Part two to my new fic! Hope yall like it!
Chapter 2: Confrontation
It was 2 A.M. by the time the Losers decided to part ways. Mike, Ben, and Stan stayed the night at Bill’s house because they didn’t feel up to walking home. Eddie knew if he woke his mom up at this time of night she’d be furious, but he also knew that if he wasn’t tucked in tight to his bed in the morning, he’d have a lot more to fear than anything a stupid clown could do to him.
The Losers said their sleepy goodbyes, and Eddie and Richie started to walk Beverly home.
The Autumn night was biting at their ankles as they walked with their arms crossed, shivering slightly in the crisp midnight air. Richie took off his jacket and draped it around Eddie’s shoulders. Eddie’s heart skipped a beat and he wanted to say some sort of thank you, but nothing came out.
“So…” Bev sighed into the word. Richie gulped. He knew exactly what she was going to say and neither him nor Eddie were mentally prepared enough to have that conversation with each other, let alone with Beverly there.
“No, Bev.” Eddie said softly yet sternly and looked her straight in the eyes. She must have gotten the hint because she just nodded and stayed quiet the entire way back to her apartment.
She hugged them both goodbye and gave Richie a friendly peck on the cheek before she shut the door quietly behind her, so as not to wake her father up.
Eddie and Richie walked in silence. Richie cleared his throat, stepping on a crunchy leaf and trying to think of something to say. Dear God, Richie say something! He thought desperately.
“You knew what Bev was going to say, didn’t you?” Eddie hissed to Richie, like it was a secret and they were in a crowded place, even though the empty street echoed with their footsteps.
Richie nervously glanced over at Eddie’s soft face illuminated by the orange-yellow haze of the streetlights. He chuckled under his breath. “I have a pretty good idea, Eds.”
Eddie’s breath caught in his throat at the nickname. He always told Richie he hated that name, but maybe he didn’t. There was something about the way Richie said it that made Eddie’s heart do backflips. It was so soft and affectionate. A side of Richie Tozier that no one ever saw; except for Eddie.
They walked in a deafening silence for a little longer until Richie plucked up the courage to ask, “So can we talk about it?” He held his breath and closed his eyes, afraid. What are you so afraid of? He thought. Nothing. But the real answer was everything. The metallic taste of fear in his mouth was completely foreign to him for quite some time now, but right now, Richie Tozier couldn’t feel anything else.
“Okay…” Eddie mumbled as he took a hit of his aspirator. He took a deep breath and turned to Richie, stopping in his tracks. “What in the hell was that, Tozier?” He blurted.
“W-What?” Richie stammered, definitely not expecting Eddie to yell at him, for God’s sake.
“Why did you kiss me?”
Richie stopped breathing for a moment and thought jokingly how he just might need a hit from that goddamn thing. The question echoed like a gunshot in the stillness of the night.
Richie paused, then made a show of getting down on his knees and supplicating to Eddie, using his pickaninny voice. “Oh please, Miss Scawlett! Don’ hit me! Don’ hit me like ya always do!”
Eddie smacked Richie’s hands out of the praying position, unamused, as Eddie recoiled. “For real, dipshit.”
Richie slowly stood up as his cheesy smile began to fade like the stains on his shirt.
“Um. I don’t know,” Richie offered, his best explanation, with an anxious smile and a slight shrug. He ran his fingers through his sweaty mop of black hair.
Eddie gave a hearty laugh.
“Why are you laughing?!” Richie blurted, starting to get annoyed with him.
“Because! For once in his life, the Trashmouth himself is at a loss for words.” He smirked, the right side of his mouth curving up and eyebrows raised slightly at his best friend.
Richie’s face turned bright red as he tried to come up with a witty comment to match, but he had nothing. Absolutely nothing. It was like all the little worker bees in his head in charge of writing the script all called in sick today.
Eddie laughed once more, and swiftly kissed Richie’s cheek, giving Richie a bad case of the butterflies. “It’s cute,” Eddie muttered under his breath, just loud enough so Richie could hear the faint mumble of a compliment.
Richie grinned as his cheeks grew very warm. He took off his glasses to clean them on his shirt, a nervous habit of his. “Well I guess I need to tell you what you want to hear then.” Eddie raised an eyebrow at him. “Or, at least I hope it’s what you want to hear.” Richie said quietly, avoiding Eddie’s wonderstruck gaze.
“Go on.” Eddie egged him on. Eddie was pretty sure he knew where this was going, and he truthfully did not mind. But this conversation had to be the most unusual one the boys had ever had. Usually Richie just makes dumb dick jokes and Eddie beep beeps at him, but now Richie was speechless and… nervous? Eddie was in complete control of this conversation, and he wasn’t sure how to deal with that. He had never been in control of a conversation in his life. Come to think of it, he’d never been in control of anything in his life.
“I like you, Eddie.”
Even though Eddie could have bet all of the silver dollars in his larger than average collection on that response, it still made his heart pound out of his chest. Maybe this has been what he was waiting for. He just didn’t know it until now.
Eddie smiled at Richie in an endearing way, as if to say “I know”.
Richie held out his arms and Eddie was reluctant at first, but eventually melted into them, letting Richie hold him so he could pretend that life wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe all of this shit he’s had to put up with until now was somehow worth it. He didn’t know if that was true or not, but he did know that he’d go through every bit of it if it meant he could live in this moment forever.
Holding Eddie, one hand on his waist and the other holding Eddie’s head onto his chest, Richie finally felt like some sort of tension deep within him was finally eased. Like when he ran down the block, racing Bill back to his house, and he panted furiously until he finally caught his breath. And it was a wonderful feeling. He didn’t have to be Richie Tozier- the kid with all the voices; he could just be Richie. He was so relieved he didn’t have to act like he didn’t care, because it was getting harder and harder every day. Because the truth was, Richie did care. About his grades, about his friends, about making his parents proud but never succeeding, and especially about Eddie Kaspbrak. Yes, Richie cared a great deal about Eddie Kaspbrak.
A muffled reply came from Richie’s chest. “I like you too, Richie.”
The other Losers always had everything figured out, or so it seemed. Everyone was out living their lives unafraid, even with all the things that have shot them down; except Richie Tozier. Richie hated himself even more for liking it so much. He was afraid of these feelings. He thought they would go away after puberty, but when they didn’t, the feelings turned to a mixture of fright and shame.
He’d been dreaming about kissing Eddie since IT happened. That day in the Neibolt house where Eddie almost died, he knew. Seeing his best friend, writhing in pain, scared shitless while their literal biggest fear was stalking over to kill them, hurt Richie more than he’s ever hurt before.
He had pulled Eddie’s face to look at him, hurriedly yet gingerly, so the last thing they’d see was each other. He didn’t even realize how romantic that shit was until Bev pointed it out to him one day.
“You love that kid.” She had stated simply, inserting a Winston in between her teeth and leaning towards Richie so he could light it with his match. “I saw it in your eyes.”
He struck the match absentmindedly and lit her cigarette for her, his mind elsewhere. She drew in a long breath, exhaling a small cloud of smoke before continuing. “I was looking over at you, knowing this was it. We were dead. And you knew it too… which was why you were holding Eddie.”
Richie stayed silent. He tried to block out the thought as soon as possible and attempted to “get in a good one” as he’d say. “Then why were you looking at me? Got the hots for me or something, Marsh?”
“Shut it, Trashmouth.” The two laughed probably a little harder than what would be considered normal, but then again that’s what they always did. Since Richie and Bill had grown apart as the years wore them thin, Bev was his rock. Besides what Eddie had become, Beverly Marsh was Richie’s best friend, and the two were inseparable. They often wandered to the back fields and cut class to smoke and watch the P.E. class run their laps from under the bleachers. Richie would write BEV+BILLY FOREVER on the metal beams with a sharpie and Bev would try to scribble it out, pushing him down playfully but forcefully and laughing so hard their faces turned red. Richie thought he loved her so much because Beverly was not like other girls. It sounds cliche, but it was true. She always knew what to say, and she didn’t get all nervous and giggly around anyone with a dick in their trousers like most girls he knew. He appreciated Bev, and Bev appreciated him, more than they’d ever know.
“You think I love him?” He cleared his throat after a while.
“I know you do, Rich.”
And somewhere deep inside, he knew she was right.