During the night, Kyle was awakened by Matthew's tossing and turning and it was then he heard him mumbling. And when the twin listened closely, he could hear his new 'brother' saying something like "Don't hit me; don't hit me! I'll be good! Please don't hit me!"
Chief was already up and watching Matthew when Kyle got out of bed and went over to Matthew and tried to wake him. The new Cover was in such a deep state of sleep that Kyle had to shake him vigorously to wake him up. As Matthew came out of his deep sleep, he saw someone sitting there at the side of his bed and getting scared it was Lincoln he yelled, "Don't hit me! Please don't hit me again!"
It was then Matthew came awake only to see Kyle was sitting on his bed.
"Oh, it's you, Kyle. I thought it was ... I thought it was my mom's boyfriend, Lincoln. Why, why are you sitting on my bed, Kyle?" asked Matthew.
"Matthew, you were tossing and turning so much that it woke me up. It was then I heard you talking in your sleep. You were saying something about not hitting you and just before you woke up you asked whoever you were talking to please not hit you again. Matthew ... what was that all about?
"You know you can talk to me. We're friends! Remember, I've already seen what your back looks like and ... and tell me was it your mom or ... or was it her boyfriend who ... who hit you so bad?" finished Kyle.
As Kyle finished asking Matthew his questions, the two lads watched as Chief opened the bedroom door and went out into the hallway, presumably to get Mr. Ken.
"I didn't know Chief could do that?" said Matthew.
"Yes, she can open most doors and can close many of them, but if you ever want to have privacy, when she is around, you'll always close your door and check it often," offered Kyle.
"And when she is with you and ... and something like your talking in your sleep happens, she will go get 'dad'. Kevin had some really bad dreams, after we moved in here. One of them was so bad that it woke me up and I couldn't get him to wake up. I went and got Robert and when we came out into the hall, we saw Chief go racing down to get 'dad'. I know that is where she is going right now," explained Kyle.
"What will Mr. Ken do when he finds out that I talked in my sleep? I hope he won't send me away. I just got here," said a tearful Matthew.
"He won't send you away. He didn't Kevin and the dreams he had were much worse than you talking about being hit on your back. At least that is what I figured you were talking about in your sleep. ... So ... will you tell me, you know, what your dream was all about?" subtlety asked Kyle.
Matthew looked at his new friend and then lowered his head in shame. He then told Kyle that his dream was about Lincoln hitting him across his back anytime he did something the man didn't like or approve of. The new Cover added that his mom didn't protect him very much, and that was why he had those marks on his back. The lad, through his tears, added that he'd just been hit the night before they found him, because he told his mom he was hungry. Kyle pulled the crying lad into a strong hug.
Chief and Mr. Ken were standing in the door and listened in while Matthew told Kyle about his dream and how Lincoln was the one who meted out the beatings on the lad's back. Chief then went over to the new lad and gave him some doggie kisses.
"Did you hear everything, 'dad'?" asked Kyle.
"I think I heard enough to understand why Matthew was beaten and that he is having trouble figuring it all out," replied Mr. Ken.
"He'll need to talk to Doctor Doug won't he?" timidly asked Kyle. All Mr. Ken did was nod his head in the affirmative.
Mr. Ken then went over and sat next to the boy. Matthew felt him sit down and as soon as he had the lad jumped into the man's arms and cried hard.
It was then that Robert came out into the hallway to go relieve his bladder. He saw Matthew's bedroom door was open and he could hear someone crying. When he investigated, he found his dad hugging a crying Matthew.
"Dad ... did he have, you know, a ... a bad nightmare?" simply asked the teenager.
Kyle answered and told him everything that happened from the time he was awakened by Matthew's tossing and turning. Robert thanked his 'brother' for filling him in and then asked if there was anything he could do. All his dad said was that he'd take care of it and for the boys to go back to bed. Kyle then told his 'dad' that he was staying in Matthew's room for the night.
'Dad' Ken asked Matthew if he would be OK for the rest of the night if Kyle stayed with him. The youngster told him that if it weren't for Kyle, he would probably be still in his bad dream.
Mr. Ken hugged the boy tight and then told him they would talk some more in the morning. Then the man told all three boys to go empty their bladders and get right back to bed.
When the two youngest Cover's returned to the bedroom with relieved faces, Matthew asked Kyle if he would sleep with him in his bed. Kyle had often slept with his twin, so he had no problem in doing that. The two boys crawled into the double bed together and before long they were fast asleep.
Being Sunday morning, Mr. Ken slept in. Well, he slept longer than when the kids had to go to school. It was 8:15 when the man went outside to retrieve his Sunday newspaper.
When the owner of The Cove went into the Kitchen Nook, he laid the newspaper on the table and then went over to get his first cup of freshly made coffee. He was glad he'd remembered to set the coffee maker up the night before, so that way he could enjoy his hot morning drink while he read the Sunday paper.
The man settled into his favorite chair at the Nook's table, slipped the large newspaper bundle from its protective sleeve and then he separated the newsprint section from the advertisements. Mr. Ken then pulled off Section A from the newsprint and began reading.
DUAL RAIDS NET 38
That was the headline above the fold that greeted the man as he looked at the front page. As soon as he saw the headline, he figured that was the raid that Detective Carrier told him was about to happen a few days earlier. Knowing that both raids had to do with two of his foster sons, Robert and Kevin, he eagerly read the article.
Last night, a two-county coordinated raid resulted in 38 arrests with the potential for more arrests once the full investigation is completed. Late last night and into the early morning, both counties Sheriffs and their officers, assisted by State Troopers and local police forces, fanned out all over their respective counties and made the arrests.
The charges filed on most, if not all, of the perpetrators, were child abuse, indecency with a minor, corruption of a minor, sexual abuse of a minor, aggravated sexual assault of a minor and child pornography.
The two county raid started as an ongoing investigation in our county but information acquired by Sheriff's Detective Sergeant Brandt Matthias took the search to Bandera County where Detective Joel Carrier developed his own leads and discovered the same scurrilous happenings in his county.
It was learned that for the past 6 weeks both detectives had joined forces to acquire the final evidence including additional sources and sworn statements to put together last night's dual raid.
It was also learned that more than two dozen children from the ages of 10 through 14 were involved with those who were arrested last night and early this morning. It is also suspected that disgraced County Judge Randolph Terryman, who was arrested in his own chambers last spring, was also associated with the men who were arrested during last night's raid.
Because all of the children who were involved with those men in their scheme of perpetrating child sexual abuse and child pornography are minors it was announced by both District Attorneys that no names or photos of the involved children will be released.
The two District Attorneys also announced that if these men go to trail and the children are expected to testify the children will be afforded anonymity though testifying from a well-hidden place.
Because the dual multi-county raids were conducted so late at night the names of those arrested were not available at press time.
(More on Page 3)
The owner of The Cove let out a sigh of relief knowing that none of the boys' names were ever used anywhere in the article. He knew, though, that he needed to talk to the boys to let them know what had transpired last night and that they may have to talk to the detectives a lot more until the entire investigation and trials are over. Mr. Ken then realized he might have to postpone his talk with Matthew.
Upstairs the boys were beginning to stir. Matthew thanked Kyle for sleeping with him and for helping him get out of his bad dream. As the lads get out of the bed, they both had tents showing in their underwear. Matthew was immediately embarrassed and put his hands in front of himself. Kyle saw his friend's reaction to his morning erection, but made no attempt to hide his own.
"Matthew ... you feel embarrassed right now because ... well, because you have a morning stiffie, right?" asked Kyle.
All the ten-year-old did was look away from his friend, and nod his head up and down.
"Matthew, we all get them, especially in the morning. I'm sure you've heard all about them during your sexual development course in school. You shouldn't be ashamed that you get them. It is part of being a boy and growing up."
"I think that is why you wanted to use the girls' bathroom, so you wouldn't be teased and made fun of if you got a boner when you saw your 'brothers' larger dicks and balls. Look, we've been talking and your morning stiffie has already gone down. I know mine has. Come on, let's go to the girls' bathroom and get cleaned up," finished Kyle.
Matthew smiled at this new friend and the two of them walked to what the boys called the girls' bathroom. Once there, they each took a toilet stall and relieved the pressure in their bladders. Once that was done they washed their hands, brushed their teeth, and it was then Kyle took his underwear off. Matthew stifled a laugh at the naked boy, but was hesitant to take his own off.
"Matthew ... I think I understand why you feel embarrassed to be seen naked in front of other boys. It is not all that difficult to do once you do it and not think about it. Come on ... take your underwear off and ... and if you feel you're getting a stiffie just ignore it. Now you take that shower stall and I'll take the other one. That is unless ... unless you want me to shower with you?" said Kyle.
The youngest Cover looked up at Kyle and didn't say a word. The two boys stood there looking at one another waiting for the other one to speak.
"Look ... it's not that bad being seen naked by other boys. Look at me. I've been standing here in front of you, naked as the day I was born, and I'm not ashamed. Come one, Matthew, you have to get over your fear of being seen naked. When we go swimming, we all change down in the Men's Shower Room and even the younger boys will take all their clothes off even when the much older boys are in there."
"When you talk to the other boys, they'll tell you how scared they were the first or second time they changed in front of the other boys. It was after they realized that we all have the same equipment, you know penises and testicles, even though they may be different sizes and shapes, we are all boys and they are no longer ashamed to be seen by the other boys."
"Matthew ... we'll be going swimming later and boys my age will be there and we'll run interference for you. Once you do it a time or two, you'll be comfortable changing in the shower room, too. ... Come on, Matthew, drop your underwear and let's get our showers," finished a calm and light spoken Kyle.
The young boy thought for a few moments about what his friend just said. Then, he pulled his underwear down and stepped out of them. He waited for Kyle to laugh at his small boy toys, but when no laugh came, Matthew smiled. "Can you show me how the shower works?"
Kyle walked with the younger Cover to one of the semi-enclosed shower stalls and explained how to turn the dial to get the temperature he wants. Matthew saw that with the two of them in the enclosure there was lots of room, so he asked Kyle to shower with him.
In the other bathroom, the other three Cover lads were also getting ready.
"Where's Kyle?" asked Charles.
"He's helping Matthew get used to getting ready in the morning using the other bathroom," explained Robert.
"Oh, I guess that's good. I hope Matthew doesn't have any trouble with Kyle seeing him naked," offered Kevin.
As the two youngest Covers showered, Matthew asked, "Kyle ... are you kidding me that all the boys ... they change in front of the rest of the boys down in the shower room?"
"Nope, I'm not kidding you. You can ask Sam and Terran and they'll tell you. They spent the night here with their older brothers and they even took morning showers with them in the other bathroom. Yes, they said they were scared and embarrassed, but after they'd done it a time or two, they say it was easy and now they don't care who sees them," answered Kyle.
"Will ... will I have to do that, too?" meekly asked Matthew.
"Well, it would be easier if you could get past your embarrassment by everyone seeing your boy-parts. Look ... here we are taking our showers together and you don't have a problem with that do you?" asked Kyle.
"I guess not, but ... I consider you as a friend. Friends do things together and share things, too. ... You know Kyle ... you're the first friend I've had all summer and ... and maybe even longer. I guess I'm just being a baby about it," replied Matthew.
"No, Matthew ... I think you are just a ten-year-old kid who has had a ton of new things happen to you all at once. And, well, you are just not comfortable being here at The Cove yet. Give it time and you'll be okay," counseled the younger twin.
The two finished getting cleaned up and as they walked out of the bathroom Kyle just walked out naked. Matthew had wrapped a towel around his waist and was appalled that Kyle would do that. Then, he saw Kevin's backside as Kyle entered his bedroom. Matthew chuckled to himself.
Kyle went into his bedroom and Matthew went into his. The boys changed into some play clothes and met out in the hallway. When all five lads were together, they all headed down to the kitchen Nook.
"Good morning, dad," called out Robert.
"Morning, dad," said Charles.
Kevin yelled out, "Good morning 'Dad Ken'"
Kyle and Matthew stood next to the man and Kyle said, "Good morning, 'dad.'" Matthew just stood there not saying anything. He just hadn't decided what to call his new foster dad.
The youngster then spoke up and said, "Ahh, I still don't know what to call you,"
Mr. Ken smiled at his new foster son and said, "Why don't you call me 'Dad Ken' like Kevin does?"
"OK, Good morning, 'Dad Ken'" offered a now smiling Matthew.
Kyle took his new friend over to the freezer and showed him where Momma Maria kept the frozen breakfast tacos and he explained which ones she made for them. Then, he took the boy over to the pantry and showed him the three different kinds of cereal they had. Kyle also added that if he liked something different, he could ask Momma to buy it for him.
Matthew couldn't believe that he could ask for any breakfast cereal be bought for him and he'd not get into trouble. Kyle saw his friend thinking to himself and then nudge him and asked him what he wanted to eat. Kyle then got out three breakfast tacos each and then showed Matthew how to reheat them in the microwave.
When Mr. Ken saw that Robert and Kevin had finished eating, he asked them to follow him back to his Study. The two boys had no idea what that was all about, but they knew they couldn't find out unless they went to the Study to find out.
"Boys, close the door, would you please?" said 'dad' Ken, before sitting in one of the comfortable chairs.
Robert and Kevin sat in a chair opposite him, but Mr. Ken asked Kevin to sit next to Robert.
"Boys, let me show you what was in this morning's newspaper," said Mr. Ken, as he held out the front section of the Sunday paper.
Robert read it while Kevin looked over his shoulder. When the boys were finished reading, they gave the paper back to Mr. Ken and asked him what he wanted to tell them.
"Boys ... Detective Carrier called me earlier in the week and ... well, he told me that this might happen. Well, as you can see, it did. Boys ... most of the men who used and abused you were arrested last night. What I want you now to understand is that even though the article says the DA's wouldn't release your names ... it is still possible someone in the DA's office, for money, could give your names to the press."
"The press knows not to publish your names, but they could start harassing you to talk to them about what those men did to you. I hope that doesn't happen, but you need to know up front that it could. If anyone comes to you and starts asking you questions like if you know the names of some of the men don't answer them. Just try to ignore them!"
"If any reporter approaches you and asks you about what you just read in the newspaper you let me know. They may be persistent, but you are NOT to say anything. Just tell them you don't know what they are talking about. We'll figure this out together. And, I'll do whatever is necessary to protect you but ... you have to let me know. Do you have any questions about this?" finished Mr. Ken.
"'Dad' what are we going to do if they ... if they do find out our names and our friends find out too?" asked Kevin.
"'Son' we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it. But, I'd say that if your friends are TRUE friends, then they will understand after they learn the truth. But in the meantime, we want to try to act as normal as possible. I know that might be difficult at first, now that you know what the possibilities are, but I'd ask you not to try to think about it and that might help you keep calm. Just try to act like yourself."
"But, boys ... if you ever feel overcome by the thought of this you need to tell me right away. I'd also ask you to talk to Doctor Doug about this, so he can give you some ideas on how to cope with all this. Can you do that for me?" asked Mr. Ken.
Both boys shook their heads that they understood. As they got out of their chairs to catch up with their 'brothers', Mr. Ken told them he was going to call the Sullivan's and ask them if Brant could come over when Brad did. He explained he'd like Matthew to get to know at least one kid from his grade when he arrived at school tomorrow.
It was just as the boys were leaving the Study that Kevin looked back and asked, "'Dad' ... can we talk to our 'brothers' about all of this?"
Mr. Ken thought about the question for a few moments and then asked Robert what he thought. Robert said it might help them to be able to talk to someone else besides Doctor Doug and besides their 'brothers' knew everything about them. Then, he qualified his reasoning by saying that Matthew would be the unknown, for right now, but he would eventually learn about them if he stayed there long enough.
The boys left the Study and caught up with their 'brothers' out at the ramps. Matthew was practicing his moves on the ramps and getting his balance back, so Robert called Charles and Kyle over to him and Kevin. Robert proceeded to tell them what their 'dad' just told them and how he wanted to handle it.
Charles was surprised at hearing what his 'brothers' just told him and Kyle was afraid his mom would get caught up in all that. As the boys continued to talk about what they knew about Robert's and the twin's dads, they tried to keep their voices down so Matthew couldn't hear what they were talking about.
Matthew saw his new 'brothers' talking, but they weren't talking very loud. He figured they were talking about him from this morning and his not wanting to shower with them. The more he thought about it the more upset he became. Then, after the boys looked over at him one last time, Matthew lost it.
"So go ahead and talk about me behind my back. Well, well I hate living here and I'm going to tell Mr. Ken I want to move away from all of you. You don't care about me and all you want me to do is get naked and shower with you. I HATE YOU. I HATE YOU ALL!" screamed Matthew as the tears rapidly fell from his eyes. Then, after he finished yelling at his new 'brothers', he ran towards the front of the house to find Mr. Ken.
The boys didn't know what to think about Matthew's outburst. They knew they weren't talking about him and they all started talking to one another about what they just saw as they watched as Matthew ran away.
When Matthew got to the front door, it was locked. He pounded on the door for all his worth but it wouldn't open and the more he pounded the more he cried. He just knew the Cover boys were all against him, even Kyle was conspiring against him.
Inside, Chief heard the pounding on the door, and since it wasn't something that would normally happen she began barking as she ran towards the Foyer door. Mr. Ken quickly followed behind.
The boys knew they had to talk to Matthew and explain to him they weren't talking about him. They quickly followed behind the lad and they got to the front door just as Chief and Mr. Ken opened it.
"They all hate me! They ALL hate me, Mr. Ken! They were talking about me behind my back. They didn't ask me ... they didn't want me to listen to what they were talking about and they were talking real low so I couldn't hear what they were saying. I just know they were talking about me. I don't want to live here if that's the way they are going to treat me!" loudly cried Matthew, as he jumped into Mr. Ken's arms.
The four Cover lads just stood there with their mouths wide open. They couldn't believe the boy would say what he did without knowing what they were talking about. Mr. Ken could see there was more to what Matthew as saying, so he knew he had to nip this in the bud before it escalated into something that got way out of control.
As his foster dad held him tight, Mr. Ken looked down at his boys and told them he wanted to talk to them about what Matthew just said. He thought he knew what the misunderstanding was all about, so he explained he would talk to them one at a time. He called Kyle into the Study first and he allowed Matthew to listen to what the boy had to say.
Each Cover lad, in turn, told Mr. Ken almost the same thing. They didn't go into specifics because they didn't know if Matthew was going to stay and they didn't want him to know why they were in foster care. They also didn't want him to know, just yet, about the sexual abuse and how they were used by the men who were arrested last night.
Robert was the last Cover lad to tell his story and when he finished and left the room, Mr. Ken joined Matthew sitting in one of the soft leather chairs and sat in the one next to him.
"Matthew ... you heard what the boys had to say. Do you still think they don't like you and that they were talking behind your back?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Well ... Charles, Kevin, and Robert could have talked and agreed to say the same thing," replied the lad.
"But what about what Kyle had to say. He didn't get the chance to get his story straight, and it was very similar to what his 'brothers' had to say, right?" said the owner of The Cove, in a light and calm manner to try to get the lad to think clearly about what was just said.
When the lad didn't say anything, Mr. Ken asked him if he thought Kyle was against him. He reminded Matthew that Kyle was right there for him last weekend when he needed a friend. He told the boy how Kyle made it a point to visit him in the hospital and how he stayed with him last night and reiterated how he had even said Kyle helped him get out of his bad dream.
That gave Matthew a lot to think about. After a minute or so of thinking about what his foster dad just told him, Matthew said, "Mr. Ken ... I guess ... I guess I did make a big mistake by saying they were talking behind my back and saying to them and that I hate them."
"I feel so confused. Everything has happened so fast to me that I ... I don't know what to think," now cried Matthew, who jumped into Mr. Ken's outstretched arms.
As Mr. Ken and Matthew talked in the Study, the lad's friends began to arrive. When the Sullivan's arrived they asked if Mr. Ken would come up to the Main Gate. The guard called down to the owner of The Cove and Mr. Ken asked him to let the Sullivan's come on down.
As the Sullivan's walked down to the house, Mr. Ken told Matthew why he invited them over. The two Covers then met the Sullivan's at the Foyer door. When they opened it Mr. Ken introduced Matthew to the Sullivan's and the two younger lads who were with them.
"Welcome to my humble home," laughed Ken Thomas. Matthew looked up at the man and inwardly laughed at what he said about his house.
"Matthew ... I want you to meet Brant Sullivan and Ryan Longger. Ryan spent the weekend and now you'll get to meet two boys who you will be going to school with tomorrow. Come in everyone for a few minutes," announced Mr. Ken.
The six walked over to the Study where Mr. Ken explained how Matthew had come to be living there. Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan welcomed Matthew to The Cove and told him they knew he was going to love living there.
The three lads were very quiet as the eyed one another. Mr. Ken saw what they were doing, so he told the boys to go on out and get to know one another and then catch up with the other boys.
But, before he let Matthew go, he called him over and whispered to him, "When you see a good opportunity, you may want to pull your 'brothers' aside and tell them that you're sorry. I believe everything is happening so fast that you just don't know what to think. Tell them that you feel lost and you don't know what is going to happen to you. OK?"
Matthew smiled at the man and said he'd try to find a good time. Then he thanked him with a quick shoulder hug and then he caught up with Brant and Ryan who were waiting just outside the Study door.
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