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The first thing that happens when I meet a new friend is the fun chats— usually at school. Next is a hangout— the movies or the quarry in this town. Third and final is the step I dread most....

The sleepover— or maybe just an invite to your house. Either way, it's still horrible.

Beverly Marsh insisted that we stay at my house instead of hers. Why? I have no idea (though Sally once told me she thought Bev's Dad loved her in a way a dad should not love their child... but that's just a rumor). The only reason I agreed is because I knew that if I didn't we'd never hang out again. The first thing I did when I hung up the phone was clean my room. Second was tell my brother to get lost. Next I hid all of the family photos of Mila. And finally I told my dad he needed to get my mother off of the couch. She'd been there for days. I understood that it wasn't her fault, but that didn't matter. I didn't want a friend coming over and seeing my mother laying on the couch, ready to end it all. Today appeared to be her last day seeing as she wasn't sleeping just staring up at the ceiling. My dad had told me that there was no way in hell she would move. So then I flopped down on my floor and started to cry, ready to call the whole thing off.

"Look, Iris, if this girl is really your friend, she won't care." I sighed. He didn't understand. This girl wasn't just some random girl I'd met on the streets— oh wait...

But seriously, this was Beverly freaking Marsh and I wasn't about to let my psychotic family win.

But I called her anyways and explained that my mom was bipolar and that she'd probably look dead when Beverly arrived and flipping pancakes when she went to leave in the morning. I explained that she wasn't a drunk or a pill popper— quite the opposite actually (she refused to take her pills). Beverly didn't say anything much— only that my mom was probably better than her dad.

I only laughed nervously.

Beverly arrived that night at 7:00 on the dot. I invited her in and quickly rushed her past my mother on the couch. Beverly didn't even glance at her. I took her bag and tossed it onto my bed once we were in my room. "I was thinking we could go out? Talk to the boys?" I suggested. "Yeah... I guess." She smiled curtly.

I checked the clock. 7:10
My dad had work until nine thirty.

We opened the front door and were just about to leave when a voice stopped us. "Where the hell do you think you're going?" Donny. He was smoking a cigarette by the open window.

"Out." I mumbled, my voice suddenly raspy. I cleared my throat. "Yeah?" I nodded. He scoffed in response, taking a seat in one of the chairs. "Be back by nine. A second later and you're dead." Somehow I knew he wasn't exaggerating. Still, he wasn't allowed to kill me. My dad would skin him alive— or for my mother's sake of still having a child, beat his ass thoroughly.

I grabbed Beverly's arm and took her outside. Her face had paled noticeably. "He won't kill you," I told her. "Just me." She sighed softly but didn't say anything.

We didn't really know where we were going, but eventually we found our way back to Ben's house. I looked at Beverly with a shrug before knocking on the door. Ben, Stan, and Richie answered the door. "You guys hanging out too?" Ben asked. "Yeah." I answered. "We were bored so we figured we'd bother you." Bev said with a smile. I raised an eyebrow. "You three don't seem like the kind of combo I'd expect." I questioned. "Well... yeah. Bill's parents made him go to some dinner thing and you know how Eddie's Mom is." I frowned. I knew nothing of Mrs. Kaspbrak. "Huh?" Stan laughed slightly. "Sonia Kaspbrak, where do I begin? She's about three hundred pounds, loves Eddie to actual death— very smothery, and she makes him take all these pills and shit." He explained. I furrowed my eyebrows and chuckled nervously. "She sounds lovely." It was awkwardly silent before Ben spoke again. "Come inside." Bev and I followed them into the basement which was, to say the least, very magnificent. I'd seen rich people houses before, (every house was a rich person house compared to mine) but this basement was bigger than my house. Richie and Stan seemed pretty unfazed (I assumed they had gawked at it earlier).

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