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have I been played for a fool?

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Hi t-this is Bill from t-the TV Show C-Catfish, is this E-Eddie?”

Nausea settled in Eddie’s stomach as he heard the words repeated back to him in his mind over and over again. Bill was still on the line, waiting patiently for a response and once Eddie finally managed to find his voice, he croaked out a small, “Yes, yes this is Eddie.”

Great, s-o we’ve been s-spending time with a y-young man n-named Richie over the p-past few d-days who s-says he’ s been t-talking to y-you.”

Richie.

Richie Tozier.

“Yeah,” Eddie breathed with a shaky tone, “Yeah we’ve been talking for years.” Tears had pooled in his eyes, some starting to track their way down his cheeks as he pulled his knees to his chest. He knew what question was coming next, and he also knew there was only one answer for it.

T-The reason I’m c-calling is because R-Richie really w-wants to meet you, and s-so he called u-us to help. I-If meeting h-him is something y-you want then w-we can make that h-happen.”

Meeting Richie was something that Eddie has wanted ever since he was fifteen years old. Meeting Richie was always meant to be a wish that was never going to be fulfilled. Eddie was never meant to meet Richie, and Richie was meant to eventually move on from him, forget all about him.

Except he hadn’t. Instead he had called Catfish, the TV show determined to help people meet their online loves.

Eddie?”

He cleared his throat, swallowing thickly, “I’m here,” he whispered. “I- I want to meet him, I do. I’m just scared he won’t like what he sees.”

I-I understand. I do. I-It’s okay t-to be scared. A-Are you i-in Derry, Maine?”

Was he in Derry Maine? Of course he was in Derry, where else did they expect him to be?

“Yes, yes I’m in Derry,” he answered, more quickly this time. Eddie brought his hand up to wipe away the tears from his cheeks and let out a shuddering breath, “I want to meet him. I do.”

W-We can c-come out to you. W-We can meet s-somewhere public in Derry.”

Bill sounded nice over the phone, nicer than any other episode that Eddie had ever watched of the TV show and he wondered if they add in him being harsher once the phone call was over, or if he genuinely could feel how terrified Eddie was.

“There is a large public park,” he whispered, “We can meet there, next to the statue around noon tomorrow?”

What was he doing? Didn’t the whole reason for not meeting Richie stem down to Eddie being self-conscious in his appearance? Now he was planning on meeting him in front of cameras, for a show that would be aired on national television in around three months time.

Eddie wanted to vomit, his limbs trembling in fear of what the next day was going to bring.

Richie was going to hate him.

G-Great, w-we’ll be o-on a flight and w-we’ll see y-you in the m-morning.”

Eddie can’t even remember saying goodbye, but as the dial of the cut line echoed in his ear, he knew he must have. His lower lip was aching from the biting and he wanted to scream.

He knew there was no chance he was sleeping at all tonight.

* * *

They met on a chatroom for gay and bi-sexual teenagers to talk to each other in a safe place. It was full of teenagers that all had their own problems to deal with, and Eddie had finally typed out a little spec about himself, to which Richie had responded.

They hit it off so well that they created their own chat and exchanged numbers. Eddie was fifteen and Richie had just turned seventeen.

He never told anyone about Richie, he didn’t want to get the whole, “online relationships are dangerous” talk and he definitely didn’t want his mother finding out as she would ban him from the internet forever and take his phone way.

Which wasn’t an option, not now that he had someone to talk to. Richie was like a breath of fresh air in Eddie’s claustrophobic life. He was the sun in Eddie’s darkness and the more they got to know each other, Eddie found himself falling more and more in love.

There was only one problem.

A big problem.

Eddie had never sent Richie any pictures of himself, at least not really. There were two, one of him at the age of fifteen, taken two months before they started talking, and another when he was seventeen, but it had half his face cut out.

It wasn’t that Eddie was hiding something big from Richie, he wasn’t, he was just who he said he was. The reason was simple. He wasn’t good looking. His skin was a sickly pale colour, his hips were a little too chubby, his eyes too close together. His hair was dry and a ugly brown colour and he was short. He definitely was nothing compared to Richie, who sent him pictures all the time. Whether he was walking his dog, or taking care of his little sister Rosie, Richie had a picture for it.

Richie had asked him on multiple occasions after he had graduated High School to meet up, to come to New York and visit him, but he always chickened out by making up some lame excuse.

He was going to his Aunts in Virginia.

His mother was sick.

He was working.

The more Richie asked, the more pathetic the excuses became. Eddie could tell that Richie was becoming impatient with him, after all, they had been talking for almost six years now. Eddie was three weeks away from being twenty-one and Richie was twenty-two.

Eddie never thought that Richie would ever contact Catfish though.

Yet here he was, walking to the public park at noon on Saturday morning, each step becoming more slower than the last. He could see the statue in the distance and his heart rate picked up when he saw all the cameras surrounding the area where Bill, Stan and….Richie were standing. From where Eddie was he could see Richie’s thick curly hair, he could see he was sporting one of his infamous Hawaiian shirts and his heart filled with affection for him.

The affection was quickly replaced with fear as he realised that this was it. This was the moment that he lost the best thing that ever happened to him.

Eddie wasn’t sure he was ready.

* * *

Richie Tozier was a dramatic son of a bitch, anyone who was close friends with him would tell him that. He starred in most of his High School plays and even went on to study Drama at Tisch University in his home city of New York. Yes, Richie was all about the dramatics, but when it came to Eddie Kaspbrak he would go to the lengths of the earth to meet him.

So to him, writing in to Catfish was the least dramatic thing he could have ever done.

Eddie was, in one word, amazing. He had came into Richie’s life during one of the darkest periods and if not for him, Richie wasn’t sure he would be where he was today. For the day he first started talking to Eddie, was the same day his parents told him they were getting a divorce.

According to his mother, they just weren’t in love with each other anymore, that they were doing more damage being with each other than good. It wasn’t healthy for Richie or Rosie and it wasn’t healthy for them either.

So he had logged on to the chat room that he used to talk to people when he was feeling down and there was someone new. Eddie Kaspbrak, fifteen years old from Derry ME. They had started talking on the main group chat until they eventually made their own chat and exchanged numbers.

Eddie was smart, funny and sarcastic. He kept Richie on his toes and sometimes drove him insane, but in the best way. By the time a year had passed, Richie knew that he was in love with Eddie. The only problem was he had never really seen Eddie. The best picture he had was one that he had seen on his facebook page. Fifteen year old Eddie, sitting in what looks to be Lake water and looking less than pleased with whoever took the picture.

Richie thought he was the cutest fucking thing he had ever seen.

They never video chatted, and once Eddie had graduated, Richie had tried to convince him to come to New York but he was always blown off. To begin with, Richie just assumed that Eddie was nervous, but as the years passed without much progress, Richie began to think that maybe something else was at play.

Maybe it wasn’t Eddie Kaspbrak he was talking to after all.

Maybe it was someone completely different.

With his mind made up, Richie had written in a detailed letter to Bill and Stan, the creators of the tv show Catfish, explaining his situation and begging for their help.

Subject: Have I been played for a fool?

Dear Bill and Stan,

My name is Richie Tozier and I’m from New York City, NY. For the past six years I’ve been talking to a

guy named Eddie who lives in Derry, ME. We started talking when he was fifteen and I was seventeen on a chat room that LGBT people could talk about their feelings and issues without being judged. He is smart and amazing and I’m pretty sure I’m in love with him.

The only thing is I have never met him. We talk on the phone every night almost but I only have one picture of him from when he was fifteen and a really blurry picture of him from a few years back but it doesn’t really show his face. I’m pretty sure that I want to spend the rest of my life with this guy, whether it be as friends or as boyfriends but I need to know if I’ve really been talking to Eddie Kaspbrak or if it’s been someone else this whole time.

I really need your help.

I hope to hear from you soon,

Richie Tozier.

He read over his words once more, happy with his letter and hoping that it would stand out.

Then he pressed send.

* * *

It took three weeks to hear back, which was quicker than Richie had ever hoped for. It came in the form of a call from the shows producers, asking if he was available to video chat with Bill and Stan to talk about his email. The reply was automatic, of course he was available.

The reality of the whole thing crashed down on him when he connected to the video chat and Bill and Stan were staring at him through his computer screen. They had read his cry for help and were eager to help him finally meet Eddie. Finally.

Once they introduced themselves, they dove right into what would happen in their investigation. They would fly out to New York and come to his apartment, chat with him about Eddie and gather any relevant information they would need before they headed to either a coffee shop or the hotel to do their research. Once they felt that they had enough information, they would call Richie back and go over it with them before making a decision on whether to call Eddie and ask him if he was willing to meet up with him. If all went well, either Eddie would come to them, or they would go to him.

Richie nodded his head, taking all the information in and the call ended as quickly as it started. Bill, Stan and the camera crew were flying out to New York immediately and they would be with him in the morning. Hopefully by Saturday evening, he would have finally put a name to the face of Eddie Kaspbrak.
That night, Richie slept like a baby.

Early mornings were not a thing that Richie was fond of. Usually he fell asleep around four in the morning and didn’t surface again until at least two in the afternoon of the following day. Today however, today was different. Bill and Stan were due to arrive at midday and the investigation would begin. He was nervous, fidgety, but also extremely excited.

By the time noon rolled around and the cars from the camera crew were parked outside his apartment, Richie was bouncing on the heels of his feet. He welcomed Bill and Stan in, offering them water and some biscuits before they sat down in his living room to talk.

“So you met Eddie on a chat room when you were seventeen?” Stan started and Richie nodded his head.

“Yeah so, I was part of this chat room that acted as a safe place for LGBT people to talk to each other without feeling judged. I had been part of the group for a few weeks, and that day, the day I started talking to Eddie was a particularly rough day.” Richie swallowed and looked down at his hands. He was about to reveal the depth of his private life.

As though Bill could sense his nervousness, he sent him a smile, “I-It’s okay, w-we won’t j-judge you h-here. We’re h-here to help.”

He inhaled once more and let out a shaky breath before continuing, “My parents just told me they were filing for divorce and I needed to rant. Eddie was new on the chat room but he was so supportive, so friendly and kind and I don’t think I could have kept it together if it wasn’t for him.”  

“How long have you been talking to him for?” Stan asked, even though Richie had written in his letter, he knew Stan was asking just for clarification.

“Six years, he was fifteen and I was seventeen. He’ll be almost twenty-one now, his birthday is in a few weeks,” Richie explained.

“So you’ve been talking to this guy for six years and yet, you’ve never video chatted with him or really seen a recent photo of him?” Stan commented, raising his eyebrows as Richie nodded, “Sounds to me that this guy is hiding something. What person doesn’t send pictures or video chats with someone they’ve been talking to for six years?”

“C-can we see t-the photo y-you do have? A-along with the m-messages?” Bill asked and Richie nodded, pulling up the picture and texts on his phone and passing them over to Bill. Stan crossed over to sit next to him and they flicked through some of the texts.

“You guys are pretty serious about each other,” Stan spoke quietly. “I love you’s have been said, really deep and personal conversations.”

“H-He certainly t-texts like a t-twenty one year o-old,” Bill added and Stan scoffed, “W-What?”

“He might text like the age he is claiming to be, but we have seen people who can manipulate others Bill, the text speak means nothing,” Stan turned back to Richie, “Have you spoken to him on the phone?”

“Yeah, we talk almost every night,” Richie clarified.

“And is it a boy you’re talking to?”

Richie frowned and he nodded his head, “Of course it’s a boy I’m talking to, I know what a boy sounds like and Eddie is definitely a boy.”

Bill flicked through his phone some more, reading some of the messages, bringing out a smile on his lips. Richie had watched the show many times and he knew that Bill was the one that always gave them the benefit of the doubt, whereas Stan was the one who was more realistic. Usually Richie was just like Stan, and usually Stan was right.

This time though, Richie was really hoping that this time Bill was the one in the right.

They packed up all of their things, having gotten enough information to begin their investigation. As Richie closed the door behind them, he leaned his forehead on the wood, closing his eyes and catching his breath.

There was really no going back now.

* * *

The call from Bill and Stan came at around five that afternoon. He agreed that he was free for them to come over and discuss what they had figured out. He was holding out hope that it was positive information they had discovered, but when he saw the look on both Bill and Stans faces, Richie knew that it couldn’t be good.

Once they were all sat down in his living room, just like they had done earlier that afternoon, Stan spoke up. “So, we did our investigation and some things came up that we want to talk to you about.” He pulled up the laptop and sat it on the coffee table.

“W-We started by r-running the phone n-number. It brought us t-to someone called S-Sonia K-Kaspbrak. T-They have t-the same name so i-it could be the m-mother.”

“Or it could be her you’re talking to,” Stan piped up, stoic expression on his face. “I mean, it won’t be the first time we’ve experienced creeps talking to younger boys and girls pretending to be their age.”

“But I’ve been talking to a boy…” Richie whispered, voice full of disbelief.

“In some cases, we have seen people put on voices to imitate who they are pretending to be. It’s not uncommon in catfishes,” Stan explained.

Richie’s jaw dropped, and he was sure that his eyes were as wide as saucers, dread settling in his gut. Stan believed that Eddie, his Eddie, was really a forty year old woman pretending to be a twenty one year old man? How sick could someone be.

Suddenly his subject for the email he wrote was becoming more and more true. Maybe he really had been played for a fool.

This whole time that he had been planning a possible future with Eddie, when in reality, Eddie was an old sick woman who had tricked him and made him waste six years of his fucking life.

Six fucking years.

Devastation made way for anger and Richie clenched his jaw, “What else?” he asked, trying to stay calm, trying not to have an emotional outburst in front of all these people. He could feel this throat closing up and tears spring into his eyes but he swallowed them down.

Stan sighed, his face turning from stoic to sympathy, “We had a look on his facebook next and as you said, most of his pictures are of animals or scenery, none of him. Then we came across this,” Stan pulled up a picture of a woman, clearly in her forties and when he ran the mouse over it the name Sonia Kaspbrak came up. “This is the woman who’s name is registered to the number you’ve been talking to. We clicked on her page and she’s not got much there, but she is from Derry Maine, just like Eddie is.”

“A-Again, it c-could be h-his m-mom!” Bill pointed out, “W-We don’t k-know for sure. The n-next move i-is for us t-to just call h-him. Call h-him and see if h-he’ll meet us.”

Richie agreed and Bill stood up, leaving the room to make the all important phone call, the phone call that would change everything. Stan put a hand on his shoulder, sighing deeply. “You okay?”

“No,” Richie whispered. “The way things are going, I’ve been talking to a forty year old woman for six years. Who let’s something like that go on for six years?”

“You’ll be surprised,” Stan hummed, glancing out to where Bill was on the phone.

Bill came back around ten minutes later, his expression almost unreadable. “He’s a-agreed to m-meet us. T-Tomorrow, w-we’re going to M-Maine.”

* * *

As noon hit, Eddie’s phone started to buzz with the alarm that he set, as though he would have forgotten what his plans were that afternoon. Getting out of the house was easy enough, telling his mother he was going to the pharmacy to collect his placebo medication. She had smiled and sent him a sickly sweet wave of goodbye and he was off.

The park was in the opposite direction of the pharmacy, but he knew his mother was too lazy to bother to check which way he had walked. She trusted him. He was her little boy.

From where he was standing, Eddie could see Bill talking to Richie and Stan chatting with the cameramen, cleary waiting for any sign of a person or a car. His whole body was trembling and the nauseous feeling was residing in the pit of his stomach.

Knowing that he couldn’t keep them waiting any longer than he already had, Eddie stepped out of his hiding place and began to slowly walk towards them. As he drew nearer, he saw the cameras turn to face him and the exact moment that Bill, Stan and Richie realised that it was him that they were waiting for. He watched as Bill broke into a smile, he watched as Stan’s eyes widened in almost disbelief and he watched as Richie’s shoulders deflated, not in a disappointed way, but rather more out of relief.

“I-I fucking t-told you he wasn’t a w-woman Stan!” Bill exclaimed and Eddie’s eyes widened in confusion. Yet he couldn’t find it in him to ask what he meant by that. He only had eyes for Richie.

Richie who was now grinning from ear to ear like a maniac. Richie who was taller than Eddie imagined, lankier, but oh so handsome. Richie who was carefully walking towards him with slow, careful steps. “Eds?”

Eds.

He called him Eds.

Eds was a nickname that Richie came up with when they were just getting to know each other. Eddie would swear on his grave that he hated it but he didn’t hate it, he loved it, and to hear Richie say it to his face made the moment all the more surreal.

“Hi Richie,” he breathed out, almost choking on his own words.

It was as though a dam had broken, for the second Richie’s name passed his lips, he was surging forward and pulling Eddie into a hug. Suddenly Eddie’s senses were filled with Richie; Richie’s scent, Richie’s warmth, Richie’s voice.

“You’re really you,” Richie whispered into his hair and Eddie nodded, feeling tears soak into Richie’s Hawaiian shirt. As though Richie knew he was crying, he pulled back from the hug, but kept him close. “Hey, hey why are you crying?”

Eddie opened his mouth to answer, but out of his peripheral vision, he could see a camera that reminded him they were not alone, and Eddie wanted to be alone before he spilled his guts out to Richie. “Later,” he choked. “Please?’

Richie nodded and they seperated, Eddie immediately missing the warmth that had been radiating from Richie’s body. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand he turned to face the cameras and the two hosts.

Bill was grinning wide and Stan had a soft smile on his face, clearly happy with the outcome of this episode. “W-We were convinced you w-were a forty y-year old woman,” Bill started and Eddie’s eyes widened in horror.

“What?”

Stan stepped up then, “Your number was registered to a woman named Sonia, and the only picture of a person on your profile was of the same woman. It wouldn’t have been the first time that someone has done that, so we were trying to prepare for the worst.”

Eddie swallowed and a shudder ran down his spine, but not in a good way, the nausea returning. “Sonia is my mother, she pays my phone contract so that’s why the number is registered to her name,” he explained, fingers fiddling with the hem of his sweater. “As for the pictures and not video chatting, there really is no foul play behind that. I’m just...really insecure.”

He felt Richie tense next to him, Bill and Stan nodding. A silence fell over them until Stan cleared his throat, “Well, we’ll let you guys get acquainted with one another and we can meet up later.”

Once the last camera van had left the parking lot in the park, Eddie felt himself finally relax and he turned to Richie, who was smiling at him as if he were the sun. They didn’t speak as Richie reached out and took his hand, leading him over to a bench that was situated underneath a tree, out of sight and they sat down.

“So you thought I was a woman?” Eddie whispered, breaking the ice. Richie chuckled from where he was sat next to him, and eventually nodded his head.

“I hoped you weren’t, I really hoped you were who you said you were, even if I had never really seen you,” Richie’s eyes were soft, but questioning. “Why did you never send me pictures Eds? I mean, look at you. You’re gorgeous.”

Eddie felt his throat close up and he shook his head, “No Richie, no I’m not. I’m not even average. I- I know I’m not what you probably thought I’d look like, I know I’m probably the complete opposite. It’s okay.” He kept his head down, too scared to even look at Richie.

Then there was a hand on his chin, tilting his head up slowly so their eyes could meet. Richie’s were shining with tears, shock on his face. “Who told you that?” He asked seriously. “Who told you that you were anything less than beautiful?”

Not wanting any more secrets between them, Eddie swallowed and parted his lips, whispering out, “My mom.”

“Well no offence to the blind, but your mother must be the blindest person in the world because she couldn’t have been further from the truth. You, Eddie Kaspbrak are fucking stunning.” He cupped Eddie’s cheeks in his large hands, the rough skin of his palms sending shivers down Eddie’s spine, this time in a good way. “Your skin is so soft, so soft that I could spend hours just caressing it. You’re eyes are this soft brown color and I swear I could get lost in them so easily. Your hair is so smooth and curly that I could just run my fingers through the strands and never get tired.” Richie brought his thumb up to rest against Eddie’s lips, “Your lips, god Eds, they are so red and soft and I would kill to feel them pressed against my own. I would.”

Tears were making their way down Eddie’s cheeks, only to be brushed away by the pads of Richie’s thumbs. An arm was wrapped around his waist, tugging Eddie closer and he swallowed, making the bold move of sliding onto Richie’s lap, head resting on his shoulder. “Really?” He whispered softly.

“Really. When have I ever lied to you Eds?” Richie breathed into his ear. “You. Are. Beautiful. Inside and out, and if you’ll let me, I want to spend the rest of my life proving that to you.”

The sob that escaped Eddie’s lips at Richie’s words could have echoed through the whole park, but he muffled it into Richie’s shirt. Arms held onto him tight, fingers running up and down his spine, holding him close and making him feel loved. Richie was here, he was here and he thought he was beautiful. His mother was wrong, he did have someone that would love him more than she did. He had Richie.

“I love you,” Eddie whispered against Richie’s skin and he swallowed as he pulled back, looking deep into his eyes.

“I love you too, Eds. I love you too, so damn much.” Richie whispered. Then, as though they were being drawn together by magnets, Richie cupped his cheek and closed the small distance between them.

Eddie had always thought that the common phrase of ‘fireworks exploded when we kissed’ was a lot of crap, but as Richie’s lips slotted over his own, rough against his own soft ones, Eddie was definitely proven wrong. It was as though someone lit a flame inside him and his body was filled with warmth, arms moving up and around Richie’s neck to pull him closer, to feel him. It was intoxicating and Eddie never wanted it to end.

However, breathing was a thing, therefore he had to pull away, inhaling sharply through his nose. His eyes blinked open as they met Richie’s own dark orbs, and a breathless giggle left his lips. For the first time in what felt like forever, Eddie Kaspbrak could finally say he was happy.

* * *

Bill and Stan returned to them a few hours later, smiling when they saw the blissed out expressions on their faces. They filmed some more with them, just chatting about how they were the first couple in a few years that had turned out to be real and they were sure the viewers were going to love it when it aired.

Then they were packing up to leave, reminding them that they would call on them in two months time to check how everything was going. Something in their eyes told them that they were going to be greeted with good news.

Richie’s flight home wasn’t until the following day, which allowed the two of them to spend more time together. Just as Eddie was about to suggest he show him around his boring town of Derry, his phone let out a shrill ring, his mother’s name appearing on the screen.

Shit.

His mother.

According to her, he had spent four and a half hours at the pharmacy.

Quickly, he accepted the call, putting it to his ear and wincing as her high pitched, shrill voice echoed through the line. He knew that Richie heard it too, for the arm around his waist tensed.

Edward Kaspbrak where the hell are you, and if you say the pharmacy I will not be pleased because I called there and Mr Keene said you hadn’t been in all day!”

Shit.

“Ma, I can explain…” he trailed off, but as usual, he was cut off.

You better get home right this second and with a good explanation. You can’t just vanish on me like that Eddie-bear, what if something happened? What if you got sick and I didn’t know where you were?”

“I’m at the park mama, I just needed some fresh air,” the last thing Eddie wanted to do was tell his mother that he was meeting his online boyfriend. She would skin him alive, probably still would.

But Eddie-bear what about your allergies? You can’t just walk around the park. Now I’m going to have to take you to the hospital for a check up. You’ll probably have to stay there for a few weeks, which means you’ll be there for your birthday. See what happens when you don’t listen to me? Stay where you are, I’m coming to pick you up. Don’t worry Eddie-bear, the doctors will take care of you.”

Before Eddie could think about what his next words were, he had already spoken them, “No. No mama, I’m not going to the hospital. I’m not sick and I don’t have any allergies.” He looked up at Richie, who was sporting a large grin and he felt the arm around his waist tug him closer.

Then he felt Richie’s lips at his ear, followed by his voice. “Come with me to New York,” he whispered and Eddie inhaled sharply.

Go with Richie? To New York?

Leave Derry and his overbearing mother?

Be happy?

He was so lost in his own thoughts, he missed what his mother’s response was. She was still rambling on and he swallowed, cutting her off mid sentence like she had done to him so many times before. “Actually mama, I won’t be coming home.”

What is that supposed to mean Edward?”

“It means what I just said. I’m not coming home. I’m going to New York.”

He knew he would have to go home and pack some things, but he would do that once she was past asleep. He knew that she took her sleeping pills at around ten, which meant she would be dead to the world come eleven.

As he ended the call, he looked up at Richie who was grinning proudly. His heart was pounding with adrenaline and he pushed himself up on his tiptoes to capture Richie’s lips in a passionate kiss. The first of many that would follow. One of Richie’s hands cupped his cheek and the other wrapped around his neck as Eddie’s fingers buried themselves in Richie’s soft dark curls, lips moving slowly against one anothers.

When they pulled away for breath, their faces remained close and Richie ran his hands down Eddie’s sides to his hips and tugged him closer so their bodies were pressed together. Due to their height difference, Eddie’s feet were no longer planted on the floor, but were about an inch in the air.

“So New York huh? Where am I going to stay in New York?” Eddie asked.

“Oh I think I know a person that would welcome such a cutie like yourself. You have to excuse him though, he’s a bit of a disaster.”

A giggle worked its way past Eddie’s lips and he pressed their foreheads together, “Yeah, that maybe so, but he’s my disaster.”

They still had a lot to talk about, and Eddie still had a lot of issues to work through, but if they could take anything away from this whole experience then it would be this.

They would do it together.

Chapter Text

Out of all the scenarios that Eddie had put together in his head leading up to this meeting, the actual outcome wasn’t one of them. Richie didn’t run away, he didn’t look at Eddie with disgust or shame. Instead he wrapped his arms around his waist, tugging him close and holding him in a hug so tight that Eddie felt that he might suffocate. Six years he had waited for this moment, and it was more than he ever could have imagined.

Catfish had organised a hotel for Richie to stay in overnight, and without any words needing to be spoken, Eddie took his hand and walked with him all the way there. It was one of Derry’s more ‘sophisticated’ hotels, which made sense as Bill and Stan tended to go all out on the show. As they stepped into the elevator to take them to Richie’s floor, Eddie was sure that the nerves would kick in and he would panic, yet the firm feeling of Richie’s hand on the small of his back kept him calm and collected.

Richie’s room had a double bed, a mini fridge, a flat screen tv and a private bathroom with a built in bath and shower. The bath was probably big enough to be considered a jacuzzi and Eddie almost squawked. He didn’t even know Derry had fancy hotels like this. As Richie closed over the door and locked it, Eddie threw his turned off phone onto the bed and flopped down onto it on his back. A sigh fell from his lips as he sagged into the mattress and he looked up at Richie.

“You should come lay down, this is the comfiest mattress I think I’ve ever laid on,” he closed his eyes and kept them closed until he felt the bed dip next to him, signalling that Richie had joined him.

“Damn Eds, you’re right,” Richie hummed, his fingers moving down the skin of Eddie’s arm to lace their fingers together. Eddie bit his lip as Richie raised their join hands, pressing a kiss to his knuckles, looking into his eyes. “You’re so beautiful. I-I’m struggling to get over how gorgeous you are.”

A blush crept its way onto Eddie’s pale cheeks and he turned his head to the side, “Richie…” A hand was on his cheek, turning his face back and his eyes met Richie’s own dark brown ones.

“Why don’t you think you’re gorgeous?” Richie asked, voice filled with concern. “Why don’t you believe that think you’re gorgeous. Because you are. You are fucking stunning.”

“I told you, my mother-”

“You don’t have to tell me,” Richie cut him off before he could say anything else. “You don’t, but I want you to know that I’ll still be here if you do. If you think that telling me is going to scare me off, then you’re wrong. I waited six years for you and now that I finally have you, I’m not letting you go.”

Eddie took a few moments just to process Richie’s words before he gently rolled over so he was pressed up against his side, head on Richie’s chest. “My dad died when I was five. From what I can remember my mother was happy then, but when he died it was almost like a switch was flipped and she wasn’t my mother anymore. She was this whole new person and she was full of hate and anger and spite. My whole life she raised me to believe that I was sick, that I was riddled with diseases and allergies. I wasn’t allowed to go on field trips, or go to the Quarry with my friends or go to the movies. I wasn’t allowed to get a summer job or go on holiday. I had to go straight to school and then come straight home.” He could feel his throat closing up and Richie’s arm around his waist tightened. “She would tell me that I wasn’t good looking, that I was too pale, too short, a little chubby for my age. She would tell me that she was the only person that would ever love me and that I would spend my life just...taking care of her.

“That’s why I didn’t tell you, about me, or show you pictures of me. I didn’t want you to look at me and see what she saw. Having you in my life was such a relief, an escape from her hell and if I were to lose you…” he trailed off, tears soaking through Richie’s shirt.

“Hey, hey shhh,” Richie breathed, holding him tightly. “Your mother is a bitch. That’s...no way to treat your child. A mother is meant to love her children unconditionally, to build them up when they are feeling down, to encourage them to try new things, to be supportive and loving. Your mother is the complete opposite of that. In my opinion, your mother isn’t even really a mother.” Slowly he began running his fingers through Eddie’s hair. “I told you earlier in the park about how much I love you, about how gorgeous you are. I would repeat that over and over again until you believed it if I have to.”

Eddie raised a hand and wiped away the tears from his cheeks, giving Richie a smile that was both loving and relieved at the same time. How could Eddie have been so lucky to land someone like Richie Tozier? Richie who had been Eddie’s rock for six years and now….now he might finally be something more. He glanced up at Richie through his eyelashes and pushed his body up just slightly so their lips were inches apart. Even though they had kissed in the park, this was much more intimate. They were alone in a hotel room with the whole night ahead of them, the light of the setting sun shining in the window, giving Richie’s already darker skin a warm glow. He was beautiful, stunning even.

Richie’s lips ghosted over his own before he closed the distance, letting their lips slide together slowly, causing Eddie’s head to spin. The kiss broke and Richie moved his lips down Eddies jaw to his throat, sucking a mark onto the skin. His lips turned up into a smirk as he brushed his tongue over the mark he had created, coaxing a gasp from Eddie’s lips.

“Like that?” Richie breathed against his skin and Eddie nodded his head, tilting it back to give Richie more room to work.

“Y-yes,” he breathed, biting down on his lip and he swallowed thickly. “Richie…”

Even though the feeling of Richie’s lips on his skin was intoxicating, the feeling of Richie’s hands on his hips electric, Eddie was still nervous. He had never done anything sexual with anyone before, and he knew that Richie had done it at least twice. He told him.

Eddie though, Eddie was a virgin. Anything sexual was completely foreign to him, completely uncharted territory. As the nerves bubbled in his stomach, he pulled back so he could look at Richie properly. He didn’t want to disappoint him with his lack of experience.

As though he had a sixth sense, Richie frowned, “Baby, is everything okay? Are we moving too fast?” He rubbed his hands up and down Eddie’s hips.

“I- I don’t- I’ve never-” Eddie cut himself off, embarrassed by how his words were coming out. “I don’t want to disappoint you.”

“Oh baby, you could never disappoint me. We don’t have to do anything, hell, we can go to sleep right now if you want. I’d wait a lifetime if that’s what you asked, “ Richie cupped his cheek, running the pads of his thumbs over Eddie’s cheekbones as he leaned closer, bumping their noses together.

“I want to,” Eddie breathed, staring into his eyes deeply. “I don’t want anything separating us...I’m just scared.” He was scared, terrified even.

Richie pursed his lips, as though he were thinking about something and then he grinned, sitting up and pulling Eddie with him, “I know exactly how to relieve some of that tension.” He lifted Eddie up by his waist, starting the trek to the bathroom. “We’re going to have a nice warm bath, with smelling salts, some candles and maybe the bottle of wine I’m sure is in the fridge. We’re going to make the most out of this night”

Eddie let out a soft giggle and he wrapped his arms around Richie’s neck, letting him be carried to the bathroom, “How romantic of you, Richie.”

“Only the best for my Eds,” Richie whispered and sat Eddie down on the edge of the tub in the bathroom and ran the hot water for a few minutes before he put the plug in, letting the bath fill up. After a few moments Richie added the smelling salts into the water before reaching down to pull up the hem of his shirt, “Is this okay?”

“Yeah, yes of course it is,” Eddie breathed and tugged his shirt up, tossing it to the floor and reaching for the button of the pants, popping it open and pushing them down too. “A bath sounds perfect.”

Richie’s eyes widened as Eddie pulled off his clothes and he scrambled to remove his own, throwing them down along with Eddie’s. Once the bath was filled enough, he reached over and shut off the running water. “You get on in and I’ll got fetch the wine and the candles, I’ll be right back.”

Following Richie’s instructions, Eddie shed his underwear and slipped into the warm water, letting out a relaxed sigh. Richie returned a few moments later with a bottle of red wine, two glasses and a candle. He winked at the sight of Eddie in the bath and he lit the candle before dropping his underwear and sitting the bottle and the glasses on the edge of the bath. “Scoot up a bit, baby.”

Eddie nodded and shifted forward so Richie could slide into the water behind him, wrapping his arms around his waist and tug him back against his chest. Once they were both comfortable, Eddie made the first move for the wine, pouring them both a glass and passing one to Richie, “This was a really good idea.”

“Get used to it, I’m full of great ideas baby,” Richie teased, clinking their glasses together. They bathed in silence for a while, just enjoying each others company before Richie spoke up again, “When you said you’d come to New York with me, did you mean it?”

“Of course I meant it,” Eddie breathed without missing a beat. His heart was hammering in his chest and he turned a little in the water, watching as it splashed around the tub. “Did you mean it when you asked?”

A splutter left Richie’s lips and he tightened his grip around Eddie’s waist, “Of course I meant it. Of course I did. Why would I ask you if I didn’t mean it, Eds? I don’t think my heart could handle saying goodbye to you after having you so close like this.”

“I know what you mean,” Eddie whispered, taking another sip of the wine before he sat it on the countertop, sagging back into Richie’s arms. “It would hurt to say goodbye to you again.”

“No saying goodbye ever, baby. You hear me? This, you and me, we’re forever. I can just feel it.”

* * * 

They relaxed in the bath until their skin turned wrinkly and the water was cold. Richie stepped out first, wrapping a fluffy white towel around his hips before he reached a hand out to help Eddie up, wrapping the other towel around his own hips.

“I have to go get my things,” Eddie whispered as he dried off, reaching to pull his underwear back on. “If we don’t go now, then she’ll wake up and I really don’t want her to be awake when I go to collect my things. She’ll probably handcuff me to my bed.”

“Well we can’t have that now can we?” Richie teased and passed him his shirt as he pulled on his own. “Let’s go now then, if she’ll be asleep, and then we can come back here and rest up before the trip back to New York tomorrow?”

Richie always did have the best ideas.

“Yes, yes that sounds wonderful,” Eddie whispered and tugged his pants on, walking out of the bathroom to retrieve his shoes and pulling his jacket on. He watched as Richie did the same out of the corner of his eye, and a small smile formed on his lips. Richie was here, with him, in Derry. It wasn’t a dream, Richie was really there.

“Ready to go, love?” Richie’s voice cut Eddie out of his thoughts and he nodded his head, lacing their fingers together as they left the hotel room to make the short, yet gruelling, walk back to Eddie’s home.

All the lights in the house were off, which Eddie took as a positive sign and he picked up the key from under the plant pot and unlocked the door. Pressing a finger to his lips he signalled for Richie to be quiet and they stepped into the house, closing the door behind them.

They had barely made it to the stairs before a spine chilling voice made him freeze up, “Edward Kaspbrak, don’t you dare take one more step.”

His mother emerged from the shadows of the living room doorway, eyes hard and spiteful. Eddie slowly turned to face her, stepping in front of Richie so he wouldn’t have to face her wrath. “Mama-”

“First you lie to me, tell me you’re going to pick up your prescription from Mr Keene’s. Then you’re gone for hours and I call Mr Keene and he tells me you haven’t even been by! Then you call me and tell me you’re not coming home and then I find you sneaking into my house with a boy!” As his mother spoke, her voice increased in pitch and Eddie was sure if it went any higher then she would smash glass.

The house was silent once she had stopped talking, and Eddie’s could hear her harsh breathing. He opened his mouth to speak but she cut him off again, as per usual, “Now, tell your friend to leave. You’re grounded and you won’t be leaving the house for a while.”

From next to him, Richie snorted and raised an eyebrow, “Excuse me? He’s twenty one years old, not a child. Eddie can make up his own mind what he does and where he goes.”

His mother did not take kindly to that as she turned her glare onto Richie, eyes narrow and full of hate, “How dare you speak to me like that in my house-”

“How dare I speak to you like that? How dare you speak to Eddie like that. He’s your son, you’re supposed to support him and love him no matter what. Instead you lie to him, put him down and treat him like a child. It’s more like a prison here than a home, and I won’t sit back and watch you control him any more.” Richie spat before he grabbed Eddie’s hand and tugged him up the stairs.

Not another word was spoken by his mother, it was as though she was frozen in shock. No-one had ever spoken to her like that before. Eddie took one last look at her before he finished climbing the stairs and pulled him into his bedroom. Without another word, Eddie wrapped his arm around Richie’s neck and pulled his head down, bringing their mouths together in a deep kiss. “No-one has ever stood up for me like that.”

“Wasn’t gonna let her get away with it, Eds. No chance,” Richie mumbled against his mouth, biting down on Eddie’s bottom lip gently. “Come on, pack your things and let’s get the hell out of here. I wasn’t kidding when I said it felt like a prison.”

Eddie hummed, pulling a suitcase out of his closet and he started filling it up with clothes. Richie grabbed another one, filling it up with his books, his photos and his electrical equipment. Once Eddie was sure he had packed as much as they could carry, they unlocked the bedroom door and hauled them down the stairs.

His mother was still standing where they had left her, except her eyes were now filled with tears. “You can’t leave me Eddie-bear. You can’t. You need me.”

“No mama, I don’t need you. Not anymore. I’m leaving, I’m going to live my own life now with someone who loves me. Really loves me,” Eddie replied shortly and moved to the door, only for his wrist to be grabbed. “Let me go.”

“You’ll come back. I know you will, and I’ll be here when you do.”

Without replying to her, Eddie ripped his wrist out of her grasp, following Richie out of the door and back to the hotel room. He dumped the suitcases onto the floor and locked the door before crawling back onto the large mattress.

Richie climbed in after him, wrapping an arm securely around Eddie’s waist, tugging his back to his chest. It had been a long night and they wanted nothing more than to fall asleep in each others arms. Eddie was just about to doze off, when a thought intruded on his brain and he shot up. Richie mumbled from next to him, having been caught off guard.

“I can’t go to New York. I don’t have a plane ticket, or any money to buy a plane ticket. You have a return ticket but...but I don’t,” Eddie whispered and he felt Richie stiffen next to him, before he reached for his phone. “What are you doing?”

“Buying you a plane ticket, of course. I’m not leaving here without you.”

Eddie’s heart swelled up as he watched Richie type details into his phone and pull out his credit card, punching in the numbers. After a while, a noise echoed from his phone and Richie grinned, “All done, Eds. You’re going to New York, no matter what.”

Eddie was going to New York, with Richie. He was finally going to be happy.

* * * 

New York was, for lack of a better word, huge. As the cab made its way out of LaGuardia airport, taking a turn onto the highway, the Manhattan Skyline came into view. Out of the corner of his eye, Eddie saw Richie turn to face him, to take in his reaction to seeing his city for the first time.

“Wow,” Eddie breathed, unable to take his eyes off of the city in the distance. “You really live there?”

Richie chuckled, but nodded his head, leaning forward to press a very light kiss to the back of Eddie’s neck. A shiver worked its way down Eddie’s spine, a reaction that never failed to happen whenever Richie touched him. “Mhm, grew up in Queens, moved into the city when I went to college and never left.”

Eddie knew this, there was very little that Eddie didn’t know about Richie, but it was still nice for Richie to tell him face to face. As they crossed over one of the bridges to take them into the heart of the city, Eddie reached down to grip onto Richie’s hand tight. “You live with others don’t you?”

“I have three room-mates, Bev, Ben and Mike. Ben and Bev are in a relationship and Mike claims he is too busy to date, but I know he’s just waiting for the right person to come along.” Richie winked and leaned over the front seat to give the driver his home address now that they were in the city. “And don’t worry, they know you’re coming, and they are going to love you.”

Nervously, Eddie moved his hand down and gripped onto the hem of his jacket. He trusted Richie, more than anyone in the world, but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t nervous about meeting the three of the most important people in his life.

As the taxi came to a stop, Richie leaned over and passed the driver the money before opening the door. Eddie slid to the edge of the cab and smiled softly as Richie offered him his hand. The building they had stopped outside of wasn’t as tall as Eddie imagined it to be, and in a way he was grateful. It looked...like a real home. Eddie wondered what Richie’s bedroom looked like or if the living room walls were painted some obscene colour. In comparison to his old white washed coloured walls, anything would be a suitable upgrade.

“Eds?”

Richie’s voice brought him out of his thoughts and he turned his head. The taxi was gone and Richie was standing a few feet away with both of their suitcases by his side. He had a smile on his face as he watched Eddie before reaching out his hand. “Ready?”

Eddie paused, turning his head to look at the steps that would lead to the main entrance to the apartment building. This was it, his life was officially about to begin. No more safety gates, no more locked inside his bedroom, no more hiding. He reached out his hand and laced his fingers with Richie’s free hand before bending down to grab the handle of his suitcase.

“I’m ready.”

The smile that lit up Richie’s face was a smile that Eddie decided he wanted to see everyday for the rest of his life. They climbed the stairs and into the lobby, where Richie stopped by the mailbox and emptied the pile of letters into his bag. “The others always forget to check, it wouldn’t surprise me if this has been sitting for a few days.”

A laugh bubbled up out of Eddie’s throat and he pushed up on his tiptoes to give Richie a soft, feather light kiss. “I love you,” he whispered, placing a hand on Richie’s cheek. 

“I love you too,” Richie hummed back, resting their foreheads together. They stayed like that for a few moments, until the main door opened and a young man, around Richie’s age walked in, his eyebrows shooting up as his eyes landed on the two of them.

“Richie, you’re back!” The stranger announced and Eddie had to stop himself from backing away nervously. Richie grinned and took a step towards the man, pulling him into a hug.

“I’m back in one piece, Mike my man!” Eddie looked up, his eyes scanning over the figure of Mike, Richie’s roommate and he couldn’t help the smile that made its way onto his face. Mike was tall, dark hair and a bright smile, but the thing that stood out most to Eddie, was his kind eyes. Richie pulled back out of the hug and turned back to Eddie, motioning him forward. “Mike, this is the infamous Eddie Kaspbrak, Eds, this is my good friend and roommate Mike Hanlon.”

Eddie stepped forward and held out his hand, meeting Mike’s outstretched one halfway, “It’s really nice to meet you Mike, Richie’s told me a lot about you.”

“Richie’s told me a lot about you too,” Mike answered back with a cheeky smile. “It’s a relief to finally put a face to the name.” They let their hands drop and Mike cleared his throat, “Shall we go up stairs?”

Richie nodded and picked up Eddie’s suitcase along with his own and they made their way to the lift. The apartment was on the third floor and Mike brought out the key before they even reached the door, sticking it in the lock and pushing it open.

Eddie’s eyes immediately scanned over the hallway, taking note of the paintings that hung on the walls. As they walked into the living room, Eddie was pleasantly surprised at how calm the place was, as well as being so full of personality. The living space was large, a TV hung on the wall and below it was a built in electric fire. Two sofas and a chair surrounded the TV and a coffee table sat in the middle. Richie walked towards it and sat the mail there, ready to be rifled through at a later date.

“What do you think?” Richie asked and Eddie smiled, eyes soft and radiating with happiness.

“I love it...in a way it’s just like I imagined it would be. Calm...yet full of personality.”

“Let me give you a tour,” Richie offered and offered his hand, free now that he had sat the suitcases down. Eddie accepted his hand and let Richie lead him from the living room and into the kitchen. “This is the kitchen, there is a dishwasher, built in stove, fridge and freezer. All of the cups, plates are in here-” as he spoke he opened up the respective cupboards. Eddie tried to keep up, but he knew it would take him some getting used to. By the time they reached the bedroom, the front door had opened and two new voices flitted in.

“Tozier are you home?!” A female voice that Eddie assumed belonged to Beverly Marsh, Richie’s best friend and other roommate. Before Richie could answer, a figure appeared at the end of the hall and ran towards them. “Richie!”

Eddie just managed to move out of the way before she barrelled into Richie, hugging him close, “Miss Marsh, if I’m not mistaken I would say you’ve missed me!”

“It’s been deadly quiet without you, so I am glad you’re home!” She laughed before she pulled away, turning her head to meet Eddie’s eyes. “And youmust be Eddie. I’m Bev, and the other guy in the living room is Ben. We’ve been looking forward to finally meeting you.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Eddie spoke softly, holding out his hand in greeting. Instead of shaking it, Bev reached forward and pulled him into a hug.

“We’re family here, and family hug each other. Welcome to the family Eddie.”

* * *

Eddie settled into life in New York faster than he ever thought was possible. About a week after he arrived, he applied for a job in a local bookstore, and the manager was so impressed by him that she offered him a job on the spot. Getting a job caused a little bit of the stress he was under to lift, as now he could contribute towards the rent.

Richie might had said that it was not an issue, but Eddie wanted them to be equal, and that meant paying his share.

The first month went past quickly with Eddie settling in to his new surrounding and getting acquainted with Bev, Ben and Mike as well as Richie’s other friends, and his family. Most importantly, Richie’s sister Rosie. Out of all of the important people in Richie’s life, Rosie was the one person Eddie was most nervous about meeting, because he knew just how much this meeting meant to Richie.

Yet Eddie should have known he didn’t have anything to worry about, Rosie was just like her brother. She was kind, smart and had a big heart.  She took a liking to Eddie immediately, and she often visits the bookstore when

Eddie is working, just so they could chat about books and other things. Not that Eddie felt he couldn’t talk about those things with his boyfriend, but it was something special he shared with Rosie.

Even now, as he thought about the fact that Richie was indeed, his boyfriend, a blush formed on his cheeks. Eddie turned his head to the side, noticing that Richie was still fast asleep next to him, his dark curly hair flopping into his face. Unable to help himself, Eddie reached a hand out and brushed some of it to the side. He let his fingers linger over the skin for a moment, caressing Richie’s cheek before he went to move it away.

As he did so, Richie’s hand shot up and wrapped around his wrist, stopping him in his tracks, “You’re too cute, you know that?” He mumbled, voice thick with sleep. Eddie bit down on his lip at the way he reacted to the roughness in Richie’s voice, and it seemed like Richie picked up on it too. “Excited this morning are we?”

“Shut up,” Eddie mumbled, burying his head into the crook of Richie’s neck, pressing a kiss to the skin there. About a week after Eddie had moved into the apartment, they had finally made that step with each other, and just like Richie had promised, it was the best experience of Eddie’s life. The first time he could only have dreamt of. “We have plans today, remember?”

Now, on the verge of it being two months since they had met, Richie had been contacted by the Catfish team to arrange a ‘two months later’ interview with Bill and Stan. Richie organised the whole thing, and Eddie agreed, after all he had nothing left to hide.

The interview was scheduled for that afternoon, so they still had all morning to do whatever they wanted, but Eddie wanted to be ready. So he climbed out of their bed, ignoring Richie’s whines and headed to the bathroom for a shower. It wasn’t long before Richie joined him, and Eddie sighed happily as his boyfriend lathered the shampoo into his hair. “You’re too good to me,” Eddie hummed as Richie rinsed his hair.

“Only the best for my Eds,” Richie whispered, pressing a kiss to the shell of Eddie’s ear before he washed his own hair. They remained in the shower for a few more minutes before Eddie shut the water off and climbed out, drying himself off with the towel and pulling on the clothes that he had set out the night before.

The rest of the morning leading up to the interview was spent cooking breakfast and binge watching crappy tv shows on Netflix. Then, when it was time to get ready, Eddie sat the laptop on the coffee table and let Richie tug him into his side. The camera reflected their position to him, and Eddie saw the faint flush of his cheeks as well as the sheer happiness in his eyes.

Just as he was about to lean up and give Richie a kiss, the Skype call sounded and Richie leaned over, connecting the call. Soon after, Bill and Stan’s faces appeared on the screen and they let out a scream of happiness when they noticed that both Eddie and Richie were together.

“You guh-guys are together! In N-New York! Th-That’s amazing!” Bill announced, placing his hands together gleefully.

“We are, Billiam! We are!” Richie wrapped his arm around Eddie’s shoulder to pull him closer. “We’re really happy.”

“So what happened? We left you in the park to talk, what happened after that?” Stan asked and Eddie swallowed, deciding to answer this one.

“We went to Richie’s hotel, and we talked about everything, about why I didn’t send him more pictures and why I always made up excuses to meet up. He really helped me work through a lot of my insecurities.”

“So h-have you guys mu-moved in together?” Bill asked and Richie chuckled, followed by a nod.

“We still live with my roommates right now, but we’ve been talking about getting our own place. Eds has gotten a stable job at the bookstore and my radio show is taking off so yeah, only good things on the horizon for us.”

The interview carried on for another fifteen minutes, with Bill and Stan asking a range of questions about their new life in New York, and how happy they were that things worked out for the two of them.

“We rarely get a happy ending on this show, so I think everyone will be pleased to see your story work out,” Stan smiled. “We certainly are.’

“I just want to say thank you,” Eddie piped up. “For answering Richie’s letter...for bringing him to me.”

Richie squeezed his hand and brought it up to his lips, pressing a kiss there. “I want to say thank you too, for helping me meet the love of my life.”

“W-We are very w-welcome!” Bill grinned and Stan nodded. “We w-wish you b-both the best.”

As the Skype call came to an end, Richie closed over the laptop and brought Eddie into a deep, loving kiss, cupping his cheeks with his hands. Eddie melted completely, winding his arms around Richie’s neck. “Love of your life huh?” He asked, teasing and Richie let out a breath.

“You are. The love of my life. I waited six years for you, and nothing could have prepared me for how amazing you are, and for how much I would fall in love with the whole you.” All the jokes and crude nature aside, it always warmed Eddie’s heart when Richie showed his romantic side.

“You’re the love of my life too, you know,” Eddie whispered. “No-one will ever come close.”

Instead of answering, Richie pulled Eddie into another kiss, this one full of nothing but love and emotion.

The first of many.