Stiles drains the last of the water from his bottle. He loves being a gardener, but it can be murder in the summer. Luckily, the Hales realize this and always make sure the little fridge in the shed is stocked with fresh, cool water.
He looks around him, pleased with his work. There’s only one flowerbed left that needs tending. He tosses the bottle over his shoulder, hoping it’ll land in the wheelbarrow behind him. He grabs the bottom of his shirt to wipe off the sweat on his face, but freezes mid movement at the sound of a pained yowl.
He turns, just in time to see Donna slip into the house. And Derek, the Hales’ eldest son who is house sitting for his parents, striding out.
‘Fuck.’ He’s so fired.
Derek has been frowning at him since he arrived a couple weeks ago with his cat. If the guy didn’t like him before, he must despise him now.
‘Shit. I’m so sorry!’ Stiles yells.
‘What the hell did you do?’ Derek sounds like he’s about to explode.
‘I didn’t see her. I swear!’
Derek is standing in front of him now. Brow furrowed, jaw locked, eyes looking almost gold in the sunlight.
‘What happened, Stiles?’ the guy grits out.
‘I threw my water bottle in the wheelbarrow, at least I thought I did, but your cat must’ve gotten in without me noticing, and the bottle must’ve hit her.’ He drags a hand through his hair in despair. ‘Look, I’m really sorry. But she’s okay, right? I mean, I saw her run into the house.’
Derek turns and stalks back towards the house.
Stiles sighs. Well, that’s it for this sweet gig. He’s going to have to go back to tending old peoples’ gardens and getting pinched in the butt by eighty year-olds. Both men and women. But he’s not going to leave without this garden being in top condition, so he’s at least going to fix up that last bed of flowers first.
Thirty minutes later, Stiles is done. With a heavy heart he takes all the equipment back to the shed. He grabs one last bottle of water, then locks the door for the last time.
‘Stiles!’ Derek calls out when he approaches the backdoor. ‘Come in for a sec. And take off your shoes.’
It feels like he’s walking towards his doom. He closes the screen-door behind him and suddenly his arms are full of something soft and vibrating. He hadn’t expected his doom to be so soft.
‘Good,’ Derek nods. He turns and walks out of the mudroom, into the house.
Stiles blinks and realizes that the vibrating ball of fluff is Donna. What is happening?
‘Uhm, Mr. Hale?’
Derek appears back in the doorway, eyebrows raised.
‘Why am I holding your cat?’
‘To find out if she’s forgiven you. I can’t date someone Donna doesn’t like.’
‘Oh.’ Well, that makes sense. Actually, it doesn’t. ‘Wait. What do you mean “date”?’
‘I was thinking, maybe dinner?’ Derek looks nonchalant, with how his hands are in his pockets and his eyebrows are still trying to merge with his hairline. But there’s a flicker of uncertainty in those eyes.
‘Oh.’ He really should work on his comebacks . ‘Hold on, isn’t that against some kind of rule? Because I’m employed by you?’
‘You’re employed by my parents.’
‘Oh. Right.’ Stiles smiles. ‘Okay. When would you like to have dinner?’
Derek’s shoulder sag in relief. He ducks his head and a smile tugs at the corner of his mouth. He looks up through his lashes when he says, ‘Tonight good?’
‘I’m not really dressed for it.’
Heat flares in Derek’s eyes and his smile widens. ‘You look perfect.’
Stiles feels his smile broaden and steps into the house, holding a still purring cat.
‘Just so we’re clear, I’m not fired, right?’
The other man rolls his eyes in exasperation, but places a hand at the small of his back to guide him to the kitchen.