He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
It’s the summer of 1994, and Eddie is in love. More specifically, in love with Richie Tozier.
He denied the feelings he had until he was 15. The two had a sleepover one stormy summer night and they had cuddled to keep warm and that was it. Eddie couldn’t deny what he was feeling to himself anymore. He didn’t even know if 15 year olds could be in love, but he definitely thought he was.
Fast forward 3 years later, and he knows for sure he’s in love.
Richie was, on the surface, nothing like him. A rebel without a cause, wild and free, completely unrestrained by anything. He was impulsive and loud, with an eclectic style to match. Eddie on the other hand was structured. Crisp and clean, cautious and always prim and proper and quiet. His mother always said he was delicate and fragile, though he hated feeling that way, like a paper doll. Richie and Eddie were like oil and water it seemed, but regardless, Eddie was in love.
So here he is now, sitting on a rock by the river, alone with his thoughts. On his way to the river he found a flower with lots of petals, so he picked it, and is now examining it. Eddie strokes one of the soft petals before pulling it off of the flower and murmuring, “he loves me.” Again he pulls a petal off. “He loves me not.”
He repeats this, over and over, until he is left, staring at the final petal, and defeatedly has to say, “he loves me not.”
Of course it’s just chance that it ended up that way, but Eddie was looking for a sign, any sort of indication that maybe Richie wanted him too. He throws the petal ridden flower into the river and watches it get swept away.
Eddie is more than caught off guard when he hears a soft yet clear “He loves you, you know,” from behind him. He whips his head around, nearly knocking himself off the rock he’s sitting on, only to see a sheepish Richie, casually stepping out from the tall grass surrounding the river.
“Jesus Christ dipshit, you scared the crap out of me!” Eddie snaps, trying to get his heart rate under control. “How long have you been standing there?”
“A couple minutes. I saw your bike by the dirt path and wanted to come see you.” Richie responds casually.
It was then that Eddie fully processed the words that gave away Richie’s presence in the first place. He loves you, you know. Richie had seen him pulling the petals off of the flower.
“What did you mean when you said ‘he loves you, you know’, Rich?” Eddie asks slowly, his heart pounding in his chest, but this time for a different reason all together.
Richie smiles his warm, crooked smile. “I think you know what I meant, Eds.”
Richie walks up to Eddie then, and extends his arm, revealing a flower, the same kind of flower Eddie had just pulled the petals off of.
Eddie is blushing harder than he thinks he ever has. He watches Richie reach up to place the flower in Eddie’s mousy brown hair, just behind his right ear. He feels Richie slide his hand down to cup his jaw, brushing his thumb across the small boys soft cheek. Eddie leans into the touch.
Eddie reaches out to feel Richie’s worn jean vest, covered in patches and pins, some of which Eddie bought for him. He loves that vest just like he loves the boy wearing it. He finally meets Richie’s eyes, and he thinks this is what home feels like. More than anything else, Richie is his home.
So Eddie kisses Richie then, and it’s more than he could’ve ever imagined. Careful and cautious at first, just like how Eddie is, but once the two kiss for a while it becomes more like Richie is, passionate and impulsive and so, so perfect.
Richie is nothing like Eddie and Eddie is nothing like Richie, but maybe they’re two sides of the same coin. Maybe, they love each other enough that their differences will work together.
4 years later Richie proposes, and Eddie is still in love. He says yes.