It isn’t often Stiles finds himself without his nose stuck in a book these days. He remembers simpler times—high school—when he could skim chapters and get away with it. These days, he’s constantly analyzing passages; highlight here, note there, possible thesis statement along the bottom. It’s absurd, really.
That’s why he finds himself at the café down the street from school on most days, sitting in a back corner with a stack of books and a laptop open, paper mugs piling up drink-by-drink. The barista knows his order and smiles sweetly at him every time he comes in.
Stiles likes the atmosphere; it’s a classic sort of movie setting, mismatched chairs and tables, indie rock playing over the speakers when there isn’t some local artist on the mini-stage at the front of the shop. It’s quaint and comfortable, and Stiles can get shit done with access to an endless supply of coffee.
He’s flipping through an anthology, highlighter cap in his mouth, when someone sits across from him at his table. Glancing up, he mumbles something around the cap and falters when the stranger smiles and sets a cup down in front of him.
“Um,” Stiles pops the highlighter shut and sets it down. “Can I help you?”
“Matt,” the man smiles charmingly, holding out a hand. “Nice to meet you.”
“Uh, yeah.” Stiles nods, eyes flitting down to the camera around Matt’s neck. “You too. Can I help you with something?”
Matt lets his hand drop, his smile stiffening a bit. “I just saw you sitting by yourself. Thought you could use some company.”
“Well, thanks, Matt.” Stiles bobs his head. “I appreciate it, but—“
“Right, yeah, you’re busy.” Matt cuts him off, holding up a surrendering hand. “I’m sorry.”
“No,” Stiles laughs, a bit awkward, but he smiles. “No, it’s fine. Not a big deal.”
“I was just—You know, I just figured you were alone and maybe you’d like to not be alone.” Matt adds.
Stiles tilts his head. “What do you mean?”
“You’re single. I’m single.”
Stiles’ eye twitches.
“I figured I would take the risk to ask you out, and—“
“Stiles?” Allison’s hand lands on his shoulder gently, and Stiles glances sharply up at her. “Who’s this?”
She’s smiling, but there’s a curiosity in her eyes as she glances between Stiles and Matt. Stiles relaxes under her hand, and beams when Scott sidles up next to her. Matt looks pleasantly confused.
“I was just asking your friend on a date.”
Scott scowls. “A date?”
“I was just telling him that I’m not single.” Stiles says quickly.
Matt frowns. “You’re always in here alone.”
“He’s always in here with us.” Scott protests.
“Exactly. You two are dating—he’s not—“
“He’s dating us.” Allison says, smile bright and broad. “We’re all dating each other. So I don’t think Stiles can go on a date with you. I’m sorry.”
Stiles bites the inside of his cheek to swallow back a smile. Matt frowns up at Scott and Allison, then at Stiles.
“Sorry,” Stiles shrugs a shoulder, clearing his throat as Matt stands. “I’m taken.”
“Right,” Matt smiles, but it’s much more like a grimace. “Right, sorry.”
As soon as he’s gone, Scott takes his previously occupied seat. Allison drags a chair over and sits between them. She steals a drink from the coffee on the table and hums.
“This is good,” she says.
Stiles chuckles, and he leans over to kiss her cheek. “I was worried you’d never show up.”
Scott is still frowning. “Can’t believe he just hit on you like that.”
“Hey,” Stiles pouts. “I’m hit-on-able. I’m cute. People want to tap this.”
Scott’s expression softens. “I know that. I want to tap you right now. Wanna go to the boy’s bathroom?”
“Boys,” Allison chides, nudging them both beneath the table. “At least wait until we get back to the apartment?”
“Sorry,” they say at the same time. She knows that they aren’t.
“What’s for dinner tonight?” Scott asks, nudging at Stiles’ foot.
“What do you want?”
Scott grins, dopey and adoring. “You two.”
“Oh, my god, shut up.” Stiles laughs and Allison joins him.
Scott hums. “I dunno. I feel like I need to mark my territory. Guys are asking you out—I caught someone eyeballing Ally on the way here.”
“Alright, us two.” Allison concedes. “After Stiles makes that gumbo he promised us.”
Stiles smiles. “Let’s get outta here.”