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.

Love Scene by "Daddy" Rick

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 37

Before the sun broke through the darkness, Daniel Sr. was up and getting ready for his last day in El Paso. His schedule was full and he wanted to get a head start since he and the staff that came with him were leaving El Paso at six that evening. There was just not enough time. to get everything he wanted to get done before it would be time to depart.

His mind was on his schedule and he didn't hear Barbara walking into the bathroom. He didn't know that she was there until she wrapped her arms around him, causing him to cut himself with his razor. Quickly he grabbed the wash cloth and dabbed the small cut that started to drip blood. Barbara tried to help, but found that she was getting in the way, so she stepped aside and let her husband do his thing to stop the bleeding, which didn't take long.

"You shouldn't sneak up on a man when he is shaving!" Daniel chuckled as he threw the wash rag he used to stop the bleeding into the hamper. "Next time please tell me that you are there, or at least give me some kind of warning. I might be thinking about the day that is ahead of me like I was that I won't even notice you if you were sitting here on the counter." He slapped the bathroom counter playfully as he looked into his wife's eyes. "Why are you awake?"

"The twins woke up and needed to be fed." Barbara whispered as she walked back up to her husband and wrapped her arms back around him. "I got up right before the alarm went off trying my best not to disturb you so you could get those few more minutes of sleep."

"Thanks I needed those extra minutes!" Daniel leaned his head back till his and Barbara lips touched. They held the kiss for a few seconds before Daniel broke it and straightened up. "Since you're up, I would like to go back to what we were talking about last night when we went to bed regarding you being Josh's business manager. I gave it some thought and I think it is a very good idea. Not only will you make sure Josh gets what he rightfully should, but you will also be able to do work like you were in before we got married."

Barbara didn't mean to, but she couldn't stop herself from laughing. "I don't know where you think being Josh's business manager is like what I used to do before we got married. I was your secretary, nothing more than that. Even though you have tried to make me feel I was a lot more than that, we both know that was pretty much my job."

"When I was in the military I had you running my office. That alone was a lot of work and qualifies you to be our son's business manager. No other job you'll ever get will come close to what you were being my right hand when dealing with the day to day operations of my office. It entailed a hell of lot of work and time that no one else could or would give.

Put all that aside, I want someone I can trust dealing with our son's financial matters and the only one that comes to mind is you." Daniel winked at Barbara as they made their way back to their bed so he could put on his shoes. "None of us thought Josh's singing career was going to take off the way it has. Now that it has, I need to put a person in place that knows how to handle money and won't steal from him. No one knows what the future holds for any of us, more so in the music industry. One day you are up and before you know it you're out."

Barbara agreed with her husband whole heartedly about the money and how a person could be up one day and out the next in the entertainment field. She wants Josh taken care of for the rest of his life. Scratch that, she wants all her sons and daughter taken care of all their lives, but at this moment they are talking about Josh. Being as young as he is, it would be easy for people to steal from him without him even knowing. That is what they need to make sure doesn't happen.

"I see your wheels turning in there!" Daniel stood up lightly tapping the top of his wife's head. "I hope you are coming around on this. Not just because of what I have said, but because you know in your heart that I'm right." Barbara stood up nodding her head. "Good it's settled. When Josh wakes up and is ready to talk seriously we'll sit him down and float this idea by him. There is no doubt in my mind he will jump at you being his business and financial manager."

Nothing more was said on the subject as they made their way down to the kitchen. On the way, they popped their heads in to check on the twins. When they saw they were sound asleep, they quietly walked away from the door and down the stairs. Neither spoke until they were certain that they were out of earshot of the twins.

Meanwhile as Daniel Sr. and Barbara were sitting down with their cups of coffee, Rich had just jolted awake from an evening of nightmares. Even though he couldn't remember any part of the bad dreams he was having as he sat up in bed, he knew he had them because of the sweat soaked shirt around his body. No matter how hard he tried to remember the dreams, he couldn't. Still not giving up, he closed his eyes trying to force the dreams back. When he opened them again he found Alberto looking at him with a confused look on his face.

"What's wrong?" Albert asked with concern in his voice as he reached over and wiped away the sweat from Rich's forehead with the sheet. "You have no color at all in your face. In fact you are soaking wet, what is going on? Did you have a nightmare?" This time when Alberto asked he sounded even more concerned than he did when he first asked.

"I'm fine. Just as you thought I had a night of bad dreams that I can't remember no matter how hard I try!" Alberto could see by the way Rich turned his head, slowly and hesitantly, and how the words first came out that Rich was still either half asleep or a little confused on where he was. "Whatever the dreams were they couldn't have been good. I'm drenched and that hasn't happened to me since I was a kid."

"Come on, you've had several trying days! Anyone in your shoes would have a restless night after the days you've had." Albert tried to get Rich to lie back down, but he couldn't. Rich wouldn't budge from the sitting position he was in. "You should try and get some more rest before you start your day. Besides all the things you have on your regular schedule, you have to meet up with the Governor when he comes in this evening and that alone can't be helping you as far as having a restful night. Governor Lopez scares me, and I don't have to deal with him daily."

Rich looked over at Albert and saw the serious look on his face. He couldn't understand why people thought the way they did about the Governor. The guy isn't the bad guy they all think he is. In fact he is a teddy bear compared to others that Rich has worked for in the past. The only logical conclusion Rich reached each time someone said something like Albert just said about the Governor or showed the facial expression he is showing right now is that they are thinking of a five star general barking out orders, which is far from reality.

"I do need to get more sleep!" Rich laid back down on the bed, reaching out pulling Albert into him. "It's not because of the meeting I have with the Governor tonight, but because of the schedule I have till then. The Governor is going to be the easiest part of my day compared to what I have scheduled this morning with several Mayors who hate the gay rights bill and me most of all."

"They are fascist pigs that are stuck in a time period that doesn't exist anymore. They either have to get with the program and change or they will find themselves quickly out of a job." Rich saw an evil grin on Albert's face. "Even though here in Texas there are a lot of Bible thumping citizens, they understand the difference between God's law and man's law. Those Mayors think these same citizens don't see the difference and they can always count them in their corner. That is in the past now and the sooner they realize that, the better for them."

"Yeah I agree with you as far as how religious our state is and what you said about the Mayors being stuck in a time that doesn't exist anymore." Rich turned over on his side and started to softly caress Albert's chin. "But you forgot one major thing about our citizens. They don't like to be passed up. I mean they want to be first on everything and that includes changes in the law no matter how difficult it might be for them to swallow."

"Is that why Governor Lopez is working with the Governor of California on the gay rights bill down there?" Rich nodded. "I knew it! I knew our Governor had a hand in the bill down there. It was just too similar to the one he first presented to the senate." Getting his suspicions confirmed put a smile across Albert's face. "The Governor may be new to the political world, but he acts as a veteran of twenty years. He knows his people and how to move them and that is something that takes years for a politician to learn."

There wasn't a thing that Albert said that Rich disagreed with. He was right that the Governor knows more than he should in the short time that he has been a politician. Not only does he know how to get both of the houses to move eventually in the direction he wants them to move, but he has the pulse of the voters. As long as he is able to keep that pulse, he will always, in time, get what he wants through both of the state houses. Maybe kicking and screaming, but he will get both parties to agree and pass the bills that are needed.

As he got lost in his thoughts, Rich looked over at Albert and smiled at him as he started to caress his chin again. His thoughts quickly jumped from the topic they were talking about, the Governor, and went onto how lucky he was to find someone like Albert. At the same time he couldn't believe that he was able to talk Albert into staying the night.

The day before didn't start out too smoothly. Not only did he get called back to Austin to take care of unruly senators, and he barely got there in time, but he also ended up speaking to the press. That is the one thing he really hates doing. He knows it's now part of his job, and doesn't mind doing it, but he doesn't like being forced into it. Even more than that, he doesn't like going out in front of them speaking off the top of his head without anything prepared.

However, once he got all that done and he went back to his office he found Albert still sitting where he left him. He didn't ask about what he just did or make judgments on it. In fact, he patted Rich on the shoulder for a job well done before changing the subject to what they are going to do now that their plans were changed against their will.

Rich had finally talked Albert into having dinner with him and he had it all planned out, but being called back to Austin changed that. He didn't even have time to call and cancel the reservation at the restaurant; a little place that he heard about from his family and friends that he wanted to try out with the guy that he is hoping is the one he will be spending the rest of his life with, with emphasis on the word `hoping'.

Anyways those plans were all blown up, and Albert knew Rich was disappointed to say the least. So he didn't want what a few senators were doing to ruin what Rich wanted to do or the talk after the fact on what they tried to do. He changed the subject by putting dinner back on the table. That was something Rich didn't expect. He figured that the only reason Albert said yes was because they weren't in Austin, but instead a small town hundreds of miles away. He surprised him by asking where he was going to take him out to dinner.

Mindful of how scared Albert was about being found out, well scared isn't the right word to use when dealing with Albert. He isn't scared of much because of what he has faced to this point to get where he is right now. The right words if any are reluctant, maybe secretive about his love life. Not so much on whom he was going out to dinner with, but the sex of the person. Oh yeah maybe a lot of who because of the fact it is well known now that Rich is gay. Anyway, when he was asked where he was going to take him, he had to think for a minute of the right place. There was no way he was going to take him to a restaurant where the press knows all of the legislators or someplace everyone in the state capitol goes to eat.

It didn't take him long to come up with a place. He quickly explained where he would like to take him. Once Albert heard of the place, he didn't object. They made plans to meet up between their two homes and then go in one car if they were certain the press wasn't following them and that is exactly what they did several hours later as the sun was going down.

The dinner went off without a problem. The press never showed up and nobody in the restaurant recognized them. At least they thought they weren't recognized. Albert wasn't, but Rich was because his face has been all over the television with his confirmation and the latest speech. However, those that did recognize Rich didn't say a word, interrupt them or take one single picture of them. They respected why he was there and gave him privacy.

As they got to dessert, they began to know even more about each other than they had on the road. When they were done, they left the same way they came, in the same car to the midpoint where Albert left his car. When they arrived, Rich was expecting nothing more than a kiss, but once again Albert surprised him by asking if they could go to Rich's place for a night cap and see where that led them.

Well to say it led to more than just the night cap would be an understatement. One thing led to another and before they knew it, they found themselves in each other's arms making their way to Rich's bedroom stripping each other's clothes off. It was a night that neither of them will forget anytime soon, at least until they make love the next time that is.

Bringing Rich back to the present was Albert crawling out of bed butt naked. He stood there stretching his arms out, waking himself completely up. Rich couldn't help himself; he couldn't break away from starring at the naked hunk that was standing before him. He couldn't believe that they actually did what they did the night before. All he thought he was going to get was maybe a long passionate kiss goodnight, but how wrong could he have been.

After a few minutes with his arms stretched out, Albert turned and caught Rich looking. "Ah I see you like what you see!" With an evil giggle, followed by an evil grin Albert playfully teased Rich. "I loved every second of last night. There isn't a thing I would change from where we ate to what happened after we ate. I can't..." Albert trailed off as he walked around the bed and sat down next to Rich. "I can't believe I'm about to say this because I never thought I would feel this way, but I'm going to say it anyway. I'm falling for you, totally!"

Goose bumps went up and down Rich's body, followed by a chill that went up and down his spine. He couldn't believe what he was hearing because exactly what Albert had just said was going through his mind as well. He had feelings for Albert he never thought he would have so soon in this brand new relationship.

Just a few weeks ago they were starting out on a relationship that he never thought was going to go anywhere by the way Albert was ducking him. On top of that, nothing major happened between them until the trip they just returned from. Even then it was just getting to know each other, which they did. Rich understood why Albert was the way he was and didn't hold it against him. But here they are with a relationship that has blossomed quickly.

"There shouldn't be a question in your mind how I feel about you!" Rich said in a soft voice as he pulled Albert into him. "I'm glad we have torn down several of those walls between us, but I will never rush you to bring down those that are still up. I understand why you have to have those barriers up and I respect it. We will figure out how to get around it so we can be together."

Albert liked what he was hearing. He really loves Rich and even more so after hearing what he just heard. There is no way he would be able to do what Rich has done and come out if he wants to keep his job. That's one thing he has said several times from the beginning and Rich understood. However, he wishes it could be different and hopes one day it will be. One day he hopes to be open and still be elected in the district he represents.

As the two men pulled themselves together and started to get ready for the day, back in El Paso, the Lopez home was coming to life. Everyone had already got up and headed down for breakfast. It was a rare breakfast with their father at the head of the table, which they all enjoyed. Come early evening, their father would begin his trip back to Austin and not return for several months, unless something happens with his family that will bring him back earlier.

It wasn't a sad breakfast for the Lopez family. Rather, it was a lively one. Everyone took turns talking about what was going on in their lives that they thought their father wanted to hear. He listened to the stories that he was hearing for the second, maybe even third time and the stories that really didn't interest him, but he listened nonetheless. He loved how the faces of those that were telling the story lit up as they spoke. That kind of joy couldn't be faked or forced and that alone was the real reason Daniel Sr. sat there listening to stories that he wouldn't normally. The food was done and the plates were gathered, with the back and forth still going on, but no one cared. Daniel and Barbara sat there in their seats with a twin in each of their arms, drinking their coffee as the boys went on with their stories. It wasn't until the phone rang that the talking stopped. It got so quiet that they were able to hear the footsteps in the hall.

They all knew who the phone was for and reluctantly pulled themselves away from the table. As the oldest Lopez boys made their way out of the dining room, they could hear their father answer the phone as the Governor. Before the two younger Lopez boys were able to make their escape, their father put whoever he was talking to on hold and called out for them.

"Hey Josh I need to talk with you privately, so don't go far."

Josh nodded as his father turned his attention back to the call he was on. He and Brandon made their way out of the dining room in silence, but the minute they were out of earshot down the hall from their father, they started to talk. In whispers they asked each other what they thought their father wanted to talk about.

"Whatever it is mustn't be bad because if it was he would have pulled me aside before breakfast." Hesitantly Brandon shook his head. "Since we don't know what it is, there's no use trying to guess. We'll find out when he calls me back to his study." Playfully Josh hit his younger brother on the shoulder. "Oh by the way you sang awesome at Jacob's parents wedding. I knew you had it in you, didn't I tell you?"

Forcing a smile on his face, Brandon stopped and looked at his older brother. "I was so nervous up there I didn't know if the words were even coming out of my mouth at first. It wasn't until I saw everyone in the church looking at me that I knew the song was actually coming out. Then I thought maybe it was bad, but the looks on their faces told me I was wrong on that. Man I can't tell you how relieved I was when the song was done and I got all that applause."

Not meaning to Josh broke out laughing, which got him a punch in the arm from his younger brother in return. That didn't get Josh to stop laughing right away and once he did, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't explain what caused him to break into laughter. He tried, but the explanation was doing more harm than good. Finally after trying several times, Brandon let him off the hook knowing his brother Josh wasn't mean spirited.

"Well after I speak with dad why don't you and I hang out today?" Josh said as he grabbed Brandon and pulled him in and started to playfully rub the top of his younger brother's head. "I would love to just hang out with my little brother today. It's been awhile since we've been able to just hang out and if we don't take this opportunity, we might not get a chance again."

"What do you mean?" Brandon looked at Josh with a confused look on his face. "Are you planning on going somewhere that we don't know about? You do..." Brandon stopped in his tracks and put his arm out, stopping Josh right in front of him. "...know why dad wants to talk to you, don't you? You are planning on going back with him to Austin."

"Hell no I'm not planning on going back with dad to Austin without you, Daniel, Carlos or Caleb. Are you crazy? That house dad lives in gives me the creeps. I swear the place is haunted and there is no way I plan to stay one night there alone." Now Josh is looking at his younger brother with the most serious look he could muster. "I really don't know why dad wants to talk with me, I really don't. As soon as I'm done talking with him you will be the first person I go and find and I'll let you know what the conversation was all about."

That put Brandon at ease a bit, but not completely and Josh knew it by the fear he saw in his younger brother's face. "The reason I said what I said was because I will be very busy this coming week practicing for the tour. Then the next week I will be out there performing for the first time in my own show in front of hopefully millions. It won't be until after Spring Break things will settle back down, and that might not even happen."

This time it was Brandon that started to laugh, but it wasn't a long or hurtful laugh. It was one of those laughs that a person does that figured out something that they haven't figured out before and can't believe that they hadn't figured it out first. It didn't take long for Brandon to stop laughing and tell his older brother what gave him the giggles.

"I can't believe I'm hearing what I've heard from you after all you have been telling me in the last couple of days. There shouldn't be a doubt in your mind that the places you are going to perform are going to be packed. Forget that you already sold millions and millions of your first album, but you have already been told that your shows have been sold out and were asked to do a couple more shows." Brandon stopped abruptly took a deep breath and then continued. "Isn't the places where you are going to sing huge? They are football stadiums right?"

Josh shrugged his shoulders. "Dallas I believe is, but the other places where I'm going to be singing at I don't think so and don't ask me how big they are because I don't know. All I know is all my concerts have been sold out and because of that I agreed to do two shows in Dallas and two at Disneyland. That is all I know and care to know about that part of the concert business."

Before Brandon could reply, Daniel Sr. walked out of the dining room and spotted them. He asked Josh to meet him and Barbara in the study before disappearing back into the dining room. Josh looked long and hard at his younger brother, trying to hide the fact that he was worried, but wasn't successful. Brandon saw that he was worried, but didn't say anything except to wish him luck and to look for him in the theatre room when he was done.

Josh didn't say a word as he walked away from his younger brother. He just nodded his head as he turned and walked in the opposite direction down the hall. When he got to the study he found the door open. Leaning in, he looked around and didn't see anyone there. Not wanting to get into trouble, he knocked to be sure there wasn't anyone there before he walked in and over to a seat in front of the desk his father uses when he is home.

Before Josh could make himself comfortable, Daniel and Barbara walked in. They were talking, but when they saw that Josh was already there, they stopped in mid-sentence. Neither of them looked angry, but that didn't mean that they weren't. His father never shows his anger on the outside, which makes it hard for the boys to figure out if he is angry before the conversation gets started. This was no different than those other times.

"Josh..." Daniel Sr. patted his son on his shoulders as he sat down next to him. Barbara took the seat on the other side of Josh. "I have something very important to talk with you about. So please let me finish everything I have to say before you say a word or ask any questions, okay?" Josh nodded his head. "Good! I will try and make this as fast as I can."

Daniel Sr. looked over at his wife for a few seconds before continuing. "To be honest with you son I never even dreamed your singing career was going to take off the way it has. Don't get me wrong, I knew you could sing and sing well, but I never thought others would think the same as we do since we are your family and love you. How wrong was I? You can sing and sing great!"

For the first time Josh saw his father blushing in his life. "With that said I think it is time to set up some protections for you and the money you are making. Right now every red cent you are getting is going into a trust fund that you will get once you come of age. No one has the right to spend from that account, I mean no one." Of course there are exceptions to that rule and Josh knew it. "However, we need to put in a couple of things in place to further protect you. Mainly we need to add a business manager to protect your affairs."

Josh never gave that any thought. He knew he was making lots of money off his CD sales, but figured his father was protecting his interests there. However, now he can see why his father doesn't have his hands in the pot. It wouldn't look good. No matter what the truth is and that he isn't spending money from this fund, due to the position he holds there are some out there that would twist the truth and make it look like he was taking money from this account.

"Besides the fact that I just don't have the time to do what I want to do as a father and that is to protect you son, it wouldn't look right. So I think you should decide who you should hire to become your business manager, with recommendations from me of course!" Daniel Sr. laughed as he playfully slugged his son on his shoulder. "I really believe Barbara should be the one that you hire. It's not because she is my wife and your step mother or the fact that she loves you as her own son, but she is qualified to do so."

Daniel went into detail on what he meant, but didn't need to. Josh was already thinking of her the moment his father said it was up to him on who was going to be his business manager. Since he couldn't have his father, the next best thing is the woman he has grown to adore and love as his mother. She is a woman that he trusts without question that wouldn't steal one red cent from him no matter what was going on at the time in her life.

Before saying a word, Josh looked over at his father for a few seconds and turned his attention over to Barbara. "I agree with dad, you are the best choice as far as my business manager. Who better to be my business manager than my mother?" Hearing those words coming from Josh not only caused Barbara to get all choked up, but brought the tears to the surface. "You know me better than anyone I could hire. That alone helps me because you will know how to protect me from those that'll want to harm me. But I really think the best reason to have you as my business manager is that you will protect my future, financially and also my image."

Daniel jumped up from his chair, slamming his fist on his desk as he got to his feet. "Great that is settled then, Barbara will be your business manager from this point on." Josh and Barbara could hear the joy in Daniel's voice. "She will take care of you son and as you said, protect you financially and also your image. You need your image no matter what you decide to do in life."

As he talked, he walked around the desk and sat down in the chair that Josh was used to seeing him take whenever they were in the study. It felt weird for him to have his father on one side and his mother on the other. Even though it wasn't what he thought the conversation was going to be about, he still felt weird. It made him feel like he was on an even footing with his father. Something Josh felt that he never will be because of all the things his father has already accomplished. Things he knows he will never reach.

"There is only one more item I need to talk with you about." The fear Josh was feeling when he first walked into the study returned. "Josh, I need your permission to talk with Ivan about your extra security." Daniel saw the confusion on his son's face. "You have double the detail than your brothers and everyone else here in the house has mainly due to your success! I took on the cost of that extra security, but now I feel that should come out of your expenses like your band payroll and things like that."

"Oh, yeah I, um..." Josh scratched his head. "I thought it was already coming out of my money." Daniel shook his head. "You shouldn't have been paying for that dad. Please talk with Ivan and tell him to take on that cost." A little angry that Ivan wasn't paying for his extra security, Josh wanted it fixed and fixed soon. "He should have been the one that saw that and fixed it, not you. So yeah, please talk with him about it dad."

As Daniel Sr. explained how turning the expense of the extra security will affect his son's money, Father Gomez pulled up to Columbia East Medical Center with Patrick and Antonio. It felt like they had just left since they stayed at the hospital till the early hours that morning. They went home, showered, grabbed something to eat and got a couple of hours of sleep before the call came in that they had to return to the hospital.

This call was almost the same as the first one they got when they were told that their father and sister had been in an accident. The way they put it, an accident, surprised Patrick after hearing it. Alongside his brother, Father Gomez and Bernice, they saw the scene unfold, like everyone else who was watching the local news on T.V. Their father trying to escape from the police with their sister locked away in the trunk of his car. Then when it looked like he might actually get away, he ran into a gas station, causing an explosion.

Stunned that his father would go to those extremes, all Patrick could do was watch as the scene unfolded before him. The scene of the fire fighters rushing in and pulling his father and sister's burnt bodies out of the burning wreckage. He didn't think they were alive, but they got the call from their mother to make their way to Columbia Medical East. After hanging up on that call, and the whole way there, Patrick and even Antonio were preparing for the worst, but didn't get it.

When they arrived, they were immediately met in the lobby by their mother. It looked like she had been crying, but neither of the boys wanted to hear it. She chose to stay with their abusive father, not them. They were only there for their sister and no one else. No matter how much it hurt them, they ignored what was obvious, their mother wanted sympathy for their father, and the boys kept the conversation about their sister and only their sister.

As they made their way to the ICU, they couldn't help but notice the presence of all the police officers. At every corner there was an officer posted, and the closer they got to the ICU and their father's room, the amount of officers increased to the point all you were able to see was a lot of blue uniforms. They just looked at the boys as they passed them with disbelief showing in their eyes before returning to the conversation they were having before the interruption.

Even though the officers returned to their conversations, Patrick got a weird vibe from them; a vibe that they thought less of him, his brother and family. It was as if the sins of their father are now being passed onto them. The officers' facial expressions told only one story and one story only. Patrick and his brother were put in the same category of their father; an abuser, a law breaking menace to society. Completely what they are not.

Pushing those feelings aside, Patrick turned his attention back to his mother and brother as they walked into their father's room. Patrick couldn't believe that their mother took them to his room when they made it clear when they first arrived that they didn't want to have anything to do with him. He turned, grabbing his brother and walked out of the room without greeting their father who was surrounded by doctors and nurses.

Their mother ran out chasing after them in tears. Asking them to at least sit at their father's bedside for a few minutes, but they ignored her cries as they walked up to the nurses' center to find out what room their sister was in. The nurse didn't need to look it up. She knew and escorted the boys and their mother to her room. None of them said a word until they were in private in their sister's room, out of earshot of all the officers and hospital staff.

At first when the door was shut, no one said a word. They just stood around Marlene's bed, looking at her. It was Lucia, the kid's mother, who broke the silence. She pleaded with them to spend a little time at their father's bedside, but the boys wouldn't hear her out. That was until she finally admitted to them that he is an ass, abusive son-of-a-bitch, who probably doesn't deserve to live. However, she followed it up that he did deserve his family around him on what might be his final hours on this earth. That caught the boy's attention.

However, before they were able to get any further into that subject, Marlene woke up. All of their attention went to her and only her. They babied her by getting whatever she wanted, which wasn't much since she was hooked up on pain meds. Unlike their father, she didn't get burned as badly. The doctors believe it was because she was in the trunk. However, whatever the reason behind her not being burned as severely as their father got they didn't care. All they cared about is that she came out of that fire with a few burns, bruises and cuts, but nothing more than that.

She tried to stay awake and talk with her brothers, but the more she fought it, the faster she faded back into the darkness of sleep. The very last thing she said before completely sliding into her personal hell of nightmares was to apologize to the boys. She apologized that she didn't listen to them when they warned her and asked her to come to Father Gomez's house for protection from their father. Before the boys could put her mind at rest that there was no need for an apology, she had fallen asleep.

It wasn't long after she fell asleep that the conversation returned back to Martin, the boys' father. Finally, after deflecting the subject each time their mother brought it up, they let her say her piece out of respect to their mother. Once she was done, they made it clear to her that they have forgiven their father, but they couldn't forget all of what he had done to them. And for that reason and that reason only, they couldn't see themselves sitting at his bedside.

After hearing her boys out, Lucia finally gave up and stopped asking them to sit at the bedside of the man that made their lives a living hell. Instead, she joined her sons at the bedside of her daughter. None of them budged throughout the night until the early morning hours when Father Gomez stopped in to take the boys home for rest and something to eat.

Now here they are again several hours later after returning home coming back repeating the same thing they did the day before. However, this time when they reached the ICU, the atmosphere was a lot different. There were officers still at every corner on their way up, but in the ICU there were none. The ICU staff asked them to leave when things started to go wrong with Martin, but it wasn't long after they asked it was clear it was over.

Martin had succumbed to the massive injuries he received in the crash. He passed away as the ICU staff frantically tried to revive him less than five minutes after the machines started to go off. The boys still didn't know that their father had passed away when they walked into the ICU for the second time in twenty four hours yet deep down inside them they knew it. It wasn't just the feelings they were getting, but it was confirmed by the sad looks they were getting from the staff they had passed as they made their way to their father's room and there were no officers in sight.

Even though they knew their father had passed away, it really didn't hit home until they walked into the room where his lifeless body laid. For the first time in years they felt for their father. At first it was sadness that he had passed away, but that quickly got replaced with anger for all the awful things he had done to them throughout the years. The guy left this world the way he lived in it, unforgiving and ugly.

It was Patrick who first walked up to his father's lifeless body and laid into him. "Why did you do the things you did to us? We were your flesh and blood! Why???" Patrick hit his father as tears started to flow down his cheeks. "No parent should do the things you did to us. It doesn't matter if in your own mind you thought we deserved it; we didn't! We were just kids that needed you to protect us, not be the one hurting us. Why did you steal our youth away?"

Patrick's voice was getting louder and louder as he went on. By the time he asked why his father stole their youth, his voice was so loud that everyone in the ICU could hear him and his mother and brother knew it. However, it was Antonio who walked up to his older brother and tried to pull him away from their father, but he couldn't. He couldn't pull Patrick away and then he found himself joining his older brother on asking their lifeless father the questions he had been wanting answers to for years. It was too late. Now they will never get those questions answered.

After fifteen minutes of trying to drag out answers from their lifeless father, Father Gomez walked in and pulled the boys out of the room. It took him a few minutes to settle the young boys down with the entire ICU staff looking on. Once he did, he and the boys walked back into the room and rejoined Lucia at Martin's bedside.

"Mrs. Petrillo has your late husband been given his Last Rights yet?" Father Gomez asked in a low, reassuring voice. He didn't get a verbal answer from her. Instead he got just a shake of the head, prompting him to ask another questions. "If you would like ma'am, I could perform the rights before they come in and take his body to the funeral home."

Lucia looked up and made eye contact with Father Gomez. She hadn't given him the time of day, even though she knew he was there. "You would do that?" Lucia asked in a shaky voice and just like him, she got a nod for her answer. "After all the things you know he has done to these boys, my daughter and me, you would still perform his Last Rights?"

"Ma'am I may not agree with the way he lived his life as a man and a citizen of this state, but as a man of the cloth I can't deny a child of the Lord his Last Rights. He is now at the gates of Heaven accounting for why he lived the life he did. All we can do for him now is to try and help him get into the Kingdom of Heaven, where I truly believe all God's children should go."

The newly widowed Mrs. Petrillo thanked Father Gomez and stepped back to allow him to stand at the head of the bed to perform the Last Rights. While he got ready to do it, Lucia walked out and a few minutes later returned with her daughter in a wheelchair. They joined Patrick and Antonio as Father Gomez began reading a passage from the Bible. After reading the passages he felt appropriate for this situation, he looked up at the Petrillo family.

"Even though this child of our Lord lived a sinful life, he did do a few things right. He helped to bring into this world three wonderful children. Those children, through it all, came out stronger than he even imagined they would. His children learned from his mistakes and will not repeat them when they bring life into this world!

He is now knocking on Heaven's gates asking to be let in. Our Father in Heaven will ask him why he did what he did to all those he harmed throughout his life. Finally, our Heavenly Father will forgive him and allow him into the Kingdom of Heaven because He gave his only Son for our sins. Through our Lord and Savior, you need to find it in your hearts to forgive your father for all the wrong he did to each of you. Let him rest in peace. Give him that final gift."

At this point, all the Portillo's had streams of tears rolling down their faces. As they watched Father Gomez pull out his bottle of Holy Oil, put some on his thumb making the sign of the cross on Martin's forehead, they did what the father asked them to do. They forgave their father for everything he had done to them and whispered for him to rest in peace.

As Lucia, the boys and Father Gomez began to make the funeral arrangements for Martin, the Lopez family was saying their goodbyes to Daniel Sr. It had become routine for the family. So normal that now there aren't many tears when the boys bid their father goodbye. It's not that they don't immediately miss them. No, they still have that huge empty feeling they always have when their father leaves them, but now they know he will return. It isn't like it was when they were a lot younger and he went off to war and might be killed.

The day before of the wedding, the boys, Barbara and Josh, really didn't see their father throughout the day due to all the meetings he had. He was in the house, but stuck in the study. Whenever he did make it out of the study and started a conversation with one of his family, they would be interrupted that his next meeting was there or there was a phone call.

The boys are already used to their father being so busy and understood it. After all he is the Governor of one of the largest states in the USA. Just like the job he held before this one, he takes it just as seriously, if not more so than the one before since he obtained it by the voters, not by promotions. At times it could be seen in Daniel's expressions whenever he sees or meets up with soldiers that he misses his time in the military.

However, Daniel Sr. knows what he is doing now is just as important, if not more important than being a general in the military. As governor his decisions affect the lives of all citizens in the state, even those who didn't vote for him. That is why he tries to give every waking hour to his job as governor, but at the same time give quality time to his family when they are together. At the moment he feels he fell short on his family this time around.

The day before he did spend almost the time with his family throughout the wedding, but today he didn't. >From the moment he woke up to leaving to head to the airport, he didn't spend the time he wanted to with his family. He tried, but the events of the day wouldn't allow him to do what he wanted. There was just not enough time.

To make matters worse, the time he did put aside to spend with his family was not to be so. The newly appointed assistant of police of detectives, Paul Alvarez showed up unannounced. At first, Daniel Sr. and Barbara were angry with the intrusion, but when he finished delivering the news that he had to deliver, they were no longer angry with him or the detective he brought with him.

Alvarez brought Daniel and Barbara up to date on the case concerning Sol. They were surprised to a point that the former police chief's cousin would rather be gunned down in a fire fight than face up to what he had done. The guy brought in a weapon and gave it to a very unstable woman which eventually was the reason that woman actually lost her life.

Both of them knew that Sol wasn't completely to blame for Martha's death, but he helped it along. If it wasn't him that brought her the gun, she would have found a way to try and kill Barbara and Josh that day because they and everyone else that knew the facts of the case realized she had her mind set on it to the point of obsession. There was no stopping her if she saw a chance to get it done.

After chief detective Alvarez delivered the news and left with the detective that knew where Sol was, Barbara breathed a sigh of relief for the first time since she was told about Sol. Ever since she was informed of him and what he had already attempted, she kept looking over her shoulder. She kept worrying about the Lopez boys every time they left the house. She also worried about her husband whenever he was out in the open. Now those worries are gone, but she knew she couldn't let her guard down. There are so many other crazy people out there gunning for her family because of who Daniel Sr. is and also Josh.

Daniel Sr. saw his wife's reaction as the news was being delivered and couldn't believe he didn't catch how worried she was before now about Sol. He knew he hadn't been involved a lot in the day to day goings on of the household much lately, but this he wanted to know about. The worries she had and kept to herself shouldn't have been hers to bear. It should have been his and he knows now he had failed her as a husband; something he will not do again.

Those thoughts and everything else that had happened throughout the day came rushing back to him as he was saying his goodbyes to his family. Seeing their faces, he swore to himself right there in the driveway of the house that he wasn't going to be an absentee husband and father. He was going to make it clear to them that what happened today was not going to become the norm.

As he pulled Josh into a hug, he began to whisper into his ear. "Son I am going to make it to every one of your shows if it kills me." Josh tried to interrupt his father to tell him that he didn't need to do that, but Daniel Sr. wasn't going to hear any of it. "No Josh, this is your first tour and I'm going to be your biggest fan there. So make sure you have a set of tickets waiting for me."

That put a smile on Josh's face that his father couldn't miss as he let go of him and took a couple steps to his right to hug Brandon. "And you young Lopez I know you are doing great with everything now." Brandon nodded his head. "Just remember this; I'm always here for you. At times I might not be in this house, but I'm just a phone call away. So if anything is bothering you and you need to talk to me, pick up the phone and call me. I don't care what time it is. And I don't care if I'm in a meeting with the Pope, I will drop everything for my boys."

Daniel wouldn't leave Brandon until he heard him promise. Once he heard the words, he let go of him and made his way to Carlos. "Boy you are growing up faster than I like;" Daniel began to say as he pulled Carlos into a bear hug. "Don't be too much in a rush to grow up. There is plenty of time for you to be an adult. For now enjoy being a teenager and have fun with your friends and your girlfriend!" Daniel's voice dropped to a whisper. "Just make sure if this girl you are dating is the one for you, and use protection."

That last comment made Carlos blush. Daniel didn't want to embarrass his son any more than he already had, so he let go of him and pulled his oldest one into a bear hug. "Now you, the man of the house when I'm not here, thank you! Barbara has told me about everything you have done during my absence, thank you. Just one thing, enjoy this last semester of high school would you please? Like I told your brother Carlos there is plenty of time to be an adult. For now have fun with your friends and girlfriend."

Before Daniel Sr. could follow that up with the same advice he gave Carlos on having safe sex, Daniel Jr. stopped him. He heard what he told his younger brother and he wasn't about to get embarrassed like that. That caused their father to laugh, but Daniel Sr. understood. He walked over and kissed the twins before leaning to kiss Barbara and whisper something in her ear that caused her to blush even more than Carlos did.

Feeling a little better than he was feeling when he walked out to leave, Daniel Sr. took one more look at his sons, waved them a final goodbye as he got into the limousine. He wanted to roll down his window, but he knew if he did, he would make the driver stop and leave him there. So reluctantly he slumped in his seat and didn't look out the window at his family as he drove off.

At the same time across town, Johnny Sr. was having the same problems leaving his family. He couldn't believe the weekend had flown by as quickly as it did. Unlike the Governor, Johnny Sr. was able to spend all day Sunday with his family. Even though they didn't do much due to the press hounding them, what they did do they did together and enjoyed it.

As the clock clicked away and got closer to the time for Johnny Sr. to leave, the mood changed from joyfulness to a more somber mood. It wasn't sadness. They just weren't looking forward to saying their goodbyes. Mainly they had no idea when they were going to have another day like they just had. Hopefully in a week, but none of them were certain because of how things change so quickly in Austin keeping the Governor and his staff busy.

Having no other choice but to accept Johnny Sr. having to leave, they got themselves ready for it. Johnny Sr. still wasn't comfortable with how the conversation about his son and Davey sleeping together was left. He felt he needed to speak a little bit more on the subject with the young boys. However, he felt at the same time if he kept harping on that subject, it might cause the boys to rebel and do the opposite of what he is asking them to do.

Fighting back and forth with himself over what he should do, he finally decided to carefully approach the subject one last time before he left. He figured to not make it so formal with the boys this time. So he called them in while he was packing his suitcases to leave. However, when he took one look at their faces, he didn't want to wipe the smiles away. He knew that would happen if he would reopen that subject again.

Instead he asked the boys to help him pack. Using the excuse he wanted to spend the remaining time he had with them before heading to the airport. When they were done, the boys volunteered to take the suitcases downstairs, leaving Johnny Sr. and his wife alone. They sat there in silence for a few seconds before Mrs. Walker broke the uncomfortable silence between them. She knew her husband way too well and knew he was bothered about something.

"Come on Johnny, you should know by now that you can't hide anything from me;" Mrs. Walker spoke in a reassuring voice as she moved closer to her husband. "You and I have been through a lot together already. So when there is something bothering us or our minds are preoccupied by deep thoughts we try and help one another. I can see there is something bothering you, so tell me what it is."

Johnny was debating himself rather or not to tell his wife the real reason why he brought the boys in, not being sure how she would respond. After all she wasn't too happy with him with how he handled it the first time and that is why he brought it back up yesterday. However, he knew he had to tell her at least that he didn't think the boys were going to follow the new rules.

As he cleared throat, Johnny Sr. rolled his chair over to the door, looked out to make sure the boys weren't there before giving his wife his full attention. "Honey I'm really bothered about leaving this time." Mrs. Walker was puzzled on why her husband said that. "You know with the boys and all." She was even more puzzled, and Johnny Sr. saw that he had lost her.

"Remember when we were young and how we didn't listen to anything our parents told us. We thought they were prudes and they had forgotten how it was being young." Mrs. Walker nodded her head. "Well I think the boys are right there where we were back then. They think we have forgotten how it is to be young. They think rules we have laid out for them are unnecessary and they are not going to follow them whenever they have the chance."

At this point Mrs. Walker knew where he husband was heading and stopped him. She wanted to assure him that he had nothing to worry about. "I now see why you brought the boys in here. I thought it was odd you wanted them to help you pack, but now it is making complete sense. I also understand why you changed your mind and didn't talk to them about your concerns. You didn't want to make the last minutes of you being with your family tense ones."

Johnny Sr. nodded his head as he rolled his chair over to his wife. "Well, let me put your mind at ease here and now. The boys are going to follow every rule we have set for them to follow. Even the ones that I thought could have been handled a lot better, I will make sure they are followed. Until they are eighteen and out on their own, they have to follow whatever rules we feel necessary to not only keep them safe, but keep us from worrying as much."

"Yes, but we have no say with Davey, he is Gloria and Andy's son, not ours. We have no right to tell him what he can and can't do. Only his parents have that right and Andy wasn't too happy with me when I talked with his son and ours without him being present. So if he chooses to break the rules we set out for Johnny to follow, there isn't a thing we can do about that."

"Oh yes there is something we can do about that." There was anger in Mrs. Walker voice as she interrupted her husband. "You are right we can't tell Davey what to do. That is Gloria and Andy's place, not ours, but our son we can and we will. If either of the boys get in their mind that they can break any of the rules we have set out for Johnny to follow and use the excuse that it was Davey's idea, well, let me just say they won't get away with that excuse. I will move our son out of that room faster than they can get the first word out in their apology."

What Johnny Sr. was hearing the wife, he loved. Now he feels comfortable leaving, something he wasn't sure of just minutes before. With a big smile on his face he pulled his wife to him, whispering `thank you' and `I love you' as he kissed her on the lips. Just as their lips met, Johnny Jr. and Davey walked in catching them. Just like every young kid does when they catch their parents kissing, they made uh and ugh sounds as they turned and walked right back out.

Johnny Sr. broke the kiss laughing. Together they went out and found the boys leaning against the wall talking to each other. With a smile on his face, Johnny Sr. pulled his son into him. "You know one day you two are going to have kids of your own. Either by adoption or artificial insemination, but you guys are going to have kids of your own. When you do and they walk in catching you guys showing affection for one another, they will do the same thing you two did."

If Johnny Jr. didn't stop or at least slow down the shaking of his head, it might fall off. His father saw that and knew he hit another nerve. He didn't want to embarrass his son any further, so he dropped the subject as they got on the elevator. They started talking about what the boys were going to do during their last week at school before Spring Break.

That conversation lasted all the way down and out to the waiting limousine in the parking lot. The time they all dreaded had finally arrived. Reluctantly they took turns saying their goodbyes, trying not to cry. When each of them had their turn, Johnny Sr. swung from his wheelchair into the limousine, and unlike the Governor, he rolled down the window and didn't break eye contact with his family until he couldn't see them anymore.

For the Governor and all his staff's families that were left in El Paso, their Sunday evening slowly went by. When it was time for each of them to turn in for the night, they couldn't be more excited and anxious to do so, which surprised them. They have never before in their young lives wanted their weekend to end as much as they wanted this one to.

Monday though was a lot different than their Sunday evening, it flew right by. Before the boys knew it, they were heading home. As soon as they walked in, all of them except for Josh headed up to their rooms to get their homework done. Josh got permission from his father to delay his homework until later in the evening so he could practice with his band before it got dark.

In five nights from now they are going to be performing to a sold out crowd in Dallas, which they all still feel they aren't ready for. They have their songs selected and the order they are going to perform them, but this will be the first time they are going to be the main entertainment, not the opening act. Because of that, they want to make sure everything is perfect.

So they practiced late into the evening. If it wasn't for Barbara walking in and putting her foot down for Josh to come and have dinner, they would have practiced even longer. Reluctantly they called it quits a little after eight and headed home. Josh stayed practicing after his band left until Barbara walked in and took him by the arm to the dinner table.

She didn't yell at him or even threaten to tell Daniel Sr. that he ignored her. He thought she was going to do both, but little did he know she knew what he was going through. Even though she has never been part of anything as big as Josh is part of, she knew how nervous and anxious he was and will be getting as the first performance gets closer and closer. Because of that and that alone she decided to give him a break, but not too much of one.

As soon as Josh finished eating, he and Caleb headed up to their room, but instead of fooling around like they both wanted to. Josh sat down at his desk and started with his homework. He already knows he was pushing his luck with his mother this evening. If he didn't get his homework done as promised, that would be a deal breaker and for sure he would be on the other end of the line with his father in a conversation he doesn't want.

Unlike Caleb and his brothers, it didn't take Josh long to complete his homework. That is one thing Josh has enjoyed throughout his school years the ability to catch onto the lessons that he is taught in class so when he gets home he has no problem doing his homework. That has always surprised his brothers, but Josh getting straight A's, and once in a while a B, surprises them more.

After completing his homework and putting his books and notebooks in his backpack, he joined Caleb on the bed. They discussed for a few minutes on either staying in their room or going down and joining the others in the theatre room, but it wasn't much discussion. Both of them wanted to spend what is left of their evening together without interruption. So the discussion was just to ease their minds and not have to tell the others a lie when asked in the morning where they were. With a straight face, they could say they discussed it and decided to stay in their room.

Until it was time to turn in for the night, Josh and Caleb stayed cuddled in each other's arms talking about everything except what was really on Josh's mind. Caleb knew what was on his boyfriend's mind, but he also knew there was nothing he could say that would put him at ease. His guy was nervous as hell and the only way he was going to get over that is getting on the stage and doing what he loves, performing in front of a roaring crowd.

Most of the night Josh tossed and turned and at one point he almost kicked Caleb off the bed. Finally after three hours of fighting it, Caleb pulled Josh into him so he could wrap his arms around him hoping to comfort him, which he did. It didn't take long for both of the boys to fall into a deep sleep and not wake up again until the alarm went off. Several times they hit the snooze button, but after third time it was Barbara's knock on their door that got them out of bed.

Once showered and dressed, Josh and Caleb joined the others down at kitchen table for breakfast. Just as they thought the night before, they asked what they were up to, but in a teasing manner. They tried a couple of times to tell them that all they were doing was talking, but it didn't matter, Josh's brothers were having fun teasing them.

This isn't anything new and Josh and Caleb knew that. They didn't take offense to the teasing because they are used to it. So they sat back and let their Daniel Jr. and Carlos have their pokes. Since they weren't bothered, the teasing didn't last long. By the time they got up from the table and headed out to the SUV to head to school, the older brothers had moved on.

Tuesday morning at school was no different than the day before. It flew by quick. Lunch rolled around and Josh, with Caleb at his side, met up with the others at their normal table. As they ate and talked about what they were going to do for Spring Break, Josh remembered something that he hasn't done in a very long time with his friends, something that is one of his trademarks.

He looked around the table, and with a big smile he interrupted the conversation. "Hey guys you know I haven't done something I used to do in a long time." The way Josh worded what he just said confused everyone, but the confusion didn't last. It didn't take them long to figure out what Josh was hinting at and started to hope he wouldn't do it. "Do you guys want to hear a riddle?" Josh started to laugh just as everyone yelled `no'. "Come on you guys I promise that I won't keep you wondering if you don't get the answer right away!"

Everyone stared at the other hoping that they had the nerve to say no, but none of them did. Josh took the silence as a yes so he cleared his throat as he leaned forward. "Okay, now let me think of a hard one." He scratched his head as if he really thinking, but he already picked the riddle he when the others first objected to him saying one. "What goes around the world but stays in a corner?"

By the looks on his friend's faces, he knew he had them. There was no way any of them would be able to guess the right answer. It is way too simple and by the looks on their faces they are thinking way too hard on it. And then when they started throwing out their guesses, they were so far off the mark, Josh kept them on the edge by saying they were close when they weren't.

After guessing at the riddle several times each wrong, they asked Josh for the answer. Wanting to be true to his word, but at the same time not wanting to give up the answer to soon, Josh held back giving it. So Eric, Bernice and the others kept throwing out guesses as they made their way to the stadium, but none of them were even in the ballpark.

Just as Josh was about to tell his friends the answer, he heard some commotion behind him. He turned and saw his good friend Jacob being held back by his security. Forgetting all about his riddle, Josh made his way over to where his security was going at it with Jacob's. He couldn't believe what was unfolding before him. Then it dawned on him why it was happening.

The closer he got to the two security details, he started to figure out what was exactly going on. He tried to see if he could do anything to defuse the situation, but he was completely ignored. The two sides were going back and forth, not letting anyone get a word in edgewise. After trying a few times, Josh gave up and waved Jacob around the security details. Neither security team noticed what the boys were doing at first.

"Sorry about this Jake, it has nothing to do with you." Josh chuckled wrapping his arm around his friend's shoulders as they put some distance between them and their security. "Those guys normally work nights so they have no idea who is clear and who isn't to be around me. They have been in a little bit of hot water with John for being too laid back with security. So now they are trying to prove they have what it takes to be security for the Governor's family."

Jacob understood and didn't hold what just happened against his friend and the situation actually put a smile on his face. He sees that he isn't the only one having problems with his security and getting them to the point where he wanted them. The current sitting Governor is having the same problems, and he has the advantage of being able to pick from a wider pool of agents.

As Josh and Jacob walked further and further away from the group, they stood there stunned, scratch that, angry. They were angry that Josh did it again to them. He threw out a riddle that got their attention and didn't give them the answer as he promised them that he would. Now the riddle is going to be on their minds until they get the answer.

Breaking the uncomfortable silence, Rusty spoke for the first time. "I know the answer to the riddle Josh gave us." Everyone immediately looked at him, making him feel out of his element. He never liked being the center of attention. "It is really simple you guys! Um..." Rusty nervously scratched his arms. "Um, what goes around the world but stays in the corner could only be one thing, a postage stamp."

The look he was getting from the others didn't change, they stayed the same. They all looked baffled by what Rusty just said. "Are you sure on that Rusty?" Eric finally spoke up. "I mean come on the answer couldn't be that simple. Plus it really doesn't make sense. How does a stamp go around the worrr...." Stopping mid word, Eric got it. He felt stupid, but he got it. "Never mind, you are right. It is a stamp. Can't believe he got us again!"

One by one the answer made sense to them. Within a few minutes everyone got the riddle and started laughing at themselves. Just like Eric, they couldn't believe Josh got them. However, that wasn't the biggest disbelief. They couldn't believe out of all them the one that figured it out was Rusty. It isn't that he is stupid. It just he has never shown that he has a knack for riddles.

"Hey you guys let's not tell Josh we got the answer when he comes back." Bernice had an evil grin on her face. "Let's see how far he is going to take this. He told us that he would give us the answer before the end of lunch, let's see if he follows through."

Everyone likes Bernice's idea, but also wanted to show Josh that they were able to figure out the riddle on their own. If they do what Bernice is suggesting, Josh will think he got them like he has in the past. For the first time they figured it out and they really wanted to show Josh. So they went back and forth, but before Rusty could hear what they were going to do, someone caught his attention from the corner of his eye at the top of the stadium.

With a big smile on his face, he started his way toward the young man that was staring down at him. The moment their eyes met, Rusty knew he had made an impression on him the first time he took a chance and talked to him. The only thing Rusty couldn't figure out, and won't be able to figure out until he talks to him is if the impression he left on him good or bad.

Before Rusty was able to make it to the top of the stadium, Cody met up with him on the third tier down. They looked at each other for a few seconds, but unlike the first time, this time there was no uncomfortable feelings between them. Not even realizing it, both of the boys were smiling and already holding each other's hand in a handshake.



{Welcome back one and all to another filled chapter of `Shadow of My Father'. Just like my other sagas, I have started to speed up the time line in this one. It didn't go as fast as I had planned for it to go for this chapter, but it didn't get stuck in one day like many of my last chapters have. Hopefully if everything goes according to plan, in the next chapter Josh will be on tour and the rest of family and friends of Josh will be enjoying Spring Break.

There is so much going on in this saga, and as always I just don't have enough time to write about every open plot in every chapter. If I would do that, each chapter would only cover an hour of a single day. If I didn't touch on a plot you wanted and hoped to read about in this chapter, don't worry, I will in the next chapter. I have a plot spread sheet for each of my sagas, so nothing will fall through the cracks.

Anyways, let me get to what this corner is all about, summation. A lot happened in this chapter with many of the characters. The chapter started out with Daniel Sr. waking up on Sunday morning talking to Barbara about what was on his mind. By the time he was dressed; they went over a lot and found a solution to what was bothering him.

Later that morning they sat down with Josh and talked with him about what they had talked about. It shouldn't have been a surprise to Daniel Sr. or Barbara that Josh agreed that Barbara should be his business manager. In my opinion I think it was a wise choice. She is going to take care of Josh and would never dream of stealing one red cent from him.

I'm also glad that Josh saw eye to eye with his father on the extra security and who should be paying for that. It isn't that Daniel can't afford it, but it comes down to why he should pay for it when it should be coming out of the expense account of his son. There is no doubt in my mind if it came down to it and Daniel was the only one that had the money to pay for that extra security, he would without giving it a second thought.

From Josh and Brandon talking and playing in hallway after breakfast on Sunday to Daniel Jr. and Carlos teasing Josh and Caleb on Tuesday morning, we got to see them being teenagers. It is a wish of their father for them to be just teenagers, and I know if Daniel Sr. saw it, he would have loved it. His kids are being teenagers, showing really no major physical or mental effects of losing their mother. Hopefully this will stay the same, but only time will tell.

Josh and his band are making sure they are ready for their first tour as headliners. There isn't a doubt in my mind when they get out there on tour they are going to tear it apart. They are going to give those that come out to see them a show they will never forget.

Caleb hasn't been written in that much lately, and wasn't really written in this chapter either. However, he is far from being a secondary character. The little that we saw of him in this chapter, we saw how close he and Josh are. With his arms around Josh, he was able to get Josh to relax and fall into a deep sleep when it looked like he was going to have a restless night.

Oh I almost forgot, Rich and Alberto. We got to spend a little bit of time with them in this chapter. Although there wasn't a full out written love scene, they did make love to each other. That means their relationship has moved past being just friends and getting to know each other. I really hope these two guys get to be together for the long haul, but who knows. The kind of careers they hold could pull them apart.

Another plot I almost forgot about. There is just so much going on in this saga and in this chapter I'm sure there are a few more I have forgotten and Daddy Rick will write about them in his corner. Anyway let me get back to the plot line I almost forgot about, Ralph's father and sister. I don't know how many of you out there thought he was going to make it out of this alive, but there was no way. Marlene yes, but Ralph's father, no. He died in the ICU, but I think he would rather have it that way than what his life was going to be from that point on. He would be in pain, sitting in a prison cell for the rest of his life.

What can I say about the ending of this chapter except to take the words out of your mouths, I'm a jerk for this cliffhanger? It isn't the worst I have written in my stories, but it pretty close. If you want to see what unfolds between Rusty and Cody on the top of stadium you need to come back to the next installment of this saga. Plus there are so many other plot lines out there open that I know you want to have the answers to.

So many plots out there and not enough paper to write them up in one chapter! If I missed anything in this chapter in my corner, Daddy Rick will cover it in his corner I hope. With that said, don't ever think a plot line is going one direction, because I have been known to do a one eighty and change where the plot was going. Never think a character is one hundred percent good, or one hundred percent bad, because I have been known on changing them as well. A character is never gone in a saga unless the character is killed. So if you haven't seen them for a while, don't write them off. I love to keep you all guessing in each of my chapters.

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 jacobmillertex@aol.com, Thanks!}


First off, I want to wish each of you a Happy New Year and convey my wishes for a wonderful and prosperous 2013 for everyone.

I have always been politically aware but working on this story has made me much more attentive to Texas politics. The Texas Legislature just convened for its 83rd session of 140 days. There is a lot on the agenda for this session and I'm staying right on top of every development. Texas is unusual. The Legislature meets for only 140 days every two years unless a special session is called by the Governor.

I had been wondering what was happening with Josh's financial affairs. It has been very apparent that he's making a great deal of money yet there's been no evidence of it in his daily life. Now the word is out. The money is accruing in a trust account that has very limited access. Daniel Sr. was very wise to have the trust set up for both his and Josh's protection.

Rich and Albert are bonding more as time goes along. I wonder what Rich was dealing with in his dreams that affected him so profoundly. I'm glad that they have found a way to spend time together without compromising Albert. I hope that these two find the magic ultimately.

Patrick's father passing was no surprise. I hope that everyone in the family will find closure with the past. I hope that they will all take advantage of talking with Father Gomez to work through it all. Perhaps, in time, the remaining family can find some way to bond. There is a lot of baggage to be dealt with for the remaining family members if that were to happen. It won't be something that will happen in any short period of time.

Ok, who among you got the riddle before the answer was revealed? It took me a minute or two, but I did get it.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm really ready for the Spring Break Concert and Disney week. I'm anxious to read all about Josh's concerts and hope that they all go smashingly well.

Until Next Time,

"Daddy" Rick