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're 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're 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 37

When the lunch bell rang, it pulled Alex out of his thoughts and back to reality. Quickly he got up and joined the others shaking Derrick's hand and telling him it was great that they had a chance to meet them. Being a nice guy Derrick even shook Chase's and Patricia's hand when it was clear they didn't even want him around.

As Alex left the table, he saw that Ethan didn't look happy. He knows that Chase is the one that's making him feel like crap. Anyone in Ethan's shoes would be embarrassed by the way Chase and Patricia acted and treated Derrick. They went out of their way to make Derrick feel unwelcomed. Everyone in the group noticed.

Not able to kick the feeling that Ethan might be thinking that the group let him down, Alex caught up with him at his locker after he said his good byes to Derrick. Alex could see a little hesitation in Ethan when he walked up. His rep of being a gangster seems to still be haunting. He doesn't looked scared, but he doesn't look like he isn't comfortable yet being alone with Alex.

"Hey I know we don't know each other very well yet, but I feel bad for what was going on at the table between Chase, Patricia and Derrick. I hope Derrick knows that they are the only ones that feel that way. The rest of us like him and would like to see a lot more of him, especially since he seems to make you feel more at home."

Ethan was told not to judge Alex by the rumors or the gangster rep. It looks like what he has been told is true. He is very smart and insightful. Something he didn't suspect to come from Alex, maybe from Matt, but not from him. Now he feels bad that he has thought all the bad things he's thought about him because of his past.

"Thank you Alex, I really do appreciate you coming over and telling me this." He closed his locker and they started walking to their classes. "Derrick didn't deserve to be treated the way he was treated by those two, but I don't think it is Chase. I really think its Patricia. I don't understand why he is allowing her to mess around with his mind the way she is, but that isn't my business."

"There are probably things that you still don't know about him. When you learn everything about Chase's background, you'll understand why he is allowing or letting Patricia do what she is doing." They reached Ethan's class room first. "It isn't my place to say anything as far as that, but the more you hang out with us, the more you will find out about our demons. Just remember the Chase that befriended you that day out on the street because that's the true Chase that will return one day."

"I agree and that's how I choose to remember him." Ethan extended his hand for Alex to shake. "This is the kind of group of friends I want to be part of, a group that stands up for each other no matter what. As you just said, one day the Chase I met that day outside of the school at lunch will return."

The boys shook hands right when the warning bell rang. Alex went running to his class to make it in time. The rest of the afternoon went off without a problem. When the final bell rang, Alex and Matt stopped at their locker, grabbed their books they needed for homework, and left for work.

It didn't take long for the day shift to hand over everything to the evening shift. Within fifteen minutes of the evening shift clocking in, the day shift was clocked out. Something Alex and Matt has been trying to get to run a lot quicker because of overtime. The day shift has been getting a lot of over time due to shift change.

Since Ron is gone and Sergio is running the day shift by himself now, Alex and Matt have been finding themselves more and more in their office instead of being on the floor. Today was no different when they walked in. There was a pile of forms to sign off on and items to approve. Even with them both working on the pile, there is no way they are going to get to the bottom of the pile by end of the shift.

Soon after they returned from break, Jacob knocked on Alex's office door. When he saw Jacob at his door he started to worry. He has never been down in the print shop since it opened, which means this visit can't be good. It's never been good for him when one of the big people of the company, school or the other places he's been at paid him a visit.

"Hey Alex, can I speak with you two for a few minutes? I know you guys are busy, but I need to get with you on something really quick."

Alex nodded his head as he picked up the phone and dialed Matt's extension. A few seconds later Alex asked Matt to join him in his office and then hung up the receiver. Not even a minute later he walked in. When he saw Jacob sitting there, he took a couple steps back before going over and shaking his hand.

"Thank you guys and again I know you're busy, so this is only going to take a few minutes." Everyone sat down. "Not to go into to much detail, something happened on the Seven-Eleven side of the company, a learning mistake. Just like you guys, Dewayne, Tony and Joe are learning the dos and don'ts of running their stores.

Although the mistake that was made wasn't a huge one, it did cost them a pretty penny. I can guarantee they won't make the same mistake again. With that said there is someone coming out on the short end of the stick. The mistake has insured that Ethan's father can't work in a company that sells alcohol or tobacco for five years."

Not wanting to talk bad about Dewayne, Tony or Joe, Jacob told Alex and Matt little as possible about what happened. He gave them just enough so they can get a picture of why Adam can't work for the Seven-Eleven branch of the company anymore. Jacob felt that they didn't need to know all the details of what happened since they aren't involved in that part of the business. He would do the same thing if the situation was reversed and he was up talking with Dewayne and Tony about Alex and Matt.

"By the looks on your faces you guys wonder why I am down here talking with you guys about this. The answer is simple; I need a favor from you." They looked at each other and then back to Jacob. "Before coming down here I looked over the reports we have gotten on what your company is making. It's not bad at all."

"Yeah we are finally getting out of the red and into the black." Alex knocked on wood as he continued talking. "Knock on wood we continue to get better and I see that happening with the amount of work we have."

"That's good to hear guys! Truly I am happy that this print shop has taken off the way it has. That brings me to my next topic. You two are the owners of this company and should be acting like such. What I mean by that you guys shouldn't be running shifts. I know you want to know everything about the company you own, but you can still do that without running the shift.

So this is what I am thinking and again the final decision is yours to make. I feel bad about what happened to Adam. It really wasn't his fault, nor was it Dewayne's, Tony's or Joe's fault. Things happened and it happened to these guys. They didn't have anyone like Ron to make sure they didn't drop the ball anywhere when they took over. My grandpa and I have no idea how those stores are suppose to be run, so we all are learning too.

What I would like to do is move Adam down here to run your evening crew. Just like you have Sergio running you morning crew, do the same with Adam. He has the title of manager and everything that comes with that. That way it frees you two up to do what you supposed to do; run the business and collect your money." The boys started to laugh.

"Really you guys shouldn't have to deal with the day to day operations. You're the owners so you deal with the big picture of the company. Let your shift manager's deal with the day to day minor issues running the shift like employees, changing print jobs and who goes where. You guys shouldn't be doing that at all."

"Like you have seen in the reports and we have said, we are doing well, but I don't think we are doing that good. I don't think we are at the point that we are able to hire another manager and pay for his or her wages without dipping into the money we are taking home. Don't get me wrong, Matt and I have discussed this very topic and will hire a manager for this shift, but not now."

Matt agreed with Alex and tried to soften the blow. They want to help Ethan's father, but not if it means that they aren't going to take home any money. Hiring another manager isn't going to do that to them, but it will take a big sum out of their monthly take home. That's what Matt tried to explain, in a round-about way to Jacob.

"I understand where both of you're coming from. When I came down here to ask you for this favor, I wasn't going to ask you guys to pay his salary out of your pockets. He will be employed by you guys on paper and you're going to be his bosses. But as far as his pay, he will be on my payroll. You two aren't going to pay one red cent of his salary."

"No, I don't think so Jacob, no way." Alex got up from his seat trying to cool down. "You have already done way too much for me and Matt. There is no way we can let you pay a salary for one of our employees. That means you're not going to take home as much money every month like you do. I can't do that to you, no way."

"First Alex I really don't need more money to take home every month and I know you know that. I am not saying I will work for free, hell no, but money doesn't make the world revolve for me. I have enough to last me the rest of my life and then some. So don't ever think that you're taking from me, because you're not. If that would have been the case, I would not have ever offered this deal.

Secondly, I don't plan to pay him out of my money. My grandfather and I own still fifty one percent of this print shop. That's where I plan to get the money to pay for his salary. So if you look at it that way you will see that you guys are paying for his salary; not me." Alex settled down as Jacob laid out everything on the table.

"And finally when you guys are completely in the black and begin to buy the controlling interest in your company, I am going to stop paying Adam from the money I get from the print shop. You guys will put him on your payroll because you guys can afford him at that point. Do we have a deal or should I be looking to put Adam elsewhere?"

The room was quiet for a while. Finally Matt broke the silence. "I have no problem with it as long as Alex is okay with it. We understand you're in a jam to put Ethan's father somewhere and the print shop is probably a better fit for him than one of your McDonalds."

"I don't have a problem with Adam running the evening shift. Just as long as you're true to your word and that you're going to pay him out of your earnings of the print shop and that we take of his salary once we are completely in the black. That's the only way I am in Jacob. I really mean it."

Jacob promised Alex and Matt he will handle Adams salary as he explained and everything about taking the salary over when the two could afford to do so. Before leaving the office, he told them that he needs them up in his office first thing tomorrow afternoon so they could offer the position to Adam. They all agreed and Jacob headed back to his office leaving.

After Jacob left, Matt could see that Alex was still angry. He understands why but at the same time wishes he will get over it. This macho man stuff is a thing of the past. In order to survive in this world today, you need the help from your family and close friends. Without getting help from them, a person won't get anywhere.

They sat and talked a little while about what just happened. When it was almost time to go, Alex finally saw it Matt and Jacob's way. He agreed with Matt as well that he needs to learn that he can't do everything all by himself. There are going to be times that he will need to lean on others and thank the man upstairs that Jacob is always there.

On their way home, the SUV was quiet. A little fight broke out between the guys and Chase. They were angry with Chase for how he acted at lunch when Ethan brought his friend over. They were not too shy to tell Chase their dislikes and at the same time Chase wasn't too shy to stand up to them. At one point, he thought it was going to go further than just words, but thankfully it didn't.

Since his cousins moved in, his brothers haven't hung around with him as much. Today wasn't different. When he was done eating, he headed down to the basement to hang with his little brothers, but they were already in the middle of a game with their cousins. He tried to jump in, but Ismail politely told him next game.

Knowing how long the game can go on, he got up and headed to his room to get his homework done. As he reached to open his to his room, he heard a lot of noise coming from the backyard. At first he was going to ignore, but when he heard younger kids yelling `fucking retard', he went running up the stairs and out to the backyard.

When he got to the pool area, he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Four kids had corned Jeremy between the walls of the weight room and Gloria's house. They were yelling at him as he tried to become part of the wall. Seeing the fear in Jeremy's face, Alex didn't waste any time. He went running over to the kids and shoved them away.

"What they hell is wrong with you guys? Don't you see he is scared out of his mind and has no idea what you guys are saying" pulling Jeremy up. "How in the hell did you guys get back here anyways? This yard is closed off and the only way you could have gotten back here is by going through the house."

"Yeah that stupid kid was playing up front with his little dog when it ran from him and into the street. We were on our skate boards and because of this stupid retard running in front of us, we fell and skinned up our arms. We are just trying to teach him something we learned when we were four years old; look both ways before crossing the damn street."

Alex really wanted to punch the stupid little kids, but held back. "So what, you ran after him into our house and then here to the back yard to teach him a lesson?" All the boys nodded their heads. "You have no right doing that and that you should have learned when you were four years old. You don't go into someone's house uninvited."

At that point Gloria and Andy Sr. walked out to see what all the noise was about. Alex told them what he just found out, which got both them both angry. For the first time it was Alex that held someone back from hitting someone.

"You little shits have no business in this house. My son isn't like you. He is slow and has no idea he did anything wrong. You're very lucky I don't let my husband smack you around the same way you were smacking my son around. It would be the same since you guys are bigger and know better than to do that."

None of the kids said a word. They just looked down to the ground. "Where do you guys live so I can go down and speak with your parents?" None of the boys answered Gloria. "You have a choice here! Get in trouble with your parents or with the law. If I was in your shoes, I rather get in trouble with my parents."

One by one each boy gave her their home phone number. She went in to call their parents to come and get their kids while Alex and Andy Sr. kept them in the back yard. Five minutes later, the boy's parents showed up. As they came in to get their kids, Gloria told them what they did, which didn't make them happy at all. They apologized on behalf of their kids and promised her that they will be punished.

While Gloria and Andy Sr. were dealing with the kids and their parents, Alex made sure Jeremy was okay. Jeremy wasn't worried about himself. He was more worried about Cupid, his dog. So Alex helped him look for her. After searching for over thirty minutes for the dog, he was about to give up when he saw a white fur ball hiding in the grill.

Alex called Jeremy over to pull Cupid out of the grill. When he got her out, the poor little poodle was shaking like crazy. Jeremy held his dog close to his chest and ran into the house petting it over and over again. Alex followed him inside to make sure he was okay. Once he was sure everything was okay with him, Alex went to find Jacob.

He found Jacob walking to the study and stopped him in the hallway. After telling him what just happened, Jacob was as angry as his father. He wanted to go and kill the kids that had bullied his brother. At the same time he wondered how Jeremy got outside in the first place. If he would have been there for his brother like he should have been, none of this would have happened.

After parting ways, Alex realized that Jacob needs help here at the house. With all the new responsibilities he has now dealing with running the day to day operations of the company, the poor guy doesn't have the time that he used to spend with his big brother. As they talked, he could see in Jacob's eyes that he feels he let Jeremy down, but what happened here today wasn't really his fault. He thinks he can be in several places at once, but he is human and can only be in one place at a time.

Since things have changed since his cousins moved in, he now has more free time in the evenings than he used to. His little brothers seem to be okay hanging around with their cousins. He can see why; they are the same age. They pretty much like the same things and that frees him up to help out Jacob spending time with Jeremy.

Before heading to his room, he wanted to check one last time on Jeremy. So he headed up and found him drying off his little poodle. It looks like he gave Cupid a bath to get off the dirt and charcoal she got on herself when she went to hide.

Alex knocked on the door and waited until Jeremy acknowledged him. Once he did that, he walked in and started signing. Jeremy handed him his dog when he sat down next to him on the bed. Not understanding why he is giving him Cupid, he took her and looked her over several times to make sure the little dog was fine. Once he saw that she was, he signed to Jeremy that there isn't a thing wrong with Cupid.

That put a smile on Jeremy face as he took back Cupid. He stayed with Jeremy for another thirty minutes talking with him. They didn't talk about the kids that cornered him in the back yard, but he did want to know why he went outside. At first he didn't sign back, but after third time asking, Jeremy finally answered Alex.

`I wanted to be outside with my dog.' Jeremy signed. `We are always in my room or down in the rooms down there.' he pointed to the floor. `I just wanted to be outside where my dog can run like the other dogs do'

Jeremy got up from the bed and walked over to the corner and picked up a little ball, causing Cupid to go wild. He tossed the ball and Cupid went running after it. Once she got the ball she went back to him, but each time he tried to get the ball from her, she would turn her head. Not meaning to, Alex chuckled at the sight.

As Jeremy played with Cupid Alex signed to him that he understood why he was outside, but made him promise not to go out there alone. He didn't want to promise that at first until Alex explained that he wanted to join him. Putting it that way he made Jeremy feel like he was the one calling the shots and that got him to agree to wait for him.

After that, Alex joined in playing with the tea cup poodle. He didn't leave until Jeremy changed in to his pajamas and went to bed. He didn't leave until he heard soft snoring coming from Jeremy. Once he heard that, he headed down to his room and quickly did his homework before taking his evening shower and joined Matt in bed.

The next morning Alex realized that there is more to the story with Ethan and Derrick's friendship than what they see on the surface. For some reason as he got dressed he couldn't get those two out of his mind. The events in the cafeteria yesterday kept playing through Alex's mind when Ethan brought him over to meet the group. The look Ethan had on his face was a look he is totally familiar with. He has seen that look before, on himself in the mirror when he first met Matt and fell in love with him.

Unable to think about anything else, Alex let the events unfold from yesterday over and over again in his mind. By the time he got to the table, he pretty much figured out what was going on with them. At the same time he started to think that he might be reading too much into this. He is trying to make himself see what might not be there.

It took Matt kissing him on the lips to pull him out of his thoughts. Alex joined in to the conversation at the table, which carried on all the way to school. Jacob and Ethan disappeared when they arrived to school, but reappeared after the guys had already gotten their breakfast and sat down. When the two joined them, Jacob gave a lame excuse, and everyone bought it. Alex didn't because Ethan's facial expression once again gave him away.

Not long after Jacob sat down, he got up and headed out like he normally does. Soon after that Chase, Patricia and Ethan got up and left together. He thought that was odd and decided to find out what was going on there. Just as he got up to follow them, Zach and Mitchell walked over to Matt.


Being torn between wanting to hear about what is going on with Matt's campaign and what is going on between Ethan, Chase and Patricia, he decided to stay and find out what was going on with the campaign, although his mind kept wondering off to what might be happening with those three. After seeing the reaction that Chase and Patricia had to Derrick yesterday, he couldn't help but think they were telling Ethan that they didn't want Derrick around or him being a part of the group.

"We have some very good news Matt. No one signed up to run against you for the seat you're running for. That means you really don't need to campaign because you're going to automatically get the position since your name is the only one on the ballot."

"Wait I am confused on that Zach. How is that possible? Isn't there suppose to be two people at least running for a position? Even if there isn't anyone signed up to run against me, people can actually write in a person they want rather than me, right?"

"There is a deadline for students to sign up to run for any position on the student council or class president and that has come and gone already. You were the only one that signed up to run for the senior class seat in student council. That means you really don't need to campaign as I have said because you will have the seat.

As far as write ins, it happens, but not that often." Matt looked at Zach with a confused look on his face. "Look if there wasn't any other student willing to sign up to run for the seat that means there is no one out there that wants it. Believe it or not this happens a lot for the senior class seat in student council. Seniors either want the big seat or no seat at all. Normally when this happens, the principal picks the student out of the students that were running for the higher positions, but didn't win them."

"Okay I understand what you're saying and I am sure Matt does, he is just stunned right now. I think the next question that needs to be asked is what is next. You said that he doesn't have to campaign, but I don't think Matt likes that idea, nor do I. Can't he still go out and campaign as if he is running against someone."

"You know what you guys, you're crazy, both of you." Mitchell started to laugh. "If you want to campaign we're cool with it and will help you do it. But what we were thinking is that you guys campaign with Jacob. Help us get his name out there and at the same time you guys get Matt's name out there as well."

Neither one had a problem with that plan. They can campaign to help out Jacob and at the same time make sure everyone knows that Matt is on the ballot, the only one, and to vote for him. Once the four nailed down what they plan to do for the rest of the week, which the main concern was the next day's speech, they shook hands and went back to their different directions.

Alex excused himself, not telling Matt or anyone at the table where he was going. He went looking for Ethan, Chase and Patricia, but didn't find them. On his way to his locker, he saw Patricia coming out of the girl's bathroom. Not caring how it would look to others, he walked right up to her and asked to speak with her.

Hesitantly she agreed and they walked to the side of the hall, by the lockers. "You have to know my rep by now Patricia." He looked straight into her eyes. "I will do anything for my friends and more so when I think they are being threatened or being forced into a corner." She tried to talk, but he didn't let her.

"I think you and Chase have something funny going on, what I don't know, but there is something going on. You two are trying to pull Ethan into your funny business and I think he turned you guys down. In return you guys aren't happy about that and now trying to make Ethan live in your own little hell. Trust me if I find out any of my assumptions are true, there is nowhere you can hide from me Patricia, no where."

"Why are you just getting on me? If you're right on your assumptions Alex, you should be talking to Chase too, not just me."

"Because I know Chase and whatever is going on is all because of you. You're the one that's driving this bus and causing all the problems. Before you came into the picture, Chase was a totally different person. I know when a person loves another they will do anything to keep that person happy, but I won't let his wanting to keep you happy disrupt or destroy the long friendships he has built with the guys in the group.

I have seen what you women can do to people when you really want to hurt them or even destroy them. That I won't allow happening to either Chase or Ethan! So whatever is going on, knock it off. If I find out you're still causing problems or I even suspect it, you will have an enemy in me instead of an ally. Trust me when I say this to you. You'd rather have me as an ally than an enemy because there isn't anything that will stop me protecting my friends and family, nothing!"

Patricia looked at Alex unable to form a sentence in her mind. She sees in his face that he means what he is saying. Plus she knows he is a person that you don't want to fool around with when it comes to something he holds dear.  His friends, more so Jacob and his group, Alex would do anything to protect them.

"I promise you whatever you're thinking you have it all wrong. We are just supporting Ethan through something right now that he hasn't told you guys. If he ever tells you guys, you will see that we were not doing anything wrong. In fact if you find out what we are doing with Ethan you will need to apologize to me for this little outburst."

"Trust me I know you and Chase aren't supporting Ethan, but instead causing headaches on something, as you said only you two know. Eventually we will all know and when that day comes, you'd better hope we don't get all the facts. If we do, the guys won't accept you as friend at the table. Again you rather have us as friends not enemies."

Alex started to walk away but turned and walked back to Patricia. "If you think by going to Chase and telling him about this conversation is going get him to come after me, think again. Although we haven't known each other that long, we have known each other longer than you two have been together. Girlfriends come and go in our lives, but we know our friends will always be there when we are down and out. So please go to Chase and tell him about this conversation.  At least that way I don't have to repeat myself."

This time when Alex left, he didn't turn back. He said his peace and got the reaction he wanted from Patricia. The look on her face spoke volumes. He scared her, hopefully enough to stop what she is doing, but if not, they will be talking again. Maybe the next time they talk it won't be just Alex, but the entire group.

As he went looking for Matt, he passed Carlos and Kimberly in the hall. In the last week or so he has noticed that his best friend and Kimberly have been getting very close. They have even gone off on their own for lunch or breakfast, which Alex didn't mind. He wants his best friend to be happy and it looks like she is doing that for him.

Carlos saw Alex walking towards him and Kimberly and when he passed them, he nodded at him. Alex just smiled at him and kept walking. He turned his attention back to Kimberly and started to nibble on her neck, causing her to shiver. He loves it when he can make his girlfriend shiver with just a kiss or touch.

"I know we haven't been going out that long, but I am worried about you." she tilted her head up. "It seems that something is going on between your mother and you and it isn't good. Is she angry that you and I are going out?"

"No, not at all, what is going on between me and my mother has been going on for years. It has nothing to do with you. In fact I think my mother likes the idea you and I are going out. She hopes that your goodness and values rub off on me since, in her eyes, I have been a disappointment as a son, which I have been."

"I don't know what you're talking about Carlos, I truly don't. The only guy I know is the guy that's holding me now; a guy that's sweet, honest and has very good values. I think it is the other way around on goodness and good values rubbing off. You're showing me and my brothers a different way of looking at things."

"Trust me Kimberly if you met me a year ago, not even that, six months ago, you would not have given me a chance to go out with you." She asked him to tell her why he thinks that way. "It is simple really. You know my best friend Alex?" She nodded her head. "Well we were both in a gang up till about a year ago."

"I knew that and that's one of the things I love about you, your past. Don't forget when I met you that you had that thing around your leg. I am not dumb, I know only people that get in trouble with the law have those on. That didn't bother me and you being in a gang didn't bother me. So why is it still bothering your mother? You're no longer in this gang that got you in trouble?"

"No, Alex and I quit the gang and got out barely with our lives, but my mother thinks I am still getting into trouble. When I am working, she thinks I am out running the streets. When I am here at school she thinks I am also running the streets. I don't blame her for thinking that way because that was the way I was before. Kimberly, I really put my mother through hell and she stuck by me through it all."

"That's what parents are supposed to do, support their kids whenever they get into trouble. One way or another we all do something that we shouldn't. You and Alex went to the extremes, but you guys came back. You guys are better people having gone through what you went through.

You're probably right, I wouldn't have dated you a year ago or sixth months ago. Not because of you, because you were still involved in that gang. I know it sounds like I am flip-flopping on what I have said already to you about being in a gang. When I said I loved the idea you were in a gang I meant it, but the key word is `were'. I would have still fallen for you, but never gone out with you because of the gang. I don't like that stuff."

"I know my mom doesn't mean to think the way she does, but the past is coming back to haunt me. In time I hope she will see that I am not the person I was. I am working when I say I am working and I am at school when I say I am at school. In the mean time I just have to go with the flow and let her get whatever she is feeling out."

Kimberly turned around and leaned against Carlos. "She should already know that since you were taken off of that thing way before you were supposed to. Even though the Governor did it, he wouldn't have done it if you or the others didn't deserve it. Remember the Governor has to answer for everything he does, including pardons."

Carlos leaned in and kissed Kimberly on the lips. Every waking and even sleeping minute he is falling more and more in love with her. In his mind she is the one that's showing him how to look at things in a different light, not the other way around like she said earlier. Kimberly is Carlos's `Matt'; someone to help him stay on the straight and narrow.

"You know babe, you're right. Eventually my mom will see that too. The only reason I don't think she sees that right now is because the day the monitor was taken off she thought I was going back in. I don't think it has set in yet that I am off the monitor. I am not the person I was when I was involved in the gang."

Before Kimberly could say another word, the bell rang. Carlos grabbed her hand and walked her to her locker. After getting the books she needed from her locker, they went over to his locker and he did the same before Carlos walked her to her first period. Once they kissed and then kissed again, Carlos left her and went running to make it to his class before the tardy bell.

Since his class is on the third floor and Kimberly's class was on the first floor, he didn't make it. When he walked into class, the teacher waved him over to her desk. Not saying a word, she wrote out a tardy slip and handed it to him. He had no idea what to do with the slip since this is the first time he has ever gotten one.

"The first tardy is a warning Carlos, the second one you will have detention after school. So please don't make this habit, you're a good kid. I don't want to see you start going downhill now that you have gotten that thing taken off." His teacher glanced down to Carlos legs where the monitor was at.

"Thank you ma'am I promise this won't happen again. The reason I was late is because I walked my girlfriend to class on the first floor. I thought I could make it on time, but the three flights of stairs was a lot to try and run in less than a minute." His teacher smiled after hearing Carlos reason for being late.

"I was once a teenager in love also. When I was in high school I made my boyfriend walk me to each of my classes. I didn't care that he was late for his. But our school was nowhere as huge as this one." The teacher pulled out the attendance sheet and erased where she filled in the T next to his name. "I will give you this one for free Carlos, but tell your girlfriend that you can't be late because you're walking her to class. Take your seat and put that tardy slip in your book. Don't tell anyone I did this for you or I will fill in a tardy on the attendance sheet."

He whispered thank you to his teacher and promised that he won't say a word or be tardy again. The other students just looked at him as he made his way to his desk. They didn't stop looking at him until their teacher started to talk. They passed up their homework and then opened their books to start the day's lesson.

As soon as the bell rang to end first period, he walked, almost running, down to the first floor to meet up with Kimberly, but didn't make it in time. When he reached her classroom, she had already left. Looking down at his watch, Carlos had no other choice but to take off to his second period. He can't walk into his second period late because for sure his teacher will hand him a tardy slip.

When lunch rolled around, Carlos and Kimberly joined the guys in the cafeteria. He noticed everyone looking around, but at what he can't figure out. When he looked over at Alex, he could see pure hate in his eyes as he looked at Chase's girlfriend. Alex knows why Ethan isn't sitting with them and it has to do with Patricia and Chase.

Jacob got up and walked over to Ethan, as the others just looked on. None of them could figure out why Ethan was sitting at the table by himself. When Alex saw Patricia and Chase whispering, it confirmed his assumptions. They have something to do with Ethan deciding to not join the group for lunch like he always has done.

Since Alex didn't want to alert the others to what he is thinks is going on, he went back to eating. As he talked with Matt, he didn't notice Jacob walking up to the table. When he slammed his fist against the metal table, it grabbed everyone's attention. Jacob looked pissed as he looked at Chase and Patricia. He didn't say a word to anyone except those two and all he said was he wanted to talk with them in private.

The look on both Chase's and Patricia's face was fear, and Alex loved seeing it. Patricia got a piece of his mind this morning and now Jacob is about to give her a piece of his. That woman needs to be taken out to the woodshed and told that the game she's playing isn't accepted by anyone in this group. Back stabbing and stepping over people isn't a thing they do or will let anyone do to them.

The conversation at the table immediately changed to what each of think is happening with Chase, Patricia and Ethan. Each of them gave their thoughts on the subject, except Alex. He didn't want to burn Chase or even Patricia. He feels when the dust settles on this, Chase and Ethan will be left with the group, but Patricia won't.

As the guys finished eating, they got up and headed out to get some air before the end of their lunch hour. Jacob was walking in as they were walking out, but didn't tell them what was going on. All he said to the guys is that Ethan will talk with them and tell them what is going on and then asking to speak with Alex and Matt.

They went with the guys out to the stadium, but stayed on the top of stairs to talk. Jacob wanted to make this quick in order to get down to the ROTC building. So neither Alex nor Matt asked anything, they just let Jacob talk. At first he went over the same thing that he just said to the group about Ethan, Chase and Patricia before going into the subject matter he needed to talk with them about.

"Because of what is going on between Chase and Ethan right now, I don't want the friction to carry over to your print shop. Plus I have a personal motive on why I am hoping you guys will say yes. Please don't say anything until you hear me out." Alex and Matt nodded their heads in agreement.

"Good now I would like to take Ethan off of your hands. I know I just went down to you guys yesterday asking you to take his father, but I really need this. Right now Shirley, my grandfather's personal assistant, is working as mine. I need a personal assistant and I think Ethan would be great at it. Plus he's eye candy I can look at through shift."

Both of the guys chuckled. "Yeah and you want to take the eye candy from us. The guy is hot and not at all hard on the eyes. Even more now that he is out of the farm clothes and in jeans and t-shirts, the guy has an awesome body. So if we say yes here, who do we get to fill his open slot in the evening shift?"

"You will have to hire another person from your applications. I am pretty sure you have a lot of those. Look guys, Ethan is in a very scary place right now and if he does what I think he is about to do, it might get even worse. If I can get him away from the guys and his family, I would like to do that. Should they act negatively to the news he wants to tell them and you guys, the working conditions down there are going to be very cold."

This time before saying yes, Alex and Matt talked about it among themselves. Yesterday Matt felt bad putting Alex in the position he did when he said he was fine with it as long as Alex was. After the words came out of his mouth, he wished he could take it back. He feels he might have agreed even though he didn't want to so he wasn't the bad guy.

"Okay Jacob we have no problem letting him go to work for you. Just let him know we didn't want this. We all agreed that you have a position open and he fits the bill for the job. In other words, pump up Ethan's ego."

"You got it you guys and thank you for helping me out here. I really don't mean to put you guys in a bad spot, but I really think Ethan needs a break from Chase right now. If these two get into each others faces, there might not be a way to stop it. Chase is my best friend, and Ethan is my friend as well. So what is going on is really putting me in a bad position overall. If things don't get straightened out soon, I might need to step in."

Still unclear on what he is talking about, they agreed with him. Even though he was being very general about things, what he said was enough. Both Alex and Matt understood roughly what he was saying. If he has to pick sides, knowing him the way Alex knows him, he will pick the side that's right; not the side of his best friend.

In the mean time as Alex, Matt and the other guys were enjoying their freedom, Ashton and the rest of the gang members were in living hell. Ashton, just like very day since he was locked up at the new detention facility, put his lunch tray through the slot in his door. As the guard grabbed it, he told Ashton to get ready to see his lawyer.

Trying to remember if he had an appointment with his lawyer, Ashton got ready. He didn't care if he did or not, as long as he gets out of this room for a little while. The walls are really closing in on him and he doesn't know how much longer he can take this. If he doesn't get transferred soon, he knows he will go crazy.

The loud banging from a night stick on his door brought him out of his thoughts. The guard told him to face the wall and lift his left foot, then his right. Then he asked him to pull down his pants, his underwear and spread his cheeks for him. Once the guard was sure there wasn't anything up his crack, he asked him to turn around. The guard had him lift his dick, then his balls before asking him to take off his shirt. Finally he asked him to put his head down and brush his hands through his hair.

After almost thirty seconds of putting his fingers through his hair, the guard asked him to get dressed. Knowing the procedure, he quickly put on his clothes and shoes in less than two minutes. If they don't get redressed in three, they lose their chance to get out of their cell block for their hour a day, visitation or any other reason they are being asked to get ready for.

He faced the wall and waited for the guard to give him his next instructions. The guard asked him to walk slowly to the door and put his hands through the slot in his door. Once he got his hands through the slot, the guard put handcuffs on them. He walked forward to let the guard open the door and pull him out to go through the check again.

When the guard finished patting him down, he walked him down to the visitation room where his attorney was waiting for him. Taking the handcuffs off, the guard told him to step in and not to get loud with his attorney. He did as he was told and once he stepped in, the guard shut the door behind him and locked it.

"Ashton it is good to see you." his attorney extended his hand and he took it as he sat down across from his attorney, "I am doing everything I can to get you out of here, but it's hard. The new Governor put this pilot program into effect as part of his overall strategy on overhauling the corrections system here in Texas.

This guy means what he says when he promised the voters he is going to get tough on crime. He really believes that putting gang members in a different detention center will keep the gangs from getting bigger. The reports he is reading is telling him that new members are inducted mostly from people that are locked up."

"I understand all that, but how are you going to get me out of here? This place is driving me crazy. All we are allowed to do all day long is sit in our rooms looking at the four walls around us, except for one hour each day. No TV, books, magazines or writing material are allowed in our rooms. We aren't even allowed to talk with our neighbor next door. You can't tell me this place is legal.

Any sane person will go insane in this place. They have to be breaking the law somehow the way they have us locked up. Can't you use that to get me out of here? If you don't do it soon, I will off myself. I am not lying to you; this place is driving me to the point of wanting to off myself."

"Don't do anything stupid Ashton. I am looking at every avenue to try and at least get you moved back to the juvenile detention facility. We just have to wait until the Governor appoints a judge that will oversee this place. They have a court room built here already where your trials and proceedings will be held."

"If the Governor is going to appoint the person, he is going to choose a judge that he knows will keep us locked up here. That's why I am asking you to look at the conditions here. There has to be something they are doing wrong. I know I don't know the law, but keeping us caged up like animals has to be illegal."

"As long as the facility is giving you everything that you have the right to under the law, they aren't breaking the law. According to the law, the facility is required to give you three meals a day, a shower, a bed and what you need to survive like a working toilet and sink. You don't need a TV, magazines, books or to talk to your neighbor to survive. So there isn't anything there that I can find to get you out of here and I have looked."

He sat back in his seat defeated with the news he just got. "I understand the Governor isn't getting a judge from here in El Paso or even in Texas. He is going out of state to get the judge for this new courtroom. The talk around the courthouse is that he is getting a judge from New Mexico. That could work in our favor since the majority of them don't believe in harsher punishments." That perked Ashton right up.

"Now the other reason I came to see you is to let you know that Mr. Flores is no longer running the business. He passed away and his replacement has not yet been announced. For now his assistant is taking care of things, but it doesn't look like he is going to be moved up. That means when the word gets out, there might be a vacuum effect to try and gain control. The main reason I am telling you this is for you to watch out. I want to get you out of here walking on your own, not in a body bag."

"Thank you I really appreciate the heads up. If you already know, I can guarantee many in here know. That means they are just biding their time to take out the rest of the leadership that might be bumped up before them. I know I am not in line for a promotion, but others might feel threatened with me still breathing."

"You know I can't know the actual details of how your company runs. If you were to ever tell me certain details of your business, I would have to go and report to the police. So don't tell me anything more than you have already. We are right on that line right now of what I can know and what I can't know. If you cross it and tell me about people that might get murdered, I will have to excuse myself as your attorney."

"I don't want that to happen. Please do whatever you can to get me out of here, more so now that Mr. Flores has passed away. If you believe we have a chance with the judge that's going to be in charge of my case, I will follow you. But if you see it going south, you need to react and react fast with another way on getting me out of here."

Ashton's attorney agreed with him and then passed on messages from his family. The messages that were sent back to his family because the guards here rejected the letters because of what was written in them. As his attorney got up to leave, Ashton thanked him and shook his hand. On his way out of the room, the attorney told him to be patient and not to do anything dumb.

A few minutes after his attorney left, the guard knocked on the door of the visitation room. Ashton knew what he wanted and got up to go through the same thing he went through when he got out of his room. The only difference this time is he wasn't allowed to get dressed. He had to walk out of the visitation room in just his underwear.

The guard took Ashton to the in processing room and did a full body cavity search on him before giving him a clean set of clothes from top to bottom. It seemed the guard today is in a hurry, so he quickly got dressed. When he slipped on his shoes, the guard asked him to face the wall. Knowing that you don't question the guards, he let it go that he didn't have a chance to tie his shoes. The guard put the handcuffs on his hands and ordered him out of the room.

On his walk back to this cell it felt like eternity for him. As he walked passed each room, he felt eyes on him. Normally every gets up and looks out their little window of their door when they know someone is passing by, but this time it felt different. He felt as if they were looking at him to size him up; to find his weakness and then when he less suspects it, he gets stabbed in the back.

For the first time since he got there it felt good when the guard shut his door and locked it. Although he is going out of his mind in the eight by eight cell, he'd rather not be anywhere else right now. Not at this point after hearing that Mr. Flores was killed. Just like his attorney said, there is going to be a vacuum and many gang members, mainly leaders, are going to be dropping dead around here.

Knowing that he has limited time to get home, drop his books off and grab what he needs for work in order to catch the bus, Carlos sprang out of his seat when the bell rang. His sixth period teacher has already gotten used to him doing that. The first couple of times, his teacher stopped him at the door. After explaining to him why he was in such of a hurry to get out of class, the teacher understood. Now he just moves out of the way.

When Carlos made it out side of the school, he started to jog. Going over the things he needed to do once he got home, he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings. So he didn't hear his mother yelling for him or the horn of the car. When she drove past him and stopped the car that got him out of his thoughts.

"Didn't you hear me yelling you name Carlos?" his mother got out of the car yelling at her son. "I don't have time to be playing your games. Get in the car so we can talk as I take you to work." His mom got back in her car, unlocking the passenger side door.

He walked over to the car trying to figure out what he did that has his mother so angry with him. Except for the couple of times she has taken him to report in to his probation officer, she has never taken him to work. That is what has Carlos now worried. She not only went to get him at school, but followed him when she saw that he didn't see her waiting for him. On top of that, she wants to talk with him. That all adds up to bad news no matter how Carlos looks at it.

No one said a word at first. The car was so quiet that Carlos was able to hear the gears changing as his mother sped up or slowed down. Through the corner of his eye, he looked over at his mother to try and get a read on her, but couldn't. Since he wasn't looking her straight in the eye, he was unable to read what was on her mind.

When they reached the freeway, his mother broke the silence. "The reason I went to pick you up is to talk with you about something very important. In the past I have tried to keep you shielded from the issues at home. Parents are supposed to keep their kids from worrying about adult things like how things are getting paid.

Your stepfather and I have had many sleepless nights trying to figure out a solution to our problem. As you know your stepfather's hours have been cut back at work. That wasn't a real big problem since I was getting a lot of overtime, but that has changed. Not only has the overtime has stopped, but I am not putting in my full forty hours. It is the normal process that happens at my job every year at this time."

"What do you need from me mom? Just name it and if I can do it I will do it." He could see that his mother isn't comfortable at all talking with him about this.

"I know you are supposed to be the teenager, only worried about school stuff and girl problems. Not worrying about the stuff that your stepfather and I are supposed to be taking care of. So when I come to you with this, you need to know that I have exhausted all other avenues. I have nowhere else to go."

The way his mother is beating around the bush, he knows that she doesn't want to ask him for whatever she is going to ask. There is nothing he really can say to help her get to the point. He knows if he talks again, it might actually do more harm than good.

"I need your help to pay some of the bills in the house." His mom looked into her son's eyes as they were stopped at a red light. "I only need your help until either my hours are back to normal or your stepfather's hours are back to normal. He is in fact looking for another job that will give him forty hours. He doesn't like this same as me. We supposed to be taking care of you, not the other way around."

"Mom stop that, please. If you need my help, I'm more than willing to give it. I have a job right now and I am not spending the money I'm making. So whatever you need, just tell me and I will give it to you." He grabbed his mother hand. "Are we doing okay right now? Do you need any money for anything that is overdue?"

His mother placed her other hand on top of her sons hand and started to cry. She really didn't want to ask her son for help like this. He leaned over and pulled his mother into his arms and held her until she stopped crying. Once she was able to talk, she told him what they were behind in as far as bills in the house.

Not giving her a chance to ask, he told her to add it all up, call him at work and he will pull it out of his account on his way home. When she tried to say something, he repeated what he said. When he finished, his mother nodded her head and pulled him into a hug. Needing to get in to work, he broke the hug, kissed his mother goodbye and got out of the car.

As he ran in, he passed Alex and Matt in the hall. Alex yelled out at Carlos, teasing him on being almost late for work. He turned around and just smiled at his friend. They both know each other very well so they could read each other's facial expressions. The way he smiled told Alex that something was up. It was a forced smile to try and cover up that something is happening that isn't good.

Alex wanted to help out his best friend, but knew he didn't have the time. He had to get up to the top floor for the meeting with Jacob. So he'll let it go for now. As soon as the meeting is over, he plans to talk with his friend. He wants to know what is going and see if he can help him through whatever is going on.

Before going up to the meeting, Alex and Matt talked with Sergio. He agreed to stay while they were gone. There is no way they could leave the floor without a manager there to make sure everything is running smoothly. It's not that don't trust their staff, they do, but it never fails that something will go wrong when they hope it doesn't.

Once they got Sergio to stay over, the boys left. When they got off the elevator, the very first face they saw was Ethan's. As they approached the front desk, Alex could see that he didn't feel comfortable. It wasn't that he was uncomfortable being behind the desk, it was him and Matt being there.

So he chatted with him to assure him that everything was okay with him and Matt on him accepting the job with Jacob. As they talked, he started to loosen up more and looked comfortable being there. Once Alex saw that, he and Matt headed to Jacob's office so they could get this meeting over with. On their way they passed Adam, Ethan's father in the lobby. They knew it was Ethan's father because he looked just like Ethan, just an older version of him.

Soon after they walked into Jacob's office, Jacob called up front for them to send Adam back. As soon as he walked into the office, he introduced everyone, but didn't start the meeting. Dewayne, Tony and Joe were not there yet, but their ears had to be burning. As soon as he said they are holding on for a couple more people, they walked into the door. Everyone greeted everyone, sat down and he got started.

He went through why they were there, but not in any kind of detail. He explained once again why he didn't go into detail on what happened, which wasn't needed. Once he got over that part, Jacob got to the offer. Adam sat there listening to what is being offered to him. Once he finished up, Adam had a few questions.

He answered all the questions that he had and then asked if he wanted the job. The answer surprised Alex. He took the offer, but not to keep his pay or title, but to be with his boys. He wanted to work side by side with them as they did on their family farm, something that is not seen any more in families today; family's members wanting to work at the same job and not have a problem with it!

As soon as Adam accepted the position, Jacob got the paperwork out of the way so the transfer was done. One by one got up and left the office. Alex and Matt walked out with Adam explaining how the print shop works. Buy the time they got down to the basement, he pretty much got a crash course on how things are run.

They walked onto the floor of the print shop to show him around. Sergio walked up and was introduced to him. Before Sergio left, he and Adam set up time throughout the week for him to shadow Sergio during his shift. They both agreed it will take awhile for him to learn everything, but until then, Sergio is willing to do whatever he can to help him get there.

Once he left, Alex took over. He finished walking Adam around the production floor. He showed him every machine they had in the shop. Then he took him to an empty office that had his name on the door already. After showing him that, he took him to his office and gave him a crash course on some of the paperwork.

The main thing Alex wanted him to learn is how to read the printing schedule. That way he will be able to switch out printing jobs when they are done with the job they are working on. The shop eats the cost of anything that is printed out extra on a printing job and that is why he wants him to learn this paper work first.

He let Adam take some of the binders and clip boards to his office to look over so he could get to work on the pile of papers on his desk. He thanked Alex for giving him a chance as he left the office. He felt very good on the decision he made with Matt and Jacob giving the open manager's job to Adam.

Just as he sat down, his phone rang. Thinking that it was Matt, he just said hello, not saying the name of the company or his name. In return the person on the other end at first thought she had the wrong number. She confirmed who she was talking to and then went right into the reason why she called. Before she finished saying everything, he dropped the phone on his desk and went running to Matt's office. Matt looked up as he ran in and knew something really bad has happened.


I have a home page for you to see what the characters look like or what the places look like. If you want to walk in their shoes, please go to: http://jacobmillertex.wordpress.com/





{Welcome back one and all to another filled chapter of "Beneath the Mask". I covered a lot in this chapter. Something I like doing in all my chapters is to put in a lot of information, twist and turns to keep you guys guessing on what is going on. This chapter was not exception to my cardinal rule to keep things alive and hopping.

I keep saying over and over again you need to read all the stories I am writing to know what is going on in each of them. Although not all the plots of each story are shared with the others, but many are. For example in this chapter, many of the plots were started or continued in chapter sixty-seven of "Jacob Finding His Way". Also the meeting at the end of this chapter is in a lot more detail at the end of sixty-seven of "Jacob". You need to read all the stories to get the full picture.

You also will see soon characters from "Shadow of My Father" coming into this story and playing a huge role. In the past when they have come into this story, it was minor and not a plot at all. Not anymore. In the future Chapters they are going to be involved in this story and the rest of the stories, as well as characters of "Regrets and Heartaches". I have said that there is going to be a big shake up in "Regrets" and after that shake up, many of those characters will be involved in all the stories a lot more.

Now let's get on with the summation of this chapter. Just as before it picked right up where the last chapter ended, during lunch with Ethan introducing Derrick to the guys. I don't like leaving any gap in the time line or I will be getting emails from readers asking what happened in that gap.

Alex is a very smart guy and sees through the crap. I think he is able to do that because he is a very good liar himself. There is a saying I say. I lie to people I know are lying to me; don't bullshit a bull shitter. In other words I can lie with the best of them, so if you try to lie to me, make it believable. That is what I see in Alex and that is why he is seeing right though Patricia and Chase.

I like how Alex is with his friends and family; how he will stand up for them when he sees wrong being done to them. So it shouldn't have been a surprise to any of you when he took Patricia to the side and `spanked' her. I don't think that will be the last we see of Patricia causing problems. In "Jacob" sixty-seven during lunch we see how she reacts to when Jacob finds out about what she and Chase did that morning to Ethan.

It was good that Alex and Matt said yes to taking Adam on as the evening manager. I agree with Jacob when he said they are the owners and shouldn't be dealing with the small things. They need to be dealing with the big picture. I also liked seeing the three of them get together to take care of Ethan. Alex releasing him from the print shop so he could go up and work for Jacob as his personal assistant, I just love that.

We saw a little of Carlos and Kimberly in this chapter. It really looks like their relationship is blossoming. I love seeing how they are with each other. I agree with Carlos, when he thought to himself that Kimberly is what Matt is to Alex; his support. They need support and encouragement to stay out of trouble.

What is going on here with Jeremy? This plot was not mentioned in "Jacob Finding His Way", but will be in the future chapters. First those neighborhood kids should have seen that Jeremy wasn't like them. But they didn't, or they didn't care, and they scared the living daylights out of him. I am glad that Alex heard the noise and went out there to pull the kids off of him. Just imagine what would have happened if he stayed playing with his brothers.

We popped in and saw how Ashton is doing. He found out through his attorney that Mr. Flores is dead. Now more than ever he not only needs to watch his back, but he really wants to get out. I don't see him getting out, but I see him watching his back. When the dust settles, I see him surviving, I hope.

At the end of the chapter we have a cliffhanger. I know you hate these cliffhangers. At least I am not using them in every one of my chapters, just a few of them. I wonder who was on the phone. I wonder what was said to Alex that made him drop the phone and go over to Matt. Matt knows something is up, but neither he nor we know what it is. Tune in for chapter thirty-eight for the answer.

There were so many plots in this chapter that I might not have covered them all. I hope if I missed a plot that needs to be touched on my editor catches it and covers it in his corner. (Hint Rick, hint. LOL) There are still some plots left out there I didn't cover in this chapter like Robert and Steve. Don't worry those will be covered in the chapters to come. As well I have new plots coming. Some from my own evil mind and some suggestions from you readers that have written me emails.

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


JPG was right; there was a ton of things that happened in this chapter.

Jacob coming to Alex and Matt the way he did regarding his dilemma with Adam's father really was impressive. He handled a delicate situation with a ton of diplomacy. He was also ready for Alex when his back went up a bit over Jacob subsidizing Adam's salary. It was good to see that Alex and Matt know exactly where the finances of their business are at any given moment. Alex, however, really needs to learn to relax and allow people to do good things for him when they want to. This is one area where he has problem with; his own self image. For all the advances Alex has made, Matt still has his work cut out for him with Alex!

It was great to see Alex notice the tension going from Patricia and Chase aimed at Ethan. Although Alex doesn't have all the details, he has things pretty well figured out. Alex taking the time and caring enough to talk to Ethan is another example of the good person Alex is at his core. That few moments of stopping and caring is going to create a true bond of friendship between Alex and Ethan.  Alex saw the good results of his short talk with Ethan on the surface, but he doesn't realize what good he did for his image in Ethan's perceptions.

Now we come to the confrontation Alex orchestrated with Patricia.  The warmth and caring he showed Ethan was exactly the opposite of what he displayed talking to Patricia. He let her know in crystal clear terms that she had better quit her games regarding Ethan and suggested strongly that she not keep screwing with Chase. Now, with Patricia having shown her true make up, I don't think this is over. I don't think she's as wise as she needs to be.

Who is going to be the one that will step up and deal with Chase? It will be either Jacob or Alex, but which one? The situation Patricia is causing is also Chase's responsibility and I expect Jacob or Alex to verbally spank Chase to get him to see the real world and the damage his girlfriend is causing.

Alex's stepping in to defend Jeremy from the bullies and his actions following that incident with Jeremy further show Alex's admirable core values. He has no real connection or responsibility for Jeremy, yet he has taken it upon himself to befriend and mentor him. He not only intervened in the incident, but followed up with Jeremy to make sure he was OK and find out why Jeremy was out front with Cupid.

Now, what was so earth shaking with the phone call? Whoever was on the other end of the call doesn't know Alex it appears. What could a stranger have to say to Alex that would elicit such a reaction?  Like you readers, I don't know and I'm keenly curious.  I do so hate the cliffhangers.  I know that there has to be a good place to end a chapter, and I know JPG has eased up on the cliffhangers, but I sure don't like being left with a mystery for a whole week!

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick