trashmouth;) (11:03PM): oh me, oh my. fancy seeing u here
Eddie (11:33PM): holy FUCKING SHIT.
Eddie wakes with his phone laying on his pillow. Facing down; not plugged in; scaring the everloving fuck out of him. He stares at the device with a hazy gaze as sunlight filters through his bedroom window. Birds chirp outside, and he wants, impulsively, to throw something at them. His phone seems like a solid contender.
He knows that he has nobody to blame but himself. Really, nobody grabbed his hand and forced his fingers to type out Grindr on the app store. No demonic force possessed him to make him use real photos on his profile. Being able to shift the blame would be a real fucking miracle right about now.
He almost can’t make his hands move. They’re lodged between his thighs in an attempt to trap them, like his body’s own defence mechanism; aware of the fear that's rattling through his skin at this very moment. He doesn’t know what time it is; only that it’s Friday, and his mother will be bursting into his room at any given moment to wake him up for the school day. She doesn’t let him bring his phone to bed. He’s fucking screwed.
Bzz. Bzz. Bzz. The phone vibrates and Eddie can see the luminescence from the screen on his pillow from where he’s lying down. His breathing quickens. He hopes that it’s the group chat. He begs that it’s not a private message.
Eventually, he plucks up his courage to unlodge his sweaty hands from under the covers, and he reaches for the inhaler on his bedside table immediately, second nature taking headway before he even thinks about going for his phone. He shakes the thing, takes one, two, three pumps, and picks up his phone before he can stop himself.
loserzz (24 New Messages)
Bill (2 New Messages)
Richie (30 New Messages)
Eddie chokes on his breath and reaches for his pump again when he hears heavy, familiar footsteps approaching up the stairs. He knows, realistically, it’ll take her another thirty or forty seconds before she comes into his room, but he freaks himself out too often to be calm about it. He shoves his phone underneath his pillow and places his pump back onto his bedside table before slamming his head down to his pillow, heart racing, and pulling the sheets up to his neck.
“Eddie-Bear? Can I come in?” he hears through the door, and resists the urge to scoff at it. Like she’d even listen if he’d told her no. He was seventeen, for crying out loud.
Instead, he holds his tongue completely and pretends to be asleep when she opens the door and peeks inside. She coos for a moment, before he hears her footsteps get closer and closer to the edge of the bed, and two fingers pinch his cheek.
“Up for school, Eddie,” she says loudly into his ear. “I can’t drive you in today, and if you’re late, you’ll miss the bus!”
“Good morning, mom,” Eddie replies, his voice thick and groggy with morning-syndrome, and he clears his throat. “I can walk.”
“It’s far too cold, honey. You’ll catch a chill.”
He rolls himself over and frowns when the sees the sky outside. A pristine baby-blue. Not a cloud in sight.
He says, “Ma, it’s May. I’ll be fine,” and waits for her to argue with him, when a low, rumbling, Bzzz comes from straight under his head. In seconds, his mother’s face goes from sweet and concerned to suspicious, with wide eyes, furrowed brows, and an ugly, pursed mouth.
“What was that, Eddie?” she asks sharply. Her pupils dart all over the room.
“Nothing,” he tells her quickly. “My tummy rumbled, that's all. I’m hungry.”
“Oh. Alright, dear. I’ll fix you up some chicken sandwiches… You need to get more meat in you.” She reaches forwards and pinches his cheek once more, before leaning down and kissing it. It makes him feel nauseous.
“Thank you,” he says, and waits eagerly for the door to close behind her before he’s leaping out of bed to lock it. His mind whirs.
He grabs his phone from under his pillow and ignores the messages for the time. 5:42AM. He’s got plenty of time. He gulps and walks to his bathroom, phone still in hand, and opens up the group chat as he wets his toothbrush.
Bev (00:12): has any1 seen a sock
Bev (00:12): by any chance
Bev (00:13): lost at the last meet-up lol
Richie (00:15): it’s probably in benny boy’s shrine by now soz bevvy
Bev (00:17): fuckin gross, dude.
Bev (00:17): ur the only one into feet here
Bev (00:17): plus it’s mike’s sock lol
Richie (00:18): ohhhh THAT sock. that one is up billy’s ass
Richie (00:18): and correction: i do NOT in fact have a foot fetish
Richie (00:18): however kinkshaming in this day and age is WRONG i tell you WRONG, sir!
Stan (00:23): can u shut up
Stan (00:23): for like two seconds
Stan (00:24): is the sock pink with green aliens on it by any chance mike/bev?
Mike (00:27): Yeah! that’s it. you seen it?
Stan (00:28): i left it down in the clubhouse
Stan (00:30): u might wanna check for spiders before u put it on
Mike (00:33): Thanks stan!
Bev (00:34): thanks stanley :*
Richie (00:40): the mystery is solved: it was in stanley’s shrine all along!
Richie (00:41): but like i said… no kinkshaming in this group chat … if stan wants to jerk off to smelly feet then that’s okay with all of us, honey!
Stan (00:45): beep fuckin beep richie
Richie (00:47): ( ˙-˙ )
Richie (01:34): was there math hw btw
Richie (05:40): well i jolly do hope there was not bcos i am fucked if so!
Eddie reads the texts with a smile on his face. He doesn’t fully know how the hell Richie actually functions on only four hours of sleep everyday, if not even less sometimes. He spits out the toothpaste into the sink and unscrews his mouthwash, taking a gargle as he types out a reply.
Eddie (05:46): there definitely was homework for math.
Eddie (05:46): i’ll let you see some of my answers if you have third period free.
Richie (05:47): i love you spaghetti!!!!!!!!!
The mouthwash gets spat into the sink and washed down the drain. Just like Eddie’s mood. For a moment, he’d almost forgotten about the events from the night before. Fear crawls over his skin like goosebumps and he thinks for a moment that he might be sick. He takes a few deep breaths and turns around to let his shower run, before he swipes to his other messages. Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
Bill (05:22): do you want to walk to school together this morning?
Bill (05:23): if your mom says yes?
He nods subconsciously as he responds with an affirmative on that and steps out of his pyjama bottoms. He kicks them to the laundry pile in the corner of his en suite and pulls his shirt off over his head. He can physically see how fast his heart is pounding in the mirror.
He closes his eyes for a moment – Deep breaths – and opens Richie’s messages.
Richie (11:40): eddie
Richie (11:40): eddie
Richie (11:40): eddie
Richie (11:41): spaghetti
Richie (11:41): eds
Richie (11:42): eds come on now
Richie (11:42): it’s okay
Richie (11:42): srsly
Richie (11:42): i’m not gonna tell anyone
Richie (11:44): who could i tell anyway nobody knows abt me either!!!!!
Richie (11:46): are you okay?
Richie (11:48): please let me know that you’re alright
Richie (11:50): it’s kinda funny when u think abt it
Richie (11:50): wonder if we were both on there for the same thing
Richie (11:51): okay okay no Beep Beep Richie Beep Beep BEEP
Richie (11:57): ur okay eds
Richie (00:01): it’s nothing to be ashamed of u know
Richie (00:02): ok ur probs not ashamed maybe just scared I GET THAT
Richie (00:04): pls text me back
Richie (00:13): ok i’m coming to the conclusion that u fell asleep out of panic
Richie (00:15): which sounds like an oxymoron but u always defy the odds
Richie (00:17): i don’t want u to be worried that i’ll do smth bcos i WONT
Richie (00:20): i’m not bowers lol
Richie (00:29): okay in hindsight probs should not have brought up bowers
Richie (00:34): wes gould y’all????
Richie (00:34): we should talk*********
Richie (00:40): like not in a bad or scary way
Richie (00:40): in a ::: oh, we have some things 2 discuss haha let us catch up, old sport!!!!
Richie (00:41): way
Richie (01:23): PLZ TEXT MEE
He’s sweating, and he’s not sure if it’s from the humidity from the shower in the bathroom or if it’s from the pressure of holy shit one of my best friends just found out that i’m fucking gay and oh also they might be fucking gay too because HE WAS ON GRINDR WHY WAS HE ON GRINDR WHAT!
Eddie places one hand under the stream of water to check the temperature before he takes one deep breath and replies.
Eddie (05:53): okay. we can take.
Eddie (05:53): talk. we can Talk.
Eddie knows that Richie is typing a response before he even puts his phone down. He pushes away the dread building up in his gut and pushes his underwear off, before stepping underneath the hot stream of water, washing off all negative thoughts. For the time being, anyway.
He definitely does not think of Richie whilst in the shower.
“Goodbye, mom,” he says for the eighth time. “I’ll be fine. It’s a twenty minute walk, and I’ll be with Bill.”
“Alright, honey,” she coos, kissing him on the head once again. “You’ll remember to take your pills, won’t you?”
“Yes, mom, I promise,” he says, fingers crossed behind his back, and jumps out of the front door. His hand is sweaty on his phone in his pocket.
It really is a hot day, for May especially, so his mother had made sure to lather sunscreen all over him, making his face shinier than usual and his legs stand out more than he liked. He looks down at them as he walks. The lotion makes what little leg hair that he has look stupid.
The walk to Bill’s never takes that long. It’s like second nature now, to Eddie, who uses whatever excuses he can make up nowadays to get out of his mother’s house. Bill’s house and the clubhouse feel more like home to him than his own.
He pulls out his phone at the sensation of another bzz and rolls his eyes at his mother’s reminder of the pills again. He swipes the message away quickly. He’s not been taking those pills for four years, now.
He swipes off of the messages and debates, for a moment, to check the news, before another notification pops up at the top of his screen. It makes his heart skip.
New Message Received!
His face flares a hot red and he taps on it before he can stop himself. It’s from a man, perhaps twenty years older than himself, maybe more. He has grey, unkempt facial hair and a shiny bald head, and his gaze at the camera makes Eddie feel dirty. His message simply reads, Nice legs. X ;)
He shivers and exits off of the conversation. He’s rather surprised by how many people had actually found an interest in him and his photos. Eddie’s not stupid; he didn’t download the app to find a boyfriend, he knows that it’s primarily used for sex, but the sheer unapologetic crudeness of some of the things that he’s received is dumbfounding. If he had a nickel for every message asking him how big his dick is, he would have like, two dollars.
But here’s the reality he’s been avoiding. Glaring up at him in his messages. User trashmouth;) has sent him twenty messages. Eddie presses on his profile with a gulp.
A large photo of Richie pops up. He recognises the day that it was taken; Eddie was the one to take it. He’s wearing black swimming shorts to his knees and an open t-shirt, nothing underneath. His face bares a huge smile, and his eyes are shut to protect themselves from the sun behind his glasses. His hair is wet. So is his skin. Droplets of water caught in time slipping down his chest. The Losers’ beach day.
wots up, guvnah. wanna find out why they call me trashmouth?
Body Type: Average
Position: Vers Top
Relationship Status: Single
I’m Looking For: Chat, Friends, Right Now
Meet At: Coffee Shop, Your Place
Accepts NSFW Pics: Not At First
Eddie presses one palm to his face and wills the heat pooling in his gut to fuck off. He wonders how long Richie has had this app. He wonders if he’s ever utilised it. The thought sort of makes him feel a concoction of disturbingly upset and aroused. That’s something he hasn’t felt in a long time.
He opens up the messages.
trashmouth;) (11:03PM): oh me, oh my. fancy seeing u here
Eddie (11:33PM): holy FUCKING SHIT.
trashmouth;) (11:34PM): omg
trashmouth;) (11:34PM): it’s actually you
trashmouth;) (11:34PM): Eddie Spaghetti have u got something to tell me
trashmouth;) (11:35PM): hey ur not even old enough to be using thsi app i’m gonna report u
trashmouth;) (11:36PM): lol jk. but. also. whatx
trashmouth;) (11:36PM): am i super fucking slow or did i just
trashmouth;) (11:36PM): did i just find eddie EDDIE eds dr K kaspbrak on GRINDR
trashmouth;) (11:36PM): is this a dream
trashmouth;) (11:37PM): am i dreaming ..
trashmouth;) (11:39PM): damn eds those photos u have up ???
trashmouth;) (11:39PM): wouldn’t have pegged u as the type to take such PICS
trashmouth;) (11:40PM): eds????
trashmouth;) (11:40PM): o shit r u okay
Eddie is sort of not really at all okay, still.
“Shit!” he hears before he feels a thud and his ass is flat on the ground. It happens so fast that he’s too disoriented to even notice who it is. He grapples for his phone in a panic and covers his face in case it’s one of Bowers’ gang.
“Sorry, Eddie,” the familiar voice says, warm and calm. Eddie moves his arms to smile up at him. “D– Didn’t see– see you there.”
“Hey, Bill,” he responds, taking his friend’s hand to help him up. “It was my fault. I was distracted.” He waves his phone.
“Oh,” Bill says, and he smirks a little. “What are you look– looking at?”
Eddie freezes. He might not have had time to see the contents of the screen, but the colour scheme had to be a dead giveaway.
“Nothing,” he says quickly, locking his phone.
“S- Sure, nothing. You think I don’t kn– know– know what orange and black means?”
He looks down and scratches the back of his head. Seriously? He’d kept his sexuality under wraps from his friends for years now, and suddenly two of them have found out in less than twenty-four hours. That was just his fucking luck.
“I mean, P– PornHub on– on the walk to sch– school isn’t exactly my– my chosen time of day to use– use it.”
“PornHub?” Eddie frowns, before nodding fervently. “Yeah. I was on PornHub. I forgot to close it, how fucking stupid of me, right?”
Bill rolls his eyes as Eddie laughs nervously, and they begin to walk together. Eddie checks his phone every time it buzzes whilst they make conversation with each other, with topics from Georgie to Bowers and math homework to the clubhouse.
“Wanna go after school?” he asks. “I’ve got nothing to do for tomorrow. Mike could get his sock.”
Bill chuckles. “Y– Yeah, sure. I’ll be a bi– bit late, though. N- Need to take G- G– Georgie home.”
“No problem. See you, Bill!”
Eddie makes it through his first two lessons without much worry. None of Henry Bowers’ gang are in any of his periods until last, and he’ll deal with that shitstorm when he gets to it.
Until then, he has to help a certain little shit with his math homework.
“Here he is!” Richie announces to a boy that Eddie doesn’t recognise in the otherwise moderately quiet study hall. “Man of the hour. I told you the seat was taken, buddy. Sorry.”
The boy grumbles and walks away to try and find another seat. Eddie almost feels bad until he sees the glare that he’s giving him.
“What the hell is up with that guy?” he asks Richie as he sits down opposite him.
“Desperate for my attention, just like everybody else, obviously.” Eddie rolls his eyes at Richie’s grin.
“Yeah, sure, it’s definitely nothing to do with the fact that there’s barely any seats available here.”
They work through it together, Eddie slowly realising with each question that Richie didn’t really need his help at all. He was smart as hell. It was sort of endearing, actually, and Eddie was glad of it. Richie helped him realise a few of his own mistakes whilst they go through it.
Eddie relaxes, too. He’d been so worked up about the whole gay thing this morning, but being with the other man… he likes it.
Richie’s working out one of the problems that he finds particularly tricky when Eddie lets his mind wander. It’s an evil thing, a wandering mind, he thinks, as he rests his chin on his hand and gazes across at the other boy. He really is gorgeous, he thinks admiringly. He’s probably received hundreds of messages on that app. Far more than Eddie has received, anyway. And his profile was alluring, he remembers, with suggestive comments like wanna know why they call me trashmouth?
Eddie knows why they call him trashmouth, because Eddie and his friends are the ones that call him that, and not for any reason like he was implying. He wants to shake him for that.
And what else had it said? Vers Top? How would Richie even know that!? Eddie hasn’t even kissed a boy, quite obviously, and Richie is claiming that he has enough knowledge in fucking men to know his preference. Eddie’s only fantasised about such things.
A buzz has slowly taken over the study hall, with the bell for the next period crawling ever closer. Everybody’s distracted enough to be talking, and the chaperones don’t even care anymore. Eddie clears his throat.
“Do you wanna come to the clubhouse after school?” he asks him. Richie looks up slowly from his paper. “I’ve already asked Bill. I’ll ask the others at lunch.”
“Oh. Sure thing.” He grins. “Should we tell them to come a bit later, though?”
Eddie’s lips part a little, and he struggles to get even one syllable out. He takes a deep breath. “Um, why?”
“You told me you wanted to talk, Eds.”
He scowls, and says, “Don’t call me that. And— And obviously, yes, we… should talk. But… today?”
“When else d’ya wanna do it? Next year?” Richie sighs. “We gotta do it today, because I’ve got a hot date tomorrow.”
Eddie pauses. He can feel the exact moment that his face visibly falls and he can only hope that the boy in front of him doesn’t read too much into it. “You do?” he asks. His voice is quieter than he intended it to be.
“Yeah, promised she’d let me hit it, too. Your mom is gonna be a lucky woman.”
“Shut up. That’s so not funny.”
“Oh, I’m not joking, Eds. She even bought some sexy red lingerie just for me.”
“Okay, first of all, cut it out calling me Eds. And also, second, that makes it sound like you’re gonna be the one wearing it, so. Hah.”
Richie winks and says, “Who says it won’t be me?” and laughs at the bemused look that passes over Eddie’s face.
The bell rings a while later and the two of them insult each other as they part ways. Eddie feels… weird.
“See you all on Monday,” his teacher calls to the class before hightailing it out of the classroom. The final bell of the day rings in his ears.
Eddie packs up his bag and checks his phone once again. Three texts from Richie, confirming that they’ll meet at the gates and walk to the clubhouse together. The others will all be there around four-thirty. They have a little over an hour to talk.
The deep, taunting voice of somebody asking him if he’s “Going somewhere?” cuts into him as he tries to leave the classroom.
“I’m leaving,” he tells Henry. “That’s what the bell means, you know.”
“Trying to be a smartass, huh?” Henry asks. His humourless chuckle seeps into Eddie’s skin as he sees the man’s hand turn to a fist. “I don’t think so. You know what I think the bell fucking means?”
Eddie doesn’t reply. His heart is beating too fast.
“It means it’s beating time,” he says. His voice is dark. “You and Tozier looked fucking cozy earlier. Should’ve known you two fags were boning.”
He cracks his knuckles as Eddie gulps, shaking his head. He reaches behind him for the door handle. Henry steps towards him and grabs his face before he can move out of the way. He shuts his eyes as tight as he can and tries to lurch away from him, gripping on tightly to the safety of the door handle and his phone in his pocket. Richie is waiting for him, he reminds himself.
“You even look like a sissy. Fuck you wear those short shorts for, if not as an invitation?”
“Henry, let me go,” he pleads. His voice is breathy and shaky and embarrassing. Henry laughs at him before spitting on his face, and it makes Eddie fucking gag, because that is so fucking disgusting and thinking of all of the possible bacteria that’s in that is making him recoil in on himself.
“You like that?” Henry taunts, a mad smile splitting open his face. He raises his fist and Eddie has only a moment to brace himself before it connects with the side of his face and fuck, his mom is gonna kill him, he thinks, one hand instinctively rising to cup his face. He’s bleeding, and shit, he doesn’t have any antiseptic with him.
His heart is racing. He can’t find his asthma pump and he knows he’s gonna lose his mind in a minute if Henry keeps this up. He doesn’t know what’s fucking wrong with the guy.
Henry leans down, his ugly face next to his ear. “That was my cousin,” he whispers, and his breath smells like shit. “What makes you deserve anything that he doesn’t?”
Eddie can’t even understand what he’s talking about until he remembers the pissy boy in the study hall, and he’s so taken aback by the utter stupidity of the situation that he loses his tongue.
“Who the fuck cares about your stupid fucking cousin?” he screams, and a chill sets through his skin to his bones, and he’s only a second too quick for Henry’s second fist swinging at him and hitting the glass on the door instead.
He opens the door behind his back and slips out quickly whilst Henry is shaking his hand and nursing his knuckles. He fucking legs it down the corridor, wincing in pain, internally hoping that they have something down in the clubhouse to help cover it up.
When he reaches the exit, he’s panting, and he frantically breathes in the fresh air like he’s been drowning. His legs ache and he can only hope now that he’s lost Henry trail. If his mother doesn’t kill him tonight, Henry will definitely kill him tomorrow. He hates it when his playthings get away.
Eddie’s head snaps up and he grins dizzily at the sight of his friend running towards him. At least he didn’t have to go and look for him now.
Richie wraps an arm around Eddie’s back, even though Eddie tells him several times that it’s only his face that hurts. His fingers are soft on the side of his stomach and they make him feel comforted. He offers Eddie a piggyback ride and frowns at him when he refuses it.
Eddie tells him what happened with little detail. There wasn’t much to say, really. Henry Bowers was being Henry Bowers, and Eddie just got caught in the crossfire.
“He called me fag,” he tells him, though, with his eyes stuck firmly on the ground. He can feel Richie’s gaze all over him and he forces them to keep walking so he can shake off the pity-party. “It’s no big deal,” he says. “Not like it’s the first time, is it?”
Richie talks in detail about how he’s going to kill Henry Bowers for the entire time they walk to the clubhouse. Eddie just smiles at him.
“And one icepack for the wounded soldier!” he exclaims, producing a bag of frozen peas out of their cooler down in their underground bunker. Eddie doesn’t know what the hell they're doing in there, but he doesn’t ask. There could be a blackhole in there for all he knew, and he wouldn’t really be surprised.
Eddie’s sitting in the hammock, legs swinging beneath him as he watches Richie rumble through various bags, looking for something to ease the pain.
“I’m fine, Richie,” he tells him again and again, until the boy finally gives in and sits himself right next to Eddie. Gravity forces their bodies flush against each other, shoulder to shoulder and knee to knee.
“So,” Richie says awkwardly. He fumbles to push up his glasses.
Eddie snorts. “So.”
“I didn’t know you were gay.”
Right into it, huh? Eddie peers up at the entrance warily, shut for now, before grabbing his asthma pump and inhaling once, twice.
“I didn’t know you were either.”
“Well. Here I am! Gay, I mean. Gay. I’m gay. That’s the first time I’ve actually said it out loud. Have you…?”
Eddie shakes his head. “I’ve not… said it.”
“Okay. That’s fine! All fine. Have you ever…?”
“Ever, what?” he asks. “I’m not a mind reader, unfortunately. Actually, that would really suck, being around you all the time.”
“Fuck you,” Richie says, though he’s chuckling, and he flicks Eddie in the face before rushing to apologise when he flinches. He starts holding the frozen peas against his head then, giving Eddie’s arm a rest. He continues, “Have you ever done anything? You know… with a dude?”
He can feel his face warm. “Nope. In Derry? Seriously?”
“Fair point,” Richie concedes. His eyes are all over Eddie’s face.
“Have you?” Eddie asks in return, almost frightened of hearing the answer.
“Uh, nah. Kind of why I downloaded Grindr, really.” He shrugs. “I can drive now, so I’d be able to get to the big cities with bigger, y’know, populations. I wanna get some experience. Not that I know I wouldn’t be absolutely amazing my first go!”
“I understand,” Eddie says, nodding along. “I downloaded it just to know I wasn’t really alone.”
Richie doesn’t immediately say anything to that. He withdraws his hand, and the peas, away from Eddie’s face, avoiding eye contact and instead peering down at their feet floating above the ground. His fingers tighten on the plastic bag.
“I thought I was alone, too,” he says, quietly. “But we’re not. We know that now, right?”
Eddie smiles, affirms, “Right,” with his gaze flicking from one of the beautiful blue eyes in front of him to the other. “You know,” he continues, “I kind of lied when I said that I haven’t done anything with a guy. Me and your dad totally went crazy last weekend.”
When Richie shoves him and laughs, it feels nice, and comfortable, and he lets himself fall backwards to lay down in the hammock. His legs tangle themselves over Richie’s lap and the boy places one of his palms to his calf. It’s freezing, and it makes him flinch back instinctively, grumbling, “Your hands are so fucking cold, what the hell.”
“Sorry,” Richie says, but his hand remains where it is. The hammock stops rocking, coming to a steady position in the air, and Richie is staring down at Eddie’s leg. Eddie’s phone buzzes in his pocket. Once, twice, three times. He ignores it.
“I liked your profile,” Eddie tells him softly. “‘Specially the picture you cropped me out of.”
“Well, I couldn’t have a photo of you on there. Everybody would ignore me to ask for your number.”
Eddie begins to roll his eyes when the hand, of which he had become widely hyper-aware, slides upwards. Just an inch. Maybe two.
He stretches his gaze from the long fingers on his skin back up to his friend’s face. His gaze is met instantaneously. He hears the rustle of plastic as his other hand grips on tighter.
“Um, I beg to differ,” he scoffs, and quotes, “Looking for right now. Meet at your place. ”
“What about it? Told you I wanted some experience.”
“People were probably, like, falling over to message you,” he tells him, bitterness laced in his tone, though he’s not too sure why. He received a bunch of messages too.
The hand inches up further, to where it’s just below Eddie’s knee. If he were just an observer, he would not notice the movement. It causes a pang to hit him right where it shouldn’t. These shorts, he thinks, are unforgiving, and he’s about to be in a terrible situation.
“And you didn’t?” he grills in turn. “Some of those photos, Eddie… Fuck, Sonia would have a heart attack.”
He feels his face go impossibly redder. “They aren’t that bad,” he argues. They really aren’t. They’re all of him in his shorts, but there’s only a small amount of people in Derry who’ve not seen him wearing them. Maybe there’s one or two pictures up there that could be deemed suggestive – a demonic angle or one with his shirt off, but that’s not illegal.
“Hey, you’re lucky you’re still on it,” he teases. The hand slides above his knee. Eddie’s breath is caught in his throat as his friend continues, “I should report you, you know! Mr Four-Months-Too-Young. I’ll get a medal when you get arrested.”
“Yeah, no, they won’t arrest me for being on Grindr while underage,” he huffs.
“They will, when they find out that I’ve been undercover this whole time! I’m here to arrest you!”
“You’re a shitty undercover cop,” Eddie tells him, eyes narrow. “Like, awful. Bet you don’t even own handcuffs.”
Richie’s hand slides to the mid of his thigh. Eddie’s heart is almost choking him and his dick is becoming far too excited with every second that passes with that goddamn fucking hand on his leg.
“You wanna find out?”
His fingertips graze the hem of his shorts. Eddie might cum in his pants.
The hatch opens up and sunlight streams in, and Richie jumps so far out of the hammock that Eddie feels himself jerk upwards from the sudden lack of weight. He feels the bag of peas smack his face and hears Richie whispering, “ Fuck, fuck! Sorry!”
Eddie holds the peas to his face and hopes that the chill of them will ease his blush. He crosses his legs and sits up, holding one wrist over his crotch. Beverly’s coming down the ladder, and he can see Stan, Ben and Mike waiting their turn.
She smacks her hands over her mouth when she sees him, running over and sitting down next to him. She takes Richie’s place. Eddie smiles weakly as she removes the bag of peas and hisses at the sight of his cheek. She brushes it with her thumb and he thinks, for a second, that if he were attracted to girls, he’d be as head over heels for Beverly as Ben and Bill are.
“You guys have broken watches or something?” Richie asks. “So much for an hour. I hear they have a new feature on phones, too, where they tell you the time?”
“Ugh, shut up,” Stan groans, shutting the trap door after him. “Sorry we disturbed your date.”
“Real funny, jackass,” Eddie bites back.
Ben steps between them, tutting at their behaviour. “We heard that Henry hit Eddie, and we wanted to be sure you guys were okay.”
“Who’d you hear that from?” Richie asks. “God?”
Ben sighs, sitting down on the ground and accepting a shower cap from Stanley. “Loads of people heard him screaming for you. Greta tweeted about it.”
“You alright, though, Eddie?” Mike inquires calmly, placing a warm hand to his back.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Eddie says with a dry chuckle. “I’m more worried about what my mom’s gonna say.”
“Or do ,” Richie jokes. “Eds is gonna come to school wrapped in bubble wrap on Monday.”
“If she lets me come to school on Monday. If she lets me ever leave the house again. Fuck! You know, this is exactly why I don’t talk back to those dicks but what did I go and freaking do? I spoke back to him! I have delicate fucking skin!”
“Hey, hey,” Bev hums. “Calm down. It’s not your fault he punched you, dude. You know what that dickwad is like. He’d punch a baby.”
“Same thing,” Richie pipes up.
“Beep, beep,” Bev and Stan say at once, but Eddie just chuckles.
“I have some makeup you can borrow?” she offers. “It’s not heavy; my dad doesn’t let me have heavy makeup, but it might be enough to cover it up.”
“Really?” he asks quickly. “Beverly, oh my god, you’re a goddess, thank you so much.”
“Of course, silly.” She smiles, and when Eddie turns around after receiving a sideways hug, he swears that he can see the love written on Ben’s face.
He hopes that not everyone is so obvious.
Eddie settles into bed that night leaning on his right hand side, not wanting to get any concealer on his pristinely white pillowcase. Hidden in the bottom drawer under the sink in his bathroom is a tube full of makeup; enough to use until the bruise disappears completely. That’s what Bev had told him.
He holds his phone close to him, the orange and black screen glaring into his eyes. It’s intimidating. It’s enticing. He presses on the button to open his messages again and squeezes his thighs together. Richie’s profile photo gazes at him through the phone and he just can’t resist.
Eddie (00:03): hey.
He sends it before he can stop himself to contemplate what he’s doing. Nerves tingle his entire being and he wonders for a second whether the other boy is even awake, and then he remembers, hello, this is Richie.
trashmouth;) (00:04): g’d evening sir
trashmouth;) (00:04): how art thou
Eddie (00:05): i’m good. what are you up to.
trashmouth;) (00:05): currently? wondering why you’re messaging me on here instead of texting me like a normal person
trashmouth;) (00:05): but also i’m balls deep in sonia do u wanna say hi or is that too weird
Eddie (00:05): shut up weirdo.
Eddie (00:06): this makes me feel more. I don’t know.
trashmouth;) (00:06): veeeeeeeery articulate. hey what’s ur predicated grade for english
Eddie (00:07): beep beep
trashmouth;) (00:07): :PPP
trashmouth;) (00:08): sry 4 reals what’s up
Eddie (00:08): I want
Eddie (00:08): dagdhcuysbwgshshdbbw
trashmouth;) (00:08): eddie spaghetti presenting an official mood
trashmouth;) (00:08): come on i wanna play minecrafttttt
Eddie (00:09): i want to have sex.
Eddie (00:09): but
Eddie (00:09): I DONT KNOW.
trashmouth;) (00:11): WAIT
trashmouth;) (00:11): WHAT.
trashmouth;) (00:11): wait actually what is happening
trashmouth;) (00:11): before i go insane what exactly are u asking of me.
Eddie (00:13): There’s nobody in fucking Derry who would want to first of all so there’s freaking that but also yes second of all as much as the internet and freaking porn can try and teach me i know SHIT ALL ABOUT GAY SEX OKAy????
trashmouth;) (00:14): Yo yo yo yo yo eddie eds eddie spaghetti baby eddie listen calm down.
trashmouth;) (00:14): are you alright
trashmouth;) (00:14): like emotionally
trashmouth;) (00:14): put down ur fuckin inhaler i know ur holding it
Eddie didn’t even realise, himself. He takes one pump, two pumps, and throws it onto his bedside table. His palms are sweaty and are almost slipping off of his phone, and the rate his heart is beating is almost alarming.
Eddie (00:15): i don’t know what you’re talking about i don’t have it.
Eddie (00:15): i just.
Eddie (00:15): what do you know ?
trashmouth;) (00:16): about sex?
Eddie (00:16): mmhmm
Eddie (00:16): God no No NO i change my mind this is so weird i hate this gdnight.
trashmouth;) (00:17): it’s fine it’s fine!
trashmouth;) (00:17): when a daddy and a daddy love each other very much….
Eddie (00:18): i’m going to bed. GOODNIGHT.
trashmouth;) (00:18): no! wait!
trashmouth;) (00:18): i know a bit. not a lot. i don’t know the ins and outs (haha) or specifics or anything like that????
trashmouth;) (00:19): i know that they do it in the ass.
trashmouth;) (00:19): they? we? i’m so used to talkin abt gays like i’m not one lol
trashmouth;) (00:19): not we i don’t mean we obvs haha not like u and me
Eddie (00:20): whys that so funny asshole.
trashmouth;) (00:20): what no thats not what i meant
trashmouth;) (00:20): i don’t find the idea of fucking u funny
Eddie (00:20): thats
trashmouth;) (00:20): well i might as well be fricking honest with ya
trashmouth;) (00:20): so what if i wanna fuck you
Eddie (00:22): that.
Eddie (00:22): That was a big fuckign leap.
trashmouth;) (00:23): sorry. Sorry.
trashmouth;) (00:23): beep beep beep beep fuck LOL
trashmouth;) (00:23): i’m off. ignore that i ever said that. please. y
Eddie (00:25): no
The last time that Eddie was breathing this hard, he had a panic attack. This time, he’s having to hold himself back from biting his thumb so hard that it bleeds.
His dick is throbbing between his thighs at this point. It’s all he can do to not start touching himself already, because what Richie just told him may or may not have pushed him a little over the edge. It isn’t like it’s particularly surprising at this point (the leg stroking thing earlier was sort of a giveaway), but the fact that Richie just said it; the fact that it’s no longer an unspoken thing between them makes him ache.
Eddie (00:27): are you telling the truth.
Eddie (00:28): or are you fucking around again because that’s really not fuckkn funny.
trashmouth;) (00:30): i’m telling the truth
trashmouth;) (00:30): plz don’t h8 me
Eddie (00:31): i don’t hate you.
Eddie (00:31): i want to. do that. also.
Eddie (00:32): but like at the same time are we only saying that because we’re the only two gay people that we know or do we genuinely want to do that because i feel like genuinely do and i hope that you do as well but i swear to god richie if you’re pulling my leg then i’m gonna kick you so hard that you will die.
trashmouth;) (00:35): i want to
trashmouth;) (00:35): have wanted to
trashmouth;) (00:35): for ages
trashmouth;) (00:36): when u had ur legs all over me today i thought i was gonna bust a nut in my pants
Eddie (00:37): you couldn’t stop touching me.
trashmouth;) (00:37): why the fuck would i wanna stop
trashmouth;) (00:37): have you SEEN urself lately
trashmouth;) (00:37): ur fuckin legs dude
trashmouth;) (00:38): why r ur shorts so short do you want to kill me
Eddie (00:40): i think we have established that i kind of want to do the opposite of that.
trashmouth;) (00:41): yo i know i said no kinkshaming in this day and age but Pls eddie spaghetti if you wanna give birth to me i think i’m gonna have to draw a line
Eddie (00:41): NO you ass that’s so gross!!
trashmouth;) (00:42): ;PPPP
trashmouth;) (00:42): what r u wearing rn
trashmouth;) (00:43): ru in bed
Eddie (00:43): yes. and i’m wearing pyjamas.
trashmouth;) (00:44): which ones
trashmouth;) (00:44): i wanna picture that im there with you
trashmouth;) (00:44): u should picture that too
trashmouth;) (00:45): but like in a sexy way. not in a crazy serial killer clown hiding under ur bed way
Eddie (00:45): wow. you have such a way with words.
trashmouth;) (00:46): trashmouth ;P
trashmouth;) (00:46): can i just ask
trashmouth;) (00:46): btw
trashmouth;) (00:46): ru as turned on as i am rn
Eddie (00:47): i probably was. until you put the image of a freaking killer clown into my head.
Eddie (00:47): I’m gonna die.
trashmouth;) (00:48): nooo don’t die ur so sexy haha x
Eddie (00:48): ur a fucking weirdo.
trashmouth;) (00:49): u love it ;>
Eddie (00:50): are we going to have phone sex.
trashmouth;) (00:50): oh my god yes please
trashmouth;) (00:50): um like
trashmouth;) (00:50): if you want
Eddie (00:51): cool i have no idea what to say or how to start.
trashmouth;) (00:51): can i ring you or will sonia hear u talking
Eddie (00:52): shes out like a log. once she’s asleep u can’t wake her. i should be fine.
trashmouth;) (00:52): She's in love with who I am
Back in high school, I used to bus it to the dance (yeah)
Now I hit the FBO with duffles in my hands
I did half a Xan, thirteen hours 'til I land
Had me out like a light, ayy, yeah
Like a light, ayy, yeah
Like a light, ayy
Slept through the flight, ayy
Knocked for the night, ayy, 767, man
This shit got double bedroom, man
I still got scores to settle, man
Eddie (00:53): -_-
INCOMING CALL FROM: RICHIE
Eddie scrambles as the phone starts to buzz in his hand, and as he goes to press the big green button to start talking to the boy on the other end of the line, he feels like he might throw up.
“Hello?” he whispers into it, once the timer starts counting and there’s a muffled, fuzzy noise coming from the receiver. “Richie?”
“ Shit, ow! Sorry. Pinched myself. I’m still not one-hundred percent sure that I’m not just imagining all of this.” A laugh carries down the line, and Eddie’s smile hurts his cheeks. Richie’s voice is low and husky in the midnight air, and he wonders if he has to keep himself in check as not to wake his sister. Richie keeping himself in check is not a regular occurrence.
“Um, I don’t know how to do this,” Eddie tells him. “I mean, I’ve seen like, movies and stuff where they do it but I don’t know how to actually partake in the activity.”
“You think I’m an expert?” Richie jokes. “Who are we kidding, I’ve got a degree in dirty talk. Wanna see my little Bachelor?”
Eddie gulps at the innuendo and takes one deep breath before asking, “Are you in bed?”
The other man hesitates for a moment, as if not expecting Eddie to initiate it. He replies, “ Yes. So are you. You know, you never told me which jammies you’re wearing.”
Eddie frowns and looks down at himself. They’re not really the epitome of sexy; they’re bright green and have blue and purple dinosaurs all over them.
“The uh, the dinosaur ones,” he says bashfully, and puts the phone on loudspeaker as he places it down onto the bed. “But that’s like, sort of really embarrassing so I’m gonna take them off.”
“ Whoa, whoa! I love those ones. You’ve had those for ages.”
“Yeah, I get it, I’ve not grown in four years,” he grumbles. “I’m still taking them off.”
“ Oh,” Richie murmurs. “ Well, good. ”
Eddie pauses for a second, another hot flush creeping up his neck, and he asks, “Good?”
“Yeah. Good. Um. Because, well, y’know.” He can hear the boy stumble over his words. It’s kind of cute, Eddie thinks. “ ‘Cause now I’m just picturing you, uh, naked.”
He almost squeaks as he unbuttons his shirt. “You are?!”
“Is that not what I’m supposed to do?” he asks quickly down the phone, panicked.
“No, no, I– You are. It’s just… I feel like you’re watching me.”
“Then stop staring at my secret cameras.”
“Blink twice if you actually mean that.”
Eddie does not blink.
He laughs at that, despite himself, and settles himself onto his front. “Well, you can’t picture me naked, because I’m not actually fully naked, I have my underwear on still.”
“ What colour are they?
He shimmies a little. “Grey,” he says.
“ Okay. I’m wearing my underwear too.”
“Yeah? What — What colour?”
“ Blue Chambray,” he tells him, “ according to Walmart.”
“Sexy,” Eddie teases, but he says it tongue-in-cheek. He’s picturing Richie in bed now, as bare as he is, the sheets slipping off of the top of his body and exhibiting his broadened shoulders.
“Mm, yeah. I’m, uh, trying so hard not to make jokes right now.”
He feels his mouth purse into a small frown. “You don’t always have to do that, you know. This— This is serious, right? I mean, it can be? Not serious, as in like, we’re not allowed to make each other laugh, but serious as in… We’re doing this?”
“You talk too much,” is Richie’s reply. “ If I was there I would — I’d kiss you to make you be quiet.”
Invisible strings pull at the corners of Eddie’s mouth and cheeks. “I’d let you,” he whispers.
“What would you do? What would you do if I were there with you?”
Eddie grasped for an answer. What would he do? Realistically, he would probably start having a faux-asthma attack and get the hell out of dodge. Picturing Richie actually in front of him, saying this, these outlandish things, it’s scary. Having the barrier in between them is a sort of comfort; a gateway, for now. Just until.
What he would want to do if Richie was actually there with him is a different story. He would want to climb all over him, settle himself down in his lap, cup his face and squeeze his thighs with his own, nibble on his lips and grind down on his crotch. He would want to thread his fingers through the beautiful brown mop on his head and tear off their underwear without an ounce of apprehension.
He would want to do everything.
“Are we in bed?”
“Um. Yeah. We’re lying in bed next to each other.”
“I’d tell you to take your socks off then, first of all.”
“Screw you, bare-foot.”
Eddie laughs into the receiver, and bites down on his lip, fingers creasing his sheets. “I would roll over,” he says, and after a moment, “So I could sit in your lap.”
“Shit. Yes.” There’s a brief shuffling through the call, and Richie lets out a slow breath. “What you gonna do in my lap? Tell me what you want for Christmas?”
“I’m gonna –” He closes his eyes, and drives up his courage, “ – I’m gonna kiss you. And I’m gonna shove my hands into that bird nest on your head, so you don’t pull away to make a stupid joke.”
There’s a breathy laugh that goes straight to Eddie’s groin. “That sounds pretty smart. Especially since it involves kissing you. You aren’t afraid that I’ll give you cooties?”
“Cooties? You’d probably give me chlamydia.”
“Excuse me, the only thing you’d get from me is herpes, thank you very much. And I got it from your mom.”
“Beep, beep, Richie. Bad time to talk about my mom.”
“Sorry, sorry. Talk about kissing me again.”
“Talk about it?” Eddie falters. “I – I don’t know how.”
“Just tell me how you wanna kiss me.”
“Um, okay,” he says, and tries desperately to think of the best descriptive words that he can. He screws his eyes shut and tries to put the image to life; the feeling of Richie’s thighs nestled between his own and their crotches flush against one another. He can see their chests pressed together, their mouths red and raw and shiny. He reaches down and presses his palm to his crotch, nestling it between the thin fabric of his underwear and his mattress.
“O- Only if you want to.”
“I do want to, I do, I— I find it hard to articulate stuff.”
“Well, that’s a goddamn lie! You run your mouth more than anyone I know. Not including myself.”
“Shut up, asshole. Okay. I… I want to be so close to you that I can’t even focus on anything else. I have this – this image in my mind of us kissing for so long that our mouths are all red and stuff.”
“ Fuck,” Richie breathes. “Are you on my lap?”
“Good. You — Where are your hands?”
“In your hair, I said.”
“They’re still in my hair? You wanna move ‘em?”
“No. Like them in your hair. I can pull on it.”
“What about me? Where are my hands?”
Eddie’s breathing speeds up. He rolls his hips down into his hand. “They’re on my thighs, and they’re sliding over them. Like today.”
“Eds, Jesus Christ.”
“Is that okay?”
“That’s more than okay. Oh my god, I really am gonna nut in my underwear.”
Eddie hesitates, and asks, “Are you — I mean — Are you touching yourself?”
“I’ve been touching myself since before I called you, to be honest.”
Eddie’s jaw drops and he slams his face into the pillow in front of him. He allows himself a small shriek of embarrassment and overwhelming tenderness before he shoves his hand right into his underwear to wrap his fingers around himself.
He groans unabashedly, momentarily forgetting that he’s on a call, and his hand shakes as he holds his phone to his ear. It’s too risky to put it on speaker, though, and he kind of likes the sound of Richie's breathing right in his ear.
God. Richie had been jerking off. Richie had been jerking off whilst talking to him — whilst asking Eddie to describe them making out for him. Richie had been jerking off whilst thinking of them making out. His entire body heats and he kicks his covers off of himself in a hot frenzy, gulping down as his mouth begins to water at an alarming rate.
“Eds?” Richie whispers, and his voice is a melody. “Was that too far?”
“No, no, no, Richie, not too far, I just —” He allows himself a breathless moan, “— I’m touching myself too.”
“Shit. I’m imagining that it’s your hand, you know.”
“M- Me too,” he pants, and he does imagine it; imagines Richie’s larger hand circling his dick instead of his own. He wonders what his grip would feel like on him, whether it would be soft and gentle or rough and tight. Would he touch him carefully or passionately? Would he take care of him, or would he tease him; leaving him right on the edge of release before pulling away and leaving him shaking on the edge.
“When I found your profile last night, I jerked off to your photos.”
Eddie actually feels breath catch in his throat at that, and he rolls his body onto his back, his head thrown backwards and his eyes tightly shut, mouth agape for his hot breaths. He squeezes himself, his fingers moving to just the right places that he’s used to, rubbing his frenulum with his middle finger and massaging the head with his index.
“Which – Which?”
“The one with your legs spread. taken from the floor, and then the one with the close-up on your face. Your lips looked hot in it. I wanted to… Fucking hell, okay, I wanted to jizz on them; on your face.”
“Richie,” he gasps, and it’s half in disbelief and half in arousal.
“And then I looked at the one with your legs spread again and I wanted you to jizz on my face as well.”
“Oh, fucking Christ, Richie, I don’t,” he murmurs. Both his thoughts and his breaths are erratically pumping through him, and he can’t keep up with his hand. He’s thrusting into it desperately and can’t help but imagine his partner beneath him, hands on his thighs, waiting for Eddie to finish over his cheeks and his lips. He’s still wearing his glasses. Eddie wants to desecrate them. “I want that,” he groans, “God, yes, I want that.”
“Careful, baby,” Richie says in a hushed tone. “Taking God’s name in vain is a sin, y’know.”
“You’re no more — fuck — religious than I– I am,” he puffs. “If you were, I think there’d be a bigger problem here than just– just blasphemy, and fucking hell, can we stop talking about God!?”
“Sorry, Spaghetti,” he replies, and grunts after another second. “I’m getting close.”
“Me too,” Eddie tells him truthfully. It’s almost embarrassing how quickly it’s gone.
“Have you ever — you know — while thinking of me?”
He freezes for just a moment. He’s hesitant about admitting this to himself, let alone the actual feature of the fantasies. He swallows his pride. “Yeah. Yeah, I have.”
“Tell me,” he pants, “ Tell me, please.”
“I- Uh, last week. We hid in that closet from Patrick and you were really fucking close to me and all I could smell was you and your thigh was right between my legs and I have no freaking idea how you didn’t feel my boner. I had to run to the bathroom to - to get off, and you know how much I hate them, they’re freaking disgusting. ”
“You couldn’t help yourself?” Richie strains out after a moment or two. “Fuck, Eddie. What were you —”
“I was thinking about being back in that freaking closet with you and you just stopping everything and pinning me against the wall and — I don’t know, I don’t even know, just kissing me and all I can ever think about is you kissing me and – and then kissing my neck, and my jaw…”
“I’m the same. I wanna wreck your skin, you know? It’s always so clear. Why the fuck is it so clear?”
Eddie, despite the steamy situation, rolls his eyes. “Because I don’t eat shit, like you,” he says.
“Fine, fine. I still wanna fuck it up. Wanna get my lips all over you. Wanna know what you taste like. I want to know what you taste like everywhere. Get you down my throat. I bet I can take you real good, Eds, I bet I could, and you’d finish so fucking hard that your knees would give in. You’d really have a reason to call me trashmouth then.”
Eddie shudders once, twice, three times. He spills out over his fist and yelps through his orgasm, dropping his phone onto the bed and curling his toes, gripping the sheets with both hands and slamming his head back against the pillow. The image is too vivid; Richie’s voice too real. Because what is going to happen when he sees him the next day? What’s going to happen when they actually have to hide in a closet next time? Eddie knows that he’s not going to be able to stop thinking about this conversation; the one that tipped him right over the edge to climax.
His mind is a burst of colour and pleasure and his hands and his legs are shaking and he can’t exactly process a normal, coherent thought. He’s minutely aware of the distant sound of Richie’s voice coming from the phone and he wants to pick it up, but right now, he’s in such a state of post-orgasm bliss that he can’t bring his limbs to move.
“Richie,” he whispers to the cozy blankness of his eyelids. “ Richie. ”
He doesn’t really remember falling asleep, caught in a web of silk pillows and snug sheets. There’s makeup smudged on the blank canvas beneath his face. Richie’s voice rings through his ears and into his slumber.
Richie (01:42): hey
Richie (01:42): u fell asleep huh ??
Richie (01:42): i started to hear u snoring and my heart went (*´◒`*)
Richie (01:43): u have a nice sleep ok?
Richie (01:44): don’t wake up and start freaking out YEAH bcos I kno u and i know u will
Richie (01:44): i came by the way hehe
Richie (01:44): if u were concerned
Richie (01:45): i heard you do it and it was over for me lol
Richie (01:46): also when bev was touching ur face earlier i was so envious i wanted it to be my hands all over u again.
Richie (01:46): wanted to fucking deck bowers i hate him so fucking much
Richie (01:46): i hope ur pretty face is feelin better
Richie (01:50): things arent gunna be weird now right
Richie (01:50): btwn u&me
Richie (01:55): Cos i wanna take u out
Richie (01:55): like 2 dinner not like an assassination
Richie (01:56): JFK u will NOT be
Richie (01:57): ur not dying on me any time soon >:^)
Richie (02:00): & no i’m not jus saying that bcos we’re the only two gays in derry ok i have wanted 2 do this for like too long
Richie (02:01): & no it s not gonna get weird bcos we’re friends and no it’s not gonna end when we leave high school ok
Richie (02:01): i ain’t leaving u
Richie (02:02): this isnt cmbyn
Richie (02:03): rip to timotheé chalamet but im different
Richie (02:04): anywayz love u eddiebear
Richie (02:04): sweet dreams
Richie (02:04): u better say yes to my proposal
Eddie (09:13): you better take me somewhere fancy.
Eddie (09:29): i had a great dream. :)