He’s tired of living like this. He’s tired of being suffocated by the late nights and early mornings. He’s tired of pretending like everything’s all sunshine and rainbows; he’s tried to convince himself that it’s fine, but it’s not. He knows he messed up bad this time.
Because, well… he’s laying alone in their apartment in Derry, and Richie’s filming a comedy special in New York. They haven’t talked in days. There haven’t been any late night calls, or early morning texts.
Their fight was never supposed to happen.
It wasn’t supposed to leave them like this .
He sits up, staring at the last message he sent.
I’m sorry. I really am. ❤️
Read 1:13 a.m. .
He wonders if the airport has any flights leaving for John F. Kennedy International.
He’s willing to take a chance.
He’d do anything for Richie.
The airport is freezing, despite the flannel pajamas and heavy winter coat he’s wearing. He hugs the jacket tighter around himself, picking up the scent of Richie’s aftershave. It’s a reminder of why he’s doing this. It keeps him from calling an Uber and going back home to their lonely bed.
Eddie didn’t pack a suitcase; just a travel kit with necessities. He’s not planning on staying for long; just long enough to apologize and make sure Richie knows he’s sincere. Just long enough to make sure that they’re okay.
He can’t even remember what the fight was about. All it took was one stupid, insensitive sentence and Richie up and left, muttering a ‘Have a happy fucking New Years’ under his breath as he left Eddie on the snowy porch.
They’re stuck on the runway after landing. It’s snowing too hard for the pilots to see anything clearly. At this point, Eddie’s ready to jump out of the tiny plane window and run the rest of the way to Richie.
Speaking of, he calls him. No answer, of course, but at least he can say he tried. He’s tried almost everything.
He calls Bev; it goes straight to voicemail, and he mutters something about saying hi to Ben and seasons greetings, or whatever. He’ll call her back when he’s done with his mission.
Stan picks up Mike’s phone, sounding totally awake for someone who’s such a heavy sleeper.
“Stan speaking, what’s up Eddie?”
“Why are you awake? It’s four thirty.”
“What do you want? It’s four thirty.”
“He’s staying at the Marriott next to the Lone Bird comedy club.”
“Thanks. I owe you.”
“Whatever. Just don’t break his heart anymore, okay?”
“I’m going to fix it.”
“You do that.”
This isn’t the first time they’ve fought, of course. Richie’s mouth is always getting him in trouble. But the last time, Richie showed up at Eddie’s condo after driving fifteen hours straight, and asked him to marry him.
There’s nothing Eddie can do to compare to that.
It’s bordering on 7 a.m. when Eddie is finally knocking loudly on the door of room two-twenty.
There’s a commotion inside, clattering bottles, and he hears Richie slur, “If it’s room service, I don’t want it.” He opens the door slowly, peering out into the hallway, and Eddie thinks he sees Richie’s eyes cloud over.
“I… uh….” Eddie realizes now that he didn’t plan any grand, romantic speech to sweep Richie off his feet. He doesn’t know where to start. “This isn’t a marriage proposal, but I went on a plane without hand sanitizer to get to you. And I took a taxi by myself. It was really gross, but I’d do it again if it meant getting to you.”
Richie’s staring at him with a confused expression. He reaches out slowly to paw at Eddie’s face as if he’s not really sure this is real.
“You came all alone to see me?”
“Yeah. I realized what an asshole I was.” He wonders if Richie will take him back this easy. “I missed you. I hated being alone without you, and I never want to leave your side again. I can’t watch you walk away again. It was stupid not to chase after you, because I love you and I don’t want to lose you. Can you find it in you to forgive me?”
Richie is crying, and he presses his forehead to Eddie’s, because that’s something he does when he’s feeling vulnerable.
He pulls Eddie into the hotel room, wrapping him in a tight hug that would be suffocating if they didn’t love each other so much.
This is forgiveness.
Richie’s really good when it comes to the English language.
He never shuts up. He knows how to string together jokes and curses like it’s nothing.
Eddie loves this about him.
He loves what happens when he touches Richie; pulls at his hair, pressing his lips to his neck, wraps himself around the taller man. Richie’s a mess: a vulgar, hot mess, making noises Eddie would pay money to hear every day.
“What?” Richie asks, eyes wide open and blown behind his glasses when he notices Eddie hasn’t made a move in a few moments. Eddie takes in the self-conscious blush that decorates his cheeks.
“You’re beautiful.” Eddie smiles at Richie’s skeptical expression, soft and vulnerable, and he can’t help but lean in to kiss him. He could spend hours kissing him, marvelling at the feeling of Richie’s perfect lips. There’s a hand gently holding his face, and Richie arches against Eddie, eliciting groans from them both.
Eddie hungrily grabs at the fabric of Richie’s shirt, allowing the taller man to pull it off before he leans back in to run his teeth along the line of his neck, and Richie’s body shudders with a shiver.
Richie’s hands move to pull at the strings of Eddie’s pajama pants with a “Can you take these fucking things off, please?” and Eddie slides them off before rutting into Richie again, desperate for friction.
“Eds,” Richie murmurs, trailing his fingers across soft skin, fingertips burning with anticipation. “I want-”
“I think I can guess what you want.”
“I want you to write ‘Eddie Kaspbrak has the hottest fucking ass’ on my gravestone when this inevitably kills me.”
Below him, Richie waggles his eyebrows, grinning like an idiot. “Please do.”
They’re waiting for room service, still in a haze from the night before.
Eddie’s playing with the curls on the nape of Richie’s neck as the comedian types up new jokes to write into the next Netflix special. Both are lost in their own little world, but Eddie catches what Richie says, and it makes him freeze.
“You could’ve ended up with someone better, but you settled for me.”
His fingers stop carding through Richie’s hair, trying to figure out where the fuck that came from. “You think I settled for being with you?”
“Rich, you’re so dumb sometimes.” Eddie wishes they were positioned so he could see Richie’s face; so he could kiss this stupid thought out of his head.
“I’m just saying that I think you’re so much better than me, and I can’t believe you decided to stick with me.”
“Oh my god, you’re dumb,” Eddie says softly, no malice behind his statement. “I’m not better than you. You’re always putting yourself down, like you’re not good enough, but you don’t understand how truly good you absolutely are. I need you to understand that, and I need you to know that you’re not some consolation prize. I love you .”
“You do?” Richie sounds unsure, as if Eddie hasn’t loved him since they were barely old enough to know the meaning of the word.
“Of course. I don’t get on germ infested planes for just anybody.”
“How long have you known?”
“That you were gonna marry me.”
“Since kindergarten, at least.”
“Richie, I knew it from the first day I saw you trying to eat sand on the playground like the idiot that you are. I’ve had my vows in a notebook since fifth grade, surrounded by hearts with ‘R + E’ scribbled in them.”
“I can’t believe you just admitted that.”
“Shut up. No one will believe you if you tell them.”
Eddie honestly wasn’t expecting to get married.
He knew that Richie wasn’t too keen on the whole idea of marriage. When Eddie had first approached the subject at seventeen, Richie had scoffed and said “What? You want a flimsy piece of paper officially stating my dedication to you?” That was that.
So, imagine his surprise when not even a year later, Richie was down on one knee asking Eddie to marry him with tears in his eyes and a red velvet box in his hand. Obviously Eddie said yes, or they wouldn’t be where they were now.
He and Richie told the Losers the next day; they all were thrilled, declaring shit like “took you assholes long enough,” and Bev was there claiming the title of wedding planner extraordinaire, a job Eddie was more than happy to hand over.
Eddie’s mother was significantly less thrilled; she tried to talk him out of it, and asked him what possible reason he had for doing this. (His answer then had made her roll her eyes. I love him, Ma .)
Maggie had fawned over the fact that she would finally be able to call Eddie her son-in-law, while Went patted Richie on the back telling him “you got a good one, son.” Boy, did he know it.
It was the night before the wedding. They’d wanted to get married as soon as possible, not even wanting to wait two months, but Bev had insisted that they let her plan a proper wedding.
So here they were, Eddie was laying on top of Richie, knowing full well they were breaking Beverly’s no-seeing-each-other-24-hours-before-the-wedding rule.
“I miss you already,” Eddie stated, pulling himself closer (as if that was possible) to Richie.
“I don’t need to leave. I can stay…”
“Mmm, but Stan will kill me and tell Bev we’re breaking her rule if I keep you from his elaborate bachelor’s party. Plus, you’ve never been one to say no to a stripper.”
“While that is true, I told Stan no strippers. Who needs em when you have Sonia Kaspbrak?”
Eddie smacked Richie’s arm with no real force. “Beep beep, Rich.”
“Eds, bachelor parties are for guys who are sad to see their days of being single disappear. I, for one, can’t wait to sleep with the same guy for the rest of my life.”
“Contrary to your belief, not everything revolves around sex, you pig.”
Richie’s phone buzzed on the dresser beside them with a message from Stan, and he gently moved Eddie off of him. He stood up, and stretched, pulling his glasses on to read Stan’s message. Then he leaned down and kissed Eddie’s forehead.
“Get some sleep. You’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
“Fantastic. Can’t wait.”
“I’ll meet you at the altar, spaghetti man.”
“I’ll be the one in white.”
Richie chuckled. “Damn, we might have clashing outfits.”
“Oh, hell, look at your eyes!”
“Good morning to you, too, Beverly.”
“What did you do? Stay up all night?” Beverly grabbed Eddie’s arm and whirled him around to face her. “I swear to god Edward, if you were up with Richie…”
“No! No, definitely not! I was just too excited to sleep. We’re getting married, Bev. I love him more than anything in the whole world, more than my own life, and, shit- by some miracle- he loves me that way too.”
Bev rolled her eyes, but couldn’t keep the smile off her face. “You’re a lovesick idiot, Eddie Kaspbrak. You’ve left me with two hours to make you stunning for your future husband.”
“Oh, please. No one expects me to be stunning. I think the bigger problem is that I might fall asleep before saying ‘I do,’ and Richie will make his escape.”
Bev laughed as she pushed Eddie into the bathroom. He stared at the beauty and hair products she had laying on the counter, and began to feel his sleepless night kicking in.
“Is this really necessary? I’m going to look plain next to him no matter what.”
She pushed Eddie to sit on the edge of the bathtub. “No one will dare call you plain when I’m through with you.”
“Yeah, only because they’re afraid you’ll break their necks.”
Eddie’s stomach flipped nervously as he waited for the music signaling it was his turn to walk down the aisle. Bill stood beside him (they’d all agreed Bill would be better fit to walk Eddie down the aisle since Sonia would be too busy crying) and kept a hand on Eddie’s arm, making sure that he didn’t go into one of his panic attacks. A sudden fanfare trilled through the music, letting Eddie know it was time to walk.
“Don’t let me pass out and die, Bill,” he whispered.
Bill pulled Eddie’s hand through his arm and then grasped it tightly. “J-just b-buh-breathe Eddie. I’ve g-got you.”
One step at a time, he told himself as they began to move down the fairly short aisle. Why are you freaking out? This is what you’ve wanted for years!
He didn’t lift his eyes until the edge of the altar came into view. As soon as he saw that, he looked up at where his future husband was standing.
All he really saw then was Richie’s face; it filled his vision and overwhelmed his mind. His unruly hair was carefully pushed back, he’d swapped his glasses out for contacts, and Eddie could see the constellations of freckles on his cheeks. He looked perfect.
Richie met Eddie’s awed gaze, and broke into a breathtaking smile as he made his way onto the altar. Bill handed Eddie over to Richie, smiling at the couple as he made his way to his seat.
Their vows were simple, traditional words that had been spoken a million times, though never by a couple quite like them. Eddie didn’t realize he was crying until it was time to speak the binding words.
“I do,” he managed to choke out. Richie smiled sweetly at him, and he lifted a hand to wipe away Eddie’s tears.
When it was Richie’s turn to speak, the words rang clear and unhesitant. “I do.”
Mike declared them husband and husband, and then Richie’s hands reached to cradle Eddie’s face as he leaned down to kiss him.
They were lost in each other, forgetting about the crowd of friends and family, the place, the time, the reason. Eddie could only remember that he loved Richie, and that Richie loved him.
And that was the beginning of their forever...