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Unsettling Implications

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When you get home, the main thing on your mind is whether you can stay awake long enough to shower. But of course everyone wants to socialize first.

Jade and Rose got back the night before, and it seems like they bought a zillion souvenirs, every single one of which they have to explain to you in detail. Mom, Dad, and Grandpa have to ask questions that imply they didn't trust you guys to handle yourselves in the wilderness alone -- extra pointless now that you're back. Bro's the easiest to deal with; he just cracks some jokes about grizzly mountain men and how much you smell.

At least, until he catches you alone in the kitchen ransacking the fridge. He leans his hip against the counter and tilts his head at you, like he still hasn't quite absorbed the fact that you're the same height now.

"What's wrong with your face?" he says.

"Beats me, man, I didn't shave for a week and suddenly hair grew on it, maybe you can explain it to me."

"Didn't notice," he lies. Why does he bother doing that? "I was talking about that smile-looking thing."

"Oh, yeah. That's what people do when they're enjoying life. You should try it sometime."

"Guess you finally got your gay on with John Boy."

You settle on cottage cheese. Not your favorite, but it's cold and fatty and not even a little bit freeze-dried. "Speaking of getting my gay on, thanks a lot for wasting our food space with that shit."

"You're welcome. Come in handy?"

You snort. "Yeah, bear country is a great place for my ass to smell like cherry pie. Also, anal sex is totally best when you're a hundred miles from the nearest shower. We could've carried two more meals, dillweed." You shove a heaping spoonful in your mouth and talk around it. "Egbert kinda flipped out when he found it. He thinks you're legit homophobic and you hate him for zapping me with the queer ray."

Bro's eyebrows lift. You can't remember the last time you saw him make such an obvious facial expression. "Dude can't take a joke."

"You're too subtle for him. Maybe ease up some."

"Sure." He turns away, and you think he's going to leave, but he just gets out a spoon and reaches out to steal some of your snack. "Wonder what he'd say if he knew I'm banging his dad."

You fumble your spoon and streak cottage cheese down the front of his shirt. "No fucking way."

"Wouldn't you like to know." The corner of his mouth quirks for a moment. He drops his spoon in the sink and saunters away.