Ken's alarm clock was set for 10 AM, and when it went off, he felt as if he had just fallen asleep. Collin also stirred upon hearing the loud music and so did Chief, who got up and put her front paws on the bed near her master's face and began to give him some morning kisses, which only a dog can provide.
"Oh, okay Chief … thanks, girl, for those kisses … I love you, too. Now go around and give your other master some of the same," laughed Collin, as Chief did as she was asked.
"Ommph … why, thank you, girl. Now let me up, so I can use the facilities."
As Ken began to release his pent up excess water into the urinal set up inside what could only be called the 'Man's Toilet Room' Collin came in and used the actual toilet.
"I hope you don't mind, Bro, but I really had to go … and BAD!" offered the now greatly relieved teenager from the other side of the partition between the two facilities. "Bro … ah would you mind if I ah … ah took my shower with you, too, this morning? It's okay if you say no and … and I'll understand it's just that … I don't know … but it's like I … I feel this need to be close to you, right now, for some reason," politely asked the teenager, as he looked into his guardian's eyes.
All Ken could do was smile at the teen, who he suspected was feeling a bit insecure right then, and needed to be around someone he knew and trusted. "Sure … no problem there, sport. You can just streak back up to your room for some fresh clothes after you're finished with your shower," laughed Ken.
The two had taken showers together before. Back when Ken was shot, and couldn't shower very well with his arm in a sling, Collin took the initiative to repay him for all the times the man helped the teen shower after his kidnapping and recovery there at Three Finger Cove.
"Hey, Collin …" said Ken, out of the blue, before they entered the large double shower-headed stall, "do you think we could get Chief in her and give her a quick wash, since there are the two of us?"
"You got to be kidding," replied a laughing Collin.
Just then, Chief, who had been following them both, took off at a quickened pace after hearing what Mr. Ken asked.
"I guess that answers your question, Bro," again laughed the teen, after seeing how fast Chief disappeared out of the master en suite.
During their shower, Collin asked his Big Bro if he had the chance to call his Uncle Andy. Ken stopped what he was doing and looked at his charge and replied in the negative. He explained he called Bill and coordinated some with him, but that he totally forgot to call Andrew Marshall. It was agreed that Collin would call the man and give him the news. Twenty minutes later, the young teen made that phone call.
"Hey, Uncle Andy, how are you? … Yeah, I haven't had the chance to talk to you since the incident at the water park," the teenager began the conversation.
"Doing well my boy, doing well, so what do I owe the pleasure of this out-of-the-blue phone call?" asked Andrew Marshall.
"Well, Uncle Andy, Bro ah went out … ah, went out to Phoenix this week, and ah … well, ah, he found out who the person was watching the Cove, and us," stated Collin.
"You don't say? I was wondering if he'd ever find out who that person or persons were," answered Uncle Andy. "So, did your Big Bro tell you who it was?"
"Oh, yeah," smiled Collin for some reason, "after dinner, last night, with Mary and Ryan and Judy and Eric, we came home and he explained everything that happened to him."
"So … can you tell me about it, Collin my boy? It is not good to let an old man waiting and wanting, you know. … Now, what did he say? … No, who? … Did he say who it was? Did he say that he or even you knew the person or persons?" excitedly asked the older man.
"Yep, he told me, and I was as surprised as you are going to be when I tell you. You ready?" teased Collin.
"Yes, my boy, let me have it, please, I'm not getting any younger," replied an anxious Andrew Marshall.
"Uncle Andy, do you know a V. Susan Frankenberg?" asked Collin, as plain a day.
There was silence, on the other end. Then, there was a sound as if someone had pushed back a chair as they had slumped down into it. That concerned Collin so he quickly said, "Uncle Andy… are you OKAY? Uncle Andy … Uncle Andy …"
"Yeah, yes, Collin, I'm … I'm okay, son. I haven't heard that name in a month of Sunday's," is what came out of Uncle Andy's mouth
"I heard what sounded like you might have fallen, and I was afraid for you," replied Collin.
"Yes, yes, I can understand that. So … so, what else did Mr. Ken tell you, if I may be so bold to ask?" a totally surprised and slightly miffed 'Uncle' asked.
"Uncle Andy, Bro said not to spend a lot of time explaining everything to you. He just asked if you could come down for the weekend, or, if not, to come at least for Sunday night through Monday," explained Collin.
"Why? Did he say why, my boy?" asked Uncle Andy.
"Yes, he said he'd like to fill you in first hand, and that he would like you to be here when grandmother comes to visit me, on Monday," answered the teenager.
Again the phone was silent. Collin could hear the deep breaths his 'uncle' was taking, so he knew the man was okay this time.
"Collin … please inform Mr. Ken that I'll be there later tonight. And, also, tell him he'd better have a good bottle of wine for me to get drunk with, while he tells me the entire story over and over. Can you do that for me, Collin?"
"Sure, no problem, Uncle Andy, oh, and by the way … Bro says he has a tape of the entire conversation he had with 'Grammy' so you can listen to it over and over until your heart's content," now laughed the teen, full knowing that his Big Bro was trying to lighten the thrashing he was going to get from Andrew Marshall, when he arrived.
"Oh, he did, did he?" smirked the older man.
The two finished up the call and Collin headed downstairs to wait for his 'brothers' and 'mom' Mary and Miss Judy.
As usual, Mr. Ken was in his Study when the afternoon guests arrived. He got up and went to the Foyer to great them. Collin had already welcomed them and all Ken had to do was say 'Hi'.
"Okay … what was so secret that we couldn't hear it last night' Bro?" teasingly asked Ryan.
"Ladies, I take it you didn't tell either of them, as I asked. I have to thank you both for doing that. It was difficult enough telling my 'little brother' without the phone constantly ringing and them wanting all the information," replied Mr. Ken.
"Mom … you knew?" asked an incredulous Ryan
Mary Taylor shook her head yes.
"And you didn't tell me?" asked Ryan, this time with his hands on his hips.
This time Mary shook her head in the negative.
"That's so not fair … you, you knew and I tossed and turned all night, and hardly got any sleep over it, and I had … had to wait until this morning to find out what it was," further complained Ryan.
"Yes, my sleeping beauty. You fell fast asleep as soon as your head hit that soft pillow. I heard your light snoring as I went to bed last night. But as you heard, Mr. Ken asked us NOT to say anything to you guys, until you got here today," replied Ryan's mom.
All that time, Eric just stood there watching the exchange between Ryan and his mom. He knew he could never say anything like that to his mom and ever believe he could get away with it. Right now' he was just happy to be there knowing they were going to use the Waverunner's later.
"What do you all say we go out to the kitchen? Momma Maria has been cooking up a storm all morning and we can talk there about what I told your 'brother' last night, until 2 AM," spoke Ken.
As they feasted on Momma Maria's Mexican home cooking, consisting of Grilled Beef and Chicken Fajitas, Cheese Enchiladas, Tamales, Guacamole Salad, Chili Con Queso, Mexican Rice, and Refried Beans, the six diners talked about Mr. Ken's revelation to Collin.
"So, it really WAS your grandmother, all the time, Collin, who was checking you and Mr. Ken out?" meekly asked Eric.
"Yes, 'little bro' it appears so. Lucky for us, Danny and Todd, you know, saw the guys, and Ryan here, got some good shots of them, and their boat. From just that, Jules Diamond, Bro's investigator, was able to track her down," answered Collin.
"Bro, when do we get to hear this conversation? Or, do we?" asked Ryan.
"Well, Bill has it right now, so … well, you couldn't listen until he brings it back. But, I think I'd want Collin to listen to it first, and then let him decide if he wants anyone else to hear it. It is his grandmother talking, so…" drifted off Mr. Ken.
"Momma," began Judy, "this is thee BEST meal I can ever remember eating … IN MY LIFE! The aromas are superb and everything seems to blend so easily together that there is no clash of flavors. This is NOTHING but all good, clean taste. Eric, remember this day!"
"Judy, I have to agree with you, there. That food we had when the California boys were here, you know, what we ate at Casa Rio, was almost as good as this, but this … this beats it by a good margin," acclaimed Mary Taylor.
Momma Maria just stood there basking and beaming in the accolades she was receiving from the people she loved the most. She was most happy when the foods she served were deeply appreciated by the guests eating them. And right then, she was all smiles.
"Collin, honey," began 'mom' Mary, "are you sure you are going to be okay with what Mr. Ken revealed to us about your grandmother? This has got to be a huge revelation and … and not knowing how things will go from here … well, 'son', I just don't want to see you hurt in any way! You know, I will do everything I can for you, if you want me to, and I bet your 'brothers' will, too."
"'Mom', Mr. Ken, I mean my 'Bro', told me everything, and I am sure he will do everything he can to make sure she doesn't mess with me. … Anyway, Uncle Andy will be here later tonight, and, Bill is supposed to deliver the tape tonight, as well, and we can then all listen to it and hear for ourselves what she said, and how she said it.
"Now, that she has surfaced … well, now I'm going to have to deal with it. I can't just ignore her. Both my parents will's directed she be my guardian and raise me until I was old enough to take over Wilkinson. … The thing is … Bro said Grammy told him she will let me choose … choose, where I want to live. He says that is on the tape so we have something we can use if there … if she decides to fight to take me away.
"She'll be here Monday … and I hope you all can be here, so she can see for herself the life I have here at the Cove and ALL the love I have here, through all of you," stated Collin with no emotion.
As the teen finished answering Mary's questions, everyone could hear some soft crying. Looking around, they could see Eric was the source of the distress. Collin went over to his 'little bro' to ask him what was wrong.
"Collin, (sniff, sniff) I, I don't want to see you g…go (sniff). I'm just getting to know my, my big brothers, (sniff) and I…I am enjoying the things we… we do together (sniff, sniff). I…I don't … I don't want to have to lose that, Collin. P …p…please don't (hick, sniff) leave us. … I LOVE you!"
After getting that all out, as best he could, Eric couldn't hold it in any longer and so he burst out crying. Upon doing so, he also launched himself into his big brother's waiting arms and he cried all out and hard on the teen's shoulder.
The adults were teary eyed themselves in seeing the love shown between the younger boy and older teen. Even Ryan had tears streaming down his face as he watched the two boys holding onto one another. Momma Maria couldn't take the sadness, expressed by young Eric, any longer, so she quietly walked out of the kitchen, using her apron to wipe the tears dripping down her face.
Collin spoke into Eric's ear as the lad cried. He also lightly rubbed the boy's back, some, trying to get the boy to calm down, so he could talk to him.
"Eric … 'little bro', please calm down for me," encouraged Collin. "I'm not going anywhere … at least not just yet. Come on, now, little guy … you need to put it behind you, for now. I know, I've enjoyed having a little brother, too, and I've enjoyed the things we've done together as well. … And … I love you, too, Eric!"
Eric slowly pulled away from Collin's hug and then wiped his eyes all over his clean shirt and then wiped his nose on his sleeve. "Yo…you do? You know … that I love you, too?" asked the still sniffing 10 year old.
Collin smiled at the boy in front of him and then said, "How could I not love the sweetest little guy that I've ever known!"
Hearing that launched Eric back into Collin's arms and everyone heard him say, 'Thank you, thank you, I love you, so much, Collin. I've always wanted an older bigger brother like you. Thank you, so much."