"... and that's when we fell out of the closet. Literally."
"What?" Scott asked, brow furrowed in confusion.
"Well, I mean, it wasn't a figurative closet. I came out of that awhile ago, not that I was ever actually in it, but—look, whatever, we actually, literally fell out of the closet, we were pushed up against the door and then it opened and we fell on the floor."
"You and Erica?" Allison asked.
"Yes," Stiles replied.
"In Derek's closet?"
"That's right," Erica said.
"What?!" Scott said.
Allison put her hand on his arm, soothing him, and then said, "Stiles, why don't you start from the beginning?"
"Do that," Derek said. "I'm confused, and I was there."
"Okay," Stiles said. "That's probably best. So, on the first day of school in third grade, I met a girl named Lydia Martin …."
"Oh my god, Stiles," Lydia said, rolling her eyes. "The beginning of this actual story, please."
"Fine, fine," Stiles said. "Then I guess, Scott, it started when you met Allison."
"Your part of the story, you mean," Erica said. "My part started when I failed the math pre-test."
In eighth grade, Erica had a disastrous, humiliating, throwing-herself-at-the-wrong-boy moment, which led her to turn her back romance for the entirety of high school. She hid her body under loose-fitting jeans and oversized shirts and she didn't have the most welcoming attitude. Senior year, when she made up her mind to go to prom with her band geek pal Boyd, her dress was the first one she'd bought in years. When she arrived everyone's eyes fell out of their heads, including the girls, which was convenient because Erica liked girls more than boys. And maybe she was finally ready to stand out a little bit.
With her college wardrobe she aimed for late 70s rocker chick, somewhere between Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde with maybe a hint of Joni Mitchell Ladies-of-the-Canyon vibe because this was California. She wore black boots with jeans or dresses and put her blonde hair in a messy updo most of the time, just because it was easier. She also made an effort to be a little friendlier, at least to the people who seemed to deserve it. So she was looking forward to having a lot of sex, because that's what you did in college, right?
Then on the third day of classes she met her math tutor, and that was it for her.
Erica had never been great at math, but after geometry, it was all downhill. When she didn't test out of the math requirement, she decided that, unlike in high school, she was going to actually ask for help when she needed it and signed up for a math tutor.
What she got was a goddess. Lydia was tiny and red haired and dressed perfectly and was clearly a total genius. When she first saw Erica, she looked her up and down, gave her an approving little nod, and that was it.
"I have the results of your pre-test," Lydia said. "You did quite well on some parts, but very badly on others. You're not a complete idiot."
"Thanks?" Erica said.
"But you have stumbling blocks. Know what they are?" Lydia asked, opening her notebook.
Erica steeled herself to reply like a normal person while still maintaining eye contact. "I can't picture spinning a graph on its axis or measuring rates of change or whatever ∆x means. How can numbers be imaginary and still be describing … anything?"
"Concepts," Lydia said, nodding sagely. "We'll meet next week in the labs—they have some software that can help you visualize what all of that means." She noted some things and then said, "Are you a musician?"
"Yeah, why?" Erica asked.
"Because musicians are better at math."
"Music isn't like math."
"No, but neither of them are like language. Think of it this way: you already have one way of thinking and communicating, and even reading and writing, that doesn't use words. This is just another one. Once we help you get from the words to the ideas, you'll probably be okay if you stop psyching yourself out."
"Great," Erica said. "I'll try to do that."
"Do or do not," Lydia replied, then sighed. "Forget I said that. High school acquaintance."
"So you're not a Star Wars fan?" Erica said, smiling.
"It's all right, if you like that kind of thing." Lydia turned to her, another assessing look, and then asked, "You don't pretend to be a little dumber for the boys, do you?"
"Wouldn't think of it," Erica replied. "I mean, I'm mostly always myself, but also I mostly date girls."
Lydia nodded. "Good. I used to do that, because I was stupid. Don't want to waste my time if that's what you were doing."
"Pretending to be dumber or dating boys?" Erica asked.
"Pretending," Lydia said, raising her eyebrows. "I date whomever I like."
"Good to know," Erica said, smiling a little. "So do I."
A moment passed, then Lydia cleared her throat and got out her phone. "Let's schedule a regular time to meet. Should be Wednesday or Thursday as they'll give you the problem sets in class on Tuesday and I want you to be able to go through them yourself before we meet. Don't worry about how far you get, but write down what's holding you up for each one and we'll work through them. Okay?"
Erica blinked, a little thrown by the shift in the tone of the conversation, but pulled out her phone. "Sounds great," she replied.
Lydia pretty much ruined her for all that sex she thought she'd be having. Oh, she met people at parties and fooled around, but they all paled in comparison—not as smart, not as interesting, not as much of a challenge. She met them and forgot them almost immediately.
Well, except for Stiles. He was a keeper. But Stiles was just a friend.
Stiles had planned it all out, because Stiles was a great planner. Since college was scary and there was nothing wrong with having a security blanket, he used the skills he'd learned from Danny to hack into the residential database and make Scott his roommate. He and Danny had been kind of dating and went to prom, but it wasn't love so much as a small town convenience. Stiles had no illusions that he'd get anywhere near anyone that hot and awesome when he got to college, where people had options. So he hedged his bets by living with Scott, who wasn't much luckier at romance than Stiles was, figuring they could at least support each other while they tried to navigate the campus social scene.
Of course, on the second day of classes, Scott managed a meet cute involving loaning a pen to a pretty girl in his freshman writing class, and that was the end of that. Not that Allison wasn't awesome; she made Scott really happy, and that was the most important thing. Even Lydia approved of her, and had apparently decided they were going to be best friends, when she'd never had any female friends in high school to speak of. Allison liked Stiles and Stiles liked her, and she was completely respectful of Bro Thursday. But it did mean that, by and large, the remaining six days of the week Scott had other things to do. Stiles needed to go find something, too.
That something ended up being the radio station, where he met Erica. Being freshmen they got stuck with the Saturday night shifts, but hey, it wasn't like Stiles was getting invited to a billion parties anyway. Also Erica was funny and easy to talk to, so he started coming earlier and earlier for his shift and she started staying later and later after hers, until soon they were spending nearly all four hours from ten pm to two am together, shooting the shit in the tiny one-manning studio.
The best part? Even though Erica was super hot, she was pretty gone on her definitely female math tutor. Which meant Stiles had a buddy to go to QUILTBAG meet ups with, someone who was just a pal, not a hopeless unrequited crush.
That came in October. Stiles got a job driving one of the campus safe ride cars after his radio show since he was up and wired anyway. He'd give Erica a ride home, then the dispatcher would send him around campus picking up drunken students from parties. It was a pretty normal night until he pulled up to the chemistry building and the CEO of Hotness, Inc. got into the back of the car.
Stiles took a drink of Gatorade to put some liquid back in his suddenly dry mouth. "Um, ID, please?"
This prince of sexy land—or maybe grand duke; he looked a little too old and grouchy to really be a prince—handed it over, and even his ID photo looked like a GQ cover. And the name, Derek Hale, matched what dispatch said. Grad student, so older, but a little rough around the edges for an academic with his untrimmed beard and the tight t-shirt under his leather jacket.
Stiles handed the card back. "Residential director?" he asked.
Derek looked up, formerly unfocused expression sharpening, and damn those eyes under the enormous raised eyebrows were bright—blue? Green? Hazel? Something anyway. "How did you—"
"Grad student, undergrad housing, pretty simple," Stiles said. "Unless this is an illicit booty call," he added, waggling his eyebrows.
He huffed out a laugh and shook his head. "Don't really get those," he said.
Stiles didn't believe him, but decided to let it lie. "Didn't realize the chem labs were such a happening place on a Saturday night."
"Working on my advisor's research project," Derek said, shrugging.
"Until three am?"
"That's what it takes."
"Man, you are living the life," Stiles said.
"That's one way to put it. How about you?"
"History," Stiles said. "It's like solving mysteries all the time, you know, putting pieces together, figuring out why and how something happened."
"Sounds more interesting than my history class," Derek replied.
"Man, it really bums me out that history has such a bad rep," Stiles said. "More people should think it's awesome."
"That's why you're up?" he asked.
"Nah. I have a show on the campus radio station. You know, medium dark on your toaster dial? It's a pretty eclectic show. New music but I try to play a broad mix. It's fun; they let us do whatever theme for our shows we want. The woman on air before me plays like, nothing but ladies, which is awesome."
Derek hummed, and Stiles could see that he was falling asleep, so he let him. He tried not to stare in the rear view mirror too much. When they arrived at their destination Stiles turned off the engine and went into the back seat and shook Derek as gently as possible.
"What?" Derek said. "Oh, sorry."
"It's late," Stiles replied. "Don't worry about it."
Derek sat up, blinking. "I have to check that all the parties got shut down—"
"Dude, I don't hear anything. Do you?"
"So, no parties." He helped Derek to his feet. "Go to bed, dude."
"Derek," he corrected. "What's your name?"
He held up the ID around his neck. "Stiles."
"Thanks, Stiles," he said, patting him on the shoulder. He paused for a second, then turned and walked into the building.
Stiles told himself he was just watching to make sure Derek got inside okay, not actually checking out his ass in those surprisingly tight jeans, but then the dispatcher shouted for him through the radio and he was off to the next call.
Of course when he got home a few hours later, he immediately looked up Derek's class and teaching schedule.
"Stiles!" Erica said. "That's stalking!"
"Oh, like you don't know your sexy tutor's schedule!" Stiles replied. It was a week later now, and they were hanging out in the studio during Stiles's show.
"Yeah, because she told me so we could set up our sessions. You hacked into the school database. That's not publicly available information and it wasn't freely given." Erica folded her arms and scowled. "I like you. Don't turn out to be gross."
"Okay, maybe you have a point."
Erica raised one eyebrow.
"Fine! I was wrong, and I will only use my ill-gotten knowledge for good." He sighed. "It doesn't actually matter anyway. He basically goes to the chem labs at eight in the morning, teaches or takes classes until the late afternoon, and then probably just sticks around doing his own work."
Erica shrugged. "Grad school."
"Man I'm really regretting taking that Astronomy class for my science credit instead of Chem 10. We might be talking about how to flirt with my hot TA instead of how to cross paths with someone who'll probably never be anywhere near the history building." He held up a finger and turned the mike on. "Hey, this Saturday night with Stiles, and Lana Del Rey sounds so much better remixed, doesn't she? Get a better producer, Lana!" He punched in his favorite of the station IDs, which ended with "commercial-free because come on, who'd pay for this crap?" then came back with, "It's one am, and here's an artist with a great producer, great live, but mysteriously lousy on award shows, Frank Ocean." He turned off the mike and cued up the next song. "So what's new with Ada Lovelace?"
Erica was the one who insisted on no names because it was less embarrassing that way. "Her hair is beautiful."
"That's been established. You dedicated a whole song about beautiful hair to her tonight."
"Hey, Blondie is always relevant to my life, and you'd understand that if you ever listened to any music recorded before 2005."
"I maintain that it's immoral for anyone younger that twenty to listen to music made before they were born."
Erica rolled her eyes. "So this week I wore mine down, as you suggested—"
"—because it's super hot—"
"—and she complimented me on it! She even touched it and said it was soft!"
"Geez, this is a much better story than mine!" Stiles said. "You should have told me to shut up."
She shrugged. "It's easier when you talk during my show. Anyway I think I'm going to ask her to coffee."
"You should!" Stiles said. "That is awesome!"
"Yeah, I'm totally going to do it!" she said, smiling. "So, would you like to have lunch next week?"
Stiles grinned at her. "Was that practice? Because well done, very casual. But yeah, I'd love to."
They met Thursday, at the little cafe near the main library.
"It's a little strange to see you in daylight," Erica said.
Stiles nodded. "Yeah, I mean, you're a blonde, I never would have known!"
"Ha ha," she replied.
"Hey, did you get that email from Bill? About taking our shifts?"
Erica nodded. "If he wants to take our shitty shifts just to avoid some party in his dorm, I'm not going to stand in his way. In exchange for two weeks of Tuesday at six? Sounds pretty sweet."
"Yeah, I asked around and apparently that party is some kind of tradition, spreads out to every floor. If you don't want to be part of it you basically can't even be home. Good thing their RD will be off at the chem labs."
"That's Walter White's dorm?" she asked.
"It is indeed," he replied. He paused for a moment, then wondered why this felt awkward and went ahead, because it was Erica. "Anyway I was thinking, maybe we can do the shows together? You know, a special thing?"
"Our styles don't exactly mesh," Erica said, cocking her head.
"I dunno," Stiles replied. "I bet we can figure it out before Tuesday. Scott's hardly ever around; you can come by with your laptop and we can order some wings or something."
"Music geeks forever," she said, smiling. "Sounds like fun."
"Cool, cool," Stiles said, nodding. He felt weird again, so he quickly changed the subject. "So ... tutoring was yesterday, right? Did you ask her?"
"Yes," Erica said. "I wore my red lipstick and I asked her."
"And she said?"
"She said she was busy this week, but maybe next week. Which is good, right?"
"If she's as pretty as you say she is, then she knows how to say no, because she says no to people all the time. She didn't say no." He shrugged.
"Okay, I'll keep that in mind," she said. "What's new with Walter White?"
"Well, it's weird. On the one hand, this past Saturday he apparently asked dispatch for me specifically to drive him home. But he slept the whole time so maybe he wanted me to talk him into a stupor?"
"You are good at that," Erica said, smiling, then ducking when Stiles blew his straw paper at her.
"And then, I know I said I wouldn't stalk him but the coffee place up by the chem labs really is the best one on campus, and his teaching is over at three, so ..."
"So you saw him, obviously, and what happened?"
"When I got there he was like three people ahead of me in line and I just said, 'Hey, dude,' no big deal, and he just—"
"What did he say?"
"That's the thing! He didn't say anything! He kind of half waved and scowled when he recognized me, and I dunno, I thought maybe he was pissed that I was there because, you know, the stalking thing, because his face was totally red! So I thought wow, Stiles, way to fuck that one up. But then when I got to the counter, he'd paid for my coffee! And when I turned around to say thanks and actually get in some conversation, he was gone!"
"That's ... so odd."
"Right?" Stiles said. "I'm beginning to think that truly beautiful people behave completely erratically, and you know why?"
"No but you're going to tell me."
"Because they can. Because they're not going to face the consequences, since they're beautiful. Trust me, I know you think I'm all over the place and maybe a little obsessive, but I was much worse in early high school. Completely freaked out this girl I had a crush on for like years. Had like, all these presents for her in my house, it was a whole thing. And if I hadn't gotten my shit together, I would never have had a prom date, because I am not beautiful."
"Stiles, you're perfectly attractive."
"I'm fine. But I'm not supernaturally beautiful like Walter White or my high school crush or, by the sound of it, Ada Lovelace. They can do whatever they want and people will let them get away with it because of how they look. Hell, the main reason that my high school crush even still talks to me is because I was the one who didn't let her get away with shit. Didn't get me into her pants, but it's more than I thought it'd have."
"Don't be crude," Erica said.
"You're not disagreeing," Stiles noted.
She sighed. "When I was in eighth grade there was a senior, sports hero, you know the type. I thought he was—anyway, I got myself into the dance, went up to where he was standing with his friends, and kissed him."
Stiles's mouth fell open. "Seriously? You just laid one on him, no talking, no nothing?"
"You are hardcore, Erica Reyes! What did he do?"
"Threw me off him so hard I almost fell on the floor. Was all 'what the hell, you're in the same grade as my little sister.' All his friends were laughing. I ran out of there so fast, got my dad to pick me up."
"Then," she went on, "he sent me flowers a few days later to say he was sorry. And despite the total humiliation? I just felt lucky that he even knew who I was." Her smile was wry, lopsided. "So yeah, I know what you mean."
Stiles put a hand on her shoulder and she leaned in. "Yeah, you do," he said, quietly.
Erica nodded, then sat up. "Come on, let's get out of here."
They walked out and down the steps. The paths of the quad were full of students walking to class in the autumn sun, and not far away Stiles saw an old friend walking with a maybe-new friend, and it was just a little too much.
"See what I mean?" Stiles said, frustrated. "Beautiful people flock together. We just shouldn't even stand in their way."
"What are you talking about?" Erica asked.
"That head of gorgeous strawberry-blonde curls belongs to my high school crush, and the tall, dark and handsome next to her just happens to be Walter White." He sighed.
"Or," Erica replied, "my junior high crush is walking across the quad with Ada Lovelace."
Stiles turned to her, eyes wide. "Okay, so we've found the flaw in the 'no names' idea."
"I can't believe we just traded crushes," Erica said, shaking her head. "Jesus."
"Okay, you know what?" Stiles said, determined now. "We are going to that ridiculous party on Saturday night, and we will be wingmen for each other, or wingladies if you prefer, wingpeople, whatever. Anyway, we are going to go, and find people who are not outrageously beautiful, and we are going to get each other laid, and it is going to be awesome, and for at least one night we are going to forget about Derek Hale and Lydia Martin. Deal?"
She looked from Stiles to Derek and Lydia, laughing together, and then back to Stiles. "Deal," she said, and shook his hand.
"This isn't working," Erica said.
"That's because all these gross straight dudes keep getting in the way," Stiles said. "And to be clear I'd like to retroactively apologize for any and all grossness I might have been a part of in the past because this is ridiculous. How can you stand it?"
Erica shrugged. "It's never really happened to me before," she said.
"Let's just—maybe we can at least get away from the shitty music?"
"Please," Erica said, setting down her half-finished cup of weird punch.
Stiles, meanwhile, boldly grabbed one of the two bottles of Kahlua. "What? They don't need them both. There's like, a bottle of Midori here; who are these people?" He handed Erica some milk and a couple of cups, and they walked out of the room.
The party really did sprawl all over the entire dorm; Erica could see why Bill had wanted to get away from it. Most of the rooms not full of partiers were dark and locked up tight, though Stiles said he could probably pick the lock if they got desperate enough.
That was the thing about Stiles; you actually had to listen to all the shit he was always saying because every once in a while he'd come out with something simultaneously amazing and completely terrifying.
They were on the first floor now, wandering down the hall when it took a strange turn that looked like a dead end but was actually a door that said "Residential Director" and was slightly ajar.
Stiles tapped at the door. "Derek?" he said, pushing it open. "Derek? Your door is open, dude."
"Seriously?" Erica asked.
Stiles shrugged. "He's not going to be back from the lab for a couple of hours," he said. "We're doing him a favor, keeping someone from fucking in his bed."
"Keep telling yourself that," Erica said, but she followed him through the door.
Stiles closed the door behind them, and they sat down on the couch.
"Wow, a living room," Erica said. "I'd forgotten what those looked like."
"Right?" Stiles said. He set everything down on the coffee table and poured them each a Kaluha and milk.
"You realize, don't you, that some of those guys were looking at you, not me," Erica said.
"Yep," Stiles said. "And not a few ladies were looking at you."
"I suppose," Erica said, and while she had been aware of them, she hadn't really noticed them.
"So," he said, handing her a cup, "here's to being losers with such pathetic crushes that we can't even go to a giant party and get laid, because everyone we see pales in comparison."
Erica thought of the pretty brunette who'd talked to her for a while over the keg in 403, and the girl with the mermaid braids and seriously low-cut top that she'd danced with for half a Phoenix song in 617, and a couple of other girls who tried to catch her eye and she hadn't even reacted, just kept talking to Stiles, because they weren't tiny and red-haired and slightly terrifying.
"At least we can be losers together," she said, and tapped his Solo cup with hers.
They sat on the couch for a bit, drinking and not saying anything, glancing around a room surprisingly devoid of any kind of personality, just dorm-typical furniture and a TV. But she wasn't uncomfortable because it was always so easy to be around Stiles—easy enough that suddenly she wondered what the hell they were doing.
She was gathering up the courage to say something when they heard voices in the corridor.
"Huh, I thought I left this open," a man said, and then there was a key in the lock.
Stiles turned to Erica and quick as anything they grabbed the booze, milk and now-empty cups and Stiles pulled Erica into the coat closet in the hall. They pressed together quite close; Stiles had his arms around her and their chins were almost on each other's shoulders.
"Come in," the man said—Derek, obviously—"I can get you something to drink that's better than that punch."
"What do you have?" a woman asked, and Erica heard her fling her purse on the couch.
"Um," Derek said.
The woman huffed and Erica would know that sound anywhere. "Here, I'll come with you," Lydia said, and two sets of footsteps went into the kitchen.
"Oh my god," Stiles whispered, and Erica she could feel his breath wet against her ear.
"I can't believe this," she whispered back.
"They'll move to the bedroom eventually, and then we can slip out," he said.
She nodded, knowing he could feel her if not see her.
"Sorry in advance for any, ah—you're just very close right now."
Stiles sounded sad, maybe because of Derek-and-Lydia, maybe because this was a ridiculous situation. Erica really, really didn't want him to feel sad, and that gave her the courage to say what she should have said on the couch. "Don't be," she said. "If we make our own fun, we won't have to listen to theirs."
She felt Stiles gasp. "But you're not—"
"You never actually asked me," she pointed out.
She wasn't sure who started the kiss but they were both very willing participants. It was a little awkward until Stiles dropped the empty Solo cups and wrapped one big hand around the back of her head, angling her just so, and something about Stiles just doing what he wanted with her gave her a little thrill. He tasted like coffee and milk but then, she did, too.
Derek and Lydia came back into the living room but they sounded so far away now. Erica caught snippets of their conversation, something about looking for some people at the party and not finding them, and something about the radio, whatever; she really didn't need to hear Derek making moves on Lydia, or the reverse.
Knowing them, it was probably the reverse.
Stiles was slowly turning them, Erica supposed because he wanted to push her up against something, and she remembered just a moment too late that the door to the closet was ajar.
They fell in a heap onto the floor, Stiles doing that thing you do with babies where you twist in mid-air such that he took the brunt of it and she fell on top of him.
In the pause before anyone truly registered what had happened, Erica took in the scene—Derek and Lydia kissing on the couch, Derek's shirt open and Lydia's skirt rucked up, and everyone's hair a mess. Lydia's perfect pout was even poutier, her pink gloss smeared across her and Derek's lips.
"What the hell?" Derek said, jumping up from the couch.
Lydia stood slowly, gracefully, smoothing down her skirt and tossing back her hair. "Well, now we know why we couldn't find them," she said.
Erica and Stiles had gotten to their feet by now, though not as gracefully. "You were looking for us?" he asked.
"Of course," Derek said.
That made no sense, so Erica ignored it. "How do you even know each other?" she asked.
"Derek's an advisor for the tutoring program," Lydia said. "So when I wanted to know if it was ethical to date one of my tutees, I asked him."
Erica didn't know what to say to that—Lydia had to mean her, surely; she wasn't cruel—and she felt Stiles taking her hand.
"And what did you say?" Stiles asked.
Derek shrugged. "No problem," he said. "Lydia's tutoring you, not grading you."
Lydia continued, "Then we went to lunch and Derek told me about how his crush makes him into a complete gaping-mouth idiot at Starbucks."
"Really?" Stiles asked.
"You're really funny!" Derek said, scowling, like it was an insult. "I listen to your radio show while I'm in the lab, and then that night you drove me home I was so tired and I just meant to say goodnight but you have really nice shoulders." He paused, breathless after the torrent of words, then glanced down. "I didn't know what to say."
"He does have nice shoulders," Erica said.
"He's grown into them," Lydia said, nodding.
Stiles shook his head. "Then why were you making out with Lydia?"
"Why were you two making out in Derek's closet?" Lydia asked.
"We came to this stupid party to find people to make us forget you for a night," Erica said.
"Clearly we were unsuccessful," Stiles added, "and we didn't need to listen to you two pitching woo."
"Pitching woo?" Derek asked. "Who says that?"
"Stiles," Lydia replied. "Still want to date him?"
"You didn't answer Stiles's question," Erica said.
"Allison mentioned that you were coming to the party together," Lydia said, "so I thought I could push Derek out of his shy-guy pity party and get him to talk to Stiles, and find you. But we didn't, and then, well—"
"Yeah," Erica said, thinking of the closet. "And then, well."
Derek had re-buttoned his shirt, which Erica thought was too bad. "So what do we do now?" he asked.
"I have no idea," Stiles said.
"I do," Lydia said. "There's a pretty obvious solution. Especially since Stiles isn't nearly as creepy and weird as he was when he was fifteen."
Erica smiled, because she knew where this was heading. She squeezed Stiles's hand. "He has his moments, but he's really not gross at all," she said, then turned to Derek. "I'm not nearly as creepy and weird as I was when I was thirteen, either," she said. "Or even seventeen."
Derek nodded. "I was trying to find a way to say that you'd grown up nicely without sounding like a dirty old man," he said, then winced. "Which I didn't."
"Wait, so, this is what we're doing?" Stiles asked. "All of us?"
"Yes," Lydia said.
"I'd like to try," Derek said.
"Me too," Erica said. "What about you, Stiles?"
"Are you kidding me?" he said. "Of course." He held up the bottle still in his hand. "We can even toast to it."
"Oh my god, Stiles," Lydia said, "I am not drinking to our new situation with Kahlua."
Erica let go of his hand, took the bottle from him, and set it down on the table. "Not enough room for all of us on that couch," she said, looking at Derek.
"My bed is a queen," Derek said. He blushed, adorably, and after his confession to Stiles earlier Erica could see even more that he wasn't the sports hero at all—the real Derek was the one who'd sent her flowers.
"Well, let's go, then," Stiles said.
"Wait," Lydia said. "I want …"
Lydia tugged on Erica's hand, and when she turned, Lydia pulled her into a kiss, soft and wet and there was a little tongue and yes, a really good first kiss.
"I'd been thinking about that, is all," Lydia said, smiling.
Erica smiled back, feeling warm all over, and sure of everything. "Me, too."
"Oh yeah," Stiles said, and turned to Derek, who was still fidgeting a little, playing with the button on his sleeve. So Stiles said, "Hey," and put his hand under Derek's chin, turning it until Derek looked at him.
Derek leaned in then, one hand behind Stiles's head, and kissed him, hot and a little desperate. Erica would have been surprised, but she'd felt how Lydia had trembled a little when they kissed, and thought that maybe all of Stiles's theories about beautiful people were bullshit.
"Okay," Derek said. "Now I'm ready."
"Dude," Stiles said, "your bedroom is really clean."
Derek shrugged. "I was hoping …" he began, then drifted off.
Stiles grinned because yeah, that kiss had been some fucking kiss, but this was something else. "You were hoping for me? I'm sorry, this is so uncool but you have to let me bask in this, dude. No one has ever hoped I'd come back to their room enough to clean it first. Man, this is an awesome night."
"I'm so glad you think so," Erica said, which reminded Stiles that there were ladies present, and even if there weren't some things had to be said.
"Okay," he said, "so, how are we going to do this? It's hard enough getting two people on the same page with, you know, the sexy times, but four people." He paused. "It's a lot, is all I'm saying, and I don't want anyone feeling like something was more than what they wanted."
There was a pause, then Lydia said, "I would like to keep my bra and underwear on."
"Yes," Erica agreed, nodding. "I think, yes, that sounds good to me."
"So I'm all for that?" Stiles said. "But I have to be honest here, if all of us are going to be on this bed making out and—above the belt? Below the belt?"
Erica shrugged. "Below is good," she said, and Lydia nodded, as did Derek.
"Okay, below the belt, then orgasms are gonna happen and I know it's different for the ladies but I am not enthusiastic about doing the walk of shame in sticky boxer briefs. Just sayin'."
"You can borrow mine," Derek said.
A little shudder went through him at the thought of that, and he realized he was in danger of completely overloading if he didn't get a hold of himself. "Okay then, Thundercats are go for third base," he said.
"Good," Lydia said, and wasted no time taking off Erica's top.
Derek didn't, either, latching onto Stiles from behind, his mouth hot and wet on Stiles's ear. "Want to watch them?"
"Of course, I mean, don't you?" Stiles asked. "Is that—are you annoyed?"
"No," Derek said, one hand sliding under Stiles's shirt. "Want you when you're less distracted," and he nipped Stiles's ear.
"Oh my god," Stiles said, though he wasn't sure if it was because of the way Derek was nibbling down his neck, or that Erica's jeans were on the floor now, her boots following, and she was now pulling off Lydia's top and getting rid of that tiny little skirt. Lydia's bra was green and lacy, and while Stiles had seen her in a bikini during high school at her pool parties, this was different. Lydia crawled on the bed and Stiles bit his lip, seeing her freckled skin covered with just that bra and some little pink panties with almost no behind on them to speak of. Erica was in all black, of course, her breasts threatening to spill out of the cups as she bent over Lydia's feet to take off the high heeled boot-shoe things that she'd been wearing. Her panties were more substantial than Lydia's, but no less sexy, the black fabric in stark contrast to her skin that wasn't pale like Stiles's own but creamy white like a pin up girl.
"Well," Erica said. "Your turn."
Derek seemed to have been waiting to get permission as Stiles's shirts just melted off him, and then his pants fell down almost by themselves; Stiles couldn't really keep track. But he understood, now, why Derek had wanted his full attention because damn.
Shoes were kicked off and socks left for the moment—only for the moment; Stiles had watched porn, he knew how dumb they looked—and Stiles turned around to get his own back, to push that ridiculous pink button-up off Derek's shoulders, to peel off those stupidly tight jeans, and of course Derek was wearing boots with no socks. They were probably lucky he was wearing the boxer briefs, and Stiles wondered if that had been a concession to the hoped-for him. It was quite a package in there, and Stiles couldn't tell if it was going to get any bigger but it didn't need to. Stiles was just glad to have created some interest.
While he was scooched on the floor pushing off Derek's jeans Stiles got rid of his own socks. He was feeling pretty damn clever about that trick when Derek, with no preamble, picked him up and deposited him on the bed. It really shouldn't have been hot to be manhandled like that, but it so fucking was.
"Ladies first," Derek said, and apparently he was still into that watching Stiles watching thing, because he pushed some pillows out of the way and leaned back against the wall at the head of the bed, bringing Stiles with him. Stiles nestled between his legs, his back to Derek's totally solid, hey-I didn't-get-to-touch-that chest, Derek's cotton-covered crotch rubbing against the small of his back in a way that felt strangely comforting. Derek put his hands on Stiles's chest and stomach, and Stiles was determined to get his own touching in, too, so he placed his hands on Derek's muscular thighs.
Lydia wasted no time, of course, and why should she. She and Erica were laying across the foot of the bed, Erica sitting and leaning back on her elbows, knees bent, and Lydia was on her hands and knees above her, kissing down her neck, licking Erica's skin with a pointed pink tongue. Erica's head was tossed back, an evil grin on her face, but when Lydia's mouth travelled to Erica's breasts she gasped, let Lydia push her so her back was flat against the mattress. Erica brought a free hand up to cradle Lydia's head—the one further from Stiles and Derek, and yeah, she knew she was being watched—and Lydia's mouth made little suckling sounds against the skin and fabric. Stiles could just see Erica's nipples hardening, could appreciate Lydia's breasts swaying as she hovered over Erica. It was a lot of soft skin pushing against soft skin and it looked really nice.
Stiles wondered what it would be like to be in the middle of that, then wondered if that was a selfish thought, then stroked Derek's thighs a little more firmly, pushed his ass back into Derek's crotch, reminded himself that the girls would be getting their own back in not too long.
Lydia had moved down further, peppering Erica's stomach with kisses that got firmer when she realized Erica was a little ticklish. And then, fuck yeah she was totally going down further, totally licking Erica's pussy through her panties.
"They're wet," Lydia said, grinning. "Did Stiles do that?"
"All of you," Erica said, turning and looking at Stiles and Derek at the head of the bed. "All of you."
"Good to know," Lydia said and gave Erica's pussy another lick and a kiss.
"No, come back up here," Erica said, reaching down to help Lydia slide up her body. "Miss kissing you."
"But you're taller and I can't …"
"Here," Erica said, and moved Lydia so she was straddling one thigh, then bent it more so that Lydia was riding it. Lydia obliged Erica, too, with a thigh solidly between Erica's legs, right where he mouth had just been, and they kissed, and then they just started grinding against each other, their kisses muffling moans and gasps and little squeaking sounds that Stiles didn't think actual not-faking-it-for-porn ladies made. But they were making them, all the hotter for how the sounds were almost lost in each other's mouths. It was hot just watching them be so into each other, be so open to Stiles and Derek watching, feel safe with Stiles and Derek there to see them like this, not putting on a show but not hiding either. Stiles lost track, a little, of what they were doing in all the moaning and writhing, not to mention feeling Derek very interested behind him, a finger lazily circling one of Stiles's nipples. One minute they were moving and the next minute they kind of … stopped.
Lydia collapsed down on top of Erica, sprawling across her as much as she could for being so tiny, and they were panting, still kissing a little.
"We should switch," Erica said when she'd caught her breath.
"I don't wanna move," Lydia mumbled.
"But there isn't a footboard to lean on," Erica replied.
"I'll get on that," Derek said, pushing Stiles forward so he could get up. "In the meantime we can move you." He beckoned to Stiles, who got with the program, lifting up Lydia and pulling her into his arms, and she cuddled to him, and wow, that was a thing.
"Kisses," she said. "Haven't kissed you yet."
"Okay," Stiles replied. There were bunches of reasons it shouldn't have been romantic—she'd just had an orgasm thanks to someone else; they were half dressed in someone else's room; he had been kissing someone else a few minutes before—but he was still holding her in the traditional carrying-over-the-threshold position, and they were still kissing, and hey, it kinda was romantic after all.
Derek had meanwhile picked Erica up and was laying her down at the head of the bed. He looked at her, one hand bracketed against the wall above her head, and then he leaned in and kissed her like she was Sleeping Beauty or something. When he pulled back Erica looked girlish, suddenly, like Stiles had never seen her.
Stiles laid Lydia down next to Erica and they wrapped around each other almost immediately, like they couldn't not, and Stiles was feeling the lack of contact himself until Derek was pushing him down on the bed, on his back, where Erica and Lydia just were. Derek got on top of him and they were kissing, and it was like before, hard and pushing each other, trying to crawl inside each other, like there was not enough time and too much skin. Their chests were smashed and he could feel Derek's cock, hard and heavy and straining the cotton, brushing against his own, and this was going to end embarrassingly quickly if Stiles didn't slow the party down.
So he flipped them over, then pushed up, straddling Derek, hands on his chest to keep him from sitting up, and just stared. Stared like he'd wanted to since they met, at that face and that chest and those arms and those abs, and how could he be real, seriously. He figured Derek was humoring him, maybe was used to that, when he felt Derek's fingers tracing the moles along his flank and realized oh, Derek was staring, too.
Well, so that was a thing. Awesome.
Stiles pushed back, sliding down Derek's body. He was sure he'd give that torso a good tongue bath some other time but right now he wanted to get his mouth on that little bit of stretchy black cotton. Lydia had inspired him, clearly. He pushed up one of Derek's legs so he could reach underneath, get to those soft balls he'd felt against his tailbone earlier. He gave them a lick and then sucked them, cotton and all, into his mouth. The smell was intense and musky, too, and he wondered how creepy it would be to put Derek's boxers in his pocket after they were done. Well, he'd ask first. They all might as well find out now that he wanted to try every single sexual position and situation basically ever.
"Fuck," Derek said, like the word was being wrung out of his body. "Stop, stop, you have to stop." He grabbed Stiles by the shoulders and pulled him back up. "I want to come with you, like this."
Stiles lifted up so that their dicks were lined up, cotton against cotton, and Derek bucked up into him and oh, it was on, like the jack-off contests he had with Scott in middle school only in reverse, trying to hang on when Derek was looking at him like that with those eyes of his, brow furrowed in concentration. Stiles was dripping sweat onto Derek but he didn't seem to care, and the sweat helped them slide against each other. Their boxers were damp, too, the cotton sticking to their skin as they rutted like animals, shaking the bed a lot harder than the girls had, until Stiles seriously couldn't keep it together.
"Come, yeah," Derek said, nodding. "Me too. Do it."
Not that coming in his shorts was a hugely new experience, but this time it was hotter because it was on purpose, and he wasn't alone and embarrassed but with Derek, who was doing it too. His "O" face was an awesome thing, completely open and unguarded, and Stiles knew he was already addicted. He collapsed down onto Derek's solid chest, then rolled off to the side so Derek could catch his breath, too.
Derek lay the back of his hand on top of Stiles's chest. "Fuck," he said. "I've never—"
"Me neither," Stiles said, because none of it, nothing that had happened since he and Erica came into Derek's room, was like anything he'd ever done before.
After a bit they stirred, cleaned up in the bathroom, and Derek handed out t-shirts for sleeping and some clean underwear for Stiles. Of course his t-shirts were huge on all of them, and Derek looked like he liked that a lot, and maybe they all were freaks with secret little kinks. Stiles couldn't wait to find out every single one of them.
"I should really shut the party down," Derek said, and unlike last time Stiles couldn't say he didn't hear anything—he did.
"If you go, we all go," Erica said, so they just put on their bottoms and shoes and trotted behind Derek as he made his rounds, checking in with each RA up and down the halls, getting all the music turned off and the last partiers herded behind closed doors with promises to keep it down.
When they returned the girls did that thing where they took off their bras without taking off their shirts—magic!—and then there were extra pillows from the couch and a blanket from the closet. They lay in a big pile, slightly overlapping, couldn't stop touching each other though now it was just sweet, not going anyplace, soft skin and muscle. Sort of like a really great slumber party, all of them not quite wanting to fall asleep. But they did, one after the other like dominoes, and when Stiles woke up in the morning they were still smashed against each other, peaceful.
Lydia was already awake, and when Stiles caught her eye he whispered, "We have to tell Scott and Allison, you know."
"I know," she said, nodding. "It'll be fine."
"So wait," Scott said. "You're in a relationship with the girl who turned you down in high school, your radio friend you thought was a lesbian, and my Chem 10 TA?"
"It's not really a relationship yet," Erica said. "We just started dating last night."
Lydia added, "But Stiles and I didn't want it to be weird with you guys, so we're telling you now."
"Sorry about the TA part," Derek said. "You can switch sections if you want."
"Nah," Scott said, shrugging. "I like my lab partner."
"Isaac, yeah," Derek said. "You guys work well together."
Scott smiled. "Thanks," he said. "He's really cool."
Allison's hand tightened on Scott's arm. "Don't get any ideas," she said, smiling a little. "I'm not sharing you."
"What? No!" Scott said. "I didn't mean that!"
"But you're cool with this?" Stiles asked. "Not that I need your permission or anything but it would be so much easier if you were cool with this."
"If you're happy," Scott said. "If everyone's happy then of course I'm cool with it."
"Well," Stiles said, smiling, "if last night is any indication I think we will all be very happy."
"Don't be crude," Erica and Lydia said, almost in unison, then smiled at each other.
"Oh my god," Scott said, burying his face in his hands. "I don't need to know that."
"Dude!" Stiles said. "You owe me."
"What?" Allison asked. "Owe you for what, Scott?"
Scott smiled, giving a pained little laugh. "For lunch! Yeah, for lunch and hey, it's Sunday afternoon, let's just all go out and get waffles? Sound good to you? Sounds good to me!"
"Please," Derek said. "I'm really done talking about this."
"Me, too," Erica said, taking Stiles's hand and leading the way out of the room.
"So," Stiles muttered, just low enough so the others couldn't hear, "you really think this is going to work out?"
"We're a catch," she said. "Why not?"
"Yeah," Stiles said, nodding. "Why not?"