Jack Troy comes from three generations of old money. Six years before this story takes place, his parents die in a car crash leaving him as guardian to their, late in life son, Ancel, now a pubescent teen and a regular pain in the ass for Jack. Skip Reynolds, now sixteen-years old, has a severe stutter and attends a school for the hearing impaired where sign language is his only source of communication. He was orphaned two years before this story begins and placed with an abusive foster mother. Skip fled to the streets of Downtown Portland leaving the foster mother bleeding from her mouth where he accidentally, and in self-defense, pushed her down. Now he has assault charges on his head. Fate or coincidence, puts Skip and Jack together when someone shoots Jack as he steps outside his corporate office builder. Skip, who is panhandling at the time, saves Jack's life, but bolts when the cops show up. Jack and his friends find Skip and Jack takes him into his home, much to the displeasure of his brother and the two men who have been trying to kill him.
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