Three Finger Cove: Matthew ~ Book Five

Chapter Seven

"We're here," announced Mr. Ken with a smile.

Matthew smiled back, but he didn't feel enthused about going to school, since he knew he was at least two months behind the other kids.

The two Covers got out of the truck, walked into the school building and headed to the office.

Ms. Jane Andrews, the school secretary greeted Mr. Ken as he entered and asked him how she could help him. He asked to see Principal Chadwick. Ms. Andrews asked him if he had an appointment. The owner of The Cove said he didn't know he needed an appointment to talk to her about one of his 'boys'. Ms. Andrew told Mr. Thomas that it is preferable to have an appointment, so the principal can plan her day.

Matthew just stood there listening to the two adults spar. He never saw something like that before and he wondered who would blink first. But just then a woman walked out of an office and the adults stopped to look at her.

"Well, Mr. Thomas, what brings you here? None of your 'boys' are in any trouble ... that I know of. Well, not any more than usual" laughed the woman.

"That's good to know, Ms. Chadwick. Now I don't have to send them to the dungeon when they get home this afternoon," replied Mr. Ken, with an equal laugh.

"Principal Chadwick, I want you to meet Matthew Turnsten. He's now staying with me and my growing brood of young lads. I need to get him registered for school. I also need to talk to you about Matthew before he starts in class."

"Well, welcome Matthew, I know you'll enjoy going to school here. All of Mr. Ken's boys go here, which I am sure you already know. What say we all go into my office and talk," replied Abigail Chadwick, as she motioned for the man and boy to follow her into her office.

Ms. Andrews tried to get the Principal's attention to remind her she wanted parents to have appointments, but all Principal Chadwick did was wave her off and then close the door.

"OK, Mr. Ken ... what's this all about?" directly asked the Principal.

"Ms. Chadwick ... did you hear about the police arresting two people at the hospital last week?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Yes, I did hear about that, Mr. Thomas," replied Abigail Chadwick. "Why?"

"Abigail ... it was Matthew ... who those two people were after. One was his mom and the other was her boyfriend. We, Dan Fischer and I, found Matthew at the miniature golf course at Four Corners Sunday last and well, long story short, he now lives with me and my other boys.

"Principal Chadwick, three of my boys were over at the hospital visiting Matthew the night the sheriff's deputies arrested his mom and her boyfriend. They all watched from the third floor as it happened and when my boys got to school the next day they told everyone what they saw.

"Unfortunately, one of the boys mentioned Matthew's name and that he was (Mr. Ken looked over to Matthew to see how he was doing with the tale.) ... that he had been beaten and his back looked real bad."

Principal Chadwick gasp at what she just heard and put her hand to her mouth in disgust. She then asked Mr. Ken what he wanted her to do.

Mr. Ken asked that she watch out for any bullying or teasing of Matthew about his back and his being beaten. The owner of The Cove told the woman that not many kids knew and when they realize who Matthew is they may begin to taunt him or more.

Just then, Matthew spoke up. "Mr. Ken ... ahh yesterday, when we were swimming I ... I ahh ... showed all the boys my back. I first showed Brant and Ryan, just to see what they'd say. Then ... then I decided to show the older boys. I also told them the whole story and I asked them to tell anyone who speculates what happened to me to tell them the truth. They all told me they'd have my back if anyone messes with me.

"Ahh, Mr. Ken ... you also didn't tell the Principal that ... that I haven't been to school since the start of the school year," finished Matthew.

Principal Chadwick took the lead and asked Matthew why he wasn't in school. It was then she learned his mom and her boyfriend traveled all around taking him with them, that she quickly understood the problem. Mr. Ken asked her to allow his 'son' to join his fellow classmates and try to catch up.

Mr. Thomas explained the lad had four 'brothers' at home who've been through the 5th grade and they could help him. Then, he added that he, too, successfully finished 5th grade himself. That brought a smile to everyone.

Mr. Ken then told Principal Chadwick that if Matthew has problems integrating into the class he was prepared to hire a tutor to get the lad up to speed. He asked the principal to give the lad a chance. The owner of The Cove told the woman the boy had two friends in his class already and even they could probably be called on to help him get up to speed.

"Matthew ... what do you think about all this, you know, catching up with your classmates and having a steep mountain to climb to get caught up?" directly asked the Principal of the new Cover.

Matthew sat there for a few moments and then said, "Mrs. Principal ... I don't want to have to repeat 5th grade. I hope you'll give me a chance to let me catch up and ... and I'll even work on my studies on Saturday if I have to. You know I have four other 'brothers' and they can help me if I get stumped."

"What about asking Mr. Ken?" said the Principal, Abigail Chadwick.

"Well, he's so busy with everything he does and I can go to him if the other guys are busy doing their own homework. Or, I could ask Mr. Wayne to help me," replied Matthew.

"Mr. Wayne?" asked the principal, but the question was directed at Mr. Ken.

"Yes, Wayne Mitchell ... he is my new employee and is my Estate Master," started Mr. Ken. "He will fill in for me when I can't be there for my other 'boys'. He's been vetted by CPS and I was given a green light to hire him for the position. He will have full authority to speak for me when I am not available"

"Oh, yes, Mr. Mitchell ...I remember meeting him. He was here to take Kyle to the doctor to get his cast off. But, I see he still has it on," spoke the Principal.

"Yes, your secretary, Ms. Andrews, she gave him a difficult time about letting him take Kyle to the doctor, just as she did with putting up a roadblock for me to talk to you just now. I'd say she believes she has power in her position that is not in her job description. But, let's get back to Matthew," explained the owner of The Cove.

The two adults talked for a few more minutes and Ms. Chadwick approved Matthew being mainstreamed into the 5th grade with the condition that if he doesn't get up to speed by the end of the Holiday vacation Mr. Ken would get him a tutor.

Mr. Ken and the principal went to the lunchroom to buy Matthew his own lunch pass. The owner of The Cove put enough money on the card to cover the boy's lunches until after the Holidays. He also added a few more dollars to the card and then told his foster son to talk to Charles about why he did that.

Principal Chadwick then took Matthew to a classroom and called out the teacher, Sharlie Jacobs. The principal introduced Mr. Thomas to her and then Matthew. She explained that the boy was the man's newest foster son and would be starting in her classroom. The principal told her that the boy hadn't been in any school yet that year and was woefully way behind. The leader of the school then proceeded to describe the agreement she made with Mr. Thomas and Matthew and asked her to give the lad a chance.

Ms. Jacobs said she'd help Matthew as best she could without letting the other children get behind. The teacher also added that she'd ask his classmates to help him whenever they can to help get him up to speed.

They all shook hands and just before Ms. Jacobs led Matthew into the classroom, the lad ran to Mr. Ken and hugged him tight. When the hug was over, Mr. Ken rustled the boy's hair and told him, "All I want you to do is try your very best, 'son'. OK?" Matthew looked at Mr. Ken and smiled at hearing him being called 'son'. The lad, with a smile on his face, walked into the classroom with the teacher.

"Class ... I want you to meet our newest classmate," began Ms. Jacobs. "This is Matthew Turnsten. He is a little behind us in his studies, so I ask all of you to please help him get up to speed. Seeing it is almost lunchtime, I'd ask you to introduce yourselves to him during that time. Please continue to work on your assignment while I get Matt his school books ..." started Sharlie Jacobs, before she heard Matthew speak up.

"Please, Ms. Jacobs ... call me Matthew," said the class's newest member.

"Why, yes, Matthew I will call you by your full first name. Okay, class, as you heard, Matthew wants to be called by his full first name. Now, while I get Matthew his school workbooks continue to work in your math workbooks," finished Ms. Jacobs.

While the teacher and her new student went over to the storage bookcases to get Matthew the needed workbooks, a boy near the bookcases smiled and waved to Matthew. The new Cover smiled and waved back.

Over in a 6th grade classroom, Kyle was again caught daydreaming by Ms. Kirklunds, his 6th grade teacher. She asked him if he was still thinking about his friend. Kyle said he was, but this time he was wondering how he was doing now that he is in school.

The teacher, Charlene Kirklunds, didn't realize that Kyle's new friend was in their school, so she asked the Cover to please stay focused and to keep his daydreaming to lunchtime or when he was at home. The students laughed at what the teacher said and Kyle just shrugged his shoulders knowing she was right.

When Mr. Ken returned home, he briefed Mr. Chris on his acquisition of a new foster son. The two had a good laugh at the term the owner of The Cove used to describe Matthew being brought to now live at The Cove.

The two men talked about the next two week's schedules. Mr. Ken wanted to make sure everything was on schedule for the contractor, Central Texas Decorating, Wayne's old employer, to begin decorating The Cove for the Holidays, right after Thanksgiving week. The boss also wanted an update on the project he gave Chris when he and the boys returned from Collin's.

As the two men talked, Wayne came looking for his employer and Mr. Chris. Of course, the Estate Master found them in Mr. Ken's Study. When he entered, Mr. Ken told him he was happy he had stopped by.

"Wayne, come in and have a seat," said Mr. Ken, as he gestured to the man to take a seat. "Chris and I were talking about the upcoming activities and festivities that will take place around The Cove for the Holidays. The thing I want you to check into and make happen if possible is to see if there is something we can do with the kids like we did for Halloween."

Wayne smiled and said, "Oh, now I understand the wink you gave me when Sophie Fritzer, kiddingly asked if you had planned any other outings as you did with the Halloween trip to SeaWorld. I take it you want me to look to SeaWorld and see if they have something we can attend and have some Holiday fun."

"Yes, but don't forget to look at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, too. They have many more rides for the boys to try whereas SeaWorld will probably only have animal shows to watch since they have so few amusement rides. Oh, and don't forget to invite some chaperones, too," laughed Mr. Ken.

"There always seems to be 'but' in there somewhere, doesn't there," teased Mr. Ken.

"Wayne, I am planning to take the boys including Eric, and us of course, to visit at least two if not three of my amusement parks during the Holiday Break. Christmas is on a Friday, so we can leave Saturday and return on Tuesday. That should give us a few days, when we return, to get ready for the New Year's Eve parties.

"My travel agent will make all of the reservations, including scheduling the airplane, so you'll have to get a school calendar to see what would be a good day to plan that sort of outing. Oh, I also invited Ms. Judy to go with us. Get with me later if you have any questions," finished Mr. Ken.

Hearing what his boss wanted him to do, Mr. Wayne looked over to Mr. Chris and said, "I Can count on you to be a chaperone? Right?" Then the Estate Master smiled.

Mr. Chris, thinking fast on his feet, said, "Yes ... you can count on me ... that my family and I will gladly attend and I'll be their chaperone." The three men all laughed.

Mr. Ken then asked Mr. Chris if he figured out what the prizes would be for the Toy Soldier build competition for the three high schools. Mr. Chris said he thought about it, but confessed it hadn't been high on his list, as he needed to get the caterer, decorator, fireworks contractor and the two bands under contract for the Holidays.

Chris did say he planned to have three trophies made for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers. He also thought that a monetary stipend would be good, too, but all the schools had shot that down.

The three men started brainstorming to come up with a few plausible awards Mr. Ken could give the winners of the Toy Soldier build competition.

One suggestion, as a reward, was to give the winners a number of free admissions to both the Go-Kart Track and Miniature Golf. They also kicked around giving the winners a few free dinners at both the Four Corners restaurant and Diner. At the school, the lunch bell rang and the kids in the 5th grade all headed to the cafeteria. The boy who smiled at Matthew, while he waited for his workbooks, came over to the new student.

"Hello, Matthew, my name is Noah, Noah Allenbee. Welcome to our school. Can I ask you which school you went to before coming here?" asked Noah.

Matthew thought about his answer for a few moments then replied, "Well, I haven't been to school yet this year. I am really far behind. I hope I can catch up by the time the Christmas Holidays are over."

"Why until then? Don't you have unit the end of the year to catch up?" asked a surprised Noah.

"No, that's the agreement that I made with the principal, so I could start school. If I can't catch up my new 'dad' agreed to get a tutor for me," answered Matthew.

"Well, if you are having trouble you can count on me and a few of my friends to help you. Just let us know. Hey, are you hungry? I hope you got a lunch card?" finished Noah.

"Yes, my new 'dad' paid for a lunch card for me. He told me my 'brothers' would show me how to use it, but I don't know when they get their lunch break," replied Matthew.

"What grade are you brothers in?" quickly asked Noah.

"Oh, ahh ... I think they are in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades," said Matthew.

"Oh, it's easy. If you don't see your brothers, would you like me to show you want to do?" asked a hopeful Noah.

"Sure, let's go. I'm hungry," said Matthew.

As the two boys walked out of the classroom, a young pretty girl approached Matthew and said, "Hello, Matthew, my name is Bailey, Bailey Bracen. I wanted to stop by and welcome you to our school. So, can I ask which area did you move into?"

"Well, Noah was going to show me how to use my lunch card and I am hungry, so why don't we all head over there and get lunch and talk some more. OK?" replied Matthew.

The three fifth graders walked towards the cafeteria and along the way, Brant and Ryan caught up with them and said Hi to their new friend. That surprised Noah that Matthew already knew Brant and Ryan. But before he could ask the question that was on his mind, Matthew said they were going to get lunch and sit together and talk. The two new arrivals agreed with that plan and now five fifth-graders headed to get lunch.

When they got to the lunch line, Noah explained to the new Cover that he should take what he wanted and, if he had a limit on what he could spend, he could see what each item cost before getting it. He then added that at the end of the line was the 'Lunch Lady', "That's the name all the kids called her," explained Noah. The boy told Matthew that all he had to do was present the card to her and she'd ring up the cost of the food on his tray, run his card through the card reader and give him his card back.

The group of five waited for one another and when they all had their lunch trays full they headed to an empty table. Brant and Ryan took a seat on either side of Matthew while Noah and Bailey took a seat opposite the new student. They all then began to eat and enjoy their lunches.

After a few minutes, Brant asked how he liked the school. Matthew said he hadn't seen too much of it, but that maybe he could show him around before they had to go back to the classroom. Brant said he would and asked Ryan and Noah to help him. Bailey felt like she was going to be left out and she felt like she should get up and walk over to another table, but didn't.

They continued to talk as they ate. Then Bailey asked Matthew if he could tell her which area he moved into. Brant looked at Ryan when the young girl asked the question, not knowing if Matthew should tell her he was living at The Cove.

"Bailey, right, well, I live with my new 'brothers' over by the lake," replied Matthew, knowing he was not supposed to tell his classmates he was living at The Cove.

"Oh, that is a nice area for sure now that Mr. Thomas has built the Four Corners shopping area. I love going to the miniature golf course and the Diner there is a fun place to get a burger and fries," spoke up Bailey.

Then, without thinking, Matthew said, "Did you know that Mr. Ken owns the miniature golf course and the Go-Kart track?"

"No, I didn't know that. How come you know that?" asked Bailey.

It was then that Matthew knew he almost revealed to her who he was living with and thus where he lived, so he answered, "Well ... we were over there this weekend and we actually met and talked to him. That's when I heard him say that he owned them both."

"You know, I met him once, too," began Bailey. "He had this really big Labor Day Picnic and I was invited along with my family to attend. My brother is friends with his foster son, Charles. Oh, and Brant, Ryan and Noah were also there; weren't you?" finished a smiling Bailey.

The three boys all laughed and agreed they had been there as well. They then described to their new friend how the day went with the Awards Ceremony and their swimming in the lake and playing on the water toys.

Noah told Matthew how they all were able to use the skateboard ramps. The four boys then talked about skateboarding and the tricks they could do. Bailey felt left out since she didn't know how to use a skateboard, so she told the boys she was going to catch up with her girlfriends. The young girl then got up and left.

It was then Matthew told his three new friends how he still had to practice more, so he didn't look too bad on the ramps in front of everyone. Brant told the young Cover that he didn't do all that bad, but he did agree his new friends needed to practice more and that he probably could do that after school. Both Brant and Ryan laughed.

Hearing what was just said peaked Noah's curiosity, so he asked, "Where by the lake did you move that you got to use Mr. Ken's skateboard ramps? He doesn't let just anybody ride them without being invited by one of his foster sons. The Cove always has a number of guards on duty and they don't let anyone in that isn't invited."

Brant and Ryan looked over to Matthew to see how he was going to answer Noah. The Cover saw his two new friends look at him then he thought about what Mr. Ken told him about telling people where he lives. He wanted Noah to be one of his friends, so he rolled the dice.

"Noah ... you said you were at The Cove along with Brant and Ryan, right?" asked Matthew.

"Yeah, I was there along with them," said Noah.

"Well ... if I tell you where I am living you got to promise me that what I tell you that you won't go and tell anyone else.. Will you do that for me?" asked Matthew. "Noah, I do want you to be my friend but ... if I can't trust you as a friend then ...."

But before the youngest Cover could finish what he wanted to say, Noah jumped in and said, "Yes, you can trust me. I understand what you're saying. You can trust me not to tell anyone where you're living. Geez, it sounds like you're going to tell me you're living with Mr. Ken."

Brant and Ryan looked at one another and then looked to Matthew waiting to hear what he was going to say.

"Noah, you told me that you were once at The Cove, so you know how nice it is? Have you ever been up to the bedrooms? These two guys have," said a smiling Matthew.

"Wait ... how could you two get up to the bedrooms? You've only ever been to Three Finger Cove just once like me and ... we never got to visit the bedrooms. Unless ... unless you were invited over there since the Labor Day Picnic," replied Noah.

But, before Matthew could answer Noah, Brant said they should turn in their trays and go outside to talk and get some fresh air. That's what the four friends did.

"OK, we're outside," started Noah, "Now, can you tell me where you're living?"

"I was told not to tell anyone right away, but since you've been to The Cove, with these two guys, I don't think Mr. Ken will be mad at me for telling you," said Matthew.

Hearing Mr. Ken's name used for the second time, surprised Noah. The lad thought about what Matthew just told him about Mr. Ken not getting mad at him for telling where he lived. Then, the 5th-grade boy realized what Matthew as telling him, so without saying where his new friend lived he asked him how he liked living at Three Finger Cove.

"So, you figured it out?" said a smiling Matthew.

"Yep, and I bet these two were over there to meet you, weren't they?" laughed Noah.

Brant answered and told Noah that Mr. Ken called his dad to ask him to come over yesterday to meet his new foster son. He explained that Ryan was spending the weekend, so they both met Matthew. We had a great time. I know I did. Ryan spoke up and agreed with Brant.

"Will I get to come over, too?" asked a very hopeful Noah.

"I don't know how many I can invite over. I just got there on Saturday. I'll have to ask Mr. Ken. There were a ton of kids there and he might not want me to invite too many, so the ramps aren't even more crowded," replied Matthew.

"Matthew, ahh ... I hope you won't get mad at me for asking this but ... but are you ... are you the Matthew that Kevin and Kyle talked about last week. Does your back really look that bad?" asked Noah.

Matthew looked around to see who was close by and then told his new friend that he was the boy Kevin and Kyle were talking about. He added that he showed Brant and Ryan his back and that when they all went swimming he showed the rest of the boys his back, so they wouldn't wonder what had happened to him. Ryan spoke up and told Noah that the older boys told the newest Cover that they'd have his back if people started to tease him or try to bully him about being beaten.

After their talk, the three new friends showed Matthew around the schoolyard and explained where all the certain groups hung out. As the four boys walked around, many of the boys who were at The Cove the previous day saw them and said 'Hi' to Matthew.

Bailey had watched the four 5th graders walk around. She wondered how all those older boys knew them, but then she remembered Brant, Ryan and Noah were also at Three Finger Cove for the Labor Day Picnic. But then she wondered why the older boys were saying 'Hi' to Matthew. Then, she decided to find out more about Matthew.

"Hey, Matthew," called out Charles, who was with his friends.

Matthew and his new friends all walked over to the 7th graders. "Hi, Charles," replied Matthew.

"Has anyone been giving you any trouble yet?" directly asked Charles.

"No, they haven't. Oh, and I have a new friend. His name is Noah. He was at the Labor Day Picnic with Brant and Ryan. And now after hearing all about it, I wish I had been there, too. It sounded like fun!" replied the youngest Cover.

Dan Chassen, the 8th grade Science and substitute boys' physical Education teacher, doesn't miss much that happens around the school. And now, out in the schoolyard, he observed a large gaggle of boys standing and talking and four of them were much younger than the rest. The teacher decided he needed to watch what, if anything was going to happen.

It was while the teacher was focused on that group of boys that Principal Chadwick came up behind him.

"Whoa, you startled me, Abi," said Dan, as the principal came up to him and touched his shoulder.

"I see you're doing what you do best, Dan. You've already noticed our newest 5th grade student and are watching what is happening out there in that large group of 7th and 5th graders," teased the principal.

"Yes, I wondered why those older boys were talking to the younger ones. But, then I noticed three of the four 5th graders have their older brothers in the large group, so I figured nothing nefarious would happen," chuckled Dan. "It's that other boy, the new one, who I didn't know, so I decided to watch and see."

"Well, the new boy also has a 'brother' in that group of older boys," said Abigail Chadwick, as she smiled at the man.

"Abigail, I know all the boys and girls here at the school and I'd know if the new lad had a brother here," countered Dan Chassen.

"Well, Dan, our newest student's name is Matthew. And his 'brother' IS in that group of 7th graders. The older 'brother's' name is ... Charles." The principal let that hang for a few moments, waiting for Dan to understand what she just said.

"His older 'brother' is Charles? Then ... then he must be ... Mr. Ken's ... his newest foster son. Wow, he now has five foster kids to take care of. I know he has that huge mansion, and all, so I know he can house them all. But ... well, for him to take on five lads from, what, 13 down to 10 years of age, the man must be a miracle worker or ... he's got to be crazy," replied a laughing Dan Chassen.

"Well, we both know that man is NOT crazy, Dan. But, he is a caring man who takes in kids other foster parents wouldn't. And, Dan ... Mr. Thomas only has four foster sons," replied Principal Chadwick.

The 8th-grade science teacher looked at the woman as if asking why she said there were four when he knew the man had five boys living at Three Finger Cove.

"Dan ... you've forgotten already? Tsk, tsk! Remember Mr. Thomas, he adopted Robert less than a month ago," said Abigail Chadwick.

"Oh, yes, I did forget Robert is now a Thomas. But ... but Abi, you have got to admit the man is taking on such a huge responsibility by agreeing to foster four boys, while he raises his new adopted son," countered Dan.

"And, I'll tell you one thing, Dan. He's doing a whole lot better job of it than the other foster parents I have to deal with. He takes a personal interest in all of his 'sons' and will defend them whether they are right or wrong. He knows those boys have all been dealt a bad hand in life and you and I know he's going to make sure they have a good, loving home and food to eat. I'll leave you to your observing, Dan. It's almost time for the after lunch bell to ring." Then with that said, Abigail Chadwick walked away, presumably to her office.

Over at the large group of boys, Brant's and Ryan's older brothers reintroduced themselves to the newest Cover. Then Dylan Allenbee spoke up and introduced himself to Matthew as Noah's older brother. Matthew said he was glad his three new friends had older brothers to look after them, as he had Charles and Robert. He again then thanked them all for agreeing to watch his back.

Bailey Bracen continued to watch the four boys and wished she were close enough to hear what all those 7th graders were saying to her classmates. She saw the new student shake hands with Noah's older brother and wondered what that was all about. As she watched the four 5th graders walk away from the 7th graders, her curiosity got the best of her, so she walked directly over to Matthew and his new friends.

"Matthew ... why did all those older boys talk with you, the new student? I know that Brant, Ryan and Noah had older brothers in that group, but ... but how it is they all kinda knew you? I've been watching you ... and I've been trying to figure you out and also where you live. Is it such a big secret that you can't tell us?" straight out asked Bailey.

Matthew looked at his three new friends looking to see how she should answer the girl. The three boys all shrugged their shoulders as a way of telling they didn't know. Matthew knew that 'Dad Ken' told him to try not to tell everyone where he lived until he knew his classmates better. But, he told himself that he sort of liked Bailey from when she introduced herself to him back inside.

Matthew decides to take a chance. "Bailey ... the answer to your question ... as to where I live IS a top secret, well sort of. Brant, Ryan and Noah all know the secret and they've promised NOT to tell anyone. So ... if I tell you ... you have to promise me ... that you will not tell anyone. Please understand that for now where I live is very secret. Your brother knows and I bet he didn't tell you, did he?"

"No, he didn't but ... why is where you're living such a big secret? Eventually, everyone will know and then it won't be a secret anymore," replied Bailey.

"That is true, but for now my 'dad' ... he wants to keep it that way. So ... will you keep my secret? Keep it until the whole school finally knows?" straightforwardly asked the new Cover.

Bailey looked at Matthew and saw in his eye that he really did mean she had to keep his secret, even though her older brother already knew. Then it dawned on her. If her older brother knew, and he hangs with Charles over at Three Finger Cove, then Matthew must live there.

So, instead of saying she would keep Matthew's secret, she asked, "Is it because ... because you live at Three Finger Cove that you can't tell anyone?"

Matthew looked around to see who was nearby, and then said to her that was where he was living and that Mr. Ken wanted that information kept quiet for now. Then, he asked her if she was going to keep that information to herself.

Bailey now saw the fear in Matthew's eyes that he really was afraid that were he now lived would get out before he wanted it to. So, she decided if her older brother could keep a secret then she could, too.

"Matthew, yes ... I'll keep your secret!" declared Bailey Bracen.

Just then the after lunch bell rang and all five 5th graders headed to their homeroom.


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