A week after they had driven the Ghost Riders out of Beacon Hills, Scott McCall was putting his books in his locker when he caught a whiff of floral perfume next to him. Upon closing it, Lydia Martin was revealed standing right next to him, and Scott startled at her close proximity.
“Lydia,” he gasped.
Lydia took a determined step forward.
“We need to talk,” she said sternly.
Scott blinked. The severity of her expression was disconcerting.
Lydia took another step forward, crowding Scott into the locker.
“We need to talk about my boyfriend,” Lydia elaborated.
“Stiles? W-why?” Scott stuttered, back pressed into the metal, peering down at the small banshee in front of him. The small banshee who he had seen take out entire groups of grown men, who was now staring him down with a ferocity in her eyes. And yet, under her stony exterior, Scott could smell her nervousness, hear her frantic heartbeat.
“You best friend,” Lydia continued, “Stiles. He’s been acting...strange.”
Lydia pursed her lips and momentarily averted her eyes, the strong front she’d put up dissipating.
“Since...since the day after we got him back,” Lydia began, her voice oddly tinny. “He hasn’t…”
Scott relaxed, no longer feeling like he was being cornered and interrogated. But a new tension thrummed under his skin. Lydia was visibly uncomfortable, shifting slightly from foot to foot in her heeled ankle boots. It made Scott concerned. Nearly losing one’s best friend not once but twice tended to make one exceptionally protective.
“Hasn’t what?” he asked, bracing himself for the worst. “Lydia?”
She paused, looked around, took a deep breath, before continuing.
“He hasn’t kissed me.”
Scott opened his mouth to answer. Then he realised he did not have an answer. He emitted a weird, uncertain noise from his throat.
“I mean, he has kissed me,” Lydia was now rambling. “On the cheek, but I can see him going to kiss me and then he suddenly backs out and quickly kisses my cheek, if he even kisses me at all, which happens more often than not. And when I try to kiss him, he pulls away, or comes up with something completely off-topic to say, and then I don’t get to kiss him and it’s absolutely driving me out of my mind…”
“I told Lydia I loved her in the middle of a supernatural crisis and then disappeared! That’s a terrible way to admit your feelings to someone! I confessed to Lydia is the most terrible way possible and it’s absolutely driving me out of my mind,” Stiles ranted, keeping his voice low so Lydia wouldn’t be able to hear from the kitchen.
“Um, I’m sure there are worse ways,” Scott trailed off, thinking about their pre- and early teenage years and the multitude of bad ideas and lousy pick-up lines that would have more likely resulted in Lydia stabbing him with one of her then-favoured stiletto heels and 0.38 glitter pens.
It was the day after they had gotten Stiles back from the Wild Hunt. Scott had spent the night with his mother and rode to Stiles’ house the first thing in the morning, anxious to make sure that his best friend was very much existent. He’d entered to find not just Stiles but Lydia, who had, by her slightly mussed hair and the lacrosse jersey she was wearing, stayed the night. The pair were curled together on the couch, about to start a - how opportune - Star Wars marathon.
When Lydia went to make more popcorn between episodes VI and I, Scott commented on his friends’ new relationship status, and that was when the human pounced.
“I got to make it up to her,” Stiles went on. “I’m gonna give her a nice proper date without any stressful and-slash-or life-threatening situations.”
“I don’t think Lydia expects - ” Scott began, but was cut off by Stiles.
“Lydia’s birthday is coming up,” he said. “That’s the perfect day to take her out. It’s a Saturday this year, so we’ll have the whole day. And we have a little over a week to prepare.”
Stiles was rubbing his hands now, a sign that he had an idea in his head (as usual) and wasn’t about to let go.
“Yep. We, Scott. You in?”
“Scott? Are you following me? Scott?”
Lydia was looking up at him again, face hard and determined, but eyebrows creased with underlying worry, a need to know if Stiles was okay.
“I said do you know anything about this?” she asked. “Did I do something? Did he do something?”
“Uh…” No, you didn’t do anything, and Stiles hasn’t done anything...yet… Scott thought. And you’re not supposed to know about it, yet.
He gave her his most convincing smile. “No, I’ll talk to him for you. Don’t worry about it.”
He waved awkwardly, squeezed past the shorter girl and hurried off, pretending not to hear her calls for him to wait as he imagined her squinted eyes on his back. He needed to find Stiles.
It was only at the end of the school day that Scott got the chance to talk to Stiles. They had a quiz during their only class together that afternoon, thus losing his other opportunity.
He saw them at the far end of the parking lot where Stiles had parked the jeep that morning, near the school buses. Their voices drifted over, Stiles checking if Lydia was sure she did not need a ride, Lydia repeating that she was going out with her mother. She promised to call him at night, the two exchanged goodbyes, and yeah, Scott could see his friend restraining himself from miles away.
Stiles reached for Lydia, moving closer to her, but as the girl leaned closer to him, he literally paused mid-action, stepped back, and pat her on the shoulder instead. His hand lingered on the end, and Scott saw, with his keen werewolf vision, Stiles’ thumb making small strokes up and down before his whole arm retracted.
Lydia made eye contact with Scott as Stiles backed away from her, towards the jeep, as if to say see? I told you. Then she turned and headed back towards the school building, presumably to find her mother. Stiles, who had likely been waiting for her to move as such, finally turned around, and jumped as he found Scott barely three feet behind him.
“Oh my god, Scott, warn me next time, will you?”
“Dude, why didn’t you kiss her?” Scott asked.
“Wha-w-who, Lydia?” Stiles stuttered, pointing in the direction his girlfriend had left.
“Yes, why didn’t you kiss her?” Scott repeated. “Why haven’t you been kissing her? Lydia came to me about it today thinking she had done something wrong, or that you think you had done something wrong. And in hindsight I should have expected to witness more affection between you two.”
Stiles sighed heavily and looked to where Lydia had headed off. He had a distant look in his eyes, the look Scott, over the years, had come to know as his “daydreaming about girls with strawberry blonde hair and green eyes called Lydia Martin” look.
“I want to kiss her, Scott. I want to kiss her so bad,” he answered. “But I want to give her a nice, normal kiss, without any evil supernatural beings putting us under duress, you know?”
Scott frowned. “Well, why can’t you have a nice, normal kiss right now, while Beacon Hills is nice and normal?”
“Because I have to wait until Saturday, then it can be a nice, normal first kiss as a dating couple.”
“You are a dating couple.”
“No, we’re a couple, but we’re not dating yet, because we haven’t been on an official, normal, cheesy couple date,” Stiles told him, opening the driver-side door of the jeep to deposit his school bag. “ That happens on Saturday. Lydia’s birthday. Which, might I add, is only two days away.”
He closed the door and turned back to face Scott, hands on his hips. “So where’s our progress at? Have you gotten our place cleared?”
Behind the school bus, Lydia smiled to herself and shook her head. Her boyfriend was an idiot. A hopelessly romantic, cheesy idiot. But it was hard to be annoyed that he wasn’t kissing her over something so seemingly trivial and unnecessary, it was endearing that he was planning something special for her, on her birthday no less.
She walked away before she heard too many details, deciding she would let Stiles have this one. After all, she had one more week of school and a whole summer ahead to do something for him.
Also, it was the perfect excuse to purchase a fresh floral dress from Macy’s.
Sure enough, the night before her birthday, Stiles Stilinski asked her out after dinner with her mother and Scott. He had assured her that she wouldn’t need to find a nice outfit on such a short notice, but of course Lydia was prepared. When he picked her up the next morning, Lydia was wearing her new dress with her usual tan booties and a pretty pink lip gloss, and Stiles being Stiles dropped his jaw when she emerged from the stairs and told her she looked beautiful.
He took her to lunch at a diner near the one grocery store in Beacon Hills, where every student who had ever been on a date had gone to. Stiles sheepishly confessed he had always dreamt of taking her there, like every other teenager. Lydia had to bite back a smile as he admitted to being the most clichéd person in town.
Only he wasn’t, because when they went to a “movie” afterwards, the “movie” was really a viewing of a math talk that Lydia somehow missed (well, she had been preoccupied with proving this boy’s existence). They watched it in the boy’s locker room in school, which smelt fresh because Stiles had made Scott use his outgoing captain privileges to mobilise the lacrosse team to clean the place the day before. The projector Stiles used to screen the talk looked a lot like the one Danny had “loaned” from the AV club for one of his parties back in freshman year. She and Stiles shared popcorn (and Reese’s pieces, after Stiles broke open a packet in there) out of a reused take-out box, their hands brushing from time to time.
What they did, it had all been done before, and yet it was the most thoughtful date someone had ever planned for her.
The only thing left for him to do now was kiss her.
Lydia was buzzing with anticipation as Stiles walked her to her doorstep at the end of the day. He had one hand holding hers, and Lydia reached for his other as they arrived at her front door. He smiled at her as their bodies faced each other’s, and Lydia knew she was mirroring his expression.
“Thanks for today,” she said. “I really enjoyed it.”
“Me too,” Stiles replied, leaning in. “Happy birthday, Lydia.”
She closed her eyes and rose up to meet him.
It was a simple kiss, soft and unhurried, unlike the passionate, relieved, hungry liplock from just over a week ago, and the frantic one more than a year ago in the very locker room they had just visited. They lingered longingly even as they started pulling away, noses brushing, before Lydia finally blinked her eyes open to see Stiles doing the same.
She rearranged her features into a coy expression, looking up at him with bright eyes. “Was that nice enough?”
Stiles chuckled lightly. He removed one hand from where they’d ended up on her waist to rub the back of his neck, and Lydia only then noticed her own hands had somehow crept further up Stiles’ arms, tugging at the tops of his flannel sleeves.
“You heard that?” Stiles asked, his tone telling her he was not really seeking an answer. “I knew I didn’t actually see you re-enter the school.”
“You had me worried for a while,” she told him. “I thought you didn’t want to kiss me. And Scott’s behaviour wasn’t very reassuring either.”
Stiles replaced his hand on her waist, sliding both hands to her back so his arms circled her. Lydia responded by slinging hers around his neck.
“That is the most unrealistic thing I’ve ever heard,” Stiles said. “Even in Beacon Hills. I have always and will always want to kiss you. I just wanted - ”
Lydia cut him off with her lips, and this time he obliged her.
“I know,” she whispered when they parted.
The sun had dipped considerably lower in the sky in the few minutes they had been standing in front of her house. It’s long rays made Stiles’s iris glow from within.
“Happy birthday, Lyds,” he said again.
He stepped back, gesturing one arm towards her door. Lydia gave him a small laugh as she proceeded to step into her house.
She felt for the light switch as she slipped through the doorway, but froze when they came alive on their own.
“Happy birthday!” came the staggered, uncoordinated yells of the various pack members, except for Liam, who was blowing on a party horn.
Lydia’s mouth hung open for a total of three seconds. Then she quickly closed it and turned around to Stiles, who had slipped in behind her and put an arm around her waist.
“You did this as well?” she asked, eyes wide.
“I told you,” Stiles replied, looking down at her. “I’m the most clichéd person around.”
“Should have seen his ten-year plan,” Scott remarked.
Lydia laughed fondly along with the rest of their friends. Later, when she placed her new gifts next to the large stuffed Schrödinger's cat Stiles had given her two years earlier, and put on her new chemical formula charm bracelet, she kissed her boyfriend hard and assured him that he was not a total cliché.