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 are 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 can't be distributed in anyway, shape or form without the authors expressed written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Love Scenes Written By: Daddy Rick

Edited By: Daddy Rick

Chapter 51

On the drive back to the hotel to pick up his sons, the Governor couldn't help but think how differently people think. He realized it all depends on where he was in his state on their thoughts about how he is running his office. In this town hall meeting he found that the voters were more concerned about their financial future than his personal life. Talking about what he is doing to help to get everyone through the rough times is something he doesn't mind talking about with any group.

Barbara pulled Daniel out of his thoughts when they reached the hotel. They got out, waved to the crowd of people standing at the rope line as they walked in.  When they got off the elevator, Daniel found his sons already packed and ready to go. They were just waiting on him to go to the airport.

They each grabbed their bags and headed back down to the limousine. Russ and the other security detail agents took their bags when they reached the front door so the press didn't get any picture of them carrying their luggage. None of them cared if they did, but the security detail did. After all, this is the first family of the state of Texas.

The ride to the airport seemed shorter to Josh and Cesar for some reason. Maybe the ride was shorter because they didn't have the President's convoy in front of them. Or maybe there weren't as many people on the street getting in the way. Or maybe the convoy is going faster in speed. What ever the reason is, it took them less time to get to the airport.

Once the plane was in the air, Josh laid back in his seat to get some rest. They have one more week of doing nothing before they start to work. It wasn't that Josh wasn't looking forward to working. It was that the summer seemed to be going faster than he wanted. Already they have been out of school for two weeks and it seemed like the time went by in a blink of an eye to him.

Just as Josh started to doze off, he felt someone tapping him on the shoulder from the seat behind him. Josh leaned over to his right side and looked through the crack of the seats to see his brothers sitting there. Not meaning to yell, Josh asked them what they needed. His father, Barbara and Rose looked over to see if there was a problem. When they were satisfied that there wasn't, they went back to what they were doing.

"Sorry guys, I didn't mean to be that loud, what's up?"

"It looks like you were dozing off to sleep, sorry for waking you." Daniel Jr. patted Josh on the shoulder through the cracks of the seats. "We were talking about dad's birthday this week. You know that his birthday is on Wednesday?" Josh nodded his head. "Well we have been wracking our brains on what to do for him, but haven't come up with anything."

"Well that is not true! Brandon came up with a good idea." Carlos pulled Brandon into him and started to rub his head. "We can buy gifts like always, but we also want to do something more. You know as well as we do, Barbara is going to throw dad a birthday party, nothing big because dad doesn't want anything big. Remember how he was about the size of the wedding. Anyways, tell Josh what you came up with Brandon."

Brandon had a look that look on his face of a deer caught in the head lights. "Um, I know you know a lot of songs because of being in Show Chorus. What I was thinking you can put together a song that we all can sing together to dad on his birthday. It can't be anything hard because we can't sing anywhere near your ability, but we will try."

Josh thought the idea was a great one. There are a lot of songs out there that they can sing as a group that will show how much they love their father. The only thing Josh sees as an issue is picking the right song that his brothers are comfortable with. If the verses are way too hard, go too long or the pitch goes up and down, his brothers might not want to sing the song. So he will need to pick a very simple song, but one that will show what they feel in their hearts for their father.

"I agree with Brandon you guys. There are a lot of songs we can choose from to sing to dad on his birthday. It's just picking the right song that we all can be comfortable singing. Just like you guys, there are some songs that I am not comfortable singing because I know my voice isn't made for it. Is it okay that Cesar sings with us on the stage as well?"

"Of course he can and must. You shouldn't have even had to ask about that Josh. Cesar is part of the family." Daniel Jr. messed up Cesar's hair as he turned all shades of red.

"Okay then, let me think about the song selection and once I come up with it, I will tell you guys. In the mean time, we need to talk with Barbara and find out her plans for dad's birthday party. If it's going to be just going out to eat, this all might be for nothing. If she is going to throw a small party at the mansion, then this will work."

The Lopez boys and Cesar sat there putting together their surprise. By the time the plane landed in Austin, they had it all figured out except the song. That is in Josh's corner and he promised to have the song by tomorrow.

When they filed out of the plane, Daniel Sr., Rose and Barbara knew something was going on with boys, but they let it be. They figured they are teenagers and they will have secrets from the adults. At the same time Daniel did like when he saw all of his sons gathered together talking, not fighting. He knows that is rare to find siblings that close today like they are now.

As soon as they walked into the Governor's mansion, they all headed to their own rooms and unpacked. After unpacking, one by one made their way to the kitchen for a snack. When Barbara saw all the boys in the kitchen looking for something to eat, she knew it was just a matter of time before Daniel joined them. So she walked over to boys and asked them to go and watch TV and she will call them over when the food was ready.

At first the boys objected because they didn't want her to be cooking. When she told them that she has no plans on cooking, they dropped their objections. She went on the explained that she is going to make sandwiches, not a big meal, because it was already late and she didn't want them to get sick through the night.

Just as she started to put the sandwiches together, Daniel Sr. walked up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist and started nibbling on her ear lobe. She started to laugh as he nibbled down her neck and around to the other ear lobe. Daniel stopped nibbling on her ear in order to whisper to her.

"You know it is safe for us to have sex while you are pregnant? Well at least the first several months that is." Daniel started to laugh. "So why don't we call it an early night and head to our room for a little private time. The boys can take care of themselves."

Barbara put down the knife and turned around so she is facing Daniel. "Let's eat and watch some TV with the boys for awhile. Then we will go to our room and have our time together." Barbara leaned in and kissed Daniel on the lips. "After all we only have the boys up here for a couple of months. I know that once the boys leave, you will be kicking yourself for not spending as much time as you could have with them."

Torn between the two things he loves the most, he reluctantly agreed with Barbara. As she finished making the sandwiches, Daniel went and joined the boys in front of the TV. Just as he plopped his feet up, Barbara called them over. Daniel and Carlos pulled their father out of the chair and walked to the table to eat.

The rest of the evening was pretty dull. They spent it watching movies on one of the movie channels till eleven or so. Once they couldn't keep their eyes open anymore, everyone headed off to bed. The last to head to bed was Josh. He wasn't watching TV He was trying to think of a song for him and his brothers to sing. When he called it quits, he was no closer to a song than when he started.

The next day everything went back to the normal routine. Daniel Sr. woke up early and headed into the office for all day meetings. Since he was gone for a week, there were things he couldn't do away from the office. He and Rich talked whenever the Governor could get away from being the host to the President. So he was completely informed on what was going on in his office. If anything had come up, he could handle it wherever he was.

The boys slept in, but not too late. When they did get out of bed, they ate breakfast together before they started to explore the mansion some more. They still couldn't believe that the house had no signs of life for their age. Even if the former Governors' kids were grown up when he was  Governor, he had grandkids. Those grandkids had to come down to visit and when they did, they didn't sit on their butts.

By midmorning, the boys gave up searching for any signs of youth in the house. They decided to put their mark on the house so if another Governor has young kids here, while he or she is Governor, they wouldn't be as bored as they are. Now of course they weren't going to mess with the house, it's too old. Instead they will make the backyard theirs.

Daniel and Carlos teased Josh about his inability to find a song as promised. The problem is running into is finding a song that he and his brothers can sing, but at the same time it isn't too hard. For several reasons Josh is looking for something that isn't hard. One is the short timeframe he and his brothers have to learn the song. Second, but the most important reason is that the song again needs to be simple. Being the kind of person Josh is he didn't throw that in his brothers' faces that being one of the reasons he hasn't found a song.

As they explored the backyard of the mansion, they discussed when to ask Barbara about her plans for their father's birthday party. Since their father wasn't going to be with them during lunch, they figured that will be the only chance they will be able to talk with Barbara about the subject. When she called them in for lunch, it was settled. Daniel was going to be the one asking her the question weighing on their minds.

"Barbara, my brothers and I were wondering if you are planning anything special for our father's birthday party." Daniel reached over for the potato salad. "I know how my father feels about big parties, but he deserves at least a small one with close friends and family."

"Your grandmother and I have been working on that very subject. On Wednesday, your father's birthday, we are going to celebrate his birthday here at the mansion with just the family. Since he has to go to work the next day, we can't throw him any kind of large party on the day. That doesn't mean that we aren't going to throw a small party, but that will happen on Friday. It is going to be small, here, with family and close friends."

The boys looked at each other and smiled. "What is going on with you guys? Those grins on your faces have me worried. It's telling me that you are up to no good. Before you do anything you may regret, you guys better come clean with us. That way we can either tell you it is okay or not." Rose pointed her fork at each of the boys as she looked at them.

"No grandma, it isn't anything bad." Brandon's voice went into a high pitch as he answered. "By having the party on Friday gives us more time to practice on what we are going to do for our dad on his birthday. We would tell you guys, but you might slip up and let the cat out of the bag to dad before his birthday. All I can say, or should I say promise, is that it isn't anything bad."

Rose looked into Brandon's eyes trying to read them. "All right, I am going to give you boys some rope here. Don't hang yourselves with it. So far you haven't shown me or anyone for that matter that you can't be trusted. Just don't take the trust we have for you and throw it away."

All at the same time, the Lopez boys and Cesar spoke. "We promise we won't." As they got up and took their plates to the kitchen. After rinsing them off, they headed back to the backyard. They wanted to make a baseball diamond, but decided against that because how manicured the yard is. Using the same reasoning, they couldn't play football or soccer in the yard either. Simply put, they didn't want to mess it up and get in trouble for it.

Back in El Paso, Bernice and Patrick have been hanging out everyday since summer started. Patrick's parents didn't mind letting their son go to Bernice's house alone. They never said it out loud, but both of them knew why they allowed it; Bernice's father. Not only he is a priest, but their house is next to his church.

They didn't care after the first couple of days, just as long as Patrick was able to go. Not once did they talk about what happened to Frank. Bernice decided to let Patrick bring up that subject if he wanted. If he didn't, she was fine with it. Whenever she remembers that day, she still breaks down into tears. Knowing that, she didn't want to do that with Patrick. It might do him more harm than good.

So instead they hung out at the mall most of the time. More times than not, they didn't have money, but it didn't stop them from having fun. They pretended to be an old married couple sometimes and go from store to store pretending to buy things. Other times they just fool around in the stores. One time they got out of hand and the manager asked them to leave or he would call security on them.

Today is no different, once Bernice picked Patrick up, they caught the bus to Sunland Park Mall. Once they got there, they went straight to the arcade room and played a couple of games. When they ran out of their limit of spending money for the day, they hung around to see if anyone left their game half played because their parents called them. Sometime they got lucky and found quarters in the coin slot.

Patrick and Bernice gave up looking for change in the machines after an hour or so. Some of the kids that were playing looked at them as if they were scum. Instead of taking the dirty looks, they headed out to window shop. They needed to waste another hour or so before they could head to Wendy's to eat lunch. Every other day, they switch up on where they eat lunch. It is either Wendy's or McDonalds because of their dollar menu.

Patrick got separated from Bernice in the Toy'R'Us store. That is nothing new. They seem to always get separated in the toy store.  She always goes over to the girl toys and he always goes over to the video games or remote control vehicles. Normally after thirty minutes, they meet outside in front of the store.

Today though, Patrick lost track of time. A guy walked into the store that caught his eye. At first he thought he was seeing a ghost, but when he got closer to the guy, he saw it wasn't Frank. But boy did this guy look a lot like him from far away. Once you get up close to him, the differences were very plain to see.

The guy stands around five nine, which makes him taller than Frank. He is Hispanic just like Frank with the golden brown color skin Patrick loves. His hair his cut very short, crew cut style, big brown adorable eyes, with plump red lips to match. The way he dresses is something Patrick hasn't seen, at least on a guy. He is wearing very colorful clothing, but it fits his character. All in all Patrick thought the guy is cute.

As he starred at the guy, he felt someone grabbing a hold of his arm. When he turned around, he found Bernice pulling at him and yelling that she was ready to eat. More concerned for her hunger, she didn't see what Patrick was looking at. Not wanting to, Patrick walked out of the store with Bernice and over to the food court.

The wait wasn't that long, the cashier moved pretty quickly because before Patrick and Bernice knew it, they were ordering. Their food was ready even faster than it took them to get to the front of the line, which made Bernice happy. They sat down at the table they have been using since summer started and started to eat.

"So what were you looking at in the toy store that made you lose track of time. You are normally the one waiting on me, not the other way around." Bernice bit into her bacon cheese burger as she waited for Patrick to swallow his food and answer her.

Just as he was about to open his mouth to answer her question, the guy he saw in the toy store was heading their way. At first Patrick thought he was imagining it, like he imagined the guy as Frank when he first saw him. But he wasn't, the guy was actually walking towards him and Bernice. As he got closer to the table, he looked directly into Patrick's face and smiled, which showed off his red plump lips.

Patrick saw that he had a tray in his hand when he reached the table. "I have noticed you guys hanging around the mall almost everyday this week." The guy looked only at Patrick, not once at Bernice. "I was wondering if it is cool if I hang out with you guys. I have no friends here in town yet and I don't like eating alone."

Bernice quickly responded and asked him to join them. Still not looking at Bernice, he extended his hand to Patrick and introduced himself as Immanuel. Patrick just looked at him and tried to say the name in his mind, but couldn't. Immanuel noticed the same look in Patrick's face he gets from everyone when he says his name for the first time.

"I know it is a tongue twister, so just call me Manuel." Patrick took Manuel's hand and shook it. "My parents must have been in an angry mood or something like that when they picked my name. That is the only thing I could think of on why they would give me such a difficult name to pronounce." Patrick flashed him a smile before looking over at Bernice.

"My name is Patrick and this lovely young lady with me is one of my best friends Bernice." Immanuel turned and looked at Bernice for the first time. He shook her hand before turning back to Patrick. "Did I hear you right, you have no friends yet? That means you must be new in town."

"Not really new in a sense. I was born here in El Paso, but my family moved to Juarez when I was just a baby. When I was old enough, I came across the bridge a lot. So I know El Paso backward and forwards. It is like my second home, a home I'd rather be at than over in J-Town. It is a lot better here. So I try to spend much of my time here."

Trying to not sound like a fool, Patrick put his thoughts together before speaking. "Wow I never thought a person would move over there after being born here. Nothing against J-Town, but I wouldn't choose to live there. But I guess you really have no choice since you parents moved you there when you were a baby."

"To a point I have no choice, but to another I do. Starting in the fall, I will be transferring into El Paso High School." Patrick started to choke on his soda. Manuel and Bernice both got up and started to pat on Patrick's back. It took him to drink some more of his soda to clear the soda that went down the wrong pipe.

"Hey man, are you okay? I don't want to make a friend and then have see him off to the hospital because he his choking to death." Patrick put his arms in the air and said over and over again he was alright. "Cool! That has happened to me many of times. The damn liquid seems to have a mind of its own sometimes."

That lightened the mood back up. "Yeah what was I saying, oh yeah, I am going to start going to El Paso High next year. I am really psyched on going to school her in the US finally. I have been begging my parents for years, and finally they broke down at the end of the last school year. Plus it will save them money because high school here is free."

"I didn't know that!" Bernice spoke to give Patrick more time to catch his breathe. "I thought your schools were just like ours. The only difference is the language that the teachers teach in. At least I thought that was the only difference."

"I also thought the same thing that Bernice thought. So when you told us that your parents were paying for your high school, it comes as a shocker to us. Don't be surprised next year when you start at El Paso High that every student you talk to thinks the same way Bernice and I do."

Immanuel wouldn't stop looking at Patrick, which made Patrick nervous. Bernice saw it and wanted to jump in, but at the same time she didn't. She is torn because this might be what Patrick needs to move on, another guy in his life; a guy in his life that can help Patrick get over the loss of Frank. Everyone in the group is feeling what Patrick is feeling, so they can't help very much until they heal emotionally themselves.

At the same time, it might be too soon, Bernice wrested with herself. Patrick is barley popping his head above water emotionally. He still really hasn't talked about that night or even been to the bowling alley where it all happened. With Immanuel not knowing the past could hurt if Patrick ever breaks down when they are together. He wouldn't know what is going on or how to even be there for Patrick.

"Hello over there, I am still here you guys." Bernice snapped her fingers to get Patrick's and Immanuel's attention. "Manuel you are more than welcome to hang with us. We don't do much because we don't have much money, but we have fun whatever we do. As you said when you came over here, we are here most every day."

Manuel gave his undivided attention to Bernice as she told him about herself. From whom her father is, all the way to her boyfriend Eric. Not meaning to, Immanuel started to laugh. When he saw that Bernice looked angry, he explained why he was laughing. Both Bernice and Patrick were glued to their seats as he talked.

"Sorry I didn't mean to make you mad. I am glad that you have a boyfriend. A beautiful girl like you should have a boyfriend. Eric sounds like a nice guy and I hope we become friends when I can meet him. But, and yes there is a but, I didn't come over to here to try in get your pants or ask you out."

Immanuel looked back to Patrick. "To be completely honest with you, I saw you in the toy store looking at me. I tried to play it off that I didn't see you, and it looked like I did a good job. You left without coming up to me and introducing yourself. The only reason I went into that store is because I saw you through the window. I really wanted to meet you since I first saw you last week in the arcade room."

Patrick tried to hide it, but his face turned all shades of red. "Um, I, um..." Patrick looked over at Bernice. "Did you see him in the arcades last week?" Bernice shook her head no. "Either did I! Trust me on what I am about to say, I would have noticed you if you were in there. I am not saying you weren't, but you are one hard guy to miss."

"I must not be because you guys missed me. Maybe you missed me because I was kind of hiding between the machines. I wanted to get closer look at you and the only way that was possible in that dark room was hiding between the machines." Immanuel drank some of his soda to rewet his dry throat. "Please don't think I am so kind of pervert or stalker. I just wanted to see the cutest guy I have seen up close."

That made Patrick turn all shades of red again and Bernice as well. "Isn't he one handsome guy? I and the others keep telling him that, but he doesn't to listen to us. Plus he has an awesome attitude to go with his looks."

"Stop it Bernice, you are embarrassing me!" Immanuel liked seeing the shy side of Patrick. It shows that he is not stuck on himself. "Ignore Bernice please! She is always trying to set me up with every hot guy that shows interest in me. Right now I have way too much baggage to get into a relationship with anyone."

"So you are into guys though?" Hesitantly Patrick nodded his head up and down. "That is awesome; I really hoped and prayed you were. I was so worried that I might be getting my butt kicked here today. You don't look like a guy that likes guys. So I was really scared that I might say or do something that you didn't like and we would end up fighting here in the middle of the food court!"

"It takes a lot to get me angry, and even then I don't go to blows. I don't believe in that for one. Nothing really gets solved from fighting except broken bones and bloody knuckles. Don't ever worry about walking on egg shells around me or anyone in the group for that matter. When you get to know me and the others, you will see we are a pretty laid-back group that doesn't take life too seriously."

Immanuel leaned back in his seat and looked back and forth from Patrick to Bernice. He was trying to figure out how to ask Patrick what he meant by too much baggage. They are the same age, so he can't have that much baggage. He would understand that he is coming off a break up because he is one hot looking guy. That and things like that he can handle without a problem.

"By the looks of it Manuel, you are trying to figure out what Patrick meant when he said what he said earlier, the baggage thing.  As we get to know you, you will find out what he meant. Right now it is still too fresh and hard to talk about. So if you can, give it time and you will find out." Bernice looked over at Patrick to make sure he was okay.

Seeing the concern in her face, Immanuel didn't think twice, he left it alone. Trying to lighten the mood back up again, he changed the subject very quickly to his clothes. That got both Patrick and Bernice talking. They both said they have never seen a guy wear colorful clothing like he is wearing. At the same time they let him know that his clothing isn't over the top, it fits his personality and body.

"You guys are cool, thank you. I know that I wear clothes with a little color." Immanuel smiled an evil smile. "I am gay, but I am not openly gay. What I mean is that I don't go around telling people that I like guys. Today was an exception because I really wanted to meet you Patrick, but normally I keep my personal life to myself. At least when it comes down to my love interests! I don't know if that makes any sense to you guys."

"Oh it does, trust me it does. It sounds so familiar to me. Just like you, I like guys, but I don't flaunt it. This city, state, heck world, isn't ready for us to be in the open. Plus I really do believe in acting who I am in public, you know a guy. I have seen guys that are gay and open, but they go around acting worse than women."

"I know what you mean and I agree with you. I am a guy and I will act like a guy in public. Put aside the way I dress, the colors, when people meet me, they think I am straight as an arrow. I will act like what I am in public and then when I am with my boyfriend in the privacy of my home, or should I say my parents home

', I show my emotions I have for him there. You already know I don't want to get my butt kicked for any reason."

Immanuel patted his cheeks softly. Both Patrick and Bernice got what he was jesting to when he did that. Simply put, he didn't want to mess up his beautiful face. Something Patrick, and even Bernice, could agree on. His face doesn't have a mark on it, and they understand he wants to keep it that way.

They finally gave up their table for others to sit and have their lunch. They had been done with their lunch already for at least ten minutes. So by the third set of people that walked past their table, giving them dirty looks, they surrendered and left.

The rest of the afternoon, they walked around the mall. Bernice felt left out because Patrick and Immanuel talked to each other, rarely included her into the conversation. She didn't mind because Patrick is happy for the first time in a long time. This guy is bringing out that side of him that she thought was killed off the day they lost Frank.

As two o'clock came around, Bernice let Patrick know that they had to go in order to get the bus. Both the guys looked at her as if she was out of her mind. She didn't want to take Patrick away from Immanuel, but if they didn't get home in time, Patrick wouldn't be allowed to go to her house. Before she could explain that, Immanuel spoke up.

"If you guys need a ride I home, I can take you. I have my parents' car so I can take you wherever you need to go." Immanuel stopped and stood in front of Patrick with a puppy dog look in his face, which he can pull off really good with those big eyes and ears.

"We live on the far west side of town, off of Mesa, near El Paso High School. Are you sure your parents won't get mad with you for using up their gas taking us home?"

"Hell no, all they want from me is that I drive carefully and get home in one piece. Plus you guys aren't out of my way at all. My parents bought a house in walking distance of El Paso High. Who knows, we might be neighbors. How cool would that be if we are?"

Patrick agreed it would be cool that they end up being neighbors. He knows that is impossible though since there were no houses on his block up for sale, but it didn't hurt to dream. Trying not to let on he knows they aren't neighbors he walked on Immanuel's side as they made their way to his car.

All the way to the house, they made plans for the rest of the week. Bernice got Immanuel to promise to join them at her house, not his. At first he didn't understand that request, but let it go when Bernice told him that they will explain that to him as well in time. All he cared about is getting to know Patrick and hopefully he become more than friends.

Throughout the evening and night, Patrick couldn't stop thinking about Immanuel. He also couldn't get the silly grin off his face. That grin gave away that he wasn't sad anymore, which his parents caught on to. They tried to get Patrick to open up on why he is so happy, but he didn't let them in. He knows if he does, they will crush it.

During his therapy session the next morning, he did tell therapist about the new guy and how he felt about him. He wasn't going to tell anyone at first, but he couldn't hide the fact that he is happy. So he decided to tell his therapist in hopes that he wouldn't do the same thing his parents would do, and that is disallow him from getting to know Manuel.

"Patrick I am happy that you met someone you like. I just want to warn you that you need to be careful here. You still haven't completely dealt with the loss of Frank. You might be doing yourself more harm than good starting up a relationship with another guy at this stage of your recovery."

"I knew you were going to say that, and that is why I didn't want to say a word about it. You are just like my parents, crusher of dreams and happiness." Patrick straightened up on the couch. "I didn't tell my parents because I knew they were going to demand that I stop seeing the guy. No matter how much they asked me last night, I refused to let them destroy this for me. But here you are destroying the one thing that has made me happy since Frank was taken away from me."

Laying down his pad, the therapist leaned forward in his chair. "I am not trying to crush or destroy this for you. All I am saying Patrick is that you need to be careful in this area. You are getting stronger everyday emotionally. You can't afford any setbacks. If this guy you like finds someone else he likes better, you will fall and fall hard.

What you need to do is take this a day at a time. As you get to know this young man, let him in and tell him what happened to Frank. If he doesn't run away, but stays and tries to help you through this, he could be a keeper. Once you see that, have a sit down talk with him about other guys. Make sure that this is not a summer fling for him."

Patrick knew the therapist was right. He needs to get his head out of the clouds and have a serious talk with Immanuel. First the subject should be Frank. If he sticks around after that, he will then talk about this being a summer fling for him. If he answers that yes or goes running from the first issue, he isn't the right guy for him.

The rest of the session, Patrick talked about the trip he wants to take with Josh. His therapist promised that if he continues to get better, he will back the trip as a needed therapy tool for him to get better. That put back the smile on Patrick's face, which lasted to the end of the session. When he left the therapist's office, he was in a great mood again.

When he met up with Bernice at her house, Patrick found Immanuel already waiting for him. He couldn't help but laugh when he saw how uncomfortable he is talking with Bernice's dad. He figured he was uncomfortable because Bernice's father is a priest, not what Father Gomez was talking with him about.

Before walking over to Immanuel, Patrick looked back to make sure his mother had already driven away. He didn't want her to see Immanuel and make him go home. Once he was for sure his mother was gone, Patrick headed over to where Immanuel was talking with Father Gomez. As he approached him, Immanuel had a look on his face that reminded Patrick of Frank once again. The way he smiled just made everything okay.

"Hey man, I thought you were about to go running after your mother after seeing me here." Immanuel and Patrick shook hands. "I saw you get out of your mother's car, at least I think she is your mother, and looked my direction and after seeing me standing here, you were about to run for the hills."

"No not at all Manuel, how are you? I hope you haven't been waiting long and not bored talking with the father here."

"Come on Patrick you know me." Father Gomez chimed in. "I am never boring with you guys. I think I am cool, besides being a priest."

"You are father, I didn't mean anything bad by what I said." Father Gomez chuckled as he hit Patrick on the shoulder as he walked by. At first he didn't understand what Father Gomez said, but when he said it the second time, Patrick caught it. He put Patrick at ease by telling him that he knows he didn't mean anything bad by what he said.

"Everything is cool with me Patrick. Father Gomez and Bernice here kept me company, so I wasn't bored or anything like that. In fact Father Gomez is the first priest I met that is cool with people like me and you. He is down to earth and understands where we come from. If there were more priests like him, I would start going to church."

Patrick agreed with Immanuel about how much Father Gomez is different from the usual priest. He makes religion sound exciting and fun to learn. But since the high ups in the church haven't yet loosened up the rules about gays and the church, he has to walk a very fine line when he talks with the gay community.

"So what are we going to do today? I have my parents' car, so we pretty much can go anywhere in town. So just name the place and we'll go." Immanuel pulled out the car keys and started throwing them up in the air.

"Well I don't know about Patrick, but I would like to go anywhere except the mall since we have transportation. Heck I am willing to go to Cielo Vista Mall, if you want to go to the mall. Just as long as we give Sunland Park Mall a break. "

Patrick looked at Bernice to see if she would give him any hint of where else she wanted to go instead of the mall. Her face was blank, leaving Patrick as the person to decide what they should do and go. Just like Bernice, he wants to give the mall break, but not to trade it for another mall. Every mall pretty has the same thing, just in different places. So if they were bored with Sunland, they would get board really fast with Cielo Vista.

"Why don't you guys play tour guide for me and show me around El Paso High. That way I won't be that lost when I start school there in the fall."

"Sure I don't see why we can't. Just remember that the school will probably be locked when we get there. Summer school is not even in session. That means we can only show you around the outside, and that is if the gates aren't locked." Bernice grabbed the keys to Immanuel's parents' car as they were in mid air and went running with them.

Immanuel went after her, and Patrick followed. She started to yell as Immanuel caught up to her, but somehow she slipped through his fingers. As she went through the side gate, she started to laugh, which got Immanuel more determined to catch her. Each time though he got close on getting her, somehow she managed to barely escape. It took Patrick to join forces with Immanuel to corner her and get the keys.

"Two strong, husky boys like you two couldn't catch little skinny me! That's a shame! I am not athletic like you guys, but yet you guys couldn't catch me by yourselves. That is sad, I mean really sad for you guys and the male race in general." Bernice slapped both Patrick's and Immanuel's butts as she squeezed them.

"The only reason you were able to escape us each time we got close to you is because you know the terrain. Heck I would bet the money I have in pocket against yours that you played hide and go seek and games like that in this yard when you were younger." Bernice tried to hide her face from Immanuel because she knew it was giving her away on what he was saying was true. "No need to lie, your face is telling me I am right."

"Okay, leave poor Bernice alone. She beat us fair and square. Why don't we grab something to eat here before we leave? That we don't have to spend money buying something to eat that we can get here for free! Bernice, I know your dad wouldn't mind us eating here, will he?"

"Of course not Patrick, he will probably make our lunch himself." Immanuel laughed seeing the way Bernice and Patrick were with each other. He has never seen a girl and guy act the way these two act, at least not as friends. Normally he only sees that in relationships, and sometimes that only lasts for awhile.

As they sat in the kitchen eating lunch, Patrick and Bernice took turns telling Immanuel about everyone in the group. They started with Eric and moved on down the line, leaving Josh to the end. Mainly because of his family and what Immanuel will have to do in order for him to even hang out with the group once Josh comes back into town.

"I thought the Governor's sons were pulled out of El Paso High and moved to Austin after the last problem they had a few months back. The Governor got raked over the coals on what his security detail had to do in order to keep his kids safe. Heck I don't see what they did wrong. If I was in their shoes, I would have blown the girls head off before she even had a chance to walk up to the Governor's kid."

Immanuel noticed Patrick's facial expression quickly changed when he was talking. He couldn't figure out why, and then he remembered what he read and saw on the news. It wasn't only the Governor's kids in that bowling alley that day, it was all of his friends. He started to put it all together and wished that he hadn't opened his big mouth.

"Man I am sorry for opening my mouth like that. I should have put it all together as you guys were talking and never gone there. It has to still be way too fresh for you guys to even think about that day, much less talk about it. I wouldn't even know..."

"That's okay Manuel, you didn't know." Bernice started to rub Patrick's shoulders to try and console him. "Remember when we told you yesterday that we come with a lot of baggage? Well that topic is our biggest piece of luggage. What happened that night is no one's fault except the girl that started it. But the sad thing is that so many lives were changed with her actions, and not for the good."

Patrick looked over to Immanuel, cleared his throat and started to talk. "Since we stumbled on the subject that we have been trying to stay far away from, I think you should know the entire story. After I finish telling you everything from that night, I won't blame you if you get up from your seat and go out that door and never return."

Not waiting for Immanuel to respond, Patrick took him through that night. He went through how the night started, to them playing pool and then what happened on the lanes when they were bowling. As he recounted the events of that night, his voice started to get tremble. When Patrick reached the moment that Elizabeth started to hit Frank and Josh, Patrick shut down. Bernie took over and finished telling Immanuel the story.

Before she finished the story, Immanuel moved closer to Patrick and tried to console him. Since he really didn't know him, he didn't know what to do. If he would say something or do something wrong, it could make this entire situation worse, but he tried. Once Bernice finished telling the story, it was dead quiet in the kitchen.

Both Patrick and Bernice waited to see if Immanuel would make up an excuse to high tail it out of there, but he didn't. Instead he stayed at Patrick side, not saying a word, but rubbing his shoulders and left hand just like Bernice was doing to the right side of his body. No one spoke for a while. They just sat there in their own thoughts.

Finally Patrick looked over to Immanuel and then over to Bernice. "I made a promise to myself not to allow this to get me down. Instead I choose to remember al the good times I had with Frank, instead of that night. Because of that, I am able to get through moments like this. Elizabeth took Frank from us in a very cruel way. There is no way I am going to let that woman take all the good memories of Frank as well."

"You're right Patrick, let's stop sitting here feeling sorry and go out and show our new friend his new school. I know Frank would want us to do this, so let's do it." Bernice jumped out of her seat, grabbed the dishes from the table and put them in the sink.

Immanuel just sat there trying to figure out what was going on. They just talked about the most horrible incident in their life and they are acting as if it never happened. When he saw Patrick get up to help Bernice clean up, he joined them. Between the three of them, they had the kitchen cleaned up in no time and were off to the high school.

While all this was going on in El Paso, back in Austin Josh finally found a song that fit what they wanted to say to their father on his birthday. The song isn't hard to sing. Josh's brothers can sing the chorus along with him Friday and it will show their father that they all feel the same way about him. Their father means the world to them.

The weird thing was is that Josh had almost completely given up on finding a song that will do what he needed. That was until he heard an old country song on the radio one of the cleaning crew was listening to. He had to wait until the announcer, or DJ, got back on the air to get the title. When the DJ announced the title and artist, Josh wrote it down; "That's My Job", by Conway Twitty. It said everything that they all felt for their father.

Josh went looking for the song and finally found a tape of it. He listened to it over and over again in order to write down the lyrics so he and his brothers could learn the song. Once he had the lyrics right, he made several copies, one for each of his brothers and Cesar. Then he went looking for his brothers.

After looking, but not finding, his brothers in their rooms and the other rooms they are allowed to be in the mansion, Josh went out to the backyard. He found them playing water balloon fights. Not asking to join in, Josh picked up several water balloons and started throwing them at anyone that crossed his path.

By the time they ran out of water balloons, Josh, his brothers and Cesar were soaked to the bone. They pulled off their wet shirts and sat down under the sun to dry off. Every so often one of them would start laughing, causing the others to laugh as well. They had no idea what they were laughing at half of the time, but they didn't care.

"Hey Josh I thought you were busy looking for a song for us." Carlos got up to ring out his soaked shirt, as he looked into his brothers eyes. "We aren't like you that we can just pick up a sheet of music and sing on the fly. We need time to practice. There is only three days left, and that's if you count Friday."

"Don't you worry about me finding a song or it being hard. I found one and you guys are going to love it." Josh got up from the grass and walked over to the lawn table where he left the lyrics. "I wrote down the lyrics of the song so you guys can start to memorize them. It is really easy and it shouldn't be much of a problem for any of you guys to learn." Josh handed each of his brothers and Cesar a copy of the lyrics.

The minute they got their copy, each of them started to read the lyrics. "Which parts are we going to sing Jacob? This song is looks really hard. If you expect us to sing a certain part each, we better forget it. I don't know about the rest of you, there is no way I can sing most of this song without sounding like a complete fool."

Daniel Jr. looked over at his brothers, but they didn't agree or disagree with him. Josh understood where Daniel was coming from about the song. He walked over to his brother, and pointed on the sheet the chorus.

"This is the part you guys will be singing. As you can see it is in the song several times because it is the theme of the song." Josh cleared his throat. "Listen to me as I sing this part and you will see it is easy. Then we will work on the chorus together until you guys are comfortable with it. Then we will put the entire song together."

Josh started to sing the chorus. When he finished, his brothers tried, but they couldn't get it. The main issue is they couldn't stay together. One would start out to soon, to slow or not even join in until halfway through the chorus. No matter how Josh tried to explain to them what they were doing wrong, it got worse and worse each time they tried it.

Then to make matters worse, there was Cesar. Josh had no idea how to tell Cesar that he sounded like a cat being strangled. He can't sing if his life depended on it. Josh really wants him with his brothers singing to their father, but it might cause the guests to go running for the doors. No matter how Josh looks at it, he has to tell Cesar it is best for him not to sing.

Right when Josh was about to wring his brothers necks, Rose called them in for dinner. Josh asked for the music back as they grabbed their shirts and put them on. Before going inside, Josh asked his brothers to meet him back in the backyard after dinner. None of them disagreed with him. In fact they all mentioned, in different ways, they need all the practice they can get before Friday night.

When they walked in, it dawned on them that tonight was the night the family is going to celebrate their father's birthday. In the morning they all got up and had breakfast with their father. That way they could be the first to wish him a happy birthday. Since they got so wrapped into their world of learning the song, they forgot about the dinner.

Rose was the only one that gave the boys a weird look when they sat down at the dinner table. None of the others   even noticed what they were wearing, instead they just all dug in. It didn't take long for the conversation to move to the birthday guy and soon after that happened, Barbara brought out his birthday cake with a candle on it for each year. Daniel Sr. couldn't help but chuckle at the fire burning on the top of the cake.

"I am sure you guys are aware this mansion already has burnt to the ground once before. With these many lighted candles, we are really taking our chances on being without a home. Plus I can guarantee the tax payers don't want to pay to build this mansion for the third time! The second time was enough for them."

"Just blow out the candles if your old lungs could handle it or I will go and get the water hose to put out this fire." Barbara joked as she put the cake down on the table, in front of the Governor. "On the count of three you guys let's sing happy birthday to your father. Ready, one, two, and three..."

Everyone started to sing happy birthday. Once the song was done, the Governor blew out the candles in one try. He teased Barbra that he can still do things like he did when he was a teenager. Daniel and Carlos jumped in and dared their father to an arm wrestling contest to prove he was wrong. Daniel Sr. accepted the dare.

Carlos went first and lost. The minute that Isaac let go of their fists, the Governor pinned his sons hand within seconds. In order to be fair, the Governor let his son try one more time. Just like the first time, once Isaac let go of their fists, the Governor pinned his sons hand on the table in seconds.

"Sorry, but you don't have the muscle on you yet to beat your old man, maybe next year you can try and beat me." The Governor looked over to his oldest son and waved him over where Carlos was sitting. "Now it is your turn to try and take your old man down. I might be a year older, but I am stronger than ever."

Daniel entwined his fingers to his fathers. Isaac made sure their hands and elbows were set right on the table. Just like he did with Carlos, Isaac let go. It took a little longer, but the Governor pinned his oldest son's hand against the table. Being fair, he gave his son another shot at him. The second time it took even longer, but the Governor managed to get his oldest son's hand pinned against the table.

"You almost had me there son." The Governor got up from his seat and pulled Daniel into a hug and then Carlos. "You two are getting stronger by the day. It won't be long before you can take your old man on and beat me."

While the three talked, Josh kept going over the song in his mind. He pulled out one of the papers with the lyrics to see what he can do to make it easier for his brothers to sing the song. As he was looking a the lyrics, Cesar moved his seat over to Josh so they were so close to each other and no one could hear what they were whispering about.

"Josh, can I ask you for a favor?" Josh looked up from his paper and nodded his head. "I know you heard the same thing I heard in the backyard. I suck man at singing. You have a beautiful voice that I love listening to. Me on the other hand, way different story all together. What I am trying to get at is I don't want to wreck the song, so..."

"Please Cesar give me the next couple of days to work with you. Who knows, you might have a singing voice down there. We'll never know that if you don't let me work with you." Josh put his hands over Cesar's shoulders.

"Josh there is no way two days, two months or two years of practice is going to make me sound any better. I know how much you want me to sing with you, but I don't need that to feel part of this family. All I need to feel that way is you and I have that. Every day you make me part of your family and I love you for that."

Josh didn't know what to say. He knows Cesar is right. At the same time he doesn't want Cesar to be the only one sitting with his family when he and his brothers are singing to their father at his birthday party. No matter what Cesar is saying, it's hurting him to not include Cesar with his brothers.

"Cesar I really want you to be with me and my brothers. I know you love my father as if he was your own. That is why I want you to sing with us." Josh lowered his head for a few seconds before looking back into Cesar's eyes. "At the same time I understand where you are coming from. I never want you to do anything that might make you uncomfortable. If you truly feel you can't sing, I will leave at that."

Cesar leaned forward and kissed Josh. As their lips touched, they heard several people whistling. Josh didn't even have to look because he knew it was his brothers, and maybe his father. When they broke the kiss, Josh looked over, what he was thinking was confirmed. It was his brothers and his father whistling.

"Okay, okay, this isn't our day to get all the attention. It is your birthday dad and I know there is going to be many, many more to come." Josh got up, walked over to his father and pulled him into a hug. "I love you dad for everything you do for all of us. I know at times I cause more problems than I help you, but I will make sure this year will be a lot better for you. You won't get any more white or grey hairs because of me."

"Josh these white hairs I wear with pride because I have earned them. Your thoughts about causing me more problems than you help me, is completely wrong. I am so proud of you with how you have handled everything that has been thrown at you. I only wish I was as strong as you at your age." They broke their hug, but didn't move away from each other for a few moments.

Once Josh retook his seat by Cesar, they dug into the cake. As they sat there eating cake, Daniel Sr. kept asking his family if they had anything planned for the weekend dealing with his birthday. Every time he asked, everyone either said no or shook their heads, but Daniel knew better. He knew they had something planned, but as far as the details of their plans, he's in the dark.

While they ate their cake and ice cream, one at a time each person handed their gifts to Daniel. When Daniel opened them, he thanked whoever the gift was from. Each gift he got, he needs and will use. The gift was either a personal item or something he can put up in his office. Either way, he loved each and every gift he got.

No one left the table until the Governor got up and headed over to read the newspaper. Once he settled into his chair, the boys went back out to the backyard where Josh told them what he and Cesar decided. They didn't ask for any more details or tease Cesar. They took the news and went back to practicing the song.

Josh realized after another hour of practicing with his brothers, there is no way they are going to get into sync by Friday night. So Josh came up with another idea and told his brothers about. They loved Josh's new idea better than his old one. Once Josh told them what lyrics of the song they were going to sing, they got back to work.

All day Thursday and all of Friday morning they practiced the song. Right before lunch, Josh felt they had it down pat. He figured there is no use practicing anymore since they got it finally. He told his brothers and they agreed. They spent the rest of the afternoon in front of the TV relaxing their voices.

Before their father got home, they all took a shower, but didn't change into the clothes they plan to wear for his party. They didn't want to give away anything to their father about the surprised party. So instead they put on their normal jeans and t-shirts for dinner.

Barbara took Daniel out for dinner so Josh and his brothers could help set up for the party. Once they finished setting up, they headed up to their rooms and changed before heading back down with the guests that were already arriving. Right before Barbara and Daniel returned from their dinner, Isaac and Rose moved the guests to the backyard.

To get Daniel back to the mansion on time, Barbara faked a headache, which Daniel bought. He didn't want to put any kind of stress on his wife or their baby, so he asked his detail to take them back to the mansion. The security detail knew about Barbara's plans, so when Daniel told them they have a change of plans, they weren't surprised.

As soon as they were about a mile out, the lead vehicle radioed back to the mansion that they were almost there. That gave the family and guests back at the mansion time to make sure that they were ready to surprise Daniel when he walked through the doors. As Josh stood there waiting for his father and step mother to walk through the door, he couldn't help thinking how everything is going according to plan, which is rare.

When Daniel got out of the limousine, he didn't notice the lights were off where they normally weren't. He was more concerned abut helping his wife out of the car. Even after helping her out, he didn't notice the lights. They walked in and before Daniel could react, the lights came on, everyone jumped out yelling `surprise!' and either threw confetti on Daniel and Barbara or blew their birthday horns.

Daniel jumped back a couple of feet, but recovered quickly. He started laughing as his family and close friends came up wishing him a happy birthday, again. Daniel thanked them as he either shook their hands or hugged them. When his sons walked up, he promised them that he will get them back for scaring him half to death.

Once everyone walked up and wished Daniel Sr. a happy birthday, they moved to the backyard where the grills were going and where all the seat and tables were set up. Daniel looked around and couldn't believe all the friendly faces that were there. He had no idea that his family was planning this and actually pulled it off.

The party wasn't a huge thing. There were no live musicians singing for the Governor and his family or movie stars or athletes there. The music was being played by a local DJ and everyone knew everyone. It was simple and small, everything that the Governor likes.

A couple hours into the party, Josh went over to his brothers and told them it was time. They made their way to the area that was left for those that wanted to dance. As soon as the song that was playing ended, the DJ didn't put another one on. Josh tapped the microphone softly, which got everyone's attention. Daniel Sr., Barbara and everyone else that wasn't looking at the dance floor turned and gave the Lopez boys their attention.

"Good evening everyone and welcome! On behalf of my brothers and family I would like to thank each of you for joining us here tonight to celebrate my father's birthday. It is hard to tell by looking at my farther that he is forty years old this year." Everyone started to clap and yell out happy birthday.

"Those that know him know that he will do anything for those he cares about. Even if that means that he goes without himself. That is what makes him a great father, a great General and a great Governor. We love you so much dad and we wanted to tell you once again happy birthday." Each of Josh's brothers wished their father a happy birthday. "To show you how much we love you, we have put together a little song for you."

Josh walked over to the DJ booth and grabbed the guitar that George Strait gave him. He walked back to the middle of the make shift dance floor, strapped on his guitar as his brothers stood beside him. As Josh grabbed his microphone, the DJ gave his brothers each a microphone as well.  Josh looked up at his father and spoke. "We really hope you like this dad." No one spoke, all you could hear is Josh playing his guitar.


I woke up crying late at night
when I was very young.
I had dreamed my father
had passed away and gone.



My world revolved around him
I couldn't lay there anymore.
So I made my way down the mirrored hall
and tapped upon his door.




When Josh finished the first three words of the next set of lyrics, Brandon stepped forward and sang the rest of the lyrics. Many that were there listening couldn't believe the voice on the younger Lopez boy. He might be as good as Josh some thought.

And I said "Daddy, I'm so afraid
how will I go on with you gone that way?
Don't wanna cry anymore
so may I stay with you?"

Brandon stepped back when he finished his verse. Josh picked it right up, not losing the beat. Everyone just stood there in awe of what they were seeing.

And he said "That's my job,
that's what I do.
Everything I do is because of you,
To keep you safe with me.
That's my job you see."



Later we barely got along
this teenage boy and he.
Most of the fights it seems
were over different dreams,
we each held for me.



He wanted knowledge and learning.
I wanted to fly out west.
Said, "I could make it out there
if I just had the fare.
I got half, will you loan me the rest?"


Just like Brandon, Josh sang the first three words of the next set of lyrics as Carlos stepped forward and took over singing.

And I said "Daddy, I'm so afraid,
there's no guarantee in the plans
I've made and if I should fail,
who will pay my way back home?"

As soon as Carlos finished his part, he stepped back and Josh continued singing like before. At this point their father was barely keeping it together. Each time his son Josh puts something like this together, he finds a way to rip right down to his bone. His armor is torn through and he can't stop himself from crying.

And he said "That's my job
that's what I do.
Everything I do is because of you
to keep you safe with me.
That's my job you see."

Every person carves his spot
and fills the hole with light.
And I pray someday I might
light as bright as he.


Woke up early one bright fall day
to spread the tragic news.
After all my travel, I settled down
within a mile or two.



I make my living with words and rhyme
and all this tragedy
Should go into my head and out instead
as bits of poetry.


The second to last verse belonged to Daniel Jr. and he stepped forward. As soon as Josh finished singing the first three words, he took over. Seeing the emotion in all his sons' faces, Daniel Sr. couldn't hold in his tears anymore, they started to roll down both sides of his face. He tried to hide it, but everyone could see that the song his sons are singing is causing him to show the love he has for his family.

But I say "Daddy, I'm so afraid,
how will I go on with you gone this way?
How can I come up with a song to say
I love you?"


This time Daniel Jr. didn't step back, instead Josh, Carlos and Brandon stepped forward and joined their older brother. They sang the final verse of the song together. Not one of them was out of sync. They sounded like they have been singing for years together.

That's my job, That's what I do
Everything I do is because of you
to keep you safe with me.
That's my job you see.
Everything I do is because of you
to keep you safe with me.


When the boys finished singing, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. Everyone was wiping tears away from their faces. Daniel Sr. got up and walked over to his sons. He grabbed them all at once and pulled them into a hug. Over and over again he thanked them for making this birthday unforgettable.

Rose, Isaac, Barbara and Cesar joined Daniel Sr. and the Lopez boys. Not waiting for the hug to be broken up, they joined them. As they stood there in the dance area, the guests stood up applauding. They tried to keep their emotions in check, but couldn't. After hearing the Lopez brothers sing and now witnessing the love, they can't stop their emotions from showing. None of them even tried to hide that this is touching them profoundly as well.


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.wordpress.com/



{Welcome back to another packed chapter of "Shadow of My Father". I hope you all enjoyed the chapter as much as I did writing it. I lot happened in this chapter in Austin and in El Paso. I took you back and forth between both cities so we can see what is going on in the lives of some of Josh's friends during summer. In the chapters to come I will be doing that so you don't forget about the other characters.

Now onto the summation of the chapter. I didn't put much, if any, politics in this chapter because the last chapter had a lot. I moved back to the lives of Josh, his brothers, family, Cesar and his friends. Just want you to keep in mind that at times this story will have a lot of politics and more so when the story moves out of the high school and college years. So be prepared for that.

The Governor left his town hall meeting learning that every part of his state is different. What the people are concerned about back home in El Paso is not the same thing people are worried about on the other side of the state in Brownsville. Daniel Sr. is going to have to learn how to juggle those differences and find a middle ground that will work for all the citizens concerned, like he has done in the past. He knows one size doesn't fit all and he has delivered on promises to all the people of his state that help each of them.

The Lopez boys talked about their plans for their father's birthday. Brandon seems to be getting smarter and smarter as we get to know him. I love this character because he is finding himself right now and it is great to see him beginning to grow into a man. He came up with the idea of the boys singing for their father, which was great.

Before we went to El Paso, the boys talked with Barbara to see what her plans were for their father's birthday. They found out that the party isn't going to happen on his birthday because his birthday falls on a Wednesday. That gave the boys more time to find a song and learn it before the big day.

Back in El Paso we caught up with Bernice and Patrick. As you know the others are out of town somewhere. I love seeing that Bernice has kept her promise to Josh. Since the beginning of their summer break, Bernice and Patrick are hanging at with each other. That is what Patrick needs, a friend to be there to help him through his heartache.

They seem to love hanging out at the mall and have gotten into a routine. What worries me is when it was said that Patrick's parents had no problem letting Patrick hang around with Bernice. I am hoping they aren't thinking that by Patrick hanging around with a girl will make him straight. His parents had a problem leaving their son alone several rooms away from them with Josh and the guys. Yet they have no problem letting Patrick and Bernice run free without a leash.

Now we have a new character in the story and by the looks of it he is going to play a big role in Patrick's life and recovery. In Patrick's eyes, Immanuel reminds him of Frank. I wonder if that is a good thing or bad thing. Already a relationship failed in this story between Chris and Rusty because Chris couldn't let the memory of Josh go. If these two start dating, and Patrick does the same, I am afraid there is going to be a lot of heartache in the future for two kids.

Immanuel showed Patrick that he isn't afraid of his past when Patrick told him what happened to Frank. He didn't bolt for the door; he stayed and consoled Patrick. At first glance, Immanuel is a kind, caring person. I hope that is the truth and they are able to move forward.

I also hope they don't rush things either. I agree to a point with the therapist. Patrick hasn't yet really dealt with the loss of Frank. Until he does, he shouldn't get into another relationship. It will be doomed from the start in all likelihood. The therapist could be wrong and maybe a relationship is what Patrick needs to deal with the loss of Frank and move on. Only time will tell on this plot, so stick around.

Now let's head back to Austin and talk about the ending of the chapter. Josh found a song, but it was a little hard for his brothers and Cesar to sing. It wasn't the lyrics that were difficult it was staying in sync with each other. Josh realized that by the end of the evening on Wednesday and came up with a better arrangement to perform the song.

Cesar helped Josh out of a jam when he gracefully stepped away from singing with them. He heard himself and didn't want to make a fool of himself in front of a group of people. The love these two have for each other once again shined through when they both were able to see and feel what the other was seeing and feeling. Josh didn't force him, but made it clear he wanted him up there. Cesar made it clear he knew that, but at the same time told Josh he didn't need to be up there on the stage singing to be part of the family.

The night went off with a hiccup. The Governor got surprised when he walked through the doors of the mansion. He loved how Barbara and his family set up the party, small and just friends and family. Then once again, the voice of Josh, and this time his brothers as well, ripped right through the Governor's armor.

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!}

Greetings, one and all!

My `corner' is going to be short this time. JPG's synopsis of the chapter was spot-on and I hardly have a thought to add. (Imagine that!)

The day to day goings on with the Lopez family are warm and solid. The way the family has evolved, been redefined and how the relationships have developed since Martha has been out of the picture are wonderful and so right.  Looking at it in retrospect, Martha was a divisive and destructive force that was working so subtly beneath the surface. It would have probably gone on and on, unnoticed, had she not gotten so overtly hostile toward Josh when his sexuality came to light.
Daniel Sr. falling in love and marrying Barbara was a huge step in the rebuilding of the Lopez family. Isaac and Rose did wonderfully holding things together when Martha first was removed from the scene. Their efforts can't be under appreciated. However, Barbara has wiggled into her role as second wife and stepmother. She has just the right balance of love, a touch of structure and she conveys warmth and caring that filled a void Martha had created. It is also to her credit that she is truly a "classy lady", completely the opposite of Martha; so much more the person to be First Lady of Texas.

Patrick has met Immanuel, a seemingly solid guy with head and heart in the right places. Patrick has a TON of emotional baggage still.  Yes, he's healing, but there's "stuff" that is lying deep within him that has yet to surface. The trauma and loss Patrick has suffered will take a lot more time to resolve. He still hasn't really achieved closure. I sense that there will be more troubled waters for Patrick to navigate before he's back to being solid emotionally. The scars of the trauma will never disappear completely. I just hope he's able to, with counseling and the support of his friends, be able to adjust to his new reality. He has yet to "let go" of Frank. Frank is still very present in his mind and heart. He has to find a way to truly let Frank go before his life can go on with true meaning and purpose, based on his reality. His love has to find a new channel.

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick