Three Finger Cove – Robert
Copyright © 2012 - 2016
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All rights reserved
After Robert had taken his shower, Ken sat him down to tell him that Doctor Doug would be over to talk to him later that afternoon. He asked Robert to write down what the dream was all about and to talk to Doc Doug about it, when he got there. Ken told the boy he needed to express all his fears, to Doctor Doug, and let the man help him like he helped Collin. Robert didn't say anything, about that, but went directly over to his 'dad' and hugged him, tight. When the hug was over, Ken asked the lad if he was hungry and, getting a nod, the two walked to the Kitchen to see what Momma Maria could rustle up for them.
Doctor Doug Jennings and Robert used Ken's Study for almost two hours that afternoon. Ken was very happy knowing the longer they were in there the more Robert was being helped. The man had already asked Maria to set another plate for dinner, that night, so, when the two were finished talking, they could have a very good meal to refresh themselves.
Saturday morning came, as it always does, but this time it marked the 'first' Saturday of Robert's summer vacation. Unfortunately, for the almost thirteen year old, he knew he couldn't sleep in as DA George Morris was coming over, at ten, that morning, to begin the final review, of his testimony, for the following week's trial, of his parents. He didn't have a nightmare, like the one that brought Doctor Doug over to talk to him, but he did have a wonderful dream about what he and Eric would get to do much of that summer.
It was nine o'clock, in the morning, when Robert came down to eat breakfast. Mr. Ken was in his Study working on some paperwork, that dealt with his new lake hotel and office building, and didn't know his 'son' had finally come down. It wasn't until he smelled a breakfast taco that he looked up only to see Robert finishing off the last of what was in his hand.
"Morning, 'son'," called out 'dad' Ken.
"Morning, 'dad'," replied Robert. "What you working on?"
"Oh, just reviewing some of the finishes the architect has suggest for both new buildings I'm going to put up, out on the lake," replied Mr. Ken. "I'm not too sure I want some of these colors. Lucky for me, I can change them, but I need to decide before too long. I might hire Ms. Mary to get her expert opinion and, if she doesn't like the colors, get her to recommend some different ones. Don't forget DA Morris will be here at around ten this morning, so don't go running off.
"You didn't have to remind me," a subdued Robert replied. "I can't wait until this trial thing is over and I can get to enjoy my summer vacation."
The two hour morning session with DA Morris went without a hitch. The three even shared a laugh, or two, before the DA left, The Cove. Knowing it was, now, lunch time, Mr. Ken suggested they go to Four Corner's Diner to eat. Hearing that suggestion, Robert ran off to wash his face and hands, all the way up to his elbows. By 12:30 PM, the two Cove residents were enjoying a nice lunch.
When Mr. Ken and Robert returned to The Cove, later that afternoon, they found Ryan and Todd down at the beach. The two went down there to see what the teenagers were up too.
"Hi, there, Ryan," called out Mr. Ken.
"Oh, Hi, Mr. Ken … and Robert. What brings you down here?" replied Ryan.
"We saw you down here, with Todd, so we figured we'd come on down to see what you two were up to. Is he teaching you everything you need to know, Todd?" Mr. Ken directly asked the fifteen year old.
"I guess he's teaching me everything. I mean, I don't really know what I'm supposed to learn but he sure has kept me busy. He wanted me to learn about the WaveRunner's, you know, how to start them, fuel them, and load them on and off the trailers. It looked complicated but, once I did it a few times, I think I've got the hang of it. If Robert was a bit bigger, I bet he could do it, too," answered Todd Foster.
"That's good to hear, there Todd. Are you satisfied with the job and are you glad you took me up on the job?" teased Mr. Ken.
"You bet, Mr. Ken. This is going to be a great job for me. I'll get to be around the lake, all summer, and … I'll get to learn how to operate and take care of all these wonderful boats and machines. My mom is even very happy for me. She thought, you know, I was fooling her when I had her call you. But, now, that I actually come over here, she knows she doesn't have to worry about me too much, this summer. And, best of all … I'm getting paid! I'll now have money to get me some cool school clothes, this fall. I'll … I'll be able to save for a car and best of all I … I'll be able to help my … my … my mom out," a now teary eyed teen finished up.
Mr. Ken saw the emotion, that Todd exhibited, and knowing the family didn't have a lot he knew how much the job meant, not only to Todd, but to his mom, as well. The man went over to the teen and pulled him into a hug to let the fifteen year old get it out of his system. They stood there while Robert and Ryan watched. Ryan knew Todd's story but Robert didn't and the 'son' told himself to ask his 'dad' about the new Beach Master when he could.
'Dad' Ken and 'son' Robert decided to leave Ryan and Todd alone so they could get the training done. Mr. Ken was pleased Ryan took Todd under his wing, so quickly, and was showing him important things, right off. He was also happy that Todd was already taking the Boating safety course, on-line, and, when he passed, Ryan could take him out, on the lake, and begin to show him the basics of operating the Commander, and sailing the Sunfish.
As the two walked back up to the house, Robert asked, "'Dad', can I ask why Todd was crying when he talked about his mom and stuff?"
"Sure, you can ask … but I don't know if I want to tell you," teased back 'dad' Ken.
"Is it, you know, something very personal?" asked Robert.
"Robert … I guess, since you're living here, you probably should know about some of the employees. You see, Todd … only has his mom. She doesn't make a lot of money but she's been very resourceful and keeps Todd looking nice. When I paid Todd, for helping level the side yards, and he didn't even ask for it, the money went a long way for him and his mom. Ever since then, I've had Danny, and him, take care of keeping the large areas clean and looking nice. The landscaping guys take care of the main areas around the house, though," explained the owner of The Cove.
"Is that why 'dad' … why you offered the Beach Master job, to him?" the curious lad asked.
"Yes, 'son', I knew what the job would mean to him, and his mom, and I've known him for two years now, and he is a good worker. I know you said something about you would like the job, and maybe in a few years you and Eric can do it, but, for now, I want someone who can really use the money, to do it. Can you understand what I'm saying here, Robert?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Yea, 'dad', I didn't know, at the time, why you gave the job to Todd, but now that I know, I'm really glad you gave it to him. And, like you said, in a few years Eric and I could be doing it. Figuring Todd will graduate in three years and that third summer he can teach me and Eric," laughed the preteen lad.
"You have this figured out, do you!" again teased, Mr. Ken.
Yep … he's fifteen now and when he graduates Eric and I will just turn sixteen and we'll be ready to take over," smiled Robert, at his 'dad'.
A few of Robert's buddies came by later that afternoon, to skateboard, and with the sun going down later and later they could use the well-used skateboard ramps longer and longer, each day. None of the lads had ever gotten hurt, to badly, yet, but they really don't think about it when they skate, they just do and when they fall they just get back up and skate some more.
Sunday was as nice a day as Saturday was. Robert talked his dad into getting the three-seat Jet Ski out, so he and Eric could have some fun. Eric came over about 1 PM, that day, carrying his wet suit with him. Judy and Ken talked while the boys changed into their wet suits. The adults conversation centered on the upcoming trial. Ken told the woman he was happy Robert wanted to do something to help keep his mind off the pending trial. Judy told the man she has papers ready for both the Harrison's to sign to terminate their parental rights and place Robert up for adoption. Ken knew that it was a long shot, that it could ever happen, but he also knew never to say never.
The three intrepid water craft riders practiced righting the machine, a few times, before they headed out into the large lake area to 'play'. Mr. Ken allowed each boy to drive as fast as they dared, for about twenty minutes, each, before he had them stop back at The Cove for a water toy. He choose a single rider deck tube and let the boys decide who'd go first. Eric won so Robert got to drive. Mr. Ken became the observer. They did that for about an hour and, by that time, the three of them were all wore out.
Judy Turner came by The Cove, about five o'clock, and the four went over to Four Corner's for dinner. As they ate, Mr. Ken told them he submitted a contract to buy the remaining acreage situated around the Four Corners. He explained to Robert he was only able to buy 65 acres of the 400+ acre plot of land he was initially interested in. He told them that the man who owned the remaining acreage couldn't find a development group who would work with him and was now willing to sell.
"So, 'dad', what else would you build out here if you bought the rest of the land?" asked Robert.
"Well, I want to build apartments for people to rent but I also want to provide a section for senior citizens. As they age, senior citizens don't need a big home to maintain. I think they would enjoy a larger one- or two-bedroom apartment, in an area, that is strictly for seniors. They'd have their own entrance and would be separated from kids and, hopefully, a lot of the noise," began 'dad' Ken.
"I still want to put up a large grocery store out here and a few more stores, like a hairdresser, UPS, dry cleaners, and possibly an Ace Hardware, to help the community. I can see this area is going to continue to grow, in the next five to ten years, and getting the apartments in place will ultimately bring the grocery store, I am sure," finished Mr. Ken.
"That sure is ambitious, don't you think, Ken?" asked Judy.
"Not really, Judy, I always wanted the entire piece of land and when I did look at it I did have preliminary plans drawn up for the apartments. That's what the owner, who now wants to sell, the land, wanted to do but he couldn't get the backing money," clarified Mr. Ken.
What Mr. Ken didn't tell his tablemates was about the phone call he received from County Commissioner Judge Joseph Jouseff and the man's pledge to thwart any, and all, projects Ken Thomas brought to the Commissioner's Court for approval. But, the sale wasn't a done deal, yet, and, even if it is, it would take him about a year to get the thing underway.
Monday and Tuesday mornings, Robert, Mr. Ken and Robert's lawyer, Stewart Russell, worked with DA Morris so Robert would be well prepared for his parent's trail, which was scheduled to begin that Thursday. George Morris told the three that his First Assistant DA, John Green, was doing the jury selection, as they prepared Robert. When George Morris left at noon, on Tuesday, he asked the lad to be dressed in a suit, if possible, and to not eat too much for breakfast. He explained he didn't know when the preteen would be called, to testify, but he hoped it would be on the first day, of the trial.
Late that Tuesday afternoon, word came down to Three Finger Cove that Robert's mom, Angela Harrison, asked if she could talk to her son. The District Attorney approved of the meeting which would happen, at 10 AM, Wednesday morning, in the Justice Center, located next to the courthouse.
Robert was anxious and terrified, at the same time, at meeting his mom after all these months. He didn't know what he should do, or how to act. He talked to his 'dad' about it and the man just told him to let his mom make the contact and then for him to go from there. The preteen didn't get much sleep the night before their meeting.
The residents of Three Finger Cove arrived at the Justice Center, in plenty of time, before their scheduled meeting. Judy Turner and Stewart Russell were both invited to attend the meeting. The first person, Judy, for moral support and along with the Termination of Parental Rights paperwork ready. The second person, Stewart, was to represent Robert on any proposals, or issues, that may come from his meeting with his mom.
At ten o'clock, Wednesday morning, Robert, and his entourage, was led into a small holding room. Two minutes later, Angela Harrison came through an adjoining door. When the two saw one another, they ran to each other and hugged like there was no tomorrow.
"Son … are they treating you good?" first asked Angela.
"Yes, mom, Mr. Ken here … he's my new foster dad and I have real good food to eat, and a dog to play with, and he's even taken me on a Disney Cruise," happily replied Angela's son.
"I am very happy to hear that Bobby," offered Angels.
"It's Robert, now, mom … I go by Robert. Mr. Ken explained that where I live no none knows who I am and what better time than to start out with my real name. I hope you don't mind, mom?" somberly asked Robert.
"Oh, no, son … I think that is a wonderful idea your Mr. Ken gave you. Have you made some new friends where you now live?" Angela wanted to know.
A big smile came to Robert's face at the question and he answered it by saying, "Mom … I must have five of the best friends anyone could ever want and I probably have five more friends I could count on, if need be. We've had sleep overs and swim parties and cookouts, too!"
"It sounds like you have a good life, now, Robert. See, I remembered you wanted to be call that. Son … I wanted to talk to you … before the trial starts tomorrow … I wanted to say … how sorry I am … for NOT stopping your father … from doing what he made you do," now cried Angela.
"I just didn't know, at first," the teary eyed lady continued, "what he was doing, but … he assured me that things would work out. And … and, I believed him. Then … when all that money started coming in, I … I got blinded by what it brought us. It really wasn't until you started bringing home all of your 'tips', as you called them, each weekend, that I started to question Frank on what he was doing with you. But, by then, I knew it was, too, late. I should have gone to the authorities, at the time, but I …. I was scared.
"When they arrested your father, I had hoped they would forget about me … and, the two of us, would continue to live together, as mother and son. You know how that all worked out. I asked … but they wouldn't tell me anything about you, where you were or how well you were doing. I cried and cried for what I'd done to you. I hope that someday, Robert, you will be able to find it in your heart the ability to … to forgive me.
"Robert … the main reason I asked to meet with you was … was to tell you that I have accepted … I've accepted the plea bargain the DA has offered me. I … I know that is no consolation for you, but … I wanted to spare you the horror … of having to see you mother at the trial. I also, along with the plea bargain … I have also offered to testify against your father in the hope you wouldn't have to testify, at all. I know that is a long shot but ... I hope when he finds out, that I can and will testify, because his crime deals with child sexual abuse, he would also accept the plea bargain, they offered him."
"Mom … what is a plea bargain … and … will I ever get to see you again?" asked Robert, with tears quickly streaming down his face.
"Son … a plea bargain means … that I won't get as long a prison sentence, as I could have , if I am found guilty by a jury," a still tear streaked Angela explained. "DA Morris … he has offered me a sentence of 7 to 10 years, in prison, with the possibility of parole after 5 years, with good behavior. I know you'll soon be thirteen which will mean you will be graduating from high school … before I would be released from prison, on parole.
"I understand that they have some papers for me to sign that ... that would terminate my parental rights to you. I've known about them for some time, now, but … but, I wanted to ask you how you felt about it. If I sign them, and we can get your father to sign them, then you could possibly be adopted by a loving family and … and, I hope, you'll get to have as normal a life, then, as you can. … I want to do what's best for you Robert. I … I would like to know … what you would like me to do."
The people present in the room were stunned at the admission by Angela Harrison of her involvement in Robert's sexual abuse. They heard, what they hoped was a contrite admission of her guilt, to her son, and they also hoped she would sign her Termination of Parental Rights forms, for the good of the lad.
Robert's heart was breaking as he stood there listening to his mom tell him how she didn't do enough to stop his sexual abuse, from happening. He felt his mom was sincere, about her apology, but he was still upset at her for not protecting him, enough. He felt the anger building and, before he knew it, he lashed out.
"MOM, how could you do that to ME? I was only TEN YEARS OLD," now openly cried Robert, "when dad made me go with all those men and they did all those sexual things to me. YOU SHOULD HAVE PROTECTED ME from them, even after you found out. SO WHAT, if you were scared! HOW DO YOU THINK I FELT … EVERY WEEKEND … I HAD GO WITH SOMEONE NEW? HUH? I just don't get it, mom. Did you and dad really need all that extra money? …
"What you don't know mom, is … is the abuse NEVER STOPPED! After you were arrested, and I was placed into foster care, the abuse continued … at three of the foster homes I was sent to live at. It wasn't until I got to live with Mr. Ken, at Three Finger Cove, that I found a place where there is love … and happiness … and a caring man who takes care of me and … and … I know … loves me! … Mom … I really don't want NOT to be your son … but, I know I will never see you, and dad, ever again, and I think the best thing for me is to be adopted, if I can be. … Maybe, in the years to come, I could … I could, maybe, forgive you but … but right now I can't do that. I want you to sign those papers, mom … so I have a chance at a much better life than the one you, and dad, gave me when I turned ten!"
At the end of his yelling, talking to, and responding to his mom, Robert turned to his foster 'dad', Ken Thomas, and cried all out, into the man's chest. Ken Thomas, for his part, hugged the boy, to him, and allowed his own tears to fall, no matter what the other people in the room thought. He never wanted the boy to have to go through what he just did, ever again.
Angela Harrison saw how the man, Mr. Ken Thomas, attended to her son and knew the lad had found someone to love him. She wiped her eyes and then asked Mr. Ken, "Are you the man … who the governor asked to help … after that big storm a few years back?"
All Mr. Ken did was nod 'yes'.
"I thought so," began Angela, "I know, now, that my son will have a much better life being with you. I could tell by the way he talked about you and I can see that you truly do 'love' him and I hope that, in the very near future, you get to adopt him. Robert has gone through hell, I am sure, and he deserves a 'heaven on earth' to help him heal from everything we, and my husband and I, did to him. … "Now … where are those papers to sign?"
Judy Turner quietly brought the papers out of her satchel, and placed them on the table. A notary was on standby and then brought into the room before Angela Harrison would sign the papers that would terminate her parental rights. Judy had already placed a few "Sign Here" stickers where the woman needed to sign. After Angela signed, in all the right places, Judy asked Mr. Russell and Assistant DA John Green to sign, as witnesses, and then had the notary notarize the paperwork.
Usually after a meeting, such as that one, that morning, everyone goes out to lunch or dinner to celebrate, but today was totally different. After Angela was taken out of the room, Assistant DA Green told the lad that his father had refused to sign the termination of parental rights papers and was looking forward to his trial, the next morning.
Robert thanked the man for allowing him to meet with his mom for, possibly, the last time. Before leaving the room, the lad asked if it was possible for him to get some things from his 'old' house. He told John Green there was a few games and things he would like to get. The Assistant DA grabbed his cell phone and called DA Morris. They could hear the man tell George Morris, how the meeting went, and that Mrs. Harrison had signed the parental rights papers, and soon, the man was full of smiles. They learned DA Morris told them to go to the house at 2 PM, that same afternoon, and Assistant DA Green, and a Sheriff's Deputy, would meet them and open the house, for the boy.
At 2 PM, on the dot, they opened the house for Robert to gather up any and all items that belonged to him. The Sheriff Deputy was required to observe, what the lad took, and make an inventory of everything the boy choose, to take with him. 'Dad' Ken walked around, with the lad, and made suggestions to his 'son' of things he might like, to take. The boy selected his old PS3 console and games and the headphones. The boy took a few board games and some trinkets he collected from the places the men took him. He also retrieved a 'special' cigar box where he kept the tickets and stubs from all the places he went.
Robert also looked for his bank account book but couldn't find it. Robert looked through his old clothes but realized he had out grown everything, so he just left them alone. The boy picked up his ball and bat and glove and a few other sports balls Mr. Ken didn't have, at The Cove. He continued to search for his bank book, as he went along, but couldn't seem to remember seeing where his mom would keep it. Making one last trip through every room, of the house, Robert focused on things he might want to keep, as reminders of his mom and dad.
Unfortunately, every time he saw something, it reminded him of the hurt they fostered on him and he knew he didn't want it. When he, and Mr. Ken and the Deputy, entered the kitchen it was his first time he was in that room since he entered the house. It was then he now remembered where his mom had placed his bank book. Smiling, he went straight to the place and there it was. He handed to his 'dad' for safe keeping.
By 3 o'clock, Robert had finished looking through his 'old home' and was ready to take all of his selected belongings back to Three Finger Cove. Before leaving, the lad thanked the two men, the Assistant DA and the Sheriff Deputy, for their being there and wished them well. He and Mr. Ken then walked to the F-150 where Robert couldn't believe how much stuff was packed into the backseat area of the truck.
Once they returned, to The Cove, Ken Thomas helped Robert take all his belongings up to his room. It took them each six trips to carry everything up the stairs, to the boy's bedroom. Lucky, for the preteen, the closet was akin to a walk-in closet so there was ample room for all the items to be placed there. Mr. Ken did remind his 'son' that he wanted everything in a special place and not strewn about the bedroom, or closet floor. It was then Mr. Ken handed the boy his bank book. Robert smiled as he took it from his 'dad' and then looked in it. His eyes got as large as eggs when he saw the total. He handed the book to his 'dad' and asked him to look at the amount. Mr. Ken couldn't believe his eyes and after seeing the last date of transaction knew that there could be considerably more there from compounded interest. He told Robert that when the trial was over they'd go to the bank and check everything out.
Momma Maria made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and green beans for dinner for her men that night. She also made a special red velvet cake for desert which had cream cheese icing. After dinner, both Robert and Mr. Ken each gave Maria a great big hug before going to the Great Room to sit together.
The two got comfortable, with Robert sitting in his 'dad's' lap. They didn't say much, as they sat there; they didn't need to. The day had been a roller coaster of emotions and they both needed time to relax and let things settle down. At 9 PM, Mr. Ken escorted Robert up to his room and gave him one last hug, for the night, and wished the lad 'good dreams'. They had decided to let the next day take care of itself, as they slept the night away.
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