Lucy's cackle drifted down the stairs. The boys looked up from the game for just a moment. Linus looked casually over at Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown was frowning a bit.
"Think Heather just told a really good joke?" Linus asked.
"I'm not going to think about it." Charlie Brown said suddenly. He glared at the TV screen. He didn't care very much, but her knew if he thought too much on what was going on upstairs he wouldn't have the cognitive ability to punch the buttons on the controller.
The game continued for a while longer before more sounds from upstairs interrupted them.
"2ND GRADE?!" Heather yelled.
Charlie Brown dropped his controller and buried his head in his hands.
"Please tell me I didn't hear that?" Charlie Brown mumbled after a minute.
"Umm..." Linus wasn't sure what to say. There were probably a thousand different things that Heather and his sister could be discussing, even in regards to what they'd heard... But he knew exactly what was on Charlie Brown's mind. To be honest it seemed incredibly likely too.
Charlie Brown sighed and unburied his face. He picked up the controller again.
"I'm not going to think about it." He said with conviction.
"Do you think that-?" Linus started.
"Lucy and Heather have been friends for a while now. There's no reason for her to have told her that right at this very instant." Charlie Brown reasoned. "She could've told Heather that I liked her just as soon as they got to know each other for all I know. There wasn't any reason for her to keep it a secret." He pointed out.
"You didn't ask her to?" Linus asked.
"No." Charlie Brown answered. "But that probably wouldn't have stopped her even if I had."
Linus acknowledged that with a sort of hum. He found it perplexing that Charlie Brown acted as though his feelings were a deep dark secret, even seeming to dread Heather finding out, but didn't expect anyone else to keep it a secret for him. He didn't know what that meant.
"So..." Linus said in a musing tone of voice "What if she just now told her right this instant? I mean... if she could have told her at any time then isn't now just as good as any other time?" Linus asked.
Charlie Brown stared blankly at the screen in front of him.
"I'm not gonna think about it." He repeated.
They played the game until they got bored, which didn't take very long. Linus got bored quickly because Charlie Brown was so easy to beat, and Charlie Brown got bored because after a while it just wasn't any fun to lose time and time again. That took maybe an hour. So they decided to actually get started their homework instead.
Linus and Charlie Brown were sitting at the dining room table, perusing their math problems, when Lucy and Heather made an appearance. They looked up briefly from their respective textbooks as the two came tromping down the stairs.
Heather was carrying her backpack again, indicating that she was soon to depart, and Lucy wandered into the kitchen to get something to drink from the fridge. She spotted Linus and Charlie Brown and something seemed to dawn on her.
"Homework. I almost forgot. Hey Heather, wanna stay and collaborate on our English homework?" Lucy asked.
"Umm..." Heather hesitated. She was looking at Charlie Brown and blushing rather brightly. Charlie Brown, who had spotted her and had intended to glance her way just briefly like always, had locked eyes with her for the first time anyone could remember. His heart was so entirely filled with dread over her reaction to the news he was sure Lucy had given her, that it hadn't occurred to him to look away.
"Uhh... No thanks Lucy." Heather finally managed after a moment. "I should really be getting home." She said uncomfortably. She glanced between Lucy and Charlie Brown several times during this exchange. Fidgeting more and more every time she looked at Charlie Brown. She bid a hasty farewell and practically bolted out the front door.
Charlie Brown slumped in his chair and put his pencil down. He'd never seen Heather react that way before. It was just a bad as he thought. After all this time she finally knew how he felt... and she was so embarrassed and disgusted that she couldn't even look at him.
Charlie Brown knew that he shouldn't be surprised. But it still hurt.