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figure my heart out.

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Sunday 10:35 am.

Richie.

It wasn’t like he planned waking up in the girls flat the morning after the night before, clothes thrown across the room from the heat of the moment scrambled undressing, and pounding headache indicating his slight overdose of whiskey, yet here he was. Richie grunted when the light seeping in through the white curtains temporarily blinded him, and he rolled over to stuff his face into the fluffy pillow, only to get a sudden whiff of perfume. He froze. His bed never smelt this good; this wasn’t his bed. He squeezed his eyes shut and groaned quietly once he felt a body shift beside him, a soft sigh coming from parted, smudged red lips. Richie reluctantly opened his eyes and grimaced, realising what he had done in his drunken haze. She was pretty, with long brown hair and dark eyelashes that were covered in slightly crusted mascara and blurred eyeliner. Still, very, very pretty. Not again, he thought, and slowly started to turn over and look around the unfamiliar bedroom. It was a light blue and white theme, the occasional splash of mustard yellow here and there to add a pop of colour. Her bed sheets were pooling at his hips, which thankfully were covered up by his neon orange ‘Frankie Say Relax’ boxers.

“Those are the ugliest things I have ever seen. You look like a fucking traffic cone.”

Richie smirked, his best friends words echoing through his head a few days prior. Anything neon turned Eddie away completely, yet he somehow managed to stay in Richie’s life when almost everything he owned and wore consisted of neon colours.

“I’d only look like a traffic cone when I’m lying on my back, ya see my dick is just as big as-“

Eddie had thrown an empty water bottle at his head to stop him from finishing the sentence, laughing the entire time. He always made Eddie laugh, thank god. The girl moved about slightly under the covers and Richie realised he needed to actually get up and leave fairly quickly if he wanted to avoid some sort of confrontation about the night before. The one thing he hated about hook ups was the awkward tension in the air when they both woke up and just remembered everything that had happened. Or, in some cases, completely forgotten what had happened. Richie never forgot, though, which seemed more like a curse than a blessing. Being able to remember the drunken kisses, the messy fumbling and the noises…he hated it, actually. It reminded him of why he even started going home with women in the first place. Repressing how he really felt.

“Hmm.” The girl sighed softly next to him, and Richie felt her hand slither up his arm as if to pull him closer to her, and he flinched away before she could graze her long, blue nails across his skin. He wasn’t about to cuddle some girl he’d forget about next week, so he sat up in her bed and scooted towards the edge, where her dresser was. Planting his feet on the floor, he felt the rough denim of his skinny jeans, and he huffed as he hastily stood up and yanked them up his gangly legs, having to jump slightly in order to get them high enough on his boney hips.

He had always been skinny, skinnier than his mother and grandmother - god rest her soul - had liked, and every thanksgiving and christmas consisted of him having double the amount of food on his plate than anyone else. His cousins, all eight of them, would laugh at him trying to shovel the food into his mouth, looking ‘horrendously unattractive’. His mother’s words, no one else’s.

He thought about his cousins for a brief moment, his aunts and uncles, his grandparents who were all living in and around Detroit, where he had been born. His mother and father, his little sister and his dog, were all the way back in Derry. And he smiled. He’d visit soon, he said to himself. Maybe even bring Bev with him. Or Eddie. His Mom always loved Eddie.

“He’s a sweet boy. Always says his please’s and thank you’s. And he still wears polo shirts, just so sweet.”

The girl had stopped moving, thankfully, and Richie quickly threw on his shirt, that had been discarded across the girls desk and computer, before rummaging around under the duvet for his socks. Walking out into the hallway of her apartment proved to be pretty easy, seeing as she didn’t seem to have any roommates or pets whatsoever. A quick getaway, perfect. Richie tiptoed through the apartment, passing a couple of doors before reaching the kitchen and living area, the front door, along with his shoes that had been thrown haphazardly to the side of the sofa, just ahead of him.

Her living room was pristine, a large flat screen mounted on the wall with a shiny black coffee table and miniature vase of orange roses standing proudly on top beside some fashion magazines and a framed photo of a monochromatic quote that read: “Progress, not perfection.”

Richie gently ran a hand over the white leather couch, and dipped his fingers down to feel the soft fur of the black pillows neatly placed at the end near the arm, and he wondered what it would be like to afford pillows as decorative as these. He wasn’t exactly struggling, he lived with six other people so rent money wasn’t super high, but he never really had any money left over for himself after he helped with groceries, gas, electric, wifi, etc. He hadn’t bought himself a new shirt in almost eight months, and Stan honestly had no idea how he had survived so long with the small amount of outfits he had. But Richie managed with what he had, and he never complained.

He wasn’t like Stan or Beverly, where fashion seemed the number one priority. Or Mike, who could pull off overalls and cream sweaters like he was born to wear them. Nor could he walk around in only sweatpants like Ben could, showing off his abs that weren’t there and flexing whenever he reached for the Captain Crunch on the top shelf in the kitchen. And he definitely couldn’t be like Eddie, petite in frame and height but curvy in all the right places, where everything hugged him perfectly and he never had a hair out of place, or any wrinkles in his shirts.

He was a lot closer to Bill, in terms of appearance, meaning that the two of them were just in a constant state of mess and disarray. Bill was an artist, constantly covered in paints and pencil shavings and was never seen without a tiny sketchpad tucked into the back pocket of his jeans so he could draw something that caught his eye whenever he left the house. Richie had secretly flipped through it when Bill had been too busy sucking face with Beverly in the laundry room to notice him sneak into his art studio, which was just the smallest room in the house - “It’s literally an extra closet.” Stan had scoffed when Bill had begun moving his stool and canvases inside. “I could use those for my suits, you know.” - and he had seen hundreds of tiny sketches of birds, flowers, kids on the swings, dogs with their owners, butterflies, the gates leading to their apartment building, the coffee shop Eddie went every single morning in order to function. Everything. And Richie had never told Bill he almost cried at the portraits he had drawn of his roommates; each one on a separate page with their name and a quote that seemed to perfectly describe their character.

“Every human has four endowments - self awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change.” That had been Richie’s, and he thought about it every day.

He let his fingers move away from the pillow and he ran a hand through his messy hair, wondering how he would make it to coffee with Eddie in time. Glancing at the clock, he could see he had about twenty minutes to get there before Eddie would be calling him on his phone. Richie froze. His phone. He smacked his back pockets, only to curse under his breath when he felt nothing, and he spun around to face the bedroom once again.

“Oh shit balls.” He muttered, and hurried back to the door, almost slipping on the wooden floor. He opened the bedroom door slowly and swallowed as he realised the girl had changed positions in bed, now much closer to where he had previously been laying. His eyes skimmed over her sleeping form before landing on the nightstand, instantly noticing his phone with it’s cracked up screen and frayed case. Richie took another look at the girl before quietly creeping over to grab it, and he had his hands wrapped around the phone, this close to escaping, when he caught sight of her sitting up in the corner of his eye. He instantly froze in place and stared as the girl sat up and rubbed her eyes before realizing the boy stood in front of her.

“Oh, you’re up already?” She frowned a little and Richie swallowed. “Why, uh…wouldn’t I be?” He asked.

“I thought you might have stayed in bed for longer, you know, because you drank so much.” She chuckled, clearly a little nervous, and Richie instantly wanted to leave. He never liked having conversations with girls after a night out, he really didn’t. It’s not that he didn’t want to talk to them, it’s just that he had no idea how to talk to them. How do you casually say ‘Oh hey! Thanks for last night, and for letting me sleep in your bed after we, ya know, stumbled into your apartment at 4am and nearly fell over in your hallway. Catch ya later?’

“Well, I don’t really feel that hungover, so…” Richie trailed off and the girl actually looked a little upset. “I was just getting my phone before I…head out.”

“You’re leaving?” The girl sat up further and even pulled the duvet down so the rest of her body was exposed. She was wearing a long baseball shirt and her underwear, and Richie could see her long, tan legs curled up underneath her, and he really wished he could be turned on by it, but all he wanted was coffee, and maybe a mcdonalds breakfast. “I thought maybe we could…chat.”

“Chat?” Richie stuffed his phone into his back pocket and stepped slightly to the right; subtly making his way to the bedroom door.

The girl bit her lip. “Yeah, we didn’t really get to chat much last night.” Oh. “Why don’t you just come back to bed, Rick?”

“It’s Rich. Richard, actually, if you wanted the full birth name. Or Richie, depending on how well you know me.” He babbled and the girl just giggled in response.

“Maybe I would have known it already if I had been screaming it last ni-” His eyes widened.

“Okay! I really gotta go, like right now.” Richie hurried and quickly scurried out the door, hearing the girl making her way out of bed and rush after him. “Wait! Where are you going?!”

“I have an appointment!” Richie called back, skidding into the living room and throwing his shoes on as fast as he could just as the girl appeared in front of him, looking angry and folding her arms over her chest. He felt his heart beat in his throat, and wondered if he was actually going to make it out of this apartment or if this girl was about to chain him to the radiator.

“Can’t I at least get your number?” She spat, and Richie tried to smile, but it probably looked a lot more like a terrified grimace.

“I don’t know it.”

“You have your phone, just check it in there.” She glared, and he felt the need to cause some sort of cartoon like distraction and make a break out the window. Then he remembered they were three stories up, and he scrapped that idea instantly.

“Okay look, I’m not even strai-”

“Meg? Who the fuck is this guy?” Richie whipped his head towards one of the doors in the hallway and his heart dropped at the sight of a tall dude, probably around 6’4, with a buzzcut, muscles the size of his head, and the meanest stare Richie had ever seen in his life. The guy was wearing sweatpants and a greying wife beater, and he looked just about to ready to beat his skinny ass into a pulp.

“Oh, Daddy!” Meg squeaked, and Richie almost snorted. Damn Beverly and her obsession with torturing everyone in the house with that kink. She didn’t even find it sexy, she just got off on the disgusted groans from Mike and Ben and Eddie’s literal gag reflex appearing whenever she said ‘Can you pass the salt, Daddy?’ or ‘Can we watch this movie instead, Daddy?’. It drove everyone nuts, but right now, it just made Richie want to curl up and die.

“Daddy?” He repeated and the man almost growled. “What the hell do you think you’re doing with my daughter? In my goddamn house?!.” The man’s eyes narrowed and Richie could almost picture the Kill Bill music.

“Oh no, it’s okay! Daddy, this is-” The girl, or Meg, tried to explain but her Father was having none of it, and stormed towards Richie with fire in his eyes and his fists clenched.

“You have about five seconds to get out of here before I throw you out!” The man said and Richie raised his hands in defense.

“Woah, hey now!” He laughed nervously and the man stopped short beside his daughter. “I was just leaving, man. No need to get physical.” Richie gulped, and took a risk that he would instantly regret. “And besides, it’s not like we fucked or anything.” The entire room went silent.

“You little shit!” The man roared, and Richie yelped as he grabbed a baseball bat that had apparently been leaning against the kitchen counter. Richie had zero time to think about why before the man was swinging it up and over his shoulder. “Don’t you touch my little girl!”

“Daddy, no!” Meg cried and Richie ducked just as the man swung for him.

“Yo, I didn’t do anything!” Richie shouted as he yanked the front door open and threw himself out into the hallway, turning his head left and right before he saw the elevator sign and sprinted towards it. The man was hot on his heels already, and Richie realised he was going to really have to put all those years of track in eighth grade to good use. The elevator was only a few seconds away, and Richie threw himself inside, pressing against the farthest wall and kicking the button that said ‘ground floor’, and watched in horror as the girl’s Dad rushed at him like an angry bull with his daughter - now with some actual pants on - screamed at him to stop, to not hurt ‘the boy I want to date’. Richie almost rolled his eyes.

“Come back here, asshole!” The man yelled and Richie let out a long breath just as the doors managed to slide shut before he could reach him. He slumped against the wall and then felt his phone in his back pocket. He pulled it out and instantly went to his contacts after unlocking it, scrolling down to the only name he knew to call. He pressed the receiver to his ear once it began to ring, and then cursed into the phone when the voice recording appeared.

“Hey, you’ve reached Eddie Kaspbrak. Sorry I can’t take your call right now, I’m probably busy with school. But just leave your name and number and I’ll try my best to get back to you as soon as I can!”

“Fuck, Eds!” Richie panted down the line as the elevator doors opened onto the ground floor, leading out into the lobby of the apartment complex. Richie hurried out and towards the sliding doors that showed the outside world. Freedom. “Ya gotta help me, okay? Some crazy dude just came after me with a baseball bat because he thinks I fucked his daughter and I-”

“Hey, you!” Richie turned to see the man running down the staircase beside the elevator, still wielding his weapon, and Richie hung up before shoving his phone into his pocket and running as fast as he could out of the sliding doors and onto the streets of New York. He was never drinking again.


Sunday 10:52 am.

Eddie.

Eddie Kaspbrak hated being late more than anything else. If he was late, his entire daily schedule was thrown off, and that just couldn’t happen. It would ruin his mood entirely and all he would want to do is turn back time and start all over again so his anxiety wouldn’t spike. But until the world was that technologically advanced, he would have to settle with setting countless alarms to make sure he was on time.

So, when he and Richie had agreed to meet for coffee as they usually did every Sunday morning, he arrived at the coffee shop exactly 3 minutes early.

Every. Single. Time.

His roommates dreaded the sound of Eddie’s five alarms going off in the morning. One at 8:30am to make sure he woke up, another at 8:35 to make sure he was in the shower by then, another one at 8:50 to make sure he was dressed, clean and downstairs eating breakfast, and a final one at 8:55 to remind him to already be out the door and walking down the driveway to his car. Bill had suggested one morning, as he was startled at the kitchen table when Eddie’s breakfast alarm went off, to just keep track of the time instead of constantly setting alarms. Eddie had actually laughed in his face.

“This helps motivate me to get ready on time, Bill.” He pointed out as he quickly ate his breakfast; a banana and a glass of ice water. “Without them I’d be just as late to everything as Richie always it.” As he said that, he had no idea Richie had been eyeing the way his lips wrapped around the banana and he never would, unless Stan gave it away with the subtle smirk and nudge under the table.

So Eddie kept the alarms, and the others just learnt to live with them. And because of his alarms, he was able to get to the coffee shop on time, and ready to catch up with Richie after his ‘wild night on the town’. Apparently he, Ben, Beverly and Bill all went to some bar that Saturday night and only the ‘Three B’s’, as Richie and Mike call them, came home; Eddie only knows this because even though he had been wearing headphones he still managed to hear Bill and Bev and Ben going at it like rabbits in the room above him. He would have had Richie come into his room and face plant onto the bed before passing out if he had come home with them, but he never even received a text. Eddie had sighed, turned his music up louder, and fallen asleep.

He hated Richie’s hook ups with a burning passion, and wanted everyone to know that. He thought it was dangerous to sleep around and to go home with random women when he was intoxicated, and was more than happy to tell Stan and Bill that the next morning, angrily eating his banana and ranting to them with a high pitched voice that wasn’t helping Bill’s hangover at all.

“And another thing! He sometimes brings these girls home with him too! Like, imagine if I brought a random guy home, wouldn’t you guys hate that?!”

“Seeing as you have a boyfriend, yes, because that would class as cheating and we don’t accept that type of sin here.” Stan said blandly, handing Bill an aspirin and turning the page of his newspaper. Eddie went a little red. He had briefly forgotten about his own boyfriend. How nice of him.

“Yes, well…I meant hypothetically. Of course I wouldn’t cheat on Chris.” He said in a rush and Stan merely glanced up at him.

“Was there a point to this?” He asked and Eddie just got angry all over again.

“Of course! Richie needs to stop being such a-”

“Duh-duh-don’t slut shame. Even Richie.” Bill said quickly, holding his head in his hands. Eddie rolled his eyes.

“I wasn’t going to slut shame anyone.”

“You called the last girl Richie brought home a ‘cheap manhattan prostitute; because she was wearing a mini skirt and hoop earrings.” Stan reminded him.

“Yeah but-”

“But nothing. Eat your banana and tell Richie how annoyed you are about his private business. Let Bill sit here without getting a migraine, otherwise he’ll combust and I don’t want to clean the kitchen again.”

“Fuck you.” Bill groaned into his hands.

“I bet you wish you could.”

Eddie stirred his coffee around with his spoon and checked the time. 10:55. Richie should be here by now, he thought to himself, and glanced around the coffee shop. It was nice in here, peaceful. Which was difficult to say in a place like New York, where nothing was peaceful. It was filled with cars and lights and sounds and people and it was very rare to find peace and quiet in a city like that. But this coffee shop was the one place Eddie could go and relax for a few hours, maybe get some college work done, and talk to his friends.

But so far, without any of his friends here, he felt oddly lonely. Eddie sighed and checked his phone, frowning at the realisation he had missed a call from Richie himself only minutes ago. He must have been driving when he called, and Eddie felt a slight twinge of guilt. He hated missing Richie’s calls, he always put on those dumb voices and complain about something he read on twitter, and Eddie loved hearing all of it; not that he would ever tell him that, though. Richie didn’t need his ego boosted even further.

Eddie pressed the call button on his phone to ring Richie, and was surprised to barely hear it ring twice before his roommate picked up. “Hey, Rich! Sorry, I was driving before so I didn’t catch you. Where are you?”

“I’m - fuck - I’m right round the corner!” Richie’s breath was coming out in jagged puffs and Eddie frowned.

“What are…are you running, right now?”

Richie panted down the other line. “Uh, maybe?”

“You either are or you aren’t.”

“I’m sprinting, actually. Not running. Just trying to - jesus, get out of the way lady, can’t you see I’m in a hurry?! - just trying to get my daily exercise in!”

Eddie scoffed, sipping his coffee. “I haven’t seen you exercise in months, Richie.”

“Call it my new New Year’s resolution, then.”

“It’s June.”

“Stop being logical!” Richie snapped and Eddie snorted, setting his coffee down before he ended up spilling it all over himself because of Richie. “Look, I’ll be at the coffee house in a minute okay? I just-”

“Come the fuck back here asshole!” Eddie sat up at the sound of an angry man’s voice coming down the line. He sounded not too far away and Eddie’s mind flared to red alert.

“Who was that?” He asked.

“Uh…a homeless man asking for change that I don’t have?”

“Richie!”

“I can explain in exactly fifteen seconds, just hang up!”

“What do you-” Before he could finish his sentence, Richie had been the one to hang up instead, leaving him confused and frankly startled at what he had just heard. “The fuck?” He muttered, setting his phone down and leaning back in his seat. Then, without realising, he started counting down from fifteen in his head, just like Richie had said. When there was only five seconds remaining, he heard commotion outside, and he turned to see Richie hurtling round the corner towards the coffee shop door, red in the face and clothes a mess, and Eddie stood up in shock as his best friend burst through the door and skidded to a halt. Luckily, the place wasn’t very busy this early, and only a handful of people stared at him in shock when he bent down to rest his hands on his knees, trying to catch his breath.

“Hey Eds.” Richie said with a smile as he slowly made his way over to the table once he seemed to calm down, pulling up a chair and collapsing into it. Eddie just stared down at him, still standing, and let his mouth fall open. “You wanna sit?”

“What the fuck was that?!” He exclaimed, catching a few customers attention with the curse word. Richie wiped at his forehead and licked his lips that had managed to dry up on his little run.

“Oh, ya know, just ran away from some girl’s insane Dad because he thought I slept with her last night.” Eddie stilled. “So, pretty much just a usual Sunday for me.”

“You hooked up with a girl last night?” Eddie’s voice was small, and Richie felt his heart leap when he realised that Eddie almost sounded hurt by that thought. He knew his friend didn’t approve of him going home with girls but…was he really that sad over it?

“Not exactly, she passed out before we could do anything so, being the absolute gentleman that I am, passed out next to her. Now come on, sit down or your coffee is gonna go cold.” Eddie blinked at him, and then slowly did as he asked, returning to his seat and picking up his coffee.

“So, what exactly happened last night, anyway?” He asked slowly, hoping what he heard wasn’t too terrible. Because he had heard some stories in the past that set him on edge. That’s why he rarely got drunk, or even went to bars with the others. It just wasn’t for him.

“Not much, just way too many fireball shots.” Richie laughed, ruffling his hair with his hands and making it even messier than before; if that was even possible. “How did the Three B’s get home?”

“Taxi, I think. They’re fine, except Bill. Hangover.”

“Thought as much, he’s always been a pussy.”

“Richie!” Eddie smacked his arm and Richie just burst out laughing.

“Oh come on, I’m kidding! Bill is a good drinker, he just regrets it every damn time.” Eddie scoffed at him.

“You would regret it too if you managed to get hangovers like a normal person.” Richie looked at him for a moment before shrugging.

“I don’t regret anything.” He lied, and Eddie looked away. As he sipped his coffee, Richie watched him with sad eyes until he turned back, and suddenly he was all smiles again, as if the words he had just spoken weren’t the biggest load of bullshit he had ever muttered in his life. And he was notorious for spouting bullshit.

Because Richie Tozier regretted one major thing in his life, and there wasn’t a day that went by that he wanted to tell Eddie the truth. But for now, and whilst Eddie had the boyfriend that he did, his mouth was sewn shut.

For now.

Chapter Text

Friday 8:08pm.

Eddie.

When Eddie decided to lose his virginity when he was nineteen, he thought it was going to get better. Chris had told him that he wasn’t a virgin and that he had only slept with girls, but he was more than eager to explore the other side of his bisexuality with Eddie; the boy he loved. But then they kept having sex, and Eddie kept wondering when it was going to start actually feeling good. Sure, he could cum if he jerked himself off at the same time, or if Chris used his mouth on him, but that was a rarity in itself.

Fuck baby, you’re so damn tight!” Chris grunted from behind him and Eddie had to physically resist the urge to roll his eyes. Why his boyfriend spoke to him like they were in some sort of porn film was beyond him, but he knew Chris liked the whole ’dirty talk’ thing, so he let it slide as he got fucked a little slower than he would have liked, and nowhere near as hard as he could take it.

”Ugh, shit, I’m gonna cum soon, Eddie.” Chris growled and slapped his ass, completely taking Eddie by surprise. He almost turned around to glare at him, wanting to remind him that no matter how many times Chris spanked him during sex, it did absolutely nothing for him. It just fucking hurt, to be honest. He’s more than happy for someone to grab his ass; Eddie has always been aware of his figure and how much guys liked it. But making it red and sting? It really wasn’t for him.

”Yes! Keep doing that, baby!” Eddie nearly snorted. He literally wasn’t doing anything except staying still on his hands and knees as Chris fucked into him. He wasn’t even moaning. If Chris did manage to hit that sweet spot inside him, it was only once and even then it was never enough, and Eddie was honestly considering doing what Beverly had suggested and buying a dildo. Maybe he’d actually find out what a prostate orgasm felt like.

”Fuck, I’m so, so close!” His boyfriend’s voice echoed throughout the bedroom and Eddie cringed, knowing Richie was just on the other side of the wall in his own bedroom.

Oh. Eddie’s eyes widened when heat instantly pooled in his stomach. That did something. His mouth fell open slightly as he stared forward at the wall that Richie’s bed was pushed up against, and imagined Richie sitting there reading a comic, or listening to music, or maybe watching something on Netflix, or jerking off-

Eddie squeaked when Chris spanked him again. He should not be thinking about his best friend getting himself off. But…it was starting to get him off. He swallowed and closed his eyes, picturing Richie lying on his bed, legs spread wide and cock in his fist, pumping up and down with a rhythm that had clearly been practised for years; he was probably a fucking masturbation expert by now.

He imagined Richie’s eyes squeezed shut, and his jagged breathing coming out of his wet, parted lips, and Eddie bit his lip. Before he realised what he was doing, he moved his hands up to the wall so he could press against it, and it made him feel a little closer to Richie, even if they were separated by their rooms.

Eddie wondered what he sounded like in bed, and the heat intensified even further, making his thighs shake. I bet he’s loud, he thought to himself, god I bet he’s so loud that he can barely control himself. He’d be biting into my shoulder or trying to kiss me to keep the noise down-

”Oh, fuck me!” Eddie moaned, and Chris actually stopped moving at his outburst. Eddie whipped his head round and glared at him, making his boyfriend gulp in shock. ”Keep going!” Chris automatically started pumping into him, but all Eddie could feel was Richie. Richie’s big hands grabbing onto his hips, Richie’s voice echoing through the room and crying out his name, Richie’s chest pressing up against his back and rutting into him with such desperation that it made Eddie want to cry.

”Ri-” He started to moan but Chris’s shout as he came muffled his voice and Eddie quickly fisted his cock so he could finally cum too, Richie’s face on his mind as he collapsed onto the mattress. He felt Chris pull out and fall beside him, panting like a dog.

”Holy shit…that was the best sex we’ve had yet.” His boyfriend choked out.

Eddie closed his eyes, and saw deep brown eyes staring back, curly dark hair falling over his sweaty forehead, and a gentle whisper of ”Eddie” on his lips.

He swallowed, guilt flooding his system. ”Yeah, it really was.”

***

11:30.

Beverly.

Richie was staring again, and all Beverly could do was watch him stare. She was sat at a table with him, Ben, Bill and Stan; Mike and Eddie both on the dancefloor and jumping up and down to the beat of ’Rose Coloured-Boy’.

Beverly caught Richie staring at Eddie about half an hour ago, sipping his beer and watching him with such sad, soft eyes, and she felt her heart twinge in pain.

He had drunkenly told her he loved Eddie last Christmas; a double whiskey neat in his hand and tears in his bloodshot eyes. He had hidden himself upstairs in the attic room of the house, which belonged to Bill, Ben, and Beverly, and was sat against the bedpost when she found him. He looked terrible, and he had been quiet all night, which was very unlike Richie. And Bev knew just as well as Stan did that when Richie was quiet was when he was hiding something that was about to bubble over the surface if he wasn’t careful.

”Rich? What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Bev had whispered softly once she shut the bedroom door and hurried to his side, his entire body shaking and raspy breaths coming out of his lips. Beverly tentatively sat down beside him as he spoke, crossing her legs and nodding every so often as Richie told her everything he had been holding in.

”I’ve n-n-never felt this way about another person, Bev.” Richie sobbed, about to down the rest of his whiskey. But Bev was quick, and a lot more aware than he was, and grabbed it before he could even put the glass to his lips.

”No more of that, okay?” She said softly. Richie just gave up and allowed her to put the glass to one side. Beverly always knew best, anyway. ”So, I’m guessing you’ve never told him?”

Richie laughed without an humour in it. ”He has a boyfriend. It would ruin everything.”

”Nothing you could ever say to him would ruin your friendship, Richie,” Bev said, resting a hand on his back and rubbing it affectionately. ”You’re his best friend, and he loves you so much.” She saw him wince and regretted her choice of words. ”I mean-”

”No, it’s okay. I know what you meant. And I know he does,” Richie nodded slowly and ran a hand through his hair. ”I just….fuck, I wish things were different. I wish I had told him that I-” He paused, and Beverly frowned at him.

”That you what, honey?” Richie glanced at her, and she could tell he was weighing up the option in his head, whether he really wanted to tell her this piece of information or not, but he seemed to decide against it and smile sadly.

”It doesn’t matter anymore,” He looked straight ahead with a blank stare. ”Chris got there first.”

She replayed the entire interaction in her head when she watched him in the club and sighed. Maybe he’d tell her what he meant eventually, but for now, she didn’t want to bring it up. All she wanted to do was enjoy a night with her boyfriends and get smashed, and so far she was very sober and the boys were on their phones. She rolled her eyes and pressed her body into Bill, finally earning his attention.

”Bill, baby?” She spoke into his ear against the thumping music. ”Can we go dance?” Bill grinned down at her and kissed her forehead.

”Of course, what about Buh-Buh-Ben?” He stammered, blaming it on the alcohol this time. Bev turned to her other lover, and poked him gently with her finger.

”You coming for a dance?” She shouted, and Ben glanced at Stan and Richie, seeing both of them staring off at the dancefloor, and then nodded at her.

”Yeah, come on.” He held both his hands out for Bev and Bill to take and the three stood up. Bev let the boys go first, watching them start to bob their heads to the beat and join Mike and Eddie, before turning to Richie.

”Try and have fun, okay love?” She whispered into his ear, making him jump a little in shock. She kissed his cheek lovingly and then ruffled his messy curls before waving at Stan, earning a wink back.

Beverly trotted off to the dancefloor with a smile on her face just as ’Wild For The Night’ came on, Bill and Mike cheering and high fiving each other. She pressed her back to Ben and kissed his arm when he wrapped it around her shoulders, grinning at Eddie who was swinging his hips and running his hands through his hair as if he was born to dance.

Bev closed her eyes and let the music take over her. God, she loved her boys.

***

Tuesday 9:21 pm

Richie

“We should go on holiday.” Richie said, interrupting the movie and causing everyone to stare at him.

Stan glared at him from his left side. “Are you seriously interrupting Scott Pilgrim to talk about a holiday?” He asked angrily, earning a snort from Mike who was leaning his head on Stan’s lap. “He was just about to kiss Ramona for the first time.”

“They’re straight, why do you care?” Eddie asked from the floor where he was leaning against the couch with Richie’s legs thrown over his shoulders like the straps of a backpack. Richie had honestly barely been focusing on the film because Eddie would absentmindedly be stroking his thumb over his calve or fiddling with the end of his skinny jeans, and to be perfectly honest, it was distracting as hell.

“I like the film, okay.” Stan snapped, “They’re the only straight couple that matters anymore.”

“Jesus christ, is this an LGBTQ meeting?” Richie asked and Beverly snorted.

“You forgot the plus, jackass.” Stan bit back and Richie turned in his seat to look at him.

“Can I finish my damn point yet?” Stan merely shrugged. “Right, as I was trying to fuckin’ say, we should all go on holiday or something.” When no one said anything, Richie rolled his eyes. “Don’t look too excited.”

“I don’t think any of us have the muh-muh-money for that, Rich.” Bill pointed out from beside Eddie on the floor. “Plus, getting tuh-tuh-time off of work is a pain in my ass.”

“Ben’s a pain in your ass.” Stan muttered and Beverly almost spat her drink over poor Ben’s head.

“Can you not?!” Ben practically screeched and Stan smirked over at him. Richie was tempted to pat Stan’s back he was so proud of him.

Bill, ignoring the outburst, turned to look at Richie again. “But let’s say we c-could afford to go away, where would we even go?”

“I wanna go to Greece,” Eddie sighed dreamily, pressing his cheek onto Richie’s knee. “It’s so beautiful out there.”

“My pasty skin would be as red as a tomato out there, darlin’.” Richie said, ruffling his hair lovingly, earning a soft moan of protest from his friend.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Japan.” Mike spoke up.

“France is quiet, and they have beautiful art galleries.” Stan mumbled.

“Oh! What about England? I’ve always wanted to be a London tourist!” Bev grinned and Richie nodded at all of their suggestions.

“All of those sound tempting, boys and girls, but like Bill said, we probably can’t afford anywhere fancy schmancy.”

Everyone went quiet for a few moments, before Ben, who had been avoiding all eye contact with Stan and was resting his head on Beverly’s shoulder, suddenly perked up. “What about my Moms cabin?” They all frowned at him, trying to rack their brains for any sort of memory relating to said cabin. “None of us have ever been there,” Ben explained. “But she bought this cabin years ago, out in the forest? I’ve seem some pictures and it looks pretty sweet.”

“Does it have wifi?” Richie and Eddie asked at the same time and Ben smiled.

“Obviously. She wasn’t born in the dark ages.”

“The 70’s was the dark ages.” Stan grimaced. “God, why were flares ever a thing.” From his lap, Mike chuckled and pressed a hand into Stan’s curls, petting them affectionately.

“You’re so adorable.” Stan just blushed in return.

Richie made a face. “Love, gross.” Stan whipped his head to look at him and Richie actually flinched.

“Don’t be sour because you’re single.” He hissed and even though Richie’s heart twinged, and he could have sworn he felt Eddie squeeze the top of his thigh a little, he waved him off.

“Whatever. Back to the important topic of getting the fuck out of dodge.” Richie turned to face Ben. “How many bedrooms does this baby have, Benny?”

“Uh, three I think? Which would be perfect.” He paused and Beverly glanced at him koningly as he said: “As long as you and Eddie would be cool about sharing a bed?”

“Of course!” Richie reached down to hug Eddie tightly around the neck, burying his face into his hair. “I love spooning my little spaghetti monster!”

“Oh my GOD, get off!” Eddie giggled, swatting at Richie’s face but smiling the entire time he was basically being strangled. All of their friends shared a secret look, all thinking the exact same thing, before Richie eventually let go. “No, that would be fine, Ben.” Eddie quickly fixed his hair. “Even though the woods is a terrifying thought.”

“I don’t think it would be t-t-too bad.” Bill shrugged whilst intertwining his and Ben’s fingers. “Wide open space, fresh air, puh-puh-plenty of birds to look at for Stan.” Stan sat up at that, and Mike giggled. “And there’s lakes, right?”

“Oh yeah! There’s this huge lake not too far from the cabin that my uncle always used to fish in. I don’t think there is any fish in there now so we could totally go swimming every morning.” Ben explained, and everyone looked excited at that. Even Eddie, who was notorious for pointing out the dangers of jumping into a grimy lake, looked eager to go.

Beverly eagerly clapped her hands and kissed Ben’s cheek. “Let’s go there! Pretty please!” She begged the others and Richie swung an arm over her shoulder.

“Anything for you, my little red headed angel.” After that, Ben had been pestered by the others into calling his Mom and begging her to let him and his friends - who she knew were the most mischievous bunch of young adults on the planet - stay in her gorgeous, lakeside cabin for an entire weekend. Ben’s Mom, Arlene, at first had flat out refused, bringing up the time Richie and Bill had drunkenly broken her back garden chairs by standing on them and sword fighting with sticks; not wanting any of her furniture in the cabin to broken.

Seeing as that conversation had been on loud speaker, everyone had to hold in their laughter at the memory of Richie and Bill drunkenly swinging for each other, trying not to fall over, before Eddie had shoved Richie forward, resulting in both of them putting their feet through the seat of the chair Bill had been standing on, and then hurtling to the ground, almost knocking Richie’s front tooth out. Bill and Richie both agreed not to snitch on Eddie, as he was incredibly embarrassed when he woke up to hear Ben’s Mom screaming from the back porch, and took the fall for it instead.

Eddie had bought them both breakfast the next morning at Derry’s local diner to say thank you; quickly ignoring Richie’s comment at an ‘apology threesome’. Eddie never told anyone he jacked off to that thought in the shower later that night.

It ended up being Mike the one to persuade her in the end, with his kind voice and track record of being the only loser not to annoy or frustrate any of their parents. 

“I know we’ve made a mess of things in the past, Mrs Hanscom,” Mike had said, only to be quickly cut off with a soft laugh from the other line.

“Michael, I’ve told you hundreds of times, just call me Arlene!”

“Of course, Arlene.” Richie nudged Mike in the ribs with a wink, and they all stifled their own laughs. It was a pretty well known running joke that Arlene Hanscom seemed to adore Mike more than anyone, maybe even more than Stan adored him. She always seemed to smile a little brighter when she saw him, and Ben would tell them all when they were younger that should would ask when Mike was coming over to have dinner with them constantly. Richie and Bill instantly caught on and made constant jokes about it, wanting to embarrass Ben as much as they could. They were assholes, but it was purely out of love. “But as I was saying, I know we maybe haven’t been the best guests in your household, but I can promise you if you let us stay at the cabin we will be on our best behaviour for the whole weekend. I’ll make sure nothing gets broken, or damaged in anyway, and the alcohol will be to a minimum.” Everyone had to look away in fear of laughing then, even Mike. They all knew he was bullshitting; there was always alcohol with the losers.

There was a long silence on the other line, and everyone sat there with baited breath just waiting to hear the words “No, it’s not happening” but instead, Arlene Hanscom sighed and said: “Pass the phone back to Ben so I can go over arrangements, Michael.”

Richie nearly kicked Bill in the head he was so excited.

***

2:03 am

Eddie.

“No Chris, for fuck sake it’s a cabin in the woods not fucking Vegas! Why the fuck would I try and sleep with someone?!” Eddie’s voice echoed throughout the entire house, and everyone could hear him from inside their rooms. Richie, who was the closest to Eddie being right on the other side of his bedroom wall, was hearing every single word of his argument with Chris, and honestly wanted to pound on the wall and yell at him to shut up. But he didn’t want to yell at Eddie, oh no, he wanted to yell at his boyfriend. The idiot who had instantly accused Eddie of wanting to sneak off and party with his friends for a weekend instead of being with him.

Richie had no idea what Eddie saw in Chris. Ever since high school when they first got together after a party at Mike’s farm, Richie had to endure the constant kissing and cuddling and giggling from the two of them, and it made him want to throw up or at least tell them to get a room so he didn’t have to see it. And then one day they did get a room, and Eddie came running to him the very next afternoon telling him how he had finally lost his virginity and he was so, so happy.

Richie really had thrown up that night, but he blamed it on the fireball shots Bill dared him to take, not at the thought of Eddie lying underneath someone else.

“I’m so sick of this! Every time I go out without you I’m put on trial! It’s bullshit!” Eddie screamed and Richie groaned, shoving his face into the pillow and covering his ears. It didn’t really help, but it was all he could do for now until Eddie eventually hung up, which happened a lot sooner than he expected. “What, do you think I’m that obsessed with sex that I’m just gonna fuck whatever moves out there?! Screw you!” Richie heard silence for a brief moment before a loud bang sounded just above his head, making him grunt into the pillow in shock. 

He slowly lifted his head, looking up at the wall, and wondered what the hell had happened, before he heard soft sobs coming from Eddie’s room. And just like that, Richie’s heart broke. Again.

Eddie didn’t cry often, he was a lot tougher than people thought and managed to keep his feelings in check pretty easily, no matter the situation. But he was also prone to outbursts of emotion, whether it was happy or sad or anger or fear. He rarely showed it, but when he did, god did it scare him and everyone around him.

Richie could honestly say that within the twelve years of knowing Eddie Kaspbrak, that he had seen him at his very best and his very worst. The worst being when he left home at 18.

Sonia, his mother, wasn’t the nicest of women, and everyone knew that. She treated Eddie like a doll she never wanted to break; constantly smothering him with medicine and locking him in his room whenever he coughed or sneezed in fear or him catching some deadly disease from one of his friends. She especially disliked Richie and whenever he showed his grubby little face in her house she would make him shower, immediately, no matter what, and even scrubbed the bathroom once he was done.

Richie had always found it funny until the day Eddie ran to his house crying his eyes out, telling him she had been lying to him about his medication all these years.

“They’re fake!” He sobbed into Richie’s bare chest, entire body trembling and tears pouring from his eyes like waterfalls down his cheeks. “She made me think I was sick, she made me fucking believe it!”

All Richie could do was run fingers through his hair and hold him even tighter to his chest, never wanting to let go incase Eddie fell apart. He knew better than that, obviously. Eddie was the strongest out of all of them, and even Bill - their de facto leader for so many years - agreed with that. Eddie never showed signs of fear around anyone except for his mother, and it was only because she had managed to manipulate him into thinking she was the person he should always listen too, that she was the only person who truly loved him, the only person who could beat him down only to bring him back up.

In reality, Eddie had more than enough people to love and cherish him; his mother had just completely twisted his mind. And Richie had never hated a human being until that moment, and vowed never to let Eddie anywhere near her ever again. He vowed never to abandon Eddie when he cried about anything, and since they moved to New York with the others 3 years ago, he had stayed true to his word.

Which is why Richie didn’t even think about just going to sleep and letting Eddie let everything out on his own; never in a million years. He jumped off the bed and hurried to the door, throwing it open and then stopping in front of Eddie’s own door. He raised his fist to knock, then paused. How did you casually tell someone “Oh yeah, I heard you arguing with your piece of shit boyfriend who doesn’t deserve someone as beautiful and amazing as you, and I could hear you crying through the wall, want some company?”

He scoffed at himself. Christ, he really did overthink everything.

“Eds?” He called softly through the door, shoving his hand into his hoodie pocket instead of tapping it on the door. He could hear Eddie sniffling from the other side, and there was a pause before he heard footsteps pad across the room to the door. “Can I come in?” Richie asked, and he could tell that Eddie was standing on the other side, eyes red and raw, and debating whether to open the door or not.

Thankfully, he chose to let Richie in, just like he always did. Eddie looked up at him through wet eyelashes, and Richie didn’t waste any time in barrelling into him and wrapping his long arms around Eddie’s frame, squeezing him tight just as Eddie kicked the door shut and threw his own arms around him.

“What happened?” Richie whispered into Eddie’s neck. “I heard a bang.”

“Oh I…I threw my phone.” Eddie choked out, and Richie glanced over his shoulder to see his iPhone 7 lying face down on the floor.

“Damn thing almost gave me a heart attack.” Richie joked, rubbing encouraging circles into the base of Eddie’s spine. 

“I’m sorry.” Eddie sobbed into his hoodie. “I’m sorry I woke you.”

“It’s okay, you don’t need to apologise for that shithead making you upset.” Richie’s words were harsh, and he felt Eddie shudder in his embrace.

“Rich, he’s not-” Eddie pulled away, and Richie quickly cupped his face with his hands. Eddie’s breath hitched, and he felt his own hands run down Richie’s sides to rest at his hips. It was an intimate gesture for the two of them, but it still felt completely and utterly right. Like it was normal for them, and in some weird way, it was.

“Don’t make excuses for him.” Richie whispered, staring deeply into Eddie’s bright green eyes. God he could stare at them until he died, he thought to himself. “He doesn’t treat you with respect, Eds.”

“He’s just paranoid.” Eddie shrugged, glancing away. “He thinks I might…do something stupid.”

“What, like hook up with someone?” Richie scoffed and let go of Eddie’s face only to rest his hands on his shoulders. “You’re not a cheater, Eddie. You’ve never even cheated on a damn test before.” Eddie smiled at that, and it made Richie’s body ignite. “You deserve so much fuckin’ better.”

“Stop-”

Richie shook his head, pulling Eddie into him again and stroking his hair. “No, you stop. You deserve someone who trusts you, who doesn’t accuse you of shit you’d never fuckin’ do.” Richie felt tears in the corner of his eyes and he started internally begging his own body not to break down.

He needs you right now, you can cry later.

He felt Eddie smile into his chest, and Richie smiled too. “I like it when you’re sappy.” Eddie breathed. “You’re actually not so bad.”

Richie snorted and squeezed him a little tighter, causing him to grunt. “And you’re still a little shit even when you’re sad.” When they pulled away again Eddie was smiling up at him, and he would never have any idea how Richie would melt because of that damn smile. “You want me to stay?”

“Please.”

Eddie took hold of Richie’s hand and guided him to the bed, sitting on it before taking his socks off and throwing them into the hamper across the room. Richie hopped onto Eddie’s duvet and curled up near the wall, knowing Eddie preferred sleeping closer to the door. “That way, in case of a fire, I can get out first and save my own ass.” It had been that way since they were twelve, and thankfully Eddie had never changed.

“Come give me some snuggles.” Richie made grabby hands for his friend, and Eddie laughed at him, but turned his bedroom lamp off, sending the room into total darkness except for the moonlight seeping in from the window across from them. It was chilly outside, so both of them were wearing thick pyjamas, but nothing kept them warmer than each other. Eddie got under the covers and turned when Richie didn’t follow.

“You’ll get cold.” He whispered, as if they were at one of their old sleepovers and trying to stay quiet so Richie’s parents wouldn’t wake up and tell them to keep it down. Richie blinked at him before nodding and pulling the duvet up and over his body, snuggling into the warmth and sighing. When he opened his eyes again, brown met green, and something passed between the two of them. “Can you…” Eddie trailed off, clearly thinking over what he wanted to say.

Richie licked his drying lips. “You want me to spoon you?”

“No.” Eddie said a little too quickly, and both panicked internally. “No I…can you lie on me?” Richie wasn’t expecting that, and frowned slightly. “Like, rest your head on my chest?” Silence. “It feels nice.”

“Oh.” Richie breathed. At first, he wasn’t sure if he even could move after a request like that, but he then felt his body push him up in a sitting position, and gently rolling Eddie onto his back. Their was second where Richie was leaning over him, staring into his eyes, and he could have sworn Eddie glanced to look at his lips, but he pushed it away and scooted down the bed until he was aligned with Eddie’s side, and rested his cheek against Eddie’s collarbone, his curly hair just tickling his jawline. Richie bravely wrapped an arm around Eddie’s middle, hoping this wasn’t too far, but he suddenly felt Eddie’s hand rest over his elbow and he sighed in content.

Eddie was right, this did feel nice.

“You comfy?” Eddie asked into the darkness.

Richie smiled and closed his eyes. “Fuck yes. You’re warm as hell.” He curled into Eddie’s side and Eddie just let out a puff of air through his nose.

“Dork.” His voice was full of a fondness Richie wanted to hold onto forever, and he repeated the word over and over in his head until it hurt; until Eddie spoke again. “When I was younger, I used to dream about this knight in shining armour.” He began, resting his other hand over Richie’s shoulder. In his head, all Richie could think about was that in this position Eddie could play with his hair, and it tugged at his heart when all Eddie did instead was just rest his hand on his shoulder. But it was better than nothing, and Richie opened his eyes to stare out at nothing. “It’s not like I’m some damsel in distress, or anything,” Eddie explained “I just knew I’d never make it out of Derry, out of that house, all by myself. I needed to be with someone, to have someone by my side.”

“Like a sidekick?” Richie whispered. “Or a noble steed?” He felt Eddie tug him closer.

“Yeah. I guess. I would dream that he’d finally take me away from that god awful place.” Eddie hesitated. “From my mother.” Painful memories flashed through both of their minds at that moment, and they both shivered. “That he’d take me away to a paradise where I could do what I wanted to do, and be who I wanted to be. Somewhere I could be happy and free…with him.” Richie gulped as realisation dawned on him. That’s me, he screamed inside his head, you’re talking about me. It’s not Chris, it’s me. Please realise it’s me. “But…I don’t think that’s going to last, anymore.” Eddie finished.

Richie pressed his face into Eddie’s collar. “It will, Eds.” He promised.

“It’ll last forever.”

Chapter Text

Friday.

7:14 am.

Stanley.

Fingers were dancing over his cheek when he woke up, and he smiled as he slowly slipped away from his dream and back into reality. It had been a nice dream, much nicer than the ones he usually had, or the ones he thankfully couldn’t remember, but he wasn’t sad to be leaving it behind. Because for once, Stanley Uris could say reality was so much better than his dreams.

“You awake, my love?” Mike’s voice filtered into his ear like the melody of a love song, and Stan blinked his eyes open so he could see him. He looked beautiful no matter the time of day in Stan’s opinion, but if he had to pick any moment to say he looked ‘the most’ beautiful? It would be right now, in the morning sunlight, with a half asleep smile on his face, and pure adoration in his eyes.

“I am now.” Stan said, reaching up to stroke Mike’s cheek, sighing as he felt the smile grow under his touch. “How long have you been awake?”

“Not long.” Mike shrugged, looking over Stan’s golden curls to check the time. “I probably could have let you sleep in for longer but…” He paused, and ran his hand through Stan’s hair and down his neck. Somehow, Mike’s smile got brighter. “I really wanted you to wake up.”

Stan snorted and shoved at Mike’s chest a little, before cupping his hand over his boyfriend’s. “You’re the sappiest guy in the world, I swear.”

“You made me this way!” Mike teased, rolling further onto his side, and further onto Stan. “I was cold hearted before I fell in love with you.”

“Which is total bullshit, and you know it.” Stan kissed his nose and stared into his eyes. “Michael Hanlon, you’re the most loving man on earth. You don’t need to be with me to prove that.”

Mike frowned a little and rubbed his thumb over Stan’s jaw, feeling a fluttering in his stomach as Stan closed his eyes and pressed his cheek further into his touch, opening his eyes once again to reveal the bright blue that made Mike melt.

“You make me more loving.” He whispered. “You make me the best version of myself, you know that, right?” Stan felt his face flush under the praise.

“I…good.” He replied, brushing his fingertips over Mike’s broad shoulder. “You make me the best version of me, too. I…I like me much better when I’m with you.”

“Wow…” Mike breathed. “We’re both sappy bastards, aren’t we?” Stan snorted, and Mike buried his face into his neck as they laughed together in the sunlight.

“Don’t ruin the moment.” Stan scolded, cradling Mike to his chest and kissing his shoulder. Mike chuckled, and pressed his own kiss to Stan’s neck, feeling him shiver underneath him.

“Or am I about to make it even better?” He whispered, peppering kisses over the exposed skin.

Stan softly moaned , the feeling of Mike’s lips on his skin was ecstasy, and he wanted nothing more than to stay in bed all day with him. Touching him, tasting him, making him feel as good as he possibly could. So he pushed his leg out from underneath him and allowed Mike’s hips to fall in between his parted thighs. Mike smiled into his neck and even went as far as to bite down.

“I fit perfectly there, don’t I?” Stan almost came from that sentence alone.

He wrapped his legs around Mike’s waist and used all of his strength to role them both over so he was straddling him. Mike gasped a little in shock, and stared at Stan with wide eyes as his boyfriend smirked down at him, planting his hands on his firm chest, and leaned forward.

“I prefer being on top, you know that.” He teased, and lust filled every inch of Mike’s body. He pulled Stan down for a searing kiss, all while running his hands down his back and firmly cupping his ass, squeezing and kneading it with his giant hands and leaving Stan a quivering mess on top of him. “Mikey…” He whimpered, and rutted his already hard cock onto Mike’s. “I need it.”

“You need it?” Stan felt his hips being pushed forward and backwards by Mike, grinding their erections together and giving them the most perfect friction. Stan nodded and whined against his lover’s lips. All Mike had to do was push a finger down the back of Stan’s boxers…just feel him there…where he really, really needed him…

“GOOD MORNING LOSERS! TODAY’S THE DAY! GET YOUR ASSES OUT OF BED!” Richie’s voice broke the passionate silence and the two stilled mid make out, both turning and glaring at their bedroom door as Richie’s fist pounded on it. “Y'ALL BETTER STOP THE SHENANIGANS AND GET DRESSED!”

“I’m going to fucking kill him.” Stan hissed and Mike burst into a fit of laughter, holding his boyfriend close and ruffling his hair. Stan groaned and attempted to roll off Mike’s body to get ready for his shower, only to feel hands hold him close. Stan cocked his head as Mike looked up at him. “You heard the asshole, we have to get ready.”

“Or,” Mike said, his voice going back to the sultry tone it was moments ago. “We could be fashionably late?” Stan’s eyebrow quirked up at that.

“How late are we talking?”

“Well, how long does it take for you to cum twice?” Screw Richie, Stan thought as he allowed his boyfriend to drag his lips back down to meet his own, he can wait.


7:25 am.

Eddie.

“If you don’t eat your lucky charms quick enough they’ll get all soggy.” Ben said from across the kitchen, snapping Eddie out of his daydream. He, Ben and Beverly were the only ones actually out of bed - aside from Richie, who was still trying to drag Bill into the shower, and no one knew what had happened to Mike and Stan, but Eddie had heard moaning from their room as he walked past so he had a pretty accurate guess - and Bev had insisted that they all eat a full breakfast before leaving otherwise they’ll all be cranky on the drive down to the cabin.

And no one wanted a cranky Bill or a cranky Stan. Nobody.

“Sorry, still half asleep.” Eddie mumbled, shovelling a spoonful of the sugary cereal into his mouth. It was a lie, he had been wide awake since five in the morning because of Richie. Richie. He’d been peacefully sleeping on his chest all through the night, clearly not as freaked out as Eddie was at the situation. Even if, and he was kicking himself for this as he ate, he was the one that initiated the cuddling in the first place. But still, it was a bit weird.

He had a boyfriend, and he barely cuddled with him. So why the hell was he doing that with Richie? But then, the more rational part of his brain was telling him to just calm down, they’re friends. Best friends, even. Bev cuddled him all the time and Mike often did too. That meant nothing, so it meant nothing with Richie.

It was getting harder and harder to swallow his cereal.

“What time are we getting there?” Bev asked her boyfriend as she sat on the counter beside him, playing with his bedhead and eating a slice of toast coated in strawberry jelly.

Ben shrugged as he cut up an apple for himself. “Maybe eleven? If everyone gets out of the house by eight at the latest.” Bev briefly looked up at the ceiling. For a fleeting second, she could have sworn she heard the creaking of bed slats, but she ignored it. Probably nothing.

“We’ll drag 'em out if we have to, baby.” She smiled, kissing Ben’s cheek affectionately, and grinning at the blush that spread over his face. “But for now, let’s eat and stop stressing.” She hopped off the counter and moved to sit opposite Eddie at the table, noticing him staring into his cereal again. “Earth to Eddie!” She sang, and her friend glanced at her. “You okay, babe? You’re really out of it this morning.”

“Didn’t get much sleep.” He said. Beverly frowned.

“I thought it was easier to sleep when Richie’s there?” Eddie dropped his spoon into the bowl, ignoring the milk that splashed over the side onto the table. “Ah shit, Ben can you pass the paper towels, please?”

Eddie stared at her as she mopped up the mess, jaw dropped completely open. “How…how did you know he was-”

“I saw him.” She shrugged nonchalantly, crumpling up the paper towel once all the milk was gone. “I was getting some water and saw him go into your room. Figured he just stayed the night.” Ben sat at her side and held her hand under the table, now concerned at Eddie’s reaction himself.

“Did something happen last night?” He asked, hoping it wasn’t an intruding question.

Eddie blushed, and shoved some cereal into his mouth to avoid answering. But Ben and Bev were annoyingly patient people, so he eventually had to just swallow and talk. “We-” He quickly corrected himself. “I got into a fight with Chris.”

Bev nodded in understanding. “That explains the shouting.”

Eddie winced. “Yeah, sorry about that. But he was just going on at me about going away this weekend like…I’m not going anywhere seedy or anything. I’m going to a fucking remote cabin in the middle of nowhere, and he still thinks I’m gonna sleep with someone.”

“Hold up,” Bev chimed in, leaning forward. “He thinks you’re going to cheat on him? Why in the hell would you do that?!”

“Exactly what I was saying last night!” Eddie explained, throwing his free hand in the air. “It’s ridiculous! He’s so paranoid about me spending time alone with you guys without him there and it drives me fucking crazy.”

“He isn’t usually this jealous.” Ben said, looking at his girlfriend for confirmation. "Is he?"

“Fuck if I know.” Bev snorted. “I barely speak to him.”

“We’ve known him since junior year.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to talk to him.”

“Guys.” Eddie interrupted, raising an eyebrow at them both. “Chris isn’t that bad, okay? He just doesn’t like me spending time with-” Eddie stopped himself, realising what he was about to say, and clamped his mouth shut. He’d clearly said too much already due to Beverly’s reaction.

“Spending time with who?” She asked. Even Ben looked curious. Eddie gulped.

“Richie.” The room went silent. “He doesn’t like me spending time with Richie.”

“Top of the morning to ya, fellas!” Richie beamed as he wandered in, showered and dressed and raring to go. “How are we feeling? Excited? Scared? Aroused? All valid emotions!” He was oblivious to the look Bev was giving him and grabbed a piece of apple Ben had left on the side. “We all packed?”

“Uh, yeah, I think so.” Ben cleared his throat, wanting to difuse the tension. He stood up, taking Bev with him, and grabbed his apple pieces before nodding towards the stairs. “We should shower.” He said and tugged at his girlfriend’s hand. Beverly just looked straight at Eddie, and they both knew they were going to continue this conversation at a later date, then followed Ben to the stairs.

Richie, still munching on the apple piece, leaned against the counter and yawned over dramatically. “What a beautiful day, eh Eds?” He only got a sigh in return, and a loud one at that. “Nevermind, clearly there's a storm cloud over your head.” He pushed himself away from the counter and stood beside the kitchen table. “What's up, buttercup?”

“M’tired.” Eddie said for the third time that morning.

“You seemed fine when I woke up.” Richie said. “I slept like a damn log.”

“Good for you.” Eddie snapped back, taking them both by surprise.

“Woah...okay.” Richie whistled. “Who pissed in your damn cereal this morning?”

Eddie’s initial reaction to Richie’s taunting was to say something equally annoying back. But he couldn't find it within himself to do that, so he did something even more shocking. He apologised. “Sorry, I didn't mean to say it like that. I just...I didn't sleep well.”

“Oh.” Richie paused. “Was it because of me?” Eddie nodded. “Did I move a lot? I have a habit of fidgeting in my sleep so I like, kicked you in the nuts or something don't hesitate to kick me back.”

“It's not that.” Eddie sighed again. “We...shouldn't be cuddling. In bed." Richie didn't say anything, and he looked oddly confused. Did he not understand? "Alone.” Eddie emphasised.

“You're saying it as if it's illegal.”

“Not understanding my point means we definitely shouldn't be cuddling in bed.” Eddie huffed, grabbing his bowl and emptying it down the drain. Richie follows him, leaning beside him on the counter.

“So, what you're saying is, we aren't snuggle buddies anymore?” He asked.

Eddie started cleaning the bowl with some dish soap and a sponge, trying to take out the pent up anger on the ceramic instead of his best friend. “Richie, I have a boyfriend-”

“Woah!” He held his hands up in surrender. “I'm not hitting on you! I didn't make any moves on you or anything!”

“Oh my god!” Eddie exclaimed, scrubbing the bowl harder. “That is not the point!”

“Then what the fuck is the point?” Richie asked using his fingers to make air quotes. “Because we have cuddled hundreds of times since we met and you've never freaked out before.” Richie leaned into Eddie’s space a little more. “What's changed?”

“Nothing!” Eddie shouted, dropping the bowl into the sink and glaring at him. “Nothing has fucking changed. But we shouldn't be sleeping together when I'm happy and taken. It's not okay!” He laughed, running a hand through his hair without even caring it was covered in soap. "I mean, imagine if Chris found out I was sharing a bed with you."

Richie stared at him for a long time before he narrowed his eyes. “The only reason we were cuddling was because you asked me to cuddle you.” Eddie swallowed. “Look, I won't go near you if that's what you want. But don't get pissy because of something you wanted.” Richie straightened up and pushed his glasses back up his nose, seeing as they had slipped halfway down throughout the conversation. “Now if you'll excuse me, Eddie dear, I'm going to pack the rest of my suitcase...because I've barely started. You should too, we’re leaving soon.” And with that, he was gone. And Eddie was left alone.

And if that wasn't the worst feeling, he didn't know what was.


9:45 am.

Richie.

For the first hour, the car ride was virtually silent. Stan and Mike had claimed the back section of Ben’s mini van so they could nap together; Stan lying almost completely in his boyfriends lap with a blanket thrown over him to cover his face. Eddie and Ben were in the driver and passenger seats, Eddie holding the map and helping Ben find his way around, seeing as he hadn't ever driven to the cabin himself. His Mom had driven him four times, and he was always sleeping throughout the journey, so there was no way he'd remember everything himself.

That left Bill, Bev and Richie in the middle. Bill was passed out on Beverly’s shoulder and she was carding her fingers through his still damp hair, listening to her music and staring out the car window. Richie was left to the far corner of the car on his own, also listening to music, and staring at the back of Eddie’s head.

He didn’t really know how to process the argument the two had had earlier on, because it didn’t make any sense to him. Eddie had initiated the cuddling, and had stayed in that same position - in fact, Richie vividly remembered being pulled further into his arms at one point - all night. So why was he so upset? Why had this made such an impact?

He sighed to himself, switching songs so he was listening to Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey . He felt his head nodding to the beat and his fingers drummed against his thigh perfectly in time to the music.

The others seemed to still be completely silent, all in their own worlds, and to be perfectly honest? Richie hated when they were quiet. He frowned, and out of curiosity, he took his earphones out only to be met with total silence. Ben hadn’t even turned the radio on. Richie scoffed, which caused Beverly to glance at him, and he yanked the earphones from his phone. She too was frowning, watching her best friend’s every movement, as Richie scrolled through his phone settings until he got to the bluetooth. Switching it on, he found Ben’s radio and smirked before pressing it, quickly showing the screen to Beverly so she could see, and noticed her confusion morph into excitement. He was quick to mute the song, wanting to find one even better, and Beverly’s eyes snapped back and forth between her boyfriend at the wheel and the radio, desperately waiting for his reaction.

Suddenly, the opening verse of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ began pouring from the speakers, and Ben and Eddie both jumped in shock. Beverly honestly tried to hold in the snort of laughter that bubbled from her chest, but when Richie started singing along - and not in his real singing voice, but instead his obnoxiously dramatic one that never failed to send the others into fits of giggles, or even better, get them to join in with him.

“Richie, you ass!” Eddie hissed, glaring at him from the rear-view mirror with a scowl. “You scared the shit out of me.”

“Oh come on! We’ve rehearsed this since we were twelve!” He exclaimed, looking at each of his friends with the most serious expression they had seen on him in weeks. “We know everyone’s parts, we know every beat, it’s law!”

Eddie rolled his eyes tiredly. “Richie it’s not-”

Too late!” Richie belted, making Bill jolt awake in Bev’s arms. That only got her laughing harder. “My time has come!

“Oh god, why is he singing?” Stan’s voice piped up from the back seat, along with Mike’s soft chuckle.

Sends shivers down my spine, body’s aching all the time!” Richie continued to sing now that he had everyone’s attention, and looked straight to Bev and Bill to catch on, knowing those two wouldn’t be able to resist soon enough.

Goodbye, everybody, I’ve got to go!” Bev sang back to him, reaching her hand out for him to hold dramatically to his chest.

Gotta leave you all behind to face the truth!” Bill belted out. Both Richie and Bev mimed banging the drums. From the backseat, Mike cleared his throat, and everyone - minus Ben of course, because no amount of Queen would make him crash his car - turned to look at him. Mike had one of the best singing voices in the group, besides Richie, Stan and surprisingly Eddie.

When they were in their early teens, and trying to survive high school, they would gather at the quarry on Saturday nights to make a campfire, play games, drink the alcohol they had stolen from their parents, and sing until they passed out. Richie would bring his guitar, and Mike would start them all off, every single time, because they all wanted to sit and listen for as long as they possibly could.

Mama, ooo,” He sang in perfect tune.

Anyway the wind blows.” Bev and Stan harmonised, and Richie winked at Stan seeing as he had already decided to join in on the fun. Usually he was the last, because he didn’t like to sing that often, but if Mike did it, then so did he.

I don't want to die! I sometimes wish I'd never been born at all!” As soon as Mike finished, Richie jumped into an intense air guitar solo, cracking everyone up before the familiar piano keys started to play, which Ben was absentmindedly tapping against the steering wheel, getting them ever so closer to the impending chorus.

I see a little silhouetto of a man.” Bev sang softly,

Scaramouch, scaramouch will you do the fandango.” Eddie and Ben sang from the front of the car, laughing at each other when they realised they really couldn’t help themselves anymore. You couldn’t not sing Bohemian Rhapsody. The three of them then braced themselves as the rest of the men in the car belted out:

Thunderbolt and lightning very very frightening me!

Bev went on to singing the higher “Galileo” whilst Richie - forcing his voice down to the lowest tone he could muster - sang the other one; leaving Ben and Mike with “Magnifico!”

I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.” Bill whined, pinching his nose to sound more nasally, the gag he always used during that part.

 

He's just a poor boy from a poor family

Spare him his life from this monstrosity!

 

“Easy come easy go will you let me go?” The nasal voice sang to the others.

“Bismillah!” Richie shouted.

 

No we will not let you go - let him go!

 

It was almost scary how well they harmonised together, each person knowing their respective verses and pitches to create what Richie called, and he said this without an ounce of irony, the greatest performance of all time.

On the final “For me”, which Richie so graciously screamed out, Ben banged the drumming pattern on the wheel before the final verse kicked in and everyone began head banging. Collectively, even though they would never know it, they all thanked Bill, Richie and Eddie for watching Wayne’s World at such a young age.

They were all singing as a group once again, each of them jumping up and down in their seat or playing air guitar, or just singing to each other. This was what they should be doing all day everyday. Being together, and having a fucking blast.

Ben, was singing his heart out with Eddie by his side banging on the dashboard. Richie, Bev and Bill were all singing at each other so aggressively it was almost hilarious, whilst Stan and Mike stared into each other's eyes as they sang to each other.

The song started to slow down, and everyone was given a moment to catch their breath and fall back against the leather seats, too exhausted to sing anymore. Stan fell back against Mike’s shoulder, smiling as his boyfriend kissed the top of his head. Bill threw his arm around Bev’s shoulder right after he leaned into the middle of the car to kiss Ben’s flushed cheek. And Richie, whose voice was aching and body shaking with adrenaline, watched silently from his seat as Eddie softly sang the final part of the song. The part Richie had gifted him when they were twelve years old, the day he had fallen in love with him.

 

Nothing really matters

Anyone can see

Nothing really matters...to me

 

Eddie was staring out of the car window as he sang it, staring at the trees whizzing by and the blue sky above him filled with clouds. Richie wanted to know what he was thinking about, and if they would talk about their argument at some point. But for now, he’d settle with singing the final line with him, for old times sake.

 

Anyway the wind blows

 

The moment he heard Richie’s voice, Eddie’s head turned to look in the wing mirror. They smiled at the same time, and everything seemed okay again.


11:30 am.

Ben.

By the time Ben pulled into the driveway of his Mother’s cabin, the rest of the Losers were wide awake. It had taken Richie’s entire playlist to get them all excited for their trip and to get them all talking again. Even Ben hated the silence sometimes, and he was typically the one that wanted it the most. He would always appreciate a quiet night in when the others wanted to go out, just so he could cosy up by the fire in the living room and catch up on his latest book for a few hours.

Sure, he loved going out with the others just as much as they did, but he typically needed his own space to chill out and think. To be the old nerdy, book worm that he was in middle school and high school. Sometimes, if he wasn't being the designated driver, Mike would join him, and they would swap books or short stories and read them aloud or discuss the narrative or character development; "The Handsome Men Book Club!" Richie had christened it.

The only other person Ben could enjoy peace and quiet with was Stanley, and that was because Stan would sit with his earphones in and listen to his classical music playlist, the likes of which included Hans Zimmer, John Williams and James Newton Howard. Ben had ended up downloading that playlist one night when he couldn't get into the right mindset for writing poetry. He had his writers block days just like every other writer on the planet, and it frustrated him to no end. Even though he had majored in Architecture in College, he had minored in Poetry and Classic Literature, so the pain of feeling like he couldn't think of the right words to say frustrated him.

The songs on Stan's playlist seemed to change that, however. Especially one song in particular. 'Time' by Hans Zimmer was the one that seemed to spark his creative juices and get them flowing out of the pen, and he had scribbled for hours before feeling accomplished once again. He had even drawn up some industrial plans for his work; an intern job at an architect firm. They were planning on building a few structures across town and Ben had jumped at the opportunity to put his Degree to the test. His manager, Bobby, was one of the nicest men he had ever met, and had taken a shine to Ben instantly. He told him he had a natural eye for this type of work and he was always listening to his ideas, even when the other, hot shot employees looked down on him as an intern. And that's what made Ben stay on; he felt like he was useful.

Seeing the cabin again for the first time in years gave Ben a warm feeling in his chest. His father had designed this place along with his two Uncle's, and Ben wished more than anything to have been there as they were building or to see the original blue prints. The cabin itself was enormous, and situated in the middle of a moat style lake that wrapped around it and led off into depth of the woods. The driveway was not actually attached to the building itself, but rather to a wooden bridge that ran across the lake, meaning the others would have to drag their bags across it first to get to the house. Ben smiled. They could deal with it.

"Dang, this place is packin'!" Richie exclaimed as he hopped out of the car.

"It's huge." Stan agreed, staring at it with wide eyes as Mike stood beside him. "I guess it'll be pretty easy to fit us all inside."

"Totally." Ben huffed, clicking open the back of the car and lifting it so they could all grab their bags. "Follow me guys." He was beaming from ear to ear, and it made Bev and Bill flush. Seeing their man happy was all they ever wanted, and clearly he was happy here.

The cabin was decorated with wild flowers that grew around the perimeter and in pots on the balcony's; their only source of water being the constant rain falls. It's why they had built the cabin here, the weather could keep it alive even when no one was there. Stone surrounded the front porch in a little arch on the ground and the welcome mat was a sight for sore eyes to Ben. It oddly felt like home, not in the same way that his actual home did, or his Mother's house back in Derry, but something warm, and inviting.

It reminded him of his Father.

Ben unlocked the door with the large metal key he had stuffed into his back pocket, and pushed it open with his elbow just as he could hear the huffing and puffing of his friends behind him. They all packed a little too much, but you never know what might happen.

Ben walked into the main living area, which had a large, L shaped leather sofa in the centre that sat in front of a wooden coffee table, an open fire, and what might possibly be the biggest flat screen TV any of them had ever seen. There were paintings and family photos of the Hanscom's lining the walls and a soft, fluffy cream rug at their feet that made all of them kick their shoes off in order to enjoy it. The stairs were in the right hand corner, leading to the balcony that ran around the inside of the cabin, with a small, downstairs bathroom to the left of it. Even further left was the kitchen and the dining room that was conjoined into one large open space with windows that allowed you to stare out into the woods as you drank your tea or chowed down on some steak. Ben made a mental note to cook some steak whilst they were here.

"Alright, bedrooms are upstairs." He announced once everyone was inside and the door was bolted shut. "Mine, Bill's and Bev's room is the furthest down the hall-"

"Which is absolutely off li-limits to everyone." Bill warned.

"-Stan and Mike, your room is the closest to the stairs." Ben nodded up to the balcony where everyone could see an oak door staring back. "And Richie and Eddie, your one is in the middle. There's a bathroom in everyone's room so there won't be any major fights for hot water."

"Unless Richie takes his hour long jack-off showers." Eddie grumbled, earning a snort from Stan.

Richie barked out a laugh, and nudged Eddie with his hip. "I'm sharing a bed with you, stud. I won't need a jack-off shower." He winked whilst everyone else groaned in disgust, and Ben proceeded to lead them all upstairs. Stan and Mike pushed open their room and automatically began gushing at the beautiful decor and the size of their bed. That sparked yet another rude comment from Richie.

"Have fun breaking in that big boy. Although, Stan likes 'em big."

Richie and Eddie's room was the second biggest, and had a balcony attached to it that Eddie basically sprinted to. Ben watched them from the doorway, and noticed how Richie's gaze on Eddie lasted a particularly long time.

"Babe?" Bev's voice calling down the hall snapped him out of it, and Richie nodded awkwardly at Ben before he left to join his lover's in his own room. This one was the biggest and grandest of them all. His Mother had told him his Father had designed every aspect of this room by himself and Ben had fallen in love with it all over again when he stepped inside.

The dark oak furniture and the cream sheets matched beautifully, and the even bigger balcony that stood opposite the bathroom gave the three of them the best view of the woods; spreading out for miles and miles until you could only see an ocean of green. Ben dropped his bags at the foot of the bed whilst Bev began hanging her clothes in the wardrobe and Bill hopped in the bathroom to pee, and he walked out onto the balcony, wanting to take everything in.

He could smell the pine and the grass, and the sun was shining over the lake in such a way that the water lapping at edge of the moat was glistening up at him. This was where he belonged, he thought to himself. This place right here.

And then, arms were wrapping around his waist, a gentle kiss was pressed against the back of his head and Bev's heavenly perfume filled his senses.

"You doing okay?" She whispered into his checkered shirt, her thumb stroking his stomach. He shivered as it ran over the 'H' that had been carved there, but then leaned into her touch and placed his hands over her own.

"I'm doing amazing." He sighed. Bill's footsteps were behind them after a moment, and he stood at Ben's side, leaning on the wooden railing.

"It's gorgeous here, Ben." He said into the wind, and reached out a hand to rub at his boyfriend's arm. Ben smiled down at him and gestured for him to come closer, so Bill did, and Beverly watched over Ben's shoulder as they shared a loving kiss.

No, Ben thought to himself as he pulled away from Bill so he and Beverly could kiss, this was where he was supposed to be. Bev kissed him next, and he smiled into it. With the love's of his lives and his ridiculous best friends.

That was where he was always going to be.

Chapter Text

Friday.

6:20 pm.

Eddie.

"Hey Chris, it's Eddie..." He paused, chewing his lower lip. "Again. I just, uh, wanted to let you know we got to the cabin safely, and that we're gonna have dinner soon. We might have a few drinks so...if you get a drunk text then you know why!" He tried to laugh into the reciever, but it seemed thick and heavy - and completely fake - so he cut himself short. "I...I'll see you on Monday. I love you." Eddie quickly pressed the red phone button to end the voice message and threw his phone onto the bed before flopping back onto it, letting out an exasperated sigh.

That was his third time calling Chris. The first had been to tell him the car ride was long but fun, and he was excited. The second was a little shorter, telling him about the scenery and the weather. And this was one was the shortest. Straight to the point, just wanting him to actually listen to it. Or call him back. Chis had been ignoring him all day; no messages had been seen, no calls had been taken, and he had turned his Snapchat location off. Something Eddie didn't really think was that big of a deal, but when he casually mentioned it to Stan and Bev they had shared a concerned look over his shoulder.

It was fine, Eddie thought as he laid there staring at the cream ceiling, he's just working. He isn't allowed his phone at work, you know that. But would he at least look at it during his break? That question kept buzzing in his mind and completely distracted him from the en suite bathroom door opening, steam billowing out of it and Richie sauntering out with wet hair and a towel low on his hips.

"You okay?" He asked, catching Eddie's sour expression.

"Fine. Just tired." Eddie sat up, rubbing his forehead as he felt the beginning of headache coming on, and ended up taking a double glance at Richie. "Uh...how was your shower?"

"Fan-fucking-tastic!" Richie beamed, ruffling his damp locks. "That shower is HUGE. You gotta check it out, kid."

Eddie nodded, his eyes too busy scanning Richie's torso. He had seen it plenty of times before, seeing as they shared a bathroom back home, and it wasn't like it was uncomfortable or anything to see Richie this way. In fact, it was the opposite. He was almost in awe at his pale body, that wasn't muscular, but was definitely toned after the countless times Richie tags along with Ben and Mike at the gym, giving him a subtle V dip in his hips and biceps that Eddie sort of wanted to touch. And he definitely didn't ignore the droplets of water that were running from his shoulders, over his chest, and down his stomach.

Eddie gulped. What the fuck was wrong with him...

"Yeah...I'll have one tonight." He said in a small voice. Richie nodded, trying not to make his worry obvious. He noticed Eddie's strained face and his trembling hands, and he had heard the voice message he had left his asshole of a boyfriend from the bathroom. He thought Eddie should never be ignored, not by someone who supposedly loves him. Eddie thought it didn't really matter.

"We were thinking about having a few beers tonight after dinner, you in?" Richie asked him, snapping Eddie out of his gaze. A hot blush ran over his cheeks and he hoped to god it wasn't noticeable.

"Yeah, yeah that sounds good."

Richie nodded and then paused, leaving the two in an odd silence. "Unless you wanna see my junk you might wanna skedaddle."

"Oh shit, right!" A loud, awkward laugh escape Eddie's throat and the two blinked at each other, not knowing what else to do, before Eddie was grabbing his phone and scrambling up from the bed. "I'll see you downstairs, Rich." He hurried out into the hallway, slamming the door shut and leaning against it, closing his eyes and letting out a breath. His heart rate was through the roof and he felt like he was going to collapse. But there was no time for that, because Stan was walking towards him.

"Are you okay?" He asked, frowning down at his friend. "You look like you just ran a mile. Is Richie chasing you again?"

Eddie snorted. "No, I'm fine. How long until the food's ready?"

Ben had been cooking for the past hour, wanting to give his friends the best possible welcome dinner he could. His mother had provided him with all of her homemade ingredients, and even Mike's granddad had gifted him some old family recipes of Mike's mother. He and Mike were both dead set on cooking steak with a salad - something Richie had not so subtly gagged at, because who wants salad? - and had banned everyone else from the kitchen until it was ready.

That left Stan to pamper himself in the large en suite in his room, where he had just used a bath bomb that made his skin smell like citrus and glisten under the light, and Bill and Bev to their own devices in their bedroom. Eddie didn't really want to think about what they were up to.

"Let's go ask them." Stan said, nodding towards the stairs. "I've missed Mike anyway."

"It's been like an hour?" Eddie said in confusion, and Stan shrugged at him.

"I always miss him." That struck Eddie as odd. When he had been calling Chris and messaging him for most of the day, it wasn't because he missed him. He just knew Chris would get annoyed if he didn't update him, which is what usually happened when Eddie went away. As the two walked down the stairs together, the strong smell of steak filling their nostrils, Eddie realised he actually didn't miss Chris at all. Not even a little bit. Was that normal? Stan had missed Mike whilst being in the same house with him for an hour. Was he supposed to feel like that?

He shook his head as Stan knocked on the kitchen door that was partially open so they could get some air flow. You're overthinking, he thought to himself, and besides, it's only been a couple days since you last saw him, you'll miss him by tomorrow.

Mike's head poked out from the door and he instantly smiled, pushing the door open wider and wrapping Stan into his arms, pressing a tender kiss against his boyfriend's temple. Eddie smiled as Stan blushed, something that only ever happened around Mike, and stroked his lover's arm. Chris didn't do that with him, he thought, and that made him want to slap himself. Stop comparing your relationship to other people's, dumbass.

"Hey babe." Mike said into Stan's hair, and turned to Eddie with a wide smile. "You okay, Eds? Hope you're both hungry, Ben's cooking up a storm in there."

"I'm starving." Eddie moaned, holding his stomach as it rumbled a little. "We were gonna ask how long it would be?"

"It's pretty much done, actually. You mind helping set the table?"

"Of course. Where's the silverware?"

"Big cabinet on the other side of the living room!" Ben's voice echoed from inside the kitchen. "Second drawer! I've put the plates on the table already." Eddie nodded, and glanced at Stan for a moment but noticed he was too wrapped up in Mike to agree, so he laughed and walked to the grand oak cabinet in the corner.

He let his fingers glide over the polished wood, surprised at how immaculate it was even after weeks of not being touched, and opened the second drawer as Ben had told him to. The silverware was neatly placed in height order, and he grabbed seven knives and forks and a couple of spoons, knowing Beverly had baked everyone cherry pie before coming up here. He really did adore her.

There were napkins in a small holder on top of the cabinet and he closed everything back up before taking a few of those and heading over to the table, once again glancing over at Stan and Mike. They were whispering to each other softly and he could have sworn he saw them both briefly look his way. But he chose not to take notice, and began placing each piece of silverware on a napkin at the places on the table.

Ben called everyone down by the time he was done, and he took a seat in the middle just as Stan came around the corner to take his own opposite him, holding two large glasses of Rosé

"I got you some wine, I thought you might need it." He said with a smirk and Eddie thanked him as he was handed the glass. "Hey, you sure you're alright?" He asked again, and Eddie looked at his napkin. "I know I don't really talk about feelings and all that emotional crap but, you're my best friend, Eddie. And if you ever wanna talk about literally anything, you can. Or we can leave it." He gave him a soft smile, the type of smile that you rarely saw from Stan. But when you did, you wished it would never go away. "Whatever you want."

"I'm fine, really. I'm just tired and work's been a pain in my ass." He held his glass up. "Let's just ignore the real world for the weekend and have some fucking fun."

Stan couldn't help but nod at that, and clinked his glass with Eddie's. "I'll drink to that."

Richie came bounding down the stairs first, and whistled when he saw Ben walk out of the kitchen with the steak. "Look at that bad boy, get inside me right now."

"I'm begging you to not ruin this meal for me." Stan deadpanned as Ben placed the steak in the centre of the table. Mike came from behind him with a huge bowl of salad, filled to the brim with lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot and onion, and then produced an equally large bowl of fries, and Richie actually cheered.

"Just because Richard is so damn fussy. You're welcome." Mike received a sloppy kiss on the cheek for that.

"If Stan hadn't bagged your sweet ass first, I'd blow you for that."

"Don't even start." Stan warned, but smiled at the hair ruffle he got from his best friend. Richie skipped round the table before skidding to a halt beside Eddie and plopping down into the seat. He beamed at him, and Eddie couldn't even hold in the smile on his lips. Richie was annoyingly infectious, if he laughed or smiled or pulled some sort of stupid joke, or even if he used his secret weapon, the Voices, then you were screwed. That was just how it worked.

"How we doin' Spaghetti Man?" He asked, putting on a ridiculous 1940's accent. "Ya ready for some damn good chow?"

"I'm ready for you to stuff so many french fries in your mouth that you can't use that accent anymore, I mean what even is that?" Eddie asked, Bev and Bill walking over to the table hand in hand.

"It's my 40's detective! Inspector Sexual! Ain't he just a dime?"

"He's ridiculous." Bev snorted, and everyone smirked as Richie's eyes narrowed.

"Messy hair, change of clothes, a fresh hickey on Billiam's neck...someone got down and dirty up there!"

"Real muh-muh-mature there, Rich." Bill rolled his eyes, but pulled up a chair beside him, allowing Bev to have the head of the table.

"At least I wasn't the one tainting this house." Richie said with fake disappointment lacing his voice. "God is always watching, you know."

"Then God just witnessed me giving a world class blowjob." Bev replied, and as Bill went red, Mike burst out laughing.

"Can we please be adults during dinner?" Ben asked, bringing out a tray of drinks for everyone else. "Just for an hour, please?" He didn't really mean it, after a few beers he'd probably be relaxed enough to switch off from Dad mode. And from the way he was eyeing up the dishevelled Bill and Bev, he'd probably want to get frisky.

"We'll behave, baby. I promise." Bev smiled and Ben leaned down to kiss her before doing the same to Bill. Once everything was set, Ben and Mike took their places beside their respective partners, and everyone grabbed their plates to begin piling up the food. Eddie and Richie, as per usual, started fighting over the best looking piece of steak whilst the others respectively helped each other with the salad, fries, and condiments, watching the two with amuesement.

"You're such an ass!" Eddie snapped, knocking Richie's arm to the side in order to stab at the steak. "I got it first!"

"Ya snooze ya lose," Richie began just as he managed to steal the entire fork from Eddie's grasp. "Eddie-Bear." He winked and promptly sat back in his seat with the steak, leaving his best friend dumbfounded beside him.

"Shithead." He muttered, and took the final piece of steak that Ben had cut, which was smaller than the others, and grumbled as he loaded the rest of his plate with fries and salad.

"What did I literally just say about acting like adults?" Ben sighed and Bill snickered from Richie's right side.

"Eddie and Richie will never be adults, Ben." Stan said with an eyebrow raise, sipping his wine and completely ignoring Eddie's glare.

"It's not my fault he's such a-"

"Say shithead one more time." Ben warned, pointing his knife at the two men. Clearly it was a joke, but in the back of Eddie's mind he was certain that if Ben got angry enough he may consider using it. Even Richie looked a little scared, and everyone could have sworn they heard him gulp.

"Sorry Ben." They both said in small voices, and Beverly giggled at them before digging in to her meal.

"Now that that's over," Mike smiled. "what are the plans for tonight? Anyone bring any board games?"

"I bruh-brought Monopoly." Bill replied.

"Oh!" Bev's voice piped up from the end of the table. "And I brought Just Dance! We haven't played that in ages!"

"I am not dancing to Britney Spears again." Ben deadpanned and Stan scoffed beside him.

"That's because you can't dance to it properly, anyway." Ben stared at him.

"Are you challenging me right now, Uris?"

"Indeed I am, Hanscom. Because I'll easily win."

Eddie watched the entire exchange unfold in front of him whilst eating, giggling at the playful fight breaking out between Ben and Stan, taking in Mike's fond smile at his boyfriend. He also briefly noticed Bill and Beverly holding hands and whispering to each other at the end of the table, eyes locked and soft, loving smiles on their lips. It made his heart ache in a sad sort of way and his mind once again flickered back to his boyfriend. Wherever he was. He sneakily took out his phone - knowing Ben was adamant that no phones should be used when they were eating so they could all talk to each other - and opened his snapchat app. It was still early evening, but Eddie noticed Chris's location was once again completely off. He frowned, and checked his recently updated stories. His eyes widened. Chris's profile sat right there, a video of his face being the only thing he could see.

His finger went to click it, to be nosy and see what his boyfriend had been up too all day. Other than ignoring you, he thought to himself. Just as the snap was loading, Richie's face appeared in front of him, making Eddie jump in shock and drop his phone into his lap.

"Whatcha doin'?" Richie grinned and Eddie rolled his eyes.

"I was-"

"Looking at your phone!" Richie gasped dramatically, clutching at his chest. "You know the rules, Eds! No mobile phones unless you want to face Benjamin's wrath!"

"Oh come on-" Richie's hand was in his lap and stealing his phone before he could finish his sentence and Eddie made a wild grab for it. "Give it back!"

"Nope! You gotta socialise with us and not look at your phone ALL night now!" Richie looked smug as ever and Eddie eventually just had to give up. He would never get that damn thing back, probably not until Richie was passed out in their bed - that sent an odd shiver up his spine, their bed - and even then he'd still have a death grip on it or he'd be a real asshole and hide it. Eddie once found his phone in a plant pot outside their house because he had been on Instagram during movie night. He was certain there was still some soil inside the speakers.

"For fuck sake. Fine, Richie. Keep it." Eddie waved him off and started eating again, knowing that ignoring Richie will give him the upperhand. Richie hated being ignored more than anything, and the look of defeat on his face was evident. Eddie smirked as Richie tucked his phone away, paused, then launched a tickle attack on his sides. Eddie squealed, earning the attention of everyone around the table, and they all smiled as Eddie whacked Richie on the arms to feebly try and get him to stop.

Eddie didn't hear it, but Ben whispered something to Beverly from across the table. "They're really cute together, aren't they?"

Beverly nodded, her heart aching for Richie the entire time, knowing what she knew. "Yeah. They really are."

 


 

10:30 pm.

Richie.

They were all wasted.

Richie was currently sipping a cranberry juice, vodka and peach schnapps concoction that Bill had expertly made moments ago, swirling the ice around his glass and listening to it clink as he stared at Beverly, Mike and Eddie currently dancing along to the Just Dance game on the TV. They were all out of sync and barely had any points because they were goofing off and just having a good time.

At one point, Beverly even whacked Mike in the chest and Eddie in the nose to do the finishing move, and Bill had completely lost it. Eddie fell back onto the sofa, red in the face and panting, and Richie's drunken brain made him realise that's probably what he looked like after he and been good and properly fu-

"Hey, Rich?" Beverly called from the other side of the sofa, snapping him from his thoughts. "Wanna do karaoke?"

Richie grinned. "I thought you'd never ask, my love!" He hopped up, stumbling a little as the alcohol went straight to his head, and went to his phone that was currently being used for music. He scrolled through his 'ultimate' playlist, the one that was almost 16 hours long and filled with every single song the group loved and knew the words to, before picking a song and glancing at the others. Oh, they weren't ready for this.

Beverly and Stan's drunken cheers erupted as 'When I Kissed The Teacher' by ABBA blared throughout the cabin, and they jumped up as Richie sang the opening lyrics and pointed at them, hurrying over to him. Their choreographed ABBA numbers had been infamous in their group since they were fifteen, and no matter where they were or what they were doing, if ABBA was playing they would get up and perform it. It had once happened in a shopping mall and the three had actually attracted a pretty decent crowd that even applauded once they were done looking like total fools.

 

All my friends at school

They had never seen the teacher blush

He looked like a fool

Nearly petrified

'Cause he was taken by surprise

 

Richie took the opportunity to jump up onto the coffee table and throw his arms up, Stan and Beverly running around the back of the sofa to sing into the others ears. Mike cheered them on and Bill and Ben were staring at Beverly the entire time. Eddie, on the other hand, couldn't take his eyes off of Richie. He was entranced, totally unaware of everyone else in the room except for the lanky idiot that was standing in front of him, singing in front of him - no, singing to him - and walking over to him. Wait...

Richie was stood almost directly over him know, legs on either side of Eddie's own that were splayed out on the floor.

 

My whole class went wild

As I held my breath, the world stood still, but then he just smiled

I was in the seventh heaven when I kissed the teacher

 

The eye contact wasn't being broken the entire time Richie sang, and Eddie squeaked as his friend planted himself in his lap sideways, swinging his legs and throwing his head back to shake his hair. He always had been one for the dramatics. Eddie held him so he didn't fall backwards onto Mike, and ended up singing some of the lyrics back to him, watching Richie sit upright and stare deep into his eyes as he sang the lyrics that meant a little more to the both of them than just part of an old ABBA song.

 

One of these days

Gonna tell him I dream of him every night

One of these days

Gonna show him I care, gonna teach him a lesson alright

 

Eddie's heart was damn near beating out of his chest, and Richie's was too as he leaned down to Eddie and smacked a kiss on his cheek, then jumped up and encouraged Bev and Stan to come dance with him as they finished off the rest of the song, as if none of that just happened.

By the time they were done singing, Eddie had forgotten all about his phone. It was currently in Richie's back pocket and had been buzzing for the past hour and a half. But Richie refused to tell Eddie, as selfish as that was, because he didn't want this night to end. He didn't want this moment between them to end. He wanted to just sing out his feelings and hope Eddie would somehow catch onto them. Maybe even feel the same way. God, he was drunk.

It wouldn't work, Richie knew that, but something was telling him that they way Eddie was looking at him wasn't totally as platonic as he was trying to make it. There was something there, there really was. And whether Eddie was going to accept that was completely up to him. But Richie knew he'd wait damn near forever for it to happen.

The song was over pretty quickly and the three stopped dancing to collapse to the floor in a tired heap, the others applauding and whistling at their performance.

"Get's better everytime." Mike laughed, standing up to pick Stan up from the floor. Mike scooped his boyfriend up bridal style and Stan rubbed their noses together as he carried him to the couch so they could cuddle. Eddie smiled at them then jumped as Richie jumped beside him.

"How did ya like that?" He breathed, a little pink in the face from running around. He really needed to quit smoking.

"Better than Gimme Gimme Gimme but not as energetic as Dancing Queen." Eddie responded and Richie nodded.

"I'll take that. Right, Beverly!" He shouted way too loudly at his best friend. "What are we doing now?"

"Let's play something else." Ben suggested before she could speak, knowing she was just going to keep singing and dancing and tiring herself out if she wasn't careful.

"Fine, spoil sport." His girlfriend huffed, but playfully pecked him on the lips. "What about a good old fashioned game of Seven Minutes in Heaven?"

A collective groan from Mike, Bill, Stan and Eddie surrounded her and she scowled at them. "Well you assholes pick something, then!"

"No no!" Richie held his hand up. "We'll play that, gives me a chance to smooch that hot shot over there." He pointed at Bill, who batted his eyelashes at Richie, getting a ridiculous eyebrow waggle in return. Beverly snorted and Ben laughed, whilst the other three glanced at each other. Bill and Richie were known to play Seven Minutes in Heaven, pick each other, then make aggressive sex noises in the closet they were sent into until their time was up. Sometimes it sounded so realistic they wondered if they were actually doing things to each other in there. Probably not, but knowing those two it wouldn't come as a shock if it was real.

Ben had been nursing his fifth beer during the Just Dance tournament and swiftly finished it so they could put it into the middle of their circle and spin it, and once it was placed, he looked up at everyone for final confirmation. He received no complaints, so he gave it a spin.

Everyone watched curiously as the bottle spun and spun and spun, and for a moment it seemed like it wasn't going to stop. But finally, it stopped directly in front of Mike. Ben and Mike stared at each other before they both burst out laughing, causing Richie to laugh as well.

"Hop to it gentlemen!" Richie exclaimed and pushed Mike to his feet, much to the annoyance of Stan who was clearly very comfortable on his boyfriend's lap. "Off to makeout corner! Oh. don't give me that look, Staniel. We've all kissed each other before."

"Except for you and Eddie." Stan pointed out, making both of the men blush. "You've kissed Mike hundreds of times. Why is it always my boyfriend?"

"He's a hunk." Ben shrugged, taking everyone by surprise and leading Mike into a nearby closet filled with their coats and shoes. It was near the front door and was just big enough for both of them to fit inside. Ben and Mike were both big guys; Mike tall and lean with muscles rippling under his shirt, and Ben only a little shorter but with a lot more width, his arms bulkier and his shoulders broader. Squeezing into tight spaces together wasn't exactly what they were built for but that certainly didn't stop them.

They both stepped inside and shut the door, Beverly calling out to them that she had started a phone timer.

"What do we do if we actually hear something?" Eddie asked after a brief pause.

Beverly was the only one to answer. "We throw in condoms." Bill almost snorted his glass of rum and coke.

Ben and Mike didn't end up making any noises, in fact, and came out on the seven minute mark with big smiles and laughing at something one of them must have been whispering from inside the closet. Ben pressed a kiss to Bill's hair when he sat down and stroked Beverly's thigh lovingly, the two blushing under his affection. Richie smirked, oh they were definitely getting some tonight.

"Okay Mike, Ben-" Bev exclaimed, catching everyone's attention. "Nominate the next spinner!"

"Oh, this ought to be good." Stan said slyly behind his wine glass, making Richie turn to look at him with a confused expression. Stan raised an eyebrow at him and then nodded forward, and Richie turned to see Mike holding the bottle out to him.

"You're up, dude." Mike beamed and Richie saluted him in thanks before dropping into a crouch on the floor to spin the bottle firmly, and everyone watched with bated breath as it whirled round and round.

"Jheez, Rich." Eddie snorted, cradling his wine. "It's supposed to stop on someone."

"Not my fault I have biceps carved by Michael Angelo."

"You're a fucking noodle." Stan said and Bill just about lost it this time. Richie flipped him the bird and Stan mirrored the action back just as the bottle started to slow.

"I work hard for these guns, ya know." Richie said, flexing his arms for the others - mostly Eddie, if he was being totally honest - and everyone laughed. "Gotta impress the cougars somehow. Those gals at the local Starbucks always get a good eyeful. Maybe one day they'll even get a mouthfu-"

"It's Eddie!" Beverly cried and everyone stared at her before their eyes landed on the bottle which was pointing right past Richie and directly at Eddie's left foot. Eddie almost dropped his wine glass. "It's Eds! Awesome, fantastic...off you go!" Beverly yanked Richie up by the collar and Eddie by the hand, dragging the two of them to the closet.

"Bev wait-" Eddie started to say, but she shoved the two of them inside before he could finish.

"Try not to get too loud, yeah?" Ben called teasingly, and Stan snickered at the bright red flush that went over both of their friends faces.

"I will take this," Bev snatched the wine glass from Eddie's shaking hands, and smiled at them before grabbing the door handle. "and we will see you guys in a few minutes. Bye!" The door slammed almost right onto Richie's nose and he stumbled back until his shoulder hit the coats.

"Ah, fuck!" He cried out, earning a snort from outside.

"Get to it then!"

Eddie almost growled. "Assholes." He looked over at Richie who had decided to just slide down the wall and sit cross legged on the floor, staring at his friend with wide eyes. Eddie sighed, and moved over to join him. It was a tight squeeze, but Eddie sat in front of him and curled up so his knees were under his chin. For the first minute or so, neither of them said anything. They just avoided eye contact or picked at their finger nails or played with the loose fabric of their jeans.

Then Richie started to get antsy, and sat up. "You know," Eddie's head snapped up at the sound of his voice and he gulped. "Chris has been calling you."

"What? How would you-"

Richie produced Eddie's phone from his back pocket, and the memory of Richie stealing it flooded back to him. His shoulders sagged in what he wanted to play off as relief, but he knew it wasn't.

"How many times?"

"A dozen, maybe?" Richie chuckled, handing him the phone back and then shoving his hands into tight fists that he rested on his thighs. "I should have told you, I'm sorry. He might be worried."

"I doubt it. He's ignored me all day." Eddie whispered. "I've been calling him since we left and he hasn't even acknowledged it."

"Until now?"

Eddie nodded. "Until now." He unlocked the phone to see a lot of messages that seemed to get more and more angry as they went on, as well as seven missed calls. Chris probably thought he was dead. And to be honest, Eddie wasn't really in the mood to correct him. He laughed out loud at how fucked up that was and quickly wrote him a message just to tell him he's okay, before shoving his phone into his back pocket and looking at Richie. "I don't get what his deal is."

"What do you mean?"

"He only calls me when it suits him, and whenever I try and see how he is, or ask him to come hang out with us, he fucking ghosts me! I want him to spend more time with you guys, that way maybe he won't seem like such an ass. But no, he has more important things to do, apparently. I mean, what kind of boyfriend does that?"

"A shitty one." The word's left Richie's lips before he could stop himself and he smacked his hands over his mouth. "Fuck, Eds...I didn't mean-"

"He is pretty shitty."

That's when Eddie started to laugh. And at that point he realised how much the two had had to drink. Richie felt the laughter bubble out of his throat only a moment later, and soon the two were leaning on each other and trying to calm down, shushing and slapping at the other's arms so the group outside wouldn't hear anything and question it.

"I've never said that out loud before." Eddie breathed once he had calmed down. Richie was close to him, their noses almost brushing. Eddie's head was hanging slightly as he stared at his socks, and Richie felt the urge to tuck some hair behind his ear. It was getting long again, and curling at the ends. Richie loved Eddie's hair this length, and he tried to tell him to let it grow out. But Eddie was used to his Mother telling him to keep it short, smart, and straight.

"Only half of that statement fits me." Eddie had winked when his mother first said that, and Richie had to shove his fist into his mouth to stop himself from cackling.

"If you think he's shitty, then why stay with him?" Richie asked, genuinely curious. Eddie rubbed a hand over his face tiredly. "I just...you deserve the fucking world, Eddie. I hope you know that."

Eddie glanced up at him, scanning his face for any hint of a joke or a laugh. But nothing happened. Richie looked totally and utterly genuine. And his heart fluttered.

"You deserve the world too, Richie." He breathed, and that's when both of them realised just how close they were to one another. Richie could smell the wine on Eddie's breath and the hint of his aftershave on his neck, and good god it was taking so much not to press his face there and take it all in properly. He stared at the juncture between Eddie's neck and shoulder, and wondered what it would be like if he kissed him there. What noises he would make if Richie was running his hand up his waist and his lips trailing over every exposed part of skin he could find. Without realising, Richie let out a soft sound of content from his throat just at the thought, and Eddie shivered in front of him.

"I already have the world." Richie whispered, finally looking back into his eyes and feeling his heart thud in his chest. Neither were really sure who leaned in first, but the moment their lips touched it didn't matter. All that mattered was that it was happening, and it felt so good.

Kisses never felt this good, but Richie was in pure heaven as he felt Eddie's hand on his waist and a soft sigh leaving his parted lips as he eagerly licked them open. Richie's body was alive and his nerves felt exposed to every touch and shudder and kiss, and it was like nothing he had ever experienced before.

The hand on his waist tightened slightly and Richie cupped Eddie's face in his hands, pulling him closer, hoping he would even sit on his lap. He wanted to feel the weight of him on his hips, Eddie's thighs clamping around him and his crotch grinding down against his own. He wanted to take Eddie upstairs and kiss him for hours, love him for hours, touch him and feel him in a way that he never had before. Not with anyone.

It was the biggest lie he had ever told, and the longest running one to date. Going back to girl's flats on nights out meant falling asleep without anything happening, except the occasional handjob and sloppy makeout. But nothing more than that. He was the one thing he didn't want to be; a total fucking virgin.

No one knew that about him, not even Beverly or Stan, but Eddie might understand. Hopefully. He wanted to be good for him, because Eddie deserved good.

You deserve the world, Eddie.

But Eddie didn't climb into his lap, or tell him he wanted to take him upstairs. Instead, Eddie stopped kissing the moment Richie touched him, and jerked back. He fell backwards into the door hard enough to throw it open and he collapsed into the living room where the others all sat up in shock to stare.

"What the fuck?" Bill asked but Eddie was already scrambling up and heading for the stairs. Richie was behind him in seconds, taking two steps at a time even in his drunken state, and hurried after him.

"Eddie, I'm sorry!" He called but Eddie was already running into their room and slamming the door in his face. "Eddie! Open the door!"

"Don't!" Eddie shouted back, and Richie could hear the others walking towards the stairs, probably staring at whatever the hell was going on. Honestly? Richie didn't know either. "We..I can't...that was so fucking stupid!"

"It was just a game, it didn't mean anything!" Richie felt the lie burn his throat, but he had to say it. Eddie clearly regretted it, so he had to just suck it up and deal with it. "Eddie, come on-"

"Go away!" Silence. Richie backed away from the door and stared at it for a long time before he felt a hand on his shoulder. Bill was looking at him with a deep sadness in his eyes, and Richie could barely look back at him. He didn't want pity, it would just make everything worse.

"I'm going for a smoke." Richie grunted , and marched past the rest of the group that had congregated on the stairs before grabbing his coat and storming outside. The second the front door slammed, Mike sighed.

"That went well."

Chapter Text

Saturday

9:23 am

Richie

It was cold out, and Richie watched the smoke from his cigarette mingle with his own warm breath and float into the air. He had been stood outside smoking for almost twenty minutes, and even though he was shirtless, shoe less, and freezing his ass off, he wasn’t planning on moving anytime soon.

He had narrowly avoided Eddie all morning, and tried to avoid everyone else while he was at it. They didn’t need to see him look down and miserable (and maybe a tiny bit hungover). His back was also aching because he had spent the night on the couch, even though Ben had insisted he stay in his bed, not wanting any guest of his to be uncomfortable. But Richie had politely refused, saying he’d rather be on his own, and had quietly gone downstairs to sort himself out, leaving everyone else to sadly watch him go.

Richie hadn’t heard anything from his and Eddie’s shared bedroom, but he had noticed Stan walk into it just as he went outside, so he figured Eddie was awake. That meant staying outside in the freezing cold was better than potentially hearing whatever conversation they were having upstairs.

He inhaled again, before stabbing the end out in the ashtray Ben had given him the night before, and folded his arms so he could lean against the wooden railing overlooking the lake. It was peaceful at least; he was grateful for that. His brain was usually so loud and wired that having time to stay quiet and calm down was limited, but out here it seemed to work pretty well. He noticed a lake off in the distance, remembering what Ben mentioned about going swimming every morning, and he considered going by himself. Or maybe asking Bill to come with, knowing the kid loved swimming. They had spent countless hours back in Derry swimming in the quarry as kids and even when high school was kicking their ass they’d go as teenagers. It brought back good memories, Ones of meeting Beverly for the first time and Richie falling backwards off the cliff to scare the others - and almost breaking his leg in the process - and Mike winning at a drinking game they had played on the rocks around a campfire on graduation night. Richie smiled, Derry wasn’t all bad.

He heard the voices of the others inside, finally waking up and moving around, and he frowned again, the past 24 hours flooding back into his brain.

He had time to think out here, time to understand what had happened and why it happened. And why Eddie had bolted. He probably thought it counted as cheating, even though it was just a game and they had played kissing games with Chris before in High School. He had never, ever cared and neither had Eddie. So why did he care now?

Richie sighed and dropped his head onto the railing. He was so sure he left the teenage angst bullshit back in college, but apparently not.

“Christ, it’s freezing!” A loud bang from behind him caused Richie to turn and see Beverly opening the front door with a shiver, clutching what looked like Ben’s sweater around her body, leaving her bare legs exposed, and hurrying over to him. “What are you still doing out here?” She asked, staring at him like he was insane.

“Having a smoke.” Richie said, and Bev snorted.

“I can see it in the ashtray, that bad boy is all smoked out.” She had him there. Beverly gently tugged on his arm before walking back towards the door to the cabin. “Come back inside, you’ll freeze out here.”

“Bev?” Richie asked before he could stop himself. When she turned to look at him again, he went still. “Do you think…do you think he hates me?”

Her face fell. Beverly reached out and pulled him towards her, embracing him tightly. “You know that’s ridiculous. Eddie could never hate you.”

“I know but…god, did you even see his face last night?” He mumbled into her hair. “He looked like he never wanted to speak to me again…he told me to go away , Bev.”

“I don’t know what got into him, I would tell you if I did.” She said, leaning back to look him in the eyes. “But he would never, ever hate you. He’s just…I think he’s confused.”

Richie frowned. “Confused about what?”

Bev pursed her lips, thinking over her response. “I don’t think Eddie knows what he really wants, or needs, anymore.” Richie stiffened. “Look, just talk to him yourself, yeah? It’ll be better if it’s sorted out just between the two of you. As much as we all love you and wanna help you, it’ll be better not getting everyone involved all at once.”

“I know, I know.” Richie hung his head a little, and Beverly cocked her head to the side before leaning up and pressing a soft kiss to his cheek.

“Hey, look at me tough guy.” Richie smiled and glanced back up. “You two will be fine. Just hear Eddie out and let him hear you out. I think you’ve both needed a talk about… things , for a while.” Richie nodded.

“I just…fuck Bev. I love him.” It came out as a whisper, only being heard by Beverly and the morning sky.

“I know you do, honey. And maybe there’s a chance that Eddie-”

“That Eddie what?” A new voice startled the both of them, and Beverly and Richie clung to each other in shock as they turned towards the bridge that led to the cabin, only to feel their hearts drop. Chris stood a few feet away with a bag swung over his shoulder, a smirk on his face, and no idea what he was about to start.

***

9:23 am

Eddie.

“You invited Chris out here?!” Stan exclaimed and Mike and Ben winced beside him. Eddie was sat at the edge of his bed with his head in his hands, trying to ignore the pounding headache and the tightness in his chest. “You seriously thought that was a good idea?”

“I was drunk!” Eddie argued, looking at Stan desperately.

Stan scoffed at him and began pacing up and down the bedroom. “Fucking too right you were drunk.”

“Stan, come on-” Mike began but his boyfriend shook his head.

“No, NO. You can’t just invite someone-”

“He’s not a someone!” Eddie snapped, standing up and glaring right into Stan’s eyes. “Okay? He’s my boyfriend . I love him, and I fucking missed him, so I asked him to come out here.” Stan didn’t say anything, so he turned to Ben. “I’m sorry I did it without telling you, really I am-”

“I really don’t care.” Ben mumbled.

“-But I just needed…I needed someone to level my head.” Stan scoffed again and rubbed a hand over his face.

“This was supposed to be just us , Eddie.”

“I know.”

“A Losers weekend, do you honestly consider him a loser?” Stan folded his arms and cocked his hip out, making Mike wince. That was his ‘I no longer give a shit’ stance, and it came out often. Every time it did, however, things never ended well.

“He was part of our group before, you know.” Eddie glared.

“Hardly!” Stan spat. “He thought you were hot so he followed us around for a few months before he asked you out. That’s not being apart of our group. Not with the shit we’ve all been through.”

“Chris has been there for me during my shitty times!” Eddie jumped from the bed, stumbling a little from feeling lightheaded. “He was there when my Mom went to hospital.”

“He came to ask you to spend the weekend at his buddies frat house instead of staying by her side, that’s not being there for you, that’s trying to take you away .” Stan’s voice was clear and cold, piercing throughout the room. Eddie was frozen, staring at his friends in shock; a hint of shame and regret in his eyes.

He hated when Stan was right.

“Being there for you would be getting you food and water when you couldn’t get up from her bedside. Bringing you fresh clothes that were washed for you. Making sure you’re sleeping correctly and not staying up every fucking night. And you wanna know who DID do that-“

“Stan, stop it!” Mike exclaimed, stopping his boyfriend mid sentence. “We don’t need to bring personal issues into this.”

“Mike-“

“No.” He placed a hand on his shoulder and started to lead him out the room. “Talk to Eddie when you’re calm.” He didn’t let him have a word in edgeways, instead leading him out the door and into the hallway, giving Ben a subtle look before he did so. Ben signed. Guess it was his turn.

He faced Eddie, only to see him slowly sitting back down on the bed with his head once again in his hands. Ben cleared his throat.

“Stan…didn’t mean to be that harsh.”

Eddie let out a breath. “Yes, he did.” He moved his hands away and Ben noticed how tired he looked. Exhausted. Frustrated. Scared. He wanted to give him a damn hug. “I’m not used to being so far from him…Chris. I guess I use him as a safety net sometimes. When I panic I…I go to him.”

Ben felt himself frowning. No you don’t…

“And…having him far away when I was panicking was making it worse, you know?”

“Why were you panicking?” Ben asked. Eddie gulped.

“Just…homesick. And being in that closet made me claustrophobic.” Eddie paused. “And...I cheated on him.”

“Eds-”

“You can’t tell me making out with Richie doesn’t count as cheating, Ben, because it fucking does. I...I did the thing I said I’d never do to someone.”

“Eddie, it’s not cheating if Chris has done the same thing during games like that.” Ben pointed out, taking a seat beside Eddie on the bed. “Remember last New Years? We played seven minutes in heaven and he went in there with Mike?” Eddie smiled a little at that; Stan had been livid. “You felt fine about that, right? And so did he. Because it’s just a dumb game, it doesn’t mean anything.”

“I guess…”

“So don’t beat yourself up over something that both of you have been okay with in the past.” Ben rubbed his shoulder comfortingly and sighed. “I’m not sure if inviting him was a great idea, though.” Eddie groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “Hey, I just meant that it’s good to have time apart.”

“I know. It was so stupid…”

“You regret it?” Ben asked.

“I’m not sure, I have a feeling I might do, though.” The moment he finished talking, there was a bang from downstairs and footsteps across the landing, and Eddie and Ben stood up just as Bill walked in.

“Uh, Chris is he-here?” He said with a yawn, looking confused. Ben glanced down at Eddie who was taking a deep breath.

“I called him.” He said quietly and brushed past his friends to head to the stairs. Behind him, Bill and Ben held hands and watched him go.

“Is he okay? What’s ha-ha-happening?” Bill whispered to his boyfriend. Ben shook his head.

“I have no fucking idea.”

***

9:26 am.

Beverly

Richie was seething, and she kept her hand on his bicep the entire time they led Chris into the cabin, both of them glaring at his back.

“What the fuck is he even doing here?” Richie growled as he watched Chris throw his bag on the couch without a care in the world. The impact messed up his pillows and blanket, ruining his makeshift bed, and he grunted. Beverly squeezed his arm.

“I don’t know, honey. But maybe this won’t go too badly?”

“Everything with that meathead goes badly, Bevs.” Richie said and he noticed Bill, Ben and Eddie on the landing looking down at them.

“Baby!” Chris cheered, raising his arms up for a hug. Eddie seemed to hesitate, but then bolted down the stairs and ran into his boyfriend’s embrace, allowing himself to be picked up and swung around the living room like a doll. Beverly snuck a glance at her boyfriends as they walked down the stairs hand in hand, and they were all thinking the same thing.

This isn’t fair on Richie.

Speaking of, he was staring with a blank expression at the entire exchange, he didn’t even flinch when Chris pulled Eddie by the neck into a deep kiss. He grunted again.

“No one needs to see that.” A voice beat him too it, and everyone turned to see Stan looking incredibly unimpressed from the top of the stairs, Mike at his side looking uncomfortable. Chris laughed after he pulled away from Eddie, who tucked himself under his large arm.

“Nice to see you too, Stanley.” Stan’s eyes narrowed. Beverly wondered if he was about to leap from the stairs and attack him. “Shit, this place is dope! Nice work, Hanscom.”

“I didn’t build it. My Dad did.” Ben said calmly, reaching out to shake Chris’s hand. Ben never could resist being a gentleman, even in tense situations like this. “Good to see you.”

“Yeah, it’s been ages, man.” Richie piped up, startling Eddie. Chris turned to look at Richie properly and let go of Eddie in the process. He walked over to where he stood beside Beverly and thumped him on the shoulder with a big grin.

“Don’t look so miserable to see me, Tozier!” Chris exclaimed. Beverly was really trying her best not to snarl at him for touching her friend, but she didn’t want to upset Eddie. She didn’t want anyone to be upset right now, not anymore. “You may have dropped contact but that doesn’t mean we aren’t buddies.”

Beverly snorted, and Chris’s head snapped to her. She held her hand up. “Sorry, smoker’s cough, ya know how it is.” Chris nodded once and then moved back to Eddie again.

“So, where’s your bedroom, babe? Is it fancy?”

Eddie stumbled over his words for a moment, looking at each of his friends with nervous, wide eyes. “Uh, it’s...yeah. Fancy. It’s real nice.”

“Bet the bed is comfy.” Chris winked, stroking a thumb over Eddie’s cheek, making him giggle a little. Richie and Beverly mimed gagging behind their backs, causing Bill to cover up a laugh with a cough.

“Yeah, sure looked comfy.” Richie said as he stood up a little straighter.

“Jealous you got the couch?” Chris smirked, and Eddie looked at Richie and Bev with apologetic eyes. Richie shook his head and scoffed.

He wouldn’t have had the couch if things had gone differently, Beverly thought to herself. She then felt Richie pull away from her and she frowned, watching him walk past Chris and Eddie and up the stairs towards the bathroom in Stan and Mike’s room. “Hey, no welcome breakfast?” Chris joked but Richie didn’t even turn around.

“I’m showering then going for a walk.” He said. “You can make breakfast yourself.” The bathroom door slammed loudly and everyone jumped, especially Eddie, who Beverly noticed was staring at the bathroom door with such sadness in his eyes that it almost made her want to hug him. But Chris was too busy already whispering in his ear for her to get to him. He must have said something inappropriate because Eddie went red and smacked his arm, receiving a laugh in response.

“We’re, um, going upstairs for a bit...to unpack Chris’s stuff.” Eddie said to Beverly who only smiled at him.

“We’ll call you when breakfast is ready.” She said and Eddie nodded as his boyfriend grabbed his bag and his hand and started dragging him upstairs.

“Which one is ours?” He asked and Mike awkwardly pointed towards Eddie’s room. Chris grinned and proceeded to wrap an arm around Eddie’s waist, throw him over his shoulder - the squeak Eddie let out made everyone jump - and carry him into the bedroom, kicking the door behind him and leaving everyone else in total silence.

“Fuck this.” Stan spat and stormed back into his bedroom, Mike sighing and following him. Ben, Bill and Beverly were the only ones left and they all stood in the living room wondering what to do next.

“Do you think your Dad kept any rat poison in this place?” Beverly asked. Ben did the mature thing and glared at her, but in the back of his mind he considered telling her it was in the back of the pantry on the third shelf, and that you could probably cook it up in some scrambled eggs.

***

15:40 pm

Richie

His third beer didn’t taste of anything and his eyes were barely focusing on the iPhone screen in front of him, but both were good things to distract him from whatever bullshit Chris had been talking for the past hour.

It had taken a while for Eddie and Chris to emerge from what used to be Eddie and Richie’s bedroom and when they had come out Eddie was sporting a dark love bite on his neck that Beverly instantly pointed out from her spot on the couch. Richie had scoffed at it, earning a scowl and “You’ve crowned yourself the king of hickeys before, Rich. You can’t talk” from Eddie. He had shuffled further into the cushions and gone in a mood where he did nothing but down beer and stare at his phone until someone occasionally spoke to him.

Stan was on his left side constantly glancing over at him or nudging him to make sure he was okay. Richie was thankful he was here, and not just because he hated Chris just as much as he did. Stan was his oldest and closest friend since they were toddlers and he could always rely on him to have his back no matter the situation. Also, Stan knew about Richie’s feelings for Eddie and how much it affected him being around Chris. He knew about the ‘incident’, as Richie called it, from when they were 17 and at Mike’s barn party. Stan knew everything, as did Ben who was also staring at Richie with a sad look from time to time, and they were the only people who were going to know.

Richie felt sick thinking about Eddie knowing what really happened when they were younger...how many lies had been told and the confessions that never happened but were always there in the back of Richie’s mind. Nagging him.

Tell him, tell him, tell him, tell him who really loves him.

“Richie?” His head snapped up to see Stan frowning at him.

“Yes boss?” He asked with a smile. He felt a little happier when Stan smiled back at him.

“How are you doing?” His voice was barely above a whisper, not wanting the others to hear. “I know this isn’t exactly what you had in mind.”

Richie sighed and sank into the cushion. “Nope.” He said, popping the p. “But...it makes him happy, so.” Stan’s eyes flickered to Eddie who was laughing into Chris’s arm at something he said. His frown deepened.

“What about you being happy?” He asked. When Richie didn’t say anything he licked his lips and moved closer. “Eddie shouldn’t be the only one happy. That’s not fair.”

“Nothing’s fair, Stanny.” Richie said glumly.

“I get that but, I don’t think it’s healthy for you to only want Eddie to be happy when you should want to be happy too.” That made Richie pause.

“What do you-“

“If I was putting myself into situations or allowing things to happen that I didn’t like, or that didn’t make me happy, purely because Mike would be happy, what would you say to me?” Stan hadn’t looked this serious since that morning, and Richie found himself struggling to meet his eye. He thought about his answer carefully, not being used to such questions.

“I...I would tell you to quit being his bitch and do what makes you…” He trailed off as he noticed Stan raising an eyebrow at him. Richie laughed. “Ah. I see what you’re doing.”

“I’m not trying to interfere or anything. I’m just trying to help you realise your worth.” Stan placed a hand on Richie’s. “Because you’re worth a hell of a lot more than you think, Rich. To all of us. And you should be worth a lot to yourself, too.”

Richie almost felt like he could cry, and he smiled the first genuine smile that day. He kissed the back of Stan’s hand - ignoring his best friends eye roll - and beamed at him.

“You’re amazing, Stanley Isaac Uris. Ya know that?”

“Of course.” He winked and the two of them laughed together just like they did as kids. Carefree, happy, together.

“What are you love birds chirping about?” Mike’s sweet voice appeared and he bent over the couch to hug the two close to his chest. Richie pressed his face to his friends shirt and inhaled, still loving the aftershave Mike had been wearing since they were teenagers.

“Delicious.” He swooned and Mike chuckled. “Just being best buddies, me old chum!”

“Good to hear it. I hate seeing you down.” Stan squeezed Mike’s shoulder lovingly at that.

“Yeah well, I’m never sad for too long, am I. Always bouncin’ back!”

“Sometimes you take that too literally.” Stan deadpanned, wincing at the memory of Richie breaking his bed one night from drunkenly jumping on it with Bill. Although he had to admit, that ikea trip the next morning had been fun.

“You wouldn’t have me any other way.” Richie winked just before noticing his beer was all gone. Pouting, he got up from the couch, leaving Mike and Stan to have a moment alone, and jogged into the kitchen to grab a new bottle from the fridge. He was humming along to the music Bill had put on in the background earlier on in the night - ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s had always been a personal party favorite of theirs - and bobbed his head to the beat as he looked around trying to find a fresh bottle, only to hear a voice from behind him.

“Uh, hey.” Richie spun around to see Eddie standing awkwardly behind him, fiddling with the sleeves of his - no, Chris’s - hoodie and chewing at his lower lip. Richie stared at him before taking the bottle he had just been reaching for, then closed the fridge door.

“So, you talkin’ to me now?” He asked bluntly, causing Eddie to wince.

“I...look, Rich-”

“Hold on.” Richie held up a finger so Eddie would pause then grabbed the bottle opener from the counter, popped open his beer, took a long swig, wiped his mouth with his sleeve, then nodded. “Okay, continue.”

Eddie raised an eyebrow but shook it off instantly. “Richie...I’m sorry. I...I was an ass yesterday-”

“A total ass.”

“-and...you deserve an apology. You were drunk, I was drunk...it was a whole drunken mess and I...I took out my fear of being called a cheater on you when it...it…” Eddie trailed off, not sure where he was going with all this.

“It takes two to tango?” Richie suggested and Eddie’s face lit up, nodding.

“Exactly!” He laughed a little too loud and coughed to cover it up. “I mean, I didn’t force you to kiss me and you didn’t force ME to kiss YOU so like...no harm done, right? It’s like Ben said, it’s just some game!”

“Sure?”

“And besides, it didn’t mean anything, it’s fucking seven minutes in heaven .” Eddie rolled his eyes, waving his hand in the air dismissively. “It never means anything if it’s some dumb drinking game.”

Tell him, tell him, tell him.

The voice in the back of Richie’s mind was almost screaming at him now at the mention of drinking games.

It meant something back then.

“Abso-fuckin’-lutely!” Richie agreed a little over enthusiastically. “I kiss Bill all the time and it doesn’t mean shit so like…” He paused to gesture up and down at Eddie. “Why would you be an exception, ya know? And kissing my big mouth must have been pretty bad anyway. I’m not exactly a guy who uses good technique. So, if anything, it’s better it doesn’t mean anything otherwise you’d be hung up on a guy who can’t kiss for shit!”

“Totally!” Eddie swallowed. “Totally.”

There was a long, awkward silence between the two of them, and Richie took the opportunity to sip his beer. Eventually, Eddie cleared his throat and shoved his hands into his jean pockets.

“So...are we cool? You and me? I don’t want this trip to end on a bad note between us...I hate when we fight.” Richie looked into his eyes, seeing the sincerity in his words, and felt his heart skip.

“Of course, Eds. I hate fighting with you too. Doesn’t feel right.”

Eddie smiled. “I agree.” Another silence. “About Chris being here-”

Richie held his hands up in surrender, his stomach dropping a little. “No damage done, kid. He’s your man, you gotta spend time with him too.”

“I know but...even though it’s nice having him here, I shouldn’t have invited him into our group weekend. That was really selfish of me. And god, now you have to sleep on the couch. Fuck .” Eddie hung his head and Richie stepped towards him, almost reaching out to him but rethinking that idea immediately.

“It’s okay. The couch is actually not too shabby, so no complaints here!” Richie grinned down at him and Eddie laughed. “You just don’t get your cuddle buddy for another night or so. So try not to miss me too much, okay?”

Eddie bumped his elbow with Richie’s. “I’ll do my best.” He then turned back to the living room. “I should get back, ya know, before Chris tells another college party story.”

Richie snorted, glancing in Chris’s direction and taking in the bored expression on everyone’s faces. “He has way too many of those.”

“Trust me, I’ve heard them all.” Eddie said tiredly. “You coming?” Richie reached into his pocket to retrieve his lighter, shaking it a little and shrugging.

“Gonna smoke first. I’ll meet you in there.” Eddie nodded and started walking backwards out of the kitchen before spinning on his heel. Richie was just about to head out of the side door leading from the kitchen to the porch when Eddie turned around again.

“Hey, Rich?”

“Yes Spaghetti Man?” He didn’t miss the way Eddie bit back a smile at that old, dumb nickname.

“You know you weren’t...you aren’t a bad kisser.”

Richie frowned. “Huh?”

“You said earlier that you were a bad kisser with no technique.” Eddie looked at the ground after licking his lips that had suddenly gotten very dry. “You’re not bad. At all. Actually you’re uh...really good.”

Richie swallowed the lump in his throat and prayed to god he wouldn’t get aroused at the idea of Eddie thinking he was a good kisser. He’d kick his own ass for that.

“Thanks, Eddie.” Richie said quietly. Eddie just nodded in response and hurried into the living room, sitting beside Chris and allowing himself to be wrapped up in his big arms again. Finally getting a moment alone, Richie scurried out the side door and leaned against the porch railing, gulping in the cold, crisp air.

He thinks I’m a good kisser. Eddie fucking Kaspbrak thinks I’m a good kisser.

The smile appeared on his lips before he could stop it and he dropped his head into his hands with a sigh.

“You’re so fucked , dude.”

Chapter Text

Sunday 8:02 am

Eddie

 

Loving is easy

You had me fucked up

It used to be so hard to see

Yeah, loving is easy

When everything's perfect

Please don't change a single little thing for me

Eddie blinked against the harsh light of the sun bleeding through the curtains and groaned. He could feel the heavy weight of Chris’s arm resting over his bare stomach and he instinctively put his hand against the tattoo of a bird he had gotten when he was seventeen. It was a falcon, very American, and the most ridiculous tattoo his boyfriend had.

He distinctly remembered the day Chris showed it off in the cafeteria in Derry High, flexing his bicep and grinning as Eddie asked to touch it. It had been out of pure innocent curiosity, he had never seen a tattoo that big before, not in a tiny, conservative town like Derry, Maine, and he was mesmerised by it. The falcon wrapped around his arm and the wingspan almost went up to his shoulder. Eddie’s fingers had grazed the falcon’s beak and claws and he had been too distracted to notice the smirk Chris had given Richie from across the table; Eddie had also failed to notice Richie angrily stick his earphones in and proceed to ignore everyone for the rest of their lunch period. He hadn’t realised because Richie instantly perked up the moment he got to walk Eddie to chemistry, because whenever Eddie was around Richie was his bright, bubbly, natural self again.

And that was all Eddie was destined to see, the side of Richie he wanted Eddie to see.

Eddie stared down at the tattoo now, almost five years later, and let out a deep sigh before the music that had first woken him up started up again. He frowned, listening to a familiar guitar rift, then smiled.

Richie was playing Rex Orange County, which meant he was in a good mood. Which, by default, meant he was cooking pancakes.

Richie’s happiest days were always spent the same way:

  1. Wake up horrendously early no matter what day of the week
  2. Make a mountain of chocolate chip and banana pancakes for everyone
  3. Blare his ‘good fucking mood’ playlist
  4. Dance around the kitchen in his favourite boxers; the white ones with big red love hearts on them

And Eddie loved every single step he followed (especially the last one, oddly enough).

He looked over at Chris, who was softly snoring beside him, and Eddie felt his fingers glide through his hair gently. He didn’t want to wake him, he’d be cranky otherwise, so he left it at that. With as little movement as possible he lifted Chris’s arm from his body and placed it on the spot he had been sleeping in, which was still warm, before pulling the duvet a little further up his body and rummaging around for something to throw on. He and Chris had engaged in...activities...the previous night and Eddie really didn’t want to walk downstairs in just his boxers because not only would that expose him, but Richie would never let him live that down. That asshole did love to make fun of him. He grabbed a pair of black sweatpants and an old hoodie, hunching down into its warmth, before tiptoeing out of the bedroom, shutting the door quickly but quietly as the music was a lot louder than he expected.

The floorboards were cold against his feet and Eddie’s body shivered as he made his way down the stairs, catching a glimpse of Richie’s bare back in the kitchen, dancing around to the beat. He smiled again.

 

I was all on my own

Almost glad to be alone

Until love came in on time, on time

 

Eddie remained totally silent standing in the living room just staring as Richie - clad in his his love heart boxers as suspected - bobbed his head and shimmied his hips, waving a spatula around his head like a madman, and singing along in his best Alex O’Connor impression. Everyone had to admit it was a damn good impression, but Eddie wasn’t focusing on that, he was focusing on very minute things about the scene in front of him.

He noticed the way Richie’s shoulder blades moved under his skin, flexing his back muscles in such a way that Eddie couldn’t tear his eyes away. Eddie’s jaw hung open as he almost became hypnotised at Richie’s hips and for a very, very, fleeting moment he wondered what would happen if he walked over and rested his hands there...felt how warm Richie’s body was and press his face into the back of his neck.

Eddie’s throat went dry and he suddenly felt uncomfortable. Not overall, just uncomfortable in his sweatpants. He couldn’t move, though, because all he could think about was how damn good Richie looked. Not just that morning either, but all the time. Every damn day, Richie looked good. And he never intended to look good either, Richie didn’t give a shit about looks. His hair was a birds nest of curls that never looked neat or even remotely brushed, his clothes were never ironed or coordinated and his vulgar comments could turn anyone off. Yet Eddie wanted to run his fingers through his hair, press his face into his shirt and smell his cologne, he wanted to listen to him all day.

He swallowed the lump in his throat and glanced down at the bulge forming in his sweatpants. And in that moment, he realised two very distinct scenarios could play out:

 

  1. He could start thinking about anything other than Richie, like his mother in the hospital or the cat he saw getting run over when he was 5. Both very unsexy and incredibly traumatising.
  2. He could quickly run to the bathroom and maybe, just maybe, jerk off.

 

Not over Richie though , he told himself, just to get rid of the morning wood . Yep, the morning wood.

 

So listen, girl

When you can't even hide it

And it didn't take forever to find it

 

Richie’s voice was drifting through the kitchen like a wave, and it made Eddie shiver again. He really was an amazing singer, even if sometimes he purposefully sang off key to piss the others off. But when he took the time to sing properly, in the singing voice he was born with - and the one that he had inherited from his mother - he could silence an entire room. Anyone would stop and listen to him, and it had been that way since they were kids. Richie would sing Christmas carols in his parents living room when the Losers came over after Christmas dinner, dancing around the tree and kissing them all on the cheek whilst holding mistletoe above their heads.

He just loved performing, even when he had no audience. Except, right now, he did have an audience.

 

Loving is easy

You had me fucked up

It used to be so hard to see

Yeah, loving is easy

When everything's perfect

Please don't change a single little thing for me

 

He was finally on the last verse, and Eddie watched with soft eyes and a pounding heart as Richie flipped the pancakes in the frying pan and softly sang to himself. He realised, moments after the song finished and Britney Spears blared through the speaker, that he should stop being a total creep and announce his presence. So, after swiftly pulling his hoodie down over his crotch, Eddie dramatically yawned and walked over.

Richie jumped a little in surprise but beamed the moment he saw Eddie come towards him, and he held the frying pan up. “Mornin’ sleepyhead! Want first pick of the day?”

“Morning, Rich.” Eddie smiled. “How many am I permitted to have?” He asked as he hopped up on the counter beside the stove, crossing his legs and resting his elbows on his knees.

“As many as you so desire, My Lord.” Richie winked, and Eddie bit his lip at the butterflies that erupted in his stomach at that. What the hell was wrong with him today? He had gotten laid less than eight hours ago so there was no way he was still horny, although his crotch was thinking otherwise. However, the way Richie would occasionally glance over at him as he laid the pancakes out on some plates was making him feel strange. But a good strange, a happy strange.

“Three’s good.” Eddie said quietly. Richie noticed the change in tone and he looked over properly, turning his body to face him. Eddie tried not to stare at the faint abs on his stomach. Curse Ben and Mike for dragging him to the gym.

“You okay, Eds? You’re all pink.” Richie reached a finger out to poke at Eddie’s cheek and felt him flinch under his touch, recoiling instantly. “Are you-”

“Just tired is all.” Eddie waved it off casually, laughing at Richie’s expression. “What, you going soft on me? Didn’t realise you worried that much.”

“Well,” Richie smirked, leaning against the fridge. “Someone is certainly sassy this morning.”

Eddie just shrugged and teared off a piece of pancake to throw into his mouth. “I’m in a good mood, I guess.”

“I can see that.” Richie nodded downwards and Eddie froze, glancing at his crotch area. “You really think I wouldn’t clock it? I have twenty twenty vision, ya know.”

Eddie felt his entire body heat up and he yanked his hoodie further down, frowning at the floor as he chewed. “You wear glasses you fucking asshole. And did you really have to point that out?”

“No.”

“Then why did you?”

“I’m an asshole.” Richie grinned. Eddie rolled his eyes and huffed, turning away from his best friend and focusing on whatever song was playing. It had slowly faded away, transitioning into a new one, and Eddie sighed as the familiar beat of ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ blared throughout the kitchen. Still refusing to look up, he heard Richie’s whoop of joy and could sense he was playing the air guitar in front of him. Richie had always loved 80’s rock, and this song in particular was a favourite of his. It had enough mixture of badass and sexual undertones to make him scream it out in his bedroom - drunk or sober - and sometimes he even convinced the others to join in.

“TUNE!” Richie shouted and he spun on the spot before headbanning. Eddie looked at him then and grimaced.

“Rich, you’re gonna wake everyone up!”

 

It's early morning, the sun comes out

Last night was shaking and pretty loud

 

“Oh for fuck sake-”

 

My cat is purring, it scratches my skin

So what is wrong with another sin?

 

Eddie stared at him with an expression Richie couldn’t read, but it didn’t seem to stop him from inching closer to him with every second the song continued. Eddie blinked, unknowingly looking Richie up and down, and felt his entire body stiffen. He wanted to get up and walk away, knowing this song would just spur Richie to do something stupid...like continue to get close enough that his hips are touching Eddie’s knees...he almost stopped breathing.

 

The bitch is hungry, she needs to tell

So give her inches and feed her well

 

Eddie wasn’t entirely sure if Richie had meant to do it or not, but there was a definite emphasis on the word ‘inches’ and he gulped. They were almost nose to nose now, Richie smiling wickedly at him whilst miming the words, swinging his hips and shaking his head. He was torturing him, Eddie realised, unbeknownst to him Richie was actually torturing him in this kitchen. He almost wanted to push him away, but he could suddenly feel the heat radiating off of his bare chest and he realised he really, really didn’t want to do that at all. He wanted to pull Richie closer, touch his shoulders and wrap his arms around his neck, feel Richie’s breath on his cheek and just be near him.

Eddie started to panic as Richie’s nose brushed his unexpectedly. He should not be thinking any of this, he had a boyfriend and he was technically being unfaithful, even if it was just thoughts running through his very confused and very flustered brain. But the more Richie moved and from the moment he placed his hands on either side of Eddie’s legs, staring him in the eyes, Eddie almost didn’t care.

Almost .

Richie had stopped miming now, the music just playing in the background and getting quieter for the both of them. Time passed them as they just stared into each other’s eyes, neither of them moving. All it took was Richie’s eyes to flicker down at Eddie’s lips for the tension to burst.

“Rich, I-”

“Morning boys.” Richie jumped away from Eddie as fast as he could, almost slamming into the refrigerator in the process. Eddie was gripping his hoodie as Chris stood in the doorway of the kitchen, smiling at him. Nobody made a sound for almost ten seconds and Eddie wanted to the ground to swallow him up. “Those pancakes smell good!”

“Uh...feel free to have some.” Richie said, clearing his throat and scratching the back of his neck. “Bon appetit, as the French say.”

Chris laughed and walked over, pecking Eddie on the lips as he passed him, and grabbed a plate, piling it high. Eddie glanced over Chris’s shoulder only to see Richie staring right back. They had almost-

“Eddie, baby?” He turned to look at his boyfriend, who was already tucking into his breakfast with a smile. “You wanna shower first? I might go for a run.”

“Oh, sure!” Eddie hopped off the counter and nodded. “I’ll lay out a towel for you when you get back.” He then turned and hurried out of the kitchen without looking back, not wanting to be anywhere near Richie or his bare chest ever again.

 

***

 

8:10 am

Richie

 

He didn’t look mad, Richie thought as he watched Chris eat. He didn’t look upset either, and he really wasn’t sure what that meant. He had caught them in a pretty obvious position, Richie was almost ready to lean in and kiss him for fuck sake. The song had riled him up, Eddie’s boner had riled him up, and the fact that Eddie hadn’t pulled away but instead looked utterly breathless made everything worse. He was just a man for god sake, there was only so much he could ignore.

There had been something there. Maybe. Or maybe Richie really was just that dumb and hopeful.

“You know what’s funny?” Chris said after a few moments of total silence. Richie cocked his head towards him.

“I don’t,” he replied. “But I have a pretty strong feeling you’re about to tell me.”

Chris snorted. “How you look at him.” Richie froze. Spoke to soon.

“I don’t know-”

“I’m not as stupid as you think I am.” Chris said, still nonchalantly eating his pancakes. That was honestly the scariest thing about it, he didn’t even look that bothered. “I see the way you look him up and down when he’s not paying attention. The way you act around him is different when I’m here but I can still see it.”

Richie swallowed and turned to face him properly. “Look man, I don’t mean to-”

“It’s not gonna happen.” Chris put the now empty plate on the counter, leaning against it and folding his huge arms across his equally huge chest. Jesus, Richie thought to himself, Eddie would get crushed by him in bed. “You and Eddie. It’ll never happen, you know that, right? Or are you still just as delusional as you were when you were seventeen?”

Richie’s eyebrows furrowed and he suddenly felt the overwhelming urge to reach over and sock him in the nose. Prick.

“I’m not trying to steal your man away, Chris.” He said. “I’m his best friend.”

“Who you wanna fuck, right?” Chris smirked and it turned Richie’s stomach. “I know you, Tozier. A lot better than you think. I remember what you told me.”

“Don’t bring that shit up. It’s in the past. You got there first, you made that very fuckin’ clear.” Richie was seething now, hands clasped in fists at his sides and his eyes narrowing at the man he used to call his friend in high school. Now, he had never wanted someone out of his life more.

Chris just laughed at him and took a few steps over so they were toe to toe. He was a big guy, a few inches taller than Richie and even Mike, who was the tallest of the Losers by far, and he looked down at Richie as if he was shit on his shoe.

“You need to understand something if we’re gonna get along, for Eddie’s sake of course.” Chris said, his voice quiet and so sinister that Richie wondered if he was about to kill him and stash his body in the freezer. He wouldn’t put it past him, Chris had always hated Richie’s guts. He knew how to get under his skin and humiliate him, and he hated that. People never tried to intentionally piss Chris off, but Richie did. Richie always tried to cross the line and then some, and that drove him fucking nuts. “He will never, and I mean never, love you back.” Richie’s heart sank. “He loves me, okay? He always did, because I wasn’t a fucking pussy, and I told him how I felt. You didn’t. You missed your fucking chance, kid, and you blew it. So he’s mine, and you’ve got nobody.”

“He’s too fucking good for you.” Richie hissed, getting in Chris’s face.

“He’s too good for you either, dumbass. If anything, it’s worse for you, because all you’re gonna be is his friend. Not his boyfriend, not the guy who gets to fuck him every night, not the guy who’s gonna marry him someday.” Richie’s hand twitched and he panicked as Chris’s eyes glanced down at it. “You wanna hit me? Go right ahead. I’m sure Eddie would love you for it.”

“Fuck you, muscle head.” Richie spat. “You don’t know shit about how I feel.”

“Don’t I? Didn’t I catch you trying to kiss him just now? Or was that just my imagination?” Richie shut his mouth, for once in his life not knowing how to reply. Chris nodded. “That’s what I thought. Now, move the fuck on, and stay away from him. He’s better off without you following him around like some pathetic lost puppy anyway.” Chris then patted him on the shoulder and walked out, as if that entire interaction hadn’t happened. Richie watched him leave and once he was out of earshot, let out the breath he had been holding in.

God, why did he make pancakes today?

 

***

 

Sunday 10:00 am

Bill

 

“So, who's going first?”

“I’m not going first, it’s like five fucking degrees out here.”

“Richie, it’s not th-th- that cold.

“It might as well be! My balls have shrivelled up into my body.”

“That’s disgusting...and so medically inaccurate. Fuck, why did I even bother showering if I knew we were gonna do this?! My hair is gonna stink of swamp water for a week!”

“Guys! Just one of you jump in already!” Ben exclaimed from where he was taking off his shirt behind them. The boys were all crowded around the lake near the cabin in their boxers, shivering and very much regretting the decision to leave the warm comfort of their bedrooms.

“What about you handsome?” Richie grinned at him, only to receive a middle finger in response. “That’s what I thought.” He turned back to the lake. “Ugh, can’t we just like...not do this?”

“We’ll just look like pussies.” Eddie grumbled, knowing Beverly was probably watching from the porch as she smoked, shaking her head in disappointment at them all.

“Wanna impress your man?” Stan teased and then stumbled when Mike elbowed him in the ribs. “What? I’m right, aren’t I?” Eddie puffed his chest out and scoffed.

“I don’t need to impress Chris.” He said sternly. “He knows how amazing I am.”

“At sucking dick or jumping into lakes?” Stan threw back, causing Bill and Richie to cackle with laughter.

“Fuck you, Stanley.” Eddie snapped and tried to reach over and push him into the lake. Stan growled and made a move for him, Eddie screeching and hiding behind Ben just as he approached them.

“Dude, calm down. He won’t actually push you in.” Ben laughed.

Eddie shook his head. “Never trust an angry blonde.” Eddie said and Bill almost fell into the lake himself because he was laughing so much. He grabbed Richie’s shoulder and tried to steady himself but almost sent the both of them in.

“Woah careful!” Richie shouted and jumped back.

“L-l-let’s just all do it.” Bill suggested once he caught his breath, glancing at the others to gage their reactions. None of them looked very happy about it, but then again, at least they’d be suffering together.

“Or, new plan,” Richie piped up. “Push Mike in for suggesting such a horrible morning activity?” Everyone turned to Mike who threw his hands up in annoyance.

“That’s mutiny!”

“It’s logical.” Ben shrugged.

“It was your idea.” Eddie slowly moved out from behind Ben.

“Uh, I never said any of you HAD to come with me, you know. It was supposed to be a me and Stan thing.” Mike pointed out. “You all just wanted to do something other than sleep or watch reruns of Friends.”

“I can’t watch the first season again.” Stan mumbled. “It’s torture. I know all the words.”

“Oh, I get it!” Richie grinned wickedly, looking at Stan and Mike and pointing between them. “You two were gonna bone in the lake!” That just set Bill and Ben off this time. Even Eddie was giggling into his hand. “You absolute animals!”

“Richie, do you just assume all Mike and I do is have sex with each other?” Stan deadpanned.

Richie shrugged. “Honestly? Yes, yes I do.”

Stan nodded with raised eyebrows. “Thank you for your honesty, now prepare to get your ass thrown in the lake by both of us.” Stan went for him but Mike and Bill held him back.

“More mutiny! Let’s just do it all together, it’s getting cold and the quicker we get in the quicker we can-”

“Get the fuck back out, got it Mike.” Eddie finished for him. The boys all stood up straight again and stared into the glistening water, their reflections staring back at them. No one moved.

“This is getting embarrassing.” Ben mumbled.

“Retreat to the living room?” Mike suggested. They were all about to nod and turn around when they heard rustling from behind them. A bush was moving slightly and they all watched in fear before Beverly came tumbling out in her pyjamas, long hair flowing down her back and a huge smile on her face.

“Well, well, well. Look who’s too chicken to jump. AGAIN.” A memory flashed between the seven of them from when they were thirteen and standing on the edge of the quarry cliff in Derry. None of the boys had jumped first then, it had been Beverly. And by the looks of things with Bev pulling her shorts down, history was about to repeat itself.

“Bev-” Bill started, but was cut short by her kicking her shorts to the side and flinging her jumper off, revealing her bright red underwear. He clamped his mouth shut and joined the boys in staring in awe as Beverly rolled her eyes and placed her hands on her hips.

“Are you guys seriously not gonna jump?” She asked. They all glanced at each other. She scoffed. “Pussies.” And with that, Bev took off in a sprint towards the lake, brushing past Stan and Mike’s shoulders and cannonballing into the water.

“What the fuck?!” Richie exclaimed in the few seconds it took Bev’s head to pop back up to the surface. She gulped in the air and laughed at the looks on their faces.

“You coming?” Bill smiled at her and jumped in almost automatically, just like he had when he was younger, and embraced the freezing cold water that surrounded him as he went under. He could hear the others jumping in around him and swam towards the centre of the lake before coming up for air. Everyone was in now, all gasping and complaining about the temperature, but honestly, Bill couldn’t feel how cold it was.

As the minutes ticked on, all he felt was the warmth in his chest as Stan and Mike splashed each other, as Richie and Eddie tried their very best to dunk one another, and as Ben floated on his back with his eyes closed and a content smile on his face. Bill watched his friends silently from the water, his nose barely above the ripples in the water.

“Hello lover.” Beverly’s voice was in his left ear, her hands were around his torso, and her legs were entangling themselves with his own. And Bill smiled.

“Hey yourself.” He whispered back, intertwining their fingers and holding her close. “You not cu-cu-cold?”

“Freezing.” She giggled. “But this is too nice. Don’t you think?” Bill nodded, leaning back against her body. Somehow, even in this lake, she still felt warm to him. “Ben looks happy.”

“He’s always ha-happy.”

“True. You look happy.” Beverly pressed a gentle kiss to Bill’s cheek. “I love seeing my boys like this.”

“You ma-make us happy, Bev.” Bill admitted. There was a ripple in the water and they both turned to see Ben swimming over, and both of their hearts fluttered. “Regretting this yet?”

“Never. Not when Bev still insists on showing us all up like that.” He smirked, ruffling her hair lovingly.

“I’m just not scared of a little water.” She winked and then laughed at the feigned offence on Bill’s face.

“I’m nu-nu-not scared of anything, Miss Mu-Marsh.” He gasped and grabbed Beverly by the waist, hoisting her into the air and grinning at her screech of terror before dunking her under the water. Ben watched as Beverly came up for air and pounced on Bill’s back, shoving his head under the water and cheering in victory before Ben pushed her off and grabbed them both.

Everyone knew Ben had gained a significant amount of muscle since high school, and even though he wasn’t as toned as he wanted to be he was definitely the strongest of the group. So picking both Bill and Beverly up and throwing them into the water was a piece of cake.

Bill spluttered and splashed Ben in response, hearing Beverly’s gorgeous laugh behind him. The others were laughing at them too now, and eventually the lake was being splashed about between all seven of them. Richie at one point even suggested they play an old game from their childhood, which lead to Eddie being hoisted onto his shoulders whilst Beverly got onto Stan’s, and the two wrestling in the air. Ben, Mike and Bill cheered on the sidelines; their voices echoing into the woods that surrounded them, until Bill heard rustling behind him.

He turned, the others voices drowning out behind him as he looked off into the clearing only to see a few branches being forcefully shoved aside. He frowned as Chris’s body appeared before him, wearing some old sneakers, a huge sweater and some sweatpants. He was shivering, and looked pissed as he marched over to the lake.

“EDDIE!”

***

10:15 am

Eddie

Everyone stopped what they were doing so abruptly that Beverly almost slipped off of Stan’s shoulders. His reflexes were quick however and he managed to grab her thighs just in time.

“Eddie, your damn phone keeps ringing, why didn’t you bring it with-” Chris stopped himself as he noticed what the group was doing, and blinked. “Why the fuck are you in a lake?”

“Oh, we thought we would...uh, wake ourselves up?” Eddie explained with a laugh, climbing from Richie’s back, swimming over to the edge of the lake and pulling himself up the bank.

“It’s freezing outside.” Chris pointed out.

“It’s not that bad, really, why don’t you join us, babe?” He ignored the groan Stan made from behind him.

“Yeah, no. Anyway, your phone has been ringing for the past twenty minutes and it’s getting annoying.” Chris handed his phone over and folded his arms. “Haven’t your dicks fallen off from being in there? It looks ready to freeze over.”

“Uh, lemme check!” Richie hollered back, and felt around in his shorts for a moment. The Losers all laughed as he shook his head and held two thumbs up after a moment. “Nope, dick is still there! Thanks for being so concerned though.”

“Rich, shut up.” Eddie said, but he laughed a little to himself whilst walking off to the side, away from everyone else, and looked through his phone. There were multiple missed calls from his Aunt Veronica and he frowned. She never called him, ever. She had given him her phone number when he first got a phone at the age of 16 purely because his Mother wanted him to have it. The same went for their sister, his Aunt Helen, who had never once messaged him in his life. She was extremely old at this point, and Eddie assumed she didn’t know how to use her phone at all. She would probably write him a letter using a quill if she could be bothered to check up on her only nephew. Instead, she would take time out of her day to see how her nieces were doing, because they were pretty and polite and quiet, not brash and loud like Eddie was. He preferred the word confident but his Aunt’s wouldn’t have it.

Eddie clicked on the phone app and tapped on his Aunt’s number, pressing the phone to his ear and waiting to hear the familiar beeping. He could faintly hear the others in the background and Chris saying something about taking Eddie home in his car with him, which made his heart sink as he had really wanted to be with the others for the trip back, but before he could really think about it his Aunt had picked up.

“Hey Auntie Veronica!” He said politely, forcing a smile onto his face. “Is everything okay?”

Silence came through the phone before a sob could be heard a little far away, as if she was holding the phone at a distance to compose herself. “Oh Edward, it’s horrible!”

“Wh-what is? Auntie, are you alright?” He pressed a hand over his right ear as he could barely hear her, only the sound of someone splashing around in the water and yelling.

“Your Mother, Edward, oh your poor, poor mother! My dear Sonia!” His Aunt wailed into the phone. Her voice had always been prickly and harsh and he hated listening to her when she was upset, which was a lot. She would call his Mother most weekends to complain about something that had traumatised her, like a waiter being a little curt with her at a restaurant or some man yelling at her for not knowing how to drive, which was entirely true.

“Mom? You know I haven’t seen her in weeks, Auntie.” Eddie sighed. “Is she refusing her medication again?”

“She’s gone!” Veronica all but cried down the phone and Eddie’s body went still.

“She...what are you talking about?”

“Last night! Oh, Edward, she was so weak! She couldn’t talk or eat, we tried to get her to do something, anything, but she wouldn’t! She was so still and cold and the doctors, oh those horrible doctors they didn’t-”

“Is she dead?” His Aunt sniffled down the phone.

“Yes darling...I’m so sorry, oh Sonia!” She began wailing again and Eddie tuned her out completely. His brain short circuited and he stared off into the woods in front of him, taking in the leaves twisting and turning in the breeze. He wondered if his Mother had seen the trees from her hospital window. Probably not; she hated the outdoors. She had most likely asked the nurses to close the curtains for her. It had always been dark in her room, Eddie could just about remember it. She didn’t like the light as it hurt her eyes, and he had to sit across from her because she didn’t want him to catch her germs. She still couldn’t get it through her head that cancer wasn’t infectious.

Eddie could barely make out his Aunt’s words of the funeral, that it was taking place in a cemetery just outside of Derry and that he was to attend, no exceptions. Just as she was about to hang up the phone, crying too much to speak at that point, Eddie stopped her.

“Did...did Mom say anything about me?” He whispered into the phone. “Before she...did she say anything about me?”

His Aunt went quiet for a while, and Eddie felt like being sick. “She wished you had been there instead of with your... boyfriend .” She spat the word out as if it were poisonous. “Your delinquent friends too, I think she said, she was terribly worried about you-.” He hung up before she could say anything else.

“Eds! You okay?” Richie called out as he watched Eddie slowly turn around and walk back over to the edge of the lake. Eddie was quiet, staring at the phone in his hands. The Losers looked at each other nervously.

“Eddie?” Mike’s voice snapped him out of it, and he blinked at them before remembering where he was.

“My mom’s dead.”

Chapter Text

Thursday 15:30 pm

Mike

When his parents died, Mike didn’t think he’d ever attend another funeral. Memories of walking through the church would flash through his mind sometimes, mostly when he was having a bad day, and he’d remember how his hands shook as everyone sitting in the pews turned to look at him. Small, terrified, orphaned Mike Hanlon walking in front of his grandparents without shedding a tear. They probably thought he was heartless for not crying at the funeral; if he remembered correctly, he was the only person, other than the member of his church who was holding the event, who didn’t cry for even a second throughout the entire day.

It took him about three weeks to actually cry over what happened, and it was at Bill’s house on a Sunday night. He had been invited over by his parents for Sunday dinner and had been sitting between Sharon Denbrough, Bill’s mother, and Georgie Denbrough, Bill’s younger brother who had begged Mike to come over just as much as Bill had. Georgie was a sweet kid, Mike really liked him being around even if Bill thought he was embarrassing always asking Mike to see his Lego’s. Mike honestly enjoyed looking after Georgie with Bill, he enjoyed taking care of kids and always dreamt of becoming a father himself one day. Bill admired that, even if he had no idea why Mike liked Georgie considering his little brother would talk too loudly and throw a tantrum at the smallest things.

Mike could picture himself sat at the Denbrough dinner table whilst they ate their meals, politely chatting to one another about their days - Zack, Bill’s father, asked Mike if he was ready to start high school later that month, as it was the summer and Mike was no longer going to be home schooled by his grandfather, much to his relief - before he suddenly burst into tears. It was completely unprovoked and it scared their family dog, who was unironically named Dog - Georgie was great at picking names -  and he whined from across the room. Bill’s parents had dropped their cutlery and were about to start comforting their guest but Bill beat them to it, holding Mike by the shoulders and taking him outside onto the back porch to give him some air and to let him make as much noise as possible without anyone else being around. Bill was good like that, he good to all of them.

“It’s okay, Mike.” He had whispered as the two of them firmly held hands, Mike’s sobs echoing out into the late afternoon sun. “It’s okay to cry, just let it all out.” Mike had believed him without a second thought because Bill didn’t stutter, and when he didn’t stutter he was at his most powerful. At least that’s what it felt like to the others, and most likely that’s how it felt for Bill. He had been embarrassed of his stutter for years but Mike had always told him it was like his secret identity, almost like a superpower, when it went away he was at his most confident and at his strongest, and Bill hadn’t felt that bad about it since.

Years later, Mike didn’t expect to be in a similar position to that day in Bill’s back garden; holding hands and hearing sobs echoing around them. Except this time it wasn’t Mike that was crying, it was Veronica and Helen Sadler. Mike had only heard about them through Eddie in passing, and it had never been particularly good things. Eddie wasn’t fond of his family, he had made that perfectly clear, so he never felt the need to bring them up.

His Aunt Veronica was a housewife, as his Mother had been, and rarely left her mansion out in the suburbs of Maine. She had five children, all girls, and Eddie had never liked them. They always tried to dress him up in skirts and put his hair into braids when all he wanted to do was just read his comic books by the fire in silence. His Aunt hadn’t liked that apparently and often approved of her daughters dressing up games. Sonia hadn’t minded it either and Mike was shocked to find out Eddie once heard her say she would have loved to have had a daughter instead. Eddie never seemed bothered by it, surprisingly enough, he knew it would be easier for her to deal with a daughter loving boys than her son loving boys. All of the Sadler girls had been brought up to believe being gay was wrong, unheard of, unsanitary, and unfortunately Sonia had told that to Eddie everyday until he moved out. 

His Aunt Helen reminded Mike of the old witches he’d see in his bedtime story books from childhood. The ones his mother would put on evil, cackling voices for to make him laugh. In reality, Helen Sadler’s voice was booming and terrifying and Mike froze the moment he heard her when the group of them first entered the church as she greeted her nephew. 

“Edward. It’s been too long. Why do you never visit?”

“I have work, Auntie. I live seven hours away in New York, now.”

His Aunt had scoffed. “Disgustingly filthy place. No wonder your mother disproved. You never even visited her.” Mike had to try not to laugh as Richie mimed slitting his throat. 

It taken them a little while to actually get to the church, and to Derry in the first place, and it was all because Chris was once again acting irrationally towards Eddie. He had planned a little trip with his old college buddies that week and was unable to go to the funeral with the rest of them. Mike had wanted to step in, tell Chris to grow out of his childish antics and act like an actual twenty-two year old. He wanted Chris to be there for Eddie, even if he didn’t like him all that much, because he knew it could help Eddie get through this. But instead, the two argued on the Losers front porch and the rest of them watched from Richie’s bedroom window with sour expressions. They heard Chris say that Eddie should just come with him instead, take his mind away from all the death and sadness, but Eddie snapped at him before he could even finish his sentence.

“It’s my fucking mother’s funeral!” He had screeched, getting in Chris’s face. “I may have hated her and she may have ruined my life and my childhood, but she is my goddamn mother and I’m not missing this for your stupid friends!” Chris had left not long after that, waving his hand at Eddie dismissively and driving off into the distance. Eddie had marched back inside, slammed the door, and stormed up the stairs only to catch the others at the window. He scowled. “Shows over, assholes! You can stop spying on me!” And he had disappeared into his bedroom for the next two days before emerging on the morning of the funeral.

The group had to get up just before seven in the morning if they wanted to get to Maine on time; none of them wanted to stay in a hotel so they had opted for Mike driving them down in his van and Ben driving them back. Beverly had packed them all breakfast snacks for the journey and Stan had ironed everyone’s suits and Beverly’s dress the night before, hanging their outfits on the curtain rack in the living room. Mike had stared at his with sad eyes, wishing he’d never have to wear that thing, and he felt Stan come up behind him to hold his hand.

“I’m sorry you have to go to another one, my love.” He whispered into his shoulder, stroking a thumb over Mike’s hand. Mike smiled at his boyfriend and gently kissed at his curls.

“I have you this time. I have everyone I love around me. It’ll be different. We just need to be there for Eddie.” Stan nodded and kissed Mike firmly on the lips.

“But just because today is about Eddie doesn’t mean you can’t be upset, so you tell me if you are, okay? I’m not going to stop worrying about you.” Mike smiled.

“I adore you, little bird.” He said lovingly. “Now and forever.”

Mike held Stan’s hand now,  as his lover was sat on his left side whereas Bill was on his right. Next to Bill was Beverly, then Richie, then Ben. Eddie had to sit up at the front with his aunts and cousins and hadn’t turned around the entire time they had been there. Mike watched the back of his head and sighed, causing Stan and Bill to both squeeze of his hands. He felt grateful, in that moment. He was surrounded by those he loved, just as he said to Stan that morning, and he was okay, but he couldn’t help but imagine his parents up there instead of Eddie’s mother. He imagined seeing their faces instead of the caskets being closed up. They had been involved in a fire, no one had agreed to an open casket.

Mike sank into the seat as the pastor began talking to the crowd. Not many people had attended Sonia Kaspbrak’s funeral, just her family, the Losers, and some people she had played bingo with on weekends. He could hear Eddie’s Aunt Veronica sobbing from the front and felt his heart go out to her. If he had siblings he would just be as devastated, but he couldn’t relate to her in that way. He glanced over at Bill. God forbid if something ever happened to Georgie, he reckoned all of the Losers would be sobbing.

“Sonia was a loving woman, a woman who cared deeply about her family and friends, and was a devout woman of faith.” The pastor began, and Richie snorted causing everyone in the rows in front to turn and glare at him. He sank down in his seat and held up a hand in apology. Stan rolled his eyes and tutted at him and Mike cracked a smile his way. He could always count on Richie at times like these, even if it was inappropriate.

The pastor cleared his throat and began talking once more. “She never missed a church meeting, and wanted to really help this community as much as she could. However, her illness took her away from us before she could make the change she had always dreamed of. These are dark times, truly, but together we can get through this, and celebrate Sonia’s life together. Just as she would have wanted.”

Mike wondered if Eddie was buying any of this, because he sure wasn’t. He had only met Sonia a few times growing up, but it had never been particularly pleasant. She was always judging the Losers, especially Beverly and Richie. Beverly purely because of the horrible rumours the kids at their school would spread around about her - it didn’t help when she began dating both Bill and Ben, but none of them ever cared - and Richie because of how loud and scruffy he was. Mike had just politely smiled at her, thanked her for allowing him over to her house - a very rare occasion - and continued to send her Christmas cards until they moved to New York.

“Before we continue, I’d like to invite Edward Kaspbrak, Sonia’s only son, to come up here and read something he has prepared for his mother.” The Losers sat up a little in their seats. They hadn’t expected this at all, and gave each other glances as Eddie awkwardly stepped up to the podium, placing a piece of paper down in front of him and clearing his throat.

“Is he actually going to talk about that vile woman?” Beverly whispered and Ben shushed her. “What? She was vile! She faked his asthma and allergies for fuck sake-”

“Don’t swear, the Lord’s watching.” Richie said.

“He can kiss my ass.”

“Beverly!” Bill hissed but he was trying to hold in a smile.

“Guys, Eddie’s about to start.” Mike silenced them and they all looked up at their friend with baited breath.

Eddie sighed heavily and licked his lips before finally speaking. “My mother was...troubled. I suppose that’s the best way to describe it without being too mean. I don’t think she ever really got over my father passing away, what wife would, you know? She had her heart broken, and I think most of us know what that feels like.” Mike couldn’t help but look at Richie who was staring at Eddie with a sad expression. “She...didn’t like to talk about him too much with me. She said he was tall and graceful and funny...nothing like me, really.” He laughed to himself and looked down at the paper. “I never really got to know him, I was five when he died, but I remember the way he’d look at her sometimes when we were all out having dinner or playing in the park. He seemed nice. And I wish I got to know him like she did. But...instead I got to know the woman she really was.” Eddie clenched his jaw and Mike had a feeling he knew where this speech was headed.

Eddie’s Aunts were probably glaring at him, he realised, and he felt bad for his friend. He wanted to stand up there with him and support him but instead he had to sit all the way back here and just watch on. He hated not being able to help.

“She told me I had asthma when I was a kid. Like, really bad asthma. I carried around two inhalers every day, took them to school, church, the arcade, everywhere I went, because I thought without them I’d die. She said that I had allergies and kept me out of school for weeks if I so much as looked a little ill. She constantly told me to pick up my medication from the drugstore and bring them back to her to sort into little packets. Because ‘Mother knows best, Eddie-Bear!’” Eddie raised his finger as if pointing at someone, no doubt something he had seen his mother do countless times. He smiled at the people watching and shook his head. “I wasn’t ever sick. I didn’t have asthma. I wasn’t allergic to anything. She had lied to me my entire life-”

Aunt Helen had tried to stand up at that point, using her cane to lift her frail body from the church pew, but her sister quicjky helped her back down. Mike smiled. Go on Eddie, he thought to himself, keep going.

“I hate to break it to all of you,” Eddie said confidently. “But Sonia Kaspbrak wasn’t as amazing as you all thought she was. She was overweight and miserable and took it out on the only child she would ever had. She used her sadness to make me sad, and if you think that’s okay then you can walk right the fuck out of this church and never look back.” The pastor began moving over to stop him as some people gasped around them. Mike heard Richie laugh behind his hand and the other Losers were all completely slack jawed in awe.

“No, lemme finish.” Eddie said to the pastor, who moved away from him with a sour look. Eddie then turned to his mother’s casket and glared at it. “You...you could have done so much better with me, Ma.” He said, his voice softening a little. But the passion was still there, the anger that Eddie had kept against her for all these years was bubbling over. “I was the one person that looked up to you, loved you, wanted to be around you. And what did you do? Hate who I was. You hated the friends I had, the clothes I wore, the relationships I had. So what if I’m gay, Ma?! Why does that give you the right to love me any less than you should?” Everyone was shocked, and Mike and Stan shared a look as Eddie continued. It almost felt like a dream.

“When you have kids you’re supposed to love them no matter what, you made that choice by having me.” He spat, staring down at her coffin with clenched fists. “It shouldn’t matter that I like guys, or that I wasn’t as perfect as you thought I would be. I was a good kid, no, a fucking GREAT kid, and you still didn’t like me, did you? You just wanted to keep me cooped up inside because you were scared that I was gonna die like Dad did-”

“Edward Kaspbrak, that is enough!” Everyone jumped as Helen Sadler shouted at him from her seat. “You dare speak to her that way!”

“Yeah, I do dare, Auntie.” Eddie said firmly, glaring at his Aunt’s. “I’ve wanted to say this for years, I deserve to say how I feel.”

“You’ve put shame on this family, boy.” His Aunt continued, once again trying to get out of her seat. Mike thought she wanted to hit him with her cane; he wouldn’t put it past her. “Your Mother would be so disappointed in what you’ve become. You’re a disgrace!” The entire church went silent. Mike looked back between Eddie and his Aunt and then at his friends. Richie and Bill looked ready to jump out of their seats and go to him, protect Eddie from the old bat’s evil words. Eddie smiled.

“Am I a disgrace because I told you all the truth about her?” He asked. “Or because I fuck men, Auntie?” Everyone gasped, and Richie almost burst out laughing. “Tell me which one.” Eddie waited for a response, but none came, and he turned back to his mother’s casket. “I hope you find Dad up there. Tell him how you treated me, and see what he’d think. Then you’ll be the disappointment, not me.” He then shoved his hands into his pockets, nodded at the pastor, and walked down the steps. Everyone in the pews turned to watch him calmly walk out. The Losers stared at his retreating back, paused, then simultaneously stood up and headed out, knowing they weren’t welcome anymore. Mike was behind Ben and Beverly with Stan at his side and Bill behind him, and turned just as he heard Richie speak up.

“Well, this was delightful,” he said, addressing his ‘audience’, if you could even call it that. “But we must bid you adieu...to you, and you, and-”

“GET OUT!” Helen Sadler screamed at him, waving her cane and staring daggers at them all. “ALL OF YOU, GET OUT!”

“Okay Rich, time to go!” Mike said, reaching back to grab him by the shoulders and steer him out of the church and into the afternoon sun. Richie and Mike hurried down the steps after the others who were now swarmed around Eddie.

“Eds, that was amazing!” Richie cheered, clapping him on the back and hugging him into his side. “You were fucking baller up there!”

“It was pu-pu-pretty great.” Bill said with a soft smile.

“Are you okay, though?” Ben asked, looking into Eddie’s eyes. “That must have been hard.”

Eddie shrugged at them. “No. It was everything I had wanted to say to her. I got it all out so, I actually feel pretty good right now.” Richie beamed at him.

“There’s our boy.” Mike noticed the flush of pink on Eddie’s cheeks at that comment.

“So...what do we do now?” Beverly asked, crossing her arms over her chest. Everyone went quiet.

“Could go to that old diner downtown?” Ben suggested.

“Oh shit, I forgot about that place!” Richie exclaimed. “They had the BEST burgers in Derry.”

“There is no such thing as good burgers in Derry, Richie.” Stan pointed out. “This town is known for it’s terrible food.”

“My standards aren’t high, Stan. We know this.”

Stan nodded with a smirk. “Point taken.”

“So, should we gu-go there?” Bill asked and everyone nodded.

“I say we all get milkshakes.” Eddie added as they began walking towards Mike’s van that they had left in the church parking lot. “I could really do with some sugar right now. My mother would, quite literally, roll in her grave if she found that out.”

“You’ve put worse things into your mouth.” Beverly teased and he bumped her hip with his own.

“So have you.”

“I’m not that bad.” Ben muttered. Bill grinned.

“I am.” The group all laughed and Mike briefly felt at peace for the first time that day. Even if he had to experience yet another funeral, and see his friend at a low point, he felt like things were looking up for all of them. Eddie wasn’t sad, or at least as sad as he was, and they were all together. As it should be.

Then Richie opened his mouth. “Do you think that sexy waitress that wanted to bone me in high school still works there? Might as well get my dick wet whilst we’re in this shot hole.”

“Beep beep, Richie.” Mike said, patting his shoulder with a shake of his head. “Beep beep.”


 

Thursday 11:45 pm

Richie

He yawned for the third time that hour, and could tell Stan was ready to punch him.

“Quit it! You’re making me tired.” He snapped from the front seat. Ben laughed at the two of them as he drove through their neighbourhood, their road trip finally coming to an end.

“I can’t help what my body decides to do, Stanley.”

“Yes you literally can.”

“It has a mind of it’s own, I can’t tell this bad boy to do anything!”

“We’re almost home Stan, don’t worry.” Ben reassured him. “I’m tired too so I think we should all head to bed.”

“Amen to that.” Beverly piped up from where she was snuggled up between Bill and Mike. Eddie and Richie were in the back together, Eddie already fell asleep hours ago and was currently resting his head on Richie’s shoulder. Richie’s suit jacket was wrapped around him to keep him warm and he had to admit he was incredibly content with it. Eddie’s body heat was keeping him warm and he was making soft noises in his sleep that he cooed at every now and then.

“Can we all make a promise never to drive down to Derry again?” Richie asked. “That was boring as fuck.”

“Which part, Eddie’s mothers funeral or the driving that you didn’t do?” Ben asked, looking at him through the rear view mirror.

“Both.”

“Amazing.” Mike snorted.

“You’re very insensitive sometimes.” Stan said and Richie had to stop himself from barking out a laugh, not wanting to wake up Eddie.

“Eddie is the one that called it boring first!”

“It’s his mother’s funeral he can say whatever he wants about it!”

“That seems unfair.”

“Well when it’s your turn you can say whatever about that funeral, okay?” Stan smiled sarcastically at him and Richie raised a challenging eyebrow at him.

“Are you saying my mother is going to die?”

Bill groaned from the middle of the car. “Oh here we fuh-fucking go.”

“No I’m clearly not saying that!” Stan exclaimed.

“Do you WANT my mother to die?! Stanley Isaac, you heartless bastard! She gives you biscuits!”

“She gives fucking everyone biscuits, Richie!” Beverly was cackling at this point, enjoying the show all too much. “It’s in her nature, as a mother, to provide for her guests!”

“Are you saying my mother gives her cookies to anyone?!” Richie faked offence and pointed at Stan from the back of the car. “My mother is not a whore! And if she were, she would solely be my father’s whore! She’s committed!”

Oy.” Stan groaned and rested his head in his hands. “I can’t win with you.”

“We’re all at peace with that, babe.” Mike spoke up.

“Does anyone want pop tarts when we get in?” Richie asked.

“This conversation is pure whiplash.” Ben muttered.

“We just had burgers my dude.” Beverly turned to look over the seat at him.

“I’m hungry.” Richie shrugged.

“How in gods name can you be hungry?!” Stan asked.

“My stomach is a never ending black hole that absorbs everything I put into it?”

“That would explain why you’re still a damn stick.”

“Don’t mock me, these noodle arms could still sock you a good one!”

“You forget Stan took kickboxing classes.” Mike laughed. Richie went quiet.

“Touche. But I’m still having pop tarts.”

Ben laughed as he turned onto their drive but then quickly pressed the brakes when he realised a car was in his way. At first he thought it might have been Eddie’s, but it was too bulky and dirty to be his. Eddie’s BMW was pristine and the most prize possession he had; this car was dusty and the side had a scratch on it. Ben frowned.

“Ben?” Bill asked from the middle, sitting up in his seat. “What-”

“Chris is here.” Everyone in the car groaned.

“Oh fucking-can we get a restraining order on that guy already?” Richie asked whilst hugging Eddie a little closer. He really didn’t want to see him right now.

“If only it were that easy.” Mike muttered.

“Let me see what he wants.” Ben said unbuckling his belt. Chris noticed the vans headlights and stepped out of his car, walking over to Ben once he hopped out and slammed the door shut. Eddie woke up with a start and sniffled, rubbing his eyes and yawning.

“Are we home?” He asked in a soft voice that made Richie want to kiss every inch of his face.

“We are indeed, gorgeous.” Richie said. “Your beef cake is here, though.” Eddie sat up, staring out at the front of the car to see Chris and Ben talking. He squeaked.

“Oh fuck, why?!”

“We have nu-no idea, Eds.” Bill said honestly. “We pulled up and he was ju-ju-just here.”

“Fuck, fucking shit, fuck!” Eddie hissed before unbuckling his belt and climbing up the seat to get out of the door Bill was sitting beside. Everyone started talking at once, yelling at Eddie for stepping on their hand or for him to sit back down, but Richie watched him ignore all of them and clamber out, running around to the front of the van and standing beside Ben.

“Lemme out guys.” Richie said, starting to copy Eddie and climbing over the seat, but Beverly, Mike, Stan and Bill all yelled ‘NO’ at the same time and he huffed, sitting back down. “Fine, I’ll wait my turn! Jheez.”

Bill got out first just as Stan threw open the passenger door, leaving Mike and Beverly to hold the seat back for Richie to hop out after them. They all crowded around the van, watching as Eddie dragged Chris a little further away from the cars to talk in private. Richie felt his heart sink when Eddie kept his hand on Chris’s arm for most of their conversation, and shook his head. Beverly must have noticed because she rubbed at his back.

“Ignore them, honey.”

“I can’t.” He said sadly.

“I know but…” She wanted to say something, Richie could tell, and it didn’t sound like something he wanted to hear, so she cut herself short and took Bill’s hand to go inside. Ben and Mike went in too, leaving Stan and him to watch on as Eddie and Chris talked in hushed whispers.

“Why do you think he’s here?” Richie asked, knowing Stan was the best person to talk to about this. His best friend shook his head.

“No idea. I don’t really want to know.” He said bitterly. “He didn’t come to the funeral, so why should we care?”

“I guess.” Richie said, and Stan turned to stand in front of him.

“This,” Stan gestured to Richie with his hand. “Has to stop.”

Richie frowned at him. “What’chu talkin’ bout, Uris?” He said jokingly but Stan didn’t laugh, and that had been a pretty good Gary Wayne Coleman impression.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Rich. I think maybe it’s time you try and just...move on from Eddie.” Richie stared at Stan for a long time, silence falling between them, before he licked his lips.

“You think I haven’t already tried that?” He said. “I’ve been trying to get over him for years, Stan. I don’t like thinking about him like that when I know he’s with someone, when I know he doesn’t love me back. I know, okay, you guys don’t need to look at me with pity anymore.”

“Richie, we aren’t-”

“No you are. And I get it, I do, but there isn’t anything I can do anymore. I’m just...stuck. I’m stuck loving him.”

Stan sighed. “That’s not what love is supposed to feel like.”

“Then find me someone else to fall in love with.” Richie snapped, but instantly regretted it as Stan moved back from him. “I, shit, I’m sorry, man.”

“It’s okay. I’m sorry I brought anything up.” He smiled at him and wrapped him in a hug. “I just want you to be happy, that’s all.” Richie buried his face into Stan’s neck.

“Me too, kid.”

“Careful Tozier, he has a boyfriend remember.” Chris’s voice broke their moment apart and both Stan and Richie turned around to see him standing there with an arm wrapped around Eddie, smiling, as if he hadn’t told Eddie he wasn’t going to his mother’s funeral with him four days previous.

“Mike trusts me to keep my hands to myself, don’t worry.” Richie joked. “What are you doing here? Thought you were with your buddies?”

“Yeah, cut the trip short.” Chris said, pulling Eddie closer to his side. “I had to apologise to Eddie for being a douche about the whole thing. He means more to me than some drinking trip.”

“That’s good you finally figured that out.” Stan said with a frown and Eddie gave him a look. Richie smirked. Chris awkwardly cleared his throat and smiled to ease the tension.

“Well, I had better get back home. Eddie says he’s tired and he wants to be alone, right babe?”

“Yeah, just for tonight. Come over tomorrow after work?” He asked and Chris nodded before leaning down to kiss him. Richie turned away after he saw a brief flash of tongue, knowing Chris was most likely putting it on just to rile him up. But then something caught his eye and he looked back. There was something dark under Chris’s collar and he at first thought it was the headlights playing tricks on him. But then Chris stood up straight and he caught a better glimpse of it.

Richie froze. It was a hickey.

“Well boys, lovely seeing you again. Catch ya later?” Chris said before moving past Richie’s shoulder to get to his car. Richie, Stan and Eddie headed inside then, but on the way in Richie watched Chris pull out of the driveway and make his way past Mike’s van before driving off into the night, and wondered if what he had just seen was something his imagination had conjured up.

He thought about the hickey all the way up to the point where he and Eddie were standing side by side in their bathroom brushing their teeth. Eddie had changed into some shorts and a t-shirt - it was dark purple with a cartoon of mickey mouse on it and Richie thought it was fucking adorable - and was leaning on the sink as he expertly brushed his teeth. You would think Richie would be better at brushing his teeth considering his Father was a licensed dentist, but he ended up stopping halfway through to spit into the sink and wash the brush before turning towards the door. But unfortunately, his damn curiosity got the better of him, and he spun back around to look at Eddie through the mirror.

“Do you and Chris give each other hickies?” Eddie almost choked on his toothpaste.

“What kind of question is that?” He laughed, spitting out the paste and looking back at Richie’s reflection.

Richie shrugged, not wanting to give too much away. “Oh ya know, I’m dirty and nosy. Spill the tea, Eds! I wanna know all the gory details.” He threw in a wink to add to the gimmick and Eddie rolled his eyes before cleaning off his brush and washing his hands.

“Uh, no. We don’t. It looks unprofessional at work and Chris doesn’t like how they feel. Happy? Enough details for you?” He smirked at him through the mirror. 

Richie felt sick. “Never. Night Eddie Spaghetti.” He sang before walking out the bathroom and hurrying into his bedroom, slamming the door and pressing his forehead on the cold surface to calm down.

One day, he thought to himself, one day my life won’t be a goddamn TV drama.

Chapter Text

Saturday 9:00 pm

Richie

“We look like alcoholics.” Richie pointed out as he stared at the table in front of him that was piled high with ‘goodies’ as Beverly called them. From left to right there were two bottles of vodka, half a bottle of whiskey, some leftover tequila, a row of shot glasses, a bag of ice, some nachos and about four litres of coke and lemonade to act as mixers. “We’re going out for one night, not an entire month!”

“Are you seriously complaining about having a weekend away from work to get drunk? Richard Tozier, I thought you were raised better than that!” Beverly teased, grabbing two shot glasses and filling them to the brim with vodka.

“I know I was raised by Maggie ‘Shots till She Drops’ Jones and Wentworth ‘Never Say No to A Beer Keg’ Tozier, but that doesn’t mean I want my liver to shoot itself in the face.” However, he didn’t reject the shot she handed to him, instead he threw it back and grabbed some nachos. “Nice vodka.”

“It’s raspberry!” Beverly beamed. “Stan got it for my birthday and it’s amazing.”

“Speaking of, where is my lover boy?” Richie looked down the hallway to see him combing his hair in the mirror. “Come and have a shot, sexy!”

“Give me a minute.” He called back, too distracted by his hair to look over at Richie. Richie rolled his eyes and turned back to Bev.

“So, where are we going tonight, darlin’?”

“There’s a place Bill mentioned,” she said, grabbing some nachos for herself. “Some underground place near Broadway. All the theatre kids love it.”

“If this is just a ploy to get me to see a musical again-”

“I wouldn’t be getting you this wasted if we were going to the theatre.” Beverly scoffed. “It’ll be fun, okay? And who knows, maybe you’ll actually get laid.” She winked at him, trying to make him feel a bit better, but Richie just laughed at her.

“I’m sure I’ll find some desperate guy or gal in there.” His tone was obviously sarcastic and Beverly raised an eyebrow at him. “What?”

“You need to be more confident!”

“You know you’re talking to me, right?” Richie laughed. “I’m the most confident prick this side of Brooklyn!’

“I also know you don’t think as highly of yourself as you admit. Seriously Rich, you’re hot as hell! If I wasn’t with Ben and Bill, we,” she pointed back and forth between the two of them “would have some type of agreement my friend.”

Richie looked at her curiously. “I mean, I’d never say no to a foursome.”

“Of course, you wouldn’t.”

“Does that mean you think about me a lot in bed? Huh? You gotta tell me, Marsh!” He called after her as she laughed and ran away, most likely going to find Bill so he can come and do shots with them. Stan, Richie, Beverly and Bill were the only ones heading out that night, lucky enough to all get the weekend off of work to have some fun. Mike was working early Sunday at the museum so he gave it a miss, but promised to leave out glasses of ice water for them when they got in. Eddie wasn’t working but he was busy catching up on some TV shows he had missed, so he was currently hauled up in the living room with Ben who was drawing up some building plans his boss had asked him to sketch.

When they went out, Stan always said he would only have a couple of drinks but would end up buying them all shots after a few dances. Beverly never said no to that, and that ended up with her the drunkest or at least the most enthusiastic to stay out later, wanting to dance until the morning and never go home. Bill was exactly the same, except he was an incredibly clumsy drunk and tended to get kicked out because he‘d spill his, or someone else's, drink over himself and start crying with laughter. Richie was pretty good with his alcohol and only got horrendously drunk on whiskey, which he never touched, instead opting for vodka or beer.

Richie poured himself another shot just as Stan came in looking immaculate as always. He was wearing a smart white button up and black jeans and Richie sighed at him.

Stan rolled his eyes and put his hands on his hips. “Go on, what’s wrong with it?”

“You look like you’re going to a business meeting. Come on, let loose!”

“You call wearing a ratty old shirt letting loose, do you?” Stan asked, gesturing to Richie’s Looney Tunes shirt. He shrugged.

“The homeless look works for me. Just...undo the top few buttons and roll up your sleeves, at least.”

“I don’t need to-” Stan started but Richie was already reaching over and undoing the top two buttons so his collarbones and the top of his chest was exposed. “Richie, stop! “

“Let the titties out!” Richie cheered and poured Stan a shot of tequila.

“Uh, no way!” He tried to bat it away but Richie just held it closer.

“Come on! Just one, for me?”

“I owe you nothing.”

“ONE!”

“Oh my god!” Stan snatched it from his hand and downed it in one, not even flinching, although Richie knew his stomach and throat must have been burning. “There, happy?”

“Extremely, and slightly turned on, do you think Mike would be okay with letting you stay in my room tonight?” Richie shimmied his hips in Stan’s direction and Stan smirked at him. “I could show you a real good time ya know. First class ticket on the Ten Inch Tozier express.”

“You honestly think you’d top in that scenario?” Richie choked on air and Stan laughed. “Come on, pour me a real drink.” Richie grinned, showing off his teeth.

“I love party Stan.”

 

***

 

Saturday 11:20 pm

Stan

The club was horrendously crowded, and Stan had a death grip on Beverly’s hand as she led him through to the bar. He noticed a few guys looking over at their clasped hands in jealousy and he smirked. Beverly did look beautiful tonight, some tight jeans and a bodysuit covering her figure but enhancing it perfectly. She even wore some heeled boots for the night, making her a solid 5’8” instead of her usual, adorable 5’4” height. Stan allowed her to drag him through a group of drunken men who were all cheering and chanting along to whatever song was playing, before they finally reached the edge of the bar.

“What are you having?” Beverly called out to him over the thumping music. Stan wrapped an arm around her shoulders protectively, knowing Bill would appreciate that, and looked at the array of drinks.

“Why not more shots? The boys were looking a little dehydrated.” Beverly could have kissed him.

“You read my mind, excuse me!” She called over to a bartender who instantly came over at the sight of her. Beverly smiled at him and ordered four shots of vodka using her phone to pay. Stan bobbed his head to the beat and looked around at the dancefloor to his left. He could vaguely see Bill and Richie right in the centre, where he and Beverly had just been, and saw them jumping up and down and shaking their heads, grinning like idiots. Both of them were sweaty and completely wasted, but Stan looked at them fondly. They were happy, and that’s the thing he really wanted out of that night.

“Here you go!” Beverly caught his attention again just as he started looking around the club again and he took two of the shots from her, waiting for her to begin walking. He followed close behind her, making sure not to spill the drinks in his hand, and squeezed past some girls dancing closely together. They were grinding up on each other and he wondered if that was even a fun dance move to do. He couldn’t imagine so, and was glad Beverly never did that to him. Richie, however, probably would, so he made a mental note to push him away if he even tried to do that.

“We bring gifts from faraway lands!” Beverly shouted once they finally reached Bill and Richie and she laughed along with Stan as the two cheered. They grabbed their shots, Stan handed Beverly her own, before Richie held his up to toast.

“To us, the best damn friend group in the world!” Bill nodded at that. “And to this shot which is about to fuck me all the way up!”

“Here here!” Beverly cheered and the clicked their glasses together before throwing them all back. None of them cringed - except Bill, he had never been good with shots - and handed the glasses to a lady walking past with a tray. She smiled at them but before walking off she leaned close to Richie and whispered something in his ear, winked at him, then left. Beverly stared slack jawed and then started shaking Richie’s arm in excitement. Stan could faintly hear her say something along the lines of ‘what did I tell you!’ and he laughed at Richie’s shocked expression.

“She s-s-seemed nice!” Bill nudged Richie with his elbow.

“What did she say?” Beverly asked eagerly.

“Well, Stan will be glad to know she thought my shirt was cute,” Stan scoffed at him. “And that she gets off at one in the morning.” Beverly nearly pulled his arm out of its socket she was so excited.

“Get in there, Rich!”

“She’s not my type.” He waved it off, starting up his jumping up and down dance routine, but was quickly pulled out of it by Beverly and Bill.

“What? Come on dude-”

“Everyone is your type, Richie! Come on, she was cute!”

Richie laughed, patting both red heads on the head lovingly. “My dear, sweet, supporters. You’re very lovely, but just lemme pick my own lay, okay?”

Beverly sighed but shrugged. “Not my fault if you’re all pent up later!”

“If I need relief, I’ll just ask Stan to insult me, that makes me shoot so hard.” Richie threw a wink at him and Stan mimed gagging.

“You’re repulsive!”

“Oh, god...say it again!” Richie moaned in the most ridiculous way and Stan couldn’t help but crack up. Bill suddenly put his hand into his left pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes he was sharing with Beverly. He tucked one behind his ear then offered the pack to the others.

“Anyone cuh-coming?”

“Maybe later when I’m in bed, ya filthy animal!” Richie shrieked, smacking Bill on the arm and causing Beverly to bark out a laugh. Bill eventually wandered outside to the smoking area by the entrance on his own, Beverly politely declining his offer as she so desperately wanted to keep dancing. However, that didn’t stop her from giving him a long, suggestive kiss before he left, and Stan could see the blush on Bill’s cheeks even in the darkened club.

“He’s definitely getting some later.” He said to Richie when Bev began dancing on her own, lost in the music. Richie beamed and wrapped an arm around him.

“Oh, you better believe it! Now, dance with me, lover boy!” He dragged Stan towards him then spun him, and Stan just let it happen. He was letting loose, having fun, and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it was kinda hot when Richie held him by the waist and dipped him. He’d tell Mike about that later and they’d laugh together.

Stan’s drunken mind was odd at the best of times. And Mike’s sober reaction would probably make him giddy; Mike was not the jealous type and encouraged Stan during games of ‘spin the bottle’ because he wanted Stan to have fun. Kissing the losers was more than okay with him, it was okay with all of them, because they had this weird bond that separated them from other friend groups. None of them understood it, but no one questioned it. They were close, almost like seven, idiotic soulmates. And that was okay.

Stan pulled Richie close to him and the two started jumping as the beat picked up, sending everyone around them into a mad frenzy. Stan could feel the drinks being spilt down his shirt, the stickiness of the dance floor, the far off look in Richie’s eyes that were oddly kind of hilarious. Even with his glasses he looked like he was having trouble seeing everything around him, and he kept frowning at Stan every time he’d close his eyes or sway his hips or mouth along to the lyrics.

It didn’t weird him out, like some would think, but it was confusing him. Richie flirted with everyone, obviously, but sometimes with Stan - and especially Eddie - it was a little more obvious or sexual. Stan had learned to just insult him to the point where Richie was either speechless (very rare) or doubled over with laughter (not so rare). They both knew Stan would never intentionally anger him or try to upset him; it was all in good fun. Stan loved him, adored him actually, and he would tell anyone that asked that Richie Tozier was the best friend he’d ever had.

And that was what fuelled Richie to stop dancing just as the beat started going slower, building up to the final chorus that would surely send everyone crazy. Stan frowned, holding Richie’s hands and urging him to keep moving with him, but Richie wouldn’t move. He was saying something, Stan realised, and he frowned, not being able to hear him over the bass.

“What?” Stan shouted and Richie repeated the sentence. He could make out ‘I think I’m ready- ‘and then ‘-would it be bad if- ‘

Stan laughed and wrapped an arm around his best friends’ shoulders, leaning in to talk into his ear.

“I can’t hear you, say it again?”

Richie seemed to freeze up against him and Stan looked down at him, concerned. This wasn’t Richie, he realised, the normal Richie would make some inappropriate comment about Stan touching him or put on a Voice and waggle his eyebrows to make him laugh. This Richie, however, stared at him for almost 10 seconds before grabbing the back of his head and kissing him.

There was a moment where everything stilled, the beat was still going because Stan could feel it vibrating from his toes all the way to the top of his head, but everything else around him went static. Then everything seemed to come back all at once like a tidal wave and Stan pushed Richie away. The kiss had lasted a mere second but it still took Stan by complete surprise. His mouth was hung open in shock and Richie’s eyes were as wide as saucers. Neither said anything, but eventually Richie stumbled his way backwards and out of the crowd, shoving people aside and heading towards the exit.

“What the fuck was that?!” Beverly’s voice called out from behind him. Stan stared after his best friend, feeling sick to his stomach.

Stan had no idea.

 

***

 

Saturday 11:45 pm

Bill

Bill didn’t smoke often. As teenagers he, Richie and Ben sometimes smoked in the Barrens back in Derry, trying not to cough up a lung on Wentworth Tozier’s old Winstons, and talked about finishing high school, girls, boys, and moving far, far away from that deadbeat town. Richie told them the moment they would turn eighteen they were gonna be out of there.

“Quick as lightin’!” He’d wink and it would make Bill roll his eyes.

“None of us huh-huh-ave even picked colleges yuh-yet.” He pointed out. “We’re only j-j-juniors.”

“So?” Richie exhaled. Ben subtly coughed a little into his chubby fist in the background. Bill smiled at him. “I know where I’m going. New Yawk citeh!” Richie was slowly getting better with his Voices, but god, his New York accent needed some work.

“Do you think any of us could get in on a scholarship?” Ben asked. “Do they ever do architecture scholarships?”

“Muh-maybe.” Bill shrugged. “I’m shuh-sure they du-du-do.” He took a drag of his cigarette before stamping it out into the dirt near his sneaker. The cinders flickered off in a circle and he watched them burn out into the soil. Maybe he could get in on a scholarship, he was getting pretty good at writing. That’s what Beverly and Georgie said at least, when he actually led them read his work. He liked to write horror novels and paint pictures of monsters or the night sky when he was bored or feeling down about something. When his parents argued in the living room downstairs Bill would write a story of two ogres battling in a forest, and he and Georgie were two young knights watching behind the bushes. Georgie had liked that one; he wanted to have his own sword after that.

“Whatever happens, we do it together, m’kay?” Richie nodded at them, pointing the end of his cigarette at his two friends. “No splitting up, or whatever. We’re a team. All seven of us. It’s seven or zero.”

“Seven or zero.” Ben repeated, and Richie held out a fist for him to bump.

Bill smiled at them. Seven or zero.

He remembered all of this as he leaned up against the brick wall outside the club smoking his cigarette. It tasted the same as the one he smoked then, oddly enough, and didn’t seem to burn as much as they usually did. But then again, he was wasted. His head was lolling a bit and he knew his eyes were drooping shut every so often, but he didn’t care all that much. He had had a good night, and he deserved it. They all did. After smoking he decided to go back in for a few more dances with the others, then try and drag everyone home so he and Beverly could attack Ben with drunken kisses and words of praise. They knew he secretly loved that, even if he flushed red and batted them away.

There were some people staggering past him down an alley towards the area where a bunch of taxis often parked. Bill watched as a few of them had to be carried because they were too drunk to walk, and he chuckled to himself. Thankfully he had never gotten that bad before. Richie had, and even Eddie at one point, but the others were always there to help them get back on their feet. They always would be.

Someone knocked into Bill’s shoulder, forcing him out of his daydream, and then slurred out an apology at him. Bill nodded at him, turned his head, then paused. He slowly glanced up to see the back of a dirty blonde head and broad shoulders. He frowned. Didn’t he know him from somewhere?

“Bill?” Bill turned around completely to see Richie standing there looking worse for wear. Bill stubbed his cigarette out on the brick behind him and pushed away from the wall.

“Are yuh-yuh-you okay?” He asked, standing in front of his best friend. “You luh-look like sh-”

“I kissed Stan.” Richie blurted and Bill went quiet. Now that he wasn’t expecting.

“Why?” Was all he could ask.

Richie blinked at him. “I’m in love with Eddie and I don’t know how to deal with it.”

“That...Richie that ruh-raises more questions th-th-”

“I know, I know.” Richie waved his hand at him. “But...you’re smart and you always know what to do. So, I need you to do that.”  His eyes were wide and manic and his breath was coming out in short, harsh bursts. His hands were shaking too, his entire body was shaking actually. He looked desperate, really desperate, and Bill for the first time in his life was a little scared of Richie. “I really need you to tell me what the fuck to do, Billy. Because I have no fucking idea anymore.”

“Wait you luh-love-”

“Yes, I love Eddie! I have since I met him! That’s why I don’t hook up with people, it’s why I ignore anything that flirts with me or women who work at bars that like my Looney Tunes shirt and ask me to fuck ‘em after work!”

Bill blinked in shock. “That waitress asked you t-t-to fuck her?” Richie stared at him with a shocked expression.

“That’s what we’re focusing on?!”

“You’re throwing a luh-lot of information at m-me, Rich.”

“I know, shit!” Richie ran both hands through his hair and paced up and down in front of Bill, biting at his lower lip and scuffing his shoes. Bill’s mind was running at a hundred miles per hour. Richie loved Eddie, Richie had just kissed Stan, Richie was telling all of this to Bill because...he was stumped on that one. Bill may know what to do most of the time, but that didn’t include love. He hadn’t ever given relationship advice to anyone except his little brother, and that had gone terribly. He was surprised he had managed to bag the amazing relationship with Beverly and Ben, and he wondered how the hell he had gotten so lucky every night they were both curled into his side in their California king.

“Have you t-tuh-told Eddie how you fuh-feel?” Bill heard himself ask. Richie stopped pacing and gaped at him.

“I thought I was the dumb one out of the two of us?” Richie spat and Bill held his hands up in defence.

“Hey, duh-don’t get angry at me!” He protested. “You’re the one wh-who is getting himself into all th-th-this shit!” Richie sighed and put his head into his hands.

“You’re right...why do I keep doing this?”

“Because you’re an idiot.” Bill said. “Okay, well have you tuh-tuh-talked to St-stan?”

Richie snorted behind his hands and then moved them so they were resting on his bony hips.

“No. I ran away the moment he pushed me off him. God, he’s gonna hate me.” Then Richie went pale. “Oh Christ, what do I tell Mike?!

“Slow down- “

“He’s usually cool with this shit but, like, that’s because he’s there with us, ya know? This time he’s…he’s across town and completely sober and I just kissed his fucking boyfriend, oh fuck!” Richie was panicking again and Bill really wished he hadn’t done so many shots so he could focus properly.

“Rich, c-c-calm down!” Bill exclaimed, grabbing his friends’ shoulders and shaking him a little. “Okay, we need to guh-get the other two fruh-from inside, and the-the-the-shit!” Bill’s stutter, which definitely seemed to worsen the more he drank, completely set him back. He closed his eyes, keeping his breathing steady, and pictured the word in his head. When he had to go to speech therapy as a kid, where the stutter was admittedly even worse than it was now, his teacher told him to try and picture the word before saying it. Pronouncing each letter in his mind and then letting it come out through his voice. Most of the time it helped, but right now his mind was jumbled and messy and he couldn’t get the word to come out of his mouth. “Rich, let’s- “

“Chris?” Richie’s voice came as a surprise to Bill and he frowned. His eyes were looking over his right shoulder and it was clear he was no longer paying attention to him.

“What?” Richie suddenly pushed himself from Bill’s grip, moving past him and into the alleyway Bill had been standing beside. Bill threw his hands up in frustration but followed Richie anyway, grumbling to himself as he went. Richie had disappeared into the middle of the alley and Bill noticed a group of people getting into the back of a taxi, three girls and two guys. He recognised one, who was currently kissing a girl very passionately on the lips, as the guy that had bumped into him a few minutes prior to Richie appearing, and he watched in confusion as Richie paused then started yelling at the top of his lungs.

“CHRIS! HEY!” He took off into a sprint and Bill swore under his breath, running after him.

What the fuck was he doing?

“Wa-wait up!” Bill panted as the taxi in front of them slammed its doors shut and started to pull away from the sidewalk, off into the busy New York night and out of Richie’s eyeline.

“Fuck, shit!” Richie breathed as he came to a sudden stop at the end of the alleyway, staring off as the cab blended in with the rest of the traffic. Bill skidded to a stop beside him, hands on his knees and panting like a dog in the summer heat.

“Dude,” he choked out, glaring up at Richie through his lashes. “what the fuck?”

“That was Chris.” Richie hissed, clencing his fists. “That mother fucker, I knew it. I didn’t wanna believe it, you know? I didn’t think even that asshole had it in him but…jesus.”

“Seriously, what the fuh-fuh-fuck are you talking about, Rich?”

Richie looked down at Bill, a sadness in his eyes that his friend had never seen before, and Bill felt slightly sick.

“Chris is cheating on Eddie.”

“He’s doing what?!” Both boys jumped in fright at the sound of Beverly’s voice, and they spun around to see her standing there staring at them with wide eyes, shivering in the cold, with Stan at her side, looking equally confused. Richie audibly gulped, and if he hadn’t just dropped the third bombshell of the evening on him Bill might have actually laughed at it.

He groaned. “Let’s n-n-ever go drinking again, okay?”