{Regrets and Heartaches 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's in realistic balance in the characters' lives.

Any similarity to any real events, names, or life events is purely accidental. If you are a underage, (according to your state laws as 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 anyway, shape or form without my expressed consent. I will like to give a shout out to a reader that has helped me with ideas where the story is, thank you!}

Written by J.P.G.

Chapter 16

Harold wanted to get into the office early due to the fact that Dominic had a court hearing set first thing in the morning. He isn't the judge on the case; he just wants to make sure the ball isn't dropped again. So in order for him to sit in that hearing, he scheduled his hearing to start two hours earlier than normal.

As soon as he walked into the doors of his office, he knew this wasn't going to be a good day. The look on his secretary's face told him. Before he could even put his coat on the coat rack, she started out negative. Harold asked her to let him at least get his coffee before she delivers him any news, no matter good or bad.

Once he got his coffee, he let his secretary gave him the news. "As I was saying sir, before I left last night I got a call from the zoning board. They wanted to talk with you, but you had already left for the day. They needed to tell you that your permits to join two houses didn't go through. They quoted these laws before hanging up."

The secretary handed Harold a paper with the law numbers that doesn't allow Joey to join the houses together. He walked over to the law books and pulled them out. As he looked each of them up, he saw they were right. There is no way Joey can join the houses in that neighborhood together. The main reason, it is set for historical buildings. When that happens, the owners of the houses or buildings cannot change them at all.

Now he has to figure out a way to tell Joey. He walked over to his desk, looked at the clock and picked up the phone. It rang a couple of times before Helen picked up. They talked for a few minutes before Harold asked for Joey. As she called him to the phone, Harold tried to put together an easy way to tell him that he needs to find somewhere else to put his shelter or do it for fewer kids.

Joey got on the line all chipper, which changed. "Joey I have no other way to say this than to just say it. I had a message waiting for me when I walked into the office. The message is from the zoning committee. They are not going to allow you to join the houses together. Their main issue is that you live in an historical community. That alone doesn't allow you to change one thing to the houses."

"I don't understand what you are saying Harold. I thought if the person owns the house or houses, he can do what ever he wanted to do with them. But here you are telling me that I cannot even paint my house without talking to the city. That is wrong and shouldn't be allowed."

"I will not lie to you Joey, I was for this plan. Yes you have to get permission to do any changes to a house or business that is part of the historical part of a neighborhood. The reason for that is that the properties need to look the same as they did when they were first built. That hurts you for what you want to do, but the others in the neighborhood, the value of their homes are a lot more because of this law."

"I wish I knew that this law was in place for the neighborhood where I bought my house. Now I own two houses in the same neighborhood. What am I going to do with two damn houses? I have no need for two houses. I needed them to be one house for what I have planned. By themselves, they are worthless to me."

"I understand your frustration. We will figure out something, I promise. For now you need to get to school and I need to start my hearings. When I get home, we will talk some more. Until then, don't say or do anything that you cannot correct or take back."

Joey promised, and thanked Harold for the call. As soon as he got off the phone, Caleb grabbed his hand. Joey leaned against the wall, as Caleb talked in a soft soothing voice. Just the way Caleb talked put Joey at ease. After a few minutes of talking, Joey settled down and was ready to head out.

The breakfast bunch grew from the normal six to eleven. They are now taking the entire table, which it didn't bother anyone since no one sat at the table with them. As they sat there talking, Joey looked at Angelo, trying to figure out if he should tell him and the others about the bad news he just got. When they started laughing, Joey decided not to.

He figured his day was messed up, so why should he mess up theirs. They seem happy and at ease for the first time since he met them. Plus if he tells them, it is something he cannot take back. After all he did promise Harold that he will not do or say something that he cannot take back, at least until they talk again this evening.

Out of no where, a young kid appeared in front of the table. It pulled Joey out of his thoughts because he didn't see him walking up. All the other guys at the table also stopped talking and just starred at the kid.

"Um, Joey, the colonel needs to see you." That was the only thing the kid said before walking off. Joey looked at the guys and then back to his tray. He has never been summoned before to the SAI'S office, not until now. He got up and told Caleb he will see him at the lockers before first period, and then walked off.

When he arrived at the ROTC room, Joey walked over to Colonel Chandler's office. He passed the young kid on the way and took a double look at him. He looks like a junior high school kid, not one that goes to high school. He has no facial hair, peach fuzz on his arms and when he talked to him in the cafeteria, his voice cracked.

Once he reached the colonel's office he knocked. He heard Colonel Chandler call him in. Slowly he opened the door and walked in. The colonel waived him over to the seat in front of his desk. Not saying a word, Joey walked over and sat down. Since he was the one that was called in, he will wait for Colonel Chandler to speak first.

"Good morning Joey, how are you?" Joey replied fine. "The reason I called you over is to tell you that starting tomorrow you will be wearing the lieutenant colonel rank instead of your major rank." Colonel Chandler handed Joey the two diamonds. Joey, not understanding what is going on, took them anyways.

"I do this every year at this time. The out going battalion commander starts to introduce the incoming battalion commander. In order for the other cadets to know it is not a prank, the battalion staff gets promoted. Now that doesn't mean though you take over the positions. You will still run the same positions you are running now."

Joey looked down at his new rank, lost for words. "Look Joey, I know this is a lot to lay at your door step with you just coming back and all. But you are my battalion commander next year; you need to get use to that. Plus the returning cadets need to get use to that as well. Again I don't want you to worry that this adds more duties on you, because it doesn't. All it does is ensures your placement for next year."

"Well, this is different to say the least. At my old school we had no idea if we were going to be promoted to officers until the next year. We all knew who was going to be the battalion staff, but the promotions didn't take affect until the next year. The only time that changed is, well never. I think what happened this year at my old school is rare."

Colonel Chandler asked Joey what he meant. He went into detail on what had happened to Jacob. At the beginning of the year, he wasn't the battalion commander. The battalion commander got brigade commander then the XO got promoted. He went on to tell the story what had happened. Colonel Chandler couldn't believe it, but he has heard it happening to other schools.

They talked a little longer before Colonel Chandler let him go. All the way to his and Caleb's locker, Joey was very chipper. He couldn't believe the day started out with bad news, but then this. It kind of makes everything better for now. He knows he still has to worry about the house mess, but for now he is going to enjoy this moment.

Harold hated days like today that are filled with pleas. A lot of these guys he knows he will see here again. So at times he feels that he is talking to a wall when he warns them. Still he does it anyways, hoping that he is wrong.

He was going through his cases at a steady speed until several police offices busted through his doors with several people. Harold was angry that they were as noisy as they came crashing through. When the officers didn't settle down and wait their turn, Harold had enough and slammed down his gabble.

"Officers I do not like it when people come barging into my court making all kinds of noise like you guys are doing. The court is in session and you will respect that. Do I make myself clear or should I hold you in contempt of court?"

"No sir, you do make yourself clear. We were instructed to bring these individuals up to your court room. They are some of the remaining parents that abandoned their kids that we didn't find the first time. All we need is you to sign off on the warrants and set bail so we can book them down in county."

Harold looked at the three couples standing before him. One couple was nicely dressed, looking like they just came back from a vacation on a beach some where. The other couple looks as if they were pulled out of bed. And the final couple, they look like they were found in a bar passed out in their own vomit.

"Ladies and gentlemen, do you understand why you are before me today?" The couples shook their heads no. "You are being arrested under child neglect laws of this state. By you putting your child into the camp you put them in, you are as much guilty as the ones that were running that camp. Everything they did to your kid, you will be charged with also. You knew what was going on, because you signed off on it to be done."

One by one they stood before Harold and explained why they did what they did. None of their excuses made any head way with Harold. In fact the more they talked, the worse they are making it for themselves. Even those in the courtroom were stunned by their reasons for doing what they did.

When the last one talked, Harold threw the book at them. He gave them the highest bond he could by the law under the charges they are being charged with. As he gave out his ruling, they started begging Harold to reconsider his decision. They tried to explain even if they get bond, they cannot afford the ten percent.

"None of you thought twice when you put your kids in that place. You put them in there to rot or be killed. It didn't matter to you which it was. All that did matter is when your kid was returned to you, he or she was regular. Well I am here to tell you, your children are regular and there is nothing wrong with that. You didn't show mercy to them; I will not show mercy to you."

Harold ordered the officer to take them away. They went out screaming, but Harold didn't care. He continued with the scheduled cases. Once they were done, he adjourned his court room and headed to his chambers. As he was taking off his robe, his secretary walked in with the same look on her face she had when the day started.

"What is wrong now? You have a message to let me know that I cannot do work on my house like I plan to do?"

"No sir, the governor's office is on the line for you." Harold looked at his secretary with a stunned look. He tried to think why the governor wants to talk to him. Then it dawned on him, which governor. He works in the state of New Mexico, but lately he has been dealing with things from Texas. Maybe it is news about Beth.

Harold walked over to his desk and picked up the phone. He informed the older lady on the other line who he was and was asked to hold. As he was holding, he sat down and pulled out Beth's files. He wants to be ready for any question that might be asked of him.

"Your honor, thank you for taking my call, this is Governor Bruce King." Harold closed the folder, now more confused than before. "The reason I am calling you is to ask you a question. The governor of Texas, Governor Lopez, called me up and asked if I could release you to him to serve in a new court he has created.

He has several pilot programs going on not too far from you, in El Paso Texas. To complete the pilot programs, he has created a new district court that will only deal with gang members. It seems they are having a lot of problems with gangs up there and he needs to get it under control before it becomes another LA.

It is an appointed position for life. Unlike the other district courts in El Paso, you don't have to run for it. He wants to bring in a person that has no ties to anyone and one he knows will get the job done. He likes what you are doing on holding every person accountable for that camp. He feels you are stern but just.

I didn't give him an answer anyway. Before I do that, I wanted to speak with you. I know you have a family and ties to your community. So I wanted to let you know and see what you think about it. If you don't want it, please don't worry about turning it down. I am pretty sure Governor Lopez has a list and he will just go to the next one on it."

"Governor King, I really do not know what to say here. I know if I accept the position, I will have to move my family to El Paso. That I don't see a problem, but I think I should let the wife know and then the family. If it is okay with you, I would like to talk it over with my family before giving you the answer."

"I have no problem with that. In fact I suspected that is what you were going to ask. So I told Governor Lopez I will have an answer for him on Monday morning. I need your answer before I make that phone call so I will call you up on Monday morning to see what your answer is before calling Governor Lopez. How does that sound to you?"

"That sounds really good sir. I will talk with my family tonight and over the weekend. By Monday morning I will have an answer for you."

They talked a little longer before hanging up. He jumped out of his seat and walked to the court room where Dominic is appearing in. On his way, Harold thought about the offer he is getting. It would be good to be a judge and not have to run for the position every four years. He can do the job without worrying what is popular at the time and what isn't.

During lunch, Lonnie and the guys kept asking Joey if had made up his mind yet about joining the football team. No matter how he answered the question, they kept asking it. Finally he was blunt and said no and doesn't think he will know his answer for a while. His main concern, and he let the guys know that, is getting healthy again. If he doesn't get there, it wouldn't matter because he wouldn't be able to play.

The rest of the day dragged, Joey kept looking up at the clock. The news Harold told him in the morning has come back and over shadowed the promotion he got earlier in the morning. Even during ROTC class, he stayed quiet, prompting Colonel Chandler to ask why he was so quiet. He explained what was weighing on his mind. The advice he got was things work out at the end.

Caleb saw that Joey was bothered, but again he decided to wait to for him to come out and talk. Still though, he was worried for him. Keeping things in doesn't help. He feels that he needs to talk about it just like he is talking to Jacob about the nightmares.

Before clocking in, the boys went to the bathroom and changed their clothes. They carry their work clothes in the truck when they have to work after school. Neither of them wants to wear their Albertsons uniform to school. They are already the brunt of so many jokes. Wearing their uniforms would just feed the joke machine.

Harold knew that the boys were working, so he went home early to talk with Helen before talking with the others. When he walked into the door, Helen popped her head into the hall way surprised to see her husband home as early a he is. They greeted each other with a kiss on the lips as they made their way to the kitchen.

"Helen, there are couple of things I need to talk with you about." He started speaking as he sat down at the tale. Helen started cooking as he told her what had happened with the houses. Once he finished, that explained a lot to Helen on why Joey got off the phone in the morning in a sad mood.

"There is nothing you can do to make it happen for Joey?" Harold said no. "Then we need to help him find a place for the shelter. Then we have to help him get the houses off his hands. There is no need for him to have the houses since he is going to move in here with us. It is a waste of money and time to keep-up those houses."

"The houses may not be the biggest problem we have right now. Joey might end up moving back into his house." She looked over at Harold with a confused look on her face. "It all depends what you and I decide on this next piece of news. Then it will depend on what Joey wants to do if we decide on a direction that will change everything."

He went into detail about the conversation he had with Governor King. While he talked, Helen stopped cooking and sat down at the table. This kind of news, she felt she needed to give it her complete attention. She doesn't want to miss one thing he said. When he finished, she stayed quite for a few minutes.

"I really do not know what to say to that news. On one hand, it is good for you and the family. You don't have worry about running anymore. The courtroom would be yours until you decide to leave it. You and I still have at least thirty years ahead of us before we can even retire so where we can live comfortably.

But on the other hand, we have given our word to Joey, Fran and Allen just recently. Now here we are about to tell them that you got this offer, and we might move to the city he moved away from. Yes he has his own house! And yes Joey is grown up and pretty much can take care of himself, Fran and Alan. But he isn't safe here with his mother still on the loose and god knows what is going to happen with his uncle.

Plus we cannot stop thinking about our own kids. They have their friends and lives here. Valerie is a senior and it wouldn't be fair to pull her out of school and away from her friends at this point. Then Caleb, beside his friends and being a junior, we have to worry about Joey's ex. Them being this far away from each other helps from them getting back together. If that would happen, Caleb would be broken."

Harold sat there going over in his mind what Helen said. She is right on several of the points, but at the same time he feels that with a little more talking they will be able to find the solution to many if not all of her concerns. He started to write them down in order to go through it like a check list.

"Okay I agree with you on many of your concerns. If we sit here and talk them out, maybe we can come to a solution. I am not saying that I have made up my mind yet. It takes both of us to run this house, so I cannot make a move like this without you. If you are against it, I will turn the offer down."

Helen got up to finish cooking dinner while she and Harold spoke about all the concerns she brought up. By the time she finished cooking, they had settled them all except two, Joey's ex and their daughter being a senior. The daughter part they have a solution, but they still need to talk it over with her and then the other party involved.

Just like Joey wanted, the shift went by quickly. Normally from Thursday on, the shifts do go by fast, at least until Sunday. Caleb told Joey when he first started the reason for that is people start to rent the movies on Thursday in hopes to beat the weekend rush. They have no problem paying the extra money to keep them over the weekend, versus one day rental. Joey always thought it was a waste of money to pay those extra fees.

Throughout the shift, Joey tried to steal moments with Caleb. He started to think that maybe Joey was in heat, his time of the month by the way he was acting. He kept pinching Caleb's butt when ever he passed him. When ever there were no customers in the video store, he would go up and kiss Caleb at the same time fondle his dick through his jeans. By the third or fourth time, Caleb had a noticeable hard on.

At one point, close to closing, Caleb didn't want to leave the counter area. The counter hid his lower body and hard on showing through his jeans. Just as it started to go down, Joey went up and got it hard again. He didn't mind, because he loved the sight of Caleb's dick being as noticeable as it is. Even if that means he has to clean the entire store, to him it is worth it.

When Joey went up to Caleb right at closing, he stopped in his tracks because the evening manager walked in to collect their drawers. He followed the manager around the counter, but instead of standing on the side that Caleb wasn't standing on, he chose to stand behind him. As they stood there watching the manager count their drawers out, he kept pinching ever so lightly Caleb's butt. Caleb smiled and didn't want him to stop.

After the drawers were counted, they walked out of the video department with manager. As the manager locked up the department, the boys went to clock out. All the way to the time clock, Joey would whistle at Caleb. A few times he would run up to him and whisper in his ear what a handsome boyfriend he has.

All the way home, the boys held hands. They both have homework to do, so they decided to make tomorrow night an evening of making love, because after they eat, get ready for the next day and do homework, they have no time to have sex--at least not the kind of sex they wanted to make, long and hot. So reluctantly Joey agreed with Caleb to hold off until tomorrow.

As they walked into the door of the house, Joey knew something was up. When he saw Fran's face, it spoke volumes. Before he could ask her what was going on, Harold stepped out and asked the boys to come in and eat their dinner. He looked at his sister, trying to read her lips, as he walked to the kitchen, but couldn't.

Before they could put the first bite in their mouths, Harold started talking. "I need you guys to listen to me before saying a word. After I am done, you guys can say your reactions and then we can talk about it. If you guys jump in as I am talking, I will never get through it and nothing will be resolved."

They both looked at each other as Harold went on. Just like Helen, he explained the conversation he had with Governor King. Out of respect to Joey and his son, Harold didn't leave a thing out. He felt he is going to ask them for a lot, the least he could do is tell them everything that was said. When Harold finished, the kitchen was quiet. Everyone just stared at each other, not saying a word.

"I know what I just said is a lot to take in all at once. Caleb you have your friends, school and football. You have lived your whole life here and now I am asking what you think about up rooting your life. You Joey, you are barely getting back to your normal life. Even before what had happened, you were barley getting settled in here. Heck, you have barely moved here and now I am here saying move back to the town you moved away from. That is a lot to deal with all at once.

With that said Joey, I fear for you the most. We have your uncle, but not your mother. You mother is now on the run and when people are on the run they do things they normally wouldn't do. She already showed how far she would go to get to you and your money. Now she has nothing to loose, so she will go even further."

"I understand where you are coming form on all your points sir, but my mother will know where to find me if I move back to El Paso." He looked straight into Harold's face with as serious look as he can give. "If I would to move back to El Paso, I would go back and live in the house my aunt and uncle left me. Don't you think knowing that, she can find me as easily there as here? If she wants to get to me, she will do it."

"That I agree with and that is one of the main things Helen and I have been discussing. We already own this house, so if we move, we will simply close it off. Governor King told me that the state of Texas will pay for my move to El Paso and will pay a portion of a new home since I am being asked to move. Of course not all of it, I don't even think half of it, but with the market the way it is, well I can get a very good home for penny's on the dollar. We are not fancy people, so a simple home will do.

The reason I am telling you this is because I would be buying a home in El Paso. So you, your sister and Allen are more than welcome to live in our home up there as well. In fact if you decide to move with us, I can make sure to get a home that fits all of us."

"That will save on you and

I paying for add ons to this house." Harold shook his head to Joey. "I am still willing to give you my half of that cost. So instead of you using that money to build onto this house, use it towards the new house. Now of course that still depends on me and Fran on moving up with you guys."

For the next twenty or so minutes, they talked about that! Harold and Helen really want to adopt Fran and Allen, but understand that it is all up in the air right now because of the chances of them moving. They don't want to pull Fran away from her brother that she loves and will do anything for. As far as Allen, they know if Joey stays, he will as well.

"Let's say we even agree on moving with you, I cannot. Not with the shelter issue all a mess like it is. I will not start something and just abandon it. These poor guys have had a bad run of it lately and now they think they have a good place to live. They don't even know that the city denied me to join the houses. I still have to find a place for them."

"I have given that some thought as well. This is where the house that your aunt and uncle left you comes into play. I can pull strings here to get the kids moved into the system in Texas. In fact I know if I tell the governor that is one of the things that need to be done in order for me to do the move, he will get it done.

Now the only problem I see right now is we need to get someone in El Paso, social worker or someone in the system to help us get everything done. I don't know anyone in El Paso or anywhere in Texas. But let's say we get over the hump, you can use your home in El Paso as the shelter and build onto that one."

"As far as someone in the system, I think I might have someone. Jacob's grandfather just adopted a son out of foster care. He had a..." Joey went on and explained to Harold about Tony. From his parents being in prison, his adopted parents and grandparents passing away. How he ended up in the system and who they assigned to speak on his behalf, take care of his interest and ensure he wasn't taken advantage of.

"Look I know this is going to take a couple of days to get started. If we decide to do this, we will need to get a lot of things in order." Harold looked over to Helen and grabbed her hand. "Every single one of us is going to end up having to make changes that we didn't suspect to make at this time in our lives. From changing schools, jobs and leaving our friends and family behind, there are going to be major changes."

For the next hour they sat in the kitchen talking about what it would take to do the move. Fran, Allen and Valerie joined them. Joey got out of the conversation when Valerie chirped in that she isn't going. Because it is her senior year in high school, Harold and Helen feel it isn't right to pull her and send her to a school where she has no friends. So she will be staying with Helen's parents until she graduates from high school. Then she will move either off to college or to El Paso.

Both Fran and Allen made it clear that the only way they will move is if Joey moves as well. If that doesn't happen, they will stay with Joey. That put a damper on the spirit of the conversation since Harold and Helen are really looking forward to adopting them. If they choose Harold's appointment to a court in Texas, they might loose the chance on bringing two new members in their family.

Before calling it a night, Harold agreed with Joey that he needed to miss school tomorrow. Not because of the chances of moving, but because of the shelter issue. No matter what happens Joey needs to put together the shelter. He already gave his promise to all the kids that are already there, he needs to fulfill the promise.

As Joey and Caleb got ready for bed, Joey was no longer in his playful mood as he was earlier. In fact he was very quiet. When he crawled into bed, Caleb knew better then to try and talk with him. Instead he wrapped his arms around him, pulled him into him and laid his head right beside his. Soon they were both asleep and didn't wake up again till the next morning.

The first thing Helen did when she walked into the office is call her boss. She needed to know if she could put in a transfer for her, her son and Joey. As they discussed what was going on, her boss told Helen that the store will not be the same if she leaves it. There is no one in the store that can fill her shoes. If she would leave, he would have to bring someone else in from another store to run her store.

It didn't take long for Helen's boss to get back to her. As far as Joey and her son, the transfer will be easy to do. But her on the other hand, well that is a different story all together. He talked with a supervisor from the El Paso stores and he has a store on the east side that is being run by the assistant manager right now. He has been looking high and low for a store manager, but hasn't found one that he has been happy with.

"I know that El Paso is big, but I cannot be too choosy on where to get transferred to. If the supervisor over there is willing to take me on and give me the store, I will be willing to run the store of course. This move is coming out of left field and I want my husband to take advantage of this opportunity that is being given to him."

"Helen I have already faxed over the parts of your employment files that matter on transferring and he loves what he sees. He wants to offer you the store, so can I go ahead and let him know to stop looking?"

"Yes please tell him to stop looking, I will take the store. Just give me the addresses and I will make time on my day off to go down and take a look at the store. That way I know what I am heading into as far as the store issues."

Helen and her supervisor talked a little more. Before hanging up with him, he gave Helen the address and directions to get to the store. As soon as she got off the phone, she called Harold, but he was in court. So she left a message with his secretary to have him call her when ever he has a free moment.

As Helen got her stuff in order, Joey was working on the problems with the shelter. He first stopped at his old house to speak with Gary and Janet. As he gave them the bad news, he saw disappointment in their faces. More on Gary's face than on Janet's! He knew why it hit Gary more because he moved his life here to run the shelter.

"Before deciding on buying the house next door and joining it to your house, didn't you want to buy an old building and transfer it into a shelter for gay teens?" Gary looked squarely into Joey's eyes as he asked the question.

"Yes, but the cost to buy the building was lot more and then to bring it up to code for people to live in was way more then I had to spend on this. I am willing to spend money, but I am not willing to spend all my money to get it done. I am not trying to sound mean here, but if I am in the hole before the doors even open, there is no way the shelter will be able to keep its doors open."

Joey understood where Gary was coming from, but Gary needs to look at all points of view here. Yes Joey, with the help from Al, got donors, but that money is to be used to keep the shelter running. Pay for everything for the kids in the shelter, to the salary for those that work for the shelter and what ever else falls in between all that.

"Put aside the problem with the building, something else has come up. Harold has been offered an appointed judgeship in El Paso, and by the looks of it, he is going to take it. That leaves me with only two choices. I either move to back to El Paso with Caleb and his family or stay here. If I stay here, me, my sister and Allen are going to have to move back into the house, leaving less room for the others we want to help."

Both Janet and Gary looked straight at him, not able to say a word. Their jaws fell to the ground halfway through what he was telling them. They just got hit with two pieces of news that changes everything they thought was not going to change. Even if they keep the houses, they will not have the room for everyone that is currently staying due to not being able to do the construction they wanted to do.

"There is another avenue we can take here you guys." Joey got up and explained to Janet and Gary about moving the shelter to El Paso. With Harold having friends in the court, they could transfer everyone that lives here to El Paso. The only question left to be answered is if Gary and Janet would want to do the move as well.

"I have no problem moving to El Paso." Gary spoke up with excitement in his voice, surprising Joey. "That will get me a lot closer to Las Cruces where my family and friends are at. I did the move here because the job was too good to pass up."

Joey looked over to Janet to see her response. "The only family I have here is my sister, and if Harold is going to go, I am sure he will ask her to go with him. If that happens, she will. If she moves to El Paso, I will follow because she is my family. At least the family I am the closest to."

Confused on what Janet just said, Joey had to ask what he was thinking. "I thought your parents lived here. Don't they, or didn't they, take care of your baby a coupe of times when you had to take me to appointments? I might be wrong! I might have missed understood what you said, but that is why I am asking."

"No you are right, but again that is why I said my sister and I are very close. The other parts of our family, well we get together on the major holidays or when we need a favor from each other. Other than that, we pretty much live our lives without talking with each other for weeks at a time."

After clearing that up, they talked a little more before Joey took his leave to call Al. He went to the kitchen to have a little privacy. It is not that he doesn't want Janet and Gary to hear what he is talking about, but doesn't want them to jump the gun on anything. He barely got them to promise not to tell the guys until he had all his ducks in a row.

It didn't ring more than twice before the secretary answered the phone. Joey asked to speak with Al, and she put him on hold. A couple minutes later, Al came on the line. They got through the pleasantries and went right down to business. Joey told him what was going on from the house issue to Harold being offered the appointment.

"Let me start this off by saying Joey and please do not take what I am about to say the wrong way. If you are going to move back to El Paso, are you going to be going to the same high school that Jacob is going to? When you left my grandson, you hurt him a lot. The only reason I think you guys are able to begin a friendship right now is because you guys are in two different states. If you see each other every day, I think there will be a problem."

"To tell you the truth, I really do not know. I thought the same thing and if things fall into place for me to move, I will push Harold to buy a house on the central side of town. That way I would be going to Austin High School, not Newman. It wouldn't be right for me to pop back up in Jacob's every day life. Not the way I left his life."

"Again do not take me wrong, I cannot ban you from anything here in El Paso. All I am asking is that you take everything into account when and if you move back. Since you and Jacob are talking almost every evening, you need to let him know also what is going on. That is just so he isn't caught off guard when you pop up at places that you two may take your boyfriends to."

"I agree and will tell Jacob tonight when we talk. I am pretty sure if I attend another high school we can make it work. Plus I know Austin, not as much as Newman, but I still know it. I have no problem with one thing you are saying, not a single problem."

"Okay let's move to the issue of your shelter. That is a twist of bad luck you ended up buying homes in a historical neighborhood. We have them here and they have the same rules. But as far as your house is concern, it isn't in one of those neighborhoods. Still though you are looking at a nightmare to change anything to that house because of how old it is. It will cost you more to bring it up to code than to add rooms to it.

With that said, I have another option for you. When I bought my office building, I got a hotel that was taken away from the owners. The bank has been trying to get it off of their hands for over a year, and because of that I got it for a quarter of its price. It is valued a lot higher, I mean a lot higher than I paid for it. I am willing to donate it to you and the shelter to use, so I can write it off at the end of the year."

Joey couldn't believe the news he just got. He and Al talked about it and came to an agreement on the hotel. Al will donate the building for it to be used as the shelter for gay teens. But Joey has to name it after him since it is his idea. The shelter will be called The Joey Alvarez Shelter for Gay Teens.

When they came to that agreement, Al promised to pull what ever strings he can to bring the eight kids in the New Mexico system to the Texas system. That way Joey doesn't end up abandoning them when they need him the most. Both agreed that they will have no problem moving to El Paso since their parent's had pretty-well disowned them. Before getting off the phone with Al, Joey thanked him for everything he is willing to do.

On his way out, he talked with Gary and Janet again. Joey told them that he has a hotel in El Paso that can be transferred to a shelter and that is what he is going to use. They both were pleased with the news they just got from Joey. Gary once again confirmed with him he will do the move. Janet on the other hand said she will get back with Joey. Having no other option, he took both of their answers for now.

The minute that Caleb sat down at the table without Joey, everyone started asking questions. Caleb couldn't get a word in edge-wise for the first couple minutes. Once they stopped asking the questions, Caleb started to explain to them what was going as far as the move. Caleb's friends started throwing more questions at Caleb.

"Look you guys right now everything is up in the air. My father still hasn't accepted the job, but if he does. Well let me just say I will have no other choice but to move. Trust me when I say I don't want to. All you guys are here." Caleb pointed to his friends. "Plus I have grown up here and I want to live here after college."

"No you trust me Caleb..." Lonnie spoke before the others. "We cannot loose you from the team. Next year we have a real shot on going all the way. More with Joey, but with you gone, we are done for. Not to sound mean, I hope either your father decides against the position or they pull the offer from him."

Everyone looked at Lonnie stunned at what he just said. "I don't wish anything like that Caleb to you or your family." Ivan broke the uncomfortable silence. "All of us grew up together and always thought we would graduate together and then head off to the same college. We do need you for next year, but more importantly I want to keep you around for the friendship we have. I hope your dad takes the position, but let's you stay."

Caleb explained that might be a possibility since his sister is being allowed to stay. It wouldn't be much of a sell to his parents if he asks them to let him stay as well. Then he started thinking about Joey. If Joey would to move back to El Paso, he cannot be without him anymore. That felt weird because he didn't think he had gotten that close to Joey already, but now he can see he has.

Angelo and the others from the shelter kept asking questions of Caleb that either he didn't know the answer to or didn't want to say. He felt that the shelter business is Joey's and they should be talking to him. Since he has nothing to do with it, he really cannot answer their concerns. He actually feared he might speak out of turn.

It took Kurt to change the subject in order to free him from the questions he has no answers to. When the bell rang for first period, he did feel bad for Angelo and the others, but felt he did the right thing on not answering the questions. As he walked to class, he kept looking over to his side suspecting to see Joey walking along side him. Every time he looked over and didn't see him there, his heart felt heavy.

Both boys found someone to cover their shift so they could be home for the family meeting. Harold wanted another sit down talk with everyone in order to see where each of them stood after they had a chance to think about what was said the night before. Plus Helen and he should know more what direction they are leaning towards.

Caleb arrived home before Joey. The only reason for that is that Joey went over to visit with Harold about getting the ball rolling on getting those in the halfway house transferred to the state of Texas. He thought it was going to be an in and out thing, but Harold sent him to another judge.

Since he has some ties into the issue, he cannot rule on anything dealing with the shelter and the kids in there. Still he called a fellow judge and asked him to rule on the issues, his friend gladly said yes. Once Joey went to the other judge's chambers, things moved pretty quickly. Basically Harold's fellow judge signed off on everything thinking that Harold looked at it already and it was on the up and up, which it was.

By the time Joey walked out of the court house, he had everything signed off on. Now of course it still is up to each of the kids in the shelter to decide if they want to go. If they decide to stay here, Joey wouldn't say no to that. Just as long as they understand that they will more than likely not get placed and end back up where they were when he opened his shelter here. He doesn't want to scare them to go, but he wants them to understand.

On his way home, he stopped by his house to let Janet and Gary know what he has done so far. Before leaving the house, Joey sat with the Angelo and the others and told them what was going on. He told them about his concerns and what he was thinking on his way over. As he got up to leave, he told the guys not to answer him yet, sleep on it and let him know in the morning.

As soon as Joey walked into the house, he found everyone else had already gotten home, including Harold. He found the family waiting in the living room for him. As soon as he walked into the living room, he went to sit by Caleb. Right away Caleb reached over and grabbed his hand and held it tight.

Harold went over what he said yesterday, and everyone listened. No one popped in and disturbed him as he spoke. Once he was done, he started going around the room for comments. Everyone was on Harold's side, telling him that he should take the position. Then he went around the room once again and asked everyone if they started working on their things to get the move on the way. If so, where did they stand?

Helen spoke up first. "I spoke with my supervisor and he already found me a store in El Paso. If we move, I will take over that store and be the store manager. The great thing about all this is that I am not coming in and pushing anyone out of the way. The supervisor over there has been looking for a store manager for a while."

She handed Joey the address and as he looked at it, he smiled. "Believe it or not, this store is easy to get to. It is right off of Chelsea Street and Montana. Maybe five miles away from the hotel that Al owns and is willing to donate to me to make into the shelter in El Paso." Everyone looked at him with a surprised looks on their faces.

He went into detail about the phone call he had with Al in the morning. Harold asked him a couple of questions, questions he had already asked in his office, but he wanted the family to hear the answer. Joey answered all of his questions, but then said something that he hadn't told Harold yet.

"Al told me this is a big hotel. It isn't spread out, instead it is twelve floors. On the twelfth flour are two penthouses. Each of them has a separate elevator that goes up to them that you must have either a card or a key to get the elevator to go to the penthouse. They are not just a room with a bathroom. Each penthouse is a three bedroom, living room, dinning room, with a full kitchen..."

"You got to be kidding me. In order to rent something like that, you would be spending a lot of money per night. How in the world did Al get the hotel?"

"I really do not know how Al got the hotel Harold or why it was foreclosed on by the bank. All I know is that he got a good price for it when he bought his office building. He told me that he paid something like a quarter of what it was actually worth. He was going to turn it into an office building and rent it to people that need offices.

What I was thinking on doing is to have us live in the two penthouses. Pay for the construction to have the wall that is separating them torn down and turned into one big six bedroom penthouse. That should be big enough for all of us to live in. As well you do not have to spend a lot of money to buy another house."

Everyone at the same time started speaking. They all thought it was a good idea and wanted to do it. Harold got everyone to settle down and asked him more detail about the hotel. Where it is actually located, what schools are near it and how far away is it from the downtown area. Joey answered every question that Harold threw at him.

"I told Al that I will be in El Paso mid morning tomorrow. I want to take a look at the hotel and make sure it is suitable for what I need it for. You know, the shelter and then for us to live in. I already got someone to cover my shift over the weekend, as well yours Caleb." He looked over to him. "If it is okay with you guys, I would like it if Caleb could go with me to El Paso tomorrow and stay the night."

Caleb jumped up almost begging his parents to go. "Hold on, son, sit down and let's talk about this. Why don't we all go up to El Paso so we all can see the hotel? That way we all can decide for ourselves. Who knows how much work it will need? Or if we can actually start living in it right away."

Harold sat down in the chair and everyone started talking about what Joey said. They decided they all should go. Joey told them that he had planned on leaving at three in the morning, and Harold agreed. Once the time was set, the family meeting was over. They all went to the rooms, while Harold ordered pizzas for dinner.

Knowing that he had a long drive ahead of him, Joey stayed up to nine and headed off to bed. He thought it was weird how tired he was considering that he didn't really do anything through the day. Still he is more tired then he gets going to school and work.

Once he crawled into bed, he was out. He had no idea what time Caleb went to bed. The next thing he heard was the alarm clock going off. He reached over and pushed the snooze button. Just as he started to doze off again, the alarm clock went off. This time he got up and turned off the alarm. As soon as he finished getting ready, he woke up Caleb. He wanted to give as much time he can to him to get more sleep.

As soon as he knew Caleb was up, Joey went out to load up the truck. When he walked out to the hallway, he was surprised to see that everyone had already made their way down stairs and was doing the same thing. By the time Caleb was ready, he had the truck loaded. Everyone used the bathroom one last time, grabbed something to drink and headed out to the cars.

Just as they were getting into the cars, Gary drove up with Janet and the others. Joey looked over and saw that they were still all half asleep, except Gary. They talked a few minutes before hitting the road. Joey was told that all the boys decided to move to El Paso without a discussion. The only one that he is waiting for the answer from is Janet.

Just like the last time he did this trip with, Caleb went to sleep the minute they got on the freeway, as well did Fran and Allen. He didn't mind, he turned on the radio and listened to it as he drove down the dark freeway. He is the lead vehicle, Harold and Gary decided to drive behind him since he was the one that knew where the hotel was located.

They pulled over in Truth or Consequences that he felt was the halfway point between El Paso and Alamogordo. After eating breakfast, stretching, they all piled back into the cars and got back in the freeway. By the time they reached Las Cruces, the freeway was pretty much empty all the way through. Once the freeway switched from I25 to I10, Joey knew the trip was done.

As he crossed over the state line, he started to shake. At first he didn't know why he was shaking, but as he started to recognize where he was at, he knew. The shaking got worse when he passed the turn off to the camp where he was held against his will. The weirdest thing to him was that he never saw the building from the freeway before, not until now at least.

He tried to hide the shaking from Caleb, but he saw. He reached over to Joey and grabbed his free hand. He didn't say a word, he just held onto his hand as tight as he could. Just that little thing got him to stop shaking. Not much later, they drove into the city limits of El Paso.

Caleb woke up Fran and Allen so they could see that they were already on the out skirts of El Paso. Soon the two lane freeway turned into three and then into four as they reached the west side of town. Joey passed the exit that he would have taken if he was going to Jacob's house. Instead he kept going until he passed downtown El Paso.

Once he reached the exit he needed to take, he turned off. Instead of staying on the lane that goes to the lights, Joey got on the lane that did the turn around. They used the turn around to get onto gateway east. Right away Joey got on the far right lane and turned off into an empty parking lot to an empty hotel.

Joey parked in front of the front doors of the hotel, Harold and Gary parked on Joey's right side. Everyone got out and started to stretch. He looked around and saw the pay phone bank that Al told him was on the side of the building. While he called, everyone else looked around the outside of the hotel.

It didn't take Al long to get there. When he drove up and parked, Joey opened the door for him. As soon as he got out of the car, Joey hugged him, and Al returned the hug. Before they could say anything to each other, Harold and the others walked up and greeted him. After they shook hands, Al, followed by everyone else, walked to the front door and unlocked the hotel.

As Al held open the door, he explained a few things to everyone. "The electricity is on due to the alarm system and some other things. So you can turn on the lights any where in the building and they will work. Just be careful on where you go because a lot of the furniture is covered. You don't want to bump into anything and break it or hurt yourselves."

The only response he got from everyone was them shaking there heads in agreement. While the others looked around the hotel, Al and Joey talked at the front door. Al thanked him for telling Jacob about him moving back here to El Paso. To Al's surprise he took it very well. In fact the news just rolled off Jacob's back.

"I had to respect him. Both of us know that I didn't have to tell Jacob, but at the same time we both know it was the right thing to do. Especially how I left things with him! I will never forgive myself for how I ended things, but I cannot turn back the clock and fix that. I only wish I could go back and slap some sense into me that day."

"Joey you and Jacob had to grow up way too fast. Neither of you had a chance to be teenagers. So don't beat yourself up for the past. Like you said, you cannot turn back time and fix what you did that day. All you can do is learn from it and move on. Both you and Jacob have found a new love; treat your new love as if he is the only person in the world for you. The best that you and Jacob can hope for is a friendship."

"You are right on that sir, you are right. I really do hope that Jacob and I do become friends, something we never have really been. But I will do it on his time table since I am the one that did the hurting. I promise you sir that I will not do anything that will make you, Jacob or the family uncomfortable."

Al sees that Joey has grown up some since he left. Just like he told him, both he and Jacob had to grow up way too fast, but Joey was behind Jacob. Now he is getting there and sees what he had done. Many have their opinion on who did what in that relationship, but it was Joey that ended it. Al knows that some people do not stay together, he has gone through a couple marriages himself, but to leave the way he did was wrong.

Before letting him go, Al handed him the keys to the place and the alarm codes. "All the locks on the exterior door, the penthouses and elevators have been changed. The only locks I didn't have changed are the rooms. I figured they were going to be turned into offices so I would wait and see how many of the rooms were actually going to join together. Now that you are going to use it for a shelter, there is no need for locks on those doors. Teenage kids do not need locks, just doors to shut for privacy."

As Joey took the keys from Al, Harold and Helen walked up. He looked down to his watch and realized he needed to go now in order to make it to his office for the conference call with the governor. He said his goodbye to Harold and Helen in the lobby, and then said his goodbyes to Joey in the parking lot. Joey walked him out to thank him once again. He didn't go back into the building until he saw Al drive away.

The first thing he did when he walked back into the building was walk to the elevator. By the time the door opened, everyone joined him. They got on and Joey swiped the badge for penthouse one. The door closed and the elevator started going up. It didn't stop until it reached the twelfth floor. Everyone got off and walked into a hallway.

As you turn to your right, you can actually see into the penthouse through windows. When you look straight ahead, you can see at the end of the hall a white wall, which they know separates the two walk ways between the penthouses. Right there and then Joey got an idea of knocking that wall down, not the wall inside the penthouses that separate them. But before he could mention to the others, they had walked in already.

Joey was the last to walk into the penthouse, and couldn't believe what he was seeing. He had walked into a huge room, which has furniture that is covered up. You looked to your left, there is as room there and then to the right is a hallway that leads to three other rooms. Confused on the set up, Joey walked into the room to the left.

Once he walked in, he knew what this room is because of the television on the far side of the room. He turned to his right and saw a door, which he walked through. He ended up in a full size kitchen, with a large table that sits eight, three on one side, and three on the other and one on each foot of the table. It has everything a kitchen in a home has, including all the appliances.

He walked out and took a quick tour of the other rooms in the penthouse. There are two pretty good size bedrooms on each side of the hall. On the left side of the hall is a full bathroom and on the right hand side of the hall, right across from the bathroom, is a full laundry room. Then at the end of the hall is the largest room of them all with a walk in closet and a huge bathroom with a garden tub that makes bubbles.

After looking at the first penthouse, everyone got on the elevator and went down one floor and over to the other elevator that goes back up to penthouse two. When they walked into the second penthouse, it was no surprise it was set up the same way, exactly the same way. After looking around the second penthouse, everyone went down to the lobby.

"Okay this place is huge!" Joey said looking around to everyone shaking their head. "Let me tell you what I am thinking and then you all weigh in. First I say we lock down all the halls we are not using. Let's start filling the halls from the eleventh floor and make our way down. What do you all think about that idea?"

"I don't see a problem with that, do you Janet?" Gary looked over to Janet and shook her head no. "The only problem is can we actually shut off the other halls. I am still young and want to explore this place. These guys are younger than me and I am pretty sure they would want to do the same thing."

Joey shrugged his shoulders as Harold walked over to the elevators and then back to the group. "Just like I thought, the elevators are like the ones in the courthouse. We can shut the floors down by not letting the elevators open up to the floors we don't want to be in use. As far as the stairs, we lock the doors to the halls as well. So that way when you get on the elevator, it will only let you go to the floors we open up."

Everyone started talking and at the end agreed. The main question that Angelo and the other guys asked were departed. First part do all the rooms have a television and if they will get their own key to their rooms.

"As far as everyone having their own television, I am not sure. I am surprised that the rooms that we have seen still have the furniture and the televisions. If they have it, I am sure the others do as well. Maybe not new ones, but they should have it. Now as far as keys to your rooms, I leave that up to Gary and Janet to decide."

Right away Janet answered their concern. "As soon as we get the keys to every room in this building, we will separate them and give you the key that belongs to your room. But Gary and I will have the master key and will go into your room when we think we need to. I understand the desire to lock up your stuff, but we need to trust each other. I say you will have the key, but don't lock your doors."

"Janet and I will discuss that a little more before we do actually decide about the locks on the doors." Gary got up from the seat and looked over at Janet. "Like Janet said, we need to trust each other. We are a family, maybe not by blood, but we are still a family. Families do not lock up their rooms from each other. In the house in Alamogordo, you guys don't have locks, so why should you have them here?"

Harold took over the conversation at that point. "I will recommend that not only you guys do not get the keys to the rooms, but the door knobs are changed to no locks. As both Janet and Gary said, and I will repeat, you all are a family. Families do not lock up their rooms from each other. If things start to disappear from your rooms or any other need for locks to be used on the doors, Gary and Janet should revisit that issue, but not until then."

All the boys agreed with Harold as they headed to the elevator to choose their room, but they turned around when the elevator opened. They remembered that none of the rooms were unlocked for them to choose their rooms. Joey pulled out the master key and handed it to Angelo and they headed up stairs. Janet and Gary went with them, leaving the Alvarez's and Evan's only in the lobby.

They started talking about the penthouses and how different they were than they thought they would be. One by one agreed it was like a house and they would have no problem living in the penthouses. They also agreed with Joey that the wall they should knock down is the one in the hallway. The only other one would be the one that separates the two kitchens so they can join them.

For the next few minutes they went over the construction plans. When it was all said and done, not many changes will be done to the penthouses, also the cost would be low. The family waited for the Angelo and the other guys to come back down before heading off to grab something to eat and a few things form the grocery store.

As Joey waited for the light to turn green, he couldn't stop thinking how good it will be living back here in El Paso. Nothing against Alamogordo, he grew up here in El Paso. He cannot wait until they move back so he could show Caleb around his home town. At least the parts of town he knows his way around.


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/



{Let me say, what a chapter! I threw in a lot of twist and turns into this chapter; your heads are turning in all directions. I gave this chapter a lot of thought before writing it and decided on this being the direction I wanted to go with this story. I know it didn't cover a lot of time, but I needed to cover each plot in detail to show how it is going to be moved to El Paso. The next chapter will be the same way, but once the move starts, the story will start moving at a faster speed.

If you are keeping up with "Jacob Finding His Way" and Beneath the Mask", a lot of the things that were talked about in this chapter you will know about it. So when Harold was offered the new court room for the pilot program, it shouldn't have been a surprise to any of you. It also shouldn't have been a surprise that Governor Lopez went out side the state to get the judge for the new court room. Not after what a sitting judge did with his ex-wife's case. After getting burnt like that, no one would trust anyone of the judges there.

Poor Joey got hit with two pieces of bad news. But between the two pieces of bad news, he got a piece of good news. Let's start with the first bad news he got from Harold before school on Thursday. He actually bought his house in a historical community and then he goes and buys another in the same community. In those communities, you cannot change the houses or businesses in anyway from its original form.

By the looks of it, he is going to move, so what is he going to do with the two houses he already has? More than likely he will sell them because one of the houses is actually owned through the money that was raised for the shelter. Knowing Joey, he would want to put that money back into the account to be used for the shelter as where it will soon be.

Joey got promoted to battalion commander, but now again it looks like he is going to move. His new rank will follow him to his new school, but what if anything, will the new school do. I am pretty sure they have their battalion commander already, so there is no way he will get that position. Now again he doesn't have that position yet at his current school, just the rank to the position.

It looks like Helen was able to move quickly to transfer to El Paso. If they do move, will the boys work in her store or just finish the year without working?

Talking about Caleb, he seems all for the move, but what about the thing he has planned with his friends for spring vacation. Is he still going to go or by his move, are their plans are canceled? It really looked like he was looking forward to what ever they had planned. I really hope the move doesn't cancel the vacation he put together.

Now moving the foster kids to El Paso is going to need a lot of work on both sides of the border. What I mean is after Joey, Janet and Gary get the approval to move them to El Paso; they need to get someone in the system in El Paso willing to take them over. I will not be surprised to see Al again pop in here and help. He knows the system and people in them since he adopted Tony.

Let's talk a little about who is going and who isn't. Gary is willing to move, but Janet is still up in the air. None of the foster kids objected, so we know that is going to happen. We also know that Valerie is going to stay with her grandparents. Fran and Allen are going to go where Joey is going to go. Since it looks like Joey is going to move back, those two are moving as well. Caleb is moving with his parents. I believe I have covered everyone involved in the move.

And finally let's talk about the ending. First Al helping Joey out as far as giving him a hotel that he got for peanuts on the dollar! It is a good write off at the end of the year for Al and Jacob. I am glad Al made it clear to Joey what he should do about Jacob. I do agree with Al because Jacob hurt a lot when he left, and is barely able to start the friendship with Joey.

With Joey coming back, it is best that he goes to another high school. These two will run into each other, but not everyday. I am also glad to see that Joey realized he was in the wrong and agreed with Al. He called Jacob and gave him heads up. By the sounds of it, he didn't care one way or another. He has gone on with his life, just like Joey has.

There is so much going on in this saga. I can keep writing, but I won't. You guys are going to need to tune in to the next chapter to see what is going on. More plots are going to open and old ones will be closed. This story, like my others, will keep you on your toes. Don't miss what is coming up in the chapters to come.

I do not want to say too much more and spoil the future chapters to come, so I won't. 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!}

This was a powerful chapter for sure. Major changes in the lives and plans of our story's "family" of people are being made. This produces both excitement and anticipation, but also some fear and uneasiness as well. Coping with both the positive and negative elements can be very stressful. How will they deal with such stress? What new and unexpected challenges will enter into their lives? Can the old hotel become more of a real home rather than a nice, but still a type of warehouse for rejects place?

There is so much yet to come with Joey and friends. He will soon be physically closer to Jacob. How will that work out? Will Caleb and Dewayne be able to deal with these two former lovers being in the same city with each other? I have become 'attached' to ALL of these young men and I want the best for each of them. BUT I do worry about them. Perhaps my 52+ years as an educator still working with youth in their teens and early twenties makes me cautious.

Now I have to wonder how this big move to El Paso will work out. Will the boys' NM friends be supportive or angry? With the Judge who has all the cases of the parents who sent their boys to the 'camp' now leaving the city, how will those cases be handled and will those parents face justice? Can Joey and Caleb maintain their relationship with all of these changes taking place in their lives? BOTTOM LINE---we all need to stay tuned if we want to find answers to such questions!!!!!

The four stories that our energetic author shares with us are separate, yet they are also inter-twined as the characters interact with each other and the various plots within each story. I urge all of our readers to read the other three stories as well.

Do let our author 'hear' from you via emails. Long before I became the editor for this story, I was reading the others and sending him my reactions and thoughts. He 'listened' and several times he actually liked and used a suggestion I made. Just as he and his other editor, Daddy Rick, have never met in person, neither have Jacob nor I ever met except via phone and email. But we have communicated and you can join our 'relationship' by using the email system!

--Kent D. (sw Ohio area)