When Robert's alarm went off he wasn't ready to hear it. He knew it was time to get up for school, but he just didn't want to. He hit his 10-minute snooze button and laid his head back down on his pillow. When the alarm went off again, he knew he needed to get up and check on his 'brothers'.
When the teen went out into the hallway, he saw Charles going into the bathroom, but the other two bedroom doors were still closed, and he didn't hear any noise, especially his 'brother's' alarms going off.
The teen knocked hard on both doors and eventually he went into them after using the Three-Knock Rule.
"Get UP!" yelled Robert to the twins. "It's time to get ready for school."
The teen did the same at Matthew's room and got a better response from him than he did the twins. The teen had to go into the twins' bedroom and drag them out of bed. They didn't like that, but the older 'brother' told them they were wasting time and better get up. The twins followed the teenager out of their room, with their morning pointer leading their way.
Mr. Ken was already up. He'd used his en suite to relieve the pressure in his bladder then he got dressed and went out to retrieve his morning newspaper.
"Goods mornings Mieters Kens," said Momma Maria, as her employer entered the Kitchen Nook. She was wearing one of her Christmas aprons that she loved.
"Good morning, Momma, the boys will soon be down, I hope," chuckled Mr. Ken.
Chief entered the Nook and went directly to her first master and got some behind the ear scratches, In return, she gave Mr. Ken a few doggie kisses, and then got down and went looking for her 'boys'. The resident pet then went over to Mr. Wayne and received a few ear scratches from him.
The boys were five minutes later than they usually were for breakfast, but 'dad' Ken figured their getting up at 6 a.m. after being allowed to sleep-in the last two weeks they were just not back into their old routine.
"Good morning, dad," said Robert as he led his 'brothers' into the Kitchen Nook. The teen went to his dad and hugged him and then took a seat at the table. The teen then said Good morning to Mr. Wayne.
"Good morning, 'dad'," said Charles, and he repeated what Robert had just done.
"Morning 'dad'," said Kyle and was quickly followed by his older twin. The two hugged their 'dad' and went and took a seat at the table.
"Good morning, 'dad'," said Matthew. "I can't wait until we have another long break."
Everyone laughed at what Matthew said as he hugged his foster dad.
Momma had pancakes, crisp bacon and cold milk or orange juice for the boys to eat that morning. The boys were quiet as they ate their breakfast, which told Momma they loved her cooking.
"Boys, remember what I told you last night about the coins. Keep the conversation about them to a minimum. Please steer the questions to the skate park, OK?" asked 'dad' Ken.
At school that morning, the talk from everyone was all about his or her Christmas gifts. That is until the Covers and their friends arrived and started telling about their Holiday vacation. Some of their classmates had already seen the Three Finger Cove keychains the previous day as they talked with their friends who hang out at The Cove.
The biggest conversation, in the schoolyard that morning, though, was all about the new Cove Skate Park. Some students thought the new park had already been installed, and they wanted to know how smooth it was and what elements it had.
The Covers and their friends had to bring out their phones and show them the pictures of the artist's rendition. They then had to tell them that it wouldn't be ready until after school ended. The other question was who would be allowed to use it.
The Covers answered that question by telling them that all riders will need to have their parents sign a waiver before they could even try it out. The Cover boys also told them they had forty people using the four ramps right now. They added they had no idea how much space the new skate park would have and the number of people it could handle until it was finished.
Some of the classmates were upset they couldn't go over to The Cove now, and were very vocal about it. The friends of the Covers, who heard their bitching, told them they should have gotten to know the Covers instead of ignoring them. The classmates didn't want to hear that, but knew the truth usually hurts.
The Covers also started to tell about their inflight emergency. Some of the girls, who heard Matthew telling his story, told him he was blowing it out of proportion just to be noticed. When Matthew heard that he told them he'd have readily changed places with them at the time. The girls just turned up their noses at him and walked away.
"Matthew, don't worry about them. They have no idea what you went through," consoled Noah.
"Yea, but it also says they are probably going to start their bullying again," lamented the young Cover.
The first bell rang and all the students filed into the school. After attendance was taken, the teachers knew there was going to be an assembly, so they prepared their students to head to the auditorium at the next bell.
Principal Abigail Chadwick wanted to welcome her students back from their Holiday vacation. But the main reason she wanted to talk to them was to first, encourage them to get back into focus and work and study hard, once more. She reviewed the school's calendar with them, so the students knew when their end of semester tests would be and when they had their next school days off.
But her primary reason for the assembly was to review the rules about bullying. She reminded the students that bullying included physical as well as verbal assaults. The principal told them that she did not tolerate those who used verbal assaults last year, and was not going to relax her enforcement of the rules.
Principal Chadwick finished by telling the boys and girls that she has already had reports of rude verbal comments being made that were not in keeping with good order, and it was only their first day back at school. She then rang the bell and the students went back to their homerooms for the beginning of the school day.
Mr. Ken called Bill Jackson that morning and told him what Charles said about his mom. The owner of The Cove asked Bill to be a bit more aggressive in getting Gina Lewis to relinquish her parental rights of her son. Mr. Ken also asked him to try to set up a visit for Robert with his mom either that coming weekend or the next one.
After that phone call Mr. Ken called Jules Diamond and told him about Wayne Mitchell's' desire to get in touch with his mom. He asked Jules to do what he could and that Wayne was aware he'd be contacted to answer some questions that would help him find her.
Mr. Ken also asked him to search for Matthew's father. The foster dad gave Jules as much information as he had on the boy, but told Mr. Diamond he wanted to keep the boy in the dark that he was looking for the man. He suggested he talk to Grace Turnsten, who was currently residing in the County Jail, awaiting trial for her part in the abuse of her son.
While Mr. Ken made his phone calls, the phone in Chris Dominions office rang a number of times. The phone system was designed to push all incoming Three Finger Cove phone calls to Mr. Chris' office when he was working. He politely answered the questions the callers had and after he received a dozen similar calls, he decided he needed to get his boss involved.
"Oh, Good morning Chris. I'm sorry I missed you first thing this morning, but ... I have a lot to do before I head off on my trip with Collin, tomorrow. So, what can I help you with?" asked Mr. Ken.
Chris sat down in one of the leather chairs and pulled out his notes. "Well, I've had a dozen phone calls this morning ... and, they all dealt with the same subject. But the interesting thing is ... all twelve came from three totally different entities," replied Mr. Chris, Estate Manager.
"OK, what were all the calls about, Chris?" asked the owner of The Cove.
"The phone calls were all from either parents or ... teachers," answered Mr. Chris.
"OK, what did they all want, Chris? Just tell me the whole story. I have a lot to do today," an irritated Mr. Ken told his employee.
"Mr. Ken ... they all wanted to know why their high schools weren't included in the Decoration Contest and can they be included next year," succinctly said the Estate Manager.
"What did you tell them?" asked Mr. Ken.
"I told them it was a trial year and you chose the three closest high schools. That you wanted to start slow and see how the logistics went and the high schools accepted the challenge," explained Mr. Chris.
"What did they say to that?" asked Mr. Ken.
"They all wanted to know if you'd include their high school in next year's competition you announced New Year's Eve. And before you ask, the schools are one catholic, one private, and the other is a charter high school. I looked up their addresses. They are close by. But adding three more schools would mean we'd have to add two more light poles," laughed Mr. Chris.
"Hmm, well, we have, what, four light poles down the front driveway. And there are going to be six in the skate park? Right?" asked Mr. Ken.
"So, you want to have ten high schools compete? If you invited them all to the New Year's Eve Party you'd have to have them inside and your other guests out in the garage," laughed Mr. Chris.
"You're in a jovial mood today, Chris. What gives? You happy I'm going away for a few days?" now laughed Mr. Ken.
"It's just this whole decoration competition thing. Now, that it got front-page press the other high schools are calling foul. So, what do we do? Add every high school, who thinks they are close to us? It's just laughable to me, that they all want in. I think we need to draw some boundaries that indicate what we consider close by," answered Mr. Chris.
"Chris, I don't have time for this right now. Do you have a contact at the schools you can call back? If you do, tell them I am going out of town for a few days and will address it when I get home and have some time to think about it. Tell them not to expect a decision over night.
"The logistics are mainly the problem. I only have four light posts, so how do I host six schools? Let's think about this for a while. We weren't going to announce the competition until the start of next school year, so we have a few months to make a decision. How does that sound to you, Chris?" finished Mr. Ken.
"Oh, I agree. I'll call the principals back and tell them what you've decided. They won't like it but again, we won't be announcing next year's competition until the start of next school year. But, I do have an idea. The winning school gets to defend and the three new schools get to compete. Then the following year the winner and second place returns, and so on," smiled Mr. Chris.
"But, Chris, then what do we do the following year when there are three school not competing when we only have two openings? The numbers won't support your idea, but I like the way you are thinking. Let's kick this can down the road until we have time to talk this over. Let's just go with the original explanation. OK?" suggested Mr. Ken.
After Mr. Chris left, Mr. Ken called up his friend Dan Fischer. What he asked Dan was if he could take Robert shooting on Saturday. Dan said he had the time, and it would be fun taking Robert out shooting and teaching him the right way. Dan had a good laugh over that. Mr. Ken agreed with the Sheriff's Lieutenant saying that was what he was hoping he'd do.
Ken told Dan he knew how to shoot, but he was not an instructor and he wanted his son to get it right from the beginning, and not have to relearn it all over. The two men talked about Mr. Ken's trip with Collin and that Wayne would be holding down the fort. Dan said he'd stop by to talk to Robert about going shooting and hopefully stay for dinner. He added he'd watch for anything out of the ordinary.
Mr. Ken told him that wouldn't be necessary, that he trusted Wayne and his Estate Master had to do this by himself. Dan said he understood, but he still wanted to stop by for dinner. The men had a good laugh and Ken stressed to his friend that Wayne could handle it.
At school, Matthew and his classmates took their 15-minute mid-morning break out in the fresh air. Some of the boys heard about Matthew's brush with death, so they wanted to ask him about it. Matthew was reluctant to talk about it. He told them he was afraid for his life when the cabin filled up with smoke, and he couldn't see his 'brothers' right next to him. Tears formed in the Cover's eyes, and he ran back into the school.
Brant heard what happened and he followed Matthew into the school, but he wasn't in the classroom. Brant told their teacher what happened, and she told him to go to the principal's office and tell them what happened.
Mr. Ken's private phone line rang. Very few people had that number. People like Ms. Judy, Ms. Mary, Jules Diamond, Dan Fischer, Mr. Chis and a few more. One of them that did have it was Principal Abigail Chadwick. And, when he saw who was on his Caller ID, he quickly answered it.
Mr. Ken called Chris and Wayne and told them what just happened. He told them he had to go over to the school and take care of Matthew. Wayne asked if he could go along, as he would be with the boys after his boss left to meet Collin. The two men rode together.
Principal Chadwick met the men at the front door. Matthew had been found, but they placed him in the nurse's room until they showed. The principal led Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne to where Matthew waited.
"'Dad', 'dad'," yelled Matthew, as he ran to him when he saw Mr. Ken walk into the room.
"'Son', what's this all about? Can you tell me?" lightly asked the man, as he hugged the young Cover.
"The kids ... they wanted me to talk to them about what happened in the airplane and ... and I just couldn't. They asked me to tell them about my near death experience, or something like that. 'Dad', I'm still afraid that it will happen again," cried Matthew.
Mr. Ken took Matthew out of the school. He told Principal Chadwick the boy was scheduled to meet with Doctor Jennings that afternoon, so he would take him home until it was time for his appointment.
Mr. Wayne went to Matthew's classroom to get the boys schoolwork. Brant helped him get what Matthew needed and asked what was wrong. All Mr. Wayne would say was it had to do with the airplane.
The Three Covers stopped for an ice cream, so Matthew could settle down. Yes, 'dad' Ken knew it was going to ruin the boys lunch, but he felt it was necessary to get his 'son' to open up and be ready to talk to Doctor Doug when he visited him later that day. By the time the Covers left the restaurant, Matthew said he would tell Doctor Doug what was still on his mind about the inflight emergency.
When they returned home, Momma Maria was very surprised to see Matthew come in with her employer and Mr. Wayne. She hugged the boy and asked him if he was sick. The boy said he wasn't, but was still upset about the inflight emergency. That was the first the woman heard of that and she hugged the boy some more.
Momma asked him to tell her what happened as she made lunch. Matthew wanted to please her, because she did so much for him, so as she walked around the Kitchen Nook, Matthew told her what happened from the time there was a loud bang, and the cabin filled up with smoke, to when they were in the waiting area.
Momma listened intently while she worked. 'Dad' Ken was happy Matthew was talking about his experience so openly and freely. The man knew that was what his foster son needed to do, and Momma was opening him up, so when he saw Doctor Jennings, later, he hoped he would still be that open and talkative.
Mr. Chris had come up to the Kitchen Nook and hearing what Matthew was talking about sat down and listened, too. All the Covers ate a good lunch, even though Matthew had his desert before his meal. When lunch was finished, Matthew went up to his room, taking his schoolbooks with him.
At the school, it wasn't until lunchtime that Robert learned that Matthew was taken home. When he heard it was because one of his classmates wanted him to tell them about his 'near death experience,' he was so pissed and wanted to do something about it. Eric calmed him down by telling him many ten years olds just didn't understand about being sensitive.
Charles and the twins also found out about Matthew during Lunch and they went and found Robert to talk about it. Charles thought it was because someone was bullying his younger 'brother' and wanted to talk to them. Eric calmed them all down saying it wasn't bullying, it was just a ten-year-old classmate not knowing any better and being insensitive.
When it was time for Matthew to head off to his meeting with Doctor Doug, he wasn't downstairs. Mr. Wayne went up to see if he'd just forgot about the time. What he found was the young Cover was sound asleep on his bed. It took Mr. Wayne a little shaking to get the boy up and awake.
After Matthew used the bathroom, to get rid of any excess fluid, he and the Estate Master told 'dad' Ken they were headed out, and would be back as soon as they could.
At Doctor Doug's, Matthew had an easy time telling the doctor about what his fears were. Doctor Jennings was surprised at how easy the boy was able to talk to him. It was then he learned Matthew had told it a few times, already, so he knew what he needed to say.
Matthew and the doctor worked through the boy's fears and in the end, Matthew knew that things happen and you just couldn't help it. Matthew also knew that he had to decide if he was ever going to fly again. He knew, if he didn't, 'dad' Ken couldn't take him on his special trip, or on any other trip that required him to fly.
"'Dad'," said Matthew, as he walked into the Study after returning home from his appointment, "I told Doctor Doug everything about what happened on the plane. He helped me understand that things happen and we never know when they will.
"Doctor Jennings told me I can't worry about everything, and to just press forward with my life, and not to worry about what might happen. He used Kyle's broken arm as an example. He told me Kyle still uses the ramps, even though that's where he broke his arm."
'Dad' Ken hugged his 'son' and told him to focus on the positive and the future and not the past. Matthew thanked him for coming for him that morning, and not stopping him from telling Momma and Mr. Chris. He told him that helped him tremendously when he talked to Doctor Doug. Matthew then went looking for his after school snack.
When Robert returned home after school, he went directly to the Study to talk to his dad. He wanted to get the real reason he took his younger 'brother' out of school. The teen's dad told him that Matthew had reacted to someone asking him to tell them about the inflight emergency, and he ran back into the school. Then, they couldn't find him.
"Son, Matthew still had some fears about the emergency and knowing he'll have to fly when I take him on his trip, I think he just couldn't handle it, yet. When we got home he told Momma and Mr. Chris about the incident. Your 'brother' stopped in here after returning home from his appointment.
"Matthew told me that he told Doctor Doug the whole story and he was now looking forward to our trip. It sounds to me he's faced his fears, and it looks like he has beaten them. Now, go and get your snack," finished the teen's dad.
After dinner that night, the Covers stopped in the Study as they usually did. 'Dad' Ken reviewed who had which appointment with Doctor Doug. He told the boys again, that he would leave The Cove to meet up with Collin, after they had left for school. He reminded them he'd be back by Friday in time for dinner.
"I thought you told us you'd be home by the time we got back from school," spoke up Matthew.
"Yes, I did, but that was being too optimistic. So, I changed it I'll be home by dinner. But, if I'm not home, just start without me," smiled 'dad' Ken.
"Now, tell me more about what the kids said about the keychains and the coins," asked 'dad' Ken.
Each Cover told their 'dad' what they heard their classmates say about them. There wasn't much difference in what they told 'dad' Ken. They told how their fellow students wanted to hold them and feel what it was like to be a friend of the Covers. The boys laughed at that. They said that now the students knew they would have a new skate park built at The Cove and they all wanted to know how they could try it out.
"'Dad', they didn't believe us when we told them once the Cove Skate Park was built they'd have to have their parents sign a waiver, before they could skate there," said Matthew.
The other Cover boys agreed with what their youngest 'brother' said.
"Boys, when I'm not here, you all know that Mr. Wayne will be in charge. He now has his foster parent license and is in charge while I am gone. I expect you to trust and listen to him while I am away. Things here shouldn't change just because I am gone. Oh, and Mr. Dan ... he said he wants a good meal, so you should expect him to stop by one night. I told him not to be late," smiled 'dad' Ken.
"'Dad', will you call us while you're gone?" asked Matthew.
"Well ... I'm not going to promise that I will. Collin and I will be busy reviewing real estate properties. He'll only have two full days to look around and decide if he finds something that will work for him," explained 'dad' Ken.
"Are you going to buy any houses, 'dad'?" asked Kyle.
"To be honest, I am not going with your older 'brother' to buy houses for myself. But, if I find a good deal, that I think I can rent out to some college students, I just may," chuckled Mr. Ken.
"Boys ... this is not the end of the world. I told you before, Robert survived my being gone for a whole week and this time I'm only going to be gone for three days," said 'dad' Ken.
"And if my memory serves me right, I left for a three-day weekend just before you all went out begging for candy. So, I know you can survive me being gone this time. The only person who might have some difficulty will be Matthew, since he only joined us at the beginning of November."
"Its four days, 'dad'," said Kevin.
"Oh?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Yea, you'll be gone most of Tuesday, all of Wednesday and Thursday and most of Friday. I figure it will be four days, you'll be gone," clarified Kevin.
Then Kevin asked, "'Dad', did you call and ask if we can visit our mom?"
"Yes, I did make that phone call, Kevin. But ... do you want me to tell you what I found out in front of your 'brothers'?" asked 'dad' Ken.
Kevin and Kyle looked at one another, and it was as if they were talking, without saying a word. Mr. Wayne wanted to ask about what he was seeing, and was going to, but Mr. Ken saw the look the man had and shook his head telling him to 'let it be'.
"'Dad', Kyle and I think it will be OK to let our 'brothers' know what you found out. The way you said it probably means ... it isn't good news," said a somber Kevin.
"Are you sure? I can talk to you two alone if you want," suggested 'dad' Ken.
Kyle spoke up and said, "They'd find out anyway, so this way they hear it first hand, 'dad'"
"OK, here's what I found out. Detective Carrier ... he told me that your mom ... that she had indeed been arrested ... just before we traveled to Collin's for Thanksgiving. She ... she was charged with Felony Child Endangerment, but other charges were pending the completion of his investigation.
"Detective Carrier said he would prefer I didn't bring you to visit either one of your parents, but ... but if you truly want to visit with them ... he would see if he could make the arrangements. But ... well, I have to give him a few days' notice to when you want go down there. So ... so, you have to decide if that is what you want to do and ... if you want to talk to your mom and your dad or just one or the other.
"And, since I am leaving in the morning ... I won't have any time to call Detective Carrier to set something up for this coming weekend. And, he'll want to know if you want to visit who it is you want to talk to," apologized 'dad' Ken
"Can Mr. Wayne call him? He does work for you, and you told us when you not here he speaks for you," reasoned Kevin.
"So, I take it you want to talk to one of your parents?" said Mr. Ken.
"Yea, we want to talk to our mom," quickly spoke up Kyle.
Matthew just sat there taking it all in. He knew some of the reasons why his 'brothers' were living with 'dad' Ken, but this was something very new to him. He then wondered if he'd ever want to talk to his mom again. He figured she was going to prison and his 'brothers' probably thought that, as well. This just added another concern he needed to talk to Doctor Doug about.
"OK, I'll give Mr. Wayne Joel Carrier's phone information and he can talk to him and let him know what you want. But you have to tell him when you want to go and which parent you want to see. Let him know before you go to school tomorrow, or when you get back from school so he can make the arrangements. You two going to be OK with that?" asked 'dad' Ken.
The twins did their 'twin talk' once again. Then, Kevin said they were OK with that and they'd' talk about it tonight, and let Mr. Wayne know in the morning. 'Dad' Ken told them that it worked for him. The twins smiled at hearing that.
Mr. Ken sent the boys up to their rooms to relax and settle down before going to bed. The twins used the time to talk about seeing their mom and hopefully on that Saturday.
While the boys were up in their rooms, Mr. Wayne asked his boss about the way the twins talked to one another. The Estate Master told Mr. Ken he'd seen it before, but didn't ask and now he'd like to know if it was true.
All the man's employer would tell him was that he saw it and didn't want to make a big deal out of it. He liked that the twins could talk like that, and he didn't want to stymie it. Mr. Ken asked Wayne to just, 'let it go.'
'Dad' Ken and Mr. Wayne went up to say goodnight to the boys. Mr. Ken started with Robert and Mr. Wayne began with Matthew. They talked with each boy for a few moments before moving on.
When Mr. Ken got to Matthew's room the boy wanted to talk about his mom. The youngster asked some questions that 'dad' Ken didn't have any answers for the boy because his mom was still awaiting trial. But 'dad' Ken told his youngest foster son that as soon as they knew what would happen to his mom then they can look into his questions.
The man kissed the boy's forehead, told him Goodnight and turned the light off as he exited the bedroom.
Tuesday morning started out bright and sunny. But inside The Cove household the mood was anything but. The boys moped around while going through the motions of getting ready to go to school. The breakfast table was virtually silent with the only noises coming from the utensils clanging against the plates.
"Boys ... can I have your attention ... PLEASE?" spoke 'dad' Ken.
"I am just going away for a few days, boys. Believe me; I do intend to come back. But, this is more like a funeral wake than a send off. Come on now, let's hear some, 'Have a good drive, 'dad''. Or, 'Hurry home, 'dad'.' Maybe you could also say something like, 'We'll miss you 'dad'.'"
Robert heard what his dad was trying to do so, he got up and went over to him, hugged him and said, "I love you dad. I hope you have a good time and you'll bring me back something good."
"You mean we can get a gift because he goes away?" asked Kyle with a smile.
"No, that's not how this works, boys," replied 'dad' Ken. "When I go away you should not expect I'll bring you something back for you. There are five of you. Maybe, though, you should have something waiting for me when I come home. Like that would ever happen."
"It's almost time for you to head up to the bus stop, boys. How about giving me a hug before you go and wish me a safe journey," suggested 'dad' Ken.
The boys reluctantly did what their 'dad' asked. None of them wanted to see him go away. They knew this was what he wanted to do, and they shouldn't keep him from doing something he wanted. Mr. Wayne would still be there for them, but it would be lonely without him in his Study when they came home from school.
"I'll see you Friday, boys," was what the boys heard, as their 'dad' called out to them as they walked up the rise to the Bus Stop, tears streaming down their faces.
That's it, the final chapter of Matthew's story.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about Matthew, as much as I had in writing about him. Now that this story has concluded, I would greatly appreciate all of your comments on the story's development and what you liked and didn't like about my story. A writer can't improve unless you tell him your thoughts.
Also, if you know of any 'problems' within the story, where I may have messed up with anything, please drop me a line. That way I can fix where I messed up for the next generation of readers.
Towards the end of this story, I did not reveal a new character, as I had in the three previous stories, which would have told you who I'd focus on in the next story. I know the character's name, and the reason he is in the system. Until then, you will just have to wait to see.
Thank you again for reading my stories. I appreciate your emails and I hope you will continue to send them on. I now ask you to continue to watch The Story Lover's Home for the announcement of when my next story is to begin.
On to Book Six
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