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 35

Alex could barely keep his wits as Mr. Galey recapped the events of the day before and then he started to recap the entire trial. That was unbelievable. Those that are playing the jury were here for the trial. By the way he is talking he is trying to slant the recap to the prosecution, which that also isn't fair.

Halfway through the recap, Alex turned to talk with Mr. Nunez. "What do you think about the case, at least the parts you saw? I know you weren't here for the whole thing. You only got my version of how those days went."

"Alex with what I saw when I was here, you did a great job. There is no way you just had those couple of good days and the rest bad. I believe your version about the days of the trial I didn't see. You should win this case. The reason I say that is because you won the trial, but that teacher isn't doing your side any favors as he recaps the trial. I hope those kids that are playing the jury remember the trial, not his recap."

Alex smiled a forced smile as he nodded his head. "Since he is asking the jury to go back and deliberate the case, I would like to talk to you about something. It is never too early to start looking at what you want to major in at college. You have natural talents for being an excellent attorney. I don't know if it is because you have been in and out of the court system that you were so comfortable doing this or what, but whatever the reason was, I think you should look into majoring in law."

"I really haven't given much thought about my life after high school. After I screwed it up so badly, I never thought I would graduate from a regular high school. Now that I am, I don't know about going to college. I am still getting used to getting this second chance thanks to you guys, my mother and Jacob."

"Well you are doing great with your second chance. You earned it and never think differently. As far as college, it is something for you to think about. You looked so comfortable out there doing this mock trial. I just think you found your calling and that is rare to find in high school. Normally it takes a student in college at least a year to really decide what he or she wants to major in."

Before Alex could reply to Mr. Nunez, the student jury took their seats. Then the student judge banged his gavel to quiet the room. The auditorium went dead quiet as the bailiff asked for the defendant to rise. Every eye in the auditorium was locked on the jury, waiting to see what they decided; guilty or not guilty.

The student judge looked over and asked the foreman of the jury of the jury had reached a verdict, and he said yes. The bailiff asked the foreman to read the verdict. Since there were several charges, the foreman had to go one charge at a time. He cleared his throat, looked over at the defendant's table and started to speak.

"We the jury, find the defendant in count one of the indictment..." One by one the student foreman went down the counts and each of them was not guilty. Once he finished, the auditorium broke out in cheers, as if it was a real trial. They got so loud that they were heard up and down the first floor, since the doors to the auditorium weren't closed.

Alex turned to Matt and smiled and then turned around to the other students. Mr. Nunez stuck his thumb up as he mouthed congratulations. The students playing the prosecution stepped out from behind their desk and went over to Alex and the other two and shook their hands. Alex just smiled, but didn't say a word.

It took almost five minutes before the students settled back down into their seats. Even when Principal Michaels and other teachers walked in, the students kept applauding and cheering. They decided to shut the doors to the auditorium instead of trying to quiet the students down. In Principal Michael's mind it would be a lot quicker that way.

Once the students did settle down into their seats, both teachers walked onto the stage, but it was Mr. Galey that talked once again. "Every year our two classes put on this mock trial, but this year is the first year we had so many classes here watching it. Mrs. Linscott and I thank you guys for coming in to watch this mock trial and hopefully learn some about how our court system works. At least that is what we hope our students did."

Mr. Galey looked over to his students and pointed with a smile. "This is the first year Mrs. Linscott's class won this mock trial. Congratulations to you all!" The room broke out to applause again. "I think the reason they won is because they took it seriously for the first time. Her class is not as dependant on this mock trial for their grade as mine. But I am thankful they did give my students a run for their money for the first time.

With that said, I need to let the classes know that Mrs. Linscott and I made a little side wager on the outcome of this mock trial. Whoever's class lost will be paying for a pizza party for the winning class. So I am going to..." The students started applauding again, not letting Mr. Galey finish. "As I was saying, I am going to pay for a pizza party for Mrs. Linscott's class on Friday, congratulation on winning that!"

The auditorium broke out in applause and cheers of pizza. Alex got up from his table and walked over to the two teachers on the stage. They talked as the class chanted pizza over and over again. After a few minutes talking with the teachers, Alex made his way back to the defense table and sat back down.

Mr. Galey looked over to Mrs. Linscott, but it was Mrs. Linscott this time that spoke to silence the students. "Since you all were such good students, paid attention to what was going on and were so into these proceedings, you all are invited to join my class for the pizza party on Friday." The students once again broke out in to the pizza chant. At this point no one could quiet them down.

The two teachers walked over to Alex. "Are you sure you want to do this Alex? Mr. Galey and I will do it if you can't."

"I am sure ma'am. I have a little money I have been earning at my job and haven't spent it. So why not spend it on a pizza party for all the students here. They really loved what was going on and let's be fair. We won, but both classes worked very hard on this, so both classes deserve a reward for their hard work."

Before Mr. Galey or Mrs. Linscott could reply to what Alex said, the bell rang. The students walked out still chanting pizza party, making the other students in the hallway look their direction. Before Alex could make it to the door, Mr. Galey stopped him.

"Alex we don't want to take away the money you earn on the part time job you have after school. You work too hard for that money. Let Mrs. Linscott and me pay for the thing, but thank you for offering. No other student would have ever offered what you offered. That tells me a lot about your character."

"Mr. Galey, I don't have a little part time job after school, not the way you put it. I was helped out to become an owner of a printing company. A very good friend gave me a helping hand in so many ways. I would like to share what I have. He showed me you can get places in this world by giving, not taking. Let me give this to my fellow classmates." Alex turned to leave, but stopped and looked back. "That doesn't mean you are off the hook on paying for the pizza party for my class; a bet is a bet!"

Alex walked out laughing, causing Mr. Galey to laugh. He had thought the worst of Alex because of the rumors, but how wrong he was. Now he sees Alex totally different than what people say he is. He might have made mistakes in his past, but by the looks of it, he is on the right track now.

Alex and Matt ran to their locker, threw their books in it and ran to the cafeteria. Still with them rushing, when they got to the lunch line, it was already hanging out the door. Both of them looked at each other, out of breath from running, took their places in line. It took them ten minutes to get through the line and to the table. They didn't completely sit down before they started putting food in their mouths.

The phone rang and Franseca picked it up. When the person on the other end asked for her father, she asked the guy once again who he wanted to speak with. When he confirmed her father, she put the phone down and made her way to her side of the house thinking to herself. She can't figure out who would be calling her father here, since he hasn't been living here that long. In fact he has only been here for a couple of days.

She found her father in the kitchen gluing the sole of one his boots on. "Father if you need knew boots; we can go out and get you a pair. There is no need to be doing that." Her father ignored her and kept doing what he was doing. "Anyways dad, there is someone on the phone for you. May I ask who is calling you here already?"

Mario put on his boot and got up from the seat. "It is nothing to worry your pretty little head about. It is someone that can help me out to take care of a promise I made someone. You know me I keep my promises." Mario leaned in and kissed his daughter on the cheek before walking over to the phone.

When he picked it up, he heard the dial tone. He looked over to Franseca and saw a smirk on her face. She explained that the lines are not connected to each other. He will need to go to the main house and speak on the phone there. Mario hung up the phone and walked over to the kitchen where he found the phone off the hook.

"Is there somewhere I could take this call in private?" Franseca looked at her father nervously. She nodded her head and walked over to the den where there was another phone sitting on an end table. Mario picked up the phone and then went over to the kitchen to hang up that phone. When he got back to the den, he closed the door.

"This is Mario, who am I speaking with?"

"Mario you asked me to call you, this is your old friend Ernesto. It is good to hear your voice old friend. It has been way too long. I have missed our chats. You always brought me back to earth whenever I left it."

Mario caught up with his friend Ernesto before getting to the real reason he called him. It wasn't to shoot the breeze with the main leader of the Mexican Mafia; it was to get him to take off the green light on his grandson. If it wasn't for that, he would have never picked up the phone and called him in the first place.

Ernesto also knew that, but didn't want to lose this chance to talk with his childhood friend. They parted ways when he decided to join the gang and Mario didn't. Mario has always stayed on the straight and narrow. But if he ever needed to defend what was his, he would. Everyone in the neighborhood knew never to screw with Mario. If a person actually comes to blows with Mario, they would always lose. That is just how it was.

"Ernesto I am calling in one of the favor's you owe me."

"Mario I think I know what you want me to do. You need to give me a good reason for me to pull the green light, I mean a good one. Your grandson knew what he was getting into when he joined the gang. He also knew that we kill anyone that betrays us in any way. Your grandson did that and I mean he did it big time.

All the information he gave the police and the facility at the detention center over in El Paso, has set us back quite a bit. We now have to find new ways to get things done here. Because of that, we are fighting every day to keep a hold on to what is ours, and that is not what I like waking up to. I love the peace that we controlled because we controlled everything. That is not the case anymore due to all the other gangs trying to move in."

"I understand what you are saying, but you need to hear me out. My grandson didn't choose to be in the gang, his father made him. It was on his father's side that gang life was their way of life. Neither my daughter nor I wanted that for Alex or any of her kids. He was forced into that life and you know once you are in, you can't get out.

There is no excuse for what my grandson did either and I will not make one up for him. Betrayal is something you know I do not approve of no matter what. He has paid for those betrayals and then some with all the attempts on his life already. The kid doesn't deserve to always be looking over his shoulder for what he father forced him to do."

"I hear what you are saying Mario, but I still haven't heard a good reason for me to call off the green light. Like you said, he betrayed us and that is not accepted no matter who you are. If I even do that, I would be killed.  That is one of many things we make very clear to anyone that joins this gang."

Mario is trying to figure out a way to word what he wants to say in order not to anger Ernesto. Although Ernesto owes him, he is still the main guy and needs to always look strong with the gang. Any sign of weakness could cost Ernesto his life. By the sounds of it he wants to do it, but he needs to still look strong when he calls off the dogs.

"You and I go back many years. Hell, we ran around the dirt streets of our neighborhood in diapers together. Before you became who you are today, I was the one saving your ass on the streets of our neighborhood. You owe me so many favors for what I have done for you, which I am calling in one of those favors.

On top of that, I will give you something else. Alex still knows a heck of lot of things that go on in the gang that he never told the police. They are after him to give up that information. I will guarantee that Alex will not give up any more information than he has already. Plus he will not give anymore statements that could get more of your guys prosecuted and thrown in prison for the rest of their lives."

Mario cleared his throat and started speaking in a lower tone. "I know you need to save face. Do me this favor and call off your people. Not only because you owe me a favor and I can keep Alex quiet, but for our friendship! I have taken care of your family and will always do so that no matter what you do in your life. I love you family as much as I love my own. So they will always be taken care of."

The line was quiet for a few minutes. Mario could hear Ernesto on the other end breathing, but nothing more than that. He waited patiently for Ernesto's answer on his request. Since he hasn't said no, that is telling Mario that Ernesto will say yes, but he is just trying to figure out a way to lay out for the others that he is handling business.

"For all of what you have done for me and my family and the favors I owe you, I am willing to give you your request. If you keep your grandson from making statements to the police and not give up anymore information than he has, I will take off the green light. All we want is for him to be silenced and the only way we have been able to do that in the past is by killing the person. But I believe in you Mario and what you say you can do.

Plus we are adopting the way your grandson was changing the gang to. He is one smart guy and saw the mistakes that brought down the Mafia's in the thirties and forties. We need to run our gang like a business in order to survive. A business does not go around and kill off their vice presidents, so we will not. Just get your part done Mario."

Mario ensured Ernesto he will make sure Alex will not speak with the police about anything dealing with the gang. Before they hung up, Ernesto promised that the green light will be called off of his grandson and everyone else that was associated with him, but they all have to follow the same ground rules. Mario didn't see a problem with that since the only other one that knows what Alex knows is Carlos and he is afraid of his own shadow when it comes down to the gang. He will not speak out on it.

As Mario walked through the kitchen, Franseca stopped him. She asked him what the phone call was about. All that Mario told her is that Alex is safe now. He called in a favor and had the green light taken off of him. Franseca couldn't believe her ears, but Mario didn't stick around to let her ask anymore questions.

After lunch, the day went by fast for Alex. By the time the final bell rang, his head was still spinning over winning the case. He knew he did the job, but he thought they would go for the prosecution because the majority of the jury was from that class. It was even when the mock trial started, but as the case went on, some of the students missed class. In return they were replaced with another classmate on the jury.

When he and the other guys got home to get the cars, the phone rang as they were heading out the door. Alex or others didn't answer the phone, but Franseca did. Just as Alex was getting into the SUV, Franseca came out calling for him. Alex looked at his mother confused, but ran in to see what the problem was.

"The phone is for you Alex. It is your probation officer." Alex started to freak out. So many thoughts went through his mind, but the one that stayed on the forefront was Shane and what he did to him. "Please Alex tell me that you didn't do anything wrong. I can't go through losing you again Alex, I just can't!"

"I promise mom I didn't do anything wrong, I swear." Alex kissed Franseca on the cheek and walked over to the where the receiver was sitting. He picked it up and said hello. At first he didn't hear anything, and then his probation officers voice came across the line.

"Alex I would like to see you and Matthew in my office on Friday at three. I know school doesn't get let out until three thirty, but that is the only free time I have on my schedule. So I want to see you and Matthew here promptly at three on Friday, okay?"

"Yes sir, but can you tell me what this is all about. We are not scheduled to see you for a couple more weeks. Has there been a change in or probation or something else? Do I need to bring my mother with me so she can take the car?"

"There has been a change in your probation, but I can't discuss it over the phone. The only free time I have is at three on Friday. I know you want more information, but again I can't give it over the phone. But as far as your last question, no you do not need to bring your mother with you if you don't want to."

Alex's probation officer had a client walk in so he let Alex go with no more information. He hung up the phone and looked over at his mother. Franseca could see that her son is scared and there is nothing she could do to console him. Plain and simple, she has no idea what is going on. Because of that, she could say the wrong thing and make matters worse.

Knowing he wasn't going to get anymore information, Alex kissed his mother on the cheek and walked out. When he climbed into the SUV, Matt saw there was something wrong with Alex. He asked Alex what is going on, and the only thing he got out of Alex is that they need to report in to their probation officer on Friday at three.

When Matt heard that, he started to freak out as well. Just like Alex, he tried to figure out what the meeting might be about. The only thing that came to his mind is Shane and what Alex and Carlos did to him. He is starting to think that Shane or maybe Loraine reported Alex and Carlos. In return, all of them are getting revoked.

All through their shift, Alex and Matt kept trying to figure out why their probation officer wants to see them. To make matters worse, Carlos didn't show up for work. No phone call or anything on why he didn't come in. That got Alex's mind going into all shorts of directions over what might be going on.

By the time they got home from work and ate dinner, both Alex and Matt were tired. They weren't physically tired, but mentally tired. Both of them thought and worried themselves to exhaustion all night, they could barely think when they walked into their room.

Alex wanted to spend his usual time with his brothers, but was too exhausted to do so. What made him feel a little better is that when they passed them in the game room going to their room, they were having a lot of fun with their cousins. Alex didn't want to interrupt their fun since he wasn't going to be any fun himself.

Neither of the boys slept that well through the night. When the alarm clock went off, they were both wide awake. Matt reached over and turned off the alarm clock, but stayed in bed. Alex was the first one to pull himself out of bed, but was more tired now then he was when he went to bed the night before.

As soon as Carlos walked out of his house, he walked over to pick up Kimberly for school. He skipped work yesterday so he could spend time with her. He knows that he will catch hell from Alex when he sees him, but he felt it was worth it. For some reason, he is falling really fast for Kimberly and he can't figure out why.

Before he could even knock on the door, Kimberly opened it with a smile on her face. Her smile caused Carlos to smile. Her little brothers squeezed through the door frame and Kimberly to get out of the house. As they walked down the sidewalk, they yelled out for her and Carlos to get a room and made throw up noises afterward.

That pulled both Carlos and Kimberly out of their dreams. She turned and yelled in to her parents that she is leaving before closing the door. Her parents yelled something, but neither of them heard what they said. Carlos took Kimberly's books in one hand and with the other took her hand as they started to walk.

The whole way to school, they talked about nothing important. If you were to observe them, you would put together they were just in love so their jabber meant something to them and only them. No one else would understand it.

Instead on going to the cafeteria when they got to school, they decided to head up to the Seven-Eleven on the corner and get a muffin or something. They just wanted to be alone. Knowing if they would go into the cafeteria, they would both get pulled into their group of friends like they always do. Then they wouldn't be able to get to know each other some more like they were doing last night when Kimberly's brothers weren't around.

Carlos and Kimberly walked into the Seven-Eleven and grabbed chocolate milk, a package of donuts and a breakfast burrito. They threw them into the microwave before heading over to pay for their stuff. They walked out and sat on the curb close together. They threw out questions to each other on what they wanted to know about each other. Both of them answered the questions truthfully. They continued answering each others questions as they headed back to school.

Before Carlos could reach his locker, Alex and Matt stopped him in the hall. He could tell Alex wasn't happy by the look on his face. In fact he looks really pissed. That got Carlos confused. He knows that he skipped work, but that shouldn't have gotten Alex this mad. There has to be something going on that he has no idea is happening. Alex pulled Carlos to the side of the hall before he started to speak to him.

"You had me worried Carlos when you didn't come to work yesterday and then you weren't in the cafeteria this morning. What is going on with you? There is stuff going on that has me all up in arms. When I saw Steve and Robert, I settled down a little, but not seeing you at all during breakfast. Well let me just say I was blowing a gasket."

Carlos looked at Alex not understanding what Steve and Robert has to do with him not going to work yesterday or breakfast this morning. Then Alex saying that things are going on that has him up in arms got Carlos thinking even more. The only thing that he could think of that has Alex all nervous is the gang. Now he is wondering if the gang had found him and Alex.

"I am sorry for not going to work yesterday and not even calling. I just was very tired that's all. Between working and moving my mom and then my and my grandparents into the new house, I was worn out. I needed a day in order to rest and catch up with my sleep. I was falling asleep in class, and that isn't good. We can't give these guys any reason to kick us out and falling asleep in class is a good one.

As far as not joining the gang at breakfast, I am sorry. I decided to spend time with Kimberly so we could get to know each other." Alex and Matt couldn't place the name and Carlos saw the confusion in their faces. "You guys know Kimberly. She is the girl I brought to the pool party with her two brothers."

When Carlos mentioned the two brothers, Alex placed the girl. He didn't go up and talk with her that day because what he went through. Most of the day, he tried to hide from everyone because he was very embarrassed for breaking down the way he did that day. That was very out of character for him. But he can now place the name after Carlos explaining that they have met her.

"Did you get a call from your probation officer yesterday by any chance?"

"Yes, he asked me to come in on Friday. He told me it is nothing to worry about. It's just a change in my probation at least that is what he told me yesterday. Why did you get a call from your probation officer as well? Did Steve and Robert get a call also from their probation officer?" Carlos started to get worried with Alex's question.

"Yes all of us got calls from our probation officers to report to them on Friday. All of us also got the same answer from our probation officers when we asked them why they needed to see us. I don't like this at all, I really don't. I don't like walking into something blind, not knowing why I am being summoned."

They stood there throwing out their thoughts on why they think their probation officer's wants to see them. All three of them kept coming back to Shane, his friends and Loraine. They are starting to fear that one of them or all of them reported them either to the police or their probation officers. If that is the case, for sure they are going to be revoked.

Alex tried to calm Matt down by telling him if that is the case, he will tell the truth. The truth being that Matt wasn't there. It was just him and Carlos and they will take whatever they feel is the right punishment for what they did. Instead of that calming Matt down, it angered him. The way Matt reacted on how he plans to handle this confused Alex.

"Don't you understand Alex that I love you? If you get taken from me, I don't know what I would do without you. Even if it is for a couple of years, I can no longer sleep without you in the same bed, at my side. So if you are going to be locked up, I will go with you. At least that was we will stay together."

"Fuck no! You are not going to go back into that place Matt!" Alex placed both of his hands on Matt's cheeks and forced Matt to look straight into his eyes. "You listen to me and listen well. I will not allow you to go back into that place, even if I have to take the blame for something you did to ensure you don't go. I was brought up for a place like that, not you. An angel like you needs to spread your wings and love out here in the free. It would be a loss to this world if you would get locked up."

Matt wanted to tell Alex to stick it up his ass. He is so deeply in love with Alex now; he will go where he goes no matter where it is. He will go to the ends of the earth with Alex and back. And there is no doubt in Matt's mind that Alex will do the same thing for him. What he just said here confirms that.

"What I think we need to do is settle down and not jump to conclusions. If they are going to arrest us, they would just do it. They wouldn't call us and give us a heads up. No matter what we think about our probation officers, they are not that dumb. So let's just relax and go in on Friday to see what he wants."

Alex and Carlos both agreed with Matt. The warning bell rang just as they agreed to not jump to any conclusions. The boys shook hands and headed their separate directions. Most of the morning was boring, at least the parts of it that Alex was awake for. He kept dozing off in class. At one point in second period, his teacher slammed a book on his desk in order to wake him up, and boy did it!

Since the mock trial was over, everything went back to normal in third period. They went to their classrooms instead of the auditorium. Mrs. Linscott did a review of what she taught before the mock trial and then went into new material. Right before the bell rang, she gave homework for the first time in a couple weeks, which everyone hated.

On their way to the cafeteria for lunch, Alex decided to speak with Shane to see if he had reported him and Carlos. He knows Matt is not going to like the idea, so he will not tell him. Alex figured that Matt couldn't do a thing when they walked up to Shane. Afterwards yeah Matt is going to be mad, but Alex would have found out what he wanted.

None of the guys that had the ankle monitors were in much of a talking mood. That put a damper on things at the table. Steve thinks that Alex and Carlos screwed up and will result in them all are getting in trouble. So every time Alex or Carlos looked over at him, he would look at them with daggers in his eyes. Alex didn't pay any attention to him one bit.

Like every other time they finish eating, the group got up and put their trays away before heading out to the stadium. But this time it changed when Alex went his own direction when they walked out and down the staircase. Matt followed him, asking him where he is going, but Alex didn't answer him. When he saw Shane and his group of friends, Matt knew what Alex was up to. He tried to stop Alex, but Alex shrugged him off.

Shane turned just as Alex got to him. With a smile he greeted Alex. "Hey there, I heard you won the mock trial. In fact the entire school heard when you guys broke out in cheers yesterday." Shane started to laugh and then his friends joined in. "So what's up man? We don't hang out, so this can't be a very good thing you being here."

"Yeah it is not a good thing me being here. I need to know something, and I need you to tell me the truth. Will you tell me the truth Shane?" Shane nodded his head. "Did you, your friends or Loraine say anything about our conversations?  I just need to know if anyone in your group said anything."

Looking around at his friends before answering, Shane couldn't understand why Alex would be asking him this question. He thought that he and Alex had made a truce. In is mind a truce includes keeping his mouth shut about everything that happened between him and Alex. Shane also knows that his friends will not say a word either.

"I don't know what is going on here Alex, but I can say with certainty that I, my friends nor Loraine has breathed a word of what happened between you and us. I told you already I want you as friend, not an enemy. You can rest assured that there is nothing to fear from me or my friends." Shane extended his hand for Alex to shake.

Without hesitation Alex shook Shane's hand and thanked him for being honest. He and Matt walked back to the group in silence. Alex is now more confused about the meeting than before. If the meeting isn't about what he did to Shane and his friends, then what is it about? As far as he can remember, he hasn't done anything else wrong.

With no other choice, Alex let it go. There is no way he is going to get the answer, so there is no use on worrying about it anymore. Right before the bell rang, everything went back to normal in the group. Even Steve jumped in to the conversation and stopped looking at Alex and Carlos with daggers.

Even though Alex and Matt were tired, they didn't fall asleep again in the afternoon classes. Neither of them wanted their teachers to slam a book on their desk again and give them a heart attack. Thankfully the afternoon classes also weren't as boring as the morning classes were. Maybe they are just not thinking as much about the meeting.

When they started to get tired again, it was fifth period; ROTC. For the first time Alex liked the idea they were going out to march. At least that way they will gets their blood flowing and hopefully it would last through the final period of the day.

On the way to work, both Alex and Matt agreed on instead of doing things in the office, they would work on the floor. It doesn't hurt for two extra sets of hands in there helping even if they can't do much except box and bring material over to the machines. That should help free up others that can do other things with the machines.

After their break, Ethan's brothers approached Alex. They needed to talk with him and they would like to do it in private. Alex had no problem with it. He asked them to follow him to his office. On their way, Alex got Matt to join them. The minute they walked into the office, the older of the two started talking.

"We feel we can do more than just fold boxes and sweep the floor. We have been trained to run the machines and fork lifts. When this shift takes over, almost half of the machines are turned off because there are not enough trained machine operators to run them. But here you have two ready, willing and able, so why not use us?"

Alex looked at Paul and Carl. This is the first time that Paul has spoken this much   since Alex was introduced to him. "Paul I agree with you one hundred percent. The main reason we had you and Carl trained to drive the fork lifts and run machines so we can be even more productive on this shift."

Alex got up and walked out of his office. Not even a minute later he walked back in with a clip board in his hand. He was looking at the print job orders and what machines were turned off when they came in. Once he figured out which machines will be the easiest to get going again, he placed the clip board on his desk.

"For the rest of the shift we are going to run two more machines. Starting tomorrow I will make sure that you guys will each have your own machine to operate. Does that sound good to you both?" Both Paul and Carl nodded their heads. "Good! Let me show which machines you will be working on so you guys can get them going. While you are doing that, Matt and I will get a couple of your fellow workers to do the boxing and things like that."

Both Carl and Paul got up from their seats with smiles on their faces. They walked back onto the floor and Alex took them to the machines he chose to run. While Paul and Carl went through the check list to get the machines running, Alex and Matt reassigned a couple of workers to each of the   two machines.

When the shift came to an end, Alex felt very good with the work they did. They were so busy throughout the shift, not once did he feel tired. On the way home was a different story. Several times his eyes started to close. It got to the point that he opened the window in order to let the cold air hit him in the face to stay awake. After dropping Ethan and his brothers off, Alex couldn't wait to get home so he could sleep.

Alex didn't want to feel guilty for not spending time with his little brothers so he hung out with them as his mother prepared dinner. Between Lorenzo, Ismail and their two cousins, they spent what energy Alex had left. When Franseca called him up for dinner, he was dead on his feet, barely able to walk up the stairs.

Franseca had placed the plates of food on the table when Alex sat down. "I don't know what is going on with your probation officer, but he called again while you and Matt were at work." Alex dropped his fork and looked up at his mother.

"What did he want now? I thought after talking with him yesterday, everything was set for Matt and me to go and see him on Friday."

"Don't ask me what is going on, I thought you might know. Anyways he told me to tell you and Matt not to go in on Friday. He has to cancel because he remembered why he had the time blocked off. Sometime next week he will call you back and set up another appointment. What is going on Alex? Why does he want to see you before your report date?" Franseca handed Alex a new fork.

"I don't know what is going on mom! Seriously I don't know!" Alex grabbed the fork from his mother. "I tried to get more information from him yesterday, but he wouldn't give me any. Now I have to wait another week, if not more, to find out what is going on. That is not fair and that guy shouldn't have that kind of power over people."

As Alex and his mother talked back and forth, Al couldn't help but over hear since he was at the table eating dinner. He didn't speak up, but knew why Alex's probation officer wanted to speak with him. He does agree with Alex though about the power the probation officer has. He can leave Alex and Matt in limbo land for weeks. That is something no one should do. Knowing Alex the way Al has gotten to know him, he is going to worry.

Right after dinner, Alex helped his mother clean up the kitchen and went straight to bed. He decided to leave his homework for the morning during breakfast at school. All he wants to do right now is get some sleep.

After quickly taking a shower, Alex crawled into bed. He found Matt already curled up and out to the world. Reaching up, Alex turned off the lamp. It seemed to Alex the he had fallen to sleep before his head hit the pillow. Neither of the boys woke up again until the alarm clock sounded the next morning.

When they crawled out of the bed, they felt refreshed and ready to take on the world. While getting dressed, Alex and Matt discussed the black cloud over their heads. Although they didn't spend a lot of time on it, they decided to just drop it. They know if they don't, they are going to worry themselves into an early grave.

Mario popped his head into the room right when Alex and Matt finished the conversation. He asked if he could speak with Alex for a few minutes alone, and Matt agreed. Matt leaned in and kissed Alex before leaving the room.

"Well I talked with my friend as promised about what is going on between you and the gang. It took some persuading on my part, but he agreed to call off the green light on you and the others." Alex started to smile, but his grandfather stopped him. "Don't get all excited yet. You haven't heard what you have to do in order for this to happen.

You have to stop telling the police and the District Attorney what you know about the gang. As far as what you have already told them, my friend agreed that you can't take that back. Also you can't roll over on anyone else. So if the police or the lawyers come up and ask you to do that or give them more information, you need to tell them no."

"Grandpa I have no problem with that. The only reason I said what I said is to keep mom and my brothers safe. What happens if the police or the District Attorney come   and offer that to me in and in return they will keep me and my family safe? This thing you are talking about, how do we even know it is true?"

"First if the police and those lawyers could keep you safe, they would have done that already. They can't honestly make that kind of promise to you Alex. Just look at how bad they have already failed. What would have happened if you didn't wake up in the hospital or those kids just came in shooting? You would be dead today all because the police couldn't keep you safe.

Now as far as knowing that the green light has been turned off, it has. You just have to take my word for it. I believe in my friend's word. He told me it is done, that means it is done. That doesn't mean that you can march back into your old neighborhood thinking that they are not going to want to kick you ass. After all you did the one thing they hate the most; become a snitch."

Alex couldn't help but laugh at what his grandfather just said. "No grandpa I did the two things they hate the most. Yes the first one was becoming a snitch. I only did that to survive and get into a normal life. The second one is me being gay. They hate that more than anything else. For that alone they would have killed me."

"I don't want to hear that Alex. You are who you are and never think bad about that. Now you get out there and stop looking over your shoulder. There is no reason for you to do that anymore. Keep doing what you are doing, you will be okay."

Mario got up from the bed and pulled Alex into a hug. They stood there in the middle of the room with their arms around one another. Alex whispered several times into his grandfather's ear thank you. All that Mario did is nod his head in agreement, not wanting to make more of this.

Once both of them straightened themselves up, they headed up for breakfast. When they joined the others at the table, they just looked at Alex and Mario. Neither of them said a word, they just started to eat. That got the others wanting to know what it was they were talking about in private, but they let it be.

As soon as Alex got to school, he pulled the gang from the detention facility to the side before heading outside. They were concerned about what Alex had to say. All they could think is that Alex found out why they need to see their probation officers, but when they heard the news; well let's just say their bottom jaws hit the floor.

"Are you sure it is over Alex?" Carlos placed his right hand over Alex's shoulder. "If it is, man can I breathe a little more easily not having to worry about looking over my shoulders all the time. I hate wondering about the person that is walking too close to us is the one they sent to kill us or every knock on the door could be them. So much..."

"It is over Carlos! It is over. Like my grandfather told me this morning, we can't expect to walk back into our old neighborhood and think they are cool with us. If we would ever do that, we would be dead men walking."

"Heck I wouldn't want to go back to our old neighborhood. So I am fine with that being one of the things I have to give up in order to not to be killed. There is nothing there I want to see or remember for that matter."

They talked for a few more minutes before joining the others. About fifteen minutes before the bell rang; Carlos went to be with Kimberly. Alex has asked him to bring her to the group, but he said not just yet. Carlos wants to make sure that she can handle herself with the group he hangs out with.

Alex felt just like the day before, today is going by just as fast. The only difference between the two days is that he is wide awake for this one. Several of his teachers went up to him and said the same thing. Alex just chuckled when they did that and went on with his business. He knows it is not worth getting upset over something so small.

During third period, Alex gave Mrs. Linscott the money for the pizza party. He felt bad he is giving it to her a day before the pizza party, but she told him not to be. She also felt that he was giving her too much money, but Alex didn't take any of it back. He told her to buy more sodas or desserts with what is left.

Reluctantly she took the money. She did make Alex promise to take the change that is left over before he left for lunch. When he sat down with the others guys, he couldn't stop thinking about eating pizza. That he found weird because they eat a lot of pizza at Jacob's house. Maybe it just being with his classmates that is making him think this way. That is something he has never done in his life.

Lunch went by fast, and in fact the rest of the day went by fast. When Alex and Matt walked into their offices, Sergio asked to speak with them privately. Sergio informed them about the meeting tomorrow up in Al's office. Alex asked what was the meeting was about, but Sergio couldn't give them an answer since he wasn't given anymore info.

Alex thanked Sergio and let him leave for the day. Just like the meeting with his probation officer, Alex decided not to think too much into it. Instead he drowned himself into paperwork. Once he completed all his paperwork, he went to see how everything was going on the floor. There was not a complaint to be found.

When he woke up the next morning, the only thing Alex could think about is the pizza party. He couldn't believe that is the thing that is forefront in his mind. There so much other stuff, important stuff, going on in his life right now, but the pizza party is the thing occupying his mind. Alex decided to go with it.

Every second seemed like hours to Alex. No matter how hard he tired to not look at the clock on the wall, he kept looking. Matt tried to talk with Alex, but it didn't help. Time just seemed to drag on for him. When third period finally came, Alex couldn't wait to get to Mrs. Linscott's class and dig into the pizza. He didn't eat breakfast at school in order to be hungry by third period.

But when Alex walked into third period, he didn't see any pizza, drinks or anything to resemble a party. He looked over to Mrs. Linscott, but she was busy talking to a couple of her students. So he sat down, with his stomach growling and pulled out his book. When the bell rang, Mrs. Linscott went on with class as if it was any other day.

Finally ten minutes before the lunch bell. Mrs. Linscott told the class to close their books and follow her. They walked down to the auditorium where they found the other classes coming down the other hallway. As they walked into the auditorium, the smell of pizza hit Alex in the face, which caused his growling stomach to jump.

No big speeches from the teachers, they just told the students to take what they can eat. There is plenty for everyone, so don't worry. When Alex got up to the table, he took five slices of pizza, his soda and headed over take a seat. He didn't even realize that he left Matt behind, he was so hungry.

The students got into their various groups of friends and ate. The teachers did the same thing; they stuck together. Alex, Matt, Donald and few others from their class sat together and talked among themselves. Not once did the others in Alex's and Matt's group ask what they did to get put on probation. That put both Alex and Matt more at ease.

It looked   to the others that Alex swallowed the five pieces of pizza whole. When he was done with his first serving, he went back for seconds. To the others in the group they were surprised to see another four pieces of pizza on Alex's plate when he got back. They teased Alex a little about getting fat. He didn't get mad; he went along with the humor.

The students were so involved in their conversations; they didn't hear Mr. Galey ask them to start cleaning up. When he asked the second time, some of the students heard, but most of them didn't. Those that did hear let those that didn't know what Mr. Galey said. Once all the students were told it was time to clean up, they did as they were told.

Although Alex and Matt had the meeting with Al, they went down to the print shop anyways. They wanted to make sure Sergio was okay with pulling a double, which he was. As they headed back out to get to the meeting, they were stopped by almost everyone. It seemed to Alex that everyone knows when he is in a hurry because that is when they seem to have questions or problems for him.

When they finally got into the hallway, Matt and Alex headed up to the first floor using the stairs. They thought it would be faster that way. When they walked over to the elevators in the lobby, they found Major Moore standing there waiting. They greeted each other and found out that both of them are going to the same meeting. On top of Joe going, Alex found out not only they are going, but Dewayne, Tony and Ana are going to be there as well. That put Alex more at ease when he heard that.

As the door opened to the elevator, Alex moved out of the way in order for whoever is on the elevator could get off without running into him. To their surprise, Jacob and his secretary were the ones getting off. Jacob informed Alex, Matt and Joe that the meeting is going to take place at the house instead of the office.

Alex and Matt started walking with Jacob, but Joe headed up to his floor to let Dewayne and Tony know that the meeting location has been changed. No one spoke about what the meeting was going to be about. Now that Alex knows that pretty much everyone in leadership of the company is going to be there. This meeting is a general one.

When they got to the house, Franseca needed to speak with Alex and Matt. Jacob let them go since the first meeting has nothing to do with them. But he made it clear to Alex and Matt that this meeting is going to last no more than an hour so they need to be at the study in that time period. They understood and promised Jacob if they are running behind, they will let him and his grandfather know.

Once Jacob and Matt were in the study, Franseca spoke. "Your probation officer is here with a couple of police officers. Alex, are you sure you didn't do anything wrong? This really has me worried that he would show up here unannounced with two police officers with him." Franseca spoke in a whisper.

"Mom I swear I didn't do anything wrong! The few things I have, I told the right people what I did. They told me not to worry about it. So I have no idea why he is here with two officers. I hope if he is going to take me, he will do it before Lorenzo and Ismail get home. I don't want them to see me in handcuffs."

Franseca didn't like hearing that coming out of her son's mouth and she said as much to him. They didn't talk anymore as they made their way to their part of the house. The walk that normally seems short, but today seemed long. Both of the boys were lost in their minds trying to figure out why their probation officer is paying them a visit.

As they walked into the living room, the officers and their probation officer got up. Alex and Matt walked over and stood on the other side of the couch. They had a look on their faces a like they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Before anyone said anything, Mario walked in from the hallway and stood at his grandson's side.

"I am sorry about all the calls and cancelations this week." The probation officer started talking as he shook the boy's hands. "I just have so many cases I don't have enough time in a day to take care of everything I need to. People think we sit on our butts all day long, but that is far from the truth.

What I am about to do I wanted to do since I was given the paperwork. You guys must have friends in high places, because in all my years as a probation officer, I have never gotten a full pardon from the Governor dealing with one of my probationers." Alex and Matt looked at each other surprised as hell hearing what they heard.

"What do you mean sir? We got a full pardon from the Governor? I know he is the one that got us out of the detention facility, but other than that, we had to report to you until we turn twenty-one. Has that changed in the last couple days, weeks?"

"Yes it has changed in the last couple of days. My office was notified late Tuesday afternoon about the pardon the Governor signed on Monday. Our fair wise Governor has signed a full pardon for you, Alex and Matt also. As of Monday you guys were no longer on probation with the state of Texas!"

Franseca, Matt, Mario and Alex couldn't believe what they were just told! So they had the probation officer repeat it several more times, and even then it didn't totally sink in. They didn't understand why they Governor would do that for them. Then a light went off in each of their minds almost at once, except Mario; Jacob and Al! It could only be them that got this done, more understandable since Al works for the Governor.

It became reality to Alex when his probation officer asked him to place his foot on the couch and raise his pants leg. When he saw the anklet come off, it felt to Alex like a ton round ball connected to a chain has been taken off. He still couldn't believe that he is no longer on probation. The nightmare seems to be coming to end for him!

Alex was brought out of his thoughts when the anklet went off. They all looked at each other and then broke out in laughter. The probation officer went over to the phone and waited for it to ring. When it did, he picked it up and told the person on the other end who he was and to turn off the anklets at this address.

After he finished up with the call, he went over and took Matt's anklet off. "Ma'am, can you point me to where the boxes are? There are three assigned to this house. I am pretty sure you guys don't want any of the boxes." He looked over at Alex and Matt.

They shook their heads with in an emphatic no! Franseca took the P.O. to all three boxes, and with the help from the two officers, they quickly disconnected them and rejoined Alex and Matt in the living room. They all stood there in silence as the probation officer went through his briefcase before pulling out a couple of folders.

He handed Alex and Matt a copy of their pardon before having them sign some paper work. "I really hope to never see you boys again in my office. You guys truly deserve this pardon because you have turned your lives around. I am a strong believer in giving second chances to those that show they deserve it. With what I know about you two, you have earned this second chance."

Alex and Matt thanked their now former probation officer. "You may think you owe thanks to whoever did this for you, but you don't. They may have gotten the ball rolling, but that ball wouldn't have had a chance to get rolling if you guys didn't do what you did. Remember that as you try to figure out who did this for you. It was you guys that did it and no one else.

What you did Alex, well let me just say this; I can say with certainty no one at your school would had done what you did for your friend. That alone in my book gives you the pardon! Still on top of that, you did turn your life around. Please Alex, stay clean and stay away from your old life. You have a real chance now to make something of your life."

The probation officer walked up and shook Alex's hand before turning to Matt. "You should have never been put in the detention facility. Maybe on probation, but not as long as you were put on it! You made one mistake in your life Matt; you shouldn't have to pay for it all your life. I am glad I was able to do this today for you because you were one of the very few I believe should never have been placed on probation."

Matt thanked his former probation officer as they shook hands. Franseca walked up and thanked him for the kind words he said to her sons. The P.O. simply replied it was the truth and needed to be said. On his way out, Mario thanked him as well.

Still stunned over what just happened, Alex and Matt didn't move. Franseca walked up to both of them, took the pardons out of their hands and hugged them. When she let go of them, she explained where she is going to put their pardons in case they ever have to get them. Neither of the boys had a problem with Franseca holding their pardons for safe keeping, in fact they prefer that she did.

It took a little while for them to find their footing, but when they did, they walked back over to the main house. Just as they arrived at the study, the first meeting broke up. The door opened and everyone that was not involved in the first meeting was invited in. Alex and Matt couldn't stop smiling, that got everyone's attention.

Before anyone could ask them why they were smiling, Al started the meeting. "Okay, I am glad that all of you came down on such short notice. I am sorry for changing the location of the meeting and giving you late notice on that too. There is so much I need to get done; I just don't have enough time. Still you found your way here and once again thank you.

With that said let me tell you why I have asked for all of you to meet. As you know I am one of the Governor's advisors. There are two controversial pieces of legislation about to be sent from the Governor to the houses to get debated and passed and he needs all hands on deck. That means I am going to be gone from two weeks to a month at least.

Since I am going to Austin..." Al went into detail on how things are going to run when he is gone. First he made it clear to everyone that Jacob is the one in charge. So if they have any problems or need anything done, they need to go him. None of them are allowed to call Al while he is in Austin. He is leaving it up to Jacob to make the call if a problem needs Al's attention. If so, Jacob will get a hold of Al via cell phone.

At that point, Al handed Jacob a cell phone. Alex looked and thought that the thing seemed too big to put in a pocket. He couldn't help but chuckle at Jacob's expression. Jacob looked like he was trying to figure out where to put the thing, but couldn't. There will be no problem with that cell phone when Jacob is either at home or in the office, but at school, well that is a different story Alex thought.

After Al explained that each of them will get Jacob's number, not his, he opened the meeting up for questions. Al went around the room and gave each person a chance to ask anything on their mind. Pretty much each of them had a couple of questions, but nothing major. Once Al got done answering the questions, he thanked everyone and let them go.

The mean time Franseca was in the kitchen unable to think straight. So many thoughts and feelings raced through her mind, she actually got dizzy, forcing her to sit down. Just as she sat down, she started to cry. After everything her son has gone through, he is finally free, Franseca kept thinking over and over again.

All week she kept thinking that Alex had done something wrong and was afraid to tell her. Instead he wasn't in trouble, he was getting off probation! That was something she didn't think would happen until he was twenty-one, which angered her. With him being on the monitor, he couldn't leave the city to go to college. There's nothing wrong with the college here, but she wants her kids to have choices in life.

Now Alex does and that is getting Franseca even more emotional. She looked up and started to pray. She thanked the man above for looking over her family through their darkest days and leading them out to the light. She went on thanking him for bringing Jacob and his family into her family's lives. It has been since then that her family has had a lot better days.

No matter how hard she tried to get control of her emotions, the tears kept coming. Then she heard noise coming from the hallway. She got up, wiped her face and walked over to see who was there. That is when she saw her son, Matt and a couple of the other boys talking in the hall. It looks like they were asking Alex questions.

Wiping her face one more time, Franseca made her way over to the group. When she got there, Alex and Matt lifted up their pant legs to show the others that their monitors have been taken off. Dewayne looked over to the phone and saw the black box gone.

All at once they started asking Alex and Matt questions. They tried to answer them, but couldn't because there were so many. Just then Jacob walked out into the hallway. He saw the group hovering around Alex and Matt. The one that caught Jacob's attention was Joe. What ever is going on must be important enough to have gotten Joe's interest.

As he approached the group, Alex looked at him and smiled. Before he could react, Alex walked over and pulled him into a hug. In a low whisper, Alex spoke. "Thank you for everything Jacob! Thank you so much! You are really a true friend."

Franseca started to cry again as she saw her son thanking the one person that probably got this done, bedsides Al. She looked over to Alex's boyfriend and saw he had tears rolling down his cheeks as he looked on to what is unfolding before them.

This has been a very emotional week for Alex and those closest to him. From his break down on Saturday at the pool, to getting off of probation, and everything in between all that, this week will be one week Franseca knows she will never forget. She also knows Alex won't ever forget either. It was a week that he got his freedom not only from probation, but from his emotional chains as well. He can now move on and really build a future.



{Welcome back once again to another chapter of Alex's life. This chapter was one big emotional roller coaster ride as Franseca thought at the end. This chapter was loaded with a lot of plots. Several plots were closed off, or were they? I love doing that to you guys. I did close off some and some may look closed, but will reopen later on down the line.

Let me start where the chapter started, the mock trial. Before getting to the verdict, I agree with Mr. Nunez when he told Alex he was a natural to become an attorney. I hope Alex takes Mr. Nunez's advice and at least looks into becoming an attorney. He was great in the mock trial, so why shouldn't he do what it looks like he enjoys and is very good at?

Now back to the mock trial. I hope no one was surprised that Alex and the defense won. They were just better all the way around. Those that played the prosecution didn't see Alex coming and when they saw he was taking things seriously, they didn't change. They kept on the same track presenting their case, and that is what lost it for them.

I love it that Alex helped pay for all the classes to have a pizza party. I guess Jacob is wearing off on him. He is giving back. Maybe not like Jacob, but he isn't where Jacob is in life as far as money. So the little he does is really a lot.

What can I say about Mario except he is a man of his word? He promised Alex that he was going to reach out and take off the green light. By the looks of it, Alex didn't expect he could do it. So when Mario told him it was done, Alex was surprised. Now he doesn't have the worry about the gang coming after him, or does he? There are a few bad apples in each group that won't listen to orders.

Do you guys think it was wrong for Mario to make the deal he made with Ernesto dealing with Alex so he can't spill the beans about the gang or testify against anyone else? I believe Alex when he said that he only did that to stay safe. So I don't see that being a problem in the future, do you?

I also agree with Mario when he told Alex that the police couldn't keep him safe. He was lucky at the hospital. It would have only taken one factor to be different that day and Alex would have been in a body bag. The gang is too big and there is just not enough police to ensure the safety of those that are threatened by them.

We are learning a little more about Kimberly. By the looks of it, Carlos is head over heels in love with her. I really hope this one works out. The last one was power hungry and was willing to do anything to get power, including killing Carlos' best friend. Kimberly doesn't strike me as that type of person.

I don't blame Alex for reacting the way he did when his probation officer called to set up a meeting. If I was in Alex's shoes, I would have gone up to Shane, as he did, and ask him of he had said anything. Alex doesn't like surprises. He likes to know what is going to happen, or is going to be said in a meeting before he gets into that meeting.

Let's talk about the pardon. I know you all saw that coming, more so when Alex gave Jacob a kidney. One thing you should know as readers is that Jacob and his family like to help out those that help them. Although Alex didn't want any payment for what he did, Al was not going to let the good deed go unacknowledged. You guys know that this is adequate payment to Alex for what he did for Jacob. In both Jacob's and Al's eyes they will never be able to repay Alex for giving Jacob a kidney.

Poor Franseca! She really cares for her kids. See wants them to have everything they want even if that means she goes without. All good parents do that, at least most. She sees a bright future for her, her kids and family. She also recognizes how their luck changed. It changed when Jacob and his family met her and her family.

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!}

JPG is right saying this chapter was a rollercoaster ride of emotions. We know that Alex and Matt are in the free completely now.  If I read it right, Carlos, Robert and Steve are too.  I wonder if we will get to see how they react to their pardons and losing their monitors.
Mario getting the green light off all the guys was another haunting matter that appears, and I stress APPEARS to be resolved.  Like JPG said, I'm leery of rogue gang members that still want to make a name for themselves and acting on their own.

The cascade of emotions Franseca felt seemed truly overwhelming for her. She has stood so solidly behind Alex and her unconditional love for him makes her so vulnerable should there be a bad turn of fate or events.

I agree that Alex has done all he can do for law enforcement in their quest to interdict the gang activities. He paid his debt to the system and now the system needs to do the heavy lifting on its own.

It seems the print shop is running well, even Ron as the manager having left.  I wonder if we will hear how he's doing at some point. It seems that Ethan's brothers have a great work ethic; something all too rare in youth. I look forward to seeing them taking on more responsibility and growing with the business.  Alex and Matt have to consider a succession plan for managing the business should they opt to go out of town for college.

I get a feeling that Kimberly is going to be a real positive force in Carlos' life. He needs someone that he would hate to disappoint as a motivational factor to keep him focused and on the right track.  Alex is now involved in so many aspects of his own life that he's not there for Carlos as he once was.  Alex has Matt for a compass, perhaps Kimberly will be the same for Carlos.

The mock trial came out as I hoped it would with the defense really  destroying the prosecution's case. I'm glad that truth prevailed and the jury deliberated the facts and came to the just verdict.
Alex funding the pizza party was a delightful twist I didn't see coming. Yes, Jacob's influence is showing. I agree that when one gives to the world around them, the payback may not be instant, but it is usually sure.  There is solid truth to the saying `what goes around, comes around'.  That can work equally for good deeds and bad.

It's going to be interesting to see how all the former detainees react and change to their new found freedom.  I hope that none of them has a slip.

Until Next Time,
"Daddy" Rick