Friday the Thirteenth arrived with a cold and windy rain. Of course, Collin tried to use that as an excuse to not go to school, but Mr. Ken knew it was just a typical teenager ploy and scooted him off to the bus stop at the top of the Cove entrance.
Later that morning, Mr. Ken got a few very exciting phone calls. The first one was his real estate broker, telling him all the paperwork for the purchase of the 'Four Corner' land was approved and they would go to settlement early next week, if he was ready. Hearing that news made Ken's day and he told him to make it as soon as possible.
The subsequent calls were residents calling and asking how they could get their names into the running for either the School or Hospital Boards. That made a total of ten people who were willing to run against the incumbents. Ken was ecstatic over the willingness of these people to begin taking on the 'establishment', and rest control away from the 'good old' boy' group who had done what they damn well wanted to.
Sure, the school board announced Open Meetings to be held throughout the district to begin the process of revamping the Student Handbook, but it all appeared to be superficial 'lip service' to any actual worthwhile changes in the standards of conduct regarding harassment and bullying within this entire school district. Parents and teachers enthusiastically gave their ideas. They outlined new reporting procedures, and methods to ensure fairness and disciplinary measures and to include grievance procedures but people came away from those meetings saying that no one in authority was there and that no one was actually taking notes. This did not appear to be anything but the 'status quo', and something had to change, and soon.
The good thing about the upcoming School Board Election was that three of the five seats were being contested. Ken hoped that he could get all three of his candidates elected and take control and make the much needed changes to the Student Handbook and reset the course the district schools were headed. And maybe take a good look at the High School Principal, Mark Stanley. He wasn't too enthusiastic with his testimony at the Special School Board Meeting, and then there was the way he acted with Ryan and then Collin.
The Hospital District also held some meetings but they were more about reviewing what happened at their meeting that got them into a bad light with the public. The Director's seemed to be trying to rewrite what the papers called them and were seen making pompous political statements in front of TV cameras, as they knew elections would be held during the first weeks of May.
Unfortunately for Mr. Ken, the Hospital District Board only had three of the seven seats up for election this term, not the four he originally thought were up for reelection. But with three new people, they could keep a good watch on the 'chicken coop' and make sure nothing underhanded happened. Then Mr. Ken would plan to offer four new candidates the following year with the hopes of having the majority there in order to remake that Board and bring some openness to that very serious Board.
Yes, Friday the 13th was turning out to be a very lucky day for Ken Thomas, indeed!
Over at the high school, Collin and his friends kept a close watch on the boys who had been suspended but were allowed to return to school. The kids were watching to see if those 'bad apples' were looking to start something else around the school, and if they did, they'd be gone forever.
Also, with the day being Friday the 13th, it gave some pranksters the chance to play practical jokes on some, and tease others. Lots and lots of fake blood left over from Halloween was put to use to scare even more of the unwitting teachers and staff. It was all in good fun, and most of it occurred during the lunch breaks when the kids would be all together. All in all, the fun was a nice break from the bad weather that came in for the day and by the end of the school day, the sun was trying to break out from behind the clouds.
At the sound of the last bell, the students all headed to their buses. Many of Collin's and Ryan's friends, who had gotten their learner's permits the previously weekend, said in passing, they would try to stop by the next day to try out the boys' 'driving courses'. With kids running to and fro and riding on many different buses, neither Collin nor Ryan could get a handle on how many might show up the following day. The two boys just hoped they would be able to handle all that showed up. Then they talked about meeting up with their girls over the weekend and that conversation took precedence over anything else.
It was at breakfast the next morning when it dawned on Collin he hadn't told his guardian about the other kids wanting to come over and try out the driving courses. Looking over his cereal and making throat clearing noises, Collin figured he better say something before it was too late.
"Ah, Bro … I ah … well I kinda forgot to tell you last night what ah … ah what might happen today," Collin stammered out.
"Okay, Collin, spit it out. What might happen today? Is it something I may not like by the way you are acting telling me this?" asked the man.
"Well, you see … after school yesterday as we were all getting on the buses … well, remember how many people stopped by the other night and tried out our driving courses? Well, ah … I think even more are planning on coming by, today. I'm sorry, Bro, for forgetting to mention it, but … well, they all told me at the same time and I … well I'm not sure who and how many may be here. We could be overrun with lots and lots of student drivers!" revealed the teen student driver himself.
"I don't think that will be a problem, Collin. The day is starting out a lot nicer as compared to yesterday, and if too many show up and they have to wait their turn, they may all decide it isn't worth the wait, and go on to other places to practice driving."
"Yeah, you're right. But when Daniel and Conner and especially Abbey got to school, the day after they were here, everyone wanted to hear about the courses and how they could get a chance to practice. It was as if we had created a monster. I don't know if I am ready to handle tons of kids today, after what I've been through the past two days. Also, with them all wanting to get a turn, that will mean I won't get a chance to practice my driving or at least not that much," Collin said sort of in an exasperated way.
"It sounds like you have made a lot of friends, Collin. Yes, I am sure some of those 'so-called friends' are just wanting to see and use your courses, but friends like Conner and Daniel and Abby and the rest of them I know, are your friends and I am sure you won't deny them the chance to sharpen their driving skills."
"Yeah, but I was also going to ask you if it was okay if I met Shelley at the Mall for a movie later, and you know, for a coke or an ice cream. I think Ryan wants to double-date like we usually do."
Ken laughed at the teen while he thought back to when he was that age and wanting to do something like that, too.
"Okay, Collin, I don't have a problem with that. Why don't you call Shelley and then Ryan and make plans for tonight. You Okay with that? Then let the kids who show up know that you are closing the course at a certain time, and that it will NOT be available tomorrow. You think you can handle all that?"
"Yeah, sure, but why will we close the course, tomorrow?" asked Collin.
"Well, I think you should get some time to practice driving as well, and you can't do that if you have to be here. And it isn't fair to you that they take your driving time away from you. So tell them, but in a nice, diplomatic way, that we, you and I, plan on doing our own driving lessons for tomorrow. How's that sound?" said Mr. Ken with a great big smile on his face.
Collin got up and went over to his protector and gave him a big hug while he thanked him for helping him plan the day and for his wanting to take the time tomorrow to help him with his driving.
Mary brought Ryan to the Cove around 10:30, and by 11:00 AM, the kids from school began to arrive with at least one parent. For the next six hours, both Collin and Ryan were busy arranging and changing the traffic cones and flags so their friends could try loads of different driving courses.
When five o'clock arrived, Collin and Ryan closed the course as they needed to get cleaned up and over to the Mall by 6:30 to meet their dates. It was a very nice treat when their friends helped put all the equipment away and gave them their Big Thanks with either hugs or handshakes or both. A s soon as the last of them drove out the Cove's main gate, the two teens hurried up to the shower to get cleaned up.
"I thought this day would never end," said Ryan, while the two of them were showering.
"Yeah, but at least some of them helped put the cones and flags away," responded Collin. "And I can't wait to meet up with the girls!"
"I agree with you there, Bro. I've been thinking about them all day long. I don't think I could have driven those courses today I was so preoccupied. What about you, Col?"
"Yeah, I have to agree with you there. I really like Shelley … a lot, and when I know we're going to get together, something inside of me just, you know, tingles," said Collin.
"I know exactly what you mean about that tingling sensation. Mine's been tingling ever since yesterday when I knew we were gonna meet them," offered Ryan, while he laughed at what he was thinking about 'tingling'.
It took the boys an hour to get cleaned up. The reason it took so long was that they helped each other wash a certain 'tingling' part of their anatomy and it had to be just so clean.
The lads convinced their Big Bro to drive them over to the Mall and they got there just as the girls were arriving. The four spent the evening together and did what most teenagers, who don't drive yet do, they talked and walked the Mall and talked some more and went to a movie. They were glad 'Mom ' or Bro didn't ask them what the name was or what it was about, since they didn't see much of it. The girls had them preoccupied for most of the movie and they were lucky no one reported what they were doing in that last row.
Since Collin was going out driving the next day with Mr. Ken, Ryan didn't spend the night. The teenagers did talk on their cell phones until after 1 o'clock in the morning, though, and they each gave one another a play-by-play analysis of their doings at the movies. Their mutual discussions had them so hot and hard they that they both shot their 'load' after they hung up. It didn't take long for either of them to fall asleep after that long day they put in and the 'hot phone sex' they shared.
"Morning, Lil Bro," offered Mr. Ken when the still sleepy teen came into the Kitchen Nook for breakfast. "I hope you had a good date with Shelley."
"Thanks, Bro," Collin began to say but a big yawn interrupted him. "Wow where’d that come from? I haven't yawned like that in weeks," finished the teen.
"Maybe you're a bit too tired to practice, today. You want to call if off and go back to sleep?"
"No way, Bro, I've been looking forward to this ever since Friday! I want to get out and do some driving that takes me out on the main roads. I'm not that tired that I want to go back to bed."
"Okay, but if I see that you are not concentrating on your driving, I'm going to take over and bring us home. Agreed?" asked Mr. Thomas.
"I don't think there will be a problem there, Bro. I am so psyched about driving that I won't get tired. When do you want to leave?"
"Well, it's almost eleven, and I see you haven't had your shower yet, so why don't we shoot for noon. That will give you time to finish eating and get cleaned up. That work for you, bud?"
"NO sweat, big guy. I'll meet you at the garage at 12, noon," answered Collin as he saw his mentor walking out towards his Study.
It was sometime around 1 o'clock that Collin saw a familiar car approaching and hoping it was his best friend Ryan, he rolled down his window and stuck out his hand. The two stopped their cars in the middle of the road and lucky for them no other cars were approaching.
"Hey, fancy meeting you out here on a beautiful day like this!" said Collin.
"Yep, I talked mom into letting me drive some today, seeing Sundays are not that busy out here," replied Ryan.
"Hey, Mary, you ready to exchange drivers?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. Boys, pull over so Mr. Ken and I can trade places."
With the exchange made, the boys drove off in different directions and everyone agreed they would join up again in about two hours for dinner.
"Bro, can we stop and get something to drink?" asked Ryan.
"Sure, a nice cold drink would feel real good about now. Find a drive-thru and we'll stop for a few minutes."
"Collin, you sure are doing a good job of driving, young man. You seem to feel real comfortable behind the wheel and you are not tense, especially when another car approaches. I'm sure you will be a fine driver when you finally get your Provisional License."
"Thanks, 'mom ', for saying that. And you know what? I am glad you and Bro decided to change places. I wanted another person to give me their ideas of driving and tell me what they do at times and why. I also wanted another person's opinion of how my driving was. Thanks for saying what you did,' said Collin while he kept his eyes on the road.
"Bro, why are we stopping while we drink?" asked Ryan.
"Ryan, I don't want you distracted while you are driving. You just started driving out here with other drivers and having to find your drink and then your mouth is an accident waiting to happen, in my book," chuckled his Big Bro.
"I bet mom lets Collin drive while having a drink with him," offered Ryan in some sort of defense.
"That may be, but you are with me right now and that is what I want. If Collin was with me it wouldn't be any different. My first goal is to make sure you are driving safely and observing all the rules of the road. Later, when you have many more hours of driving under your belt then I may relent, but for now when you finished your drink you can get rid of the cup and we can get started again."
"Dang, you're tough!" said Ryan, very sarcastically then he slightly hit Mr. Ken on the shoulder and laughed. When he finished his drink, he got out and put the empty cup and remaining ice into a trash receptacle and got the car back onto the road.
"Collin, would you like to stop and get a cold drink?" asked 'mom'.
"Yeah, that sounds good. You want to stop at any place in particular?"
"No, just find the first fast food place and let's go get us a drink," answered Mary.
Collin pulled into an empty spot after getting the two drinks and turned off the engine.
"You didn't have to do that, Collin. You are a safe driver."
"Well, you may think I am a safe driver, but I'm still a little scared out here, and having a drink and trying to take a sip will only add to that, so I'd rather sit and talk."
"Ok, that's good with me, too. Maybe I can find out some info about my 'second son' and how both of my son's dates went last night. What do you say about that?" chuckled Mary, as she watched Collin's face turn a slight shade of red.
Collin hesitated and then finally spoke up, "Ah … ah I guess. What do you ah … ah want to know?"
"Not too much, really, just, you know, what you guys and gals like to do while you are together. It has been so long since I was a teenager, I wonder if they still do the same stuff together," teased Mary, as she continued to watch Collin first blush and then begin to sweat.
"Ah, ah … well ah what did you do … ah you know when you were ah … our age and were out on a date?" Collin asked, as a way to stall answering her question.
"Oh, I don't really remember. That is why I was asking you, you know, to tell me what you and Ryan did so that I could get my brain back in sync with today's teenagers."
"Ah, okay, I guess you are asking me this because Ryan won't tell you and you thought you could get me to spill the beans. Am I right there, 'mom'?" Collin came back with his own question.
"Why Collin, whatever gave you that idea that my first son would refuse talking to his own mother about what he did on his dates?" openly teased Mary.
"Hmm, let me see. Maybe it's just like what I wouldn't answer my own 'first' Mom if she asked me those same questions. And my best guess is that nothing has changed since you were dating. We meet, we eat, we talk, we watch a movie and we talk some more and drink some soft drinks and before we know it the night's over and we all go home. Does that sound a lot like what you did? Or, did you do more than that and if you did will you please tell me, so I know what me and Shelley can do the next time we're together. I promise not to tell Ryan, my Best Friend by the way, what you told me. I'll keep it a secret," and when Collin had finished he had a great big smile on his face and he was no longer blushing or stuttering.
Mary Taylor began to blush herself as Collin was talking. She knew he knew what it was all about and he wasn't going to answer any more than her own child did the previous morning at breakfast.
"Okay, I give up! You two will never tell me what you do, will you?"
"Let me ask you this. Did you ever tell YOUR Mom WHAT you did when you went out on a date?"
"Well, no, why should I?" remarked Mary.
"I thought so!" retorted the smiling teen. And with that he got rid of his drink, started up the engine, backed out of his parking space, and drove out to return to his practice driving.
After a wonderful dinner together and discussion about the boys' driving habits the four headed to their respective homes. Ken watched as a very happy teenager drove them home that evening. The conversation at dinner centered on the two boys' driving abilities and Mary's high praise of Collin's know-how and confidence while he drove made the boys' day. Ken didn't think he could say anything else that could raise the teenager's self-esteem any higher than it already was. Knowing that he kept his thoughts inside but kept a watchful eye on the new driver as this was the first time the boy drove at night.
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