As the evening turned into night, Vickey Frankenberg and her grandson, Collin Wilkinson, sat down once again, by themselves, to talk.
"Colley, after eating that wonderfully prepared meal, and learning more about your new friends, I can surely see why you'd want to remain here. I had hoped, when I came here, I could convince you to come back with me, but I know, now, that … well, that it would be impossible right now.
"Colley, I want you to … NO, no … I am asking you … to seriously think about what your parents wanted for you in their Wills. The Wilkinson estate again needs its headmaster in residence who can continue to do what the Wilkinson's have done for over a hundred years."
"What is that exactly, Grammy?" asked an interested Collin.
"Well … you know, Colley, your mom and dad were members of many worthwhile civic organizations and were held in high esteem, by many people. They were on the Boards of many charities and often gave sizable sums to them and other important institutions, such as Big Brothers and the Little League and the Boy and Girl Scouts," illustrated Grammy.
"But … but why can't you do that, Grammy?" asked the now interested teenager.
"Well, for one, I am no longer a Wilkinson, so it wouldn't be the same. Also, I couldn't automatically serve on those Boards, as they were set up by your grandfather to always have a Wilkinson on them. That means, you, honey. Only you can be on those Boards and continue on with what the Wilkinson's have done for all those years," expounded Vickey.
"Bu … But I am just a kid, a teenager. They aren't going to listen to me, a sixteen year old, Grammy. I'd be a laughing stock, and besides … I have no idea what to do or how to act, and I don't even know who all those people are. Mom and dad never told me about what they did, only that they had to help out this group or that group," argued Collin.
"Colley … all I ask is for you to consider following on in your grandfather's and of course your father's footsteps, and continue the Wilkinson legacy. I know Mr. Ken and Ryan and Eric and Chief and the rest, and of course, Three Finger Cove, all means something very much to you, right now, after what you have been through. But please believe me, Colley, after all the publicity you've gotten, these past few months; the people back home know exactly who YOU are!
"And my Colley, if you decide to come back home, and I truly hope you will, I promise that you will have a life, the life you now know," added Grammy.
"And what about all my friends, will I be able to have them spend time with me, and I can come over to see Mr. Ken and 'mom' and Maria and, and everyone else? You promise that I can continue to have a life and do the things that I want to do, and NOT what these Boards and whoever else thinks that they can tell me what to do?" queried Collin.
"I promise that and more, Colley," agreed the lad's grandmother.
"And you'll put that in writing?" shot back Collin.
Grandmother Frankenberg smiled when she heard the question and replied; "Now you're talking, Colley. Just like your father, making sure you have an iron clad agreement, in place, before you agree to anything. And yes, I will agree to put that in writing," smiled the elder woman as she hugged her grandson.
"Mr. Ken, I want to thank you for all your hospitality today," but before she could continue, Chief jumped up on her and nudged her making Vickey laugh and finish by saying, "and you, too, Chief," while she scratched behind the dog's ears.
"I also want to thank each and every one of you who helped in making sure my grandson had the friends and supporters he needed to recover from his ordeals. Thank you, thank you all," offered V. Susan Frankenberg, as she exited through the front door to her waiting limo. Turning back, she then asked Mr. Ken if he could accompany her to her car, for a few minutes.
"Mr. Ken … you certainly have done wonders for my grandson. When I last saw him, he was a scrawny, scared little boy who had no idea of what the world was like. But look at him, now. He is now the spitting image of his father, and has filled out and has very much begun to become his own man. He is now quite sure of himself, and he has found the 'brothers' he has always wanted, and for that, I only have you to thank."
It was then that Vickey gave Mr. Ken a big hug.
Then as she released the man, she said to him, "Mr. Ken, I ah … I have a confession to make. When we first talked, I promised that I wouldn't come with bunch of lawyers and court orders and kidnap Collin away from you and his friends. Well … I didn't come with a bunch of lawyers' bu… but I did come with this."
Grammy then handed Mr. Ken a sealed envelope.
"What is this?" asked Mr. Ken, while turning it back and forth looking for some clues. It was also then that he heard and then saw a sheriff's patrol car enter the Cove. The car came to a stop and the Deputy got out and approached.
"Oh, hi there, Dan. Working late tonight?" asked a startled Mr. Ken.
"Ah … you could say that, Mr. Ken, but … ah, I was told to watch for this woman to … ah, hand you an envelope and ah …" replied Deputy Sheriff Dan Fischer, as Vickey raised her hand to stop him, from going any further.
Still stymied at what was happening, Mr. Ken looked at Vickey, and than at the envelope and then back at the older woman, and then angrily asked her, "Is this what I think it is Vickey? Is IT? … Well, IS IT?" angrily asked Mr. Ken. … "If it is what I think it is then, I swear you have just seen your grandson for the last time, and so help me, I will bring a HELL to bear on you that you have NEVER seen in your life!"
At the front door, everyone could hear what Mr. Ken had just said and with that, they called for Judge Adam to come there right away.
Out at the limo, Vickey had been caught by surprise, herself, by the arrival of the Sheriff's Deputy, as she had forgotten about the signal she arranged with the Sheriff to help with the serving of the document she had in that envelope she just handed to Mr. Ken Thomas.
Still seething from what he felt had just happened, Mr. Ken abruptly turned around and began walking towards the front door.
"Mr. Ken … ah, I mean Mr. Thomas," called out Deputy Dan Fischer, while holding his handcuffs. "I need you to …"
But before Dan could finish, Mr. Ken abruptly turned again and angrily said "WHAT?" "What is it that YOU want, Deputy Fischer? Did you come here to take … NO, let me rephrase that, come to STEAL Collin away from Three Finger Cove like a thief in the night, HUH, Deputy Fischer?" Those last three words said with such venom that if words could kill, Dan Fischer would have met his maker at that very moment
The people at the front door were now scared that they would see a side of Mr. Ken they never knew he had in him.
It was just then that Vickey called out, "Stop It! Stop THIS, right now! … Deputy … Mr. Ken … I owe both of you an apology. I … I forgot that … that, I had arranged a signal for the deputy to help serve the papers … those papers in that envelope. Tonight, I had such a good time and ... and such a good reunion with my grandson that I had forgotten … all about the signal, until the deputy here arrived.
"Honestly, deputy, I was only giving Mr. Thomas the envelope for him to destroy and to show him that I meant what I said about Collin being able to make up his mind, what he wanted to do about coming back home.
"Mr. Ken … Please, Believe ME! I had wanted to give you that envelope, in good faith, to show you that I wasn't going to follow through with what those papers were designed to do. I … I'm so sorry," finished a crying S. Vickey Frankenberg, as she sat down onto the limo seat.
Just then, Judge Adam Richards came towards the small group and, seeing him, Dan Fischer said, "Oh, hello, Judge … fancy seeing you here, tonight."
Hearing the word judge, Vickey got up from her seat and walked over to the three men standing together on the driveway.
"Did he just call you … Judge?" asked Vickey, as she pointed to the new man in the group.
"Yes, madam, I am Judge Adam Richards, Presiding County Juvenile Court Judge," replied Judge Adam.
Vickey's eye lit up at hearing that and after a few moments, she said, "Oh, I see so … so does that mean you … Judge can deal with tha … that envelope and those papers and correct that …that most grievous error I made, tonight, when I gave that envelop to Mr. Ken? Please, tell me that you can!" implored the now rattled and the now somewhat disheveled grandmother.
Judge Adam looked to Mr. Ken for some sign that he wanted him to do what the older woman had requested. Then, seeing a slight nod from the man, Judge Richards turned to the lady and said, "Yes, Ms. Vickey, I would be most pleased to do just that. It'll be done, legally, mind you, and I shall destroy this envelope and whatever is in it. That IS what you DO want me to do … isn't it?"
"Yes, judge … please destroy that envelope, and deputy … I am so sorry I got you involved in this … this 'family' matter. It was all a big mistake, on my part, and I take full blame. Please don't hold that against me," finished a contrite Grammy.
"Judge" asked Deputy Fischer, "am I needed here anymore. tonight? I do need to go back on patrol, if I'm not."
Judge Adam looked at both Ken and Vickey and getting a positive nod from both told Dan to note in his report that the lady asked him to destroy the envelope and then he told the Deputy to have a very peaceful night.
Collin, not being able to hold himself back any longer, ran and launched himself at his Big Bro after hearing Judge Adam send Dan Fischer back on patrol.
"Bro, I was so scared tha … that Dan was going to arrest you, and, and then take me, too," cried Collin.
Ken held onto the teenager and hugged him as hard as he was being hugged. By then, everyone had circled around the two. Vickey, knowing she made a mess of things, began walking back to her limo.
As Ken and Collin hugged, they began turning some and it was then that the teenager saw his grandmother walking dejectedly to her limo. "Grammy" called Collin. "Please, please come back with us!"
Gramm Vickey turned and smiled at hearing her Colley's voice calling out to her. She knew immediately in what she heard in that voice, that he was not mad at her for what just happened. Grammy slowly walked back to the assembled group.
When she joined the group, she spoke up and offered, "I owe an apology to everyone here, but especially to you, Mr. Ken. Tonight, after talking to Colley and hearing what he had to say and then … then, after that wonderful meal Maria cooked and refreshing conversation with all of your and his 'brothers' and friends, I knew … I knew that my actions earlier today were a mistake. I decided right then, that I'd tell you about the letter when I left, but I had totally forgotten I had arranged a signal, for when I did hand it over. That envelop there … it holds the court order that I … that, I had promised NOT to bring," a now contrite V. Susan Vandenberg offered.
Continuing, Vickey added, "I learned early in married life you had to be one-step ahead of your … well … that I needed to be prepared to take the upper hand. I talked to a judge friend of mine, and had him draw up those papers in case I … in case I felt Colley needed to be whisked away from …"
Vickey never got to finish her sentence as she became surrounded by her grandson's arms giving her a huge hug.
"Grammy, I understand," said Collin, as he held her and looked into her eyes. "At first, …I was horrified at what it seemed you were doing, but … but, after I heard and saw what you did, and then after listening to your explanation, I … I realized you were going to live up to your agreement, after all, to allow me to make up my own mind, as to whether I stayed here at Three Finger Cove, with Mr. Ken, or … or agreed to go with you back to the Wilkinson mansion … Grammy, thank you!"
All Grammy could do was smile at the nice turn of events. The crowd, now all relieved from what they, too, thought was going to happen, began to return to the house to get their things to go home.
Ryan and Eric were ecstatic that their 'brother' was going to stay there for a bit longer, and pulled Collin away from his grandmother to give him a few hugs as well.
With the breakup of the group, it left Mr. Ken and Vickey standing all alone again. The two then walked to the waiting limo.
"Mr. Ken, I am truly sorry at what happened tonight, but the ending … it was what I really wanted for Collin, after feeling all the love and protection everyone had for him, tonight. Yes, I lied to you about not coming here with a court order, but I didn't come with a bunch of lawyers, now did I?" laughed the older woman, hoping to diffuse any animosity that might still linger in Mr. Ken.
"Ms. Vickey … when we walked out to your limo, I really thought you were going to live up to what you told me when we first met. But when Dan showed up, I was really, really pissed. I felt as if I had been sucker punched, by you. I knew if I stayed in front of you much longer, I would do something I would be very sorry for, later on. That is why I began to walk away. If Dan hadn't called out to me …"
"You would have gone inside and brought out the judge you had, just in case the unthinkable happened, like the stupid woman I was, did," said Vickey, finishing the sentence.
The two then stood there looking at each other. It felt like minutes passed but it was only a few seconds that both man and woman burst out laughing at the whole thing. The two then began talking over one another about what happened and what could have happened and what finally happened, all the time going into hysterical laughing fits and loosing their breath. In the end, the two embraced one another and shared one last giggle.
Finally, Vickey asked, "If I promise to come next time by myself … no lawyers … no court orders, nothing but just me and my driver, would you please allow me to visit with my grandson, Mr. Ken?"
Ken Thomas stood there with his hand on his chin then laughed out loud and said, "Vickey, were you that blinded by what Frank Hale had to say that … that, you felt Collin was at serious risk here, even with …even with his Uncle Andy involved?"
"Yes, Ken, I was. I must admit that, at first, I was very jealous that a young man, namely you, was doing what James and Charlotte wanted ME to do. Then, when he inferred that you … you were … were doing obscene things to him, I … I had to find out about you and what you intended to do with him, and Wilkinson Enterprises. Even when I found out the truth, I couldn't … no … wouldn't accept it. So, I decided to do … what shamelessly happened here, tonight. … Mr. Ken … I hope some day you WILL forgive me, and that one day … we can become friends. I know I have a long ways to go to gain that trust and friendship, but I think I can meet any terms, or requirements, you throw my way."
"Vickey, I want you to know that my first and utmost desire I had for Collin was to get him healed and then on his way to one day running Wilkinson," began Mr. Ken.
"C.M.E Inc." interjected Vickey.
"What, what did you say?" asked Ken.
"C.M.E Inc. … that's what Colley told me he was going to rename the company. You know … we had a heated argument about that, down at the dock," replied Vickey.
"Oh, so that's what that was all about," offered Mr. Ken.
"Yes, that … and a few other things. … You know, Mr. Ken, you have done wonders with Colley. He can hold his own in any argument, now, which is a plus in owning a big business, but what you've done best is … you took a scared, undersized teenager, and made him into the fine young man I met here today. His meeting up with you was the BEST thing that could have happened for him, ever. I know … I know the reason that made it happened is not the most pleasant sounding reason, but … well, some people say that things happen … for a reason. I can only say that at least this was a 'happy ending," explained Vickey.
Ken then pulled Vickey to him and gave her the biggest hug she ever had, and said, "I guess we'll never know how good an escort I'd have been."
Smiling, S. Vickey Frankenberg gave her 'young escort' a small peek on his cheek and then sat down inside the limo.
Mr. Ken waved to her as the limo exited Three Finger Cove.