People were staring again. It had been two months since he saw his husband in bed with a woman and subsequently left his home, and still people whispered when he walked by. It was a grocery store for fuck’s sake. It wasn’t like Stiles was going to have a breakdown right there. Okay, so one time like a week after his world was first shattered he’d cried a little when he was shopping for just one person instead of two, but that was ages ago!
When he went up to the register even the sad bored teenager working the register gave him a pitying look from beneath her emo haircut. He forced himself not to react. He grabbed his bags full of frozen dinners and turned to walk out the door. As he walked out, there they were, walking in. Scott, his once best friend and husband, walking hand in hand with Allison, the woman he left Stiles for. He locked his eyes on his car and refused to even look at them as they walked past.
Just as they were parallel to him he couldn’t help but glance at them out of the corner of his eye. They were looking at each other and smiling. They hadn’t even seen him. There he was, in the middle of a parking lot feeling like his chest was ripped open, exposed and bleeding, and they didn’t even know he was there. He stopped and just watched as they continued into the store. Scott threw his head back and laughed at whatever she had just said.
Stiles hated Beacon Hills. He hated that the town was so small that everyone knew that he’d gotten cheated on and dumped. They all knew that he’d told Scott he would forgive him and that they could work on their marriage together, but Scott had flat out refused. They all knew that Allison had only needed two weeks to charm Scott into being a homewrecker. And worst of all, because of some well hidden homophobia, the town wasn’t mad at Scott at all.
No less than five people had told him that it was natural that Scott would turn away from homosexual perversions when the right woman came along, and that the same thing would happen for Stiles. So even though Stiles had done nothing wrong he had been shunned by the town while the adulterers got to wander around being happy without so much as an insult thrown. Even the Sheriff told Stiles that he and Scott clearly weren’t meant to be together and it was time to move on.
Stiles went home to his sad under-furnished apartment that he was sharing with one Aloe Vera cactus and a Duck Dynasty Chia Pet. It was just salt in the wound that the house was in Scott’s name.
Tomorrow it would be Stiles’ 24th birthday and he didn’t have anyone to celebrate with. Amongst his bags was a box of cake mix and some frosting. Scott had gotten pretty much all of their friends in the divorce. He was going to have to throw himself a party if he wanted one.
“Hey Dad, it’s me, Stiles. I know you said you had to work today and tomorrow, but I was thinking maybe on Monday after work I could come by and we could have a few birthday beers? Call me back and let me know what you think. I love you. Bye.”
Stiles spent his birthday in his house watching Netflix and eating the cake straight from the pan with the tub of frosting next to it. Two people called him. His Dad to say an I love you and to say he probably couldn’t hang out the next day, and Melissa McCall. He loved that woman fiercely. He was beyond happy that she hadn’t dumped him. She’d played the part of his Mom since he was eight.
He was falling down drunk by 7, and hung over by 11 that night. Just before midnight he made a vow. He was going to turn his life around. Forget the bullshit and the assholes and get to a better place. Maybe he would even get his shit together and put on some clean clothes and go to Jungle. There were bound to be some hot loose men who would end his dry spell.
Year 24 was going to beat the shit out of year 23!
After his revelation and subsequent resolutions Stiles went to bed so that he could be up early in the morning for school. Stiles didn’t go to college to become a teacher, but the first time he stepped in front of a class he felt at home. Unfortunately, because Beacon Hills was such a small piece of crap town there weren’t any permanent positions open. That left Stiles as one of the town substitutes. It wasn’t a salaried position, but he worked everyday.
“What up kids?”
“Mr. Stilinski? Is Mrs. Evans out today? Hell yes!” Sean, a smart ass ten year old fist bumped him and walked to his seat.
“Language, but yes! I am your man for the day. Who feels like learning about some fractions?”
It was a great day. Elementary schools were great because the kids were young enough to still see teachers as authority figures. There were only a few minor discipline problems and he might have actually gotten them to learn something.
Stiles hadn’t heard anything more from his father, so he stopped by the gas station, picked up twelve pack and headed over to his Dad’s place. He was happy to see the cruiser in the driveway. He pulled out his spare set of keys and opened the door.
“Hey, Pops. Want to down some brews to celebrate my-”
There they were. All of his once upon a time friends sitting around his Dad’s kitchen table. And there was Scott with an ashamed looking Allison sitting on his lap. His Dad was mid-laugh when Stiles walked in, but that smile faded away when he saw Stiles standing there like an idiot.
“So. This is awkward.” Stiles chuckled darkly. “Didn’t know there was a party. No one thought to tell me.”
No one said anything. Jackson coughed nervously.
Stiles held up the case of beer. “I’ll just leave this here.” He turned and walked out the door.
“Stiles! Stiles, just wait up a minute.” His Dad came running out after him. “Come back inside and have a drink or two.”
He didn’t say anything. He couldn’t. Not without having a complete meltdown on the lawn. He just shook his head at his Dad and kept walking to the car. He got in his car and got to his apartment on auto-pilot. He was amazed he didn’t hit something on the way there. He locked the door behind him and laid his forehead against the wood. He stood there for a moment just breathing. When he turned around he looked at his apartment. Really looked at it. He didn’t care about it. Nothing in it made it a home. There were no pictures on the wall or happy memories to think about.
Stiles grabbed all of his clothes and shoved them into his suitcase. He grabbed his Aloe plant under his arm went back to his car and drove East until he was half-asleep at the wheel. He pulled into a motel in a city he didn’t recognize. He didn’t even know what state he was in, and he didn’t care.