The first time Richie tells Eddie he loves him is on Richie’s 18th birthday. He didn’t plan on it going down that way — he’d always pictured it happening during something a lot more romantic and mushy — but it just kinda slips out.
Eddie’s just that good.
It’s Monday after school and they’re alone in his room. He’s got the radio playing with the volume turned up high, ‘cause Richie’s loud in all things, especially this, and if his parents walked in right now he’d literally die.
Richie’s gripping onto Eddie’s hair with one hand and digging into his sheets with another when he reaches his peak. He sees white lights behind his eyes and he feels like he can barely breathe as Eddie finishes him off with a swallow.
Eddie pulls off of Richie and sits up, wiping at his pouting mouth with the back of his hand. It’s the last thing Richie sees before he curses under his breath, arches his back, and falls back on the bed.
“Fuck, Eddie! You’re so fucking amazing! Shit, I love you so fucking much!” He rambles. He doesn’t even hear himself say it — the L-word. All he can think about is how amazing Eddie’s mouth felt, and how he’s definitely the luckiest son-of-a-bitch on the planet right now.
It takes him a couple of minutes to come back down to earth, but when he finally does, he opens his eyes to see Eddie smiling down at him wryly.
“Happy Birthday, Rich,” He says, blushing as he tucks Richie back into his pants.
Richie beams up at him. “Eddie,” He says, too fucked-out to say anything else, “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!”
“I think you’re broken,” Eddie smiles. He climbs off of Richie and sits on the side of the bed. He leans down and opens up his backpack, digging through the contents inside.
“You broke me!” Richie smiles. He sits up and wraps his arms around Eddie from behind, showering Eddie’s neck with kisses, “You’re fucking incredible, Eds!”
“Thanks,” Eddie blushes as he pulls out some hand sanitizer and Tic-Tacs. He gently pries Richie off of him so he can reach for the glass of water he left on the nightstand and take a drink. He follows it up with two mints before finally cleaning his hands with lemon-scented hand sanitizer.
He’s learned not to take offense to it — it’s just what makes Eddie feel safe, and the only way he feels comfortable doing this — but it’s still kinda funny to Richie. Eddie could be such a little weirdo sometimes with his little rituals and how crazy he was about cleanliness, but Richie loves him all the same.
It’s after that thought that he suddenly remembers his declaration of love from a minute earlier. Whoops. He wonders if Eddie heard or thought anything of it.
Eddie puts his stuff away and crawls back into bed with Richie. They wrap their arms around each other and press their foreheads together in a practiced motion.
“Was I good?” Eddie whispers.
“You were fucking amazing!” Richie sighs, kissing Eddie’s nose. He probably sounds like a broken record, but he couldn’t care less. They’ve been messing around like this for a few months now and Richie swears that each time is as exhilarating as the first, sometimes even more so.
“Oh,” Eddie blushes from the praise, looking pleased.
“It was almost as good of a present as when you got me cupcakes last year!”
Eddie gives him a flat stare. “...Almost as good?”
Richie shrugs with an impish grin. “They were really good cupcakes!”
Eddie doesn’t look amused. “Apparently.”
“Now, if you got me a blowjob AND cupcakes for a present,” Richie continues, “Then this would officially be the best birthday ever.”
“Ugh.” Eddie crinkles his nose. “You’re so crude,” he mutters, but then he’s sitting up and leaning over the bed to dig into his backpack again.
Richie gasps — half ironically, half unironically — as he sits up too. “Eds, you didn’t!”
“Shut up.” But when Eddie turns to face him again, he’s holding a plastic case of six chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, all covered with generous dollops of frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
“They’re just store-bought,” Eddie admits, “But—“
He’s cut off as Richie cups his cheeks and yanks him in for a deep, searing kiss. Eddie lets out a muffled sound of surprise before he starts kissing Richie back. It’s kind of sloppy — Richie’s still getting his bearings — but neither of them seem to mind.
“You’re the best boyfriend in the entire history of boyfriends!” Richie exclaims as he pulls away.
Eddie would never admit it, but Richie knows that he loves getting compliments. Maybe it’s because his mom’s given him so much shit for his entire life, but Eddie flourishes under positive attention. Like right now, for example: his gaze is all starry-eyed as he smiles up at Richie. “You’re welcome,” he mutters shyly.
Richie ruffles his hair, which causes Eddie to whine in protest. “Stop that!” He complains, giving Richie a light nudge.
“I can’t help it! You’re so cute, Eds.”
“I’m not cute.”
“Fucking hot, then.”
Eddie blushes and nudges him again. He sets the box of cupcakes down on the bed before returning to his backpack and retrieving a box of candles.
“How romantic,” Richie simpers sarcastically.
“I’m trying to be festive, idiot! Where’s your lighter?”
Richie leans across him and opens his nightstand drawer. He digs through old movie ticket stubs and polaroids of him and his friends before he finally finds it. “Got it,” he says, tossing it to Eddie and closing the drawer.
“What flavor do you want?”
Eddie carefully picks out a chocolate cupcake and sticks a candle in it. He lights it with Richie’s lighter, and Richie’s genuinely surprised that he doesn’t make some comment about how awful smoking is like he usually does. Maybe he gets birthday-immunity from Eddie’s health concerns.
Eddie sits in front of Richie with his legs crossed and hands the cupcake to him. “Happy Birthday!” He says again.
“You gonna sing for me, Eds?”
Richie pouts, but still accepts the cupcake eagerly. “A beautiful cupcake from a beautiful boy,” he teases, which causes Eddie to start making gagging sounds.
“You love it, Eddie Bear.”
Richie takes a moment to watch the flame dance, enjoying the faint warmth of its glow and the delicate scent of fresh sugar.
“Are you going to make a wish?” Eddie asks.
But what could he even wish for? He’s got a great job as the school radio DJ, he’s one of the most popular kids on the improv team, he has his own car, he got accepted to his first-choice college in California, and he’s been happily (albeit secretly) dating Eddie for over two years now. His life couldn’t get better.
So what should he wish for?
I wish to always be as happy as I am right now, he decides. But he can’t bring himself to say it aloud; he’s certain that voicing such a wistful and sappy request would definitely jinx everything.
And so, Richie closes his eyes and brings the cupcake closer. “I wish,” he says, pausing for dramatic effect, “For more Kaspbrak blowjobs. Preferably from Eddie.”
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Eddie says as Richie blows out his candle.
Richie just grins as he tosses the extinguished candle aside and starts eating his cupcake. “It’s the truth,” he says through a mouthful of frosting.
“You’re so fucking obnoxious! Also, everyone knows that if you say a wish out loud it won’t come true, so have fun being celibate the rest of your life.”
“Have fun trying to resist this for the rest of your life then,” Richie winks, motioning to himself.
“Like that’d be hard.”
“You definitely would be. For me.”
“Oh my god.”
Richie leans in and pinches Eddie’s cheek, grinning when Eddie squirms from the frosting fingerprints he leaves behind.
Eventually, Eddie settles down and helps himself to a vanilla cupcake. They both sit on Richie’s bed with their backs against the wall and their legs hanging off the side.
Richie looks around his room idly as he finishes his cupcake. He’s got posters on the walls from various comedy shows he’s been in, the old basement TV from when his parents splurged for a new one, glow-in-the-dark stars on his ceiling, and several of Eddie’s things scattered about — random shit like his notebooks and old socks. It’s weird to think that he’ll be leaving this all behind in September.
“So,” Eddie begins, licking frosting off his fingers, “You love me?”
Richie freezes, then winces. “You heard that?”
“I mean, you kinda shouted it, so, yeah.” He says it so casually, but Richie can see the smirk he’s failing to hide. Smug bastard.
Well, no sense trying to hide it now.
“I do,” Richie admits, “I’ve loved you since we met in the first grade, Eds.”
Eddie looks incredulous, but happy. “You’re so full of shit!”
“It’s the honest truth, Eds. I saw you sitting there with your Flintstones lunchbox and thought, yeah, that’s the one.”
Richie eyes him for a second before asking, “Sooooooo...do you love me back?”
Eddie finishes his cupcake and gives Richie a smug look. “Maybe.”
“Haven’t decided yet.”
“You’re such a little shit, Eds.”
Eddie just keeps smirking, completely amused by the entire situation. “You’re such a sap, Tozier.”
“Only ‘cause of you,” Richie says, knocking his foot against Eddie’s, “You’ve ruined me.”
Richie just smiles and leans his head on Eddie’s shoulder. This is one of his favorite spots to be: he can smell fabric softener and — if he listens closely — he can sometimes even hear Eddie’s heartbeat. “Thanks for making today awesome,” he says softly.
Eddie raises a hand to cup the side of Richie’s head, keeping Richie pressed against him. “Of course, Rich. Anytime.”
Richie smirks and glances down at his crotch. “Any time?”
“You’re literally so gross and annoying!” Eddie laments. He starts poking Richie in random places like his stomach and cheeks. “Where’s your ‘off’ button?”
“Right here,” Richie says, giving Eddie another kiss.
“Forgot about that one,” Eddie mutters before giving him a kiss in return.
They lean on each other in comfortable silence for a bit after that, perfectly happy to finish off the other cupcakes and listen to the radio.
“Well,” Eddie eventually says, “I better get going.”
“Want me to get you off first?”
Eddie blushes but shakes his head. “I better not. I have to go help set up—“ he pauses, suddenly looking anxious, “....my, uh, room.”
Richie eyes him. “You have to set up your room? The fuck’s that mean?”
“Clean,” Eddie amends, getting off the bed, “I have to clean my room.”
“Want any help?”
“I’ll be fine!”
Richie studies him carefully. “You sure?”
Eddie nods quickly. “Mmhm.” He leans forward to give Richie a slightly awkward one-arm hug before grabbing his backpack. “You’re still coming to Mike’s tonight, right?”
“I guess,” Richie sighs, “But I don’t see why we have to go over our Spring Break plan AGAIN. Stan probably has the itinerary alphabetized by now.”
Eddie holds back a laugh. “Yeah, probably. Just...promise you’ll come?”
“Won’t miss it!” Richie assures him, “I’d never pass up on a chance to see my Spagheds.”
“Good,” Eddie says, looking reassured. He gives Richie one last quick kiss and heads toward the door, “See you later, then!”
Two years in and Richie’s still thrilled that Eddie can give him goodbye kisses. Sometimes, he thinks he likes it even more than when they make out. There’s just something so incredible about the fact that Eddie’s his boyfriend and Eddie can give him casual little kisses whenever he wants (relatively speaking).
He gets up and waits by the window to watch Eddie get in his car and back out of the driveway. They make eye contact and wave to each other from afar before flipping each other off, because that’s just how they are with each other.
Richie doesn’t know what heroic act he did in a past life to deserve Eddie Kaspbrak, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever stop being in awe over him.
When Eddie arrives at the Hanlon farm, he’s still pretty anxious. He can’t believe he was stupid enough to almost spoil tonight’s surprise right to Richie’s face.
He parks his car and gets out, and his worry must be evident on his face because when he walks into the barn, Bev can tell right away.
“What’s wrong, Eddie?” She asks, giving him a concerned frown. The other Losers are all spread out around the barn, still in the middle of getting everything ready. When they hear Bev, they stop what they’re doing to look over at Eddie too.
“Nothing!” Eddie says quickly, “I’m fine!”
“You don’t look fine,” Mike counters.
Why are they all staring at him? This is too much pressure. “I...uh...I really am.”
“Y-You can tell us what’s wrong, E-Eddie,” Bill says reassuringly.
“...Fine,” Eddie sighs, “I...I almost spoiled the surprise for Richie, alright?”
“Just now! And I said ALMOST, assholes! I don’t think he knows anything, but I feel like an idiot.”
“D-Don’t sweat it, Eddie,” Bill says, “I’m sure he doesn’t know.”
“Richie doesn’t know shit,” Stan says dryly.
“Why were you with Richie just now?” Beverly asks with a coy smile.
Eddie pales. Shit.
“He, uh, wanted my help with homework,” Eddie lies.
“Well, we told Richie to be here at 7,” Ben cuts in, “And it’s 6 now, so we better hurry.”
“Yeah!” Eddie says, grateful for a way out of this conversation, “Let’s get moving!”
The rest of the set-up goes pretty much without event. They sweep the barn, blow up balloons (no red ones though, for obvious reasons), set up some snacks and punch, and bring out a boom box.
At 7:15, they see a set of headlights pull into Mike’s driveway.
“That’s him!” Mike announces.
“Everyone h-hide!” Bill instructs.
As Richie gets out of his car, they all crouch down behind bales of hay or farm equipment. Eddie winds up hiding next to Mike behind the tractor. They exchange conspiratorial grins and try not to laugh.
“Hellooooo?” Richie calls out as he walks toward the barn. “You guys in there?”
The inside of the barn seems to simmer with a hysterical tension as the Losers fight to keep quiet.
“You fuckers better not be screwing with me!” Richie snaps, “All your cars are out front, so I know you’re around here somewhere!” He enters the dark barn, a tall lanky silhouette accented with the orange glow of a cigarette butt. “What the fuck? Where is everyb—”
Someone flicks on the lights, and then they all jump out.
Richie yells — actually yells — as he jumps back from surprise. This leads the rest of the Losers to burst out laughing, causing Richie to blush noticeably.
“Fuck all of you,” Richie says even though he’s smiling. He stomps out his cigarette as he looks around at all the decorations and snacks. “You guys did all this shit for me?”
“T-Turning 18 is a big deal,” Bill says.
“And we love you, Trashmouth,” Bev smiles, walking over to Richie to squeeze his cheek.
“And I love you, Miss Marsh!” Richie teases. He makes exaggerated kissing sounds and starts to lean in toward Bev’s cheek. Beverly giggles and steps back quickly, giving Richie a nudge as she does.
Eddie knows Richie’s only kidding, but a lame, petty part of himself gets jealous over that. The feeling quickly passes though: Richie glances over at him and gives him a quick wink, and Eddie feels his cheeks grow warm.
“Well, let’s get this party started, motherfuckers!” Richie announces, raising his hands in triumph.
Ben turns on the music and the party officially begins. They share snacks, joke around, drink punch (which Eddie realizes, two glasses in, that someone definitely spiked), and dance. Richie starts by pulling Bev in for a twirl while Twist and Shout plays, but after a few moments of jiving with her, he looks up at Eddie.
“Get in here, Kaspbrak!”
Eddie, leaning against the wall and clutching his glass, is not drunk enough to say ‘yes.’ “No way!” He deflects, glancing at the rest of his friends to make sure none of them are giving him suspicious looks or something.
But Richie doesn’t take no for an answer. He leaves Bev to dance with Ben and makes his way over to Eddie.
“Go away,” Eddie says.
Richie grabs Eddie’s drink and sets it down. “Nope.” And before Eddie can protest some more, Richie’s pulling him back into the makeshift dance circle.
Eddie forces himself to look annoyed as Richie spins him around to the music. Inside though, he feels giddy in the way he always has whenever Richie shows him attention. It’s kind of embarrassing, but even before Eddie knew he liked Richie as more than a friend, he knew that he loved when Richie would go out of his way to tease him and touch him.
His annoyed facade doesn’t last long; he finds himself smiling as Richie dips him and laughing as he tries (and fails) to lift Eddie Dirty Dancing style. He blames it on his buzz and not the fact that he’s totally susceptible to Richie’s charm.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), Richie doesn’t dance with him long. He pulls in Eddie close one last time to pat him on the back before letting him loose. Eddie sits on a nearby bale of hay, breathless and blushing, as Richie takes turns dancing with Mike and Bill.
Stan’s seated nearby, slowing working on his second glass of punch. “He’s such an idiot,” he says, words slurring slightly as he watches Richie teach Bill the Running Man dance.
“He really is,” Eddie smiles.
“I’m going to miss him.” And maybe Stan’s on more than his second drink, because Eddie knows there’s no way Stan would ever say something like that sober.
“What do you mean?” Eddie asks, confused, “Are you going somewhere?”
“We all are!” Stan says, turning to look at Eddie shrewdly, “To college in 6 months!”
Eddie feels himself tensing up. Even though he’s excited to go to school in New York and get the hell out of Derry, the idea of leaving all his friends, leaving Richie, makes him physically nauseous. After all, according to the studies he looked into, the average undergrad loses 40% of their friends every six months if their relationships aren’t maintained, meaning that by this time next year, he’ll have probably lost contact with all but two of the Losers. And the statistics for high school relationships are even worse — less than 2% of people marry their high school sweetheart, which means that he and Richie are probably fucked.
Not like they could ever get legally married anyway.
Eddie hates thinking about this shit — absolutely hates it — but it keeps crawling into his head at the worst times. Like right now, for example. He should be having a fun time celebrating his boyfriend’s birthday, and all he wants to do is cry over the inevitable.
Richie dances over and grabs Stan, ignoring Stan’s shrieks of protest. Eddie watches as Richie wraps his arms around Stan and sways in place, while Stan stands with his hands at his sides and loudly declares that he’s going to murder Richie violently.
Fuck, Eddie’s going to miss this so much.
He gets up and goes to get more punch.
It takes half an hour, but Richie eventually dances himself out. He crashes on a pile of hay next to Eddie, panting. “That was fun!”
“You’re so dumb,” Eddie smiles, lying back. He’s even more buzzed now, so much so that his worries from earlier are a mere dull ache in the back of his head.
Richie smiles back at him before turning to the rest of the group. They’re all seated around the barn lazily, each working through their drunken stupor.
“Let’s play Spin the Bottle!” Richie suggests.
He’s hit with a resounding chorus of no, fuck no, and hell no.
Richie slouches back down moodily. “You guys are so boring.” He casually wraps an arm around Eddie and starts running his fingers through Eddie’s hair.
“Stop that,” Eddie mutters, nudging him in case their friends are watching.
It’s kinda weird that they have to hide their relationship from their own friends. Richie’s wanted to tell them several times, but Eddie won’t let him. He’s sure — he hopes — that they would be okay with it, but he’s paranoid. The more people that know, the more likely they are to get exposed — that’s just basic probability — and they can’t risk something like that happening in Derry.
Richie gives him a puppy-dog pout, which Eddie hates because it actually works. His heart goes all soft and mushy and Eddie wishes that he could just snuggle up right next to Richie.
He settles for sliding a little closer and letting Richie keep playing with his hair.
“I k-know tonight is for Ri-i-chie,” Bill says, “But I think we shuh-should go over our Spring Break plan one m-more time while we’re all h-here.”
“Again?” Richie sighs, wrapping one of Eddie’s curls around his finger. Eddie sits very still, as if moving too much will deter Richie.
“Yes, Richie!” Stan says impatiently.
“Don’t snap at me, Stanley! It’s my birthday, you have to be nice to me.”
“You assaulted me!”
“Dancing is not an assault!”
“Quiet!” Bill orders, polite but stern. He sits up straighter as he addresses the group, “O-Okay, so our last day of school is Friday.”
“And Florida is a 25-hour drive from here,” Mike adds.
Richie groans. “That’s even longer than my dick!”
“Beep beep, Richie,” Bev says.
“W-We’ll split driving up between Suh-Saturday and Sunday,” Bill recites, “And stay at a h-hotel Saturday night.”
Richie turns to smile at Eddie mischievously. Eddie gives him a disinterested look in return.
“Whatever you think is going to happen,” Eddie whispers, “It’s not going to happen.”
Richie just keeps smiling like he knows something that Eddie doesn’t, which is really annoying honestly. “Uh-huh,” he just says all smugly.
Richie glances around at the others to make sure that everyone else is still listening to Bill before he leans in real close to Eddie’s ear. “It’s just going to be a whole week without any parents around, or any Derry.”
Eddie’s whole body feels warm. “Yeah, so?”
“Soooo...who knows what could happen?”
Richie’s voice dips low on that last part, and it really does something for Eddie. His breath catches and he swallows nervously. “Oh.”
It’s not like he hasn’t thought about this before. Ever since Mike first proposed the trip, he’s been mulling over innocent daydreams of he and Richie holding hands on a beach or taking a nap under a palm tree. Usually, these daydreams ended with them just staying like that — together and peaceful — but there were definitely times where they ended in sloppy make outs. Among other things.
He just didn’t know Richie was thinking about the trip like that too. It’s kind of terrifying and gut-churning but also exhilarating in a weird way.
Richie smirks and pulls away. Bill is talking about how they’ll arrive at the beach house they rented sometime late Sunday, but Eddie can hardly focus, thanks to Richie.
He’s pretty used to that by now.