Story Written by: J.P.G.

Love Scenes Written By: Trevor

Edited By: Ed

Edited By: Trevor

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:


Chapter 16


The entire stadium was dead quiet. Not a word was spoken because everyone wanted to know what was it that George Strait was going to give to Josh. Whatever it was, they all wished that George would just give it to the young up and coming star so they can get in line to have their CD, shirt or whatever else they brought and wanted autographed.

"It gives me the greatest honor to be the one to present to you Josh..." George stopped in mid sentence and looked out to the audience. He could see they were hanging onto every word he was saying. "Before I continue..." The audience sighed. "No really, I need to preface what I am about to say.

As you all know, Josh here released his first CD two days ago. It hit the shelves, or should I say it tried to hit the shelves on Wednesday. Every copy of his first CD was sold before it had a chance to be put on the shelves. That is the first time in country music history that a debut album has ever done that." The crowd went crazy.

"Your hometown native also broke some more records this last couple of days. He is the first country music singer to hit number one on the Billboard Top 200 with his debut album and is the youngest male artist to ever do that." The crowd jumped back on their feet, chanting and applauding. Even with the microphone, George couldn't say a word until the audience quieted down.

"So it gives me the greatest honor to be the one to present to you Josh, the youngest artist to ever get this with their debut album, an album that went instant gold, your gold record." Ivan pulled the cloth off Josh's gold record as he handed it to him. "We are so proud of you! There is no doubt that we are going to see a lot of good things coming from you in the days, months and years ahead."

The audience never took their seats, they just got quiet for a few minutes, but that didn't last. The minute they heard gold record, they were chanting and applauding again. Josh couldn't believe that his first CD went gold overnight. He just stood there looking at the gold record in Ivan's hands. Not really knowing what to do or even say for that matter.

The governor and the rest of the family surrounded Josh, congratulating him. Cesar was the last to congratulate Josh and they together took the gold record from Ivan and lifted it in the air for all those there to see. No one left the stage right away; the audience would not let them. They kept chanting and applauding, no one felt like walking off.

When the audience finally settled down and started to exit out of the stadium, everyone on the stage started to make their way off. Those that did get a chance to congratulate Josh did so as he passed them holding his gold record. His fellow Los Tigres asked to see the gold record, which Josh was proud to show to them or anyone that asked.

Finally they got to their dressing rooms, but they knew they only had a few minutes to catch their breath. George, Johnny and Josh had to make their way in a couple of minutes to another section of the stadium where there are tables set up for them to sit and sign as many autographs as possible. None of the performers minded, it's just been one crazy night of a roller coaster ride that didn't seem to look as if it was going to stop any time soon.

Josh was not sure if he should take his gold record for the fans to see, or leave it with his family. He talked it over with his father, and together they decided it was just right they also had a chance to see it as well. Josh was straightening himself to go and sign autographs when his father walked into the restroom and closed the door.

"Son, it has been one crazy night if I do say so myself." Daniel Sr. laughed as he lowered the lid to the toilet and sat down. "I don't even know where to begin with all this. You know how proud I am of you and everything you have accomplished. No matter if your CD went gold or not, I am the proudest father alive." Josh looked at his father, unable to control all the emotions he was feeling.

"I was wrong when I said that Los Tigres was not a sport like football, swim team and all the other physical sports out there. In fact after seeing what you guys did out there on that stage tonight, I believe that Los Tigres is even more a physical sport than those I have named. Not only do you all have to stay in sync with each other while you sing, but the dance moves you all performed, wow. This group should get a letter as well.

I guess what I am trying to get at son, you made the right choice when you dropped swim team and kept Los Tigres. You are not going to be a swimmer all your life, but a singer, I can see that. If tonight and that gold record are, any indication on where you're going in life is that you are going to be brilliant singer. As George keeps saying, you are the future of country music and I'm so proud to be your father."

Josh walked over to his father and wrapped his arms around him. In a very low whisper, Josh spoke. "Thank you dad for everything, for believing in me and backing me up even when every bone in your body was telling you I was making the wrong decisions. It's because your love and the love from the rest of the family, I have been able to do this. I also know that if I am going to continue to succeed I will need my family in my corner."

They broke the hug as Daniel stood up. "You can always depend on your family being there no matter what. You are a nicely grounded and I know all this fame and fortune won't go to your head. I know you won't change. Because of those reasons and many more, your family will always be here for you no matter what."

Daniel walked over to the door of the restroom. "Now splash some water on your face, fix your hair and get out there to the fans that are dying to see you. Sign as many autographs as you can, but don't overdo it. You have a competition tomorrow and you need your rest for that and then the party later on."

Josh looked at his father when he said party. He asked what party, but his father didn't answer. He just smiled and walked out of the restroom. Josh couldn't stop thinking about the party as he combed his hair, so when he stepped out of the restroom, he asked everyone about the party, but no one answered him.

All the way to the tables, he kept asking Cesar, but got no answer. By the time he got to his seat, he came to one conclusion, that Cesar had no idea about the party either. Josh sat down and couldn't believe his eyes. It looked like everyone that came down to see the show stayed to try and get an autograph.

He didn't think they stayed for his autograph, but for George and Johnny's. It didn't take long for him to see how wrong he was. They did want George and Johnny's, but they spent more time talking to him than they did to the top of the ticket. Josh felt weird about it. However, every time he looked over to see what George and Johnny thought, they were busy with the fans that were in front of them.

The three singers sat there for two hours signing whatever the fans presented them to sign. There were a few things they had to reject, as one person tried to pull her dress up and asked them to sign her butt. There was another fan, male, wanting the same thing. Those fans weren't escorted out, but polity told they would get an autograph, just not on their butt or any other private area of their bodies.

Every fan that went through the line, asked to see Josh's gold record, which again he was honored to show off. After all, it was because of the fans buying his CD that got him the gold record, so why not let them see what they have done. What they have given a sixteen-year-old teenager as a gift.

By the time they finally called it quits, everyone that was in the line had got an autograph at the expense of the three stars writing hands. They made their way to the other side of the stadium where their cars were waiting, rubbing their hands. Josh kept looking over to George and Johnny to see if they were hurting as badly as he was and by the looks of it, they were.

When they reached their cars, George stopped and turned to look at Josh. "Tonight was everything I knew it would be, thank you Josh. I didn't get a chance to thank your instructor Mr. Franklin and the others in Los Tigres, so can you please pass to them my thanks as well." Josh promised to do so. "You know you deserve everything you have got and will get in your career and no matter where you are in your career, I will be there. I will be there for you to talk and get advice no matter what time of day it is."

Josh thanked him and promised that he will always go to him for advice. "I'll see you at your party. I hear it's going to be a blast." George looked over at Johnny and asked him if was going as well, which he answered hell yes. "That means we both will see you at your party tonight. Until then, you rest that voice of yours."

George and Josh shook hands before George got into his limousine. Josh walked over to Johnny Cash, shook his hand, and thanked him for joining the show. Once they bid each other goodbye, they both got into their vehicles. Josh's was the last to drive out, but he didn't mind it at all.

To his and Cesar's surprise as they drove out, there were still fans there, a lot, at least in the hundreds, holding up I love you signs and taking pictures. Josh looked around for his father and the rest of his family, but didn't see them anywhere. Cesar noticed that Josh was looking for someone and knew who it was.

"Hey, don't worry, they already went home. Dad needed to get out before the rest of the stadium cleared out because his motorcade stopped traffic, which you and I know he hates. So he snuck out with the rest of the family when you and I walked down to the autograph tables." Josh smiled as he shook his head. "Dad promised to stay awake until we get home. He wants to make sure we get there safe and sound."

Nothing else was said on the ride home. Josh cuddled up to Cesar and went through everything that happened, from the beginning of the concert, to the end when he was presented his gold record. When he started going over the events of that moment, he looked down to his gold record and stared at it. He couldn't believe that his first CD sold as it did. Never in his wildest dreams did he think people would accept him.

As soon as Josh and Cesar walked into the house, Josh started looking for a place to hang his gold record. He didn't want it in his and Cesar's room because there no one would see it. At the same time, there was really no place for him to hang it in the areas where people that visited sit and talk. Just as he was about to give up, Daniel Sr. presented an idea that Josh didn't think of.

"You have a huge recording studio back there that was built just for you. In that recording studio, I had an area built in for all the awards and plaques you are going to get in your career. What better way to start to add to that collection than with you first gold record. Go back there and hang it on the wall and then head to bed."

Josh thanked his father, hugged him goodnight before he and Cesar ran and grabbed a hammer and nails before running to the studio. It only took them a few minutes to get it just right. Once they did, they put everything back and headed up to bed. The minute they crawled into bed, they were out. They did not even get a chance to cuddle as they normally do before going to sleep.

No one in the Lopez residence, except the governor, woke up before ten. The smell of pancakes, bacon and eggs in the air brought everyone out of their dead sleep. Pulling themselves out of bed, they made their way down to the kitchen and sat down. None of them bothered to comb their hair or even change out of their pajamas, which was either running pants or shorts. They all just sat down and started to dig in.

Josh's brothers were not in a hurry to finish since they had nowhere to go until tonight unlike Josh did. He finished eating before anyone else. Due to the time restraints he has, he quickly made his way back to his room and started to get ready. Just as he was jumping into the shower, Cesar joined him.

They both wanted to fool around, but knew they couldn't do it right with the time they had. It took all their strength, but they kept their hands to themselves as they finished showering and getting ready. Once they were dressed, they were downstairs waiting for the SUV to pull up that was going to take them to Hanks High School.

The governor wanted to go, but he didn't want to cause the school and the city more work after last night so he stayed back, wishing his son good luck, which he felt his son and Los Tigres didn't need it. Little did he know that there was an uproar happening at Hank's High School that was going to turn his son's day upside down.

Josh and Cesar were talking and laughing all the way to Hanks. Even when they arrived, they didn't think much about the protesters outside. They thought they were fans, not protesters. When they walked in, they found out that they were wrong on their assumption about the big group holding up signs on the street.

Mr. Franklin greeted them and pulled them off to the side. "We have a problem!" He said over and over again, as they walked to the corner of the hallway. "The other high schools we are competing against here today are complaining that we are bringing in a ringer to perform in our group." Josh and Cesar had no idea what Mr. Franklin was saying.

"They are saying since you have a recording contract and not only got a CD out there, but it has gone gold, it is unfair to them and their kids. In other words, they are demanding that you are not allowed to perform with Los Tigres. I am fighting it, and I won't stop fighting it until the right thing is done and that is allowing you on that stage."

Just then Ivan walked over. "Josh I'm sorry for this mess, but I kind of expected something like this was going to eventually happen. You are a professional now, and Los Tigres and the groups like that in the high schools are not. You being in the group do present a huge issue that they have never dealt with."

"Look I don't care how you do it, but I'm going to perform with Los Tigres. I already gave up the swim team for my career. There is no way I'm not going to give up Los Tigres. It is because of them I have what I have. If Mrs. Nunez didn't see what she saw in me and moved me out of her class to the glee club, I would not have a recording contract. So again, do whatever it takes, but get me on that stage with my friends."

"I understand everything you are saying, but the label kind of has a problem with you giving free shows as well. As long as you are part of Los Tigres, you are giving your talent for free which normally people pay to see. I know what I am saying sounds rude and ugly, but at the end of the day it is a business and in a business they like to make money."

This was something Josh never wanted to fight about, but it is here and he has no other choice but to address it. "Ivan, you are my manager right?" Ivan nodded his head. "You have to do what makes me happy." Once again, Ivan shook his head. "I am happy singing with Los Tigres. Please do whatever you have to do with the label and here to make that happen. I'm pretty sure I didn't read the rulebook wrong and it doesn't state anywhere in there that a person like me can't sing."

Mr. Franklin pulled out the rulebook and started to skim through it to see if Josh was right. Once he finished his first skim, he went through it again to make sure he didn't miss a thing. When he saw that he didn't and that Josh was right, a big smile went across his face. He grabbed Ivan, and together they walked over to the judges.

He waved over all the other instructors before he said a word. When they all gathered around the judges, Mr. Franklin spoke. "I know you all are carrying your rule book with you." They all pulled out their copy. "Find me where in the rule book it states that a student can't be part of a group when he or she gets a recording contract while in high school." They all started flipping through the rulebook, and stopped at the same page.

"Right here it states that a person that has a recording contract or is a professional singer cannot be part of a high school singing group that competes. One of your singers not only has a recording contract, but he has performed in several concerts and his first CD has already gone gold. That is a professional singer if I do say so myself."

"Yeah you're right, but you are misreading the rule. It says that no person having a recording contract can join a singing group in a high school that competes with other high schools. A few paragraphs down it goes into even more detail on what they mean by that. To sum that paragraph up, it gives an age, eighteen or older and has graduated from high school can't join a singing group in high school that competes.

First, Josh got his recording contract after he joined our singing group at El Paso High and has been competing well over a year before that happened. Second, when he turns eighteen his senior year and he is still part of Los Tigres or any group for that matter, he can still compete since he has not graduated yet. And finally, why don't we all just shut up and enjoy this." The judges and the other instructors couldn't believe that Mr. Franklin actually said the last part.

"You all know as well as I do, we can never fill the seats. Our ticket prices have been lowered so much; a person can buy a ticket to one of these events with the change in the cushions of their couches. Look out there right now and tell me that you don't like what you're seeing. Every seat is taken, something that hasn't happened since I have been teaching show chorus, which has been many, many years."

Everyone looked out of the curtain and saw a packed house. "They are not the ones that decide who wins these things, you the judges do." Mr. Franklin pointed to the judges as everyone turned their attention back to him. "You're in that position because you're able to put aside all the bull and look at the performances. Do that here today and in every competition that my boys and girls are in."

Several of the instructors started to speak all at once, but the head judge raised his hand to silence them. "Mr. Franklin is right on everything he has said here. Nowhere in the rulebook does it states that Joshua Lopez can't be part of any singing group in high school that competes against others. Even though he has a recording contract, and has done awesome, he can't be stopped on competing here today or any day for that matter."

"Well then I will have to get the rule book changed before the next competition then."

"First, let me say that since the season has started, the rule book can't be changed. That can only happen during the summer. Second, even if you change the rulebook this summer, Josh and any other student like him that is part of a singing group will be grandfathered in. So if you want to do that for future incidents, go for it, but it won't affect whether or not Josh can compete in the next coming school year."

The instructor that spoke just looked at the head judge. She thought she had the judges on her side since she is the one that got all this started. Now she can see that there is nothing she or anyone for that matter can do. For the next three years, El Paso High School will win competition after competition. Not because they are the best group, but because they have a professional singer as their soloist.

"I know this is not making many of you happy, but like Mr. Franklin said, we can put aside all the drama outside these walls and judge what is on the stage. Josh is only one part of a group. Even if he performs flawlessly, the rest of Los Tigres would have to do the same in order to win. If they do, it's because they were the best on the stage."

The head judge looked at the instructors for a few minutes. "Since there are no more issues for us to settle, let's get on with the show. Joshua Lopez will be allowed to perform and will be treated equally as the others in each group do. This matter is closed and won't be brought up again." The judge's started making their way to their seats, but one of them stopped and walked back to the instructors.

"Who ever put together the protesters outside, get rid of them. That is shameful and was uncalled for. We are all adults and must set an example for our students. Crying and stomping around when things don't go our way is not the right thing we need to be teaching here at high school level, really not at any level in the education of our youth." The judge turned and rejoined his fellow judges.

Mr. Franklin didn't stay around to see which of his fellow instructors were responsible for the protesters. He and Ivan went over and delivered the news to Josh and the others. When he finished, his students were happier than he has ever seen them. He knew what was going through their minds. The same thing that was going through his, they were going to lose if they lost Josh as their soloist.

As Los Tigres got set to go on stage, Chris was at home relaxing after a long night of fun. He thought that he and Angel were getting along really well, but once again, Angel left him wondering at the end of the night when they went home. The biggest thing that gets Chris angry is that Angel plays hot and cold, mostly cold all the time.

He can understand why Angel is afraid because he has been there, but to keep saying they are a couple and then take it back hours later is getting old. His heart can't stand much more of the roller coaster ride of emotions Angel has him on. One-way or another, good or bad, he wants Angel to tell him the truth. Stop playing with his emotions. It seems at times to Chris that Angel actually likes doing that.

Determined to get Angel out of his mind, Chris turned on the television and plopped his feet up on the coffee table. Coach Montoya and his wife were off doing a little shopping, giving him the entire house to himself. Just as the commercials were over and the show started, the doorbell rang. Chris was at first going to ignore it, but whoever is at the door kept pushing the doorbell over and over again, making impossible to ignore.

Chris reluctantly got up from the couch with a grunt and walked over to the door to see who in the hell it was. To his surprise, it was Angel, standing on the porch dressed in jeans that hugged his body in all the right places, a t-shirt and tennis shoes. Before opening the door, Chris checked himself out in the mirror that hung in the hallway. Tried his best to straighten himself out, but no matter what he did, there wasn't much he could do with his appearance since he wasn't expecting any visitors.

Angel stopped ringing the door and was about to leave when Chris opened the door. He turned around and smiled his killer smile that melted Chris. Fumbling around with his words, Chris asked Angel to come in. He held the door open, not because he really wanted to be polite, but because he wanted to see Angel's butt when he passed him.

They walked to the living room, but didn't sit on the couch together. Angel took the chair, confusing Chris once again. Chris couldn't figure out if he didn't come down for them to get to know each other better, then why did he come down. If it was to play his hot and cold games, Chris knew he was going to lose it.

"I had a lot of fun last night with you Chris." Angel looked at Chris and smiled the smile that just tore right through Chris's armor. "Never before have I been at a concert like that. Thank you for inviting me and getting Josh to give me an all access pass to the back stage. Man it was awesome to meet George Strait and Johnny Cash." Angel started to laugh, making it harder for Chris to stay mad at him.

"No problem at all for all that. I also had a lot of fun with you at the concert last night. To tell you the truth I can't remember the last time I had that much fun with another guy." Chris smiled at Angel, trying to match smiles, but wasn't successful. "The more you hang out with me and the guys, the more you will see that we have a lot of fun. Not every time there is a concert with famous people, but there is always something we are doing that makes it worthwhile to hang out."

Moving around in his seat trying to get comfortable, Angel didn't hear the last part. "Um, I was wondering something. I don't know if this is my spot, but I overheard about a party tonight, but no one has invited me." Right then Chris knew what this visit was all about. It wasn't that Angel wanted to see him. "Is it only a family affair or all you guys invited to the party as well?"

"Well the little that I know about the party it isn't just a family affair since I and the other guys are invited as well." Angel cracked a half smile. "Also George Strait, Johnny Cash and executives from the Josh's label are going to be there since the party is being held in Josh's honor for his gold record."

"Um, I know I might be asking too much, but can we go together to the party." Not sure where Angel was going with this, Chris didn't care. He liked hearing the words coming out of Angel's mouth on inviting him on a date. "I would really love going to this party with you if you want to go with me."

No need to think about it or being asked twice, Chris said yes. Angel asked what he was going to wear so he could try and match him, which made Chris think it was a date, not just two friends going together. He asked Angel to help him pick out what to wear that way Angel could pick clothes that he might have to match.

Once they got Chris's clothes all taken care of, they headed to Angel's house to get his picked out. Most of the way there, they talked about what might happen at the party, but nothing much more than that. Each time Chris tried to change the subject over to them and if this was a date, Angel moved the conversation back to the party.

When they got to Angel's house, Chris started to feel the way he was feeling before Angel showed up, like crap. Once again, Angel was playing hot and cold and Chris couldn't figure it out. He couldn't figure out if he was being used or this guy actually likes him, but just doesn't know how to express it.

Angel noticed Chris's change in attitude and knew why it was. He didn't want to make Chris upset, so he knew he had to say something to get Chris out of his mood. "I know I am a confusing person. One minute I talk as if I'm ready to be with you, and the next minute I get all quiet. I'm sorry for that and I know you don't want to hear this, but I'm going to say it anyway. Please give me more time. I'll get used to who I am."

The way Angel spoke made Chris believe every word. Not only did he put emotion into every word he spoke, but his body language and facial expressions told him that he was telling the truth. Putting all that together, Chris had no reason to believe that he was being lied to or used in any way.

"I understand what you're going through. Just a year and a half ago, Josh and I went through the same thing you're going through right now. We both had no idea what we were doing, but we had each other and I'm thankful for that." Chris leaned over and brushed his hair away to show Angel his scars. "I don't know if I would have made it through everything last year if Josh and I weren't together."

"Wow dude, what the hell happened there?" Angel pushed away more of Chris's hair to get a closer look at the scars. He had never, in his life seen anything like that. "I heard around school that you got into an accident, but I thought those that were talking about it were overstating what happened to you. Now I can see they weren't understating it."

"Well I don't like talking about what happened to me, but I want you to know everything about me. There is nothing I won't tell you if you ask me." Chris walked over to Angel's bed and sat down. "The long and short of the story is that my father did this to me when he was drunk. That was the last time I was ever with him."

Angel joined Chris on the bed. "If you don't want to go into detail of what happened, I certainly understand. It's just I'm falling for you and I want to know everything about you. It doesn't matter to me what it is, as long as it's about you." He looked into Chris's eyes and saw he wasn't there yet. "Let's do this. You tell me one thing about yourself and I will tell you one thing about myself. That way we get to know each other."

Chris agreed with that and went into detail about that night with his father, not leaving anything out. He told him about how his father took him to Hooters because he was trying to get him to like girls. While they were there, he drank as he normally does until he got drunk and how they got into a fight outside the restaurant. How he tried to walk away, but his father pushed him into the truck and sped off. They fought as he drove and somehow his father ran into the medium, throwing him through the windshield of the truck.

"Wow, I mean wow, I have heard some crazy shit, but that takes the cake. I never thought crap like that really happens. If you don't mind me asking, where is your father now? And how are you doing as far as all that?" Angel motioned to Chris's head. "I mean does it still hurt, or have you completely got over it."

"Let me answer your first question about my father, he's dead. He was killed by my foster father." That grabbed Angel's attention. "He broke into the coach's house when I wasn't there to get me and fought with the coach. At the end of the fight, the coach was the only one standing and my father lay on the floor dead, for which I'm glad.

Now as far as my injuries, I'll never get over them. My head went through the windshield and the doctors didn't think I was going to wake up. All I can remember from those days while I was in the coma was Josh singing to me. I think, no I know that's the reason I'm here today. His voice helped me find my way out of a room I thought I wasn't ever going to get out of.

It took a long time to get over the accident, physically and mentally. Whenever I was out and about, I put on a mask of happiness, but I really was in a lot of pain. My head constantly hurting, it felt like someone was hitting me over my head with a bowling ball all the time. After months and months of therapy, things got better. My motor skills came almost completely back, but I still can't remember a few things. The pain is still there, but nothing that medicine can't handle."

Angel sat there stunned on what he was hearing. For the first time he was able to see what part of the rumors were true and what part were fake. Most of what he was told wasn't true, but the truth was more interesting than the rumor. There were a few minutes of silence, but it didn't last. Chris quickly asked a question of Angel, but he really didn't open up as much as Chris did.

Hesitantly, Chris let it go and answered the questions that Angel asked. The more they talked, the more Chris saw that Angel was not going to open up as much as he would like him to. Once again he pushed it off to Angel getting used to being who he was, gay. It took them almost an hour to pick out what Angel was going to wear to the party. The only reason for that was because most of the time they were talking, not looking.

Back at Hanks High School, all the chorus groups finished performing and the judges were conferring with each other about who was going to win the competition. It took a little longer than they normally do, because they wanted to make sure no one could question their placing. Once they agreed, they announced the winner.

"Ladies and gentlemen, after a lot of going back and forth, we have come to a decision on the placements. The third place winner is Burges High School." The audience seemed to agree since they applauded as the team walked out and took their third place trophy.

"Second place winner is, Hanks High School." The audience was a little less pleased, but they applauded. The booing that was going on was coming from back stage. The judges looked to see who it was, but who ever was booing stopped the minute they looked their way.

"Now the first place winner is..." The head judge looked up from the card to the audience before announcing it. "El Paso High School." The audience stood up applauding as Los Tigres walked out to the stage and accepted the first place trophy. As soon as the audience settled back down in their seats, the head judge announced the top soloist performance, which shouldn't have come as a surprise that it was Josh. He walked up and accepted the trophy just as he did when he got his gold record.

As soon as Josh and Los Tigres walked off the stage, Jonathan pulled Josh and Cesar into a classroom. They didn't need to ask because they knew why. Instead, they took a seat and waited until Jonathan and Russ said it was safe to go. When that came around, the hallways and most of the parking, lot was empty.

Although Josh wanted to take his soloist trophy he just won home to show his father, Mr. Franklin had other thoughts. He wanted to present the trophies to Principal Michaels on Monday so he could put them on display. This was the first year they have taken the Hanks match, which in Mr. Franklins eyes the entire school, should celebrate.

All the way to house, Cesar and Josh spoke about everything under the sky except the two big elephants in the SUV, the party and the trophy. When they walked in, Daniel Sr. and Barbara were waiting at the door for the news. At first, Josh played it off as if they didn't win, but he couldn't keep going. After a few minutes trying to play that part, he broke and told his parents that they won.

As they talked, Josh was surprised that his father wasn't aware of what happened at the school. He wasn't going to say anything, but the more they talked, the more he felt he was keeping something like what happened from his father. Towards the end of their conversation, as Josh and Cesar were getting ready to head up to their rooms to get ready for the party, Josh broke down and told his father.

"Son, I was aware of what happened at the competition and the only reason I didn't bring it up is because it was taken care of. You are starting a career that I have to trust you on making the right decisions. I won't be one of those parents always there trying to make things go your way, that isn't me. You have people that will do that for you already. I will enjoy the success you are having as a proud father and if you ever need my help, I know you know I'm here for you no matter where I'm at."

Josh loved hearing that from his father. He walked over, hugged him, then Barbara before he and Cesar headed to their room. As soon as they picked out the clothes that they were going to wear that night, they kicked off their shoes and lay down. Before they knew it, they were out and didn't wake up again until they heard a knock.

It was Cesar who heard the knock on their door first. He gently got out of the bed, making sure he didn't disturb Josh and walked to the door. Slowly he opened the door and to his surprise, he saw Chris standing there. He didn't want to wake up Josh, but the look on Chris's face told him that he needed Josh.

Whispering he invited Chris in as he walked back to the bed. Gently he shook Josh until he woke up. As Josh came to life, Chris came into view. He looked at him for a few seconds making sure he was not dreaming before turning his attention back to Cesar. Cesar just shrugged his shoulders, which told Josh he had no idea why he came down.

"I'm sorry for waking you, if I knew you were sleeping; I wouldn't have come up and bothered you." Chris turned to leave, but Josh stopped him and asked him to come back and tell him what he came down for. "I think I screwed up again." Josh looked at him confused on where he was going with that. "Angel came down to my house this morning and asked about your party. I am so head over heels in love with the guy, I bent and told him. He kind of invited himself to the party, but that's not all."

Chris went on to tell Josh and Cesar what his afternoon was like. Josh sat there listening and the more Chris went on, the more Josh was getting ticked off at Angel. A blind man can see that Angel really doesn't like Chris the way he likes him, but Chris can't see that because as he said, he is head over heels in love with the guy. That old saying is true here with Chris, love is blind.

"You did nothing wrong Chris, so stop beating yourself over the head for this. You're in love with the guy, and I..." Josh looked at Cesar. "Really anyone that sees you around Angel can see how much you like him so this is what we're going to do. We're going to put our powers together and do everything we can to make this happen for you. It might take time, but if this guy has any feelings for you, we'll get him to feel them."

Chris knew coming down to speak with Josh was going to make him feel a lot better. He did it again in Chris's mind. Josh somehow made what Chris thought was bad, good. Now that he knows he has help on getting the guy he loves, he'll be able to walk with more confidence with Angel when they are together.

As Josh and Cesar were helping Chris with his love life, Isaac was at Troy's house inviting him to the party. Troy at first was hesitant on saying yes, but not for the reasons you think. It was because he did not feel that a party for Isaac's nephew was the right place for him to meet the family, but the more Isaac explained it, the more he saw he could be wrong. Because he loved Isaac and wanted to make a life with him, he said yes.

With that out of the way, they said their goodbyes. Before leaving, Isaac promised to send a car for Troy. That threw Troy a loop, but once again after Isaac explained it was easier that way to get him through security, he understood. With no more surprises, at least so Troy thought, they started to say goodbye.

Then Isaac did something else that stunned Troy, he leant in and kissed him. They have been talking for months and stealing whatever chance they could get to see each other, but not once have they kissed, until now. It wasn't an out of this world kiss, but it also wasn't a bad kiss either. Troy figured that the kiss wasn't what he expected it to be because he wasn't expecting it.

Therefore, he grabbed hold of Isaac and pulled him into another kiss. This time they were both expecting the kiss and it was out of this world. Both of them saw fireworks exploding above each other heads and felt very light on their feet. Neither wanted to break the kiss, but Isaac needed to get back to the house to help with the setting up of the party.

Reluctantly, he broke the kiss, but kept giving Troy pecks on his lips as he promised this was just the first of many kisses they were going to have. It took them another fifteen minutes to say goodbye, but Isaac did finally get out of the door. Once he did, he went straight back to the house with only one thing on his mind, Troy.

The rest of the afternoon flew by. The Lopez family was dressed and ready for the party by six. Since the party was not being held at the house, but at the huge Wells Fargo building downtown, they had no time to waste. They got into the limousine that was waiting for them and headed downtown to start greeting their guests.

No one in the family, including the governor, had any idea that the Wells Fargo building had any big halls. They all thought it was a bank with offices in it. When they arrived and got to the top floor of the building, they were blown away. Not only the hall was enormous, but also it was elegant. It was perfect for what they were celebrating.

Just after they arrived, the guests started to. Josh and Cesar stood at the door and greeted every guest that came to celebrate with them the success Josh is having. When their friends walked through the door, Josh played around a little, but serious again when the executives from his label got off the elevator.

The last ones to arrive were George Strait and Johnny Cash. Johnny was the first and Josh greeted him with a huge smile and thanks. Soon after he walked in, George Strait, his lovely wife and son arrived. When Josh saw George, he breathed a little better. He gracefully welcomed the Strait family and thanked them for coming down.

After the introductions were made, George's wife and son went to find their table, while he stayed at the door with Josh. "It looks like you have a full hall already." Josh smiled at George as he shook his head. "Why don't we head on in and take our seats. This is your night and you should be the one enjoying it. If anyone else arrives, well they'll just have to do without being greeting by young Joshua Lopez since they are late."

Josh smiled and agreed with George. He, Cesar and George made their way into the hall, shaking hands with everyone that extended theirs. Once they made it to the main table in the front, they sat down and started talking to those that were at the table. Their attention was taken away from the conversations when President Bush and Mrs. Bush walked in.

Quickly, Josh stood up and made his way to greet the president. He had earlier phoned inviting them to attend, but didn't think they would come since the president is in the middle of trying to get a second term in office. With a smile and apologies for not being at the door when they came, Josh greeted his newly arrived guests.

"There's no need for you to be apologizing to us since we are the ones running late." President Bush whispered as he shook Josh's hand. "I knew your first CD was going to sell the way it did, I just knew it. The minute I heard you sing, I said to my wife that there is the future of not only country music, but real music in general."

"You're telling me sir? I was saying the same thing when I first met this young man." George Strait laughed as he patted the president on the shoulder with one hand and with the other shook the president's hand. "I try and help every up and coming artist that wants to try their hand at country music, but Josh I knew was different, so I paid a little more attention to him to make sure he wasn't swallowed up in this industry."

"That's what I like to hear coming from those that have already made their mark in the field when a new person is trying to get started. We need more people like you in all fields to help out our youth and if I get a second term I plan to get something like that going at the federal level."

The governor walked up and interrupted. "All right gentlemen, this is Josh's night so let's stay away from our politics just for tonight." Smiling he guided the president and his wife to their seats, next to Josh and Cesar. "Thank you sir, for being here for our party. You don't know how much this means to my son on having not just a president, but you here. The title is nice, but he really enjoys just talking with you."

"I like sitting down talking to him. Although he is young, he has a good head on his shoulders." President Bush laughed as he looked at Mrs. Bush. "I've used many of the things he and his friends have told me in my bid for a second term. The voters love it. I just hope it isn't too late."

Being true to his word when he told the two Georges that this is Josh's night, he tactfully changed the subject. They talked about Josh's first CD and which of the songs are their favorites. The governor loved all the songs, and the president pretty much felt the same way. They were all throwback country, which is original country.

Meanwhile across the room Ivan and several of the executives were talking about what happened earlier in the day at Hanks High School and concert scheduling. The executives were pushing for Josh to hit the concert trail as soon as possible, but Ivan was fighting against it. Just before George Strait called him to the main table, he made it clear that Josh was not going to do any touring during the school year. The executives didn't like it and promised that the conversation wasn't over yet.

"Ladies and Gentlemen may I have your attention please." George Strait lightly tapped his wine glass. "I'm not going to say much since I said everything I think I could say about what this young man has done in over the course of just a couple of months." George patted Josh on the shoulder.

"We all know that Josh's first CD went gold overnight, which is rare in this day and age in this industry. Being only sixteen, Josh here is performing as if he has been doing it for sixteen years. I can't wait to see how he does when he has actually been on the stage for those years. All I can say is those shows would be worth whatever the price of the ticket." The room broke into laughter.

"When I met this young man for the first time, I really didn't know if he was a keeper. He was young and I thought it might be just a faze for him, but boy was I wrong. I can see now that he has his heart and soul into singing and there is nothing that will tear him away from it. We need to get used to this face, because this is a face, we are going to be seeing everywhere very soon. I would also like to personally thank Mr. Franklin who is here with us tonight. The help and guidance he gave Josh will I'm sure never be forgotten, plus congratulations to Los Tigres on their great performance and also their win earlier today.

Please raise your glasses and toast Josh on his success. Not only has his record gone gold overnight, but also for how he makes all of us feel when he is performing for us. This young man can tell the story in a song and make us feel every emotion of every bar in that song. That's something rare and he has it. Congratulations Josh on the success you are having and I hope and know this is just the beginning."

All at once, everyone raised their cups and agreed to what George said in one way or another. One by one, friends and family stood up and gave some kind of toast to Josh. Some long, some short, but they pretty much all said the same thing that George said. Even Bernice, Eric, Patrick, Immanuel and Chris said a few words to Josh. They turned red in the face when they were talking, but they got through their speeches.

The president and the first lady also stood up and said a few words, Josh was honored they did so. When it came time for the governor to speak, his toast was the most heartfelt one of them all. It didn't matter who you were, you felt the love he has for his son and how proud he was of him for not just his success in the last couple months, but for the person that Josh has been, has become and will become.

Once all the toast were made, Josh's CD started to play and his guests started to dig into the meal that was being placed in front of them. Before they knew it, everyone was emerged in their own conversations making the night go by faster. As it got later, more and more people got up and started to dance. By then, the music that was being played was not Josh's, but a variety of country singers. Even the president and the first lady got up and danced a few times.

Just as Daniel Sr. was taking Barbara to the dance floor for the third time, Benedict pulled him away. They went to a private room on the floor so no one would hear what they were talking about. At first the governor thought the conversation was going to be about the same o same o, but boy was he wrong.

"Governor I know you're angry about the pictures that were taken and then printed in the tabloids. That shouldn't have happened and I have ringed the security detail agents' necks that were responsible for making sure there were no cameras of any kind there. They swore they made sure of that. That got me thinking and I started checking things out on what they were saying. What I found out surprised me and I think you'll be astonished as well."

The governor didn't know what to think. He did want to know the one that took the pictures of his sons on that horrible day, but at the same time, he fears the truth might hurt even more. By what he had been told time and time again the only person that could have taken the pictures was family. That he refuses to believe.

"What ever it is just tell me no matter if you think I'll get hurt or mad. I need to know so I can take care of whoever took the pictures and then sold them to the tabloid immediately. A message must be sent that this kind of action won't be tolerated."

Benedict pulled out a sealed vanilla envelope from his side. "Inside this envelope is not only the name of the person that took the pictures and sold them, but proof." Benedict handed the envelope to the governor. "I got a hold of a copy of the three checks that were sent out to the person, which shows when the pictures were sold and also documentation of the conversation between the person and the tabloid!

I suggest you take a minute and decide if you want to open it here or wait until you get home. Remember this night is your sons and he can't have you go out there angry. I know once you open this envelope and see who it is, you will be very angry."

Benedict walked out of the room, leaving the governor in there alone to think about what he plans to do. As he shut the door, he stood guard in order to make sure no one walked in and disturbed his boss. While he was standing guard, the governor was battling with himself on was he going to open the envelope or not.

Holding onto the envelope tightly, he started to pace around the room, weighing everything out. By the time he was done weighing the pros and cons, he decided it wasn't the right time to dive into what he had been given. Hesitantly he walked out of the room and handed the envelope back to Benedict, but with one request. He made it clear he wanted the envelope back as soon as they get back to the house.

Back in the ballroom, no one had any idea what was going on down the hall. They were having fun dancing, either talking or just looking at those that were dancing. Josh and Cesar actually got onto the dance floor and danced a few times whenever their friends or brothers were dancing. They felt safer in a group out there on the dance floor.

As the night was coming to an end, Ivan pulled Josh to the side. He was not the only one waiting for Josh, so were the executives and George Strait. When Josh walked up, he knew by the expressions on their faces whatever they had to say wasn't going to be good news.

"Josh we have been back and forth on this subject and the label feels this is not the time for you to sit back and go to school. Not with your CD selling out the way it did and then the concert selling out. They feel if they let this slide, you won't be able to recover when you go out on tour during the summer." Ivan explained in a low voice, almost a whisper to Josh. "They feel you should get right out on the touring circuit."

"I don't agree with the label, nor does Ivan, but we felt we should bring this up to you and see what you had to say about the whole thing." George said that he mad-dogged the label executives that were pushing for the tour.

"Well even if I wanted to go out on tour immediately, which I don't, my father won't let me. He made it very clear I need to finish high school like a normal teenage kid. I agree with him on that not just for the reasons he believes, but for the reason I want to be around my friends and more importantly my boyfriend."

"Your boyfriend can go out on tour with you. He will have the same tutors you have and be with you all the time. The only thing you will lose is being with your friends and having a regular high school life, but you had to know that when you decided to sign a record deal with us. The life you once had is no longer."

"Sir I don't even know you and to tell you the truth I don't care to know you. I have a lot going on that I can't just pick up and leave. Not only do I want to keep my normal high school life, but I want to keep performing with Los Tigres and if I find spare time I would like to see if I can join a sport that won't take a lot of my time."

"All that is good and dandy, but it's impossible to have now. Even if we would bend and say you can stay going to high school like you are, this group Los Tigres, did I pronounce it right?" One of the executives looked around and saw shaking heads. "Anyway you will not be allowed to continue singing with them."

Josh had enough of what the executive had to say. "Let me make this clear to you guys. Nowhere in my contract does it state that I can't sing in Los Tigres or any other high school group. I checked my contract when I was getting ready for this since what happened at Hanks High School this morning.

Secondly, I don't care what you think or want as far as how I do my education. The only one besides me that has a say in that is my father. I will give him his wish on my staying in high school. Not only because it will make him happy, but I want it as well! If you have a problem with that, too bad because that's how it's going to be."

This time Josh didn't storm off. He stood there like an adult and waited to see what the others had to say. The executives started to whisper among themselves, while George and Ivan looked at Josh with pride. They loved seeing that he was not going to let anyone push him around and on top of that, he knows what his contract has.

"Okay since you won't budge on this, we'll drop all our demands. The part of your contract not stating that you can't perform in any group needs to be corrected if you are right. We will amend the contract and have you..." Josh stopped them in their tracks before they were able to ask him to sign the amendment to his contract.

"There is no way you guys would amend the contract if I saw something in there I realized I didn't like. Therefore, I'm not going to allow you guys to do the same thing. The contract will stand as is and no amendment will be done." Josh looked the executives squarely in the face. "Now if there's nothing else, I would like to get back to my boyfriend and friends. The night is almost over and this is supposed to be my night."

The thing Josh didn't know is that while he was talking, Bernice, Eric and Cesar had gone looking for him. When they found him, they didn't interrupt, but didn't leave either. They stood there hearing what was being said.

"Man, we have never had a difficult client like you before." Not only Josh didn't like hearing that, but Ivan and George hated it as well. At the same time, Ivan and George made it clear that he was on thin ice. "I'm sorry, it's just a little frustrating that we came here to get some things done and we'll be going back empty handed."

"Neither Ivan nor I give a damn that you leave here empty handed. You will show this young man the same respect that you would show me if you were talking to me. These stunts you wouldn't pull with me so don't pull them with Josh. He is a harsher and meaner person than me when it comes down to those that are trying to screw him over."

The executives talked again among themselves for a few minutes before getting back to Josh. "Let's do this so we all win here. Spring Break is what a month and a half a way, right?" Josh nodded his head. "You give us your Spring Break and go out on tour for that week. Do your concerts during the night and during the day you do as many talk shows and interviews we can line up for you?"

Josh didn't think it was a bad idea at all. "Fine I'll agree to that under a few requests of my own. Not only my boyfriend will join me, but any of my friends and family will also join me on tour if they want to."

"No problem, but their hotel costs are yours to pay. We'll take care of your room, but not theirs. In addition, their spending money and meals are yours to deal with. They will have back stage passes to all your concerts and be in the audience of talk shows you are on. As far as interviews that don't have an audience, your boyfriend is the only one that can join you. The others will have to find something else to do during that time."

Josh had no problem agreeing to that. Before leaving, he requested that before confirming anything they send it to his manager. With that, the conversation ended and everyone went to rejoin the ones they came with. The executives were not happy, but they knew what they got was the best deal they were going to get from Josh.

Bernice and Eric quickly made their way to their table and started talking about the tour. Even though they weren't asked by Josh yet, they were excited and started making plans. They knew there was no way Josh wasn't going to invite them since he made it clear that he wanted his friends to be allowed to go.

Then reality hit them. They didn't have any money to use for hotel rooms or spending money. "We might have jumped the gun before we should have Bernice. Even if I save all my allowance between now and spring break, it won't be enough! It wouldn't be even close to enough to pay for one night at a hotel, more so a week."

Not liking what she was hearing, Bernice knew it was the truth. "I know you're right, man do I know you're right. It's just I really want to go, but just like you, I won't be able to put enough money away for this trip. Not with the amount of allowance I get, but maybe if..." Bernice stopped in mid sentence to think out what she was about to say.

"Maybe if we get jobs we can make enough money to go." She started to smile again as the plan was coming together in her head. "Were both sixteen, legal age to start working. So why don't we go out tomorrow and put in a few applications. The worse that can happen is that we're back right where we started with no money."

Eric couldn't believe it, but he was agreeing with Bernice. They were talking about how they were going to go about getting jobs when Josh and Cesar sat down. They stopped talking and pretended not to know about the tour. Even if Josh knew that they knew, he played along and gave them the news. By the time the party was over, the entire group of Josh's friends was invited to go. They were all excited about the invite and couldn't wait to get home and ask their parents for permission.

Josh on the other hand was a little afraid to tell his father about the tour. He knew he wasn't going to take it wrong, but he's not going to be too happy with it either. Pushing those thoughts to the back of his head, Josh stood at the door and thanked his guests for coming. When he saw the only ones left in the ballroom was his family, George Strait's family and no one else, he wondered what happened to the president, the first lady and Johnny Cash.

Not wanting to be rude to George and his family, he put on a smile and walked over to their table as they were getting up. Together, the two families made their way to the elevator that led to the covered walkway to the parking garage. They were the only ones allowed to use the covered walkway for security reasons.

When they reached the garage, the two limousines were waiting and the drivers had the doors open. The two families said their goodbyes before getting into their separate cars. George and Josh were the last two standing outside of the limousines.

"I don't know what to say George. I know thank you won't be enough, but I'm going to say it anyway, thank you. Thank you for everything you've done for me from the beginning to now. I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you taking me under your wing and showing me the way through the maze of being an entertainer."

"Josh it was and is my pleasure. Although we might not be doing too many concerts together in the future, I'll always be here if you need me. You have my number and I have yours, so this isn't goodbye. We'll stay in touch, and who knows, maybe sometime in the near future we will go out on a full tour together."

"I would love that, I really would." Josh shook George's hand as he hugged him goodbye. He didn't get into his limousine until he saw George's drive away. Once the rear lights were gone, Josh got into the car and sat next to Cesar. As they pulled out onto the main street, Cesar grabbed Josh's hand.

He looked out the window and couldn't stop thinking about the roller coaster ride he has been on for the last couple of weeks. For the first time in a long time he feels that his life might go back to normal, at least for a month or so that is. Even if it is for only a few weeks, Josh made a decision to enjoy every minute of it.



{Well let me first welcome you all back to another great chapter of "Shadow of My Father". It is very hard to follow a chapter like chapter fifteen, so I hope I didn't disappoint any of you. This chapter was filled with a lot of excitement, just not a concert and all the fun that comes with that kind of chapter.

Anyway let's get to the summation of this chapter. Many of you guessed what the cliffhanger was, so I need to get better at that, which I think I did, wink wink. Josh's first CD went instant gold from the moment it was released. Almost all of you guessed right as I said before. If anyone deserves this good luck, Josh does.

The concert night was a long night, followed up by a long day and another long night for all of our characters. First we went over to Chris's house and saw Angel once again. Many of you don't trust the guy, neither do I, but who knows, he might turn out to be a better person in my story than he was in real life. So far it doesn't look like it!

We found out a little more about Chris's accident he had when we first met him. Those that have been with me from the beginning with this story and can remember seventy some odd chapters back, you would remember I didn't go into a lot of detail of his recovery. One moment he was in a coma, Josh singing to him. Then he came out of the coma, spent a couple of weeks in the hospital, returning to school as if nothing ever happened. Well in this chapter, we found out that Chris went through a lot and still is going through a lot. This poor guy needs to have someone that cares about him at his side to get him through what we all know are hard days.

Again, right now we don't know how Angel is going to turn out. What we have seen so far, he is evil and lost. I really hope he sees what is before him and once and for all asks Chris out and sticks with it. However, those that are keeping up with all my stories, remember back to "Jacob Finding His Way" and the chapters when Ethan first showed up. That should tell you all something happened with Angel, but will Angel be completely out of the picture. You must tune in to find that out.

From Chris we went to Isaac and Troy. They are getting closer and closer and the proof is in the pudding. What I mean by that is they had their first explosive kiss. I really believe that kiss was a beginning of a beautiful relationship, LOL!

What was up with the other instructors on not wanting to let Josh sing? That was wrong and just childish. I am glad that Mr. Franklin stood up for Josh and didn't let anyone push him or any of his students around. I am also glad they wiped the floor with the other schools and took home the top prize in all categories.

Then we had it happen again at the party that was being held in Josh's honor. The executives came into town and tried to push Josh around. I am glad this time Josh stood up for what he wanted and didn't stomp away. He stood his ground and in return he got what he wanted, a one-week tour during Spring Break, which everyone is excited about going on.

The party was really nice. All the guests that showed up to be there on Josh's special night was just awesome, all his friends and family to George Strait and his family, Johnny Cash, and the president and first lady. How I would have loved being a fly on the walls in that party. The kind of stuff that was talked about would have been cool to hear.

Okay I know I probably missed a few things, but I know Trevor will cover whatever I miss in his corner. Just let me close off with the cliffhanger I left in this chapter. Although it wasn't at the end of the chapter, there was one and there is no way any of you will be able to guess the answer this time, but I would love to hear your thoughts on who you think was the one that actually took the pictures and sold them.

So much going on in this story and not enough paper to write it all on! There are still a lot of open plots out there that I have not even touched on, and many more new plots are to come. I hope that you all didn't forget about any of those plots, and if you did, well then it will be a lot of fun when they come back up again. So hold onto your hats ladies and gentleman, the ride is just beginning!

I could stay here all day long, with all the open plots already in this story, but I won't. I warn you though! Do not skip a chapter, or you will be lost. There is a so much to answer in the chapters to come. Keep reading the future chapters, and enjoy! Please email me and let me know how I am doing at Thanks!}



As my illustrious author pointed out what a weekend. Just reading about it made me tired.

There seems to be a lot of sour grapes among the school instructors. I bet the kids taking part were thrilled just to have been there with Josh and Los Tigres, and as Mr. Franklin pointed out by having them there, they put `bums on seats'.

I was thinking about how Isaac and Troy must be feeling heading into a relationship at their time of life and couldn't help thinking is it just as difficult then as it was when they were young? I'm just about to head down that same track and I'm scared shi...s.

I've met a few recording and entertainment executives in my time and believe me those guys talking to Josh sound true to life, all they see before their eyes are dollar signs. Good on him for standing up to them.

What a party, of who's who in America I agree with Jacob I'd love to have been a fly on the wall also. The trouble now for Josh and Cesar is they only have Sunday off before heading back to school and no matter how they try to act as normal school kids it will be hard with everyone pointing, staring and talking about them. My late B/F and I went through this in the 1960's and it ain't got any better.

I wonder how Bernice and Eric will get on finding a job and what sort of job they will do. I hope they find something a bit better than at fast food.

Finally the cliffhanger: it's no good trying to bribe me to tell because frankly I haven't a clue. The last I heard from Jacob before he finished this chapter was that he didn't have a cliffhanger. Any ideas you have please let me know, will you?

Let us know how we're doing anyway because that's the only payment we get.

Hugs Trevor