It had been happening all day.
Lydia would be walking to class, or maybe zoning out while a teacher explained something she’d learned years ago, when she would suddenly become aware that almost everyone was staring at her.
They’d immediately look away whenever she’d glance in their direction, of course - the death glare was one of Lydia’s specialties - but the frequency of the stares was bordering on a level of annoying that matched Isaac’s snark. She ducked into a bathroom after second period to make sure she didn’t have a piece of food stuck between her teeth, but that obviously wasn’t the problem - her hair, makeup, and outfit were all flawless, as per usual. Nothing strange had happened to her lately, either; at least, not as strange as running around in the woods for two days or telling her English teacher that she was psychic. Maybe everyone found out about - but Lydia refused to even consider that. No one had found out about her and Stiles yet, and no one was going to, of that she was certain. They hadn’t even told the rest of the pack yet. There was no way anyone at school could find out about her new relationship with the sheriff’s son.
But still the stares continued. Lydia resolved to ask Allison about it over lunch. They were meeting in the library to study and wait for Scott and Isaac, who had lunch detention all week due to a suspicious incident involving the twins and two broken vending machines.
When Lydia entered the library, she was greeted by more stares. She was surprised by the number of students there today; normally the place was dead quiet over lunch. Lydia made her way over to the table where she and Allison normally sat and found her best friend already seated, leaning over what looked like a trig worksheet. Allison looked up briefly at Lydia and smiled as Lydia sat down, then resumed her intense staredown of her math assignment.
Lydia took her AP Physics textbook and notebook out of her bag to start copying notes. She had only written a few words, however, when she heard her name whispered a few yards away. She glanced up just in time to see a group of freshmen girls whirl around quickly and pretend to be looking for a book. As she surveyed the library, she saw several people duck their heads or turn quickly away to look at something on the other side of the room. Her stomach began twisting into knots, and she could hardly focus on the words on the page in front of her.
“Hey Allison?” Lydia asked, beginning to copy down a definition and trying to sound casual.
“Yeah?” Allison replied absentmindedly, now doodling hearts in the corner of her algebra worksheet.
Lydia bit her lip. “Do you know why everyone in this library is staring at me?” Allison’s hand stopped moving, but she didn’t answer, so Lydia continued. “Or everyone in this school, for that matter?”
Allison looked up at her best friend and sighed. “Probably because you’ve been making out with Stiles,” she said simply, returning to her homework.
Lydia’s mouth dropped open. She felt her cheeks burning and her heart jumped into her throat. “Me and - and Stiles?” she spluttered, beginning to copy her notes furiously and trying to look as casual as possible. “Where did you hear that ridiculous rumor?”
“It’s all anyone can talk about today,” Allison replied. “But if there is any truth there, I’d really like to know why you didn’t tell me.”
Lydia felt a wave of guilt wash over her. Keeping her relationship with Stiles a secret had been her idea. He’d begged and pleaded with her that they at least tell Scott and Allison, but Lydia had put her foot down. She wanted things to stay quiet until she figured out exactly how she felt about Stiles. Granted, that had been almost three months ago …
“I didn’t tell you because there’s nothing to tell,” Lydia lied easily. “Stiles and I are just friends. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just remembered that I said I’d help Kira with a chem lab, so I should probably go. Bye!” Lydia quickly gathered up her things and practically bolted out of her seat.
“Wait. Lydia!” she heard Allison call after her, but she was already around the corner. Lydia felt another stab of guilt at leaving Allison, but she had bigger problems to worry about. Only one other person could have started that rumor. She needed to talk to Stiles. Now.
Lydia’s voice sounded more tense than normal, but Stiles smiled when he heard her say his name. “Hey, Lydia,” he said, looking over at her. “What’s up?”
“Can we talk? Now? Please?”
Stiles frowned slightly. Lydia didn’t just sound tense, she sounded almost scared. “Yeah, sure,” he replied, standing up from his lunch table and following her as she led him out of the cafeteria. “Hey, Lyds, is something wrong?” he asked. Lydia nodded stiffly but didn’t elaborate, instead leading him down a near-empty hallway. She sighed and turned corners until she and Stiles stood in a completely empty hallway near the locker rooms. She stopped and whirled around to face him so fast that he nearly ran into her. “Who. Did. You. Tell?” she asked, her voice no longer tense and shaky but firm and cold, her expression hard.
“Tell? Does someone kn-”
“Everyone knows, Stiles,” she interrupted, running a hand through her strawberry blonde curls. “And I didn’t tell anyone so it had to have been you.”
Stiles furrowed his eyebrows together. “Wait a second,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone.”
Lydia smiled condescendingly at him. “Listen, Stiles,” she began, in a tone he knew meant I smell bullshit, “I know you’ve had a crush on me since forever, and that it might have slipped out accidentally while you were talking to Scott that you’re sort of dating the girl of your dreams, which would be perfectly understa-”
“Stop,” Stiles said, more forcefully than he’d intended to. “I didn’t tell anyone about us, Lydia.”
“Well, neither did I, but somehow the entire school knows, so one of us must have told someone.”
“And how do you know that someone wasn’t you?” Stiles countered. “You’re sure you didn’t let it ‘slip out accidentally’ while you were talking to Allison?”
Lydia’s harsh expression relaxed for a second. “Allison didn’t know until today. Trust me,” she said in an icy cold voice.
“And how do you even know that one of us told someone? Someone could have seen us,” Stiles said, trying to keep his annoyance with Lydia to a minimum. “We haven’t exactly been very careful lately,” he added, remembering the instance a few weeks ago when Lydia had practically dragged him out of his study session with Isaac to make out in Coach’s office. Lydia said she wanted to be secretive, but it seemed like she couldn’t keep her hands off of Stiles - she always wanted to hold his hand in the hallways, and she practically sat on his lap during pack meetings (not that he was complaining). It was no wonder their ‘secret’ had gotten out, Stiles thought to himself.
Lydia was silent for a few moments as she considered this, staring at Stiles warily. “Stiles, I trust you more than anyone else in this world, so if I find out that you told anyone about us, so help me God, I will -”
“Dammit, Lyds, I didn’t tell anyone!” Stiles said, much louder than he’d intended. He bit his lip, trying to suppress the urge to apologize several hundred times because, sure, he hadn’t meant to yell at her, but he was angry, and she was accusing him of something he didn’t do.
Lydia stared intensely at Stiles for several long moments. Just as she opened her mouth to speak again, the bell rang. “I’ll see you in class,” she said icily before turning on her heel and walking swiftly down the hallway.
“No, wait. Lydia!” Stiles called after her as students filed down from the cafeteria. But she didn’t so much as glance back in his direction. Dammit.
“Is she still not talking to you?” Scott asked his best friend as they walked into school, after passing a certain strawberry blonde genius on the way to their lockers.
Stiles sighed. “It’s been four days. Lydia and I haven’t gone this long without talking since Jackson left,” he replied, opening up his locker.
“I still can’t believe you two managed to keep it a secret.”
“Yeah, well, that makes two of us.” Stiles closed his locker and glanced down the hallway where Lydia was standing, her back to them, talking to Allison. He shook his head. “It was too good to be true, anyway.”
“Hey, you don’t know that,” Scott countered. “You guys will work it out, you always do.”
“Not if she won’t even look at me,” Stiles muttered, glancing back at Lydia again.
“Would you just admit that you miss him?” Allison asked Lydia when she caught her staring after Stiles in the hallway.
Lydia looked back at Allison. “Miss who?” she asked in the tone of voice that Allison knew meant that she was trying to avoid the conversation.
Allison rolled her eyes. “Subtlety has never been your strong suit, Lyds. This is the third time I’ve caught you looking at him with those doe eyes today, and school hasn’t even started yet.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lydia replied, forcing a smile. Allison fixed her with a pointed stare. “Okay,” she conceded, “maybe I miss him a little bit. But I’m not talking to him until he apologizes.”
Allison sighed and closed her locker. “And what proof do you have that Stiles did tell someone that you guys were dating?” Lydia glanced down at her shoes. “Exactly.” Allison eyed her best friend, trying to understand what was going on in her head. “Are you sure this isn’t about something bigger?” she asked gently, looking back at Lydia to find her staring in the direction of Stiles’ locker yet again.
Lydia glanced back at her best friend. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, you haven’t exactly had a real boyfriend since Jackson.” Lydia stiffened slightly, and locked eyes with Allison. “I’m just wondering if you’re … afraid to open up to another person like that again.”
Lydia was quiet for a long while, wearing an expression of deep thought that Allison rarely saw on her best friend. Suddenly, Lydia’s wall was back up, her face a mask of polite indifference. “Allison Argent, are you suggesting that I have commitment issues? You and the guidance counselor should really have a talk about my mental health.” She smiled easily as the warning bell rang. “I’ll see you in chem,” she said, turning on her heel and walking down the hallway. Allison sighed. Maybe one of these days I’ll be able to get Lydia to admit that she actually has feelings.
Need to talk to you. It’s important. Meet me in Coach’s office.
The message from Scott had nearly given Lydia a heart attack. Had something happened? Was this the beginning of another random string of murders that would put all of their families at risk? She noticed Scott had only sent the message to her, instead of using the pack group message they had. Had someone died? Did they need her to find out if someone was dead? Lydia could hardly make herself sound calm as she asked the teacher if she could use the restroom, and practically bolted down to Coach’s office.
She could feel her heart beat rising as she entered the office, shutting the door behind her and glancing at Scott. Briefly, she remembered the last time the two of them had been in here alone and felt warmth rise to her cheeks. What was I thinking? “What’s the matter? Is something wrong? Someone’s dead, aren’t they?”
Scott smiled wryly. “I think if someone had died in this town, you’d be the first one to know.”
Lydia sighed deeply and felt her shoulders relax. “Oh, thank God.” She stared quizzically at Scott. “Then what did you need to talk to me about?”
Scott dropped Lydia’s gaze for a moment. “I wanted to talk about you and Stiles.”
Lydia raised an eyebrow, trying to suppress the churning that had started up in her stomach and the now-familiar ache in her chest. “What about me and Stiles?”
“About who started the rumor that - “
“Is this his way of apologizing?” Lydia interrupted. “Because if it is, you can stop right now. He is not getting out this that easy.”
“Stiles didn’t start that rumor.”
Lydia rolled her eyes. “Scott, I know that your Stiles’ best friend, but you don’t have to believe every word that comes out of his mouth. He’s the only person that could have -”
“It was Greenberg.”
For once, Lydia didn’t have anything snarky to say. She could barely form a coherent thought. Her mouth hung open for a long time before she finally managed to say, “What?”
“Yeah, I heard him telling Danny about it over lunch today. Apparently he saw you guys making out behind the bleachers after practice a few weeks ago.”
Lydia closed her eyes and bit her lip, willing herself not to cry. Shit. She could see that moment clearly, felt Stiles lips, warm and soft, on hers, his hands in her hair, on her cheek, caressing her waist, the cold of the bleachers pressing against the bare skin on her legs. “Don’t you think we should be doing this somewhere a little more private?” he’d asked her. She’d smiled. “That’s what makes it more fun,” she’d whispered before kissing him again and running her fingers through his hair.
Someone could have seen us, he’d said when she’d insisted that he’d started that rumor. “Does Stiles know?” she asked in a small voice.
Scott nodded. “I told him last period.”
Lydia nodded, a tear finally slipping down her cheek. She wiped it away quickly. “I, uh, should probably get back to class. Thanks, I guess,” she said, turning around and walking out of the office. But as she started walking, she instead headed outside to the parking lot. School was nearly over anyway, and there was someone she needed to talk to.
He had been expecting it, but Stiles was still surprised when he walked out to the school parking lot and saw Lydia sitting on the hood of his Jeep.
She hadn’t seen him yet - she was sitting with her back to him - which he figured was a good thing, since he still hadn’t figured out what he wanted to say to her. If it had been anyone else, he would have marched up to his Jeep, told them to get the hell off as politely as possible, and made his best effort to never speak to them again. But instead, Lydia Martin was sitting on the hood of his Jeep, her feet swaying back and forth, her head tilted at just the right angle to where her strawberry blonde curls glinted in the sunshine -
Stop it, he told himself, shaking his head. He’d been working on trying not to immediately focus on the things he loved the most about Lydia (which was everything), but it was hard to shake the thought pattern he’d developed after nearly ten years of pining, along with the glorious two months, three weeks, and five days that she’d been his. Finally, she glanced in his direction, and he knew that, even amongst the hundreds of kids pushing their way to their cars, she’d seen him. Let’s get this over with, he thought, grimacing and beginning to walk toward his car.
Lydia jumped off the hood once Stiles was within earshot. “Can we talk?” she asked in a small voice. Instead of replying, Stiles reached into his pocket for the keys to his Jeep. “Please?” she asked again, her voice barely a whisper.
Stiles sighed and turned to face Lydia, raising his eyebrows to let her know he was listening. “So, Scott told me about …” she trailed off, and Stiles nodded. “I just wanted say that I-I’m sorry for thinking it was you.”
Again, Stiles nodded, giving her a small smile. He turned back to face his Jeep, putting in his key and unlocking the driver’s side door.
“Is that it? You’re just going to ignore me from now on?”
He knew he’d regret it, but he faced Lydia again and asked, “Why did you ask me to keep it a secret?”
Lydia’s lips parted, her expression confused as she searched for an answer. “Because I -” she shook her head. “I wanted to make sure it was what I wanted.”
“No, that’s not it,” Stiles said. Lydia opened her mouth to speak but Stiles kept going. “I know that’s what you think, and I know Allison thinks that you have commitment issues, which I could understand, because of all the shit you went through with Jackson, but you wanna know what I think?” Lydia stood frozen, her face an expression of horror. “I think you’re scared of what other people think of you. I think you’re scared that people will see past that cold, unfeeling exterior you put on and discover that there’s a real person under there. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the past two years, Lydia, it’s that you are a smart, kind, loving, beautiful person, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why you want to keep that hidden from the rest of the world.” He shook his head. “You don’t always have to be perfect, Lydia.”
The two stared at each other as Stiles finished, both shocked at what he’d said. Stiles had no idea where any of that had come from, but as he stared at Lydia’s stunned expression, he knew he’d at least struck a chord. Lydia opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, then stopped at the last second.
“You know what, just forget it, Lydia,” Stiles said, breaking the silence. He was tired of waiting for her. He opened his Jeep and climbed in, slamming the door behind him.
“No, Stiles,” he heard Lydia say, finally out of her dazed trance. Stiles did his best to ignore the part of his brain urging him to stay again and wait. He put the key into the ignition and revved the engine.
“Stiles, please, no,” Lydia pleaded, walking up to the open window. His heart ached from the desperation in her voice. He wanted to wrap her up in his arms and kiss her and tell her that everything would be okay. But instead, he pulled out of his parking and spot, nearly grazing Lydia with his sideview mirror, and sped in the opposite direction.
“Stiles!” he heard Lydia yell after him. He inhaled deeply, using every ounce of willpower left in him to keep his eyes trained on the road ahead of him. He was almost certain of what he’d find if he looked behind him: a heartbroken Lydia, her hair covering her face as she stared at the ground, trying to cover her tears. Don’t. Look. Back, he repeated to himself over and over until he turned out of the parking lot to make his way home.
The sound was turned up as high as it could go as Lydia and Allison made their way home from their very successful shopping trip in the next town over. Lydia sang along loudly to the pop music that blared from the speakers. Allison was singing along, too, but her mind seemed to be focused elsewhere. It had been a long day; maybe Allison was just tired.
As the song finished, Allison turned the volume on the speakers down. “Lydia, are you okay?” she asked gently.
Lydia glanced over at Allison, confused. “Uh, yeah. Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Well, this is our third shopping trip in two days,” Allison replied, “I know you well enough to know that you shop when you’re upset about something.” Allison paused, but Lydia didn’t respond. She couldn’t without breaking down. “Scott told me that something happened with you and Stiles on Friday?”
Lydia inhaled deeply, trying to keep herself from crying. “We’re over,” she replied softly.
“Like, permanently over. I royally fucked up, and I don’t think he’ll forgive me.” The car was silent. “Do you remember last year,” Lydia started after a few moments, “when you told me that you couldn’t stop looking at the clock in class sometimes because you knew that Scott would be outside waiting for you? Or how when you saw him in the hallway you couldn’t breathe until you were next to him?” Allison nodded. “And how I told you that I didn’t know what you were talking about, because I’d never felt that before?” Allison nodded again, looking confused. “I feel that way about Stiles. He makes me feel things that I’ve never felt before. Every time I see him, I get the urge to run up to him and kiss him or hold his hand. And when I do, my stomach twists into knots and my heart starts beating faster. There are times during the day where I can’t focus on anything because he’s the only thing I can think about. And …” Lydia trailed off, trying to figure out how to word what she wanted to say. “He knows me better than anyone else. He can see right through me and knows exactly what’s wrong. And he always figures out some way to help. But this time,” Lydia shook her head. “I don’t think he’s willing to help this time.”
Again the car fell quiet. Lydia glanced over at Allison, who looked dumbfounded. Lydia wasn’t surprised; the feelings she’d described had shocked her too when she’d finally realized they were there.
“Lydia, why haven’t you told Stiles any of this?” Allison finally asked.
“He hasn’t exactly been answering my calls lately,” Lydia said softly. “Or texts. Or anything.”
The dull whisper of the radio, still singing pop tunes, was the only sound in the car for several miles. As they began to see the outskirts of Beacon Hills off in the distance, Allison sat up. “I have an idea,” she said. “Do you trust me?”
“Of course,” Lydia replied, more of a question than a statement. But Allison wasn’t paying much attention. She grabbed her phone from her purse and dialed a number. “Hey, Kira?” A pause. “Listen, I have a favor to ask.”
Lydia couldn’t remember feeling this nervous in her entire life. She stood just around the corner from her history classroom. Scott and Stiles had walked in a few minutes earlier, neither of them noticing her hiding place.. She glanced at her cell phone. 7:58. Two more minutes
Allison came up behind her. “Kira says you’ve got five minutes after the bell rings. Also, that you owe her big time.”
Lydia rolled her eyes. “How did you ever convince me that this was going to be a good idea?”
Allison raised an eyebrow. “You’ll be fine. You’re Lydia Martin. Just remember, me and Scott and Kira will all be there. Stiles, too.” Lydia gave Allison a skeptical look. “Just breathe.”
The late bell rang through the empty hallway. A few kids hastily darted into classrooms. Lydia felt her stomach doing backflips. “You ready?” Allison asked.
“Not really, but, what the hell,” Lydia said. “Let’s do this.” Allison smiled and led Lydia in to the history classroom.
Once inside, Allison took her normal seat toward the back, Lydia remained at the front, standing directly in front of the middle row of desks. Mr. Yukimura was thankfully absent. “Hi, everyone,” Lydia started. “Things are gonna be just a little bit different today.” She glanced around the classroom nervously, feeling the confused stares from the rest of the class. Finally her eyes settled on Allison. “A few weeks ago, there were some rumors going around about a relationship between me and a certain sheriff’s son.” Her eyes flitted briefly toward Stiles, then back to Allison. “Those rumors are true. Or at least, they were. But, that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I mean, it sort of is, but not really.” She glanced over to Kira, who was smiling and nodding. “Last year, Allison set me up with someone to go the winter formal. I admit, I still don’t remember much of what happened that night, but I’ll always remember my date.” Lydia smiled as the memories sprang to the surface. “I didn’t really want to go to the winter formal with him, but I wasn’t really given much of a choice, so I resigned myself to sitting at a table drinking punch that had hopefully been spiked with vodka all night watching everyone else have fun. But my date was not going to take no for an answer. He tried so many times to get me out on the dance floor, but I said no every single time. At least, until he did something that no guy had ever done before: he called me smart.”
Finally, Lydia risked a glance at Stiles. She was surprised to see the corners of his mouth turning upward. “I know that doesn’t seem like such a big deal. But no guy had ever called me that before. I don’t think any guy I’d been with before had even realized that I had a higher IQ than they did. But this guy did. So I got up and danced with him.” She glanced at Stiles again, this time staring right at him as she spoke. “And ever since then, I’ve been realizing how well he knows me. He sees things about me that other people don’t bother to look for. He looks past all the walls I’ve put up for God knows what reasons and sees me for me.” Lydia paused, watching Stiles’ lips turn upward into a gigantic grin. “So basically, what I’m trying to say is that I like Stiles Stilinski,” she said, glancing around the room again. Allison, Scott, and Kira all had smiles on their faces. Lydia couldn’t help smiling herself as she continued, her nerves finally gone. “I like Stiles Stilinski a hell of a lot. And I want to be with him.” She looked back to Stiles. “If he’s okay with that.”
Stiles’ smile grew even wider. Lydia felt her heartbeat speed up even more as he stood from his chair and walked toward her, leaning down, taking her face in his hands and kissing her. Lydia smiled and wrapped her hands around his neck, bringing herself closer to Stiles.
“Oh, get a room,” she heard Isaac mutter from the very back of the classroom. She laughed, breaking off the kiss but still holding onto Stiles.
“Sorry I’m late, class,” Mr. Yukimura said as he entered the classroom. He stopped when he noticed Stiles and Lydia, a bemused expression on his face. “Miss Martin, Mr. Stilinski, back to your seats, please.”
“Yes sir,” Stiles said, intertwining his hand in Lydia’s and walking back to their seats.
“So we’re good?” Lydia asked quietly.
Stiles smiled. “Yeah,” he replied, kissing the top of her head before he sat down. “We’re good.”