Life for Lydia Martin was good. Life for Lydia Martin was great. And while she wouldn’t go to the lengths to say that it was perfect, some people might. Not that they were far off the mark, because honestly, she had everything she could ever want.
Popularity, good looks, great hair, good grades, a devastatingly attractive boyfriend who was the captain of the lacrosse team. She had everything she ever wanted from her high school career.
Until, suddenly, she didn’t.
Sure she still had her looks and her hair and her grades, but things took a steep turn when she didn’t have Jackson. She made Jackson Whittemore. Sure he was charming on his own, but his good looks were almost too good and being that attractive with that much money sort of made him difficult to get along with. Plus he was the captain of the lacrosse team and who cared about lacrosse before Lydia made it the go to sport?
Even the football players cheer for the lacrosse team. Which was probably why Beacon Hills High’s football team rarely ever won.
Not that she though needed a guy to complete her, because she wasn’t that shallow, but she was comfortable with Jackson. She loved him. And she would have sworn that he actually loved her too.
What kind of things could he have coming for him that would make him want to dump her? She couldn’t figure it out. Not that she needed to figure it out because she was totally over him and didn’t need him at all.
So she did what she always did, she continued her life. School didn’t stop just because Jackson dumped her. Life didn’t stop. The only thing that stopped was getting a ride to and from school in his shiny Porsche, being disgustingly affectionate in front of other people so they’d take notice, and being the girlfriend of the captain of the lacrosse team.
She didn’t need a guy to define her. Lydia Martin would define herself.
“Mom? Why is there a letter on my desk from dad?” Lydia eyed the note with suspicion.
The man had told her to pick between them, like a kid joking with their parent to pick a favorite child. Only Lydia was an only child and she didn’t want to pick between her parents. She shouldn’t have to.
She picked her mom, only because she knew that living with her dad would only end in problems. She’d been a daddy’s girl for the longest time and he gave her everything she ever wanted and more. While most girls her age would argue that there was nothing wrong with that, Lydia had some dignity.
Plus, she knew her mom would need her.
As it was, they worked well together. Her mom was a lot calmer than her dad, although she had her moments.
“He wanted to talk to you about maybe visiting him for a week?” Lydia scoffed, throwing the letter unopened into the trash can.
“Honey, don’t be like that. Your father loves you.”
“I never said he didn’t mom, but he couldn’t even stop by to ask me? He had to write me a letter?”
Mrs. Martin eyed her daughter before sighing in resignation. No one could make Lydia do anything she didn’t want to do, that had always been true. She got her stubbornness from her father.
“Don’t throw it away. You don’t have to read it right now, but you might change your mind sometime. Keep it.”
Without answering, Lydia shut her bedroom door and sat down on her bed, running her palm over the bedspread even though it wasn’t wrinkled at all.
The letter sat in the trash can until nearly dinner when she slowly lifted it out, placing it in the bottom drawer of her desk.
Stiles Stilinski was not a nobody. Sure, he wasn’t exactly on Lydia’s radar and maybe she never spoke to him or acknowledged his existence, but she knew who he was. They’d gone to school together for years, since elementary school. He was the kid that everyone picked on for his first name until one year it seemed no one remembered it and everyone just called him Stiles.
Actually, thinking on it now, she couldn’t remember his real first name anymore.
He was kind of odd and a little more of a slacker than some, but she’d seen his test grades. When he actually put his mind to it, he did wonders. Honestly if he tried and paid attention a little more, he might actually surpass her in grade point average. Thankfully that didn’t look to be happening any time soon.
When Allison Argent had said that Stiles would be taking her to the dance, she’d found herself almost intrigued. Not actually in Stiles because she did have some dignity left, but in going with someone that wasn’t Jackson.
And Stiles wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t that he was unattractive or a little odd or best friends with Scott McCall who was getting all sorts of attention lately. It was just that Stiles… wasn’t in her social circle.
And just because it was more of a pity date than anything, and she’d die before admitting that she might have needed some of the pity too, that didn’t mean he was exempt from the usual dance prerequisites.
That was another thing that sucked about not being with Jackson anymore. She had him so well trained.
“No Stiles, the maybes go in your left hand and the possibly stack goes in your right.” She watched as he struggled to get the dresses switched over.
“Why does it matter? You do know that maybe and possibly are basically the same thing, right?”
Lydia took a moment to look offended before moving back down the aisles, flicking through the dresses to find her size. Allison had taken off for the parking lot, muttering that she’d be back, but that left Lydia and Stiles alone.
With nothing to talk about but Lydia’s dress choices until she picked one. Then she’d give Stiles a list of things he could and could not wear.
“Do you even own dress clothes?” It was Stiles’ turn to look offended.
“Of course I do. Or at least I know where to get some.”
Trying to cover a grimace, Lydia turned back to the dresses in front of her. They weren’t all hideous this year, but she couldn’t find the right one. She wanted one that would draw attention to her, but not look garish. She wanted one that would make Jackson weep with regret for dumping her.
Once she grabbed enough dresses, she took them with her into the changing room, forcing Stiles in a seat where the mirrors were.
“I want your actual opinions and not just that everything looks great, because that’s obvious.” She stormed into the stall, chewing her lip as she flicked through the dresses to figure out which one she wanted to wear first.
She had a method to this. A very detailed method that she spent years perfecting.
“Oh come on, you cannot tell me that that isn’t basically the same dress that you just tried on?” Lydia whipped around with a glare.
“Clearly it isn’t or else I wouldn’t have bothered trying this one on.” Stiles had proved to be very useless at this. His comments were mostly grunts or open mouthed stares. This was actually the first time he’d said anything to her besides that it looked nice.
“I just mean that it looks an awful like the other blue one. One strap and the bead stuff?” He was making vague gestures around his chest, which she took to mean the beading under the bust of the dress.
“Yes, but this one is quarter length while the other was full. Plus this one doesn’t have a back.”
She turned around to show that no, the back scooped down to almost her ass. It was worth it just to see his eyes bug out.
“That’s uh… that’s a nice one. It’s very… blue.”
She almost smiled, almost. Instead she turned back to look at herself in the mirror, eyes roaming over the reflection to look for any imperfections she could find.
“You know one of those first ones you tried on? The third one? I really liked that one on you. The color I mean. Plus it would be easier to dance in because it’s not all bulky or long or anything.”
She knew exactly which one he was talking about because she’d almost fallen in love with it when she tried it on. It fit her almost everywhere, maybe needing to be taken in just a little bit.
“I’ll have to see your choices before the dance you know. I may be going with you, but I refuse to go to the dance with someone that’s not appropriately dressed.”
She could see his smile in the mirror but she chose to ignore it, primping her hair even though it looked fine. When she checked again, he was still looking at her but no long smiling.
“So, do you need anything else while we’re here? Bathing suits perhaps?”
He surprised her. With the compliment before they went in, with demanding a dance, with his calling her out on her math prowess. He surprised her because she hadn’t expected anything from him. Another guy who wanted her for her looks, for the glory of what she stood for.
He was the first one she didn’t think wanted anything from her than just her. It was strange. It was new.
And despite the fact that what he offered, a stability and honesty she hadn’t had with Jackson, was exactly what she needed, she still wanted to find Jackson.
She knew that Stiles was worth more than that, but maybe if she’d listened to herself, stayed with him for one more dance, none of it would have happened.
After waking up in the hospital, Lydia was sure that nothing was going to be the same. She didn’t remember everything, glimpses mostly, but it was so strange. Her dreams had been stranger than she could handle, what with the fire and all of the creatures that almost reminded her of the night at the video store.
She remembered the man that attacked her, remembered his face and how it seemed to change before her eyes. She could feel the pain of all her injuries, the cuts and gashes on her arms and sides.
She remembered Stiles running out onto the field after her, yelling to get her attention maybe. He tried to save her.
When he came to visit her, the look he had on his face told her what she’d already guessed. Whatever happened to her, whoever or whatever attacked her, he was already privy to. She wanted him to tell her, wanted to know what happened.
It didn’t surprise her when he asked about werewolves. Maybe that was the first clue.
She knew she shouldn’t have kissed Stiles, but she didn’t regret it. She didn’t want him, not in the way he should be wanted, but she needed him. And maybe it was okay to just need him as a friend.
Besides, she never had a gay best friend. Danny Jepson was too polite to talk about his dates. Stiles though? He seemed the type to want to tell someone the dirty details.
In the short time that she’d allowed herself to not put on the façade she’d worked so hard to perfect, she’d gotten close to Stiles. They talked about boys, they talked about girls, they talked about school, they talked about fashion. Although fashion was definitely not Stiles’ strong suit. He could dress himself but he wasn’t aware that a label meant more than just the size.
She was quick to remedy that, even if it didn’t stick.
Stiles had become an honest to goodness best friend to her. She had Allison, who she still spent a lot of time with, but Allison was caught up in her own issues. What with being the daughter of hunters and dating what they hunted. She and Jackson had barely spoken after everything, although sometimes she got the feeling that he felt remorseful about something.
Maybe Stiles had told him that she’d been looking for him at the dance. That she’d only been on the field to find him.
Whatever it was that drew her to Stiles, she’d never really felt anger on behalf of someone as much as she did when he told her about what Derek had done. Derek Hale, broody werewolf extraordinaire, had played Stiles.
It was the anger that fed the shift. She didn’t know much about it, but she knew that the anger brought it out of her. She could feel it growing at her indignation on Stiles’ behalf.
Honestly though, she wasn’t sure if she wanted it. Even if she didn’t have it all, even if it was just a few of the abilities, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to have them. It meant being more than she thought she could handle.
She just got a grasp on being a teenager without being so self absorbed, how could she handle being part werewolf too?
Before the question was fully formed, she knew the answer. Stiles wouldn’t let her fail. None of their pack would.
However it made playing with Derek so much better. She couldn’t help it, playing up her and Stiles’ night like something else had happened.
Plus it rubbed Jackson the wrong way, and that was so much better. Although she was trying to change, trying to be a better person now that she had so many new expectations of herself, she still liked to play her games.
And she was very good at them.
The horror struck once they realized that Stiles was taken. Danny had been the one to notice him ride off, how he looked like he was trying to break out of the cop car. And Derek…
Lydia knew people. She knew how to read them and she knew that Derek cared, that he had some reason for pushing Stiles away but that he definitely cared.
Derek snapped. First he started having a fit, holding his head and breathing funny. Then in seconds it was gone and he was rattling off orders like they were at war and he was their commanding officer.
Only they were at war and he was their commanding officer, so the comparison worked.
Everyone was on edge during the ride, with the humans in one car plus Lydia. She’d protested, saying that she wanted to help too, but Derek had cut her off.
“You’re too new, not trained. Stay with the others. If something happens, trust your instincts.”
Scott had given Allison a deep kiss, everyone was saying goodbye as if it was the last time they’d see each other. And it was possible, because they were super powerful beings but they weren’t invincible.
Lydia walked up to Jackson, placed a hand on his arm where he was bouncing up and down, trying to get in the zone. She’d seen him do it before games before. He turned when she touched him, slowly as if he already knew it was her.
He probably did.
“Don’t be stupid out there Jackson.” He smiled, actually smiled. It wasn’t a cruel or mocking smirk, the ones he usually reserved for other people, but a smile he used to reserve for her.
“You almost sound like you’re worried about me.” She bit her lip, wondering where she misjudged.
“Almost. I just meant that it’s going to be dangerous and you shouldn’t get in the way of the more experienced wolves.”
It was a low blow because Jackson always did strive to be the best, always strive to be better than anyone else at everything. Being below Scott, just because he was newer, must eat at him.
She’d always known what buttons she could push. This time, she wasn’t expecting the response she got.
Jackson grabbed her arm and pulled her to him, out of sight of everyone else, and pressed his mouth lightly to the corner of hers.
“Stay safe Lydia.”
Before she could respond, before she could think to respond, he was gone. She piled back into the car with Danny, trying to regulate her breathing. She could hear Danny’s heartbeat thudding in his chest.
“Do you think everything will be okay?” She heard a muffled yell coming from the building in front of them, then a powerful growl as Derek shifted and took down the door.
“It better be.”
After Mr. Argent left the Hale property with Allison and Stiles, it wasn’t long until everyone else left too. Scott caught a ride with Danny and Jackson left, although not before offering a ride to Lydia. She declined, not saying how she would get home, but he didn’t ask.
Derek was on the porch, watching her warily. Or maybe it was wearily. All of his injuries were healed, only proof that he’d been hurt being the tears and blood stains on his clothes.
It brought up a question Lydia had, although there was something more important she wanted to address. She could work up to it.
“Will my scars go away?” Derek leaned against the rail, looking at where her scars would be if her clothes weren’t in the way.
“No. For those bitten, they usually lose scars, but something of that magnitude, given to you by a werewolf, with you only being half? You’ll keep them forever.”
She ran a hand over her side where the worst scar was. Maybe it would be for the best. Her mom might get suspicious if her scars randomly disappeared.
“I need a ride home. Can you take me?” He raised an eyebrow, not bothering to answer straight away.
“Either you give me a ride or I’ll have to walk home since I left my phone in all of the rush. Pretty young thing like me, out on my own. Isn’t it your duty to protect me since I’m in your pack?”
She heard the moment that Derek gave up. He stepped into his house, grabbing his keys and locking the door behind him. Now that it was rebuilt, or mostly rebuilt, teenagers stopped creeping around the house.
Or strange teenagers, since technically Lydia’s group was made up of teenagers. Poor Derek.
The ride was silent, not even the radio for company. He was a good driver, probably obeying the traffic laws so not to get pulled over and have to spend more time in Lydia’s presence. Or worse, get pulled over and have to deal with Sheriff Stilinski. Again.
“You deserve him you know.” Derek’s head whipped towards her before going back to look at the road.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Letting out a put upon sigh, Lydia resituated herself in the passenger seat so that she was focused on Derek’s profile.
“I know that you do. Stiles. You deserve him.”
He was silent for so long that Lydia was almost sure he wasn’t going to address it, was going to ignore her words and her for as long as he could. When they pulled into her driveway, she was almost sure that the conversation was over.
It wasn’t until she put her hand on the handle that he spoke.
“What if I’m not what he deserves? Does that matter?” Lydia turned around and thought a moment before deciding it was worth it. She reached out and placed her hand on his cheek, drawing his attention from the dashboard and to her.
She was honestly surprised he didn’t push her hand off. He let it rest there and she soaked in the moment, this rare moment of sensitivity and vulnerability that he must feel all the time and never show, before speaking.
“I don’t know how you found him as quickly as you did, but it doesn’t matter. You would have torn this town to shreds to find him if you had to. That’s all that matters Derek. You deserve him and he deserves you. But most of all, he deserves the truth and you owe it to him.”
Without waiting for him to reply, she took her hand back and stepped out of the car, shutting the door softly and heading towards the front door of her house.
“I should get paid for this stuff.”
When it came up that Stiles’ birthday party was going to have a pool involved, Lydia had shied away from the idea. She was only allowed to know since she wasn’t technically human anymore, and it was something the werewolves were doing for the human members of the pack.
Thankfully her being a girl meant she didn’t have to do the heavy lifting, just got to watch the guys do it. Shirtless.
She had priorities.
As she sat in the living room, planning to the last detail the actual party, Jackson came in and flopped down beside her. She nudged him away, because while she liked watching boys sweat, she didn’t like to be covered in boy sweat, but he pushed back.
“You smell disgusting.” He laughed, shoving against her again. His hand caught on her shirt, pushing it up to reveal the worst of the scars on her arms.
Everyone knew. No one was surprised anyone when they glimpsed them. Even now in the summer she kept her sleeves down. But for some reason, with Jackson staring at them right then, she felt like they’d been a secret and someone had just found out.
“I don’t know why you cover them up.”
She pulled her sleeve to cover it up again, crossing her arms and glaring down at the detailed party plan she’d been working on.
“People don’t want to see them.”
Jackson pulled her arm back to him, pushing the sleeve up and running his fingers lightly over them. He was gentle, more so than he’d ever been before.
“They don’t change the things that matter about you. Just your skin.”
Lydia pulled her arm back, lightly so not to make him think she was angry. Instead of responding, she picked up the plan and looked over it with a critical eye.
“Do you think we should hang decorations?”
While Jackson groaned about being pulled into the planning part when he was already doing the hard work, Lydia thought back to the swimsuit she’d seen at the mall a few days ago.
Maybe she’d have a chance to wear it after all.