Stiles adjusts his shirt and the loose tie hanging around his neck as he stands outside of Harris’ office. You got this, Stilinski, he says to himself. Think positive. He knocks on the door and waits until Harris yells.
He pushes the door open and steps inside. Harris is at his desk, surrounded by proofs, a stack of unopened mail, and mock ups for Sunday’s edition of the Beacon Hills Examiner. Harris looks up, sighing and rolling his eyes when he sees who’s at the door.
“What do you want, Stilinski?”
“I was wondering if you had a minute?”
“Is there a problem with the obits?” Harris asks as he goes back to whatever article he was proofing.
“No,” Stiles grits out, feeling his cheeks burn with embarrassment. It’s bad enough obits are the lowest job for reporters, but of course Harris has to point that out. Fucking asshole. “I wanted to run a story idea by you.”
“No,” Harris replies without even looking up.
“You haven’t even heard my idea! I have a pitch ready and everything!” Stiles exclaims, hands flailing around.
“I’ve already got two lead reporters. There aren’t enough stories for you to join in, too.”
“But there’s this endangered mollusk that – “
Harris snaps his head up and narrows his eyes. “An endangered mollusk?” he asks.
Stiles straightens his shoulders. “Yes. It’s a big deal. This particular species is only found in Beacon County, and with the newly proposed plans for the county dam, the mollusks – “
“Stilinski, I’m falling asleep just listening to this,” Harris snaps. “No one cares about a fucking mollusk, endangered or not.”
“I care!” Stiles exclaims. Harris gives him a look that implies Stiles’ opinion on endangered mollusks is irrelevant. “I thought it could be a nice change of pace. And my talents are being wasted on obits.”
“I gave you those business stories,” Harris says. “Four, to be exact. Two of them are going to press later this week. I’m sure I can find another business story for you eventually. I’ll send over the press releases. If you find one you think might make a good write up for the business page, let me or Kali know.” Harris waves his hand as he turns back to his work. “If that’s all…”
Well, Stiles thinks, he guesses that’s all. He leaves Harris’s office and sighs after he closes the door. If the guy wasn’t the editor and possessed the authority to fire his ass, Stiles would so tell that guy to go to hell.
Stiles walks back over to his desk and drops into the chair. “What did he say?” Danny asks.
“What do you think?” Stiles mutters as he logs on to his chat program. He should be typing up the rest of the obits, but he’s still got two more hours before he gets off; he can knock out those obits in twenty minutes.
“That’s too bad,” Danny says. “I like your mollusk idea.”
“Do you really?” Stiles asks.
Danny nods. “I do. I’m not sure if the local newspaper is quite the audience for it, though.”
“But it’s a local mollusk! How is that not local news? It’s more interesting than the fact that the liquor store got robbed last night, or that the parade route is changed for the July 4th parade.”
“Hey!” Danny exclaims. “I wrote those stories!”
“And you did a fine job,” Stiles says as glances at the screen. He sees the screen name he was hoping for, and smiles.
“New York guy?” Danny asks with a knowing smirk.
Danny turns back to his computer as Stiles pulls up a chat box.
GangnamStiles: Tell me a joke. I’m having a shit day.
ShadowWolf: …I don’t know any jokes.
GangnamStiles: How do you not know any jokes? You’re literally on the internet. Just google one.
GangnamStiles: OMG. You’re totally googling something, aren’t you? That’s why you haven’t responded.
ShadowWolf: You told me to!
GangnamStiles: N/m. Send me a selfie RIGHT NOW. Don’t go get pretty or even brush your hair.
ShadowWolf has attached a file. Would you like to download it now?
GangnamStiles: Do you ever work? Are you still in bed? It’s like 6 p.m. there.
GangnamStiles has attached a file. Would you like to download it now?
ShadowWolf: I’m watching television and didn’t feel like sitting on my couch. My bed was calling me.
ShadowWolf: I love the loosened tie. Sexy.
GangnamStiles: I like the wife beater. Chest hair. Rawr.
ShadowWolf: Why are you having a bad day?
GangnamStiles: Boss is an asshole. Two more hours in this hellhole.
ShadowWolf: What kind of flower is on your face?
ShadowWolf: It’s a joke.
GangnamStiles: Oh. I don’t know, what kind?
GangnamStiles: The whole internet at your fingertips and that’s what you came up with?
ShadowWolf: …I thought it was funny.
GangnamStiles: You would.
GangnamStiles: I gotta get back to work.
ShadowWolf: Did I scare you off with my bad joke?
GangnamStiles: Will you be on later?
ShadowWolf: Of course.
GangnamStiles: Awesome :)
Stiles closes his chat program, and then looks at the picture again. He doesn’t notice Erica behind him until he hears her low whistle.
“Damn Stiles,” Erica says as Stiles hastily clicks out of the picture. “Are you sure he’s real? Like, he’s not just googling pictures? He could be catfishing you.”
“Unless he’s hella consistent with his stealing of photos, I’m pretty sure he’s real,” Stiles replies.
“I bet this Derek guy steals Instagram pictures from some guy and sends them to Stiles,” Erica tells Danny as she sits in her chair. They both snicker. “There’s no way any guy that hot, from New York, is on the internet and talking to Stilinski.”
“Fuck off,” Stiles says. Then he admits, “Though I can’t believe it, either.” Erica throws her hands up in a see-I-told-you gesture while Stiles pulls the picture back up. Derek is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on. And it has of course crossed Stiles’ mind that Derek might not be real. Erica was absolutely correct – what the hell was this guy doing on the internet talking to him when he looked like that?
Oh well. It was a nice fantasy. It wasn’t like he was ever going to meet Derek anyway, so it was a fantasy Stiles would continue to enjoy until he found someone in real life half as attractive and interesting.
Stiles’ ire for Harris continues as he types up the remaining obits, just seething with every word that he types. He keeps thinking about Derek and the picture Derek sent to cheer him up. It gets him through the day.
It works pretty well, if he does say so himself. Stiles is pretty used to using fantasy to get through life at this point.
Derek ignores his phone. But then it rings again. And again. On the fifth call, Derek yanks it up and angrily presses it to his ear. “What?”
“That’s no way to greet your sister,” Laura says sweetly.
“Fuck off. Whatever you want, the answer is no.”
“Derek, I haven’t even asked. What if I needed a kidney?”
“Answer’s still no.”
Laura gasps. “How dare you deny me a potentially life-saving organ!”
“The only reason you’d want my kidney would be so you could film it and put it on TV. You’d turn my kidney into some sort of perverse publicity stunt.”
“I should be offended,” Laura says, “But you know me so well.”
“I’m hanging up.”
“Wait! Don’t.” Derek sighs and rubs his eyes in frustration. “Mom’s going to some charity benefit thing next week,” Laura explains. “She wants you to go.”
“Then why isn’t she calling me?”
“I need you to sign the release forms so – “
“Laura, how many fucking times do I have to tell you I will not agree to be on your stupid show, ever.”
“My show is not stupid!” Laura exclaims. “It’s the highest rated reality show on the WE network.”
“Which means absolutely nothing,” Derek replies. “Reruns of The Golden Girls get more ratings than your show.”
“You’re a dick.”
“I can’t bring the camera crews if you don’t agree!” Laura whines. “Then I won’t be able to go.”
“You can go somewhere without your reality show filming it.”
“There’s no point! My fans want to see what I do, what my life is like. You’d be surprised how many people find the life of an Oscar winning actress’ daughter interesting.”
Derek groans. “Can’t you just go and enjoy the benefit? You can still wear a designer gown and make sure the paparazzi get enough shots so you’ll end up in the style section of US Weekly. I even bet Cora would make you a gown special for the occasion. Imagine the buzz!”
Laura honest-to-god squeals on the other end of the line. “Derek, that is the most perfect idea ever! See, you say you hate my show, but you really want to help keep me in the magazines, too.”
“Sure, whatever, Laura.” Derek rolls his eyes. He just wants to do anything that will keep the cameras trained on his sisters and off of him. Laura showing up at an event with their mom wearing one of Cora’s gowns? That should keep the photographers busy long enough so he can slip by mostly unnoticed.
“Speaking of Cora, did you hear the latest?”
“Oh god, no.” Derek picks up the remote and flips idly through the channels. “What has she done now?”
“She was photographed with Ryan Gosling at a club, and then getting into his car afterwards.”
“You know they’re friends,” Derek says. “This is not news.”
“Everyone thinks they’re dating.”
“So? If they are, great. It’ll be over in about two weeks. That’s about the length of one of Cora’s typical relationships.”
“How are you my brother?” Laura asks.
“I ask myself that question every day.”
“Let me know if Cora tells you about Ryan.”
“You’ll talk to her before me!”
“Yeah, but she might tell you about her secret fling. She won’t tell me.”
“Because you’ll go run your mouth on your show,” Derek points out.
“I can’t lie on television! My fans deserve the truth.” Derek rolls his eyes again. He’s not sure if anything on that show is the truth except maybe Laura’s name.
When he finally gets off the phone, he checks his e-mail and sees an e-mail from his mom’s publicist about the charity benefit. She asks if Derek will be attending, and then asks if he’d like to wear Tom Ford, Gucci, or Hugo Boss to the event.
Tom Ford, definitely.
After that, he clicks onto his chat program. Stiles’ name is greyed out, and when he looks at the clock, he realizes it’s only a little after six in California. He leaves it up as he watches TV, eats a dinner of left over salad from the fridge, and then smiles when he hears the familiar ding.
GangnamStiles: Been waiting long?
ShadowWolf: Long enough.
GangnamStiles: Time differences suck. How is your night?
ShadowWolf: My sister is annoying.
ShadowWolf: Yep. We have to go to this dinner with my mom, and she’s making a bigger deal out of it than it is. And she was flipping out because my other sister may or may not have a new boyfriend.
GangnamStiles: Ooh, drama.
ShadowWolf: I hate drama.
GangnamStiles: I know :)
ShadowWolf: Wanna watch a movie or play a game?
GangnamStiles: Movie night. I’m in the mood to make fun of stuff. Send me a picture of the movie on your TV, your snacks, and how cute you are in bed watching it :)
ShadowWolf: Couch tonight. Tired of the bed.
ShadowWolf: Fuck off.
ShadowWolf: Let’s watch Clue. Ever seen it?
GangnamStiles: Are you kidding? I fucking love that movie. Comedy classic.
Derek smiles as he snaps a photo of himself with the DVD case, then the beginning of the movie, and his snacks. He sends them to Stiles, who makes fun of his “rabbit food” and then tells him he’s sexy.
The best thing about Stiles is that he has no clue who Derek is. He knows Derek’s first name and that he lives in New York. Only recently had Derek started exchanging photos with him; when he’d signed up for the online dating website, he’d just posted a picture of his bare abs. Cliché, but Derek wanted to talk to guys without the threat of the media finding out.
At first, it was a lot of hey sexy want 2 hook up? or dick pic? Derek wasn’t stupid enough to send a dick pic to anyone (because that was just the media shitstorm that would finally push him into moving to Australia or something, and cause his mother irreparable damage to her career (which he’d never do), and would give Laura way too much glee.) He chatted with a few people, inane conversations that made him question humankind’s existence, and had chat sex with a few others (a few who didn’t understand just why they couldn’t meet up for the real thing or at least sext).
Just when he was thinking about deleting the account and marking this experiment as failed, he got a message from someone called GangnamStiles. That is the dumbest name I’ve ever seen, Derek thought to himself. But in all honesty, it was a refreshing change from guys named bigdick4u and hotbodnyc.
Abs shot? How cliché. I almost scrolled by, but I saw you liked to read. I’ve got a master’s in English, wrote my thesis on Victorian political cartoons. Favorite book?
The message had sold Derek. And if the message hadn’t done it, then the pictures of the cute, thin brunette with the messy hair in front of D.C. monuments, drinking at a bar, and on what looked like a farm would have done the trick. This was the kind of guy Derek had been wanting to talk to. Someone real, someone without the layers of fakeness put on by money, the media, or the Upper East Side. The guy posted a picture of himself holding a watermelon – this was as far away from what Derek was used to as he’d ever gotten.
Derek responded that his favorite book was a tie between Animal Farm and Blood Meridian, and when Stiles had responded with, “The Road was better. And please tell me you cry every time Boxer dies like I do,” Derek couldn’t reply fast enough.
This had continued for the last six months.
Derek had made sure in a variety of ways that Stiles didn’t know his real persona. It was challenging to ask questions without being obvious, but he’d been hiding his identity for years. Discerning if a guy in California had ever heard of him was a piece of cake. Thank god most of the media was obsessed with his sisters and mother and not him.
Derek downloads the pictures Stiles sends him, and he grins. Stiles is absolutely adorable. Adorable in the way that you wanted to see them fucked out with swollen lips and hand-fisted hair. Derek went back and forth between thinking Stiles looked completely innocent to thinking he was completely debauched. Tonight, he was adorable in a superhero t-shirt and messy hair. Derek looked similar to the picture he’d sent earlier in the day; wife beater, messy hair, but now with glasses instead of contacts.
Derek spends all night chatting with Stiles as they watch the movie. He could have just about any man or woman he wanted in New York. He was Talia Hale’s son, and his mom’s living room filled with Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmys made him accepted in just about any circle he wanted to frequent. Although Laura was best known as a reality star (which was pretty laughable in itself), she was still well liked and included in the best circles. And Cora’s reputation as one of the hottest, edgiest new fashion designers, along with her propensity for bad behavior (which makes her a complete fucking PR nightmare for their mom and publicists) keeps her in the press and tabloids.
Derek hates it all. He hates the attention, the cameras, the constant scrutiny. His dad had divorced his mom and moved to Europe when Derek was just a kid. Then after some rebellious years, Kate Argent, and a stint in rehab, Derek had become a veritable hermit. Occasionally, he’ll show up in a picture, or someone will print something about “Laura Hale’s mysterious brother.” But for the most part, he stays away from all of that.
And he likes it that way, because it allows him to sit up all night, pigging out on bananas and frozen pineapple, talking and making dumb jokes to an absolutely wonderful guy in California who has no fucking clue he’s Derek Hale.
GangnamStiles: When I was a little boy, my mom used to take me to story time at the library. It was my favorite time of the week, because the librarian read the best stories and dressed up and gave us juice boxes and goldfish crackers.
ShadowWolf: I never did anything like that.
GangnamStiles: My mom used to say that I wouldn’t focus for anyone. My ADHD was really bad when I was young. The daycare teachers always complained, my teachers called my mom all the time, but whenever I was at the library, I just…got swept away by the stories, I guess.
ShadowWolf: That’s a great story. I wish I had something like that.
ShadowWolf: My mom worked a lot when I was growing up. I wouldn’t see her sometimes for months, because she’d have to travel for her job. Whenever she came home, she would take just me on picnics. We lived in LA for awhile, and she’d take an entire day and take me to the mountains. We’d hike to the top and just stare out, silently standing side by side. Then we’d eat our picnic, and she’d tell me all about what she saw and did while she was away, and she’d ask me about what I did. She always looked like she was so interested in what I said, and it was just the ramblings of a ten year old. And she always bought me small animal figures from all over the world, because I loved animals and going to the zoo.
GangnamStiles: That story is just as awesome as my story.
GangnamStiles: I’m literally grinning while reading to it.
ShadowWolf: I still have all those figurines on a shelf in my apartment.
GangnamStiles: I have shelves full of action figures lol
GangnamStiles: After my mom died, I did nothing but read books from the library. My dad couldn’t even pry them out of my hands.
ShadowWolf: I didn’t know your mom died. I’m sorry. How old were you?
GangnamStiles: 9. It sucked. Took me and my dad a long time to recover. I had panic attacks, and he become a workaholic and drank too much.
ShadowWolf: My dad left when I was around 8. He lives in Europe somewhere and is on his fourth wife. I haven’t seen him in about ten years.
GangnamStiles: This has gotten depressing. Let’s talk about something happier.
Stiles comes home after work on Friday to find Scott and Isaac sorting through produce on the kitchen table. There’s dirt everywhere, and stems and leaves littering the floor and table.
“Really, guys?” Stiles sighs as he steps around the mess and slings his messenger bag onto the couch. “You couldn’t have done this, I dunno, outside? Where there is dirt and stuff instead of in the kitchen, where Stiles will definitely not be cleaning it up?”
They both shrug as they continue separating produce from the baskets on the floor. There’s a stack of carrots by Scott’s elbow, a pile of turnips between them, a basket of blueberries on the floor, and a box of cabbages by Isaac’s feet.
“This week’s haul to the market is going to be great,” Scott says. “We’ve collected so much, and we’re only half done.”
Stiles groans as he heads upstairs. “Fine, I’ll change clothes and go start picking!” He quickly changes into what he jokingly calls his Farmer Stiles clothes – old, baggy overalls, a sleeveless t-shirt, and dirty boots. When he gets back downstairs, he grabs a pear from the pile by Isaac’s elbow and takes a bite. “Dad out there?”
“Yep. He said something about talking to the tomatoes to get them to grow bigger,” Isaac says. “I don’t ask when your dad starts getting weird about his vegetables.”
Stiles snorts as he takes another bite, the juice from the pear leaking down his hand. He licks it off as he crosses the yard.
Stiles co-owns the large organic farm with his dad, Scott, and Isaac. After his dad retired from the sheriff’s department, he got some crazy idea that he wanted to be a farmer. He’d farmed in the back yard of their suburban home for years, and had some gorgeous produce, Stiles admits. Scott had jumped at the chance to invest in the farm, and Isaac already had a degree in horticulture and agricultural development, so Stiles’ dad approached him for help. Somewhere along the way, Stiles got roped into helping, too. Mainly, he just picked things off the plants when they were ripe and sometimes planted seeds. The farm was their endeavor; Stiles just invested and cheered them on from the sidelines.
The farm covers over a hundred acres of land on the outskirts of Beacon County. Most of it is open fields filled with peas, beans, carrots, cabbages, tomatoes, strawberries, and about a zillion other fruits and vegetables Stiles can never remember. There are two orchards full of fruit trees, and areas for blueberry bushes, raspberry plants, and grape vines.
The old two story farm house Stiles lives in is nestled in a dense grove of trees. He loves it. The house is wood and looks like a rustic cabin people pay hundreds of dollars to stay in up in the mountains. The house was built over a hundred years ago, and after he bought it, he spent a few years renovating and modernizing it. He now shares the house with Isaac, while Scott lives with Lydia in a smaller house on the other side of the property, and his dad lives in a small barn-turned-house near the fruit orchard.
“Dad!” Stiles calls out as he shields his eyes against the bright evening sun. It hangs low in the sky, at just the perfect height to shine right in Stiles’ eyes as he crosses by the long rows of vegetables. His dad is crouched between two rows of tomato plants. As Stiles approaches, he sees his dad fingering the round yellowish globes almost reverently.
“They’re stunted,” his dad says as Stiles crouches beside him.
“Maybe they’re just late bloomers,” Stiles suggests. They just look like tomatoes to him.
“They should be double the size by now,” his dad says. He sighs and turns to Stiles. “I didn’t expect to see you here.”
Stiles hooks his thumb over his shoulder. “They’re getting dirt all over the kitchen, so I thought I’d come help finish up. They said there was more to harvest.”
“Yeah,” his dad says as he pushes himself up by the thighs. “All the cherry tomatoes need plucking, as do the cucumbers.”
“Right.” Stiles nods as he takes the bucket his dad hands him. He heads down the perfectly lined row, bypassing the big boy and beefsteak tomatoes as he heads for the next row over. He takes his phone out of his pocket and starts snapping photos of the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the vegetables in the bucket, him in his farmer’s clothes, and even him pulling them from the vines. He logs onto the chat program on his phone, but notices Derek’s not online. He sends him the pictures anyway and then slips the phone into his pocket.
Stiles picks tomatoes and cucumbers for almost an hour. By the time he’s finished, the sun is going down. He finds his dad hauling large bushels of snap peas onto the back of a truck. “You’re going to the market tomorrow, aren’t you?”
“Ugh, do I have to?” Stiles asks as he carries the bucket of tomatoes towards the house.
Stiles deposits the bucket with Isaac and Scott, and then goes upstairs to take a shower. When he logs back onto chat, Derek’s name is still greyed out, but he’s replied to the pictures. I didn’t know you were a farmer!
Stiles stares at the message and frowns. There’s so much they don’t know about each other. He’d only just seen a picture of Derek’s face a few weeks ago (and Stiles had avoided clicking on it for a few hours because he was terrified that perfect body was connected to the head of a troll). They’d never exchanged numbers, spoken on the phone, or skyped.
The whole thing just depresses Stiles.
If Derek lived in California, Stiles knew they would date and fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. Derek seemed like he was the perfect man, well, perfect for Stiles. But, Stiles really didn’t have any real knowledge of Derek. He knew very little about the man, aside from his taste in movies, his favorite color, his first girlfriend’s name, his worst relationship, his biggest fear…
(Bad mixed with pretentious Oscar shit, black, Paige, Kate, not being able to live his life the way he wants to…)
Okay, so maybe Stiles knows a lot about Derek. But that’s why it just makes it all so depressing. Derek knows things about Stiles that he’d never told anyone before. And he’s pretty sure some of the more intimate things Derek told him weren’t common knowledge. But they still didn’t know each other, and these feelings Stiles had developed were for an imaginary guy Stiles made up in his head.
Stiles looks at the greyed name again, realizes that it’s Friday night, and clicks out of the screen.
He pulls on his tight jeans, the ones that make his ass look great, and a simple navy t-shirt, and jogs downstairs.
“Lydia, for fuck’s sake, gimme the remote,” Isaac snaps. “I am not watching TMZ.”
“Isaac!” Lydia screeches. “Do not curse at me! How many times do I have to tell you?”
“How many times do I have to tell you not to steal the remote in my own fucking house?”
“Man, stop cursing at my girlfriend,” Scott says, obviously trying to keep the peace between the two.
“What’s going on?” Stiles asks as he drops onto the sofa next to Lydia’s feet.
“You look nice,” she says, tearing her eyes away from the screen long enough to give him an approving once over.
“Lyds, seriously,” Isaac says. “Who cares about some charity benefit with a bunch of no names?”
“I do,” Lydia replies in frustration. “And they are not no names. Cora Hale is the best new designer in New York right now. You should have seen her line at Paris fashion week. I’m still reeling from those dresses. I read on TLo that she designed both Talia and Laura Hale’s dresses for the event.”
Stiles watches absently as paparazzi follow Talia Hale and two dark haired women down a red carpet.
“I love that show she’s on,” Isaac comments.
“Me, too,” Lydia says. “She’s so fierce. She’s over fifty, and look at her rocking that dress!” Stiles watches for a few more moments, the cameras trained on the women before they start chasing a dark-haired man.
“Poor sap,” Stiles laughs. The man keeps his face away from the camera, and all Stiles can see is his profile. Then, he ducks into the building.
“That’s Derek Hale,” Lydia explains. “Their brother. He’s some weird recluse or something. Big drama back when he was young, then he dated this socialite who sold her story to People, and he’s barely been seen since.”
“Why do you know all this?” Isaac asks incredulously.
Lydia continues as if she didn’t hear Isaac. “He’s hardly ever photographed, and he won’t agree to be on his sister’s reality show. There are all sorts of weird rumors about him.”
Stiles snorts. “He’s probably some closet case or sociopath.” He tears his eyes from the TV before he gets sucked in and spends all night watching trash TV with Lydia. It’s happened way too many times before. “I wanna go out,” he announces.
“Too tired,” Isaac says.
“Plus, we have to sell produce in the morning at the farmer’s market,” Scott says. “It’s your turn.” Stiles rolls his eyes.
“Fine. I’ll go alone. Just so you know, each of you suck.”
When Stiles gets to the bar in town, he orders a beer and sits on the stool, watching the crowd. After a few minutes, Danny takes the empty seat beside him.
“Here alone?” Danny asks.
“Looking to hook up?”
Stiles glances over at him. “I could be persuaded.” He grins flirtatiously.
“I don’t have the energy to try and pick up a guy,” Danny admits, “but I’m horny as hell. Wanna go back to my place?”
“Sounds great.” Stiles spins around on the stool and drains the rest of his beer, then follows Danny outside. It’s a familiar arrangement, Danny and Stiles fucking whenever they were single, bored, or just horny. They’ve been doing it for years, and tonight Stiles is grateful. He just really needs to fuck someone to stop from feeling sorry for himself.
Derek hates charity events. Actually, Derek hates all public events. He wishes that by now, by age 31, that he would be used to these things. He didn’t actually have to go to these events with his mom. He was an adult, a grown man. But she appreciated her children making an appearance, helping to strengthen her image as the strong matron of the Hale family. Derek just loved his mom and wanted to support her.
“You look very handsome tonight,” Talia says in the limo on the way to the banquet hall.
“Thank you,” Derek replies with a smile. “You look stunning.”
Talia laughs and touches her hair and dress self-consciously. “Cora designed it just for me. I think it’s a tad ostentatious, don’t you?”
“Mom,” Cora drawls from the other end of Derek’s seat. “I’ve told you a thousand times, the dress is absolutely perfect for you. Did you see the dresses they were wearing to the Oscars this year?”
“Dear, I’m over fifty. I am too old to dress like the younger actresses.”
“That’s bullshit,” Cora says. “You’re fucking gorgeous, okay? I don’t make mistakes with my designs.”
“So humble,” Derek says under his breath. Cora shoves him.
“My dress is perfect!” Laura’s been too busy admiring her dress and posting pictures of herself on Instagram to pay attention to much else. She did a live stream where she discussed Cora’s designs for her and Talia’s dresses, and Talia graciously said a few words on Laura’s video, and Cora rambled about her method or something. Derek hid his face behind a magazine. “If I don’t make it onto at least Entertainment Tonight or People Stylewatch, I will absolutely die.”
“You?” Cora scoffs. “These are the first pieces I’ve done since fashion week. They better end up somewhere. I’m trying to land a deal to be the exclusive designer for the new Jennifer Lawrence film.”
Derek tunes everyone out. Their insipid conversations about fashion and tabloids don’t interest him at all. Instead, he pulls out his phone and checks the chat program. Stiles isn’t on, but there are a group of pictures waiting for him. He opens them up, his smile getting wider as he clicks on each subsequent photo. Different farming shots, and then Stiles dirty and sweaty, wearing baggy overalls.
“What’s got you smiling?” Talia asks, nudging Derek’s foot with her shoe.
“It’s that guy,” Cora says boredly.
“What guy? There’s a guy?” Laura asks excitedly while Derek hisses, “Cora!”
“What?” Cora says, looking at Derek.
“What guy, Derek?” Laura asks impatiently. “Why did you tell Cora and not me?”
Derek glances at Laura and looks at her like she’s stupid. “Maybe because Cora can keep her mouth shut?”
“Why are you such an ass about my show? You’re just jealous,” Laura snaps.
“Yeah, right,” Derek says, turning back to his phone.
“It’s some guy online,” Cora explains to Laura. “They’ve been talking for like six months.”
“Six months?” Laura exclaims. “Derek!”
“What?” he growls.
“Does he know who you are?” Talia asks gently. Derek glances at her, and he can tell that she gets it. Bless his mother; she’s the only thing that keeps him sane. Derek shakes his head. “I understand the appeal of anonymity. I bet it’s nice to have a friend who just likes you for you instead of your name.” She smiles.
“Are you cyber dating someone?” Laura asks. “Do you have a fake identity now?”
“No. We just talk.”
“He’s cute,” Cora says.
“You let Cora see a picture?” Laura launches across the small space in the back of the limo and grabs Derek’s phone.
“Laura, I swear to fucking god,” Cora yells, “if you rip my dress I will rip your head off.”
“Children!” Talia bellows. “Please act like the mature adults you are.”
“Laura, give me back my phone!” Derek says as Laura settles back in her spot.
Laura grins and squeals. “Derek, he’s precious! Mom, look!” Laura leans over and shows Talia the phone.
“Is he a farmer?” Talia asks.
“I don’t know,” Derek replies, feeling his face heat up. This was not supposed to happen. He was not supposed to end up talking about Stiles with his family. Everything had just gotten overwhelming and everyone was getting on his nerves, and he just wants to talk to Stiles. Stiles always makes him feel better. “We don’t give each other any specific details about our real lives.”
“Maybe he wants to get to know you a little better,” Laura says with a smirk as she returns his phone. “Maybe he wants to take your little friendship a little farther. Make you into a little farmer like him.”
“He lives in California,” he says, putting an official end that that line of thought. He starts typing out a message, but the limo pulls to a stop in front of the event hall. He sighs, erases the start of his potentially long message, and barely has the time to type out I didn’t know you were a farmer! before he’s being dragged out of the limo and begins the game of dodge the paparazzi.
Good thing Laura is already front and center, modeling Cora’s dress. Makes it easy for Derek to slip right past.
GangnamStiles: Can you have a sex hangover?
Derek frowns at the message. He just stares at it, trying to quell the irrational jealousy. Sure, Derek knew Stiles had sex, and Stiles knew Derek had sex. They were friends, who lived on opposite sides of the country. The problem is, it used to not bother Derek. They’ve spent many nights chatting about their hook-ups.
Derek knows Stiles has a friend, Danny, who he has an arrangement with. He knows about the time Stiles went on a few disastrous dates with a guy named Matt. He still remembers Stiles sending him a message in the middle of the date, He creeps me out. I think there’s something evil about it. Then there was his crush on that woman from work, Erica.
It’s not like Derek has been celibate the last six months. But it’s much more difficult for him to find anyone he trusts enough. Not just because of the potential public scandal, but his last two disastrous relationships didn’t do much for his trust in people. Which is why he’s crushing on some guy three thousand miles away. No way Derek could find someone less accessible if he tried.
“Derek? Earth to Derek,” Jackson’s voice cuts into his thoughts. “Your eggs are getting cold.”
ShadowWolf: Maybe? How much sex did you have last night? Btw, lucky you. I spent all night at that dinner for my mom. It was horrendous. I couldn’t cut out early, I was forced to socialize, and she even threatened to take my phone away every time I got it out.
Derek sets his phone down, his frown deepening as he picks up his fork.
“You okay?” Allison asks, reaching over and placing a hand on his forearm. The Hales’ bond with the Argents was the only good thing that came out of his relationship with Kate. Kate had been a New York socialite, but her brother was Chris Argent, a producer who had produced three Oscar-nominated films and five blockbusters that each made over $500 million worldwide. Through the whole Kate fiasco, the Hales and the Argents had become close while trying to deal with the PR nightmare. Chris and Talia had remained close friends afterwards, and partnered together last year for his mother’s latest film, which already had Oscar buzz around it. Allison had only been a little girl when Derek was with Kate, but after joint family vacations in Milan and Monaco and countless benefits around New York, they had become friends. Plus, now, Allison was one of the leading supermodels in the world and the face of Cora’s design line. Allison and Jackson, another supermodel, were Derek’s best friends.
“Did Laura accidentally talk about you on her show again?” Jackson says with a laugh.
“It’s nothing,” Derek says with a shake of his head. They may be his best friends, but they didn’t know about Stiles. Jackson would have laughed him out of New York, and Allison would have been way too supportive and encouraging, and Derek didn’t need someone helping him get his hopes up for something that would never happen.
“Cheer up,” Allison says brightly. “It’s a beautiful afternoon.”
“And you actually let us go to a decent place for lunch for once,” Jackson gripes.
“You love that restaurant we always go to,” Derek says.
Jackson purses his lips. “It was fine until we went to it, every day, for years.”
“I like that place,” Derek says. “It’s small, and out of the way, and – “
“Yeah, yeah, no photographers, blah blah blah, I know the Derek Way of Life.”
“Don’t listen to Jackson,” Allison says. “We love going to lunch with you, no matter where. But we’re especially glad you’re at this place with us.”
“Look, I know what will make you stop moping all over your eggs,” Jackson says. “That new club that just opened up, Alpha/Beta? Ethan and Aiden put me on the permanent guest list, as long as I only brought hot people to the club.” Jackson looks between them pointedly. “You two in? And Derek, you don’t get to say no.”
Derek looks down at his phone, the chat window still open with no response from Stiles. He closes the program and nods. “I’m in.”
If Derek would have known that going to Alpha/Beta meant he had to go shopping with Jackson and Allison, he’d have said no. That’s how he finds himself on Park Avenue, sitting in an overstuffed armchair while Allison and Jackson search for the perfect outfit.
“Come on, Derek,” Allison says from where she’s standing in her bra and underwear, looking at the latest design offerings the sales associate is showing her. “They have your measurements on file here. A soft lavender or even maroon shirt would look amazing.”
“I’ll wear something I already own,” Derek murmurs from where he’s scrolling boredly through his email.
Allison gasps. “But what if you’re photographed wearing the same thing?”
“Then people pay too much attention to my shirts,” Derek grouses as he stops avoiding it for any longer and pulls up the chat program. Immediately, a window pops up.
GangnamStiles: I think I’m dying.
ShadowWolf: Still sexed out?
GangnamStiles: What? No. That lasted for like three minutes. I mean, Danny was fine, but it’s not like he rocked my world.
GangnamStiles: Oh god, I hope he never finds out I said that.
Derek smiles in relief. Then he feels like an ass for not wanting Stiles to have good sex. And when did he start wanting Stiles to have good sex with him instead of with other people?
Derek startles, his phone slipping from his fingers. Allison’s sitting beside him, eyeing him thoughtfully. She’s wearing a short party dress, but it’s not zipped in the back, so one of the straps is falling down her shoulder. He reaches forward and tugs it back up for her.
“What’s going on with you?”
“Nothing.” He locks his phone, then slips it in his pocket.
Allison sighs. “I’ve known you for a long time, Derek. Talk to me.” She glances around, then says, “Jackson’s at the fragrance counter, flirting with the guy there.”
“It’s stupid,” he mutters, rubbing a hand over his face.
Allison scoots closer and puts her head on his shoulder. “Derek, nothing that’s got you this distracted is stupid.”
“I met someone.”
He cranes his head to look down at her. “How?”
“Only thing I could think of that would get you like this. Tell me about them.”
“He lives in California.”
“Then how did you meet him?”
Derek hesitates. “Online.”
Allison lifts her head off his shoulder and looks at him in surprise. “Oh. I wasn’t expecting that.”
“I just wanted someone who didn’t know who I was,” Derek explains. “And he’s…kinda perfect.” Derek grabs his phone and thumbs to his downloads, which is full of pictures mostly of Stiles. Allison grins as Derek flips through the images, then takes the phone from Derek when he stops on a particular favorite of his. Stiles is lying in bed on his side, taking a selfie with bed head.
“Derek, he’s adorable.” The smile she gives him is genuine, devoid of any judgment or derision. “So, what’s the problem?”
Derek sighs and thumbs through the pictures again, a warm feeling spreading through his chest with each picture that passes. “Well, he lives 3000 miles away and has no clue who I am.”
“Just because he doesn’t know you’re the son of Talia Hale doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know you. That’s not what defines you.”
“Feels like it,” Derek says.
Allison kisses him on the cheek, and after she gets him to zip her dress, she stands up. “If you want him, go for it. Or maybe I will,” she teases, winking at him. Then she turns in a circle, her dark hair sweeping around her. “What do you think of the dress?”
“Perfect, like always.”
She saunters off, and Derek logs back into the chat program. Stiles had left him three messages.
GangnamStiles: Did I offend you by critiquing sex with Danny?
GangnamStiles: Oh shit, I think I really offended you.
GangnamStiles: Dude, I’m sorry, you didn’t have to leave me without saying goodbye.
While he’s reading those messages, another pops up.
GangnamStiles: Dude, I am not like some crazy person who like sends you 15 zillion messages when you don’t respond. I’m not needy.
Derek laughs and types out a response.
ShadowWolf: It’s fine. I’m out with my friends today.
GangnamStiles: Allison and Jackson?
ShadowWolf: Yep. They dragged me shopping. We’re going clubbing tonight.
GangnamStiles: Is it some posh, exclusive NYC club that only perfect looking people like yourself can get into?
ShadowWolf: You could say that.
GangnamStiles: I didn’t offend you earlier did I?
ShadowWolf: Of course not.
GangnamStiles: Good. I was a bit worried.
GangnamStiles: IDK why. I doubt you have any personal stake in my assessment of Danny’s sexing skills. Which aren’t bad, just so you know.
ShadowWolf: I’m quite jealous you were having fun while I was dying of boredom and social anxiety at a stupid dinner for my mom. :/
ShadowWolf: And I’d much rather assess YOUR sexing skills ;)
GangnamStiles: I thought you might have been out partying. Friday night and all. Hooking up. Getting drunk. No one as hot as you should be not sexing on a Friday night.
GangnamStiles: Derek, I think that’s the raciest thing you’ve ever said to me lol
ShadowWolf: You imagine a much more exciting life for me than I actually lead.
GangnamStiles: I guess that’ll be tonight instead. At your exclusive club ;)
ShadowWolf: I’ll probably dance, get a little drunk, and then take a cab home.
GangnamStiles: Can you at least pretend you have an awesome NYC life for me? I’m living vicariously through you, dude.
ShadowWolf: What are you doing today?
GangnamStiles: I see how it is. Change the subject.
GangnamStiles: I went to the farmer’s market for Scott and my dad.
GangnamStiles has attached a file. Would you like to download it now?
ShadowWolf: That’s a lot of tomatoes.
ShadowWolf: Who’s the guy?
GangnamStiles: Jealous? ;)
ShadowWolf: Maybe. I didn’t know you hung out with hot guys all day.
GangnamStiles: Hot? Isaac? I have to tell him you said that. You’ll make his week.
ShadowWolf: That’s Isaac? The guy you live with?
GangnamStiles: We’re roommates. I don’t live with him, live with him.
GangnamStiles: I think it’s cute you’re jealous.
GangnamStiles: I’m sure if I saw your friends, I’d be jealous too. If they’re half as hot as you, I have no chance.
ShadowWolf: I’m still talking to you, aren’t I?
GangnamStiles: You just like my sparking personality.
ShadowWolf: Sure, whatever you say. It has nothing to do with your adorable smile or your beautiful eyes.
GangnamStiles: You think my eyes are beautiful?
ShadowWolf: I’ve told you that before.
GangnamStiles: Um, no you haven’t dude. Believe me, I’d have remembered if you did.
ShadowWolf: It’s true, though. You have beautiful eyes.
ShadowWolf: Hey, I gotta go. A&J are finally through shopping.
GangnamStiles: Have fun for me tonight!
After Derek logs out of the chat program, he stares at his phone while Jackson and Allison give instructions to the store clerk about delivering their clothes to their apartments. He hadn’t meant to say that to Stiles, had always been careful about keeping things platonic and neutral between the two of them. Sure, they flirted and joked, but it was more of a friendship than an actual online love connection. It’s not like anything could ever come of it when they lived so far away from each other. Derek just enjoyed having a friend who didn’t judge his every action. He had typed the sentences before he had really thought about it, and he truly did think he had told Stiles those things before.
What was with him today?
After they leave Park Avenue, they have lunch at a small café. So, it’s nearly five p.m. by the time Derek gets home. He works out for an hour, takes a shower, but it’s still too early to get ready. Jackson said they weren’t getting to club any earlier than eleven thirty, and while Derek used to stay out all night, now he’d much rather go out to a bar for a few drinks, a few games of pool or darts, and then come back home.
Jackson wouldn’t let him do that though, the bastard.
Derek stares at his phone sitting on the coffee table, and vacillates between getting online to see whether or not Stiles is on.
But he doesn’t. He’s gotten way too attached to Stiles, which is bad because basically, Stiles is an imaginary person he’s made up in his head that responds to his messages. There’s no telling what Stiles is hiding.
Derek’s hiding his whole life.
Derek’s drunk. Really drunk. Jackson had just kept shoving drinks into his hand, Allison had dragged him onto the dance floor, and then she’d convinced him to do shots. At least Allison is letting him dance with her, and by dancing, he means she holds him up while he sways unsteadily on his feet.
“You smell good,” he murmurs against Allison’s shoulder.
She laughs, her laugh clear and mellifluous against the din of the club. “You’re so wasted, Derek.”
“But you do smell good.” He snuggles closer to her, mainly because the process of moving away is way too much of a hassle. He murmurs against her shoulder, “Why haven’t we ever had sex?”
Allison slaps the back of his head. Hard.
He shoots up, head spinning and wobbly on his feet, and glares at her. “What was that for?”
“Just because you’re drunk, horny, and feeling sorry for yourself doesn’t mean you get into my pants.” She’s glaring at him, and if he wasn’t so drunk, he might realize there’s amusement at the edge of her hard features.
“I don’t want to sleep with you,” Derek slurs, “I just wonder why we haven’t. Jackson and I have, and you and Cora – “
“You promised that what happens in Monaco, stays in Monaco,” she snaps, slapping his cheek.
“I love you, Allison,” he says, and she rolls her eyes and puts an arm around his waist.
“Come on, it’s time for you to go home,” she says as she maneuvers him through the club. He slings his arm across her shoulders and lets her lead him.
“But I do love you,” Derek says. “You’re the best.”
“How am I not crushing you?” he asks, looking down at her tiny body supporting his much larger one. “I’m like three of you.”
“Pilates,” Allison states.
Allison waits with him outside the club. Derek leans against a wall, and she hands him a bottle of water. After a few minutes in the cooler air and downing half the bottle, his head starts to clear.
“Remind me I’m never speaking to you or Jackson ever again,” he says, stomach roiling and head pounding. “I hate you guys so much right now.” Allison just laughs.
“Want to go get some food?” she asks a few minutes later. “You look like you could use some grease.”
Derek looks back towards the club. “Don’t want to spoil your fun.”
Allison shrugs. “I don’t really like clubs. I just wanted to be photographed in my dress.” She strikes a perfect pose, which of course, makes the straggling paparazzi start snapping furiously.
Derek snorts, and instantly regrets it because ow his head hurts. Allison comes over to stand beside him, and he leans down and pecks her on the mouth.
She rolls her eyes. “Why do I put up with you?” Their car rolls to a stop by the curb, and Allison puts another supportive arm around Derek when he steps away from the wall. “Come on, big guy.”
After eating more calories than either of them usually do in an entire week, Allison’s car drops Derek off at his complex. The doorman asks him if he’s okay when he sways on his feet, and Derek barely makes it to the elevator before he’s using the wall for support.
Upstairs in his apartment, he strips off his clothes and throws them to the floor without a thought. He drops onto his bed, pulls out his phone, and logs onto the chat program. Stiles’ name is greyed out, and Derek is drunk and horny and severely disappointed.
Derek scrolls through his pictures, finds his favorite one of Stiles, and starts palming his half-hard cock through his underwear. Somewhere below the buzz of alcohol, he has a thought that maybe staring at Stiles’ picture while he jerks off is a bad idea. Sure, he’s had fantasies about Stiles, the man he called Stiles in them as much of a fantasy as the scene unfurling in his head, but he’s never crossed this line. He’s never touched himself while staring down at Stiles’ face. But tonight, he’s too drunk to care.
Derek just feels so lonely. He’s tired of coming home to his large empty apartment, tired of having sex with people looking for the next rich, famous person to move on to. Not that he doesn’t love Allison and appreciate her friendship, but he wants to get drunk on someone’s shoulder and laugh with them as they kiss sloppily and stumble home, and then he wants to fall into bed and have bad drunken sex. But more importantly, he wants to wake up next to someone in the morning.
Derek wants something real.
He tugs his underwear down, freeing his cock so he can wrap his fingers around it and start stroking, staring down at Stiles’ picture and thinking about what it would be like if Stiles was an actual living, breathing person. If Stiles was here beside him, his long fingers wrapped around his cock while he kissed along Derek’s neck. If Stiles was here, his breath ghosting across Derek’s skin as he whispered quiet words into Derek’s ear.
He tightens his grip around his cock and opens his camera. He snaps a picture of his hand tight around his cock, the red head peeking out just above his fist. He has just enough time to find Stiles’ picture again before he comes messily over his hand.
Derek slumps back against the pillows, panting heavily as his eyes start to droop. He wipes his hand on his sheets. But before he passes out, he reopens the chat program.
ShadowWolf has attached a file. Would you like to download it now?
ShadowWolf: I’ve wanted to talk to you all night. I wish I could hear your voice.
ShadowWolf: My number is (101) 555-2342.
ShadowWolf: I want to talk to you one day. Idk why we haven’t
Stiles really, really hates getting up to go to the market. Especially on Sundays. Sundays are lazy days. You’re supposed to spend Sundays in bed until noon, then eat pancakes and watch television, and then feel bad about yourself at the end of the day because you did nothing and ate too much.
But no. Stiles was stumbling around in the dark, trying to find the toilet despite the fact that it was 4:00 a.m. and he was pretty much still asleep.
Stiles leans against the wall as he takes a piss, and he might have dozed off with his dick in his hand, he’s not sure. It wouldn’t be the first time, he thinks as he makes his way back to his bedroom. Though, usually, he’s in bed with porn on in the background.
As he’s getting dressed, he hears the sounds of Isaac getting ready deeper in the house. At least he’s not suffering alone. Downstairs in the kitchen, a freshly brewed pot of coffee is waiting for him, and he loves Isaac so much in that particular moment.
Before they leave for the farmer’s market, they load the truck. When Stiles stumbles outside with his second cup of coffee and wearing the first clothes he could find, he spots his dad already out in the driveway, baskets of squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, and other produce surrounding him. Some of it had been picked the day before, but Stiles knows his dad had gotten up at four to pick fresh so they could carry it to the market with them today.
So, it’s not until they are on the road, Isaac behind the wheel of the truck, that Stiles has a moment to eat breakfast. He’s scarfing down his second muffin when he finishes checking his e-mail and logs into the chat program.
ShadowWolf has attached a file. Would you like to download it now?
ShadowWolf: I’ve wanted to talk to you all night. I wish I could hear your voice.
ShadowWolf: My number is (101) 555-2342.
ShadowWolf: I want to talk to you one day. Idk why we haven’t
Stiles stares at the message. This is…new. He’d wanted to start talking to Derek on the phone the moment they met, but Derek had always been skittish when it came to things that went beyond the computer screen. Stiles couldn’t blame him; there were some serious weirdos online. It was only a month ago when Derek had finally sent him a face picture, even though Stiles had been periodically sending him pictures the whole time. Derek never spoke in specifics about his life, even though they had long, intense conversations. They had told each other things they had never told anyone else, but Stiles had no clue what Derek did for a living, or why he was well off, or what his two sisters’ names were.
So, a phone number. That…that is huge.
Stiles bites into his muffin as he downloads the photo, and he chokes on the muffin when he opens it.
“You okay?” Isaac asks from the driver’s seat, but Stiles can’t answer because his throat is constricted and he’s gasping for breath. Isaac pats him on the shoulder as Stiles takes a few deliberate breaths.
That is a dick. The picture Derek sent him was of a large hand (sad how Stiles recognizes that hand) around a dick.
“Stiles?” Isaac asks again, taking his eyes off the road long enough to shoot a worried glance in Stiles’ direction.
“Derek gave me his phone number,” Stiles says.
Isaac nods. “Okay…”
“And sent me a picture of his dick.”
“Really?” Isaac asks. “I didn’t know that you two were doing that kind of thing. I thought you were just friends.”
“Me, too,” Stiles says, swiping to the next picture because he just can’t look at Derek’s dick any longer, not with Isaac sitting beside him because popping a boner on the way to the farmer’s market would not be okay. But the next photo is one of Derek in bed, disheveled when they watched a movie together not too long ago. It’s totally not helping things.
Just…this is weird.
“You’re not thinking about produce now, are you?” Isaac asks.
“I have no clue.”
Stiles shoves his phone back into his pocket and fiddles with the radio awkwardly. He doesn’t know why he told Isaac because that made this situation just ten times more awkward, but in his shock he had just blurted it. He jiggles his leg in attempt to dispel the coiled tension inside him, but nothing will ever erase the image of Derek’s hard, pink dick from his brain.
They’ve been sitting at the farmer’s market for over two hours when Stiles finally decides to text Derek. He doesn’t know why it feels so weird, texting him instead of IMing him. They basically text throughout the day via the chat program. He’s always leaving Derek little messages when he’s not online, and Derek does the same. But something just feels different about texting. It’s like breaking through a wall they’ve had built between them for so long. Or maybe it’s the dick picture.
8:36 a.m.: It’s me. Stiles. Cause me doesn’t really tell you much. I’m sure you know a lot of mes. Not that I think you’re giving out your number to lots of people whose number you don’t already have.
8:38 a.m.: Oh yeah. This is my number. Feel free to use it. Or not.
8:41 a.m. Have a good day!
Stiles drops his head into his hands after he sends the last text. Have a good day, really? What was that? This is why Stiles is single, why he can’t even get dates from an online dating site. He’s just an awkward turtle.
He’s selling a case of corn to someone when his pocket vibrates. It vibrates again as the woman takes her corn (and what does one do with that much corn anyway?), and once again before Stiles is able to pull his cell phone from his pocket.
10:04 a.m.: Stiles? How did you get my number?
10:05 a.m.: Did I send it to you last night? I was really drunk.
10:06 a.m.: Not that I don’t want you to have it. That’s not what I meant. I just don’t remember.
Well, that makes a lot more sense then, Stiles thinks. Derek was drunk when he sent him his number and the picture. And either Derek doesn’t remember the picture, or he is cautiously avoiding the issue.
Stiles is good with avoiding. He’s the king of avoiding.
10:15 a.m.: I can forget it if I need to??
10:15 a.m.: Though I would really like to keep it.
Stiles bites his lip, his heart pounding and his leg bouncing nervously as he stares at his phone, waiting for a reply. He’s so engrossed in his screen that he misses a woman asking him about the price of eggplants. Reluctantly, he puts his phone back in his pocket and explains the prices (which are right on the baskets, really people, he has important things going on! He doesn’t have time for stupidity) before he helps the woman pick out an assortment of produce.
Of course, his phone vibrates multiple times over the next half-hour, but Stiles can’t check it because suddenly he and Isaac are swamped. When the last person leaves, Stiles sits on a tomato box and pulls out his phone.
10:24 a.m.: I don’t want you to forget it. I’m not forgetting yours.
10:27 a.m.: It’s 1:30 and I haven’t even gotten out of bed. I’m so hungover. I’m never drinking again.
10:29 a.m.: I also think I’m going to kill Allison and Jackson. This is their fault. I wanted to stay at home and watch TV.
10:35 a.m.: What are you doing today?
10:42 a.m.: OH GOD. I AM SO SORRY. I JUST LOGGED INTO CHAT.
10:43 a.m.: I don’t remember sending you that.
10:44 a.m.: I’m surprised you texted me this morning.
10:45 a.m.: I’m such a sleeze.
Stiles has to laugh because he thinks it’s so Derek that it’s not until he gets drunk that he loosens up enough to give Stiles his phone number. The dick pic is still a mystery, though.
11:04 a.m.: You’re not a sleeze.
11:04 a.m.: I do want to talk about that picture though. But not when I’m at the market, selling squash to little old ladies.
As Stiles is walking over to help a woman who looks lost as she’s sorting through peppers, he gets a reply.
11:06 a.m.: Call me tonight. I’ll be in bed all day, trying not to die.
Stiles tries to steal a moment long enough to call Derek all day long, but after he gets home from the market, he’s busy until after dinner. It’s after eight p.m. his time when he finally gets upstairs to his bedroom. He crashes head first onto his bed, toeing off his shoes with his face pressed into his comforter. As he flips onto his back, he digs out his cell phone.
But he doesn’t dial Derek right away. Instead, he stares at the number for awhile. Is this even a good idea? This could only end in getting himself even more attached to Derek, and that was already a problem. Yet, the longer he looks at Derek’s number, the more he wants to hear Derek’s voice, talk to him for real.
So, Stiles hits the call button. His heart is pounding in his throat as the phone rings, the anticipation almost so overwhelming that he hangs up. Instead, he chews on his lip as he waits for Derek to answer.
Finally, a sleepy voice comes over the line. “Hello?”
“Shit, were you sleeping?” Stiles blurts as he looks at the clock on his nightstand. It’s after eleven where Derek is; Stiles hadn’t even considered that might be too late. “Dude, I am so sorry I woke you. Apparently I have no concept of time zones.”
Derek laughs, and it’s a soft, light sound that shoots straight to Stiles’ core. It’s one of the most glorious things Stiles has ever heard.
“It’s fine,” Derek replies. Stiles can hear him shifting on the other end of the line. “I’ve been asleep most of the day anyway.”
“Lazy, rich boy,” Stiles teases, and Derek chuckles again.
“Stupid boy is more like it,” Derek says. “Don’t ever let me drink again.”
“Not sure I can stop you.”
“If I tell you I’m going out, then please remind me of today.”
“Okay.” Stiles stares up at the ceiling, grinning from ear to ear. “Your voice is not what I expected.”
“I expected something deep and scary, kinda like your muscles and grumpy face. But your voice is almost nasal.” Stiles realizes what he’s just said, and then swears. “Shit, I’m insulting you. Good job, Stiles.”
Derek just laughs again. “It’s fine. You should hear my sisters. They tease me about my voice, my eyebrows, my bunny teeth.”
“Your bunny teeth?” Stiles exclaims. He bursts into a fit of giggles, not because what Derek said was incredibly funny, but because he’s just overwhelmed. Plus, bunny teeth?
“Have you never noticed?” Derek asks. “In the pictures?”
“Your teeth weren’t what I was particularly looking at.”
“Oh?” Derek asks, voice playful and flirty. Stiles feels his stomach flutter.
“I didn’t miss the eyebrows though,” Stiles jokes, and immediately kicks himself. Good way to woo the potential hot guy on the phone.
They’re quiet for a few moments, and Stiles tries to think of something to say. It’s like he wants to say so much to Derek, and never hang up with him again, but instead he just freezes up.
“Glad I’m not the only one who feels kinda awkward,” Derek says after awhile.
“I’m sorry,” Stiles says. “It’s not you…it’s just odd having you in my ear instead of just a sentence on chat.”
“I know what you mean.” Derek sighs. “I’m not good at this.”
“No, this. The flirting and the dating stuff.”
“We’re not actually dating,” Stiles says before he thinks about it. How many times can he stick his foot in his mouth tonight? “That came out wrong.”
“You’re right,” Derek says. “We’re not dating.”
“I don’t believe you’re not good at dating and flirting,” Stiles says. “Just look at you. You wouldn’t even have to flirt. You just smile, and I bet people just throw themselves at you.”
Derek hesitates, and then he says, “You’re not wrong.”
The words are like a punch to the gut, but Stiles says, “See?”
“It’s not that simple, Stiles,” Derek says. “I’ve told you that.”
“I know. You don’t want people who just lust after you. I totally get that. I sympathize. Or empathize, I can never remember which is which without looking it up. But I get it in an abstract way because I personally don’t know what it feels like to have people just throwing themselves at you. It’s usually me doing the throwing. My own best friend is engaged to the girl I was in love with throughout high school, which isn’t as weird as you’d think it’d be.” Stiles stops and takes a breath, wondering why he’s rambling.
“I remember,” Derek says. “Lydia.”
“I’m just scared, I guess. To let people in.” Derek pauses, and Stiles waits patiently. “If I tell you what I want to, I feel like it’ll just take this to a new level.”
“Oh?” Stiles asks, interested. “I mean, I’ve already seen your dick, so…”
Derek groans. “I am so sorry about that.”
“Really, you shouldn’t be.”
Derek laughs. “Really. Well, in that case, I feel like I’m at an unfair advantage.”
“Derek,” Stiles says, cheeks burning, “are you asking me to send you a picture of my junk?”
Stiles laughs. “Maybe I’ll surprise you then.” He rubs a hand over his face, still grinning so wide his face hurts. “You were going to tell me something you’ve never told me before.”
“Oh, right. Um, my family is rich.”
“I think I gathered that.”
“No, like, really rich. It makes dating very difficult.”
“I’d figure men and women alike would be throwing themselves at you,” Stiles says. “Gorgeous and rich? Why are you talking to me again?”
Derek makes a noise of exasperation. “Are you always this self-deprecating?”
“Only on days that end in Y.”
“I like you, Stiles,” Derek says. “You’re funny and charming and smart and thoughtful. The fact that you’re gorgeous is just a bonus.”
Stiles can’t help it, he does a little dance on the bed. Derek thinks he’s gorgeous. Derek thinks he’s gorgeous.
“Because of my family name,” Derek continues, “Because of my money, it’s difficult. Sure, I could have dates every night of the week. I could probably already be married by now. I’m looking for something more than a New York socialite.” Derek sighs. “Been there, done that.”
“Kate?” Stiles asks.
“Yes. And another, which ended in disaster, just not as bad as Kate.”
“So, the online dating thing then,” Stiles says.
“If I had to sit through one more insipid date with a girl or guy who wanted to know when I could take them out on my yacht – “
“YOU OWN A YACHT?” Stiles exclaims. “Dude, you are so out of my league it’s not even funny.”
“Stiles, can you just stop it?” Derek snaps. Stiles visibly recoils, because he hadn’t expected Derek to get angry with him. God, what is he doing? He is already fucking this up before it’s begun.
“Um, you know,” Stiles starts awkwardly. “It’s late, and I,uh, have to get up in the morning.”
“Stiles,” Derek says, both irritated and pleading.
“Nice talking to you!”
Stiles hangs up the phone before Derek can say another word. Immediately, he calls Scott.
“What is it, man?” Scott asks on the fifth ring. “I’m sleeping.”
“I fucked it up with Derek,” Stiles blurts, hand covering his face. “He gave me his number and sent me a picture of his dick – “
“And he’s like apparently super fucking rich, like he owns a goddamn yacht. What real person owns a fucking yacht?” Stiles is yelling, and he doesn’t care, just hopes he doesn’t wake up Isaac. “And he’s talking to me?”
Stiles hears Lydia’s voice in the background, and Scott murmurs something to her. Then, he hears some shuffling around and then Lydia says, “What are you freaking out about now, Stiles? Probably irrationally, I’m guessing.”
“Dude, I called to talk to Scott. Put him back on.”
“One, don’t call me dude,” Lydia says through a yawn. “Second, Scott is no good at this kind of thing.” Stiles hears Scott protest in the background. “What happened?”
Stiles gives Lydia a run down, and when he stops talking, Lydia says, “That’s it?”
“What do you mean, that’s it?” Stiles exclaims. “He owns a yacht, Lydia!”
“And you co-own a 100 acre organic farm,” Lydia points out. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
“He is so out of my league. I don’t deserve someone like him.”
“With an attitude like that you don’t,” Lydia says.
“Dude,” Scott says, wrestling the phone from Lydia. Lydia exclaims, “Give it back!” to which Scott responds, “No!” After a few moments of arguing, Scott says, “You’re on speaker.”
“Idiots,” Stiles mutters.
“Look,” Scott says. “So, the guy is rich. He still poops like the rest of us.”
“Thank you, Scott, for that riveting insight,” Lydia drawls. “See, Stiles? This is why you call me, and not Scott.”
“Lydia, it is a valid point,” Scott says. “He’s just a guy. Okay, so he has lots of money. Stiles has lots of comic books.”
“Hardly a good comparison, bro.”
“He likes you,” Scott says. “You said he was done with rich people. Obviously, he doesn’t care that you’re not rich. I think he likes you more because you’re not. So stop being a jackass.”
“Scott,” Lydia says in awe. “That was actually good.”
“You act like we haven’t been best friends since we were 10.”
“Listen to Scott,” Lydia says. “This time. Stop sabotaging your chances with Derek.”
“Okay,” Stiles says, nodding resolutely. “You guys are the best.”
“We know,” Lydia says.
“Love you, man,” Scott says.
When Stiles ends the call, he sees that he has multiple texts from Derek and three missed calls.
9:05 p.m.: Stiles, answer the phone.
9:09 p.m.: Please? I didn’t mean to snap.
9:11 p.m.: I’m hungover and grumpy.
9:12 p.m.: And you’re being stupid.
9:13 p.m.: Look, saying this might make things weird, but I really like you. Like, I really like you. It makes no sense bc we’ve never met and you live on the other side of the country, but I think about you all the time. Yes, on my yacht, in my limo, while out with my rich beautiful friends. I think about you, the slightly geeky adorable guy who farms and collects action figures.
9:15 p.m.: I can’t help it my life is what it is. I hate it. I wish I had your life. It sounds so…normal.
9:16 p.m.: Call me if you want to talk again.
Stiles reads the texts over and over.
Derek likes him. Stiles has had a sad attachment to Derek for months, but he never imagined that Derek would feel the same about him. Not when Derek had such an exciting life.
Maybe Stiles is glamorizing it too much. Maybe he is being stupid, and sabotaging it on purpose like Lydia said.
Stiles swallows his pride and dials Derek’s number.
“Finally,” Derek says.
“You like me?” Stiles asks.
“I thought that was obvious.”
“I sent you a picture of my cock,” Derek says. “If you knew the lengths I go to stay under the radar, you’d understand why that is a big deal.”
“Why do you need to stay under the radar?” Stiles asks, interest piqued.
“Story for another time,” Derek says.
“That rich, huh?” Stiles adds, “Oh god, you’re not a serial killer are you? You’re not going to track me down like an online predator and kill me in an abandoned warehouse are you?”
“You watch too much TV.” Derek sighs. “If it bothers you that bad, we can stop talking.”
“But you like me,” Stiles says.
“We’ve established that,” Derek says. “We haven’t established if you like me.”
“Dude, are you even asking that question?”
“You hung up on me!”
“You told me you had a yacht!”
Derek inhales in frustration. “I also have a Ferrari. Is that a problem?”
“I just don’t understand,” Stiles says quietly. “I’m being stupid. Scott and Lydia told me I was being stupid. I called them after I hung up with you. But I literally cannot understand why you are talking to me. I’m…nobody.”
“I adamantly disagree with that statement,” Derek says. “Look, Stiles, there are things about my life I haven’t told you, and I’m not ready to tell you yet. Not because I don’t trust you, but because…we’re good. I’m going to tell you someday, I promise. I’ve met a lot of different people in my life. And I’ve had sex with people you’ve probably heard of.”
“Who the hell are you?” Stiles exclaims in confusion.
“A lonely man who lives in New York, who has a yacht, a Ferrari, and a penthouse apartment, but no one to laugh with him, no one to come home to, no one to share a meal with, no one to fall asleep with at night.” Derek sounds so sad that Stiles’ heart breaks. Derek had told him this before, but he never believed it until now.
“And you’re talking to me,” Stiles states.
“I’m talking to you.”
“Isn’t it like almost two a.m. where you are?”
“I don’t have to go to work tomorrow,” Derek responds.
Stiles snorts. “Spoiled rich boy.” Derek laughs. “I like you, you know,” he finally says. “A lot. Too much, in fact.”
“Good,” Derek says. “That means we’re on the same page.”
“So,” Stiles says, getting more comfortable on the bed. “You want to talk, so let’s talk. What do you want to talk about?”
“How do you feel about baseball?”
Derek wakes up, and the first thing he does is smile. He doesn’t even move, just stays buried under his down comforter as he thinks about the night before. It had started off rough. Derek had been humiliated that he’d sent Stiles a picture of him jacking himself off. Not only was he humiliated, but he was also terrified. What if the picture got out? What would his mother do with yet another public scandal with one of her children? After the panic had subsided, he’d just been so excited to hear Stiles’ voice. Stiles was exactly like he was online: spastic, excitable, and talking a mile a minute. With every passing moment, Derek fell harder and harder.
But then Stiles had gotten weird about the money thing, and Derek had started to second guess the whole situation. If Stiles was freaking out this hard about the money, what would he do when he figured out who Derek’s mother was? Derek had almost just told Stiles to forget it. He had even typed out the text. But every time he went to press send, something in his chest ached. He just wasn’t ready to lose Stiles, not yet.
Derek’s fears had been allayed the longer they talked. Before either of them realized it, they had talked until six a.m. Derek’s time. The only reason they had hung up when they did was because Stiles had to be up at seven for work.
Derek is so happy he can barely contain himself. There’s a niggling seed of doubt inside, but he pushes that deep down. Instead, he chooses to focus on the sound of Stiles’ voice and their conversation from the night before.
After replaying it over in his head to his satisfaction, he reaches out and grabs his cell phone off the nightstand. It’s after 2 p.m., and Derek groans. Another day wasted. If he’s not careful, it’s going to become a habit. Jackson would be proud.
He shoots off a text to Stiles, omg I just woke up wtf I blame you. Hope you’re not too sleepy today, and then texts Cora and asks her to lunch.
Derek arrives first and fidgets as he waits for her. They usually have lunch on the balcony of Derek’s apartment, but Derek just had an itch to get out into the sunshine today. “Hello there,” Cora says as she finds Derek. She kisses his cheek before sitting down beside him.
“You weren’t too busy today, were you?” Derek asks.
“Never too busy for you,” she says. “I will admit I was surprised you invited me to lunch; I wasn’t expecting to see you until next week. But I couldn’t resist lunch with you at my favorite café.” She smiles as Derek fills her water glass from the pitcher sitting on the table. “I have a fashion show soon. I’m trying to put together my final designs on dresses. But my assistant can handle things while I’m at lunch.”
“Tell me about the fashion show. I haven’t heard about it.” Derek listens as Cora talks about her latest designs and the upcoming show. She’s trying to downplay it and act aloof, but he can see how genuinely excited and nervous she is underneath her cool words. She’s talking with her hands, something she only does when she’s happy. This is one of the biggest opportunities she’s been presented, and Derek knows how much rides on this.
“Allison said she’ll able to walk,” Cora says as after they’ve ordered. “Jackson said he’d try to shuffle some stuff around. You’ll come, won’t you?”
“Have I missed one of your shows yet?” Derek asks.
“Then why would I stop now?”
“Because you said at the last one you were never going to go to one again,” Cora reminds him as she takes a sip of her wine. “Remember, Laura tweeted you were her escort, and no one had seen you in almost a year, so the paparazzi went batshit.”
“Believe me, I remember,” Derek says. His picture was everywhere – Just Jared, TMZ, People, US Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, and numerous fashion blogs. The only positive thing about that situation was that they all talked about his impeccable taste. That was all Jackson.
“We’ll just disable Laura’s Twitter before the event,” Cora jokes.
“Can we do that?” Derek asks. “Because we really should. Just on principle.”
“She’d have a new Twitter in like five minutes.”
“So, I appreciate you listening to me ramble about my show,” Cora says as she cuts her sandwich into smaller pieces. “But I’m ready for you to tell me what’s up.”
“What do you mean?” Derek takes a bite of his salmon, and she gives him a knowing look.
“You never volunteer to go out to lunch. We always meet at your apartment. So, what has you outside of the comfort of your place?”
Now that he has Cora in front of him, he feels silly. He’s thirty-one, and he’s excited about a mundane all night phone conversation with a guy he met online. “It’s stupid,” he says, bashfully looking down at his plate.
“I talked to Stiles last night. On the phone. All night.”
“That’s awesome,” Cora says. She leans closer, a mischievous twinkle in her eye. “What’s he like?”
“Perfect,” Derek admits, grinning.
“Who is this guy?” Cora asks with amusement. “I’ve never seen you like this.”
“I can’t explain it,” Derek says. “It’s like, even though we’re completely different, we’re in sync. I’ve never met anyone I felt this way about before.”
Cora is quiet for a moment as she studies Derek. He feels awkward under her gaze, kind of like a specimen on display. Hesitantly she asks, “This isn’t another situation like Jennifer, is it?”
Derek feels like someone has kicked him in the ribs. Jennifer was the last relationship he’d had, a beautiful socialite from a prominent family. He hadn’t wanted to date anyone ever again, not after Kate, but his family and his therapist had told him that it had been long enough. So, Derek forced himself to step out of his comfort zone and date Jennifer.
Jennifer was sweet and lovely, and Derek was so eager to be normal with a normal relationship that he had built an image of Jennifer in his head that didn’t match the real one. He idealized her, turned her into a fantasy of what he wanted instead of the reality of what she was.
What she had been was a socialite looking for a five-carat diamond and the right last name. When Derek broke it off with her, she had been so angry that she had sold her story to People, and painted Derek as a crazy, emasculated man with no soul.
The problem was that Derek did have a soul, too much in fact, and just wanted to find someone to love. And to stop causing his family pain and embarrassment. But what he kept doing was falling in love with the wrong women. Talia had suffered a bit because of Jennifer’s story, but her publicist was the best, and soon no one cared about Jennifer Blake or Derek Hale. Derek just became that much more of a hermit, and has been that way ever since. Stiles is the first person in eight years Derek has even tried to connect with.
“It’s not like Jennifer,” Derek says after a long silence. He refuses to look up at Cora, doesn’t want to see the look in her eyes. “I don’t think.”
“Well, there’s only one way to know for sure,” Cora says. “When are you going to meet him?”
“What?” she exclaims. “You can’t be serious.”
“Why would I meet him?” Derek asks, finally looking up at her. “This was always just a way to talk to guys who had no clue who I was.”
“And, so you did that,” Cora says. “And you met Stiles. Now all you have to do is buy a ticket, get on a plane, and fly to California.”
“He doesn’t know about Mom. Or you or Laura. That you’re famous.”
“He hung up on me when I told him I had a yacht.”
“That’s because you sound like a douche when you tell people that.” Cora stares at him, her head cocked to the side and her lips pursed.
“Hey!” Derek exclaims. “I don’t see you refusing to go on the yacht.”
“No, I don’t,” Cora says. “But you’re the one who works it into every conversation. ‘Oh, hi, I’m Derek Hale, son of Talia Hale. Did you know I have a yacht? Have you seen my abs? This is my yacht. Oh, these are my eyebrows. Want to see my yacht?’”
“Bitch,” he bites out, but it lacks any heat. “I like my yacht, okay?”
“Everyone knows you like your yacht.” More seriously, Cora says, “You can’t be a hermit forever, Derek.”
“I know that,” Derek growls. “But what if it really is like Jennifer all over again? What if I’ve just created a man in my head that doesn’t resemble Stiles at all?” He looks at Cora pitifully. “I can’t go through that again. I just…I just want to not be alone.”
“You’re not alone, Derek,” Cora says quietly. She covers his hand with her smaller one. “You don’t have to keep ostracizing yourself from the family. Even Laura misses you.”
“I know,” Derek says, staring at their hands. He rubs his thumb along her smooth, pale skin.
“But I also think you should give this a try.”
“The last thing I need is another disastrous relationship.”
“It might not be disastrous!” Cora exclaims. “Maybe you meet Stiles and he turns out to be as wonderful as he seems now. Maybe you meet him and he has bad breath and is terrible in bed. Maybe he’s an ugly old man who wants to carve you up for dinner.” Derek huffs out a laugh, and Cora squeezes his hand. “Look, you’re amazing. And you deserve to be out of that apartment, living your life! Sure, your life is a bit odd, but whose isn’t? Didn’t you say he’s a farmer or something?”
“I think that’s weird,” Cora says with a shrug. “Derek, you deserve to let someone love you, someone amazing. It may or may not be Stiles, but shouldn’t you at least take a chance just in case? What’s the worst that could happen?”
“It could blow up in my face and turn into yet another huge public scandal that Mom will suffer for.”
“Always with the worst case scenarios,” Cora says, shaking her head.
“It’s happened! Multiple times!” Derek exclaims.
“You’ve got to take a chance some day.”
“The last time I did that, I ended up on the cover of People.”
“Buy a plane ticket, or I will,” Cora says. “I’ll put you on the plane myself.”
“But we just had one phone conversation! It’s not like it’s a love connection,” Derek says quietly as he takes a bite of food. He knows he’s fallen too hard, too fast, and that terrifies him. He just can’t help the way Stiles makes him feel. But flying to California to meet him? Derek’s not sure he can do that.
“I’m buying a ticket now,” Cora sing-songs, already on her phone.
“Flying coach would do you some good,” Cora states.
“Hmm, how about two layovers, one in Wisconsin, and one in Utah.”
“Fine!” Derek yells. Then, he points his finger at her. “But when this goes horribly wrong, I’m personally blaming you.”
She smiles and sets her phone on the table beside her plate. “See? That wasn’t so hard.”
Derek shakes his head and cuts into his salmon with his fork. “I’m regretting having lunch with you.”
“Love you, too.”
Derek goes running, then to the gym, and then has dinner with Jackson. Laura calls him all day, but he ignores it. He gets a text message from Stiles when he’s leaving the gym, I hate you and your lazy life work sucks kill me I’m never talking to you again COFFEEEEEEE. He laughs as he replies.
His phone rings right as he locks the door to his apartment. Derek tries not to feel disappointed when the name doesn’t read Stiles.
“What do you want?” Derek answers the phone.
“Why are you always a dick?” Laura replies.
“Whatever it is, the answer is no.” Derek toes off his sneakers and drops his gym bag by the table.
“One day, you’re going to be sorry about the way you treat me.”
“You can ignore my calls all you want, but I will get the truth out of you.”
Derek’s heartbeat spikes; how would Laura have found out about Stiles? He’d only told her the bare bones about him, and that was because Cora spilled the beans in front of Laura. Had Cora told him? The last thing he needs is Laura talking about him on her show, or tweeting about him, or whatever it was she did.
“I’m really hurt you didn’t tell me you were dating Allison. Derek, she’s one of our closest family friends!”
Derek drops to the sofa, because he did not just hear that right. “Come again?”
“It’s all over the gossip sites. Just Jared has pictures of you and Allison, snuggling at a boutique, dancing together at a club, even kissing outside of it,” Laura says. “I want to have you two over for brunch. Do you think Allison would be on my show?”
“What are you talking about, Laura?” Derek exclaims. “I swear to god, it’s like you speak a different fucking language when you open your mouth.” Laura sighs dramatically, and during her conspicuous silence, he can detect the faint clicking of keys. “Are you tweeting about me?”
“Yes, but not by name. Just that my idiot brother is too difficult to deal with without a strong drink. Which Greenberg is getting me now.”
“You brought your assistant home with you?” Derek asks.
“Of course,” Laura states. “It’s what I pay him to do. To assist me.”
“I’m hanging up,” Derek says.
“Wait,” Laura yells. “Why didn’t you tell me you were dating Allison? You two are super cute in the photos, by the way. You look a bit like you’re going to murder someone, like usual, and I really suggest you going to a salon for those eyebrows. I’ll give you the name of my girl; she’s fantastic.” Derek’s mouth hangs open as he listens to his sister, because what? Talking to Laura was always difficult, but nothing is making sense. “Allison looks amazing though, which is not surprising. The blogs are already talking about how it was inevitable that you two got together, and a lot of people think it’s about time. Oh, they also liked your outfit from the club. You looked great, Derek.”
Derek just shakes his head. He doesn’t care that Laura can’t see him; he just keeps shaking his head over and over. “Laura, I’m not dating Allison.”
“Sure you are,” Laura said. “You made it on the cover of US Weekly.”
“I WHAT?” Derek yells. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” He groans and runs a hand through his hair in frustration. “Laura, did you do this? Is this some fucking publicity stunt or something?”
“Derek, how can you ever ask that?” Laura exclaims. “I didn’t do it. I didn’t even know you and Allison were dating!”
“We’re not dating!” Derek yells. “I like Allison, she’s one of my best friends. But I am 100% not interested in her.”
“Then why is everyone saying that you’re dating?” Laura asks.
“Don’t be stupid,” Derek says. “Why do you think? A supermodel and Talia Hale’s reclusive son? Fuck,” he groans again. Then he laughs.
“Derek?” Laura asks in confusion.
“Do you know why we were snuggling and why we were so close at that club?” Derek asks. “Stiles.”
“What in the hell is a Stiles?”
“Stiles is the online guy.”
“You’re still talking to him?”
“Don’t make it sound like a fucking insult.” Derek huffs in frustration as he runs a hand over his face. “This is why I don’t tell you things.”
“You can have any man or woman in New York or Hollywood. I just don’t think you should lower your standards because of Kate.”
“This has nothing to do with Kate!” Derek yells. “I like Stiles, okay? Not because of what he can do for me, or my image, but because of him.” He pauses, seething. “But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”
“I resent that.”
“You know what, Laura? Tweet, or blog, or say whatever the hell you want on your show, I don’t care. I’m done here.” Derek hangs up and throws the phone onto the sofa beside him, arms crossed over his chest.
Laura immediately calls him back. He contemplates not answering, but he knows she’ll just call him repeatedly if he doesn’t answer. “What?”
“I’m not as horrible as you think I am,” Laura says. “I genuinely care about you.”
“Look, just because I like being famous and you don’t does not make you better than me, okay?” Laura snaps. “So, you’re not dating Allison?”
“Hmm,” she says thoughtfully. “I think it’s doing wonders for both of your images.”
“Glad you approve of her.”
“I don’t disapprove of Miles – “
“Stiles, right. I just don’t understand. There are so many wonderful people right here, Derek. Real people, not imaginary ones. Real people here in New York. That you can touch and go to dinner and have sex with.”
“I don’t want those people.”
“It won’t work out,” Laura says, putting forth her best big sister voice. “Statistics show that most online relationships don’t work out.”
“I’m not getting my hopes up,” Derek says.
“You’re lying,” Laura says gently. “Your voice is always slightly nasal when you’re lying.” When Derek doesn’t respond, Laura adds, “Be careful, Derek. I just want you to be happy. You deserve to let yourself move past Kate one day.”
After he hangs up with Laura, he makes the mistake of getting online to see the damage for himself. Laura wasn’t lying; there are blurbs on multiple celebrity gossip websites, all with various paparazzi shots from Saturday of him and Allison.
One site has the headline Supermodel brings hermit hunk out of his shell! with a picture of them dancing at Alpha/Beta under it. Derek stares at the photo, and if he wasn’t looking at himself, he might think he and Allison looked close. He can’t believe he was actually thinking about Stiles, and Allison was just holding his drunk ass up.
Another site has a picture of them from the boutique, where Allison’s head is on his shoulder, one of them entering the club with Jackson, a shot at the moment Derek pecked Allison on the lips outside the club, and then one of them sharing fries in a diner. The headline reads Model Allison Argent spends day getting cozy with new boyfriend Derek Hale. Derek scrolls down and reads the blurb.
Allison Argent was spotted around New York with socialite Derek Hale on Saturday. Derek Hale, son of Oscar-winning actress Talia Hale, makes a rare public appearance with his new girlfriend, first accompanying her to multiple boutiques on Park Avenue, then escorting her to the newly opened club, Alpha/Beta. The supermodel, age 26, wore a sequined party dress from Stella McCartney. Let’s just hope that after leaving the club she didn’t drop any of those greasy fries she shared with her hunky new guy on that dress.
This is…terrible. Not that he cares that people think he is dating Allison, but that his face is all over the internet.
Sometimes, Derek really hated his life.
He thinks about calling Allison and telling her, but he doesn’t feel like talking to her. There is only one person he wants to talk to.
“Hey,” Stiles answers brightly after the second ring. Derek smiles as soon as he hears Stiles’ voice, the tension draining from his body. “Despite getting off the phone with you barely just over twelve hours ago, I’m really glad you called.”
“Are you busy?” Derek asks.
“Not too busy to talk to you,” Stiles replies. “How was your day?”
Derek sighs. “I’ve had better days.”
“Everyone thinks I’m dating Allison after going to the club together the other night,” Derek says. It’s the truth, but vague enough that Stiles won’t be able to figure out the specific details. Stiles has never given the indication that he has any interest in celebrities anyway.
“Can’t you just tell them it’s not true?” Stiles asks. “It’s not true, is it? Like, I don’t want to be talking to some girl’s boyfriend.”
Derek laughs quietly. “It’s not true. The problem is, some people posted some pictures of us online, and they look suspicious.”
“What were you doing with Allison?”
“I was drunk,” Derek says.
“Sure you were. Beautiful girl, gorgeous guy. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happened there.”
“I was thinking about you all night,” Derek says. “Remember? I got drunk, and then…”
“Then you sent me a picture of your junk, right.” Stiles pauses. “I’m sorry. That sucks.”
“Doesn’t really surprise me. Always drama around here.”
“Hey,” Stiles says. “Let me call you back in a minute, okay?”
“Okay,” Derek says, disappointed.
“One minute, I promise.” Then Stiles disconnects the line. Derek stares out of the large windows spanning the far wall, at the bright lights of the New York City skyline.
He tears his eyes away when his phone vibrates. There’s a text from Stiles instead of a call, and when Derek opens the message, he lets out a surprised laugh.
Thought you might need some cheering up ;)
Attached to it is a picture of Stiles’ cock.
Derek is still staring at it when the phone rings. As soon as he connects the call, Stiles says, “Did you get it?”
“Well?” Stiles asks nervously.
“I wish it was in my mouth,” Derek says, voice low. Stiles doesn’t respond, so Derek asks, “Was that too much?” He fidgets with the hem of his shorts. “I told you, I’m not good with the flirting thing.”
“Oh no, that was fine,” Stiles says breathily. “Might need to take another picture for you though, because it’s hard as a rock now, thanks to that comment.”
Derek feels himself blush, his own cock starting to stir. “Oh? You gonna tease me like that?”
“Call you back in a sec.” The line goes dead, and Derek drops his phone beside him as he shoves his shorts and underwear off so he’s sprawled naked on his couch. He sends Stiles a picture of his cock and balls, and strokes himself leisurely as he waits.
A moment later, he gets a text message from Stiles and then Stiles is calling him. He puts Stiles on speaker.
“I think it’s weird,” Stiles says as soon as they’re connected, “to say you have a beautiful cock and balls, but dude, you have a beautiful cock and balls.”
“I think you’re just horny,” Derek says as he opens the picture Stiles sent him. It’s a picture of his lap, his cock hard with a tuft of dark curls above it, superhero briefs shoved to his thighs. “You’re wearing superhero underwear?”
“I didn’t know I was having phone sex tonight, or I’d have dressed the part, okay?” Stiles says in a huff. Derek takes him off speaker and holds the phone to his ear with his free hand.
“I think they’re sexy,” Derek replies, tightening his fingers as he jerks himself with more purpose. “You’re sexy.”
“You’re sexier,” Stiles says, his voice a little breathy. “This is the worst dialogue, by the way. We fail at phone sex.”
Derek laughs. “Didn’t know there was a script. I just like your voice in my ear as I touch myself.”
Stiles moans. “So much better, dude. God, I’d give anything to see your hand wrapped around your cock. Your face as you stroke it.”
Derek gets up from the couch and walks into his bedroom, dropping onto the bed as he digs into his nightstand drawer for his bottle of lube. “I’d rather see you stroking my cock,” Derek says as he smears lube along his shaft. “Bet those long fingers would feel fucking amazing gripping my cock.”
“I’d gather the bit of precome with my thumb and smear it around the head, teasing you lightly.” Derek mimics what Stiles says, and drags his thumb around the ridge of his cock. “I bet you like it rough and fast, but you fucking love to be teased.”
Derek moans this time, his fingers tightening as his hand speeds up. “I never could decide if you looked innocent or debauched,” he says. “But with that dirty mouth…” Stiles and Derek both moan at the same time, and Derek says, “that mouth is definitely debauched.”
“I bet you taste good,” Stiles says. “Cock would be so heavy and hot in my mouth.”
“Fuck,” Derek groans, his orgasm hitting him suddenly. He pants as he strokes himself through the aftershocks, then wrinkles his nose at the come on his hand. “Fuck.”
“Take a picture,” Stiles says. “I want to see.”
Derek pulls up his camera and takes a picture of his come covered hand still cradling his cock, and then a selfie, where he looks blissed out and content. “Sent,” he says, reaching beside the bed and grabbing his underwear.
“God, you’re so fucking sexy,” Stiles pants.
“Not as sexy as you,” Derek says, settling back into the bed as he listens to Stiles making quiet sounds on the other end of the phone. “I wish you were here in front of me, so I could push you back into my mattress, kiss you until your lips hurt, then suck your cock until you were screaming my name and clawing the sheets.”
“Derek,” Stiles breathes.
“My name sounds so good on your lips.”
“I’m so close.”
“Stiles,” Derek purrs, the word reverent on his tongue. “I want to fuck you like you should be fucked. Not the satisfactory hookups like with Danny, but worship you like you should be, until the only thing you can do is lay there while I stroke you as you come again and again.”
“God, Derek,” Stiles moans, breath hitching as he comes. Derek closes his eyes and listens to the sounds he makes, the rhythm of his breathing as he imagines what Stiles looks like, with his face flushed and his face lax.
His phone vibrates with a text from Stiles. He opens it to find a photo of Stiles, lying on his side, a sleepy smile on his face. Derek stares at it, memorizing the drowsy droop of Stiles’ eyes, the flush across his nose and cheeks, the small, private smile on his lips.
“I wish I was there beside you,” Derek says when he presses the phone back to his ear.
“I wish you were lying beside me, too,” Stiles replies quietly. “I’ve never done that before.”
“Me either.” Derek pulls the covers back and shimmies between the sheets. “It was nice.”
“Nice?” Stiles exclaims. “Dude, that was the best orgasm I’ve had in ages, and you weren’t even in the room.” Derek laughs, his body warm and tingly all over.
“I wish I didn’t have to fall asleep alone,” Derek says quietly, starting to feel drowsy now that he’s curled into bed.
“I hate that you live so far away,” Stiles says through a yawn. “I’m tired of feeling so lonely.”
“Let’s fall asleep on the phone together,” Stiles says. “I know it sounds childish, like we’re in high school, but I never did it in high school.”
“Me either,” Derek says. He feels giddy, and this is perfect because he feels like he’s a teenager again. Except he never felt this happy when he was a teenager. “My high school relationship was nothing typical.”
“I didn’t have one,” Stiles says, “so…yeah. This is me, at twenty-six, enacting my high school fantasies.”
Derek smiles. “I’m okay with that.” He pauses, then says, “When I was in high school, I was out partying almost every night. I barely remember half the things I did with Kate.”
“What did you do, if you don’t mind telling me about it,” Stiles says quietly.
“She was quite a bit older than me,” Derek explains. “Also from a rich family. I stopped going to school, and I followed Kate everywhere. She was so fucking hot, Stiles, and fun and exciting. And for some reason, she wanted me. We fucked, we drank too much, and we took too many drugs.”
“What kinds of drugs?”
“Cocaine was Kate’s drug of choice,” Derek says slowly. “And I did whatever Kate did.”
Stiles is silent on the other end. “This is going to make me sound so small town, but whatever. I know people do cocaine, but you know, I never thought that real people actually did cocaine. It just seems like something they do on TV.”
“Not just on TV,” Derek says. He sighs. “Kate got me into cocaine, and things ended badly. I went to rehab when I was eighteen.” When Stiles doesn’t say anything, Derek says, “I’ll understand if that changes your opinion about me.”
“It doesn’t,” Stiles says. “It’s hard to explain what I feel. My chest is aching for you, which is kinda weird since I barely know you, but all that you just told me makes me sad. It also doesn’t escape my attention that as much as we’ve shared with each other, you’ve never shared anything this specific with me.”
“I don’t want to be just online friends anymore,” Derek says. “I’m in too far for that.”
“I don’t care what’s in your past,” Stiles says. “All that matters is the man you are now, and I happen to like him a lot.” Derek grins and wonders how Stiles can be real. “Let’s talk about happy things until we fall asleep.”
“Okay. You choose the topic.”
“All right. DC or Marvel?”
10:43 a.m.: I need to clarify something from last night.
10:45 a.m.: I was never a cocaine addict. I realized that I didn’t explain what happened very well. I did coke more than once, yes, but it was mostly at parties, when I was out with Kate. We also did some other pill drugs, X, etc – I don’t even remember all we did. She said sex was better on the drugs, and I believed her. But anyway. The rehab was more…therapeutic than anything. I went to a place in Malibu that was basically a glorified spa. I stayed for about a year, mainly for the therapy. I wasn’t a cocaine addict, and I wasn’t an alcoholic.
10:49 a.m.: I just wanted to tell you that.
10:56 a.m.: Even if you were a cocaine addict, or an alcoholic, that wouldn’t change my opinion about you.
10:58 a.m.: I know. That’s why you are so wonderful.
11:01 a.m.: I am wonderful, aren’t I?
11:02 a.m.: Thank you, though, for telling me all that.
11:03 a.m.: I have nothing to offer you. I have lived a pretty boring existence.
11:04 a.m.: Believe me, be thankful for that. You don’t want to have gone through what I’ve gone through.
11:05 a.m.: You seem okay.
11:07 a.m.: Everyone thinks I’m a weird recluse.
11:10 a.m.: That’s okay. Not everyone is made to be in the spotlight. Different strokes for different folks.
11:11 a.m.: How are you even real?
11:12 a.m.: And how did I manage to find you randomly online?
11:14 a.m.: Derek, I found you. Remember? I made fun of your profile pic.
11:15 a.m.: Thank god for that stupid profile pic.
11:16 a.m.: Thank god you said you liked to read. Otherwise, we’d never have met.
11:18 a.m.: Weird how coincidence works, isn’t it?
11:19 a.m.: I like to think it’s fate :)
Stiles tosses another tie into his cart. “You already have six ties,” Scott says, pointing out the obvious like Stiles isn’t counting. “What do you need with seven new ties?”
“Unlike you,” Stiles says, deciding that seven new ties is plenty, “I have a job where I have to dress up instead of wearing whatever dirty jeans I find on the floor. Plus,” he adds, grabbing the cart and wheeling it towards Men’s Pants, “they’re only fifty cents a piece!”
The section of dress slacks at the Good Will was rather large, so Stiles settles in to browse for awhile. Scott is standing beside him, facing the other way as he looks through the jeans. Lydia had gone next door to the grocery store, refusing to set foot in a Good Will on principle. She might think she is too good for a thrift store, but Scott has already found an assortment of housewares for their house that will match the other lamps, rugs, and dishes he’d bought at the Good Will in the last few months. She didn’t seem to mind putting any of those things out in the house, mainly because none of them had the money to drop on house furnishings. The farm was successful, but most of their money went back into the farm, or into renovating the old farmhouses. Scott had been trying to rebuild the house he and Lydia lived in before they got married and was almost done with it. Stiles just didn’t make much at the newspaper, so Good Will work clothes were his only option.
“I think Derek has a big secret he hasn’t told me yet,” Stiles says as he tosses a pair of slacks into the cart.
“Why don’t you just Google him or something?” Scott asks. “Your dad is a retired investigator, and you are a reporter. You know he lives in New York and is rich. It can’t be that hard to find out about the guy.”
Stiles does a little dance when he finds a pair of nice, name brand slacks that look almost brand new in his size. The same pair of pants would have cost him over a hundred dollars at a department store. Score one for him.
“I wouldn’t do that,” Stiles says. “It feels skeezy.”
“Maybe his big secret is that he’s a serial killer. You could end up on one of those true crime shows! It could be your big break.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “He’s slowly opening up to me. He told me a few things the other night that I think were big for him. They were pretty specific.” He turns to look at Scott. “Plus, I want him to tell me when he’s ready.”
Scott shrugs. “Then stop freaking about it.” Stiles nods as he moves on to the DVDs.
After they finish at the Good Will, they walk next door to find Lydia in the grocery store. She’s standing in line, flipping through US Weekly. Scott goes up to her and kisses her cheek. “I got some stuff for the house,” he says with a grin.
“Is it clean?” she asks boredly.
“What do you mean, is it clean?”
Stiles tunes out their bickering as he steals Lydia’s magazine and idly flips through it. He doesn’t recognize any of the faces, not even the supermodel and her new boyfriend he barely glances at on the cover. He doesn’t understand people’s obsession with D-list celebrities anyway.
Lydia yells at Stiles and Scott when they throw jerky and candy they find by the register onto the conveyer belt, but she doesn’t take it off before the cashier scans and bags it.
Stiles readjusts his tie (one of the new ones he bought the previous evening) and squares his shoulders before knocking on Harris’ door. When he enters, Harris rolls his eyes.
Stiles feels himself sweating, his heart pounding in his chest. He lifts the folder in his hand, which contains a finished article on the local mollusk, and presents it to Harris. “I wondered if you’d take a look at this, sir.”
Harris flips open the file and scans a few lines before shutting it. “I’ve already told you no, Stilinski.”
“But you didn’t even read it!” Stiles exclaims. “I talked to a scientist at Stanford, and – “
“I don’t care,” Harris says. “I’ve told you no. The story is boring, and it’s not your job. If you can’t focus on your actual job, then I might just have to find someone who can.” He tosses the folder in the trash and points to the door.
Stiles is so mad when he leaves Harris’ office that he bypasses his desk and storms out to the back dock where the trucks load the newspapers. He kicks an empty box, and it rolls pathetically across the cement.
“What happened?” Danny asks from behind him. Stiles turns, and Danny’s holding a Dr. Pepper out for him. Stiles gives him a weak grateful smile as he takes it.
“Harris is a fucking dick,” Stiles says as he pops the top. “I finished the mollusk story, and it’s good, Danny. I contacted a bunch of scientists and talked to them about the mollusk’s effect on the ecosystems, the consequences of their extinction, and why the community should care.” Stiles takes a sip and then runs a hand through his hair.
“I’m guessing Harris said no?” Danny crosses his arms and leans against the brick building.
“He tossed it in the fucking trash!”
“Ouch.” Danny grimaces.
“Maybe I need to find another job,” Stiles says with a sigh. “Harris hates me; he’s never going to let me be a reporter like you and Erica.”
“Where would you go?” Danny asks.
“That’s the thing! I’d have to work in a different city, and I can’t exactly leave my dad and the farm.” Stiles sags in despair. “This sucks. I just want to write something more interesting than who’s survived by the local dead.”
Danny claps Stiles on the shoulder. “You’ll figure something out. You’re really talented.”
“And it’s being squandered here.” He takes a gulp of his soda.
“What are you doing tonight?” Danny asks. “Want to come over and blow off some steam?”
Stiles shakes his head. “Not tonight. Rain check?”
“No problem.” Danny grins, and then starts making fun of Harris some more to make Stiles feel better.
After Stiles has dinner with his dad, Isaac, Scott, and Lydia, he goes upstairs and calls Derek. Stiles grins the moment he hears Derek’s voice. “It’s a good thing you don’t work since I’m always calling you so late.”
“I’d wait up for your call even if I did work,” Derek replies.
“I just wanted to let you know that I had a shitty day at work, and I turned down fucking Danny so I could talk to you instead.”
“Is it bad if I say that makes me really happy? I don’t want to think about you having sex with Danny.”
Stiles bites his lip as he smiles. It doesn’t make a lot of sense that he would turn down a hot, living, breathing person in his zip code that wanted to have sex just so he could talk on the phone with a guy in New York. But he would rather talk to Derek than fuck Danny, and he’s not quite sure what that says about him.
“That just means you have to make it up to me,” Stiles says in his best flirty voice.
“Oh?” Derek asks. “How might I do that?”
“I can think of a few ways.”
“Tell me about them.”
“How about you bending me over my bed and fucking me,” Stiles says.
“I’d rather you bend me over and fuck me,” Derek says, voice low and gravelly.
Stiles stops at that, because what? That was not what he was expecting. “You bottom?”
“Is that a problem?”
Stiles laughs incredulously. “Oh god, no. Not a problem. Zero problemo. Absolutely, one hundred percent a-okay with this.” He laughs again. “I just didn’t expect it.”
“Why?” Derek asks. “Do I look like a top?”
“Kinda,” Stiles says with a shrug. “I don’t know. All the guys I’ve been with are tops, and your relationships were with girls and – “
“You just assumed,” Derek finishes.
“Yeah. But, dude, I am so okay with this piece of information. I’ve never topped, and I would love to fuck you.”
“Bet you’d feel so good inside me,” Derek says. “Pushing my face into the pillow and pounding into me.”
“Fucking hell, Derek,” Stiles groans, palming his growing erection. “Bet you’d look so pretty riding my cock. Head thrown back as you slammed yourself down on me over and over.”
“I’d love to watch you lying there, staring up at me, those long fingers gripping my hips.”
Stiles goes to reach for his cock when an idea occurs to him. “Hey,” he says nervously. “Want to video chat?”
“Right now?” Derek asks.
“Well, yeah,” Stiles says. “We can continue this live action style. I’d love to watch you as you come.” When Derek doesn’t say anything, Stiles says, “I mean, we don’t have to, it’s cool. I know you’re weird about this kind of thing.”
“No,” Derek says. “No, it’s okay. Yeah, we can video chat.”
Stiles stares over at his computer. He’s surprised Derek actually said yes. “Okay. I’ll text you my e-mail and log on.”
“See you in a few?” Stiles disconnects the call and then loads up his laptop. Suddenly, he’s really nervous. This isn’t just snapping pictures or talking on the phone; this is talking to each other in person, almost like they are right in front of one another. What if the webcam makes him look horrifically ugly? What if Derek doesn’t like what he sees and thinks Stiles talks too much with his hands or that his eyes are different sizes? What if every picture he ever sent to Derek were good pictures and the way he looks in real life bears no resemblance?
Stiles realizes as he loads up his video chat that he is overreacting. He obviously needs to relax – this was his idea.
Stiles stares at the blank screen impatiently as he waits for Derek to connect. When the top reads incoming video call, Stiles’ heart starts pounding in his throat. The screen comes alive on Derek’s end, and Stiles bursts out laughing.
He’s staring at Derek’s chest and abdomen, unfortunately covered by a grey wife beater. “I’m flashing back to your profile picture,” Stiles says.
“Shit,” Derek exclaims. The picture shakes and changes until finally, Derek is staring back at him. He looks exactly like he does in the photos, just somehow softer. His hair is kind of flat on his head, like he’s been lying around for hours, and he’s wearing glasses. There’s an awkwardness to him that makes Stiles want to kiss him until he’s stupid. Derek’s eyes aren’t trained on the screen, so it looks like he’s looking somewhere off to the right.
“You’ve never done this before, have you?” Stiles laughs.
“No.” Derek runs a hand over his face. “I’m really nervous, actually.”
“Why?” Stiles asks, shifting. “It’s just me. And believe me, you have nothing to be nervous about.”
“I feel really exposed,” Derek says. It takes a few moments before Derek seems to settle, and then he smiles. Stiles melts a little. “Wow,” Derek says. He leans closer into the screen, then frowns in frustration. “Come closer to the screen.” Stiles does as he’s told, and Derek’s eyes look all around. “Pictures don’t do you justice.”
Stiles knows he’s blushing. “Dude, you don’t have to flatter me to get me to have cam sex with you. It’s a done deal.”
Derek rolls his eyes. “I’m not flattering you.”
“Well,” Stiles says as he sits back and settles his laptop on his thighs. “I think we were talking about you riding my cock?”
Derek gets embarrassed and it’s the cutest thing Stiles has ever seen. “This seems weird now that we’re looking at each other.”
“Oh, we don’t have to,” Stiles says. “We can just talk, or watch a movie.”
Derek shakes his head and pulls off his tank top. Stiles kind of gapes at him, because day-um. “Well?” Derek asks, eyebrow quirked.
“If I was there, that t-shirt would be on the other side of the room by now.”
“Oh!” Self-consciously, Stiles grabs the hem of his t-shirt and pulls it over his head. “Not nearly as exciting as my view.”
“I beg to differ.” Derek looks him over, and Stiles watches him curiously. It’s so weird to finally be watching someone he has been talking to for half a year. It’s weird to think that Derek is an actual real person. “I don’t know how to do this. Do I just put the computer so the camera is angled at my dick?”
“That’s one way,” Stiles says. “I don’t care. I’ll be just as happy to watch your face.” Stiles leans forward and puts his computer on the bed between his thighs, the angle just right so Derek can see his face and crotch. “How’s that?”
Derek nods and licks his lips. “Be better without the pajama pants.”
“Impatient,” Stiles says. He takes off his bottoms, leaving on his underwear for now, while Derek moves his computer. He’s sitting in a chair, and Stiles has a view of everything above his thighs.
Derek cups himself and starts rubbing. Stiles watches, his cock stirring with interest. “Since I’ve never done this before,” Derek starts, “you’ll have to tell me what to do.”
“What makes you think I’ve done this?” Stiles asks.
“It was your idea.”
“I’m just enacting a fantasy.”
Derek drags his free hand over his chest, thumbing his nipples lightly. “How does the fantasy go then?”
Stiles huffs out a laugh, because he doesn’t doubt Derek has never done this, but Derek knows exactly what he’s doing. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” Stiles says as he mirrors Derek’s actions. “Rub yourself until you’re hard.”
“Won’t take long if you keep doing that,” Derek says. “I bet your fingers would feel so good on me, inside me.”
“Fuck,” Stiles groans. “Now I can’t get that image out of my mind.”
“The image of you spread out as I finger you.” Stiles’ cock is fully erect now, his mind on overload with the video of Derek in front of him, his thighs spread as he palms himself wearing only his tight boxer briefs, and the images Derek’s filling his mind with. “Take off your underwear,” Stiles says as he hooks his thumbs in his own underwear. He waits as he watches Derek remove his clothes, and his cock throbs when Derek’s cock bobs free. “Holy shit.”
“Like what you see?” Derek asks, wrapping his fingers around the shaft and jerking it a few times.
“This is so much better than phone sex and dick pics,” Stiles says as he removes his own underwear.
“So much better,” Derek agrees.
They don’t say anything for the next few minutes as they watch each other stroking themselves. Derek’s movements are slower and longer, while Stiles’ are short and fast. Derek likes circling around the head, while Stiles tugs on his balls. Stiles can hear Derek panting and moaning quietly through the computer, and each sound he makes shoots straight to Stiles’ balls.
“Talk to me,” Derek says eventually, “I want to hear your voice.”
“I don’t know what to say,” Stiles says as he tightens the grip on his cock. “I’m getting close.”
“Me, too,” Derek says. “I love the faces you make.”
“I look stupid,” Stiles says.
“No one has ever called me sexy until I met you,” Stiles admits.
“Then they’re stupid and blind.”
Stiles moans, his eyes glued to Derek’s hand sliding along his cock. He’s so hot, his thighs hairy like his balls with a tuft of dark hair above his groin. His muscles flex gracefully as he moves, and Stiles’ eyes keep flicking from Derek’s face to his cock to his smooth torso. It’s weird watching Derek, almost like watching porn but interactive. And this is Derek, a guy Stiles is crazy about.
Stiles’ hand starts stroking faster and faster until he thrusts his hips up, come spurting onto his lower belly. His heart is still beating in his ears as he relaxes into the bed and watches Derek. Stiles wants to get him in his own bed, taste his skin, hear the small sounds he can’t hear over the computer, feel the heat of his skin. He wants to physically be with Derek so badly that he can barely stand it. Stiles is still stroking himself when Derek comes with a groan, come landing on his wrist and chest. He’s so beautiful that Stiles aches for him. When Derek looks at him, Stiles wipes a bit of come off his skin and sucks it off his fingers.
“Fuck,” Derek growls, his cheeks flush and his eyes bright. “You’re a menace.”
Stiles grins. “If you were here, I’d lick the come from your skin.”
“I don’t know how guys aren’t lining up to fuck you every night,” Derek says, reaching out of the frame. He comes back with a t-shirt and cleans himself off. “I’m glad they aren’t though, because then you’d have no reason to talk to me.”
“I’d turn them down like I turned down Danny tonight,” Stiles laughs, grabbing tissues from his nightstand. After he cleans himself off, he pulls his pajama bottoms back on.
“You could have stayed naked,” Derek says as he stands. Stiles doesn’t mind one bit when he gets a close up view of his cock and balls as he steps into his underwear.
“I’d like to talk to you tonight, too,” Stiles says. “Figured we’d get distracted if we stayed naked.”
“Probably.” They both settle on their beds, Stiles with his laptop in his lap and Derek on his side. “Tell me about your bad day.”
“What bad day?” Stiles jokes. He sighs as he runs a hand over his messy hair. “My editor threw my story in the trash.”
“Your editor?” Derek asks. “What do you do?”
Stiles looks at him in confusion. “I’m a reporter, I’ve told you that. Or, I’m trying to be a reporter. Remember, I just write up obits?”
“You’ve never told me that before,” Derek says slowly.
“Oh, yeah, aspiring reporter. Just waiting for my big break, which I’ll never get with my asshole boss.”
“I thought you had a master’s in literature.”
“I do,” Stiles says. “And a bachelor’s in journalism.”
The look on Derek’s face is, well, almost panicked. Stiles is about to ask him if he’s okay when Derek says, “Hey, my sister is calling me. I’ll, um, call you back later.”
Then, the screen goes blank.
“O…kaaaay,” Stiles says to the empty room. He’s trying not to feel the sting of rejection, but it’s kinda hard not to when he just had skype sex with a hot guy and the guy bails out. He said his sister was calling him, but Stiles isn’t an idiot; it feels very reminiscent of when Stiles hung up on him the other night. What did Stiles do that scared Derek off? It wasn’t even like he said something super kinky that might have freaked him out.
Stiles seriously has no clue what just happened.
He shoots Derek a text, Um, I hope everything is okay. Let me know, okay? That way I’m not being overly paranoid over nothing and then turns on his TV. He flips through the channels, trying not to look at his phone every few minutes.
When he finally falls asleep, Derek hasn’t texted him back.
“Fuck him,” Scott yells angrily at dinner the next night.
“Not helping!” Lydia exclaims.
“Give me your phone,” Scott says, “I’ll call that dickbag and give him a piece of my mind.”
“Scott, I appreciate the support, but chill, bro.” Stiles pushes his squash and eggplant around his plate dejectedly. He’d texted Derek when he got up, then called him at lunch and left a message. But he still hasn’t heard anything. “Maybe there was a family emergency.”
He keeps his eyes on his plate because he doesn’t want to see his friends’ faces. The looks of sympathy and pity, the looks that say “poor Stiles had yet another obsession that ended in rejection.” The looks that remind Stiles how alone he really is.
“Hey, we’re going to the bar tonight, want to go?” Scott asks.
Stiles shakes his head. “I think I’m gonna stick around here. See if my dad needs help picking vegetables.” He gets up from the table and carries his half-eaten meal over to the sink.
“Danny’ll be there,” Scott says helpfully. “Maybe take your mind off things?”
“He doesn’t want to take his mind of things, Scott!” Lydia says. “Especially not with Danny.”
“He always likes hanging out with Danny.”
“Scott, really?” Lydia rolls her eyes. “Come on, let’s go get ready.” She gets up from the table, dropping a kiss on Stiles’ cheek on her way out of the kitchen. Stiles cleans off the table, stacks the dishes in the sink, and then leaves. He gets in his Polaris and drives across the farm, to his father’s house.
“Dad?” Stiles calls as he enters the house. It’s empty, so he gets back in the Polaris and drives out into the fields. He finds his dad out in the chard, spinach, and kale. He parks beside the row and walks to where his dad is crouched down. The sheriff is inspecting the leaves on a chard plant when Stiles sits in the dirt beside him.
“Hey,” the sheriff says.
“I always liked the green leafy vegetables,” Stiles says. “I think they’re pretty.”
“You hear that?” the sheriff directs to the plants. “He thinks you’re pretty. So, internalize that and grow little plants.”
“You’re so weird, Dad.”
“The plants need encouraging, just like people.” He reaches down and carefully pulls a few leafs from the plant and places them in the basket. “You look like you could use some encouraging, too.”
The sheriff sits back on his haunches and looks at Stiles. He’s wearing a bucket hat that shades his face, and a dirty khaki shirt. “You look sad, Stiles. Care to talk about it?”
Stiles idly fingers a spinach leaf. “I met this guy online.”
“The reason you’ve been smiling so much for the past few weeks, right?” Stiles nods. “So, what changed?”
Stiles tears off a few leaves and tosses them into a basket. “I don’t know. Things were going really great, and then…he just stopped calling.” He groans and pulls his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around his legs. He rests his chin on his knee. “Why do I always do this, Dad? Why do I always get obsessed with someone too fast, and never have them want me, too? What’s wrong with me?”
The sheriff cups the back of Stiles’ head. “Nothing’s wrong with you. You’re so much like your mom. You don’t give your heart often, but when you do, it’s 110%.”
“It’s not just Derek,” Stiles says. “Harris threw my story in the trash.”
“He what?” the sheriff exclaims. “I swear, if I was still sheriff, I would find a reason to arrest him.”
“I don’t know what to do,” Stiles says. “I just want to write. I like investigating, I like interviewing people and finding things out. I’m good at it, but he won’t even give me a chance.”
“You don’t need Harris,” the sheriff says. “No offense to Danny and Erica, but that newspaper is shit. You’re too good for it anyway, son.”
“But that’s all there is,” Stiles says.
“Maybe you should look for something that’s not a newspaper,” the sheriff suggests. “Magazines or something.”
“Maybe.” Stiles pulls off a bad leaf and tosses it in the dirt.
The sheriff claps Stiles on the back. “Cheer up, son. Maybe the guy has a good reason.” He squeezes Stiles’ shoulder. “You’re not the only one with insecurities and apprehensions.”
“Dad, that makes absolutely no sense,” Stiles says. “Why would Derek be insecure when it comes to me?”
“How are you this old and still think no one will like you?” He shakes his head.
“Gotta let the facts speak for themselves.”
The sheriff picks up a basket and shoves it in Stiles’ hands. “Here, be useful and go pick some kale.”
Stiles picks vegetables until the sun is almost down, and then he takes a picture of himself on the Polaris and sends it to Derek. Playing farmer tonight with my dad. Look at all the green leafy vegetables! You’d probably like it since you like all that rabbit food.
Three days after the video chat session, Stiles is driving home from work when his phone rings. He almost runs off the road when he sees Derek’s name.
“Hey,” Stiles answers. What he really wants to shout is, “WHAT THE HELL WHY HAVEN’T YOU CALLED ME BACK IN THREE DAYS I LEFT YOU FOUR MESSAGES AND SENT YOU LIKE TEN TEXTS WTF YOU COMPLETE ASSFACE.”
“Hey,” Derek says. He sounds reserved and unlike his usual self. Stiles steels himself for the final let down. “Busy?”
“I’m driving home.”
“Oh,” Derek says. “Can you call me when you’re home and settled? We need to talk.”
“Okay, sure. Give me half an hour.”
Stiles spends the entire car ride home freaking out. Derek is going to dump him, except not really because they were never dating in the first place. Derek is going to tell him that although phone sex was fun, skype sex just didn’t do it for him. Derek is going to tell him that he found an amazingly hot guy with tons of money who lives in New York, and he has no need for the loser in Beacon Hills.
By the time Stiles gets home and upstairs in his bedroom, he is a ball of anxiety. He drops on his bed without changing out of his work clothes and calls Derek.
“Just get it over with,” Stiles says when Derek answers.
“Get what over with?”
“The virtual breakup.”
“I’m not going to breakup with you,” Derek says. “I actually wanted to apologize.”
“Oh.” Stiles stares at the ceiling in confusion. “Okay.”
“I freaked,” Derek explains. “The video chat, getting this close to you…I just freaked. I’m sorry. I told you, I’m no good at this stuff.”
“You could have at least texted and told me you were freaking,” Stiles says. “I’ve been thinking I scared you off because you didn’t like what you saw.”
“That is the opposite of the truth,” Derek says quietly. “You scare me, Stiles.”
“I scare a lot of people.”
“That’s not what I mean.” Derek sighs. It’s almost sad that the audible expression is so familiar that Stiles is starting to visualize Derek’s actual face, the frustration pinching his expression. “When you said you were a reporter, it kind of freaked me out.”
“Dude, did you think I’d like Google you or investigate you?” Stiles scoffs. “I thought about it, back when I first met you, and Scott suggested it, you know in case you were a serial killer, but I would never do that to you. I want to find out about you through you.”
“I want to meet you in person,” Derek blurts. “I want to come to California.”
Stiles doesn’t say anything, because what? “Come again? Because I’m not sure I heard you correctly.”
“I want to be with you. In person. For real. I want to come to California.”
“You want to meet me?” Stiles whispers.
“I want to be with you,” Derek says. “Or at least give it a try.”
“Um, okay.” Stiles rubs a hand across his face. “I have some vacation time I’ve been saving up. I can probably take like a week and a half off. Not like Harris is gonna miss me. He’ll probably push me out the door,” Stiles grumbles bitterly.
“Ohmigod,” Stiles exclaims, “we’re really doing this. You’re coming here. We’re going to be together. I can touch you, and kiss you.”
“Planning on more than just kissing.”
Stiles giggles. He feels light-headed, like it’s all too good to be true. Five minutes ago he thought he was being virtual-dumped. “What if we hate each other? What if we’re not compatible?”
“Would you rather keep talking on the phone and never find out?”
“Definitely not.” Stiles inhales slowly. “You’re coming to Beacon Hills.”
“That’s your town?” Derek asks. “Let me google hotels.”
“What?” Stiles shakes his head. “No hotels. I have a big farmhouse.”
“Are you sure?” Derek asks.
“I can be there on Saturday.”
“Two days from now,” Stiles says. “You will be in front of me in two days.”
It was like whiplash, going from thinking Derek didn’t want anything to do with him to having him traveling across the country to see him. But Stiles can’t help it; he can’t stop smiling.
3:49 p.m.: I love flying.
3:55 p.m.: I don’t really like flying. But I’ve only flown once. I went to Washington D.C. with my dad when he turned 60. We did the whole tourist thing, you know, selfies with Lincoln and climbing all the way to the top of the Washington Monument. He wouldn’t let me throw things off of it, though.
3:57 p.m.: That sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve never been to DC.
4:03 p.m.: But you’ve been to Europe, so I don’t feel sorry for you. :P
4:04 p.m.: Why don’t you like to fly?
4:06 p.m.: I know it’s safe, but it freaks me out. Like, take off, I keep just imagining myself being splattered on the pavement. Plus, I prefer driving. I love road trips.
4:07 p.m.: I’ve never been on a road trip, like with friends and junk food and bathroom breaks at rest stops and driving all night and stupid car games.
4:15 p.m.: Well, you don’t eat junk food, so…
4:16 p.m.: That’s kinda sad. Why have you never done that?
4:19 p.m.: I don’t have the friends for it.
4:23 p.m.: What about A&J? Your sisters?
4:25 p.m.: LOL I’m trying to imagine my older sister on a road trip. If you knew her, you’d laugh, too. Actually, both of my sisters. Not road trip kind of ppl…Allison probably would enjoy it, but Jackson would hate it. He’s a diva. They’re both too busy to do that kind of thing, though.
4:34 p.m.: :/
4:35 p.m.: We’ll go on a road trip. Anywhere you want to go. We’ll do it right, too. Tons of junk food, mix CDs just for the occasion, cooler full of drinks in the back, car games, the whole shebang.
4:36 p.m: :)
4:36 p.m.: You have no idea how perfect that sounds.
4:41 p.m: But we’re totally gonna use your money and influence to get nice hotel rooms. You probably wouldn’t even set foot in some of the places we’ve stayed. I may have a fungus or something. lol
Stiles spends two days cleaning. He and Isaac keep the farmhouse clean for two bachelors, but it’s an old house located on a farm. That means there’s dust and dirt just about everywhere. So, he dusts the entire house, then dusts again because it needs it again. He mops multiple times, and tells Isaac he has to start taking off his shoes when they’re muddy.
He puts fresh sheets on his bed and does all his laundry, cleans the toilet and all the old, crusted toothpaste from the sink, and gets Isaac to cut the grass.
“You need to have potential serial killer online boyfriends visit more often,” Lydia says as she scrutinizes the house on Friday night. “The place has never looked so good.”
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Scott asks when all four of them are sitting in the living room in front of the television. “I know you like Derek, but people can be anything online. Skyping still isn’t the same as meeting in person.”
“He’s not a serial killer,” Stiles says for the fifteenth time.
“I’m thinking sociopathic nutjob, personally,” Isaac says from his recliner.
“Thanks,” Stiles snaps, and Isaac gives him a thumbs up.
“I just don’t want you getting hurt,” Scott says with a concerned frown. Stiles can’t be irritated with him, because it’s just so obvious he doesn’t want Stiles to get hurt.
“I know, buddy, and I appreciate it,” Stiles says. “But what if this actually works out?”
“The success of online relationships has increased over the last few years,” Lydia chimes in. “There are a lot of people in this area who met their significant other online.” She shrugs. “It might not be so bad.”
“At least he’ll get laid,” Isaac says. “By someone other than Danny.”
“Hey, there’s nothing wrong with Danny,” Stiles points out.
“Might be nice for something different though,” Isaac says. “Otherwise, I’m going to say it’s about time you and Danny pick out curtains.” Stiles flips him off.
“What time is he getting in tomorrow?” Lydia asks.
“And when do I get to meet him?” Scott adds.
“Around twoish, and after I deem it safe,” Stiles replies. “I’m not letting anyone meet him unless you promise not to humiliate me.”
“I live here,” Isaac says. “I’m not sleeping at Scott and Lydia’s just because you’re having a guy over. No sexiling of the Isaac.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Just chill, okay? You will meet him soon, and Isaac, you can home whenever you want.”
“But that means Isaac will meet him before me!” Scott whines as Lydia reaches across the space between her and Stiles on the couch and covers his arm with her hand.
“It’ll be okay,” she says encouragingly. Stiles gives her a grateful smile, and she steals the remote.
Stiles doesn’t sleep much Friday night. He’s too excited and nervous. He goes through just about every scenario his overactive brain can conjure. He and Derek fall madly in love. Derek hates his guts; he hates Derek. They fuck for a week then never speak again. They adopt children and live together in a suburban home until they’re little old men. Derek kills him in his sleep. Derek knocks him out and he wakes up in a vat of ice missing his kidneys.
Finally, after tossing and turning most of the night and getting maybe four hours sleep, Stiles gets up and begins getting things ready for Derek’s visit. He takes a shower, picks his best I’m-not-trying-too-hard-but-want-to-look-sexy outfit, which is basically a graphic tee and jeans, and then fails at trying to get his hair to look perfect.
Then, all that’s left to do is wait.
Stiles keeps checking his phone, hoping that Derek will text him. He hasn’t heard from him since the night before, and he doesn’t know when his flight’s getting in or if he’s going to rent a car. Derek just asked for his address and said he’d be there around two on Saturday.
Around 1:30, Stiles is playing video games in the living room when he hears a car coming down the driveway. He pauses the game and listens, but he knows it’s not Isaac. Isaac’s out in one of the far fields gathering corn. It’s Derek.
Stiles’ heart starts pounding wildly in his chest, so much that he can’t breathe for a moment. He takes a few steadying breaths as he listens to the car rolling closer.
This is just Derek, just the guy that he has been talking to for the last few months. I can do this, he tells himself as he tosses the controller on the floor and walks across the living room.
Stiles opens the door just as Derek gets out of a car. He’s wearing aviators and a soft pink, low cut v-neck shirt. Stiles’ mouth goes dry as he watches the graceful way Derek moves, and his heart flips in his chest when Derek sees him and smiles widely. When Derek ducks down to grab something from the back seat, Stiles finally gets a good look at the car.
“You rented a sports car?” Stiles asks. Because yes, that is a sleek black convertible sitting in his driveway. In his dirt driveway.
“I own it.” Derek hefts two bags from the backseat and adds, “It’s an Aston Martin,” as he comes around the car carrying two duffle bags, one in each hand.
“You drove an Aston Martin all the way here from New York?” Stiles exclaims.
Derek gets a look of frustrated exasperation on his face. “I drove up from Malibu. I flew in yesterday; we have a house there.”
“Why am I not surprised?” Stiles asks, still gaping at the car. But he quickly loses interest as Derek approaches.
Now that Derek’s in front of him, Stiles gets a good look at him. He’s smaller than Stiles expected, more lean and toned than pure bulk, though Stiles doesn’t miss the bulging arm muscle visible beneath the sleeve of his t-shirt. He’s around Stiles’ height, his legs long and accentuated by the low, tight fitting designer jeans he’s wearing.
Stiles knows he’s fucked. Derek is a thousand times hotter in person than he was in pictures or on chat. Stiles can barely contain himself.
“Hi,” Stiles says shyly when Derek finally stops in front of him.
“Hi.” Derek pulls off his sunglasses and hooks them in the V of his shirt, and the tuft of chest hair peeking out does things to Stiles that it shouldn’t. All of Derek does things to Stiles.
When Stiles finally looks into Derek’s face, it’s like he’s falling. Derek’s eyes are so light, lighter than anything he’s ever seen before. The color is indescribable, and just so Derek. He knows he’s staring, but Derek is staring, too, so it makes it slightly less awkward.
“Um, this, um…this is my house.” Stiles waves behind him, but Derek doesn’t pull his eyes away from Stiles’ face. “Later I can give you the tour of the farm, but it’s a long drive from LA, so um, I’ll show you inside…and stuff.” Stiles spins around and wants to literally face palm right there. Could he please say something else stupid?
Inside, Stiles hears Derek drop his bags, and he turns around. Derek is standing in the middle of the living room, staring at Stiles like he’s not sure he’s real.
No one has ever looked at Stiles the way Derek is looking at him in that moment.
Stiles tries to think of something to say, because the staring thing is getting weird. So, he blurts, “You’re smaller than I expected. I expected like, a big hulking muscled dude with a scary face who might look like he could kill me. Not,” Stiles pauses and waves his hand in Derek’s general direction, “you all smiley in a freaking pink shirt.”
Derek chuckles quietly. “You’re perfect.”
And that…that was the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to Stiles. He quickly crosses the short space between them and presses his lips to Derek’s.
Stiles accidentally misses Derek’s mouth and catches him on his jaw, and knocks his nose on Derek’s cheek when he leans in with too much force. “So smooth,” he groans, and he’s turning away when two arms go around his waist.
Derek’s mouth is on him in a flash, his strong arms holding Stiles close as he kisses him softly. Derek’s mouth is gentle, but confident and sure as his lips brush against Stiles’. There’s no hesitation in the kiss, but it feels tentative, like they’re both holding back, feeling each other out before giving over completely. Derek’s beard feels foreign as it brushes against Stiles’ mouth and cheeks, but he finds it isn’t unpleasant, especially if the tingling across his face is any indication.
Before he realizes what’s happening, he’s got his arms snaked around Derek’s neck, his body pressed right against him. Derek is prodding at Stiles’ lips with his tongue, tracing along the seam like it’s the only thing in the world he wants to be doing. When Stiles parts his lips, Derek slips his tongue inside, and at the first brush of their tongues against each other, Stiles feels it all the way into his core.
Stiles pulls away for a moment to gather his wits, but barely moves an inch. He can feel Derek’s breath ghosting against his lips, feel Derek’s heart beating where their chests are pressed together. His head is spinning, and he knows he needs to collect himself. When he opens his eyes, Derek’s staring back at him with bright eyes. “Hi,” Stiles chuckles.
“Hi.” Derek pecks Stiles lightly on the lips.
“Should we get you settled?” Stiles asks, because there are things to do that don’t include Derek’s lips. Things they should do, instead of standing in the middle of the living room kissing each other like it’s their last day on earth. He doesn’t want to do those things, though, but Derek’s been travelling and he’s probably pretty tired and Stiles should be a good host.
Stiles attempts to extract himself from Derek’s arms, but Derek’s vice-like grip doesn’t waver. “Are we just going to stand here all afternoon?” Stiles asks.
Derek shrugs, the look on his face playful. “I have nowhere I have to be.” Stiles laughs and runs his fingers through the soft strands of Derek’s hair. “Is Isaac here?”
Stiles shakes his head. “He’s out in the field.”
Derek’s grin is downright feral right before he kisses Stiles again. This time, there’s no hesitation or softness. It’s unrestrained fervor, with both of them kissing each other heatedly, their tongues battling for purchase in each other’s mouths.
Stiles doesn’t miss a beat when Derek lifts him; he wraps his legs around Derek’s waist as Derek starts walking across the living room.
“Ah, the stairs,” Stiles manages as he turns his head slightly. Derek takes the opportunity to kiss along Stiles’ jaw, then pulls the lobe of Stiles’ ear between his teeth. Stiles moans as Derek nibbles and licks at the sensitive flesh, and he claws at Derek’s back and hair.
As Derek starts ascending the stairs, Stiles tries to lower himself so Derek doesn’t have to carry him. But when Stiles’ feet hit the closest step, he loses his balance and topples over, pulling Derek down with him.
“Ow,” Stiles groans, the edge of one of the stairs digging into his lower back. “Why does this always look so much sexier on TV?”
Derek doesn’t seem concerned. He’s still kissing Stiles, making his way under Stiles’ jaw and down the column of his neck. Stiles moans when Derek’s tongue traces over a particularly sensitive spot, his arms coming up around Derek’s torso of their own will. Derek has somehow managed to situate himself so he’s kneeling between Stiles’ legs, his fingers trailing along the skin just beneath the hem of Stiles’ shirt as he sucks and bites at Stiles’ skin.
“Derek,” Stiles says, hands shoved beneath Derek’s shirt so they can roam freely along the wide expanse of his back. Derek’s back is so smooth, his skin hot under Stiles’ fingertips. He turns his head and drops a kiss on Derek’s temple as he pulls his hand between their bodies to cup Derek through his jeans. Stiles can feel Derek’s erection through his tight jeans, and the need to get Derek’s cock free and touch is overwhelming.
Not caring that they’re barely halfway up the stairs, Stiles makes quick work of unbuttoning Derek’s jeans and trying to shove them down his hips. “What the fuck,” Stiles pants against Derek’s temple, “did you paint these things on?”
Derek pulls his face away from Stiles’ neck, his hair messy as he raises up on his knees to shove his jeans down. Then, he starts unbuttoning Stiles’ jeans, but Stiles is too busy reaching for Derek’s cock to pay attention. He wraps his fingers around the length, giving it a few experimental strokes, watching in fascination as the foreskin draws over and then away from the head. He hadn’t known Derek was uncircumcised and he would definitely explore that later. He wants to take the time to fully enjoy the feel of Derek’s cock in his palm, but he’s got a single-minded determination to just touchfeeltaste at the moment. He swipes his thumb across the tip, spreading the bead of precome and causing Derek to fumble as he unzips Stiles’ pants.
“Dammit Stiles,” Derek huffs, finally freeing his cock. Derek drapes himself back across Stiles’ body and kisses him as he reaches between them to grab Stiles’ cock. Derek’s hand is like pure electricity when it touches him, sending shocks of pleasure through him. Stiles’ entire body jerks a little. His hand is large, his grip firm, and Stiles knows he’s never had someone touch him with such sure strokes.
“We might want to move it on upstairs,” Stiles says, bucking into Derek’s hand, “because this is not going to last long otherwise.”
“Don’t care,” Derek mumbles against his mouth. “This is just the warm up. I’m not going to be able to think straight until I make you come.”
“I want to suck you off,” Stiles says between kisses.
Derek shakes his head. “You can blow me later. I don’t want to stop kissing you.”
Stiles feels his heart flutter in his chest as he attacks Derek’s mouth and strokes his cock faster. It’s sloppy and frantic, their hands uncoordinated as they kiss and rut against each other on the stairs. It’s nothing like Stiles had imagined this would play out, but Stiles wouldn’t want it any other way. He loves the desperate sounds Derek’s making against his mouth, the uncontrolled shivers of his body as he moves on top of Stiles. Stiles feels loose and coiled tight at the same time, and he knows it’s only moments before he falls completely apart.
Stiles arches suddenly into Derek as he comes messily between them, and Derek follows only a moment later. They don’t move, but stay just as they are on the stairs, kissing more slowly as they lazily stroke each other. Stiles feels completely spent, his entire body boneless and light. His heart is pounding in his temples, and the weight of Derek’s body on his feels right. He can’t believe Derek has been here all of five minutes and they’ve already gotten off. (Or that he’s already this far gone.)
He laughs. Derek pulls away and stares down at him, brows furrowed. That just makes Stiles laugh even harder.
“What?” Derek asks with a confused smile.
“This is pathetic,” Stiles says, making a sweeping gesture at their half-clothed disarray splayed on the stairs. “You’d think we hadn’t had sex, well, ever. We’re getting off like two horny teenagers instead of two grown men.”
Derek kisses him deeply. “Mmm,” he hums as he drops kisses all over Stiles’ face. “I can’t help it. I couldn’t resist you a moment longer.”
Stiles grins and then pushes at Derek’s chest. “Come on, big guy. You’re heavy, and this stair is really starting to fucking hurt. My bed is much more comfortable, because believe me, I am so not done kissing you.”
Derek grins as he stands, dragging Stiles up after him. Stiles wipes his hand on his t-shirt as he kisses Derek, then clumsily climbs the rest of the stairs without removing his mouth from Derek’s. He manages to get himself tucked back into his jeans, but doesn’t bother with the button or zipper.
Inside his bedroom, Stiles toes off his shoes while Derek adjusts his pants. “This is my room,” Stiles says as he turns around in a circle. “It’s nothing exciting.” Derek flops back onto the bed and laces his fingers together behind his head.
“We can make it exciting,” Derek says, waggling his eyebrows. Stiles rolls his eyes.
“You are so lame,” he laughs, but he crawls onto the bed, and up Derek’s body. Derek’s hands immediately slide beneath his shirt, and Stiles leans down to kiss him.
Yeah, he could get used to this.
Stiles loses track of how long they kiss. The only thing in the world is Derek’s mouth and Derek’s hands on him. Now that the initial need to get off has subsided, they are able to map and learn each other’s mouths, find out what each other likes and responds to. Stiles is not sure he has ever just reveled in the process of exploring someone’s body just to find the spots that make them whimper or arch into his touch.
After awhile, when Stiles’ lips are tired and his mouth is tingling from Derek’s scruff, he sits up, settling himself comfortably on Derek’s lap so he can look down at him. Derek’s lips are red and kiss-swollen, so Stiles drags the tip of his finger along them lightly.
“I guess we should talk eventually,” Stiles laughs.
“Don’t want to talk,” Derek says, dragging his nails along the skin of Stiles’ torso beneath his shirt. “We’ve been talking for so long.”
“You did not fly across country for a week long booty call,” Stiles states. “Did you?”
Derek purses his lips into a hard line. “If I wanted that, I wouldn’t have to leave New York.” He settles his hands on Stiles’ waist, and Stiles can’t help the flutters he feels every time Derek touches him. “Obviously, I just want to be with you.”
“I’m Stiles Stilinski,” he says, leaning down and kissing Derek with a smile. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Stiles repeats the name over and over again. “It’s weird knowing your last name. This is so official now. You’re a real person. Does that even make sense?”
Derek nods. “I wouldn’t have picked Stilinski as your last name.”
Stiles snorts. “No one would, dude.” Stiles rolls off Derek and onto his side so he’s facing him. They lay there for a few moments, just looking at one another, until Stiles laughs. “We’re so ridiculous.”
“We kinda are,” Derek chuckles. Derek’s phone rings then, and he digs into his back pocket. When he looks at the screen, he groans. “Give me a second,” he tells Stiles as he rolls onto his back. “Hello.” Stiles can hear the muffled sound of a woman on the other end. “Yes, I’m still alive…this morning…the house is fine…I took my Aston Martin…no…no…no…Laura, I’m fine…yes, he’s real, he’s sitting beside me…no, you can’t talk to him…no, I won’t sign the form…he won’t either…I’m not asking him…no…I’ll call you later…yes, I promise…tell them I’m fine…love you, too.”
Stiles is grinning as Derek reaches over and places his cell phone on the nightstand. “Laura. That’s your sister?”
“My older sister, yes,” Derek sighs. “She drives me fucking crazy.”
Stiles grins. “I like the way you two bicker. It’s so…sibling-y. I wish I had a sister.”
“You can have her, I won’t mind,” Derek drawls.
“What’s your other sister’s name?” Stiles asks.
“Laura and Cora,” Stiles says, trying to match the information with things Derek has told him before. “Laura’s the one you have lunch with all the time, and Cora is the one you don’t really get along with?”
“Oh,” Stiles nods, chewing on his lip. “Well, you seemed to get along okay. She called to check on you.”
Derek sighs. “She has a weird way of showing she cares. She’s…extremely self-centered.” He smiles wryly, and then rolls onto his side and wraps his hand around the back of Stiles’ head. “Now, where were we?”
Stiles is crawling back on top of Derek when Derek’s stomach growls. He sits up and rubs Derek’s torso with both his hands. “Seems like your body is trying to tell you to do something other than kiss me.”
“Stupid body,” Derek pouts. Stiles drops a kiss on his mouth and then crawls off the bed.
“Okay, so, let’s get you some food and get you settled in the guest bedroom.” Derek pushes off the bed, and Stiles crosses the space between them. He points to a white spot on Derek’s shirt and jeans, then a crusted spot on his hand. “Perhaps we should also clean up.” Stiles points to his own shirt. “We’re both disgusting. Dried come.” He wrinkles his nose.
While Derek’s in the bathroom, Stiles quickly changes into a fresh shirt after deeming his jeans okay. Most of the mess had gotten on his hand and their shirts anyway. Then, he goes downstairs and starts poking through the cabinets and in the fridge for something to eat.
Stiles takes a moment to just catch his breath. He feels like he’s driving full speed down the interstate and quickly losing control. He had imagined that when he and Derek met, they would tiptoe awkwardly around each other, feeling each other out. He’s been on other dates with men he’s met online, and they were all full of hours of conversation over dinner before they even got close to a goodnight kiss. And the hookups were always to the point, a quick fuck and no sticking around.
This is nothing like that. Stiles isn’t sure what it is, but it feels dangerous. The last thing he needs is to get in over his head with this guy, but something tells Stiles it’s too late for that.
He’s waiting on Pop Tarts in the toaster when Derek comes into the kitchen. Stiles groans. “Fuck, are you for real?” Derek’s wearing a similar t-shirt as before, this time in white, and has changed into his glasses.
“My eyes get dry when I travel,” Derek says as he leans back against the counter on the other side of the toaster. “My contacts had all sorts of nasty dust in them from the drive up here.”
“I’m definitely not complaining,” Stiles says. The toaster ejects the Pop Tarts, and Stiles takes them out of the toaster, dropping them and making small noises of discomfort when they burn his fingers. He manages to get them onto mismatched plates and hands one to Derek. “Five star cuisine right here.”
Derek frowns as he takes the plate. “Can we put a nail in that, please? I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. I’m not looking around and sticking my nose up at anything. Actually, I think your house is great.”
“Really?” Stiles asks.
Derek nods. “Really.” He lifts the Pop Tart and takes a bite, getting crumbs and flakes of white frosting in his beard. Stiles shakes his head with a smile. “I need to tell you some things,” Derek says after they finish their food.
“It’s that you’re a serial killer, right? I knew you were too good to be true.” Stiles drops their plates in the sink and then walks towards the living room. He sits on the couch, and Derek sits carefully beside him, angling his body towards him.
“You’ve figured me out,” Derek jokes a bit belatedly. “I am a serial killer.”
Stiles waits nervously as Derek appears to be gathering courage. Stiles isn’t sure to expect; he knows that Derek has been hiding something, and now that he’s about to learn what it is, he’s not sure he wants to.
Derek remains silent. And since Stiles hates silence, he says, “I’ll start, with the sharing stuff. Let’s see, I broke my leg when I was eight, got it caught on the merry-go-round thing at the park. Beginning of summer, too. Sucked balls. Cast itched like a bitch. I was salutatorian of my high school class; Lydia was valedictorian, only beat me by like a tenth of a point, the evil cow.”
“My mother is Talia Hale,” Derek says suddenly. Stiles blinks at him, surprised at the interjection. The name sounds familiar, and Stiles is wracking his brain to figure out why when Derek adds, “the Oscar-winning actress?”
Derek looks uncomfortable, like he’s ready to jump off the couch and run back to his car if need be. Stiles is just staring at him. Derek Hale. Talia Hale. His brain spins wildly, connecting dots and – holy shit.
“Your mother is Talia Hale?” he exclaims. “Like was in Grief and The North Sky and is now on that show on ABC?” Derek nods his head. “Fucking hell. Lydia dragged me to see Grief in the theater, and I fucking cried like a baby.”
“She won her third Oscar for that,” Derek states, and Stiles is struck by how damn proud he looks.
“Isaac watches her show every week,” Stiles rambles, his brain trying to process that a famous person’s son is on his couch. He made out with an Oscar winning actresses’ son. He had sex with an Oscar winning actresses’ son. “Shit,” Stiles says, suddenly remembering something. “It was you. As a kid, you were on – “
“That shitty WB show?” Derek finishes with a roll of his eyes. “It was horrible. I was only on it for two seasons.”
“I totally watched that show,” Stiles mutters to himself. “And you’re sitting on my couch.”
“My sisters are famous, too,” Derek says with a sigh. “Laura has her own reality show, and Cora is a fashion designer.”
“Ohmigod!” Stiles slaps Derek’s arm. “Lydia watches that show! She is going to flip.” He’s kind of flipping. Derek is…part of a famous family. Derek is practically famous. Stiles just had sex with a famous person.
Stiles leaps from the couch and starts pacing. He runs a hand through his hair. “What in the hell were you doing on an online dating site?”
“I’ve told you,” Derek says. “I was tired of money grubbing fake people. Plus, I don’t go out much. I hate paparazzi.”
Stiles whips around, goes over to the window and looks out. “They’re not here, are they? They’re not like following you?”
Derek huffs in frustration and rolls his eyes. “No, Stiles. They don’t follow me around. No one cares about me that much.”
Stiles turns back to Derek, and just stares at him, sitting there on his couch. This can’t be real; it doesn’t make sense.
“That’s why I’ve been kinda…weird,” Derek continues as he wrings his hands in his lap. “With the pictures and the phone stuff and when I found out you were a reporter.”
“Did you think I was going to, I don’t know, write a huge expose about your gay Skype sex sessions and dick pics?”
Derek shrugs. “Wouldn’t be the first public scandal I’ve been in.” He scowls. “Our family seems to attract drama.”
Stiles drags a hand over his face. “I…” He trails off, unable to even form words. “This is a lot to process.”
“I know,” Derek says quietly, looking down at his hands.
“Um, why don’t you get settled?” Stiles says distractedly, “Take a shower, rest, whatever you need.” He heads towards the front door. “Make yourself a home. I’ll be back in a bit.” He walks out of the house, leaving Derek on the couch, looking vulnerable.
Stiles feels like an ass, but the house feels too small. This information changes everything they’ve shared over the last few months. He had never even entertained the idea that Derek was famous, or from a famous family. Suddenly, his stupid life and all his conversations with Derek seem so pointless and lame.
Stiles climbs into the Polaris and drives across the farm to his dad’s house. He knows his dad won’t be there, so he lets himself in and gets on his dad’s computer. As soon as he brings up Google, he types in Derek Hale.
There are a lot of matches.
The first is from a few days ago. Stiles clicks on it, and pulls up an article on a gossip blog about Derek’s new romance with supermodel Allison Argent.
Derek’s Allison is a supermodel?
When he enlarges the picture, Stiles feels all hope evaporate. Allison is absolutely stunning. Everything about her looks perfect, from her clothes and her body to her smile. Stiles knows Derek said she was just his best friend, but how could he ever compete when there are people like that in Derek’s life? Stiles flips through the pictures, them snuggling at a boutique, dancing at a club, eating lunch with another guy, kissing outside of a club. It does really look like they’re together.
That’s the night he went clubbing, Stiles reminds himself. The night he went home and sent you a naked pic.
Stiles can’t possibly imagine why he did that if there are people like that in his life.
He continues browsing through the links, various blurbs about the reclusive Derek Hale spotted around New York, in LA. There’s a write up along with a family photo dealing with his mother, and Derek just seems to be trying to fade into the background.
The older sister, Laura, however, seems to have no problem being in the spotlight. Her body language angles her at the camera, and Derek seems to be using her to hide behind. The other sister, Cora, seems to not give a shit about the photo at all. Both of Derek’s sisters are unfairly attractive, all three of them with similar features making it undeniable they are related.
Stiles ends up on an article about “Jennifer Blake’s tell-all story about millionaire Derek Hale,” but he clicks out of it after seeing a picture of Derek and Jennifer on a red carpet. There are also a few articles about Derek and Kate, who Stiles learns is the sister of the movie producer who worked on two of his all-time favorite films.
Stiles can’t bring himself to read the articles. It feels like he’s invading Derek’s privacy, and he wants to hear the real story from Derek, not whatever twisted version made it online. So, instead, he types in Cora Hale and glances through her clothing designs before bringing Laura’s show up on Hulu. Then, he pulls out his phone and texts Scott.
Dude, Derek’s secret is that he is famous. FAMOUS. His mom is the main woman on that show Isaac watches on Tuesday nights. Lydia is going to fucking flip.
He half-watches an episode of Laura’s show while reading through her Twitter and flipping through her Instagram. It’s not hard to figure out which tweets are about Derek, and a few of them make Stiles laugh. There are no pictures of him on her Instagram, but Cora’s has a few of Derek. There’s one of him and Cora at a bar holding beers, one where Derek’s playing darts, and another where they’re eating lunch on a balcony of an apartment. Stiles wonders if it’s Derek’s apartment.
After the episode of Laura’s show is over, Stiles shuts down the computer and just stares at the far wall. He’s not sure what he feels. He’s trying not to let his insecurities get to him, but it’s difficult. Stiles lives the most boring life in the world, drives a shitty Jeep, and lives in a decrepit farmhouse with a leaky roof and a toilet that backs up at least three times a week.
Derek’s walked down red carpets, been to the Oscars, and socialized with beautiful famous people his entire life. He owns an Aston Martin and a Ferrari, a house in Malibu, and a penthouse in New York. What in the world could Stiles possibly offer him?
But Derek was there; he guesses that has to count for something.
Derek calls Cora as soon as Stiles is out of the house. “It’s a lot to spring on someone,” Cora says. “Give him time to get used to it. Not everyone is used to these things like you are.”
Derek knows Cora is right, but it doesn’t lessen the sting every time he thinks about Stiles walking out of that door.
He takes his bags upstairs to the guest bedroom, checks his e-mail, takes a quick shower, then washes up their dishes before sitting on the couch and turning on the television. He flips idly through the channels, then leaves it on a nature show he doesn’t watch.
Derek loves everything about this place. The house is large and rustic, with wooden walls and family portraits and pictures of friends on the shelves. There are knickknacks throughout the house, worn blankets over the back of the couch and mix matched furniture in each room. The house feels lived in, full of life and love.
The land is beautiful. Derek had taken his time driving down the long, winding driveway, just gazing out in wonder at the planted fields, the groves of trees, even the three ponds scattered among the rolling hills. The silos and barn were picturesque, and even Stiles’ house looked just like something out of a movie.
And Stiles…Derek didn’t even know where to begin with Stiles. He was more than Derek could have hoped for, as gorgeous in person as in his photos, and kissing him was like nothing Derek had ever experienced. He had barely contained himself enough to get inside the house before he touched him.
“I hope it’s not another situation like Jennifer,” Derek had admitted to Cora, and Cora responded with, “Describe Stiles.”
“He’s...gorgeous, smart, funny, a dork, self-deprecating, interesting, ridiculous, talks too much, has no idea how to control his body, and is absolutely maddening.”
“See?” Cora said. “You know the difference. You’re stronger and more aware this time around. You can pick out his flaws, but you still like him. And no one encouraged you with Stiles; you found him all on your own.”
Cora was right; Jennifer had been a product of his family and his therapist encouraging him to “get out there again.” Jennifer had been at the right place at the right time, and Derek had latched on. Maybe Derek had latched on to Stiles, but this week was going to make Stiles become a real person in his head, not some figment of his imagination.
But only if Stiles comes back. And doesn’t tell him to leave.
Derek jumps off the couch, causing the remote to clatter to the floor, when the front door opens. Stiles looks from him to the remote, then slowly walks across the living room.
“I looked you up online,” he says. Derek grimaces and braces himself. “It felt weird, reading about you when you were in my living room.” Derek remains silent, allows Stiles the chance to verbally talk through what’s on his mind. Derek has a whole speech prepared if Stiles tells him to leave. “It was weird, seeing pictures of things you told me about. Clubbing with Allison – who is fucking beyond gorgeous, okay? How are you not dating her? – and then pictures with your sisters, who are both also gorgeous, and your mom, who I’ve been watching on TV every week for like three years.”
Stiles takes a breath, and he looks flushed and confused. Derek’s afraid to move, afraid to spook him.
“I liked the pictures of you on Cora’s Instagram,” Stiles continues, “You looked happy instead of pained like you do in most of the publicity shots. And I’ve watched Laura’s show with Lydia before. We had a marathon one rainy Saturday. She’s kind of ridiculous.” Stiles shoots him a crooked grin.
“You have no idea,” Derek says with a smile.
“I didn’t read the articles about Kate,” Stiles says quietly. “I realized I wanted to know the whole story, the real story, from you.”
Derek lifts his eyebrows in surprise. “So, you’re not going to ask me to leave?”
Stiles shakes his head. “Absolutely not. But I have to admit,” he says, taking a step closer to Derek. “I’m still not sure why me.”
“The better question is why me,” Derek replies gently as he cups Stiles’ face.
“Apparently, we’re both stupid,” Stiles says. “How about that tour now?”
Derek climbs into the Polaris beside Stiles, a dusty, beat up ATV with a roof but no sides. It’s fun riding around, gripping the sidebar, as Stiles zooms across the farm. Derek always wanted to play on 4wheelers when he was growing up, but never had the chance. This comes pretty close.
Stiles shows him the different gardens, which take up most of the farm, then the other houses on the property. There’s not much else to the tour, but Derek stares with interest at the expanses of land covered in squash and tomato plants, blackberry vines, fruit trees, and corn stalks.
“Might want to close that mouth,” Stiles teases as Derek stares at rows of cabbages. “Don’t want to catch any flies.”
Derek tears his eyes away, flushing in embarrassment. “I’ve just never seen anything like this. It’s incredible.”
“It is pretty cool,” Stiles agrees. “Dad used to be the sheriff, but he retired around the time we graduated from undergrad. I went on to get my master’s, and Isaac, Scott, and Dad went in together for this place. It’s only a few years old, but they’ve done amazing things.”
“Can you buy their stuff in grocery stores?” Derek asks.
Stiles shakes his head. “There are a lot of hoops with the USDA to jump through for that. The label alone has over 20 points it has to follow just to be able to be sold in small local markets.” He veers to the right suddenly, almost slinging Derek out of the Polaris. “Better be careful, city boy.” Stiles smirks at him.
“Do they want to sell in grocery stores?” Derek asks.
Stiles shrugs. “One day. Now, they sell at the state farmer’s market and through local co-ops. They also supply a few businesses with stuff, and some restaurants. It’s growing, but they don’t want to overextend themselves.”
“So, why don’t you do this with them?”
“Well, I’m part owner, and an investor, which just basically means I put money into it the first year they started the business. And I get a cut of the profits, but mostly the profits go back into the farm. We’re trying to fix up the houses, but most of the priority has gone to Lydia and Scott’s house since they are getting married. Isaac and I do what we can, but we need a lot more repairs before it’s anywhere near finished.”
“I love your house,” Derek states. Stiles looks so pleased at that, and it makes Derek feel warm all over.
“I love it, too,” Stiles says. “Except when it rains and there’s a puddle in the guest bedroom and when the toilet backs up. Cause that’s not cool, man.”
“Why don’t you farm?”
Stiles glances at him with a surprised smile. “How is any of this interesting for you?”
“I’m interested in you.”
“Well, Isaac’s got a degree in agriculture, Scott has a basic degree in biology and had thought about being a vet but couldn’t really afford it, so when my dad approached him, he thought this would make a good career. Lydia is a math genius, and she’s the accountant and marketing team rolled into one. She does all the office-type stuff on a daily basis.” Stiles takes another turn, and Derek notices that they’re driving away from the fields and deeper into the woods. “I don’t have any interest in farming. I like picking vegetables sometimes, but I don’t love it like the guys do. It’s all they do, every day. I just want to write.”
Stiles starts slowing down as they drive down narrower paths, with dense trees covering them and providing some much needed shade. It’s at least ten degrees cooler here than out on the farm.
“I’m more interested in you,” Stiles says. “I mean, you grew up in Hollywood. That has to be exciting.”
“For some people,” Derek says. “It was okay for awhile.”
“What changed?” Stiles asks.
Derek shifts in the seat, dropping his hand from the bar now that he’s confident Stiles isn’t gonna sling him out of the vehicle. “It’s lonely,” Derek explains. “My mom was always gone, my dad bailed when I was young, Cora’s so much younger than me, and Laura’s always been obsessed with being famous. Then Kate happened, and that…” Derek sighs, trying to find the words. Stiles waits patiently for Derek to continue. “Kate changed me.”
“That’s understandable.” Stiles starts slowing down as they approach a small pond with a stream feeding into it. “You can tell me about it, when you’re ready.” He turns the Polaris off near the edge of the pond and turns to look at Derek. “This is my favorite spot on the farm.”
Derek gets out and looks around. The pond is small and completely shaded by the tall trees surrounding it. There’s a dock with a weather-worn chair and table on it, a few soda cans and water bottles sitting beside it. The stream winds deeper into the woods, with water cascading over rocks in small waterfalls.
“It’s beautiful,” Derek says as he walks towards the stream. The water is clear, and he bends to dip his hand inside. The water is cold and refreshing in the warm afternoon. He twists to look up at Stiles. “Thank you for sharing this with me.”
Stiles takes off his shoes and rolls up his pants. He walks over to some rocks leading down and then wades out into the stream. “Join me?”
Derek finds Stiles fascinating. His dates in the past included fancy restaurants, Broadway plays, sporting events, charity benefits, and weekends in the Hamptons. His dates wore designer bathing suits on his yacht, and one guy he dated said he spent too much money on his swimming trunks to swim in the ocean.
Stiles just crawled down an embankment, didn’t notice when he got dirt and leaves on his butt and hands, and is now standing calf-deep in a creek kicking up water with a gleeful expression on his face.
Derek toes off his shoes and socks, then rolls up his pants and tries to follow the path Stiles had just taken. The rocks are warm to the touch, and the sandy silt is soft under foot. It oozes between his toes when he takes a step, and he looks down at it and laughs to himself.
As soon as he’s close to Stiles, Stiles kicks water on him, getting his jeans wet. “Nice,” Derek drawls, wiping water from his glasses.
“Oh, sorry your highness, you might melt because the icky natural water touched your skin. You’ll have to take a bath in purified artesian well water that costs three dollars a bottle.” Stiles grins as he splashes Derek again.
“Such an ass,” Derek growls playfully as he kicks water at Stiles, and Stiles apparently takes that as an invitation for an all out war. Soon there is so much water flying around them that Derek can’t see. Then, something tackles him and he’s toppling backwards into the creek.
Stiles is crouching over him, laughing. So, Derek grabs Stiles’ t-shirt and pulls him face first into the creek. When Stiles sits up, his hair wet and water dripping over his face, Derek smirks.
“I regret bringing you here,” Stiles says, but Derek can tell he’s suppressing a grin. Stiles stands and starts trudging up the stream towards the pond, pulling his shirt over his head as he goes. Derek jumps up to follow, stripping his own shirt off and tossing it somewhere up on the bank with Stiles’.
Stiles pulls off his pants when he gets to the pond, and then throws Derek a wink over his shoulder as he removes his briefs. Derek takes in the thin lines of Stiles’ body and lingers on the curve of his ass. He’s barely gotten his fill when Stiles runs into the pond, causing large splashes and a lot of noise as he flails his way into the water.
Derek shoves his jeans and boxer briefs off, leaving them on the ground along with his glasses as he splashes after Stiles. By the time Derek gets waist-deep in the pond, Stiles has already swum out into the middle and is splashing around like a kid. Derek floats on his back and stares up at the trees, feeling completely content. It’s an odd feeling.
But then Derek is underwater, with two hands holding him down. When Derek comes up for air, Stiles is cackling. “Are you twelve?” Derek sputters, wiping water from his eyes and nose.
“Do you know how to have fun?” Stiles counters.
Derek lunges for him, tackling him underwater. Stiles kicks and thrashes, and Derek grabs him around the waist from behind when Stiles breaks the surface.
“I’ll dunk you again, and this time I won’t let you up,” Derek threatens.
“So, you really are a serial killer,” Stiles jokes. He’s leaned back into Derek’s embrace, kicking his feet in front of him to stay afloat. Derek noses along Stiles’ neck, then behind his ear. “So, so threatening,” Stiles exhales. “I’m terrified, really.”
Derek places a kiss behind Stiles’ ear, the semi-erection he’s had since Stiles stripped down growing by the second. Stiles moves around in the water, his ass grazing Derek’s cock.
“Ooh,” Stiles exclaims, letting his legs float down as he nestles himself against Derek. Derek can’t help but to rock his hips against Stiles’ ass, the smooth glide feeling fantastic in the water. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
“What did you expect would happen when you took your clothes off?” Derek murmurs against Stiles’ neck, where he’s worrying a spot with his teeth.
“Um, that we’d swim?” Stiles reaches behind him in the water, his fingers digging into the meat of Derek’s ass. Stiles’ body is hot against his, and it takes all of Derek’s willpower not to rub himself off on Stiles’ backside right now. He slides his hands along Stiles’ torso, fingers gliding easily beneath the water, then lifts his hand above the surface to thumb one of Stiles’ nipples. Stiles makes the most delicious sounds whenever Derek touches him in certain spots, and Derek wants to hear those sounds over and over. He circles Stiles’ nipple, feeling it harden beneath his touch, Stiles’ fingers digging harder into Derek’s flesh.
He drops light kisses along Stiles’ neck, soft brushes of his mouth that cause goose bumps to break out over Stiles’ skin. Slowly, Derek lowers his hand and combs his fingers through the thick curls at the base of Stiles’ cock, teasing him slowly. He’s hard as a rock, but he wants to follow through on something he told Stiles weeks ago,I’d worship you like you deserve. His focus is trained on Stiles, on the involuntary shudders and jerks of his body, on the quiet sounds escaping his parted lips, on the way his eyes are closed, his face angled towards him.
Derek dips his head to kiss Stiles, and Stiles blindly follows his mouth when he pulls away. With deft hands, he spins Stiles around, and Stiles kisses him deeply. Stiles grips Derek’s shoulders, fingers flexing into muscle. Stiles’ tongue is soft yet firm, and Derek could kiss him for the rest of time. There’s an unrepentant need in the way Stiles kisses, his lips as unpredictable as Stiles is with everything else, but there’s also a hesitation that Derek wants to kiss right out of him.
When Derek reaches between them and wraps his hands around their cocks, his moan is nearly as loud as Stiles’. Stiles’ kiss is getting lax and sloppy as Derek’s hands glide through the water, Stiles sagging his body into Derek’s as he pants into his mouth.
Surprisingly, Derek comes first, his orgasm hitting him suddenly. His forehead is pressed against Stiles’ cheek, his hands barely moving when Stiles comes with a soft whine. He kisses Stiles’ cheek as Stiles drags his hands along Derek’s arms.
“Are we having a sex marathon?” Stiles pants, pulling away and looking at Derek.
Derek quirks an eyebrow. “We’ve only gotten off twice, and we haven’t even blown or fucked each other.”
“Dude, you are not taking away the awesomeness of me having multiple orgasms in one day.” Stiles slaps his cheek lightly.
“I’m hoping to have a couple more before the night’s over,” Derek grins.
“See? Sex marathon.” Stiles grins and slithers out of Derek’s arms to swim away.
They ride back to the house in their underwear, their clothes thrown haphazardly in the back of the Polaris. As soon as they get back to the house, Stiles goes to throw the dirty clothes into the wash while Derek grabs a bottle of soda from the fridge.
“Derek!” Derek walks to the laundry room, finds Stiles standing in his red briefs and holding Derek’s jeans. “These are Hermes.”
Stiles turns to him, eyes wide and mouth agape. “You crawled in the dirt, and you let me push you into the muddy creek, while wearing a pair of Hermes jeans.”
Derek shrugs. “I don’t care. They’re just jeans.”
“How much did these cost? Like two hundred bucks?”
Stiles stares at the jeans like they might bite him. “YOU SPENT EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS ON A PAIR OF JEANS?” He looks at Derek like he’s crazy. “I just ruined eight hundred dollars. I don’t have the money to replace them. Can you even wash these jeans with my jeans? Will the Hermes jeans be offended on principle?”
Derek rolls his eyes. “It’s fine, as long as you wash them inside out on the gentle cycle. They won’t fall apart.”
“Eight hundred fucking dollars,” Stiles mutters as he turns the jeans inside out. “Mine were five bucks at the Good Will, and I was stoked because they were Abercrombie.”
Derek comes up behind him and slides his arms around Stiles’ waist. “I like the way your Good Will jeans look on you. They fit in all the right places.”
“Why in the hell did you spend eight hundred dollars on a pair of jeans?” Stiles asks as he starts the wash.
Derek shrugs. “I didn’t really think much about it. I just buy whatever I want.”
Stiles shakes his head as he walks through the kitchen and towards the stairs. “Ridiculous. And you played in a muddy creek in them.”
They both change into clean clothes, Derek throwing on sweat pants and a wife beater before he walks back downstairs. “So,” Stiles asks from where he’s already sitting on the couch. He looks adorable with messy hair, boxers, and a superhero t-shirt. “What do you want to do?”
Derek drops onto the sofa beside him and shrugs. “It’s your house. What do you usually do?”
“Not much,” Stiles says. “Watch TV, play video games, waste time with Scott and Isaac.” He glances at the digital clock on the BluRay. “We could make dinner and watch some TV for awhile? Boring, but you know, Beacon Hills isn’t exactly known for its night life.”
They heat up a frozen pizza they find in the freezer, and then they curl up together on the couch under a blanket and watch a marathon of a procedural TV show Stiles brings up on Netflix. It’s nothing special, just bland frozen pizza and generic television, but with Stiles in his arms, providing commentary as they watch the episodes, Derek realizes it might be the best date he’s ever been on.
Derek falls asleep during the fourth episode. It’s not even that late – only a little after ten – but Derek’s body is three hours ahead of him now. Stiles nudges him awake, and when Derek blinks around, his glasses askew, Stiles is smiling at him.
“Sleepyhead,” Stiles says affectionately. “Come on. Time for bed. You’ve had a long day.” Stiles stands and offers a hand to help him off the couch. Derek stumbles momentarily as he follows Stiles up the stairs.
When Stiles stops in front of the guest bedroom, he looks about as willing for Derek to sleep there as Derek feels. “Would it be weird to sleep with you?” Derek asks. “It’s okay if it is.”
Stiles shakes his head. “Nope. Not weird at all. I prefer that actually.”
Derek goes into the guest bedroom to grab a few things from his bags, then stops by the bathroom to brush his teeth and perform his other nightly rituals before knocking on Stiles’ cracked door. Stiles opens it and stands aside as Derek enters the room.
“My side is the right side, so I hope that’s okay. Otherwise, you’re SOL.” Stiles climbs into bed, and Derek removes his sweatpants and wife beater. As he’s climbing into bed, he finds Stiles staring at him.
“Is this okay?” Derek asks, making a sweeping gesture across his body. “I should have asked.”
“Definitely okay.” Stiles pulls his own shirt over his head. “I hate sleeping in shirts.”
Derek settles into the bed, removes his glasses and sets them to the side before Stiles turns off the bedside lamp. When they’re snuggled under the covers and facing each other, Derek’s eyes start to droop. “I ruined our sex marathon,” he says through a yawn.
“I ruined it by forcing bad food and TV on you.”
“I loved it. I had a great time. I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I was just so comfortable and warm, and it’s been such a long day, and I’m still on New York time, and – “
Stiles places a finger over Derek’s mouth. “You don’t have to explain yourself. It’s okay. I’m just teasing.” He lifts an arm and motions for Derek to move closer. “Come on, get some rest.” Derek has no problem curling against Stiles, his head resting on Stiles’ chest.
Derek’s so tired that he’s asleep within moments.
When Derek rolls over, Stiles’ arm is draped across his waist, Stiles breathing heavily in sleep. Derek rubs his eyes and raises up to look at the clock on Stiles’ side of the bed. It’s only six a.m. Stiles looks passed out, and Derek doesn’t want to disturb him, but he’s wide awake. As carefully as he can, he extracts himself from Stiles’ arm, grabs his glasses, sweats, and shirt on the way out of the room, and closes the door as silently as possible.
Derek stumbles down the stairs and is putting his arms into his wife beater when he steps into the kitchen. A sleepy-eyed guy with curls stares at him in surprise. Derek figures it must be Isaac.
“Oh, hello,” Derek says.
“I figured.” Isaac waves at him. “Isaac. Nice to meet you.”
Derek walks towards the coffee pot, and Isaac says, “Bottom left cabinet,” when Derek looks around. Derek nods gratefully, and after he’s poured himself a cup, he sits at the small breakfast table across from Isaac. “Would have expected you two to sleep in late,” Isaac smirks.
Derek feels his cheeks flush. “I fell asleep while watching television. Jet lag.”
Isaac nods and takes a bite of his cereal. He eyes Derek carefully, and Derek tries not to feel awkward under his scrutinizing gaze. “If you hurt him, we’ll kill you,” Isaac says finally. “We have a very big farm, and a lot of farm equipment. They’d never find your body. You’ll be fertilizer for the plants.”
Derek just kinda stares at him in shock. That was more gruesome than he expected. “I’m not going to hurt him,” Derek says quietly.
“He really likes you,” Isaac states before lifting his bowl and slurping out the milk. “Stiles isn’t the best with relationships. Don’t abuse that.” Derek nods, and then Isaac nods, and that’s it. Obligatory friend threatening is over. “Scott is gonna be so pissed I met you first,” Isaac grins as he gets up and puts his bowl in the sink.
“What will you be doing on the farm today?” Derek asks. “Stiles has told me some of the things that you do here. I don’t know anything about farming.”
“Usually people who own yachts and drive Aston Martins don’t,” Isaac smirks. “Nice car, by the way.”
“I’ll take you for a ride, if you want.”
“I bet that baby handles like a dream.”
“You have no idea,” Derek grins.
“Today I’ve just got to do some work on the earthworm garden, and then I’m done for the day.”
“Earthworm garden?” Derek asks.
Isaac nods. “They’re really cool. I’ll show you if you’re interested.”
“That’d be cool,” Derek says.
Isaac leaves for work, so Derek goes into the living room and turns on the television. He finds his phone on the coffee table where he left it the night before, and he’s got three texts from Laura, one from Allison, and one from his mother. He texts them all back, telling them he’s fine and having a good time. Laura immediately texts back, I’m glad he’s not a serial killer! And as good in person as he was virtually :)
Derek actually smiles before he places his phone back on the coffee table.
A little after seven, Stiles comes down the stairs, rubbing his eyes. “What are you doing?” he asks, his voice hoarse with sleep and his case of bed hair impressive. Derek finds him completely endearing. He glances at the television. “What are you watching?”
“The gemstone network,” Derek says.
“Why in the hell are you up this early watching infomercials?” Stiles climbs onto the couch beside Derek and curls up against him.
“I watch a lot of infomercials,” Derek admits. “Especially when I can’t sleep.”
“Why gemstones?” Stiles asks through a yawn, and Derek is pretty sure he’s falling back asleep.
“I like to shop for my sisters,” Derek explains. Stiles nods, and a few minutes later, his breath evens out. Derek finds himself growing drowsy, and he shifts them so he’s more comfortable, and he drifts back to sleep.
“Have you met Tom Cruise?”
“What about Harrison Ford?”
“What about Chris Hemsworth? Chris Evans? Oh, RDJ?”
“You are literally the most useless famous person, dude,” Stiles says. They’re in Stiles’ Jeep, driving towards Beacon Hills. Derek had offered to drive, but Stiles had seemed scared to even look at the car. Plus, he said it was easier for him to drive since he knew where they were going. Derek just thinks Stiles is afraid he’ll break the car.
Derek likes that he’s in Stiles’ space, riding in the Jeep Stiles has driven since he got his driver’s license, the Jeep he loves even though he bitches about it constantly. There’s something uniquely intimate about being in someone’s vehicle, with seeing the things they leave in the console, the music they listen to, the things they keep in the back.
The plan is to go into Beacon Hills for lunch and groceries, and spend a leisurely Sunday seeing where Stiles grew up. Stiles swears it will only take half an hour, tops, but Derek wants to see everything.
They’d had a lazy morning, falling back asleep on the couch and then waking up together. They’d ended up making out with the gemstone network playing in the background, which distracted Stiles at one point where he pulled away from Derek to look at the TV and go, “Why the fuck are they trying to sell so many damn tanzanites?” Derek had just grabbed the back of Stiles’ head and tugged him down, making it his mission to keep Stiles from getting distracted again. Stiles had given Derek a blowjob right there on the couch. It took Derek half an hour to recover; he always thought those lips would be perfect for giving head, and he had been convinced for a bit that Stiles had sucked his brain out through his dick.
Getting Stiles back by sucking his dick had been fun, too. Derek would have been content to stay on the couch with Stiles’ cock in his mouth all day, but Isaac had come back and Stiles had wanted to take him into Beacon Hills anyway.
“So, who do you know?”
“My mom did her last movie with Christophe Waltz, so I had dinner with him a few times. Recently, I met Julia Roberts, Gary Oldman, Jeff Bridges, and Liam Neesan. That guy is awesome.”
“Liam Neesan was in Star Wars and Gary Oldman was in Harry Potter. They qualify as cool.”
“Jeff Bridges was in Tron,” Derek points out.
“Dude, Tron sucks!”
Derek turns to him, huffing incredulously. “Are you kidding me? Tron was one of my favorite movies as a kid! I fucking loved that movie! And Tron Legacy was just visually cool.”
“No,” Stiles says, shaking his head. “That movie was terrible. I’ll give you that Tron was okay for the 80s. The sequel…just not everything needs a remake or sequel. Just let some things remain untouched.”
“Agreed,” Derek nods. “Tron is still awesome.”
“You have no clue what you’re talking about,” Derek mutters with a smile. “Cora has dated Ryan Gosling off and on,” he continues, trying to think of who he’s met worth mentioning. “I’ve met a lot of people, I guess. It’s not like I’m friends with them. Other than Allison and Jackson, and Chris Argent, I don’t really see many people.”
Stiles sighs. “How am I supposed to live vicariously through you if you don’t know anyone cool?”
“I’ll make it a point to only interact with Stiles-appointed-cool celebrities from now on,” Derek says sarcastically.
“Good. You should do what I say anyway. Just as a general rule.”
“I’ll remember that.”
“So, this is Beacon Hills,” Stiles says as they turn onto a small street leading into downtown. Derek glances around as they drive, the town quaint and nice. Stiles takes a left, “There’s Beacon Hills High School, my old alma mater, the field I played lacrosse on – “
“I didn’t know you played lacrosse!” Derek exclaims.
“Well, see, it depends on how you define playing,” Stiles says. “I mostly warmed the bench with Scott and Isaac and made fun of the other players. I did play one game my sophomore year, made MVP of the game, too. Played a few games my senior year.”
“I always wanted to play for a high school sports team.”
“Why didn’t you?” Stiles asks. “Afraid you’d break your beautiful face? Someone just get tired of your eight hundred dollar jeans and whack you in the face with a stick?”
“Since I lived between New York and LA, I went to tutors and small schools with other kids whose parents were in the business. There were no sports teams. I didn’t even graduate from high school.”
“What?” Stiles glances over at Derek as they roll to a stop at a stop sign.
“Well, technically I got a diploma, but it was later, and because my mom forced me to finish.”
“You dropped out?”
“Was too busy doing Kate to care about finishing high school. Was in rehab during graduation.” Derek shrugs. “School was never important. I was never going to go to college, so high school didn’t seem that important. I learned more on my own than I did in my classes anyway.”
Stiles is looking at him like if he tilts his head the right way, narrows his eyes just enough, he will figure something out. “You fascinate me,” Stiles says. “I’ve never met anyone like you.”
“Stiles, there are a lot of fucked up people.”
“I don’t mean that.” Stiles drives away from the stop sign, and then says, “That’s it. That’s Beacon Hills.”
“Yep,” Stiles says. “So, groceries and a stop at the bakery?”
Derek pushes the cart along the rows at the supermarket, while Stiles teases him about having a meltdown due to the lack of natural food selections. Derek just grins and enjoys Stiles’ endless litany of facts about things vaguely (and sometimes not even remotely) related to the items he puts into the cart. On the cereal aisle, Stiles throws three boxes of sugary cereal into the cart – “Because we’re going to need midnight snacks when we have our marathon, you just wait and see” – and then tries to convince Derek nacho cheese is a legitimate food group.
In the parking lot, Derek stands on the lower bar of the cart and rolls down the aisles, and Stiles runs up behind him and pushes him until they crash into a cart corral. They drive a few blocks to the bakery, and Stiles grabs Derek’s hand when he comes around the Jeep.
“This okay?” Stiles asks, looking down at their clasped hands between them.
Derek lifts Stiles’ hand to his lips and kisses his knuckles. “What do you think?”
Inside the bakery, they’re greeted by an old woman with white hair and bright pink lipstick. “Nancy, my favorite baker,” Stiles greets as they approach the counter. “What do you have for me today?”
“Stiles, is this your boyfriend?” Nancy asks, smiling at them knowingly.
“Well, he is a boy, and he is a friend, if you want to think about it that way,” Stiles hedges, and Derek thinks he’s so adorable when he’s flustered.
“You’re just darling,” Nancy directs to him. “What’s your name, sugar?”
“What would you like today, Derek? I’m sure you’ve met Isaac, he’s such a nice young man, he brings me fruit for my pastries twice a week. I got a whole bunch of muffins, danishes, and cakes made with stuff from Stiles’ farm.”
“How about that apricot coffee cake?” Derek says.
“Two bear claws,” Stiles orders. When Derek goes to pay, Stiles slaps his hand away and shoves a handful of bills at Nancy. “My treat.”
“Stiles,” Derek argues. “It’s not a big deal.”
“I owe you for the jeans.”
Derek rolls his eyes. “You did not ruin my jeans. They’re not even stained.”
“Still, let me feel like I can pay for my date.”
Derek kisses his cheek.
They take the pastries to go, and walk hand in hand down Main Street. It’s a warm day, but the street is shaded and there’s a light breeze blowing.
“You’ve got to taste this,” Stiles says through a mouthful of food. He shoves the bear claw at Derek’s face and just holds Derek’s hand tighter when he tries to pull it away to grab the dessert. Derek shoots Stiles a baleful glance and reluctantly opens his mouth. But when he bites into the pastry, his irritation melts. “Good, right?”
“Nancy makes the best bear claws. That shit you get at like Starbucks doesn’t even come close to these things. I didn’t even know I liked them until I tried one of hers.” Stiles opens his mouth and nods his chin to the cake in Derek’s hand. “Give me a bite,” he whines. Derek rolls his eyes and feeds the cake to Stiles, who manages to get crumbs all over his chin and his shirt. “’S good.”
“I’m going to go back to New York ten pounds heavier,” Derek says as he stuffs the rest of the cake into his mouth.
“I’m sure we can find creative ways to work the calories off.” Stiles grins and licks icing from his fingers. “Besides, vacation calories don’t count.”
“Yes, they do.”
“Shut up, no they don’t.”
Derek takes a run through the farm after they get home. He’d invited Stiles to run with him, but Stiles had just laughed and told him he’d be waiting for him on the couch, watching TV. Derek runs over ten miles, pounding a path alongside fields of vegetables until he gets to the shaded path through the woods that led to Stiles’ pond.
When he returns to the house, he’s hot and sweaty, his chest and back drenched in sweat, his shorts sticking to him uncomfortably. He immediately goes to the cabinet, grabs a cup, and fills it from the tap.
“Have a good run?” Stiles calls from the living room.
Derek crosses the kitchen and then leans against the doorway as he lifts the plastic cup to his lips. Stiles stares at him from the couch, and Derek nonchalantly drinks his water even though he’s well aware of how he looks. He absolutely wore the tiny running shorts on purpose.
“If my dad wasn’t coming over to barbeque steaks in like half an hour, I would so drag you upstairs and demand you get me just as sweaty.”
Derek laughs. “I wish I could run here all the time. It’s beautiful and great terrain.”
“Where did you go?”
“To the pond and back.”
Stiles balks. “That’s like, five miles one way.”
Derek shrugs. “What did you think I’d been doing for like an hour and a half?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t really think about it.” Stiles shakes his head. “Go take a shower. You’re standing there looking smug, and it just makes me want to kiss it off your face. Take yourself from my sight.”
Derek walks over to the couch and gives Stiles a sloppy kiss, making sure to smear some sweat on him.
“Disgusting,” Stiles says, chasing his lips. “So gross. You smell, go away.” Stiles grabs his hand and pulls him down for one more kiss before Derek goes upstairs.
Inside the guest bedroom, Derek picks up his phone from the dresser where he’d left it when he’d changed into his running shorts. There are two missed calls from Laura, so Derek calls her back.
“How’s it going?” she greets him.
“Still going well.”
“Has he taught you how to farm yet?”
“It doesn’t work that way,” Derek says. “Besides, I’ve only been here for a day.”
“So, you’re really having fun?” she asks more seriously. “He’s nice, you actually like him? You’re not just forcing yourself to like him because of some reason that only makes sense in your head?”
“I really like him, Laura.”
“What’s he like?”
“He’s hard to describe,” Derek says, glancing at the door. He thinks about the way Stiles is so self-conscious, yet ironically does everything with no restraint. The way he seems intimidated and concerned that Derek is wealthy, but really has no concern for material things. The way he won’t shut up, but is the most interesting person Derek has ever met. “He’s like a force of nature.”
“Oh god, you’re so gone,” Laura says gleefully. “This is so exciting!”
“You’re not going to put this on Twitter, are you?” Derek asks suspiciously.
Laura sighs. “No, Derek. Can you trust me, just a little bit?”
“Have you talked to Cora?”
“No,” Derek says. “She texted me last night.”
“Her assistant said she disappeared, and no one’s heard from her since yesterday.”
“It’s Cora,” Derek says like that explains everything. “She’ll probably turn up in a few days, hung over and with some new beau. You know how she is.”
“Let me know if you hear from her,” Laura says.
“You actually sound worried.” And that, more than anything, causes Derek to worry.
“I know this is what she does, she just usually doesn’t do this kind of thing when she’s got a show coming up.”
“I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something.”
Derek shoots Cora a text before he jumps in the shower, and when he returns downstairs, he finds Stiles on the back deck with Isaac and three other people. They all stop talking and stare when he steps outside the house.
“Oh god, guys, really? You could at least try to be subtle!” Stiles exclaims, dropping his head into his hands.
“Stiles is a bit of a drama queen,” the older man Derek assumes is Stiles’ dad says. He’s standing at the grill, watching slabs of meat. “Bet you’re pretty used to those.”
“Laura Hale is his sister,” the pretty redhead that must be Lydia says. “He’s definitely used to drama queens.”
“You have no idea,” Derek says. “Her show makes her look like a saint.”
“Really?” Lydia asks interestedly. “I’d love to know how she’s worse.”
“Lydia, he doesn’t want to feed your unhealthy obsession with celebrities,” Stiles says as he crosses the deck to stand beside Derek. “Guys, this is Derek. Derek, this is Scott, Lydia, Isaac, and my dad.” Derek waves awkwardly.
Scott approaches him, a wide smile on his face. “It’s so nice to meet you, man. Even if Stiles let Isaac meet you first.” He shoots a glare at Stiles.
“Isaac lives here!” Stiles exclaims.
“You look better in person,” Lydia states. “Not that you look bad in pictures or on TV, but you look better in person.”
“Thanks,” Derek huffs out a laugh. “I think.”
“So, you’re not dating Allison Argent?” she asks as Derek takes one of the plastic chairs. Isaac hands him a beer.
“Obviously not,” Derek says with a glance in Stiles’ direction.
“I wonder what else the tabloids get wrong,” Scott says thoughtfully.
“Everything,” Derek replies. “Or it’s a twisted version of the truth. They just make shit up most of the time.” Derek takes a sip of beer to keep from laughing at Scott’s expression. He looks like someone just revealed the secrets of the universe to him.
“So Derek,” the sheriff says, closing the lid on the grill and taking the empty seat across from them. “Tell me about yourself.”
“Dad,” Stiles sighs, “I’ve already told you that – “
The sheriff puts up a hand. “Son, I want to hear it from Derek, if that’s okay.” Stiles rolls his eyes.
Derek suppresses a smile. “I live in New York, I have two sisters. They live in New York, as does my mom, though we spend a lot of time in LA, so we also have a house in Malibu.” The sheriff looks like he’s waiting for Derek to go on, but Derek doesn’t really know what else to say.
“What do you do for a living?” he asks.
Derek fights the urge to look at his hands. “I don’t have a job.”
“You don’t?” The sheriff levels a gaze at Derek. “Why not?”
“Um, I don’t have to work,” Derek responds uncomfortably. He suddenly feels three feet tall under the sheriff’s judgmental gaze, and Derek has never felt so unworthy in all his life. What does he have to offer to his son? A fat lot of good money is when the guy who possesses it is a loser with no skills except sitting around the house and going to the gym.
“What did you study in college?”
Derek scratches the side of his face. “I didn’t go to college.”
“Dad, can we stop with the interrogation?” Stiles interjects.
“It’s not an interrogation, Stiles,” the sheriff sighs in the frustrated way that comes with years of dealing with his son. “It’s called conversation.” The sheriff turns towards Derek. “So, what do you do all day?”
Derek feels the weight of all their gazes on him, so he decides to go with the truth. This is Stiles’ family; they deserve to know who Stiles is getting involved with. “Not much,” Derek says. “I’m a bit of a homebody.”
“The tabloids call you elusive, paranoid, a hermit with a bout of social anxiety,” Lydia supplies.
“You’d be too if you had cameras following you wherever you went,” Derek responds with a wry smile. Lydia smiles back, and he feels a tiny bit better.
“Why my son?” the sheriff asks.
“Oh god, dad!” The sheriff glares at Stiles, and Stiles says, “So, we’re doing this now then? Great. And with an audience. Just perfect. Meat’s not the only thing getting grilled apparently.” Derek coughs to cover his laugh, and the sheriff quirks a smile.
“I like him,” Derek answers honestly. “A lot.”
“And how will your life interfere with his?” Derek has to respect the man for asking the right questions, the same questions Derek’s been asking himself. There is a bit of doubt in the sheriff’s eyes, like he’s not sure Derek is someone he wants his son with, and Derek briefly appreciates the kind of lawman he probably was before he retired. But underneath the hard stare, the sheriff looks genuinely concerned about his son, and Derek respects that. “What happens if you two start up a thing, and the press finds out?”
Derek shrugs. “They’ll probably follow him around for awhile, his pictures will be either online or in a tabloid, and then after about a week, they’ll probably get bored and move on. My sisters have a tendency to dominate the spotlight.” Derek drops his eyes and scratches at a bit of skin around his thumb. “There will always be cameras; that’s just my life.”
When the sheriff doesn’t respond, Derek looks up, and the man is watching him carefully. “Have you explained this to Stiles?”
“Um, no. We haven’t, uh, talked that far ahead.”
“Dad,” Stiles whines, and when Derek steals a glance, he looks flustered and embarrassed. “Please?”
The sheriff sighs and holds his hands up in surrender. “To be fair, the only thing Stiles asked me not to do was bring out the guns.” The sheriff winks.
“I’d have preferred the guns,” Stiles mutters.
“I’m aware this is an unconventional situation,” Derek says slowly. “I wasn’t completely honest with Stiles over the last few months, but I hope all of you understand the sensitivity of the situation for me.” He pauses, and Scott’s nodding encouragingly, Lydia’s eating up his every word, Isaac’s watching him with detached interest, Stiles is picking awkwardly at his beat up Converse, and the sheriff is still sizing him up. “I’ve had a few bad run ins with relationships in the past. I never intended to actually meet anyone I talked to online.”
“So why did you?” Scott asks.
Derek turns to Stiles, who’s sitting in a defensive posture, shoulders curled in, head down, fingers nervously picking at any stray object he can find. Derek reaches over and places a calm hand on Stiles’ fidgeting one, and Stiles automatically twists his hand so he can lace their fingers. Stiles looks up at him, and Derek knows he’s in over his head. He knows that he’s falling for Stiles, but it’s like inertia, something out of his control that he wouldn’t want to stop even if he could.
“He’s exactly what I was looking for,” Derek says, eyes still locked with Stiles’. Somewhere behind him, he hears Lydia sigh happily and someone clear their throat. But the only thing Derek cares about is Stiles and his beautiful eyes.
“Well, now that I’ve vomited in mouth because of that ridiculous romantic display,” Isaac says, startling Derek and Stiles from their shared moment, “I have a strong need to blow something up. Anyone else need a beer?”
Stiles flips Isaac off and kicks him as he passes, and Lydia says, “Shut up, you’re a closet romantic, Isaac. Isaac always watches The Notebook with me, and he cries.” She grins evilly. “Stiles cries, too.”
“You cry at The Notebook?” Derek asks.
“Shut up, old people get me, okay?” Stiles says. “It’s not nearly as bad as when I watched Moulin Rouge. I hate Lydia for breaking my heart that way.”
“So, Derek,” the sheriff asks as he lifts the hood of the grill and checks the meat. “What’s your favorite baseball team?”
“Dodgers, definitely,” Derek says.
“Hmm,” the sheriff nods. “I enjoy the Dodgers.”
“Don’t lie, Pops, this house is blue and orange all the way through,” Stiles yells.
“I still can’t believe you like the Mets,” Derek mumbles. “The Mets are so terrible.”
“Oh god,” Scott groans. “Here we go.”
Derek watches with a smile as Stiles goes on and on about the Mets, then listens to Isaac and Scott argue with him in what feels like a well-rehearsed and recurring argument, and he even interjects his own opinion after awhile. By the end of the discussion, Stiles has stormed off the deck, Isaac has called them all idiots, and Scott has tried to keep the peace. Derek just sits back and laughs.
Stiles comes back onto the porch when the steaks are done, and Derek discovers the sheriff is a bit of a grill master as they eat perfectly seasoned steaks and bagged iceberg lettuce salads. Stiles keeps bumping Derek with his elbow, and they play footsie under the table the entire meal.
“Dude, I am so sorry for…that,” Stiles says later with a wave of his hand, when they finally tear themselves away from the vicious game of Spades they were playing with Isaac and Scott while Lydia grilled Derek with questions and he discussed action movies with the sheriff. It’s after midnight, and the only reason they broke up the party was because the others have to get up for work in the morning and Isaac was just beyond tipsy.
“Why?” Derek asks as he toes off his shoes and pulls his shirt over his head.
“My dad interrogated you,” Stiles says in horror. “I thought he’d at least pull you aside before asking you all sorts of awkward, inappropriate questions.”
“Stiles, he’s your father,” Derek says as he sits on the edge of the bed to pull off his socks. It doesn’t escape Derek’s attention just how intimate it is, talking as they undress and get ready for bed in Stiles’ bedroom, the only light coming from the bedside lamp. “It’s his right to interrogate me. I’m some random guy from the internet who lied about his famous family.”
“Are you sure you aren’t upset?” Stiles asks, stepping into the space between Derek’s legs. Derek runs his hands up Stiles’ bare back and nuzzles against his torso. “Not even when Lydia asked all sorts of weird questions about your family and other famous people?”
“It’s not like she’s going to go put it all on the internet,” Derek murmurs against Stiles’ skin. “That’s Laura’s job.”
Stiles runs his fingers through Derek’s hair, gently rubbing his scalp. Derek hums contently and pushes into Stiles’ hand. “I’m still sorry.”
“They care about you,” Derek says, slapping Stiles’ ass lightly. “Be grateful. Besides, you haven’t met my family yet.” Derek grins up at him.
“You want me to meet your family?” Stiles asks.
“Of course,” Derek says. “They’re nowhere near as normal as yours.”
Stiles snorts. “If you call that normal…”
“Shut up,” Derek says, pulling Stiles into his lap. “I like your family.”
“I like you,” Stiles says as he kisses him. Stiles tastes like beer and the Skittles he shared with Scott and Lydia. Derek runs his hands across the expanse of Stiles’ bare skin, greedily feeling any part of him he can touch. “So,” Stiles says, small grin on his face as he sits back with his hands clasped behind Derek’s head, fingers playing with the hairs at the base of his nape. “Are you sleepy tonight?”
“I can be persuaded to stay up, I think,” Derek says. He tilts his head and parts his lips, and Stiles leans down and kisses him again.
They take their time undressing each other, removing each article of clothing and fully enjoying each other’s body before moving on to the next item. After they’re fully naked, Derek just runs his hands along Stiles’ sides, enjoying the way his body feels beneath him, the way his erection feels trapped against his hip. There’s no rush or urgency like before; they’re kissing each other like they have all the time in the world.
Derek likes how vocal Stiles is, the sounds he makes when he’s pleased, when he’s frustrated, when he wants Derek to touch a certain spot again. It’s like he has his own language, and Derek loves learning how to translate it.
When Derek feels himself getting close to being unable to hold back any longer, he hooks a leg around Stiles’ waist and rolls them so Stiles is on top of him. Stiles props himself up, hair sticking up every which way, eyes slightly unfocused, lips kiss swollen. Something in Derek twists and wraps itself up inside of his core.
“I want you to fuck me,” Derek says.
Stiles nods, bottom lip between his teeth. Without a word, he reaches over into the nightstand drawer and pulls out a new bottle of lube and a pack of condoms. When Derek raises an eyebrow, Stiles says, “Hey, I prepared for your visit, okay?” Derek just laughs and kisses him.
Doing this with Stiles is completely different from anything he’s done before. Derek’s had sex with men a few times, but he has never wanted someone inside him as much as he wants Stiles; he needsto feel him, needs to be that close to him. There’s a part of him that loves that Stiles has never fucked anyone before, that Derek will always be his first.
He thought he would feel exposed when he spreads his legs and plants his feet on the bed, but there’s no awkwardness when Stiles kneels between his thighs and rubs a slippery finger over his opening. Derek relaxes into Stiles’ touch as he pushes the first finger inside. Stiles kisses along Derek’s inner thighs, licks along his balls and the sensitive skin behind them, then sucks lightly at his cock as he works a second finger inside. Derek closes his eyes and focuses on the feel of Stiles’ fingers loosening him up, enjoys the gentle touches of Stiles’ mouth and his other hand. Stiles touches Derek like he’s something to be cherished, like he cares about what Derek’s feeling, like he means something. And Derek’s drunk on the idea that after this is over, Stiles will hold him and they will fall asleep in each other’s arms, and in the morning they’ll wake up and spend the day together.
“What are you thinking about?” Stiles says quietly as he gently nudges a third finger inside and twists his hand. “Your brows are pinched like you’re concentrating.”
“Just stupid stuff,” Derek says, opening his eyes. Stiles is leaning above him, his head resting against Derek’s knee. “I don’t do this very often. It’s a lot different than blowjobs in a club bathroom.”
Stiles doesn’t respond, just turns and kisses the inside of Derek’s knee. When he removes his fingers, Derek grunts at the sting, but he’s throbbing with the need to have Stiles inside him, to feel him buried inside so deep that he can’t think about anything but them.
Derek collects himself and marvels at just how beautiful Stiles is as he rolls on the condom. Derek thinks the most amazing thing about Stiles might be that he has no clue how sexy he is, that it’s genuine instead of some kind of act. Everything about Stiles is real.
Derek gasps and clutches at Stiles’ back when Stiles pushes inside. Stiles isn’t overly large, but Derek’s still tight and it’s slightly painful. The pain isn’t unpleasant though. Stiles takes it slow, his arms shaking as he makes sure not to hurt Derek as he kisses him and pushes deeper. When Stiles bottoms out, they pause, kissing slowly as Derek gets used to the stretch. Derek feels overwrought with emotions, like he just has to hold Stiles tighter in case he drifts away. After a few moments, Derek can’t wait any longer and grips at Stiles’ ass, encouraging him to move.
Stiles begins a slow rhythm, fucking him gently as each stroke is measured and deep. Derek lightly scratches his nails down Stiles’ back, rubs his feet against Stiles’ calves where they’re tangled together. It’s so perfect that it is almost too much; Derek feels like he’s stripped bare, down to exposed bone and sinew, Stiles seeping into every part of him in a way no one else ever has.
When Stiles starts to settle into the motions and gets more comfortable, he starts kissing along Derek’s jaw and neck, his hands touching Derek’s body tenderly. Stiles’ hand trails up the sensitive inside of Derek’s arm, causing him to shiver as Stiles’ fingers play across his skin before intertwining their hands above Derek’s head. This isn’t sex, Derek realizes after while; this is making love in a way he never has before.
The realization coupled with his aching need for Stiles hits him so suddenly that he shudders and comes, arching into Stiles and moaning loudly. Stiles whispers into his ear as Derek rides out his orgasm, his cock a comforting weight inside Derek, grounding him as he slips apart.
Stiles is dropping kisses all over Derek’s face when he regains his awareness, his body limp and spent, his soul laid bare on the bed between them. Derek lifts his hand and cups Stiles’ cheek and just looks at him. There are so many words swirling through his brain, things he knows it’s too early to say, things he shouldn’t be feeling about this man he’s just met but who has managed to crawl past every issue and insecurity Derek has and stake a claim in Derek’s heart, which he had convinced himself a long time ago was barren, irreparable wasteland.
Derek squeezes Stiles’ hand, and Stiles thrusts his hips faster, his forehead pressed against Derek’s temple. His pants are quick and warm against Derek’s cheek, and Derek holds his hand while dragging his other hand along Stiles’ sweatslick skin until he’s gripping his ass. Stiles’ orgasm is a slow build, soft whining moans coming from his mouth with each thrust, until he slams a few times into Derek and then stays buried there with a shout. Derek just holds him, his oversensitive body responding to each touch and breath against his skin.
Carefully, Stiles pulls out of Derek and slips off the condom, tying it off and dropping it in the trash can while Derek takes a few Kleenex from the nightstand and wipes himself off. Then, Stiles rolls back over and smiles at Derek.
They stare at each other for a long time. Derek wants to tell Stiles he was fantastic, it was some of the best sex he’s ever had, that he’s never felt so connected to another person before. But the words get stuck in his throat, and even Stiles, who always has something to say, can’t seem to break the silence.
So, Derek tugs Stiles close and wraps his arms around him tightly. Derek knows they don’t need to say anything, because he’s pretty sure they just said everything anyway.
“Tell me who you’ve had sex with,” Stiles asks. They’ve been lying in bed for over three hours, the morning quickly turning towards early afternoon. They’d had sex again when they’d woken up, this time harder and dirtier, with Derek bent over and Stiles fucking him so hard the bed knocked into the wall. They’d gotten off twice more after that, and Derek is basically come-dumb and completely happy, tangled in the sheets with Stiles, the late morning sunshine streaming in through the windows.
“Why?” Stiles whines. “You said I would know them.”
“What if you’re a spy,” Derek whispers playfully, “and you’re just gathering information for a new tell-all book. How could I betray my fellow bed partners?”
“You’re dumb.” Stiles rolls his eyes. “And full of yourself, obviously.” Derek slaps Stiles’ butt playfully. “Come on, tell me. Ooh, how about just who else has fucked you? You said the list isn’t that long.”
Derek turns his head and pecks Stiles on the shoulder. “No.”
“Why are you so difficult?” Stiles pouts. Derek rolls his eyes as Stiles gives him his best puppy eyes.
“One of the guys I fucked was featured in this year’s Coachella headlines,” Derek tells him. “Another is on Fox’s prime time line up, and another had a blockbuster last year. I’ve also slept with a woman on the CW, a Golden Globe winner, and someone in one of my mom’s movies.”
Stiles huffs. “That tells me absolutely nothing.”
“Oh shut up, it tells you plenty.” Derek grabs Stiles around the waist and pulls him on top of him. “I’m much more interested in who I’m fucking now, not who I’ve fucked before.”
“But Derek,” Stiles whines again, “I need to know my competition. These dudes have professional stylists and veneers and shit. I have great hair. That’s all I got.”
“You definitely have more than that,” Derek says. “Besides, there’s no competition. You win hands down.”
Derek pulls on a t-shirt, jeans, and his running shoes. He finds Stiles downstairs in overalls, a t-shirt, and work boots, and he just has to laugh.
“Laugh it up, city boy.” Stiles pushes his shoulder as he walks by. “You won’t be laughing after you’ve been picking vegetables in the hot sun all afternoon.” He feels Stiles yanking at his jeans pockets, and Derek tries to twist away as he bats at his hands. “Are these eight hundred dollar jeans, too? You’re gonna get them dirty.”
“Can you stop worrying about the price of my jeans?” Derek snaps. “If I ruin them, I’ll be replacing them, not you.”
“Shut up. I’m excited. You’re gonna teach me to be a farmer.”
“Correction. I’m going to teach you to pick vegetables. There is a difference.”
“Let me have this, okay?” Stiles just rolls his eyes and grabs a few bottles of water. “Can you take a picture of me? I want to send it to Laura and Cora. They’ll get a kick out of me being a farmer.”
“Low-level vegetable picker,” Stiles says as he takes Derek’s phone. He snaps a few pictures, and then Derek texts the best one to his sisters and mom. They’re climbing into the Polaris when he gets a text back from Laura.
Take a picture of you and Stiles! I want to see you two together!
“Laura wants a photo of us,” Derek says. “Come here.” He slings an arm around Stiles’ shoulder, pulls him close, and snaps a selfie. Then, he turns and kisses Stiles and snaps another photo. “I think I’m going to like that one,” he says against Stiles’ mouth.
A few minutes after he texts Laura, she responds with, !!!! He is adorable, for a farmer. You look really happy, Derek. :) Derek smiles and slips the phone back in his pocket.
First, they drive to the apricot orchard. Stiles shows Derek how to tell if the apricot is ready, and how to figure out which fruits on the ground are salvageable. Then, he hands Derek a large basket and tells him to have at it.
Picking apricots is, well, hard. There are so many on the limbs that Derek spends fifteen minutes at one tree. He’s afraid to hurt the tree, afraid of picking unripe fruit or knocking off fruit that’s not ready. By the time he finishes with his tree, Stiles has already picked over three.
“How?” Derek asks when he points to Stiles’ full baskets. “How do you do this any faster?”
Stiles shrugs. “Practice.”
“How do you people keep up?” Derek asks, looking at the orchard. It’s not huge, but there are at least twenty trees planted in crisp rows.
“We hire people to do this,” Stiles explains. “I’m just letting you get the feel for it. There are too many crops for us to harvest by ourselves. Plus, Lydia hates picking vegetables.”
Derek’s gently placing apricots in his basket when he feels something hit his back. He turns around in confusion just as an apricot hits his chest. Derek stares at where the apricot has rolled in the dirt. “Are you wasting fruit?”
Stiles pelts him again. “Had worms in them.”
“It’s on,” Derek says, grabbing the apricots Stiles just threw at him. They spend the next five minutes chasing each other around the orchard, throwing apricots at each other and hiding behind trees. Derek’s pretty sure he’s going to come away from this with multiple bruises, but he doesn’t care. He’s laughing so hard he’s out of breath, and he likes chasing Stiles as he weaves in and out of the trees.
“Parlay!” Stiles yells, holding his side as he laughs and walks over to the forgotten baskets. “I think some actual fruit may have been sacrificed during the Great Orchard War.”
“I promise, I won’t tell your dad,” Derek jokes. “Pretty sure wasting his produce would lower his opinion of me even more.”
“He doesn’t have a low opinion of you,” Stiles says. “Why would you think that?”
Stiles stands back and lets Derek do all the work as he starts grabbing the baskets of apricots and lifting them into the Polaris. “Did you see the way he looked at me last night?” Derek asks. “I don’t blame him. You deserve better.”
“That’s not true,” Stiles says. “Shut up or I’m going to pelt you with another apricot.” Derek doesn’t argue, but he knows he’s right.
They climb back into the Polaris and drive across the fields to a small section of raised beds located near Scott and Lydia’s house. As they walk between the wooden beds filled with various small plants, Stiles explains, “These are our personal vegetables. We pick these for our meals, and sometimes we sell them, if we can’t eat them fast enough. The cucumbers and the peppers generally grow faster than we can eat.”
Stiles grabs Derek’s hand and leads him from bed to bed, pointing out the different plants. Derek loses track eventually, but he likes watching Stiles talking animatedly, the hand Derek’s holding moving as he tries to gesticulate with it. Stiles looks happy and confident as he lectures Derek on the various intricacies of raised bed gardening.
Derek finds he likes picking cherry tomatoes, even if it’s a bit backbreaking, and then enjoys picking banana peppers. Until he accidentally yanks too hard and breaks off part of the plant. “Oh no!” Derek exclaims. “I killed it!”
“What?” Stiles hurries over to Derek, looks from the plant to the broken stems in Derek’s hand, then laughs.
“Why are you laughing? Your dad is going to kill me.”
“You didn’t kill the plant,” Stiles explains, taking the broken piece from his hand and tossing it to the ground. “It happens. Don’t worry about it.” He pats Derek on the shoulder before going back to the cucumbers.
When Derek starts pinching the basil, Stiles steps up behind him and watches. “No,” Stiles says. He’s pressed against Derek’ back and reaches around him to pinch the bloom from the top of the plant. “Gently,” he purrs into Derek’s ear. “You don’t have to yank. They are living, you know.”
Stiles’ breath feels cool against his sweat drenched neck, and Derek shivers. Stiles lightly takes Derek’s wrist and guides him to another bloom, then rubs his thumb back and forth along the inside of Derek’s wrist as Derek gently pinches the bloom. He can feel the hot press of their sticky bodies, the soft brush of Stiles’ lips against his damp neck.
“No one ever talks about this part of farming,” Derek says, leaning back into Stiles as he slides a hand beneath Derek’s shirt to drag his fingers through the dark hair on Derek’s lower belly. “This is my favorite part.”
Stiles licks behind Derek’s ear and whispers, “Mine, too.”
“How many people get this tutorial?” Derek asks, craning his head so he can kiss Stiles over his shoulder. The sun beats down on them hotly, but they ignore it as their tongues slide easily against each other. Their lips are slick with sweat, and Derek can taste a faint hint of salt in their kiss, but he doesn’t care.
Derek spins around in Stiles’ arms and kisses along his jaw. “I think I’ve successfully become a farmer,” he murmurs as he licks at Stiles’ salty skin. “But you know, you’re really dirty. I think you might need a shower.”
“Oh?” Stiles turns his face and catches his mouth. “You’re pretty dirty, too. I think I might need to spend a lot of time washing all that dirt from you. So gross.” Stiles grabs Derek’s hand and they all but run to the Polaris.
They kiss all the way from the Polaris to the upstairs bathroom. The bathroom is tiny, barely big enough to fit two grown men, but Derek’s okay with that because that just means he has an excuse to be close to Stiles. While Stiles gets the shower running, Derek finishes undressing. When he takes his underwear off, he catches sight of some trash on his groin and brushes it away. But it doesn’t move. He picks at it, but it still doesn’t budge. That’s when he realizes it’s a bug.
“Stiles!” he exclaims. He’s freaking out because there is a bug attached to him. “I’m being eaten by a tiny farm leech!”
“What are you talking about?” Stiles asks, turning around, eyes dropping to where Derek’s hands are surrounding the evil bug. Then, he cracks up. “Dude, it’s a tick. Seriously, it’s okay.”
“Oh god,” Derek panics. “I’m going to get lyme disease. I’m going to die.”
“You are such a drama queen.” Stiles drops to his knees, and within a second, has removed the tick. He pops it between his fingers then flicks it into the toilet without a thought. “There. Evil tiny farm leech has been vanquished!”
“What if I have lyme disease?” Derek asks. “Do I need to go to the doctor? I can fly to LA, my doctor down there is great. He can see me tonight.”
“Dude,” Stiles says, standing up and looking at Derek like he’s crazy. “It’s a tick. I’ve already had like five on me just this month. Scott, Isaac, and my dad get them all the time. Have you really never had one on you?”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “It’s just part of being in the country. You will live, city boy.” He slaps Derek’s cheek lightly.
Stiles gets undressed as Derek stares at the small reddened mound of flesh with the tiny hole in the middle. “This is so gross.”
Derek distractedly hears the slide of the shower curtain. “Derek.” He lifts his eyes and sees Stiles standing naked in the shower, cock half-hard. “You can freak out about nothing, or you can get into the shower. Where I’m naked. Your choice.” Stiles closes the shower curtain, and it doesn’t take long for Derek to cross the tiny bathroom and climb in behind him.
The one bar in Beacon Hills is more like a glorified restaurant that happens to serve mostly alcohol. It’s located on Main Street, across the street from the bakery and around the corner from the sheriff’s station. “Stop fidgeting, you look great,” Stiles tells Derek as he slaps Derek’s hand away from where he’s adjusting his glasses.
“But I’m hanging out with your friends again,” Derek says. “They still make me nervous.”
“You spent hours with them the other night,” Stiles says, giving Derek’s hand a reassuring squeeze. “There’s nothing to be nervous about.”
“I just want to make a good impression.” Stiles kisses his cheek.
Inside the bar is dark, with low-hanging, mismatched lamps over the tables and neon signs on the wall advertising every kind of beer imaginable. There’s a pool table and two dart boards in the corner, and two cheap flat screen TVs mounted on the wall at each end of the room. The bar is mostly empty aside from a large booth in the corner, filled with people who are waving and yelling at Stiles.
“You’re the only people in here,” Stiles says as they approach, “I think I could have found you without the yelling.”
“We just wanted to make sure you saw us,” Scott says, and Isaac nods. Lydia rolls her eyes. There are three other people Derek doesn’t recognize sitting around the table.
“This is Derek,” Stiles introduces. “This is Erica, Danny, and Kira.” Derek bristles at the names Erica and especially Danny. Erica, the pretty blonde with too much cleavage and red lipstick that Stiles had a crush on when they first met. And Danny, the gorgeous, muscled man with dimples who has been regularly fucking Stiles for years. Derek takes a step closer to Stiles, feeling oddly possessive.
“Nice to finally meet you,” Danny says, all smiles and friendliness, when Derek and Stiles slide into the booth beside Isaac. “I’ve heard a lot about you.” Derek crooks a glance in Stiles’ direction to find him blushing.
“Not much,” Stiles says. “Just, you know, last week when I decided to take vacation time.”
“More like every day for the past few months,” Erica says with a smirk. She turns and looks at Derek. “I’m honestly surprised you’re real and with Stilinski. I thought he was being catfished.”
“Why?” Derek asks stonily.
Erica glances between the two of them. “What were the odds that a guy like you was on the internet talking to a guy like Stiles?”
“I’m the one who lucked out,” Derek says, resting his arm along the back of the booth behind Stiles’ shoulders. “Hard to believe someone who looked like Stiles was online.”
Erica shakes her head. “You two are perfect for one another. You’re both idiots.”
“Thanks, Erica,” Stiles says while Derek chuckles.
Derek buys the next round, and he finds that all of Stiles’ friends are entertaining in their own ways. He gets into an argument with Danny about hockey, and then with Erica about media exposure and privacy, but he enjoys verbally sparring with them. They’re both intelligent and well-informed, even if he doesn’t agree with all their opinions. He talks with Scott, Lydia, and Isaac about his farming experience, and when Kira finds out he’s practiced MMA for the last ten years, they get into a discussion that bores everyone else until it’s just the two of them geeking out at the edge of the booth.
“Don’t laugh at me when you realize I’m terrible at pool,” Stiles laughs as the group migrates towards the pool table. “It might turn you off so bad you’ll go running back to New York.”
“Don’t listen to him,” Danny says with an easy smile. “He’s not that bad.” He hits Stiles on the butt with his pool cue, and Derek frowns. His frown deepens as he watches Danny and Stiles play pool, an obvious routine they’ve both set up over the years. The comfort with which they move and joke with one another leaves a bad taste in Derek’s mouth. He knows their history, but seeing the two interacting causes a streak of jealousy in Derek a mile long. It’s not just the fact that Danny is ridiculously attractive, but he’s nice and funny and Stiles obviously gets along with him great.
“Green’s not a good shade on you,” Erica purrs into his ear as she takes the stool beside him. He turns to glare at her, and she smirks. “If Danny was a threat, you wouldn’t be sitting here in the first place.” She points a manicured finger in their direction. “Those two have been fucking on the regular since they were in college. But that’s all it’s ever been.” She leans into Derek’s space and smiles. “Stiles was sold on you when you were nothing but an abs shot and a guy from New York who made him laugh throughout the day.”
Erica takes a sip of her beer as Derek watches Stiles thoughtfully. Stiles misses an easy shot and curses, then glances over at Derek while Danny sinks a perfect shot. Stiles is flushed and smiling, slightly buzzed from the few beers, and he waves at Derek like they weren’t just sitting thigh to thigh with Derek’s arm around him in the booth. Derek waves back, and Stiles somehow smiles wider.
During their next game, Danny sidles up to Stiles while he’s setting up a shot, and when he goes to hit the ball, Danny says, “Nice hickeys, by the way.”
Stiles hits the ball so hard it bounces off the table, and everyone looks over at him. His face is beet red as he grabs the ball from where it’s rolled into the corner. Everyone returns to their previous conversation, but Derek keeps listening.
“Are they that bad?” Stiles asks. He tries to cover them with his collar, but it doesn’t work.
“I don’t think he was trying to hide it, I’ll say that,” Danny laughs. He claps Stiles on the shoulder. “Glad you two are having fun.” He hooks an arm around Stiles’ neck and tries to help him with his bank shot.
They convince Derek to buy another round when they end up back in the booth, and Stiles complains that they’re taking advantage of his wealth, to which they all respond with a chorus of, “Of course we are.” Derek doesn’t mind though; he’s having a good time.
“Hey Derek,” Lydia says when he returns from the bathroom. “Tell your sister congratulations for me.”
“Oh god, what has Laura done now?” Derek groans, slinging his arm back around Stiles. He honestly had thought that Laura was being normal for once. She’s been texting him encouraging little messages since he got to California. He should have been more suspicious.
“No, Cora,” Lydia says. “Her recent marriage.” She flips her phone towards him.
“Her WHAT?” Derek yells, shooting forward so quickly that he knocks Stiles in the head and almost overturns two glasses of beer. He snatches the phone from her, mouth hanging open in shock.
Pictured on screen is Cora and one of her models beneath a headline that reads, FASHION DESIGNER CORA HALE SECRETLY WEDS MODEL VERNON BOYD IN FRANCE.
“Derek?” Stiles asks, but Derek’s mind is reeling. That’s why Laura kept asking Derek if she heard from Cora. She’d disappeared to France and gotten married!
Derek distractedly gives Lydia her phone back and gets out of the booth without a word. Immediately, he takes out his phone, and by the time he rushes outside, Laura’s phone is already ringing on the other end.
“I guess you saw,” Laura greets. “Where have you been? I’ve been trying to call you all day.”
“I was busy,” Derek replies. He’d seen the seven missed calls and the three voicemails, but he hadn’t thought anything about it. He had just thought it was Laura being Laura.
“Did you know about this?” Laura basically accuses. “She tells you everything. You both tell each other everything. I never know anything because I’m not part of the Derek-and-Cora club. How could she run off and get fucking married and you not tell me about it?”
“I didn’t know!” Derek exclaims. “Also, this has nothing to do with you!”
“I’m tired of being left out!” she whines. “You two forget you have another sister.”
“Laura, can we talk about you some other time, please?” Derek sighs. He slips his thumb and forefinger under his glasses and rubs his eyes. “What does Mom think?”
“She’s worried, of course,” Laura says. “No one’s heard from Cora for days, and then we find out from a magazine that she married Boyd?”
“I didn’t even know they were back together.” Derek leans against the side of the building, suddenly exhausted. “I thought you said she was dating Ryan Gosling.”
“That’s what I read online!” Laura exclaims.
“Is this even real?”
“Look at the pictures. It’s pretty much all the proof you need.”
“Last week you were convinced I was dating Allison,” Derek points out.
“Because you two never tell me anything!” she yells. “I’m always finding stuff out online! Maybe if you talked to me, I wouldn’t have to learn about your life through Just Jared!”
“Focus, Laura,” Derek says. “Okay, so Cora got married. Boyd’s a great guy, so…this is good, right?”
“Derek, how long do Cora’s typical relationships last?” Laura asks.
“Fuck. Mom’s publicist is gonna kill her, isn’t she?” Derek glances over when he hears the door to the bar open. Stiles sticks his head out and then hesitantly walks towards Derek. He raises his eyebrows in question when he approaches, and Derek grabs his hand. Stiles gives it a reassuring squeeze.
“Try calling Cora,” Laura says. “I don’t know if she’s still in France, back in New York, or in fucking Thailand. You never know with Cora.”
“Okay. Let me know if you talk to her.”
Derek disconnects the call and then hits the speed dial for Cora. Unsurprisingly, it goes to voicemail. He leaves the message, “Call me as soon as you get this. We’re all worried about you.” Then he drops his head back against the brick wall and closes his eyes.
“So, I’m guessing your family didn’t know about her engagement?” Stiles asks.
“Cora always does spontaneous stuff, but never something like this.” He knocks his head against the wall a few times. “They haven’t heard from her for a couple of days. Laura’s been worried about her, but I didn’t take her seriously.”
“Is it a bad thing?”
Derek shrugs and looks at Stiles. “Depends, I guess. The likelihood that one of Cora’s relationships will last is low. She has dated Boyd about twice a year over the last five years.”
“I’m sorry,” Stiles says. “Anything I can do?”
Derek stares at Stiles for a moment and realizes that maybe for the first time, he doesn’t have to go through one of his family’s dramas alone.
“Nope.” Derek pushes off from the wall and walks slowly towards the door.
“A lot, actually.” Then he asks, “I didn’t just offend your friends by running out, did I?”
Stiles snorts. “That is seriously the least ridiculous thing that has happened at this bar with us. Plus, Lydia is all but vibrating with glee because she’s got a front row seat to the drama. Which, sorry about that.”
Derek shrugs. “As long as it doesn’t end up online, I don’t care.”
“It’s not weird, Danny being here, is it?” Stiles asks. “I should have warned you, but it just didn’t cross my mind.”
Derek kisses Stiles’ temple. “I wanted to hate him, because he’s been with you so much longer than I have, but it’s literally impossible to hate the guy.”
“I know, right? Everyone likes Danny.” Stiles leans close and whispers, “Lucky for you I like you better.”
Derek can’t agree more.
Derek mopes around part of the next morning. It’s stupid, he knows, but he’s worried about Cora and his mother’s reputation. He wonders sometimes how she’s stayed on top like she has with the three of them as her children.
After breakfast in front of the television where they watch The Price is Right, Stiles declares Tuesday board game day. He refuses to let Derek change out of his sweat pants and demands they sit on the floor in the living room, playing board games on the coffee table.
They’re still on the floor, in the middle of a dangerously loud and aggressive game of Sorry!, when Isaac comes in later. He just shakes his head and leaves them to it. But after Isaac has showered and changed into fresh clothes, he joins them, and later they end up going into town with Scott and Lydia for Chinese takeout. Stiles calls his dad to tell him there’s Chinese for dinner, so the sheriff is waiting in Stiles’ living room when they return. They set up the Clue board around the dining room table and play until way past everyone’s bedtime.
After they’ve all left, Derek and Stiles share leftover lo mein and play gin rummy until after two a.m.
Derek wakes up to a text from Cora saying, I’m fine, a text from Allison that says, Hope everything is okay with the family. Don’t let it ruin your time with Stiles :), and three texts from Laura, the last of which says, Oh god, call me. More Cora drama.
“What is it?” Stiles mumbles sleepily beside him, head still buried against the pillow, face barely visible. “I can literally hear your displeasure.”
“Laura said there’s more Cora drama. Do you want me to go another room to call her?”
Stiles curls himself against Derek and throws his leg across Derek’s body. Derek takes that as a no. Stiles is already dozing back off when Derek hits the speed dial.
“Please tell me you didn’t get online,” Laura says.
“I just woke up. Three hours later, remember?” Derek yawns.
“Cora and Boyd got their marriage annulled.”
Derek sighs. “Why does this not surprise me?”
“The tabloids are being pretty nasty about it,” Laura says. “Talking about her erratic behavior, her drinking and partying, publicity stunts, et cetera.”
“Can’t I ever get a vacation from you two?” Derek groans. “Have you talked to her? She texted me this morning.”
“That’s all I got, too, a text.”
“Let me know if you hear anything,” Derek says, then hangs up.
“What’s happening now?” Stiles asks. Derek explains and then Stiles disappears under the covers. A moment later, Derek feels Stiles’ mouth around his cock, and he forgets all about his sisters.
Stiles drives Derek into town that afternoon. They eat lunch at Stiles’ favorite pizza place, and then go to the ice cream shop next door.
“You’re trying to make me fat, aren’t you?” Derek asks as he gives his debit card to the cashier before Stiles can. He’d also made sure to pay for lunch and dinner the night before. Stiles huffs in frustration and puts his wallet back into his back pocket.
“No,” Stiles says, accepting the triple scoop cookies and cream waffle cone. Derek had wanted to get a strawberry smoothie, but Stiles refused, so instead, he got a vanilla cone with caramel and nuts. “Believe me, a little cheat eating isn’t going to kill you. You went for another ten mile run today.”
“Cheat eating is like one day a week,” Derek says as he holds the door open for Stiles as they exit the shop. Stiles immediately falls into step alongside Derek and threads their fingers together. Derek takes a large bite of his ice cream. “I have no clue how you stay so thin.”
“Awesome metabolism,” Stiles replies through a mouthful of cookies and cream.
They walk hand in hand down the street, enjoying the warm day as they talk. There’s nowhere they need to be, nothing they need to be doing except spending time together.
“Your ice cream is dripping down your wrist,” Stiles says, pointing to Derek’s cone. He’s eaten the cone down so the ice cream is oozing down the sides. Stiles grabs Derek’s wrist and lifts it to his mouth to deliberately lick the melted sweetness off his hand, eyeing him carefully. Derek tries not to get aroused by the action, because he literally does not understand how everything Stiles does arouses him. He hasn’t had this much sex in such a short amount of time since he dated Kate, and he’s not sure they even spent this much consecutive time together. Stiles is taking things to a new level for him.
“Oh,” Derek says, tugging Stiles closer and pushing his ice cream against Stiles’ nose before licking it off. “I think you have some right here. And maybe,” he licks along Stiles’ mouth. “Some right here.” They get distracted as they stop on the sidewalk and exchange sugary kisses. It’s so ridiculous Derek can only smile; he’s never been on an ice cream date before in his life. It feels so normal and sweet that he almost doesn’t believe it’s real.
“Our ice cream is melting,” Stiles mumbles as he pulls away and slurps at pools of it in his cone. “And you paid good money for this, so I shall not be a wasteful date.”
“Such an idiot.” Derek rolls his eyes fondly.
Derek has his arm slung around Stiles’ shoulders as Stiles finishes the remains of his cone when, from somewhere to his right, he hears a sound he’d recognize anywhere.
The click of a camera.
Derek stops and looks around, Stiles still rambling and walking ahead a few steps before he notices. Derek scans the streets, and across the street behind a tree, he spots a man with a zoom lens camera. The man starts clicking away, and Derek shoves Stiles behind him.
“Derek, what’s going on?”
“Fucking paparazzi. How the fuck did they find me here?” The man comes out from behind the tree now that he’s been spotted, crossing the street and still shamelessly clicking away. Derek’s so angry, he can barely see straight. Beacon Hills, Stiles, all of this was supposed to be outside of the public eye. “Hey!” Derek shouts. “Hey, asshole. I hope you got what you want! Fucking vultures.”
He turns, and Stiles is staring at him, obviously unsure about what to do. Derek grabs Stiles’ arm and tries to shield him as the photographer approaches them.
“Hey Derek, who’s the guy?”
Stiles is looking at the ground, and the guy keeps trying to get around them to get a better shot of Stiles, but Derek keeps stepping between them.
“Not so vocal now, are you? Come on, Derek. Give us a name to go with the pictures.” The Jeep is in sight, and Derek walks to the driver’s side with Stiles, the photographer following them. “Is this your way of coming out? Does your family know you’re gay?”
It takes everything Derek has not to punch the guy, still clicking away at Stiles, who has his back turned from the camera. When Derek climbs into the Jeep, Stiles tries to put the key into the ignition, but his hand is shaking too badly. The photographer is still outside the window, but Derek puts his hand over Stiles’ shaking one, and Stiles gives him a grateful smile. As soon as he cranks the Jeep, he speeds away with a squeal of tires.
“Can I call the sheriff’s department?” Stiles asks, driving twenty miles over the speed limit. “Can we get him arrested? Confiscate the camera?”
“It’s too late,” Derek sighs. He runs a hand over his face, his heart still pounding. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He was supposed to come to California and have a normal week with someone, not worry about who was photographing him and what he did in public. It’s not that he’s ashamed to be photographed with Stiles, or that he cares the media knows he’s bisexual. He’s worried about how the media will spin it, and with Cora’s annulment, how it will affect his mother.
They’re halfway home when Derek calms enough for a thought to occur to him. He turns to Stiles and looks at him suspiciously, a sick feeling churning in his gut. “Did you do this?” he asks. “Were you going to use this for your big break?”
Stiles jerks the Jeep over on the side of the road, throws it into park, and then turns to glare at Derek. “How dare you fucking accuse me of doing that! To you! When I know how fucking much you hate them and to what lengths you went to get away from them. Fuck, Derek, you went online and found the first nobody so you could get as far away from them as possible.” Stiles is furious, and Derek deflates a little. Stiles’ hands are still shaking, and he looks genuinely hurt Derek would think that. “Are you ashamed of me? Is that it?” Stiles asks after a few quiet, tense moments. “Ashamed that the blogs are going to see you with some random guy and driving off in a piece of shit Jeep?”
“How can you ask that?” Derek exclaims.
“You just fucking accused me of selling you out to the paparazzi!” Stiles yells.
“I just don’t understand,” Derek says, running his hands through his hair. “I don’t know how they found me. No one but my family and your family and friends knew we were here.”
“My friends don’t care enough to rat you out, even if they knew how,” Stiles says.
Derek pulls his phone out of his back pocket and dials Laura.
“Hey, Derek. I was – “
“Did you tell the paparazzi I was in Beacon Hills?” Derek growls. “And don’t you fucking lie to me.”
“What?” Laura exclaims. “Paparazzi were in Beacon Hills? What were you doing?”
“Walking down the street with Stiles, eating ice cream, holding hands, kissing.” Derek sighs. “Then I lost my temper.”
“You didn’t punch them, did you? Because you don’t need another assault and battery charge from a pap, especially not right now.”
“No, I refrained from beating the shit out of him.”
“I swear, Derek, it wasn’t me,” Laura says. “I’m a lot of things, and I may encourage paparazzi to take pictures of us at public events, but I would never send them after you in your private space. Or do that to Stiles. He didn’t sign up for that.”
Deep down, Derek knows it’s true, though Laura’s the easiest person to blame. “I have to call mom.”
“Hey, it’s not that bad,” she says. “They were bound to find out about Stiles soon enough. You know you won’t be able to stop seeing him after this week. Think of it as ripping a band aid off.”
When Derek hangs up the phone, he drops his head back against the head rest. Stiles still hasn’t restarted the car. He’s sitting in the driver’s seat, arms crossed, glaring at the steering wheel.
“I’m sorry,” Derek finally says.
Stiles just shakes his head and refuses to look at Derek. “This whole thing is a bad idea.”
“What?” Derek feels like someone punched him in the gut and he can’t breathe.
“You can’t even get three days away from photographers before they’re invading your privacy. I knew that was your life, but I’m not sure that I fully ever understood what it’s like.” He finally turns to Derek, and his eyes are sad. “We’re from completely different worlds, Derek. How would this ever actually work? We’ve just been living in a fantasy, deluding ourselves.”
Derek shakes his head. “Stiles that isn’t true.”
“Derek, look at you, your family. I’m this huge nobody, and – “
“WILL YOU FUCKING STOP THAT?” Derek screams. Stiles looks at him in shock. “I am so fucking sick of you putting yourself down. You’ve done it for months. You’re not attractive enough, or rich enough, or now not good enough. It’s fucking bullshit. You have no fucking idea how wonderful you are, how you are too fucking good for me!” Derek punches the dashboard. “I’m the nobody, and I’ve dragged you under public scrutiny against your will. You deserve better.”
“Dude, don’t beat up the Jeep, okay?” Stiles jokes, and Derek snorts at the absurdity of the situation. “Derek, this is weird for me because there is literally no reason for you to be with me. You say I’m sexy and beautiful and all these things, but before you? I had a college girlfriend and Danny as a fuckbuddy. That’s it. It’s not like people have been lining up to date me.”
Derek groans as he laughs. “I am so sorry, about everything.” He turns to Stiles again. “Your face will be plastered over the internet by tonight, and not everything they say will be positive, I promise.”
Stiles shrugs as he starts the Jeep again. “People making fun of me I’m used to. It’s you constantly telling me how wonderful I am that freaks me out.”
When Stiles gets home, he leaves Derek at the house on the phone with his mother. He needs some space. He feels like he’s been drowning in Derek for the last few days and he’s finally come up for air.
He climbs into the Polaris and drives across the farm.
The last few days have been…perfect. And that terrifies Stiles. Because when Derek realizes how boring he actually is, when the appeal of the simple farm life loses its appeal, Derek will move on and leave Stiles broken hearted. Stiles knows he’s fallen for Derek completely, and way too fast. But Stiles realizes that he’s been falling for Derek for months, and all this trip has done is prove that everything about Derek was real. Which did nothing to help his feelings.
It wasn’t until earlier today that Stiles really understood what it meant that Derek was from a famous family. Derek had told him stories about the paparazzi, about Jennifer’s damaging interview, about how Laura uses her reality show and constant presence as her own brand of control. But it just seemed so unreal, more like a movie instead of real life.
Until today. He’ll never forget how angry Derek was, or how scared and confused he felt because he had no clue what was going on. He’ll never forget the guy pushing his way towards him, trying to get the camera in his face. And Stiles has watched enough trash TV with Lydia to know this wasn’t even a bad encounter. This was child’s play compared to some things that paparazzi could do.
More than anything, Stiles will never forget the hurt he felt when Derek accused him of betraying his trust. The fact that Derek had even entertained the thought hurt more than anything. Stiles knows that Derek has only known him for a few days, and just because Stiles has fallen head over heels for Derek doesn’t mean Derek feels the same way.
As much as Stiles wants to be with Derek, he isn’t sure he can. He isn’t sure this is what he wants for his life.
Stiles finds his father in his house, taking a break in the air conditioning. “Hey son,” he greets when Stiles walks in. “What’s wrong?”
“Paparazzi found Derek,” he explains as he takes the seat across from his dad.
“Oh,” the sheriff says. “You knew this would happen.” He watches Stiles thoughtfully, then says, “Didn’t you?”
Stiles shrugs. “In an abstract way, yes. I just figured whenever they took pictures of me, I would be expecting it. And not licking ice cream off his wrist.”
The sheriff heaves an aggrieved sigh. “Have you two taken your hands off each other since he got here?”
Stiles feels himself flush. “Dad!”
“Son, I’m not blind. He has not been subtle with those hickeys on your neck.” Stiles’ hand goes to his neck; he can’t believe he hadn’t noticed before. That just confirms how distracted he’s been by Derek’s dick. “There’s nothing wrong with it, but eventually that will wear off.”
“If you’re serious about Derek, this is something you will have to deal with,” the sheriff says. “It will involve public appearances, movie premieres for his mother, and more that I can’t even come up with.” He shoots Stiles a small smile. “Your life will change forever, you know.” Stiles nods and chews on his lip. “You’ll have to decide if it’s worth the sacrifice.”
“He’s scared of you,” Stiles says with a smile.
“He’s afraid you will think he’s not good enough for me.”
The sheriff smiles with an unreadable look on his face. “Then I think he’ll be just fine.”
Stiles waits for him to say more, and when he doesn’t, he rolls his eyes. “You’re not making sense.”
“I don’t have to.” He leans forward on his elbows and looks Stiles in the eye. “I will support any decision you make. But before I sit back and let you make your own choice, I will say that that boy is stupid for you. And I’m pretty sure you’re stupid for him, too.”
“Is that your way of giving me your blessing?” Stiles asks.
The sheriff shrugs. “Take it as you will.”
“You’re absolutely no help.”
He talks to his dad until he has to return to work, and then drives back across the farm. There’s a note on the door from Derek that reads, Gone for a run. Be back soon.
Stiles goes upstairs, and when he enters his room, he takes a good look around. The clothes Derek was wearing earlier are lying neatly on the bed, his glasses are lying on top of a book he’d been reading the night before, and his toothbrush is sitting next to Stiles’ in the bathroom.
Stiles sits on the bed with the overwhelming realization that he is fucked.
“It’s not that bad,” Lydia says when she finds the entries that night. They’re sitting in Stiles’ living room, passing the laptop around. “There are only a few places the photos showed up.”
“For now,” Derek grumps.
“Can you be positive?” Lydia asks.
“Let me see.” Stiles lunges across the couch, bowing Scott in the face as he takes the laptop from Lydia.
Talia Hale’s Son Comes Out! reads one headline. The one below it reads, Derek Hale spotted kissing male cutie!
“Hey!” Stiles nudges Derek in the ribs. “They called me a cutie.”
“That’s what you got out of that?” Lydia asks.
“He is rather cute,” Scott says, ruffling Stiles’ hair as he and Isaac snicker. Stiles pushes Scott’s hand away before clicking on one of the links.
Derek Hale Enjoys Ice Cream with Mysterious New Boyfriend
Staring at the page is the most surreal experience of his life. There are five photos on the page, each of them containing his face. The first is of him and Derek walking down the street holding hands, the next is one of them kissing and looking completely happy, then one of Derek shielding him as he yells at the photographer, one of Derek trying to keep Stiles away from the camera as they walk towards the Jeep, and the last is of him behind the wheel as he drives off while Derek glares at the camera. It’s almost like the pictures are of someone else, even though he knows it’s him.
Derek Hale shares an ice cream with a mysterious man in Beacon Hills, California earlier today. The 31 year old NYC socialite and son of Oscar winning actress Talia Hale is notorious for his reclusive behavior, but he didn’t seem too shy about holding hands and kissing his boyfriend in public today.
When Derek discovered the photographer, he unsurprisingly started shouting and cursing. Then, being the ever present gentleman, he shielded his new beau from the camera. His hatred of the paparazzi is no secret, but at least this time he refrained from punching the photographer. In 2008, Derek engaged in a physical confrontation with the paparazzi, which resulted in assault and battery charges. Derek was sentenced to community service and held responsible for replacing the property he damaged.
Just last week, rumors were flying that Derek was dating long-time friend and supermodel Allison Argent. If the kiss he shared with the mystery man is anything to go by, looks like Derek has grown bored of supermodels. News of his new gay status is surprising, almost as surprising as the millionaire driving away in an old, beat up Jeep instead of the $200,000 Aston Martin he loves taking around LA.
“They called my Jeep old and beat up!” Stiles exclaims.
“It is old and beat up,” Isaac responds.
“Really?” Derek exclaims incredulously.
“Lydia’s right,” Stiles shrugs. “It could be worse.” He frowns at the screen. “I can’t believe you drove a two hundred thousand dollar car down my dirt driveway.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Derek grumbles as Lydia takes the computer away from him again.
“I’m sorry that our ice cream kisses accidentally outed you,” Stiles half-jokes. He’s still feeling oddly exposed and vulnerable, and he and Derek haven’t really talked since their argument in the car. Awkward isn’t a great color on him.
“You two are gross,” Scott says, but he’s grinning happily at Stiles.
“You don’t have to listen to them at night,” Isaac grumbles from his chair without taking his eyes from the screen.
“Get some earplugs, dude,” Stiles says. The banter with his friends helps ease the anxiety coloring his edges. It’s normal, it’s familiar.
“You hit a photographer?” Lydia asks when she finishes skimming the article.
Derek scratches his beard self-consciously. “Yeah, I really hate paparazzi – “
“We’d never have guessed,” Isaac drawls, and Stiles has to snort. Derek sighs in irritation.
“It was five years ago, I think,” Derek responds. “No one had seen me in almost three years – “
“Why? Oomph!” Scott yelps when Stiles elbows him in the ribs with a pointed look. But Derek squeezes the back of his neck.
“It’s okay, Stiles.” He leans forward slightly so he can see Scott, “I had a really bad relationship that ended in a public tell-all to People, which said some things about me that were not exactly nice, so I went to Europe for awhile, then when I came back to New York, I basically stayed in my apartment and went to the gym heavily disguised. Then, I went out with my two best friends Jackson and Allison to celebrate Jackson’s new big modeling contract, and there were paparazzi everywhere. One of them started asking me about the story, my mental health, stuff like that, and I broke the guy’s nose. And his camera.”
Scott stares at him with his mouth hanging open until Lydia closes it with her finger. “It’s not polite to stare, dear.”
“Remind me not to get on your bad side,” Scott finally says, and Derek cracks a smile.
Everyone watches a movie, but Stiles barely pays attention. His mind is a thousand miles away. When Scott and Lydia leave and Isaac goes to bed, Stiles gets up from the couch and goes upstairs, too. Inside Stiles’ room, he and Derek stand awkwardly across from one another. Stiles look anywhere but at Derek, and then says, “Maybe we should, uh, get some space. You can maybe sleep in the guest bedroom tonight?”
Derek wordlessly nods, and takes his glasses, book, and toothbrush with him as he leaves the room. As soon as the door is shut, Stiles crumples to the bed and feels like someone ripped out his heart.
But he needs to think, needs to figure out what he wants and what to do.
All night, Stiles tosses and turns. His mind is too wired to let him rest, too full of thoughts about Derek.
This whole situation has gotten way out of hand. When Stiles agreed for Derek to visit, he never thought Derek would drop him with a bomb like he was famous or that he’d get pulled into the fray, too. There’s something about having his picture taken without his knowledge and permission that makes him feel violated. It’s not that he is ashamed of people knowing he and Derek were kissing and eating ice cream, but he doesn’t want it plastered all over the internet that he was licking the guy’s wrist.
The photographer had entered into their private space, crashing their date unwelcomed. Sure, it was just an ice cream date, but Stiles has never done anything so simple as getting ice cream with someone and eating it while holding hands. It had been so intimate, something so comfortable with Derek’s arm weighing so perfectly around his shoulders, that Stiles could see himself doing that with Derek every day until he was old, grey, and wrinkled.
Maybe that’s what he was most upset about, that the photographer had ruined something that was so sacred to them both. Stiles knows that Derek has never had that either, and it hurts him that Derek’s life doesn’t allow him to have normal things like ice cream dates.
The longer that Stiles lies there, the more he tries to decide if Derek is worth it. Is it worth giving up the small things, like ice cream dates and anonymity? What does he really know about the guy, anyway?
Sure, he’s gorgeous, and great in bed, kisses Stiles like he’s the only thing that matters, is thoughtful and sweet, smart, intense, and loves his family. But he’s also stubborn, hot-headed, unmotivated, makes bad jokes, slightly entitled at times, spoiled, overly critical of his sisters, and has a complex about needing to pay for everything. And the dude spends eight hundred dollars on jeans, which points to some priority problems.
Plus, he comes with a whole bunch of baggage Stiles doesn’t know if he’s ready for. Does he really want photographers following him whenever he’s with Derek, taking photos and gossiping about their relationship online? His dad is right; if he ends up with Derek, his entire life will change.
But as Stiles lies in bed, staring at the empty spot where Derek had been for the past few nights, and being surrounded by the faint scent of his cologne and shampoo, Stiles realizes his entire life changed the moment Derek responded to his message.
Stiles gets out of bed, quietly leaves his room, and opens the guest bedroom enough to poke his head in. Derek’s lying on his side facing the door, eyes wide open. Stiles slips into the room and shuts the door behind him, then crosses the room and crawls into bed beside Derek. Derek’s looking at him with a neutral expression, and Stiles doesn’t say a word. He lies on his side with his back to Derek, reaches behind him to grab Derek’s hand, and drapes his arm around his waist. Derek scoots closer and settles behind Stiles.
Surrounded by Derek’s warmth with the weight of Derek’s body against him, Stiles thinks Derek’s fame and everything that goes with it is a sacrifice he could be willing to make.
Derek’s not in bed when Stiles wakes up. Stiles thinks that’s maybe better, because he doesn’t feel like talking about things between them yet, and he thinks they could benefit from a respite from the sex.
He finds Derek on the couch, Stiles’ laptop on his lap and infomercials on the TV in the background. Derek smiles when Stiles enters the room and points to the laptop with his chin. “I hope you don’t mind.”
Stiles shakes his head and pulls his feet under him when he sits down beside Derek. “What are you looking at?”
Derek sighs. “Articles about us, which aren’t as bad as I expected, articles about Cora, and a few targeting my mother’s lack of ability to keep her children under control.”
“You’re all adults,” Stiles says.
“Yeah, but it still reflects on her because she’s such a public figure.”
Stiles steals the remote and watches a documentary about endangered species in Bhutan while Derek browses the internet. Derek’s in the kitchen making them omelets and generally impressing Stiles with his culinary skills as he throws vegetables picked from the farm into the pan when there’s a knock on the front door.
“Who in the world could that be?” Stiles asks as Derek dumps freshly chopped tomatoes on top of the eggs.
Stiles opens the door with a touch of trepidation, terrified there’s going to be an entire camera crew on the other side catching him in his faded pajama bottoms and an old band t-shirt with three holes on it. But it’s not a camera crew; it’s a short, tiny dark-haired woman who looks vaguely familiar. She’s wearing tights and an oversized t-shirt, no makeup and her hair pulled back into a messy ponytail.
“Is Derek here?” she asks.
“Um, Derek?” Stiles calls over his shoulder. “It’s for you.”
“For me?” Derek walks out of the kitchen, his face going slack in surprise when he spots their guest. “You’re the one who told the paparazzi I was here, weren’t you?” Stiles stares between them in confusion, especially when Derek’s tone sounds more like resignation instead of anger. Then it clicks. The woman standing there is Cora.
Cora bursts into tears, and Derek quickly crosses to the door and folds her in his arms. She sobs against his chest, gut wrenching sobs that make Stiles feel like an intruder in his own living room. As discreetly as possible, he exits into the kitchen as Derek murmurs soft words into his sister’s hair. He walks to the stove and turns off the pans where Derek had left them cooking on low.
Stiles doesn’t know what to think. Part of him is furious that Derek’s own sister was so selfish to throw him under the bus like that, not to mention screw Stiles over in the process. But she flew all the way to California to find Derek because she’s obviously hurting. Still doesn’t excuse her, in Stiles’ opinion.
A few minutes later, Derek enters the kitchen with Cora glued to his side. He shoots Stiles an apologetic smile. “This is my sister Cora. Cora, this is Stiles.”
Cora sniffs and wipes her eyes before walking over to Stiles and throwing her arms around him. Stiles makes a small noise of surprise as she hugs him tightly, his arms awkwardly going around her waist.
“It’s so good to finally meet you,” she says when she pulls away. She gives him a smile, her eyes red and puffy. “I’m sorry about barging into your home, but I just needed to see my big brother.”
Stiles shakes his head. “Not a problem. Derek was just making breakfast. You can have my omelet if you want.”
Cora shakes her head as she sits at the small dinette table. “I couldn’t possibly eat.”
Derek places the omelets on plates when they’re finished, then sits down at the table with Cora and Stiles. “What’s wrong?”
Cora glares at him. “I married Boyd and then got it annulled. What the fuck do you think is wrong?”
“What happened, Cora? Laura’s been worried about you, and then we find all this out in the tabloids.”
Cora sniffs. “Boyd and I went to France for the weekend, and we decided it was about time we got serious. But after a few days, we realized maybe we rushed into things.”
“You think?” Derek scoffs and Cora kicks him under the table.
“I love him, Derek.”
“I know you do.”
“I just can’t get anything right,” she says, starting to cry again. “There’s just so much going on with the fashion show and I just got off three really bad relationships, and Boyd just always makes everything go away. I just want to be with him.”
Derek sighs. “You can do that without spontaneous marriages.”
“The press is being really cruel,” she says through tears. “Nothing they’ve said is remotely correct. How hard is it to believe that we love each other, but we’re just stupid and fucked up?”
Derek reaches across the table and squeezes her hand. Then he says, “Thanks for outing me to the press, by the way.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you,” she says, looking between Derek and Stiles. “Either of you.” Stiles wants to be mad at her, he really does, but she just looks small and pathetic sitting there. This woman at his table bears no resemblance to the woman he’s seen in photos online.
“Why?” Derek asks. “Why would you do that to me? You know how much I fucking hate the press.”
A fresh wave of tears start, and Derek leans back in his chair and rubs a hand over his face. “I thought if they started talking about you and Stiles, they’d stop saying horrible things about me.” She wipes her eyes. “I thought it would do good things to your image, Derek.”
“Outing me without my permission was Laura-level low,” Derek snaps. Cora shrinks in her seat and stares at her hands. “Even Laura has never fucked me over that much.”
“I wasn’t thinking,” Cora says. “I’m sorry.”
Derek and Cora continue talking over breakfast, and Stiles remains quiet. He doesn’t know what to say, because he can understand Cora’s pain, but not her explanation about why she did that to Derek. He also doesn’t understand why Derek’s not angrier.
Stiles takes a shower after breakfast because he’s not quite sure what to do with himself. Derek and Cora are talking in the living room, and Stiles feels like it’s not really a conversation he needs to be involved in. After his shower, he remains in his room, trying not to feel left out.
This is what he was scared of, the moment when Derek returns to his life and realizes there’s no place where Stiles fits.
Around early afternoon, there’s a soft knock on Stiles’ bedroom door and Derek sticks his head inside. “Hey,” he says, stepping inside the room. “I wonder where you’d disappeared to.” He sits on the bed beside Stiles and places a light hand on Stiles’ leg.
“I figured you and your sister needed some time,” Stiles replies evenly.
“Is everything okay?” Derek asks with a frown.
“Of course,” Stiles lies.
The look on Derek’s face tells Stiles he doesn’t believe him. “Cora can leave,” Derek says. “I can leave, if this isn’t what you want anymore.”
Stiles sighs and takes Derek’s hand. “I don’t want you to go.”
“I don’t want to go.” Stiles closes the distance between them and places a gentle kiss on Derek’s mouth. When he pulls away, Derek looks at him sadly before getting up and going downstairs.
A few hours later, Derek comes back into Stiles’ room, this time without knocking. Stiles is halfway through the book he’d started earlier. “Get dressed,” Derek says, going over to his bag and searching inside.
“Why?” Stiles asks, propping himself up on his elbow. He’s been sitting in his boxers since he got out of the shower, and his hair is flat on his head.
Derek glances over his shoulder at him. “We’re going out.”
“You and Cora?”
Derek rolls his eyes, his whole head following. “No, you moron. You and I.”
Derek slams the pair of jeans down he’s holding. He stands and spins to face Stiles. “Why do you think?” He pulls off his shirt and tosses it to the floor. “Cora is fine, and she’s not my top priority right now.” He crosses the small space in the bedroom and drops beside Stiles on the bed. “This is our week, Stiles. Regardless of everything else, this week is about us.”
Stiles feels a little bit of the pressure in his chest ease, and he gives Derek a small smile and nods. “Okay.”
“Now, get your cute butt dressed so we can go out.”
Stiles lets Derek drive them in his convertible. To begin with, he’s afraid to sit in it, because he’s never touched anything that cost two hundred grand before. But he soon grows comfortable riding in the luxury, the leather seats soft beneath him and the car so quiet and smooth it was almost like floating on air. Derek seems especially pleased that Stiles likes his car.
They drive out to the Preserve, and Derek shoots down his apologies about taking it on yet another unpaved road. They walk along one of the many hiking trails that lead up a low mountain, not talking much as they walk, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortable. Stiles is surprised by just how content he feels walking silently alongside Derek; Stiles has never felt comfortable in silence in his life.
They sit on the bench located on the peak of the mountain. The view of the valley and the other, taller mountains is breathtaking, and Stiles enjoys sharing the peaceful moment with Derek.
“I’m sorry about Cora,” Derek says after they’ve been sitting there awhile.
“You don’t have to apologize,” Stiles says.
“I do,” Derek argues. “She put you in the public eye for selfish reasons, invaded your home, invaded our week.”
“Why aren’t you angrier at her? From what I’ve gathered, if that had been Laura, you’d have killed her.”
“I don’t play favorites with my sisters,” Derek says. “They both drive me equally insane. In a weird way, I get where Cora was coming from. Sure, it was selfish, and I’m furious, don’t get me wrong, but Cora loves Boyd, she has for a long time. I guess I can kinda understand that. That isn’t a good answer, but my sisters are complicated.”
Stiles shrugs. “Family stuff, I get it.”
“That’s just it,” Derek sighs. “I am so tired of my family, the fame, all of this polluting every aspect of my life. For once, I just want to be Derek, a guy spending time and trying to get to know another guy he really likes.”
“Okay,” Stiles says with a nod. “Let’s be those guys and get to know each other. I’ll even start.” He looks out at the rolling hills below him and tries to think of something to share with Derek. “One of my journalism professors in undergrad told me I was a terrible writer and would never make it as a reporter. That’s why I got my master’s in English instead of something like communications or journalism. Every time Harris refuses to give me a story or tells me my ideas suck, I believe him.”
“There’s no way you could be a bad writer,” Derek says. “You’re the smartest, most talented person I’ve ever met.” Stiles snorts, and Derek frowns. “I mean it.”
“I think you hit your head, or have sun stroke.”
“I wish I had a talent,” Derek says. “Laura and Cora have multiple talents, but I don’t have anything.” He absently picks at the wood on the bench as he stares ahead. “Stiles, I’m 31, and I have nothing to show for it. I’ve just hidden away in my apartment ever since I was 18. I have all the money in the world, but I just sit in my apartment, day after day, watching TV and being scared to live.”
Stiles doesn’t know how to respond, so he threads his fingers with Derek’s in lieu of words. “I played lacrosse in high school, and I was terrible,” he says. “But I since I spent most of my time ogling guys in the locker room, it helped me discover that I was bisexual. My first handjob was with this straight guy in the locker room after practice one day. He told me if I told anyone about it, he’d make me regret it. I was so scared that I didn’t even tell Scott about it until we were in college.”
“Kate was my first,” Derek says. “I met her in LA, at a Christmas party thrown by the studio who had backed my mom’s latest film. I found her on the balcony, smoking a cigarette, and looking so fucking sexy and aloof. We talked all night. She made me laugh, and she was so smart.
“She showed up at our house the next week. Mom was filming a movie in Italy, Cora was with her nanny, and Laura was in New York working on a TV show. We went for a walk on the beach and ended up fucking on the couch.”
“Why Kate?” Stiles asks. “I mean, I know why I ended up on a dirty locker room floor with a straight guy who threatened to beat the shit out of me, but you were young, rich, attractive. I don’t understand.”
“I was lonely,” Derek answers simply. “Cora was only twelve, I had no friends from school, my mom was always working, and Laura was more self-obsessed than she is now. Kate was interested in me, and cared about me in her own fucked up way.”
“What happened? If you want to share.”
“I want you to know,” Derek says. “I’m not proud of it, though. But I want you to know even the ugly side of me.
“We met at Christmas, and by April, I was skipping school, partying and drinking all the time. Club drugs were really popular at the time, like X, so we did that a sometimes when we had sex. Sex felt so good on it, but, I don’t know, I always felt empty the next day. But I ignored it, and just kept going out and partying.
“Kate did a lot of drugs. One night when we were partying, she brought out an eight ball of cocaine. She whispered in my ear, purring all these things about how good it makes you feel and how it’d make us go all night. I believed her, and she measured out a line for me.
“We did it once a week for a few weeks. The high felt awesome, but before the night was over, I would start to come down and feel anxious, paranoid, and generally like shit. But I loved Kate, and I didn’t want her to think I was some dumb teenager. She did heroine sometimes, too. I watched her and various celebrities shoot up in my living room a couple of times, but that stuff scared me to death, so I never did it.
“In May, we did two lines on a Friday, and we drank a lot, did some X, few other pills,” Derek pauses, and Stiles looks at him, mouth hanging open as he listens intently to every word. “I woke up a few days later in a hotel room, with Kate and some other people I didn’t recognize, and my mother standing above me. I didn’t know where I was, what day it was, or what I’d been doing.”
“Oh shit,” Stiles says.
“Mom and Laura thought I’d gone missing, but when they checked my credit card charges, they found out I was in Miami, and it didn’t take long to figure out where I was.” Derek shakes his head and closes his eyes. “I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when she found me. The room stank of vomit, sex, and god knows what else, there were empty bottles all over the place, lines of coke on the counter tops, and stashes of pills all over the room.”
“So what happened?”
“My mom took me back to LA and forced me into one of those fancy, spa rehab centers in Malibu. At that point, she wouldn’t have had to force me. I was terrified because I literally could not remember those three days. Even now, I still only have snatches of what happened. And worse than that,” he says quietly. “I would have done anything to erase the look of pain, fear, and disappointment off my mother’s face.”
“Did the media find out?” Stiles asks.
Derek nods. “They found out I went into rehab. This was before the age of social media, but suddenly, pictures started surfacing of Kate and me, drunk and partying. It was a huge scandal, especially since my mom had to drop out of a project so she could come home from Italy, find me, and get me sorted out.”
“What happened to Kate?”
Derek looks pained, and Stiles squeezes his hand. “Rehab went okay. I was nothing more than a recreational coke user, though it could have gotten out of control very easily. I drank a lot, but I wasn’t an alcoholic. I was just lonely and depressed and drowning myself in those things. So, it was the atmosphere, the meetings, the structure that helped me the most.
“I had just finished my 90 days when I found out Kate had ODed. I did love her, Stiles, and I didn’t take her death well. I took a bunch of pills and drank too much, and it was back to rehab. I stayed there for almost a year, trying to deal with everything. The tabloids were cruel, and my mother refused to let me see any of them, but I sometimes caught things on TV, saw a magazine lying in the rec rooms. Her career suffered, but she met Chris Argent as they tried to contain the damage; her next movie was one of his projects, and she won her first Oscar for that film.”
“But what about you?” Stiles asks. Not that he’s not glad his mother’s career survived, but Derek has a habit of doing this, focusing on everyone else instead of himself.
“I went to rehab, went to therapy, bought my apartment in New York City. Mom got me a tutor, I got my high school diploma, and I basically only came out of my apartment when my family made me. The forced vacations to Europe were how I met Allison and Jackson, though they were much younger back then.”
Stiles doesn’t know what to say. Nothing in his life has even come close to this, and it’s hard to imagine that the man sitting beside him is the same man in the story Derek just told. Instead of trying to find empty words to fill the heaviness of the situation, Stiles reaches over and tugs Derek against his chest and just holds him.
When Stiles and Derek return, there’s another unfamiliar car parked in front of the house beside Cora’s car. Derek shrugs when Stiles shoots him a questioning glance, and so Stiles climbs out of the car and enters the house.
To find Talia Hale sitting in his living. With Cora and Laura.
“You must be Stiles,” Talia greets warmly as she stands and makes her way towards him. Stiles remains frozen in place.
“Mom, what are you doing here?” Derek asks when he enters behind Stiles. Talia’s face immediately falls.
“You weren’t expecting us?” she asks.
When Derek shakes his head, Laura says, “Oops!” from the couch. Stiles glances at her and can tell that this was most definitely not an oops.
Talia sighs and turns to her daughter. “You told me Derek invited us.”
“I invited us, and that’s close enough, right?” Laura says with a wide grin and a shrug to her shoulders.
Talia turns back to Stiles and says, “Stiles, please pardon our intrusion into your home. I would never have imposed myself upon you otherwise.”
“It’s cool,” Stiles says, kicking himself because manners. “I’ve never had someone in my house before that I’ve paid ten bucks to see in a movie.”
“I do hope that you enjoyed the show, dear.”
“He cried at the end of Grief,” Derek informs her with a smirk. Stiles wishes he could disappear from utter humiliation, but Talia just smiles.
“Um, can I offer you something to drink?” Stiles asks. “I have a few sodas, a couple of beers, and water. From the tap.”
“You don’t have to be nervous,” Talia says. “I daresay I’m the nervous one. I don’t like being an unwelcomed guest.”
“You’re Derek’s mom,” Stiles blurts. “You’re so totally welcome.”
Talia suppresses her smile as she turns around. “Laura, apologize to Stiles for arriving unannounced, and then apologize to your brother for interrupting his vacation.”
“Mom,” Laura whines, rolling her eyes.
“Laura,” Talia warns, causing Laura to huff like a child.
“Sorry, guys.” She crosses her arms and pouts on the couch. “But why does Cora get to meet Stiles and see the infamous farm and I don’t? Derek’s always showing her favoritism. I want to meet him, too!”
Talia sighs. “Stiles, forgive my rude children.”
Stiles laughs at the absurdity. Derek’s entire family is in his living room. And an A-list actress is apologizing to him. What is his life?
“How about,” Derek suggests as Laura and Cora start bickering at one another, “You three go get settled in your hotel in town, and then come back in a couple of hours for dinner. I’ll cook.”
“You’re staying at the Beacon Hills Quality Inn?” Stiles exclaims. “I am so sorry.”
“It’s fine,” Talia smiles.
“It’s not fine,” Laura says as she stands up. “But the only decent place is over an hour away, and Mom said that was too far to drive. I just hope I don’t get bedbugs.”
Talia kisses Derek’s cheek, then Stiles’ cheek before herding Laura and Cora out of the house. Stiles touches his cheek and stares after them in amazement.
“I just got kissed by someone on my DVR,” he says stupidly.
“Come on,” Derek says, grabbing his arm and pulling him into the kitchen. “You’re helping me with dinner.”
“I didn’t know you could cook,” Stiles says as Derek starts pulling fresh vegetables from baskets Isaac and Scott had left sitting on the kitchen floor. “This is an interesting development.”
Derek shrugs. “I took some private cooking lessons as part of my therapy. Cooking helps with my anxiety, plus I hate going out. The only problem is that it’s no fun cooking for one person.”
Before Stiles thinks it through, he says, “Well, lucky for you I don’t like to cook.”
Derek pauses and gives him a soft smile before handing Stiles a cutting board and armfuls of squash.
“What is that?” Stiles asks, pointing to a simmering pan. He’s reaching for the spoon to sneak a taste when Derek slaps his hand away. “Hey!”
“If you keep sampling, we’re not going to have anything left.” Derek slips in between Stiles and the stove and stirs the contents of the pan. “Plus, you’ll ruin your dinner.”
“Thanks, Dad,” Stiles retorts, then sticks his tongue out. “I can’t help it if the food is just so good.”
“Well, this food has to feed nine people.”
Stiles slides his arms around Derek’s waist, hooking his chin over Derek’s shoulder. He surveys the massive amount of food spread throughout the kitchen. “I believe we have plenty to eat.”
“I just want it to be good,” Derek says. “It’d be a terrible apology if I served you a shitty dinner.”
“This is your form of apology?” Stiles asks. “Please, let’s fight more. I need lots of apologizing.” Derek huffs. Stiles turns and kisses Derek’s neck lightly. “You know you have nothing to apologize for, right?”
“Stiles, I have a lot to apologize for. I owe you more than a home cooked dinner for the last twenty-four hours.”
“Hey,” Stiles says, nipping at Derek’s ear. “None of this is your fault.”
Derek turns his head to look at Stiles, and Stiles kisses him. It starts out chaste, but soon there’s tongue. Lots of tongue.
“Mom, I think they’re in – oh!” Stiles and Derek break apart suddenly when Laura enters the kitchen. Her face immediately breaks into a smirk. “They’re in the kitchen. Totally making out.”
Stiles is blushing, and Derek grumbles as he turns back to the stove. Laura leans against the counter beside Stiles, crosses her arms and smiles at him. “Hello, Stiles.”
“Laura,” Derek growls.
“What?” Laura snaps. “I’m trying to get to know your new boyfriend.” Derek huffs and sets a bowl of rice on the counter a little too forcefully.
Laura bombards Stiles with a lot of innocuous questions, and he finds her kind of charming, if not a bit flighty and self-centered. When she’s finished with her interview, she pulls out her cell phone. “Take a selfie with me?”
“No,” Derek says from the stove.
“Why not, Derek? And Stiles can answer for himself, thank you very much,” Laura responds.
“You’re just going to put it on Instagram!” Derek yells, spinning around and glaring at her.
She glares right back. “Of course I am. The media knows you two are together. After that disastrous fit of anger the other day, it might be nice for people to see that perhaps you aren’t ashamed of him.” She raises her eyebrows and crosses her arms, obviously believing she’s won. Derek glares for a few beats before turning back to the stove. She smiles in triumph.
“Does anyone care what I think?” Stiles asks. Laura turns to him, the same frown she set on Derek directed towards him. Wow, the family resemblance is terrifying when the Hale siblings are angry. “I think it’s a good idea. But only if Derek’s comfortable with it.”
Derek sighs, his shoulders heaving as he breathes. “It’s fine.”
“Will you be in the picture too, Derek?” Laura asks.
“Don’t push it, Laura.” Unphased by Derek’s refusal, she laughs gleefully and slings her arm around Stiles. Back to them, Derek asks, “Where are your camera crews? How are you not dying to film yourself on the farm? I didn’t think you could breathe unless someone was filming it.”
Laura doesn’t answer right away. She takes a few selfies of her and Stiles from different angles, and then consults with Stiles to decide which is the best one and which filter looks the best. Then, Stiles gives her his Instagram name (which only has pictures of the farm and of his friends hanging out at the bar on it) before she updates it and shows it to him.
Derek’s too slow in the kitchen. Making my own fun with @stilinski.
When he goes to clear the Instagram notification on his phone, he finds he has ten new followers. He stares at the unfamiliar names. His mind is totally blown.
“Camera crew is in LA,” Laura explains as she types away on her phone. “I knew to not even try to get you two to sign the release forms right now.” She slips her phone in her pocket and smiles at Stiles. “I’ll have to do the farm edition of my show where Stiles and his little farmer friends teach me how to farm later.”
Stiles just stares at her, because what?
Derek shoves a bowl into her arms with a smirk. “Be useful and set the table.”
Laura disappears through the door and Stiles just shakes his head. “You two, man.”
“What?” Derek asks, handing him a bowl.
“You two have a special relationship.”
Derek shoves him towards the door. “Go set the table.” He leans over and gives him a quick kiss before Stiles slips out the door.
As Stiles and Derek are putting the finishing touches on the table, the front door opens. Scott, Lydia, Isaac, and the sheriff all walk to the dining room, clean from the day’s work and dressed nicely. But they hover just inside the door when they see Talia, Laura, and Cora sitting at the table.
Stiles groans. “Really, guys? Could you be any more embarrassing?”
Talia stands from the table and goes to the sheriff. She takes his hand and holds it warmly between her own. “I’m Talia; you must be Stiles’ father. You have such a lovely farm here, and your son is absolutely delightful.”
“Delightful? My son?” The sheriff shoots Stiles a dubious glance. Talia laughs, and it seems to dispel the tension because the others laugh as they slowly enter the room and take their seats.
Derek’s food is a huge hit, and the Hales are surprisingly friendly and down-to-earth. Talia discusses movies with Scott and Isaac, Talia asks the sheriff various questions about Beacon Hills and his years as sheriff, and Cora, Laura, and Lydia get lost in a discussion about fashion. Stiles doesn’t say much, just watches the two extremely opposite families intermingling seamlessly. A warm feeling uncurls through him, and when he turns to the side, he finds Derek watching him with an unreadable look on his face. Derek smiles at him and nudges his foot under the table, and the warm feeling continues to grow.
Scott, Lydia, Laura, and Cora are doing the dishes while Isaac resets the table. Derek’s sitting in the living room watching television with the sheriff and Talia, so Stiles slips out onto the back deck. The night is chilly despite the summer month, and he rubs his arms as he walks towards the railing.
The door opens a few minutes later; Stiles doesn’t turn around, so he’s surprised when Talia leans against the railing beside him.
“Hi,” Talia smiles. “It’s gotten very loud in there. I see why you would want a quiet moment out here.”
“No, it’s good. Everyone talking and getting along and stuff. I just…” Stiles trails off.
“I understand.” She inhales deeply and looks up at the sky. “I think I’ve forgotten what stars look like. I haven’t been this far in the country since Derek was a little boy.”
“That’s a funny image,” Stiles says. “Derek as a kid.”
“He’s was adorable,” Talia says fondly. “So awkward. Ears too big, eyes too large, everything about him just swallowing him up until he grew into it.”
“I remember when he was on that TV show,” Stiles says with a laugh. “Funny to think someone who looks like that now ever had an awkward phase.”
“Derek’s still in an awkward phase,” Talia says. “His physical body just grew out of it.” Stiles has no clue how to respond to that, so he just stares out into the darkness. “Can I talk to you for a few minutes, Stiles?”
“Of course.” He turns to her, and the woman standing before him in the dark, illuminated only by the minimal light coming from the window in the door behind them, looks nothing like the woman he’s watched on the movie screen for years. Like with Cora, there’s a disconnect in his mind between what’s real and what’s fantasy, and he wonders if that’s what it’s like for them. That this is Talia, Derek’s mom who’s wearing a soft, chunky sweater over a plain blouse, not the Talia who makes movies and walks the red carpet in expensive gowns; he wonders if her public face is just her playing another role.
“I just wanted to say thank you,” Talia says, and well, that was not what Stiles was expecting. “For allowing us, and more importantly Derek, into your home.”
“I’m assuming Derek has told you about his past,” she starts, and Stiles nods. “I’m not sure you can even understand, but watching your son go through that, and to then punish himself for so long.” She wrings her hands in front of her as she gathers her thoughts. “He blames himself for the project I lost, for certain bumps my career has faced. Derek’s never quite thought about all the mistakes I’ve made. He shoulders all this blame, but I’m to blame, too.”
Stiles nods, wondering why she’s telling him all this.
“Derek has shut himself away from the world for a long time. But in the last few months, I’ve started to notice a change in him. He’s seemed happier, he’s been smiling more, and little by little he’s started coming out of his shell. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I realized the reason for this change was you.”
“Me?” Stiles exclaims.
Talia nods. “I can’t thank you enough, Stiles.”
“But I haven’t done anything. I’m a huge nobody who sends him annoying messages, and he’s this gorgeous, rich guy with you for a mother. I can’t compete with a glamorous life.”
Talia reaches out and cups his cheek, and he automatically leans into it. It’s been so long since he’d felt a maternal touch that he can’t help himself. “You’re so much more than you give yourself credit for. You’re everything Derek’s ever needed. Even if for some reason you two don’t work out, you’ve given him hope, Stiles, and shown him that he can be happy.” She strokes his cheek with a smile. “But you have to let yourself have hope, too. Derek’s never cared for this life, you should have figured that out by now.”
Talia rubs her hand down his arm reassuringly before leaving him on the deck with his thoughts.
Laura, Talia, and Cora leave for their hotel around ten p.m. with promises to have dinner with everyone again the next night. Laura and Lydia hug before Laura gets in the car, already fast friends. They posted at least three photos of themselves on Instagram, including one where they roped Scott into the picture.
After Stiles has said good night to his dad, Scott, and Lydia, Derek and Stiles leave Isaac downstairs watching television as they head upstairs. When Derek hesitates outside Stiles’ bedroom, Stiles grabs his hand and pulls him inside the bedroom, slamming the door with his foot behind him.
They undress in record time, and Derek pushes Stiles back into the bed and rides him until they’re both moaning, exhausted and breathless.
When Stiles awakes, the first thing he notices is that Derek’s no longer beside him. He blinks a few times against the bright sunshine, and sees Derek standing by the window, clothed only in one of Stiles’ oversized plaid shirts and white socks. He’s sipping a cup of coffee and leaning against the wall as he stares out, his mind clearly somewhere else. Stiles just stares, that familiar warm feeling spreading through him at the sight of Derek in one of his shirts and nothing else, bed hair flat on his head. Stiles drags his eyes over Derek’s body, eyes taking in the smooth planes and swells of muscle, the spread of chest hair, the curve of his ass, his soft cock covered by foreskin resting against his leg. There’s not a hint of self-consciousness in his stance, and Derek looks so content and at home just standing there.
“What are you doing?” Stiles asks, voice still heavy with sleep. “Why are you only wearing my shirt and socks?”
“Morning.” Derek turns to him and gives him a dazzling smile that makes his belly do funny things. “When I went downstairs to make coffee, I was a little cold so I took one of your shirts. I hope you don’t mind.”
“Isaac didn’t see you, right?” Stiles asks, stretching. “Because that is all mine.”
Derek rolls his eyes and sets his mug on the nightstand before pressing one knee into the bed as he leans down to kiss Stiles good morning. “You’re an idiot.” Derek sits on the edge of the bed, fingers trailing over Stiles’ chest absently. “I have to do this thing with my mom today.”
Stiles juts out his lower lip and gives Derek his best puppy eyes. “You’re leaving me?”
“I’ll be back this afternoon.” Derek sighs. “There’s a public appearance she’s doing in Sacramento, and both she and her publicist believe the two of us being seen together and maybe giving a few statements about Cora, you, and my new bisexual status would be positive. I can’t say no when my mother asks me to do something like this.”
“Are your sisters going?”
Derek shakes his head. “Just me. Her publicist said it would make a stronger image if it was just me and her photographed. But I think Mom wants to spend some time with me anyway.”
“Well,” Stiles says, rolling onto his stomach and kissing along the inside of Derek’s thigh. “Do you have a little time before you leave?” He noses along Derek’s balls before pulling them into his mouth gently. “Because seeing you in my shirt and nothing else is seriously turning me on.”
Derek drops his hand to Stiles’ head and grips his hair tightly as Stiles starts sucking on his hardening flesh. Stiles has always enjoyed giving head, but something about sucking Derek’s cock gives him particular pleasure. Maybe it’s because he’s never been with someone uncircumcised before, so he’s still enraptured with the novelty of playing and tasting his foreskin. Or maybe it’s just Derek, the way he likes to grip Stiles’s hair roughly and push his head down. Stiles’ dick is very much on board with that.
He also loves the way Derek lets out low moans as Stiles works over his shaft, the moans turning louder and needier when Stiles pauses to suck on just the head. He enjoys the slide of Derek’s foreskin when he jacks his cock after dropping his head to suck lightly on his balls. He loves the scratch of Derek’s nails against his scalp, the sting of Derek tugging on his hair when he wants Stiles’ mouth back on his dick.
Derek lifts his hips off the bed in small, abortive thrusts as he fucks up into Stiles’ mouth when he’s close, the sounds coming from his mouth getting louder and more urgent. Stiles likes the way the tip hits the back of his throat, the ache of his jaw as he tries to stretch his mouth wide enough. He particularly loves the taste of Derek as he comes in his mouth.
Derek’s just as forceful when he goes down on Stiles, holding his hips still when Stiles wants to thrust and teasing him until Stiles is a writhing, mindless mass on the bed. When Derek goes from lightly stroking the skin behind his balls to dragging circles over Stiles’ hole, Stiles loses it completely. He barely registers Derek’s lips on his a few moments later as Derek lightly rubs his overly sensitive, softening cock.
Stiles remains in bed, boneless and breathless while he watches Derek get dressed. He notes how weird it is to see Derek in nice black pants, a white button up with the sleeves rolled to the elbows, and a vest instead of jeans and a t-shirt. When Derek puts on his glasses to finish off the outfit, Stiles realizes Derek in glasses may be his new number one turn on. Derek asks him how he looks, and Stiles finds himself just wanting to take Derek to a nice dinner and then peel those layers off piece by piece and fuck him into the mattress.
Before Derek leaves, he kisses Stiles goodbye, and Stiles swears he can still taste himself on Derek’s lips even though Derek just brushed his teeth.
And as Derek turns and waves before leaving the bedroom, Stiles finally admits to himself that he’s completely in love with him.
“Don’t be so nervous,” his mom whispers to him as they walk towards the wall of reporters. Derek tries to remain calm, but his heartbeat is pounding in his chest and he feels like he’s going to throw up. “I’m right here with you.” She rubs a few circles on his back, and he starts to immediately feel better.
The cameras start clicking as soon as they get close, and the next twenty minutes pass in a haze of flashbulbs, microphones, and rehearsed answers. By the time he and his mother make it to the table for the luncheon, Derek feels completely drained.
As soon as he sits down, he pulls out his cell phone and smiles when he sees a text from Stiles. I hope everything goes well today! You’ll be great. Just remember to share that beautiful SMILE with the world.
Derek’s typing out a response when his mother says, “Texting Stiles?”
“Yes.” He hits send and hurriedly slips the phone into his pocket. “I’m sorry. It’s done.”
Talia shakes her head. “No need to apologize.” She orders a bottle of wine when the waiter brings over water and appetizers. When he leaves, she turns her attention back to Derek. “Stiles is a wonderful young man.”
Derek nods. “He is.”
“Derek, I know I haven’t been the best mother – “
“Mom, what are you talking about?” Derek interjects. “You’ve been the best. You’re the only reason I haven’t completely fallen apart.”
Talia smiles. “I should have been there more for you when you were growing up, but I’ve always put my career first. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and I’m sorry you have suffered for them.”
“I don’t understand where this is coming from,” Derek says after the waiter brings the wine and pours two glasses.
“You’ve always been my sensitive child,” Talia says gently. “You’re so different from your sisters. I just want you to know that it’s okay to want different things.”
“Mom, you’re not making sense.”
She sighs as she rolls her eyes. “Stiles. I know you’re in love with him.”
Derek stutters, caught off-guard and not sure how to answer. “I, we’re not, I mean, I don’t. I’m not in love with him.”
“It’s okay, to love someone again,” Talia says. “Not everyone is Kate and Jennifer. You don’t have to be alone forever just because two relationships didn’t work out. Try finding out your husband is leaving you when you have three children, one who just turned two. But that wasn’t the end of the world, either.”
“I haven’t been…” Derek starts, completely flustered. “It isn’t fair to Stiles.”
“All this. The paparazzi, the invasion of his privacy.”
“Sweetheart, don’t you think Stiles should make that decision, not you? Because, from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t seem to mind as long as you’re around.” She gives him a knowing look, and Derek sighs.
“I don’t have anything to offer him.”
Talia rolls her eyes and mutters, “You two are absolutely perfect for one another.” Derek lifts and eyebrow, and she says, “You’re all he needs, I promise you that.”
“I just don’t want to be alone anymore,” Derek says quietly. “I’m not sure if I can take it if we don’t work out.”
“Derek, you can’t think like that,” Talia says. “Love is always a bit of a gamble. You have two choices. You can trust in what you and Stiles have, or you can go back to being alone and miserable like you have been for the last thirteen years.” She covers his arm with her hand. “It doesn’t seem like much of a gamble to me.”
When Derek gets back to Stiles’ house, he rushes inside. After he dropped his mother off at her hotel, the only thing he could think about was getting back to Stiles and telling him that he loves him. He’d been fighting it for so long, trying to talk himself out of it, convince himself that he should leave Stiles and cut his losses before he got his heart broken.
But Derek is so stupidly in love with Stiles that he can’t think straight. If Stiles doesn’t want him, then he will go home and lick his wounds. But his mother was right; it’s time he broke out of his comfort zone and took a leap of faith. This time for the right reasons.
Derek finds Stiles in the kitchen, loading the dishwasher with his lunch dishes. Stiles has in earbuds, so he doesn’t notice Derek’s there. Derek just watches him for a few moments, flailing around the kitchen to whatever rhythm he thinks he hears in the song. Stiles is unlike anyone he’s ever met, a force of nature that Derek’s been caught in since they first started talking.
He knows it won’t be easy, and he knows it won’t be perfect, but he won’t be alone. And most importantly, he’ll be with Stiles.
Stiles screeches when he sees Derek standing there, and Derek’s face breaks out into a wide grin when Stiles covers his heart with his hand and takes out his earbuds. “You scared the shit out of me. How long have you been standing there?”
Instead of answering, Derek crosses the kitchen and pulls Stiles into a fierce kiss. Stiles makes a small noise of surprise at first, but then quickly melts into it.
“I love you,” Derek says when he pulls away. “I love you so much, and I just had to tell you.”
“Ohmigod,” Stiles exclaims, wrapping his arms around Derek and poking Derek’s glasses into his face when he pulls him into another kiss. “I love you too, you big idiot.”
Derek laughs as he picks Stiles up and carries him towards the stairs. This time, Stiles lets Derek carry him all the way upstairs, and they actually make it to the bed, kissing and laughing as they undress each other. Stiles seems to take particular joy in unbuttoning his vest and shirt.
“How was the luncheon?” Stiles asks between kisses. “Good, I’m guessing.”
“Enlightening,” Derek grins down at Stiles. He takes a moment to slow down and trail kisses down Stiles’ neck and across his shoulders. “I love you,” he says almost reverently.
“I love you,” Stiles says, fingers trailing along Derek’s back. Derek lifts his head to look at Stiles, staring at him in disbelief. This doesn’t feel like any relationship he’s been in before. Stiles isn’t like anyone he’s been with before. He believes Stiles when he says he loves him, and he knows that Stiles loves him because he’s Derek, not because he’s Derek Hale.
Derek rolls onto his stomach as Stiles drapes himself along his back. “Hey,” Stiles whispers against his ear, and Derek turns his face slightly. “I want you to fuck me this time. Is that okay?”
Derek nods, moving out from under Stiles and kissing him as they reposition. Derek’s only topped once before, and it wasn’t an experience he particularly enjoyed. But with Stiles spread out in front of him, his head resting on his arms and his ass in the air, Derek finds he can barely contain his excitement.
He takes his time fingering Stiles open, enjoying the feel of Stiles contracting and stretching around his fingers. Derek rakes his eyes over the expanse of pale skin, the slope of Stiles’ back and the eager cants of his hips as he pushes back against Derek’s fingers.
Stiles rolls the condom on him, his fingers teasing along his shaft, and he leans down to kiss Stiles deeply before he rolls back onto his stomach. When Derek sinks into Stiles’ heat, he lets out a loud moan. It’s been years since he’s been inside another person, and he feels so connected and immersed in Stiles that it’s hard to refrain from gripping his hips and relentlessly pounding into him. Derek reminds himself that there will be time for that later; right now, he wants to take it slow.
Derek presses himself as close to Stiles as he can, his hips moving in shallow thrusts deep inside Stiles. Stiles lets out a litany of sounds as Derek moves, and Derek presses kisses along the taut chords in his neck. When Stiles looks over his shoulder, eyes shining and pupils blown, Derek kisses him. “I love you,” Stiles whispers against his mouth as Derek pushes into him. He slides his hand along Derek’s arm and grabs his hand. “I love you so much, Derek.”
This feels so different than when Stiles fucked him, a different kind of satisfaction and intimacy. Derek can’t choose which way he wants to feel Stiles, and hopes he never has to. He wants to experience Stiles every way he possibly can, wants Stiles to use and know his body completely.
When Derek feels himself getting close, he pushes himself up onto his knees and grips Stiles’ hips, holding tight as he thrusts faster and deeper. Stiles is moaning loudly now, his hand beneath him as he tugs at his cock. Stiles pushes back against each pivot of Derek’s hips, and Derek feels so completely surrounded by Stiles that he just lets all his walls down. He can feel Stiles filling every hollow place inside him with each thrust, completing him and making him feel whole for the first time in years.
He buries himself deep inside Stiles as he comes, registering the tight pulse of Stiles around his cock.
He drapes himself along Stiles’ back, letting his pounding heart and breathing return to normal as he kisses along Stiles’ back. Stiles is pliant and still beneath him, his eyes closed and a satisfied smile on his face. When Derek pulls out and takes off the condom, Stiles rolls onto his side.
“Was that okay?” he asks as Derek settles beside him. Derek rolls his eyes so hard his whole head follows.
“You’re ridiculous.” He kisses Stiles, and then returns to his pillow. “It was amazing. You’re amazing.”
Stiles flushes as he smiles, obviously embarrassed but flattered by Derek’s words. “Hey,” Stiles says, “I love you.” He repeats it again, then says, “I will never get tired of saying that.”
Derek gently pushes Stiles onto his back and drops kisses along his torso as he enjoys the feel of Stiles’ fingers against his scalp. When Stiles’ phone rings from the nightstand, Derek growls in frustration. Stiles chuckles and reaches over to pick up his phone. His face pinches in confusion when he reads the name on the caller ID.
“Hey Danny,” Stiles greets with a large smile, and Derek tries to tamp down his jealousy. He’s lying naked in bed with Stiles after they said they loved each other; there is absolutely no reason to be jealous of Danny.
Derek flicks his tongue over Stiles’ nipple as Stiles talks, and Stiles thumps his ear. “Are you for real? How did they even get it?” Stiles pauses, and Derek noses down his torso until he’s drawing lazy circles around his bellybutton with his tongue, causing Stiles’ hips to shift. Derek smiles to himself.
“I can’t believe you did that for me! I should be totally pissed, but really, you are the best!” Stiles grins as Danny replies, and Derek grunts. Stiles yanks his hair, forcing him to look up at him, and then rolls his eyes. “Yeah, e-mail me the info and I’ll reply. Thanks again, Danny. I really appreciate it!” Stiles ends the call and yells in excitement as he drops the phone onto the bed and tackles Derek.
Derek ends up on his back, with Stiles sitting up and straddling his lap. Stiles slaps Derek’s chest happily. “Guess what? You know my mollusk story? Danny dug it out of the trash when Harris threw it away and sent it into US Naturemagazine!” He does a little dance on Derek’s lap, and he can’t help but laugh at Stiles’ exuberance. “They want to publish it! And they’re going to pay me!!”
“Stiles, that’s so awesome!” Derek exclaims, pushing himself up so he can kiss him. Stiles can barely contain his excitement as Derek drops back to the bed. “See? You are a great writer. Maybe now you can do something other than work for that shit newspaper.”
“It’s one story, Derek.”
“One of many.”
“You think I could really do that? Write for magazines?”
Stiles laughs to himself, then says, “I’ve always wanted to be a travel writer. Maybe they’ll pay me to go somewhere like the Grand Canyon or even Canada to do a story!”
“Or,” Derek says, “We could travel the world and you could write about it.”
Stiles frowns and shakes his head. “Don’t even get my hopes up. I could never do something like that.”
“Um, I have a job and no money?”
Derek rolls his eyes again. “Know anybody who could take you around the world?” Stiles groans in frustration, and Derek squeezes his hips. “No, hear me out. You hate that job, and you’re so much better than it. Believe me, I can afford a trip around the world.”
“Yes, let me be a kept man. Let me quit my job and live off my boyfriend’s money.” Stiles shakes his head and crosses his arms. “No. Besides, I couldn’t pay you back for that.”
Derek sighs. “Hey, look at me.” Stiles drops his eyes and Derek stares at him for a few moments. “Do you remember a long time ago when you asked me what I wanted to do?” Stiles nods. “One thing I’ve always wanted to do is travel the world with someone I love. I’ve been a lot of places, and nothing is lonelier than sightseeing alone. I want this. I want to show you the world. I want to give that to you.”
Stiles bites his lip and shakes his head. “What if this doesn’t work out? Two months, six months down the road and I’ve quit my job – “
“You’ll find a better job,” Derek interrupts. “Don’t you think I wondered about that? What if Stiles turns out to be another disaster like Kate, or Jennifer? I’m tired of living my life cooped up in my apartment, afraid of someone seeing me, or worse, screwing up again.”
“But I don’t expect you to pay just because – “
“I know that,” Derek says. “You can help.”
Stiles gives him a flat look. “I literally have two hundred dollars in my savings account.”
Derek grins. “You can buy a few meals.”
Stiles shakes his head and laughs. “Maybe.”
Derek surges up and kisses him. Maybe was halfway to a yes.
Stiles convinces Scott and Isaac to stop working early, so they end up rolling out the 4wheelers since Derek tells him he’s never ridden on one before. While Scott, Stiles, and Isaac are getting them ready, Laura and Lydia come out of Scott and Lydia’s house wearing bikinis.
“We’re going to sun in the pool,” Laura says.
“You do know the pool’s above ground,” Stiles points out.
Laura looks from him to Lydia in confusion. “I don’t understand.”
“You know, it’s a circular pool, sitting above the ground, about five foot deep?” Lydia explains.
“That’s not a pool. Pools go in the ground,” Laura says. “I have no clue what you are talking about. Why isn’t your pool in the ground?”
“It’s too expensive,” Lydia says.
“Oh,” Laura says with a shrug. “I just pay Greenberg to deal with all that stuff.” They end up laying out on Scott and Lydia’s deck while the sheriff takes Talia on a tour of the farm.
When the 4wheelers are ready, Stiles puts on a helmet and climbs onto the back of one behind Derek. He instructs Derek on how to drive it while Scott teaches Cora. When Derek gets the hang of it, he holds onto Derek’s chest tightly as Derek races across the fields beside Scott, Isaac, and Cora. They spend hours racing around the farm, and when they finally get off, Derek is red-faced and sweaty, his eyes bright.
Derek cooks everyone another meal, and they sit around playing cards until after dark. Laura even convinces Derek to take a picture with Stiles and let her post it on Instagram. Stiles doesn’t miss the importance of the moment.
When everyone’s left and Isaac’s gone to bed, Stiles curls up with Derek on the front porch swing. He’s feeling drowsy from the day, but he’s not ready to fall asleep just yet.
Stiles yawns and says, “I can’t believe we ended up here all because you posted that dumb abs shot on the dating site. I’m still thankful you said you liked to read.” Stiles chuckles.
“I have a confession to make,” Derek says.
Stiles glances up at him. “You don’t like to read?”
“Remember when I told you I cried every time Boxer died?” Stiles nods. “You’re the only person I’ve ever told about that.” Stiles smiles at him and snuggles closer to him.
“I can’t believe you love me,” Stiles smiles, looking at their intertwined fingers. “All of Hollywood and New York at your fingertips and you choose me.”
“There was no choice,” Derek says. “You’re everything I’ve ever wanted.”
“That’s funny,” Stiles replies, leaning up to kiss him. “Because you’re everything I’ve ever wanted.” Derek smiles so wide he feels like his face is going to split, and kisses Stiles again.
“I’m glad my family is leaving tomorrow,” Derek says after a few minutes. “I don’t want to share you with anyone the last few days I’m here.”
“How are we going to do this after you leave?” Stiles asks. “Three thousand miles is a long way, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be satisfied with just Skype sex ever again.”
Derek leans closer and whispers, “You forget I have a house in Malibu, and no job.” He kisses Stiles’ cheek. “I think we can make it work.”
“But you have a life in New York,” Stiles argues. “Your apartment, your siblings.”
“But you’re in California,” Derek counters. “That’s more important.” He places a finger under Stiles’ chin and turns his face so he can kiss him. “We’ll make it work.”
Derek pushes the swing with his foot and enjoys sitting there, listening to the sounds of the farm with Stiles in his arms.
The next few days go by in a haze of sex and cheesy dates, because Stiles had crawled on top of him in bed that next morning and said, “Look, you’ve never done traditional dating, and neither have I, so I declare that we do that until you leave on Wednesday.”
Stiles buys Derek a lunch of burgers and curly fries at his favorite local place in town, and they rent the entire Saw collection, which turns more into a Sunday movie marathon with Scott, Lydia, and Isaac than a date. But Derek doesn’t mind; Stiles remains glued to his side, freaking out and running a rather colorful commentary with Scott and Isaac through all the films, which leads Lydia and Derek to share long-suffering looks over Stiles and Scott’s head.
Derek’s favorite date is when Stiles takes them to the movies. Stiles buys the movie tickets, but only after Derek insists on paying for the popcorn, sodas, and candy. They end up sitting in the back row, making out. It gets so heated that Stiles starts making little noises, and Derek tries to shush him between kisses as they giggle and grope each other. The usher shines a light in their face and threatens to throw them out if they don’t stop. Stiles apparently takes that as challenge and goes down on Derek right in the theater.
On the way home, they pull Derek’s car over on the side of the road and fuck in the back seat, and Stiles only makes three jokes about coming on two hundred thousand dollar seats.
Wednesday, after reluctantly leaving Stiles in Beacon Hills and driving back to LA, Derek catches his flight back to New York. As he looks around at the other passengers in first class, he feels like a completely different person than when he flew to California only a week ago. And, he realizes with a smile, he is a completely different person now.
A few photographers capture him leaving the airport and getting into the back of a limo when he reaches New York, and he actually smiles at them and waves because he can’t even be bothered by them. He’s too happy.
Inside the limo, he turns his phone back on and sees that he has a few missed texts from Stiles.
5:54 p.m.: I miss you already.
6:46 p.m.: You would be so jealous of the epic video game marathon I just had with Scott and Isaac. That’s the one thing we didn’t do, test out your video game skill.
6:48 p.m.: I bet you suck.
6:49 p.m.: Actually, I know you suck ;)
8:01 p.m.: The bed feels empty without you. :(
8:02 p.m.: It really is sad how much I miss you already.
The last text is a photo of Stiles’ dick, with the caption, Isn’t this one of the ways this whole thing started?
Derek pulls up his shirt and takes a picture of his abs.
9:29 p.m.: No, this is how everything started.
9:32 p.m.: Btw, I miss you, too.
9:35 p.m.: Going to bed. Some of us have jobs to return to in the morning. Love you.
9:36 p.m.: Love you, too.
One Year Later
The camera pans over the expansive fields of vegetables, then cuts to a montage of the orchard, the ponds, a Polaris driving along the lanes between two fields, and then the houses.
The scene starts with Laura standing with the sheriff, the text on the bottom on the screen reading only Stiles’ father. Laura’s dressed in fitted overalls, a tank top, and a wide straw hat. She looks fashionable despite the setting.
“You have to speak to the vegetables,” the sheriff explains as he points to a cluster of tomatoes. “They are fragile entities. They respond to positive encouragement and the sound of human voices.”
“Sometimes I sing to my tomatoes,” the sheriff says in a talk to camera shot. “They seem to respond to Frank Sinatra.”
“He’s insane,” Scott laughs when it cuts to him. “He’s a great farmer, but he’s completely insane.”
Cut to a scene where Laura is talking to an eggplant. “Come on, little eggplant! Grow! I didn’t even know this is how you grew. I thought there were eggplant trees or something. I thought eggplants grew in Italy, you know, for the pasta.”
Laura picks a cucumber, and squeals excitedly as she shows it to Isaac. Cut to Isaac in a talk to camera shot, with his name in large letters at the bottom.
“She’s horrible,” Isaac says. “She truly believes that picking one cucumber is an accomplishment. Like she deserves some gold star or award. She can get a pat on the back when she picks baskets of cucumbers every day for an entire season.”
Begin a montage of Laura picking vegetables, complaining because the sun is too hot and her back hurts, riding with Scott in the Polaris, falling off a stepstool in the apricot orchard, and being excited when she fills a basket with tomatoes. “They’re laughing at me,” Laura says to the camera. The camera zooms to Scott and Isaac behind her. “They take for granted I’ve never even had a container garden. But look at all these tomatoes! We’re going to sell them at the market.”
Establishing shot of the sun rising over the market with a rooster crowing the background. Inside the house, Laura stumbles into the kitchen, where Stiles and Derek are eating cereal at the small breakfast table. They’re fully dressed while she’s still in her pajamas. “Stiles, it’s 4 a.m.,” she says.
“Truck’s leaving in half an hour.” Stiles gets up and puts a hand on her shoulder. “I thought you said you wanted to be a farmer.”
Cut to a talk to camera shot of Stiles. “She’s not a farmer,” he says with an exaggerated shake of his head. “But neither am I. Doesn’t change that I spend a couple weekends a month at the market. It’s not so bad, I guess. The early mornings suck, though.”
Shot of Derek and the sheriff loading the back of the truck while Stiles watches lazily, Derek scowling at Stiles as he heaves a large crate of produce baskets onto the back of the truck.
At the market, Laura sets up a produce display, showing it to Derek and Stiles proudly when she’s done. Derek rolls his eyes and Stiles gives her two thumbs up. Montage of Laura selling produce to customers, then a shot of her sitting on a tomato box, head in her arms against the tailgate of the truck. Stiles starts covering her with various fruits and vegetables and snickering at the camera.
Stiles glances at Derek, who looks pained as he watches the show. They’d filmed the show a few weeks ago, after Laura had begged them to let her do an episode at the farm. The sheriff, Scott, and Isaac agreed immediately, because all the free publicity their association with the Hales had given them had already boosted their sales significantly; an appearance on a TV show could only mean more exposure.
Derek had agreed, mainly because Stiles had agreed, but also because he had a stake in the farm since he’d invested in it over the winter. When Stiles had told Derek he needed to get a hobby, throwing money at his father was not what he had in mind.
They’d come home from Europe just for the episode. After Christmas, Derek and Stiles had left for South America, and they spent the next six months touring around the world. Stiles had already gotten three stories published in nature and travel magazines, and his extended trip gave him enough material for at least a dozen more.
When the episode finishes, Lydia’s the first to speak. “They lied; the camera doesn’t add ten pounds. I looked fabulous!”
Stiles laughs as Scott points to the TV excitedly. “We were on TV, man! It’s so surreal.”
“I’m a little afraid to get on the internet now,” Isaac says. “Even since Laura has started talking about me on her Twitter, and people started following Stiles’ Instagram, I keep getting all these girls tweeting me and posting on Instagram that they want to hook up or meet me.”
“It’s cause you’re so sexy,” Stiles jokes. Stiles knows Isaac loves the attention; he stifles a laugh when Isaac gets out his phone. Stiles twists to look at Derek, who’s still scowling at the television. “What did you think?”
“It could have been worse.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “It was fine. And you were barely on the episode. You were in that segment on Entertainment Tonight at your mom’s movie premiere last week longer than Laura’s episode.”
Derek grunts, and Stiles rolls his eyes again.
It’s true that Derek has gotten better about the media in the last year, but he still hated the exposure. After they first started dating, photographers followed them around when they went out in public. Even his dad had gotten a taste of it first hand when Derek had flown him and Stiles to LA in a chartered jet to see a Dodgers game from his private box. Photographers had taken pictures of them arriving, in the box, and then leaving. Afterwards, Derek had taken Stiles to an exclusive club while the sheriff went to the room at the Ritz Carlton Derek had booked for him, and paparazzi had photographed them leaving in the early hours of the morning.
That night, in their own large suite separate from the sheriff’s, Stiles had told Derek he didn’t have to take him on ridiculously expensive outings. “I’m already a done deal,” Stiles had joked, and Derek had huffed in fond irritation.
“Your father loves baseball, and he’s only been to a baseball game three times in his lifetime, each time in nosebleed seats. He deserves something nice.” Stiles had attacked him with kisses when he said that, and when they finally broke apart, Derek had said, “Plus, these are things I like to do. And now, I have someone to share them with.” That was all that Stiles had needed to hear.
On the return flight home, Derek had sucked Stiles off in the back of the plane, and Stiles had told him, “Joining the mile high club was always something I wanted to do.” When they returned to the main cabin of the plane, the sheriff couldn’t look Stiles in the eye.
Their first official public appearance had been at Cora’s big fashion show last fall, and Stiles had almost vomited right there on the red carpet. The only thing that kept him from doing just that with cameras flashing in his face was the weight of Derek’s hand in his own.
Stiles had been on Laura’s show once before, but the farm episode was the first that Derek had ever appeared on. Stiles is pretty sure Derek made Laura’s year; the only thing that could top that would be an appearance by Cora and Boyd.
“So, are you going to be a regular on Laura’s show now?” Lydia teases Derek.
“I’m never doing it again,” Derek says, glaring at Stiles. “Not even if you beg.”
“You try to act so tough,” Stiles drawls.
“Where’s Moldova?” Isaac asks suddenly. “Some chick from there just said she wanted me to teach her how to pick apricots. And there’s a really dirty vegetable innuendo in her message, too.”
Scott reaches into the side table and pulls out the deck of cards. “Spades, anyone?”
Derek gets a call from Laura in the middle of their game, and she’s screaming so loud with excitement Stiles can hear it from across the table, and then his mother’s publicist calls him to book him for a network party. “You going?” Derek asks Stiles. “Deucalion wants to know what designer you want to wear if so.”
“Sure,” Stiles shrugs as Lydia and Derek argue about which designer’s suits look the best on Stiles.
Sometimes he still can’t believe this is his life. Living in a rickety old farmhouse with a roof that still leaks, co-owning a farm with his two best friends, writing free lance for magazines, attending exclusive parties full of famous people, and travelling around the world with the man he loves.
It’s a weird life, but as Stiles looks around at the people talking and arguing around the table, he knows he wouldn’t have it any other way.