Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Robert
Book II

by Chowhound


Chapter 37

Published: 14 Jan 16

Three Finger Cove – Robert

Copyright © 2012 - 2015
by Chowhound
All rights reserved

They no sooner arrived back to their room, after the lifeboat drill, than their phone rang.

"Hello," answered Robert. "Yes, Mr. Ken is here. … Sure, I'll get him."

"Cam? … Oh, it's you Jerry. How are you young man? … Do tell. So why did you call? … Oh, okay, we'll meet you there, Bye"

"Boy's we're going to meet the Davies for dinner tonight. The dress is cruise casual so what you are wearing should be okay. That is unless you want to change. Heaven knows Ms. Judy and I both packed enough of your clothes for you growing boys," teased the man.

At six o'clock, or 1800 hours, Mr. Ken and Robert and Eric met the Davies outside the Animator's Palate for dinner. Before they entered the room, Mr. Ken introduced his two charges to the Davies and in turn introduced the Davies to the boys. But, before they could enter the dining room, Michelle Davies just had to hug Mr. Ken. They then talked the maître d' into changing their table assignments so the seven could be together.

"Ken, I still reminisce over the fun we all had on our cruise two years ago," said Michelle. "Our friends can't believe that those things ever happened to us, on a Disney® Cruise no less." Then looking at Robert and Eric she said, "I hope we have just as much fun and adventure on this cruise with you guys, too."

"Come on, Mom," whined Jerry, "We're all hungry and we can tell Eric and Bobby what happened while we eat."

"The name's ROBERT!" announced Robert, to everyone within earshot. "Please don't call me Bobby. Please." Robert then looked down as if he had done something wrong.

Cam looked at his son Jerry and gave him the nod that he should apologize.

Jerry then went over to the lad and said, "I'm sorry for calling you Bobby, Robert. All my friends are called that, so, please, excuse me as I get used to calling you Robert. Will that be OK with you?"

Robert had listened, to what the youngster said, and it felt sincere to him. The lad then looked up to Jerry and replied, "Yea, sure, no problem. After I began to live with my new 'dad' the kids at school had to get used to calling me Robert, too. Even this lug head (Robert pointed at Eric) would forget now and then, but he doesn't forget any more. He's my Best Friend now, too."

As they sat down, Colt and Jerry allowed Robert and Eric to sit in the better seats, since this was their first time seeing what would happen, as the dinner progressed. Ken's boys tried to get them to tell them what would happen but got rebuffed by their 'dad' who told them to 'just wait and see'. Both Robert and Eric were totally blown away at how the dining room changed from a colorless room to one filled with amazing colors and animation shown on some of the walls.

As the lads filed out of the room, Robert turned to Mr. Ken and asked, "'Dad' … would it be OK for Eric and me to hang out with Jerry? He knows his way around the ship real good and he can point out all the good places for us to see. So … can we?"

Ken looked at Cam and Michelle and, seeing they had no problems with it, asked, "Well what about Colt? He knows his way around just as well as Jerry does."

Jerry quickly answered, "Sure … he was going to go with us, anyway. It would be more fun with four than three, anyway. And he can point out things that I might miss. So, is it OK we hang around together?"

"Boys … be back in the room by midnight," spoke Mr. Ken.

"Midnight?" uttered Robert. "I bet we're back by ten o'clock, max. I'm still tired from you making me get up so early. I missed out on my 'beauty' sleep," now teased Robert.

"Go … get out of here and have fun. Oh, I didn't put any money on your Room Cards, yet, so you won't be able to play any arcade games," the man had to yell, as the boys were already half way down the corridor to the elevators.

"Mr. Ken, come with us. There's a drink with your name on it," matter-of-factually stated Cameron Davies.

"Yes, sir, I hear you," said a smiling Ken Thomas.

The four boys roamed all over the Disney Magic®. Colt and Jerry proved to be good tour guides, as they took a Disney Cruise every year for the last ten years, and have been on every Disney ship built.

Their on-board travels were so wide and extensive they each worked off their evening meal and went looking for something to eat. Pinocchio's Pizza got the nod. The boys watched the chef make two different pizzas, for them, and, eight minutes later, the lads sat down to enjoy them.

"Hmm, this is real good," remarked Robert.

"Yes, I wouldn't think the ship would have better pizza than the pizza parlor's back home," added Eric.

The lads sat in silence for a time, then Jerry had to know. "Eric … how old were you when Collin took his Disney Cruise?"

"Let me see, I guess I was ten then as I turned eleven that June after Spring Break. Why do you ask?" asked Eric.

"I don't know," started Jerry. "Collin told us so much about you and the things you guys did together and the places you went and … and what the Three Finger Cove looked like that I …I …"

"What Jerry means to say is … he was jealous of you," finished, 15 year old, Colt.

"Jealous of me? Why? I didn't spend that much time at the Cove nor did I hang with my Big Bros all the time. It was just when there was something special going on they would ask their Big Bro if I could come over," replied Eric.

"Who was their Big Bro, again?" asked Jerry.

"Mr. Ken was their Big Bro and they were my Big Bros," explained Eric.

"Are they your Big Bros, too, Bob, err, I mean Robert? Sorry!" asked Jerry.

"Oh no, I've never met Collin, but … well, I've heard lots of stories," stated Robert.

Just then Eric chimed in and said, "Can you tell us what happened during their cruise. We heard that Colin was almost kidnapped but that is difficult to believe. So … could you?"

"Yea, but first, how did you meet my 'dad' and Collin in the first place," quickly added Robert.

"Your DAD, why do you call Mr. Ken your dad? He isn't old enough to have an almost thirteen year old as a son!" laughed Colt.

Robert felt the beginnings of some tears begin to surface, but then he remembered he told his 'dad' that he would try to face his problems instead of letting them lead his life. He didn't like that the older boy asked that question but, he guessed, since he didn't know, it would be best to explain it.

"Colt, is it?" started Robert. "I wasn't sure I heard your name right."

"I go by Colt but my real name is Colton," replied the fifteen year old.

"OK, sorry," resumed Robert, "but anyway … Mr. Ken, well he's my foster dad. And before you ask, I began living with him right after the New Year. So, I've lived there almost three months, now. Anyway, to answer your question, since I was living there and he acted like a real 'dad', to me, I had begun to catch myself saying the beginnings of 'dad' when I would ask him stuff, or just in normal talking. Then one day, when we talked, I asked him IF I could call him 'dad' instead of Mr. Ken.

"The reason I asked was because he was more than just the guy I lived with. I saw he really did care about me and he did everything he could that a 'dad' does for his kid. He acted much better towards me than any of the other tyrant foster dad's I had to live with before."

Jerry quickly looked at his brother Colt and then looked back at Robert before asking, "You had … other foster dad's before you went to live with Mr. Ken? What were those other guys like that you no longer live with them?"

It was then the tears came flowing out Robert's eyes. He didn't know how to respond to the question as it hurt him too much to talk about it, anymore, than he had to. With that he got up and ran away from their small group.

Eric quickly followed his best friend and caught up to him and pulled him into a quick hug. He let Robert cry it out all the while talking to him about trying to overcome that part of his OLD life. By then, Colt and Jerry came over to the lads and apologized for being so nosey and asked if they could remain friends, on the cruise.

Robert, with tears still streaking down his face, looked at the brothers then turned to Eric and said, "I didn't get enough sleep last night, so I'm tired. I'm going to head back to the room. … You tell them!" the lad said to Eric. Robert then pulled out from Eric's hold, on him, and ran off.

"Now you did it, stupid," Colt said, in a sort of admonishment of his brother, Jerry.

"What did he mean 'You tell them'?" said Jerry, completely ignoring his brother and going into 'nosey Jerry' mode, like he did when he was around Collin.

"Jerry," called out Colt, "you did just like you did when we first met Mr. Ken and Collin. It is none of our business, period. If Robert wants us to know he'll tell us!"

"But he said for Eric to tell us." Then looking at Eric, Jerry continued, "You WILL tell us … won't you? He said for you to!"

Colt just shook his head knowing Jerry persisted until he got his answer, or got grounded by his parents. Looking around and not seeing the parents anywhere in sight, he politely asked Eric to please tell them so they could understand.

Eric agreed and the three boys sat back down, but at a more secluded table so other people couldn't hear what he had to say. Then he began. "You see … ahh … well … Robert wasn't treated well at the other places he'd been sent to live."

"He said he lived at more than one before living with Mr. Ken, but what happened there?" chimed in Jerry.

"Yes … he lived in a … a few other foster homes before coming to live with Mr. Ken. At those other places they … well, one place made him do religious stuff, like go to church all the time and not have any friends over or even watch TV. At another home they beat him and at another the older boys … they ahh … well, they were not nice to him or the other young boy living there," finished Eric.

"He lived in three other foster places before … before being sent to live with Mr. Ken?" busy-body Jerry just had to ask.

"He wasn't sent to LIVE THERE, Jerry. The lady at CPS went to Mr. Ken and asked him if he was ready to 'foster' another boy as needy as Collin," angrily spoke Eric.

"But why?" Jerry blurted out.

Eric now fumed at Jerry for his constant wanting to know and, before he knew it, he stood up, knocking the chair over, and replied, "I told you all you need to know. I hope you got your jollies. I'm going to catch up with my friend, my BEST friend, if you have to know. Good night!" Eric quickly left the brothers sitting there, open mouthed.

Robert, with tears still in his eyes, didn't know which of the three made-up beds to use when he got into his room. He figured his 'dad' would sleep in the bigger one so he needed to choose either the bed made from the sofa, or the bed that came down out of the ceiling. He took off his shoes and went into the bathroom to pee and get ready for bed. Seeing he hadn't unpacked any of his toiletries only added to his dismay and he stormed back into the room to find his luggage and get the things he needed.

'Dad' Ken found the boy frantically searching for something when he came into the stateroom. He went over to the lad and asked him what he was looking for but all he got was a lap full of crying boy.

"Oh, Robert … tell me what got you into crying again?" soothed Mr. Ken. "Come on 'son', tell your 'dad' what's wrong or what happened to make you flow your tears like this, again?"

Just then Eric came into the room and went to his friend and began to rub the boy's back as he tried to talk to him. Getting no response, Eric told Mr. Ken what happened up at Pinocchio's Pizza and how the younger boy, Jerry, kept asking questions that upset Robert. Eric went on to repeat what he remembered and that filled the man in on what he needed to do.

"Robert … Robert … look at me 'son". Look at 'dad', 'son'. Is what Eric just told me true? Did Jerry keep asking questions until he made you mad? Come on Robert … talk to 'dad'" encouraged Mr. Ken.

Robert pulled back from 'dad' Ken's hold on him and answered by shaking his head up and down. But Ken Thomas noticed the tears had stopped so he took advantage of that and said, "Robert … Jerry always acts that way. He asks and asks questions until you answer him or tell him to shut up. He kept asking Collin about the kidnapping and shoot out and finally Collin had enough and told him so. Jerry's parents had to restrict him from bothering Collin, or he'd be sat down in the room."

"Eric tells me you did catch yourself from reacting when you four first began talking so, you did keep your promise, to try to stop reacting, to what you perceived as an invasion of your own self, so to speak. That is a good first step. I know you won't be able to catch yourself every time but every time you do is a step towards not ever reacting. I've seen how Jerry can ask and ask so I can't blame you for finally reacting and coming back to the room," explained 'dad' Ken.

"Now look at me again, Robert … Robert, look at me. Do you understand what I am saying to you? Do you understand that I am not mad at you for acting this way? One for two isn't a bad batting average, if I do say so myself," teased the man.

With that, Mr. Ken and Eric did see a smile break out on Robert's face. Seeing the smile, Mr. Ken began to tickle the preteen and before you know it Robert began to laugh like his normal self. "Stop, 'dad', stop or I'll pee my pants," pleaded Robert.

"No you won't!" teased the lad's 'dad'. "And you know how I know? … I heard the toilet flush as I used my card key to open the door. That meant you already peed and I can tickle you more and more." And tickle the man did.

"'Dad', 'dad' stop … please stop," begged Robert. "I won't cry any more, I promise," stated the squirming lad.

'Dad' Ken stopped tickling his 'son' and offered, "Crying is okay in my book … as long as you tried and tried to avoid letting whatever, it is, to upset you. I don't want you to take everything so personal, though, 'son'. Once you realize people are not trying to get you, are after you, or trying to trick you, the better off you'll be. For two years, you had people use you, lie to you, and take advantage of you, but none of those people are here on this ship.

"Now … what say we all get ready for bed and get some well-deserved sleep? I of course get the big bed. If you don't like that, tough, deal with it like one of your friends said the other day," laughed Mr. Ken.

"You two get to flip a coin as to who gets which bed unless … unless, that is, one of you really, really wants to sleep on the bed out of the ceiling. Of course you both could switch off every other night and that way you can each get to experience both beds," offered Mr. Ken.

"Why can't we share the sofa bed?" asked Robert. "It looks big enough for both of us."

"I guess you could but … what if Eric wants his own bed?" replied 'dad' Ken. Then the man thought of something and continued. "We all had a long day and what we all NEED a GOOD night's sleep. My bet is … you both will fall asleep as soon as your head hits that pillow. What say you both take a bed for tonight? That way you each get that much needed 'beauty' sleep and tomorrow you two can try sleeping on the sofa bed. Would that work for you?"

Eric looked at Robert and knew he wanted them to sleep together. But Eric knew how very tired he was and didn't really want to sleep with anyone. He just wanted a bed, he could call his own, and get some sleep. Thinking about that, he spoke up and said essentially that. Robert didn't look too happy about it, but understood about being really tired so he said he could 'live' with that.

The travelers' next problem was where to find their luggage. They only had time to unpack their hanging clothes before they received the phone call about dinner. None of them took out their toiletries and they needed them in order to brush their teeth and get their face soap to wash up.

'Dad' Ken then made an executive decision. He told the boys to use the provided soap in the bathroom and forgo brushing their teeth for 'just this once'. The boys had a laugh over that. Mr. Ken also told them to pee before they climbed into bed.

Both boys took off their shirts and pants and shoes and socks before they both entered the bathroom at the same time. They each washed their face, peed, adjusted their 'equipment' and exited the small room. Each boy gave 'dad' Ken a hug and Eric chose the ceiling bed; leaving the sofa bed for Robert. They were both fast asleep fifteen seconds after laying their heads on their pillows

Ken Thomas then slid the room separation curtain across the room to give the boys some privacy for whatever they wanted, or needed to do. He then took off all his clothes except his boxer briefs then used the bathroom just as the boys did. Not long after, he too was fast asleep.

The three occupants of cabin 7022 were rudely awakened, the following mooring, by the ringing of the cabin phone. Ken Thomas was the closest, so he answered it.

"Hello. … Oh, hey there Cam, what can I do for you? … Oh, okay, I guess we could meet you for Brunch. … Oh, they did … they are … they will? That sounds good enough for me, but it will be up to the boys, you know. … Okay, it looks to be about eight-forty-five so I'll get the boys up and we'll meet you where? … At Carioca's on Deck 3 Aft, about ten-thirty. … Sounds like a plan, see you there! … Bye!

"Who was that this early in the morning, 'dad'" called out Eric.

"That, my newest 'son', was Cam. You remember him and his wife from dinner last night. Well, they want us to meet them for brunch, in about ninety minutes," answered 'dad' Ken.

"Will those boys be there, too?" the man heard Robert, now, speak out.

"Yes, they too will be there and I think you need to go, too, and hear what they have to say for themselves. Cam said he and Michelle had a long talk with Jerry, last night, after Colt told them what happened at the pizza parlor. My guess is Cam and Michelle remembered how Jerry acted around Collin, two years ago, and read the riot act to him.

"My bet is Jerry will be on his 'best' behavior for the time being. So, now after I relieve the pressure in my bladder, I'll get my shower in the shower bathroom," the man told the boys, and then opened the curtain. "You two can then use the toilet, find your toiletries, and then brush your teeth and, when I'm finished, you can use the shower room."

As soon as Robert heard he'd have to wait to use the toilet, he jumped out of bed, fast, being led by his very hard dick making a tent in his boxers. He didn't get one bit embarrassed since he knew his 'dad' had already seen the 'real' thing before. Eric, knowing he needed to pee, too, jumped down as soon as Robert cleared the aisle.

Eric too had a strong morning erection but he did place his hands in front of him, some, as he raced to the bathroom, too. Mr. Ken tried and missed Robert but did get to smack Eric on his butt as he passed by. Both boys exited the bathroom, a few minutes later, with smiling faces.

Ken Thomas used the time, the lads were in the half-bath, to find his toiletries. When the lads exited the half-bath, 'dad' Ken entered the room and peed and then he exited and entered the shower bath. He closed the door, brushed his teeth, shaved then got into the shower and got clean for the day. Twenty-five minutes later, he opened the shower bathroom door and walked out, naked as the day he was born, into the cabin.

"Mr. Ken," yelled Eric. "'Dad'", then yelled Robert. "You don't have any clothes on!"

"I know 'son', I forgot to take clean ones into the bathroom, when I entered. And besides, you've seen me naked before, so what's the big deal?" teased Mr. Ken.

"Well, maybe Eric hasn't seen your 'equipment' before," teased back Robert.

"Yea, I'll be marred for life seeing that monster," unthinkingly added Eric.

"Monster is it?" laughed 'dad' Ken. "Now, one of you quickly get your shower, so the other one can get his. We have only about sixty minutes to get ready."

"But, I thought we were meeting them at about ten-thirty?" spoke Robert.

"We are, dummy, but we both need to shower and then we have to walk down four decks and all the way to the back of the boat," chastised Eric.

"Ship, not boat," corrected Mr. Ken. "Now, one of you get a move on!"

Eric quickly grabbed his toiletries bag and headed to the shower bathroom. Robert followed closely behind. They saw that both of them couldn't get in the shower, at the same time, so Robert let Eric go first. Fifteen minutes after entering, Eric exited the bathroom just as naked as his 'dad' Mr. Ken. He smiled at the man and got a pair of tighty-whities and put them on. He then walked out onto the balcony, to see what it was like. Lucky the side partitions kept other cruisers from seeing him.

Fifteen minutes after Eric exited, Robert exited the same way, naked. The boy laughed at his 'dad' and said, "If you can do it … so can I. And besides, you've seen us both naked, so what's the big deal?" The lad then took a pair of boxer briefs and put them on. Spying Eric out on the balcony, he joined him.

'Dad' Ken called both lads back into the cabin to finish dressing. They all put on shorts and polo shirts and low-cut white socks and sneakers. They were able to leave the cabin with fifteen minutes to get to Deck 3 Aft and Carioca's. The Davies were waiting outside the restaurant when the trio appeared.

"Morning Michelle," said Mr. Ken, and then hugged the woman. He then said good morning to Cam and Colt and Jerry.

The Davies said 'Hi' to the man and his boys and directed them to the restaurant maître d' to be seated. Asking for and getting, the seven diners sat next to a large window overseeing the vast ocean. Robert took the seat closest to the window while Jerry sat opposite him.

Their waiter passed out Brunch Menus and then took their drink orders. Robert and Eric were at a loss at reading the menu. They did not know what many of the items were and decided to ask their 'dad' what they should order.

Ken told the boys to try something that sounded good to them; like the waffles and whatever, or the pancakes and whatever. Robert asked about breakfast tacos but learned that what they saw, on the menu, was only what they could have.

Robert and Eric listened to what Colt and Jerry were talking about getting and then considered that. In the end, Robert ordered a double order of pancakes with bacon while Eric ordered the Disney Cruise Line Breakfast trio. Colt ordered the Express and Jerry also ordered the Breakfast trio. All the adults ordered the Three-Egg Omelet and loaded it with everything they could.

As soon as the waiter left, to fill their order, Cam looked over and nodded to Jerry. Jerry knew that meant he was to apologize to the boys for his actions last night. But, more than anything, he had to apologize to Robert for being a pest in asking so many personal questions.

"Ahh … ahh Robert," stumbled Jerry. "I want to say how sorry I am for the way I acted last night and … I want to apologize to you. I shouldn't have asked you so many personal questions, especially … ahh, you know, about the other foster homes. My parents tell me I'll be a busy-body when I grow up, if I live that long, because I always want to know more than people want to tell me. I did it with Collin and … well, he got mad at me a few times because I kept pushing him for answers, or to tell me more, about, you know, his kidnapping and the shootout. I can't help myself, most times, because that is who I am. Nosey!

"I really hope you will want to be my friend … and hang out with Colt and me, err, I mean, I. Just like calling you Robert, see I remembered, I'll try not to ask you too much about what happened to you. So … what do you say? Will you ahh … accept my apology and be my friend, on the cruise, and … and maybe for longer?"

Robert looked to Mr. Ken, to get an inkling, on how to respond. Seeing a slight nod that he should accept the apology, he then looked to Eric, for support. He was never in this position and wished the two main people, with him, would give him some guidance on how he should proceed. Not getting any help, Robert took a few moments to consider his response.

Then, when he was ready, Robert looked at Jerry and replied, "Jerry … I want to thank you for apologizing to me. 'Dad' told me how you were with … Collin and all, so I kinda know that what you said was true. I know you will have to work on not being so 'nosey' as you called yourself because … well, I have a different problem, you sort of saw it last night."

It sounded to Jerry that the boy was about to apologize to him, for something, so he spoke up and said, "Robert … you didn't do anything wrong that you need to apologize to me for. I was a jerk, last night, and I am really sorry for the way I treated you."

Robert knew the thirteen year old, now, really meant what he said. But, he wanted to get his crying 'demon' off his chest, so he wanted to explain, to Jerry and Colt, how he may act while on the cruise, himself.

"Jerry … Colt … I want to tell you about … well, why I reacted the way I did last night," started Robert.

"No, you don't need to tell us anything Robert," spoke up Colt. "Jerry needs to learn NOT to badger people about getting information from or about them."

"No, it's not that. This is something that my 'dad' is trying to get me to work on, and … and when I explain it to you you'll understand why I … why I began to cry last night." Then looking at his 'dad' to see if he should continue, and got his nod, he continued.

"You see … over the last two, plus, years, I had lots of things that happened to me. Many of these things, you see, I'm finding it hard to understand. I won't tell you what happened but … well, I want you to know when I feel confronted, or I get confused over things, I … I haven't learned how to make myself act to dispel and or dissipate the feelings I get from not knowing how to handle it.

"Jerry and Colt … you saw I acted pretty normally, the first time Jerry asked me a question, but … but, when he came back and asked more and more I … I just couldn't deal with it. That's when … that's why I cried. I didn't just do it with you last night, Jerry. When I first went to live with my new 'dad', I did it a lot, didn't I 'dad'? When I feel that people are pressuring me my first and only reaction is to cry. "Dad' and Doctor Doug, and yes 'dad' Doc Doug knows, are working with me to try to look past those feelings, and move forward with my new life.

"The day Eric's mom took me to Mr. Ken's house, to see if I wanted to live there, Mr. Ken treated me differently, from all the others. He asked me to give him two weeks to see if I wanted to still live there. He started calling me Robert, when everyone else called me, Bobby. When I asked him why he called me by my proper name he … he told me that he felt, as if living there would be a new start on a new life, then, what better time than to change my name.

"So, you see Jerry … you may have to learn how not to push or pressure people into telling you more than they want you to know and, I … well, I have to learn not to take everything people say to me so personal, but to take it at face value. I also need to begin looking past whatever motive I see in the person who I feel is against me. I think my 'demon' is going to be a lot harder to defeat, than yours."

The people, at the table, sat there, stunned, that this boy would reveal such a personal thing to complete strangers. They thought that maybe it was a good thing that the boy was able to voice out his 'demon', as he called it. Maybe it was his 'first step' in defeating what it was that makes him 'flight' and not 'fight' the 'demon' of his.

After breakfast, 'dad' Ken pulled his 'son' Robert aside and said, "That was brave thing to do back there. Everyone sat stunned that you would reveal something like that to them, complete strangers. I for one, though, am very happy that you are trying your best to beat the thing that keeps you wound up so tight. My bet is Doc Doug will want to explore this with you so when you can write this down for you two to talk about. Robert, I love you, 'son'!"

"Thanks 'dad', I didn't do it on purpose, tell them about my 'demon'. It just came to me … that I should say those things and you know what? I'm glad I did say them. I heard myself saying the things that I act out about and felt this was the time to start fighting for a that 'new' life you offered me. Thanks, 'dad'. I love you, too!" finished Robert, who then gave his 'dad' a great big hug.

As the man and boy talked, away from the others, at the breakfast table, they didn't notice a very much older woman sat much closer than they thought. The woman heard every bit of their conversation. The thing that really got her attention happened when she heard the lad call the man 'dad' and tell the man he 'loved' him and then hugged the not too much older man. That action caused the senior woman to remark to herself, "Sheesh, there's No Way that man can be that boy's father. I better keep an eye on them to make sure he doesn't do anything to that poor boy. I also better talk to Security about this, too."

When the other lads saw Mr. Ken and Robert had finished their talk, they all gathered around the youngster and shook his hand and patted him on his back, for making the announcement he had. Jerry waited to be last and, again, apologized to Robert for the way he acted the evening before. The recently turned thirteen year old then grabbed Robert in a hug. Then, the four boys took off to places unknown on the ship.

"That's some lad you've got there Mr. Ken," voiced Cam, as Ken Thomas sat back down at their table for more coffee. "Is he anything like your other lad, or is it too early to tell? And speaking about Collin, how is that boy, I'm sorry, how is that teenager doing these days. Even though the boys and he email one another, they aren't as plentiful as they once were."

"Cam, Michelle," began Mr. Ken "the last time Collin visited happened during the Holidays. We had a wonderful time together and especially at the Holiday Parties I sponsor at The Cove. He renewed some old acquaintances and even dated his old girlfriend, while he visited. The thing that made it remarkable for me … we not only got to sit down and reminisce, but better still … we talked about his future.

"He'll graduate high school this late May and then he'll be off to college, in the fall. He's been accepted into four colleges and asked me to help him choose the right one. We also discussed his majors and the pros and cons of what he's considering. It felt great to have the teenager back in my life, for those two weeks. He put 'Life' into The Cove, during his first stay, and his reappearance rekindled that 'Life' again, while he visited.

"As for Robert, he offers me my biggest challenges. Do you know I now have my Master's Degree in Childhood Development? My bet is I will utilize every aspect of the training and knowledge I gained to help him move forward with his 'new' life. He totally surprised me with his speech earlier and, in our little talk, just now, he told me he hadn't planned that, at all. He said it came to him and it felt 'right' to say it and now, that it is over, he is very happy he did it. Only time will tell about him."

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