Ash: I don’t make new year’s resolutions. If I want to do something, I do it. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t. That’s it.
Dex: How very Ash of you.
Ash: Whatever. This coming from the guy with no self-control.
Dex: *huffs* I totally have self-control. I don’t know what you’re talking about. *Turns to Sloane* Babe, I have self-control, right?
Sloane: *looking everywhere but at Dex*
Dex: *narrows eyes* Babe?
Sloane: *blinks at him innocently* Hm?
Ash: *snickering behind Cael*
Dex: Darling? Light of my loins. Owner of my very, very precious heart. Self-control. I have it, right?
Sloane: Um, of course your do, sweetheart.
Dex: You hesitated.
Sloane: *looks past Dex to Cael* How about you? Any resolutions?
Cael: I’m going to try and be more assertive. Outside the bedroom, anyway.
Ash: *jaw drops*
Dex: *eyes go wide* Oh my God, why? Why would you say that in my presence? *covers his eyes* I need bleach for my brain!
Cael: *rolls his eyes* I’m thirty years old, Dex. One of these days you’re going to have to accept that your baby brother isn’t a baby anymore.
Dex: Never! *throws his arms around Cael’s head and pets him* Precious, precious cookie.
Cael: I’m going to seriously hurt you if you don’t let go.
Dex: *sniffs* They grow up so quickly.
Cael: Get off.
Dex: One minute you’re changing their diaper—which was so heavy you had to wonder how something so small could poop so damn much—and the next thing you know—*gets tackled off his chair*
Sloane: *to Ash* What do you want to do after this?
Dex: *tussling with Cael on the floor* Could use a little help here.
Ash: *thinks about it* How about we grab some dinner and watch a movie? I’m kinda in the mood for Korean.
Dex: *groans after getting hit in the ribs* Babe?
Sloane: *snaps his fingers* Hudson recommended this great place over on East 31st Street. We should go there.
Ash: Sounds good.
Dex: Ouch! Dude, did you just try to knee me in ma boys? I need those!
Cael: Then stop talking about my diapers, you turd!
Dex: *snickers* Turd.
Cael: *stands over his brother and narrows his eyes* Say one more thing about me in diapers. I dare you.
Dex: *opens his mouth to reply*
Cael: Just know that when you do, I’m going to describe in exceptional detail the sex Ash and I had last night.
Dex: *pops up onto his feet* You know, I think I’m gonna sit down next to Sloane.
Cael: You do that. *Resumes his seat next to Ash*
Dex: *leans over Cael to peer at Ash* I blame you.
Ash: For what? The sex?
Dex: That. But generally, I just blame you.
Sloane: *chuckles and pats Dex’s leg*
Dex: *turns to Sloane* So what’s your new year’s resolution?
Sloane: *thinks about it* I don’t know. I guess, just really appreciate what I have, and making sure what I have knows he’s appreciated. *kisses Dex’s cheek*
Dex: *melts* Aw. You’re such a sap.
Ash: *to Dex* I blame you for that one.
Dex: *sighs dreamily as he looks at Sloane* I happily accept responsibility.
Dex: Bite me, Simba.
Ash: That’s getting old.
Dex: Aslan, then. Or we could go with Scar. Or Mufasa.
Ash: *grins wide* How about we go with my fist in your face. How’s that? I like that one best.
Sloane: Okay, that’s enough you two. Back to resolutions.
Dex: *puts his hand up * Ooh, I got one!
Sloane: Why are you raising your hand?
Ash: I find it hard to believe that you ever raised your hand in school.
Dex: Of course I raised my hand. I was an exceptional student.
*Cael and Ash exchange glances before bursting into laughter*
Cael: *wiping a tear from his eye* He’s right. He did raise his hand. He also made noises, whispered loudly to get the teacher’s attention, and flailed his arms. It drove his teachers insane, among other things.
Dex: *wrinkles his nose* Hey, I was an enthusiastic student.
Cael: And then after all the flailing and noises, when the teacher finally did call on him, he’d ask a completely random question. Like if she asked what the answer to the math problem was, he’d drive her nuts until she picked him, and then ask something like “why do dogs get surprised by their own farts”.
*Ash and Sloane burst into laughter*
Dex: What? If I didn’t ask when it occurred to me then I’d forget, and it would bug me for the rest of the day. I needed to know. You can all bite me.
Sloane: *sobering up* Okay, babe. What’s your resolution?
Dex: *mutters* To find new friends.
Sloane: Aw, don’t be mad. *pulls Dex into his arms and kisses him* You know we love you.
Ash: *opens his mouth when Cael clamps a hand over it*
Dex: *pouts* Can we get ice cream after dinner?
Sloane: Of course we can. You can have all the ice cream you want.
Cael: *eyes light up and turns to Ash* I want ice cream too!
Ash: *hugs Cael and glares at Sloane over Cael’s head* Of course, sweetheart.
Dex: *jumps off his chair at the same time as Cael* Woop! *they run out*
Ash: *shakes his head at Sloane* You couldn’t have just said yes, you had to say “all the ice cream you want.”
Sloane: Sorry. You know it’s hard for me to say no when he’s looking all pouty like that.
Ash: Which is why he does it, you sap! *throws his arms up* Now they’re going to eat their weight in ice cream, and Cael is going to be bouncing off the walls.
Sloane: *shrugs* Dex will be too. And it’ll last most of the night. *waggles his eyebrows*
Ash: *opens his mouth to answer then closes it. Realizes what Sloane is saying and stands* Let’s go get some ice cream. *grins wide* Happy New Year to me.
Sloane: *chuckles and walks after him*
Copyright © 2016 Charlie Cochet. THIRDS published by Dreamspinner Press.