Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Sixty~Two

After dinner, the boys headed up to their rooms instead of going to the Study to talk to their 'dad'. Robert wanted to talk to his 'brothers' about what he saw was going on with his dad. Matthew thought they were going to beat on him for what he said to Trevor, but that never happened.

"First, there is nothing we can do about what Matthew said or did. He and Trevor did talk and I think they are good. They each explained themselves to one another, and that should be the end of that. But, as dad said, we need to try to keep things civil and fixed at our end. And, that is the reason I wanted to talk to you," began Robert.

"I talked to dad about his not going to look at the two amusement parks he wants to buy. What he did was tell me about all the things that are on his plate right now. But, I believe the biggest unsaid item is ... us!

"We take up so much of his time ... and we never once consider what he used to do before we came along. I'm not saying we should all decide to leave and go somewhere else, but ... well, I think we need to try to keep what we do, that causes him to stop what he's doing to help us, to a minimum.

"We're kids and we get into things because we are learning and are interested in seeing and doing. We have our schoolwork, and our friends, but the main thing we slow him down with is ... is the reason why we are living with him. I was the luckiest boy in the world when he decided to adopt me. And, I have no idea if he intends to adopt any of you.

"When my parents were going to trial, they were asked to give up their parental custody of me. They knew they wouldn't be out of prison until I was out of high school, which was why they were asked. That was the key for me being available to be adopted.

"But, you all saw what my uncle tried to do. He tried to take me, and my money, and, before long, I truly believe I'd have been in a worse situation that I was with my mom and dad.

"I can't speak for you. But, Charles, your mom ... she will have to give up custody of you before you'll be available to be adopted. Kevin, Kyle ... until the police and courts are finished with your parents you are in limbo, I'd say.

"And Matthew, I'd say you are in the same boat as Kevin and Kyle are. Your mom is in jail and awaiting trial and then there is your dad. No one has any idea of where he is. But, I bet our 'dad' will find him for you," said Robert, as he told his 'brothers' how he saw things.

"Robert ... we were going to ask 'dad', ahhh ... if he'd take us to see our mom this weekend," stated Kyle. "It's been ages since we've seen her and ... and we haven't heard anything about what the police are going to do."

"I understand that. I've been asking dad to take me to see my mom, too. But dad's been so busy ever since Thanksgiving ... that I've not bugged him about it. And that's my point. We pull him in five different directions, because of the reasons we are living here. That's why I think we need to try to stay low.

"I don't know how we can do that, but if we are having a problem with someone or something we need to go to each other to see if we can fix it at our level. And our friends, geez, what can I say? That maybe ... ahh, that maybe we have too many? I don't know," added Robert.

"No, we don't have too many," quickly spoke up Matthew. "There are five of us and we each have about six and that's 30. Where's the other ten come from?"

Charles meekly held up his hand. He volunteered that he has the most friends in ten or eleven. Robert then confessed he had almost as many, and that with Charles friends and his they make up the extra boys who come over. The boys were in a quandary. They felt there may be far too many boys coming over, but had no idea what to do about that.

The boys kicked around some of the things Robert brought up and then added a few more. They all realized that their 'dad' was being hampered by them, and they felt they needed to find a way to let him get out and away.

What the boys didn't know was that Mr. Wayne was outside the opened bedroom door listening in. Mr. Ken asked him to go upstairs and find out why the boys hadn't come to the Study to talk to him right after dinner, as was their usual thing to do. Mr. Wayne had intended to ask the boys to come down to the Study, but when he heard what they were talking about he decided to listen in.

The Estate Master took mental notes as to what they were talking about amongst themselves. He was also surprised Robert had a good idea of what he'd already told his boss. Which was Mr. Ken needed to get away from the boys, and get involved in the things he used to do before his 'boys' came to live with him.

When it sounded like the boys were finished talking, and were going to use the bathroom before heading down to the Study, Mr. Wayne decided he better hightail it back downstairs before they saw him.

When the Estate Master walked into the Study, Wayne Mitchell got his employer's attention and told him what he just learned. Mr. Ken was taken totally by surprise. Now, the foster dad needed to figure out what he could do.

The clicking of Chief's paws on the tile outside his Study, told The Cove's owner that his brood were on their way. They all came into the large room a little subdued instead of the boisterous way they usually came into the Study right after dinner.

"So, boys ... can I ask you why you went upstairs after dinner ... instead of coming into the Study to talk to me like you usually, do?" asked 'dad' Ken with a smile

The younger boys instantly looked at Robert to answer. Robert hemmed and hawed before he told his dad what they were talking about amongst themselves. The man's son said they had never seen him take any time for himself. The teenager added that his not going to visit the two amusement parks he wanted to buy was when they knew they were keeping him from doing the things he used to do before they all arrived.

'Dad' Ken tried to argue that he was doing what he wanted to do, and used the new office building and hotel out on the lake as examples. Then, the man told them about the 800-unit apartment complex he was building, in two 400-unit phases, for families and seniors. He tried to use the skate park as another example, but the boys rebelled and said he had Mr. Wayne as the project manager for that one.

"Dad, ever since Thanksgiving you've been stressed out. I've seen it and you know it! The past few years you didn't have kids living here, and because of that, you had all the free time you needed. And on top of that, you didn't have to worry about what to buy five boys between the ages of eleven to thirteen for Christmas. But you did an awesome job in doing that for us. Thanks for everything dad," said Robert

"Boys, I am not all that stressed out, and I have been doing things with all of you," countered 'dad' Ken. "That is what makes me happy. I've never been happier since Collin lived here, and it is all of you who have put life back into The Cove. And now, with you five, The Cove has jumped back into a new cycle of joy and happiness that this home deserves."

"But, dad ... you need to get away from us. You've not done any traveling since you took Charles and me on our trips. And don't count what we did for our Holiday vacation. You worked as we played. You only rode one ride with me and you should have done that with all of us at all three parks.

"Dad ... you know you need to get away every now and then. Mr. Wayne will do a good job of keeping us in line. We gave him a whistle and some yellow and red penalty flags ..."

"Yea, and he used them on me on the first day," laughed Matthew.

"Boys ..." started 'dad' Ken, but was stopped by Robert.

"Dad, do this for us, please! You need to relax and get back involved with the stuff you used to do. After you help Collin buy a house, you should go and inspect Edgewood and Crystal Lake," suggested the teen.

"Ahh, he already hired Jason to do that," piped up Mr. Wayne.

Charles, Kevin, and Kyle all said at the same time, "Jason?"

"Jason, dad, he's not good for amusement parks. He has no people skills. Even you saw his attitude when Mr. Shartz sent him back to the office," argued Robert.

"Boys ... I agree that Jason has his issues. But, he is Mr. Shartz's main assistant and according to him, Jason knows all about inspections, and maintenance and care of rides and what to look for. That's why I hired him to do that job for me," explained 'dad' Ken.

"But, dad, you can join him, can't you?" quickly asked Robert. "Or, at least follow up on what he's done? Dad, you need a change of scenery ... and a few days away from our constant needs. Other parents go away from their kids, so why can't you?"

Mr. Ken looked over at Wayne and saw the smirk on the man's face saying, "I told you so."

"Boys, you make some good arguments. And ... I will take them under advisement. But, first, I need to get through the next few days. Then, when the Holidays are over we can all get back to our everyday mundane lives. Then, and only then, will I reconsider what you want me to do," said a smiling 'dad' Ken.

The boys all rushed to hug their 'dad'. He welcomed them with open arms. Matthew looked over to their Estate Master and went off to Mr. Wayne and hugged him and thanked him for being there for him. The other Cover boys saw what Matthew had done, so they went over to their Estate Master and hugged him as well.

"Boys, I forgot to tell your friends that they need to leave by 4 p.m. tomorrow. We need the time to rest and relax and then get ourselves cleaned up before the big New Year's Eve Party. So, please, call your friends and tell them that before it gets too late," asked 'dad' Ken.

The boys left the Study, so they could use a quiet area to talk to their friends. While they were gone, Mr. Wayne asked his boss if he really planned to take some time away from The Cove.

Mr. Ken smiled and told him he and Collin would be away most of next week and that will give him some time to think and evaluate his taking even more time away. Mr. Ken said he was seriously thinking about doing what Robert suggested and join Jason as he inspected the two amusement parks.

Mr. Wayne sat there for a few moments and then asked Mr. Ken if that was wise. He reasoned that since Mr. Ken had given Jason an important and responsible job that if he shows up it will tell the man he didn't trust him.

Mr. Ken sat there pondering what Wayne had just told him. He knew what his Estate Master said was accurate, but he wondered how he could still visit the parks, too. Mr. Wayne suggested they wait and talk about it when things settle down as he still had two very important parties to conduct and live through. Mr. Ken smiled at the thought.

When the boys came back after talking to their friends, 'dad' Ken asked them if they had set their tablets up to the house WiFi yet. They told him, no, so he told them to go get them and meet him in the Kitchen Nook and to bring their cell phones too.

When the boys arrived with their tablets, Mr. Wayne helped the ones who hadn't even turned them on get them started. Lucky for the men the boys had at least charged them while they were on their vacation.

'Dad' Ken got the boys to turn their tablets on and go to the settings app. Mr. Wayne helped the three younger boys find the app and go to it. The boy's 'dad' had them go to the WiFi setting and tap on it, then find the listing that was labeled 'three finger cove 5'. From there he and Mr. Wayne got the boys tablets connected to The Cove's WiFi network.

"Why are we using 'three finger cove 5' dad?" asked Robert. "There are four other listings for Three Finger Cove here, dad."

"Good question, son ... there are four other Cove WiFi settings for other uses. The security system uses one, the fire alarm system uses one and the security guards use one, as well. There is one set aside for guests to use and then there is the setting for us residents. Boys ... you are NOT to give the password to this one to anyone without my approval. This one is for us and no one else," declared 'dad' Ken.

"Which one can our friends use?" asked Kyle.

"Well, seeing Robert's friends have been coming here for almost a year and they never asked if I had WiFi means they weren't much interested. It could also be they have good phone plans and are close enough to a phone tower they had good reception," reasoned 'dad' Ken.

"But, dad, if they could have used your WiFi then they wouldn't use up all their data. That would save them lots of money too," argued Robert.

"OK, we'll talk about that later, but for right now we're going to set up your tablets and phone to this WiFi signal. Then, we'll set up the tablet for your use. Now, follow along and do as I say. Mr. Wayne and I will help you if you can't get it to work," said 'dad Ken.

It took the five Cover boys a half an hour to get their tablets all setup. There were fourteen different setting parameters and 'dad' Ken wanted to make sure the three youngest understood what they were doing and why.

The boys 'dad' had them write down their password for their tablet. He had told them to make it a simple one they could easily remember, but nothing their 'brothers' or their friends could guess at. He had them pass them onto him for safekeeping.

"Hey, then you can look at our tablets when we're at school, and you'll see what we've been looking, I mean doing," laughed Charles. "NOT!"

All the boys laughed at Charles' antics, but they gave their 'dad' their passwords anyway.

The next thing 'dad' Ken and Mr. Wayne did was to pair the boys' cell phones to The Cove's WiFi system. He had the boys go to the setting app and try to do it themselves. Robert and Charles didn't have any problems.

The twins and Matthew, on the other hand, never had a cell phone before, and even though they followed along and did the pairing of their tablet that wasn't enough experience for them to do it to their phone. The next thing they had to do was set up the Bluetooth setting to pair their tablet and phone, as well. The adults had to help.

'Dad' Ken had the boys turn off their tablets and then turn their tablets on again, so they got accustomed to using their passwords a few times. He had them do it to their cell phone as well. By then it was going on 11 p.m. and he told them it was time they were in bed. As they headed up to their rooms, 'dad' Ken told them to charge their electronics overnight.

Mr. Ken went up to his 'boys' bedrooms to say good night to them. That night he started with Matthew's room and ended with Robert's. He not only tucked his oldest boy in and kissed him on his forehead, he thanked him for being such a kind and loving son.

Momma Maria held up breakfast for the Cover boys again that morning. She knew they would sleep in, so she just waited them out. She had fresh coffee ready for Mr. Ken, for when he came into the Kitchen Nook to read his paper. Mr. Wayne grabbed a fresh cup of coffee when he arrived not much longer after his employer had.

Mr. Chris arrived around 9 a.m. and he too grabbed a fresh cup of coffee. That was because Momma Maria kept the coffee hot and fresh for her boss. He was happy it was hot and fresh and it went very well with a Momma Maria's sweet cakes.

It was close to 9:30 when the Cover boys came into the Kitchen Nook all clean smelling and dressed for the day. Momma told them to sit after they said 'Good Morning' to the three adults in the Nook. The woman then finished making breakfast and served it to the boys first then the adults.

While the adults ate, Mr. Ken talked the Party over with Mr. Chris. The Estate Manager assured his boss that the band would arrive around 6 p.m. to set up and perform an audio test of their instruments and would be ready to start playing at 8 p.m. The man also said the caterer would also be there at six to set up the tent and get ready for the start of the party.

Mr. Ken asked Mr. Chris if he had counted the votes on the Toy Soldiers and how would they be counted later tonight. Mr. Chris said he would be there to count them and would have the total ready for the announcement at 10 p.m. Mr. Ken was thankful that was taken care of and one less thing he had to worry about for tonight.

After they ate breakfast, the Cover boys moved all their Christmas presents from the Great Room up to their bedrooms. They looked them over one more time once they were in their rooms. They separated their new clothes from the presents and put them in the laundry baskets. They all still couldn't believe their 'dad' had bought all those gifts.

The boys went outside to use the ramps until their friends arrived. They knew if they got their practice in before their friends showed that could open five slots on them. By the time the other boys arrived, the three youngest Covers were tired of skating and needed the break.

As the boys rode their skateboards, and in some cases the new skateboards they got for Christmas, on the ramps, a few of the boys waiting their turn were focused on the open field. They wondered aloud as to where the Cove Skate Park would be located.

Matthew heard them talking, so he, and his friends, went inside to ask 'dad' Ken. Mr. Ken said he was busy with last-minute issues for tonight's Party, so he sent Mr. Wayne to show the boys where they intended the Cove Skate Park was going to be located.

"Hey, where are the pups going?" asked Cooper.

"Let's go over there, too," said David.

The 7th graders all hurried to catch up with Mr. Wayne and the 5th graders. Robert and his friends saw where the other boys were headed, so they quickly caught up with them. Kevin and Kyle and their friends yelled, "Hey, wait for us."

"Boys, the driveway will come off of the main drive. It will be at least four feet off the wall but as the Project Manager, I want it ten feet away. That way we can put in some nice plants like roses and other flowering things.

"Boys, the skate park will be at least a ½ an acre in size and will be positioned about right here. It will have shade sails to help keep the sun off you during the heat of the day and there will be plenty of lights for night skating. There will also be some bleachers on each side for you to sit and relax, and of course security cameras to make sure we get all your 'crashes and burns'," laughed Mr. Wayne.

"If you look over there, that is where the pavilion will go. It will have male and female restrooms, a room for a freezer, a cleanup sink, and much, much more. The contractor has been selected and we had our last meeting just before you guys got out of school for the Holidays.

"The contractor is supposed to begin construction next Monday, but don't count on it. He may get his equipment here, but until they survey the area according to the plans you won't see them break ground.

"Then, boys, I do not want to see any of you ever over here unless I or Mr. Ken accompanies you. Let me make this very clear. You DO NOT come over here unless I, Mr. Ken, or even Mr. Chris brings you here. Any questions?" finished the Project Manager.

"Yea, the different skate bowls, how deep are they?" asked Sam.

"Well, I don't have the plans in my hands, but ... if I remember correctly; the smaller bowl goes to at least six feet deep. The larger, longer bowl gets to eight feet deep. There is another section of the park, which is shaped like a bowl, but is open-ended.

"There are enough elements in the park that should keep you all busy and spread out unlike what you have now. You'll all just have to wait until it is finished. And, I mean wait. As the park is being worked on eventually there will be elements that are completed.

"Listen up. If I find you up here, before it has its Grand Opening, and especially riding the ramps, bowls, stairs, whatever, then you will be barred from The Cove. And boys ... that is not an idle threat. It will happen!" finished the Project Manage/Estate Master, who then walked away.

"Geez, he sounded pissed," said Brant. "I'm sure not coming up here after they start building the Cove's, Skate Park. It looks awesome and way better than the county one, that's for sure."

"Yea, and that pavilion sounds neat, too. Covered, hot and cold running water, ceiling fans, loads of lights. I wonder why Mr. Ken is adding girl's bathrooms."

"He's not adding bathrooms, he's making sure there is a women's restroom. That's because if we invite some girls over to skate, or even if they come to watch, as they had before, they need a place to go potty, too," laughed Eric.

"Girls ... why would we invite them?" asked Noah, to anyone who'd answer.

The older boys just laughed as they walked back down to the ramps.

The boys enjoyed the ramps and when it wasn't their turn they talked about what they got for Christmas. Many of them got new clothes, which seemed to be what parents got their kids when they couldn't figure out what they really wanted.

Matthew's friends were surprised at all the stuff he'd gotten. Matthew invited them up to his room to see everything. The young Cover took the new clothes out of the hamper to show his friends the Under Armour and Nike clothes he got. He didn't bring out his new boxer briefs, though.

Matthew showed them the skateboard lights they all got. They asked him why he didn't have them on by now. All the Cover could say was they haven't made the time to install them yet. The Covers friends laughed.

The boys looked at Matthew's tablet and asked him to turn it on for them. They started to watch as he put in his password, but then Matthew turned away from them. The friends laughed.

Matthew showed them his new wallet and the crisp, new $100.00 dollar bill. The boys could not remember seeing a one hundred dollar bill before, and they all had to touch it and look it over. Matthew then showed them his new watch, which was laying on his dresser, and his model airplane.

Matthew then brought out his Bluetooth speaker that he said he still had to pair it with his new phone and tablet. He showed them his new crocs and finally, his handheld electronic game. The boys each had to take a turn in playing it.

When the boys were finished in Matthew's room, the Cover took his friends down to the Great Room to show them what he and his 'brothers' had gotten their 'dad' for Christmas. The boys looked at the new 'S' gauge rolling stock.

Matthew showed them the Plasticville buildings Mr. Wayne had gotten his boss. The new buildings were sitting on the platform and you could see them through the tree's limbs. The boys were impressed with the thoughtful gifts they got their foster dad.

The Cover's friends all left around 4 p.m. Mr. Wayne was up at the Main Gate to see them off and to remind them, and the parents that came to collect their sons, about the New Year's Day Swim Party that started at 1 p.m. He also reminded them the whole family was invited and for them to bring their swimsuits.

The boys collected in the Study after their friends had gone. Mr. Ken could see their forlorn faces telling him they didn't want to rest and relax before the Party.

"Boys, this Party starts around 8 p.m. and won't end until 12:30 a.m. at the earliest. You need to get some rest, or sleep if you can before it all starts. I'll want you all dressed in your new suits and you can decide which vest to wear underneath. Maybe after a while you can take the jacket off and just wear the vest.

"There will be a large number of important people here tonight, and I need you to be the best hosts ever. There are no kids being invited except the high school students and their dates or best friend. I want you to talk to everyone and if there is a problem you'll have the radios you used for the other two parties.

"Now ... go upstairs, drain your dragon, close the blinds and drapes in your room, then close the door and get into bed. Either I or Mr. Wayne will come up to wake you around seven, so you can get cleaned up and dressed and be ready for last Party of the year," explained 'dad' Ken.

"Dad, are you going to get some rest and sleep, like you want us to?" asked Robert.

"That IS my plan, son. Now, you five go on and get upstairs and do as I asked." replied the boy's 'dad'.

The boys all hugged Mr. Ken before going up to their rooms to get some sleep before the big night. After the boys left, Mr. Wayne asked his boss if he really was going to try to get some rest. Mr. Ken said he was. Then, he got out from behind his desk, and walked out of the Study and headed to his own bedroom.

Mr. Chris didn't go home early that day. He was committed to staying until the winner of the toy Soldier competition was announced. He had the certificates and trophies all ready to go in his office. All he needed to do now was wait for the five-piece orchestra and caterer to arrive and set up.

The Estate Manager already had the voting chips up at the Main Gate for the Police Explorers to pass out to the guests as they arrived. Mr. Chris' wife, Sandra, wasn't too happy he had to be there on that special night, but he explained it was part of his job and would be home right after the awards ceremony.

Until then, Chris told her he would get some work done, as he didn't have to be back until Monday. That is unless they wanted to go to the New Year's Day Swim Party, which he knew the kids would love. Sandra said she'd see.

The caterer showed up first and since Mr. Ken always used that company they knew exactly where to go and set up. The fireworks company called Mr. Chris and said they would be in place before sundown and anchored 2500 feet off The Cove. The band for the garage New Year's Eve Party was on time and Mr. Chris had them set up in there.

The main band for the Great Room was late by ten minutes. The bandleaders said they had played the night before, and they knew their equipment worked and all they needed to do was offload, set up, check it out, then leave to change and return.

Mr. Chris stayed busy keeping track of all the 'outside' people who were now inside The Cove. He wasn't too concerned about the caterer because Mr. Ken used them the past four or five years, so he trusted them outright. The unknown were the bands. Mr. Ken auditioned them and since the bands he'd used before were already booked he went with them. Time would tell.

Mr. Chris told himself he needed to talk with the previous bands Mr. Ken used before and to do that right after the start of the New Year. He figured even if he got a conditional, right of first refusal, he would be way ahead of next year's Holiday Party planning.

It took the band in the garage 30 minutes to set up and do a sound test. They knew they were in a very enclosed space, so they knew not to overload the speakers when they check their equipment. Once they felt they were ready, they headed out to change into their band clothes and would soon return.

The main band also took 30 minutes to bring in all their equipment and instruments and set everything up even before they turned it on to test it. It was just that when they did test their equipment they had the volume set up as if they were inside a big auditorium. Mr. Chris had them turn the volume down; reminding them they were inside a large room, not a public venue.

When the band began to play, Mr. Chris was appalled at what they were playing. The Estate Manager went over to the bandleader and asked them what they were playing when Mr. Thomas had contracted them to play for him. The leader thought that since he saw the bar area and restrooms hiding under the stairs he was there to play for some late teens to early twenty-year-old somethings.

Mr. Chris told the man that Mr. Thomas hired them to play big band type music for his guests and not blast it as if he was at Cowboy Stadium. The Estate Manager explained there would be high-level guests that night, to include local and state politicians, contractors the man worked with, educators, and the movers and shakers of the community.

The bandleader told the men for whom they were playing for that night and they had to tone it down and play 'old people' music. The men laughed and then did what their leader asked them to do.

But the damage had already been done. Instead of being able to sleep until 7 p.m., everyone in The Cove's household that evening were up at 6:45. Matthew had just gotten into a good dream state, when the loud music blasted through the house. He went out into the hallway and heard it even louder out there.

Matthew knocked on the twins' bedroom then walked right in. He found the twins were also up, but looked like they too, were awakened by the terrible music they heard. Robert and Charles also came out in the hallway and seeing Matthew's room empty and voices coming from the twins' room they walked in to see why there were all up.

They complained to one another how good it felt to lay down and get to sleep and then be awakened by that terrible band. Then, they heard the tone and volume of the music get turned way down and sound really good as if it was coming through the house's central intercom system.

Mr. Ken wasn't feeling any better. He wondered what the hell happened that the band was playing like they were at a rock concert. He wasn't pleased at all that they had the volume turned up so high that it awoke him and probably everyone else in the house. Then he heard the music change to the type of music he contracted for, and its volume turned down dramatically. He figured Mr. Chris was on the case.

Robert had his 'brothers' stop bitching about the bad music as they were only up fifteen minutes earlier then their 'dad' said he'd get them up. The teen told them to just go ahead and get their showers and dressed for the night. He told them they should wait for one another and go downstairs in a group, then go to their 'dads' Study. That's what they agreed to do.

Mr. Wayne was also awakened by the terrible choice in music the band had decided to use to check their instruments. He figured if he was awake, so was everyone else. So, he decided to go and clean himself up and dressed and down to the Study by 7:30.

By 7:30 that New Year's Eve, the entire Cove household was in the study, including Mr. Chris. The Estate Manager explained the mix up with the band that it was immediately corrected. Mr. Chris said he would not have them on the audition list for next year. The boys laughed and Mr. Ken thanked him for his forward-thinking. Even Mr. Wayne smiled and clapped at the man's decision.

Mr. Ken told the boys he wanted them in the reception line with him for at least the first half-hour. He reminded them they would use the same call signs with the radios they previously used. Mr. Wayne prompted them about the high schoolers and their teachers being invited and would be out in the garage. The man asked the boys to go out there and talk to them, but be in at least twos for safety.

The security guards called about that time and told Mr. Ken the Sheriff Deputies and the Police Explorers where there and getting set up. All Mr. Ken told the man was to remind the Explorers to hand out the voting chips to every attendee. Mr. Chris said he would walk up there and confirm what they needed to do.

The boys took it all in. They saw there were so many parts and pieces it took to make a big party work, which had to come together and work properly, that, told them why their 'dad' was so stressed out.

The high school students and their dates, or best friends, and their teachers arrived on time and were greeted by Mr. Wayne. He showed them where their party was being held and when they walked into the garage the band began to play. They also saw it was decorated for a New Year's Eve Party and was full of balloons, colorful hats and streamers, and anything else you could have for that type of party.

Mr. Wayne told them Mr. Ken would be out after the majority of his guests arrived and that his 'sons' would be out off and on. The Estate Master told the students that people would continue to vote for the best Toy Soldier and the winner would be announced at around 10 p.m.

Mr. Wayne told them that, until then, the students and teachers, along with their dates or significant other, should enjoy the foods and nonalcoholic drinks waiting outside for them.

Then, before leaving, the Estate Master told the students he hoped they hadn't brought anything illegal to mix with the sodas, iced tea, or lemonade. The group all laughed and Mr. Wayne smiled and walked away. A Sheriff's Deputy came down to the garage a few minutes later.

The night's main guests began arriving around 8:15. Mr. Ken's long awaited New Year's Eve Party had begun. Mr. Ken Thomas and his 'boys' were just inside the Foyer Door waiting to meet and greet their guests for the evening.

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