Pudding Cups

Part Three
The big decision

"You okay?" Roger White asked with concern as he came up behind Jason at his locker.

"Yeah, I'm cool. Glad to see you're still talking to me," Jason said, making a joke of it.

"Dude, I've known you since we were 8 years old, you think I'm gonna' let something like this come between us?"

"Just kidding, I know you're a solid dude and I appreciate it. I guess I just needed to hear it from you. I've lost a few friends over this, and I'm really glad you're not one of them," Jason said sadly.

"Dude, we're tight," Roger said offering a bro handshake, and when Jason responded Roger wrapped his other hand around Jason's shoulder and pulled him in for a bro hug.

"Oh, no! It must be catching," someone sneered from across the hall, "Don't get too close guys, you might turn gay. Looks like White might be the next one to ride the Hershey Highway," he laughed, causing all his buddies to laugh too.

The culprit was Frank Evans, big time jock, homophobe, and bully, and his followers were nearly as bad.

Roger finished the hug and the handshake before responding, and was halfway across the hallway before Jason could react.

Frank Evans let out a cry of surprise as he was slammed into the locker behind him, propelled by Roger's 125 pounds of fury. At 5'6" he was an inch taller than Frank and outweighed him by 13 pounds, most of it muscle. Frank was small for his age, and though muscular and athletic he was no match for Roger, especially considering the adrenaline rush Roger was undergoing.

"If I ever hear you say anything as stupid as that again, I will pull your nuts off and feed them to you," Roger said through gritted teeth.

"Hey, ease up Rog," one of Frank's buddies said looking scared, "you know how he is? He was just funnin'."

"Yeah, just kidding," Frank said managing a lop sided grin, "really, I'm cool with Jas. To each his own."

"That's better, now apologize to me...and to Jason," Roger said finally releasing his grip on Frank's collar.

"Sorry..." the kid muttered as he shook himself off.

"What? I didn't hear you, and I'm sure Jason couldn't hear you way over there. So here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna walk over there to Jason's locker, and you're gonna apologize, and bump fists with my bro. He's a good dude, and he's gay, get over it."

"Okay, okay...I'm going," Frank said pulling away from Roger's grip and straightening his disheveled clothing.

"Uh, I'm sorry man. No hard feelings, okay?" Frank said offering his fist to bump.

Jason was slow to offer his own fist however. Although he'd never had any run-ins with the bullies before now, he'd observed them harassing others and he had no love for them, especially Frank.

"Sorry man. No hard feelings...okay?" Frank said again once the fist bump was over.

"I guess," Jason mumbled, "Just stay away from me, that's all I ask."

"Okay, okay," Frank said holding up his hands in surrender, then to his crew, "Come on guys, we're gonna be late for class."

Once they were gone Roger put an arm around Jason's neck again and bumped heads with him, "Sorry about that bro. I guess I sort of overreacted."

"Dude, that was awesome," Jason said grinning, "I can't believe Frank backed down like that."

"Aww...he's just a pussy at heart, just got a big mouth. I don't think you'll have any more problems from him though."

"I hope not, I have enough on my mind without worrying about that kind of crap."

"Dude, you know I'm here for you. Anything I can do, you just ask. Don't think you're alone in this. By the way, how's Jake and your rents taking all this?"

Jason relaxed, "No time to go into all that now, but if you wanna come over after school I'll fill you in."

"Okay, got any pizza rolls?" Roger asked grinning. Pizza rolls were the two boys all time favorite snacks, and they could make a whole bag disappear in no time flat.

"Yeah, but no pudding cups?" he laughed.

"It took a minute for Roger to get what Jason meant then he laughed, "You guys still fighting over the pudding cups?"

"Nah, not anymore. I'll explain later."

"K dude, later. See you at lunch, okay?"

At lunch the two talked about school and the big game Friday, but neither mentioned what was really on their minds, though for different reasons. Both had been affected by Jason's sudden coming out, and had to deal with it in their own way.

The two shared one class after lunch, PE, and as they suited up they bantered noisily just like old times, not really aware of the others around them until one of the guys nearest them spoke.

"Hey Jason, just wanted you to know, not everyone is a homophobe and I'm cool with you coming out. As far as I'm concerned you're the same cool dude you've always been."

The speaker was Bret Evans, a tall slender black boy with an infectious smile and a rep for being a ladies' man.

"Thanks Bret, I appreciate that. Most of the kids have been pretty cool about it. It's not like I'm perving on every guy in school," he chuckled.

"Hey, I'm hurt," Bret teased, "because my body is so fine."

"Thanks for that mental image," Roger said making a face.

"Hard to be humble when you look like this," Bret laughed as he flexed his muscles, "Anyway, just wanted to let you know we're still cool," he said offering a fist to bump.

"Thanks man," Jason said bumping Bret's fist and looking a bit emotional, "That means a lot coming from a cool dude like you."

"Anyone gives you any grief, you let me know, okay?" he said as he went back to his locker to finish dressing out.

"See, everything will be fine," Roger said once Bret had left.

"Yeah, I feel a lot better," Jason said with relief, "maybe now that I'm out I'll find a boyfriend," he chuckled.

"Dude, any boy would be lucky to have you," Roger said, surprising Jason, "Wish I could help you out there, but I like the ladies too much."

"Yeah, just my luck. Oh well, it would be too weird anyway," Jason teased, "Since we know all of each others dirty little secrets."

"What dirty little secrets? I'm as squeaky clean as an altar boy," Roger laughed.

"I hear those altar boys aren't as innocent as everyone thinks," Jason laughed.

"Oh dude, that is so bad..." Roger laughed as they headed toward the gym floor.

After school, Jason waited for Roger at the south end of the school building, trying to remain as inconspicuous as possible, but occasionally someone he knew would pass by and they'd exchange greetings.

"Hi Jason," one of the cheerleaders, a girl name Sally Hanson, said as she sashayed by, "I'm having a party Friday night, you're invited if you'd like to come, and you can even bring someone," she said grinning. She didn't have any problem with Jason being gay, and in fact she thought he might just be the kind of novelty she needed to spice up one of her dull parties.

"Uh, thanks, I'll definitely think about it," Jason lied. He couldn't imagine anything more uncomfortable than being at one of Sally's parties with all the beautiful people there.

"There you are," Jason said with relief as Roger finally showed up looking tired and a little ruffled.

"Sorry, I had to stay after class and explain why I gave Ted Schultz a light tap on the arm."

"Uh, light tap? What did you do? Is this about me again?" Jason sighed.

"Forget it, it was just a misunderstanding. He understands now."

"Roger, you don't have to fight my battles for me..."

"Then what are best friends for?"

"Well...thanks then, but don't get yourself into trouble, okay?"

"I know how to be...what's the word? Diplomatic," he chuckled.

"Yeah, as diplomatic as a loaded shotgun," Jason laughed.

"Come on, I'll race you to my house," Roger said taking off running, giggling like the little kid Jason remembered.

As Jason ran he thought about his friendship with Roger. He couldn't ever remember not seeing Roger at least once a day, except for times they were away on family trips of course. He'd become accustomed to seeing his best friend's smiling face, listening to his cornball jokes, and mostly just enjoying his company, and he was happy to know his coming out hadn't changed anything between them.

He'd had that one moment of panic after coming out, expecting Roger to turn on him, but looking back he knew he should have known better. Roger was as solid a friend as anyone could ever hope for, and it would have been against his very nature to react any differently than he had.

There were other thoughts too, now that he knew for sure that he was gay. He and Roger had always been close, and as most boys are apt to do, they had done their share of experimenting and exploring their growing bodies.

They'd shared the news of their first sprouting of hairs, their first wet orgasm, and they'd talked for hours about what changes were ahead for them. Of course the subject of girls had come up, and although Jason had pretended to be interested, the truth was he was more interested in Roger and other boys.

For that reason he had slowly put a stop to the messing around and experimenting, and eventually Roger quit asking. He often wondered what Roger thought about that. Had he accepted it simply because he was growing up and moving on? Or had he simply gone along with Jason's wishes?

From his spot a few paces behind Roger, Jason could clearly see the muscles in his friend's body working in unison to propel him forward. He had always admired Roger's body, his muscles, and most of all his good looks, but now it was as if he were looking at his best friend in a whole new way.

He was suddenly aware of a stirring between his legs and his face flushed with embarrassment. What was happening to him? He wondered. Why now? What was different? Was it because Roger had accepted his sexuality so easily, or had he always had these feelings, and had simply hidden them away until now?

"Beat...you," Roger said as he doubled over trying to catch his breath.

Jason walked the last few yards, but he too was panting after the brisk run.

"You cheated butt-munch," Jason chuckled, "You got a head start. I wasn't ready."

"I wasn't ready," Roger mocked. Then laughing, he straightened up and put his arm around his best friend, "Come on, those pizza rolls aren't gonna nuke themselves."

"Mom, I'm home, and Roger is with me," Jason said as they burst in the front door.

"Oh hi boys," Mrs. Downing said from her spot on the couch where she was watching Ellen on TV. "Your brother isn't home yet, but I expect him soon. He and Teddy had something to do at his house."

Jason almost made a joke of that, but remembered that Roger didn't know about Jason and Teddy yet and he kept quiet.

"We're gonna nuke some pizza rolls and take em' up to my room, we got some studying to do," Jason said as they headed off to the kitchen. His mother simply nodded and went back to her program.

After nuking the pizza rolls the two boys retired to Jason's room and Jason shut the door, and they sat down on the bed. For a few minutes they were busy eating and drinking soda, but eventually Roger reminded Jason that he owed him a story.

"Okay, okay..." Jason laughed, "First of all...guess who dropped the note?"

"What...uh, I thought it was some kid named Zak."

"Nope, there is no Zak, Jacob wrote the note to get even with me. He had a change of heart though and was gonna tear it up when the goof lost it, and well...Trainer found it and, the rest is history."

"Wait, so Jacob wrote the note and lost it, and Trainer picked it up, but how did you find out Jacob wrote it?"

"He told me. I think he expected me to clobber him or something, but I'd already decided that I was gonna' use the note as a way to come out."

"Dude, I'm a little mad at you, you know?"

"Uh, you are? I thought you were cool with my being gay..." Jason said sounding worried.

"Not that. I'm mad cause you didn't trust me enough to tell me you were gay. For gosh sakes, we're closer than brothers, and you should have known I'd be cool with it."

"I know that now, but I was scared dude. I didn't want to take the chance of losing you or complicating our friendship. I guess I knew you'd be cool, but I was so...scared, so alone," Jason said tearing up a little."

"Aww dude, I forgive you. I guess I'd have been sort of freaked too if I'd been you. But it's all good now, right?"

"Yeah, Jake was cool with it and believe it or not, my folks were too."

"Your folks are awesome, no surprise there. I bet Jake was most surprised of all though. Imagine, making all that stuff up and then finding out part of it was true, that you were gay, I mean."

"Yeah, well there's more, but I can't talk about that yet."

"What do you mean?"

"Jake will have to be the one to tell you that."

"What, let me guess...he and Teddy are queer for each other too?" he joked, then seeing the look on Jason's face his mouth fell open, "What? Are you kidding me? Jake and Teddy?"

"I told you, I can't talk about it," Jason said shrugging.

They were interrupted by the sound of the front door slamming and a few seconds later clumping in the hallway.

"That you Jake?" Jason called through the door.

"Yeah," he replied, then the door opened and he stuck his head inside, "Oh, hey Roger," he added smiling, glad to see his brother's best friend was still part of the family.

"Hey squirt, come in here. We need to talk."

"Oh, we do?" he said looking worried, "If this is about what I did to Jas, I'm already being punished. I'm his slave now."

Roger laughed, "Well, that's a fitting punishment, but this isn't about that. Come on in and sit down."

Jacob relaxed a bit and helped himself to a pizza roll as he sat down beside Roger. "What's up you guys?"

"Anything new you want to share with me?" Roger said hoping Jake would open up without too much prompting.

"Nah, nothing. Why?"

"You sure? Cause I kinda got a feeling something is going on with you."

Jake gave Jason a deer in the headlights look and Jason gave him a little shrug. "It's up to you bro, but he'd be cool with it."

Jake sighed, "I should ask Teddy first..."

"So there is something going on between you two? Okay, okay...since you can't tell me, how about if I just guess? And you can tell me if I'm hot or cold."

"I...I guess," Jacob said with dread.

"Okay, well...I know you and Teddy have been as tight as me and Jas all these years. Is it possible you guys might be closer now...maybe really close? You know, like maybe boyfriends?"

Jacob looked at Jason and stood up suddenly, "How did he know? Did you tell him?"

"Relax, he didn't tell me. I just guessed, and when I saw the look on his face I knew I'd hit the nail on the head. Dude, did you think I'd hate on ya' for this? I think it's cool. I mean if it works for you guys, why not?"

"We haven't told anyone but Jason so far and we're not ready to tell anyone else. You gotta' promise to keep it a secret, please."

"Dude, you have my word. Your secret is safe with me. Damn, two gay boys. Your folks must wonder how that happened," he chuckled.

"We were just born that way," Jacob said stubbornly, "some people think that being gay is learned behavior, but it's not. I looked it up and did some research. Most scientists believe it's something we're born with, even if they can't quite figure out why."

"Dude, you Google it or something?" Roger asked laughing.

Jacob grinned wide, "Yeah, I was curious, and me and Jason went online and did some research."

"He's right," Jason said smiling, "So my folks don't have to worry where they went wrong or anything. God made us just like we are, and we're just fine that way."

"Well, as far as I'm concerned dudes, you ain't no different than you were yesterday or last week. You're still cool dudes and I've totally got your back."

"Thanks," both brothers said at once, causing them to giggle.

It felt good to be accepted and to be on good terms with each other, and both brothers were happier than they had been in a long time.

"I gotta go change, and I gotta' ton of homework," Jacob said hopping up, "you guys have fun. See ya' later," he added as he headed toward the door.

"You too bro," Roger said grinning, "and tell Teddy, Way to go!" he chuckled.

When he was gone Roger turned to Jason and smiled, "This is sort of cool, having three gay friends."

"Better be careful, it might be contagious," Jason teased.

"Well, if it is I can't think of a better way to catch it," Roger said surprising Jason once again by his easy banter and acceptance of the situation.

"I think you're probably immune though, being such a stud and all," Jason laughed, "speaking of that, how's it going with you and Lori?"

"Girl's a cold fish. Won't even let me touch her boobs. I've about given up on her. All she likes to do is shop and text on her phone."

"But you kiss her, right?"

"Not really, a quick peck on the lips and that's about it. Nah, I think it's about time I move on."

"What's wrong with girls anyway?" Jason said frowning, "If I had a cute boy like you," he said blushing, "I'd give him all my attention and anything he wanted. And kissing, I'd kiss him all the time, and hold hands..."

"Damn dude, you're making being gay sound pretty sweet," Jason teased, or was he?

"Well, just saying. I know what boys like, cause I'm a boy...right? And if I had a boyfriend I'd make sure he was happy all the time."

Something was happening between the two of them and they were both aware of it in different ways. Jason because of the swelling and throbbing between his legs and in his heart, and Roger in the way his palms were suddenly sweaty and his breathing seemed labored.

"Some dude is gonna be so lucky," Roger said unconsciously moving a bit closer, his head tilted as he stared into Jason's eyes.

"Yeah, well...probably not gonna happen though. Guys like that are pretty hard to find," Jason all but whispered.

"Like what? Horny?" Roger chuckled, "Cause that just about describes all the boys I know."

"No, not just that. I don't want just sex," Jason said frowning, "I mean, I want that too, but I want someone I can do stuff with, and have fun with, and just hold hands, or snuggle on the couch, stuff like that...and kiss, lots of kissing. I feel like I'm starved for kissing and I've never even kissed a boy before. It's weird thinking about it."

"But you've kissed a girl, right?"

"Sort of, and it was nice, but I bet it would be so much better with someone I really, really liked...I mean some boy I liked."

"Like who?" Roger said leaning in yet a little closer, their faces only inches from one another now.

"Uh, well..." Jason stammered, his heart beating so fast it was in danger of breaking out of his chest, "I can't tell ya'."

"Come on dude, I'm your bestie, you can tell me anything."

"If I want to keep you as my bestie, its better I don't say," Jason said with a pleading look.

"Dude, you're not gonna lose me as a best friend. You can tell me anything. So, now...who would you like to kiss that way?"

"I can't..." Jason said looking stricken as he pulled back some.

"Dude," Roger said grabbing Jason and pulling him close, their faces almost touching, "show me," he said as he shook with sudden desire and need.

"I..." Jason began, but his words were cut off as his lips suddenly met Roger's.

The kiss started out slow, but in just seconds it escalated to a wet feverish kiss, and eventually tongues were involved and body parts started to join in.

Reluctant at first to give in for fear of ruining everything, Jason soon forgot all his misgivings and just let Roger lead. Even when Roger wrapped him up in his strong arms and pulled him against him he still felt as if he were dreaming.

As he felt Roger's lips on his own, his pink tongue darting around in his mouth he realized he had never felt so alive or been so hard in all his life. He almost giggled at how surreal it all was, and he still expected to wake any moment from the most wonderful dream of his life.

Eventually Roger pulled back, allowing both of them to catch their breaths, and suddenly Jason's worries returned.

"I'm sorry," Jason said, as if the whole thing was his fault.

"Why? What are you sorry about?" Roger said feeling a little hurt.

"I...I know you're not like that. I must've, I don't know...caused it to happen."

"Dude, I'm not sure if I'm gay or not, but I liked what we just did, and all that stuff we used to do when we were younger. I mean I still like girls, but it's like you said, a dude knows how to make another dude feel good."

"So, what are you saying?" Jason said frowning, "You want me to take care of, um...that stuff while you date girls?"

"Yes, no, I mean, damn Jason, I really hadn't thought that far. No, that wouldn't be fair to you. If I do this, it will be all or nothing, but I gotta tell you dude, right now it's looking pretty sweet."

"It is?" Jason asked with surprise.

"Look dude, we've known each other forever. Like you said, we know each others dirty little secrets, we know what each other likes and doesn't like. We used to be pretty good at helping each other figure things out...you know," he said blushing, "and that kiss...well, I gotta tell ya' dude, it was better than any kiss I ever got from a chick."

"It was wonderful," Jason said grinning, "I kept expecting to wake up at any minute. It was like a dream come true."

"So, you've thought about me that way before?"

"Dude, why do you think I quit messing around with you? It hurt too much to know you didn't feel the same way I did, and it was easier to just give it up than to keep doing it and worry about you figuring me out."

"I always wondered about that. I thought it was something I did," Roger said sounding relieved, "I guess I sort of see what you mean, but who knows, if we'd kept doing that stuff I might have started feeling some of that stuff too."

"Well, it's too late now, but what about now? Look, Roger, don't do this if you're not really into it, cause it would hurt too much to start something and then have to finish it because you were just horny or whatever, and had a weak moment."

"That sounds fair. Look, dude I'm still a little confused right now. How about if we take it slow and figure things out as we go? We don't have to do anything serious until we're both ready."

"Why now?" Jason said suddenly, "If you felt this way before how come you never said anything or showed me how you felt?"

"I don't know. I guess finding out you were gay made me start thinking about things, and when you started talking about kissing and stuff, well...I got to thinking. I guess you may be right in some ways, I was horny, still am, but I don't just want to use you for that, and I'm willing to give back. I got no problem with that. I'm not grossed out by boy parts, especially yours."

"I don't know, this is so...so, unexpected, but I've loved you practically all my life and I'd be stupid not to give this a chance. But I'm gonna tell you up front, if it doesn't work out I don't know if I can go on being your friend. I think it might hurt too much."

"Then we gotta' make it work. How about we both think about it overnight, sleep on it? And tomorrow we'll talk again. I'll do whatever you say, but I gotta tell ya', I love you too, and I think we might be able to make this thing work."

"Okay, that sounds like a plan. Now, one last thing, can we try that kissing thing again?"

That night Jason seemed to be walking through a dream. At dinner his folks tried to pull him into the conversation but he just sat there, a dreamy look on his face, and answered only when spoken to. Even Jacob was surprised by Jason's funk and wondered if it had anything to do with Roger's visit. Even someone as young and inexperienced as Jacob could see the sexual tension between the two.

Jacob remembered catching the two naked in Jason's room when they were about 11 or 12 and he'd been horrified that they would beat him up or worse. Instead they had come to him and begged him to keep his mouth shut about what he'd seen and simply told him they were just goofing around.

He'd known even then what kind of goofing around they were doing, because he and Teddy had done that same kind of goofing. He'd kept their secret, and though he'd never caught them again, he was quite sure they had continued to goof around every chance they got.

After dinner Jason excused himself to his room, and eventually Jacob knocked on his door.

"Can I come in Jas?"

"Yeah, come on in," Jason said from his bed where he lay on his back staring at the ceiling.

"What's up? You been acting goofy all evening, even the rents noticed."

"What, oh...well, can't a guy just do some thinking without everyone getting all worked up over it?"

"Yeah, but you got a lot going on lately, and I guess we just worry about you, that's all."

Jason looked at his younger brother and sighed, "Come here, sit, I'm gonna tell you something, and you gotta swear to keep your trap shut about it."

"I swear," Jacob said solemnly, "is this about you and Roger?"

"Whaaat, how did you know?"

"Well, he was over here and you guys were in here a long time talking and stuff, and I just thought maybe it was about that."

"Yeah, well...you won't believe what happened..."

A shocked, but pleased Jacob sat grinning as Jason finished up telling him all that had transpired that afternoon, then giggled with delight, "This is so cool. You two were meant to be together, just like me and Teddy. Oh man, this is sooo cool. We can even double date."

"Slow down, we haven't decided yet. We're gonna think this thing through first before we do anything we'll both regret."

"Aww, you guys just gotta' be together. No one else would have either of you," Jacob teased.

"Very funny. I love you too," Jason said sarcastically.

"Seriously, I like Roger a lot, and I think you two would make a good pair. You do like him that way...right?"

"What way?" Jason said frowning.

"In a sexy way?" Jacob giggled.

Jason blushed, "None of your bees wax, but let's just say he has all the right parts and he sure knows how to kiss."

"Cool, I bet you guys decide to get together," Jacob said confidently, "Are you gonna tell mom and dad?"

"It's too early to think about that yet, but if...if, we do get together, we'll have to tell them eventually."

"Wow, this is so cool," Jacob said happily, "who would have thought that my stupid note would lead to all this."

"Don't remind me of the note," Jason said giving Jacob a warning look, "I'm still a little sore about that, but I guess it all worked out in the end."

"Yeah, we both got boyfriends out of the deal," Jacob laughed.

"Not yet, but we'll see."

"So when are you gonna decide?"

"We agreed to sleep on it, and...oh my God, I am so nervous. Tomorrow at this time I may, or may not, have the guy I love as my boyfriend."

"See, you already know what you want, and I bet Roger feels the same way too."

"I don't know, but I won't sleep a wink all night, you can bet on that."

"I know how you feel. Don't worry though, I know Roger will make the right choice."

Jacob went off to take a shower, and afterwards he visited with his folks before bedtime. Though they tried to pump him for information about Jason, all he would tell them was that Jason was fine and just had some things on his mind that he wasn't ready to share with them yet.

They trusted both their sons, especially now that they had started getting along, but of course they were concerned in Jason's sudden mood swings. They knew the statistics concerning gay teens and suicide, and they worried that maybe Jason was taking on too much on his own and needed assurance that all was well.

With that in mind they decided to pay a visit to their oldest son and let him know that they were there for him through thick and thin.

"Hi honey, can we come in for a minute," his mom said as she knocked on the open door.

Jason was sitting at his desk trying to do his homework, but his mind really wasn't on it.

"Sure come on in. What's up?"

"Nothing son, we just wanted to make sure you were okay. No one is giving you a hard time at school or anything are they? Mom says Roger was over, it's good to know that nothing has changed between you two boys," he said smiling, "he's always been a good friend and we feel like he's as much a part of our family as Teddy is. You boys are both lucky to have found such good friends early in life."

"First off," Jason said, addressing his father's concerns after listening to his lengthy speech, No one is giving me any problems at school, at least nothing I...we, can't handle. Roger has been great. You know how he is though, a little hot headed, but I don't think anyone wants to mess with me now that they know Roger has my back. And yeah, we're both lucky to have good friends," he said smiling, "I'm fine though, really. Just got some stuff on my mind that I can't talk about right now."

"Well, we just want you to know that we're here for you and that nothing has changed as far as we're concerned. You are still the same wonderful son that we love and cherish, and nothing will ever change that," his mother said getting quite emotional.

"I love you guys too," Jason said feeling a little teary-eyed as well, "If you're worried I'm gonna off myself or something, well...that's not gonna happen. I'm fine, really. In fact, I'm better than ever now that I don't have to hide who I really am. Thanks, thanks for being such great parents and for...you know?" he said wiping at his eyes.

His father made the first move, coming in for a quick but thorough hug, and his mother swallowed him up in her arms when her husband released him. Both parents had come from large, loving families where shows of affection were commonplace, and Jason was used to that sort of thing, and in fact ate it up.

"Hey, what are you guys doing?" Jacob said appearing at the doorway, "don't I get a hug too?" he pouted, then smiling he ran to his dad and jumped into his arms.

"Oh, my you're getting big," his dad said just barely managing to pick his youngest son up for a moment before needing to put him back down. Then kissing the top of his head he sat him down and placed a loving arm around his shoulders, "Mom, we may need to have another one pretty soon. These two will be leaving the nest before we know it."

"You could adopt," Jacob suggested, "a younger kid for me to beat up on and make my slave," he teased.

"Be nice," his mother scolded, "remember how you felt. Being the younger sibling is hard, I know, I had two older sisters and one younger brother and I always felt mistreated, what with being in the middle."

"I'm just kidding mom, I'd love the kid and treat him nice. I know how it feels to have someone eat your pudding cups," he said grinning at his brother.

"Speaking of that, why is that now that you boys aren't feuding there are two packages of pudding cups in the fridge and no one has touched them?" his mother said cocking an eyebrow as she stared at first one, then the other boy.

"I...lost my taste for them," Jason stammered.

"Yeah, I think I'm outgrowing them," Jacob offered.

This caused everyone to laugh and soon the adults went off to bed leaving the two brothers alone.

"Know what?"

"What?" Jacob said sitting down on his brother's bed.

"I think I'd like a pudding cup after all, wanna join me?"

"Yeah," Jacob laughed, "I suddenly got my taste for them back."