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     richie was stunned.
     he lay on his bed, eyes aimed at the ceiling. his mind fogged with thoughts he wished he could flush. scattered like stars throughout his brain. but if they were merely stars then his mind was a galaxy.
     all he could think about was the name on the label. edward a. kaspbrak. he even looked like him, but there's no way. they weren't meant to be together. and suddenly, like a dam being cut down and violent waters rushing in, his mind is restored of the boy he used to love most. the boy he used to do anything for. the boy he was hugging just a year ago. how could he have already forgotten?

richies hand rested on eddies side, chin on his shoulder when his chest pressed flush against his back. eddie flipped through his latest fashion magazine edition, mumbling about them to richie. but richie couldn't hear him.
he focused on how careful eddie flipped the pages, how his nimble fingers hold it with such caution.
"right, rich?" eddie smiled, tilting his head back to look at richie with the softest eyes.
"oh, yeah, for sure," richie smiled.
"you weren't listening at all, were you?" eddie giggled, pressing his nose against richie's cheek.
"no, but i don't see why that should matter," richie said softly, capturing eddies lips in a gentle kiss.
they're lips linger together for a few moments. warm, gentle, the taste of cherry remaining on their mouths. bliss. bliss that he longed for more than anything. more that beverlys cigarettes or stans ukulele could ever give him.

-

eddie scribbled the first thing to come to mind down on a page, writing scrawled and messy, but he didn't care. he had to have an entry done for his next session with mrs. kurt and he really didn't want to spend his days writing out how he feels. why couldn't he just say it? aren't therapists supposed to listen? because this healing tactic, as she called it, isn't helping one bit. all it gives eddie is wrist cramps and a headache, much less emotional support. eddie liked therapy, only for the reason they provide his meds. he thinks the techniques they tell him are a bunch of bullshit, but if it works it works.
he wasn't really sure what to say. his feeling never changed. he hadn't gone out with friends in months and he's still wearing the same clothes he wore junior year. he's the same eddie with a much choppier haircut, since he can't afford regular haircuts from a barber. mrs. kurt is always telling him to get a job, but eddie just can't find it in him to try. he's fine laying in bed all day. he'd choose listening to tapes and sleeping over becoming a fast food attendant any day. but he does need money and he can't keep borrowing from his mothers bank account.
eddie was glad to be away from the bullying and trauma that resided in derry. he liked new york much more than a stupid small town in maine where crime is the norm. he never felt welcome, much less safe. he never considered derry to be his home. home was with the losers. home was with richie.
of all people, eddie definitely missed bill. he had a special relationship with bill. one that could only be described as..brotherly. eddie realizes now that he took the place of georgie, basically. bill protected eddie at any and all costs. that is when richie wasn't theres, of course. he walked him home, helped him fold laundry, always looked after him. something he couldn't help but feel he didn't do for georgie.
he also had a connection with beverly. being the..most feminine male of the group, immediately they'd gossip at the table, mouths moving one hundred miles per minute. hands waving in the air, noses crunched up with exaggerated gags, giggles. no one questioned them. beverly saw eddie like one of her own kind in the best way possible. and hell, when eddie was around beverly, it's all to powerful for anyone to handle.
mike was like a mom to all of the losers. nurturing, kind, gentle. he always took them out to his farm. they had a little loft in his barn (after many "germ-checks" by eddie) that had lights hung from the walls and mattresses for laying. they'd have sleepovers up there all the time. once his grandpa found out, though, they had to say goodbye to the late nights of pillow fights and tickle wars, but that didn't stop them from visiting the hanlon farm whenever they could.
he missed the losers. every one of them. ben and stan, too. everything about them. he wished he could reach out to them, but there's a vast cloud of darkness in his chest that won't let him. the anxiety that forever lingers in the back of his brain. he'd give anything to go back to the happy boy he used to be. the hyperactive, germaphobic, fast talking boy who went to the quarry every other day in the summer and rode his bike around the streets. the boy who had friends. he wanted the real eddie back. the true eddie.
     and that's when he got a phone call.

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