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When Eddie heard that one of his favorite bands had moved to a smaller town in Maine, he didn’t know that it meant they moved to his town. To Derry. Where he lived. He would have had an aneurysm on the spot. But, then again, he’s having one now so it doesn’t really matter now, right? In the grand scheme of things? You could say so. However, that still didn’t change the fact that this one is much, much worse.

He, Eddie Kaspbrak, is standing in the middle of the bookstore, trying not to pass out. He had just walked out of the fiction section, having had to search for a good 15 minutes for a book. Upon leaving unsuccessful, he heard laughter. Obviously, he had to investigate. Seriously, he didn’t think anyone else his age even went to this place. And who else would be laughing in this place besides teenagers? So, being the nosy person he was, he looked. Bad decision. Why? Well, because, frankly, two members of said favorite band were right there. Standing in the YA section. In front of him. In Derry. Again, where he lived.

And honestly? At first glance, he would have just thought it was two normal teenagers. One girl and one boy. Except everyone seems to know everybody here and these people, he’s never seen in his life and not only that, but something in him tells him he has actually seen them before. Something from his gut. Something he feels like he needs to trust. Then he hears the laughter again and he sees the girl’s bright red hair move with her and he sees the way the tall, tall boy moves in a weird fashion and suddenly he knows. He was right. He has seen them before.

Look, he’s not their biggest fan. They have good music! And, plus, they’re the same age as him. They’re also down to earth and funny. They’re cool. Also, he guesses the lead singer and guitarist is cute but like, that’s not important. He has other things to think about. Like how he needs to remember to breathe and he needs to keep his books in his hands or else. He can’t be noticed noticing them. Taking an extremely deep, extremely shuddery breath, he ducks into one of the aisles. He needs to calm down. They’re not that popular. They’re just trying to buy books, just like him. They are normal people, just like him. His hand - which was shaking now - hovers over his inhaler in the pocket of his overalls. He didn’t want to use it but his lungs ached and he was kind of freaking out now because the lead singer and guitarist was there in the bookstore and he’s even cuter in person and oh my God. Even from the back. And now, he lives in the same place as Eddie. He’s in the same place as Eddie.

Maybe he likes them more than he’s willing to admit. Jesus, okay, he needs to get a grip. He slowly begins to take out his inhaler, almost mechanically. He didn’t want to use it but his lungs seem to be running out of air and they seem to be getting smaller and smaller by the second and he just really wants to calm down so he can buy his books and leave as quickly as possible. As he puts it to his mouth, some part of him wonders why he’s freaking out this much. He doesn’t get his answer. He doesn’t even get to use his inhaler because he hears a voice. A stupid voice that knocks him straight out of this thoughts.

“Hey, cutie, you okay?”

He knows that voice. He’s heard it before. In interviews and in songs. And holy shit, cutie.

The inhaler falls out of his mouth. He coughs loudly and stumbles. The books he was holding fall from his arm in a cascade and hit the shelves on their way down to the carpeted floor. Each one makes a loud clanking noise. Eddie isn’t sure if each book falling was even that loud, or if it was his heightened anxiety. God, why can’t he calm down. God, why is this happening to him.

“Shit! Shit shit shit shit,” He whispers, quite loudly and scrambles to pick them up.

“Hey! Hey, it’s okay I got it.” That voice says again, and suddenly someone is leaning down to help him.

Forget someone, he knows exactly who it is. But he’s got too much pride and way, way too much anxiety to admit it. He’s gonna need to tell Bill about this later. But that’s later, and this is right now, Eddie, pull yourself together. Pull yourself together. Richie Tozier is in front of you. Richie Tozier called you cutie. Richie Tozier offered to help pick up your books.

“Oh, thanks, I guess.” Eddie straightens, wheezing a little, slipping the inhaler back into his pocket, trying to sound somewhat composed. Desperately trying to seem like everything is normal.

“Only for you, cutie.” The voice, no Richie, says as he hands Eddie his books. His hand brushes against Eddie’s for the quickest of seconds and suddenly all of Eddie’s air is gone again.

Despite this, and against his will, he rolls his eyes.

“Have any other names or is that the only one? Cause it’s getting old really quickly.” He wishes he could shut himself up. But that’s what he does when he’s nervous. Talks. Snaps back.

“What do you suppose I call you then?” Richie is smirking now and Eddie can’t stop staring. He can’t look away, despite the fact that he’s getting kind of annoyed now. But, maybe a good kind of annoyed. Possibly.

“Eddie.” Eddie says, letting his voice fall flat and somewhat deadpan.

Richie’s smirk morphs into a bright grin. If Eddie wasn’t smitten before he certainly was now.

“Alright, Eds.” He smiled even brighter and lightly touched Eddie’s cheek.

The initial shock and anxiety was now gone. That didn’t stop him from wanting to pass out when Richie’s cold fingers grazed his face, though. Maybe it was just the fact that Richie’s hand could have been covered in thousands and thousands of germs and it just touched his face. Maybe it was the fact that it was just Richie. Richie Tozier. It was probably just Richie, because he didn’t even flinch under his touch. He didn’t move away, rambling about the transference of germs. And the thought of germs didn’t even cross his mind when their hands brushed. Blinking, he pulls himself back into the conversation and somehow finds the strength to roll his eyes again.

“Don’t call me that either. That’s somehow worse than cutie.” Eddie isn’t sure that’s how he really feels. He says it anyways. He thinks it anyways.

“Come on Eds, don’t like the truth?” Richie giggles. It was melodic, it sounded like something out of one of his songs. Sweet and loud. Eddie felt almost sad when the sound stopped.

“It depends on what we’re talking about, Trashmouth.” Eddie bites back a smile. Come on Eddie, not now.

“Oh, you wound me, Eds.” Richie flings back, dramatically leaning against one of the shelves, slinging a hand over his chest, sending books toppling over.

“Do you always have a disregard for public property?” God, Eddie kind of wishes he could shut up. He doesn’t know if he can, though.

“Most of the time, yeah,” Richie smirks again, still leaning against the shelves. Eddie’s heart flutters, “So, you come here often?”

“Yeah, I, uh, live here.” Eddie suddenly feels the need for his inhaler again and he doesn’t know why. He was doing so well.

“Good to know, good to know.” Richie is nodding somewhat seriously, his face completely solemn, attentive and it feels like the air comes flooding back into Eddie’s lungs just so he can stifle a laugh.

“What?” There’s something in the way Richie is holding himself. It makes Eddie want to laugh more.

“Nothing. Nothing.” But it isn’t nothing. It’s everything. He’s - him! Eddie Kaspbrak- talking to Richie Tozier and Richie is flirting with him. Badly. Like so bad. The whole situation seems so funny in the moment. Though, if you told Eddie a month ago he would be in a bookstore flirting with his actual “celebrity” crush he would have dropped dead.

But, right now he isn’t dead. He’s alive and he’s laughing, albeit a little nervous.

“Clearly it’s something.” Richie tries his best to seem serious but his voice is wavering with unreasonable laughter too.

“Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t” Eddie starts to smile, the laughter beginning to dissolve in his throat.

“You like to keep a man on his toes, I like that Eds.” Richie says, still leaning against the bookshelves, looking, somewhat, like a complete dork. It made Eddie smile more.

“I thought I told you to not call me that, Trashmouth.” Eddie crosses his arms over his chest, still smiling, trying to ignore the way his heart felt when Richie called him “Eds,” trying to ignore how his heart beat out of his chest whenever Richie looked at him.

“You weren’t serious now, were you?” Richie fakes a wounded face once again. Eddie couldn’t believe someone so annoying could be so good looking and so charming.

“I was completely serious, just so you know,” Eddie uncrosses his arms and points the air where Richie was, resting against a bookshelf, surrounded by fallen books he hadn’t bothered to pick up. He looked beautiful, somehow. Eddie forces that thought away, “And, I have to get home. I guess it was nice talking to you, Trashmouth.”

“Going so soon, dear Eds?” Richie cocks his head, his curls moving along with him.

Just when Eddie was about to reply, say something clever, a last word, another voice joins the conversation. Another voice he recognized.

“Richie? Where the hell did you go?” It was Beverly Marsh. The other member of that band Eddie not so secretly loved, “Jesus, I look away from you for one second and you find someone else to bother.”

“Why, I’m sorry, Bev. Dear Eddie Spaghetti and I were just having a riveting conversation in your absence.” Richie was smiling again, but this time at Beverly, and Eddie feels a pang of emotion. A pang of, jealousy. He’s so pathetic, he didn’t even bother to stop him from calling him another stupid nickname.

Beverly looks over at him, a laugh ghosting over her lips.

“I’m sorry for whatever he said to you.” Beverly has a nice smile, even when there was sympathy seeping thickly into it.

“It’s okay. He wasn’t that annoying.” Eddie smiles back.

“He handled me well, if I do say so myself.” Richie pulls himself off the shelves, straightening himself out.

“I guess I’ll take that as a compliment,” Eddie says, tightening his grip on his books, checking his watch. Shit, he really had to go, “Sorry, I actually, really need to leave now.”

Richie and Beverly say nothing as he turns away, Richie just finger gunning and smirking for the millionth time. Beverly just smiling widely, waving like maybe she’ll see him again.

“OH! You should take that as a compliment, Eddie Spaghetti!” He hears Richie shout from behind him as he was a few steps out of the aisle.

“I’m already walking away, Trashmouth, already walking away.” And Eddie was. He was walking away and smiling like a complete idiot. He can’t believe that just happened. His heart feels so light yet so heavy and he thinks it might come up his throat and out of his mouth if he tries to talk again.

Back in the aisle, Beverly was laughing. Laughing at Richie.

“Stop laughing at me Bev! He’s cute.” Richie whines, laughing a little too.

“ ‘Trashmouth.’ He calls you Trashmouth, after one conversation,” Beverly stops for a second, “And I’m not laughing at your taste in guys, I’m laughing at how insanely perfect he is for you. It is seriously so weird. You need to keep him, I swear.”

“See! He’s the best. I think I’m in love.” Richie, dramatically, of course, puts a hand against his forehead.

“In love already? Wow. He must be really special. Even after one little interaction.” Beverly starts to finally leave the aisle, Richie trailing behind.

“You didn’t even hear the first part!”

Suddenly, Richie, forgetting about his bout of dramatics earlier, trips on one of the books he knocked over.

“Falling for him already huh, Trashmouth?”

“Shut up, Bev,” Richie says as he slowly gets up, but there is no malice to his tone and his smile seeps into his words.

Chapter Text

three cheers for friendship
3:30pm

eddie: holy shit guys im a gay having a panic attack

bill: are you ok???

ben: yeah? you good?

mike: what’s up? did something happen at the bookstore?

eddie: oh u know nothing much

eddie: if richie tozier flirting with me in the non fiction aisle is nothing

bill: WHAT THE FUCK

ben: WHAT THE FUCK

mike: WHAT THE FUCK

eddie: u heard me

ben: oh my god

eddie: and yes, beverly was there

eddie: she’s very nice

ben:oh my god

eddie: bill i see you typing. and no. stan wasn’t there

bill:gosh darnit

mike: you’re all way too obsessed with them

eddie: i almost died mike be supportive

bill: yeah

ben: yeah MIKE

 

bitch + staniel the maniel
3:45pm

bitch: id thought id let u kno that

bitch: i have met the love of my lyfe

staniel the maniel: Really now.

bitch: ye

bitch: he was having a panic attack in the non fiction aisle of the bookstore

bitch: i think i finessed him p gud

staniel the maniel: Was the panic attack because of you?

bitch: no it twas not.

bitch: but i helped him

staniel the maniel: Was that before or after you decided you “finessed him p gud” ?

bitch: staniel u make me sad :^(

staniel the maniel: Good.

bitch: im tryna tell u abt my new mans nd ur being a meanie

stan the maniel: Fine. So, what’s this guy like?

bitch: his name is eddie. short. kind of aggressive.

staniel the maniel: Sounds interesting.

bitch: didnt appreciate it when i called him cutie or eds but we'll get there

staniel the maniel: Sure you will.

 

Eddie finds himself at the bookstore the next day. And no, he isn’t there because he wants to see Richie because there was a very slight possibility of seeing him there again. That isn’t it at all. Actually, for your information, Eddie works there. So he has to be there. In reality, Eddie would actually rather fling himself out of his second story bedroom window and onto the sidewalk than go back to the bookstore. He doesn’t want to see Richie. Sure, the flirting was nice. It was more than nice. But it made him feel so awkward, so weird. I mean, technically he wasn’t supposed to know that his name was Richie. Or who he was at all. It’s weird to pretend you don’t know a person when in reality you know more about them than you should. Way more. The fact that he could slip up and reveal this at any moment made him sick with panic. What would he do? How would Richie even react? Would he be surprised? What if Richie thinks it’s weird that Eddie likes his band? What if Richie thinks it’s weird that he sometimes saves pictures of him and talks about him, much to the dislike of Ben, Bill and Mike.

God, he would think Eddie was too weird. He’d never talk to him again. And Eddie really thought he had a chance. Even after one conversation. Alright, stop, Eddie, you still have a chance. Calm down. He really, really wants to calm down, but just like yesterday, he can’t. What’s worse is he forgot both his inhaler and his backup inhaler, so he was going to have to suffer helplessly, all day - or as long as his shift lasted. Mind never really focusing on anything other than Richie Tozier and lungs never really getting the sufficient amount of air they needed. Today was gonna be great, he could tell.

He takes a very deep breath, wheezing slightly, feeling a rattle in his chest, and smoothes his shaking hands over his pants before attempting to pull open the heavy door. It doesn’t open at first and he takes it as a sign. He’s not supposed to be here. He needs to go home. He needs to leave. But he can’t because he already told his manager Shaaron he would be here today, right on time as always. Why does he never have the courage to call Shaaron and tell him he can’t work today? Why didn’t he do that today. He can never talk to Shaaron. Honestly, he’s a little scared of her. Okay, Eddie, you should definitely be thinking about other things than Richie, but not your manager Shaaron and how you’re too awkward to do anything but tell her that you’ll be there whenever she schedules you. That you’re always available. Because you’re not and sometimes you have to cancel plans, important plans and it makes all your friends sad but especially Bill and you hate making him upset because he’s your best friend and- oh my God. Oh, my God. Stop thinking. Please.

Some part of Eddie wishes the door would open and hit him directly in the face and knock him unconscious and maybe put him a coma or even kill him so he would never have to deal with these stupid thoughts and his stupid manager Shaaron and stupid Richie Tozier. He just wants to stop, take a nap on the sidewalk, never show his face in public, climb into the sewers, who knows. Eddie just really, really wants to calm down and have a nice, calm day, but his current regular day to day feeling lately has been nothing but anxiety so it looks like he’ll be having the opposite of a calm and nice day. Because of course, he will be. Of course.

Eddie takes in another very deep and very loud breath, and he lets out an incredibly emotional huff. Because really, it is almost 7 am and there is no one on the street and he wouldn’t care anyway if someone was there, and he is really having the shittiest time of his life. Eddie deserves this angry huff. He would have never thought that having Richie Tozier showing actual interest in him would make him feel this exasperated and otherwise horribly awful.

The heavy door swings open, almost hitting him in the face - ha, he almost got what he wished for, “Eddie? What are you doing? Are you okay? You were standing out there for a very long time, I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to come in.” It was fucking Shaaron, looking concerned and sweet as usual. Goddamn Shaaron.

“Yeah, I’m-I’m fine Shaaron. Just feeling a little, um, overwhelmed lately,” Eddie laughs but it sounds weird, out of pitch, like he has never found anything funny and needs to practice. It’s mechanical, poorly timed. It reflects exactly how Eddie is feeling.

Shaaron just nods, eyebrows raised, and ushers him inside. Eddie moves quickly, forcing himself to remain as blank as possible, not making eye contact with any of his coworkers - if he was being honest he hated them anyway.

As much as he would like to say the day crawls by slowly, Richie never crossing his mind or crossing his path. But if Eddie said that he would be wrong. So wrong. He sees Richie only a mere painful thirty minutes into his 7 am shift. Richie doesn’t see him though, his back turned as he walks in, clearly looking for something. Eddie, taking advantage of the fact that Richie can’t see him, tries to duck under the counter he was just standing behind. As soon as he drops beneath the counter though, his coworker Olivia shoots him a scary look and has to march over and pull him up all the while mumbling a somewhat aggressive “Eddie what do you think you’re doing?” as he tries to fight back. Olivia has always been a bitch.

“Nothing. Nothing is happening, Olivia.” Yeah, just trying to hide from a customer, “Why don’t you see if anyone needs help getting something? I can take care of anyone over here.”

“Fine, Eddie. But if you’re sending me out here just so you can hide again, I’m going to tell Shaaron.” Olivia huffs and walks away, “There’s barely any customers here anyway.”

Eddie says nothing, rolling his eyes and desperately trying to hold himself back from calling her a bitch and dropping under the counter once more. He opts for dropping his head onto the counter and leaving it there for a good while. After a few minutes, he starts to hit his head on the counter over and over. What did he do to deserve this. He’s a good person. He hasn’t done anything. He doesn’t deserve this. Why can’t he have a normal day.

“Hey, cutie, you okay?” Eddie shoots up, eyes wide at the sudden sound. “That sounds familiar doesn’t it?”

The voice behind the words laughs that wonderful laugh and Eddie finds himself getting distracted by its tune.

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking. Now can I check you out or not?” Eddie, pulling himself back to his surroundings, rolls his eyes despite the panic and infatuation bubbling inside his chest

“You can check me out anytime, sweetheart. But, right now I do have some items I would like to buy.”

“I will get you kicked out if you keep talking like that. Do not test me.” Eddie raises his eyebrows, acknowledging Richie properly for the first time that day, “Either buy something or leave me alone.”

Richie just grins, winking at Eddie as he saunters over to the register, “Guess I gotta buy these records now. I can’t bear to leave you alone.”

“Just buy your damn shit and go, Trashmouth.” Eddie can’t help the smile that creeps onto his face as he finishes his sentence.Why was he smiling? If Shaaron heard him he would most likely no longer have a job. Why can’t he shut up when he’s nervous? Why can’t he contain his feelings? Shaaron is going to kill him and Olivia is going to laugh, and he’s smiling.

“Dear Eddie Spaghetti, cursing at me on the job? Do my ears deceive me?” Richie fake gasps and clutches his heart. Eddie doesn’t know if he wants to punch him or kiss him. He might want to do both, but he isn’t really sure about that either.

“I can kill you too, but I’d have to wait until my shift is over.” The smile never leaves Eddie’s face, no matter how badly he wants it to.

“I like you, Eds.” Eddie almost dies as soon as the words leave Richie’s mouth. Realization sinks into his chest, into his brain, into his heart like an anchor. Richie actually likes him. The Richie Tozier. Likes someone like him. Someone he met the day before and has only had one and a half conversations with. It sounds so unbelievable, but it’s not and it makes Eddie want to smile more. So he does, though it’s somewhat against his own will.

“Yeah?” Eddie crosses his arms over his chest, letting a little laughter slip out of his mouth. Some part of him tells him to stop, and remain cool and aloof, but he can’t listen.

“Yeah. And I get the feeling you might like me too.” Richie crosses his arms, clearly trying to match Eddie’s position. It didn’t work, considering he still had five or so records and a book in his hands.

“Oh, really? I don’t even know your name.” Eddie sets both hands on the counter and leans over it slightly, raising one eyebrow, attempting to ignore the blush growing on his cheeks and the thought in his brain reminding him he most certainly knows Richie’s name.

“We’ll have to fix that, I think.” Richie says, winking again, finally setting down the records and the book, “I think we’ll also have to fix the fact that I don’t have your number, Eds.”

Eddie picks up each record one by one and inspects each one, cocking his head back and forth, acting like he’s deciding on what to say next. And to some extent he was. Despite flirting back aggressively, he doesn’t want to seem, well, overzealous. And I mean, yesterday Richie told him he liked how Eddie “kept a man on his toes.” So he’ll do just that. It was kind of fun, anyway.

“Maybe. Or we might have to fix the fact that I don’t have your phone number, Trashmouth.” Eddie sets the records aside, and picks up the book. It looked interesting. The cover was pretty. Something in him told him it was probably for Beverly. He tries to push the jealousy aside. Eddie, how can you be jealous? He’s flirting with you right now. He just kind of asked you for your number! “I’m working anyways. Cursing on the job and giving a random boy my phone number? Shaaron might as well fire me on sight.”

That wasn’t quite true. But again, he’s always been scared of Shaaron and the fact that if Olivia sees anything out of the ordinary, she’ll tell Shaaron immediately. See? She’s a bitch.

“We wouldn’t want that to happen, now would we? I couldn’t visit you whenever I wanted.” Richie smirks and winks for the third time. The third time.

“Stop winking at me, Trashmouth, I’m just trying to keep my job and do it right.” While also flirting with you but we’re going to ignore that.

Richie does not reply, winking once again, which prompts a half-hearted sigh from Eddie.

“Remember when I told you I could get you kicked out? That statement still stands.” Eddie really doesn’t want to do that, though.

“You wouldn’t want to kick me out, I know it.” Richie puts his elbows on the counter and rests his chin in his hands. Eddie was sure that if Olivia or Shaaron or anyone else he works with came around, something was going to happen, but he didn’t want Richie to leave and he didn’t want to stop talking.

“Are you a mind reader, now?” Eddie, who suddenly remembers he still needs to do his job while this conversation is happening, begins to scan and bag Richie’s things. He pretends he doesn’t see Richie staring at him while he does this. He pretends he doesn’t actively take a little longer just so Richie will keep looking at him.

When he finishes, Richie straightens, pays and takes the bag, his eyes glinting.

“So, how about that number?”

“Oh, you were serious about that?” Eddie, stop, shut up, “I can’t give you my number, Trashmouth,” Eddie really wants to, though. He really, really wants to. But, he has to keep face. “I’m still working, remember? It’s like only an hour into my shift, but, maybe we can work something out. If you end up still wanting it in seven hours.”

Richie raises his eyebrows, the glint never leaving his eyes, the perpetual smirk on his face growing, “Alright, Spaghetti man, maybe we can work something out.” The smirk fades as he begins to dig through the plastic bag for something, his tongue poking out of his mouth. What he was looking for, Eddie didn’t know.

Eddie watches as Richie pulls out the receipt and sets it lightly on the counter, before going to search for something in the pocket of his jean jacket.

“A-ha, found it,” Richie clicks his tongue as he pulls out a blue pen, “There we go.” And then Richie gets to silent work.

He leans over the counter, looking up at Eddie through his hair for a quick second - which makes Eddie’s heart jump- before starting to scribble something down on the receipt. Huh, Eddie didn’t know Richie was left handed. Eddie tries to lean over the counter, just to see what he was writing, just to see what his face looks like, just to see what his handwriting looks like.

“No peeking, Eds! You’ll get to see it when I’m done.” Richie swats Eddie away with his free hand and moves to cover the paper.

“You’re taking quite a while, I just wanted to check for smoke, see if you were okay.” Eddie smiles again when he hears Richie laugh.

“You’re cold, Spaghetti, you really are.” It comes out soft, fond, and Eddie could tell Richie was smiling as he wrote. Eddie’s heart almost burst.

Eddie waits a few more minutes, letting Richie scribble on the receipt. It wasn’t long before Richie was putting the pen back into his jacket pocket, and pushing the receipt against Eddie’s chest. Eddie grabs it as soon as it leaves Richie’s hand. For a second he worries if Richie was able to feel how fast his heart was beating.

“See you soon, Eds. Thanks for checking me out.” And then, Richie leaves. Just like that he’s gone.

Eddie didn’t stop to look, didn’t turn around to watch him leave. He was too focused on the piece of paper in his hands. He still hasn’t looked at it. He doesn’t want to. His hands have started to shake again. He thinks he might start to wheeze. He takes another shaky breath and smoothes out the paper.

207-503-6624

You’re really cute. I like you a lot, Eds. Text me, we can keep flirting. I wanna get to know you. Maybe take you on a date sometime.

Richie :^)

First of all, the handwriting was incredibly messy. So messy. Eddie didn’t know someone could write this recklessly. Second of all, I like you a lot and you’re really cute and maybe take you out on a date sometime. Eddie begins to think he might have a panic attack. Or start to cry. Or laugh. Or smile. He’s feeling so much he doesn’t know what to do. His brain has been reduced to pure static. Happy static. Happy, confused static.

He doesn’t feel like this for long, though, no matter how badly he wants this feeling to stay. Something makes the air come back into his lungs and makes his brain focus on where he was.

“Well, he was at your register for quite a while,” It was Olivia, walking -quite loudly, letting her shoes clack on the floor- back to the counter with a smug expression on her face, “Now I know why you sent me away. So you could flirt with the new boy.” She giggles. It seems innocent, but Eddie can tell there’s hints of malice.

“We were not flirting! We are friends though, and sometimes friends have conversations,” God, Eddie really hated Olivia.

“Really? What’d your ‘friend’ write for you on that receipt, huh?” Olivia makes a swift move to grab it from Eddie’s hand but he yanks it back, he will admit, with far more aggression than what was needed.

“Leave me alone, Olivia.” Olivia just ends up huffing in reply, throwing her hands up as she backs away, “Bitch.” That last part he mutters under his breath, but he was pretty sure she hears him anyways.

“I heard that!” Eddie doesn’t care. He doesn’t have space in his mind to care or think about anything else but Richie right now.

Eddie really wants to text Richie during his break, but he can’t. He can’t bring himself to do it. When he thinks about actually going through with it, he starts to freak out. He starts to wonder if he should even really text him. He then decides he needs to call Bill. And that’s what Eddie was doing right now. Freaking out to Bill on the phone. Being dramatic while Bill listened and gave him actual advice.

“What do I do with it, Bill?” Eddie, pacing wildly, takes his hand that isn’t holding his phone and presses it against his temple.

“Y-you k-keep it and y-you t-text him. I-it’s t-that simple,” Eddie really wants to listen to Bill, but for some reason he can’t, “F-for fuck’s s-sake, E-eddie.”

“Don’t ‘for fuck’s sake’ me, Bill! I have a right to freak out!” Eddie waves his free hand wildly. “What would you do if Stan came over to you, asked you for your number and then gave you his? Huh? What would you do? Are you telling me you wouldn’t flip shit?”

“I-i most c-certainly would f-flip shit,” Bill says, “B-but I’m j-just trying to g-get y-you to c-calm down, a-alright? B-because y-you don’t have t-to text h-him n-now, but you’re g-gonna h-have to e-eventually.”

“I know I’m gonna have to, Bill!” Eddie starts to shout, but remembers he’s in the breakroom and shouldn’t really be doing this right now, “But, like, every time I think about doing it I think I’m gonna have an asthma attack or pass out or something. I’m 17 years old and I’ve never been flirted with. Ever.”

“O-of course y-you feel this w-way, E-eddie. It’s p-pretty nerve-wracking. B-but I b-believe in you. Y-you can d-do this.” Eddie wishes he could hug Bill right now.

“Okay, thanks, Bill. I have to go, my break is almost over. I’ll text him when I get off,” Eddie goes to hang up, but has to agree to something first, “And, yes, I’ll text you how it goes. Bye Bill, you’re the best.”

Eddie spends the rest of the day trying to push the thought of having to text Richie out of his mind. It only works sometimes. The thought always finding its way back to him. Despite his, the day goes by quickly, and when the time comes, Eddie isn’t ready. He stands outside the front door of the shop, swaying, shifting his weight from foot to foot, waiting for the right moment to text him. He doesn’t really want to text him right now, he just got off of work. But, Richie doesn’t know that. Who knows, maybe he’s been waiting all day for a text from Eddie? But what if he wasn’t? What if he couldn’t care less about what Eddie does with his phone number? Maybe he’s too busy with Stan and Beverly.

Eddie forces himself to close his eyes, forces himself to breathe. In for four, hold for three, out for four. He stands outside the store for longer than he would like to admit, never feeling any better than he did before. Eddie decides he needs to push through. He opens his phone, ignoring the way his stomach feels, ignoring how he’s so anxious he’s beginning to worry he might pass out. He hopes he doesn’t, because for some reason, even with all of this anxiousness, he feels, happy. Happy. He’s going to text Richie. Admittedly, he feels like he’s going to throw up, but he’s going to text him nonetheless.

Eddie takes more breaths, carefully typing out his message, carefully making sure there aren’t any mistakes, any signs of his nervousness, anything that might make Richie ignore it. Once he’s done, his thumb hovers over the send button. The sudden fact that this is all happening hits Eddie in a rush and he starts to feel dizzy.

He presses send anyway, pushes the hair out his eyes, and begins to walk away.

Unknown + Richie
2:15pm

Unknown: Hey! It’s Eddie. I hope I put the right number in!! :)

Chapter Text

Unknown + Richie
2:15pm

Unknown: Hey! It’s Eddie. I hope I put the right number in!! :)

After about seven hours of waiting, Richie’s phone finally buzzes. And when it buzzes he panics, scrambling, sitting up so surprised he almost throws his phone across the room. Which, would really not be good considering Eddie might have just texted him and if he broke his phone he would not be able to answer him and then Eddie might think he was ignoring him or only flirting with him for fun or leading him on, which was the complete opposite of true. He really really likes Eddie. Jesus, if he thinks any louder, Stan might yell at him.

“Do you think that’s him?” Stan says from across the room, not looking up from his book.

“It might be,” Richie swallows, “But I don’t know if I can check.”

Stan rolls his eyes, still focused on his book, “You’re unbelievable sometimes.”

Richie does not reply, he just looks down at his phone again, staring blankly at it. What does he do if it’s Eddie? What does he do if it’s not? What does he do at all? Does he ask Stan for help? Assuming Stan isn’t going to kill him before he even has the time to mentally give himself a pep talk into asking for any assistance. Wait. What if it was just Bev? She was out, after all, maybe she had just texted him asking him if he needed anything.

“It’s not Beverly, dumbass.” Okay, maybe Stan is right. “You’re being really stupid, Rich. Which, I would say is normal, but, your dumbness right now is completely out of the ordinary. Answer your fucking texts before he thinks you were just playing a mean joke on him. I mean it.”

Okay. Stan is definitely right. It took a few minutes, but Richie finally gathers the courage to unlock his phone, and face whatever notification that’s waiting for him. He starts to open his phone very slowly, very, very slowly - “stupidly slow” Stan would call it - and then it buzzes again. The number is unknown.
Unknown + Richie

2:27pm
Unknown: oh my gosh this is totally the wrong number im so sorry im gonna go die

“Stan it’s him.” Richie glances over at Stan, looking like death warmed over. Stan doesn’t even blink.

“Okay, and?” Stan turns a page in his book. It was the book Richie got for him this morning.

“What the fuck do I do?” In a bout of intense anxiety, he fumbles and throws the phone in his hands across the room. It bounces off of Stan’s chest and lands in his lap. Stan sighs, closes his book and rubs his hands over his face once, his expression blank and emotionless. Richie thinks it looks something similar to the look of homicide.

“You. Answer. It.” In one swift motion, Stan picks up Richie’s phone and throws it at him. It hits Richie right in the face, “You deserve that.” And then Stan goes back to silently reading his book, silently asking himself if he should get up and move to the next room or something.

“Okay, you’re right, you’re right.” Richie stops breathing for a second and runs his hands through his matted hair. Hair that was messy because he was lying around waiting for Eddie to text him all day. Not that that was important. Anyway.

“When am I not?” Stan turns a page in his book. Stan was like, kind of a badass. Focus, Richie. Focus on what’s in front of you. Oh yeah, a text from the kid you kind of have a crush on, no big deal. No sweat. Nothing to worry about.

Eds + Richie
2:35pm

Richie: no u got it right!!!!! its me! richie

Eds: oh! hello!

Richie: hey ;^)

Eddie: we’ve been talking for two seconds and ur already annoying me

Richie: im talented like that

Eddie: for once i agree with u on smth

Richie: ;^)

Eddie: oh my god stop

Eddie: i need to go!! i need to watch where im going im still walking home ill talk to u later!

Richie: see u soon dear eds <3

Richie feels like he’s going to die. Or something like that. He really doesn’t know if it’s because he’s still running on adrenaline or he’s happy or something in between. It’s a weird feeling. Something very unfamiliar. Yet, he wants to never stop talking to Eddie, but he also wishes they didn’t start a conversation because he feels so awkward, he worries he might do something stupid. He’s nervous he’s going to slip up and drive Eddie away early. Some part of him is worried Eddie actually doesn’t like him. And at the same time, he’s so happy he thinks he’s in love and wants to shout about it or yell about it or talk about it or whisper about it. That part of him wants to never stop talking to Eddie, wants to see him every day. He’s also thinking about how he’s only known Eddie for about a day and a half. He’s not sure which part he should listen to more. The breath he takes is strange and shallow. Like his lungs never really filled up all the way. He tries again, this breath more shallow than the first, and pushes stray, knotted curls out of his eyes.

“I’m gonna go, for a bit,” Richie stands up awkwardly. “Ride around town.”

“Something happen?” Stan asks, setting his book down for the first time that day.

“No. I just think I’m feeling too much.” That’s the only way Richie could explain it. He’s not sure it even makes sense, not even sure it’s even contextual to their situation, but it’s what comes into his mind, “The noise in my brain is getting to be way too loud.” Richie tries a smile. But he can tell that it’s wavering. He’s not really sure why.

“That, or you secretly wanna see Eddie again” Stan smirks. There’s light in his eyes.

The statement makes Richie laugh, partly because it’s funny and partly because, well it’s true. It makes Richie feel just a little bit better, in a way. But it doesn’t make the dark and overbearing part of his thoughts disappear completely. They are still hanging over him, loose and thick. Like an overbearing cloud. Maybe seeing Eddie would make him feel nicer. Less crowded. Eddie really has improved his mood, if he was being honest.

“I mean, you’re not wrong.” Richie pushes the hair out of his eyes again, smiling slightly, shuffling around to find his jacket, put on his shoes and grab his old, nearly broken skateboard.
The whole process seems to take him longer than he thinks it will take, but he gets it done nonetheless.

Stan is reading again once Richie leaves, barely looking up from his book to yell,“Bye! Have fun! Be safe! Don’t get lost! Keep in touch!”

Richie laughs again, and agrees, reminding Stan to tell Beverly where he was whenever she ends up coming back. Just before he opens the door, he thinks about the probability of Stan being finished with the book once he comes back home. It makes him smile.

 

The ride is nice. Calming. Richie doesn’t think about much. Except for Eddie. His mind feels kind of like a strange version of static. But it also feels a little clearer. The cold air helps. He almost crashes a few times and falls more than once, but it’s no more than usual. He’s never really been very good at skateboarding. Still, it’s fun. It might be something he can impress Eddie with and it’s something to do when he needs to clear his head. It’s a mode of transportation, too. Who cares if Richie ends up hurting himself along the way? Richie certainly doesn’t! He’ll get hurt and look cool doing it and look cool after. That’s fine with Richie.

Richie rides for a while, weaving in and out of the side streets and onto main roads, looking but not looking for Eddie. The whole time he’s looking he’s telling himself he hasn’t known Eddie for that long, nothing is going to happen. He shouldn’t be thinking about him this much. Eddie probably isn’t thinking about him at all. Richie zones out for so long he doesn’t realize he’s in the center of town until an oncoming car almost hits him. He swerves, ignoring the yelling driver and goes down another side street. It’s smaller than the others and after another aimless right, it takes him down a street he doesn’t know. It’s on a hill. Richie falls again. He falls almost directly on his face and his cheeks and elbows sting. He also thinks his knees might be bleeding through his jeans. He gets up and continues anyway. Something in him won’t let him stop.

He feels like he’s been skating for hours. He feels like he needs to be going somewhere. He feels like he needs to stop wandering aimlessly about, turning whenever and wherever. He feels like he needs to stop looking but not looking for Eddie. Hopelessly hoping that some random turn will eventually lead him to him. He should probably just go back home. Stan and Beverly might want to know where he’s been for so long. Stan and Beverly would tell him to go home.

However, after about two alleys, two more side streets and another main street, he sees someone walking. They’re wearing a backpack. They’re short. Their hair is brown and wavy and shines in the cold light. The sweater they’re wearing looks soft. It’s large and black. They’re wearing a large scarf despite the fact that it’s barely even gotten chilly. For some reason, Richie immediately knows it’s Eddie. Richie says nothing as he desperately tries to pick up speed, really wanting to catch up with him. Really wanting to start another conversation. As he does this, he tries his best not to fall flat on his face. He needs to save at least some dignity. He’s talking to the boy he pretty much loves, for God’s sake.

“Hey! Eds!” Richie almost loses his footing again as he picks up even more speed and begins to wave his arms. Eddie doesn’t turn around. For a second, Richie worries it wasn’t him, or, even worse, Eddie was ignoring him already.

Pushing those thoughts away, he tries again. He knows it’s Eddie. It has to be him.

“Eds! Eddie Spaghetti! Eds!” He’s not on his skateboard anymore. It’s in his hands and he’s running up the street like a maniac.

Eddie jumps back and pulls out his earbuds, softening a little once he sees that it’s Richie.

“Trashmouth? What are you doing?” Eddie smiles a bit, and lightly places his hands in the pockets of his pants, waiting for Richie to stop running.

“Oh, you know, I was just taking a little ride here, on this street,” Richie stops in front of Eddie, looks around for the name of the street - or any indication of where he was - and finds nothing, “That I am completely unfamiliar with.”

“Did you skate all the way over here?” Eddie is still smiling and Richie never wants it to stop.

“Yeah. I’m not so good though. I fell a couple times and a car almost ran me over, but still, it’s not as bad as it could have been.” Richie, matching Eddie, awkwardly puts his hands in the front pockets of his jeans, “At least I’m here, though.”

Eddie takes his hands out of his pockets. “At least you’re here.” He breathes out a light laugh. “And, really? Not that bad? Your face is bleeding, Rich,” Eddie reaches up and lets the knuckles of his right hand graze Richie’s cheek. It was the one that stung the most.

Richie doesn’t know if he’s going to drop dead because it’s the first time he’s heard Eddie say his name, he just touched his cheek, or Rich. Richie’s heart threatens an attack. Threatens sudden death at the small interaction. A blush grows into Richie’s cheeks, amplifying the cuts that sat there. He smiles softly, trying his best not to lean into the touch, but ultimately failing.

“Yeah, not that bad.” Eddie pulls his hand away. Richie’s face feels colder than before.

“Did you really come all the way on that broken thing?” Eddie gestures to Richie’s skateboard, which was covered in stickers, duct tape and who knows what. There was a crack going down the middle.

“I go mostly everywhere on this good ole thing, Eds.” Richie holds it proudly. Eddie makes a dismayed face.

“And did you come all the way over just to find me and talk to me?” Eddie wasn’t looking at Richie anymore. He was looking at the ground. Richie could sense a smile in his words as he spoke, though.

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Riche steps closer to Eddie. All thoughts he had before were forgotten. All thoughts he has right now are forgotten as well. Eddie looks up and smiles again and it makes Richie so happy he could yell, or just kiss him. He settles on bouncing up and down on his feet. He has no witty reply. No flirty response. He can’t make it come out of his mouth.

“Well, I’m happy to see you, Rich,” Eddie adjusts his backpack on his shoulders, sinking his face a little farther into his scarf. Almost like he’s hiding. Richie thinks it’s adorable. “But, I think you might have to stop skateboarding. You could hurt yourself for real and I don’t want that. I’m serious. I may just have to take it and throw it away.”

“Throw away this old thing?” Richie scoffs a scoff that borders a laugh and lifts up the arm that was holding the thing in question. “Don’t go and yeet my skateboard on me, Eds.”

The smiles drops off of Eddie’s face. Richie’s not sure why and it makes him nervous.

“Did you really just fucking say that to me? Out loud?”

“What? Yeet?” Richie steps even closer to Eddie.

“Yeah. That.” Eddie steps back, laughing, “I think you just prematurely ended our conversation, Trashmouth.”

Eddie begins to walk away, clearly serious, clearly not. It makes Richie’s lungs hurt. He’s never met anyone like this before. Richie lets Eddie walk away, lets him get halfway up the street. He watches him walk, pretending he wasn’t totally checking Eddie out. Pretending he wasn’t figuring out what to do next.

“Wait! Eds! Come back!” Richie starts to wave his arms again, this time with one hand weighed down by the bulk of the skateboard.

Richie can hear Eddie laughing, even from far away. The tightness in Richie’s lungs somehow gets worse and somehow lets go. Letting him breathe easier but making his lungs ache dully at the same time.

“Eds! Come back! I’ll even give you my skateboard!” Richie can’t believe he’s shouting while running up the street in the middle of the day for someone he met yesterday. A small sliver of him can believe he’s doing this. Can believe he’s doing this for a boy.

Eddie turns around at that. He’s smiling widely, laughing with surprise. Richie thinks it’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. He never wants to stop looking at Eddie. He never wants Eddie to stop looking like that. The way the sun shines on his hair from the top of the hill and the way his smile lights up his whole face and somehow makes the freckles decorating his nose and cheeks more noticeable. Richie thinks he could write 100 songs about how Eddie looks right now. Richie thinks he could write more than that just about Eddie. He lets out a cold breath that makes his chest tighten once more.

“Yeah? You’ll give me your skateboard?” Eddie was smiling wider now, his cheeks growing red. Either from the cold that wasn’t so cold, or something else. Richie didn’t know and didn’t stop to think about it. He was a little busy. You know, he just offered to give a beautiful boy he barely knows his skateboard. He was just a bit preoccupied.

“Totally.” They weren’t that far away from each other, but Richie was still shouting. He’s not really sure why though, he thinks it’s a reflex. He knows Eddie will be able to hear him regardless of whether or not he’s shouting, but that doesn’t stop him.

“Fine, then.” Eddie starts to smirk. Richie has never seen him smirk. He’s always either scowling or smiling or doing something in between. Richie thinks it looks good on him. But then again, Richie currently thinks everything looks good on Eddie. “Give me your skateboard, Richie.”

This is the second time Eddie calls Richie by his name. This is the second time it makes Richie want to collapse. He tries to cling to his consciousness and keep alert and alive as best as he possibly can. He takes the skateboard in both hands and grips it tightly. He lifts it up and stares at it with a mournful and dramatic look, trying, at least, to be a little funny.

“Goodbye, old friend.” He whispers, and he strokes the side. Is he really going to do this?

“Hurry up, Richie! You told me you’d give it to me!” Eddie huffs. But it’s a light huff. A good-natured huff. Richie’s heart jumps at hearing Eddie call him his name for the third time.

Richie holds the skateboard in front of him again, his grip tighter than before. He takes one breath before deciding that throwing it overhand might be the best way to do this. Get it over with quickly.

He throws the skateboard. He throws it with, honestly, a lot more force than he meant to throw it with.

“Richie! No! I meant I wanted you to hand it to m-” Eddie can’t finish what he’s saying.

He’s cut off. Cut off by a skateboard hitting him directly in the face. Richie’s thrown skateboard. It hits him hard, really hard, probably because Richie threw it with way too much vigor. When the skateboard drops to the ground it bounces, cracking just a little bit more. But Richie isn’t too focused on the skateboard right now. He’s focused on the boy he just hit with it. Richie quickly shifts his attention from his skateboard to Eddie. Oh, Eddie. He stumbles backward a little, obviously shocked. His hands are cupping his nose and lips. Richie’s heart breaks a little bit. He also thinks that his shot at a date just dropped below fucking zero. God, he fucked up. He hit what could be the love of his god damn life in the fucking face with a fucking skateboard. Holy fuck. And, shit, he can’t just stand there looking shocked and heartbroken. That would be such an asshole thing to do.

Richie starts to move so quickly he doesn’t even realize he’s running until he’s halfway to Eddie. Eddie who is still cupping his face. Eddie who is very clearly bleeding. Eddie who is very clearly pissed. Richie wishes he could disappear. He always fucks everything up. Whatever made him believe he would get his shot without messing up, is wrong. Just like it always is. He curses himself for having false hope.

“Eddie? Oh my God. I am so sorry. Oh my God. I fucked up so bad. I shouldn’t have thrown it to you holy shit.” Richie stops right in front of Eddie. He lets his hands dangle awkwardly at his sides.

“Yeah, you shouldn’t have thrown it to me, you asshole!” Eddie lets his hands fall from his face just so he can hit Richie in the chest. There’s blood on his hand and it smudges onto Richie’s jacket. Richie doesn’t care at all. He knows Stan will and that he will probably freak when he sees it later but that’s not something he can think about right now.

“I know I know I was just trying to be funny but that wasn’t funny and oh my God I’m so sorry.” Richie cups his hands around Eddie’s cheeks, and he’s not sure why. He acts like he’s wiping the blood off his lip and Eddie lets him, leaning into the touch.

“I don’t know if I forgive you yet.” Eddie smiles slightly, his eyes soft and Richie thinks he looks breathtaking despite the fact that his face is covered in blood and his nose is still bleeding quite a lot. “I don’t know if I ever will. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

“Do you want me to walk you home? You can decide whether or not you hate me while we walk. I won’t skate this time.” Richie still hasn’t taken his hands off of Eddie’s face. He’s not sure he can. He wouldn’t be upset if they stayed like that in the street forever.

“Richie, I literally cannot go home like this,” Eddie steps back and Richie lets his hands drop, “If my mom sees me like this, I may actually die. If I come home with a bloody nose and a random boy with a skateboard, who gave me the bloody nose, no less, you will never see me again and I mean that.”

“Oh, okay.” Richie says, softly, a little sad, “I can take you back to mine? Fix you up there? Stan might know what to do. Bev too. Then maybe I can walk you home?”

Richie pretends he isn’t blushing while he asks. He picks up his skateboard in an attempt to hide it. Eddie pretends he doesn’t notice and pretends he doesn’t know he’s blushing too.

“Sure, Trashmouth.” Eddie wipes some more of the blood off of his nose. He didn’t want to go home just yet anyway. “Lead the way.”

“Okay, Eddie Spaghetti, let’s go.” Richie goes to put his hands in his jacket pockets again but decides against it.

“Shut up.” Eddie rolls his eyes as he starts to follow Richie.

They walk down the street silently, their arms bumping every once in a while.

“You know,” Richie says when they take a left at the end of the street, “I don’t really know I got here and I don’t really know how we’re going to get home.”

“Are you kidding me?” Eddie looks at him, his eyebrows raised. The blood hasn’t stopped yet. Richie still didn’t know how a person could be so beautiful. He thinks it’s going to take years for him to figure out. He thinks he’ll have to look some more to get his answer once Eddie gets the blood off his face.

“No, I am not. But, hey! It’ll be a new adventure! We can get to know each other along the way.” And answer questions like if you like me back and still want to date me after I made you bleed for a stupid joke.

“Okay,” Eddie rolls his eyes, “But if we get lost I’m gonna hit you with your skateboard, see how you feel.”

“Ouch, Eds,” Richie laughs a little, but not a lot, “Again, I’m really sorry, Eds.” And Richie is. He feels so bad he literally wants to lay down on the street and disappear. He always has to try to be funny. Even when it’s not the time. God, what is wrong with him.

Eddie doesn’t reply, doesn’t tell him to not call him that. Richie blurts something out before he can.

“Can-can I hold your hand?” Richie wants to hit his head against one of the telephone phones nearby. Why did he say that? He’s messing everything up even more now.

Eddie laughs and sticks out his hand, “I didn’t think you could be so forward, Trashmouth.”

It was the hand that had the most blood on it and Richie couldn’t care less. He grabs it quickly, happily, trying not to come off really excited - but really he was so so so happy - and laces their fingers together. Eddie’s blood-covered hand is small but it’s adorable and Richie thinks it fits perfectly into his. He never wants to leave this moment. He’s thinking back to what he thought earlier, how could write over 100 songs about Eddie and he thinks he truly could and he’s making a promise to himself to write one once he walks Eddie home. He’s making a promise to himself to write one every day. He can write 15 right now about how it feels to have Eddie’s hand in his.

He wants to say something but he can’t. There’s so much he has to say, so much he wants to say. So much he wants to tell him. It’s only been a day and a half - he keeps reminding himself - and yet he feels like he’s known Eddie forever. He feels like he’s been in love with him forever. It’s a really weird feeling and it makes him want to say everything and absolutely nothing. It makes him want to kiss him. It makes him want to hug him and wipe the blood from his face and hands. It makes him want to do everything and nothing. He silently curses himself for that feeling, though. For feeling so much so fast. But it’s different than anything he’s ever experienced, so, kindly, fuck “feeling so much so fast.” He likes this boy. He likes Eddie a lot. Who cares how long it’s been. All he knows is that his heart is on fire and his lungs are tight and they'll never relax unless he's with Eddie. All he knows is that the pain will also get worse when he's with Eddie. All he knows is he wants to spend all his time getting to know everything there is to know about Eddie.

“I can hear you thinking, Richie,” Eddie says, and he squeezes Richie’s hand slightly. Richie hums, nervous yet relaxed.

They fall back into a comfortable silence, both thinking over the same thoughts. Both thinking about how they’re too afraid to say the same things.

Eddie is about to say one thing, the only thing he could think of to say. The only thing he could say without major anxiety coursing through him. He’s about to open his mouth, but his phone buzzes in his pocket.

eddie + bill!!!!!
3:15pm

bill!!!!!: where r u????????

bill!!!!: u were supposed to meet us @ ben’s after ur shift remember

eddie: i know i am so sorry but something happened

bill!!!!!: like,,

eddie: like richie tozier from the band lozers (loserz???) hitting me in the face with his skateboard and then offering to take me to his house and then holding my hand

bill!!!!!: HOLY SHIT EDDIE

eddie: I KNOW HOLY SHIT

bill!!!!!: ill tell mike nd ben what happened omg go get ur mans

Chapter Text

“Tell me about yourself.”

Richie starts to swing their intertwined hands, grinning.

“I, my good, sir,” He says, using a British accent, which Eddie can only describe as “god-awful.” Eddie lets him continue anyway, still so desperate to come off as a stranger, “Am Richard James Tozier the third, don’t forget the third. It’s very important.”

“Uh-huh,” Eddie nods, smiling lightly. Very, very lightly. Very, very against his own will, “Anything else I should know, Richard? Or is your full name and the fact that you can’t do accents all I need to know?”

“Of course there’s more!” Richie shouts, still talking in that terrible accent, “I’m in a band. I’m 18, I just turned 18, actually. My birthday was last month. September 10th. I live with my two best friends and bandmates, Bev and Stan. We just moved. You met Bev really quick yesterday, and you might meet Stan once we get back to my house. I love them so much. You’ll love them, too. I’m sure they’ll love you back. They’re both sweethearts. Well, Stan sometimes acts like he isn’t but trust me, he is. Anyway, uh, I play guitar, but you probably could have guessed that because I said I was in a band. I skateboard but you also know that, again I’m really really sorry. Uh, I have poor impulse control and Stan says I have a horrible fashion sense.” The accent fades as he keeps rambling. Eddie thinks it’s the cutest thing, the way he speaks with such animation. The way he cocks his head, really deciding on what to say next. The way his free hand always moves in time with his words.

As he spoke, Eddie checked what he knew in his head. Band, check. 18, check. September 10th, check. Bev and Stan, check. Just moved, check. Guitar, check.

“I think I agree with Stan, and I also think that the blood makes your jacket look worse.” Eddie squeezes Richie’s hand. No, Eddie, not right now. Sure, you’re holding hands, but you haven’t known each other long. Don’t be so eager. Tone it down, Eddie.

“I didn’t put the blood there, did I? If I seem to remember correctly this is your blood, that came off of your hand, that was originally coming out of your nose. Check and mate." Richie continued to move their hands. He did it whenever he opened his mouth to speak.

“Oh shut up, asshole.” Eddie rolls his eyes, and tries to pull his hand away, but Richie’s grip tightens as he pulls him back.

“I’m sure you love me, deep down. I can feel a connection, don’t tell me you don’t feel it too.” Richie’s cheeks were, well, a little pink. Eddie doesn’t know if it’s because of the slight chill in the air, the leftover blood from his scrapes or if it’s because he was blushing. Eddie doesn’t give himself time to decide.

“I feel something. I’m not sure it’s a connection, though. I think I’m just annoyed with you.” Eddie weakly tries to pull away again, not wanting to let go of Richie’s hand. Richie holds tighter and pulls him back again, his smile somehow getting bigger.

Eddie now takes the time to finally look at Richie. Properly. Not look at him a little bit, out of the corner of his eye, not pretend to be looking at him but actually be looking at the bookshelf behind him, not looking at him on Instagram, not looking at him through Snapchat videos. He finally looks at Richie. Richie, who is right next to him, holding his hand, grip getting tighter every time Eddie moves away even the slightest bit. He stares at Richie and he sees a lot of things. He sees how the afternoon sun shines off his freckles. He sees how his crooked smile matches his crooked glasses. He sees how the sun makes his messy hair look even worse. He sees how one of his shoes is untied and how his socks don’t match. He sees how his free hand shakes when he brings it up to run it through the thing on top of his head. He sees every single thought in his head. Eddie thinks he looks absolutely beautiful.

Eddie has seen Richie before, of course he has. But he’s never seen him like this. Right in front of him. He’s never seen him be his true self. It made his heart soar, but it also made his heart break. Richie wouldn’t be like this if - or when - he found out Eddie already knew who he was, and that Eddie was a fan of his. He’d probably leave. God, Eddie, again with this? Can you shut up? It’s only been a fucking day. You’re an idiot. Stop thinking like this. You’ve known each other one day. Stop thinking about how in love with him you are already and how he’ll probably ignore you when he knows that you’re crazily obsessed with him. Stop thinking! This hand-holding thing means nothing. All of this means nothing! This guy’s an asshole for God’s sake. He hit you with a fucking skateboard for fuck’s sake! Get your shit together Eddie. You’ve known him a day. He could stop talking to you at any second. Don’t forget that. And don’t think about how beautiful he is or how sweet he can be despite the horrible jokes he makes or how comfortable his hand feels intertwined with yours. Don’t think about that at all. Remember Eddie: one day! One day! One day! But it kind of feels like it’s been longer than that and maybe all of this does mean something and-

Jesus Christ, he’s a goner already. Eddie feels dizzy. Does he need his inhaler? Why does it suddenly hurt to breathe? Okay, he needs to stop thinking about all of this. What he does need to start thinking about is the fact that he still has a bloody nose and the fact that his Mom will question him when he eventually does get home despite the fact that she thinks he was with Bill and Ben and Mike and she won’t be able to see any traces of blood anywhere. And how that might be a problem because really, there is blood almost everywhere so he can’t rely on assuming she won’t see it and there is no way he can lie his way out of that. He’d be in the hospital until Friday. And it was Saturday. And if Eddie was being honest, he could clean himself up just fine, he has a first aid kit in his backpack. This situation could easily be resolved. But that would only happen if the cute boy who hit him with the skateboard left and didn’t offer to take him back to his house. And then ask to hold his hand.

Eddie would try and clean his nose and face and try and fix it however he could and he knows he probably should because it’s not good to let your nose bleed like his, but he can’t find a reason to care. No matter how badly he wants to force himself to take out the kit in his backpack, he can’t. His hand is comfortable in Richie’s and he’s honestly content to keep it like that. And he’s enjoying this time with Richie. It’s kind of nice when he’s not freaking out. But, like, he’s also freaking out at the same time.

“Are you being quiet because you’re thinking of something about yourself to tell me, now? Or am I just gonna have to guess things about you and you just have to tell me if I’m right or not? Or do you just not want to talk to me? If you’re still mad at me for the skateboard thing I understand. I don’t have to take you back to mine. I don’t have to walk you home. I don’t even have to hold your hand. If you think we’re going too fast I totally understand but I need you to work with me here.” Richie starts to ramble, again, running his hand through his hair, again. Eddie figures it’s something he does when he’s nervous.

Hm. He’d like to run his fingers through Richie’s hair. See if it’s as soft as it looks. Okay, Eddie, moving on.

“Stop being dumb. I’m holding your hand, aren’t I? I said yes to that and I agreed to let you walk me home.” Eddie stops walking. Richie keeps walking for a quick second, but gets pulled back. He turns slightly, stepping closer to Eddie. Eddie thinks that if he gets too close he might kiss him. He really wants to and he’s not sure he has enough self-control to stop himself at this moment.

“I guess you’re right,” Richie smirks. Eddie now realizes that Richie smirks a lot. Whether it’s just his character or if he’s doing it specifically to him, Eddie doesn’t know. He might die if he’s doing it just for him.

“You guess? I’m always right.” Eddie tries to smirk back. He’s not sure if it works. He’s not sure if an actual smile starts to seep into it as he tries - sorry but he’s a little happy right now - and he’s not sure he even really knows how to smirk. What even is smirking? Was it just a different kind of smile? Lots of people smirk, right? Richie probably wasn’t doing it specifically for him. It just seems like a Richie thing. There’s nothing special about it.

“I guess you’re right about that, too,” Richie breaks through Eddie’s internal monologue just as the other part of him was just about to start scolding him about overthinking. Again.

Eddie rolls his eyes lightly and doesn’t respond, not sure of what to say next. He’s thought so long and so hard about what he would say if he ever actually had a conversation with Richie Tozier, but now, he has no words. I guess it’s a bit different when you now have to pretend you have no idea who the person in front of you is even though you’ve loved them for a year and you always have to be careful of what you say because you might slip up.

“So….?” Richie’s trailing off voice breaks through Eddie’s thoughts again. The long “o” turns into a drone as Richie rocks back and forth on his feet, trying to stand in front of Eddie despite the fact that they were holding hands.

“So?” Eddie wants to start walking again, but he also doesn’t. He thinks they could stay like this on the empty street forever. He knows that they can’t though, and it makes him unreasonably sad. Why can’t things be normal? Why did Richie have to be in a well-known band? Why did they have to meet?

“So? Tell me stuff about you now!” Richie starts walking as he says this, throwing his hand into the air, “It’s only fair. I basically laid out my life story for you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Eddie rolls his eyes while he thinks, what can he say? What does he say at all? What does he do? He feels lightheaded. He feels anxiety seeping through the cracks of his outward demeanor.

Eddie swallows, trying to swallow the anxiety before it can flood out of his mouth, “My full name, uh, is Eddie Kaspbrak,” Eddie ignores the soft ‘cute’ that escapes Richie’s mouth after he finishes that first sentence and tries to continue, “I’m 17, I turn 18 in March. March 12th. I have three best friends, Mike, Ben, and Bill. Bill is like, my best friend though. You have no idea who they are but I’m sure they’d love to meet you eventually. Uh, I work at the bookstore, you know that. I like to write. And, uh I go to school.” I love to listen to all your music and I spend most of my time looking at you on Instagram and tearing up because you’re so wonderful and I talk nonstop about you and make my friends tell me I’m obsessed with you and your band. But I’ll never tell you that and I’ll probably keep this hidden deep down somewhere in my brain long after we get married until I ultimately die and then you will never know and I’ll be the only one who has to live with this uncomfortable guilt for the rest of my life. But that’s beside the point.
“That’s it? Surely you’re more interesting than that. You look like you are,” Richie smirks, again. Eddie thinks his soul might leave his body if Richie does it again.

“I certainly am more interesting than that, but this is all you’re going to learn about me now.” Eddie wants so smirk back, but he doesn’t. Remember Eddie, remain vaguely mysterious, you’ve been doing so well.

“I do have one more question for you, though. Sorry Eds, gotta know one more thing.” Richie seems serious, but Eddie feels like he’s about to say something stupid and he can feel his eyes already starting to roll. What? Eddie is allowed to secretly know how Richie acts. Just because he feels incredibly awkward about this whole situation doesn’t mean his knowledge of Richie has completely disappeared. Eddie wants to roll his eyes, but there’s something that’s keeping him from doing so. It’s the stress of Richie telling him he has to ask him a question. That is not Eddie’s favorite thing to be told. God, Eddie is starting to think his natural state of being is stressed and uncomfortable on the inside but looking completely fine on the outside.

“Alright, Trashmouth, shoot,” Eddie suddenly feels like he hit a wall. Like the realization of how fast things have been happening became solid and just hit him in the face. He tries his best to shake it off and focus on the conversation. It doesn’t work. The voice in his brain telling him this shouldn’t be happening and it certainly shouldn’t be happening this fast is getting louder.

“Is whether or not you’re gonna let me take you out on a hot date something I’m gonna have to earn the answer to or are you just gonna tell me now?” Richie asks it so confidently, so casually, as if it was nothing. It isn’t nothing. Eddie thinks he’s going to collapse. For the third time. He really needs to tell Bill everything that happens when he gets home.

“Shut up, asshole. I’m not answering that question yet. May I remind you we met yesterday!” Eddie uses his free hand to shove Richie, who laughs loudly.

The conversation fades after that. Eddie feels awkward and the air around him feels heavy. Everything feels heavy. Richie’s hand in his feels like a weight but not the good kind. Eddie wonders how Richie feels right now. He wonders what he’s thinking about. Probably thinking about how weird Eddie is acting and how probably after this he never wants to talk to Eddie again.

“You’re pretty when you look like that.” It feels like slow hours before Richie speaks again. In that short yet incredibly long time, Eddie felt himself miss his voice. If that’s possible.

“When I look like what?” Eddie can’t help the way his question comes out. Cold. Really cold. It’s a strange juxtaposition to the way his insides are burning up. It makes sense.

Richie opens his mouth, twists his face in such a way that tells Eddie he’s about to say something endearing yet all the while offensive towards Eddie. He gets cut off by his own brain, though.

“Oh. This is my house.”

For the first time, Eddie doesn’t have anything to say as he follows the boy he met yesterday but has known for months, into his house for the first time, covered in his own blood.

This is all far too overwhelming.

 

What happens inside isn’t very interesting. Or that’s what Eddie tells himself. “What” involves him sitting on a marble countertop, in a very small kitchen while Richie revolves around him. He cleans his face, even goes as far as cleaning the blood off Eddie’s hands. He inspects every inch of Eddie’s face. He inspects Eddie’s hands. Carefully taking and putting back whatever he needs from a small cabinet, being cautious as to not hit Eddie in the head. He stuffs cotton into his nose and checks to see if it’s broken - “because trust me, I know what a broken nose feels like.” Eddie asks how. Richie laughs and mumbles something Eddie can’t hear. Something about Stan and his old guitar. Eddie doesn’t catch the rest.

The whole thing takes a while. The whole thing took a while. Eddie still doesn’t know what time it is. He doesn’t want to check. He just forgets about his mom and listens to Richie talk about everything. He listens to Richie talk to him like they’ve known each other for years. It’s nice. It’s also a little jarring. Eddie pretends his cheeks aren’t pink the entire time. They are and Richie can see that and he wants to say about it something but even after only a day and a half, he knows Eddie would hit him really hard. It makes him want to do it more. He doesn’t though, and lets himself smile at Eddie instead. Eddie smiles back every time.

Richie keeps talking and smiling at Eddie, still sitting on the counter. He looks better now, no blood on his face. He looks the most relaxed Richie has ever seen him. He knows he hasn’t seen Eddie many times - he wishes he did, he wants to - but, every time he has seen him, he looks so tense he looks like he would cause himself cardiac arrest. Richie is about to finish what he said earlier, about how Eddie looks pretty when he’s thinking and about how he looks pretty when he’s doing anything but something cuts him off. It’s not his brain this time, it’s Eddie.

“Thank you, for all of this, but I really should be getting home.” Eddie tries to move off the counter, but Richie is still standing in front of it. Eddie stops. Richie is a wall. Stone, albeit a little thin, but nonetheless, a wall. Eddie sees something in his face change. Sees his eyes go soft. He’s about to ask why, but -

Richie kisses him.

Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy fuck.

Richie’s hand is cupping his cheek and he feels like he’s frozen but his arms eventually unlock and find their way to the sides of Richie’s face.

Holy mother of fuck. So much for going too fast.

Richie breaks away. Eddie sucks in a breath. Richie smiles. Eddie smiles back. Richie laughs. Eddie laughs too.

“I’d love to stay, Trashmouth, but my mother will have my head if I’m not home soon. Thank you, again.” Richie lets him slip off the counter and doesn’t follow when Eddie goes to the other room to collect his things.

“Want me to walk you home? I said I would.” Something seems different in Richie’s voice.

“As much as I’d love that, if my mother saw a random bad-boy walking me home, she’d kill me in a worse way than I said before.” Eddie’s at the front door.

“Alright, Eds,” Richie appears behind him, “Get home safe. Remember to text me.”

Eddie blushes again, “Okay.”

“Oh, your backpack is unzipped let me get that.” Richie turns Eddie around and zips his bag closed for him. But only after he slips a piece of paper inside it, “There you go! All set.”

“Thanks, Rich.” Both of their stomachs flutter in synch. And Eddie does something he’d never expect to do in his life.

He kisses Richie.

It’s much longer than the first, much sweeter. Much nicer.

 

Eddie says nothing as he leaves, save for a soft “thank you” whispered into Richie’s lips as they part. Richie doesn’t say anything either, too shocked, too filled with a new form of happiness to do anything but smile in that stupid way he smiles.

He lets the boy who had come running into his life so quickly, who makes him feel so new, who had kissed him for the first time, leave his house.

 

Eddie gets home easily. He avoids questions from his mother by pretending he’s playing music into silent earbuds and stomping up the stars.

Eddie feels tingly. He wants so badly to shed away all of the thoughts of today, but he also never wants today to end. He settles for shedding his backpack. That should be enough. Eddie unzips it, hoping to find something he needed, hoping for an adequate excuse he can tell himself to justify opening it. He unzips the bag slowly, more careful than he should be.

There’s a piece of paper that was not there when he packed it this morning. It falls out of his bag and flutters onto his quilt. The paper is folded messily. His nervous hands reach for it slowly, and open it even slower.

Wanna kiss me again sometime?

I have a show this Friday. 32 Brickhill Road. 7:30. Hope to see you there. After all, we do have a date after.

Richie ;^)

Chapter Text

Richie didn’t text Eddie the whole week. Except for a short conversation they had on Sunday. Eddie didn’t have the courage to even to touch his messaging app, either, though.

Eds + Richie
10:00am

Richie: hope u got my note!!! ;^)

Eds: yes i did please don’t send me that face with the nose

Richie: ;^)

Eds: oh my god stop

Richie: ;^)

Eds: i will kill you

Richie: :^(

He read Richie’s response but never replied. He felt like he couldn’t. He didn’t know why. He probably did though, he probably ignored it. He probably pushed it down, like he always does.

The week was uneventful, boring. Eddie couldn’t stop thinking. He couldn’t stop wishing that maybe Richie would text him today. Maybe maybe maybe.

Richie never did.

Maybe today was the day he got enough courage to text Richie himself.

He never had the courage.

He started to spiral, his thoughts going deeper and deeper, swirling and swirling until they swallowed him whole. What if Richie’s sweet, kind, funny nature was fake? What if he just decided to lead Eddie on for fun? Is he really just an asshole? Was he acting during all the interviews? Should Eddie just stop talking to him? Cut his whole existence out of his life? Admittedly, Eddie knew he was being overdramatic, but give him a break. This kind of thing has never happened to him. And it certainly never happened this quickly or this strangely. It has never happened to someone this tense and anxious all the time. Eddie felt like he was holding in a breath the whole week. His whole body was tense. No matter how many times Bill, Mike or Ben tried to reassure him he wouldn’t listen. He could tell they were beginning to get tired. He was, too. He wanted to close his eyes and pretend this didn't exist. He could never do that. He always started to wonder, after a while.

What’s going to happen on Friday? Friday made him want to vomit.

He knew Bill was going to force him to go, though.

Because of course he was.

Chapter Text

“This song needs to be perfect,” Richie lays on the floor, limbs sprawled, and he wallows, “If Eddie comes to the show and the song isn’t good I’m fucked. Utterly fucked. So fucked. Extremely fucked. I’ll never get a date.”

“You’re going to be fucked if you keep saying fucked.” Stan kicks Richie in the head with his foot, “And I’m just saying that you made him bleed and he didn’t leave you, so I don’t think a bad song would phase him. He’s clearly into you.”

“Ow! Leave me alone! I’m incapacitated by love! I can’t hear what you’re saying! It makes no sense!” Richie flails for a moment, then decides to lay on his stomach with his head pressed into the floor. It is a much better position for wallowing.

Stan kicks Richie again and Richie yells, swatting at Stan’s leg, who keeps trying to hit him anyway.

“Come on, Stan, don’t you think it’s a little bit romantic?” Beverly says as she gets up from behind her drum set to sit on the floor by Richie, “Or endearing?”

“Love is pointless and this pining is annoying me.” Stan kicks Richie again, this time in the side and this time much lighter, “Let’s just get the song over with, Richie. You’re hurting yourself by constantly thinking about this boy and how you want to impress him. You met him two days ago.”

“Just let me suffer, Staniel.” Richie’s words are muffled by the carpet he still has his face in. He starts to whimper dramatically and Beverly, rolling her eyes, starts to rub his back.

“As much as I would love to do that, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that. And as much as I don’t want to write this song, we have to do this. You have to do this.” Stan gets up from where he was sitting and goes to set up his equipment, stepping around Richie, “Come on, Rich.”

“You can filter your feelings into this, Richie! It’ll be good for you. You just have to do it. Do you want him or not?” Beverly pets Richie’s hair once and starts to get up, but Richie’s hand stops her.

“I would literally lay my life down for my darling Eddie Spaghetti.”

“You’re ridiculous,” Stan calls from the other side of the room, “Two days!”

Richie rolls onto his back and glares at Stan, “Wait until you fall in love, my dear Staniel. Wait until you feel like flaming garbage. Wait until you have so many things to say but can’t say any of them at all.”

Stan rolls his eyes, “You don’t have trouble saying anything. Get up before I throw your guitar at you.”

“Don’t you dare break my nose again you heathen!”

Chapter Text

“I’m going to throw up. I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe this is happening. Why are you letting this happen? Why are you assuming that you have any authority over m-”

“E-eddie. S-shut the h-hell p-please.”

“Bill! You know I can’t do this! I’m going to vomit on the sidewalk and then I’m going to go home and then I’ll probably throw up then too.” Eddie runs a hand through his hair - it’s getting messier by the second - and he takes a ragged breath. The first of many.

“D-don’t s-start t-to h-hyperventilate, I s-wear t-to G-god.” Bill sighs, crosses his arms and leans against the wall of the Place that Richie invited Eddie to.

“I’M NOT HYPERVENTILATING!” The words squeak out of Eddie’s mouth, “We are in a dangerous area! I could get murdered! You could get murdered! We both could get murdered! Who knows how many fucking germs we are surrounded by right now!”

“E-either w-we b-both go i-in, or I-i l-leave you h-here.”

“Please don’t leave me here by myself.” Eddie’s voice softens, and he feels almost near tears. Then he remembers who he is and straightens, “Are you saying you want to go in with me because you want to see Stan? Is that what’s going on? Are you fucking kidding me?”

“S-shut u-up!” Bill gets up from against the wall and hits Eddie on the arm.

“Oh my God I’m totally right!” Eddie starts to poke at the growing blush on Bill’s cheeks that he can barely make out through the night and Bill hits his arm again.

“W-we’re g-going in n-now, Eddie.” Bill takes Eddie by the arm and pushes him inside.

“No wait stop I take it back can you please walk me back home I really think I don’t feel well-”

 

It’s dark inside, darker than the night outside. Eddie can barely see and he’s very certain that Bill can’t either, but he’s so stiff with anxiety that he lets Bill lead him wherever he wants to go. He keeps tripping over his own feet and every breathe he takes feels like it isn’t filling his lungs up enough no matter how hard he tries. The thought that this is a bad idea is rattling around inside his head like a bad memory, or like his inhaler moving silently around in his pocket. His inhaler makes him feel heavy and sick, and he doesn’t know why. Maybe it isn’t his inhaler at all that’s making him feel this way.
“Bill I really feel like I’m going to pass out or something.” All Eddie can do is whisper. Bill is still leading him around in the expansive dark.

Bill doesn’t respond.

Eddie’s eyes are finally starting to adjust to the darkness. It’s big in there, really big, and there’s a lot of people, everywhere. Eddie can’t tell if all the people are blurry because of the lighting or if it’s because he feels sick. Fuck. This. Eddie closes his eyes.

“If you k-keep thinking t-that you’re g-gonna throw up, y-you will, “ Bill says, as he finally stops, making Eddie crash into him, eyes still closed, “You’ve d-done that b-before.”

“I realize what I’m saying is slightly on the irrational side, Bill, but give me a break. I truly feel like I’m about to shit my pants. And I don’t know if I’m being metaphorical or not.” Eddie wipes his hands his pants. His new pants. That he bought specifically for this. God, he’s such an idiot.

“E-eddie, p-please,” It doesn’t sound annoyed, anymore. It sounds sad, like Bill feels bad for him. He can understand why. It makes Eddie want to cry again.

Then the whole room is starting to change. Lights are moving around Eddie’s head, people are getting louder and louder, he sees something moving at the back wall, toward the stage. Eddie’s starting to wonder if this is what it’s like when you pass out. He’s never actually passed out before. What’s happening. Oh shit, oh God, oh fuck.

Then it dawns on him. It’s starting, it’s actually starting and the thing moving at the back wall is actually Richie and he’s actually fucking there and he’s here and this is happening and then he starts to sway a little. His knees buckle. Bill grabs him and makes sure that he stands up.

“Y’you’re gonna b-be fine, E-eddie.” Eddie doesn’t actually know what Bill says to him, he’s too caught up in the movement around him and the dawning realization that this is real.

Eddie sees Richie again. Then he sees Beverly, then he sees Stan. They’re all there, they’re all standing there. For a moment, it’s quiet. They all seem to be looking out somewhere, looking for something. Eddie watches them, wondering what’s happening, a thought he can barely register as so many others float around in his head. Eddie doesn’t realize they find what they’re looking for because he stops looking at them so he can take a puff of his inhaler and start breathing like a normal person again.

He looks up again. It’s him, they were looking for him. He looks from face to face; Richie smirks and winks at him, Stan just seems to laugh, Beverly is smirking too. Eddie freezes, tries to smile weakly back, his cheeks feeling hot. He blinks and all of a sudden they’re normal, they’re just a band on a stage about to play. There is no longer quiet. The albuterol in his inhaler is doing nothing to help fill up his lungs.

“Did that a-actually j-just f-fucking happen?” Bill asks, laughing loudly over the growing noise.

Seeing Bill laugh makes Eddie ease up, laugh a little too, “Yeah, I fucking thing so, Bill.”

“Uh, hey people of Derry. We’re Lozers or Loserz depending on what we all decide we want it to be today,” Richie laughs awkwardly- it’s weird, Eddie has never seen Richie been nervous performing before. It’s definitely not because of him, though. Definitely.

“Anyway, welcome to our first gig in this wonderful place, we’re very glad to be here. I’m Richie, if you didn’t know,” He points to himself and Eddie isn’t sure if he sees Richie’s hand shake or it’s just a trick of the light, “That’s Bevvie,” The shaking hand points again, “And that’s Staniel.”

“It’s Stan, you dickhead.”

Richie is beautiful when he laughs, it sounds like music. Eddie has always been a little in love with the way that Richie laughed.

“Thank you for coming out, we’ve got a new song to start this fucking thing off, let’s fucking go!” Richie catches Eddie’s eyes and he see his face falter.

Just as Eddie starts to smile back, the music starts to play. Eddie feels surrounded by it, and he lets it move around him. He forgets Richie for a moment, he’s so caught up in the sound. He remembers him as soon as Richie starts singing. He’s amazing and he looks so good up there, bathed in light and playing his guitar like he was fucking made to. Eddie’s eyes wander to his hands. He thinks about Richie’s hands.

Closed minds don’t open doors
But you’ll find you can see more than I

Richie locks eyes with him once more, the falter in his body completely gone. Richie doesn’t stop looking at him, even as the chorus begins to make its way to Eddie.

I’m addicted to you
I’m addicted to you, and you know it
I’m addicted to you
I’m addicted to you, and you know it

Eddie is no longer functioning. Please check back again later.

Let’s go out to a house out by the countryside
We’ll go, just us two

I’m addicted to you

Eddie has been disconnected. Would you like to try again?

Eddie doesn’t even know what happens for the next hour, all he can focus on is how his cheeks are on literal fire and how he had to sit on the ground once the song was over. Bill has to leave and go get water. He feels so nervous without him he almost cries. Again. Oh my god, that song was about me. Richie wrote this song about me, he likes me, he actually likes me, oh God, oh fuck.

He stands back up when he sees Richie’s eyes searching for him among the crowd. He sways slightly, wipes his hands on his pants, and for the first time, he smirks back at Richie.

At the end of the show, just as they’re about to leave the stage, Richie turns to him from across the room and mouths “Come see me.”

Chapter Text

“Let’s fucking do this, Bill.” Eddie looks right at him, his nervousness seeming to fade and his normal Eddie-ness returning.

“A-are you s-sure y-you’re not g-gonna faint o-or something?” Bill raises his eyebrows, unsure of whether or not to trust Eddie, knowing how fast he can go from totally fine to completely panicked. And it’s really fucking fast.

“I am fucking sure, Bill,” Eddie usually doesn’t curse this much, only when he’s angry, panicked, or determined. Or a mix of all three. He’s all three most of the time. Actually take that back, he curses a lot, “Now let’s move before I have a goddamn asthma attack.”

“L-lead the way, E-eddie.” Bill has no idea what the fuck is going to happen next. He’s pretty good at wrangling Eddie and he’s pretty good at expecting the unexpected, but he’s truly fucking clueless right now.

Eddie takes a deep (ragged) breath, squares his shoulders, wipes his hands on his pants again, and walks away. Bill pretends not to notice the slight shake in every move he makes. He also pretends not to notice the way Eddie shrinks when he makes his way through the crowd. He just lets it happen and silently reminds himself he would be the same way if he was face to face with Stan Uris.

 

How he actually makes it to the back, Eddie doesn’t know. Nobody looks at him, nobody seems to question why he’s there. That fact should make him feel more comfortable, but he really doesn’t feel all that comfortable right now. It smells like cigarettes and alcohol back here and he really wants to take out the hand sanitizer he keeps in his fanny pack for emergencies and fucking down it or something. He’s slowly but surely beginning to feel the immense shaking he’s doing right now, his legs are unstable and his hands won’t stop moving. What is happening to you, Eddie. I don’t know, he answers back. He keeps walking.

He finds Beverly and Stan in some sort of makeshift green room, but there’s no Richie anywhere. Stan is just sitting there with Beverly fucking smirking like they know exactly what is going to happen and that they know exactly why he’s fucking there. They probably do. The pair of fuckers. He hates that he loves them so much.

“He’s back over there,” Beverly points to another door to the left of her, “Go get him, tiger.”

Another knowing smirk from both of them. Why the fuck has everyone been doing so much smirking lately.

Suddenly the adrenaline begins to clear, and he remembers Bill is with him, “I’ll be right back, B.”

“W-hat am I-i supposed t-to do h-here?” Bill is whispering and Eddie is so caught up in his own problems he doesn’t know why. Eddie later realizes it’s because Richie is to Eddie as Stan is to Bill.

“I don’t know! Talk to them! Introduce yourself, I have no fucking clue - just - I’ll be right back! I think. Don’t fuck this up I swear to god, Bill.”

The adrenaline creeps back to him, numbing his whole body. He salutes Bill, and walks away. Slowly. At least he actually walks away and is going to talk to Richie. If he didn’t Bill was gonna have to drag his ass all the way to the other room.

“F-fuck you!” Bill yells, but he doesn’t really mean it.

He looks to Beverly and Stan, “H-hi.”

Beverly smiles, then elbows Stan - who’s cheeks have flushed a bright pink and for the first time, doesn’t know what to say.

 

Eddie finds Richie sitting alone in a darkly lit dressing room. He’s hunched over, his head resting in one of his hands, leg jumping up and down, holding a cigarette. Eddie takes a moment to look at Richie before he gets noticed and has to pretend like he isn’t looking at Richie at all.

He’s hot, first of all. Like, really fucking hot. His hair is messy from the show, and he has a ratty striped long sleeve under an equally ratty black tshirt. His jeans are black, tight and ripped. Eddie has to restrain himself from fainting right then and there. He would also never admit this, but the cigarette is also kind of really, really attractive. But, shut up, he never said that. Those things are disgusting and they could kill you.

“If you keep smoking, I’m never going to kiss you again,” Eddie says before he can stop himself, mentally considering clamping a hand over his mouth.

Richie stops shaking his leg, and he looks up, smiling. Eddie always seems to forget how beautiful Richie is. How amazingly good-looking he is. He tells himself to always remember. Richie’s warm smile hits him right in the chest and he wants to melt and he also tells himself to remember this feeling for the rest of his life. His feelings rush over him in a wave and all he can think is “I’m in love I’m in love I’m in love I’m actually in fucking love.”

“Hi,” Eddie says softly, letting himself give a smile meant just for Richie. “Long time no see, huh?”

“I’ve missed you, Eddie my love,” He takes a drag of the cigarette as Eddie internally freaks out over the new nickname, “I’m really sorry I haven’t said anything to you this week, Stan and I had a fight over something stupid and he took my phone and it fucking broke and I couldn’t get it fixed and I didn’t know what to do and-”

Eddie notices that Richie is shaking a little, too, when he lifts his hand to his hair - something he’s beginning to notice that Richie does whenever he rambles.

“It’s okay, Rich. I’m here now, right?” He makes the executive decision to step forward into the room a little bit.

“You really won’t kiss me again if I keep smoking?” He puts the cigarette out as carefully as possible, “I’ll stop, but only for you, Eddie my love.”

There’s a wink sent in his direction.

Eddie makes the executive decision to step forward again, this time right towards Richie. With some sort of confidence that can only be attained by being called “My love” twice, he stands between Richie’s legs and wraps his arms around Richie’s neck.

“Hey, sailor,” Richie looks up at him, his glasses crooked, his face still slightly bruised from earlier that week. He puts his arms on Eddie’s waist. Eddie ignores the heart palpitations and the feeling of his legs turning to liquid, “You still have some dried blood in your nose.”

He pokes Eddie’s nostril and Eddie scoffs, “That’s because you fucked it up so bad it keeps bleeding.”

Richie leans up to kiss his nose in the exact stop he poked it and Eddie resists the urge to pass out, again, “I’m still sorry.”

Eddie really wants to run his hands through Richie’s curls, so he does, “We still on for our date, asshole?”

“You bet, baby.” Richie pulls Eddie closer to him, and Eddie, who’s still standing on wobbly legs, stumbles toward him.

Richie leans up again and kisses him fully this time. Eddie feels like he’s floating. He smiles into the kiss. Richie smiles too, and he starts laughing. Eddie starts laughing too.

“What’s so fucking funny, Trashmouth?” He asks, struggling to get the words out over his breathless laughter.

“I just can’t fucking believe I found you! When we made the decision to move to this shithole, I thought only like, old people and children would be around here, and then you just asthmatically walked into my life having a panic attack.” Eddie lifts both of his hands to Richie’s face as Richie talks, and he decides to keep them there, his thumbs rubbing over the freckles painting Richie’s slightly pink cheeks.

“I can’t fucking believe I found you, too. I have three friends and everyone else is a fucking asshole. I never thought someone would like me.” Eddie has wished and prayed for this, for a moment to meet Richie and make him fall in love, and it’s actually fucking happening and he feels like he’s dreaming.

“God, I like you so much Eds-”

“Don’t call me that.”

“Well I like you a fucking lot, my dear,” Richie hits Eddie lightly on the cheek, “Anyway, my sweet Spaghetti, ready to head out on our first date?”

Richie stands and offers his arm to Eddie. Eddie takes it without hesitation.

“I think I am, Trashmouth. And for the record, I like you a fucking lot, too.”

He kisses Richie one more time. Just for good measure. Just to make sure that this is real and that this is Richie and that Richie is willing to kiss him back.

This is real, this is Richie, and Richie is more than willing to kiss him back.

Chapter Text

It’s cold, that’s what Eddie notices when they step outside. Severely cold, way colder than he expected. He came severely underdressed in his long sleeve, and pants that are thin as fucking paper. This is so unlike him, going out without at least one extra layer. And he snuck out, so his mom wasn’t there to tell him to bring a jacket. He’s not sure he would’ve listened if she told him, though. He pulls his sleeves over his hands as soon as the cold hits him, and he shivers.

“D’you want my jacket?” Right before they left, Richie had put on his jacket, the same jacket he was wearing when Eddie saw him last. Even in the night, Eddie can make out some light red stains decorating the jacket.

“First off, it still has my blood on it, which is disgusting, like so disgusting I cannot even begin to-” Eddie stops short as Richie silently takes his jacket off and puts it on Eddie’s shoulders, “You’ll freeze, Rich.”

Thank God it’s night time so Richie isn’t able to see Eddie turn pink and Eddie isn’t able to see Richie turn pink.

“I’m never cold, Eds, that jacket is merely a fashion statement and I think the dried blood makes it even cooler,” Eddie rolls his eyes and wordlessly takes Richie’s hand. Richie lets him.

“Plus if I ever need to clone you, I’ve got your DNA right here.” He winks.

“Oh please, shithead.” Eddie’s still really fucking cold, but the warm feeling creeps back into his body and the weight of Richie’s huge jacket on his shoulders should make him feel heavy, but he feels so light.

Eddie’s doing a lot of things right now that he never imagined he could do. He’s holding Richie’s hand and he’s barely even thinking about it. He’s going out on a date with Richie, and he really doesn’t give a fuck about his mom or what she’s thinking right now. If she’s even thinking about him at all. And he’s pretty sure that there’s something he needs to be anxious about but he really doesn’t want to panic anymore so he tries his best to ignore the fuck out of it. He feels really fucking brave. He uses his free hand to adjust Richie’s jacket on his shoulders and he stands there, bravely.

Of course, the one thing that stays the same is the fact that he never knows what the hell to say.

“You, uh, you should keep the jacket, it looks really good. Way better on you than on me, honestly.” Richie’s voice is soft and breathless.

Eddie does another brave thing, and he kisses Richie for the third time. It’s short and he has to go on his tiptoes but it’s worth it.

“Let’s go, Trashmouth.”

Richie smiles. It’s a genuine, soft smile, one that Eddie has never seen before. He tells himself to commit that smile to memory.

 

Eddie’s still shivering as they walk, so Richie’s put an arm around him. Eddie thinks about how he wants this to last forever.

“I can hear you thinking again,” Richie says, voice still soft.

“I’m thinking about you, dumbass.” Eddie leans into Richie as if trying to knock into him, but he’s too distracted for it to be anything but halfhearted.

“You flatter me, my sweet,” Richie’s different tonight. Sure he’s the same loudmouthed idiot that Eddie has known (even if he hadn’t known him before they met, he’d still be able to tell), but he seems more mellow, a lot softer. Like the tone of his voice. It’s light and it’s full of something Eddie can’t quite place. (It’s full of love). Eddie can’t tell but he’s different too, and his voice sounds exactly the same.

 

“Would you be mad at me if I told you I really don’t know where we’re going? I’ve only been here for like, two weeks and I don’t know how to drive and I really didn’t think that one fucking garbage skateboard would be a good mode of transportation for us, y’know, cause of what happened -still really fucking sorry, by the way-”

“Rich, you’re rambling.” When everything feels too much and he thinks his heart is going to burst out of his goddamn chest, Eddie calls Richie ‘Rich.’

Richie laughs and Eddie watches his surroundings light up from the sound, “I do that a lot, Eddie my love, just something you’ll have to get used to.”

“I guess I will. And just for the record, Rich, I don’t care where we’re going. I’m just happy I’m with you.” Richie smiles shyly and Eddie watches everything light up again. He’s not sure he’s ever seen Richie act shy. He wants to make him do it again.
“But, if you’re interested, there is a diner over here that my mom won’t let me go to, and I haven’t been able to convince any of my three friends to go with me yet. You could take me there.” It’s just a place honestly, Eddie’s going to be happy no matter where they go. He’s going to be happy as long as Richie keeps his arm wrapped tightly around his waist.

“I’m still shocked that you only have three friends, since you’re extremely hot and also a fucking delight to be around,” It sounds like it’s supposed to be a joke, but Eddie can feel the sincerity in every one of Richie’s words, “But I guess I’ll let that go for now. Let’s break some rules.”

“I’ve already broken many rules tonight,” Eddie ignores the whispered ‘cute’ that escapes Richie’s lips, “One more won’t hurt.”

Richie smiles again and Eddie swears it’s so bright he almost goes blind. He smiles back.

 

It’s small inside, barely lit and nearly empty. Eddie couldn’t feel more comfortable right now, sitting in a booth with Richie pushed up against him. Richie makes him feel different, makes him feel like he can do anything. Richie makes Eddie feel so fucking brave. He rests his head on Richie’s shoulders and he feels him laugh. Richie laughs a lot. Richie makes Eddie laugh a lot too. He’s not sure he’s smiled this much in a while.

Waiting and feel nauseous for a whole week was so fucking worth it. So fucking worth it.

“I know this is weird to say, but I honestly really feel like I know you, Eddie.” Richie looks down at him as Eddie looks up. His eyes are so warm.

“I feel like I know you too, Rich.” Richie puts his arm back around his waist.

 

Richie talks a lot, but Eddie doesn’t mind. He doesn’t mind at all. There’s something so captivating about him and the way that he speaks. Eddie is okay with spending his life listening to Richie. He hopes and prays that that is how he will spend his life. Eddie talks too, occasionally, mostly just saying “that’s fucking disgusting” or “shut up, you asshole,” but it’s comfortable and it’s easy and Eddie can tell that Richie doesn’t care how much he talks. Richie just cares that Eddie’s here with him. Eddie cares about the same thing.

Eddie decides that tonight he’s going to tell Richie about himself, at least a little bit. He tells him that he’s a hypochondriac and Richie giggles, pinches his cheeks and tells him that it’s adorable. Eddie swats his hands away with another blush creeping up his neck. Richie tells him that he has ADHD and that music is the only way that he can truly focus. What Richie doesn’t say is that he may have found a new thing to focus on: Eddie. It goes on like that, for a while; Eddie tells Richie one thing and Richie responds with another.

When the dim lights inside seem to get darker, Eddie tells Richie he should probably go home. Richie offers to walk with him and Eddie says yas without hesitation. He’s not sure what he would do if Richie didn’t offer. Richie grabs his hand and Eddie gives himself another mental note: never forget what his hand feels like in yours, never forget that it feels like everything shifts into place whenever his hand slides into yours.

Neither Eddie or Richie would admit it, but they take as long as they can to walk back to Eddie’s house.

“You can come inside for a second if you want. My mom’s asleep.” Eddie really, really, really wants Richie to say yas.

“You’re mom’s asleep? Well, fuck, there go my chances.”

“Shut the fuck up, Richie.” God, he feels so sick because of Richie. Richie makes him feel so in love. He hates it. He loves it. He hates it and he loves it and he hates that he loves it.

Richie follows him inside and lets Eddie lead him to his bedroom.

“Wow, in the bedroom already, huh? You sure are taking this fast, Eds.” Richie puts his arms around Eddie’s waist for the third time that night. Eddie is beginning to think that they belong there.

“You’re so awful, Richie, I hate you so much.” He lets his arms drift up and around Richie’s neck. He feels one of Richie’s curls between his fingers.

“No, you don’t.” Richie’s voice is soft again. Eddie can feel his breath. It’s warm and it ruffles his hair.

“No, I don’t.” He kisses Richie one more time.

Eddie doesn’t draw, but he thinks that Richie’s sunshine smile and constellation freckles might be a good jumping-off point.

Chapter Text

It’s late, but not that late, at least Eddie thinks so. He hasn’t checked his phone the entire night, it’s been tucked away in his fanny pack since the afternoon. He’s still wearing Richie’s jacket. He put it on over his pajamas. He’s not sure he’s ever going to take it off. He can’t stop smiling. He gets in his bed and tells himself that this feeling with still be here in the morning. Eddie wraps himself in Richie’s jacket, pulls the sleeves over his hands and thinks about how empty the room feels without Richie in it. 

He’s almost asleep when his fanny-pack starts to vibrate. To be honest, it scares him. It scares him really fucking badly. He sits up fast and tries to ignore the dizzy feeling washing over him as he reaches for it. He almost knocks his fanny pack to the ground and he almost knocks over his inhaler in an attempt to reach blindly for the fanny pack. Some of the medications on his nightstand go clattering to the floor.

His phone is ringing. It’s Bill.

Oh fuck, Eddie forgot about Bill. Oh shit. Bill is never going to forgive him. He’s going to leave him forever and then Ben and Mike will take his side and then Eddie will be left friendless, again. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck- 

“H-how w-was your d-date shithead?” Bill doesn’t sound that mad, or Eddie’s too deliriously exhausted to tell, “W-was t-telling me y-you’ll b-be right b-back and t-then l-leaving worth i-it?” 

Eddie opens his mouth, then closes it. He runs a hand through his hair. 

“I-i can h-hear your p-panicked b-breathing, E-eddie,” Bill sighs and then laughs a little bit, “I-i’m not m-mad. I-i was a-a little p-pissed, b-but I-i h-hung o-out w-with B-beverly and S-s-s-stan. T-they t-took me h-home.” 

Eddie pretends not to notice how Bill’s breath catches when he starts to say Stan’s name, he just gives him extra time to say it. He can make fun of him later. 

“B, I’m really really sorry,” Eddie looks down at his hands. They’re drowning in the soft fabric of Richie’s jacket, “I lost track of time and a lot of things happened and Richie kissed - or more like I kissed him, a lot, and then-”

“What? Y-you d-did what?” Eddie swears he can hear the sly smile on Bill’s face.

“Leave me alone, B, I’m too tired to get into the details right now,” He’s really not and thinking about it makes him smile and shrink further into Richie’s jacket. But whatever. He just needs to sleep, right now.

“F-fine, but we w-will b-be t-talking t-tomorrow. D-don’t have a f-fucking a-asthma a-attack.” 

“Of course, B. I won’t.” Eddie knows he really can't make any promises, though.

Eddie hangs up and tries to go to sleep. He laughs instead.

The happy sensation he wished would last forever really doesn’t last that long. A few hours later, in the early hours of fucking dawn, Eddie remembers what he should’ve been worried about all night. 

He should’ve told Richie that he’s a fan of his. He should’ve done that a week ago. Wait, no, he should just keep the secret forever, right? But what if it gets too much and then one day he just panics like he usually does and then he just spills everything and makes it really fucking weird and then- 

He’s made a mistake. He should never let this go on for more than a few days. He’s such a fucking anxious idiot. Eddie’s lungs feel tight. Really fucking tight. He reaches for his inhaler, realizes it’s on the floor, reaches for it and just ends up tumbling out of his bed and onto the ground. He takes it as some sort of sign and stays there. God, Eddie, why did you even have to remember in the first place? Leave it to Eddie to take a good thing and completely fuck it up. Richie’s jacket suddenly feels like a weight overtaking his body, and he feels overheated but he doesn’t think he can take it off. He takes a puff of his inhaler and feels his lungs rattle. He wonders if Richie would be upset if he added some vomit to the bloodstains decorating the jacket. 

Eddie head’s spins and he watches the brightly lit walls of his room move with it. He reaches blindly for his phone, and he calls the only person he can. He calls Bill. He has a flash of guilt that rises with the bile in his stomach when he realizes that he’s essentially ghosted Mike and Ben, but he tries to swallow it down with the tears he knows are coming. 

“E-eddie? W-we t-talked l-like f-five h-hours a-ago. W-what’s wrong? I-i can h-hear y-you w-wheezing.” Bill sounds tired and Eddie feels like a garbage human but he doesn’t have it in him to hang up. Yet.

“Ok so I just woke up and realized that I really need to tell Richie that I’ve essentially been obsessed with him for a year because it’s literally been consuming me fucking whole, Bill. I can tell that you think this really isn’t a big deal, but it is to me and I feel like I’ve been lying and you know I can’t lie - you, you remember what happened the last time I tried to lie. Fuck, Bill. I don’t want to mess anything up because I really like Richie and I know it’s been a week but I think I’m falling in love with him and I’m really fucking scared and I don’t want to lose him but I feel so fake. “I sincerely think I’m going to throw up and I think I’m having a panic attack and I think I’m crying and honestly I don’t really know what’s happening or why I’m feeling this way right now it’s like not even 7 in the fucking morning. Usually, my panic waits. But ever since I kissed Richie last night I’ve felt different and I want to keep feeling that way but I fucking can’t if I keep feeling like I’m a fucking mess. But what if I tell him and I don’t feel any better and Richie decides he won’t accept a mess?” 

The rest of his words die in his throat as soon as he says it. He was kind of crying before, little tears that escape every once in a while, but he really starts now. The tears are hot and they don’t stop coming and he can feel them wetting his hair. He’s not sure he cares. He’s not sure he cares about anything right now. 

Except for Richie. 

“I really think I love him, Bill and I'm fucking freaking out about it. He cares so much and he makes me feel like I'm worth something and I - shit, I don't even really know. Fuck. I'm so sorry for forgetting you last night and then calling you this morning to scream into your ear about something you don’t even fucking care about. And I’m also sorry for what I’m about to do but there’s something I have to get done.”

“E-eddie-” Eddie doesn’t hear the rest of what Bill says. He hangs up. 

Eddie + Richie

5:35 am

 

Eddie: hey are you awke rn? 

 

Eddie: *awake 

 

Richie: yas good morning eddie my love 

 

Eddie is trying his best to remain calm but he’s crying so hard he can barely see and he’s not even sure what he’s about to do. 

 

Eddie: can i come over or wwould that be weird 

 

Richie: not weird at all spaghetti but u can wait until its not the asscrack of dawn if u like

 

Eddie: dont call me tha

 

Richie: are u ok????? 

 

Richie: eds?? hello? u good?

 

Eddie doesn’t respond. He sits up, slowly, trying to breathe through whatever the fuck is happening to him right now. He wipes his nose on the sleeve of his - no, Richie’s jacket, then he gets up. It’s a little hard, he’s still fucking sobbing like a maniac and his legs are shaking. He curses himself for being able to go from fine to one hundred percent fucking off the walls panicked so fast. He’s not even sure if what he’s freaking out about even warrants a reaction like this but that doesn’t make him stop. He grabs whatever shoes he can find as his vision continues to blur and looks in the mirror. 

To say Eddie looks like shit would be an understatement. His hair is a complete mess, sleeping for less than six hours, laying on the floor and running his hands through it a million times has not helped. His face is red and blotchy, some tears still streaming slowly down his face. He tries to blink them away, hoping deep down that he’ll blink everything away with it. It doesn’t work. His stupid pajamas are wrinkled and he’s still wearing the shitty oversized, blood-stained jacket. He looks at his face blankly in the mirror. He pockets his phone and leaves his inhaler on the floor next to the scattered medication bottles. 

Just in case it will all end today, Eddie breaks one more rule, just for Richie. He opens his window and he climbs out.

Chapter Text

“Fuck! Shit! Fucking fuck!” Okay, so climbing out of his window wasn’t the best idea. He’s never done it before and the landing really fucking hurt. 

He wallows in his pain for a moment, wipes his eyes, grinds his teeth, squares his shoulders and puts on the most determined face he can manage. Then Eddie starts running. It’s all he can think of to do.

When Eddie gets to the middle of Derry, right near the bookstore, he stops short. He’s winded as fucking shit and he’s beginning to regret not bringing his inhaler with him. As the adrenaline that was pushing him forward fades away, panic takes its place. His limbs ache from running and half falling out a fucking window. The tears begin to pool when he realizes that he doesn’t even remember where Richie lives. He can’t remember the side streets they took and he wishes he wasn’t so caught up in Richie’s presence that day. He could have at least looked at the street signs. 

He reaches blindly for his phone, again, and he calls the only person he can think of. He calls Richie. 

“Eddie?” Richie hasn’t really ever called him just ‘Eddie’ before. He sounds nervous. Richie’s voice makes the tears start to fall. 

“H-heya Rich,” He sniffles, “It turns out I forget where you live because I’m a fucking idiot and I ran all the way over here and I don’t have my inhaler because I’m a stupid fucking idiot and I’m trying to get to you because I really need to see you but I’m scared and I’m panicking and I-I don’t know what to do. My body hurts because I fell out of my fucking window and everything just feels terrible and I think I just need you.” 

Richie doesn’t respond. Eddie sniffles again, “I’m guessing I overstepped a boundary with my shitty problems. Sorry about that, Rich.” 

“Jesus H fucking Christmas, don’t apologize, Eddie,” Eddie sits down at the edge of the sidewalk and inspects his shaking hands, “If you need me, I’m there. I’m right fucking there. Where are you?” 

Eddie wants to smile but it’s not happening. Neither his brain nor his face are able to make one happen. He settles on wiping his face with his sleeve, “By um, the uh, bookstore.” 

“I’m on my way, Eddie, my love.” Eddie drops his phone to the ground next to him, draws his knees to his chest and cries again. 

 

“Holy shit, what happened to you?” Eddie looks up, blinks some tears away, wipes his face one more time for good measure, and he sees Richie. 

Richie’s wearing pajamas too, a huge old-looking flannel and the shittiest looking sweatpants Eddie has ever seen. There’s a skateboard laying upside down on the street; Eddie can only assume that Richie dropped it when he saw Eddie. His curls are sticking up in every single direction and he’s not even wearing his glasses. He’s squinting at him. Eddie loves this version of Richie as soon as he sees him.

“Um, well-” He barely gets the sentence out before Richie is rushing to him and picking him up off the ground in a bone-crushing hug. 

“I know I’ve only known you for like, a fucking week and I know that I keep bringing that up, but like, please don’t do that again, Eddie Spaghetti.” Richie’s words are muttered into Eddie’s hair, “I was fucking worried, dude.” 

“Don’t call me that.” Eddie’s pretty sure he’s leaving wet spots in Richie’s shirt, but that’s okay. Richie came to get him. He actually came to get him. Richie Tozier.

Richie. Someone that Eddie has something to say to. 

Taking the steadiest breath he can manage, Eddie lifts his head from where it was resting on Richie’s chest and he clears his throat. The tears don’t stop coming though, no matter how hard he tries. 

“Listen, Rich, I had to see you because um, there’s something I need to tell you. And no I’m not breaking up with you but I’m not even sure we’re at that point yet so forget I said anything,” He tries to laugh, a little, but it comes out as a wet cough, “But I’m gonna keep feeling like a fucking weirdo if I don’t get the chance to tell you this. So, uh, here we go. I know who you are. From the moment I saw you in the bookstore I knew who you were and I’ve literally been obsessing over you for a whole fucking year - like, I mean, I used to have a whole folder o my phone dedicated to pictures of your dumb face. 

“I felt like if you knew that I liked you before I met you it would make things weird and you would just think of me as some kind of crazy fan trying to get close to you or something and I promise that’s not it! I really fucking like you Rich. A whole fucking lot and I didn’t want to mess anything up but I was also thinking about how if I didn’t tell you it might also mess things up so like-” 

Richie puts his hands on Eddie’s wet cheeks and he kisses him. He kisses him like he’s never kissed him before. It’s different but Eddie knows he’s starting to like different. A lot. He’s only happy for a moment when his thoughts reappear, telling him it’s one more kiss before Richie leaves him behind forever. 

“Eddie, Eds, Eddie Spaghetti, Eddie my love,” Richie’s hands are smoothing his unbearable hair, wiping away his tears, playing with the waves at the nape of his neck, “I don’t care at all that you knew me before this because of the band. I think it’s fucking adorable. I mean, this just confirms that you have a crush on me. You could’ve been stalking me for my whole fucking life and I wouldn’t give a shit because - I’m gonna break a huge rule right now, but that seems to be our thing - because I think I love you. I wholeheartedly believe that I, Richie Tozier, am falling in love with you, Eddie Kaspbrak.” 

Eddie lets out a shaky breath, and he falls forward into Richie’s chest. He feels it vibrate with laughter. He starts crying for the third time that morning. 

“I fucking thought you were gonna leave me here and never talk to me again, Rich. Fuck. I think I’m falling in love with you, too.” 

“After this week Eds, I could never leave you.” 

“Don’t call me that, Trashmouth.” Eddie really wouldn’t mind being called Eds for the rest of his life, though. 

 

Richie just holds him tighter.

Chapter Text

This is the best possible outcome of the situation. Eddie didn’t even imagine it going this well. He’s still wrapped up in Richie’s arms, laughing quietly as Richie talks. He’s telling Eddie jokes, but they’re not his usual kind. They’re stupid ones, the ones that always end with a pun - the kind that your parents would always tell you to try and get you to laugh. Richie’s voice is soft and every time he finishes a joke he presses a light kiss to Eddie’s hair.

Something feels wrong, though. Eddie can feel it, rising and rising with every breath that he takes.

“I’m sorry, Rich, I just-” Eddie stumbles backward, out of Richie’s arms. He feels cold and empty now that Richie isn’t holding him - his arms are still outstretched, waiting for Eddie to return. Eddie wishes he could, but something isn’t right. Eddie doesn’t feel right.

He turns and vomits all over the sidewalk.

“Holy motherfucking fuck! Shit, are you okay?” Richie puts a hand on his back, the touch is so light he can barely feel it. Eddie appreciates it nonetheless. He feels slightly better.

Eddie dry heaves, coughs so hard his chest burns, and wipes his mouth, “I think I’m okay. When my anxiety gets really bad I throw up. That or your jokes were so bad they made me sick.”

A smile finds its way onto Richie’s face and grows wide, “Eddie Spaghetti gets off a fucking good one, ladies and gentlemen! But like shit, though, are you fucking good?”

Eddie stumbles backward from his own vomit - his legs haven’t quite stopped shaking just yet - and Richie’s at his side in a second, holding him up. For some reason, all Eddie can do is laugh.

“What the fuck is happening to me? You’ve been some influence, Richie Tozier.”

“I like this version of you, Eddie Kaspbrak. I like every single version of you, though, ” Richie runs a hand through his hair - it sticks up even more, “Do you maybe wanna come back to mine? Bev and Stan are still asleep and I doubt they’ll care, and I mean, I think it’s safe to assume we both need a little bit more sleep. Also, I mean, I also think it’s safe to assume that we both need each other right now.”

Richie clears his throat like he’s nervous, like he’s nervous Eddie’s going to say no.

Eddie can’t imagine saying no.

“You assume correctly. Take me home, Rich.” Eddie watches Richie as the nerves fade and the sunshine smile lights up his view.

“I’ll take you out to breakfast later if you don’t throw up again.”

“Is that a promise, Trashmouth?” Eddie rests his head on Richie’s shoulder. He remembers thinking that Richie’s hands belong on his waist, and he thinks that his head belongs on Richie’s shoulders.

“Yeah, it is.”

“Good, I was considering just going back home if it wasn’t.” Eddie bites his lip and smiles as Richie bumps into him.

“I don’t think I’d let you leave me, Eds.” Richie stops and kisses the top of Eddie’s head again.

Eddie feels like he’s floating. His entire body feels heavy and he’s pretty sure he actually did get vomit on Richie’s jacket but he couldn’t fucking care less. Richie’s here and he’s not going to leave him and he’s going to take him back to his house so they can go to sleep together. It’s not anything Eddie could’ve imagined when he woke up panicked this morning. Eddie isn’t sure he’s even able to panic when Richie’s around.

"You're thinking too loud again, Sweetcheeks." Richie pulls Eddie out of his thoughts, he didn't even realize they had started walking. He just lets Richie lead him.

"You're gonna have to get used to it, Rich. And stop reading my fucking mind." He grabs Richie's hand and notices how Richie already had his hand out. He smiles.

"Wow," Richie says softly, "You didn't correct me for calling you 'Sweetcheeks.'"

"Shut up, Richie. I'm too tired to correct you." The truth is, he didn't even really want to.

"Guess I'll always have to make you tired." Richie swings their hands.

"Ew, gross, I don't even know what you're trying to say." Eddie smiles despite himself.

“Then why are you smiling?” Richie turns to face Eddie and pulls him along with his hand.

“I’m not smiling, what are you talking about?” He smiles even wider. He doesn’t stop himself.

“You’re so smiling, you’re smiling at me! You told me you were falling in love with me! You said that you needed me!” Richie starts bouncing with every step that he takes. Eddie can see that he’s tired, though.

“Don’t make me take it back!” Eddie pulls on Richie’s hand and makes him stumble closer to him.

Richie falls silent and stops walking.

“You wouldn’t take it back though, right?” It’s barely a whisper. The hand that’s curled around Eddie’s tightens.

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Richie. I meant what I said earlier,” He puts his free hand on Richie’s cheek. Richie leans into it, “I’ll always need you.”

“I’ll keep you safe, Eds. You’re mine forever.”

“Take me home, Rich.”

Chapter Text

“How are things with Stan?” Eddie lays on his bed, facing the ceiling. He stares at the glow-in-the-dark stars that Richie had bought him and forced him to put up. He smiles.

“T-things with S-stan are f-fine,” Bill says, “If y-you count f-fine as me n-not being able t-to talk t-to him. I don’t even k-know if he l-likes me.”

“Bill, he so likes you. Just pull your head out of your ass and ask him out. He’d say yes.” Eddie keeps looking at the stars, secretly hoping that every noise he hears outside is Richie tapping on his window.

“Oh, l-like you asked Richie out? I r-remember y-you having t-three mental breakdowns b-before you a-actually started d-dating.”

“Okay, that’s fucking uncalled for, first of all. Second of all, at least I have a boyfriend. Like a real-life existent boyfriend who actually, asked me out-”

“D-don’t have another breakdown p-please. Anyway, h-how are things with Richie? H-have you guys f-fucked yet or what?”

“Bill! That’s fucking disgusting! We’ve only been dating for a month!”

“I-it’s a genuine question, Eddie. As y-your primary best f-friend I want to know.”

“I don’t have to answer you, you dick.”

“You will, eventually, j-just w-wait,” Eddie rolls his eyes,“I gotta go E-eddie, I have to take care of G-georgie.”

“Okay. See you later, B.”

“L-let me know when you f-finally jump Richie’s bones.”

“I fucking hate you.”

Eddie lets his phone slip from his fingers and land somewhere next to him. He closes his eyes. Maybe Richie will come later. Maybe he’ll come tomorrow. He’s lost in thought, just barely conscious, when he hears a noise outside his window. It’s a constant sharp noise, like something is hitting it, repeatedly.

Like someone is hitting it, repeatedly.

Like Richie is hitting it, repeatedly.

Eddie huffs out a sort of laugh, runs a hand through his hair and walks toward his window.

He’s not exactly surprised to find Richie’s concentrated face staring back at him, but it still somehow takes his breath away. With Richie around, Eddie’s beginning to think he’ll never breathe properly anymore. Not like his lungs were normal in the first place.

He opens his window - and immediately regrets it. It’s cold as shit.

“What the hell are you doing here? You know if my mom saw you we both would be dead, right?” Eddie crosses his arms, trying to act like he didn’t spend all day wishing that Richie were here.

“I would protest, but you’re still wearing my jacket and you look very hot so that’s all I can focus on.” Richie’s cheeks are pink from the cold.

“Beep fucking beep, Rich.” Eddie’s cheeks turn pink, too, and he just pretends that it’s because of the chill creeping into his room.

“What? Am I not allowed to admire my beautiful boyfriend?” Richie gestures with his hands and ends up almost falling from his perch below the window to the ground.

Eddie’s cheeks get darker and he smiles softly. “I guess you’re allowed. Now get in here before we both get hypothermia.”

Richie smiles back. He climbs in clumsily and loudly - knocking over a few of Eddie’s books and tripping over his feet as he hits the ground, emphasizing it with a “Fuck!”

Eddie sits down on his bed as Richie sits next to him. He puts his head on his shoulder, where it belongs. Richie wraps an arm around his waist and lets it rest there.

“What can I do for you, Trashmouth?”

“I just wanted to see you.” Richie presses a kiss to the top of his head.

“I wanted to see you too, Rich.”