“H-how do I look?”
Mike spun around to see Bill standing awkwardly in the doorway, biting his lip and looking so unbelievably nervous it was adorable.
“Perfect,” Mike breathed. “You look perfect.”
This made Bill blush, and Mike couldn’t help himself, so he walked to his boyfriend and pulled him into a soft kiss. Bill was dazed and decidedly less nervous when they parted. “Y-you look p-perfect too,” he smiled.
They were stood in the living room of their shared apartment, wearing tailored suits, preparing themselves for one of the biggest nights of their lives.
“I can’t believe they’re finally getting married,” Mike smiled, and he hugged Bill close, not caring if their suits messed up. “Feels like I’ve been waiting forever to finally see them together like this.”
Bill snorted into his ear, but Mike didn’t flinch. “ You’ve been w-waiting? I’ve known them for s-sixteen years! I’ve been waiting since I was e-eight!”
As Bill spoke, Mike hugged him tighter and laughed with him. Then Bill pulled back to look him in the eyes, and looked into each other's eyes before they began swaying to a song in their heads. Weddings made them more touchy, more romantic. They made them dance to songs inside their heads. But this wedding was different than any other they had attended together. It was special. They really had been waiting for this day for an eternity, even if it felt like only yesterday that Mike met Bill and the Losers.
“I still don’t understand why we had to move,” Mike grumbled and looked down angrily, ever the angsty fifteen year-old. He and his mother were walking around a small park in their new neighborhood. “All my friends are back in Hawkins. Holly’s friends are back in Hawkins.”
His mother sighed. “It was time for a fresh start, Michael, after the divorce. We needed a change of scenery.”
Mike felt bad for whining, really, he knew his mother was struggling after finally making a move and divorcing his father. Ted Wheeler was a fat sack of nothing, and nobody truly felt his absence. This didn’t mean Mike couldn’t whine about leaving his best friends, though.
“Look, Michael, there are some boys your age. Why don’t you go say hi?” Karen interrupted his reverie and pointed him toward a group of six boys and one girl with short hair. “You can make some new friends!”
The last thing Mike wanted to do was go over and interrupt the teens joking around and taking pictures, but his mom sounded so excited at the aspect of him settling in that he did stomp over. As he neared, conversation and laughter bubbled down, and a boy who looked eerily similar to him but with glasses and the girl with short hair both stubbed out cigarettes under their shoes. Everyone stared at him silently with wide eyes.
Then, the most beautiful boy Mike had ever seen stepped up.
“Hi,” the boy offered hesitantly. “I’m Bill. What’s y-your name?”
“I’m Mike,” he said lamely. “I just moved here from Indiana. That’s my mom over there.” He jerked his thumb in her general direction. “She wants me to make new friends.”
“Well you can be friends with us!” one boy said, smiling brightly. “My name is also Mike! What a funny coincidence.”
“Speaking of funny fucking coincidences,” Glasses Boy said, “Do you see this guy? We look the exact fucking same!”
“I don’t know what you took, Richie, but that guy looks nothing like you,” sighed a short guy with neatly combed hair next to him. “Ignore him.” He directed this to Mike. “I’m Eddie, that’s Richie. Mike is right, if you don’t have anyone else we can be your friends.”
As the rest of the group introduced themselves, (Stan, Ben, Beverly), Mike felt some of the anxiety he had over the move evaporate and float away.
After that day, the eight of them were inseparable, and Mike was falling in love with Bill.
“I still think I look like Richie,” Mike whispered as their dance slowed to a stop.
Bill looked at him silently for a moment before bursting out laughing. “Oh Mike,” he sighed, wiping away a fake tear. “You’re h-hilarious.”
The argument over whether Mike and Richie looked the same was hotly debated, and eternally disagreed on. Accepting defeat without even starting the quarrel, Mike tugged Bill back onto his chest for one last hug, one last kiss, and then they had to go to the wedding.
Richie and Eddie got married in a big field of wildflowers at sunset on a warm April day. Thankfully, there was no rain (this had been Richie’s greatest fear) and the ground wasn’t so dry that it made Richie sneeze in that obnoxious way he does (Eddie’s biggest fear). There was a breeze that kept everyone cool, but not too cold, and the sunset lit up the clouds behind them as they said their vows. Bill cried, Mike cried, Ben was bawling from the second he arrived, and Beverly, Stan, and Mike H. all had tissues out and were wiping their eyes as Richie and Eddie made out obscenely for their first kiss. The way the twinkling fairy lights turned on right as their lips met, the way they reflected in Richie’s glasses, the way they made their new rings twinkle… Mike snuck a glance at the teary-eyed Bill next to him and wondered.
The reception was in the same area as the ceremony. The newlyweds ran off to collect themselves (or more likely, fuck) for half an hour as the field was transformed from fairy-tale wedding to all night party. There was an open bar, a large dance floor with blue and purple colored lights on each corner, a long table of food and desserts, and a massive cake with two tiny groom figurines on top, both holding hands, but using their tinier free hands to flip each other off with the tiniest middle fingers. Tables were scattered around the area, candles lit at the center of each, and sparkling glasses were set out next to every golden plate.
It was breathtaking, tacky, and so overwhelmingly Richie and Eddie that it made Mike need to sit down and cry some more.
“The grooms are here!” came a loud, obnoxious bellow from one corner, by the bar. Eddie stood on a barstool, steadying Richie, who stood atop the actual bar. “It’s time to party !”
Music pumped, lights flashed, drinks were knocked back, and Mike was having the time of his life dancing with some of the best friends he’d ever had, and the love of his goddamn life. Then, in pure Richie fashion, the mood of the night turned from “Bodak Yellow” (Eddie would never let that song go) to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.” Once that song ended, it was time for speeches and the (very late) “first” dance.
“We’re not a normal couple, Eds, we can’t have a normal wedding.”
“I hate it when you call me that, and why the hell aren’t we a normal couple?”
“Well, I certainly haven’t heard of a trashcan marrying spaghetti before so-”
“Beep beep baby oh my god, we’ll do our ‘first dance’ deep into the reception if that’s what you really want.”
Stan gave his speech first, because he claimed that spot the moment he heard Eddie was planning to propose, and he spent exactly seven minutes telling jokes and sappy stories of their childhood in a way that Mike had never seen before. This was Stan at his happiest. He was more confident giving that speech than he ever had been before, and as he passed the mic to Beverly, he grabbed Mike Hanlon and kissed him, hard. Maybe Mike and Bill weren’t next in line for this marriage thing after all.
Beverly’s speech was just as touching, and she ended with “there’s only one more of us coming up to talk, because if we all went, we’d never leave. Never in all thirteen years of our friendship did I see Bill as angry as did when Eddie said only three of us could speak. It was a good choice on his part, but I’m not sure if getting elbowed in the tit by Hanlon was worth it. Alright, Richie and Eddie, always in my heart. I’m proud of you.”
The crowd laughed and clapped, and then it was Bill’s turn.
Mike knew how nervous he was; (twenty four and I still have a stutter!) , but Bill stood up on that podium, the mic in one hand, a copy of his speech in the other, and he killed it.
“The day I met Richie, I was eight years old, and I was teaching my little brother how to do the monkey bars. Richie walked up to us and told me I was doing it wrong. First thing that popped into my head, no joke, was good god, why is this kid so ugly?! And obviously, being eight and having no filter, I told him just that. Except, my stutter was really bad back then and it came out all jumbled and incoherent, so he’s learning about this for the first time right now.”
One glance at the gleefully shocked Richie proved he was right.
“Anyway, turns out I was doing the monkey bars wrong, so he ended up teaching both me and Georgie, and came home with us for dinner that night. Best friends ever since. I met Eddie the next day at the very same playground when I tripped and skinned my knee. He came up to me as I sat on the ground, bleeding, and said ‘that’s gross, you should cut off your leg.’” Bill paused to let the crowd giggle. “I immediately said ‘there’s a guy you should meet. His name’s Richie, he’s a real asshole, you’d get on well.’ I mean, I was right in the end, wasn’t I!”
Bill went on to tell more stories about the growth of their friendships and the development of Richie and Eddie’s relationship, but Mike tuned him out. He knew the speech by heart, so what was really mindblowing was Bill.
Bill had not stuttered, or stumbled over words, one time during his whole speech. He read each word clearly, loudly, brightly, and Mike was so proud. As the speech went on, still with no stutters, Bill grew more and more confident, and Mike fell more and more in love. The way Bill’s face was lit up from the inside made Mike’s heart twist and thump and try to escape his chest. The way the blue and purple lights cast a shadow on half of Bill’s face made Mike hold tightly to the armrests of his chair so he didn’t propose on the spot.
God, he loved Bill
Bill in his suit, standing in front of a crowd, with all his friends and family, tear tracks on his cheeks- as he and Mike made eye contact, Mike envisioned the whole thing as their wedding. Bill looked perfect. Mike wanted to marry him. Mike needed to marry him. He made a note in the back of his mind to go ring shopping soon. Excitement boiled in his stomach as Bill finished. Thunderous applause.
“You were incredible,” Mike laughed, pulling Bill into his lap, where they kissed stayed there until the DJ announced it was time for the newlyweds to dance.
“Africa” by Toto blasted over the speakers as Eddie and Richie danced terribly off beat. Mike scanned the room of happy faces, stopping shortly over Mike H. and Stan, totally enveloped in each other’s eyes, and Beverly and Ben, filming the dance with shaky hands, and Bill, who looked younger than he ever had before, his hair flopping into one eye, his tie loosened a little, his socks and shoes discarded somewhere, his lips red and slick from eating too many cherries... it was almost too much.
“I want this,” Mike whispered, softly, still gazing at Bill.
Bill looked at him, and there were stars in his eyes. “Me too,” he whispered back.Mike wanted to kiss him, but didn’t. There was a beat of silence. Then a mischievous smile grew on Bill. “Let’s dance.”
So, they and the rest of the Losers crashed the first dance, but somehow, as Richie and Eddie were passed around their friends, twirling and laughing, Mike didn’t think they minded.
Three days later, Mike took Beverly and they bought a gold band with dark brown stones the same color as Mike’s eyes. Beverly told the jeweler to hold the gold band with silvery blue stones that resembled Bill’s eyes.
A few weeks later, when Richie and Eddie were back from their honeymoon and settled as the Kaspbrak-Toziers , Mike proposed.
Bill said yes.
It was perfect.