2016 The Jade Of The Orient - Derry Maine.
After Richie was done making his wisecrack about marrying Eddie's mom, doing his best Jabba The Hutt impression, everyone broke up laughing as Eddie took the teasing in stride, rolling his eyes, before Richie cleared his throat and shrugged, taking a swig of his beer which he had honestly lost count of how many he had consumed. Strangely besides a small buzz, he didn't feel drunk. Since Mike's phone call he swore he would never get his appetite again.
Instead he had ate well, actually enjoying the company, and as always using his humor to distract him from the real terrifying reason why they were all here. He knew this group of people who very much were strangers, were actually as close as he could get to a real family. Somehow in the last two hours they had been sitting there, it seemed as if no time had passed at all. He knew besides a few minor people back home who knew what happened two years ago, nobody really knew the truth. He kept his personal life private, which in today's day of age was nearly impossible. He figured Mike might know, but not the others. Glancing at Eddie, he couldn't believe these nearly thirty year old feelings were creeping back. If he didn't tell them now, when would he? So he gulped his beer, shrugged again and sighed.
"I was married briefly in all seriousness."
"Didn't last long trash mouth?"
Bill joked smiling. Richie returned a half hearted smile, before he sighed and rolled his glass beer bottle back and forth against the surface of the table.
"Um, no...didn't get a chance to fuck it up. We were only married for like a year. She died."
An awkward hush fell over the table. Richie lifted his eyes and saw Mike's face and instantly knew he didn't know. He was tempted to look over at Eddie, but decided not to. Instead he sat back.
"Yeah Emma, she met me on one of my tours. She was a photographer who got the unlucky task in documenting my shows. One thing led to another, we hit it off...and a few months later somehow I convinced her to do the dummest thing in my life and marry me."
Bev's eyes looked heartbroken as she tilted her head to the side. "How did she pass?" Richie took a deep breath, still rolling his beer bottle.
"Um, we got married when she got pregnant. I know...the idea of me being a father, more frightening than that fucking monster we tried to take out. Well it came early and...was stillborn. It was shortly after that they found a few tumors in her uterus. After we lost the baby it changed her you know? She kinda just gave up help. She didn't even get to finish her first round of treatment when I lost her. She didn't have any family so...I got her cremated and...I still have the fucking ashes. Been nearly two years and I still can't seem to figure out what to do with her."
He looked up and saw Bev's eyes, filling with tears. Ben, Mike, and Bill were all looking down at their plates, really not knowing what to say. When he looked up, he saw Eddie's own dark brown eyes filling with tears, and he couldn't believe some welling up, filling his own. He cleared his throat, blinking the tears away as he took a swig of his beer.
"Man, do I sure know how to lift the mood up huh? Sorry guys..."
Eddie sighed, before shaking his head.
"I'm so sorry Richie...I..."
Richie shrugged, hating this unwanted attention.
"Hey, if that hadn't of happened I wouldn't have been able to move on and be happily married to your mom."
Eddie smirked, but his face didn't seem like it wanted to. He looked like the others...heartbroken for him. Mike sighed before looking across at Richie.
"That proves my theory on how Derry has taken a hold onto all of us. Richie I'm so sorry to hear...but your child being stillborn, I think it has something to do with what we did twenty-seven years ago."
Billy lifted his eyes, and raised an eyebrow.
"Let me ask all of you. Does anyone have any children?"
Everyone shook their heads across the table.
"I had a miscarriage a few years back...Tom and I weren't even trying. It was only a month or so along. We've been trying ever since but so far nothing. Tom thinks...I should go and get checked, but as far as I know I'm completely healthy."
"My wife and I had been trying, but took a break while we're filming our movie. We figured it would be our luck if she caught pregnant while we were in the middle of shooting."
"Anybody else? Stillbirths? Miscarriages? Scares?"
"My wife...she's a little...oh Christ she's really overweight, we've been trying but that doesn't prove a thing."
Richie wanted to make a wisecrack but held back, remembering just minutes ago after he finished telling them about Emma the tears in Eddie's eyes. He sat back before Ben sighed rubbing is neck, telling Mike no scares on his end. Richie half listened as Mike explained what were the chances that all seven of them, believing that Stan didn't have any children had no living kids in almost thirty years. The odds were that at least one of them would. He believed Bev's miscarriage. Richie's baby being stillborn, and the rest of them never even having a scare were part of whatever hold Derry still held on them.
Richie dully heard Eddie continue to argue with Mike, while he sat forward feeling depressed. He had been trying his hardest not to think about Emma has of lately. It killed him whenever he did. He knew that entire relationship was a sham, and hadn't been fair on her end with him trying to believe he could actually make this work. The truth was, he had been living with a secret ever since he had lived in Derry nearly thirty years ago. A secret he had been ashamed of, and had honestly believed would be pushed away with Emma and the baby. Now back here, looking at Eddie, he knew the hurt he had buried away was beginning to resurface.
Sighing, he tilted his chair back and listened.