion with me. I am deeply invested in the stories and characters and their lives. Jacob and I collaborate frequently via Skype. Sometimes the collaboration sessions get quite "spirited".  <meaning we fight like cats and dogs>   Yet, we remain friends. I really do need to drive west and meet him in person.  One thing's for sure, we'd not be lacking for things to converse about!

Well, the quadrangle is now a triangle; Chase, Ethan and Patricia. Ethan, once again, shows his maturity and depth of character. He's not willing to sell himself or his happiness short. He's not willing to be the guy on the side. Ethan is solid and a great catch and deserves a loving caring guy that will be dedicated to him. I see that he doesn't do well with typical high school age drama and can't tolerate ambivalence. Is there a good gay guy that has his priorities and ethics on the same level as Ethan in the school?

Chase wants it all his way. Patricia is enabling that behavior. Ethan is about to balk and give Chase a serious wakeup call, I suspect. I expect that there are going to be some ongoing hard feelings that are going to take some time to overcome.

Al is leaving the reigns in Jacob's hands. Jake is plenty capable but could easily become overwhelmed with so much on his plate. I hope the other leaders in the corporation will carry their weight and keep Jacob from having to be involved in stressful situations.

Gloria is changing for the better. I don't expect she will make the transition perfectly. She's going to slip here and there. My concern with her being Ana's executive assistant is that she might get too headstrong and try to run things. When and if that happens, who will be there to reign her in?  Her SON? Will Ana have the leverage to keep her channeled? I'm ready for some drama.

There is still something we don't know about Jacob being denied going to state. Something's afoot. My curiosity is peaked.

I am becoming more and more confident as time goes by that Dewayne and Jacob are a match for life. Here's a prime example of a more mature <older> person joining a younger yet solid guy making a good solid, loving relationship that will stand the test of time. This relationship is so rooted in mutual love and admiration. Should gay unions become legal, these two should be at the front of the line to enter into a union.

You'll note that in that last paragraph I blatantly steer away from the term "marriage" when it comes to gay couples. I have a solid reason for that.  The churches sanctify a marriage in a sacrament. The state records a partnership contract between two people. Gays have been making the battle for equality harder to win by insisting on keeping that word "marriage" in play.

From the standpoint of the states and federal government, gays and straights should both be able to record their entering into a contractual partnership. If the gays would pull back from the term "marriage" and work toward equality in our unions, I think we could win the battle without nearly as much resistance. I hope the Governor's proposed bill will be framed in just such a manner.

Ok, so what brought on the scene with Alex right at the end?  Does it have to do with Al's talk with the Governor about a pardon for Alex?  If so and Alex is pardoned, what about Matt and the others that have shown they have put their lives on the right track?

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick