All in all, it was one of the best summers that the boys could remember having.
“Rocky. Phone for you.” Grandpa called, causing the teen to look up from where he was fiercely battling Tum in Mortal Kombat.
“Okay. Be there in a sec.” He replied, tossing the controller to Colt, who immediately took over with the ease of long practice. “I get my full turn when I get back!” he said, leaping over the back of the couch and going to the phone. “Hello?”
“Hey, Rock. Didn’t know if I would catch you before you guys came back.” The familiar voice of his friend Ethan filled his ear, making the teen grin.
“Oh, hey E. We’ll be back tomorrow. What’s up?” he said cheerfully, only half listening as he watched as Colt finally killed Tum’s character. “Yes! My title stands undefeated!”
“Rocky, have you talked to Emily at all this summer?” Ethan said, regaining his attention.
“No, but I never do while we’re here. Reception is pretty bad, so we’re only supposed to give this number to close friends and family. No girls.” He answered dryly. “Why?”
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.