Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Nine

After dinner, the Covers all congregated in the Study. There weren't enough seats since Mr. Wayne was still there as an observer and 'in-training' for his new position as Estate Master.

Robert went out into the MRS area and brought back a chair for Matthew to use as the twins still sat together in one of the four leather chairs.

"Dad, you'll need to buy another leather chair for the Study, soon. Especially, if you keep acquiring boys at the rate you are," laughed the man's new son.

"Yes, son, I think you are right. Maybe I should buy two more, so we'll be ready for the next one. What do you think?" now laughed the owner of The Cove.

The room all laughed with the man and his son while Matthew took the added chair.

"OK, now, Matthew told us about his new friend Bailey and how she was being treated by some of the girls in his class. Did I get that right, Matthew?" first spoke Mr. Ken.

"Yes, sir, Bailey ... all she was doing was talking to us after lunch and these girls, I don't know their names yet, came over to us and said those mean things to her. I could tell she was upset, but it took me a few tries to get here to tell me what was wrong. That was when I decided my older 'brothers' could help us, err, her," answered Matthew.

"OK everyone that is the gist of the problem. So ... let's do some brainstorming and talk about what our youngest Cover can do for his friend," said Mr. Ken.

"What's brainstorming mean?" asked Matthew.

"It means we think about anything that might make sense to fix Bailey's problem. We say our ideas out loud so everyone can hear what we think. Then, we discuss what everyone says," explained Kyle, with a smile.

And that's what everyone did. Charles spoke up first and said they needed to learn the names of the girls picking on Bailey. Then Robert said that what Matthew told him sounded like what the girls did to him, but only in reverse. He said he had to agree with Charles they needed to find out the girls names, but then they also needed to talk to Mr. Chassen and see what he says.

Kevin spoke up and said they needed to treat the girls the same way they were treating Bailey, so they knew what it felt like to be picked on. Then, he added, "We don't like NO girls!"

Everyone laughed at Kevin's last direct statement. 'Dad Ken' looked at his foster son and told him that on the surface it sounded like a good idea, but then asked what would be the result.

The group talked about Kevin's suggestion, but in the end, they all agreed it wouldn't fix Bailey's problem, but would probably cause the girls picking on her to increase their attacks.

Kyle then suggested they track down the girls and talk to them to find out why they were picking on Bailey. He reasoned that if the girls decided to continue to pick on Matthew's friend then they could go to Mr. Chassen and talk to him and tell him what was happening.

When Kyle finished describing his idea, everyone stopped and looked at him. Then, they all started talking about the twin's suggestion and they liked it.

Mr. Ken asked everyone for their vote and it was unanimous on going forward with Kyle's idea. The teen's dad asked that Robert go with Matthew and, whoever else was invited, and let the teenager do all the talking. The owner of The Cove then asked Mr. Wayne what he thought about Kyle's idea.

Mr. Wayne said he agreed with the plan. He mentioned it was simple and non-threatening on the surface, but it could have the same result as Kevin's idea meaning the girls could retaliate against not only Bailey, but Matthew as well.

Mr. Ken said he was glad he asked his new employee for his opinion because he hadn't thought about that reaction, but said he agreed they should take the nonaggressive approach because it wasn't threatening and gave them a chance for success. The owner of The Cove added that if that failed they needed to go to Mr. Chassen, or Principal Chadwick, for help.

With that meeting over, Mr. Ken reminded his 'boys' that it being Tuesday, they would have their regularly scheduled 'Tuesday Meeting'. Hearing that term being mentioned caused Mr. Wayne and Matthew to ask what that was all about.

Mr. Ken explained that when Robert first came to live with him they decide that on Tuesday night they would talk about things that they didn't get a chance to talk about during the week. The owner of The Cove told everyone they compiled a list of things they wanted to talk about and Tuesday after dinner was the time they picked to have their meeting.

That said, Mr. Ken told the group Doctor Doug would be visiting tomorrow night for dinner and his introduction to Matthew. The man also asked his boys if they had told their friends they would be gone from next Wednesday through Saturday, and for their friends to make other plans other than coming to The Cove.

'Dad' Ken then reminded Charles that he had an appointment with Doctor Doug tomorrow, Wednesday, and that Kevin and Kyle had appointments on Thursday. He qualified Kyle's by telling him he'd see Doctor Rick to get his cast off. That put a huge smile on the lad's face.

Mr. Ken finished his announcements by telling Robert he'd also see Doctor Doug on Friday. He told the boys either he or Mr. Wayne would be there to take them to their appointments and they should be ready to go about 2 PM. The man asked if anyone had any questions.

"Is this meeting always like this?" asked Mr. Wayne.

Robert took the question and said with the addition of his 'brothers' it had gotten longer and more complicated since there were now five boys against one man. That analogy brought out a bunch of laughs.

"Wayne, this meeting is a good chance to for all of us to talk together about things that are important to us all, or if there are complications or problems that have arisen since the last time we talked. One thing about this meeting is that if at ANY time one of the boys has an immediate problem he can come to me and talk to me and we'll try to resolve it then and not wait until Tuesday," explained Mr. Ken.

Mr. Wayne thanked his employer for that explanation and then said it was time for him to go home. As the rest of the Covers walked the Estate Master to the Foyer door, Mr. Wayne asked his boss if he wanted him to take Charles to his appointment tomorrow. Mr. Ken agreed that it would be best if he did that, but that the two of them should plan to take Kevin and Kyle to their separate appointments on Thursday.

After Mr. Wayne left, the Cover lads went up to their bedroom to get ready for bed. They used that time to relax before lying down by reading a book or working Sudoku or Word Find problems. Then, just prior to getting into bed, Kyle knocked on Matthew's bedroom door and then walked in when his new 'brother's told him to come in. Kyle reminded Matthew he was there to put the healing gel on his back. The two talked about Bailey, while Kyle put the cooling gel on the youngest Cover's back, and what they would do at school tomorrow.

After it got quiet upstairs, Robert headed down to talk to his dad. Mr. Ken was surprised Robert was still up, but knew the lad had to have something important on his mind to wait until his 'brothers' were in bed. He asked him in and to close the door.

"Robert, son, it has to be important for you to come down this late. What's on your mind?" asked the son's new dad.

"Dad, did Mr. Dan tell you anything about Judge Terryman's suicide and the names he told them about?" directly asked Robert.

Robert's dad told him what he knew which wasn't anything because Mr. Dan hadn't gotten back to him, as of yet. Mr. Ken did tell his son that he told Mr. Chris and Mr. Wayne all about him and Kevin's involvement and that they needed to know because they were now a part of the Cove and it might affect them as employees. The boy's dad reminded his son that Mr. Wayne needed to know everything about all the boys, so he could make an informed decision if the time ever came.

The two talked for another ten minutes and finally Robert said he understood, but asked his dad to try to find out how this might affect him and Kevin. Dad Ken said he would try to find out as much as much as they would tell him. Then, the two hugged before Robert went back up to bed.

At school the next day, all five Covers met with their friends, as they usually did, but this time Robert asked them all to meet together as they needed to talk about something important before the first bell.

Nothing much gets past Mr. Chassen without his noticing it, and that Wednesday he couldn't help but noticed a very large group of 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders walking to a corner and then stopping. He watched as Robert took center stage as if he was instructing all the boys in something. The teacher saw a few of the boys look over their shoulders as if they were watching to see if anyone was nearby, so they could stop whatever they were talking about.

"Guys, most of you know that Matthew's friend Bailey was being bullied by some of her girl classmates. We talked about it last night after dinner and after discussing a few alternatives, we decide that a few of us need to talk to those girls to find out why they were picking on Bailey and ask them to stop.

"We don't know if they will stop picking on Bailey, but we figure it is the least obtrusive or physical way of approaching them without us getting into trouble. All we are going to do is talk to them. Does anyone have any other ideas that we can use to defuse this bullying problem?" finished thethirteen-year-oldd.

Tyler, Bailey's older brother, spoke up and said he wanted to punch the girl's lights out to get them to stop, but he agreed Robert's plan was easier and that he didn't want to be expelled. That made a few in the group laugh. Bailey hugged her brother for saying what he did, knowing that he was going to protect her if need be.

Robert then asked for any other ideas. After not hearing any other ideas, the teen said that the whole group shouldn't go to talk to the girl, because that would be too intimidating. It was then Bailey told them the girl's name was Brooklyn, Brooklyn Sippelle.

Robert said he, Charles, Tyler, Matthew, Noah, Brant and Ryan should be the only ones to approach the girl group. He then said if the group felt to be too big, or too intimidating, then Brant, Ryan and Noah would peel off, but stand close-by.

Dan Chassen watched as seven of the thirty-seven kids break off and go walking towards a small group of 5th-grade girls. He wanted to hear what was being said so, nonchalantly, he walked in that direction. When he felt he was close enough, he pulled out his cell phone and turned on the recording feature. He held it up as if he was talking, but was hoping he could get what was being said recorded, so he could listen to it later and report his findings, if necessary, to Principal Chadwick.

The girls saw the large group of boys headed in their direction, but specifically noticed Matthew, Brant, Ryan and Noah. They had no idea why the group was headed in their direction but Brooklyn didn't like it one bit since Matthew was with them.

"Don't walk away, Brooklyn," called out Robert. "We want to talk to you and your friends about the way you're treating Matthew's new friend Bailey," clarified the teen.

The small group of 5th grade girls stopped and looked back. By that time the group of boys had arrived.

"So, what's this all about?" angrily said Brooklyn. "Did Bailey finally turn butch?" laughed the leader, along with her followers.

"What is your problem, Brooklyn? Bailey is just a friend who met my new 'brother' on Monday. She hasn't done anything to you, has she? So, why are you bullying her with name calling and intimidation?" asked Robert.

"We're not bullying her. I don't know what you mean?" said a smiling Brooklyn.

"Come on Brooklyn. We all heard you just call her a 'butch' and that's what you caller her yesterday and probably Monday, too. We came over to ask you to stop calling her that name and to leave her alone.

"My new 'brother' is also new here at the school and he needs friends his age and Bailey wants to be one of them. So, what do you say? ... Will you leave Matthew and his friend Bailey and any of their friends alone?" finished the Cover teen.

"I don't know what you mean? And, what if we are? What can you do about it? Huh? I know who you are ... Bobby. Yes, I know you hate being called that name. My sister told me all about it. It's too bad you didn't get beat up like Logan did at the water park last spring," laughed Brooklyn. The 5th grade bully and her friends then walked away.

Dan Chassen heard the whole talk and was glad he had his cell phone recording it all. He was glad the boys tried to handle the problem in the way they did. They didn't try to intimidate the girl nor did they threaten her and her friends. He needed to get it to Abigail Chadwick and let her handle it. But, the first bell rang and he had to get to his classroom to greet his students.

That morning, around 9 AM, Sheriff's Detective Lieutenant Brandt Matthias called The Cove.

"Mr. Ken," began Lt. Matthias, "Dan told me about your request. All I can tell you is that we have no intention of releasing the names of the men on the judge's suicide note. I can tell you we have arrested all of the men on the list and we are now beginning their interviews, with their lawyers present, of course.

"We believe there are more men involved, so with these men's cooperation, we can put the rest of this deplorable group of criminal lowlife's where they belong. You know Detective Carrier, well, he has been working with us and he assures me that his DA won't release a certain man's name because he was already under arrest for a different matter at the time of the joint raids," explained Brandt Matthias.

"Lieutenant ... what assurances can Sheriff Barnes and DA Morris give me that no one in either of their organizations will smuggle the names out to the press for some sort of remuneration," immediately asked a skeptical Mr. Ken.

"Mr. Ken ... I can't speak for the DA's office, but I assure you that only a very few detectives, and the Sheriff have seen the note. The DA has also seen it, but for now, it resides in the hands of the Sheriff's Department. That's all I can say for sure Mr. Ken. Sheriff Barnes has told me to try to assure you he, we, will do what we can to keep the list out of the hands of the press.

"You and I both know that the FOA, the Freedom of Information Act, can trump us, but for now, since it is an ongoing investigation, the press can ask away, but for right now they won't get the information from us," replied the Sheriff's Lieutenant.

"Brandt, I'm sure you can understand my concern for my two 'boys' and their 'brothers' and ... well, and what it could mean to them and thus The Cove. Lieutenant, all I can ask you and the Sheriff is to try your hardest to keep the press from getting those names, or at least the two names that could give someone enough material to put two and two together and identify my 'boys'," requested the owner of The Cove.

The two men talked some more about the suicide note and its ramifications. The lieutenant assured Mr. Ken that he and the Sheriff understood his concern's and would do whatever they could to keep the two names from ever surfacing.

The Sheriff's Lieutenant also told the owner of The Cove that he and the sheriff had discussed redacting some of the names when they were forced to release the names on the list. But they both hoped with releasing the names of those already arrested they could avoid releasing every name.

When the two finished their phone call, Mr. Ken called both of his employees, Mr. Chris and Mr. Wayne, to join him in his Study. He told them about his just completed phone call, so they were aware of what was happening.

At the school, the students went through their normal morning routines of reviewing their homework assignments, taking tests on what they already learned, and then learning newly presented information. At 10 AM, the 5th graders got a regularly scheduled fifteen-minute break and were allowed to go outside for some fresh air.

When Matthew and his new friends arrived outside they gathered together and told Bailey what Robert said to Brooklyn and what the girls' response was. The girl in question saw the small group of 5th grades talking and she knew they were talking about her. She decided to raise the ante so she and her posse walked over to them.

"Well, if it isn't the peacemakers," laughed Brooklyn. "There will be NO peace, you hear me!" loudly exclaimed Brooklyn. "Bailey, be aware your friends there and their so-called brothers ... they declared war on me and I WILL retaliate. "

Then, the young girl said something she shouldn't have. "If you think what happened to Robert and his friends was bad, just wait ... just wait until I get you all alone. Or, should I say my friends get you all alone. Have a nice day because after today you will be soiling your shorts if you haven't already pissed in them." Brooklyn and her girlfriends all laughed as they walked away.

Matthew asked his new friends if any of them they knew who Brooklyn's friends were. Brant said he remembered hearing his brother talk about these girls who harassed Robert. He told the group that Brooklyn's older sister was Skyler who hung around Kaelyn Farlow who was the one who threw an apple at Logan and put him in the hospital. Then he added that Joanna Schwimminger, another friend of Skyler's, was responsible for Logan and Robert being attacked at the water park.

But that was all Brant got out as the bell rang and they had to head inside to their classrooms. Noah and Matthew talked as they went to their classroom. The Cover's new friend told Matthew that he remembered his brother telling him what happened back when Robert first came to their school and for him to be aware of groups of kids hanging out together and causing problems. But Noah didn't get much further than that because they were now in their classroom and sat apart in different desks.

At lunchtime, Matthew couldn't wait until he talked to his older 'brothers'. He wanted to skip lunch, but Brant, Ryan, Noah and Bailey all insisted he eats something. They reminded him his 'brothers' wouldn't have their lunch for another 30 minutes.

After he'd eaten, Matthew waited outside the lunchroom and when he saw Robert he yelled to him that he had to talk to him. That it was very important. Robert came over and Matthew told him what Brooklyn said to him and his friends at their morning break.

Charles and Tyler, Bailey's older brother, saw Robert talking to Matthew and they walked over and heard the last part of what Matthew told the teen about what happened that morning at their mid-morning break. Robert said they needed to go and talk to the principal. The small group headed towards the office.

"We need to talk to the Principal. It's important. There's had been a bullying incident," announced Robert, as he entered the office.

Ms. Andrews, the self-appointed gatekeeper and office guard yelled to the boys and one girl to get out of her office and that no one saw the Principal without an appointment.

Robert pulled out his cell phone to call his dad. Ms. Andrews told him to give her his phone as cell phones were not to be used during school hours, except in an emergency. Robert ignored her and punched the speed dial number for his dad.

When Mr. Ken saw it was Robert and realized it was the lunch hour he immediately answered the phone.

"Dad, Ms. Andrews refuses to let us to see the Principal. Brooklyn told Matthew and his friends that there will be no peace and she declared war on them," got out Robert, before Mr. Ken could even say hello. After hearing what all the teenager had to say, he told the teen to hang up and stay there at the office. Then, before he called the principal, he called Mr. Wayne to join him in the Study.

Mr. Ken then called Principal Chadwick on her private line knowing Ms. Andrewes would stop him from talking to her if he called the office phone line. Wayne walked into the Study as the phone line connected and Mr. Ken had put on the speaker.

"Abigail, Ms. Andrews," was all Ken Thomas got out before Abigail Chadwick cut him off.

"And what do I owe the pleasure of this phone call, Mr. Ken?" politely replied Principal Chadwick. "I didn't hear that any of your boys were in trouble."

"Principal Chadwick, my son and his younger 'brother', and his friends, are outside your office, but Ms. Andrews has refused to allow them in to see you. Robert told me there is going to be a war at your school."

Principal Chadwick was taken aback by hearing that statement. She then told Mr. Ken that Dan Chassen had just presented her with a recording from his boys and their friends talk to Brooklyn Sippelle that morning. She asked the man to hold on as she went to the office door and told Ms. Andrews to allow those boys and girl into her office. She then asked her to get the School Board President, John Henry Ostrowski, on the line for her.

When the group of school kids walked into the office, they saw 8th grade teacher Dan Chassen sitting there. Robert also noticed the Principal's cell phone was lit up as if she had been on a call.

"Mr. Ken, your sons and their friends are now in my office along with Dan Chassen," spoke up the principal into her phone. "I also asked Ms. Andrews to get John Henry on the phone for me. Now, let's all listen to what the boys have to tell us," finished the Principal, who then sat down at her desk and turned her phone around so whatever was said would also be heard by Mr. Ken.

While Matthew told the group what he remembered from the talk he and his friends had with Brooklyn at the morning break, Ms. Andrews rang the Principal's desk phone to tell her John Henry Ostrowski was on the phone. The Principal put the phone call on speaker so the School Board President could hear what was being discussed in her office.

Matthew was asked to repeat what he just told the group, so the School Board President could understands the situation. When the youngster couldn't remember anything else, Bailey spoke up and added that Brooklyn said something about that what happened to Robert and his friends was bad, but for them to just wait until she and her friends got them all alone. She finished by saying Brooklyn was Skyler's younger sister.

Robert then recounted what happened to him when he was attacked in the cafeteria last year and about the apple being thrown at Logan that put him in the hospital. The teen then recounted what happened to him and Logan and what almost happened to Cody at the water park and that is was all due to Joanna Schwimminger and her clique of friends, Kaelyn Farlow, Sarah Pikerson, Nora Vestille, Calli Zemorah, and Skyler Sippelle, Brooklyn's older sister.

After listening to what had been said, including that Ms. Andrews refused to allow the students to talk to the principal, School Board President Ostrowski told everyone he'd call an emergency school board meeting and asked all of the student to be available to attend and to retell the whole School Board their story.

By then the school's afternoon session had begun and the teachers of the missing students called the office to report them all missing. Ms. Andrews told them all the students were in talking with the Principal and were in big trouble.

Principal Chadwick told all these students to return to their classes and not to tell anyone what they discussed in their meeting. The Principal gave the students a hall pass to give to their teachers so they knew where they were. After the students left, the three adults talked on a conference call to further address what was happening at the school.

Mr. Ken made it known to everyone that he was tired of the way Ms. Andrews thinks she ruled the school. He relayed how she mistreated Wayne Mitchell a few weeks back, how she refused him access to the principal, as well, and that just before their just concluded meeting she refused his 'sons', and their friends, access to the principal about that very important matter.

Then the owner of The Cove reminded the School Board President how that secretary started the rumor that had a teacher fired and a number of students expelled. Mr. Ken expressed his opinion that her actions were not in keeping of good order at the school, and she was a menace and needed to be replaced and quickly. School Board President John Henry Ostrowski said he'd wait for the official complaint to arrive at his desk before saying anything about that matter.

Of course, the students did talk to their close friends about their meeting with the Principal, Mr. Dan and the School Board President. They told their close friends not to say anything and that they hoped there would be some sort of resolution by the end of the week.

The boys rushed to the Study when they returned home from school. Robert and Matthew knew what their hurrying was all about, but the twins didn't know anything except what they heard on the school bus. But, when they got to the Study, Mr. Ken sent them all back to see Momma Maria to get their after school snack saying she always looked forward to their return and loved doing that for them and they should not disappoint her.

When they arrive in the Kitchen Nook, they saw Charles sitting there waiting for them. The pre-teen had his doctor appointment that afternoon and came directly home after it was over. The twins asked him how his appointment with Doctor Doug went and all Charles did was smile back at them. Momma Maria then served them their after school snack.

A half hour later, the five Cover 'boys' came back to the Study to talk to their 'dad' about what happened at school. The twins sat there listening and couldn't believe someone would act that way towards other kids. Mr. Ken explained that the right people were involved now and it was out of their hands, but they still needed to watch their backs until it was resolved.

Mr. Ken sent the lads up to do their homework while reminding Matthew that Doctor Doug would be there at about 5 PM to talk to him and then have dinner with them. All Mr. Wayne did was listen and take it all in.

No sooner had the lads walked up the stairs the phone rang in the Study. "This is Three Finger Cove. How can I help you?" answered Mr. Ken.

... ... ...

"Owen, how the heck are you and Nathan and the boys? I thought we'd have heard from you long before now," said Mr. Ken.

... ... ...

 

"Yes, the boys are off from school beginning Saturday through the following Sunday. We'll be gone for Thanksgiving starting Wednesday, though, but you're welcome to come over any time before then," replied Mr. Ken.

... ... ...

"Sure. I'll bet all the boys will be happy to see you guys. Make sure you all bring your swim suits and make sure the boys bring their skateboards. And you guys should all plan to spend at least one night if not the whole weekend," suggested Mr. Ken.

,... ... ...

"Yes, yes, by all means. Come over Friday night and stay through Sunday. We'll show you all a good time and I know you and your boys will be amazed at what we have here at The Cove to do. We can all catch up on what's been happening to one another then. OK?" offered the owner of The Cove.

... ... ...

"Yes, that sounds good to me. We'll see you for dinner Friday night and please plan to stay through lunchtime on Sunday. We'll make sure we take a spin around the lake on the Commander before you leave," offered Mr. Ken.

After the owner of The Cove hung up the phone, he smiled at Mr. Wayne. The two men talked about the call and that their friend's from their SeaWorld trip would be coming over for the weekend. Mr. Ken asked Wayne to try to be there as he was now a part of The Cove as anyone.

Doctor Doug Jennings arrived at five as planned, so Mr. Wayne went upstairs to get Matthew.

"Matthew, this is Doctor Douglas Jennings or Doctor Doug as the boys call him. I asked him to come over for dinner and to also meet you before you start regularly meeting with him. I'll leave you two alone here in the Study and we'll come and get you when Momma has dinner ready. Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne exited the Study to leave the boy and doctor alone.

Dinner was a wonderful authentic Mexican meal. Momma Maria went all out knowing Doctor Doug loved her cooking and only got a home cooked meal when he was invited to The Cove.

When dinner was over everyone retired to the Great Room since there were so many people they all couldn't fit into the Study. They talked about the upcoming Holidays and how all the boys were fitting into The Cove. It was then Mr. Ken dropped the bombshell on his 'boys'.

"Boys, as you went up to do your homework, I received a phone call. What I can tell you is that we're going to have company this weekend," announced Mr. Ken.

"Is my older 'brother' coming to stay with us before we go over to his home for Thanksgiving?" anxiously asked Robert.

"No, Collin is going directly home from college to help make sure everything is set for the Thanksgiving Feast," replied the owner of The Cove.

"Boys ... do you remember Jayden, Ryder and Chase? From our SeaWorld trip? What would you think about having those three, as well as their dad's, as our weekend guests?" chuckled 'dad Ken.

"I thought we'd have heard from them sooner than this, dad?" said Robert. "Are they going to spend one night or all weekend?"

"I talked to Owen earlier and he and Nathan, and the boys, have been looking for a time when they didn't have to worry about school on Monday and with next week being Thanksgiving break, they asked if they would be imposing on us. So, I said, come on over," replied Mr. Ken.

"I told them to plan to stay all weekend and we'd take the Commander out on Sunday after lunch and before they head on home. "So, are you ready to add three more boys to the weekend?" now laughed Mr. Ken.

"Who are Jayden, Ryder and Chase?" asked Matthew.

"We met them when Mr. Ken took all of us to SeaWorld for their Howl-O-Scream. They spent the entire day with us riding the rides, watching the animal shows and then going through the haunted houses and scary forests," offered Kyle.

"How old are they?" asked Matthew.

"Jayden is 13 and Ryder is 12. Chase is Jayden's younger brother and he's your age; he's ten." replied Robert.

"Oh," was all Matthew said, then.

"Boys, they'll be here about dinner time, Friday night. I figure Jayden can stay with you Robert, Ryder can stay with you Charles, and maybe Chase can stay in your room Matthew? But let's wait until you meet him to see of you two hit it off. I told them all to bring their swimsuits and the boys to bring their skateboards.

"I know their arrival will make the ramps a bit more crowded, but they are our friends and, since all of your friends also know them, we all need to make them feel welcome. Anybody have any questions?" finished Mr. Ken.

"Dad, I was going to ask you if we could, you know, have a sleepover this Saturday night," spoke up Robert. "We haven't had one for quite a while and ... well, with everyone off next week I was hoping we could let the guys stay over."

"Hmmmm, so how many boys are we talking about, son?" asked the lad's dad.

"I don't know, dad. Let me and my 'brothers' count them real quick" replied Robert.

Robert, Charles, Kevin and Kyle went into a quiet conversation to count who all their friends they would invite. It took about five minutes for the lads to decide on the number.

"Dad, we figured it out. If we invite all our friends, and including us, there would be 34 for a sleepover," announced Robert.

Matthew listened with interest and after Robert finished telling his dad how many they wanted to invite for a sleepover, Matthew asked, "Mr. Ken ... can I invite some of my friends, too?"

That simple question stopped the other boys in their tracks. They didn't say anything because they wanted to see how 'dad Ken' would reply.

"How many would you want to invite, Matthew?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Well ... I'd like to invite Brant, Ryan, and Noah. And, I'd also like to invite Bailey if I could," answered the youngest Cover.

"Hmmm, so that would mean we'd have 38 boys spending the night, and possibly one girl. Then adding Jaden, Ryder and Chase makes 41. My next question for you boys is where would they all sleep? If I remember right, the last time we had a large number of guests we almost didn't have enough space to let them spread out and sleep.

"Boys, you need to discuss this amongst yourselves and bring me an answer. But, let me tell you now, if it isn't fair and the sleeping arrangements aren't equal then there will no one sleeping over. And don't forget, we have guests this weekend, so that increases the number by three more. Now, go up to your rooms and talk this over," directed Mr. Ken.

Robert and Charles didn't want to hear what they just heard. They didn't count on Matthew wanting to invite his friends and on top of that a girl. The five boys walked up the stairs not saying a word to one another.


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