Speed Dating on Ice is a ridiculous concept. It actually is as silly as it sounds. Boyd’s convinced that the only reason Cora thought it up was so she could laugh at the poor schmucks who tried skating between the tables. Tried being the operative word. People that Boyd recognizes from free skate days at the rink are wobbling like they’re drunk, lacking their usual grace tonight. It’s probably just nerves.
Boyd can understand that since speed dating is a form of torture created to inflict pain on anyone participating in the mating ritual that believes three minutes is enough time to actually make a real connection with someone. Cora tells him he’s being an old fuddy duddy for not embracing the speed dating thing, but he knows he’s just being smart.
Since Cora does happen to own half the ice rink, they’re stuck with this silly idea of hers. Boyd doesn’t mind that much because he’s evil enough to find some enjoyment in the nervous suitors flailing around and falling on their asses. Besides, he’s already thinking about retribution. His two main ideas so far consist of an under twelve free skate night with costumes or a partner only cuddle skate night.
Cora hates cuddling almost more than she hates kids, but kids tend to take top prize in Things Cora Hale Detests, so that’s the direction he’s leaning. It’s only fair since he’s perpetually single and anything having to do with dating generally makes him start to break out in hives, figuratively, yet he’s somehow been the one appointed to help host this speed dating nonsense.
There are definitely going to be skating lessons for Cora when this is over. Boyd is tired of her constant excuse of not knowing how to ice skate well getting her out of helping with any of the on ice events. Sure, she usually spends more time helping out in the food and games area of the rink, which is always crowded even when the ice is clear, but still. It isn’t fair.
She knows he hates dealing with people. He’d rather lurk around making certain that everything is going well and subtly ensure that the guests are happy without having to actually interact with them. It’s not even all the people. Boyd likes the kids, is good with them, and the teenagers aren’t that bad, since it usually just takes a flex of a bicep and a frown to stop them from getting out of hand.
However, the adults are another story entirely.
There are women and men who attempt to flirt with him every single night he works. There are rowdy guests who are too loud and obnoxious to even be tolerated. There are enthusiastically happy people who somehow think him being a co-owner gives them permission to step into his personal space or, even worse, try to hug him. There are annoying people who try to speak down to him because they don’t realize he’s got a MBA and has invested in multiple successful businesses in the county. His portfolio is proof of his business acumen and his bank account has a number higher than most those uppity assholes can probably even count to, but he chooses to spend his time at the ice rink wearing jeans and a t-shirt instead of wearing uncomfortable suits and working nine to five.
Besides, he worked at the rink as a teenager, and he also promised himself that he’d buy this place one day and spend his adulthood somewhere he enjoys spending time.
Since this is speed dating, it’s only adults involved. Adults who are desperate enough for dates that they’re skating around on ice. There have already been three propositions, one ass pat, two ‘accidental’ touches of his shoulders, and a handful of inappropriate stares from participants who seem to think he’s part of the package they’ve paid for. Of course, Cora is laughing her ass off from the sidelines. Well, smirking and giving him smug looks, which is Cora’s way of laughing her ass off. The thing is, all of that isn’t even the worst part. No, the worst part is the five foot ten brunet with beautiful eyes and familiar moles dotting his pale skin who is a face from the past that Boyd thought was long buried.
Stiles Stilinski is chaos on blades. Slender and lithe, more muscular than back in high school, still clumsy and adorable in a way that makes Boyd’s cheeks warm. It’s been nearly a decade since graduation, and there have been plenty of men and women warming his bed during those years. That makes it all the more frustrating that one look from Stiles’ pretty eyes has Boyd feeling like a nervous outcast with a crush on a guy who doesn’t even know he exists. It wasn’t as cliché as it could have been since Stiles had been pretty nerdy during junior high when the crush first started, but he’d become friends with the popular kids at some point, which led to an increase in social status those last three years of school.
So, alright, in retrospect, maybe it was cliché.
Boyd didn’t even know Stiles was back in town, so it’s a shock to see him show up at the speed dating event. Last he heard, Stiles was living in San Francisco and working for the FBI, of all things. Yet here he is back in Beacon Hills skating around, mostly on his ass because he keeps flailing and falling, looking gorgeous and just as unattainable as always. He’s here with Lydia Martin, who Boyd knows is his stepsister, so maybe he’s visiting family. Lydia keeps eyeing Cora like most these people are eyeing him, so Boyd thinks maybe he’ll slip Cora’s number to her, since he spent most of high school listening to Cora bitch about Queen Lydia in a passive aggressive lusty way.
It’s so weird to skate around listening to these dates. Boyd’s mostly lurking around the tables where Stiles happens to be, not that he’d ever admit it. He’s curious, wants to know if Stiles is looking for a date for a short visit or if maybe he’s moved back to town and the gossip mill (aka Erica) just hasn’t learned about it yet. Stiles is talking a lot, about such a random variety of things that it’s fascinating yet humorous to listen to him go on and on. Oddly, none of his speed dates seem to be receptive. Boyd is pretty sure Stiles could read the telephone directory, and he’d find him mesmerizing, though, so he might be a tad bit biased.
Even with the constant talking, there’s just no way Boyd can understand these people not realizing how beautiful Stiles is, with those pretty eyes and thick hair and perfect lips and long fingers. Hell, Boyd actually stumbled when he noticed Stiles pursing his lips and licking them earlier. How can all these people be putting down ‘no’ on their stupid little cards? Boyd is charmed by him, and he hasn’t even been the focus of the intense stare and flirty talk. These people are obviously crazy, which supports his belief that people just aren’t worth his time.
“If you keep drooling, it’s going to turn into icicles hanging off your chin, which would be hilarious, true, but possibly bad for business,” Cora says with a smug smile as she tentatively slides across the ice towards him. She nudges him with her elbow, and he glares down at her before deliberately putting his elbow on her head and using it as an arm rest.
“I’m sorry. I can’t hear things said from so far down,” he mocks, lips curving slightly when she punches his abdomen. “Anyway, princess, you’re one to talk about ogling.”
“I’m not drooling over Stiles Stilinski, thank you very much,” she hisses, shoving his arm off of her head. “Though, I’ll give you credit for recognizing a future hottie back when he was hyperactive buzz cut geek boy. He’s looking damn fine now. Did you see that ass? Ha! Of course you have and probably admired it from afar while pining just like age twelve to eighteen. Ah the memories.”
“No, your taste runs to redheads instead of hot brunets,” he says sweetly. He watches Stiles move to another table when the buzzer runs out. This time, he manages to stay on his feet, which is a nice change. “Did you know he was back in town?”
“I might have heard McCall talking to the sheriff in the diner a couple of weeks ago about Stilinski moving back home to work in a new law enforcement something or other,” she admits somewhat reluctantly. “Might have also overheard a discussion about ickle Stiles being single and needing to date instead of being such a workaholic.”
“A couple of weeks ago?” Boyd arches a brow and looks down at her. “About the time this ridiculous concept was thought up then.”
“Possibly?” Cora bats her eyelashes at him. When he just stares solemnly, she huffs. “What? I thought it would be fun to see what kind of man he’s become, and he’s still the only person we know who manages to get under your skin and make you behave like an emotional being instead of a calm wall of strength. We needed a promotion, so I figured two birds. One wonderful speed dating event.”
“Our next event is going to be a costume party for under tens,” he tells her firmly. “With a contest that you’ll be judging.”
“Everyone who thinks you’re so quiet and kind have no idea who the real Vernon Boyd truly is because you’re evil,” she mutters, glaring up at him. “I set this up so you could ogle your high school crush, and the thanks I get is children? See if I try helping your love life again!”
“Right. It wasn’t for your amusement at all,” he drawls, rolling his eyes before he unconsciously looks back over at Stiles. “It’s been wonderful being reminded that the guy I used to crush on is gorgeous, and I’m still invisible to him. Real fun.”
Cora squeezes his arm. “You aren’t invisible, Boyd. You never have been,” she says softly. “If some people are too stupid to see you, that’s on them. It’s not on you.”
“You’d better get off the ice before you melt it with your sudden warm feelings,” he murmurs, giving her a slightly crooked smile. “We’ll make it under twelves, alright?”
“That’s the compromise?” She snorts. “Whatever, Vernon. I’ll get you back somehow, and you know it.”
“I’m sure you’ll try, Pip.” Boyd ruffles her hair before ‘accidentally’ bumping into her when the buzzer sounds again. She flails on her skates, running right into Lydia Martin, who looks amused and curious as Cora gawks at her. With a satisfied nod, he skates over to the program organizers. Mid-way there, something runs into him, making him trip and slide across the ice on his knees.
“Oh my God. I am so sorry.” Warm hands are on his shirt, touching his shoulders and arms, lingering a little too long to really be all that helpful. Boyd looks up with a pointed comment on his lips that he immediately forgets when he finds himself looking into eyes that are amber, just like he’s always said so take that Cora, and full lips that are currently being nibbled on.
Good lord. Just kill him now.
Stiles is trying to remain balanced, but he slips and ends up falling on top of Boyd. “Just great,” he mutters, pulling back and accidentally elbowing him in the stomach and digging his knee into Boyd’s thigh. Finally, he’s somewhat balanced and he just stares at Boyd.
“It might be safer for everyone involved if you took the skates off,” Boyd tells him gruffly. He can’t believe those are the first words he’s actually spoken to his former crush since a day senior year when he’d asked Stiles to move out of his way. No wonder he’s still single.
“Wow. That’s pretty harsh, but probably accurate.” Stiles smiles wryly, his face suddenly covered with splotches of pink. “I used to be able to skate, for the record. It’s just been about ten years since I’ve tried, and I can’t seem to get my ice legs back or whatever.”
“I remember,” he says before he can stop himself. He clears his throat, moving Stiles off of him easily. Stiles has never been a hefty guy, and he’s still light even with the new muscles. “You’re missing this round. For your dating game.”
“Oh, uh, right.” Stiles blinks and looks around, tugging on his hair. “I don’t really care,” he admits before focusing back on Boyd. He tilts his chin up slightly, his shoulders straightening, and looks intense all of a sudden. It’s a little disconcerting. “I remember, too.”
“What?” Boyd frowns as he moves to his knees so he can stand up easier. He doesn’t stand yet because Stiles is still talking.
“I remember you, I mean. Vernon Boyd. You were in several of my classes throughout junior and high school, really smart but super quiet, best friends with Cora Hale and Erica Reyes,” Stiles says quickly, like he has a time limit to get the words out. “You used to come to the lacrosse games but you never really cheered, and you worked here after school several nights a week and all day Saturday.”
“I own the place now,” Boyd says, feeling a little defensive because Stiles isn’t behaving the way he expects. Instead of being put off by Boyd’s stoicism, he seems to feel a need to fill the silence. It’s like Erica, in a way, which Boyd’s used to after being friends for so many years, but he just isn’t anticipating it from Stiles. Besides that, Stiles remembers him. He knows little random things that most people wouldn’t even remember, and it’s sort of confusing. Boyd doesn’t much like puzzles.
“I know.” Stiles bites his lip before he shakes his head. “I mean, I saw you at the store last week, and I remembered you, so I asked my dad if you were single or seriously involved, and, uh, yeah.” He smiles wryly. “I might have begged Lydia to come to this thing tonight because it meant having a chance to run into you. I just didn’t plan on being quite so literal with the idea.”
“You wanted to know if I was single?” Boyd arches a brow and studies Stiles for a moment. “I am.”
“Lydia told me. Dad didn’t know, but she filled me in quite a bit. Told me you and Cora bought this place years ago, said you own several things in town, actually. She also said you dated a guy several years ago, so you must be bi?” Stiles shrugs before he smiles sheepishly. “I thought maybe I’d come here tonight and impress you, maybe ask you out for coffee so we could get to know each other. I tried talking to you a few times in high school, but you were never very receptive, so maybe you aren’t interested in me at all, but I figured I could try. It’s been years, after all, and we’ve grown up.”
“When?” Boyd runs his hand over his head and frowns. “You never tried.”
Stiles laughs. “Dude, I tried like a dozen times during freshman year and even some of sophomore year. I only stopped when you told me we weren’t friends so I should stop acting like we were.”
“Wait. That was you trying to be friends?” Boyd shakes his head. “I thought you were making fun of me.”
“What? I never…I wasn’t that kind of guy, alright? Never was. Maybe if it had been Jackson Douchemore asking, sure, but I just thought you were tall and hunky and, uh, right.” Stiles huffs a laugh. “I liked what you had to say in eighth grade English when we read Lord of the Flies, and it made me notice you, so I started paying attention. That was a long time ago, though, and all I was really thinking when I saw you comparing the heads of lettuce at the store was that I wanted to climb you like a tree.”
“You talk too much,” Boyd tells him bluntly. “They didn’t seem impressed by it.” He nods towards the tables where the buzzer has gone off for a second time since they fell on the ice. “I like it. I don’t talk that much, though.”
“You do?” Stiles looks a little excited. “I mean, you don’t have to talk a lot. I do plenty of talking, especially if I know someone’s actually listening. So, uh, you might want to get that coffee with me then?”
“That and then maybe we can discuss your climbing aspirations,” Boyd says smoothly, lips curving with amusement when Stiles flails at his words and almost slides backwards on his knees. It isn’t even the skates that are the problem, obviously.
“You’re sly, aren’t you, Vernon?” Stiles wags a finger at him. “I’m on to you now, though. Stealthy innuendos apparently seem to turn me on because now I can’t stop thinking about getting out of here and practicing my climbing techniques.”
“It’s just Boyd. No one calls me Vernon except my grandmother, and you aren’t her.” Boyd gracefully gets to his feet before pulling Stiles off the ground. “Let’s go. There’s a coffee place near here.”
“Really? Right now?” Stiles grins at him. “What about the speed dating thing? You’re helping that bubbly lady, aren’t you?”
“Cora can handle the rest of it.” Boyd looks around until he sees Cora staring at him with a smug look on her face and a pretty redhead standing beside her. He narrows his eyes before mouthing ‘no kid party’ and shrugging. She gives him two thumbs up before winking. “She’s good,” he says, looking back at Stiles. “Shall we go, Stiles?”
Stiles holds his arm with a death grip as Boyd leads them off the ice. “Yes, but carefully so I don’t fall, okay? I mean, sure, if this turns into a serious relationship, at least I can honestly say I fell for you first, but I’d really prefer not falling on this ice again because it hurts.”
“You won’t.” Boyd smiles slightly. “I’m holding on tight, and I won’t let go.”