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Temporary Fix has received your submission, and your application will be reviewed for approval. Once your membership is approved, we will send you a questionnaire to complete to begin the process of pairing you with the best match for your “temporary fix” based off of your specified needs.

Thank you for choosing Temporary Fix. We strive to maintain your privacy while providing the best possible service available. We know you have many options to choose from and appreciate your trust in us.  

The confirmation email reflects back at him from the bright display. Groaning, he blinks. It’s still there. He rubs his eyes. Nope, still there. He closes the email application and reopens it. Nothing changes. It doesn’t magically disappear. Instead, it continues mocking him from the screen. Shaking his head, he begins to accept the nightmarish reality that he had actually done it. After completing the application three months ago, he submitted it last night.

Oh, fuck. What had he been thinking? He knew he shouldn’t have had that last drink. Everything is fuzzy after that. He vaguely remembers getting back to his room and turning on his laptop to watch Netflix, but that’s it. The rest is a blank.

Just as his panic begins to decline, his laptop sounds, ratcheting it up even higher than before. For the love of God, now what?

*YOU HAVE NEW MAIL*

He hovers the mouse over the new email as his stomach takes up residence in his throat. May as well get this over with. Running his fingers through his hair and pulling with a tight grip, he picks ups a previously discarded baseball cap that he finds on his desk and tugs it on backwards, taking a deep breath before opening the email. Here goes nothing.

Congratulations!  

Your application has been approved, and you are on your way to connecting to your “temporary fix”. Whether it’s a company event, a date for the day, a hookup, a vacation companion, or even just someone to spend time with for a few hours, whether it’s formal, extremely casual, or somewhere in between, no matter what the requirements, you provide when and what your needs are and leave the rest to us.  

Please click here and complete the form. If you have an immediate need, we will begin the pairing process upon receipt.  

We are excited to begin your journey with you and look forward to connecting you with your “temporary fix”!  

Thank you again for choosing Temporary Fix.  

And of course, he’s always been too curious for his own good, so he clicks the link and quickly reads the top of the page.

Cheers on taking the first step! Let’s get started. Please complete the questionnaire below. Make sure to answer every question completely and honestly so that we can be as successful as possible in finding your perfect match.  

He bites his bottom lips and hesitates, unsure about continuing. On one hand, he really doesn’t want to go alone. On the other hand, this could end in disaster, and most likely will, if he’s completely honest. The internal battle comes to an abrupt halt when Boyd barges into his room. Quickly slamming the laptop shut, he stumbles out a stilted greeting. “Boyd. Um. Hi. What’s up?”

“Hey, Derek! I’m headed downstairs to the common room. They’re playing The Breakfast Club tonight. Wanna go with me?” he asks, eyebrows waggling up and down. “Molly Ringwald. I’m just saying.”

Derek shakes his head and chuckles at Boyd's antics. “Yeah, sure. Let’s go.” Unfolding himself from his chair and standing with a back popping stretch, he grabs his pillow and blanket before following his friend out the door. The email beckoning him from his laptop will still be there later. It can wait just a little longer.

 

~*~ Friday – Derek ~*~

 

The next morning, Derek opens his laptop to find the open form blinking back at him, tab still active in the browser. Breath whooshing out of his lungs, he moves the cursor to the first empty blank. He isn’t absolutely sure that he is ready to do this, but he knows he is running out of time to come up with a different solution. Boyd already has plans for that weekend, and he doesn’t want to show up alone again. Turning on some music for background noise, he begins to answer the questions as the opening chords of Trapt’s “Headstrong” fill the silence in the room.

  • Name (first name only): Derek

Well, that one was easy, he pats himself on the back. At least he got one answer right. Chuckling at himself, he tucks his feet under him, settling in and getting comfortable.

  • What name would you like to be called by your match? Well, my name is Derek, so let’s go with that.
  • Current Age: 18
  • Gender: male
  • DOB: February 14
  • Height: 6’
  • Hair Color: black
  • Eye Color: green/hazel

He releases the breath he hadn’t known he was holding. So far so good. Confidence boosting, he continues.

  • Sexual Identity: bi? I guess. I don’t know. I have never really put a label to it.
  • Sexually Active: no
  • Number of Tattoos: 0
  • Number of Piercings: 0
  • Do you have siblings? If yes, how many? yes, 1 older sister
  • Do you have any pets? no
  • Do you have any allergies to pets? no 
  • Personality Traits: compassionate, honest, generous, fair, loyal, peacekeeper, quiet, self-sacrificing, calm, sensitive, protective, a little insecure in new situations, shy

Derek pauses. Is that enough? Should he come up with more? Maybe embellish some? He decides to leave it as is and continues on.

  • Is there anything that a potential temporary fix match might need to know about you? Please list all other details about yourself that you would like to share. I don’t like to shave completely, so I always have some kind of scruff thing going on.. I can be excruciatingly shy and awkward until I know someone. I am protective of my family and friends and will do anything to keep them safe and away from harm. I don’t know.
  • Do you drink? How often? sometimes, socially
  • Do you smoke? How often? never
  • Medical Conditions: none
  • Current Medications: none
  • Do you currently have any STIs/STDs? no
  • Have you recently completed an STI/STD exam? If yes, when? yes, last month
  • Are you pregnant? no????

Derek snickers and rolls his eyes. That question was almost easier than his name. Still chuckling, he scrolls down the page to the next question.

  • Rank the words below in order of importance (1 important/10 not important, choose each number only once): This question was difficult. There needs to be a way to tie. My second and third answers are equally important. Honesty, trust, loyalty, and commitment all go hand in hand, don’t they? 
    • Touch: 1
    • Communication: 7
    • Loyalty/Commitment: 3
    • Honesty/Trust: 2
    • Sex: 8
    • Money: 10
    • Personality: 4
    • Appearance/Looks: 6
    • Gifts (receiving): 9
    • Words/Endearments (receiving): 5
  • Do you have an upcoming event that you need a “temporary fix” match to attend? yes

If yes, please continue below:  

  • Date: Thursday, September 28
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Place: my parents’ home in Manchester
  • Is this an overnight event? maybe, potentially through Monday, October 2
  • Type of Event: family hosted party/weekend
  • Attire: nice casual for Thursday dinner, normal everyday clothes for other times, swimwear
  • What is your preferred partner’s gender for this event? male is preferred, but female would be acceptable if a good match is found
  • Any important information your partner would need to know before deciding to accept this “temporary fix”? This weekend can be strictly platonic. I have no expectations for more. I think I should also mention that things may become very uncomfortable and difficult at times. A person comfortable with who they are would be best. I will provide transportation and all travel costs, including lodging and meals. The event is all weekend, but Thursday evening only is fine. I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to stay, and I don’t want to interfere with their work/personal time any more than necessary. I will arrange travel home at any time for any reason, no questions asked.
  • Are you immediately available to be a “temporary fix” for someone else? As long as it doesn’t interfere with the dates above.
  • Are you available for overnight events? maybe, depends on the event and what is required, no hookups

Please attach a current photo here. When finished, please click the submit button below.

Already knowing exactly which picture he wants to use for his profile, Derek opens a file folder on his desktop and scans through the photos quickly. Finding the right one almost immediately, he attaches the photo that Boyd took of him last week at the preserve. Boyd had caught him in that moment just after laughing when his smile was the most natural, his eyes shining bright. His hair is a bit messy and soft from the wind that day. The backdrop of the trees only serves to add to the overall effect giving him a bit of a rugged look.

Anxiety floods him as he skims over the page reviewing his answers, his cursor coming to a stop and ghosting over the submit button. He flicks the cursor away. He can’t do this. What is he thinking? He can’t subject anyone else to this drama, especially a stranger. How fair would that be? Hands shaking, he runs his fingers back and forth through his hair and then down over his face. With a strangled sigh, he gives up and shuts his laptop.

Derek untangles himself from the chair and heads toward the bathroom. As soon as he takes three steps though, he stops. Taking a deep breath, he turns and takes two steps back to his laptop before he spins back around, shaking his head and hastily moving back away. When he reaches the bathroom door, he steels himself and changes his direction once again. He can’t show up alone. He won’t. Not this time. Never again. His body shakes with his indecision, and he tightens his resolve. Making his way back to his desk, he sits down and reopens his laptop before he loses his nerve. He can do this. It’s a piece of cake. Easy peasy. Not bad at all. Insert sarcasm here.

Before he can change his mind again, he shifts the cursor to the submit button and clicks. He can’t blame it on the alcohol this time. A confirmation email pops up immediately.

Thank you for your submission. If you have included a current request, you will receive an email within 72 hours with a suggested match for your “temporary fix” need; otherwise, we will contact you when a match becomes available for you to fill. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or updated information.  

Derek collapses the browser and shuts his laptop, dread and fear settling in his stomach. His heart is pounding. Blood is rushing in his ears. The walls are closing in, and he feels like he can’t breathe. He needs to get out of this room. Picking up his phone, he sends a text to Boyd.

Lunch?  

Without waiting for a reply, Derek throws his phone onto his bed and pulls off his shirt, his joggers not far behind, before heading into the bathroom to take a shower.

 

~*~ Friday – Stiles ~*~

 

“What the fuck is this, Jax?” Stiles demands as he storms into Jackson’s bedroom of their shared apartment, waving his hand at the open laptop in his other hand.

Jackson removes his headphones and rolls his eyes, before stating the obvious. “A laptop? Your laptop to be exact?”

“Don’t be a smart ass,” Stiles reproaches disdainfully. “What did you do?”

“You’re going to have to be a bit more specific,” Jackson says with a grin, obviously already knowing what Stiles is going on about but thoroughly enjoying watching his best friend squirm.

Stiles reads the email on the screen. “Your application has been approved, and you are on your way to connecting to your “temporary fix”.” He looks back at Jackson in annoyance. “What. Did. You. Fucking. Do?” 

“Oh, that. Yeah. I sent in your application to Temporary Fix last night,” Jackson answers nonchalantly and smiles, replacing his headphones before returning back to his sketchpad, his strokes confident and sure on the page.

Anger flaring, Stiles stares at him incredulously. His hands shake as he shuts his laptop and puts it carefully on Jackson’s dresser. He tongues at his lip ring for a minute, trying to calm himself. When he doesn’t succeed, he gives up and walks over to Jackson, pulls the puffy, white headphone speaker away from one ear and lets it go, watching in satisfaction as it recoils and snaps hard against his best friend’s head.

“Hey! What did you do that for?” Jackson grumbles, pulling the headphones completely off again and rubbing his ear.

Stiles huffs, unamused. “Why did you send in an application to Temporary Fix in my name?” Jackson just raises his eyebrows, staring back at him, as if the answer is obvious. Stiles rolls his eyes. “I don’t need a fucking temporary fix!” Stiles yells, patience gone.

A beat passes, then Jackson, as if talking to a child having a tantrum, calmly replies, “Sti, you need to get out of this apartment for something besides work. You need to be around people.”

“What are you on about? I’m a bartender, for crying out loud. I’m around people all the time. I’m around you,” he retorts.

“You know what I mean,” Jackson counters.

“No. I really don’t, dude.” Except Stiles knows exactly what he means.

Jackson levels him with a stare, “Just fill it out.”

“No.”

“Sti.”

“No,” he repeats firmly, unwavering.

Sighing in exasperation, Jackson blinks and waits in silent determination.

“No,” Stiles reiterates, just a little petulantly as he begins to relent, his irritation fading like the tide.

“At least, just think about it,” Jackson says.

Stiles hesitates at the compromise. Jackson lifts his eyebrows in question, a smug smirk in place, knowing he’s won this round.

“Fine,” Stiles finally agrees, even while knowing he has no intention of doing so. Seriously, why bother thinking about something when he already knows he’s not going to do it to begin with? Alright, yeah, he probably will at least think about it; but he’s not admitting that to Jackson, or himself for that matter.

 

~~*~~

 

Stiles sets up eight glasses and begins making several individual drinks for the customer in front of him. As he expertly fills the glasses, he looks to the next customer, “What can I get you, love?”

“Three Gimlets, two Snakebites, a Whiskey Sour, a Manhattan, six shots of Jack, three pints, and your phone number,” the pretty brunette girl responds with a smile.

“Fresh out of phone numbers, but I can get you the drinks,” he easily responds with a flash of a bright smile while finishing up the previous customer’s order without missing a beat.

He hands the customer his change, who throws it into the tip jar, and begins making the brunette’s drink order.

“I’ll make it worth your time,” the girl continues, batting her eyes at Stiles as he continues to work in rapid fire motion filling drinks. He lifts his eyebrows in response but doesn’t otherwise acknowledge the bold invitation.

He looks to the next customer, recognizing him from earlier in the evening, “Back already? 2 more pints?”

The man smiles shyly and nods his answer. Stiles winks and looks to the next customer, “What are you having tonight, dude?”

“Three pints, two gin and tonics, and a Tequila Sunrise,” the young ginger man calls out to him.

Stiles sets up the glasses and finishes the brunette’s order. When he turns back to her to cash her out, she presses on, “And your number?”

“Sorry, doll, I don’t give out my number.” He hands the girl her change. “Have a nice night,” he says by way of dismissal, while pouring the pints for the next customer and setting up glasses for the one after.

Stiles focuses on the third customer now in line, “Another round of tequila shots?”

“Please,” the man nods, “and can you add an extra bowl of limes?”

“You good on salt?” Stiles asks.

“Yes, thanks,” the man confirms.

Stiles hands the two pints to the man in front of him, makes his change, and begins filling glasses for the next order. As he puts the finishing touches on the Tequila Sunrise, he grabs the glasses for the tequila shots and the limes, making sure to grab an extra bowl.

He looks up as he is cashing out the red headed man and sees the brunette girl still standing there.

“I’m sorry. Did I miss something on your order?” Stiles asks already knowing he didn’t. He is nothing if not proficient at what he does.

“Your number,” the girl smirks and leans forward letting the plunging v-neck of her shirt gape open.

Stiles continues making the tequila shots and takes the next customer’s order. Looking back to the girl, he keeps his eyes trained on her face, hoping to make his point clear, as he says bluntly, “I’m really not interested.”

For a split-second, confusion flickers across her face as if she had never heard those words before. Stiles would laugh if he didn’t think it would encourage her. “But no one turns me down,” she pouts, red, painted lips pursed in what he thinks she probably assumes is cute. It’s really not.

“First time for everything, sweetheart. Now scoot. In case you missed it, it’s a bit chaotic in here tonight; and I’m working alone behind the bar,” he softens the hard edge to his words with a small smile. He knows the girl isn’t likely to give up easily, and he really doesn’t want to be rude; but he’s losing his patience with her.

“I’ll come back later,” she promises.

“Please, don’t,” he mumbles under his breath before shooting a smile to the customer in front of him and taking the next order.

To say the bar is a zoo tonight would be an understatement. It’s the normal craziness for a Friday night, but usually he has another bartender with him behind the bar. Unfortunately, the other bartender called in at the last minute; and by last minute, he means well after his shift was supposed to start. The barback was also missing in action, currently at the hospital awaiting the birth of his child. The man tried to come in to work, had actually shown up; but when he had walked in the door, Stiles had shooed him out of the building and told him to go be with his girlfriend.

Stiles hasn’t been able to reach anyone else to fill in, so other than a couple of waitresses and bouncers, he’s solo. Jackson normally would help, but tonight he has an art class that he couldn’t miss. Something about a naked model? He can’t remember. He doesn’t have time to remember.

Stiles brings himself back from his thoughts to the job in front of him and rolls his head around to each side, popping his neck and loosening up the tight muscles. He hasn’t stopped filling drinks, already several customers past the tequila shots. Hell, he hasn’t stopped filling drinks since the bar opened five hours ago. A very long five hours ago. To be completely honest, he could use a piss and some fresh air, but mainly a piss. Oh, God, does he need a piss.

Stiles startles as a hand shoots across the bar directly in front of him, “You look like you could use some help. Name’s Danny.” He looks up to see a man about his age smiling at him, hand extended in greeting.

“You know your way around a bar?” Stiles questions while setting up the next two customers’ orders and looking to the following person in line. “What can I get you tonight?”

Once the customer places his order, Danny responds, “Yes.”

“Have you been drinking?” Stiles questions. There is no way would he invite a drunk person behind the bar.

“Not in the last three hours and only a single pint before that.”

Stiles scrutinizes the man in front of him before nodding and tilting his chin toward the pass to the bar, “Let’s see it then.” He continues setting up glasses and making drinks as Danny heads to the far end of the bar and lifts the pass, lowering it behind him after stepping through.

“I’m Red. No barback tonight. Clean up what you can back here as you go. I will make a run to the back shortly to stock up; so, pay attention to what we need, and let me know if anything gets too low that needs more immediate attention,” Stiles instructs with rapid fire words when Danny sidles up beside him. “Aprons are under the till. Towels are behind you.” He shoots Danny a shit eating grin, “Welcome to Hell.”

Danny grabs the half apron and ties it around his waist, moving to Stiles’ right side without any hesitation in his body language. He looks to the next customer, “What are you having tonight?”

Stiles is surprised at how fast and efficient Danny works and even more surprised at how well they work together. Most people can’t keep up with Stiles and end up in his way more often than not, only serving to piss him off, which usually leads to him telling the other person to fuck off and leave. That’s usually followed by tears and yelling and a whole big scene that Stiles typically doesn’t have the time or patience for. While Danny isn’t quite as fast as Stiles, they move together as if they have been doing this for years rather than just shy of an hour.

“Man, I need to piss,” Stiles grumbles to Danny quietly under his breath, hidden by a smile he is giving the customer in front of him.

“Go. I’ll hold down the bar,” Danny offers.

“Dude, we’re swamped. I can’t just leave you here to face the madness alone.”

“It’s fine. You won’t be gone that long. Just go before you piss yourself right here behind the bar.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Stiles pauses and tosses a wink to Danny. “Or the second.”

A look of horror flashes across Danny's face before he laughs and points away from the bar, “Go! I am not cleaning that shit up.”

With a short, grateful nod, Stiles removes his apron and throws it into the wash bin as he exits through the pass, moving swiftly into the employees only area. As soon as the door shuts behind him, he begins pulling at the button and zipper of his jeans to relieve the pressure and prays he makes it in time. He honestly isn’t sure it’s not already too late. His time is running out rapidly by the second. By the time he ducks into the private bathroom, he is shuddering with his need to piss; and his body spasms with the intense feelings.

It’s with an audible gasp that he finally relieves himself, his bladder’s demands ebbing. He washes his hands at the tap and walks to the stock room, grabbing two buckets of ice to replenish the bar. Carrying them on his shoulders, he enters the main area and sits the buckets behind the bar before making another trip to get a keg to replace the one that is already empty.

By the time he gets back with the fresh keg less than a minute later, he sees the two ice buckets have already been dumped into the ice basins. He takes the buckets and empty keg to the back and returns with a crate of glasses and a box of a variety of different liquors to have on hand as backstock before they run out behind the bar.

Stiles glances over at Danny and wonders if the man needs a full-time job. He hasn’t stopped working since stepping behind the bar. Stiles pulls out a fresh apron and ties it around his waist then takes a towel and throws it over his shoulder for easy access.

“Better?” Danny asks when Stiles slides back into place next to him.

“Fuck, yes. I literally had seconds left. There was real concern that I was going to leave a trail. Thanks, dude.”

They fall back into a rhythm and work together to keep the line moving. Four hours later, they ring the bell for last call. As expected, a crowd rushes to the bar and for the next half hour, the two continue to work completely in sync. When the line subsides to only a handful of people, Stiles takes an empty bussing tub, walks out to the customer area, and begins clearing tables, leaving Danny to take care of the last few orders.

“So, about that number,” he hears seconds before he feels a body push against him from behind. He tenses at the unwelcome contact. Nothing about him screams approachable or amenable to touch. That is one hundred percent purposeful. Why this girl thought otherwise, he will never begin to comprehend, nor does he want to. He just wants her to be no longer touching him.

“Please, just give it up. I’m not interested,” he says steadily, yet irritated that the girl won’t just get the message. He really hates being the bad guy, but his patience is worn thin from the long night and is quickly diminishing to nonexistent.

“We could have so much fun later if you would just give me your number.” She presses closer against him, purring in his ear, “You don’t even have to wear a condom.”

Disgusted by the thought of barebacking this slag, Stiles’ body convulses violently. “For crying out loud, take the hint and leave,” Stiles snaps harshly through gritted teeth, finally beyond brassed off.

“Would you rather just go out back then? I would be alright with you fucking me against a wall as long as the end result is your cock filling me up,” she murmurs and runs her fingers down the back of his neck.

Dreading what he knows is about to happen, he sighs. His eyes land on the bouncer watching him from across the room, and he lifts his chin with a sharp jerk before turning around to face the girl. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

A look of incomprehension crosses her face, “What are you talking about?”

“He means to say that you are no longer welcome at Midnight Memories. Harassment of any kind, to anyone, is not tolerated. Please come with me,” the bouncer replies smoothly, taking over.

“You’re kicking me out? Who the hell do you think you are? Do you know who I am?” she yells at Stiles, her voice screeching in decibels only dogs should be able to hear.

“Don’t care.” With that, Stiles nods to the bouncer and continues cleaning tables. The bouncer dips his head in understanding and escorts the arguing, flailing girl from the building.

An hour and a half later when the last customers finally leave, Stiles silences the music and turns the lights up. He puts his hands on the bar, arms locked and takes a deep breath, looking around at the mess in the room in front of him. It really sucks being down a barback; but given a chance to change his decision, he would do the same thing all over again.

He takes a deep breath and braces himself for the daunting task ahead. Time to clean and set the bar to rights. Pushing off the surface of the bar, he begins emptying remnants of drinks into a bin and then racking the dirty glasses into a washing crate to be run through the dishwasher.

A movement to his left draws his attention. He glances up, startled to see Danny wiping tables. “You’re still here? Were you here by yourself tonight?”

“No, I came with friends. They left a couple of hours after I got behind the bar.”

“Why didn’t you say so? You didn’t have to stay. I would have managed,” Stiles says, feeling a little guilty for taking Danny away from his friends all night, even if it was Danny that offered to help to begin with.

“I was enjoying myself. Besides, you needed the help; and to be honest, I miss being behind a bar,” Danny ducks his head, showing a sudden shyness that surprised Stiles. Interesting. Danny is proving to be more complex than he previously assumed, which is a benefit when it comes to meeting each customer’s specific needs and dynamics as a bartender. Yes. He nods his head. This is definitely a good thing.

“For what it’s worth, I was happy to have you,” Stiles admits.

“Thanks. I’m glad I could help. Everyone was pretty nice tonight, even in midst of the chaos. The vibe here is very relaxed without taking away the fun. What was the deal with that one girl, though? She looked like someone pissed in her Cheerios when the bouncer took her out yelling and screaming.” Danny giggles, remembering her outrage.

“She wanted my number. I wasn’t interested,” Stiles shrugs.

“Any particular reason why not?” he asks out of curiosity, lifting an eyebrow.

Stiles mock gasps, “Is that your way of asking me if I’m gay?” He grabs at his chest dramatically and watches as Danny’s face drops in embarrassment.

“What? No!” Danny tries to backpedal. “I mean, it’s alright if you are, but you don’t have to tell me. I wasn’t asking though. I just thought maybe you prefer someone with a more specific look,” Danny's eyes widen at the words that just came out of his mouth. “Not looks like if they have a penis or not but like hair color or build or, oh God, not build like male or female, but like, you know, tall or short or skinny or soft or muscular,” his arms begin to flap around as if of their own accord. Pausing only briefly, he sucks in a breath of air and quickly deflates, “Fuck. Like personality or looks or something. Yeah, like that.”

Stiles stifles his smile while he watches Danny flounder, before letting him off the hook and succumbing to his laughter.

Baffled by Stiles’ response, he asks, “Wait. Are you gay?”

Smirking as his laughter begins to subside, Stiles raises one pierced eyebrow. “Does it matter?”

“No. Not really. You’re a great person. That’s all that really matters,” he says honestly.

“How do you know that?”

“Know what?” Danny asks, tilting his head curiously, reminding Stiles of an adorable puppy.

“That I’m a great person.” Stiles pauses his cleaning to look at Danny.

“Just instinct, I guess. You have a way with people. They love you, and you make each person feel special. I don’t think you forgot a single order tonight, even repeat orders. Plus, after watching your patience with that girl tonight, it cemented it for me.”

“Good instincts,” Stiles remarks with a grin before returning to the task in front of him. He tosses more trash into the bin and then hefts out the full bag effortlessly.

“So, why weren’t you interested?” Danny picks up their conversation easily.

“It’s hard to explain.” Stiles shrugs. “For one thing, I try not to date customers, as it only ever brings drama; but even then, she wasn’t my type.”

“That’s fair. What is your type then?” Danny looks up and sees Stiles staring back with his pierced eyebrow raised again and a teasing smirk on his lips, tongue playing with the ring at the corner of his mouth. Before Stiles can respond, Danny clarifies, “Barring gender preferences, that is.”

Stiles wrinkles his nose. “She was too… I don’t know how to define it. She was just too in my face, too pushy, I guess. And arrogant, very arrogant and entitled.” He visibly winces as he thinks back to what had happened. “She never would have been able to handle my personality.”

“I just met you, and even I can see that. She was definitely something else. I can’t see anyone tolerating her for long,” Danny grins.

“Yeah. That’s putting in nicely,” Stiles chuckles.

“Plus, she doesn’t have a dick,” Danny ribs offhandedly, eyes cutting to Stiles.

Stiles barks out a loud laugh, “Oh, my God! Are you on that again?” He winds up his damp towel and pops it at Danny's ass, a thunderous crack filling the air. Danny's yell fills the quiet around them, as he darts away to safety behind the bar.

They continue to talk and laugh, conversation flowing free and effortless as they clean the bar, prepping everything for the next day. Stiles marvels again at how efficiently they work together.

“Is there anything else that needs to be done?” Danny asks, inspecting the finally clean and well put together bar.

“No. We are golden. Thanks for the assist tonight,” Stiles says walking over to the till and taking out $200.00 and handing it to Danny. “Half the tips and two hundred on top sound alright?” He grabs the tip jar and empties it onto the bar top.

Danny steps back and holds up his hands, palms out. “Not necessary. I am just glad I could help.”

“Really, dude. Take it. You earned it. I was…”

“You were fantastic. I was just excited to be able to work with someone like you. Everyone in the building was content from the customers to the other employees. You remembered huge stacked orders like no one I have ever met before. You even remembered who was drinking what when they came back to order again. Your memory blows my mind. You are truly amazing.”

“Thank you,” Stiles responds with a small smile at the compliment. “It helps that I love it here.”

“It definitely shows.” Danny watches as Stiles almost imperceptibly preens at his comment. If he hadn’t been looking directly at him, he would have missed it. Stiles has the “don’t fuck with me” vibe down to an art.

“You know, you worked well behind the bar with me. Most people can’t do that. Are you looking for a job?” Stiles asks. He knows Danny would be a perfect match to work with him regularly. It just feels right, and it’s been a while since anything has felt this right to him.

“Do you think they would hire me?” Danny asks, surprised at the suggestion.

“I’m pretty sure.” Stiles tilts his head to the side assessing the emotions flickering over Danny's face. Surprise. Insecurity. Curiosity. Humility. Grace. In that order. “Are you up for it?”

With a brief nod, Danny answers, “Where do I sign up?”

Stiles smiles, “You just did.” He offers his hand. “Hi. Let me reintroduce myself. I’m Stiles, and this is my bar. Are you free tomorrow night? Or, I guess I should say, later today. We open at 4:00 p.m.”