was invented just to make girls starve so they can fit in a dress and
compete over a stupid title.”
–” Derek blinks, eyes his sister dubiously, “I’m not a girl?”
the kitchen Laura bursts out laughing. “Don’t worry.” She yells.
“Cora is just jealous she will have to wait five
years to go to her own prom.”
not going!” Cora yells back. “Prom is stupid, I don’t even know
why you’re going,” she tells Derek, “it’s not like you know how
to have fun.”
raises an eyebrow while Laura just laughs harder. “Oh my god.”
Their older sister says. “I stay away for six months and Cora turns
into a sassy queen.” She walks into the living room, pretends to
wipe at her eyes. “I’m so
two are ridiculous.” Derek says, turning around. “And I’m just
going because Erica promised to pay me. With ice cream.” Then he
gives Cora a wicked smile. “That I’m not going to share with either
are the worst brother!” Cora yells as he begins to climb the
stairs. “And I hope you fall on your ass while trying
hear you!” Derek’s cell begins to ring. “Too busy getting ready
Laura lets out a high-pitched laughter. “I love you two so much.”
Derek shakes his head fondly, closes his bedroom door behind himself
just as Cora tells Laura to shut up. “Hey.” He answers the phone,
collapsing on his bed. “What’s up?”
Stiles answers, “whatcha doing?”
to my sisters fight.” He says, snorting when he hears his dad start
complaining about all the yelling and ‘no, Cora, I’m not letting you
go to prom, you’re thirteen!’.
“I’m gonna have to check the trunk of my car tomorrow night.”
laughs. “She’s not that
you keep teaching her, she will be.” Derek blurts out, curses
himself mentally when he realizes it came out harsher than he
It’s just – sometimes he can’t help it. He’s known Stiles since
they were four, Cora wasn’t even born then, but one day she turned
eleven and Stiles became her new favorite person. Stiles couldn’t
find it funnier and took Cora as his little apprentice. He even
taught her how to cheat on Mario Kart.
never taught Derek that.
Derek rolls his eyes, thinks about his little sister still downstairs
pouting and trying to convince their dad that she’s old enough to go
out. He shouldn’t be jealous of her, but the thing is – he grew up
with two sisters, he knows how to share toys and food, but he doesn’t
know how to share Stiles.
Once a year,
usually in the spring, Watford stages a carnival for the students. It’s usually quite humble, mainly consisting
of booths selling small magic trinkets, or snacks like cotton candy, sweets and
other classic carnival fare. There’s
always the tiny petting zoo over near the Cloisters, and some years Watford
even scrapes enough together to bring in a carousel. Most of the booths are run by student
volunteers, and though everything is by donation, all proceeds go to whichever
charity the student body has voted on.
I go every year, mostly for the
caramel apples and sweet cider, but this is the first year I’ve been behind the
scenes of the carnival and helped at a booth.
In truth, I didn’t even sign up for
it, but Agatha hadn’t had a break all day and needed some cotton candy of her
I should have told her to find
Penny, or Trixie or even Minty. Anyone
It doesn’t take long for the word to
spread that Simon Snow has taken over the Kissing Booth, and mortifyingly the
line has doubled in length. Mostly first
or second-year girls, blushing and stammering or swaggering up to the counter
with a pronounced sway in their step, with the odd boy interspersed through the
It’s not the worst thing that’s ever
happened to me – that honour goes to the time in second year that Baz stumbled
upon a spell that made my clothes slowly dissipate, garment by garment, in the
middle of the dining hall – and after the first two or three quick, cold kisses
I start to calm down, but I’m counting the minutes until Agatha comes
back. How she endured hours of this, I cannot
comprehend. That’s just Agatha, I guess.
A redhead drops her donation into
the tin and her eyes flit around, meeting me for only a split second at a time,
her cheeks aflame. I try to look as
non-threatening as I can and lean forward enough that she can close the rest of
the space. She darts in with a kiss that’s
no more than a peck before running over to a giggling pair of who must be her
friends, a triumphant grin on her face.
She must have been dared. Poor
girl. I hope I wasn’t her first.
“Well, well, well.”
My stomach lurches at the cold drawl
I know only too well.
“What are you doing here, Baz?” I
say in as civilized a tone as I can manage.
He stands there with his arms
crossed over his chest, his mouth in a twist that’s a bit too amused to be a
sneer. “When I heard that the Chosen One
had taken over the Snogging Booth, I simply had to see it for myself.”
“Well, now you’ve seen it, so now you
“Saving the World of Mages one kiss
at a time,” Baz murmurs with a chuckle. “Not
exactly what I was envisioning.”
“I’m only covering for Agatha,” I
retort, “she’ll be back in five minutes if you’re wanting her services.”
He scoffs. “I’d rather not snog your girlfriend, thank
you very much.”
“She’s not my – forget it,” I shake
my head. I’ve told him at least a dozen times,
but it never stops him.
“She must have been really desperate
for a break to put you in charge,”
Baz drawls on, his voice smooth like honey but with too much of a bite to be
sweet. “You’d think she’d at least pick
someone attractive for the Kissing
It stings, but I don’t flinch. “What, someone like you?” I spit back too
His eyebrows shoot up in delighted
surprise as I realize my mistake. “You
flatter me, Snow,” he purrs, and I feel my cheeks heat up, but I furrow my brow
tighter and hope it passes for anger.
“Is there a reason you’re still
here?” I growl as the burning spreads from my cheeks to my ears.
“As a matter of fact, there is,” Baz
says, and his gray eyes look cool enough to staunch the flames at the tips of
my ears, but the more I glare into them the more the fire rages. “I’m here to torment you.”
“Great, well you’ve done that.”
“I wanted to see what you’d do.” He leans on the edge of the counter, bringing
his face far too close to mine for comfort.
“What would the Mage’s Heir do if his nemesis showed up at the Kissing
“You can torment me any time,” I shoot
back, “you’re holding up the line.”
“Oh, yes, well,” he feigns conern, “I
wouldn’t want to keep anyone from their kiss.”
“Then go away.”
His eyes narrow and he pretends to
think. “Mmm, no. I don’t think so.”
“Baz, I’m warning you.”
“Terrifying,” he drones, “but this
is too much fun. Besides,” his eyebrow
flickers up, “don’t you owe me a kiss?”
I flash him a smirk of my own. “Aw, Baz.
If you were so desperate for a kiss, you could’ve just asked.”
Baz, to his credit, doesn’t bat an
eye. “You think of that comeback
“There’s a fee, you know,” I ignore
him, barely having to raise my voice above a murmur for him to hear me, he’s so
close. “You haven’t paid the fee, so I don’t
owe you anything.”
He doesn’t drop his eyes from mine,
and the cool gray takes on the spark of a challenge. Out of my periphery I see him reach into his
pocket, and there’s the clatter of coins dropping into the tin.
I should punch him.
I should spit in his face.
wanted to see what you’d do.
I take him by the lapels and crush
his mouth under mine.
He makes a muffled sound of
shock. To be fair, so do I, but mine is
more angry than it is surprised. I kiss
him hard and rough, and it’s a bit of a juxtaposition because his mouth is
oddly soft. A face like his, you’d
expect his lips to be made of marble, cold and unmoving, but he’s the farthest
thing from unmoving. I can’t tell if he’s
struggling or if he’s kissing me back
but his lips are so, so soft and I
want to bruise them, mark them, bite them…
I only stop when a series of wolf
whistles reminds me that there are at least ten people watching us.
Trying to salvage the illusion of
control, I break away harshly, still gripping him by his collar. The cocky smirk has dropped from his smooth
features and now his face mirrors mine, a matching scowl, like I’ve crossed a dangerous
line. I probably have.
“Was that what you wanted?” I growl.
He doesn’t answer, just holds my
gaze another few seconds before pushing back from the table, his lapels
slipping out of my hands, and stalking away.
I don’t see Baz
at the carnival after that, and I stay as long as the booths are open, perusing
the same counters and feigning interest even after having looked through their contents
three times. I keep Penny company where
she mans the popcorn booth, drizzling caramel over every few cartons, and I
even get bored enough to hang around Agatha back at the Kissing Booth for a
little while, until one too many patrons have asked if I’m available for
service. When she and Penny are freed we
pet the goats at the petting zoo, the ones that Ebb has graciously volunteered
for the event, and take a few spins on the carousel. Only once the light has begun to fade and the
signs are being lowered from their booths do the three of us part ways. Even then, I offer to help Ebb get her goats
Basically, I’m doing anything I can
to put off going back to the room, but eventually I can’t avoid it any
longer. I’ve wandered the grounds enough
times that the sun has properly disappeared behind the distant hills and I can
barely see the ground in front of me.
Even then I’m tempted to consider crazy alternatives like spending the
night at Ebb’s place, but I’m pretty sure that would be against school rules
anyway, and besides, I’ll have to face Baz eventually. There’s no undoing what’s happened.
When I finally trudge back into the
room, he’s staring out the window at the moat, presumably trying to intimidate
the merwolves, but he turns at the sound of the door. His expression, though I don’t see it for
long before I look away, is hard to read.
Wide eyes and a furrowed brow, like he’s still mad at me for my stunt
earlier, but there’s a bit of a questioning edge there, too. Almost a where
were you edge.
Normally I have to start any type of
conversation, but tonight he wastes no time.
“What the hell was that, Snow?”
There’s no question as to what he’s
referring, and I can’t help but get angry again. “Me?
You’re the one who had to start something!”
“Well, you didn’t have to react so
drastically,” he mutters, crossing his arms and leaning against the wall by the
window, the moonlight casting its glow on his skin and making him even paler
than usual, almost transparent. I half
expect fangs to slide out from his lips for no reason and complete the picture.
soft, soft lips.
“You were egging me on,” I seethe,
the memory igniting the rage that I’d felt in the fractured moment before
kissing him, “it’s your fault anything happened.”
“Proud little hero,” Baz says with
the slightest smirk, “can’t back down from a challenge.”
“You know I can’t, not in front of
“Wouldn’t want them to think the
Heir is a coward.”
I feel like a balloon in me is
swelling and deflating at once. “But
that’s just it, Baz,” I insist, anger
momentarily aside. “If they think I’m
afraid, what reason do they have to hope?”
He doesn’t answer right away, and
for a second I think maybe he understands.
I want so badly for him to understand.
“No reason,” Baz eventually says,
turning to look out the window again, “not with someone like you as the Chosen
I want to groan, to kick something,
to shake him by the shoulders and make him look me in the eye and for once not
fight me. Have we ever in our lives made
eye contact without there being some challenge between us?
“Why did you have to get in that
line?” I shake my head. “There are so
many other ways of tormenting me, lower-stakes ways.”
“To be fair, I’ve already exhausted
most of those,” Baz murmurs with a little shrug of his shoulders.
“When have you ever been fair?”
I’m tired of standing here at the
door, so I kick off my shoes and sit down on my bed, trying not to think about
how much closer I am to him now, still at the window, looking as vampiric as
ever. His gray eyes are positively
silver in the moonlight, and the black of his hair looks silkier than ever, as
if it’s soaking the rays directly into him.
He almost glows. I have to laugh
a little, because more than once Baz has mockingly compared me, with my bronze
curls and sky-blue eyes, to the sun, but he himself wears a halo of night. If I am the sun, then Baz is most certainly
the moon. Distant, cold, mysterious,
almost too pristine to touch.
His gaze returns to me
suddenly. He raises an eyebrow in a
wordless inquiry, and I realize I’ve been staring.
“What exactly was it you expected me
“At what point, Snow?” he gives a
humourless laugh. “You had more than one
opportunity to react.”
“When you paid the fee.”
His tiny smile disappears. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Drop it, Snow,” he says, the
hardness returning to his eyes, and I know I’ve cornered him. Drop it
is Baz’s way of betraying himself, of saying there’s something that he doesn’t
want to tell.
“Was I supposed to kiss you?” I
ask. For some reason I have to know.
“I don’t know, Snow, punch me. Push me.
Beat me to the ground. Something.”
My brow furrows in confusion. “Wait.
You wanted me to hit you?”
He shrugs, more with his head than
his shoulder. “One of us has to get
I rise to my feet, and I’m
face-to-face with him again, only his eyes are different this time. Whereas at the booth he had betrayed no hint
of doubt at our closeness, now there’s a flicker of something in the silver,
something that feels a lot like the way my heart is racing in my chest, and it
dawns on me. He was putting on a show at
the carnival, acting like nothing I could do would get to him, just as I had
they think I’m afraid, what reason do they have to hope?
of us has to get hurt, right?
And suddenly it makes sense.
There’s only a few inches between
us, so it feels almost natural when I lean in and press the gentlest of kisses
to his lips.
He doesn’t kiss me back this time,
but he doesn’t move away either. “What
was that for?” he asks when I draw back a second later.
“You act like we’re so different,” I
say wonderingly, “but we’re the same.”
“What do you think we’d be if we
didn’t have to fight each other?”
I don’t miss the split second of
longing in his eyes. “Keep dreaming,
“Because I bet it would involve a
lot more of this.” I bring a hand up to
his neck, my fingers instantly lost in the wavy tips of his hair and it’s
exactly as soft as it looks bathed in moonlight.
Baz closes his eyes like he has to
collect himself. “You’re the hero. I’m the villain. What more do I have to say?”
“Fuck that,” I chuckle, “we both
know that’s not true. You’re a boy, and
I’m a boy. That’s all.”
“Tell that to the rest of the world.”
“I don’t care about the rest of the
world,” I shake my head adamantly, “I want to know what you think.”
“If there was no act, no reputation,
no role to play,” I murmur, “if we were just two boys, what would you do?”
Baz returns my gaze a moment,
searching my eyes.
Then his lashes close and he’s
kissing me, and my eyes drift shut again like I’m sighing in relief.
I let my fingers tangle higher up in
his hair while my other hand grips the front of his shirt like earlier, only
without the anger of the afternoon. He
angles his head further and guides the kiss deeper, his hands gently gripping
my waist and pulling me closer. I melt
against him, my mouth moving with his, my head swimming with his citrusy scent,
and I can’t hold back the moan that escapes my throat when he takes my bottom
lip between his teeth in a gentle tug.
Suddenly I’m floating, weightless, and Baz gives a muffled sound of
surprise when I press back a little harder.
When we finally break apart, both of
us gasping and dizzy, I immediately want more, want to line his neck with my
mouth, want to feel his breath hitch when I reach the base of his throat, want
to hear my name in his sigh. Would he
sigh Snow or Simon? I want to know.
“Please,” I whisper, dotting a kiss
to the corner of his mouth, “can’t we just be two boys?”
When I meet his eyes, they’re full
of more longing than ever.
In response, he kisses a soft, slow
triangle pattern on my cheek, and I recognize the pattern of the three moles by
my eye, and I can’t help but smile.