“I have no idea,” Antonio said. “Like, we went from not having friends to having Richie hanging with us everywhere we go.”
“He’s pretty cool,” Diego said. “Strange, but cool. You remember how he was at the stadium?”
“Dude, he went from this awkward kind of kid to this loud fan all of a sudden.” Antonio replied. “I didn’t think he’d even like soccer. Now, that’s all he talks about.”
“Still, I feel bad,” Diego said, “I think he really doesn’t have any friends besides us. I mean, did you see the way other kids were all about avoiding him?”
He keeps calling us Mexicans,” Antonio said. “I think he just doesn’t get the world. We need to help him. And I have a plan…”
Later that evening
“Hey, Richie. Yeah, it’s Diego. Hey, you wanna come over, hang out a bit? Yeah? Okay, then…. Oh, twenty minutes, huh? Well…. yeah, sure. Okay. Yeah, we’ll buzz you in.”
It only took Richie about 10 minutes to actually get to the penthouse mostly because he was already hanging around the fashion district shopping with his butler.
“I totally appreciate the invite, D. Like, I can’t believe I’m hanging out in your place. Wow, this is really awesome.” Richie said.
“Well, you’ve been so nice to me and Tony. You’re a cool friend,” Diego said.
“So, this place. It’s soooo huge. I mean, I think only 5 of these could fit in my parent’s mansion. That’s pretty big. And, like, you have this big kind of open space down here.” Richie said.
“We like to hang out down here. It’s where we all kind of chill,” Diego said. “Sometimes we’ll play a video game against Dad or Mom. Tony and I really like to beat each other.”
“That’s totally cool, D. My mom and dad mostly just sit around in the living room or the den reading the newspaper or books. They kind of just leave me alone.” Richie said.
Diego escorted Richie into the dining room where the two sat down. For Diego, it was quite noticeable that Antonio was missing. All this was Antonio’s idea, now he’s nowhere to be found. That was so Antonio.
“So, do you all do your homework together?” Richie asked.
“Right here. Though, sometimes Ana and Kiko sit over at the table by the pool window. They’re total nerds. Done their homework in like 5 minutes.” Diego said.
“Hey, can I see your room?” Richie asked as he stood up and started walking over towards the stairs.
Diego jumped up and, without actually agreeing, walked Richie upstairs to his room. Richie opened the door and looked around. They sat down on the couch inside the room.
“How classic TV home with your little kid pictures on the wall. But look at this room. So small, but it’s so… like a small house! You gotta a couch and a TV and a stereo. My room is sooo boring. It’s huge, though. I have my own bathroom, too. But, man, I’d really be happy to have a room like this. All I have is this really big bed and the butler wakes me up by opening the curtains in the morning. There’s no TV or radio in my room. I’m not allowed to have them. Dad keeps telling me that we spend more time together because of it, but…. Yeah, such a cool room, D!”
“Tony’s is just like it, but he likes blue so it’s all blue.”
“Red is better,” Richie said.
“It’s my place,” Diego said, “when my brothers and sisters get on my nerves, I come up here and turn on some music or watch a movie….”
“You’re the oldest, right?” Richie interrupted.
“Well, I’m 2 minutes older than Antonio. Ana is gonna start at Valley next year and Alejo a year after her.” Diego said. “Kiko and Carla are the youngest two. Carla is still a toddler.”
“Spanish families are always so big. I knew this kid, Benitez, back in middle school. He had 5 uncles, 5 aunts, a bajillion cousins, and like 7 brothers and sisters.” Richie said.
“Well, I guess because we’re Catholic. Birth control is a no no,” Diego said.
“Oh…. ooooooh!” Richie said.
“Anyway, what I wanted to talk to you about….” Diego started to say
“Hey, D, gotta jet. Told my parents I’d be home an hour ago. Don’t want them to send the helicopter after me again. Talk to you soon.!” And in a flash, just like at school, Richie was gone.
“I swear, that kid doesn’t listen,” Diego said. “And where the fuck is Tony?”