Breathless and joking now, the older boys dropped their sibling off at Brookdale Elementary, with strong admonitions to be waiting out front for them when school got out. The three schools: Brookdale, Kentwood Junior High, and Emerald Ridge High School, were next door to each other in a loose horseshoe shape. The elementary was in the middle, with the high school on the left and the junior high on the right. The three schools had made use of the large fields in the back, boasting a shared baseball field, football stadium and track, a soccer field, and plenty of grassy areas for sports teams of all levels.
Rocky and Colt continued to the junior high, locking their bikes up among the jumble of others already taking up space at the racks, and moved to the front steps.
“I think that this is the first time that I’ve been nervous about going back to school.” Rocky said quietly, looking up at the building.
“Why? Because of Emily?” Colt scoffed. “C’mon, man. She’s just some chick. Honestly, she’s not even cute. Everyone says that you’re supposed to lose the baby fat when you hit high school.” He grimaced. “Maybe she’s just slow…to mature.”
“Did you just call my ex girlfriend fat?” Rocky said, incredulous, finding the words surprisingly easy to say out loud for the first time.
Colt shrugged innocently, though his eyes were sparkling mischievously. “Fat and slow, if we’re going for accuracy.”
The brothers stared at each other for about three seconds, waiting. Rocky broke first, throwing his head back and as he laughed until he cried. “You’re an idiot.” he said affectionately. “But thanks. Again.”
Colt rolled his eyes, leading the way inside. “In the spirit of this weird and incredibly awkward truce that we seem to have, I will even offer this one time, take it or leave it, yes there’s fine print but no you can’t negotiate or read it, extremely generous offer. I, Colt Daniels, promise not to get into a fight with anyone today.”
Rocky stopped dead in his tracks to stare. “Wait, what?”
“You heard me. For this one school day only, 7:45am to 2:30pm, I will not instigate a fight.” Colt said blandly. “Subject to change, via the aforementioned fine print. I suggest, however, that you accept the deal in the spirit in which it was offered, because this will never happen again.”
“This is very true.” His brother snorted, leading the way inside. “Okay, if you get through the entire day without throwing a punch, I’ll buy your lunch for a week.”
“I accept the amended terms.” Colt grinned over his shoulder, only to nearly run into the pretty redhead that had stepped directly in front of him. “Oh – hey Zoe…”
“Hey Rocky, wait up!” The yell could be heard clearly over the laughter and conversations filling the hallway of Brookdale High School.
Instead of heeding the call, Ryan ‘Rocky’ Kingston laughed and increased his pace, expertly dodging kids, stacks of books on the floor, open locker doors, and other obstacles in his path. He reached his destination seconds before his pursuer, who announced his arrival with a hard punch to Rocky’s shoulder.
“Thanks a lot, Rock. Way to help your brother out in his time of need.” Christopher ‘Colt’ Kingston grumbled as he opened his locker and exchanged his books for the ones needed for first period.