Stiles was freaking out.
Derek hadn’t texted him back.
And it had been a week.
A very long, obsession filled week.
A week where Stiles had deviated between two moods, one, where he cursed Derek to hell, yabbering to Isaac the he was a strong, confident, independent florist employee who didn’t need no man. Especially a surly architect who obviously didn’t appreciate small gifts of wilted roses and who obviously wasn’t worth Stiles time if he wasn’t going to answer Stiles’ text.
And the second was we’re he moped around, bemoaning the fact that he was alone and was never going to get a boyfriend. Ever, because everyone knew you didn’t tell someone you liked them straight up because then they immediately lost interest in you.
It had something to do with ladders and power? Stiles didn’t know, that article in cosmopolitan had been too depressing to finish.
Stiles had consoled himself with the fact that he was going to grow old and become the crazy cat man you warned your kids about.
At least his cats would love him.
It had gotten to the point that Isaac complained of whiplash as Stiles deviated between these mood changes almost constantly.
‘Dude, you need to chill. He hasn’t written back, he’s not worth obsessing over.’
Stiles groaned and buried his face in his hands, ‘But Isaac, that’s the closest I have gotten to anything resembling romance in the past year. AND I WORK IN A FREAKING FLORIST!’
Isaac winced, ‘Do you want me to set you up? I have some nice friends that you would like. Ooh I know, we could double date!’ Isaac said excitedly.
Stiles flinched. He’d always turned down Isaac’s offers in the past, it had seemed a little pathetic to him that he had to rely on his friends to get him dates. But this time he was desperate. He needed to get his mind off Derek, and fast. And double dating would be better, at least there wouldn’t be any awkward silences because Scott was like a puppy who wanted to impress on dates with Isaac and that usually consisted of him not shutting up for the entire time about his work as a veterinarian.
Stiles slowly nodded, it was better than staying in with a bucket of ice-cream and a watching marathon of horror movies, which he had done every other night of the week since the Derek rejection.
Isaac looked delighted, ‘It’s a date? Tonight, you think? Matts going to be so excited, he has quite the crush on you! You guys are going to get on awesomely!’
Stiles regretted his decision the moment he heard Isaac mention Matt. Matt had come into Erica’s a few time’s and despite being perfectly lovely and handsome, Stiles had always felt slightly uneasy around him. And he didn’t make his stomach flip, not like someone else he knew.
Stiles despondently flopped against the display of gardenias eyeing the now full buckets of red roses that no one had touched since Valentine’s Day. It’s like they became poison after the frenzied buying and now no one wanted anything to do with them.
Stiles knew how they felt.
Laura had probably read it wrong. She’d probably saw Derek eyeing the roses with distaste and had mistaken it for wonder or lust or whatever (not for the rose obviously but for the boy who had given Derek the rose) and then Stiles got his hopes up and then Stiles’ feelings got thoroughly trampled. He couldn’t blame Derek, not really. He had every right to ignore Stiles’ text. Didn’t mean Stiles had to like it.
And it’s not like Stiles had pinned his fading romantic hopes on a guy out of his league (‘No one’s out of your league Stiles, anyone can have anyone, there are no leagues’ Scott had told him philosophically over a particularly long session of Call of Duty – ‘I mean I somehow managed to bag Isaac – who you might say is out of my league’ ) It was true, when Stiles introduced them six months ago he had told Scott that he had no chance with Isaac and then been promptly proven wrong when he walked in on them, in varying levels of undress, on his sofa.
Stiles shuddered, he had now seen more of Isaacs pale butt then he ever wanted to.
‘Thinking about my pale butt again?’ Isaac asked cheerfully, jolting Stiles out of his memory.
‘Oh My God! How do you always know!’ Stiles flailed.
‘You have a “gross Isaac pale butt” face and you only seem to get it when you’re super insecure about your love life’.
‘I’m not super insecure, I’m just a realist.’
‘Dude, you don’t need to be. Remember your date, tonight, with us and Matt.’
Stiles tried to smile back, ‘Can’t wait.’
He knew Isaac had been only trying to cheer him up, pale butt aside, but he had somehow managed to make Stiles even more depressed in light of his ‘date tonight’.
He soon straightened from his slumped form over the counter when he heard clicking heels. That usually only meant one thing as Stiles attempted a cheerful smile, catching sight of his face in the mirror it looked more like a serial killer grin. Oh well, Erica could deal.
But it wasn’t Erica who entered the store but a familiar looking brunette.
Laura Freaking Hale.
And she was heading, once again, in Stiles direction.
‘Derek has issues.’ She said by way of greeting, dumping her Chanel bag next to Stiles who had slumped back down, head first onto the counter.
He hissed as the clasp caught his nose.
Rubbing it, he scowled at her as he straightened up, ‘Yeah? And how is that my problem’
‘It’s not really, I just thought you should know.’
Stiles tried his best to look uninterested and failed, ‘Well you don’t see me pining here Laura.’ He said ignoring the shout of laughter from somewhere over in the lilies section.
Laura cocked her head to the side, ‘You look a little pined out.’
‘I do not! I’ve moved on. Derek Hale was a momentary blip on the awesomeness that is my life and now I have dates and a life to live. And. And. AND GARDENIAS.’ He said motioning to the arrangement in the front window desperately.
‘Dates?’ Laura said, raising an eyebrow. She looked unimpressed.
Jesus what was Stiles meant to do? Continue to pine after someone who obviously didn’t want him?
Apparently yes, according to Laura.
‘Yes, dates. Lots of them. One tonight in fact.’
‘And where is this so called date?’ Laura asked, semi casually flicking a daisy petal off her pristine white jacket.
‘Boyd’s Grizzly Grill’ came a yell, once again, from the lilies.
‘Jesus, what is it with the names around here?’ Laura asked with an incredulous glance to the signage outside.
Stiles shook his head frantically, he didn’t want to get into a discussion about Erica and Boyd’s horrible taste in business names, ‘Nothing. Look, I don’t know what you’re planning but stop it. Derek’s obviously not interested in me and I’ve obviously moved on. That’s it. Done. No more.’
Laura smiled slyly, collecting her bag off the counter, ‘Yeah so that’s why his card I gave you is currently residing in the back pocket of your jeans-‘
How had she known? Devil woman he thought, glaring at her back
‘-and that’s why your name is Stiles the Hipster Elf in Derek’s phone contacts with a picture of your red rose.’ She continued over her shoulder as she exited the store.
Hipster elf. Hipster elf? What the hell did that mean? Stiles wasn’t a hipster elf.
‘Oh my god. You so are.’ Isaac said chirpily, carrying an enormous lily to place on the counter.
‘What the hell Isaac? Why did you tell her where we’re going tonight!’
Isaac shrugged, ‘Business has been down at Boyd’s lately. I was just trying to help him out.’
‘What is my life!’ Stiles yelled frustrated. Why did Laura have to come in today, he had gotten his daily obsessing over Derek down to a very respectable, low, number.
She had just spoiled all his hard work and Stiles, of course, started obsessing again. This time though it was over why would Derek save his number if he wasn’t going to text back.
Boyd’s Grizzly Grill, despite the name, was actually really nice and Stiles always enjoyed a meal there only not when it involved creepy Matt.
Yep, Matt had graduated from making Stiles uneasy to being completely a complete creep. Stiles soon forgot about Derek in light of Matt’s generable horribleness, the way his hands lingering too long on Stiles when they shook hands, the way he kept complimenting Stiles when they were shown to their seats. And the way he tried to brush his knees with Stiles under the table. Stiles promptly tucked his legs under his chair, he was not playing footsie, not tonight and not with Creepy Matt thank you very much.
It was when Stiles was attempting to order and surreptitiously avoid Matts wandering hands under the table that he saw him.
Well them, to be precise, but Stiles eyes were on him, on Derek, especially looking absolutely delicious in a pink dress shirt and dark jeans. Stiles had a feeling the shirt was Laura’s idea as he kept uncomfortably tugging at the cuffs.
Stile heart panged a little, Derek was so much better looking in real life then in his head and the idea that Stiles may have exaggerated his perfection in his mind was soon quashed.
Stiles was jolted back to the presence when the waiter asked, for the third time, what he would like to order. Stiles vaguely mentioned something off the menu and let Scott’s lecture about the sustainable practices in the ethical treatment of guinea pigs (or whatever it was he was saying) wash over him.
After he had gotten over the initial shock of seeing him, Stiles’ anger at the Hale siblings intensified.
What the hell was Laura playing at? It didn’t matter whether or not Stiles had been saved into Derek’s contacts or that he supposedly liked Stiles rose, that didn’t mean anything.
And it was no coincidence they were here when Stiles was. Laura had obviously bullied Derek to take her out tonight and had probably slyly suggested Boyd’s. Laura was a menace.
Stiles sighed, he would just have to keep a low profile if he wanted to get out of this situation unscathed.
Stiles, however, barely managed to and was exhausted from simultaneously making sure he wasn’t looking Derek’s way and with avoiding Matts horrible creeping hands even trapping one between his thighs whilst also trying to sound interested in whatever Scott was spouting about immunisation of pigmy elephants in third world countries (or whatever Scott was going on about).
It was when they were served their desserts that all hell broke loose.
‘It’s a serious issue though Isaac, young sloths will sometimes try to grab their own limbs mistaking them for tree branches, and fall out and no one’s doing anything about it.’
Stiles almost choked when he heard that, accidentally looking up and catching Derek’s eye from across the table. Derek had quickly jerked his eyes from Stiles but Laura had already caught him staring, mimicking surprise when she turned around to see Stiles dumbly watching their table.
‘Stiles and Isaac! Imagine seeing you here’ she said, twisting in her seat to face them.
Isaac smiled at her, introducing Scott and Matt, who both smiled politely. Not politely enough for Derek, who was now glaring at Matt, and specifically Matts arm that had disappeared behind Stiles chair to pinch him on the butt.
‘This is my brother Derek.’ Laura said, waving a hand vaguely in Derek’s direction, but watching Stiles like a hawk. Fine Stiles thought, he wasn’t like Laura, he didn’t play games and this was all too much for poor Stiles who had been on the verge of a panic attack since this afternoon, heart pounding as he stood up, his chair making a horribly loud screech when he pushed it back.
‘OK! Enough! Matt!’ Stiles said stabbing a finger into Matt’s chest and removing his wandering hand from his ass, ‘It is not ok to treat me like a piece of meat. Nor is it appropriate to pinch my butt, or attempt to fondle my upper thigh, especially when I have made it clear that I am so very not comfortable with it!’
Stiles was gratified by the shocked look on Matts face, which spurred him on.
‘And you’ he said, pointing at Laura, who looked amused by his outburst. Devil woman.
‘It is not ok to attempt to crash my date with your brother, no matter how horrible it is. I don’t know what school of life you went to but nobody likes their romantic life handled for them by a sticky beak.’
And finally Stiles locked eyes with the one person he didn’t really want to speak to, but he had come this far, he wasn’t backing out now. Derek’s eyes were still narrowed at Matt and turned surprised when Stiles poked air in front of him with his finger.
‘And you fucker! You didn’t fucking text me back! So you are not allowed to be upset at the way my date treats me, or stare at me when you’re eating your dinner because in this day and age it’s not considered good manners or flattering to be creepy and stalkery over someone you supposedly don’t like, that’s some twilight bullshit right there and I am not buying into it.’
Stiles was shaking when he belatedly realised that the whole restaurant had hushed and was now staring at him. Stiles cringed, a second later, his humiliation complete when a deep booming voice from the kitchens whooped, ‘GO STILES! YOU TELL ‘EM WHO’S BOSS’.
Stiles face flamed and he did what any sane person would have done in the same situation, he got the hell out of dodge, thankfully managing to only trip twice on the many chairs and tables between him and the door.
Stiles was halfway to his car when he heard someone horribly familiar calling his name. It was fucking Matt.
Why? Why? Why for once in his life can the guy he was basically in love with be the one to follow him out of a restaurant? Why was it an absolute creeper like Matt?
‘Fuck off Matt.’ Stiles said tiredly as he continued to walk toward his car.
But Matt apparently didn’t want to fuck off and grabbed Stiles’ shoulder, whirling Stiles around to face him instead.
‘How dare you embarrass me in front of everyone in there?’ He hissed in Stiles’ face, his breath smelling of garlic.
‘Back the fuck off Daehler, before I do something I might regret.’ Said a low voice from behind Matt, it was Derek, eyes flashing dangerously as they zeroed in on Matt’s grasp on Stiles’ shoulder.
Matt didn’t take his eyes off Stiles, ‘Go back inside Hale. This doesn’t concern you.’
Stiles thoughts were dizzy, how did Matt and Derek know each other? That’s not important right now said another part of his mind, not when a possibly dangerous man has a horribly tight grasp on your shoulder and looks like he wants to hit you.
‘Daehler, if you don’t remove your fucking hand off Stiles right now, I’ll break it, then I’ll break your fucking face.’
Something in his tone must have gotten through to Matt because suddenly he let go, throwing a glare over at them as he walked quickly to his car.
By this time Stiles realised that Derek’s hands had replaced Matts, albeit much gentler and much more welcome, but Stiles wasn’t having any of it as he wrenched himself out of Derek’s grasp and lurched back a few steps, unsteadily, panting heavily.
What the fuck.
‘Stiles?’ Derek asked quietly after Stiles breathing had quietened.
‘Stiles,’ He said again, pleadingly, ‘Please look at me.’
The tone, so different to the one he used on Matt forced Stiles to look Derek in the eyes.
‘Are you ok?’
‘Fine’ Stiles answered stiffly, trying to ignore the way his body had started shivering.
‘You’re probably in shock.’
‘I know.’ Stile snapped back, ‘My dad’s a sheriff. I know stuff like that.’
‘Ok.’ Derek answered placating, shifting his feet, not daring to come any closer.
Derek opened his mouth a few times then shut it. He obviously wanted to say something to Stiles and Stiles waited, too exhausted to cut him off. Stiles’ patience was eventually rewarded.
‘Let me just say, first, that I’m pretty terrible with words,’ Derek said, continuing over Stiles’ snort of ’No kidding’, ‘I’m not good with feelings, either. ’
Derek was attempting to look everywhere but Stiles’ face, giving up and throwing his hands in the air frustrated, ‘Look I like you too ok.’ The words, wrenched from his mouth unwillingly.
‘You do?’ Stiles said incredulously completely forgetting the bit where he was supposed to be cool about things like this.
‘Yeah, I do.’ Derek said, smiling a little at the look on Stiles’ face.
‘Well then why the hell didn’t you text me back?’ Stiles said exasperated.
‘I’m sorry about that’ Derek said, having the grave to look ashamed as he hastily continued, ‘It’s not that I didn’t want to. I really did but I’m not good at sustaining meaningful relationships. And I have problems expressing myself emotionally.’ Derek said, as if reciting from a textbook, or a therapist.
Probably a therapist.
‘Dude I’m not asking for the rest of your life.’ even though the back of Stiles’ mind was chanting, yes I am. Yes I am. Love me forever.
‘Just, uh, like a date or something.’ Stiles continued ignoring the very strong urge to break out into the happy dance right there and then.
Derek wouldn’t be ready for the awesome-ness that was Stiles’ happy dance.
‘I can do a date.’ Derek said with a smile and Stiles was tempted to throw himself at Derek’s feet demanding the rest of his life. He resisted the urge, just.
‘A date it is then.’ Stiles confirmed, grin so wide it almost split his face.
Stiles almost had a heart attack when Laura, of all people, yelled from where she, Isaac and Scott were watching from the doorway of the restaurant, ‘Oh my god! Finally! I thought I was going to have to tape you two together to get you to go on a date.’
Stiles glared at them, and was gratified that Derek was doing the same. Ha! See! They were meant for each other.
‘Come on Derek.’ Stiles said, grabbing his arm and steering him toward his jeep.
‘Where are we going?’ Derek asked, letting himself be pulled by Stiles.
Stiles rolled his eyes, ‘On a date, silly. I’ve waited a week for this; I’m not waiting any longer.’