Written by: J.P.G.

{The Shadow of My Father 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're 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're reading it,  stop reading the story.

This story can't be distributed in anyway, 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 45

Halfway into the lunch hour, Josh got up and left the table not telling the guys where he was going. After throwing away the trash, Josh walked down to the pool. The security detail of course tried to stay of Josh to make sure everything was secure. By the time he walked to the Coach's office; Coach Montoya already knew he was heading over.

So right way Coach Montoya invited Josh into the office when he got there. Josh didn't take the seat in front of the Coach's desk since he knew he wasn't going to be there very long. He wants to say his peace and then leave. So he stood there in front of the Coach's desk, cleared his throat and started speaking.

"Coach, please hear me out before you say anything. You gave me a second chance when I started a fight. No matter if I was in the right or wrong, I started a fight with another member of this team. I should have been dealt with the same way you did with our team Captain. You should have sent me packing for the remainder of the year and then revisit at my chances at the beginning of the next school year about rejoining the team. I need to be treated the same as everyone else on this team.

With that said sir, since I am still on the team, you should let our Captain back on the team. He deserves this chance we all are getting. You know as I do it is the right thing to do. Plus he is a great swimmer; a swimmer we need in order to win."

Not letting the Coach respond Josh walked out of the office and back to the cafeteria with his friends. He finally got the thing that has been nagging at him for over a week now taken care of.  Now it is up to the Coach to decide to let the Captain back on the team or not. Hopefully he will do the right thing and that is let the Captain on the team again.

As Josh was making his way to the building, he heard his older bother Daniel calling out for him. Josh turned to see his brother waving him over. He looked around to make sure there was nobody else that his brother might be waving over, and when he saw there wasn't, he went. Every step of the way to his brother, Josh got more nervous.

When he reached them, Daniel spoke up. "You all know my little brother Josh?" All of them nodded their heads as they shook Josh's hand. "He is going to be competing on the swim team after school. If any of you haven't seen my little brother compete, you've missed out. The way he is in the pool, you would think he lives in the water."

Everyone chuckled and just like that, the jocks from the football team accepted Josh into the fold. That put Josh off balance for a little while because he didn't think they would accept him. Then it dawned on him why. None of the want to go up against Daniel because they see him as the next senior football team Captain.

It didn't take long for Josh's friends to make their way to Josh and the football team. When they arrived, Josh introduced his group of friends to Daniel's. Just like they did to him, the jocks on the football team shook Josh's friend's hands and let them into their conversation. Of course Eric and BJ were able to relate since they were talking about girls. Except Eric had to be careful on how far he went because of Bernice.

A few minutes before the bell, the group started to break up and go their separate directions. Josh and Cesar walked together to their locker, not really talking about anything that important. By the time the first bell rang, Josh had his afternoon books and started making his way to class, with Cesar right beside him.

Governor Lopez figured to try one last time to see if the District Attorney could do anything to keep Martha locked up. When his convoy arrived at the courthouse, Daniel got out of the limousine with Barbara on his arm. They walked into the courthouse through the back door, waving at the pool of reporters.

On their way to the District Attorney's office, everyone stopped and looked as the Governor walked passed them. A few actually asked the Governor for his autograph. As long as it was on a shirt or hat, he signed it. If they presented him a piece of paper of any kind, he didn't sign it. That is the first thing Rich told Daniel not to do. Some of these people would take that paper and forge the signature on a legal document of some kind.

After a few autographs, Daniel and Barbara were rushed into the District Attorney's office. Right away he was allowed to go in to see the District Attorney without any wait. As soon as Daniel walked in, the District Attorney greeted him and Barbara. They took seats in front of the desk and waited for the District Attorney to settle in.

"Mr. Anderson, thank you for taking time out of your schedule to meet with me and my wife this afternoon. I'm sure you have other things on your schedule to do."

"That is not problem sir. I will cancel anything I have in order to meet with you Governor. Let me start off by saying how sorry I am about what was done with your wife's plea bargain. I didn't see it coming due to it being done in secret. I tried to rush down there to get it fixed, but I didn't make it in time sir."

"I don't blame you at all for what happened with the plea bargain, Mr. Anderson. Every one that was there in the court room that day said the same thing; that you tried to stop the proceedings, but couldn't. For what you tried to do, I am thankful.

Now with that said, I am here about that subject. Have you gotten anywhere on keeping my ex-wife locked up? I know her and when she gets out, she won't stay in Mexico. She will make her way back here to El Paso and make trouble for my kids. Already someone lost his life due to a mad woman trying to get to my son. I don't want anyone else to die or get hurt because my ex-wife tries to get to my kids. I hear let you know that the security detail has standing orders to shoot first and ask questions later if Martha comes around making trouble for my family."

"As you already know a shake up has happened in the courthouse. The judge that sat on the bench that did that dealt with your wife was forced to retire. Any one of the partners of the firm that represented your wife can never run for any judge seat in this city. So there has been progress concerning all those involved in getting your ex-wife the deal."

"That isn't what I am asking Mr. Anderson, and I know you know that. Let me be as clear as possible here. Have you found a way to keep my ex-wife locked up or is she going to get out in a month to make trouble for my family?"

"No Governor I haven't been able to get anywhere as far as your ex-wife's case. There is no doubt that she is going to get out as scheduled as long as she does what is required of her. The law firm that represented her is making sure of that. They have nothing else to lose since they have already lost everything they had going. So they are more dangerous now than ever."

"They haven't lost everything yet. I will do what I can do make sure they lose as many clients as I can. Without clients, their firm will close its doors. There is no way I am going to let her get out without a fight. She deserves to spend the rest of her life behind bars; not only for shooting at me and my family, but for shooting at all the other people there that day."

Since there was nothing more that the District Attorney could do, Daniel thanked him once again for giving up some of his time and left the office. They made it back to the limousine without too many people asking them for autographs. As they drove off, Daniel told the driver to head to the high school so he would make it in time to see Josh swim.

As soon as the bell rang to end sixth period, Josh made his way to the locker room for the swim team. When he walked in, he was delighted to see the swim team Captain walking out of the Coach's office. Not wanting to get caught looking, Josh went straight to his locker and started to change into his speedos. Not even a minute passed when he felt someone tapping him on the shoulder. Josh turned around to see the swim team Captain standing there with his hand extended to him.

"According to Coach, you're the reason why I am back on the team." Josh shook his hand. "Thank you Josh, you're very cool guy. I have had you pegged all wrong and now I see that. From now on consider us friends. You have nothing to worry about from me or anyone else on the team for that matter."

Josh thanked his Captain as the Captain walked off to talk with the others. As the Captain left, Chris walked up with the same gloomy face he has had since the break up with Rusty. Josh has pretty much had it with Chris acting the way he is. The two of them were not together for that long for Chris to be in the dumps like this. Plus it was him that made the mistake. If he wasn't ready to date, he shouldn't have started a new relationship with anyone.

"Chris I know you feel like shit and nothing I can say will make you feel any better. Still, my friend, you need to snap out of it. Take it from me; Rusty doesn't know what he lost when he broke up with you. Yeah you screwed up, but Rusty should have let it go. He overreacted that night.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that he was right to act the way he did, but to hold the grudge this long is wrong. He knew what he was getting into when you two got together. A true boyfriend would work with his boyfriend through things like that. Heck I'm sure you're not the only one that has called out the name of his ex., more so it is a fresh breakup. I know it is easier said than done, but you need to start moving on."

Chris looked over to his friend and actually smiled. "You know you're totally right Josh. I need to pull myself together and get over him. For one thing, he isn't worth what I am doing to myself. After all the way he treated me, like you pointed out, wasn't cool. Yes, I screwed up, but not to the point to treat me the way he did."

Josh liked hearing that coming from Chris. As far as what Rusty did to Chris that night he was wrong and Josh didn't like it. But that didn't mean that Josh doesn't still want Rusty as a friend. In Josh's eyes, what happened between Chris and him was wrong. That is between the two of them, not the guys in the group. The friendship that the group has built with him shouldn't change.

Once everyone changed, the Coach called them over to him to form a circle. He gave his customary speech before they headed out to the pool. Josh couldn't help thinking that Coach needs to get a new speech because most of them are now ignoring him as he talks.

As they made their way out, Josh couldn't believe how packed the stands were. He looked around for his family and it wasn't hard to find his father and the others. They actually put them on the opposite side of the pool, right behind the judges. Josh figured they were put there for security with no one above them, behind them or beside them. That is as secure as they could make it for his father falling short of only him being here.

The meet went by quickly and just like everyone assumed, El Paso High won the meet easily. Even the team races, Josh didn't have to work very hard to catch up with the other teams since they were the ones ahead. In every individual race Josh competed in; he won without much of a fight from the other teams. He started to wonder if the other schools are even going to put up any real effort in the meets, or just show up.

After the medals were given out, Josh changed as fast as he could so his father didn't have to wait that long for him. The guys were excited that they won the first competition so much they wanted to throw a party. As Josh was making his way out of the locker room, they invited him to go. Surprised by the invite, Josh polity turned them down. He explained his security detail will take the fun out of any party.

When he reached the limousine, Josh got hit with the pool of reporters. Covering his face the best as he could, Josh walked over to the car and got in. Daniel hugged him and as the limousine pulled into the street. As Daniel let go of his son, he reached over and took Josh's medals to get a closer look at them.

"Son I know I was against you joining the swim team at the beginning of the year, but I am proud you stood your ground on it. You're a great swimmer and these medals show it." Daniel handed the metals to Barbara. "No matter what you do son, you're good at it. I have three great football players as sons." Daniel looked at Carlos, Daniel Jr. and Brandon. "Now I also have a great swimmer and singer in the family."

Josh's brothers yelled out in agreement, high fiving Josh. Just as the car settled down, they drove up to Brandon's therapist's building. Brandon looked at his father confused because he doesn't have an appointment today with his therapist. Daniel saw the confused look on his sons face and held the door shut.

"Don't worry Brandon we are only here because the bill needs to be paid. I wanted to pay the bill in person and touch base with your therapist. Isaac has met him, but I haven't. That needs to change since I am your father." Daniel reached over and messed up Brandon's hair as he climbed out of the car.

The Governor made his way into the building and when he reached the elevator, the security detail already had it open for him. When the elevator opened, Daniel walked straight into the therapist's office. As he walked in he found the therapist waiting for him in the lobby. They shook hands and walked into the office.

"The reason I needed to talk with you is because I am very concerned for Brandon. It seems to my brother that Brandon is getting worse, not better. I think I know what is bothering my son, but I am not for sure. One thing is for sure is that I am paying you to get him better, not let him get worse. You have him on medication and seeing him twice a week. What is going on? Why isn't he getting better?"

"Mr. Governor I can't discuss my patient's private sessions with another. I understand your concern, but I just can't discuss what is being said in this office by your son, even if you're the one paying the bill. So if you..."

"First my son is underage and I am his father. Forget about me paying the bill, I have the right to know. And secondly, I wasn't asking for detailed conversations you have had with Brandon. All I was asking is why is he getting worse? If you can't help my son, I will find someone else no matter the cost. The boys mean the world to me and there is nothing I'm not willing to do to give them a happy life without worries."

"Governor Lopez, your son is going to get a lot worse before he gets better. He has bottled up so much inside him this last year that we are barely scratching the surface. Once the dam of emotions explodes, Brandon is going to be in a world of hurt. All I can say is give him time and it will get a better. But again it won't happen overnight."

Governor Lopez didn't like the answer but understood. He just doesn't like hearing that any of his sons are hurting in any way. When he gets that kind of news, all that Daniel wants to do is come in and take the pain away! But here is a different story because there is nothing Daniel can do and he knows it.

He pulled out his check book and ripped out the check to pay therapist. "What is being discussed in here stays in here. If I hear you selling anything of my son's sessions to anyone, you and I will be knocking heads." Daniel handed therapist the check as he got up to leave the room.

"Brandon told my brother you have been asking him to record his sessions, and he keeps saying no. Don't ask my son again to record his sessions. He answered you once, so leave it alone. If you ask him again, I will have your license. There is no need for you to record my son for any reason. Take your notes, but don't make any kind of recordings. Do I make myself clear on this point doctor?"

The therapist nodded his head as he held onto the check. "Thank you for giving me some of your time here today. I will give you time as you have asked, but time will run out. If Brandon continues to get worse, I will find another therapist. There seems to be one of you everywhere I turn. So don't let my son down on the help he needs."

Daniel walked out of the office without letting Brandon's therapist respond to anything he said at the end. He doesn't trust them because they seem to always leak out information that they shouldn't to the public. The concern on that isn't for him; Daniel just doesn't want to see his son's nightmares being aired for everyone to know about.

Before leaving the parking lot, Daniel asked everyone what they wanted from McDonalds. In order not to disturb those that are eating at the McDonalds, Daniel decided on send a couple of the security detail agents to go through the drive thru and pick them up dinner. Everyone gave Daniel their order and Daniel handed it to Lloyd.

All through dinner, Daniel Jr. was nervous. Tonight is the junior prom and he has no idea what to suspect. After they finished eating, he headed upstairs to get ready. Shortly after he headed up, Josh went up to see if he was okay. He found Daniel trying to tie his bow tie and couldn't. You could see the frustration on his face and the tie wasn't cooperating.

Josh walked up to his older brother and reached around. He slapped his older brother's hand away in order to tie the tie. "Settle down Daniel, or you may end up seeing Brandon's therapist." Both of the boys laughed. "Dad taught all of us how to tie both types of ties; you're just too nervous right now. You're thinking way too much into what you think your girlfriend wants from you tonight."

"Yeah I know you're right. Neither of us has ever been to a prom before, so there is no way she can compare this date to any other in the past. It's just the prom and having the goons with me al the time makes it worse. I have to watch what I say in front of my detail because I don't want them to put it into a report that gets sent back to dad."

Josh turned his older brother around and started straightening out his tie and the rest of his tux. "Look Daniel, I know for a fact they don't put anything we say to our girlfriends, in my case, boyfriend, in the report they hand in. I was told by Jonathan that dad told them not to report to him on things like that. He doesn't want spies. He wants the security detail to do what they are there for and that is secure."

"Wow I didn't even know that dad said that. I am no surprised since dad is that type of person. He remembers how it is being our age, unlike mom. I just tend to forget dad is different than mom. Thanks for telling me that Josh, now I can be a little more open with Mercedes when we are together."

As Daniel buttoned up his tux jacket, Josh brushed off any lint or dirt on it. As they left the room, Josh once again told him not to be nervous, just be himself. Daniel thanked him again and headed downstairs. The minute he stepped into the hallway, he was blinded with several flashes. When he got his sight back, he saw his grandmother was taking pictures of him.

"I thought someone from the press got in here somehow!" Everyone started laughing.

"You look like your dad when he was your age. I can't believe the similarities all you boys have between each other and your father." Rose wiped away a tear from her cheek as she took another picture of Daniel. "You go out there and show that girl of yours what gentleman the Lopez men are; you hear me?"

Daniel Jr. nodded his head in agreement as he pulled his grandmother into a hug. "Why don't I leave my girl at home and take the most beautiful woman in the Lopez family. Heck I would be the envy of all the guys at school if I showed up with you grandma! "

For the first time the boys saw their grandmother embarrassed. She hit Daniel Jr. on the back and told him to go out and sweep the girls his age off their feet. Daniel leaned in and kissed his grandmother on the cheek as he headed over to his father. He knows for sure Daniel has some words of wisdom for him on this night of nights.

Since Daniel will need to parse the words of wisdom to each of his sons, he took Daniel in to the privacy of his study. This way when he does speak with each of them when this day comes for them, they would not have heard the speech before. Of course he will try to change it up for each of his kids, but there's not too many ways to say the things a father needs to say to their sons on a night like this.

They talked for less than ten minutes and they were out of the study. Josh gave Daniel a few words of encouragement and he was off. As he made his way to the limousine; a rented one. Daniel was nervous. He couldn't understand why, but he was.

When they pulled up to Mercedes house, Daniel got out and walked up to the front door, followed by his security. Before he could knock twice, the door swung open and their stood Mercedes parents. They invited Daniel in and asked him to wait in the living room while their daughter finishes getting ready.

As he waited, Mercedes father walked in and sat down. Daniel knew what this was going to be; THE speech. He looked behind him to see his security detail smiling. They also knew what this was going to be. More than likely each of them has been through what he is about to go through.

He turned around to look Mercedes father in the face as he spoke. Just as he guessed, it was the speech. Her father basically laid down the law and told Daniel what time he expected his daughter home. When he went and said that if Daniel tried anything funny with his daughter, he will regret it. The security detail stood up to attention.

In order not to embarrass Daniel, they waited for Mercedes father to walk out of his own living room. "Sir with all due respect, we know this is your home and that is your daughter, but you don't threaten the Governor's son that way. You have just earned yourself a place on the list to keep away from the Governor's family."

"Wait, excuse me! What did my husband say in there to Daniel?" Mercedes mom walked up behind her husband with a scared look on her face.

"Ma'am your husband told Daniel if he would to try anything funny with his daughter, he would regret it. That is a threat to the Governor's son. I understand where your husband is coming from, but he needed to choose his words more carefully. Daniel knows not to do anything that he isn't supposed to do. Plus we are around; there is no way anything funny will be happening tonight or any night."

"Yeah I bet you told that to the parents of that poor kid that got killed. Where were you guys then when that crazy girl went after the other Governor's son? We should feel safer with our kids being with the Governor's kids, but that is not the case with solid reason! They are in more danger with them, than not being around them. I prefer our daughter not to be around Daniel and his family. More so his younger brother since he seems to have troubles follow him wherever the young gay kid goes."

Jeter just looked at Mercedes's father, unable to imagine how a person could think that way. He didn't want to destroy a night that should be perfect for Daniel and their daughter, but he couldn't let that go without a response. Jeter chose his words carefully before responding to the father. He walked up close to Mercedes's father and whispered.

"I am the head of Daniel's security and I promise you no harm will come to your daughter. With that said, I won't let anyone speak ill of a person I have grown to respect and admire. Josh is a sweet and intelligent young man. He is going to go places that you only dream of. Whenever you're around me or members of the Governor's family, you keep your racial, stupid remarks to yourself. You're hereby put on notice."

Just then Mercedes called out to her parents that she is coming down. Snapping into action, the parents ran to the foot of the stairs and started taking pictures of their daughter. Daniel walked out of the living room and met Mercedes at the bottom of the staircase. He slipped the flowers around her wrist and turned for pictures.

The parents didn't stop taking pictures until they ran out of film. Even then, they kept video taping the kids as they made their way out of the house and over to the limousine. Mercedes father made a sly remark that everyone heard. Mercedes gave her father an ugly remark back and got into the car.

"I am sorry for my father Daniel. He never liked the idea of me dating you and after what happened few weeks ago, he is even worse." Mercedes apologized to Daniel a couple more times as he climbed into the car.

"Don't worry Mercedes! I know you don't think the way your father thinks. Plus I am not dating your father, I am dating you!" Daniel leaned in and kissed Mercedes on the cheek as he settled in next to her. "By the way, this isn't my father's car, it is rented. There is no way my father will ever let me use the state car that only the Governor uses."

"In know that Daniel. You can tell this isn't the Governor's car because the doors are a not those thick ones. Anyone that has seen the limousine your father rides around in can't mistake this car as his. Well I'm better, because my father did."

Not realizing it, Mercedes father did them a favor acting the way he did. Both of them were nervous, and because of what he did, it gave them something to talk about to break the ice. Once they broke the ice, they made small talk all the way to the Marriot Hotel. When they drove up, they kept talking as they got out of the limo.

As they made their way into the ballroom, they had to stop and check in to get their name tags. Just like any prom in this country, the next thing after getting their names tags was to take pictures. After a few shots, they walked into the ball. Daniel found his friends, were saving seats for him and Mercedes.

Daniel pulled out the chair so Mercedes could sit and then went and got drinks. When he returned, his friends made their way out to the dance floor. Daniel handed Mercedes her drink and sat down next to her. As they took sips of the fruit punch, they watched their friends dance on the dance floor.

Half way through the song, Daniel reached over and interlaced his fingers with hers. They didn't say a word to each other; they just sat there enjoying one another's company. When the next song started, Daniel put down his drink and asked Mercedes to dance. She didn't hesitate to say yes. She stood up and walked to the dance floor.

The group of friends danced together on the dance floor, making it easier for the security detail to do their job. When the song ended, a slow song started. Daniel wrapped his right arm around Mercedes waist and held her right hand as they got as close to each other as possible. Daniel blocked everything out, leaving only him and Mercedes in the room.

Neither of them knew that the slow song had ended. They kept dancing to the music that was playing in their heads. It took one of Daniel's friends to bring him back to reality. He wished his friend didn't do that, but thanked him still the same. Daniel and Mercedes separated and got into the beat of the song that was playing.

Most of the night, Daniel and Mercedes spent on the dance floor. The only time they were off the dance floor was to get something to drink or use the bathroom. When the announcement came across the p.a. that this was going to be the last song, the dance floor got so packed, it was hard for anyone to really dance.

At that point, Jeter ordered the security onto the dance floor and create a wall between Daniel and the others dancing so close to him. Daniel saw what hey were doing and didn't mind. In fact he was thankful they did that instead of pulling him off the dance floor. His security is giving him a night that he'd never forget.

As the ballroom emptied, Daniel's security took him, Mercedes, his friends and their dates out another door. When they got outside, they found their limousines. They hung out for another fifteen minutes before getting into their own cars to take their dates home. Each of them had to get their girl home by a set time.

On the way back to Mercedes house, Daniel and Mercedes snuggled up to each other trying to make every second count, but they got to her house too fast. Daniel got out of the car first. He then helped Mercedes out and walked her to her door. Just as he leaned in to give her a goodnight kiss, the porch light turned on.

Daniel got the message and turned to leave, but Mercedes pulled him back. "Don't you dare leave without giving me a goodnight kiss!" Daniel smiled and leaned in to kiss her. As their lips touched, Mercedes father opened the door, but that didn't stop them. He cleared his throat a couple of times, but again that didn't stop them!

He reached out to separate them when Mercedes mother pulled her husband's hand back. She saw the security detail react to her husband's sudden move and was afraid for her husband's life. There was no doubt in her mind that the security detail was reaching for their guns when he grabbed her husband's hand.

The two young teenage kids broke their kiss, whispered goodnight to each other and went their separate ways. Daniel made his way back to the limousine on cloud nine, while Mercedes made her way into her house on the same cloud. Jeter on the other hand walked up to Mercedes parents and asked to talk to them before they closed the door.

"I don't know any other way to say this, so I am going to just come right out and say it. Don't you ever make a move like you were about to do. If you wanted the kiss to end, you say it, but don't touch Daniel. I am starting to get the feeling you have a death wish. That is the only explanation to the way you're acting this evening.

Don't test us, or you will end up hurting your daughter and Daniel. If you continue to be a threat, we will have no other choice but to keep Daniel and the family away from you and your family. The end result of that will be the break up between your daughter and Daniel. Try to explain to your daughter that she can't date Daniel anymore because you can't behave yourself sir. If that day ever comes, I'd not want to be in your shoes!"

Jeter shook both of Mercedes parent's hands and made his way to the limousine. When Mercedes parents turned around, they found their daughter standing at the foot of the stairs. They had no idea she was there and heard everything that Jeter just said.

"Dad I swear if you make me lose Daniel, I will never forgive you for that. I heard what you were discussing with Jeter before I came downstairs. You almost ruined my night, but I wasn't going to allow you to. I ignored it and lightened the mood, but I know Daniel heard the conversation as well. He didn't say anything, but I know he heard it.

I have let you talk bad about his brother behind his back, hoping that you would never repeat those words in front of Daniel or his family. What you feel about Josh I don't agree with. I will be out of this house in a year or so. So if you don't want to lose your daughter, you'd better stop acting like yourself. If you can't, just stay away from Daniel and his family whenever they are around and keep your mouth shut!"

Mercedes turned around and stomped upstairs to her room. As soon as she walked into her room, she slammed her door before walking to the bed and fell down on it. She started to cry and then heard her mother yelling at her father. Just like her, Mercedes mother was giving her husband a piece of her mind.

The next morning, Daniel Sr. let all his boys sleep in. He himself stayed up late to make sure his son got home safe, but couldn't sleep in. Once he saw his son walk in safe and sound, Daniel was able to go to bed. He was surprised when he walked into the room because Barbara had stayed up waiting for him to come to bed.

After getting his cup of coffee, Jeter walked in and handed Daniel his report from last night. Knowing that Daniel was going to have questions about the report, he stood off to the side as he read it. Daniel put the report down, looked over to Jeter and waved him over to join him at the table.

"I am just going to cut to the chase, is this going to be a problem Jeter? I mean I don't want another Elizabeth situation in my hands. If you feel this looks anywhere near that, let's nip it in the bud now. I won't have another Elizabeth on my hands."

"Sir with all due respect, I believe we are okay here. The father is the only one showing any kind of animosity about his daughter dating your son, but I don't think it will go any further than it did last night.  Mercedes' mother is there to keep her father in check plus I believe Mercedes will do the same thing."

"I don't like the comment he made about Josh. Look we can't have anything like Elizabeth or Martha. There is so much the public will tolerate and I believe we have reached it already with the two shootings. If one more thing goes wrong dealing with the security of the family, those that want my job will eat me alive.

I am heading back to Austin this evening. I came in for the two events, Daniel Junior's prom and Josh's swimming meet. I also took care of a few items I needed to. I will leave orders for Lloyd to pay a visit to Mercedes' parents. If he feels this is going to be become a problem, I will tell Daniel he will need to end the relationship with Mercedes. I can no longer give benefit of the doubt when it comes to my kids' safety."

Having no other choice, Jeter agreed with the Governor and excused himself to go and get Lloyd for the Governor. On his way over to the guard room, he thought about what he could have done differently. As far as the night before, there was nothing he could have done to change the events and he had no other choice but write the report honestly and factually. But he still feels bad that what he wrote might cause Daniel Jr. to break it off with his girlfriend.

After getting the orders from Daniel, Lloyd decided to head directly down to Mercedes' house. When he arrived, he knocked on the door. It didn't take long for Mrs. Santiago to answer the door. He introduced himself and waited to be invited in. He can tell that she was nervous and was waiting for this meeting.

As Mrs. Santiago escorted him to the living room, she called for her husband. Mercedes was already awake and came running downstairs to see what was going on. When she saw Lloyd, she new something was up. She walked over to the door and stood there to listen into the conversation.

"Mr. and Mrs. Santiago, Jeter, Daniel Jr.'s head of security, filed his report from last night. The Governor read it this morning, and let me say he wasn't happy with what he read. I wasn't happy with it either when I read it. The first thing that came to my mind is here we go again. That is why I am here to see if you are going to be a problem."

Lloyd sat in the couch, but leaned forward as he talked. "After what had happened with Elizabeth and the Governor's ex-wife, he changed how we deal with threats. If there is a chance someone is going to become a threat to the family, we keep that person away from them. We will no longer give the benefit of the doubt it will go away or this being some kind of a `teen thing'. That way of thinking ended up with two kids dead."

"Sir, please forgive my husband for the way he acted last night. I assure you that nothing like that will happen again. My daughter and the Governor's son are in love. Our actions shouldn't interfere with their relationship."

"Mrs. Santiago, I would normally agree with you on that, but this family is different because of being the Governor's family. With the Elizabeth issue, we took her parents at their word. Just like you, they said they will get it under control. The Governor trusted them, but look what happened. Now the Governor is no longer going to trust the word of a parent or anyone for that matter.

Once again that is why I am here. The Governor instructed me to come down here, talk with you and report back to him. If I feel you're a threat or the issue will escalate, the Governor will instruct his son to end his relationship with your daughter and put your family on the list to keep you away from him and his family because you're a threat. Even if Daniel Jr. doesn't break up with your daughter, it is over once your family is placed on that list of people to do the Governor or his family harm."

Mrs. Santiago tried to show Lloyd that neither her nor her husband is a threat, but Lloyd wasn't being sold. Mr. Santiago just sat there not saying a word and that bothered Lloyd. Then whenever his wife said something he didn't agree with, he would make a face that was a dead give away. Lloyd had his mind pretty much made up, but tried to give the Santiago's one last chance to change it.

"Mrs. Santiago I believe what you're telling, but your husband is another story. As you talked, he just sat there in silence. Whenever you said something he didn't agree with, he made a face that really bothers me. So with that in mind, I will be recommending to the Governor to place your family on the list and instruct his son to end things with your daughter."

Just then Mercedes came running into the living crying. She started begging Lloyd not to do that. Through her tears she pleaded with Lloyd to give her father a chance. Over and over again she said that she loved Daniel and this isn't right. It took for Mrs. Santiago to pull her out of the room to settle Mercedes down.

Both Lloyd and Mr. Santiago just sat there in silence, waiting for Mrs. Santiago to come back. When she did, Mr. Santiago got an ear full. She made it clear to her husband that either he shows Lloyd that he's not a threat, or he needs to go up and pack a bag and get out. When she said that, that got Mr. Santiago's attention!

For the next thirty minutes, Mr. Santiago explained to Lloyd why he said the things he said. Lloyd didn't agree with why Mr. Santiago said them, but he can see that Mr. Santiago is being truthful. The last thing Mr. Santiago said to Lloyd was said from his heart, and that did it for Lloyd.

"Mr. Santiago I am going to go out on the limb here and let the Governor know that everything is okay. But if you make one mistake, I don't care how small it is, I will do what I originally was going to do. It really looks like you're speaking from your heart. Let's see if I am right on that." Lloyd got up and shook Mercedes' parents' hands.

"I am a parent Mr. and Mrs. Santiago, I would do anything to keep my daughter from hurting the way your daughter is right now. Mr. Santiago, you need to keep that in mind in the future. We as parents have to give up a lot for our kids, because that is our job. You need to give up this dislike you have against gays, for your daughter's happiness."

Lloyd walked out and thanked Mrs. Santiago. She promised Lloyd once again that she will keep her husband in check. Just the way she said it, Lloyd believed her. But at the same time, if Mr. Santiago shows that hate again, it is a done deal. Lloyd will put the family on the list, which will hurt both of the kids involved. That is something he doesn't want to do, but again if he is forced to, he will.

Unlike the last time the Governor left, this time his family said their goodbyes at the house instead of the airport. Barbara is staying this time and no going back with Daniel. They had discussed the subject before they even came down. Both of them feel that she needs to spend time with the kids so they get to know each other. Plus she wants to get things moving on building the new house.

After the Governor left, the house was pretty quiet. The boys at first hung out in their rooms, but little by little they made their way to the den. At first they played video games, but they got tired of playing and turned it off to watch T.V. The reason they are tired of playing their video games is that they have mastered all the levels already. They decided when they got their allowance; they would all pitch in for some new games.

During dinner, everyone starred at their plates as they ate. Barbara broke the silence asking the kids what they have scheduled for tomorrow. None of them spoke up at first, and then Josh broke the silence.

"We normally get our allowance tonight so we plan to go to Wal-Mart tomorrow and look for a new game. We have passed the games we have, so we want to see if we can find another one that we all like." Josh looked up, putting a fork full of food in his mouth as he finished talking.

"Well if you guys don't mind, I would like to go with you. There are a couple of things I would like to pick up since I haven't stayed at this house before."

All the boys looked up from their plates and nodded their heads in agreement. As they finished eating, they got up and washed their plate off before placing it in the dishwasher, leaving only the grown ups at the table. Once they all left the kitchen, Rose pulled out the envelope that has the boys' allowances in it.

"Since you're now the lady of the house, you should be the one giving the boys their allowance. Of course when you're up in Austin with my son, Isaac or I will do that." Rose handed the envelope to Barbara and explained to her the amount each of them gets and that none of them gets more than the other.

"Thank you; you don't know how much this is going to help me." Barbara took the envelope from Rose. "I am not trying to become their mother Rose or Isaac, but I want to at least be there if they need someone to talk to. No matter what, Martha will always be their mother and I hope one day she can get over her hatred and love all her kids."

"We all have hoped that ever since she lost it when Josh opened up. She never did and I don't think she will ever change. In her mind, Josh doesn't exist and her three other sons should be taken away from here. Until the day she comes around and accepts all her kids, which I really believe will never happen; none of her kids will have her in their lives."

Rose and Isaac told Barbara about their run-ins with Martha and how Martha treated her kids. They tried to give both sides of the story, but it was hard. They saw a lot more than Daniel because she hid a lot of what she was doing to the kids when Daniel was home. Barbara just sat there listening to them. She couldn't believe that the boys turned out normal like they did. With a mother like Martha, most kids would have gone nuts.

After finishing their coffee, Barbara got up and went to the den. When she walked in, all the boys looked at her. When she pulled out the envelope with their allowances, they all got up and lined up. One at a time took their allowance, thanked Barbara. As they thanked her, they smiled at her, which made Barbara feel all warm inside.

Again she knows these are not her kids, but she feels part of a family she has always wanted. The days leading up to the wedding and on the wedding day, the boys welcomed her with open arms; something she didn't expect. She thought that she would have to really work for their trust and respect, but she was wrong. The boys accepted her because their father and she got married.

Most of Sunday morning was spent at the house. The only time they got out of the house was when they went to Wal-Mart. Since it took a lot to secure a location, they didn't stay that long. They basically went in, got what they went to get and left. That way the other shoppers wouldn't be put too much out of their way.

The boys found several games on sale so they were able to buy two of them and have money let over for the week. Just as Rose and Isaac feared, as soon as they got home, the boys took over the TV in the den. They are already used to that, so they set up a TV in the living room for them to watch while the kids play their video games in the den.

Most of the week flew by. Josh felt that all he was doing was going to either swim practice or Show Chorus practice. He knew that it was going to be this way, but he didn't think he was going to be this soon. He thought he had the rest of the school year to relax and have a little free time. Still, he is not quitter and will stick it out on both activities.

Barbara spent most of the week back and forth dealing with the building of the new house. First she had to find someone in their price range to do the design and blueprints. Once she got that done, she worked with the architect on how they wanted the house built. She gave him the ideas from the boys, Rose, Isaac and Daniel Sr. in their first meeting.

But to make things even harder for the architect, Jonathan and Lloyd weighed in on the whole thing. They looked over the architects shoulders through the whole process. Whenever they saw security issue come up, they told the architect about their concerns and he reworked the design.

Monday morning, Daniel Jr. could tell something was up with Mercedes. She wouldn't say what was bothering her. That got Daniel upset because he though that they have moved beyond this point of keeping secrets from each other. Just when he was about to ask her straight out, Lloyd walked up to him and pulled him to the side.

Trying his best not to paint Mercedes father in a bad light, Lloyd told Daniel what had happened. Daniel didn't look surprised about what Lloyd said. When Lloyd got to the point that he had a meeting with her parents the day before that angered Daniel! Lloyd could see that, but didn't let him speak up. He made it clear he was working under his father's orders. Once that was made clear, Daniel dropped it.

He went back to Mercedes and apologized to her, but again he was shut down. Mercedes didn't make up any excuses for the way her father acted on Friday night. In fact she went the opposite direction by saying that his father and security detail had the right to react the way they did. They don't want another issue to blow up in their faces like Elizabeth.

As she explained the way she saw things, Daniel understood. They both agreed to try and stay away from her father as much as possible. That is the only way they can see they will able to stay together. Neither of them can see her father changing to the point that he won't slip up one day that will cause the detail to make the move they were ready to make over the weekend.

Just like Daniel, Carlos felt that his relationship with his younger brothers has been strained over the last couple of months. He really regrets following his mother the way they treated Josh the day he came out. Even as he was treating Josh badly like his mother did, he knew it was wrong. The hurt he saw in Josh's eyes still haunts him till this day.

So he has tried to hang out with Josh and Brandon more and more every day. Whenever he wasn't with his girlfriend, he hung with Josh and Brandon. Even when he was hanging with his friends at school, he would either stop by Josh's table to bring their two groups of friends together or if they passed each other in the hall or out around the school, he would stop what he was doing and talk with Josh.

This was something he had never done and something he knew he should have been doing ever since the beginning of the year when Josh started high school. He is Josh's older brother, so it was up to him to try and make the transition between junior high school to high school as smooth as possible. He Carlos never did that, and now he is trying to make up for all the time he lost with Josh.

Josh was getting what he wanted those many weeks ago when Jacob and Joey found him sitting alone in the stadium. He was bored with his everyday routine and wanted more. The only way he saw that he could get more was by being like his older brothers, but couldn't see a way of getting that done. Now though, both of his older brothers are paving the road for him and his friends to be part of the `in' crowd.

When Daniel returned to Austin, he had a meeting with Rich. The meeting was all about what bills are going next to the floor. Although Rich wanted to get the Governor to push gay legislation, he held back. He already knows that Governor Lopez went out on a limb when he stood up to the church. Now they need to see what the full reaction of the public is going to be. It is far too early to know what they thought about that day.

Instead, they chose to start putting together a crime bill. Both he and the Governor don't agree with on everything as far as crime. The Governor wants to get stricter with the laws, but at the same time get rid of the death penalty. He feels that it doesn't deter crime at all. Plus the expense to keep those that have been sentenced to death is so high; the money could be put to better use somewhere else.

The discussion got so heated about the death penalty; they decided to table it for now. Instead they went to work on the things they all agreed on that should be in the crime bill. As the bill was being put together, it started to look more and more like the Governor wasn't going to get to outlaw the death penalty. He came to understand that if he had any chance passing crime legislation, he needed to leave the death penalty alone.

Towards the end of the all day meeting, they had a framework of what the bill will look like. Before the Governor ended the meeting, he made one thing clear to his staff. He will give up on the death penalty for now, but it is not off the table by any means. Making it as clear as he could, he told everyone they will revisit that issue later in his administration.

Although he ended the meeting, Governor Lopez kept the State Attorney General back along with Rich. Rich saw this coming. He was surprised that the Governor and the State Attorney General didn't argue as much as they have in past meetings. There have been times that Rich has had to separate the two men for the fear they might get into a fist fight with each other!

Governor Lopez doesn't like the State Attorney General, because at every turn he is fighting the Governor on everything. Within the first weeks of the Governor's administration he got an ugly taste in his mouth about the Attorney General. Although he is elected, the Governor would want more than anything to let him go. He is a democrat, which isn't the problem. The problem was and still is that Daniel feels the State Attorney General is working with the Lieutenant Governor to bring him down.

When the room cleared out, the Governor laid into the State Attorney General. For ten non stopped minutes they argued back and forth. They were so loud, there was no doubt in Rich's mind the entire floor heard the argument. After seeing they were not getting anywhere, Rich intervened.

The Governor made it very clear to the State Attorney General that if he wants the governor's seat, to wait until the next election. But for now he has to work in the position the people elected him into. The State Attorney General didn't like what the Governor said, but has no other choice but to take it because the Governor is right. He wants to be Governor and if he has to hurt the current Governor to get there, he has no problem doing so.

As he walked out of the Governor's office, Governor Lopez made it clear what the AG's position is as far as the administration is concerned. He is in the meetings to make sure everything is legal; nothing more than that. He needs to keep his politics to himself when the majority votes the idea down. The only one at the table that can overrule the majority is the elected Governor. The State Attorney General kept his mouth shut as he walked out of the office.

By Thursday, the architect had already gone through five sets of drawings due to new ideas that a family member came up with or security reasons. He felt though he had a final drawing to present to the Governor's wife so he set up a meeting with Barbara for later on that afternoon. If it goes well, he can move onto his next project.

Barbara arrived at the architect's office late Thursday afternoon. After getting the final blueprints, she sent a copy of them to Daniel so she could get his okay on them. While he looked at them, Daniel asked Barbara to get his brother to help her to start getting bids on building the house. If he likes the design, he wants the construction work to start as soon as possible. His goal is to have the house done by the time the kids return to El Paso from their summer break.

While Barbara wasn't working on the new house, she was getting to know the boys. She has found that her husband and his ex-wife had brought up four great boys. Once again putting aside the two different way of thinking, the boys came out centered. They are able to see through the fog and get to the right conclusion whenever an issue rises.

After swim practice on Thursday, Josh felt like his legs and arms were going to fall off! The minute he walked through the door, he dropped his bag at the foot of the stairs as he walked over to the den. Not paying attention to who is in the room, Josh flopped himself down in the chair and closed his eyes.

Seconds later, the phone started to ring. Since none of the boys answer the phone unless they are expecting a phone call, Josh ignored it. Not even a minute after the phone rang; Josh was being called by his grandmother. He pulled himself out of the chair and slowly followed his grandmother's voice to the kitchen.

"The call is for you. Why don't you take a seat here at the table and talk on the phone while I fix you a snack." Rose handed Josh the phone and headed over to the refrigerator. Josh brought the receiver up to his ear and said hello. An unfamiliar voice came across the line, it woke Josh up.

"Am I speaking with Joshua Lopez?" Josh answered yes. "My name is Mr. Quane, Patrick Petrillo's therapist." Josh almost dropped the phone when he heard Patrick's name. The only thing going through Josh's mind right now is questions. Did Patrick do something to hurt himself, or worse, kill himself?

"The reason for my call today Josh is to see if you can come to visit on Saturday at two. Patrick is moving along nicely with his therapy, but he needs his friends around to keep him going. He talks a lot about you and misses you and the gang."

"Um, I don't see a problem with that. I need to let my security detail know, but other than that, I don't see a problem." Just as the words left his mouth, he remembered why he has been unable to visit with Patrick. "Um I am sorry, but what about his parents? They made it clear they don't want any of his friends around, most especially, me."

"Josh, Patrick said the same thing and I have spoken with his parents before I called you. They want their son to get better and the only way that is going to happen is by them letting him have his friends around. It will take his friends and family for him to get better, something I know each and every single one of you wants."

Josh agreed with Mr. Quane. Before hanging up with him, Josh made sure he had the time right and that he did get permission from Patrick's parents for him to visit. Once Josh confirmed the information, he hung up the phone. He quickly ate his sandwich his grandmother made him before he went looking for Russ.

Once he found Russ, he told him that he is going to visit Patrick on Saturday, so Russ needs to do whatever he does to secure the building. Just like Josh asked the therapist, Russ asked him if Patrick's parents were okay with him visiting. Josh didn't go into detail; he just said that Mr. Quane cleared it with them. That is all Russ needed to hear. He promised Josh that he will do his job so Josh can visit with his friend.

The rest of the evening, Josh cuddled up with Cesar in their room. They did their homework first, but once they were done, they got into bed and just talked. They held each other hands and every now and then, one of the other leaned over and stole a kiss. The only time they left the room that evening was when they got ready for school.

The next morning at school during breakfast, Josh asked the others if they got the same call from Patrick's therapist as he did the night before. They looked at each other and back over to Josh before answering in the negative. They quickly started asking Josh what he was told. Josh gave what information he felt wasn't breaking the confidence he has with Patrick. That didn't satisfy the group, but they let Josh off the hook.

In order to lighten the mood, Josh asked the group if they wanted to hear a riddle. At first they all said no, but Josh wouldn't take no for an answer. Finally after the fourth time Josh asking, they gave in. Josh sat back in his seat and thought for a few minutes. He wanted to come up with one so hard that all they will be thinking about is the riddle.

"Okay I got one you guys, and once again, listen to the words." Josh turned to look at Russ. "And you don't answer the riddle." Russ smiled and nodded his head. "Samuel was walking down the street when it started to rain heavily. He didn't have an umbrella and he wasn't wearing a hat. His clothes got soaked but not a hair on his head got wet. How could this be?" Josh looked at his friends as they scratched their heads.

"Are you repeating the riddles dad tells us?" Josh looked up to see Carlos standing there with his friends. "Trust me you guys, when our dad gives us these riddles, we are as stumped as you guys look right now. I know the answer because I was there when our dad gave us the riddle and then Joshy boy here figured it out. Don't think too much into it, just write it down and look at the words. The answer will jump out at you." Carlos patted his bother on the shoulder and went on his way.

The guys did what Carlos recommended and wrote the riddle on a paper or napkin. Of course they made Josh repeat the riddle a couple of times. There were a few minutes of dead silence as everyone read over the riddle several times. Then they started throwing out guesses, which they were all wrong, until BJ spoke up in a very low voice.

"The reason the guys hair didn't get wet is because the guy has no hair." Everyone looked at BJ and asked him to repeat it, but speak up. "The reason the guys hair didn't get wet is because he is bald." This time BJ spoke up loud enough those at the table near them heard.

"Is he right Josh?" Eric asked and the others echoed Eric's question.

"Yes he is! The guy is bald and that is why no hair on his head got wet." Josh started to laugh at the way his friends were looking at him.

Saved by the bell, Josh was able to get out of there without his friends throwing things at him, at least he thought. As they walked to the bins, they threw whatever they could get quickly off their trays at Josh. Not hard, but enough to grab Josh's attention. Josh turned around and this time he responded.

He didn't care what he grabbed off his tray, as long it was something he could throw back at his friends. One by one Josh hit them with a food item or the empty cartoon of milk or napkins. Since Josh isn't that good with his aim, he hit others that weren't involved in their little food fight. That in return got them throwing food at each other. Before Josh and his friends knew it, they started a food fight in cafeteria.

Not wanting to get in trouble, Josh pulled Cesar as fast as he could out of the cafeteria, followed by his friends. When they got out, they looked at each other and started laughing. Each of them was wearing breakfast. They quickly brushed the food off and headed to the bathroom to try and clean up as best as possible.

During the morning announcements, Principal Michaels got on the TV and warned the student body that food fights or anything close to that behavior won't be tolerated. He also promised to find out who started it. When he does, those responsible will be suspended. Right way Josh looked at Cesar with a concerned look on his face.

"Don't worry if I know anything about high school, you guys don't roll over on each other." Josh looked to his other side to see Russ leaning over from his desk. "Plus no one could one percent say it was you or your friends that started it. No one saw you guys throwing first. So put it out of your mind and don't worry.

You surprised me, but I like this kind of surprise. What happened this morning showed there is still a teenager in there somewhere fighting to get out." Russ pointed to Josh's chest before he turned around to face the front.

Josh thought about what was just said and agrees with Russ. Ever since he came out, his life has been a rollercoaster ride. He has put up a defense walls with everyone and everything. Somehow when he did that, he forgot on how to be a teenager. Heck, who would blame him for doing what he did. Anyone in his shoes would have done the same thing. It is just human natural to do whatever you can to protect yourself.



{Welcome back one and all to another fun filled chapter of "Shadow". A lot happened and again I went through a lot of time in this chapter. For the next couple of chapters, the time line will speed up. So hold onto your hats and buckle up for fast pace chapters to come.

Daniel Sr. picked up this chapter where he left off on the last chapter doing what he can on the Martha issue. He isn't happy with the outcome and is trying to do whatever he can to change it but just short of using his position to get it done! In this chapter he visited the District Attorney and showed his dislike in person. But when it was said and done, there was nothing the District Attorney could change on the plea bargain.

After his meeting with the District Attorney, Daniel headed over to the school to watch Josh swim. Josh picked right up from the beginning of the year and won. Josh felt that the other teams were not giving it their all, but he could be wrong. Daniel was very proud of Josh and all his sons. He didn't hesitate to show it and did so in the limousine.

Daniel Sr. felt that Brandon was getting worse, just like Josh. He made a point to stop by the therapist's office and make it clear to the therapist that he wasn't happy so far with the work. He wasn't asking for private information, but wanted to know why Brandon was getting worse rather than better. The therapist explained why and Daniel accepted it.

Still he left the therapist a time line. At the same time he warned the therapist that nothing better leak to the press. As well he told the therapist to stop asking his son to record their sessions. His son answered already; there is not need to ask it again. The question I have about that is why does the therapist want to record it? The only thing that comes to mind is to get rich fast off of what the son of the Governor says in his sessions.

It was the big night for Daniel Jr. It was all going good until Mercedes father stepped in it. I see where her father is coming from. You would assume their kids would be safer with the Governor's kids since they have a protective detail, but it isn't. At least not with what has happened recent events.

With that said, Mercedes's father needed to keep his personal thoughts and feelings about gays to himself. Also he should have reworded his threat to Daniel. He is a father and only protecting his daughter. I doubt it he would have done anything to Daniel if Daniel got her home late or kissed her inappropriately. He just shouldn't have worded that last part the way he did. Not after what the security detail has just gone through.

I like how the Governor reacted to hearing the news on what had happened the night before. He simply sent out the head of security for the El Paso details to see if Mercedes family would be a threat. Lloyd found that Mercedes's was being just that, a father. He warned him to choose his words more carefully and to take his daughters feelings into account. I don't see another Elizabeth in Mercedes's father coming down the line.

Barbara seems to be very grounded. She doesn't want to replace Martha and that's good. So many step mothers come in and try to replace the real mother. She just wants to build a relationship of trust with the boys so whenever they need someone to talk with, they will be able to go to her. I like that way of thinking on her part.

We all know in the next chapter we are going to see Patrick for the first time since the shooting. Remember he was put into the hospital after loosing Frank. I truly believe anyone in his shoes would have reacted the same way. I am looking forward to that meeting to see how things unfold.

It looks like the plans for the house are underway. That is the other reason Barbara stayed in El Paso instead of going back to Austin with Daniel Sr. They wanted to get the construction going so the house will be completed when the boys return from Austin. There is no doubt they need a house out of a housing community. Not only for the family protection, but for the neighborhood to have peace and quiet!

We saw a little of Carlos in this chapter, but in the chapters to come you will see a lot more of him and Daniel Jr. Plus you will see more Eric and Bernice as well. Maybe not love scenes with those two, but you will see more of them. BJ appeared in this story, a character forgotten. You all will learn more also about him. I just wanted to bring the other brothers more into the story because there is more to them than has met the eye so far.

Things are moving along in Josh's life and his friend's life since the shooting. Don't think that they are not talking about it or they are not bothered by what had happened. It has been three weeks since the shooting. Time does heal broken hearts and bad things that happen in our lives, but we never forget them. Something like that shooting will always stick with the boys all their lives.

So many open plots and so many more plots to come in this story. I love the political scenes a lot and I hope I am not offending anyone with them. Keep in mind it is only a story and I am trying my best not to preach my beliefs. Please stay tuned and I promise that you guys won't regret opening every new chapter.

I could stay here all day long, with all the open plots already in this story, but I won't. I warn you though! Don't 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!}

Daniel Sr. sure has his hands full!  I don't know how he's doing it, but he sure is keeping a finger on all the pulses in his realm.  How he switches from role to role in his life is beyond me.  I have enough challenge with the very few roles I have to play in my life!

Daniel Sr. is going to have to keep his thumb on the Attorney General. The AG's political aspirations are likely to get in the way of him doing his job and being confined to that alone.  Daniel has a sticky problem in that the AG is not appointed but elected. He can't just fire the guy when he steps out of line.

Barbara is going to be such a wonderful asset to not only her new husband, but everyone in the family. She has her position firmly in mind and her heart is in the right place. She is going to be a rock for her husband and the boys; of that I have no doubt.

I'm glad to see Josh's brothers continuing to get their relationship right with Josh and Brandon. Family is too precious a thing to lose over any issue. Brotherly love has to transcend everything else.

Brandon's therapist seems to be a bit incompetent and Daniel Sr. senses it. He also seems to have an alternate agenda. I hope I am wrong but my senses tell me to suspect him of wrongdoing. What do you think?

I sympathize with the architect's dilemmas dealing with all the factors he's needed to address in the design of a new home for the Governor's family. I hope he didn't quote too low a price for the job with all the redesigns he had to endure! There's still the final approval from the Governor still outstanding too.

Daniel Jr. and Mercedes seem to be falling deeply for each other. Daniel Jr. was all nervous about the prom and, in spite of his nerves, he had a wonderful time once he got with Mercedes and the prom did its magic on them. Josh was right; all Daniel had to do was to be himself, to focus on Mercedes and all would be as it should be.

Mercedes proves to be a strong willed person. She's had to stand up to her father already with his homophobic attitudes. She's evidently a strong willed person in that she did plant her feet and laid down the law. Being a strong personality will help her weather the ups and downs of being in a relationship with the son of the Governor.

Mercedes, as I noted, is a strong willed lady. I would further venture that she came by it honestly seeing her mother deal with her father when he was being a jerk! Daniel Jr. hasn't seen any of these things, but if he sticks with Mercedes, he'd better be ready for the reactions should be step out of line!

I hope that this message finds each and every one of you well and happy.

Until next time,
"Daddy" Rick