Derek is never going to find his soulmate, and he's made peace with that
(Well, not really but he pretends to)
Because the fact of the matter is, he's never going to find someone named Mieczyslaw
He isn't sure who in their right mind would really name a child that but he's pretty sure he's never going to meet one
He happens to know that the statistics for tourism in Beacon Hills is horrendously low, and the chances of some guy from Poland (and yes he had thoroughly researched that name and KNOWS it would have to be some guy from Poland) randomly showing up in town are pretty much none
"Oh try to be optimistic honey! You wouldn't have a soulmate that you're never going to meet,"
Derek doubted that, and in fact, he had researched it- there's an entire pocket of people who never meet their soulmates, HAVING a soulmate does not, in fact, gurantee that you'll ever MEET your soulmate
But his mother wasn't especially prepared to listen to that
"You should feel lucky little bro, atleast this way you'll be sure that you never get your soulmate mixed up with someone else's," Laura would say
And she had a point in that, at the very least, he was absolutely certain that he would never meet two guys named Mieczyslaw who's soulmates were named Derek
But that didn't excuse this!
"She"s right you know, I mean, I could toss a dime out the window and HIT somebody named Isaac, who seriously names their kid something that common anymore!?"
And Cora had a point too, atleast he wasn't unlucky enough to be soulmated to somebody who's name annually topped the "Most popular baby names" chart, unlike Cora who was getting ready to gnaw through a chain-link fence in frustration
Naming your kids something unusual, and even making up names, was pretty common these days, or even using a common name with a weird spelling
He had gone to school with a girl named Raychill (pronounced Rachel) and played basketball with a guy named Sterling-Knight for God's sake
He guessed the popularity of that hit when large-span travel started to become common and communities could no longer rely on being small and intimate, once people started going all over the world any assurances about soulmates became suddenly more difficult
(Apparently his parents, who named their first-born child Laura, didn't get the memo)
But all hope was not lost for people with common names atleast, there was apparently an extra failsafe to make sure you end up with your correct soulmate, your soulmarks are always on opposite wrists
That is to say, if your soulmate's name is on your right wrist, your name will be on your soulmate's left wrist, and vice versa
Scientists say this is how hand-holding came to be such a romantic gesture, it mutually concealed a couple's marks and showed in the old days that you had already found your partner
Or something like that
Personally Derek didn't know or for that matter care
All that was certain to him was that he was never going to find his soulmate, because there was no Mieczyslaw in Beacon Hills
"I hate this new trope they have on TV where everyone goes by nicknames all the time, it makes it so much harder for shippers to figure out who's soulmate is who!"
"I'm sure that's really difficult for you," Derek said flatly as he set a box down on the counter
"Oh come on Derek, cheer up! You'll find him eventually,"
Derek just snorted and rolled his eyes- ofcourse Erica wouldn't understand, she was only twenty-two and had already had her soulmate for three years
"I'm serious! I mean, I may have been young when I met Boyd, but my dad was forty-three when he met my mom, she was twenty-seven by the way, BOTH older than you, so stop acting like it's impossible,"
Age wasn't what had Derek feeling so negatively about this- though it certainly didn't help
Derek had spent the better part of his teenage years trying to prove himself wrong, trying to travel a little, get a pen pal, do everything he could think of to potentially meet some foreign kid from Poland or who, at the very least, had close ancestry there, but there was absolutely no luck to be found
Now at twenty-five he was convinced he would never meet his soulmate, mostly because he was convinced that the name Mieczyslaw would never cross his path
"Erica do you have the new glasses?"
Erica tilted her head up from her phone, eyebrows raised in confusion at him
"What new glasses?"
"The new glasses we had shipped overnight, remember? They were supposed to be here by now,"
Derek still wasn't happy about the entire incident, there had been a sudden flurry of customers last night right before closing that had caused a clash between Erica and Cora and ... well...
About sixteen of their glasses had taken the blow from that
"I didn't see any glasses,"
Derek's eyes narrowed, a frown pressing into his features
She gave a nonchalant shake of her head, making Derek frown deeper as he turned towards the kitchen and leaned closer to the doorway
"Boyd! Have the deliveries come in yet?"
"Yeah, they came in about an hour ago, you looking for something specific?"
"The wine glasses, did you get them?"
Boyd stopped abruptly, slowly shaking his head and wiping his hands on his apron
Derek cursed, rubbing his eyes in frustration and shaking his head
They were only about an hour away from the dinner rush, meaning that people would be ordering wine- not such a problem now since they were still technically during lunch time
(Though it had hit the slow period of mid-day where there were only two or three customers anyway, definitely not a problem now)
He needed to get those glasses and once the rush started he wouldn't be able to get a moment away...
"I'm going to go make a phone call,"
And pray for a miracle
Apparently that was FAR too much to ask for
"They said they tried to deliver the glasses three hours ago and no one was here so they left them at the post office,"
"That's ridiculous, we were here all day!"
"I know, I know," Derek grumbled with an annoyed huff
"So what are we going to do?" Erica frowned
"They said that they need me to go sign for the thing," he grumbled back
"But you can't leave, not right before dinner service,"
"I know," he grumbled back
No one knew better than he did that he needed to be here... and it wasn't that the others were incapable of handling the kitchen, but they were just so short-staffed already, Derek leaving would just short them even more when they needed to be working harder to get ready for the rush...
"So what do we do?"
"Well... we could always contact someone from that chore-on-demand place, remember the guys that came over and took care of my lawn?"
No, Derek didn't remember what guys Erica was talking about, but he was skeptical about it just the same
"You want to bring in a total stranger to help out in my kitchen?"
"I mean, unless you would PREFER us getting behind, you've been training Isaac right? Just release him from dish duty so he can do prep and then we'll get one of the chore guys to come and do the dishes in the mean time,"
To say Derek didn't like that idea was putting it mildly
"Do you have a better idea?" Erica challenged
"No," he said with a heavy sigh, shoulders sagging with frustration
"You'd better get going, the post office is closing soon,"
Derek's eye twitched, nose wrinkling but he said nothing, instead rushing out of the kitchen and grabbing his jacket to leave
Derek was about to die, he just knew it
Rushing out of the car, he hurried to get the box full of glasses out of his trunk and run inside
The post office had been horribly crowded, wich was understandable for a Friday right before closing, but still didn't make him feel great about being so late
He rushed into the kitchen, incredibly glad that his werewolf speed allowed him to rush like this without getting winded, and hurrying to set the box down on the floor next to Isaac
"Can you get to those glasses?" he asked in a rush, at this point having pretty much forgotten about the chore guy he had had such an issue with earlier
"Sure, but Der-"
Derek didn't stop, he was too busy trying to get to everything
He could tell from the parkinglot how busy it was, but when he stepped inside and heard all of the noise, the hustle and bustle... he had a sudden urge to check the dinning room and make sure that nothing horrible was happening
(So Derek was a LITTLE protective of his restaurant, big deal)
He stepped out, heart thundering as he looked around
Everything seemed pretty normal....
That is, except for one thing
A stranger wearing one of their work shirts....
Narrowing his eyes, Derek took a few long strides towards the other man, opening his mouth to speak when the guy suddenly turned around and smiled at him- and completely stole Derek's breath as consequence
He had soft brown hair, bright brown eyes, a splatter of moles all over and his lips... they were shaped like Cupid's bow...
"Hi, welcome to From Hale, are you alone or-"
"I own this restaurant," Derek interrupted, admittedly harsher than he had intended
The pretty boy blinked, mouth opening slightly into a little "o" before placing a hand awkwardly on the back of his neck
"Oh hey, um... Erica told me to- .. she gave me one of the shirts... she said you were really understaffed so I just..."
"It's fine, just-"
Derek winced at the sound of a plate breaking, turning slowly and seeing a rather frazzled looking Isaac standing in front of the kitchen doors
He turned to look at the cute guy again, taking note of how incredibly... calm... he seemed
"Think you can work the rest of the night?"
"I can do that," he replied with an easy shrug
Derek sighed lowly, giving the cute guy a nod to go back to work
What the hell had he just done...?
Cute Guy looked up from- presumably- counting his tips, eyebrows raised in confusion at Derek
"What's that?" he asked, nodding towards the envelope the werewolf was handing him
"A check, you worked a full night so you get a full night's pay,"
Cute Guy blinked, mouth opening in what Derek thought to be a considered argument, before slowly reaching forward and taking the envelope
"Thanks man, I um... get to keep the tips right?"
Derek huffed in amusement, eyebrows raising
"You get to keep the tips,"
Cute Guy gave a little bit more of a smirk, standing up and stuffing the money in the envelope
"Well um, thank you for the job, really, maybe if you ever need anything else you could think of calling me again? I'm especially good at organizing, especially books, and comic books, and just geek stuff in general,"
"I'll have to keep that in mind then," Derek replied with a small smirk
He wasn't sure why but... he had the sudden urge to just lean down and kiss this guy...
"Well um, I'll see you around then, hopefully soon!" Cute Guy called back, jarring Derek out of his haze as he watched Cute Guy run out of the restaurant as if he had just gotten away with something
And Derek.... wasn't sure what to do with this weird feeling in his chest, but he wasn't happy about it
Maybe some ice cream would smother it down....
Running a restaurant wasn't easy- it wasn't easy at all
It was exhausting and draining and kept him on a constant razor's edge of trying to make sure everything was perfect- or at the very least workable, and there were so many working parts and so few people he trusted to really take care of them... it could drive a person insane...
So here he was, on a Monday afternoon, trying his hardest to just trust Erica and Boyd to handle the lunch shift- wich, really, shouldn't be all that busy on a Monday- and sort through the crap in his attic in the mean time
It wasn't going well
In fact, if he was being honest, it was going pretty pitifully
He just couldn't concentrate on anything, even the simplest task
He couldn't stop worrying about leaving Erica, Boyd, and Isaac as the only people in the kitchen until later when Laura would let him go back
It was the first time they were going to have a service without him in the kitchen and his stomach was in shreds over it
To make matters worse, he just felt... restless
Kind of sad, a little depressed, and he couldn't really pinpoint why, other than the fact that he was sitting here alone, listening to the rain, sorting through the attic and realizing harshly just how lonely he was
Without his restaurant- and the people in it-, what did he really have?
No wonder Laura called him a workaholic and demanded he take a day off atleast once a month...
(And he had talked her down to just a half day at that)
Looking around the attic at the mess that Laura was insisting he clean up- to be "productive"- he came to one conclusion:
He couldn't do this
Not because he was incapable of cleaning an attic, but because he was just in too much of a down mood to really... DO anything...
His heart hurt, his soulmark ached- if his soulmark COULD ache- and the loneliness had crawled so deeply into his heart that he didn't know what to do with it anymore
Slowly, he took his cell phone out of his pocket and clicked on Erica's number, trying to muster up atleast a little bit of courage to talk to her without sounding so... blah....
"Hey Erica, could you call that guy that was at the restaurant on Friday? I think I have a job for him,"
Turns out, Cute Guy really IS good at organizing, by the time he's done with the attic Derek could probably find anything he wanted in less than five minutes
He hadn't been able to do THAT since he moved into this house six years ago with his sisters...
Ofcourse then Laura met her soulmate, and Cora met her's, and they both left but....
"Wow!!! You really got busy wile I - .. uh.. got busy, didn't you?"
Derek blinked, slowly making his way back downstairs after standing in shock at the gorgeous attic for the last five minutes, and smirking at the way Cute Guy was ogling the food Derek had been making in the mean time
(Three hours of nothing to do and feeling like crap? Derek had no choice, he had to cook- bake, more specifically, if he couldn't concentrate on a mindless task like cleaning then he sure as hell couldn't do anything like reading, he needed to relax, and that was what baking was for)
"Do you like sweets?"
Cute Guy turned around, nodding slowly and clearly trying to resist the urge to lick his lips
Derek just smirked a little bit more, moving towards the bottom cabinet and grabbing a few decorative pastry boxes
"Good, I made them for you,"
"You- ... what?"
Cute Guy seemed completely and utterly confused by this information
"I .. baked some things for you, it's really the least I can do after subjecting you to that attic,"
Cute Guy blinked a few times, just ... staring at Derek for the longest moment before slowly accepting one of the boxes that Derek had already filled
"You are a strange, strange man, but I like you," Cute Guy commented, a small smirk perking against his lips as he reached out, pausing suddenly at the sound of his phone going off
"Oh crap I'm late!! Thanks for everything, really, I just... I have to go, sorry!!"
Derek didn't even get to finish packing up the treats before Cute Guy had left
Something Derek had noticed was that Cute Guy wore wristbands
Wich wasn't at all uncommon, alot of people didn't like their soulmarks being flashed out in the open all the time, especially for the inevitable, awkward "Oh hey that's my name! ... Oh but .. my mark isn't your name, oops" conversation
Derek, ofcourse, didn't mind, since he knew he wasn't going to run into several Mieczyslaws just whenever, but Cute Guy's soulmate probably had a common name
Or maybe Cute Guy was in a band or something (he was probably some sort of creative spirit, or in college, if he was doing this chore app thing) and he didn't want fans to see it and fake their own marks- that happened sometimes, especially to celebrities
Or hell maybe Cute Guy was just private that way, Derek didn't know nor did he care, he just... he liked Cute Guy...
Wich is maybe why he kept finding reasons for Erica to call him over
Slowly, Derek looked up, eyebrows raised and head tilted
"You're getting that boy to mow your lawn now? Derek you're horrible,"
"I'm paying him, it's a job Laura, and if he's doing the chore-for-hire thing he obviously needs it,"
Laura's eyes narrowed, nose wrinkling as she took a step closer to her brother and flashed her Alpha eyes at him, snarling lowly
"Stop using him for ridiculous tasks just so you can watch,"
"Or say 'hi' to him once in a blue moon instead of, you know, actually introducing yourself,"
Laura paused, leaning away suddenly and raising her eyebrows
"Derek.... you HAVE actually introduced yourself haven't you?"
Derek slouched a little lower on the couch, raising his book up higher above his face
"Derek Simon Hale have you even told that poor boy your name yet?"
"Well... Erica is the one who keeps hiring him, technically, so-"
"Oh my God, you are going to introduce yourself to him TODAY or so help me-"
The door opened suddenly, saving Derek from another moment of terror as he jerked his head up and spotted Cute Guy in the doorway
"Hey, I'm REALLY sorry about this but I've gotta run, I have something I've gotta do, see you later!!"
Laura was quiet for a moment, glaring at the door where Cute Guy had just been and giving a huff
"Alright, next time you see him, you're going to introduce yourself, have I made that clear?"
"Yes Ma'am," Derek grumbled, nose wrinkling as he sunk down lower in his seat
Sometimes he really hated that his mother had passed on Alpha-ship to his sister....
(Not that his mother would have done anything differently, but she probably wouldn't have looked so smug about it atleast)
"You know, I keep thinking that I know Stiles from somewhere,"
Derek blinked, turning around and staring at Erica in confusion
"Stiles, you know, the guy you're practically obsessed with?"
"That's his name?"
What the hell kind of a name was Stiles?
Boy, whoever his soulmate was sure must be having a fun time with THAT name on their arm
(Although atleast Stiles is pronounceable)
"You didn't know?" Erica huffed, rolling her eyes and shaking her head
"ANYWAY, I'm pretty sure I know him from somewhere, I just don't know where,"
"Do you recognize his scent?" he asked absently, eyes flicking up towards the front of the resturaunt
They were really starting to fill up and they were still short a waitress, this wasn't good...
"No, but there's just something about him... something I KNOW I recognize but just... I can't place where it's from or what it is..."
Derek shrugged, sighing as he checked his watch
"I just heard from Kira," Boyd said absently as he walked past, causing Derek's head to jerk up with interest
"There was some sort of accident right outside of her neighborhood, she said it'll be atleast an hour before she can get here,"
Derek cursed under his breath, shaking his head
"We don't have an hour to wait..."
They were already filling up and it was really too much to ask just their three waitresses to handle the entire restaurant...
"Stiles," he heard, glancing over his shoulder as Erica held the phone up and dangled it in front of him
He was a little reluctant but... he was also really backed into a corner, and with a frustrated sigh, he snatched Erica's phone and opened up the app he needed
"Oh my God, that was a seriously heroing experience, I don't know how you guys do this sort of thing all the time,"
Derek couldn't help smirking a little as he sat a few more cups of coffee down on the table
After closing, the From Hale staff always had coffee and dessert before going home, one of the virtues of being a pack as well as a team
And just because Stiles was here now it didn't mean there was a reason to change that
"I don't either, I keep bugging my little brother to just hire someone else but he's picky," Laura huffed, sticking a spoonfull of ice cream in her mouth
"It's a family business," Derek huffed back defensively
It was their family's money invested into the restaurant and for a long time it was only he and his sisters who were even working on it, they brought in their cousin Malia, then Erica, Boyd and Isaac after Laura turned them into her betas and then brought in Braeden after finding out she was Laura's soulmate and then Kira because she was a family freind, and finally when Malia found her soulmate they brought in Lydia...
He just wasn't prepared to go about hiring strangers
"Sure," Laura teased
"Eh, I don't blame him, when a business is your baby you're reluctant to just let someone else put their hands in it," Stiles shrugged back
"Thank you," Derek huffed back
"Ofcourse, I mean I have this freind who's a designer, and he has the most killer style-"
"Oh my God!" Erica suddenly shreiked, nearly flipping her spoon across the table
"THAT'S where I know you from!! You're ChillerStiles on YouTube!!"
"Hey! A fan!" Stiles beamed excitedly, eyes lighting up as he reached out to high-five her
Erica easily high-fived him back, practically glowing with excitement
"I knew I knew you from somewhere! I just didn't know where,"
"Yeah, I don't show my face that often on my main channel so it's no wonder you didn't recognize me at first,"
Derek was... primarily just confused
"Stiles has a YouTube channel that I watch every night, he does creepy videos, you know, Top Ten Most Haunted Houses, reading Creepypastas, talking about weird creatures,"
"It combines some of my greatest passions, researching, mysteries, creepy stuff, and ofcourse talking, then I have another channel where I do reveiws and that's my geek outlet,"
"I'm guessing that's why you're only doing part-time things right now?" Derek ventured
"You guess correctly, I'm trying to be a professional YouTuber but I don't quite have the audience yet,"
Derek gave a small shrug, tilting his head and reaching out towards the other male
"Write down your channel name, I'll watch,"
It would probably be pretty enjoyable, honestly, Derek liked creepy stuff
Stiles paused, staring down at Derek's wrist with wide eyes and an open mouth
Oh... his marked wrist...
Ok, sure, Derek knew his soulmate's name was bizarre, but he didn't see any reason for Stiles to gawk like that
"Oh... my God..." he breathed, eyes flicking up to Derek's in wonder
"That's my name..."
"My name!! You have my name! DUDE what's your name!?"
"His name is Derek," Laura offered as Stiles quickly tore off his wristband and showed Derek the mark
And surely enough, there was his name
Derek stared in confusion, mouth slightly open as his eyes flicked from Stiles' wrist up to his eyes
"But... but your name-"
"Is Mieczyslaw, but it's such a mouthfull that everybody just calls me Stiles,"
Derek couldn't believe this, all the greif he went through and his soulmate had been right in front of him for over a week and he hadn't even known...
"Guess that'll teach you not to introduce yourself right away," Laura snorted
Derek was still gaping as Stiles leaned closer, eyes bright and excited
"You and I are going to do SO. MANY. boyfreind tags,"
"I.. don't know what that means," Derek admitted slowly, clearing his throat
"But if .. if you want to work here part time wile you get your channel promoted-"
"Dude, it's the family business, OFCOURSE I'll help out here! Especially since I can work on my videos when it's slow," he winked
Derek couldn't help a small smile forming across his face, his skin flushing red as he leaned in closer to Stiles
"Or I could teach you to cook and you could help me out in the kitchen now and then," he teased
"Mm... fun fact Big Guy," Stiles smirked, leaning closer and wispering into Derek's ear
"I already know how to cook, and I'm pretty good at it,"
Derek's eyes gleamed as he tilted his head up and caught Stiles in a slow, gentle kiss- the first of many, clearly
"Mm... then I have DEFINITELY found my soulmate...."