“Ha! Told you’d I’d win.” Virgil said playing his last card.
“Whatever man.” Richie said, a disgruntled look on his face.
“Boys!” Mr Hawkin’s voice said from downstairs.
“Get ready for bed. Get your showers and brush your teeth.”
“OK POPS!” Virgil yelled back down.
He looked back to Richie and challenged. “Race you to the bathroom.”
“You’re on!” Richie squealed chasing after Virgil.
Virgil got to the first, mostly because of his lead.
“Ha!” Virgil says as he shuts the door in Richie’s face.
“‘Ha!’ nothing. You cheated.” Richie laughed, not really caring if Virgil got first shower or not.
Richie walks back down the hall when he notices Sharon’s door is open.
Sharon was laying on her bed math book in one hand and pencil in the other grumbling.
“Stupid Math. Who needs this garbage anyway? When am I ever going to actually use Trigonometry?”
She slammed her book shut and saw Richie at her door.
“What are you doing at my door you lil’ geek?”
“I-I-I uhh, nothing.” Richie stammered before turning around to reverse his action.
“Actually, can I ask you something?”
“Oh God! Please don’t have a crush on me or something. Or anything about puberty. Please god no.” Sharon worried in her head.
“Why not ask Virgil or even our dad?”
“Virg won’t tell me and he said not to ask your pops.”
“Not ask daddy. Ugh. I don’t want to deal with this right now. Oh. but look at the little face.”
Sharon sighed and sat up on her bed.
“Sure what is it?” She patted the spot on her bed.
“Well - um, today Francis called me something and the other kids laughed and Virg got real mad. Like he almost hit Francis mad, and he probably would have if the principal didn’t show up, but don’t tell your dad about that. He’d be real mad at Virgil and I don’t want to get him into any trouble. And anyway, I don’t know what the word means and when I asked Virgil he got all angry again and told me not to worry about it and that I wasn’t but he seemed really upset by it and and and, Sharon- am I. Am I a faggot?”
“Is that what Francis called you?”
“Yeah. What does that mean Sharon?”
“It’s a bad word Richie. It’s used to call other people, homosexuals- you know-gay people.(She supplied because she could easily see he was confused by the word)
“ But it’s a bad way to say it. It’s a horrible world to say.”
“So, it’s kinda like when people call black people by the ‘n-word’?”
“It’s exactly like that.”
Richie waited a moment, letting this knowledge sink in before asking.
“But, I’m not gay. Am I?”
“I think, I think you and Virgil are a little young to be trying to figure out things like that. I mean, you two aren’t even at the age where you’re supposed to be liking girls. I wouldn’t worry about that for a while longer, ok. For now, just be a kid. Afterall, you are only 10.” She finished by ruffling his short hair.
“Kay.” Richie got off the bed and walked to the door.
“All you man. Virgil said, drying a towel on his head.
“Sharon. Thanks.” Richie said before going into the bathroom.
“What was that about? What was he thanking you for?”
“I gave him some advice. That’s all. Now here’s some for you, take your butt to bed before daddy finds out you took so long in the shower.” She told him shutting the door.