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in a large, knitted sweater, i grab my bike and hop on it, heading to richie's house. all of the losers, minus beverly, who already arrived to her aunts house in portland. the clouded atmosphere made this day even worse, it was as if the sky was about to cry, like i was.

i saw all of the bikes thrown off to the side of the road, realizing that i was the last to arrive when i spotted all of my friends huddled around a car.

"hey, guys..." i call out, watching as they turn around with sad smiles. bill waves me over, keeping an arm out so that i walk right into it. we all turned our heads to the door once richie trudged out of it with his parents, suitcases in his hands. he trudged over to us with a large, prominent frown.

seeing him so torn and dazed when he looked at us made my heart ache. his parents start packing up the last of the suitcases, closing the trunk of the car. "hurry, hun," his mother, maggie, demands sadly.

"guys i..." he trails off, glancing to each one of us remorsefully. "i'm gonna miss you little assholes."

"shut up, trashmouth," eddie sniffles. he was the first one to be pulled into a long-lasting hug.

"i'll miss you, eds. you're the best spaghetti in the world," richie smiles sadly, earning a soft punch in the arm from his best friend.

mike and ben all get hugs and handshakes, including bill who ruffled his hair to lighten the mood.

"stan the jewish man–"

stanley narrows his eyes, a playful smile on his face. he crinkles his nose and groans. "enough! just give me a hug, idiot."

he pulls richie in for a brief, yet tight embrace, all of them turning to me soon after. "hurry up, son!"

a sad smile plastered on my face, i grab richie's wrist and bring him towards me, wrapping my arms around his thin torso. his arms were around my neck, our friends watching him place a soft kiss on my forehead. "don't go.." i whisper in his chest, earning a tight squeeze of my shoulders.

"i wish i didn't have to, babe," he chuckles, pulling me back so his eyes could dance around my face.

"will i ever see you again?" i ask, giving a hopeful look. he sighs and tucks strands of hair behind my ears.

"if the stars align." his eyes gloss over, a dry chuckle leaving his lips.

"that was so fucking cheesy." a few tears leave my own eyes as we hear our friends snicker at his gesture.

"hurry the fuck up, richard! now!"

richie glances to our friends and shakes his head as if he was battling his own thoughts. "fuck it," he whispered before he leaned down for a long, soft kiss. 'awes' were exchanged throughout our friend group, making me smile and pull him closer. "i love you, max," he says quietly between our lips which made my heart putter and do flips over itself.

he had been the one to finally pull away and step out of my grip, smiling to all of us one last time before he opens his car door. the tingly feeling in my fingers made me long for his touch, attempting to restore the memories i had of him and us as the red car started to back away. richie waved to us through the rolled-down window, tears running down his face and dirtying his glasses. we all wave back and head onto the street, watching his parents drive in the opposite direction we had been standing.

i take a few, quick steps forward when i realized he was actually leaving us. well, what's left of us. bill is leaving next month and ben would be leaving a few weeks into next school year.

watching the small car shrink even smaller into the distance, i fall to my knees and place my head in my hands. loud sobs escape my lips, stan scurrying up to my side comfortingly. "hey, hey," he whispers, rubbing circles on my back. "it'll all be alright, max. shh.."

my heart felt like it shattered when it had been suddenly difficult to remember what his touch had felt like. how his awful jokes and goofy, weirdo smile always made me cheer up. i was in love with richie, and he left before i could actually realize that.

i glance down to my bandaged hand where we'd all cut our palms last week as a reminder that we would all see each other again. we didn't know when, but it would be the next time that i felt whole. i guess not all stories have happy endings.


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