Richie and Eddie walked for what felt like forever, brushing shoulders every now and then which made Richie's spine tingle. They laughed along with the afternoon sun. Plants grew in the cracks between the worn concrete, brushing against their shoes as they walked past. Eddie couldn't stop smiling, looking up at the sky. He was just so happy. Happy happy happy. God, even the sound of it made him smile more. Richie just looked at him, one eyebrow raised.
"Hellooo" He waved a hand in front of Eddie's face. "Anyone home?" Eddie pushed his hand down, grunting along with the movement.
"Sorry, I was just lost in thought." He smiled at Richie. "I'm listening, now."
"What were you thinking about?" Richie's shoes scuffed the pavement as he walked. "Me, I hope." He winked at Eddie.
Eddie scoffed. "Just thinking about ur mom lol."
"Touché, Kaspbrak, touché."
"So where are we going anyway?"
"Somewhere nice." He smiled at Eddie, grabbing a hold of his hand so their interlocked fingers fell right between them. Gently, he nudged his shoulder into Eddie's. The feeling of his bare skin against Richie's sent shivers along his spine. And they both radiated bliss, approaching the kissing bridge without anyone around (thank GOD). Eddie raised one eyebrow, looking at Richie questioningly, just before he helped Eddie over the fence and into the woods.
"You didn't take me here to make out with me..." Eddie frowned. "Did you?" Richie placed a sweatshirt over Eddie's shoulders, knowing he would feel more comfortable since they were out surrounded by nature (aka a germs playground, which is what Eddie would call it).
"No, just c'mon" Richie chirped, pulling Eddie along with him.
They wandered through the forest, weaving between old trees. Eddie let out a sigh, relieved he wore boots that day instead of his sneakers, since they were trudging through the damp dirt and leaves. The bark was peeling off the trees, falling on the ground and being kicked around as they walked by. The wind rattled the branches, letting dustings of pollen drift through the air. Eddie sneezed. Allergies...
"Here we are." Richie spoke, smiling gently as he reached out his free arm to show off the view.
The sun was tall in the sky, reflecting off the shallow, light blue river, sending sharp rays of light into Eddie's eyes. The tree framed the riverbank just so there was enough room to lay down, which prompted Richie to spread out a small blanket on one of the large, flat rocks that were perfect to fit the two of them. The leaves flowed down, landing gently in the water, causing ripples as they flowed along with the current. It was quiet, except for the sound of the white water and ruffling of the trees, making Eddie sigh, taking in the calming view. And he would've just stood there, if Richie hadn't tugged on his arm, motioning him to sit with him.
"How... did you find this place?" Eddie asked, gently leaning down to spread his legs out on the blanket, ignoring his widespread gaze, eyes locked on the water. Richie sighed, leaning onto his arms, propping him upward as he stared at the view.
"I was out wandering one night, and I just found it." He looked over at Eddie, not possibly able to contain his grin. "One day I'll show you what this pace looks like at night, but I hope this'll work for now." And Eddie couldn't help but grin back at him, just before he softly placed his head on Richie's shoulder, clutching the borrowed sweatshirt over his frame. He whispered out a small "thank you" but Richie wasn't necessarily sure if he was supposed to hear that. "Anyway, I didn't just bring you here to look at the river." Eddie blinked at him, raising his head. "Here." Richie handed him a small, hardcover book, woven on fabric and leather.
The Phantom Tollbooth.
"You-" Eddie gasped, Richie chuckled and ruffled his hair in response, his grin unmoving and genuine.
"I remember you talking about how The Phantom Tollbooth was your favorite book as a kid, and I knew how sad you were when you lost it. I remember seeing all the small doodles on the edges of the pages, and how happy it made you." Eddie's eyes became watery. "I thought that you might want a new copy, and maybe you could read it to me sometime." He chuckled. "I don't know if that's super childish or not, but it still might be fun, who knows." He shrugged.
And tears started dripping from Eddie's eyes.
"Aw shit, Eds." He placed his hands on Eddie's shoulders. "I didn't mean to make you cry... again." Eddie clutched the book to his chest.
"Thank you, Richie." He giggled, smiling shyly at him, looking into his eyes. The scene felt cliche and sappy, but it was unlike anything they had ever experienced or felt, like a feather-soft rope pulling them closer, to what they had no clue, but they knew it was good.
And Eddie placed a small, chaste kiss onto Richie's lips, spreading heat through both of them. "Thank you..." Eddie whispered again, against Richie's lips, before pulling back, shyly biting his lip and tugging a small piece of hair behind his ear. He looked... angelic to Richie, color spreading across his freckled face.
"Oh god..." Richie covered his cheek with his hands, feeling the warmth against his cool fingers.
"W-What? Too much?" Eddie sputtered.
"N-No." Richie peered up at him. Eddie noticed the color on his cheeks. "Do it again?" He smiled awkwardly.
And so he did, and it was fast, and sweet and everything they didn't know they needed, but now desperately did.