Everyone awaited the arrival of Grammy Wilkinson. Ken, Bill, Andy, Adam, Mary, Judy, Collin, Ryan, Eric and Chief all sat around in the Study watching for a limo to bring her through the Cove's entrance.
"Thanks, Judge Adam, for being here today," said Collin, as he extended his hand to shake the Judge's.
"My pleasure, my boy, I don't want any shenanigans to happen here, today. Please try to remember, I am here only as an observer, and I don't want your grandmother to know that I am here. Only if she tries to do something do I want to show myself. You okay with that, Collin? Everyone?" asked the judge.
At exactly two minutes to one o'clock, a limo entered through the front gate of the Cove. Collin decided he would be the first to greet his Grammy, so he walked out the front door and waited there for the limo to stop and the driver to open the door.
"My, my … how you have grown," immediately voiced Grammy Wilkinson, as she looked at her grandson, then gave the teenager a big hug.
"Yes, Grammy, I've grown a lot since I began living here. I've put on weight and have gotten much taller. Living here has been good for me," responded Collin, making sure she knew where he stood, as far as Three Finger Cove was concerned, for now.
"Yes, your Mr. Ken told me quite a bit about you, Collin. I am looking forward to meeting him again, and seeing first hand his beautiful home. Shall we proceed inside?" replied Grammy.
As the two walked inside, everyone, but Judge Adam, was waiting inside the Foyer.
"Welcome to Three Finger Cove, Vickey, let me introduce you to everyone here. Collin wanted to make sure you met all the people important to him," announced Ken Thomas.
After the introductions, Collin agreed to show his Grammy around the house. She asked him to do that, so they could talk as they went along.
Since Grammy Wilkinson was in her 80s, Collin called the elevator and they began the tour upstairs where the children's and guest bedrooms were.
"Collin, Ken tells me you really love it here. Now, I can see why," began Grammy. "The bedrooms are huge, and I see in your bedroom, you have a number of nice amenities, but not all of what I'd expect a teenager your age to have."
"No, Grammy, Mr. Ken says the bedroom is for sleeping, homework and a place to think and or be alone. That it shouldn't be a place where one never comes out of, except for meals," explained her grandson.
"So, its Mr. Ken is it? I thought you called him Bro, or something like that," countered Grammy, seeing if she could find something between the two.
"Oh, that … yeah, well, I use the 'Mr. Ken' term when we are in public or on 'display'. It shows respect, and … well, that is what people expect to hear from someone younger when referring to someone older. I mostly call him Bro, or Big Bro, though, when we are here in the house," further explained Collin.
"How many bedrooms are there up here, Colley?" asked Grammy, using her favorite name for her grandson.
"Well, there is six of what Bro refers to as 'family' bedrooms, and then there are three 'guest bedrooms en suite. They sure came in handy when the California Boys came to visit," offered Collin.
"The 'California Boys' … my my what a name. Were they some sort of druggie music group that Mr. Thomas put up for a while, so they could get away from the police?" snidely asked V. Susan Frankenberg.
Hearing what his Grammy just said royally pissed Collin off. He looked directly in her face and said, "You have NO RIGHT to talk like that about the man who saved MY LIFE … twice! FOR YOUR INFORMATION, GRAMMY," angrily began Collin "the California Boys are some teens Bro and I met out in California, after the Christmas Holidays. Later, Bro took me and Ry and Eric out to California over a four-day weekend and we looked them up only to find one had been severely beaten and was in the hospital.
"When Aidan heard Bro's voice, he came out of his coma. Long story short … Bro told Aidan, if he got better, by Spring Break … he'd bring them all, including their parents, out here to visit us. And he did! Now, … if you are through denigrating the MOST IMPORTANT MAN in my life, right now, we can continue … unless you don't want to, AND would rather leave," finished Collin, with his hands fisted he was so mad.
Grammy knew she had gone way over the edge, with her grandson, and needed to quickly recover. "I'm so sorry, Colley; I really did think that they were a music group. My old age is showing, I suppose. I hope you'll forgive an old woman. Come here and give you Grammy a hug."
Collin stood firm, while he wondered what that was all about, but he soon relented and gave his grandmother a big hug and they continued their tour.
After Ken came back from showing Grandmother Wilkinson's limo driver where the kitchen was, so he could talk to Maria, Mary quickly asked him if he knew what he was doing.
"Aren't you afraid he'll get information out of Maria on Collin and you, and give it to his employer?" quietly asked Mary.
"Yes, I am sure of it. If I had a chauffeur, I'd do the same, but I am not worried. Neither Collin nor I have done anything wrong, so why sweat the small stuff. Grandmother Wilkinson is going to do what she wants to do, whether or not she knows any more about the two of us and the Cove, or not. My hope is she doesn't renege on her promise to let Collin decide where he wants to live.
It took Collin about 45 minutes to totally show his grandmother around Three Finger Cove. They met up with everyone else in the Great Room, since the Study would be too small for the whole group to be seated comfortably.
"So, what do you think about our home, Vickey, or should I call you Grammy?" asked Ken.
"Your home is very beautiful, Mr. Ken. I am very surprised it looks ah … well, what I mean to say is, that is has many female qualities that strikes me as being a bit odd for a young man to have in his bachelor pa … err, home,' answered Vickey.
Mary didn't like the way Grammy answered, seeing she was implying that Ken was maybe gay, and would go away from the Cove thinking she could use that to wrestle Collin away from Mr. Ken, so she answered before Ken could.
"Then you'll have to blame me, Ms. Frankenberg. You see … I am an interior decorator, and Ken hired me to decorate the entire house. He gave me his ideas of what he wanted … then he told me how much male or female attributes should be in every room. I am sure you noticed the Master Bedroom was strictly male oriented … with a bit of female influence. But, as you look around this Great Room, as Ken loves to call it, it has equal male and female touches throughout. Ken wanted the Cove to have a homey feel to it and not just display that 'male hormones' live here."
Everyone laughed at Mary's hint at humor, because they, too, understood the underpinnings of what Grammy stated about the Cove's interior decorations.
"And you are Ryan's mother, are you not?" asked Vickey. "Then, how is it that Ken got to know Ryan before he got to know you?"
Ryan saw his mom was still seething from the previous question, so he answered for her.
"You see, after school, I'd stop by here and … and I watched the construction of the Cove going on. It was right after they began setting the foundation that this man came by, and we got to talking about what the house was going to look like and stuff. Then, as we talked, the night watchman came after us, for some unknown reason. We still have no real idea why he did it, that day, but it was after that, I learned that the man I was talking to was its future owner, Mr. Ken Thomas.
"Then, because the police had been called in after the watchman attacked us … well, Mr. Ken called my mom, so she'd know I hadn't done anything wrong. A couple of weeks after that, Mr. Ken talked mom into letting him hire me to do the pictorial and video documentation of the construction of the Cove, since he was attending college and couldn't get by enough to check on the Cove's progress. During construction, he and mom got to know one another better, and when he found out she was an interior decorator, he hired her to outfit the entire insides. I think she did an awesome job, don't you? Especially, now, that you've seen the entire house?"
That was not what Vickey hoped to hear, but she knew better not than to pursue that any longer, so she looked over towards Eric and asked him a question.
"And you, little man … you're Eric, aren't you?" asked Vickey, as she looked toward the younger boy.
"Y…yes, Miss Vickey," replied Eric.
"Eric, I understand that you like to call Colley and Ryan, here, your 'big brothers'. Isn't it, I don't know what you'd called it, a bit odd that you would call them that, knowing they really aren't you bigger brothers?" snickered the older woman, thinking she could frighten the young boy into revealing something that was not general knowledge
"Not to me, Miss Vickey," challenged Eric. "Collin and Ryan have helped me a lot with things that I … I couldn't know about unless they treated me as if I was their younger 'brother'. I can go to them and talk about stuff that I'd be … well, that a boy just doesn't talk to his mom about, seeing I don't have a dad."
"And why is that you don't have a dad, young man?" pressed Vickey.
Eric stood there thunder struck for a moment. No one had ever questioned him about never having a dad, and now here was this very old lady who he just met, asking him such a private question. The youngster looked at his mom then at his two 'brothers'.
Then, getting the OK nod, he should answer, he felt all of this courage welling up in him and he announced in no uncertain terms, "It really isn't any of your business, since I didn't ask you why you don't have a husband, … but if you really have to know … it … it's because … I'm … adopted! That's right, I'm adopted! Are you happy now?"
Just as Eric finished, he raced towards the restroom located off the Theater. Judy started to go after him, but Ryan beat her to it.
"Hmm, I guess I hit a sore spot there, didn't I?" declared V. Susan Frankenberg.
"That was totally uncalled for!" loudly announced Judy Turner. as she remained standing seeing which way Eric and Ryan had gone. "You had NO right to question him in such a way. He's only ten years old, and you treated him as if he was a … an underling in your employ. It doesn't matter to him … nor to anyone else, that MY SON, … MY ADOPTED SON, calls those two wonderful teenagers his OLDER brothers.
"He sees those two young men as his role models and for your information, MISS VICKEY, his self esteem has gone up one thousand percent, ever since he's had those two teenagers in his life. My guess is your money wasn't good enough for all those men, you hired to watch Mr. Ken and Collin and his friends, to find out the WHOLE story. Now, if you'll all excuse me … I have a SON, MY ADOPTED SON, to take care of!"
It got extremely quiet in the Great Room. All eyes were on Vickey, just then, and none of them were kind. After a few 'dead' moments, Collin got up and went to his grandmother and said, "Grammy … let me show you around outside." Taking her hand he guided her through the doors leading to the outside patio.
Eric didn't run into the restroom, but instead ran into the Theater and began to cry his little heart out. Ryan had followed him and lay down beside him and hugged him close, and let the boy cry until he had gotten it out of his system.
Outside, Collin and his Grammy walked along in silent discomfort. Even though Collin said he'd show his grandmother the outside of the Cove, he hadn't said a word. The two walked down towards the dock and sat on the bench seats provided there. They still hadn't said a word to one another as they sat down.
"My, my … this is a very pretty setting," offered grandmother Vickey.
Collin ignored her.
"Your Mr. Ken … he sure has done a wonderful job of placing his house on this property and incorporating the dock and beach. I can see why you would want to stay here," added Vickey trying to entice Collin into a conversation.
"Why … why did you do it?" an angry Collin spit out.
"Why, Colley … what do you mean?" lightly replied Grammy
"You know damn well what I am talking about," hissed Collin.
"Now, now, that's no way to talk to your elders' young man!" scolded Vickey.
"Or what … you're going to go crying to a judge … and say that your grandson won't listen to you, and that he talks mean to you, HUH?" angrily shot back the still angry teenager.
The two remained quite for several minutes.
Up in the house, Mary asked, "What are they doing, Ken?"
"For now, they are sitting on the bench, but there doesn't seem to be much conversation going on down there, Mary," replied Ken.
"Colley … do you think we could start over? … I feel like I am at a disadvantage here, being at Three Finger Cove. … I felt I had to … well … I thought if I came in strong then I would have the upper hand, but I found out that … that Mr. Ken and your friends are what you and they say they are. … Colley … you know your parents wanted the best for you but … well … maybe, they didn't go about it the right way.
"But they knew that if anything ever happened to them they wanted 'family' to finish raising their child. … I can see that you've formed a strong bond with Mr. Ken … and I can see that you've found a couple of 'brothers' that you've always wanted.
"Collin … I am your grandmother … and I care very much about you. … I would like to do for you what your par … what James and Charlotte wanted me to do … and that is to finish raising you and preparing you to take over Wilkinson Enterprises," calmly spoke Vickey.
"C.M.E Inc" said Collin.
"What?" asked Grammy.
"C.M.E. Inc" again answered Collin.
"What is that, Colley? Some new product you're going to develop or a new company you are looking to obtain," inquired grandmother Frankenberg.
"No," answered Collin, "it is the new name for the corporation"
"What new name? I never heard of James talking about a new name for his company," a surprised Grammy stated.
"No, it is the new name that I am going to change Wilkinson Enterprises to," explained Collin.
"You'll do NO such thing! Your grandfather and your father worked very hard to establish that company! NO snot nosed little kid is going to change anything. I won't hear of it," demanded Vickey.
Collin quickly shot up and looked at his Grammy and shouted, "See … I knew this was how you'd treat me. I'd be back in my prison at the Wilkinson estate and I would have to kowtow to your every edict. I wouldn't be able to have my friends visit or new friends come over. I'd be watched day in and day out and … and … and I would be the same old miserable teenager I was before I was kidnapped. NO! … I will NOT go back to that hell hole, if I am going to be treated like a prisoner who has no say in how things are done in MY house," scolded Collin.