Disclaimer: Not mine.
Mark came over Roger's house on Holy Saturday (or Super Saturday as Roger had renamed it) so he could "get the whole Easter experience". His clothes and sleeping bag were stuffed into the duffel bag that was slung over his shoulder. He smiled when Roger's mom answered the door and let him in.
"Roger's upstairs," Mrs. Davis informed. "You can just take all your stuff up."
"Okay, thanks." Mark walked up the steps and towards the back of the house where Roger's room was. "Hey," he greeted, seeing Roger lying on his bed playing the guitar.
"Hey." He stopped playing and sat up. "Ready to experience Easter?"
"Don't sound too enthused," Roger replied sarcastically.
"Oh boy, Roger! I am so super thrilled about sleeping over your house and having a giant bunny come into your house to leave us chocolate! I can barely contain myself. I might even have an accident," he joked dramatically.
"You're cute when you're being a drama queen," Roger said with a smile.
Mark blushed. "I try."
"As soon as Sammy gets back from soccer practice, we get to dye eggs," Roger changed the subject. Sammy was Roger's little sister. At eight, she was still thrilled about all the child-oriented experience of Easter like dying eggs and the Easter Bunny.
"Uh huh," he replied. "Sammy thinks we put them out for the Easter Bunny to magically transform into plastic eggs with pennies in them and hide around the living room. My mom actually uses them to make deviled eggs after she goes to bed."
"This has got to be the most fucked up holiday ever," Mark sat on Roger's bed, still baffled that children like this time of year. "I mean, I'd think that most small children would be scared out of their mind if a giant bunny broke into their house."
"I already told you," Roger rolled his eyes. "Free chocolate! Does it really matter how the free chocolate gets there?"
"But still, I'd be scared shitless if I was at that age."
"Aw, Marky, I'll protect you from the scary rabbit," he wrapped his arms around the scrawny blond in a protective embrace. Mark welcomed the hug, leaning into the taller boy.
"When will she get home?"
"About fifteen minutes. Why?"
"Then a fifteen minute nap for me," Mark curled up against Roger, his head leaning on his shoulder. He closed his eyes, dozing for a few minutes with Roger's hand gently stroking the back of his head and neck.
However, a minute later, the boys were jolted out of this peaceful moment by a cry of, "ROGER! EGG TIME!"
Mark liked dying eggs. It was pretty fun, even if he wasn't very good at it. His first egg came out a muddy brown because he put it in every color.
"Jeez, Mark, I thought you'd have the common sense to know what happens when you mix six different colors," Roger replied, removing a perfectly dyed egg from the blue dye.
"Sorry," he said, picking a new egg and dropping it into the yellow dye.
"MARKY! Isn't my egg PRETTY?" Sammy waved a spotty red and green egg two inches in front of his face.
Eyes widening, he moved his head back. "Yeah, that's really nice. A lot nicer than mine."
She beamed, placing her finished egg in the tray. "I think it's handsome," she said, "just like my big brother, Roger."
An asinine grin spread on Roger's lips as he bent down to give his sister a quick kiss on the forehead. "Aw, thanks Sammy. You know, you're the greatest little sister in the world. You know that, right?" He smiled when she gave him a smile and a nod. This was the part of Roger that no one really knew about or expected. He was a good brother, he cared. Their dad walked out on them when Sammy was a baby, so at eight, he figured she needed some type of father figure in her life. After all, he had one for eight years, why shouldn't she?
"Now I'm going to make one as handsome as Mark," she said, selecting a new egg.
Roger giggled when he saw Mark blush.
Sammy woke everyone up at eight thirty to see what the Easter Bunny had left for them. She seemed very excited, which still baffled Mark. In her bunny pajamas, she barreled down steps and towards the coffee table where three baskets were set up. There was bright purple one with girly things for Sammy and two yellow ones with candy for Roger and Mark.
Mark riffled through his, shocked that he actually got something. He looked up at Mrs. Davis who was standing by the steps and mouthed a thank you.
"See Marky? Free chocolate," Roger beamed as he unwrapped a mini-Hershey's bar and popped it into his mouth.
Mark laughed and decided it was way too early for chocolate.
Sammy got a new Barbie, which she happily ran around the room to show her mother and the boys. "HELP ME FIND THE EGGS!" she yelled.
For a half hour, the three scrambled around the living room and dining room in search of plastic eggs filled with pennies. Sammy happily counted them and put them in her sock to save up for a new toy.
"Three hundred and twelve cents," she announced happily.
"Time to get ready for church," Mrs. Davis said, looking at the clock. "And yes, Roger, you do have to wear a tie."
The boys pulled on their dress pants and button down shirts as they prepared for what Roger called "Jesus-fest 1980". Roger finished with his tie and turned to see Mark struggling.
"Uh, Rog? A little help."
He giggled and walked behind Mark, wrapping his arms around his neck. He pulled the tie, adjusting it under Mark's collar. "There you go," he kissed his cheek from behind.
"Thanks. How do you know how to do that?"
"Eight years of Catholic school," Roger replied. "They were part of our uniforms."
"Boys! Time for church," Roger heard his mom say.
On the ride to St. Matthew's church, Roger explained what would happen during Mass. "A random old lady will read two stories from the Bible. Then the priest reads the Gospel and talks for like a half hour about nothing. You have to stand up and sit constantly. There's lots of praying and singing. Then we get fed the processed Jesus crackers I told you about. Now be careful when you get the cracker because there's this lady that sits on the end pew who sings off key. And if you laugh too hard, the Jesus cracker in your mouth might try and choke you for making fun of her."
"You deserve it," Mrs. Davis added from the driver's seat.
Mark laughed. "Doesn't seem all that bad."
"Oh, and since it's Easter, there will be lots of screaming children."
The four entered the church and took a seat in a middle pew. In front of them was a family with twins, already beginning to cry.
Roger was right. Lots of standing and sitting up. Mark was getting tired. He did, however, get a half hour break when he sat during the homily. The priest seemed to be going senile because he told the same five minute story six times. After the homily was the renewal of the baptismal vows which Roger hadn't mentioned. For Mark, it was amusing nonetheless.
"Do you reject sin?"
"Nope," Roger muttered. His mother flicked him on the back of the head and replied with "I do" like the rest of the congregation. Mark just laughed. It happened again with each of the promises.
"Do you reject the glamour of evil, and refuse to be mastered by sin?"
"Sin doesn't master me, I master it." Another flick from his mother and a giggle from Mark.
"Do you reject Satan?"
"I do." This time Mrs. Davis smiled at him, assuming he was done being an ass.
"Do you believe in God, the father almighty?"
"Eh, not really." She frowned, flicking her son harder. Roger smirked and glanced over at Mark who wasn't responding to the promises, but to Roger's commentary.
"Do you believe in Jesus Christ?"
"Nah," he muttered again. Mrs. Davis gave up with the flicking. Roger's head was too thick to get through to.
"Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?"
"If I don't believe in the other two…"
"Enough, Roger," Mrs. Davis whispered harshly. Mark had to look away before he burst out laughing. Then the priest began walking up and down the aisle with holy water. Mrs. Davis leaned down and whispered in Mark's ear. "Make sure the holy water doesn't touch Roger. It might burn his skin." He giggled, but luckily the priest was re-dipping the brush in the water while he passed their pew, wetting no one.
Before communion, Roger and Mark paid close attention to the screaming twins in front of them. One of the escaped from his mother's grasp and darted into the aisle. He crawled up the aisle before the young woman snatched him up and carried him to the back of the church.
Mark was pretty sure he wasn't supposed to get a processed Jesus cracker because he wasn't Catholic, but Roger told him to anyway.
"Tell me if you think they taste like cardboard," he said. "Oh, and when you get it, say Amen."
They walked up to the priest and Mark received the little round cracker in his hands. He muttered an Amen as Roger instructed and shoved the host into his mouth. Just as Roger said, there was a lady singing very badly on the end pew. Mark chose to walk by her as began swallowing. His laughter turned into coughing as he choked, finally getting the processed Jesus cracker down. He didn't feel as stupid when he heard Roger gagging behind him.
"Serves you right," Mrs. Davis flicked them both on the back head as they sat back down. "It's rather sad that an eight year old behaves better at Mass than two sixteen year olds."
Mark and Roger giggled again. And in a few minutes, Mark's first experience in a Catholic church at Mass was over. But not before the sing-along at the end.
"If any of you know the words, please sing along," the leader of the really bad choir said.
To Mark's surprise, not only did Roger know the words, but the dance motions.
For Easter dinner, it was just Roger, Mark, Sammy, Mrs. Davis, and Roger's grandmother. Grandma McFadden (she was Mrs. Davis' mother) was going senile and thought that Mark was also her grandson. He called her grandma just like Roger and Sammy did. She called him Marcus. He hated when people called him that. It wasn't even his name. Mark. Just Mark.
"Marcus, why aren't you eating the ham? You're mother slaved over the hot oven all day to make you ham and you're not eating it. Why?"
Ignoring Roger who was trying not to laugh maniacally, he tried to think of a reply. He couldn't come out and say "I'm Jewish and ham isn't kosher" because she thought he was Roger's brother. "Uhh…"
"Mom," Mrs. Davis said, "Mark has an allergic reaction to ham. We don't want him getting sick."
He smiled and mouthed another thank you towards his best friend's mother.
"Grandma, I'm eating the ham," Roger said loudly, shoving a forkful into his mouth. Ham was his favorite part of Easter. Even better than the free chocolate, he had said earlier when he was trying to persuade Mark into trying it. Mark had declined, saying that he wasn't fasting and he had eaten a bagel that morning; he didn't want to break anymore Passover rules.
Mark was staying the night again. The boys curled up on the floor in Roger's room, Mark against Roger's chest.
"For being a pretty fucked up holiday with the bunny and all, Easter's kind of cool."
"Your holidays are better," Roger replied.
"Oh please. You have an eight day long Christmas."
"Christmas and Hanukkah are totally different," Mark said.
"Okay, religiously, yes they're different. But present-wise, yours is a week longer."
"They're different present-wise too," Mark argued.
"My presents come from parents and family members, not a scary fat man in a red suit that breaks into your chimney. That's scarier than the Easter Bunny."
"My presents are from my mom too. Santa isn't real."
"…what?" Sammy was standing in the doorway, there to give the boys a good night hug and kiss.
Roger's eyes widened. "Uh…"
Mark rolled over to stifle his giggling about the mess Roger had gotten himself into.
"Santa… isn't… real?" She was near tears.
"Aw, no Sammy, I was just kidding. Of course Santa's real!" he got up to give his sister a hug. "I was just playing a joke on Mark. Look see, he's laughing because it was a funny joke."
Sammy believed it, wiping her tears away. "That was really mean joke, Roger." She crossed her arms and glared.
"I'm sorry," Roger wrapped her in his arms. "How 'bout I tuck you in now?" He whisked his sister away and took her to her own room.
Roger returned to his room and cuddled against Mark. "That was close. I really need to learn how to shut my big mouth."
"But your big mouth is so entertaining," Mark smiled. "How else would you keep me amused?"
"Like this." Roger leaned in, taking Mark's mouth into a deep kiss.
"Mm," Mark said, snuggling closer with a smirk on his face. "That still involved your big mouth."
"Damn," he replied. "I guess I just won't shut it around you."
"I'm okay with that."
"Good," Roger said, closing his eyes, "because you're going to hear my big mouth for the rest of forever."
"The rest of forever?"
"Yep. Because that's how long we're going to stay best friends."