Breakfast was the typical Cover breakfast. Momma Maria usually made something that they all would enjoy and the Covers would have a light conversation about what they would do today. The conversation centered on who everyone would invite to spend the night on Friday and then Saturday night. It was then Mr. Ken announced that he would be leaving Friday after they left for school.
"What, you're leaving us? Who's going to watch us?" asked Charles.
'Dad' Ken laughed and told the lads he called Mr. Wayne while they were doing their homework and he had agreed to come over Thursday night and stay through Tuesday morning. Mr. Ken told the boys that his amusement parks have been after him to come visit during their Spook-Tac-U-Lair's and he just had to go. The owner of The Cove explained that Mr. Wayne was seriously considering accepting the position of his 'stand-in' and this weekend would give the man one more opportunity to see and get a feel for the job. Mr. Ken told the boys not to tell their friends just yet. The boys said they wouldn't and noticing the time the four lads hurried to catch the school bus.
As soon as the boys had gone off to school, Mr. Ken started making phone calls. The first one was to his travel associates. He needed to coordinate the plane to leave Friday by noon and have them take him to each of his three parks over the weekend, beginning Friday night, with him returning Monday afternoon. Mr. Ken also called his LLC, the Limited Liability Company, which had the majority of his holdings in. He wanted them to rush an American Express Black Card to him with Wayne Mitchell's name on it.
After those first two calls were made, he called Mr. Chris to come to his Study. There he told Chris what he was doing and asked him to rent that same 12 passenger vehicle for the weekend for Wayne to use with the kids in case he decided to take them out to dinner or to play Miniature Golf or go to the Go-Kart Track, even. Mr. Ken also told Chris to start looking to buy that same vehicle for The Cove. Chris asked him which car he wanted to trade in on it and Mr. Ken told him to trade the Lincoln Navigator in since he rarely, if ever, used it now that the boys were living there.
After Chris left the Study, Mr. Ken called Ms. Judy. When the Director of Children's Protective Services got on the phone, Mr. Ken told her what he was doing that weekend and asked her if she could have some temporary guardianship papers made out for Wayne to use in case someone gets hurt or a question comes up about his authority. Judy Turner told her friend, Ken, that she would do that for him, but that she wanted Wayne to formally apply to be a Foster Parent with his own credentials.
Ms. Judy said she'd bring the temporary papers along with the formal application forms over on Thursday night. Ken thanked her for doing that for him and the boys, and then invited her and Eric to have dinner at The Cove that night. He explained that Wayne could then ask her any questions he may have on his responsibilities and the application forms. Ms. Judy accepted the invitation.
Mr. Ken then made a few more phone calls. These were to his amusement parks' managers to tell them which night he'd be there to observe their Spook-Tac-U-Lairs and also talk to them about their Holiday preparations. Hearing they would also have the opportunity to finally hold a Christmas Jubilee the park managers were ecstatic and began telling Mr. Ken what they would like to do. Mr. Ken told them to have it all worked up for him to review and then while he was there they could fine-tune the Christmas Jubilee preparations.
Over at the school that morning, the twins searched out the friends they wanted to invite to spend either Friday or Saturday night at The Cove. Kevin approached Landon and Isaac to invite them to spend Friday night at The Cove, while his twin searched out the other two friends. Kyle approached Blake and Grant and asked them to spend Saturday night at The Cove. Each twin told the boys they needed to let them know tomorrow at school or they could maybe have their parents call Mr. Ken to confirm the invitation.
The invited lads asked who all would be there and Kevin told them Robert was inviting Eric over on Friday and Charles was inviting Richard. Then on Saturday, Robert was inviting Logan while Charles was inviting Cooper. That satisfied the four eleven-year-olds and they told the twins they'd ask their parents tonight.
Robert and Charles had the same sort of conversation with their friends and told them essentially the same things the twins told their invited friends. The sleep-over was set for the coming weekend. All the Cover lads needed was confirmation from their friends they could spend the night.
Mr. Ken made one more phone call. This time he called Dan Fischer. He wanted the Sheriff's Lieutenant to know he was going out of town that coming weekend and was leaving Wayne in charge. Ken asked Dan to stop by, if he could, even if he was on patrol to see if everything was alright. He told Dan he could say he was checking up on Kyle. The two men had a good laugh over that.
Ken also told Dan that the lads were each having a friend staying over Friday and Saturday night and this would be a good test for Wayne. Dan agreed that Wayne was the Best choice to be the 'alternate' parent and this baptism under fire was the best trial-run for him and when he succeeds, he'll be online for good. Mr. Ken thanked Dan for his enthusiasm and he just hoped that it would happen that way.
Back at school, the interest hadn't waned over the large group's trip to SeaWorld. The classmates of all the boys wanted to hear more about their trip and what they'd done. The travelers didn't disappoint as they told them of all the haunted areas and how they all got scared at one time or another.
The youngest boys, Ryan and Brant, told their friends how the older lads kept them close, but they still got scared by a moving ghost, a hanging human body dripping with blood, or the moving heads in the sleeping bags, and more.
Some of Ryan's and Brant's friends were jealous those two got to go with Mr. Ken and all the older boys. For that, all Ryan could say was that Charles asked his older brother to go along and he also wanted me to go along because of some things he learned about him. Brant told his classmates that he got to go along because Mr. Ken wanted a friend for Ryan and since his older brother was going and their parents were chaperones he got to go, too.
Most of their classmates were satisfied with the explanations. A few of the younger lads' classmates were still miffed they weren't even invited over to The Cove, yet, and spoke out about their not being invited over there. All Ryan and Brant could tell them was that they didn't live there and it wasn't up to them who got invited. Brant then added that if he did live there and they acted that way he'd never invite them over. Then he and Ryan walked away as the complainers watched and the ones who were okay with what they were told turned their backs on the whiners.
After they returned from school, the Cover lads went directly to Momma Maria for their after-school snack. After enjoying that, they all headed to the Study to talk with their 'dad'. Mr. Ken explained what arrangements he'd made for the weekend and that besides Mr. Wayne joining them for dinner Thursday night, Ms. Judy and Eric would also be there. Hearing that put a big smile on Robert's face. Mr. Ken then got his lads up to their rooms to get their homework done.
Dinner was fun for Robert as he and his 'dad' talked about the amusement parks that Mr. Ken was going back to visit. Charles said he wished he could go along this time, but 'dad' nixed that idea telling the pre-teen that his schooling was far more important. Mr. Ken did tell Charles that he'd get to go later next year. That put a smile on his face.
The twins wondered what that was all about and they began talking to one another. Mr. Ken saw the twins doing their 'twin thing' so he asked them what they were talking about.
"'Dad Ken' ... will we, you know, will we ever get to visit your amusement parks with you and our 'brothers'?" asked Kevin.
"Well, Kevin ... if your parents get well as fast as they are telling me they are then ... well, you'll be back with them come late March or early April," began 'Dad Ken'. "If that happens, well, it will be too early for the amusement parks to be open for the year. But, I will promise you this. If you two are still with me, at the end of school, then I'll make every effort to take you to visit the parks with me and your 'brothers'."
Hearing that they might get to go visit the man's amusement parks put a big smile on the twins' faces. That brought about more conversation about amusement parks and what the twins might get to see. Robert filled in his 'brothers' about the three parks their 'dad' owns and told them what he liked about them.
After dinner, the Covers retired to the Study. Mr. Ken began asking the boys what their friends said about their invite for either Friday or Saturday night when the phone rang.
"Three Finger Cove," was how Mr. Ken answered the phone.
"Yes, Ms. Lowery, Grant was invited to spend the night Saturday night," was what the lads heard their 'dad' say.
"Yes, he can come over early in the day, like he normally would. Have him bring a sleeping bag, if he has one, a change of clothes, his skateboard, his swimsuit, of course, and what he wears to sleep in. He'll be sleeping in the twins' bedroom," Mr. Ken relayed to Denise Lowery.
"Yes, thank you for calling to confirm the invite and coordinating what Grant needs to do. The older boys will also be inviting a friend, so there will only be eight lads here that night," said Mr. Ken.
"Yes. OK. Bye," finished Mr. Ken.
The owner of The Cove no sooner hung up than the phone rang again. Mr. Ken had virtually the same conversation with Laura Jennison. And, while the two were talking the other phone line rang. Since Mr. Ken was busy, Robert answered it.
"Hello, Three Finger Cove, Robert speaking," was how Robert answered the phone.
"Yes, Mr. Ken is talking to Ms. Jennison on the other line, Ms. Kerns. Ms. Lowery has already called to ask the same questions," replied Robert.
"Yes, ma'am, Isaac only needs to bring his skateboard, swimsuit, a change of clothes, a sleeping bag, if he has one, and whatever he sleeps in," conveyed Robert to Amanda Kerns.
"Yes, Ms. Kerns, I'll tell them and Mr. Ken. Thank you for calling," finished Robert.
By then 'dad' Ken was off the other line and he asked Robert who that was. After getting the particulars he added the name to the list of callers to confirm the invitation. The only one who they hadn't heard from was the Shepherds. A few minutes later the phone did ring.
"Hello, Three Finger Cove," answered Mr. Ken.
"Oh, hello, Frank," said Mr. Ken
"OK, so Richard can spend the night Friday night. Yes, Charles will be pleased to hear that. Oh, and there will only be eight lads here that night. Each boy has invited one friend to spend either Friday or Saturday night," replied Mr. Ken.
"Yes, have Richard bring his skateboard, swimsuit, a change of clothes, and whatever he sleeps in," replied Mr. Ken. Then the lads heard the man say, "Goodbye."
"Well, that wasn't expected. I thought Mr. or Mrs. Shepherd would have called but Blake could tell you tomorrow at school if he can spend the night or not. Since this is Richard's first time to sleep over, Frank wanted to know what was needed and what Richard could expect. It's getting late so I don't expect any other calls.
"Boys ... tomorrow night Mr. Wayne, Ms. Judy, and Eric will be here for dinner, so please make sure you get all your homework done before they get here. That way you won't miss anything," suggested Mr. Ken.
"What could we miss?" asked Kyle.
"That's the thing. If you have to finish your homework you will miss whatever IT is," laughed 'Dad Ken'.
That brought a round of laughter from all the lads. But before long the lads were beginning to wind down, so they started to head up to their rooms to settle down before going to bed.
Mr. Ken waited until 9 PM before going upstairs to check on the lads. He found Robert reading a book. The twins were playing one of the games Robert let them bring from his home when they all visited here. As for Charles, he was on the phone with Richard. Mr. Ken wished them all a good night's sleep and then hugged each and every one of them before heading down to his Study. After their 'dad' left them, the lads got ready for bed and they were all in their own beds by 9:30.
At breakfast, the Covers all talked about the weekend sleep-over. Kyle was concerned that Blake might not be allowed to spend the night and he wanted to know if they could invite someone else if their friend can't spend Saturday night. All Mr. Ken could tell him was that he and his brother needed to decide which other friends they'd want to invite if they get a 'no' from Blake. The twins said they'd talk about it on the bus.
Robert jumped into the conversation and told the twins that if they had to ask someone else they could have that person's parents call later tonight or Friday since they weren't spending the night until Saturday. Mr. Ken told the teen that was fast thinking. The twins smiled at learning they could still invite someone if Blake can't spend the night.
At school the twins learned that Blake could indeed spend the night and that his parents only told him that morning at breakfast. Blake said he was sorry he hadn't called last night, but told the twins he just didn't know. Kyle told his friend it was okay and that he could have called Friday night, too, but this way they now could make better plans.
Some of the Cover lads' friends, hearing that a few of their other friends were getting to spend the night over the weekend were disappointed they couldn't as well, but said they would hopefully get the chance too, one day, soon.
At school, before the first bell, David sought out Charles. He wanted to tell his friends that his parents were going to allow him to spend next Saturday night with him and go out 'begging' for candy. Charles was happy his friend would get to stay over and go out Trick-Or-Treating with him and his 'brothers'.
Hearing that now David was going Trick-Or-Treating caused some of the other twelve-year-olds to second think going out as well. Some of them lived in the community adjoining The Cove so they knew they could eventually catch up with Charles and his 'brothers'. They asked Charles what he was wearing, but the first bell rang and they all had to get into their classrooms.
Mr. Ken and Mr. Chris talked about buying the Mercedes Sprinter 12 Passenger Van for The Cove as a permanent vehicle. Mr. Ken told his employee that with all the lads there now, he wanted something they all could ride in and not have to split up like he and Wayne did the previous weekend. Mr. Chris said he'd go out and get some brochures and estimates of what was on the car lots and also piece together a well-rounded vehicle that had most of the whistles and bells they could also order. Mr. Ken said that sounded right to him and told Chris he had until next Tuesday as he wouldn't be back until Monday night.
Judy Turner called Ken that morning to ask him if she should start the background investigation on Wayne. Ken told her that would be better to know up front if there was going to be a problem than to get Wayne into the position and he not qualify. Judy told Ken she'd bring that form along with her that evening so they could all sit down and talk about it after dinner. Ken agreed with doing that.
Mr. Ken also called his architect group and construction foremen and told them he'd be gone through Monday and would not be available to talk with them. He told them he was going out of town and they should only call his cell phone if it were a bona fide emergency. They agreed to his wishes. Mr. Ken then went to his en-suite and began setting aside the clothes he would take with him when he departed tomorrow morning after the boys left for school.
Down in San Antonio, in the Burn Unit at BAMC, Parker Parchsons and Julian Hankers met to talk about their plan to kidnap the three boys, Kevin, Kyle and Robert, the following weekend. They also talked about Vivian and her threat to expose her husband and what he was doing with Kevin. Since Parker was still laid up with his fractures and healing skin grafts from his burns, he couldn't very well do it himself so he induced Julian to do it telling the man he'd get Kyle as his payment. Julian couldn't be happier at that prospect.
Since Julian was going to be one of the three men taking care of snatching the three lads, he was going to be Parker's eyes and ears for the project. The two men planned the entire grabbing of the three lads and they were there fine-tuning their strategy. Julian had already purloined a white panel van, with no side windows, and hidden it at a house unbeknownst to their real estate friend who was allowing them to use. He also had stolen license plates and put them on the van, so in case they were seen the authorities would be thrown off their trail.
Julian told Parker the only flaw he saw in their plan was that they didn't know which costumes the lads would be wearing and they would have to observe for a while in order to identify the right kids. Julian said there would probably be loads of kids out that night and that will make identifying the lads harder.
Julian said they'd watch the estate to see who comes out and follow along until they found a good spot to drive the van up to them and pull them into the van and drive off. Parker said he thought that would be the only way, but they should continue to think about other ways just in case things go south.
They also talked about how they could keep Vivian quiet. All Julian could think of to make her sick was after one of their skin grafts they could make it look like she succumbed to an infection. Parker didn't like the idea of the killing of anyone and in particular his boys and his wife, but he knew that if everything he was doing was ever made public he and a large number of men will wind up in prison. He knew what happened to Frank and Angela Harrison, and he didn't want to have the same fate.
The lads came in from school with big smiles on their faces as their weekend's sleepovers were on track and everyone was able to spend their appointed night. Charles, well, he was especially happy as David was going to be able to spend the night they go out 'begging' for candy.
As the four Cover lads entered the Kitchen Nook, Momma Maria was ready and waiting for them. Today she had made what she called Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars. Sopapilla usually consists of fried pillows of dough, but today she used crescent rolls as her dough, then made a creamy cheesecake filling, and topped everything off with a generous dusting of cinnamon sugar. She also served very cold vanilla milk since the boys enjoyed the different taste.
After finished their snack, the boys all thanked Momma Maria with a hug and then headed to the Study to talk to 'dad' Ken. He wasn't there when they arrived so Robert went back to the man's bedroom to see if he was there. The three other lads soon followed right behind him.
"'Dad', what are you doing?" asked Robert, seeing his 'dad was setting aside hanging clothes next to his suitcases as his three 'brothers' came into the room right behind him.
"I'm getting my clothes ready to pack in the morning after you four head off to catch the school bus," replied 'dad' Ken.
"Oh. Do you really have to go, 'dad'?" asked Charles.
"Yes, boys I have to go. I own these three amusement parks and I have been remiss in not visiting them enough. They have been after me to come and visit during their Spook-Tac-U-Lairs and I told them that I would be out there this weekend. Mr. Wayne will be here with you all, so there shouldn't be any problems," answered mgr. Ken.
"I wish we all could go with you," softly spoke Charles.
"Yes, Charles, I wish I could take all of you, but we all know you have to be in school and the twins have just been with me only a month now, so you know they can't go out of state yet," Mr. Ken tried to reason with the lads.
"You can't blame a kid for trying," said Charles.
'Dad' Ken could tell Charles was not a happy camper, so he went over to the lad and hugged him. While they hugged, Mr. Ken told Charles that he understood his need to go visit the amusement parks, since he didn't get to go back before school. 'Dad Ken' additionally told the pre-teen there was no way he could take him out of school for two whole school days and not get into trouble with CPS or the school district. Charles said he understood but he didn't have to be happy about it. Then Mr. Ken saw the slight smile in the lad's face and hugged him some more and said he'd try to remember to bring him something back from the parks.
After that, the boys all headed up to their rooms so they could get all their homework done before their guests arrived for dinner. They didn't want to miss anything after dinner.
The Cove's guests all arrived by 5:30 that evening. Ms. Judy was happy that Wayne was early so she took him aside and told him what he needed to do to officially be Mr. Ken's 'stand-in' or whatever name they came up with. Wayne was reluctant at first, but after Judy explained that every person who was going to be responsible for CPS kids needed to fill out the papers and get a background check. Wayne figured if he couldn't get through the background check he'd at least know how bad his life was going to be after that. The young college graduate sat down and began filling out the papers Ms. Judy gave him.
Eric went directly up to Robert's room when he and his mom arrived. Mr. Ken smiled at the quickness of the lad as he watched the teen go up to be with his Best Friend. Eric's arrival told the four Cover lads that dinner would soon be ready and they needed to hurry up and finish their homework.
While Ms. Judy and Wayne worked on the paperwork, the lads began to come down for dinner. They all stopped in the Study looking for Mr. Ken, but there they found Ms. Judy and Mr. Wayne working on something using Mr. Ken's desk. The lads said Hi and then went looking for their 'dad'. They found him in his bedroom checking his clothes and toiletries for tomorrow.
Momma Maria had a wonderful Mexican dinner for the Covers and their guests that night. She made both Chicken and Beef Enchiladas, refried beans and rice and she also made her own guacamole and salsa for them to use. The Cove's cook also had shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheeses for them to sprinkle on their beans and rice or whatever else they wanted to use them on. No one went away from the dinner table hungry that evening.
After they had all eaten, and Momma Maria had cleaned off the table, the woman brought out tonight's dessert – Caramel Cinnamon Apple Enchiladas. Momma had baked the apple slices nestled in a baked flour tortilla coated that was rolled on a cinnamon and sugar combination so the mixture was on the outside.
All night long the diners could smell another wonderful something cooking but they just couldn't put their fingers on what it was. Now, as The Cove's cook brought out her special concoction, they all knew Momma Maria had made something very special for them for dessert that night.
After dinner, everyone went over to Momma Maria and thanked her wholeheartedly for making such a wonderful meal for them. The boys all waited until the adults were finished thanking Momma before they hugged her and thanked her for being such a great chef. Momma Maria blushed at them calling her a 'chef'.
With dinner and dessert over and all of them thanking Momma for such a great meal, they all went to the Study to talk. Mr. Ken went behind his big desk and sat in his very comfortable chair while Judy and Wayne each took one of the four leather chairs. Robert and Eric shared one chair, but as they had been growing they didn't fit in it as they once did. The twins took the other leather chair but the both of them still fit in it quite well. As for Charles, he was left out, again, but he went out to the MRS Room and pulled in a chair from there.
"You're probably wondering why I've called you here," laughed Mr. Ken. The others laughed right along.
"Wayne, I have something for you," said Mr. Ken. He then pulled open one of his desk drawers and pulled something out. He got up and took it over to Wayne and asked him to open it.
Wayne opened the small package and when it was fully opened Wayne was surprised at what he found.
"It's ... it's a credit card," said Wayne Mitchell.
"It's not just ANY credit card, Wayne ... it is a Black American Express Credit Card. It is for you to use when you are fulfilling your duties as my proxy," explained Mr. Ken. "You will use it to buy whatever is needed. Dinners, gas, admissions, hot dogs, pay to ride the go-karts or even play miniature golf," smiled Mr. Ken.
"Wayne, if you're going to work for me you will need to have an expense account and this card is just that. If you have the boys with you and you need to purchase something, anything, then you'll use the card. You shouldn't have to buy anything with your own money for my boys and or their friends, if they are along. I think you understand," again smiled Mr. Ken.
"Also, Wayne, I have rented a 12 passenger for you to use this weekend. The boys all have a friend spending the night on Friday and Saturday so you'll have eight lads and if you decide to go out for ice cream or go over to Four Corners you'll need a vehicle that is big enough.
"Oh, by the way, I have Chris checking out to buy one of those vans for The Cove. I rented this size van a few weeks ago when the boys and I went over to Robert's house in order for him to pick out the things he wanted to save before they do an Estate Sale and then sell the home. I think you'll enjoy this Mercedes Sprinter Passenger Van. I know I sure did," laughed Mr. Ken.
"So ... I get to use this ... this Black credit card to buy whatever it is for the lads and I get to drive this very expensive Mercedes van," Wayne wanted to know. All Mr. Ken did was nod his head.
The lads heard all that and were amazed that Mr. Wayne was slowly becoming the 'boy manager' the older boys wanted. They all had big smiles on their faces.
The adults talked some more about the papers that Wayne still needed to finish and before they all knew it, it was time for Ms. Judy and Eric to go home. The Covers and Wayne walked their guests out to their vehicle and Robert told Eric he'd see him at school the next day.
Mr. Ken and Mr. Wayne went back to the Study while the lads went upstairs to their rooms to get ready for bed. It was about 9 PM when 'dad' Ken and Mr. Wayne went up to check on the lads and say their good nights to them. The boys hugged both men and afterward, Wayne felt like he was making the right decision to work for Mr. Ken and help him with the boys.
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