{Beneath The Mask is pure fiction. As I am writing this story, I am above the age of 21. If you want a story with lots of sex, look elsewhere. This is a love story. Seeing as it is a love story, sex is in there, but it's in realistic balance in the characters' lives.

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

This story can't be distributed in anyway, shape or form without my expressed consent.}

Written by J.P.G.

Chapter 27

The morning went by without anymore hiccups, which Alex enjoyed. The big hiccup this morning is enough for one day in Alex's mind. After first period, Alex started to get back to himself. That is something Matt likes and knows happens if people will just let Alex think through whatever is bothering him.

By the middle of second period, Alex started joking with Matt, but the joking didn't last past second period. When they stepped into their third period, Alex went from happy to being very uncomfortable faster than you can count to ten. It happened when Donald walked up and started telling them how to deal with their extra credit assignment. It seems no matter how many times they tell Donald they are going to run things a certain way, Donald wants to change it.

"Hey guys I thought of another way to handle my case that you might like better than what you guys decided on. All weekend long I stayed in reading those books you loaned me and came up with this." Donald handed Alex and Matt a folder filled with Donald's thoughts about the way the case should go.

"Don't you have friends to hang out with over the weekend, instead of this?" Alex held up the folder that Donald gave him. "This is getting old man; I don't know any other way to tell you except being blunt. We have decided on what we are going to do and that is it. No more discussion and no more changes. This is just a school project; your life is really not on the line. So stop acting as if it is!"

Alex sat down steaming mad about Donald wanting to control every thing that he is involved with. He doesn't mind input, but not when it comes the way Donald does it. Alex feels that Donald looks down at him as if he is beneath him in every way. If he only knew that if push comes to shove, Alex can probably out smart him, not just in street smarts but in book smarts as well.

By the middle of class, the teacher asked those that are involved in the mock trial to start working on it and she gave the others an assignment from the books. Alex pulled out the folder Donald gave him when he walked in, and started reading it. As he got further into it, he started liking some of the ideas.

He put the folder down and got permission to go across the hall and speak with those that are playing the part of district attorney. When he walked back over to Matt and Donald, he explained what is going on before asking Matt to join him. They walked across the hall to the government class to find them working on the project as well.

Alex knocked on the door and walked in. He introduced himself and Matt to the teacher and asked to speak with those that are playing the DA. The teacher pointed out the group in the far back, left hand corner of the room. Alex walked over and once again did the introductions before getting down to business.

"Look you guys, we still have not seen any of the evidence that you plan to use against our client in this trial. As you know we are getting closer and closer to the trial and yet we haven't heard anything from you. Now you guys should know we have the right to discovery and I don't want to have to go in front of whoever is playing the judge to get it. We need to see where you are at to see if you even have a case."

The three kids that are playing the part of the D.A. looked at each other. Their confusion shown on their faces. They looked confused about what Alex was asking them for and when Alex noticed it, he got what he wanted by coming here today. The only reason he wanted to talk with these guys is to size them up. Now he knew that they have no idea what they were doing.

"Okay, we will get it all together in get it over to you in the next couple of days. That should be enough time for you to look over it and be ready for trial."

"Fine, I have no problem with a couple of days. If I don't have the information in my hands by Wednesday, on Thursday I will move to have this thrown out and end this project. This is something you guys need the grade on. I understand your semester grade is based on this mock trial. For us, it's just extra credit. How would your grade look if someone that hasn't studied the law, like you guys, got the case thrown out?"

Alex didn't wait for a response from them. He walked out of the class, with Matt right behind him. When they got back to their desks, Alex just sat there not saying a word. He picked up the folder and started reading it where he left off. Alex must have felt Matt looking at Donald, confused on what just happened, because he started to talk.

"The only reason I went over there is to see if they were prepared for this. Something that Donald kept saying over the last couple of days got me thinking. I needed to find out and I did. They are kicking back over there thinking that we are taking this as a joke. So it appears they are doing the same thing."

"Don't you think by doing what you woke them up? I rather have them half asleep than awake when we face them during the mock trial. They know this a lot better than we do, because that is what they are studying."

"Donald, they don't care one way or another about this mock trial. That was confirmed when I went over there and put them on notice. No I'm not afraid to take them on because they don't know much more about this than we do. They're taking the class because it's a requirement. They might have a few like you in there, but not enough to beat us if we put our mind to winning this." Donald nodded his head in agreement with what Alex was telling them.

"No, this stuff that you gave us looks really good." Alex held up the folder that Donald gave him when he walked into the class. "Most of the ideas are good and can be used in the defense that we have already set up for you. But before we can decide what defense we are going to use, we need to see what they have to prosecute you with."

"Yeah I understand that Alex, but what happens if they hold stuff back? Now that they know you are taking this seriously, they will do whatever it takes to win this. That might include holding back certain things until trial."

"You answered your own question Donald." Matt looked at him as if he just farted and tried to hide it. "Anyone that has watched this kind of stuff on TV knows the answer to that. The prosecution can't hold anything back from the defense. They have to hand everything over to us. If they hold anything back, it is a mistrial and trust me those guys can't afford a mistrial."

Before anyone could say anything else, the bell rang. "Let's start brain storming when we start working on this tomorrow. Now that I see what they think about us, I am in all the way."

Alex extended his hand for Donald to shake. At first Donald just looked down at Alex's hand, surprised that he had extended it. After a few seconds, Donald shook Alex's hand and walked out of the class with a smile; causing Matt to wonder what had come over Alex to make him act this way towards Donald.

"That was pretty nice of you to do that for Donald. I really think he is doing this stuff because he wants to impress upon you that he knows what he is doing." Matt said pointing to the folder, "I really don't think he has any friends outside of school, or even here at school now that I think about it."

"I agree with you and that is why I did what I did. Maybe we can become friends with him and make him feel better about himself. Right now I get the feeling that he doesn't feel that important by the way he presents himself. That guy is very smart and will be someone one day. Right now he just needs to be shown that he is more than he thinks he is."

After putting their books in their locker, they headed as quickly as possible to the cafeteria. If they get there too late, they will end up spending most of their lunch period in the line instead of eating. That's something Alex and Matt don't like. It isn't the waiting in the lunch line that bothers them, it's that they can't talk with each other about the topics they need to talk about. There are too many other students around listening to everyone else!

Luckily, they got to the cafeteria before most of the other students. Not wasting any time, they grabbed their food and headed to the table. The only one that wasn't there was Jacob, but everyone else had already started eating. Not skipping a beat, Alex and Matt got into the conversation. No one even noticed that they just jumped right in.

Every few minutes, Alex looked over at Carlos and Dabria. There was no doubt that these two were really in love with each other. Who knows if it is a love that will last or a kitty love that ends as soon as each of them learns all about the other. Alex's attention got pulled form Carlos when he saw Jacob sitting down.

Before he could say anything, Chase jumped right in. Chase's voice was loud and very displeased with what he was seeing. The more Alex looked at Jacob the more he started to boil over. Not only did it look like Jacob got run over by a bus, the bus went in reverse and ran over him several more times.

His face was smashed in from top to bottom. It looked like Jacob was going to get a couple of shiners and his forehead was starting to swell. Whoever did this had to be bigger than Jacob. Alex knew that Jacob couldn't and wouldn't be afraid to fight. He was snapped out of his own thoughts when he heard Chase yelling at Jacob.

"I don't know about the others Jacob, but if I ever find that bitch and her boyfriend, they are dead where they stand." Chase spoke with hatred; "No one jumps one of my friends and gets away with it. Fuck Loraine, if she thinks by her being a woman that I won't beat her down, she has another think coming!"

By the looks of it, Jacob wanted to defend Loraine and what she had done. Chase went on, "There's no excuse for what she did. The only way people will learn they can't go around doing things like this is by them suffering consequences for their actions."

Jacob tried to explain away what had happened but Alex wasn't going to hear it. Alex interrupted Jacob before he could get more than five words out of his mouth. "No Jacob, I agree with Chase on this. No one should be allowed to step up to any of us and get away with it. No matter if we are together or by ourselves, we need to make it clear to everyone that if you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us."

Everyone at the table agreed with Alex. Alex wanted to know what happened with Loraine and her boyfriend. As he listened to the others speak, he swore to himself that he was going to find Loraine and her boyfriend. And when he did, they were going to pay them a visit and deal with them the way they dealt with Jacob this morning.

As soon as they finished eating, they headed out of the cafeteria. They needed to get Jacob away from those that can't seem to stop looking at him. When they got into the hallway, Jacob told them that he promised the nurse to stop by during lunch so she could make sure he is doing okay. No one objected, they just followed Jacob to the nurse's office. When they got there, Alex pulled Carlos to the side.

"I don't care what it takes, you need to find out who the guy is that did this to Jacob. I want a name and an address by the time school is out. Whoever he is, he is going to learn a very important lesson today." Alex turned to walk away, but he thought of something else. "Whatever you do, you won't tell anyone what I asked you to do."

"You got it Alex. I will get what you need by the time school is out and I won't let anyone know what I am doing. But I will be going with you in case this guy has friends with him when you approach him. It looks like the only way this guy fights is when every thing is stacked up in his favor."

Alex agreed to let Carlos tag along before heading in. Just as he walked in, Jacob and the others were walking out. No one let Jacob out of their sight for the rest of the lunch hour. They even made plans to make sure that there was always someone around him at all times during school.

All afternoon, Alex couldn't stop thinking about what had happened to Jacob. If he was still the person he was before being locked up, this wouldn't have happened. People would know if they fuck with any of his friends, they were dead. No matter what they did, they were dead. Now that he doesn't have that old presence, people felt as if they could do what they wanted.

When the final bell rang, Alex waited as long as he could for Carlos to meet him at the side of the building. Finally he had no choice but to give up and move to get in the truck to go home. Since he didn't work this weekend and Tom was at practice, he had to go to work tonight. There was no way he was going to leave Ron hanging another day.

Just as Alex promised Ron, he worked on the floor, covering for Tom. Matt worked with Ron to learn more about the business. Alex couldn't stop thinking about Carlos not coming through for him. He's not even at work right now and that was pissing him off. Not only was he not getting the respect he used to, Carlos was now disrespecting him also.

When he saw Carlos walking in with a big smile on his face that did it for him! Alex walked over to Carlos and pushed him in the bathroom. Before he could say a word, Alex started punching him with all the anger he had bottled up. The only thing Carlos could do was to cover his face and hope that Alex would get tired.

"You think you can disrespect me and not follow my orders! I saved your ass in lock up and this is the way you repay me? No one disrespects me! No one!"

Alex stopped hitting Carlos and walked over to the sink to wash his hands. Carlos got up and handed Alex a slip of paper before straightening himself up. Not saying a word, Alex looked at the paper to see the name and address that was written on it. He looked over to Carlos as Carlos turned to face him.

"You have never done this shit before. When I ask you to do something by a certain time, you get it done. All day you have been getting under my skin thinking that you are above it all. I still don't like the idea you brought that girl into our group but I accepted it because of our long friendship, but this."

"I was wrong not meeting you where and when I should have. There is no excuse for that and it won't happen again. I just wanted to spend some time with Dabria before work. I have missed her so much and now. . ."

"I don't care to hear about your woman. She is already screwing things up and I don't like it. You would figure that you would do everything you could to prove that I am wrong about her, but you aren't. Instead you are proving me right about her. You are putting her before us and that can't happen.

Never have we had this problem before. We have always been able to depend on each other no matter what. You know that I depend on you and no one else. Now you are putting that girl above what we need to get done. We need to stay safe and I still think she is here for no other reason than to report back to the gang about us."

"Alex, you know I love you like a brother and I will never put your life in danger. I promise you that she is not playing me or you as fools. She is here because we love each other and nothing else. In time you will see that, but for now I am asking you to trust me on this. I know I didn't get off on a good start with the way I kinda sprang her on everyone.

The way she just appeared this morning got everyone wondering. Then I go and spend time with her after school, instead of meeting you. Not only did I not meet you, but I came into work late. That won't happen anymore and I will show that she won't distract me from what we need to do. With all this said, are we going to take care of business?" Carlos extended his hand for Alex to shake.

Alex shook Carlos' hand as he walked out of the bathroom. Not saying a word to anyone, they headed out to the parking lot. Not knowing this side of town that well, Alex got lost a couple of times looking for Loraine's boyfriend's house. When they finally found the street, they couldn't believe their luck.

"Look at the school ID. That is the guy we are looking for." Carlos pointed to the photo copy in his hand. "Park the truck and we will walk up to him and his friends. Before we do anything, we will make sure he is the guy we are looking for."

Pulling the truck over, Alex got out and walked over to the group of guys walking down the street. He looked at the school ID once more to get his name so he could call out to him. Alex wanted to make sure he didn't get the wrong guy.

"Hey Shane my man, is that really you?" Alex walked up to Shane. "It has been awhile since I have seen you! I was just telling my friend here that I think I know you."

"I am sorry, but I think you have me mixed up with someone else." Shane and his friends stopped walking.

"No I'm sure I know you Shane. You are going out with that girl, man I can never remember her name. Man what is that girl's name?" Alex snapped his fingers, playing it off as if he is trying to remember the name. "I got it; Lorraine, you are going out with that girl that runs that program that has all the kids dressing up in uniforms."

Shane looked lost and afraid as Alex talked. "Yeah, I am going out with Loraine, but I still don't know you. You might know Loraine and through her you know me. But you and I have never hung out together. So whatever you want, you'd better just keep on walking if you know what is best for you."

That did it, Alex launched at Shane and started to beat him down. Shane had no time to react. He landed on the ground and Alex quickly jumped on top of him landing punch after punch to his face and mid section. Every so often, one of Shane's friends tried to help Shane out, but Alex threw them off of his back.

Once Shane stopped moving, Alex got off of him and went to work on the other guys. Between him and Carlos, they beat them down before they even knew what was going on. Once they were down for the count, Alex walked back over to Shane and stopped him from crawling away on his stomach.

Alex flipped Shane back over to his back and sat down on his chest. "You listen to me and listen good you little fuck! You ever beat up a person like I saw you do this morning, the next time I won't let you off so easy. If you call the police or tell anyone about me or my friend here, I will be back and again I won't let you off so easy. Give your friends the message I am leaving you."

Alex pulled out a knife and cut Shane down his face. Not deep, not even a chance that it will leave a scar when it heals. The only thing it did was to make it clear to Shane that Alex meant what he was saying. He'll have no doubt that Alex was not afraid to go further if he fucks up. They had stopped Shane and his friends in the park with no lights, so they couldn't even make a positive ID if they wanted to.

"Now you know how it feels being the under dog. Never pick on someone that is smaller than you. If I ever hear of you doing that again, I will be back."

The only response Alex got from Shane was a nod of his head as he sobbed. Alex got up and walked out of the park. They made sure that they stayed in the shadows as they make their way down to the truck that they had parked several blocks away. Carlos kept looking back to make sure none of them got up and ran out to see which direction that he and Alex had gone.

By the time they returned to work, they had already straightened themselves up. They just started working as if they had gone outside for a smoke break. No one noticed that Alex had left the building. Those on the floor that noticed Alex gone, thought that he went upstairs and Ron and Matt thought that he had never left the floor.

At the same time, Alex made sure to clock Carlos in for work and tell the others that he had him working in the back room stocking. This way if those guys fingered him and Carlos, they had others placing them here at work. He knew it was flimsy, because once they look in the computer to see where they were during the time in question, they would be caught. The GPS in the anklets would tell on them.

That is why Alex made sure when he confronted Shane as his friend, he did it off the street in the dark park. Not once did he ever let any of them see him or Carlos clearly. When they started beating on them, they pulled them even further into the park where there were no chances of them seeing their faces. They got pay backs and ensured that they wouldn't even have to use the backup plan Alex had put in place.

Ron was surprised when he found that the crew got ahead on the order. If they continued working at this speed, they would be into the next order by Wednesday, two days ahead of schedule. Ron thought to himself, this is one way to not only keep the customers they have, but get new ones by word of mouth.

They locked up the shop and headed home. The guys loved the SUV that Alex and Matt bought. They kept teasing David that this car is better than Tom's old jalopy. The only thing that David responded with is that it gets them from point A to point B without a problem or a car payment!

"Leave the guy alone. They gave us rides when we needed it. If it wasn't for Tom's car, we would have been hoofing it or taking the bus. I don't know about you guys, but I really hate the bus. Instead of teasing David and Tom about their car, we should be thanking them for not leaving us hoofing it."

Everyone agreed with Alex and stopped teasing David. When they stopped at a light, close to the house, Matt noticed Alex's knuckles. With what he saw he knew that Alex got into a fight. When did Alex get into a fight because Matt knows that Alex has never left his side most of the day? Matt decided to drop it for now, or at least until they were alone in their room.

When they got home, they all got surprised when they walked towards the back door and there wasn't one! The door was gone and had been replaced with a long hallway. As they walked through the hallway, Alex and the guys noticed that there was still a lot of work to be done. The concrete floor was down, but the construction workers need to put the actual flooring on top of the concrete. The walls were up, but the insulation still needed to be put in along with the sheet rock and paint.

This was the first time the guys walked from Alex's house over to Jacob's. Normally after work, they walked in through the front door of Jacob's and head to the kitchen for dinner. Now they see the walk that Alex and his family made, short, but every time they leave their house to come over to eat or do what ever at Jacob's.

After dinner, Alex went into the routine he set up for himself. Trying to give time to everyone that wants time from him! First he went down and spent an hour or so with his little brothers, which ended up normally with him carrying them to their beds. Then he would do whatever homework he had to do. Finally, Alex would get ready for the next day of school and if there was any time left over, he would snuggle with Matt before they fell asleep. He loved it when he got a chance to lay in bed and snuggle with Matt.

Matt couldn't fall asleep, he kept thinking about Alex's knuckles. He rolled over to see if Alex is still awake, but no luck, he had fallen asleep. Still not able to get it out of his mind, Matt pulled the covers off of him and Alex. He picked up Alex's hand to get a closer look at Alex's knuckles.

One by one, Matt examined each of Alex's knuckles. Not once, as Matt held Alex's hand and moved his fingers around, did Alex stir. Something that Matt had gotten used to was that Alex was a sound sleeper. He had become more so since they moved into his mom's house. Matt believed it was because he was at home where he feels safer.

His knuckles were pretty banged up, which left no doubt in Matt's mind, that Alex was in a fight. He laid Alex's hand down next to his side and pulled the covers back over them. Before cuddling back up to Alex, Matt leaned in and kissed Alex several times on the lips before leaning in to whisper into Alex's ear.

"I love you so much! Please don't do something that will take you away from me. There is no way I can stand being away from you. If you go back, I will break the law to go back with you because I can't live one minute without you."

Matt kissed Alex once more, but this time he kept the kiss for a few minutes. Before he cuddled up against Alex, he could have sworn that Alex started to return the kiss. Then he thought that it was his mind just doing wishful thinking. He knew that Alex was sound asleep and there was nothing that could wake him once he fell asleep.

The next day at school, nothing really happened. Alex was kind of on edge due to what he and Carlos did the night before. That surprised Alex a heck of a lot. In the past, he never worried like he was worrying now. In the past, if he got fingered, "Oh well." Now he actually didn't want to get fingered because he has a lot to lose if he did.

For the first time in his life he actually felt part of a family. Everything was going good for him and his family. That was one thing he didn't want to lose. Then there was Matt, the most important person in Alex's life right now. He felt that Matt was now his heart and soul; the one he couldn't lose. Never before has he ever felt this much love for another. That alone was one of the major reasons that kept him from going back to his old ways.

By lunch, Alex had settled down. If those guys got a good look at them or reported them to the police, Carlos and he would already be locked up especially because of the detective that is out to get him. He is on his way out, but he wouldn't miss the opportunity to place handcuffs on him. With those thoughts alone, Alex knew that he and Carlos got away with what they did last night.

Working on the mock trial also got Alex's mind off the matter. Instead of thinking about what if's, he, Matt and Donald worked on their defense. Alex couldn't believe how he found himself getting into the project. When he first was assigned to it, he just was going to lay back and try to get away with the bare minimum. Now he was really getting into it to win the whole thing. He found those in the other class smug; looking down at him.

As they sat eating lunch, Matt saw that Carlos had the same cuts on his knuckles that Alex had. Now he knew that they were both involved in something, and whatever it was is had to do with the gang. That is the only logical explanation for both of them having their knuckles all cut up like they were. But again, Matt decided to drop it. Alex is fine and in his mind that's all that matters.

On their way home, they debated over which car to use to get to work. By the time they reached the house, the decision was made. Everyone wanted to use Alex and Matt's so that is the one they were picking up. That didn't bother Tom or David because it would save them on gas and wear and tear on their old car.

After dropping their bags off in their rooms, everyone headed over to Alex's house. Unlike yesterday, they didn't walk straight to Alex's house. They have to walk through the hall that was being worked on. They didn't want to disturb the construction workers because Al had been on them to get the work done. Al felt that they are trying to take longer than they should to prolong the work in order get more money.

So as they walked over to the kitchen, to go down the hall that leads over to Alex's, they got surprised once again. The entire hallway was completed. The walls, floors, windows and everything else had been completely installed. They thought that the finished work looked awesome. Jacob's house was starting to look more like a mansion.

Once they got to the print shop, everyone worked the floor, including Matt and Ron. They weren't behind on the current print job, but they were trying to get it done ahead of schedule. By seven, the print job was done and they started setting up for the next job to start tomorrow. When eight rolled around, they had the machines set up and ready to go for the morning shift.

As they walked out of the building, they ran into Jacob and Tony. Tony wouldn't stop talking about his office and the business. It looked like Jacob didn't want to hear anything that Tony was saying. It wasn't because he wasn't interested or didn't want to support him on it; rather it looked like Jacob wasn't feeling good. He kept rubbing his head where Shane hit him several times. Alex figured he must have finally been feeling the pain from yesterday.

They got down to the parking lot, Chase, David and Tom got in Jacob's truck for the ride home, leaving Alex and Matt to drive home alone. It didn't bother either of them, in fact they liked being alone. They tried to take advantage of any time they could get to themselves, because it has become a rare occurrence.

At first, the ride home was silent neither saying a word. Matt reached over and grabbed hold of Alex's hand as he always did. Before getting out of the downtown area, Matt stole a few kisses from Alex whenever they were at a stop light. Other than that, the mood in the SUV was pretty much on the mallow side.

"Alex, please don't get angry with me, but I need to know something. I have noticed the cuts and stuff on your knuckles as well as on Carlos's." Matt pulled up Alex's hand and rubbed the cuts on his knuckles, causing Alex to pull his hand back. "Sorry, I didn't mean to get you upset, but I would like to know how your knuckles got that way."

"You need to stop playing private detective! There is no story behind this and if there were, you would know about it. We are together every moment of every day. I can't even go and take a shit without you being there. So stop assuming because you already know the answer. You know what I do every day of the week."

Matt had no idea how to respond to the way Alex reacted. He could see the anger building in Alex's face and was now thinking that maybe he should have just left it alone. Nothing would change with him knowing what Alex did to get those cuts on his knuckles. Now the rest of the evening was going to be bad.

When they drove up to the house, Alex shut off the engine and went into the house not even looking back or talking with Matt. Matt tried to keep up with him, but Alex slammed the front door in his face. Matt stood on the front steps sobbing, kicking himself for not keeping his mouth shut. Over and over again through his sobs, Matt asked himself why he didn't just keep his stupid mouth shut!

Once Matt got control of himself, he walked into the house. Knowing that Alex was not in their room, he walked over to the main kitchen for dinner. When he walked in, he found everyone already sitting at the table. Franseca looked at Matt and noticed that something was wrong but didn't want to make a big thing out of it in front of the others.

Alex gave him the cold treatment all through dinner. When Alex finished eating, he got up and headed out of the kitchen, still not talking with Matt. Matt got up and helped Franseca with the dishes before heading to his room. Even when they turned in for the night, Alex didn't give Matt the time of day.

In fact, Alex threw his pillow on the floor before going out to the hall. When he returned, he had a couple of blankets that he placed on the floor. Alex left again, and didn't come back for an hour or so. When he did, he didn't say a word. He just threw his clothes in the hamper and got under the blankets that he placed on the floor earlier.

As Alex prepared himself a bed on the floor, Matt couldn't believe what was happening. They've had fights in the past, but nothing like this. The question he asked shouldn't have caused this much of a problem. Matt couldn't understand why Alex was acting this way. While Matt drove himself crazy with, "what ifs", he dozed off to a very restless sleep.

The morning picked up right where the evening left off. Alex woke-up before Matt, which by itself was unusual. He got dressed and was already at the main kitchen by the time Matt pulled himself out of bed. When he got to the kitchen, the others had eaten and were waiting on him to eat. Against Franseca's wishes, he just grabbed some toast and orange juice before heading back over to their house.

Since Jacob was not going to school, due to his doctor's appointment, Alex volunteered to take everyone to school. Trying not to let the others know that they were fighting, Matt sat up front with Alex. But it was already too late; the others had already noticed that they were fighting. They just don't know what they were fighting about.

Alex didn't like it when Matt asked him about the cuts on his knuckles. He wanted to tell him but he was afraid that if Matt knew about it, it might get him in trouble too if it went south. If what they did to Shane and his friends was found out, and Matt knew, he might get revoked as well. Alex didn't want that to happen and the only way he could protect Matt from it, was by keeping him in the dark.

No matter what direction Alex went, Matt won't like it. He felt that he chose the right direction because no matter what happens in the future, Matt was safe. If he got sent back up, at least he didn't destroy Matt's life along with his.

During the first two periods, Alex tried to look busy doing something so Matt didn't try to talk to him. He played off that either he was doing work from the book or really into what the teacher was saying, but he knew. When they got to third period, he would have no other choice but to talk with Matt.

As the time clicked closer and closer to the teacher asking them to get into their groups, Alex tried to think of an excuse to get out of class. A knock on the door pulled Alex out of his thoughts. He looked over to see a student walk in and hand their teacher a note. She looked at it and nodded. As the student left, the teacher called for Alex to come up and bring his books with him.

He looked over at Matt, thinking the worst. Matt jumped up from his seat and tried to find out what was going on, but Alex stopped him. "You need to take your seat. If I need to get you a message one way or another, I will get it to you." That made Matt worry even more. "Don't worry Matt, nothing is wrong. I'll be right back, I promise!"

Alex walked to the front of the class, the teacher handed him the pass to the principal's office. Once he saw who is requesting to see him, he knew it was over. Shane and his friends must have filed a police report and fingered him as the one that assaulted him. The choice was made and it couldn't be taken back, Alex thought as he walked out.

As he made his way out of the classroom, he wanted to look back at Matt to let him know there was nothing to worry about, but he knew that Matt would see right through him and would know that there was something up. So he just walked out and headed over to the principal's office. When he walked in, he was surprised not to see police officers there waiting for him. Slowly Alex walked up to the desk, nervous as hell.

"Ma'am, my name is Alex Hernandez and I got this." Alex handed the pass to the older lady behind the counter. "Can you please let the principal know that I am here?"

"Young man, he wants to see you, but first you have a phone call."

Alex watched as the older ladies trembling hands picked up the receiver and handed it to him. He was even more confused as he waited for her to access the call. Before saying anything, Alex cleared his throat and tried to come off as if he was not worried.

"Hello, this is Alex Hernandez." Alex waited to hear who was on the other end of the line to say anything else.

"Alex, this is Dr. Whitmore, thank God they got you. I know you are at school, but I really need you to come down here as soon as you can. I had to rush Jacob into the emergency room. His kidney completely shut down. The machine is not even working anymore because of the build up of bacteria in his blood stream."

"Sir, I have no problem coming down, but I need to clear this with so many different people first. Most importantly, my probation officer needs to know. If I am not in my house by ten tonight, I will be arrested. Then my mom and boyfriend, I want them to know what is going on. And finally, the school, they need to know that I am going to miss a week or so of school."

"I hate to burst your bubble, but it might be more than just a week of school you are going to miss. I have already talked with your principal and gave him the heads up. Before getting off the phone with you, I will need the number of the person that needs to be contacted about your anklet. When I hang up, I will call them and let them know what is going on. Now as far as your mother and boyfriend are concerned, you do what you think you should do there. I thought you didn't want anyone to know the truth about what you were doing for Jacob."

"No one except my mother and boyfriend knows the truth." Alex pulled out his wallet and got his probation officer's card out. "Here let me give you my probation officer's name and number. Please have a witness when you make the call, just in case he doesn't let whoever needs to know, know about where I am."

Dr. Whitmore took down the name and number and hung up the phone. Alex handed the receiver back to the older lady and started to walk out when she called him back. She instructed Alex to go and see Principal Michaels before he left. Alex nodded his head as he walked back to the principal's office. Before he could knock, Principal Michaels asked him to come in and take a seat.

"The first day you walked into this school, I thought I would have my hands full with you and your friends. Every day you guys prove me wrong. I have not had one problem with you guys since you started coming here and now this. You are full of surprises Mr. Hernandez. I never thought of you as being this type of person.

When I got the call from Jacob's doctor, I thought he was giving me the wrong name. I had him repeat it back to me several times before I sent for you. What you are doing for Jacob is incredible. You're a very generous as well as courageous young man and I will always hold you in highest regard with the best of my students.

So don't worry about anything here at school. I will make sure your attendance is covered and that you get the assignments from your classes, but something is telling me that is already covered." Principal Michaels winked at Alex. "You go and do this and come back to us healthy and ready to take on whatever comes your way."

"Thank you sir for those kind words! Jacob has done so much for me and my family, it is the least that I could do. Nothing I can ever do can make up for what I put Jacob through, but I will try. He is a great guy and is going to do a lot of good in his life."

"The way I see it son, so will you. You are willing to give a part of you to another in order for that person to live. I don't care what you say, that's huge. You can go out there and I promise you that you won't find many that will do what you are about to do. It's sad though, Jacob will never know where this gift came from. Don't worry, Dr. Whitmore told me everything. No one will hear about the wonderful gift you are giving from me; a gift of life!"

Alex got up from his seat and shook Principal Michael's hand. He walked over to his locker and put his book bag in. Before closing it, he pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote a small note to Matt and put it where he could see it the minute he opened the locker. Knowing that Matt would worry himself to death if he didn't find out what's going on, Alex knew this was the least that he could do.

On his way to the hospital, Alex stopped at the house first. When he walked in, his mom assumed the worst. As fast as he could, Alex explained everything to Franseca. Not even having to ask, Franseca grabbed her purse, letting Virginia know that she had to go as she walked out of the house with Alex.

They got to the hospital faster than they expected. Alex continued explaining things to Franseca as they walked into the hospital, on the elevator and continued as they waited for Dr. Whitmore. Franseca thought she had more time to ask what the surgery entailed and that is why now she was asking so many questions.

Before Alex could finish answering her questions, Dr. Whitmore walked out. "Thank you for coming as fast as you did Alex, I know it was short notice. Let's move you to a private room before Jacob's family arrives unless you have changed your mind and want them to know that you are the donor."

"No sir, I don't want anyone to know except my mom and my boyfriend Matt."

"Not a problem, let's get you into your private room then." Dr. Whitmore held out his arm in the direction he wanted them to go. "I contacted your probation officer and he will be down here within the hour. The anklet needs to be removed so as not to interfere with the machines in the operating room.

To be completely honest with you, you will be under by the time your probation officer arrives. There is no time to waste here. Jacob is already being prepped for surgery. You are the only one we were waiting on."

"I have no problem with anything that is going to happen, just have someone explain everything to my mom. She thought that she was going to have more time to ask me questions about the surgery. I even thought I would have more time to talk things over with my mom and boyfriend."

"Not a problem at all Alex. It's the least I can do. I will have one of my staff sit with her and explain everything as well as answering any questions that she might have. I will even have my staff member stay with her until someone joins her. We don't want her to be by herself, alone and worrying about you. No matter what a mother is told, they always worry about their kids."

Dr. Whitmore patted Franseca on the shoulder as he left. A few minutes later, a nurse walked in and asked Alex to change and left. Alex felt like there was a camera in there because as soon as he finished changing, the nurse walked back in and started to prep Alex for the surgery. The only time she said something to Alex was to ask him to lift something, if anything hurts or to lie down. Other than that, the room was dead silent.

The entire time as the nurse hooked up the I V, machines and anything else that was needed, Franseca couldn't stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong. She finally had her son back and she didn't want to lose him. She understood why he was doing what he was doing, but she still wanted to jump up and take her son home. Right when the nurse finished preparing Alex, several other nurses walked in to take him.

Franseca jumped up and walked over to the bed. "You come back to me, you hear me Alex? I love you and I can't lose you now that I have you back."

The nurses gently removed Franseca's hands from the bed rails as the rolled Alex down the hall. She stood there in the hall watching her son being rolled away and didn't move until she couldn't see Alex any more. Even then, she couldn't get herself to move. With help from the nurse that Dr. Whitmore sent to her, she walked back into the room.

When the bell rang, releasing everyone to lunch. Matt ran out of the classroom and straight to the principal's office. No one had any idea what had happened or where Alex was. Matt asked to speak with Principal Michaels, but he had already left his office to do his rounds. Because he does different routes every day, no one could tell Matt where he might be at this moment.

Matt did the only thing he could, he headed to his locker. When he opened the locker, the first thing he saw was the note that Alex had left him. He unfolded it and started to read it. Because he read fast the first time, he reread the note again, but slower.


I know no matter what I say or ask you will do the opposite. Please though don't worry about me. Jacob is worse off than we thought and had to be rushed into the hospital. Dr. Whitmore called the school and asked the principal to speak with me. He told me what was up and got me cleared to go to the hospital.

More than likely by the time you read this note, I will be in surgery already. There is nothing you can do at the hospital, so stay at school and go to work. When you get home, play off what we discussed. Don't let anyone know what is really going on. Trust me, they won't be asking you any questions once they find out that Jacob got rushed into the hospital. They will be more worried about getting to the hospital than asking you what happened to me.

I know this is going to be hard for you to do, but please do it. I love you and I will see you tonight after work. I should be awake when you arrive and we can cuddle until they kick you out. Be strong for me and don't worry.

Always in my heart, your's


Matt folded up the note and put it in his pocket. He wiped his face as he walked over to the cafeteria to do what Alex asked him to do. Although he wanted to be at Alex's bedside, he would follow the instructions that Alex gave him.

When he joined the others, they asked him where Alex was. Matt played it off like he thought that Alex was here. They bought it because they knew that Alex and Matt were fighting this morning. In their minds, they haven't settled whatever they are arguing about, which was unusual for them.

The rest of the day, Matt's mind wasn't on schoolwork, but on how Alex was doing. During fourth period, he got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. Something was wrong with Alex; he could feel it in his bones. All he wanted to do was to go to the hospital and make sure everything was okay with Alex.

Trying to stay strong for Alex, Matt went to his fifth and sixth period classes. He even walked home with the others to get Tom's car to go to work. Before he could make it down the hallway to the main house, he heard Chase calling out for him! Matt ran over to see what had Chase all up in arms.

"We can't go to work today, Jacob's in the hospital. Call whoever you need to Matt and cover for us. We want to go to the hospital and be there when Jacob comes out of surgery." Chase handed Matt the note that Virginia had left for them.

"Not a problem let me make the call and I'll be right with you guys."

"What about Alex, don't you think you should wait for him? We know you guys are fighting, but when he gets back from work, he'll be worried if he doesn't see you here. Trust me when I say this, the guy is head over heels for you!"

"You're right about that Chase. I will speak with him when I make the call. If he hasn't gotten there, I will leave a message with Ron to give to Alex. Once Alex gets the message, he'll come down and meet us at the hospital."

Matt walked over to the phone and called the office. He talked with Ron and told him the truth about what was going on. Chase and the others headed out to Tom's car. Ron promised to lock up and meet them at the hospital. Matt ran around the house making sure everything was locked up before meeting the guys at the car.

All the way to the hospital, Matt tried to think of a way to put Alex's plan into motion. He couldn't figure out a way by the time they reached the hospital. Then it got worse when they pulled into the parking lot and recognized Alex's and Matt's SUV's. They started asking Matt questions as they headed up to the surgery floor. No matter how many times they asked Matt the same questions, he couldn't answer them.

When they walked into the waiting room, Al, Virginia, Gloria, Andy and Marie were already there. Al walked up to them and explained what was going on. After that, they all sat down with the others and just waited to see Jacob come out of the surgery.

While the others worried about Jacob. Matt worried about Alex and Jacob. Not to be mean, but he worried more about Alex, than Jacob. He respected and was starting to love Jacob as a brother, but Alex was his boyfriend and soul mate; and he had no idea what was going on with him. All he knew was that Alex had been there almost the same amount of time as Jacob and no one here in this waiting room knew about it.

About an hour later, Dr. Whitmore walked out, pulling off his mask. Al got up, followed by everyone else when Dr. Whitmore walked up. Matt tried to read his face, but he couldn't. He looked tired, but that was all he could get from it. All Matt could hope for was that Jacob made it out okay and that Alex did as well.

"Okay, Jacob came out just fine. Everything is looking very good. It doesn't appear that his body will reject the organ. The next couple of days are critical, but I don't see any reason to worry that Jacob won't make a full recovery. Just give us a few minutes to move Jacob to his room and you guys can go up to see him."

"That sounds really good Dr. Whitmore. So there were no problems whatsoever during the surgery? The only reason I ask is because the amount of time it took you to do the surgery. The research that I have done on this kind of surgery told me that it shouldn't have taken as long as it did. That is, if I understood what I was reading."

"Al you worry way too much! Yeah the surgery took longer than normal but it wasn't because we ran into problems. Jacob did really well through the surgery and there is no doubt that he will walk out of here to live a very long life. That kid takes everything thrown at him and he just throws it right back.

Now if you don't mind I have another patient here that I need to look in on. He came out not so good and I am very worried about him right now. So once again, please give us a few minutes to get Jacob in his room. Someone will come down and get you when Jacob is settled in." Dr. Whitmore shook Al's hand as he walked away.

Matt had no idea what to do. He wanted to know what was going on with Alex, but he couldn't ask due to Alex not wanting the others to know what was going on. Just as Matt was about to sit down, a nurse walked up to him and handed him a note. He unfolded it and read that Dr. Whitmore asked to see him down the hall.

He got up telling Chase, David and Tom that he would be back. If he returns and doesn't find them here, he will find out what room Jacob is in and meet them there. Chase and the other two nodded their heads in agreement, as Matt walked toward the bathroom. Once he was no longer in view of the others, Matt went down the hall to meet Dr. Whitmore.

"Dr. Whitmore, thank you for getting me this note. It is good news that Jacob got through the surgery without any problems. I am pretty sure that you and his family were worried about him because of the surgeries he had in the past. How did Alex do in his surgery?"

"Before I tell you where Alex is at, I need to explain a couple of things to you. Because we had to rush Jacob into surgery, we were not able to prepare Alex or Jacob the way we should have. I think Jacob hasn't been feeling good for days and as a result, he hasn't eaten, at least for the last day or so. So when he went under, his stomach was empty.

Alex is a different story. He ate hours before coming down and that is something that we prepare those going into surgery not to do. The night before the surgery, they are not eating after six or drinking after midnight. Alex did both and that caused some problems during the surgery. I got called out of Jacob's surgery to help with Alex."

"Stop this Dr. Whitmore, just stop. What are you trying to tell me, Alex didn't make it? He gave his life so Jacob could live? Please tell me that I am misunderstanding you Dr. Whitmore; please tell me I am hearing you wrong."

"You are misunderstanding what I am saying. Let me finish what I'm trying to tell you. There were several complications in Alex's surgery, but he is alive. He made it out of surgery, but he is in critical condition. Because he stayed too long without blood going to certain places in his body, he fell into a coma. The next twenty four hours will let us know if he will come out of the coma."

"What?... what are... damn what did you guys do wrong? You..." Matt couldn't hold it in any longer; he fell apart and started crying.

Dr. Whitmore held Matt up and walked him over to the chairs in the hallway. He sat down with Matt and waited for him to get control of himself. Once Matt settled down, Dr. Whitmore continued what he was saying.

"I don't want you or anyone to ever think that I put Jacob's life above Alex's. Alex is my patient, just like Jacob. This surgery was to be a simple one on Alex's side. When things started to go wrong, I got to Alex's side as quickly as possible. We did everything humanly possible to make sure there was no damage done to Alex.

There is no doubt in my mind that Alex is going to make it. He is strong, just like Jacob. These two are just like each other in so many ways. What I need from you is to stay strong for Alex. Be at his mother's side so she can lean on you for support. Both of them are going to need you to be strong not only tonight, but for the weeks to come.

I also promise you that I won't leave this hospital until Alex wakes up. If anything comes up, I will be there to be the one to get him through it. Although I believe that nothing else is going to go wrong. So let me take you to his room and you stay strong for Alex and Franseca. He needs you now more than ever to be the strong one."

They got up and walked down to a set of private elevators. Dr. Whitmore pulled out a card and slid it across the pad on the wall. A few seconds later, the elevator opened. Dr. Whitmore pushed the floor number as Matt looked at his reflection in the mirror. He cleaned himself up before the elevator stopped.

When he walked into the room, he found Franseca sitting on a chair that she moved as close as she could to Alex's side. She was holding Alex's hand in one of her's and in the other hand she was holding a cross. Matt walked up to her and wrapped his arms around her. They both started to cry as they held on to each other.

Neither of them let go of the other until a nurse walked in to check Alex's vitals. Matt walked around the bed and pulled the other chair up to the bed. He sat down and grabbed Alex's other hand. He started to caress his hand and couldn't help but laugh softly. He saw the scratches on Alex's hand and couldn't believe just this morning they were fighting over something so stupid. Now here he is, fighting for his life.

Matt sat there watching Alex lay there in his bed, thinking that he's just asleep. He will wake up and say `gotcha'. They'll get mad, but it will pass immediately since Alex is awake and not in a coma. Reality set back in when the nurse walked in again and took another set of vitals, causing Matt to ask for the time.

"Mom, someone needs to go and make sure Lorenzo and Ismail are okay. They are probably at the house all worried because they have no idea what is going on. When they walked into the house, they walked into an empty house."

When Franseca looked up at Matt, he could see a shell of the woman that he knew. There was no way he was going to let Lorenzo and Ismail see their mother this way on top of hearing the news about their brother. He decided to take care of every thing from this moment on. Just like Dr. Whitmore told him, he needs to be the strong one for Franseca and Alex to depend on for now.

Not saying another word, Matt walked out and headed to find where Jacob was. He needed to see if Tom would give him a ride to make sure everything was okay with Lorenzo and Ismail. When he reached the elevator, the doors opened and Chase, David, Tom and Al walked out. It looked like the cat was out of the bag.

They spotted Matt and walked over to him. "We just heard from Dr. Whitmore that Alex is here. Somehow he got an infection in the wound that healed, but reopened. He didn't get here in time and is now in a coma. Where is he? We want to see him."

Matt looked at Chase and the others. What he just heard from Chase, told him that Dr. Whitmore was honoring Alex's wishes. He helped out and told them the story that Alex had put together to explain why he was in the hospital. That took the load off of Matt's shoulders. With what just happened with Alex, he didn't think he would be able to stick with the story.

"I don't know what exactly happened, but it isn't good. Alex got stabbed in the center and Dr. Whitmore was brought in by Jacob to help Alex out. It looked like everything went well, but the healed wound got infected somehow. Alex didn't say anything to anyone and as a result it got worse."

Trying to remember what Alex asked of him to say, Matt explained it to the guys as he took them to Alex's room. When they walked in, they couldn't believe their eyes. The guy they met and always thought of as invincible was now lying in a bed fighting for his life.

Al walked in and pulled Franseca to her feet. He helped her out of the room and as they walked down the hall, Al had to fight with her each step of the way. All he wanted to do was to get her out of the room for some fresh air. The only thing Franseca wanted was to stay by her son's side every minute. She feared that if she wasn't there at his side, he wouldn't make it! If that happens, she would fall apart.

When they got to the waiting room, Al sat in the seat next to her. "I know that all that you want to do right now is be with Alex. You might even be angry with me, Jacob and our family." That caused Franseca to look up at Al with a confused look on her face. "I know the real reason Alex is here in the hospital. I promised Ron not to ever let Alex know that I found out that he was the one giving my grandson another chance at life.

There is no way I will ever be able to repay you, your family and most importantly Alex for what he did. With that said, he won't die if I have anything to do with it. No matter what it costs, I will bring in whatever he needs to get him through this. He will come out fine and back into your arms and that, I promise you.

So don't you worry about anything Franseca, I will take care of anything and everything you need. I will promise to not tell Alex that I know. We will keep this between you and me, but I can't stress enough that I am in his debt."

Al had to stop in order to control himself. If he kept going, he would fall apart on her. That is something Franseca doesn't need right now. She needs strong people around her in order to get her through this. She needs him and the others to pick up the slack so that she can stay her at her son's bedside.

"You don't worry about anything Franseca, my wife and I will take care of everything. Virginia is already at the house and will take care of your sons for you. When you want them here, Virginia will bring them to you. The only way they will find out what is going on, is when you choose to tell them. So again, don't worry because your family is here for you. No matter what you need, we are here!"

Franseca barely got out the words `thank you' as Al stood up. She sat there staring out into the distance. Thinking about how things would be different if she would have just put her foot down with Alex's father those many years ago. If only she would have kept Alex from following in his father's footsteps he would have never have joined that gang.

Although things would be a lot different, Franseca knows that once it was done, it couldn't be changed. No matter how much she wished it could, it couldn't. At least now, she has people around her and her family that really do care for them. With their strength and help, there was not doubt in her mind that they would make it out of this.



{Okay everyone, don't get mad with me and send me mean emails. I know that I promised you guys no more cliffhangers. I realize I ended this chapter, in a cliff hanger. I told you in "Jacob Finding His Way" 56 that I am going to close off the health issues in the next chapter. It happened in this chapter as far as Alex's side to the plot, but I wanted to do justice to the plot. That is why I didn't rush through it. At the same time I needed to find a breaking point.

Now, let me start first at the beginning of the chapter. Anyone surprised that Alex did what he did for Jacob? I hope not, because if so, I haven't sold Alex to you the way I want his character to be. Alex is the type of person that won't let anyone hurt those that are close to him. That now includes Jacob and his friends.

That is why he did what he did to Shane and his friends. In chapter 56 of "Jacob", we know that Jacob got beaten up in the morning. This chapter kind of picked up from that chapter. As you know in 56 of "Jacob", Alex expressed his anger on what happened to Jacob. Now in this chapter I went in more detail from Alex's point of view.

He had Carlos go in and get the information about the person that Loraine had beat Jacob. He and Carlos went and took care of business. Now that Shane and his friends got a taste of their own medicine. I suspect it was a life altering event and they won't beat up anyone else. Alex made it look like he is protecting the underdog in the whole. Let's hope that Loraine, Shane and their friends leave it alone.

I know we are seeing the old Alex pop up a lot more in the last couple of chapters. It is very hard to change from what you are into another person without the old ways coming back here and there. Carlos has been the one on the short end of the stick several times. We are seeing the gangster Alex and how he kept his grip on the leadership position.

Alex won't stop at anything if he feels threatened. First he threw Carlos against the wall and almost choked him when Dabria first popped up. He then beat on Carlos when it looked like Carlos was disrespecting him. Alex feels Dabria is a threat and Carlos isn't helping matters any when he ditches Alex for her. Carlos realized Alex is right, that Alex depends on him and promised not to screw things up anymore.

Also Matt has been on the short end of the stick lately. Look, Alex is taking huge steps to change for Matt. He is doing it because he really does love Matt with every bone in his body. Matt knows that, but needs to know when to approach something and when not to. He has to remember how it was in the Detention Facility. He got in the same fight back then when Matt tried to get information on Alex's gang life. Although Alex isn't in the gang, Matt needs to remember not to ask questions when he knows the answers have something to do with Alex fighting.

Now back to the ending of the chapter. You know that I plan to have Alex around for a very long time. This is just a twist in the story line that keeps you on your toes. The questions that remain are simple. Will Alex come out of the coma? If he does, how long will it take? Will Jacob and the others find out the truth about why he ended in the coma? If they do, how will Jacob and others react? If Alex wakes up will the fight that he and Matt were having that morning be forgotten? These and so many other questions will be answered in the chapters to come.

We will see more of Steve and Robert in the future chapters. If there is going to be any more sex scenes in the immediate future, it will be with those two. Also you guys will learn a lot more about Lorenzo and Ismail. You know they are younger brothers and they look up to Alex, but there is a lot more to their story. We will get to see more of Carlos and Dabria and see their relationship develop in the chapters to come.

Since this story received a makeover and some characters were dropped and new ones came in. It is going to be very exciting in the chapters to come, trust me on that. Right now, so many of the old plots in this story I keeping, has your head spinning on what is going on. As the chapters finish, you can't wait for the next posting of the new chapter. I really thank you guys for coming back week after week, and reading my postings. I hope I will never let you guys down. As far as drama in the storylines are concerned.

I don't want to say too much more and spoil the future chapters to come, so I won't. I warn you though! Don't skip a chapter, or you will be lost. There is a so much to answer in the chapters to come. Keep reading the future chapters, and enjoy! Please email me and let me know how I am doing at jacobmillertex@aol.com, Thanks!}


I had to laugh when I read the last of the chapter and there was, big as life, a cliffhanger! Hey, one every so often is OK with me.

To be honest, with Jacob's summation above, there's really very little I can add.

Alex taking care of business with Shane and friends was not a surprise. Alex is fiercely loyal to anyone that he is close to, that he respects and trusts. Alex has adopted his new "family" and in good Latino tradition Alex feels that family comes above anything and everything else. Alex meted out justice. What he did was illegal but justice none the less. Loraine still hasn't gotten her dose of justice. I wonder how that will be resolved. She's needed a good "bitch slap" for some time now.

Matt has incredible patience but he gets walked on by Alex when Alex has mood swings. I totally understand the dynamics, but I really feel for Matt when he gets into a confrontation with Alex by simple acts of caring. He's not prying and if he is truly Alex's lifemate, then he deserves open and honest communication. He has the right to know all that goes on. I see Alex's point of view making sure Matt is in the dark so that if things go badly Matt is protected and won't be revoked for being an unwitting accomplice in the eyes of the law. This is a juggling act I couldn't do from either perspective.

I am anxious to learn more about Alex's brothers. They are maturing and they have to have questions about the ins and outs of Alex and Matt's relationship. I think it would be a comical situation watching Alex answer all the natural questions. As a parent, I know how it is to be interrogated by a child about things that are usually points not open for discussion; points of a personal nature. Alex's brothers have or will have those questions and it will be a part of their maturing process and discovering and defining their own personalities and their place in life. It is going to fall to Alex to answer their questions about their maturing bodies and all that comes with adolescence since there is no father in their lives. As I ponder this, I have a knowing smile on my face.

I hope that all is well in each of your worlds. Again, thank you to the readers that e-mail me via Jacob or mention me in their communications to him. Each e-mail means a great deal to me.

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick