Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 22

Published: 1 Oct 15

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Saturday morning found the two awake early and ready to go. Robert called his friends to come over and Mr. Ken went and worked some more on the household finances.

While waiting for his buddies, Robert went into the Study and gave his 'dad' a hug and while doing so, he noticed the proposed ad for a new housekeeper. So, he asked about it and Ken asked him what he thought. They discussed it some, but Mr. Ken could sense Robert's hesitation over the possibility of getting a new lady in. Ken asked him what he thought of maybe getting a man in to run the house. Robert's eyes lit up but then asked if men did that sort of thing. Ken told Robert that he wasn't sure either and said he would ask about it when he checked with Bill Jackson next week.

The two made small talk and when the doorbell rang the lad left thinking he'd go out with his friends but it was just Ms. Judy and Eric. After welcoming them, Robert and Eric stepped outside to wait for the rest of the lads to show. Ms. Judy didn't remain long as she had grocery shopping and laundry to do that morning.

It wasn't too long before five boys were outside riding their skateboards on the front driveway since there were no cars around on the wide expanse of the very smooth concrete. Ken took a look out his Study's large windows and became amazed the boys never got hurt after seeing so many of the falls they took.

Outside, as the day wore on, the lads occasionally would run inside to take care of 'business' and rush back out to be with their friends. When Eric went in, on his way back outside he stopped by the Study to ask Mr. Ken if he could talk to him sometime. Ken told him he would any time he was ready and to just to let him know. Hearing that, Eric stepped inside the room and sat down and asked if he had some time now. Seeing some distress in Eric's eyes, Ken put his pen down and got up from behind the desk and went to the leather chair opposite the boy.

"How can I possibly help you, Eric?" asked the now puzzled Mr. Ken.

"Well, I want to thank you for not telling my mom what you saw last Sunday. I … well, I would have been so embarrassed if she ever found out. How would I explain that to her? I am so happy I didn't have to do that," Eric told Mr. Ken.

The two sat there in silence for a bit. Mr. Ken had this feeling that Eric wanted to talk some more so he just sat there relaxing but not looking directly at the lad.

"Mr. Ken?" Eric said. "Are you mad at us for what we did?"

"Eric, as a matter of fact, I am not mad at either of you two! I've taken a 'No Harm – No Foul' attitude, if you really want to know how I feel?" spoke Mr. Ken, answering back to the boy sitting there.

"Yeah, that's what Robert explained to me. I guess, I just don't get it. I figured you'd get mad and yell at us … or, at least Robert and tell him I couldn't come over any more or be his friend. I … I was afraid I'd … I'd lose him!" And with that the youngster began to sob.

Mr. Ken got up and went over to the crying boy and sat beside him and began to comfort him as best he could. He did what he had done to Robert and hugged the boy to him and kept telling him things would be okay! In a few minutes, Eric stopped sobbing and began to hug Mr. Ken back. Both of them relished the contact and they stayed like that for quite some time before it got too warm. Then, they sat back and away from one other.

"Eric? Is there something else … that's bothering you?" inquired Mr. Ken. "Please don't be afraid to talk to me, Eric. One thing I told Robert, last week, was that whatever happens in this house stays in this house. And, Eric, I am NOT going to tell your mom what you and I talk about. I promise you that! Complete secrecy between you and me. Collin and I had that same agreement so … will that work for you, Eric?" Mr. Ken finished.

"Yeah, I know that you and Collin talked a lot and he never told me anything about any of it so know I can Trust you, Mr. Ken, but, what about Robert? Will you, you know … tell him?"

"Now, if I never told anyone what Collin and I talked about I sure won't tell Robert either. Even if he sees us talking, or knows we talked, I am not going to tell him anything. If it is something he needs to know, it should be you who tells him, not me! Now, is there something else bothering you that I might be able to help you with?"

Satisfied with what Mr. Ken told him, Eric began to describe to him how he saw what happened last Sunday. Ken did the same now with Eric as he did with Robert and allowed the lad to finish talking before he would make any comments, or ask any questions. After a few minutes, it was obvious to Mr. Ken that each boy saw that day differently. He also got a few more details that Robert hadn't told him.

It was then, Eric got kind of nervous. He began to look down at the floor and it was then that Mr. Ken noticed the boy's breathing got faster. The youth was now hyperventilating, couldn't sit still, and looked as if he didn't know if he wanted leave or stay. It was obvious some kind of conflict was cursing through Eric, but it was up to him to decide if he wanted to continue with the chat or not. Not wanting to destroy this opportunity for Eric, he sat there waiting for Eric to hopefully say something, since it was he who wanted to talk.

Slowly, while still looking down at the floor, Eric began to say, "I … I … never felt anything like I did last Sunday, Mr. Ken. It was … it was all so new and … and it felt so exciting and awesome. The thing that made it the best … was … I did it with Robert. Was that wrong, Mr. Ken … to feel that way?" Eric asked, as he looked up and into Mr. Ken's eyes.

Now, Ken had two 'best friends' who each had at least a crush on one another. He had told them both he wouldn't tell anyone what they told him, so now he was in a pickle. He had to figure out how to get the two of them to talk to each other about how they felt, but being twelve he knew they would be too scared. And, on top of that, they were sure to feel they could be rejected by their friend and would rather keep it to themselves than voice it into the open.

In order to get a bit more information, Ken looked at Eric and asked, "Did you two ever talk, at all to each other, about what happened between you two?"

"No … we were always around one of the other guys, so we never had any time alone," explained Eric.

"What about during the evenings? Didn't you guys talk on the phone?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Not really and, when we began to, we decided it would be better if we talked about it face to face. So, we dropped it. Besides, we had a lot of homework this week and my mom wouldn't let me stay on the phone very long," further explained Eric.

"Ah, Okay … now I see. So … let me get this straight. If you two could, sort of, get some free time alone … do you think Robert would take the time to talk to you about it?" inquired the owner of the Cove.

"I think he would. But the guys … they've been out there all day and we just can't leave them, can we? It wouldn't be fair and all that." Eric tried to reason.

"Yep, you're right, there!" agreed Mr. Ken.

"This is pretty important to you isn't it, Eric?"

"Yeah … I'll say. I mean … if something happened to you for the first time wouldn't you want to talk to the guy you were with, you know, when it all happened? I've wanted to talk about it all week … but we never got the chance. It's like my entire insides are going to blow if I can't talk to him and tell him what I want to tell him. Does that make sense Mr. Ken?" the thoroughly confused pre-teen asked.

"It makes perfect sense, Eric. You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to make it so you have a few minutes alone. Will that work for you?" a smiling Mr. Ken asked.

"Can you? How? I mean … the guys and everything," questioned Eric.

"Don't you worry, Okay! I'll take care of the guys while you and Robert try to figure some things out. You just go along with me. Now, what do you say … let's go outside? And, when I go to the guys, I will tell Robert he needs to take care of something inside and for him to take you to help him. Then, when you are inside, tell him why I did that! Got it?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Got it!" smiled Eric, as he readily replied.

Mr. Ken led Eric out the front door and they both went over to the group of boys skateboarding out on the front driveway. Mr. Ken told the boys he had been watching them and couldn't figure out how they stayed on the boards but, most of all, how they didn't hurt themselves after falling down so much. After a few minutes, he said he remembered why he came out and sent Robert back inside, along with Eric, to take care of something or other.

When the two companions went inside, Mr. Ken asked the other lads to show him some of their tricks and how they rode the boards. The remaining friends went at it with immense enthusiasm, each doing what he did best and trying to upstage the others. That continued for quite some time and Mr. Ken hoped, that inside, the two almost 'lovers' would get the chance to talk.

Once inside, Eric told to Robert it was just a 'white lie' Mr. Ken told, so they could get a few minutes alone to talk. Eric told him how he talked to Mr. Ken, telling him he had wanted to talk to Robert all week but they never could find the time. Robert just stood there with his mouth open. He was beside himself that he hadn't thought of doing what his best friend had just done. He was so happy he grabbed Eric and gave him a big hug. Not to be undone, Eric returned the hug. When the hug was over, they looked into each other's eyes and without saying a thing they kissed.

"We need to talk!" they both said simultaneously.

"You first!"

"No, you first!"

And then they laughed at each other.

"This is your house, so you go first!" chided Eric.

"It was you who got us the time to talk, so … you go first," replied Robert.

"We are wasting time. … Okay. So, I'll go first," stated Eric, matter-of-factly.

"Robert … what I said to you … under the tree last week and … then up in your room … well ah … I still do."

"You do? You still … Love me?" a disbelieving Robert asked.

"Yes … I do. Very much! I've never felt this way before, about anyone, including my mom!" reveiled a smiling Eric.

"I am so happy to hear you say that because I know I still do, too!" started Robert.

"Still do what?" Asked a smiling Eric.

"That, I Love … I love you, too, Eric!" announced Robert.

And with that said, both boys kissed and hugged one another for dear life. Of course, what happened while they were so tightly connected was their 'little guys' woke up to all the commotion and became very noticeable. The lads naturally felt their tents beginning to stand up so they broke apart and looked down at one another. Laughing, they agreed that now wasn't the time and they should get outside to their friends.

The two 'now closer than ever' friends talked for a few more minutes while in each other's embrace. It had been about 12 minutes since they went inside, so it was time for them to go back to their friends.

As they still had 'pup tents', they both tried their best to get their 'tents' to go back down as they began to walk to the front door. As they went outside, they agreed they needed to talk a lot more about their feelings, and the sooner the better. Reaching the group, at the driveway, Robert went over to his 'dad' and hugged him. Eric hugged the man as well. The remaining kids, seeing that, looked on in disbelief.

"What … you never saw a guy hug his 'dad'?" asked Robert.

"And, he might not be my real 'dad', but I know I can talk to him any time I need to, so that's why I hugged him, too," added Eric. "And besides, he considers me his 'lil brother' too, along with Collin and Ryan."

Seeing an opportunity to put everyone at ease, Mr. Ken then asked. "Would anyone else like a hug? They're free and today's special is Two-for-One - any takers?"

The three remaining boys looked back and forth at each other not knowing what to do. Then, before long, Chuck walked up to Mr. Ken and said he'd like one of those 'free hugs' and he began to hug the man and he got a hug back in return. Gordon, seeing this, went over, too, and waited for his hug. Lastly, not to be seen as a party pooper, Brad likewise got in line.

With all the hugging going on, nobody even asked what the two had to do inside. It appeared Mr. Ken's little diversion worked out well for his two and the offered hugs gave an added bonus.

Then, as they talked about Mr. Ken's hugs, they learned the real reason Chuck went to get his hug. He told everyone he didn't get hugs from his dad or mom anymore and he just couldn't refuse the offer. Gordon also mentioned he hadn't had a hug for the longest time and Brad said his parents give all the hugs to his little brother, Sam, and it felt good, real good to get a hug again. As Mr. Ken walked back inside, all the kids yelled a 'Thank You' to him for their hugs.

As the day wore on, the skateboarders became hungry and Robert offered to cook. Mr. Ken had taught Robert how to use the gas fired grill and showed him where everything was stored so he could host his friends, whenever they were over. When Robert began to explain to his buds where everything was, Eric explained how he had helped many times with Collin and Ryan, and Brad spoke up and said he had helped once or twice when Collin and Ryan had a cook-out. Both boys gladly helped get everything out as they were starved. The rest of the lads quickly helped Eric and Brad get the things out and ready for Robert to make hot dogs or a hamburgers on the back Patio.

Fully satisfied, the now overstuffed lads sat back and talked about things. The biggest thing that was probably talked about the most was Robert's revelation that he now called Mr. Ken, 'Dad'! He tried to explain to his friends his reason and they, for the most part, accepted it. They all knew he was a foster boy and felt sorry for him that he was taken away from his parents. What they didn't know, and what Robert didn't tell them, was the reason why.

The second biggest discussion centered on Robert wanting to be called Robert. Just like with Eric, last Sunday, it took some time for them to finally understand why Robert wanted to be called that. With Eric's help, they all decided to honor his request and from that day on they always used that name for him.

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