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It Was Only A Kiss

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The sky was still pink when Stiles left his house with his surfboard and walked down the street carrying a towel, wearing his red hoodie, swim trunks, and black flip flops. The birds were twittering, and a dog barked in the distance, but otherwise Stiles could hear nothing else on the first Saturday of the summer. He was excited to get out on the water, to be rid of what was going on at the school. When he had decided to be a high school history teacher, he didn’t think it would be as tough as it was. It wasn’t just the hours, but also the fact that each year there was more and more emphasis on standardized testing and Stiles knew it was all bullshit. But that didn’t matter because it was the summer, and he wouldn’t have to worry about that for fifteen glorious weeks. Being a new teacher meant crap salary, but that just gave him an excuse to spend his Saturdays at the beach teaching little ones how to surf. In the evenings Scott would put on a Kiddie Concert charging a dollar a kid and after that they would barbeque with Allison, and Isaac, and their families.

Scott was great with the kids. Some of them were from his preschool, but most of them were from out of town, directed to the beach either by Stiles, or some of the other locals as a good source of family entertainment. Isaac liked to joke that Allison’s job as a Deputy Sheriff balanced out all the mush, although Isaac himself was highly disappointed in his own work. He’d gone to school for sculpting, and Stiles knew he was an amazing artist, but Isaac was having trouble selling his work due to the economy being shit, so he ended up doing a lot of restorative “bull shit” work. He tried to not complain too much, because it paid fairly well, but Stiles knew it pissed him off. Alone, their meager salaries would have left them living in not so good places, but as it was, all of them living together, they were able to live in a two bedroom apartment within walking distance from the beach.

When Stiles entered the fairly empty parking lot, he started to try to clear his mind. Surfing never worked well if he was thinking about too much. Being out on the ocean was one of the few times that Stiles really felt graceful. As a teenager, he’d been gangly and awkward, and he’d hoped he would grow out of it, but he didn’t… At least not on land.

The sand was cool on his feet. He walked closer to the water, breathing in the salty air, trying to avoid the seaweed. Eventually, he threw down his towel and stripped to his trunks. Being alone had it’s benefits. He let out a roar as he rushed towards the ocean, nearly tripping but righting himself just in time. The water was freezing, but he got used to it quickly. He surfed for about an hour before he was content to wander back home for breakfast. Allison would be getting of her shift soon, and he liked to be home to make sure she ate something before falling fully clothed onto her California King sized bed that she shared with Scott and Isaac.

“Hey, Stiles,” Scott called from the kitchen as soon as Stiles came in the front door.

“Good waves?” Isaac asked.

“Eh, not bad,” he said, entering the kitchen. Allison was there, already changed into some cut off sweats and a loose halter top. She looked exhausted. “How was your shift?” Stiles asked watching Isaac pour pancake batter onto the grill.

“It was what it was…” She said. “Your dad has started loudly talking about how excited he is for retirement.”

“Too bad that’s not for, like, ten years…” Stiles said stealing one of the strawberries that Scott was rinsing in the sink. The berry was so juicy and sweet, Stiles nearly melted, and most definitely groaned.

“It’s more like three if he goes for early retirement,” Allison said. “And honestly, I think it would be best… Things are…” She shook her head. Isaac rubbed her back lightly.

“We’ll work it out,” Scott said. Allison sighed.

“I know, I’m just tired…” She said yawning. Stiles set the table. He put out the juice he’d squeezed the night before and the organic milk from the co-op, and was just going for the syrup when there was a knock on the door.

“It’s me,” the Sheriff called as he came in. Stiles smiled at his dad and went for another plate. “Allison said there would be bacon…” He said glancing at the pancakes.

“I most certainly did not!” Allison squawked, glancing at Stiles. The Sheriff chuckled a little.

“It’s ok, Allison, I knew Stiles would refuse me, that’s why I got some at the diner…” He said producing four or five pieces of crisp bacon in a baggy from his pocket. Stiles just shook his head.

“That will cost you a pancake,” he said. The Sheriff smirked at his son as he sat down at the new place. “Coffee?” Stiles asked, patting his father affectionately on the shoulder.

“No thanks,” the Sheriff said. “After this I’m going home and going to bed.” Allison nodded sleepily, leaning on Scott’s shoulder while he chopped the berries.

Breakfast was fairly quiet after that. The Sheriff offered to help with cleanup, but as usual, everyone waved him off, telling him to go home and get some sleep. He nodded, hugging his son before leaving. Allison went to bed as soon as the dishes were done, planning to sleep for most of the day. Isaac wandered to the shed in the back yard. He spent most of his free time there, working on his personal sculptures. The others usually left him and it alone, entering it only when he invited them in.

“You excited for the summer?” Stiles asked as he and Scott walked down to the beach. Scott shrugged.

“It should be fun anyways,” Scott said.

“What’s going on at the department?” Stiles asked. Scott shrugged.

“Pay issues mostly, and time off.”

“Suck,” Stiles said. Scott nodded. “Ah, bureaucracy. Fucking us all over one by one…” He clapped his friend on the back. “Oh well, at least the weather is good, and we’re all fairly well taken care of.” Scott nodded. They parted when they got to the parking lot. Stiles was headed back to the beach, and Scott was off to the store for food for the barbeque. Stiles stretched out on the sand, letting the sound of the ocean lull him into a shallow nap. He woke up to a three year old pouring sand on his foot. The child ran away screaming and giggling when Stiles sat up, rubbing sand off his cheek. He checked his phone. It was almost nine. He still had another half hour before the parents started showing up so he grabbed his board and went out on the ocean for a bit, clearing his head so he could be prepared to teach children the basics of surfing.

Upon returning to the shore, he almost biffed it when he saw a truly gorgeous man in a yellow speedo. Stiles didn’t even realize he wasn’t even paying attention to where he was going until he heard the three year old screech. Stiles jerked sideways, falling face first into the sand. He refused to look at the man in the yellow speedo as he stood up, brushing sand from his mouth. A small group of people with their kids were starting to gather near the gazebo. Blushing, Stiles walked towards them.

“Hi!” One of the parents called out, recognizing Stiles. Stiles reached out for the woman’s hand. Many of the other parents shook his hand. The man with the yellow speedo came over, a small girl clutching tightly to his hand.

“I’m pretty sure that’s Stiles,” Stiles could hear the man say. “Look at all the other kids with their surfboards.” The little girl shook her head, her long black braids whipping over her shoulders. Stiles smiled. This happened sometimes, and Stiles could only imagine what Scott had to go through when the parents had to leave all day. “I think it is, boog. Come on…” He stopped near the edge of the group, making no move towards Stiles who was counting. Everyone was there.

“Hi-hello,” he said. “I’m Stiles Stilinski, Kiddie Surfing Instructor. Today is going to be really basic. Most of it will be spent on land, talking about safety, how to stand on the board, and stuff like that. I’ve found this works best if parents kind of-” he moved his hands as if he were brushing them away. “Feel free to stick close though,” Stiles said. “Lots of kids and one of me, big ocean.” A few of the parents laughed. Yellow Speedo just raised his eyebrow as he stepped back from the little girl. Some of the other parents wandered off to sit with other members of their families, but some, Yellow Speedo included, sat down under the gazebo, watching. “Hi, kids,” Stiles said to the kids. They looked up at him. “My name is Stiles, first we’re going to play a getting to know you game so I can remember your names, and then we’ll start working on the boards, ok?” The morning went by quickly, but this group was at least not terrified of the water. That was the worst, when the kids wouldn’t go near the water. Stiles always judged those parents harshly, wishing heaping piles of dog doo to just be magically found underfoot.

By the time they went home, Stiles was starved and had completely forgotten about falling on his face until he saw Yellow Speedo in the parking lot with the little girl. Her name was Jessie and she was going to catch on quick. Jessie waved excitedly at Stiles as he passed their Camaro. Stiles waved back, trying to not check out her dad. At the edge of the parking lot, Yellow Speedo stopped Stiles.

“Need a ride?” The man asked. Stiles gaped a little and shook his head no.

“I’m just a few blocks away… Thanks though.”

“I’m Derek Hale,” the man said smiling and putting his hand out through the open window. Stiles shook it, trying to not show his surprise. His mother, Talia Hale, was the mayor, and there were rumors of her running for senator soon.

“I’m hungry Uncle Derek!” Jessie whined from the back seat.

“Nice to meet you,” Stiles said.

“And you…” Derek said. A car behind him honked. “Better go,” Derek said as Jessie started whining again. Stiles waved and walked down the street, trying to not over analyze what had just transpired. (Uncle was good. Uncle was very good.) At home, Scott was making sandwiches for him and Isaac.

“How was surf lessons?” Scott asked. Stiles laughed a little and told him. “Derek is cute, isn’t he?” Scott asked. “I had Jessie in my class, and he would pick her up sometimes. Boy got the booty…” Stiles laughed, shaking his head. They ate out in the backyard with Isaac, drinking fresh sun tea, and eating more strawberries.

“Is your mom coming to the barbeque tonight?” Isaac asked Scott.

“Probably,” Scott said. “She wants to try this new fruit salad she found online… something about mint leaves, I don’t know… Is Chris coming?”

“Probably,” Stiles said. “I think that some others of the old gang are gonna show up, too. I know Erica and Boyd will be here, and-and Lydia said she would be here on and off over the summer…” Stiles tugged at a blade of grass. It had been years since he really had a crush on Lydia Martin, but that didn’t take away from the fact that she was one of the hottest women Stiles had ever seen up close. And she was so scarily smart. Scott sighed. “Well, let them know… And make sure to tell Erica and Boyd to bring the little ones…”

“You and babies…” Isaac said with a sigh. Boyd and Erica had two year old twins that liked to get into everything. Isaac got up with a grunt. “I’ll be by later with Allison,” he said and disappeared.

“We should get the ice chests ready,” Stiles said. They went in the kitchen to start prepping the ice, the drinks, the vegetables and condiments they were taking, and gathered up all their summer blankets. Stiles was excited. They were going to grill hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, bell peppers, and marshmallows once the kids left. It was going to be great.

A few hours later, Isaac, Allison, Stiles, Chris, Melissa, the Sheriff, Lydia, Boyd, Erica, their kids Alicia and Kayla, were all at the beach watching Scott put on a Kiddie Concert, singing songs he’d made up like “Sharks Aren’t Scary,” “Living in a Tidepool,” and “When the Peaks Turn White, Run Run Run!” The last one was about beach safety and not going out too deep, or into water that was too rough. The kids’ favorite song though was “Can You Name That Sea Animal?” where Scott didn’t so much sing as he pretended to be different sea animals. When Scott finally played his last song, the kids ran screaming to their parents laughing and asking to come back to the beach the next day so they could find tidepools. Scott came over to the gazebo and sat on the table next to Isaac leaning into him, yawning.

“This is going to be a great summer,” he declared, and Stiles nodded in agreement, thinking about Derek in his yellow speedo. He wondered if he showered when he got home or if he just pulled on fresh clothes, trusting the showers at the beach to have cleared all the sand. Stiles liked to think that he didn’t, and if a person were to kiss him, even the kiss would be salty.

“Stiles! Hamburger or hot dog!” The Sheriff barked. Stiles jerked, spilling chips all over the beach.

“Uh-hamburger,” he said. The Sheriff just shook his head has he handed his son a burger. Stiles looked guiltily at the chips, but moved to the table to put things on the burger.

“Are you excited for the new changes they are making to the curriculum?” Erica asked sitting opposite him, between the twins while Boyd. Stiles rolled his eyes.

“I wish that they would just let me teach… these fu-frakking standardized tests don’t prove that the students know anything…” He sighed. Erica was the Educator Assessment Coordinator at Stiles’s school which was fancy speak for making sure that teachers were actually doing their jobs in an effective way.

“I know…” Erica said as Boyd handed the girls their plates. “Believe me. Chris and I are working on it. There is only so much we can do about it, unfortunately. Most of it’s the state of California.” Stiles groaned a little, throwing his head back.

“Let’s not talk about this right now,” Chris said patting Stiles on the back. “It’s break. It’s time to have some fun…” Stiles sighed, and nodded.

“Too true, too true…” They ate all the food, and eventually the parents, Boyd and Erica included, went home. The remaining four took turns on Stiles’s surfboard in the bright moonlight. It was a good night, and by the time Stiles crawled into bed at nearly four in the morning, he was feeling better and clearer than he had in months.