Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 36

Published: 7 Jan 16

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

Morning felt like it came awfully early to the twelve year old when the alarm went off. Sure, he usually got up that early for school but today was a non-school day and his body looked forward to sleeping-in. Now, the alarm was blaring and 'dad' had set it away from his night stand that now he had to get out of bed to turn it off.

Robert got out of bed and, after turning the alarm off, he stood in front of the long mirror on the back of his bedroom door. He admired how his morning wood looked in his boxer briefs. He loved the feeling the boxers gave him and he wished he had enough time to take care of his 'morning needs' but, he knew he needed to hurry and get cleaned up and downstairs, if he wanted anything for breakfast.

Thirty minutes later, Robert headed down the stairs. Half way down his 'dad' called out to him and asked if he brought his bags. Robert had only thought of eating and not bringing the stuffed bags they packed the night before. So, with that he turned around and headed back up the stairs to get his bags. When he retrieved his bags, and got back to the head of the stairs, Mr. Ken told him to use the elevator. He'd never used the elevator, ever, but he headed over to it and pressed the call button for it. When it arrived, and he got in with his bags, he noticed it looked like every other elevator, he'd been in, so he pressed the button for the Main floor.

"Just place your bags over by the front door, Robert. Derrick will be here soon and he'll take them out to the limousine," directed Mr. Ken.

After he'd done that, the two of them went into the kitchen where 'dad' Ken had already heated up a couple of breakfast tacos for them both. They were enjoying some small talk and Momma Maria's tacos when they heard the front door bell. Mr. Ken got up and opened the door for the Limo driver and then went back to the Kitchen Nook to quickly finish his breakfast and put the dirty dishes and utensils into the dishwasher.

"Robert, go wash your face and hands and use the rest room, and then meet me in the Foyer," directed Mr. Ken.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Ken closed the Foyer door and set the house alarm. He and Robert then headed for the limousine where Derrick waited, for them.

"You know where, Derrick," Mr. Ken said, as the vehicle drove out the main Cove entrance.

A few minutes later, Robert noticed they were headed in the direction of Eric's house. He told himself that they had to go that way to where ever they were headed and it would just be 'dad' and him like when they went to Houston, a few weeks back. Then the driver did a curious thing. Derrick drove down Eric's street and then stopped in front of Eric's house.

"'Dad' is … is Eric going with us?" the excited lad asked. He got his answer when Ms. Judy and Eric each carried a piece of luggage down to the limousine.

Robert got out of the car and greeted his Best Friend by giving him a great big hug. Knowing Ms. Judy had to approve his going out on the trip, he gave Ms. Judy a hug as well.

"I didn't know you were going," said Robert to Eric.

"Yeah, mom told me last night. I tried to call you but you must have been out. Later, when I thought of calling, mom said it was too late to call. So, I take it 'da' err Mr. Ken didn't tell you I was coming along.

Mr. Ken heard the exchange and answered for Robert, "No, I didn't tell him. And, before you ask, I didn't tell him where we are going either. This is some of the surprises I have in store for you two so I don't want to spoil the fun by you knowing before you should. Now, both of you; give Ms. Judy a good-bye hug and head to the limo."

The boys did as they were told and, headed for the limo, it was then they saw Mr. Ken and Ms. Judy talking. "I bet he's telling her where we're going so she won't worry," said Eric.

Mr. Ken got into the limo and told Derrick to head to where he knew to go. The boys just looked at one another as the mystery got stranger.

An hour later, Derrick drove the limousine into the San Antonio International Airport and headed to the General Aviation terminal. Here Derrick stopped and opened the vehicle doors for its occupants. Once the three travelers were out, the driver opened the trunk and took out all the luggage and placed them on a cart. The TSA agent then took the luggage to be x-rayed.

"You two boys have been here before, so you know the drill. TSA will do a quick search of us and any carry-ons and before long we'll be up in the air. And, no I will not tell you where we are going until we get there and, even then, I may wait to see if you two can figure it out," explained Mr. Ken.

Twenty minutes later, the trio were seated in the private aircraft. The co-pilot gave them a quick safety briefing and explained they would be taxiing after the engines were warmed up enough to proceed. Before long the jet aircraft, with its three occupants, left the active runway and headed up to 37,000 feet, their cruising altitude.

The two lads looked out of the windows trying to figure out which direction they were going but got distracted by the flight attendant, who asked what they wanted to drink.

As they enjoyed their sodas, Robert asked Eric, "You've gone with 'dad' lots of times. Did you see in which direction we were headed? Maybe we can figure out where we're going before we get there."

Eric took a sip of his soda and answered, "No, I didn't really see which direction we went. Once we took off, the plane banked and turned and I got all confused. I did try to see which way we headed so I could figure it out but now I know I can't. Sorry!"

They were in the air about thirty minutes when the flight attendant asked the boys if they were ready to help fly the plane. They both unhooked their seat belts, at the same time, and tried to get in front of the other.

"Slow down there, boys. The pilot will let you each have a turn while the other one watches. Now, go have some fun," encouraged Mr. Ken.

An hour later, the lads came back to their seas and buckled in. Ten minutes later, the flight attendant came by and asked all three what they would like to eat. The day had only just begun, so, he offered pancakes and sausage, bacon and eggs, waffles and bacon or any combination they wanted. He also told them they could have coffee, orange juice, milk or another soda. Mr. Ken took the pancakes and bacon while Eric took the eggs and bacon.

Robert had to be different and asked the man if he had any tortillas in order to make breakfast tacos. The man smiled and answered "Yes" and then asked how many the lad wanted. Hearing they could now have breakfast tacos both Mr. Ken and Eric asked if they could change their breakfast order. Twenty minutes later the three travelers each had three bacon and egg and cheese breakfast tacos accompanied with their choice of beverage.

As they ate, they talked about their pending trip. The lads tried as hard as they could to get their 'dad' to tell them where they were going but it was to no avail. After failing to get the answer they wanted, they continued to focus their attention out the windows trying in the hopes Eric would notice a familiar landmark that would tell them in which direction n they were headed.

"Eric," whispered Robert, "depending on which way we are headed where do you think we would be going? You know if we went west what would be there or if we went east what could be that way?"

Eric thought a moment about Robert's question and replied, "Well … if we headed west it could be Disneyland but if we headed south that way then it would be San Diego where there the California Boys live. There's a neat amusement park there and we both know 'dad' is looking to buy amusement parks so … yea, maybe that's what we're going to do. Go look at amusement parks no matter which way we go," surmised Eric.

"Yea, I bet you're right. 'Dad' said we'd go visit some of the parks he owns, this summer, so … why not look at some of them now and the others this summer," figured Robert.

The lads smiled at one another and then looked at Mr. Ken and Robert said, "We think we figured out where we're going." Then Eric said, in agreement, "Yea, we figured you're taking us to visit some of the parks you bought since you didn't have lots of time to plan anything real good." The boys then bumped fists like they now knew the mystery.

"Good work, boys. That is ingenious how you could figure out where I planned on taking you. I guess we won't really know until we get there, though, will we?" said Mr. Ken, with a sly look on his face. That then got the boys second guessing themselves.

Not long after that conversation, Ken Thomas looked over at the boys and found both lads had reclined their seats and were fast asleep. He motioned the flight attendant over and asked for a blanket for each of the boys. Then, Mr. Ken asked for a blanket for himself and then he too reclined his seat and fell asleep.

"Mister Thomas," lightly called the flight attendant, "Mister Thomas."

"Oh, oh what time is it?" asked Mr. Ken. The flight attendant indicated they were about thirty minutes out, before touch-down, and that he and the boys needed to wake up and get in position for landing. The flight attendant then collected the blankets and walked away.

"Boys," Mr. Ken lightly called out. "Boys… boys it is time to get up. We're almost there!"

Each boy woke up differently. Eric just opened his eyes and stretched some and then placed his seat back into the full up-right position. Robert, on the other hand, had a big yawn before he even opened his eyes and, even then, after he opened them he immediately closed them. 'Dad' Ken had to call to the lad to open his eyes and place his seat back in the upright position as they were going to be landing soon.

"Why didn't you tell me that in the first place," smiled Robert, as he looked as his 'dad', and put the seat in the full upright position.

It wasn't too long after that that the co-pilot came over the speaker to tell the three passengers they were on final approach, and they would soon be back on the ground. That announcement got both boys to stare out the plane's windows to try to see where they were landing. Nothing looked familiar to Eric and he told his Best friend he didn't have a clue.

Once the small plane taxied to its parking position, and stopped, the co-pilot came back to tell Mr. Thomas that their transportation would soon be there and they would take care of placing their luggage in the limousine. The co-pilot then opened the doorway which caused the folded steps to fall and open onto the tarmac. The three passengers got out of their seats, retrieved their carry-on items and headed to the stairs.

As they walked down the stairs, a limousine came up and stopped. The driver got out and approached Mr. Ken. "Mr. Thomas, I presume? My names is Arthur and I will be your driver this morning. I understand we are headed to …" and before the man could continue Mr. Ken stopped him and whispered into his ear. The driver nodded his agreement and went to collect the luggage and place them into the trunk.

"That's not fair," yelled Robert. "He knows, everybody knows, where we are going, but us. Please 'dad' can't you tell us where we're going. Please?" pleaded Robert.

"No 'son' we are almost there and it would spoil the surprise if I told you, now. Just give it another thirty to forty-five minutes, isn't that right Arthur?" announced Mr. Ken.

"Yes, Mister Thomas, it will be at least forty-five minutes but maybe longer as Spring Break traffic can be hectic," answered Arthur. "But, we'll get there in one piece. That I can guarantee!"

The driver stopped the vehicle near the general Aviation Terminal to allow his passengers the opportunity to use the facilities before they ventured to their final destination. Ten minutes later, the limo drove out the exit and onto the expressway and toward the boy's final destination.

Each lad looked out his window and tried as hard as they could to figure out where they were. They called out place names hoping the other would recognize it. It wasn't until they got closer to their final destination that Eric thought he saw something, in the distance, but then it disappeared behind some buildings.

"Hey, Robert … start looking out this side. I thought I saw something but then it disappeared, behind some buildings. Maybe we both can see it and figure out if that is a clue to where we are going," pitched Eric, to get a second set of eyes looking for a clue.

Then it happened. Robert saw something but hadn't ever seen one in real life so he wasn't too sure he saw what he thought he saw. Then, he saw it longer this time, through some buildings, and told Eric to look in that direction.

"What … what did you see?" anxiously asked Eric.

"I … I think I saw a … a ships funnel! I can't be sure but it looked like one I'd seen in a magazine or book somewhere. … There … there it is again," proclaimed Robert, as he got a 'shit-eatin-grin' on his face. Then he announced, "'Dad' you … you're taking us on a cruise?"

That question got Eric's attention and he asked, "Really? You're taking us on … on a cruise?"

Then Robert said jumping up and down in his seat, "A cruise … is it a Disney cruise 'dad'? Is it?"

Ken Thomas could only just sit there and smile back and think back to two years ago when he pulled the same stunt on Collin when he brought the teenager to this same port. Still smiling, he answered the boy's questions with a resounding, "Yes!"

The lads both screamed with excitement and then grabbed each other in a big hug and then they both attacked their 'dad' with an even bigger hug. "Thank you, thank you, thank you," both boys exclaimed in unison. They then hugged the man some more.

Arthur drove the limo right up to the drop off point where his passengers could easily enter the Priority Check-In and Boarding entrance. Once stopped, Arthur opened the trunk and retrieved his passengers' luggage who in turn handed them off to a waiting porter. Mr. Ken then tipped his driver then confirmed, with the man, that someone would be there to pick them up and take them back to the airport in seven days.

Once everything was sorted out. Mr. Ken took out the Disney luggage room tags and handed them to the boys. "Dad' Ken explained what they were for and how to fold them and attach them to their bags. Before allowing the porter to take the bags, they each made sure everything was secured and locked. Mr. Ken then tipped the porter who took their bags into the receiving area to be inspected and possibly x-rayed prior to their arrival at their room.

The boys followed their 'dad' through the entrance and into a line for the boarding process. Before they went too far, they first had to show their Boarding Passes. Mr. Ken took them out of his portfolio and handed one to each of the boys. He also gave each boy a small dark blue book and when they inspected it they found it was their passport. They had no idea they had one but figured they needed one for the cruise.

After proving they indeed had the proper credentials, the three stood in another line waiting for the TSA Agent to inspect their passports and log them into the computer. After that, they waited some more before they emptied their pockets and placed the contents into a bowl for an x-ray inspection and then to go through the metal detector. They waited in another line before they got their picture taken and issued their personal Disney 'Key to the World' card.

"Gezze 'dad' there sure are lots of lines and look at all the people," remarked Robert.

"But look at all the people working behind the counters," then remarked Eric. "I bet it doesn't take us too long to get on the ship."

"Boys, it is what it is. No matter who you are you have to go through the process. It didn't take Collin and I all that much time to get through here and before you knew it we went to our room, dropped off these things we brought, and then headed to walk around the ship to get to know our way around," offered 'dad' Ken.

"So, this is where you and Collin sailed out of Mr. Ken?" asked Eric.

"Yep," answered Mr. Ken.

"Are we gonna have the same room you two did?" again asked Eric.

"Nope," answered Mr. Ken.

"Boy, first you wouldn't tell us where we were going and now you won't tell us much more," lamented Robert, as tears began to fall.

"Boys … Robert, I hope…" but he never finished as Eric quickly said, "I got this, 'dad'."

The two lads walked a few feet away from 'dad' Ken so he couldn't hear what Eric said to Robert. A few times, Ken heard Eric raise his voice and Robert just stood there taking it. Then, Ken saw Robert wipe his eyes with his sleeve and knew Eric had 'straightened' the lad out about, he guessed, the boys attitude. Mr. Ken saw Eric hug Robert, very tight, and they walked back to be with their 'dad'.

Ken Thomas smiled at the two boys as they approached but before he could ask what that was all about Robert ran up to him and hugged him. The boy cried out to him and apologized about being so ungrateful and acting like the baby he was acting like and that he was sorry he acted the way he did. All 'dad' Ken could do was hold his 'sons' and let the incident pass.

Nearby passengers saw and heard what happened and many felt sorry for the man because of the way the preteen acted. They thought the boy's eventual apology was appropriate but mostly they admired how the other lad had taken aside the now crying boy and took care of a potential downward spiraling situation. While that went on, passengers behind Mr. Ken and his 'boys' got called to the counter to get their final Disney credentials.

As the man, and boys, finally got things settled, the others in line allowed them to go ahead when the next group was called. Soon after, the people from The Cove had their Disney shipboard room cards. The boarding of the ship had begun and they got into another line.

Soon enough, the three travelers found themselves onboard the Disney Magic and the boy's couldn't believe they were really on board the ship. 'Dad' Ken said they would go to their cabin first, to see if it was ready. He told them they would either leave their carry on things there if it was ready; or if the room wasn't ready they would continue to carry their items but either way they would begin to explore the ship. The boys were totally onboard, no pun intended, with that.

They took the crowded elevator to Deck 7 and worked their way to the Port side and room 7022. They passed a few rooms where they were still being cleaned but, as they made their way towards the bow of the ship, they noticed the room doors were all closed. This gave them hope their room was ready. When they arrived, Mr. Ken asked Robert to take out his room key and slide it in and then quickly out of the electronic lock.

Robert tried to open the cabin door exactly as his new 'dad' told him but he had the magnetic strip facing him and the lock never disengaged. The second time, he did it, though, he got it right. But 'dad' wouldn't let the boys enter until Eric had the chance to try it. He explained they'll be on their own, on the ship, and he needed to ensure they wouldn't have any problem getting into the room. Finally, they entered with Robert leading the way.

"Wow," could be heard from both lads as they inspected the room that would be theirs for the next seven days. They jumped on the queen sized bed, sat on the sofa and then they opened the sliding balcony door and walked out there to see what it was like.

"You like?" asked Mr. Ken.

"Yes, what's there not to like, da ahh Mr. Ken," said Eric.

"Yea, 'dad', this is great. Thank you so much for bringing us on this cruise. I always wanted to do this, and now I am," smiled a very happy Robert. But, then, he remembered how he acted down in the Processing Room and he want up to his 'dad' and said, "'Dad' I really am sorry for acting the way I did, earlier. I hope you can forgive me and not be too mad at me?"

"Come… let's sit on the sofa and talk a bit. Eric could you sit out on the balcony for a few minutes while we talk?" announced Mr. Ken.

"NO! … ahh I'm sorry, no, he can stay 'dad'," said Robert. "The more he knows about me and the way I get, at times, will help him understand me. He kinda knew what to say to me down in the processing place and … well, I'd like him to stay and listen if that's OK with you 'dad'?"

Ken Thomas thought about it for a moment then said he was okay with it.

"Robert … look … you've had so much disappointment in your life, these past two plus years that I think you automatically begin to fight, against things, before you think them through. Earlier, you were going to argue about me not telling you where we were going and, even though we were already here. Then you were going to jump on my not telling you where we were going to stay. I figured you'd see it soon enough when I would and then we'd both know. I really didn't remember what our room looked like, two years ago, but really it wouldn't matter but I guess you wouldn't understand that.

"Maybe I should have explained it to you better and not embarrassed you in front of all those other people in line. All I am trying to say Robert, is … well, is to try and not taking everything so personal and not look at everything as being 'against' you. I can understand how hard that may be but we need to get you focused on the now and the future and only deal with the past when we absolutely must. 'Son', did what I just say make any sense to you? Or, is there something you would like to say to me?"

Robert just sat there, at first, looking at his 'dad'. He kind of knew what the man was saying but he didn't know how he could do what his 'dad' wanted. Then he decided to tell him.

"'Dad', I think I know what you're saying it's just … well, that I don't know fully how to do what you want me to do. Maybe, I need to talk to Doctor Doug about why I get so upset, at times, and why I cry so easily over stuff, too. I want you to know I really am sorry for the way I acted, earlier, and I will try my best to think things through before I get upset. I hope if Eric is there, like he was earlier, that he can help me focus on whatever in a positive mode and not act out, or even cry," the boy spoke from his heart.

Ken pulled the lad into a hug and told the boy, "I know 'son' how difficult it will be for you. I just hope you can work though these types of things and become the wonderful 'son' I know you're going to be."

"Now … what say we break out of this room and search the ship before we have to do the lifeboat drill," announced 'dad' Ken. Then seeing the strange look in both lads' eyes he explained that Coast Guard regulations required the ship hold a lifeboat drill before sailing so people knew where to go in case of an emergency. He told them to look at their cards and he showed them that on the card it showed where their lifeboat was located. Pointing the way, he led them to the back of the entrance door, to the room, and showed them the same information but that it explained it in more detail.

"Why is your card a different color than ours, Mr. Ken," asked Eric.

"Well, I think it is because this is my second cruise with Disney and that tells the staff that I'm not new to Disney cruises. It also gives me more perks the more I sail with Disney. If you two ever sail again with Disney you too will have a different color. Now, what say we go out and explore?"

And explore they did. Mr. Ken recommended they start at the top and work their way down, so they did. Their first stop was Deck 10. They began at the bow and walked aft. The boys were impressed with the open play space and knew they could play some basketball or soccer with some of the other kids on board. Next, they passed a funnel type structure that 'dad' Ken explained contained the Club for 14-17 year olds. He told them that Collin hung out there most of the time he was onboard the ship. The lads were upset they couldn't even check it out as they were way too young.

They passed under the clear slide that went out over the side of the ship. They saw a few people brave enough to tackle the cool weather let alone the water that had to be cold. They continued on and walked down the stairs to the Deck 9 and worked their way from Aft to the Bow. They passed the Topsiders Buffet and both boy's mouths began to water but 'dad' was hearing nothing of them eating anything, just yet, as he wanted them to see the entire Deck, while it was daylight, so they continued on.

They next saw Mickey's Kid's Pool and the slide associated with that, and then Goofy's Family Pool and the huge screen set high above it. Their next stop was the Adult Pool that the boy's knew they could not use. Lastly, they walked into the Fitness area and checked out all the exercise equipment. Hearing the boys' stomachs rumble, Mr. Ken relented and told the boys they'd walk back aft and they could get something to eat since they last ate on the plane.

As the trio walked to the Topsiders Buffet, a man dressed all in white stopped and stared at them and then said "Mister Thomas, is … is that you?"

Ken Thomas came to a halt and looked at the man and then realized it was the ships Chief of Security. He replied, "Yes, yes I am and I know you don't I? You're Gerald Cooper, this ship's Security Chief."

The two men shook hands and talked some and waved at each other as they continued the way they each were headed.

"How do you know that man, 'dad'?" asked Robert. "We've been with you the whole time so when did you get to know him?"

Eric spoke up first and answered, "I bet that man was on the ship back when Mr. Ken and Collin were onboard and my bet is … he helped catch those guys who were following Collin. Am I right, 'dad'?"

"Yes, Eric, he was the Chief of Security back when Collin and I were on here. So, yes, Robert, I know the man. Come to think of it, I might even know the Captain if he is, somehow, still, or even back, to sailing the Magic. Come on, let's get something to eat," finished Mr. Ken, as they continued to the buffet.

When they heard the announcement the lifeboat drill was going to commence, the trio of travelers began to walk to their assigned lifeboat station. Again, along the way someone else called out to Mr. Ken, "Ken … Ken Thomas … as I live and breathe."

Mr. Ken had to stop, and turn, to see who called his name, this time, and there stood Cameron Davies. He went to the older man and the two hugged and then stood back and looked at one another.

"Damn, Mr. Ken, I would never believe, in a thousand years, we'd be back on the same cruise and here we are. Damn it's good to see you. Did you bring Collin with you? I know the boys will be happy to see him again. Look at you and it is so good to see you so still trim and handsome, as ever," Cameron Davies spoke, not letting Mr. Ken get a word in edge wise.

"Cam it is good to see you, again, and no I didn't bring Collin with me this time. Boys," he called to his 'sons'. "Cam, I want you to meet my new Foster son, Robert and his best friend Eric."

"Thee Eric that … that Collin spoke so much about?" Jerry will be happy to finally meet him. "The boy he envied so much because he visited your home at Something Finger Cove," spoke up Cam Davies.

"He envied me?" a surprised Eric said. "Why would he envy me, sir?"

"Son … that is a tale for another time. We all need to head to our muster stations. Wait until I tell Michelle and Colt and Jerry that you're onboard and have Eric with you. What room are you in? We'll call you and maybe we can have dinner together tonight!" said Cam.

And as the man walked away Eric yelled out, "7022."

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