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 is 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 cannot be distributed in any way, shape or form without author's express written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Editor: "Daddy" Rick

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.com/

Chapter 57


Matt left the room to go and get something eat while Alex was still asleep. Alex didn't even hear or feel Matt leave. When he woke up and didn't find Matt there, he was surprised, but he was more surprised to find his head of security sitting there. He thought Earl was still a patient here at the hospital in the room next to him, but here he is sitting there in civilian clothes.

Slowly Alex moved himself to the sitting position. Towards the end, Earl helped him before sitting back down in his seat. The two guys didn't say a word; they just sat there in silence in their own minds. Every few minutes Alex would look over to Earl to see if he would start the conversation, and when he wasn't looking at Earl, Earl was looking at him.

Both of them were thinking of the last time they were together. Earl was kicking himself for not being able to protect the guy he was in charge of protecting. Even though it wasn't his fault, he was blaming himself. Alex on the other hand was thinking that the only reason he was sitting there was because of Earl. He did what he was supposed to do to, get him out alive. If only Earl knew what Alex was thinking before he opened his mouth to start talking.

"I know you are scheduled to get out of here in the next couple of days Alex." Earl broke the silence in the room as he moved his seat closer to Alex's bed. "When I heard the news I was so happy because that told me you are getting better. I can't tell you how sorry I am that you ended up here in this condition." Earl pointed to Alex's legs. "It should be me sitting here in this bed with two broken legs, not you."

"Are you crazy Earl, it shouldn't be you anymore than it should be me. It should have been one of those police officers that put us in that spot. So don't you ever say what you just said. I'm here in one piece because of you being there making sure I got out of there. I don't know where I would be if you weren't there. One thing is for sure is that I would be in worse shape than I am now."

Earl was knocked up of his feet. He didn't expect to hear that from Alex. All the time he was in the room next to Alex's he thought that he had failed at his job. Even with that Alex said he still feels that he failed at his job.

"Alex I hold myself up to very high standards when it comes to doing my job. I failed my standards the day this all happened." Once again Earl pointed to Alex's legs. "You should have never been put in the position you were in. I should have seen and caught that those officers were up to no good, but I didn't. I failed you and that I can't let go.

What I'm trying to get to is that I'm not fit to be in charge of your guard detail." Alex tried to object, but Earl didn't let him. "I already spoke with Mr. Jackson and informed him that I'm stepping away as your head of security. Before I do, I will find my replacement. When I do, I will make sure my replacement knows all my mistakes so he doesn't commit them."

"Earl you may have talked to Mr. Jackson on this, but you are my head of security and it is my call. I don't accept you stepping down and you already know why. I have already stated how I feel about that day and nothing will change that. So get it out of your head that you failed. Get back to getting well so when I get out of here on Saturday you will be there at my side doing the great job that you have been doing since you came aboard as my head of security."

"With all due respect Alex, you deserve better, and that's not me as your head of security." This time Alex didn't let Earl stop him from interrupting him. He made it as clear as he could that he won't let him go. "I don't understand why you don't want a better head of security that won't make the mistakes that I made that day. Mistakes no security agent should have made, but I did. Because I did, I need to step aside for your safety and your family's safety."

"No sir you don't and let me tell you why. I don't care who the person is, if they were in your shoes that day, they would have done the same thing you did because no one would have thought men that were sworn to uphold the law would have broken it. They would have done exactly what you did and because they would have done that, they all should leave their profession, which I think you are wrong. You and I have learned from what happened and won't make the same mistake again trusting the police in this city at least until the force is cleaned up."

As Alex talked, Earl was coming around his way of thinking. "You are not going anywhere Earl. Not just because what I just said, but I also don't want to get used to another head of security. You are already broken in and you are cool about who I am. My past, my present and my being gay doesn't bother you. For those reasons and the others I have named, I won't let you go."

Relaxing back into his seat, Earl thought long and hard on what Alex said. "Okay sir I will stick around as your head of security, but things are going to change." Earl looked at the door of the room. "The first thing I'm going to change is to have more than just one guard posted at your door. You have six men assigned to you at all times, but you only see one or two at any one time. That is going to change, and I mean immediately."

"Security is yours to run. I will never step in and override your orders as long as I have some what a normal life." Earl looked at Alex with a confused look on his face. "You know if I'm with Matt, I want to be as alone as possible. When we get, well you know, I want to be alone with him. I want to be able to go to dance clubs and the mall whenever I want. Things like that are what I mean as far as a normal life."

Earl scratched his head as he thought about what Alex had just said. "I will do everything I can to let you have as normal a life as possible. Whenever allowed, I will make sure you don't even see the security around you. However, there is going to be times that your security is going to be tight and you can't fight me on that." Alex nodded his head. "Okay then, I better get on out of here to let you rest and I'll put together a game plan on how things are going to work by the time you get out on Saturday. I want your approval on everything before anything is put in place."

Alex didn't object to what Earl said. He got up, thanked Alex for his trust and promised him that nothing like what happened the weekend before will happen again. For the first time since they started talking, they joked about being stuck in the tree that night. At the same time they both threw out that if anyone that would have walked by and didn't know what was going and saw them, they probably looked like monkeys up in the tree.

After Earl left, Alex tried to watch television but there wasn't really anything on. Now if you like the "The Price Is Right" or Daytime Soaps, then you have something to watch. Alex on the other hand doesn't like to watch any of those things, so he turned off the television and just stared out the window until he got tired and tried the television again.

Alex was thankful that by the time he turned on the television again there were cartoons on. He hadn't watched cartoons for years, which got him to look at his watch. He couldn't believe it was already after three and Matt hadn't gotten back from getting himself something to eat. Just as he thought it, Matt walked into the door with a big grin on his face.

"Where were you all afternoon?" Alex said angry as he mad-dogged Matt. "I was here worried that something might have happened to you, but here you are, walking in here with a big smile on your face as if you won the lotto or something." Matt didn't answer right away. He made his way to Alex's bed and lay down beside Alex.

"I am truly sorry for making you worry. You know I never want to make you worry like you were about me." Matt leaned over, placed a hand on each side of Alex's face and then pulled him into a kiss. "I went to go and get me something to eat, and as I was sitting there eating, I decided to go and attend my afternoon classes. I know I should have come up and said something to you, but I thought you would be sleeping like you have been in the afternoons. Plus I have been missing way too much school and I need to be there for the election tomorrow."

Alex relaxed a little. He was no longer angry with Matt because he understood everything. Since the weekend, Matt has been at Alex's side, which means he has been missing school, which is counting against his attendance. Knowing Principal Michaels the way he does, there is no way he is going to bend the rules for Matt, and he said that much to Matt.

"Well all the guys at school were asking about you and I told them you were doing fine and will more than likely be going home over the weekend." Matt kept looking at the door. "But that isn't what has me smiling. There is a young man at the door that wants to see you, but he's not sure if you wanted to see him. So I told him that I would come in and check with you first." Alex asked who it was. "Aaron, the principal's son from Austin High School!

Alex looked at the door to see the young face of Aaron looking in for a few seconds and then disappearing again. He couldn't help but crack up laughing. He looked so scared when he looked in, which Alex didn't understand. He knows his rep, but he also hoped that all the things he has done since getting out has started washing his bad rep away.

Yelling out, Alex asked Aaron to come in. It took a few seconds, but he popped his head in and asked if he was being called. When Alex confirmed he was calling him, he slowly walked in, looking down at the floor. Matt turned to Alex, kissed him once again and then whispering in his ear to be nice before getting up to leave. On his way out of the room, he stopped and whispered to Aaron that there isn't a thing for him to be afraid of.

That perked Aaron right up. He stopped looking at the floor and walked the rest of the way to Alex looking straight into Alex's eyes. When he reached the bed, he shook Alex's hand and then took a seat in the seat that was closest to the bed. Unlike the last conversation Alex had early in the day with Earl, there was not much dead air. Aaron quickly got down to business.

"I don't know who else to talk to. Since my father and Principal Michaels feel you are the person I should go to whenever I need guidance in the matters of, well you know." Aaron looked down at his lap for a few seconds and then back up to Alex. "I'm a little confused about something and I need you to tell me what to do or where to go from where I'm at right now."

Aaron went on to tell Alex what was going on between him and Chris. He went into complete detail from how Chris came up to him and what they have done since. Alex didn't interrupt Aaron once. He sat there listening to every word and reading the facial expressions and body language Aaron was exhibiting. What he got from both was the same thing. The kid was really scared with what he was doing and feeling. And at the same time he saw happiness under the confusion and fright.

"By what you have told me, you are one lucky dog." Alex playfully punched Aaron on the shoulder to lighten the mood. "I know Chris, the guy you are talking about. I don't know him personally, but I know of him. From what I know about him he seems to be a very good guy. The negative things I heard about him I'm sure you have heard too." Aaron nodded his head. "Let me say this about the negative things, don't listen to them. Some might be true, but some might be false. You don't know which is which, so until you hear it from Chris himself, give him the benefit of proving himself to you. IF you don't, you might lose something that might be a lifetime love like me and Matt."

"I understand, but I have heard so much..."

"Don't be listening to the rumors out there about anyone Aaron. Can you imagine what is being said about you behind your back?" Aaron thought about before nodding his head. "I can promise you more than half of the rumors are false. Those that are true have been taken so much out of context, they are basically untrue at this point."

"I know you're right and I'm probably trying to find any excuse to destroy what is going on with me and Chris. But man, I just feel funny all over my body whenever I talk to him or even see him across the room or hallway. My heart skips a beat each time I see him and when he talks to me. Look right now..." Aaron grabbed Alex's hand and placed it over his chest. "Can you feel how fast my heart is beating? This is just me thinking of him and talking about him. This can't be right Alex, this just can't be right."

Aaron released Alex's hand and he pulled it away. He knows exactly how Aaron is feeling because he feels that way every time he is around Matt. The more he gets to know Matt, the more he falls in love with him and his heart just goes crazy. There is no way he can now see his life without Matt at his side. That's how much in love he is with him.

"What you are feeling Aaron is what you are supposed to be feeling whenever you are falling for someone. My heart beats like that whenever I'm with Matt and it never stops. No matter how much time passes with the person you are in love with, your heart, the tingles in your body and the feeling you are always walking on air when you are with them will never go away. If that ever does go away, THAT'S when you should start worrying."

Aaron thought about what Alex was saying and it was making a lot of sense. Every time he is around Chris, he feels like he is floating in space. It's as if he leaves his own body and can see what he is doing and can hear what he is saying to Chris. He has never experienced what he is experiencing right now in his life, which is driving him up the wall.

"I'm so afraid of what I'm feeling right now about Chris and so many other things. Every time I walk around the corner of a hallway, I'm always expecting someone to jump out and destroy these happy feelings I'm feeling all the time now. It feels like everyone at school and even at the hotel is looking at me, studying every move I make."

"I can certainly understand why you are feeling all that. As far as the school and someone jumping out at you and screwing up all this good that is happening to you, that won't happen. It has happened in the past at your other school and that's why you think it is going to happen here, but it won't. Remember, all of us have your back.

Now about the hotel, it's your mind playing tricks on you." Aaron had a lost look on his face when Alex said that. "Let me explain what I mean by that. Since you are hiding this relationship, friendship or whatever it is from all the guys at the hotel you have a guilty conscience. Your mind is trying to tell you that you need to tell the guys that something is up between you and Chris. Until you do that, you are going to keep feeling the way you are. By keeping the secret, it's almost like a form of lie...a deception."

Aaron was less confused after Alex explained what he meant, but he still was scared. "I don't know everyone at the hotel like you do Alex and they don't know me like they know you. All of you guys have been friends for a very long time. No matter what happens between you guys, in the end you guys laugh about it and move on. Since they don't know me really good, I can't make mistakes like that because if I do I am out of there. I have nowhere else to go if that happens."

"Trust me Aaron, there's no way Jacob would ever kick you out. He has the biggest heart than anyone I have ever known and I'm talking out of experience." Alex didn't go into detail, but he told Aaron what he did to Jacob couple years back. "So you can see, if he can forgive me and let me move in, there is no way he will ever kick you out for wanting to test the waters with a guy you have feelings for."

Alex was getting mixed feelings from Aaron as he talked with him. At one point it looked like Aaron understood and was ready to open up to the others. Then at other points through the conversation it looked like to Alex that he was pushing Aaron further away from the idea of being truthful with the others and letting them in on what's going on in his life.

"Aaron I don't know you well at all and I would be lying to myself if I told myself I was getting through or not getting through to you. I pride myself on being able to see what people are thinking before they say it out loud, but in your case I can't. It looks to me that your mind is going in on sorts of directions, which I believe is the root cause of why you are as confused and afraid right now. You are thinking way too much on everything and the result is that you're mixed up.

With that said, let me try and make it as simple as I can for you. Before coming to El Paso, meeting us and then meeting Chris, your life was a lot different. Not to go over what you already know, let me make it short and sweet. Now your dad and brothers support you, which they didn't just weeks ago. Now you don't have to fear your friends and watch every step you make and what you say for fear that you are going to be beaten up. The group of friends you have now take you as you are and doesn't judge you on anything."

When Aaron looked up from the floor and into Alex's eyes, Alex saw there that he was actually getting through to him finally. "I can go on, but I won't because you already know everything I'll say. Knowing that, you know things have changed and your life is a lot better now. So you need to start trusting the people around you. Trust the feelings you are having about Chris and anything else. Whenever you are unsure of what you are feeling, come to me, day or night and I will sit and talk it out with you.

But at the same time Aaron, take it slow with Chris. I'm not telling you this because of the rumors that we have heard about Chris. I'm telling you this because this is the first time you are actually putting yourself out there. You have admired guys from afar. This time you are going to go into the real deal and you need to take it slow. I don't want to see you go too fast and screw up any chances you may have on making a long lasting relationship with Chris."

Once again Aaron got lost in his thoughts. He was going over everything that Alex was telling him and letting it sink in because everything made sense to him. Alex kept on going, but not harping on the same subjects. He left the subject of Aaron's feelings and went to how he and Matt met and how their relationship developed. As he went into a little detail, he clarified that his situation was different with Matt because of where they were.

"As you can see, Matt and I didn't know right off that we were each other's life partner when we first met. We also didn't make love the first day we saw each other. We took our time and got to know each other. We let thing develop and once they did, we let things fall where they fell and got what we wanted." Alex winked at Aaron, causing Aaron to laugh for the first time. "I like seeing you laughing, Aaron. Do that more often."

The two talked a little more, but not a lot longer. Alex didn't want to become one of those people that kept pounding things in until he thinks the person that he is talking to understands what he's trying to say. Whenever that happened to him, he normally ignored everything that was being said to him. He didn't want Aaron to do the same.

By the time Aaron did get up to leave, he was laughing and more relaxed than he has been in months. In fact, he couldn't remember the last time he laughed as much as he did with Alex and was able to walk away so relaxed, but he didn't care. He was taking Alex's advice to stop reading into things so much and just enjoy it. With a big smile on his face, he made his way out of the room after thanking Alex for everything and saying goodbye. As he made his way down the hall, he was brought out of thought seeing Matt in the waiting area. He thanked Matt for everything he did before stepping on the elevator.

The rest of the evening was uneventful at the hospital. When it came time for Matt to leave, both he and Alex didn't want it. They got so acclimated to being at each other's side and not sleeping without each other. Reluctantly the two said their goodbyes, with tears rolling down each other's cheeks. Franseca had left room when the two boys were saying goodbye, but once Matt walked out, she went in and said goodbye to her son and then left with her son-in-law.

Franseca wanted to say or do something to make Matt feel better, but she knew it was pointless. There was nothing she could have said or done to make him feel better. Matt loves her son and they haven't really been apart since they met each other. Not only they are going to sleep in separate beds tonight, but Matt has to go to school the next day, which means they are going to be apart longer than they have ever been since they had gotten together.

Since no one said a word the whole way to the hotel, the ride was very quiet. When they drove into the parking lot of the hotel, they got out almost at the same time and headed to the front door at each other's side. Halfway to the door, Matt stopped. Standing there was his younger brother and sister, Crystal and Reginald, who he hasn't seen for a long time.

Franseca at first thought the two young kids were new kids sentenced to the hotel, but when she noticed one of them is a girl, she thought again. Then when she got a better look at them, she knew who they were without needing to be introduced. The younger boy looks a lot like Matt, and the girl couldn't be mistaken not being related to Matt.

Seeing that, Franseca made her way into the hotel, leaving Matt outside with his sister and brother. Once she disappeared, the Robinsons made their way towards each other slowly. When they met each other halfway between the door and the SUV, they wrapped their arms around each other and held each other tight. They didn't know how much time had passed with them standing there in the middle of the parking lot, holding each other tight, and they didn't care. All they did care about was being with each other for the first time in a very long time and to make up for the last time they were together, which didn't end well.

When they did finally break the hug, Matt broke the silence. "Don't get me wrong here guys, it's great to see you both, but why are you here? Knowing mom and dad the way I do, they wouldn't have allowed you out this late on the weekend, let alone on a school night. Plus you being here, with the son that they have made no secret that they wished they never had."

Crystal looked over at Reggie and once she got his nod, she turned back to Matt and opened up about why they were there. "It has been really bad at home ever since grandpa and the rest of the family told mom and dad that they weren't going to go along with them anymore about disowning you. Everyone said they would accept you if you would to ever show up on their door and they were planning to find you. That really got mom and dad mad, making it hell for us.

Then when we told them that we wanted to see you, they completely lost it. They started screaming and throwing things at us. It looked like they were losing what was left of their marbles." Crystal broke a half smile. "Not wanting to push our luck, we dropped the subject and hoped that given time to think about it, they would at least let us see you.

So during dinner tonight, we told them that we were going to try and see you over the weekend, which now we regret. Mom and dad lost it again. Mom got up and grabbed our plates and tossed them in the garbage before we even had a chance to eat more than two bites. While she did that, dad was yelling at us, telling us that if we did see you, they were going to disown us as they did to you.

It really bad in there tonight Matt! I mean man Matt, take the worse yelling session you ever had with mom and dad and times it by a thousand! You might get to the mellow part of the conversation, if you want to call it a conversation that we had with mom and dad. I'm telling you I have never seen them blow up like that and then do what they did and say what they said.

Anyways it was getting so bad, Reggie and I just booked it out of that house. We didn't know where to go, but we knew we couldn't stay in that house the way they were. Since you are the only one that knows how it is when mom and dad get the way they got tonight, we jumped on the first bus and made our way here hoping you were here."

Matt tried to do what his sister suggested him to do and that was take the worse yelling session he had with his their parents and times it by thousand, but couldn't. He never thought they could have gotten any worse. At the same time he couldn't pass it by them. If things weren't exactly like they wanted them to be, they would go off on the deep end.

"Why don't we do this guys? Let's go in and get something to eat. I'm sure you are hungry like I am. While we are eating we try and figure out what we should do."

Crystal and Reggie nodded their heads as they followed Matt into the hotel. When they saw what the hotel looked like, they were surprised to say the least. They expected to find a rundown place, not this fancy, decked-out hotel. Then when they were stopped by security, they were floored once again. They have seen security before at a hotel, but nothing like this. It took a little explanation from Matt, but the security let them through.

When they reached the restaurant, they again were stunned at what they saw. Besides how nice it was, how many kids their age were sitting there eating without any parents around. Matt showed them to a table before he made his way to the kitchen. While he was gone, Crystal and Reggie scanned the place. They weren't really interested in the room itself. They were interested with the kids that were in the room. They wanted to see if they could pick their brother's boyfriend out.

None of them looked like the guy their cousin described to them. There were a couple of guys that came close, but they knew their brother and he wouldn't go out with those guys because they were too gangster. Before they could finish sizing up everyone in the room, Matt sat down explaining to them what they were going to have for dinner.

"Look, you know you are more than welcome to stay here with me at the hotel. I will go and talk with Jacob and get you guys your own rooms and all that. But we know mom and dad are going to come looking for you and when they do, they are going to make trouble. I don't want to involve others in our family dramas. So as soon as we finish eating, you guys need to call home and tell mom and dad where you are so they can come and get you."

Crystal chuckled. "I know you have been away from them for a while now, but I know you haven't forgotten how mom and dad are. Once they find out where we are, they are going to do what they threatened, disown us." Crystal was interrupted by Reggie.

"I don't understand why they have to be this way with their own kids. Grandpa and Grandma are not like them, so why are they like that? Why do they hate you so much Matt? I don't understand any of this. All I want is for us to be a family again with you living at home with us. Not here in a hotel with a whole bunch of people who aren't family."

"Reggie I wish we could be a family as well like you, but will never happen again. Not the way mom and dad are, that is. I am who I am and there is nothing I or anyone can do about that. Mom and dad want me to change, but I can't change who I am. Because I can't, they will never allow me to step foot back in their house as long as they are alive."

"That part I don't understand." Crystal in a quizzing voice. "When mom and dad found out about you, it did bother them, but they didn't kick you out. What I could remember they just acted as if you didn't exist, which was just as wrong. Then when you got in trouble and got sent to that place that is when things changed for the worst. That is when they decided not to let you come back home."

"I don't know what made them decide to not allow me to go home. All I know is that when I was given a pass to go home for Christmas, I called home and they pretty much told me I wasn't welcome. I didn't want to go to a house that was going to be treated worse than the dog, so I didn't push them. I know if I had, they would have let me come home, but I would be locked up in my room the entire time. So when they refused to sign me out, I was grateful."

Just then Marco walked up with their three plates of food and put it in front of them. After he finished with the food, he went back and got their drinks. Once they had everything they needed, they dug in and didn't speak another word as they ate their dinner. Every so often though they would look up at each other and think back to the last happy memory they had being together.

As discussed, as soon as they finished eating, Crystal and Reggie called their parents, but just as they told their older brother their parents weren't too happy when they heard where they were. In fact, they were steaming mad and made it clear to them what is going to happen before hanging up the phone. Crystal didn't think their parents would follow through on their threats, but boy was she wrong and sees that now.

Matt on the other hand was suspired that their parents followed through on their threats. He thought that common sense would prevail and they would let his younger brother and sister go home. Yeah with some kind of punishment, but they would let them come home. Then the more he thought about it, the more he wasn't surprised. His parents were being true to their nature and getting rid of anyone that didn't meet their high standards.

Before doing anything else, Matt went up to get permission from Jacob to let his brother and sister stay at the hotel. Once he did that, he got them each a room on the same floor that he, Alex and the rest of the guys from the house were on. When Crystal and Reggie saw their rooms, they didn't know what to say. Matt smiled and wished them goodnight before going to his room. Along the way, he saw the lights on in Jacob's parents' room, so he stopped and knocked.

Gloria answered the door still dressed. "I'm sorry for bothering you so late, but I was wondering if I could talk with you for a few minutes." Gloria nodded her head as she opened the door the rest of the way, letting Matt in. "I know you don't know me, but I'm one of Jacob's friends from the house. Well a friend to him through another friend, um..."

"Don't worry Matt we know who you are." Andy Sr. interrupted Matt. "There is no need for you to be nervous with us. It might surprise you guys, but we do know all of our kids' friends. You guys might not think that since we have never really talked, but we know everyone. You are the boyfriend to Alex, who, well there is no need to dwell on the past."

Matt nervously nodded his head. "I don't really know who to talk to. First, I thought about talking to Franseca, but she has never been through what is going on right now in my life, at least I don't think so. Anyways, I have heard stories about everyone that lives at Jacob's house and I heard a couple stories about you ma'am." Matt looked straight into Gloria's eyes.

"Let me first explain why I'm here." Matt went into detail on what happened tonight with his younger brother and sister. As he talked about that, he told Gloria and Andy Sr. a little bit about his checkered past. Only the things related to what happened tonight that made his parents do what they did, kicking out all of their kids from their home.

"After hearing what you just said, I understand the first comment you made as far as the stories you heard about me." Gloria moved a little closer to Matt. "I'm sure you are wondering if it is true that I kicked out my oldest son. Yes it is and a day doesn't go by that I don't regret that. No matter how things may seem at the time, we as parents should never give up on our kids like I did with my oldest son. He was giving me hell, but I took the easy way out.

And I'm also sure you heard how I reacted when I found out Jacob is gay. Like your parents, I acted stupidly. I almost lost Jacob because I couldn't see through all the hate I had about gays, which I had no basis for that hate. I hated because that is what I saw when I grew up. Not in my own house. No I saw it outside in the houses of my friends and at school with my teachers. We were taught back then homosexuality was wrong and those that are could change and must change. Because of the outside teachings, I reacted the way I did to my own son.

It took a long time for me to come around and I think the reason I did is because of my family and my husband." Gloria looked at Andy, Sr. "Because I came around I got my son back and my family back. I'm not saying that is what is going to happen in your home. In fact I don't think it will since both of your parents have that unfounded hate for gays, unlike here. I was the only one that had it and because of that I was able to see the right way with the help from my family."

"I do kind of agree with you Mrs. Hernandez. Both of my parents have that hate, but by what I understand through my sister and brother and my cousin Noah, the rest of my family don't think that way. Maybe like here, they will help my parents come around and eventually accept me for who I am. But right now my biggest worry is them kicking out my brother and sister."

"You could be right, with the help from the rest of your family. Maybe they will come around and accept you, a perfect son. I won't say either way because I don't have the insight to do that. As far as them kicking out your brother and sister, I can't say either way either if they are going to change their minds. I never got that chance with my older son, and a day doesn't go by that I don't regret doing what I did on kicking him out."

"I think what my wife here is trying to say is that anything can happen. Until that happens, you need to be there for your sister and brother. I know it isn't right, but you have to be there. They are now leaning on you for you to be the parent and you need to do everything you can do be that parent for them. Now of course you have us..." Andy Sr. pointed back and forth from him and Gloria. "Plus you have Franseca and every other adult that lives in Jacob's house to help you out with this. Hopefully with our help there won't be a lot of strain on you."

Liking what he was hearing, Matt started to smile. "Thank you both for talking to me. Believe it or not this little short conversation really helped. I was lost and didn't know what to do after what my parents did to my brother and sister. Now after talking with you guys, I know I have to be their older brother and that is it, which that I can do."

Matt, Gloria and Andy Sr. talked for another half an hour before Matt had to head to his room and get ready for school. After leaving Jacob's parents' room, Matt checked in on his brother and sister. He found them sound asleep already, so he didn't disturb them. He went to his and Alex's room, got ready for school before jumping into his empty bed.

The next morning Matt made sure that his brother and sister were okay staying alone at the hotel. Just as he was leaving with the others for school, Franseca stopped him to inform him that she will take care of Crystal and Reggie. At first Matt didn't want to put that on her, but she wouldn't take no for answer. So he gave in and thanked her for all her help.

Not only this was Matt's first complete day back to school, it was Jacob's as well. They were both very nervous because they were both on the ballot that the students were going to vote on during homeroom this morning. Unlike Jacob, Matt really had nothing to worry about on his election since there was no one running against him for his position. So there is no way he was going to lose when the final tally is done.

After Jacob had summed up his speech and sat back down, someone caught Matt's attention. At first he thought it was his imagination getting away from him, but when he saw the person again a few minutes later, he knew it wasn't his imagination. He couldn't believe that they would allow that person back on school ground and by the looks of it she was here to go to class.

Before confirming it was who he thought it was, Matt grabbed Chase and told him what he thought he saw, which didn't sit well with Chase either. The two guys walked over to where Matt saw the girl last, but didn't find her. They kept looking, but had to give up because it was getting close to the bell to ring. They made their way back to the table to rejoin the others. On their way, Chase told Matt that it was imagination getting away from him, but he didn't agree.

To make a morning even worse, the results of the election was given out. When Matt heard his name called out as the winner, he was happier than he has been in a very long time at school, but the happiness went away when Markus was announced the winner over Jacob. Although he hadn't been school all that much in the last week, he couldn't believe Jacob lost. There was no way in his mind that in the period of a week that Markus and his guys were able to get the votes that they needed to beat Jacob. They were just way too far behind.

Then when he saw the students get up and leave the class room in protest on the outcome of the election, he knew for sure something funny happened here. He followed his fellow students down to the first floor where they stopped and protested in front of Principal Michaels' office for a few minutes, but eventually made their way outside.

As he stood there protesting alongside his fellow students, the girl he saw before first period he saw again. He knew it wasn't his imagination getting away from him like Chase said. Not only it is the same girl, but she obviously wasn't in support of Jacob. She was without any doubt protesting that the results of the election were right. When he saw that, he knew for sure it was her.

He looked around for Chase and once he found him, he walked over to him. Not giving Chase any warning, he placed his hands on his face and turned his head to where the girl was protesting. Chase almost threw up right there and then when he saw her. His face turned green and then really pale white. He wanted to move, but the signals from his brain weren't reaching his legs.

Meanwhile as the protesting at El Paso High School was blocking one side of Schuster St. it wasn't blocking the other side by the hospital. Alex was getting ready for lunch when he got a surprise visit from a guy he didn't think he would ever see again. Before he was allowed to come in, the security agent checked with Alex to see if it was okay if Ron's brother was welcome.

There were a couple of seconds of dead air, but Alex did eventually answer the security agent that it was okay for Ron's brother to come on in. The agent walked out of the room and a few seconds later Ron's brother walked in. Alex expected the guy to start yelling the minute he walked in, but a got a surprise. He not only didn't yell he extended his hand for Alex to shake.

"I know the last time we were in the same room it didn't end well. Things were said that I wish I never said and could take back, but I can't. I can blame it on just having lost my brother, but that is just a copout and I won't dishonor my brother's memory like that." Alex shook Ron's brother's hand, but didn't say word. He let Ron say what he came to get off his chest.

"I hoped by me signing the forms I signed so you and Matt could get what my brother wanted you to have, shows that I have come to my senses. His wishes were for you guys to have everything, and I will obey his wishes. Now, after a lot of thought and soul searching, I can see why he did what he did. Just looking at the print shop you guys own says it all. You put my brother's name in the name of the print shop when you didn't have to."

"Mr. Baird that is where you are wrong we did have to do that. Without Ron, we would have never gotten the print shop off the ground. He was the one that put the whole thing together. He knew exactly what to do, how to do it and everything in between. The print shop is successful today because of him and that is why his name was put in the name of the print shop."

Ron's brother sat down and started to open up to Alex about how Ron was when he was a younger. Alex couldn't believe how alike the two were. They both loved to tell the stories of their past and they do it so well. Alex got so into the memories that Ron's brother was sharing, not caring his lunch was getting cold.

"Well I better let you eat your lunch before it turns into an ice cube." Ron's brother jokingly said as he got up and shook Alex's hand. "Thank you for letting me in and letting me make amends to you for everything I vented. You and Matt were the last guys my brother knew and spent time with before he passed away. I hope one day you guys can tell me how he was the last year of his life. I really do miss the guy and regret not spending the time I should have with him."

Alex choked back the big lump in his throat. "You are more than welcome to come by here, the hotel or the print shop whenever you want. I know I'm not speaking out of turn for Matt when I say we miss Ron very much and wish he was still here. We loved his stories and you really minded me of him when he told me a little but about how he was at my age."

"Thank you and don't be surprised if I take you up on your offer, but I have only one request if I do." Ron's brother looked straight Alex. "We swap stories about my older brother. Like I said, I want to know how he was the last year of his life. According to the nurses and the staff at his retirement community he was a grumpy old man all the way up to when he met you boys. After that, the Ron I knew came back and that was because of you guys."

"I promise the next time we talk, Matt and I will tell you what we can about the things we did with your brother." Alex looked away from Ron's brother for a few seconds. "He never looked down at us from the first day he met us and at that time, that was rare. So when we talk again I promise to share with you whatever you want to know."

Ron's brother thanked Alex and left him to eat his lunch. As he sat there eating, he thought back to the first time he and Matt met Ron and how they kind of just busted through the door making him talk to them. It put a smile on Alex's face as he thought about that and the things that happened afterwards. So when the security agent disturbed him again, he didn't mind.

"I'm sorry sir, but there is a young man out here claiming to be your cousin from Juarez. Do you want me to let him through, or send him on his way?" Alex asked the security agent the guy's name. "He told me his name is Stefano Rivera." Alex couldn't place the name and the security agent could see the confusion in his eyes. "He answered several of the security questions we have in place as far as your family's past. I'm not saying he couldn't find that out, but he did have the answers to all the family questions we had."

"Well if he had the answers, let him come on in, but you don't go anywhere until I'm certain that he is family." The security agent agreed and walked out. Not even a minute later, he returned with a young guy, not a kid, but a guy that Alex did recognize, but he couldn't remember from where. All he knew is that he did know the guy that was standing at his doorway.

"Hello Alex I don't think you remember me since we only met once, but I'm your cousin on your father's side. When we heard what had happened to you, I decided to come down and see how you are doing on behalf of the rest of the family that couldn't come down."

Alex still wasn't certain if the kid was telling the truth since he didn't recognize him. Not saying much to Stefano, Alex waved his security agent over to his bed. When he leaned in, in a whisper Alex asked him if he checked the guy for weapons, which the security agent promised he did. Before letting the security go, he asked again if there was anything on the guy's body that can be used as a weapon, and once again he was informed no.

"Do me a favor, I don't know what is it about this guy, but I'm getting a weird vibe coming from him. I don't think he is telling the truth about he is, but I can't come straight out and tell him I think he is lying. So I have to take him at his word and see where this goes. But I don't want you to go far from the door. In fact, don't leave the door at all until he leaves."

The security agent agreed before making his way to the door. "I hope you don't mind, but my security isn't going to leave the room. They are not taking any chances after what happened last weekend with the police." Stefano nodded his head as he waked closer to Alex. "Why don't you take a seat and tell me a little bit about the family on my dad's side. I don't know much about them since we never really met many of my dad's family."

"Sure what do you want to know?" Stefano said with a big smile on his face as if he just got away with murder. Little did he know that Alex lied to him about knowing his father's family. But on the other side, Alex didn't know that Stefano spent many of nights with Alex Sr. and listened to some of the stories he would tell to those that he trusted.

While Stefano was going through his rehearsed story, Dr. Whitmore walked in with his nurses. Alex still wasn't comfortable with Stefano, so when Dr. Whitmore was about to start talking, he asked Stefano to step out for a few minutes. Stefano didn't object, he got in like he wanted, and wanted to stay in. So he got up and left the room while Alex spoke with his doctors.

"According to your chart and the nursing staff, you are doing really well. Although you can't walk, I'm going to go ahead and let you go home tomorrow." Alex grinned ear to ear while Dr. Whitmore looked around the room. "By the way, where are Matt and your mother? Every time I stop in, they are always here, but today I don't see either of them anywhere."

"Matt had to go to school because he was missing way too much school. My mom was here this morning, but had to take care of a few things before it got too late. She will be back this evening with Matt." Once again Alex smiled from ear to ear, that caused Whitmore to laugh. "Now you were saying I will be going home tomorrow, right?" Dr. Whitmore answered yes. "Can I go back to school on Monday or do I have to stay cooped up in the hotel for another week or two."

"What is it with you boys in Jacob's house? When you and Jacob were in here the last time with kidney surgery, you guys were in a huge rush to get back to school. Now here you are, you with two broken legs and him with burned legs, wanting to go back to school. Can't you guys just enjoy time off? I don't understand what that school has that has you guys wanting to go back to it."

That got Alex laughing. "I guess no matter how much Jacob and I don't want to admit it, we are a lot alike. Who knows if things were different, we might have been friends all our lives, instead of enemies at first." Dr. Whitmore agreed with Alex on that. "He and I love the school we are going to now. The principal and everyone else there don't treat us like lepers. They treat us like equals and because of that we can't wait to get back to school."

"I certainly understand that Alex, I really do." Dr. Whitmore looked down at Alex's chart, scribbled something on it before looking back up. "Look, if you promise me that you won't try and do something that you are not ready for, you can go back on Monday. Make sure you stay in your wheelchair and don't do anything that will put ANY stress on your legs right now." Alex nodded his head with that big grin on his face. "I mean it Alex, don't do anything that could hurt your chances to heal and get well soon."

Alex promised Dr. Whitmore and the doctor left it alone. He did his normal exam he does every time he stops in before putting the chart back on the bed and leaving. As soon as he walked out of the room, Stefano walked back in. Alex looked at the guy and still couldn't figure out where he knew him from. The only thing he knew for certain was that this guy isn't family.

Stefano sat back down in the seat he was sitting in and picked up where he left off at. Alex listened really closely to what Stefano was saying to see if he could catch the guy in a lie, but he couldn't. Everything he said was true, at least to what he was told by his father or mother.

"So tell me what you have been up to?" Stefano quickly changed the direction of the conversation. "We know about what happened to you last weekend by the news, but not all the details of it. I understand the cops were really after another gang member by the name of Ashton, but you ended up in the middle of it. How did that happen? I thought you were out of the gang life at least that is what the family thinks back in Juarez that is."

Alex didn't know how to answer Stefano. As he opened his mouth to try to answer the questions as loosely as possible, Alex's mom walked in. Stefano quickly stood up and looked at her and she looked at him. She tried to place the kid, but couldn't, which got Stefano worried. By the look on Franseca's face got Stefano jumpy. Jumpy enough that he was looking around the room for something he can turn into a weapon.

"Mom this is Stefano Rivera, a cousin from my dad's side of the family in Juarez. Stefano of course you know my mom Franseca through pictures." Stefano put on a smile and said of course as he walked over to her and kissed her on the cheek. "He came by after hearing what happened to me and the others over the weekend."

Franseca looked at Alex and then over at Stefano. "Alex can I talk with you alone please." Stefano started to get jumpy, but didn't show it. He walked to the door, but didn't leave while Franseca leaned in and whispered to her son. Every so often they would look his direction, which made him even more nervous. He knew he couldn't make a run for it because he won't get far with all the security. So that means if he was caught and needed to get out, he would have to take Alex and his mother hostage.




{Welcome back one and all to another eventful chapter of `Beneath the Mask'. I really hope the return of this story you loved it and it was worth the wait. I have said this before and I will say it again, I am hoping to get back to my regular writing schedule soon. Keep an eye on my posting page to see if and when I do. That is where you will find out first.

With that said, let me get to the summation of this chapter. I jumped right in at the beginning of this chapter with Earl wanting to step down. Once again the boys in my sagas are showing how mature they are becoming. Alex not only didn't let Earl step down, he made sure Earl understood it wasn't his fault and the security was all his.

Then we had Aaron appear on this story from `Regrets and Heartaches'. If you are keeping up with the stories and can remember the plots, in chapter forty eight of this saga Principal Michaels and Haynes asked Alex to help Aaron through this rough time then nothing came from it. Well in the background Alex was helping Aaron and the evidence is here by Aaron coming down to speak with Alex. He wanted his help on what he should do with Chris.

Although the relationship between Aaron and Chris is going to unfold mostly in `Regrets and Heartaches', Aaron will appear in the saga as well when he needs to talk with Alex. Trust me when I say he is going to need to talk with Alex a lot in the future. He is in uncharted territory for himself and the only one he can trust to go to is Alex.

From there we went back to the hotel where two characters were introduced way back in chapter eleven of this saga, Matt's younger brother and sister. Although they weren't given names, back then, they were introduced. In this chapter I brought them back and they are going to stay at least as minor characters in the story in the chapters to come.

What do you guys think about Matt's parents? We knew they were jerks and assholes, but we didn't think they would go as far as they did with their younger kids, at least I didn't. I know they can't stand Matt because he's gay, but they shouldn't try and keep their kids apart from each other. They love each other and they want to be in each other's lives.

Okay the first cliffhanger of the chapter, Matt and the person he saw. Who do you guys think he is seeing at school on Friday? We know it's a girl, but who is it? Some of you guys might guess it right, and some of your guys might not. For the answer to this you are going to have to go way back several chapters in order to get the answer. In this chapter I have gone as far back as chapter eleven to bring in old characters that haven't been mentioned.

Finally the end of the chapter, Stefano! Man does that guy have some balls on him. I never would have thought he would play off as being a family member to get close to Alex. Alex knows something is up and by the looks of it so does Franseca. The question out there is what do they know? What have they put together? If it is that they know Stefano isn't family, how is Stefano going to get out of there. It doesn't look good for Stefano.

There are a lot of open plots still dangling out there in the air that will come back and as well a whole lot of new ones. So please stick around as I have said and keep on reading. I hope that you all enjoyed what you have read and will keep coming back week after week to this saga and the other three I write.

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


I'm glad Alex and Earl got things talked out. I agree with Jacob, Alex handled that in a very mature fashion.

Alex's maturity carried over to his talk with Aaron. Alex has a gift to be able to read beneath the surface of people. He also is able to see things from their point of view, yet he doesn't get blinded by the complexities. With Aaron he was able to dissect the complex problem and help Aaron sort things out. Yes, Aaron has a lot of change going on in his life as he discovers romance and has his sexual awakening. Alex was able to take Aaron's life dilemmas down in size to manageable size.

Another point here is that there are so many young people in his type of situation, be they straight or otherwise. Who do young people talk to? Who can they trust with their innermost, personal and private feelings? Only in a small percentage of cases can a budding teen talk to their parents. If not parents, then who is there to turn to? Aaron actually has it good...he has Alex. This is good practice for Alex as he will need to be the male role model and counsel for his younger brothers in the not too far flung future! I wonder if he's thought about that.

Things with Matt and his family had been on a good track lately. Now his siblings come to visit and Matt finds himself embroiled with more drama courtesy of his parents' truly warped standards. Matt was wise to seek Gloria and Andy, Sr. out for advice and support. Now, the next ally he needs to approach is Harold. What Matt's parents did by tossing his siblings out is illegal. They aren't of age. What they did was criminal. Perhaps if the law gets involved their warped sense of things can be modified. Also, the hostile atmosphere at home is emotional abuse. Has it crossed over to physical abuse at time? Matt should also consider going to the rest of his family and giving them an opportunity to assist his younger brother and sister.

Stefano has stepped into it. Alex may not have snapped to what's going on yet, but it seems that Franseca sees right through Stefano's deceptions. Are you surprised at that? I'm not! Alex has security close by and they supposedly found no weapons on Stefano. If Stefano can't slip out of the situation, he's going to be forced to take aggressive action. This will be going against the senior Alex's orders that his grandson and family are hands off. Stefano may be a dead man walking so very soon. What will the outcome of this plot thread be?

Until Next Time,

"Daddy" Rick