Stiles is not ashamed to say that he is hiding behind the table with the hors d’oeuvres. Lydia is off, talking to some fancy art critic, because she can actually talk about art. All Stiles can say is whether he thinks it looks pretty or not.
Earlier he’d made the mistake of standing still in front of one of the paintings. Some hipster with curly hair and a scarf had tried to talk to him about it. Stiles had quickly mumbled something about how he should be looking for his friend and ran off.
Usually it’s other people who have no idea what Stiles is talking about. And now that the tables are turned, Stiles feels a little disoriented. So he’s hiding.
‘You don’t like the pieces?’ a voice says next to him.
Stiles looks up to say that he prefers things whole, but his reply gets stuck in his throat. The man next to him is gorgeous with soft looking hair, and scruff on his cheeks. He looks a little uncomfortable in the jacket and shirt he’s wearing, and Stiles imagines that everyone would be happier if he took them off. Maybe the pants, too.
‘I’m hiding,’ Stiles answers honestly.
‘Because I don’t know anything about art and when people start to talk to me, I have no idea what they’re saying.’
The guy tilts his head a little, like he’s trying to figure out what to do with Stiles.
‘Have you actually walked around?’
Stiles shakes his head.
‘How about I walk with you? If you have any questions you can ask me.’
‘Really?’ Stiles has to be sure, because this guy, who is hot like burning, is offering him, Stiles, who is more like a warm glow than a burn, his help. Freely. ‘Why?’
The guys ears go a little red at that.
‘Because else there won’t be any food left for the rest of us.’
One tour of the gallery later and Stiles thinks he’s in love. The guy isn’t just gorgeous, he’s hilarious, smart, and really nice.
They stopped at every painting and the guy, who’s name turned out to be Derek, asked him what he thought about it. At first, the answers Stiles had given were a bit stilted. What could he possibly have to say about it? But Derek waited patiently and they actually managed to have conversations, about art.
‘I’m pretty sure you’re the only other person here who speaks English,’ Stiles had whispered to him, halfway through their tour.
Derek had simply smiled and pushed him towards the next piece.
Now, they’re back at the start. Stiles isn’t sure what to say. Derek seems to be having the same problem. He should probably thank the guy.
‘Would you like to get some coffee?’ Stiles asks. It’s not exactly what he had planned to say.
‘Yes?’ Because why not? He’s already put himself out there.
Derek looks around. Nobody is paying attention to them. Everyone is looking at the paintings, or Lydia, who seems to have acquired a following. Satisfied with what he sees, Derek nods. ‘Okay.’
They’re sitting in the coffee shop around the corner. Stiles is sipping a peppermint latte with extra whip and chocolate sprinkles, and Derek is warming his hands on cocoa with cinnamon and only a little dot of whipped cream.
Stiles is pretty sure he’s fucked. He thought the man looked amazing before, but this is a whole other level. Derek looks so much softer, now. His suit jacket is off and he’d unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt. He looks so much more relaxed than he did fifteen minutes ago. Stiles is having a hard time resisting the urge to curl up against the man’s chest and just nuzzle into him.
‘What was your favourite?’ Derek asks, breaking the silence.
‘The forest,’ Stiles answers immediately. ‘I grew up close to a preserve and it kind of reminded me of that. With the colours and how the light fell.’
‘It’s actually based of a place me and my family used to go for vacation.’
Stiles frowns. How would Derek know that? But just as he’s about to ask, his phone goes off.
It’s a text from Lydia.
‘It’s my friend, Lydia. She’s probably wondering where I am. Do you mind?'
Derek motions for him to go ahead.
>>The artist is missing
>> I wanted to ask him something, but he’s not here anymore
>> Someone said they saw him leave with some guy
<< Why would someone leave their own opening?
>> True love? He’d been talking to the guy all night, apparently
>> Where are you?
Stiles looks from his phone to Derek and back at his phone. The pieces start to fall into place. The way Derek had so confidently talked about the paintings, his comment about Stiles’ favourite and now Lydia’s texts.
‘Oh my god,’ he says. ‘You’re the artist.’
‘You didn’t know?’ Derek says with a laugh, showing off his adorable bunny teeth.
Stiles buries his face in his hands. ‘I can’t believe I dragged you away from your own show.’
Gentle fingers peel his hands away. Derek doesn’t let go, instead he folds his own hands over Stiles’.
‘You didn’t drag me, Stiles. I went quite willingly.’
‘Well,’ Stiles says, ‘Lydia is still going to kill me. She really wanted to ask you something.’
‘Ask her what it is she wants to know.’
Derek nods and Stiles quickly types out the message.
<< I’m at the coffee shop with him. What do you want to know?
>> What his intentions are with my best friend and tell him that if he hurts you I know how to make an acid that can melt his work in two minutes
‘Uhm, I should probably tell you that Lydia can be a bit overprotective, but she’s really nice if she likes you,’ Stiles says before showing Derek the message.
Derek laughs again when he reads the text.
‘You can tell her that my intentions are mostly pure.’
Stiles almost chokes on his drink, when Derek whispers across the table, ‘There are things I want to do to your mouth that in no way could be considered "pure.’
Stiles quickly sends another text to Lydia. He grabs his coffee and stands up.
‘Well, let’s go then. Because there are things that I want to do to your ass, and I can’t do them here.’
This time it’s Derek who chokes on his drink. Stiles walks out of the shop, a smile on his face and Derek close behind him.