Derry Town House, 1985
Richie stood outside of the door, debating whether he should knock first or let himself inside.
Knocking seemed so pointless. How many times had he crawled through a window to see Eddie during the night? How many times had he tiptoed around Eddie's bedroom and slept in Eddie's bed, all the while making sure to keep quiet so Sonia Kaspbrak wouldn't hear them from downstairs?
That was years ago, Richie thought to himself, things are different now.
Richie glanced at the other doors in the hallway. Bill, Beverly, Ben, and Mike were in their rooms, fast asleep. Their snores rumbled through the walls. Everyone was exhausted from their flight to Derry and -- Richie grimaced -- what had happened at Jade Of The Orient. He could still see the eyeball popping out of his fortune cookie and whizzing around on the table. He forced the image out of his head and brought himself back to the door.
It's only Eddie.
Richie took a deep breath. Slowly, he knocked.
There was no immediate answer. For a fleeting second, Richie thought Eddie was ignoring him. Don't be an idiot, he's probably getting out of bed. Sure enough, Richie heard the sound of feet dragging along the carpet, and a moment later, the door swung open.
Eddie stood before him. He didn't seem surprised that Richie had decided to pay him a midnight visit.
"Couldn't fall asleep?"
Eddie shook his head.
"Me neither," Richie said, "I tried to get my TV to watch sports or something, but I think the antenna is shot."
Richie understood what Eddie meant without him needing to say it -- were they really going to waste time talking about the shitty TVs? Twenty-seven-something years apart and television was their topic of discussion?
From the moment they had seen each other at Jade Of The Orient, something had ignited between them. It was something they had forgotten a long time ago -- something that drew them in, warmed them up, and excited them. Though they laughed along with the others during dinner and discussed what they would do about Pennywise, Richie and Eddie had been waiting for this very moment all day. Just them, nobody else, the way it was supposed to be.
"Can I come in?" Richie asked.
"Yeah, man. Be my guest."
Eddie stepped aside, allowing Richie into the room.
All of the rooms at the Derry Town House were identical. Each had an old-fashioned bed with velvety sheets, a rickety nightstand, and a wardrobe that smelled like mothballs. Richie noticed that Eddie had lugged two large suitcases into his room, and he nearly laughed. Eddie was the only person he knew that would bring his entire closet of clothes to go on a clown-killing-mission, as well as a duffel bag full of medicine, just in case.
"Hell, I thought I was overpacking by bringing my extra sneakers."
Richie turned to Eddie. He was planted by the door with an uneasy look on his face.
"Eds ... ?"
"You know I hate when you -- "
" -- call you that," Richie finished. Eddie nodded.
"How much do you remember?"
"Not everything," Richie said.
"You know what I mean."
Eddie closed the door. The room went very still.
"When I saw you at the restaurant," Eddie said, his voice low, "It all came back. Not all of the shit that went down with Pennywise, but everything that went down with us. The arcade, the record store, everything. It scared the shit out of me."
"It scared me, too," Richie admitted.
"We were like this," Eddie said, crossing two fingers together, "How the hell did we forget?"
"It's just like Mike said. Pennywise has been fucking with us the whole time."
Eddie sat on the edge of his bed, burying his head in his hands. Richie sat beside him. The bed creaked beneath their weight.
"It would've been easier if we just never remembered," Eddie said.
Richie looked at Eddie with a frown. Eddie sighed.
"I didn't mean it that way. I just ... we grew up, Rich. Things changed."
"It meant everything to me."
Eddie lowered his head. After a moment, he added, "It meant everything to me, too."
Hearing the sadness in his voice, Richie scooted closer and wrapped an arm around Eddie.
"Hey," he said, trying his best to sound comforting, "Hey, take it easy."
"It isn't fair."
Richie tightened his grip around Eddie, and in response, Eddie leaned into his side. At that moment, nothing had changed. Richie and Eddie were nothing more than two boys who had fallen in love. They were too young for taxes and families and grown-up problems, but they weren't too young to understand that they were in love, and love was a good thing.
"You were the happiest thing in my life," Eddie continued, his voice muffled against Richie's shoulder, "Why couldn't things be different?"
Richie gave a weak chuckle.
"You said the same thing before we left Derry. Do you remember?"
Eddie nodded. He chuckled, too.
"Do you remember when we used to sneak around?" He asked. Richie smiled fondly.
"Or when your mom screamed at me that one time?" Richie added, "God, I almost pissed myself."
"Yeah, she hated you. She didn't know, though. Nobody did."
"We liked it that way," Richie said. Eddie looked up. Their faces were inches apart.
"That's right," Eddie said softly, "We liked it that way."
Richie stared at Eddie, mesmerized. He touched Eddie's bottom lip with his thumb.
Their lips met.
Richie tasted the alcohol Eddie had been drinking at Jade Of The Orient -- he lapped it up until there was nothing left but Eddie, wonderful and beautiful Eddie, who he held in his arms with the same love he had felt when they were young. Their lips moved gracefully together. The kiss was soft and warm and impossibly tender. For twenty-seven-something years, Richie had been blind, and now, he could see. Eddie was his light. Eddie was his everything. And, Richie was certain, there was nothing that could make him forget again.
Richie guided Eddie against the bed, deepening their kiss. Eddie moaned. The way he gripped Richie, the way he breathed raggedly, the way his face was pink with arousal ... it spurred Richie on. He spread Eddie on his back and positioned himself on top, one hand on either side of Eddie, keeping him in place. Their lips never parted. Heat spread through their bodies and their kiss became a race, only neither Richie or Eddie cared who won.
They tore out of their clothes.
Richie and Eddie made love under a trance. All of their forgotten years had led to this, to Richie and Eddie being as together as they possibly could. Their tongues dragged across each other, leaving hot trails of saliva, and their hands explored everything in reach. They devoured every inch of each other. The affair was sensual and blurry, every moment lasting a blissful eternity, every movement delicate. When they finished, their hearts pounding, Richie and Eddie lay together in the velvety sheets of the Derry Town House, drifting in and out of sleep.
Morning light filled the room. It seeped through the curtains, across the carpet, and onto the bed. Richie was the first to wake. He squinted his eyes as the light shone across his face.
Groggy with sleep, Richie had no idea where he was. All he knew was that he was laying in the most comfortable bed in the world ... and there was someone beside him. He ran his hands along the grooves of his body, pulled him closer, and kissed whatever his lips could find.
"Eddie," he murmured.
Eddie stirred. Half-asleep, he searched for warmth, and he found Richie. He pressed himself against Richie, wanting to be held, and Richie gladly obliged.
"What time is it?" Eddie asked, his voice muffled in the sheets.
"I don't know. Early."
"Where are we?"
Richie had to think before answering, "Derry."
Eddie became tense.
"What's wrong?" Richie asked, propping his head up from his pillow.
Eddie, wide-awake, mashed his face into the sheets, and when he looked up, his expression was heavy with regret. Richie could see the memory coming back to him. The whispering, the moaning, the steady creaking of the bed.
"I'm married," Eddie said.
Richie swallowed. He could still taste Eddie in his mouth from hours earlier.
"It doesn't have to count," he said.
Eddie closed his eyes and rubbed them. He shook his head.
"No," he said, "No, I want it to count. It does count. It's not fair to Myra."
The mention of her name made the room suddenly cold, like a candle being blown out.
"I never should've opened the door," Eddie said gravely.
Richie was crushed by his words. Laying naked in bed, he suddenly felt like an idiot.
"I should leave," he said, "Shouldn't I?"
Eddie's silence was answer enough.
Slowly, Richie climbed out of bed. His feet were freezing against the ground. He stooped down and collected his clothes, which were tossed haphazardly around the room. Once dressed, he padded to the door, but before he left, he turned to Eddie, his hand resting on the doorknob.
"What happens after this?" Richie asked.
"Nothing happens, Rich."
Eddie was sitting upright in bed, the sheets gathered to hide his naked body. His shoulders were slumped in shame, and his gaze was focused on the ground.
"But we remembered. We can't just -- we can't just walk away again."
"We aren't kids anymore," Eddie snapped, still refusing to look at Richie, "After you, it was Myra. I loved her. I married her. I forgot everything else, just like you did, just like everyone else did. Do you really expect me to drop everything? I mean, shit, you must've had someone, too, didn't you? Someone in college or something?"
Richie did have someone. Her name was Sandy. She was nice, she was funny. She was good-looking, too. To be honest, Richie had no clue why she had ever slept with him. Was it for his money? They had lasted for two years before she ended it, and Richie wasn't as heartbroken as he should've been. When he later heard that she was married and had children, he didn't care. He never felt love for her. He never felt anything for her.
"Nothing that mattered," Richie said tonelessly.
"Yeah, well, Myra matters to me."
Eddie finally looked at Richie, and a horrible weight settled between them. Richie realized he had been squeezing the doorknob. His knuckles had turned white. He stretched out his fingers, allowing blood to circulate through his hand. He looked at Eddie, who had his arms crossed indignantly over his chest, watching him warily. This was not a man who wanted to be faithful to his wife. This was not a man at all. This was a young boy who carried his inhaler around in a fanny pack, who visited the pharmacy as much as he visited the arcade, who had fallen in love with Richie Tozier, and now, was afraid.
"I'm sorry," Eddie said, lowering his arms.
"I know you are."
"I mean it, Rich."
Richie opened the door and said dryly, "See you later, Eddie."
He was gone before Eddie could say anything else.
In the hallway, Richie felt numb. Detached. He was vulnerable without Eddie wrapped around him. He took off his glasses and cleaned them on the hem of his shirt, suddenly exhausted, but he was too miserable for sleep. Perhaps he could go downstairs and drink until he passed out. Christ, what would the others think if they found him leaning against the bar with spit dribbling down his chin, an empty glass of Seven Crown whiskey in his hand?
Bringing him out of his thoughts, one of the doors in the hallway opened. Richie turned and saw Bill coming out from his room. There were bags under his eyes.
"Richie?" Bill said blearily, "What're you d-doing up so e-e-early?"
"I ... uh ... had a nightmare."
Bill approached Richie, inspecting him.
"You're w-wearing the s-s-ame clothes from the res-restaurant."
"You're n-not g-going to l-l-leave, are you?"
Richie looked at Bill, remembering him as a child. Other than his expensive sports jacket and thinning hair, Bill had not changed. He was still the ringleader. No matter how much they had grown, how tired they had gotten, how weary with age they were, Bill was still the ringleader, and nothing could change that. When Bill spoke, the others listened.
"I'm not gonna leave," Richie said, "We made a promise, Big Bill."
"B-B-B-Big Bill. I forgot a-about that," Bill said, chuckling, "How about break-breakfast?"
"How about a drink?" Richie countered, "I was thinking something strong."
They laughed together and went downstairs, arms slung good-naturedly around each other's shoulders. Both Richie and Bill were in need of several hours of sleep, a hot shower, and something in their systems other than alcohol. They had the world against them. As if their lives had not been fucked up as they were, they were suddenly back in Derry with a murderous clown in their midst. They were walking themselves towards their own deaths, and they knew it.
However, as they poured each other a little too much whiskey in the Derry Town House bar, none of it mattered. They were together, not alone. And, for the time being, that would have to be enough.