The Curveball Part 7 | Bob Floyd x OC
Summary: Bob is experiencing things he never thought he would. Safe words and submission and love. He was happier than he had ever been, but that was before things with Molly took an unexpected nosedive. Without any warning, he felt everything he wanted start to slip away.
Warnings: Fluff, angst, swears, pregnancy test, 18+
Length: 4500 words
Pairing: Robert "Bob" Floyd x Female OC (this story accompanies Batting Practice!)
Check my masterlist for more! The Curveball masterlist
Thank you to @mak-32 and @teacupsandtopgun for the beautiful banners!
When the Tiny Eagles tee ball season ended with them going undefeated, Bob really liked how Molly ran down onto the field at the end of the game. She was smiling and laughing as he held her in his arms, and Bob blushed as she slid her hand up inside his jersey.
"I'm so proud of you, Coach Cute Glasses," she whispered against his lips, and for the briefest moment, he was completely lost in her. The way she smelled, how good her body felt. Then he heard his sister and Piper screaming his name, and he pulled away from Molly a bit, but held onto her hand as he scooped Piper up with his free arm.
Rebecca kissed his cheek with tears in her eyes. "Thank you for agreeing to coach the team," she whispered. He knew it meant a lot to his family that he did this primarily for Piper, but Bob had loved every minute of the season and was already thinking about coaching again.
He felt Molly pull her hand free, and he scrambled to reach for her. But she just simply said, "It's okay," with a soft smile, leaving Bob with his sister and niece for a few minutes. She went over with Bradley, Everett and her sister instead.
And that was just the thing about Molly. She did everything right. She was sweet and courteous, and she never made Bob feel rushed when he needed a moment to think. She was also absolutely filthy in the bedroom, which he never knew was exactly what he wanted. But the rest of the time when they were alone, she was endearing and funny and loving and sometimes a mess. She could barely cook anything, and she misplaced her stuff all the time. But Bob couldn't wait until she moved in with him.
"You ready to go?" he asked her, taking her hand once more. She led him up to the parking lot with a smirk on her face. "What's that look for, Mo?"
"Well, Bobby, you know how we talked about using a safe word?"
He swallowed hard and started sweating as he opened his truck door for her. "Yes."
She crawled across the seat, and he climbed in after her. "And you know how you told me that you really liked being the dominant one in bed?"
"Yes," he whispered, turning the key in the ignition. It was always surprising to him how blatantly she could talk about sex, but he was starting to love it. Love the way she got him all wound up, even in public.
As he pulled out of the parking lot, Molly's breathing was getting a little heavier as she moaned and whispered, "I want you to show me who's in charge."
Bob was hard as a rock already, and when he accelerated to five miles per hour over the speed limit, he thought Molly might orgasm right there. "Oh god, Bobby! You really love fucking me! You're speeding!"
She was actually moaning his name as he ran a yellow light. "I do, Mo. I love everything about you," he promised, screeching to a halt in his parking spot. She was out the passenger side door and sprinting up to his building before he had the key out of the ignition. And as soon as they were inside his condo, Molly unzipped his baseball pants and started stroking him.
"You know the safe word?" she whispered, kissing his neck and licking his chin.
"Sushi," he replied, head tipped back in pleasure.
When she stroked her hand down to his balls, she said, "Go as hard as you want, Bobby." Then she was strolling away from him, pulling her dress over her head, leaving herself bare. He followed her into the bedroom that they would soon be sharing for real, yanking his jersey and undershirt off on the way. And then he was standing there, just looking at her while his cock hung out of the front of his baseball pants. She spun in a slow circle, gesturing to herself as she said, "Anything you want."
He took a few deep breaths, studying her tattoos and basking in the way Molly toyed with her nipple piercings, giving him time to respond. "Get on the bed, Honey. On your back."
She sighed at him with an open, loving expression, and she did as he asked. He knew now that her physical response to him stemmed from the love she felt, and he was no longer afraid of what he felt in return. So he toed off his shoes and removed his socks. He pulled down his pants and underwear and tossed them aside, all the while watching Molly writhing around on the bed.
"Bobby," she moaned, pressing her thighs together. He climbed into bed and kissed her knees before pushing her legs apart.
"I love you," he promised, settling between her legs and kissing her lips and cheek. "And if you say sushi, I'll stop."
When she bit her lip and nodded, Bob guided her thighs open wider and pushed her knees back closer to her shoulders. She was wide open for him, anticipating what he was going to do as he said, "Hold the backs of your thighs."
She nodded and wrapped her hands around her legs just below her knees. Then he guided himself inside her, and she felt insanely tight in this position. He had to go slow as she squealed about how big he was and shook her head from side to side. But she was smiling, and Bob had the craziest desire to see tears in her eyes as he snapped his hips against her.
"Fuck!" she screamed, head tipped back in pleasure as her tits bounced. Bob dug his knees into the bed for more leverage and snapped his hips again. "Yes!"
The harder he went, the more incoherent she sounded. And when he put his hands over hers and pushed her legs back some more, she howled. He fucked her so hard and so fast, Bob felt like he was living in the dirtiest fantasy he'd ever had. He had a gorgeous woman beneath him, fully submissive to his desires, and she wanted him to keep going.
"Do you like that, Mo?" he asked, panting as his pleasure built.
"Yes," she said, the word ending in another keening howl. Bob realized it was Saturday afternoon and his bedroom window was cracked open. He knew his neighbors were probably home and that they could undoubtedly hear what was going on.
"What's my name?" he managed in a ragged voice as his balls slapped against Molly's ass with each thrust.
"Who am I?"
His body snapped against hers until she was shaking her head harder, and those first tears in her eyes were beautiful. Bob watched one drip down along her temple and into her hair as she howled for him one last time as he came inside her.
He couldn't tell if she orgasmed, but it didn't matter. This was for his own pleasure. Sweat dripped down his face, and his glasses were crooked as his movements slowed. He eased himself off of her carefully, but kept himself inside her as he reached up to wipe away her tears.
"I love you," she gasped, pulling him down for a soft kiss and whining into his mouth. Bob's hand found her piercing and stroked her softly as her chest heaved.
"You didn't say sushi, so I'm assuming you liked that?"
"I loved it," she whispered, knocking his glasses back into place when she kissed him again.
"You were so loud," he informed her. "You were howling, Honey."
"Was I?" she asked softly, running her fingers through his hair.
He nodded, helping her ease her legs back down to the bed. "You were. If you were an aviator, I'd make your call sign Howler."
Molly gasped and giggled as he finally withdrew from her perfect pussy. Bob watched with hungry eyes as his cum oozed out of her, and he caught it with his fingertips and fed it to her.
"Howler is such a cute call sign," she murmured, licking his hand clean. "I want it."
"It's all yours," he whispered. "Everyone can know I gave it to you."
Molly started moving some of her things into Bob's place, little by little. She adjusted his Coach of the Year trophy on his bookshelf so she had room for some of the breakable ornaments Everett had made for her. "That looks nice," Bob remarked, walking through the living room with some boxes of her shoes and clothes.
"You mind if I move your photos up to this shelf? So I can fit my photo collage down here?" she asked.
He just smiled and said, "Rearrange whatever you want."
Molly smiled and ducked her head, secretly very pleased that he was being so accommodating. She'd never lived with anyone other than her sister briefly and then roommates during college, and right now she was feeling very giddy. She even overheard Bob on the phone with his mom earlier, telling her that Molly was moving in and how happy he was.
The only problem was work. She loved what she did, and she was in the process of switching to daytime shifts in an effort to be able to spend more time with Bob. But it was exhausting getting used to a new schedule and new doctors. And there was one that rode Molly like she didn't know what she was doing. For some reason, he just didn't like her.
She yawned, ready to call it a day and just go to bed. Tomorrow was Everett's birthday at the Padres game, and Molly had offered to take him to the zoo beforehand. It wasn't that she didn't want to spend the day with her nephew, but she really needed some sleep. She was contemplating asking Bob to fuck her silly so she could pass out for the night, but she hadn't even eaten dinner yet.
"Hey, Uncle Bob?" she called out. "What's for dinner?"
"Something special," he replied from the bedroom.
Molly smiled. "Is it a surprise or something?"
Then there was a knock on the door, and Molly went to open it.
"Hi," Phoenix said, dashing inside as soon as the door was open. She was carrying a cooler, which was just really strange.
"Nat! I didn't know you were stopping by," Molly said, looking down at herself. She was once again in Bob's oversized shirt and his old gym shorts. Aside from the night at the Hard Deck, this woman had never seen her in real clothing.
"I'm not. Not really. I'm just dropping this stuff off for Bob," she said, taking the cooler into the kitchen and setting it on the counter. "Just doing him a favor."
"What is it?" Molly asked, trying to peek inside, but Nat swatted her hand away.
She looked Molly in the eye for a moment before taking a deep breath. "Bob's in love with you, okay? He's going to do anything you ask him to do, because that's the kind of guy he is. So please don't take advantage of my friend in any way."
"Oh," Molly gasped, but then Nat was pulling her into a tight, albeit brief, hug. "I won't."
Nat nodded and then headed for the front door, shouting, "Bob! The stuff's in the kitchen!" on her way out.
"How very strange," Molly muttered as the door closed and Bob came out to the living room.
"You ready for dinner?" he asked, pulling her along by her hand.
"Is that what's in the cooler? She wouldn't even let me look! Bobby, I hate surprises. Just tell me what's in the cooler," she whined.
He rolled his eyes before he kissed her. "We're making sushi."
She blinked at him in silence. "We're making sushi? Have you forgotten that I don't know how to cook?"
"It doesn't need to be cooked," he replied, opening the cooler with all of the fresh supplies. "I watched like a hundred YouTube videos and practiced at Nat's place the other night when you were at work. And she offered to bring everything over fresh so you'd be surprised."
Molly peeked inside the cooler and gasped. There were containers of fish, sticky rice and seaweed, along with some imported Japanese beers and plum wine.
"Bob! It's not even my birthday! It's just a Wednesday!"
"I know," he agreed, "but I'm just really excited you're moving in. I wanted to celebrate."
Molly kissed him senseless for about five minutes before her stomach started growling. And then they pulled up one of the videos on his phone and made the ugliest looking sushi either of them had ever seen while they sipped the beers. Despite how the rolls looked, they were actually tasty. Molly plated the ugly sushi in the most appealing way she could and carried the dishes to the coffee table. Bob followed with two glasses of wine and turned on a serial killer documentary for her.
She picked up her chopsticks before setting them back down again and wrapping her arms around Bob's neck. "I love you a lot, Lieutenant Bob."
Bob really knew better than to let Molly drive, but sometimes it couldn't be helped. She made some plans with her sister to take Everett to the zoo before the baseball game, and he had agreed to let Molly pick him up afterwards. Now he was holding onto the door handle while she weaved in and out of the lanes. But the truly astounding part was that Everett was in the back seat, completely calm, asking Bob to turn the radio up. He must just be used to this.
When Molly pulled into the parking lot, she groaned, "I thought we'd never get here."
"We got here in like ten minutes when it should have taken thirty," Bob muttered as she paid the parking attendant.
"Don't be salty that I'm a better driver than you," she said as she finally parked and turned off the car. Bob looked at her like she must be kidding, but she looked very serious.
"RIght," he said, climbing out of the car and unbuckling Everett. Bob ended up giving him a piggyback ride until they met up with Bradley who had a car full of birthday presents. Bob would have said Bradley was just buttering up his girlfriend by doting on her son, but he knew better. Bradley was kneeling and pulling a custom made baseball jersey over Everett's head. The back said Grand Slam which was the honorary call sign all the aviators had given him. And then Bradley scooped him up in his arms.
After they found their seats inside Petco Park, Molly offered to share her ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce, marshmallow fluff, melted caramel and sprinkles with him. "Absolutely not, Mo," Bob replied, kissing her forehead. "But thank you."
"You have terrible taste in food," she said around a huge spoonful. And then she moaned, and Bob had to adjust himself in his seat.
When Everett leaned over him and asked, "Aunt Molly, have you ever visited the airplanes and got your own call sign?" Bob's eyes went wide.
Molly met his concerned gaze with a little smirk. Then she messed up Everett's hair and said, "Not yet! But I'm going to try to visit Bob at work next week."
"You can get a call sign if you do!" Everett told her, clearly still excited about his.
Molly leaned closer to Bob and licked his earlobe before saying rather loudly, "Bob already gave me one."
"What is it?" Everett asked.
Bob was shaking his head, trying to keep her from answering when she blurted out, "He calls me Howler."
He covered her mouth with his hand, but it was too late. "Mo!" he whispered, turning beet red.
Bradley choked on a bite of his food on the other side of Everett. Her sister scolded her, but Bob knew it was useless. He just sat in his own mortification while Molly cackled and kissed his cheek.
"Sorry, Bobby," she whispered, kissing his ear. "Maybe you shouldn't be so good in bed if you don't want me to talk about it." His blood felt too hot as she casually held his hand and let her head rest on his shoulder. And suddenly it occurred to him that maybe he should just own up to the fact that he was doing a good job of keeping a woman as spectacular as Molly satisfied.
Absolutely nobody had ever satisfied Molly the way Bob could. When she was pinned beneath him in bed that night, he whispered, "Come on Howler. Show me what you got." And then he proceeded to fuck her for no less than forty minutes without stopping. And then he came all over her face. And then he drew a bath for her. And then he made her a late night snack.
Although Bradley was going to help move her furniture in a few days, she was really already living with Bob in her mind. She never wanted to leave. She was giving up her lease. The only problem was the way he dodged her questions about paying him rent.
"Bobby," she whispered in bed on Friday night. They had just had the most wonderful evening out at that pizza place everyone loved so much. Nat joined them, and Bob and Bradley drew all over the paper tablecloth with Everett. When the bill came, Bob paid for everyone like it was nothing. And that wasn't fair. Because Molly wouldn't become that person who took advantage of someone like that.
"Yeah, Honey?" he murmured, stroking her cheek with his rough fingertips.
"How much is your mortgage? So I can pay half of it starting next month?"
His hand stilled, and this time when it took him a little while to answer, Molly started squirming uncomfortably. It was one thing accepting charity from her own sister in the form of money for nursing school, but this was different. She needed to figure this out for her own peace of mind.
"Bob?" she whispered, planting her palm gently on his chest and sitting up a bit.
"Hey," he replied softly. "I don't want you to think I asked you to move in with me and expect you to pay for anything. I've got all my expenses under control, Mo. It's not going to change much by having you here all the time. We can split groceries and maybe the utilities. But I've got all my expenses in a spreadsheet, including my bills and my retirement plans and everything else. It's all worked out."
"Bob," she whined, rolling over in the bed and covering her face with her hands. "Why do you even like me? I don't make spreadsheets, and I don't know how to save for retirement, and sometimes I forget to pay my rent on time."
He pulled her hands away and kissed her. "I love you, because you're perfect for me. Because I know how to do all that stuff too well, and I'd be really boring without you."
She gasped and pulled him in for a hug. "You could never be boring. And if you don't agree to let me contribute at least five hundred bucks a month on top of groceries and utilities, I'm not moving in."
As soon as he balked at the idea, Molly knew she was going to have to blow him. And since he had never been edged before, she was able to get him to agree fairly easily. As she licked his cock clean, she kissed his thigh and said, "I'll pay you the first of the month. And I won't forget."
At first, everything was perfect. Well, other than the fact that Bob now had four couches in the condo. But it didn't matter, because Molly said she wanted them. But it seemed like as soon as she moved in, she started getting a little distant. Work was wearing her out, he could tell. She didn't get along well with one of the doctors she was regularly scheduled with now, and he wasn't sure how to help her with that.
"He's just a douche," Molly told him, over and over. "Nothing I can do about it."
But Bob noticed the way she was spending more time reading alone before bed instead of bugging him to watch the shows about murderers. She was quieter, citing exhaustion and headaches as her reason for going to bed early. And if she hadn't looked so worn out, he might have questioned things sooner.
Bob asked her sister if Molly was mad at him. He asked Bradley if this was a sign he was about to get dumped. He even asked Nat for help, but everyone kept assuring him that Molly loved him, and that she wasn't going anywhere.
But he knew he wasn't wrong. He knew she was acting strange. The worst part was, Bob had been thinking about buying an engagement ring. Not that he would pull a Bradley and propose the next day, but he thought he should have one. For when the time was right. Because he definitely wanted to marry Molly, and he wanted to propose in a spontaneous fashion. He thought she would like that.
But now he was thinking he'd never get that far. There were some bright spots here and there. They had sex in the bathroom at the Hard Deck which Bob was sure to remember until his dying day. He could get hard just thinking about the way her moans echoed in the stall, not bothering to hide what they were doing whenever someone else walked in. And she tried to make him dinner one night, even though she looked exhausted. The smoke detector went off, and Bob ordered a pizza instead, but he could feel in that moment how much she loved him.
There were some spots that weren't so bright though. One evening, Molly fell asleep on him while they were watching a documentary mini series. When he woke her up before bed, she started crying. "Mo? What's wrong, Honey?" But she just shook her head and kept saying nothing was wrong. And then she stormed into the bedroom without another word.
Bob was at a complete loss.
Molly was at her wit's end. The doctor who was constantly riding her ass for no reason was up for a promotion. As much as she didn't want him to be rewarded for anything in life, she hoped he got it so he would be out of her hair. At least as a coordinator, he would be sitting at a desk making pointless decisions instead of terrorizing the nursing staff.
"Uh, Nurse Molly? Did you forget to log out of the computer?" he asked her yesterday. As if her first name was Nurse and her last name was Molly. Who addressed people that way? It's not like she went home and called her boyfriend 'Aviator Bob'. It was so dumb, she nearly snapped on principle alone.
But she in fact had not forgotten to log out of the computer! She had merely walked across the room! She was allowed to do that! But she bit her lip instead of calling him an obnoxious prick like she wanted to.
More distressing than anything else was the fact that she was so tired after work, she could barely keep her eyes open. Had night shift been that much easier? Or was her new birth control pill really messing with her? Now she wished she hadn't switched brands.
She needed to plan a bachelorette night. She needed to go wedding dress shopping with her sister. She needed to babysit Ev, because she missed him. But she was so cranky and miserable every night, she couldn't even stand herself. And as if that wasn't bad enough, Bob wanted to know what was wrong with her. Hell if she knew!
When she offered to watch Ev one night to try to cheer herself up, she cried hysterically while the two of them watched The Lion King. Like she had never cried so hard in her entire life. "Are you okay, Aunt Molly?" Everett asked as she wiped her eyes on her shirt. She nodded, but she wasn't so sure. And then after he went to bed, she dug around in the back of the freezer and ate an entire gallon of the expensive ice cream her sister always tried to hide. And then she realized that her sister must know by now that Molly was the one who always ate it. But she kept on buying it. And that thought made her cry hysterically again.
She was an emotional, exhausted wreck. Thankfully she had Monday off work, and she could spend the whole day resting and sleeping while Bob was on base. He kept looking at her with a sad puppy expression, just wanting to try to make her feel better, but Molly couldn't even figure it out herself. When she woke up on Monday feeling like she had the flu, she started to panic. And after she barely made it to the toilet before she threw up everything in her stomach, she curled up on the bathroom floor and cried for an hour.
She had to force herself to stand up, get her keys and drive to the pharmacy a few blocks away. She had to force herself to look the cashier in the eye as she bought five pregnancy tests. And when she got back home and peed on the tests, she had to force herself to walk around the living room for three minutes while her brain buzzed. Subconsciously, she knew she should have taken a test about a week ago. But she blamed her weird cycle on the new birth control pills. At the time, it had seemed better than blaming herself.
Even before she walked back into the bathroom, she just knew what the result was going to be. There was really no other explanation. She checked the tests and burst into tears. This was all her fault. She was going to lose the person she loved over this. There was no coming back. She sank back down to the bathroom floor, thinking about Bob as she curled up into a tight ball and sobbed until she gave herself a migraine and fell asleep.
Oh, Molly. Sweetheart. You didn't do it on purpose. Thanks to @mak-32 and @beyondthesefourwalls and everyone who bugged me to make Molly and Bob a thing!
Pairing: Bucky Barnes x female reader
Word Count: 12.0k
Summary: Baking with Bucky was a treat better than what came out of the oven, even when the night turns sour.
Ch 7 of the Neighbors Series | Masterlist | Ch. 6 | Ch. 8
Warnings: mild cursing, idiots in love, excessive pining, Bucky’s military days, a closer look at Bucky’s past with Hydra than we’ve seen so far, White Wolf makes an appearance, mention of minor character death and grief, Rebecca Barnes cause I can’t help myself, I think that’s it? Lots of fluff really. This is the longest thing I’ve ever written, so I think that deserves its own warning 😂
AN: Holy shit this is long 😂 I will not apologize, because everyone already knows I’m overly-attached to these two, but I will say that these chapters were never meant to be 12 thousand words long 😂 There’s uh… there’s a recipe they make from the gem that is @bdylanhollis on TikTok. He’s been making a lot of depression-era recipes recently and just has made such wonderful inspiration 😂 Thank you as always to my dearest @deceiverofgodss for helping get this posted in time for our sweet Bucky boy’s birthday!! It has nothing to do with his birthday, but it’s the thought that counts, right? 😂 I hope you enjoy 💖
You groaned as you rolled over in your bed, wanting nothing more than to remain there all day. Your body was still slightly sore from the night before, having been thrown around by the super-soldier next door more times than you dared to count. You were exhausted, even after falling asleep during the movie. The one you had watched on the couch… but here you were in your bed.
“You could stay, too,” you had whispered as Bucky continued to hold you close, unable to filter yourself in your sleepy state.
Another groan left your body, draping your arm over your eyes in embarrassment. You couldn’t believe yourself. Had you really asked him to stay? While he was lowering you into your bed? The man had carried you there, and you asked him to stay. What were you thinking?
“Maybe another night, peach.”
His words echoed through your head, remembering how gingerly he’d kissed your knuckles as he detached you from around his neck. A new wave of embarrassment crashed against you as you remembered clinging to him like your life depended on it, though the blow was softened by how unbothered he seemed to be about it. He had been gentle and soft as he cared for you, smiling fondly at you… and he hadn’t rejected you. And was it… a promise of it happening again? Was he entertaining the idea of ‘next time’?
You brought your hands back down to rub your face, forcing yourself awake, and proceeded to run your fingers through your hair. You felt your cheeks heat back up when you remembered the feeling of Bucky’s hands in your hair after he’d taken the time to release it from the confines of the retro updo.
“Ah shit…” you breathed, as images of the condition you’d left your apartment in the night before came back to you. You pulled yourself reluctantly out of bed, slow and groggy as you began to put one foot in front of the other, but when you took a second to look around you, you stopped in your tracks.
The polka-dotted dress you’d thrown over your desk chair was placed delicately in the hamper, and the shoes that you’d kicked off had been set down neatly beside your closet. Feeling much more awake, you ventured through your bedroom doorway, glancing into the open bathroom across the hall to see the counter clear of any of the tools that had been used the night before. The living room was much the same way, the pile of bobby pins you knew had existed on the coffee table nowhere to be seen, and your belongings set neatly on the table by the front door. The candle on the kitchen counter had been blown out, the blanket on the back of the couch straightened, each throw-pillow put in its proper place… and the door was locked behind him.
You couldn’t do much more than sit dumbfounded on the couch, knowing that after Bucky had catered to you, carried you to bed, he took care of your apartment. He had shut everything down for the night, from the movie to the mess you’d helped him make earlier in the afternoon, and it made you feel warm.
“Maybe another night, peach.”
Maybe there will be another night… where you might be able to hold him through the night, wrapped in his strong arms for longer than a few hours at a time in awkward positions on your couch. Thoughts like these invaded your mind, haunting you for longer than you’d like to admit. It made movie nights particularly difficult to focus on, curled up into his side like always, yet wide awake with the notion of what might follow. And it wasn’t like trying to sit away from him would help. He’d find his way over to you like it was second nature, and you certainly didn’t mind.
This mentality had persisted into the next week, distracting thoughts of the man in question all that occupied your mind the following Monday morning at work, unable to stop yourself from messaging the super-soldier throughout your day.
What are you doing for lunch?
I brought the rest of the spaghetti from the other night
You couldn’t help but smile at his message, having threatened to lay his claim over it last night, watching as he kept typing.
I’m over by that little Greek place you like. Can I pick something up for you?
It’s like you know I can’t turn that place down
The usual? I can drop it off in 20.
See you soon, peach.
It’s like he knew you would try and make some sort of rebuttal to his message, quickly sending one that brought a familiar smile to your face, a smile that always followed what had become one of his favorite nicknames for you. You had to look away from your phone to avoid turning into a mess, catching River’s eye from her spot not too far away.
“Who’re you texting over there? You’re smiling like a schoolgirl, it’s gross,” she snarked, a grin of her own forming as she walked over to you and tried to snatch your phone out of your hands, your attempts to hide your facial expression from her futile. You were able to pull it away from her before she could grab it, shooting her an exasperated grin. “You know that was a rhetorical question, c’mon show me what he said.”
“Excuse you, nosy, what if I’d like to keep it to myself?” She merely raised an eyebrow at you, and you crumbled. “He’s coming over to bring me lunch.”
“In the middle of the day? What did you say he does for work again?” Your mind drew a blank at her question. This wasn’t one you had readily rehearsed.
“He’s uh, he used to be in the military,” you tried, swallowing the lump in your throat. “I think he was medically discharged? He doesn’t really like talking about it.” River nodded with a tight-lipped smile, holding up an arm in silent question; she was scarily observant, it didn’t surprise you that she’d noticed the ungloved hand while at the diner. You internally cringed at your response, but at least it was adding up, and you gave her a similar nod in confirmation. The two of you sat in silence for a few moments before she opened her mouth.
“What’s he getting you for lunch, I thought you brought spaghetti… with bacon?” You let out a laugh, happy for the subject change.
“It’s this depression-era recipe he found… it’s just as weird as it sounds, but I was in a rush this morning,” you reasoned. “He’s bringing something from that Greek place I told you about.”
“That’s nowhere near your apartment, what’s he doing over there?”
“He didn’t say,” you responded, having wondered the same thing yourself. But you knew better than to exchange what would end up being cryptic messages back and forth, waiting to question him in person.
“Maybe I’ll just ask him myself when he gets here,” River teased, and you gave her a disapproving look, the usual response to her empty threats of telling Bucky half of the things you’d shared with her. Hearing the words come out of her mouth seemed to solidify that Bucky was on his way to see you. At work. He’d never done that before.
“Hey, my hair isn’t horribly messed up is it?” You asked, looking around a little before finding something you could see enough of your reflection through to inspect yourself.
“You look fine… what is going on with you two?” she asked, her tone a cross between exasperated and confused. You turned back to look at her, eyebrows raised in question. “You cannot stop texting him, and you two were acting off at the diner on Saturday. Did something happen?” The events of the past week were playing through your mind, and you weighed your options.
River knew something was going on with you and Bucky. Bringing her to the Diner had been an occupational hazard, it only allowed her to put all the pieces from the stories of your neighbor together. Because of it, she got to see multiple different sides of your relationship, and it gave away more than you’d ever planned on revealing. Though you didn’t have reason to regret it too much, River would pester you for all the details at work and proceed to appear perfectly innocent in front of Bucky each Saturday night.
“That first night you came to the diner… I fell asleep on him on the couch. No no, that’s happened before,” you started explaining hesitantly, having to calm her reaction before she got carried away with the wrong details. “He carried me to bed, and I clung onto him like a koala. But when he did I- I asked him to stay.”
“You slept together??” She asked in a harsh whisper, and your eyes just about popped out of your head.
“No, not like that, get your head out of the gutter,” you scolded, your cheeks heating up at the thought. “He didn’t take me up on it anyway, but he said ‘maybe another night’ and I can’t stop thinking about it.” She looked at you for a quiet moment, processing what you were saying to her.
“Has anything changed?”
“Little things, like we’re taking baby steps in a certain direction but have no idea where we’re going,” you explained, and River simply looked at you expectantly, gesturing for you to elaborate. “I mean… he’s a sweet guy, he has been as long as I’ve known him, but he’s only gotten sweeter. After he carried me to bed he took care of my apartment, shut everything down, and picked up a little. We usually take turns cooking, but he’s taken over the past couple of times… And last night, he put on a record and started dancing with me in the kitchen.”
“Don’t tell me he does that all the time, I will hurt you,” she deadpanned, fully engaged in your predicament.
“No, we’ve never done that before, we usually just dance in the living room.” She rolled her eyes at you, but you continued before she could retort. “We had to stop when the pasta boiled over, but it was quite possibly the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me,” you gushed, unable to hide the wistful tone from your voice as you remembered the night before.
“This explains why the two of you walked into the diner holding hands the other day. Yeah, I noticed. I saw the two of you try to hide it when you got up to us,” she said pointedly. “What are you going to do?” Before you could answer her, you felt your phone vibrate in your hand.
I’m here when you’re ready.
“I’m gonna take everything he’ll give me,” you answered, turning away from her to go meet Bucky in the front of your building, and you had no doubt that her eyes were following you.
He stood beside the small waiting area, sunlight from the tall windows hitting him in all the right places, catching his blue eyes shining brightly in the light as he saw you approaching. He was clad in his usual, a plain t-shirt underneath his leather jacket, his dog tags resting on his chest. One gloved hand was in the pocket of his dark jeans, the other holding your new lunch, the smell wafting through the air absolutely divine.
“Hey peach,” he greeted, a soft smile spread across his face as you came closer. He opened his arms and you couldn’t help pulling him into a brief hug, noticing the cologne he usually wore to Morelli’s. Had he put it on to come see you? No, stop that. “How’s your day going?”
“Not too bad! It’s much better now,” you grinned, pulling back out of his embrace to look at him. His eyes danced across your face, lifting his free hand to tuck a stray piece of hair behind your ear, and you felt heat rise to your cheeks. “How about yours? What brought you out this far?” Bucky faltered a little before he was able to answer.
“I was just- I went on a walk, got carried away. Once I realized where I was I thought I would offer to get you food cause I know how much you like that place… it uh, made a good excuse to come see you,” he admitted sheepishly, his last few words trailing off quietly, but not enough to go unnoticed. It was cute seeing him like this, as much as his cocky confidence made your knees weak and your sides hurt with laughter, this softer side of him just made you want to hold him.
“Well, I’m glad you did,” you managed, cheeks hurting with the force of the smile that found its way to your face. “I- well, I’m glad that you came to see me, not just for the food,” you quickly explained, giggling as you stumbled over your words. He reciprocated, joining in your nervous amusement.
“I mean, what did you say that one time, I’m good for being a leg rest and a bringer of food?” he teased, earning a groan from you as you rolled your eyes playfully. “I knew what you meant, doll.”
The world around you was simply a blurred background behind Bucky, the sounds of people passing and work happening fading into the distance as you lost yourself in the gentle expression he was giving you. You wanted to be around him like this all the time, standing close enough to him to see his cheeks start to turn pink the longer he looked at you. You got to be the one capturing his attention, and it sent a tingly feeling through your body no matter how many times he’d done it.
“What are you doing after work?” he asked, bringing you back down from your spot in the clouds.
“Well, I actually was gonna see if you want to come over and help me with something?”
“Anything. Whatcha need?” he smiled with eyebrows raised sweetly as he waited to listen, and you had to look away from him for a moment, turning your gaze to the takeout box he was now handing over to you.
“I was gonna bake bread, there are a few recipes I wanted to try,” you admitted timidly, testing the waters. Taking your chances you looked back up into his blue eyes, finding them already looking at you, teeming with unspoken thoughts as he tucked his bottom lip between his teeth.
“I’ll be there.”
He pulled you in for one last hug and you held him close to you, careful to keep the box of food in your hands upright. He shifted in your arms ever so slightly while his arm held the small of your back, leaning closer to press his soft lips against your cheek, and the slight scratch of his stubble made you tense up against him. You felt like your feet were stuck where they were as he slid himself away from you, stopping to brush his thumb across your arm as he began to detach himself.
“I’ll let you get back to work,” he started, his arm leaving you as he slowly stepped backwards towards the exit, taking one last look at you. “See you tonight, sweets.” You could only manage a mumble of a parting statement, too distracted by him to function any further. His cocky grin returned to his face, almost as if he was satisfied with the obviously flustered state he was leaving you in before he turned on his heel, your eyes following him until he’d passed the tall windows outside and vanished from sight.
When you finally managed to start your return to River, she was already looking at you, her face telling you that she saw everything.
“So when were you gonna tell me you guys were dating?” she asked leaned up against the wall with her arms crossed over her chest while you sat down to start eating the food that was calling your name.
“I- we’re not…” As you thought about your words her brows raised accusatorily, and you rolled your eyes. “Look, I don’t know what it is, we haven’t talked about it or anything. We’re just letting it happen.”
“Stop fucking with me right now, please tell me you’re kidding,” she almost whined, quickly pulling up into the seat beside you, though the salad in front of her was an afterthought as she stared you down for an answer. “You’re telling me he kissed your cheek like that, but you’re just ‘letting it happen’?”
“Can we just eat? I- we’re figuring it out, okay? We’re just … taking it at our own pace.” River made no effort to hide her playfully disgruntled attitude as you explained your situation, neglecting to tell her that you were trying to give the 105-year-old man time to adjust to the feelings you were sharing on top of everything else he had on his plate.
“Fine. But if you could hurry it up, that would be greatly appreciated. You two are killing me over here.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
The knock on your door came a couple of moments after you’d closed it behind you, only having time to kick your shoes off and hang your bag on the hook with your keys. You grinned as you went to open the door to Bucky, who’d shed his leather jacket and gloves since you’d seen him last.
“Hey pretty girl,” he said sweetly, though you barely had time to react to his nickname as he moved in close to you, reaching his arms around your waist to haul you up into his arms. You wrapped around him instinctively, leaned back just enough to catch his easy, playful expression as he walked into your apartment, closing the door behind him. “How’d the rest of your day go?” You could only giggle in response.
“Are we going to ignore what just happened?” you asked as he walked into your kitchen, depositing you onto the kitchen countertop while he continued to give you a shit-eating grin.
“I said I would be your leg rest tonight, and I’m going to take my job very seriously,” he reasoned, and you rolled your eyes as you let out a huff of amusement.
“I can walk, Buck, my legs aren’t tired.”
“And we’re gonna keep it that way,” he told you while giving you a pointed look, a playful grin on his face as he set his hands on either side of your legs on the counter, your arms still resting loosely around his neck. “So, what are we making? Are you finally teaching me how to make your banana bread?”
“If I had bananas I would… But I did find a recipe I think you’ll like. It’s another one of your old depression recipes.” Bucky hummed in response, his brows raised while he listened, thumbs brushing the sides of your legs and his eyes never leaving you. “It’s for peanut butter bread, what do you think?” There was a warm feeling that engulfed you as you watched his eyes sparkle. You’d caught his attention… His entire body relaxed, the soft expression he was now giving you made you glad you were perched on the counter instead of having to trust your legs.
“That sounds good,” he sighed, and you couldn’t help but sit up a little straighter under his gaze, trying to hide the fact that his clear interest in the recipe was making you giddy. You waited a moment to let him elaborate, like there was a story about his past he was about to share, but that moment never came.
“I was also gonna make this recipe I saw for some sandwich bread… that would be where you come in,” you continued, poking his back with a pointed finger as you referred to him, a huff of amusement escaping his lips as he grinned. “Oh shit, I should feed my starter before I forget,” you said quickly. You released your arms from around him and pushed his chest so he would allow you to move, hopping off the counter before he could respond.
“Feed… what?” he asked as he watched you reach into your pantry to grab the flour, bringing it to a jar you had sitting on your counter.
“I made a sourdough starter,” you explained, showing him the small mason jar filled more than halfway of dough-to-be. “You have to feed it before you can bake it. My friend said I’ll know when it’s ready to bake, so… I don’t know, I’m trusting my instincts here.”
“How often do you have to feed it?” He asked as you mixed the jar, adding the flour and water necessary.
“I read somewhere to feed it twice a day, so I do it before I leave for work and then again when I get home.” You glanced at Bucky to see there was still a hint of confusion on his face. “I usually do it before you have a chance to come over, which is why you’re only just seeing it now.” A grin spread across his cheeks at your ability to read him, nodding slowly as he caught up.
“It eats a lot.”
“Yeah, you two have that in common,” you teased as you finished up with the starter, taking the jar and the lid over to the man who was giving you a look of feigned offense.
“What does that mean?” He asked as he took the jar you were putting in his hands, sealing the lid tightly on the top before returning it back to you.
“It means they should do a better job advertising when you adopt a super-soldier how much you guys eat to support all that muscle.” You were graced with the sound of Bucky’s deep belly laugh as he clutched his middle, hunched over as his amusement took him over.
“Is that why you’re always going to the grocery store, sweets?” He managed through his laughter, and you couldn’t help but join his amusement.
“Yes! I don’t want it any other way, but you eat me out of house and home, Buck,” you poked, and one more bout of giggles took him over, a little more boyish than the last. The sound of it combined with the way his nose scrunched made you weak.
“To be fair, I’m the one cooking most of it, and I leave you plenty of leftovers,” he reasoned brightly, and you nodded in agreement. “Speaking of, I was thinking of making that taco recipe you taught me while you’re working tonight, what do you think?” He asked as he took the last few steps to get closer to you once again, taking you by the shoulders and looking at you for an answer.
“You know you don’t have to,” you reminded a little wistfully, coming out more like a sigh as you couldn’t stop yourself from smiling even further. His thumbs brushed comfortingly against you as he stood back up to his full height, giving your forehead a soft kiss.
“Tacos it is.”
You already loved cooking with Bucky, it had worked its way into your daily routines, but this was a dream. He was listening and watching intently as you made the loaf of peanut butter bread, laughing along with you at the interesting set of ingredients while keeping an eye on his own workstation. He moved through the kitchen with you like it was second nature, soft hands letting you know where he was around you, and you had to do your best not to let it send a shiver through your body each time. He would hold your waist in one hand while coming up behind you, bringing the wooden spoon to your lips as he had you test his handy work.
With the bread needing a little over an hour to bake, it gave you plenty of time to enjoy Bucky’s dinner, sitting next to each other on the floor of the kitchen as you watched the loaf bake at a snail’s pace. You caught him up with the events of your day, leaving out the conversation you had with River after he’d left. You’d tried to get more about his day out of him, but once again all he gave you was a vague errand before he came to see you, and an afternoon with Yori that went better than others.
The real fun started after dinner, having cleaned up and put everything away, and setting up to make the other loaf of sandwich bread. The recipe alone made you excited, having wanted to try it for a while, but it was Bucky’s behavior that made you burst into giggles.
“What is it?” he laughed with you while he very exaggeratedly moved his shoulders as he kneaded the bread dough, sneaking a glance at you perched on the counter just behind and to the side of him, a cocky grin on his face. “Am I doing it right?”
“Yeah Buck, you’re doing just fine,” you smiled, dropping his gaze when he turned back to the dough in his hands. You just kept watching him. He wanted you to, he wasn’t subtle in his efforts to make a show of his back muscles under the fitting t-shirt, and strong arms that you had a perfect view of. You only had a little bit of shame, knowing that if he looked back to catch you ogling the veins in his right arm and the moving plates of the left, you would turn an incriminating shade of red.
Luckily, as he was wrapping up the dough to proof off to the side, the oven timer made the perfect distraction. You hopped off the counter to retrieve the loaf, moving to turn the low temperature much higher for the second bread. Almost the second you turned the peanut butter bread out of the pan, there was a super-soldier at your heel, drying his hands after he’d rinsed the flour off of them.
“How’d it come out?” he asked, looking over your shoulder.
“There’s only one way to find out…” You reached for a knife to cut off a slice, halving it and offering it to the man behind you. You almost couldn’t continue chewing the bite you’d taken of your own slice as you watched him lean further over your shoulder, vibranium fingers lifting your elbow to bring the slice in your hand to his lips.
You were even less prepared for the physical reaction he made once he’d had a bite, closing his eyes and his eyebrows making small movements as he knit them together, a variety of emotions going on at once. You could only watch as you enjoyed your own bite; the flavor was good, but you didn’t think it was quite deserving of the reaction playing out before you.
“Oh my god…” Bucky sighed, removing himself from around you as he tossed the towel in his hand on the counter. You set down the bread in your hands to get rid of distractions, worry starting to write itself across your features, wondering what could be going through his head.
Once you were turned back to fully face him, he had his arms wrapped around you in a tight embrace, burying himself in the crook of your neck. You moved to wrap your arms back around his neck, rubbing gentle circles across his back to try and provide some sort of comfort. The second your hands touched him, he released a shaky breath near your ear.
“It tastes like the one my sister used to make…” His soft words made your heart patter in your chest, and you couldn’t help but hold him a little tighter. “She used to send these little boxes when I was in the Army… She’d cram these long letters in there with a loaf of peanut butter bread just bursting at the seams.” There was a hint of a laugh in the way he said it, and you could picture the young soldier receiving a misshapen box full of snacks and his sister’s love. “She started baking a lot more when they died…. that was how she would cope with it,” he continued, impossibly quieter.
Bucky had mentioned his parent’s death in passing, only having gone into detail on one night when you had asked. It had been months ago when he had only just started opening up about his family, but it was the night you learned when to keep asking and when to let him open up on his own. Bucky was quiet for the rest of that night; he had been open with his answer, but you knew he’d closed himself off because of it, and you at least had the mind not to push. He told you how it had happened, about Becca coming home for the summer to help him sort everything out. He also explained how she had considered moving back home to stay with him, and how adamantly he’d urged her to go back and finish school.
And how it was the last time he ever saw his sister.
“I got a package from her every few weeks, and they made my day… I didn’t realize how much I missed them until… until I stopped getting them.” You were doing your best to hold in your own shaky breaths at this point, your heart breaking with each addition to the story. “I came back from being captured by Hydra the first time to a handful of bread boxes that had gone bad. And then I uh… I wasn’t exactly the easiest person to find, after that.”
There was no holding back the tears that had started falling down your cheeks, the waiver in his voice as he said that last sentence being the final push. You held him as tight as you possibly could, one hand rubbing his back while the other ended up on the back of his head as he nestled further into you. His hands held a firm yet gentle grip, as if you were the anchor keeping him steady as he allowed himself to feel his emotions for a moment.
It was hard to tell how much time had gone by when you finally pulled away enough to look at each other, feeling like both hours and mere moments had passed. His blue eyes were shining as they’d gotten a little watery, and you couldn’t help but offer a sad smile as he brought his hands to your cheeks, his thumbs wiping away the tears that had fallen.
“Sorry… I didn’t mean to make you all weepy about bread, doll.” This time you managed a laugh, rolling your eyes at his comment as you placed your hands over his, trying to offer the same soothing comfort he was giving you. With your face in his hands, he pulled you closer to place a soft kiss on your forehead before moving to check on the other dough.
The rest of the night was quiet, but it was comfortable. The other loaf of bread came out beautifully, albeit much later in the night than you expected to be baking. And Bucky, ever observant, did more than his fair share to help clean up the kitchen and bid you goodnight, locking your door behind him as always.
Bucky couldn’t stop smiling. To himself, alone in his apartment, thinking of you. The way you looked at him while he made a scene of kneading the dough, laughing on the kitchen floor with him, your gentle touches as you held each other impossibly close…
He wanted more. More kitchen shenanigans, more gentle touches, more forehead kisses, more dancing... He knew he shouldn’t, and some days he even felt guilty about it. It wasn’t that he didn’t enjoy what the two of you had… he just liked it so much, the need for it never to stop was all-consuming at times.
There was just something unexplainable that drew him to you, it had been there from the very beginning. It made his smiles reach his cheeks, his hands unafraid to reach out for you, and you made him want to actually be a part of this new life he’d been given. You gave him a distraction, something to occupy his thoughts and lead them away from a darker path, something to look forward to every day.
Bucky remembered the first time he’d kissed you, lips just barely touching you, kissing your forehead as you sleepily locked up behind him. It felt right. Every time he held you in his arms he watched you get flushed and shy as he continued, kissing your hands and your forehead and your neck…. It lit a fire within him. It was everything he wanted in this world, it made him feel alive.
The sound of shattered glass broke him out of his thoughts. A scream made his blood curdle, and his heart dropped through his stomach.
It belonged to you; a sound he’d never even heard in the farthest stretches of his nightmares, and one he never wanted to hear again.
He practically ripped the door of his bedroom off of its hinges, muscle memory taking over and leading him through his apartment while his mind went into overdrive. He had to get to you. He flung open the drawer of the table he kept by the front door, taking the sleek black ka-bar knife in his other hand. He hadn’t touched it since he’d moved in, the only form of weapon someone of his reputation could possess without cause for suspicion, sitting in his front table in the event he got uneasy or needed a quick escape. Bucky held it tightly in his right hand for the first time in months… he had to get to you right fucking now.
Bucky had his front door opened not even seconds after the sound of your scream had made it through his walls, and he saw you popping through yours across the hall mere moments after he’d done the same. You were almost as fast getting out as he was… Good. It would keep you alive longer.
“Bucky,” you whined, fear and confusion written in your expression and your body language, and he was quick to your side as you practically leapt into his arms.
“What happened?” he asked a little gruffly, his body slipping back into a very defensive place almost instantaneously. As he waited for you to gather yourself enough for a response, he brushed stray strands of hair out of your face to be able to examine you, making sure you were okay.
“I- I don’t know. I was in the living room … something shattered, I came to you,” you managed as you struggled to catch your breath, restless hands searching for some sort of hold on him. He took one of your hands in his free one, holding it firmly to bring your focus back to him.
“Hey, I need you to breathe … go to my apartment, lock the door behind you,” he nearly commanded, trying to prepare you for as many of the situations his imagination was concocting as he could. When you nodded, he swiftly tucked you behind him, his knife in the other hand at the ready.
The White Wolf entered your apartment, his steps impossibly quiet as he maneuvered through the familiar area, eyes scouring his surroundings with his weapon brandished. There was shattered glass in the kitchen, no open cabinets, nothing to indicate you had been in the area. The window across from him was intact; no shatters, no signs of entry holes. Not a sniper.
His mind was racing ten thousand miles a minute. What if someone was here for him… Who? Hydra? Why were they here, what did they want, why were they coming after you? If they’d taken so long to find him, how the hell did they know to go after you?
He stepped into the kitchen, moving carefully around the shattered glass as he knelt down to examine it. The fractures of the glass were erratic, having no entry or exit points. The doughy mess of your sourdough starter that wasn’t strewn across the kitchen laid amongst the shards, spilling out of the dented lid he’d sealed earlier, the rim still intact.
Bucky was able to release a breath of relief, one that quickly turned into one of amusement as he realized what had happened. The jar you’d had him seal earlier, with his super-soldier hands, had trapped the growing dough and gases from the yeast inside the jar with no room for release. So it made its own way out. He almost couldn’t believe what had happened as he stood up, making his way through the rest of your apartment to examine it for good measure.
“You can come on out, peach,” he called across the hall to you as he tucked his knife in his pocket, unable to hide his amusement from his voice as he stood in your open door waiting for you to emerge. There was a long pause, but still no response from you. He called your name to try and get you to come out, but still to no avail. Bucky took the few steps distance from your door to his, wrapping his knuckles on the door the way he usually did with yours.
“Doll? You doing okay?” he asked softly. After a few moments he heard the faintest hint of footsteps and the clicks of his lock shifting, and you stepped timidly through his doorway with wide eyes.
“What was it?” you asked eagerly, worry still written across your features.
“It- your sourdough…” he tried, a laugh bubbling up from within him as the nerves left his body.
“What?” you asked again, put at ease a little by his amusement, but no less confused.
“Your starter exploded,” he managed as you released a sigh of relief. You were quick to pull yourself back in his arms, the two of you holding each other soothingly as you allowed your adrenaline to come back to a normal level. Bucky picked you up in his arms, carrying you back through the open door of your apartment, your feet touching the floor again where you could see the scene of the crime.
“You got scared by bread,” he couldn’t help but tease, trying to lighten the mood.
“Please don’t, I was actually terrified,” you laughed against him, arms circling his neck a little tighter.
“You had me pretty rattled there for a second too,” he admitted. As he felt you tuck yourself into the crook of his neck a thought he had in the heat of it all returned to him, and came spilling out before he could think twice. “I- there’s really no sugar coating it; I was so scared for you… I hope I never have to hear you scream like that ever again.” He waited with bated breaths as he stood there, vulnerable and waiting for your response.
“Well I’m hoping I won’t have another sourdough starter explode on me again, so we’re probably good,” you said lightly after a few moments, and he knew you were trying to ease his thoughts, lighten the mood a little more. “But on the off-chance it does, I hope you know I’ll be busting down your door again.”
“Was that your first instinct? Coming to me?” Bucky asked a little hesitantly, easing you out of his arms just enough so that he could look at you. You smiled sheepishly as you tried to bury yourself in the outstretched arm still resting around him.
“Of course it was. James, you… you make me feel so safe.” Your words were soft as you still refused to look at him, but they struck his heart with a determined accuracy he almost didn’t know how to respond. His gut reaction was just trying to get you to look at him again, tilting his head down to try and meet your gaze, resorting to tilting your chin up himself when you continued shying away from him.
He thought he’d have a little bit more confidence, but when your pretty eyes finally met his, his mind drew a blank. What did he want to say to you? Why did he need to see your face other than to admire your features… The space between the two of you was getting smaller, but on who’s accord it was hard to tell, the very tip of his nose brushing yours.
You scrunched your nose, he could feel it, his eyes having closed somewhere before you’d gotten to him. He was about to question the expression when it hit him, unable to stop his own nose from doing the same.
“Oh god, the yeast,” you laughed, the smell of the dough splattered across the kitchen finally catching up to you. “I don’t think I can ever make another starter after this one shattering and smelling this bad.” Bucky could only laugh in response, being sure to remember if you ever tried making another one to remind you of everything that had just happened.
“C’mon sweets, let’s get this cleaned up before it gets any worse.”
Even once the cabinets, the floor, and the counters had been cleaned of any of the sourdough mixture, the horrible smell still permeated the air. The fact that the two of you had gotten it all over each other in your attempts to poke fun at one another probably didn’t help, your clothes and skin alike permitting the lingering smell. You had even tried to escape it by attempting to wash up in your bathroom, but it was like the smell only got worse in the enclosed space, and soon enough there was no way to escape it.
“Let’s get you out of here, we’ll clean up at my place,” Bucky laughed, and before you could argue he took your hand in his, leading you out to the hall where you were able to take an unexpected breath of fresh air.
“It’s so much worse than I thought,” you giggled, trailing behind Bucky as he walked you back into his apartment. You had only been inside a few times, being able to count your visits on one hand. When you’d tried to ask why once, he admitted he just liked being in your apartment more. He’d been able to tell from the first time he’d come over months ago, moving boxes doing nothing to deter the sense of home you gave the space.
You had been in a bit of a rush when you’d sought shelter here in the thick of the excitement, running to hide away in his closet before you got a chance to take in your surroundings. As you stepped in behind the super-soldier, you noticed the space had hardly changed from the last time you’d been. The moderately sized television sat on a wooden table backed up against the brick wall to the right with the small grey couch, side table, and stray pile of blankets across from it. You noticed a new chair leaning against the half-wall in front of the small kitchen, like he was ever so slowly adding furniture to the bare apartment as he saw fit. As Bucky opened the drawer of the front table to deposit his knife, you couldn’t help but look at the blankets a little closer; there was a very thin blanket beside the warmer-looking one, despite the latter being shorter, and the pile almost looked… slept in.
“Bathroom’s through here,” he laughed a little nervously, a stark contrast to the confident man you were used to watching walk through your apartment like he belonged there. Maybe because he did…
His hand found the small of your back as he led you through to his bedroom, just as bare as the rest of the apartment with a bed that looked like it hadn’t been touched in days, stopping in front of the bathroom door and standing across from you like he didn’t quite know what to do with his hands. He took a sharp inhale as he scrunched his eyebrows like he’d remembered something.
“Let me grab a towel, you probably want to wash all that off…” You couldn’t help the small laugh that escaped you glanced down at the substance you were both covered in, looking up to watch him move in the space as he offered you a very neatly folded towel. “You go ahead… I uh, I don’t know what you use, there’s not a lot in there, I-” You cut him off as you reached out to place a hand on his arm.
“I’ll be fine, Buck. I’m not that high maintenance,” you teased, pleased with the smile on his face as he looked down at his feet. You moved to open the bathroom when the realization hit you. Besides the yeast-covered clothes on your back, you had nothing else to wear. “Oh shoot, let me run back and get something to change into…”
“Oh come on, I just rescued you from that! Here, just wear these,” Bucky started, sounding more like himself as he caught your attention, stopping you before you could get too far. He turned to reach into the closet you’d hid in earlier, pulling out a red henley and a pair of boxers.
“Are you sure?” you asked as he put them in your hands, not quite believing what was happening. This was a scene straight out of one of your dreams… was he really handing you his clothes?
“Can’t have you dying of yeast poisoning.”
“I don’t think that’s a thing,” you laughed.
“I don’t know, peach… I’d rather not chance it,” he threw back with a wink before he started walking back out to the living room, to give you your space.
You couldn’t help but smile to yourself at the sweetness of his actions tonight as you stepped into the shower, washing the remnants of the starter Bucky had gotten all over you from your body. It was like you saw a whole new side of him today, from bringing you food just to see you, the way he had brazenly flirted with you throughout the day, and the softness in the way he’d held you close to him. And now here you were, lathering your hair with a shampoo that smelled so much like him, and a set of his clothes waiting for you on the counter.
Maybe the sourdough hadn’t exploded; maybe you really did die, and this was some sort of heaven.
The red henley was thin, and a bit worn, making you wonder how long he’d had it. The fabric was stretched out, especially in the arms, and you tried not to think about how they’d gotten that way as you draped it over your body. It was soft and smelled like him… between that and the soaps from the shower, it was like you were wrapped in the very essence of Bucky. Wouldn’t that be nice…
“Shower’s all yours,” you offered as you stepped out of his bedroom, finding him in the middle of folding a blanket, the pile on the floor nowhere to be seen.
You didn’t miss the way his eyes lingered as he looked at you, damp hair and all, feeling the way his eyes followed you as you set your bundle of yeast-covered clothes by the front door. When you stood back up to find his gaze fixed on you, there was something that bubbled up inside you, a new sort of confidence that spilled out before you could contemplate it.
“See something you like, old man?” You were delighted by the chuckle that left him, a cocky grin spreading across his face at your bold question. You crossed your arms across your chest as you challenged him, a grin of your own starting to form.
Bucky ran his tongue across his bottom lip before pulling it between his teeth as he looked at you, not making any effort to hide the way he took in your whole figure, leaving you feeling a little hot and flustered. He took slow steps to cross the distance between you, his hands just barely brushing your arms as he reached out for you, and you were having a hard time keeping your composure when his gaze burned into you with an emotion you couldn’t quite place. Soft touches turned eager, as he gripped the henley by the hem and pulled you into him.
You felt like time had stopped as you watched him, only vaguely aware of the breath you were holding as you waited desperately for him to do something. His eyes danced between your gaze and your lips, and if he’d told you the world had started spinning you would have believed him. His grin got wider as he released an amused breath, having to force himself back up to your eyes.
“Make yourself comfortable, doll. I’ll be out in a bit,” he told you instead, leaning forward so the only thing touching you was his lips on your forehead, keeping his messy clothes away from your– his clean ones and releasing the shirt as he walked away.
You were done for. You had fallen prey to James Barnes’s charm, bright smile, sparkling blue eyes and all. All you could do was watch him leave as you stood in his living room in a haze, bewitched by the show that that cheeky shit had just put on for you. And then you let your mind wander…
He’d kissed your cheek in public, in front of everyone (and whether he knew it or not, in front of River) when he came to see you at work. He had carried you into your apartment when you got home, leaning so close to you while he set you on the counter, his hands just barely brushing your thighs while he listened to you. And after he had saved you from the exploding bread jar, you had been mere moments away from kissing him. You were right there, his nose had touched yours, his hands were holding you close… he was getting more affectionate by the day. You wondered how far he’d go, and at this rate, how soon you might be able to revisit that almost kiss.
Sinking down into the couch behind you, your body told you just how tired you were, and you struggled to keep your eyes open as you leaned into the cushions. But with the white noise of the shower, the warmth of the clothes around you, the sense of ease you felt being here with Bucky…
“You still with me, doll?” you heard him ask, your eyelids heavy as you turned to see him walking into the living room in a pair of sweatpants, a shirt rolled up on his arms as he went to pull it over his head. It gave you a nice view of his muscled chest, too tired to hide the way you were looking him up and down, paying special attention to the spot where metal met man just before it disappeared under the black t-shirt. The sight of him had certainly gotten your attention, less tired than you were mere moments ago.
“Mmhmm, I’m hangin’ in there,” you smiled, trying to ignore the look he was giving you that said he knew you’d just ogled him. Now that he was fully clothed he took the seat next to you on the couch, resting his hand on the back just beside you as he met your gaze.
“You’ve got an early morning tomorrow, you wanna head to bed?” he asked softly, reaching over to play with your hair as you rested against his hand on the back of the couch.
“Are you trying to get rid of me?” you teased, and you watched in amusement as Bucky fumbled over his words trying to explain himself, cutting himself off when your shoulders shook with an airy laugh. “I just want to sit and talk with you for a little. You know, ‘cause it’s been so long since we did that.”
“Mmm, far too long, we’ve gotta make up for lost time,” he smiled brightly, and you couldn’t help but giggle warmly at his retort. “You know, I think this might be the longest you've ever been over here.”
“I think it is,” you agreed, reminiscing on the handful of times you’d run over to grab something of his, or followed him in for a brief moment before he decided he wanted to put on a record in your living room. “I kinda wish it hadn’t started with me running to you screaming, but it is what it is.”
"I'm still glad you came to get me,” he reminded almost reverently as his hands grazed your forehead to move a stray piece of hair.
"Next time I could really sell the damsel-in-distress bit and leap into your arms. It’ll be just like in the movies," you teased.
"I’ll always catch you.” You turned into his hand as you shied away from his piercing gaze, his thumb brushing your cheek. You remembered the first time he’d said that to you, the two of you in a pile on the floor while he gave you that boyish grin that melted your insides. He had repeated it countless other times, and every time without fail, he always made you feel safe. There was no doubt you would be running to your super-soldier again to find comfort in his arms.
“There was another time I almost came knocking on your door…” you started, his eyebrows knitting together as he waited for you to elaborate. “I don’t know if you were awake, but there was a power outage a little while ago. I had the tv on and it just got eerily quiet. And when it’s quiet, there’s nothing to stop my brain from just thinking… I thought about coming over just to kind of fill the quiet,” you explained a little hesitantly, hoping you didn’t sound ridiculous as you opened up.
“Why didn’t you?” he almost pleaded, worry evident in his expression.
“I- well, I didn’t know if you were up. And if you were asleep, I didn’t want to wake you up, you know I never do,” you reasoned.
“That was a quiet night for me, too,” he told you softly. He hesitated a moment before he took a deep breath, his brows creasing to make the distressed wrinkle in between you both loved and hated seeing. “I’m usually up that late, I was only just starting to try sleeping when everything shut off. And like you said, when things are quiet, you can’t help but think…”
“I should have come over,” you sighed, watching the complicated emotions cross his eyes as they drifted away from you, and your imagination could only scratch the surface of what must have been going through his head. As the words left your lips, he glanced back at you, brows raised in concern.
“What would it have changed?”
“Well, for starters it wouldn’t have been so quiet,” you began, reaching out to rest your hand on his knee to offer some sort of reassurance. You were cut off by a yawn that attacked you out of nowhere, Bucky picking up on it immediately. “We could have talked each other to sleep.”
“You mean like we’re doing right now?” You smiled sleepily as you closed your eyes, leaning into the palm of his hand a little more. He tilted his head up ever so slightly as he moved to press a quick kiss to your forehead, before he gently slipped himself away from you as he stood from the couch. “Stay with me for one more second, I’ve got something for you.”
You pulled your eyes open to find Bucky rummaging around in one of the drawers of his front table, giving you a nice view of his back under the loose-fitting t-shirt. You had half a mind to get up and follow him, slipping your arms around his waist and resting against his back… And then you were met with his blue eyes again, a breath of amusement slipping out of him as he caught you watching. He didn’t say a word, simply holding up his hand to show you what he’d been digging for.
“Is that….?” you started, looking at the key he held between his thumb and pointer finger, the smile on his face getting wider as his only response. “I- when did you get that?”
“A little bit after you gave me the key to yours,” he admitted softly, fiddling with it in both of his hands as he looked down and away from you. “I uh, was just waiting for the right time to give it to you. Hearing you talking about seeking me out… I don’t know, it felt like as good a time as any,” he shrugged. You felt like there was something else on the tip of his tongue, watching him debate his words. Instead, he looked back up at you with a sort of conviction.
“I’m gonna put this with your stuff. If you need me, for any reason, use it. Please,” he instructed, holding the key out in his hand to make his point. “Doesn’t matter if you think I’m asleep; if it’s too quiet, if you blow up another sourdough starter, or you just don’t want to be alone. Please promise you’ll come get me.” You couldn’t help but laugh while he looked at you pointedly, placing the key gently on the pile of your yeast-covered clothes.
“I promise, Buck,” you managed, tired voice seeking to assure him. He made quick work of the distance between you, swooping in to place a chaste kiss on your cheek as he sat back down, though your eyes remained closed even after he pulled away.
You were fading fast. He was glad he’d at least been able to keep your eyes open long enough to hand the key off to you, but you were past the point of any further conversation. All he could do was look at you as you drifted off, that pretty smile fading from your soft cheeks as your body relaxed. Flashes of other nights where you’d fallen asleep beside him crossed his mind, though none were quite like this, where he had your full attention as you dozed off. He couldn’t chalk it up to a slow movie or wandering thoughts, you were comfortable enough around him to surrender yourself to unconsciousness in his care, and you wanted him to see it.
Bucky had never been more delicate as he guided you into him, soft touches linking your arms around his neck while he held your body close. Just as he’d hoped to avoid, you stirred, immediately gripping him tighter.
“What’re you doin?” you drawled, still half-asleep.
“Shh, it’s alright, I’m taking you to bed,” he whispered, not wanting to wake you any further. You made a sound of disagreement, clinging to him even tighter.
“No…” you whined. He couldn’t help the chuckle that rumbled through his chest, standing upright with you wrapped around him.
“No? You’re fallin’ asleep on me, sweets, you’ve got work in the morning.”
“You don’t like the bed.” Bucky froze in his tracks. After a few moments, he released a shaky breath, bringing one hand to cradle the back of your neck and hold you closer to him. You needed him. You were asking him to stay, just like last time… “Please, I don’t want you to be alone.”
And you knew he needed you.
He didn’t trust himself to say anything. He simply turned on his heel to the pile of blankets he’d set aside earlier in an attempt to make his empty apartment look somewhat functional, holding your body securely in one hand as he picked up the soft blanket with the other. Though when he turned back towards the couch, your grip got tighter again.
“I don’t want to be alone, James-”
“Hey hey, ‘m not going anywhere, I’m just getting a blanket,” he soothed, kneeling down on the couch as he lowered the two of you gently onto the cushions.
“But you’re like a superheater,” you teased as he eased your head to rest on his chest, pulling the blanket around you.
“And it’s February.” He wrapped his arms around you tightly, holding your body flush to his and resting his cheek against the top of your head as you nestled into him, already breathing easier than when you’d thought he was carrying you away. “I already saved you from yeast poisoning tonight, I’m not gonna lose you to pneumonia.”
“That’s not how you get-”
“Go to sleep,” he urged, cutting off your retort. You went to make another one but were silenced by your own yawn, and he smiled to himself when you seemed to surrender to the pull of sleep. You reached out to lay a hand on his chest, and he couldn’t help but bring the hand on your waist to rest over yours, his large one engulfing your own.
Bucky was certain he’d crossed over to some kind of heaven; the feeling of you sleeping so peacefully beside him –practically on top of him– felt like a bliss he had only ever been able to steal samples of as you laid in uncomfortable positions on top of each other after movie nights. You looked so peaceful, so relaxed as your body lifted with the combination of your easy breathing and his own, snuggled up right into him. Your body practically breathed comfort into him, and while he’d lost your conversation, you still managed to permeate his very thoughts as they drifted away to happier things.
It felt right. Pulling you into his arms a little tighter, placing yet another kiss to the top of your head, and nuzzling into your hair until he got comfortable. Had he known that sleeping next to you would’ve felt so nice… why hadn’t he taken you up on it before? The reasoning was getting lost in the recesses of his mind, consumed by you, and how perfect you felt in his arms. Half the reason he may have chosen to leave when you’d asked him to stay might have been because of how much Bucky wanted to stay like this forever.
And he very well could have, if the morning hadn’t come. Most other mornings he would notice the sun starting to peek through the blinds and groan about his lack of sleep, but this morning was very different.
It wasn’t often Bucky got to experience the golden sunlight hitting his eyelids, beating him to the new day as he adjusted to waking up, eyes fluttering open to survey his surroundings. As he glanced around the pleasantly quiet apartment, he took notice of how good he felt, surprisingly well-rested. It had been a peaceful night, the first in what had to be months, and it felt incredible. He looked back down at your sleeping figure, rested on top of him in nearly the exact same position you had been in when he urged you to sleep.
This was the view he could have looked at until the end of time, and he considered it. He let his mind wander, thinking of how long he’d be able to stay tucked underneath you, what you might be dreaming about as he played with your hair, how late you would end up sleeping in… Or how much you would if you didn’t have to go to work. His thoughts were then rudely shifted to how long it would be until you were stolen away from him and this peaceful morning.
Bucky ever so slowly leaned over you to reach your phone on the side table, and couldn’t help but smile when he saw his own face looking back at him. It had been your wallpaper for the last few days, a picture River had taken of the two of you laughing while he dipped you backwards, one in the series of photos that captured you tripping while he held onto you. He had seen it multiple times since you’d put it there, but it never failed to make him feel warm and almost giddy. And he wasn’t quite sure what it was about the picture, but he couldn’t get enough of it, spending a –quite frankly– ridiculous amount of time looking at it in his camera roll when he couldn’t sleep.
You looked radiant, with your bright smile and eyes closed in a laugh, one he could still hear bubbling out of your chest. It captured your very essence, the feeling that consumed him when the two of you were around each other. Bucky was surprised by how much he didn’t mind his own appearance in the picture; amongst all the goofy shots you’d tried to take of him in the past couple months, this one he actually liked. He looked like there wasn’t a worry in his head beside you, donning a smile that wouldn’t have been recognizable a few months ago.
Finally tearing himself away from your lock screen, he bypassed the pin and found his way to your alarm, trying to ignore the disappointment he felt when he saw how soon it would go off. It made him yearn for a soft morning where he could sleep in with you, holding you tight and placing soft kisses to ease you awake…
The feeling of strong arms squeezing around you while soft lips traveled across your cheeks was what brought you to life, though it may as well have still been a dream if you didn’t know better.
“Good morning, pretty girl,” Bucky’s husky morning voice whispered just beside your ear, and you couldn’t stop from preening into his affection as you smiled sleepily. “How’d you sleep?”
“Mmmm, good,” you sighed, stretching your limbs with a groan and settling your arms back around the super-soldiers neck. You cracked your eyes open to find him washed in the golden light of the early sun, and you wanted the image of it engraved in your brain. “You?”
“Best sleep I’ve gotten in a long time.” Your heart swelled as you admired him, taking note of the way his eyes sparkled, the effects of a good night’s sleep already evident in his body.
“Let’s just stay here, we can go back to sleep, do it all over again,” you bargained, earning a deep chuckle from within Bucky’s chest as he tucked his nose under the lobe of your ear and placed a feather-light kiss on the skin there.
“Hate to break it to you, peach, but you have to go to work soon.” You groaned as you buried your face into his firm chest, and you could feel his smile appear on the top of your head as his hands came back up to stroke your hair. “I woke you up so you’d still have enough time to get ready with all this moping.”
“What if I just didn’t go to work? They don’t need me, they can figure it out,” you tried, pulling at strings to try and stay here in this moment for as long as you possibly could. “I could just call out, and we can stay like this for hours…”
“No you won’t,” he laughed.
“You’ll feel guilty within fifteen minutes.” You knew he could feel you roll your eyes, knowing you better than you knew yourself at times. He gave your back a soft pat as he shifted back to make you look at him properly. “I’ll be here when you get back, I always am.”
“I know,” you sighed, a little defeated and wanting nothing more than to keep gazing into those soft, blue eyes. “But that means I have to leave.” He watched you for a few moments, contemplating something. He lifted one hand to comb your hair back out of your face and cup your cheek.
“I’ll be alright. Believe it or not, I do actually know how to function without you. Can tie my own shoes and everything,” he teased.
“Can you really? You know, with how often you wear those boots I was starting to wonder…”
“Alright, get off of me,” he grunted, and as you laughed you could tell he was trying hard not to smile with you.
“Make me,” you challenged. What you thought you would gain, you didn’t know, as you were promptly scooped up into the super soldier’s arms like you weighed nothing more than a handful of grapes. The blanket he had covered you with through the night fell to the floor as you clung onto him, and he only needed to hold you to him with one arm as he walked through his apartment.
“‘Make me’ she says,” he grumbled, grabbing keys off the front table and bending over to pick up your pile of clothes from the night before, keeping you securely tucked into the crook of his neck. “Do you know how stubborn you are?”
“You’re one to talk, Barnes,” you shot back as he approached the door to your apartment, fiddling with the lock before pushing it open and entering the space that no longer smelled like your sourdough starter.
“Says the one who’s being carried into her living room.” You opened your mouth to make a retort but lost your train of thought when you were deposited on your feet, finding yourself on the receiving end of one of his signature glares. You rolled your eyes as you snatched the clothes out of his arms and turned to your bedroom to discard them in the hamper.
“I’m telling River you were being mean to me this morning,” you hollered, and you heard him laugh exasperatedly.
“Sure, you do that,” was his only response, sounding distracted. When you came back out to the living room you saw him linking the key to his apartment onto your keychain, and you couldn’t help but smile as you watched him. “I can feel you looking at me,” he mumbled after a moment.
“You’re very busy, I was letting you work.” He shook his head as he smiled, taking a look back up at you as he finished his task.
“You always use something like a butter knife to get the ring open, I figured I’d just save you the trouble,” he shrugged, placing them back on the hook he’d gotten them from.
“What would I do without you?” As you watched his cheeks turn pink you crossed the space between the two of you, willing yourself to do something other than just sit there and wait for him to make the move for you. Ignoring the alarms in your head and the somersaults your stomach was doing, you reached up to grab his cheek in one hand and kissed the other, his hand instinctively reaching out to the small of your back to keep you close to him.
“I’m sure you’d manage.” You knew his words came from a place inside him where he still doubted himself, though his tone and facial expression didn’t match that sentiment. Bucky’s gaze made you feel like you were the only thing that mattered in this moment, the rest of the world cast to the side as a blurred and muffled backdrop.
“Well I hope I don’t have to,” you tried to reassure, not wanting his attention to leave you. Your words did earn a brief smile from him, disappearing as he grabbed your face and placed a very enthusiastic kiss on your forehead that caused a giggle to bubble out of you.
“I’ll see you after work, doll,” he assured gently, his hand lingering on your arm as he went to step back through the front door of your apartment, taking one last look at you before he parted ways.
“I’m counting on it.”
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Masterlist | Ch. 6 | Ch. 8