After leaving Derry, things are beginning to look up. Eddie’s moved in with Richie in California, and at first they slept in separate rooms, but more and more often, Richie began to come quietly into Eddie’s room at night, and Eddie would just crack his eyes open and smile gently, opening his arms and letting Richie come into his embrace. Now they both sleep in Richie’s room, and maybe they kiss each other goodnight, maybe good morning, too.
Eddie’s adjusting to his new life, he’s learning how to do things while in his wheelchair, and though it’s been hard since he was released from the hospital, he’s very grateful that he’s in this situation, because the alternative was death —the thought still makes him shiver. Richie’s so supportive of him, helping him whenever he really needs it, but letting him gain back his independence after being under intense care in hospital for months. Richie carries him downstairs in the morning and upstairs at the end of the day because they obviously can’t bring the wheelchair up the stairs, though Eddie can admit he doesn’t mind that Richie carries him.
After divorcing Myra and taking all of his things with him to Los Angeles, Eddie had to quit his job as a risk analyst and find something new in the area. Richie suggests that he do something he actually enjoys, because he knows that being a risk analyst wasn’t the most riveting occupation. Eddie knows that the only reason he took the job was because Myra didn’t want him to do something practical or hands on in case he got hurt. Really, he’s always wanted to be a mechanic, cars fascinate him. He told Richie this, and he was very encouraging. Eddie plans on opening up an auto-body shop in the future once he feels like he’s completely recovered and has a grip on his new life.
In the five months since they left Derry, the press have definitely caught wind of the fact that an unknown man is now living with famous comedian Richie Tozier, and people are talking about it. Last month, pictures surfaced of Richie and Eddie at the farmers’ market —one of Richie smiling dopily at Eddie, who’s completely unaware as he looks at an array of fruit and veg, one of them at a bench near the market featuring Richie reaching over the armrest to hold Eddie’s —who was sitting beside the bench in his wheelchair —hand as they laughed about something one of them had said. Richie apologised profusely to Eddie when the pictures came out, feeling awful that Eddie’s privacy had now been violated as well as his own. Eddie told him not to apologise, he knew what he was getting into when he went with Richie to California, it’s a small price to pay for being with the man he loves for the rest of his life. Richie’s worth it.
“Eds! My love, my light!” Richie exclaims, waltzing into the dressing room full of the losers, and going straight for Eddie. He leans down to Eddie’s open arms, holding himself up by gripping onto the wheelchair’s armrests and gratefully welcoming Eddie to sling his arms around his neck and plant a big kiss on his cheek. “Did you enjoy the show?” Richie asks nudging his nose against the blonde haired man’s.
Eddie laughs, “You were great, Rich! I’m so proud of you.” It’s his first show since he took a break before leaving for Derry to reunite with the losers, and he was really nervous before it. Eddie had assured him that he was going to be amazing, and he was right. Eddie was utterly amused the whole way through it, and Richie was fuelled to keep going by the sight of his love in the front row covering his mouth as he laughed hysterically.
“Thank you, peanut.” Richie kisses his forehead, and stands back, greeting the rest of the losers. “Do you guys think it went well? You know, when I said it? Did the audience seem cool with it?”
“So, fun fact —I didn’t used to write my own scripts. Shitty, I know, and I agree. It’s so much better writing my own material, because now I can talk about what I want, whatever I think is funny. It’s perfect timing because since I’ve been on break, a childhood friend’s come back into my life and we’re together now! There’s nothing I love more than talking about him, considering that my big fat crush on him as a teenager has now been satisfied.”
Richie knows that the audience was probably shocked to hear him referring to his lover as another man, and while he knows that him finally freeing this truth from the prison of his own head is the most important thing, he’s still a bit nervous about what people are going to think. Sure, there’s been pictures of he and Eddie together, but nothing that officially proves anything, and he hasn’t spoken out at all about those pictures.
“I think they were surprised, but honestly? They all looked really supportive.” Ben pipes up, and the rest of the losers nod in agreement, grinning at Richie with absolute pride.
“Absolutely, Richie. We’re all so proud of you.”
It’s an hour later, and Eddie’s been moved onto Richie’s lap, and all of the losers are lounged on the sofa in the dressing room, just talking and laughing. When Bill and Mike begin telling Stan, Patty, Ben and Bev about their next destination for travelling, Eddie takes that as an opportunity to talk privately with Richie. He slips his hand into Richie’s, immediately getting his attention. “Hey, Rich?”
“What’s up, Eds?”
“I just wanted to say thank you.” Richie looks like he’s about to ask what for, so he continues, “I don’t think I’ll be able to easily come out to people for a while yet, and you talking publicly about us just made everything feel okay, you just made it look so effortless, you know? Makes me believe I’ll be able to do that too, someday.”
Richie’s face brightens like a Christmas tree, and he pressing his palms to Eddie’s cheeks, his fingers going into Eddie’s blonde curls. “You gave me the strength I needed to tell people. I have to say thank you, too, Eds, I love you.”
Eddie curls his hands around Richie’s wrists, holding his hands in place against his face. Then, he leans closer to Richie, like he’s about to tell him a secret, “I want to marry you.” He whispers, his big grey doe eyes looking straight up into Richie’s, completely unwavering. Richie knows he means it.
“I really want to marry you, too.” Richie breathes, “God, I would marry you right this second.” He presses a few needy kisses to Eddie’s mouth. “Once the tour’s over, d’ya wanna get married? I know that’s obviously no time to plan a big wedding but maybe even a small one? I don’t think I could wait long enough to have a big wedding.”
“Uh huh,” Eddie smiles, nods quickly, “That sounds perfect, Richie.” His boyfriend, or apparently now his fiancé, grins, and cups the back of his neck, kissing him eagerly. Eddie reciprocates with just as much enthusiasm, maybe forgetting where they are for a minute and pushing his hands under Richie’s shirt, gripping his love handles, which are one of Eddie’s favourites of Richie’s features, gently. Their lips depart at the sound of the others wolf-whistling, and Eddie gives them the finger.
“Get a room, guys!” Mike chuckles, and Richie scoffs, going in for another kiss just to spite the rest of them. They all laugh, and Richie and Eddie pull away, giggling in the small space between themselves.
“So, we’re really doing this, Eds? We’re gonna get married?” Richie says once the others have gone back to their conversations, and Eddie bits his lower lip to contain his excitement, nods. He smooshes a kiss against Eddie’s cheek, then asks, nuzzling his nose against his jaw, “Do you want to get out of here? Go home?”
Eddie’s cheeks flush erubescent at what’s being implied, “Yeah, okay, let’s go.”
Richie scoops his arms under Eddie’s legs, standing up as Eddie curls his hand around the back of Richie’s neck, the other resting on Richie’s chest. “Alright, losers, Eds and I are gonna take off. I’ll tell Larry out front that you guys can stay as long as you want.” He places Richie down into his wheelchair, and he walks behind it, holding onto the handles.
“Oh? And what do you need to take off so suddenly for?” Bev smirks, leaning back against the sofa and raising her eyebrows.
“Well, Miss Marsh, if you must know, I’ve got a sweet, sweet appointment with Mrs K and I have to get Eds, here, home before I go to our rendezvous spot.” Richie winks, and Eddie scoffs, his face blooming red even further at the words out of Richie’s mouth.
“Ah, yes, I suspected that someone would be getting railed into a mattress,” Bev started, “but I can’t say I’m convinced that that person is Mrs K.” She nods her head in Eddie’s direction, and he covers his face, whining and shaking his head.
“Rich, please, can we go home? This is embarrassing.” He requests between the hands covering his face, and Richie cacchinates, kissing the crown of his head.
“‘Course we can, honeybun.” They say their goodbyes to the rest of the losers, and no more than fifteen minutes later, they’re falling into bed together, both silently thanking whatever force it was that granted them the fortune of surviving what had come their way upon the reunion of the losers and getting to be together for the rest of their lives.