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Your Mama Don't Dance (and Your Daddy Don't Rock & Roll)

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ERICA
For the most part, Beacon Hills is like every other small town. Most of the town’s shops are along Main Street, City Hall likes to overcompensate with its fancy brick design, the high school has its clearly formed cliques, and there’s a make-out spot known by all. The part that’s a little different is the dancing. A lot of towns near Beacon Hills have outlawed dancing—the reasons vary from it being “of the devil” to peer pressure—but Beacon Hills keeps going.

Sheriff Stilinski and Mayor Whittemore get some grief about it she knows, mostly cuz whenever they do, Stiles ends up bringing them the leftover whiskey from the parental bitch sessions.

But no one cares. Dancing is fun. They drink at the dances, but never too much—nothing worse than a sloppy drunk losing a dance-off for your town—and any fights between the Townies or the Trackers or some other town are settled on the floor.

Erica figures the adults think they’ve got it pretty good so why fight a good thing.

She’s grown up around this. Her foster mom—overall a decent chick, doesn’t ask much of Erica and lets her do her thing—runs one of the local bars and she lets them use the back parking lot a couple times a week.

That’s where she’s sitting now, kicking her legs against the tailgate of her best friend Boyd’s truck, and waiting on the rest of her friends to get here. School starts tomorrow (seniors, baby!) and the first Friday after school marks the annual turf war. The inner courtyard at Beacon Hills High is a seniors-only domain. Everybody wants it. Whoever wins the dance-off gets it for the year.

Townies have had it for three years running and if Lydia Martin and Scott McCall have anything to say about it, they’ll be keeping it. Erica’s always been a Tracker, because she lives on the “wrong” side of the tracks like that’s an actual thing, and she wants to have at least one decent status symbol during her senior year.

Fucking Townies.

She’s been practicing all summer; tonight’s their last chance to get a good long practice in.

“Where’re the Siamese twins?” she asks, elbowing Boyd and interrupting his debate with Isaac. Something about cafeteria food pranks.

“You know they hate that nickname.” Isaac swings himself up into the truck bed and leans against the cab.

It’s true. Derek always growls something about fucking cats when she says it and then Stiles will say he doesn’t want to fuck a cat. But they’ve been attached at the hip since sophomore year—after she and Stiles broke up because while he has a nice mouth, she’s not interested in anything below—and the name fits.

Erica shrugs. “So.”

Boyd’s at least nice enough to answer her question, which is why he’s always been her favorite. He also won’t put up with any bullshit. “Stiles was raiding the liquor cabinet. Guess the Sheriff added a few bottles.”

“Any reason?” asks Isaac, leaning forward. He’s such a gossip.

“New principal. Doesn’t like dancing.” Boyd’s always right to the point.

“Fuck him,” says Erica.

“That’s what Dad said.” Stiles does a weird shimmy out the window of Derek’s Camaro as they pull up next to Boyd’s truck. “So did Jackson’s mom when he went to her as the mayor. ‘S why they were drinking more.”

Derek joins them, fist-bumping Boyd and giving Isaac a wave. “Reyes.”

“Hale.” She smirks at the way Derek pulls Stiles up against him. “I see the end of summer hasn’t changed anything between you two.”

“You saw us two days ago.” Stiles rolls his eyes. Oh right, this is why they didn’t work. They have the same kind of sarcasm.

“Just cuz you didn’t get any action,” sneers Derek.

Erica leans over and kisses his cheek. “Says you.”

Stiles glares. He’s a possessive little shit. About everything but mostly Derek.

“Please tell me you didn’t hook up with Cora Martin again,” groans Isaac. He reaches in Stiles’ pocket to tug out the flask he brought, taking a long drink before passing it around.

“That was one time,” protests Erica.

“Six times.” Derek leers at her. “What’d you realize it wasn’t worth letting a Townie under your shirt?”

“She stayed at college for the summer,” answers Erica, taking two swigs from the flask and handing it back to Stiles. “And at least she had enough skill to get in my pants.”

Derek flicks her head, choosing not to respond to the light insult. Before Stiles, Derek and Cora were pretty much the go-to teens for getting rid of pesky v-cards. Erica was Cora’s one visit to the other side of the tracks. Danny Mahealani was the only time Derek hooked up with a Townie. But Erica hasn’t really been interested in anyone for a while now. Beacon Hills is boring.

“Can we practice?” Boyd gives a long-suffering sigh.

Erica takes pity on him and hops off the truck. “Yeah let’s do this.” The jive ain’t gonna practice itself. Though that’d be nice. Of course Lydia Martin would pick something that requires precision and tricks.

As usual, Erica thinks it’d be nice to have another girl in the mix. They have a pretty good system with her partnering with Isaac, Stiles with Derek, and Boyd dancing on his own until it’s time for spins, where Boyd comes in and does most of the work switching up the partners. They all know how to do the transitions on their own though, and if Boyd had someone, the routine would be totally boss.

She’d take another girl in their group too. Not that it’s likely to happen. People don’t exactly aim to move to the tracks.  By the time Derek calls it quits, her hair is sticking to the back of her neck and Isaac’s breathing hard and even Boyd looks exhausted.

Boyd offers to drop her off at home and since the bar’s still open a couple more hours, Erica agrees, with promises to the others to meet up before school the next day.

 

ALLISON
One more year, Allison. You can do this. One more year to lay low and do your homework and not remind your parents of Kate and how she screwed up everyone’s life with her bullshit. Get in, get out. Allison repeats her usual pep talk to herself over and over again as she drives to school.

Having your mom for a principal is bad enough but the rumors about Kate never come too far behind. Allison tried once, three years ago, to make friends first, hoping at least one would stick by her after the gossip. But one by one they all dumped her and the ostracizing that followed was even worse. So Allison repeats her mantra, firms up her resolve, and hopes she gets a few months before her older sister’s drug addict reputation ruins hers too.

Is it wrong to hate your sister? Especially if she’s dead?

She hates her sister. Guess you can mark going to hell down for her.

Because the world hates her, Allison’s day falls apart before she even gets to campus. The local diner makes her wait another ten minutes for coffee since she came at the tail end of a rush, some kid in a silver hot rod takes the spot she was trying to pull into at school, and there’s a crowd outside the door to her mom’s new office where she’s apparently lecturing Mayor Whittemore again about banning school dances.

Allison knows why her parents do this. Kate was using and dealing at school dances, and it was an accident following one of those dances that killed Kate and several other students.

They just want to protect other kids.

Allison gets that. But she privately thinks that the problem wasn’t a bunch of kids swinging each other around and was more Kate’s tendency to get in the most amount of trouble possible in a bid for attention.

She got it in the end.

So Allison slips past the crowd, throwing up a desperate prayer that no one knows that Principal Argent has a high school daughter, and finds her locker on her own.

The locker is next to some guy named Boyd. She picks that up from his friends standing with him. He smiles nice enough but doesn’t say much, especially after looking at her clothes. She feels self-conscious and tugs her sweater around her a little more closely.

“If you’re done being the school’s welcoming committee, can we go to class? I want to see how fast Stiles can make Harris go apoplectic.” The smoky voice is what makes Allison glance over to see a girl with curly blond hair that’s in no way styled in the latest fashions and wearing a dress that dips a little too low to be considered school appropriate. She’s gorgeous.

Boyd looks apologetically at Allison. “Yeah, Erica, gimme one sec. Hold my coffee.”

Well that explains why she had to wait at the diner.

Erica gives Allison a once-over and Allison tries not to blush. She wore a pretty simple dress, swingy skirt, high collar, and a matching cardigan. It’s not how she wants to dress, being eternally envious of Audrey Hepburn’s casual style, but this is parent-approved.

“I’m Erica,” she says without reaching her hand out.

“Allison. I’m new. Obviously. I mean not that I stand out. I just.” God, could she sound more lame? This is why you don’t get dates, Argent, thinks Allison, reprimanding herself silently.

Erica smirks. “Yeah I got that. Townie, huh?”

“What?” Allison has no idea what she’s talking about.

“You live in town, right?”

“Yeah. A few blocks from the Methodist church.”

Erica nods like that means something. Allison still isn’t sure what she should do next - leave first, or let them leave - but she needs to do something or she’s going to forget to look at Erica’s eyes and then she’ll really be in trouble.

“I’m sure Lydia will find you soon enough,” finishes Erica. Allison tries to focus. “You look like Scott’s type anyway, ‘specially since he dumped Amber on the Fourth of July.”

“Oh, I don’t like boys,” says Allison and immediately flushes. She knows Beacon Hills is pretty open, no one cares who dates who which is one of the reasons her mom applied for the job, but she just met these people. Will there ever be a day when she doesn’t embarrass herself?

ERICA
Erica holds back a laugh at the new girl—Allison—‘s outburst and looks a little closer. She screams Townie, from her dress to her neatly arranged locker. But Allison also looks uncomfortable, like she’s wearing a costume instead of her own style and something about her intrigues Erica.

She has no idea what makes her say the next bit, doesn’t know how she’ll explain it to the rest of her gang once she meets up with them, but Allison’s eyes are big and questioning and Erica’s sort of dying to see what they’d look like darkened and full of desire.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” says Erica. “You should come to Annie’s on Friday.”

“Annie’s?” Allison’s still blushing—how fucking cute is that—but she seems interested.

“My foster mom’s bar. We hang out in the back,” answers Erica. “Give you a chance to decide for yourself which group you want to hang out with.”

“I thought you decided I was a Townie,” says Allison. There’s the tiniest bite to her words and Erica is even more intrigued.

“You are. But technically Stiles is too and we forgave him. Some things you just can’t help.” Erica throws her arm around Stiles’ shoulder, who keeps rolling his eyes over her head at Boyd like she can’t fucking see what they’re doing. “See ya there?”

Allison nods and Erica turns away, already focused on her friends.

“You’re the devil, Reyes,” laughs Stiles.

Erica flips her hair over her shoulder and agrees.

ALLISON
Somehow, and Allison has no actual idea how, she gets permission to take the car on Friday night. There’s a meet the Principal thing at the school for the parents and she fudged the truth a little by saying she was going to a friend’s.

Her dad’s so happy that Allison made a friend already that he doesn’t argue. She figures if Erica’s mom owns the bar, it isn’t a total lie. But going near a bar would not be on her parents’ approved list. And Allison really needs to see Erica again. Erica is…intoxicating. The way she walks down the hall, sensuous and catlike makes Allison jealous and weirdly empowered. Allison always felt like she’d never be as controlled or tough as Kate. And now, she’s more worried that she’ll end up as out of control as Kate really was. But Erica’s different…Erica’s got something that Allison doesn’t have to be or take. She can share it. It’s that feeling that keeps her nerves at bay on the way to the bar.

Those nerves come back a little bit when she walks around to the back, tugging her sweater tighter around herself—the weather’s been weirdly cold—and a tall imposing figure in black stands in front of her.

“Who the fuck are you? Townies aren’t allowed here.”

“Um, I was invited,” offers Allison uneasily.

“Alli!” Some guy—she thinks his name is Stiles from what Erica said earlier at school—waves and swings himself off a picnic table. “I can call you Alli, right? That’s not actually a choice. This is my boyfriend, Derek. Dude, Erica invited her, she hasn’t picked a side yet.” Stiles side hugs her in the process of climbing Derek like a tree.

Derek seems to forget her instantly in favor of sticking his tongue down Stiles’ throat and walking the pair of them back over to the picnic table.

Allison feels a little lost.

Boyd she recognizes from chemistry class and she doesn’t see Erica so she walks towards the truck he’s leaning against. “Am I okay to be here? And what’s a Townie?”

Thank god he takes some semblance of pity on her. “You’re good. Erica’s walking over with Isaac.”

“Isaac?”

“Present.”

Allison turns to see Erica—finally, this has been awkward—and a tall lanky guy taking the credit for being Isaac. “Hi,” says Allison, a little shyly. “Sorry, was I too early.”

“Oh god no. Isaac’s dad was being his usual asshole self so I had to go bust him out of the house. Have you met everyone?”

Allison nods. “Basically. But can someone please explain this Townie thing to me? And why I’m supposed to be one of them? I don’t like unearned labels.” She snaps a little with that last one. Usually she gets labeled as the druggie’s sister and inevitably a drug user/dealer/whatever herself by the time her parents have to move towns. So she’s not really thrilled about being given a new label straight off the bat.

Erica moves away from Isaac and sits on the tailgate, patting the seat beside her for Allison. She joins willingly enough. “Beacon Hills has two groups of people, at least for the teens. Our parents all intermix better, considering half of them run the town. Anyway, the Townies are those who live in the heart of town, all nice houses and white picket fences.” Erica grins. “Like you.”

Allison wrinkles her nose at her. “We don’t have a fence.”

“Oooh progressive.”

Allison laughs in spite of herself and shifts a little closer to Erica, willing to open up a bit.

“Lydia Martin, Jackson Whittemore, Scott McCall, and Danny Mahealani head up the Townie crew. Those of us who live on the other side of the railroad tracks, we’re known as the Trackers and you’re looking at the leaders. Technically Stiles belongs to the Townie side of the world but his mom co-owns Hale’s diner with Derek’s dad so he’s grown up in our world. And as you can see, keeping Derek and Stiles apart is next to impossible.”

“So I’m automatically considered a Townie?”

“Yep. But there’s something about you, Argent. Something I like.”

Allison pales at the mention of her last name.

Erica doesn’t seem to question why she’s pale, just assumes. “The principal thing? No worries. Stiles’ dad’s the Sheriff and Derek’s mom is like the DA or whatever. We may be the trashy side of town but we don’t fuck around.”

Allison really doesn’t know what to say to that.

Erica throws a rock at the back of Derek’s head. He rolls his eyes at them while Allison’s pretty sure Stiles has his hand down Derek’s pants and wow yeah definitely looking away now. “You about finished over there? I swear hosing you two down is like a weekly ritual lately.”

Stiles flips her off.

“The one different thing about Beacon Hills,” says Isaac, picking up the slack from Erica’s story, “is that we aren’t like most towns with the fighting and violence. None of us really know how it started, but we all grew up knowing how to dance. So if there’s a problem, we dance it out.”

“Like West Side Story?”

“Ha! But yeah in a way.”

“That’s…” Allison hesitates. Is there a polite comment for that?

“Weird?” finishes Erica. “Very weird. But it works for us. The way we see it, no one deals with the shootings or other shit that other towns do. There’s no gangs or dangerous neighborhoods or drug problems. Our parents turn a blind eye to any drinking cuz everybody knows not to fuck it up for the rest of us. And dancing solves any problems on neutral ground.”

Stiles and Derek join them, Derek licking his lips and Allison does not want to know. “Like she said, it’s weird, but it’s Beacon Hills. Really, we’ve got two questions. You wanna be a Townie or a Tracker? And do you dance?”

Allison watches Erica as she answers yes to both and gets a little thrill at the way Erica’s eyes light up when Allison says Tracker. “But I’ve only ever danced a little when I was younger,” she hastens to add. “My parents don’t approve.”

“Hmm, that may have to change if they stay in Beacon Hills,” says Erica.

Allison doesn’t respond, not wanting to get into the why of her parents’ feelings about dancing or anything that goes with it.

“Do you know any steps? Friday’s the dance off for the school’s inner courtyard. They put heaters out there during the winter so we can use it year round and whoever wins gets it for their group.” Stiles’ gaze is assessing. “We have a routine worked out already but if you stepped in with Boyd, it’d look better.”

“I can try,” offers Allison. “I know the steps, not so great on tricks but I can follow pretty well.” She has fond memories of Sammy, the boy who taught her to dance in sixth grade, before Kate’s misdeeds were found out, when she was allowed to spin around without any worries.

Boyd gallantly bows and offers his hand. “Let’s see what you can do while they practice.”

Allison finds herself redeemed somewhat once the pressure’s off and Boyd’s leading her around the asphalt. She’d taken lessons as a child, then stopped a couple years before Kate’s problems began. She wonders if maybe dancing is like riding a bike. You can stop for a while, hide away the dancing shoes, but your body still knows how to move.  Boyd’s a good partner too, explaining a move before trying it and never losing patience.

She watches the others practice during a water break. Isaac and Erica look better on their own, when showing off footwork separate from the other, while their partner work is more technical. Stiles and Derek are the opposite, seemingly at a loss—just going through memorized motions—when apart, but they shine together. Allison’s a little jealous.

But mostly her eyes watch Erica. The way she turns and twists and keeps her eyes locked with Allison the majority of the time. Allison’s falling fast.

ERICA
Erica is so incredibly fucked it’s not even a little bit funny. Her entire premise for flirting with Allison was to kick off the school year with a good lay and maybe piss off Scott McCall by getting the girl he’d called dibs on the first day of school. She would have butted in to inform him that women were not a thing to have dibs on, but Lydia was already taking care of that before Scott had finished his declaration to Jackson.

The point Erica’s trying to make, is that she wasn’t supposed to like Allison. Not this girl who wore long skirts and properly buttoned up cardigans and seemed unsure of herself half the time.

And in a way, Erica doesn’t like that girl. But that girl isn’t Allison. And that’s the problem.

Because the Allison Erica’s been hanging out with for the past two weeks doesn’t like cardigans. She’s not one for Erica’s style either, with risqué hemlines or low-cut shirts, rather preferring a fitted Audrey Hepburn-inspired style. Allison wears the more conservative options at school, then quickly switches in Boyd’s truck or the backseat of Derek’s Camaro before they head out on that day’s adventure.

Erica can’t ever see herself wearing the same style, but god Allison looks gorgeous in it. Allison still isn’t very talkative at school but she comes alive around the other Trackers. Erica’s pretty sure there’s more to it than just not wanting to deal with her parents—because Allison seems to care about them even as she rebels, but she’s not sure if she’s allowed to ask questions about that just yet. Erica’s watched Allison warm up during the week leading up to the dance, but it’s the dance-off that seemed to flip a switch.

When Allison steps into the courtyard, she practically floats, and it’s only Isaac hissing in her ear that gets Erica to focus on the dance. They win, a little bit because Allison does round out the ensemble nicely, but mostly because Lydia’s minions clearly didn’t practice—thinking they had an easy victory, particularly since they’d won the last several years.

Erica grins like she’s flirting with the devil when the judges rule them victorious and Stiles nearly gets his nose broken by taunting Jackson Whittemore. It’s one more reason he’s one of her best friends.

After that, Allison grows from polite and friendly to open and teasing with the rest of them.

She shares a flask with Erica on the picnic table and makes broody faces at Derek and laughs giddily when he makes growly noises back.

Erica smiles brightly when Boyd whispers in her ear that she picked a good one and tries not to let herself think about the fact that there’s no way Allison can like her back. Not as much as Erica wants. They teach Isaac how to spin both of them at once. Then they elbow each other and make cooing sounds at Stiles begging Derek to practice bridal carries in one routine.

Apparently it’s a very important step.

And through it all, Erica tries very hard to watch Allison without wanting so much and to maintain her devil may care attitude lest anyone see her weakness.

ALLISON

The next six weeks fly by until Allison’s suddenly realizing its October and the leaves are changing and she’s happy for once. Happy without nearly so much of the nervous feeling that it’s all going to slip away.

She has friends, to the point that people know her name at school, even if she does hang out with Erica’s core crowd most of the time.

Derek’s proven to be a fast friend. Parental pressure is a thing he gets more than the others and he’s easier to talk to when she’s frustrated. Stiles and Erica clearly have a bond that can’t be easily explained. A secret part of Allison likes that she has the beginnings of that with Derek, because in some odd way it makes her feel closer to Erica.

She learns new dance steps and makes Boyd dance with Isaac half the time so she can dance with Erica. Those moments make her flush and hope she’s not wearing all of her feelings on her face. Even a little blushing is worth it to feel Erica’s hips under her hands while she wonders if Erica would let her take control. Her fingers often involuntarily curl just a little. Erica’s response is usually to move closer, but she won’t act any further.

Allison finds it frustrating and a little confusing. The confusion was cleared up one day when Isaac quietly sat down with her after school while they waited for the others to finish up detention. She’s always careful not to be too obvious about her feelings, wanting to know how Erica feels first. Isaac doesn’t really say anything directly. He just sort of talks about how life can be funny for the Tracker kids. That you know, deep down, that you’ll be stuck here forever. Not only because it costs too much to get out, but because Beacon Hills is like a siren and calls her people back to her eventually.

He talks about the way things like that make people think of forever and at the same time want to pretend forever doesn’t exist, and live each day without caring about the next.

Isaac references himself and the fact that he dates different guys, each fling more casual than the next, and that a part of him loves it, there are certain guys he sabotaged any relationship with on purpose, so he didn’t have to think about anything extra.

Allison politely doesn’t mention that she’s seen him with the same guy a few times lately. Her friends forget where she lives a lot and that she sees both sides. She doesn’t mention who the guy is either. That’s Isaac’s business and he’ll trust them when he’s ready.

But she knows what he means. Knowing that Erica’s playing it safe too makes Allison wonder if everyone does this. Plays games or stays aloof or cautious in an effort to protect themselves.

So she tries to be open with Erica, without pushing, trying to read between the lines on the status of their friendship.

Allison still worries a lot about her family’s past and whether it will follow her here after all.

She worries more than it turns out she needs to when the school board announces a hearing about banning dancing at the fall formal. The request was made by Principal Argent and everyone knows it.

The school is in an uproar, as only makes sense, but Allison’s friends easily separate her from her parents—and she’s already mentioned that they have a problem with dancing—so no one turns on her.

There’s a bit of an odd moment at lunch the day after the announcement. Jackson comes to the courtyard, something he’d usually send a minion to do, and just barks out that he needs Derek and Stiles.

Well technically Jackson calls them Eyebrows & Gumby.

Neither teen shows any surprise at Jackson’s visit, so Allison doesn’t think too much more about it.

She’s been flirting with Erica with even more promising results and her mom even bought her a pair of cigarette pants last week, having apparently noticed Allison’s changes to her wardrobe. Yes, life is definitely good. Not perfect but good and Allison is finally starting to relax.

So because the universe is an asshole, she walks into school to find a picture of Kate’s mugshot—from the second time she was arrested—and the news article on Kate, drugs, and the multiple deaths she caused taped to her locker.

ERICA
She doesn’t really know how to handle things when word gets out about Allison’s sister Kate. Apparently she’d been heavy into drugs and got herself and several other kids killed a few years ago after doping up at a high school dance. It explains why Allison is so cagey about her family though. And why the principal is trying to ban the fall formal.

Erica tries to be there for Allison in a friendship kind of way. Which feels weird. She has her own friends of course but Allison’s different. She’s not slumming it by hanging out with them and Erica’s used to having a group that just kind of fell together.

Everyone looks out for each other but there’s no moment when anyone became friends. It’s just always been there.

She’s been sneaking Isaac out his bedroom window since they were six years old and his mom was still alive to cover for him.

Boyd and Derek have always had this weird bond where they don’t say anything but have an entire conversation in a look.

Stiles’ always climbed all over Derek, it just used to involve clothes and be more innocent.

She’s got a seemingly teasing friendship with Stiles that runs so deep most people end up on the wrong side of it before they realize and a tiny bit of older brother worship with Derek—even if he is only four months older and not a brother.

The point though, is that it’s always been the five of them. Erica figures it’s probably why Lydia doesn’t let anyone new into her group either. It’s the strangest feeling to sit by someone and not know what they’re thinking.

Derek and Boyd make it clear very quickly that none of the Trackers are to bother Allison about Kate or anything to do with her family. Other than the potential dance ban, their side doesn’t care anyway. Everybody on this side of the tracks has skeletons and there’s a “you air mine, I’ll air yours” mentality. Erica’s pretty sure Allison’s participation in the courtyard dance-off solidified her place with the Trackers anyway. They don’t go after their own.

The lesser Townie kids are a different story. General mockery is usually beneath Lydia, Scott, Jackson, and Danny, but then it can be when they have minions.

Allison says she’s fine, but Erica can see differently. It’s getting to her. Erica circles the wagons. She and Isaac pick fights with anyone who so much as looks at Allison funny until Boyd has to step in. Harris, the fucking douche chemistry teacher, makes these snide little comments at Allison, and Stiles and Derek mouth off back at him—in glorious ways—that get them detention constantly.

It’s a really bad day after school when everyone but Allison is stuck in detention but Allison’s now the ride home for everyone since Derek let his sister use the Camaro and Boyd’s truck is in the shop. Allison’s waiting on a bench outside the school, a couple yards from the window of the detention classroom so she can talk to them whenever Harris leaves the room.

Several Townie girls are giving her a lot of shit and Erica can see and hear them from detention but can’t do anything about it.

She gets more worried when she sees Scott walk over, because he’s known for being a dick sometimes and if he’s stepped in to pick on Allison she’s kind of screwed.

Scott stops right in front of Allison and gives her a slow once-over. Erica seethes with rage and the hand Derek places on her shoulder doesn’t do much to calm her.

“Argent,” drawls McCall, like he’s beyond bored, “You use?”

Erica watches Allison shake her head nervously.

“You deal?”

“No.” That one’s more firm. Erica’s proud. Allison’s got a backbone, it just always feels like it suffers from disuse.

Scott just turns and walks away. The Townie bitches keep up their mockery for a bit, adding a few threats, and Boyd points out the way Lydia Martin’s observing from the school’s main entrance. But eventually they leave and not long after that detention lets out.

Erica doesn’t say anything when Allison insists on staying out later, having a few more drinks than usual, and throwing herself into a slingshot shooting contest at old beer bottles with Stiles that night. She doesn’t really know what to say. Or to be more exact, Erica’s trying not to say the wrong thing. She’s used to speaking her mind and knowing her friends will still be her friends but Allison’s still new and she reminds Erica of the few pieces of china her mom owns – hard and tough and usually unbreakable unless you find a pressure point. Erica isn’t interested in being the one who adds the pressure.

"Erica doesn't comment on any of Allison's slightly abnormal behaviour, but she does make sure someone else drives Allison and Allison's car home, not wanting her behind the wheel after drinking so much." 

The following day is where Erica finds herself surprised. And a little bit impressed in spite of herself. The hanger-on Townies surround Allison at her locker and Erica’s stuck fighting her way through a crowd to get to Allison’s side. She snaps cruel and cutting comments that halt the teasing momentarily, but not long enough to make a difference. Allison’s smile of thanks makes it worth it. Erica just wishes she knew how to make the assholes stop completely.

“Ladies!” Lydia Martin gives the impression that she’s leaning against Jackson on the other side of the hall, both the picture of nonchalance. “We seem to have a problem.”

The teasing stops while they listen. Lydia speaks and the world shuts up. Erica finds it stupid.

Lydia continues serenely. “Miss Argent has made it clear that she is not a druggie or whatever other uncouth words you’ve decided to use. Therefore, this nonsense,” she wrinkles her nose disdainfully, “is beneath you. Desist.”

“Why does it matter? She’s just another Tracker.”

Erica doesn’t blame the girl who spoke one bit for cowering at Lydia’s death glare.

“You,” says Lydia in a tone of dismissal, “bleachers.” The gasp through the crowd has Allison looking confused. Erica leans in to whisper. “Bleachers are the banishment zone. There’s Townie hangouts, Tracker turf, and then everyone else just goes wherever. You get sent to the bleachers and you can kiss the rest of high school goodbye. It’s social suicide. And only the head Townies can enforce sending you there.”

“Do we have any more problems?” asks Lydia. The rest of her minions—what, that’s totally what they are—scatter. Erica stifles a laugh.

Jackson politely takes the books Lydia hands him and throws a look at the rest of the students who stand around the hall, watching the events. “That warning goes for all of you,” he snaps in his usual everyone is beneath me tone. “The bleachers can be very cold this time of year.” He follows Lydia down the hall, neither of them bothering to glance at Erica or Allison or any of the other Trackers.

McCall winks at them both as he swings an arm over Danny’s shoulders and heads after his friends.

Erica is completely confused. Her only comfort in the moment is that even Stiles and Derek had stopped grinding up against each other by the water fountain to watch the proceedings.

“What the hell just happened?” She sort of directs the question into midair, figuring someone will have a reply.

She’s right. It’s just not the reply she was expecting. Because one minute Erica’s feeling like she has the same  bewildered look that Isaac does, and the next Allison’s pressing against her and kissing her, hard and fast and fucking needy as hell.

ALLISON
Allison couldn’t tell anyone what possessed her to kiss Erica in the moment after the Townie leaders called off their dogs. She just felt like she had to. Because maybe Lydia stopped the teasing—for god knows what reasons—but Erica’s the one who’s been at her side the whole time. Something in Allison is screaming to go for what she wants. To quit waiting for perfect moments or for everything to fall apart but to take a chance, just this once, and to hell with what people say.

It can’t get any worse.

So she practically throws herself at Erica, fisting her hands in Erica’s jacket. It’s the oddest feeling to kiss someone the same height as her. Allison feels like an equal for once, like she deserves to be here, instead of worrying someone will see through her façade and push her away.

Even better is the way Erica kisses back. The hard lines and muscles that make Erica so familiar melt away as Allison pushes closer. She can feel hands on her hips, the touch burning, and she nips at Erica’s mouth, entreating Erica to open up for her.

Erica gives a little moan as Allison kisses deeper, her own hands sliding under the edge of the jacket and around to Erica’s back.

It’s the best sound Allison’s ever heard. She licks into Erica’s mouth, trying to get the sound back.

She’s willing to keep going, forget class and audiences and everything just for one more taste, but Derek is suddenly tapping her on the shoulder, reminding her that her mother is still the principal, and didn’t order a floor show.

Allison pulls away with a pout and the whine of protest that Erica emits is almost enough to make her forget her mother. Almost.

Her next two classes aren’t with Erica, so she has to wait until lunch in the courtyard to talk to her again.

 

ERICA

Somehow lunch ends up with more kissing—and Erica’s still not sure how to process this new development—and her agreement to go on a date with Allison later that night.

She doesn’t have time to get nervous about the date, because first Isaac needs a ride home and then his dad’s being an ass so Isaac just grabs a change of clothes to crash at Stiles’ and after that it’s the usual working on new moves and teasing each other until Erica’s reminded of her plans when Allison’s car pulls up.

Allison looks fantastic—though not dressy, so Erica doesn’t feel bad—as she walks over to join Erica on the hood of Derek’s car.

“You look like you got a hot date tonight, Argent!” catcalls Stiles.

“You know it.”

Erica makes a face at Stiles and scoots over on the car to make room. “Hey,” she says and wants to die at the way her voice cracks. She’s not a thirteen year old boy.

“Hi ya back,” says Allison. She looks nervous and that makes Erica feel a little better. “So um, I know today was kind of crazy, but can I kiss you again?”

Erica nods as she leans in and initiates the kiss this time. She’s had a little time to process now and other than nerves, which are now thankfully eased, she’s feeling more like her old self. Which means she has time to catalogue the kiss, noting things like the way Allison tastes like raspberries and smells like resin and the way their curls tangle together.

“Quit making out on my car!” Derek doesn’t sound all that serious so Erica chooses to ignore him and keep kissing Allison.

“Oh c’mon babe,” says Stiles loudly. “We had sex on your car hood last night in the preserve, they should at least get a good makeout on it.”

Erica’s never moved so fast in her life, jumping away as fast as Allison does. “Gross!”

“We cleaned it,” says Stiles.

Allison glares at him. “You couldn’t have led with that?” Erica laughs at the way Stiles takes a step back. Allison can be intense when she wants to be.

“Nope.”

“C’mon, I don’t want a date around these idiots anyway.” Erica tugs on Allison’s hand and sticks her tongue out at her friends as they leave.

~

“So what made you ask me out?” asks Erica, several hours later as they sit on a clean and sex-free car up at Inspiration Point.

“I like you,” says Allison and it’s hesitant, leaving Erica feeling unsure. Allison seems to sense it though. “No, I mean it, Erica, I really like you and I’ve been freaking out that you wouldn’t like me back or you would until the Kate secret came out because everyone ditches me after that but you didn’t. More than that, you just kept being there. And I was kind of in the moment at school but I just didn’t want to second guess anymore. I figured it was worth taking a chance.”

Erica really doesn’t see how she can do anything but kiss Allison at that statement, and she lets her lips convince Allison that it was the right chance to take. Because now, in this moment, Erica’s pretty sure that Allison is the best thing that could ever happen to her.

ALLISON
The school board meeting is hands down the worst thing that could happen to Allison. She’s not even slightly exaggerating. For the last three weeks, she’s been sneaking out to see Erica, under pretense of doing homework with Lydia and the other Townie leaders, and she has this feeling it’s about to blow up in her face.

The homework sessions mostly involve them making out on Erica’s bed, or Boyd’s truck, or in her car at Inspiration Point.

Not that Allison minds.

Erica’s so much different from the girls she’s used to. Allison’s quiet but she’s not a virgin, a mistaken assumption that was quickly rectified when Jackson started teasing her at school early on. She just doesn’t really feel the need to broadcast conquests in a high school locker room sort of way. Especially since it never really felt like anything before. Kissing has always been nice, but everything else felt like a checklist.

Until Erica. Erica makes Allison want. So much.

There’s been a lot of making out so far and a few days ago the shirts finally came off, but Erica keeps going slow. Allison can’t figure out if it’s because Erica’s nervous or if she thinks Allison is.

Of course, after tonight, Allison can probably kiss all chances of anything more goodbye. The Mayor and Sheriff Stilinski are still voting against the ban, but her parents have made a lot of friends with the other school board members, ones who don’t know how important dancing is because their kids don’t talk to them as much.

Allison knows her parents mean well. Dancing scares them and their only exposure to it was through Kate. She gets that they hate it and think it leads to more danger but it’s not true and Allison doesn’t know how to make them see that.

She’s already walking a thin line as the should-be-Townie who insists on hanging out with the trackers. She might as well join a nunnery for the rest of senior year.

“Ready for this, Argent?” Stiles is laughing as he greets her at the door to the school gym. Half the town is already here and more people keep piling in.

“Aren’t you worried?”

Stiles shakes his head. “Nah, our secret weapon is already inside. We got this thing.”

Allison is thoroughly confused. “Huh? And where’s Derek? Or Erica? Or anyone?”

Stiles tilts his head at her. “You haven’t been inside?”

“No. I was too nervous.”

“C’mon then. I think you’ll be surprised.”

Allison loops her hand around Stiles’ offered arm, one of those rare moments where he plays at being a gentleman, and follows tentatively. Stiles leads her down the front row, where Derek is sitting next to Lydia of all people, the two of them with heads bent, whispering to each other. She slides in to the seat by Erica, who squeezes her hand but is focused on a piece of paper in Scott’s hands. Isaac is leaning over from the row behind them, making marks on the paper and hissing at Scott.

She’s pretty sure those two are going to be having hate-sex any day now. And she wonders how the others don’t see it.

There’s no time to ask Stiles why the two warring cliques are sitting together, or any of the other million questions in her mind, because her mom and Sheriff Stilinski just walked in as the last to arrive and the room is quieting down for the meeting.

Most of it goes exactly like she expects. Her parents present their argument against dancing, citing the way it encourages addictive behaviors, puts kids in danger by having them drive home afterwards, even referencing the dance battles that take place as examples of fighting. It’s all perfectly accurate and yet it’s nothing like what Allison’s experienced so far in Beacon Hills.

Which is the argument the mayor and sheriff attempt to make, without much luck.

It’s when the discussion is opened to the public that Allison starts to understand what her friends have been up to. Lydia and Derek walk to the microphone together, after Derek snags the paper Scott was holding.

“Ladies & Gentlemen of the school board and community,” begins Lydia, her voice clear and firm just as it is when she’s running the Townies. “As students at Beacon Hills High, and the primary target of the Argents’ concern, we believe we should have a chance to defend ourselves. Mr. Hale and I have a few things to say. If we may?”

A nod from Allison’s mom gives Lydia all the permission she needs. Lydia mercilessly destroys every argument her parents had against dancing.

The kids in Beacon Hills don’t do drugs. Yes, they drink, she’ll be honest about that one, but there are designated drivers and limits. You can’t dance very well when drunk and every kid in town knows better than to fuck up a dance-off by getting wasted. Not that Lydia says fuck. Derek steps in to point out that yes, there are turf wars in a sense in Beacon Hills. He rightly points out that the parents have contributed just as much to the idea that where you live in town makes a difference in what type of person you are. But he also asks the board to consider that most towns’ teenagers solve these kinds of problems with violence. They dance. That can’t be so wrong.

Allison can tell that her friends are winning. It helps that the town has been fine with dancing for years.

Somehow she feels like there needs to be more though. She’s lived under Kate’s shadow—and her parents’ shadows—for so long, it feels like she doesn’t know who she is anymore. Erica makes her want to be Allison. Even if she’s still figuring out who that is. So when Lydia and Derek sit down, Allison takes their place at the podium.

Her parents are staring, clearly confused, though her mom looks like she thinks Allison’s going to defend their stance.

“Hi. Um, I’m Allison Argent. Uh daughter to Principal Argent,” she begins, suddenly terrified. A glance behind her has Erica smiling encouragingly, and Stiles giving her a thumbs up from where he’s already tangling himself with Derek and even Jackson is nodding at her while helping Lydia to her seat.

“I know you’ve heard a lot of arguments for & against dancing today.” Allison takes a deep breath. She now knows exactly what she wants to say. “But I wanted to tell you about my sister.

“The rules are, at least as far as I’ve ever heard them, that you love your family even when you don’t like them. I don’t know that I’ve ever liked my sister. There’s a lot of reasons for that, some important, some probably not so much. My parents are scared of dancing because they think activities at dances and dance parties are what killed my sister. “ Allison struggles to look at her parents, knowing she’s needed to say this to them, but also knowing how much it will hurt.

“My sister killed herself. I don’t believe she purposely drove her car into the other car, but she made a choice a long time ago to do drugs. She told me so when she did it. And it wasn’t at a dance. Kate used those as an easy cover once she started selling drugs to pay for her habit. She even made me help her sometimes, though it wasn’t until later that I realized what she was doing.”

A hand slips into hers and Allison looks to see Erica sitting at the edge of the row, hand holding tight in comfort.

“I’ve made some new friends since moving to Beacon Hills. That’s new for me. We’ve had to move a lot over the last few years. Once the stories about Kate get out, the real stories, no one really wants us around anymore. But for the first time I didn’t have to be the druggie’s little sister. I get to be Allison. I like her. Allison likes history and gym and Capri pants and west coast swing and apparently talking in the third person but I feel like I’m just getting to know her. I think I know where most of you stand on the dancing issue. Derek and Lydia certainly did a good job. So I’m going to finish this by talking to my parents. Mom. Dad. I like Beacon Hills. I like dancing and being a teenager and getting excited about learning how to twirl just right. My friends here taught me I can do that. Please don’t take that away.”

There’s nothing really left to say after that, so Allison lets Erica lead her back to their seats and she curls her feet up on the chair and leans into her girlfriend. She’s learning how to be powerful but it still doesn’t come easy.

“You did good,” whispers Stiles, leaning over Derek to pat her knee. The others smile too, encouraging and not judging and Allison lets herself believe it will be okay.

The board still has to vote on the issue, since it’s been brought to public forum. The ban is denied.

Unanimously.

Amidst the loud cheering throughout the hall, Allison slips away to find her parents, promising Erica she’ll find her later.

“Allison!” Her dad beckons from one of the classrooms and she hurries down the hall unsure of how to start.

“I’m sorry. I know you guys love Kate and miss her and…”

“We’re sorry, sweetheart,” interrupts Chris, arms reaching out to hug her.

Allison looks at her mom, confused.

“You’re our daughter too. We should have spent more time talking to you instead of just fighting to keep you from becoming Kate,” says Victoria. As always, her mom’s voice isn’t as sympathetic as her dad’s but the words are what really matter. “You’ve never been Kate. I’m sorry I forgot that.”

Allison pulls her mom in for a hug too. “It’s okay.” And it is. Maybe life isn’t perfect, and they’ve probably got a long way to go to listening to each other again, especially since that stopped long before Kate died, but for the first time in a very long time, Allison knows they’ll make it. She’s not alone and she’s not weak and she’s not her sister.

“We need to talk to a few more people and then we can go home,” says Chris, moving away and straightening his shirt.

She hesitates, but figures why stop now. “Actually, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

Erica’s easy to find, hovering in a back corner with the other Trackers, the lines drawn again now that this enemy of my enemy situation is over. She looks warily at Allison’s approach but doesn’t try to leave and Allison will take what she can get.

“This is Erica.” Allison doesn’t put a label on what they are. To be honest she’s not really sure yet. But Erica’s important enough to introduce to her parents, so that’s what she’s going to do.

“Nice to meet you,” says Erica, reaching out politely.

Chris smiles and shakes Erica’s hand freely. Victoria is more assessing in her greeting.

“You have your house key?” asks Victoria, causing Allison to turn to her mom in surprise.

“Yeah.”

“Yes.”

Allison rolls her eyes. Once a teacher, always a teacher. “Yes. Why?”

“I’m lifting the curfew for tonight,” says Victoria, and Allison gapes. “This isn’t a permanent thing, Allison.” Victoria’s eyes sweep over the motley crew and Allison tries to see what she does.

Boyd is sitting with Isaac, talking about who knows what. Derek leans against the wall next to them, Stiles at his side, slowly running his fingers up his boyfriend’s arm. Erica’s shifting nervously under the gaze of Allison’s parents—and the principal—but she’s not doing her usual mouthing off and the boys are clearly keeping an eye on the situation, even as they pretend to be pre-occupied.

Everyone’s dress and general posture screams an I-don’t-have-time-for-you attitude. But their mannerisms exhibit the concern they share for each other. Allison thinks maybe her parents are finally seeing that and not just a punk in a leather jacket.

“But I have the feeling you’ll be safe with your friends,” finishes Victoria.

Allison hugs her mom. “Thank you,” she whispers in Victoria’s ear.

Her parents are gone a moment later and Allison finally gets to relax.

“You were almost impressive up there,” smirks Isaac.

“Just cuz you don’t have the balls,” returns Stiles and Allison grins at him while tugging Erica to her.

“Hi.”

Erica kisses her and pulls her close. “Hi ya back. Wanna get out of here?”

Allison nods. “Like you wouldn’t believe.”

“We’re leaving. You losers can keep yourselves occupied tonight.” Erica gives the rest of their friends the briefest glance as she grabs her jacket off a nearby chair.

“Oh we have plans,” drawls Derek. Allison can’t see his hands anymore and she really doesn’t want to know any more than that.

“Guess it’s just me and you then,” says Boyd, looping an arm over Isaac’s shoulders. Isaac wiggles away and turns bright red. “Actually I’m sort of meeting someone at Hale’s Diner.”

Five faces whip around to stare at Isaac. “Like a date?!” squeaks Allison.

“No! I don’t know. Maybe.” Isaac keeps blushing. “It’s new.”

“Who’s the lucky girl?” teases Erica.

Stiles yelps in protest. “Or guy!”

“Or guy,” corrects Erica. “C’mon spill, Lahey.”

“No way.” Isaac shakes his head furiously. “You’ll have way too much to say about it and you’ll judge him and I like this guy. Really like him.”

Allison takes pity on Isaac. It’s sweet that he has someone special in his life. Boyd and Isaac are the two single ones of their group but she’s noticed that where Boyd seems completely content not romantically involved, Isaac thrives on affection. “That’s really sweet, Isaac.”

Derek is staring at Isaac while the rest tease. “Fuck. It’s Mahealani, isn’t it?”

Isaac goes white as a sheet.

“Really dude?” groans Stiles. “The guy’s best friend is Jackson fucking Whittemore.”

“Yeah and Jackson’s parents are over at your house all the time playing poker with your parents,” snaps Erica at Stiles. “Don’t be such an ass.”

Derek snarls at Erica. Allison’s still a little jealous of the way he can do that.

“It’s not really playing when my mom robs everyone blind at every game,” laughs Stiles.

“All of you shut up.” Boyd looks at Isaac. “You really like him?”

Isaac nods.

“Then go get him and fuck what we think. If he’s worth your time, we’ll see it at some point.”

They do some sort of awkward fist bump that makes Allison roll her eyes. Boys. And then Isaac’s vaulting over the chairs and almost running out of the room.

“And that’s our cue.” Erica pulls Allison along with her towards the exit.  Allison waves to Boyd, since he’s the only one paying attention, follows Erica along.

~

An hour later they’re in Erica’s bedroom. Allison’s managed to get Erica’s dress off and she lost her own shirt and pants long enough ago that she’s not too sure where they ended up. Erica leans over to press hot, open-mouthed kisses to Allison’s breast, fingers sliding her bra straps down her arms. Allison wants to help but she can’t focus on anything but the feel of Erica’s tongue.

This is everything Allison’s been craving for weeks. She’s almost afraid to speak in case it frightens Erica away.

Allison tugs on Erica’s hair, tries to pull her back up. “Erica…you don’t have to…”

“I want to,” says Erica, though she comes willingly enough. “Unless you don’t?”

Allison shakes her head. “I want. But you shouldn’t have to take care of me.”

Erica kisses her, like she knows all the things Allison can’t say and Allison wants to know how she got so lucky. “I don’t have to do anything. This is just as much for me as it is for you. Please?”

Allison pushes up off the pillows and kisses Erica again, then lets her head fall back as Erica moves back down her body. Every nerve ending feels on fire, like it’s being awoken at Erica’s touch, and there’s little Allison can do (or wants to do) but give in to the pleasure.

It’s sometime later—Allison couldn’t say when but the stars are peeking in through the window and she’s feeling  more content than she has in years—that she finally feels like talking again.

Allison pushes herself up from where her head’s resting on Erica’s stomach and scoots up the mattress to stare a little. Erica looks a thousand times more peaceful when she sleeps, like a gentler soul hides inside. She likes the idea that only she gets to see that side of Erica.

She brushes a curl away from Erica’s face, smiling as Erica opens her eyes. “Hey,” says Allison in a soft whisper. Clearly eloquence fails her.

“Hi ya back,” answers Erica. She smiles sweetly and Allison bends to press a kiss to those still rosy lips. “Whatcha thinking?”

“Go with me to the dance,” says Allison impetuously.

“What about your parents?”

“I’ll talk to them. So if they say yes, you’ll go?”

Erica beams at her and Allison can’t help but grin back. “Of course I’ll go.”

ERICA

Getting up when Allison leaves means Erica’s wide awake but still having to be quiet since Annie is asleep, so she rides her bike over to Hale’s diner, figuring at least some of her crew should be there.

She isn’t disappointed. Stiles and Isaac are lounging on opposite sides of a booth when she walks in. She shoves at Isaac’s legs. “Move over.”

“Sit on Stiles’ side,” gripes Isaac.

“Oh like Derek won’t kick me out whenever he gets here.”

“Derek’s working,” says Stiles, waving his hand at the counter. “Something about needing to have money to buy his boyfriend a proper corsage.”

A jelly packet flies across the restaurant and hits Stiles in the head. “I’m not the one who insisted on a corsage,” yells Derek. His attitude vanishes when Aria Stilinski pokes her head out from the kitchen. “Derek Hale, quit sassing my boy and serve the tables.”

Erica and Isaac laugh as Derek meekly obeys and Stiles turns bright red. Aria is the most badass lady any of them have ever met and while she loves Derek like he’s already a son-in-law, she refuses to take anyone’s crap.

Derek serves breakfast to a couple tables before grabbing a coffee pot and mugs for their table, filling  up one for Erica and Isaac and topping off Stiles’. He leans across Erica to kiss Stiles.

“No making out on the clock!” calls Aria and Erica’s not the only one in the restaurant cackling at that.

If it wasn’t for the free food and the ability to earn extra cash, Erica doubts Stiles and Derek would come to their parents’ restaurant so much. Embarrassment, even on the house, just isn’t worth it.

“I said I’d go to the formal with Allison,” says Erica as a distraction.

The boys immediately latch onto that and she keeps them occupied until Derek brings their breakfast over. He sits too—taking a short break—and holds Stiles’ hand across the table while shoveling eggs in his mouth.

Erica’s simultaneously grossed out and jealous.

“That’s awesome that Allison’s going to the dance,” says Derek.

“Maybe.”

Three forks pause in midair as the boys look at her. “Why maybe?” asks Isaac.

“Because Allison’s going to have a whole new outfit and I don’t own a nice dress so I’m just going to look like an idiot.” Erica blinks fast because she will not cry about stupid clothes.

Derek swallows his hashbrowns. “I’ll pay for the flowers if you want.”

“Really?”

“Sure. I kind of owe you anyway for setting everything up with Lydia and Jackson.” He shrugs like it’s not a big deal.

“Thank you.”

Isaac kicks her. “I have my mom’s pearl earrings in my dresser. You can borrow them.”

Erica gapes. “Aren’t you worried they’ll get lost?”

Isaac shakes his head. “I trust you. Besides, mom would have been happy to see someone else get some use out of them.”

Erica agrees, knowing what a big deal it is for Isaac, and finds herself feeling a little bit better. At least enough to start teasing Isaac about Danny and ignoring her own worries for a while.

~

Sunday morning always means blueberry muffins and coffee with Annie, because she has to get up and head into the bar early to clean up after what are always rowdy Saturday nights.

Erica does chores to earn extra money and she thinks she might be able to have enough to buy a used skirt for the dance. She tries not to get too upset about it.

“Allison asked me to the dance,” offers Erica when Annie asks about her week.

“That’s wonderful,” responds Annie.

They’ve never really been much of a mom and daughter duo, but Annie never says anything she doesn’t mean so Erica’s happy with the compliment. “I don’t know why I said yes. I don’t have a dress or shoes or anything and I’ll just look ridiculous.”

Annie looks thoughtful. “We don’t have much money to spare, but I tell you what. You get the chores done and I’ll give you double the allowance. I can cut corners somewhere else for a couple weeks and then you can get a nice pair of shoes. I’ll call some friends and see if we can’t put together the rest of the outfit for you too.”

“Really?”

Annie nods. “It’s not perfect, but you deserve an outfit as beautiful as you.”

Erica indulges in a rare hug. “Thank you.”

Annie returns the hug briefly before moving away to finish getting ready for work and Erica starts in on the dishes.

Erica’s cleaning when there’s a honk outside her door. Stiles is in his jeep and he tells her she has to come along.

“Why am I getting in your car?” asks Erica. “I have work to do.”

“I’ll get you back in plenty of time to indulge your Cinderella fantasies,” laughs Stiles, ducking away from the punch she aims at him.

“Stiles.”

“Erica.”

She glares at him. “Oh fine, we’re going to get you a dress for the dance,” reveals Stiles.

“I don’t have any money.” Erica’s frustrated. Was he not listening yesterday at the diner? Typical of Stiles to be so focused on Derek in an apron that he didn’t listen.

“Duh. Mom gave me money and told me I was to help you look like a princess.”

“Really?”

“Well technically she said ‘Stiles Stilinski that girl is a gift and already a princess but us ladies like to dress up sometimes to show it more and I refuse to give you money for a suit to this formal just so you can disappear with Derek ten minutes into it and come home with questionable stains so you are going to take Erica shopping and get her anything she needs for this dance’. And then she shoved money in my hand and gave me another lecture about having sex in public places,” finishes Stiles. “Oh, and when I tried to argue with her, she said I’m not allowed to use my parents as role models for my own dating life. Which is way more information than I ever needed to know.” He wrinkles his nose. “I think she said that on purpose.”

Erica laughs at him. “Of course she did.” She bypasses the door, grabbing onto the jeep’s crossbar and swinging herself into the car. “Tell your mom I’ll bake her favorite poppyseed cake every weekend for the next month as a thank you.”

Stiles agrees, though how much of the cake will make it to Mrs. Stilinski is something Erica still questions.

The morning passes quickly after that. Stiles has almost zero fashion sense of his own but he’s a perfect shopping partner. He’s flattering and encouraging and never acts like he’s bored. Erica realizes she’s missed getting to hang out with her partner in crime.

Stiles drops her off later, with promises to meet at the bar later that night so everyone can practice the waltz they want to be able to dance at the formal.

Erica maybe spends a couple hours twirling in front of the mirror in her new outfit before returning to her chores. Maybe.

And if she’s distracted all through the next week at school, imagining the dance and Allison and afterwards, well, she’s certainly not the only one.

ALLISON
Allison carefully smoothes her skirt and rings the doorbell. If butterflies really can fly inside a person, they’re throwing a party in her stomach right now.

And then Erica opens the door and all of Allison’s worries don’t seem to matter anymore. Erica’s wearing a pink dress, a few shades darker than Allison’s and her hair is loosely pinned. Allison’s already imagining tugging it free later.

Erica smiles at her and Allison takes a deep breath. “You look beautiful.”

“Yeah?” Erica blushes. “Stiles took me shopping.”

“Yeah,” nods Allison. “Absolutely beautiful.” She reaches her hand out to Erica, leaning in for a quick kiss before pulling her along to the car.

At the dance, all battle lines are dropped for the night. Everyone still tends to stick to their own groups, though Scott does stop by for a minute to lean over to Stiles and comment on how perfect Isaac and Danny seem.

Stiles reflects that maybe there’s hope for Scott yet with good taste like that.

Allison wonders a little if maybe someday the lines between Townies and Trackers will drop completely.

She dances with every one of her friends—Boyd’s still her favorite out of all the boys—though most of her time is taken up by Erica. When they show off the waltz routine, Allison feels lighter than air and her eyes light up at the applause from the other students. She has a reputation now, one that she’s earned all on her own, and it’s amazing how liberating that feels.

When she sees Scott ask Danny for a dance, Allison seizes her chance to finally dance with Isaac, since he’s the one friend that’s been hard to track down.

“You seem like you’re having fun.”

Isaac’s smile spreads in that slow way she’s used to and she smiles brightly back. “I am,” he admits. “I wasn’t sure how things would go but no one’s bothered Danny or me about dating outside our own.”

“As well they shouldn’t,” says Allison. “You two look wickedly handsome.”

“Even handsomer than Derek?” Isaac teases because she might have forgotten a filter when Derek had arrived. It’s not her fault, he just looks impressively good in a suit, even if guys aren’t usually on her menu.

Allison laughs. “Considering your suit is still on, yes definitely handsomer.”

A moment later the music changes to a faster tempo and they start showing off a little, seeing who can pull off more complicated moves.

When Erica slips up behind her and asks to cut in, Allison breathlessly pulls away from Isaac and agrees with her best attempt at a devilish wink. “Of course. You know you’re always my first choice for a dance partner.”

“You’ll be the death of me, Argent,” laughs Erica, spinning Allison in front of her.

“You were my life first, Reyes,” returns Allison, flushed and exhilarated, “so I guess we’re going down together.”

Erica wiggles her eyebrows at Allison. “That sounds like an invitation.”

Allison spins once more then her long arms loop around Erica’s waist, tugging them close together. “It’s a promise.”