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Richie Tozier: Good Wife

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Richie loves his friends, and he loves karaoke, but he has had a notably terrible week- possibly his worst since coming back from Derry. He finally came out publicly on social media that Tuesday, and this Losers karaoke night is meant to be a celebration of that, but Richie feels like doing anything but celebrating.

There was an immense amount of backlash over his coming out, and he still isn't sure if it was worth it considering the only man he's ever loved is still married. Eddie has admitted he and his wife are more roommates than anything, but they're still together, and Richie doesn't even think Eddie is gay, so even if the man were to get a divorce, it still wouldn't change anything. Thus his uncertainty on if coming out was really the right move. It means his standup can be more "real" now, and his friends are certainly proud of him for it, but all Richie feels is a longing deep in his gut.

It's that longing that impacts his song choice when it's his turn. Richie has always been particularly interested in other queer people in celebrity spaces, and his music taste reflects that. Some of his favorites are David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Frank Ocean, and more recently, Mika. Michael Holbrook, who sings under the pseudonym Mika, wasn't openly gay when he made his first few albums, but the theming of even his early work was obviously very supportive of LGBTQ+ relationships. He came out in 2012, five years after releasing his first album. A year prior to this karaoke night, in 2015, Mika released No Place In Heaven, and it's from that album that Richie makes his song selection.

Richie knows that Good Wife might be too revealing of his feelings, but considering that Eddie hasn't figured anything out yet, he doubts that this will be what tips the scales. When Richie had first heard the song, he hadn't yet regained his memories, so he didn't understand why a song about a gay man pining over his best friend would make him cry for hours, but he conciously realized what his subconcious must have known before the first time he heard the song after visiting Derry. That time, hearing the song prompted him to get blackout drunk by himself in his apartment.

He's listened to the album plenty since then, so he thinks he's safe from crying on stage during his performance. The only concern is the Losers looking too much into his song selection, but that can be easily explained away by claiming this was the only Mika song the karaoke bar had available. It seems like a plausible enough explanation since the man isn't hugely popular in the states. Even if it outs his feelings to his friends, though, with his current mood Richie wouldn't want to select any other song.

He walks on stage with his usual enthusiasm, getting a few whoops and hollers from the crowd from people who must recognize him.

"Good evening New York!" He exclaims once he reaches the microphone. "This isn't exactly the kind of stage I'm used to." He chuckles, and he hears responding laughter in the audience.

"If this performance doesn't live up to your expectations, blame my friends over there." He gestures to the corner, where the Losers are all perched together in the largest booth in the room. He can't help but smile looking at them, even if he does feel despondent. Even from this far away, their adoration for one another is evident.

Stan and Patty are on one end of the booth, Stan's legs swung over Patty's lap and hanging off the edge of the seat. Eddie is next to them, back to back with Stan with his feet up in the seat, sitting knees to chest and talking animatedly with Bill and Mike, arms flailing. Bill is next to Eddie and has Mike's arm wrapped around his shoulders, Bill's head cushioned on Mike's chest. Ben and Beverly are off in their own world on the other end of the booth, Bev perched on Ben's lap with her arms around his neck, the two of them talking quietly in to one another's ears with bright smiles on their faces. Bev's divorce is nearly over, and Richie knows that she and Ben can't wait to be able go on an actual date with one another without that hanging over their shoulders. Richie is sure that another Losers get together will be planned the moment the final papers have been signed. But for now, it's his night, and he's the last Loser on stage for karaoke. All his friends look up at him as the music starts. He knows that he should look around as he sings, but he locks eyes with Eddie as he takes his opening breath and he can't look away.

"Comes on over
Wants to drown his sorrows
Got a two-seater sofa
And some whiskey in a bottle
Broke and in tears
With weight of the world on his shoulder"

Richie knows that his singing voice is decent- he's done a few voice acting gigs that require musical talent over the past few years, but it's his emotional delivery that really makes the audience pay attention as he continues. He croons the opening bars- he's had Eddie come to him to rant about Myra too many times to count in the past few months. He doesn't know why the other man is still with her. It seems like the further away they get from their Derry expedition, the more the two of them fight. Eddie isn't even living with her anymore; he's renting an apartment close to his office. Yet there has been no announcement of divorce, no indication that he's getting away, just him coming to Richie and drinking his sorrows away.

"Oh my God Sam
What's happened to ya?
Says his wife's just left him
With his two year old daughter
To live in Acapulco with some idiot
She only met a couple months ago"

This is the one part of the song Richie wishes he could relate to. At least if Myra would leave Richie would be able to help Eddie find happiness, even if that wouldn't mean the two of them being together. Maybe they could just be roommates, or they could live next to one another- that way Richie could see Eddie more often. But Myra is like Sonia in that way. She clings to Eddie like a limpet; she would never be the one to leave.

"I wish I could tell you that
If it was me
I would be a good wife
I would never doubt you
Ours would be a good life"

Richie doesn't know if he would really be a good spouse to Eddie, but he does know that he would trust and support him better than anyone else in the world. He would be willing to sacrifice everything for Eddie if need be. He tries to transmit his wish for Eddie to find joy through his gaze as he continues.

"And we could be
Better than so many
I would never stress you
About bringing home the plenty"

If Eddie left Myra and wanted Richie to support him, Richie would be happy for Eddie to never work another day in his life. He knows how stressed Eddie can get after a bad week at the office, and he would never expect him to work a gruelling job that he hates. In fact, he would love it if Eddie would quit his job- then he could come on tour with Richie and they wouldn't ever have to be apart.

"For all these things
Another life I'll have to wait
Would have been perfect
If only God had wanted it"

Richie wonders if he could be good enough in any world for Eddie to choose him. Even when they were kids, Richie thinks that Eddie has always been the best person he's ever known. Eddie is intelligent and brave and cares so deeply about his friends- most of the time Richie feels like he's so blessed to be Eddie's friend that it's greedy of him to even consider wishing for more. Maybe in some other world, where Richie is better and stronger, he could admit his feelings to Eddie as kids and he could have him. That world would have to be very different from the one in which Richie resides, however.

"But you'll never know and we'll get old
Let's not talk about it, rest your head upon my shoulder"

He hopes Eddie will never know about his feelings. He knows that it would completely change the dynamic of their friendship. Now, Eddie is comfortable sitting next to Richie and putting his head on his shoulder and bumping into him teasingly, but would he even be willing to let Richie touch him if he knew how he felt? Richie would rather be safe and admit to nothing than risk the closeness Eddie allows him.

"You'll never know, you'll never know
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life"

Richie feels himself choke up as he repeats the phrase over and over. He worries that it's true for both him and Eddie. As much as he wants Eddie to be happy, he doesn't think the other man can ever truly enjoy himself with his wife and his job keeping him contained and forcing him to be someone he's not. And Richie is well aware that as much as he tells himself Eddie's friendship is enough, he'll wish for more for as long as he lives.

"Somebody once told me
That there are watchers
And there are doers in this world
I guess I am a watcher
Not by choice
It's just what I was hurled"

This stanza certainly feels like a stab through the chest as Richie sings. He wishes he wasn't so passive. He wishes he was willing to take risks and be brave. He told Eddie "you're braver than you think," but does anyone realize what a coward Richie is? He's hidden behind jokes and voices his whole life, never willing to be seen. When it came to any serious decision, Richie always put the responsibility on others. It's why he never would have confessed to Eddie when they were kids even if he thought there was a chance the other boy might like him back.

"We're just two friends
It's not a risky situation"

He nearly laughs at this line. Not a risky situation his ass. He supposes they are just two friends, though, nothing more.

"I wish I could tell you that
If it was me
I would be a good wife
I would never doubt you
Ours would be a good life
And we could be
Better than so many
I would never stress you
About bringing home the plenty
For all these things
Another life I'll have to wait
Would have been perfect
If only God had wanted it
But you'll never know and we'll get old
Let's not talk about it, rest your head upon my shoulder
You'll never know, you'll never know
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life"

As he sings through the chorus again, he takes a moment to look away from Eddie and examine the expressions of his friends. Bill and Mike seem oblivious- the two of them got together quite quickly after Derry. Evidently they had confessed as kids so it didn't take much for the two of them to pick up where they left off, which means neither of them really understand what unrequited love looks like on another person. Stan and Patty give him small sad smiles- Stan is the only person Richie has talked about his feelings to, as Stan recognized what was going on even when they were growing up. Bev and Ben look absolutely heartbroken; he supposes this is going to be what reveals his feelings to them, then, but it's okay- he knows they won't pressure him after seeing his pain like this.

Eddie is the last person he looks to. Even though he'd been staring the other man in the eyes for most of his performance, he had been careful not to actually look at his expression. He figures he should probably check for a reaction before continuing to the last verse and chorus, however. Eddie, surprisingly, looks pleased. It isn't obvious at first glance, but his mouth is twitching up at the corners as if he's trying not to smile. Richie feels relieved until he looks back at Eddie's eyes, and realizes the deep sadness buried in their depths. He gasps, his breath shuddering, unsure what such a response from the man could possibly mean. Is he sad because he's wondering if Richie is in love with someone and hurting like this and he pities him? Is he sad because he's realized Richie's feelings and is worried about how to end their friendship? Why does he also seem happy? Is he relishing in the fact that Richie is obviously never going to confess? Is it just some kind of schadenfreude? In his confusion, Richie stumbles verbally for a moment before continuing on to the final verse. Eddie's brows furrow in what appears to be concern as he pulls himself together and sings on.

"Rest your head upon my shoulder
I'm so tired you can't see
Now that life's a little colder
I could love you simply
Even if you'll never know
Wouldn't leave if it was me
My love would never
Run away like the sunshine
Good time friend
Not just the good times"

Richie supposes that his best quality is that he's reliable. At the end of the day, no matter what Eddie does or says, he'll still love him. His feelings for all the Losers work that way- he'll accept them no matter what. He isn't a fickle friend, once he's dedicated himself to you he's in it for life. Maybe, even if Eddie realizes his feelings, that's why he'll keep Richie around. Because even if Eddie scorns him or mocks him for loving him, he'll still be there. Perhaps that's enough. Richie certainly hopes so.

As he goes into the final chorus, Richie lets all his stress from the past week flood his body. He looks at his friends and wills them not to judge him if he cries. He knows that will give away the game, but he feels tears brimming behind his eyes that he doesn't know if he can hold back.

"For all these things
Another life I'll have to wait
Would have been perfect
If only God had wanted it
But you'll never know and we'll get old
Let's not talk about it, rest your head upon my shoulder
You'll never know, you'll never know
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life
You'll never know the good life"

As he wraps the final notes, Richie gives a bow and quickly hops off the stage, running to the bathroom. He'd manage to hold in the tears, but only barely, and he needs to let them out before he explodes.

He locks himself in the single bathroom and immediately begins to sob. He's glad he chose the song and allowed himself to bare his heart for once, but he's still afraid that he was wrong and that Eddie will be aware enough to realize his feelings even without them being explicitly spoken.

After a few minutes, his sobs turn to sniffles. He knows the Losers must be wondering where he went, but he's hoping that no one comes looking for him just yet. Of course, his luck isn't that good, and before he can stop sniffling completely, the bathroom door opens. Richie tries to silence himself, but he can't help but make a small wounded noise when he hears who has come looking for him.

"Richie? You in here?" Eddie's voice sounds incredibly loud in the otherwise silent bathroom.

"Yeah. Just doing my requisite performance nervous vomit! I do it before every standup show. Honestly it's miraculous I managed to hold off until after tonight." Richie chuckles nervously, hoping his voice doesn't sound as choked to Eddie as it seems to his own ears. He isn't lying, exactly. He does throw up before going on stage before nearly every show, but that wouldn't be a problem for something small like this.

"You should probably have a doctor look at that, you know. It can't be good for your throat." Eddie sounds vaguely annoyed, just as he always does when he thinks Richie is being reckless with his health. He can't help but chuckle- if Eddie is here fussing over him, it's unlikely he's here to yell. With that in mind Richie stands up and opens the stall door, stepping into the bathroom proper where Eddie is waiting.

The smaller man looks nervous, his arms crossed, and he's tapping his foot impatiently. Richie can't help but rustle his hair teasingly once he reaches him. Eddie immediately squawks, trying to get his hair in order again.

"Richie! Your hands have just been on the toilet! Don't put them in my hair!" Of course, Richie's hands haven't actually been on the toilet. He wouldn't have dared touch Eddie if they had been. But Richie can't admit to that without contradicting himself, so instead he just apologizes, laughs, and walks over to the sink to wash his hands, drying them on his pants after.

"Happy now, Eddie-baby?" Eddie sulks at the nickname, but allows it, which is a pleasant surprise to Richie. Maybe Eddie really didn't realize anything from his singing.

"I guess." Eddie murmurs as Richie swings an arm around him and leads him back to the booth before Eddie can say whatever led him to track Richie down in the first place. If they have to have a serious talk, they can do it another time, but Richie doesn't intend to spend any more time tonight on the truth of his feelings.

It seems Eddie isn't willing to push either, so they spend the rest of the night relaxing with their friends, Richie happy to have Eddie pressed up against his side.