Ethan sighed. “You may want to make an exception to that rule, my man…”
“I can’t believe I’m gonna be in sixth grade!” Tum Tum bounced excitedly in his seat, his words as always slightly garbled by the piece of candy in his mouth.
“Yeah. One more year and you might even be considered a real boy, instead of a human candy disposal.” Colt teased.
“Shut up, spaz,” Tum retorted. “I’m a growing boy.”
“You’re a bottomless pit.”
Rocky ignored their playful bickering, instead turning his gaze to stare at the passing scenery as they drove ever closer to home. He missed the questioning look his siblings exchanged, even as they continued their back and forth banter.
The reason for his uncharacteristic moodiness became apparent when they pulled onto the street where they lived. As always, Colt was keeping an eye out for the bright blonde hair of Emily Anderson, Rocky’s on again off again girlfriend, and their neighbor. He started to cat call, expecting her to look up and smile as she did every year when they drove by coming home from their Grandpa’s, but the sound died on his lips when he saw who she was with. Rocky shot him a warning look, having seen the same thing, and shook his head, a silent order. Colt glared back, an equally warning retort that the brothers would be talking about this later.
Tum Tum, however, missed their exchange, and frowned. “Hey, isn’t that Emily? What’s she doing with Darren Jerkins little brother? And – ew! They’re kiss-” He grunted as Colt elbowed him hard. “Oh! Um, hey! Dad’s car isn’t in the driveway. Grandpa, are you gonna stay for dinner?” He said quickly, trying to cover his mistake.
“I will stay, as long as it is not pizza.” Mori readily answered, which led to playful protests from his youngest grandsons.
They finally pulled into their driveway, and the boys jumped out, grabbing their duffel bags. Rocky headed for the garage instead of the front door, Colt hot on his heels.
“Colt, let it go.” He said tiredly, huffing as his brother blocked his path.
“No. What happened?” Colt said evenly. “Does this have to do with that phone call you got from E?” His brother had returned to the video game only a few moments after speaking to Ethan, but something had been off for the rest of the night.
“He was calling me to give me a heads up about…that.” Rocky shrugged nonchalantly. “Whatever. I made my choice, and she made hers. It’s done.”
They faced off, nearly identical in stance, body, and build, despite the ten month age difference. Colt’s perpetually messy, slightly long sandy brown hair and tanned skin brought out the hints of green in his hazel brown eyes, whereas Rocky was of a slightly paler complexion, with lighter hair and more blue than green in his eyes.
“Rocky.” Colt warned, his voice hard. “Either you tell me, or I go over there and find out for myself.”
The older boy sighed heavily, because he knew that his hot-headed younger brother wasn’t bluffing.
“What. Did. She. Say?”
“Why are you pushing this so hard?” Rocky demanded, shoving him away.
Colt let him do it, then shoved right back. “Because, jerkass, I know you almost better than anyone. You’re gonna internalize whatever she said and let it eat at you, because you are stone and invincible and a perfectionist and a control freak. But not even stone can stand forever against the wind, so just tell me so we can go inside and laugh at Grandpa grumbling about being out numbered on deciding on pizza for dinner.”