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He Shimmers like a Star

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November 11th, 1993

 

Eddie danced around his room to his favorite song, I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston. Richie made him a mixtape of all his favorite songs a little while ago for their two year anniversary, and Eddie gave him a big kiss on his lips and a thank you.

It’d just started, and he always got so excited when it came on. He just had to dance.

He turned around and opened his eyes, being met with Richie’s face outside his window, and he screamed and jumped back. Richie laughed from behind the glass as his mother called from downstairs, asking him if he was okay.

“I’m fine, ma!” He called back, almost stomping over to Richie, sliding the window up. “You scared the shit out of me, Richie.” He pulled Richie inside.

“You know how much I love doing that, Eds. I just can’t help myself.” Richie said, leaning down to give Eddie a kiss, holding the small of his back.

“One day you’re going to scare me and I’m gonna go into cardiac arrest.” Eddie led Richie over to his bed, sitting him down and leaning down to kiss him, Richie’s hands moving to loosely hold his hips.

“I missed you,” Richie mumbled into the kiss, and Eddie kissed the corner of his mouth and then his cheekbone. “I would’ve come to see you earlier, but I had a check up at the dentist, and my teeth were a little irritated when I got back, so I took a nap. I put new bands on my braces, though.”

“Really?!” Eddie almost squealed, and Richie nodded and smiled really big, showing Eddie his new bright green bands. Eddie used his fingers to push his lips out of the way while Richie laughed.

“I love your enthusiasm, Eds.” Richie said, and Eddie pulled back.

“Shut up.” He laughed and Richie smiled up at him, sliding his hands up and down Eddie’s sides slowly. Eddie ran his fingers through Richie’s hair carefully with both hands, bending over to give him a kiss on the forehead.

He slid Richie glasses off and marveled at how different he looked without his glasses magnifying his eyes. He was… pretty . That’s the only way you could out it really, because Richie was fucking pretty. His baby blue eyes looking up at Eddie, blinking rapidly and squinting a little, high cheekbones, sharp, freckles scattered across them. God, Eddie could get lost in his eyes so easily, could get lost just looking at him, really.

You’re gonna have to kiss me , Eds, because I can’t exactly see you.” Richie spoke, snapping Eddie out of his thoughts.

Eddie smiled softly, holding his face in both hands and leaning down to kiss him, stroking his cheekbone with one thumb, trying to feel the freckles on his face.

“You listening to that mixtape I made you?” Richie asked, and Eddie hummed and nodded. “This is a good song.”

He began to sing, “I wanna feel the heat with somebody. Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody… with somebody who loves me…” then he hit a few high notes.

“I didn’t know you could hit high notes.” Eddie giggled, and Richie put his glasses back on, standing up and pulling Eddie into an open space in his room.

“I can hit this one, too, listen…” And he tried to hit another long high note that didn’t really work out too well for him, but Eddie still smiled.

Don’t you wanna dance… with me, baby

Don’t you wanna dance… with me, boy

Richie sang and held Eddie’s hands in his, dancing around with him and smiling so bright. Eddie laughed, letting Richie pull him closer and kiss him.

Richie always made him feel so content, steady, and just plain happy. He never wanted to leave him, just wanted to be around him all the time.

“I love you, baby.” Eddie said against his lips, and Richie smiled.

“Love you more,” 

“Yeah, I bet.” Eddie pulled Richie by the front of his shirt over to the bed, tugging him down on top of him. Richie laid between his legs, with Eddie’s wrapped around his hips, sliding his hands through Eddie’s hair and kissing all over his face. Eddie pursed his lips to ask for a kiss, and Richie pressed his lips against Eddie’s. Eddie leaned up for more, but Richie pulled away, and Eddie chased after him, trying to sit up.

“What’s the magic word?” Richie teased, and Eddie groaned, rolling his eyes and unwrapping his legs from around Richie.

“I’m not gonna say the magic word. I have too much pride,” Eddie said, and Richie cooed at him, making kissy faces just to tease him.

“But you have to . If you don’t, then you don’t get any kisses.”

Eddie sighed, smiling softly and closing his eyes.

“Please,” He forced out, and Richie smiled, but made no move to kiss him.

“Please… what?”

“Please… baby,”

Richie held the side of his face and kissed him, smiling against his lips.

“You’re a dick.” Eddie said as Richie pulled back.

“You know I like making fun of you, honeybunch.” Richie cooed, nuzzling their noses together and pecking him on the lips.

“Yeah, yeah. Get off,” Eddie pushed Richie off him and turned on his side to face him, moving a hand to his neck and carding his fingers through the thick curls on the nape of his neck. 

“You know… your birthday’s coming up soon. Just a few days.” Richie said, and Eddie hummed a yes, looking into his eyes. “What do you want this year?”

“I’d be fine with just kisses, baby.” Eddie mumbled, leaning forward to kiss him, opening his mouth into the kiss, being mindful of Richie’s braces. Richie hummed softly into his mouth and slid his fingers into Eddie’s hair, leaning up to chase Eddie’s lips.

Just last year, they were scared to kiss deeper like this, because Eddie was scared he’d cut his tongue on Richie’s braces, and so was Richie. One time, they tried it, and Richie’s braces ended up catching Eddie’s top lip, causing him to bleed into Richie’s mouth as well as his own, and it traumatized Richie so badly that he refused to kiss Eddie for a month and a half.

Now, they didn’t french kiss without dental wax. Richie would put it over his braces, and they’d be able to kiss freely without any problems.

“Mm, but isn’t there something that you want?” Richie asked, and Eddie peppered kisses all over his face while he spoke. “Like, something specific?”

Eddie shrugged, “I haven’t really thought about it. Surprise me, baby.”

“Oh, I’ll surprise you, alright.” Richie teased, and Eddie smiled.

“You’re terrible at keeping secrets.” He kissed Richie’s forehead, brushing some hair out of his face and leaning down to kiss over his freckles.

“Just this once.” Richie mumbled, pulling Eddie down for a quick kiss.

Eddie turned to look at his alarm clock, the time nearly eight pm. “It’s almost time—“

“For your mom to go to bed, I know.” Richie finished for him, kissing him once more before standing up to go over to Eddie’s closet, waggling his fingers at Eddie and smiling once before closing the door.

Eddie could hear his mother coming up the stairs, each step creaking under her feet. He tried to make himself look normal, like he always did when Richie came over at night. She got more and more disapproving of him the older they got. By the time they were fourteen, she’d told Eddie that he couldn’t come over any longer because he smelled like cigarettes and dressed like a “hooligan.”

He was a little practiced when it came to acting natural even though his boyfriend was in his closet, but it didn’t make him any less frightened that she might’ve heard them and wanted to investigate. She was nosy, nosier than nosy, and the little bit of privacy that she gave Eddie, if he did something wrong, she’d take it away.

She opened his door, peeking her head in. “Goodnight, Eddie bear. I love you” she said, like every other night.

“Night, ma. Love you.” He replied, automatically, so used to saying the same words by now.

She closed the door, and he got up quickly to press his ear to the door. He heard her door close, so he opened his, peeking his head out and listening for the groan of her mattress as she layed down. He closed the door softly and walked over to his closet, opening it and tugging Richie out.

“Gotta kiss the missus goodnight, huh?” Richie said, smiling big and bright.

“Ugh, beep-beep, Richie.”

“Have I ever told you how sexy you sound when you say that?” Richie leaned down to kiss Eddie, but Eddie pulled away, telling him to shut up. “If you won’t give me any lovin’, I’ll just have to get it from your mama.” Richie began to playfully walk towards the door, and Eddie pulled him back, laughing softly and wrapping his arms around him, leaning up to kiss his neck.

“I love you.” Eddie mumbled, and Richie turned around in his arms, bringing both hands up to hold his face.

“I love you, too.” Richie leaned down to kiss him, slotting their lips together. Eddie made sure he didn’t hit Richie’s braces, because he didn’t want a repeat of last year, and kissed Richie back with just as much fervor.

“Is there any more of that dental wax over here? I really wanna make out with you right now.” Richie said as he pulled back, and Eddie nodded, going to retrieve the dental wax he kept in his nightstand.

 

Richie slept over that night, his head resting on Eddie’s chest. Eddie hated it when Richie slept with all his clothes on while they slept together, but he disregarded it tonight, because they had school tomorrow, and of course Richie came dressed in school clothes for the next day.

Eddie made sure to set his alarm to go off before his mom woke up, because she always came into his room before she went to work, to make sure he was up for school.

“Richie. Baby, wake up.” He said as the alarm went off, hitting the off button. Richie groaned, turning his head away and pulling the covers further up over his body. “Richie, wake up.”

“Just a little longer, Eds…” He mumbled, pressing a small, absentminded kiss to Eddie’s bare chest.

“My mom’s gonna come in here any minute, now.” Eddie said, and that’s when Richie opened his eyes, blinking a bunch. His hand flew out and landed on the nightstand on his side, searching around for his glasses and sliding them on his face.

“Mrs. K… always fucking ruining everything.” He grumbled, sitting up and throwing his legs over the side of the bed. Eddie sat up with him, smoothing out his shirt as it was wrinkled from him sleeping in it. He moved a little closer, wrapping his arms around him from behind and kissing the nape of his neck.

“I know. I’m sorry, baby.” He mumbled against his skin, and Richie laughed softly, turning around to kiss him softly, holding his face.

“Nothing to be sorry for.” He sighed, kissing Eddie’s neck, holding him close.

“Mm-hm. Now, get under the bed.” He pushed Richie’s chest softly, and Richie smiled, getting down to slide under Eddie’s bed, taking his shoes with him.

Eddie could hear his mother coming down the hallway, and he turned over to fake like he was sleeping. She came in and told him to wake up, saying that she’d be home at six in the afternoon. When she left, Richie came out from under the bed, a lazy smile on his face.

“You should make out with me before I take this wax off my braces.” He said, and Eddie laughed, covering his mouth with his hand.

“Not until you brush your teeth.” 

“I have to take the wax off before I brush my teeth, so it wouldn’t work out.”

“You can just kiss me normally.” Eddie said, pulling Richie up and grabbing the front of his shirt to pull him down on top of him, pressing their lips together. Richie smiled against his lips, running one hand up Eddie’s thigh, all the way up to his waist, tickling him and making him laugh and squirm away. 

“Richie!” He yelped, pushing Richie’s hands away. Richie just smiled fondly down at him and returned his hands to his waist, not tickling him, but just holding him, hot palms pressed into Eddie’s skin. He leaned down to kiss Eddie’s lips once, and then his neck, pressing kisses into his skin, across his shoulder and over his collarbone. Eddie slid his fingers into Richie’s hair, letting his eyes flutter shut and his head fall back as Richie kissed down his chest, all the way down his stomach, stopping right before his night shorts began.

“You’re gorgeous,” Richie mumbled against his skin, and Eddie smiled, opening his eyes. He pushed Richie away, going red.

“Shut up.” He mumbled, standing up and going over to his closet to pick out a shirt. He put it on and slid his night shorts down, sliding on a pair of jeans.

“Seriously, though.” Richie said from behind him, wrapping his arms around his middle and kissing his neck. “You’re the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen.”

“Maybe you should look in the mirror.” Eddie said, turning around in his arms.

“You’re all I need to look at,” Richie smiled down at him fondly, and Eddie’s face broke out into a smile, pushing him away and hiding his face.

“You’re so cheesy. God, you know I can’t take it when you get cheesy. It cracks my tough guy demeanor.”

In reality, Eddie had no tough guy demeanor. He was just really fucking bad at taking compliments. He thought he was a decent looking guy, sure. But gorgeous? Now, that was questionable. Richie didn’t seem to think so, though, because he just kept going at it and at it until Eddie was hiding his face in Richie’s chest and nearly sobbing because Richie made him so happy, made him feel so special all the time.

Eventually, they went downstairs, Eddie offering to iron Richie’s clothes for him before school. Richie declines, saying he “likes looking like a homeless person”, and Eddie shook his head and laughed.

“Do you want breakfast?” Eddie asked, and Richie thought about it, shaking his head finally.

“Not really hungry this morning, Eds.” He said, leaning against the counter. “Speaking of food, Mags wants you to come over for dinner. For your birthday, since she didn’t get to do anything for you last year.”

Maggie wanted him over for dinner?

“She wants me to come over for dinner?” Richie nodded at his question. “Like, to eat a birthday dinner with you and Maggie and Went?”

Maggie was sort of like the good mother he never had. Whenever Eddie stayed over, she’d feed him breakfast in the morning, ruffled his hair whenever he ate, and was just welcoming all together. She was so accepting of him and Richie when they told her about their relationship, and so was Went. He called Eddie his son-in-law which was kind of weird but made Eddie all fuzzy and warm inside.

He went over a lot in middle school, just to hang out in Richie’s room, or watch TV with Richie in their living room because they had more movies than his house did, and Richie had more comics than he did.

He loved going over to Richie’s house, when he was younger, and now. At Richie’s house, there wasn’t anything to really worry about. They could sleep together without having to hide it from Maggie and Went, they could show affection freely and Maggie would comment on how cute they are together, maybe Wentworth would walk in while things were getting a little heated and he’d tell them to use protection. 

Having a safe space where they could love each other freely around accepting adults was refreshing.

“Yeah, of course. I’ll be there, for sure.” He confirmed, and Richie smiled, leaning down to kiss him long and slow, holding his chin and tilting his face up. Eddie basically melted against him, holding onto his shoulders. Richie picked him up and set him on the counter, leaning up to kiss him again, hands pressing into his thighs. Richie smiled against his lips, pulling back.

“Okay, now I have to get this wax off my braces, for real.” Richie said, patting Eddie’s thighs and pushing away to look through the cabinets, probably for toothpicks, leaving Eddie to catch his breath and calm himself down.

Richie went into the downstairs bathroom to look in the mirror while he got the dental wax off his braces, and Eddie went into the upstairs bathroom to brush his teeth and fix his hair. Richie eventually came in behind him, taking out the toothbrush that Eddie kept for him and brushing his teeth.

“It’s Friday, Eds.” Richie said through toothpaste, some of it slipping out of his mouth. “We got the whole weekend to ourselves. Just us, if you want.” He spat it out. “Or we could hang out with everyone else. That works too. Bill told me about some party this girl in his fifth period is having.”

“Can we talk about this after you brush your teeth?” Eddie said from behind him, watching as Richie pursed his lips and wiped the toothpaste from his mouth, brushing his tongue.

“I’m gross, yeah, I know.” Richie finished up, “But you love it.”

“Yeah…” He sighed, and Richie grinned and kissed his forehead.

“Long day ahead of us, babe. Might as well get going.”

They always walked to school together. Eddie hated it because they couldn’t hold hands, and he knew Richie hated it, too. Last year, they were walking to school together, hand in hand, when a guy came up behind them and shouted slurs at them, spilling his drink down the front of Richie’s shirt and shoving Eddie, almost knocking him to the ground. The guy got bored eventually, and they made it to school safely, Eddie pulling a shaking Richie into the bathrooms. As soon as they made it into a stall, Richie burst into tears and fell against Eddie, shaking violently and burying his face into Eddie’s shoulder. 

Rich. Richie, shh, it’s okay. ” He’d whispered in his ear, holding him close.

He called us… he called us— ” Richie didn’t even get the chance to say it because Eddie was shushing him softly, carding his fingers through his hair and kissing his forehead.

Richie’s hands and slipped beneath Eddie’s shirt, pressing his palms flat to his back and pulling him just that much closer. He kissed Eddie’s neck and breathed him in, hands sliding further up, right under his shoulder blades.

What are you doing? ” Eddie had whispered, and Richie sniffled softly.

Touching you calms me down.

Eddie let his fingers brush Richie’s, and Richie grinned down at him, moving a little closer so their hands were just touching as they walked. It made Eddie a little nervous, looking around him and setting his bag a little higher up on his shoulder.

“It’s okay.” Said Richie’s voice, somewhere distant in his head, pulling him from his thoughts and bringing him back to earth. “There’s no one around.”

Eddie laughed softly to himself, a kind of relieved laugh, a thank you kind of laugh. Richie was there to bring him back, pulling him from his thoughts. Just like he always was.

Richie put his arm around Eddie’s shoulders, pulling him into his side and leaning down to press a quick kiss to his hair. “I’m right here, honeybunch. No need to get inside your head.”

“Yeah, I know.” Eddie breathed, reaching up to feel Richie's fingers, dangling over his left shoulder. They were cold to the touch, but then again, his probably were, too. He breathed out, his breath clouding in the air.

“Fuck. I need a cigarette.” Richie said, pulling a pack of Winstons out of the pocket of his jacket.

“I thought you quit.” Eddie mumbled, and Richie put one between his lips, glancing down at Eddie as he pulled a lighter out of his jacket.

“I tried, Eds. I promise you.” Richie lit it, “It just didn’t work out like I wanted it to.” The cigarette bobbed as he talked, and he took a drag, pulling it away from his mouth and blowing out.

Sometimes Eddie worried. Worried that the same thing that happened to his father would happen to Richie. Eddie’s father began to smoke at a young age, like Richie. 

“You need a fucking nicotine patch.” Eddie mumbled, and Richie laughed, almost doubling forward.

“Maybe I should try that.” Richie said, glancing down at Eddie once. “You know I’d quit for you, Eds.”

My dad didn’t , Eddie thought.

“Yeah.”

 

When they made it to school, they parted, Richie stubbing out what was left of his cigarette and removing his arm from Eddie’s shoulders.

Keeping their relationship hidden at school was hard, because most of the time they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. But keeping their relationship hidden at school meant no intimacy. No no hugging, no kissing, no touching. Nothing. Doing nothing was the safest.

Richie’s locker was on the next hallway over from Eddie’s, but Richie never really used his locker, because he didn’t carry textbooks around for his classes. Richie was the type of person who could pay attention in class once and then ace a test without studying. He was brilliant, really. A true genius when it came to school.

“You should meet me in the bathroom after second period.” Richie said, leaning against the locker next to Eddie’s. Eddie grinned up at him. “I’m not gonna go to third. Mr. Quinn fucking sucks. The guy calls me out for no reason. He, like, hates me.”

“Don’t you have a test in that class today?” Eddie asked, and Richie shrugged.

“I mean… maybe.” He mumbled, looking down at the floor. “I can afford to miss just one test. I do a shit ton for extra credit in his class, he just never counts all of it because he hates me, like I said.”

“Are you sure he hates you, though?”

Yes! At the beginning of the year, he singled me out and told me that he heard about how much trouble I caused the teachers freshman year, so I told him that I troubled his wife the night before, and he gave me detention for a week and hasn’t let go of his fucking grudge. It’s been three months , Eds, and the guy won’t cut me some slack.”

Eddie laughed, leaning against his locker and shaking his head. “If you don’t want teachers to hate you, then don’t talk about fucking their wives.”

“I talked about fucking your mom all the time , and look where we are. Besides, I would never actually.” Richie said, “I’ve only got my eyes on you.”

Eddie rolled his eyes, slamming his locker closed.

He could see Bill walking up behind Richie, and he waved. Richie turned around, smiling. “Big Bill!” He said enthusiastically, and Bill did a little twirl.

“Yep, that’s me.” Bill said, turning to Richie. “You look like sh- shit.”

“Thanks for the words of motivation, Bill.” Richie grumbled, and Eddie giggled.

“Where’s Stan?” Bill asked, and Richie shrugged.

“Don’t know.” Eddie said.

“Maybe he’s writing a long love letter to his new girlfriend down in New York.” Richie suggested, and Eddie nodded agreeingly.

Stan came from the other side of the hallway, meaning he’d probably been in the library. They always met up right here, by Eddie’s locker so they could talk before they had to go to homeroom.

“I hope y’all know the bell’s about to ring.” Stan said, and Richie threw an arm over his shoulders.

“No one gives a shit about homeroom, Stanny.” He said, and Stan grumbled, turning his face away as Richie tried to kiss his cheek.

It was just them, now. Bill, Stan, Richie, Eddie, and Mike, who was homeschooled. Ben left the August right before their sophomore year, and Beverly left the summer of their sophomore year. They were all sad to see them go, but understand why they had to get out of this town. They called and wrote letters every once in a while, Bev in Chicago with her Aunt, and Ben in Illinois.

It was just five of them against the world, now.

I care about getting to homeroom on time.” Eddie said, pushing off of the lockers. “And you need to get to homeroom, too.” He poked Richie’s chest with two fingers, and Richie recoiled, rubbing his chest where Eddie poked him.

“That really hurt, Eds.” He whined, and Eddie turned him around, pushing him in the direction of his homeroom class.

“Go to class!” He said, and Richie groaned and walked down the hallway, but he blew Eddie a kiss before he turned the corner.

“You g- guys are so in love.” Bill said, and Eddie smiled.

“Yeah, I know.”

 

 

It smelled like marijuana, even outside. Eddie had only smoked weed once, Richie offering a joint to him and insisting that it was good. It wasn’t bad - but it’s not like it was the best thing in the world. Richie had to teach him how to inhale it properly, and then shotgunned the smoke to him. He didn’t even get to take a breath after blowing the smoke out, because Richie was surging forward and kissing him, shoving his tongue down his throat.

“This is it, Eds. Your last party before you turn eighteen.” Richie said, fingers curling and uncurling in fists by his sides.

“You say it like it’s a bad thing.”

“Just telling it like it is, honeybunch.” Richie gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and grabbed his hand, pulling him up the driveway, weaving through cars.

There were kids outside, scattered out in the yard, probably drunk or high. 

Richie pulled him inside, keeping him close like he always did at parties. Eddie kept his arm around Richie, squeezing in close. He knew Richie wouldn’t leave him.

“There’s Mike.” Richie said, glancing down at Eddie.

“Hey, Rich.” Mike said, and Richie dapped him up. “Thought you said you were giving parties a break for a little while.”

“I am taking a break. I just wanted to be here for Eddie’s last party before he turns eighteen.” Richie put an arm around Eddie’s waist and squeezed softly, smiling proudly.

“Don’t go over into that back corner,” Stan said, pointing over to the other side of the house. “they’re doing all kinds of drugs over there.”

“What kind? I might wanna try some.” Richie said, and Eddie smacked him on the chest.

“LSD, Ecstasy, Meth, Cocaine,” Stan counted on his fingers, “I could go on. I’m pretty sure it’s all laced.”

“I’m calling it right now. There’s going to be an overdose at this party.” Richie said, and Eddie narrowed his eyes at him.

“That’s not funny.” Eddie scolded him.

Bill came over with two red solo cups in his hands, drinking from one. “Th- this shit is good,” He said, handing one cup to Mike and taking another gulp.

“What is it?”

“Punch. They p- put something in it.”

“I want some,” Richie said, and pulled Eddie over to the punch, pouring himself some into a solid cup and tipping it towards Eddie to ask if he wanted some. Eddie took a sip and grimaced, nose scrunching at the taste, shaking his head. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t exactly good. It was strong.

Richie took big gulps of it, nearly choking.

“You sure you’re drinking it fast enough?” Eddie said, and Richie pulled the cup away from his mouth, turning to Eddie and smiling, nodding his head. “Gross,”

“You love it,”

 

Richie always got drunk when they went to parties like this. That’s part of the reason why he was taking a break, because he always ended up getting drunk.

“I’ve got Saturday night fever.” Richie said, words breaking off into a laugh, his eyes red and his body loose. Eddie had to hold him up as he laughed. He was just dead weight, nearly making Eddie fall over.

“It’s time to go home.” Eddie said, groaning as he set Richie back up on his feet. “I didn’t come to this party to have to chaperone you like a baby while you’re drunk.”

“But the party’s just getting started, Eds.” Richie whined, reaching back towards everyone else but making no move to pull away, just letting himself be dragged away by Eddie.

“Nope. The party just ended.” Eddie sighed softly, taking Richie outside. “It’s not a long walk.”

They made it all the way back to Richie’s house before Richie began to cry, and Eddie sat him down on his bed and wrapped his arms around him, pulling him close and running his fingers through his hair. He always got really vulnerable when he was drunk, and every little thing made him cry. He was sensitive even when he was sober, and being drunk just made it worse.

“I ruined your last party before you turn eighteen. I’m such a fucking idiot.” Richie sobbed, and Eddie pulled back to take his glasses off and wipe his tears away. More just came rushing down behind them, falling from Richie’s eyes like a waterfall. “I shouldn’t have gotten drunk, I’m sorry, Eds.”

“There’s nothing to be sorry for, baby.” Eddie shushed him, and Richie just cried harder, pressing his face into Eddie’s neck. “Stop crying. It’s okay.”

“I feel really bad about ruining the party for you.” Richie said, voice small and muffled against Eddie’s skin.

“It wouldn’t have been a party without you.” Eddie said, and pushed Richie’s chest softly to lay him down, taking his shoes off and putting his legs up on the bed.

“Don’t leave me,” Richie grabbed Eddie before he could go, and Eddie smiled, removing Richie’s hand from his arm.

“I have to.”

“Just… just call Bill and tell him to cover for you. Don’t leave,” 

Eddie sighed and took his shoes and jacket off, sliding into bed with Richie and letting Richie wrap his arms around him.

“I love you,” Richie mumbled, and Eddie smiled softly to himself.

“I love you more.”

 

Eddie instinctively woke up at six am, because he knew he had to be home before his mom woke up for work. He slid out of bed as smoothly as possible, trying his best not to wake Richie up and hurrying downstairs.

Wentworth was downstairs when he went into the kitchen, sipping coffee, still in his pajamas.

“Oh, hey, Eddie,” He said, “I didn’t know you were here.”

“Yeah, Richie basically begged me to stay last night.”

“Can never keep up with you kids these days.” Went said and shook his head, sipping his coffee.

Eddie smiled softly and grabbed a bottle of painkillers from the cabinet they kept all their medicine in, pouring two into his hand and pouring a glass of water.

“Do you have to work today?” Eddie asked, and Went nodded.

“I have to go in a little later.”

“Well, have a good day at work.” Eddie said, and walked over to him to give him a quick hug and leave to go back to Richie’s room, setting out the painkillers and water for him to wake up to. He gave Richie a kiss on the forehead and glanced at the alarm clock on his nightstand. His mom would wake up soon, and she’d come into his room to check on him. He lived a few blocks away, and the walk was around twenty minutes. He slipped out the window, running down the street and towards his house.

He used the ladder to climb into his window and quickly take his shoes and jacket off, jumping into bed and throwing the covers over himself, his mom opening the door minutes after.

As soon as she closed the door and walked away, he sat up and sighed softly, shaking his head and running a hand through his hair.

“Fuck me, man,” He said to himself, getting up again to put his shoes and jacket back on.

He was going back to Richie’s house.

He climbed through Richie’s window, finding that Richie was still sleeping. Eddie took his clothes off and kissed his cheek before climbing into bed with him, pressing his chest against Richie’s back and holding him with an arm around his waist.

Eddie fell asleep after some intense staring at the Michael Jackson poster on Richie’s wall, Richie’s body heat lulling him to sleep. But he didn’t stay asleep for too long, because Richie began to stir and groan and complain about his head.

“I put some painkillers out for you, baby,” Eddie said, reaching over him to grab them from the nightstand, putting them in Richie’s hand. He gave him the water and kissed his shoulder as he swallowed the pills.

“You’re an angel, Eds.” Richie said, smiling and grabbing his glasses off the nightstand.

“Mm, yeah. I know,” Eddie said, and Richie kissed his neck, blowing raspberries against his skin and making him squeal and giggle.

“What are we doing today, baby?” Richie asked, and Eddie wrapped his arms around his neck, shrugging.

“I don’t know. I kinda just wanna chill out today - do a little cuddling and making out, maybe.”

“Why don’t we do that now, then?” Richie said, leaning down to try to kiss him, but Eddie turned his face so Richie’s lips collided with his cheek.

“Gotta brush our teeth, first,”

 

 

Eddie awoke to Richie knocking at his window, and he got out of bed and stumbled over to slide it up. 

“You’re supposed to be at school, right now, Rich.” Eddie mumbled, but Richie came in anyway.

“I know. But I had to miss it for your birthday, Eds.” Richie closed the window behind him and pulled Eddie in for a hug.

“You never missed school any other year.” Eddie's mother always let him stay home on his birthday, because she’d do anything to keep him from running away from her. She’d do anything to keep him all to herself.

He knew guilt tripping her was wrong, but she’d been doing it to him for his whole life. He guessed he deserved some sort of payback.

“Yeah, but, it’s your eighteenth. It has to be special, and I want to be the first one to tell you happy birthday.”

“My mom already told me happy birthday today.” Eddie said, and Richie rolled his eyes.

“I bet my happy birthday will be better.” Richie kissed his nose. “You just have to turn your boombox on the radio, honeybunch.”

Eddie smiled and turned his boombox on, turning it down a little from how high it was and tuning into the radio.

“I’m gonna go brush my teeth, really quick.” He said, and Richie nodded, sitting down on his bed.

Eddie brushed his teeth quickly but thoroughly, hearing Richie call “You better hurry up, Eds.”

 

Eddie jumped onto the bed with Richie, curling up next to him.

I got a special request today that really stood out. ” The disk jockey said, and he sounded really enthusiastic. “ The guy said he wants to keep his identity a secret, but he said it’s his boyfriend’s birthday today. So, to that guy’s boyfriend, he says: Happy birthday. I love you more than anything in the world. It’s friday, and I’m in love. ” 

Friday I’m In Love by The Cure played through the boombox’s speakers, and Eddie was smiling so hard, nearly crying and throwing his arms around Richie.

Richie pulled him into his lap, holding him close and kissing his forehead.

“I love you.” Eddie tilted his head to kiss Richie, sliding his fingers into his hair. Richie slid his thumb between their lips, parting Eddie’s lips and sliding his tongue inside Eddie’s mouth. Richie must’ve come prepared, because he’d already put wax on his braces, and Eddie explored his mouth freely, moving to straddle his lap.

Richie pulled back, smiling softly. Eddie tried to chase his lips, wanting more, but Richie stopped him. “Calm down, cupcake. We’ve got places to be. Get dressed, because this is gonna be the best birthday you’ve ever had.”

“Just… one more kiss?” Eddie asked, and Richie touched a finger to his lips, pursing them and pretending to think about it.

“I don’t know…”

“Baby, please. Just one.” Eddie whined softly. He knew just how much the pet name ‘baby’ got to Richie.

Richie visibly softened, and Eddie knew he had him right where he wanted him. He leaned forward, just a bit, and gave Richie his best pleading look. 

“Baby…”

Richie kissed him soft and long, holding his face in his big hands and pulling him closer. Eddie pushed Richie back, taking over the kiss completely and pinning Richie to the bed, holding his wrists. Richie gasped as his back hit the mattress, and Eddie slotted their lips together, swallowing the small pleased noise Richie let out.

“Are we getting freaky here, Eds, or what?” Richie said between kisses, and Eddie smiled against his lips, pulling back and letting his wrists go.

“Shut up, braceface.” Eddie smiled, and Richie brought his hands to rest on Eddie’s thighs.

“You know, when I get my braces off in January, you can’t call me that anymore.” Richie said and pursed his lips, sitting up and pressing a kiss to Eddie’s nose.

“I’ll just have to come up with something else.” Eddie shrugged, “I already call you baby, and I know how much you love that.”

Richie buried his face in Eddie’s neck, laughing softly against his skin, embarrassed because he knew how right Eddie was.

“What else should I call you?” Eddie ran his fingers through Richie’s hair, talking softly in his ear. “Lover, or darling. Sweetheart,”

Richie tensed when he said sweetheart, pressing himself closer to Eddie.

“You like being called sweetheart?” Eddie asked, and Richie didn’t say anything for a few beats, before nodding once. “Baby and sweetheart, huh?”

“It’s embarrassing…” Richie mumbled, and Eddie kissed his temple softly.

“No, it’s not.” Eddie reassured him.

“It is for me.” Richie took a deep breath and pulled back, “Can we get going? I’m ready to get the best birthday of your life started.”

 

They went to the diner they always did, downtown. They sat in the back corner, in the booth where they carved their initials a year and a half ago, giggling quietly together and trying not to be caught by the waitress that came by every once in a while. They always played footsies under the table, fingers brushing as they reached for utensils or sugar, their faces going red.

“Aren’t you boys supposed to be in school?” Wanda asked, and Richie shrugged, leaning back in the seat.

“We’re taking a little time off. By the way, Miss Wanda, you’re looking as beautiful as ever. Did you get a haircut?” Richie said, and Wanda rolled her eyes and smiled.

“I did actually, you're the first person to notice and say something.” She fluffed her hair and Richie smiled.

Wanda was a beautiful woman in her mid-forties, still working at this old diner from nine to five, six days a week. She always made sure to slip them extra fries in their order. She had two sons, one in a grade lower than Richie and Eddie, and one still in middle school, eighth grade. They hung around inside the diner, sometimes, and Eddie was pretty sure they caught him and Richie kissing in ‘92, but they never said anything about it.

“You know I like to be the first person to compliment you every time we come in.” Richie pressed his foot to Eddie’s under the table. “It’s Eds’ birthday today.”

“It is?!” She said, and Eddie nodded, smiling up at her. “Well, happy birthday, sugar. How old are you turning?”

“Eighteen.” Eddie answered.

“The big eighteen. It seems like just yesterday you boys were this small.” She put his hand to her hip, palm facing the floor. “Since it’s your birthday, I’ll make sure to bring out a small cake for you.”

They told her what they wanted, and she left, her small heels clicking against the floor with every step.

“You, know. I was thinking about doing something like a picnic, but it’s too fuckin’ cold for that shit.” Richie said, reaching across the table to take Eddie’s hand. “So I thought maybe we should just come here, and recarve our initials.” Richie pulled a small pocket knife out of his pocket, his grandfather’s pocket knife that Wentworth gave to him when he was ten, and told him not to use it on anyone, just to keep it.

Eddie smiled and got up to slide in next to Richie, scooting close as Richie recarved his R. T. and the plus, and Eddie recarved his E. K.

Eddie ran his fingers over the letters, smiling softly to himself. Richie grabbed Eddie’s hand and laced their fingers together, leaning forward to kiss Eddie quickly.

“I love you.” Richie whispered, and Eddie pecked his lips.

“I love you, too.” Eddie slid out of the seat and got back into the seat on the other side, putting his feet up in the seat on either side of Richie’s thighs.

R. T. + E. K.

1991 - 4EVER

“How does it feel to be eighteen, Eds. Do you feel like an adult?” Richie asked, putting his socked feet up on the wall beside his bed.

“Not really.” Eddie said, snuggling up next to him and sliding a cold hand up his shirt, fingers curling around his ribs. “You know how when you’re twelve, and you turn thirteen, and it doesn’t feel like you’re a teenager? That’s how this feels. I still feel seventeen.”

“You’ll get used to it. Besides, you’re legally an adult now, you can do whatever the fuck you want.”

Eddie looked up at the ceiling, up at the drawings Richie’s stood on his bed and drawn up there over the years. Cartoon frogs and little sayings, Eddie’s name with hearts around it that he wrote when he was fifteen while Eddie watched with a blush on his face, giggling softly into the comfortable silence of the room.

Your name will always be here, Eds, ” Richie had said, kissing Eddie’s cheek. “ That’s how special you are.

Eddie sighed softly and kissed Richie’s neck softly, whispering that he loves him against his skin, breathing him in slowly.

“Can’t do shit without an I.D.” Eddie mumbled, and Richie shrugged, sliding a hand over Eddie’s thigh and pulling it up over his legs.

“Think about all the shit you’ll be able to do when you do get an I.D., though.” Richie said dreamily, “You can buy cigarettes, and get a tattoo. And… vote.”

“I don’t want to do… any of those.” Eddie kissed the tip of his nose, sliding his thumb over Richie’s cheekbone.

“Why wouldn’t you want to get a tattoo? I can’t do that shit until next year. You’re fucking lucky.”

“The only reason i’m lucky, baby, is because of you.” Eddie used that sweet voice he knew Richie loved so much, caressing his face, pulling him in for a long kiss.

“Fuck,” Richie groaned, hands sliding up Eddie’s shirt, pressing his fingers into the dip of his spine.

“Keep your hands to yourself, lover boy.” Eddie said, removing Richie’s hands from his body.

“But why?” Richie whined, and Eddie smiled and pecked him on the lips, sitting up and getting up off the bed to change the channel on Richie’s new boombox.

“We have to get going, soon. School’s about to let out.” Eddie sat back done on the bed, beside a whining Richie who was throwing a mini tantrum. “We’re all gonna meet up at Mike’s farm later, remember.”

“I know, cupcake. I just kinda wish it was just you me and today…” Richie mumbled, looking away and biting his lip.

“Richie.” Eddie laid down beside him and kissed his cheek, “Whenever we’re together, it’s almost always just us . We rarely see Bill, Mike, or Stan outside of school.”

“Yeah, I know.” Richie looked a little ashamed, and Eddie kissed his nose.

“It’s our last year here before we go off to college. Don’t you think we should hang out with them as much as possible?”

Richie nodded and put his arms around Eddie’s neck, pulling him down into a hug, pressing his face into his neck. “I’m sorry.” He said, but it was muffled from how he had his face pressed against Eddie’s skin.

“Nothing to be sorry for, baby.”

 

Eddie rode on the back of Richie’s bike while they went to get his bike from his house, wrapping his arms around Richie's middle and laying his head against his back. He didn’t really want to move, but it would be a lot faster if they were on separate bikes because two people weighed Richie’s down.

Biking in the cold sucked, but Richie still popped wheelies and rode with no hands and swerved from left to right, anyway. Eddie couldn’t help but smile at him, because he loved him so much, watching him stand up to peddle and smile against the cool breeze.

Mike, Bill, and Stan were already there, Jessica letting them in and giving them both kisses on their cold cheeks, asking them how they were doing.

Mike and Bill were cuddling on the couch in the living room, watching a movie, and Stan was sitting on the floor in front of the couch, writing in a small journal. Bill had his legs draped over Mike’s lap, kissing his neck, and Mike turned to look at Richie and Eddie standing in the entrance.

“Hey, guys.” He said, and Bill pulled away from his neck, smiling at Richie and Eddie.

“Looks like you two are having fun.” Richie said, walking over and leaning down to smack Stan in the face as he went by. Stan punched Richie in the stomach, and Richie doubled over, laughing softly and holding his stomach. “Fuck. What an arm.”

“Eddie, we’re talking you bowling.” Mike said, and Eddie pulled Richie to sit down with him.

“God damnit. I swear to god you people always collectively agree on the shit that I'm not good at.” Richie said, laying his head in Eddie’s lap.

“Well, what are you good at, Rich?” Mike asked.

“Oh, I don’t know… voices, making people laugh, bottling up all my negative emotions until I can cry them all out later.” Richie laughed at himself, and Eddie pressed his lips together, carding his fingers through Richie’s hair. 

It was silent for a bit before Bill began to laugh, covering his mouth with his hand and shaking his head. “I’m s- s- sorry. The silence got me.”

“Shut up, you motherfucker.” Richie grumbled.

 

They all rode to the bowling alley in Mike’s pickup, and paid for unlimited games until nine pm.

“These shoes are fucking ugly.” Richie complained, slipping the ugly bowling shoes on and tying them.

“It’s not the bowling alley’s fault your feet are so big. They give the people with big feet the ugly shoes.” Eddie said, and Richie bumped his shoulder into his, smiling.

“Yours are so cool… and then there’s mine.” Richie tapped his feet, the shoes making clicking noises against the floor.

“They’re not that bad.” Eddie shrugged, squeezing Richie’s thigh once.

“Mikey, y- y- you’re up first.” Bill said, and Mike got up to roll his turn. He made a strike the first try, and Richie brought a hand up to scrub over his face.

“Mike, man. You gotta cut me some slack, here. On the first try?” He said, and Mike shrugged, sitting down and throwing an arm over the back of Bill’s seat.

“Let’s play a game,” Eddie said in Richie’s ear.

“We’re already bowling.” Richie said, like an idiot.

“No. Let’s play a game of whenever you roll higher than me, you get a kiss.”

Richie looked around, smiling cautiously at Eddie.

“There’s people around…”

“I know. It’s alright. There’s just a few groups in here.”

“This sounds a bit freaky, but okay.” Richie said, and Eddie went up after Stan for his turn.

He rolled an eight, and Richie went right after him, getting a gutter ball the first roll, and then rolling a three.

“No kiss for you.” Eddie said as Richie sat back down, and Richie rolled his eyes.

“You suck.”

“Sore loser.”

“Only for you.”

Out of their ten turns in that game, Richie only got three kisses, each of them being quick pecks to the lips.

They were in the middle of their second game when a kid, maybe around the age of twelve or thirteen came up to them, timid and shy looking, wringing his hands together after he tapped Eddie on the shoulder.

“Hey,” Eddie said, and the kid smiled. “What is it?”

“I was just watching you two, from down there - that’s weird, never mind that. I came over because I’m scared, because I think I like boys, and I don’t know what to do. I saw you two kiss a bunch of times so I guessed you were my safest option.”

Eddie smiled, feeling Richie snake an arm around his waist. “Liking boys is completely fine.”

“But what if there’s something wrong with me?” He asked, and Eddie shook his head.

“There’s nothing wrong with you. Nothing.” He said, firmly, but quietly. “You’re just like everyone else, except you like boys - and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

The kid smiled, looking down at his bowling shoes. “Can I - Can I give you a hug? You don’t have to say yes, if that’s weird.”

“It’s not weird. I know how hard it is.”

Eddie was still scared of a lot of things that came with being gay. The homophobia, not being able to really be open about his relationship with Richie, and many other things. But if it meant this kid felt a little better, it didn’t matter right now.

“I have no one to talk to. Thank you.” The kid said and Eddie put his arms around him, giving him a quick hug.

“Of course.”

The kid walked off, disappearing into the small arcade area.

“Well done, Eddie!” Mike said, and Eddie smiled sitting back down beside Richie and leaning into his side, their heads resting against each other’s.

“I love you.” Richie whispered, and Eddie smiled.

“I love you.”

 

“Can you cover for me tonight while I stay at Richie’s?” Eddie asked, and Bill pressed his lips together and nodded. “Thanks. You’re an angel, Billy.”

He kissed Bill on the cheek and ran over to Richie, jumping on him and laughing as Richie stumbled and nearly fell over.

“Scared the hell out of me, Eds.” He said, looking around quickly and pulling Eddie in by the waist for a kiss. Eddie giggled against his lips, arching his back to fit Richie’s posture, wrapping his arms around his neck.

“Bill said he’d cover for me tonight.” Eddie said against Richie’s lips, and Richie kissed the corner of his mouth, and then his neck, bringing a hand up to tug the collar of Eddie’s shirt to the side so he could kiss across his shoulder and collarbone.

“Does that mean I can give you some birthday loving tonight?” Richie said, words mumbled against Eddie’s skin as he kissed back up his neck.

“You don’t have to say it like that,” Eddie laughed.

“Is that your way of saying you don’t want to have sex with me, Eds?” 

“No! That’s just a weird way of saying it, dingus.”

“Is that a yes?” Richie asked, smiling in Eddie’s face and pecking his lips.

“Only if you’re good,”
“I’m always good, Eds, and you know it.”

“Shut up.”

 

When they got back to Richie’s house, Maggie and Went were laughing in the kitchen, and Richie grabbed Eddie’s hand and pulled him towards the sound. Maggie was tickling Went, had him pressed against the counter and was curling her fingers against his ribs ruthlessly, making him laugh and squirm and try to push her away.

“Oh, hey, boys.” She said, and turned around to walk over to them, putting her arms around both of them. Went was still leaning against the counter, laughing softly to himself and sliding his hands under his glasses to wipe the tears from his eyes.

There was food on the stove. It smelled good. Of course it smelled good, it was Maggie’s cooking.

“Did you two have fun?” She asked, and Richie nodded, leaning over the island.

“We went bowling.” Richie said, rolling his eyes. Eddie wrapped an arm around his waist, moving his long hair away to kiss the nape of his neck.

“You suck at bowling,” Went said, stealing a biscuit and dodging Maggie’s swatting hand.

“Yeah, that’s the thing. My friends and boyfriend always come together to bane against me.”

“Maybe you should just get better at bowling.” Went shrugged his shoulders, and Eddie laughed, cooing at Richie when he pouted and turned away.

“Aw, give me a kiss, baby.” Eddie said. Leaning farther into his space and watching as Richie’s face visibly softened, eyes fluttering shut as Eddie cupped his cheek and pulled him in for a kiss.

“Young love,” Maggie sighed, batting her eyelashes dramatically.

Eddie smiled against Richie’s lips.

 

“It seems like you get along better with Mags and Went than you do with me.” Richie said, shutting the door and smiling softly

“I like your parents a lot better than you.” Eddie smiled.

“Eds,” Richie stuck his bottom lip out in a pout, looking at Eddie with big blue puppy dog eyes. “You’s ah hurtin’ mah feelin’s.”

“Aw, poor baby…” Eddie said in a baby voice, crawling closer and sliding a hand over his thigh. “Do you want me to kiss it better?”

Richie nodded, tapping the right side of his neck. Eddie leaned forward, pressing a kiss to Richie’s neck. Richie tapped the other side of his neck, and Eddie kissed the other side of his neck. Richie pointed to his forehead, and both of his cheeks, even his chin, and Eddie kissed each of those. Then, Richie pressed two fingers to his lips, leaning forward and closing his eyes for Eddie to meet him halfway.

Eddie pushed him back, slamming his lips against his and sliding his hands down Richie’s body, holding his hips, pressing against him.

“Mmh,” Richie pulled back, “Little Eds sure is happy to see me.” he laughed, glancing down between them.

“Ugh, god. You ruined the fucking mood.” Eddie pulled back, getting under the covers and turning over on his side.

“Aw, come on, cupcake.” Richie slid his hand up Eddie’s body over the duvet, leaning down to kiss just below his ear. “Give me some tonight.”

“No. You talk too damn much.” Eddie mumbled, feeling Richie fit his body against his back. “Besides, i’m pretty sure it’s illegal now since i’m eighteen - or something.”

“It’s a four month difference, it’s not illegal, Eds.” Richie laughed near his ear, and Eddie sighed at the noise, feeling Richie’s lips brush his neck.

Eddie sat up to pull his shirt off, tossing it away.

“Changed your mind?” Richie said from behind him, and he laughed softly.

“No,” He layed back down, “I just want you to hold me, so I can feel your skin.”

“Fuck. That’s romantic.” Richie pressed his chest against Eddie’s back, sliding his hand down Eddie’s chest.

“Don’t try anything, Richie.” Eddie said, and Richie pressed his face into Eddie’s shoulder, humming softly.

“I’m not. You’re just… you’re warm.” Richie sighed, and Eddie put his hand over Richie’s, sliding his fingers between his. “You’re so warm.”

Richie sounded like he was drifting off to sleep. He always babbled like this when he was tired, just got even more talkative, but Eddie loved it.

“Mags’ll probably want you to stay for breakfast in the morning. You know she likes making sure you’re fed.” Richie mumbled, and Eddie smiled softly, thinking of Maggie standing in front of the stove, flipping pancakes and humming the tune of Strangers In the Night by Frank Sinatra, the song her and Wentworth always slow danced to, her favorite song. She was beautiful, inside and out, so loving and caring, so kind to everyone, even if they weren’t kind to her. Eddie loved her; loved her with all of his heart, loved her like a mother.

“I might not be able to stay too long. My mom will probably want me home at a certain time.” Eddie said, softly, squirming uncomfortably at the thought of going home. “She’ll probably be calling Bill’s house, asking for me in the morning.”

“She gets on my nerves.” Richie grumbled, and Eddie giggled softly. 

Richie went from making jokes about her constantly, to just not talking about her at all. He rarely even acknowledged her, the only times being when Eddie talked about her. He only said simple things, about how he couldn’t stand her, about how Eddie deserves better than her.

“No more talking about her.” Eddie said finally, and Richie hummed in agreement. 

“You remember that kid? From today.” Richie said, and Eddie hummed a yes. “Doesn’t it make you feel kinda good to know that we’re not alone in this town? You know, that there’s others like us.”

“We haven’t been alone for a while, Rich.” Eddie felt Richie press a kiss to his shoulder, slowly, like he was trying to plant it there. “Bill and Mike are together. Bill came to me for advice. We haven’t been alone for a while.”

“I know.” Richie mumbled, bringing his hand up to turn Eddie’s head, turning his own a bit to slot their lips together, tongues sliding over one another slowly, sweetly, in no rush because they had all the time in the world. Eddie turned his body to Richie, leaning up to kiss him deeper, sliding a hand down his chest, fingers curling around his waist and tugging him a little closer. Eddie bit down softly on Richie’s bottom lip and tugged on it, letting his eyes open just a bit so he could see the way Richie’s eyebrows pulled together as he groaned.

He released his lip, pulling back and laying down, tugging the covers up over his body.

“Come on, Eds. You can’t just leave me hanging like that.” Richie whined, and Eddie giggled as he snuggled closer and wrapped an arm around his waist.

“Go to sleep.”

“I love you.” Richie said.

“I love you more, bubba.”

 

Eddie was awoken with lips pressing to his forehead, soft; fingers stroking through his hair. He let his eyes flutter open against the morning light, being met with Maggie, sitting on the bed, smiling softly down at him. She was beautiful, truly ethereal. Her dark brown hair shined in the light, curling slightly, like Richie’s, just barely touching her shoulders. She was dressed in a nightgown, that she’d probably change out of later, and into something that she could go grocery shopping in.

“Good morning.” She said, and Eddie smiled, leaning into her loving touch, the touch of a mother.

“Morning,” 

“You can never wake Richie up on the weekends for shit, so I wanted to know if you’d keep me company while I cook breakfast.”

“Yeah, of course.” 

Eddie sat on the counter and ate strawberries as Maggie flipped pancakes and put bacon on. It was silent, but it was a comfortable silence.

She let him crack some eggs, and laughed when he accidentally got some shells in the pan. She got them out, and he apologized and just settled for watching her cook, because he knew he sucked at it.

Wentworth came down, eventually, dressed for work.

“Morning, Eddie. Morning, my love,” He kissed Maggie on the head, and then ruffled Eddie’s hair. “The food smells good.”

“It’s almost done.” She said, “Eddie? Can you go wake Richie up?” 

“Mhm,” He hopped off the counter, hurrying up the stairs and into Richie’s room. 

He hopped onto the bed and layed his head down beside Richie’s kissing his nose and wrapping an arm around him. “Baaaaby,” He sang, “Wake up. Maggie cooked breakfast.”

Richie groaned and turned away, mumbling something Eddie couldn’t really make out and pulling the covers over his head.

“It’s almost nine am.” Eddie said, running his fingers through Richie’s hair and combing the tangles out.

“Just a little longer, Eds.” Richie said, his hand coming up to touch Eddie’s face, only to smack him lightly, turning over and curling into a ball.

“Don’t make me tickle you.”

Richie groaned and reached over to his nightstand for his glasses, putting them in and turning towards Eddie, pursing his lips and leaning up to silently ask for a kiss.

“Ew. No. You haven’t brushed your teeth.”

“Have you brushed your teeth?” Richie said, throwing the duvet off himself.

“Why would I brush my teeth before eating breakfast? That’s gross. No one wants to taste orange juice and toothpaste combined,” Eddie slapped his hands down on Richie’s bare thighs after he swung his legs over the side of the bed. Richie groaned and wrapped his arms around Eddie’s neck, pulling him down into a hug and falling back against the bed, tugging him along. Eddie giggled and pressed his lips against Richie’s neck, kissing all of where he could reach.

“We have to go eat breakfast, baby.” Eddie said, and Richie shook his head and tilted it to the side, sighing softly and wrapping his legs around Eddie’s waist to keep him trapped there. “Let me go,”

“Just kiss my neck some more.” Richie breathed, and Eddie tried to pull away, but Richie tightened his arms and legs around him. 

“I’ll tickle you,” Eddie warned, sliding his hands down Richie’s sides, stopping at his ribs. “I’ll do it.”

Eds ,” Richie whined, and Eddie curled his fingers against Richie’s ribs once just to make him squirm. “I want more neck kisses.”

“Only if you let me go.”

Richie whined and let him go, only for Eddie to pull away completely. Richie pouted and tried to pull him back, but Eddie moved away, cackling and sprinting out of the room, Richie running after him with his hands held out.

“Come on, Eds. You promised!” Richie yelled from the top of the stairs as Eddie went down them quickly, and he jumped off the last four.

“I didn’t promise shit!” He said, and hurried to the kitchen, sitting down at the dining table and waiting for Richie to come in behind him.

“Why is Eddie the only one who can ever wake you up?” Maggie asked, and Richie shrugged as she set a plate of food down in front of him.

“He promised me neck kisses,” Richie said, and then looked pointedly at Eddie. “and now he won’t give me any.”

“Aw, i’m sorry, baby.” Eddie said, and leaned forward to give Richie a quick kiss on the neck, Richie’s face a bright red when he pulled back.

“Right in front of my food,” Went said, and Richie sat back in his seat and gave his dad a flat look. “Save the PDA for the bedroom.”

“You and mom kiss around us all the time!” Richie protested, and Maggie walked over to run her fingers through his hair and kiss his head. He leaned into her touch, just like he always did. Mama’s boy.

“We’re married. We have a right.” Went pointed his fork at Richie, eggs nearly falling off the end.

“Well, me and Eds can’t get married. So, what the fuck are we supposed to do, then?”

Eddie froze at the topic of marriage. They couldn’t get married. They loved each other, right? Why couldn’t they get married?

“Hm… I guess you’re right. But i’d like to enjoy this french toast first. Isn’t your mother just the loveliest chef?” Went stuffed his mouth full of Maggie’s french toast, strawberries on top with whipped cream. Maggie laughed as Richie agreed, stuffing his own mouth full.

Wentworth and Richie were the exact same. Same sense of humor, same looks, same mannerisms; same everything.

It was kind of weird, how similar they were.

Richie was like both his parents in some way.

He looked almost exactly like Wentworth, except just younger, with longer hair, and metal in his mouth. They cracked jokes just the same, and did dumb voices, and were so playful it made you sick sometimes.

But Richie was also like Maggie; hard on the outside, soft on the inside. He had her affectionate nature, and he was goofy just like her. He looked like her when he cried, and whenever something he was really passionate about was brought up, he’d talk about it for ages - just like her.

But Richie was special in his own way, too.

He made Eddie feel a lot different than either of his parents ever had. Where Wentworth and Maggie filled in the spots where good and present parents were, Richie took up space where he felt true love.

True, true love.

He loved Richie, with everything he had in him. He wanted to wake up to him every morning, spend every second of the day with him. Put up with his bad habits, and all his crying over small things. He wanted everything - everything with Richie.

Maggie sat down beside Eddie and elbowed him in the ribs, giving him a smile and running her fingers through his hair once, kissing him on the forehead and another on his temple.

God, did he love this woman.

It was just the little things that she did. Kissed him on his forehead, asked him to keep her company. He got everything from her that he never got from his own mother, and that’s what he needed. He needed someone to be there where his mother couldn’t. It still hurt to know that his mother wronged him his whole life, sure. But it made it just a little better knowing that he could come to Maggie anytime and get the love he went without.

“I cooked the french toast for you. I know it’s your favorite.” Maggie said, and Eddie smiled so bright.

“You cooked a whole birthday dinner for me last night... and now my favorite french toast?” Eddie nearly began to cry.

“It was my idea. You know how your old pal Went remembers all your favorite things? Yeah, this was one. I gave her a suggestion when we woke up this morning.” Went said, and Richie shook his head from beside him. “Anything for my son-in-law.”

“I swear you people like him more than me. You guys never cook any of my favorite foods.” Richie said, and his face fell, looking to Eddie, and then away. “Sorry. I talk too much.”

Eddie leaned in to kiss him, just a simple press of lips, because Eddie knew that Richie couldn’t help it sometimes. He said his thoughts, so what? Eddie loved that about him.

“Don’t apologize,” Eddie whispered as they pulled away, and Richie nodded, teeth catching his bottom lip as he looked into Eddie’s eyes. “I love you.”

“Love you more.” Richie said, and Eddie pecked his lips, again, pulling back to see Maggie and Went watching them silently, Maggie with a small smile in her face and Went with a blank stare.

Both Eddie and Richie went bright red, flushing down their necks and turning their faces away from Maggie and Went.

“You two remind me a lot of when me and Mags were in high school.” Went moves his fork to point at each of them, and then stabbed some of his forks, eating them. “She had to calm me down like that a lot, too.”

“Young love,” Maggie sighed dreamily, looking between Richie and Eddie, smiling softly as Richie pulled Eddie against him, smiling proudly, revealing those braces with bright green bands. Eddie kissed his cheek, and Richie turned his face to bring their lips together, soft but firm; Eddie nearly melting against him, sighing softly against his lips and bringing a hand up to rest on Richie’s neck.

“You can’t touch me there, Eddie. We’re at the dinner table!” Richie said, and Eddie went red, even though he didn’t do anything. Richie had a thing for embarrassing him, apparently.

“I didn’t do anything! I just touched your neck.”

“You know touching my neck gets me all hot and bothered.” Richie said, shimmying in his seat. He looked like a fool, dressed only in the boxers he slept in, hair messy, sticking up every which way.

“You’re insufferable.” Eddie grumbled, eating his french toast.

 

It was well after ten o’clock before Eddie left, and he’d sure have to give Bill a big thanks, later. His mother probably called his house ten times in the past two hours, like she always did. He knew she’d be upset when he got home, but he just didn’t want to leave. He wanted to stay and lay in bed with Richie, kiss him and just talk. He never wanted to stop talking with Richie, because it was so easy. It was so easy for Richie to keep all their conversations going, easy to keep it interesting.

He used his house key to open the front door, silently praying that his mother wasn’t waiting for him. She had a habit of that.

She was. Sitting in her chair, feet propped up, primping her nails.

“Hey, ma. Sorry I'm late.” Eddie tried, and his mother pursed her lips.

“Every time I called, Bill wouldn’t let me speak to you. He said you were in the bathroom, or you were sleeping, or you were outside on the porch.” She said, and he sighed, sitting on the stool beneath her feet.

“I was, ma. I’m always busy at Bill’s house, because I like to help his dad in the garden.” Eddie lied through his teeth, though it wasn’t very hard to do. Anything to keep her from keeping him away from Richie.

“You shouldn’t roll around in the dirt. If you have any cuts on your hands, it can get infected, and—“

“I don’t have any cuts on my hands. You know I check before I put my hands in the dirt.” Eddie said, and stood up to leave the room before she could say anything more, but she grabbed his wrist and held it tight. He instinctively tried to pull away from her, because he’d grown scared over the years, scared of her holding his arms and dragging him around because he was a lot smaller than her, always had been.

“Let me go.” He tried to keep his voice low.

“You go over to that Denbrough boy’s house so much. I don’t know if I want you to stay over, anymore.”

“You can’t make me.” He tried to yank his arm away, again. It was no use.

“I’m your mother!” She raised her voice, and he could feel the burning in his throat, his breathing becoming uneven. He wouldn’t cry in front of her.

“I’m an adult!” He yelled, and used all his strength to pull away from her. “I turned eighteen yesterday, and you don’t even care.”

“You turning eighteen just makes you think that you can leave me, but you can’t! You have to stay with me. You have to!”

“I don’t have to do anything.” Eddie went up the stairs quickly, and slammed his door behind him, locking it and sliding to the floor.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe . He had to breathe . He didn’t have asthma. He knew he didn’t have asthma. This was something else.

He cried as quietly as he could, pulling his knees up to his chest and biting down on the denim of his jeans. He wouldn’t use his inhaler. He didn’t need it. He didn’t.

He crawled over to his desk, taking the phone off the cradle and putting Richie’s house number in.

“Tozier’s Mule Barn. Head Ass speaking.”

“Richie! What the hell did I tell you about answering the phone like that?!” Maggie yelled from a ways away.

Eddie laughed softly, relieved that it was Richie answering the phone. He always said something dumb. He always made Eddie feel a little better without even trying.

“Richie,” Eddie breathed.

“Eds? What’s wrong?” Of course Richie recognized that something was wrong just by hearing his voice. He always did.

The tears just came harder, and he sobbed into the receiver, holding the phone away from his face for a second. He sunk his teeth into his bottom lip and pressed the phone back to his ear, Richie already halfway through a sentence.

“-tell me what’s wrong.” He said, and Eddie sighed shakily, wiping his face with the sleeve of his jacket.

“Huh?” He asked, so Richie would repeat his sentence.

“You have to tell me what’s wrong. I can’t help if you don’t.”

“She—“ He began, and the words stopped in his throat, refusing to come out.

“She what? She didn’t put her hands on you again, did she?”

“She just grabbed my wrist,” He said, and pulled the sleeve of his jacket back, revealing his wrist, that was already bruising. He tried to hold back a gasp, because she’d never hurt him this bad before, but it came out before he could even think about it.

“What?” Richie asked from the other side, sounding even more concerned. “ Eds?

Eddie slid the sleeve back down, because he didn’t want to see it. She hurt him. Physically.

“I’m coming to get you.” Richie said, and the line went dead.

Eddie sat in the corner of his room, knees pulled up to his chest, tears falling down his cheeks that he wouldn’t wipe away. It wasn’t long before he heard the ladder being propped up beside the house, and Richie climbing all the way up and sliding through his window, stumbling over to him and scooping him up in his arms.

“I shouldn’t have let you come home. Fuck . I shouldn’t have let you come home,” Richie whispered in his ear, and Eddie put his arms around his neck, letting Richie pull him up to stand. “You just got here and she’s already starting with her bullshit.”

Richie’s voice was beginning to break, and Eddie pulled back to see that he’d begun to cry, too.

Eddie brushed some hair out of his face, swiping his tears away with his thumbs and pulling him down into a kiss, long and slow and soft, tongues sliding together, but cautiously, because Richie’s braces didn’t have wax on them.

Richie sobbed into Eddie’s mouth, pressing close, holding Eddie firm to him.

“Don’t cry,” Eddie mumbled, and Richie pressed his lips together.

“You know I cry when you cry. I can’t help it.”

Eddie pecked his lips, just before there was a sharp knocking on his door.

“Eddie bear. Let me in.” His mother said from the other side, and Richie stumbled back like he’d been shot by her words.

“Go away!” He yelled, but it wasn’t much of a yell because his voice was weak from crying.

“Don’t make me take this door off its hinges.”

Eddie didn’t respond, just stood silently until she walked away, going downstairs and into the garage to grab his dad’s old drill.

“She’ll take the door off. Let me get a bag of clothes.” He said, grabbing a backpack and stuffing clothes into it.

Richie stood cautiously beside him, ready to grab him and run. Eddie zipped the backpack up and threw it on his back, grabbing Richie’s hand and telling him to climb through the window. He could hear his mother coming up the stairs as he climbed out the window, but he kept going, closing the window behind him and climbing down as fast as he could.

They ran down the street, and didn’t stop until they turned the corner. Eddie knew she would go to every single one of his friend’s houses until she found him. She’d probably start with Richie’s, but it was alright, because he knew that Maggie and Went wouldn’t let her in.

It was cold, and he pressed himself into Richie’s side as they walked down the street together, watching his breath cloud in the air. It was cloudy, and looked like it was going to rain soon, maybe later tonight when the clouds got darker and heavier. Richie put an arm around him, his teeth chattering, his cheeks and the tip of his nose red from the wind nipping at his skin.

There were no words shared between them. There didn’t need to be. Richie’s house wasn’t far.

 

Maggie and Went pulled them inside as soon as Richie put his key in the front door, asking them what happened in a jumble of words.

Richie burst into tears again as soon as his mother took his hands into her to warm them up; and he fell against her, sobbing violently into her shoulder.

Maggie took him away, into the living room, and Went took Eddie into the kitchen.

“What happened?” He asked, and Eddie sighed, looking down at the floor.

“As soon as I got home, my mom told me she doesn’t want me to stay over at anyone’s house anymore. I told her that i’m an adult, and that I can do what I want, now, and - she…” He looked down at his arm, covered by his jacket sleeve. “She did this.”

He pulled the sleeve up to reveal the bruise around his wrist, even darker and more purple, now, and Wentworth grabbed his arm gently to look it over. His face went from worried to angry, really quick, and he took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. He pulled Eddie into a hug, running his fingers through his hair.

“I should’ve known it would get this bad one day.”

Eddie pulled back, “What?”

“Sonia wasn’t always like that with you. Back when Frank was alive, we were really good friends, and he used to bring you over a lot to play with Richie and your mom would come, too. She never really did like that he smoked, but she didn’t really say too much about it, either. She used to let you play around and be a normal kid, until he was diagnosed.”

She never really did like that he smoked, but she didn’t really say too much about it, either?

What if that happened to Richie?

What if he ended up like her?

“You know, after your dad died, you got really sick and that just set something off inside her. She never brought you around anymore. Kept you locked up inside. It just got worse and worse over the years, and she got more and more crazy about your safety. I mean, what parent isn’t concerned for their kid’s safety? She was just completely over the top with it, and now she’s putting her hands on you.”

“What was my dad like?” Eddie found himself asking, because his mother had never told him a thing about his dad. He’d had to find out little things on his own; a picture of his father holding him as a baby, hidden in his mother’s bedside table drawer, a pocket watch that played a little tune with his father’s initials engraved by hand on the back, and a few letters that he wrote Eddie after he was diagnosed, which his mother kept hidden from him, also.

She only mentioned his father when she wanted to get something out of him. When she wanted to use him against him. She’d say ‘Your father would be so disappointed in you, Eddie.’ or ‘Your father wouldn’t want you treating me like this.’

“Sweetest man I ever met. He always wanted to spend as much time with you as possible, couldn’t keep a smile off his face whenever he held you. We grew up together, and he was always the playful type. He always played around with you, didn’t mind rolling around in the grass if it was with you.” Eddie smiled and leaned back against the island.

“My ma never told me anything about him. She’d only use him against me.” He mumbled, kicking his feet and looking down at the floor.

“Good thing i’m here to tell you about him, then, huh?” Went said, “You know, the older you get, the more you look like him.”

“Really?” Eddie asked.

“Yeah,” Wentworth said, “You’re a little on the shorter side like him, too.”

They both laughed, and Eddie walked forward to wrap his arms around Went, and Went did the same, one hand carding through his hair. He pressed his lips to Eddie’s forehead, and Eddie welcomed it, welcomed the love of a father, something he couldn’t remember the feeling of.

He felt someone wrap their arms around him from behind, and turned his head in the slightest, being met with Maggie’s dark hair, tickling his nose.

“We love you, Eddie,” She said, “We’re always going to be here for you.”

“I know.” Eddie mumbled.

“Richie would’ve come in here, too, but he said that if he did, he’d start crying again, so.” She said, and Eddie laughed softly.

“Crybaby,” Wentworth said, and Maggie giggled, nodding.

“You should probably go get him. He’s worried about you,” Maggie said, and Eddie nodded, letting them both kiss his forehead before he went up the stairs and into Richie’s room.

Richie was sitting on his bed, hands squeezed between his thighs, looking down at his lap when Eddie came in. He looked up at Eddie and gave him a small smile, probably already on the verge of tears, again. “Hey,”

“Hey.” Eddie said, sitting beside him.

“Are you okay?” He asked, and Eddie nodded, putting an arm around his waist and leaning his head on his shoulder.

“I’m fine. Just a little tired from crying.” He mumbled, and Richie nodded, wrapping both his arms around him to pull him into a hug, burying his face in his neck.

“I love you.” Richie said, and Eddie squeezed him softly.

“I love you, too.”

Richie pulled back to shrug his jacket off, toeing his shoes off. Eddie did the same, stripping down to just his boxers, throwing his arms around Richie’s neck and taking Richie down with him, humming softly as Richie wrapped his arms around his middle.

“I love you,” Eddie mumbled, and Richie kissed him.

“I love you,”

It was only around eleven in the morning, but they were both exhausted, mentally. Sonia did that to people. Eddie didn’t know how much more he could take.

 

He woke up at around ten at night, the room pitch black. He waved his right hand around in the dark, trying to find the lamp on Richie’s nightstand. He hit it, eventually, moving his hand down over the shade and clicking it on.

He could see that Richie was curled up, the cover only half way up his body, hair wild from moving around while he slept. Eddie laid back down, pulling the cover higher up over both of them, running his fingers through Richie’s hair slowly and softly, combing the tangles out. He watched the way Richie’s eyebrows furrowed, and then his head turned up and he kissed the palm of Eddie’s hand once. He opened his eyes slowly, blinking a few times, blue eyes being revealed.

“I can barely see you,” He said, voice raspy with sleep.

Eddie handed him his glasses, and Richie smiled sleepily as he slid them on.

“Hey, gorgeous,” Richie said, kissing him softly.

“Hey, yourself,” Eddie went to wrap his arms around Richie’s neck, but Richie caught his hand before he could.

“Hold on. What’s this?” He examined Eddie’s wrist, and Eddie pulled away, hiding it.

“It’s nothing,”

“No, she - she hurt you. She hurt you, Eddie.”

Richie never used his full name.

“I said it’s nothing. Can we just… can we just leave it alone?”

“There’s bruises on your wrist, and you expect me to just leave it alone?

Eddie let his head fall into his hands, feeling Richie’s eyes across his skin.

“There’s nothing I can do about how she acts. No matter what I say, she just keeps on. So, why should I even bother? There’s no getting through to her, and you know it .”

Richie sighed and moved closer to Eddie, kissing his shoulder softly. He took Eddie’s arm in his hand and kissed around his wrist, over the bruises.

“You don’t deserve this. You deserve better,” Richie whispered.

“I have better,” Eddie said, “I have you.”

Richie kissed him

“Let’s just leave it, okay? It’s late,” Eddie whispered, and Richie sighed and nodded.

“I still hate your mom.” Richie grumbled.

“I know,”

 

“Watch Grease with me,” Richie said, wrapping his arms around Eddie, pulling him close and holding him tight so he couldn’t move away.

“I would enjoy this movie if you didn’t sing all the songs word for word.” Eddie grumbled, and Richie kissed his cheek.

Richie put his tape of Grease in the VCR, jumping back on the bed with Eddie, returning to his original position with his arms around Eddie.

As soon as “Summer Nights” came on, Richie began to sing. Eddie groaned and tried to pull away from him.

Richie , don’t sing,” He whined, but Richie just got in his face and sang even louder.

“Come on, you know you love it when I sing.” Richie cooed.

“I really don’t.” Eddie groaned, and Richie smiled and kissed him.

“You can be the Sandy to my Danny,” Richie said.

“Who said I wanted to be Sandy?”

“I’ll have you know, Eds, I do a killer Danny Zuko impression.”

“I bet mine’s better,”

“Oh, yeah?”

Yeah . I’ll put money on it if you want me to.”

“Alright then let’s see.”

They both did Danny Zuko impressions, and Eddie even got up to do his walk, laughing before he could get to the other side of the room. Eddie won, of course. Richie flopped back on the bed and threw an arm over his face dramatically.

“Damn. Yours is better,” He said, and Eddie laid down beside him. Richie turned on his side and stroked the back of his hand over Eddie’s cheek, leaning forward to kiss him. “I guess I’ll be your Sandy.”

Eddie kissed him, carding a hand through his hair, kissing his neck slowly and moving a hand down to hold his waist.

Richie brought a hand up to rest on the back of Eddie’s head, sighing softly.

“I’m a little scared,” Richie said, and Eddie pulled back, looking at him with furrowed brows.

“Why, baby?”

Richie turned on his side to face Eddie, “You said earlier that this is our last year of high school. We’re seniors, and that’s kind of scary.”

“Yeah.” Eddie knew his mother would try her hardest to make him stay and go to school here; community college. He really didn’t want to stay. He didn’t want to be away from Richie, and he just didn’t want to be in this town any longer than he had to.

“Mags and Went said I should start thinking about what college I want to go to.” Richie mumbled, twirling a lock of Eddie’s hair around his index fingers and keeping his eyes averted from Eddie’s.

“Do you know what you want to do for a living?” Eddie asked, and Richie shrugged one shoulder, frowning softly.

“I don’t want to leave you. Your mama said she wants you to go to the Derry community college.” Eddie saw his lip begin to quiver, “We won’t be able to see each other if I go away.”

“Don’t cry,” Eddie shushed him, just as tears began to spill from his eyes, soft sobs falling from his lips.

“Would you run away with me?” He whispered, hands traveling up the back of Eddie’s shirt, cold hands pressing flat to Eddie’s back.

“Richie…” 

“I can’t leave you in a place like this, Eddie. Not with all the bad memories we have here. Not with your mom .” Richie pulled back to look him in the eyes, “I won’t leave you with her.”

Eddie closed his eyes, turning his face to press it into Richie’s neck, breathing him in slowly and kissing over his pulse, rapidly thrumming over Eddie’s lips like they were begging him to press the most tender of kisses there.

“How?” He whispered, feeling Richie press his fingertips into the dip of his spine. 

“You’re eighteen, now, Eds. She can’t make you stay.”

“She’ll report me missing.”

“Police never do anything, anyway.” Richie pulled away to look at him, tears sliding down his cheeks. “We can just hop on a bus and… leave. You and me.”

“Just you and me?”

“Me and you.”