nine

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we, the losers, were sitting in the grass together, forming a small and closed circle. bill sadly turned to bev and asked, "you all packed for p-puh-portland?"

a gasp escapes my lips and i turn to the both of them in shock. "what? you're leaving?"

beverly nods sorrowfully and glances to the each of us. i sigh sadly and lean my head on stan's shoulder. richie glances to us, then back to bill who abruptly stood up over us. "pr-pr-pra-promise," he starts, picking up a shard of broken soda glass off of the ground. "that we'll all-all meet up and see each other again."

"who... who else is leaving? i know i'm not," i announce with a wavering voice. richie suddenly shifted uncomfortably and watched all of the hands shoot up. bill and ben shakily raised theirs, watching my frown grow larger. my head lifts from stan's shoulders and i feel my body collapse in itself. i cant believe i won't see them again. my best friends... i'm losing them.

richie climbed up in my bedroom that night, seeming awkward and unconfident, very much unlike his usual demeanor. i opened the window about ten minutes ago and he hadn't said a word yet. he lain on the bed beside me, staring up at the wall.

"i'm leaving," he suddenly blurts out. my head lashes toward his and i sit up, fully awake at four in the morning. his eyes hadn't moved from the spot in the ceiling.

i gasp and feel my heart burn, as if it was on fire. "what?"

"i'm leaving. like ben and bill and bev."

tears prick my eyes and i turn away from him, and to the open window leading into darkness. "wh... where are you going...?"

"i don't know," he admits bluntly, copying my actions by sitting up beside me. "all my parents said is that we're leaving. next week."

"why... i cant lose you, richie..." i breathe, letting a couple tears fall onto the thin blankets underneath us. he puts a hand under my chin and looks to me with the same sad eyes. his own were glossed over, and through his thick glasses it seemed as though he was a puppy that just lost its best friend.

"i love you, max," he sniffles, smiling sadly down at me with fogged up spectacles. i put a hand to his cheek and kiss his lips softly, as if it was going to be the last time i ever did so.

"i love you, too. it's weird, you know."

"what is?" he questions, a small smile playing on his lips.

"you, being serious. it's weird," i chuckle, playing with his hair in between my fingers. he jokingly shakes his head and falls back on the bed again. he pulls my arm down with him, hitting my head on the pillows.

"shut up, loser. you're lame. you just make me soft sometimes cause you're so cute."

my face contorts into a distasteful expression. "i'm not cute."

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