As Jackson drives south on 101, Stiles is curious where they’re going. This is their first official date, and he’d foolishly assumed they’d grab some pizza at their favorite place near campus or maybe even go to the Italian place they discovered during freshman year. It’s a little more expensive, so they don’t go there often. While Jackson would probably have no issue paying anytime Stiles got the urge for the place, Stiles is a little too proud to have a friend pay his way all the time. Besides, the friendship with Jackson had been relatively new freshman year when they first discovered the place, and there hadn’t been a comfort level for accepting free meals yet.
Now, well, they’ve just started their senior year, they’ve been sharing a condo since sophomore year, and their friendship is now one of the most important relationships in Stiles’ life. It’s pretty weird to realize, even now, that he’s become best friends with Jackson. Scott’s still his primary best friend, of course, and his friendship with Jackson isn’t the same anyway. After all, Stiles has never jerked off thinking about Scott naked (okay, maybe a few times back when he was first exploring his bisexuality but he got over that pretty fast), and he never wanted to date Scott. He wants do all kinds of things with Jackson involving lots of nakedness as well as other romantic stuff like every cliché movie he’s ever seen.
The thing is, Stiles is so used to being in unrequited love that he honestly never considered the fact that maybe Jackson felt something for him other than friendship. Considering they’d only really set aside past differences the summer after graduation, when Jackson came back from London a different guy than he’d been when he left, Stiles never thought about the possibility of Jackson growing up enough to see him as desirable and a possible partner in a relationship kind of way. Jackson’s sort of insecure, doesn’t trust people well, and there aren’t many people he lets in to get to know the real him. That’s the main reason Stiles never tried anything with him because he doesn’t want to risk losing Jackson. Well, that and fear of rejection, of course.
School just started a couple of weeks ago, and they both have a full course load because they’re double majoring. Stiles is doing criminal justice and psychology while Jackson’s doing human biology and public policy. They’ve had to take summer school to accommodate all of their requirements, but they’re surprisingly focused and intent on being the best in their classes, so it’s a good support system they’ve worked out to keep them on track.
They’re already discussing grad school programs and trying to figure out where to apply. Since Stiles plans to try for criminal psychology, he has more options than Jackson, who is going to med school, and will probably accept admission wherever he gets accepted. They’ve never talked about it, but they just sort of seemed to decide to go to the same place if possible. Jackson hasn’t looked at any med school program that doesn’t also have an excellent psychology program and vice versa.
Really, that should have been his first clue that he’s been an oblivious idiot.
Needless to say, Stiles was surprised when Jackson had been uncharacteristically nervous when they’d met up at the union after afternoon classes on Monday. When he’d asked Stiles on a date, a real date, not the usual hanging out they’d do all the time that was basically dating without the romantic parts, Stiles had been too shocked to even answer. It had been pretty embarrassing how quickly he’d blurted out ‘hell yes’ when Jackson’s face had started to close off like he honestly believed Stiles would reject him. Jackson was a werewolf, so he should have been able to smell Stiles’ interest no matter how much Stiles tried to hide it. There had been a moment of awkwardness, nervous giggles, then it had been fine, like of course they were going to date and why hadn’t they sooner. Not that actually said those things. It was there between them, though, an easy acceptance that made Stiles feel like this is something with a lot of potential.
Now, here they are in Jackson’s fancy car (he traded the Porsche for a Maseriti Granturismo Convertible when he returned from London, and Stiles kind of loves this damn car even if it’s so luxurious that he’s always a bit worried riding in it) with the top down driving down 101 to some unknown destination. Jackson’s very smug, not answering any of Stiles’ repeated questions for a hint about what their date is going to be, and he suspects that Jackson put the top down deliberate because they’re driving so fast that it’s nearly impossible to have a conversation. It’s just like Jackson to plan something like that because he knows Stiles isn’t likely to stop questioning him until his curiosity is satisfied.
When they exit at one of the small towns, Stiles sits up straighter and looks around, not exactly seeing anything that stands out as some reason to drive all this way. He nudges Jackson, who just smirks at him. “Asshole,” he says, knowing Jackson can hear him over the roar of wind and street noise. “You really drove this far away for some beach town?”
“Stop trying to guess,” Jackson tells him, speaking loud enough for Stiles to hear. “It’s a date, dumbass. You’re supposed to relax and enjoy it.”
“I am relaxed.” Stiles grins. “I mean, I’ve got a hot guy, an even hotter car, pretty stars overhead, and whatever you’ve got planned ahead of us.”
“My car isn’t hotter than I am,” Jackson grumbles. Stiles can barely hear him, but he doesn’t have to know what Jackson is saying. It’s a typical exchange they have, mostly because Stiles likes that Jackson actually does seem to get jealous of his car whenever Stiles fawns over it.
“I don’t know. It’s sleek and expensive,” Stiles teases. “Well-built, smooth, and very pretty.”
“You’ve just described me not my car, Stiles.” Jackson’s brow arches and he’s back to smirking. “Good to know you think I’m so hot.”
“I’d disagree on the smooth and expensive parts,” Stiles points out. Jackson might have more money than he knows what to do with after turning eighteen and receiving two trust funds from his grandparents, but his tastes aren’t necessarily that extravagant. Well, clothing, transportation, travel, and cologne are definitely exceptions to the general rule, but he’s agreed with Stiles on their apartment décor and prefers a good pizza to fancy posh places. As for being smooth, well, Jackson might like to think he’s suave, but he’s actually a big dork.
“I’m very charming.” Jackson makes another turn and starts to slow down. It’s easier to hear now that they’re not on the freeway. “You’re going to find out just how charming I can be, and you’ll have to take back those words.” He smiles slightly. “I’ll allow the dispute on expensive because, really, I am priceless. Nice to know you’re as smart as you seem.”
“Your modesty never fails to astound me,” Stiles deadpans, lips only twitching slightly when Jackson smirks.
“I’m just impressive.” Jackson shrugs as if he’s so put upon with the weight of handsome perfection on his shoulders. “You aren’t so bad yourself, you know?”
“Oh wow. That’s fine praise,” Stiles says, snorting as he rolls his eyes. “Not so bad. Do you flatter all your first dates like this or am I special?”
Jackson pulls to a stop at a red light and glances at him. “You’re special,” he says quietly, reaching over to stroke his knuckles along the curve of Stiles’ jaw. Stiles stares at him, lips parted, sort of dazed by the gentle show of emotion. Jackson winks at him before driving off when the light turns green.
“You can’t do stuff like that,” Stiles mutters, resisting the urge to reach up to stroke his face, just barely. “It throws off my equilibrium when you go from comfortable Jackson to flirty Jackson.”
“It’s a date, Stiles. A first date that I’ve wanted to ask for since freshman year when you stayed up all night with me after I had that stupid nightmare,” Jackson tells him, the honesty evident in his tone. “I’m not going to fuck this up now that I’ve actually asked you on a date and have the chance to woo you. Lydia’s words, not mine. You know, she’s been nagging me to court you for years, since she realized how I felt about you. She’s probably gloating all over MIT now that I finally manned up, no doubt.”
“Yeah, well, she’s a sneaky one.” Stiles smiles as he remembers his skype call with Lydia Monday night. “She knew about my feelings for you before I did, so she’s obviously been privy to all our innermost secrets and deliberately tried setting us up, even if it was in a subtle way. If she was using woo and court, she’s probably been reading Jane Austen over the summer.” He looks at Jackson seriously. “You’re not going to fuck this up. I’m pretty far gone on you, Jax.”
“That’s only fair considering I’m head over heels for you.” Jackson turns again and the car starts to slow as they enter a parking lot at the beach. “Alright. We’re finally here.”
Stiles looks around. “It’s the beach.”
“No, really?” Jackson gives him a mocking look before he snorts. “Yes, it’s the beach. It’s open twenty-four hours, but it’s usually pretty quiet at night.”
“Alright. Not what I was expecting, at all, but it’s definitely unique.” Stiles gets out of the car and wonders if this is the first part of the date or there’s somewhere to eat close by. When Jackson gets a basket and blanket out of the trunk, Stiles arches a brow and stares. “Our first date is a picnic on a beach under the stars? Have you swallowed a romance novel? Do I need to call a doctor?”
“Don’t even pretend that you aren’t into the idea,” Jackson says, shutting the trunk and walking over to Stiles. “You might loudly proclaim to any and every one that you’re too cynical for romance, but I know you really want to be swept off your feet.”
“And you’re planning to do the sweeping, huh?” Stiles licks his lips because, well, Jackson isn’t actually wrong. While Stiles does tend to make fun of those couples who are always doing schmaltzy lovey dovey things, there’s a part of him that’s always a little envious of them for having that kind of relationship. The fact that Jackson seems to have seen through him to know this helps Stiles realize just how serious Jackson is about them.
“I’m going to do my best.” Jackson takes his hand, squeezing it gently before leading him down the path to the beach. It’s pretty deserted this time of evening, too dark to swim without risk, and there are only a few groups of people scattered around. Jackson heads to a stretch of beach closer to the water and definitely away from everyone. “This look good?”
“Perfect.” Stiles looks at the stars overhead and the moon, which is three quarters tonight, listening to the sound of the waves. He can’t see very well, but he knows it must be beautiful. “Is this where you disappeared to after class Wednesday? The errand you had to run?” Stiles smiles. “Knowing you like I do, I figure you must have come down to scout out the location to ensure it fit your ideal first date location.”
“Maybe?” Jackson ducks his head and smiles as he takes the blanket off his arm and opens it. Once he’s spread it out, he kneels down and takes Stiles’ hand, urging him down, too. “Stop gloating. I’m obviously not that predictable since you’re surprised by our date.”
“I’m actually not surprised that you’re a closet romantic. I mean, I remember you and Lydia during the happier times,” Stiles reminds him. “I might have thought you were a total ass, but you were definitely attentive and caring to her. It just wasn’t something I was expecting. And I’m not gloating. Much.”
“Stiles, it’s not really a closeted thing,” Jackson admits. “Lydia used to tease me about it, and I was young and stupid, so I kept it between us instead of being so open about it, but I’m not young and stupid anymore. I don’t care what people think, not like I did back in high school, and you need to know I’m probably going to be obnoxious about it sometimes.”
“You’re already obnoxious about other things, so what’s one more?” Stiles grins when Jackson playfully growls at him. “Seriously, though, I’m not going to be pissed off if my boyfriend wants to romance me or sweeps me off my feet all the time.”
“Boyfriend, huh?” Jackson turns on a camp lantern, casting the blanket in a soft glow of light. He stares at Stiles and smiles. “You’re ready to make that sort of commitment when we’ve barely started our first date? You’ve already threatened to call a doctor to make sure I’m not insane once already.”
“Well, I never said you were sane,” Stiles teases, reaching over to stroke his Jackson’s jaw. “But, yes, I think I’m ready for a serious commitment. We can wait to label it until later, though, if you want.”
“Why the hell would I want to wait?” Jackson kisses Stiles’ palm and grins. “I’m locking that down when I have the chance. No take-backs.”
“That?” Stiles snorts. “Where’s that charming flirting now? Call me a ‘that’ and locking me down? Are you expecting me to stand up and start singing Single Ladies because that isn’t going to happen. I don’t need a ring put on it. At least, not until after grad school, at least. You’re got a few years before you have to start thinking about that.”
“I don’t expect you to do Beyonce,” Jackson says dryly. “In fact, I’d be calling the doctor if you did. Anyway, you shouldn’t start planning our engagement before we even have our first kiss.”
“True. We might be great friends and have an easy flirty thing between us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be sexually compatible,” Stiles says thoughtfully. “Fortunately, there’s an easy way to find that out.” He leans across the blanket and gently presses his lips against Jackson’s.
Jackson seems surprised at the kiss. He tenses for a moment before his lips begin to move against Stiles as he returns the kiss. Stiles moves his fingers behind Jackson’s head, gripping his short hair as he presses closer. Jackson’s hands aren’t idle, one cupping Stiles’ cheek and the other moving to the nape of Stiles’ neck. The kiss is tender, slow and innocent. He’s not sure which of them licks first, but soon there are tongues involved, licking hesitantly in the beginning before gradually becoming more confident. Stiles licks into Jackson’s mouth, resisting the urge to crawl onto his lap and take this from a romantic first date to an adult’s only type of thing. There’s plenty of time for that later, though. Right now, he’s enjoying Jackson’s romantic streak and the sweet efforts to woo him.
When they pull apart, Stiles smiles at the flush on Jackson’s face and the dazed look in his pretty blue eyes. “I think we’re safe when it comes to compatibility of the sexual kind.”
“God, stop saying sexual,” Jackson groans, dragging his fingers through his hair as he straightens up. “You make it sound so filthy and tempting.”
“Do I?” Stiles’ smile turns sly. “Just by saying sexual? When I’m not even trying to be sexy?”
“Stiles, stop being a brat,” Jackson growls, lips curving into a smile that completely undermines the growl. “Save that for the third date.”
“The third date?” Stiles laughs. “Do you really think we’re going to be able to resist doing that again until the third date like we’re following some sort of rules?”
“Probably not.” Jackson snorts. “Especially considering the fact that all I can think about right now is kissing you, possibly pressing you back against the blanket and making out under the stars like every romantic cliché in the world.”
“Well, you know what they say.” Stiles licks his lips. “Things become cliché for a reason.”
“Maybe so, but I think we should at least eat first.” Jackson looks at Stiles’ mouth. “Of course, it’s picnic food, so it’s not going to get cold.”
“Great reasoning,” Stiles murmurs, leaning in to Jackson again. “My boyfriend’s a genius.”
Jackson actually laughs before kissing his nose. “And my boyfriend’s a smartass.”
“Yep, and you love that snarky side of me, don’t deny it,” Stiles reminds him, brushing his lips over the freckles beneath Jackson’s eyes that he’s thought about kissing for years. “You know, getting carried away and kissing on the beach is very romantic.”
“Is t?” Jackson smiles. “Well, that’s good to know. Since I’ve swallowed a romance novel, I suppose it’s only right that I go all the way for romance.”
As Jackson kisses him again, this time with a bit more passion from the start, Stiles can’t help but think that this is the best first date ever.