Disclaimer: I do not own IT or any of the characters. That all belongs to the awesome and talented Stephen King. I only own my OC and other characters I make up along the way.
A/N: GUYS I AM SO SORRY! I know it's been forever since I updated this. For that I deeply apologize. I was just so focused on school and I've been writing my Avengers Fan-Fic. However, I am now on summer break meaning I am going to have more free time and I do plan on finally finish this story ^.^ Adding to that, good things are happening you guys! If you haven't heard (which I am sure you have by now) Jessica Chastain has been officially confirmed for the adult role of Beverly Marsh. James Mcavoy is going to play adult Bill Denbrough and Bill Hader got the role of adult Richie Tozier. Which just makes me see bright colors because those are amazing choices! Especially Bill Hader because he's the only actor I have ever seen for grown up Richie Tozier. I mean the guy does voice impressions and he's been on Saturday Night Live! He's perfect! Even Finn Wolfhard wants him to play adult Richie. It's a perfect choice :) Gah! Plus, imagining Bill Hader and Hayley Atwell (Gwen's adult face-claim) as brother and sister is just awesome! The actor Jay Ryan is going to play older Ben Hanscom. Which is great! I know people wanted Chris Pratt for adult Ben but I think Jay Ryan will do amazing! Then adding to this great news actor Andy Bean has been cast to play adult Stan Uris and James Ransone is going to play Eddie Kaspbrak. I don't know about you guys, but I think that's perfect casting too! James Ransone does look like an older Jack Dylan Grazer. Also, I can totally imagine the actor Andy Bean as adult Stanley Uris and sharing scenes with Hayley Atwell as older Gwen. I mean I can picture those two talking intimately with each other when they're older. Omg then angst and romance! ^.^ Now all we have to do is wait for who's going to be cast as older Mike Hanlon to finally complete The Losers Club. The hype and anticipation just has me even more hype for IT:Chapter Two! ^.^
*Please read what's below for a bit of clarification*
I binged watched season 2 of 13 Reasons Why last week or so and once finishing it I was left in an emotional state. Seeing the actor Dylan Minnette return to play Clay Jensen just reminded me how much the character of Chase Campbell means to me...or more specifically what he means for Gwen. Even though Chase wasn't in the story for that long the mentions of him through out the story really cause emotions to rise. As we all know the reason why Chase's unexpected death affected Gwen so greatly was because he was the first boy she really ever liked. She had been quietly liking him for a while and for that reason alone I think the feelings she felt for Chase will always remain in someway, but she's going to find the strength to finally move on...as you will read in this chapter and the next one. However, now that she's learned that Chase's death wasn't a suicide and that he was actually killed by IT, Gwen is going to be even more cautious with having romantic feelings for anyone else because she knows the consequences and she doesn't want anyone else to die like Chase because of her. Which is terrible because as we read in the last chapter Gwen finally realized her feelings for Stan and his feelings for her. Needless to say she's going to be incredibly stubborn to act upon those feelings for Stan...which of course just brings more angst and drama. Especially once we head into IT:Chapter Two. So yeah be ready for lots and lots of tears...just a warning for the second part of this tragic/friendship/love/horror of a story.
P.S. I don't own the songs used in this chapter. Also I originally had planned on releasing his chapter within one day of me just writing my heart away but that didn't end up happening for a number of reasons. The main one being that I wrote this chapter while having a massive annoying headache that's caused because of this toothache I have (I really need to go to the dentist but I'm so scared to go) -.- So I apologize for any spelling errors. I'll fix them later.
"When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind." — Patrick Rothfuss
Chapter 21: Growing up is a hard thing to do
Richie's assumption of there being no after party had been correct. Everything that was supposed to follow the Bar Mitzvah ceremony was immediately cancelled the moment Stan left the synagogue. Right after the spectacle he made. Which was a scene that kept playing over and over again in Gwen's head. Like a damn record player...or should she say movie.
Now Gwen did not see Stan again since leaving the synagogue with her mom and Richie. She really had no idea where the curly haired boy had wandered off to. She could only hope that he was okay. It was probably silly to think perhaps all he really needed at the moment was time by himself. Away from his strict parents—more so his father. So time to cool down. Get his emotions in check. Gwen recognized that feeling and could understand. However, Gwen doubted time by himself would make the feelings Stan had for her (feelings she had now barely recognized) would magically disappear. Gwen could only hope they would though because as she had come to comprehend, Stan having feelings for her (romantic ones at that) meant an awful fate for him. Especially since she now returned those romantic feelings back too. And it was a fate that she deeply worried would end up much like Chase's. With his wrists slashed and bloody. Gwen certainly did not want that to happen to Stan...she cared way too much for him to let that happen. The Tozier girl did not want the curly hair boy to suffer. In her eyes Stan was too pure...innocent. He did not deserve that kind of ending. He deserved to live a long and happy life.
Her worry for Stan and her anger towards herself for actually liking him back left the fifteen year old in a downhearted mood when she finally arrived home. Luckily she didn't have an audience to see her in such a mood. At the moment, she was by herself. Maggie right away had gone off to visit one her her close friends, not even bothering to change out of her formal wear. Gwen knew her mother was going to gossip about what happened at the Bar Mitzvah. Just like how she imagined everyone else was going to do. Though unlike the others, Gwen highly doubted her mother was going to bring up the part of Stan looking at her with heartfelt eyes at his last statement before running off.
Maggie didn't have to say anything in order for Gwen to know that she didn't at all approve with what Stan said at the synagogue. The car ride home had been really awkward to say the least because they all knew of the curly haired boys feelings towards Gwen. Every now and then her mother would glance at the ring she was wearing. However, whenever Maggie came close to making a comment, Richie intervened. So thankfully no questions regarding where Gwen got that ring were brought up. Despite the tension in the air, Gwen didn't really dwell on it mainly because she was too into her own crestfallen mood and also because she didn't care whether or not her mother approved.
Now unlike their mother, Richie was more than happy to change out of his formal wear once they got home. Putting on his usual outfit that consisted of a t-shirt, jeans, old worn shoes, and one of his many tacky Hawaiian button ups. When asked where he was going, Gwen was relieved to hear him actually respond back, saying he was going to the arcade. When Gwen heard this she right away wanted to ask if she could tag along but before she was able to let out another word, Richie had already closed the door behind him. At first Gwen was hurt, but she told herself that perhaps going with him was not such a good idea. She was after all in a blah mood, and she didn't her own mood to bring Richie down too.
So Gwen stayed behind.
There was a positive side to this. Since Gwen was the only person at the house right now she decided now would be a good time to look for her Turtle necklace again. She thought back to what IT said at the Neibolt house. How the Turtle wasn't able to save her now. Gwen had no idea what that meant but it made her even more determined to find her necklace. After changing out of her dress and putting on her own clothes of comfort, Gwen straight away went to her parents room. Although she had already checked her parents room she decided a second go wouldn't be such a bad idea. Who knows maybe she had missed something from the first time she had looked?
Walking into her parents room the first thing Gwen did was search through their clothing drawers. In the first top three there was nothing but just clothes. Which was nothing out of the ordinary. However, it was the last drawer on the right side that had Gwen immediately frowning at what she found. A half full bottle of Bourbon. Ah shit. Gwen stared at the said item in her hands with an upset gaze. Despite her harrowing feelings this was not at all surprising to find. The bottle hadn't been here the last time she looked but she knew it belonged to her mother. Gwen knew that for certain. Her father rarely ever drank, and when he did drink he would just have a simple beer brand (coolers even). Unlike her mother who really favored Bourbon. Gwen didn't like it whenever her mother drank (which was more than she liked to admit). Except by now Maggie was pretty good at hiding whenever she was tipsy. She was a classy woman after all (or at least that's what she liked to say). Maggie knew better than to be intoxicated in front of others beside her family members. It was this knowledge that allowed Gwen to push down her upset feelings. Now wasn't the time to dwell on her mother's issues with alcohol. The fifteen year old meticulously put the bottle exactly where she had found it. Except she had too focused on putting the bottle back to where it was that she failed to notice the oncoming foot steps.
"What are you doing?" Wentworth asked his daughter. His eyes were slightly narrowed in curiousness.
Gwen jumped in place as she closed the drawer. She straighten her posture as she turned to face her father. He was leaning on the wall beside the rooms entrance. Even though he was no longer wearing his dentist coat over his normal clothes, Gwen knew for sure he had come back from work. The tired look he had on just confirmed that. She thought that perhaps he would get home late since she knew how much he liked taking his time but it appeared today wasn't one of those days. She severely hoped that he hadn't seen her with the bottle. The last thing she wanted was to be lectured by her father. Although if given the choice she'd preferred her father to lecture her over her mother. The lack of anger on his face reassured Gwen that maybe he hadn't seen her with the bottle.
Gwen continued her staring before giving her dad an awkward smile. "I'm just trying to find my Turtle necklace." She tried nonchalantly explaining to him.
Despite still having that nagging doubt that her father wouldn't believe her, Gwen was once again relieved to see Wentworth take her response. He nodded his head. "Well it's not in here." Wentworth tiredly said to her.
Gwen frowned when she heard her father say that. "How do you know?"
Wentworth's dark brown eyes landed onto her own. "Because I've tried finding it myself." He simply informed his daughter as if it were no big deal. "Trust me it's not in here."
Now that certainly surprised the fifteen year old. Gwen couldn't help but gawk at her father. "You tried looking for it?" She was in disbelief that her father actually took time to find something that belonged to her. It's not that she thought he was mean or anything but she always thought he'd use his free time to avoid her, Richie, and her mother. Guess she was wrong there because apparently he had done something else than just avoid them...he had tried finding her necklace.
"Yeah." Wentworth answered shrugging his shoulders. "I know how much that necklace means to you." The main reason he knew this was because he always saw her wearing it and as he'd come to know his daughter usually wasn't one to wear jewelry. Aside from the necklace, and it now seemed that she was wearing a ring. A ring he had no idea where she gotten it from...much like he didn't know where she had gotten that silver Turtle necklace. What he did know was that the necklace meant something to her. And he had a feeling that this new ring she had on now meant something to her as well.
Gwen blinked a few times, still in heavy disbelief. "Um, well, thanks for trying." She answered once passing through her surprised state. Her stare at her father became soft. Even though he hadn't found her necklace the fact that he actually tried to find it left Gwen with a fuzzy warm feeling.
Wentworth appeared to be sheepish having heard that. It wasn't often that his daughter would say something like that or even look at him with that soft stare of hers. In a way this sadden him, but he forced himself to not dwell on such feelings. It was after all mainly his fault for why he was so distant from both his children. "Don't mention it." He answered trying to sound nonchalant. He quickly cleared his throat. "So, how did the Bar Mitzvah go?" He asked still sounding a bit sheepish as he moved on with the conversation. He took notice that she wasn't wearing a dress or anything close to formal wear. Gwen was wearing dark jean shorts, her usual black shoes, and a Queen band t-shirt. Maggie never liked her style of clothing but he himself never saw anything wrong with the way his daughter dressed. A few seconds passed and Wentworth saw Gwen's eyes falter from her soft gaze. He rapidly took this as his own fault. "You know I would have gone, but something came up at work."
Something always comes up at work. Gwen bitterly thought. She was quick to push down any disposed feelings she had towards his absence. "Well..." She trailed off ready to tell him about the recent event that took place not that long ago. "It was going smoothly up until the end. Stan got mad at his dad and he basically told him off."
Wentworth's usual dry and firm demeanor fell apart as he let out a whistle. "Yikes, that must have been quite a scene." He knew personally how rigorous Donald Uris was. So having his one and only son cause a scene at the synagogue of all places must have not been something he appreciated. Wentworth also knew Stanley fairly well, and the young Jewish boy wouldn't act out carelessly unless there had been a good reason to. He figured his father must have done or said something to him to really push him over the edge.
"Yeah it was...but you know what?" Gwen's dark eyes brighten up. The same admiration she had for Stan at the synagogue was present again. It began increasing now as she spoke with her father about the curly haired boy's actions. "I thought it was awesome." She admitted to her father.
A small smile sneaked up on Wentworth's face from hearing her use that particular word. "I'm sure it was awesome." He told his daughter. "Whatever the reason for why Stan acted out, I'm glad he stood his ground."
"Me too." Gwen mumbled feeling her cheeks heat up. She once again had the scene with Stan looking at her with those adoring eyes play in her mind. The danger of him liking her and her liking him back at the moment was put on hold as she got the courage to talk to her father. "It got me thinking." She said in a more loudly.
Wentworth tilted his head. "Thinking about what?" He was curious on what his daughter had to say based on the earnest tone she had on.
"Love." Gwen whimsically breathed out.
Wentworth was beyond puzzled by that. He furrowed his eyebrows. "Your friend Stan standing up to his father made you think about love?" There was a pause before he let out a chuckle. "That's...highly unusual." He added after composing himself again. Despite his amusement he was also very muddled. Gwen wasn't one to ever bring up the topic of love with him...or with anyone else. He's never took his daughter for being interested in romance. The only person he thought she had liked was the Campbell boy but after his passing that way of thinking shut down for him. So why the sudden interest with love?
"Maybe." Gwen whispered not at all affected by his response. She did however become shy with what she wanted to ask him now. "Can I ask you a question?"
Wentworth was thrown back that Gwen actually wanted to ask him something. He had no idea what she wanted to ask but he found himself eagerly nodding his head. "Sure, what is it?"
The question she was about to ask was a sensitive one and random, but it was a question she had to ask. Gwen needed to hear his answer. "Do you love mom?"
Wentworth's reply was quick and mundane. "Of course I love her."
How about I rephrase that question. Gwen steadied her gaze right onto her father's eyes again. "Are you still in love with mom?"
This time there was no fast reply.
Wentworth didn't need to flat out say no because his solemn expression was enough of an answer for Gwen. In a way she already knew that would be the final answer. That however didn't level out any emotional despair she was feeling. It wasn't easy to hear (or in this case not hear) that her father was no longer in love with her mother. They were her parents. They were supposed to love each other. That's why they got married and had her and Richie. If they no longer loved each other then why the hell were they still together? Why not just get a divorce? Was is just to please Richie and her? Or was this because of that whole perfect image her mother Maggie was so bent on maintaining?
Gwen needed to know.
"If you no longer love her then why are you two still together?" Gwen asked trying her hardest to keep her voice steady.
This time it was Wentworth's turn for his dark eyes to soften. Hearing his daughter ask this touched an emotional part in him that he had buried away a long time ago. Seeing Gwen's downcast form had him remembering a series of memories he had of her when she had been a lot younger. The first memory being a happy one when he had given her that stuffed bear she had amusingly named Mr. Snuggles. It was one of the few birthday gifts Wentworth put time and effort into finding for her, and it amazed him that she still had the bear. His memories then took a bitter sweet turn as he now remembered when she was born. Wentworth had never told Gwen or Richie about this but Maggie's pregnancy with Gwen hadn't been the best. In fact it was straight out complicated and very stressful. There was even a certain point during the pregnancy that Maggie had almost lost Gwen entirely. However, it seemed that luck was on there side because Gwen miraculously survived the complications that Maggie had been having.
Maggie always believed that it was God answering her prayers to save her baby. Wentworth on the other hand assumed it was plain luck. Although being raised Methodist himself over the years his views on religion had lessened and they weren't as strong as they used to be. Not like Maggie's. So whatever the reason for Gwen's survival, he was just thankful.
Wentworth remembered how relieved both he and Maggie had been. Holding his daughter for the first time he couldn't imagine how he would have ever been able live a life without her in it. A newborn baby with a mop of dark hair...just like his own. Not blonde hair like her mother's and dark eyes that reflected his own as well. He remembered the first time Gwen walked, laughed, and actually spoke for the first time. He also remembered when Richie was born two years later after Gwen.
Now Wentworth and Maggie never told either of their children this, but they weren't on planning on having a second child. After the complications Maggie had with Gwen the older woman didn't want to go through that again. Alas...she got pregnant a second time. Wentworth didn't like thinking back to the day Maggie found out she was pregnant with Richie because they had a pretty nasty argument. It was an argument Wentworth hated to bring up with his wife let alone think about because the idea of abortion was brought up. Wentworth was all for free choice but when it came to getting rid of his baby...he couldn't go through with it and thankfully neither did Maggie. And so, Richie was born.
Wentworth had to admit that he had been so happy when his second child was born...a boy just like himself. He felt like his family was now complete. A daughter and a son. He was actually happy. Maggie had been happy too...for a little while. Happiness never seemed to last long for them. The love Wentworth once had for Maggie started to melt away as the years passed by. Some may assume that just because they had kids together that they would still be in love with each other but that wasn't the case with Maggie and Wentworth. No matter how much they wanted it to be they sadly no longer were in love. There was no spark...nothing. Their marriage had become an everyday routine and it was one they didn't want to end because of how accustomed they have become with one another. The only thing they had in common anymore were their children...but even the relationship they had with them now (if it could even be called that) was practically nonexistent.
It felt like a life time before Wentworth was able to speak. He no longer was leaning against the wall but had walked to stand in front of his daughter. He thought that he needed to be closer to her with what he needed to say. His dark eyes stared down into her own...who looked just as sad as his now. "Don't get me wrong I still care for your mother." He solemnly admitted to his daughter. "It's just..." He sighed and gave her a defeated expression. "Gwen, there's something you need to know and I feel now is the best time to tell you." He gave her the most serious expression he has ever given her. It was both heartbreaking and revealing. "Gwen." He said, his voice wavering. "Everything in life eventually comes to an end...even love."
His words felt like a punch to her gut. And they were words Gwen took to heart. She didn't say anything back to her dad, just nodded her head. Wentworth could see how his words affected Gwen even despite her silence. He could see how her eyes were glistening and face was starting to get slightly red from wanting to cry but he didn't say anything relating to that. He hated himself for causing her this sadness but his daughter had asked about the relationship between him and her mother and she deserved to know the truth. If it had been Richie who asked, Wentworth would have told him the exact same thing. Everything in life eventually comes to an end, love being no exception.
In an attempt to make her feel better (but failing), Wentworth put a hand on one of her shoulders. This comforting act just made Gwen want to cry even more but he restrained herself from doing so. She quickly excused herself out of the room leaving Wentworth alone. The older man sighed and ran a hand through his dark locks. He muttered something to himself shaking his head before he went into the conjoined bathroom the master bedroom had.
When the door shutting echoed, that was when Gwen slowly came back to the room. She stared at the closed bathroom door with steady eyes before they shifted towards the drawers. Or more specifically the bottom drawer on the right side. There was a small voice inside of her that told her not to do what she wanted to do...but there was another voice that told her to do it. Grab said item and run. For a moment there the righteous side of her was taking over but then she remembered what her father said. Her father who would years from now die of cancer of the larynx. An event that would leave her more greatly emotionally wound during her adult years. Except at the moment (during her teen years) despite never saying she loved him, what he said left an impact on her. Gwen supposed because of that young scared mind of hers that maybe he was right. Which just left her even more emotionally scarred towards the topic of love. It was this thought process that made her listen to that small careless voice. Completely ignoring the other one.
Gwen solemnly stared at the drawer that had the bottle inside. She then made the decision to open the drawer and grab the bottle of bourbon. A decision that would mark the beginning of her own alcoholic issues that would follow into her adult years.
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever, forever and ever?
Forever young, I want to be forever young
Do you really want to live forever? Forever young
Gwen without any ounce of joy sang along to the lyrics of Forever Young by Alphaville. Before leaving her house with her mother's bottle of Bourbon she grabbed her Walkman. The teen was determined to listen to music as she drank away her depressed feelings. Gwen had never gotten drunk before but she imagined it wouldn't take long. Bourbon after all was a very strong alcoholic drink. And she was proven more right after just taking a few sips. Feeling that strange buzz growing within her had her understanding why her mother liked this specific choice of alcoholic beverage. Bourbon left a very warm and funny feeling in her tummy. It was a feeling Gwen would grow to like more and more as she continued to drink over the years.
Now for a moment there as she continued to sing away she felt a source of clarity run through her. Gwen was relieved that she wasn't on any of her medications. She had stopped taking her antidepressants a while ago and she recently ran out of her ADHD medication. Gwen knew that she'd eventually have to get a refill on those. Her mother would make her once she saw the empty bottle.
That moment of responsibility soon went away. Her buzz took full control making Gwen care less about her health. The teen just had a high need to get drunk and forget about all the shit she has seen and heard. Without any ounce of shame about being seen, Gwen at this second was laying down on the grassy filed of Derry's public park. The now almost empty bottle of Bourbon sat next to her. She had her eyes closed and had on her Walkman. Forever young still playing.
Gwen's worry about being seen was practically nonexistent. There was no one at the park. Which really didn't surprise Gwen. Hardly any kids ever visited the park anymore once the sun was going down. The missing disappearance being the reason. Was it stupid for her to stay out doors given everything with IT? Especially since she was alone and drunk...defenseless? Yes, it was but Gwen was just too drunk to think about her own safety. If IT suddenly came out and attacked her then so be it...she was too out of it to even care.
Besides, IT wasn't the only thing she thinking about. Her dad's word echoed in her head again. Despite being drunk the words came out perfectly clear and she was able to understand them.
"Everything in life eventually comes to an end...even love."
Gwen scoffed. She took another gulp from the bottle of Bourbon...finally finishing it. She grimaced feeling her throat burn once more. Although the alcohol left a burn it was a feeling she was starting to enjoy. She set the bottle aside as she then thoroughly thought about what her dad said.
What was love anyways?
Oh yeah...turns out love was a fucking tragedy.
Finally finding out that her dad no longer was in love with her mom hurt Gwen a lot. She had been aware that they weren't close to one another but she had no idea the love between them was completely gone. Gwen from a young age had this thought that married couples were supposed to stay in love with each other forever. That's why they got married in the first place...because of their strong feelings. Except now she knew the truth...nothing lasted forever...not even love. Gwen found herself thinking about one of her favorite movies. The Breakfast Club. There was a scene in that movie that now stood out to her. It was the scene when Ally Sheedy's character of Allison says, "When you grow up, your heart dies." That quote heavily affected Gwen now because she now understood the real meaning behind it. Ally Sheedy's character had a point. Oh yes she did.
Gwen quickly found herself thinking about adulthood...and how much she didn't want to become an adult anymore. Not after what her dad said to her. Gwen didn't want to have the same life as her parents. She did not want to be like her mom or dad in the slightest. This made Gwen no longer want to get married and have kids of her own (not that she ever really thought about it). No matter how much she cared for her significant other.
Gwen shook her head causing her Walkman headphones to fall off her ears. She didn't reach for the headphones as she opened her eyes. Gwen slowly got up in to sitting position, feeling dizzy. Even in her drunken state she knew of the dire consequence if she openly accepted her feelings for Stan. Actually agreeing to be with him would be a death sentence for the curly haired boy. She needed to stay away from him...she had to.
"Wow, this is an interesting sight to see."
If Gwen had been sober she probably would have acted shocked from hearing such a familiar male voice. Except given her drunken state, Gwen acted slow and foolish. A sloppy smile appeared on her face. "Hey, you!" She exclaimed as she saw Victor Criss standing a few feet away from her. The Tozier girl tried getting up to properly greet him but she found herself falling back to a sitting position.
Victor who at first had been amused was now concerned at seeing the full drunken state Gwen was in. He had never seen her like this. The sleek white-blonde haired boy wasn't one to dislike alcohol (having partaking in getting wasted before), but seeing his crush so out of it had him disliking alcohol so much at the moment. He found himself frowning. "Shit, you're so wasted." He said confirming what was already obvious out-loud.
Gwen ignored his comment and instead gave him a bemused look. Her smile faltering a bit. "What are you doing here, Victor? Vic? Vicky?" She suddenly giggled after saying the last name. Her smile returning again. "Hehe, Vicky I like the sound of that."
If it had been anyone else to call him that ridiculous nickname Victor would have made his anger and annoyance well known. However, this was Gwen...despite not liking being called Vicky he let his annoyance pass. He wondered what had caused her to get drunk out in the open. He figured it had to be something bad to have caused this. "This is where I usually come here to think or to get away from the public." Victor honestly admitted to her. "Which I guess is kind of funny considering this is the public park." At first he did find it unusual that there was no one here but he quickly came to the conclusion is was because of the all the missing kids. The park was no longer deemed as safe as anymore. Yes he still came here by himself but in his mind he was more than capable of taking care of himself if things went south.
Gwen took what he said and twisted it a bit. "Ah...so in other words you're still hiding from Henry." Despite Victor telling her he had distancing himself from Henry and Belch, she couldn't understand why he wouldn't permanently cut ties with them...especially with Henry. Her hyperactive tendencies mixed with her drunken state made her blunt side more powerful for her to control. "I don't get it. Why not just end your friendship with with them? Henry is such a fucktard and Belch...well he lacks serious manners. I mean, burping in peoples' faces? Ugh." Gwen was about to slip up and mention Patrick but her nerves stopped her from doing so. Even drunk she was still too scared to talk about Patrick Hockstetter. If she were with any of the other Losers she would have talked but this was Victor. Despite the progress she had made with the sleek white-blonde haired boy she didn't feel strong enough to speak about Patrick with him.
What Gwen said had Victor sighing. "It's a lot harder than you think." He said to her. "I can't just drop Henry." He had been putting distance but he hadn't yet put an official end to their unusual friendship...and there was a reason for that. A reason being more than just fear from Victor's part.
"Because you're afraid of him." Gwen retorted.
Victor harden his expression a bit. Was he afraid of Henry? Any sane person would be...but he couldn't openly admit that to Gwen at the moment. Call it being prideful or whatever. "No, because as much as I want to deny it he is my friend." He argued. A few seconds passed before his expression soften somewhat. "Yes, he's deranged. That's something that everyone should know by now...but I've been his friend for years. I can't dump him like nothing. That would mean every single second I spent with him and Belch was basically for nothing." He purposely left out Patrick because he never really considered the dark haired boy a friend. "That our friendship meant nothing. If I were to end things I need to do it slowly but surely." Victor would eventually cut ties with Henry...just not yet. He'd still want to be close with Belch. Even with his faults, Belch was a definitely a lot better than Henry. Even if he lacked manners. Belch still had something in him that could be saved. Victor sadly couldn't say the same thing for Henry. All the goodness in Henry was beaten out of him thanks to that abusive father of his.
There was a stare off between Gwen and Victor. Even drunk, Gwen maintained good eye contact with him. As this happened Gwen processed everything he said. She was able to fight off her drunkenness to give an actual well rounded response. "Alright, I get it." She said surprising Victor by how serious she sounded. For a second there he forget that she was drunk but then she let a small laugh...ending the earnest moment they were having.
His concern for Gwen returned. "Anyways..." Victor trailed off as he decided to take a seat next to her. "What has Gwen Tozier drinking her feelings away?" He asked curious, and also because he wanted to keep the conversation going.
Gwen turned to look at him. Some of her dark locks got in the way. She used her hands to push them away and then sighed. Her drunkenness and depression were coming out to play. "Because life sucks. What's the point of it anyways?" Her voice wavered now. "Everything comes to an end...life...happiness...love. Why even bother to live life to fullest as everyone says? Or to find happiness and love? It's just going to come crashing down anyways."
Victor found himself looking at the dark haired girl with a sad expression. He knew Gwen had depression along with ADHD but he had never heard her speak so...dejected. Like she was giving up. He tried to blame the alcohol doing the speaking. After all when he was drunk he said some pretty sad and stupid things. Except something told him that Gwen was being completely genuine with what she was saying. He however refused to believe she actually felt this way. It just really didn't seem like her. Or perhaps he didn't want to accept her true dispirited persona. He preferred her hyperactive character. The one were she would smile, laugh that dorky laugh of hers and spit out nonsense. That was the girl who he had feelings her. "That's very pessimistic way of thinking. Didn't take you one for the negative outlook on life." He said in hopes to lighten the situation. Despite not liking her being sad and drunk he could sense there was more to the story towards her drunken state.
Gwen scoffed at what he said. After the things she's seen and heard, how could she not have a pessimistic outlook on life? "Well didn't you know?" She asked giving him a tight smile. "I have depression. I'm just a major emotional mess."
She was smiling now but it wasn't an honest smile. The smile also wasn't one Victor found himself liking. It just made him more concerned for her and made him even more curious.
"Do you want some?" Gwen suddenly asked moving to grab the bottle next to her. She completely forgot that she already finished it.
Victor frowned a bit and shook his head. "No."
"Come on, I know you want some." Gwen said now waving the bottle at him.
Victor gently pushed the bottle away. "No thanks. I'm not much of a drinker." He eyed the bottle that was now on the ground. "Besides, it's empty."
Gwen scoffed again completely ignoring the last thing he said. "That's the biggest lie I've ever heard." She said referring to him not being a drinker. "I've seen you drink before with your old pals. Don't deny it....you're a drinker."
So she had seen him drink before? Victor should have known this. Victor and the others had never been scared to drink out in public. No one ever intervened or said shit to them. Guess they were to afraid to because of Henry...and at one point because of Patrick. "Okay, fine." He mused narrowing his eyes at her carefully. "But by the looks of it you're not. This your first time getting drunk, huh?"
Gwen let out a round of giggles. "No, I know how to handle my alcohol thank you very much."
Her giggling just proved that she was not a frequent drinker. Victor's gaze on her become soft. "Seriously though..." He trailed off determined to know what was wrong with her. "What has you wallowing?"
Gwen stared at Victor, her giggling coming to a halt. She contemplated on whether she should tell Victor the real truth as to why she had gotten drunk. At one point in time Gwen would have never spoken so openly with Victor...but things have changed. They were becoming friends. Something in her said she could trust him...so she told him the truth. Or at least part of the truth. There was no connection yet between Victor and Gwen to make her tell him about...IT.
"I found out that someone likes me." She softly confessed to him.
Victor felt his heart beat race when she said this. "You got drunk off your ass because you found out someone likes you?" There was hope that she might have been talking about him. If it was then it sadden him that she got drunk...but the joy of her finally knowing of his feelings for her excited him enough to surpass his concern. "So, who's the guy?" He decided to personally ask her.
Victor heart broke a little when he heard Gwen's answer. He knew it was too good to be true. "Figures it would be him." He muttered. Of course it was Stanley Uris. The curly haired boy much like Chase was completely in love with Gwen. She had been to oblivious of his feelings. Victor hoped it would have stayed that way but something must have happened to cause Gwen to become aware of Stan's feelings for her.
Gwen still heard him. She fixed her gaze onto him again. "How'd you figured that?"
Victor rolled his eyes. She was so oblivious. "Ah, because of the way he looks at you." It's the same way Victor would look at her and how Chase used to look at her as well. In complete adoration. "Also how he defended you during the rock fight. Raising his voice at Henry. That's probably the first and only time I've seen and heard him lose his up-tight demeanor."
Gwen lowered her eyes. Not really taking what he said seriously. Although she did remember the warm feeling she got in her cheeks when Stan stood up for her. "Well, I was still shocked."
Victor laughed a bitter laugh. "Of course you were." There was silence between them before Victor spoke up again. "I don't know what you see in that kid."
Gwen's eyes widen and she felt the blush rush to her cheeks. "W-What?"
"It's obvious that you like him back." Victor bluntly said to her. Having Gwen know about Stan's feeling and not his own had Victor acting out. Except what hurt him even more was that he knew Gwen liked Stan back. It probably wouldn't have hurt if Gwen had never known about Stan's feeling...but now she did. He knew now that he'd never be able to have a chance with Gwen Tozier.
"What makes you assume that?" Gwen asked. Now that the conversation was getting more intense it seemed like she was sobering up.
Victor shrugged his shoulders trying his best to not appear hurt...even though he was. "I just know. The same way I knew you liked Chase."
The mention of Chase had Gwen returning back to her drunken hurt self. Her anger got the better of her this time and she found herself glaring at Victor. The immature side of her was now speaking. Not at all rational. "You keeping track of my love life or something?" She almost lost herself in tears and false laughter when she said that. What love life? She had no love life. None what so ever...and she never would.
Her glare and angered tone did not bother Victor. He just have her a disappointed look. "You really don't know?" He asked lowly.
The look he had on made Gwen lessen her attitude. "Know what?"
"How haven't you figured it out yet?" Victor asked in disbelief. A tint of sadness could be heard in his tone of voice. She knew of Stan's feelings...how could she not know about his own?
Gwen however was still too confused. "Figured what out?" She questioned, frowning.
Victor had on a expression between amusement and disbelief. "You're so fuckin' oblivious. How can you be so damn oblivious?" He let out a sigh and his eyes soften once they landed on her dark ones. "I like you damn it." He said finally being honest with her. "I've liked you for a while now."
Cue awkward silence.
Gwen stared at Victor now in utter shock. Victor Criss liked her? Why hadn't she figured this out for herself? Had her feelings for Chase blinded sided Victor's crush on her? Of course they did. The silence finally ended with what Gwen said next. "Oh...well shit." She whispered sheepishly. Instantly she started to think back to the times Victor had defended her from his gang of friends. Due to being drunk she could only remember a few memories at the moment but it was enough to confirm Victor's confession. He really did like her. Damn. She started to worry over Victor safety because having someone like her was not a good thing. However, she didn't worry as much as she did with Stan because despite Victor being helpful to her throughout the years and now becoming a sort of friend to her, Gwen just didn't have romantic feelings towards Victor. Despite this being a good thing she couldn't help but feel bad. Bad because Victor had done so much for her...and here she was unable to return those feelings. In order to sooth her guilt, she just kept telling herself that not liking Victor was for his own good. "I-I-I don't know what to say." Gwen eventually said. Which was the truth because she had no freakin' idea what to say to him. It wasn't like she was able to tell him the truth as to why it was a good thing she didn't like him back.
Victor continued to stare intently at her before he found his own voice again. "It doesn't matter. It's not like you and me ever stood a chance anyways. You were too into Chase, and now you're too into Stan."
Gwen was able to compose herself after he said this. She harden his stare and voice. "Stan may like me but I don't like him." She forced herself to say out-loud. It hurt to say that but she had to.
Victor didn't believer her one bit. Gwen could deny it all she wanted but her feelings for Stan were there and they were strong. He decided to challenge her on this as a way to prove his point. It was a silly plan but it was one he would he still go through with asking. "Alright, then kiss me." He said staring into her dark eyes.
This made Gwen's eyes widen a bit. She sobered up well enough to get out a shocked response. "Excuse me?" She questioned, slack-jawed.
Victor looked passed her shocked state. "If you're not really into Stan then kiss me." He repeated more solemnly. Although he asked her to kiss him he didn't think actually she was going to do it. No matter how much he wanted her to. A few seconds passed and Gwen did nothing, causing him to give her a knowing look. "See, you can't because you like—"
Before Victor was able to finish his sentence a pair of soft lips pressed against his slightly chapped ones. He instantly closed his eyes, basking the feeling. He knew the right thing to do was to put a stop to the kiss. Gwen was drunk and obviously not in the right state of mind...but the feeling of her lips against his own clouded his mind. He had dreamt (more than once) of what it felt like to be kissed by Gwen Tozier...and now here she was actually kissing him. This was his first kiss and it was with her. She was kissing him. He felt like he could die a happy man now. It didn't take long for him to respond back to her kiss.
The kiss for Victor was beyond blissful. Unfortunately the same thing could not be said for Gwen...at least not right away.
Gwen had never kissed anyone before. So because of her inexperience the kiss was awkward, as any first kiss would be. She knew based from the books she's read and movies she's watched that many people described their first kiss as something magical and one of a kind. However, here she was kissing Victor and there was nothing extraordinary happening. There were no fireworks playing in her mind. Her best friend Francine had told her that when she had her first kiss that she saw fireworks. Gwen didn't see any.
The truth was that the kiss between Victor and her was just physical not emotional. At least for her. Never in a million years did Gwen think that her first kiss would be with Victor Criss. But that challenge of his got to her...and she acted without fully thinking things through. She'd blame the alcohol for making her do this. The only person Gwen had thought about being her first kiss (and wanted) was Chase. That's why it would have made sense for Gwen to imagine Chase when kissing Victor. Even if it was messed up to think about someone else during a kiss, Gwen couldn't help her thoughts. Except as she continued to kiss Victor her mind didn't imagine Chase as she thought she would. In her mind she was now kissing someone else. Except it wasn't the blue eyed boy. No...Gwen was thinking about someone else...someone else who had light brown eyes instead of blue. A person who had curly hair and had a love for birds.
The moment Stan entered her mind was when Gwen started to finally enjoy the kiss. It became more than something physical because it was now Stan who she was kissing. The awkwardness that was there went away as Gwen kissed back more ardently. This just caused Victor to return the kiss just as strongly. He gently placed his right hand against one of her cheeks as he melted more and more against her. His extreme closeness is what got Gwen out of her daze. She opened her eyes quickly as she pulled away from Victor.
"Oh crap." Gwen whispered in horror. The horror coming from how she had been imagining kissing Stan instead of Victor. Clearly Victor had been right. She did have feelings for Stan...and they were strong ones. She felt tears start to form in her eyes.
Victor thinking her sudden tears were because of him had him ready to apologize. He felt like hitting himself in the head. He shouldn't have kissed her. Despite how much he liked kissing her, he could see now how she deeply regretted doing so. Before he was even able to say a single word, Gwen got up (this time without falling) and ran off with her Walkman in hand.
Victor let out a curse, angry at himself. He was about to follow her but then decided not to. He figured having him go after her would cause attention around town and he didn't want to cause a scene given how drunk Gwen already was. He didn't like leaving her alone seeing how drunk she was but something in him (a feeling) said that Gwen would be fine. He decided to listen to this feeling. Victor let out a sigh as he laid down on the grass and closed his eyes. He told himself that when he saw Gwen that they would thoroughly talk about happened between them, along with him apologizing for kissing her back during her drunken state.
Sadly Victor didn't know that the next time they would see each other would be under life threatening circumstances.
Luckily neither of Gwen's parents had caught her arriving home drunk. It had been Richie. Needless to say the bespectacled boy was shocked to see his older sister in such an intoxicated state. This was the first time he had seen Gwen like that, but unknown to him it wasn't going to be the last.
Richie being the caring younger brother that he was put aside the fight they were having and helped Gwen upstairs to her room. He tried his best to not voice his annoyance when Gwen kept giggling and touching his glasses. He just lowly told her to be quiet so their parents wouldn't hear her. Now when asked where Gwen was by Maggie, Richie told their mother that Gwen wasn't feeling well and that she fell asleep. Which in a way was the truth. Richie just didn't mention the Gwen being drunk part. Fortunately for Richie, Maggie bought the lie he told and went along her merry way. Richie then put a blanket over Gwen making sure she was in a comfortable position before he left.
When Gwen woke up the next morning she had a wicked hangover. She was confused at first as to how she ended inside her room, laying in bed. However, it didn't take long for her to finally remember who had brought her to her bedroom. It was the same person left the glass of water on her bed side counter.
Gwen now remembered was how Richie had been the one to help her upstairs. She groaned because of the pain but also because she realized just how much of an idiot she had acted with him. She been beyond annoying when Richie had been helping her. Her younger brother should have just left her on the bottom stairs...yet he didn't.
As Gwen thought about how much of a screw up she was, the rest of her cloudy memories from yesterday started to unravel. She remembered drinking the remaining half of the bottle of Bourbon and then willingly kissing Victor Criss. That memory had her cringing hard for two reasons. The first being because of embarrassment (her first kiss had been on a drunken act...how nice) and the second reason was because the kiss with Victor just confirmed that she indeed like Stanley Uris. After she did imagine to be kissing Stan instead of Victor. Her feeling for Stan just became even more profound after that. Which was not a good thing.
Regarding her stupidity of getting drunk it was thankfully not brought up by Richie. When Gwen finally had the strength to get out of bed the following morning she was expecting for Richie to poke fun at her or even reprimand her but to her surprise he did none of those things. He just kept quiet and acted as if it never happened. In a way Gwen was glad for this but she also felt sad because it was like Richie had returned back to giving her the silent treatment. All the progress they made from before broke. She almost wished that he would say something about her getting drunk...but he didn't. So Gwen had no other choice but to follow along. When they were alone during breakfast she did say thank you for helping. However, Richie's response to this didn't make her feel better since all he did was just give her a nod before he averted his attention elsewhere. After that, Gwen mentally promised herself that she wouldn't drink and get drunk again. Sadly that was a promise she would break over and over again throughout the years.
A few days later after her foolish drunken incident, Francine called her.
Gwen was surprised to hear from her. Even despite her best friend saying she would call her throughout the summer no phone calls ever came. Not that it really bothered Gwen. To be honest with everything that had been happening, Gwen had forgotten about Francine. Still, her blonde best friend sincerely apologized about her not calling Gwen sooner. She said that she had a lot of stuff to deal with regarding her grandmother and then family bonding. Hearing this didn't upset the Tozier girl at all. Soon after Francine finished with her apology she went on and on with how the rest of her summer has been going. Gwen tried to listen and get into the conversation she really did but she just couldn't. She would just give half-hearted answers whenever Francine asked questions or opinions from her side. Gwen didn't tell Francine anything that's happened with the Losers and her. Gwen didn't even tell Francine she had her first kiss and that it was with Victor. Which she felt bad about that because Francine had told Gwen when she had her first kiss. It sadden Gwen but the truth was that talking to her bubbly blonde haired best friend no longer felt the same as before. That special connection Gwen had with her others friends (the Losers) wasn't present when speaking with Francine. Was it messed up that Gwen would have preferred if it had been Beverly who called? Or any of the other Losers? Yeah...it was totally messed up.
Gwen's phone call with Francine ended fifteen minutes later. Before hanging up Francine promised she would call again when given the chance. She told Gwen she wanted to sneak in another phone call before returning to Derry. Gwen only hoped that the next time Francine called that she'd be better at acting more joyful when engaging in conversation. She also hoped that when she'd see Francine again that there friendship would remain the same as it was before she left. Except based on the phone call and the nagging feeling inside her stomach she doubted it would be...and that worried her.
Later on the same day that Francine called, Gwen decided that she needed to get out of the house. She had been locking herself in room ever since her drunken incident, telling herself that she was not ready to face the outside world. Although, Gwen at first said this was because she was embarrassed from drinking the truth was that she didn't want to run into Stan. It made her nervous if she were bump into him in the streets of Derry. What if she did see him? What the hell was she supposed to say...or how was she supposed to act? She knew for certain that her word vomit would get the better of her. Her blabber always got the better of her when speaking to someone she liked...and she could no longer deny the fact that she had feelings for Stan.
Gwen knew she couldn't hide in her stuffy bedroom forever. For starters the book she had checked out in June was so over due. Gwen really needed to return that ASAP. Second of all just yesterday Maggie had finally found out that her ADHD medication bottle was empty. Thankfully her mother hadn't found her antidepressants, seeing as it was still full. Nor had she realized yet that her Bourbon was gone. Her mother had not been happy to see her empty ADHD bottle. Maggie ended up telling her in a raised voice to to get a refill. From personal experience, Gwen knew better than to not get her prescribed medication filled. So she also needed to get on that.
Once rejoining the outside world the first place she went to was the library.
Looking around the somewhat full building, Gwen hoped to see a familiar light brown haired boy. To her disappointment she couldn't see Ben anywhere. She felt like face palming herself once she thought things through. If he had been here just what was she going to say to him anyway?
"Hey, Ben what's up? How you've been since our friend group broke apart? Great? Oh, well me too."
Gwen shook her head at how ridiculous she sounded.
With the book in her hands, Gwen sheepishly walked over to where the check out counter was at. Just standing behind the counter was the ever stern Mrs. Starrett. The older woman soon caught sight of the teenager girl along with the book she had and her mood was brought down. She instantly glared at her oncoming figure. "This book is way over due." Was the first thing she said once Gwen stood in front of the check out desk.
Gwen withered under her hard gaze. She set the book on the counter. "Yeah, I know."
"You're gonna have to pay a late fee for this." Mrs. Starrett blandly informed her. Her glare never faltered as she continued to speak.
Gwen sighed. She reached into one of her short pockets taking out the amount she owed. "I figured that would be the case." She set the money on the counter but Mrs. Starrett made no move to grab it. The older woman instead grabbed the book looking over the pages.
Gwen managed to stop her eyes from rolling. "It's not damaged." Mrs. Starrett probably thought she had written all over the inside pages. Which she hadn't. Gwen wasn't that moody insecure girl anymore. Well okay...maybe she still moody and insecure but she would never damage library property again. Gwen had too much respect for books now.
"I'll just have to see for myself." Mrs. Starrett responded not at all stopping her inspection over the book.
"I swear it's not." Gwen insisted stubbornly.
Mrs. Starrett's stern demeanor didn't go away as she continued to look over the book. "Your promise doesn't do anything for me to trust you."
"Fine, waste your time checking then." Gwen muttered.
Mrs. Starrett heard the teen say this. She didn't say anything but her glare did intensify. Her harsh demeanor did settle down a bit after she finished checking the book. She set it aside as she grabbed the money Gwen put on the counter. "It's in good condition." She finally said. Although she didn't necessarily sound happy that Gwen had been right.
Gwen resisted the urge to jump up and down. She did however say what she wanted to say. "I told you."
Mrs. Starrett didn't appreciate that comment. Despite her stare not getting through to Gwen as it did last time, the teen still kept quiet as the older woman spoke now. "I expect for you to return the next book you check out on time." Mrs. Starrett sternly informed. "Otherwise I'm going to take away your library card."
That got a unhappy reaction out of Gwen. Her dark eyes widen when she heard this. "What?! You can't do that!" She shouted completely forgetting that she needed to keep her voice down.
"Lower your voice, Miss Tozier." Mrs. Starrett harshly reprimanded her causing the teen to shut her mouth. "And yes I can. I'm the librarian. Just you try me." She challenged her before walking away.
The urge to yell something back was fighting its way out of her. Fortunately, Gwen was able to stop herself from saying something out-loud. She instead settled with a move that her younger brother would have done if he were in her situation. Was it immature? Yes. Did it really matter? No. Gwen at this point didn't care anymore. Therefore with a glare on her face, Gwen used her right hand and gladly stuck out her middle finger to Mrs. Starrett's retreating figure. She would have loved to have seen Mrs. Starrett's reaction to her flipping her off, but given the power the older woman held over her checking out books, Gwen was fine with her not seeing her. Once she was out of Gwen's view she set her hand down. When Gwen turned around she lost her composure seeing there was a younger girl looking at her with a shocked expression.
Realizing that someone had seen her flip off the librarian, Gwen grew sheepish. She got an awkward smile on her face as she hurriedly passed the younger girl. Hopefully she wouldn't tell Mrs. Starrett about what she saw. If she did...oh well. There wasn't much Gwen could do now but just walk away. As she walked away from the counter Gwen's mind took a tour through her thoughts. The Tozier girl could only hope that later on in the future Derry's public library would get a nice librarian. Not a hard-ass one like Mrs. Starrett. Gwen sighed and ran a hand through her dark locks. She could only hope.
Her thoughts and movements came to a sudden stop when Gwen caught sight of a painting. It was one she had seen many times before but for some reason the painting today caught her full attention. The painting was of a woman wearing pilgrim clothing holding a baby next to a well. She usually thought nothing of this painting since Gwen Tozier didn't see herself as the motherly type (a feeling that would follow her through adulthood), but at the moment the painting brought up a repressed nurturing side within her. That moment didn't last long and despite the painting usually having a tranquil and innocent vibe, it didn't seem so anymore. Not for Gwen. In the past sure but staring at the painting now...really staring at it made Gwen get a weird vibe. Perhaps it had to due with the woman in the painting holding the baby being near a well. Or maybe it had more to do with the encounter she had with IT at the Neibolt house. Gwen's stomach dropped and goosebumps appeared all over her arms as she thought about IT. Those terrifying yellow eyes. She felt a shiver go down her back. Thankfully she hadn't seen that entity since Neibolt and her nightmares had been surprisingly non-exist at the moment. However, despite ITs absence Gwen knew the evil entity wasn't gone for good. She had a knowing feeling that it was going to take a lot more than a metal spike in the eye to kill IT for good.
Not wanting to deal with IT at the moment, Gwen shook her head getting back on track. She still needed to go to the pharmacy to get her ADHD medication refill. Taking a deep breath, Gwen looked away from the painting. As she did so the weird feeling she had seconds ago went away. Gwen decided to take the back exit this time as a way to not only avoid the painting but also Mrs. Starrett who had walked near to where she was now.
Due to her exiting through the back entrance, Gwen unfortunately missed Ben who had entered through the front entrance.
Neither of them knew they had been so close to seeing each other ever since the group fell apart.
As Gwen made her way through town towards Keene Pharmacy, she kept a watchful eye out in case she would run into Stan. It just would have been her luck if she did come face to face with the curly haired boy. So she kept her guard up as she continued her steady walking. When she turned the corner that lead right in front of Keene Pharmacy she could have sworn she saw Mike riding his bike across the farther street from her. Except before she was even able to shout a single word the bike and rider were out from her view. Gwen sighed, once again telling herself what would be the point if she did in fact see him. Mike much like Ben had expressed themselves in not wanting to deal with IT anymore. Still...Gwen wanted to salvage their friendship. Whatever was left of it anyways.
Gwen had been so in thought about the Losers and their recent fall out that she failed to stop herself from bumping into one of them. Before Gwen knew it her body bumped into a small one. Luckily the sudden bump in hadn't been strong enough to knock them down, they just stumbled in place. Gwen quickly steadied herself and then with apologetic eyes looked at the person she had accidentally bumped into.
"I'm so sorry." Gwen rapidly apologized. Her dark eyes immediately soften when she saw just who she had bumped into.
The smaller boy was standing in front of her and was wearing a red t-shirt and jeans. Looking at his face she noticed the surprised expression on. After the surprise of running into him wore off, Gwen's attention then went towards the cast he had on. His broken arm. Guilt ran through Gwen seeing him such a real fragile state. When staring back towards his face Gwen saw his expression change. Eddie instead of appearing surprised now had on sad lost look. It immediately made Gwen's concern skyrocket to a new level thinking she had been the cause of this change.
"Eddie? Eds, what's wrong?"
Eddie at the moment couldn't find the nerve to say anything back to her. This had been the first time he's seen her since their fall out and since his mother had said all those awful things to her. Eddie still felt so bad that he had sat in the car and listened to his mother insult Gwen. He lowered his eyes, ashamed and embarrassed as he carefully held his cast towards his chest.
It was this move on his behalf that allowed Gwen a better view of his cast. Gwen frowned once she saw the only writing on the cast that read in big letters: LOSER. Anger start to bubble inside of Gwen. Yes, they had called themselves the Losers Club but she knew for a fact that whoever wrote that did it as a way to hurt Eddie. She now looked at him with a firm expression. "Who did that?"
Eddie still couldn't find the use of words. He instead embarrassingly glanced towards the pharmacy that was in front of them.
Gwen followed Eddie's gaze and she soon found said culprit. Looking through one of the pharmacy windows she saw Greta Keene sitting behind the paying the counter reading some girly magazine as she annoyingly chewed on some bubble gum. The dots connected in Gwen's head. She wouldn't put it passed Greta to do something like this. "That bitch." She hissed ready to full on confront her. Gwen though barely took a step forward before Eddie used his good hand to stop her.
"It's okay." Eddie softly said finally able to find his voice. His heart rate increased when he realized he was still holding onto her hand. He quickly let go, trying to compose himself. "Just leave it alone." He begged her. When he saw that Gwen was still staring daggers at Greta through the window he said the first thing that popped into his mind. "Richie told me about what happened at Stan's Bar Mitzvah." He said once again blushing when Gwen directed her gaze onto him. It was no longer an angry stare but a leveled out one. What he said worked because it appeared that Gwen had momentarily forgotten her idea of confronting Greta.
Gwen sighed as she rolled her eyes. Her anger towards the Keene girl went away as she focused on what Eddie said. "Of course he did." After Gwen said this she wondered when Richie had told Eddie this and when he had seen the smaller boy. Just Gwen was about to ask when Richie had told him this, Eddie continued talking.
"It's about time Stan told you the truth about how he feels."
"Well he didn't exactly tell me per say...but it was heavily implied." Gwen said lamely trying her hardest to not blush. Thinking about Stan now had her blushing like crazy. That never used to happen before. Her eyes then widen after fully processing what Eddie said. "Wait, how did you know his feelings for me?" Had Stan told Eddie about his feelings for her?
Eddie laughed. Their conversation was now taking a turn as if there had never been a fall out between them and the others. They were acting like close friends again. "He didn't really need to tell me." He said as if reading her mind. "It was pretty obvious, Gwen."
"Did everyone know about this before me?" Gwen asked rhetorically wanting to face palm herself.
"Uh...yeah." Eddie answered shyly.
Gwen stared at the smaller boy in awe. He was just like Victor. Able to figure out who liked who just based on silent observation. It made Gwen feel like a bigger idiot. "For how long now?" Gwen quietly asked him. She cleared her throat and fixed her question. "For how long has Stan liked me?" Gwen figured it wouldn't hurt to ask Eddie this question. Maybe he did know for how long Stan felt romantically towards her.
Eddie gave Gwen a sad smile. "Since basically forever."
Gwen lowered her eyes. "So, even when I was head over heels for Chase...Stan still had feelings for me?"
"Yeah." Eddie earnestly confirmed.
Gwen felt her heart start to race faster. She lifted her gaze towards Eddie soft brown eyes. "He's liked me for that long?" She asked, her voice wavering from emotion. Even thought she now knew that Stan liked her, Gwen had no idea for how long. Hearing the answer affected her greatly.
"I wouldn't settle with just like." Eddie told her. "I think his feelings for you have surpassed that...by a lot."
"Are you saying that he...?" Gwen trailed off too scared to say the word out-loud. Love. She felt a splash joy and absolute horror from learning that Stan was in love with her. Joy because despite her father giving her that eye opening talk, she could't help but feel butterflies when hearing that Stan was in love with her. Her joy was short lived though because Gwen knew the dangers that lurked with having Stan love her.
Eddie at first didn't give the Tozier girl a verbal response, just excitedly nodded his head. Maybe it wasn't right for him to be the one that Stan was in love with her but something within told him that now was the perfect moment to do so. The whole secrecy of Stan's feelings for Gwen had been hidden for far too long now. Everything needed to be out in the open. Which is why Eddie also figured now would be the best time to tell her about his own feelings towards her. He became bashful as he found his voice again. "Gwen, just to let you know, I like you too." He softly admitted to her. His face was bright pink from his blush but that didn't stop him from being honest with her. He gave her a small smile. "Except my feelings for you aren't as strong as Stan's. That's why I think we should just stay as friends, because at the end of the day it's Stan who you should be with."
Gwen stared at the smaller boy in shocked awe. He liked her too? The feelings she had for Chase blinded her from seeing Eddie's feelings for her. Much like with Stan and Victor. However, the instant worry for Eddie's safety didn't invade Gwen with fury. Of course there was a reason for this. Just like with Victor, Gwen didn't have to worry about Eddie the same way she worried about Stan because despite liking Eddie, her feelings for him weren't the same as the ones she had for Stan. In her eyes Eddie was safe from facing the same fate as Chase. Plus, Eddie just basically friend-zoned her with what he just said and that in no way hurt Gwen. It made her feel a little better but not entirely. She couldn't experience full happiness because what Eddie said also caused Gwen to feel sadness. Gwen knew she wouldn't ever be able to end up with Stan. Despite feeling sadness over this the Tozier girl said nothing. She instead hid her conflict and soften features as she gave Eddie a warm smile.
Eddie found himself smiling back feeling as if a weight has been lifted off his chest from finally confessing his feelings. He felt relieved now that Gwen knew the truth and that their friendship wouldn't come to an end just because of some pesky feelings. Eddie fully accepted (as he did a while ago) that Gwen and him were just going to be friends. That was something he was completely fine with. In his mind it was Gwen and Stan who were supposed to end up together. However, now that he got that out of the way there was something else Eddie needed to say to Gwen. He kept his gaze steady even with the shame that was invading within him. "Also, I'm sorry for not defending you." When he saw the small bemused look come across Gwen's face, Eddie decided to elaborate. "For what my mother said to you. I don't want you to think that I have the same opinions that she has on you." Eddie earnestly said to her shaking his head. "Gwen, I want you to know that I in no way think you're trouble or that you're a terrible influence."
Gwen lowered her eyes slightly. Don't get her wrong she appreciated Eddie's apology but after her drunken incident she in no way thought of herself as a good influence. Or maybe she never was to begin with. That's why Gwen never thought she would make a good mother. Sure she did fine interacting with younger people but that wasn't the same as if having kids of her own. Gwen lacked responsibility and she also didn't want to be in charge of another person's life. The thought of failing a innocent life made Gwen nervous. She sighed looking up at Eddie again. "Well, I've come to learn that trouble always tends to find its way towards me." Gwen said sheepishly. Or I tend to go looking for it in one way or another.
"That's just because you're a Tozier." Eddie said lightheartedly not at all knowing of the inner conflict Gwen was having. A few seconds passed with Gwen staring at Eddie before the both of them burst out laughing. Gwen was able to put aside her glum feelings as she had a laugh with Eddie.
When they settled down, Gwen gave the smaller boy a soft look again. Having Eddie apologize to her made Gwen realize she had her own apology to say. "I'm sorry too, about your arm...and for yelling at you." Not only did Gwen feel extremely bad for Eddie's arm getting broken, but she felt even more awful for telling him to be quiet when he had been frantic over her own well-being.
"It's alright." Eddie said accepting her apology. Although in his mind there really wasn't need for one. He didn't blame Gwen or the others for his arm getting broken like his mother Sonia did. If anyone was someone or should he say something to blame it was that evil entity. IT. The smaller boy shivered thinking back to how both he and Gwen were getting attacked. Instead of continuing that awful memory, Eddie focused on the Gwen. He stared directly into her dark eyes, instantly calming down. No longer thinking about IT, Eddie's mind started to take a different thought route. His eyes lowered down to his fanny pack. His stomach got a weird feeling as he remembered what Greta told him before she signed his cast. Placebo means bullshit. Eddie never got along with Greta but for some reason he didn't doubt what she had told him. And even though Eddie was about to ask Gwen a question that he already got answer from Greta, he still wanted to hear what Gwen had to say.
"Gwen...do you know what gazebos are?" Eddie asked not at all noticing he had used the incorrect word.
Gwen frowned. That question was completely random and it certainly changed the course of their conversation. "What?" She questioned, thinking she heard him wrong.
"You know gazebos." Eddie said once again messing up the word without notice. "They're a sort of medication."
Gwen narrowed her dark eyes. Something clicked in her brain. "Uh, I think you meant to say placebos." She answered getting into the conversation.
Eddie tilted his head slightly. "Isn't that what I said?"
"No you said..." Gwen sighed shaking her head. "Never-mind." She uttered then deciding just to focus on giving him an answer. "Anyways, it just means it's a fake. For example placebo medication just tricks the person into thinking it's real medication. In reality it does nothing for you but just fool you mentally."
The same feeling of anger and betrayal built up inside Eddie. "So, it's all bullshit?" He questioned using the same word Greta had said to him.
Gwen could tell something was up with Eddie based on how ardently he had used the word bullshit. "Yeah." She said as her mind went in circles connecting the dots again. "Eds..." She trailed off thoughtfully. "Is everything okay?" She decided to ask him.
Eddie nodded his head firmly. "Yeah...just something I gotta do later on."
Gwen continued to stare at him intently before everything made sense to her. "This this about your own medication, isn't it?" Although it was a question it sounded more like a statement.
Eddie didn't say anything to her. He just kept quiet as that lost look appeared on his youthful face again.
"Eddie." Gwen said as she tried reach out emotionally to him. It caused her great anger to finally know that his mother had been giving him fake medication. She always had a eerie suspicion that all of Eddie's illnesses were false on behalf of Sonia. Why would a mother lie to her own child? Was it just to keep Eddie on a short leash? There was seriously something terribly wrong with Sonia Kaspbrak.
"How do you know your medication is real and not fake?" Eddie suddenly asked the older girl. He knew that Gwen had depression and ADHD but if his medication was fake...maybe so was hers? Her reply though just faltered that assumption.
"Because I've gone to the doctor myself. I've asked like a gazillions of questions throughout the years, engaged in full conversations. I've seen the official paper work. So I know what I have is real." Gwen answered rapidly. Even if she didn't like taking her medication (more so her antidepressants) she knew her diagnosis of ADHD and depression were valid ones.
Eddie felt like a bucket of cold water had been dumped on him. Gwen saying that just confirmed that all the medicine he took was not at all necessary. Despite getting "prescribed" medication Eddie himself never talked one on one with doctors. His mother never allowed him to do so because in her own words she would always say, "That's stuff adults have to deal with Eddie bear, not children. You let me handle it." Eddie never got to ask doctors questions about his asthma...he'd never even seen official paper work like Gwen had. The reason why? Because everything his mother told him he had growing was fake. It was bullshit. He wasn't sick at all. He didn't have asthma or weak bones or any of the other stuff Sonia had told him he was diagnosed with. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him. He felt like the ground beneath him was going to break from such realization.
"Eddie." Gwen called out seeing his outward struggle. "Do you want me to—"
This finally brought Eddie out from his shocked state. "No, it's okay." He interrupted surprisingly finding emotional strength. He gave her an earnest expression. "I'll deal with this on my own." Even though he liked that Gwen was willing to help him stand up against his mother this was something he had to do by himself. This was his battle...not hers.
Gwen nodded her head, proud. In all the years she had known Eddie never had she seen him look so...determined. She took what he said seriously. Much like Stan, Eddie was going to finally stand up for himself. Gwen had great confidence and reassurance that he was going to succeed through.
"I have to go." Eddie finally said. He took a few steps forward before he locked eyes with the older teen. "I'm glad I ran into you." He said to her. Which was the truth. Even though their group had a fall out Eddie was still glad to see and actually talk to Gwen. He missed being around and having an actual conversation with her. Even if said conversation had him feeling all sorts of emotions towards the lies his mother had been telling him. He bid her a low farewell before he started walking passed her.
Gwen quickly called out his name causing him to look at her again. "When you get a chance change that S to a V."
Eddie gazed down at his cast taking what Gwen said into consideration. Perhaps changing the wording from LOSER to LOVER would be much better. Not needing to fully think about this anymore, Eddie nodded his head as a small smile appeared on his face. His stare went back towards her, lingering for a few seconds before he continued on his away.
Gwen didn't movie from her spot until Eddie was far away from her. Once she knew for certain that he wouldn't see what she was about to do, she turned to look at the pharmacy before her. Her expression turning hard as she narrowed her eyes. The smaller boy had stopped her before from charging in to confront Greta. Sure he said to leave it alone but Gwen couldn't do so. Not anymore. And now that Eddie was gone the need to get even on his behalf permanently took over. Gwen wanted to get even with Greta for what she wrote on his cast...for hurting him. Except not only did Gwen want to get Greta back for picking on Eddie but she wanted to get revenge on Beverly's behalf as well. The dark haired girl knew of the bullying done on her redheaded friend. Although many kids participated in the bullying, Greta was one of the main culprits.
Gwen wanted to make Greta pay for hurting two of her closest friends...and she was going to do so now.
The fifteen year old quietly entered the pharmacy luckily without attracting attention from the front counter. At the moment the only other person who was inside was a brown haired man who appeared to be in his thirties. He was too busy looking at the area that held the candy to take notice of her. Seeing as Gwen was practically visible she hid behind one of the shelves. Gwen then stuck her head out and kept a watchful eye on the front counter. Mr. Keene was there as was Greta. The younger teen was still reading that girly magazine and chewing her gum causing Gwen to roll her eyes.
Gwen had to wait patiently (a trait she lacked) for an opening. Which was when Mr. Keene went into the back room. It was just Greta up front meaning now was Gwen's chance to act out her plan. Walking with quiet and determined steps, Gwen went over to where the cold drinks were and took one out. Dr. Pepper. There really was no specific reason why she chose this type of soda, it was just the first one she saw.
Once Gwen had the soda in her hand she started to shake it. This idea of a soda prank was one Gwen got from Richie. He had done this two years ago during Thanksgiving dinner. Despite causing Gwen to laugh it had earned Richie a one week grounding from their mother. The bespectacled boy had told her he wasn't the least bit upset saying it was totally worth the grounding. The soda Richie had used for his prank had been larger but Gwen knew she would get the same results right now with the soda she had. Gwen just had to make sure she was shaking the soda enough.
After a minute of shaking the Dr. Pepper soda, Gwen felt she was finally ready to proceed with her plan. Just as she was walking towards the front counter, the man that was in there before her got in front of her. Gwen gently tapped his shoulder. When the man turned to look at her Gwen gave him a smile. "Excuse me, sir but do you mind if I go first?" She asked politely keeping her voice low so Greta wouldn't hear her.
The man didn't see anything wrong with this and just nodded his head.
"Thanks." Gwen whispered. She walked in front of him. She brought up the soda and pointed it towards Greta, who had yet to notice her. She glanced back at the man. "Uh, you might want to stand back."
The man gave her a bemused look but did as she said. Gwen waited until he was at a good distance before she returned her attention back up front. Feeling excitement within her, Gwen made her presence well known to the younger teen.
The lighter haired girl looked up from her magazine with an annoyed expression on her face. She recognized that voice and wasn't happy to hear it. She looked at Gwen and her expression soon became one of full anger with what the older girl did next.
Gwen, who had the Dr. Pepperhappily aimed at Greta, cracked it open. The liquid inside exploded and it all went towards one direction only. Greta. The Tozier girl watched in amusement how the soda soaked Greta's precious outfit, face, and hair.
"What the hell?!" Greta shrieked throwing her arms out.
Once the liquid started to settle down, Gwen dropped the soda onto the floor. Her hands were sticky but Gwen didn't care about that. With a smile on her face, Gwen stuck out both of her middle fingers just like how Richie had done with Henry. Greta watched with a shock look as Gwen did this causing the older teen to laugh. She then bolted out of the pharmacy knowing Greta's shrieking would cause Mr. Keene to return.
The man that was behind Gwen grimaced at Greta's disarrayed form. "You have soda all over your hair." He gestured to her as he nonchalantly pointed out the obvious.
In response, Greta just let out a frustrated unladylike huff.
While Greta Keene was fussing over her soda covered form, Gwen Tozier was still running away from the pharmacy with a smile on her face. She didn't at all care about not getting her refill for her medication. This was the first time since the separation of the Losers that Gwen felt...giddy. Carefree. Sure what she did to Greta was immature but that priss had it coming. Although the prank didn't make up for everything Greta had done, it was a start. Plus, the prank served as a momentary distraction for Gwen. Granted the prank she did wasn't a strong distraction as getting drunk was but it still managed to do the trick at the moment.
Gwen finally stopped running when she reached the end of the street that led towards the kissing bridge. She had been too focused basking on the prank she caused and her feelings of excitement that she failed to see where she was even going exactly. Taking a break, Gwen took deep breaths. Low laughs kept escaping her and her smile was still on her face. She was dare she say happy. Happy enough that Gwen wanted to tell the other Losers about what she just did. She wanted to tell Beverly and Eddie she got the girl who had been bullying them the most and she also wanted to tell Richie. Her younger brother would have loved and laughed at her prank against Greta. Gwen knew for certain that Richie wasn't a fan of the Keene girl either. However, Gwen's smile faltered when reality came crashing down. She remembered the "argument" that was still going on between Richie and her. Her sudden high of adrenaline from running made her forget momentarily. Gwen sighed. Perhaps she could still tell him. Maybe Richie hearing about her prank will continue the progress they made or create a new one. Just maybe...
Gwen had been so distracted thinking about Richie and salvaging their brother sister relationship that she failed to hear the footsteps from behind her. When she finally did hear the angry stomping it was too late. This unknown person took a hold of her hair from behind and pulled hard. Gwen let out a pained yell, mentally cursing for having long hair. Before Gwen was able to do anything she let out an actual curse word when she felt another harsh pull. Gritting her teeth, Gwen then reached for the person that was behind her. The Tozier girl thought for sure it was Greta who was attacking her. It made sense given the prank she just pulled. Maybe the younger girl had followed and caught up with her. Therefore thinking it was Greta, Gwen was ready to use all her strength ready to fight back. However, Gwen instantly stopped thinking it was Greta when she felt something cold and sharp press against her throat. Gwen didn't need to look down to know that cold object was a knife. She knew Greta was a bully and extremely harsh but she also knew the younger girl wasn't capable of carrying a dangerous weapon like a knife with her. No...this was someone else. Someone deranged.
After another harsh pull to Gwen's hair her attacker finally spoke. Her blood ran ice cold once she recognized that voice.
Gwen gasped and felt absolute horror when Henry Bowers' blood stained face came into her view. The hold of the knife he had on her never lessened as the stare off between them commenced.