Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Twenty~Three

When the Thanksgiving dinner was over, all the boys went over to Grammy and hugged her and thanked her for inviting them to such an awesome experience and wonderful meal. The boys, unnoticed by the adults, went looking for the chef and servants. When they found them, Robert told them how they really appreciated their hard work in preparing and serving them such an awesome meal.

With Robert's compliment over, the boys got in line behind Robert and Eric and starting with the chef gave each and every one of the servants a big hug. The chef and servants were thoroughly surprised at the unexpected and personal thanks each of the boys gave them. The women had tears in their eyes from receiving such a warm and heartfelt thank you from complete strangers.

"Where have you boys been?' asked Mr. Ken, when he finally found the six youngsters.

"Dad, we went and found the chef and servants and thanked them for fixing us such a great meal,' explained Robert.

"Yea, 'dad' we found them and we each gave them a hug. It was our way to thank them for giving up their Thanksgiving to fix and serve ours,' added Matthew.

Mr. Ken smiled at what the boys had done and he grabbed them all and called for a group hug. Collin heard the call for the group hug and went over to his Big Bro and 'brothers' and asked what it was all about. When he learned what the boys had done, he went to Grammy and told her what the boys had done. Hearing the boys personally thanked the chef and servants and how they did it brought tears to the older woman's eyes.

"Boys ... you are all such a wonderful and caring group of young men. I don't think I ever heard of anyone ... thanking the staff ... for what they do for us. Thank you all for doing that,' praised Grammy.

Ms. Judy went to her son and hugged and thanked him for being one of those caring and thoughtful young men. She fawned over him so much, Eric had to say an exasperated, "Moooom!' Robert and the other boys saw, then heard Eric's exclamation and lightly laughed at him.

As with any big meal, but particularly after a turkey dinner, people tend to get sleepy. That day was no exception as the L-tryptophan found in turkey began working on all the Thanksgiving dinner participants. Practically everyone went looking for a soft spot to curl up and catch a quick nap.

After everyone had their nap, they gathered around and talked. The boys were the center of attention for what they did for the servants, but after a few more compliments for what they'd done the group moved on to other subjects.

The boys wanted to know more about Uncle Andy and how he helped Mr. Ken and Collin back when the college student was living at The Cove. Andrew Marshall told the boys about his small part and added how much he enjoyed drinking Mr. Ken's wine, as he presently drank from a large glass of wine. The boys laughed at the man and his drinking habits.

Collin, Robert and Eric decided to compare notes on their Disney Cruise, so everyone could hear their exploits. Grammy was hearing Collin's full story for the first time and was appalled by the actions of the security man Mr. Ken fired from the ship.

The three Cover 'brothers' also talked about the Davies – Michelle, Cameron, Colt and Jerry. They specifically talked about Colt and Jerry and how they helped each of them deal with the men following Collin and the woman mixing the four boys up and trying to make trouble for Mr. Ken.

Matthew was hearing the stories for the first time, too and wondered if he'd ever get the chance to have a Disney cruise. So, he asked.

"'Dad', will I ever get to go on a Disney cruise?' directly asked the youngest Cover.

"Well, 'son' I can't promise you anything. When I took Collin, Robert and Eric on their cruise they were the only boys living with me at the time. Well, Eric lived with his mom, but you know how Robert and he are thick as thieves. But, now that there are five of you and I have my amusement parks and construction projects a cruise might not be an easy thing to schedule.

"Matthew, you know we're going to visit my amusement parks right after Christmas and that's ...well, that's all I can promise you right now. Oh, and Collin, I forgot to tell you that. I took Robert and Eric to visit my parks just before school started, but now the other boys want to go.

"Christmas is on a Friday, so I planned for us to leave real early Saturday and return late Tuesday. That should give us enough time to visit at least two, if not all three parks. With Ms. Judy bowing out, because her department gets busy during the Holidays, I sure could use another chaperone. So ... what do you say my 'lil bro'? You ready to spend some quality time with your 'brothers' and see my amusement parks?' asked the Big Bro of Collin.

The boys quickly joined in and begged the college student to go and ride the roller coasters with them. Collin looked to Grammy. He wanted to see if she had anything to say about his being gone.

"Colley, you were going to be gone from the day after Christmas until New Year's Day anyway, so leaving late on Christmas Day isn't really going to matter to me. We'll have the chance to spend Christmas morning together and you'll go off with your friends, so this isn't anything different. And besides, your Big Brother needs you and you could use some fun time before you go back to school,' answered Grammy Wilkinson.

Collin took Grammy's advice and told his Big Bro he'd love to be a chaperone for his 'brothers'. Upon hearing that, Matthew jumped up and hugged the college student and thanked him for going with them. That surprised everyone since only 24+ hours before that was the first time the two had ever met.

As everyone was talking, the servants came into the living room an announced that a late dinner was being served with the leftovers from their Thanksgiving meal. Their offerings included the two different soups, stuffing's, creamed cucumbers, the remaining corn and green beans and cold white meat turkey sandwiches on white, wheat or rye bread.

Everyone retired to the dining room where the leftovers were laid out on the table. Matthew asked if he could have some more of that good corn soup. He told everyone he liked the sweet taste and the spices in it. Everyone made their own sandwiches and took what warm or cold leftover they enjoyed the most.

About an hour after eating, the boys asked if they could go swimming before they went to bed. Collin agreed to that request and told his 'brothers' to change and meet him at the pool. The boys asked their 'dad' and Mr. Wayne to join them. This time the two men begged off saying they wanted to talk to the other adults.

With the boys swimming, the adults talked some more about the boys. Grammy wanted to know what Ken had planned for them for Christmas. Ken told the adults what he'd planned to do, but only Judy understood what that meant.

The boys came from the pool area all wet. They'd forgotten to take towels because they were used to having towels at their own pool. Mr. Ken told them to hurry up the stairs and dry off. He told them he and Mr. Wayne would be right up soon to say Goodnight to them. As the boys quickly ran up the stairs, the other adults laughed at their antics. When Mr. Ken walked up the stairs, a few minutes later, the rest of the adults decided to stop for the day, too.

Mr. Ken stopped at Robert and Eric's room first to say Goodnight. His next stop was the twin's bedroom where he received hugs from both boys. The man passed his Estate Master coming from Charles' and Matthew's bedroom. They said their Goodnights to one another as they passed in the hallway.

Mr. Ken knocked on the bedroom door and the boys simultaneously told him to come in. The man walked in and hugged Charles. Then, no sooner had he turned towards Matthew, the ten-year-old jumped onto him.

"Thank you, thank you 'dad' for bringing me here. This has been the best time I've ever had being with lots of people. Yes, I've been around mine and my 'brothers' friends, but this ... this is totally different. This time I got to be around adults, unlike my mom and Lincoln. These people cared about me, 'dad'. They really cared about me, 'dad'. I hope this never ends,' exclaimed Matthew, who then began to leak tears.

Mr. Ken just held onto the lad and rubbed his back. Charles watched what unfolded in front of him, watching how his 'dad' used his back-rub method to calm one of his 'sons' down. It took Matthew a minute or two to stop his tears, but when he did he had a smile on his face.

"Boys, and you too Chief, get a good night's rest. Sleep in if need be. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but this is supposed to be a relaxing weekend for all of us, so please try to relax,' chuckled 'dad' Ken.

The next morning, at a very late breakfast, the servants served Grammy first and then they served the boys before the remaining adults, including Collin. All the servants had big smiles on their faces and it was noticed by everyone, including Grammy.

When the boys were finished eating they got up from the table and took their dirty dishes into the kitchen. The chef told the boys they didn't have to do that, but Kyle spoke up and told the man he was told to help Momma Maria wherever they could and they decided to help him and his staff, too.

The chef asked who Momma Maria was. Matthew took the question and told him Momma Maria was the woman who cooked all their meals. The chef was surprised they only had one person taking care of them and only for their meals.

Robert spoke up and told the chef that his dad had maids and cleaning crews come in every week and did the laundry and cleaned the house. The teen Cover told the men and women that Momma Maria was like one of the family who treated them as if they were her grandkids.

Charles spoke up and told the Wilkinson staff that at times their 'dad' has even asked her to sit and eat with them. The pre-teen Cover told the staff how Momma made them an after school snack, each day, which sometimes included very cold vanilla or chocolate milk.

Matthew spoke up and told them that he'd only lived with Mr. Ken and his 'brothers' for less than two weeks, but Momma Maria was always there to hug him and console him when he needed a woman's touch.

The youngest Cover explained they were all Covers for living at Three Finger Cove, but that Momma Maria was there from the very beginning, which was why they considered her as being one of them, a Cover.

The hired Wilkinson staff told the boys they had never heard of anything like that in the domestic's world they worked in. They told the boys they now understood why they gave them their hugs the previous night, because they appreciated what their Momma did for them. Matthew said the only way they could tell her how much they appreciated her was to give her something they had in abundance, which were hugs.

They all ate breakfast so late that lunch was decided to be snacks, if they wanted them. Collin asked Mr. Ken for his van keys and told him he wanted to take the boys around the area some more. They even took Chief with them. Mr. Wayne stayed home to be with the adults.

It was early afternoon when Jules Diamond, the owner of the security company protecting The Cove called Mr. Ken. The Cove's owner asked Jules what was the emergency and the man told him there was a disturbance at The Cove every day since he left.

Mr. Ken told Jules Diamond he wanted to put the call on his speakerphone, so Wayne Mitchell could know about it. Mr. Ken expressed to the security company owner his desire for Wayne to have any, and all, background knowledge about The Cove and its security. Mr. Ken told Mr. Diamond he wanted his Estate Master to know everything about The Cove, so he could make wise decisions when he had to.

"Jules, Wayne and I are listening in. What do you have to tell us?' said Mr. Ken.

"Mr. Wayne ... the men told me about your new position and I want to congratulate you on your appointment. Mr. Chris, and now you, will be given the same courtesy and respect as Mr. Ken and Mr. Dan' first said Jules Diamond.

"OK, Jules, what is so important you have to call me while I'm away,' teased Mr. Ken.

"Mr. Ken, with this being the Holiday week, I usually don't look at the men's reports until Monday. But ... well, there were three incidents at your place since you left on Wednesday,' directly said Jules Diamond.

"OK, Jules, there've been other incidents at The Cove and your men handled them without problems, so ... so, what makes these three so important you need to call me?' asked Mr. Ken.

"Mr. Ken, the men wrote the incidents up as they were trained to do. And since the incidents didn't happen on the same day they were buried with all the other reports. It wasn't until my supervisor called me to tell me that a third similar episode happened last night that ... well, I decided to check all of the reports on The Cove.

"Mr. Ken ... on Wednesday evening ... a woman ... she came to The Cove and demanded to see her son. The men reported they told the woman the entire household was gone until the weekend, and she should return then.

"On Thursday afternoon, a different team was on duty, when a woman came to The Cove and demanded she get to see her son. The men reported they told her the entire household was gone until late Saturday, and she should return then. They also reported she told them she saw different lights go on and off during the night, so she knew someone was home.

"Those men didn't know about the previous day's incident, so they didn't make it a major report. I'm Sorry Mr. Thomas,' finished Jules Diamond.

"OK, Jules ... so what the hell happened that you waited until now?' a more concerned Ken Thomas said.

"Mr. Ken ... the woman came again last night and ... and she demanded she get to see her son. This time, because of the Holiday, the security team was made up of men who each had an experience with the woman. They reported they told her no one was home, but she didn't believe them and told them she'd drive through the gate if she didn't get to talk to her son.

"They reported she revved the engine as if she was going to ram the gate, but they quickly put the bollards up. They said after they did that she didn't try to ram the gate, Mr. Ken.

"That was why the supervisor called me to tell me what happened and how they handled it. That was indeed a major reportable incident,' replied Jules.

"Did they get the woman's name?' quickly asked Mr. Ken.

"The first two times they didn't get the woman's name, but since she tried to gain access to The Cove and it looked as if she intended to drive her vehicle into the gate, they called the Sheriff's department. They sent out a patrol car and when the Sheriff's Deputy arrived he took her name and gave it to my men for their report,' replied Jules Diamond.

"Her name Jules, her NAME!' demanded a yelling Mr. Ken.

"Her name was reported as, let me see here, yes, Grace, a Grace Turnsten, Mr. Ken. A Grace Turnsten was the woman who may have intentions to ram the gate. The sheriff's deputy told her she would be arrested for destruction of private property if she did ram the gates and trespassing if she didn't leave immediately,' replied the security owner.

"Jules ... let me make a few phone calls. In the meantime, have your men keep the bollards up and keep them that way until I return late Saturday night. You got that Jules?' said an even more pissed off Ken Thomas, owner of The Cove.

"Yes, sir, I understand. I'll call them as soon as I get off the phone with you and give them their new instructions. I'm truly sorry, Mr. Ken, that this happened,' started an apologizing Jules Diamond.

"Jules, you didn't do anything wrong and your men ... they handled it like the professionals they are. And, I do appreciate that you waited to call me until the incident elevated itself because of the intended actions of Grace. The woman didn't gain access, which is what your men are paid to do. But, for right now I don't see a problem here.

"We can talk about this later, Jules, when we've had a chance to sit down and review the reports and your men's actions. Now, we both need to make some calls, so, what say we hang up and you make your calls while I make mine,' said a somewhat calmer Ken Thomas.

"Oh, Mr. Ken ... one last thing. A large box ... from an electronics company arrived for you today. I thought you'd want to know,' said Jules before he hung up.

Mr. Ken turned off his phone and immediately Ms. Judy asked him what was wrong. Mr. Ken explained to the Director of CPS what Jules just told him. Judy Turner quickly put her hand to her mouth in astonishment.

"Ken, what can you do?' asked Ms. Judy.

"Judy, I'm going to call Dan and see what he can tell me. Let me make the call and I'll put it on speaker. That way you and Wayne can hear what he has to say,' said Ken Thomas.

"Dan, Ken ... I understand Grace Turnsten was almost arrested last night for trespassing and attempting to ram my front gate. By the way, Dan, Judy and Wayne are listening in. Is there anything else you can tell us?' quickly asked Mr. Ken.

"Ken, I read the officer's report closely, since it had something to do with The Cove. Now, who is this Grace Turnsten and what makes you so concerned over her?' asked Dan.

"Dan ... Grace ... she's Matthew's mom. She must have made bail and somehow found out where her son was living. Was she arrested and is she still in jail and what are her chances she can get out again?' asked Mr. Ken.

"Ken, I'll look into it some more, when I can, but for now, because of the Holiday, we're sort of short manned, if you know what I mean. If she was arrested, she'll be in the county jail and would remain there until her hearing on Monday.

"But, Ken, I don't see in the officer's report that she was arrested. It says here he gave her a verbal warning about her trespassing, and what would happen to her if she attempted to ram the gates. It says he sent her on her way, and told her not to return without a court order. I guess she also could get Ms. Judy to allow her to have a supervised visit.

"Ken ... will Matthew ... do you think he will be available on Sunday for Roberts and Matthias to talk to the boy?' asked Dan Fischer, Sheriff's Lieutenant.

"Yes, Dan, I'm sure Matthew will be available come Sunday. I'll call Stewart Russell and ask him to represent him during the interview. What say we make it for twelve noon or, better still, let's make it 1 o'clock? That way no one is rushed and everyone can get a good breakfast, or lunch, before the questions and answers begin,' replied Mr. Ken.

The two men hung up with Dan telling Mr. Ken he'd call him if, and when, he learns anything new about Grace Turnsten.

"Well, you heard it. There is nothing we can do whether we are here or back at The Cove,' said Mr. Ken to Ms. Judy and Mr. Wayne who were with him.

"What is it we can't do while we're here, 'dad'?' asked Matthew, as he came into the room with his 'brothers', as Mr. Ken was talking to Ms. Judy and Mr. Wayne.

Mr. Ken looked at the youngster and had to decide if he should tell him what was happening or wait until a better time. He figured the boy would eventually learn about Lincoln and what his mom tried to do. The question he had to decide was if he should tell him now, or wait, until late Saturday evening, when they got home or Sunday morning before the detectives arrived.

"Matthew ... ahh ... there is something I probably should tell you now, so when we get back ... this ... ahh, this won't hit you all at once. Come on 'son' ... let's go find a quiet place to sit and talk,' said Mr. Ken.

"Why can't my 'brothers' hear this, too?' quickly asked Matthew. "It will affect them too won't it? Then, they should hear it too and that way they won't be asking me lots of questions.'

Mr. Ken thought about that for a few moments and decided to let all the boys listen in to what he needed to tell Matthew. Matthew was correct. This would probably affect them as well, since they all go to the same school and if Brant knew about Lincoln he wondered how many other of Matthew's friends and his 'brothers' friends knew.

"Boys ... please find a comfortable seat. This may take a while,' announced 'dad' Ken.

The boys, Collin, and the adults, including Grammy all found a good seat, either on a chair or on the floor. When Ken Thomas saw everyone was settled, he decided to get started.

"Matthew, boys ... Matthew is right ... this may affect all of you, so ... it is probably best you all know what is going on. Now, where do I start?' said Mr. Ken.

"Start at the beginning, 'dad'' spoke up Kyle, with a smile on his face.

Kyle's response broke the tension of the moment. Mr. Ken went over to the twin and ruffled his hair, smiled, looked around at the boys and then decided to start at what he learned yesterday.

"Matthew, this directly concerns you, but over time it could affect the rest of you boys. 'Son', the TV reported yesterday that Lincoln, your mom's boyfriend ... that he was charged with five counts of armed robbery, three counts of aggravated robbery and three counts of aggravated assault and battery,' announced 'dad' Ken. "But, there could be more.'

Hearing that shocked not only the boys, but the adults, as well. They began talking back and forth to one another until Mr. Ken got their attention to focus back on him.

"Yes, that is what they reported. What this means is ... well, it means Detectives Matthias and Roberts are going to want to talk to Matthew when we return. I told Mr. Dan to ask them if they could wait until Sunday at noon or 1 PM. We'll know when we return Saturday night, if not sooner.

"The other piece of information I need to tell you, Matthew is ... well, it appears your mom made bail. She also learned ... she learned where you are living somehow and ... well ... she came to The Cove and wanted to talk to you. She stopped by three different times, but on her third visit she ... she got so mad at the security guards, who wouldn't let her talk to you, that she ... well, she intended to ram the front gate, but the bollards were up, so she didn't try'

"What are bollards, 'dad'?' asked Matthew.

"Matthew, boys, a bollard ... well, it is a sturdy post that is designed to guide traffic or keep it from going where they aren't allowed. Those round metal disks you see in the concrete at the front of the Main Gate ... that is where the solid metal posts reside inside of them. The guards can raise or lower them as needed. They will protect the gate and keep vehicles from breaching the perimeter there,' replied Mr. Ken.

"Oh, ahh, thanks' 'dad'' said Matthew, to a few chuckles.

"OK, to keep going, Jules Diamond, the man who owns the security company who watches over The Cove ... he called me while you boys were out. That was what I was talking to Ms. Judy and Mr. Wayne about when you returned.

"The thing is, Matthew, is ... because she told them she was going to ram the gate, so she could talk to you, the security guards called the sheriff's office. They sent an officer to The Cove and the officer told her she would be arrested for destruction of private property and trespassing if she did that. The officer told her to leave the property and not to come back without a court order to see you. We don't know where she is right now.

"Matthew, I don't know if the news media will pick up on Lincoln's name and associate it with your mom. If they don't that will be a good thing, because your friends they won't put her last name and your last name together. Since it was a slow news day, they may notice the sheriff's call and do it that way. If the news media does report on the incident at The Cove last night then ... well, we'll have to cross that bridge when we get there.

"Matthew, boys, Brant Sullivan told his big brother Brad he heard Lincoln's name on the TV and Brad called Robert. That's how I learned about Lincoln. But, since Brant knows, the question is, how many other friends of yours also know. Matthew, we can talk about this on Sunday, since you might forget or get confused about what we decide to say until then.

"And boys ... I told you we'd buy your Holiday suits when we get back. With Matthew having to talk to Matthias and Roberts about Lincoln, we won't go out until late on Sunday. That will mean your friends won't be able to stop by on Sunday,' finished Mr. Ken.

"Ahhhh, 'dad', that's not fair,' said Kevin. "We haven't seen them since Tuesday.'

"Well, Kevin you'll see them at school on Monday. But, I need to get you your suits ordered and altered, as needed, so you can wear them for all three Holiday parties. Now ... do any of you have any questions for me before we have dinner?' finished 'dad' Ken.

"Dad, what's going to happen to Matthew's mom?' asked Robert.

"That's the sixty-four thousand dollar question, son. Mr. Dan says in a perfect world she could lose her bail if we make a big deal over what she intended to do. If that occurs, she'd probably be sent back to jail until her trial. But, Mr. Dan says as long as she stays away and gets the court order, or even gets Ms. Judy to authorize a supervised visit to talk to Matthew they won't get involved,' replied Mr. Ken.

With no more questions, Grammy asked everyone to head to the dining room, so they could have their dinner meal. When everyone was seated, Grammy rang her tiny bell and the servants came in with big smiles on their faces. This time the meal didn't have five courses as their Thanksgiving Dinner had.

The servants brought in the evenings meal and started the diners off with a salad and offered them their choice of dressing. When the salad plates were removed, the servants brought in plates covered with domes. Under them were roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, and creamed corn. The staff then placed rolls and butter strategically on the table.

The conversation during the meal focused on Matthew and what Mr. Ken told everyone earlier. Matthew didn't say a word, though. He sat there thinking about what he learned from 'dad' Ken and how it might affect him. The young Cover didn't care about what happened to Lincoln, but he was having a difficult time deciding on what he thought should happen to his mom.

Matthew knew his mom didn't protect him against Lincoln, and he thought she should receive some sort of punishment, but he didn't know what. The more he thought about the last five months or so, the time he and his mom lived with Lincoln, the more he wished it had never happened.

The young Cover knew Lincoln hated him; he had to, because of all the beatings he received from him. He was also pissed at his mom because he wasn't allowed to start school. He also knew that if Mr. Ken and Mr. Dan hadn't found him he'd still be way behind his classmates. As it was, he had to do a lot of extra schoolwork in order for him to catch up with his friends.

Mr. Ken saw Matthew was internalizing something, but he couldn't figure it out. He assumed it had to do with what he'd told the boy earlier. The man knew he needed to talk to the lad some more, before they returned home the next day. He just didn't know when would be a good time that he could do that.

When dinner was over, the boys thanked Grammy for a great dinner, and they all gave her a big hug. The boys then went into the kitchen and thanked the staff, who had served them another great meal, with another big hug.

The boys went back to the dining room and asked if they could go swimming. Ms. Judy quickly spoke up and told them she needed to talk to them, one at a time. She explained, as their caseworker, she needed to interview them to fulfill her responsibilities. She told the four foster boys she would like to talk to at least one of them tonight and the others before they headed back home. Charles volunteered to go first.

Mr. Ken made the boys wait about 30 minutes after dinner before allowing them to go swimming. When he finally told them they could swim, he reminded them to bring a towel, which they forgot the night before. The boys laughed and said they would.

During that 30 minutes wait, Ms. Judy and Charles took that opportunity to talk. Ms. Judy asked Charles how he was enjoying living with Mr. Ken. She asked him about his getting enough good food to eat and good clothes to wear. She also talked to him about his bedroom arrangements and if he felt he was missing anything his foster brothers were getting that he wasn't.

For the most part, Ms. Judy knew the answers to all of her questions, because she was over at The Cove enough and watched the interaction of the boys. But, she had to ask them, and, in this case, if there was something Charles wanted to talk to her about. He did.

Laughing, he told her how he felt like the middle child. He explained to her that ever since the twins arrived, and now Matthew, he didn't get as much attention as he used to get. The pre-teen told his caseworker that he talked to Mr. Ken about it, and he understood that the twins had that man try to take them away and then try to kidnap them.

Charles added that now with Matthew, who had only been there two weeks, that he has his own problems and now with what was told them tonight he might have as much trouble as the twins had. Charles told Ms. Judy he just wished he could do something special with Mr. Ken, as they had done before school began.

Ms. Judy asked him if she needed to talk to Mr. Ken about that, but Charles told her he truly understood, but he wished he had some 'alone' time with his 'dad'. The pre-teen also told her he hoped Mr. Ken would one day adopt him as he had Robert.

Charles also told his caseworker, Ms. Judy, he was looking forward to Christmas, as he could never remember having a real Christmas with his mom. He also told Ms. Judy, he hoped he gets many presents and he scores big. The two laughed over that revelation.

The two talked for almost the full 30 minutes Mr. Ken made the boys wait before going swimming. When they were finished, Ms. Judy tried to encourage Kevin or Kyle into talking with her, but they both wanted to wait until tomorrow.

Matthew spoke up and told Ms. Judy he'd take some time to talk to her and if it went too long they could finish in the morning. Ms. Judy took advantage of the boy volunteering.

"Matthew, how do you like living with Mr. Ken? Does he give you enough food to eat and does he buy good clothes for you to wear?' asked Ms. Judy to start the interview.

"Ms. Judy, you couldn't have found a better man than Mr. Ken to foster me. Ever since he and Mr. Dan found me it seems he can't do enough for me. He's had Momma Maria make some awesome meals for us, and ... and her after school snacks are something that my friends are envious of.

"And, as for my clothes, he bought me a whole new set of everything to wear and he even bought me a skateboard and another t-shirt when we went looking at suitcases for our trip after Christmas,' replied Matthew.

"Matthew, what do you think about having to live with four other boys?' was Ms. Judy's next question.

"I love it! I don't have any real brothers and sisters, so it is great to have four 'brothers' that I can talk with, play with and learn from. They treat me as if I am their 'real' brother and I can't ever remember us arguing about anything. And, Robert, he's the best. He's been here the longest and knows everything about The Cove, and Mr. Ken,' was how Matthew answered Ms. Judy.

"Matthew, what do you think about so many boys coming over to skate and swim now that the weather is getting cooler?' asked Ms. Judy.

"Well, it is a bit crowded, but we can all have our friends over. Mr. Ken hasn't restricted us as to how many friends we can invite over, but if he gets any more kids he probably will have to because we only have a few ramps,' replied the youngest Cover with a smile.

"I heard Mr. Ken told you five that he'd consider building more ramps after the Holidays. Do you think that will relieve the crowded feeling everyone gets now?' asked Ms. Judy.

"Yes, if he builds four or five more at the bottom of the driveway, like what we have out in the parking corral, that would give us all more space to spread out. I sure hope he will do that for us,' was how the youngest Cover enthusiastically answered.

"Have you talked to Mr. Ken about what you want for Christmas, Matthew?' asked Ms. Judy.

"Well, he told us to make a list of the things we might want. He told us to make sure it is something we'll use and not something to have because someone we know has it. He wants us to look through catalogs, or search the internet, and not to be concerned about the cost,' answered Matthew.

"Matthew, one last question, if you please. Can you tell me what you think about what Mr. Ken told you about your mom and Lincoln?' probed Ms. Judy.

The lad thought about the question before he answered. He still wasn't sure about how he felt about his mom. He already knew how he felt about Lincoln. Then he responded to the last question.

"Ms. Judy ... I don't care what they do with Lincoln. He beat me ... and put me in the hospital. He did drugs, with my mom, and he was mean to both of us. Whenever he went out or away for a long time he'd come back and make us hurry up and pack and we'd have to move. After hearing what he was arrested for I'll bet ... I'll bet he did all those things, then.

"As for mom, well, she is my mom, but ... she didn't take good care of me. She didn't protect me against Lincoln, and she didn't care if I ever went to school, even after I begged her to send me to school. I think she needs to be punished some way ... but I don't know how or what they could do.

"Is that my last question? I hope so! I'd like to go swimming before the guys decide to go to bed,' finished the youngest Cover.

Ms. Judy sent the ten-year-old off to change into his swimsuit and grab a towel before joining his 'brothers'. While Matthew went off to have some fun, Ms. Judy talked with Mr. Ken about what she learned after talking to Charles and Matthew.

Mr. Ken thanked her for the heads up, but told her he wasn't surprised at what she told him. He agreed that Charles has been the 'middle' child who is forgotten, because of the other kids' needs. He did thank her for telling him Charles would like some alone time with him.

As for Matthew, he was glad the boy opened up to her about his mom and Lincoln. It told him he'll be fine talking to Matthias and Roberts and he was fitting in well with his other 'sons'.

The boys swam until 11:30 and would have swum longer, but Mr. Ken went to them and told them it was time to get out, dried off and then on to bed. The boys asked if there was a midnight snack for them, but were to learn there was none.

The Wilkinson Estate was very quiet after everyone had gone to bed.


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