None of the boys made it down to the lobby for breakfast. Even the teens, Robert and Eric, slept in as long as they could, even though they bunked in with 'dad' Ken. The man had gotten up, showered, dressed and went down for breakfast. The teenagers never stirred one bit. Mr. Wayne met him there.
It was going on 10:30 when the seven boys came down to the lobby pulling their luggage behind them. Luckily the bags had wheels; otherwise they'd have been drug along the floor behind their owners.
"Well, look what the cat drug in, Mr. Ken," announced Mr. Wayne. "I guess they are ready for the last leg of our trip by the looks of them," now laughed the Estate Master.
"Will we get something to eat on the plane?" asked Matthew.
"Yes, my youngest, the crew will have lunch type foods to serve us as we travel back home. Boys, the trip will take about three hours, as it did coming east, and we will gain that hour we lost on Saturday. That means if we get into the air by 12:30 we should be home by 2:30, our time.
The limo arrived on time and they arrived at the business airport an hour later. It took thirty minutes to be cleared by TSA and then the Covers loaded into the same plane they've been using, the 9 passenger Gulfstream G-280 Super Mid Jet.
The boys took their seats and listened to the required safety briefing. Once the back of the plane was secure, the pilots completed their take-off checklist and started the engines. They took off closer to 12:40 than 12:30.
After the plane leveled off, the first thing the boys asked the back end crewmember was what did she have for them for lunch. The woman smiled and brought back a small menu that included sandwiches and burgers and the different drinks available.
After looking over the menu, the boys told the woman what they wanted for lunch. They also told her what their drink of choice was, and asked if she would bring it to them before their lunch. The woman smiled some more and went back to the full galley where she had their lunches and drinks stored.
As they flew along, Mr. Ken got out his cell phone and called Joseph Shartz, the operating manager of Fantasy Fun Park. They did some small talk before the parks owner told him the reason for his call. He wanted to know how well Jason knew park operations, and the care and maintenance and repair of rides and structures.
Mr. Shartz told the parks owner that Jason was being trained and molded to eventually take his place at the park, and had been working there for over fifteen years. The parks manager explained he trusted Jason to do the right thing, and was the Project Manager for all of the ordered new restrooms, ride repairs, painting, landscaping and general upkeep. That told Mr. Ken that Jason was the person he wanted to do a job for him.
"Joe, I have a job for Jason. I am considering buying two more amusement parks, Crystal Lake and Edgewood, but I can't personally do the thorough inspection I would normally do because of other obligations. And, after what you just told me about him, I think he is the man for the job. The only question I have is ... do you think he will be up for some travel and hard work.
Mr. Ken explained the man would visit both amusement parks, collect the revenue and attendance records for the last five years, and then perform a thorough 'anal' inspection of all the rides and buildings. The owner of the park added Jason would take abundant numbers of pictures of everything he sees, and copious verbal descriptions of his inspections and then have them transcribed.
Mr. Ken told Joe Shartz that Jason would have one day of travel and could use up to five days for his inspections before heading off to the next park. Mr. Ken further explained the man would have the same day of travel and five days to inspect everything, and then take a day or two to return. Mr. Ken stressed he then wanted Jason to make his own first-person recommendations as to whether or not he would buy them if he were to use his own money.
When Mr. Shartz asked how Jason would pay for all that, Mr. Ken told his operating manager he would take it out of his daily operating funds, and he would be fully reimbursed, as soon as the bills were collected, verified and sent to him.
Mr. Ken told Joe to get Jason a mid-sized rental car, pay for nice lodging, like a La Quinta or Holiday Inn, and pay him a daily per diem along with an expense account for gas, foods, snacks and whatever he feels he needs to get the job done.
This whole venture took Mr. Shartz utterly by surprise. First, Mr. Thomas says for him to change the man's attitude around, or he'll be fired, and now he wants to use him for something he'd normally do himself, but doesn't have the time.
The last thing Mr. Shartz asked was what was in it for Jason. Mr. Ken smiled at the question, and then told the man that Jason could be in line to operate his own park if what he finds and recommends pans out.
But, Mr. Ken asked Joe Shartz not to tell him that, but to say that he could get back into Mr. Thomas' good graces if he does, not a good job, but an outstanding job. That this would prove to the owner he was a valuable asset, and take some pressure off him.
Joseph Shartz thought about that for a few moments and said he agreed with what his park's owner had in mind. He liked the idea Jason could potentially get one of the new parks to operate and much sooner than if he waited for him to move on. Joe Shartz was on-board and would talk with Jason that afternoon, and call him back with the answer. The two hung up the call.
Mr. Wayne heard his employer's part of the conversation and was curious about what he was contemplating. The Estate Master asked his boss why he would offer such a position to a man he was ready to fire.
Mr. Ken smiled at the question and explained he felt Jason had an ingrained affiliation, or attachment, and love for the park, and wanted to make sure the park was not spoiled by people making a mockery of the ride rules that upset the other guests.
Mr. Wayne wondered why he'd even consider offering the man his own park to operate; even if he did a great job in inspecting the two parks he was considering buying. Mr. Ken told his Estate Master that Jason would be perfect because he is dedicated to the job, and wants the park to be the best he could make it. That giving Jason a park to bring up to speed would ensure it would be more than ready for opening day. But only time would tell.
After the boys ate, they either looked out the windows as the countryside passed by, or they got their electronic games out and played them. They even changed off and played their 'brothers' games to try them out.
Collin went over and talked with his Big Bro about what he should look for when buying a house or rental properties. That started a completely new conversation and Mr. Wayne gave up his seat so Collin and Mr. Ken could talk across the aisle, instead of back and forth.
While Mr. Ken told Collin the reasons he felt were in the teenagers best interests to buy some houses near his college, his cell phone rang. It was Mr. Shartz. He called back to tell the park's owner what Jason had to say.
Mr. Ken heard from Joe Shartz that Jason was interested in the opportunity to show what he's learned and could do for Mr. Thomas. Joe Shartz told Mr. Ken that Jason was excited and wanted to know when he could get started. Mr. Ken liked hearing the enthusiasm in the young man, but told the operations manager that Jason will have to wait until after the New Year.
Mr. Ken told Joe to have Jason map out his trip to both amusement parks and figure out which one would be best to visit first. The parks owner said he'd have the contact information for both parks sent to him after he returned home the first thing in the morning, or in a day or two as he needed to get settled back home first.
Mr. Ken also told Joe to make sure Jason had a good digital camera and extra SD cards and maybe a nice laptop to store them on each night after he returns to his hotel room. Mr. Ken also told Mr. Shartz that he would forward a letter of introduction for Jason to take to the owners of the two parks telling them what Jason's job was, and what they needed to do to support him.
Mr. Ken also explained the letter would tell the park's owner that any interference or lack of cooperation and support would negate any talks between them, and Jason was empowered to pack up and leave. Mr. Shartz liked hearing that. It told him that Mr. Thomas was giving Jason the same authority he'd have if he were there himself.
Collin heard Mr. Ken's part of the conversation and he had to ask his Big Bro why he was giving that Jason character that big opportunity. Mr. Ken went through the same explanation he gave Mr. Wayne. He told the older teenager that as a boss he had to overlook bad qualities or faults in a person when he knew the individual had other attributes that made him a valuable asset.
Mr. Ken told Collin how Mr. Shartz praised Jason, his knowledge and abilities, and that he made the decision to give the man a chance to prove himself. Collin was still a little confused after what was said at the park when Mr. Shartz sent Jason back to the office. Mr. Ken spent a few more minutes explaining his reasons to give a person a second chance.
As the Covers continued their flight back west, and finally home, the boys asked the crewmember if she had any cookies they could have. The woman, knowing there would be eight boys between the ages of eleven and nineteen on board, stocked some cookies and individually wrapped cakes. She also had small bags of chips and pretzels ready for them, as well.
The boys also changed their seats as they flew along. Some of them wanted to look out one side of the business jet and then the other. Robert even went back to sit next to his dad and talk about their trip, and what the rest of the week would be like.
When Kyle saw Robert was finished talking with his dad and moved forward, he called out to 'dad' Ken and asked him that, since they would be getting home early, he wondered if they could have their friends come over.
'Dad' Ken got all of the boy's attention, and said, "Boys ... Kyle asked me if you could have your friends come over after we get home. Yes, we left at 12:40 and have a three-hour flight, and we get back that hour we lost going east which means we should be back in San Antonio by 2:40, or so.
"But boys ... we have to offload our bags and get them placed into the limo. That will add time. On top of that, we'll still have the approximately two-hour drive back to The Cove and then we'll have to unpack once we get there. By then it will be at least five o'clock, if not later, and I don't think having your friends over for just an hour would be wise," explained 'dad' Ken.
"But, 'dad', we want to show them the new Cove's Skate Park and talk to them about our trip," argued Kyle.
"Kyle, boys ... you all texted out a picture of the new skate park, so they all know what it looks like," started 'dad' Ken. "And, if you want to talk to your friends about your trip you all have new cell phones. You can call them when you get home.
"I think when we get home we'll all need the time to rest and recuperate from this four-day grueling trip. Plus, we'll need to go out to dinner, too. There just won't be any time for you to ask your friend's over," finished 'dad' Ken.
The man heard a few "Ahhhhs" and had to smile at the boys' desire to keep going no matter how tired they were.
By that time, they were almost two hours into their flight home. The boys were now anxious about getting home knowing they only had another hour before landing. A few of them tried to relax in their seats and get some sleep.
Suddenly a loud BAMMM was heard in the back of the business jet and a dense misty cloud immediately formed in the cabin. At the same time, oxygen masks fell out of the ceiling over the sofa and the woman crewmember quickly came down the aisle wearing her mask and oxygen bottle helping the boys get their oxygen masks on. She then made sure the people in the individual seats got their oxygen masks out of their storage place along the side of their seats, and put their masks on, as well.
Up in the cockpit, the two pilots had their hands full. The boys heard:
"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Gulfstream Super with 12 SOBs (Souls On Board) declaring an emergency. Have lost power in the right engine and have smoke in the cabin. Request emergency descent to below Flight Level 100.
"Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Gulfstream Super with 12 SOBs declaring an emergency. Have lost power in the right engine and have smoke in the cabin. Request emergency descent to below Flight Level 100," was the call coming from the cockpit that the boys in the front seats heard, twice.
All of the boys were extremely scared. Luckily Collin was on the sofa when the emergency happened, so he was able to hold onto two of his 'brothers' and try to calm them down.
As the pilots declared the emergency, they'd gotten permission to descend to Flight Level 100 or ten thousand feet. In doing so, the pilots reduced power and started a quick descent to Flight Level 100. That sudden and deliberate descent made the passengers in the back feel as if they were on the downhill portion of a roller coaster that wouldn't stop.
Mr. Ken felt helpless, as he could not get to any of his 'sons'. Everyone had their own seat and they were quickly descending. He knew it would be unsafe for him to get up and move around the cabin to try to comfort any of them. At least, he could see Collin was holding onto Kevin and Kyle as they held onto their older 'brother'.
Also, in the front section of the cabin were Robert and Matthew. Seated in the back section of the cabin were Mr. Ken and on the same side was Wayne Mitchell. To their sides were Eric and Charles.
The dense mist in the cabin was also a distraction, because it reduced Mr. Ken's view of the five boys in the front portion of the cabin. Occasionally, the man would remove his oxygen mask and call over the loud noise in the cabin to find out how the five boys were doing. Robert called back they were doing good. But in reality they were really scared.
It took the pilots more than six minutes for them to descend safely from FL 450 (45,000 feet) to FL 100 where they and their passengers no longer needed oxygen masks. But, with the mist still in the cabin, and not knowing if it was smoke from an electrical fire, the third crewmember told the passengers to keep their masks on.
The back end crewmember wanted the passengers to stay seated, but Mr. Ken could no longer stay seated without checking on his 'boys'. Even though the crewmember told him they were fine and to stay seated, Mr. Ken had to get to the five boys upfront.
There he heard Matthew loudly crying and he tried to comfort him. The crewmember scolded Mr. Ken and told him to get back into his seat. Mr. Ken looked at her with eyes that said in not too kind words to get lost. As she persisted, he undid Matthew's seat belt and took the crying boy back to his seat and he buckled them both into the seat.
Up in the cockpit, the pilots were more concerned as to why the right engine failed than a rowdy passenger in the back. They needed directions to the nearest airport to make an emergency landing and they needed it now. They were in constant communications with the air traffic controllers and were heading to the airport where the emergency crash vehicles and manpower would be waiting.
As the pilots headed west to the airport they were being directed to by the air traffic controllers, the crewmember in the back explained to the four boys upfront the emergency crash procedures. She then explained to Robert and Collin how to open the cabin door if she was incapacitated during the landing.
The woman also told them to go directly away from the plane and meet with their family out and away in case there was a fire. Robert listened to all the instructions, but knew his older 'brother' would do it if he had to.
The crewmember went to the back four passengers and told them the same thing to them. She warned Mr. Ken about holding onto his son during the emergency landing and that he should put him on the sofa, as there were four seat belts. She explained the youngster would be safer there and he would only be an arm's length away.
Reluctantly, Mr. Ken had Matthew slip over to Collin who put the extra seatbelt on his youngest 'brother'. The woman also explained to him and Mr. Wayne how to open the emergency exit located over the wing. She told them if the front exit was blocked, or there was a fire, they needed to open that exit after the plane came to a complete stop and get everyone out and away from the aircraft.
The passengers could feel they were still descending, but not as fast as they had from their cruising altitude. The mist had dissipated out of the cabin and they could now get rid of their oxygen masks. The crewmember told them she would tell them when to get into the crash position and for them to stay in it until the plane came to a complete stop. She then reminded them to head to the exit as fast as they could.
The boys could see out the windows that they were getting lower and lower and it looked like they were near a major city. The third crewmember then called out to them they were landing at Houston's International Airport and would be landing within two minutes and for them all to get into their crash landing positions.
Mr. Ken watched as all his 'boys' got into the correct position. He then looked over at the emergency exit over the wing, which was right there beside him before getting into the emergency position himself.
The actual landing sounded very loud to the boys, but it wasn't any different than if there hadn't been an emergency. As soon as the plane came to a complete stop, the woman opened the cabin door and the four boys up front unfastened their seatbelts and rushed out of the plane.
Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne helped the boys across from them open their seatbelts and they each grabbed a boy and headed to the exit. Seeing where Collin, Robert and his 'brothers' were standing, the men and the boys headed over to them.
All the while the plane was racing down the runway, the airport's emergency crash response vehicles were following the business jet. When the plane finally stopped on the active runway, the emergency vehicles were right there beside them with fire hoses at the ready in case of fire. The boys saw there had to have been at least eight emergency vehicles surrounding the plane.
It was then the airport supervisor came out and directed the crew and passengers into their own support vehicles to be taken to the terminal to be debriefed. While all that was going on, Mr. Ken called Ms. Judy and told her what happened.
The woman was almost in hysterics after learning her son was involved in an airplane crash. Mr. Ken had to tell her again it was an inflight emergency, and it took some time to calm her down. When he hung up with Judy Turner, he quickly had Eric call his mom.
Mr. Ken knew he also needed to call a number of other people. He figured Bill, Chris and Dan should be the first ones he called.
"Dan ... guess what?" said Mr. Ken, in a kind of sarcastic voice.
When Dan Fischer didn't play along, Mr. Ken told him about the aircraft emergency and emergency landing and they were diverted to Houston's International Airport and would soon be debriefed. That got the Sheriff Lieutenant's attention. The man sat upright and he had his friend tell him the whole story from the beginning.
Matthew was still upset over what happened in the airplane, and he clung to Mr. Wayne as if his life depended on it. Kevin and Kyle weren't that upset, but they clung to Collin as they sat and waited for the authorities to talk to them about what happened.
The aircraft was eventually towed to a hanger for an inspection of the damage. And even though there wasn't an actual crash, the NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, had been called. The Board indicated they would conduct a limited investigation to the incident, as it appeared there was an inflight engine failure and would contact the crew and passengers individually.
The aircraft charter company sent a representative to the airport to talk to Mr. Thomas. When he finally was allowed to talk to the man, he explained the aircraft had a catastrophic engine failure in flight, and was happy that no one was injured.
Mr. Thomas kept his cool, but asked him what their company had planned to do to get them back to San Antonio and eventually to their home. The man explained their ride was not going to be there when they return to SAT. He also asked the aircraft representative about their luggage.
When told the charter company had intended to provide another airplane, Mr. Ken told him that another plane would not be acceptable as his youngest 'son' was still visibly and emotionally upset over the incident.
Mr. Ken told the man he would not subject the eleven-year-old to another airplane ride this close to what he'd just experienced. The representative understood what he was being told. The man then walked away and took out his cell phone to call the home office for guidance.
Mr. Wayne knew to whom his boss was talking to, but stayed away until he saw the man pull out his cell phone, walk away, and started making a call. The Estate Master asked his boss if he asked the man about their luggage. Mr. Ken told Wayne he had, and asked him to go check on the boys.
It was then a lawyer arrived to talk to Mr. Thomas. He pulled him aside and told him his friend Bill Jackson called their firm and he was dispatched to help them. He asked Mr. Ken what he needed to be done.
Mr. Ken told him he wanted their luggage brought to them and he wanted something brought in for the boys to eat. He told the lawyer the emergency landing had taken place around 1:30 p.m. local time and it was now going on 4 p.m. and they still had no idea when they would be allowed to leave.
During all this time, the boys had taken out their cell phones and called their friends. They told them about the inflight emergency, and they were not being allowed to leave the airport. Their friends called other friends and one of them eventually called Rene Vaughn. The news reporter called her contacts in Houston who called the airport for an update.
"Hey, look at the TV," called out Charles. "I think they're talking about us."
The lawyer arrived back in the holding area with someone who represented the airport. The man immediately apologized to Mr. Ken for the delay, but said there was a misunderstanding between them and the NTSB as to doing an interview of them about the emergency before they leave.
Mr. Ken waited until the man was done. When he had the chance to speak he looked to the lawyer Bill sent to him. He asked the man to start proceedings to sue the airport for unlawful confinement, theft of their luggage, and failure to offer or provide any emergency medical assistance to his 'boys', who range in age from eleven to nineteen.
Mr. Ken told the lawyer to name everyone involved in this travesty, including the airport itself. He also told him to file nine separate lawsuits, one for each of them, in the amounts of no less than ten million dollars each. The airport representative swallowed hard and tried to get Mr. Ken to relent. When Mr. Ken told the man to go away, the man knew then he had to make a quick phone call.
The aircraft charter representative, seeing a lull in the men talking, came over to talk to Mr. Thomas about what he wanted them to do to get them home. Mr. Ken told him he wanted their luggage brought to them right away, and then a chartered bus or stretch limo would work for him. Mr. Ken also wanted to know how soon that could all be arranged. The man said he'd figure it would take at least 90 minutes to maybe two hours. Mr. Ken told him to hurry it up.
This time two airport representatives came back to talk to Mr. Ken. They again apologized for the delay in allowing him and his family to leave, but told him they were now free to go. They added that the NTSB would be contacting them individually, probably by phone, to get some details about the inflight emergency.
Mr. Thomas told them his 'boys' were tired and hungry and no one had even offered to get them something to eat. He told the men their transportation wouldn't be there for almost two more hours and he expected them to provide vouchers for them to have a good sit down meal. The one-man pulled out his cell phone, made a call, and told the person on the other end to bring two people-mover carts to take nine guests to Olio's for a complimentary meal.
The airport representatives then asked Mr. Thomas nicely not to talk to the news media, but Mr. Ken told them they had brought it upon themselves, and they deserved the bad publicity. He also told them he intended to go forward with his nine lawsuits.
While the Covers waited for their inside airport transportation they were free to walk around. Mr. Ken asked the boys to wait, so he could see where the TV cameras were set up. Knowing that, he told the boys to go to the right and not to look at the TV cameras. He explained he didn't want their faces on the nightly news.
When the Covers did walk outside the area they had been sequestered in, the TV news stations were ready for them. They all called out, as nosey news reporters tend to do, to get them to talk to them. Mr. Ken told the boys to continue walking to the right and he'd catch up with them.
Mr. Ken, with Collin walking behind him, walked over to the news people and immediately told them the boys were not to be photographed, or placed into any of their video reports. He reminded them the boys were underage and could not give their consent to be photographed or videotaped, and, as their legal guardian, he did not give them that consent. The one news reporter spoke up and said he'd make sure to blur their faces, so Mr. Ken walked over to talk to him to the chagrin of the other reporters.
Ken Thomas first introduced himself and then proceeded to explain what happened in the air on the aircraft. He praised the flight crew in their professionalism and concern for their safety right after the engine failed. He told how one crewmember went to each of them to make sure their oxygen masks were on properly and they were not injured. That she again explained the emergency landing procedures, and reminded them how to open the emergency exits if she was incapacitated during the landing.
Then, in his next statement, Mr. Ken Thomas told the reporter how poorly the airport people treated them, how they held them in a secluded room, with no food or medical attention, and then blamed the NTSB for them not being allowed to leave.
Mr. Thomas said he would get in contact with his state and federal representatives and ask for an investigation into the airport's procedures for handling passengers involved in any type of aircraft incident or major accident. Mr. Ken added he wanted to know why they withheld offering medical treatment. The man said they never even asked if any of the eleven to nineteen-year-olds were having problems.
Collin was pumped up and wanted to say something himself, but Mr. Ken grabbed his arm to stop him. He pulled the teen aside and whispered to him that his being seen on TV would tell his Grammy he was OK, and tell his fellow classmates he experienced something many of them probably will never experience themselves. Collin thanked his Big Bro for stopping him. After a few more questions the two Covers excused themselves.
But one news reporter called out, "Young man, who is that man to you, and why were you on the airplane?"
Collin stopped, turned, and said to the reporter that he was with his 'Big Brother' and they were returning from a Holiday vacation. Collin then turned back and went with Mr. Ken to catch up with the rest of the Covers.
It took fifteen minutes for the carts to arrive. The Covers loaded onto their transportation and were on their way to get something to eat. The group was taken to an Italian restaurant, but the boys didn't care as they were hungry enough they'd eat anything.
As they ate, Collin's cell phone rang. He figured it was Grammy, so he didn't even look at who was calling. He was surprised when he learned it was Ryan. His best friend told him he just saw his ugly face on TV and wanted to call and find out what really happened.
As the two friends talked, Mr. Ken's cell phone rang. He saw it was Dan.
"Hey, Dan, what's up?" said Mr. Ken, as he answered his phone.
"Ken, you, my man, are the talk of the area right now. They just showed you and Collin on a Breaking News segment. You not only survived an errant gunshot, a few years ago, but now you survived an airplane crash.
"Ken, don't be surprised if the news media are camped outside your Main Gate waiting for your triumphant return. This may even take the heat off Matthew, some. So, when do you expect to get home, so I can alert the news media," heartily laughed Dan
Mr. Ken and Dan talked some, but Mr. Ken told his friend they were eating and would be on the road as soon as the aircraft charter company would provide them transportation. Dan told him to let him know when he was about 30 minutes out.
It took the aircraft charter company two hours to hire a stretch limo and be at the airport to take them on to their final destination. The airport finally brought their luggage to the room they were initially in and sent someone to tell Mr. Ken that and they would load it into whatever mode of transportation they had.
When the Covers finally got on the road back home, it was just after 8 p.m. Mr. Ken was still not pleased with everything that happened at the airport, and knew he needed to talk to Bill when he was more relaxed. That way he knew he'd be more reasonable and understanding. The man laughed inside after telling himself that.
During the three and a half-hour drive home, the Covers talked about what happened and what they should say. Mr. Ken told them it was easier, to tell the truth than to remember the lie, and for them to tell whoever asks what they remember about the incident. They also talked about their vacation and how much they appreciated their 'dad' taking them and letting them 'jump' the lines. The boys had a good laugh over that.
Matthew was still a bit subdued over the aircraft emergency and he cuddled up to his 'dad'. The boy talked some to the man about what happened, and if that was something that happened on every airplane ride. Mr. Ken knew the boy was thinking about what happened and internalizing it way too much. The man knew he needed to get Doug Jennings involved as soon as he could
'Dad' Ken did try to reduce the youngster's fears about flying. He told him they just had three flights where nothing happened. He added that he and Collin, Robert, Charles, and then Robert and Eric had successful flights and nothing happened to them.
'Dad' Ken was successful in getting the boy to consider that. He also asked the boy if he could remember the last time he heard a plane having a problem. Matthew thought about that for a few moments and said he couldn't. The young Cover thanked his 'dad' for talking to him, and then he just snuggled into him some more. The boy eventually went to sleep.
All the boys eventually went to sleep as they drove on home. It had been a long and arduous day for them all, and sleep was welcomed to help them reduce some of that stress they felt during the incident and afterwards while waiting to be allowed to go home.
Mr. Ken did call Dan when they were close to home. Dan told him he would meet them at the gate in case there were problems with any reporters. Mr. Ken thanked him for that, knowing how the news media could be 'in your face' to get the story.
Dan was parked outside The Cove's Main Gate facing the street, when the Covers arrived home. The news reporters were there hoping to get a story, but the guards opened the gate to allow the limo inside and then closed it as soon as the vehicle was fully on the estate.
When the Covers exited the limo, they were greeted by Chief and Ms. Judy. Eric ran to his mom and the two hugged for quite some time. Chief ran to Mr. Ken and jumped upon him to welcome him home. She then went to all the boys and gave them the same greeting.
"Welcome home, Ken," offered Dan, as he held his hand out to shake.
The news reporters were at the gate calling out their questions hoping they would get some answers. Mr. Ken figured they'd badger him until he talked to them, so he walked up to the gate. Dan Fischer followed alongside him.
Mr. Wayne had the driver leave the luggage on the stoop. Then, he had the boys take their bags inside and up to their rooms. Eric loaded his bags into his mom's car, but went inside with his mom and the rest of the Covers to wait until the news reporters had left.
Mr. Ken answered many of the reporter's questions about the inflight emergency. The man also told the reporters they could not show or mention the boy's names in any of their reports. The reporters were civil in their questions and were not too demanding, which was why Mr. Ken stayed to answer them. After close to fifteen minutes, Mr. Ken told them he had an arduous day and needed to relax some before going to bed. He walked down the rise to the front door. Dan accompanied him.
"Dan, they didn't ask about Matthew, which was a good sign. Don't cha think?" said a smiling Ken Thomas as the two men walked into the Study.
"That was only one news conference, or whatever you want to call it. They may come back tomorrow with more questions, but this time about how Matthew knew those men were going to rob that truck," advised Dan.
The boys came into the Study and said Goodnight to their 'dad' and Mr. Dan. They told their 'dad' that Mr. Wayne and Collin were upstairs waiting on them. The men laughed and went out of the Study only to find Eric and Ms. Judy waiting out in the MRS Room. They all said goodnight to one another and then they all headed in their intended directions.
Mr. Ken pulled Robert aside and asked him to sleep in with Matthew that night. The man explained how his 'brother' was thinking way too much about what happened, and he wanted someone there if he wakes up very scared or worse, in a nightmare. Robert said he understood and would.
The boys all hugged their 'dad' before going to drain their dragons and heading off to bed. Chief gave Matthew some doggie kisses, but headed over to Collin's room. She somehow sensed her 'boy' was going to leave in the morning, so she wanted one last night with him.
Every one of the Covers went immediately to sleep when their heads hit their pillows. And, Matthew slept well enough that he didn't wake up until his bladder started to complain to him nine hours later.
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