"Thanks 'Dad Ken' for doing what you did for us, today," voiced Kyle.
"Yeah, Thanks 'Dad Ken', I can't ever remember having had that much fun with a bunch of my friends, before," added Kevin.
"That's because we never had that many kids we could call our friends," inserted Kyle.
Kevin got very quiet and just stared at his twin when he heard what Kyle just said. Kyle then saw a few tears form in his twin's eyes and then the older twin ran up the stairs.
"Kyle … what was that all about, 'son'?" quietly asked Mr. Ken.
Kyle ran to the man and hugged him tight and tears began to fall. Robert and Charles saw what happened, but they didn't know what they could do. 'Dad Ken' let Kyle hug him for a few seconds and then pulled him away and asked him if he would talk to him about what just happened. Kyle agreed so they all went to the Study.
Upstairs, Kevin was distraught. He knew what his twin had said was true. He knew they didn't have many friends back home because his dad wouldn't allow it. He cried because he looked back and saw what fun he had that day, and he wished he could have had that before. Knowing how much fun his dad kept him from having over the past few years only made him cry harder. The older twin just lay there, on his bed, crying his eyes out.
Mr. Ken sat in one of the leather chairs and pulled Kyle onto his lap. The boy melted into the man's arms and hugged the man close. The lad so craved attention he would grasp at any man who would give it to him. The lad knew 'Dad Ken' had Robert and Charles as his 'sons' and even though he was his foster dad, too, he really wanted someone like Mr. Dan to be his 'dad'.
"Kyle … first of all … is it OK if your 'brothers' stay and hear what we talk about?" asked 'Dad Ken'.
"Yes," sniffled Kyle. "They need to know about me, because well, we're going to be here a long time and … and it will be better if they knew stuff about me and my brother."
"Thank you, Kyle. Now … I know this might be hard for you to do but … well, I need you to tell me what was going one back there between you and your brother in the hall, just a few minutes ago. What did you mean when you said something 'we never had that many kids we could call our friends'?" 'Dad Ken' asked the younger twin.
Kyle just sat there hugging the man. Mr. Ken let the lad have as much time as he needed to answer. After a few very quiet moments, Kyle pulled back from his foster dad and looked into his eyes and said, "Our dad, our real dad that is, he … well, he never wanted our friends to hang around with us.
"It started back after we turned ten. If our friends came over it was OK if they stayed a while and played. But after a short while our dad made us come in and he never let them come in with us. Then, as time went on, none of our friends would even come over and they stopped asking us to come over to their place because they knew our dad would never let us," revealed Kyle.
Kyle then retreated back into Mr. Ken's shoulder where he continued to lightly cry.
As Robert and Charles listened, they had no idea what that was all about, the twins' dad not letting them have friends over, or even go to their friends places. After Kyle quieted down, Robert motioned to Charles to follow him. The two left the Study without disturbing Kyle. Robert did motion to his 'dad that he and Charles were going to go upstairs and try to talk to Kevin. Mr. Ken nodded his agreement.
After the other two foster sons were out of the Study, Mr. Ken simply asked, "Kyle … does this have anything to do with … with what you've told me before?"
Kyle sniffled a few times and then pulled back from the man and again looked into the man's eyes and nodded his head in the affirmative. The young twin then fell back into the man.
Robert and Charles got to Kevin's bedroom and they could hear him crying. They knocked on the door and as they did the door opened slightly. Robert opened the door a little bit more and called out to Kevin and asked him if he and Charles could come in. Kevin said it was OK.
The two older 'brothers' walked in and sat down on the bed. Robert put his hand on Kevin's back and began to rub it. Charles knew what Robert was doing and seeing Chief, who must have followed Kevin up to the lad's room, called her over so he could scratch behind her ears.
Robert was talking to Kevin as he rubbed the older twin's back. He remembered how his 'dad' did it to him and it always calmed him down so he figured it would work on Kevin, too.
"Kevin … it can't be all that bad. Come on now … talk to me and Charles, so we can understand what is happening," lightly asked Robert.
Kevin had already began to calm down from having Robert rub his back, so when he heard Robert's question he sort of turned his head to look at his older 'brother'. He wanted to see if the teenager was laughing at him for crying the way he had. Then, seeing the teen looked more concerned about what he asked, the twin sat up and rubbed his eyes to dry them.
It was quiet in the room for a bit, then, Kevin, asked, "Did Mr. Ken send you up to talk to me?"
Robert looked at the twin and shook his head no.
"Then why did you come up here?" directly asked Kevin.
Robert turned to look at Charles before answering. Then looking back to Kevin, the teen said, "No, Mr. Ken didn't send us up here. He was talking with Kyle about what happened downstairs and we decided to come up and talk to you. We were hoping you could tell us your story."
"Did you listen to what Kyle said?" Kevin wanted to know.
Charles turned, from scratching behind Chief's ear, to his younger 'brother' and said, "We only listened for a little while. When we decided to leave the Study, and come up to talk to you, he was still talking to your twin. … We were hoping you would tell us your, ahh, your version of what Kyle meant."
Kevin looked down at his lap. He didn't know what he wanted to do just then, but he knew he needed to talk to someone. He remembered how Robert and Charles told him about their lives so he knew he should share what's happened in his life. Well, maybe not everything.
"Robert … Charles … I don't know what Kyle said downstairs … but I bet what he said is basically true," began Kevin.
"What do you mean 'basically true'?" asked Charles.
"Well, our dad, our real dad that is, he … ahh, he stopped … he stopped our friends from coming over soon after we turned ten. He didn't do it exactly after we had our birthday but … but as time went on he began to make us come into the house after our friends were there for a while. It started gradually but by the time summer was half over our friends never came by anymore. They even stopped asking us to come over to their place because they knew our dad wouldn't allow us.
"That went on all through the summer and then the school year, and even this past summer. But we did get to play with our friends when our dad was gone, and he was gone a lot, at times, because he was a traveling salesman. Kyle and me had hoped that with this move … that he'd change his mind and … and we'd get more friends to play with."
"But … what about your mom? Didn't' she have anything to say about it?" asked Charles.
"Well, at first we did get her to talk to our dad, you know, about our friends coming over or us going to their homes. It worked in the beginning but … by the time the summer was over she seemed not to care anymore. Kyle and I would still go over to our friends sometimes, but our dad, he would be mad at us but he never hit us or anything," explained Kevin.
"Did your dad ever explain to you why he did that?" asked Robert.
Kevin thought through the question. He knew his dad did tell him why he did that, but he wasn't sure if he was ready to tell anyone the 'why'. Kevin figured he needed to answer the teenager, so he decided to tell them. "Our dad … he told us he wanted to make sure we wouldn't get hurt while playing with our much bigger friends. He told me it was because we were still quite small for our age."
Robert looked to Charles with the look that said he didn't believe the twin. Charles looked back and then shrugged his shoulders not knowing what to say.
"Kevin … is there more to that story?" asked the unbelieving Robert.
"No, not really. Our dad didn't want us playing with the bigger kids," repeated Kevin.
"But what about when you got bigger, like now?" asked Robert. "Didn't your dad relent when you started to grow?"
"No … he didn't," was all Kevin replied.
Down in the Study, 'Dad Ken' got Kyle to tell him practically the same story Kevin just told his older 'brothers' upstairs. The thing is Kyle didn't know the 'added' thing his dad told Kevin. He truly believed that his real dad was afraid they would be hurt even after they grew some. The only additional topic Kyle told 'Dad Ken' was that as the summer went along, his dad, Parker Parchsons, told them that they would be moving before the beginning of school and they would have new friends where they moved to.
'Dad Ken' took everything Kyle told him with 'a grain of salt'. He didn't say anything to the lad but his mind was trying to pull everything the younger had already told him about 'not having a dad to hold him' and now this strange issue with the twins' dad not wanting them to have playmate's. A curious thing was their dad telling them they were going to move at the end of this summer and would find new friends to play with all the while not letting them play with the friends they already had. On top of that was the strangest thing of all. It was their mom and how she stopped fighting for them after they had gone back to school that fall after their tenth birthday.
Mr. Ken told himself he needed to talk to Dan to see what, if anything, he found out about Parker Parchsons. Ken continued to review everything Kyle had told him and was trying to piece it together when his other three 'boys' came into the Study.
Kevin went to his brother and said, "Kyle …. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I ran away from you. I know what you said was true but … I didn't want it to be true. Robert and Charles came up to my, I mean our room, and talked to me I bet pretty much like 'Dad Ken' talked to you down here.
"Kyle, today WAS the most fun I've ever had in a long time and I bet it was for you, too. I know … I know what I am going to say right now is not right, but … I want you to know I am glad we are living here with Mr. Ken and our new 'brothers'. Yes, I do miss our parents, but … I really missed playing with our friends and they … you know how they kept us having fun like kids should have," revealed Kevin.
Kyle stood there listening to his older twin speak. He focused on every word Kevin said and as he heard what his older brother had to say he knew he inwardly felt those same feelings and had the same thoughts. When Kevin was finished talking, Kyle ran to his brother and the two hugged one another.
Mr. Ken, Robert and Charles also stood there watching the exchange between the twins. They didn't say a word as they each wanted to see what would become of the friendship the twins had between them. When they saw the twins hug one another they all broke out in a big smile. When the twins pulled out from their mutual hug, they each had a big smile as well.
Then from out of nowhere, Mr. Ken said, "What say we each get a big dish of ice cream from Momma Maria's hidden stash."
"It's not a hidden stash," chuckled Charles," We all know where it is. You even showed it to me yourself," now laughed Charles.
The five Covers all headed to the Kitchen Nook and Mr. Ken dished out five heaping bowls of ice cream. While he did that, Robert went and got the toppings Momma Maria kept in the pantry. 'Dad Ken' allowed each lad to build his own ice cream sundae as long as they promised to eat what they created. The five Covers had a good time eating their cold concoctions as they talked about the wonderful day they had that day. Hey even made a small cup of ice cream for Chief so she didn't feel left out.
It was getting late when the lads went up to bed. They knew they had four, well actually two new lads coming to The Cove tomorrow. They wanted to get all the rest they could if that day was any indication of how much energy they would expend tomorrow.
Ken Thomas went back to his Study, after his four foster sons headed up to bed. He sat down behind his big desk and went back to trying to wrap his mind around everything he heard that evening and added it to what the younger twin told him about not having a dad to hug him and hold him and talk to him.
It was while he was sitting back in his wonderful leather chair, with his eyes closed, thinking about the twins and everything Robert had said then he heard a noise. The owner of The Cove opened his eyes and sat forward. It was then he spied Robert.
"Robert, I thought you guys had gone up to bed?" said a surprised 'dad' Ken.
"We did 'dad' but … I wanted to talk to you about what Kevin told us. You know, me and Charles, upstairs earlier," replied Robert.
"Oh, OK … let's go sit in those chairs out there," said 'dad Ken, as he got up and began walking to one of the four soft leather chairs he kept for visitors.
Robert sat down after his 'dad' had settled into one of the chairs.
"Ok, what is it that you want to talk to me about, Robert?" asked Mr. Ken.
"'Dad' it's what Kevin told us tonight. Or, maybe … what he didn't tell us," started Robert. … "But, I don't think he told us everything. What he told us sounded true enough but … there were times it … it looked like he was trying, you know, like he was trying to think of something to, you know, like he was trying to think of something to say because he didn't want to really answer the question. … 'Dad' … I bet there is something going on with the twins that Kevin knows, but it is like Kyle doesn't know. You know what I mean, 'dad'?"
"Yes, Robert, I think I get your drift. I sort of think the same thing but … we can't judge them because of what we don't know. You understand that don't you?" now asked Mr. Ken.
"Yeah, 'dad', I know what you're saying but … it's just … well, you know what I told you about me meeting Mr. Parchsons before. You DO believe me, don't you?" asked a hopeful Robert.
"Robert … come over her and sit with me, ok?" softly offered 'dad Ken.
Robert went over to the man and sat in his lap as he'd done a number of time when he first arrived at The Cove.
"Robert … I want you to know that I am, well Mr. Dan is, looking into Parker Parchsons. I told him about what you told me about recognizing his voice, but … well, we both know that is not enough to convict a man … especially since it is a teenager accusing an adult. Mr. Dan is working the night shift this week and hasn't had a lot of face time with the people he actually needs to talk to. He told me he would call me tomorrow with what he has found out but don't get your hopes up.
"Robert, with Parker Parchsons in the hospital down in San Antonio, and not going anywhere anytime soon, we aren't concerned we won't have enough time to actually determine if he indeed did molest you. Let Mr. Dan do what he knows best, OK? Let him get people he knows to do what they do best. Then, and only then, will the Scales of Justice prevail. Now, what I want, no, what I need to ask you to do is to not talk to anyone about this at all. Can you do that for me?" asked a serious looking 'dad Ken.
"Yes, 'dad', I can do that. I don't want my friends to know, you know, what happened to me, at least, not yet. But … I hope Mr. Dan can find out some stuff sooner than later," finished up a somber and now teary eyed Robert.
Dad and 'son' hugged for what seemed like forever, but in time, after Mr. Ken had soothed the lad's back for a while did they break up.
"Thanks, 'dad', for talking and listening to me," said Robert, who then leaned in and hugged the man before heading back up to his bedroom
When Robert got back upstairs he visited the restroom before going to his own bedroom. As the teen walked out of the lavatory he was met by Charles. The two walked into Robert's room and closed the door.
"Robert … you went downstairs to talk to 'dad' didn't you?" directly asked Charles.
"Yes, yes I did," stated Robert. "After hearing what Kevin had to say, it was what I thought he didn't say that was important for 'dad' to know. I think much of what he told us was true and I told 'dad' that but, it was when he hesitated it looked to me like he was thinking of what to say instead of telling us what he knew."
"Do you really think he was lying to us?" quickly asked Charles.
"NO! It was more like … it was more like he hedged his bet on telling us the WHOLE truth. That was why I looked at you the way I did," explained Robert.
"But what could he have told us?" asked Charles.
"That is what I'd like to know, too, but for now … for now we are just going to go on like nothing's happened. We just treat them like we have, like they are our new 'brothers'. … Charles … even 'dad' thinks … that there is something going on with the twins. He told me he doesn't know anything more than we do after listening to Kevin and Kyle say what they did to us. He asked me to just go on like everything is fine and not to upset the twins. Charles … I need to ask you to go along with this. … You will, won't you?" finished Robert.
Charles thought about it for a few moments, then he said he would. He told his older 'brother' that the twins seem to be a strange set but that he probably was, too when he first got there. Charles then hugged Robert and told the teen 'Good Night' and then left for the bathroom to pee and then go to bed.
The Covers all slept very well that night.
Ken Thomas was up, on the weekends, at his predictable 8:15 AM give or take a few minutes. He liked to get a good start on the day even though he was independently wealthy and he didn't have to get up at all. His investments would allow him to live a very luxurious life but at the ripe old age of 26 he felt he still needed to 'go to work' and make a mark on his life.
Mr. Ken's foster sons all slept in that Sunday morning. Chief, on the other hand, was also used to getting up early and she too was downstairs getting her first of the day behind the ear scratches.
With Momma Maria off that weekend, Mr. Ken only had frozen breakfast burritos, a number of different cereals, or toast and jelly to offer the lads when they came to the Kitchen Nook. He knew he could take them all over to the Four Corners Diner to eat, but he knew the boys would soon have to be already up and dressed if they wanted to be back in time to meet their friends at twelve noon.
It was close to 9:30 AM when Robert came into the Kitchen Nook. He said 'Hi' to his 'dad and then went rooting for something to eat.
"Are your 'brothers' up and about, Robert?" asked 'dad' Ken.
"Charles was in the shower when I came down here. I hadn't seen the twins as of yet," replied the teenager.
Ten minutes later Charles came into the Kitchen Nook and said 'Hi' to his 'dad' and he too went looking for something to eat.
To Charles, Mr. Ken asked, "Were the twins in the shower yet when you came down?"
"No 'dad', they weren't. You want me to go upstairs and get them up?" asked Charles.
"No, 'son', let them sleep. If they aren't down by 10, I'll send one of you up there to rouse them up," laughed Mr. Ken.
Mr. Ken went back to reading his Sunday newspaper while the older 'brothers' had reheated a few breakfast burritos and were now chowing down. The twins made their appearance not too long after that.
"Morning, boys," offered Mr. Ken.
"Morning, 'Dad Ken'", said Kevin.
"Morning, 'dad'" said Kyle, who immediately got a stare from his older twin.
"Boys, there's the different cereals, a number of different frozen burritos or toast and jelly for you to eat. Take your pick. If you need help let me know and I'll have Robert or Charles help you out," laughed 'dad' Ken. Then the man added, "I knew there was a good reason to have older 'sons' to help the younger ones." Mr. Ken laughed some more after he said that. Robert and Charles just groaned.
"Kevin, Kyle, your friends will be here about twelve noon as your other friends were yesterday. It looks like you haven't had your showers yet, so I want you cleaned up and dressed, but put on your older clothes to play in, OK?" spoke up 'Dad Ken'.
"Yes, sir," said Kevin.
"Yes, 'Dad Ken'" said Kyle, who then looked at his twin with the same sort of face he'd got earlier.
Robert and Charles saw what just happened and they had to hold back their laughter behind raised hands to their mouths. Mr. Ken saw what just transpired between the twins and figured that things were still a little rough around the edges between them. He told himself he'll need to watch what happens between them and see if he needs to sit down with them and get them properly focused.
After they finished eating, Kevin and Kyle walked up the stairs to get their shower but they weren't talking to one another. Kevin always was the leader and he didn't appreciate his 'younger' sibling making waves. When they took their shower the chill between them was never warmed by the hot water they used to get cleaned up by.
When the twins came down the stairs, Mr. Ken could hear the twins bickering between them so he called out to them to come into his Study. They reluctantly walked in and didn't say a word.
"Boys … have a seat!" ordered Mr. Ken, as he pointed to the leather chairs opposite his desk.
The lad's foster dad then came from behind his desk and stood before the smaller boys. He didn't say a word, he just stared down at them. The boys looked back and forth between them and then cowered in front of the man.
"Boys … there is something going on between you two … and I need it to STOP! … You are two born from one and you need to remain friends if The Cove is to remain a quiet and peaceful place where you can grow and flourish and ultimately mature. You both know you are going to be with me until the end of the school year and that will be a very long time for you two to continue this petty bickering.
"I won't make you tell me what is going on between you two, BUT … I will request that you two bury whatever is going on and get back to the lively, fun seeking and happy twins that came to my humble home a little more than a week ago. You are each of a different mind. You each are your own self. For way too long you've probably dressed the same and played with the same friends. While you are here … I want you to develop you own personality, your own way of thinking and you own friends.
"I do not like what has come between you these past few days. Kevin, I know you are the oldest and have a tendency to lead. You are head strong and when you don't like what your twin does, or says, you usually make it known to him. Kyle, you may be the younger twin but you need to develop your own strengths and your own values for life. You two will always be brothers, twins mind you, and no one can ever take that away from you.
"You both should cherish that fact … and you should work to become closer, not only as brothers but good friends, too. I hope you will find a way to dissipate the animus, or ill feelings, that flow around you and go back to the bond you had. You have a few minutes before your friends arrive so I hope you will use this time to try to work things out.
"Do you have anything to say for yourselves, or, maybe, want to ask me?" finished Mr. Ken.
The twins looked back and forth at one another and then kept their heads down and shook them back and forth indicating they had nothing to say or ask. With that 'Dad Ken' told them to think about what he had said to them and he then dismissed them from his Study. The lads walked out with their heads still looking down.
Kevin and Kyle walked outside using the Foyer door. They walked around to the side of the house and over to the ramps and sat down. They didn't say a word to one another, at first. It was Kevin who decided, as the older twin, he should be the one to start.
"Kyle … I'm … I'm sorry I've been acting … that I've been acting the way I have, lately," began the older twin. "Things are … it's just that … that since we've been here it is … it is so different than what we are used to. We … we never had brothers before and … and after hearing what their lives were like before coming here it … it's kind of made me think. I guess … I guess I've been thinking about that more than being the brother I've been to you all these years. … 'Dad Ken', Mr. Ken, is right you know. But it is me who has been the one who has turned against you somewhat, not you who turned against me," solemnly said Kevin.
"But why, Kevin? Why have you been acting that way towards me, especially when I say 'dad' instead of 'Dad Ken'? I never understood why you and our real dad go off on many Sundays and you never tell me about it. It makes me feel like … like I don't even have a read dad any more. Sure he does a few things with me during the week, but … when you go off together I am left home … all alone and since dad has kept our friends from coming over I am alone at the house with mom who you know hasn't been taking our side as of late," argued Kyle.
"I'm sorry, Kyle, I'm really sorry you feel that way, and yes, for some reason … when I hear you call Mr. Ken 'dad' I feel like … I feel like you are forgetting we already have a dad. It just bothers me for some reason," admitted Kevin.
"Well, we may have a real dad, but he isn't the same dad to me as he is to you!" Kyle said in retort. "And why can't you tell me what you and dad do when you go away together? Why?"
Kevin looked directly at his twin and said, "Because … because dad asked me NOT to!"
"I still don't understand what is so secret that you can't tell me, Kev. You don't know how it feels every time you go away with dad and … and I have to stay home. Kev … I just don't understand you right now. You get mad at me for the simplest things and you heard 'Dad Ken'. He wants us to go back to being who we were before we came here. … Can we … you know … go back to the way we were before … the accident? I know I sure want my older twin back, you know, the way he was before we were taken away from our parents and came to live here," confided Kyle.
"Kyle, I want that, too. And, since it is me who has the problem, I will have to change. It might be hard at first but I promise … I promise that I will try to not react to what you do, or what you may say. Even if you call 'Dad Ken', 'dad'," smiled Kevin Parchsons.
"Thank you, Kev, and I will hold you to that promise," smiled Kyle. "As for calling 'Dad Ken' 'dad', I will try to stop doing that, but that … I will not promise. I am sorry about that Kev. It's just that … our real dad hasn't been a real dad to me ever since after we turned ten. Things changed for some reason when we turned ten, Kev, and you KNOW IT.
"Dad started to take showers with us when he hadn't done that from the time we were, what, seven, or eight? Then he started to keep our friends away and then we couldn't go to our friend's homes. Then … then he and mom … they tell us we are moving just before school starts and they don't give us a real reason. … Is that what dad has been talking to you about when you both go away together?" Kyle wanted to know.
Kevin didn't know what to say to his twin. He knew he couldn't tell his brother the real reason he and his dad went away on Sundays, but he hoped when he talked to his dad next weekend he could ask him if he could tell his twin. But for now, he had to think of something.
"Kyle, dad did talk to me about the move. He told me they weren't sure when we'd move, but he hoped we could do that before school started. He never did give me a reason other than he had a chance at a better job up this way which was why we were going to look at homes up here. He told me he hoped this new job would make it better for all of us and we'd get new beds and clothes and everything else," lied Kevin.
Kyle thought about what his twin just told him and after a few seconds he told his twin he believed him. The two then stood up and hugged. They hugged the way they used to hug one another and when they finished, they first smiled at one another then they laughed.
It was then Kevin looked at the time and he told his brother that they should start walking up to the Main Gate to wait for their friends to arrive. Kyle agreed and the two of them began walking in that direction. As they walked, they chuckled and giggled like they would usually do when they were together.
What the twins didn't know was that someone was watching them as they talked out in the parking corral while they sat on the ramps. Mr. Ken, seeing where the boys were headed after leaving his Study, tapped into his security cameras and watched what the boys were up to. He hoped they were going to sit down and talk about what he asked them to and seeing that was what they had done he was very happy. He knew he could have opened the audio on the camera, but he wanted to give them that modicum of privacy.
Mr. Ken watched as they talked, argued and then hugged. He was very happy when they walked up towards the Main Gate as if their differences were no longer a problem. Mr. Ken then looked at the time and he too realized the twins' new friends would be soon arriving, so he decided to shut down the camera feed and head up to meet the parents of the new friends.
The owner of The Cove walked up the slight hill with a spring in his step and a smile on his face. He was soon joined in his walk by Robert and Charles.
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