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 is in realistic balance in the characters' lives.

Any similarity to any real events, names, or life events is purely accidental. If you are underage, (according to your state laws, a minor), if this literature is offensive to you or to anyone around your viewing area, or it is illegal for you to view such content where you are reading it, stop reading the story.

This story cannot be distributed in any way, shape or form without author's express written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Edited By: "Daddy" Rick

I have a home page for you to see what the characters look like or what the places look like. If you want to walk in their shoes, please go to: http://jacobmillertex.com/

Chapter 27


Josh didn't feel himself when he woke up for school on Monday. He was in daze while he was getting ready, not really hearing what Cesar was saying. Cesar noticed that Josh wasn't paying attention to him almost right off the bat, but he didn't say anything. One of the things he has learned in the short time he has been dating Josh is to not ask a question that he doesn't know what the answer is going to be, or at least in the general ball park.

He wanted to help Josh through whatever was bothering him, so he slowly moved the conversation over to what was on Josh's mind. It took a couple of gently probing questions, but Josh did finally open up. At first, he wasn't really saying anything, but Cesar kept at it. Finally, after guiding Josh to what was actually bothering him, he opened up.

"I know there's something up with Chris." Cesar slumped into the bed when he heard the Chris' name. He likes the guy, but it seems that he has become the topic of a lot his and Josh's conversations. Again, he doesn't mind it but he thinks there has to come a time when Josh has just cut the cord and see if Chris can make it without him.

"He has been acting so weird all last week. Disappearing for blocks of time, and then Friday, don't get me started there." Josh laughed a wicked laugh as he laced up his right shoe. "I don't know if he knows that I saw him on Friday during lunch sneaking across the field with someone, not that I care, but I did and it was a guy. I told him once before if he chooses to go around with every guy that smiles at him, he can't hang out with us."

Josh walked over to the mirror and started to comb his hair, which isn't much since he keeps it buzzed. "It's not me not wanting him to stop that." Cesar walked up behind Josh and looked at his reflection in the mirror. He could see how concerned Josh was. "Don't get me wrong, I don't want him doing what he is doing with every guy out there, but it's for different reasons than our security.

My reasons are simple. I care a lot about him. I don't want him to get with an ass out there that tricked him into going with him to a secluded area of the school, or worse off school grounds, and beat him, or worse kill him. Just looked what happened in the school last month with that new kid. If gay bashers had no problem almost killing a gay kid on school property, what is stopping them from killing one of us?"

"Josh you worry enough for all of us!" Cesar wrapped his arms around Josh's waist and held him tight. "That's one of the things all of us love about you, along with tons of other things. But all this worrying is going to drive you mad, man. Stop worrying so much and just let others learn the hard listens of life on their own."

Josh turned and looked into Cesar's eyes. The moment as they looked into each other eyes, Cesar could tell by his boyfriend is angry. No matter if he knew Josh or not, you would know by the look on his face Cesar had said something that didn't make him happy, which he started to go over what he said to try and take it back. However, before he was able to do so, Josh broke free and walked over to the bed.

"I understand what you are saying, but I can't help myself worrying about you and everyone in our group." Josh spoke a very low voice. "I love you Cesar with all my heart and if anything would to happen to you, I don't know what I'd do. I know I have said this so many times to you, but it is the truth and I'm going to keep saying it.

About our friends, I love them as well, but not like you. That includes Chris, but I know you know that." Josh looked over at Cesar with a look that he knew all too well. He loved the look because it was Josh's look to him that said the world revolves around him. "That's why I worry about them as much as I do.

I have over reached, and when I have, I'm the first to come clean about it. Just like last week when I screwed up by stepping in with Eric and Bernice's job search. They didn't need my help. They got jobs on their own as they did the first one. When I got mad at them about not taking the jobs I lined up for them, I later told them I was wrong."

"I know Josh, I know! You are a bigger person than many grownups and that's just one of many qualities I love about you." Cesar walked over to Josh and the both sat down on the bed. "It's just that if you keep going this way, worrying about everyone and every little thing, you are going to get old before your time. Just like you said about me, I can't lose you and more so because of you worrying yourself to death. Please just let everyone go about doing their thing. If they get into trouble and need help, you and I know they will come to you."

Josh looked down at the floor and kept his gaze there for a couple of seconds. "It's going to be hard, but I will do what you are recommending. I will stop trying to fix everything and worrying about everyone. I don't have answers to their problems. Heck, I don't even have answers to mine. So I need to stop acting like that wizard behind the curtain in that old movie..." Josh scratched his head, trying to remember the name of the movie with the tin man and the lion. "That damn movie, you know the one with that girl, red shoes and a stupid little dog. At the end she clicks her heals together and..."

"The movie you are thinking about is the "Wizard of Oz." Josh cracked up laughing at himself for not remembering. "Dorothy I believe was her name and at the end she clicks her hills together and says like four times that `there's no place like home." Josh interrupted Cesar and said three times, not four. "Okay she said three times `there's no place like home". Anyways I just wanted to give you the name so we can get out of here and downstairs for some breakfast before it's all gone."

Agreeing to put their conversation on the back burner for now, Josh walked out with Cesar and going down to join the others at the breakfast table. While the boys were getting their day going, down in Austin, the Governor and all his immediate staff have been at work for several hours already. They knew it was the day that the state houses were going to vote on Rich's confirmation. So they came in working the phones to try and get as many votes in favor for the confirmation.

Al couldn't believe what he was hearing from his staff. They were getting confirmation from state Republican senators and congressmen that they were going to vote yes. That bothered Al because just the day before not one of those that are now saying they are going to vote yes stated they were going to do that. He thought they had their work cut out for them to squeeze out a victory. Now it is starting to look like a landslide was going to happen in Rich's favor.

Still being bothered with what he was seeing twenty minutes before the senate and house were about to convene and vote, Al headed down to speak with the Governor. He had a bad feeling that there was something up and what it was wasn't good.

When he reached the Governor's office, his was allowed to walk right in. "Before you start Al, I know you why you are here." Governor Lopez was looking at the television, but turned his attention to Al. "Something doesn't smell right down there in that building." Governor Lopez pointed to the television, which was showing the floor of the congress. "There is no way that, overnight every one of them realized that Rich is the right man for Lieutenant Governor. No sir, they have something up their sleeves, what I don't know, but I plan to find out."

Governor Lopez walked over to his desk and sat down. "Governor I don't know what they have up their sleeves either, but whatever it is, isn't good. I hate to say this, but I really think they are going to fool around with the two bills you just sent down to them. They know they are close and dear to your heart. So what better way to send you a message that they are in charge than to defeat those bills?"

"I would like to see them try and defeat one of those bills. They will they fail and look really bad by doing so."

"Governor Lopez I know you don't want to hear this, but your gay rights bill will probably fail in the house. I don't think it will even make it out of committee. As far as you crimes bill, it will pass, but they are going to make changes to it. By the time it reaches your desk for signature, it will be so watered down, it really won't do a thing."

"If what you are saying becomes reality, I will put the gay rights bill on the ballot in ninety three. Let's see them try and defeat it then. Not only they are going to lose a lot of backing from their donors by going against a popular sitting Governor, but I believe many of them will lose their seats at the end. Already many of them are very weak in their districts. Let them take this on and I will show them who has the backing of the voters.

As far as my crimes bill, if they water it down, I'll veto it." Al looked at the Governor as if he was out of his mind. "You heard me right Al, I will veto it. I know it is my own bill, but I won't sign a bill into law that doesn't do a thing but make legislators look good being tough on crime, when in reality they aren't."

"When I started to see the trend of Republicans switching their votes, I called up a few friends there in the state house. They told me that the Republican leadership called a meeting yesterday and ordered their party members to vote yes to confirm Rich because of the amount of calls they were getting from the voters. Some of their members questioned their tactics, but in the end, they all agreed to do what they were asked."

The Governor asked Al what he meant by tactics. "Well sir, as I said they ordered their party members to vote Rich through, but they will come back at us on the bills. That's why I said what I did moments ago. Your gay rights bill won't come out of committee because that means a lot more to you because of your son Josh. And then your crimes bill, it will be passed, but again it won't look anything like the bill you sent down."

"There is no need for me to repeat myself on what I already said. However, with that said, it's good to know what they are planning to do so we can make plans of our own to try and beat them at their own game. By getting Rich confirmed as Lieutenant Governor, it gives us better odds of getting that done."

Governor Lopez went on to lay out his plan on how he plans to defeat the Republicans at their own game. When he was done, Al saw how important it was to get Rich confirmed in order for the Governor's plan to work. By Rich being the Lieutenant Governor, it makes him the president of the state senate, which gives him a lot of power to move things through. He also has a vote, which could help them if things get tight.

Just as the Governor finished going over his plan, the State Speaker of the House called the floor to order. He opened it up to more debate, which a few Republicans took one last shot on beating Rich up about his personal life. Not one of them came after Rich on his ability to be the next Lieutenant Governor. They all kept pressing home that Rich is gay and if confirmed, he will be the highest gay legislator in the state. The last one to take the podium tried to convince his fellow senators and congressmen that the voters will never elect a gay man or women into office, so they shouldn't confirm one.

While the debating was wrapping up, Principal Michaels got on the intercom. "Good morning students and facility, please excuse this interruption. At this very moment your televisions are turning on in your classroom that will go live to the state capitol. They are about to begin the voting to confirm the next Lieutenant Governor.

The reason I'm interrupting the classes today to show this is because we here are just a week away from electing next year's student body government. I want you the students to see how the government works and how some positions are filled when a person steps down from their elected office. Although we don't do that here in our student government, I want you all to see how things can get ugly when some allow personal bias come into play when they shouldn't.

If the Governor's former Chief of Staff does get the needed votes to get confirmed, he will become the first ever gay Lieutenant Governor of this state. If the grownups in Austin are able to grow and accept the differences that are out there, why can't you, our future, our youth do the same thing? There is way too much hate and anger here against those that are different than someone else. I am hoping if things do go the way they should in Austin this morning, those that still have hate in their hearts come around and learn from the grownups. Learn that there is no one above or below another."

The students that were known to be gay haters were looked at when the principal was talking. Not once in their lives had they felt as small as they were feeling at that moment. Now they see how they made those they embarrassed feel when they were picking on them; like shit. A feeling they don't want to ever feel again.

Principal Michaels talked more about how historical this day is for the state of Texas. It was the Speaker of the House beginning to speak that got Principal Michaels to stop talking. He got off the intercom and allowed the televisions to be turned up.

At first the Speaker of the House was going through housekeeping procedures that are always done before a major vote. The students didn't care about the roll call or the rules, so they talked to their neighbor or their friends. When they heard the Speaker of the House start to speak about why they were there, most of the students paid attention. Those that didn't, the teachers made them.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the time allotted for debate on the confirmation of Rich Kewl for the Lieutenant Governor of the state of Texas has expired. It is time to move on to the voting part of this joint house confirmation. Thirty minutes has been allotted for this part. Those that do not place their vote within that time will be counted as a nay vote. Please have your voice be heard and don't allow the procedures of this house cast your vote."

The state Speaker of the House hit his gavel a couple of times. Once he did that, senator after senator, congressman after congressman walked to the front and cast their vote. The students sat there in awe as they watched everything unfold. At first, the nay votes were out numbering the yea votes, but that didn't last for long.

Once those that were dead set on voting Rich down had cast their votes, the nay votes were few and far in between. The leadership of the Democrats waited to see where the voting was going. When they saw the Republicans had changed their stance and started voting for the Rich, they sent in the democrats to cast their votes. Once they were sure there were enough votes to confirm Rich, they cast theirs. Before anyone knew it, Rich had the votes to become the new Lieutenant Governor.

When the numbers were there, the voting didn't stop. Even though Rich was now the new Lieutenant Governor, everyone that hadn't voted had to be given a chance to cast their vote. Once every single legislator that was there and wanted to cast their vote had, the state Speaker of the House called the house to order and made the announcement that Rich Kewl received more than enough votes to be confirmed as the next Lieutenant Governor.

Before he was able to get through with what he had to say and adjourn the procedure, the floor broke out into applause. When the camera panned over to those that were applauding, it was mostly the democrats. A few republicans joined in, but not that many. Most of the Republicans stood there with a mixed look on their face. It was a combination of defeat and anger.

The announcer was trying to walk the viewer through what they were seeing unfold before their eyes. She allowed her personal views cloud her thoughts. Instead of talking about how their elected government did their job. She went right to the negative about Rich and how the state is now weaker with him in office than the one that stepped down.

Most of the students at El Paso High really didn't care that Rich got confirmed. They really didn't see how historical this vote was for the state of Texas. All they saw was an hour of free class time with no lectures or homework. The teachers tried to get them involved, but many of the teachers didn't really see how important this day was. They attempted to get the kids in involved, but after trying a couple of times, they gave up and went back to what they were doing, grading papers or making up their next month's lesson plans.

The only teachers that understood how the vote that just happened will change the face of politics in their state were the history and government teachers. They didn't let their students slack off. Once Rich was announced as the new Lieutenant Governor, they started lecturing on what this is going to do to the landscape of their state government. Unlike the reporter, they didn't let their personal views get in the way.

Back in Austin, the Governor's staff started to celebrate the moment they saw they had the votes. Then, when the Speaker of the House made it official, their celebration got even louder. It got to the point that they could be heard up and down the halls.

The Governor wanted to celebrate, but he knew that the Republicans had something up their sleeves. There is no way they were going to put his man through so easily without having something they were going to come back at him with. He and Al stood there watching the Republicans on the floor huddle up. They knew exactly what they were talking about, the bills that were just sent down. At the moment for the first time since the Governor took office, he started to question what he did. Not putting Rich up for the Lieutenant Governor position. No he started to think that he should have waited at least a couple of weeks after the Rich got confirmed before putting his bills before them.

As he stood there thinking, he remembered something. Looking over at Al, he smiled and then walked over to his desk and picked up the phone. Al heard the Governor asking his secretary to find Rich and have him come down as quickly as he could and then hung up. Not even two minutes passed when the phone rang and it was the Governor's secretary informing him that Rich was on his way.

Happy with the news, he thanked her and hung up. He sat down and just looked at the television. Al wanted in on what the Governor was up to, but didn't ask. He figured once Rich got there, he would be told along with Rich what he had planned. So he sat down and watched the television. The news reporter was going over what had just happened.

Rich walked in the office five minutes later with a big smile on his face. "Congratulations Lieutenant Governor Kewl." Governor Lopez said with a huge smile on his face as he got up and shook Rich's hand. Al repeated what Daniel Sr. said when he walked up to Rich and shook his hand. "Are you ready to go out and take the podium for the first time as the new Lieutenant Governor?"

"Governor I have been waiting for that all week! The press has been on me to make a statement, but I stayed away from making one because I didn't want anything I said to be used against me in the proceedings. You know as well as I do, there were a lot of things that have been said about me that are just wrong. I need to clear up what I can up before I get to work. If I don't that's all they are going to talk about."

"I agree with you on that. The press doesn't report the news anymore. They report the gossip they are hearing because it gives them better ratings." The Governor laughed as he picked up the phone, asked his secretary to ask his press secretary to join him. "If we don't clear certain things up, the press will keep talking about it. In return, our own party is going to use that as cover to kill the bills we have before them. We can't let that happen. The attention of the citizens of this state must be on the bills, nothing else."

"Yes Governor you rang?" Johnny Walker said in a chipper voice as he wheeled in. "I understand congratulations are in order Rich. You deserve this and everything else good that comes to you." Johnny extended his hand and Rich shook it. "Now the easy part is done! The hard stuff is about to begin."

The room broke out into laughter. "That's absolutely right John, absolutely right. The easy part is done, now we must get back to work on the hard parts. The Republicans are hoping that we slack off here for the next couple of days celebrating Rich's confirmation, but we aren't. Instead we are going to work even harder than we did before today's vote and we are going to start with addressing the press.

We need to take this opportunity to go out there and set the record straight on all the misleading things that were said about Rich, the bills that are before the legislature right now and my administration. They had their chance, now it's our turn. We're going to go out there and make it clear who is in charge and who the voters support."

All those in the Governor's office completely agreed with the Governor and were all excited and ready to go out there and do what the Governor wants done. They all straightened up their ties, made sure they were presentable before walking out of the office. As they made their way to the briefing room, everyone made their way out of their offices to give Rich their congratulations and wish him good luck.

When they got to the press room, Johnny Walker went in first, leaving the Governor and Rich standing outside waiting for their introduction. The press stood up instantly when they saw Johnny and started asking questions. Johnny didn't answer them. He made his way to the podium and waited for them to sit back down and get quiet.

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, thank you all for waiting." Johnny knew he was going to have more people in his press room, but not as many as there was. "I see we are packed here today and we all know why. This morning the legislature ended a week long debate on whether or not they were going to confirm Rich Kewl as our new Lieutenant Governor. Well we got our answer today loud and clear. They have!

Rich Kewl is now our Lieutenant Governor and I believe no other man is more capable than he to hold the position. Our state is better off with him at the post than anyone else out there." Johnny looked at the door and back at the press corps. "Without further ado, I'm honored to bring out our Governor and new Lieutenant Governor, Governor Daniel Lopez and Lieutenant Governor Rich Kewl."

As Daniel and Rich walked into the room, the press rose to their feet applauding. The still photographers took pictures as the two men made their way to the stage. Daniel Sr. stood back a couple feet with Johnny while Rich stepped up to the podium. He didn't say a word until the press corps settled back down into their seats.

"Good morning everyone. I know you have a lot of questions for me, so I'm going to keep my opening remarks short. I would like to first thank the Governor for believing in me and putting me up for this position. As you all know, I met this great man when he decided to run for the governorship of this fine state. Before then, I only knew what I saw on television. I was in awe of him even then.

Then I had the honor to work alongside of the great general that I was at awe of and became even more impressed by him. He wasn't a yes-sir, no-sir man. He was a man of principle and he wasn't going to compromise his principles for anyone, and that includes our party establishment, much to their consternation. That made it very hard at times to get things done. However, at the end of the day, I was able to sleep knowing that this man was the right man for the job, a man that wouldn't sell out his principles under pressure."

Rich walked over to the Governor shook his hand and then hugged him before returning back to the podium. "Governor Lopez, thank you for believing in me as your campaign manager, then again as your Chief of Staff and now as your Lieutenant Governor. I will never let you down, that I promise here and now.

At the same time, as I said in the hearings, I won't be a yes-sir no-sir Lieutenant Governor and I don't think you want me to be." Rich looked back at the Governor and saw him smiling as he nodded his head. "I know the day will come where we will be at odds with each other but will never forget why we are here. Why we all are here; to serve the citizens of this great state of Texas.

No matter how much we might want to have something done, if it doesn't benefit all voters in this state, we won't support it. That's something we agreed to on the campaign trail and put into effect when we got here to Austin. We will continue doing until the day the voters sends us packing home. I hope that won't be anytime soon."

Rich chuckled before continuing. "I know I have my work cut out for me. I'm not saying that because I am the first gay man to hold this post, because I don't see myself as this state's first gay Lieutenant Governor. No, I see myself as humbled man given the honor to serve this state as its Lieutenant Governor.

Who I am and who I love will have no bearing on how I do my job. I'm able leave my personal life at the door when I walk into work everyday, just like each and every one of you are able to do. Being straight, bi or gay doesn't make a difference on how a person is able to do their job. If you are qualified to hold a position, who you love shouldn't keep you from getting that job that you're qualified to hold."

Rich took a breath as he scanned the room. "I know when I first took the podium I said I was going to make this short, but I have dragged it out a little. For that I am sorry. It's just I am so humbled that I have been given this chance to be this state's Lieutenant Governor. I stand here before all the citizens of this state and I give you all this promise, I won't let you down. I will remember where I came from and who I work for and that's you, the voters, not the special interests or a political party with agendas. With that, I open the floor for questions."

Right away the press jumped to their feet and started throwing out questions. It took Johnny going back up to the podium reminding the press how things are done in his press room. As soon as he finished reminding them about the procedures, they sat down and raised their hands as if they were students in a classroom.

The first couple of questions were about Rich's sexuality, which he was prepared for. "I know you all don't think I am able to do the job I was just confirmed to do because of my sexuality. So this is what I'm willing to do. If, in any way, shape or form, my personal life interferes with me doing my job, I will step down." That got the press' attention. "Now let me be very clear on what will bring me to step down. It won't the press picking me apart like you have done since I was put up for this job. It won't be the Republicans in the state houses calling for me to step down. No, I will only step down if my personal life interferes in my ability to do my job as this state Lieutenant Governor."

The press corps quickly followed up asking Rich to be clearer on what will get him to step down, which he did. By the time he was done, the press was satisfied with the answers and left the subject alone. They moved on to several small subjects before turning their attention to the bills that were about to be debated.

"As you all know I was asked about those bills during my confirmation hearing and I was clear where I stood on them. That has not changed. I believe in them and they should get passed as soon as possible. It's not because one of them would seem to work in my favor, but because they are the right bills at this time for all citizens, gay, straight or bi, here in Texas." Rich looked right in the camera.

"I know many of you think that there is no need for a gay rights bill. Some feel being gay is wrong and those that are gay shouldn't have the same rights as everyone else does. But let me ask you this: If the shoe was on the other foot and the straight men and women of our society didn't have the rights you have today, wouldn't you want them? That's all this bill does, is give the exact rights you have under the law to the gay community. It isn't changing marriage or anything dealing with the church. It's just giving all citizens, no matter who they are or who they love, equal rights and protections under the law."

Rich looked around the briefing room and was surprised to see all the reporters actually on pins and needles. They couldn't wait to hear what he was going to say next. For the first time since he could remember, the Texas and the national press are willing to listen and report the facts in an unbiased manner on homosexuals having equal rights.

"I will never forget as long as I live that it was because of you, the voters that I'm standing here today. You called your representatives here in Austin and told them to do the right thing. Now I call upon you to call your representatives again and tell them to do the right thing once more. If they chose not to, make sure they understand they won't be sent back up here come election time."

The press room was dead quiet. Not one reporter came back with a question. Seeing that, Governor Lopez seized on the opportunity to put another nail in the coffin of the State Republican Party. He walked up behind Rich and asked if he could say a few words. Rich didn't have a problem since there were no more questions being asked. He stepped aside, allowing the Governor to step up to the podium.

"After hearing our Lieutenant Governor speak I know more now than ever he is the right man for the job. Rich, I know you are going to always do what is right for the citizens of the state of Texas. I stand here today in front of our voters asking all Texans that if I ever step out of line or start pushing something through that doesn't benefit all Texans, Rich, step up, tell me I am doing wrong." Rich nodded his head as the Governor turned his attention back to the front. He looked straight into the cameras as he gathered his thoughts.

"I was going to hold a different press conference dealing with this piece of news, but we are already all here." The Governor smiled. "For the last couple of months we have been at a standoff with Mexico over two fugitives. Mid February, the Mexican government turned over one of the fugitives to us, Dominic Alvarez. He is now in a jail cell in El Paso, awaiting trial. He will get his day in court, something he was unwilling to give his nephew because who and what his nephew is and what his nephew had that he wanted.

The second fugitive was still in Mexico up until Friday. She was turned over to the El Paso Police Department and is now with her brother-in-law as guest of the county of El Paso. She will also get her day in court and there is no doubt in my mind that she will be found guilty on the charges against her.

Now that we have both of the fugitives in American jails that started the standoff with Mexico, I have ordered things to be put back to the way they were before the standoff started in the border cities. I also called up the governors of the other Border States and let them know what has happened. They also have ordered things to return to the way they were. I know both sides of the border hurt in the last couple of months, but I know we will be able to move on, learn from this and become good neighbors again."

The press room broke out into applause. The Governor wasn't going to say anything else, but when he saw that he had the press, he had to try and push home his gay rights bill. If he didn't take this opportunity to try and say what he felt, and his bill fails he would always wonder if he spoke up here at the press conference it would have changed things.

"What started this standoff with Mexico is one of the many reasons I feel it's time that we pass a gay rights bill that really means just that, equal rights under the law for all homosexuals. Not feel-good legislation but a bill that gives full and equal rights to all citizens of our state." The press room got so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. They wanted to hear what the Governor had to say about his gay rights bill since he hasn't really come out and spoken about it with them.

"We can no longer stand by allowing what happened to this young man, and many like him, happen over and over again. We can no longer allow those camps that torture our youth to keep their doors open. We can't allow one of our citizens to have to run and hide from another person because that person doesn't like the fact the person is gay. We can no longer sit by and do nothing and let a huge number of our citizens suffer because of the hate we were taught when we were young. It is time we put hate aside, use logic and do the right thing. Like Lieutenant Governor Kewl said, please call your representatives here in Austin and tell them vote yes on The Stan Dudley Gay Rights Bill. Let's not allow another one of our youth to be pushed into taking his or her own life because of them being gay and afraid."

The Governor stopped there and stepped back from the podium, leaving the press wanting more. He looked at Johnny and then over at Rich as the press jumped to their feet and started calling out the Governor's name, following it with a questions. The Governor mouthed thank you to the press as he, Johnny and Rich walked out of the briefing room.

As they made their way back to his office, the Governor felt good with how the press conference went. What he and Rich did will make it much harder for the Republicans to defeat his bill. At the same time he knows this battle has just begun. He has to follow that press conference with another tour around the state, talking with the voters and answer any and all of their questions.

Back in El Paso, Josh just sat down at the table after getting his lunch. He noticed Chris wasn't there, which got him worried. Scanning the cafeteria quickly, he asked the guys if they knew where Chris was. Some of them didn't, and others did, but didn't say anything. Josh caught on that some of the guys knew what was going on because they weren't very good liars. Not wanting to corner them, Josh dropped the subject.

He was still unable to stop thinking about Chris. It got to the point he was unable to think about anything else. Since he wasn't into the conversation at the table, and the guys weren't really including him anyway, he got up and left the cafeteria. Several of the guys asked Josh where he was going, but Josh didn't hear. They looked at Cesar for an answer, but all they got from him as he got up to go after Josh was a shrug of the shoulders.

Just as they walked out of the cafeteria, Josh heard Victor's voice. He turned around and walked back over to the cafeteria and saw Victor on a table and Markus standing next to the table on the floor. He knew exactly what they were up to, but decided to pay no attention to it. He said his peace last Friday when Markus tried to sell his lies. If he attempted to step in again, he might over shadow Jacob, and that he doesn't want.

He turned around and walked down the hall with Cesar at his side. Cesar knew what Josh was up to. He was going to go out looking for Chris. The only thing Cesar didn't know was where Josh was going to start looking. It's not like he and Chris had a special place when they were together that they went to where Chris might be at right now.

Pushing his negative thoughts out of his mind, Cesar tried to help his boyfriend. They walked straight out of the building and over to the baseball field, but there was no one there. Josh stood on the pitcher mount confused. He would have bet his last dollar that he was going to find Chris there with whatever guy he is fooling around with now.

"Josh I know you don't want to hear this, but I am going to say it anyway." Cesar walked up to josh so where no one else could hear them talking. "I told you this morning and I will tell you it again now, you worry way too much for all of us. Whatever Chris is doing, let him! When he is ready to talk about whatever it is, he will come to us."

"I know you're right, it's just that I can't help it. He is like a brother to me and I will always worry about him no matter how many times people tell me not to." Josh sat down on the grass. "He is lost right now and the only way I think he is going to find his way out of the darkness is by finding the kind of love you and I have. But that won't happen if he is out there fooling around with every guy that winks at him."

"After the last time you guys talked about this, I really don't think he is doing what you think he is. For one, if he is, our security would have let you know. And second, he respects you way too much to break the promise he made to you. No, I think he has found someone, but isn't ready to introduce him to the group yet."

Josh understood exactly where Cesar was going. He extended his hand for Cesar to help him get up from the ground. Once he was on his feet, he and Cesar walked towards the stadium to join the others. Halfway there, Cesar pulled Josh's hand and pulled him towards the field. They walked quickly across and didn't stop until they were on the other side of the dugout. By the time they got there, Josh was confused about what was going through his boyfriends mind.

"I want some alone time with you." Cesar whispered as he gently pressed Josh against the wall. "It seems there is always someone around all the time now. Either our friends here at school, or your band at home, but there is always someone taking you from me." With his right index finger, Cesar started to move down Josh's chest, towards his waist.

"Um, Cesar, um if you are going to do what I think you are going to do, we are going to get in trouble if we get caught." Josh's face turned all shades of red. "Don't get me wrong, I would love to do what you have in mind, but not here out in public for everyone to see." Josh looked around to see if anyone had looked their direction. "If they don't see us..." Josh pointed to the students on the field. "They will..." He then pointed to the houses across the street from where they are standing. "So I suggest we wait until we get home and before doing our homework, we put aside some time to be together."

Cesar noticed the huge lump in front of Josh's jeans. It was in the same area he had a lump himself. Reluctantly he agreed with Josh and let him away from the wall. He reached out and grabbed Josh's hand as they started to walk back to the guys. Along the way, they passed Daniel Jr. and Carlos, who gave them a funny look. There was no doubt in either Josh nor Cesar's minds that they saw what they didn't want anyone to see, the huge lumps in the front of their jeans that they tried to hide without success.

"Where do you think our little brother and Cesar were coming from?" Carlos turned back to Daniel with a wicked smile on his face.

"By the look of their jeans, they were searching for each other's sausages" At the same time, Carlos and Daniel broke up laughing. Their girlfriends didn't hear what was being said and wanted to know the joke. They kept asking, but all they got out of them was that it was inside joke they wouldn't understand.

When they caught their breath and stopped laughing, they rejoined their friends from the football team. Since they weren't there when the conversation started, they had to play catch up, which was hard at first. They had no idea what their friends were talking about. So by the third time they stopped the conversation, their friends gave up and explained what they were hearing around school.

"You know that Jacob right?" Carlos looked at Daniel, thinking to himself what kind of question was that. They should know that they know who Jacob was. "You know the rich kid that's running for student council president." Carlos snapped at his friend and told him that they knew who they were talking about, to just go on. "Okay, okay there is no need to get so PMS on me; settle down man." The other guys started to laugh.

"Anyways, we heard the reason Jacob and a few of his friends aren't here today because they were the ones involved in that huge accident on the freeway on Saturday." That grabbed both the Lopez boys and their girlfriends' attention. "They were out buying news cars, like they need new ones, right guys." The other football players nodded their heads.

"Well what I heard is after they bought a couple new trucks, they were showing off and they lost control of one of the trucks. It was them that caused that big semi to go over the median and it was them that landed underneath it." Carson, one of the junior running backs started to laugh, confusing everyone on why he was laughing. "I'm sorry, but I can't help myself imagining their faces when they saw that semi coming at them. I'll bet that they all shit their pants."

"Fuck you man, fuck you!" Shelton yelled at Carson. "You don't know what the hell you are talking about. So before you open your fucking big mouth, know the damn facts." Some of the guys thought they were going to have to stop these two from going after each other, but they didn't move from where they were standing. "Where ever and whoever you are getting your facts from, they are completely wrong. I wasn't there, but I watched it unfold on the television when they started to report the accident.

I saw Jacob, the guy you are cutting down, unwilling to leave his friends in that crushed truck cab, under the semi. Even when the semi blew, he refused to leave Tom there. The firemen and police tried to pull Jacob away, but he refused. They were able to get the others back away from the burning trucks, but Jacob didn't move."

Daniel stepped forward and stopped Shelton. "What do you mean Tom was in the truck that was under the semi? Is he okay?" Shelton shook his head. "Don't tell me, don't, just don't tell me that Tom is dead." Daniel Jr.'s girlfriend walked up to him and grabbed his hand. She pulled him back to Carlos and his girlfriend, trying to calm him down.

"No Daniel, he isn't dead, but badly hurt according to the news. Jacob was able to get him out, but he was pinned in his truck for a very long time. According to the statement they released to the press, Tom will never walk again. They called in specialist, but in the end, they couldn't do much for him than what already had been done because they had to wait until the swelling went down in Tom's spine. Once that happens, they will know more, but again they are certain Tom won't walk out of the hospital on his own two legs."

That knocked Daniel off his feet. Everyone there knew Tom as well as they knew each other since he is on the football team. However, Daniel Jr. knew him even more than the rest of them because he mentored Tom when he joined the football team his freshman year. As he worked with him, he got to know him better than any of his friends.

He knew that Tom was gay before he was willing to admit it himself, but he didn't care because he knew Tom was going to be a great football player. He was a natural. There wasn't a thing that Daniel needed to teach him because he knew it all. All Daniel had to do is fine tune what Tom already knew, which wasn't hard at all with a kid that was a natural.

Now here he is finding out that the guy will probably never get on the field again in his life. Daniel Jr. couldn't believe the kind of luck some people have. He and his family have had pretty good luck compared to Jacob, his family and friends. Every time he hears Jacob's name or his friends' names mentioned, it is in a conversation that something happened to one of them. To make things worse, it isn't anything minor that happens.

Daniel Jr. was brought back to the conversation when his girlfriend pinched him. He looked at her and over at Shelton. "Come on man, where did you go?" Daniel just stared into Shelton's eyes, not answering him. "Out of all of us here, you know Tom the best, besides those on the junior squad. What do you suppose we should do?"

For the first time since any of the guys could remember, Daniel was lost for words. He seemed lost, on a different planet. "Um, I think he needs us more now than when he first joined the team. We all should go down to the hospital as a team and visit him. I know he would really like that since he is probably thinking his life has ended."

All the guys nodded their heads, including Carson. "Also we need to try and stop the rumors that are going around the school about Tom and the others that were in the accident. If those pricks out there don't know the real truth, they shouldn't be spreading lies. So from this point on, if any of you hear anything being said about Tom, Jacob or anyone from that group, stop them and put them in their place."

Daniel Jr. looked over at Carson. "The next time I hear you talking bad about anyone that's like my brother, I am going to kick your ass. Those guys have bigger balls than you and you know that or you wouldn't be talking the way you are. There isn't a doubt in my mind that not one of them shit their pants as you imagined."

"That's true Carson and all you had to do is read todays newspaper or turn on the evening news to know the truth. Those guys put their own lives on the line to save their two friends trapped in the truck. Jacob literally walked through fire to help out his friends. How many of you would have done what he did if you were in his position?" The guys looked at each and then back at Shelton shrugging their shoulders. "We are all talk, but I know if we were ever in Jacob's shoes, we would have run away from it like the firemen and police officers did that day."

"When do you think we should go up and visit Tom at the hospital?" Brice one of the junior running backs asked in his normal soft voice. The way Brice talks has always confused the guys because of how big he is. He is six foot two, almost two hundred pounds, built like a refrigerator, but he talks so soft and low that most of the time the guys ask him to repeat what he is saying.

Daniel thought a few seconds before answering the question. "Well you figure he is barely settling in his room, so we shouldn't go today. Let's give him today to get himself together, okay?" The guys nodded their heads. "Tomorrow after school, don't make plans to do anything because we are all going to visit with Tom. Pass the word to the others that are on the football team. I don't care if they are first squad or on the bench, everyone that calls themselves a football player must go or they will have to deal with me. Is that understood?" Once again the guys nodded their heads.

"Tom is our teammate and what do we consider all our teammates?" All at once the guys said `family'. "That's right! He is our brother, so stop feeding the rumors. Instead stop the rumors and if those that are spreading it won't stop, deal with them. For crying out loud, we are the top jocks of the school. Everyone should fear us when we tell them to stop their crap or else. It only takes one that we put the fear of God into to make all the others stop spreading the lies."

Just as Daniel was finishing up, the bell rang. Everyone started to head towards the main building. When they reached the staircase, where Daniel Jr. and Carlos normally separate from the others with their girlfriends, Daniel didn't. He called the guys over to him. When they all gathered around him, he stayed quiet for a few seconds, looking down at the ground, and then he looked up and the guys couldn't believe he was smiling.

"I was thinking about something you guys, but I am going to need your help. In the next day or so, we need to get with Coach to have something done for Tom. I don't know what yet, but we need to think of something. So let's all put our heads together and come up with something and soon." Daniel Jr. left it like that. He turned and walked to the entrance he has to use with his brothers, holding his girlfriend's hand.

Before the boys knew it, they were heading home. No one talked the entire way. Each of them had something on their mind that they needed to figure out, and soon. Josh was worried about Chris, nothing out of the ordinary for him. Cesar knew Josh was worrying, like always, so he was worried for him. Daniel Jr. and Carlos were both thinking about Tom, as they were ever since they heard what happened to him.

Brandon was thinking about his girlfriend and how his older brothers treated her at the pool party the day before. They weren't rude to her, but at the same time, they didn't treat her like they treated his last girlfriend, which made him feel bad. He had boasted about how his family, especially his brothers, take each other's girlfriends and boyfriends in and treat them like family from the moment they are introduced, but that didn't happen the day before. Brandon's girlfriend didn't say anything, but he knew she was hurt.

"Um guys, I have a question." Josh and Cesar right away looked over at Brandon, but for Daniel Jr. and Carlos, it took Brandon tapping them on the shoulder for them to give their undivided attention. "I was wondering what you found wrong with Leslie. You guys treated her like she had a virus or something yesterday and I was wondering why."

Carlos had no idea what his little brother was talking about. He thought he treated her with respect the few times he was around her. Josh and Cesar treated her like they did the first time they met her, so they knew Brandon wasn't throwing the question at them. Daniel Jr. wasn't really thinking about what his little brother was asking.

"Brandon, little bro, I think your imagination is getting away from you." Carlos leaned forward in his seat. "We all like her. Plus she makes you really happy, which makes us happy because we don't have to worry about you as much anymore."

"Come on Carlos, you know you guys didn't treat her like you treated my last girlfriend, and that isn't cool. She deserved a lot better treatment than she got..."

"Damn it Brandon, you don't know what the hell you are talking about." Daniel Jr. yelled, surprising everyone in the truck. "There is a lot more worse shit out there going on right now in our lives than how we talked to your precious girlfriend or how much time we spent with her. Stop picking on the little shit, man!"

Daniel looked up at Brandon and saw that he hurt his little brother and felt bad about how he responded. "I'm sorry little man!" Daniel got up from his seat and moved over and sat next to Brandon. "You didn't deserve what I just did to you, nobody does. I am really sorry for yelling at you and I promise to never do it again."

Brandon didn't make eyes contact with Daniel. He just kept looking down at the floor of the truck. Daniel reached over to him and pulled him closer. "I am sorry for yelling at you little man. I promise the next time I see Leslie I will treat her a lot better than I did yesterday. Okay?" Daniel started to tickle Brandon, causing him to start kicking and laughing. He fell to the floor of the truck, trying to get away.

"Okay, okay, please stop tickling me." Brandon barely got out between laughs.

"I won't make any excuses why we didn't welcome her like we have done with your past girlfriend and how you have done with our girlfriends." Daniel stopped tickling his little brother and helped him back to his seat. "And like Carlos just said, we are happy that she makes you so happy. We haven't seen you this happy in a long time."

"Yeah she really makes me feel like I am special. I see that with your guys' girlfriends, but I never got that from mine until now." Brandon started to turn red in the face. "I really like her guys, I hope you guys like her too. She doesn't try and change me because she likes me the way I am, a little crazy." Brandon chuckled.

"I'm happy for you little man, truly I am. Why don't you invite Leslie to come down this weekend so we can get to know her without any interruptions like we had yesterday at the pool party." Daniel looked at Josh. "I thought I was going to have to separate you and Markus a couple times yesterday. What was up with that?"

"The guy wouldn't shut his mouth about beating Jacob this Friday. I had to step in on Friday to stop him from spreading lies, and then he came down to our house and was talking trash about one of our friends. I wasn't going to let that happen, so I stood up to him each time he started talking shit about Jacob."

"I knew it had something to do with that, but come on Josh, you know the guys and how they get. Markus saw he was getting under your skin, so he kept doing it. You should have just ignored him and he would have gotten tired and moved on."

"There is no way I could there and be quiet while the guy was talking trash about one of my friends." Josh looked at Carlos. "What is this I hear that Victor did today at lunch?" Carlos raised his hands into the air and swore he had nothing to do with what happened. "No, you didn't have anything to do with it, but you helped fuel the situation by talking Victor into dropping out of the race. I told you that the jocks were going to unite behind their fellow jock and do everything they can to get Jacob to lose."

"Come on Josh, you are acting like we are gods or something at our high school. There are more regular kids like Jacob then there are jocks. They are going to follow Jacob because they want one of their own to win. Come Friday, it is going to be a landslide victory, but not in the favor of the jocks. For the first time since we can remember, we won't have complete control of everything in the school."

Josh didn't have a chance to respond to Carlos. They had pulled up to the house and he saw Ivan standing there waiting. He had no idea why Ivan was there, but wasn't about to keep him waiting. When the truck came to a complete stop, he let his brothers out first, and then he got down with Cesar right behind him. They stood outside, watching their brothers walk into the house talking and playing with each other. Once the front door was closed, Ivan started to explain why he was there.

"Josh, today I finished booking your Spring Break tour, and I think you are going to really like what I have done for you." Ivan pulled out a folder from his briefcase and handed it to Josh. "As you know, your first stop is going to be in Dallas on Saturday night, where you are going to perform at the Reunion Arena. Since we had that already decided for weeks, the tickets have been on sale since and they are almost sold out.

Your next stop from there is going to be Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Tuesday. Dolly Patron is part owner of that theme park and wants to know if she can join you on stage." Josh yelled out `HELL YES!' with a big smile on his face. "I knew you were going to say that, so I told her you would be honored.

The last two stops on your tour are going to be Thursday in Denver where you are going to perform at the Denver Coliseum and Saturday in Orange County California. There you are going to perform at the Orange County Convention Center. The tickets to these two venues and Dollywood will go on sale next week. There is no doubt in my mind that they are going to go even faster than the tickets in Dallas."

Josh looked at Ivan with a puppy dog eyes. "Before you ask, let me answer what is on your mind. We scheduled enough time at each stop so you and everyone you have invited on this tour can have some fun. There isn't much you can do in Denver and Dallas, so I scheduled you for interviews. However in Tennessee and California, all the down time you have there is yours to do whatever you want."

That put a big smile on Josh's face. "I knew you were going to like that." Ivan smiled at Josh. "Let me get out of here so you can get with your band to tell them about the tour." Ivan threw his briefcase in his car, but before getting in, he turned to back to Josh and Cesar. "Make sure you also let the Governor know about the tour dates. If you can, fax him over that file I just gave you so he can go over everything."

"I will make sure to talk with my dad, mom and the band this evening." Josh said in a chipper voice. Ivan bid the boy's goodnight as he got in the car and drove away. Once Josh and Cesar couldn't see the car anymore, they turned around and went running in yelling for their mother and brothers.

Meanwhile back in Austin, Senator Kade, Rich's friend was getting ready to call it a day when Senator Cruz walked in. He had already had his coat on and his briefcase in his hand, but didn't say anything. Senator Cruz apologized for barging in without calling first and was leaving when Senator Kade asked him to stay.

"If you need to be somewhere, I can some back another time." Senator Kade said `no' and then asked Senator Cruz for the third time to take a seat. "I mean what I said, if you need to be somewhere, or you only have a few minutes to spare, just say the word, and I am gone, okay?" Senator Kade shook his head as he sat down.

"I have been trying to call our new Lieutenant Governor's office to congratulate him on his confirmation, but he is a hard person to get a hold of. The last I saw of him was his press conference. Let me tell you he can really talk! The guy is going to do very well as our Lieutenant Governor. I can't wait to work with him."

"After the vote, I called him and man was he excited about what had happened. I got the impression he was expecting to not get confirmed."

"It was looking that way, but thanks to the voters calling the Republican leadership so much, they held a meeting with all of us in Sunday and asked us to vote yes. A few of us didn't listen, but the majority did. Let me tell you..." Senator Cruz stopped talking in mid sentence and started scratching his head.

"I didn't come down here to talk about what everyone already knows. Believe it or not, I haven't slept a good night's sleep since you and I talked the other night. By any chance, um, I mean, I was wondering if you had a chance to talk with the Lieutenant Governor about what you and I spoke about the other day."

Senator Kade knew that was the reason Cruz had stopped by unannounced. He wasn't going to push his friend into the conversation, but was glad that he got to it a lot faster than he thought he was going to with the way the conversation started. With a big smile, Kade said `yes', but nothing else, driving Cruz crazy. He asked what Rich's response was, but Kade kept Cruz hanging for a few minutes before answering his question.

"He came to see me and, just like you, it wasn't a professional visit." Kade could see how much Cruz wanted to hear what he had to say, so he didn't waste any more time. He told his friend about the talk he had with Rich. The more Kade talked, the more excited Cruz was getting. He hasn't felt like he is feeling at that moment since he was in high school. This was surprising since he thought he was never going to feel that way again about another guy in his life.

"I really want to get to know Rich, but I don't know how we will ever be able to go out on an actual date. He and I are in the public eye. More he than me right now because of what he just went through, so it's going to be even harder to do anything." Alberto slumped in his seat, defeated.

"I have an idea to help you." Kade picked up his phone and started to dial. "Leave it up to me and I will try and get you guys to have a chance to get to know each other a little better. It won't be an actual date, but it will be pretty damn close to it."

Before Alberto could ask Kade what he was up to, whoever he was calling answered the phone. A few seconds into the call, Cruz knew who Kade called. It was Rich. He started to wave at Kade, trying to grab his attention, but he was unsuccessful. Kade's attention was on the call and what he was saying. He didn't notice Cruz trying to get his attention.

The call only lasted about five minutes and when Kade got off the line, he had a big smile on his face. "Okay it is all set up. Rich, you and I are going to go out to dinner tonight to talk about a tax bill I need both your input on. Once we are done talking about the bill, you guys can talk about anything you want."

"Wait a minute Kade, wait a minute, does Rich really know why you asked for this meeting with him." Kade shook his head indicating he hadn't. "I don't like lying to anyone. More so to a person I want to get to know and hopefully start a relationship with. So please call him back up and tell him that something came up."

"Come on Alberto let me do this for you guys." Kade got up from his seat and put his coat back on. "I know Rich and he won't get mad at you or me for this little deception. In fact, he will thank me if things do work out between you guys. So grab your stuff and let's get to the restaurant. You don't want to be the reason that we are late meeting up with our new Lieutenant Governor, do you?" Cruz shook his head as he quickly put on his jacket and grabbed his brief case.

As they walked to the elevator, Cruz had mixed feelings going through his mind. He was excited, worried and scared all at the same time. He's scared that he might put his foot in his mouth and lose any chance he might have with Rich. He was worried that Rich might not like him once they got to know each other. He's excited that he is going to finally get a chance to sit down and talk with the guy he has wanted to talk to since he saw him for the first time. Not able to get control of his feelings or thoughts, Cruz decided to leave it to fate on what will happen between him and Rich.



{Welcome back everyone to another filled chapter of "Shadow of My Father". I know more and more my chapters of this story are getting filled with politics, but you need to remember how this story started. Josh walked into the White House on the final evening of his father's presidency. As this story unfolds, it is going to move more into the political world, but I promise to try and not bore you and keep the plots well balanced.

Now let me get to the summation of this chapter. Although the chapter only covered a day, there was a lot going on. It started with Josh waking up worrying about his friend Chris. I know we all have had friends like Chris in our lives, so we understand why Josh always worries about him. They didn't make it as boyfriends, but they got the next best thing; they are like brothers.

At first it looked like Cesar was getting tired of hearing Chris' name, but he quickly moved from not wanting to talk about the guy to trying to help Josh through what he was feeling. That's what a boyfriend is supposed to do. Even though something that might be going on is irritating you, you have to be there for your boyfriend or girlfriend like Cesar does for Josh. I keep saying this, and I will say it again, they make an awesome couple.

The chapter jumped back to Austin to Rich's confirmation. If you read the last chapter that was posted, you knew the outcome of the voting. The only thing you didn't know was what happened afterwards when the Governor and the newly confirmed Lieutenant Governor went to the press briefing room. I wish I was there to see things unfold.

Both of the men were totally forthcoming and to the point with the press. The thing that surprised me the most was when Rich promised the press that he would step down if his personal life got in the way of him doing his job. I don't think in real life we will ever see a politician make that sort of promise. Not in today political climate most assuredly.

Was anyone surprised that the football team felt for Tom? Even though Tom is gay, they don't care. Like Daniel Jr. reminded his fellow teammates, they are all family. One of their family members is hurting right now and they are going to go and help him get through this time in his life. That's what I call a good group of friends.

You all found out a little more about the pool party that happened before. Brandon felt that his brothers didn't respect his girlfriend and Josh almost came to blows with Markus. Man, do I wish that Josh's brothers and the others at the party would have let Josh go after Markus. There is no doubt in my mind that Josh would have won that fight.

What do you guys think about the tour dates? There are only four of them, but that's all the time they really have. I hope Josh and everyone that joins him for the tour enjoys themselves at Dollywood and Disneyland. There is going to be a big surprise that week, so if I were you, I wouldn't miss those chapters.

Now the ending of the story, the small cliff hanger! It looks like Kade is playing match maker like Father Gomez did for Isaac and Troy. The only problem I see here is the issue of Rich and Alberto being in the public eye and Alberto not being out. That could be a really big problem. I wonder how they are going to get around those and many other problems that will arise if these two do try and make a go of it.

Let me take a few minutes of your time to talk about "Beneath the Mask'". I have been getting a lot of emails that the main reason the story isn't being read is because many of you feel it is a rerun if "Jacob Finding His Way". I agree with those to a point that think that way and let me tell you why. It shares a lot of plots with "Jacob", but it isn't word by word. The plots are being written through another's point of view, but I have heard you.

So this is what I have done; I've given "Beneath" a new life. In the last couple of chapters since the accident, "Beneath" and "Jacob" haven't really shared any plots. In fact, the main characters of these two stories haven't appeared in the other. I'm trying to give "Beneath" its own story lines so you guys can go and read the chapters knowing what you read is going to be new. So if you haven't read "Beneath" for a while, go on over and check out the changes I have made. You will see it is now standing on its own, with its own plot lines.

So much going on in this story and not enough paper to write it all on! I know if I forgot anything in my writer's corner about this chapter, Rick will take care of it in his corner. 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 did not 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 jacob@jacobmillertex.com, Thanks!}


Wow, what a packed chapter! Yes, Rich's confirmation went though easily enough, but there's intrigue running beneath the surface with the republicans.

The press conference was a very strategic move and well played by the Governor, Rich and Johnny. The timing was perfect and will cause those that want to torpedo the bills to completely reevaluate their plans. They aren't going to be able to bury the bills in committee, particularly the gay rights bill. The tide is in the Governor's favor totally. As it was said in "Star Trek"; resistance is futile!

Josh chooses to have his plate too full. Case in point is his concern for Chris' welfare overshadowing so much he should be focusing on otherwise. I understand his concerns for Chris, but he has to allow Chris to live his own life. His continuing interference could result in destroying their friendship and bond. Josh has shown a glimpse of recognition of this character trait by admitting he shouldn't have meddled in Eric and Bernice's job dilemma. It might be time for Cesar to step up and confront this issue with Josh for Josh's sake. Cesar has shown he sees the issue clearly.

The concert tour sounds incredible. Four dates over nine days is going to be a crunch, but it sounds as though Ivan has it well under control. I hope there's no hitches in the logistics and those with Josh on the tour have some time to have some fun. I hope we get to know more about the band members with nine days of time close together.

I am so ready to be the fly on the wall at the restaurant and find out how things go for Rich and Alberto. Should things take hold, I hope Alberto is going to be able to come out. If he isn't able to, I don't see how a relationship between the two could form.

Until Next Time,

"Daddy" Rick