Written by: J.P.G.

{The Shadow of My Father is pure fiction. As I am writing this story, I am above the age of 21. If you want a story with lots of sex, look elsewhere. This is a love story. Seeing as it is a love story, sex is in there, but it's in realistic balance in the characters' lives.

Any similarity to any real events, names, or life events is purely accidental. If you're underage, (according to your state laws as a minor), if this literature is offensive to you or to anyone around your viewing area, or it is illegal for you to view such content where you're reading it,  stop reading the story.

This story can't be distributed in anyway, shape or form without the author's expressed written consent.}

Story Written by: J.P.G.

Love Scenes Written By: Daddy Rick

Edited By: Daddy Rick

Chapter 49

Although Josh is afraid of heights, he chose to sit in the seat next to the window looking out over the planes right wing. Little by little Josh looked down to see nothing but blue sky. He thought that he might be able to see the land below, but he was wrong. All he could see is nothing but clouds and the blue sky.

Since there was nothing to see, Josh got out of his seat and started to walk around the cabin. Cesar had fallen asleep the moment the plane took off. Daniel Jr., Carlos and Brandon were playing cards and talking, leaving Josh no one to talk to. He could join his brothers' card game, which would be ok except they are talking about their girlfriends. Something Josh can't do since he doesn't date girls.

So he decided to go back to his seat and try to get some sleep like Cesar. As he sat down, he made sure not to disturb Cesar. He put his pillow behind his head and closed his eyes. The noise his brothers were making started to fade away as he dropped off to sleep. He started thinking about the last few days of school.

They didn't do anything in class but fool around, which nobody minded. Monday they turned in their books, cleared out their lockers and made sure they were registered for the next year of classes. That only took the first fifteen or so minutes of their periods. They used the rest of the time to fool around.

Josh found out that Chris isn't spending the summer in El Paso. Coach decided since Chris' father is out and making trouble, to send him to his brother in California, near Disneyland. When they first talking about it, Chris didn't like the idea, but Josh told him that he was going to have a lot of fun. He could spend all his time at Disneyland.

As they talked about the things he could do there, Chris started to see it Josh's way. There is no way he is gong to have enough time over the summer to do everything he wants to do. He worried that everything costs money and he doesn't think the Coach is going to give him any money to spend up there and why should he? After all Chris isn't his real son. Josh quickly reminded Chris that Coach isn't like that.

When Josh wasn't talking with Chris about his summer, he was talking with his other friends about theirs. Eric was the second one that came up to Josh talking about his summer. He isn't going to go away for the entire summer, but he is going to spend at least a month with his grandparents in Arizona. He hated the idea because he has to be around old people and he won't see Bernice every day like he wanted.

Just like he did with Chris, Josh tried to show the positive points on spending time with his grandparents in Arizona, but there weren't very many. In order not to make matters worse, Josh changed the subject and had Eric focus on the time he will have with Bernice. They made a list of what those two could do when they were together. When they were done, Eric and Bernice's days were full.

Bernice wasn't going anywhere for the summer, so Josh asked her to try and spend a little time each day with Patrick. She didn't need to be asked, because she had already planned to do just that since she was the only one staying in El Paso all summer. They both thought by having a friend around him all the time, he'll get over the rough patch he is going through. Even if he wasn't going through this rough patch, Bernice would have stopped by Patrick's house every day throughout the summer just to hang out.

Josh's remaining friends really didn't talk about their summer vacations. BJ really didn't talk about his personal life to the group, which kind of bothered Josh. By now Josh feels BJ should have gotten to the point of trusting them and opening up a bit. Since he hasn't, Josh couldn't help but think that there has to be something really bad going on in BJ's private life. He is way too quiet and withdrawn most of the time for nothing negative to be going on his private life.

Then there was Rusty. He pretty much left the group and never looked back. Josh felt bad things ended the way they did with Rusty, and he wasn't even the one going out with him. Once everyone realized that Rusty decided to end his friendship with the group, they talked about how it could have been avoided.

As Josh listened to the group, he was getting angry on how they were blaming Chris on for Rusty leaving the group. Finally Josh jumped in when he saw Chris had given up trying to explain to the group he wasn't his fault. He felt that Chris had some blame, but Rusty had to take some of the blame as well, and the others aren't seeing that.

Josh started off by telling everyone that Rusty was the one that decided to call it quits. Nobody in the group asked Rusty to leave since he was no longer to going out with Chris. He explained to the group that when Rusty became part of the group, he came in going out with Chris. They didn't start out as friends and then became an item. Finally, he was asked to come back several times and flatly refused.

When Josh finished, no one blamed Chris for Rusty leaving the group again. They all agreed with Josh in the end Rusty is the one that walked away from all of them. So ultimately it was Rusty that ended the friendship, when he was told that he was always welcome in the group.

When school let out, the group gathered at Josh's house in order to hang with Patrick. Josh told them about Patrick getting out and that he wanted to hang out with them. They had no idea what to expect from Patrick, but they were prepared for anything. All of them couldn't wait to hang out like they did when they first became friends.

A few minutes after they sat down in the den and started playing video games the doorbell rang. Josh got up and walked over to answer the door. None of his family got up since they all knew it was Patrick at the door. When Josh opened door, he was surprised to see Patrick's parents standing behind him. As he invited them in, he wondered if Patrick's parents are planning to stay the whole time.

It seemed as if Patrick could read Josh's mind, because before he could ask, he leaned in and whispered that he was sorry about his parents, but they are staying. There was nothing that Josh could do at this point to keep that from helping. So he   showed them to the kitchen where his grandmother was at. After introducing everyone, Josh and Patrick headed to the den to hang with the others.

Just as they started to really get into what they were talking about, Patrick's parents walked in and sat down. The room went quiet because they had no idea how to act or talk with his parents around. Things that they were discussing could get Patrick in trouble since they more than likely had no idea that their son did those things; like when he and Frank got caught fooling around under the bleachers by Jonathan.

Since they had no idea how to act or talk with them there, they started to play video games, which wasn't what Patrick wanted to do. He was enjoying himself talking about all the fun things he did with Frank. These were things that he had forgotten and his friends helped him remember. That's how he wants to remember his boyfriend, but now that his parents walked in, none of his friends are willing to talk. When they did talk, it was robotic and guarded.

Several times Rose tried to get Patrick's parents out of the den, but they wouldn't budge. The third time Rose tried to pull them out, they lashed out at her. They realized they were wrong and tried to apologize, but it was too late. Patrick was embarrassed and just wanted to go home. Josh and the others tried to talk him into staying, but Patrick wouldn't hear of it. Josh felt really bad for Patrick and ran after him.

He jolted awake as if he just had a nightmare. Not wanting to replay that conversation over again in his mind, he had hoped that Cesar was awake. When he looked over, Cesar was still out to the world. He looked over to his brothers and saw that they had stopped playing cards and laid back to go to sleep.

Reluctantly Josh leaned back into his seat and closed his eyes. No matter how hard he resisted, he drifted off to sleep again. His dream picked right up where he left it, as if he pressed play. Patrick was almost running out of Josh's house, trying to escape the embarrassment his parents caused him. When he caught up to Patrick, he softly spoke and didn't touch him for fear he might make things worse.

"Patrick your parents care about you and just don't want you to get hurt more than you have been already. Don't get mad at them for wanting to be protective. All of us understand and don't think any differently of you." Josh could see as Patrick turned to look at him that he was holding back tears. "Things are going to get better, just give it some time, Patrick."

"I know you're right Josh, but all I wanted is to spend time with my friends before you guys take off for your summer vacations. That's something I wish I could do; leave this city for the summer, but I can't. There is no way my therapist would allow that. So I am stuck here where it happened; where I lost the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I know that sounds like a movie, but Frank and I were really in love."

"We all saw that. When he walked into the room, he made you smile, same thing with him when you walked into the room. None of us can know where you're coming from because the relationship you had with Frank was unique to you two, but you can rest assured that we will be here for you no matter what time of day it is. All you have to do is pick up the phone and one of us, if not all of us, will answer you."

"Josh, thank you for everything, I don't know where I would be without my friends. Every time I go by that bowling alley or even get near the street, I start to shake. Finally with your help and the others, I have made peace with the fact there was nothing I could have done that night. I just can't stop shaking whenever I am near that place."

Josh walked up to Patrick and wrapped his arm around his shoulders. "Let your parents settle down and I will have my dad speak with them to see if you can come to Austin for a couple of weeks." Patrick looked over to Josh with a smile. "I am not promising my dad will to convince your parents to let you go, but he will try. If they give you permission, we are going to have a lot of fun, I promise you that Patrick."

As the boys talked, Patrick's parents watched and couldn't believe their eyes. They never knew how happy their son was around his friends until now. He smiled and laughed, he was actually happy, a feeling that his parents thought he lost the day Frank was killed. Now they see how wrong they have been trying to keep their son away from his friends. It looks like they are the best thing for Patrick right now.

"Do me favor Patrick; do whatever Mr. Quane asks you to do. That way he can't use that as an excuse if your parents say yes to my father about you visiting for a couple weeks. We don't want to give anyone an excuse to say no." With a big grin on his face, Patrick nodded his head. "You make sure you take care of yourself my friend. I promise to do everything I can to see you in Austin during the summer."

Josh leaned in and pulled Patrick into a hug. "You mean too much to me and our group to lose you again. So don't do anything that gets you taken away from us. Believe it or not, we need that smile and your jokes to get us through the day!"

"I hope to see you in Austin Josh, I really do." The boys let go of each other and Patrick walked to his parent's car. The others walked out of the house just as Patrick turned and waved goodbye. None of them budged as they watched their friend and his parents drive through the road block.

Tuesday, the final day of school, actually went faster than Josh thought it would. Just like his friends and brothers, he had people   sign his year book and said goodbye to his favorite teachers. As the day came to the end, Josh walked out with mixed emotions. He wanted school to end to start his summer vacation, but he will actually miss singing and even the swim team, which surprised him.

When the final bell rang, all the students went running out of the building, throwing whatever they had in their hands into the air. Josh and his brothers were escorted out the side entrance and right into the SUV'S. They went straight to the airport where the Governor's plane was waiting to take them to Austin.

Daniel wanted to be there for his kids on their last day of school, but couldn't cancel his appointments. So he chartered a plane to bring his sons to Austin. He struggled with that decision because he didn't want his sons to look like they were privileged, but in the end security won out. He had several choices as far as flying the boys to Austin. He could have sent his plane, booked tickets on a regular flight or, do what he did, and charter a flight.

There was no way the security detail could have secured his kids on a regular flight without putting a lot of other people out. Sending his plane would have looked to the voters as personal spending of the tax payers' money. By chartering a plane, he pays for everything and no one can say they were put out or he used tax payers' money.

The plane hit some turbulence, which jolted Josh awake again. He looked over to Cesar, but he wasn't there. Pulling the cover off of him, Josh got up to stretch. Just as he raised his arms in the air, Cesar wrapped his arms around Josh, making him smile. He turned around and leaned in and kissed Cesar.

Breaking the kiss, Cesar looked up at Josh. "You know you talk in your sleep when you're having a bad dream?" Josh shook his head no. "Yeah you do and I know you were dreaming about school and Patrick. You need to stop thinking about that stuff, at least for the next couple of months."

"I know, but I am worried about Patrick. The guy needs us more now than he has ever needed us. And here we are taking off on vacation, leaving him to fend for himself. I am telling you, that isn't right. We should have..."

"Let me stop you there Josh, what do you mean that isn't right? You know as well as I do there is no way Patrick's parents would have allowed us to hang out with him. Just look at what they did on Monday. No matter what you think, you couldn't do anything more for him. So stop thinking about that and just have fun. That's what summer is all about."

Understanding where Cesar is coming from, Josh agreed to let it go. With what Patrick's parents did the other evening, there is nothing no one can really do right now, not with the parents looking at every move their son and friends make. As he told Patrick, he understands where his parents are coming from, but at the same time they are holding Patrick back from getting better, faster, with his friends' help.

The rest of the flight, the boys played cards. Rose looked on making sure they weren't gambling. Actually they were, but were able to hide if from their grandmother. At least that's what they thought; Rose sees everything. She learned the tricks from her boys, so when her grandchildren try to pull the wool over her eyes, she saw right through it.

It was no surprise to anyone when the plane landed, it stopped on a private run way. Daniel and Barbara were there to greet them as they got off the plane. Josh, just like his brothers before him, hugged his father when it was his turn. Through all the turmoil of the last year, Josh has gotten very close to his father; something his mother tried to keep from happening, but failed, not only with Josh, but with all the boys.

Although they were tired from their last day of school and the flight, they didn't fall asleep on the ride to the mansion. Everything they were passing, they saw the last time, in the daylight. Just like the last time, the boys were glued to the windows as they made their way to the mansion, trying to take it all in.

"Well boys I am very happy that you're here finally. I was counting down the days, and then the hours when there were no more days, for you guys to get here. I know that you want to have fun over the summer and I will try and help you do just that. But I need your help for a couple weeks during the summer."

That grabbed Josh and his brothers' attention. "As you know it is election year, and President Bush is fighting to keep the White House. Governor Clinton came out of nowhere and is really giving the President a run for his money. Although Texas is safely in the Republican corner, he doesn't want to take any chances. Therefore he is going to spend a couple weeks in Texas campaigning, not all at once though."

"Dad, do you honestly think President Bush is going to win reelection?" Josh interrupted his father, which caused his brothers to flinch. "I have been watching the campaign on both sides, and the President is just getting beat up and kicked around. There's something about a slogan he used back in nineteen eighty-eight, which is coming back to haunt him. Plus he isn't changing his game plan to beat this guy, so, in reality he is beating himself."

Daniel couldn't help but smile seeing that one of his sons is not only keeping up with politics, but has an informed grasp of what's going on. Something he didn't know when he ran for the Governorship, which hurt him a little on his run. Had he known just how ugly politics was actually played, he would have been better prepared for the ugly attacks.

"He isn't showing bad in the polls, so he can pull this off. But you're right Josh; if he doesn't change the way he is running his campaign, he will lose. Clinton has more flaws than Bush, but Clinton knows how to talk to the voters. That's something I learned very quickly, what I say, I mean, and what I am able to deliver. This guy is promising things that he really can't deliver."

"Exactly dad, and that's what I think the voters should know, but not from the President. He needs to stay above the mud slinging and have someone else out there to do it for him." Daniel started to laugh. "What is so funny dad? I really believe he should stay above the dirty politics because he is sitting in the White House."

"I am not laughing at you because I find what you're saying funny. It's just you sound like a seasoned politician the way you're talking. I agree he needs to stay above the dirty politics, but that's  up to those that are running his campaign. He hired a group of people and entrusted   them to bring him victory come November.

What I need from you boys is to join me as I go around our state with the President. He needs my support and I am going to give it to him. You can learn how things work in a Presidential election and you can also see other parts of Texas. I am not asking that you sit through the speeches; just come with me."

"Are we going to be flying with the President in Air Force One?" Brandon almost fell off his seat with enthusiasm, causing his father to laugh again.

"Yes. As of right now he will fly here to Austin next Wednesday, make his first speech, and then do a week tour in eastern part of Texas before moving on to Oklahoma, Louisiana and many of the other states in that area. Then he will come back to Texas, starting in El Paso, at the beginning of July.  We will meet him there and do another week tour in Texas, but this time in the western part of the state."

Josh loved the idea on being part of this tour with the President of the United States. It's not because he wants to get his picture in the paper, but he liked the President. He met him when they went to the White House, and thought for an old guy, he was really nice. Before then, Josh thought that Presidents were mean old men; at least that's how they looked on TV and in the history books.

Before anyone else could ask Daniel more questions, they arrived at the mansion. The employees came out to help with the suitcases, but Daniel didn't let them. He made his boys get their own suitcases from the SUV behind the limousine and carry them in. He didn't want his kids to start thinking that they don't have to do the things that they normally do. Nothing has changed from how it is at their house in El Paso and here.

Once they got all their suitcases in, Daniel told Daniel Jr., Carlos and Brandon that the rooms they chose for themselves the last time they were here are theirs if they still want them. They jumped at having the same rooms, grabbed their suitcases and made their way down the hall, but they got lost several times before finding their rooms.

Josh and Cesar just stood there looking at Daniel, not understanding why he held them back from going to their room. "I won't change the sleeping arrangements with you boys here, but I need something from you two. You can stay in the same room together, but you can't fool around." Josh looked at his father confused on his request. "What I mean by  that, you make sure when you do, that the door is locked and you aren't loud.

They reason for that's the staff here is huge and they are in and out of the rooms all day long. I can't keep them from talking to the press. You know as well as I do there are people in this state that don't like gays. So if they hear you guys fooling around, they will run to the press. If any of them do, they will be fired immediately, but by then, the press will be already reporting what they heard."

Both Josh and Cesar promised Daniel that they will do as he asked. Once Daniel got their promise, he gave them the choice of which room they wanted to take since when they were here the last time they slept in separate rooms. Just like his other sons, Josh and Cesar picked up their suitcases and made their way to their

room .

As he watched them walk down the hall, Daniel felt bad about what he had to ask his son. It is sad that they have to hide their love for each other  , but he is trying to make sure neither of them gets hurt. The way the press is he knows if they get information of Josh and Cesar making love, they will hound them until they get  statement from one of them.

When Daniel woke up in the morning, he didn't wake up his boys. It didn't make sense to wake them up at four in the morning. After all they are on summer break. He got ready, kissed Barbara goodbye and headed into the office. As he made his way down from the private residence, he checked in on all his kids.

Daniel Jr. and Carlos were the first to get up, followed by Brandon and then Josh and Cesar. The only reason that Josh and Cesar were the last to get up was that they fooled around a little with each other before crawling out of bed. They wanted to christen their room in the mansion, so to speak.

None of them got dressed when they got up. When they saw that there was a full kitchen staff and other staff running around, they went back to their rooms and got dressed. They weren't walking around in their underwear, but they weren't presentable either. Each of them had on what they slept in, a t-shirt, running pants or shorts and white socks.

During breakfast they discussed what they wanted to do their first day in Austin. Since they haven't given their security detail heads up on where they wanted to go, they decided to make it easy for them. They will stay together and go to the mall to hang out. At least that way their security details can work as one unit, making it easier.

The Governor had back to back meetings all day long. He wanted to try and get out early, but his days never seem to stay on schedule, and today is no exception. Usually by ten, the schedule of the day is thrown out the window. Something always comes up that takes Daniel away from what he is supposed to do, which throws the schedule into a mess.

Daniel got pulled into a meeting that Rich was having dealing with putting together the framework of what will be his gay rights bill. Everyone in the room, except Rich, didn't really want to rock the boat when it came down to the gay rights legislation. They all basically wanted a piece of legislation that was a feel good legislation, but did nothing.

At first Daniel gave everyone a chance to speak their mind on what they think about the bill. As he went around the table, he couldn't believe the people around him were that big of bigots. He thought they were for this change by the way they have talked to him about Josh, but now he can see they are two face liars. They only tell people what they think the person wants to hear so   they don't rock the boat.

Daniel was getting frustrated; "Let me get this straight, you guys just want to put together a bill that basically doesn't do anything just so long as you guys can walk around with your heads up high in the gay community that we tried something. Do I have that correct?" Everyone just looked at each other, but not at the Governor.

"No sir, you got us wrong.  You're forgetting what state you're governing sir. This is not California or New York, this is Texas where the majority of   people go to church and live by the Bible. We can't be the first state to pass the kind of bill your Chief-Of-Staff wants to put together. Let one of the other states I named go first, and then we will follow."

The Governor looked at the staffer who just spoke and then over to Rich. "Well you don't know me, because if you did you would know I don't follow; I lead! I don't do anything for show. When I take something on I do it all the way and that includes this. A bill that does give equal rights to our gay citizens will be written and put on the floor of the house to get passed. If you can't do that, then quit!"

The staffer looked at the Governor as he got up to leave. "If any of the rest of you agrees with the young man walking out, go with him. If you want to put together feel good legislation, go with him. If you stay, you will work. You won't just go through the motions in order to lie to the voters. We will put together a bill that means something.

Rich and I will listen to your thoughts and opinions, but once we decide on the course of action, the discussion is over.  I don't care about opinion polls, what the thinking is or what you're hearing from friends and family. I, and those that work in my administration will do everything we can to give equal rights to every man, woman and child regardless who they love, their religion, color of their skin and everything in between."

The Governor got up from the table and walked to the door. "The old days of pretending to do something are over. Promises were made to the voters and I plan to deliver on those promises. Even if that means I have to replace very single one of the staff members here to get it done, I will. I don't believe in turn over, but I also don't believe on going through the motions, but not really doing anything."

The Governor walked out of the conference more than a little angry that he had to actually have someone resign their position in order to get his point across. He doesn't like forcing people into making that decision. At the same time he can't have staffers just going through the motions. If the voters catch them, and they will, they will never trust a word that comes from his mouth, even though it was his staffers that made the mistake.

When Rich got out of his meeting, he went by to speak with the Governor. Originally they had this time blocked off to go over what was done in the meeting. Now Rich is just going to report to the Governor what happened after he left, since the Governor got pulled into the meeting earlier. He had to wait for the Governor to finish up with the meeting he was in, but once he did, Rich went right in.

"Governor I am sorry for pulling you into my meeting. I know that you want to get home on time to have dinner with your kids through the summer, and I didn't help. The meeting seemed to be taking a wrong turn. After that I couldn't get it back on the  track you and I discussed  you want this legislation to go."

"You're my Chief-Of-Staff Rich, which means that everyone reports to you. That means if someone isn't willing to support ALL of our work, let them go. We are willing to listen to all sides of the issue, but once the decision is made, that's it. If we have staffers that can't understand that or respect the final decisions, they must go."

"I agree Governor, I agree and again I am sorry for pulling you off schedule. The guy that resigned today was one that everyone followed. Now that he is gone, we will have better control of the staff here. You know much of the lower staff was here when we took over, so their ties are to the former Governor. You didn't want to fire anyone, and this is the result of not cleaning out the staff."

Governor Lopez sees where Rich is coming from, but Rich doesn't understand why he didn't fire the entire staff. They talked for hours about this very subject when they got elected. At the end, Rich gave up the fight to bring in a complete new staff on all levels. He gave his opinion, and then went with the final decision his boss made.

"Rich I have said this many of times when I was Governor elect, and I will say it again. I don't believe in firing anyone. Normally if the person isn't going to make it, they will hang themselves. When they do, they walk before either you or I have to fire them. I just don't like taking the livelihood away from people and that's what we would have done if we fired them. How would they pay their bills then?"

Rich shrugged his shoulders. "We did the right thing by keeping them on and replacing the main staff like all incoming Governors do." The Governor walked around his desk and joined Rich on the couch. "So tell me how the gay rights bill looks right now. Am I going to get everything I want, or do I need to let something's go?"

"The bill is looking really good right now. Of course this is the first of many meetings to put the bill together. But for now, everything you want is going to be there. Once we have a final draft to show you, I will get it over to you. If you agree with it, it will go down to the houses when you feel they are ready for it."

"That sounds good so far. Keep me in the loop while you work on this bill so I can weigh in on any changes that are made. Plus it will save time because if I don't like a certain part of the bill, it can be rewritten then, not when the bill is done. Most bills once they are done, it is hard to take one thing out or change one thing without hurting other parts of the bill, parts I might like."

The Governor and Rich talked for another ten minutes before the Governor had to end their meeting and move onto his next one. As Rich walked out, he thought that the Governor was angry with him since he didn't give him his full meeting. Then he found out that the Governor shortened the rest of the meetings in order to catch his schedule back up. That's something he never saw the Governor doing, but figured this will be the common practice while his kids are with him.

Josh and his brothers spent a couple of hours at the mall before heading back to the mansion. It was so packed, they couldn't get around. That also made it hard for their security detail to do their job. It wasn't the security detail that pulled them out, Josh and his brothers make the call to leave.

The rest of the day, they explored the old mansion. Just as they were going to go outside to explore, Rose called them in for dinner. They turned around and went running in. When they got to the table, Josh was surprised to see his father already sitting down. He thought that his father would be working and not joining them for dinner that much, but he was wrong, at least for today.

While they ate, Daniel went around the table to see what his kids plan to do while they are here in Austin. They pretty much all answered the same way. They are going to play it by ear day by day. Daniel threw out suggestions for things they can do. Some of the suggestions they liked and some they didn't like.

"We have to discuss what you boys are going to do here for chores. Of course you're going to keep up your own rooms. The other things you did at the house in El Paso, a staff member here does, like the yard work. I have to find something for you guys to do in order to earn your allowance each week."

"Well I suggest you let us take break over the summer since there is already a staff member doing the work we normally do." Carlos winked at his brothers.

"Okay I will let you guys take a break over the summer by not doing any chores, but you guys don't get any allowance either then." That grabbed all of their attention. "Now that I have your attention, let's get serious about this. I can't have you guys out there mowing the yard of this place. It's just way too big."

Daniel leaned back in his chair, trying to think of other things his kids could do. "Dad what do you think about us volunteering at a hospital or something like that." He leaned forward and looked straight into Josh's eyes. "I am pretty sure there are plenty of places that could use volunteers to help them out. It doesn't need to be a hospital, but somewhere we can help out and enjoy doing it at the same time."

"I like that idea Josh, I really do. Why don't you guys call around tomorrow to the places you would like to volunteer your time? If they have a volunteer program, I have no problem on you guys doing what you would like to do while you help others. Just don't tell the people you're calling who you are until you get confirmation they use volunteers. I don't want companies making up the positions because you're my kids."

Josh, Cesar and his brothers nodded their heads. "Plus you guys don't have to do it all summer long. Three weeks I think is enough to match the work you do around the house back home. But make sure where you go that you're actually working, not sitting around watching TV. I don't want to see you kids spend your entire summer in front of the TV."

They went over what their farther means by work. Once they agreed on the details, Daniel let his kids go off to watch TV. Little did he know they brought their game system with them. When he walked in to find them playing their video games, he chuckled at the sight of them yelling at the TV not to kill them.

The rest of the week went by fast. Daniel made it in every evening to have dinner with his family, but when they were done, he had to go back to the office. Josh and his brothers didn't go anywhere. Instead they explored the old mansion and the grounds. One thing they all agreed on is that not too many former Governors had kids when they lived in this house. If they did, the mansion wouldn't be so boring.

Daniel Jr. and Josh were left in charge on finding the place for them to volunteer. The only thing Carlos, Brandon and Cesar wanted is that they volunteer at the same place, which Josh and Daniel Jr. agreed with. None of them wanted to go to a place they don't know alone in a city they don't know.

They were having problems finding places that let people volunteer because those that had the program were already filled. They were offered to put their names on a waiting list, but Josh and Daniel Jr. decided against it. It wasn't because they didn't want to work. They didn't want the person in charge of volunteer program to put one and one together and give them a slot when there isn't any available. Plus their father told them not to.

By Friday, there was only one place they found that had openings, Habitat for Humanity. None of the boys were afraid of physical work, but again they wanted to work together on a project. When Josh talked with the one of the ones that signed up volunteers on the phone, he couldn't guarantee that they would be placed at the same work site.

After lunch, Josh, Cesar and his brothers went down to the main office of the Habitat for Humanity. When they first walked in, no one gave them a time of day. It looked they were all trying to get things done and knew they didn't have enough time in the day. Josh went over to the desk and signed everyone in.

An older gentleman came out, picked up the sign in log. When he saw the names, he looked over at Josh and his brothers, putting the names to the faces. The one he knew for sure was the Governor's son was Josh, and then he put one and one together and knew the other three were Josh's brothers. He put down the sign in log and introduced himself.

"What do we owe this honor? Don't get me wrong, we are happy to accept anyone that wants to volunteer their time, but you boys are the Governor's sons. You know what kind of work we do here, right? It is not a desk job or anything close to that."

"Yes Sir, we know what you guys do here and have no problem working a manual labor jobs." Josh noticed his brothers nodding their head in agreement. "I called this morning to see if your organization still had volunteer positions open, and I was told yes. But I was also told that more than likely we will be sent to different job sites, wherever the need for workers is. We completely understand all that, but we would like to work on the same job site."

The older guy removed his hat and started scratching his balding head. "I don't see where that's a problem. There are five of you, which is half of a work crew we normally send out to a site. If you guys sign up to volunteer some of your summer, I will make sure you guys stay in a group. That way it will make it easier for all concerned." The guy looked at the security detail.

Once they got confirmation that they will be able to stay together on a worksite, they filled out the necessary paperwork. Since they were underage, the older guy sent the boys home with some paperwork for their father to sign. Before leaving, Daniel Jr. told the guy that they will be only working the first three weeks of June. The older guy had no problem with that, in fact he liked it since he had several projects scheduled for then.

When they walked into the doors of the mansion, Daniel Sr. was walking in as well. Before Daniel could sit down, Josh, Cesar and his brothers gave him the paperwork he needed to sign for them to work for Habitat for Humanity. When Daniel saw what his sons gave him, he was delighted to sign the paperwork.

Before Josh and Cesar were able to make it to their room, Daniel called Josh over. Cesar looked at Josh with a look that was asking Josh if he wanted him to be there for the conversation. Josh was able to read Cesar, and without talking, conveyed back to Cesar through his facial expression that he was okay, no need to worry.

Josh joined his father in his private office, in the residence. As he sat down he couldn't help but wonder why his father needed to talk with him. The longer he sat in silence, the more worried he got. His father kept flipping through pages on his desk, and finally after over five minutes of silence, Daniel looked up to Josh and started speaking.

"As you and your brothers know, President Bush is going to be here on Monday. Now we were supposed to meet him at the airport where he was going to make his speech and then fly out, but that has changed. Before leaving my office today, I got a call from his campaign manager. He informed me that the President wants to speak with returning troops from the Gulf and as many voters as possible.

So my staff and I have been working with his advance team to get that done. Once he lands, he will make a small speech at the airport, than make his way to Texas Memorial Stadium where he will get what he wants." Daniel walked over to Josh and handed him several pieces of paper. As Josh looked at it, he realized it was the schedule for that day.

"What you're looking at is the schedule from the moment the President gets into town and until we leave with him. The stadium will be packed with people from all over the surrounding areas and soldiers from that just returned from the Kuwait. They will be sitting on field where the President can be with them.

The reason I am telling you this is that the President asked for you to sing for him." Josh couldn't believe what he was hearing. He just couldn't believe his ears. "There are going to be several other singers that will perform for the President, but he wants you to sing for him too. I know you aren't used to singing without the Show Chorus or Glee Club, but I need you to put something together for Monday."

Josh swallowed the lump in his throat. "Does the President want me to sing something specific for him and the First Lady?"

"Son you must not have heard me right or I didn't explain myself clearly. You're not going to just sing one song for the President and the First Lady, but several. He didn't request certain songs, but keep in mind who is going to be there as you put together your choices. This isn't just for the President, his wife; voters of Texas, but also for the military men and women are going to be there. So pick you songs that will respect all them."

Not asking his father another question, at least right away, Josh thought over what he was just told. This is going to be the first time that he will need to not only pick his songs on his own, but sing by himself. As a million thoughts raced through his mind, the same two concerns kept coming back to Josh.

"Dad I have a couple of questions for you. First, when am I supposes to go on? Second, what units do the military soldiers belong to? What I mean is..."

"Don't worry Josh, I know what you mean. It is going to be a mixture of troops from regular Army ground troops, to the Air Force and all the way to special trained soldiers like the Green Berets. And as far as when you're going to sing, you're going to open the show. That's what the President wants, and I know you want to get it over and done with. So I figured that wouldn't be a problem."

"No dad not a problem at all." Josh got up and thanked his dad as he walked out of the office. Daniel watched as he so walked out, surprised on how he took the news. Daniel thought that Josh would have had more questions than just the two he asked. Maybe once everything sinks in, he will have more questions, Daniel thought.

When Josh walked into the room, he found Cesar sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for him. Without delay Josh told him what he discussed with his father. Just like Josh, Cesar was surprised that the President of the United States asked Josh to sing for him.

They stayed up talking about what songs Josh should choose, but by the time they had fallen asleep, Josh was no closer to narrowing the choices down. He tossed and turned all night long, which didn't help matters. When he woke up in the morning, he felt more tired than he felt when he went to sleep the night before.

During breakfast, Cesar told Josh's brothers the news. They tried to help Josh pick the songs that he should sing, but it got to the point Josh asked to be left alone to sort it out. He felt bad asking his brothers and Cesar to leave him alone. It just got to the point that there was too many opinions being thrown at him, they weren't helping.

Josh walked out to the back of the mansion to clear his head. As he walked around, he saw yellow roses growing along the wall, which gave him his first song, The Yellow Rose of Texas. That will be his opening song since they are in Texas. He couldn't help but laugh that his got one of his songs by seeing a flower.

It didn't take long for Josh to start hitting his head against the wall again. He couldn't think of any other songs that he knew or could learn in such a short period of time. He finally gave up; he went back inside after walking around for over two hours. Josh was so frustrated; he didn't even feel like working on the song he has picked.

When he found Cesar and his brothers, they were watching TV. Cesar knew that Josh wasn't having any luck choosing the songs he is going to sing. He could see that Josh is frustrated and tired; a bad combination. With just one of those, you don't think straight, Cesar thought, but by the looks of it, Josh has them both.

"Josh I was thinking of a song that you might like to sing." Brandon got up from the floor and sat next to Josh on the couch. "Since the stadium is going too filled with regular people and the President wants to reach them, why not pay tribute to them on the President and dad's behalf. Sing that song..." Brandon started to tap his foot on the floor as he tried to remember the band. "Heck I don't know the bands name, but the song is "Forty Hour Week", I think."

Josh smiled at his little brother. "You have the title right, "Forty Hour Week, and the ones that sing that song is Alabama. That would be a perfect song, thank you Brandon! I will add it to the one I have thought of. Now I need only two more songs."

"While you were outside Josh, I asked around about the song you were trying to remember. When I asked Lloyd, he knew exactly what song you were thinking of. The name is "Ballad of The Green Berets". The only problem is that Lloyd can't remember the name of the soldier that sang the song, but it was a soldier like you thought."

"Damn no wonder I couldn't remember the song, look at the title. I am surprised that Lloyd remembered the song." Josh started to laugh. "Now I have three of my four songs. Only one more song, any ideas you guys?"

They all shrugged their shoulders, Josh was okay with that. He got up and went to start practicing the three songs he had already chosen with the help from his brothers and Cesar. He hoped by practicing these songs, he would think of the fourth song he needs.

Josh went practiced in a room that wasn't being used. The only time he took a break was for dinner, and the only reason he did that's because his grandmother made him. If it was up to him, he would have practiced straight through dinner and all night if he could, but once again Rose made him stop practicing at eleven and get some sleep.

The next morning Josh picked up right where he left off. By mid afternoon, he had the songs memorized. In return he was back to where he was yesterday at this time, trying to figure out what he is going to sing as his fourth song. Then he remembered the advice his father gave him on Friday and by doing that, a song came to his mind.

A song he can dedicate to his father that George Strait made famous, "Love Without End". Although some of the song wouldn't make sense coming from him since he will never get married and have kids, but the meaning should still be the same. It will show how close they have become over the last year as father and son.

When dinner came around, Josh was the first one at the table, which surprised everyone. They thought that one of them was going to have to go and pull Josh to dinner kicking and screaming like Rose did the day before. But here he is the first one at the table with a smile on his face. That was another shock, Josh was smiling.

Josh decided to not practice until tomorrow when he warms up his voice. He didn't want to do what he did the first time he sang with the Glee Club. Mr. Edger had them practice all the way to the moment they sang. Josh didn't know how he made it through that concert because when he walked out to the stage, his throat was so sore from all the practicing, he could barely swallow.

That day he made a promise to himself that he will never put himself in that position again. Even if that means his teacher kicks him off the team, he won't practice to the point that he can't swallow like that night. The only one that seemed to really care about his health was Mrs. Nunez, who brought him dinner on his father's behalf.

The Governor went into the office the next morning, but only worked half day. He returned to the mansion right at noon. When he arrived, his kids, mother and brother were running around getting ready. The only one of his kids that was not there was Josh because he had left already to Texas Stadium to practice.

With no time to spare, Daniel went to shower and change into the suit that Barbara had gotten out for him to wear. While Daniel was getting ready, Barbara finished packing their bags to take on the week tour around the eastern part of the state. Just as she started to take suitcases out to the front door, Daniel walked out ready to go.

Brandon and Carlos helped Barbara take the suitcases out to the SUV, where they had already loaded theirs. Josh and Cesar packed their suitcases the night before, leaving Cesar to only load them with the rest. Once the suitcases were loaded into the truck, it pulled out with the other SUV'S that were heading to the airport already.

As the limousine drove into the driveway to take the Governor and his family to the airport, Josh and his security detail arrived. He greeted his father and quickly went in to shower and change. Fifteen minutes later, Josh walked out with a folder in one hand and with the other hand he was pushing a comb through his wet hair.

Josh was the last one to get into the limousine along with his father. All the way to the airport, the car was lively with chatter. All of them were excited to see the President again and to be able to be behind the scenes as he runs for reelection. Although the campaign trail isn't new to them since they joined their father on his campaign, this time it is the President running for the highest office in the land. That alone should make this road trip different than the ones they took with their father.

They made it to the airport before Air Force One did. As they sat and waited for the President to arrive, they talked about the show. The Governor was able to actually get George Strait and Reba McEntire to perform. It took a lot of string pulling to get them down on such a short notice, but he got them.

Daniel and Carlos asked why his father didn't get a rock band to perform since there are going to be young kids in the audience as well. Daniel simply replied to his two sons that the President likes country music and really likes George Strait. Carlos was going to say something to his father, but Air Force One was landing.

Once it came to a complete stop, and the engines were turned off, the Governor and his family stepped out of their limousine. They stood at the bottom of the stairs as the door of the aircraft opened and the staircase got pushed against the hull of the plane. Moments later, several members of the President's staff got off, followed by President Bush and Barbara Bush. When Daniel saw the First Lady, he turned to his wife and whispered.

"You're the prettiest Barbara here, and well, anywhere." Barbara smiled and kissed Daniel on the cheek.

The President waived out those that came down to hear him speak before walking down the stairs. Daniel kept his fingers crossed as he watched President Bush come down the stairs that he doesn't have a President Ford moment here and slips on the staircase. He is paying more attention to the people than he is walking down the steep staircase.

When President and Mrs. Bush got to the bottom of the staircase, Governor and Mrs. Lopez greeted them. They shook hands and said a few words, before the President and his wife walked over to the Governor's family. As the President went down the line, he said a few words to each of the Governor's sons. When he reached Josh, he spoke a little longer with him than he did with the others.

"I am sorry for the short notice to put together something to sing for me. Its just I have seen your solos on TV and your father won't stop talking about how well you sing. I wanted to hear you in person, and basically that's why I asked for the concert."

"Mr. President, it was no problem whatsoever. I am honored and I got it done. I really hope I don't let you or the First Lady down, after all, those other times you heard me sing, I was singing with a group."

"Don't sell yourself short young man. You weren't with the group when you sang that beautiful solo about five weeks ago. It was just you and a guitar on the stage." One of the President's staffers whispered something in his ear. "I am being told we need to get going in order to stay on schedule. We will have plenty of time to continue this conversation as we go around the state this week."

The President patted Josh on the shoulders and made his way to the stage. Governor Lopez and his family walked on the stage first. The Governor said a few words to the crowd, which got them screaming and yelling his name for President. He chuckled and asked the audience to vote for the man that has come down to speak with them. Before bringing the President out on the stage, Daniel said a few more words.

President Bush went right into his stump speech, which was no surprise to anyone out there. Something Daniel doesn't believe in. In his mind, one speech does not fit all. A person that's asking for votes should always speak to the issues that matter the most to those that he or she is speaking in front of.

When the President finished speaking, Daniel got up and asked everyone to make their way to the Texas Memorial Stadium for the concert and not to forget to vote for the right man in November and that right man is Bush. The crowd started to chant four more years as the President, his wife and the Governor and his family made their way to the cars.

The President got into his own limousine as the Governor and his family got back into theirs. The Governor's convoy followed right behind the President's as they made their way to the stadium. All the way there cars were pulled off to the side and waving or blowing their horns as the two convoys passed them.

Once they arrived, the Governor waited for the President, the First Lady and his staff to get out of the limousine and head into the building before he and his family were able to. When Josh got out, he left his family and made his way back stage. On his way he saw that the stadium had really filled up. He thought that there was no way all the stadium was going to be filled, but man was he wrong on that, there wasn't am empty seat anywhere in the stadium!

As Josh made his way to the back stage, he saw George Strait's road crew setting up his stuff. He looked around in hopes to get a glimpse of the great George Strait, but he was no where to be seen. So he headed over to where he put his sheet music earlier and started singing the songs in his head. All of sudden he felt someone tapping his shoulders, and when he looked around, Josh fell off his seat.

"Sorry about that, I didn't mean to catch you off guard like that." George Strait extended his hand to help Josh off the floor. "I was told you're the young man that will be opening the show. I just came over to introduce myself and offer you the use of my band if you need it." George started to helped Josh pick up his sheet music.

"Um, Mr. Strait it is an honor to meet a star like you. When I got back, I had hoped to have the chance to meet you, and here you are. It would be great if your band would play. A band is always sounds better than recorded music." Josh saw that George was looking at the sheet music of his own song. "Um, I was going to ask you if I could sing that. If.."

"Please call me George, none of that Mr. Strait stuff. As far as you doing one of my songs, I have no problem with that." George handed Josh the sheet music. "I was wondering if you knew why the President is out campaigning so early. After all the democrats are barely gearing up for their primary."

"From what I understand from my father, the President doesn't want to take anything for granted. He is only going to major cities to speak, unlike what he will do when the general campaign begins. Plus they don't want to be forgotten. Since they aren't having a primary, they don't want the only thing the voters to see is the democrats bashing the President for months and there isn't a response from their side."

"You're one smart kid! I thought that was the case. I also I know the President and he won't do something like this in a campaign. Right now he can kick back and enjoy himself a little as he talks to the voters." George looked at his watch. "I better let you get ready to get on stage because the show is going to start in fifteen minutes. And I need to let my band know that they will be backing you up."

Josh shook George's hand as he walked to the exit. A few minutes later, his band showed up asking Josh what was he planning to sing. He handed the band the sheet music, told them what key he sings in and thanked them for backing him up without getting a lot of notice. The band told Josh it wasn't a problem at all and headed out onto the stage.

Josh stood there looking out to the packed stadium of people. Then he saw all the cameras pointed to the stage, which got him even more nervous. Not only will this be the first time Josh is going to sing by himself in front of the largest audience he has ever sang in front of, but he will also be doing it on national TV. He is really getting nervous.

As the band set up, the Mayor of Austin walked on the stage. He welcomed everyone to Texas Memorial Stadium, and then welcomed the Governor, his family and the President and the First Lady. Once the audience stopped clapping, the Mayor took the opportunity to say a few words to the voters he will be asking to reelect him for another term.

Finally he finished his speech. "Ladies and gentlemen we have a great concert lined up for you today. Back stage we have Reba McEntire." The crowd started to applaud and yell out Reba's name. "We also have the great George Strait for you to hear." The chanting got louder for George Strait and it lasted a little longer. "But before they come out on the stage, we have a special treat for you all. To kick off the show, please welcome on the stage, one of the Governor's sons, Josh Lopez!"

The crowd started to applaud to as the Mayor walked off the stage and Josh walked on. He looked around still couldn't believe the amount of people that were there. Now with them applauding and yelling, it made it feel like there was double the amount of people.

Josh froze for a few minutes, but he found his legs and walked to the middle of the stage. He looked back to the band and they started to play the music of "The Yellow Rose of Texas", which got the crowd instantly into the show. As soon as the song ended, the band went right into the next song, "Forty Hour Week", by Alabama.

The Governor sat there with his family watching   his son  performing for him, the people of his state and the President and First Lady. He is so proud of his son  words can't describe the feelings he is feeling right now. Once again Josh is showing him, the family and everyone watching what a beautiful voice he has.

As the song came to an end, Josh walked out to the audience and over to the soldiers. The cameras followed Josh and just as he got there, he started to sing "Ballad of The Green Berets". When he started singing, all the soldiers stood up at attention. Even the President and Daniel stood up as Josh started to sing the song.

[dailymotion id=xd6phw]

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

The cameras panned off Josh and started to show to the audience watching at home and on the big screen faces of the soldiers that were there. Not every one of them was a Green Beret, but they were all soldiers that fought in Kuwait.

Trained to live, off nature's land
Trained in combat, hand to hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage deep, from the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

The camera went back to Josh as he made his way back to the stage. As he passed the row where his father and the President were standing, the cameras stayed on them.

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her this last request

Put silver wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man they'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret

As the song came to an end, the cameras moved over to the audience. Many of the faces they showed on live TV. There were tears rolling down their cheeks as they stood looking down at the soldiers standing at attention on the field. Not one of them thought a song would touch them the way this one did. Later when those in the audience that had tears in their eyes during the song were asked why the song touched them that way, they simply responded that it was the soldiers and what they did to protect their freedoms.

The final song Josh was going to sing, the band didn't start to play it right away. They waited for Josh to settle back in on the stage and the audience to settle back in their seats. Once the stadium started to die down, the band started to play one of their own songs, "Love Without End". Josh looked over to his father as he sang the first two verses

I got sent home from school one day with a shiner on my eye.
Fightin' was against the rules and it didn't matter why.
When dad got home I told that story just like I'd rehearsed.
And then stood there on those tremblin' knees and waited for the worst.

And he said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us."
He said, "Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."



The minute Daniel heard the first few words of the song; he knew the song was meant for him. It sliced right through his emotional armor, and couldn't stop tears from rolling down his cheeks. He knew that he and his son's relationship got stronger after what Martha tried to do and the divorce, but he never thought he bridged the gap that was between him and his sons until now. Barbara grabbed hold of his hand and held it tight as Josh sang.

When Josh reached the middle of the song, the crowd stood up and started to applaud. At first Josh had no idea why until he turned around and heard George Strait start to sing along with him. George walked up to Josh and they sang the rest of the song together. It wasn't written for a duet, but they pulled it off.

As soon as the song ended, the audience jumped to their feet and started to applaud. Both Josh and George bowed to each other before they turned and waved to the audience. Josh turned and pointed to George as he introduced him to the audience. Once he did that, he felt like a fool. Everyone knows who George Strait is no matter if you listen to country music or not. There was no need to introduce him.

"Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for Josh Lopez!" George Strait started to applaud as he asked the audience to do the same. George knows that the show must go on, so he introduced Reba McEntire and walked off the stage with Josh. Reba started to sing and the audience went to wild again.

"Thank you so much for going out there and singing with me. I can't believe I sang on the same stage with the great George Strait!" Josh trying to keep his cool, but George is seeing right through it. "Man when I go back home, everyone on the Show Chorus is going to be angry that they weren't able to be here today and sing."

"Well we will have to correct that, won't we?" George smiled at Josh. "I will schedule a concert in El Paso when you go back to school. Then I will invite you and the group you sing in to the concert and  have you guys come on the stage and sing with me. What do you say to that?"

"Heck yea, man they won't believe me when I tell them about your offer."

Josh and George talked a little more before George headed back to his dressing room to get ready for his show. Josh turned and started to walk out to his seat. On his way to his seat, Josh thanked the band once gain for backing him up. The band shook his hand and said anytime, which made Josh feel even better than he already does.

He thought as he walked down the hallway that he can't see anything topping this day. Not only did he sing in front of tens of thousands of people, the President and the First Lady, his father and family, but he made a new friend, George Strait. There is no way that Josh could see anything that could beat today. If only he could see his future, he would know how wrong he is.


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 chapter of Shadow of My Father. I know I told you guys that this chapter was going to be the first chapter of my new book. I still have plans to start a new book, but where this book ends has been changed. After talking it over with my editor and proof reader, it made more sense to start the new book at the beginning of Josh's sophomore year. So the summer vacation in Austin will be in this book and at the end of summer will be the end of this book.  I hope you continue to stay for the ride, because you will not regret it..

Josh and his brothers were on their way to Austin when Josh thought back to the last two days of school. Nothing really happened in those two days, except Patrick getting out and what Josh's friends were going to do over their summer vacation.

Quickly we know Chris is going to California for his safety for the summer. I really hope that his father doesn't figure out where he went. Eric is only going to be gone for some of the summer vacation in Arizona. And there is Bernice who is not going anywhere. That's good since she can spend time with Patrick and he really needs it.

Talking about Patrick, what is up with his parents? I know they don't trust Josh and his security detail because what happened, but come on. They could have kept an eye on Patrick in the kitchen without barging into the den and making everyone uncomfortable. It got to the point, Patrick got up and left. I really believe the parents are doing more harm than good the way they are dealing with Patrick  .

Now there was a silver lining to all this. Josh promised to try and have his father talk Patrick's parents into letting him come down to Austin for a couple of weeks. I really hope Daniel succeeds in getting Patrick's parents to say yes. Patrick needs to get out of El Paso for a little while.

Nothing really happened the first week in Austin with the boys. They volunteered to work for Habitat for Humanity. I am going to love writing about this plot. So much can happen here.

Also the boys learned that they are going to be with the President and their father as they do a tour around the state. Here's another plot I am going to love to write. Lots of things can happen, will happen, and they are going to be exciting. If you haven't learned from my writing yet, I love politics and this gives me another chance to write about it.

The President came into town at the end of the chapter. Man was the end full of a lot of excitement? First, the family met the President at the airport; a little speech there and then went to the stadium where all the excitement happened. Josh learned only a few days before that he was going to open the show. If you ask me, he didn't do to bad of a job.

I love the four songs he chose for his performance starting out with a little song to get the Texas crowd into the moment. He moved on to a song for every regular American that works a regular job in the nation. I really liked it when he got off stage and sang that song to the troops. The audience felt it, the troops were honored, like they should be, and the President and Daniel enjoyed themselves.

Then the final song Josh sang to his father. It seems that Josh can pick a song that means something to him and a certain person close to him. He sang at school a song to Cesar, and now he sang one to his father. They have gotten a lot closer through the last year, but this song showed Daniel that Josh really believes in him and trusts him.

Finally let's talk about George Strait. I have seen the guy in concert and man can he sing. He is known now as the King of Country Music, but back then he wasn't there yet. I am glad he didn't retire like he wanted to when he lost his son. The way I wrote him in this chapter I can see him really being that way, very friendly and willing to help out an up and coming artist. If you have not heard him sing until now, check out his other songs.

So many open plots and so many more plots to come in this story. I love the political scenes a lot and I hope I am not offending anyone with them. Keep in mind it is only a story and I am trying my best not to preach my beliefs. Please stay tuned and I promise that you guys won't regret opening every new chapter.

I could stay here all day long, with all the open plots already in this story, but 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!}

So much for the school year and now on to the adventures of summer. Josh is having a touch of separation anxiety anticipating being away from the group for the summer. The anxiety doesn't manifest itself in feelings Josh has for himself, but rather, how the time apart will affect others from the group.

Patrick is forefront in Josh's concerns about his friends. He recognizes that Patrick is getting better but is far from totally well emotionally.  He'd doing better in that now he is remembering the good times and memories of his time with Frank rather than dwelling on the night when Frank was taken from him.  Now, he's still got serious anxiety whenever he gets near the location of the incident.

Eric and Bernice are going to have a time apart too. Josh refocused Eric a bit, but wasn't nearly as successful as he was with Chris. Face it; he didn't have a lot to work with in Eric's case.  I'll bet when Eric gets back he and Bernice will have some serious `catching up' to do!

I hope that Chris has a good time in California. Disneyland is just one of the wonders of So Cal and he's going to meet some very interesting people unless he just hides under a rock. Having spent some time in L.A., I can attest to the colorful characters one runs into.

The back room wrangling that are part of the formation of a bill are interesting.

The Lopez brothers and Cesar find the mansion to be somewhat uninteresting; a bit lifeless and devoid of the influences of youthful inhabitants. Somehow I suspect that they will put their mark on the mansion during their time there.

The teens have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, but only for a few short weeks. If I were in their dad's role, I'd have been equally as pleased with their choice of volunteer service. I hope that they find the work as rewarding as I have in the past and will do more than the three weeks agreed upon. I hope that they see one project from start to finish. Move in day for the new homeowner is a real thrill and creates a memory that sticks in a volunteer's mind.

The political tours with the President are going to be a dose of celebrity that will deeply make an impression on the teens, and it seems, particularly Josh. Josh continues to surprise his father with his insight into the political arena. This portends a future path for Josh and I suspect each of you sees the same thing I do for his future. JPG has already hinted at it and I've felt it for quite some time. We had another glimpse of the deepening of the bond between Daniel and his sons, but most particularly between him and Josh. I'd have never predicted this in the early chapters. It seemed nearly impossible that a true father and son bond could come for Josh and his dad with all the factors against them and most importantly, Martha's divisive influence.

At the moment, all seems well with Josh's world. I hope he has a fun filled summer and that there's not any bad drama headed his way.

Until next time,

"Daddy" Rick