Matthew and Kyle hurried out the Foyer door, but just before they closed the door, Matthew remembered he needed to get his skateboard. The boys couldn't remember if they carried it into the house when they brought in all of Matthew's new clothes. But, now they had to remember where it could be.
"'Dad' do you remember where we put Matthew's skateboard when we brought all of his new clothes in?" asked Kyle.'
"Well, you could first start looking in the laundry room. If we took all the bags there it could be down there," suggested 'Dad Ken'.
"No, it wasn't in a bag. It was too big for one and Matthew carried it out of the store when we loaded into the new van," replied Kyle.
Then Matthew spoke up and said he thinks he left it in the van since there were so many bags to carry inside. The two boys quickly turned away from Mr. Ken and ran out the front door and headed to look in the new van.
As the two boys turned the corner into the parking corral, the other boys saw them and Robert called out for them to join them. Reluctantly, the two youngsters walked over to the waiting crowd.
"Guys," began Robert, "this is our new 'brother'. His name is Matthew, Matthew Toursten. He's ten and will be in the 5thgrade when he starts school next week."
All the boys went over to meet the new Cover. The young lad was overwhelmed with meeting so many kids at one time. He hadn't had any real contact with any boys since the start of the summer and now he was meeting almost 30 of them all at the same time.
Matthew shook hands with everyone and as he was doing that Charles told everyone not to expect his new 'brother' to remember all of the names. That brought out some laughter from the boys.
After Matthew had met everyone, he and Kyle headed over to the new van to search for the new skateboard. They found it wedged under the last row of seats. They smiled at one another and Matthew took it out and they headed over to the ramps.
"Hey, everyone, can you all get off the ramps so Matthew can try out his new skateboard? He hasn't used one since the beginning to the summer, so his moves might be a bit rusty," explained Kyle.
All of the boys moved off the ramps and they let Matthew take center stage. The ten-year-old put his skateboard down on the half-pipe and began to slowly skate back and forth. He wasn't fast, but he was steady on his board and the boys clapped as he went back and forth and used some of the ramps of the half-pipe.
After they let Matthew skate for a few minutes, Kyle asked his new friend to let the others skate while he explained how they take turns using the four different ramps. Matthew thanked Kyle for asking the older boys to let him skate and after he heard how they all share the ramps he said it made sense.
When they saw the two new friends were finished talking, the twin's friends came over to Matthew to talk and to get to know him better. The first thing they asked was where he lived before coming to live with Mr. Ken.
Matthew felt a little embarrassed at the question, but he figured they'd learn about it soon enough, so he told them how he and his mom had traveled since the beginning of the summer with his mom's new boyfriend, Lincoln. He told them how they moved constantly and that Kyle was the first friend he had to play with since then.
The lads asked Matthew what grade he was in and what subjects he liked. The new Cover told them he should be in the 5thgrade, but he hadn't gone to school yet that year and he liked reading and math. Some of the boys knew that Mr. Ken let his boys pick their own bedroom, so they asked him which one he picked.
That question put a smile on Matthew's face and he told them after looking at all six bedrooms he would have picked the room with the best view of the lake, but that Robert had already taken that one. That brought out a round of laughter.
The new Cover told them he would have chosen the second best view of the lake, but that Charles had that one. Then, with a smile on his face, he told them the third best view of the lake was also taken, so he took the middle of the three rooms across the hall.
All the boys liked the way Matthew explained which bedroom he picked. It told them he had a good sense of humor and was going to be fun to be around. They all welcomed him to The Cove and then they reintroduced themselves to him.
It was getting late and some of the boys asked if they were going to cook. Robert looked at the time and told everyone that his dad had intended to take him and his 'brothers' out to dinner, so they'd have to wait until tomorrow to cook and swim.
Many of the lads were disappointed they wouldn't cook that day, but they knew from experience that sometimes these things happen and they were just happy they got to play at Three Finger Cove.
While Matthew was outside with his new 'brothers' and meeting all their friends, Mr. Ken was inside making a few phone calls. The first one was to Bill Jackson, his lawyer. He told his friend and lawyer about the new lad and his mom and asked his lawyer, and friend, to do what was needed to check out the lad's mom and her boyfriend.
Mr. Ken's second phone call was to Wayne Mitchell, his new Estate Master. He told Wayne, with a laugh in his voice, how he was shanghaied by Judy and his other 'sons' into taking Matthew as another foster son.
Wayne told his employer he knew that would happen and then asked him what he needed to do. Ken asked the man to try to stop by Four Corners that evening and have dinner with them, but if he had other plans to stop by sometime tomorrow to officially meet Matthew.
Mr. Ken's third phone call was to Judy. He told her he would register Matthew for school on Monday and would schedule a full physical for the lad with Doc Powers for some time that week. Judy asked why he was doing that since the youngster already had a full physical at the hospital. Ken told her he wanted his own doctor to check the lad out and he wanted the boy to have the same experience the other boys had. Judy wondered what that was all about but figured Ken knew what he was doing.
It was close to 5 PM when the Cover's friends began to leave. Ken saw the lads head up the rise to the Main Gate and figured his boys would soon be in. It wasn't more than three minutes when he said to himself, "there's the patter of little feet now". Then, he laughed to himself out loud. Robert heard his dad say something as he'd come around the corner and asked him what he said and all Mr. Ken could say with a smile was, "You had to be there."
The boys came into the Study and they all took a seat. If the twins hadn't taken a seat together in one chair they'd have been one chair short.
"Boys, you are all probably wondering why I called you in here," smirked Mr. Ken.
"You didn't call us in here 'dad'" said Charles. "We always come in here when we are trying to find out what we're going to do."
"Matthew, we do come in here after school and when all our friends leave, so don't let my dad have you believe he has some magical way he calls us into this Study," added Robert.
"OK, boys ... what are we going to do now?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Let's go eat first," spoke up Kyle. "Then we can go drive the Go-Karts and play some miniature golf. I'll bet Matthew hasn't ever done any of them."
The other boys joined in and agreed with the younger twin. All Matthew did was sit there and smile. He'd only been there for a few hours and he had no idea what the other boys were talking about, but he figured he eventually learn how things worked at Three Finger Cove.
"OK, we'll go eat on the restaurant side tonight to give Matthew a treat. Go on upstairs and change into school clothes and meet me down here in ten minutes," announced Mr. Ken.
As the boys began to file out, Mr. Ken asked his new son to stay behind for a few minutes.
"Yes, dad, you wanted to talk to me?" asked Robert.
"Yes, son, let's sit down. I have something I want to talk to you about," said the lad's new dad.
After the two sat down, Mr. Ken looked at Robert and said, "Son, I had a nice talk with Matthew after you all went outside to be with your friends. Son ... I want you to know that ... that he is apprehensive about having to shower with all of you. I ... ahh ... I told him he could use the other bathroom until he gets used to seeing you guys taking your showers. He told me he's never taken a shower with other kids before and, until he gets over his embarrassment, he probably won't join you in your bathroom."
"Dad, ahh ... do you think that ... that he'd maybe shower with Kyle in the other bathroom? Those two seem to have made a connection?" asked Robert.
"That does make sense, son. Matthew needs someone to show him the ropes and Kyle has made friends with Matthew. OK, we'll talk more about this after dinner and when we come home. Now go up and change," agreed Mr. Ken.
When all the lads went up to change, Matthew went into his bedroom but didn't find any of his new clothes there. He went to Kyle and told him, so the two headed down the stairs just as Robert was coming up. They told him what the problem was and the three of them headed down to the laundry. Robert gathered most of the newly washed and dried clothes and the other two boys took the rest.
As they were walking back up the stairs, they heard Mr. Ken call out to them and ask them why they hadn't gotten ready. Robert held up Matthew's clothes, as did Kyle and Matthew.
"Oh, I guess I got busy making phone calls and I forgot to ask you guys to take the clothes up to Matthew's room. OK. Take what time you need to get ready. We'll wait for you," smiled Mr. Ken.
Upstairs, the boys hung up Matthew's new clothes and Robert left them to go change.
"Kyle, what should I wear?" asked Matthew.
"Just put on something you'd wear to school. And, since all of your clothes are new, and clean, so you can put on anything," laughed Kyle, as he walked out to go and change himself.
Charles and Kevin came upstairs looking for their 'brothers'. Charles walked into Robert's room looking for him while Kevin walked into his room looking for his twin. Kyle told him what happened with Matthew's clothes, so Kevin walked over to Matthew's room to check on him.
"What are you doing in my room?" asked a startled Matthew, when Kevin walked in.
"I've come looking for you," replied Kevin.
"Well get out! Can't you see I'm changing! Now, get OUT!" yelled Matthew.
"So, what? We are all boys and we all have the same things hanging between our legs," quickly answered Kevin. "You're in a house with all boys and we all change and shower together, so get over your embarrassment being seen in your underwear or even nude taking a shower."
Kyle heard the exchange between his twin and Matthew as he came out of his bedroom, so he quickly hurried to his new 'brother's' bedroom. He told his twin to get out and let Matthew change in peace. After Kevin walked out of the room, Matthew continued to change even though Kyle was still in the room.
The boys finally met their 'dad' in the garage. After they were all buckled into the new van the owner of The Cove started the engine and drove the group over to the Four Corner's restaurant.
The six Covers walked into the restaurant and the staff immediately noticed a new boy in the mix. Lucky for them, Ed had placed a six-person table over in Mr. Ken's corner, so they wouldn't have to scramble to set up a bigger table for them.
Kyle sat next to Matthew and explained to him that he could order anything on the menu. Matthew asked if he was sure and Charles heard him and told him the same thing. He also told his new 'brother' he could order a soda and to save room for dessert later. Kyle told Matthew to order something like his 'brothers' do and he'll be okay.
Matthew smiled at hearing that. Mr. Ken heard the quiet conversation and inwardly smiled at how his 'sons' were helping his new foster son adapt without him having to directly interact with him.
After looking over the menu, one that he knew by heart since he'd eaten there enough times and helped decide what would be on it, Mr. Ken told the boys, for Matthew's sake, to order anything they'd like and to try something different from their normal fare.
"Matthew, you can order anything on the menu you'd like, but I'd suggest, if you haven't had a good steak for a while, you order one. The boys can tell you which ones they like, but please do not be afraid to order something that looks expensive. And the reason is ...I own this restaurant," smiled foster dad Ken Thomas.
When Matthew heard that Mr. Ken owned the restaurant, he got a look of surprise on his face. All the boys saw it and it was Robert who told his new 'brother' that he didn't learn that piece of information until two months after he began living there. He then added that Charles learned it on his second day living at The Cove. Then, with a phony pout on his face, Robert said with a smile that he had learned that piece of information in less than six hours and that he beat the record. All the boys laughed at hearing what Robert had to say.
Needless to say, they all ordered steaks that night. They all started out with a side salad and their choice of dressing. Some of the Covers mixed up their side dishes by ordering mashed versus baked potatoes and corn versus string beans. Matthew had a big smile on his face during the entire meal.
As the Covers walked out of the restaurant, Wayne Mitchell came up to them. "I take it I'm too late for dinner?" smiled the man.
"Yes, that you are, Wayne. Do you have time to drive the Go-Karts and play some Miniature Golf with us?" teased Mr. Ken.
"I think I can fit into my calendar," smiled Wayne. "While we're waiting in line, I can get myself a hot dog and soda. Or, maybe I can get your son to get them for me as he did for Matthew last weekend."
Upon hearing his name, Matthew looked up to the man he hadn't yet officially met.
"Matthew, this is Mr. Wayne. He works for me," began the lad's foster dad. "He was at the miniature golf course with us the day we found you. He stayed back not wanting to add to any confusion there already was. You'll begin to see him more and more around The Cove, but for right now he attends college some nights and works weekends at a job he will be leaving after next weekend. If you want to know more about him just ask your two older brothers," explained 'dad' Ken.
Matthew looked at Mr. Wayne and seeing a smile on the man's face walked over to Mr. Wayne and shook his hand. Then, Robert went over to Mr. Wayne and held out his hand and asked for some money, so he could go get him a hot dog and soda. The two then had a good laugh.
Wayne was able to finish his evening meal, consisting of a foot long hot dog, a bag of chips and a soda, just as the Covers moved up in the line to be on the next race. Mr. Wayne and Matthew talked some as they walked in the line. The youngest Cover asked the man what his job was going to be and how he did he know his new foster dad.
Wayne explained to the lad how he knew Mr. Ken and how his boss needed someone to help 'wrangle' all the boys when he couldn't be there. Mr. Wayne told Matthew about how Mr. Dan, the Sheriff's Lieutenant, that helped him last weekend, was the first 'boy wrangler'. Hearing that brought a smile to the boy's face. Wayne occasionally ruffled the boy's hair and gave him a quick shoulder hug with his free hand as he continued to eat what Robert had gotten him.
As the man and boy talked, Ken Thomas watched as they created a bond between them. After seeing how the two connected, the owner of The Cove was very happy he hired Wayne. He observed how easy the younger man was able to connect with his new charge and the smile on the lad's face said to him that the youngster would fit in nicely at The Cove.
When it was their turn to drive the go-karts, Matthew was apprehensive to get into one. Wayne saw the hesitation in the boy's face as the lad looked back to see if he should get into the kart. The man went over to the boy and told him to just drive the kart around the course and enjoy himself and not try to be competitive. The Cove's new Estate Master then helped Matthew get strapped into the kart and then told him he'd stay with him as he drove around the course.
When the racers were set, the Green light turned on and the racers at the front jumped right out and began to race around the course. Matthew was hesitant to push the gas pedal and when he did he pushed either too hard or not enough to get the kart moving. And keeping to his word, Wayne kept astride of Matthew's kart and yelled encouragement to the ten-year-old.
"Matthew ... just slowly push the gas pedal and let the kart move along," yelled Mr. Wayne.
Matthew did just that and just as he felt his speed pick up he and Mr. Wayne were passed by the front-runners. Seeing that, Wayne yelled over to the boy to not worry about it and just drive to have fun.
Matthew kept his kart on the outside line of the track. He didn't want to block anyone because he was driving so slowly. And sticking right with the lad was Estate Master, Mr. Wayne, yelling encouragement to the boy.
By the end of the race, Matthew was moving a lot faster than when he started and he felt much better about driving the go-kart. He knew he didn't get to drive the full ten laps of the race but the smile on his face told everyone he had fun.
"Mr. Wayne, did you see at the end of the race that I was going a lot faster? That was a lot of fun! Thank you for sticking with me and telling me what to do. I can't wait until I get to do that again," energetically spoke the newest Cover.
Mr. Ken and his 'boys' heard what Matthew had told Mr. Wayne and they all smiled at hearing that Matthew had a good time and couldn't wait to do that again. Their next stop was the miniature golf course.
At the miniature golf course, the boys began arguing who was going to play with Mr. Ken. Matthew had already said he wanted to play with Mr. Wayne and since only a maximum of four people were supposed to play as a group one person had to join Mr. Wayne and Matthew.
"Boys ...there is no need to argue over who is playing with whom. I'm going to join Mr. Wayne and my newest foster son, Matthew. I need to talk with him to get to know him better and this will give me some time to talk as we play along," announced Mr. Ken.
Hearing that made the twins moan, some, but soon they began to tell their older 'brothers' they were going to win. Hearing that brought out the competitiveness of the thirteen and twelve-year-olds and the four headed to get in line. The other three Coves filled right in behind them and the two groups waited until it was their turn.
"Mr. Ken ... I thought they said you owned this place, too? So, why don't we go ahead of the rest of the people?" innocently asked Matthew.
"Good question. So, why didn't you ask me that question while we waited in line to drive the go-karts?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Well, Mr. Wayne was eating and ... well, I thought we did that so he could eat his hot dog and not be rushed," answered Matthew
"Well, Matthew, let me ask you this. How would you feel if a bunch of people came right up to the course and got to play ahead of you or the Go-Kart Track and drove before you did, especially if you had been waiting in line for 30 to 40 minutes," asked Mr. Ken.
Matthew looked down and thought about what his foster dad just said. Then the lad looked up to the man and said, "Yeah, I'd be sort of mad if someone did that to me. So, I guess that even though you own this place and the go-kart track we always wait in line, huh?"
"Yes, Matthew, we always wait our turn. But maybe, when it is colder and not many people ride the go-karts, we can come over here and let you practice. What do you think about that?" smiled Mr. Ken as he spoke to Matthew.
"Yes, I'd like that. That was the first time I ever drove those cars. I was afraid at first, but Mr. Wayne talked to me and during the race, he encouraged me to go faster and by the time we finished I was having fun. Now I know why the other boys want to come over here and drive," offered a smiling Matthew Turnsten.
Wayne ruffled the lad's hair and he and Matthew talked about their just completed race while they waited their turn on the miniature golf course.
It was during their talk that Mr. Wayne and Mr. Ken both learned that this would be the first time Matthew had ever played miniature golf. Mr. Ken was now happy the lad was not playing with his 'brothers'. He knew how competitive they were and they would be merciless on the boy if he played against them.
When it was finally their turn, the four older Cover boys went first and they hadn't finished the first hole that their bickering had already begun, but they were also laughing at each other. Mr. Ken just shook his head and then focused back on Matthew. When he looked back, Mr. Wayne was explaining to the lad what to do and how to read the lie of the hole before putting the ball.
Matthew went first and when he hit the ball it hardly moved down the fairway. Mr. Wayne quickly went to retrieve it and brought it back and told the boy to tap it a bit harder this time. Matthew set his ball on the putting nipple, lined up his putter to strike the ball and this time he tapped it much harder. The ball first careened off the wall then an obstacle and then the back wall and it rebounded into the hole.
Matthew was beside himself. He'd never played that game before and here he was on his first miniature golf hole getting the ball into the cup with one putt.
"Mr. Wayne, Mr. Wayne did you see, did you see? Did you see what I did? I can't believe I did that. I think I'm going to like this game as much as I like driving the go-karts," exclaimed the excited ten your old.
"Did you see that Mr. Ken? I got the ball into the hole! I can't believe I did that!" said an enthusiastic Matthew.
All Mr. Ken did was congratulate the boy and ruffle his hair as the two watched Mr. Wayne putt.
The four older Cover lads all watched Matthew putt for the first time, and they all snickered or laughed at the lad's first putt. But their laughter abruptly stopped when they saw their new 'brother's' next putt. They couldn't believe that the ball bounced around and still went into the hole. Upon seeing what Matthew just did, they all applauded him and told Matthew he did well. Matthew's smile went ear-to-ear when he heard his 'brothers' praise.
The men let Matthew putt repeatedly at each hole, so he could get a better feel for the game. Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne just hit their ball just to make it look good for Matthew. They both wanted to let the boy enjoy himself.
At the last hole, it was set up as a FREE game if you got the ball into the right opening. If they didn't, the ball fell back into either a 3 or a 2 and that was what was supposed to be added to their score.
Matthew was at the hole behind his 'brothers', so he was able to watch how they putted their ball while Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne putted their golf ball. He watched how they each tried to putt their ball to win the FREE game. Kyle went first and he didn't putt strong enough and his ball fell back into a 2. Kevin went next and his ball didn't fare any better.
When Charles putted, his ball went right into the FREE game hole and a bell rang telling everyone he won a FREE game. His 'brothers' patted him on his back. Then, it was Robert's turn. The teen placed his ball on the putting nipple and then took his time before putting. When the teenager struck his ball it went up towards the FREE game hole. It would have probably gone in but it was on a slight curve and when the ball got to the hole it just rimmed the hole and fell back into a 3. Everyone laughed, including Matthew.
When it was their turn. Mr. Wayne went first to show Matthew what he needed to do. The man putted and won a FREE game. All the Covers applauded. Then, Mr. Ken took his golf ball and placed in on a nipple and quickly putted. He got a 2.
Now it was Matthew's turn to putt. Feeling a bit nervous, since he knew everyone was watching, he placed his ball on the putting nipple and then looked at the FREE game hole. He thought back at what everyone else had done, but then he figured it was only by luck that anyone got a FREE Game.
The lad walked up and addressed his ball and then struck it. The ball went straight into the hole. The bell rang and he had a look of surprise on his face. His 'brothers' praised him on his putt. The Covers then turned in their putters and Charles, Matthew and Mr. Wayne went to collect their FREE game card to be used the next time they came back to play.
As was their custom, the Covers headed over to DQ for an ice cream before heading home. This was going to be another treat for Matthew. He'd been to one of those restaurants before with his mom, but he couldn't remember how often they did that. Mr. Ken had taken him there earlier that day and he was surprised that Mr. Ken let him order a banana split. When he saw that all his 'brothers' also get one he inwardly smiled. The group of seven sat around a large table and talked about their evening.
Matthew was the most vocal as he had to tell everyone about how he drove the go-kart and then how he played miniature golf. Everyone at the table just smiled and nodded at the appropriate times. But Matthew was talking so much that he wasn't eating his banana split, so Robert told him to "eat up" and enjoy it before it melted.
It was while they sat there at the table that Charles asked a question. "'Dad', now that Mr. Wayne works for you, is he a Cover, now?"
Charles was the one who coined the term 'Cover' and he was always looking to see who could be considered being a Cover.
"Well, 'son', let me ask you ... do you consider him as a Cover?" said 'dad' Ken, putting the onus back on the twelve-year-old.
"Then that brings up another question. Is Mr. Dan and Mr. Chris Cover's too?" asked Charles. "And what about Momma Maria? Is she a Cover, too?"
"Well, let's ask your 'brothers' and see what they have to say about it," replied Mr. Ken.
The boys began talking about the question, but Kevin and Kyle both said they hadn't been there long enough and didn't think they should decide who is a Cover. Robert then restated what Charles had said when he first arrived at The Cove and then asked everyone to vote. They not only voted on Mr. Wayne but they also voted on Mr. Dan and Mr. Chris and Momma Maria. The vote was unanimous. All three men, and one woman, were now going to be considered Covers.
Mr. Wayne thanked everyone for voting him the label. So, he held up what was left of his banana split and said, "A toast to my election and Mr. Dan's, Mr. Chris' and Momma Maria's. Hear! Hear!"
That said, everyone held up their banana splits and they touched them together and then laughed at what they did. They all went back to eating their concoctions and when they were all finished, Mr. Ken gave Charles some money to buy a medium cup of vanilla ice cream for Chief.
Matthew asked to ride home with Mr. Wayne and Mr. Ken didn't see any problem with that. When all the Covers arrived at The Cove, Chief knew they'd brought her some ice cream, as she could smell it. Lucky for Charles, he knew Chief would go after the person who had the treat, so he put it down on the floor, so Chief could enjoy her special treat.
The Covers watched the resident pet eat her treat and then go over to Charles and give him a few doggie kisses to thank him. She then went over to Mr. Ken and gave him a few kisses, too.
That done, Mr. Ken sent his charges up to their rooms to settle down before going to bed. The boys all thanked Mr. Wayne for going with them that night and they each gave him a quick hug. Matthew's hug was a bit longer as he thanked the man again for helping him at both the Go-Kart Track and miniature golf course.
Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne talked for a few minutes about Thanksgiving week and if Wayne was going to accompany them to Collin's. Wayne said he hadn't decided, but now that Matthew was a part of The Cove he was leaning towards that. Mr. Ken then told Wayne how Kyle latched onto Dan and he wanted Wayne to be aware that he might be getting himself into something he wasn't ready for. Wayne thanked his boss for that information and he told Mr. Ken he would have to sit down with Matthew the next time he was there.
Upstairs, Robert pulled Kyle and Matthew together. He wanted to talk to them about Matthew's use of the 'other' bathroom. The teen wanted to make sure Matthew would be okay with Kyle showing him how to get ready in the morning and being with him in what the boys called the 'girls' bathroom. Matthew said he was okay with that.
The three talked a bit longer, but Matthew said he was tired and wanted to go to bed. Kyle asked his new 'brother' if he wants him to sleep in his room the first night so he wouldn't feel afraid. Matthew thought about it for a few moments and said he'd like that.
Kyle hurried to tell his twin he would be sleeping in Matthew's room that night. Kevin balked at hearing that, but he knew that Matthew needed someone to be there at least for the first night.
After Matthew, Kyle and Chief went into Matthew's bedroom, Robert pulled Kevin and Charles together to tell them what their 'dad' told him about Matthew using the 'girls'' bathroom and why.
Robert told his 'brothers' not to tease Matthew about not showering with them and not to force their new 'brother' to shower with them. The teen added they needed to allow him time to get used to being at The Cove and being around them. The two boys agreed with what their older 'brother' was saying and after their talk, they all went to bed.
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