Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Twenty~Five

"Matthew, can you tell us all the places you lived at with your mom and Lincoln up until you were found by Mr. Ken and Mr. Dan," asked Lt. Matthias.

Matthew began from the time his mom started dating Lincoln. The ten-year-old told them how they moved in with the man, but a few weeks later they moved away. The young Cover told the two detectives how over the summer they moved about every three to four weeks, but one time it was only two weeks before they had to move, once more.

The detectives had Matthew narrow down the places and timeframes where they lived. They wanted to know if he could remember any specific dates and times may be what might have been said between his mom and Lincoln about his long absences.

Matthew was very good at remembering where he lived and when. The youngster gave the detectives some verifying information that put Lincoln in the local areas of the five places and one bank that were robbed.

The Sheriff's detectives also asked the young Cover if he knew where Lincoln kept his money or if he had any friends. The boy's answer was interesting to the men. Matthew told them about a man whom he'd seen talking to Lincoln each time a few days before they moved.

Matthew explained that Lincoln took care of all the money and his mom had to ask for some to get food for him to eat. The boy told the detectives how Lincoln would go out after they moved, and buy drugs and he and his mom would get silly and then he would get mean.

Sergeant Roberts asked the ten-year-old if knew how his mom could get her bail money in order to get out of jail. Matthew replied that Lincoln seemed to have many friends and speculated that they may have given her the money.

The detectives asked the boy if he ever heard the two adults talking about where the money came from, and where it may have been stashed. Matthew told the men that whenever they ran out of money Lincoln would disappear, and then when he returned he'd have money and they'd quickly pack and move right away.

While the sheriff's detectives questioned Matthew about Lincoln and his mom, all the boys outside at the skateboard ramps had gotten into a conversation.

Brant, Ryan and Noah didn't understand what was meant by telling them if they couldn't accept Matthew's situation they should leave and never come back. They asked someone to explain what Robert meant because they couldn't understand why someone would abandon their friend when he needed them the most.

That brought the boys to discuss the idea of friendships and what it meant to them. They told the three youngest boys they didn't grasp what they were saying about Robert after they learned his parents were both in jail.

Logan told everyone that if it weren't for Robert, and his support for him after he was attacked at school, he wouldn't know what he would be doing right now. Logan explained how Robert helped him cope with the problems that came afterwards. He told all of them that he is grateful he knows he can count on Robert when he needs someone close to his age to listen to him about questions or situations he has.

Charles quickly spoke up and reminded everyone that the kids in foster care are usually not there because of what they did. He told them the kids are usually there because of what their parents or guardians did. He used the twins and Matthew as a recent example. The pre-teen did say there are a few kids in Children's Protective Services because of their actions, but they were the exceptions and not the rule.

Eric spoke up and told the group of boys that Mr. Ken wouldn't have adopted Robert, or kept Charles, Kevin and Kyle at The Cove if they were causing trouble, or were known to be troublemakers before coming to The Cove. The teen continued and told everyone that Mr. Ken has a good reputation in the community, and would not expose them all to kids who were disruptive or who would bully them or anything else.

Mr. Wayne had remained in the background and heard the maturity of the older boys come out. He knew Mr. Ken's 'boys' had chosen the right friends as he heard them over and over support their friends and explain to the other boys why they should too.

After the boys finished their talk, they milled around until Brant, Ryan and Noah got their skateboards and used the now empty ramps to start skating. It didn't take long for the other older youths to grab their boards and join the three youngsters.

In Mr. Ken's Study, the detectives had continued to ask Matthew questions. But they changed them around to see if the boy was just telling a tale or was his information solid, which they could use against Lincoln. They also asked the Cover about his mom and her movements when Lincoln was gone and what he thought her interests were in her boyfriend's activities.

Matthew could only speculate, but he did tell the men that after the second time they moved his mom started packing as soon as Lincoln left the place they were staying in. He said that as soon as the man returned, Lincoln and his mom packed the car and they drove off.

The two detectives were very happy with Matthew's answers to their repeated and reworded questions and the level of detail he provided. The boy had placed Lincoln in and around the areas where the robberies occurred. The boy, for some unknown reason, knew what Lincoln was wearing the nights they had to move.

The detectives knew that the exacting detail Matthew just provided them with would make the identification of Lincoln as the man who robbed the five establishments and one bank that much easier for the prosecution. They were all smiles after only 90 minutes of questions and answers.

"Matthew," began Lt. Matthias, "we are extremely grateful for your open and honest answers to our many questions. What you provided to us today will go far in further identifying Lincoln as the man who did all those robberies. Do you have any questions for us?"

"Ahh," started Matthew, "will I ... will I have to go to court and tell everyone ... what I just told you? And ... and what ... what will happen to my mom?"

"Matthew, as far as saying whether you will or won't have to testify isn't up to me. The DA will make that determination, after he presents his case. I would tell you to be prepared, but be happy if you aren't called," answered Matthias.

"Matthew, the DA has a lot more information about Lincoln from ours and others' investigators. A lot more than what you gave to us today," began Sgt. Roberts. "But, what you did for us today was ... you narrowed down Lincoln's whereabouts on the days the places were robbed. That alone could maybe get the man to agree to a plea bargain, and that would mean you would definitely not have to testify."

Before leaving, the two detectives first thanked Matthew with a handshake and a pat on his back. They thanked Mr. Ken for allowing them to talk to his foster son. The detectives then turned to Stewart Russell and thanked him for guiding Matthew as they talked to his client and making their job all that much easier.

Mr. Ken walked them all to the Foyer Door. Matthew asked if he could catch up with his friends before they had to go home. After getting Mr. Ken's permission, he dashed off to the parking corral. The four men smiled at the young boy's actions, but then remembered when they were that age and wanted to be with their friends. The three guests then headed to their vehicles and drove away.

"Hey, here comes Matthew," called out Noah, as he saw his friend come around the corner of the parking corral.

Upon hearing that, Noah, Ryan and Brant ran to meet him. The four friends walked back to the rest of the boys. Upon his arrival, someone began to clap. That spread to the other boys and before long all 40, or so, boys were applauding Matthew.

"What was that for? I figured ... I figured you'd all be asking me questions as to why the detectives were here talking to me. I never expected all of you to clap for me," said a somewhat embarrassed Matthew.

"Oh, we're going to ask you what you did that the police came here to talk to you," laughed Logan. "But ... we all know you didn't do anything wrong," continued the laughing teenager, "Because you weren't taken away in handcuffs."

The rest of the boys began laughing and some went over to pat him on his back. Then the questions started. But Matthew asked them all to let him tell them what it was all about and then they can ask their questions. The boys agreed

"OK ... you all know that I was in the hospital," started Matthew, "because a man named Lincoln, my mom's boyfriend, beat me. That wasn't the first time he'd done that but ... it was the first time someone touched my back after he did that. I'm glad it was Mr. Ken and Mr. Dan who found me because otherwise ... well, I'd never be back in school and I'd probably be still going from one place to another.

"Anyway, Lieutenant Matthias and Sergeant Roberts came over to talk to me about the places we lived in. You may know Lincoln was charged with five counts of burglary and a bank robbery and some other stuff.

"Anyway, I told the detectives what I knew about the days Lincoln was away from us and then we had to move when he came back. They asked me what clothes he wore and things like that," finished the youngest Cover.

Then the questions began.

"Why did they think you'd know that he robbed those places?" asked Sam.

"Yea, and did your mom help him?" asked Hunter.

"OK, let me answer Sam's question first. They asked me about the dates the robberies occurred. They wanted me to tell them Lincoln's whereabouts on those days. All I could tell them was Lincoln was not with us on those days and times and when he returned we had to quickly pack and move," replied Matthew.

"And now for Hunter's question. At least, I think that's who it was as I don't really know all your names yet," stated Matthew. (Some of the boys laughed.) "Anyway, my mom ... she was home with me every time Lincoln was away the days the robberies occurred. After the first two times we had to move really fast after Lincoln came back, my mom started putting things together and when Lincoln came back we were almost all packed and ready to go."

"Why didn't you tell someone he was beating you?" asked Dominic.

"Well, my mom told me he'd beat me even more if ... if I ever told anyone. And ... and I'd already been beaten real bad sometimes, and I sure didn't want to be beaten any more than he was already doing it," replied Matthew.

"Is your back healed compared to what we saw when you arrived at The Cove?" asked Ryan.

"Oh, yea, it's much better. The only thing you see now are the old scars. My back doesn't even hurt anymore when I sleep on it. Mr. Ken told me they can do some sort of surgery to help remove the scars, but ... well, he said we'll have to wait until after the Holidays as he has way too many things to do between now and the first of the New Year," answered Matthew.

"Matthew," spoke up Noah, "I want you to know ...I want you to know that I'll always be your friend ... no matter what happens to that man, Lincoln, and your mom. I know ... I know you didn't rob those places. You're just a kid who had bad things happen to him.

"I know I'm the same age as you, but when we get older I'll still be your friend!" Noah, then, to everyone's surprise, went up to the boy and hugged the young Cover. Brant and Ryan followed suit. When they broke apart they all had smiles on their faces.

During the rest of the afternoon, the boys talked about what they did for Thanksgiving Day. Some said they went to relatives, or to friends' homes to eat. Most of the boys told how they stayed home and after eating they all took a catnap. That revelation made everyone laugh because they all knew what they were talking about, because they all took naps, too.

The boys skated until it was time to go. The Cover boys walked their friends up to the Main Gate and waited for the parents to arrive to pick up their kid. Of course, it took about ten minutes for all the parents to talk to one another before they headed home. The boys knew they could catch up with their friends tomorrow at school.

While the boys were up at the Main Gate, Mr. Wayne was inside talking to his employer about what he saw out in the parking corral. He told him how mature he thought the boys were after listening to them support his 'sons' and how they intended to treat Matthew. Mr. Ken smiled at what he heard and it only solidified his belief in all the boys and knew he would do whatever he needed to make sure the boys were all well taken care of.

The Cover group loaded into the new van after everyone drained their dragons and washed their face and their hands up to their elbows. Mr. Ken drove over to The Mall and they went into the boy's favorite store, JCPenney® to purchase their suits.

Mr. Ken made them all get dark-colored suits for everyday wear. The boys also got a white shirt to go along with the suit and at least two ties, one for the Holidays the other as a typical everyday tie. He also had them pick out a red and a green vest in addition to the vest that came with the suit. Robert and Charles both got a suit one size larger than they really needed knowing they would inevitably grow as Robert had over the summer.

Then, it was on for shoes. Robert and Charles balked at going shopping for more stuff, but their 'dad' told them their 'brothers' needed good shoes to wear with their suits. Plus, he reminded them that this was like 'family time' and they needed to spend as much time together as they can, when they can.

"But, dad, didn't we just do four days and three nights together at Grammy's and Collin's?" shot back Robert, with a smirk on his face.

"Come over here, son. When was the last time I gave you a spanking?" smiled the teen's dad.

"You never gave me a spanking, dad," replied Robert.

"And let that be a lesson to you son, you're never too old to get one," laughed Mr. Ken, as he pulled his son into him.

Standing on the sidelines was Charles wishing he could have that same connection to his 'dad', Mr. Ken. He knew Robert was now his true and real son, and they would be more prone to do that sort of thing. He just wished he could experience that, too. He could only hope that one day Mr. Ken would adopt him, as well.

The shopping for the Cover boys new suits and shoes took longer than they all hoped. But Mr. Ken told them, "It was what it was". He told the boys that as each of them had some type of alterations that needed to be done, that caused them the need for more time.

The problem with all the shopping for the boys was they wanted to get home and get their own coin. They made a few comments to one another about the coin knowing Mr. Ken told them not to pester him about them. But, the boys figured, as they talked to only one another about the coins, they weren't really pestering their 'dad'.

Mr. Ken knew exactly what they were doing. They forgot he was once a kid, too, and knew many of the same tricks the boys were now pulling. So, to drag out the day, he talked to Mr. Wayne, in a normal tone of voice, so the boys could hear that after they ate at Four Corners, he wanted to play a round of miniature golf. The Cove's owner said he hadn't really gotten to play since they found Matthew two weeks ago and the boys always wanted to drive the Go-Karts.

The older boys heard what their 'dad' just said and that put a big scowl on their faces to show their displeasure at what their 'dad' wanted to do. They gathered up their three 'brothers' and told them what they just heard. The five then plotted how to get Mr. Ken to go back to The Cove and pass out the coins.

At dinner, Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne poured it on thick as Mr. Wayne also mentioned that he didn't get to finish his miniature golf game that night either, and with the weather changing they better get to play before it gets too cold.

The boys were very quiet at dinner. They usually are quite talkative, but Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne kept snickering back and forth to one another knowing they were getting the boys ire up.

Finally, Robert asked if they really were going to play Miniature Golf. The teen told his dad that he promised after they got their suits and had dinner, he'd pass out the coins, but was deliberately delaying going home just to make them mad. Robert then got up and walked away.

"Hmmm, that's a new one, Wayne," said Mr. Ken. "I've never seen them do that ever, so I must have hit a sore spot."

Then looking at the remaining boys, Mr. Ken said, "You were all, in a roundabout way, pestering me about the coins as you talked back and forth. So, I deliberately talked to Mr. Wayne about going to play miniature golf. I take it your older 'brother' can give it out, but he can't take it. I better go talk to him."

Before Mr. Ken could get up and go to his son, Charles stood up and told his 'dad' to let him talk to him first, and explain what his dad was doing. Mr. Ken agreed to let Charles go find and talk to Robert, but for them both to come back to the table.

Ed Henry, the diner's manager, noticed an older boy get up and quickly walk away from Mr. Ken's table. Then, he saw another pre-teen looking boy go off, he thought, to search for him. The manager, seeing the potential for a loud discussion when the boys returned, that could bother the other diners, came over to the diner's owner and asked him if there was anything he could do to help. Mr. Ken thanked the man for his concern, but told him it was a family misunderstanding and they would be leaving soon. Mr. Henry walked away, but kept an eye on the youths.

About five minutes later, the two oldest Cover boys came back to the table. They took their seats and it was evident that Robert had been crying. The table was very quiet.

"Boys ... this is NOT the place for us to discuss what happened. If you are all finished eating, let's put our coats on and head out to the van. Mr. Wayne will pay the bill and catch up with us out at the van.

It was eerily quiet in the van on the trip back to The Cove. Neither adult said a word to one another along the way, either. The boys had never seen this sort of thing the entire time they lived at The Cove. Matthew had seen flare-ups between his mom and Lincoln who always won. So, he was accustomed to what he saw at the table. But, he was afraid for Robert that Mr. Ken would hurt his older 'brother'. Thinking about his mom and Lincoln and that he was afraid for Robert made him begin to cry.

But not wanting to take his eyes off the road, he asked Mr. Wayne to look over his shoulder to see who it was. He thought it might be Robert, still, but was very surprised to learn it was Matthew.

When the Covers arrived at The Cove, Mr. Ken asked a still teary-eyed Matthew to meet him in his Study. He told the other boys to put up their jackets and wait in the MRS Room for him.

Mr. Ken asked Mr. Wayne to accompany him and Matthew into his Study.

"Matthew ... can you tell me why you were crying on the way home tonight?" calmly asked Mr. Ken.

"I ... I was afraid for ... for Robert. I know what happened between my mom and Lincoln and ... and lots of times there was always bad words and sometimes hitting. I was afraid that you would do that to him," cried Matthew, who ran to Mr. Wayne and cried on his shoulder.

Mr. Ken sat there thinking about what happened tonight. He figured they all were all responsible for the misunderstanding, by playing a game amongst themselves that eventually got out of hand.

When Matthew had calmed down some, Mr. Ken asked him to go get his 'brothers'. While the young Cover went out to the MRS Room to get his 'brothers', Mr. Ken asked Wayne what he thought.

"Mr. Ken ... from what I am learning from the foster care training is ... is that the kids are still on an emotional roller coaster even after they've been at the same place for quite some time. I'd say Robert is still feeling some ... some angst even though you adopted him," replied the Estate Master.

"Wayne, Ms. Judy ...she told me that Charles wishes I would spend more time with him as he still feels like the middle child. I used that term one time when I talked with him about his being 'out of sight out of mind'. It was because of the twins, and now Matthew, that takes up most of my time

"I wonder if that is what Robert is feeling now that there are five of them living in the house. He was, at one time, the only boy here and he got all of my attention. I now wonder if my trying to help other boys has caused a division between us," answered Mr. Ken.

"No, no, dad," cried Robert, as he ran to his dad and hugged him tight. "No, don't send my 'brothers away," cried Robert, as he continued to hug his dad.

The other Cover lads stood in the doorway not knowing what was going on. The twins, after hearing Robert tell his dad not to send his 'brothers' away began to think they would be separated and made to live away from each other. That made them begin to cry, as well.

Mr. Ken heard the twins begin to cry. So, he stood up and motioned Kevin and Kyle to come to him. When they did, he grabbed them into a group hug along with Robert. By that time Matthew had already latched onto Mr. Wayne.

Charles just stood there watching everything unfold. He didn't know what was going on and how this would affect him. So, out of frustration, he spoke up loudly and said, "Do I need to cry, too, so I can get some attention, as well?"

Hearing what Robert said stopped everyone in their tracks. Mr. Ken looked over at Charles and motioned for him to join the group hug. Matthew asked Mr. Wayne if he could join his 'brothers'. All Mr. Wayne told him was he didn't need his permission. Matthew ran to join the group hug.

The group hug lasted for a good two minutes before Mr. Ken asked the boys to find a seat. The twins went and sat together. Matthew went over to Mr. Wayne, while Robert and Charles took their own seats.

This time, Mr. Ken didn't sit behind his big desk. He stayed out in front of his big executive-style wooden desk and said, "Boys ... I think tonight ... I think what we did to one another got out of hand. You all knew that ... that I didn't want you pestering me about the coins. And you didn't directly. But your continuous talking about them was sort of a backdoor approach of doing that.

"Now ... what I did was ... I upped the ante, by telling you how I was going to delay when you were getting your coin. Your continued talking with one another about the coin was funny on your part, but ... I guess I can't tease or kid back.

"This is how problems in any family arise, because of the lack of communication between the family members. Tonight, I knew what you were doing with your talking about the coins. I'm sure you all thought it was funny, but ... but you obviously didn't see the humor in what I was doing by telling you I wanted to do something completely different.

"I knew what you were doing, because I'd told you not to pester me about the coin, so I didn't feel I needed to ask you. But, none of you came and asked me ... and asked me if I was kidding back to you. You didn't listen to what and how Mr. Wayne and I were talking about going over to play miniature golf.

"So ... boys ... I can see we need to have more family discussions, so we can avoid situations like this tonight. And Kevin and Kyle ... I am NOT ... going to send you away any time soon. Trust me on that one.

"What I think we all need to do is ... is talk this out, together. But, my question to you is 'what do you think we need to do to move forward from this'?" finished Mr. Ken.

The boys looked back and forth to one another. Robert was the one who usually spoke for all the boys, and he could feel their eyes on him, wanting him to speak up for all of them. The teenager wasn't sure he wanted to do that, after running away from his dad earlier, but he knew his 'brothers' were looking up to him.

Standing up, Robert looked at his dad and said "Dad ... yes, maybe we all are to blame here. But ... but we're just kids. You promised you'd give us a coin ... but you kept stalling us.

"You knew we were all looking forward to getting one, and learning more about it, but you told us not to pester you, so we didn't, sort of.

"We all knew we were going for suits tonight ... but not for dress shirts, ties, a vest and shoes. Come on dad, at our age our attention span is not that long. I'm sorry we went about it the wrong way, but it was you who told us not to pester you about the coin. How else could we get you to do what you promised us?

"We thought that with us talking about the coin you'd get the hint. But, all you did was find a way to drag out coming back here to do something we were all looking forward to. We could have gotten the shirts, shoes, ties and vests later in the week.

"That's why I got so upset dad and ... and why I ran away from the table. I couldn't understand why you were doing that. We could have been home by the time we went out to eat, dad. We were all looking forward to getting the coin you promised us," said the teary-eyed teen Cover.

"Oh, Robert ... son ..." said dad Ken, as he opened his arms for his son to come to him.

Robert quickly ran to his dad and the two hugged. The other Cover boys and Mr. Wayne just stayed back and watched. When dad and son parted, the other Covers saw Mr. Ken wipe his son's eyes. The man then reached over to his desk and got a couple of tissues for the teenager to use.

When everything settled down, Mr. Ken sat back on his desktop.

"Boys, I hope we will remember this as an example ... of how easily a miscommunication or NO ... communication, in this case, can cause problems for all people involved. (Ken Thomas waved his hands to indicate all of them there.) I'd say we all messed up here, but that is how I see it as ... an adult. You know I was once your age (All the boys' laughed.) so ... so, I can sort of understanding where you are coming from.

"Look, so I made a mistake ... but I figured since you could tease me I could tease you all back. And, since we never discussed the things that we both were doing then ... well, you all saw what happened.

"Boys ... I really would like for us to resume our Tuesday evening meetings, but ... you all know something always seems to come up. And with the Holidays upon us in 3 to 4 weeks, I am going to be very busy. So ... the question is ... how can we ensure that we all communicate with one another and make sure we are all on the same page?" announced 'dad' Ken.

"'Dad' ... ahh, do we have to figure this out tonight? I mean ... we ... we all still want to know about the coins and you know ... get one of our own," said Matthew.

That broke some of the tension in the room and the other boys all laughed at the obvious.

"Yea, come on 'dad'. Let's talk about communication tomorrow. Tonight we want to talk about the coin," spoke up Kyle.

Mr. Ken looked at the time and then to Mr. Wayne who answered the unasked question with a very slight nod. Mr. Ken then went around his desk and pulled out the opened box of ten coins. He asked the boys to come up and get one. All five boys hurried up to the desk with an open hand out.

As the boys looked at their coin, Matthew and Kyle compared theirs. After a few moments, Matthew spoke up and asked why the numbers on the coins weren't even close to one another.

"Ahh, I wondered if you'd even notice. And it took the youngest of you to see that," answered Mr. Ken.

"Hey, I noticed it too," whined Kyle. "Matthew was just faster than I was to ask the question," now smiled Kyle.

"Okay, boys, settle down. Let me explain. Remember yesterday ... when I told you that these were Commemorative Coins? Well, if they were in numerical order then the cover story I have for you for having them wouldn't work.

"If someone, like your friends, they ask you about the coin, and we all know they will when they see you looking at it or playing with it, you tell them ... that your 'dad', or Mr. Ken, bought a lot, you know a bunch of old leftover coins.

"You just tell them I bought the remaining 1000 or so ..." started Mr. Ken.

"But 'dad', you told us you only got a hundred," spoke up Matthew.

"Yes, that is all I showed you. But, if I can ensure these will work and then sell them ... well, then I will have a thousand produced. By the way, boys, these are the trial coins. They work, well they are supposed to work, which is why I am giving them to you and will talk to your friend's parents about them, as well.

"After they are all registered, we will test them. One of you testers will be asked to go somewhere and either activate the coin, or we will try to locate you using its passive mode," explained 'dad' Ken.

"Will ours be active or passive?" asked Matthew.

"Both," replied Mr. Ken. "When you all leave here tomorrow, and go to school, your coins WILL be active and passive. If you get into big trouble, as if someone snatches you ... you press that coin so hard it leaves your thumb and fingerprint on it.

"If, on the other hand, you go missing from where you are supposed to be it will take us time to determine you are missing. If that is the case ... please, please TRUST me when I say we will get that satellite to find you! Keep in mind that we have to make sure you are missing first before we start looking. But, believe me, when I say I will find you, I WILL find you!

"Now, Kyle ... one of your school friends sees you looking over the coin. What do you tell them?" simply asked 'dad' Ken.

"No, better still," spoke up Mr. Wayne. "Hey, Kyle what do you got there? Can I see it?"

"Yea, sure. My 'dad', you know, Mr. Ken, he bought a bunch of these leftover coins. They're pretty neat. They got the outline of the state of Texas on one side and the state flag on the other side. All of us 'brothers' have one. Be careful you don't drop it and scratch it."

"OK, Matthew ... your turn" said Mr. Wayne.

"Oh, yea ... our 'dad', Mr. Ken, he bought a whole bunch of these leftover coins. He thought they'd be kinda cool for us to have. We each have one," answered Matthew.

"What are you going to do with them?" asked the Estate Master, to keep the conversation between the friends going.

"I guess ... I guess I'll just keep it as a special gift from our 'dad'. This ... this is the first real gift he's given me, so I know it is really special."

"But," began a smiling Mr. Wayne, "what about the skateboard he gave you?"

"Well, it was the first thing he did buy me, but ... but I can't keep it with me wherever I go, so this is something real special for me," replied Matthew.

"Boys, do you think you understand how to handle any questions about the coin?" asked Mr. Ken, to make their 'coin meeting' move forward.

The boys all agreed. Mr. Ken wasn't concerned about Robert and Charles. He heard how Matthew and Kyle handled the makeshift conversation, so he wasn't too concerned about them. It was Kevin. He just didn't know how Kevin would handle it.

Mr. Ken made sure each coin was properly assigned to the correct boy. He checked the list and then had Mr. Wayne check it again. When they finished what needed to be done, it had been a very long day. It was well past the boys' bedtime, but they were so into the coins and getting theirs that their 'dad' let them stay up a little longer.

Mr. Ken sent the boys up to get ready for bed and told them they used up their relaxing time, so he wanted them in bed within 15 minutes. Ten minutes later Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne went up to say goodnight to all five Cover youngsters.

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