Matthew felt good that Friday morning. His 'brothers' were all up with him and going to school at the same time he was. They all showered and ate breakfast together, and when it was time, they all walked up to the School Bus Stop as a group.
Billy woke up at his usual time, showered alone, as he usually did, and then headed down to the Kitchen Nook, where he took care of Chief's needs before eating his breakfast.
"Bill, you do understand what I was saying last night, don't you," asked Mr. Ken of the teen.
"Yes, sir, I do. And as I told you, I know some of my 'brothers' stories and ... well, I'd just like to know more, if I could. I figured something happened at the courthouse yesterday that you needed to talk to them about, and ... well, I was just curious, that's all," replied Billy.
"Well, it is up to them to tell you. And, please don't bug them about it. OK?" qualified Mr. Ken.
Billy didn't respond. The teenager knew that he wasn't supposed to bother his 'brothers' about getting more back stories about the reasons they are living at The Cove. He just wished he could.
When the younger Covers arrived at school, they arrived like conquering heroes. Many of their friends wanted to know what it was like to have to be in court and, of course, to testify. Kevin didn't know what to say. He actually felt embarrassed as he knew what he said, but they didn't.
Kyle was also embarrassed, but only because he was being singled out. He wasn't the one to be in the spotlight, as his older twin usually took center stage.
When Robert arrived at school, Gordon and Cody waited until they had the chance to pull him aside to ask him about his knowing Kevin and Kyle's dad when he was younger.
"Guys, look ... my dad knew Kevin and Kyle's dad, and I met him a time or two. Who knew I would ever meet up with him again? But, believe me, I never met the twins back then. Guys, ahh ... I would ... I would really appreciate it if you didn't spread it around that I once met their dad. Answering your question is OK, but what if I have to answer it twenty or thirty times. I think you know what I'm saying. OK?" somewhat pleaded Robert.
Cody and Gordon said they would, but then they asked him about David and Josh. Robert thought about that for a few moments and then decided he'd search them out, and he'd ask them to do the same thing.
When Robert found David and Josh, they were talking to Charles, and the three were talking about the older Cover knowing the twins. Charles was doing a pretty good job of avoiding answering the question directly and was happy when his older brother showed up.
"Hey, guys, I have something to ask you," began Robert. "You heard in court that, well, I knew the twin's dad. I, ahh, I need to ask you to please don't spread that around. I met him when my dad ...when he had some dealings with him back when I was younger.
"Who would have thought our paths would have ever crossed again. By the way, I never met the twins back when I met their dad, so ... so, I never knew Kevin and Kyle back then. So, please don't spread it around that I knew their dad. I don't want to have to answer that question over and over again," explained Robert.
Josh and David looked at Gordon and Cody to see what they thought. The two older boys said they already agreed not to talk about it to the other boys. They said it would just bring more and more questions and that the boys living with Mr. Ken are foster boys, and they are there because of what their parents did, not them.
David looked over to Charles, remembering what the Cover said about Smokey having the knife to his throat, and not wanting it to get out. He also remembered how Mr. Ken asked him to keep what he might know to himself, as if it got out, it could be embarrassing to the boys.
"Guys, it shouldn't be up to us to spill the beans about what we learn about our friends who live at The Cove," spoke up David. "They are there because of things beyond their control. When they are ready, they'll tell all of us about why they are there. Until then ... we should keep our mouths shut. Agreed?"
Charles smiled at his friend, knowing he never said anything to anyone about what he said to him about Smokey after that Trick-or-Treat scare of last October. Just then, the first bell rang.
When Billy arrived at school, his friends met him at their normal meeting place. Of course, they had to ask him what he knew about the trial. All Billy could tell them was that three of his 'brothers' got to testify and were now back at school.
Billy's friends pressed him for more info, but all Billy could tell them was that only Robert, Kevin, and Kyle were called to testify, and the other six boys were on-call by the court to come back if needed. The high school students were disappointed they didn't hear any juicy tidbits from the trial.
At lunch, Billy told his friends what Mr. Ken told them would be happening at the skate park and Pavilion. The teens were now looking forward to going over to The Cove on Saturday to see what changes would have been made that week, and what else needed to be done before the Memorial Day Picnic the following weekend.
When the teens heard about the new golf carts, they wanted to know if they'd get the chance to drive them like they would the WaveRunners. Billy told them they would not. The Cover told them that Mr. Ken was very clear that only they, the Covers, would be allowed to drive them, and if they acted up on them, he would take that privilege away.
Kaden said that it sounded harsh. Billy defended his foster dad by saying the man was only being careful and safe by restricting who drove them. Kaden countered by saying driving a golf cart couldn't be any more difficult than driving one of the go-karts at the Go-Kart Track.
Billy agreed, but then argued that if Mr. Ken was paying, he got to make the rules. The other four teens agreed with Billy.
Billy was still asked by some of the girls about stopping by The Cove. The Cover continued to tell them that he wasn't allowed to invite anyone over until after school was out for the summer. He explained that with the construction going on, the Memorial Day Picnic coming up and their extended trip right after school got out there was no time to invite anyone over.
Billy then remembered his 3-day trip with Mr. Ken would happen sometime before the 4th of July and added that to the list of things going on with him. But Billy did get the girls phone numbers and he promised he would call them when he got back from the east coast. The Cover teen did have a smile on his face when he went back to class that afternoon.
Earlier that day, Mr. Chris was able to sit down with Mr. Ken, with Mr. Wayne listening in, now that he wasn't at the courthouse with his 'boys'. The Estate Manager had been busy with the insurance inspector on Wednesday and he wanted to review the findings with the owner of The Cove.
"Mr. Ken, as you know, your insurance company sent a man to review your insurance coverage and liabilities. The man would have liked for you to have been here, so he could have picked your brain for future possibilities on how you intend to use your estate. But he was happy that I had been here long enough to know about the past ten, almost eleven months.
"He was intrigued that you have adopted two teenaged boys and has encouraged you to purchase life insurance policies for them and to ensure you have updated your will," began Chris Dominions.
Mr. Ken smiled at the first thing the insurance man suggested. "It figures the insurance man would want me to buy insurance policies for the boys. But, he's right. I need to do just that. Make a note and let's do that. Get with him next week and make them each for a quarter of a million dollars," decided Mr. Ken. "Next?"
"Whole life or term, and who is to be the beneficiary?" quickly asked Mr. Chris.
Mr. Ken laughed at the questions, but recovered fast and told Mr. Chris that the boys only needed a term policy at their tender ages, and they should be made the beneficiary of each other's policy. "Next?"
Mr. Chris smiled and then addressed the fire plan and the alarm system. He said the insurance inspector suggested he coordinate with the local fire chief to have a run through fire drill. "They recommend the fire companies get familiar with the house and the occupants practice a fire drill at least twice a year," said Mr. Chris. Mr. Ken said that sounded reasonable and asked his Estate Manager to talk to the local fire chief and see what he says.
Mr. Chris told his employer that the insurance company was happy that he still restricted smoking to only outside the house. The man relayed the insurance company hoped he would continue to do so. Mr. Chris also said that with the barbeque grill being moved to the Pavilion it would reduce the chance for an accidental fire from that, and they were glad for that move.
The next thing Mr. Chris covered was the water toys out in the cove. The Estate Manager told his employer the insurance company wants everyone twelve and under to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life preserver when playing on the water toys, and have them available for everyone to wear. Mr. Chris said the insurance man was pleased that there were lifeguards on duty when the boys were swimming both outdoors and inside.
Mr. Ken told Chris to research the PFDs and purchase different sizes for the kids and adults and to try to find ones that aren't too bulky that would reduce the person's fun out on the water toys. The owner of The Cove told the Estate Manager to see if they also made a rack of some sort that would hold them to keep them organized and in one place. Mr. Chris said he understood.
Mr. Chris then covered the WaveRunners, The Commander and the 14-foot Sunfish and how they were used. The man explained that the insurance company inspected the number of life vests available for them and recommended replacements for those that showed wear or discoloration. The Estate Manager also told his employer that the insurance company wants him to maintain copies of completion of the Texas Boater Safety Course on anyone who is going to drive the WaveRunners.
Mr. Chris moved on and began to cover the new skate park and Pavilion.
"Mr. Ken, the insurance company is very concerned about your liability with the skate park. I told them of your insistence of the parents to sign a release form before any of their children can use the park. They agreed that was prudent and have sent me the release form they suggest you use.
"The release form will also cover the water toys, the Sunfish and the WaveRunners. They also want me to maintain a number of these release forms close to the skate park and have them readily available for anyone new who comes to The Cove to skate, use the water toys, sail the Sunfish or drive WaveRunners," continued Mr. Chris.
"So, one form for all four venues, then? Works for me," said Mr. Ken. "Do you have them ready for me to pass out this weekend to the boys? That way they can bring them back on Sunday and we won't have to bother with them come the day of the Memorial Day Picnic.
"Also, can you make me one that I can email or text to people? That way they can download, print, sign and bring with them when they come to the picnic?" asked Mr. Ken
"Oh, and they also want you to have the adults sign the form as well, as they will have the same chance of injury as any child would," added Chris.
"That's interesting, Chris. But I would have thought that my household insurance and/or my Personal Liability Umbrella Policy would have them covered. Check back with them and ask them that question, would you?" requested Mr. Ken. "Anything else?"
"Yes. The insurance man asked about the security cameras for the skate park. He didn't see any and was wondering if you had intended to install them, or if it was an oversight," said Mr. Chris.
"I explained that they would be installed on the light poles, but until those were in place the installation couldn't take place. The man said he would like to come back in about a month to check on that."
"On another note, the insurance man did say that if you continue to accept foster boys into your home, they will have to do another review of your liabilities, since they are not permanent members of the household. The man did say that with four foster boys they will be adjusting your rates, but that will be as of now, and not from when they came to live with you.
"There was also the question of the security detail you presently have and whose insurance covers them and you if there ever is a situation where an individual is harmed. The insurance man asked if your contract with them has your homeowner's or their business insurance covering that kind of occurrence," clarified Mr. Chris.
"That is a great question, Chris. One that I am sure you and Jules will iron out for me next week," said a smiling Ken Thomas.
Mr. Chris smiled and told his boss that while he was at the courthouse, he and Mr. Diamond had already talked that issue over. The Estate Manager was happy to say that the contract called for the security company to accept all responsibility for all injuries to any perpetrator done by his people that gains entry onto the estate.
After some further explanation, Mr. Ken was relieved to learn that he wouldn't be held responsible for whatever the security guards did to anyone who illegally came onto the estate grounds. Or, who was legally on the grounds, but then tried to do something illegal and the guards did their job to protect the residents, and that person was injured, while they protected the residents.
Overall, Mr. Ken was pleased with the insurance overview. He was also glad he didn't have to be there to answer the many questions he knew the insurance man surely asked Chris. He was also pleased with the way Chris Dominions was working out as his Estate Manager. The man had been on the job almost a full year now and things had gone extremely well.
What Mr. Ken liked about Chris was he didn't need much direction. The man understood his authority level and he could think fast and make decisions on the go. His officer training prepared him for this type of position. Whereas Mildred was always bothering him about mundane pieces of the contracts and she asked questions she should have easily known the answers to.
As the men were talking about the insurance review, the guards called to ask if they were expecting some golf carts. Mr. Ken asked them to open the gates for them and to direct them to the Parking Coral. The three Cover men walked outside to meet the delivery truck.
"Wow, these are more than I expected, Chris," offered Mr. Ken.
"Well, I took the liberty and had them put "Three Finger Cove" on the front of all three carts and I know you liked green which is why they are that color," replied a smiling Mr. Chris.
"Why is there one smaller one, Chris?" asked Mr. Wayne.
"Well, that's because Mr. Ken asked that there be one to be mainly used to transport stuff up to the Pavilion, whereas the other two are for transporting people. But they too can be converted to carry whatever needs to be taken up there," replied Mr. Chris.
The delivery man unloaded the three golf carts and Mr. Ken immediately wanted to take them for a spin around the Parking Coral. What he actually did was take the first kart and go left out of the Coral and down the front of the house. He then drove up towards the Main Gate, but turned right onto the new driveway and drove over to the Pavilion. He then came back to the Parking Coral. He smiled all the way.
All three men did the same thing with all three golf carts to get a feel for them and to check them out before signing for them. Mr. Chris then made a mental note to buy an additional 5-gallon gas can in order to keep the carts fueled.
School went well for the younger Cover boys after their initial return. Some of their classmates did ask them about their courtroom visit some during lunch, but for the most part the novelty had worn off.
When the younger boys returned home from school, they immediately saw the three golf carts in the Parking Coral. They hurried into the house and went directly to the Study to see if their 'dad' would let them drive them.
"So, you saw the golf carts and you want to drive them? What do you think Momma Maria would say to that?" teased 'dad' Ken.
"Come on. We'd better get to the Kitchen Nook and have our afterschool snack and then come back here and see if dad will let us drive the carts," said Robert quickly.
Ten minutes later, five Cover boys showed up at the Study threshold with puppy dog eyes begging their 'dad' to show them the golf carts, and to let them drive them. Mr. Wayne sat there inwardly smiling knowing that the man would give in and let the boys try out the new Three Finger Cove toys.
"Boys, these are not go-karts. You hear me? I don't want to see you racing one another, or racing to get from one place to another, especially if you have people with you. Now, I'll take Robert first and Mr. Wayne will take Charles. We'll switch off when we get back," announced 'dad' Ken.
Both men explained there were only two gears, forward and reverse. They explained to the boys that they had to punch the gas pedal to disengage the brake, and then they used the gas pedal to move the golf cart to get where they were going.
Robert and Charles didn't have any problems driving the golf carts. Kevin, Kyle and Matthew, on the other hand, were a bit hesitant to push the gas pedal at first. But once the men had them out on the front driveway, where the boys didn't have to be afraid of going too fast, or hitting anything, they saw they didn't have to be afraid of the speed of the cart.
The boys were out driving the golf carts when Billy came home from school and he got to drive them before he went in for his afterschool snack.
After dinner, Mr. Ken gathered the boys in the Study, as usual. "Boys, I have the release forms for you to give to your friends tomorrow for them to take home and get their parents to sign. You'll see the forms are for the skate park, water toys, the sailboat and the personal watercraft, so make sure the parents initial all four boxes. Then, ask them to bring them back with them on Sunday and that way there won't be a problem the following Saturday when we are doing the Grand Opening of the Cove Skate Park.
"I will email or text the form to Owen and Nathan and Mrs. Whittier and have them print them out and bring them with them when they arrive for the Picnic. Is there anyone else I need to do that for?" asked 'dad' Ken.
"What about Todd?" asked Charles.
"Well, hopefully, he'll be here tomorrow and I can give him one. And if you see him before I do make sure he gets one. And make sure Cooper takes one for Conner and any other boy who has a sibling who is coming to the Picnic," suggested 'dad' Ken.
"'Dad', can we see what they did up at the Pavilion and skate park?" asked Matthew.
"It's getting dark, 'son'," replied 'dad' Ken.
"But didn't they install the lights? I thought I saw them when we were driving the golf carts," countered Matthew.
Mr. Ken looked to Wayne and the Estate Master shrugged his shoulders and said for them to go see if they were powered up. So, the Covers loaded into the golf carts and they drove up to the Pavilion. Mr. Wayne went to the electrical panel and hit the switch. The six light poles brightly lit up the entire skate park, and the boys were all amazed at what they saw.
"Wow, it is going to be so neat to skate at night with all the lights on," exclaimed Matthew.
The other boys had the same thought as they too saw how well the lights lit up the entire skate park. While the boys looked out at the park, Mr. Wayne went and switched on the rest of the Pavilion lights so they all could see the tables and benches and everything else that had been installed that week.
The boys checked out everything. They looked over the new 72-inch gas grill, the deep double sink, magnetic utensil holder and the serving counter. They saw the tables and benches on the sides were on a slight angle while the center ones were straight on.
The boys then checked out the storage room where a separate freezer, refrigerator and icemaker would be, along with the restaurant shelves to hold the hotdog and hamburger buns and other picnic accessories like the plates, sodas and the plastic knives, spoons and forks, napkins, etc.
The boys then had to check out the restrooms. They saw the women's restroom had three toilet stalls and wash sinks whereas the men's restroom had only two stalls, two urinals and sinks. The boys thought they were being cheated, but Mr. Wayne reminded them they stood up most of the time when they used the facility. The boys looked back and forth to one another and then they all laughed.
"'Dad', when can we start using the lockers?" asked Kyle.
"Tomorrow," quickly replied 'dad' Ken.
"Who will get which locker?" then asked Kyle.
"Well, I figured you guys would get to pick first. Then we'll put all the boys' names in a hat and all the remaining locker numbers in another hat and do a double-blind pick. That way no one should be able to complain 'the fix was in'," laughed Mr. Ken.
"But, how will we choose?" asked Kevin.
"You'll choose according to when you arrived here at The Cove," decided 'dad' Ken. "I think that is only fair."
The boys talked about it for a bit, and then they said they thought it would be fair.
Robert chose locker number one. Charles chose locker number three, which was right next to his brothers, on the top level. Kevin Choose locker number two, which was under Roberts, while his twin chose locker number four, which was next to his brothers and under Charles'.
Matthew looked at the lockers and then decided on locker number six because he didn't want to have to reach up high if he ever hung a jacket or shirt on the hook. Billy took the locker above Matthews, which was locker number five. All the boys were happy with their selections.
"But how do we lock them?" asked Kyle.
"OK, let's read the instructions. It says to pull the tab from the back of the lock, enter a four-digit number and then close the door after which you turn the numbers so no one can see what you set as the code.. DO NOT forget that number!" laughed 'dad' Ken.
"What if we forget the number or the battery goes dead?" asked Kyle.
"Well, there is no battery. It is a mechanical 4-digit dial lock. But you can see there is a place for a special key in the knob that only Mr. Wayne and I will have access too. You ask us to open it and we'll go from there," said 'dad' Ken.
"OK, boys ... what do you think? Is this all going to work out for you and your friends?" asked 'dad' Ken.
All the boys began talking at once. The men smiled and then laughed. After a few moments, Mr. Ken held up his hands and said, "I take it you all like what you see." That caused another round of the boys all talking at the same time.
The Covers headed back down to the Study, after Mr. Wayne showed the boys where all the light switches were. Matthew, Kyle and Kevin were given the honors to drive the golf carts back down to the Parking Coral.
The Covers talked some more about the skate park and Pavilion. It was then Mr. Wayne asked Robert and Charles if they made a decision about what seating they wanted around the skate park. The boys reported that they were at the courthouse for two days and they didn't get any feedback from their friends, but they'd text them tonight for them to bring their suggestions tomorrow. Mr. Wayne said that would be OK.
"One more thing. Robert, call Eric and remind him you two are cutting the field tomorrow and for him to bring his work clothes. And tell him you are going to be taking your time and will be paying attention to detail," announced the teen's dad.
"Yes, dad," replied the teen with a smile.
It had been a long day and a long week for four of the Covers and it was showing on them. Mr. Ken sent all the boys up to their rooms to rest and relax, and for them to get started on their homework they didn't get done earlier since they drove the golf carts before they did their homework.
The boys all slept in that Saturday morning. Of the four boys who had to go to the courthouse, Kevin really felt the strain of the trial on him. It was the thought that his dad was selling him to Julian, so he could have anal sex with him and probably his brother too that disgusted him. He didn't know what to think, or what he could do.
Kyle knew his twin was upset and was really mad at his parents, but especially at their dad. The younger twin could tell his brother was mulling something around in his mind, and he knew he needed to talk to him to get him to open up before he does something stupid.
"Kev," spoke up Kyle, "I know you're thinking about the trial and probably about what the man said about Julian paying our dad all that money. You know ... you need to talk to Doctor Doug. And, you need to talk to 'dad', so he can make it so you can see Doctor Doug a few times next week so you can get past this."
Kevin heard what his twin said. The older twin knew what he heard was true, but he didn't want to believe that his dad did that to them. The more he mulled all that through his mind the more he began to hurt inside and the more he hated his dad. Then, he began to cry.
Kyle heard his twin crying, so he got out of bed and got in bed with his twin and tried to console him and to try to get him to stop crying. After a few minutes, when Kevin wouldn't stop crying, Kyle went downstairs looking for their 'dad'.
"'Dad', 'dad', Kev's crying and I can't get him to stop," called out Kyle, as he ran into the Kitchen Nook looking for 'dad' Ken.
"What's the problem 'son'?" asked the surprised man.
"It's Kev. He's crying, and I think ... and I think it has to do with what was said in court and that our dad ... that he was taking all that money from that man so he could have ... sex with Kevin," explained Kyle.
Just then, Chief came in barking up a storm. She went directly to Mr. Ken, grabbed his hand and pulled him to go with her. Mr. Ken knew there was a problem, so he quickly got up and followed the resident pet up the stairs to the twins' bedroom. When he got there Billy was there trying to calm Kevin down.
"Bill, let me handle this," said Mr. Ken, as he sat next to the crying twin.
By then, Robert, Charles and Matthew came into the bedroom to try and find out what was going on, because they heard Chief go barking down the hallway. Kyle filled them in on what he thought it was all about, and then he realized he said way too much.
"Boys, this is to stay between us. This is all a part of the why you are living here. Bill ... you understand?" said Mr. Ken, as he looked directly at the teenager.
"Yes, sir. I understand. I guess this is part of what happened at the court, then," replied Billy.
"Boys, why don't you all get ready for the day and let me talk to Kevin and Kyle. We'll be downstairs when we're ready," suggested Mr. Ken, which was more of 'go do it' than a suggestion.
When the three older Cover boys and Matthew were in the shower, Robert told Billy that Kevin was having a difficult time knowing that the man who tried to kidnap him, not only knew his dad, but his dad was okay with him doing it and encouraged it. Billy wanted to know more, but Robert reminded him of his dad's rule about his having to wait until Kevin was ready to tell him the full story.
'Dad' Ken had continued to hold onto Kevin as they sat on the bed, and the twin cherished the closeness. He used to love being held by his dad, but the thought of being held by his dad now repulsed him.
Kevin knew that from the very beginning, Mr. Ken, now 'dad', always showed him love and that he not only cared for him, but also for his twin and that he didn't play favorites. Kevin also knew their 'dad' treated all of his 'brothers' equally, and they all could have as many friends as they wanted and have them over to his home.
Home – the thought of The Cove being his home sounded so good to him. When he lived with his mom and dad the home was more of a house the last few years, as they could never have their friends over, and they didn't have the love and caring he found living with Mr. Ken.
"Kevin ... Kyle tells me ... he thinks you're having a difficult time dealing with what your dad, not only did with you, but ... that he not only accepted money from Julian, but he encouraged him to kidnap you both. Kyle also thinks ... well he thinks you need to talk to Doctor Doug some more. How do you feel about that?" asked 'dad' Ken.
Kevin was brought out of his daydreaming by the voice of 'dad' Ken. "Kevin?"
"Yes, 'dad'. ... I think ... I think I better talk to Doctor Doug some more about ... about what happened in court and what ... and what Stanley said about Julian and him paying my dad all that money. I'm ... it ... I ... everything is so confusing to me.
"I ... I thought I knew why my dad did what he did, but now ... but now I guess I need to talk to Doctor Doug and get it all straight again, 'dad'," replied Kevin, who hugged his 'dad' harder than he had ever before and began crying some more.
'Dad' Ken hugged the twin with all his might and was then quickly joined by Kyle. Chief hadn't left the bedroom and when she saw all the crying and her three men hugging, she joined them by giving the crying twin some of her doggie kisses.
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