Richie walked into school that day, feeling more confident and happy than he had been in a while. It was odd, yes, but he enjoyed the feeling more than it worried him. He approached his locker, finding Beverly leaning against it. “Why, hello, Beverly. Nice to join me this wonderful morning.”
Beverly snickered. “So, I’m guessing it went well? He show up?”
Richie nodded. “Of course he did!” Richie said, a small smile playing on his lips. “I woo-ed him so good he came to my game and we got ice cream after.”
She chuckled, pushing her hair behind her ear. “I gotta admit, Tozier, you’ve got game.”
He scoffed. “Mrs. Marsh! I’ve always had game, thank you very much. I pride myself in all of my lovable characteristics.”
“Like you have any of those.” Beverly retorted.
“I have so many of those!” Richie defended. “So many, in fact, that we’re getting ice cream after school today.”
Beverly raised an eyebrow. “That sounds suspiciously gay.”
Richie rolled his eyes and chuckled a little. “What an assumption.” He closed his locker and started to walk towards English, where they’d discuss the bet with Bill and Stan.
Beverly sighed. “You know, Eddie isn’t even that attractive. Why didn’t I make you go after like… Mike or something.”
“I like Mike as a friend, Bev, plus Eds is cute from my personal opinion,” Richie said back, sitting down at his table.
“Did you just call him Eds? And cute? Gee, if I didn’t know any better, I would suggest you liked this Eddie Kaspbrak.” Beverly grinned, sitting down in her chair.
Richie shook his head. “I don’t like him. It’s just a bet, that’s all.”
But was it? Richie never felt like he did around Eddie around anyone else. It was weird how oddly happy he was, giddy even. Do I like him?
No. Richie shook his head a bit as if to get the thought out of his head. He didn’t like Eddie like that. This was a bet and that’s all. Just a bet.
Eddie walking through the main hallway, weaving through the many students walking the other direction. Richie had texted Eddie and asked- well- demanded that they go get ice cream again. He wasn’t opposed to it as Richie was paying, but he did find it odd. Everyone was saying Richie was a horrible guy but he didn’t understand where that notion was coming from. He seemed so nice. Annoying, yes, but nice.
“Eds!” Eddie heard as he approached Richie who was leaning against his old, beat-up truck. He rolled his eyes. “Don’t call me that.”
Richie chuckled, reaching in his truck’s open window to unlock it. “Hop in, Eddie Spaghetti.”
Eddie rolled his eyes, opening the squeaky passenger seat door and sitting down. He clicked the belt buckle into place as he looked over at Richie. “Don’t call me that either.”
Richie scoffed. “Then what am I gonna call you?”
“Gee, I don’t know, what about Eddie?” He retorted sassily.
Richie acted like he was pondering it, stroking an invisible beard. “Nah.”
Eddie rolled his eyes again.
“If you keep rolling your eyes, they’ll roll right out of their sockets.” He joked, pushing the car key into the ignition and turning the car on.
“I think I’d like that so I don’t have to do it anymore.”
Eddie tried to hide his smile as Richie laughed, turning into the parking lot of the ice cream shop. Richie turned the truck off, hopping out of it quick enough to open Eddie’s door before he could.
Eddie raised an eyebrow. “I can open the door by myself, you know.”
“I do, however, I am being gentlemanly,” Richie responded.
Eddie resisted the urge to roll his eyes and got out of the truck, following behind Richie who had already started walking towards the door. He opened the door for Eddie, who eyed Richie and mumbled that “he could still open the door himself.”
Richie walked up the counter. The worker, whose nametag said, Rachel. “Oh, Richie, hey!” She gave him a warm smile.
Richie gave her a grin. “Hey, how are you?”
“I’m good. I’m about to get off work in a bit… maybe if you’re free if you’d like to hang out at my place?”
“Oh, c’mon, it’d be fun!”
Eddie watched his conversation from where he was standing behind Richie and he felt his blood boil. Why was he so angry? It was like someone had turned a switch on in him and he immediately felt the need to interject. “He’s not.”
“Excuse me?” She turned to look at Eddie.
“He’s not free.” He repeated. “He’s here with me.”
Richie had a shit-eating grin on his face. “I am here with Eddie Spaghetti.” He said, throwing his arm around Eddie’s shoulder. The girl’s face dropped and it was replaced with one of disgust. “You’re dating him? Really, Richie? You can do so much better than that.”
Richie scoffed. “Well, it’s not really your place, now is it? Maybe I should tell your boyfriend that you’ve tried to cheat on him with me. Twice. Now, that is someone who can do better.”
Rachel narrowed her eyes. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Wouldn’t I?” Richie responded, a smirk growing on his face. “Remember when Bella Richardson tried to do the same thing you’re doing? You wrote slut on her locker last month when, big shocker, you were doing the same damn thing! Now, can I order or what?”
She let out a long, frustrated sigh before looking up at a grinning Richie. “What do you want?”
“Finally! I’ll have one scoop of chocolate and Eddie will have one scoop of mint chocolate chip.” He said, handing her a five dollar bill. She gave Richie his change and got the ice cream, sliding it over to them with a fake smile on her face. “Have a nice day.”
Richie gave her one right back, handing Eddie his bowl and walking outside with him. “Wow, Eds, I didn’t think you had it in ya to get jealous like that. Also, mint is gross and tastes like toothpaste. I don’t know how you eat it.”
Eddie nearly choked on his ice cream. “What?”
“I said, mint is gro-”
“Not that! I was not jealous, Tozier.”
“Then what was it?” He asked, looking both ways before crossing the road. “I sure think it was something.”
“I was dealing with her for you,” Eddie replied, following next to him. “Besides, why would I be jealous? I don’t even like you. I only came because you paid.”
Richie gasped. “You don’t like me? Gee, Eds, I thought with all the blushing you’ve been doing that you did.”
Eddie felt his face heat up. “Shut the fuck up. I do not like you, hear me?”
Richie grinned. “Hear ya loud n’ clear.”
“Also, mint does not taste like toothpaste. Have you ever even tried it? It tastes nothing like-” Eddie’s ramble was cut short as he nearly tripped and landed right on his face. Richie reached out, grabbing Eddie’s waist to prevent him from falling. He had dropped his ice cream in the process.
Richie stood Eddie upright and scowled. “I have no ice cream now because of you.”
Eddie was blushing like mad, his stomach had tightened up into knots. All Richie had done was catch him, why did he feel so euphoric? Eddie made a face and handed Richie his. “Try it.”
Richie shook his head.
“Damn, alright.” He said, taking the spoon from Eddie and putting a small amount of the green ice cream in his mouth. “Okay, I take my previous statement back. That is good.”
Richie hopped into the driver’s seat, turning the car on and immediately turning the radio on as well. He turned the knob up, the speakers sounding like they were on the verge of breaking. “I love this song!”
Eddie raised an eyebrow. “Africa? You like.. Africa?”
Richie scoffed. “Of course I do!”
Eddie watched as Richie drove, singing the lyrics obnoxiously loudly. He was mumbling the lyrics under his breath. There was a red light as the chorus approached and Richie took the opportunity to look to Eddie. “C’mon! Sing it, I know you know it!”
Eddie looked over at him as it started. “It’s gonna take a lot to take me away from you!” Richie sang, pointing at Eddie.
He smiled, blushing a bit. “There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do!”
Richie grinned. “I bless the rains down in Africa! Gonna take some time to do the things we never had!”
Eddie felt a wave of happiness fall over him. He didn’t know why he felt this way around Richie. In that moment, watching the other boy sing off-key and way too loudly, that he liked Richie. He really did.
Richie snuck a glance over at Eddie, to find him smiling to himself. This caused him to smile as well, continuing to sing the song until it was over. A foreign feeling washed over Richie as he watched the smaller boy drum to the beat in the air with his hands. He couldn’t help the grin that spread across his face. Was this just a bet?
Richie nearly crashed the car with the thought of that. Of course, it was just a bet. He didn’t like Eddie, it was only for the bet. Sure, he was a cool guy and all but Richie had no romantic feelings for him.
Or did he? He couldn’t contain his smiles around him and he felt more compelled to be with Eddie.
But it was just a stupid bet. That’s all it’ll ever be, a bet.
listen…. @biwheelers made me do this. they said ‘i have a headcanon’ and i said ‘when should i write the ficlet.’ (that’s a dramatization but you get what i mean.) this is also on ao3 because there might be a sequel already in the works??? sue me. anyways…. here’s wonderwall.
Mike Wheeler was a beautiful mess.
He danced like no one was watching when everyone was. He said the wrong kinds of things a little too loudly. He protected his friends like he was the only one who could. He didn’t care what people thought, unless those people were his friends, in which case, he cared way too much. He drank and he grew out his hair and he played the guitar.