As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


Live, Love, Repeat --Chapter 1

Trevor adjusted his goggles and jumped. He might as well have dived into liquid ice. The bone chilling water enveloped him, slicing through his flesh with numbing clarity. The painful cold caused every hair on his body to stand on end and set his teeth to chattering. His breath effectively stolen by the freezing water, he managed to fight to the surface of the pool.
He stared at his work crew in shock, unable to think of a single cuss word.
"Cold, ain't it hombre?" Rufus, the only Mexican on the crew asked. Rufus stood a mere five feet four inches tall, with jet black hair in careless disarray, his typical work uniform of jeans and baggy tee shirt threadbare, but clean. He held Trevor's towel in a crumpled wad of disheveled terry cloth. Trevor eyed the towel, anxious to wrap himself in its warmth.
He tried to glare at each of his three employees in turn. Was his face frozen solid? His eyes seemed the only organs still responding to brain impulses. No wonder the guys refused to inspect the pools. What had he been thinking? He'd been thinking of how to get a jump on the competition and save his floundering company at the same time. The company, his legacy and inheritance upon his father's passing, or rather forty-nine percent of it. His mother, in conjunction with the stockholders, owned the other fifty-one percent.
Trevor had shown a propensity for designing pools early in his life and over the years his father had made Trevor's drawings a reality with several of the pools installed in the greater Las Vegas area. Trevor much preferred designing to installing or maintaining. Conceiving, planning and drawing were the part of the business Trevor did best. Running a crew proved his downfall last summer. If he couldn't manage these guys they might all end-up unemployed. He had to find a way to prove to himself, his mother, and the stockholders his value as more than a rich, spoiled screw up.
The outdoor temperature in the sun at this hour boasted 52°F and rising. Not bad for a brisk walk, but not the overly warm triple digits this same pool area would harbor in three month’s time. People wanted to use their pools as soon as the temperatures hit the low eighties which required inspecting and repairing the pools in cooler temperatures.
"Ready to get out Boss-man?" Brodie, the smart-aleck on the crew, crossed his arms over his chest. Not an easy feat for a guy with a chest circumference of fifty plus inches and arms to match.
Anxious to get out of this fix without losing face should have been Trevor's first concern, but survival preempted his faulty leadership skills. His gaze fell on Darin, the youngest man on the crew and Brodie's 'little' brother. Both brothers wore Under Armour and jeans for work this morning. Brodie often beat Darin's tender hearted emotions out of him whether physically or by shear intimidation of muscle and strength. Even so, Darin didn't let Trevor down this time.
"Guys," Darin hesitantly pleaded. "His lips are turning blue. Shouldn't we help him out?"
Brodie dropped his arm, his palm toward Darin as if to catch him with an underhand swing. "Not 'til he admits we aren't 'girly-men.' What do you say Trevor? Are we being 'girly-men' for refusing to jump into these unheated pools for another month or so?"
Chilled to the bone, Trevor did his best to swim toward the pool steps at the shallow end of the pool. As soon as he thought he could reach, he put his feet down to touch the bottom of the pool. Had the guys warned him the cement owned colder temperatures than the icy water he would have laughed. Now he could barely gasp in shock.
"I…" Trevor's teeth chattered. "Never said 'girly-men'." He locked eyes with Brodie knowing he needed to appear impervious to the cold if he wanted to come out on top in this situation. Could his muscles actually be shriveling? He needed to play the part of leader even if this decision proved one of his less sensible edicts.
"No?" Brodie held both smaller men back with his tone and imposing presence. Trevor knew neither of them dared cross the ogre. In Brodie's present humor he might toss them in the pool to keep Trevor company.
Trevor shouldn't have lost his temper last week during the combined crew meeting and card game. Mixing business with pleasure proved to be a stupid idea. Business gave way to betting. Insolent wise cracks damaged crew morale causing Trevor to place an unwise wager hoping to improve crew loyalty. Trevor bet his masculinity against Brodie's, more than a simple wager of one man's cajones against another's. Trevor wasn't sure what motivated Brodie, but he suspected just the opposite of what motivated him-- That had instigated a rather reckless decision and now he paid for it in spades. Wanting the guys to work together and get into the pools to inspect them for any needed repairs and make them, wasn't worth catching pneumonia, even if it would pacify his mother and the shareholders. A visceral knowledge of imminent failure hovered over Trevor.
Rufus broke ranks as Darin made an effort to plead Trevor's freezing case to his brother. While Darin kept Brodie busy, Rufus skirted the pair and stood at the top of the pool steps, the terrycloth in hand. Trevor spared little attention to the brother's rivalry until safe from the bone chilling water and frostbite. Rufus draped the towel over Trevor's shoulders before he cleared the icy cold.
"Th-thanks, man," Trevor shivered out the gratuity and headed for the sundrenched pool deck. There he laid himself flat, hugging what warmth the hard concrete offered at nine in the morning. He turned his head toward the feuding brothers. Brodie held Darin in a chokehold. Trevor exhaled. At least Brodie wasn't threatening to throw Darin in the pool.
"Come on, man," Trevor called across the frigid water. Brodie wasn't a mindless bully; he just acted like it when he believed his manliness was in question. "It's me you're mad at this morning and you proved your point. The unheated pools are too cold, even if they've been covered like this one. Let him go."
Brodie continued to hold Darin in his strong grip. He extended his arms over the pool at chest height. Darin struggled to keep his feet on the pool deck. Brodie had him poised above the water at a forty-five degree angle. Darin dared to look over his shoulder at the chilly water below him.
"I dare ya, you little wiennie," Brodie taunted his kid brother.
"Brodie," Trevor called. "You put him in the brink and I'll fire you for harassment."
"You wouldn't," Brodie argued, his attention more on Trevor than his captive.
"I would. Think about it. You explaining to your sweet mother and your hot girlfriend why your little brother still has a job and you don't."
The taunting look of glee on Brodie's face broke to concern as he squinted at Trevor. Several moments passed while Darin arched his back and tried to keep his feet on the pool deck. Brodie pulled his arms in and let go. Darin scrambled in an awkward dance and managed to remain on dry ground.
"You're probably going to fire me for your being in the pool this morning anyway."
 Trevor smiled, his lips warming as he lay prone on the pool deck. Brodie's antics never ceased to amaze Trevor. Occasionally a big man like Brodie needed to slink like a dog.
"Nope. You didn't push me in. I jumped of my own accord." Trevor pushed up to his elbows, placing his hands flat on the concrete to warm. "You know, I didn't call you girly-men."
"No?" Brodie questioned.
"Rufus, you're in my sunlight. Move it," Trevor ordered. Rufus stepped to the side moving his shadow off Trevor's inert form. Trevor resumed his banter with Brodie. "I told you that you needed to 'put your big girl panties on' and do the pool inspections."
Darin meandered behind Brodie and mimed pulling on overly large panties. Trevor managed to keep a straight face but Rufus chuckled at Darin's antics. Brodie spun on his antagonist.
"Don't do it Brodie. I'm not bluffing about firing you." Trevor warned.
Brodie turned back to glare at Trevor. "Fine, but only 'cause I need the money."
"Glad to hear it." Trevor hugged the concrete again, thankful for the heat it gave. "You need cash, so I take it you're going to represent Prestige Pools at the Mr. Nevada Contest."

"Heck no. I'm not parading around in a 'g-string' for no bunch of toothless old fogeys with drool to their chins." Brodie skirted the pool and advanced on Trevor. "The bet was that you inspect this pool, not that you'd get in it. Did you have time to inspect the bottom and all the walls in that split second under the water? I doubt it. That means you, Mister Boss-man will be the one putting on a show and strutting your stuff."
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