Three Finger Cove: The Twins ~ Book Four

Chapter Thirty~Three

When the twins woke up that Wednesday, they felt refreshed.  Sure, they were still upset about their dad, but they had a good place to live, good food, great, understanding older 'brothers', a man who was doing what he thought best for them, and a dog to play with.

Kevin and Kyle met their older 'brothers' in the bathroom as they went to get ready for school.  The four took their showers together and then went to get dressed for school.

"Good Morning, 'dad'" called out Robert, as he entered the Kitchen Nook.  That was quickly followed by three 'Good Morning's' by the remaining three Cover lads.

"Good Morning, boys, I trust you all slept well last night," offered 'dad' Ken.

The lads all said they had, and then they dug into their breakfast.  Mr. Ken just watched over his morning newspaper to see how Kevin was handling his first day after his 'nightmare'.  He knew he needed to call Principal Chadwick and talk to her about Kevin.  He wanted to ask her to have his teacher watch him for any changes in the lad. Ken Thomas was concerned for the lad and wanted to catch any changes before they manifested themselves into a serious situation for the lad.

After the lads left for school, Mr. Ken waited until 8 AM to call Abigail Chadwick.  When she was finally able to come to the phone Mr. Ken told her what was going on.

"Principal Chadwick" began Ken Thomas, "You know about that Julian character, and his buddy Vince, what you don't know is that man ... he came to The Cove Monday night and he tried to take the boys with him.  I wouldn't let him with the papers he had.  The courts gave me custody and I told him the courts are the only ones who can take the twins away.

"Anyway, the reason I called is ... well, Kevin might be taking this worse than we know.  He knew that man Julian ... and he verbally fought him that he wasn't going to go with him.  He even told Julian he would 'run away' if he had to if he was sent to live with him.

"Ms. Chadwick, I called to ask you if you could talk to his teacher to watch for any changes in the boy.  She knows his daily routine and if she sees something that looks out of the ordinary ask her to tell you and then please call me.  Kevin talked to Doctor Doug Jennings last night for an hour and a half.  I've also asked Doug to call me if he has an opening during the week, so that way we can keep Kevin engaged.

"Principal Chadwick ... there is a lot more going on in the background.  This, coupled with the twins' parents in the hospital for an extended period of time, could cause Kevin to act out or just close down.  I want to make sure neither he nor his twin blame themselves for what's happened to them.  I want to give them the best home I can.  Can you help me out here?"

"Yes, Mr. Thomas, I totally understand what you are saying," started Abigail Chadwick.  "And thank you for telling me the back story on Kevin.  You wouldn't believe how protective the parents can be.  It is refreshing to find a parent, well, a guardian who cares, who really cares to let the school help them with their child.  When we hang up, I'll go and talk to Ms. James and ask her to watch Kevin for any changes in his behavior during class.  And, thank you again for calling me."

When Mr. Ken was off the phone, Chris Dominions came into the Study.  He had the information his boss asked him to get concerning the trip to SeaWorld of San Antonio.

"Mr. Ken, I waited until I saw you were off the phone.  I have that SeaWorld information you asked for.  A motor coach, with restroom, that will handle 40 to 50 people, will cost you about $2500.00 for twelve hours; that's pick up to drop off.  Extra hours are $150.00 an hour.  As for Group Admissions, the cost for 40 plus people is $32.50 per person for the day.  They do have a year rate if you were to buy ...", but that was as far as Chris got before Mr. Ken cut him off.

"Chris, did you ask about the buses' availability for that Saturday in the three-day Holiday weekend in October." Mr. Ken wanted to know.

"Yes, sir, the manager/operator says he has a number of busses available for that day.  All he needs is a deposit to hold the bus," replied Chris.

"Did you ask him about a rain date?" chuckled the owner of The Cove.

"You know, that's funny you should ask that.  Well, it did come up in the conversation.  The man said if it rains that day all we lose is our deposit, but ... if they have a bus available for the next day the cost doesn't change and there is no deposit.  It sounded like he's had this situation come up a few times before and figured it was better for business to make accommodations than to be an ass," laughed Chris.

"That sounds good, Chris.  Let's make a reservation for that Saturday.  We'll have him pick us up here at The Cove to be on the road no later than 10:00 AM and leave the park at closing time.  It is about a two-hour drive both ways.  Now all I need to do is send out requests for chaperones.  Oh, and speaking of this trip, do you and your family want to come along with us?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Thank you for asking, Mr. Ken.  I think the misses and the kids, and I would love to go.  But ... well, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but ... do you think we could maybe ... meet you there.  That way when the kids get tired we can just leave?" Chris wanted to know.

"I think that can be arranged.  Just add four more tickets to the number I give you," laughed Mr. Ken.

"I'll talk to the kids later tonight.  Now ... you saw lots of activity here yesterday and ... I want you to know ..." said Mr. Ken, but was stopped by Chris.

"You don't have to tell me, Mr. Ken.  If it is private business that doesn't concern me and my job ..." started Chris, but was stopped by his boss/

"Chris ..." started Mr. Ken, "but you do need to know what may cause problems around here.  The other night ... a man came to collect the twins.  ...  I wouldn't let him take them.  He went to the school yesterday and tried to get them there.  He was arrested ... but I don't think this will be the end of it.  The men here yesterday were Sheriff Deputies.  They talked to the twins, at length.  It is best you know this in case I ask you to increase the guards at a moment's notice.  This way you will understand," explained Mr. Ken.

"Will the other lads be safe here, still?" Chris wanted to know.

"Oh, yes, Chris, we'll all be safe.  I don't expect any real problems, but I do have to be ready to act.  Just as I did after Charles had his close call here," further explained Mr. Ken.

After Chris left the Study, Mr. Ken got down to checking the email list for all the lads' friends and their parents, as well as their phone numbers.  He took the next few minutes to compose an email that would explain what he intended to do, and he needed a firm Yes, or NO.  He also decided to ask the parents in the email to volunteer as chaperones.  He decided to tell them he thought he only needed eight other adults, and if he got more than that he needed they'd figure out a way to decide.

After the man did that, he got on the phone to check with his architect team about the new multi-unit apartment complex he'd submitted to the Commissioner's Court for approval.  He wanted to get everything in place before the winter set in.  He hoped to be able to start construction right after the first of the year.  The man kept himself busy for the rest of the day.

At school all the kids asked Kevin and Kyle why they missed school yesterday.  Kevin told them they were sick.  That they'd gotten up at 2:30 in the morning and 'Dad Ken' decided they were too tired to be any good at school.  The kids bought it.  Even Sam, Terran, Wyatt and Dominic thought what they said made sense.

The kids went looking for Momma Maria for their after-school snack when they got into the house that afternoon.  Momma Maria was very happy they came right to her.  It told her the boys were all doing well and weren't sick.  She still worried about what happened the day before.  She didn't understand why the kids said they were sick, when they didn't look it.  Anyway, she was happy the boys were back, so she had made them chocolate and vanilla pudding and served it with homemade chocolate and vanilla cookies and of course she had very cold chocolate and white milk.  The boys had their pick and of course they had to try everything.

When they'd finished their snacks, the lads all stopped by the Study to see 'Dad Ken' and say 'Hello'.  It was then Mr. Ken told them he worked it out that they would go to SeaWorld on the Saturday of the Columbus Day Holiday weekend.  The lads were ecstatic and asked if they could tell their friends.

Mr. Ken told them while they were doing their homework he was going to send out an email to all their friends and parents.  He also told them he needed at least six parents to go along as chaperones and when they saw their friends tomorrow he asked them to stress the need for six more adults.

Then, Mr. Ken asked if there were any other kids they wanted to take.  Charles quickly asked if he could take Richard and Ryan.  Charles told his 'dad' that they hadn't had any weekends they could come back over, since the Picnic, as their dad took them to meet with Mr. Chris the past two weekends.

"Kevin, Kyle ... is there anyone special you want to take with you to SeaWorld in October?" asked 'Dad Ken'.

"Who can we take?' asked Kevin.

"How many can we take?" asked Kyle, right behind his brother.

"You know ... that is a darn good question.  I planned on 27 lads and 8 to 10 adults, but maybe boys, I need to reconsider this.  Boys ... let's make a list of all your friends you think should go.  OK?" suggested Mr. Ken.

"Robert ... let's start with you.  Who do you want to take with you?" asked 'dad Ken.

"Well, there is Eric, for sure," started the teenager, which immediately received with a few strong laughs and coughs from Charles and Mr. Ken.  Kevin and Kyle just looked on and wondered what that was all about.

"OK, can it, you two" laughed Robert.  "Then, I want my very best friends, Brad, Chuck, Gordon, Trevor, and Logan.  Then, if there is room, I want to ask Cody and Josh."

"OK, that's 8 plus you for 9, and Charles, for you?" said 'dad' Ken.

"For me I'd want to take Camm and James, for sure.  Also, I want Asher, Mason, Jacob, Hunter, David and Cooper ... and, oh, yeah, and Dylan and Tyler.  Plus, I would like to take Richard and his brother Ryan if we have room," was Charles' list.

 "Let me see, that's 11 plus you for a total of 12.  Plus 2 more, if we have room," chuckled Mr. Ken.  "Kevin ... who would you like to take with you?" asked 'Dad Ken'.

"Ahh, 'Dad Ken' ... I've never been asked to take anybody with us anywhere and ... well, I only know the kids at school," replied Kevin.

"Then that's who you take.  That is, if you like the guys," piped up Charles.

"I can ... can I 'Dad Ken'?" immediately asked Kevin.

"Yes, 'son', if that is who you want to take.  And that goes for you, too, Kyle," answered 'Dad Ken'.

Kevin quickly spoke up and said, "I would like to take Nicholas, Isaac, Nathan, and Landon.

Kyle added Andrew, Grant, Blake, and Eli,

"What about inviting Sam, Terran, Dominic and Wyatt?" asked Robert.

"Oh, sorry, I just forgot about them," said Kevin.  Kyle agreed with his twin.

"Hmmm, that means 4 plus 1 for a total of 5 for Kevin.  And that would be the same for Kyle for another total of 5.  Then, when we add the other 4 for a total, drum roll please," stopped 'Dad Ken'.

And when 'dad' Ken asked for a drum roll, Robert and Charles began beating on his desk.

"Thank you, boys," smiled 'dad' Ken.  "That brings the twins total to 12.  Did I get that right?" asked 'Dad Ken'.

"No, 'Dad Ken', that makes the total 14 when you add Sam, Terran, Dominic and Wyatt," said Kyle.

"Oh, OK, so let me add things up.  Robert's total is 9.  Charles total is 12 with a possible 2 more.  For the twins I have a total of 14.  The grand total is 37 counting Richard and Ryan.  Have we missed anyone?" finished Mr. Ken.

The Cover lads looked back and forth to one another for suggestions.  But it was Robert who spoke up, "'Dad' ... what about asking Todd and taking a friend for him?"

"Yeah, 'dad' and a friend for Ryan if he can go?" added Charles.

"Well, that then brings the total to 40.  I guess I need to tell Mr. Chris to definitely plan for a 50-passenger motor coach counting me and 8 adult chaperones," reasoned Mr. Ken out loud.

"Can I start calling my friends?" asked Charles.

"No, 'son', and that goes for the rest of you.  Now get upstairs and get your homework done," laughed Mr. Ken.

As the kids began walking out of the Study, Robert stayed behind.  "'Dad', can we talk?"

"Sure, what's on your mind?" asked a curious 'dad Ken.

"I would like to take Eric with us on Saturday, but ... well, if everyone else goes there won't be enough room in the truck for everyone," explained Robert.

"You know, you're right there Robert.  I hadn't thought of the total number.  I guess I need to think this through some more.  You know, I can't leave the other boys here all by themselves.  That wouldn't be right, especially if they want to go.  Do you have any ideas?" asked 'dad Ken.

"No, 'dad' I don't.  That's over my pay grade," laughed Robert.

As Robert left the Study still laughing from what he told his 'dad' about his pay grade, Mr. Ken made a note to ask Chris to find something bigger than his truck he can rent for Saturday.  He added it to the note he made to tell Chris to make sure he got the larger motor coach.

The night was a quiet one in The Cove that evening.  The only difference was in Kyle.  Mr. Ken noticed he wasn't as boisterous as he usually was.  He thought the lad did have a full day the day before and he might be off his stride after a day of school.  Everyone was back in bed by 10 PM.

The next morning, after the kids were off to school, Mr. Ken looked at his email and saw he'd already gotten a few replies for the SeaWorld trip.  He was glad people had checked their email accounts.  He decided only to take their names down and not make any final plans until two weeks before they were to go.

That morning, Doug Jennings' office manager called him to let him know there was a 3 PM Friday opening for Kevin and she asked if he wanted to take it.  Mr. Ken said he definitely wanted the appointment and told her he and Kevin would be there fifteen minutes before hand.

At school, Ms. James, Kevin's teacher, was asked by Principal Chadwick to watch for any changes in Kevin's demeanor, and to let her know if she saw any.  At lunch, that Thursday, Ms. James and Ms. Kirklunds, Kyle's teacher, were talking about the twins and how good they were as students.

Ms. James told her friend Charlene what Abigail Chadwick asked her to do on Wednesday due to some man coming to try to take the two boys' away.  Charlene told Lillian that the Principal should have talked to her.  Kyle's teacher told her friend how Kyle was distracted in school but knew his studies and participated in class.

Charlene did mention the boy was a bit sullen in class, but she added she saw him interacting with his friends at lunch and was animated around them.  Kyle's teacher said now that she knows what had him distracted, she could totally understand.  The two teachers decided that any lad would be a bit off if they leaned someone they didn't know came to take them away, so they both just shrugged it off.

At The Cove, Mr. Ken got with Mr. Chris and told the man to plan on at least a 50 passenger motor coach, with restroom, for the SeaWorld trip.  Then, he added he needed to rent a bigger vehicle than his F-150 truck for Saturday.  The boss explained he was taking Robert to his old home to collect anything he wanted to keep before they sold the house and he was taking Eric as well as the rest of the boys.  Mr. Chris asked Mr. Ken what their friends will do if there was no one there on Saturday.  Mr. Ken told him he'll make sure he tells the boys not to have their friends stop by on Saturday.

The day went by fast when Ken Thomas looked back at the day.  He was busy checking his email for replies to the SeaWorld trip and talking to Chris about the SeaWorld trip and his need for a bigger vehicle for Saturday.  He also had contact with his architect team and talking to them about the apartment complex he wanted to build.

When the lads came home from school they went directly to find Momma Maria for their after-school snacks.  When they were finished, they all headed to the Study to talk to Mr. Ken before heading upstairs to do their homework.

There they learned that they would be gone a good part of the day on Saturday.  Mr. Ken told them to tell their friends at school that no one would be at The Cove until late Saturday.  The owner of The Cove also told the boys to tell their friends to call them before coming over.  The boys were disappointed, but Kyle was more vocal about it and stomped his way all the way up the stairs.

After dinner, Robert and Charles came by the Study to talk to their 'Dad'.  They asked if they could go to Robert's home early on Saturday, so they could come back and have a few hours with their friends.  'Dad' Ken told them he wouldn't make any promises, but would see what he could do.  The lads all went to the Theater to watch a movie before bed.  Mr. Ken joined them when the movie was half-way finished.  He asked Kevin if he wanted to sit with him until the end.  The other lads were disappointed they hadn't been asked.

Kyle was still a bit miffed about something and he wasn't very talkative during dinner or the movie.  When the boys had all gone up to bed, Mr. Ken made his way upstairs to talk to the younger twin.  With Kevin in the same room, Mr. Ken found it difficult to talk in depth with the lad but when the two finished Mr. Ken was satisfied that Kyle was still tired and off his stride because of what happened early Tuesday morning and having to go to school still feeling tired on Wednesday.

While he was there, Mr. Ken told Kevin he would be at the school to pick him up after lunch so he could take him to talk to Doctor Doug.  The man explained the doctor had an opening Friday afternoon and thought it would be good to continue to talk about what happened on Tuesday.  Mr. Ken hugged both boys before leaving them to get to sleep.

Friday morning wasn't much different than any other school day morning.  The lads came down stairs, said Hello to Mr. Ken, ate breakfast and then headed up to the Bus Stop.

Mr. Ken checked his email, first thing, after getting ready for the day.  He found Joyce had volunteered to be a chaperone on the SeaWorld trip.  He laughed when he saw the email.  He also heard from a few other parents expressing an interest in the trip, but they wanted more information about times and what their responsibilities would be.  Mr. Ken figured they were valid questions, so he made a note to think more about them.

Mr. Chris stopped by his Study to tell him he has a 15-passenger van reserved for him for tomorrow morning.  The Estate Manager told him they would deliver the van at 8 AM in the morning and would pick it up after he called them when he returned.  Mr. Chris also told his employer he contacted the motor coach company, he originally communicated with, and they have set aside a 55-passenger coach for them to use at the same cost.

Mr. Ken was thankful that part of the SeaWorld trip was completed.  All he needed now was a good count on the participants.  He thought he had three weeks, so he wasn't too concerned.  That was until he took a quick look at the calendar.  It was then he saw he only had two weeks from tomorrow and he almost began to panic.  He told himself to wait until the boys were home later that day and he'd get them to 'light a fire' under their friends to get them to commit by next Friday,

Over at the school, Charlene Kirklunds noticed Kyle was not the lad that came to her classroom almost three weeks ago.  She saw he was more irritable than yesterday, he was beginning to act up with his friends, he wasn't paying too much attention in her class, and he kept yawning as if he were bored.  She thought about what Lillian James told her the previous day and wondered if the lad was experiencing what they were watching Kevin for.

Charlene Kirklunds decided to contact the Admin Office and asked the Principal to contact her as soon as possible.  Principal Chadwick came down to the classroom and the two women talked in the hallway.  When Abigail Chadwick heard what Charlene had to say, she tapped on the door of Ms. James' classroom.  The principal asked the teacher if Kevin and exhibited any of the signs she asked her to look for.  Hearing there were none, Principal Chadwick decided to call Mr. Ken and tell him of this new wrinkle.

Ken Thomas was very thankful for the call Principal Chadwick made to him that late morning.  He told her he would be right over and to let Kyle stay in class until he got there.  Before leaving for the school, Mr. Ken called Doug Jennings office and told them he was bringing both lads with him, but that Kyle was the one exhibiting strange reactions to what happened the other night.  The office manager told him that was highly irregular, but Mr. Ken asked her to tell Doctor Doug and that he would understand.

It was lunch time when Ken Thomas arrived at the school.  Principal Chadwick was watching for him and when she saw him pull up, she met him at the door.  The two of them went to the lunchroom and looked for the twins.  They saw Kevin in the middle of all their new friends laughing and having fun.  Then they saw Kyle sitting practically by himself and not even trying to talk to his table mates.  They walked over to Kyle.

"Kyle," said 'Dad Ken' to the younger twin, as he put his hand on the lad's shoulder.  "Are you doing OK, 'son'?"

Kyle looked up to see who was talking to him and seeing 'Dad Ken' he jumped out of his seat and jumped into the man's arms.  The lad then began to cry hard.  Mr. Ken walked the boy out into the hallway, but Abigail Chadwick told him to follow her to an empty room.

"Oh, 'Dad Ken', why did my dad do this to us?" cried a distraught Kyle.

Mr. Ken had no answers for the twin, so he just let the boy cry.  Kyle did cry hard and he continued to ask 'Dad Ken' why his dad did this to him, and his family, and to his mom.  The more Kyle asked questions the more and harder he cried.  Mr. Ken did all he could do to try to settle the lad down, so he could actually talk to the boy.

By then Principal Chadwick brought Kevin to the room.  Kyle saw who had entered and he opened his arms for his older twin to come to him.  Mr. Ken felt the change in Kyle and when he too saw that Kevin was there, he opened his arms for the lad to join him and his brother.

The three Covers sat there with each of them hugging one another.  Kevin tried to get Kyle to tell him why he was crying, but all Kyle would do is ask the same questions over and over again.  Kevin looked to 'Dad Ken' for help.  By then Mr. Ken figured he needed to look directly at Kyle to get him to settle down and to talk to him.  He indicated to Kevin to move away and the man pulled Kyle out of his arms.

"Kyle ... are you ... are you blaming yourself for what happened?" asked 'Dad Ken'.

"If I'd gone along with my dad, and did what he wanted me to do, this would never have happened," cried Kyle.

"Yes, Kyle it would have.  Once your dad did what he did, with all those other men and their boys, he was breaking the law.  It was just a matter of time before he would have been caught, Kyle.  Even Robert's dad was caught eventually, and as you know that is why your older 'brother' is living with me," counseled 'Dad Ken'.

"But ...but ... what about our mom?  What's going to happen to her and then us?  If I had ... if ... if ...   ....  Oh, 'Dad Ken what are we going to do.  I don't want to be sent away" cried Kyle.

'Dad Ken' pulled the crying lad to him and said, "Kyle ... you and your twin are NOT going to be sent away if I have anything to say about it.  You two are stuck with me until your mom gets well, and can take care of you both, again.  Now ... Kevin had a Doctor Doug appointment set for this afternoon, but ... I think you need to talk to him instead and get this all out and start realizing this is NOT your problem, and you did NOT cause this to happen.  Will you be OK with seeing Doctor Doug this afternoon?" asked 'Dad Ken'.

Kyle looked to his twin and seeing him nod, Kyle told 'Dad Ken' he would be happy to meet with Doctor Doug that afternoon, but he wanted to know what Kevin would do.  Kevin spoke up and said he'd wait until next Tuesday, because he knew his brother needed to talk to him more than he did right now.  Kyle looked back at his twin and the two hugged.

Ken Thomas told Principal Chadwick he was taking both boys with him.  He explained he had only one appointment, but that maybe a second one would open up since it was a Friday afternoon.  It was almost 1 PM when Mr. Ken signed the lads out of the school.  They went over to Doctor Doug's office and sat and waited for their turn.

When it was time for their appointment, Doctor Doug came out and invited the three Covers into his office.  He asked what happened that Mr. Ken changed it to Kyle and learned that it was Kyle who was blaming himself for everything that happened.  Doctor Doug said he understood and asked Kyle if he would like to talk to him and let his brother wait until next week.  Kyle again looked at his twin and seeing Kevin nod back to him, agreed to talk to the doctor.

That night after dinner, Mr. Ken sat his boys down to talk to them.  He decided they needed to talk about upcoming things, so they were all on the same page.  But, before the man could say anything, Kyle got up and asked if he could talk to everyone first.  Mr. Ken thought about that for a moment, and then decided to let the lad talk and get off his chest whatever was bothering him.

"Ahh ... I want to tell everybody ... I am sorry ... for the way I acted since ... since Tuesday.  I began to blame myself for what happened with my dad and ... my brother.  I figured ... I thought that if I had gone along with them then ... then this would have never come up.  But ... I was wrong.  'Dad Ken' talked to me this afternoon, but I also talked to Doctor Doug and he explained it even further.

"I ... I now know that there wasn't anything I could have done ... to change what happened.  I wish I could, but ... I now know that what my dad did ... was wrong.  Everything, from the time he took showers with us, when we turned ten, to what he had us do and made us do there.  Robert ... I may not have had to do what you did, but ... I think I sort of understand what you went through.  I'm sorry, everyone, if I said or did anything that made you upset because of it.  Thank you for listening to me."

Robert and Charles were stunned after hearing what Kyle had to say.  Robert was especially taken aback that Kyle fully understood what his dad did to him and what happened to him.  The teenager went over to the younger twin and hugged him.  The two lads both had tears falling when they released the hug.  Then, Charles went over and hugged Kyle who was soon followed by Kevin.

After a few moments of hugs and tears, Mr. Ken got the lads attention and asked them to settle down and have a seat.  The man thanked Kyle for saying what he did, and he hoped he and Doctor Doug would work through it all.  Then 'dad' Ken talked to the lads about what was going happening tomorrow

"Boys, tomorrow we are leaving at 8 AM, or so, to go over to Robert's house.  Our lawyers have gotten the court's approval to sell his parents' home and any other assets they have.  Robert will be able to take whatever he wants from the house before the appraisers get in and decide how much everything is worth and what they should sell the home for.

"Eric will be going along with us and, because there are so many of us, Mr. Chris has rented a 15- passenger van for me to drive there and back.  We'll pick Eric up along the way.  It will also give us loads of room if Robert decides to take his parents extra-large TV for his room," joked 'Dad Ken', which got laughs from Charles and the twins.

"Hey, don't laugh.  That would be awesome to have that 60-inch TV in my room.  I don't know where I'd put it, but it would be ... awesome.  Maybe ... maybe we can put it out in the garage and we can watch TV out there," smiled, then laughed Robert, when he was finished talking.  The rest of the lads joined in with his laugh.

"OK, maybe we could do that ... NOT!" added 'dad Ken.

"OK, after we get home you can call your friends to tell them they can come over, that is, if it isn't too late.  Now ... as for the SeaWorld trip, we only have two weeks before we go.  I will need to have a good count by next Friday of who is going.  I've gotten a number of replies from your friends already and a few parents asking about what their responsibility will be as a chaperone, but I will need confirmed numbers by Friday after school.

"That is where you boys come in.  I'll tell you which of your friends have responded and it will be up to you, yes it will be your responsibility to talk to the friends you've invited, and they haven't responded to help them make up their minds, one way or another.

"We will be leaving that Saturday morning at 10 AM from The Cove, so everyone will have to be here.  And, before you ask, I am not allowing for a sleepover for the night before.  There is way too much to do to get ready to go and I do not want 35 kids running around here and having to figure out what to feed them.

"'Dad' ...can I ask a question," spoke up Charles.

"Sure, Charles," replied 'dad' Ken.

"If we can't have a sleepover Friday night ... ahh, can we have one when, ahh, when we get back from SeaWorld?" was Charles' question.

"Charles, boys, for as much as I would like to let you have a sleepover then ... I think not.  We won't be getting back until midnight, which means you'd all be going to bed as soon as we get back home.  Knowing that, I don't think there will be any time for swimming and snacks."

"But, 'dad'" now spoke up Robert.  "We haven't had a sleepover in such a long time.  When can we have one?"

Mr. Ken smiled and replied, "How about Sunday night?  You all have Monday off so that shouldn't be a problem.  But, the question I need to ask is ... how many kids you are going to want to ask.  Right now, there is something like 40 boys being invited to go on the trip.  I think that is way too many for a sleepover.  So ... you will have to cut it down to a reasonable number.  Any questions?"

The lads looked at one another and they decided they'd talk about it together, later.

"'Dad', did you send an invitation to Todd?  And did you tell him he can bring a friend?" asked Robert.

"And what about Richard and Ryan?" asked Charles.  "If they can go, can Ryan ... can he ask one of his friends from school?"

"I planned to talk to Todd tomorrow, but if we are gone when he stops by I guess I'd miss him.  I'll send him an email when we finish here and explain to him the ins and outs of the trip," answered 'dad' Ken.

"As for Ryan, who are his friends?  Does anyone know?" asked Mr. Ken.

"You know what?  Brad's brother Brant might be a good match to ask.  They hit it off at the Picnic and I see them playing at school, now, too," spoke up Charles.

"Good, I can email the Sullivan's, after I know if Richard is going.  Maybe Frank would also like to go?" Mr. Ken thought out loud.

Looking at the time, Mr. Ken decided to call Frank and talk to him.  When he got him on the phone the man told him about him being offered the job he set up the interview for.  The two men talked and then Mr. Ken told Frank Longger about the SeaWorld trip.  He asked him if Richard could go and if he could, would he allow Ryan to go, too.  Then, the owner of The Cove asked Frank if he wanted to go as Chris and his family would be there, too.

It was set.  The Longger family would be going.  Now, Mr. Ken called the Sullivan's to ask if their younger son could go along.  He told them Ryan Longger was going and he thought it would be nice if he had a buddy going.  After a few questions, Barbara told Mr. Ken they would all be going if he needed two more chaperone's.  It was agreed.  Mr. Ken now had five chaperon's counting Judy, Dan, Joyce, Barbara and John.

"What say we all go out to DQ?  Or would you rather play some mini-golf, or ... go to the go-kart track?" offered 'dad' Ken.

The twins wanted to go to the go-kart track and, hearing that, Robert and Charles voted to do that, too.  Mr. Ken told them to go get cleaned up and they would leave in ten minutes.  The Covers all went and peed and washed their face and hands and were in the Foyer in less than ten minutes.   Ken Thom herded them into the garage, where they loaded into the F-150.  Quickly, they were off to the Go-Kart Track.

The twins had a great time driving the go-karts.  They still weren't master drivers, but they enjoyed the tight turns and faster straight parts.  The Place was a bit crowded for a warm Friday night, so even though they did two races they didn't get home until 11 PM.  Mr. Ken told them to set their alarm clocks for 7 AM and to get up when they went off.  They all said Good Night to one another and then hugged each other, too.  The Cove was quiet by 11:30 PM.

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