“Why are we staring at Stiles and Derek?” Malia plops down on the pool chair beside Lydia before ripping open the bag of Xxtra Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Lydia wrinkles her nose when Malia puts her wet hand into the bag and pulls out a handful of chemically engineered red chips.
“Those look disgusting,” Lydia tells her, having to look away when Malia puts the whole handful into her mouth and crunches. “And we aren’t staring at Stiles and Derek.”
“We are in a pissy mood today,” Malia says. “It’s a pool party, Lydia. You should be swimming and ogling everyone in their swimsuits.”
“Don’t say ogling again.” Lydia smiles slightly as she turns her head and looks at Malia. “Nice suit.”
“Ogling is a great word.” Malia shrugs. “And you helped me choose the suit, so you’re prejudiced. Or biased.” She yells across the pool. “Stiles! Is it biased or prejudiced?”
“Biased.” Derek looks over at them, giving Lydia a knowing look that reminds her he can hear everything they say. She just smiles serenely because it’s not like she’s forgotten she’s surrounded by nosy werewolves with ridiculously advanced hearing.
“What are we talking about?” Kira swims over and looks up at them. “Who’s biased?”
“Lydia.” Malia bumps Lydia’s arm with her elbow and grins. “Wait. Are you ogling Stiles and Derek? They’re definitely hot.” She raises her voice to catcall, “Looking good, Stiles.”
Lydia watches Stiles blush, splotches of color spreading over his face and chest even as he grins and shakes his ass at them. Scott groans and splashes water from the pool at Stiles and Derek, and Lydia purses her lips as she watches Derek step closer and move himself between the splashing water and Stiles.
“Men are idiots,” she mutters before looking at Malia. “And I’m not enjoying the aesthetically pleasing view those two oblivious idiots make, no matter how attractive.”
“That’s a lot of big words.” Kira pulls herself out of the pool and wrings out her hair before sitting on the ground by Lydia’s feet. “You always start sounding like a thesaurus when you’re plotting. Do you need help? Things have been pretty boring since graduation, so I’m in!”
“Me too.” Malia nods emphatically. “What are we doing?”
“Shh! They can hear you,” Lydia says, focusing her attention back on Stiles and Derek. Scott and Liam are tossing around a ball in the pool now, and Mason is applying sunscreen to Corey’s shoulders, so they’re definitely not going to be paying any attention. She tosses her hair over her shoulder before nodding towards the objects of her attention. “The unresolved sexual tension is suffocating, so I’d like to help it get resolved.”
Kira looks across the pool and grins. “You want to play matchmaker for Stiles and Derek? Seriously?”
“Matchmaker isn’t the right word, Kira.” Lydia looks at the men thoughtfully. “I prefer to think of it as being a supportive friend who wants to see her friends happy.”
“It’s matchmaking. I’ve seen so many movies about it since I became human again,” Malia says, licking dark red Cheetos dust off her fingers. “But Stiles wants to climb my cousin like a tree, so call it whatever you want. I’ll help because they should have lots of sex and be happy.”
“Don’t worry, Lydia. We won’t tell anyone you’re a closet romantic,” Kira teases. “We need a happy ending for them, though, not some miserable ending like some of those movies you watch.”
“We can’t really control whether their ending is happy or not.” Lydia watches Derek duck his head and smile, momentarily taken aback because she’s never seen him smile like that before.
It transforms his face, makes him look younger and carefree. His eyes are crinkled, and she swears there might even be a flash of dimples. Stiles is staring at Derek like he’s never seen anything so beautiful, and she taps her fingers against her leg as she remembers once being the subject of his admiration. Yet he never once looked at her that way because what he felt for her wasn’t love.
While she had known there were feelings involved, she’d been so distracted by the sexual chemistry between Stiles and Derek that she’d failed to realize the feelings were already so developed. That changes things because she had been thinking of fabricating situations that forced them into close proximity assuming they’d succumb to the tension with a little outside assistance. Now, she knows it’s a lot more serious than that, and Stiles is her best friend, even if she’d never actually admit it to him because he needs something to aspire to so he doesn’t get careless, so she’s not going to do anything that put his heart at risk.
“Forget the plan,” Lydia decides. “They’re our friends, and we shouldn’t meddle in their love lives. We could make things worse instead of better.”
“That’d be awful.” Kira sighs. “We probably should just stay out of it. Guess we’ll have to find something else to entertain us until college starts.”
“Don’t mention college.” Malia makes a face before standing. “C’mon. Let’s go show Scott and Liam how to play ball.” She squeezes Lydia’s shoulder before cannonballing into the pool, splashing Lydia and Kira.
Lydia ignores it because she’s focused on Derek. Watching the way he sits close to Stiles and listens intently while staring at his face, she suspects there’re definitely feelings involved. But she doesn’t know him well enough to be confident it’s more than just attraction. He’s only been back a few months, but she knows he’s planning to stay this time, settle down and work.
He’s spent a lot of time with Stiles since he moved back, but it might just be friendship between them. Fortunately, there’s still two more months before she’ll be moving into her dorm at Stanford, so there’s plenty of time to find out how he feels and to make sure he understands the consequences of breaking her best friend’s heart.