Three Finger Cove – Robert
Copyright © 2012 - 2015
All rights reserved
All rights reserved
Robert had a very restless sleep that night. All night long he'd continually wake up, watching, waiting to see if his new foster dad would walk in and do what he hated to have done to him. He also kept thinking about how the lady from CPS could even take him to live with a man, who was not married, knowing what he had to endure the past two years. He felt it didn't make any sense but he was here, now, and couldn't do anything about it, except give the man his two weeks, and then see if he'd let him go, as he said he would.
The next morning, Ms. Judy Turner returned, to the Cove, to talk some more, with Mr. Ken, about Robert 'Bobby' Harrison.
"Can I get you some coffee and some of Momma's 'magic' sweets she makes," offered Mr. Ken to his visitor, Judy Turner.
"Thanks, Mr. Ken that would be wonderful!"
"Now, what else do you have for me, concerning my new resident, Robert Harrison?" asked Mr. Ken. "He and I sat and talked some last night, but I know there is a lot more to his story than what he told me."
"I'm sorry Mr. Ken for dumping him on you, so quickly, last night, but I had nowhere else I could put him, other than, well, at my place. I really appreciated your taking Bobby…'
"Robert", reminded Mr. Ken.
"Oh, yes, Robert, I'm sorry," corrected Judy. "I was wondering where you were going with that and when he asked you and you told him I thought that was ingenious of you for thinking to do that for him. But … I do have to ask you about that 'other' thing you offered him."
"And what was that Ms. Judy?" asked Ken
"You know … that part about him getting the chance in … two weeks to decide if he wanted to stay here or not," offered Judy.
"Well, I figured, if he stayed here two weeks, he'd be hooked by this place and everything and he'd really want to stay. But, I really wanted to let him feel like he was being a part of the decision process. Granted, it could blow up in my face, but I was willing to try to gain some of his confidence, since he had just met me."
"Oh, okay, I can go along with that. But, if he decides to want to leave in two weeks you're going to have to help me find another place for him. I'm afraid his history is such that…"
And before Judy could finish her sentence, Mr. Ken said, "And what about his history? Robert and I had a talk last night, after you left, and I sure found out quite a bit about him and his father and foster fathers and brothers. How did all that happen? And how did it get to be so that he was placed into two residences that did the same thing to him? I just can't believe CPS would allow that to happen!"
Judy Turner was completely caught off guard by Ken's abrupt demeanor in regards to the operations of CPS about Bobby, no, Robert Harrison. She knew she was being put on the spot but that wasn't new to her being the Director but she had never seen this side of the man, before. She knew she had to come clean, and fast, so that she could get Mr. Ken on her side and hopefully work his miracle on Robert as he had with Collin, eighteen months ago.
"And," said Ken,
"I'm sorry, Mr. Ken, I was caught off guard by your … well, okay, let me be completely honest with you about Bobb, err Robert. You see, Damn, I don't know how to say this Ken," said an exasperated Judy Turner.
"How about you start at the top, that usually works the best," smiled Ken Thomas, as he looked over at the older woman.
Judy took a drink of coffee and began her story. It took her almost 40 minutes to explain how Robert's case handler let things fall through the cracks and then not doing her follow-ups as required. Telling how she then, somehow, was able to pass her case off to another case worker who just did the minimum to get the case off her own desk.
Judy went on to tell how the first case worker hadn't done the required home and background checks of either the first or the second foster fathers and just placed Robert there with the 'intentions' of doing so. Then, when she got wind of what happened in those two homes her case was passed on to the second case worker who hadn't checked out the histories of the older teens in Robert's last foster home.
As she finished telling the story, Judy just sat there, with tears falling down her face, being totally embarrassed for having told her friend, Mr. Ken, how badly Children's Protective Services had failed Robert. She began to offer her excuse but fell short as she knew as the Director; all these problems ultimately fell at her feet.
Ken saw the distress in Judy's face so he went over to the woman and tried to comfort her as best he knew how.
"Ken… to be honest with you, I had no earthly idea of how we were going to help this young man out. That's why I turned to you! I know how much we clashed in the beginning of our association, but ... well; I came to see you as a 'miracle' worker as you repeatedly took care of Collin and the turmoil he had to endure. … You had put everything aside and focused all your energy into Collin and … and I saw how you helped him recover after just going through a most harrowing experience. What I saw in Robert's file made me hope that maybe ... just maybe, you had a few more 'miracles' left in you, that you could use to help out Robert.
Ken sat there thinking of what Ms. Judy had just told him. He was flattered by what she had said about his working 'miracles' with Collin, but he knew in his heart it was trial and error and then the 'brotherly love' the two formed that proved to be what Collin needed the most.
Just then Chief walked into the Study without his new 'master' Robert.
"Hello, girl, where's your new boy?" asked Mr. Ken.
Chief didn't do anything, right then, other to go to her 'true' master and put her leg up for an ear scratch.
"Ah, so you want some attention and some ear scratches before answering my question, is it?" laughed Ken, while Judy looked on.
After a few ear scratches, Mr. Ken said to his dog, "Okay, that's enough. Now, where is Robert?"
All Chief did was run to the doorway and act as if she wanted the man to go with her. Ken knew from the way she acted, from so many times before, that was what she wanted him to do. Ken immediately got out of his chair and followed the dog up to Robert's bedroom.
The man did the 'Three Knock' Rule before he entered Robert's bedroom only to find the lad was deep into a thrashing dream and seemed to be fighting his demons. Ken had always heard that it could be harmful to wake up a person in such a deep state of sleep but he felt he needed to wake the boy and get him away from his tormentors.
"Robert … Robert … ROBERT!" loudly yelled Mr. Ken, the third time, as he attempted to wake the thrashing lad.
"NO, DON'T TOUCH ME. LEAVE ME ALONE," yelled the boy, while still in his dream state and his eyes still closed.
"Robert … Robert … ROBERT!" yelled Mr. Ken, again, to the preteen while lightly shaking him in order to wake him.
That time he was more successful in getting the sleeping boy to open his eyes and see that he was no longer in his dream but was now awake and was being held by his 'new' foster father.
Seeing he was being lovingly held by the man, he only met last night, the lad said, "Y…you saved me! Thank you for coming and getting me away from those men who were after me." Then after saying that the boy hugged the man tightly not wanting to be let go of just yet.
"You're going to be okay, now, Robert. It was just a very bad dream," offered the new foster father, to his charge.
"Come on now, it's time to get up. I shouldn't have let you sleep this long, but I thought you needed it to get caught up on your sleep," said Mr. Ken, who then lightly pushed the boy away from him some and then added, "You going to be okay, Robert?"
The lad looked up into the man's eyes and seeing genuine concern replied, "Yes … I think so. Thank you again for saving me," said the boy, who then hugged the man, again.
Ken returned the hug and then said, "Okay, you remember where the bathroom is?"
Then, after getting a positive nod, Mr. Ken said, "I'll leave you to get yourself cleaned up and then I expect you to come down to my Study so we can get you something to eat. I don't think Momma Maria will be too unhappy to cook you a nice breakfast, seeing this was your first night here. So, what do you say; you going to be okay with that?"
"Yeah, I mean … yes, sir," said Robert.
Ruffling his hair, Ken said. "I'll meet you in my Study." The man then left the boy all alone, well, except for Chief wagging her tail.
Out in the hallway the man ran into Ms. Judy and asked her, "Did you see, hear, everything?"
"Yes, I did and I must say you really knew how to handle him. I never saw you do too much with Collin but if that was any indication … then both boys are very lucky to have you in their lives. I left Robert's folder on your desk for you to read so you can glean out anything I forgot to tell you. I can pick it up tonight or tomorrow, there's no rush," said Ms. Judy Turner.
"Thanks. After we eat, I'll take Robert over and try to enroll him into the Middle School. Knowing the kids are still on their Winter Holiday, they may not be open. After that, then we'll go out and get him some new clothes. I just hope everything you think you see in me can help this boy out. My bet is that dream was of what those men and teens did to him. I probably should give Doctor Doug a call and get Robert an appointment. Collin loved the way the man helped him, through all of his rough spots, and my bet is he can also help 'our' Robert, too," smiled Mr. Ken.
When the two finally reached the Cove's front door, Ms. Judy hugged Mr. Ken and said, "Thank you. We'll talk later."
Robert soon joined Mr. Ken in his Study and the two immediately went looking for Momma Maria to see if she would fix Robert something for breakfast; and boy, did she ever! She made Robert bacon and egg breakfast tacos, with extra eggs on the side, along with fresh squeezed orange juice. For Mr. Ken she made a fresh pot of coffee as he had already eaten his breakfast.
It was during breakfast that Ms. Johnston came into the Kitchen Nook for some coffee that she saw the boy and man sitting there. Ignoring the boy, Mildred said, "Good morning, Mr. Ken."
Ken immediately recognized that Mildred had totally ignored Robert so he replied, "Hello, Ms. Johnston, you remember Robert, from last night?"
"Yes … I remember him. I saw he was eating and didn't want to interrupt the boy," sarcastically answered Mildred. Then she added, "I have loads of things to take care of today, so, I'll be off." She quickly exited the kitchen area.
Neither the man nor the boy said anything to one another about what just happened. They just sat there with their own thoughts.
After breakfast, Mr. Ken asked Robert to show him the clothes the lad had brought with him. He explained he needed to know what new clothes the boy needed as he would be starting school soon.
In Robert's room, Mr. Ken began looking at the minimal amount of clothes that Robert had brought with him the night before. The man asked about them and all Robert could answer was that was all they allowed him to take. Mr. Ken got a bit perturbed by that, but he figured it was what it was and, besides, it would give him a chance to buy the lad a whole new wardrobe, in the weeks to come.
Then, Mr. Ken asked Robert why he had picked that particular room, knowing there were six 'family dedicated' bedrooms to choose from. Hearing the question, Robert just stood there, at first; not knowing what to say after, replaying in his mind, what Mrs. Johnston had said the night before.
Robert didn't know what to tell the man. He knew Mr. Ken owned the house but Mrs. Johnston told him that SHE made ALL the decisions. He could tell the man was waiting for an answer but he couldn't decide what to tell him.
Ken saw the confusion in the lad's face so he decided to move on and said to Robert, "If you'd like to see the other bedrooms again, and maybe change your mind, I have no problem with that."
"You mean it?" enthusiastically announced Robert.
"Sure, it was late and dark last night and maybe you didn't see the wonderful views some of the other bedrooms have. So, what do you say … let's go and pick us out another bedroom?"
A smile immediately came to Robert's face and the two walked across the hall and began checking out the other bedrooms. After ten minutes of taking quick looks of the remaining five rooms and five more minutes of deciding between the three bedrooms that faced the lake, Robert finally choose the room that, incidentally, both Ryan and Collin had chosen.
Now that Robert had chosen a much better room to call his own, Ken helped the lad move his meager belongings. As Robert was putting his clothes into a dresser drawer, Ms. Johnston walked by, looked in and stopped and walked into the room with a purpose.
"I thought I told you your room was over there!" yelled Mildred Johnston, as she pointed to where the other room was located.
Robert didn't know what to do. He remembered what Ms. Johnston had told him the night before, but he also knew that Mr. Thomas was the one who said he could choose another room.
"So, what do you have to say for yourself? You whelp!" snarled Ms. Johnston.
Just then Mr. Ken came into the room. He heard what Mildred had just said, and caused his hackles to rise, but he knew that was neither the time nor the place to question Mildred about it so he answered for Robert.
"It was I who said he could move, Millie. It was late last night when he chose his room so I gave him the option to revisit them all and choose another. I think he did a better job of it this time, don't you think?"
Mildred did not respond but made a direct exit from the room.
Looking at Robert, Ken asked, "What was that all about?"
Robert stood there with a blank stare on his face so Ken added, "I can't help you out here if you don't fill me in on what happened last night when Ms. Johnston brought you up here to pick your room. I heard what she told you about the elevator and just now how she talked to you. So … what do you say … you think you can tell me what was this all about!"
Robert didn't know what to do or say. He knew Mr. Ken owned the place but he also knew that Ms. Johnston told him that 'she' made all the decisions and he wasn't sure what he should say.
Seeing there was still some angst in Roberts face, Mr. Ken went over to the preteen and hugged him some and then said, "Come on. Tell me. What was that all about?"
Hesitantly, Robert began, "Well … last night … when she, Ms. Johnston, brought me up here, she said that the room I was in was 'the room that I picked'."
While Robert was answering Mr. Ken's question, Mildred Johnston was standing just outside the door. When she bolted from the room, a few moments earlier, she didn't go any further than the hallway. She wanted to know what was being said so she could 'cover' her actions if need be.
As she continued to listen, Mildred heard Robert say, "She called me a sniveling baby boy and told me she RAN Three Finger Cove and made ALL the decisions here and if I crossed her …"
Just as Robert was about to finish his sentence, Mildred came rushing back into the room, slapped the boy hard across his face and yelled at the top of her lungs, "I said NO SUCH Thing you … YOU LIAR! YOU CHOSE that bedroom Yourself! And HOW dare you say THAT I make all the decisions when it is Mr. Thomas who owns this wonderful place!"
It got very quiet in the room after all that Mildred Johnston had just said and done. While Millie just stared at Robert, daring him to respond, Mr. Ken stood there not believing his seeing a side of Ms. Johnston he never knew existed.
Robert rubbed the sting out of his face and remembered telling himself that 'he was going to fight back from now on' and so he looked directly in Mildred's face and yelled back, "YES, you DID! You did tell me to take that awful room and you also told me that YOU RUN Three Finger Cove and made all the decisions even if Mr. Ken thinks he's in charge. You also told me that if I cross you you'd make this place a living hell for me."
Mildred got very angry at hearing Robert talk back to her, and in front of Mr. Ken none-the-less. She knew from back when she was a wet-nurse and nanny to the children of some of the 'old' names of Texas she could do whatever she needed to do to keep the children in line and hit them or even beat them, if necessary, to make them mind. So, she had no hesitation what so ever when, she reared up her hand again to strike-out at the lad.
Ken, seeing what Mildred was about to do, grabbed her arm and stopped her before she could carry out her attack.
Mildred became incensed at being stooped and yelled, "How dare you stop me from protecting myself! I will not stand here and be lied about! That lying whelp needs to be taught a lesson, you hear me?"
Ken immediately took command and stated matter-of-factly, "Robert is MY RESPONSIBILITY … if there is going to be ANY discipline meted out here it will be done by ME! You HEAR ME, Mildred?"
Not getting a response from Ms. Johnston, Ken yelled, "I Said … DID YOU HEAR ME, Mildred?"
If looks could kill, the look Mildred Johnston gave Mr. Ken Thomas, right then and there would, have put the young man in his grave. But knowing she was not the one in control right then, and would have to bide her time, Mildred Johnston simply answered, "Yes."
Mr. Ken still incensed from what Mildred had done and was about to do, said to the woman, "I thought you said you had loads of things to do today? I think that maybe you should get to them, don't you? We'll talk about this later."
Mildred didn't answer but turned on her heel and walked out of the room and this time took the elevator down and exited the house.
"Robert, I am very sorry that ever happened. I've never seen that side of Millie and I will make sure to discuss this incident with her. … And thank you … for telling me what transpired last night. I know it took a lot of courage to do that, especially in front of her.
"Please remember … that I can't help you out and or fix things if you don't tell me about them. Yes, this is all new to you and … well; I hope this won't go against me and Chief when it comes time for you to decide if you want to stay here with us or not."
Robert just stood there, rubbing his face, thinking through what just happened and what Mr. Ken had said. He didn't know what to say or do and hoped Mr. Ken would make the next move.
Mr. Ken also knew, as the adult and foster father/guardian, he was responsible to get things moving along so he stooped down to look at Robert's reddened face and said, "You going to be okay? I can take you to see Doc Powers … if you want me to … or, if not, then … we can do the things I planned for us today?"
Giving the lad a chance to respond and not getting any, Ken said, 'Come on then, let's get a move on and get you enrolled in school and then some new clothes. How does that sound?"
Robert looked up to the man and said, "I like the idea of getting some new clothes, but (with a smirk on his face added) do I have ta go to school?"