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when you smile, i fall apart

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Eddie rolled his eyes as his phone kept buzzing in his pocket while he walked from the bus stop but he still smiled because he knew who was texting him. Richie fucking Tozier, his best friend in the whole world and the boy he’s been in love with since he was 5.

Today was the day that Richie was getting his braces and he was...less than excited about it. All his friends assured Richie that’d they’d look cute and they would suit him but he still wasn’t convinced. Eddie hadn’t said much, which made Richie more than a little nervous. But truth is, Eddie didn’t think that Richie would look bad with braces, it was actually the opposite.

Eddie opened his front door with a sigh, saying hi to his mom and thanking her for the after school snack she had made before grabbing the food and heading up to his room. He pulled out his phone and began scrolling through his messages.

———————————————————
[bubba <3 —-> you]

[11:23 am]
bubba <3: EDDDSSSSSSS

bubba <3: AHHAHAHAHAHB I DONT HAVE 2 GO TO SCHOOL

bubba <3: LOSER

[1:09 pm]
bubba <3: eddddddddssss

bubba <3: spaghetti manz

bubba <3: im booooorrreeeedddd talk to mmmeeeeeeee

[2:14 pm]
bubba <3: this waiting room sux they dont hav the good toys

bubba <3: ommmmggggg edddsssssss

you: chill u spaz

bubba <3: HES ALIIIVVVVEEEEEE

bubba <3: how was school did u guys miss meeeeee

you: school was good

you: bowers slipped in gym

bubba <3: WHAT

bubba <3: DIDS U GET A VID

you: [tripthebitch.mov]

bubba <3: outstanding

you: stan missed u btw

bubba <3: of course!! i am his fav

bubba <3: oh shit its my turn

bubba <3: wish me luck eeddddssssss

you: thats not my name!!!!!!!

you: but good luck chee text me when u get home and get lots of rest

bubba <3: i looooovvvveeeeee youuuuuuu

you: gross

you: .....love you too
———————————————————

Eddie clicked his phone off with a dopey smile spreading across his face. He bit into a cracker and sighed a little before logging onto Instagram. The losers’ group chat was blowing up with good luck messages for Richie’s appointment. Richie had texted Eddie before anybody else, Eddie doesn’t know why but that made him feel all warm inside. (note: he does know why, he’s just in Gay Denial)

Three hours later, Eddie had just finished his essay for language arts and was watching Buzzfeed Unsolved when his phone screen lit up, he launched forward and snatched it up.

———————————————————
[bubba <3 —> you 6:04 pm]

bubba <3: EDHEHS I HAVE BRACCES NOW

you: did it go ok? r u laying down? have u taken some pain meds?

bubba <3: ALL GOOODID IN THE HOOD

bubba <3: THEYR GAVEV ME GOOD SHTI

you: omg ur tripping this is great

you: send pics u dummy!!!! i wanna see!!!

you: what colors did u get

bubba <3: REDBAND BLUE

bubba <3: I WANTB U TO SEE THEM IN PERSON

you: do u want me to come over??

bubba <3: I DO BUTB I AM HIGHH ABS HAVE RO SLEEP M SORRY EDS

you: thats ok bub i will see u tmrw :)

bubba <3: YAYAYAYYYY I GET TO SEE EDSSSSS
———————————————————

The next day couldn't come fast enough for Eddie, he couldn’t wait to see his boy with braces, he always loved Richie’s smile and he kinda had a thing for guys with braces. Richie, on the other hand, was a bit of a nervous wreck. Sure, he didn't think he looked that bad, but he didn't know how Eddie was going to react.

Richie got dressed quickly that morning, throwing on his ripped black jeans and one of Mike's sweaters, a blue and white crewneck that nearly reached his thighs. After tugging on his Vans, Richie fished out his phone and FaceTimed Stan.

"Morning, Dick, how are you feeling?" Stanley answered with a smile, from the angle Richie could tell Stan was balancing his phone on his bathroom counter while he fixed his hair.

"Like a million dothars, Mr. Urith!" Richie's words came out with a thick lisp that made Stan pause and Richie grimace a little.

"Well, Trashmouth, let's see that smile!" Stan pressed on, choosing not to acknowledge the lisp until Richie did. Richie fiddled with his glasses a little before a wide grin slowly spread across his freckled face, revealing white teeth bracketed by red bit braces with blue wiring.

"What'th the verdict, Thaniel? Am I thill handthome?" Richie wiggled his eyebrows but his anxiety was evident in his eyes. Stan let out a little laugh and smoothed the sides of his hair down before turning to the camera.

"Absolutely stunning, Rich. You're gonna knock em dead." Stan's words held no sarcasm, which Richie was thankful for. Stan's heart warmed a little at how Richie brightened at the compliment. "Alright, stud, you ready for school?" He continued, Richie smiled with a 'yup!' and grabbed his bag.

“There he is! Hey, hot stuff!” Beverly cheered as Richie and Stan made their way up to the stairs in front of the school. Bev, Mike, Ben, and Bill all ran over to meet them halfway with excited faces and cameras ready.

“How ya feeling, Rich? Does it hurt?” Mike smiled, standing tall next to Bill with his bag slung over his shoulder.

“It’th not too bad!” Richie’s lisp was only present on one word but the others could still tell it was there, Stan was giving them a look that told them not to mention it.

“Let’s suh-see your new l-l-look.” Bill gave a look of encouragement to the curly-haired boy, who looked over his friends’ faces but saw nothing but support. Richie flashed them a bright, wide smile that made Bev squeal.

“You’re so cute! You look so great! Oh god, Rich, you’re just precious!” Beverly cooed, cupping his now red cheeks and beaming at him.

“You look awesome!” Ben chirped, his eyes kind and genuine.

“You luh-look just....mwah!” Bill did a chef’s kiss, which made Richie giggle happily.

“I love the colors!” Mike added, Richie couldn’t stop smiling as his friends complimented him, nearly all his insecurities melting away as they continued to gush over him.

“Damn, y’all thome horny motherfuckerth! If you wanted thith dick all you had to do was athk!” Richie exclaimed, making Bev and Bill snort and Mike and Ben roll their eyes.

“Rich!” Eddie shouted excitedly, Richie spun around and beamed at Eddie, who froze in his tracks at the sight of the metal on Richie’s teeth.

“What do you think, Edth?! Not bad, huh?” Richie pushed up his glasses and Eddie moved closer, his face practically on fire now.

“You uhhhhh y-you oh uh you.....” Eddie’s mouth hung open a little and he suddenly forgot every word he had ever learned. He stuffed a hand into his fanny pack and yanked out his inhaler, quickly shoving it in his mouth and taking a puff. Stan and Bev could hardly contain their laughter at the sight of Eddie so embarrassed. “Look f-fucking great, Rich.” Eddie finally finished with a sigh, watching the tension melt out of Richie’s body and feeling his heart speed up at the smile Richie gave him.

“Thankth, Thaghetti head!” Richie threw an arm around Eddie and ruffled his hair as they walked into the school doors.

Throughout the day Eddie found himself in need of his inhaler much more than he would like to admit, whenever he saw Richie grin or speak with the new lisp he suddenly felt out of breath.

“Rich? You want me to walk you home?” Eddie asked as he watched Richie skip down the front steps of the school.

“Thure! My mom ithn’t home, you wanna come over and watch a movie?” Richie bounced alongside Eddie, waving goodbye to the others as they smiled fondly at Eddie’s flustered face. Eddie nodded with a smile and Richie’s face lit up.

The walk to Richie’s home was short and Eddie’s face was burning the whole way there, Richie’s arm was around him and his mouth was working non-stop. They were almost at his house when Richie’s words suddenly died off.

“And then there wath thith-uh there wath thith-“ Richie snapped his mouth shut with a harsh exhale through his nose and drew his arm back from around Eddie. Eddie paused and turned to Richie with a concerned look.

“Rich? What’s up?” Eddie asked softly, resting his hand on Richie’s bicep and squeezing gently.

“It’th uhh it’th thupid.” Richie mumbled, kicking a rock with his shoe and shaking his head.

“It’s not if it’s bothering you, cmon, bub, tell me what’s wrong.” Eddie pleaded softly, giving Richie a reassuring smile.

“It’th the fucking lithp! I mean I know I alwayth look like an idiot but thith jutht maketh it worthe! I thound like even more of a moron now! D-Do you think I thound thupid, Edth?” Richie’s voice was thick and choked up in a way that made Eddie’s heart break.

“No no no, Chee, you don’t sound stupid.” Eddie shook his head and grabbed onto both of Richie’s hands. Richie was glancing around nervously and Eddie could instantly tell he was regretting opening up. “Hey, look at me. You don’t sound stupid, bubba, I promise. Now cmon, lets get inside.” Eddie led Richie by the hand into the Tozier household, dropping their bags off on the couch and shoes by the door before going to Richie’s room.

“Thankth, Edth.” Richie whispered, Eddie smiled and squeezed his hand. Richie pulled up Netflix on his TV, putting on Good Burger, making Eddie laugh.

“Really, Rich?” Eddie giggled, Richie wiggles his eyebrows and flopped back on the bed, Eddie joined him with a sigh.

They were about 30 minutes into the movie (Eddie finding it even funnier with Richie’s commentary) when Eddie found himself staring at his friend.

“You like thomething you thee, Edth?” Richie gave Eddie a flirty look but Eddie could tell there was a blush on his face. Eddie rolled his eyes and shoved Richie’s face away, making the curly-haired boy laugh.

“Y’know, your lisp is pretty cute.” Eddie blurted out, Richie’s head snapped to look at him with wide eyes. “Uhhhhhh...” Eddie gaped a little, not realizing the words slid out of his mouth.

“Wait, really?” Richie smiled widely, his wide eyes filled with hope that made Eddie’s chest constrict. Eddie swallowed and nodded dumbly, he’s in too deep now.

“Really really.” Eddie confirmed, Richie flushed again and started fiddling with the cuffs of his sleeves.

“Awww Eddie Thaghetti! You flatter me too much!” Richie nudged Eddie’s shoulder with his own and Eddie scoffed.

“Shut it, Trashmouth. Or should I say metal mouth now?” He teased, poking Richie’s cheek with his index finger and laughing when Richie pouted.

“Cmon, cutie, metal mouth is tho outdated! Brace face is way better!” Richie countered, ruffling Eddie’s hair making him squeal and bat Richie’s hands away.

"Fine! Fuck off, brace face!" Eddie spit back, still laughing as he fought Richie's hands.

"You thaid I'm cuuuuuuuutttte!" Richie cooed, fluttering his eyes dramatically and making kissy faces at Eddie.

"That is slander! I said your lisp was cute, dumbass, not you!" Eddie insisted, crossing his arms and puffing out his chest.

"It'th not cute, though." Richie muttered, his voice more than a little sad.

"Well, I think it's very cute. And I guess you aren't....that bad to look at." Eddie grinned at Richie as his eyes lit up.

"Edth, did you jutht compliment me?" Richie gasped but he could see how nervous Richie was by his posture. Eddie pressed on with newfound bravery.

"Maybe I did, bubba. I think your braces are cute and I think your lisp is cute and I.....think you're cute, really cute, actually." Eddie grabbing Richie's hands, they were now sitting facing each other, criss-cross applesauce.

"You're cuter." Richie scooted forward a little, him and Eddie only 2 inches apart now. Eddie loved the way the blush spread across Richie's freckled face.

"C'mere, Chee." Eddie whispered, cupping Richie's face and leaning it. Richie closed the gap between them, their lips pressing together. It was a little awkward, giving that they haven't really kissed anyone before but for them it was perfect. Eddie wrapped an arm around Richie's waist and pulled him closer, now basically on Eddie's lap as they moved their lips in sync. "You're so fucking pretty." Eddie breathed out once they pulled apart, slightly dazed from the feeling of Richie's lips on his.

"Oh my god, I can't believe we had our firtht kith when we were watching Good Burger!" Richie exclaimed happily, pecking Eddie's lips again and getting comfortable in his lap,

"There is no fucking way we are telling people that's how we got together." Eddie huffed, glaring at Richie but keeping his arms secure around him.

"We're together! We're together! Holy fuck, we're together!" Richie was practically bouncing as he smiled, Eddie rolled his eyes but he was smiling just as wide as Richie.

"Shut up and let me kiss you, baby." Eddie said before nearly smashing their faces together, Richie hummed happily and kissed back just as desperately.

Richie wished he got braces sooner.