Stiles drops his stack of books onto the counter and immediately starts talking. He has yet to see any other employees in this amazing store so the cashier is just going to have to deal with Stiles's ramblings. They're lucky he hasn't moved in. The amount of old, musty manuscripts on European history and folklore is amazing. Like, do these people even know what they have?
"Hi, I was looking for..." His words trail off as the cashier turns to face him and Stiles's brain dies as he takes in the guy's gorgeous face and dazzling smile and those eyes. Damn, those eyes are... "Pretty." The guy chuckles and it does amazing things to his face. It takes Stiles a second to realize why the guy is chuckling and when he does Stiles's face burns. "Oh. Oh, God. I said that out loud, didn't I?"
The guy's smile widens. "Yeah. Yeah, you did."
"Oh, God." Stiles ducks below the counter because he can't look at that handsome face anymore. He almost wishes the floor would open and swallow him before he dies of embarrassment but he's from Beacon Hills and he's had that happen and it's really scary so no. No swallowing and maybe if he just stays low he can sneak out, but he wants his books. A small whine escapes him. "I'm going to die."
"Eventually, yes. Right now, probably not."
Dammit, why does the guy have such an amazing voice as well? And he's funny too. Stiles flails slightly while he's out of sight. He's not even wearing good clothes. He hasn't done laundry in a week and he probably smells. Why is this his life?
A head peeks over the counter. "If you are planning to die, please do so outside. It's bad for the insurance."
Stiles huffs a laugh, because how can he not. He stares up at the handsome man. "As much as I'd like to, death seems unlikely. Can we just..." He waves a hand through the air. "Like, forget about the whole me talking thing? Just wipe it all out and then I can just pay for my books and go self-combust in my dorm."
The man snorts and leans even further over the counter to grab Stiles by the back of his hoodie and pull him upright. Stiles nearly falls over the counter and knocks two of the books onto the floor. He immediately dives for the books and somehow manages to smack his head on the edge of the counter.
"Owww..." Stiles drops the fallen books back onto the pile and presses a hand to his face.
The man is obviously trying not to laugh. It's not very successful, but Stiles appreciates the effort. "What were you looking for?"
The man shakes his head and chuckles. "A minute ago. You started to ask for something before commenting on my face."
"Not your face," Stiles says automatically and then winces. "I mean, yes, your face is quite nice. All..." His hands make a motion in the air kind of like a vase. He's not sure what he's going for there. "...symmetrical." He looks away, down at his stack of books—which, why did he even come here, this was so not his day even if he did find a book on kelpies—because he can't face the guy and he's never going to be able to come here again. "But it was your eyes... I thought your eyes were... are..." He swallows down his nerves and spits the word out. "...pretty."
"Thank you." Stiles can hear the amusement dripping from the guy's tone.
"Uh, thanks for not being weirded out... or, like, a homophobe because I really hate dealing with those and can we just, like, forget all about this awkwardness?"
The guy chuckles again. "So you can go self-combust? Sure." He taps the keys of an old cash register as he puts each book in a brown paper bag. There isn't even a digital display. How does this guy do inventory? "That'll be forty even."
Stiles blinks because he's sure that's not right. Two of those books should be worth a good twenty each and he had three more on top of that. "What? I..." He shuts his mouth quickly. He's a broke college student. He's not going to complain about a discount but he's also not going to read too much into it. That way lies madness. He drops two crumpled twenties on the counter and clutches his books to his chest.
The guy is still smiling as he prints out a receipt. "Here." He pulls a business card from the other side of the register and slips it into the pages of one of the books. "In case you remember what else you were looking for."
Stiles nods and beats a hasty retreat. His blush doesn't die until he's on the subway heading back toward campus. He is so glad it's Saturday and he doesn't have to deal with people for a whole other day because he's used up all his peopling. There will be no more.
His luck holds all the way back to his dorm room. The lounge is blissfully empty so Stiles can sneak into his room without saying hello to anyone. Atharv is home but he's used to Stiles and barely even looks away from his computer as Stiles throws himself on his bed.
"Oh, you went to that store Lola was talking about?"
Stiles groans into his pillow. He can hear Atharv scooting around on his rolling chair and the rustle of paper.
"Are these even in English?"
Stiles lifts his face enough to say "some are" and then buries his face again.
Stiles frowns. He turns his head to face Atharv. "I don't know a Derek."
Atharv snorts and pushes off from the floor to send his chair rolling into Stiles's bed. There's a brief bump as the chair collides with the bed frame. Atharv grins as he waves a small piece of paper in front of Stiles. "He wants to know you."
Stiles grabs for the paper, only to have Atharv yank it out of reach. "Hey!" A brief tussle ensues, ending with both Stiles and Atharv on the floor. The paper—the business card—is bent by the time Stiles gets his hand on it, but that's definitely the card that the cashier put in his books earlier. It's got the standard info for the bookstore on the front but on the back is Derek's name, a phone number, and the simple instruction to call him.
"Holy shit." Stiles rolls over and grabs Atharv into a tight hug. "Holy shit."
Atharv laughs and clasps Stiles on the back. "You going to call him?"
Stiles falls onto his back. "Yeah. Yeah, I think I will."
He doesn't stop smiling all weekend.