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I’m not in love with you, I just can’t sleep when you’re not next to me

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Richie woke up feeling safe and warm. He was tangled around Eddie, like usual. He had been sneaking into his room to sleep almost every night for the last four years. For awhile it was the only way he could sleep. Now it was just something they just did. Eddie looked peaceful as he lie there in bed, almost angelic, Richie thought, so naturally Richie licked his face. 

“Ugh, Richie you’re disgusting.” Eddie grumbled sleepily. 

“Come on Eds, It’s time for school.” 

“Nooo, school is for people who care and don’t call me Eds.”

“Shut up Eds, you know you care more than anyone else. Now i’m going to sneak back out the window and pick you up for school.” Richie winked, opened the window latch and hopped out. Eddie used every ounce of energy to roll out of bed and get dressed. He knew he only had about ten more minutes before Richie came back to knock on the door to walk him to school. Like he hadn’t spent the night in Eddie’s bed. Some people would think their routine was odd. They slept in the same bed, every single night. It was for the nightmares, Eddie told himself. Which was true. He knew the thoughts of Pennywise would be with him forever but he hadn’t had a nightmare about it in at least a year. Which was good... but also bad because lately his dreams had been about other things… Which lead to awkward mornings where he pushed Richie out of bed early and rushed to the shower. It was fine, it’s normal to dream about someone who’s right next to you. What else is your brain supposed to do right? Eddie heard the tell tale sound of a knock at the door and headed for the stairs. 

Richie and Eddie walked into school late that day because Richie insisted on chasing a stray cat he saw for ten minutes. Eddie stomped into his first hour Calc class ready for his bitchy teacher to lecture him about being late. He would have protested that it was Richie’s fault but he had given that up after his seventh time being late because of him. Eddie couldn’t wait to get out of here. Today was the last day before spring break. Then he could spend the whole next week dicking around with the losers and spending his nights with Richie. Not that spending time with Richie was more important or anything. 

The cafeteria of Derry High was nightmarishly dirty, Eddie thought. He would never even think to eat the food that came out of it. Not that he had too, he had brought cold lunch every day since kindergarten. He sat down at their corner table next to Richie and Mike. Richie looked like he was in the middle of telling some story. 

“So then Amber slid her hands up my sides and then slide them back down…” Richie winked. “So when she grabbed my…”

“Beep Beep Richie” Eddie spouted. Richie pouted but halted his story. Eddie hates when Richie tells his raunchy stories. He didn’t understand how Richie could go to these random parties and just hook up with people. It was disgusting and Eddie was not going to stand to hear about it. It was gross and that’s why he hated it.  

“So any spring break plans?” Bill asked in an attempt to start up the conversation again. The group shook their heads in a general answer of no.

“I’m going to Pennsylvania.” Richie said.

“WHAT” Eddie shrieked. The group stared at him. “I mean what? you didn’t tell me you were going away.”

“Well it’s only for three days Eds and Maggie just told me about it. She called this morning, we’re going to go visit my Aunt. Mags felt bad about missing the wedding and all that.”

“Oh” was all Eddie could say, he didn’t even correct Richie on his use of Eds. Three days, that’s not all of spring break. It would be fine, He told himself. “When are you leaving?”

“Tomorrow morning.”

“Well then we’ll plan something for the Tuesday after you get back.” Bill suggested. Everyone nodded in agreement. It was still too cold for the quarry so they will probably would end up doing a movie night at Bills or sit around in Mikes empty barn like always. 

Richie’s mom picked him up from school that day so he could go home to pack. Eddie was left to walk home alone. This sucks, he thought. Richie probably wasn’t even going to come over tonight seeing as he was leaving in the morning. Which was fine, right? It’s not like he needed Richie there or anything. He just would miss him is all. Three days was the longest he would spend without Richie since 5th grade when he went to Florida and came back horribly burnt and peeling, but Eddie had told him to wear the 100 SPF sunscreen he had given him. “His own fault” Eddie grumbled aloud. 

“What’s that you said fag? Talking to yourself now are we.” Patrick said hopping down from a fence post he was sitting on. Eddie hadn’t even noticed him, lost in his thoughts.

“Funny how you call me a fag and yet I still clearly remember catching you trying to blow Henry Bowers in the woods all those years ago.” Which was true. Eddie had caught them and ran for his life. It was possibly the strangest thing he’s ever seen, and he’s seen a dancing clown try to eat him. 

“Don’t say his name.” Patrick yelled and got right up in Eddie’s face. Apparently he wasn’t over Henry being sent away to a “betterment facility.” He grabbed the neck of his polo shirt and threw him down. Eddie didn’t even understand his motivation. Patrick was on his third try of high school and he still never went. He apparently just patrolled around the paths in town looking for kids to terrorize. Patrick bent down and spat in Eddie’s face. Eddie screamed in disgust and attempted to get up but Patrick kicked him right in the stomach. Eddie groaned in pain and clutched his stomach. “Shut up queer.” Patrick said as he aimed a kick at Eddie’s mouth. Eddie’s eyes widened as he saw the boot coming and thankfully flipped his head around to save his face. Then everything went black as the boot sailed against the back of his head. 

He awoke in the back of a vehicle. He thrashed around in panic thinking Patrick was taking him away for some twisted reason, when he looked to the front and saw Ben and Bev in the front seats. “Oh god” Eddie mumbled as he rubbed the back of his head. There was a large lump there. At least it wasn’t his face, or anywhere else visible. Otherwise his mother would have quarantined him for a week. “How did you find me?” Eddie asked to the two up front.

“Well I was driving Bev to her aunts and we stopped at the corner shop for some snacks, thank god we did that because then we saw you passed out on the sidewalk.”

“So we hauled you into the car which I could have done myself since you weigh as much as a toothpick.” Bev laughed sadly. “What happened Eddie?”

“Patrick” was all Eddie said. They dropped him off at home after much insistence that he was going to be fine. People fussing over him would just make his mother suspicious. Eddie trudged up the stairs and threw his bag across the room.

This was going to be a long three days.