Sunday morning the residents of The Cove woke up to a howling storm outside. The rain was pelting the windows on all side of the house, as the wind was swirling and coming from all directions. Mr. Ken got soaked just going outside to the front of the walkway to retrieve his Sunday newspaper. Chief also got drenched as she went out to do her business.
Mr. Ken hated having to read a wet newspaper and he was happy his paperboy had double wrapped his paper from both ends to keep 99% of the rain out. The owner of The Cove went over to get his first cup of coffee and along the way, he pulled off both plastic sleeves and discarded them into the trash receptacle. After getting his cup filled, he went to his favorite seat at the table in the Kitchen Nook and began to read.
It was still early, but since all the lads went to bed right after 9 PM the night before, they'd all gotten enough sleep that their internal clocks woke them up. The twins waited until their bladders said they'd pee the bed if they didn't relieve them and soon. That made Kevin and Kyle get out of bed and head to the bathroom. Their flag poles were at full mast and they giggled to each other about them as they walked to the bathroom. They ran into their older 'brothers', also heading in that direction, with their own flag poles at full mast. All four Cover boys laughed at their predicament.
While the lads were relieving their extended bladders, Mr. Ken was reading through his morning newspaper. He was in the Local News Section when a small article down in the lower corner caught his attention.
Local Lad Finds $15k
Hidden in Own Home
A local teenager, searching through his home, before it was to go on the market, found a large amount of money hidden behind bedroom furniture. The $15k was a surprise find as the authorities had already searched the home.
The lad, who we can't identify due to his age and being in the foster care system, was at his home, with the court's blessing, to retrieve any mementos and anything he may want before the court sells the house. It is said the teen's parents are both in prison for a period of 5 to 25 years and the court was disposing of the estate in order to pay bills and start a college fund for the teen. The teen, along with his court-appointed guardian and his three other foster brothers were searching through the house when the large sum of money was found.
Sources say the teenager only found a few thousand dollars on the back of one dresser drawer but after he and a friend pulled out all the dresser drawers there was a total of ten thousand dollars. While the teen was counting the money his foster brothers checked the other drawers in the bedroom furniture and they found another five thousand dollars.
As the teenager, and his brothers searched the house, one foster brother found a locked fireproof box up in the attic. Not finding a key they reportedly took the box back to his foster father's house.
Sources in the District Attorney's office told this reporter that the money should have been confiscated except someone in that office had signed off as the house being released to the courts to dispose of. It is said the District Attorney tried to confiscate the money anyway, but the courts told him he was too late and to cease and desist.
This reporter also learned from a source in the DA's Office that it was able to confiscate the locked fireproof box. It is said there was a number of official government documents inside, as well as an unloaded Glock handgun and a loaded 10-round magazine. Sources say the gun was thought to have been used in a crime but testing showed it wasn't. Sources also said they are sending the gun to the FBI for further testing.
The teen has a good start on his college fund for sure.
Mr. Ken sat back in his kitchen chair and cursed to himself that that stupid court reporter must have sold them the story. He didn't know what he was going to do, but he knew he needed to call Bill later and then Stewart. The man got up and filled his empty coffee cup, and then sat back down and began to consider his options.
After a few moments, Mr. Ken got up and went to his Study. He closed the door upon entering because he didn't want the boys to know what he was doing. He picked up the phone and dialed.
"Stewart, have you read this Sunday's newspaper yet?" asked Mr. Ken, when Stewart Russell answered the phone.
"Turn to the Local News Section, page 3, bottom inner corner. I'll wait," replied Mr. Ken.
A few minutes later Stewart came back to the phone and told Mr. Ken he understood what the problem might be. The lawyer told the owner of The Cove he'd get on it first thing in the morning and he would call Bill himself to let him know what was happening. Mr. Ken thanked him for doing that and the two hung up.
When Mr. Ken walked out of his Study, he found the four boys were already in the Kitchen Nook eating 'nuked' breakfast tacos.
"Good Morning, boys," called out 'Dad' Ken, as he walked in the room.
"Morning 'dad'" called back Robert and Charles.
"Good Morning, 'Dad Ken'" said Kevin with his mouth full.
Kyle just smiled at 'Dad Ken', and waved as he had just taken a big bite of the breakfast taco. Mr. Ken waved back and went to fill his cup with coffee. He then went back to reading his Sunday newspaper.
As the boys finished eating, Kyle asked what they were going to do now that it was raining. Kevin said they could all play some of the games Robert brought back from his house. Robert innocently asked if his friends could come over to swim, but then realized what he'd said.
"I'm sorry guys, I meant, could all of our friends come over to swim," corrected Robert.
"Boys, you know what ... we haven't spent much time together as a 'family'. Sure we've gone to dinner, DQ and played golf and drove the karts, but we never did something like what Kevin suggested. What say we all think about that as we all get cleaned up and we'll meet back here in say thirty minutes?" suggested 'dad' Ken.
Everyone headed to their room first before heading to their bathroom to get cleaned up. The lads were all quiet as they washed. The twins could tell Robert was upset that Mr. Ken wanted them to do something together as a 'family' rather than have their friends over to swim. Charles just washed and watched the other three. He knew things were tense right then and there in the shower.
The lads were awfully quiet as they walked down the stairs. Mr. Ken heard their steps but he didn't hear any banter, just the quiet. He knew something was up, so he called the lads into his Study.
'Boys ... there seems to be some sort of disconnect between you four. Anyone care to let me in on what's happening?" voiced Mr. Ken.
The boys looked back and forth to one another, but three of the lads focused mainly on Robert. Mr. Ken figured since Robert wanted his friends over and not the others, that was the rub. 'Dad' Ken asked Charles, Kevin, and Kyle to exit the Study, and close the door on the way out. They did just that.
Mr. Ken got up from behind his desk and went and sat in the chair right next to Robert. "Robert," began Mr. Ken, "What's this all about?"
Robert just sat there.
Mr. Ken moved to the front of his chair and looked at Robert and asked, "'Son', what is this all about? You can talk to me, 'son'. What's going on inside of you?"
With the question, Robert began to leak tears. 'Dad' Ken pulled the teen into his lap and the boy immediately burst out crying. All Mr. Ken could do was to try to comfort the lad and wait until he was ready to talk to him.
The other three Cover lads decided to sit on the stairs and wait for their 'brother' to come out.
Robert cried for almost five minutes before he began to settle down. Mr. Ken just kept holding the lad allowing him time to compose himself. Robert then asked if he could go the bathroom, but he told his 'dad' he'd be right back.
Mr. Ken went out to see what his other three had gotten into while he waited on the oldest 'son'. He found them waiting on the stairs. "Boys, why are you waiting out here, on the stairs?"
"We're waiting for Robert, 'Dad'" said Kyle.
"Boys ... I think Robert and I will be talking for quite some time. You may want to get started on something until we finish," said 'Dad Ken'.
"But, I thought you were already done, 'Dad'?" spoke up Kyle.
"No, 'son', Robert and I have lots to talk about," replied 'dad' Ken. "It looks like the rain may have slowed, but the wind I bet is going to be cold. You all should get a warm jacket ready for the morning while you wait for your 'brother'."
The three lads all got up and walked away just as Robert came out of the half-bath there near the coat room used for large parties.
Robert and Mr. Ken went back into the Study to talk. Mr. Ken closed the door before they sat in a chair next to one another. Robert told his 'dad' that he was hiding from his past. While he was busy with his friends it kept him from remembering what happened and what his parents did to him.
Robert explained that last weekend, when he was walking through the house and choosing what to take, he came to realize that it was final. That he would never see his parents again in the way he knew them. That his life was over. Robert then cried all over again.
Mr. Ken held his second foster son and let him cry it out. While the lad cried he kept asking, "Why?" All 'dad' Ken could do was to try to get the lad to calm down in order to be able to talk to him.
"Robert ... you always knew this day would come. When your parents took their plea bargains, you knew, then, they would be out of your life for ... quite some time to come. I know it has to be hard on you, but I know in my heart ... you will be able to overcome this in due time. Robert ... maybe ... just maybe ... you need to talk to Doctor Doug again. I can call him tomorrow and make an appointment for you for hopefully this week. I think ... I think this is the best thing for you to do to try to get over this. And, I want you to go back to being the happy young teenager I've come to love," finished 'dad' Ken.
Robert just leaned into him hugged him. "Thank you 'dad'. Yes, I bet I better talk to Doctor Doug. I guess I've been avoiding talking to him about the inevitable that I will no longer be with my mom and dad. It hurts 'dad', to think about what they made me do, so they could have money.
"It hurts, 'dad', it hurts that they did it for them and didn't once think about me, and ... and what it did to me. They ... they never even thought to put any of that money away for me. Me 'dad', ME! They didn't care about ME! Sure, I found, we found that money ... but if I hadn't someone else would have gotten it and never said a word. I want to move on, 'dad', but I don't know how." Robert leaned back into his 'dad' and cried some more.
When Robert finally cried himself out, he hugged Mr. Ken and thanked him for being there for him and helping move on with his life. The teen told his 'dad' to make the appointment with Doctor Doug and that he'd try to be a bit more sociable with his 'brothers' and be part of their 'family'. Mr. Ken hugged the teen and they got up and walked out of the Study.
"It's about time you two came out," offered Charles. "We've been waiting here forever," now smiled the pre-teen.
It was Robert who said he was ready to play a game. Mr. Ken smiled and asked which game they wanted to play. With five of them, they wound up playing Monopoly.
They started after they ate lunch. The game went long, as that game usually does, even though they put the money in the middle for someone to take if they landed on Free Parking. Some of Robert's and Charles' friends called and asked about skating, since the rain had stopped, but the older brothers said they were playing a game as a 'family' and they weren't coming out.
When it was close to dinner time, Mr. Ken made a decision. He decided that the game had to end and when everyone went around the board two more times the winner would be the one with the most money. It took another twenty minutes for all five players to go around the board. In the end, it was Kyle who won, but only by one house and $135.00.
After they put the game away, they all got cleaned up and ate at the Four Corners Diner that evening. They talked about playing the game as a 'family' and they laughed at the funny moves they all made during the game.
They visited DQ on their way home and Mr. Ken bought Chief her own dish of vanilla ice cream to reward her for all she'd done for the residents of The Cove. Chief lapped it up fast and then jumped up on Mr. Ken and gave him some kisses.
The Covers went to bed early that Sunday night as the lads had school in the morning. The boys slept well that night after they got settled in their beds. Down in the Master En Suite, Mr. Ken second-guessed himself for not telling the teenager about the article in the newspaper. The man was concerned about Robert's future and what the article might mean if people, people who may want to do him harm knew where he lived. Mr. Ken had a fitful sleep as he worried about Robert.
Monday morning, the lads were still getting up ten minutes early so they could make sure Kyle was up, showered and dressed before they all got down to the Kitchen Nook for breakfast. Mr. Ken met the lads as they entered the Nook and they all said Good Morning to him before sitting down to eat.
"Boys ... I want you all to wear a heavier jacket today. That storm that came through cooled things down quite a bit. The weatherman says the weather will be cool like this for the next three or four days, but it should be nice over the Holiday Weekend. Now, I want you to wear those jackets and make sure you zip them up. I don't want any of you sick for this weekend or else you'll miss out on the SeaWorld trip.
The lads got off to school and as soon as they did, Mr. Ken went and got cleaned up for the day. He didn't know if he'd have to go meet Stewart and Bill or even if Detective Carrier would call and want to talk to the twins. He needed to be ready.
Mr. Chris arrived at 9 AM as he usually did. The two talked and Mr. Ken told Chris the final number for the SeaWorld trip, so he could make arrangements for them to pick the tickets up at the Will Call window on Saturday. Mr. Ken reminded Chris to add four more tickets for his family and they would catch up with him at around 12 noon, Saturday. Mr. Ken also told his Estate Manager to add a ticket for Wayne and for a friend Todd was bringing, but hadn't yet told him the name.
Soon after the two men talked, Mr. Ken's phone at his desk rang. When he answered he found Stewart on the other end. Stewart Russell told Mr. Ken that he was going to file a protest with the court over the article and the possibility of the court appointed recorder being the source. Stewart also said he was going to file a report on the court recorder and the things she tried to do to keep Robert from taking the things he wanted.
Mr. Ken asked him not to file that report until he called Jules Diamond and had him investigate the woman. The owner of The Cove suggested to Stewart that once he had definitive answers to what he felt the woman was doing, he could then file more serious charges on her late. Stewart Russell told the man he loved the way he thought. Stewart also told him Bill was also going to call Judge Adam and let him know about the article. He said Bill wanted to get the judges' take on what the reporter might be responsible for.
At school that morning, the talk around the campus was about the big sleepover at The Cove that weekend. The boys who were there couldn't say enough about the night's indoor swim up until midnight, and the midnight snack before bed and then Momma Maria's breakfast tacos.
The kids who weren't there asked them about where they slept and what they did when they weren't swimming. But, before too many of the eleven-year-olds who were there could tell them much more about the sleepover, the first bell rang.
Eric noticed a change in Robert that morning. He pulled him aside and asked him what was wrong. Robert didn't keep much from his Best Friend, so he told him. Eric wanted to hug his Best Friend to let him know he'd support him in anything he needed, but he knew that now was not the place nor the time. The two did talk about what Robert and Mr. Ken discussed yesterday until the first bell rang.
Mr. Ken called Judy Turner at work. He asked her if she saw the article about the lad who found $15k. When Ms. Judy said she hadn't, Mr. Ken told her about what it said and the possible ramifications that could come of it. Ms. Judy was appalled that someone would use their position and possibly expose a child to persons unknown. Judy told Ken she was going to call Judge Richards after they got off the phone and ask him to investigate the matter. Ken told her he was going to have Jules Diamond investigate the court recorder, but asked Judy not to tell Judge Adam. The Director of CPS laughed and agreed not to say anything to her friend.
A little after lunch, Bandera County Sheriff Detective Joel Carrier called The Cove. When Mr. Ken answered and learned who was on the other end he tried to relax. He knew why the man was calling, but he didn't want the man to know he wasn't happy about it.
The reason for Detective Carrier's call was to set up a date and time he could come up there and interview the twins. Mr. Ken asked him to try to make it in the late afternoons, so the lads wouldn't miss too much school. The owner of The Cove also asked if he could come on either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, as they had something scheduled for quite some time for Friday and Saturday.
Joel Carrier agreed to Mr. Ken's conditions and said he would try to stop by on Wednesday at about 3 PM. Mr. Ken said he would bring the twins back home early that day and they and their lawyer would be waiting for him.
Detective Carrier then changed the subject. The man mentioned that Mr. Ken's intuition was working overtime that day they first met, and he was glad now that Mr. Ken was observant enough to involve the Sheriff's Office. Joel thanked Ken for also doing the leg work by getting the lads to open up to him, and getting them to talk about their experiences with not only their dad, but with all those strange men and other lads.
Mr. Ken qualified Joel's understanding and corrected him in that only Kevin was involved with the other men and their supposed boys. Mr. Ken told him that Kyle was only involved in the shower with his dad, and nothing more. Joel thanked the owner of The Cove for the clarification. The detective told Mr. Ken he'd call him to let him know if something came up, so they could reschedule the interview. Ken Thomas agreed and the two hung up.
Mer. Ken then remembered he needed to call Doug Jennings to see if he had an opening that week for Robert. The only opening the doctor had was at 3 PM Wednesday. Mr. Ken took it and said he'd figured out later how to get all three boys to their appointments.
Mr. Ken sat back and pondered how things at The Cove had changed. When Collin was there things were hectic with all the things that happened to the lad. But now that there were four boys living at The Cove, Mr. Ken felt, at times, that things were four times more chaotic, frantic and frenzied. He thought about that for a few more moments and then said to himself, "I'd not have it any other way!" The man smiled inwardly, and made a few more phone calls.
The lads got home at their usual time and after hanging up their jackets, they headed to find Momma Maria for their afterschool snack. Momma had warm brownies for the boys today along with warm white or chocolate milk. She told them not to eat too many brownies as they didn't need all that sugar, but something warm on a cold day always tasted so much better. When the lads had finished their snack, they headed to the Study to say 'Hi' to 'Dad Ken.
"'Dad', we're home," called out Charles, as the four Cover lads walked into the Study.
"Yes, I heard the pounding of the hooves as the herd came to my lair," laughed Mr. Ken.
"'Daaad!" said Charles, who then laughed right along with 'dad' Ken.
"Boys, I am glad you all stopped by before going up to start your homework," started 'Dad Ken'. "I have some things I need to talk to you about. Kevin, Kyle, one of you will have your regular doctor appointment right before dinner tomorrow night and the other will have his meeting with Doctor Doug right after dinner. You also will have an appointment on Wednesday afternoon to meet with Detective Joel Carrier. I will have to come to school to pick you up so you can meet with the man. You may remember him from our first visit to your house.
"As for Robert, you too have an appointment on Wednesday. Doctor Doug had an opening at 3 PM and I will come to the school and pick you up when I collect the twins. Right now I don't know how I will make this all happen, but I hope to know by tomorrow. As for Charles, nothing new for you, 'son'," chuckled Mr. Ken.
"'Dad' why do we need to talk to this detective? I thought we already talked to them last week?" asked Kevin, who got a slight nudge from his twin for saying 'dad'.
"Kevin, Kyle ... Lieutenant Matthias has transferred your dad's investigation down to where you live, since the offenses happened down there. Detective Carrier wants to meet you formally and talk to you both. Kevin, he wants to get a better feel for what you have to say about your contact with these other men and their boys and, of course, your dad. Kyle, he wants to talk to you about your contact with your dad. He does have Lieutenant Matthias' notes, but he wants to make his own determination about the evidence," explained 'dad Ken'.
"So, what you're saying is ... is this detective ... he doesn't really believe what Kevin and Kyle have to say, does he?" spouted off Robert, with some venom in his voice.
"No, Robert that is NOT the case. I talked to Matthias about that, ... and he told me that any time a detective takes over a case, he'll want to get the lay of the land, so to speak, and then talk to all the witnesses. He wants to hear them tell their story, so he can form his own plan of action. Now, lads, we have to cooperate with the police and we have to give the man a chance to show his stuff," expressed Mr. Ken, of how he understood what Lieutenant Matthias told him.
"Now, lads, I think you all need to get up to your rooms and get started on your homework. Be down here for dinner at the usual time," announced 'dad' Ken.
Up in their shared bedroom, Kyle went over to his twin and said, "I heard you call 'Dad Ken' 'Dad' down there earlier, Kevin. That was why I nudged you. You kept harassing me about calling Mr. Ken 'dad' and now you've done it twice in the past two days. What do you have to say about that?" demanded Kyle.
"I ... I ...I don't have an excuse, Kyle. I was wrong when I got on you about calling Mr. Ken 'Dad'. I see now how easy it is to call him 'dad' as Robert and Charles do. It ... it just feels so ... so natural to say 'dad', than 'Dad Ken'. I've heard you call Mr. Ken, 'dad' too, lately, but I haven't said anything because ... because as I told you I don't want us to be at odds or even fight with one another. We are probably going to be here a long time with our real dad probably going to jail, and we don't even know about mom and how she will be treated.
"Kyle ... we are not only brothers; we are twins. Kyle, Mr. Ken talked to me ... when I was, you know, down on you. He told me something important. He told me that we will ALWAYS be brothers and that NO ONE can ever change that. He told me we need to be friends now and work out our differences so when we are older we have someone to go to and maybe lean on and ask them for help.
"Kyle ... I love you ... and I don't ever want to lose you. I missed you so much that night you were in the hospital. That's what really opened my eyes as to the way I was treating you and I realized it wasn't right. I hope you will forgive me for the way I was acting towards you. I thought ... well, I thought ... I thought I was honoring our dad until ... until I realized that what he did to us, and mostly me, was that we need to stick together. Can you forgive me, Kyle?" finished Kevin, as tears ran down his face.
Kyle pulled his twin out of his chair and hugged him. "Kev ... I love you, too! Let's not fight anymore. Let's be a part of THIS 'family' until we go back to living with mom. Even if we call Mr. Ken 'dad' it shouldn't matter as, just like Robert, we might not have a real dad anymore, if they arrest him for what he did to us. OK?"
The twins hugged but what they didn't know was Charles was outside listening the entire time. He hadn't planned to eavesdrop, but when he went to them to ask them a question about their real dad, it was then he heard them talking about being not only brothers and twins but best friends, too. The pre-teen backed away from the doorway and headed to Robert's room to tell him what he heard. Robert told him to get back to finishing his homework and they can talk to 'dad' later.
The twins got off track from doing their homework due to their talk. They worked hard to quickly get caught up and before long, both boys were finished and it was time to get washed up and down for dinner. The twins joined their older 'brothers' as they headed down the stairs. The four Cove boys met their 'dad' in the Kitchen Nook where Momma Maria had their dinner ready.
Dinner that night started with a warming minestrone soup and crackers. The main dish was Salisbury steak with a thick mushroom gravy served with buttered egg noodles and carrots. Momma Maria also had dinner rolls and soft butter for them to sop up the mushroom gravy. Then for dessert she served them warm apple pie with a slice of cheese on the side.
When the Covers left the dinner table that evening they were all very full. Mr. Ken went to Momma and thanked her for the wonderful meal she had just prepared for his 'family'. The boys all caught the term 'family' Mr. Ken used and they all smiled. After Mr. Ken had thanked Momma Maria for making that fantastic meal, the lads all went over to her and thanked her as well as hugging her before walking out of the Nook. Momma Maria beamed and smiled after getting those accolades and hugs.
The five Covers sat in the Study and they talked about the upcoming SeaWorld trip. 'Dad' Ken reminded the boys to tell their friends they needed to bring a light jacket Saturday morning and to be there about 9:45, so they can get a good count of travelers. As they talked, the phone rang.
"Hello, Three Finger Cove," said Mr. Ken.
"Oh, hello Todd, you have a name for me for the trip on Saturday, do you," is what the lads heard their 'dad' say.
"Oh, ok, tell Conner that he should be here at 9:45 on Saturday. Also, tell him to bring a light jacket as it will probably get cooler in the evening there with all that water around SeaWorld," added Mr. Ken.
"Yes, your mom can park the car on the grounds, just like we do for the picnics and parties, Todd," replied Mr. Ken.
The owner of The Cove and his Beach Master talked for a few more minutes before Mr. Ken hung up. The Cover boys asked their 'dad' some questions about the call, but it was Robert who told his younger 'brothers' that it sounded like Todd was bringing Cooper's older brother Conner. The twins didn't remember who Conner was, but that was because the older teen was only there that one day during the Labor Day Picnic.
The twins said they were going to get out a game and see if they could figure it out so when it came time to play a 'family' game they can teach everyone else. Robert and Charles said they wanted to talk to 'dad' for a few minutes before they caught up with the twins.
After the twins left, Charles spoke up and said, "'Dad', I overheard the twins talking earlier this evening, when we went up to do our homework. It sounded like they were burying the hatchet between them. I heard Kevin tell Kyle he loved him and he had missed him so much when Kyle was in the hospital. Anyway. Kevin apologized to his twin and asked him to forgive him. They hugged and they both had tears. Do you know what that was all about, 'dad'?" finished Charles.
"Yes, Charles, I think I do. They've never been away from home before and this separation has ... has Kevin thinking he needed to keep him and his brother faithful to his parents. You may have seen Kevin looking strangely at his twin when Kyle called me 'dad'. Like you two do. But, when Kyle broke his arm and had to be away from Kevin for a night, Kevin realized how badly he missed his brother and that he not only loved his twin, but knew he needed to stop being such a jerk to him. Anyway, that's what I got out of my talk with Kevin," explained 'dad' Ken.
"I suspect the two of them made up formally," smiled 'dad' Ken.
'Dad' Ken sent his boys up to bed at 9 PM. After the lads went to bed, Mr. Ken straightened out his desk and then headed to bed himself. He knew 6 AM came awfully early and he needed his rest just as the lads did. As the man walked back to his en-suite, he saw the resident dog, Chief, walking up the stairs. He stopped and scratched behind her ears and told her to sleep well, but to also keep an eye on the twins. Chief licked her first master's face, a time or two, and then continued her stride up the stairs.
All was quiet in The Cove that night.
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