The dank wood floor of the Neibolt House stuck to Eddie’s shorts and pulled out threads. He clutched his broken arm, snapped in half just under the wrist, and stared in horror at the being spilling out of the old fridge. It twisted inhumanly, spinning and spinning until an arm pulled it out. The soft jingling of bells accompanied by the grinding of bones within the clown brought Eddie’s stomach into his throat. He couldn’t breathe, all he could do was stare.
It crept forward, mocking him, wheezing with a dead expression in its glassy red eyes. This was the monster that had been after him as a leper, and what sprayed the blood in Bev’s bathroom. It had taunted Bill with memories of his dead brother, and now it was going to eat him.
Eddie’s trainers scraped the wood as he backed into a peeling wall. It was right there with him, grabbing his face and waving his arm in front of it’s drooling mouth. He could smell the soggy circus, a mixture of wet popcorn and blood. With his free arm broken, all he could do was try to breathe.
Wheeze. Wheeze. And then, as he readied himself for teeth, it stopped. “This isn’t real enough for you, Billy?” It said, feigning sadness. It’s neck snapped around to Billy and Richie, standing in the doorway by the fridge. They looked as scared as Eddie felt.
What happened next came in flashes, It stumbled back with a spear in it’s head, Richie ran to him, and It slinked away as Bill chased after it. He hadn’t even registered the other Losers entering the room before Richie’s hands were on his face. He was telling him it was going to be ok, and a scream pierced the Neibolt House. His own scream, accompanied by a sharp pain in his rebroken arm. Richie’s ridiculously large eyes stared at him through his glasses. He looked worried, whispering things to Eddie that he couldn’t hear over his own moans of pain.
After their final defeat of Pennywise, Eddie had grown closer to Richie. He was a good friend, and told good jokes. Being 16 now, he had the smallest bit of extra freedom. He would accompany him to the arcade, despite it being a cesspool for germs, and even played a little Street Fighter. The other Losers mostly hung out at school, or on weekends when Mike rode his bike into town.
It was 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, and Eddie was riding his bike to meet Richie. They were going to the Barrens today to enjoy the cooler weather after the humid heat of the summer. Eddie’s fanny pack bounced against his leg, hand sanitizer and two candy bars where his gazebo pills used to be. He let the bike glide down the hills and around the bumpy sidewalks of Derry.
Richie’s mop of curly hair could be seen between the trees as he neared their meeting spot, and Eddie called out, “Trashmouth! Hey!” Richie turned and waved, pointing. “Watch out for the fuckin’ cars, Eds! I almost died earlier!” Eddie rolled his eyes. What kind of idiot didn’t watch out for cars.
Eddie walked his bike down by the water and propped it up with the kickstand. Richie’s bike was laying in the dirt next to him. He pushed his glasses up and cleared his throat. “Right this way, good sir!” Richie said in an English accent, bowing and holding his arm out in the way a butler might.
Eddie and Richie walked next to the water for a few minutes, before a clearing in the trees showed that Richie had laid a blanket for them to sit on. It looked like he had taken the one from his bed, which really shouldn’t be in the dirt, but the gesture was nice. “I thought we could sit here and chill instead of being in the arcade today.” He said, gesturing to the blanket. “It’s like a picnic without any food.”
The two sat down on the blanket, and a cool breeze blew through them. “Damn it’s actually pretty fucking cold out here.” Richie whispered. “Yeah, it is pretty chilly toda-” Eddie began. “Wish I was getting all hot with YOUR MOM!” Richie screeched, throwing his head back to laugh like it was the funniest thing he had ever said.
Eddie grabbed the collar of Richie’s shirt and shook it as hard as he could. “RICHIE DON’T TALK ABOUT MY MOM LIKE THAT!” he said, and Richie laughed louder. All of Eddie’s force was really only moving Richie a few inches, but that didn’t stop him. He held on with all his might and pulled. Richie fell onto his back howling with laughter, pulling Eddie down with his shirt. Eddie tried to let go but it was too late, he went down and slammed into Richie face first. His forehead collided with his chin, and the stirring of a headache made him groan. Richie stopped his laughing.
“Shit, you alright Eds?” He asked. Richie propped himself up with his elbows and Eddie sunk back to sit on his heels. He scrunched his nose and rubbed his forehead, wishing the bruise away. After a few seconds he removed his hand and looked at Richie. “Yeah I’m ok. It just hurts a little.” Eddie replied.
“Good.” Richie said. Eddie opened his eyes as the pain dulled and sawRichie’s lip, swollen with a cut on the side. “Dude! Your lip!” he said, pointing. “Eh, it’s fine.” Richie said, pulling at it with his hand. “See, not even painfu- oww.” Eddie slapped his hand away. “Richie! You’re gonna make it worse!”
“Kiss it better?” Richie whispered. Eddie sat, shocked. He couldn’t tell if Richie was joking. “Wouldn’t you rather my mom did that?” Eddie said, chuckling to himself. Surprisingly, Richie did not laugh. “I want you to… kiss me. Is that…” He looked down. “Is that weird?”
Eddie weighed this in his mind. He didn’t think it was that weird, in fact, he kind of wanted to. Eddie leaned forward, putting a hand on Richie’s shoulder. “Are you sure?” he asked. Richie nodded.
“Rich, I’ve never kissed anyone I don’t know what to-” Richie closed the gap between the two of them. His heavy glasses slid down the bridge of his nose. Eddie’s face lit up red and neither of them moved. He could feel the cut on Richie’s lip against his. They stayed there, lips pressed together, unsure of what to do next.
“Maybe we should try with the, uh, tongue?” Eddie suggested, speaking against the kiss. Richie opened his eyes and wiggled his eyebrows. “You’re freakier than your mom, Eds.” He said. Eddie flicked Richie’s ear and opened his mouth. “S-Stick your tongue in, fuckhead.”
A blush creeped up Richie’s neck and he did as he was told, sliding it along Eddie’s teeth. “Nhaow Whah?” Richie asked. One of Eddie’s hands snuck up into Richie’s hair, and made a fist, gently pulling. Richie hissed, squeezing his eyes shut. Eddie watched Richie’s expression, slowly moving his tongue. “Mmm Ed-” Richie whispered. He licked up Richie’s tongue and closed their mouths together, running his hands through the other’s hair.
The rocks under the blanket were starting to hurt Eddie’s knees. He moved forward to sit on Richie’s thighs. As he lowered himself, his hand pulled at Richie’s hair harder than he intended. Richie let out a loud moan and his eyes shot open. “Shit, Richie. Sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you! I’m sorry!” Eddie panicked, breaking away to check on the damage.
The blush on Richie’s neck had spread up to his whole face, now beet red. Because of how enlarged his eyes were from the glasses, Eddie could clearly see his massive pupils. His lips were puffy and parted from the kiss. His eyes trailed down. “Woah, uh…” Eddie whispered. Richie’s hands shot up to cover Eddie’s eyes. “Don’t look!” he shouted.
A chilled breeze blew through the trees in the Barrens, sending a shiver down Eddie’s spine. “I’m going to say something serious, and you gotta know it’s not just cause my dick’s hard.” Richie said. “RICHIE!” Eddie yelled, heat filling his cheeks. Richie lowered his hands and entwined them with Eddie’s. “Well, it’s true. And this is also true: I like like you. I’ve known it for awhile. Do you feel… anything like that?” He whispered.
Eddie looked down at their hands, and it felt right. Richie had been there with him through the bullying, his broken arm, and was willing to fight a killer clown or whatever It was with him. Eddie wanted to be close to him, to watch movies and play Street Fighter. He had always felt closer with Richie than the other Losers, and felt like he could be himself around him. If his own willingness to kiss him was an indicator, Eddie was most very much in love with Richie too.
“Y-yeah. I like being with you and being like this with you. You’re the only one I’d brave the arcade for, and definitely the only one I would let inside my mouth.” Eddie mumbled. Richie squeezed his hands. “You realize that implies not just my tongue in there, right Eds?” He laughed. “Don’t call me that!” Eddie groaned, wondering if he had made the wrong choice.
“Whatever you fuckin’ pornstar.” Richie whispered, and kissed Eddie’s cheek. His hands wandered up to Eddie’s neck, rubbing the spot behind his ears. “Kiss me again, jackass.” Eddie whispered.