Billy, Robert, Charles and Matthew were all wondering what the other three Covers were talking about upstairs. Robert and Charles had a pretty good idea what was going on up in the bedroom. But as for Matthew and Billy, they were still in the dark and they knew they'd never learn the truth for a very long time.
Mr. Ken then walked into the Kitchen Nook, rinsed out his coffee cup, filled it with hot coffee, sat down in his favorite kitchen chair and began reading his morning newspaper. The three boys all laughed at what the man did.
'Dad, will Kevin be OK?" asked Robert.
"Yes, he will. The trial took a lot out of him. Next week he'll see Doctor Doug until he no longer needs to. He and Kyle are getting cleaned up and will be down here in a few minutes. Don't bug him about what happened this morning.
"Boys ... he feels bad enough and he doesn't need you four trying to find out more about what happened this morning. I'm sure you all understand what I am saying," said 'dad' Ken, as he spoke through his newspaper.
The four boys looked at one another knowing not to argue with the man. They all finished their breakfast and then went outside and waited for their friends.
Eric came over an hour early as he and Robert were cutting and trimming the field that day. Ms. Judy went inside to talk to Mr. Ken about the trial. Robert knew she would also hear about what was said about the money and what happened that morning.
When Kevin and Kyle came down to eat breakfast, they found some breakfast tacos in the convection oven for them, and they thanked their 'dad' for them. He told them to thank their 'brothers' for them, when they saw them outside.
Ms. Judy came into the Kitchen Nook and heard the exchange. Mr. Ken offered her a cup of coffee, which she accepted, and the two adults sat and talked about the trial. Kevin and Kyle added what they could about the trial.
Kevin spoke up and told Ms. Judy about what Stanley Vahnn said about his dad accepting $5000.00 from Julian Hankers to have sex with him, and encouraging him to kidnap him, his brother and Robert.
Ms. Judy was shocked at hearing that. But Mr. Ken was happy that Kevin was able to talk about it, and in front of Ms. Judy. That told the man that the older twin would be able to move through this bump in his life, especially with the guidance of Doctor Doug.
When the twins finished eating, they cleaned their area, took their dirty dishes to the sink, rinsed them, put them into the dishwasher and then went outside with their 'brothers'. Meanwhile, Mr. Ken and Ms. Judy talked over what happened and what was said at the trial.
The boy's friends began to arrive at twelve noon as they usually did. The first thing they wanted to see was the latest editions to the skate park and the Pavilion. Charles called his dad and asked him if they could walk around now that the majority of the construction was done, or did he need to be there with them.
Charles' dad thought about it for a few moments and decided that there wasn't anything really left for the contractor to do, so he told his son they could walk around and check everything out. Charles then asked about the lockers. Mr. Ken told him they hadn't made the names and numbers yet, so for him not to let the boys use those yet.
The boys were amazed at everything they saw. They loved everything. They wondered why some of the tables were on an angle and the middle ones weren't. So, Billy told them to spread out and sit down at them and they'd see.
Once they were seated, Billy began to talk to them from the front of the Pavilion about what they did last night. When the teen did that the boys on the sides immediately saw they didn't really have to turn their heads very much to listen and see the speaker.
After that simple demonstration, the boys had to check out the storage room, the janitor's closet, and the bathrooms. When they asked about the lockers, Charles told them how his dad wanted to assign them and that they would do that before they left later that afternoon.
Noah saw that six lockers were already being used and asked who was using those. Matthew told him, and thus the rest of the boys, that their 'dad' let them choose their lockers last night according to when they arrived at The Cove.
Charles then asked his and Robert's friends if they brought along their ideas of what seating they thought they needed around the skate park. The boys brought out their papers and they walked around the park, and as they did, they saw that there was seating already installed all around the skate park. They tried the concrete benches and found they were good enough and all they needed, if anything, was a padded seat.
While Robert and Eric cut and trimmed the field the boys used the ramps. Billy and his friends walked around the skate park looking over the many different bowls and their depths and the other features built into the skate park.
The teenagers talked about what they would be able to try on the different aspects of the park and how many people could be out there at one time. Kaden then wanted to check out the new golf carts. He wanted to drive one, but Billy stuck to his guns and told him that only the Covers could drive them. But Billy did say he could give them a ride.
Billy went inside and asked Mr. Ken if he could have the keys to one of the six-seater golf carts, so he could give his friends a ride in it. Mr. Ken smiled knowing the cart would be a magnet and as he gave the keys to the teen. The man reminded Bill that only he or his 'brothers' could drive them. Billy told him he knew that and had already told his friends.
Of course, when the other Cover boys saw Billy was giving his friends a ride in one of the brand-new golf carts, they wanted to do the same with their friends. Matthew and Kyle ran inside to ask their 'dad' for the keys to the other golf carts, so they could give their friends a ride, as well.
Ms. Judy wanted to see the newest Three Finger Cove play toys, so she went outside with her friend, and Cove owner, Ken, as he wanted to make sure the boys knew the golf carts were not racers, but transportation devices.
"Oh, Ken, I love these," said Judy Turner, when she saw the green golf carts.
Mr. Ken gave her the keys to the four-seat cart and had her sit behind the wheel. He told her to turn the key and to punch the gas pedal to release the brake and away they went. The boys heard the woman laugh as the two adults drove away.
When Ms. Judy returned with Mr. Ken, she passed the keys to Charles. Mr. Ken then passed the other set of keys to Matthew, while Billy gave his set of keys to Kyle. Mr. Ken told the boys to give each of their friends a ride up to the Pavilion and back and then pass the keys to Kevin so his friends got a ride, as well.
"Ken, I love the green color and that you had 'Three Finger Cove' painted on the front," commented Ms. Judy.
"Well, Chris had that done. He thought it would be a nice touch to the carts and he picked the color knowing I liked green. I think he did a great job," confided Ken.
While the adults talked, the boys were taking their friends for rides on the golf carts. And while the others waited, they took advantage of the empty ramps. Then, the boys who'd ridden the four-seater cart with Charles wanted to ride in one of the six-seaters, so Charles gave them a ride on one of those as well. Before long the golf carts made multiple trips back and forth to the pavilion and all the boys had a chance to ride in both a six-seat and four-seat golf cart.
The security guards watched the comings and goings of the boys on the golf carts and they had to laugh at their shenanigans. They told one another they had to be careful with all the traffic, and then they laughed some more.
But the guards were somewhat serious as they did rotate their security positions every forty-five minutes, to limit the boredom. They knew they would have to pass by the boys along the way to the far side of the property beyond the Pavilion and down the front driveway to the beach.
The security guards had watched the construction of the skate park ever since the beginning and now they knew it was coming to its end with the big Memorial Day Picnic scheduled for next weekend. They knew there would be about 200 people and some important ones at that.
Kaden asked Billy if they could try out the skate park. Billy asked him if he was kidding. Kaden said he wasn't. He said everyone could see the park was finished and he couldn't believe that they couldn't use it until next weekend.
Billy told his friend that the park wasn't his. That it was Mr. Ken's and that he made the rules and when he said they could use the skate park that's when they could use it and not before. The other teens listened to the exchange and wondered where that was all leading. They knew Kaden pushed Billy's buttons, but he hadn't done so for quite some time.
Then, Kaden agreed by saying, "Yea, you're right. I just hoped he would have relented seeing the park is finished."
The day moved on and before the boys knew it Charles yelled it was time to barbeque. Billy told his friends it was time they took on that task, so the six of them grabbed Gordon, Chuck, Trevor and Logan to help set the barbeque up.
Kaden called 'grilled-master' and Logan said he'd make sure he knew what he was doing. Everyone laughed. The rest of the boys did whatever else needed to be done and before long the burgers were being burned and the dogs were hot and everyone was eating.
"Mr. Ken," asked Ryan, "where's Mr. Wayne? He's usually here."
"Well, he has to have a day off now and then and with the picnic next weekend he'll be surely busy, so he has this weekend off," answered Mr. Ken.
"Oh. OK," was all Ryan said.
"Boys, may I have your attention for a few moments. If my 'boys' haven't said anything to you yet, then let me be the first one to tell you this. I have the release forms for you to take home for your parents to sign, so you can use the skate park when I open it up for you to use. The form is also so you can use the water toys, the WaveRunners and the Sunfish sailboat, after you learn to sail.
"Take them home with you tonight and bring them back with you tomorrow. That way there won't be a problem when it comes time to skate next Saturday," finished Mr. Ken. "Oh, and make sure your parents check off all four boxes."
"Mr. Ken ... when can we pick out our lockers?" asked Hunter.
"Hmmmm, OK, I need Charles to go into my Study and get some paper and pens. When he comes back, we'll write all your names on small pieces of paper. Then, we'll write the numbers 7 through 60 on other pieces of paper.
"Once we have those, we'll do a double-blind pick of names and numbers and that is how you will get your locker. Any questions?" finished Mr. Ken.
While Charles went to get the pens and paper, ten different boys were picked to tear down the barbeque, but many of the other boys helped, so it didn't take all that much time at all to put everything away.
As soon as Charles returned with the pens and paper, the boys immediately cut the paper into as many pieces as they needed for the lockers and their names.
As the boys did that, Charles asked his dad, "What about Eric? Isn't he a Cover, too? Shouldn't he have gotten his pick of a locker last night?"
Charles was sent out to the field to get Eric. When Eric, Robert and Charles returned to the Patio, Mr. Ken asked for the boy's attention.
"Boys ... some of you already know this, and for those of you who don't, well ... now you'll know. Eric ... he's a Cover, too! Yes, he is as much a Cover as all my 'boys' are. And, as such ... he gets his choice of lockers before you get yours.
"So, Eric, since your 'brothers' have already chosen locker numbers 1 through 6 you can pick any locker number 7 through 60. Then, once you pick your locker, we'll do the double-blind pick for the rest of the boys," announced Mr. Ken.
The boys all waited for Eric to choose his locker. The teen put his hand to his chin and made it look like he was thinking. He then changed his hands and moved his head another way. He did that a few times.
"Oh, come on already. Choose a bloody locker, will ya!" yelled Chuck. Everyone laughed.
"Oh, OK, I'll take number 59. It's the closest to the end, and at the top, so I won't have to walk so far like my 'brothers' will," laughed the Cover teen. "Now, I need to get back to work."
Robert and Eric headed back to the field to finish up their job.
When the teens left to finish cutting and trimming the field, Mr. Ken asked two boys to donate their hats to the double-blind selection process. He chose the first name, Jacob, and had him pick a locker number out of the other hat, 45.
Jacob then picked a name, Nicholas, who picked locker number 26. Nicholas then picked a name and so on and until every boy's name was picked and they in turn picked a locker number. Mr. Ken then told them they could swap lockers up and until they entered their four-digit number into the lock.
That done, the boys headed up to the Pavilion to claim their lockers. Along the way, a few boys did swap lockers, but for the most part the boys kept what they drew. They all had to check out their locker, before Mr. Ken explained how they would pull the tab, enter their number and then close the door, after which they should rotate the numbers so no one knows what their combination is. Mr. Ken then asked them to check to see that their selected number did work.
"Billy, why is it your 'brothers' cut the field again, and Mr. Ken doesn't have a landscape company do it? And, do they get paid?" asked Kaden.
"Well, as the story goes, as I know it, when Robert first began living here, he wanted to earn some money, so he had some when they went places. At the time, he didn't know Mr. Ken would pay for everything. So, when he heard Todd was being offered the Beach Master job, Robert quickly asked for the job to cut the field.
"So, Mr. Ken gave him and Eric the job on the condition they would do a good, consistent job. Well, it hasn't always been consistent, but they do a good job from what I've been told and seen. I guess when they're done, we can see for ourselves," explained Billy.
"Why are you asking Kaden?" chuckled Lonnie. "You looking for a summer job?"
All the teenagers laughed. But Kaden recovered by saying he was curious as to why the foster boys were working at this huge estate when the man could obviously afford to hire a professional company to do the job.
Gabe spoke up and said he wished he had a paying job. Brett, Jamie and Billy spoke up and agreed. That said, the teens began talking about what they would be doing if the government would allow fifteen-year-olds to have a legal paying job out in the cruel world. They all had a good laugh at that.
"So, how much do they get paid?" asked Kaden.
"To be honest, I don't know. I never asked," answered Billy. "And to be frank, I don't think Robert would ever tell me. Just like Todd. He used to take care of cutting the field and when Ryan went off to college Mr. Ken offered the Beach Master job to him. But what he gets paid is between him, Mr. Ken and Mr. Chris."
"Why Mr. Chris?" asked Brett.
"Well, Mr. Chris ... he's the Estate Manager and he essentially runs the estate for Mr. Ken," answered Billy.
"Whoa, he runs the estate? Then, what does Mr. Ken do?" laughed Jamie.
"Mr. Ken owns the estate, numb nuts," laughed Billy. "Mr. Ken tells Mr. Chris what he has planned and Mr. Chris makes it happen. Take the Memorial Day Picnic. Mr. Ken told Mr. Chris what he wanted to serve, which caterer to use, what he planned to do at the picnic, etc. and Mr. Chris, makes it all happen."
"This I got to see," said Gabe.
"You will ... come next Saturday," laughed Lonnie. "Remember, you'll be here. We'll all be here." All the teens laughed.
It was a busy day and none of the boys got to swim. But, since they hadn't, they all got to store their swim gear, along with their skateboard, in their new lockers. The boys thanked Mr. Ken again for the lockers. They told him they now didn't have to lug the skateboard with them every day they came over to The Cove.
The Covers went out to dinner as they usually did on Saturday nights. That night they went to Gatti's Pizza where the boys could play games in the back area after they ate. Of course, the boys won coupons from the games that they could turn in for prizes afterwards. It was a fun night for them all.
The boys slept in as they were apt to do on non-school days. Mr. Ken still got out of bed between 8 and 8:15 on those mornings, used the facilities, dressed in his nylon shorts, t-shirt and Crocks and went out for his morning newspaper.
Sunday morning Kevin felt fine. He didn't have any more thoughts about what his dad had done to him and that he had sold him to Julian for $5000.00. He knew 'dad' would make it so he could talk it all over with Doctor Doug, and get it all straight in his mind, so he could move on with his life.
Ken Thomas placed the still wrapped newspaper on the Nook's table as he went to the coffee maker to get his first cup of hot coffee and a sweet cake before he would slip the plastic sleeve off the Sunday paper and begin his usual ritual of reading the newspaper in the peace and quiet of the Kitchen Nook.
Just as Mr. Ken began to sit down, he decided he'd set out some breakfast tacos for him and the boys. So, he took out twenty-one tacos in the different combinations Momma Maria had made for them for situations like this. The man placed them in the convection oven and set the timer for twenty minutes. He figured the boys would be down after 9 a.m. and, if not, the tacos would stay warm in the oven, after that, if the boys weren't.
The owner of The Cove finally sat down, took a drink of his coffee, slipped the plastic sleeve off the Sunday newspaper and began to separate the sections. Comics in one area, advertisements in another and the main sections in front of him.
The man smoothed section one out from the back, so it wouldn't roll as he read it. He then turned it to begin reading it. He was shocked to see the headline.
JULIAN HANKERS DEAD
FOUND IN JAIL CELL
Mr. Ken couldn't believe what he just read. He never listened to the evening news as it wasn't something he did as a rule. He never thought that something like that would, could ever happen. Now he knew he needed to read the article first, so he could tell the boys when they came down later that morning.
But before he began to read, Mr. Ken decided to turn the radio on to listen to what the radio commentators had to say about the man's death, and to see if there was more information being released about the man's demise. On the radio, Mr. Ken heard:
"As was learned late last night, Julian Hankers, on trial for the attempted kidnapping of nine boys, aged eleven to thirteen, was found dead in his jail cell by the guards while doing their regular checks of the prisoners. Authorities would not speculate on what was the cause of the man's death.
"But people close to the investigation say that inmates do not take kindly to prisoners who prey on children and this person, not only attempted to kidnap nine boys, it was also said he paid $5000.00 to one boy's dad to have sex with the now twelve-year-old boy.
"At the trial, Stanley Vahnn, one of the other three men who was with Julian Hankers the night of the attempted kidnapping, turned state's evidence. He testified for the prosecution in exchange for a more lenient sentence for his part in the attempted kidnapping.
"It was his testimony that brought forth the information that Julian Hankers paid Parker Parchsons $5000.00 to have sex with his son after kidnapping him. Neither son of Parker Parchsons, when they testified, said they had any idea of that arrangement between the men.
"The state's star witness also told the jury that Julian Hankers was also supposed to look for one Robert Harrison and kidnap him as well. What was learned from that boy's testimony was that his biological father once had business dealings with Parker Parchsons. And now, that the boy's father is in prison, Parker Parchsons might not want Robert to testify against him if and when he goes to trial is the speculation.
"It is believed there was a lot more to learn during this trial if Julian Hankers had lived. Motions during the trial had indicated as much, but the judge had ruled against them as his ruling said they didn't have any bearing on what was being determined in that trial. Stay tuned for more information as we get it."
Ken Thomas was livid at what he just heard. The radio didn't mention Kevin and Kyle by name, but by mentioning their father's name the radio station put a Bullseye on their backs. The radio station had used Robert's full name in their broadcast, though. He was beside himself.
The man didn't even read what the newspaper had printed. He just got up and out of his chair and reached for his phone. He called Bill Jackson to get his read on that turn of events. The two men talked at length, but in the end the cat was out of the bag.
Everything that was said in court was now in the public record and anyone, including the newspapers, radio and television, had access to it and could report on it. All Ken Thomas could do now was play defense.
As soon as Mr. Ken hung up, the phone immediately rang. He looked at the caller ID and saw it was Judy. He picked it up. The two talked about what was said on the radio and television stations and it was then Mr. Ken turned on the TV in the Kitchen Nook to watch and listen to what was being said there.
As soon as the two hung up their call, Mr. Ken called the Main Gate. He told the guards to only allow inside the estate grounds those who are in the database and to keep away any nosey radio, TV and newspaper reporters. He told them if they ask them if he had said anything to them about what was being reported on the radio and TV this morning to tell them that he would have no comment.
By then the boys had begun to filter down into the Kitchen Nook. 'Dad' Ken told them there were breakfast tacos in the convection oven for them and for them not to take all the good ones, but to leave some for their 'brothers'.
Eventually, all six boys were there and 'dad' Ken got their attention.
"Boys ... ahh ... something ... something happened last night that ... that will probably affect all of you in one way, or another," began 'dad' Ken, in a very subdued and cautious manner.
"Dad, dad what's wrong?" asked a concerned Robert.
"Boys ... the radio reported this morning that ... that Julian Hankers ... that he was found dead in his jail cell late last night. But that isn't the only bad news. The radio station ... it also reported about the trail and Kevin and Kyle ... they mentioned your dad's name, and that he took $5000.00 from Julian ... to have sex with you Kevin.
"And Robert ... the radio station ... they reported your dad had business dealings with Parker and that ... and that he wanted you kidnapped, so you couldn't testify against him. They also mentioned your dad was in jail, but your friends already knew that.
"Boys, the problem is that ... that with all this new information getting out, you may have to answer a ton of questions you may not be ready, or willing to answer at this time.
"Bill ... you are probably hearing a lot of stuff that you had no idea about, and now that you are your friends ... your friends undoubtedly are going to ask you what you know. Unfortunately, you don't know much of anything, other than what your 'brothers' have told you, and what you'll read in the newspaper and hear on the radio and TV.
"And, with that said, I want you all to read the newspaper article, and of course turn the TV and radio on and listen to what they have to say. That way when your friends arrive later you can answer their questions. And you know, they will ask you questions. Any questions for me?" finished 'dad' Ken.
While the boys finished their breakfast, 'dad' Ken turned both the radio and TV on in the Kitchen Nook and told them to focus on one or the other. When they finished eating and cleaned their area, rinsed their plates and placed them in the dishwasher, Robert got the newspaper and read the article out loud, so his 'brothers' all heard the story at the same time.
They talked about the article as Robert read it. Billy asked the most questions. The teen wasn't in the courtroom and had arrived at The Cove well after the other boys. The older Cover knew the least about his 'brothers' and wanted to know as much as he could.
Matthew was all ears, but didn't ask any questions. He stayed quiet the entire time. He felt it wasn't up to him to ask probing questions as to why his 'brothers' were living there at The Cove. And especially why the twin's dad would sell his sons to another man for sex. And why that same man would want to kidnap Robert to keep him from telling what he knew about him.
By the time Robert was finished reading the article and the six Cover boys had listened to the morning talk shows on the radio and television they all knew what to expect from their friends today, and their classmates at school the following morning.
"Boys ... if you get overwhelmed by your friends you come and get me. Don't try to fend off their probing questions by yourselves. I know they are your friends, but ... well they may forget that in their desire to learn your full story. You may have told some of your friend's parts of your story and others more of the story. The thing is ... they will all get to hear what you say to them and ... well, you can't take back what you tell them.
"Kevin ... you going to be OK ... with talking to your friends?" asked 'dad' Ken.
"Well ... I'm going to have to face them sometime, and ... well, you did say to come and get you if they get too ... well, if they get too pushy for answers that I don't want to answer just yet," replied the older twin.
"Robert, what about you?" asked the teen's dad.
"I think I'll be OK. They all pretty much know my dad is in jail. The new thing is the twin's dad and my dad knowing one another and that, you know, that I met Mr. Parchsons and now that he wanted to kidnap me for some reason. After that, I don't know what they could ask me," answered the Cover teen.
"Bill ... your friends might be the ones with the most questions. Please remember the rule. We don't tell our friends any more about our 'brothers' than they told us. And, in this case, what they tell their friends through their answers.
"And boys, that goes for all of you. I shouldn't have singled out Bill, but he knows the least about all of you, and he is more apt to be inundated by his friends to tell them more. Whereas, your friends have already learned not to press that issue. Need I say more?" cautioned 'dad' Ken.
Mr. Ken's phone rang just then. When he answered it he learned from the security guards some news reporters at the Main Gate wanted to interview him. He also understood that the boy's friends were also arriving and were being allowed to enter.
Mr. Ken told the boys to go and greet their friends. He then added he would go up to the Main Gate and talk to the news folks and see what they wanted.
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