“You guys coming?” Ben calls as Bill starts ascending the ladder, and Richie looks up from his comic book, arching a brow.
“They weren’t even listening. Shocking.” Stan snorts as he follows after Bill, and Eddie looks up, expression one of offence.
“Hey! I was so, don’t loop me in that!”
“Where are we going then?” Bev challenges, and Eddie hesitates.
She smirks, and he knows he’s been caught in his lie.
“Like I thought.” Ben chuckles, following his friends up the ladder.
“We’ll be back soon.” Mike says as he follows, and Bill peeks back down.
“D-D-Don’t break the hammock again w-while we’re g-g-gone!”
“Yeah, yeah.” Richie replies blandly, waving a dismissive hand.
Bill rolls his eyes and his head vanishes. A moment later and the trapdoor is closed, swallowing Eddie and Richie in darkness. Wordlessly Richie flails his hand out until it hits a flashlight and flicks it on, bathing them in pale yellow light.
The flashlight is pointed away from them so they’re still bathed in shadows, but they can at least see most of each other’s faces.
Eddie swallows. Suddenly the atmosphere feels thicker, and his skin feels as though it’s burning everywhere it‘s touching Richie’s. He’s suddenly hyper-aware of his hand on Richie’s calf, and wide brown eyes look up at his friends face.
Richie appears disinterested, and Eddie huffs a shaky breath. Would it be weirder to keep his hand there, or to move it? He doesn’t know. He doesn’t know how to act around Richie when they’re alone anymore since Bev had called him out on his crush. Everything is too much now, all the time. Every brush of skin, every glance that lasts a moment too long. He’s constantly questioning if his actions can pass as platonic anymore.
How long can you hold your friends ankle before it gets a little gay? Is that a weird question? Maybe.
Maybes he’s overthinking this whole thing.
His hand is still on Richie’s leg. Richie’s eyes are still firmly locked onto the comic book. Eddie can’t help but wonder if the faint darkness in Richie’s cheeks is a trick of the light.
“Eds?” Richie asks, voice cutting through the quiet that had swallowed them since the losers left. Eddies head jerks up, and Richie arches a brow.
“You’re squeezing my leg.” Richie points out, and Eddie gasps and immediately jerks his hand away.
“Is everything okay?”
Richie snorts and rolls his eyes, tossing the comic onto the floor.
“Yeah, that was convincing.” He scoffs, and Eddie purses his lips. Richie’s expression turns concerned, and his hand lifts to rest on Eddie’s calf, fingers lightly ghosting along his skin. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t even know where to begin, Rich.” Eddie admits, and Richie playfully smirks.
“The beginning is usually a good start.”
Eddie shifts so he can kick him, and Richie chuckles softly, catching his ankle and sticking his tongue out.
“Har-dee har. Jackass.” Eddie mutters.
“You love me.” Richie chirps back. Eddie doesn’t respond. “Seriously Eds, what’s wrong?”
Eddie swallows thickly.
“Richie, I...” He pauses, looking up to meet Richie’s gaze. Concern is crystal clear in his eyes, and Eddie thinks he sees a flicker of something else, but he doesn’t know what it is. He steels himself, and takes a breath. “Richie I’m gay.”
Richie’s eyes go wide in shock.
That’s not what he meant to say.
“Uh. Yeah.” He admits, and Richie’s shock turns into a smile, and he laughs softly.
“That’s all?” He chuckles. “Jeeze, here I was expecting something bad.”
Hope blossoms in Eddie’s chest, and he smiles in relief.
“You- you don’t care?”
“‘Course not, Eds.” Richie assures him, lightly patting his leg. “Now you go and tell me you want to bone Henry Bowers and maybe we’ll have an issue.”
At that, Eddie laughs. He laughs until tears sting his eyes, and then he lightly kicks Richie in the ribs.
“You wound me, Eddie.”
“You don’t have to worry about Henry Bowers.” Eddie giggles, sticking his tongue out at his friend, and Richie snorts.
“Oh? Hmmm, who else could’ve stolen my spaghettis heart?” He asks himself, and Eddie laughs again. His chest feels light. He can’t believe he’d been scared to tell Richie.
“Your dad, of course.”
“Hey!” Richie squawks through a laugh, shoving Eddie’s leg off the hammock.
“Do you think if I marry him, he’ll make you call me daddy?” Eddie taunts, and Richie almost chokes on his tongue.
“Ew!” Richie screeches, stomach aching from his laughter as he wiggles to sit up in the hammock so he can smack Eddie properly.
“Hey- go away!” Eddie squeals, trying in vain to fight off the other teenager. “I won’t fuck your dad!”
“Damn right you won’t!” Richie snorts, and Eddie lunges up and tackles Richie to the other side of the hammock.
The support beams groan, and both go rigid in fear, laughter immediately ceasing. They wait, hardly daring to breathe as the hammock slowly swings side to side as it settles. Once it stops, Richie slaps Eddie’s shoulder.
“Good job fucknut, you almost broke it!”
“You started it asshole!”
Eddie can’t help but giggle, head falling to hit Richie’s shoulder.
“God, that was a mess.”
“Yeah.” Richie replies, and Eddie thinks he sounds a little breathless. He decides its likely from being tackled.
“I don’t have a thing for your dad.”
“I would hope you’d have more taste than that.”
Eddie snorts harshly through his nose.
“Alright then, Eds. Who’s stolen your heart? Who was your gay awakening?”
“Don’t call me Eds.” He shifts slightly, sitting up to glare down at Richie, and only then does he realize their position.
Only then does he realize that he’s firmly seated in Richie’s lap, legs on either side of his friends hips. Only then does he notice Richie’s hands on his hips- realize the gentle sensation of thumbs rubbing against the skin above his shorts.
He looks up, and can see a faint blush across Richie’s face even in the faint light provided by the flashlight hanging a foot to the side.
“Eddie?” Richie prompts when his silence goes on an almost embarrassing length of time.
“What- um..” He blinks a few times. “What?”
Richie smirks a little, but his expression is pinched and nervous.
“Your gay awakening?” He whispers, and Eddie swallows.
He hesitates for a fraction of a second. The unknown emotion enters Richie’s eyes again, and Eddie thinks it may be hope. The thought makes his stomach clench. His skin burns where Richie’s thumbs rub small circles into his hips and he realizes that right now, alone and seated in Richie’s lap, is probably the best time to come clean.
“You.” Eddie breathes before he can second guess himself- before he can convince himself that the emotion in Richie’s eyes is something else.
Richie sucks in a ragged gasp of air.
Eddie squeaks softly when the hands on his hips lightly squeeze, and he can feel the way Richie trembles beneath him.
“Really?” Richie’s voice is barely a whisper, and Eddie nods his head.
“I-“ He chokes, and Eddie watches in stunned silence as Richie struggles to find words. “Eddie, I-“
“It’s okay.” Eddie interrupts, and Richie’s jaw snaps shut.
“I know you don’t feel the same, it’s okay.”
Richie stares up at him in silence for a moment.
“Hey-!” Eddie begins, but bites his tongue to silence himself when Richie’s hand suddenly meets his cheek. Eddie doesn’t even remember it leaving his hip.
“I’ve been in love with you all my life.” Richie mumbles, and Eddie suddenly can’t breathe.
Slowly Richie sits up as the hand on Eddie’s cheek guides him down. He stops when their lips are a hairs breadth apart. Eddie lets out a shuddering breath, and Richie’s eyes flutter shut.
“You okay?” Richie whispers, and Eddie nods. Their noses brush together with the motion, and his heart stutters.
“Yeah. Just uh- overwhelmed.”
“Me too.” Richie admits weakly, and Eddie’s hands move to rest upon his shoulders. Richie sounds wrecked, and Eddie wants to wreck him even more.
They shift a little closer, lips just barely brushing, and both gasp softly.
“Richie..” Eddie whispers weakly, and Richie whines and captures his lips.
Time stands still for a moment as fire explodes through Eddie’s veins, and he leans into the kiss the minute he regains the ability to think. His hands slide across Richie’s shoulders to cup the sides of his neck and tilts his head slightly.
Eddie whimpers into the kiss as Richie sits forward even more, and Eddie instinctively locks his ankles behind Richie’s back.
“Richie-“ He whispers when their lips part, and Richie whines as though he’s been gutted.
He surges forward and reconnects their lips, tackling Eddie down onto the hammock. The beams groan again but neither pays it any mind, too caught up in each other. Eddie moans and slides his hands up into Richie’s hair. Richie huffs sharply through his nose and nips Eddie’s lower lip, and right as Eddie parts his lips the trapdoor opens.
Richie rockets upward as Bev starts to climb down, but Eddie chases his lips.
“Nono Richie- baby come back.” He pleads and Richie shudders and helplessly falls back into him. Their lips meet again as Richie’s hands fist into Eddie’s shirt and the smaller boy keens softly.
“Should we leave?” Bev snorts, turning around to spot the two lovebirds. Eddie reaches a hand up and gives her a thumbs up, and Richie giggles softly against his lips.
“Be warned, the lovebirds are making out.” Bev calls up the ladder, and Stan is next to drop down.
“As long as they’re not screeching I don’t care what they’re doing.”
“You will when you have to listen to them suck face for hours on end.” Mike points out, and Stan considers it for a moment before grimacing.
“K-k-keep it PG in the cl-cl-clubhouse guys.”
“Good luck.” Ben whispers after him and Bill smirks.