Written by J.P.G.

{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, 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 any way, shape or form without the author's expressed written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Love Scenes Written By: Daddy Rick

Edited By: Daddy Rick

Chapter 34

Unable to take his eyes off of Jacob, Alex kept apologizing over and over again through his sobs. At first Jacob couldn't understand him. No one was able to because Alex's sobs muffled what he was saying. After third or forth time apologizing, Jacob and the others put what he was saying together. They followed Alex's eyes over to Jacob's body and saw that he was looking at all the scars that he inflicted on Jacob. When Dewayne realized what Alex was looking at, he quickly grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Jacob's body.

In between figuring out what Alex was saying and looking at, Matt tried to console his boyfriend, but Alex pushed him away. He started to shake really bad, his cries started to get even louder and no one had any idea how to help him. Jacob finally fell to his knees and pulled Alex into him in hopes he could calm Alex down.

As Jacob held onto Alex, Alex wrapped his arms around Jacob, holding him as tight as he could. This time it wasn't Alex repeating the same words over and over again as the guys held each other, it was Jacob. He kept telling Alex there is nothing for him to be apologizing for. In Jacob's mind he was speaking the God's honest truth.

Not understanding what was unfolding before his eyes, Lorenzo went running into the house. He found his mother in the kitchen talking with Gloria and Virginia. Franseca turned and knew that something was wrong before Lorenzo said a word. The mixed look of being scared and worried on Lorenzo's face told Franseca something was terribly wrong.

She turned to look Lorenzo in the face. "What is going on Lorenzo, did someone get hurt?" Still not saying anything, Franseca started to get scared. "Tell me what is going on Lorenzo. Tell me why you are so scared, please tell me!"

"Mom there is something wrong with Alex. He fell or something because he is on his knees crying!" Lorenzo finally finding his tongue he spoke still trying to catch his breath. "You need to go out to the yard and help Alex. He won't let anyone near him."

Franseca got up from her chair so fast  she knocked it on the ground. Running as fast as she could, she ran out to the yard. As she got outside, she could hear her son crying, but she couldn't see him with everyone surrounding him. Finding the strength to move on, she ran past those that were in her way and reached Alex and Jacob.

Dewayne, trying to give Alex some privacy, pulled everyone into the house, leaving only Alex, Jacob, Matt and Franseca in the backyard. As they left, Franseca kneeled down and pulled Alex from Jacob and held him like she did when he was a baby. Not saying a word, she just rocked him as she held him tight.

It was so quiet in the yard  you could hear the breeze blowing the trees back and forth. When Franseca felt Alex was ready to walk on his own, she got up, almost lifting Alex up on her own. They walked slowly to the house, still not saying a word. Matt held the door open for Franseca and Alex. Once they walked in the house, they made their way to the living room and sat down on the couch.

No one said a word. They just sat there, Franseca, Alex and Matt on the couch, Jacob in the chair next to the couch. Alex wasn't crying as loud as he was in the backyard, but he was still crying on his mothers shoulder. Little by little Alex stopped crying. Even then, no one said a word. They waited for Alex to say something first.

After almost twenty minutes of silence, Alex spoke up. "I never knew how much bad I did to you Jacob!" Alex broke away from his mother and looked at Jacob. "I mean I knew what I did, but I never saw it with my own eyes. Everyone told me about your scars, but it took me seeing the scars for myself for it to hit home. I am sorry for what I did and no matter what you say; there is no way I could ever make up for what I did."

Jacob got up from the chair, walked over to Alex and kneeled in front of him. "You are not the person you were over two years ago. That Alex is dead, and this Alex sitting in front of me replaced the bad Alex. This Alex before me is a caring, loving, do no harm to anyone person. You have no need to be sorry for anything or feel that you need to make up anything to me or anyone for that matter."

Reaching over to Alex's hand, Jacob picked it up and placed it on one of the scars. "I know you have heard me say this many times before, but I will never get tired saying it. You saved my life the day this happened. I was feeling sick, but refused to go and see a doctor. Because of this, my cancer was found. I am alive today because of you, Alex!

If anyone that should be in someone's debt, it should me in yours." Alex started to tear up again as Jacob spoke. "You can't beat yourself up for what happened in the past. You have turned your life around and now you are a better person; a person anyone would be proud to have as a friend. I know I am and everyone in that house is."

Alex hung onto every word Jacob said. He started to explore Jacob's scars. Seeing that some of them were the gunshot wounds, but some of them are where they opened him up to do surgery for his cancer. Although not all the scars on Jacob's body were because of him, he still felt bad that some were.

"I wish I never lived the life I had. But if I didn't live that life, we would never have become friends. Don't get me wrong, I wish we became friends like everyone else does. Still I am glad   we are sitting here as friends Jacob."

"You know what you and I have been through; I can say without a doubt there are no other friends out there have gone through anything even similar  Alex. We came out of the other end better people. Just look what you recently did for me. You now have a scar on your body because of me. Whenever I see that scar, I will always be reminded the sacrifice you made to give me another chance in life. Until the day we leave this world, we both have scars that will never let us forget our past."

They sat there talking until Alex was able to face the others. Franseca and Matt even got into the conversation after a while. Slowly Jacob moved away from what brought them into the house. As Jacob moved the conversation away from the scars, he put on his shirt. Alex didn't even realize what Jacob was doing. Before they knew it, they were laughing and joking around with each other.

Alex got up and told the other three they better get out there before their family and friends send in the swat team. Franseca, Jacob and Matt laughed as they headed out of the house. None of them asked Alex if he was okay to join the others because they knew he was. They walked out together and joined the others.

Alex couldn't believe no one looked at him weird or asked him if he was okay. He was happy that they didn't, but it still surprised him. Matt went over and got pizza for him and Alex, while Alex just sat there listening to what everyone was discussing. It didn't take long for Alex and Matt to get into the conversation.

Before the guys knew it, they had talked for over an hour. Those that were swimming before the pizza arrived jumped back into the pool leaving Alex and Jacob sitting together pool side. Thinking about Alex, Jacob decided against swimming. Although by the looks of it, Alex is okay now and won't fall part again if he sees Jacob without a shirt. Still Jacob didn't want to take any chances; he cares too much for his friend Alex.

The rest of the afternoon went off with out anything else going wrong. After eating dinner, everyone found their way back to the pool. Alex felt bad that Jacob ended up taking everyone home that needed a ride, but his mother didn't want him driving. So after everyone that wasn't staying the night left, the rest that were staying made their way to the TV room. They selected a movie and relaxed with their partners for the rest of the evening.

Alex noticed Matt was falling asleep as they watched the third movie of the night. He looked at the clock and saw it was almost three in the morning. Although he didn't feel tired he was emotionally drained. He didn't want to close his eyes for the fear that everything he was feeling earlier would come back up.

Knowing Matt the way he does, Alex knows that he is forcing himself to stay awake for him. Alex felt bad, so he got up, pulling Matt with him. As they walked off to their room, Matt leaned against Alex for support. Half awake and half asleep, Matt held onto Alex as they walked into their room.

Gently Alex sat Matt down on the bed and started getting him ready for bed. He pulled off Matt's shoes, then his shirt and finally his pants, leaving Matt just in his boxers and white socks. Placing his hand on the back of Matt's head, Alex laid his sleeping boyfriend on the bed and covered him up.

Alex just stood at the edge of the bed, watching Matt sleep. He started thinking that the main reason he was able to change like Jacob said earlier was because of this guy. Alex tried several times before to change, but it never lasted. Yes, his father was alive and yes his father kept pulling him back into the gang. But he could have said `no' and what could his father have done? After all, his father was locked up for life. No it was because of Matt giving him the strength he needed to actually change and stay that way.

Getting undressed, Alex bumped into the dresser. He had turned off the light where it didn't disturb Matt as he slept. Luckily Matt didn't wake up when Alex hit the dresser, he didn't even move. Alex crawled into bed and got as close to Matt as he could. As he laid his head down on his pillow, the thing Alex feared would happen, happened.

All the emotions he felt when he saw Jacob scars for the first time came rushing back to the surface. Not wanting to wake up Matt, Alex pressed his face into the pillow to muffle his cries, but it was too late. Alex's muffled cries did wake up Matt. He pulled Alex into him as he wrapped his arms around Alex's chest. Matt didn't say a word, he just held Alex tight. They both drifted off to sleep, not waking up again till the late morning.

The knocking on the door pulled Carlos out of his dream. Little by little he came alive and realized that he wasn't dreaming. There his actually someone knocking on his door. Half asleep, Carlos asked who was there, but whoever was knocking on the door didn't hear Carlos. By the third time asking, Carlos was yelling as he tried to cover his head with his pillow. He had hoped by putting the pillow of his head, he wouldn't hear the knocking. It didn't work. He heard his step father telling him that he has visitors.

Tossing the pillow to the side, Carlos pulled himself out of his bed. He reached down to the floor and picked up the t-shirt he was wearing the day before and put it on. As he stretched, Carlos got out of the bed pulled on a pair of gym shorts and started making his way to the living room to see who needed to speak with him. When he reached the front door, he snapped completely awake. Standing there, looking like an angel is Kimberly.

"I am so sorry if I woke you up Carlos! I told your dad if you were still asleep, not to wake you up." Kimberly stopped talking when Carlos's anklet caught her eye.

Carlos knew what she was looking at, and tried to cover it up with his other leg. He doesn't understand her looking at the anklet as if it is the first time she has seen it. She was at the pool yesterday and in return she should have seen his and the others. When Kimberly kept looking after he covered his leg with his other, it made Carlos uneasy.

"Don't worry about waking me up. I should have been up a lot earlier, but I guess my mother decided to let me sleep in. Let me go change, splash some water on my face and hair. I will be right back and we can figure out what to do." Carlos turned to walk away, but realized he was being rude. "Kimberly you can sit in the living room while I get ready. Do you want anything to drink while you wait?"

Carlos turned to look at Kimberly. "No I am fine, thank you. I will wait for you before getting something to drink." Kimberly started to walk into the living room when she turned and caught Carlos by surprise. "By the way Carlos, I wasn't looking at that thing you have on your leg. I love how big your thighs and legs are! Do you play sports?"

Turning all shades of red, Carlos answered Kimberly. He explained that he did run a lot when he was growing up, but not on a school team. His running he did was for a totally different reason. She didn't catch the meaning of what Carlos was saying, but didn't ask for him to explain either. All she said back was to call her Kim, not Kimberly.

Once Carlos made it to his room, he quickly got out of his shorts and t-shirt and put on a clean pair of jeans and shirt. Trying to change as fast as he could, he was held up since most of his stuff was still in boxes. After finding his box that he has his socks in, he grabbed a pair, put them on and then his shoes.

Trying to make sure Kim didn't have to wait too long alone, Carlos went running to the bathroom. Realizing it was taking to much time splashing water on his face, Carlos dunked his head under the running water. After drying off, Carlos combed his hair and brushed his teeth before rejoining Kim in the living room.

When he walked in, he found his mother talking to Kim. He walked over and sat on the couch next to her. Kim turned and smiled at Carlos. What she did next, surprised him even more than when she told him what she was actually looking at earlier. She placed her hand on Carlos knee and kept it there.

"Well Carlos I will get you breakfast. Is your young lady friend going to have breakfast with you as well?"  Carlos mom asked as she got up.

"I would love to have breakfast. The great thing being  young  , I can eat and not worry about putting on weight. I know I better enjoy it now, because very soon I will be doing everything in the book to stay thin!"

Carlos chuckled as his mother left the room. Kim turned to face Carlos. "I want you to know I don't freak out like other girls do. The reason I just said that is because I don't want you to feel that you need to watch what to say or do around me. Before we met that first night, I knew who you were. Heck the entire school knows about you, Alex and the other two that have the same thing on their legs. I don't care you have it.

Ever since you started going to Newman, I have been looking at you. Nothing weird, I just think you are very handsome. I never thought you would even look at me since we walk in different circles, but when you moved next door, well, just let me say I hoped we'd get to know each other. Who knows what will happen? But it should be fun!"

All that Carlos could do after hearing what Kim just said is sit there with his mouth wide open. The words he was thinking didn't reach his tongue. Moments later, Carlos's mom called him and Kim in to eat. On their way to the kitchen, neither of them said a word. Carlos was still trying to learn how to talk again so Kim didn't get his thoughts about wanting to get to know her as well.

Carlos wanted to spend the day with Kim in private but his parents didn't let it happen. They made it clear to him that he had no wiggle room on what he is going to do. The conversation embarrassed Carlos to the point he couldn't look at Kim, but once again Kim surprised him. She stayed and helped Carlos finish the unpacking.

At eleven Franseca went and woke up Alex and Matt. She made it clear that she wanted them up, showered and dressed in thirty minutes. Doing as his mom asked, Alex and Matt quickly got up. Since they didn't have much time to get ready, they couldn't take separate showers. As they showered, both of the boys had raging hard-ons. Knowing they didn't have much time, they did their business and got out, ignoring what they really wanted to do.

When they walked into the kitchen, Franseca had breakfast on the table. "Boys I made some calls this morning to get permission for you to go to Juarez." Both Alex and Matt looked at Franseca stunned. "Of course I lied and told them a family member is very ill, but there was no other way to get permission for you guys to go on such short notice. Anyway, there isn't a way they can check to see if I was telling the truth."

Alex knew better than to argue with his mother. They ate their breakfast and headed out. Since Alex doesn't know J-Town that well, Franseca drove. As they drove across the bridge, Alex looked over to the bridge coming back. He couldn't believe how long the lines were already. As the day wears on, those lines are only going to get bigger.

Matt was more glued to the window than anyone, as they drove into J-Town since he really never has seen much of this town. Several times Franseca had to slam on her brakes because some idiot would not even bother to put on their blinkers, they just got in front of her. He could hear Franseca cursing under her breath, which made Matt laugh.

As they drove further into J-Town, Matt figured one thing out. There is no way he could ever drive here. First the drivers here don't know how to drive. Secondly the lanes are not   marked on the road so no one knows where the lanes are at. And finally, he doesn't have the fast reflexes. If anyone cut in front of him like they are doing to Franseca; he would get into a car crash.

What seemed to be hours to Alex, it was only forty minutes. Franseca turned off the main road, onto a dirt road. At this point everyone's faces were glued to the window. Not one of the roads was paved, which made the drive very bumpy. All the houses, if you want to call them houses, weren't numbered. So Alex had no idea how his mom knew where she was going. At this point even Alex was lost.

Finally after another ten minutes of driving down several different dirt roads, Franseca pulled up to a shack. As Alex got out, he looked at the house before him. It looked to him if a gust of wind would to come, it would blow the house down. Parts of this house were made out of concrete, other parts of the house were made out of wood and then other parts were made with metal siding. There is no way Alex thought this house could be safe.

Before they could take two steps into the yard, several kids came running out of the house calling Alex's mom `aunty' in Spanish. They hugged her tight before running back into the house. As they ran in, several adults walked out. Franseca smiled at them as they walked up to each other and hugged.

After they hugged, Franseca turned and spoke. "Well, come over here boys and say hello to your aunts and uncles. Don't you remember them Alex?" Alex shook his head no. "Maybe you were too young the last time you saw them. I know for sure Lorenzo and Ismail were just babies the last time we got down here."

Alex walked up to his aunts and uncles and hugged them. They talked to Alex in Spanish, and he understood most of it. He introduced Matt to them, but not as his boyfriend. Not because he wanted to hide Matt and his relationship, he did it because he had no idea how they would react. If anything he has learned to get to know people before letting them in. Heck they might be just like his father and want to kill him for being gay.

When all the introductions were done, they walked into the house. Trying not to be mean, Alex thought that inside actually looked worse than the outside. The floor was dirt, the ceiling was plywood, along with the walls and by the looks of it the house couldn't be any bigger than three, maybe four bedrooms.

As they walked into the second room in the house, there was an older couple sitting in chairs with blankets wrapped around them. As they looked up, Alex could see life wasn't to kind to them. He also recognized them. These two he remembers seeing  before at their old house right before his dad was arrested.

The memory came to him as if it happened yesterday. It was late in the evening, the sun had just started going down when they drove up. Alex was sitting at the side of the house when they walked up to his dad and started yelling at him in Spanish. He could remember that they were very angry with his dad and they didn't fear who he was.

They argued with his dad over the way he was taking care of their daughter and grand children. Over and over again Franseca's dad told his son-in-law to be a man and support his family. Stop acting like a little kid and grow up. If he didn't leave the gang, he will end up leaving his family with out a man to take care of them.

Then his dad did something Alex would never forget. He jumped off the porch and swung at his father in law. He connected, but that was the last punch he connected that evening. His grandfather wiped the ground with his father. When the dust settled, his dad laid on the ground with a bloody lip, broken nose and a black eye. The worst wasn't the cuts and bruises his dad got that evening, it was that an old guy had got the best of him.

Alex got pulled out of his thoughts when his mom patted him on the shoulder to say hello to his grandparents. As Alex walked over to his grandparents, they got up. They embraced him while telling him that he is a spitting image of his father. This is not the first time he heard that and it won't be the last time.

"Although you look like your father, in here you are like your mother." Alex's grandpa, Mario, pounded his chest. "Never become what you father became. He was a good man, but he allowed others to control his life. He believed a man was a man when that man broke the law and caused problems for others. He was wrong there, because what makes a man is his family and true friends that stick by him no matter what happens or where you stand."

Franseca asked her father to leave her kids' father alone. Out of respect to the memory of the man, Franseca's father sat down and stopped talking about him. Since there was only a couch in the room, besides the two chairs Alex's grandparents were sitting in, Alex, Matt and his brothers sat on the ground. Franseca sat on the couch as they talked.

At first Alex couldn't figure out why after all this time his mother wanted to visit her family. Then it happened, Alex's grandparents surprised him. After talking about the business they own, Mario moved the conversation to love life. Alex thought that he might have to lie to his grandparents, but he didn't.

"So I understand you two young boys have been together less then a year." Mario looked directly at Alex and Matt. "You guys look good together. I am glad that you found someone that you could love Alex. That person you are going to spend the rest of your life with is very hard to find, but when you do find that person, hold on to them. Look at me and your grandmother; we have been married now for forty-four years. That is something that is very uncommon to find today."

First Alex couldn't believe that not only his grandparents knew that he was gay, but had no problem with it. Now he is kicking himself for not introducing Matt as his boyfriend when he first arrived. And the other thing that surprised him is how long his grandparents have been together. Alex hopes he can be where his grandparents are with Matt forty- four years from now talking to their grand children.

"Thank you grandpa, yeah Matt and I have been together less then a year, but I really do love him. I can see us together until we leave this world. We have been through a lot together in such a short period of time. Since we have survived what has been already been thrown at us, there is really nothing that could break us apart."

They went on talking about several topics for another hour, ignoring the elephant in the room. Alex could see that there was something weighing on his grandpa's mind. What it is, he doesn't know, but it looks like he wants to get it off his chest.

Getting a little restless, Alex got up from the ground to stretch. "Why don't you and I Alex walk down to the corner store to get some sodas to drink?" Mario got up from his chair. "We will be right back. Don't talk about me behind my back while I am gone. Wait until I get back so I can defend myself."

Mario leaned in and kissed his wife before walking out. Alex followed his grandfather out of the house and down the dirt road. At first they walked in silence, but soon Mario broke the silence. Alex was surprised that he grandpa started talking to him in English.

"I know it had to be hard on you the way you grew up. Your father was telling you to live one way and your mother was pulling you another direction. At the end though, it looks like you picked the right road. I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but your father and I never saw eye-to-eye on anything. Maybe I was old fashioned, but we never got along.

You knew what your father was and did. Your brothers are still too young and they will never see it. I want you to always remember how your father lived and died. His entire family lived and died that way. If you remember that, you will stay out of trouble for the remainder of your life."

"I understand where you are coming from grandpa. I really let my mom down a lot growing up, but I am trying to make up for that. It just seems sometimes I can't do anything right. I feel I am walking on egg shells and they are about to break. I am afraid if I break the egg shells, I am going to go back to jail."

Mario stopped and turned to face Alex. "I want you to listen to me and listen well! I am only going to say this once. Although you carry your fathers last name, you have my family blood in your veins as well. That alone should give you the strength to get through the hard times. Trust me, there still are going to be hard times to come in your life.

Yes you messed up, but you have seen the error of your ways; something that your father refused to do! That is why he ended up where he did and you ended up where you are. You stop thinking you are walking on egg shells, and just live. Do what is right and help your mother, be honest and faithful to your boyfriend and work for what you get in life. If you do those things, you will never again see the walls of a prison."

Alex understood what his grandfather was talking about. He didn't understand why, but he opened up to his grandfather. Right there in the middle of the dirt road, Alex told his grandfather everything. Not leaving a thing out, he talked about the gang wanting to kill him, all the way to what had happened to him yesterday.

"I want you to look around Alex. This place may look like crap, but to us it is a palace. Everything we have we have because we worked our butts off to get. Nothing was handed to us or we stole. It might not be much, but it is ours. The reason I am telling you this is that everyone that was in the gang your father and you belonged to came from here, from this neighborhood.

I never was part of a gang, but I grew up with those that did join. One thing I never told your father is that I knew people in his gang. In fact one of my childhood friends is one of the higher ups. He is higher than your father was and his father was. At any time if I wanted to end your father's climb in the gang, I could have.

You don't have to worry about the gang coming after you. I will pull in all the favors that are owed to me and talk to my friend to have the gang leave you alone. You are my blood and I don't want anything to happen to you. I want you to grow old without worrying what lurks around every your turn. That is no way to live."

Alex was lost for words. Even after hearing what his grandfather just said, he couldn't believe it. Every time when it looked like things were over, it got worse. It isn't that he doesn't believe that his grandfather can get it done. Its just things haven't worked out in his life when he plans it. So he stopped planning the future and just lived each day as it came, hoping another day will follow.

"Now as far as what happened to you yesterday, don't think of yourself as less of a man. In fact you are more of a man than many will ever be in their life time. You showed that you have a heart and the hurt you caused bothers you. You wish you could take it back, but since you can't, you did the next best thing by asking for forgiveness."

"Thank you grandpa for everything you said and are willing to do. It means a lot to me that you are going to help me fix the mess I got myself in. I promise you, just like my mom, I will never return to that life that my father wanted for me. I want the life my mom wants me to live. I have lived it the last several months and I don't want to lose it."

"I believe   what you have told me here today. I will help you, but when it is all said and done it will be up to you to stay away from the old life. You have family and friends that will always be here for you no matter what, so there is no excuse." Mario smiled at Alex as he started walking. "Enough with this let me spend time with my grandson without all this gloom and doom."

They continued to talk as they walked into the store. When Alex heard his grandpa say corner store, he was thinking Seven-Eleven, but boy was he wrong. There corner store is s room that is part of a house. He had everything a person would need, but it was not what Alex was expecting to see.

The cold items like eggs, milk or drinks were in a drop down refrigerator that barely kept the items cold. Then the other items like bread tortillas, cereal, candy, potato chips and a few can items were mixed in the two rows that barely fit in the small room that the owner of the house turned into the corner store. Alex put on a happy face and helped his grandfather get the drinks and chips.

When they got to the counter, Alex told his grandfather he wanted to pay. But when Alex presented the guy a twenty dollar bill after he added everything up, he couldn't accept it. He didn't have change for the twenty in either dollar or peso. Mario handed the cashier a few coins and they were out the door.

On the way back to the house, Alex noticed several people lined up to a faucet on the corner. He asked his grandfather why they were waiting to get water, and the answer he got shouldn't have surprised him. From everything he has seen since he and his family drove up, nothing should catch Alex off guard here.

"Most of the homes here..." His grandfather started to explain, "don't have running water or electricity in them. So they have to come down here with jugs to fill whenever they want water. Whenever they need electricity, normally one of the neighbors on either side of them would let them hook an electric cord in one of their outlets. But don't think the neighbor is doing that out of kindness. They charge the person for that use."

Trying not to show his grandfather that he was stunned about the news, Alex moved the conversation along. He asked his grandfather if he had running water and electricity in his house. When Mario said yes, Alex felt a little better. Before Alex could ask another question, they walked into the house.

Alex got into the conversation, he and the rest lost track of time. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation, the ladies got up and left the room. Shortly after they left, Franseca came back to let them know that the food is ready. Alex helped his grandfather up as they headed to the kitchen.

This room is actually smaller than the room they were just in. So the young kids stood and ate. While the adults sat at the small table in the middle of the room. When they finished eating, Alex stayed in the kitchen to help his mother clean up like he does at home. Except this time Franseca didn't let him lift a finger. Her sisters and mother were there and helping her clean.

Alex was about to leave, when his mother called for him. "Alex I have a question and I need you to be completely honest with me. Your grandparents are starting to get up   in age and living in this house isn't helping them. At the same time they are very proud people that won't take a hand out. I would like to take them to our house, but do you think that Jacob and his grandfather will get mad?"

"Mom there is no way Jacob or Al would get mad if our family comes down. Don't forget they always preach about family and all that."

"I know that they believe in the idea of a family, but our family isn't their family. Jacob and Al don't have to worry about my mom or sisters because they will help out in the house and not ask for pay. I really need the help now since the house is a lot bigger than it was when I first started working there. And as far as your grandparents, they will stay in our house and will not bother Jacob and his family."

"Mom if you need help with the house, you need to tell Jacob. I know he will understand because he can see that the house is a lot bigger than it was. Plus don't forget about our business. There is no doubt in my mind that I will be able to find something for them to do if they want a job to make money."

"Thank you Alex! I wanted to run this by you before I asked them to come down and stay with us. The only thing left is to discuss sleeping arrangements. For now we will leave it alone until your grandparents, aunts and uncles say yes. There is no need to talk about something that might not need to be changed if they say no."

Alex agreed with his mother and left her to talk with her sisters and mother. He found Matt with his grandfather and his brothers with his cousins outside playing soccer. Instead of joining Matt and his grandfather, Alex went outside to join the game. The main reason he did that was to let Matt and his grandfather have alone time so they could talk and get to know each other. Once his grandfather gets to know Matt, Alex knows his grandfather will like Matt as much as he does.

Shortly after Alex joined the game, Matt came out wanting to join, but couldn't because the teams were even. Mario felt bad that Matt had to watch instead of playing, so he asked to join in. At first Alex didn't play ruff with him, but Mario soon showed that he can still play the game at his old age.

By the time those that were coming back with Alex and his family packed a bag, it was already getting dark. As they were loading the SUV, Alex's grandmother was pulling out items to cook for dinner. Franseca stopped her mother and explained to her that it would be a lot easier if they would just grab something when they cross over to El Paso.

As they drove off, the SUV was packed. They barely had enough room with their extra passengers. Franseca was able to talk her parents, both of her sisters into going back with her. One of her sisters wasn't going to go unless her kids were allowed. Franseca had no problem with that. The only ones that stayed were their uncles. They have jobs, but they don't make enough money to get close to supporting a family. Still they didn't want to abandon their jobs since they are hard to get in J-Town.

Just like Alex thought when they were crossing over, it took them forever to get back across. They moved slower than a snail and several times people forced themselves in. Thinking the line they were in was moving faster than theirs. After spending close to two hours on the bridge, they finally got across.

On their way home, they went through the drive-through at McDonalds. Alex's cousins acted like they were at Disney World when they were given their happy meals. Alex never saw anyone get that excited over a plastic toy. But again Alex has never lived like his cousins and family in Juarez lives.

When they got home, Alex went to speak with Jacob and Al after he ate. As he headed over to the main house, Matt and Mario unloaded the SUV. Since they don't know the sleeping arrangements yet, they laid the bags in the hallway. Lorenzo, Ismail and their two cousins went over to the game room to play video games.

Alex found Al sitting in the kitchen like he always does before heading off to bed. Before going to find Jacob, Alex made sure Al could spare some time before calling it a night. When Al had no problem waiting, Alex went looking for Jacob and found him in the TV room. Alex didn't have to ask twice, Jacob got up and walked over to the kitchen.

They sat down and Alex started. He explained what they did today, which made Al happy. When Alex reached what he wanted to ask Al and Jacob, his voice went low. He got so low that Al asked Alex to repeat what he was saying, but say it louder. Alex looked straight into Al's and Jacob's eyes.

"My mom didn't like the way her parents and sisters are living. So she asked them to come back with us. They won't get in the way, but they will be staying with us. We will make room for them in our part of the house and pay for everything they use. It's just my mom felt since her parents are getting old, she didn't want them living..."

"Look Alex I agree with your mother on bringing them over." Al interrupted Alex as he tried to explain what they did. "There is no need to explain anything to me or Jacob. That house is yours and your families. Yes it is now part of the main house, but we are not going to tell you what to do over there. Of course if you are selling drugs or throwing parties, that is a different story." Everyone started to laugh.

Jacob stopped laughing and took a drink of his soda. "Alex your family and that means your family is our family. So of course your family is welcome here. Anyways it might be good that your mother's sisters are here. I have been meaning to talk with Franseca about getting her some help now that my mother, father and sister moved in. I don't know if she is cleaning over there or not, but if she is, she needs help."

Alex felt goose bumps all over his arms when Jacob spoke. His mother said almost the same exact thing to him earlier in the day. That is a little spooky. It is like Jacob and his mother are sharing the same mind at times.

Jacob got up to go back to the TV room thinking that the conversation was over. Then he froze. A thought crossed his mind, the size of Alex's house. He started adding the people they brought back and came to a conclusion there is no way there is enough room in that house for them all. Half of them will be sleeping on the floor. Jacob turned and walked back over to the table.

"I just thought of something. As you know I have a three bedroom apartment downstairs. Why don't you guys take those rooms as well? No one is using them. Plus it will ensure that no one is sleeping on the floor or on the couch."

Alex tried to object, but Jacob wouldn't hear of it. He explained to Alex that those rooms have been closed off and haven't really been used. He can't even remember the last time anyone has slept in one of those rooms since Tony and he did. Alex finally caved and thanked Jacob and Al as he they headed out of the kitchen.

When Alex walked into his kitchen, everyone looked up at him. Everyone except his brothers and cousins were sitting at the table. They all looked nervous as if they were on trial waiting for a verdict. Alex walked over to where Matt was sitting and sat down not saying a word, which made Franseca more nervous.

Then he started to tell them about the conversation he had with Al and Jacob. Midway through the conversation, Franseca couldn't help but smile. As soon as Alex finished talking, Franseca started to figure out the sleeping arrangements. She kept coming back to having her parents and sisters in her part of the house.

She asked Alex if there was an exit out of that basement and when he said yes, that got her worried. She started to lean toward having the kids take up the three rooms in the basement and the adults here in the house, but the private exit was getting her to rethink that idea. She was worried her kids can go and come as they please. That is something she doesn't want due to the fact of the past.

"Mom I know what you are thinking and you don't have to worry. First I have this monitor on my ankle that doesn't let me go anywhere after ten. Second there is a dead bolt on that door that uses a key to unlock on either side. And finally Jacob and Al are the only ones that have that key. So there is no way we can even use that door if we wanted to and didn't have these anklets on us."

"You have to understand why I worry about you guys. I am your mother and I will always worry about all of you no matter if you are still under my roof or in your own homes. Once you are a parent, worries never go away. I trust you Alex, and with that trust I don't care if Jacob or Al gives you the key. Just make sure your little brothers don't get the key. They are still too young and wanting to explore."

That was it; the decision was made as far as sleeping arrangements. As far as the adults, Alex's grandparents will take his and Matt's room and his aunts will take his brothers' rooms since there are two single beds in there. Now the kids will all sleep in the rooms in the basement. Alex and Matt in one, Lorenzo and Ismail in the other and their cousins will take the third room. With this arrangement no one will be sleeping on the floor.

It took some getting used to before Alex and Matt finally fell to sleep. Alex already felt weird living in Jacob's house, but at least before they were living in the part of the home that used to be a home on its own. Now he is actually sleeping under the roof of Jacob's house and that is why he had a hard time falling to sleep.

The moment the alarm clock went off, Alex jumped up from the bed. He remembered that he didn't get his homework done. Before going up for breakfast, he quickly did his homework for the morning classes and figured the rest he will do throughout the day.

He took a quick shower, dressed and went upstairs to join the others at the table. When he sat down, he saw that everyone was looking at his aunt and grandmother. He forgot that the only ones that know about them are Al and Jacob. So there is no surprise that they are wondering who these two other woman are in the kitchen.

"You guys I am sorry that I didn't introduce you to my aunts and grandparents when we came home yesterday. They are going to be..."

Before Alex could explain, they got up and as they handed their plates to Franseca they introduced themselves to Alex's aunt and grandmother. Alex quickly ate his breakfast and ran out to join the others. No one asked or said anything on the way to school. It didn't faze them once they knew who they were.

The morning was like any other Monday morning. The teachers first asked for their homework before going over what they taught on Friday. Once they did that, they moved on to new material. The only time this routine is broken is when there is an assembly, six weeks or semester exams. Other than that, you can predict how the day is going to go.

By mistake Alex and Matt went to their third period classroom, instead of the auditorium like they were instructed. When they found the door locked, Alex and Matt ran to try and beat the final bell and the barely made it. As they walked to the stage, everyone looked at them. Alex couldn't help but wonder what they were looking at.

After taking attendance, Mr. Galey went over where they are as far as the case. Then the student that is playing the judge brought the court into session. The prosecution rested, leaving Alex and Matt to start up their part of the case. They decided since they did a good job with the prosecution, they will only call one witness, Donald.

"Your honor, the defense would like to call the defendant to the stand." Donald got up and made his way to the witness chair. After being sworn in, Alex started. "Please state your full name and occupation for the court."

Donald gave the name of the defendant, not his, and the defendants occupation. "Thank you for that. You know why you are?" Donald said `yes'. "The state is saying that you not only are one of the robbers, but the ring leader of the group. Can you tell the court what group are they talking about?"

"I can't sir, because I am no ring leader or part of any group. I have friends, but like all of us we are not called groups. What I mean we are not a criminal organization that go   around robbing and killing in our free time."

"Several witnesses took the stand and pointed you out as one of the robbers. Can you explain why they think you are one of the robbers?" Donald leaned in and said. "Why can't you explain it sir? After all several witnesses sat where you are sitting today and swore under oath that you were the robber and one even went as far as saying you were the one that was the shooter at the store."

"I don't know why these individuals would come up here and lie like that. I rarely shop at that store and when I do it isn't during the day since I work. There is no way I could have been there robbing the store when I was at work at the time."

Alex walked over to his table and pulled out several pieces of paper. "Your honor I would like to introduce my client's time card as defense exhibit A." The judge allowed it as Alex handed a copy to the prosecution and then to the jury.

"Thank you for bringing that up. I hold in my hand your time card and it shows that you  clocked in at seven in the morning, and then you clocked out for lunch, but never clocked back in. Can you explain why you never clocked back in sir?"

"I went out to have lunch like I always do. On my way back to the office, this police officer drove up, jumped out of his car and demanded me to hit the ground. I didn't ask why because the officer had his gun pointed at me. I figured I wasn't doing anything wrong so he will let me go, but that didn't happen. Instead the police officer placed handcuffs on me and put me in his car without telling me why."

"When were your rights read to you?"

"Not until I asked for them to either arrest me or let me go. They had already taken me to the police station and started asking me questions. Once I saw where these questions were going, I asked them to arrest me. I figured once again since I wasn't the one that did those things, I would be let go, but once again that didn't happen. They read me my rights and charged me with these crimes I am here for today."

"Is this address on your time card the correct address of where you work?" Donald looked at the time card and answered yes. "We know for sure you were working all morning long because of the time card, but let's give the prosecution a little wiggle room here." Alex set up a board with a map of the area of the store and where Donald works.

"The blue mark is where you work and the red mark is where the robbery took place. The green mark is where you were arrested. The way I see it, there is no way, time wise, you could have left your job when you clocked out, got down to the store, committed the robbery and got back here where you were arrested according to the time stamped video of the store?"

"No sir I work at least forty maybe forty-five minutes drive away from the store. That   is without heavy traffic like there is during the lunch hour. There is no way I was there because I was working at the time."

"You know a third grader could see this doesn't add up, I don't know why you were even charged, do you sir?"

"Objection your honor, the defense is making a mockery of these proceedings. I ask the last comments to be stricken from the record and you instruct the jury to disregard what the defense just said." The prosecution jumped up from her seat.

"The objection is sustained. You sir won't start turning this into your own little comedy play." The student judge pointed to Alex. "Either you ask questions about the case or sit down. I am striking the last comments the defense attorney said from the record and instruct the jury to disregard them."

"No problem your honor, I withdraw my question. I am done with this witness." Alex walked back to his seat and sat down.

The student playing the prosecution got up and walked over to Donald. "I have a sister that always runs to work late. Just like you, she has to clock in. In order not to get into any more trouble or lose her job, she has her friend clock her in. Did you have a friend clock you in for work for the day in question?"

"No ma'am, I did not. That has never crossed my mind. If your sister does that, she should not only get fired, but you should be prosecuting her for theft." Everyone started laughing, causing the student judge to keep slamming his gavel down to get order.

"If this is the only proof you have that you were at work, how do we know one hundred percent you were there? Are we to take you word for it? Like I said there are people out there that have their friends clocking them in and out."

"A time card should be enough proof to prove where I was at during the robbery. Like I said, I have never had a friend clock me in and out. I really do not know any other way to tell you I wasn't there at the store."

"Witnesses after witnesses took this stand and said it was you. The video tape shows a person your height, build and eye color. An officer on the job for fourteen years took the stand and said you were the one. Are we to disregard all this testimony and believe it wasn't you because of this time card that could be tampered with?"

"Once again I don't know why those people took the stand and said it was me. Maybe they are confused, scared or just want someone to blame, but it wasn't me. I was working and not robbing, stealing a car or killing people that day."

The prosecution tried to mix up Donald, but couldn't. The more she went after him, the more she looked like a vindictive prosecutor. She was turning the jury more against her and it took one of her co-council members to rein her in. She gave up and sat down. Alex got back up telling the judge he had a few additional questions for his client.

"I have in my hand an inventory list of what you had on the day you were arrested. Before I give a copy of it to the jury, can you tell us what you were wearing that day?"

"Yes I was wearing beige dress slacks, a black button up shirt, with a red tie and brown dress shoes."

Alex handed copied of he inventory list to the jury, one to the judge and one to the prosecution. Then he moved the TV out, turned it on. He ran it until they could get a clear picture of the robber that the prosecution claimed to be Donald.

"I have the video paused on the person that is supposed to be you. I see this person is wearing black jeans, a black shirt with a hood. He also is wearing a mask to cover his face and it looks like black boots of some kind. Did you change your clothes not once, but twice and again somehow get down there and rob this store?"

No meaning to, Donald laughed. "No sir I didn't change my clothes twice and somehow get down there in record breaking time. That can't be done."

Alex ejected the tape and put in another. "This is the video tape from your job. I would like to enter it as defense Exhibit C." The judge nodded his head and Alex turned it on to show the hallway where the time clock is at. "Unless you have a twin out there that you had clock you in like the prosecution's sister has her friend do for her, this has to be you. Am I correct on that observation?"

Alex paused the video right when the guy that Donald is playing reached the time clock. Everyone wanted to get a look, but couldn't unless they walked on the stage. But the jury members were able to see as clearly as if they raised their hands in front of their faces.

"Yes sir that is me. I was clocking in for work right there." Alex fast forwards the tape until the guy reappeared. "That is me clocking out for lunch like I always do."

"According to the time stamp on the tape, you time sheet is correct, am I right?" Donald said yes. "I have nothing further for my witness your honor. Unless the prosecution has other witnesses or proof, I would like to make a motion for dismissal of all charges. The state has not reached their burden; in fact they are so off base my client should not have ever been charged with these crimes."

The prosecution stood up and said they had nothing further. "Although the prosecution has nothing else to present to this court, I feel they have reached the burden to hand this case to the jury. Unless you have another witness, I would like to get closing arguments done today. Do you have another witness?"

Alex couldn't believe that the student judge didn't throw the case out. He answered `no' and sat down. Donald was excused and sat down at the table. The prosecutor got up and started her closing argument. She kept banging away on her witnesses that took the stand and pointed out defendant. She went on to say an officer of fourteen years would not risk his career to lie. She concluded with saying that the defense basically did a magic show with nothing but smoke and mirrors, but nothing proving the defendant innocent.

Now it was Alex's turn, but he didn't have a closing argument written. "I would like to start out by thanking each of you for being on the jury; one of the most important positions in our judicial system! You are true Americans because many try to dodge or wiggle their way out of serving on a jury."

Alex got up and walked to the middle of the stage. "I am not going to be long, because we all heard the same testimony. I don't know what courtroom the prosecution was in, but by her closing statement, it wasn't this one! They simply have the wrong person and the evidence laid out proves that.

Witness after witness they brought up here on the stand and their testimony didn't pan out when I cross examined them. I won't go as far as they were lying, because I don't know if they were. They took the oath, but when I asked them what they saw, they had no idea. I didn't do anything to confuse them. I simply asked them straight out what they saw or did on the day in question.

Don't get me started with the police officer..." Alex went over the testimony of the police officer and showed the big holes in it. He went back over the testimony of each witness and showed the holes in their testimony. Then he reminded the jury about his client's testimony. Once again pounding it in that it was impossible for his client to be the robber in question! Alex went back to the videos to prove his point.

Alex thanked the jury again and sat down. The student playing the judge handed the case over to the jury with ten minutes left in class. Due to not much time being left, Mr. Galey told the classes they will pick this up tomorrow. They all booed at Mr. Galey, but had no other choice but to accept it. The bell rang, leaving Alex worrying because half of the jury is from Mr. Galey's class. All that Alex could hope is they will do what is right.

After school, Jacob took Alex and the guy's home on his way to work. They flew through the house saying hi to everyone before leaving in the SUV. Most of the evening went by fast. There were few hiccups during he shift, but nothing that would delay the print job. When it was time to close up is when the big hiccup occurred.

One of the machines wouldn't stop printing. They tried everything they could think of to get the machine to stop, but nothing worked. Finally Matt went to the main breakers and turned off the electricity to that side of the print shop. After waiting for a few minutes, he turned the breakers back on. When he got back to the machine, there was a huge mess all over the floor, but the machine was off.

Everyone pitched in and boxed the stuff that got printed. As they finished up, Alex went and called Sergio to let him know about the malfunction of the machine. He promised to take a look at the machine in the morning when he gets in. Alex thanked him and hung up. Before closing up the shop, Alex locked out the machine to be on the safe side. That way no one would start the machine by accident. Plus that is the procedure.

When the boys got home, they went straight to eat dinner and to their rooms to do their homework. Mario stopped Alex and Matt to make sure they were alright sleeping down in the basement. He felt bad taking their bed room away without so much as a thank you to them. Now he sees them beat, he feels even worse.

"Grandpa everything is alright. Over the weekend we will go out and buy you guys a bedroom set, nothing expensive but a bedroom set of your own. Then we will move the bedroom set in your room out and into the room that Matt and I are in now. After all you must feel weird sleeping in a bed that Matt and I slept in."

"I have already told you Alex, what you and Matt are, isn't anything to be ashamed of. When your mother came in and changed the sheets, I tried to stop her. Your grandmother and I have no problem sleeping in the bed that you and Matt slept in. I just want to make sure you two are comfortable where you are. If you are not, your grandmother and I will trade rooms with you guys."

"We are fine grandpa; honestly we are fine. It was just a long day at school and then one of the machines gave us problems at work today. It slowed us down, but it didn't knock us off of schedule. Now I have homework to do and get my uniform ready for inspection. So don't worry at all, I want you to be comfortable here."

Mario looked at Alex confused. Alex noticed the confused look and explained what he meant by uniform. After Alex explained, Mario understood. He didn't like the fact that Alex didn't have a choice in the matter of being part of that class, but understood why the principal did what he did. They said their good nights and headed to their rooms.

As Mario walked over to Franseca's part of the house, he didn't notice that he was going down the wrong hallway. Even when he walked into the kitchen he didn't notice it wasn't his daughter's kitchen. When he opened the refrigerator is when he realized that he isn't where he thought he was. Just as he looked around, the light of the kitchen turned on.

Andy Sr. jumped back a couple of steps when he saw the older gentleman bent over in his refrigerator. Mario turned and started to explain in Spanish to Andy Sr. who he was. Lucky for Mario, Andy knew Spanish. After hearing Mario out, Andy Sr. couldn't help himself when he started to laugh. Several times he told Gloria that someone will get lost in this house, and here is this poor older man in the wrong kitchen.

After they introduced themselves to each other, Andy fixed them each a sandwich before grabbing a couple of sodas and joining Mario at the table. They talked some more as they ate. Andy learned a little about where Alex and his family grew up at. Nothing that Mario said could explain why Alex did what he did to Jacob and Andy didn't want to ask. He figured the bad that was in Alex had to come from his father's side.

Once they finished eating, Andy walked Mario to the right hall and bid him good night. This time when Mario reached the kitchen, he knew it was the right one. Franseca and his wife were sitting at the table angry with him. Mario explained what had happened, and just like Andy, Franseca and her mother laughed.

Alex finished up his homework, got his uniform ready before taking his shower. Once his head hit the pillow, Alex was out. He slept through the night without waking up once. The next morning Alex was the first one out of bed, surprising himself. After getting ready for school, he woke up Matt and helped him get ready before heading up for breakfast. As they reached the door of the basement, Alex pulled Matt to the side and started kissing him. Matt just stood there looking at Alex as he walked out.

It felt as if the morning dragged on for Alex. He wanted to get to third period to see what the jury is going to decide. Knowing that he won the case, but not getting over confident, Alex was counting down the minutes. Finally when second period bell rang, Alex almost pulled Matt's arm out of his socket as he pulled him over to third period.

They sat down looking at their classmates playing the jury. Alex couldn't read them. He kept asking Matt and Donald, but neither of them had better luck reading them. Looking each classmate in the face, Alex gave up. In just a few minutes, Alex thought, he will know one way or another if he won the case.

Mr. Galey got up and recapped what had happened yesterday. Just like Alex, the other students wanted the teacher to shut up and let the jury read their verdict, but it didn't happen. Mr. Galey made the students, the ones that were playing the jury, take a few minutes to discuss the case and come to a verdict since they didn't get that chance yesterday. All you could hear is sighs from the students.

Alex turned and talked with Messrs. Nunez and White about the case as he waited for the verdict. They told him that he did a great job and should win. That put Alex a bit more at ease, at least for a few minutes. As the time clicked away, he started to get nervous again. Finally the foreman told the student judge they reached a verdict.

The student judge banged the gavel and the room went quiet. Everyone turned and just looked at the jury box. The bailiff asked for the defendant to stand and asked the jury foreman to read out the verdict. They started out by reading the charges and then the verdict.  "We the jury find the defendant..."



{Welcome back one and all. This chapter was an emotional one that only covered a few days. I wanted to speed up the time line, but couldn't. I needed to explain several things and that took some time. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did writing it.

The chapter picked up where I left off in the last chapter. Alex, for the first time, saw the real damage his bullets did to Jacob. His emotions hit him hard and he couldn't stop them. It took Jacob grabbing a hold of him to bring some calm. When Franseca took over holding her son, you could see the closeness she has with her kids.

They were able to take it inside where Alex was able to finally get control of himself. Jacob made it clear that Alex had nothing to be sorry for. He even let Alex look up close and personal to the scars. That way Alex won't get freaked out again when they go

swimming. At the end of all this, Alex I think came out a lot better. At least he dealt with a skeleton in his closet.

It looks like Carlos found a new girlfriend, I think! Kim sounds like a nice girl, but very forward if you ask me. I am glad that Kim has no problem with Carlos being on the anklet, but remember the last girlfriend Carlos had. Plus Kim being very forward. Look at when she placed her hand on Carlos leg. That even surprised Carlos, so who knows what is going to happen in this relationship, if there is going to be one.

I have told you guys many times that I was going to bring Franseca's family in. In this chapter you had a chance to meet two of her sisters and parents. The neighborhood I described in this chapter does exist and I have been there. My step father's family lived in the house like I described. I know many can't imagine things like that, but trust me some people do live without running water or electricity in their houses.

Now let me start with Mario, Alex's grandfather. It looks like we have another great grandfather on our hands. He surprised Alex when he had no problem with Alex being gay. That is rare in the Hispanic culture, trust me. A man can't be a man if that man is gay. In the Hispanic traditions you must marry and have kids.

We got to learn a little more about the family's past. You now know that Franseca's parents did not approve of her marriage. One of Alex's memories was of his grandfather beating the living crap out of his dad for not supporting Franseca and the family. You also know now Mario knows higher ups in the gang that Alex and his father once belonged to. I hope Mario can call off the dogs, but who knows.

Alex needs a male figure around and that is why I think it was a great idea when Franseca asked them to come back with her. She did it because her parents were getting up in age. But it does work out for Alex because now he can turn to his grandfather if he ever needs help. Now there is another support system. Alex now has in place to help him through the rough days when they come. You all know there will be difficult days still left in Alex's life.

The mock trial, what can I say. Alex really does know his stuff when it comes down to playing the defense attorney. It does look like he won, but who knows. I think he got a lot of help from his own attorneys in this case. I also agree with Daddy Rick, this is something Alex might want to look into as far as getting a degree. He can be a really good trial lawyer by the looks of it.

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

I am glad Alex had the breakdown. He has been programmed to bury his emotions his whole life. Matt has helped him a great deal to live his life more openly, yet it is obvious that he still has some walls up. A huge one came tumbling down. By purging the self loathing he was harboring deep inside himself, Alex will now be much freer to develop into the warm, caring and responsible man he can ultimately become. I think this bodes well for Alex's future, both in the world and as Matt's life partner.

I really enjoyed meeting Franseca's family!  Mario is an awesome man! Jacob is so right about the culture, particularly in Mexico and in the time frame of this story. A man simply can't be accepted, let alone respected, if he's not married and fathering children. Mario shows that he is a strong minded man and holds what he believes is right to be his standard, and will not have his actions dictated by culture or traditions.  The one cultural tradition Mario does fully embrace is that of dedication to family.

I'm glad that Alex's family has come together in El Paso. Alex now has more loving and caring family to support his life journey on the right side of the law. This can only strengthen Alex and reinforce his dedication to living the right life.

Will Mario actually be able to call off the dogs as far as the gang is concerned? I'm going to watch with interest to see how that works and how he accomplishes it.

Yes, Alex should definitely consider becoming a trial or litigation attorney. His ability to formulate closing arguments on the fly was most impressive. He has a keen mind that catches the most subtle details and mistakes. He quickly analyses what he finds and uses it to get at the base facts. It is lucky for Donald's character in the mock trial that Alex wasn't on the prosecution team!

I sense some fun times coming up with Alex's brothers and their cousins. If two boys can be a handful, what happens when you double the number of boys? I don't sense anything bad happening, just boys being boys; what one doesn't think of, one of the others will!

I'm glad that Franseca is going to have some help running and maintaining the house. She is so hard working and never complains. I'd been wondering how she does it all as things stood.

Carlos and Kim are going to provide some fun for us, I suspect. Kim is a sweet girl, but seemingly strong willed. She goes after what she wants once given a slight opening. Good for her!  Carlos needs a strong lady in his life to inspire him as Matt inspires Alex to live the right way. Carlos could be quite the guy with the right woman behind him inspiring him to become all he can be. Could Kim be that for him?  I hope so. Carlos deserves the type of happiness in his life that Alex has found with Matt.

I also see a crying need for a second vehicle in Alex's family. I wonder if Matt would step up this time and take that challenge on.

Until next time,
"Daddy" Rick