“Hello?” Eddie asked a second time, he rolled his eyes and hoped it was audible in his voice. He was smiling a little bit too, but he hoped that wasn’t audible in his voice.
Again, there was a shuffling sound, but this time he heard a voice. Not Richie’s, but Bev’s, in the distance, she was not holding the phone right up to her cheek, Eddie could tell.
“Beeeeeep, beeeeeeep,” she was saying. It was elongated, the excessive vowel sound broken up by bits of laughter. He heard some more shuffling. And then Richie’s laughter, closer to the phone.
“Okay, okay, Eddie!” he shouted.
Eddie recoiled and pulled the phone away from his ear before putting it back, replying, “Richie? What the fuck?”
“Oh thank god, Eds!” Richie laughed. He heard Richie’s labored breathing and he could hear Bev laughing as she said something. He heard some more muttering, maybe Bill? Definitely Mike.
“What is it? Rich, I’m studying, it’s like eleven thirty, this better be good!”
“It is, Eds, I have to ask you something important.” Richie’s voice went serious. His words were still slurred, but that may just be Eddie’s perception- he knew he and Bev were drinking that night. He’d been invited, all of the Losers were- Eddie had to turn it down to study, though. He was paranoid about his upcoming finals .
“Okay, what the fuck is it, then?” Eddie huffed. He was still smiling, but he was working very hard to make sure the smile couldn’t be heard in his voice.
“Will you marry me?”
“Will I-” Eddie sputtered. He pushed his seat back from his desk and looked around his empty bedroom, as if looking for a prank camera. He spat out, “What the fuck?”
“Okay, okay, I know it sounds crazy,” Richie said. He was laughing again, “But like you know how all those old timey comedians are like oh I fucking hate my wife and everybody thinks John Mullaney is so fucking original because he loves his wife? Well, I wanna be even more original. I wanna get up on stage one day and be like oh I love my husbadnd, but he fucking hates me and like nobody else in the world is gonna fucking hate me more than you do.”
“That’s such a good point,” Eddie said, he pinched the bridge of his nose.
“So like, you’re gonna marry me?”
“We’re not even dating, Richie, I’m not just going to marry you because you got drunk and watched John Mulaney with a bunch of losers.”
“I’ve never!” Richie said with an exaggerated gasp. His voice was a bit muffled as he called to their friends, “He called you guys losers!”
“We are,” Eddie heard Bill say with a laugh. And then more laughter from the rest of them. Some muttering that Eddie couldn’t quite hear.
“Well,” Richie sighed into the phone. He sounded sad. Eddie was pretty sure it was an act. “I guess my dreams’ll never come true.”
“Richie, you’re drunk.”
“I know, and I wish you were here.”
“I have to study. My finals are next week.”
“Beep beep, Richie,” Eddie said, he let his smile be heard this time.
“So you really don’t want to marry me?”
“I mean, we could start with a date…” Eddie trailed off. He was feeling the courage of second-hand drunkenness.
“Holy shit, are you serious, Spaghetti Man?”
“Well, not if you’re gonna call me Spaghetti Man on the date.”
“I won’t, I won’t!” Richie said quickly. He heard some muffled voice, and then Richie saying, “I won’t call him Spaghetti Man on our date!”
There was laughter and cheering. Eddie smiled widely. Maybe it was wrong to finally ask Richie on a date when Richie was drunk, he could play it off like a joke in the morning if Richie didn’t seem into it anymore. But he was pretty sure Richie was into it. He was pretty sure they’d both been into it for a very long time.
“So is that a yes?” Eddie asked after a minute.
“Fuck yes, it’s a fucking yes, Eddie, I’m gonna date the shit out of you!”
“Wow, sounds romantic.”
“Okay, I’ll be more romantic when I’m less drunk and excited, holy shit my stomach is flipping. Wait…” Richie trailed off. “Hey, Eds, I might hurl.”
“Go to the bathroom if you think you’re gonna hurl, dumbass!”
“I’m not gonna- I just-” then shuffling sounds. Loud bangs. Voices.
And then Bill, “Hey, Eddie, he’s puking.”
“I figured,” Eddie sighed. “Take care of him?”
“Yeah, St-st-stu-stan’s with him.”
“Okay, I’m gonna go back to studying,” Eddie said.
“Cool, we’ll make sure he doesn’t cu-call you again.”
“Eh, it’s fine if he does, if I don’t answer, just make sure he knows it’s not ‘cause I hate him.”
“Have fun, be safe, love yous,” Eddie said.
“We love you too,” Bill said. Eddie heard a few other voices, calling out what he assumed were love yous back. He smiled and hung up the phone.
Immediately after, he got three texts in different degrees of coherency from Ben, Mike, and Bev. Eddie answered for as long as he could, but he had to turn his phone on Do Not Disturb so he could get any kind of productive studying done. It didn’t help much though, he almost empathized with Richie for hurling, he could feel the flips in his own stomach.