The boys had never seen their grandpa so coldly furious with them. The ride home from the pizza parlor was spent in intense silence. Rocky gritted his teeth, itching to turn around and yell at Colt for instigating another fight yet again, and this time pulling their little brother into the fray. What was he thinking?
Grandpa parked the car and turned off the engine with sharp angry movements, jerking the keys out of the ignition. “You three, go sit on the bench.” He ordered tersely. “I am going to call the pizza parlor and try to salvage the situation.”
Glumly, they did as they were told. Colt managed to hold his silence until they sat down.
“They started it, Rocky!” The words burst out of him before the older boy could speak. “I’m not stupid, and I don’t have problems controlling my temper, no matter what dad says.” He scowled briefly. Sam Douglas Sr. had always been hard on his middle son, lecturing him about his temper and willingness to fight. “Dad still doesn’t get it, and neither does grandpa. I hate bullies, Rock – like Darren Jerkins and his goon squad at home, and those three hick cowboys today. Three grown men, harassing and putting hands on that girl, and no one did or said anything about it. They poured soda on her, and threw her down on the ground in front of a room full of adults.” Colt’s voice was filled with scorn. “And every single one of those adults sat back down quietly and looked away when the leader challenged them to say something.” He met his brother’s gaze, his own hazel green eyes dark with anger. “So I said and did something about it. That’s not being hotheaded, that’s just common sense!”
“He’s right, Rocky.” Tum spoke up, his tone somber and earnest. “Grandpa taught us to protect and stand up for those who can’t. That’s what we were doing. Besides, they threw the first punch, so it was self-defense, really. A bunch of goons vs two kids. So why are we getting punished for it?”
Rocky groaned, his anger subsiding. Colt’s frustration was understandable, since even Rocky had berated him multiple times for his temper and fighting at school. He had a point though.
“I get it, Colt.” He finally replied, meeting his brother’s gaze. “I really do, and I promise that I will try to at least listen to your reasons next time – before I yell at you.” That surprised a laugh out of the other boy. “As for Grandpa, yes, he’s wrong in his assumptions on why we were fighting, but I don’t think this lesson is gonna be about that itself. There’s something more. It’s Grandpa.”
His brothers rolled their eyes and groaned, knowing well their grandfather’s liking for obscure lessons. “True.”
“So Colt, you really have to – “
“-control my temper, yes I know.” Colt finished impatiently. “My control is just fine. If I see a situation like that, I’m not gonna just stand by like everyone else did!”
Rocky sighed. “Grandpa’s really mad this time though.” He pointed out.
All three boys involuntarily looked up to the kitchen windows, where they could see him pacing and gesturing as he talked to someone on the phone. “…Yes. That’s a good idea. The boys will be down there first thing in the morning.”