{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, written consent.}

Written by J.P.G.

Chapter 28

Through the night, Franseca and Matt stood guard. At first they devised a plan that gave each of them time to sleep, but neither of them could. Each time they put their heads down to sleep, they couldn't close their eyes. They're afraid if they fell asleep and something happened with Alex, they might not be woken up.

A little after midnight, Matt went down the hall to see if he could get Franseca some coffee. He headed toward the elevators to go down to the vending machines, but one of the nurses stopped him. She explained that once he got down stairs, he wouldn't be able to come back up. After visiting hours, they locked down the elevators. Only hospital personal could use them with their badges.

With what the nurse told him, Matt headed back to Alex's room. When he walked in, Franseca looked at him like he had lost his mind returning empty handed. He explained to her what the nurse just told him. Once she heard what happened, she understood and let Matt off the hook.

Matt sat back down in the chair, but really wanted to lay beside Alex. Since they got their freedom, not a night has gone by without them sleeping together. This is the second night in a row that they were not in the same bed. The night before was because of a stupid argument and tonight was because of Alex being in the hospital.

Right then and there Matt promised himself that no matter what's going on in their lives, he wouldn't allow them to go to bed angry at each other. It's not for the fear of losing Alex in the night, but it's just to make sure what ever happened the day before is fixed in that day. If it carried over to the next day, normally it couldn't be fixed and would fester into something larger than it originally was.

Out of instinct, Matt laid his head next to Alex's. He grabbed hold of Alex's hand as he looked into Alex's closed eyes. No matter how much Matt fought it, he started to doze off. A couple of times he jolted himself awake, but his body couldn't stay awake. Just as he dozed off, he felt his hand being squeezed.

When Matt opened his eyes, he looked straight into Alex's open eyes. Tears of joy started to roll down Matt's face as he leaned in and kissed Alex on the lips. He broke the kiss to let Franseca know that Alex was awake, but Alex beat him to the punch.

"You know I will need my hand in the future. The way you are holding my hand, I am afraid that you are cutting off my blood circulation," Alex said with a gravelly voice.

Franseca jumped out of her seat and looked down at her son. When Alex turned to look at her, she started to cry as she bent down to grab her son. She held him even tighter than Matt was holding his hand. Not knowing what was going on, he let her hold him as long as she wanted to. Alex figured once she let him go, they would tell him what was going on.

"Thank God, oh thank you God! He's given you back to us!" Through sobs, Franseca kept saying the same thing over and over again.

"Mom, those in this room knew what I was doing. Why are you acting this way? It was a surgery you guys knew about and Dr. Whitmore explained it all to you." Alex couldn't understand why his mother was acting the way she was.

"Alex, you went into the surgery, but the surgery had complications. Since you ate and stuff like that, your surgery was a little more difficult than it should have been. You ended up falling into a coma and no one knew when or if you were going to come out of it. Dr. Whitmore did everything he could and believed that you would be okay."

"Dr. Whitmore is the best out there and that's why I trusted him for this surgery. He explained everything to me before the surgery and I told him to go ahead. I knew if he was in the room, I would be fine no matter what. Look at the miracles he has performed with Jacob. That should tell you a lot about his abilities."

"We know you're right and never doubted Dr. Whitmore. He has been here and refused to leave until he saw that you had pulled through. Let me go and let him know that you are awake and in good spirits," Matt said as he stood up to leave.

Before Alex could say yes or no, Matt got up and left the room. Not knowing where Dr. Whitmore was, Matt decided to see if the nurses might be able to tell him. So he walked over to the nurse's station, but didn't find anyone there. That seemed strange to Matt. Just as he turned to go looking for a nurse, he found one standing behind him. Matt jumped back a couple of feet when he saw the nurse standing there.

"Sorry for scaring you, I didn't mean to. Are you looking for some coffee still? I know it has to be hard to be stuck here unable to go down to get something to eat or drink. If you want, I can get you a couple of cups from the nurses break room. It isn't that good, but its coffee at least." The nurse walked around Matt as she talked.

"No that is okay, we don't want coffee anymore. The reason I came out here this time is to see if you know where Dr. Whitmore is." The nurse looked up from the desk with a panicked look on her face. "Oh please! It isn't anything bad, in fact, it's good. Alex just woke up and I promised Dr. Whitmore when that happened, I would let him know."

The only thing the nurse said to Matt was that she would get the doctor for him as she walked out from behind the nurse's desk, almost running. Matt just shrugged his shoulders and walked back to Alex's room. When he walked in, Alex looked up at him with a smile across his face. That smile has always made Matt's dick get hard, and now was no exception!

Matt walked over and took his seat and joined into the conversation that Alex and Franseca were having. Franseca was filling Alex in on how Jacob was doing. That really surprised Matt because the very first thing Alex wanted to know when he woke up was how Jacob was doing. He wasn't interested in his surgery or what had gone wrong.

"It's good to see you awake there Alex." Dr. Whitmore and several nurses walked into the room. "You had us worried there for awhile but I knew you would pull through if only to show us that you could! That is the type of guy I have gotten to know. You don't know how to quit and that is what kept me thinking positive."

"Thank you Dr. Whitmore, for everything. My mom and Matt were just letting me know that you covered for me with Jacob and the others. I really do appreciate what you did. I never wanted to put you in a spot to lie for me and I'm sorry that you had to do that."

"Look, you are my patient just like Jacob. I only did what you wanted me to do so don't worry about it. All you need to worry about is getting better for now. Just like Jacob, you will be walking out of this hospital. None of my patients go out the back door."

The nurses did several tests to Alex while Dr. Whitmore talked with him. Then Dr. Whitmore did a couple of his own tests before looking at the results from the nurse. He said something to the nurses before looking back at Alex. No matter how hard Matt tried to read Dr. Whitmore, he couldn't.

"So far Alex, everything looks good. It is as if you weren't in a coma at all. I would like to have a couple of x-rays done to make sure there are no other problems that I can't see with the naked eye. You went through major surgery and had several complications. Because of that I would like to err on the side of caution and run every test in the book."

"You do what you need to do Dr. Whitmore. There is no need to talk me into the tests because I trust you. So do as many tests as you need to give me a clear bill of health. I would like to get out of this place as soon as possible."

"For now, you will be here at least a week. There is no way I will let you out before that. You are strong, but you also need to recover from this surgery. If I let you go home, I know there is no way you are going to rest. You will go to school and work. You can't put that kind of stress on your body right after the kind of surgery you just had."

Listening to Dr. Whitmore explain his reasoning, Alex couldn't argue with him on one thing he said. The minute he goes home, he won't relax. He will go back to school and go full time at work, just like Dr. Whitmore was saying. For now, he would have to listen to Dr. Whitmore and just relax here for a week.

"Let's just worry about getting you through the next couple of days, shall we? First, I want to run the tests like I told you. After I see the results of those tests, I will have a clearer picture what to do next. If everything is okay, in a week you will be home. If I find something that doesn't look right, we will talk again about the amount of time you will be required to be here. Deal?"

"Deal sir, I'll leave everything in your hands." Alex smiled at Dr. Whitmore as he grabbed for Matt's hand.

Shortly after Dr. Whitmore left the room, the same nurses that came in with him earlier, came back in. As they started to wheel Alex out of the room, they explained to Matt and Franseca where they are taking him! Franseca and Matt wanted to go, but the nurses asked them to sit tight and they will be back shortly.

When they wheeled Alex back into the room, the sun started to come up. Matt had fallen asleep, but Franseca hadn't. She looked at her son sound asleep in the bed as they put it back where the bed was before they took him. Not wanting to wake up Matt or her son, Franseca followed the nurses out to the hall to see what had happened.

"You were gone for a long time. Did anything go wrong?" The nurses looked at each other and back over to Franseca with a look like they didn't want to answer the question. "Look he is my son and I want to know why he was gone for so long. If something happened, let me know so I can help my son to get through it."

"Nothing that will hurt him in the long run happened while we were running the tests. On the very last test, Alex thought he had the strength to move from his bed onto the machine for the x-rays. We told him not to, but he did it anyways. He fell as he started to walk the few steps between the two beds; in doing so, he reopened his stitches. Dr. Whitmore came in immediately, fixed Alex up and he's fine."

"I know he is just another patient to you, but he is my boy. I don't care about your rules! Matt or I will always be with him in the future for any tests that are run outside his room. That is the only way I'll know he will be safe." Franseca could tell that the nurses didn't care what she was saying. "I know you would not have told me that my son opened up his stitches if I didn't press you. From now on, I want different nurses for my son, not you two."

Franseca left the nurses standing in the hall as she walked back into her son's room. Matt had woken up shortly after Franseca walked out. He immediately moved up to Alex and grabbed hold of his hand. If they can't be in the same bed together, he would at least know that his boyfriend was right beside him.

Somehow Matt dozed off to sleep once again. This time he had fallen asleep with his head next to Alex's. Franseca couldn't help but think to herself that when Matt wakes up, his back would be killing him. Half sitting in the chair and half of his body leaned over on the bed was bad for anyone, at any age.

As Franseca went out to grab breakfast for her and Matt, she ran into Al. "Good morning Franseca, I glad to see you down here. I picked you, Matt and Dewayne up some breakfast to eat. I don't know what you like, so I got pancakes for you and Matt. I hope that you two like pancakes."

"That's fine Al, thank you very much. It seems that you can read people's minds because that's where I was just going. I don't think Matt ate anything for dinner last night and neither did I. Now that Alex is awake, I can relax a little more. Once he is back home, is when things will be back to somewhat normal."

"It's good news to hear that Alex has woken up. I knew that he would! The very first thing I noticed about your son is how much alike he is to my grandson. They are both hard headed people that don't know the meaning of the word `quit'. I bet you when he woke up; he acted as if it was nothing; that nothing big had happened."

"You hit it right on the nose. He believes in Dr., Whitmore and because of that belief, he didn't think that anything might have gone wrong. Me on the other hand, I hate to say I didn't believe in Dr. Whitmore. I really don't like the nurses that work here either because of their inability to see that each patient here is part of someone's family. They have grown cold and only look at the patients as a job."

"To tell you the truth I haven't seen that in the nurses here. The ones that are taking care of Jacob are really into making sure Jacob has what he needs. Don't get me wrong, I know there has to be a few that have grown tired of working with patients day in and day out. Those that have, should leave the job so others can take over that still give the care that the patients need and deserve."

As they talked, they walked into the hospital and got in the elevator. "Thank you for everything you have done for me and my family. I know I didn't say this last night, or if I did, let me say it again. Neither I nor anyone close to Alex blamed Jacob or you guys for what had happened to my son. He made the decision to help Jacob knowing what could have gone wrong. Something went wrong; thank God he came through it okay."

"Don't worry Franseca; I can understand if you did. These boys of ours are hard headed and do what they want to, no matter what we say. I'm glad that Alex pulled through and will be coming home soon. As far as the real reason he is in here, I won't say a word to anyone. I just hope one day Alex does tell Jacob at least and not for payment or anything like that, just so Jacob could thank him for the gift that he has given."

The doors of the elevator opened for Al to get off. Franseca nodded her head in agreement as the doors closed. She thought about asking Alex to let Jacob and his family know it was him that gave the kidney, but decided to let it be for now. Once Alex got home and back into the normalcy of his life, she would bring the subject up at that time.

All morning long, neither Matt or Franseca, left Alex's side. They talked and watched TV most of the time. When Franseca left the room to talk with Dr. Whitmore, Alex opened up to Matt about what had happened the days before the surgery. He told Matt what he and Carlos did, and why he didn't want to tell him about it.

"I love you for caring so much about me Alex, but I want to be part of everything that is going on in your life. Even if it puts me in a position of being revoked, I want to know about it. You and I are together for the long haul. We are going to grow old together, so we need to tell each other everything that is happening in our lives. So make me a deal here and now, that not only will we tell each other everything, but we will never again go to sleep angry with each other."

"I agree and promise from now on, we won't go to bed angry with each other. Plus I will tell you what is going on no matter what it is. If we are going to make it as a couple, we need to be truthful in every way with each other. No more secrets of any kind from this day forward, I promise!"

By mid afternoon, both Franseca and Matt decided to head home to shower and change clothes. They didn't want to leave Alex by himself, but they also needed to take a shower and make sure Lorenzo and Ismail were okay.

When they left, Matt and Franseca made it clear to Alex that for sure, Matt would be back. Franseca explained to Alex that she didn't want to leave Lorenzo and Ismail alone for two nights in a row. She feared that they were scared and wondering what's going on. She wanted to make sure they understood what had happened before they came down to visit their older brother.

After they left, Alex ate some of his lunch before dozing off to sleep. Unaware that four guys had walked into his room and closed the door shortly after the nurse collected his tray. All of a sudden he felt hands around his neck, causing him to jerk awake. When he opened his eyes, he couldn't believe who was looking down at him.

Alex started to yell for help when one of the guys covered his mouth. He then tried to break free by kicking at the guy holding down his legs, but no luck. The only thing that Alex got for his effort of trying to get free was pain. Through the kicking, he reopened his stitches for the second time in one day.

The fourth guy walked up to the bed and held down Alex's arms. All that Alex could do is lay there as the guys held him down. The one covering his mouth placed a finger over his lips conveying to Alex to be quiet. He lifted his hand, but Alex started to yell out for help. Before he could get two words out, the guy recovered Alex's mouth and punched Alex several times in the gut.

"I won't tell you again, you will stay quiet. The more you struggle, the worse it will get. You know that, you ran this gang and taught me, well all of us in this room that. So I am going to remove my hand and if you yell again, I won't punch you in the gut. I will punch you where you were stabbed."

The guy slowly removed his hand from Alex's mouth. Alex just looked up at him trying not to show any fear. He knows the more fear he showed, the more they were going to beat on him before finishing him off. If it was his time to go, he wanted to go quick. None of this torture crap they like to do.

"Did you think we were never going to find you? Tell you what though; you did a good job making us think you went to Florida. If you are still in town that means Carlos is too. Once we finish with you, we will get to Carlos. Then I will get the promotion I got robbed of when your farther promoted your weak ass instead of me."

"You four are the only ones that know where I'm at?" Alex looked into the faces of the four guys in his room. "Yeah you guys are the only ones that know where I am, except for the one that told you that I am here. Man will you be in trouble for not letting the higher ups know so they could send more guys to make sure the job got done."

"What, you think we are unable to take you out? Even at your strongest, I am better than you. The only reason you ever had the power is because of your father. If your father didn't die, he would have been taken out. The plans were already in motion to take your dad out. Once that happened I was promised to get the green light to take you out. You just made it easy for me when we found out what you were up to."

"Even if what you are saying is true, the ones that put the plan in motion would not have ever been given control of the gang. There would have been a vacuum within our gang. By the time we stopped fighting ourselves, who knows who would have been in charge. At least by the way my father passed, you guys couldn't get control of the gang."

"Ever since our new leader got locked up, he lost control of the gang. Mr. Flores thinks he is running things, but he's not. The only thing he is, is a puppet on a string for us to pull when ever we want things done. The true leader is running things and the cops will never be able to touch him since they think it's Mr. Flores."

"Give me one thing, who was the one that let you know where I was at? Tell me that at least since you are going to kill me anyways."

"You, your inability to adapt to being a normal person in high school gave us your location. We have people everywhere and you know that. We had to get to you and when I found out about you and Carlo's little fight the other day; I knew you were on this side of town. I went to the high school where the guy you beat up went and found out that you were brought to the hospital. So we're here to take care of business. When I kill you and report back to the boss, I will get what I deserve."

"To bad you are so fucking stupid. If you think you and these other three retards can take me out, you guys have another think coming. You should have brought more back up to get the job done, you stupid fuck!"

What Alex just said angered the guy that was talking. Instead of coming back at Alex with words, he started to punch him instead. Two of the guys held Alex down while the other two just went to town on Alex. Hit after hit, Alex kept smiling, which pissed off the guys that were hitting him. That was exactly what he wanted to do, piss them off to the point where they make a mistake they couldn't come back from.

After ten minutes of using Alex as a punching bag, the mistake that he is waiting for happened. The one holding down his arms, let go of one of his arms in order to get into the action. When he did that, the other one holding down his legs let them go. He wanted to get into the action of beating Alex to death as well.

Once that happened, Alex was able to move. Since the guy that was holding down only one arm was using all his strength to punch him, Alex got his second arm free really easily. He punched two of the guys, knocking them off of the bed. Not thinking twice, Alex jumped off of his bed, ripping out the IV'S from his arms.

Standing his ground, Alex watched as the four guys tried to they regroup. They didn't show any fear in their eyes. Maybe they thought they out number Alex, so there was no need to worry about taking him out. Soon they found out that this was the wrong thing to think. They approached Alex, one threw a punch at Alex, but missed, and then the other one and the other one, and again they all missed each time.

Jumping into survivor mode, Alex defended himself. When the fourth guy threw a punch, Alex grabbed his arm as he came at him. He pulled the guy up to him really fast and punched him in the face. Alex made contact with the guy's nose, forcing the guy to fall straight to the ground, dead instantly. At the same time, Alex hadn't realized that he shoved the guy's nose up into his head causing immediate death.

The other three looked at their unconscious friend on the ground and didn't notice Alex coming at them. Alex threw another punch, this time hitting the guy that was previously holding down his legs. He fell back against the corner of the door of the bathroom. The minute he hit the door, he was out, blood starting to leak onto the floor.

The one that was holding his arms tried to run, but slipped on the blood that came from his friend that lay on the floor unconscious. And just like his friend, he landed right beside him, hitting his head on the floor, knocking him unconscious as well. Leaving only Alex and the guy that claimed he was the rightful leader.

"If you were the one that was suppose to be in charge, our gang would have been run over by the ten year olds in our neighborhood. You don't think, you just react like an ape in the jungle does. This goes to show you that I was the right person for the job, not you. This is the only chance I will give you to leave, undo whatever you did to the door and let those knocking on the door in. Maybe one day you will have another chance to get me again."

"Fuck no; the only way I will be leaving this room is after I kill you. It's too bad these three fucks were too stupid to do what they were supposed to do. Don't think you can take me out as easily. You will join these three in hell when I am done with you."

The guy launched at Alex, but missed him. Alex step to his right, causing the guy to hit the door of the room really hard. As the guy stood by the door, he could hear the security guards of the hospital banging on the door, demanding to be let in. Each time they hit the door, the closer they were to getting in. He looked into Alex's eyes, knowing he wasn't going to win this battle.

"Don't think you are safe or we are not going to stop coming after you. When I arrive at county, I am going to send out a kite to every member of our gang letting them know that you and Carlos are on this side of town. Once the word gets out, your former gang will flood this side of town and not leave until they get to you."

Alex decided to not provoke the guy anymore. He was in way too much pain, bleeding from where he reopened his stitches and hurting from where they hit him. Alex watched as the guy turned to the door and un-wedged the metal door stopper from the top of the door. The minute he removed it, the door flew open and several guards came busting through throwing Alex and the other guy to the ground.

Each time Alex tried to speak up, the guard that was holding him to the ground pushed his face even harder into the floor causing Alex more pain. He gave up and watched as nurses came running in to check the other three unconscious guys on the floor.

Immediately the nurses left the guy that Alex hit in the nose, confirming that he was dead. They went to work on the other two lying on the floor by the bathroom door. The nurses yelled at the guards to remove Alex and the other guy out of the room so they could get these two down into the ER. They are still alive, but one of them won't be for long if they don't get him medical help soon.

As they rushed the two guys out of Alex's room. Dr. Whitmore came running down the hall. He looked at the guards pushing Alex into the floor. He couldn't believe what these guards were doing. Can't they see that Alex is hurt and bleeding all over the floor? Dr. Whitmore walked up to the guard and pushed him off of Alex.

"I don't know what happened here but this patient is mine and he is bleeding everywhere. If you don't let me treat him, I will do whatever it takes to have you arrested! Every person deserves medical treatment no matter if they are the one's that did the wrong or not!"

"Doctor, we don't know what happened in that room. All we know is there was a fight, one dead, two rushed into the emergency room and these two are the only ones left standing. So until we know what happened and who did what, we are going to handle both of them as murders. Do what you can for him here, but he won't go anywhere until the police show up and figure what is what."

Dr. Whitmore lifted up Alex's robe and knew that he ripped out his stitched again. He looked up at Alex, shook his head in disbelief. With the help from another nurse, they cleaned Alex up and re-stitched him again. Just as they finished stitching Alex back up, several uniformed officers and detectives walked up.

"Let me guess, you are part of the Mexican Mafia." The detective looked angrily down at the guy sitting by Alex in handcuffs. "No need for you to answer me, your tattoos have given you away. We know that your gang has been after this guy for over a month now. You found him and what, you were sent down here to kill him?"

"He dishonored us and now he needs to pay for what he did. No one can live after turning their back on my gang. I may have failed here, but it isn't over. Now that I know where he is, the others will know as well very soon!"

"Your pride and being macho has just written you a one ticket to lock down in a facility somewhere in this state. Where we are sending you, you won't have one friend to talk to or give this information to. Besides no gang members in this facility, you will be in an eight by eight cell for twenty four hours a day."

The detective looked over at the guard keeping guard of Alex. "You need to take those handcuffs off of that young man. He is the victim in this case. The four other guys came here to kill this one because he got out of the gang life."

"What about the two that went down to the ER and the one that was DOA when we walked in? This kid is the one that probably did that to those three and needs to pay the penalty for that. We can't have a patient in the hospital that just killed someone with his bare hands. The other patients won't be comfortable with him here."

"I don't care about the other patients. My job is to arrest the ones that are at fault for what just happened. When this patient's name came over the radio, we ran it and found out what was going on before we even got here. If anyone died or ended up in the ER, it was done out of self defense. These four walked into this young man's room and tried to kill him. This one here admitted to it just moments ago."

The detective pointed to the other kid sitting next to Alex. "Look, we have things on file that you guys don't. We had hoped this would not have happened, but it did. I am glad that the only ones that got hurt are the ones that came down to do harm. It is sad that one died, but again they chose this life. We will be getting a statement from everyone, but I won't be taking this guy to jail today for defending himself."

"Fine you are the detective and this is your decision. I still think you are making the wrong decision without getting all the facts of what happened in there. How do we know that this guy caused the whole thing? None of us knows what exactly happened in that room when those five boys were in there alone."

"What, did you want to be a police officer, but flunked out for one reason or another? You seem to think you know more than me." The detective looked at the guard as he took the handcuffs off of Alex. "Let's put your mind at rest. I will question this young man here and now."

The detective went through the events of the morning with Alex. He asked a few questions, but didn't lead Alex in one way or another. Alex told him why he was in the hospital, when he arrived and what he was doing up to the moment when the four guys walked into the room. He then went into detail about what happened after that. Pointing to his neck and his body where they held him and punched him.

"Thank you for giving us your statement. In the next day or so, I will have your statement typed out and all you have to do is sign it." The detective looked over to the other kid, still in handcuffs. "Now, if you are the man you claim you are, you will tell me the truth about what happened here. If you don't tell me the truth, I will let your pals in county and on the street know what a chicken shit you are."

"Everything that this faggot said is true. We came in here to redeem ourselves. He dragged our gang through the mud and we needed to show the other gangs that we don't let anyone turn rat. By knocking this guy off, it would send a clear message to anyone else thinking about turning rat, what would happen if they did. If we are willing to kill one of our main leaders for turning rat, no one is safe."

"Thank you as well for your statement. Get this scum out of my face. Put him in my car and I will book him where the District Attorney wants him. We can't have him near his gang. The first chance this guy gets, he will tell the other members of his gang where to find this guy. We can't have that happen."

The detective thanked the guards and let them go. Before leaving, he talked with Alex once more. To make sure he understood that they were going to do everything they could to ensure that the members of his old gang didn't find out where he was. Alex believed him and thanked the detective for everything he did.

As Alex waited for his room to be cleaned up or another room all together, Dr. Whitmore and several nurses checked Alex out. The guys that ganged up on Alex got in several good hits, but they didn't break anything. For the next couple of days, Alex would have bruises, but nothing to really worry about.

Dr. Whitmore walked Alex down to the bathroom to change into a new robe. "You know you got very lucky three times in the last twenty four hours; four times this week if you really look at it. I know what you did for Jacob and because you did it for the right reason, I am not going to say a word to anyone.

You just can't be solving your problems with violence anymore. Because you let the old Alex come out, you almost died. What would have happened Alex if they got the best of you? You know damn well the only reason you are alive and walking is because they were too stupid. If you faced guys that had an ounce of brains more than those that came after you today, you would be dead."

"I know you're right. I just couldn't sit by and allow the kid that beat up Jacob to get away with it. All he got was four days of suspension. He would be back at school on Monday thinking that he could do it again; to Jacob or anyone else. At least now he knows there is someone there that is watching him."

"Alex listen to me, you can't be doing this anymore. You now have way too much to lose. I have gotten to know the real Alex and that Alex is the one I like. That Alex is the one that Jacob has been backing from day one. Let the old Alex go once and for all or you will lose everything. Forget getting killed, you will end up in jail again.

That won't only kill your mother, Matt and your brothers, but it will defeat Jacob. Everyone is still telling him that it's just a matter of time before you slip up. Once you are what you are, you can't change it. Jacob keeps standing up for you and you can't let him or your family down. It isn't a lot of pressure to do the right thing and you know that. You are a good kid, look at what you just did for Jacob. Show everyone else this Alex."

"I promise Dr. Whitmore that I won't solve my problems with my fists in the future. I didn't know what you just told me about Jacob. He is the reason I am free and that I won't forget. So for that, my family and Matt, I will keep a low profile."

Dr. Whitmore didn't want to push Alex too much, so he let it go at that. By the look in Alex's eyes, he got through to him. He knew that Alex meant what he was saying and would honor his word. That was the one thing he knew for sure about Alex, he could take him at his word when he gave it.

Matt arrived with Alex still sitting in the hallway waiting for his room to be cleaned up. Not knowing what had happened; Matt walked up to Alex and kissed him on the lips. As he sat down next to Alex he saw the mess in his room.

"What the fuck happened in there Alex?" Matt turned to face Alex. "Don't try to lie to me; what happened in that room?"

"They found me Matt, they found me!" Alex could see that Matt was confused about what he just said to him. "After you and mom left, I ate and I went to sleep. I don't know how long I was asleep before I felt someone trying to strangle me. I woke up to find four guys in my room ready to kill me."

"What four guys are you talking about? What do you mean ready to kill you? Alex you are confusing me. It looks like a huge fight happened in that room and I find you here sitting in the hallway."

"They thought they had me pinned, but the two guys that held me down let up and I got free. After that the gangster Alex kicked in. I defended myself from those guys that came in to kill me. When it was over, I killed one of them and sent two to the ER. The other got taken out of here in handcuffs. The detective took my statement and promised that he would do everything he could to make sure I'm okay."

"Man Alex how did they find you here in the hospital? I thought we have been careful to keep anyone from knowing where you are. Something must have slipped or we went somewhere where you were seen and followed back to the house. Do you know how many of the others know where you are?"

"We didn't make any mistakes, I did. When Carlos and I went to take care of that guy that jumped Jacob, we were spotted. The four that came to kill me today are the only ones that know where Carlos and I are. They wanted to take care of me before telling anyone else so they didn't tell anyone before coming down here."

"I am not going to say anything about what you and Carlos did. We had that talk and as far as I am concerned, it's a dead issue. Now about what happened here today, we've got to be thankful for those guys' pride. They wanted to get the credit for killing you and it backed fired by not telling the others. For the first time the pride the gang members have in wanting to take care of things alone has worked in our favor, so again let's be thankful for that."

Alex and Matt talked in the hall about what to say or not say to the others. They agreed not to say a word to the guys in the house since they couldn't see the bruises under Alex's robe. Now the others outside of the house, the only one that they were going to tell was Carlos so he could be more careful for the next couple of days!

For the next hour, Alex and Matt talked about what exactly they are going to tell Carlos. When the room was ready, Matt helped Alex into bed. The pain of getting beaten and re-stitched was hitting him. The nurses came in, put in the IV's again, gave Alex some pain medicine and left. As they walked out of the room, Franseca, Lorenzo and Ismail came running in. Alex grabbed his little brothers and put them on the bed with him.

"What have you two been up to in the last couple of days? Don't tell me that you have only been watching television and playing video games." Both of Alex's brothers laughed as they nodded their heads. "If you guys don't watch it, you will get very fat because you sit in front of the TV instead playing outside with your friends."

"Why should we play outside when we have a lot more fun playing inside?"

"Lorenzo you know that you two need to go out and have fun outside as well. But let's not talk about that now. I am glad to see you guys! I had hoped that mom would bring you to visit with me tonight. You know I like to spend time with my little bros every night before I go to bed."

"We were worried about you Alex. Neither you, Mom or Matt came home yesterday and we thought that something bad happened. Then Jake's grandma came home, but she said nothing to us. We kept asking, but she said to wait for mom to come home. The only good thing we got last night was a lot of ice cream."

Lorenzo and Ismail jumped off the bed and started to play with the control to the television. Alex didn't mind, as long as they came down to visit with him. After finding cartoons on the TV, they sat down on the floor. That let Alex and Franseca talk about what had happened earlier when she wasn't here.

When Alex finished telling her what had happened, he was surprised with her reaction. She simply told Alex that maybe now in the future they would think twice before coming after him. If four couldn't do the job, they better just let it go. He also could see that she was relieved that he didn't get hurt or arrested over it.

"Alex you did what you needed to do to protect yourself. I know what I just said sounds mean, but it's the truth. It is sad someone lost their life here today, but they came here to kill you. When it comes down to it, I am glad it wasn't you that died. I will pray for that poor kid, his family and pray that they leave you alone. I love you and I want you to be safe. At this point that is all that matters to me."

"Thank you for being here for me mom and I know there are times that it seems that things are not going to change. I promise that I will do everything I can to make sure that old life stays where it belongs; in the past. I just want you and Matt to be proud of me. There is nothing else in this world I want more than that."

When it approached time for visiting hours to end, Matt had to leave with Franseca, Lorenzo and Ismail. His probation officer only gave him one night to spend with Alex. So he had to go home tonight and he had to go to school tomorrow as well. If he didn't do either of the two, his probation officer told him he would revoke him.

Matt reluctantly got up and walked over to Alex. "Putting aside what happened here today, I don't want to leave you. I want to be at your side here at the hospital, but you know I can't. I love you and I will be back here after school tomorrow."

"Don't worry about me being alone here tonight. When you leave, I will probably fall asleep. I have been fighting it ever since they gave me that shot for the pain. The nurse is going to be here in a while to give me another shot and for sure, I will be out. With that shot, I will be sleeping through the night. I love you and I will wait to see you tomorrow."

Both of the boys wanted more than just the kiss, but they took what they could. After Franseca and Alex's little brothers said their goodbyes, they left Alex alone for the second time. On the ride down to the first floor, Matt couldn't stop thinking to himself what happened the last time they left Alex alone. He knew those guys would have attacked Alex even if he were there. Maybe his being there would have made it worse for Alex. But still he didn't like leaving Alex alone when there was really no reason to.

When they got down to the SUV, Franseca asked Matt to drive them home. She explained that she was dead on her feet, afraid that if she got behind the wheel, she might doze off and land them all up in joining rooms with Alex. Without questioning her, he helped get Lorenzo and Ismail settled in the back seat and drove home.

Lorenzo and Ismail had fallen asleep on the way home. When they drove up, Matt told Franseca to go and unlock the door and he would bring the boys in. One at a time Matt carried Lorenzo and Ismail into their rooms, got them ready for bed and made sure they were comfortable under their covers before he headed off to his room.

The minute his head hit the pillow, he was out. The next thing Matt heard was his alarm clock going off. He jumped out of bed, lost. At first, he didn't know where he was, but once he got his bearings he remembered. Slowly Matt pulled himself out of bed, showered and got ready for school. When he walked into the main kitchen, the guys were surprised for the second time this morning. The first was finding Franseca cooking for them.

After eating, they all headed to school in Matt and Alex's SUV. Franseca let Matt take it to school so he'd have a way to get to the hospital afterward. At first, Matt didn't want to take the vehicle because she wouldn't have a way to hospital, but she put him at ease when she explained that Virginia was going to give her a ride.

While they sat in the cafeteria eating breakfast, Matt kept looking at Carlos. He couldn't understand how the guy could be so calm with his friend in the hospital. Carlos hasn't even visited Alex once since he went into the hospital. That alone was getting Matt angry, that and the fact that he is here at the table playing lovey bubbly with his girlfriend.

When they got up and put their trays away, Carlos pulled Matt aside. Dabria complained to Carlos that she was feeling uncomfortable in the way Matt was looking at her. She felt that he and Alex didn't like her. They were looking for a reason for them to break her and Carlos apart. Carlos decided to make it clear to Matt that she was here to stay.

"I don't know what your problem with me and Dabria is, but whatever it is you better get over it. She is my girlfriend and she is not going anywhere. So stop whatever you are doing and leave it alone. If I find out that you are talking bad about her to Alex, you and I will have a different conversation than we are having now."

"Carlos, you know you are full of yourself. I don't give a flying rat's ass about you and that petty girl. I just find it very strange the week she appeared, your gang found Alex. Don't you think that is weird as well Carlos?"

"I don't know what you are talking about. The gang has no idea where Alex and I are and they are too stupid to find out. So stop this game and just leave her alone. She isn't here as a spy on behalf of Alex's and my old gang."

"Like I said, I don't care what you two do, but you are wrong about your gang being too stupid. They not only found Alex, they tried to kill him yesterday. Although there were only four of them and Alex got the best of them, they found him. And like I said it happened the same week that your girl showed up."

"Wait a minute here, you are telling me that they almost killed Alex? When did this happen? How did Alex get away from them? Where is Alex now? Did he get arrested with the other four that tried to kill him? Come on Matt, tell..."

"Enough with the questions. If you'd have gone to the hospital and spent a few minutes with your friend, you would know the answers to all those questions, but instead you are tongue tied with that girl. I really do believe that she had something to do with your old gang finding out where Alex is.

Stop thinking with your little head and use your big one. She appeared what, Monday and Thursday the gang tried to kill Alex. Instead, one of the guys died instantly in the fight, one died in the ER and the other two are locked up somewhere but not County. I don't trust her and if you are the good friend that you say you are with Alex, you shouldn't trust her either. Once you start thinking straight, you will see that I'm right."

Carlos just stood there thinking on what Matt said. They have been so careful since they got out and all of a sudden they found them after Dabria showed up. He needed to know if she had anything to do with what happened to Alex. If she was telling the gang information, it was just matter of time until she would tell them about him.

Through out the morning, Carlos put together a plan on how to deal with Dabria in case she was the one giving up the information. With help from Matt, by lunch they had the plan together. Now the only thing left was to put the plan into action. They wanted to get to the truth once and for all with Dabria's sudden appearance and then the gang finding Alex.

Just like at breakfast, Matt kept mad dogging Dabria and Carlos. Knowing her reaction from this morning, they banked that she would react the same way and she did. The only difference this time was that she wanted to be part of the conversation when Carlos approached Matt about the way he was looking at them.

The only problem with the plan was that Chase brought a new guy to the table. So a few minutes of the lunch was taken away on shaking hands with the new guy. Once the other guys started asking the new guy questions, Matt went back to giving Dabria looks. Trying to get under her skin and get her to react from the way he was looking at her.

Instead of going with the group outside, Carlos pulled Matt aside once again. Acting angry with him on the way he was looking at him and Dabria. Carlos pulled Matt to a stairway that never has anyone around. Today, however, there is a group of people above them, waiting to hear what is said.

"What the hell is wrong with you? I have been nice with you since I got here, putting aside my dislike of faggots. You have left me with no other choice than to deal with you myself. Carlos tried to reason with you, but you didn't listen. Now the time for reasoning is over. I want to know what your problem is with me."

"Well where do I start? First none of us know who you are, but you came into our group of friends as if you own the place. I can put that aside, but..."

"But nothing you fucking faggot! Let me tell you how it is going to be from this day forward. My boyfriend and I are going to be in charge of this little group. If you don't like it, you can take your ass somewhere else. Go ahead and try to get your boyfriend to fix this, he has lost all creditability with those in the group."

"Wait a minute Dabria, what in the world are you talking about? No one is the leader of this group of friends. It isn't a gang. We are just friends and all equals. Please tell me what I am hearing isn't true about you. The more and more I listen to you, I am thinking it's true. Please Dabria tell me that you didn't drop the dime on Alex and me!"

"Babe, nothing is ever going to happen to you. Alex had to be taken out of the picture in order for you to get out of his shadow. I didn't plan it, but it fell in my lap. Don't worry, you are safe, nothing is going to happen to you."

"What did you do Dabria? Who did you talk to about me and Alex?" At this point Carlos could barely keep himself from throwing Dabria down the stairs.

"You have to believe me Carlos when I say I didn't plan this. Four guys claiming to be part of your old gang came up to me after school on Wednesday. I was walking home and they approached me. One of them recognized me from the center and told me that if I didn't tell them the truth, I wouldn't make it home. At that point, I was scared and didn't know what to say to them, but they didn't care.

They asked me if you and Alex are here on this side of town and going to Newman High. I only gave up Alex and not you. You have to believe me that I am telling you the truth. With him out of the way, you can be your own man. I did this for you and I to be able to run this school like you did at your old school."

"We didn't run the old school Dabria. We kept our fellow students in fear of us, so they would do whatever we wanted them to do. It was wrong then and it's wrong now. Alex and I have left that life. By the looks of it, you haven't. What you did was not for you and me; it was just for you to live a life that will never be. I don't want anything to do with the old life and, now, come to think about it, I want nothing to do with you."

"You better watch what you say to me Carlos. I know how to contact your old gang. If you leave me, I will let them know where to find you and Alex. Not only the school you attend, but where you two live. You guys will be dead within a week. So you'd better think twice before you take another step."

"Alex read you like a book and so did Matt here. I was blinded with love and that allowed you to pull one over on me. That's something that is very rare, but it happens. I am afraid that you won't get the chance to let anyone know about me and Alex. Although you are not in the center, you are still in the system. You will be going away for a very long time."

Just then, Principal Michaels, school security guards, uniformed police officers and the detective that took Alex's statement yesterday walked down the stairs. The uniformed police officers placed her in handcuffs before walking her out of the building. Carlos stood trying to figure out how he allowed this to happen.

"Son, there was nothing you could have done to keep this from happening. She used you the way that a lot of women use men when the men are head over heels in love with them. You are not the first to be used like this and you won't be the last. The good thing about this whole thing is that you caught on before it went any further.

You also did it the right way. You didn't use violence to fix the problem, you came to us. What your principal has told me is true; you guys are trying to change. Keep going down this road and I won't ever put handcuffs on you guys again. You kids are a prime example for giving a second chance. If it works with you guys, it can work with others."

"Thank you for that sir, we are trying. When we wake up everyday, it is another day we fight against what people think we might return to. There is no way Alex and I are ever going to go back to the gang life. It is a lot better being on this side of the law than the bad side. We don't want to be running from those that are here to protect us."

The detective smiled at Carlos as he walked away. Principal Michaels shook Carlos and Matt's hands as he passed them. He felt that some of their success of staying away from the gang life was partly due to the way he was around them. He knew that they wouldn't return to that kind of life if they had a great support system at home and at school. Here at school, he has given them an equal chance at everything no matter what their past history.

"Why don't we rejoin the others and get to know this new guy, Matt? By the looks of it, the others like him already." Carlos pulled Matt over to him as they started to walk out of the building. "By the way, can you please take me to see my good friend tonight? I have had my head up my ass for the last week or so," Carlos said almost giving an apology.

"No problem Carlos; I am glad that you are back. Alex really needs his best friend around him. Not because you protect him, but because you two know each other as if you guys were brothers." Matt smiled at Carlos as they approached the group.

Not skipping a beat, they joined into the conversation as if they were there the entire time. No one asked where Dabria was when they rejoined the group and that made it better for Carlos. He didn't want to think of a lie. That would give away that he was lying about what had happened to her. Although she was wrong for what she did, he would not disrespect her to the others. So he would cover up for her with a lie.

As they headed into the building, Carlos noticed a group of kids just looking at him, at least he thought they were looking at him. When they started to tease Ethan, he felt relieved it wasn't him they were looking at. Carlos thought that he and Matt got away with what they did and no one saw it. So there was not going to be rumors that they were involved in what had happened to Dabria.

When the guys wouldn't shut up, Carlos had enough. "What is your problem, you stupid fucks?" Carlos walked up to the student that did most of the yelling. "From now on you will leave this guy alone. If you mess with him in any way, call him names or even look his direction, you will have to answer to us. Trust me when I say that you don't want to answer to us." As Carlos turned to walk away, he pushed the student that looked like he was the ring leader of the group.

Carlos started to walk away feeling good about what he just did. In the past he normally was the one teasing the person, never has he stood up for the one being bullied. This time he actually used the fear he puts into people for good. He couldn't help thinking that he was turning into a goody-two-shoes. That was something he didn't want to do either.

When the final bell rang, Matt ran into Chase as he made his way to his locker. At first, Chase didn't say anything; he just walked beside Matt with his hands in his pocket. Matt knew that there was something up, but what it was he had no idea. Maybe Chase will speak up and tell him what was on his mind, but he wouldn't push him to do so.

Chase cleared his throat as they reached Matt's locker. "I have a weird question and you don't have to answer it if you don't want to. It's just something I have been wondering and kind of afraid to ask any of you. I know you guys will tell me the truth if I ask and that is why I decided to ask you."

"You and I have become friends, I think really good friends in a very short period of time. Whatever it is that you need to ask me, ask. No matter what it is, I will be honest with you. Oh, and I won't go around telling anyone what you and I talk about. It will stay between us and no one will be the wiser."

"Thanks Matt, I knew whatever we talked about you wouldn't tell anyone. I was wondering when you knew that you liked the same sex. The only reason I am asking is that it seems that more and more of the friends I make are gay. Maybe because they are Jacob's friends as well or we are just a magnet for the gay students in this school."

"Well I knew that I was gay when I knew I should have been looking at girls. Puberty does different things for everyone and for me I came out liking the same sex. You came out liking girls. There are others out there that came out liking both sexes. Nothing wrong with any of these groups; it's just who we are."

"The last group you mentioned, how can that be? Either you like one or the other, but you can't like both of them. At least that is what I have been taught among many other things from my parents, church and family members."

"I really can't speak on behalf of the bisexual people, because I am not one. I am straight out gay and that's it. At the same time, I have heard the same thing you just said many times, but I don't believe it. The way I see it, if you like both sexes, fine. As long as you are comfortable with who you are, who cares what other people think of you."

"Well you are probably right. One last thing, do you think that a straight person can be turned gay." Matt looked at Chase with a confused look on his face. "What I mean is take our group for example. Now here is a house with three gay couples living in it, and at the same time, you have Tony, Jeremy, Andy Jr. when he is around, and me living in the house. By being around so much gay stuff, can any of us straight guys start to think gay thoughts or have gay emotions and feelings?"

Matt started to laugh, which angered Chase. "I am sorry for laughing, but that is the craziest question I have ever been asked. No Chase, no one can change who they are no matter if they are straight or gay. Even by hanging around the other, it can't happen. It's not contagious! So whoever is telling you this or got you thinking this, just stop it! There is nothing for you or anyone to worry about living in a house with one, two, three or ten gay couples."

"I know you are right Matt, I should stop listening to people when they come up and whisper in my ear. They are the stupid ones, not our group. We have become a family and they have no idea what it is to be part of a family like we have. Please don't mention this to anyone; they might think I'm crazy."

Matt made it clear to Chase that he wasn't going to say a word. Once they reached the others, Matt started to talk with the guys on a totally different subject as he unlocked the doors of the SUV. On the way to work, Chase tried to stay involved in the conversation, but kept falling into his own little world.

Chase kept thinking about what his feelings were the last couple of days when he was around Ethan. If they are what he thinks they are, he can't act of them. The only way he knows how to get rid of those feelings was by getting himself a girlfriend. There was no doubt in his mind that he was just lonely. After all, he hadn't dated since Linda and he broke up.

Ron couldn't believe it when the boys walked in to work. He thought that he was going to have to shut down another evening since his crew would be going to the hospital. As they clocked in, Ron walked up and thanked them for coming into work and gave them their assigned stations before heading back to his office.

A few minutes later, Matt joined Ron in the office to see if he needed him out on the floor to catch up with anything that they had fallen behind on. The shop was closed on Wednesday without anything being done in second shift. On top of that, he and Alex didn't come in yesterday either. That had to put the print jobs behind schedule.

"Ron I know what happened this week has put us behind schedule. So wherever you need me to do to get us caught up, I will do. I also know that we can't afford to anger our customers while we are trying to build a customer base." Matt leaned against the door fame of Ron's office waiting to see where he needed him.

"You and Alex are weird, man you two are weird. Neither of you can get used to being the boss and me being your employee. Here you are asking me to boss my boss around. Yes I know the business, but you own this company. You two need to get used to being the boss so you make these kinds of decisions.

As far as falling behind, we are still ahead of schedule thanks to what this crew did at the beginning of the week. So don't worry about us being behind schedule. If that ever happens, I will let you know. Now come on in and take a seat. I have something for you and Alex that will probably knock your socks off."

Matt looked at Ron trying to figure out what he was talking about. He sat down in the chair watching Ron pull out several folders. He opened the folders and pulled out two sealed envelopes and handed one of them to him.

"As you know we have been working on making payroll and buying the supplies that we need to keep this shop going. Now we are finally running this shop in the black and the accountant that deals with payroll sent these over today. What you have in your hand is your first paycheck check after paying everything."

Matt just held the envelope in his hand, afraid to open it. "Do you know how much I got paid? I know it can't be a lot because we are still getting a customer base built here. We also have to pay back the loans that Jacob has given us to keep the doors open on this place. To tell you the truth, I didn't think we would get anything until we had been in business at least for six months."

"To tell you the truth I have no idea what you and Alex got paid. It is none of my business what my bosses get paid. Just like, it is none of our employees' business what each of them make, you, Alex or me. I know if you deliver this to Alex, it will make him feel a lot better seeing his hard work paying off."

Ron leaned over his desk and handed Matt the second envelope. Matt thanked Ron as he put the envelopes in his pocket. He didn't want to open his until he is with Alex. He felt that they should open their first paychecks together since they had been sweating over this business together.

The rest of the shift, Matt worked with Ron getting together the next print job. The others worked even harder than normal. Although Ron didn't say anything, they knew by missing Wednesday, the shop had to close. That couldn't make Ron happy because it was the second time in a month that they didn't show up for work.

On the way to the hospital, Matt couldn't think straight. When they got there, they would only have an hour or so to visit and there was so much Matt needed to tell Alex. He also wanted to give Alex his check so they could open them together. That way Alex would feel better about everything he was doing.

Right now it seems that all he was doing was working, giving, working and nothing was coming back. Matt started to think no wonder that Alex was doing what he was right now. Being good is not really paying off for him. When he gets the pay check in his hands, he will see that his hard work is paying off.



{Once I start writing out the chapter, I can't seem to stop myself. This story is growing so much and so fast, I can't find stopping points anymore at the end of the chapters. Before I had to drag out each plot in order to make a chapter, but now the story has so many plots, I can't fit them all in!

Where I let off in the last chapter I know was mean of me. Then I go and wrote out "Jacob Finding His Way", chapter fifty eight and had to really watch what I wrote in order not to give away what is going on with Alex's story. I dropped some nuggets, but nothing to give away if Alex came out of the coma or not. I hope none of you thought I was going to kill off the main character, because if you did, you were wrong.

As we can see, that came out of the coma early Thursday morning. When he did, he wasn't worried about what had happened, because he trusts Dr. Whitmore. Now a days that is ware to find a patient trusting their doctor to that point. Alex woke up as if he was waking up to go to school. Let's hope nothing like that happens again.

But when it looked like everything was going good, I threw in another curve ball. You guys should have seen this curve ball coming. I gave you so many clues; you should have picked up on it. From Alex and Carlos beating up Loraine's boyfriend to Dabria appearing out of no where, the clues were there. So when the four kids tried to kill Alex, it shouldn't have been a surprise.

Alex is a very strong guy that can't be taken down easily. He has to be because he survived for a long time in the gang life. Many kids that have grown up like Alex normally don't make it out of their teenage years alive. So when these four came in, no one should have bet against Alex. Once they made the mistake of not holding him down, that was it for them. Sad that a couple of them died, but they chose that way of life.

Now I went back and forth on Dabria and landed where I did with her. There is no doubt I could have sold the gang on finding Alex by him fighting, but how did they know about him being in the hospital? Like the gang member said, they went to his high school and found out. But remember back to being in high school, did you know everyone in your school? I sure didn't. So these guys couldn't just walk up to anyone to get their answer.

They knew Dabria from the detention facility and knew that they could get the information they needed from her. It is sad that Carlos' girlfriend landed up being the biggest bitch in his life. She wanted to run the school without finding out if Carlos wanted the same thing. Then she thought that he will betray his life-long friend. Boy was she wrong. When it was all said and done, she ended up losing a lot more than she probably ever thought she would.

Finally Matt and Alex are getting paid for all their hard work. We still don't know how much, but they did get paid. I know you have been reading a while about the working, but they have not gotten paid yet. I agree with Matt, when Alex sees his paycheck, he will see that hard honest work pays off. Between the paycheck and coming to terms on almost losing his life, Alex will be more careful in the future. He will at times be the old Alex, but I don't think anywhere near how he has been the last couple of weeks.

I know there are so many other open plots out there and as soon as Alex gets out of the hospital, they will come back. Steve and Robert will be back. Along with Lorenzo and Ismail we will see more and more of them. Plus the love scenes will be there between Alex and Matt as well as Steve and Robert. So don't worry, the story is just beginning.

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'm glad Alex didn't stay in the coma very long and that when he came out he was OK. I was sure Alex being young and in good shape that he would be fine.

I wasn't surprised when the gang found Alex, however I was surprised that they found him at the hospital. That raised major questions in my mind real fast. I will say that I didn't make the Dabria connection like I should have. I actually thought Carlos had screwed up and shot his mouth off when he shouldn't.

The question I have is will Alex and Carlos ever be truly free of the gang influence as long as they live in El Paso? El Paso is just not that big of a town where someone who's being sought can be invisible.

Under usual circumstances it would have most likely been Alex that figured out Dabria's mal intent. It's quite interesting to me that it was Matt that figured it out and then engineered Dabria's confession and downfall. I didn't have Matt figured as having the street smarts that he displayed in this situation. Now, I guess I sold him short. It seems that Matt's got a lot more depth than I realized seeing as he lets Alex take the point most of the time. He sure put the puzzle together masterfully. I hope that Alex will recognize this and express his gratitude to Matt.

Ahhh...the first paycheck! I am anxious to find out just how well the guys did. I agree that this will be the frosting on the cake for Alex. He needs positive feedback and gratification in anything he undertakes. It is vital that he feels even small victories from his efforts to live his life the right way. Alex has a ton of support in his family and extended family; even from others in his life like Principal Michaels and Ron, but something tangible is going to seal the deal, I suspect.

Here's hoping this finds each of you doing well and happy and with love in your life!

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick