It never would have happened if Allison had been assigned a different locker.
(Except that Lydia is more rational than that, and she knows she would have seen her eventually; she knows that it’s a small high school and the new girl sharing her classes would have caught her eye quickly enough. Even if Lydia hadn’t been walking down the hallway when she was, even if Allison hadn’t turned around when she did, curls swinging behind her. They could have met in innumerable different ways, and Lydia has a word for that: inevitable.)
But Allison is assigned locker D142, and she is standing there when Lydia walks by, and Lydia does notice her when she turns around. This is where it starts, this is the point of the (0,0) coordinates, the start of the equation if she were marking their lives down on a graph.
Lydia’s not in the best mood when it happens, frustrated with Jackson for cancelling another date tonight because he has to train for lacrosse, frustrated that it’s been on his mind even more than normal now that he’s getting all competitive with the new guy on first line. She’s a second away from firing off a passive agressive text message, stalking down the hallway in an angry clack of heels against linoleum, when she happens to look up and there she is.
She’s an unfamiliar face, looking a little lost, looking a little Snow White with her pale skin and black curls. She’s a face that Lydia definitely would have remembered seeing.
She’s interesting by virtue of being new and pretty, so Lydia smiles and compliments Snow White’s jacket, easy as she does.
“Allison,” it turns out to be, and Lydia loops arms with her to show her the way to the cafeteria, curious about this one already. She hesitates before she can say anything about the other girl’s perfume, because one compliment is enough-- but that doesn’t stop her from inhaling sharply when she smells it, like fruit and sugar, cloying.
Allison waves later when she ducks off to her afternoon classes after a round of pleasantries, and Lydia spends the rest of the day unable to get the scent out of her head.
It’s not a new story. It’s borderline cliche, as far as Lydia’s concerned - borderline boring.
So there’s a new girl who appears at the small town high school and everyone is interested, just for the novelty of it. She’s fresh and exciting, with stories to tell, and-- and Lydia would be damned if she thought she’d ever fall for an act like that. But there’s something genuine about Allison, something that prevents Lydia from outright rolling her eyes, and she quickly decides to let her stick around instead of marking her as competition.
It has nothing to do with her perfume or her Disney princess complexion, nothing to do with the way her lips shine glossy when they stretch in a smile, and nothing to do with how Lydia’s insides somersault when Allison grins like that.
She’s just being magnanimous, honestly - doing her good deed for the week, or the month, or the year, by being nice to the new kid. And if she feels her pulse beating faster, erratic even, every now and then when she catches Allison’s eye, well, that’s something that even Lydia Martin with her advanced vocabulary doesn’t quite want to put a name on.
They bond over making lacrosse posters, of all things, when it turns out Allison’s seeing the new first line kid, Scott McCall. They make small talk over the smell of permanent marker and the squeak it makes against the posterboard, and Lydia interrogates Allison about her life pre-Beacon Hills and educates her about the best places to shop in town, even promising a personal guide.
“Trust me, there’s no one better for the job,” she swears, hand on her heart.
And they wave their silly posters in the stands; they giggle and they cheer and they clap along with everyone else when the team gets points. Allison fits into it all so easily - surprisingly, almost scarily. She slots into Lydia’s life, and Lydia allows it, curiosity stupidly piqued (and it’s only curiosity).
It seems natural to suggest a double date, because Lydia wants to see more of Allison outside of school (curiosity, remember, this is only curiosity - she wants to see her in a different environment, unconfined) and Jackson’s been so moody lately it would be more fun to have her along anyway.
Scott’s terrible at bowling. It’s rather obvious, even while Lydia’s busy squinting and trying to figure out what Allison sees in him, what lies past the dopey smiles and that godawful hair cut.
Allison plays the role of the sweet and reassuring girlfriend through all his gutter balls, and Lydia wonders if she is his girlfriend, if they’re official at this point. Allison probably could have had her pick of anyone at the school. She’s new and exciting, and Lydia shifts uncomfortably in her swiveling bowling chair and wonders why the hell she picked Scott McCall.
All other occasional character defects aside, at least Jackson’s good at pretty much everything he does. Lydia has trouble taking people seriously when they aren’t skilled in some way, and Scott’s sudden improvement on the lacrosse field is basically all he has going for him. Jackson’s also patronizing, though, and there’s the flip side of dating someone who’s used to being number one - he has no tolerance for anyone else showing him up, no concept that she even could. Lydia usually doesn’t mind playing into that, but she’s on edge tonight, so screw it.
Allison grins when Lydia gets a strike, even though they’re not on the same team, and maybe that makes up for how frustrated Jackson gets, maybe Lydia’s grinning too when she takes her seat, and maybe, just maybe, that one grin makes her whole night.
She tries to examine what that means later, sitting in front of her vanity and wiping her make-up away for the night, unclasping her necklace. She knows, that’s the thing. She knows exactly why Allison smiling at her made her pulse flutter.
She knows, and now that she does it’s really hard to think of anything else.
And then it all takes a detour. And then everything comes to a screeching collision of what the fuck is happening, because one second she’s waiting in a car for Jackson to get The Notebook and the next there’s this thing exploding out of the rental store window in a blast of shattered glass, and it’s just-- huge and black and burning red.
There are ambulances and paramedics and police and people who place an arm on her shaking shoulders afterward and ask what happened, what she saw, and she can’t even articulate it. “What was it?” they ask, and Lydia would like to know the very same thing.
She’s so terrified she’s worried she might faint or be sick or something equally as mortifying, but Jackson is okay and her mom brings her home, and she takes meds to knock herself out for the night and thinks that maybe when she wakes up it will all be a nightmare.
But it’s not, because she does have nightmares, the same over and over, snarling monsters and hellfire eyes and blood everywhere, and she wakes up too early and trembling under her sheets. She hates being scared. She’s never felt quite like this before and she detests it with everything she can muster up.
“Are you okay?” her mom asks in the morning, and Lydia doesn’t know how to answer that. She wants answers, she wants reassurance, but she can’t bring herself to ask for either. Her silence is taken as evidence that she’s in no state of mind to go to school today, and her mom smiles like she’s doing her a favour, but then she leaves, and Lydia’s alone and that’s worse, much worse.
Her hands are shaking as she fumbles in her bedside drawer for some of her mom’s Valium to help her calm the fuck down. There’s a card in a purple envelope, and that’s when she remembers, sees the loops of her handwriting spelling out Happy Birthday, Allison! and thinks shit. Allison will be arriving at school any minute, to be greeted by balloons and streamers taped to her locker after school yesterday, and Lydia isn’t even there to see her face.
She tries to picture it, imagines herself there and Allison grinning and hugging her, probably blushing and insisting she shouldn’t have. It’s not as good as the real thing, but Lydia’s hands aren’t shaking anymore as she twists off the child-proof bottle cap - besides, Scott will probably be there, Scott can hug Allison and witness her blushing and smiling - and she swallows down two pills dry and flops back in her bed.
Allison sleeps over the following Friday night, in part so Lydia can prove to her worried mom that she’s okay and everything’s normal, and in part because she’s not okay and everything’s not normal and she still can’t sleep through the night alone - but in any case, it turns out to be fun and girly. Lydia insists on giving her a manicure, and they pile into Lydia’s bed together under a thin comforter and sheets, with only the faint light of her desk lamp falling over them, and they talk and talk about boys because that’s what friends do at sleepovers.
Allison smiles about Scott, says things like “he’s just so sweet,” and “it happened so fast, but that’s how it’s supposed to, right?” and Lydia agrees with her. Because that’s what friends do.
“Jackson’s great,” she declares, and Allison’s nose wrinkles a little, a blatant tell to her skepticism, and-- okay, Lydia gets where she’s coming from, but she feels defensive all of the sudden, like if Allison’s allowed to gush about her boyfriend and sound so stupidly certain of high school romance, surely she has the same right.
“He is,” she insists. “I know he can seem-- you know... but he’s not.” She flushes, embarrassed over how pathetic she sounds even to her own ears, how she can’t put a cohesive sentence together to praise the boy she’s dating. She sounds like that girl, that stereotype, the one who stays with the guy everyone knows is a bit of a jerk and pretends that he’s not.
She’s not that girl. She’s not an idiot. She’s not blind to Jackson’s faults. She just doesn’t want to face up to them while Allison is talking about how perfect Scott is, so now-- she’s that girl after all. Her skin crawls with disgust, her stomach feels like lead, and she doesn’t want to talk about Jackson anymore.
They fall asleep slowly when the conversation dies out, drifting into silence. It’s nice to hear Allison breathing beside her, nice to be reassured of her presence. The dark makes her nervous, and it feels safe to have Allison lying beside her - not that she’s going to tell the other girl that. When she tries to talk about what happened that night in the parking lot, what she saw, she can never find the words - her tongue feels heavy and her throat feels dry and she feels chilled right through, scared all over again. The recollection is too fuzzy for her to be certain of anything.
Lydia curls into herself, and draws in a breath when her knees bumps into Allison’s leg, but she gets no response. She leaves it there, the barest touch of skin to skin, and she closes her eyes.
She wakes up before Allison, and it’s only then that she realizes there’s honestly not that much room in her bed. Allison’s hand is brushing her thigh, and Allison’s eyes are closed, but her face is close enough Lydia could count every single freckle if she wanted to, or even her eyelashes. Her curls are mussed where they fall over her shoulder and Lydia has to suck in a breath when she realizes she’s staring, because watching other people sleep is creepy no matter who they are, and especially when they’re the closest person she has to a best friend.
She swallows slowly, and can’t help it, taps a careful pattern on the freckles that spread over Allison’s arm, stretches her fingers to map them out, and bites her lip when Allison’s eyes open.
“Hi,” she whispers, as Allison’s mouth curves into a smile. “Good morning,” and Allison shifts, the sheets rustling around them both but she doesn’t back away.
“Morning,” Allison echoes quietly, her voice barely breaking a whisper, different with sleep clinging to it.
The moment seems to just hang - Lydia’s never felt or understood that before, but her stomach swoops, and her mouth is dry; she can’t think of any words, and it feels like she doesn’t need them, not right now. She’ll just keep them tucked away, and maybe she won’t breathe either, and maybe they can just remain like this.
They stare at each other, for-- Lydia starts to count, one, and two, and three, and four, and five-- and she breathes in time with the count until she can’t take it anymore, until her nerves are pounding and her heart is pumping so fast in her chest that surely Allison must notice.
“I can, um,” she starts. “Go make coffee.” She doesn’t know if Allison is a fan of kickstarting the day with caffeine, but she enjoys it and she could definitely use something right now. An excuse, honestly, and she’s grabbing at this one.
Allison makes an appreciate hum. “Coffee would be great.” Her voice is still thick with sleep, words broken with a rasp, and Lydia’s throat goes dry again before she can nod and force herself into action, rolling over and getting out of the bed, ignoring the chill on her skin. She hears Allison yawn, but she doesn’t turn around to look, doesn’t want to see her stretching out her arms or relaxing into the sheets. She can’t handle any more of this visual right now, can’t see Allison in her bed without wanting to wrap her fingers around the other girl’s wrists and pin her to the mattress and--
She’s half-asleep and clearly borderline delusional, and she needs coffee right now.
Three cups of coffee and seventeen hours later, and she’s still not exactly over it. Lydia’s lying in her bed that night, alone this time and skimming her fingers over her stomach lightly, slowly drifting lower but unable to bring anything sufficient to mind.
It’s not enough to fantasize about the star of the latest action blockbuster Jackson dragged her to go see, and even thinking back to the time they had sex in the locker room after he scored the winning point in the lacrosse championship last year doesn’t do the trick. And that’s unusual, because Lydia is pretty sure she’s never been more turned on in her life than she was that night, whether it was the public setting or how elated she’d been that her boyfriend was the star, feeling like a celebrity as she watched him out on the field, and her bones turning to jello when he’d tugged her into the lockers in the distraction of the celebration afterward and slid her up against the wall, sweaty and strong and--
She’s getting nowhere. The memory does absolutely nothing even as she slips her hand under the waistband of her silk pyjama shorts, and instead her mind flits to Allison this morning, bare shoulders with dark curls shocking against cream skin and her fingers brushing Lydia’s thigh. She imagines those fingers trailing higher, imagines Allison curving in close, sliding against her and pressing her mouth to the skin instead, how her soft, pink lips would feel. Maybe they’d even leave a lipgloss stain-- she doesn’t know why but the idea makes her bite down on a groan.
She strokes her clit softly at first, stuck on the image of Allison between her legs, that dark hair falling like waves and that mouth. Fuck. Lydia imagines returning the gesture, imagines kissing her way up thighs that are smooth and slim instead of thick with muscle and covered in a coarse layer of hair.
Still biting her lip, she twists her hand, tries to find a better angle, impatient now, her hips jerking just above the mattress. Her tongue darts out to wet her lips, and she wonders what Allison would look like from that vantage point, the slope of her stomach and swell of her breasts and how she might tip her head back, throat long and lovely, and she might cry out, she might gasp--
And that’s the visual that does it, Lydia panting as her legs tighten and her toes curl, back arching off the bed as she chokes on a cry, before sinking back into her pillows. She’s flushed and she feels overheated now, kicking her sheets away, but she still can’t get the image out of her head, and yeah, this is the point where it’s safe to say she’s screwed.
She’s not stupid, that’s the thing. Lydia Martin possesses many qualities, but she is not vapid or shallow or anything else she masquerades as; that’s only in the make-up, the surface level. That’s not all there is, not if anyone actually bothered to pay attention, but they don’t, not with effort anyway, not beyond Jackson shooting her an odd look here and there when she slips up with some random fact or statistic he wouldn’t expect her to know.
She does know that something is going on, knows that thing in the parking lot wasn’t normal. Under several layers trying to block the terrifying night from her mind, she knows something is wrong. Mountain lion, everyone says, but Allison showed her a picture and she said wolf.
And when some horrendous twist of fate leads her into the school at night while serial killer Derek Hale is on the prowl, not stupid is her saving grace, her head level no matter how fast her heart is beating as she mixes Molotov cocktails, and her hands steady.
Allison’s hands are shaking. They are bone-white and trembling, and Jackson steadies them even as Lydia longs to reach out and touch; she watches his hands around Allison’s instead, and this is something she has slowly observed with revulsion in her stomach. She’s noticed the way Jackson is taking interest in Allison more, but never with serious attention, not until they’re trapped in their high school with a pscyho after them, and-- it sounds insane, absolutely insane.
This is not supposed to be her life; she is going to be so much more than a victim on the front page of a local newspaper.
She meets Allison’s eyes, and there it is-- that same swoop, and for one second they are clinging to each other from across the room. But Allison is terrified and shaking, crying over Scott leaving, and it’s Jackson that comforts her, and Lydia doesn’t know which of them she hates more - any of them, all three of them - but she wants to wrap her arms around Allison anyway, tangle her fingers in her hair and kiss her until she stops shaking.
What about me, she thinks, what about how scared I am - how scared she’s been ever since that night in the parking lot. She’s terrified too, but that didn’t stop her from knowing what to do, and she wants to tell Allison that-- it’s okay, she will figure something out, because she may not be brave, but--
She’s not stupid.
They’re standing in the parking lot when they’ve made it out, and Lydia is trying not to cry with relief, with how terrified she still feels, with how much she hates how helpless she felt inside. Allison is talking to Scott and she can’t tear her eyes away from them, even if it twists at her stomach and doesn’t exactly make her feel better.
But then Allison is the one crying again, truly crying, making her way over to Lydia on unsteady legs and all but collapsing into her arms. Lydia pulls her close despite how bewildered she feels, because this is everything she wanted to do, comfort Allison, stroke her hair and say “you’re okay, you’re okay,” like those magic words will make that true for both of them.
“I-- I broke up with Scott,” Allison chokes out, and Lydia’s hand tightens in her hair reflexively. She feels overwhelmingly out of her depth hearing Allison so wrecked, guilty for every time she idly wished she would hear those words soon enough. She thought she was comforting Allison for being afraid, for how awful that feels. It’s not new to Lydia.
But this-- this high school heartbreak, tears streaming down Allison’s cheeks over a boy whose name was enough to make her smile only yesterday-- this isn’t something Lydia knows how to handle. With other girls, sure - other girls who cried over boyfriends who didn’t really matter, other girls who weren’t Allison.
She wanted to comfort Allison when they were stuck inside, so she treats this the same, continues to stroke her hair and whisper comforting words of nonsense, words that don’t mean anything, but Allison starts to relax against her and she wonders if her voice is soothing anyway.
“You’ll be okay,” she continues to insist, inhales sharply and-- “we’re gonna be okay,” and she doesn’t know where that came from, but she’s still shaken and scared, and Allison must be scared too, and those words are suddenly everything Lydia wants - we’re gonna be okay - and she kisses Allison’s cheek quickly, and she doesn’t let go.
But now the situation has changed, now Allison and Scott aren’t together, and Lydia is still with Jackson, and she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do. She doesn’t know if it’s all on her or if it even makes a difference, if she can change anything or if Allison are Scott are the inevitable ones, if it’s only a matter of time. She’s frustrated and she doesn’t even know who with; she’s mad and she lashes out without really knowing who she’s trying to hurt, but suddenly she’s making out with Scott.
And if she didn’t absolutely hate ascribing the word to herself, she might just call this dumb.
It’s certainly not the smartest thing she’s ever done, predicated on emotions, predicated on jealousy and wanting to make everyone else jealous - Jackson, Allison, she doesn’t even care who it’ll affect more. If they can hold hands while Allison is crying and everyone is terrified, Lydia can make-out with Scott for the hell of it.
Screw both of them, she thinks, but it sounds half-hearted even inside in head. Scott’s a good kisser, and enthusiastic, almost desperate - maybe he wants to make Allison jealous too, and the thought makes her want to laugh at how messed up this all is - but when he leaves looking like he could be pleased with himself Lydia slumps back against the desk and thinks that makes one of us.
She feels vaguely satisfied, but mostly she feels sick, guilty for kissing Allison’s ex-boyfriend, guilty for kissing a guy who’s not her boyfriend, guilty for potentially fucking everything up in its entirety. It’s the thought of Allison that makes her squirm. She would be so hurt if she knew, with wide little betrayed eyes, and Lydia is the one who told her everything would be okay.
She might have even pushed Allison right into Jackson’s arms if they find out about this. She has to laugh at that, awful as it is, because all of this is just too much. She laughs, and she presses her lips tight to keep the sound inside, and she swallows it down, and then she doesn’t laugh at all.
Word gets out, somehow through someone, and Lydia shouldn’t be surprised, because what else is there for people at this school to do other than gossip?
Jackson breaks up with her - dumps her - in the middle of the hallway and Lydia does not fall apart.
She’s choking on the air on her throat, hating herself for actually being shocked, for letting him do this to her, but she doesn’t break down and she doesn’t cry. She goes home and makes conversation with her father over the dinner table, and she asks to be excused and goes upstairs to breeze over her chemistry homework.
All in all, it’s an ordinary evening. At no point does she get out a tub of ice cream or turn on some sappy chick flick, because she’s not going to be one of those girls - she refuses, and frankly, Jackson isn’t worth it. Frankly, Jackson is a douchebag, and she knew that, but he was also her ticket to the top of the social chain, so of course she’d grabbed at it, at him.
It had been so easy. Jackson had been so easy. All it took was a few flips of her curls and a low cut top every now and then and eyes that promised she would be so willing.
Sure, being with him was more comfortable than she’d expected - nicer than she’d expected. Beyond having a boyfriend who was a star of the school and the subject of other girls’ fantasies, beyond the prestige and smugness that came along with that, it had been nice being with Jackson sometimes, nice watching movies fit snug into the curve of his arm, nice making-out in hot-tubs and having him whisper in the shell of her ear-- But that’s not the point.
He was never going to be the love of her life, not even the love of her teenage life if she’s being honest. There’s still time for someone else to come along and be that one high school sweetheart she’ll smile fondly over when she’s flipping through yearbooks later down the road.
She starts to text Allison I’m sorry, screw boys but she doesn’t press send.
Allison isn’t talking to her. Allison is just as hurt and betrayed as Lydia imagined, and there’s a tiny part of her that feels triumphant, like maybe it’s close to how she felt about everything, like this is what she wanted, isn’t it? But mostly, she just wants to take it back. Go back to being best friends with Allison, even if it was only that, only friends, even if she has to sit there and watch her smile over Scott or hold hands with Jackson, or-- anyone. Whoever Allison wants. Lydia misses having a proper best friend, more than she would have expected. It’s not like it even lasted very long.
She misses Allison. But that’s not really unexpected at all.
And because people are so damnably predictable, or Lydia is just that good at predictions, she sees that it did end up pushing Allison and Jackson closer after all. She sees them chatting in the hallway, she sees them walking to class, and she hates it, hates it with every ounce of hypocrisy in her 5’3” body, knowing she caused it, encouraged it along.
Jackson’s a douchebag, she rationalizes. Jackson’s a douchebag and she just wants to warn Allison, but why should she care, when Allison is the one edging in on her best friend’s ex and you don’t do that? (Oh, yes, the hypocrisy is so sweet.)
So, yeah, Lydia feels a bolt of rage every time she sees them together, and she has to dig her fingernails deep into her palms, but it’s a totally justified reaction.
The thing is, Allison is different.
Allison knows how to shoot a bow and arrow, and she’s not scared of anything. Allison goes traipsing through the woods even with all the attacks going on, and she’s not scared - she could probably defend herself anyway, and god, Lydia wants that.
She wants that instead of sitting in a car screaming her head off or trying not to fall to pieces in a dark school with their lives on the line.
Even Allison had been scared then, she reminds herself. Lydia doesn’t think about that night much, because she can’t get Allison’s shaking hands out of her head, or how helpless and frightened she felt, standing there watching. She doesn’t think about that night because she still doesn’t understand what happened, and sometimes she honestly thinks it was just a nightmare too.
She doesn’t know what to think, and she’s not used to that, because she knows a lot of things. She’s the one who knew about the Molotov cocktails. She can recite the periodic table of elements, she knew all the words they called out in the spelling bee in sixth grade even though she wasn’t a participant, and one day she’s going to win a Fields medal. But that night they were all scared, she was scared, and she doesn’t know anything about fixing that--
But maybe Allison does. Lydia isn’t often wrong, but she can admit that her initial judgment was way off base, that Allison is a thousand times more Xena, Warrior Princess than she’ll ever be a docile Snow White, and maybe Allison knows how to stop being afraid.
Lydia likes to think so.
Of course, like with all of life’s greatest problems, the best solution to the rift between them turns out to be retail therapy.
Lydia can’t stop smiling as they ascend the mall elevator, relieved that things might slowly be going back to normal, that this isn’t beyond mending, but Allison isn’t smiling at all, and before she knows it, Lydia’s blurting out those familiar words--
“You should never frown, because someone could be falling in love with your smile.”
--and she even sounds a bit like her mother, smooth and sweet and soft, but Allison does smile, and that does it. Allison smiles, and that’s always gotten to her, since they were nothing more than small talk introductions in the cafeteria, but her words are still hovering between them and Allison is smiling, and Lydia is ridiculously, painfully flustered, stupid to think she could just go back to being friends with Allison and everything else would go away.
She smiles back anyway, makes herself, bright and forced. She doesn’t even complain when Allison points out her new date for the formal and it’s supposed to be that Stiles kid. Allison is going with Jackson and it’s Lydia’s fault, but Allison is accepting her olive branch and if the condition means going to the formal with a boy who’s only ever stuttered at her, she’ll damn well take it.
They lapse into silence while they wander apart and pick out dresses, and they don’t talk much while they wait in line at the dressing rooms. Lydia wants to tell Allison to smile again, but she can’t really bear it so she keeps her mouth shut.
The first dress she tries on is shimmery turquoise with black lace, and she’s swivelling in the tiny space to get a good look at her reflection, wondering if she should go out and get Allison’s opinion when she hears “Lydia? Can you, um, can you come help me with this?”
She slips out to find Allison in the dressing room across the hall, door left open while she struggles with the zip. The dress is red, almost painfully bright and stunning against her pale skin. Lydia comes up behind her without meeting her eyes in the mirror and gently takes over, sliding the zipper all the way to the top. She’s waiting for Allison to turn around so she can judge it properly, but instead all of the sudden it’s “I don’t want to go to the formal with Jackson. You know that, Lydia. Let’s be honest.”
Allison’s looking down, her voice is soft, edging on breathy, and she won’t meet her eyes in the mirror either, and what’s that supposed to mean-- Lydia thinks of Scott, wonders if they’re all just running in circles. Her stomach is sinking and she’s suddenly so tired of this, this watching Allison’s lovelife from the sidelines. Allison turns around, looks at her with an expression that Lydia can’t take much from.
Honest, Allison said. Right.
“Well, I don’t want to go with Stiles,” she says, draws herself up, feeling short and small staring at Allison in front of her and-- she’s oh so close, and Lydia is ridiculously in over her head. (Head over heels.)
“I mean, I will--” she blurts, corrects when the silence between them is a second too long. “As a favour, you know, I’ll do it if you want.” She’s supposed to be making things up to Allison, not bickering because it comes easy, because that’s how she tells the truth.
“No.” Allison shakes her head, and Lydia wonders how it’s possibly so stuffy in here, how it’s getting harder and harder to think straight when that’s normally something she prides herself on. This-- this is one of those moments again, where everything hangs in the balance, where everything feels like it could change, maybe, take a risk, flip the coin.
No, Allison said, no don’t go with Stiles no I don’t want to go with Jackson and this maybe is weighing more heavily on Lydia than any before. She leans in suddenly, up on her tip toes and pressing her lips to Allison’s, that’s the coin flipped, heads or tails what will it be, and she pulls back and everything she could possibly say gets caught in her throat, except “I--”
She doesn’t get the time to say more even if she could. Allison’s hands are on her face, and Allison’s mouth is on hers again, quickly and unbelievable. Her lips are soft and her breath is warm and Lydia kisses her back eagerly, gets her hands at Allison’s waist and pushes her back against the mirrored wall. Kissing Allison feels like headrush, like her stomach dropping when she misjudges the number of steps left on the staircase and like getting everything she ever could have wanted. Allison’s tongue traces her lower lip and Lydia shivers, parts her lips and swallows the whimper Allison makes.
They break away from each other, Allison tipping her head back against the mirror, panting. Her eyes are closed, but she’s smiling, smiling, and Lydia wants to always remember this image. Her eyes trail the slope of Allison’s throat, and she sees how the muscle constricts.
“Okay,” Allison says. “No,” she says, and she opens her eyes. “Don’t go to the dance with Stiles.”
Lydia laughs, soft at first and then she can’t stop, pressing her hand over the giggles. Allison laughs too, bright eyes and flushed cheeks and swollen lips, and she reaches around Lydia to lock the dressing room door. And it’s not until after another several minutes of kissing up against the mirror, curling their fingers in each other’s hair, against hip bones and the curve of necks, that Lydia tells her in a rush “I like your dress. By the way. It looks great on you,” because they are supposed to be shopping after all.
Allison looks amused at the interruption, raises an eyebrow. “I don’t know,” she says, and Lydia’s about to scoff when she notices the glint in her eyes, the upturn of her lips. “I still have four more to try on, you know,” Allison says, so close her mouth is almost brushing Lydia’s with every word. “You could, um. Help me out of this one, will you?” and she’s biting back a giggle, Lydia can tell.
“Oh, I can definitely help,” she asserts, reaching around Allison for the zipper, fumbling with it more from this angle but tugging it down nonetheless. She helps pull the dress over her head, and there are four more dresses hanging on the rack and they’ve been in here far too long already, but she trails her hands down Allison’s back anyway, traces over smooth bare skin and feels like she almost can’t breathe, suffocating in the reality of all of this, the this is actually happening.
Boys be damned, and nightmares be damned, Lydia wants nothing more in this moment than to help her date pick out the perfect dress for the formal. Allison hasn’t stopped smiling, and Lydia never realized something could make you so happy you ache from it. Allison’s smile is bright as ever, and Lydia remembers the words she recited on the elevator, someone could be falling in love with your smile, and she aches.
And she doesn’t say anything to Allison, not yet, but she smiles back and lets herself fall just a little bit more in love.