Being called Number One was the only thing that ever made Eduardo happy.
At least, that’s what he said.
Despite the feeling of pride that swelled in his chest whenever someone said he was number one, he always thought there was something missing. There was always a strange hole in his chest.
It wasn’t like that was a problem to him, he always tried his best to ignore it. His pride always came first, that was the rule ever since he had come second place to Edd in grade school.
But sometimes that rule was broken.
Sometimes Eduardo broke down and that tough facade he always had plastered on his face faded away into choked sobs and desperate pleas.
This was one of those times.
Eduardo sat alone in the corner of his backyard, pressed back against the fence with his knees to his chest as he sobbed. Tears streamed down his face as he hiccupped and wiped his eyes. He didn’t know why he was sad, it was just one of those days.
Edd had invited everyone out for a day at the arcade, but Eduardo was feeling a little sad earlier in the day so he declined. He THOUGHT it was safe to let out his emotions since everyone was gone, but he hadn’t noticed that Matt had decided to stay behind as well.
He only realized that he wasn’t alone when he heard the sound of someone walking over and sitting next to him. Eduardo wasn’t sure who it was at first since he had his head in his arms, but he jumped as soon as he felt an arm around him.
Eduardo sat up and looks over, spotting the redhead sitting next to him. He wipes at his eyes with his sleeve and sniffles to try and stop himself from looking like a mess. “What are you doin’ here, loser?”
To his surprise, Matt didn’t seem fazed by his neighbors sass. Instead, he gave a small reassuring smile. “Bad day?”
Eduardo didn’t answer, he just glanced away as more tears fell down his face. He looked up once he realized Matt had opened up his arms for him.
He was out of options anyway, and Eduardo really needed some comfort. Against his better judgement, he fell forward into Matt’s comforting hold and burst into tears once more.
“It’s okay, Eduardo, I’m here for you.”
“I-I can’t cry!” Eduardo whimpers, “I’m numero uno! I’m too great to cry!”
Matt just smiles and hugs him a little bit tighter, “Sometimes even numero uno’s need a good cry.”
There wasn’t any response other than Eduardo’s sobs as he clung to the redhead’s purple hoodie and cried his eyes out. That empty feeling in his chest seemed just a little bit smaller.
After that experience, Matt and Eduardo seemed much closer.
It was a little odd to their friends, but no one wanted to ruin what they had going. Matt and Eduardo becoming friends meant that there was no more insults thrown over the fence or quiet glaring contests from their windows at night.
Sometimes Eduardo would come over to binge watch movies with Matt - Tom would join them at times as well - and the two would get distracted with their own little conversations.
Sometimes Matt would come over to Eduardo’s house and the two of them would play video games all night.
Eduardo was a lot happier, it almost scared Mark and Jon how nice he was to them. Normally Eduardo would be grumpy, spewing insults at them left and right, but now he was making breakfast every morning with a cheery hum, he was helping the two with anything they needed, he was laughing at the jokes they told, it was like he was a completely different person.
It had only been a few months since the two neighbors had started to get closer.
Eduardo had come over for another movie marathon with Matt. It was dark out and the two were huddled on the couch with a bowl of popcorn between them as feminine screams of terror played from the movie.
Both boys seemed to reach for the popcorn at the same time and as Eduardo grabbed a handful, Matt’s hand moved to rest on his.
He couldn’t do anything but blush before pulling his hands away, “W-Watch where you’re grabbing, los- erm…..Matt…”
All he got in response was a sweet little smile from the redhead. Eduardo opened his mouth to ask what Matt was staring at, but instead of an answer all he got was Matt moving the popcorn bowl out of the way as he slid himself closer.
“What are you doing?”
“Nooooothing~ i just thought it was a little cold was all,” Matt smiles that innocent smile of his and then went back to watching the movie.
Eduardo really wanted to ask what his friend was up to, but after a few moments of nothing else happening he just turned his attention back to the tv.
About halfway through the movie, he realized that Matt had started to inch himself closer until their sides were pressed together.
“M-Matt, what are you doing?”
Another little smile was all that greeted him, except this time Matt wrapped his arms around Eduardo’s waist and pulled the other man into his lap.
“I will take that as a yes!” Matt laughs and sets his head on Eduardo’s shoulder.
“Matt! You can’t just pull someone into your lap like that!”
“And why not?”
“Because you’re afraid it will turn into something more than just cuddling and you don’t want to get too close or emotionally attached to someone?”
That wasn’t the answer Eduardo was expecting to hear. His eyes widened as he realized Matt had hit the bullseye. “What?! That’s not true! That’s not true at all, I-!”
“Eduardo…..” Matt gave a sympathetic smile. “You don’t have to be afraid of anything, you know?”
“I...I’m not….afraid of...of…” Eduardo trailed off, unable to finish the sentence. The emotional hole in his chest seemed to tighten. Eduardo wasn’t sure if he was going to cry or push Matt away.
“Eduardo, I know you’re afraid to let yourself get too close to someone, I know how that feels. But I promise you I won’t just abandon you or hurt you. I’ve liked you for a really long time and I knew from the start that you would need someone to show you that you matter.”
Eduardo was shaking by this point. Yup, he was going to cry. How could Matt see through him so easily? It was almost scary.
“Eduardo….will you be my numero uno?” a dopey little smile spread over Matt’s face as he leans up to wipe away a tear.
It was hard to trust someone so easily, but Eduardo felt like Matt just might be someone who would actually care for him, so he wasted no time in giving a small little nod in agreement.
The redhead’s eyes lit up in excitement and he almost tackled Eduardo off the couch. Eduardo clung to his newfound boyfriend for the rest of the night, eventually falling asleep during ‘Return of the Insane Zombie Pirates from Hell IV’.
The little hole in Eduardo’s heart seemed to get even smaller.
The next few years flew by like clockwork.
Eduardo and Matt’s relationship seemed to blossom quickly and it wasn’t long until they were doing couple things every chance they got and in front of their friends too like it wasn’t a big deal.
They would hop the fence to each other’s yard to sit around and talk with each other, sometimes their friends would catch them making out on the couch, but most of their time together was spent cuddling around their homes and reassuring each other that they wouldn’t ever be alone.
On their one year anniversary Matt took Eduardo to a fancy restaurant and bought him whatever expensive dessert he wanted, then they went for a walk in the park. Nothing too much, just a simple little date.
On their second anniversary, the two went on a road trip. Matt and Eduardo went to places both of them really wanted to see and Matt bought Eduardo anything he wanted, no matter how much Eduardo tried to reject the offer. They ended up coming home with three giant stuffed animals and tons of knick knacks neither of them really needed.
Their third anniversary was when Matt did something that Eduardo never saw coming.
Matt had lead the shorter man - who was blindfolded - to a vacant park. He pulled off the blindfold with a sweet smile and Eduardo’s eyes widened upon seeing a small table in the middle of the grass that was lit up with candles. A small little dinner just for the two of them had been set up.
“Oh...jeez Matt, this looks…” he couldn’t seem to find the right words.
“Y-Yeah, that’s it.”
Matt giggles and pulls a chair out for Eduardo, letting the other sit down before pushing the chair in, “Well I’m glad you think so! I did this just for you, Eduardo, you deserve something lovely for our three year anniversary!”
“I...can’t believe we’ve been together for three years…” Eduardo’s voice was so quiet it was almost inaudible, but his redhead boyfriend seemed to hear him just fine.
“I know right?? It’s amazing!”
“A-ah, right….so amazing…” A small smile spread over Eduardo’s face as he looked down at the food. He noticed something shiny in his glass of wine and couldn’t help but stare. “What’s...What’s that?”
Matt just grins over at him, “Why don’t you empty the glass and find out?”
“...Matt, is that….?”
“Eduardooooo! Don’t ruin the surprise!” a little pout spread over the redhead’s face.
Eduardo couldn’t say no to that, so he took the glass and drank. Once it was empty save for the shiny object, he pulled it out and stared. It was exactly what he thought it was: a gorgeous shiny engagement ring.
Matt smiles and got down on one knee. “I was hoping you wouldn’t find that until AFTER you ate, but I guess asking now would work with the same amount of shock factor!” he giggles.
“Eduardo, will you be my numero uno forever by marrying me?”
“I..um...uh…” cmon Eduardo, make your brain work! “Y-Yes…”
Matt smiles and takes the ring, slipping it onto his boyfriend’s finger. He opened his mouth to say something, but instead got a lapful of Eduardo as he practically threw himself at him.
“I don’t deserve you…” Eduardo whimpers against his chest as he starts to cry.
All he got in response was a kiss to the forehead and Matt’s arms around him in a tight bear hug. “I love you too, My Numero Uno.”
The little hole in Eduardo’s heart certainly wasn’t there anymore.