A/N: I just really like the name ‘Jack’, this is not part of a mini-series.
In the third week of September, Chris and Dodger traded the comfort of your beautiful home in Los Angeles for a simple two bedroom apartment in Atlanta. After two weeks of rest from filming ‘Red Sea Diving Resort’, Chris was back to work for the second part of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Marvel was still yet to give Chris a definite wrap date, but it was estimated he’d be home before Christmas. If the two of you were to compare your schedules for 2017, Chris had had it a little tougher. He worked out that in between the the press conferences and promotion events for ‘Gifted, and the back-to-back filming for ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ and ‘Red Sea Diving Resort’- he only had three measly months with his wife and son. Those had been his words exactly so it wasn’t hard for you to work out that he was dreading his thirteen weeks in Atlanta.
You understood his dread, it was the same one you felt whenever you had to leave for months on end. The dread had nothing to do with the job itself. The job was the fuel for the fire within, it sparked excitement and passion and immense joy. Acting, filmmaking, the idea that you could change someone’s life through a simple film- it was what got you out of bed in the morning. You weren’t numb to the difficulties of being away from each other, but as veterans of the industry, both you and Chris had been well ferberized; long distance became a friend rather than a enemy. It wasn’t until the birth of your son that changed how the two of you viewed your fulfilling yet incredibly demanding jobs.
Before, thirteen weeks in Atlanta would’ve been nothing to Chris. Atlanta was just another state in America, he was just a short flight away from home. He could take Dodger along with him, he was surrounded by his cast mates who really felt more like his second family, and it was easy for his friends and family to visit if they wanted to. You weren’t constantly on his mind because he knew you were busy with your own career, and when you checked in you were checking in as his wife and not the mother of his child. It was different now, when you called it wasn’t just so you could hear his voice. There was a child in the picture, a three year old who didn’t understand the industry and wanted his parents around. It eased Chris slightly knowing you were on break while he was in Atlanta, he would’ve felt much worst knowing his little man didn’t even have you with him.
It was hard, neither had admitted otherwise. Every interview, every time someone asked “are you thinking about Jack right now?” The answer was always yes, it didn’t matter what you were doing or who you’d left your precious boy with- Jack was always on your mind. You were a little better than Chris, you could say goodbye without making too much of a fuss. Chris would’ve taken you and Jack with him to South Africa if you’d let him. Every day for the two weeks before he left for Atlanta, he’d a specific amount of energy dedicated into convincing you to come with him for the thirteen weeks he was away. “You’re on break, Jack’s three. We’re in a sweet spot right now where neither you nor him have to be anywhere, if our roles were reversed I’d definitely take advantage of the situation and go live with you.” His reasoning came to no avail. It wasn’t because you didn’t think he was right about how things were currently in a sweet spot, but because you knew he was going to have sixteen hour days ahead of him. You and Jack were hardly going to see him, you didn’t want to get in the way of their shoots by being on set. Whatever moral support he craved from the two of you were going to have to be given in spirit whether or not you were in the same state. You loved him and you wanted him to have his wife and son with him but you couldn’t do thirteen weeks in Atlanta.
You did, however, agree to two weeks after a week of your boys begging, whining, and pouting. And when you said boys, you meant Dodger included. It was Chris’ puppeteering, he had a masters in manipulation and tugging at your heartstrings. He knew how much you loved him, it never took long for you to cave. The sentence that got you this time was, “I just need my girl.” It was a sentence that got you every time, really. After you hung up, you went online and booked your flights. You didn’t verbally tell Chris you’d agreed to his request, you just forwarded your e-ticket confirmation. Ten minutes later, you received a MMS of his happy face.
Chris’ day ended around 7:18PM and arrived at the apartment a few hours later at 9:28PM. He stood outside his front door and just smiled knowing his little family was waiting for him behind that door. He had no idea how literal that thought was because inside, Jack and Dodger were waiting in front of the door ready to pounce. Their sharp ears had heard the jingle of Chris’ keys, causing them to barrel from the bedroom to the front door. All the while Jack was shrieking with excitement, “Daddy’s home!” You would’ve been surprised if Chris didn’t hear it through the walls.
“Oof,” Chris stumbled slightly when Jack and Dodger threw themselves at his legs. He looked down and chuckled, resting a hand on his son’s head. “Hiya, bud.” Chris closed the front door behind him and lowered his bag. “What are you-” he lifted Jack into his arms, “still doing up? And-” he sniffed the air, narrowing his eyes at the strong smell of cinnamon. “Why does the apartment smell like cinnamon?”
“Waddles is making cinnamon waffles,” Jack explained as Chris followed the scent around the corner to the kitchen. He chuckled when he saw you making waffles with ‘Waddles’, the penguin shaped waffle iron. He still couldn’t believe you’d brought that along for a two week trip, but then again he was glad you did. It was a Sunday tradition to have penguin waffles, Jack couldn’t be deprived of that while he was in Atlanta. “We’re having a midnight snack.”
“But it’s only nine-thirty-”
“Yeah, but his bedtime’s eight. Nine-thirty is his midnight,” you said and Chris laughed, setting Jack down on his feet. Jack padded off to join Dodger on the couch whereas Chris walked over to you, pecking you on the lips. “I missed you too, Captain,” you winked and he chuckled, patting your butt.
“Why is he up past his bedtime?”
“He wanted to wait for you,” you answered. “Usually he falls asleep while waiting, but tonight he’s just not tired. Which is surprising considering we spent the whole afternoon at the trampoline place. I don’t know, I think all the excitement from being Tigger is still coursing through his little body. It was so cute, I wish you were there. He wore his little Tigger onesie and sang ‘The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers’ while jumping. I got photos and videos, I’ll show you later.”
“That’d be great. Thanks, baby,” he kissed your cheek then walked over to join Jack and Dodger on the couch. “How was the trampoline park?” He quizzed, plopping down next to Jack. Dodger jumped off the couch then jumped back up onto the other side of Chris. “Did you have fun?”
“So much fun, Daddy,” Jack crawled onto Chris’ lap, cupping Chris’ face in his small hands. “I bounced and bounced and bounced.” Chris smiled, scrunching his nose at Jack. “You should’ve seen me, I bounced so high! Tigger would have been so proud of me.” He said with a wide grin.
“Is that why you’re hungry again, because you bounced so much in the day?” Chris asked, tickling his sides. Jack giggled and squirmed, falling into Dodger as he tried to escape Chris’ tickles. “You’re lucky you’re three, pal. Otherwise you’d have to join me and the rest of the Avengers at the gym tomorrow.”
“The gym?” Jack gasped excitedly as he rose to his knees. “I want to go to the gym!” Chris looked over at you and laughed when you pursed your lips at him. Jack idolized his dad, anything Chris did- he wanted to do too. “Can I come to the gym with you tomorrow?”
“Why don’t you come eat your waffles, mister?” You called and Jack’s eyes lit up. Chris helped him off the couch and he quickly ran over to you, making speedy sound effects with his mouth as he did. Chris and Dodger followed at a slower pace, settling at the dining table where you and Jack were walking over to with a plate of penguin waffles. “Do you want syrup, buddy? Or are you just going to eat them like that?”
“Syrup and ice-cream, Mama!” Jack clapped excitedly.
“No,” you laughed with a shake of your head. “You get syrup, or nothing.”
“But we had syrup and ice-cream the last time Waddles made waffles, remember?”
“What?” Chris turned to you with a dramatic gasp. “He had syrup and ice-cream, Mama?” You rolled your eyes, involuntarily smiling. “All the times you reprimanded me for feeding our son unhealthy foods, you look like a total hypocrite now.” He teased and you rolled your eyes. “What exactly do the two of you get up to when I’m not around? Do you phone it in and just feed him candy and pizza?”
“You can’t forget ice-cream, we eat ice-cream at every meal.”
“And we stay up all night watching Disney movies,” Jack added, grinning.
“Do you?” Chris gasped, giving Jack the enthusiastic response he wanted. “Aw, no fair.” He pouted when Jack nodded. “Do you know you are living the life I’ve always dreamed of having?” Jack giggled as he took a bite of his waffle. “How come Mama lets you do all the fun stuff, yet I have to eat my vegetables and go to sleep on time?”
“That’s ‘cause Mama loves me more,” Jack retorted, drawing laughter from the both of you. Chris looked over at you with a raised brow and you stifled your urge to laugh even harder. “Do you love me more, Mama?” Jack asked the same question Chris had silently asked moments before. You just chuckled and reached down to pat Dodger who’d rested his head on your lap.
“I love Dodger the most,” you answered.
“Dodger?” Both your boys gasped and you laughed.
“He doesn’t bother me with ridiculous questions like who do I love more.”
“I know it’s me,” Jack shrugged nonchalantly, a little too smugly for Chris’ liking.
“You keep wishing, little man.” Chris bit playfully. He really wouldn’t have cared if you said you loved Jack more, after all a mother’s love was incomparable. But he was competitive and he liked competing with his mini-me. “Mama makes you waffles and lets you stay up late, do you know what she does for me? She-”
“Hey, no,” you cut him off, laughing. He smirked, wiggling his brows. “Chris Evans, eat a waffle and shut up. I’m ending this, I love the both of you equally. Jack, Daddy, Dodger- I love all three of you with my whole heart, okay? There is no need to compete for my love ‘cause I have distributed it evenly amongst the three of you, okay?”
“Okay,” they nodded and you let out a sigh, resting your chin in your palm. You watched them as they ate, smiling at the way they were playing with their penguin shaped food. You loved every silly little moment with them, all that domestic bliss. You were glad you decided to fly out, get a good dosage before you had to depart from Chris again. You didn’t really notice how much the two of you had missed him until now. The fact that Jack fought so hard to stay awake just to spend time with Chris was a real eye opener. You’d lied when you said he wasn’t tired, you’d seen him yawn a few times while waiting. But he was wide awake now, happily chatting with his dad and munching on his waffles.
“Daddy, guess what?” Jack said after a while.
“What is it, pal?” Chris asked, unaware he was about to be attack by Jack’s quick wits.
“Jack, Daddy, Dodger,” he repeated what you’d said earlier, much to both your confusion.
“What?” You and Chris quizzed simultaneously with narrowed eyes.
“Mama said my name first,” he answered with a cheeky grin and the two of you burst into laughter.
You found yourself taking a short cut through the dog park instead of taking your usual route after you finished your lunch shift at the bistro you were doing part-time at. You usually took the longer route as it was your form of getting some exercise in, just in case you were too tired or lazy to complete your daily workout routine. That and you didn’t like walking through that park, you saw too many people with cute puppies which reminded you of the fact that you didn’t have one of your own. But it was for the best, you were far too busy between school and work to actually care for one, perhaps when you were older and had a significant other to help with the load.
You always listened to music when you walked; you scrolled through your playlist while you strolled down the footpath, using your peripheral vision to avoid bumping into things and people. You stopped when you caught a dog staring at you in your sideline, who started barking with an excited wag of its tail to capture your full attention. You pulled out your headphones and smiled at the dog, who oddly looked a lot like a dog you knew. You descended to your knees in front of the pup and patted its nudging head while you tried to figure out why you found the handsome boy so familiar; it took you no less than five seconds.
“I know you,” you grinned as you looked around for his owner, “you’re Dodger. Oh my God,” you breathed, scratching his head. “Your dad is Chris Evans,” you whispered to him like he didn’t already know. “Do you know I love you as much as I love him?” You quizzed then cooed at him, “you’re so cute! Dodger, stop,” you laughed when he relentlessly licked your face.
“Dodger!” You heard Chris’ voice and your breath hitched in your throat; you looked up and you thought you felt your heart stop beating. “Come here right now!” He pointed at the ground next to him and Dodger padded over, his tail still wagging excitedly. “I am so sorry,” he apologized to you and you shook your head, smiling as you rose to your feet. “I let him off his leash for a second and he was off. He must’ve seen a pretty-” he cut himself off, chuckling. “There is no way I can sound good right now, considering my dog just attacked your face.”
“No, it’s fine,” you chuckled. “He wasn’t attacking my face, he was just giving me some very sweet kisses. Weren’t you, bud?” You winked at Dodger, who barked in response. “It’s fine, Chris, um- I’m a huge fan so- I’m very flattered that your dog likes me.” You told him and he laughed, making you laugh. “You were right when you said he’s a real sweetheart.”
Chris gave Dodger’s head a good scratch as he leashed him back up, trying not to smile too widely at the fact that his plan worked. He’d seen you across the park and recognized you as the pretty girl who worked at Mario’s Bistro. He also noticed that you usually walked past and not through the dog park, which was why when he saw you today- he took ahold of the opportunity and thought he’d pick you up with the best way a guy knew how; with a cute dog. While he knew you avoided the park, he could tell you liked dogs from the way you’d smile at the dogs running around in the park every time you walked past. He didn’t know why you didn’t walk through more often, but he was glad you did today.
“Can I get you a cup of coffee to apologize for Dodger?”
“Oh, no,” you chuckled as you descended back down on your knees to pat Dodger. “You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” you told him; Chris chuckled softly when he realized you were a bigger fan of Dodger than you were of him. “He’s so cute, I could just take him home.”
“You could take us both home,” you thought you heard him mumble under his breath and you bit back your smile as you blushed. “Let me buy you a cup of coffee anyway, or tea- if you’re not a coffee person.” You got back on your feet, chuckling at his persistence. “There’s a dog friendly café, just down the road with the best iced lemon tea. We were going there anyway and I think-” he glanced down at Dodger who was nudging his head into your hand, smiling at how great a wingman his best friend was. “He’d really like your company.”
“If I didn’t know any better, Mr. Evans,” you chuckled. “I’d say you’re using your dog to pick me up.” He chuckled as he lowered his gaze; those lashes that you’d swoon over seemed so much longer in person. “Smart move, there’s no denying that.” You smiled as you scratch Dodger’s head again, “I do love dogs, especially yours.”
“So is that a yes to iced lemon tea with us?”
“It was a yes the second you started talking to me, I just wanted to pretend like I had some dignity and you didn’t have me wrapped around your finger.” You admitted with a soft chuckle and he laughed, grabbing his left pec. “And paw,” you cooed and booped the pup’s nose when he barked for your attention.
“Well-” he chuckled as he beckoned his head for you to follow him; you did, walking alongside him and Dodger. “If we’re splitting hairs, I don’t have all that much dignity either. I may have unleashed Dodger and sent him running your way just so I had a reason to talk to you.” You laughed, shaking your head in disbelief. “What?” He chuckled. “You’re very pretty and I wanted to talk to you.”
“You could’ve just talked to me without using Dodger.”
“Yeah,” he shrugged with one of those cute half smiles boys did, “but I have a feeling it wouldn’t have gone as well as it did. He’s a lot more charming than me,” he said and you laughed. He glanced down at Dodger, “right, bud? He says right,” he chuckled when he turned back to you.
“Well, I disagree,” you smiled.
“And this is why I wanted to talk to you,” he chuckled.