“Do you know who our RA is going to be?” Eddie asked his phone as he threw some of his folded shirts in his clothing box.
“How would we know?” Stan asked.
“He just wants it to be Richie.”
“Richie is gonna be an RA?” Stan asked Bill.
“He posted about it at the end of last year.”
“He’s just not who I would peg as an RA kind of person.” Eddie listened to the two of them talking.
“I mean, he does have a 4.0 GPA, good standings with the university, and he’s charismatic and very much a people person.” Eddie hadn’t realized he had spoken until Stan replied to him.
“Wow, someone has a crush on him.”
“Well, he might need somewhere to go on certain nights.”
“Bill, you make it sound like we fuck, constantly.”
“Stan, how many nights this summer have you actually spent at your own house?”
“Shut the fuck up Eddie.” The other two in their conference call laughed. “So, do we have everything that we need for the room?” Stan was very clearly trying to change the subject.
“Think so. Bill has the fridge and PlayStation, I have the microwave and Keurig, and you have our wifi and TV.” The three of them had decided that they would pay for their own wifi since it was known to go down at the worst times. The housing lottery was the worst. They had barely gotten the triple they wanted, and three of them were online trying to get it.
“Sounds good, at least we didn’t have to buy a couch.” Ben and Mike were rooming together in a suite with two other guys, so they had all decided that they needed some furniture for the center room that they had. Ben was the one that got stuck paying for it upfront, with the other three owing him for a fourth of it. Mike had already paid him back, but he was skeptical about the other two.
“Thank fuck for something. I just have a few more things to pack, so I’ll talk to you two later.” Both of them said their goodbyes to Eddie. He looked around his room and tried to think of anything else that he could go ahead and pack. Most of his clothes were packed, all of his school supplies were in a box, and the very few knick-knacks that Stan would allow him to bring were wrapped carefully in the box with his mugs.
He really hoped this year would go well. And if Richie was his RA, or at the very least in his building, the year would already be off to a good start
Eddie woke up to the sound of his alarm, he hadn’t really expected to fall asleep, but he was really glad he set an alarm just in case. Eddie turned the alarm off and decided that he really needed to pee. Eddie slipped his TOMs on and closed the door behind him. The bathroom closest to his room was closed for cleaning so he had to go to the one of the other side of the hall.
Eddie hated using this bathroom, the one stall didn’t lock correctly and the other one took like a minute to flush. Eddie hated using urinals. Luckily, both stalls were open so at least he didn’t have to deal with the one that didn’t lock.
After Eddie washed his hands, he splashed some cold water on his face, trying really hard to wake up. He had a lot of homework that needed to get done this weekend and he wanted to get a head start on it.
Eddie made his way back to his room and went to open the door. That was when Eddie realized he hadn’t unlocked the door and that he definitely didn’t have his keys or phone on him. Which meant he was going to have to get one of the RAs to unlock the door for him. He hated the idea of that, he kinda (read really, really) hated his RA.
Eddie knocked on his RA’s door. He stood there for a few minutes before knocking again. He fucking hated his RA; the man was never in his room. Eddie couldn’t have told you what his RA’s name was unless he was looking at the door decs on his door. After he knocked the third time, he resigned himself to the fact that his RA wasn’t there.
Eddie went up to the next floor and went over the RA’s room. He recognized the name on the door decs. Eddie couldn’t tell if he was excited or terrified to see the name Richie on all of them. He didn’t know if he was even more excited or scared to see the sign outside his door said that he was there.
Eddie didn’t want to knock, but he really wanted back in his room. Eddie sighed and knocked on the door. He heard someone moving inside before the door opened. Richie looked as cute as ever. Eddie could feel his heartbeat picking up at the smirk that Richie gave him.
“Hey, what can I do for you on this lovely Friday evening?”
“It’s like 3:30.” Richie shrugged. “I locked myself out of my room.”
“You live the floor below me, right?” Eddie nodded. “What room?” Richie asked as he grabbed his keys and shut his door.
“Okay. I’ll be there in a hot sec. I have to go get the master key.” Richie changed the sign on his door so that it said he was in the building and made his way downstairs to the staff office. Eddie went back to his room and stood in the hallway. From the hallway, Eddie could hear his phone ringing in his room. It sounded like it was his mom’s ringtone.
“Fuck.” The song ended, he knew that a voicemail would be following, an angry one.
Eddie looked up as the fire door opened to see Richie as he was spinning the keys on his finger. Eddie was suddenly a little more okay with the idea of missing his mom’s call.
“So, you know this technically costs five bucks, right?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“I mean that’s only if I put this in the system.”
“You can put it in, wouldn’t want you to get in trouble.”
“Aren’t you impressed that I knew?” Richie asked as he unlocked the door.
“My name is on the door, you had a one in three chance of guessing it.”
“I knew it beforehand.” Richie held the door open for Eddie so he could step into his room. He heard the notification signifying that he had a new voicemail.
“How did you know it beforehand?” Eddie was a little too excited about the fact that Richie knew his name.
“We were in the same soc class last semester. You gave a presentation about gay rights.”
“Oh yeah. You gave a presentation on Christianity and rock music, right?” Richie nodded. Eddie remembered all of that, but he wanted to make it seem like he hadn’t been crushing on Richie since the beginning of last semester and that he kinda internet stalked Richie all summer. Richie looked above Eddie’s head and into the room.
“Why are two of the beds pushed together. Aren’t there three people that live here?”
“My roommates are dating.” Richie nodded.
“Well, if you ever need a place to stay, feel free to knock on my door.” Eddie nodded, he knew his voice would betray him if he tried to talk. Richie walked back down the hall and Eddie closed the door, only to lie his head against the back of the door. Eddie groaned slightly and stood up completely. Why was Richie so adorable?
Eddie grabbed his phone and saw that he was right, his mother called and had left a voicemail. As much as Eddie didn’t want to listen to the voicemail and call her back he knew he would have to, it would only be worse if he didn’t.
Eddie only half paid attention to the voicemail as he thought about Richie’s offer. Richie invited him to stay in his room with him. Richie remembered him from last semester. Eddie’s attention was pulled back to the voicemail when he heard his mother’s voice say “I can’t believe you never told me, I thought you were a better son than that.”
Eddie replayed the voicemail and actually listened to it. Apparently, his mother had found his journal where he wrote about Richie like a prepubescent girl with her celebrity crush. She had concluded that her son was gay, which she was kind of alright with. She was a lot more insulted that he never told her. It was a classic Sonia Kaspbrak guilt trip lecture.
Eddie tried not to cry, but he was heartbroken. All he ever did was try to please his mother, that’s why he never told her. He felt like a disappointment. Eddie sat down on his bed and let out a shuddered breath, he couldn’t keep the tears from coming out.
Eddie tried his hardest to keep his voice down and get his breathing under control. There was a knock on Eddie’s door. Eddie cursed under his breath and wiped the tears from his eyes. Whoever it was didn’t need to know he was crying. Eddie opened to see Richie, who’s smirk immediately dropped when he saw how distraught Eddie looked.
“I got a call from my mom.”
“She found out I’m gay. She said some stuff.”
“You’re joking?” Eddie shook his head as more tears escaped his eyes. Richie stepped inside the room and shut the door behind him. Richie wrapped his arms around Eddie as he cried more. Eddie curled into Richie’s chest and clutched onto his shirt.
Richie shushed Eddie as he ran his fingers through Eddie’s hair. Richie knew that Eddie had been hiding his sexuality from his mother for years, but he also knew it bothered Eddie a lot to do that. Richie was actually pretty good friends with Stan, who liked to get drunk when he was stressed. Stan went to Richie last year to drink and complain since he didn’t like his roommate and Richie lived down the hall by himself, he hadn’t done it since Richie became an RA though.
Richie got it though, he was a policy enforcer and Stan didn’t want to put him in a tough situation. Little did Stan know, Richie still got drunk in his room when he was really stressed. Richie also didn’t give a shit as long as people were safe and not stupid or obvious about it.
“I need you to let go of my shirt for a hot sec,” Richie whispered against Eddie’s head.
“Why?” Eddie pulled away slightly but didn’t really let go of Richie.
“So, we can sit. Come on.” Richie walked over to Eddie’s bed and sat down, patting the bed next to him. Eddie sat down next to Richie and finally caught his breath. “You wanna tell me what’s going on?”
“Kinda. You said your mom was being a bitch because she found out you’re gay, but how? It’s not like your anywhere close to home.” Eddie didn’t look at Richie as he answered.
“I kept a journal of all the cute things my crush did last semester and she found it. Which means she had to be going through all of my stuff because that was hidden behind one of dresser drawers. Like I taped that thing back there.”
“That she found it, sounds like you took a lot of precautions.”
“So, it wasn’t the part that I kept a journal about all the cute things my crush did like a teenage girl?”
“Eh. We all do some silly things when we’re in love.”
“Woah woah woah. I never said I was in love, I said it was a crush.”
“It’s not at all the same thing,” Eddie said through a laugh. He had stopped crying during their conversation, which was Richie’s plan all along. “Why did you come back over today?”
“I was gonna ask if you wanted to get dinner with me, but you know, that doesn’t seem as important now.”
“You wanted to get dinner with me?” Richie shrugged. “Were you gonna ask me it like a date?” Eddie asked through a sorrowful laugh.
“I mean- you aren’t one of my residents so I’m allowed to date you, so maybe.”
“You hadn’t decided yet?”
“No, I hadn’t. It was kinda gonna depend on what you said.”
“I would love to get dinner with you, as a date.”
“Well then, what do you want to get for dinner?” Richie was suddenly overly excited and tried his best to hide it.
“Um, well I don’t really want to go out since I look like a wreck.” Richie had to stop himself from telling Eddie that he looked cute.
“We can order pizza, the local place down the road delivers to the dorms. Like they have key cards so they just come to the rooms. Or at least when Daniel or Mabel are working.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“What do you want?”
“Is this the place that has the potato wedges?” Richie nodded. “Well, I want some of those.”
“Okay. What do you want on your pizza though?”
“I don’t eat meat but other than that I don’t care.” Richie placed an order and paid for it. Eddie tried to complain and offer to pay for half but Richie wasn’t hearing any of it. In fact, Richie went as far as to make annoying noises to be louder than Eddie. When Eddie tried to cover Richie’s mouth to get him to stop, Richie responded like any child and licked Eddie’s hand, which caused him to put three layers of hand sanitizer on.
The pizza came fairly quickly, especially since that place was constantly busy. Eddie wanted to say they ate in relative silence, but this was Richie so that wasn’t a thing. They did, however, make it through that entire meal with Eddie asking how Richie was allowed to be an RA only twice.
It wouldn’t be another hour before Eddie’s roommates would return. Eddie and Richie spent the time watching Parks and Rec (which is clearly superior to The Office according to Richie). Neither of them really paid attention to their position until someone else entered the room, even then they didn’t move.
“Richie?” Stan asked as he saw Richie lying on Eddie’s bed with his head on Eddie’s lap. Stan also noticed small hands were wrapped in the curls on Richie’s head, although he would keep that observation to himself.
“Sup Stan? Bill.”
“What are you doing here?” Stan asked.
“Eddie locked himself out so I had to let him back in, then we just hung out and got dinner.” Eddie nodded, he appreciated that Richie left out the drama that his mother had caused, he would tell Bill and Stan about it later.
“Fun. Are you uh- staying the night Richie?” Bill asked he had really wanted to get drunk and felt a little awkward about drinking with an RA there.
“I don’t know. We didn’t talk about it. Although technically, I’m not supposed to.”
“Why do you care Bill?” Eddie asked although he was smirking. He knew why Bill cared.
“You should probably go back to your room Rich.”
“You wanna come with?”
“Sure.” Richie got out of the bed and helped Eddie up as well. Richie grabbed the pizza box and walked out the door, waving goodbye to Stan and Bill.
“Have fun,” Stan looked a little too smug for Eddie’s liking.
“Just don’t fuck on my bed.” Eddie closed the door and saw that Richie was waiting for him in the hallway. “They won’t but I just like to mess with them.” Eddie followed Richie up to his room. He unlocked his door, although he didn’t change his sign to say that he was there. Richie tossed the pizza box on the desk that was closest to the door, it was the desk Richie didn’t really use. “You gonna change your sign?”
“Oh yeah.” Richie opened the door and changed the sign, although he changed it to ‘sleeping’ instead of ‘here’ and then shut the door.
“Why didn’t you say you were here?”
“I just don’t really want people to knock at the moment.”
“So that I can do this.” Richie leaned down and caught Eddie’s lips with his own. Eddie melted almost immediately into Richie’s kiss. Eddie grabbed onto Richie’s neck when he tried to pull away slightly. When Richie was able to pull away completely, his breathing was a lot heavier than it was a couple of minutes ago. “I don’t want you to think that I’m like, taking advantage of the situation from earlier or anything. I just- I’ve really wanted to do that for a while.”
“I’ve wanted you to that for a while.”
“So, you’d be okay if I did it again?”
“Hell yeah.” Eddie pulled Richie back down to him. Richie tasted like pizza and candy somehow, although Eddie didn’t remember him eating any sugar in their time together. Eddie didn’t think he was strong enough to push Richie backward but he was. Or Richie was pulling him toward his bed, Eddie didn’t really know.
All he knew was that Richie was suddenly sitting on the edge of his bed and Eddie was being pulled into a warm lap, although Eddie was way more concerned with the mouth he was currently exploring with his tongue. Eddie felt something metal on the back of Richie’s teeth and pulled away suddenly, Richie chased Eddie’s lips mostly out of shock.
“Do you have a permanent retainer?”
“Yeah. I had braces in middle school and part of high school. They gave me a permanent one so my teeth wouldn’t fuck themselves up again.” Eddie nodded, made sense to him.
“Do I get to see any of these fun braces Richie pictures?”
“You have to earn those, darling.” Richie didn’t think much of calling Eddie darling, but it meant a lot to Eddie. So much, in fact, that he didn’t really notice Richie was staring so intently at the details of Eddie’s face, trying to etch every tiny line and freckle into his memory for later, just in case this was a fever dream.
“How far do you plan on taking this tonight?” Richie’s question wasn’t accusatory or anything, more just curious. He didn’t care how far this went; this was already more than he had hoped for when someone had knocked on his door today.
“About this far.”
“I’m okay with that.”
Eddie walked up to their normal table and sat his bag down. Bev waved at him, she couldn’t really say anything since she had her mouth full of food. Eddie walked over to the different food places to see if there was anything that looked good. As he walked past the daily special, he saw a very familiar face.
He walked over to Richie, who was sitting alone with some of his books spread out on his table, his food long ago abandoned. Eddie tapped on Richie’s head since he could see the earbud cord hanging around Richie’s face. Richie looked up in shock and then immediately grinned at who was tapping him.
“Hey.” Richie paused his music and pulled his earbuds out.
“Why hello there. What are you working on?”
“Western Art project. It counts for thirty percent of our grade so, I have to do well on it.”
“You wanna take a break to come eat with me and my friends?” Richie looked back down at his work like he was thinking about something. “Don’t feel like you have to, I just thought I would offer.”
“No. No, I think that would be a good idea for me. I need to stop staring at this stuff.”
“Okay. I’m gonna get my food and then I’ll be back to get you. Sound good?” Richie nodded. Eddie walked off to get his food. It didn’t take him long since there really weren’t that many vegetarian options. When he made his way back to Richie, the boy had all of his stuff put away and was looking at what little he could salvage of his lunch.
“You can steal some of my food if that’s what you’re worried about.” Richie thanked him, that wasn’t really what he was worried about but he wasn’t going to tell Eddie that. He was a lot more nervous about meeting Eddie’s friends. Eddie hadn’t really told him all that much about them in the month and a half that they had been together despite the fact that he talked about them all the time. He just wanted to make a good first impression.
“Hey guys, I brought a friend for lunch.” The other five at the table greeted Richie as he sat down next to Eddie at the end of their booth.
“Sup friends,” Richie was incredibly relieved to see that he actually knew everyone at that table.
“Hey Rich,” Bev said.
“You two know each other?”
“Eds, I’m kinda friends with everyone at this table?” Eddie looked very confused at everyone who chuckled slightly. “Bev is part of res life. Mike, Ben, and I were all partners in our poly sci class first semester of last year. Stan and I have been friends for a semester and a half and I met Bill through Stan.”
“How was the last to really meet you?”
“You always save the best for last,” Richie jokes as he stole one of Eddie’s fries. Eddie acted like he was insulted by the whole situation until Richie kissed the side of his head. Eddie very quickly melted into Richie’s side and into the conversations around him. Mike and Ben were complaining about their other two roommates. Bev and Richie complained about some of their residents while giving them ridiculous nicknames to hide their identities. Stan mostly egged the others on. Eddie and Bill stayed fairly quiet.
Eddie finally looked down at his watch and noticed that he only had ten minutes to get to class. He thought about skipping but he was already not doing so hot in that class. He was the only one of his friends that had a Tuesday/Thursday class after when they ate lunch so he was the only one that paid attention to the time.
“Oh fuck. I gotta go.” Eddie went to grab his tray but a much larger hand was soon on top of his. He looked up at Richie, about to go off until he saw the soft look on Richie’s features.
“Don’t worry about this. I’ll take your tray up. Just get to class.” Eddie leaned down and quickly kissed Richie goodbye.
“I’ll see you later,” he said almost exclusively to Richie before turning to his friends. “I mean, I’ll see all of you later.”
“Thanks for including us,” Mike said as fake hurt as he could, he was mostly trying not to laugh. Eddie waved goodbye and made his way to the doors.
“Whipped,” Bev said, not to Eddie but he heard it, he also heard his boyfriend tell her to shut the fuck up with almost no malice behind his voice. Eddie smiled to himself as he made his way to his least favorite class, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he got to see Richie every day beforehand.
“Hey Rich,” Eddie said as he walked into Richie’s room. The other boy looked up at Eddie and waved at him, although he looked a lot sadder than Eddie thought he should. “You okay?”
“What’s up?” Eddie asked as he sat on the pillows of Richie’s bed.
“Just tired. I’ve been on duty for four days now.”
“Really? That seems excessive.”
“Yeah. Well, one of the RAs got fired for smoking weed in their car and then he tried to blame the smell on one of his residents. So, until they find a replacement RA we all have to take on more duty nights.”
“You on duty tonight?”
“Thank God no. I think I would die.”
“You want me to stay the night or are you too tired?” Eddie almost always stayed the night on the Fridays Richie wasn’t on duty and some of the ones that he was. It gave him and Richie some alone time, but it also gave Stan and Bill some alone time as well.
“Who said I was tired?” Richie closed his laptop and set it on his bedside table. “I am full of energy. Bursting at the seams.”
“Oh really?” Richie nodded. “Could've fooled me.” Richie leaned over caught Eddie’s lips. Eddie pulled Richie down with his as he lied down on Richie’s bed. Eddie’s nimble fingers unbuttoned the flannel that Richie was wearing. Eddie just really liked the feeling of Richie’s skin under his fingers.
Eddie willingly opened his mouth when a warm tongue swiped across his bottom lip. Richie still tasted like candy, although that was a normal thing for him. Eddie had learned that Richie started to eat candy all the time when he quit smoking.
Richie made his way down the exposed part of Eddie’s neck really hoping that he could make some pretty bruises on tanned skin. When Eddie didn’t stop him and in fact, tilted his head so that more of his neck was exposed, Richie took that as his go-ahead sign.
“Fucking hell Rich,” Eddie’s voice was raspy.
“Your voice is the hottest fucking thing I have ever heard.”
“You could hear more of it if you stop talking and get back to what you were doing.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice.”
The knock on his door that stopped anything else from happening made Richie sigh. He sat back up and rebuttoned his flannel. Eddie propped himself up on his elbows and made sure to look as sad as possible. Richie smirked and told Eddie he would be right back before he leaned down and pecked his lips. Richie opened the door and talked to whoever was on the other side. It was someone who had locked themselves out. Richie grabbed his keys and made sure the door was locked before he walked into the hall.
Eddie sat up and looked around Richie’s room. At this point in the semester, Eddie had spent a lot of nights in this room. Something felt different though. Like there was something new on the wall that he hadn’t noticed yet. When he caught sight of Richie’s corkboard he figured it out.
Richie had filled the corkboard with polaroid pictures. Eddie remembered there was a lot of Richie and his staff, at least the ones he liked, but there were a lot more now. Many of them were Richie and Eddie or just Eddie. But there were also a lot with Richie and the Losers, some of them were pictures of just the other Losers.
The one that caught Eddie’s eye was one of Richie kissing Eddie’s cheek. Eddie had been giggling in the picture and told Richie to cut it out. Although the picture wasn’t what Eddie was interested in, it was the writing underneath it. “I love this boy way more than I should” with a heart drawn after it. Richie probably hadn’t thought about it when he put the picture up on his board. He probably thought that Eddie wouldn’t notice the change, although Eddie noticed most things like that.
Richie walked back into his room to see Eddie sitting on the ground in front of his corkboard. He was a little confused at first but soon saw what Eddie was looking at, then he started to panic a little bit. Eddie looked up at him and smirked, Richie calmed down a little after that.
“I like the pictures,” Richie sat next to him and looked at all the polaroids he had taken so far this semester.
“Which ones are your favorites?”
“This one of Stan is nice.” Eddie pointed to one of Stan laughing, he was drunk and laughing at Bill who had tried to do something and failed miserably. It was an older one, one from last year, but Richie still really liked the picture.
“I also really like this one,” Eddie pointed to the one that had caught his eye earlier. Eddie watched as Richie tried not to let his face show how absolutely terrified he was.
“Why do you like that one? It’s not even the most flattering picture of you up here.”
“I like what you wrote on it.”
“You do?” Eddie nodded, causing some of his fringe to fall in his face, which affected Richie more than he would have liked. “Why?”
“It reminds me of something.”
“Remember the journal that my mom found?” Richie nodded, thoroughly confused. “It was about you. It was everything that I found cute about you from last semester.”
“Why didn’t you bring it?”
“Something told me I didn’t need to.”
“Funny, something told me to make sure that I brought my polaroid with a lot of film.”
“Now why would something tell you that?”
“So, I can take a million pictures of the boy I fell in love with.”
“Good answer.” The two of them wouldn’t talk about it for a few hours. Instead, they would make a lot of weird jokes while Richie made ramen noodles for them. Well really, Richie made noodles and then Eddie added his homemade oriental flavor powder because do you know how much sodium is in that tiny package, Richard?
The topic wouldn’t be brought up until much later in the night when Eddie would suddenly sit up and look at Richie. They hadn’t really been talking about anything but he had spent the past half hour admiring the way his boyfriend of two months looked when only illuminated by some fake candles and fairy lights (he looked really good for those who were curious).
“I love you.”
“Why do you seem shocked?”
“I’m not. I just thought I would be the one that said it first.”
“You kinda did. I never would’ve said it had I not seen the polaroid. Like I really mean it, I just was scared to tell you.”
“I believe you. I love you too.” Eddie leaned down and kissed Richie for who knows what time. Richie tried not to ruin the moment but smiling too much but he failed. It was okay though; Eddie was smiling too much too.
Yeah, his year was going to go pretty well.