Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 61

Posted: 30 Jun 16

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2016
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

It was Monday, and the last week of the school year. Well, if you asked, the kids would have told you, there were only 3½ days left of school, that week. The kids had a half-day on Thursday and they would be out of school until the third week of August. Everyone seemed to be back to school including Owen, Nicholas, Easton and Cody. But two still remained missing; Brody and Logan. Logan did come to school that morning, but only just before lunch, as he had to get his doctor's permission, in order to return to school.

Many of Logan's friends had stopped by his house, over the weekend, and saw his black and blue eyes and the, now smaller, bandage covering his nose. That afternoon was the first opportunity for Robert to see the damage Brody had done to his friend, with just one punch. To those who hadn't seen Logan, up until now, his appearance, with two healing black and blue eyes, and the large bandage covering his nose, looked grotesque to them, whilemany couldn't comprehend how one hit, to the face, could cause such damage.

As soon as he saw him, Robert went over to the teenager and apologized for not coming over, that weekend, but, he explained, he and Mr. Ken had gone to Collin's high school graduation. Logan told Robert he totally understood and thanked him for at least calling and checking up, on him. Then, Robert and Logan sought out Cody. They wanted to check up on the lad and see how he was doing, after missing most of school, the previous week.

The boys found Cody in good spirits and the preteen even apologized for not doing more to keep Brody, and his buddies, from attacking them. Both of the attacked lads told Cody he did the right thing, by going to get Mr. Ken. Cody thanked his friends, for saying that, because, afterwards, he told them he felt real bad for not trying to help and he just couldn't focus, on anything. Cody further told them he talked to Doctor Doug who made him realize he actually did the right thing by going for help. He explained, to them, that Doctor Doug told him if he hadn't gone for Mr. Ken his two friends could have possibly been hurt even more. The three then shared a group hug to show they were all still good friends.

While the three lads talked about Brody, and the ordeal the teen put them through, Mr. Ken was taking a phone call from Jules Diamond, the private investigator he hired. Jules called him to tell him what he found out about the security people, at the waterpark. The investigator found out the Security Contract had not gone out for bids, but that a certain County Commissioner, a Judge Joseph Jouseff, got his brother-in-law, Jeremiah Mason and his friend, the contract, somehow.

Jules also told Mr. Ken that there were supposed to be eight guards hired, to cover different shifts, days off, and illnesses, but that the man hadn't yet done that and there was no indication he intended to do that, at all. Just he and, the other man, an Elliot Anthoney, were working at the park all weekend collecting double time, plus Holiday pay.

Jules had even more information for him. His crack investigator's team found out that it wasn't Raleigh Mitchel or William Shappell, the two teenagers who attacked Collin and Ryan, at the same waterpark two years ago, who were calling the Anderson home, and pretending to be Mr. Schwimminger. The man said they learned it was actually Easton Mitchel, Raleigh's younger brother. The man told his employer his team actually heard the boy calling from an old fashioned pay phone.

Jules revealed his men had followed the lad and videotaped the lad punching in the code, *67, that hides the calling phone number, and take a cloth and use it over the mouthpiece. They figured the lad's older brother must have told him, about doing that, as most people don't even remember there is a way to hide, or block, the phone number from the phone you are using. Mr. Ken thanked Jules for all his hard work and told the man a check would be in the mail.

Ken Thomas also took a phone call from DA George Morris. The man wanted to set up some review times, with Robert, so they would be ready come the following Thursday, the first day of the trial. The District Attorney asked if a few hours on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday mornings, beginning at 10 AM, would work out for the lad and, of course, Mr. Ken. Ken Thomas knew he had to cooperate with the DA so he agreed with the times but, with the proviso, that if something important came up they could delay the review. The two men both put the times in their calendars.

Later that afternoon, Ken Thomas went and retrieved the mail. He immediately recognized the thick package the Rescue volunteer said he was sending. When Mr. Ken got back to his Study, he called Judge Barnaby. The two agreed to meet, the next morning, at the Judge's office, and would open the package, in front of witnesses. Ken Thomas said he would bring his attorney as his own personal witness.

Today became a busy day for Mr. Ken. He finally received some good information back about his manufacturing facility that had been on the verge of going on strike. The last time he talked to his team, Ken gave his negotiation team some directions, to talk to the minions, and tell them once production came back, to a certain level, he'd reopen negotiations, and otherwise, he'd close the plant.

His team called back telling him a majority of the employees had quit their union and started a new one. They relayed they wanted the plant to remain open and agreed to bring production back and reduce the returns and rejects. They agreed to abide by the requests, by the owner, as long as his guarantees, of renegotiations, were in writing. Ken Thomas let out a sigh of relief, at that news, as that was one less item off his mind.

That night, after dinner, 'dad' Ken took Robert aside and asked him if he would like to do a "School's Out" Party, on Thursday, after school. That offer caught the boy off guard as he never, in his young life, thought he could ever do such a thing. The lad enthusiastically agreed to the party and the planning began taking place. They decided to invite the entire 7th grade, but that presented a problem, as what to do about Joanna and Kaelyn. Mr. Ken suggested he invite them and leave it up to them to decide if they wanted to come, or not.

Once the invitees were agreed upon, they decided on simple fare, such as, hamburgers, hot dogs, and their fixings, potato salad, baked beans, chips, different sodas, iced tea and cupcakes for desert. They also agreed the lake water would still be too cold, to really swim, although the beach may make for some fun games. The indoor pool would be open, as well, as the rest rooms there and the restrooms located under the garage area would be accessible.

All Robert had to do was take the general invitation to school, the next day, and ask the students to either tell him, the next day, Wednesday, if they would come, or to call him, or his 'dad', that or the following night. Mr. Ken said he would take the responsibility to get the Party 'off the ground' by contacting a caterer to provide everything.

After the two finalized the plans, for the "School's Out" Party, 'dad' Ken told the lad about his phone call with DA Morris. 'Dad' Ken told his 'son' he agreed to allow Mr. Morris to come over, to The Cove, and review with the boy for a few hours on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday, beginning at 10 AM. Robert wasn't the least bit happy, about the trial review, but knew he had to do that, so his parent's trial would be a success, and find them both guilty.

Robert couldn't wait to talk to Eric, and get to school, that morning, and tell everyone about the "School's Out" Party, at The Cove. Eric said he could help Robert contact their classmates and try to get them to respond, at least, by tomorrow. As they were telling their classmates, about the Party, one student asked if any of the teachers had been invited. That was something Robert hadn't even considered. Robert wasn't too sure what he should do, but he told the student he'd talk to his 'dad', that night, and see what he thought. He and Eric then found a quiet corner to discuss it, since Robert was still new, to the school, and didn't know the teachers all that well.

The phone at The Cove rang and on the other end Ken Thomas found Wayne Mitchell, from Central Texas Decorating, calling. Mr. Ken knew Wayne graduated that spring, but couldn't figure out why the new graduate would be calling him. He soon learned the new graduate would soon be sending out resume's and asked Mr. Ken if could use him, as a reference. The two talked some and eventually the conversation got around to Wayne's interest, in working with children.

Ken Thomas asked Wayne if he was going to submit a resume to Child Protective Services since that was his eventual passion. Wayne told Mr. Ken he would love to but felt he needed to take a few follow-on courses to get more 'book-learning' experience, in Social Services. That was when Mr. Ken asked the young grad if he thought about doing an internship, with CPS, to get the 'hands-on' experience, he might lack. The recent graduate told the owner of The Cove, he would need a full time job, to pay his expenses, first, before he could afford to work, for free, at an internship.

The two men talked at length about Wayne's future plans, but they always came back to working with kids, in the 'system'. The recent college graduate lamented that he'd been in 'system', most of his life, and knew, 'first-hand', how the kids got treated, most times. Before they finished their call, Mr. Ken readily agreed to allow Wayne to use him as a reference and, since the young man was single, and could use a good meal, he invited him to the "School's Out' Party that Thursday afternoon. Wayne tried to beg off but Ken was insistent, and won out. Wayne said he would arrive at about 2 o'clock, that afternoon.

Later that afternoon, before dinner, Robert sought out his 'dad' to talk to him about what a student asked about the teachers being invited, to the Party. Robert told his 'dad' he didn't have a problem with them coming, but he didn't know the teacher's, all that well, plus the Party was supposed to be for the students, he thought. The lad also told his 'dad' abut the conversation he had with Eric. The boy said his Best Friend thought it was a good idea as they had been invited to the Holiday Party, along with the entire class. Robert told his 'dad' he didn't know what to do. After 'dad' and 'son' talked, some more, it was decided to invite the teachers and give them the same option, as they did the students, to be there, or not.

Wednesday morning came sooner than Robert wanted it. He was beginning to 'over' think his upcoming testimony, at his parent's trial, and now with the "School's Out" Party and, with the decisions he had to make, he felt he was burning the candle at both ends. On the other hand, he was also very happy, because he had only that day and a half day of school left. The preteen shed his bed covers and stood up and knew he had his morning friend with him. He walked over to the door length mirror and admired the way he looked, standing there in his boxer briefs. He couldn't believe how big, down there, he was getting and how good it felt to 'exercise' his boy-toy, whenever he could. He made sure to do that in the shower that morning.

At breakfast, 'dad' and 'son' talked about the day ahead and getting some firm commitments from his classmates for the next day's "School's Out' Party. As their conversation continued, 'dad' Ken dumped another Party on the lad. He wanted to know what kind of party the lad wanted for his upcoming thirteenth birthday. Mr. Ken reminded him that Eric would have his birthday, eight days after his, and 'dad' wanted to have a joint birthday party, for them both. He then described what he did for Collin and Ryan's Sixteenth Birthday party.

School went fast that day for Robert, and the rest of the middle school students as they just went through the motions of going to class. Robert did talk to all his teachers and invited them to the "School's Out" Party and apologized for not asking them yesterday. He also made a special stop by Mr. Chassen's room, to invite him, even though he was an 8th grade teacher. He wanted to thank the man for everything he did for his friend, Logan. The man readily accepted.

That night, Mr. Ken and Robert talked about the birthday party and who to invite and what to have. It was agreed they'd again invite the entire 7th grade class and they would celebrate everyone who turned thirteen, that year. They would tell everyone 'NO Presents' since this was a celebration of everyone who turned one year older. It was also decided to have brisket, ribs, turkey breast, potato salad, beans, creamed corn and all the fixings. The drinks would be all sorts of sodas and ice tea, sweet and unsweetened. Mr. Ken also decided to order a large birthday cake. The date would be the weekend after the trial had begun.

Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day, for a Party, especially where one hundred, or so, people would attend. The caterer Mr. Ken had used exclusively, these past years, was, again, front and center to provide all the foods, and drinks, for the "School's Out" Party. The owner of The Cove also hired a DJ to play music, for the party. At 12:30, the invitees began to arrive.

The boys and girls, at first, congregated in their own groups, as they tended to do, at school. But, Mr. Ken had other ideas and got the kids together for the bean-bag toss, and Washers, which used, well, very large washers. He also got most of the boys and many of the girls to change into their swim suits so they could enjoy the beach and get in the cold lake water, or use the indoor pool. As the DJ played the latest tunes, some of the girls began to dance together. Ken saw that as an opportunity to get the sexes together.

'Dad' Ken got 'son' Robert into 'Host' mode and tried to convince him to dance with a girl, no-less. 'Dad' Ken explained that if he would dance then more of the boys would dance, too. Unfortunately, Robert told his 'dad' he never learned to dance and wasn't about to embarrass himself 'out there'. The two co-Hosts put their heads together and came up with a workable solution.

"Can I have everyone's attention over here," called out Mr. Ken. "My 'son' has an idea for us to have more fun than we are already having. It's all yours Robert!"

Robert looked a deer caught in the headlights when he stepped out onto the large patio outside the Family Great Room. He felt even worse but knew his 'dad' was doing this for him and his friends and he needed to 'step-up'.

"OK, everyone … we are here to Party that school's finally out. And, one way, we can do this is to dance. … Yea, yea, I know … us boys don't know how to dance. But … what I want us all to do is to form dance lines and the ones who do know how to dance I will ask them to try to teach the rest of us … yea, yea, me too, how to, at least, not act like dorks. Come on now guys, and girls, get some lines working and those who know how to dance I would ask you to step out front. My 'dad' will get the DJ to play some simple sounds so that it doesn't take a lot of dance moves to have fun. What we'll do is have the 'dance instructors' up front show us the moves to the song and then we'll try to mimic them. OK, let's get started," finished up Robert.

It took about twenty minutes for many of the boys to catch onto many of the dance moves before they felt comfortable enough to dance with the 'girls'. Robert and Eric led the boys into asking a girl to dance and before you knew it many of the boys did the same while the not-so-shy-girls did the asking, too. After that, the Party got into full swing.

Wayne did arrive as promised and sought out Mr. Ken. He told the man he felt out of place, amongst all those kids, but Mr. Ken reminded him that if he was interested in working with kids he needed to be able to interact, with them, and talk to them at their level. Wayne thought about it, for a few minutes, and before long he was out there dancing, with the girls.

As the day progressed, many of the boys, and a number of girls, stopped by to talk to him to find out who he was and why was he there. Wayne told them the truth, that Mr. Ken invited him and that he was the one responsible for all the Christmas decorations, the past three years. That was enough for them and they talked to him as if he was a 'friend'. Wayne began to feel more at ease with the soon to be 8th graders and felt like he was in his 'element' there, and he realized he really enjoyed talking with the kids.

Dan Chassen also appeared and thanked Mr. Ken for the invitation. Ken had to correct the man's thinking as he told him that it was, purely, Robert's idea. Ken Thomas told Dan that Robert really appreciated what he had done for his friend, Logan, and he wanted to say 'Thank You' for being there for the boy, and helping. That explanation took Dan by surprise and he had to sniffle back a few tears knowing how Robert, in particular, saw what the man did and wanted a way to thank him.

The party, now in full swing, got even livelier when many of the boys and girls decided to use the indoor pool. Mr. Ken had hired three qualified life guards, from the high school, to watch over the kids. That gave Mr. Ken a feeling of safety knowing the kids would be watched and kept from getting hurt.

When it came time to eat, the caterer had the hamburgers and hot dogs all waiting, in their hot chafing dishes, along with the potato salad and baked beans right beside them. All the kids needed to do was grab a plate, dinnerware, the bun they needed and they could fill their plates up. With two lines it didn't take all that much time to feed the boys and girls. The adults watched and helped out, where they could, with spilled food or getting a soda or iced tea. Then the adults got their plates filled, and sat down, to eat.

The teachers spread out and some sat with the kids. Dan Chassen and Wayne Mitchell sat down with Mr. Ken and they talked about the kids, and the party, in general. It was while they were eating that Robert and Logan came to their table. Logan wanted to personally thank Mr. Chassen for everything he did for him, at school.

"Mr. Chassen, I want to personally thank you for all the things you've done, for me. If it wasn't for you, when they thought I had attacked Emily, I probably would have been expelled. Then, when Kaelyn hit me with that apple, and I was unconscious, you took charge, you helped me, and most of all you got the ambulance for me. But, the best thing you did for me was to counsel me to talk to Robert, here. You were right about Robert having 'been there' and that he could help me get through all the harassment that I got from all those girls, and he did. Thank you, again, for watching out for me," finished Logan, who then reached out to the man and gave him a hug.

Wayne watched as the man and boy interacted and saw how Dan had made a big difference for the boy. He knew working for Child Protective Services had to be in his future. The problem he had right now was finding a full-time position so he could live and pay his bills. As he was thinking, about his future, he saw a lady walking up to their table and knew exactly who it was, Ms. Judy Turner, Director, Child Protective Services.

"It's about time you got here Judy," teased Ken. "Let me introduce you to these fine gentlemen. The distinguished man is Dan Chassen, an 8th grade teacher, at the middle school. This other young, worldly man is Wayne Mitchell. He was responsible for all the Holiday decorations the past three years. He just graduated from college and I twisted his arm to come by and get a free meal."

"Hello, gentlemen, and you too Ken. If I can put my purse down, I think I'll go over and get myself a plate of food before all those hollow legs, out there, eat it all," laughed Ms. Judy.

When Ms. Judy came back, with her food, Ken had to excuse himself and be the 'Host', and check on things. That left the two men to talk to Judy. Dan and Judy talked about their jobs and asked Wayne questions as to what he was going to try to do. Dan tried to talk the young man into becoming a school counselor, after watching him interact with the kids, that afternoon. That last discussion moved their conversation to discuss the children there, in general. The three adults began to get to know one another, that afternoon, and they exchanged phone numbers.

"Dad' Ken stopped by and asked Robert to follow along, with him, as he checked out the party. The two walked down to the beach and watched some of the kids play the washers' game and the bean bag toss. They did see a few kids up to their knees out in the, still too cold, water but that was as far as they got wet. They talked some with the kids and worked their way up to the indoor pool. The indoor pool was a big draw, that day, and most of the boys, and girls, could be found there. They talked to their guests, there, and then went out and watched some of the kids dancing.

Ken Thomas talked to Robert, for a few minutes, after they finished their walk around, and explained, again, why he wanted the lad to walk around with him. Robert told his 'dad' he understood that as 'host' he had a duty, to his guests, and needed to walk around to make sure they all were having fun and if not, why. Mr. Ken then let his 'son' to get back with his friends but to remind them there was food still to be eaten and the cupcakes were still on the table.

As they day wore on, towards 5 PM, a cool breeze came off the lake, and parents began to arrive to retrieve their child. Mr. Ken wouldn't let them leave without having a quick bite to eat and doing that almost doubled the number of people being fed. The parents also got the chance to watch their children interacting, at the beach, or in the pool. The parent or parents, whichever came to pick-up the child, got to talking with the other parents, and Mr. Ken, and a few of the teachers, and before everyone knew, it was going on 7 PM.

As the guests began to depart, The Cove, they all thanked Mr. Ken, and Robert, for having such a great beginning, to the summer. Dan Chassen made it a special point to thank the man for his hospitality and told the owner of The Cove, that as a single man, having someone cook a meal for him was a special treat. The man gave Mr. Ken his phone number, as he left.

Wayne also made sure he thanked Mr. Ken for inviting him. He was surely thankful Mr. Ken insisted he attend. The young graduate realized that the Party was exactly what he needed to relax, and get out, and talk to people, other than his college friends. He knew he would remember that day, for a long time to come.

As the parents, and their child, left The Cove grounds, Mr. Ken and Robert insisted they take an extra plate, or two, of food with them and a few extra cupcakes. The two explained the two of them couldn't eat all those leftovers. When everyone had gone, Mr. Ken asked the caterer to deliver the remaining foods to the local food kitchen, so the food wouldn't go to waste. The caterer knew exactly what their employer wanted, as it was what the owner of The Cove, and always asked, of them, when the party was over.

In the man's Study, that evening, Mr. Ken, Ms. Judy, Robert, Eric and Chief sat around reviewing the "School's Out" Party. They all thought it was a rousing success and talked about what they could do different next year. That brought a big laugh as they all knew Mr. Ken still had the 4th of July and Labor Day picnics, and the four Holiday parties yet to plan, and present.

Robert did tell his 'dad', that Cody came up to him and thanked him for inviting him to the party. 'Dad' Ken also mentioned that the lad came over to him, as well, and thanked him, too. Then they began reviewing which boy or girl made a special attempt to thank either one of them. They figured that the vast majority thanked them, at one time or another, for having the Party and hooped they would be invited back.

It was Eric who brought up the 'joint' birthday party Mr. Ken promised Robert and him and asked when it would be. That was the first time Ms. Judy had heard of that particular party and wanted more information. Ken explained he wanted to have a Thirteenth Birthday Party, for the lads, who were entering a new phase of their lives, becoming a teenager. He further divulged he wanted to help celebrate all the 7th graders who would turn thirteen that year. He knew if he waited too long, into the summer, the majority of kids will be gone, on vacations, or otherwise involved.

Mr. Ken said he already had the names and phone numbers of all the 7th grade kids, from the Holiday party, and it wouldn't be all that much trouble to call the parents and ask them if a certain date, like the following Saturday, or two Saturdays from now, would work for them. He told them he'd get the secretaries at the construction office to begin making the calls tomorrow. It was Ms. Judy who recommended he send out emails asking the same question with an RSVP of the coming Saturday. Ken realized that was the most prudent and easiest way to accomplish the same task, and he decided he'd do it that way, instead.

Robert told Ms. Judy and Eric his 'dad' and him had already decided on the menu but it wasn't set in stone and could be changed, up to about three or four days, before the party. The four then talked about the menu of brisket, ribs, sausage, and turkey breast and all their fixing's, including potato salad and beans ., When Ms. Judy heard the menu she had to apologize that she figured they would have what they served today. She felt embarrassed; that she even thought that of Mr. Ken.

Since it was getting late, and she had work the next day, Ms. Judy decided she and her son would take their leave and head on home. And, even before Robert, or Eric, could ask, Ms. Judy said she wanted her son to spend the night, at home, with her. Knowing that it would be futile to even ask, Robert and Eric said their goodbyes, while Mr. Ken and his 'son' walked Ms. Judy and Eric out to their car. After they watched the vehicle leave, The Cove, 'dad' Ken and 'son' Robert went back into Mr. Ken's Study.

"'Dad', began Robert, "isn't … isn't my parent's trial beginning … next week? I mean, you know … wouldn't it be better … ahh, to have the birthday party … ahh, after the trial is over. I don't know how much partying I will want to do … next Saturday … if the trail is still going on." That said, Robert's dam burst open and Ken had to go to him and try to calm the lad down. It wasn't easy, but 'dad' Ken was able to get the boy to talk to him, about his fears, about next week and knew then he needed Doctor Doug to spend some time with the lad, before the trial.

Ken didn't bother waking Robert the next morning. He decided he would let the lad have a good night's sleep. In the meantime, while the lad caught his 'beauty' sleep, he called Doctor Jennings and asked him if he could make a special appointment to talk to Robert, specifically about the trial. After setting that up, and before he could make another phone call, the phone rang and DA Morris was on the other end

Up in his bed, Robert was having a nightmare. He was running away from the men he had to testify against, and he couldn't get away. He was tired from running; he was hungry and thirsty, but the men kept coming, after him. He tried to hide but they always seemed to know where he was. He could see his new 'dad', in the distance, trying to fight those men off, but all they did was keep him away, from getting to him, as they continued to chase him. The lad's nightmare caused Chief to hurry downstairs and find her first master and get him to come up to the boy's room.

When he heard Chief slide on the tiles outside his Study door, Mr. Ken knew something was happening, to Robert. He jumped out of his chair and raced up the stairs to Robert's bedroom. He didn't bother with the Three-Knock Rule, as he knew the lad was in some sort of distress and he needed to help the lad. Opening the door, Ken could hear Robert yelling at someone to leave him alone and to let his 'dad' get to him.

Ken quickly grabbed the lad and pulled him into a great big hug and told the lad that 'dad' was there, with him right now, and for him to come back, to him. Robert thrashed in the man's arms and continued to yell, at the men, and saying his 'dad' was coming for him, and for them to get away, from him. Ken continued to talk to the lad, and rub his back. Even though the lad still hadn't come out of his dream he wasn't thrashing any more. Ken hoped, that meant, the lad had 'gotten away' and would soon wake up.

It took 'dad' Ken about three minutes to get Robert to settle down enough that the lad began to wake up. When Robert finally did wake up, he was backing away from his 'dad' and immediately got scared that the men had caught him. It wasn't until Ken turned to face him that the boy realized his 'dad' did come, to save him. Recognizing his 'dad', now had him, Robert hugged the man as tight as he could and he began to cry, with huge sobs. Ken let the boy cry out his demons otherwise, he felt, the lad would never settle down enough to talk about what his dream was about.

Ten minutes later, with the crying no longer happening, Ken found that Robert had gone back to sleep. He decided to let Robert sleep, some more, to make up for any 'real' sleep the lad had missed, because of his bad dream. He asked Chief to watch over the lad and to come get him, again, if Robert began to thrash, anymore. Chief lay down, at the foot of Robert's bed, and began her watch.

Ken went back to his Study and made the decision to have the Birthday Party two Saturdays from tomorrow. He hoped that the trial would be over by then and Robert would have something to celebrate, along with him turning thirteen. A half hour later, Robert and Chief slowly walked into Mr. Ken's Study. 'Dad' Ken quickly grabbed to boy up, in a hug, and sat down with the boy, in his arms. In a minute, or two, Robert pulled back some and looked into his 'dad's' eyes and said, "Thank You. You saved me, again." The boy then leaned back into his 'dad' and the two stayed that way for quite some time.

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