Status: Hope you enjoy the story :)

Our Last Summer- Reddie

Chapter 4- First Goodbye

"So, what are you doing now, Richie?"

We sat around the table, chatting and drinking. Eddie was sat opposite me and was seemingly going out of his way to avoid eye contact. Mike was still on the phone and Stan was still a no-show.

Bill was leaning forward inquisitively, genuinely interested in my answer.

"I work for a radio station... in LA."

"Oh, cool. Which station?"

"KIIS-FM," I said, scratching the back of my neck.

Ben looked up at me suddenly, "Wait, Tozier's Takeover? That's actually you?"

"Umm... yeah. How did you know about that?"

"Well, I was working on a communications tower down in San Diego, but I visited LA when I finished. I heard them announce that 'Tozier's Takeover' would be on in half an hour and I wondered if it could be you. Didn't think I'd actually be right though."

Beverly glanced at him, her eyebrows raised, " 'Working on a communications tower'? Are you a builder then?"

Ben chuckled lightly, "No, no. An architect. Don't think I'm cut out to be a builder, to be honest."

The conversation continued to flow as easily as it had 27 years ago. It was as if we had never broken contact. But then again, I suppose we did have a lot to catch up on.

"What about you, Eddie? What do you do for a living?" Bill asked, smiling warmly at him.

Eddie coughed uncomfortably and sat up straight. "I work at the hospital in New York."

"So, a doctor?" Beverly commented, smirking at him.

"Well, yeah."

Beverly collapsed into playful giggles while the rest of us stared at her, confused.

"So, the sickly kid becomes the doctor? That's pretty ironic." She remarked. Eddie laughed lightly and nodded in agreement.

"What about you, B-" Eddie started, but he was interrupted by Mike entering the room. We all turned around to look at him and were confused by what we saw.

He had a stony expression on his face as if he was trying not to cry. If this was his intention, then he had failed. Tears stained his cheeks, leaving a snail trail-like pattern behind. He stood completely still and when he spoke, his voice was a monotone.

"That was Stan's wife on the phone," He paused, taking a shaky breath, "She found his body two hours ago. He killed himself. Right after I called him."

Mike's voice broke at the last sentence and crumpled onto the chair next to me, tears now freely rolling down his face. The rest of us sat perfectly still and for a few moments, that's how we stayed.

"Do you reckon," I took a deep breath, "that his death was to do with the call?"

Mike sighed in defeat. "Probably. She said he was fine before I called." He rubbed his eyes hastily and held his head in his hands.

Beverly got up and knelt beside him. "Hey, come on, it's not your fault." She whispered, throwing her arms around him.

"Bev's right. You were just doing what you needed to, what I told you to do. It's no-one's fault. Stan made that decision by himself." Bill said, sitting up and patting Mike's shoulder.

For the second time that night, we sat in silence again. It was comforting, strangely companionable. It was a good way to get lost in your thoughts.

"What do we do now, then?" Eddie piped up after a while. The rest of us looked up at him in interest; he had barely spoken all night. "We're down to six people. Is that gonna affect us?"

Bill and I locked eyes. His eyebrows were knitted and his eyes narrowed.

"I don't... think so." He said slowly, looking over at Eddie with the same expression, "Unless you believe that seven is a lucky number. But then again... six isn't unlucky, is it? I mean-"

"Bill, you're rambling." Eddie cut him off.

"Sorry. But to answer your question, we should be fine." Nodding slightly, Eddie settled in his chair, satisfied.

Mike sat up and coughed loudly, "I suppose we should go to bed," He checked his watch, "It's getting late." He stood up and crossed his arms authoritatively.

"We made a plan for where we are all going to sleep before you came, Rich," He addressed to the room, "I've only got three rooms. Bill and Ben are in the twin room, Beverly is in the guest bedroom and I hope you don't mind, but you and Eddie are sleeping in the living room. The sofa can pull out into a bed but I'll sort that out."

With that, he left the room, closely followed by Bill, Eddie and Ben. Beverly beckoned to me from the doorway, prompting me to follow her. She had a smirk on her face; I could tell that they had put me and Eddie together on purpose.

"Are you serious?!" I hissed at Beverly. She snorted but quickly covered her amusement with an innocent expression.

"I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, Rich."

I sighed loudly, laying it on thick. "You know he hates me, Bev."

"Yeah, right. If he hated you, why did he look completely love-struck when you got here?"

I scoffed at the idea, but it still made me think. Had he looked at me like that? Trying to remember his exact facial expression, I realised that he had looked angry. Very love-struck then.

But, then again, he was always good at hiding his emotions.

Beverly mistook my silence for acceptance, "See? He still loves you, idiot," She shoved me into the living room, where Eddie and Mike were setting the bed up.

Before she went upstairs, she turned back to me and whispered, "Just remember, it's an old house; the floorboards are probably very thin. Just try to be quiet when you two... reunite."

With a laugh, she jogged up the stairs, leaving me gobsmacked. Still, I thought, I don't think I'd mind if it came to that.