Advanced Chem sucked ass. They were less than an hour into the first class of the semester and Stan could already tell it was going to blow. The room they’d been assigned could have doubled as a supply closet, the teacher smelled like stale salami mixed with tobacco, and whatever the hell it was she’d been babbling on about for the last quarter of an hour made absolutely zero sense to Stan. Intermolecular... something? Nope. No clue.
The worst part was, Stan couldn’t help feeling that he kind of... didn’t belong there. It’s not like it was any big secret that he wasn’t all that interested in good grades or extra credit; as long as he passed everything okay, he was cool. But then last semester happened, and suddenly he wasn’t passing—Algebra had always been a bitch for him. Wendy had offered to help him out by tutoring him, which was awesome, except that then he’d had to go ask Kyle for extra lessons on the side just so he wouldn’t make a complete ass out of himself by mixing up his variables or whatever in front of Wendy. He’d finished the year knowing more about polynomials than anybody ever should, and well... turns out all that studying really does get you someplace after all. Unfortunately, that place was here.
AP Chemistry with Ms. Davison was like a Mecca for nerds and pussies. Cartman had been slinging shit at him for days when he found out Stan was gonna be one of them—Kyle and Wendy were a given, they’d always been geek-smart, but Stan... He played football for Christ’s sake. He should know better.
To be honest, Stan kind of agreed with him. What the hell did he care about atomic theory or chemical bonding? What it really came down to was that there were only twelve other kids in the class, none of whom were Eric Cartman, and Stan was pretty sure that if he asked Wendy to be his lab partner right now, she’d say yes. Overall, he was counting that as a win. He’d deal with Cartman’s dickishness and Ms. Davison’s musty stank if it meant hanging with Kyle for an extra hour a day and getting to stare at Wendy whenever he felt like it. Which he’d apparently been doing for a while now, because the next time he blinked she was looking back at him with her eyebrow raised.
“Nothing.” he said before she could ask, straightening up and wiping at his chin in case he’d been drooling or something.
Wendy narrowed her eyes at him before turning her attention back to her textbook, and Stan quickly followed suit. He could hear Kyle snort softly beside him.
“Smooth, dude.” Kyle grinned, not lifting his eyes from the notes he was taking.
Stan stared down at the words in front of him until they blurred on the page, hoping maybe it’d be like one of those magic picture things, like if he just squinted at them long enough they’d reveal some hidden meaning and actually make sense. He gave it until the bell rang for the end of class before giving up on that particular theory. At least he had study hall next, which wasn’t awful, even if Wendy and Kyle weren’t going to be there with him. Neither of them had wanted to risk their chances with future college boards by enrolling in a ‘slacker’ class. And really, sometimes Stan had to wonder why the hell Kyle wasn’t the one trying to date Wendy instead of him. They’d always been so similar, like nerdy little peas in a pod. Then again, maybe that was the problem. Lock the two of them in a room together and they were more likely to spend the time discussing SchrÃ¶dinger equation than fooling around.
Stan figured it was probably in his best interests to just roll with it, stop questioning everything and be thankful Wendy hadn’t bothered looking twice at his best friend. God knows it sucked bad enough having to watch the two of them disappear down the hall together without freaking himself out over the idea of them hooking up someday. Stan sighed and let it go, making his way in the opposite direction, where study hall and Eric Cartman were waiting for him.
Kenny was already there outside the room, chewing absently on his pen, hands empty. Kenny wasn’t big on the idea of bringing his own books to class, if he even had books in the first place. If it were up to him, he probably would’ve given up on the whole school thing months ago, but Cartman had bet him a thousand dollars he’d never graduate this shithole, and Kenny hadn’t missed a class since then, determined to make Cartman eat his words and, more importantly, pay up.
At one point Stan had gotten it into his head that Cartman might’ve made that bet out of actual concern for Kenny’s future, but then he remembered they were talking about Cartman.
“Hey.” Kenny mumbled around the pen in his mouth when he caught sight of Stan.
“Hey, man.” Stan smiled, following Kenny inside and taking the desk next to him. “You want my notes from English?”
“Sweet, thanks.” Kenny swiped the notebook from Stan’s hand, unfolding a crumpled piece of loose-leaf from his pocket to copy Stan’s scratchy dot-points onto. “How was the Trekkie convention?”
“Shut up, dude, it’s not that bad.” Stan scowled, pulling his Chem book from his bag. “At least I’m not stuck in P.E. with you douchebags.”
“Hey. Words hurt, Stan.” Kenny shot back, twisting in his seat to steal a less mangled-looking pen from Craig’s desk and leaving Craig his own half-chewed one in return. “So. You still freaking out about your inferior brain size? Worried Kyle and Wendy will kick you out of their club when they figure out you own Dane Cook’s greatest hits on DVD?”
“God, whatever. It’s not like I think they’re gonna... stop talking to me when I fail or anything.”
“You’re not gonna fail, asshole. You’re not a complete retard.”
“Thanks.” Stan snorted.
“Quit playing, Stan. We all know you’re just acting like an insecure little bitch so you can suck Kyle’s dick in exchange for some more after school tutoring.” Cartman huffed, dropping down onto the desk behind Kenny. “We’re not blind, you know.”
“Shut up, fatass.”
“Ooh, burn.” Cartman scoffed, smirking. Stan shared a look with Kenny, who grinned at him, then turned back to his notes.
Class with Cartman could be awkward, even painful, but it was never boring. At least the time moved quickly, unlike Chem class. Cartman spent most of the lesson ragging on Butters. Stan wasn’t sure what for, exactly, but it ended when Cartman got sent out into the hall after calling Butters a ‘faggy little cockmeister’ one too many times.
Stan didn’t catch up with Kyle or Wendy again until lunch, walking into the cafeteria to find Kyle already sitting at their regular table with Kenny, Cartman and Butters (who had apparently gotten over the cockmeister thing somewhere between the lockers and the lunch line). Stan gave them a quick wave and joined the line behind Bebe and Wendy. The girls had their heads together when he reached them, talking low, but they broke apart when they noticed him standing there.
“Hey, Wendy.” he said, or tried to say, but Bebe was on him before he could open his mouth, grabbing him by the elbow with a grip so tight Stan knew there’d be marks.
“Stan! Oh my god. You are so exactly who we needed to see.”
“You can help us! He can help us, right?” she turned back to Wendy, who nodded.
“You could be right. Stan, come sit with us. We need to talk.”
Which, Jesus. Worst four words she possibly could have said. Wendy had said those words to Stan before. A lot. And they never meant anything good.
“Grab us some trays, Bebe. Stan, come with me.” Wendy left Bebe to get their food and marched Stan through the cafeteria over to the girls’ table, where he could only shrug back at the glare from Cartman, and the confused looks Kenny and Kyle were both giving him from across the room.
“Okay, so here’s the thing.” Wendy sat facing Stan, tucking her hair behind her ears as she spoke. “The back-to-school fair is coming up, and as you know, Bebe and I are on the planning committee.”
Stan didn’t know that, but he nodded anyway.
“I was hoping we’d get a chance to do it right this year, nothing showy or cheesy... Just fun, you know? Like, a few food stands, and maybe some college information booths set up for the seniors, that kind of thing. Unfortunately some people,” Wendy paused to shoot a glare across the table where Bebe, Red and the rest of the girls were joining them, “didn’t see it that way.”
“Because some people prefer to have actual fun. You know, the kind that doesn’t involve discussing potential college majors with guidance counselors on our day off? You agree with me, don’t you, Stan?” Bebe smiled, pushing a lunch tray scooped high with something yellow on it across to Stan, and another with slightly smaller scoops to Wendy.
“I...couldn’t say.” Stan admitted, completely lost. “What exactly am I supposed to be helping you with?” he asked Wendy.
“Kissing.” Bebe answered for her.
Stan’s face fell. “What.”
“The committee voted on what attractions and stalls and stuff we should have,” Red piped up from her place beside Wendy, “and by unanimous vote-”
“Not entirely unanimous.” Wendy interrupted.
“By almost unanimous vote,” she corrected, “we decided we’re going to have a kissing booth!”
Stan’s eyebrows shot up. “Wait, seriously?”
Wendy rolled her eyes, unimpressed. “Seriously.”
“And you need my help for this... how?” Stan narrowed his eyes.
“Because it’s got to be an equal opportunity kissing booth, or else what’s the point?” Red informed him.
“So we’re going to need some guys to help out as well as us girls.” Wendy added.
“Wait, us girls? Who exactly is volunteering here?” Stan demanded, eyes darting over to Wendy.
“It’s a kissing booth, Stan. You can’t just volunteer.” Bebe sighed, exasperated. “We need the best kissers, not like we can just accept anyone who comes along.”
Wendy nodded. “Exactly. I mean, who’s to say people won’t just volunteer ‘cause they’re looking to get a little free action? No, we need to take this seriously. It has to be the three best girl kissers-”
“That’s Bebe, Patty and Rebecca.” Red pointed to them one by one while Stan sighed in relief.
“-And the three best boy kissers.”
Stan suddenly found the attention of every girl at the table focused on him. “I...”
Bebe sighed again, like Stan was being purposefully slow. “Oh, please! We know you boys are all giant queens when it comes to gossiping. You must have talked about it.”
“But. We.” Stan looked over towards his own table, needing back up, but his friends’ attention was elsewhere by now. “Shouldn’t you girls be the ones gossiping about us? I mean. You’re the ones we’ve been kissing. You oughtta know who the best kisser is, right?” he gulped. This was not a conversation he wanted to be having. Stan’s own history with kissing Wendy was sketchy at best. He could only imagine the kind of gossip that’d gone on regarding his skills (or lack thereof) back when they were together.
“He’s not wrong.” Wendy mused.
“Yeah. We could compare notes, I guess.” Bebe chimed in. “Like, give each of the guys we’ve kissed a rating out of ten or something? Figure out the top three that way?”
Stan let out a helpless laugh as memories came flooding back. “Does that sparkle with all the girls?” He immediately regretted opening his mouth when he saw all the eyes lighting up around the table.
“Oh my god, yes!” Red bounced up and down, clapping her hands. “We could make a list! It’d be just like the old days!”
“Hey, no, come on, you remember how that turned out last time!” Stan argued. “You seriously wanna be messing around with all that again?”
“I think we can handle it, Stan.” Wendy rolled her eyes again. “It’s not like we’re kids anymore. Besides, it was your idea.”
“No, I-- Wait a minute--” Stan stuttered, mouth gaping.
“And it’s a good one!” Bebe leaned across the table to pat Stan’s cheek. “Come on, girls, let’s get started. Who’s got a pen and paper?”
The commotion around the table didn’t die down until the bell rang, and even then the giggling and whispers seemed to follow the girls through the halls, back to class and where ever else Stan saw them after that. He wished he could say he’d been too shocked or traumatized to remember what they’d been talking about over lunch, and really, if anything was going to shock and traumatize him it’d be the fact that he now knew exactly what Clyde Donovan could do with his tongue, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Apparently the girls felt comfortable enough around Stan to talk about this shit with him sitting right there, and now that he knew the kind of...detail... they were going into with this stupid list, it was pretty damn obvious that Stan needed to get himself kissed again, and soon. No way was he letting them mark him down as the guy who nearly dislocated Wendy’s jaw that one time.
“I don’t know, man. It’s like they up and went crazy all at the same time.”
“Maybe it’s a pre-menstrual thing. Like how when girls spend too much time together, their periods sync up? Maybe you just need to wait a few days, and it’ll all blow over. Wendy’ll be back to normal.”
Stan levelled Kyle with a look, handful of fries paused halfway to his mouth.
“Their periods sync up? How do you know this shit, Kyle? I’m the one with the sister.”
“Yeah, and I’m sure you and Shelly just sit around every night, talking about tampons and reading all the dirty parts from ‘Gossip Girl’ to each other out loud.”
“’Gossip Girl’? No, seriously, who are you right now?”
“Whatever, dude. It’s biology. You’d probably know a thing or two about it if you actually paid attention in class. It might have even helped you with Wendy. I mean, having a vague idea of how the human body works couldn’t hurt, right? One day you might even learn the difference between a uvula and a vulva.”
Stan gave him a slightly repulsed look and lowered his fries back to the plate in front of him, wiping his hand off on his jeans. “No, see, dude, this is exactly what I’m talking about. You know stuff. About...stuff. You have to help me with this.”
“With Wendy. You have to help me get her to kiss me again.”
“You what? Stan, no. I was joking. What in the hell makes you think I’d have the first clue about getting Wendy to want to kiss you?”
“Because, dude. You... you’re close with her. I’ve seen you two talking. You speak her language. You can, I don’t know. Use big words. Convince her it’d make a good social experiment or something.”
“Right. No that makes sense. I mean, because of how I was so good at helping you two get back together all those other times you broke up, right? Yeah, this’ll be a piece of cake, clearly.”
“Kyle.” Stan let a little extra whine slip into his voice.
“No, Stan. If you want to kiss Wendy, you should just ask her. Or better yet, just kiss her. Why do you always have to turn everything into some kind of epic drama? It’s just a kiss, dude.” Kyle stood, dropping his napkin onto his half empty plate of onion rings, and drained the rest of his coke. “I’m getting another drink. You want something?”
Stan shook his head, already letting his gaze drift towards the window, over to the lone table on the sidewalk outside Shakey’s. Wendy was sitting there with Red and a few of the other girls, laughing. Stan could already feel his stomach fizzing and doing backflips. Unfortunately he had a feeling it had more to do with nerves than any kind of romantic longing. Wendy had always had that effect on him. Half of him kind of wondered whether that was part of the reason he was always so determined to win her back. He didn’t like the feeling that there was someone out there who would always have the power to unsettle him. He figured if they dated for long enough, just once, they had to eventually reach that comfortable stage where he could say whatever he wanted, or eat pizza straight from the box, or maybe even fart in front of her and it wouldn’t feel like his world was ending. He’d told Kyle this theory once, but Kyle had just rolled his eyes and said something about how most people got together because they felt like their world was ending when they were apart from the other person, not sitting in the same room as them. He thought Stan just enjoyed the challenge too much, but he was wrong. Stan hated all the chasing and second guessing, he just needed to work through it until he and Wendy reached the uncomplicated stage of being together, the part where everything just got easy. It had to happen some day, right?
A flicker of movement drew his attention away from the table and Stan looked up to see Bebe’s face reflected in the glass over his shoulder.
“Stan, we need to talk.”
Why was it that all the girls in Stan’s life were insisting on using that phrase around him lately? Stan did his best to swallow the lump in his throat and nod.
“It’s your plan. There’s a flaw.”
“My plan? What...no.”
Bebe waved off his protests, sitting down in Kyle’s seat. “You said we should make a list, right? Rating all the boys we’ve kissed?”
“Bebe, I never said--”
“Well, we did that. And that worked fine.”
“Wait, it’s already done? But I... It isn’t...”
“The thing is, there’s still about ten or so boys we really don’t have any information on. I mean, there’s Butters, and Scott and Jimmy,” Bebe looked towards the counter where Kyle was refilling his soda, “and Kyle. It won’t be an authentic list unless we have all the data, Stan.”
Stan blinked at her, brows drawn together. “What am I supposed to do about it?”
“It was your idea! How do you think we should fix this? Do we just...ignore everyone who’s not already on it?”
“Well who else is there?”
“Um, let me see. Scott, Butters, Jimmy, Kyle...” Bebe counted off on her fingers. “Timmy, Jason, Gary and Cartman.”
Stan shuddered at the thought of anyone kissing Cartman, then paused, thinking.
“What about Kenny?”
“Ha,” Bebe rolled her eyes. “We’ve all kissed Kenny. Granted, most of us were drunk, but still... He’s about a seven.” she shrugged.
Stan leaned in a little. “Are you sure? I mean, if most of you were drunk, how can you know you’re giving Kenny a fair score? He could’ve been amazing and you were just too buzzed to remember it.”
“It’s possible, but--”
“No, think about it. How many guys on your list were getting kissed under, like, uncontrolled circumstances? Like, if you were drunk, or your parents were in the next room, or it was salami meatball sub day in the cafeteria? Don’t you think those guys deserve a second chance?”
“Yeah they do. Here’s what I’m thinking... you need to collect some new data, right? Well, why not scrap that list you’ve already made and start from scratch? New guys get kissed, old guys get re-kissed, and the girls get all the information they need, but this time it’s reliable.”
“Wow, Stan. You know, I used to think you only got into those AP classes ‘cause Wendy and Kyle were like, babying you with all those extra study sessions, but huh. You really are smart.”
“Uh... thank you?”
“So it’s settled then. We trash the list we’ve got and start over.” Bebe was halfway to standing when her grin faltered and she groaned. “Ughhhh, Wendy’s going to be pissed when she realizes this means someone’s going to have to kiss Cartman.”
Stan grimaced, remembering the first time he’d had to sit back and watch Wendy sucking face with Cartman. He could really go another lifetime or two without having to witness that again.
“Do you need to worry about him? Seriously, what are the chances of you letting Eric Cartman run your kissing booth, even if a miracle happens and he does end up scoring the highest in the grade?”
“Good point.” Bebe turned to walk away, then twirled back, smiling. “I’m beginning to get what she sees in you, Stan.”
Stan couldn’t stop the blush spreading across his face. He shot her what he hoped was a confidant–looking smile and turned back to the window to watch her deliver the news to Wendy and the others. Red’s clapping and Rebecca’s thumbs-up in his direction were pretty clear indicators that he’d said the right thing. Wendy, on the other hand, was rolling her eyes and sighing, but Stan had pretty much expected that. She’d been against this whole kissing booth thing from the start, of course she wasn’t impressed. Still, Stan couldn’t help but hold on to the hope that when Wendy realized it was Stan’s turn to be kissed, she’d want to be the one to do it.
If Stan had expected things to go smoothly for him after that, he’d clearly forgotten which town it was he was living in. The next morning, the school hallways were already buzzing with rumours and gossip by the time he got there.
Stan had barely pulled his hand free from his locker when the door was slammed in his face.
“I hope you realize what you’ve started here.” Wendy’s voice, exasperated and more than a little snippy, floated over his shoulder.
“What I started?” Stan turned to face her, hefting his book bag onto his back.
“Well it sure as hell wasn’t my idea that had Annie dragging Bradley behind the gym with her this morning.
“Look, Wendy, you’re the one who roped me into all this. The whole reason I said anything to Bebe in the first place is because you asked me, so don’t--”
“It’s okay, Stan, I get it, I do, but actions have consequences and I just think maybe you need to be a little more aware of that.”
“Like I said. Now, maybe you were just trying to help, but the way I see it, the entire grade is about to turn into a mass of raving hormones, and you are at least partly responsible for that.”
“So as payback,” Wendy steamrolled right over his interruption, “We’re going to need your help with something.”
“Again? I thought you were mad at me for helping you the first time!”
“I’m not mad, Stan. I’m just annoyed it had to come to this. I’m supposed to be concentrating on keeping my grades up and getting into a good college, not worrying about what Clyde Donovan can or can’t do with his tongue.”
Stan winced at the reminder of that particularly painful conversation.
“So what do you need me to do this time?”
“I guess you’ve heard that Bebe’s been dead set on us following your advice... She’s already drawn up a chart of who needs to kiss who...” Wendy broke off when a door banged open behind them, both of them looking up just long enough to catch a glimpse of Kal pushing Butters into the unused janitor’s closet across the hall before the door was slammed shut again.
Stan had a feeling he knew where this is going. Wendy’s name had to be linked with his on that chart. It just had to be. Stan tried to look as sincere as possible when he reached out a hand, clasping Wendy’s shoulder.
“Just tell me what you want me to do.”
Wendy smiled up at him, clearly grateful he was making this easy.
“We need you to get us Kyle.”
“Sure, I... wait. Kyle?”
“Bebe wants to be the one to kiss him. She won’t say why. My guess would be that it has something to do with when we were kids, but to be honest I’m not even sure Bebe remembers that far back.”
“But, Wendy. Kyle isn’t... I mean, he won’t just--”
“I know he’s going to be a tough nut to crack, that’s why we’re asking for your help. You’re his best friend, you must know some way to get him to agree.”
Stan adjusted the strap over his shoulder, staring at his toes and chewing on his lip while he processed this.
“I really don’t... I mean... I guess I could try.”
Wendy sighed, relieved, and grinned at him. “Thanks, Stan. That would be such a big help. Now all you have to do is get Bebe a shot with Kyle and I’ll consider not busting your balls for the rest of ever for coming up with all this in the first place.” And with a flick of her hair she was gone.
Stan stood frozen where he was in front of the lockers. That hadn’t exactly gone as planned. So Bebe wanted Kyle, yeah, okay fine... but what about him and Wendy? Wouldn’t she have said something if their names had been marked down together on Bebe’s chart?
The door to the janitor’s closet flew open again and Butters came stumbling into the hall with a faraway look on his face. Kal followed him out, rubbing a thumb over the corner of her mouth to check for lipstick smears.
“Wowee. Wow oh wow.” Butters mumbled, walking aimlessly down the corridor on shaky legs.
“Hey, Stan.” Kal bit her lip like she was trying not to smile as she passed him.
“Hey... hey, Kal.” Stan nodded, resettling his backpack again, fingers gripping tightly to the strap across his shoulder.
Wendy was right. A few more days of this and people’s minds would be turning to mush. Not to mention the fact that he’d basically just offered his best friend up to Bebe and her List as tribute.
Kyle was going to kill him.
“This is a joke right? You’re kidding me with this?”
Stan sighed, letting his head thump down to rest on the desk in front of him. They were alone in the room for the moment; the AP Chem class was never this slow showing up. Stan could only imagine what was keeping everybody.
“Dude, trust me, I really, really wish I was. But this is serious.”
“You want me to go out with Bebe.”
“Not go out, necessarily. I just need you to kiss her. Or let her kiss you. Whichever.”
“So she can rate me against all the other guys in our class to see if I’m good enough to, what was it again? Man a kissing booth?”
“Ughhh.” Stan groaned into the desk where it was pressing cool against his cheek.
“Stan. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have absolutely zero interest in working a kissing booth. Do you have any idea the amount of germs that get passed around at those things?”
“I know, okay? I get it. You think I want to end up stuck there either? That’s not what this is about.”
“If you say this is about Wendy one more time, so help me, Stan, I’ll--”
“But it is about Wendy. You were there the last time I kissed her. Do you even remember how that ended?”
Kyle’s lip twitched, giving Stan the horrible suspicion he was fighting a grin.
“Yeah, that was, uh. That was pretty special.”
Stan lifted his head from the table long enough to glare at Kyle.
“So we understand each other, then. You know I can’t let Wendy judge me on past experience. I need a retrial, man. A do-over.”
“Ugh, why do you even care? You said yourself you don’t want anything to do with this stupid school carnival.”
“Because. You really think Wendy will ever look twice at me again when she realizes I’m sitting right at the bottom of that list?”
“I think she has an idea, Stan. She’s the one who put you there.”
“Which is why I need a second chance, and then she won’t have to. I kiss Wendy again, and do it properly this time, and she can go back to her friends and giggle about how awesome it was or whatever. That way when I finally ask her to go out with me again, she won’t have to be ashamed, or worry about what anyone’ll think. Because they’ll all know. I’m awesome, and we’re awesome together.”
“You want to do this so Wendy can save face if she ever agrees to go out with you again? Do you even see how many things are wrong with that sentence?”
“Kyle, come on. I need this, man.”
“What you need is to stop talking so I can finish going over these notes before class.”
“One date, that’s all I’m asking.”
Kyle looked up from his book, eyes narrowed at the pleading expression on Stan’s face. The door to the classroom opened behind them, interrupting whatever thought Kyle was about to voice, and Scott Malkinson wandered into the room with a glazed look in his eye.
Kyle watched him take his seat then turned back to Stan, glaring hard. Stan could feel any chance he might have had at getting Kyle to agree slipping through his fingers.
“We’ll make it a double date. Me, you, Wendy and Bebe. We’ll all go to Casa Bonita. It’ll be one night, just a few hours.” Kyle was still glaring at him so he lowered his voice, leaning in across the space between their desks. “One quick kiss goodnight and it’ll be over.”
“You want me to come to dinner with you so I can sit there and make awkward small talk with Bebe while you mack on Wendy all night. This is honestly what you’re asking me?”
“No, dude. That’s not how it’s gonna be. I promise.”
Kyle put down his pen, turning his full attention on Stan just long enough for Stan to feel a shiver run down his spine. Being the complete focus of Kyle’s awareness could be kind of an intense experience sometimes. “I do this,” Kyle said, “and this is the last I hear about you and Wendy and kissing booths and lists. You got that?”
“Yes. I got it. I absolutely got it. Thank you.”
“I’m serious, Stan. I don’t want to hear one word from you about any of this when it’s all over. No matter what happens between you and her. Not one word.”
“Deal. I promise.”
Kyle gave a short nod then turned back to his notes, picking up his pen and scratching a few lines in the paper with more force than was probably necessary.
Stan tapped his fingers on his desk without any real rhythm. He couldn’t wait to tell Wendy. Getting Kyle to agree to a double date hadn’t been exactly what she’d asked him to do, but once he explained to her that those were the only terms Kyle would agree with, he was sure she’d be cool with it.
And if that gave him one more chance to convince Wendy that she really ought to be the one to rate Stan’s kisses, well... Lady Luck had to be on Stan’s side at least some of the time, right?
Stan grinned at the empty classroom, eyes finally settling over where Scott Malkinson was sitting two desks away, chin propped up on his hand, fingers playing idly over a smudge of pink lipgloss smeared on his jaw. It was the same sticky-sweet shade of pink Bebe wore. Stan’s eyes shot back over to Kyle and he tried to imagine what Kyle was going to look like after Bebe had gotten to him. For whatever reason, the thought of him staring dreamily into space, passing a fingertip over his strawberry gloss-smudged lips the way Scott was doing made Stan’s lip curl. He shook the thought away and sat back in his seat, eyes on the door, waiting for Wendy to show up.
The dinner at Casa Bonita wasn’t the most awkward night of Stan’s life, but it came close, which, given that he lived in South Park and was friends with Eric Cartman, was really saying something.
He’d driven there with Kyle in his dad’s old car, which was the same way they got to school most days. He hadn’t really thought about it until the waiter was seating them at their table and he looked up through the window to see Wendy arriving on her push bike.
“Aw, crap.” he groaned. “I should have offered her a lift.”
“Hm?” Kyle made a noise, clearly not interested, picking up his menu and scanning the drinks list.
“Wendy. I should’ve picked her up at her door or something, shouldn’t I? I mean, this is a date.” He put his head in his hands. “I didn’t even think.”
Kyle looked up at him from behind a colourful list of entrÃ©es, grinning. “You really are the worst at this.”
“Shut up.” Stan stood up to greet Wendy as she joined them at the table. “Hey, Wendy. Glad you made it. Sorry we didn’t pick you up or anything, there was this thing... See, Kyle had to--”
A kick to his shin under the table cut him off before he could come up with exactly what it was Kyle supposedly ‘had to’ do.
“That’s cool, Stan. You know I hate riding in that junker anyway. Honestly, I can’t believe it’s still running.”
“Right?” Kyle switched his grin to Wendy. “That thing’s a Frankenstein. It’s had more surgeries than Garrison.”
“It’s vintage.” Stan huffed, slumping back down into his chair.
“It’s a museum exhibit.” laughed Kyle.
“I don’t see why you don’t just get rid of it, Stan.” Wendy raised an eyebrow at him, hands busy re-tying her ponytail.
“Are you kidding me? Stan will never ditch that beast. It knows all his secrets.”
Wendy smirked. “I’m afraid to ask.”
“Ask what?” Bebe appeared beside them, dropping into the chair next to Wendy and stretching her legs out beneath the table until her toes were brushing Kyle’s shoes. “Hi, Kyle.”
“Bebe.” Kyle lifted his fingers in a wave, friendly enough except for the fact his eyes never quite met with hers.
“So.” Stan clapped his hands together before Kyle could get any more awkward or Bebe could get anymore handsy. “Who wants drinks?”
The meal itself went okay—there were more than a few awkward pauses and the only time conversation really flowed was when Wendy asked Kyle about some homework they’d been given that day. This led to Stan attempting to retell a joke Kyle had told him back when he was tutoring Stan about asymptotes, except that Stan muddled it around the middle and couldn’t remember the punch line. For some reason this had Kyle laughing harder than either of them had when the joke was told properly, but Wendy just rolled her eyes and asked Bebe to please pass the cheese fries.
Between the dinner plates being cleared and the dessert menus getting handed around, Bebe made her move.
“Hey, Kyle? I think I left my phone in my car... Come and help me find it?”
“You sure it’s not in your purse? I can call it for you.”
“Nope. It’s definitely in the car.” Bebe stood, making eye contact with Kyle and refusing to look away until he huffed a breath through his nose and followed her lead.
Stan watched them weave their way between tables and out the door, but the parking lot was too dark now to be able to make anything out through the window.
“..an? Stan?” Stan looked up when he felt Wendy’s hand on his shoulder. “You okay?” she asked, giving his arm a squeeze.
“Huh? Yeah. Yeah, you want some ice cream or something? Cartman says the sundaes here are the best he’s ever tasted.”
“Cartman would say the tyres from my bike were the best thing he’d ever tasted if they were deep fried and sprinkled with icing sugar.”
Stan chuckled. “Actually, he’s pretty amazing when it comes to recommending food. Really, he could probably be a food critic or something if he wasn’t such a sociopath.”
“The most Eric Cartman will ever do with his life is make everyone else’s look good by comparison.”
Stan raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re really hating on Cartman tonight. Did something happen?”
“No. He’s been bugging me is all.”
“More than he usually does?”
“I think it’s the List thing. He’s not happy that nobody’s kissed him yet.”
“Yet? I thought you were giving the girls a free pass as far as Cartman goes?”
“I was. I am. But some of the girls have mutinied. They say it’s not a real List if all the data isn’t available.” She sighed, laying her palms flat against the table. “I’d forgotten how intense everyone gets over these things. It’s like third grade all over again.”
“God, I hope not.” Stan grimaced, his gaze drifting back toward the window.
“Whatever. I’ll work it out.” Wendy shrugged. “He’ll be fine.”
“Of course he’s fine. I know he’s fine.” Stan turned back to the table, grabbing a bread roll form the basket and turning it over in his hands. “It’s not like she’s trying to jump him in the backseat or anything, right? It’s just a kiss.”
Wendy coughed a laugh, then shook her head. “Way to keep on topic, Stan. And yes, it’s just a kiss.” She lifted a hand from the table, laying it over one of his and stilling his fingers where they were digging holes into the bread.
Stan raised his gaze to meet hers, letting the roll fall loose to the table. If he was looking for an opportunity to kiss Wendy again, now would be the time.
The interior light from Bebe’s car was just bright enough for Kyle to be well aware that she was not actually looking for her phone in there. She snapped the mirror closed and pursed her lips a few times, tasting the strawberry gloss on the edge of her tongue as she ran it over her teeth.
“So, Kyle.” she grinned at him as she unfolded from the passenger seat, closing the door behind her. “I guess I should thank you for coming out with me tonight.”
“That’s okay. You really don’t need to say anything. Or, you know. Do anything.”
“Oh but I want to.” She moved around to the hood of the car, lifting herself up and patting the space next to her. “Sit with me?”
Kyle looked at the ground then back up to where she was leaning against the windshield of her baby blue BMW. He had to hand it to the girl, Bebe really had a knack for aesthetics. The blue of her car, the pink of her lips, the blonde of her hair... all framed together she made one genuinely pretty picture.
Taking a deep breath, Kyle settled himself on the hood next to her; the few inches of space he’d been sure to leave between them disappeared quickly when she slid her way over to lean into his side.
“Stan told you about the List, right?” she cut to the chase.
“He told me.”
“And what did you think?”
“I think it’s one of the worst, most potentially dangerous ideas I’ve heard since that time Cartman asked me to keep watch for him while he made a ‘withdrawal’ at the bank.”
Bebe let out a breath that could almost be a laugh. “So I take it this little double date we’re on wasn’t really your idea.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Call it a hunch. You know, Kyle, I’m really not looking to force you into anything, but come on, it’s not like I’m asking to wear your letterman jacket.”
“I don’t have a letterman jacket.”
“That’s kind of my point.” Bebe smiled, knocking his arm with her shoulder. “I would like to kiss you, though.”
“You did kiss me. We were eight.”
“And you called me gross and ran away.”
“Sounds to me like you’ve got plenty to go on, then. You ready to go back inside?” He slid off the hood, turning to face the restaurant where their table sat brightly illuminated in the glow from the window. Wendy was leaning across the table, her hand resting over Stan’s while a waiter took their order. Stan was probably getting them something goofy and completely clichÃ©, like a milkshake with two straws or something. Kyle swallowed the sudden dryness from his throat and turned back to where Bebe was watching him.
“I was kind of hoping for a different outcome this time.” she confessed.
Kyle shrugged, leaning back against the car. “Sorry to disappoint,” his eyes darted back across the parking lot; Stan’s hand was cupping Wendy’s face now. It was too far away to make out any of the details, but Kyle knew that move—he’s seen Stan use it on Wendy a thousand times—the way his thumb would be rubbing against her cheek, slipping down to brush over her lips. Kyle looked away, glaring at his shoes like they were mortally offending him. “I kinda think the outcome to this whole experiment was officially determined back in that tree house.” He looked up to find Bebe’s eyes not on him, but focussed over his shoulder, back towards the window. He’d turn around, try and see what it was she was watching so intently, but he really, really didn’t want to.
When Bebe finally met his eyes again, there was none of the playfulness she’d shown before.
“Kyle.” she said his name like she was passing sentence, just a hint of pity shading her voice. On a normal day, it would’ve been enough to make Kyle want to hit something. Right now though, all Kyle really wanted to do was run back home and pretend this night never happened.
“Don’t. Whatever it is, just... don’t.”
Bebe raised a hand out to cup Kyle’s jaw, and he let her. She leaned in, placing the swiftest of kisses on his cheek.
She let her hand linger, warm and tiny, framing his face.
“So that was it, huh?” Kyle finally spoke up when the silence had hung between them for too long. “What’s my rating?”
Bebe laughed, light and genuine. “Hmm. I’m giving you a two. There was just something about the execution...I don’t think I bought your commitment, Broflovski.” she grinned.
“Seriously? A two? I would have thought my silky smooth shave would’ve bought me at least a three, three point five.”
“It is smooth.” She ran her fingers over his jaw and throat, letting her hand drop back into her lap. “But unfortunately for you, that shave is the only thing smooth about you.”
“I guess that puts me out of the running for kissing booth duty.”
“I guess it does.”
Kyle nodded, taking a step back towards the restaurant as Bebe slid off the hood and followed him. “Thanks, Bebe.” he bumped a shoulder against hers as they walked.
“That’s okay. You really don’t need to say anything.”
“Or do anything?”
“Not unless you want to buy me a drink when we get back in there.”
He grinned. “I’ll buy you one if you buy me one.”
“Ha!” Bebe laughed. “And I thought Stan failed at chivalry.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about; he taught me everything I know.”
“I don’t doubt that for a second.” Bebe held the door for him which earned her another grin as Kyle walked past her, squaring his shoulders and stuffing his hands in his pockets as he neared the table.
Stan and Wendy had barely shifted since Kyle and Bebe first left them alone at the table. Stan’s biggest move, Kyle had already caught sight of through the glass; Stan’s hand cupping Wendy’s face, Wendy leaning close across the table to catch his words.
“I don’t think that’s necessary, Stan.” Wendy had been saying.
“No. Yeah. I know.” Stan replied, curling a loose strand of her hair between his thumb and forefinger absentmindedly as he spoke. “Only, they’ve been gone for a while. Maybe if you call her they’d hear the phone ringing and they could find it faster.”
“Stan.” Wendy sounded more exasperated than Stan had heard her in a while. “Forget about Bebe and Kyle for a minute. What was it you were going to say before? When the waiter came?”
“Before?” Stan leaned back, untangling his fingers from her hair and checking the window again, squinting in an effort to make out the shapes in the darkness.
“You know, before? When that waiter came to take our order? You were saying something about how you used to like coming here when we were together? Something about the ice cream?”
“Uh.” Stan blinked up at her like he could barely remember where he was, let alone a conversation that took place nearly ten minutes ago. “Yeah. The ice cream. It was, um. Good.”
“Yes. Yes it was good.”
“I was thinking maybe we could do that again. Get some ice cream. Here. You and me. At the same time. Together.”
“Just you and me, huh?”
“I don’t know, Stan. You think you could handle being away from Kyle for that long? I mean, look at you now, you’re freaking out and he’s only been gone twenty minutes.”
“Twenty minutes? Who takes twenty minutes to find a phone?” Stan’s eyes darted back towards the car park.
“They’re not looking for any god damn phone, Stan! They’re making out! They’re probably half naked in the back of Bebe’s car right now! What the hell is your problem?”
“Nothing! Nothing is my problem! What’s your problem?”
“Why the hell won’t you kiss me, huh, Wendy? Was I seriously that bad that you’re not even going to give me a chance to redeem myself?”
“I...are you serious? Jesus, Stan, how are you so... Come here.” Wendy reached across the table, pulling Stan in by his lapels. She was leaning in close, eyes flicking down to Stan’s lips when he heard the bell ring over the door. Kyle and Bebe were back, and they were huddled together, giggling. Stan felt a familiar pull in his stomach, but it was too late—by the time he’d realized what was happening, the entire contents of his stomach were making a reappearance. Wendy flinched back with a disgusted cry.
“Ew! Gross, Stan!”
Stan was still coughing and spluttering when Kyle and Bebe made it back to the table.
“I see things are back to normal with you two.” Bebe smirked.
“You okay, dude?” Kyle reached out to pat him on the back. Stan jerked out of his grip, grabbing a napkin from Kyle’s plate and wiping his mouth.
“I’m okay, I’m fine.” he huffed. “I’m sorry, Wendy.”
“I know you are.” she sighed, sounding way too resigned for Stan’s liking.
Kyle caught sight of a pair of waiters making their way towards the table, noses in the air and identical sneers curling their lips.
“I think we should probably call it a night, guys.”
“I think you’re right.” Bebe agreed, and Stan made a noise like a scoff.
“You two should go. Get Wendy cleaned up or whatever. Stan and I have got this.”
“Don’t think that shouting us dinner will get you out of buying me that drink, Broflovski.” Bebe winked at him as Wendy shifted away from the table and the mess Stan had made.
Kyle shook his head at her with a smile, reaching in to his pocket for his handkerchief so he could help clean Stan off.
Stan waited until the girls were out of sight before he pushed Kyle away. “I don’t need you fussing over me, Broflovski.” he said, voice full of snark.
“Whatever, dude.” Kyle backed off, hands in the air.
“I’m going to the bathroom to wash this shit off. I don’t want the car smelling like regurgitated lasagna for the next six months.”
“Fine. Give me your wallet and I’ll settle the bill.”
“It’s in my jacket.” Stan pointed to the coat hanging over the back of his chair as he walked away. “And leave a tip!” he called over his shoulder.
“I worked at Shakey’s for a summer, remember? I’m a better tipper than any of you.” Kyle called back, then went to head off the waiters before they could see the full extent of the mess Stan had made of their prized window booth.
Stan didn’t have the first clue what had made him duck into the senior’s homeroom when he saw Kyle standing at the lockers. He only hoped that Bebe had kept Kyle’s attention long enough that neither of them noticed his less-than-stealthy dive for cover. He was just taking a minute to breathe, eyes closed and forehead pressed tight against the doorframe, when a tap on his shoulder had him jolting upright, head snapping around to see Kenny standing right behind him.
“Hey buddy. Word to the wise? Next time you come busting into a room, you might wanna check that it’s empty first.”
“Huh?” Stan looked past Kenny to see Red there, straightening her shirt and smoothing out her hair.
“Shit, sorry, you guys! I just. I was.” Stan gestured awkwardly at the door.
“What, is Mrs Jenkins on your ass again? I thought you sorted all that stuff with the cows and the megaphone.”
“No, I did. This isn’t about that. I was just.” Stan shrugged, leaning back against the door. “Kyle’s out there.”
“He’s out there with Bebe. I just didn’t want to... Thought I’d let them have some space, you know?”
“Some space? To what, braid each other’s hair and paint each other’s toenails?”
“You know what I mean, Kenny.”
“No, I know what you think you mean. Stan...What exactly is it you think they need space for? Did you catch them talking about you or something?”
“What? No!” Stan sputtered. “Why, have they been talking about me?”
Kenny gave him a look, opening his mouth to say something else, but Red cut him off.
“Well boys, I hate to interrupt this little desperate housewives meeting you’ve got going on, but I have class in a couple of minutes.” She raised an eyebrow at Stan until he took the hint and moved away from the door. “See ya, Kenny.”
“Hey wait! So what score did I get?”
Red gave it some thought. “Eight.”
“Yep. You’ve got great technique, but you’re easily distracted. Not a lot of concentration going on where it matters, know what I mean?”
Kenny rolled his eyes and pulled open the door. “Excuse me, Stan.”
The next thing Stan knew he was standing in the middle of the corridor again, the homeroom door shut soundly in his face.
He thought about sneaking off back the way he came, but just as he was making up his mind to turn around, Kyle looked up at him and grinned, waving him over.
Stan sighed and walked to where Kyle was still standing with Bebe, his steps faltering for half a second when Red’s voice came crying out from behind the homeroom door—
“Ten! Ten! Oh jesus christ, Kenny, TEN!”
“What the hell was that about?” Kyle asked, nodding his head towards the door. Stan looked back over his shoulder.
Bebe grinned mischievously. “Oh, I have an idea.”
“Oh god, whatever story you’re thinking of right now, please never tell me.” Kyle groaned, shoving the rest of his books in his locker and shutting the door. “You ready for class?”
“Ready.” Bebe nodded, grin still in place. “You walking us there, Stan?”
“No.” Stan replied before he could think about it. “No, I’ve got some stuff to do. Library stuff.”
“What are you talking about, dude? You haven’t set foot in the library since fifth grade.”
“Ha ha.” Stan made a face at Kyle, even though he was actually completely right. Stan really didn’t see the point of spending his time in a library; all his studying was done at Kyle’s—books strewn across the floor, the both of them sprawled over Kyle’s bedspread, fighting for space with elbows in ribs and feet knocking against shins.
Bebe gripped onto Stan’s arm, and damn, that girl really didn’t know her own strength. “Actually, now that you mention it, I need to drop some books off there, too. Kyle, I’ll meet you in class? Stan, come help me carry some of these.”
“Bebe.” Kyle narrowed his eyes at her, giving her a look that even Stan would classify as less-than-boyfriendly.
“It’s okay, Kyle. You can go. I’ll be good, I promise.”
And Stan really didn’t need to be there for any more of their syrupy, I’ll-be-good, I’ll-miss-you, you-hang-up-first type banter. “You know what, Bebe, I really should be getting--”
“With me, Stan. Now.” she called, sweetly, already walking off towards her locker.
Kyle rolled his eyes at him. “Guess I’ll see you at lunch?”
Stan just shrugged. He honestly couldn’t work out why it was that even when he wasn’t dating anyone, he still ended up playing errand boy half the time.
“So what is this about, Bebe?” he asked as Bebe loaded his arms with text books, half of which had probably been stuffed away at the bottom of her locker since the first week of term.
Stan was familiar with almost every trick in Bebe’s book by now, he’d seen her use them all before, a lot of the time on Wendy, some of the time on him.
“This is about me not breaking my back trying to lift this stuff across school grounds.” She dropped another book on top of the pile in Stan’s arms.
“Yeah right.” He shuffled the books until they were balanced in the crook of his elbows. “Why don’t you just tell me what you want? If this is about you and Kyle, I was trying to give you space so you can... so you can have this whatever-it-is between you two without me following you around. I thought you’d be happy.”
“Stan, there is nothing going on between me and Kyle.”
“Sure there’s not.”
“No, I mean it.”
“Look, Bebe, you don’t have to lie to me. I saw you. Last night, the two of you-- laughing and hanging all over each other. It’s okay.”
“No, Stan. It’s really, really not. I don’t know what you think you saw, but I promise you, you’ve got it wrong.”
Stan could feel his blood beginning to boil. He’d known Bebe to do a lot of stupid shit in her time, but this... this was really low.
“What are you saying, Bebe? You’re trying to deny that something happened between you and Kyle? What, are you ashamed of him or something?”
“Ashamed? What... Stan, no.”
“Because let me tell you, Kyle is an amazing guy, okay, and if for some reason he’s bothered to give you the time of day then you should be grateful. He wants to walk to class with you and buy you drinks and have whatever stupid little private jokes you guys were laughing at... you should be counting yourself lucky, not standing here trying to deny everything when I saw it happen.”
“Stan, you don’t have the first clue what you saw.”
“I saw you take him out to your car to ‘find your phone’, which we all know was in your purse the whole time. I saw the way he was looking at you when you guys came back to the table.”
“Was this before or after you threw up all over Wendy?”
“You know what, Bebe? Carry your own books.” Stan dumped the pile he was holding on top of the lockers. “You guys aren’t right for each other, and Kyle? He’s smart, Bebe. He’s gonna figure that out real soon.”
“You know, I think maybe he already knows.” Bebe gave him the slickest smile in her repertoire and shut the locker, leaving the books where they were as she walked away.
Stan didn’t go to the library after that, which had nothing at all to do with feeling guilty about leaving all of Bebe’s heavy textbooks just lying there on the lockers.
He spent the rest of the period wandering around down behind the bike shed, kicking at clumps of grass until the toes of his Chucks were stained with green. It didn’t make him feel better, but the cool air did clear his head a little. He didn’t really get why he was so pissed off about Kyle and Bebe. He’d been the one pushing them together in the first place, if anyone should be stoked about this it should be him.
Plus, Kyle dating Bebe would mean there’d be plenty of chances for more double dates with him and Wendy.
Stan hadn’t even really thought about her since the whole disaster-that-was-last-night had ended. She had to have been pissed at him; he’d never even called to apologise again. He really was the worst at all this boyfriend crap.
He considered going to catch up with her after class. Maybe he could ask her what she thought about the Kyle/Bebe thing. There was always a chance she’d be as weirded out by it as Stan was. After all, Bebe was the one who drove Wendy home from school most nights. Given that her car only had two seats, and Kyle would most likely be riding with her from now on, that would probably mean Wendy was out on her ass.
Stan figured he should probably look at that as a bright side. He could offer to drive Wendy home, now that Kyle wasn’t going to be taking up the whole front seat with his ton of books and notes and his unfailing need to sprawl himself over everything.
Stan wondered if Wendy would mind listening to the mix tape he and Kyle kept in the tape deck. His dad’s old car didn’t take c.d.’s, and it didn’t pick up any radio stations, so when he’d first turned the keys over to Stan, Stan and Kyle had spent every night for two weeks picking songs out for their driving music; arguing about whether soft rock even counted as a genre, and how much Asia was too much Asia.
According to Wendy, any Asia was too much. She’d probably throw the tape out as soon as she got a chance. Maybe he should just give it to Kyle, but then Bebe’s beamer probably had an iPod connection or something. No way she had a tape deck.
Stan made his way back to the main building, wondering if he could somehow find a way to transfer the songs onto a playlist for Kyle and Bebe. He was just turning into the hall where all the seniors kept their lockers when someone grabbed him from behind and pulled him backwards into the Bio Lab.
Stan turned around, ready to shove back at his attacker (probably Cartman), but the classroom in front of him was empty except for a red-faced, irritated-looking Kyle.
“The hell, dude?”
“The hell, dude, yourself! What did you say to Bebe?”
God damn it, Stan mentally kicked himself. Kyle had been in his first relationship in years for about nine hours and Stan had already messed things up for him.
He raised his hands, trying to stem Kyle’s anger before it really got started. “I know, okay, I know. I’ll fix it.”
“Fix what? Seriously, Stan, what did you do?”
“Nothing. I just... I said some stuff to her that I probably shouldn’t have.”
“Like what? Be specific.”
“She didn’t tell you?”
“She wouldn’t say anything. She just showed up to class, sat down and said ‘your boyf—’” Kyle cut himself off with a cough. “‘Your friend’s a real dick.’”
“Jesus, Kyle, I’m really sorry. I kind of lost my shit at her.”
“You gonna tell me why?”
Stan sighed, leaning back against the wall and shoving his hands in his pockets. “I don’t know, man. I just... she was saying some things, and I flipped.”
“Just. That I shouldn’t call her your girlfriend or say you’re together, because it isn’t like that between you. Look, Kyle, I know you like her and everything, but you haven’t even been together a day and she’s already denying everything. That’s not a good sign, dude.”
Kyle laughed, but there was really no humour in it. “Stan, you douche. The reason Bebe’s saying we’re not together is because we’re not together.”
“Oh, not you too.” Stan rolled to his side, pushing off the wall with his shoulder. “Listen, Kyle, I saw you--”
“No, you listen.” A flash of movement and Kyle had him back against the wall, fists twisting into Stan’s shirt, holding him there. “No one’s lying to you here, Stan. We’re not being subtle or keeping secrets or any of that.” Kyle paused and Stan could tell by his face that that last part was a lie.
Having Kyle this close to him, Stan could easily pick up the faint traces of berries and jasmine clinging to his clothes. It was the same scent Bebe wore, mingled in with the familiar smell of soap and deodorant and Kyle; like she’d been hanging off him all morning, or given him a particularly smothering hug right before he came here.
Stan wanted to rip the shirt away from him and kick it into the dirt. Suddenly he couldn’t stand that fake berry smell.
“You really expect me to believe that? Why can’t you just be honest with me Kyle? What’s the big deal?”
“Be honest with you. Right.” Kyle grinned at the ground, eyes going hard.
“Kyle,” Stan moved without thinking, his hand reaching out to cup Kyle’s jaw the way he did with Wendy.
Kyle’s eyes fluttered closed the minute Stan’s fingertips brushed his skin. Before Stan could realize what was happening, or even try to pull away, Kyle was darting in, pressing his lips against Stan’s.
Stan was blindsided at first, Kyle wasn’t really kissing him so much as he was just... in Stan’s space, tense like a tightly wound spring and not breathing, like it had taken every ounce of effort he had just to make it this far, and now his entire brain had gone and shut down on him. Stan figured this was probably about the time he should be pulling back and figuring out just what the hell Kyle was thinking, but it was pretty clear by the firm line of Kyle’s lips against his, and the furrow in Kyle’s brow that he wasn’t thinking. At least not about anything that made any kind of sense.
The crazy must have been catching, though, because as much as Stan was sure he should be freaking out about this, the really upsetting thing here was feeling Kyle so on edge, and knowing that it was somehow because of him. He let his hand slip from Kyle’s cheek, dropping to his shoulder instead to offer a reassuring squeeze, but the movement only made Kyle press in closer, a noise something like a growl rumbling up from his chest. His hands clenched into fists, bunching in Stan’s shirt and dragging him in until their bodies were flush together and Stan had to shift his grip and grab onto Kyle’s arms to steady himself as Kyle backed him hard against the wall behind them.
He was moving with purpose now, something in Stan’s gesture of reassurance must have set him off—his lips no longer just a tight line pressing dry against Stan’s own. He let loose another sound, closer to a moan than a growl this time, and sucked Stan’s bottom lip into his mouth. The kiss tasted like salt and sweat and nothing at all like the berry lip gloss Bebe wore and suddenly Stan was kissing back, his grip on Kyle’s arms so tight now his knuckles were going white.
Kyle brought one hand up to tangle in the hair at the back of Stan’s head, gripping him hard and pulling him forward into the kiss. Stan’s mouth fell open on a gasp; he could feel Kyle’s pulse hammering beneath his fingers, his tongue licking its way into Stan’s mouth while Stan was busy trying to catch his breath. The flat of Kyle’s hand skimmed down Stan’s side, twisting in the hem of his shirt and rucking it up until the cool air of the classroom hit Stan’s bare skin, making him shiver—although that may have had more to do with the way Kyle’s hand was pressing solid and warm against his spine, making goosebumps break out across his skin with every curl and flex of Kyle’s fingers.
Kyle’s mouth broke away and Stan was going to say something, he was, but Kyle’s lips were closing over his pulse point, followed up by the pinch of teeth and a tongue to smooth it over, and all Stan could do was let his head fall back against the wall with a thunk, leaving his neck open for Kyle to trail his way down from jaw to collarbone. His head was swimming, it was as if a switch had been flipped and all of a sudden Kyle couldn’t get close enough—there was a knee wedging its way between Stan’s own, parting his legs a little further as Kyle buried his head in Stan’s shoulder, kissing and sucking at what was sure to be a pretty impressive bruise by now. A soft exhale of breath over the spit-slick skin of Stan’s throat had him reaching out, cupping a hand around the back of Kyle’s neck and dragging him back up to meet his mouth. Stan surged forward into the kiss, not holding back this time as he pushed his tongue between Kyle’s lips, Kyle meeting him with a needy moan, rocking his hips forward and sucking on Stan’s tongue in a way that was giving Stan ideas. It’s not like Stan had never been kissed before, he had, but this... this was on a whole other level. The only time Wendy had come at him with this kind of passion he hadn’t been expecting it, and the weird twist and jolt of the angle of that kiss had wrenched her jaw. It was pretty much the most embarrassing moment of his life, but she’d come at him out of nowhere, all heat and hunger—almost exactly the same as he’d just done to Kyle, and oh jesus...
Stan pulled back, twisting out of Kyle’s grip and leaving them both wide-eyed and panting for air. “Sorry.” he gasped. “Sorry.”
“Are you shitting me?” Kyle glared up at him, lips shiny-swollen, his whole face warm from blushing. “Don’t stop.”
Stan was having a hard time tearing his eyes away from Kyle’s mouth. “I didn’t want-- I thought--”
“Don’t think.” Kyle warned, and pulled him back into the kiss.
Stan huffed a laugh as their teeth clacked together. That was rich coming from Kyle, considering this was the guy who usually found it impossible to concentrate on anything less than five hundred things at once. He seemed to be doing fine right now though, his entire world narrowed down to the feel of Stan’s lips, soft and slick against his own, Stan’s fingers tightening in his hair as he inched his hands beneath the hem of Stan’s shirt, searching out the warm skin beneath. He was so focussed, in fact, he completely missed the jarring ring of the bell, the sound of it making Stan jump and remember where they were and exactly what it was they were doing.
“Oh jesus, dude.” Stan ran a hand across his face. “What the hell..?”
Kyle didn’t really feel like dignifying that with a response. “Come on, let’s get out of here before everyone gets to the lockers.”
Stan was just pulling the door closed behind them when a long whistle sounded out from over his shoulder. Both boys whipped around, Kyle already blushing like crazy, only to find Bebe strutting her way up the corridor towards them; her smug grin could power the entire Eastern seaboard it was so bright. Stan had one hand flattening his hair, the other tugging at his shirt, making sure he wasn’t looking quite as dishevelled as he felt, but before Bebe could so much as open her mouth to gloat, Kyle simply offered her a nod. “He’s a seven.” he said, voice entirely deadpan, then turned on his heel and walked away, not once looking back to see if Stan was following.
Stan wasn’t, but that was not for lack of trying. He’d tried to duck away after Kyle left, but Bebe stepped forward, blocking his path, wicked grin still firmly in place. “A seven, huh?” she smirked. “Oh, Stan, don’t look so worried. I’m sure Wendy won’t be too crushed about not getting to rate you herself. After what happened the other night she’ll probably be relieved. And hey, being a seven is nothing to be ashamed of. You know I gave Kyle a two?”
Stan was busy trying to keep track of Kyle over Bebe’s shoulder while at the same time attempting to work out some kind of escape route, but that last comment had him meeting her eyes for the first time all conversation. “You kissed Kyle?”
“He didn’t tell you?” the fact that Bebe wasn’t even trying to play innocent (or at least not well) showed just how amused she was by the whole situation. “Looking at you now though, Stan, I’m thinking that that two may have been a little harsh. That’s quite the hickey you’ve got there.”
Stan refused to tug at his collar to cover the mark, it felt a little too much like he’d be clutching at his pearls or something. Instead he just held eye contact and didn’t take the bait when Bebe grinned even harder and patted him twice on the chest. “I’m just teasing, cutie. Go find your boyfriend.”
“Do we need to have a repeat of the conversation we had this morning? Only I guess it’d be a little backwards now, wouldn’t it?” she mused. “You made a good point earlier, Stan. Kyle’s a good guy. And he’s smart. You oughtta trust him.”
“What? What does that have to do with-- Of course I trust Kyle.”
“Good, then you won’t spend the rest of the day second guessing whatever it is you two just... discussed, and you’ll just skip to the part where you stop being an idiot and you stop making Kyle pine after you.”
“Oh no, I’m not the one you need to have this conversation with. Go. Go talk, or whatever. And tell Kyle he still owes me that drink.”
Stan gave her what he hoped was a glare, but it can’t have been too intimidating considering she just giggled at him before turning away and leaving him there. Stan blamed the hair. It was hard to be menacing when your best friend had just spent the last twenty minutes running his fingers through your hair, sucking bruises into your skin and generally making sure you looked far too messed up for anyone to take seriously. Not that Stan was complaining. He wasn’t sure where all that had come from, but he was definitely all for the idea of finding Kyle again and figuring the whole thing out. Together. Sometime real soon, if he had his way. Bebe was right, they did have a lot to talk about. He might even owe her an apology for not believing her when she’d said she wasn’t dating Kyle. He hadn’t believed Kyle at first when he’d said it either, but his method for convincing Stan had been a lot more persuasive than Bebe’s. The way the girls kept raving about the things Clyde could do with his tongue... they’d all be a great big gibbering mess if any of them ever found out how amazing Kyle was when he... No. Stan had to pull back from that line of thought, suddenly fuming with the idea that anyone else might ever get a taste of Kyle the way he had. Apparently he was really, really not okay with that.
Okay, good to know. Stan was learning all kinds of things about himself today.
He combed his fingers through his hair one more time then walked off in the same direction both Kyle and Bebe had gone.
Kyle had arrived at the lockers just in time to bump into Kenny.
“Hey, man.” Kenny waggled his eyebrows, and Kyle had to fight hard not to lick his lips or wipe his chin for spit, just in case there was still some trace of Stan left on his skin.
“Hey.” he said instead, voice smooth and steady and entirely innocent.
“You see this shit?” Kenny nodded his head in the direction of Cartman’s locker, where Wendy had him cornered.
“Just quit linking everyone to your god damn profile updates!” she fumed, jabbing Cartman hard in the chest with her phone.
“You’re being highly irrational, Wendy. If there’s something I’ve done to upset you--”
“Oh, let’s see, shall we?” she narrowed her eyes, flipping her phone open and pressing a few buttons. “10:15a.m. Wendy Testaburger can lick my balls. 11:54a.m. No update on the Wendy Testaburger ball-licking situation; reports of her heinous bitch-crimes at an all time high. 12:13p.m. My ballsack remains unlicked. Wendy Testaburger unable to be reached for comment. My mother reads these updates, Cartman! This has to stop!”
“You’re right, Wendy. It does have to stop. Does that mean you’re ready to be the one to stop it?”
Wendy snapped her phone closed, her face a mix of irritation and confusion. “What?”
“You know what you have to do here, Wendy. One little kiss and I can make this all go away.” Cartman raised an eyebrow at her and she punched him hard in the shoulder.
“Jesus, Eric! For the last time I AM NOT KISSING YOU.”
“Oh well. I guess that answers that question. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some status updates to post.”
“You are an unbelievable asshole!” she called after him, Cartman’s back disappearing into the crowd just as Stan finally pushed his way through to the lockers.
Stan’s eyes found Wendy first—she looked angry. Then again, that was kind of a default expression for Wendy a lot of the time. She wasn’t exactly the most easy-going of people, especially when things didn’t go her way. Honestly, though, Stan kind of liked that about her. She was fiery, always refusing to take anyone’s shit. It had always reminded him of Kyle. Which... probably said a lot more about him than he’d like.
Stan’s eyes flicked to his left and landed on Kyle and Kenny. Kyle was watching him watch Wendy, and Stan felt a jolt go through his stomach. Once again Stan found himself having to admit that maybe Bebe had a point. All this time he’d been watching Wendy, chasing after Wendy, refusing to see anything else, and now it looked like, for a lot of that time, Kyle had been watching him. Stan figured he should probably feel like a douchebag for that, but then why hadn’t Kyle ever said anything? They could have been... God only knows how long they’d... But Stan never knew, he’d never even...
Stan gave himself a mental shake, looking back towards Kyle and shooting him the biggest smile he could manage. It was just like Bebe said—his mind was going into revolt, wanting to piece over every little moment he’d spent with Kyle over the past few months—all the maybes and could have beens and if onlys. All his time with Wendy had been spent second-guessing things, trying to figure out his place when it felt like the rules were constantly changing around him. He’d thought he’d wanted that, kept thinking of it as a challenge he had to beat. But seeing Kyle now, the puzzled half-smile slowly taking over his face, it made Stan realise that for the first time in his life, he wanted something that was both easy and entirely uncomplicated. Kyle liked him, he liked Kyle. Kyle had kissed him, he’d kissed Kyle back. And it had felt... it had felt right. There were no mind-games here, no push and pull or power plays. Just... him and Kyle. Only now there was this whole other level to them that, god, even thinking about it made Stan’s hands shake. Kissing Kyle had been a revelation. He could still taste the salty-sweet trace of him on his tongue, still feel the ghost of Kyle’s fingers trailing up his spine, working their way beneath his shirt and...
Yeah, reliving everything in that amount of detail in the hallway in front of everyone wasn’t exactly the best move Stan had ever made.
But he’d made up his mind. Bebe had told him outright to just stop being an idiot and skip all the drama, and for the first time in a long time, Stan realised that was actually an option. He didn’t have to play games anymore. He could make this easy, for him and for Kyle. And in the end, that’s what sealed it for him. He never, ever wanted to put Kyle through the kind of uncertainty Wendy had used on him. If he was doing this, he was doing it right.
He veered off path just before reaching Kyle and Kenny, holding a finger up to Kyle and mouthing ‘one second’ before he was tapping Wendy on the shoulder instead.
“Wendy, we need to talk.” he told her, because really it was only fair that he got to be the one saying those words at least once in a while.
Wendy turned to face him with an unhappy look on her face. She was pissed about something, but Stan wasn’t about to let that stop him from saying what he had to say.
“It’s about the List,” he started.
“Oh for the love of... Isn’t there anyone around here that doesn’t care about that god damn List?!” she groaned, teeth grinding loud enough for Stan to hear as she threw her hands in the air. “Look, let me make this easy for you, Stan. No, I am not kissing you again. Not now, not ever. If you have to ask why, then honestly you’re not as smart as I thought you were.” Stan’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline. That... was not the reaction he’d been expecting. Wendy took one look at him and it was obvious she wanted to take back the tone she’d used if nothing else. She half rolled her eyes and shrugged, “Try asking Kyle.” she offered, flipping her cell phone open as she stalked away.
“Ouch.” Stan heard Kenny whisper from behind him. A tentative hand dropped onto his shoulder and Kyle appeared by his side.
“You okay, dude?”
Stan turned around to face him, but instead of the mix of shock and hurt Kyle had expected to see on his face, Stan was grinning.
A laugh bubbled up in Stan’s throat but before it could escape he was moving in, fitting his lips over Kyle’s and kissing him, sloppy and awkward in front of everyone with that mad grin still plastered across his face.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” Kyle gasped as they parted.
“So apparently I’m an idiot.” Stan shrugged, hoping that was enough of an explanation. Everybody was watching them but he honestly couldn’t care less. Wendy had basically given them her blessing right there in front of everyone, and no one could ever call him on breaking up with her and pouncing on Kyle with his very next breath, because they’d all seen it—Wendy had done the breaking this time, just like all the other times that had come before. The only difference was that this time Stan wasn’t looking to sit around and play the broken hearted ex. He had far bigger plans for how he’d be spending his time. Luckily, Kyle seemed to be on the same page.
“Well, yeah.” Kyle smirked, “I didn’t spend all that time tutoring your ass ‘cause you’re the next Stephen Hawking.”
Stan had a comeback for that but any words he might have said were lost under the deafening roar of Kenny, who let out an insanely loud shriek before tackling the both of them.
“You assholes! You piece of shit fucking assholes! When were you gonna tell me, huh?” he gripped Kyle in a headlock and planted a great big smacking kiss on the top of his head. “I told you!” he pointed a finger at Stan. “You were all oh no dude, I can’t go out there, what if I see Kyle macking on Bebe.”
Kyle managed to squeeze his way out of Kenny’s grip. “You said that?”
“No. I... No.” Stan tried to sound convincing. “It wasn’t like that, I was just giving you space.”
“Yeah, so you could make out with your girlfriend. I mean, come on Stan. I love you, but dude. How obvious does a guy have to be?”
“Hey! I was never obvious.” Kyle argued.
Kenny just looked at him. “Kyle. Yes you were.”
“You really kind of were, Kyle.” Red called out from behind them.
“Dude. I hate my life.” Kyle cringed.
“Please. Look at you. You’re happier than a pimp in pussy right now.”
“And you’re an asshole.” Stan shot back, but even he couldn’t deny that there was an obvious grin in his voice.
“Whatever. Just be sure to invite me to the wedding all right? I’ve got some thoughts about the bachelor party that’ll make Tom Hanks and his donkey show look about as badass as one of my Nanna’s tea parties. I’m talking quintuplets, Crisco, ping pong balls and maybe some kind of studded whips and gags.”
Stan grimaced. “Now there’s a disturbing visual.”
“I think you mean an arousing visual.” Kenny’s eyes widened as he nodded, going for convincing but really just coming off as more than a little disturbed.
“No really, dude. Any time you want to stop talking...”
“Why? Am I turning you on?”
Kyle shook his head, eyes narrowing. “Keep going, Kenny and I can guarantee studded gags will make an appearance in your very near future.”
“Are you trying to seduce me right now, Broflovski?” Kenny winked. “Because it’s working.”
“Okay, enough. Get the hell out of here, Kenny.” Stan pushed him away.
“Sorry bro, didn’t mean to step up on your kool aid.” Kenny pushed him back. “Seriously though. Wedding plans. Let me know when you want to talk about this some more. I have ideas.” He winked again and turned away, practically bouncing down the hall.
They were making their way through the parking lot after class, Kyle filling the silence with some rant about being in a serious mood for some Mexican food, when Stan finally found the courage to ask Kyle to come with him to the back-to-school fair.
“I know it’s stupid and douchey and everything, but I just thought it could be cool if we went. You know. Together.”
“I thought we were doing that already? You asked Craig the other day if he was gonna make those brownies for the bake sale.”
Stan rolled his eyes. “No, asshole, I meant we could go together.”
Kyle stared at him blankly for a good thirty seconds before he got it. “Ohhhhh. You mean together.”
Stan wasn’t sure what it said about him and Kyle that he’d been in a sort of semi relationship with the guy for less than two hours and he already wanted to throttle him.
“Stan Marsh, are you asking me on a date?” Kyle grinned up at him.
“That depends, are you saying yes?”
Kyle stopped walking and reached out to grab Stan’s hand, pulling him forward into a kiss. Stan could feel Kyle’s smile pressing against his lips and couldn’t help but mirror it. He loved that this was something they could do now. They were broken apart by a heavy knock against Kyle’s shoulder as Cartman pushed past them. Stan looked up to shout something back at him but Cartman was moving with a kind of purpose that had Stan doubting he’d even seen them in the first place. Wendy was coming up the path behind them, book-bag heavy on her back and her eyes locked on her phone, and Cartman muscled his away across the lot until he was standing right in front of her. She didn’t even notice him standing there until she was half a second away from bumping into him, looking up at him with her eyes widening in surprise as he took her face in his hands and placed what had to be the gentlest of kisses right on her lips. Cartman pulled back after a second or two and Wendy didn’t hesitate, hand flying out to slap him across the face. The two of them stood staring at each other, and Stan could easily make out the angry look in Wendy’s eyes, the defiant set of Cartman’s shoulders. Cartman barely hesitated before threading a hand into Wendy’s hair and kissing her again, deeper this time. Wendy had always been stronger than she looked and when she pushed him away the second time he actually fell back a few steps. In a rush of movement, Wendy closed the distance between them and dragged Cartman back down, crashing her mouth against his, her hands gripped tightly in the collar of his shirt. Cartman’s arms went around her waist and he was pulling her closer, pressing her up against his chest and kissing her back like it was a fight he was determined to win.
Stan and Kyle stood watching, identical stunned looks painted on their faces. It was like the worst kind of car wreck; they couldn’t look away.
Eventually Cartman pulled back, and Wendy surprised everybody (but no one more than herself) by letting a needy whine slip past her lips at the loss. Cartman just let his hands drop from around her waist, stepping back and nodding before he turned and walked away. Wendy stared after him, a dazed look on her face that kind of made Stan want to gag. He took the high road instead and called out to her.
“Uh, Wendy? You need a ride home?”
Wendy showed no sign of having heard him. “Goddamnit.” she cursed, and then again, “Goddamnit!” she stomped her foot in what had to be the most petulant gesture Stan had ever seen from her, and stormed off back down the path in the direction Cartman had just disappeared.
“Should we..?” Kyle asked, eyes following after Wendy.
“God no.” Stan shook his head vehemently. “That’s one implosion that’s been brewing for years. Let them sort it out.”
Stan scoffed, already walking over to his car. “Dude, I didn’t want to get between them when she was my girlfriend. What makes you think I’d want to do it now?”
Kyle laughed, shaking his head. “You’re such a pussy, Stan.”
“Shouldn’t you be grateful or something that I’m not chasing after her?”
“That depends. How grateful are we talking here?” and suddenly Kyle was walking towards him with intent, a look in his eye that Stan had never seen before. Stan felt his knees hit the side of the car before he even realised he’d been backing up.
“I, um--” he started, leaning forward automatically as Kyle pressed into his space, tilting his head towards Stan’s until they were sharing each other’s breath, or they would have been if Stan hadn’t been holding his. Kyle placed a hand on either side of Stan’s shoulders, drumming his fingers against the roof of the car. Finally Stan couldn’t take it anymore and he pushed forward, trying to catch Kyle’s lips with his own.
Kyle pulled back with a grin, huffing a laugh and moving around to his side of the car before Stan could properly process what was happening. He had the door open and was already climbing into his seat before Stan had managed to properly reorient himself. He peered at Kyle through the driver’s side window and Kyle shot him a grin. “Come on, dude, I’m hungry. Let’s get going.”
“All day breakfast burritos at Shakey’s tonight, remember?”
Stan blinked. “But.”
“Get in the car, man.” Kyle laughed. “I promise I’ll be extra grateful later on if you hurry up and get us some damn food.”
“You know, I never knew this about you, Kyle, but you’re kind of a cocktease.”
“It’s only teasing if it gets you hot.” Kyle smirked and tapped his knuckles on the dash of the car. “Shakey’s, man! Let’s go!”
By the time the day of the fair came around, Stan had put together a plan.
Kyle had said it a million times—Stan was completely hopeless when it came to doing ‘boyfriend’ stuff. He’d never really remembered Wendy’s birthday without a dozen reminders from her or Bebe beforehand, he sucked at opening doors and pulling out chairs and that kind of stuff, and he really was the worst at doing any kind of extra little special things to let his date know how much he really did give a shit about them. Basically, he was surprised Wendy came back to him as often as she did, given the number of times he’d screwed things up between them.
He wasn’t letting that happen with Kyle, though. There was no way.
The first part of his plan involved dressing nice and offering to pick Kyle up at his door. That wasn’t too hard since he always drove Kyle everywhere anyway, but it’s the thought that counts. Unfortunately, that’s about as far as he got with his grand scheme, because Kyle met him at the door, barefoot in a t-shirt and jeans, hair still damp from the shower, and immediately dragged him inside. “My parents aren’t home and Ike’s already at the fair. Come upstairs with me.”
There’s a saying about ‘best laid plans’, but Stan was too busy sucking Kyle’s tongue into his mouth to ever wonder how the rest of it went.
Climbing the stairs was slow going, especially with Kyle pausing every few steps to push Stan against the wall and pepper his neck and jaw with kisses, making Stan reach out for him and haul him in close where he could lick into his mouth, deep and filthy-wet until he had Kyle moaning against him.
They finally made it to Kyle’s room, and Kyle kicked the door closed behind them while Stan manoeuvred them over to the bed. Kyle’s bed...
It’s not like Stan had never seen Kyle’s bed before—he spent five nights out of the week sprawled across it doing homework and watching crappy movies with Kyle after all. He’d even slept in it a bunch of times, Kyle curled up next to him, breathing slow and even. Granted, the last time that happened they were both twelve years old, but that was beside the point.
The point was that all of a sudden Stan couldn’t help but see being in Kyle’s bed as treading some kind of new ground, like it was a line they were crossing—the final step that would mean this thing they were doing, whatever it was, was real. After this, hanging out in Kyle’s room was never just going to be hanging out.
Kyle moved past him, pulling his t-shirt over his head and dropping down onto the bed. He leaned back on his elbows and looked up at Stan, the challenge clear in his eyes.
And just like that, Stan no longer gave a shit about boundaries being crossed.
He knelt down on the bed next to Kyle, following him willingly when Kyle tugged on his elbow to get him to lie down. Kyle leaned over him and started kissing him again, tentative at first, as if the new position was messing with his head the same way it was messing with Stan’s, but it wasn’t long before he found his rhythm, tongue working hard against Stan’s as Stan ran his hands over Kyle’s ribs, up his back and into his hair. Stan pulled him closer, nipping at his bottom lip the way Kyle had done to him once before, and he could feel the shiver that ran down Kyle’s spine. Kyle sighed into Stan’s mouth and worked a knee between his thighs, nudging his legs apart until he could slot himself more fully over Stan’s side.
“Stan.” Kyle breathed against his lips, just that, just his name, like he was reminding himself that Stan was really here, that this was really happening. He ran his hands up underneath Stan’s shirt to scratch over his stomach and chest, one blunt fingernail catching a nipple and making it pebble under his touch. Stan jerked up against Kyle’s weight and tried to bite back a moan.
“S’ok,” Kyle huffed against his cheek, “no one’s home. We don’t have to be quiet.” And that—the way Kyle said it all breathless and filled with want—that was more than enough to make Stan lose his mind. He surged up, kissing Kyle hard, suddenly desperate for something more than the light, teasing touches Kyle kept brushing against his skin. Kyle must have gotten the hint, because his hands were at the hem of Stan’s shirt, lifting it up and peeling it over his head, tossing it over the side of the bed and coming back to slot his mouth over the same nipple he’d been teasing before. He circled it with his tongue and just a hint of teeth until Stan was arching up against him, breath coming ragged and tearing out of him in a long, desperate groan.
“Kyle, fuck.” Stan panted, mesmerized with watching the fire-red tangle of Kyle’s curls bobbing over his chest as Kyle moved across to take Stan’s other nipple between his teeth. He dropped a hand on top of Kyle’s head and threaded his fingers into his hair, tightening his grip just enough to get Kyle’s attention then dragging him up until he could bite and kiss at his lips. Since the very first time they’d kissed, Stan had learned quickly that treating Kyle with any kind of gentleness or caution would earn him a glare and a couple of choice bite marks that he’d have to hide under a popped collar when they were at school. Kyle wasn’t Wendy, not even close, and Kyle was definitely taking it upon himself to remind Stan of that fact as often as he felt was warranted. Not that Stan opposed that kind of reminder.
Stan couldn’t quite get used to the feel of Kyle’s bare chest rubbing up against him, but it wasn’t like he had too long to think about it before Kyle shifted his weight to lie more fully over Stan, dropping back down against him and then oh jesus, Kyle’s thigh was pushing up against Stan’s crotch and every single thought that had been swimming around in Stan’s head flew out the window.
Stan was working on reflex, grabbing at Kyle wherever he could, digging his fingers into the curve of Kyle’s ass and pulling him closer. One of his hands started slipping beneath the waistband of Kyle’s jeans without Stan even remembering having made that decision, but Kyle seemed fine with it. More than. He groaned into Stan’s mouth, dropping his head against Stan’s shoulder, panting warm and damp into his skin as he ground down against him. Stan hiked his leg a little higher, hooking a knee over Kyle’s and using the extra leverage to thrust up against him. Kyle’s skin felt feverish wherever Stan touched him, his right hand slipping further beneath the waist of Kyle’s jeans, fingers digging bruises into the muscle of Kyle’s ass.
“Stan. Stan, I want--” Kyle murmured against his throat, lips tickling just enough to drive him crazy. Kyle’s hand slipped down Stan’s chest, along his stomach, coming to rest over the tent in his jeans. “Can I?”
Stan blinked up at him, trying to process his words, except Kyle’s hand was pressing down on his dick through his pants, and any chance Stan had at rational thought was long gone. Stan let out a strangled sounding breath, and Kyle must have taken that as a yes, because he was tugging open Stan’s fly and slipping a hand through the slit in his boxers. Kyle’s hand wrapped around Stan’s cock, giving it an experimental stroke, and there was just enough uncertainty there for Stan to remember that this was Kyle’s first time, not just with a guy, but ever. His own fingers found their way around Kyle’s wrist, guiding his hand into a steady rhythm.
“That’s good. That’s perfect.” he gasped.
Kyle nodded against his neck, finally raising his head to look down at where their hands were joined. Stan couldn’t help the whine that escaped his throat when Kyle pulled his hand back.
“Not stopping.” Kyle assured him. “I just want to see.”
He took hold of Stan’s pants and boxers and tugged, jerking them both down around Stan’s thighs, then his hand was back, firmer this time, more confidant now Kyle could see what he was doing. Stan lay back against the mattress, eyes darting between Kyle’s hand on his cock and the look of concentration on Kyle’s face. It was good, it was fucking amazing, Kyle’s hand working him, his eyes so completely focussed on Stan’s reactions. Stan rocked his hips, pushing up against Kyle and rubbing his thigh against where Kyle’s dick lay hot and hard trapped in his jeans. Kyle moaned, humping back against the friction once, twice, then pulling away, kneeling up and out of Stan’s reach.
“I have something, just wait a minute.” Kyle’s hand left Stan’s cock for the second time and Stan had to fight not to just launch up and tackle Kyle back down to the mattress. He reached over to the bedside table drawer, coming back with a tiny bottle in his hand. Stan stopped him before he could squeeze any of the lube onto his fingers, though, reaching out to take Kyle by the hips and pulling himself up a bit.
“Wait, we should— Let me do this first.” he whispered, voice hoarse like he’d been screaming. His hands made quick work of Kyle’s belt and jeans, tugging them down along with his underwear until Kyle’s cock sprang free, bouncing wetly against Stan’s wrist and leaving a trail of precum shining on his skin. Stan ran his fingers over the hard line of Kyle’s prick, weirdly interested by how similar it felt to his own. He kept that in mind as he curled his hand around the shaft, giving Kyle a few quick strokes and thumbing the pearly drops beading at the tip. Kyle gave a full body shudder and melted against Stan, his head dropping to Stan’s shoulder again and Stan was quickly learning that maybe Kyle might have a thing for hiding there where Stan couldn’t look at him and where he could bury any embarrassing sounds he might make along with his teeth in the skin of Stan’s neck.
Stan turned his head just enough to catch Kyle’s mouth in a kiss, using the distraction to lock his arms around Kyle’s waist and topple them both back down to the bed. Kyle didn’t bother with slow this time, shoving his tongue in deep and licking at Stan’s teeth, biting his bottom lip and sucking it back into his own mouth. Stan groaned and thrust up, shocking moans out of both of them when his bare cock lined up against Kyle’s. Kyle kneed his way in between Stan’s thighs and lined them up just right, twisting his hips and rocking down against Stan in tight little swivels that were driving them both toward the edge. He pulled back just long enough to pour some of the lube out over his palm, slicking up Stan’s dick and then his own before laying back down, gripping a hand high up on Stan’s thigh. Stan took the encouragement for what it was and hooked his legs around Kyle, thrusting up against him, their cocks sliding together hot-smooth-perfect, slick with lube and precum. He could already feel his balls drawing up tight with every pass against Kyle’s own, the rough catch of skin and hair making him dizzy with want. Stan sought Kyle’s lips again, leading him in a kiss that was more sharing each other’s air than anything else, but Stan was grateful for the contact.
Kyle stopped kissing Stan long enough to pull back and look at his face, taking in the hooded eyes and his slack, breathless lips. Clearly he liked what he saw, because his thrusts sped up, hips pumping against Stan in steady shoves. One of Kyle’s arms wormed up to rest beside Stan’s head, bracing Kyle’s weight so that he could work his free hand between them, circling both of their cocks in the tight ring of his fingers and giving Stan something to fuck into.
Stan wrapped one arm over Kyle’s shoulders, clawing at his back, while the other slid between them, his fingers tangling with Kyle’s where they were wrapped around them both. The empty house suddenly felt too silent for the rough panting and dirty, slick-wet sounds of them fucking against one another. Stan tried to bite his lip and muffle the whine that wanted to break out of his throat, but Kyle wasn’t having it. He leaned down and kissed Stan wherever he could reach, flicking his tongue over Stan’s already abused nipple and forcing the breathless whimper out of his chest.
“God. Kyle.” Stan arched against him, hips leaving the bed in an effort to get impossibly closer to Kyle. He could feel how ready they both were, their joined hands were dripping wet with the proof of it. Kyle keened like he’d been punched, his hips jackhammering against Stan’s in a desperate rhythm, and Stan just fell apart beneath him, chanting out a breathy stream of oh oh oh’s as his legs locked tight around Kyle’s waist. Kyle felt it the minute Stan tripped over that edge, his dick twitching hard in Kyle’s grip as he shot, warm wet spurts of come coating Stan’s chest and Kyle’s hand, slicking his grip even more as he twisted his palm tighter and started stroking himself hard and fast. It didn’t take long before he was coming, Stan’s hand slipping down from his back to his ass and pulling him close with an almost too-tight grip.
“Fuuuuck.” is about all Kyle could manage. His arm finally refused to hold him up any more and he was forced to drop down on top of Stan.
“Ugh, dude, get off. You’re heavier than you look.”
“Fuck you too, asshole.” Kyle groaned, swatting Stan on the chest then rolling sideways off of him and giving him some breathing room.
Stan turned his head just enough to keep his eyes locked on Kyle, but other than that stayed where he was, chest heaving and every muscle in his body singing out for rest. “Goddamn, Kyle.” he grinned, suddenly giddy with the thought of everything they’d done.
Kyle couldn’t help but match his smile. “So. It was all right then?”
Stan shifted onto his side and reached out to cup a hand over Kyle’s jaw. “It was amazing. You’re amazing.”
Kyle shrugged him off, if he wasn’t already flushed with exertion he’d probably be blushing, but he didn’t protest when Stan came back at him with a kiss. It was just a soft press of lips, more sweetness than heat, but it was still enough to take Kyle’s breath away.
“So are you taking me on this date of yours or what, Stan?” he teased once Stan had pulled back.
“Are you serious? You still want to go?”
“You think I’m the kind of boy who puts out without the promise of over-salted popcorn and soggy nachos in his future? Way to make a guy feel cheap.”
“I’ll buy you nachos. I’ll buy you the whole damn food stand.” Stan moved in to kiss him again but Kyle pushed him off with a hand in his face.
“You talk a big game, pal.” he snorted.
“You wanna see me put my money where my mouth is?”
Kyle finally gave in, sliding in close until his lips were pressed against Stan’s. “I can think of a few other places for your mouth.”
Stan smiled so wide it made his cheeks ache and leaned in to kiss the smirk right off of Kyle’s face.
They pulled into the school parking lot, taking in the banners and brightly coloured streamers littering the grounds all around them.
“You’ve got to hand it to the girls, they really do go all out.” Kyle noted and Stan couldn’t really argue. He was so busy taking in the glitter and sawdust craziness of it all that he hadn’t even noticed Kyle climbing out of the car. So much for playing the perfect boyfriend. Not only had he completely debauched his date before the night had even started, he couldn’t even manage to get the car door for him. Stan really did suck at this.
“You coming?” Kyle called from outside the car. Stan nodded at him through the windshield and unbuckled his seatbelt. Whatever his shortcomings, Kyle still seemed to want him around, and that was really all Stan needed.
They made their way up the path towards the common area, which the girls had been busy decorating since yesterday morning. The usually boring green square was alive with balloons and streamers, paint, polish and some kind of peppy music thumping over the school speakers. Back-to-school fairs weren’t usually quite this big a deal—most years they were lucky if they got a petting zoo that was really just a collection of some of Mephisto’s latest rejects or some dart boards loaned out to them via Jimbo and Ned. Stan hoped the school had known what they were getting themselves in for when they’d asked Bebe, Red and the girls to organize this year’s activities.
Kyle and Stan had to pause a minute on the edge of the grounds to take in all the sights—the rest of their class had been hard at work setting up face painting booths and cake stalls—from the looks of it, Craig really had baked a bunch of brownies for the occasion—and there, right in the centre of everything, was the kissing booth. It was impossible to see from here who the lucky few the girls had chosen were, so by unspoken agreement, Stan and Kyle headed there first.
One side of the booth was set up just for the girls, Bebe, Patty and Rebecca sitting pretty on their bar stools. Bebe noticed them heading over and gave Stan the same wicked grin she’d been flashing him ever since she caught him following Kyle out of that classroom with a bruise on his neck about the size and shape of Kyle’s mouth. He’d gotten used to it now, though, and even managed to return a smile of his own. The exchange wasn’t lost on Kyle, who snorted a laugh and twined his fingers with Stan’s, leading him around to the other side of the booth.
“Hey fellas.” Clyde greeted them, smug smile firmly locked in place. Stan had to fight the impulse to roll his eyes. Of course they’d chosen Clyde.
“Oh, hey guys. What’s up?” Token appeared beside him, and Stan chose to focus on him instead of Clyde’s way-too-satisfied smirk.
“Seriously, Token? You actually agreed to this?”
“Agreed isn’t exactly the word.” Token shrugged, shaking his head. “Let’s just say, Rebecca can be crazy persuasive when she wants to be.”
“I bet.” Stan laughed. He’d had more than enough run ins with the girls when they were on a mission to know that Token wouldn’t have stood a chance of backing down from his post, even if he’d wanted to.
“So who’s missing?” Kyle piped up. “I thought there were supposed to be three of you?”
“There is.” Clyde nodded. “Kenny’s on break.”
“Kenny?” both Stan and Kyle said in unison.
“Apparently over half the class rated him a ten.”
“Half the class? I thought it was one kiss per guy?” Stan asked, confused.
“I don’t know, man. I still think he’s here by default. All he’s done all day is take breaks.” Clyde grumbled.
“Like you wouldn’t be doing the same damn thing if every girl here paying to kiss you asked you to meet her behind the bike sheds straight after.” Token raised an eyebrow at Clyde.
“Whatever. I still think it’s a mistake.”
“Jealous you’re not in on the action, Clyde?” Stan’s smile turned into a full blown grin when Clyde’s only answer was a scowl.
Token ignored them. “So what are you guys up to?”
“Kyle wants nachos, so I guess we’re getting nachos.” Stan shrugged.
“Whipped, Marsh. So whipped.” Clyde crossed his arms and puffed out his chest.
“Jealous, Donovan. So jealous.” Stan shook his head, his voice dripping with fake pity which had Clyde scowling even harder.
Kyle followed Token’s lead and ignored them both, pulling Stan away from the booth by the hand until he spotted a cotton candy stall. “This’ll do.” he said.
“Let me.” Stan tried to pay the vendor for him but Kyle gave him a look and nudged him out of the way with his hip.
“No, dude, I got it.” he handed the guy his money, buying one for Stan and one for himself. They were distracted from taking their first bites by a loud whooping noise coming from across the green. Stan looked up to see Cartman and Wendy standing together at a gun range, taking pot shots at tiny metal ducks. Cartman and Wendy had kind of been the school’s worst kept secret after their very public kiss in the parking lot. If you asked either of them what was going on between them, they’d deny everything, and yet things like this kept happening. Cartman was lining up the sights of his rifle, pretending not to be impressed while Wendy fired each of her shots dead centre through the eyes of the little ducks lined up in front of her. The smile she shot him when she was done made it obvious that damn right she knew he was impressed, and so he should be.
Stan looked over at Kyle for his opinion on whether or not they should head over there and say hi, and Kyle half-shrugged in return, so they made their way across the green, following the sound of Cartman’s ecstatic yee-haw’s whenever he knocked down a target. Which was every time he fired a shot. Cartman was just as scary good with a rifle as Wendy. Stan didn’t find that at all surprising.
“Hey.” Stan called out when they got close. Wendy spun around at the sound of his voice, a look of complete innocence plastered over her face where the smile had been only seconds before. She took half a step away from Cartman, just to be sure she wasn’t accidentally brushing against him in any way.
“Oh hey guys. How’s it going?” she called back.
“Oh my god, Kyle, Kyle, you have to try this.” Cartman turned around after reloading his gun, ready to say more, but he seemed to lose his words when he noticed Kyle’s hand was clasped tightly in Stan’s. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“Riding a bicycle.” Kyle shot back. “I don’t know, Cartman, what the hell does it look like I’m doing?”
“It looks like you and Stan are holding hands like a couple of pansy-ass queers.”
Stan would have thought that after seventeen years, he would’ve lost all ability to get pissed at Eric Cartman. Apparently not.
“You got the ‘couple’ part right, fatass. Say the rest of it again and you’ll find out just how bad a couple of queers can kick your homophobic ass.”
“Homophobic—what the hell are you talking about, Stan? I just meant that you two don’t usually go around doing faggy shit like holding hands or, I don’t know, talking about feelings or listening to Gaga.”
“Yeah, well, we’re together now, asswipe, so you can get used to it. The handholding, not the other stuff. You’re the only one here who listens to Gaga.” Kyle reminded him.
“Wait. So you’re saying... Wait.” Cartman paused, closing his eyes and taking a deep, steadying breath. “Kyle, are you telling me that all those times you two couldn’t come out because you had your ‘study sessions’, you were honest to god using that time to study?”
Kyle honestly couldn’t tell where Cartman was going with this. “No shit, dude. What else did you think we’d be doing?”
Cartman blinked at them for a good ten seconds then burst into the most obnoxious peal of laughter Stan had ever heard from the guy, and given their history that was seriously saying something.
“I. Can’t. Believe. You. Guys.” he spluttered, gasping for breath in between fits of laughter. “You. Are. The. Worst. Couple. Of. Pussies. I’ve. Ever. Seeeeeen.” he cried.
“What the hell, Cartman?” Kyle demanded.
“No, seriously. I’m seriously you guys. Are you honestly telling me... Of course you are, look at you. Jesus Christ. All this time. All this time, Kyle! I can’t even look at you right now.” Cartman wiped at his eyes, gathering the tears that were threatening to spill down his cheeks. “Ohhh. That is priceless.”
Stan turned to Wendy, feeling helpless.
“He thought you guys were already together. Like, months ago.” she sighed.
“What?” Kyle’s gaze darted back to Cartman. “No!”
“In his defence,” Wendy said, and that was a sentence Stan had never thought he’d hear coming from he mouth. “You guys have been kind of obvious about each other for a while now.”
“We were never obvious!” Kyle fumed.
“You really kind of were, Kyle.” Red called out from behind them.
“DUDE.” Kyle buried his face in his hand. “I hate. My fucking. Life.”
“You’re not alone, Kyle.” Cartman reached out to pat him on the shoulder. “We all hate your life.”
“Get off me, asshole.” Kyle shrugged out of his grip.
“Come on.” Stan grabbed him by the wrist before Kyle’s palm found itself permanently fixed to his face. “I think we’ve probably been here long enough to fulfil our student obligation. Let’s go find a place that actually serves nachos.”
“Ooh. Nachos. I’m definitely up for that.” Cartman rubbed his hands together, face lighting up while Wendy just rolled her eyes.
“Not you, Cartman.” Stan stalled him before he could get too fixated on the idea.
“What? Why the hell not?” Cartman’s face fell.
“It’s just me and Kyle this time. Call it a ‘study session’.” Stan smirked, and couldn’t have felt more pleased about the puff of laughter that earned him from Kyle.
Stan wasn’t sure how long he had been waiting beside the car, holding the door open before he realised Kyle was just standing there looking at him.
“What? What’s wrong?” he asked when a simple nod of query wasn’t enough to get Kyle to move.
“I feel like I should be asking you that.” When Stan didn’t reply, Kyle nodded to where his hand was resting on the doorhandle. “You opened the car door for me.”
“Okay. Yeah, I did. So what?”
“So, now you’re holding my door open for me. What’s the bet that if this car had pull out seats you’d have pulled out my chair for me too?”
When Stan didn’t answer, Kyle let out the sigh he’d clearly been holding in, gaze falling to the ground around his shoes.
“Stan,” he began without looking up.
“No.” Stan cut him off. “No, god damn it. You don’t get to say my name like that, Kyle. I have been trying, okay. I know I’m completely useless at all this boyfriend stuff, you’ve told me enough times, but come on, I’m seriously trying here. I wore a clean damn shirt for you! I picked you up from your house, and I would’ve bought your freakin candy for you if you hadn’t told me not to! And yeah, I opened your door for you, but I thought that was supposed to be a good thing! I just... I have no clue what the hell I’m supposed to be doing around you, because this is all new to me, man. You know what I was like with Wendy-- She always gave me hints when I was supposed to do something, but you...” Stan waved his hand up and down at Kyle. “I’m getting nothing from you, dude! So I’m sorry, okay? I’m sorry if there was something I missed, or I did something that I shouldn’t have, but please, man... please. You can’t just... You can’t say my name like that, Kyle. You can’t do that to me.”
“Stan.” Kyle said again, more forceful this time, making sure to meet Stan’s gaze with his own. “Stop freaking out.”
Stan let out a long breath and dropped into the passenger seat of his car. Kyle came around the other side and climbed into the driver’s seat.
“I wasn’t saying your name like anything, dude. I’m not breaking up with you.”
“Of course I’m not. Who breaks up with someone for holding a door out for them?”
“Wendy’s dumped me for less.”
“Okay, this is clearly our first problem. You need to realise something, Stan. This may come as a shock to you, but I’m not Wendy.”
“Dude, I know that.”
“Yeah, most of the time you do. But what happened just now? That minor meltdown over how I said your name? I didn’t deserve that, Stan. That’s a problem you’re carrying around from someone else and I don’t want you going around transferring it to me. I don’t want to see you jump every time I look at you the wrong way ‘cause you think it means you’re about to get dumped. If I ever feel the need to break up with you, I promise you’ll be the first to know about it.”
Stan quirked an eyebrow. “Psssh. Yeah, thanks.”
Kyle turned in his seat so he was facing Stan head on. “I mean it, man. No more second guessing my word choice or the particular tone I’m using. I’m not your ex.”
“I do know that, Kyle.”
Kyle nodded. “Okay good. That brings us to our second problem.”
“The door shit?” Stan looked up, meeting Kyle’s eyes properly without shying away.
“The door shit.”
“You don’t want me holding out doors for you.”
“Not unless you see me with a stack of books piled over my head or something, no. Look, Stan. I get that you’re used to a pretty specific kind of relationship, and that Wendy set a lot of parameters for you, so I’m gonna do you a favour and outline some stuff for you just this once.”
Stan’s forehead wrinkled and his eyes narrowed in confusion. “Okay...”
“There are a few things I’m going to want from you if we’re gonna be together from now on.”
Stan twitched like he maybe wanted to reach for a notepad by Kyle was already talking.
“I want you to come over to my place after school and watch movies with me in my room. I want you to pick me up every morning in this shitbox of a car so we can start every day listening to “Heat of the Moment” because there is no such thing as too much Asia. I want you to smuggle me beers from your dad’s fridge when I have bad days, and I want you to let me do the same for you. I want you to treat me exactly the same way you’ve always treated me since we were three years old, Stan. Only I want there to be a lot more fooling around. And at some point I want there to be sex. Nod once if you’re cool with this.” Kyle added after seeing the look on Stan’s face.
“Good.” Kyle nodded back. “That’s settled then.”
“Look, Stan, I know it’s probably hard to believe, what with you only being a seven and all, but I like you. I’ve liked you for a really, really long time. That’s not gonna change. So I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t try to.”
“Okay. I won’t.”
Kyle nodded again, leaning across the seat to wrap his hand around Stan’s neck and draw him forward into a kiss.
Stan pulled back at the last second before their lips could meet. “I can’t believe I got rated a seven because of you. I am at least a nine. At least.”
“Dude, what was I supposed to do? Tell Bebe you’re a ten so she could put you in that kissing booth? No way.”
Stan’s grin was immediate and bright. “You lied for me. You lied for me because you’re jealous!” he crowed.
“I wasn’t jealous. I was protecting you. Have I mentioned how many germs get passed around in those--”
“Yeah yeah.” Stan cut him off. “Admit it. You just wanted to keep me all to yourself.”
Kyle bit his lip, leaning in again. “You got a problem with that?”
“You really are kind of obvious, you know that?”
“It may have been mentioned.” Kyle tried to hide his grin against Stan’s lips.
“You think I’m a ten.” Stan crooned softly in a teasing singsong voice when Kyle finally pulled back.
“I don’t know, man. A nine and a half, maybe.”
“Don’t try and deny it. I heard you say it.”
“Nine and three quarters then. There’s definite room for improvement.” Kyle smiled, brushing his lips in a soft, barely-there kiss against Stan’s. “Lucky for you I’m available to help you practice.”