Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Twenty~Four

During the night, Matthew had a dream about his mother coming for him and they went off, together. The thing was she quickly found another man, and they moved in with him. That was when the man started to mistreat him and he wasn't allowed to go to school. He could even tell they were doing drugs and his mom started not to take care of herself because of the drugs.

The boy woke up with a start. The dream was something he didn't want to ever happen again, as he'd already done that once, and he never wanted to be beaten and move around so much again.

Matthew looked over at Charles and saw he was still asleep. Chief came up to him and put her paws on the bed and began to give him some doggie kisses. The young boy hugged the dog and scratched behind her ears before getting up to use the bathroom. When he returned, he climbed back into bed and quickly fell asleep. His dream didn't come back.

The boys slept in like most boys would when they had time off from school. The Wilkinson staff knew they needed to wait breakfast on them, but as the adults woke up and came into the dining room, they took breakfast orders and the chef made them their meals.

When the boys did arrive in the Dining Room, it was almost at the same time. With six boys and only one main bathroom between them, they had to stagger getting cleaned up, so they decided to eat first, then, get cleaned up for the day later. Mr. Ken again told Robert and Eric to use his en suite and Collin told Charles to use his. The twins and Matthew had to use the only bathroom, then.

After breakfast, Ms. Judy corralled Kevin and took him to a quiet corner to talk to him about living with Mr. Ken and what did he see as his future. The woman asked the older twin the same questions she asked the other boys. She wanted to know how he felt about what was happening to his dad and what he thought might happen to his mom.

After talking to Kevin, Ms. Judy asked Kyle to follow her, so they could talk. The Director of CPS asked the younger twin the same sort of questions she asked the other foster boys. But this time Kyle was more open that his older twin.

Kyle told her everything he understood about what his dad and Kevin did together and what was probably going to happen to his mom. The twin also told Ms. Judy he figured his mom would be arrested as Robert's mom was and he and his brother would be orphans. Saying and hearing what he said made the boy cry. Ms. Judy had to console the boy the same way, as she had to do for her son Eric after he came to live with her.

Ms. Judy was glad Kyle opened up as much as he did. Kevin was non-committal to almost everything she asked about his parents, but Kyle wasn't afraid to tell her what he thought. She had this feeling after talking to Kevin that he felt it was all his fault, whereas with Kyle, he knew his dad was at fault for the things that happened as they had. The younger twin was afraid his mom would also be arrested and taken to jail as Robert's mom was.

Ms. Judy let the twin catch up with the other boys as they talked with Collin. She then headed for Mr. Ken to tell him what was on the minds of his twins.

The boys wanted to swim one more time, but Mr. Ken told the boys he wanted to get back to The Cove sooner than planned. He told the boys he wanted to get a better reading on what happened when Matthew's mom tried to see her son. The boys were disappointed they couldn't swim, but were happy they'd get home sooner.

Mr. Ken sent the Cover boys up to pack their suitcases and told them not to forget their swimsuits. He also told them if their swimsuits were still wet, they should ask Grammy if she had some collapsible plastic bags she could give them to store the wet clothes in until they got home.

The guests and their hosts had a quick bite to eat before gathering at the front portico to say their Goodbyes. Even Chief went around to Grammy, Collin and Uncle Andy to thank them for inviting her to their home. The Cover van got on the road three hours earlier than planned.

Mr. Wayne kept the boys busy with his car games, on the way home. While those in the back were preoccupied, Mr. Ken and Ms. Judy talked about what might be in store for the twins, but especially Matthew. The adults speculated what Grace Turnsten might try to do, but Judy told Ken she would fight against her and her son being reunited, until her legal issues were resolved. Ms. Judy did say she would allow supervised visits if the courts were agreeable.

When the Covers returned home after dropping off Ms. Judy and Eric, the security guards were surprised at their early arrival at the Main Gate. Mr. Ken, along with Mr. Wayne, got out of the van and asked if any of the men were working when Ms. Turnsten visited.

The men who were there talked to Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne about her visits and how she was almost crazy in wanting to talk with her son. The thing was they didn't know which of the five boys was hers.

Before driving into the estate grounds, Mr. Wayne loaded the box into the van that had arrived for Mr. Ken the previous day. The boys wanted to know what was in the box, but all 'dad' Ken would tell them was, "In due time boys, in due time."

Mr. Ken had all the boys take their dirty clothes to the laundry room and to throw their swimsuits in with them. He told them it was time they got a proper washing. The boys all laughed saying their swimsuits only get used in the chlorinated pool. 'Dad' Ken told them to humor him and put them in the wash.

With the dirty clothes in the laundry, their suitcases unpacked and everything put away, the five boys came to the study to ask their 'dad' what was in the box.

"Daaaad, what's in the box?" asked Robert, with his 'brothers' standing beside him.

"Boys, get a seat and I'll tell you," replied 'dad' Ken.

Mr. Ken got a sharp knife out of his top desk drawer and used it to split the seams on the top of the box. He opened it and pulled out another box that was wrapped in bubble wrap. After taking the bubble wrap off, he passed it to Matthew who proceeded to pop the bubbles. The other boys came over to help him pop all the air bubbles. While the boys played, Mr. Ken proceeded to cut the seams on that box, too.

"Wayne, would you come over here and take these smaller boxes out and place them on the top of the desk. When the boys saw there were some more boxes inside the second box they stopped popping the air bubbles, and came over to see what they were.

Mr. Ken picked up one of the smaller boxes and split that seam, as well. When that smaller box was open 'dad' Ken took out ten smaller boxes the size that a silver dollar could fit in. The owner of The Cove cut the tape sealing that box and took out what was inside.

"What is it, 'dad'?" asked Matthew.

"What does it look like, Matthew?" answered Mr. Ken.

"It looks like a big ... like a big silver coin and has a number printed on it. But, what is it?" countered Matthew.

While the youngest Cover was looking over the silver coin, Mr. Ken had Wayne break out six more coins, so everyone could look at them at the same time.

"Boys this is something I've had my electronics company, which I bought from Collin, working on. It would have been done sooner if they hadn't gone out on strike last spring. That really delayed its development. Robert may remember back then when I had to leave him home with Ms. Mary and Ryan.

"Anyway, I wanted to develop a simple device that parents could give their kids, so that if they ever needed to find them, if they went missing, they could. Thus, this coin," answered 'dad' Ken.

"But, dad," started Robert, "Most kids have cell phones and you can track them that way."

"Yes, most kids have a cell phone. Tell me, though ... how many of your 'brothers' have cell phones?" asked a smiling dad Ken.

Robert took a second or two to realize the twins and Matthew didn't have cell phones and told his dad that, but then wanted to know why he hadn't gotten them one yet. Dad Ken reminded the teenager that Matthew only just got there 2 weeks ago, and he still didn't know the status of the twins. He also reminded his son that Santa would soon be there. All the boys laughed at hearing that.

"OK, now let me tell you what this is all about. The Commemorative Coin, with the outline of the state of Texas on one side and the Texas State flag on the other looks like a special keepsake. You, know, something someone might carry with them because of some significance it might have for them. But, if someone were to kidnap you, as Julian tried to do with the twins, he would have taken their cell phones and ripped out the battery, so no one could ever trace them.

"The coin would probably be the last thing they would take away. The kidnappers might think the coin could be something the kidnapped person would want to hold onto and it could help keep them quiet. At least that is my theory," explained 'dad' Ken

"But ... how does it work?" asked Matthew.

"Well, the coin has to first be registered and then activated. After that, the person carries it around with them wherever they go. The person also has to keep its use secret, otherwise, it will be of no use to them or others who own one, once the secret gets out.

"I intend to offer them to high profile people and their families. And, by word of mouth I hope their uniqueness will bring the people to me, well, my sales group. The coin can be either active or passive. In its passive mode, all we would need to do is communicate with the satellite and have it search the area around the person's last known whereabouts and move out from there.

"In its active mode, all the person would need to do is press the coin on its front and backside with their thumb and forefinger and hold it for at least ten seconds. Doing that will activate its internal battery and start sending out a signal. The battery is designed to last for a minimum of 24 hours. After that time frame its signal degrades over the next 24 hours," explained The Cove's owner.

"Will we ... ahh, 'dad', ahh will we get a coin to keep?" asked Matthew, with a cheeky grin on his face.

Mr. Ken smiled back and told his boys they all would have one as well as he, Mr. Wayne and Mr. Chris and his family. The boys asked if their friends would get one as well. Mr. Ken told them he'd have to talk to each of their parent's first. He added he'd have to get their signed permission, because there is some personal information that is needed to register the coin.

Mr. Ken then admonished his 'boys' not to tell anyone about the coin and especially not to tell their friends. He explained their friends would get one after their parents' say they can. 'Dad' Ken then explained its operation to them. The owner of The Cove reminded the boys that the coin is a security device, and if too many people know about the gadget it would be worthless.

Mr. Ken told the boys he'd give them their own coin tomorrow night after they return from getting their suits and had dinner. He also told the five Cover boys not to pester him about them. Their 'dad' then reminded the boys that Detectives Matthias and Roberts would be there tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM to talk with Matthew, and it would probably take 2 hours. Mr. Ken continued and told the boys after the detectives leave they would go out and get their suits and then go to dinner.

Kevin wouldn't let up about seeing his friends, so he asked if their friends could come over for a few hours and leave when they had to go out to get their suits. He argued if they came over at noon, as they usually did, and stayed until they left to get their suits, it would give them about three hours to be together and talk about what they did for Thanksgiving.

Mr. Wayne looked at his boss and saw the gears working inside his head. The Estate Master knew he'd give in to the boys, he just didn't know as to how much. He was surprised when his boss asked about Matthew's friends since he would be busy with the Sheriff's Detectives.

That threw Kevin, and his 'brothers' for a loop. They sort of heard a go-ahead coupled with a 'but'. Mr. Wayne saw the question in the boys' eyes, so he spoke up and suggested to them to talk about it overnight and in the morning they can give their 'dad' their ideas. Then, if their 'dad' said okay they could call their friends to come over for three hours.

The boy's heard an opportunity to let their friends come over for a few hours tomorrow, but they didn't hear their 'dad' agree to Mr. Wayne's proposal.

"Dad ... what do you say to Mr. Wayne's idea?" asked Robert.

"Boys ... I'll be honest with you. I don't think it would be fair to Matthew ... especially if his friends are here, but he can't be there to talk and play with them. And, if Matthew has to talk to two men, men most of the boys know, the boys ... all the boys, all your friends ... will want to know why Matthew is talking to the sheriff's deputies.

"Remember, we are trying not to associate Matthew with Lincoln, if we can help it. But, I know how important your friends are to you, so ... if you can bring me a plan tomorrow at breakfast, then I will honestly consider allowing your friends to stop by for a few hours," replied 'dad' Ken.

The boys all got big smiles on their faces. Even Matthew had a big smile at the thought he could meet up with his friends tomorrow first, instead of waiting until Monday.

The boys wanted to go swimming, but Mr. Ken told them they were going out to dinner and maybe drive the Go-Karts if they're good. The boys hurried to get cleaned up, up to their elbows, too, and meet with their 'dad' and Mr. Wayne at the parking corral

Mr. Wayne drove his own vehicle as he was going back to his apartment after dinner and driving the Go-Karts. Matthew asked if he could ride with Mr. Wayne, and getting permission Matthew had a great big grin on his face.

Before the boys went to bed, they all met in Robert's room. They wanted to talk about how they could get Mr. Ken to allow their friends over for a few hours tomorrow, before they went out to get their new suits.

"Does anyone have any ideas?" asked Robert. "If we don't have a plan by breakfast, we can forget about seeing our friends tomorrow, and talking with them about our Thanksgiving Holiday."

After a few long moments of silence, Robert said, quite loudly, "Come on THINK! One of us must have some sort of idea; some tickle in the back of our brain. Remember, how dad told us about brainstorming and sharing our thoughts, that's what we need to do now."

The boys kicked around a few inklings of what they thought would get their 'dad' to relent and allow them to invite their friends, but none of them were foolproof enough to assure Mr. Ken would concede to their request.

Matthew spoke up. "Hey ... they all know I was in the hospital. Right? Well ... what if we tell them the detectives are here to talk to me, you know, talk to me some more about the stuff that happened to me that put me there. We tell our friends ... yea, we tell them that the deputies need a few more details, so they can throw the book at Lincoln. Yea ... that should work."

The other Cover boys looked at Matthew as if he was crazy.

"What ... I thought we didn't want them to put Lincoln and Matthew's mom together? You know ... so that what he was charged with wouldn't relate our 'brother' and his mom with that man?" said Kevin.

"Guys ... it doesn't matter if they do!" quickly said Matthew. "Look ... whatever Lincoln did doesn't mean I did it? Does it? And besides, I can't hide from my past. Practically everyone knows Lincoln and my mom were arrested at the hospital. All this does is add to the story and the sooner the better, so they can forget. Right?"

"Matthew ... you don't know what happened after Robert was adopted and our friends ... they found out his mom and dad were in jail. Some things were said that made Kevin ... that made him run back into the house. You will have to be ready to hear things, true or not, which might be said outside that might make you feel they aren't your friends," counseled Charles.

Matthew sat there thinking. Then he stood up and told his 'brothers', "If they are my friends ... if they are they will come to understand that it wasn't me who did what he is charged with. And, if they can't accept that ... then they weren't my friends to begin with!"

That said, Matthew quickly left the room and went to bed.

The Cover boys couldn't believe what Matthew just said. Here he was telling them that he wanted to move forward and put his past in the past, and if his friends were truly his friends they'd stick by him.

The boys decided to go with what Matthew suggested. It was really the only plan they had, anyway. Robert told them to get a good night's sleep, but not to sleep in as they needed to be downstairs eating breakfast with their 'dad', so they could tell him their idea.

Charles added, "Guys, the sooner we get downstairs in the morning the better chance we have of convincing 'dad'. We don't know how long 'dad' could take to consider our, well Matthew's, idea and then we need time to call everybody if he agrees"

Kyle jumped into the conversation and said he'd set their alarm to be up by nine. Robert then kiddingly told him not to forget to reset the alarm in order to get up in time for school on Monday. All the boys laughed at that. After that, they all headed off to pee and go to bed.

Mr. Ken got up on Sunday at his usual non-school daytime, 8:15ish. When he went outside to get the newspaper, he could tell fall was definitely in the air. He hadn't put on a sweater, or light jacket, but wished he had.

Chief met him at the Foyer Door as he walked back inside. He ruffled Chief's fur and then scratched behind her ears before heading to the Kitchen Nook and his first cup of coffee. In the Nook, Mr. Ken poured his first cup, took the paper out of its protective sleeve and then spread the paper out as he usually did.

It was a little past 9 AM, when the boys began to trickle into the Kitchen Nook for breakfast. Kyle immediately went to the cupboard and took out a box of cereal and then got the milk out of the refrigerator. Matthew followed suit but picked a different cereal.

Then, remembering he needed to take care of Chief, he refreshed her water and gave her fresh kibble. After, he went over to Mr. Ken and gave him a big hug and whispered another thank you to him for taking him to Collin's and Grammy's

Kyle and Matthew were already eating when Robert, Charles and Kevin finally walked into the large morning meeting place about ten minutes after their younger 'brothers'.

"Good Morning boys," called out Mr. Ken.

The boys quickly said 'Good morning' back, and then went looking for which frozen breakfast taco they wanted to eat that morning. Charles, remembering not seeing anything but coffee in front of his 'dad' called over to him and asked him what he wanted to eat.

While they waited for the breakfast tacos to warm up, Robert got his dad's attention.

"Dad ... about the coins. I know you told us not to pester you about them, but ... well my question is ... when will we get them? Will it be after we get our suits?" asked Robert.

"OK, that is an honest question because I should have told you last night. And, yes, because Matthew and I will be busy for a few hours the best time will be after we return from getting your suits and we have dinner. Is there anything else?" replied 'dad' Ken.

"Yes dad ... last night before we went to bed, we did what you asked. We talked about how we can let our friends come over for a few hours before we go out to get our suits. And, we have a plan. Well, actually, Matthew came up with the plan, dad," said Robert.

Hearing that perked Mr. Ken's interest. "Tell me more, please," said Mr. Ken.

Robert asked Matthew to stand up and tell their 'dad' what he told them last night. The other boys cheered their youngest 'brother' on, as youngster pushed his cereal bowl away from him and got out of his chair.

With a bit of nervousness in his voice Matthew told his foster dad, "'Dad' ... it doesn't matter to me if they find out about Lincoln ... and my mom. Practically everyone knows Lincoln and my mom were arrested at the hospital and that Lincoln ... that he was the man who put me in there. I think the sooner they know about Lincoln, my mom and me the better it is for me. And besides ... I can't hide from my past.

"Whatever Lincoln did doesn't mean I did it? Does it 'dad'? If they know about Lincoln, from my perspective, it only adds to the story and removes the questions from their minds.

"The only way for me to move on ... is to get past this, so I can make a new future. I can't hide from this and the sooner it gets out the better I think it should be for me. So ... I say let our friends come over for a few hours, and let them hear the truth, 'dad'.

After a big breath, Matthew continued. "Mr. Ken ... if they are my friends ... if they really are they will understand ... that it wasn't me who did all those things he is charged with. And, if they can't accept that ... then ... then they were ... they were never my friends to begin with!" finished a now tall standing and steadfast young man of ten years of age.

Mr. Ken was taken aback at hearing what he just did from the young Cover, and the way he said it. He felt the boy had to have thought things out, and made the decision by himself, but he also had to make sure the older boys hadn't put him up to what he just said.

"Matthew, I have one question for you," began 'dad' Ken. ... "Did your 'brothers' ... did they talk you into saying what you just did, or ... or was what you said ... was it really and truly your idea from the start?"

"'Dad' ... I told them essentially what I just told you," replied Matthew. "Charles ... he told me a little about what happened when the guys learned about Robert's parents being in jail and ... and how hard Kevin took it. I may be only ten, but I know ... I know that I can't hide from my past forever, and if I don't face it now, and move forward, I'll always be looking over my shoulder."

With a big smile on his face, Mr. Ken pulled the ten-year-old into him and hugged him tight. The man looked over to the other Cover boys and told them they can call their friends and tell them they can come over at twelve, noon, but they had to leave by 3 PM.

The boys all stopped eating and hurried off to call their friends. Of course, Robert put his 'recall' plan into action, so after just one phone call, his cell phone was available for the twins to use. When Charles was finished calling his friends and telling them whom to call he gave his phone to Matthew.

Unfortunately, Matthew didn't know how to use the cell phone and he told his pre-teen 'brother' that he didn't have all his friends' phone numbers. Robert heard what he told Charles and went up to him, put his arm around his 'brother's shoulder, and told him Brad will tell Brant, Richard will tell Ryan and Dylan will tell Noah, so he really didn't have to make any phone calls. Matthew laughed hard at hearing that.

The boys were so happy at their friends coming over they totally forgot about finishing breakfast. They all hurried upstairs to get cleaned up for the day.

Mr. Ken called Wayne and asked him if he could come over. He told him essentially what Matthew said to him, about their friends knowing who Lincoln was. He explained he wanted him to referee the boys while Matthew and he talked to the sheriff's deputies. Wayne laughed at his employer, saying he knew he'd give into the boys. All Mr. Ken could say was, "Yea, yea, yea!"

Mr. Wayne and Stewart Russell came to The Cove at the same time, about 12:30. Mr. Wayne was there at the behest of his boss, Mr. Ken. He went in to let the man know he was there and then he walked outside and headed to the parking corral to ask Matthew to step inside the house.

Mr. Russell came to the house, so he could talk to Matthew before Detectives Matthias and Roberts stopped by. Some of the boys saw him arrive and then wondered why Matthew was called into the house.

Before Matthew went inside, he told everyone that the sheriff's deputies would soon be there to talk to him about his mom's boyfriend, Lincoln. He explained Mr. Russell would be his lawyer to make sure he didn't say anything wrong. Before going inside, the young Cover told them that if he has the time, before they leave, that he'll tell them everything and answer all their questions. The ten year old, followed by Chief, then headed into the house.

As soon as Matthew was out of earshot, Charles called everyone over and said, "Guys, listen up. ... Just like with Robert, back when he was adopted, some of you said some things about him and his parents and about them being in jail. Matthew ... well, he is sort of in the same situation.

"First off, he hasn't seen his dad in years and has no idea where he is. As for his mom, she is out on bail. For those of you who do not know about Lincoln, he is his mom's boyfriend and was the man who beat our 'brother' so bad he was put into the hospital."

Robert joined in and said, "You may have heard about this man, Lincoln, in the news media. You may have also heard he was charged with some very bad crimes while Matthew and his mom lived with him. The sheriff's deputies will be here soon to talk to Matthew about the time he lived with that man.

Charles then jumped in and continued, "Know this ... that Matthew did NOT ... I repeat ... he did NOT commit those crimes. He was an innocent bystander and was forced to live with him because of his mom. I know I am being a bit overprotective of my 'brother', but I do not want the same sort of reaction that happened when you all heard about Robert's parents being in jail.

"Matthew is the same boy you all met two weeks ago and I hope ... I hope you all will continue to be his friend," spoke up Robert. "But ... let me be perfectly clear. If you can't accept Matthew's situation and what he has to tell you then ... then, just as you were told about still being my friend, then you need to leave and never ... come back.

"All of us Covers, well not Robert anymore, are in the foster care system because of situations beyond our control," Charles reminded them. "You know about Robert's parents and now you know something about why Matthew is living with Mr. Ken. He didn't cause this to happen to him and if it weren't for our 'dad', and Mr. Dan, he might still be living in those same circumstances.

"Many of you know why Kevin and Kyle are living here. They, and their parents, were in a car crash and the twins' parents were badly injured, and are still in the hospital. As for me, if you are still wondering about me, and why I'm living here with Mr. Ken, you will be told when the time is right, if there ever is a right time. So, don't bug me to tell you anything about my situation," finished Charles.

Mr. Wayne was standing back listening to what was being said. He was surprised how the two older Cover boys were so protective of Matthew. He was also astonished at what they had to say in the boy's defense and in the tone of voice they used. And, he was very surprised that something happened between all the boys after Robert's adoption and hearing the revelation about his parents.

What he did know, from what Robert said, and was it had to be something big if the boys were telling their friends that if they can't accept what Matthew tells them then they needed to leave and never come back. Mr. Wayne made a mental note to ask his boss about it, and if he knew what that was all about.

It was while the boys were being told about Matthew that Sheriff Detectives Matthias and Roberts arrived at The Cove. The boys were so busy listening to Robert and Charles they missed the two men's arrival.

Mr. Ken met the two sheriff's men at the Foyer Door and led them back to his Study. The owner of The Cove introduced Matthew to the men and asked them to be seated. When everyone was seated it was Mr. Ken behind his big desk with Matthew and Mr. Russell on one side of the room and the two detectives on the other side.

The setup looked confrontational, but Lieutenant Matthias opened right up and explained to Matthew why they were there. The detective told him upfront they wanted to ask him about Lincoln's whereabouts during the time he lived with the man. Matthew looked at Mr. Russell to see what he should say. Getting a nod from the man, the youngster said, with a smile, he would tell them what he knew.

All comments are encouraged. You may email Chowhound at: Chowhound