Chapter Two

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With their fingers intertwined, the boys walked across the town toward Eddie's home. There was nothing but the gentle patter of sneakers scraping up against the concrete as the young couple walked down an empty sidewalk. With each step, Eddie's feet skillfully missed the cracks in the sidewalk while Richie's feet dragged over the rough surface. The wind caused the leaves to rustle with each gust. It was nights like this that reminded Richie why his buddy Stan loved nature so much.

The pastel colors of purple and pink shot across the sky as if they belonged to a careful artist. Though the darkness was slowly rising, every color seemed to burst and blend smoothly. Lights were turning on in the quiet homes they passed due to the sun setting.

Eddie's thumb moved back and forth along the side of Richie's hand. The contact between their skin was so light that it was barely noticeable. But Richie noticed well enough and loved the feeling. Richie carefully leaned over to press his lips against Eddie's head. His hair smelled like sweet vanilla even then, hours after washing it.

The silence between them wasn't usual but it was sweet. Not only was it because Richie wasn't using his obnoxious voices to get under Eddie's skin, but because their minds seemed to be in overdrive with passion at every little thing between them. It was a connection like this that Eddie always craved. The fact that he found it with his best friend was a true gift that he definitely cherished.

Once Eddie's house came into view, a chorus of sighs between the two fell from their lips. Eddie's grip tightened around Richie's hand which made his heartbreak. Richie knew how much Eddie hated being home. Almost, if not as much, as Richie hated being at his home. A frown tugged at his lips as he pulled Eddie's hand to them and pressed a soft kiss against the back of his hand.

"I'll make sure to come get you bright and early" Richie mumbled against his cold skin. Eddie just nodded at his statement. They stopped out front and turned to each other, their hands still holding firmly onto the others.

"I wish you could just stay the night" Eddie spoke with a soft broken tone. Richie sighed gently and brushed his fingertips along the side of Eddie's face then through his hair.

"Me too, but we can't risk your mom finding out about us. You know, she'd be super jealous that I'm dating you and not her" a grin formed on his face. Eddie pushed Richie away. The push forced Richie to move his foot back to catch himself. Eddie rolled his eyes but a grin formed on his face too.

"I hate you sometimes" Eddie mumbled. Richie knew he didn't mean it though as he let go of Eddie's hand and gently placed his fingers under the boy's chin.

"Oh! Do you?" Richie teased. "That hurts my heart, truly"

"What heart?" Eddie teased right back.

"That's true, you stole it a long time ago" this forced Eddie's cheeks to turn crimson red.

"Shut up" Eddie's voice cracked into a gentle squeak which only amused Richie.

"You know it's true, my little cupcake" Eddie groaned and rolled his eyes with a quick shake of his head. "Not into that nickname? I have a list, you know" Richie added.

"Well cross that one off" Eddie leaned up onto his toes to plant a kiss on Richie's lips. "And probably the rest of them too while you're at it"

"Fine, Eds" Richie chuckled and planted soft kisses over Eddie's whole face before he could argue over the name. Laughs escaped out of both of the boys before their realization soon came forward. Eddie had to go inside. "Alright. How about breakfast tomorrow?"

"Sounds good to me" Eddie nodded and gave Richie a quick kiss and a firm hug. He took his backpack from Richie and smiled up at him. "I love you"

"I love you too" Richie watched as Eddie turned away and sped off into the house. He waited for the door to be closed then waited even longer for his bedroom light to flick on. It took a few minutes but once he saw the glow from Eddie's bedroom window, he turned around and walked toward home.

Eddie dropped his bag beside his bed and let his body collapse onto the red sheets that covered his bed. His eyes scanned the room while every muscle in his body slowly relaxed. When Richie wasn't around, it felt as though there was a dark void surrounding him. It was probably unhealthy for him to need Richie around so much but he couldn't help it. A pitiful groan escaped his lips as he rolled over onto his side and hugged the teddy bear that Richie had won for him at the last fair. He laid there for what felt like hours just hugging that bear. He would have stayed longer but his stomach grumbling was a reminder that his body needed food.

He slowly let go of the small stuffed animal and got up out of bed. He walked downstairs and turned toward the kitchen.

"Eddie sweetie?" Eddie's mother Sonia called from the living room. Eddie stifled a sigh as he took the few extra steps to the living room.

"Yes, mommy?" He talked softly, his eyes gazing across the room at the woman in a bright pink floral gown.

"What are you doing?" She asked, her eyes staring down at her nails as she filed them.

"Getting something to eat"

"Sweetie, you haven't eaten?"

"No, I can get something for myself. Don't worry"

"Don't be touching the stove, sweetheart. You know how dangerous it can be" he just nodded his head and turned back toward the kitchen. His eyes rolled back in annoyance as he walked around the corner and flicked on the light. He opened the fridge and ducked down to take a look inside.

Richie groaned loudly as he slammed the fridge door shut. His stomach begged for food but the kitchen hid anything good. He spun around and walked over to the pantry. He reached up to the third shelf without hesitation or a search. His hand grasped for the dark blue box of macaroni and cheese then lowered it down to his other hand.

"Oh yes! Mac and cheese again!" He sarcastically cheered to himself as he shut the pantry and studied the all too familiar box. "We're eating good tonight!" he tossed the box onto the counter which caused the noodles inside to crash into the cardboard. He then walked over to the cupboard and took out the dishes he'd need to cook it with. He gently pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose with his fingers and took the milk out of the fridge. "Got milk" he snorted at himself and walked toward the stove. He turned it on and cooked himself some dinner.

He sat down in the middle of his bed. He balanced the bowl of mac and cheese on his left knee while he leaned back and read a comic book from a series that he had already read about four times. Guns N' Roses played softly in the background while he tapped his fingers against his thigh to the beat subconsciously. He'd raise the mac and cheese to his mouth every few pages and eat it then return the utensil back to the bowl. His mind was completely gone. A snort with a laugh to follow would fill the room with the music here and there at the jokes, though he already knew they were coming.

When he was finished eating, he shoved the bowl over to the other side of the nightstand then stood up. He stripped down to his underwear and threw his clothes onto the floor with the rest of the clothes that he wore throughout the week.

"I really should do laundry" he mumbled to himself. He thought about it for a solid minute. "Nah" he waved his hand at the mess then walked over to his bathroom to brush his teeth quickly before bed.

As he crawled back into bed, his eyes stared out the window across the room. He stared at the stars with a soft smile on his face. His eyes moved over to the moon. He sighed softly and thought about Eddie as he stared at the crescent in the sky. They came up with a way to be together even when they were apart. All they had to do was remember they were still under the same sky. With that, they always did one last thing before they'd go to sleep. "Goodnight Eds" he whispered to the moon before he pulled the blankets up over his shoulder and set his glasses on the nightstand.

Eddie stood at his window - wearing a long red shirt that he stole from Richie months ago and red pajama pants - with his eyes gazing up at the stars and moon. "Goodnight Richie" he mumbled under his breath before he moved back to his bed and crawled into it.

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