Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 14

Published: 6 Aug 15

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Up at the Bus Stop, Monday morning, the kids were all talking with one another when one lad went over and asked Robert, "Are you living at Three Finger Cove? I've seen you go in that direction, when you get off the bus, and I know you're new here because I hadn't seen you here before the Holidays."

"Yes, I'm new to this area and, yeah, I'm living at the Cove," replied Robert, and remembered not to offer more than they ask.

"Geez, you're lucky. You can swim in that big indoor pool whenever you want to and you get to live in that huge house," offered the boy, who was the one who initially asked Robert if he was the new kid and lived at Three Finger Cove.

Robert smiled at how the lad sounded with his lame questions so he asked the boy his name and what grade he was in.

Oh, my name is Michael, Michael Summers and I'm in the fifth grade. What's your name and what grade are you in?' asked Michael.

"My name is Robert, Robert Harrison and people call me Robert and NOT Bobby or Robbie or whatever. I'm in seventh grade," provided Robert, then added, "Oh, by the way, I can swim in the large indoor pool but NOT any time I want to. Mr. Ken requires that two people swim together in case one gets hurt so the other one can go for help."

That last statement put a question mark on the boy's face. It stopped him from asking any more questions and, even if he had a few more, the bus arrived and the kids all loaded on it. Robert saw Eric sitting where he usually sat, way in the back, so he walked in that direction. They said "hi" to one another and as Robert sat down, the bus pulled away.

At about nine that morning, the phone rang in the Study and Mr. Ken answered saying, "Good morning, Three Finger Cove, Ken speaking."

Taken by surprise at the formal greeting, Judy Turner said, "Wow, I've never heard you answer the phones like that before. What gives?"

"Oh, hi Judy … I'm in such a good mood today, I thought I'd answer by saying that," replied Ken Thomas. "To what do I owe the pleasure of your call this morning, Judy?"

"I thought I'd call and ask if you could fill me in on what caused Robert to break down like that last night. You did get to talk to him didn't you," replied Judy.

"Yes, Judy … we did talk and it seems that Robert … he finally understood what his decision meant to him. He told me … when it registered in his mind that he'd 'probably not ever get to live with his parents again'. … Judy … it hit him as how 'final' … that could turn out to be for him. He told me he realized that he'd now be all alone and that if it weren't for the 'love' he knew he'd get here at the 'Cove', he'd never get 'love' from anywhere else he went," fully explained the man.

Ken Thomas gave Judy a few moments to think over what he just revealed, but when she hadn't provided any feedback; the man called out, "Judy … Judy, you there?"

Then the man heard some sniffles in the background and then the woman blowing her nose he came to understand Judy must have been crying.

"Judy … are you going to be okay?" inquired the owner of the Cove.

"Yes, Ken … I am … it's just that Robert … he knew what it did mean to him. How many kids, his age, could have conceived or totally understand what was happening to him. … Ken, that lad … he is a very bright boy and I think you may have your hands full if you can't keep him occupied or interested in something. I suspect Robert might be highly intelligent and, with that alone, CPS would love to test him but … well, I think it would be best if you were to broach the subject," implied Ms. Judy.

"Well, Judy... what say we let the boy get settled here at the Cove first. Let me get him into a normal routine before I try to upset his world again if he proves out to be a genius or something even worse … a know-it-all teenager," laughed Mr. Ken, at his attempt at a joke.

"You are probably right there, Ken. I know you'll do whatever's necessary to ensure that boy has a normal life and friends and is never forgotten to be 'loved'. I know you're going to spoil him as you have Collin and Ryan and my boy, Eric, but we both know he deserves it after what his parents did to him in the name of money.

"Ken, I'm not even going to make a note here … in the lad's folder that we believe the boy might be 'gifted'. I am going to leave it all up to you to decide when and IF Robert is ever tested. I agree he needs to be a normal boy before we try to make him into something he may not want to be. Thanks for explaining to me why he acted the way he did. You have a very 'special' boy there, Ken. I'll let you go back to whatever it was you were working on. I'll talk to you later. Bye." Judy Turner then hung up her phone.

At the elementary school, this was Robert's second full week and more and more of the boys in his class talked with him. They didn't seem to be 'sucking up' to him but trying to engage him in real conversations that dealt with school work or sports or how the girls in their class act. At lunch, more and more of the boys tried to sit with Robert, who always seemed to sit with Eric, to get his opinion on the 'hot' topics of the day. The girls took notice that the 'new kid' was getting all the attention from 'their' boys. That got them to talk amongst themselves about how they were going to get 'their boys' to notice them just as much, or maybe even more.

"Hey, Robert," began twelve year old Cody Orbauch, "have you noticed how the girls are constantly watching you?"

The other lads at the table laughed at what Cody was talking about.

"Well, I'm still new here … and I'm trying to get to know everyone and not cause any trouble between … ah, between you guys and your girlfriends," responded Robert.

"You don't have to worry about that... at least not yet, Robert. I don't think any of us guys are even interested in those girls," offered Joshua Xions, who was also 12 ½ years old.

"Yea, you should see them sometimes," added Logan Anderson, a recently turned thirteen year old. "They're always trying to get you to notice them or they're asking you if you like so-and-so. They even want to know what you did over the weekend like you did something they wished they could have done."

"Hey, you know what?" spoke up 12 ½ year old Charlie Symons, "I bet that's exactly what they wanted to do, but not necessarily doing what you're doing Logan, but I bet they just want to be 'with you'. … Oh, Logan, can I be your 'girlfriend'," teased Charlie.

Then some of the other boys joined in to tease Logan who seemed to always have the girls following after him.

"Hey, cut it out, guys, can I help if they think I'm cute and better looking than the rest of you lugs", and with that Logan put his pointing finger under his chin and smiled for the guys. "And, I can't help it if they think you all look like bunch of Neanderthals!"

Just then a few of the girls walked by the group of pre-teens boys and all together they said, "Hi there Logan."

That did it for the boys as they began to tease Logan mercilessly as they put their fingers under their chins and smiled at him. That gave the entire group a good laugh and it seemed to bond them as a 'group' and that also included Robert, which he took note of.

Of course the 'End of Lunch' bell rang which then ruined a 'good thing' the boys were just having, as it prodded them to go their own ways back to their respective classrooms.

After school, Robert walked to the front door, used his key and entered his new home. But there, just inside the Foyer was Mildred Johnston. She wasn't normally there when he came home but she was there none-the-less.

"I thought I told you to use the garage entrance, boy!" scoffed Mildred.

"Mr. Ken told me that I can use ANY entrance or exit I want," replied Robert.

'And what did I tell you about proper respect for you elders, you whelp. Hadn't I told you to say Yes, ma'am' or 'No, ma'am' or 'Yes, sir', or 'No, sir' or whatever was proper? Well, HADN'T I?" yelled out Mildred, who then began to slap and hit Robert about his face and head.

"Ye yes, ma'am," stuttered the lad as he began to run the 'sting' away from his face..

"Then remember to use it then, Boooy!" sarcastically announced Ms. Johnston, and then walked away.

Robert was scared standing there in front of the much older woman. He hadn't seen her around all that much since Mr. Ken had that talk with her early the previous week and for that he was very happy. What he couldn't understand was why she appeared now, at this time. The thing he did remembered was she knew when he got home from school every day and now he'd have to watch out for her.

Keeping that in mind, the lad went up to his room to change into after-school clothes and then to go see Maria and get his after school snack.

"Good afternoon, Maria," bellowed Robert, as he entered the cook's domain, "did you make me anything special for my snack today?"

"Yes, Robert, Ieyes made you some chockolates puddings that Ieyes jest knows youse will just loves," replied Momma Maria.

"Great, and is there chocolate milk to go with that?" asked Robert.

"Yess theres are, my so-youngs boys. Nows seets down and enjoys."

The boy sat down at the table in the Kitchen Nook so he could look out and watch the lake. Then Momma Maria brought over his after-school snack and set it in front of him. The lad thoroughly enjoyed whatever Momma made for him, but today was the first time she ever made pudding and she also served him very cold chocolate milk. He knew when he left to start his homework he just had to give Momma a big hug.

"Momma Maria, that was awesome chocolate pudding and thank you for that very cold chocolate milk. It was all so wonderful," expressed Robert, who then gave the lady a big hug for all her hard work and treating him so special.

"I loves to doos jest that's Robert, and I am veys happies to haves anodder mouth to feeds heres in this bigs-a-house," responded Maria, as she hugged the lad back.

At dinner, the man and boy discussed when the lad was going to begin his regular bi-weekly meetings with Doctor Doug. They had let that decision go by the wayside last week and Mr. Ken told the pre-teen he received a call from the doctor's secretary that they hadn't scheduled a time. The two discussed the pros and cons of during the school day verses right after school and it was decided for the time being that Robert would go after school.

The owner of the cove said he wanted to ensure the lad's schoolwork didn't suffer and that after a trial period, if there was no decrease to his grades the lad could then switch to go during the school day. But, the boy was reminded that if his grades did suffer, he'd go right back to after school.

After dessert that evening, the two residents of Three Finger Cove decided to go for a swim. They each changed into their swimsuits, in their respective bedrooms, and met at pool's edge before jumping in and beginning an evening of frolic and fun.

Ken was impressed at the lad's swimming ability and asked him if he ever swam on a swim team. Robert answered that he always seemed to be able to swim real good and that it came naturally to him, somehow. They discussed the possibility of the boy joining a swim team but then they both agreed Robert needed to get his life settled and situated before he spread himself too thin. They agreed to look at that possibility at the end of school. To finish the night off, they then did some jumps off the platform rock to see who could make the biggest splash.

A long day, a great Momma Maria meal and some fun in the pool tired both man and boy out. That night, when their heads hit their pillows, they were fast asleep before they could even think to review their day in their mind.

As the days moved along, Robert seemed to cross paths with Mildred Johnston more and more and she always had something sarcastic or demeaning to say to him. He also received a few hits with a wooden spoon she now carried with her when she met up with the lad. He began to feel as if she went out of her way to be there when he came home from school most days. He also noticed she made her appearances when Maria wasn't nearby and especially so when Mr. Ken wasn't around there as well.

One night, as Mr. Ken and Robert were coming home from some place they had gone to, Robert noticed some of his classmates skateboarding at a close-by skate park. He asked Mr. Ken if he could go over there and see what is was like. Even though he wasn't very good at skateboarding, the lads teased and laughed at Robert when he had a difficult time doing a trick or fell, or did any number of things they all got teased or laughed at. In the end, it helped Robert feel some of that new 'life' his foster dad hoped he could achieve. After that, the newest member of Three Finger Cove received permission to ask some of the boys from school over to play.

Mr. Ken also couldn't be happier the lad had made some good friends from his school and that Eric seemed to be his 'best' friend. The man knew Brad Sullivan from the many times Eric had the lad over as his 'friend or pal' during the early swims. He also remembered him from when Collin and Ryan had their joint 16th Birthday Party and when the California Boys visited. He also remembered Charles Symons, or Charlie or Chuck as he was sometimes called. The man also knew Gordon Thomason, Joshua Xions, Cody Orbauch, and Steven Zuckermann as they had all been to some of the pool parties when Collin lived there.

Then there is Logan Anderson. Mr. Ken especially remembered the lad as the boy had his first 'wet dream' when he spent the night way back when a number of younger boys and teenagers did. He explained all about it and what it meant to the lad, as they sat with and Collin and Chief under the spiral stairs early one morning. The lad's mom thanked him profusely when she met him one night while he was out with Collin. He also was embarrassed for the lad at the same time as the woman explained what happened to everyone who was within earshot. For the lad's part, the lad always had a knowing smile for the man whenever their eyes met.

On Thursday, after dinner, Mr. Ken asked Robert to meet him down in the Family Room. Robert had no idea why his 'dad' wanted to meet him there but figured he'd show up and find out.

"Hello, sport," said Ken Thomas as he walked down the stairs and spotted his 'son' waiting for him. "I guess you are wondering why I asked you to meet me here on such short notice. Well... I thought that maybe we could have our first Tuesday meeting," Mr. Ken got out before Robert offered, "But it's a Thursday!"

"Yes, yes I know and I thought we should set up some ground rules to lead us so we don't stray away from what we want us to accomplish when we begin to really meet. Maybe we can get a feel for what you and I want to get out of this meeting. I know I asked you to keep a 'List' of things you would want to talk to me about and I know I didn't ask you to bring them, but... well, I just wanted us to sit and talk," replied Mr. Ken.

"So, what you're saying is that this isn't a 'real' Tuesday Night' meeting just something for us to discuss how we'll want the meetings to go?" asked the perplexed twelve year old.

"Well, yes... what good is having a meeting if you don't have a set of rules or guidelines for everyone to know and follow? I'm thinking we should ONLY focus on 'List' items and not something that maybe happened during the day or at school or anything else not associated with our 'Lists'. Does that make any sense to you, Robert?" asked the lad's new foster dad.

Robert sat there pondering what his new 'dad' just said and then asked, "Do I get to help make the rules?"

"Yes, yes you do. This isn't about me and it isn't just about you. We are still so new to one another that I believe we need to take time to talk to one another and discuss issues that we don't understand, or we want to clarify to each other. I want you to feel like you can say and ask anything when we sit and talk and not feel intimidated because I am the adult. I can understand that concept sounds a bit foreign to you, but you know that I am very open minded and... well, I want to make you feel at ease when we talk. Did what I just said... make ANY sense to you?" finished Mr. Ken.

"Yes sir, I think so... You want me to be able to talk about anything and everything with you and not feel like it will be held against me?" interpreted Robert. "And, you want me to help establish the parameters with which we will sit and have our Tuesday Meetings?"

"Yes, exactly," smiled Mr. Ken, knowing the lad's intelligence worked out his poor way of trying to explain why he wanted to talk that evening.

"So... I brought a notepad so I can write down what we agree to and then I'll type them up and each of us will have a copy we can refer to if we think the meeting goes off track. You okay with that?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Sure, and I am glad you are doing that for us. I know when I talked to my mom and dad, at times, they always changed the topic or found an excuse to cut short what I wanted to talk to them about. And that was before I had to start going with those guys," added the pre-teen.

"And, I agree that we should ONLY focus on things on our 'List' that we bring to the meeting. I can see how easy it could be to say something in explaining ourselves that causes the other one to take that snippet and want to talk about that as an aside."

"Well put, my 'son'; well put. So, in listening to what you just said, you agree with me we should only focus on our "List'. Is that correct?" asked 'dad' Ken.

"Yea, and I think we should also limit the time," immediately spoke up the lad. "I do have school the next day and I may still have homework to finish, so I don't think it would be fair for us to spend hour after hour talking. Plus... if we talk about too many things we might get them confused. What do you think about making that a rule?"

Mr. Ken wrote down what Robert said and when he finished doing that he said he agreed. He then added they should begin their meetings about the same time every time and asked if 'fifteen minutes after dinner or as close to seven o'clock as possible' would work for the boy. Robert agreed with that and then on it went. They each then took a turn to express what they each thought would be a good 'rule' and before they realized it an hour had passed.

"Are you satisfied with what we discussed and agreed to, Robert?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Yes, I am," replied Robert. "We both offered our thoughts and you know 'dad' Ken?... We did what one of our ideas was, which was to let the other one speak before we said anything. It was if we put into place a 'rule' without ever agreeing to do it. I think this is going to work; don't you?"

Ken smiled and opened his arms as a call for the lad to come to him and the boy did. They sat there, together, with each hugging the other and thinking how lucky they each were in their own way. Then Chief got into the action and jumped up, placing her front paws on them, and giving them each her 'kisses'. They in turn scratched behind her ears which made for a very happy dog.

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