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

Edited By: Ed

Chapter 38

Alex dropped the phone on his desk with the person on the other end of the line still talking. He was almost stumbling over to Matt's office unable to think straight. As he walked in, Matt looked up and saw the look in Alex's face and knew that something was seriously wrong. He got up and walked around his desk to find out what is wrong.

At first Alex didn't say a word or even budge from the place where he stopped once he entered into the office. He asked Alex what was wrong in a low voice, trying not to make things worse. After the third or fourth time asking Alex what was wrong in different ways, he finally spoke.

"Ron isn't well Matt. He was just rushed to the hospital suffering to what looks like a heart attack." Matt fell back against his desk. "I just got a call from the retirement home telling me a little of what happened. He is being rushed to Columbia Medical Center." He sat down in the nearest chair to him.

Neither of the boys said a word. They were deep in their own thoughts not understanding what happened. The last time they saw him, he was well. Yes his doctor made him retire, but he was well. The questions in their minds turned to blaming themselves for what just happened to Ron. They started to think back to when they started this print shop. They saw that they actually leaned on him a lot. In return he pulled a lot of long days.

The boys had no idea how long they sat there in Matt's office in silence. All they know they were pulled out of their thoughts with Adam knocking on the door with questions about the binders he took from Alex's office earlier. At first Adams questions sounded far away, but as the boys concentrated at the matter at hand, Adam's voice came clearer.

"I am sorry if I am disturbing you guys. I can come back with you are done with your meeting." He started to walk away when Matt called him back in.

"No we were pretty much done with our meeting when you came." Matt looked over at Alex. "Why don't you call and see if you can get any more information for us. I'll go ahead and help Adam out with whatever questions he has." Alex nodded his head and without a word, walked back to his office.

"Sir what were those questions you had. I'll try and help you, but I am going to be truthful with you. What is in some of those binders you have I am still confused about. The man with the knowledge and understanding of everything is Alex. That is why those binders and clipboards are in his office and not mine."

Adam laughed as he sat down. He went through his list of questions, and surprisingly to Matt he was able to answer them. He was happy with himself that he knew because it meant that he is learning things he didn't realize he was. After fielding all the questions, he walked with Adam out to the floor to see if everything is running smoothly.

The meantime Alex called back the retirement center and lucky for him the voice that was on the other end was the voice he was talking to. He didn't get her name before he left her hanging on the other end. After apologizing to her for leaving her, she picked up right where she was when he dropped the phone.

"Ma'am I understand all of what you are saying. What I don't understand is why I am being called? Ron has to have family out there he's listed as his emergency contact. Please don't get me wrong, I am thankful you did call me."

"You and Matthew Robinson are listed as his emergency contacts. He put this change in several months ago. Now if you would like I can go back to his old emergency contact and call them up, but that isn't what he wanted. All I am doing is following his orders and who he wants to be contacted in case something happens to him."

"No don't go back to his old emergency contact. There has to be a reason why he took them off and it isn't up to me to challenge that. As soon as I can close up the shop, Matt and I will go directly to the hospital. You said he was being rushed to Columbia Medical Center, is that right?"

"Yes you heard me right. It is right next door to Providence Hospital off of Schuster and I forget the other street, I think it is Oregon. Anyways you can't miss it because those hospitals are the only two side by side and blocks away from UTEP."

"Thank you ma'am I know all too well where Providence Hospital is. I often wondered what the other building next door was. I thought it was a hospital also, but I thought I was weird to have two hospitals right next door to each other. Again thank you and I hope when Matt and I get down to the hospital we find it was something he ate."

The night head nurse at the retirement home agreed with Alex and wished him luck. They said goodbye and he hung up the phone. He got up from his chair and walked out of his office. As he made his way to the floor, he looked at the time clock and saw there was still an hour and twenty two minute left of shift. There is no doubt in his mind this hour and twenty two minutes are going to be one of the longest hour and twenty two minutes in his life since he was sentenced to Juvenile Detention Center.

Just like he thought, the remaining part of the shift dragged on. He kept looking at his watch or asking whoever he was next what time it was. He thought his watch wasn't working right since it looked like it wasn't moving. It also seemed at times that time just stopped. What seemed like ten or fifteen minutes were just a couple of minutes in reality.

When it was time to finally go, the boys quickly locked up their office, their floor and then the building. On their way to the SUV, they thanked Adam for accepting the position and wished him, his older sons and Ethan a good night before parting ways. Once they were on their way, no one was the wiser on what was going on.

Even when they drove up to the house and Alex and Matt didn't get out of the SUV. Nobody asked why. Many times they have dropped their passengers off and headed down to the store to pick some thing up they needed. More than likely they thought that this time when they didn't get down. Whatever the reason was, nobody asked questions, Alex and Matt didn't care. They were thankful they didn't have to explain to them about something they don't themselves don't even know much about right now.

The whole ride to the Columbia Medical Center, neither of the boys said a word. Once they got there the only thing they talked about was where to park. Alex was going to park at first in the parking lot where he normally does when he goes to Providence, but he saw a sign at the entrance that he never noticed before. "PARKING ONLY FOR VISITOR'S FOR PROVIDANCE HOSPITAL, ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED!"

"How can they know what car that is parked in their parking isn't visiting one of their patients?" Matt said in a soft voice.

"I don't want to take any chances Matt. With my luck when we walk out to go home, our truck will be towed. I don't know about you, I rather drive home instead of walking. After a long day at work and school, there is no way my feet can take the pounding of the pavement."

Alex pulled out of the entrance and looked for Columbia parking area. After driving around the block several times, he spotted a small sign at the entrance of a parking garage. He thought this parking garage was for the local businesses, but it wasn't. It is for anyone that is coming to visit someone in Columbia.

Turning into the entrance of the parking garage, he stopped, pushed the button for his ticket and the arm lifted. He went up to the first level, didn't find a parking, then the second, and then the third and parked. The boys got down and started to look around. Since they never have been here before, they had no idea where to go.

Matt saw the elevator and pointed it out to Alex. As they walked Alex noticed an entrance marked `Columbia Medical Center'. Trying his luck, he pulled Matt through the double doors. They found themselves looking down at Schuster and Oregon Street. They walked across right into the hospital. Following the signs to the Emergency room, it didn't take them to long to find it.

The minute they walked in, they walked over to the information desk and asked about Ron. The nurse asked them if they were relatives and when they answered no, the nurse instructed them they had to sit down. She couldn't give them any information concerning him since they were not his immediate family.

Just as they turned to leave the window, a familiar face from the retirement center stopped them. She turned the boys around and walked them back to the information center and handed a paper to the nurse. The nurse looked over the paper and then looked up to Alex and Matt.

"Are you two Alejandro Garcia and Matthew Robinson?" Alex and Matt both nodded their heads. "I need to see your IDs please so I can confirm who you guys are." They pulled out their wallets and handed the nurse their driver's licenses. "Okay I am sorry about earlier, but we don't give out information about our patients to everyone that walks into the door asking for it.

According to the information I have at hand, Mr. Baird was rushed into the ER from his retirement home complaining of chest pains. When he was being admitted, he suffered a full blown heart attack. He was immediately rushed into surgery and that is where he is at right now. As soon as I get more information I'll let you both know."

Both of them tried to ask the nurse questions, but she kept repeating the same thing over and over again. They gave up and told her that she could find them in the waiting area when she gets more news. The nurse just nodded and called the next person in line.

Alex didn't like to being treated the way he and Matt were by the nurse, but he let it go. Seeing the long line of people waiting to talk with her, he understood why she had to be the way she was. If she sat there trying to answer every question that was asked, she will always have a log line of people waiting.

They sat down with the supervisor of the retirement center. They got to know her when they were doing their community service hours. They didn't talk at first. They just looked straight ahead at the long line of people waiting to find out about their loved one or friend. When the silence was broken, it was Matt asking the supervisor some questions.

"Do you know why Ron changed his paperwork at the Retirement Home? Don't take the question the wrong way, but doesn't he have family around here he rather have on the paperwork as his emergency contact. Alex and I haven't even known Ron for year." Matt leaned forward with his head cocked to his right looking at the supervisor.

"When he changed his paperwork I went to talk with him about it. Just like you I was wondering why he changed his emergency contact. When he answered me it was a simple answer. You guys gave him the time of day where his family didn't He has the feeling that his family is just waiting for him to kick the bucket to get his life insurance and everything else in his estate.

That is one of the reasons why he sold his house and all his property before moving into the retirement community. He made all his assets liquid so he can do as he pleased while he is alive. Ron doesn't want to leave his family anything when he passes on."

The way the Mrs. Campbell explained it made a lot of sense to them. By the way she is talking Ron's family is only around when they need something. Since he didn't talk at all about his family, they have to take Mrs. Campbell's word for it. At least until they get a chance to speak with Ron and find out why he did what he did putting them as his emergency contacts.

Feeling that they were disrespecting Ron talking about him like they are, they stopped talking and just sat in silence. Thirty minutes turned into an hour than the hour turned into two and they hadn't heard a thing. Alex was getting inpatient and was about to go and ask the nurse for an update when the double doors to the ER opened.

Several doctors walked out, stopped at the nurses station and as they were talking to the nurse they looked over at Alex, Matt and Mrs. Campbell. One of the doctors started walking towards Alex, while the other one stayed back talking with the nurse. As the doctor approached they all stood up.

"Mr. Garcia, Robinson and Mrs. Campbell I am one of several doctors that worked on Ron when he arrived here earlier this evening. He suffered a massive heart attack and we did everything we could, but I am sorry to say there was too much damage done to his heart." As the doctor said the last part, it felt like he delivered a punch into Alex's gut.

"He is alive, but in the intensive care wing of the hospital. We requested for him to be placed on the list for a new heart, but his age and his other health issues will come into play. I don't think the committee will approve it. So we will do everything we can to make him comfortable, but I'd be lying to you if I told you that he will walk out of here."

"Doctor isn't there anything else you can do? We understand his age and everything you are saying that will more than likely keep him off the list, but come on. I am sure people have somehow gotten around that committee. Just tell us what we can do, and we will do it." Alex pleaded with the doctor.

"Sorry son, there is no way around the transplant committee. Once they rule, it is final. Even if you take Mr. Baird to another hospital, his medical record will follow. They will see that he was here and was denied to be placed on the list and they won't submit his name again. They will do the same thing we are going to do and that is making him comfortable. I am so sorry, but I don't like to make the family and friends of one of my patients think something can be done when it can't."

"How long doctor?" The doctor turned and looked at Mrs. Campbell with a confused look on his face. "What I mean is if he doesn't get on the list for a new heart, how long does Mr. Baird have to live?"

"That is what I thought you meant ma'am. It all depends on a lot of things. One of which is how his body holds up with the machine basically doing the job of the heart. Since Mr. Baird has other health issues, we know his body won't tolerate the machine for long. So maybe a week or a little more if we are lucky!"

Seeing that the doctor really can't say or do much more, Alex asked him if they could see Ron. The doctor had no problem letting them see him. He walked them to Ron's room and left after explaining the rules. None of them entered the room right away. They stood there standing at the door frozen.

Just as he promised his mother, Carlos stopped at a teller machine on his way home. He pulled out what he could to give his mother to pay the past due amounts on some of the bills. When he got home, he handed his mother the money, kissed her on the forehead before going over to the phone to call Kimberly.

They talked a little over an hour before they both needed to hang up. Kimberly had already done her homework and was ready for bed by the time Carlos called. But her parents didn't like her staying up past ten on a school night. When they had hung up, it was eighteen minutes past ten, which didn't make her father happy.

"Honey, your mother and I have accepted that you have fallen in love with Carlos even though we really don't like him. Because you like him, we are willing to get to know him and see what you see in him. You are a good judge of character. So he has to have some good in him if you are willing to overlook his past.

With that said, you know your bedtime. You have always followed the rules, but lately you have been pushing the envelope. We can't have you start rebelling now when you are so close to getting everything you want. You have straight A's, the highest GPA in your high school, which will allow you to go to any college that you want. If you keep this up, you are going to lose when you are so close to getting your dream."

Kimberly got up from the couch and walked over to her dad. "It is only eighteen minutes past my bed time dad, the world isn't going to end." She leaned in and kissed her dad on the cheek. "You think I go to bed at ten when you guys do. Not to sound rude or disrespectful, but I don't. I stay up reading for another hour or so.

I love you dad and you know me. There is no way I am going to let my grades slip now, not for anyone or anything. I do really like Carlos and yes you are right, I am a good judge of character. He is a good guy. He just has had a rough go of it and is trying very hard to be the person he knows he is. Cut him some slack, because if you do you will see that he is a very good person."

Kimberly's father didn't say a word to his daughter as she left. He knew she was right like always. He turned off all the lights before heading to bed himself. As he got into bed beside his wife, she turned over and smiled at him the way his daughter did before kissing him good night.

"You know you have to loosen up a little on her. The more and more you try to rein her in, the more she will try and break free. She hasn't shown us yet that we can't trust her. So let's trust her to make the right decisions as she always does when it comes to picking her boyfriend. Who knows, this relationship might burn out faster than it started."

"I see where our daughter gets her free will; from you." Kimberly's father leaned in and kissed his wife on the lips. "You are right about me trying to hold onto her. Its just I see our daughter still as a little girl, but I know she isn't anymore. I promise to loosen up, honey, not only because you are asking, but I don't want to push her away."

Kimberly's dad turned off the light on the end table before settling in under the covers. Reaching over, he pulled his wife close to him as he starred up at the roof remembering the night his daughter was born. It was the happiest day of his life being a father for the first time. Now he knows the days ahead are going to be a nightmare for him.

On the ride to the house, Alex and Matt tried to talk about anything except what they just saw. Mr. Baird, the strong willed man, now connected to machines fighting for his life. Although they didn't tell him, they know he knows that he doesn't have that much time left on this earth. Anyone would know something is really wrong when they wake up and find themselves connected to a lot of machines.

Although Ron didn't wake up at all while the boys were sitting in his room, they talked with him. They told him about Adam and other things that were going on at the print shop. A couple of times as they talked, their voices cracked. They didn't show they were hurting, but the other knew by the cracking of the voices.

When they got home, Alex went up to check on Jeremy. He felt that he let Jeremy down on their deal since he wasn't home to hang with him and Cupid outside. When he got to Jeremy's door, he saw that the light was still on. Alex knocked on the door a couple of time and then walked in. Jeremy looked up from his drawing and started to sign.

`Where were you at Alex? You say you were going to take me out side and play with Cupid, but you never came." Jeremy threw his colored pencil down on the floor. "I see I can't trust you to come and be with me and Cupid like you say."

Alex walked over to Jeremy and sat down in front of him. `I really wanted to be here with you and Cupid tonight, but something happened I couldn't control." Jeremy looked at Alex as he signed. `A very good friend of mine got very sick and was taken to the hospital. I went down to make sure he was okay.'

`Oh I am sorry for your friend Alex. I'll wait for you tomorrow so me and Cupid can be out in the yard. I don't want those mean boys to hurt my dog anymore. They really hurt her and I am angry. You'll make sure they don't hurt my dog again, right Alex?' He picked up Cupid and handed her to Alex.

As Alex took Cupid from Jeremy she started to lick his face. `I promise that no one will hurt Cupid or you anymore. Just you need to promise me not to go outside alone. Wait for me to get home after work or the weekends before you go outside. I don't want those kids to see you by yourself and try to make trouble, okay?'

Jeremy nodded his head as he picked up his color pencil that he threw on the floor. Alex put Cupid down on the bed, wished Jeremy good night and left. When he got downstairs, Franseca called out for him. He walked over to the kitchen to find his mother putting a plate of food down on the table. He tried to tell his mother not to go through so much trouble, but she wouldn't listen.

"You can't tell me that you and Matt ate while you were over there at the hospital. So you get your butt over and here and sit down. I won't let any of my kids go to bed on an empty stomach." Franseca pulled out the chair and looked at him.

The look she was giving was a look Alex knew all too well. That look was telling him to do what she is saying, no ifs or buts about it. So he walked over to the table and sat down to eat. Franseca went and got her boys a soda from the refrigerator before starting on the dishes. By the time they were done eating, Franseca had the kitchen cleaned. She had only their dishes to do.

They got up and handed her their dirty dishes as they left, but not until they gave Franseca a kiss on the cheek. When they got down to the basement, they quickly did their homework before taking a shower. To save on time, they took their shower together and went to bed. They wanted to fool around, but were too tired to do so.

The next morning, they slept through the alarm. It was Alex that woke up first and he almost pushed Matt off the bed in order to wake him up. They ran around the room getting ready and then up the stairs. They barely made it as they others sat down to eat. Alex caught his breath before he put the first bite in his mouth.

On the ride to Ethan's house, the truck was cold. Not in the way it sounds. There was coldness in the air between everyone. If felt to Alex that everyone knew what was going on and wasn't happy about it. They did talk to each other but not like they have ordinarily. It was general talk like you would do with a person you just met for the first time.

Then things got even colder in the truck when they drove up to Ethan's house. Ethan walked out, but was not looking at them, instead he was looking at the vehicle that just drove up behind them and parked. Alex looked to see who it was in the call that got his attention. At first he couldn't make the person out, but eventually he did. It was Derrick in the car behind them.

He walked up to Jacob's window instead of getting into the truck like he normally does. He said good morning to everyone and then leaned in and started to talk with Jacob at a whisper. They were talking low enough to each other that no one else in the truck could make out what they were saying. After chatting a few minutes back and forth with each other, he thanked Jacob and walked over and got into Derrick's car.

As Jacob pulled into the street, Tom opened his mouth. Jacob's response back to Tom was short and to the point. It also should have ended the conversation, but it didn't. Chase had to put in his own two cents, which got Jacob even more irritated than when Tom spoke up. Alex didn't think it was that they were asking questions or making comments that got him angry. It was more the way they were doing it.

Jacob went off on Chase's comments. When he was done, it didn't leave a doubt in anyone's mind Jacob has had enough of Chase. They don't know everything of what is going on, but they do know that Chase has just bit off more than he could chew. He got an ear full from Jacob that quieted the truck the rest the way to school.

Everyone thought it was over and done with, but when Jacob parked and asked to speak with Chase and Tom alone, they knew it was just beginning. Alex and the rest of the guys got out of truck and started their way to the main building. He looked back a couple of times to the truck, but couldn't see anything.

He gave up and joined in the conversation that was going on. Shortly after they had sat down, Jacob, Chase and Tom joined them. They were talking as if what happened earlier didn't happen, which confused Alex. He thought that Chase had finally crossed the line, but he can see how wrong he was.

Not even a minute passed that Patricia sat down at the table. The minute that she sat down, everyone stopped talking. They just looked at her, but she didn't get the hint that she wasn't wanted. She thought they were looking at her for her opinion on the subject they were just talking about and she gave it.

Since they saw that she wasn't going to go anywhere, the guys started talking again. They tried to keep Patricia out of the conversation, but she kept wiggling her way in. Finally they gave up and just let her give her two cents whenever she wanted.

Alex, however, wasn't willing to surrender that quickly to her. When ever he said something, he made sure to keep Patricia out of the conversation. He could see that wasn't making Chase to happy, which he didn't care. In his eyes, well pretty much in everyone's eyes, Patricia is evil and they don't want her around.

As they headed to the stadium, Chase tapped Alex on the shoulder. "Can Patricia and I speak with you in private?" Alex looked at him as if he was out of his mind. "It will only take a few minutes and we will rejoin the gang."

"What ever you and your girlfriend have to say to me, you can say it front of the others. I have nothing hide. Do you?" Chase was blown back by his reaction. "I thought so. So the answer to your question is no, you can't speak with me alone. The conversation won't have a good ending for any of us."

"Why are you being this way toward us? We haven't done you any wrong. So there is no reason for you to be acting this way."

"Really? You are really saying that you haven't done anything wrong to me?" Alex waved at Matt to let him know that everything is okay. "You're right that you didn't do anything to me, but how about Ethan? You two have been making his life miserable. I don't know why, but I know whatever it is will come out soon."

"Exactly you don't know what is going on. So you shouldn't be making judgments either way until you get the facts. How do you know that it is Patricia and me that are in the wrong? It could be Ethan. None of us really know the guy and now he abandoned us the first chance he got when he meets someone more like him. That tells the kind of character he has, don't you think?"

"I know whatever is going on is no good and it is you guys that are making it that way because of what I have seen. Put aside all the little things I have put together the thing that happened yesterday during lunch with you two and Ethan says it all. The way Jacob reacted and came over to you guys and demanded to speak with you two in private, a blind man would see that you guys are doing something wrong."

"You know what Alex? Save your judgment for a person that doesn't know you. I know who you are and where you came from. The only reason you are standing here is because of Jacob. He should have never helped you out of the mess you made out of your life. You tried to kill him several times and that is the tip of the iceberg of the things you probably have done. Your butt should be in the slammer for all you have done."

Alex wanted to take a swing at Chase, but held back. He didn't hold back because of fear that he will get in trouble. He held back because he didn't want to hurt his friendship with Jacob. Besides what Chase is saying is just words. Plus he is saying it out of anger. Anger that Patricia has fueled and is enjoying watching burn!

"I am going to let those remarks go Chase, but don't push your luck with me. If you have me all figured out you should then know that I don't let anyone talk to me the way you are talking. So let's just chalk what you just said up to being frustrated and forget it was ever said; if not for our friendship, for our mutual friendship we have in Jacob."

"Babe you are not going to let what he told me yesterday slide, are you?" Patricia spoke up for the first time, trying to get things going again. "He cornered me in the hall and threatened me. If you are any kind of man, you will defend my honor."

"What honor Patricia? You have none! Your actions here are proof of that. If you did, you wouldn't be trying to destroy Chase's friendships with the guys. All you are doing is showing your true colors and that is why you want Chase all for yourself. If you don't watch it, your wish will come true, but a very high cost. The high cost will be friendships Chase will lose because of the way you are causing trouble."

Patricia walked up and slapped Alex in the face and called him a faggot. "That one is for free Patricia. Don't you EVER raise you hand to me again!" He brushed his hand across his cheek where she slapped him. "Plus you better never call me faggot again as well. Although I am gay, I don't like being called it the way you said it."

"I am sorry for what Patricia just did and said, but she is right. If you have a problem with her or me, you come to me. Don't you ever pull my girlfriend to the side again like you did yesterday." Chase started poking Alex in the chest. "You will respect her whenever she is around and not pull the stuff you pulled this morning again."

Alex pushed Chase's hand away. "I won't warn either of you again about touching me." Chase pushed his luck and started poking Alex again in his chest. Just as he opened his mouth to say something, Alex decked him. With one punch, he hit Chase right in the face, causing him to stumble to the ground. When he went down to punch him again, Patricia jumped on his back and started clawing at his neck.

Trying everything he could to get her off his back, she didn't budge. She wrapped her legs around his waist and with the hand she was using to claw at his neck, she used to hold on to him. As he worked to get Patricia off his back, Chase got up. He went to throw a punch at Alex, but was held back by a couple of other kids that were watching this unfold before them.

Finally after slamming Patricia against the wall several times, he got her off his back. She landed on his side several feet away. When she got up, she looked over at Chase and started yelling at him to defend her, which he couldn't because of several guys holding him back. Patricia didn't see that at first and when she did, she stopped yelling.

"Go ahead and let Chase go guys." He spoke as he placed his hand over his neck area where Patricia drew blood. "As long you are with this bitch, you and I are no longer friends." The guys let go of Chase, but watched him to make sure he didn't try to rush Alex. "Don't worry about me telling the guys about this because I won't. But you know they already know that your girlfriend is a total bitch. It's only a matter of time they show you the door as well while you are with her."

Alex walked down the hall and into the bathroom to clean up. Just as he disappeared in the bathroom, several school security guards showed up. They started asking the kids that were standing around what happened, but none of them said a word. When they got to Chase and Patricia, they knew they were involved in whatever happened.

"By the looks of your clothes, the redness of your faces and let's see your finger nails." One of the security guards picked up Patricia's hand. "You guys were involved in a fight of some kind." The other security guard looked at Chase's body, but didn't find a scratch on him. "What were you two fighting about?"

"Hey Kendall, I don't believe these two were fighting with each other. This guy doesn't have a scratch on him." The security guard pointed to Chase. "There was another or maybe two that were probably fighting these two. The reason I say that is because I have seen these two together lately. They are a couple and that means..."

"I know what that means." Kendall interrupted his fellow guard as he looked Chase and Patricia squarely in the face. "So who were you guys fighting with? Don't make me and my partner take you to the principal's office to get the answer. Who were you fighting with? I won't ask you two again."

Just then Alex walked out of the bathroom and saw the security guards talking to Chase and Patricia. He debated with himself he should go over there or not. It was a no brainer; He walked out to the stadium leaving them to fend for themselves.

When he reached the guys, Matt right away noticed his neck and went over to look at it. Alex asked him to not make a big deal out of it, but Matt didn't listen. As he looked him over, he asked over and over again who he fought with. The more he stayed quiet, the more Matt got angry with him.

"What, do you want to land back up in JV or worse, jail? We haven't been off our monitor's for a month yet, and here you are already getting into a fight." Matt started yelling at him. "I really hope whoever you fought was worth it because if they go and call the police, you are going to be arrested."

"They won't arrest me for getting into a fight here at school. In fact the police won't even bother with a complaint that involves two students on school property. They will leave it up to the school principal to decide if the police should be involved." Alex faced Matt, talking in a very low voice for only them to hear.

"You should be an expert on that since you caused a lot of problems at schools." Just as he words left Matt's mouth, he wished he didn't say them. "I am sorry Alex I didn't mean what I just said. You just don't seem to understand that if you get taken away from me, I would fall apart." Matt got closer to Alex and grabbed his hand.

Then Alex brushed Matt's hand away, not because he was angry with him, it was because they were standing in the stadium with a couple hundred of their fellow students looking on. They were looking because Matt was yelling, which grabbed the attention of anyone in ear shot of them. Matt looked around and realized that what he had done. He started walking back to the group who were also looking at them. They wanted to know what was going between them, but decided to leave it alone.

When Chase and Patricia walked up, the guys started to put things together. They know that Chase asked to speak with Alex alone as they headed outside. They also know that there is something going on right now with Chase, Patricia and Ethan. Just like Alex, they don't know what it is. Since they don't know the whole thing, they decided to let it play out and when it explodes, they will get the full picture.

All at once they stopped talking. They looked back and forth between Chase, Patricia and Alex. When Patricia quickly moved her hands behind her, it grabbed the others attention even more. Since Patricia is hiding her hands, they were able to put together that it was her that did the damage to Alex's neck. That did it for the group. They have had enough of her and don't want anything to do with her anymore.

Patricia saw the look on the guy's faces and knew her time with Chase's friends was over. This time she pushed her luck and will be paying for it. Her thoughts became reality really quick when the guys started to walk towards the main building not saying a word to Chase or her. They left them standing in the stadium without a goodbye; see you later or anything to acknowledge them at all.

As soon as he group entered into the building, they split up in their own directions, not because they were angry with each other, but because their lockers were in different hallways of the school. Alex and Matt walked to their locker, not saying a word to one another.

Once Alex opened the locker, Matt broke the silence. "I am sorry for the way I reacted out there. You are probably getting tired of hearing me apologize and more so today since this is like my third or fourth time, but I am sorry. I didn't know it was Patricia that you had gotten into a fight with. If I had known that, I would not have reacted the way I did."

"Look Matt I am tired of being this gangster person that needs to look tough and angry all the time. I am not that person." Alex leaned against the lockers. "The reason I am not like that anymore is because of you. Yes, my mother and brothers had a hand in it as well, but I changed and still want to change because of you. You don't deserve a gangster boyfriend in your life. You deserve a lot better than that.

So there is no need to keep apologizing to me for caring. I still mean what I said, or should I say promised you, that I won't fight. I won't ever return to the life I lead before meeting you. This life is so much better than that one. Don't you worry about me breaking that promise to you. Losing you isn't worth fighting with anyone."

Matt couldn't believe how Alex was talking with him. He thought that he was going to be angry with him all day, if not longer, but here he is surprising him with the way he is talking. He has seen Alex trying to change since they met. It's just he never thought that he had changed this much.

Right as Matt was going to respond, Principal Michaels walked up. Both of the boy's mouths dropped open. Alex thought that Chase and Patricia told the guards who they fought with and that is why he is here. Matt was thinking almost the same thing that Alex was. The only difference was the guard part. He didn't know that the security guards were questioning Chase and Patricia before they rejoined them.

"Should I grab my stuff from the locker so I don't have to be escorted back here after you talk with me?" Alex reached into his locker and grabbed his backpack.

"Why would you want to get your stuff? For that matter what reason should I have you escorted out of the building Alex?" He looked at Alex with a serious look in his face. "Have you done something I am not aware of? I am totally aware of you defending yourself from wild woman who jumped on your back for no apparent reason."

Alex has come to respect Principal Michaels and think of him as a very cool principal, but not this cool. Even though he was defending himself, he still was fighting. Every principal he has had in the past never allowed him to get away with that. A fight is a fight no matter how you look at it was what his past principals said to him. Hearing almost the same wording from different principals, he thought they were reading a script.

"Alex I don't go by the thinking that anyone that gets involved in a fight should be expelled from school. I look at the facts first and see who was at fault. Once I get all the facts in, I then look at if the student tried to handle the situation without resorting to fighting. Then when it did result in a fight, I ask did the student try to settle it down and end the fight.

What I have been told, you did everything you could to keep things from escalating, but the other two seemed they were gung ho for a fight. The only thing I didn't like hearing is that you went down to punch the guy once again when he was on the ground, but I'll let that side. Since I am letting that slide, I have to let the other two off the hook. I really believe this problem between friends will be resolved and will never again escalate into a fight here at school or anywhere else for that matter."

"I promise sir it won't come to that again. The issue that is going on right now between me and..." Principal Michaels interrupted him in mid sentence.

"The problem you two are having is because of a girl. This girl is known to cause this sort rift between friends when she starts to go out with a guy. I won't get involved with teenage love affairs here, but your friend chose the wrong girl to be with. Hopefully he will realize that and move on before he loses a lot more than he needs to.

You boys need to remember something, nothing gets past me. I am a principal at a high school that our current Governor's kids are attending. I need to be completely informed on everything. If I'm not, I'll miss things that may not seem relevant to the big picture of running this school, but trust me, every little thing is part of the big picture. Something small can start a chain reaction that can be hard to stop.

With that said, you guys stay out of trouble." He looked straight at Alex. "You make sure to keep going down the track you have been going down since you got here. If you do, you could actually end up with the highest GPA of your senior class. You know what you will have to do if you do have the highest GPA?"

Alex nodded his head as the principal walked away. As Matt looked at his boyfriend, he tried to figure out how that was possible. After all by what Alex has told him, he really didn't attend school his freshman year! That alone should knock him out of the running for the highest honor a senior can get in his graduation class.

"I know what you are thinking Matt?" Alex started to chuckle. "We are a true couple if we can actually read each others minds." That got Matt laughing. "I may not have gone to class much in my freshman year, that doesn't mean that I didn't do the work. The rules didn't change as far as attendance until our sophomore year."

Matt understood what Alex was saying. Their freshman year they were able to miss as much school as they wanted, and still get their credits as long as they passed their classes grade wise. That means Alex was doing his assigned homework between running the gang. That had to be a sight to see, he thought to himself.

He started to laugh as he envisioned Alex between kicking someone's butt and ordering a member of his gang to do something, running to his house and doing his homework. Matt wondered what he told his fellow gangsters. Maybe something like excusing himself to use the bathroom and doing his homework while on the toilet, so they wouldn't be the wiser.

When Alex slammed the locker door, it pulled him back to reality. "I am worried about Ron." Alex spoke softly as they started walking to class. "Since we have started attending school here, neither of us has missed a day of school. I think we should go down to the hospital this morning and spend some time with Ron."

"I agree because, just like you, I am worried about him. In fact that's the only thing I have been able to think about since you came into my office last night and told me the news. Because of that, I'll be no good in class today. There is no way I am going to be able to concentrate on my classes."

They turned around and walked out the front doors of the school and headed home. When they walked in, Franseca didn't even ask why they were there. She pointed to the counter where the truck keys were laying and told the boys that she will call the school for them. They thanked her as they kissed her goodbye.

Just like the night before, the boys didn't say a word on their way to the hospital. This time they drove right into the parking garages, but couldn't find a parking until they got to the fourth floor. So they took the elevator down one floor and walked across to Columbia using the walkway from the parking garage to the hospital.

Since they knew what room Ron is in, they headed straight to it. When they arrived, they found that he had a few visitors. So they turned around to leave him with his visitors, but he called them over. Before the visitors that were in the room left, Ron introduced everyone. For the first time, Alex and Matt met some of his family.

"What are you boys doing out of school?" Ron looked at both Alex and Matt like a father would look at their child when they have done something wrong. "I don't want you guys getting in trouble on my account." He started to cough so he stopped talking.

"Don't worry about us Ron! We are not going to get in trouble for not going to school. My mother called in for us to miss our morning classes." Alex walked over the left side of his bed and sat down. "Besides we couldn't stop thinking about you. So we wouldn't do any good at school even if we went before we were able to check in on you."

"Gentlemen there are no reason for you two to worry about me. I have had a long and very eventful life on this earth. If it is my time to go, well then I am going to go. There is really nothing I can do about it. But I am glad to see you boys. I have been thinking a lot about you boys since I retired for the second time."

"Just like you said, there is no reason for you to worry about me and Alex." Matt pulled the second chair in the room next to Alex and sat down. "After all you are the one that trained us and set up the shop. That means everything is going to run smoothly."

"I know, but I'll always worry about you boys no matter what. Since I met you two, I have seen you both grow. I often wondered why you guys were ever in that place. The way you were and are, you just don't fit there." Ron looked down at the boys legs. "Let me see your legs to make sure what I have been told is true."

At the same time, they lifted their pant legs up. Ron smiled at the sight of not seeing the monitors around their ankles. "You two deserve to be off of those things. I was glad that you guys were given another chance, but not happy with restrictions. You two took it like pros and showed them that you deserved to be completely off of probation. I am truly happy I was able to see it before I leave this world."

The last thing he said didn't sit well with either of them. "Boys I have already been told what my outcome here is going to be. The committee already met and decided not to put me on the transplant list. When the doctor came in and gave me the news, he had a list of reasons why the decision went against me."

"That just isn't fair Ron, it isn't fair at all!" Alex jumped up from his seat raising his voice as he talked. "I'll do whatever I need to in order to get you on that list. If they want money, I'll sell everything I have to get them the money that they want. If they need a heart and my heart..."

"Alex, enough! There isn't a thing anyone can do to budge the committee." Ron started to pat on the chair that he was sitting on to sit back down. "Thank you for being willing to do whatever it takes to ensure I get on the list. You showed more love to me in the last couple of minutes than my immediate family has shown me in years.

That brings me to my next subject I need to get out of the way before I get to the point that all I am doing is sleeping. So will one you guys go out in the lobby or wherever people sit at and get my family please. Let them know that I would like to talk with everyone all at once please!"

Matt got up and left Alex and Ron in the room to go and find his family. Neither Ron nor Alex said a word to each other. He tried not to look at Ron lying in the bed hooked up to all these machines. He looks so different than the person he met in the retirement home that threw him and the others out of his room. That strong willed man is now unable to get up and use the bathroom by himself.

Now he is connected to these machines that pretty much do everything for him. One does the work of the heart, one the kidneys and so on. Ron has no control of his body's functions anymore. More than likely, Alex thought, he doesn't even have control on using the bathroom. He has a machine to do that as well.

He got brought out of his racing mind when Matt and Ron's family walked in. He got up from his seat and joined Matt against the wall, letting the immediate family sit in the chairs next to Ron. He figured that Ron wanted his family close to him as he talks about whatever is on his mind.

"Okay I am going to start by asking everyone in this room not to interrupt me until I am done talking. Do you all understand?" Ron looked at each person and didn't move on until he got either a positive nod or positive verbal response. "Now that I know you guys understand, I have a couple of things I need to go over since we all know the score.

It is a matter of days that I'll be gone. The only good thing about all this is that I know that I am going to die soon. It gives me time to put all my affairs in order. Much of it has been already put in order through a living will, but since I changed it about four months ago so I figure I'd better tell you all so there is no fighting, threats or anything like that.

As you all know I sold everything I own before moving into the retirement community. Mainly I didn't want to leave it to any of you to sell and profit from my death." Ron's family looked at him stunned with what he said. "Don't give me those looks. You all know I am telling the truth and that is why you are here now.

You are hoping that by being at my side I'll make sure you get something in my will. Well let me tell all of you that I am not going to change my will no matter if you all spend every last minute I am alive at my bedside. To tell you the truth, I don't think it will hold up in court even if I do since I am not in my right mind. No one can be in their right mind knowing they are facing death down the barrel."

"Dad you don't know what you are saying. Let's all..."

"You promised me not to interrupt me while I was talking, so don't!" Ron scolded his son in front of everyone. "Since I can remember the only time I ever saw you greedy people are whenever you needed something from me. That again is why I did what I did selling everything I own the way I did. Heck I wanted to enjoy my life while I was able to."

Ron moved around in his bed to get comfortable. His son and others tried to help him, but he told them he was still able to do this on his own. They sat back down in their seats with a look of anger in their faces, which Ron caught. He almost laughed at their response, but knew if he did the atmosphere in this room would change really fast.

"As I said I changed my will four months ago and took every one of you out of it. Whatever is left in my accounts or I own will go to those two young men standing against the wall behind you." Everyone turned around and looked at Alex and Matt. The look in their faces wasn't the anger they had for their father. No, it was pure hate!

"They gave me something that you guys were not willing to; respect. They didn't come around for money. They actually came around to talk to me about what I have been through in my life." Ron looked over to Alex and Matt. "That reminds me that I need to finish my story with you guys before I leave. I am sure you guys want to know everything else about me before we met."

Alex and Matt forced a smile on their faces as they nodded their head. "So that is all I have to say. My will was changed. Everything will be going to those two guys and nothing to any of you. Since I changed it four months ago, none of you can try and contest it in court. No judge in their right mind will ever rule that my will is no good."

All at once Ron's family started talking. They threw question after question at Ron. Alex couldn't believe how they were acting. Sitting there in the bed I front of them is their father, brother or loved one about to die and all they could think about is money and what they are not getting. Now he sees why Ron took them out of his will.

The talking got so loud it brought in the nurses. They saw that there was more than two in the room and asked everyone to go. At first they didn't listen to the nurses, they kept talking to Ron as if the nurses didn't say a word. At that point Alex whistled, grabbing everyone's attention, and the nurses repeated themselves.

This time they listened, but weren't pleased about being thrown out of the room. As they walked passed Alex and Matt, they gave them a look that would have killed them if looks could kill. Neither of the boys gave them much thought. They figured that this will be the first and only time they will ever see them.

"You boys come on over here and sit down. I want to talk with you for a few minutes before I end up falling asleep." Alex and Matt walked back to the seat at the side of Ron's bed and sat down. Ron explained to them in more detail why he did what he did with his will. As he finished, he asked Alex and Matt to promise him that they won't give anything to his family, which they agreed.

They didn't ask Ron how much he was leaving them or anything like that. They were given that information as they were saying goodbye to Ron. Not only did Ron have a good sum in the bank, but he also had a life insurance. Not a huge one like in the millions, but a pretty good one, two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Plus Ron has a little close to eighty thousands dollars in the bank still left from selling his house and savings.

Although the boys wanted to stay, they had to go since Ron dozed off to sleep. They looked realized that they still have about an hour and half before lunch, so they need to do something to kill the time. As they made their way to the parking garage, Ron's son stopped them in the skyway over Schuster and Oregon.

"Come on man, I've already been in one fight today, I don't want to be in another." Alex pushed Matt behind him in order to shield him. "We didn't have anything to do with your father changing his will. When he announced that he put us in the will, Matt and I were as stunned as much as the rest of you."

"Look I didn't come over here to fight with you guys. All I wanted to say is thank you. Thank you or being there for my father since the rest of us weren't." Ron's son walked across the all and leaned against the wall. Alex relaxed as Matt moved to Alex's side.

"The old man was tough with us as we were growing up, but I always knew it was because he wanted the best for us. It wasn't because he was trying to be an ass. He gave as a lot more than he really had. I am pretty sure you all know what I am talking about since you have gotten to know my father."

"Yes, your father did have a rough life. I think anyone that grew up in the Great Depression had it rough. After hearing your father's stories, I wouldn't wish living in that time period on anyone, not even my worst enemy." Alex spoke in a low voice.

"I hope that somehow out of all this we become friends. Not for you guys to give me what my father is giving you. I don't want any of his money or property. All I want is to get to know my father more than I do. I am pretty sure there are things that my father has told you that I don't even know about. Plus you guys got to be with him these last several months. I would like to know how my father was doing this last year."

Alex didn't completely trust Ron's son, but gave him the benefit of the doubt. They talked there in the skyway for an half an hour or so before parting ways. As they said goodbye to each other, they gave each other their numbers. Ron's son headed back towards Ron's room and Alex and Matt went to the parking garage.

On their way back to the house to drop off the car, the boys talked about what just happened. They both agreed that they need to be on their toes when ever they do talk with Ron's son. He might have a hidden agenda to try and get his father's money. There has to be a reason why Ron did what he did dealing with his will. He didn't say exactly why, but they know they will figure it out over time.

In the mean time back at school, Carlos was angry as hell when he found out what went on in the hallway between Chase, Patricia and Alex. Once again he felt he let Alex down by allowing someone to sneak up on him. Although he didn't know much, but knew that the only way Patricia could have gotten the jump on Alex like she did is by sneaking up on him. Other than that, there is no way anyone cold have gotten that close to his friend.

He wanted to go and deck Chase, but knew if he did he would be bounced out of the group. At the same time he wanted to throw Patricia from the roof. That he knew he would be able to do that and not be kicked out of the group, but she is a girl. No matter how badly he wants to beat her up, he can't because of the fact of her being a female.

As Carlos wrestled with his inner demons that he has successfully locked away, Kimberly tried to think if there was something she could do to help Carlos out. She didn't want him to beat himself up with guilt for not being there for his friend. A friend she knows means a lot more to Carlos than just a friend. They are more like brothers.

Before the first bell rang, Carlos walked Kimberly to her class. He wasn't going to be late again for first period, but at the same time he wants to walk Kimberly to class whenever he can. So he figured out a middle ground and that is to get Kimberly to her class before the first bell. That way he has plenty of time to walk to his class.

Before leaving Kimberly, she made him promise not to do anything that will get him in trouble. Reluctantly Carlos promised as he kissed Kimberly on the lips. He probably would have asked for the same promise if he knew that Kimberly was thinking of how she could help him out, but he didn't know. They kissed once again before Carlos left.

Making his way up the stairs to his classroom, he passed Chase. Chase looked over at Carlos as they passed each other. He could see in Carlos eyes that he was using every ounce of his will power to keep himself from throwing a punch. A punch Chase knew would have been the first of many he wouldn't be able to escape from.

Even though Carlos did mustard up enough will power to walk away, Chase kept looking back to make sure he didn't come running back down after him. Chase knew after getting the cold shoulder from his friends this morning, he is in the dog house. The key out of that dog house is breaking up with Patricia, something he doesn't want to do.

He still believes that he can bring Patricia around and eventually the guys will give her a second chance. It will be a lot of work on his side, but at the end it will be worth it. As he was thinking that, something Ethan told him popped in his mind. It rang true more than ever here with this situation. He wants his cake and eat it too like a little kid.

That got him thinking that maybe he should cut his losses while he can. Patricia might not be able to change, and in return he will lose more than he is willing to. But then he thought of the secret Patricia knows about him. If he would break up with her, for sure she will tell anyone that is willing to listen about his secret. Since she has that over him, Chase has no other choice but to try and make everyone get along.

Alex and Matt got to the school just as the lunch bell rang. They quickly ran to the cafeteria to be the first in line. After getting their meals, they ran into Carlos, Steve and Robert coming out of the other lunch line. They started to talk with each other, but when they arrived at the table, they almost dropped their trays of food.

To their surprise they found Joey sitting at the table with Jacob, David and Tom like old times. Once the shock wore off, they shook Joey's hand. As they were shaking hands, Tony, Heather and the other David showed up. Since they really don't the details about what happened between Jacob and Joey, they were not as surprised to see Joey there.

Once everyone settled down, Joey explained to the group what he was doing there. He told them about he moving back, why and that he is now going to Austin High School, which confused them since he is sitting here having lunch. Joey saw the confusion and told them why he came down.

As Joey went on talking, Alex faded out his voice. He started thinking about what he and Matt were just told at the hospital. He's still unable to wrap his head around the fact that Ron wrote his family out of his will and replaced them with him and Matt. This is something he never saw coming. He considers Ron a very close important friend and that is why him dying is hurting Alex as much as it is.

He looked over at Matt, grabbed his hand under the table and held it tight. At that very moment Alex decided to spend every moment he can with Ron until he passes away. It's not because of the money he is leaving them but rather that he overlooked where they were coming from when they first met and gave them a chance without strings attached like others have done. Ron opened his door and never once looked down at him.


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 to another emotional chapter of "Beneath the Mask". Although there were a lot of sad moments in this chapter, there were also some very exciting moments as well. Moments that got you angry and happy either at the same time or by themselves. A lot happened in this chapter, even though it didn't cover a lot of time.

Before I move into the summation of the chapter, I need to let you guys know once again how important it is for you to be reading all the stories. They are so tied into each other. If you miss one chapter of one story you will be lost on some of the plots. Right now this story and "Jacob Finding His Way" are running on the exact time line. If you put this chapter along side chapter sixty-eight of "Jacob", you will see they are running and sharing the same plots at the same time. This has been going on for at least the last three or so chapters. So don't skip a chapter of any of my stories.

Enough with that, let's get down to the chapter. I picked it up right where the last one ended. It was easy because once I finished the last chapter; I started this one, which is out of the norm for me. Normally I work on one of the other three stories, but I had so much things bouncing around in my head about this story, I needed to continue with it.

Now you guys have the answer to the cliffhanger from chapter thirty-seven. The last time you all saw Ron was when he retired and went off into the sunset. Now he came back into the story being rushed into the hospital suffering from a massive heart attack. The boys didn't find out about that in detail until they got to the hospital.

It is always sad to see someone dying and not be able to do anything about it. In Ron's case the committee in charge of transplants signed his death warrant. I have read in news papers and seen on the news that this happens so many times. What I don't understand is how we can give a group of people that kind of power to decide life of death for someone! I feel they should allow people like Ron on the list, but I am not the one sitting in their seats and reading the information they have.

With that said, we know in a matter of days. Ron will be leaving the story. I wonder how that is going to unfold. We know one thing for sure and that is that Ron is leaving everything to Alex and Matt. Even though they don't want it, they will get it. That brings to mind another question. What are they going to so with all that money?

We also met some of Ron's immediate family for the first time. What gold diggers they seem to be. Maybe not all of them! It looks like Ron's son doesn't care about the money. Hearing the talk he had with Alex and Matt, it looks like all he wants is to get to know his father. Let's hope that is true and there isn't anything else going on with him.

What is up with Patricia? I really do believe she is biting off a lot more than she can chew not only for herself, but for Chase as well. Screw the secret she knows, I say dump her. No secret is worth losing all your friends over. Trust me, I've been there and done that. I keep saying this, but I'll say it again, I hope Chase wakes up really soon. If he doesn't, he is going to lose way too much to keep Patricia and his secret.

Principal Michaels was really cool about what happened in the hallway between Chase, Patricia and Alex. I think the reason for his visit to Alex and Matt was to let them know that he knows everything that goes on in his school. Plus he keeps showing Alex that he isn't like other principals; he truly tries to help out his students as much as he can.

I know a lot more happened in this chapter from Joey popping up, read sixty-eight of "Jacob" for the details of that visit, to how Jeremy reacted to Alex not coming home on time. I love this story because it has so many plots now going on. I have to make a list of everything in order to make sure I touch base on each open plot. Once again I hope if I didn't put something in this summation that needed to be there, Rick will get it in his Editor's Corner. Sorry my friend!

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!}

This was a chapter with a lot happening and Ron's situation is the real focus. I am like Alex and Matt. I knew all the way along that Ron has not been the picture of health. That was explained when he had to retire from the print shop. I just had my mind set that he'd retire, get rested and recuperated and be around here and there for a long time to come. Just as in real life, we can be bitten in the butt by our assumptions.

As to the cliffhanger from Chapter 37, yes it was revealed but it totally blindsided me as I opened this chapter to start work. I was certainly anxious to see what that mysterious phone call was all about. Alex isn't one that is affected the way he was easily.

Kimberly's father's reactions to her "growing up" make me smile. Yesterday was my daughter's 32nd birthday and she's still my "little girl". Kimberly's father is what I call a real "dad" with the way he loves and cares for her. Any man can be a father but it takes something extra and special to be a DAD! He is letting go a bit. He's allowing Kimberly to exercise her judgment and her dad is accepting her decisions and actions even when he has reservations. I hope that Carlos realizes what a special person he's got on the string and that it's more than just her that he is associating with; it's a whole family. He will need that family acceptance and support. With his past, he's going to have to work harder to gain trust and acceptance that otherwise could have come much more easily.

Chase and Patricia are real pieces of work! Like JPG, I hope that Chase wakes up and does the right thing so he doesn't lose all that is very important to gain something so much less significant. If he continues with Patricia, first, he's going to lose Jacob and the group and he'll be buying into a life of misery with a conniving and manipulative woman; the type of woman that cuts the nuts off an otherwise good man. I hope she self-destructs before Chase is hurt beyond recovery.

Alex's relationship with Jeremy is so interesting. I hope that Alex will be able to fulfill Jeremy's needs and expectations. He's already involved and he has to be committed or Jeremy will be deeply hurt and could be emotionally damaged if Alex doesn't do what he needs to. I know that Alex has befriended Jeremy with all the best intentions, but he needs to realize and focus on the fact that he's now committed and has a serious responsibility.

Until next time,
"Daddy" Rick