Castle Roland

Chapter 123

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Ken and Collin arrived back at the Cove around 10:30. Chief was there to great them and Collin had some steak bones for her to feast on, so he took her to her normal eating spot. There he set out one 'doggie bag' steak bone with some meat on it for her to enjoy.

"I know you'll enjoy that, Chief," laughed Collin. "Eric didn't know how to cut his steak to get the best part, soooo you get to enjoy what he couldn't get to. When you're finished, you can find Bro and me in the Study. Enjoy!"

"Did Chief dig right into Eric's steak, like you thought she would?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Yeah, she smelled it and then began to attack it. She was on top of it, gnawing at it, trying to get every piece of meat there was. It was kinda funny watching her. … So, Bro … what it is that … you know … wanted to talk to me about that you couldn't tell my 'brothers'?" teased Collin.

Ken still didn't know how he was going to broach the subject about his grandmother, so he began to stall. He wasn't sure if they should talk in the Study or go down to the Great Room and use the comfortable sofas so they could sit together, if need be. He decided to ask what Collin wanted to do.

"What say we go down to the Great Room, and use that for a change? We always use this for some reason," explained the lad's guardian.

Collin thought for a moment then agreed by saying, "Yeah, those sofas are comfortable and I am a bit tired and I can lie down if what you're going to tell me is a no brainer," laughed the teen. "Oh, I told Chief we'd be in here so … no, wait … she'll hear us down there when she comes across the Foyer. Let's boogie!"

Collin headed out first and turned in the direction of the Foyer and the stairs leading down to the Great room. He took the stairs two at a time and selected what he thought was the best sofa and got comfortable.

"What took you so long?" teasingly asked the teen as his 'Bro' sat in the other sofa..

Ken smiled at the teen's young enthusiasm and replied by saying, "I'm not as young as you are, my boy!"

Collin just laughed as Ken took a seat on the smaller sofa.

"So, Bro … tell me about these person or persons who were watching us, and the Cove," stated Collin with a smile.

Ken began at the beginning, still stalling for time. He went through the entire relevant information, but he could see that Collin was becoming antsy and wanted him to get to the 'good stuff'.

"Well, Collin, first … I need to apologize to you," began Collin's Big Bro. "Collin … I lied to you!"

"You lied? … How? Why?" quickly asked Collin.

"The other day … while you were at school, Jules Diamond called with … with the name of the person who had us watched, and where they dined. He wanted me to … to go out there and … and confront them. I lied … I lied to you by allowing you to believe that … that I was going to meet up with some business men about amusement parks. … I'm sorry! … I know I shouldn't have, but… but, I didn't want you to worry about me knowing I was out there finding out why he, or she, was watching me," finished Ken.

"Us! … You mean US, don't you? They were watching US, weren't they?" demanded Collin.

"Yes, in a sense, they were watching us, but … well; actually they were mostly watching … ME. Yes, they watched what you did, too … along with whomever was here at the Cove and all, but … but, what I found out from them was that they were mostly interested in me, Collin," meekly said Ken with his head turned down.

"Bro … what is it? Why are you acting like this," a now concerned Collin asked, as he moved as if he was going to go over to Mr. Ken's sofa. "What happened out there that has you like this? You have me scared, Bro!"

"Collin, nothing actually happened out there. Nothing that is … that physically happened. … Maybe it would be better if I just told you what went down. Okay?" asked Ken.

"Yeah … maybe that would give me a better understanding of what happened. And don't forget to tell me how I was involved with this. I don't need any more shit to happen in my life!" commanded the teen.

Hearing Collin mention what he did about having any more 'shit' happen in his life scared Ken, too. He wasn't too sure now if he should tell the teenager tonight everything he had planned to tell him. Ken just sat there looking at Collin and didn't say a thing.

A few moments later, Collin broke Ken's distress and asked, "Mr. Ken … are … are you OKAY?"

Ken slowly looked up and replied, "Yes, Collin, I'm a bit tired from everything …'

"Maybe then we should wait until tomorrow morning before my 'brothers' get here?" offered Collin.

Ken quickly replied, "NO! … I mean no … I need to do this tonight … for us both. You … you NEED to know … everything!"

Ken then began to tell Collin what happened from the time he arrived in Phoenix through the time he met the woman who was responsible for the men watching the Cove, and ultimately, wanting to know as much as she could about Collin, but especially him.

As he neared the part he was going to mention the lad's grandmother, Ken decided to ask Collin if he knew anyone named Vickey Susan Frankenberg.

"I'm sorry, Bro, that name doesn't mean a thing to me. Should it?" inquired Collin.

"Collin … that is the name of the person who had us watched. When I first saw her, I … I was astonished by her … beauty. She is in her early 80s, though, but … well she looks like a model, still, or maybe an older actress, even. When I asked her if I could dine with her, I … I truly expected her to have me thrown out of the restaurant or have the cops called and have me hauled off," began to explain Mr. Ken.

"That would have been funny," Collin broke in, laughing as he did. "I wish I had been there, I mean well you know, to see that if it happened."

"I'm glad you think it was funny. You weren't in my shorts just then, but when she asked me if she knew me, I told her to look at my face … you know … to see if she would remember it from all the photos she had of me. It was then she recognized me and called me by name. I was relieved when she happily agreed to have me stay and dine with her.

"We talked about small stuff while we ate … kind of avoiding why I was there. Then she pointed out how some of the other patrons were watching us. I had noticed … but didn't want to change the subject at the time. Anyway … when I did think about their staring, it dawned on me what I must have looked like, a gigolo!" explained Ken.

"A gigolo, what's that, Bro?" innocently asked the teenager.

"Go look it up," teased Ken but then continued, "a gigolo is a young man … PAID by an OLDER woman … to be her escort … or lover!"

The look on Collin's face was priceless when he heard what a gigolo was. Ken laughed at the teen and then Collin must have understood what Mr. Ken was intimating and he began to laugh out loud, too.

"Collin … 'little bro' … why don't you come over and sit by me?" offered Ken.

"Now, where was I? Oh, yeah … I was a gigolo … NOT … anyway I got around to pressing her on why she had us, I mean ME, investigated. She didn't want to come right out and tell me. She began to play a game of sorts. First, she asked me if her name meant anything to me. Since, I had never heard it before, I told her that. Then she said something to me that almost shocked the sh, err stuffing out of me.

"Collin, this, now, is why I wanted you to sit by me just now. She again asked me if her name meant anything to me. When I said no again, she responded by saying something like, 'Ken, I like you … and after what we talked about I can see … what my grandson sees in you'!"

Collin sat there not believing what his ears just told him. His mouth went wide open. He then began to shake his head slightly in the 'no' indication. Then he said with a very low voice, "Nn no, it can't be! … Nnno, I don't believe it." The teenager's tears began to fall.

Ken quickly pulled the teenager into his arms and whispered into his ears that what she had told him was true.

"Collin, I have no reason to neither doubt her, nor lie to you about this. She told me stuff about her son, James, and things only she would know," explained Ken.

"Bu but WHY … why didn't she come when she heard that I was kidnapped and… and help look for me?" the teen wanted to know.

Ken then explained to the crying lad what she had told him about being on the around-the-world cruise and didn't actually know anything until about the time they were on their Disney cruise.

Then, Collin asked why she hadn't responded to the news, that they had to have news on board the ship and he wanted to know why she didn't respond then.

"Collin, do you know your grandmother's maiden name?"

"No. I don't think I ever heard anyone tell me that," answered Collin.

"Collin, your grandmother went by V. Susan Frankenberg. On board the ship the communications officer wouldn't have known to put together Wilkinson and Frankenberg, and contact her, even if he had seen the news or heard about your kidnapping. She told me she didn't know anything about it … that is, until Frank Hale told her."

"Frank Hale? How'd he … I thought he was fired?" offered the astonished teen.

"Remember, after we came back from our Spring Break vacation, and I had to go visit Uncle Andy? I thought I had fired him after … well, you know …. Anyway, he was still around and she had his phone number still, so she called him, and he told her what he wanted her to hear. Collin … she said after she heard what Hale had told her, she needed to know who I was and … and she wanted to be prepared to fight …" and Ken stopped in mid sentence.

"Why'd you stop? What was she going to fight for?" almost demanded the lad.

Ken knew he had to tell the teenager. He knew Collin needed, no had the right to know what this was all about, so he answered him. He responded by saying, "You!"

"No, no, no, Bro … NO Mr. Ken it ... it can't be. I … I don't want to! I …I don't want to have to go with her … back to … to that place where my … my parents d … died," openly cried Collin as he clung to his mentor and guardian and began to cry out loud.

All Ken could do, right then, was hold onto the openly crying boy and wait until the teen composed himself some, so he could tell him the rest of what the lad needed to know, before the morning came.

It was almost 2 AM when Ken and Collin said good night to one another. Ken had finally gotten through all that he could remember from the previous day's events, and Collin, too, was worn out from all the crying he had done.

Ken went to his en suite and quickly peed and stripped down to his boxers and crawled into his 'oversized' king-sized bed. He felt he had just begun to fall asleep, when he heard Chief's paws clicking on the ceramic tiles in the Foyer and MRS areas. Then he heard a light tapping on the carpet and it was coming towards him.

Ken then heard a light, "Ww…woof!" Then, since he didn't respond right away there was another, but this time louder, "Ww…WOOF!"

Ken quickly reached over and touched the lamp one time, on the bed stand, right next to his bed. When he'd done so, he saw that not only was Chief there, but so was Collin.

In a pensive voice, Collin said, "Bro … af…after all that I heard tonight, I …I need someone t … to sleep with me. I know you don't like us much younger guys to sleep with you, but no … normally Ry would be here …"

But Ken knew exactly what the boy was saying and what he desperately needed, so he pulled open the covers and said, "Don't worry about it, my 'little brother', if there ever was a time you needed to sleep with me, now is that time."

"Do you mind if I am in my t-shirt and boxers?" timidly asked the teen.

"No, Collin, come on, hop on in here, while I turn the light off," replied Ken.

As Ken turned to reach over and touch the touch-sensitive light, Collin slipped under the covers and slid towards the middle of the bed. When Ken finished doing what he needed to do, and turned back, he found Collin waiting for him.

Ken sensed that Collin needed to feel protected and supported and loved, right now, so he just slipped his arm over the teen's shoulder and hugged him close.

"B…bro yo…you don't mind, do you, that I am here?" again asked the scared teen.

"No, 'little bro', I don't mind. … It has been a very long day for us both, so what say we try to get a little sleep. Tomorrow morning, your 'brothers' are going to get here sooner than you think, and we'll both need to be ready for them," coached the slightly older 'big brother'.

"Thanks, bro … I am very glad you were the one to … to tell me … well you know. … Good night. I love you, Bro!" And with that Collin hugged Ken and then slipped out from under his arm and turned away and went to sleep.

Not to be undone, Chief took up her protective position at the entrance to the master bedroom and kept her watchfulness on the two most important people in her life, right then.

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