Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 66

Posted: 4 Aug 16

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2016
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Everyone slept in that morning, including Mr. Ken, who was usually up, and at 'em, by 8:15. He was the first in the Kitchen Nook, though, and reading his morning paper, what else. He wasn't sure if everyone wanted Momma's breakfast tacos or did they want to go out to the Diner for brunch. It was already close to 10 AM.

Up in the en suite, Wayne was taking his shower. He couldn't believe how great he slept the night before, on that wonderful bed, and, now, the shower, he was in, felt wonderful, with his rain shower head and the side sprayers, after having used his small apartment shower for more than two years now. He always wondered how it felt to be 'rich' and he was now getting a small taste of it. He really didn't want that 'dream' to ever end.

In Robert's room, the two lads woke up in each other's arms, as usual. They knew they had company, that morning, so they decided to take care of their sexual needs in the shower, that morning. Once they were each satisfied, they quickly cleaned up and got dressed and headed to the Kitchen Nook.

Wayne met the two youngsters, at the top of the stairs, and the lads showed their guest to the Kitchen Nook. It was, now, well past 10:30, and the four discussed what they wanted to eat. Their unanimous decision was to go to the Four Corners Diner so they all headed to the F-150 for the drive over.

At the Diner, the four diners each ordered something different. Mr. Ken got the Breakfast Grand Meal, Wayne ordered the Double-Stack Pancakes with a side of bacon and hash browns, Robert ordered two scrambled eggs with toast and a side of bacon. Eric was always the odd man out. He ordered what he usually got, when they went out for Brunch, a Bacon Double-Cheeseburger and a mix. The men got coffee and the lads got cokes.

The four exchanged their stories of the previous day, and how they saw it. Robert and Eric, two of the birthday boys, saw the day very differently. Of course, Robert did have to walk around more, and talk to their guests, but he said he enjoyed talking to the parents and getting to meet some of the parents of the kids he really didn't know that well.

Eric said he enjoyed having so many kids to swim with, in the indoor pool. He told the group how some kids, even though they all are, essentially, thirteen he was surprised by how many didn't swim very well. The soon to be thirteen year old said he also enjoyed playing the bean bag toss and washers games saying he didn't know how hard it was to play those game until he actually tried them.

Wayne told their group how he totally enjoyed talking with all the adults. He told Robert and Eric he intended to swim but he just couldn't make himself get away from the good conversation he was having with all the parents and teachers, there. He told them that after four years of being around people, his own age, that having the opportunity to talk to people who are already successful, in their own right, gave him hope that he too could become successful, one day.

Ken commented on how well behaved, and polite, he thought the kids were. He said he knew that thirteen was still an awkward age, primarily, for boys and was, pleasantly, surprised there was so much interaction going on, especially, with the boys and girls talking, playing, and, even, dancing, some, together. Then, Mr. Ken mentioned he saw Emily go over to Logan and apologize, to him. He commented how he felt that the young lady showed some real courage but mostly he thought the way that Logan accepted her apology had class.

The four continued to talk about the Birthday Bash, and the little tidbits, of things, they saw but the others may not have noticed. Mr. Ken told Wayne he was impressed with the young man's mild manner, when talking with the kids, and how the young teens responded to him. Then, Mr. Ken said he was very impressed how Dan, Mary and Judy saw Wayne as someone who could do a job even though he wasn't directly trained for that position. He told the new college graduate how he respected those three opinions. Wayne just blushed.

Robert then told Wayne he was happy he hadn't swam earlier. Then, when Wayne raised his eyebrows, like he was asking a question, Robert continued. The now thirteen year old said he would have missed out on swimming with him, last night, and he had a real good time with just the four of them. Robert said it was always fun swimming with his 'dad' but last night it was as if he had his 'dad'' and an' uncle'' there' and that doubled the fun.

Eric then agreed how he, too, enjoyed that there was just the four of them, last night. He said it felt 'just right' with the men spending all that time with them and he didn't have to share. He then thanked Mr. Ken, and Mr. Wayne, for playing all the games, and chasing them all over, and all the silly, fun stuff, they all did together and doing that for him, and Robert. The lad got a bit teary-eyed, then, over how he thought of those men, treating him so special and making him feel as if he did have a 'dad' and 'uncle' in his life.

Mr. Ken saw the tears beginning to slide done the boy's face so he slid over to the lad and hugged him close. Eric just pulled into the man and relished in the closeness he felt' right then, and there. Robert knew what that was all about. The two Best Friends discussed their feelings about how they felt after all they did with Mr. Ken, and Mr. Wayne, last night. Robert knew how much Eric wanted what he, now, had, a 'dad'.

Eric got his emotions under control and then pulled away from the man and thanked 'dad' Ken for being there for him, just then. Wayne just sat there watching how, easily, the man knew what to do and take care of the lad, without much fuss. He'd always wondered how well Mr. Ken, not being too much older than he, was able to comfort and reassure the boys with whom he dealt.

The foursome finally finished their meals and Mr. Ken paid the bill, and the four went right back to Three Finger Cove. When they arrived, Robert and Eric's friends were there, waiting for them, so they could all use their skateboards. The lads got their boards and joined their friends, while the adults went inside and then to Mr. Ken's Study.

"Ken, did you know … what that was all about in the Diner, with Eric," asked Wayne.

"Yes, I have a good idea," replied Ken.

"I hope you don't take this the wrong way, Ken, but … I always wondered how you were able to work with Collin, back when I first met you. He looked so much younger than you, at the time. Then, when you told me you had another, younger, foster boy, I wondered how you would be able to work with someone, so much younger than Collin was. Then, there, today, in the Diner, I saw how easily you handled Eric, and it was then I realized you had something very 'special' inside of you. I saw that you knew exactly what the boy needed, at the time, and did what was needed to settle him down.

"Last night … I saw how those two boys looked on at you, while we swam. They beamed when you paid attention to them, and, especially, when you did something, individually, with them. I know Robert calls you 'dad', but Eric … I didn't know how he fit into everything, until … he thanked you in the Diner. He looks to you as, maybe … a surrogate 'dad' too, doesn't he?" finished up Wayne.

Ken just sat there not knowing how he wanted to respond. He liked Wayne. He watched the man interact with Robert, and Eric, last night and they were having just as much fun with Wayne as they did with him. He saw how well he worked with the kids, at both parties, and thought he would work out very well, around Robert, if he was chosen for the Household Manger, position.

"Ah, Wayne, how do I respond? … Well, when Collin came, to me, his was more like Robert and Eric are, now. Even though the teen was fifteen, his size was more akin to what the boys are, now. With Collin, I came to think of him as my 'little brother' and I treated him, as such. I didn't want to be the overbearing 'adult' and, as I treated him, as my 'little brother' he responded easily, since he began to look at me as being his 'Big Brother'. Over the long run, that worked out for both of us because he came to me, not as the know-it-all-adult, but someone who could better understand what he was going through, thus as I was his 'Big Bro, which he called me by-the-way..

"With Robert, he felt rejected, by his dad, but he still needed that 'father' figure, in his life. He and I had a tenuous relationship, in the beginning. He'd just come from his third foster home, where he wasn't treated very well, nor in the other two, by-the-way, and here he was sent to live in this big house, with a young man who wasn't even married. I didn't treat him, too, much differently, than I did Collin, but I did have to talk, more, one-on-one with him, at first.

"Yes, Robert calls me, 'dad' and I call him 'son' because he still wants someone he can call 'dad' and look to him for guidance and love and trust. Of the three, it was trust that was the most difficult for us, to achieve. I can't tell you why the lad in is in the system, but, suffice to say, the adults in his life had let him down, completely.

"As for Eric. I have to agree with your assessment that Eric … well, he would love to have me as his surrogate 'dad', as Robert has me. The lad … he became a 'little brother' to both Collin and Ryan, Collin's best friend. Eric is Judy's son and all three are 'only' children which gave them a kinship, of sorts, to come together and be each other's 'brother. What you'll find out, if you were to become a part of Three Finger Cove is, that Eric's story is almost as bad as Robert's.

"Wayne, I know you have a minor in Child Development, but, and I'm not sure if I told you this, or not, but after Collin … he was taken away from me, I decided to learn more about taking care of kids. I had this 'need', in me, to help other kids and, in the hope that I might get another foster kid, I went back to school … I went and got a Degree in Early Childhood Development," smiled Ken Thomas.

Wayne smiled back at Ken and, knowing now what he did, he began to look at the man in a different light. He now knew they had similar training and, for him, it all made sense. Wayne saw how the man treated Eric, that morning, with genuine 'love' and the sensitivity to know how to relieve the inner turmoil. He hoped he would be able to do half as much, with kids, in the future.

"So, you see, it was with a bit of luck, I had, working with Collin, then. Now … I get to use my new found education with Robert and Eric, and their friends, too. But, what I found out, isn't so much about using the book learning as it is to know where the boy is coming from and being able to understand the why. I've found out, first hand, that things never go exactly as the 'book' tells you," now laughed Ken, with Wayne joining in.

The two men talked a bit more about the boys and how they fit into Ken's future. Ken told Wayne he wouldn't trade the 'life' they've given The Cove' for anything' and is happy he can even make one boy's life better.

In changing directions, Ken asked Wayne to fill out a form, with a few questions on it, the other applicants had to answer, as they submitted their resumes. Ken told Wayne he wanted to make sure his package looked like the others and not give away he knew the applicant personally. Wayne answered all the questions and Ken then faxed it to Bill's office. The lawyer would see it when he got to the office the next day.

Ken then took Wayne out to where the kids were skateboarding. They decided to stand away, for a few minutes, to let the boys be themselves before they walked over, and they began to show-off for them. And, that's exactly what happened. The boys started to call out, "watch this', and look at me", and 'wait until you see this'. Wayne had to laugh at the lads' antics.

"How's' this working out, for you, when you have such a large number of boys wanting to ride, the ramps, Robert?" asked the 'dad'.

"It works out great, 'dad'. The guys all know they have to take turns, so what we've begun to do is we evenly split up and work at one of the ramps, for about 20 minutes, and then we change. We do that for another twenty minutes and then we change again. This way everyone gets the chance to work out on every ramp," explained the man's 'son'.

"Eric … is it really working out?" directly asked Mr. Ken, but before Eric could answer he continued. "I want all you lads to use the ramps, as much as you can, but I also don't want someone to get hurt because one guy is hogging a certain ramp, and not sharing. If I learn that is what is happening, I'll restrict it back to the original twelve plus, we started with. Any questions?"

All the boys kept quiet and just stared at Mr. Ken. None of them had ever heard him talk so direct and they wondered if it was because there was someone, else, with him. No one dared to ask a question.

"Ah, Mr. Ken …" said Eric.

"Yes, Eric," replied Mr. Ken.

"Well, yea … this plan Robert … he made has worked out, pretty good, so far, and if we continue to do it this way, there should be no problems," Eric began to explain to the man's initial question. "Yea, we fall down, sometime, but everyone is careful to stop and wait for them to get up. And, ah, Mr. Ken … none of us want to lose this awesome setup, you made for us, so … I don't think anyone is going to want to mess it up, for themselves. We already figured a person who hogs the ramp will not be allowed back. Is that what you had in mind, Mr. Ken?"

"Well said, Eric. I guess I came across pretty harsh there didn't I? I'm sorry, guys, I guess the adult came out of me, there, for a minute," said Mr. Ken, who then laughed at his comment. "Keep in mind, guys, the younger kids should have an equal place in line. Okay?"

The lads agreed they've been already doing that and Sam and Terran nodded their hands up and down to indicate that was the case. Then, a bell was heard and Robert yelled, "Switch" and the lads all went to a different ramp than the one they were on when Mr. Ken, and Mr. Wayne, came out there.

Wayne looked at his watch and told Ken he needed to get back to his apartment, and get some laundry done. The two talked a little bit more and then Ken explained the application process. Wayne learned that Bill Jackson would review all the applications and whittle them down to a select number of qualified applicants and then call them in for interviews. That the ones who make it through his interview process will then be called back to meet with Ken.

Wayne thanked Ken for letting him put in his application, so late, but then told the man he still didn't think he was qualified, for the position, and would continue to send out resumes. Ken told Wayne that he needed to do what he could, to find a position, and hoped he wouldn't have a long wait. The two shook hands and Wayne walked to his car and then left The Cove.

In 'dad' Ken's Study that night, Robert had come in and sat down. He didn't say anything, he just sat there. Ken had noticed the lad, when he came in, but wanted to let the boy start the conversation. As the time went by, it was as if one was trying to out-wait the other.

"'Dad', do you think Mr. Wayne will get the job?" asked Robert.

"You mean the, Household Manager, position Bill, and I, had advertised?" smiled 'dad' Ken.

"Yea, that one … do you think Mr. Wayne will get the job?" again, asked the lad.

'Dad' Ken sat back, in his chair, and looked over at the boy, and replied, "'Son', I don't know how Mr. Wayne's application compares to the other ones. Bill has them all right now. As a matter of fact, I don't even know how many applications Bill has received, so far. I think I told you Bill will review all the applications and cut down the list and then call some back for interviews. Once the applicant gets through the interview process, Bill will send the final group on to me for me to interview, and consider. I don't know if Wayne will get to the end or not. … You would like him to take care of The Cove, wouldn't you?"

Robert went over to his 'dad' and climbed into his lap. He looked up into the man's eyes and said, "Yes … me and Eric both like him. He's so easy to be around and he enjoys doing the stuff we all do, 'dad'. He cared about me and Eric when we changed last night, after we swam, and that tells me he won't be like all those other men. The guys who talked to him, yesterday, said they like him, too. Can't we just give him the job?"

'Dad' Ken knew he now had a dilemma, on his hands. He sort of figured Robert would like Wayne, now he needed to tell the new teenager what he probably didn't want hear.

"Robert, "began 'dad' Ken, "just because you like someone … doesn't mean the person is qualified for the job you are trying to fill. Wayne is easy going and has a great personality. And, I like the way he talked with and treated the kids, at both parties. I saw how you and Eric, both, responded to him last night when we swam. He treated you both equally and didn't play favorites. I like Wayne, which is why I encouraged him to apply, for the job. If he is selected, I think we will have found a good man for the job, but … if his application isn't even considered in the final process we can't let the fact we 'like' him cloud our thinking when choosing the person to fill the Household Manager's position. You understand that don't you, 'son'?"

Robert didn't want to hear what his 'dad' just told him, but he knew his 'dad' was right when it came to picking someone, for the job. But, that didn't keep a few tears from falling down his cheeks. Ken saw the tears and he pulled the lad tighter into him and told the teenager, "'Son … let's wait and see where Wayne comes out in the process. He, himself, told me he doesn't think he is qualified for the job, but I think he submitted his application to make me feel good, that he did at least try. Let me tell you something. Someone … who is told to do a job, he doesn't feel comfortable in, he won't do a good job, period. He may go through the motions and get things done but the company loses out in the long run. I know that isn't what you wanted to hear but … I think you understand."

Robert did understand. He still didn't like it. As the lad sat, there, in his 'dad''s lap, he just pulled into the man and enjoyed the fact that his new 'dad' talked to him, about important things, and never pushed him away. He knew the man always made time for him and he wasn't going to stop trusting him because he didn't get what he wanted. He told himself, that whomever is selected, he would give the new house manager a try.

Monday morning, the residents of The Cove woke to a beautiful day and Momma Maria's awesome cooking. The guys could smell the flavors cooking as they entered the Kitchen Nook and so they sat right down. That morning, Momma Maria made Machacado Con Huevo A la Mexicana. It included scrambled eggs mixed with shredded dried beef, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers and a sprinkle of cheese on her homemade flour tortillas. She used some of the leftover brisket as her beef so it wouldn't go to waste. When the guys dug into their breakfast, they thought we're in heaven. Mr. Ken didn't even bother with his morning paper until he was finished with that wonderful meal.

Later that morning, Mr. Ken heard from Bill Jackson about the Household Manager applications. The lawyer told Mr. Ken he received fifteen applications, including the one faxed to him, yesterday. Bill then told Mr. Ken he had some good news for him and that he felt it would make his day, for sure, and, possibly, the week, for that matter. When Ken pressed the man, to tell him, the owner of The Cove learned that the accountant had finished checking The Cove's household accounts, the ones Mildred Johnston was responsible for.

Bill told Ken that there was an accumulative discrepancy of over Thirty-five thousand dollars. The lawyer told Ken he'd have to have the CPA explain what he found but that it appeared there was definite fraud throughout the entire, household expense accounts. Bill also told him that he asked Jules to investigate the company that tried to bribe Mary Taylor, when Mr. Ken was away. Ken's lawyer told the man Jules had gotten signed affidavits saying the man had an unwritten agreement, with Mildred, and that they would split the overcharges for work, not performed.

Bill said Jules Diamond talked to every contract holder and they said that Millie had approached them with the same deal. And, although, two of the contractors said they didn't go along with the fraud, Bill was convinced they did, because extra work, they had signed as doing, could be shown that they never performed it.

Ken Thomas had a great big smile on his face, after that, awesome, phone call. He figured Millie had scammed the books and now Jules came through, and found the fraud. He couldn't wait until he and Bill talked to DA Morris and gave him their case on a silver platter.

Monday was going to be a very busy day for Ken Thomas. Bill's phone call was timely and very informational, but it also took up a lot of time which Mr. Ken didn't have a lot of, that week. His first priority was to finalize the upcoming 4th of July Picnic, and fireworks. Mary Taylor created a great continuity folder for him, from that first 4th of July Picnic, to use, and he already had it out, on his desk. His first phone call was to the pyrotechnics company he'd used the past two years. He needed to confirm the contract and have the company begin the permitting process.

The man's next phone call was made to the carnival company which would supply the rides and amusements for the 4th of July picnic. They finalized the number of adult and kiddie rides and the setup and tear down times. The carnival operator wanted to begin setting up on the 2nd of July in the case of bad weather. Ken didn't have a problem with that but told the man his men could not use the grounds, for their personal tents and trailers. He explained the entire grounds were dedicated, already, to the church groups, just like the past two years.

The man's next series of phone calls would put him in contact with all the church groups he had supplying the foods for the Picnic, the past two years. These phone calls would take up the majority of his time because each church coordinator wanted to talk, not just about the foods the church would be providing, but about the weather, the placement they'd have and much, much more. Since, he had to make fifteen calls he talked to the coordinators about their foods, and position that year, and explained how many other people he needed to talk to. They all agreed that finalizing things later in the week, and would work out for them.

By 4 PM, Monday, Ken's ear was tired and sore from using the phone so much, that day. He knew that was only the beginning, as he still had to call back the fifteen coordinators, to finalize their food booths, and their location, for that year. Last year, he decided to mix up the church booths locations so they didn't have a monopoly, on the crowd. He wanted every church group to have the opportunity to showcase themselves, and their foods, and catering capabilities. A few church groups didn't like that arrangement and told Mr. Ken, so. Mr. Ken told them he would miss them at the Picnic, then. None of the groups stayed away last year.

After dinner, that evening, Robert asked his 'dad' to swim with him. 'Dad' Ken was pretty tired from spending so much time in his Study that day but agreed to swim if they didn't make it into a marathon. By 7:30, the two residents of The Cove took to their swim. It was just the two of them so the games and things weren't as much fun as Saturday night was when Mr. Wayne participated.

Robert did bring up Wayne Mitchell's name in conversation. He was trying to get his 'dad' to reveal any information he had about the process but 'dad' Ken had to tell him he wouldn't know anything until, probably the end of the week, after Bill had performed his interviews. Robert was a bit disappointed but he told his 'dad' he couldn't blame him, for trying. They had a good laugh and by 8:30 they decided to call it a night.

Tuesday, Ken found himself on the phone all day, again. The Fire Marshall called and wanted to discuss the fireworks barge, with him, and the placement of fire extinguishers, on the grounds for the picnic. The Sheriff's Deputy Union called to discuss their contract for police services for the 4th of July Picnic and the use of the Police Exploder's, as in the past. Ken Thomas also needed to call and schedule the bands for the Picnic. Mr. Ken couldn't wait until he had a new Household Manager

The highlight, of the day, was when Collin called to check if he had a reserved bedroom, for the 4th of July Picnic. The man and new high school graduate talked about the two parties, the man already had, at The Cove, and the possibility of hiring of a new Household Manager. Collin asked about his new 'little brother' and asked why the lad hadn't called him. Ken gave Collin the lad's new phone number and told him to call the boy. He reminded Collin, Robert didn't have a phone before and so it isn't a priority for him yet. The man gave the phone number out and told Collin not to give him a hard time. Before they hung up Collin asked and got the okay for him to arrive on the 30th.

Later that evening, Robert told his 'dad' about the unexpected phone call from his Big Brother, Collin. The lad wondered how Collin got his phone number since it was only activated last weekend. Then, the two had a good laugh over it because Robert knew his 'dad' had given the phone number, to Collin, so he could call him. Robert thanked his 'dad' for doing that and he told the man about what Collin and he discussed. The lad then hugged his 'dad' for always thinking about him and doing stuff for him.

All day, Wednesday and Thursday, found Mr. Ken busy on the phone doing last minute coordinating for the upcoming 4th of July Picnic. The Fire Marshall agreed to stop by Friday, to discuss the fireworks barge, and the fire extinguishers. The five bands also agreed to stop by, on Friday, to sign their contracts, for that awesome day. Things were beginning to come together, for Ken Thomas, and he could see the 'light' at the end of the tunnel. He felt relieved he had the vast majority of the coordination done and only had a few odds and ends to finalize for the end of next week's big picnic.

Friday began with the beautiful sunny day. The Fire Marshall approved the use of the barge and its placement out on the lake and told Mr. Ken the Picnic needed a minimum of thirty fire extinguishers, set around the grounds, in addition, to those fire extinguishers, the carnival company needed one for each of their rides. By noon time all the bands stopped by, with their legal adult, and signed their contracts. The band members, who came, also got to meet Robert and look over the new skateboard ramps.

After lunch, Bill Jackson called Mr. Ken to tell him how his interviews went and would be faxing over the names for the final, Owner Interviews. Bill told the man all four, of the final prospective candidates, showed strong communication and writing skills and had some business experience. Bill told Ken they should have no problem meeting the requirements of the job. Ken then asked Bill to send over the names of all the candidates' and their rankings.

Later that night, after dinner, Robert stopped by his 'dad's Study to ask about how Mr. Wayne did with Mr. Jackson's process. Ken sat the lad down and told his 'son' that Wayne didn't make the final cut. 'Dad' explained Wayne Mitchell was ranked fifth, overall, but he again retold Robert what the rules were agreed to, beforehand, that only the top four people would be forwarded over for the final 'Owner Interviews'. Ken could see the disappointment in the lad's face so, he asked the lad if he ever met the other candidates. Robert didn't understand the question, so 'dad' Ken explained that since the other people didn't get to personally impress him they would be put at a disadvantage. That it wouldn't be fair to all the candidates, if they all didn't get the meet the 'boss' first, as Wayne had. 'Dad' Ken then reminded the lad about the rules, he and Bill set down, up front, and it wouldn't be fair to change the rules, in the middle of the game, or interview process, in that case. The two hugged and Robert agreed his 'dad' was right but he still wanted Wayne to be the new Household Manager. They finally agreed to disagree.

Saturday was another beautiful day in the neighborhood and Robert's friends showed up bright and early, that morning. Ryan and Todd also arrived pretty early as they explained they needed to make sure the entire beach and dock areas were spotless. Plus, Ryan said he was going to take Todd out in the 14-foot Sunfish, sailboat, to show him the basics about sailing. Robert asked if he could go along but Ryan asked if he take him later as Todd needed to concentrate and not be distracted, with someone else in the boat.

A little later that morning, a truck entered The Cove. The driver asked where he could find a Mr. Ken. Robert went and got his 'dad' for the man. It was then Mr. Ken leaned the man was delivering the forty extinguishers he'd ordered. That delivery put a crimp on the boys skateboarding since the extinguishers took up a considerable amount of space, out in the parking corral. With Mr. Ken's need for access, for all the vehicles, the fire extinguishers were placed near the skateboard ramps and essentially disabled one, the Funbox.

Later that afternoon, Ryan, and Todd, came walking past the skateboard ramps heading toward Ryan's car. Robert called over to Ryan and asked him when they were going sailing, but Ryan said he needed to rest, after the hard day he just put in. Todd further explained they had to right the boat, twice, out in the very cold lake after he, meaning Todd, turned the wrong way and the wind caught them and tipped them over. Todd was still apologizing to Ryan as they walked to Ryan's vehicle. Robert and his friends laughed at the two teenagers.

Eric spent the night, Saturday, and the two, now, teens got their 'dad' to watch a movie, with them, down in the Theater. The lads took a position on either side of the man and, eventually, hugged close, to him. They didn't watch much of the movie, though, as Robert was full of questions concerning the 4th of July Picnic. He wanted to know if they'd have fireworks, what kind of rides there would be, how many people would be there, and on and on went the questions.

Eric had tried to tell Robert about the past two 4th of July Picnics, earlier, but Robert either wasn't listening, or he just wanted to hear the answers from his 'dad'. Robert also asked about the Household Manager and when they would be hired. 'Dad' Ken told the boys he would do the final interviews, on Monday, and would decide whom he would hire after he and Bill talked it over. Robert asked if he could meet the people. At first, Mr. Ken didn't want the boy to meet the candidates, but, then, realized the lad would have just as much day-to-day contact, with them, as he would, and, so, he decided his 'son' should get a 'first impression' look, before he named the person whom he would hire.

That night, in Robert's bedroom, he and Eric talked about the new Household Manager. Robert told his best friend how he tried to get his 'dad' to hire Mr. Wayne but knew his 'dad' was doing the right thing by having standards the people had to meet. Robert told Eric that Mr. Wayne ranked fifth but his 'dad' was only going to interview the first four ranked by Mr. Jackson.

Eric told his best friend that he supported their 'dad' as the man knew what he was looking for, in the new manager. He told Robert he had to trust Mr. Ken to hire the best person that meets the job qualifications. The new teenager then told Robert that their 'dad' said the new Household Manager would be on a six month trial period and if they didn't work out there would be another search. Robert said he understood all that but he really liked Mr. Wayne and wished he would get the job.

The two teens laid next to one another, in Robert's bed, while their minds worked through the 'what ifs' that the new manager would bring to The Cove. But, before long, the very close friends began to give the other some personal attention and that caused their minds to think of something entirely different. It didn't take the boys long to rid one another of all their clothes and begin to satisfy each other. They did what they'd always done and before long they were fast asleep in one another's arms.

Collin arrived about twelve noon that Sunday. When he rang the doorbell, Robert answered not knowing who would be there. When he saw his new 'Big Brother' he leaped into his arms. The two new brothers remained that way for a few moments. Eric looked on and then was brought into the mutual hug. Mr. Ken heard the doorbell and when no one came to tell him who was there he went to look for himself. Soon, the four 'brother's' were in a mutual hug.

"You didn't tell me Collin was going to be here today, 'dad'," said Robert.

"I'm sorry, 'son' I was so busy with phone calls all week it just slipped my mind. But, you talked to him last week so … why didn't you ask him when he was coming for the 4th of July Picnic?" said 'dad' Ken as he turned the question back on his 'son'.

"Well, I'm here so let me get settled in my room, and then we can decide what we're going to do, the rest of the day" recommended Collin.

The two new teenagers helped their Big Bro, with his bags, up to his bedroom. There, Collin asked his 'lil bros' what they had planned, for the rest of the summer. The two new teenagers looked at one another and they had to admit that they hadn't any plans, yet. Robert explained how the trial messed up any attempt at going anywhere, or doing anything, and Eric said if Mr. Ken didn't take him, anywhere, he wouldn't be doing anything. Robert mentioned his 'dad' said something about visiting his amusement parks but things were so messed up he figured his 'dad' forgot about it.

Collin then asked about the skateboard ramps and the three 'brothers' went outside. When they got there the younger friends had begun arriving. The older lads already knew Collin but the younger boys, such as, Terran, Sam, Michael, and Nicholas needed to be introduced. When the introductions were all over, Collin asked Robert to borrow his skateboard so he could try the new ramps out. Collin showed he knew what to do with a skateboard. He tried out four of the five ramps but couldn't use the fifth one because it was blocked, by the fire extinguishers.

About one o'clock, Ryan decided to stop by The Cove, to ask Robert if he wanted to try sailing. When he got there, he saw his Best Friend, Collin, and the two hugged, one another, and began talking to get caught up with one another. A half-hour later, Ryan did get the chance to ask Robert about going sailing. Getting an enthusiastic "Yes", the two lads went to get into their wet-suits and life preservers. They met at the docks and Ryan began to orient the new thirteen year old about the 14-foot Sunfish sailboat.

After a fifteen minute, or so, discussion about the Sunfish and how it handled and what to expect from it, Ryan told Robert that the best way to learn is to do, so he had the younger lad get into the boat and Ryan cast them off. They paddled the boat out into the lake, where Ryan raised the sail. He then began to explain how the wind worked, in the sail, and as he tightened the sail, to the mast, and the boom. And, with that, they were off.

Collin saw they had the three personal water crafts out so he asked Eric if he was game to go out on the lake. The two 'brothers' talked about it with Mr. Ken and finding he was okay with it they headed to the pool area to get into their wet-suits. Eric had no problem changing in front of the much older teenager. He'd been in the shower, with the teen, often enough that it was second nature, to him. Collin's wet-suit was a bit tight on him but only when he stood up. He felt okay when he was seated and that was how he'd be on the PWC's so he walked funny down to the beach.

The lads took both WaveRunner's and went looking for Ryan, and Robert. It had been some time since Collin rode his Yamaha machine so he took it easy until he got more comfortable, with it. The two watercraft users went in search of the sail bound teens. It only took Collin and Eric ten minutes to find their friends, Ryan and Robert. The four shared a quick "hello" but Ryan asked the other two to not interfere with them as Robert wasn't too comfortable, in the sailboat, yet. Collin and Eric then headed off to places unknown.

Ryan showed Robert how to work the sail worked going both against the wind and with it. He tried to get the lad to understand how it all worked but Robert remained leery about the whole thing. Even, when Ryan asked the lad if he wanted to try it he just sat there not wanting to move for fear they would wind up in the water.

Since it was no fun being out in the small sail boat with someone who didn't appreciate it, Ryan decided to take the boat back to the beach. When they got into the protected area, of the beach cove, Ryan tried once again to get Robert to take the controls. Robert reluctantly agreed and, as the two changed places, Robert stood a bit too high and he unbalanced the sailboat and that threw both teens into the lake waters. Ryan decided to use that opportunity to show the younger lad how to upright the boat when something like that happens.

Up in the Kitchen Nook, Mr. Ken had gotten a refill on his coffee, and was looking out watching the boys approach, the beach. It was then he saw Robert stand up and throw the two teens into the cold water. He decided to go down to the water's edge and talk to the boys. By then, the other two teens came back to the beach, themselves, and began laughing at the two, in the water, trying to upright the sailboat.

Ken, and, of course, Chief voiced out some encouragement to the two teens trying to get the sailboat upright. Ryan knew he could do it himself, but he wanted Robert to try it, with him, so he could show him. Robert didn't want any part of that but knew he had to try, if anything. The two grabbed the far side ropes and, using their combined weight, the sailboat righted itself. All that time Eric was laughing so Ryan told the lad to swim out there and learn, too. Mr. Ken said that it was a good idea so Eric did as he was asked.

Robert helped Ryan tip the boat over, again, and he let Ryan and Eric try to upright it together. Eric thought it was fun, when he and Ryan were able to upright the sailboat, which, he thought, was easy. He thought it was so easy he asked if he could do that again. Ryan allowed the teen to tip the boat over but this time he had Robert come over as he wanted both younger, lighter teens to try to do it. Robert was a bit skeptical that he and Eric could upright the boat, but they tried and found all they needed to do was lean out more, to get the leverage, and make the sailboat upright itself. Seeing another teaching opportunity, Ryan had the lads try to getting into the boat. It was easy to get one lad into the boat but they found it troubling to get the other into it. Ryan gave them a few hints and they were able to do it. By that time all three were tired and getting cold so they brought the Sunfish onto the beach and secured it there. Collin had already secured the watercraft.

As the five walked up to the house, Robert asked if they could go swimming. Mr. Ken said they could and it was then Robert asked his 'dad' to join them. 'Dad' Ken said he would, but first he wanted to know if the lads were going to skinny-dip. He told the four teenagers that if they decided to not use their suits he would not be participating. He also said if they started out with their suits on and somehow 'lost' them, along the way, he would abruptly leave. He told the four teens he'd already seen them naked enough, for one lifetime, and didn't need any more reminders. Collin figured there'd been a lot of skinny-dipping, at The Cove, and he decided he'd ask later since he wanted Mr. Ken, to swim, with them. The five had a great time swimming together, that late afternoon, and an equally fun time eating dinner, later, at The Four Corner's Restaurant.

Ryan decided to spend the night, with his best friend, Collin, just as Eric decided to spend the night, again, with his best friend, Robert. Unbeknownst to each Best Friend pair, that night, the lads joined together and shared those special feelings they learned to communicate to each other. After the pairs came down from their individual satisfaction they fell asleep, in each other's arms.

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