It was a nice day in Derry: even though it was cold the sun was shining, the sky was clearer than usual and Eddie had to admit he had woken up in a particularly good mood.

Humming to the sound of the music on his phone, he stood in front of his dresser, trying to decide what to wear, until he opted for a pair of skinny white jeans and a dark blue sweater with a plain white shirt underneath. He then proceeded to style his hair and grab everything he could possibly need – keys, wallet, inhaler, hand sanitizer – throwing everything in his backpack before heading out, ignoring his mother's disapproving glance when he didn't stop to kiss her.
Since finding out about her being a liar for years at the age of twelve, everything had changed, like she'd been putting a facade on for years – no smiles, or hugs, or anything like that. Just disapproving, distasteful glances whenever they met.

Saying that the last three months of his life had been crazy would be and understatement, but he couldn't be happier: he remembered his sixteenth birthday as one of the most beautiful and at the same time terrifying birthdays ever. What really pushed him forward was a conversation with Stanley:

"Do you think I'm too hard on my mother?" he had asked, biting his lip.
"I think it's normal that you resent her, and that you feel betrayed by her. I don't know about being too hard, honestly" the curly-haired boy had answered, looking serious and straight-forward as always "I mean, she's proved to be a brain eating monster – no offense –, and I think that this might be your chance to be yourself".
"What? What do you mean?"
"I'm really not good about this stuff, Eddie, but we both know what I'm talking about, right? Just – for once in your life, don't think about what your mom or what your aunt or anyone would do or say. Think about
you".

And that's exactly what he did: he got himself a part-time job at a cute cafe near the park where him and the Losers hang out from time to time, earning enough to go out with his friends and buy himself things he likes without asking his mother.
He still checked for blemishes and weird pimples after he sat on the grass, he still had to wash and sanitize his hands after going to the bathroom or sitting in filthy fast-foods, he still refused to get on a bus...but he started living things fully, especially with the help of his friends.
Bev always said it was okay for him to take small steps during their FaceTime calls, and she always complimented him on looking healthier and healthier.

Passing a shop window, he eyed himself and smiled a little: he did look better with his rounder face, his wild curly hair, his fuller figure and his smiling eyes.

"Dayum, Spaghetti-O" Richie's voice startled him, "looking like a snack today".
Eddie rolled his eyes at him, "Good morning to you too, Richie".
"Seriously though, are you meeting up with anyone?" he wagged his eyebrows suggestively, doing that little thing with his nose to adjust his glasses – you, Eddie thought, but quickly pushed the thought aside.

So yeah, apparently he was gay.
Did liking Richie make him gay? Probably.
He couldn't even imagine telling his mother about that, she'd have a heart-attack and he'd never forgive himself.
So far, no one of the group knew except Bill. Not because Eddie didn't trust the others, it was just that Bill was...Bill. They always had a special connection, a little bit like Stan and Richie.

"Leave the boy alone" Stan commented upon his arrival, adjusting the straps of his backpack right underneath the collar of his button up shirt "some of us like to look nice and neat for ourselves".
"You're so full of shit, Stanley the Manly"
"That doesn't even make any sense. How did you come up with that?"
"What can I say? It's a gift".

Soon after the two started bickering, Bill and Ben added up to the group for the short walk left to school.
"Hey" Bill smiled at his best friend, "you look nice".
"Told ya!" Richie shot in between his continuous bickering with Stanley.
Bill raised a brow at him but Eddie looked like he wanted to be buried alive from embarrassment, so he just decided to let it go for a while.

" – I don't even know how you got yourself a girlfriend, really" Stanley rolled his eyes at Richie.
"Again, a gift" he sighed, "my charm gets me all the ladies".
"Is your morning breath part of the charm-pack?" Eddie grumbled before he could stop himself.
Everyone was silent for a while until they all erupted in laughter, Richie pinching Eddie's side "Don't be jelly, you're still my favorite dish, Spaghetti".

So yeah, there was this other thing with relationship and shit like that.
Richie had been the first to get a girlfriend, some girl named Rachel that never wanted to hang out with them – he said that she was shy, but everyone had the feeling she just didn't like them.
The few times she was with the whole group, she barley participated in the conversations they had, lips attached to Richie's as much as possible. They had been together for almost a month now and she still was like a stranger to all of them, which was weird considered they were like a big family.

Bev had told Richie that she looked and sounded like a bitch and they almost had a fight, which was weird coming from two of the toughest and hardest-to-offend people of the group.
She then said I'm sorry she looks like a bitch, trashmouth, friends?, and it was just as if nothing happened.
Later that same night, Eddie had slept over to Bill's just to find a moment alone to tell him about his feelings for Richie.

"– Eds. Eds! Are you in?"
"I'm sorry, I just...zoned out a little. In for what? And don't call me that"
Richie just smiled "For a movie night at Bill's on saturday".
"Of course" Eddie said, shrugging. Anything to get away from his mother.
"That's my 'ghetti!" he shouted, fists in the air.
"Shut up" he shoved him a little, smiling softly "or I might change my mind"
"Then I'll have to carry you bridal style like the princess in distress you are, Eds" he fucking winked at the smaller boy, stuffing his hands in his pockets "Imma go boys, see ya!"
He disappeared through the crowd, leaving a slightly dejected Eddie behind.

Ben and Eddie were walking to the cafeteria together, given that they had Biology together, and Ben was quieter than usual.
"Everything okay, Benny?"
The boy softened at the nickname, smiling over at Eddie, and the smaller boy found himself thinking that if it weren't for Richie, he'd probably have a crush on Ben. He was just the softest, kindest guy and he had grown up to be such a fine young man with his baby fat replaced by a firm body, not muscular like Mike's but not even close to the thin figures of Bill or Stanley.
"Yeah, Eddie" he sighed, "I just miss Beverly, you know? It's been a while since I last saw her".

Ben had been the second to get in a relationship.
Apparently, Beverly and Bill found out they felt nothing but brotherly love with their famous goodbye-kiss back when they were eleven.
So, it had started with Ben saving up money to call Beverly once a week on the public phone, since he was eleven and a half and not allowed to have a phone.
Then with the magical appearance of cellphones, the two had been inseparable; they'd been together since they were twelve and a half.

"I know, I miss her too. We all do. But your love is very strong, you'll do just fine, I know" Eddie smiled kindly at him squeezing his shoulder "if we weren't friends, I'd be jealous of you".

When they got to their table, Rachel had blessed them with her presence.
Bill shot Eddie a warning glare that said 'play nice', and he just raised an eyebrow and sat down next to them.
"There's the two missing pieces, Haystack and Spaghetti Man".
"Oh my god, he's starting again" Eddie groaned, slamming his head against the table "please shut up Richie".
"Oh, you love it"
"I don't think so"
"You love me"
"Hardly ever" he snapped right back, avoiding Rachel's intense stare and trying to hide his blush. Eddie just proceeded to take out of his lunchbox his dinosaur-nuggets and cherries.

Rachel snorted at him, covering her mouth with her hand "Dino-nuggets? Seriously? What are you, like, five?"
"Getting worked up over food? What are you, like, forty-seven?"
There was a moment of silence and intense staring between the two, then Rachel spat "I just think that's a tad childish".
"You know, I think it's rude to sit with your boyfriend's friends and judge not even five seconds in a conversation" Bill cut in, while Stan nodded firmly and Ben glared at her.

It was a sort of unspoken thing in their group: Eddie was untouchable.
Maybe it was because of his fragile figure growing up, maybe because of his sweet eyes or his innocent appearance, but nobody could fuck with him without getting kicked in the face.

"What can we say, we like our pasta sweet" Richie threw a joke in there, looking intently at Eddie, who was trying to hide his shame. He then proceeded to ruffle his hair while Stan nudged him with his shoulder, and the smaller boy continued munching on his food until the end of school break, not saying a word.

"Something's wrong with Eddie" Stan was walking side by side with Bill, both carrying their own bike.
Bill almost chocked on his own saliva, unsure of what to do. He felt bad because he was keeping something from the rest of the group, but he also felt like it wasn't his place to talk about Eddie's homosexuality, so he opted for a lame "What?! Like...hm, like what?"
Stan eyed him funny, but then went back to his serious expression "He's been...on the edge, lately. Like very anxious, which he hasn't been for a while. I wonder if everything's fine at home."
"I think so, yes" Bill said, shrugging "last I checked, his mother doesn't even talk to him. She tries from time to time to 'get him to feel good again', I quote, but that's about it."
"That woman is sick, I swear" the curly haired boy said, rolling his eyes "I wish I could take him away from her."
"Yeah, I know".

They stayed in silence for a while, until Stanley decided to speak "Are you...I mean, have you thought about what happened after Bev moved away? At all?"
"Why? I mean, yeah I have. Have you?"
"Yes...and I thought that maybe we could try it again? Just to be sure."
"Sure of what, Stan?" Bill sighed, looking frustrated now "I am sure, you need to figure things out. You can't play with my feelings like this".
"I know. Sorry" he whispered, looking down and fidgeting with the straps of his backpack.

They didn't speak for the rest of the walk, nor when they arrived at Bill's. They just silently waved at each other, a sad smile on both of them.

Ben smiled at Beverly as soon as her face appeared on his phone "Hi."
Beverly smiled fondly at him "Hi babe."
"Everything okay there?" he asked as usual, a slight blush playing on his cheeks.
"Yeah, everything's just fine. But there? Oh boy, I'm texting Eddie right now and the drama is real. That Rachel better thank whoever exists up there because if I had been there, I would've killed her. Like, instantly."
"She's...weird. It's obvious she doesn't like us, maybe she thinks we're too nerdy or something. But Eddie? Oh dear, there's pure hate between the two of them."
"I think I might know why" Bev said squinting her eyes thoughtfully.
"What? Why?"
"Not gonna say it. Time will prove me right."
Ben sighed, mumbling "When did I sign up for this?"

Bevvie: I can't believe she said that!

Boii: Ikr! She's so lame you don't even wanna know. I think you'd get into fights a lot.

Bevvie: Tell me something I don't know already. At least the boys took your side.

Boii: I knew they were going to, it was just sad to see Richie in the middle. He didn't take any specific position.

Bevvie: Well she is his girlfriend, isn't she?

Boii: Right...well I'm heading to bed Bev, too tired. Tty soon 3

Bevvie: Sleep tight Eddie 3

The next day, Eddie decided he was going to sort this crush of his on his own.
Richie was obviously straight and he had a girlfriend that didn't like him, not even one bit. So if he wanted to keep being friends with him, he had to get over himself and stop with the nonsense.

After finishing his shift at the cafe, he spent half an hour looking through shops and shelves to find what he was looking for.
In the end, he opted for a cute pastel purple notebook and a matching pen with little stars freckled on the side.

Stepping out of the shop, he saw a familiar lanky boy walking in his general direction, and he turned around hoping he wouldn't see him.
But, blame it on his 'luck', Richie called for him "Eddie! Eds! Wait up!"
As soon as he heard his voice, Eddie panicked and did the first thing that came to him: he ran.

He ran for as long as his feet could carry him, taking the long way to get to his house only to avoid a certain curly-haired boy.
He only stopped when he was sure he wasn't following him, and tried to catch his breath.
"Hello Eddie" the voice made him jump out of his skin, shrieking in a not so manly way. It was just Mike running errands for his grandpa, as usual, bike full of envelopes to deliver and all.
"Everything okay? You look...I don't know. Weird."
"Yeah...everything okay. Just in a hurry. Need to finish lots of homework."
"Well do you want a ride home? I have just a few to deliver anyways" he pointed to the little boxes left.

Eddie wanted to say no, avoid all kind of human contact for the rest of the day, but Mike was too nice of a boy to be that rude to him, so he nodded, stuffing the things he had bought in his backpack.
"How was school today? I thought about sending a text to the group chat, but Bill mentioned something about an almost-fight at lunch so I thought I would wait for everything to cool down" they were walking side by side to a shop nearby, for one of the last deliveries.
"It was nice, for the most part. It's just that Rachel's been more of a bitch than usual, annoyed by my dino-nuggets" Eddie shrugged, furrowing his brow.
"Man, I love those. The shape is what makes them even more delicious" Mike said, looking truly offended (and exaggerating just a bit because it was funny to see Eddie all riled up).
"I know, right? For her it was childish. But Bill took care of it, Richie said some stupid joke related to my name and everything seemed to go back to normal" Eddie was literally fuming "As if I could care less about her opinion. No one even likes her in our group."
"You're right, but we do it for Richie" Mike pointed out, jumping on the bike "hop on."
"Yeah" he sighed, doing as he was told "we do it for Richie."

After eating a quite depressing dinner alone at the kitchen table, Eddie got up and got ready for bed real quick.
He just wanted to sleep really, but he also wanted to start writing stuff on that diary he bought.
After putting on his pajamas and locking his bedroom door, he threw himself on the bed, uncapping the black marker he had taken from his wide collection.

He drew three little stars in the middle of the front cover, then he wrote with a thinner one 'E.K.' beside the little drawing.
He smiled at the diary, because it felt and looked so much like him.

His phone buzzed, but he decided it could wait.
He opened notebook and uncapped the pen, biting his lip before starting to write in his neat handwriting...

Hi there.
I have to admit it's weird to write a diary, mainly because I don't know who direct my thoughts to.
I'm not twelve, so talking to a 'diary' entity would be stupid.
Maybe I could talk to my 'future self', that will hopefully be wiser and less depressed than me.

So, future-Eddie, I hope that this actually helps.
After months of suffocating my sadness and my thoughts with YouTube binge-watching and aesthetics on Tumblr, I finally decided to do something for myself. And one of the first things I have to do, is admit that right now, in this exact moment, everything's a mess.
I am a mess.

A year ago, I thought that the one and only thing that kept me from being happy was my mother, but I realized it isn't true.
I'm not saying that she's not one of the worst things that happened to me, because she is, but...I am one of my biggest problems.
Because while I can easily wash my hands when I feel them tingling because of the thought of the bacteria infecting me, and while I can just avoid physical contact with people I don't know out of fear of catching some bad disease, I can't run from who I am.

I am gay.
I like boys, and pastel colors, and dressing up nicely, and flowers, and cute things that for the society I live in, should just be girls' things.
I like to day-dream of big cities where there's space for LGBT+ events, clubs, bars...someplace where people like me can have the feeling they are accepted and loved somewhere.
I dream of big parades in rainbow colors and people of the same gender walking hand in hand, shamelessly, loving each other.
I just really want to get away from this small, close-minded city.
It feels wrong to be here.

Luckily, I have Bill for that.
And of course the other Losers, even though I still haven't told anyone. I wonder if they already know, if they have guessed...how they will eventually take it when I tell them.
I mean they are my best friends, they'd never leave me alone for something as stupid as that, right?

Well future-Eddie, I don't know how you are doing, but my actual self has got to rest in order to be fully charged for school. Ma won't ever pay for a university far from here, and that's exactly what I want, so I'd better get a good scholarship. Goodbye.

Richie was so worried he thought he would die of a sudden heart-attack.
He smiled to himself, thinking about how Eddie would explain to him exactly how heart-attacks were underrated and very unpredictable.

Eddie hadn't texted back, even though he had sent the message thirty minutes before.
He had been checking the screen nonstop, turning his Wi-Fi on and off to make sure it was working correctly.
After school, he had met up shortly with Rachel, furious.

"What the fuck was that today?" he almost yelled, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Oh my god, chill, Richie" she said, huffing "I just said that without thinking it through. I didn't think he'd mind."
"Well he does. That's how Eddie is, and we like it like that. So don't pull that shit ever again, okay? The Losers are my family. I'd kill for them."
"Of course, babe. Now kiss me, okay?" she said, already approaching him with a smile.

And then he had gotten home, typed and erased his message to Eddie three times before just sending it.
Eds, im sorry about today. talked to her, it won't happen again. u okay?

Just as he was about to go to sleep, exasperated, his phone buzzed.

Eddie Spaghetti: Don't worry Richie. It's not your fault. Sleep well :)