Breakfast was lively that morning. The Cover boys were all hyped about having one friend spend Friday night with them. The only thing they had to do was decide whom to ask. Robert suggested they think back to who stayed last and eliminate them. The teen went on to suggest other ways to decide.
Momma Maria listened to the boys talk. She was happy the boys didn't hold back their talk at the breakfast table. That was the primary way she knew what was going on at The Cove, even though her employer told her to ask him, Chris, or Wayne about what was happening there.
The younger boys headed off to catch the school bus as Billy was getting out of bed. The teenager took care of getting ready for school and then headed down to the Kitchen Nook for breakfast.
Billy took care of Chief's needs first before sitting down to a Momma breakfast. Mr. Ken saw that the teen took care of his responsibility for Chief and he was happy the boy had settled into a routine there at The Cove.
The two talked at the table about the sleepover and Mr. Ken told Billy to tell Lonnie to bring a change of clothes since they would be going to the Texas Boater Safety Course right from The Cove. Mr. Ken also told the teen to have his friend bring his swimsuit, as the boys would want to do that before going to bed.
Billy thanked his foster dad for the heads-up and said he was a bit anxious about having to face all of his friends at the same time. Mr. Ken told the teenager to stick by the story of picking the name out of the hat and, if they can't accept that, then maybe he needs to find new friends.
Billy thanked Momma Maria with a big hug for making him breakfast. The high school freshman then visited the restroom to wash his hands and face and relieve the pressure on his bladder. The teen yelled out when he was leaving and then headed up to the school bus stop.
At the high school, all of Billy's friends met up with him as soon as he got off the cheese wagon. The teens walked to their favorite hangout place to talk some before the start of school.
"Guys ... I have good news for one of you," announced Billy.
"So, what's the good news? And, why for only one of us?" asked Kaden.
"Well, my 'brothers' ... they talked Mr. Ken into allowing us to have one friend spend Friday night at The Cove. My 'brothers' have had many sleepovers and they didn't have a problem choosing who they'd ask.
"But, as for me, since I haven't had anyone spend the night, as of yet, so, I needed a way to choose. Well, Robert ... he suggested they put all of your names into a hat, and then I pick one. So, that's what we did last night," explained Billy.
"So, whose name did you pick?" asked Kaden.
"Well, the thing is the person I choose ... they must be going to the training course on Saturday. That way they will ride with me and my 'brothers' who are also attending the training," continued Billy.
"So, who did you choose?" now asked an anxious Brett.
"Well, the first name I picked out of the hat was ... Lonnie. So, Lonnie, are you going to the course on Saturday, because if you aren't then I have to go to my next pick," announced Billy.
"Hot dog, yes, I am going to the boating course," said an excited Lonnie.
"So, who was your second choice?" asked Gabe.
"Well, my second choice was ... Kaden," said a smiling Billy.
"Dang, even if you had chosen me first, I wouldn't have been able to spend the night," admitted Kaden.
"Why's that?' asked Lonnie.
"Well, I've decided I'm not going to take the course. I figured with only three personal watercraft at The Cove it would be that I'd rarely get the chance to drive one. Don't get me wrong. I think that it would be fun to drive one, but with the six of us, and only three WaveRunners, I don't see how often I'd get to use one.
"We'll also be competing with your 'brothers' and their friends and there are a ton of them. I think it would be bad ass to spend the night, but maybe we can all stay at another time," explained Kaden.
The first bell rang just then and the teens agreed to meet at lunch and talk about the sleepover. The six teens then headed for their first class.
After Mr. Ken got ready for his day, he received a phone call from his lawyer from back east. Amelia 'Amy' Ozarker called with some interesting information for her client. She told him that the highway road money was originally done as a Bond Issue and as such it could only be used for the highway rebuild.
Hearing that put a big smile on the owner of The Cover's face. The man asked his lawyer what that would now mean and she told him the County Commissioners needed to sell the bonds that were approved by the voters. She added that they have any length of time to do that.
Lawyer Ozarker told her client that someone needed to push the issue at a Commissioners' Court meeting to get the Commissioners to get off their collective asses and issue the bonds. She also told Mr. Ken that if they don't then the state may rescind their money for the highway and the highway would have to wait.
That was something that Ken Thomas didn't want to hear. He asked her to contact the three Commissioners he was in contact with and get their read on the Bonds and there being issued. He told her to use whatever tactics she could to get that on the next Commissioners' meeting. He also asked her to make sure the agenda is widely disseminated, so the public can be there.
Amelia asked Mr. Ken when he was coming back. He told her about the upcoming trials that his boys have to testify at and that he had to be there to support them. He did say that if push came to shove, he could be there for maybe a one-day meeting, but not unless it fits into his schedule.
When Mr. Wayne came into the Study, his employer asked him about the staining of the Pavilion floor. Mr. Ken wanted to know when it was planned. The man explained he was going to ask Chris when the lockers and table and benches were due, so they could also plan their installation.
It was then Mr. Chris came into the Study. "I thought I heard my name taken in vain," laughed the Estate Manager.
"I'm glad you're both here. Let's talk about the Pavilion and the skate park in general. Chris, I just asked Wayne to find out when the contractor is going to stain, polish and seal the Pavilion floors. What I need from you is to ascertain when the tables, benches, lockers, bike racks, and trash cans are supposed to arrive.
"With that information, we can then plan the installation of everything, so they are all available for the Memorial Day Picnic. Yes, the Grand Opening is four weeks away, but time will get away from us if we don't plan things out. When you both have your information please get back with me," finished Mr. Ken, who then dismissed his employees.
When the younger Covers told their friends, that they could have one friend spend the night that caused some arguments over who would get to stay. The Cover boys told them they looked back to see who stayed there last and decided from there.
Robert's friends already knew Eric would be picked, as they already knew the two Best Friends would be cutting the open grass field that Saturday, so they didn't balk at not staying.
Charles chose James. The rest of the Cover's friends congratulated their friend. Charles then asked James if he was going to the Texas Boater Safety Course. James said he needed to talk to his mom to make sure and he'd call him tonight. Charles told James that if he couldn't commit, he'd have to choose someone else. James said he understood.
Kevin and Kyle asked Isaac and Nicholas to spend the night. The twins explained to their friends they could only ask one friend each and that was the same number their 'brothers' could also ask. Their friends were disappointed that more couldn't spend the night, as they knew they hadn't had the chance very much to have a big sleepover.
Matthew pulled Greg aside and asked him if he was going to go to the boater course on Saturday. Greg asked Matthew if he knew how much the sailing lessons cost. The Cover said Mr. Ken never told him. Greg said he wanted to take the sailing lessons, but wasn't sure if his parents could afford them. Matthew told his friend he'd call him tonight with that information.
Matthew then asked his other friends if they were going to take the boating course that Saturday. They all said they wanted to so they knew the rules of the lake. Matthew then asked them if they were going to take sailing lessons. They all hemmed and hawed over the question.
Ryan spoke up and said he didn't know how much the sailing lessons would cost and that he wasn't sure if his dad could afford them. Brant, Noah, Aaron, and Max all agreed with Ryan's assessment. They all said they wanted to learn how to sail, but they didn't know how much it would cost. They added they knew their parents wouldn't want to pay if it would cost too much. Matthew told them he would ask his 'dad' tonight and call them.
At lunch, Billy and his friends went through the serving line and then found a table they all could sit at. As the teens ate, they could hear someone calling out, "Hey, you! Hey, you! I'm talking to you ... nerd."
The teens ignored what was being said, as they didn't think it was meant for them. They continued to eat and talk when someone came up to Billy and touched him on his shoulder and turned him around and said, "Hey, you! ... I've been calling out to you and you've been ignoring me."
Billy sat there and looked up to the potential bully and said, "Well, if you were calling out to me then you should have used my name. I do have a name, or didn't you know that?" finished Billy, with a smirk on his face.
"Listen up you twerp," began the bully, when he was stopped by Billy.
Billy looked up and said, "My name isn't twerp. Now, leave me alone; I'm eating."
"Now listen here, you fucker," almost yelled the big bully. "I want to talk to you."
"Well, right now I am talking with my friends and, as you can see, I am eating lunch. If you want to talk to me you can come up to me and ask me. But, listen here, I will NOT ... be bullied into something by someone who doesn't even know my name," replied Billy, who continued to sit and eat.
By then a number of students began to gather around the table to watch what would happen. Some of them took out their cell phone and began to capture the two students who seemed to be at an impasse.
Sawyer Merkell, the senior that Billy met on his first day, saw what was happening and came over to Billy's table. The senior asked what the problem was and the bully told him that the 'little twerk' was being an asshole to him.
Billy then spoke up and told Sawyer that the 'bully' didn't even know his name and was demanding he talk to him, and gave him no reason for him to do so.
Sawyer told the upperclassman to 'beat it' and learn the teen's name and approach him properly if he wanted to talk to him. The senior then told the bully that he'd better not be up to causing trouble, as his friend knew how to take care of himself. Sawyer added for the bully to ask the three football players who are now at the alternative school.
As the bully walked away, there was some light applause. The bully heard it and showed the crowd two fickle fingers of fate. The crowd applauded even more.
A teacher came over to the table and asked them what was going on and why that older student gave them the two-handed one-finger salute as he was leaving. Billy told the teacher what it was all about and all there were some strong words between them. The teacher asked them to take it outside next time and walked away.
Billy and his friends laughed at the way the teacher handled his investigation. Sawyer asked Bill to try to tone it down, but he wouldn't be surprised if the bully came after him outside.
Billy told his senior friend he knew how to take care of himself, but would be careful as he doesn't need the hassle and he doesn't want to have to talk to the acting principal and get Mr. Ken involved again. Sawyer said he agreed, then they shook hands and the senior walked away. Billy and his friends then turned in their lunch and walked outside.
The freshmen teenagers walked out of the school to sit and talk some more. But it wasn't too long when the bully came over to the small group once again.
"So, you're outside ... and you don't have your senior friend to protect you anymore," cackled the bully.
"I can take good care of myself, thank you very much. So, don't fuck with me!" angrily replied Billy, as he stood up to face the bully.
"Yeah, I know what you did. It was all luck and if all those assholes hadn't videoed what happened and posted them to YouTube, you'd be the one at the alternative school. But I didn't come to talk to you about that," replied the bully.
"So, what do you want to talk to me about?" asked the Cover. "Oh, and by the way, my name is Billy!"
"Well, Billy ... I understand your mom and dad were big drug dealers and that your old man was shot and killed during that shootout with the Sheriffs last summer," snickered the bully.
"That 'old man' you spoke of ... he was my stepdad, not my dad. I haven't seen my real dad in years. As for my mom, she was arrested for what Jody was doing at our house," said Billy, in trying to defend his mom.
"That's not what I heard. What I heard was your stepdad was a major drug supplier and got what he deserved. Besides that, ... I hear that if people want to come to The Cove, where you live as a foster boy, they can't be drug users or prescription drug abusers. Is that true?" demanded the bully.
Then, without letting Billy, answer, the bully asked, "If you were living where your mom and stepdad had loads of illegal drugs, how is it you get to pick and choose who can come to The Cove? I'll bet you're just as big a drug user now as you were then. Huh!" added the bully.
"Yes, I smoked some weed when I lived with my mom and stepdad. But, I haven't since I was taken to live with Mr. Ken. He warned me upfront on that first day that if he ever found out I was using he'd send me packing. I love living there and I am not going to ruin a good thing," replied Billy.
"Yea, right! I'll bet you have a room full of drugs and weed, and use it regularly. If all you ask someone is if they use drugs and they say 'No' then they can come to The Cove," laughed the bully.
"I don't know where you are getting your information, but I will challenge anyone to a drug test right here; right now. You game? You drug-FREE, what's your name?" challenged Billy. "I'll bet you're afraid to take a drug test, and your friends standing behind you are just as chicken."
"My name isn't important," quickly replied the bully. "And I am not afraid to take a drug test. And neither are my friends."
"OK, then I'll have the drug test setup for tomorrow and we'll see who the drug users are. You going to be OK with that, or ... are you and your friends going to chicken out?" demanded Billy.
"I don't have to prove to anyone that I am not a drug user. And, neither do my friends," argued back the bully.
"So, what's your beef with me? If you want to be my friend you have to ask me and I'll ask you a few questions about your drug use. If you lie to me and get invited to The Cove and you bring drugs inside the estate the drug dogs will find it and the guards ... they will call the Sheriff's Office. The next thing you'll know is you'll be taking a ride in one of those Sheriff's vehicles that have the Plexiglas between the driver and the accused druggie," counseled Billy.
"Now ... are you ... and your friends ... ready to take a drug test tomorrow?" asked Billy.
But the Cover never received a reply as the after-lunch bell rang and the students began to walk inside the school and their first afternoon class. Gabe and Jamie, as they all walked into the school, both applauded their friend for the way he handled himself and put the onus back on the bully. They wondered if the bully and his friends would ever agree to a drug test. They all looked at one another and laughed knowing the answer would be 'No'.
Charles had his appointment with Doctor Doug that day, so he was home long before his 'brothers'. He went to the Study to talk to his dad, but learned his dad was out checking on the status of the apartments he was building. So, the teen decided to go up to his room to work on his homework.
The rest of the younger Cover boys came home at their usual time after school, and since they were going to wait on their older 'brother', Billy, they all went up to their rooms to work on their homework.
When Billy returned home from school, he went up to the bedrooms to get his 'brothers', so they could all enjoy their afterschool snack together. As the Cover boys ate, Mr. Chris came by and talked to them about the skate park, and then he left for the day.
Mr. Wayne also came into the Kitchen Nook to grab a piece of the boy's afterschool snack, Bunuelos, which are a flat semi-sweet cake and usually served with sugar and cinnamon. The Estate Master then sat down with a glass of cold vanilla milk, to wash down his Bunuelo, and he and the boys talked about the Pavilion.
Mr. Wayne told the boys that when the lockers, tables, benches, and trash cans arrive they might have to chip in and help. The man added that when the lockers arrive, they, along with their friends, may have to spend a whole weekend putting them together and getting them into place.
Hearing they might get the chance to help build the lockers made the three youngest Covers quite happy. They asked when they would know if they had to help. Mr. Wayne told them he might know tomorrow when Mr. Chris talks to the company, but if they do have to build them it could take all weekend.
'Dad' Ken finally came home from his inspection of the apartments he was building. He told the boys the project was on schedule and hoped they would start renting them by the beginning of October. The boys asked some questions about the apartments and when they would get a chance to see them. 'Dad' Ken told them probably after school was out.
When the Covers entered the Study and claimed their chair, Matthew asked his dad how much the sailing lessons would cost. The youngest Cover explained that all of his friends wanted to take them, but if the cost was really high, they probably couldn't afford it.
The young Cover told his 'dad', that he told his friends, he'd call them tonight with the information. 'Dad' Ken told Matthew he'd try to find out the cost before dinner, but he had to call Mr. Chris who was the one who made all the arrangements. Matthew said he understood and hoped the cost wasn't so high his friends couldn't afford them.
Billy then spoke up and told his foster dad about the altercation he had with a bully at school at lunch that day. The teen explained what the bully had said about his mom and stepdad. The newest Cover then told Mr. Ken he challenged the bully and his friends to a drug test tomorrow.
Billy's teen 'brothers', Robert and Charles, understood what Billy was talking about and asked if the bully agreed to take the test. Billy laughed and said the after-lunch bell rang and he never got an answer. The three teens laughed right along with Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne.
Billy did tell his foster dad that Sawyer came to his aide in the lunchroom and had defused the confrontation there. The teen added that Sawyer asked him not to get into another fight. Billy further said he told the senior that he knew how to take care of himself, but would try to avoid that if possible. As an aside, Billy mentioned the students around them had their cell phones out and were videoing their loud conversation in the lunchroom.
Mr. Ken thanked Billy for the heads up and he asked the teen not to get into any other confrontations, if he could help it. Billy said he had no intention of having to talk to the acting principal and would only act to defend himself. Billy then said the bully had about fifteen friends backing him up and all he had were Kaden, Brett, Lonnie, Gabe, and Jamie, and wasn't too sure if they would help him against those odds.
Mr. Ken then asked the boys to go and get cleaned up for dinner as he needed to call Mr. Chris and ask him about the cost of the sailing lessons. When the two men talked, Mr. Ken was not happy with the overall cost and the small number of students the sailing instructors would take.
Mr. Ken asked Chris to call the three sailing instructors tomorrow and ask them for a price for seven youngsters who want to learn how to sail small boats like his 14' Sunfish day-sailor. Mr. Chris said he'd do that first thing in the morning. Mr. Ken knew that was not going to be what Matthew wanted, but he told himself that the boy would just have to deal with it.
During dinner, the boys were all questions and answers about the skate park. They wanted to know when the lights were going in, as well as the shade sails. They talked about what Mr. Wayne said, about having to help build the lockers and asked if there would be enough tools for them and their friends to use.
"Boys, the shade sails will be the last thing they install. As for the lights, they might go in next week, depending on the finishing of the concrete," replied Mr. Wayne. "We won't know about the lockers and other things until Mr. Chris contacts the suppliers.
"The contractor will install the tables, benches, bike racks, and trash cans. All we need from you, is where you believe they would be best placed. As for the lockers, if they come in parts and pieces, we'll need you and your friends to help put them together. If that is the case, we'll provide all the electric screwdrivers and wrenches for you to use.
"It may take the whole weekend, and it will be slow going until you work out a system to put the lockers together. Once you get a plan together the build will go faster as all of you boys work together," finished Mr. Wayne.
"Will me and all of my friends be allowed to help?" asked Matthew.
"I don't see why not. Mr. Wayne and I will be out there to supervise at first until the group gets the hang of the build. Matthew, these lockers will be very heavy and the bigger guys will need to stand them up and move them to behind the Pavilion. But I'll make sure you are included in helping," replied 'dad' Ken.
Billy, Robert, and Charles saw the look on their 'dad's' face as he said that. The man was talking to Matthew, but his eyes were focused on the three older Cover boys. They knew that look meant what he was saying.
After dinner, the Covers assembled in the Study, as they were accustomed to do. The first question asked was from Matthew. He, of course, wanted to know what Mr. Chris said about the cost of the sailing lessons.
"Matthew, Mr. Chris didn't have that information with him at home. When he arrives here tomorrow, he'll look in his folder and see if he has the information. If he doesn't, he will call the sailing instructors and get their rock-bottom group price. When he has that info hopefully, by lunch, I'll text you and you can tell your friends.
"I'll text as much information I think they'll need to be able to talk to their parents. Their parents then can call me if they have more questions. I am also going to ask Mr. Chris to see if the instructor can hold the lessons in my cove. That way you'll have access to the wetsuits and the locker room to change. Keep in mind the sailing lessons won't happen until after school is out," explained 'dad' Ken.
"Will we have enough wetsuits, 'dad'?" asked Matthew. "You said you needed to go out and buy some more and that Billy, Robert, and Eric needed new ones."
"Hmmmm, thank you for reminding me about that, Matthew. I got so busy I totally forgot about doing that. Let's look at Wednesday, or maybe even Thursday, night to do just that. It will depend on what's going on during the day.
"I'll ask Momma to have dinner ready at, let's say, four-thirty, so we can go out and do that. Otherwise, we'll have to do that on Sunday since the three of you will be at the Texas Boater Safety Course on Saturday.
"'Dad', have you thought more about getting a few more water toys, so the smaller boys can have something new and different to play on?" asked Matthew.
"Matthew, when we go and get the wetsuits, the man who sells them also sells the water toys and we'll look at them together. Will that work for you? Boys?" replied 'dad' Ken.
Right then Charles' cell phone rang. When he answered it, he learned it was James. Charles told his dad who it was and walked out of the Study, so as to not disturb them.
Charles was disappointed to learn that James' mom wouldn't pay for the safety course. The Cover told his friend he'll talk to his dad and they can talk at school tomorrow.
When Charles walked back into the Study, the boy's dad saw the long face and asked his new son what was up. The man learned that James's mom wouldn't pay for the safety training and that would mean that James couldn't drive one of the personal watercraft.
Mr. Ken asked Charles if it would be okay if he paid for James to take the course. That brightened up Charles' demeanor and asked his dad if he was kidding. Learning the man wasn't, Charles asked if he could call James and tell him. Dad Ken told his son just to tell James to spend the night and not to worry about the cost of the course.
When the daily family meeting was over in the study, 'dad' Ken told the boys to go up to their rooms and finish any homework they still had. The man added that the boys should relax before bed by reading, some. The boys laughed at that last part and then headed up to their rooms.
After the boys left, Mr. Ken talked to Mr. Wayne. The owner of The Cove explained to his Estate Master that the sailing lessons were going to cost the boys up to a minimum of $200.00 each for five lessons, and maybe more. Mr. Ken told Wayne he was going to subsidize the lessons, which was why he told Charles he'd pay for James to take the boating course.
Wayne Mitchell thanked his employer for that information and remarked he was wondering what was going on with both boys. The Estate Master asked if he was able to make those same decisions when he was sitting in for this boss when the man was away. All Mr. Ken would say was for the man to use good judgment, or else it would come out of his meager pay. Both men laughed.
When Matthew went up to his room, he pulled out his cell phone and called each of his friends and told them about what his 'dad' told him about the sailing lessons. The Cover added he hoped to get a text by lunchtime tomorrow with the needed information. Matthew also told his friends that if their parents still had questions, they could call Mr. Ken.
When the Cover men went up to say goodnight to the boys, they started with Matthew. The youngster told them about his phone calls to his friends and said they understood. 'Dad' Ken hugged the boy, kissed his forehead, and told him to get a good night's sleep. Mr. Wayne also hugged the young Cover and the two men walked over to the twins' room.
The men talked to the twins about things in general. The twins said they wished they could take the Texas Boater Safety Course, but 'dad' Ken explained why it wasn't practical. He then reminded them that the ramps would be less crowded on Saturday and that would make up for it. The men hugged the boys and Mr. Ken kissed the boys' forehead before leaving for the next boy's room.
At Charles' room, the new teen was happy his friend would be able to go to the safety course and spend the night. The teen explained that James's mom is a real jerk and that James told him the only time he is happy is when he is there. Mr. Ken asked his son to keep him in the loop. The two hugged and dad Ken kissed the teen's forehead. Mr. Wayne hugged the teen and the men walked onto Robert's room.
Robert was happy that things were going well for all of his 'brothers' and hoped that Billy wouldn't get into any more trouble. Dad Ken hugged and kissed the teen's forehead before leaving to visit with Billy. Mr. Wayne gave Robert more like a shoulder hug and followed his boss to the oldest Cover's bedroom.
"Bill, I want to thank you for being upfront with me about your encounter at school today. For some reason ... there seems to be something ... some of the students want to harass you about. The thing with Mr. Stanley wasn't your fault as the man obviously still had it in for me and used you to get back at me.
"You've been a good addition to The Cove, Bill, and the boys...have all accepted you as one of their 'brothers'. That says a lot about your character. But, as you have observed, this large family has problems just like other families do.
"I want to assure you that I will do whatever is necessary to protect you. I will support you as long as you are the one attacked or accused until it is proven otherwise. That goes for all of my 'boys', as well.
"Sleep well, tonight, and I'll see you for Breakfast," finished Mr. Ken.
The man then gave the teenager a shoulder hug. Mr. Wayne had listened to their conversation and told the teen that he'll do the same if he is sitting in for Mr. Ken. The man then gave the teenager a shoulder hug, as well, and wished the teen a goodnight.
The Cover household was quiet throughout the night.
Comments are encouraged and appreciated. Just use the email address listed at the top of the page.