It was the summer before their senior year. The Losers were so exited to spend their free time with each other, for yet another year, but this time it wasn't going to be the same. It wasn't going to be the same because Richie had a job. He had started working at McDonald's about two moths ago, which meant he had four more to go and as much as that would fuck with his free time it was good for him. Hell, it was good for everyone, because now he had a 50% discount and he was going to spoil all his friends with it.
Today, like most days, Eddie was waiting for him to finish his shift, and then they were going to meet up with everyone else at the clubhouse. Mike had said he has something important to do and it required all of them present.
So at the end of his shift, Richie filled in a medium cup of Sprite up to the brim, put the cap on, grabbed one of the cheeseburgers off the rack, not without the mandatory "JEREMY, I'M TAKING ONE CHEESEBURGER", of course, and took them to the back with him, so he could change out of the uniform. Employees usually only get discounts and just the managers are allowed a meal while on shift, but Richie's manager was a really chill dude, so he let them take up to two items a shift.
Eddie was sitting there, soft, wavy hair falling infront of his eyes, while reading a book, brows drawn in a concentrated furrow. He looked adorable in his mint green polo shirt and his little red shorts. Richie was making his way towards him as he yelled "Eddie, my love! I've been waiting all day to see you!", he put the drink down on the table. The other boy looked up at him with an eyeroll and let a wide grin split his face. "Thanks, Rich." He said with such sincerity, the beaming smile never leaving his face. Eventhough the one thing Richie despised more than Bowers and his goons was Sprite, that was always his drink of choice, simply because it was Eddie's favorite. While the boy would never in a milion years touch anything else from a fast food chain (especially from McDonald's), Sprite was kind of his way of rebelling against his mother. It was only a soda after all, nothing enough to kill him, so he let himself have it without thinking of the risks that come with it.
Richie made himself comfortable in the seat infront of Eddie and began to unwrap his burger. Taking a gigantic bite out of it, he let an exaggerated groan leave his full mouth, while he continued to chew loudly.
"Richard, that's disgusting.", Eddie said with a grimace, all the while not taking his eyes off of him. The comment made Richie laugh which led him to choke on his food and sent him into a coughing fit. He turned to the side, as to not spit any of the food onto Eddie, and after three final coughs turned back around.
There Eddie was shaking in his seat, hiding a grin behind his hand, eyes crinkling in the cutes way, while trying his best not to laugh. "Something funny, dipshit?" Richie asked, still red in the face from all the coughing. Any attempt to sound serious thrown out the window by the smile making its way onto his face. They made eye contact for about three seconds before they both brusted out laughing.
Apparently, not having fully recovered yet, laughing turned into coughing again, which made Eddie laugh harder for a while before he offered some of his Sprite. "No thanks, Eddie Spaghetti, that's, like, the grossest beverage known to manki-", his stupid british accent was interrupted by yet another wheeze. "I take it back!", he managed to say between coughs and reaches for Eddie's nasty drink. Taking a big gulp he leaned back in his seat with a loud sigh. "Peace at last.", he said, eyes closed and a calm smile resting on his face.
"Hurry up, asshole! Your shift ended twenty minutes ago and you've taken one (1) bite of that stupid cheeseburger! The others are waiting for us." Eddie tried to rush him, but it only made Richie smile wider. "Worry not, my dear Eds. Mikey waited this long already, he can wait some more." And to make his point clear he began to bring the burger the his mouth at an exaggeratedly slow pace.
Before the buger could reach anywhere near his mouth, Eddie snached it from his hands and neatly put the wrapper back around it, all the while keeping a frown on his face. "Come on, you'll eat it on the way there." He said after he put his book in his bag and threw it over his shoulder. "Oh, I love it when you're bossy." Richie said with the sappiest grin on his face, walking a few steps behind Eddie. A "Shut the fuck up!" was all he got in response, the other boy not even bothering to turn around while he was yelling at him.
The walk to the club house was filled with dumb jokes said around mouthfuls of cheeseburger, Eddie never forgetting to remind him just how disgusting that is and before they knew it they had reached deep enough into the forest to already hear their friends' voices coming from below the ground.
Richie stopped beside the entrance of their fort and with an exaggerated bow, gesturing towards the open trap door on the ground he said "Ladies first", which, of course earned him a kick to the shin.
After they both made their way down the ladder Stan let out a groan "Ugh, finally!". "You c-couldn't have been a-any more s-slow! M-mike wouldn't t-tell us what w-we're doing t-today, until all of us-s were h-here!" Even trough his stutter, you could tell how annoyed Bill was.
"Rich, your shift ends at 2pm, no? What took you guys so long?", asked Ben, the ever so kind, Ben. What a great guy, honestly. "Oh, I'm sure they were just having some fun. Isn't that right, Richie?" He shot Bev a glare, which was met with only a teasing smirk before she turned her attention to Mike who began speaking:
"So, you know how my birthday is in a few weeks?" Oh, Mikey, don't we know. They have been saving up money for the past few months to buy him a new bike, since his old one got runned over by Henry Bowers' car. So they all gave a nod in response. "Well, my granddad wanted to give me his present a little early and.... Drum roll please!" Bill, Bev and Ben all started drumming on a pillar, a wall and the side of the ladder respectively. They continued doing it for a full minute, before Stan snapped "Stop it before the whole thing collapses!" and they immediately did as told.
Mike reached into his bag and pulled out a Polaroid camera. A collective gasp echoed through the clubhouse. "Mike, dude, that's so cool!", Richie said, taking a step closer to him. Mike put the camera in his outstretched hand and watched him examine it for a few seconds before he asked for it back.
"S-so t-that's what w-we're doing t-today? We're t-t-taking p-ictures?", Bill asked with a bright grin across his face. Mike returned the smile and continued talking: "I'm going away for a few days next month to visit my aunt, and I want to show her what you guys look like! Since, y'know, I constantly talk about all of you, but I want her to picture you next time I tell a story.", his smile grew bigger and bigger with every word and looking around the room, Richie could see everyone else smiling the same way too.
"There's no light in here, though. Why don't we go back up?", this time it was Eddie that spoke. The grin he had a few seconds ago had settled into a soft smile. A beam of light falling in between the cracks of the ceiling right onto the side of his face, making his dark brown eyes look hazel. All the other losers made sounds of agreement and began moving towards the ladder, but Richie was stuck. He was mesmerized by the way Eddie looked, so smiley and soft. God, he was so in love with him. He was brought back to reality only when their gazes met. He didn't let his eyes linger on for much longer, missing the way Eddie's cheeks turned red, as he began moving behind the others, waiting his turn to go up the ladder.
They had to explore the surrounding area to for a bright spot where they could take the pictures. It was Stan who called them over, claiming he had found the perfect place. And he really did. It was between three large trees with a few smaller ones around, leaving a blank space in the middle of them. The losers were chatting amongst themselves, suggesting ideas for cool pictures to take and stupid poses to strike when Mike went ahead and set the timer on the camera, putting it down at the trunk of one of the trees. He scrambled back as fast as he could and took the spot between Bev and Stan off to the right side of the camera.That was the first picture that they took, after which they began taking turns for the role of photographer, each picture more ridiculous than the one before.
Beverley had just finished taking a picture of Mike, Bill, and Stan, laughing together not knowing they're being filmed. She was waiting to pull the film out of the camera, her and Ben exchanging shy smiles, when Richie yelled "Yo, Bev, me and Eds would like a picture!" The sheer volume of his shout made Eddie jump in his spot and shoot him a glare. She gave them a smile and a nod and made her way over, holding the camera in her right hand with the picture she had just taken between her pointer and middle finger. "Okay, boys, smile!", she said guiding the camera over her eye, while keeping the other squinted. Richie put his arm around Eddie's shoulders and ignored the complaints that followed. Both of them shot Beverley wide smiles and waited for her to snap the picture. She took out the undeveloped film that had just popped out of the camera and gave it to Richie with a wink. He put it in his pocket as Eddie said he wanted to see it when it develops. With a "Sure thing, Spaghetts!" he went to ruffle his hair, but his hand was swatted away. "Do not, ever, call me that, ever!", Eddie said with a scrawl as he crossed his arms over his chest. "If I didn't know better, Eds, I would think you hate it when I call you that!", Richie said in faux sincerity. The other boy replied with a calmer "Don't call me that, either!", clearly fighting off a grin. That pulled a smile out of the taller boy. Seeing him content and so at peace truly was rare, so Richie tried to cherish every single one of those moments.
Eventually the day came to an end as the sun began setting, so the losers all made their way home. Bill and Stan went with Mike to the edge of town, so he wasn't alone. Ben dropped Bev off a few blocks away from her street, since neither of them want to risk drawing the attention of her father, and Eddie and Richie made their way towards their own houses. Only stopping to check out the picture Bev had taken of them earlier that day. They both looked so happy in it that it kind of made Richie's stomach flutter.
"Want me to walk you home?", Richie suggested, eyeing Eddie sideways, while pushing his bike on his other side. "No, it's fine. My mom would freak if she sees me with you again." He gave Richie an apologetic smile, "Oh, she'd freak alright." He brusted out laughing and earned himself a pointed look and a "Oh my god, Rich, that's so fucking funny, I can't stop laughing.", said with a blank expression.
"Are you be- Is that sarcasm?!", an exaggerated gasp left Richie's lips as he put a hand over his chest. "I can't believe what my ears are hearing, Spaghetts!!", the british accent back at full force. "Neither can I. What did I say about that stupid nickname?", Eddie's scrawl grazed his face again, only this time it was softer, it always was when it was just the two of them. "I don't know, I wasn't listening, as I was too busy admiring your beauty, my dear Edward Spagghedward!" Mumbling a quiet "Okay, that's enough", Eddie trew one leg over his his bike and began pedaling, shouting out a last "'Night, Richie!", met with a "You too, Eds! Don't forget to give your mom a big smooch from me!", he yelled with his hands around his mouth, acting as a megaphone. He wasn't sure Eddie had heard him, untill he saw the middle finger he trew over his shoulder, which made a loud laugh bubble out of him.
The next day the Losers met up at the quarry, around the same time they did the day before. Richie and Eddie were the last ones to arrive again, to no one's surprise. "Hurry up, you two! Mike brought his camera again!", Beverly shouted from the bottom of the quarry, all of the other Losers sittin in the sunlight, hair dripping wet. Their clothes were scattered around the top, where Eddie and Richie were, taking off their own. Richie waited patiently behind him, and the second the other boy trew his last piece of clothing to the ground, Richie leaped towards him, lunging them both over the edge of he quarry into the water, as Eddie's shrieking scream "RICHIE!", cut through the air.
Once in the lake, Eddie began splashing water at the taller boy and basically trying to drown him. "Richard, you absolute piece of shit!". Richie was making gargaling noices in between his loud gasps, because he was laughing so hard, but his head was being pushed underwater, the other boy only leting him take a breath every once in a while. With one last, harsher push, Eddie let go of him and began making his way to the others, but Richie took a deep breath and went underwater, trying to navigate his way without opening his eyes, one arm outstretched in front of him. Once he got ahold of Eddie's legs, he shimmied inbetween them and stood out of the water taking Eddie on his shouders with him. He felt a pair of hands grab his hair and heard Eddie's surprised yelp. It looks like it took him a while to register the position he's in, but soon enough, the smaller boy resumed his shouting "Richie, put me down, right now or I swear I'll invert your ribcage!". Richie let out a laugh, but did as he was told.
Eddie angrily turned to face him and was met by a smile so bright, it made Richie's cheeks hurt. "Stop it, you asswipe!", fists low at his sides and a frown on his face, Eddie stomped his foot, but it only resulted in a little water splash. "But how could I, Eds? You turn into a literal ball of fury, it's so cute!" Richie teased and reached to ruffle his hair but, Eddie turned back around and walked to shore as fast as the water would allow him. Richie followed him not long after taking a seat under the sun, the rock below him changing colour due to the water dripping off of his shorts.
"You guys wanna see?", Mike asked, holding a picture between his thumb and pointer finger, he shot a look at Eddie and then at him. Eddie reached over to grab the photo, a harsh gasp leaving him when he finally saw it. "I'm keeping that one.", he said, no room for arguments, as he passed it to Richie. The picture showed them both, just minutes ago, Richie standing tall grinning widely, hands supporting Eddie by his knees on his sholders. Eddie, whose own hands were buried in Richie's dark curls, looking so wide eyed and taken by surprise.
Richie smiled upon looking at it and shot a look up at Eddie, who made a grabbing motion with his left hand and with an exaggeratedly sad sigh, the taller boy handed over the picture. "This is such an amazing picture, Eds. I'm only letting you keep it, because I look really good in it and wouldn't want to deprive you of my breathtaking looks.", he said in mock seriousness. "Beep, beep, moron." Eddie said with a smile, as he took his picture back. Once they were leaving, Eddie made sure to put the picture in the back poket of his red shorts.
Man, Richie was exhausted. They had spent the whole day swimming in the quarry. It was probably one of his favourite days of the summer so far, him and his friends doing nothing together, but having so much fun while doing it. As he was brushing his teeth, getting ready for bed he heard a quiet thud on, followed by another one, and another one. He poked his head out of the bathroom door, taking a look at his room. It couldn't have been raining, since the sound was coming from his window only. He quickly spat out the toothpaste into the sink, rinsed out his mouth and with long strides found himself standing in front of the window. Thankfully he wasn't wearing his glasses, because when he opened it, his face was hit by a pebble. They had been taped together so many times that this would've definitely broken them again. He let out a loud grunt, but honestly, it didn't even hurt that bad, if at all.
"Oh my god, I'm so sorry!" The figure standing by the side of his house wisper-yelled. He was glad he could recognise that voice anywhere, since not only was he not wearing his glasses, but it was also pitch-dark, due to the nonexistent street light on the left side of his house. "Eddie? What are you doing here?" He didn't get an answer, instead he head a quiet weep and that was all he needed to hear. "Go at the front door, I'll let you in." He said in a hurry, already sprinting, making sure he didn't fall down the stairs on his way there.
When he opened the door Eddie was already standing there, softly crying. "Eds, wh-" "Let's go upstairs first.". With a small nod, Richie took his wrist in his hand and led him up to his room. The second the door closed, Eddie let himself go, loud, incoherent words coming out of his mouth accompanied by the long streams of tears running down his cheeks.
"Hey, hey, Eds. It's okay, cry it out, baby." Richie put one hand to the back of Eddie's head and brought his face into his shirt, the other hand coming to rest on his back. The last thing he cared about right now was getting his shirt soaked. Eddie continued his rambling, speech going a mile per minute, probably trying to explain what had happened, but Richie couldn't understand a single word. "Take a minute to calm down, Eds. We have all the time in the world." That seemed to have regulated Eddie's breaths, which just until now were coming in short and fast. The two boys stayed like that for a while, hugging eachother, not saying anything.
When Eddie calmed down almost fully, he pulled his face back away from Richie's shirt, patted it down in a failed attempt to make it sit right again and then brought his gaze to meet his. Richie's stomach dropped. Looking at Eddie's tear filled eyes made him want to start crying. He gently brought his hands on both sides of Eddie's face and wiped the already drying tears off of his cheeks with his thumbs. The smaller boy rested his hands on Richie's wrists, keeping their eyes locked. "Do you want to talk about it?" Richie was studying him, eyes filled with worry. Eddie noded softly and began:
"So... When I came back home from the quarry, the first thing I did was take a shower, right. So, I left my disgusting, dirty clothes that we left sitting on the ground for almost a whole day in the laundry basket.", Eddie said with a small smile that went as fast as it had come, seemingly trying to lighten the mood. "And when I came out of the shower, my mother was holding the picture that we took today, and she began screaming about how dirty the water at the quarry was, and how many diseases I could catch swimming in there. And that's fine, you know, that's how every converstion goes with her. But then she started yelling about how the only reason I started hanging out at these dirty places was because of you guys, and that annoyed me so much, that I yelled back that if it weren't for you I wouldn't be hanging out anywhere, because I'd have no friends, and then-", he stopped to take a really quick, much needed breath, as he had shot that almost all at once, and continued: "Ugh, and then she said that "Maybe it would've been better for everyone if I did have no friends!"", he pitched his voice high, mocking his mother's. "And that was the last straw, I tell you! I just turned around, ran out of the house and came straight here.", having finished his story, Eddie brought his gaze back to Richie's. His eyes weren't as red anymore, but they still had that glossy sheen over them. Richie couldn't lie, Eddie was a pretty crier, but to be fair, he was a pretty everything. He was pretty when he laughed, he was pretty when he was angry, he was pretty when looked up at Richie like he was doing right now, probably still waiting for a reply. Shit.
"I'm so proud of you, Eds, you finally stood up to her", and he really was. He meant it with his whole heart, having grown sick of Sonia Kaspbrak's bullshit a long time ago. The way she would torment and manipulate her own son, his Eds, had him fuming with rage, but the worst part was that Eddie would let her. Until now, that was. "Yeah, it was way overdue.", Eddie said, smiling softly, while reaching to put his arms aroud Richie's midsection, resting his head back on the wet spot on his shirt. Richie's own arms hugging him as tightly as he could without actually crushing him, as he left a soft kiss on the top of Eddie's head. Eventually they moved over to Richie's bed, stubbornly trying to keep their eyes open, as they talked for hours, until they inevitably fell asleep in one big, messy tangle of limbs.
After they had stayed up so late the night before, Richie's 7am alarm's scream was not greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, he had to go to work, so he groggily made his way out of bed, trying not to wake Eddie up, unsuccessfully. He was already up and frowning from his spot on the bed "Where'y goin'?", he asked sleepily, which made Richie squeal a "Cute!!", before properly answering.
"Work, my love. I gotta somehow feed you and our five children!", that earned him a groan, "How are you on your bullshit so early in the morning?", Eddie said before covering his face with a pillow. "You can come with, if you want?", Richie assumed the last thing Eddie wanted to do right now, was go home, so he invited him, "Sure, you're probably gonna be bored, but I'll try to entertain you as much as I can.", he finished with a wink, before he started making his way towards the bathroom.
"Yeah, thanks", was all he heard before Eddie began to shuffle in his room, probably fitting himself back into his own clothes and out of the shirt he had borrowed from Richie last night, one that honestly looked way too good on him.
Having finished brushing his teeth, Richie made his way back to the bedroom, as Eddie took his spot in the bathroom.
Richie took out the little bag he kept his uniform in and trew it on the bed so he wouldn't forget it. Then he began getting dressed, a loud Hawaiian shirt with a pair of khaki shorts was basicly what he wore every day so, choosing an outfit was a no brainer. Eddie came back a few moments later and together they made their way to the front door.
On the way to the McDonald's Richie works at, they stopped at a bakery to buy breakfast, since Eddie would not go near any type of fast food, which slowed them down, having to sprint the rest of the way, so Richie wouldn't be late. It was okay, he didn't really care if he was late, but Eddie was the one pestering him to "hurry the fuck up!!".
They made it on time and Richie went out back to change, coming out to stand behind the register in his stupid uniform. As it was so fucking early in the morning, there was not a single soul in the restaurant, apart from them, a manager somewhere in the back and Richie's coworker who was basically asleep behind his register. So Eddie decided to come stand by closer, so him and Richie could talk. They were both still sleepy, so they didn't say much, letting a comfortable silence stretch over them.
After a few more minutes of doing absolutely nothing, Richie caught Eddie starring and grinned, as he teasingly said "Like what you see?", moving his eyebrows up and down. "Oh, yeah, I love a man in uniform." Eddie shot back, barely holding in his amusement. They both started laughing loudly, startling the poor guy at the other side of the register, who checked around for any cutomers, and after seeing none, rested his head back into the palm of his hand and lulled himself back to sleep.
When lunch rolled around a lot more people started coming in, but fortunately, so did the early afternoon shift. Their schedule was created so that the morning and early afternoon shifts could both cover lunch, as that was the busiest time of the day. So now there were five people working register as well as a few others making food at the back, and seeing as the crowd had started to thin out, Richie decided to take his lunch brake. He began making two ice-creams from the machine, which, luckily, was working for the first time in weeks today.
He made his way to the table Eddie was sitting at, saying "Come on, Eds! Let's go outside!", while pushing the double doors with his back. Eddie mumbled a "don't call me that" and hurriedly walked over to sit outside with him. Almost everyone was sat inside, trying to take advantage of the A/C, so that left them alone outside with only the two old ladies sat over to the far right under one of the umbrellas.
They were enjoying a quiet moment between conversations when all of a sudden Eddie said: "I don't know what to do now, Rich!" It took him a moment to apprehend what Eddie was talking about. "Like should I apologize to her? Would she let me back home if I don't?" Only then did Richie realize that this whole time, Eddie was holding back all of this worry. In the morning when he was all smiles and gigles, he was still internally fighting last night's battle. It made him feel awful for not realizing it sooner.
"First of all, apologizing for what? Defending your friends? Defending yourself? Actually expressing an opinion intront of her for once? Absolutely nothing to apologize for, Eds, dearest.", he didn't know when they had started holding hands, but they were, and it was making the butterflies in his stomach go ballistic. He continued "Second of all, I think your mom is so dependent on you, she could never kick you out. And even if she did, the gates to the Tozier residence are always open for you, Edoardo!", he finished with a cheery smile and took a look at Eddie, who was already looking at him. "No way, you actually said something smart for once, Trashmouth.", Eddie's own soft smile, matching his as they kept looking at each other, still holding hands.
And then it happened. Eddie looked down at his lips, for a fraction of a second, but Richie cought it. And, of course, he began panicking. What was he supposed to do? Shoud he kiss him? What if his imagination was just playing tricks on him? Then it happened again. The way Eddie looked him in the eyes afterwards made his intentions clear, his gaze daring, challenging. So Richie took a risk. He leaned forward and connected their lips for a second, before pulling back to check Eddie's reaction, because what if he had read the situation wrong?
It was safe to assume he had read the situation absolutely right, since immediately after breaking the kiss, Eddie had chased his lips. Without wasting another second Richie reconnected their lips and resumed the kiss, only this time pouring all of his unsaid feelings into it. After another minute or so Eddie broke the kiss, saying "I can't believe our first kiss was outside of a McDonald's.", follwed by a giggle.
"What do you mean, Spaghetti?! This is where the magic happens!", said Richie, in faux offense, gesturing around the parking lot when saying 'this' , as if that made his statement more clear and/or true. "Shut up, Trashmouth.", Eddie said pulling him in for another smooch by the collar of his stupid, red uniform shirt, both of them having forgotten about the melting ice-cream in their hands