Days passed before I saw Bucky again but finally, he appeared. He’d sauntered into the coffee shop and sat himself down, immediately catching my eye. When he realized it was me, a wide grin spread across his face. He beckoned me with nod.
“Does he mean you?” Annie, a waitress, asked incredulously. Flicking an eyebrow at her and smirking, I nodded. Annie loved the attention men gave her and she was always the one that got it the most. Her beauty was one of classical proportions: perfectly styled blonde hair accompanied by a plump red lip. Her blue eyes captivated men.
But Bucky only had eyes for me, even as Annie flaunted herself in front of him. I could tell she was hurt at his rebuttal.
Striking up some bravery, I walked proudly over to where he sat and looked down on him.
“What can I get you, sir?” I asked formally.
“You.” He said, narrowing his eyes slightly as a smile curved at the edge of his lips.
“I’m not so easily taken.” I replied curtly. “Call me back over when you have something to order.”
I turned my back but I couldn’t help but smile to myself. I liked Bucky Barnes.
A few minutes later, he gestured to me again.
“Doll, you’re being so cold to me.” His eyes feigned hurt.
A sly smile curved my lips. “I’m working, Bucky.”
“When are you off?” Bucky asked. I spared a cursory glance at the clock.
“Twenty minutes.” I replied as I wiped my hands on my apron.
“I’ll wait.” I flicked an eyebrow up in surprise.
He’ll wait? I thought. I should send him away, tell him I’m not interested.
And yet, as if my mouth were entirely disconnected from my brain, I answered coyly, “Then I’ll see you in twenty minutes.”
I returned to the back to grab the dishes that still needed to be sent out but when I saw the name on the order, my heart sank. This man was always the meanest and the grabbiest by far. He’d violated a number of the waitresses but I steeled myself and picked up the food. I walked over to the old man’s table. “Oh, you’re a new one.” The old man flashed a toothy grin at me; he reached out a hand and before I could react, his grubby hand had gripped my breast roughly. I swiped his hand away, smacking it down. “Don’t touch me.” I snarled. “Feisty. I like that.” He reached for me again but this time it was not my hand that shoved him away. Bucky stood behind me, a furious look in his face as he gripped the man’s hand, bending it backward.
“What make you think you can touch her like that?” He said, a deadly calm in his voice. The man didn’t reply, only letting out grunts of pain as Bucky twisted his hand further back with little effort. “What gives you the goddamn right-” Rising anger was apparent in his voice and I had a feeling Bucky would get violent if the situation was allowed to continue so I stood in between them and put a calming hand on his chest. “Bucky, it’s okay.” I said softly. “I’m okay.”
Bucky kept his furious eyes on the man so I reached up and grabbed his face in my hands and forced him to look at me.
“It’s okay.” I repeated softly. His ocean blue eyes softened but I could tell the anger was still in him. Instead of engaging with the man further, Bucky nodded and released him as I pushed my placating hands against his chest, trying to diffuse the situation as much as I could. My fellow waitresses stared at us in shock, no doubt at how I handled Bucky so easily. I was the consistently single one and the fact that such an attractive man was coming to my aid this way surprised them.
My boss, a sweet older man, came out to the table; his hand found my back comfortingly. “I must ask you to leave, Frank.” He told the old man who was still doubled over his hand, whimpering like a child. Frank immediately pushed himself from the chair and stumbled out the door; the glass door shuddered behind him as he slammed it.
“You can go home, Ava.” My boss told me, giving me a kindly smile.
“I can finish–” I protested. “No, sweetheart. It is okay.” The italian man said kindly. I smiled and nodded; heading back to the kitchen to grab my purse and coat. When I stepped back out again, Bucky was holding open the door for me. His hand came down to my lower back, guiding me out. “Thank you for doing that back there.” I murmured to Bucky softly. “But I could have handled it.” “I know.” He replied, and he did know. I was as self sufficient as I possibly could be. “But I wanted to do it. I hate when men take liberties like that with women.”
“Well thank you.” I repeated but this time a little more sincere. He seemed genuinely concerned for me and the way left hand rested warmly against my lower back was comforting as we walked back to my place.
“Why don’t I take you out?” Bucky said suddenly. “Tonight. We’ll go dancing.” The old, arrogant Bucky was back but his words had an undertone of sincerity that I had rarely heard from him.
“Dancing?” I asked.
“Of course. Or anything really. We can get dinner.” Somehow, the player was stumbling over his words and I could tell by the expression on his face that he wasn’t used to having such bad game. I giggled as he struggled to find the words. We stood on my porch.
“Well, I hope you decide before seven tonight.” I grinned. Bucky’s eyebrow raised as if in surprise that I’d said yes. “Seven?” “That’s when you’re picking me up.” Before I could stop myself I bounded down the steps and pressed my plum colored lips against his cheek coyly, leaving a trail of lipstick on his clean shaven face. Bucky seemed surprised at my willingness but I went back up the concrete steps and stepped into my house. “See you at seven.” Bucky called out just as the door closed behind me. I smiled to myself and leaned against the door.
I glanced at the clock. It was four pm. I had three hours so I bathed, and put on my best makeup. Then, as I searched my closet, I realized I had absolutely nothing formal to wear.
“Damnit!” I cried out as I scoured my entire closet to no avail. It was six thirty pm and I was still in my robe.
“What the hell is going on in here?” My eldest brother, Conor, called from the doorway. “I have nothing to wear.” I sighed as I sat on the floor of my bedroom surrounded by every piece of clothing I owned.
“What for?” Conor asked curiously. “None of your business.” I said shoving him away. “Is my LITTLE SISTER going on a date?” He teased, pinching my cheek. “Shut up! I am not.” “You are.” Conor grinned. “Come here, Emma might have something for you.” Emma was his fiance and was the best girl he’d ever come across in his life. I thoroughly enjoyed her company in the house, as did the rest of my family. She was a sweet girl and always willing to help. Emma was in the process of leaving home and some of her clothes were here when ith my brother. Conor took my hand and walked me to his room; he rummaged around his closet for a bit before pulling out a gorgeous red silk dress.
“Try this. It’s too small for her, so she won’t miss it.” He threw it to me and I caught it with precision. “Thank you!” I chirped before scrambling back to my room to pull it on. It fit me perfectly. It hugged me at my waist and accentuated my breasts. The sleeves pulled down slightly under my shoulders so the skin from my cleavage up was exposed. I felt beautiful as I looked at myself in the mirror. “It’s perfect.” I murmured softly to myself. I glanced at the clock: six forty five. I quickly pinned my hair up, letting a few strands fall loose and snagged my mother’s clutch purse and shawl to keep warm.
Then, the doorbell rang. “Don’t get it!” I yelled out. I was still at the top of the steps, pushing the last pins into my hair but my second oldest brother, Jack, ran to the door. “Is it your daaaaate?” He drawled irritatingly. “Shut up, Jack.” I called out as I scrambled down the creaky wooden steps, but I was too late. Jack’s hand was turning the doorknob.
“Hi, I’m James Barnes.” Bucky’s formal voice said to Jack. I couldn’t see him yet. “I’m here to pick up Ava.” “Ava? It’s for you.” Jack said teasingly. I shoved him back and opened the door fully to find Bucky standing there; his hair was gelled back slightly and he wore a fitted grey suit. His blue eyes looked me up and down as his lips parted slightly. He took in the contrast of the red of my dress to my skin, how it hugged my waist and the way loose strands of my hair swept across my neck. “You’re beautiful, Ava.” He murmured as I hid slightly behind the door. Bucky held out a hand to help me down the steps since I wasn’t as adept in heels as I thought I was.
“You don’t look too bad yourself.” I smiled up at him.
“Shall we?” Bucky said. “We shall.” I shut the door behind me and together we began to walk down the street. “Where are we headed?” I asked. “Well I was thinking and you don’t seem like the type of girl who likes to dance, and dinner is too boring for you.” “Really.” I smirked. “So then what do you think I like?” My perfume seemed to intoxicate him, causing him to forget his words. “An underground jazz club.” The play for dominance continued with him; this time he was the one toying with me. I could tell he was pulling out all of his tricks. He flashed his perfect eyes dazzlingly and I found myself struggling to find words. “That sounds….perfect.” I murmured. He leaned in closer and all I could think was he was about to kiss me and I realized I wanted him to. At the last moment before his lips met mine, he pulled away and took my hand. “Well let’s get going then.” He smirked. I shot a playful glare at him but I let him lead me to the bar where the music was in full swing. The music was addicting and soon I found myself swaying to the beat. Bucky, in his never ending spontaneity, stood in front of me and held a hand out to me, beckoning me out onto the dance floor. I shook my head furiously, instantly self conscious but Bucky simply grabbed my waist and pulled me out. I giggled and decided to go along with it and together we danced back and forth across the floor. His prowess at dancing easily hid my lack of skill as he spun me back and forth, leading me every which way. Eventually, I was laughing harder than I had laughed in a long time. My hair was coming loose from its pins and was now hanging around my shoulders in loose waves. Bucky had discarded his jacket so his white shirt and suspenders showed. The gel he’d put in his hair was fading so some of his hair fell into his face. Just as he spun me around for the last time, the song changed into a slow, swaying ballad. The womanizer in Bucky disappeared as he pulled me close to his chest with a warm hand on my waist and the other clasped my hand tightly. His cologne was intoxicating and suddenly I had a strong urge to have him closer to me. I bit my lips lightly as I gazed up into his suddenly soft blue eyes. “Beautiful.” He murmured. Without thinking, I leaned up on my tip toes and pressed my lips against his soft ones. Bucky seemed surprised but kissed me back, hard; his hand pulled me closer to him and I could practically feel his passion as he kissed me. His hands rested firmly on my waist. Finally, I pulled away from his addicting lips, out of breath.
“I should take you home.” Bucky whispered in my ear, gently disentangling himself from me but still keeping a hand possessively on my lower back. I glanced at the clock that hung in the back of the bar and saw it was almost midnight. I sighed in disappointment. “Hey.” Bucky said, lifting my chin. “I’ll see you again. Promise.“ Something in his tone seemed absolutely certain of it.
We began the short walk back to my house and when we made it, I turned back to him, not wanting to leave the night. “Thank you for taking me out tonight, Bucky.” I whispered. “The pleasure was mine.” He replied flirtatiously. I smiled and pressed myself to him, wrapping my arms around his neck as his came around my waist tightly. This time, he was the one to initiate; he kissed me again, one hand letting go of my waist to cup my cheek.
“God, I hope I see you again, Ava.” He murmured against my lips as his fingers came up to twist in my hair. I smiled and kissed him again.
“You will.” I reassured him before pushing away from him. I held on to his hand for a little bit longer before I opened my door. I looked back to see Bucky standing there with a wistful expression on his face.
“Goodnight, Bucky.” I said softly.
I closed the door behind me.
Bucky opened the door to the little flat that he and Steve shared; Steve’s small frame was sprawled over the couch listening to the radio.
“Where’ve you been?” He asked, taking in Bucky’s disheveled appearance.
“I think I’ve found her, Steve.” He replied, throwing himself on the couch that sat across from the other.
“Yeah? How many ‘hers’ have you found tonight, Buck?” Steve teased. “Shut up.” I threw a pillow at him. His small body seemed to take the impact harder than I thought as he shifted slightly backward from its force. “This girl…she’s something else.” “I think I’m gonna love her, Steve.”