The first guests began arriving at a little past twelve noon. By then, all the amusement rides and food and gaming kiosks and sundry items, such as, trash containers, tables where people could sit down and eat, and the band stand were all set up. The weather was only in the mid-80s, without a cloud in the sky, but as the day moved on, everyone knew it would get hotter and the humidity would increase as well.
There were eight lifeguards hired to protect the swimmers at the Cove's beach. They, too, all set up at twelve noon, and would work until eight o'clock that night. Some of the guards were teenagers Ryan knew, and who had also worked the Holiday parties for Mr. Ken. The entire group was all very happy to have that special privilege, working again for Mr. Thomas.
By one o'clock, the crowd had grown considerably in size. Mary had contracted with a well-known carnival amusement ride operator, who provided all the rides for the day. The little kids were happy riding the carousel, boat ride, trucks, train, mini-bumper cars, and the children's Ferris wheel. The bigger kids got to enjoy the Octopus, Flying Bobs, Swings, Fire Storm, Scrambler and Funhouse.
The ride that everyone wanted to get on, young kids, too, and looked to be most fun was the Bungee Jumper. The ride operators hooked you into a harness and then weighed the rider to establish the torque for the elastic 'bungee' cords. Then, when the rider was set up, they began jumping on a trampoline and tried to jump as high as they could all the while trying to do somersaults or complete revolutions every time they jumped up from the trampoline. The adults had just as much fun watching as the people did riding.
When the guests got tired of riding all the exciting amusement rides they could then take their chance at winning a large stuffed animal at one of the Mid-way games set up throughout Three Finger Cove's expansive lands. The games accommodated all age groups and included the Bottle Ring Toss, Milk Bottle Throw, Balloon Dart Burst, Football Toss, Whack-A-Mole, and many, many more.
For the Mid-way games, Mary had decided that each boy and girl, no matter their age, would get the same number of tokens with which to play and try to win one of the many prizes that were offered. But, once they ran out of tokens, they couldn't and wouldn't get any more. Some of the kids used their stash of tokens up real fast, not waiting to see what the trick in the 'winning' was. Those were the ones who became heart-broken when they realized they would get no more tokens.
As for the foods that day, Mary had hired many of the local church groups to provide their best prepared foods, ever. Mary knew that the churches rented out their banquet halls for weddings and Quinceanera's and birthday parties and would also prepare the foods that would be served. The 'cooks' for these churches were none other than the women of the church that really knew how to cook.
Everywhere you went on the Cove's grounds; you couldn't help but smell those mouth-watering aromas emanating from each and every food stand. And, just as with the tokens for the games, each guests received enough 'script' money to buy their lunch and dinner and snacks. As for what the guests would drink, to wash down all that awesome food, Mary made it so that all the sodas were free for everyone for the entire day and that beer was available for the adults.
"Hello, Eric, have you seen Collin or Ryan," asked Mr. Ken, as he came up to the lad and his best friend, Brad?
"No," replied Eric "I haven't seen either of them for a while. Do you want me to tell them you're looking for them when and if I see them," replied Eric.
"Thank you, Eric, I'd really appreciate that," said Mr. Ken.
Eric and Brad ran off to find their other friends so they all could and play some more with his new speedboat that Mr. Ken had given him for his birthday. As the younger boys approached the beach, they saw Collin and Shelley and Ryan and Megan sitting along the dock, talking
"Hey Collin" yelled Eric, "Mr. Ken is looking for you guys. I think he wants to talk to you."
"Thanks Eric, I'll go find him in a little bit", replied Collin.
At that same time, Ken and Mary were walking around the grounds, watching all the people enjoying themselves, on the rides and playing the games. It was also obvious to them that everyone was also enjoying the food and the free drinks that were also provided.
"You sure did a good job here, Mary, setting up this entire Fourth of July picnic. I really appreciate what you've done for me here, as there is no way that I could have done this myself with everything that Collin and I were involved in during these last few weeks," said Ken.
"I really had a good time doing this," began Mary, "it gave me something different to do, other than my regular interior decorating work. I really got to meet a lot of interesting people and to talk with them. The church groups, that I contacted, were very enthusiastic about helping you on this picnic. It was a way they could make some money, for their churches, while at the same time, they'd get to meet a lot more people around the neighborhood," said Mary.
Down on the dock, the teenagers were continuing to talk about the upcoming summer and what they all had planned to do. The day was beginning to get so hot outside in the sun the four decided to open up the commander and get out of the sun and, hopefully, be a little bit cooler. Inside, the teens sat down as couples with the boys putting their arms around their girlfriend and sort of snuggling with them. Before long, each couple was kissing and it didn't take long for them all to get to 'third' base. During all this time, Collin and Ryan kept eyeing on one another and before long, Collin said that he and Shelley were going downstairs to 'talk'.
As Collin and Shelley walked downstairs in the commander, Ryan got up and closed the opening into the boat, so that he and Megan could also have some privacy.
Just as the four got settled in the Commander, a band began playing. They played 5 or 6 songs before introducing themselves. "Good afternoon, everybody, and Welcome … to Mr. Ken's … 4th of July … Picnic! We're a new band called Sticky Fingers, and Mr. Ken is giving us the opportunity to show off our stuff here today. I hope you'll like us and remember us the next time you need a band. We're available for any occasion, so write down the number you see on the drums there, and call me any time. My name is Lewis Parkington and I play the keyboard and these are my band members: Matthew Harris, our drummer; Alex Reynolds on Bass guitar and our singer; and lastly, Arthur Cisco, our lead guitarist and singer, too."
That said, the band broke out into a series of songs that played the gamut from fast to slow to everything in-between. Some of the picnic goers danced, while others continued to ride the rides and enjoy themselves playing the games or eating some of those wonderful foods.
As the day moved along, the picnic crowd continued to get larger, and the day got hotter. It was then the lifeguards began to earn their money. Loads of people, of all ages, began to go down to the sandy beach to get their feet wet or even swim in the much cooler waters of the lake.
"Hey … NO Horseplay!" yelled Damon, who was one of the guards. Then, there was a 3 whistle blast from another guard, followed by a splash, as that guard jumped in and swam to help a swimmer who was having trouble. The beach got so crowded, so fast, that Eric and his buddies had to stop sailing his RC boat.
"Come on," said Eric, to his friends, "let's take the boat up to the house so it doesn't get broken or stolen even. Then let's get our tokens and have some fun, too!"
All the while this was happening, Collin and Shelley and Ryan and Megan were inside the commander and they had gotten themselves to the point that there were two 'home runs' going on at the same time.
"Collin, I never thought you had any … you know …experience in doing this," a surprised Shelley exclaimed, as she and Collin were in the throngs of their sexual encounter. "I really am impressed, and totally enjoying this. And here, I thought I would have to teach you. Boy was I EVER wrong!"
Collin had to smile to himself, as he quickly remembered his encounter during his Disney cruise when he and Kattie did the 'dirty deed'.
As for Ryan, he needed a few helpful tips on how to make Megan feel her best during their tryst, but it didn't take Ryan long to find his rhythm and soon was giving his girlfriend what she desired.
The teens had been in the commander for almost an hour when they realized it was time for Shelley to meet up with her band, Two X Two, as they were the next band to play at the picnic.
As the girls left, the boys began to straighten up the Commander and then talked about their experiences.
"Boy, Col, I'm sure glad I had that condom with me," said Ryan, as he smiled at his best friend, Collin. "I wasn't going to take one, but something told me that I should be 'ready at all times', and dang, I… I never knew it could feel THAT GOOD!"
"I know what you mean there, Ry! Mine came in handy, too. I never thought I'd get so lucky with Shelley, and in the Commander, even!" replied Collin. "I hope yours was as GOOD as mine," Collin said, with a big smile for his 'bro.
"Col, I remembered what you told me about your first time, on the cruise, but I never knew it would be that Damn GOOD! I thought I knew what to do, after what Meagan and I did together but … but damn, did she ever give me some pointers, and after that it was 'heaven' for sure!"
"Shelley told me she was pleasantly surprised that I knew what to do. She told me that she thought she was going to have to teach me, like what Megan did for you, but was so very HAPPY that I knew what to do and then DID IT!" explained Collin.
"I think we're the luckiest two teens here today," said Ryan.
"We are, at least, at this time of day," joked back Collin. "Hey, did you pick up after yourself? You didn't leave anything lying around, that Bro, or one of the little kids, could find, did you?"
"Come on, Col, how much is there to pick up? We only did it one time which means there were only two pieces to dispose of, and see I have them both here," said Ryan, as he held his open hand out to his 'bro', Collin.
"Good, and I see you remembered to tie your condom, so the fluid can't get out," replied Collin. "Now, let's finish straightening up in here, and close up the Commander and throw this evidence away in a proper receptacle."
Both teens made one last quick look around and then got out onto the dock and closed up the Commander. They immediately went to one of the very large trash cans to 'bury' the evidence. They then hurried up to the bandstand to listen to Shelley's band.
The day continued to be a huge success for Mr. Ken, and of course Mary, who made all the arrangements and who was enthralled over how everything had come together. All day long, people came up to Mr. Ken and thanked him for the terrific Picnic he was throwing, and when they found out it was Mary who organized it all, they offered her their appreciation, too.
Ken excused himself from Mary and again went looking for the 'boys'. He spotted Eric who told him he'd seen his 'big brothers' going inside the Commander, but that was 'hours' ago.
Ken laughed to himself when he thought to himself, 'now what could those boys be doing inside the Commander' and then thinking of what he'd be doing there, if he were their age, he quickly walked to the dock to check out the Commander.
When Ken arrived at the dock, he found the boat to be closed up and no one around. But, his curiosity got the best of him, so he opened up the boat enough that he could look inside for himself.
As soon as he opened the cover, he immediately smelled the telltale aroma that 'sex had happened in here'. Then, just as quickly, Ken smiled to himself, knowing that the boys must have gotten lucky. But, then, he got this sickly feeling in his stomach as he wondered IF they had used the protection he had gotten them. He began to worry that the boys were 'just too young' to become daddies and this could ruin their futures, if they hadn't been careful. The thought made the man sit down on the cushion as he contemplated the ramifications if they boys did get their girls pregnant.
Mr. Ken sat there for a few minutes, thinking how he was going to discuss this incident with the teens when he noticed something laying between two bench seats. He knew it wasn't something that belonged there, as the color didn't match anything remotely associated with the Commander. So, getting up, he went over to investigate what it could be.
When he bent over to retrieve the piece of paper, his mind was still trying to figure out what it was or what it belonged to, when he finally realized what IT was. Standing up, with the very small offending piece of a condom wrapper, in his hands, he got a big smile on his face and instantly knew that the boys had acted responsibly. Ken began to laugh to himself over the way he had felt over the boys not being careful, and here, all the time, they sure HAD BEEN.
Ken became relieved that Collin and Ryan did what he tried to instill in them, when it came to having sex. He was now proud of them and also happy that they had the opportunity to experience those wonderful feelings of man-woman sex. Of course, he now knew that Collin had gotten lucky twice, and he began to laugh at himself for thinking so badly about his 'little bros'. He quickly tightened up the Commander and went looking for the boys.
"Hi, mom," said Ryan, as he went up to her and gave her a great big hug. "This is the best summer party that I've ever been too and to just think it was MY MOM who put this entire thing together!"
"Why, thank you, my son, and Thank You for that hug. It felt wonderful to get one from you, so freely and so out in the open. I hope your reputation won't be destroyed because of it," laughed Mary, as she hugged her son back.
"Moooomm, not here," replied Ryan.
Collin and Shelley and Meagan all laughed at Ryan, and then Collin went and hugged 'mom' Mary, as he, too, thanked her.
"Hey, have you talked to Mr. Ken, yet?" yelled Eric to Collin and Ryan, as he came up to the group just then.
"Not so loud, 'lil bro'," announced Ryan, as he picked up the now eleven year old and gave him a great big brotherly squeeze.
"I … I can't breathe," said Eric.
"Okay, so what's this about us talking to Big Bro?" asked Ryan.
"Well, as I told you when you were down at the dock. Mr. Ken was looking to talk to you, and just a few minutes ago, he asked me again if I'd seen you. So, it must be pretty important if he asked me twice if I'd seen you guys," explained Eric.
"Eric, do you know which way he went looking for us," asked Collin.
"Yeah, he went over towards the dock. I think I saw him open the tarp of the Commander and go inside, Why?" replied Eric.
"Oh, nothing … I hope," answered Collin.
The boys excused themselves and then left their girlfriends so they could go looking for their Big Bro.
It took them a good fifteen minutes to look where they thought they'd find their Big Bro. Finally, they checked his Study and low and behold, that is where he was.
"Hey, Bro, we heard you're looking for us," spoke up Collin, as he and Ryan entered Mr. Ken's office and sat down.
"Yes, boys, I was, but that was like, I don't know, before you two had a bit of fun inside the Commander," replied Mr. Ken.
Both boys looked at one another and then at their Big Bro and then back at one another. Neither of them had any idea that the man knew what they did in the boat.
"Ah, Bro, ah … what do mean 'what we did to the boat?'" asked Ryan.
"It isn't what you did TO the Commander. It is WHAT you guys did INSIDE it!" responded Mr. Ken.
Again, both boys looked at one another, and as they did, their Big Bro began laughing at their antics. And, then, as the teens looked back towards the man, they saw his smile, which made Collin say, "So, you ah …know what we did, ah … in the Commander?"
That said, Mr. Ken threw a little piece of wrapper at them. Collin immediately knew what it was, and he quickly backhanded Ryan's shoulder and said, "I thought you said you picked UP everything?"
Ryan instantly rubbed his shoulder and replied, "I did. … Well, I thought I did!"
Their Big Bro sat back and laughed some more at his two 'Lil Bros'. Then, he picked up the little piece of paper and, after looking at it some more, began saying, "Interesting … how much a tiny little piece of paper … can give so much incriminating information to an investigator. That … and a certain smell that can …" and with that Mr. Ken broke out in a hardy belly laugh.
The teens both gave a sigh of relief when they saw their Big Bro do that, and Collin asked, "So, ah … what does that mean, here Bro?"
Ken took a few seconds to stop his laughing and compose himself and replied, "That you guys got Lucky and that I am proud of you two, for using the protection that I got you guys a few months back. I want you to know that, at first, I was pissed and then I was scared that you'd both be daddies at Easter. Then, I spied that tiny little wrapper paper, and, when I inspected it, I knew you both were responsible enough to make sure you wouldn't be daddies in nine months."
Collin and Ryan both sat relieved that they weren't going to be yelled at for what they did in the Commander. Then they both began to smile back at their Big Bro.
"Oh, so you think this IS funny, do you?" asked Mr. Ken.
Again, both boys looked at one another, and then they both smiled and looked back at their Bog Bro and together they both responded, "Yes!"
All three of them then began to laugh at once, and when they recovered, they all talked about what happened in the Commander earlier in the day. When their discussion was over, Mr. Ken hugged both teens and thanked them for being responsible teenagers and then shook their hands for being two lucky guys. Then, the three of them went back out to enjoy some more of the 4th of July Picnic.
The boys caught up with their girlfriends and together they rode a few of the rides and after that, they sat down for a nice evening meal. The foursome talked about the crowd and how much the people were enjoying themselves and that it was the 'most perfect day' they could ever remember.
As the day got long, the ride operators turned on their lights and the entire Three Finger Cove had taken on the appearance of an Amusement Park.
Elsewhere on the grounds, Mary and Ken and Judy all sat together enjoying the music and the atmosphere the Picnic had given the Cove. They all reveled in the feelings of freedom and happiness that everyone there seemed to exude.
"Mr. Ken wasn't Collin's grandmother supposed to be here, today?" asked Judy.
"Yes … as a matter of fact, she was. I was so busy walking around and talking to people, that I totally forgot about that. I sure hope nothing happened to her. I was inside talking to the boys, a bit ago, but even Collin never said anything about her," answered Ken.
"My bet is he is so preoccupied with Shelley, that he doesn't even remember himself," spoke up Mary. "He really doesn't trust that she will abide by her promise to let him choose where he will live. I sure hope she will, but … you just never know with someone who gets everything she wants."
Ken just sat there letting that statement sink in a bit and then he stood up and announced he was going to check his answering machine and maybe call Andy. And with that, he was off.
All over the Cove, the sights and sounds and smells of an Amusement Park permeated the night air. As the night moved on, the crowd began to get anxious over the prospect of a huge fireworks display, like the one that filled the sky over the lake back at New Year's.
Collin and Shelley and Ryan and Meagan went looking for Eric and his friends, so they could all enjoy the fireworks together. Collin suggested they all sit out at the end of the 'finger' that Bro had extended so he could create the cove to store the boats. He just knew that that's where the 'best seat in the house' would be.
Meanwhile, as Mr. Ken walked to the front of the estate, to enter through the front door, to get to his office, one of the Police Explorers called him over and told him a man had been asking for him and was waiting up at the main entrance.
Ken stood there perplexed, as to why the man would stay there, rather than enter the estate and enjoy the festivities. Not knowing exactly what the man wanted, he accompanied the Explorer up to the Main Gate.
"I understand you're looking for me," simply stated Mr. Ken.
The man shook Mr. Ken's hand and asked if he was THEE Mr. Kenneth Richard Thomas.
Ken answered in the affirmative, and the man handed him an envelope. After the man handed the paper to Mr. Ken, the man said, "Have a good day," and hurriedly left.
Ken had no earthly idea what that was all about, so he just stuck the envelope in his pocket and proceeded to his Study. As soon as he got there, he checked his answering machine and cell phone and his email to see if there was any attempt from Grammy to contact him about the 4th of July Picnic. He thought that it was strange she hadn't let them know she wasn't coming, and began to call Collin's Uncle Andy but then remembered the envelope in his pocket.
The envelope was all crumpled from being put into the pocket so Ken smoothed it out as best he could. The only markings on the envelope were his full name and the address of Three Finger Cove. Intrigued, Mr. Ken took out a letter opener and sliced through the envelope top. He then took out the papers inside, and seeing Grammy's handwriting, he began to read.
Outside, the night was getting darker by the minute and everyone knew that soon the fireworks would be shot into the air and would illuminate the night's sky for 30 to 40 minutes.
"I wonder where Bro is?" asked Collin, to no one in particular.
Just then, Mary and Judy joined them at the 'finger' tip and Mary replied that "Ken was going to his Study last time she talked to him. "He said something about your grandmother not being here, yet."
"Yeah … YEAH, she isn't here, is she? I've been so busy today, doing things that I even forgot she was supposed to be here. I sure hope nothing bad happened to her," offered Collin.
It was just then that the first firework shot skyward and with a loud burst a huge flower appeared in the night's sky. After that, about every eight seconds, another firework shot into the sky and that continued for a very, long time.
"I sure hope Bro is watching these awesome fireworks … that HE paid for," teased Ryan.
"I tried calling him, but he isn't answering," said Collin.
"There is a good watching place just next to the outside doors to the pool and I'll bet he is there," said Mary. "I saw him there New Year's Eve when the fireworks were going off, so he could be there since it is too dark, now, to come down to this picnic table."
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the 40 minute display. The fireworks could be seen everywhere from along the lake shore and from the boats out on the lake. The people knew that when the finale was over that that was the end of the day's fun. Some attendees still had a few tokens left and tried to either ride a few more amusements before they left, or get some of that awesome food, to go.
Collin and Ryan began to walk their girlfriends up to the main gate, where one of their mom's was to meet them and take them home. The teens walked as slow as they could, as they knew traffic would be snarled and thus delaying the inevitable. Of course, each couple shared a few kisses along the way as they talked about the fun they had during the entire day.
Mary walked Judy and Eric and his friends to her car, so they could all go home, together. But, seeing the horde of people walking back through the Main Gate, they just opened the car doors and sat down and played "Best & Worst" until the crowd thinned out some more.
It was close to eleven-thirty PM when Collin and Ryan and Mary finally said good night to their friends and girlfriends, and 'lil bro'. The three slowly walked back into the estate, to find Mr. Ken and thank him royally for the BEST 4th of July Picnic EVER!
The threesome were talking loud, and having a great time, as they walked up to Mr. Ken's Study. As they rounded the corner of the Study, they saw that something just wasn't right. There sat Mr. Ken, with huge tears falling down his face which were falling onto some sort of papers. Mary quickly took the papers away, to try and dry them, while Collin began to ask Mr. Ken if he was alright, and if there was anything wrong.
Then, not getting any answers, Collin and Ryan both began to get scared as they had never seen their Big Bro like that, ever.
Just then, Mary yelled, "Oh NO!" and quickly sat down in one of the leather chairs.
"Wha … what is it, mom?" asked Ryan.
Mary handed the wet papers to him and Collin, and both boys began to read what they were. It didn't take them but a few moments to realize what those papers were all about, and they, too, abruptly sat down. Collin didn't stay seated for long when he got up and shouted, "That son of a bitch!" and ran crying from the Study, and up the stairs to his room.
"Mom … what do those papers mean?" asked Ryan. "Do they have something to do with Collin and his grandmother?"
Mary went to her son and hugged him close. She had tears flowing hard and fast, but before she could begin to tell her son what the papers meant, Ken, too, stood straight up, and with tears still in his eyes, said, "Collin IS right, 'she IS a SON of a BITCH!'.
Then looking down at Mary and Ryan, he said, "I need to go to him. Please let yourselves out, would you?"
And with that, Ken had gone to search out Collin.