‘Stiles, there’s a customer out front.’
Stiles jerked around from where he was practising holding a particularly thorny rose in his mouth. The movement jerked the rose, painfully, and Stiles spat it out unhappily.
‘Can you please stop ruining the roses,’ Allison complained, scooping it up. ‘This is only good for petals, now.’
‘Well then they’re in an appropriately named shop,’ Stiles quipped, gesturing to the shiny new Petals flyers lying beside the copier. ‘And I’m practising,’ he reminded her, rubbing the corner of his mouth where the thorn had nicked it.
Allison looked confused. ‘Practising for what?’ she asked, folding her arms. ‘The phantom of the opera?’
Stiles rolled his eyes like it was obvious. ‘No, this is how you swoop someone off their feet. You tango. and have a rose in your mouth when you dip them. It’s sexy, Allison.’
‘Uh huh, and what movie did you get that from?’
Stiles grimaced. ‘Blood and Sand,’ he replied. ‘My professor has really weird taste, ok, I’m sure there’ll be a point to all of this eventually. There’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere.’
‘I’m not sure what kind of a lesson you’re supposed to pick up from The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Some Like it Hot, and now Blood and Sand,’ Allison remarked, idly brushing the rose petals with one delicate finger.
‘Oh ye of little faith,’ Stiles murmured, eyeing up another of the rose stems.
‘You’re bleeding,’ Allison pointed out. ‘Please don’t bleed on the really hot customer outside.’
Stiles’s ears perked up. ‘Really hot, you say? I’m on it. You should be paying me for this.’
‘I do pay you!’ yelled Allison as he practically ran out to the front desk. ‘You just never do any work!’
There was indeed a hot customer standing outside, and looking extremely impatient too. Stiles couldn’t believe Allison would send him out so unprepared. This guy wasn’t just hot, he was other level hot. Like, the kind of hot the vampires in Twilight should have been. Unreal, can’t possibly be true, you’re obviously exaggerating because my girlfriend’s hotter than your non-existent girlfriend Stiles, hot (ok that last one might be based off past conversations with Scott, but it definitely applied here). This was no exaggeration. Stiles might be drooling.
‘You have blood on your mouth,’ the guy pointed out, frowning.
‘I need to order some flowers,’ the guy said, as though Stiles was wondering what he could possibly be after. Stiles swiped at his lip distractedly, wondering if the situation could be salvaged. Somehow, Stiles didn’t think this guy would be seduced by his ability to (somewhat) tango while holding a rose in his mouth.
‘Sure, absolutely, ok, you’re in the right place, welcome to Petals,’ Stiles said cheerfully. ‘I, um, well, there are a lot of flowers here to choose from. What … did you have in mind?’ He wilted slightly under the guy’s ferocious stare. Because he was absolutely staring. Stiles wondered if there was blood dried on his face. Or food. That was always a possibility.
‘Is everything ok?’ he hedged, patting his face. ‘Is there mud on my face again?’
The guy blinked, snapping out of it. ‘Is there usually mud on your face?’
Stiles shrugged. ‘Well, yeah,’ he admitted. ‘It happens. So, can I do you? I MEAN - uh, what can I do for you?’
Stiles greatly anticipated the next moment that he was alone, because he would kick himself hard, and repeatedly. It was difficult to say who was blushing worse, him or the fucking Greek god Stiles had just accidentally propositioned.
‘Flowers,’ the guy stammered. ‘I need, uh, like lots of flowers. Red ones. Big … red ones.’
Wow. They were both terrible, Stiles reflected.
‘Sure,’ he replied, attempting to pretend like he didn’t want to die. ‘Roses, then?’
‘Fine,’ the guy told his shoes.
Stiles felt optimistic. He could still pull this back. He sprinted into the back to holler at Scott about the roses, then raced back out to the front desk.
‘So!’ The guy looked up, startled, from where he’d been examining their business cards. ‘Details. Recipient, address, message, please.’ He whipped a yellow post-it off the pile and licked the tip of his pen, regretted it instantly, grimaced, and then looked at the guy expectantly.
He frowned. ‘A post-it?’
Stiles shrugged. ‘I don’t like computers.’
The guy gave him a look. ‘That sounds like something someone who’s really bad at computers would say.’
Stiles wrinkled his nose. ‘Ok, Allison banned me from the computer because I keep getting crumbs on it. Trust me, these get the job done.’ He waved the post-it proudly from where it was stuck to his finger. ‘I still have a job, don’t I?’
The guy looked skeptical about that too, but coughed up the details.
‘Dear mom … Happy birthday … love … Derek … three kisses,’ Stiles mumbled as he scribbled. He stabbed the full stop with a flourish, and grinned. ‘Cool. Got it. What’s the address?’
The guy - Derek - shuffled his feet. ‘I’ll just wait for them, if that’s ok,’ he muttered.
‘Oh. Sure. SCOTT.’ Stiles shouted, stumbling towards the entrance to the nursery. ‘Roses, now, please!’ He smiled in what he hoped was a reassuring, competent, charming manner at Derek. ‘He’ll just be a minute.’ Then he ran into the office with the post it and smacked it on Allison’s desk. She jumped, looking up at him.
‘Greeting card, but take your time,’ Stiles instructed her.
‘Why, is he coming back later?’ Allison asked, examining the post-it.
‘No, he’s just really hot,’ Stiles explained.
‘So you’re Stiles,’ Derek said, as Stiles trotted back to the desk. He stumbled when he heard his name coming out of a mouth that looked like it had been designed specifically to give oral pleasure.
‘How did you know that?’ he gaped. ‘Do we have a mutual friend? Is it Lydia? What has she been saying about me?’
Derek raised his eyebrows. ‘You have business cards,’ he reminded him. ‘Right here.’ He raised one to show Stiles, and yes, there were their names in lovely curly font that Stiles himself had chosen. Petals: florist and nursery - Allison, Scott, and Stiles.
‘Right,’ said Stiles lamely. ‘Well, yes. I’m Stiles. That’s me. I don’t grow the flowers, or arrange them, I just …’
‘Make the post-its?’
Stiles looked away from the offending business cards, and found Derek smiling. Which was shocking for two reasons, one being that Stiles felt like he’d been digging his own grave, and the other being that Derek’s smile could probably make a statue crumble.
‘Yeah,’ said Stiles, beginning a slow smile of his own. ‘I make the post-its.’
‘And ruins the roses by practising that tango,’ Allison added, walking in from the back followed by Scott, who was partially obscured by a huge bunch of the aforementioned roses (none of which had been in Stiles’s mouth, presumably).
‘How so?’ Derek asked, looking bemused.
‘Have you ever seen Blood and Sand?’ Allison asked, cutting across Stiles. Derek frowned, and shook his head.
‘Well then it’s best you don’t,’ she said firmly.
Stiles glared at her as she rang up Derek’s order and gave him his receipt.
‘Right, well. Thanks,’ Derek said awkwardly, eyes flitting between Allison and Stiles. ‘These look great.’
‘I’m sure your mom will love them,’ said Stiles brightly, feeling like this had ended on a high. ‘I mean especially with you carrying them.’
He could almost see Scott wincing. He kept his smile wide, bordering on painful, as Derek nodded, looking mildly confused. ‘Er, yeah. Thanks. See you.’
He didn’t run from the shop, but it was a close thing. There was a moment of silence, and then Allison said, ‘If he never comes back, I’m blaming you.’
But he did come back.
Eight days later, Stiles was letting Allison demonstrate how to arrange a simple bouquet of mostly leaves and baby’s breath. He almost never let Allison show him how to arrange anything, ostensibly because he said there was literally no art to it and that you could really arrange a bunch of flowers any old way and people would think it was great, so long as you wrapped them up nicely, but secretly this was because he was afraid he’d never be allowed to touch another flower again because he’d make an arrangement so hideous that all the flowers wilted in shame. Allison didn’t need to know that, though. He watched her with beady eyes, concentrating on figuring out exactly why she was putting each stem where she did.
‘Ok, but there are no flowers in this bunch - I mean, bouquet,’ Stiles said. ‘Do people really buy this stuff?’
Allison shrugged. ‘Sometimes,’ she said. ‘People don’t always want something brightly coloured or strong-smelling. If you’ve got a really colourful room, or brightly patterned curtains, a vase of greenery can really centre a colour scheme. And baby’s breath actually is a flower, you know. It just doesn’t shout about it.’
Stiles struggled with that concept, mainly because he loved the bright flowers the best, but was interrupted from his deep thinking by the little bell above the door, signalling a customer.
‘I guess I’ll let you take this one,’ Allison murmured. Then, even quieter, ‘Don’t fuck it up. I bet he’s rich.’
The pressure was on. Stiles tried to wait until Derek was close enough to the desk before he looked up and smiled, but he got too excited and ended up smiling fixedly before Derek was even halfway there.
‘You’re cheerful today,’ Derek commented. He still looked to be on the edge of a frown.
‘It’s because Allison’s letting me arrange flowers,’ Stiles lied. ‘Look.’ He gestured towards the vase beside him.
‘You did that?’ Derek asked, looking impressed.
Stiles shrugged modestly. ‘Yeah, I mean. It’s easy, really.’ Yeah, it’s easy when your super talented friend leaves her work lying around.
‘Are those even flowers?’
Stiles pouted. ‘It’s baby’s breath,’ he said, sternly. ‘They’re flowers too.’
‘Uh huh.’ But he was smiling. ‘Well, nice job.’
‘Thanks,’ said Stiles proudly. ‘So, what can I do for you?’ He enunciated very clearly this time.
‘I need something really colourful,’ Derek explained. ‘Like, small flowers, but lots of colour.’
‘Got it,’ said Stiles, nodding. Although he couldn’t arrange for shit, he could name and recognise every flower they grew. ‘I’ll get right on that.’
‘Oh you’re going to arrange them?’ Derek teased, and Stiles nearly dropped to his knees because they were at the teasing stage.
‘Well, I’ll pick them out,’ he boasted. ‘I’m actually really good at choosing flowers for people. I’ve got a knack, you might say.’
‘But these aren’t for me,’ Derek pointed out.
Stiles frowned. ‘Well, who are they for?’
Derek hesitated. ‘My sister,’ replied. ‘Cora.’
Stiles brightened. ‘Well then, that’s easier. If she looks anything like you then lots of colour will look great on her, because … erm …’ He trailed off, blushing. ‘You could probably wear any colour. I guess. I’m gonna go get the flowers.’
He’d been thinking of the delicate pink blush that had been infiltrating all of his dreams ever since the first time he’d accidentally asked Derek if he could “do him”. Pink would look so great on Derek. Everything would look great on Derek. And everything would look even better off Derek, preferably on Stiles’s bedroom floor.
But Derek was looking more flattered than mortified or offended. ‘Thanks,’ he said, slowly. ‘She looks a bit like me, yeah.’
‘Great,’ whispered Stiles. ‘I’ll just be a minute.’
‘You’re fucking it up, aren’t you,’ Allison asked, without looking up from where she was digging around in a bucket of soil.
‘Shut up, you’ll throw off my game,’ Stiles hissed, skidding past her.
‘Oh, I’ll throw off your - ‘
‘Allison, please,’ Stiles begged. ‘He wants bright and colourful and small and I know so many appropriate flowers but where are they and also what looks good together and how - ‘
‘Ok, fine, I’m here,’ sighed Allison, standing up and pulling off her gloves. ‘What did you have in mind?’
Between the two of them they assembled a beautiful wildflower bunch - bouquet - of roses, larkspur, purple sage, hydrangea, lisianthus, the little daisies that Stiles loved popping through his button holes, and cornflowers. Stiles stuck in a few sprigs of baby’s breath too because it seemed appropriate.
‘Here you go,’ he said proudly, walking back out into the shop, holding the beautifully wrapped bouquet (because although Allison was a genius with arrangements, no one could box a bouquet or tie a bow like Stiles Stilinski).
‘Wow, you’re amazing,’ said Derek. He instantly looked mortified but Stiles barely noticed because he was suddenly sporting a semi in his pants.
‘I, uh - I mean that’s amazing - that’s an amazing … bunch of flowers,’ Derek finished pathetically, blushing.
Stiles plonked them down on the counter. ‘It’s a bouquet, actually,’ he said, with far more dignity than a half-hard man in a public place had any right to.
Derek’s face had more colour in it than the flowers, which gave Stiles some measure of confidence as he whipped a post-it off the pile.
‘Now,’ he said delicately. ‘Name and message.’
‘Dear Cora,’ Derek muttered, staring at the floor again. ‘Happy birthday. Love Derek. Three kisses.’
‘Wow, another birthday,’ commented Stiles as he scribbled. ‘That must be fun. Lots of parties.’
‘Yeah,’ said Derek, somewhat wistfully. ‘Birthdays are a big deal in my family.’
‘Mine too,’ said Stiles. ‘I mean, it’s just me and my dad, but it’s like a whole week long celebration.’ He darted into the back room to press the post-it to Allison’s forehead and whisper ‘No rush’ before running back out to Derek again.
‘So,’ he breezed, trying to pretend he wasn’t out of breath. ‘Do they get you flowers on your birthday?’
Derek smiled, and ducked his head. Stiles instantly felt stupid.
‘Or, you know. Something more … manly.’ He bit his lip. ‘Not that flowers aren’t manly. You’d look great in flowers. With flowers. Holding flowers. They probably don’t get you flowers.’ He resisted the urge to slam his head into the desk, but only just. His dick was a sad, limp thing in his pants, and would probably remain that way for the rest of his life.
But Derek was laughing quietly, eyes weirdly bright.
‘They did actually, one time,’ he admitted, still smiling. ‘A big bunch of violets. Hand picked from the garden, of course. I was six.’ From the look on his face, it was a fond memory. Stiles couldn’t help but smile back, even though his insides were withering.
‘Scott picked me daffodils once, for my birthday,’ Stiles confessed. ‘I loved them. I pressed a few of them in a book, actually. Though that was mainly to hide the evidence, since he stole them from the school garden.’
‘Oh,’ Derek said, looking slightly taken aback. ‘So is Scott your, um, boyfriend, then?’
Stiles snorted, leaning on the counter. ‘He wishes. Scott’s my best friend. He and Allison are engaged. I’m their adopted child.’
‘You wish,’ Scott said, passing through from the garden with a big white lily in his hands.
‘Yes, Scott, I do wish this,’ Stiles said, as Scott shimmied past him. ‘We’ve discussed this many times. I have the papers, I mean?’
Derek was actually laughing again. Stiles felt like he was witnessing something mere mortals were not actually designed to cope with. He was so transfixed that he didn’t even react to Allison’s presence until she waved the freshly-printed greeting card in his face.
‘In your own time, Stiles,’ she said dryly, as he snatched the card from her hand, embarrassed.
‘Yes Allison,’ he said meekly.
He duly rang up Derek’s order, fighting the urge to peek and see if there was still a trace of that gorgeous laugh on his face. As the receipt was exchanged, Stiles’s fingers brushed Derek’s, and it felt like he’d been zapped with electricity, but like, in the heart. He withdrew his hand quickly, surprised to see that Derek did too.
‘Must be that electric shock thing,’ Stiles said, though he knew it had been nothing like that.
‘Yeah,’ agreed Derek, staring intently at Stiles, who was starting to feel uncomfortable, like he’d just done something really stupid but didn’t know what.
‘Anyways,’ he muttered. ‘Hope your sister likes the flowers.’
There was no humour in Derek’s expression now. He looked almost guilty.
‘Yeah,’ he murmured again. ‘Me too. Thanks, Stiles.’
Stiles pouted at Derek’s back as he left the shop. It was just really unfortunate, but kind of typical, that Derek chose to look back at him before he opened the door.
God bless the Hale parents and their strict, annual sexytimes, Stiles thought fervently, as Derek strolled through the shop door five days later.
‘Don’t tell me it’s another birthday,’ Stiles teased, leaning on the counter as Derek approached, looking rueful.
‘Yeah,’ he shrugged, looking resigned. ‘At least these days I have a job that pays for their gifts.’
‘Oh really?’ asked Stiles, like it wasn’t common for a grown man to have a paying job. ‘What do you do?’
‘I’m a wildlife photographer,’ Derek replied, and Stiles had to grip the counter a little bit because his legs nearly gave way.
‘Really?’ he replied, in a strained voice. ‘Don’t you have to travel a lot for that kind of job?’
Derek shrugged. ‘Yeah, a couple of months a year I go away, sleep in a tree, take about four photos, and I’m good.’
‘Sounds fun.’ Stiles was bordering on tears.
‘It is, if you don’t mind getting eaten by mosquitos and almost eaten by wolves,’ Derek agreed, smiling.
‘Well I can see the appeal,’ Stiles said. It took a few moments for him to register the surprise - and blush - on Derek’s face, before he realised exactly how that had sounded.
‘Not the appeal of eating you!’ he said hurriedly. ‘I’m not saying you look delicious - well I’m not not saying that - I’m saying that it would be great to hang out in the woods with you. No, that’s exactly what I’m not saying. Um.’ He pressed his lips together, feeling the approach of the grim reaper over his shoulder. Surely this was it, he must have maxed out his mortification levels to such an extent that Death himself was taking pity.
‘Flowers,’ he suggested weakly. ‘What flowers do you want, please tell me.’
Derek closed his eyes briefly and gave his head a little shake. Stiles tried to keep his limbs in one place because he was so cute.
‘Right,’ Derek began, gathering himself. ‘Do you have a hothouse?’
Stiles smirked. ‘Well I mean I guess you could say this whole shop is a hothouse,’ he commented, before he could stop himself, and almost blacked out when his brain played that one back.
‘I’m so sorry,’ Stiles whispered, closing his eyes. ‘Please tell me what flowers you want.’
‘Lilies,’ croaked Derek. ‘White hothouse lilies. If you have them.’
‘Right.’ Stiles retreated to the back, eyes lowered because he literally didn’t deserve to look at Derek anymore.
‘White hothouse lilies,’ he announced to Allison, once he was safely out of earshot. ‘And a shotgun.’
‘What did you do?’ Allison asked, pushing back her chair with a frown on her face and fear in her voice. Then her expression cleared. ‘Christ, Stiles, please tell me you didn’t make a hothouse joke.’
Stiles tried to hide his face behind Allison’s Umbrella tree. ‘No,’ he mumbled.
Allison threw down her pen. ‘Stiles!’ she exclaimed. ‘I can’t deal with you lusting after this guy and never asking him out.’
‘How do you think I feel!’ Stiles exclaimed. Scott came in from the garden, attracted by the noise, but Allison simply pointed in the direction of the hothouse and said ‘White lilies, go,’ and he quickly backed out again.
Allison turned to him. ‘Stiles,’ she said gently. ‘You’re lovely. We all know this. You don’t need to force it. You didn’t force friendship with any of us, it just happened naturally. If this guy likes you, he’ll respond. Just … don’t kill it before it’s even begun, ok?’
‘No, you’re going to kill me, that’s what the shotgun’s for,’ Stiles explained, still hiding behind the plant. Allison sighed.
‘Just go take his details, please,’ she said patiently.
‘Will you do it please,’ Stiles mumbled.
It was worth a shot. Stiles crawled back out into the shop, where Derek was standing with his hands in his pockets.
‘So, is this for another sister?’ Stiles attempted, wondering what kind of maniac was possessing him that was attempting to make yet another joke.
But apparently, this one wasn’t a joke.
‘Yes, actually,’ Derek replied. He was clearly trying to pretend nothing extremely embarrassing had happened either, for which Stiles was eternally grateful. ‘Her name’s Laura. Same message, I guess.’
‘Three kisses,’ Stiles reminded himself, making a note. ‘Right. I’ll get this to Allison.’
‘Hey Stiles,’ Derek said suddenly, and Stiles paused, post-it dangling from his finger.
Derek looked like he was on the verge of something, but as their eyes met, he seemed to lose his way a bit.
‘Uh … nothing,’ he said eventually, looking back down to his shoes again. Stiles was disappointed. He’d been enjoying that.
‘Ok,’ he said, unhappy. ‘I’ll be right back.’
Stiles waited beside the printing machine miserably while Allison glared at him.
‘There’s literally no need for you to be here,’ she pointed out. ‘Go out there! Romance him! At least do your damn job.’
‘This is my job,’ said Stiles acidly. ‘I’m doing my job. Look. Greeting card all ready. Job done.’ He stomped back out into the shop, feeling inexplicably angry.
‘Lilies are on their way,’ he said sourly. ‘The hothouse is kind of Scott’s baby, which is appropriate, since the flowers in there are weak like babies and need a lot of special care and attention and lots of heat because apparently our normal greenhouse isn’t good enough for them.’
Derek’s eyebrows shot up. ‘Not a fan of lilies?’
Stiles sighed, running a hand over his face. ‘No, I’m sorry. They were my mom’s favourite, actually. They’re just a bitch to grow. And you’ve gotta keep them indoors, where it’s warm and well-ventilated, and even then they don’t last long.’
‘That’s ok,’ said Derek quietly. ‘They don’t need to last too long.’
Stiles would have probed at that, but he was feeling too dejected.
Scott brought out the lilies and the card, and Stiles wrapped them silently. He could feel Derek watching him closely, but figured that if he looked up to meet his gaze he’d probably spill flowers everywhere.
‘Here you go,’ he said finally, pushing the flowers towards him. ‘They’re beautiful. She’ll love them. Etcetera.’
‘They’re her favourites,’ Derek agreed, seemingly ignoring Stiles’s tone. ‘Thanks, Stiles.’
He couldn’t stay mad. A small smile flickered across his face.
‘You’re welcome, Derek,’ he replied, and he could almost hear Scott’s outrage as Stiles claimed credit for his babies that he slaved over seven days a week.
Derek held the bouquet, leaning close to smell one of the blooms. His eyes flickered up to meet Stiles’s, who couldn’t look away even if the whole place started to burn down around them.
‘Well, you weren’t wrong about this place being a hothouse,’ Derek murmured quietly, a sparkle of humour in his eyes.
Stiles’s jaw dropped.
‘You what?’ he said, brilliantly, sure he had misheard.
Derek shrugged. ‘I mean, I don’t just come here because the flowers are pretty,’ he said. It was lucky that this was Derek’s version of a farewell, because Stiles spent about ten minutes after Derek left trying to form a single coherent thought, let alone a sentence. Allison got quite worried. Scott slapped Stiles’s back and told her it had been the same in the seventh grade when Lydia had told Stiles she liked his t-shirt.
No Derek for four more days. Stiles moaned incessantly until Allison threw a bunch of leaves at him and ordered him into the greenhouse to help Scott. ‘Maybe hard work will make you grateful for the job you have instead of the potential relationship you ruined,’ she said brightly.
So Stiles broke his back helping Scott, got completely covered in soil, and managed to have a really long bro talk with Scott about relationships and feelings and stuff that ended with them hugging it out and going inside to look for tea and sympathy.
Allison was examining and order form intently when they trawled inside, a few minutes before closing time.
‘Orders?’ Scott asked, leaning in and kissing her cheek. She hummed an affirmative without looking up, a little frown creasing her brow. The same frown appeared on Scott’s face as he read over her shoulder.
‘What’s up?’ Stiles asked, running the faucet and sticking his whole face underneath the force of the water. When he reemerged, both of his friends were looking at him quite seriously.
‘What?’ Stiles asked impatiently. ‘Who’s it for?’
‘Derek,’ Allison said, looking uncomfortable.
Stiles’s face fell. ‘Aw shit, he called instead of coming in? Man, I fucked that one up. Whose birthday is it this time?’
They didn’t answer. Allison sighed, and handed him the order form.
Stiles scanned it, wondering what the hell was up with them, and then read the words that caused his heart to turn to ice and clunk painfully down to his butt.
“Delivery for: Derek Hale. 2 bouquet roses (red); 1 bouquet small flowers (assortd); 1 bouquet lilies (white). To: St. Margaret’s Cemetery, 6 Northshore Drive, plot 34 A, B, C, and D, Beacon Hills.
‘Shit,’ Stiles muttered, sitting down on the chair behind him. ‘Shit. Those are the same bouquets he ordered for …’
‘His sisters, yeah,’ Allison said, sympathetically. ‘I figured.’
‘And his mom,’ Stiles added, heart beating painfully. ‘Two of those - maybe his dad too. Oh god.’ He dropped his head into his hands. ‘I cannot believe this.’
‘What are you going to do?’ asked Scott, after a minute.
Stiles shrugged desperately. ‘Pay for them? I mean, it’s the least I can do after I literally taunted him about his dead family on three separate occasions.’
And pay for them he did. It cost so much money but he did it, and didn’t regret a penny. He deserved to starve for a while. He would have gone to the graves and arranged them himself only he was too afraid of running into Derek there.
Two days later, the shop got a phone call.
‘Petals flower shop and nursery, Stiles speaking,’ he answered dully.
‘Did you pay for my flowers?’
Stiles reacted so violently to Derek’s voice that his elbow slipped and knocked a small vase of daisies off the counter. It smashed to the floor, and Stiles yelped to avoid the shards of glass that were now everywhere.
Breathing hard and kind of wanting to die, Stiles held the phone to his face. ‘Yes, sorry, I’m here. And yeah, that was me. Derek, I am so sorry, I had no idea. I was being such a jerk - ’
‘Stiles,’ Derek interrupted. ‘It’s fine. Honestly, it happened years ago. I just wanted to know if it was you.’
‘Oh,’ said Stiles lamely. ‘Well, yes. It was.’
‘You’re not mad.’
‘I’m not mad.’
There was a long pause.
‘I gotta go,’ Derek said.
‘Kay,’ said Stiles, somewhat in a state of shock.
‘Yes?’ He winced, expecting the worst.
Derek hesitated. ‘The flowers looked amazing,’ he said, softly. ‘And it was really, really nice of you.’
Stiles swallowed. ‘Derek, to be honest, it was the least I could do. For you.’
There was a silence as Derek digested this, and Stiles reflected that it had been a good run while it lasted.
The aforementioned Stiles was glued to the phone, hardly daring to breathe.
‘I’ll see you later.’
Derek hung up. Stiles spent a good thirty seconds just holding the phone to his face, listening to the dial tone in sheer disbelief.
Allison walked into the shop, staring in surprise at the glass, water, and flowers littering the floor.
‘What the hell happened?’ she demanded, looking at Stiles.
He stared at her in amazement. ‘He hung up!’
Stiles was utterly useless for the rest of the day. He spent twenty minutes trying to clean up the mess he’d made, and the rest of the evening being a pest, following Allison and Scott around asking things like ‘But what did he mean, “I’ll see you later”? Is he coming back? Do you think he’s gonna come back and order more flowers? Did I fuck this up?’ He only stopped when Allison turned on him and growled ‘I’ll fuck you up if you don’t let me finish planting these bulbs.’
Maybe the flowers had been a bit much. Stiles paced back and forth in the shop, thinking about whether it seemed like too much. Because once he’d seen the bouquets all prepped and ready to go, he hadn’t been able to do it. Four bouquets? To make up for losing an entire family of Derek-alikes? Derek alone was worth a whole greenhouse of flowers. And Stiles felt so desperately sorry about the fact that Derek had lost people who he clearly loved enough to refer to in the present tense despite them having died “years ago”, and to buy them super expense, highly delicate flowers that would literally wither and die in about two seconds on a grave.
So he’d added a few extra bouquets to the order. Like, six or seven. And yeah, he hadn’t eaten a square meal in two days, but so what? Every time Stiles felt hungry, he thought about how beautiful those graves would look, covered in all kinds of wildflowers, even just for one day. They deserved that. Derek deserved to see that.
He was leaning on the counter and idly picking the petals off one of the ruined daises a short while before closing time, when the little bell rang. He waited until the footsteps approached before looking up, heart pounding stupidly in his chest.
It was Derek, of course. Stiles could only stare, because he was wearing a beautiful navy shirt and dark jeans, a suit jacket hanging off his shoulders like it was nothing. Stiles was dimly aware that his mouth was hanging open, but there was just nothing he could do about that.
‘Hi,’ Derek said, smiling shyly.
Stiles swallowed with difficulty, attempted a response, but his voice broke halfway through. He cleared his throat and tried again.
‘Hey,’ he said, uselessly. That was about all he could manage.
Derek seemed to be in control of the situation, however.
‘I need a rose,’ he said, straightening his shoulders. ‘One red rose, please. To go.’
‘Ok,’ whispered Stiles, making a move towards the back. ‘I’ll just - ‘
He almost walked into Allison, who was standing just inside the door. She held up a perfect red rose in its little plastic sleeve, a beautiful smile on her face.
Stiles took it from her wordlessly, and she beamed at him. ‘You can take tomorrow off, if you want,’ she said quietly.
Still slightly dazed, Stiles stumbled back into the shop. Derek calmly accepted the rose, handed over the money, and took his receipt. He then slipped it out of its plastic sheath, and turned around.
Stiles felt like he was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. He watched Derek’s back, bewildered, until Derek turned around. He was wearing the most pained, ridiculous expression, but Stiles barely saw it. All he saw was the rose clamped firmly between Derek’s teeth.
‘Holy shit,’ he breathed. ‘You watched Blood and Sand.’
‘This is a date - this is you asking me out on a date, isn’t it?’ he stammered, getting excited.
Derek nodded again. He tried to smile, winced, but smiled anyways.
Stiles leaned across the counter and clamped his teeth delicately around the stem of the rose. Derek released it with a sigh of relief as Stiles pulled away. He took a brief moment to cheer internally as he winked at Derek, rose firmly between his teeth, before he dropped it into his hand and kissed Derek soundly on the mouth, before either of them could fuck up the moment.
Stiles could hear the faint sounds of clapping and squealing coming from the back room, but he didn’t care. He wrapped an arm around Derek’s neck and smiled against his mouth, heart trilling with happiness as he felt Derek smile back.
‘See this is what I meant about this being a hothouse!’ Stiles explained, voice slightly muffled against Derek’s lips.
Derek groaned. ‘Shut up, you idiot,’ he said, half dragging Stiles over the counter so he could kiss him more thoroughly. The thorns of the rose bit into Stiles’s hand, but he couldn’t have cared less. This rose was going to be pressed between the pages of their wedding album, he thought blissfully. He knew there was something in the art of tango and roses! He’d have to send his professor a whole bouquet of them. After he’d gotten laid, like, five times. With Derek.
‘You hungry?’ Derek murmured, kissing Stiles’s mouth gently.
Stiles drew back to beam at him. ‘It’s like we’re already married!’
If he’d had any hands free, he would have smacked himself in the face. Groans echoed out from the back room.
But Derek just laughed, a wonderfully deep rumble that Stiles felt against his chest.
‘If you think that’s the thing that’ll send me running for the hills, Stiles, then you have definitely underestimated me,’ he smiled.
‘Oh my god,’ Stiles breathing, staring at him in amazement. ‘You’re perfect.’
Derek nodded. ‘Yeah, I’ve been told. Come on. Those flowers must have cost you a week’s wages.’
‘Two,’ confessed Stiles, coming around from behind the counter, rose still in hand. Derek laughed all the way out to his car.