Richie Tozier sat on the wooden front porch, hands clasped together and a cigarette balanced on his lips. His lashes laid gently on his pale cheeks as his head hung back, the sun dazzling on his skin. His scuffed sneakers tapped against the wood impatiently, the throb in his cheek becoming less and less bearable with every passing minute.
Richie bobbed his head with an imaginary beat, his mess of curls following suit. A faint smell of burning logs filled his nose, paired with the scent of freshly trimmed grass and the overall smell of Eddie Kaspbrak’s house - which sat empty behind him.
Eddie was taking his time coming home, obviously, after his day spent with Beverly and Mike. Normally, Richie wouldn’t mind to wait for his boyfriend - but, under this circumstances, it seemed unbearable to be away from him. Richie pinched the smoke, dropping it to the dirt ground and crushing it under his shoe. His head dropped to his hands, fingers threading through his mop of hair.
The clouds rolled in, blocking the sun and causing a shive to run up Richie’s spine. He cursed as his palm brushed against the swelling bruise on his cheek, immediately jerking his hands down and stuffing them in his jean pockets.
He jolted as he sat when a piece of metal hit the ground with a clang. Quick, sharp footsteps rushed at him, and he barely had time to lift his head before two small hands did it for him.
“Rich, oh my god!” Eddie’s voice came out as a shriek, nearly cracking at the end, “Richie - your face, are you okay?”
Richie jumped as Eddie gingerly ran his thumb over the gash. Small apologizes fell from the smaller boy’s mouth, but he didn’t pull back, instead he leaned even closer.
“Who did this to you?”
As soon as he asked the question, Eddie scolded himself. It was obvious who had done it, as this was definitely not the first time Richie had shown up in this state. Eddie felt infuriated as he looked at his boyfriend, who was practically trembling in fear.
“I’m sorry, Rich,” Eddie spoke softly, brushing his lips against the wound, “C’mon, I’ll clean it up for you.”
Richie pressed his palms against Eddie’s opened ones, letting the boy tug him onto his feet. He didn’t speak as Eddie dragged him through the house, his heart weighing heavily in his chest. Richie always felt guilty for showing up like this, but his own selfish craving seemed to overpower that. Eddie was his main source of comfort, his rock.
“Richie, stop.” said Eddie, as if reading his mind.
Richie sat slumped on Eddie’s bed, elbows resting against his knees. He glanced up at his boyfriend, who was approaching quickly with a first aid kit in his hands.
“I can see the smoke coming out from your ears, you’re thinking so hard.”
Eddie took a seat on the bed, opening the kit and pulling supplies out of it. He continued to speak, participating in a one-sided conversation as if it was the most normal thing in the world. If there was one thing Eddie knew, it was how to take care of his boyfriend.
Richie didn’t like to talk after something like this happened, the way his voice shook made him feel weak and vulnerable, and the bubble that resided in his throat was enough to push him into almost full panic. So, he remained silent; flinching slightly whenever Eddie came into contact with his wound, and soaking into his sweet words and soft hands.
After cleaning it thoroughly, Eddie laid a band-aid across Richie’s cheek. He pressed another kiss to it, gingerly cradling Richie’s face in his hands. Richie leaned into his tender touch, slowly sucking in a breath as a strong pressure welled behind his eyes.
“You can’t let your parents treat you like this forever,” Eddie whispered, his forehead resting against Richie’s, “You deserve so much better, Rich.”
He didn’t expect Richie to respond, which he didn’t. Eddie moved so he was laying flat on his back, dragging Richie down with him. His fingers carded through the larger boy’s hair, a soft hum vibrating through his chest. He felt Richie’s tears soak his shirt, but didn’t dare to say a word. Eddie gave the boy a tight squeeze, heart leaping as Richie snuggled his face further into his torso.
“I love you.” Richie grasped Eddie’s shirt in his fists, close to full on sobbing, “You’re my whole world, Richie Tozier.”
Richie began to roughly wipe at his eyes, leaning up on one elbow to do so. He choked, practically gasping for air.
“Breathe, Richie,” Eddie instructed, sitting up to clutch both of Richie’s hands.
The younger boy drew in a deep breath as demonstration, nodding encouragingly as Richie did the same. They repeated this numerous times, until Richie’s lungs felt normal again. Practically putty in his boyfriend’s hands, Richie curled back against Eddie’s chest.
“Can I stay here tonight?” The words fell out innocently, nearly as a plead.
“Of course, Rich,” Eddie spoke without missing a beat, his fingers tracing lines onto Richie’s back, “You can always stay, as long as you want.” Eddie brought one of Richie’s hands to his lips, “You never have to go back to that place.”
Richie let out a breathy laugh, “I’m not a puppy you can hide in your room, Eds.”
“I’ll build you a little room in my closet!”
“I’ve spent way too long in the closet, my dear.”
Eddie laughed and it sounded like music to Richie’s ears. Richie shimmed up Eddie’s body until his head rested in the crook of his boyfriend’s neck. He pressed a small kiss to the silky flesh, grinning as Eddie’s body shivered.
“You’re too good for me, Spaghetti Head.”
Eddie wiggled uncomfortably as Richie’s hot breath tickled his neck.
“Shut up, you deserve the fuckin’ world.”
Richie shifted, lifting his head to meet Eddie’s loving gaze, “I’ve got the world right in front of me.”
Kim Novak in a publicity photo for Pushover, her first film, 1954
If you look in the lower right corner you can see her identified as “Marilyn Novak”, her birth name, because Columbia Pictures hadn’t settled on a name for her yet. Novak was meant to be a replacement for Rita Hayworth, Columbia’s big star of the 1940′s, as well as the studio’s answer to Twentieth Century Fox’s Marilyn Monroe. But of course Kim Novak was/is unique with a personality, acting style and range all her own.