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"Little to the left." Steve asked and snapped a few final shots "I think we're done here." Steve smiled and pulled up his laptop to show her the best shots taken. "How do you like 'em?"

The blonde model took her heels off and walked towards him seductively. He pretended like he didn't notice because this has happened multiple times. She stood closer than normal to him. He pressed on the arrow keys to show her the ones with amazing focus, beautiful lighting, and her face was at the perfect angle with the correct expression. He likes getting the model's input, not that it really matters, but it's up to them if they want more shots.

"These are really good. You're a great photographer. It seems you have really steady hands..." Her voice was low and her hand found its way to his thigh. Her nimble fingers hooked around it and he quickly took her hand away.

"Sharon, I, uh--" He nervously laughed and scooted away. "I'm already spoken for." Sharon put her fingers through his hair.

"That's a shame." Her eyes locked on his lips. "Because I know a few poses you might like."

Steve stood up and closed his laptop with a nervous laugh. He scratched the back of his neck. "Well, thanks for stopping by. I'll email the rest of the pictures to your agent."

"I'll give you her email." Sharon took a piece of paper and wrote in the corner her agent's email and her personal number with a heart on the side. "I'll be sure to come see you if I need any more photos taken."

Sharon left the room and he took a deep breath of relief. His cheeks were fiery red because he had become so flustered, not because he liked her. Sometimes Steve is surprised that women, especially models, come onto him with so much confidence and determination. He has lied to many models before, saying he's spoken for, but really he'd been single for the past year. His last girlfriend was a mistake. She was rude to him and hurt him in many ways. Steve realized he wasn't really in love with her and moved on a couple weeks later. His ex also hated that he took pictures of beautiful models but it was his job.

Steve emailed Sharon's agent and found a new email from his boss, Tony Stark.

Got a new job for you. Name's Peggy Carter, I'm sure you've heard of her. If you haven't, well, you're at loss. She'll be here tomorrow at 1:00 pm. Good luck keeping your hands to yourself.

TS

Steve rolled his eyes. He didn't care much for Tony's talk about women. To Steve, they're beautiful and dangerous with a hint of mystery hidden in their hearts. Most think they're complex and confusing but Steve usually has an easy time reading them. If only he could actually talk to them.

He closed his laptop and put it in his bag. He dissembled his camera and put it in the case. Steve took the elevator to his car and leaned on the back wall on the way down and pushed himself up when the door opened. His car beeped as he pressed the key and he sat in the driver's chair to take a breather. Steve rubbed his hand over his eyes and yawned. He drove home and went to sleep straight away.

*

Steve woke up that morning with his laptop beside him. He began researching Peggy Carter. Steve has never seen her before and Tony was right, he was at loss. He had never seen such a beautiful woman before but of course, he couldn't act upon it. He saw she had won the sexiest woman of the year and he had no doubt about that. There were a few gossip websites he went to so he could maybe get a bit of insight on her personality. He looked through one with the headline 'Peggy Carter is a Boss!'

It was an article about how she stood up to one of her photographers because he said she needed to lose weight. Then later an interviewer asked her about a few sexist questions but shut him down too. Steve could see she's very adamant that her worth is displayed. He respected that. There was another article that showed her and her agent were close, very close. The agent's name was Daniel Sousa. They had a few pictures taken on the red carpet together. Steve closed his laptop and laid his head back down on the pillow.

Steve came to work in a gray sweatshirt and jeans. Being a photographer, it was casual Friday every day. He held his camera case in one hand and his laptop bag in the other. He set up his camera and connected it to his laptop so he could view them as they were taken. Just as he finished, she walked in. She was wearing a white lace top with a brown cardigan on her shoulders and jeans. Her hair flopped down in pristine waves and her red lipstick bold. Her eyes intense.

"Hi Ms. Carter, it's nice to meet you." Steve shook her soft, warm hand. She was absolutely breathtaking.

"Steve Rogers, I presume?" He didn't know she had an accent but it was a pleasant surprise.

"That's me." He said with a smile. He was totally captivated by her. "Sam is in the dressing room with your wardrobe if you're ready to get started."

"Thanks." She began walking away but turned her head over her shoulder. "And Peggy is fine by the way." She smirked and he looked down at his shoes.

Daniel Sousa was there too and walked up to Steve. "Rogers, right? Hey, you wanna get me some coffee? That'd be great bud, thanks." Steve furrowed his brows and tilted his head but walked away. He went towards the coffee machine, next to the dressing room, and peeked his head in to say hi to Sam. He's been friends with Sam Wilson for quite some time and they'd been working in this studio for a while.

"Rogers! Get in here." Sam called and Steve entered the room. He nodded to Peggy and stood next to Sam. "Woah, man, you look bummed. Had your coffee this morning?"

"I did but apparently someone else didn't." Sam laughed and slapped Steve on the back.

"Was it Daniel?" Steve snapped his head to Peggy. She was wearing a red silk robe that Sam put girls in while he was picking out their clothes.

"I left my iron in the other room, I'll be right back." Sam left the room and Steve went over to sit on the couch with Peggy.

"Yeah, but I'm making it right now if you want some too." Steve leaned his elbows on his knees while twiddling his thumbs.

"I'm sorry about him. He isn't usually like this." She rubbed her lips together and looked at him sympathetically.

"Trouble in paradise?" She tilted her head. "I, uh, did some research on you this morning. Looks like you and Daniel are..." Peggy made an 'o' shape with her mouth and looked away with a smile. She took her eyes back to him and he shivered under her stare.

"No, we aren't. Well, I shouldn't say that. We were for a while but we just grew apart. It's neither of our faults. He's probably frustrated about the breakup."

"You aren't?"

"No, not really. I suppose I wasn't truly happy." Steve nodded.

"I'm sorry, I feel like I'm interviewing you. I shouldn't really be asking you all these questions." He nervously laughed and shyly turned his head away.

"No, no it's alright. I like talking to people I work with." They smiled at each other and Steve didn't really care about the coffee anymore. He'd let it run cold. Steve was totally captivated by her. She was the most beautiful woman he's ever seen with her smile, those eyes. "Why aren't you modeling yourself?" Steve laughed again as his cheeks grew feverishly red.

"I'm much better behind the camera, trust me." Peggy rolled her eyes with an amused smile on her face.

"Then who have you been working out for?" He shrugged.

"For myself I guess." Steve was surprised she noticed since he's wearing a sweatshirt. That means she must have inspected him closely.

"Found it!" Sam walked back in with the iron cord dangling in front of him.

"Well, I better get Daniel his coffee. I'll see you in there." Steve stood and walked towards the door.

He went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. He felt hot. Steve took the lukewarm coffee to Daniel, who ended up complaining about the temperature, and sat at the desk on his phone. He found that he could no longer keep his thick sweatshirt on so he took it off just as Peggy entered the room. His shirt rode up to his second row of abs and she felt her heart thump. "You're ready?" Peggy nodded.

"Daniel, don't you have a meeting to get to?" She asked. He checked his watch and cursed under his breath.

"I'll be back to pick her up." Daniel ran out the door and now they were alone. She eyed him curiously and stepped in front of the plain white backdrop.

"What?" He noticed her staring.

"Do you always take your clothes off when you're about to take pictures?" She giggled. He put on a fake stone face and rolled his eyes. She laughed more until he nodded that he was about to start taking pictures. He directed her through poses, looks, angles and he loved doing this. It felt like a game and they were able to squeeze in some talking too.

"You said you did research on me. I'm curious, what did you find out?"

"I saw you won the sexiest woman of the year." She laughed airily at that.

"That means nothing." At least it's true. Steve thought.

"I also read that you told off your last photographer and an interviewer." She nodded.

"Thankfully not all media coverage is a lie."

"How 'bout we play a game? Twenty questions sound like something you'll be interested in?" She smirked deviously and Steve snapped the picture.

"You're on. I'll start. How long was your last relationship?"

"Five months. Where'd you grow up?"

"Hampstead in England. What made you want to become a photographer for women?" Steve smirked at the question. Without context, the job title could make him sound creepy.

"I always had an interest in art. Women just seem to be the most beautiful people to take pictures of. Why'd you start dating Daniel?" Peggy smirked again.

"I knew you'd ask that." He shrugged. "He was really sweet when we met. I thought it was a good match, especially that we got along when we met. I thought he could see who I was past my looks. I guess I was wrong." He nodded and Sam walked in.

"Wardrobe change!" He called. "We're gonna do a shoot for the cover of Cosmopolitan so--"

"No tops or pants." Peggy finished his sentence and followed Sam who nodded. Steve gulped heavily, definitely not ready what he was about to see. Sam gestured for him to come so he followed. "Black or red, Steve?" He held two bras up while Peggy watched.

"Whatever she wants." He scratched the back of his neck and sat on the couch.

"No, no. He asked you."

"I think we should get shots of both then." Sam nodded and Peggy shrugged her shoulders. Peggy told Sam the size and sat on the couch with Steve.

"You aren't like other photographers." He chuckled.

"Because I'm friendly?"

"Because you're not creepy." He smiled and nodded.

"Thanks."

"They're all set, Peggy." Sam called her into the secluded dressing room where she dressed in the bra and underwear. It was all black first. She walked out with the robe untied and Steve could see exactly what she was wearing. He felt dizzy and walked out of the room. He splashed more cold water onto his face and looked himself in the mirror.

"Come on, Steve. It's just a job. After today you're never gonna see her again. Just... just make it through today." He walked out of the bathroom and saw her leaning against the back wall.

"There you are." She smiled at him. Her robe was off and Steve could see all of her. He kept his eyes on her face though. He nodded to her and they got started. "You seem nervous all of a sudden."

"I'd expect anyone to be nervous while they're taking photographs of a half-naked model." She smirked and pulled her lip down with her forefinger. Steve snapped the shot.

"Are you going to give me poses or should I just keep going?" Peggy smiled.

"You seem to be a natural." She quirked her eyebrow up and smirked. "I'll give you a scenario if you can go off of that."

"Shoot." Steve pulled back the camera and made sure Sam was out of the room. He took a moment to look up to the ceiling and find a scenario she could use.

"Okay well for the cover you gotta look sexy so imagine your husband came home after a couple weeks on a business trip. You wanna welcome him as best you can so you pose in your bedroom. That work?" He lifted his eyebrows up.

"Like a charm. Who's my husband?" She grinned.

"Whoever you want." Peggy smiled wider and laid on her back with a grin and her hair looked messy. She turned onto her stomach and bunched the front of her hair up. She bit her lip and grinned. Steve was snapping pictures every few seconds. "I have an idea." She raised her eyebrow as he stepped closer with his camera in hand. "Back against the wall, please." His cheeks grew redder as he approached closer than before. "Lean your head and look at me." She did as she was told.

"So demanding." She teased. He steadied the camera and took a few more pictures.

"Look that way." He pointed so she would look forward. He took a few more pictures and he told her to stand. She rested her palms at her sides and bit her lip again. "Okay, I think we're done with these shots. You ready for the next change?" She nodded and walked back to Sam. Steve looked through the pictures on his laptop and deleted the ones out of focus. Most of them turned out great. She walked back with her robe undone and dropped it on the chair.

"Red's my color." She confessed and walked towards the wall.

"I could tell from your lipstick when you first walked in."

"You noticed." She smiled deviously. He dragged his sleeves up because he did feel hot. Mostly because he kept blushing from her. He revealed his muscular arms and Peggy looked as if she wanted to pounce towards him.

"Keep that same look." He said and took a few pictures. Her eyes were dilated with desire and her body was buzzing with lust. She posed accordingly and tried to tear her eyes away but to no avail. "Back against the wall again." He walked closer and steadied himself to her right. He took a few pictures. "You've got a--" He motioned to her the eyelash on her cheek. She tried to brush it off but couldn't get it. He stepped closer. "I can get it for you." He put the palm of his hand on her cheek and caressed her cheek. He told himself it was just to take the eyelash away but he felt like he was on fire. Her skin was burning hot under his and her eyes had his locked down. Steve felt every part of him tremble and his cheeks blushed.

Somehow, Steve tore his eyes away and moved away with a nervous laugh. She cleared her throat and rubbed her lips together. They continued with the shots but they didn't talk anymore unless he was directing her. The tension was definitely there though. They could both feel it.

"I think we're just about done." He smiled at her. Peggy nodded and grabbed her robe from the chair. Steve ran his fingers through his hair and slumped down in his chair. She came out fully dressed in her outfit she wore there. He had his head in his hands.

"Are you alright?" She asked with an amusing smile.

"Hm? Oh, yeah. I'm fine. Just a headache." She sat down on his desk.

"Do you get those often?" He shrugged.

"Only when I'm either stressed, sick, or have a lot on my mind." She nodded. "Daniel on his way?"

"Should be here in a few minutes." Steve gestured for her to come closer so they could see the pictures he took.

"They look okay to you?"

"These look amazing. They're so flattering it doesn't even look like me." She giggled.

"Well, I only take pictures of what I see." If he could, Steve would've slapped himself in the head. She smiled though, which was a relief. He flipped through the rest of the pictures and when they finally ended, she looked at him directly in the eye.

"Thank you, Steve." He couldn't risk more tension so he looked away as quick as he could.

"It's no problem." She gave him her email address, Daniel's, and her personal number. She wasn't doing it so he'd come to her house that night but she genuinely liked Steve.

"I'll need more pictures taken soon so I'll definitely be back." They smiled.

"Just remember you're more than just your looks, Peggy. Anyone with a brain could see that." She blushed and looked to the door that Daniel just opened.

"Ready? Let's go." Peggy rolled her eyes and put her coat on.

"Well, Steve," He stood up with Peggy. "It's been a pleasure meeting you."

"And you as well, Ms. Carter." They shook hands again and she turned to follow Daniel. Steve slumped back in his chair again and rubbed his forehead. He put her photos into a folder and sent it to Daniel and her. He then put her phone number in his phone. This was the first time Steve ever put a client's number in his phone.

"You okay, man?" Sam crossed his arms and leaned on the wall.

"Peachy." He sighed.

"I'm just askin', no need for attitude." He smiled and moved closer to Steve. "I think she was the nicest girl I've met so far."

"Yeah. First one that didn't offer to sleep with me either." He chuckled but Sam just rolled his eyes.

"Would you stop bragging? I should've chosen a job where they take pictures of male models too."

"Oh come on, don't leave me. You know so much about style." Steve teased.

"Okay, you talked me into it." Sam turned around and started cleaning up the dressing room. Steve pulled out his phone and texted his best friend, Bucky Barnes.

Wanna get a drink?

Are you asking me on a date?

Don't be an asshole.

Meet you in ten, sweetheart. Our usual spot?

You're buying.

Steve packed his stuff away and said goodbye to Sam. He put everything in his trunk and drove to the bar that him and Bucky usually go to. He sat down and they ordered their beers.

"How's work?" Bucky asked.

"It's okay." Steve said quietly and took a sip of his beer. Bucky tilted his head in confusion.

"Love the enthusiasm. What's goin' on?" Steve sighed.

"Well yesterday, Sharon Carter gave me her number and tried to get more than just her pictures taken." Bucky's eyes widened.

"You got Sharon Carter's number and didn't give it to me?" Steve rolled his eyes and gulped down a good portion of his beer. "There's something else eating at ya, isn't there?" Steve heavily sighed.

"I met Peggy Carter today." Steve rubbed his hand over his eyes. Bucky cocked his head.

"Who?" Steve pulled up a picture from Google on his phone.

"Damn." Bucky mumbled. "Why are you so bummed? Apparently, she's the sexiest woman of the year." Bucky saw from one of the pictures.

"Yeah and she's the nicest person I've met in a while. I think she flirted with me a little to be honest with you but I dunno."

"Steve, if a woman smiles at you on the street you think she likes you. I wouldn't get too flustered." Steve nodded but he could just feel the tension in the room. There was no denying that she didn't look back at him with the same intensity when he dusted the eyelash off her cheek. He knew it was there, she knew it was there.

"I guess you're right."

"'Course I am. And if you ever get a chance to take pictures of Natasha Romanoff, you gotta let me know. She's my number one."

"Sure thing, Buck." Steve snickered and finished his beer. They were at the bar for another hour until Steve went home. He opened the dark door and flicked on the light to his right. The keys landed on top of the table to his left as he shuffled off his coat and hung it up. Steve immediately took a shower because he felt extremely dirty about the whole situation. "It's just a crush. It's just a crush." He told himself. Steve hadn't been able to get her smile out of his head. He raked the soap out of his hair and stepped out of the shower. He dragged his hand across the mirror to erase some of the condensation.

Minutes later, Steve laid his head on his pillow and hooked his arm around. He exhaled through his nose and closed his eyes. "It's just a crush." He told himself one last time before going into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Steve woke up that morning and pulled out his laptop to see if he got an email or any recent gossip. Tony did email him about taking pictures of Maria Hill today. She's an actress in a lot of action movies. Steve's watched a few and they're pretty good. Then he saw the recent news. 'Peggy Carter and Her Agent, Broken Up?'

He clicked on the link and there he saw her in a tyrant against Daniel. He began reading the article.

Last night we all saw a different side of model Peggy Carter. There's no doubt that she stands up for herself, but it looks like she's on a rampage. We all love her here at MoreGossip but we'd love to get the details for their official separation. What we're sure of so far is that they just began dating three months ago and it seems like they've just taken a turn for the worst. They've been spotted on the red carpet together. She had heart eyes for him while he had eyes for the camera. I guess we'll all find out the scoop on tonight's interview with James Corden. We'll be tuning in and you should too!

Steve looked at the picture they posted next to the text he had just read. It was nighttime and she had her mouth opened wide like she was yelling while Daniel had his hands up in surrender. Her finger was pointed menacingly at him and her eyebrows were furrowed. It definitely was a rage. Steve didn't blame her though, the guy's an asshole. Steve closed his laptop and went to the kitchen to pour his morning coffee.

*

"Thanks, Ms. Hill! Have a good one." Steve waved to her as she left the room. It was late because Maria couldn't come in the afternoon. He checked the time, just past ten. The interview should be starting soon and there wasn't a TV at the studio. He raced home in the rain and found himself pondering if he should send a text to her or not. He decided to go for it because what's the worst thing that could happen?

Hey, Peggy, it's Steve. I wanted to wish you good luck on the interview tonight.

He was biting his knuckle when he finished typing it out. His eyes lingered on send as he finally pressed it down. The message moved into a blue text box and it delivered. He locked his phone and put it beside him on the couch. Steve got a glass from the kitchen and when he reentered the room, he saw Peggy wave to the crowd as she was being introduced. Steve smiled to himself. She seemed lively and proud to be there. She also looked beautiful in the blue dress she picked out. It was silky like the robe she had worn before and came down at a V-neck to show a hint of cleavage. Her hair stayed in the curls Steve had seen her in when they met. The red lipstick bold as always.

Steve hopped over the back of the couch and landed on the cushions. Peggy took her seat on the couch after hugging James.

"My, my, my, Peggy Carter in the flesh and looking so beautiful!" James was as enthusiastic as always.

"Thank you! Probably because I didn't pick this dress out." The crowd laughed with her and James. Steve smiled and kept his eyes glued to the screen.

"I'm sure you have a lovely taste in style." Peggy put her hand over her heart and smiled to James.

"I'm glad you think so." James chuckled.

"Let's get down to the real serious stuff if you don't mind."

"No, no go right ahead." He nodded and pulled out a picture that Steve saw from this morning.

"This was taken last night outside of your house." Peggy nodded and rubbed her lips together. "What's the story behind the photo?"

"Well Daniel and I have always been close friends and he was really really sweet when we first met."

"When you first met. What changed?"

"Well, we grew apart as couples do. He was irritated because I had a photo shoot that day and I was alone with the photographer." Steve's blood ran cold. He slid his legs off the couch and sat up as he twiddled his thumbs.

"Alone with the photographer? Aren't they usually creepy? Not to assume all of them are, I'm just saying." The crowd laughed and James cheekily smiled.

"This one wasn't. He was very accommodating and kind. He actually took the photos that should be on next week's issue of Cosmopolitan." James put away the photo.

"For being this year's sexiest woman, right?" Peggy nodded with a smile. Steve was grateful they moved on from the photo shoot. He wouldn't be able to sit still if she talked more about him. The interview was over soon enough and Steve shut the TV off. He took a shower and went straight to his bed. When he checked his phone, there were a few messages.

One from Bucky.

Dude, she just talked about you on The Late Late Show. Expect the paparazzi to track you down.

One from Sam.

Looks like Peggy Carter is gonna come back for more pictures. Lucky us!

And one from Peggy.

Thank you!! I was shaking the whole time.

Steve smiled to himself. He appreciated her honesty because most celebrities he's met are very closed off.

I couldn't tell, you did great. I'm sorry about the whole Daniel thing. Relationships are hard, I've been there. It's no fun. If you ever need to talk I'll be here.

Glad to know I can talk to someone about this besides the usual suspects. Goodnight Steve. Talk to you tomorrow?

Definitely. Night.

Even though Steve had been telling himself that it was just a crush, he was actually happy that he could be there for her. He was still saying it was only a crush but he couldn't help the smile that spread across his cheeks when she responded. He put her contact as Peggy but with the lipstick emoji beside it. He'll never forget the lipstick as much as he tried. "It's just a crush."

*

Steve had to take pictures of Natasha Romanoff for People magazine today because she was named one of the most inspiring celebrities of the month. She raised awareness for domestic violence and child abuse. It isn't a very popular awareness but Natasha would be damned if she couldn't save anyone she could. Steve had to let Bucky know but he'd rather not do it through text. He decided to get him to the studio.

Hey Buck, mind bringing me coffee to the studio? The machine is broken. I'll pay you back.

Sure, be there in a few. I'm just down the street at the cafe actually.

Great. See you in a few.
Natasha was getting changed into the wardrobe in the dressing room when Bucky arrived. He walked through the door with two cups in his hands. He handed one to Steve and took a sip from his when he looked over and saw Natasha walk towards them. He coughed up his beverage and immediately wiped it off his mouth. Natasha laid eyes on Bucky and she smirked.

"Who's the eye candy?" She asked Steve.

"I'm James but y-you can call me B-Bucky." He shook her hand and she smiled.

"You're nervous. Cute." He nervously laughed. Natasha walked over to Steve's desk and grabbed a pen then wrote her number on Bucky's hand.

"I, uh, wanted to thank you for standing up for those kids and everyone else involved with domestic abuse." Natasha eyed him curiously.

"Were you a victim?" Bucky looked down at his feet. Natasha put her finger under his chin and tilted his head upwards toward her. "Bucky?"

"Yeah." He confessed softly.

"I'm gonna try and make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else." He nodded and she kissed him on the cheek. The spot she kissed was tingling when she pulled back. Bucky was totally star struck and Steve snorted in his coffee. "Are we ready?" She turned to Steve and he nodded. They began the photoshoot and Natasha had two wardrobe changes. Bucky stayed and watched her. She peered over him a couple times and smirked.

When Natasha walked back to her dressing room, Bucky turned to Steve with a huge grin. "This is like a dream."

"Believe it, buddy. This is real." Steve said and checked his phone. He texted Peggy first.

Good morning, Ms. Carter.

Steve waited a few minutes for her text. Natasha and Bucky left at the same time so he packed everything up and just as he was about to leave, he opened the door and saw Peggy down the hall with her phone in hand.
"And here I was thinking we were on a first name basis. I suppose not, Mr. Rogers." She smirked and kept walking towards him.

"What are you doing here?" He asked but smiled through it.

"Can we talk?" He nodded and opened the door for her. Steve set his stuff down beside the door and they went to the dressing room couch.

"What's on your mind?" Thankfully Sam had left.

"A lot actually. Daniel is being extremely rude and I honestly don't know what's gotten into him. He's forgetting to do simple tasks, commanding everyone in the room, vandalizing his own office. It's chaotic." She looked at him as if her eyes were screaming for help. Steve knew about this kind of stuff because his past girlfriend was the same in a way. She had become manipulative, rude, and her emotions would change from sadness to anger in an instant. He wasn't sure if he should hold her for comfort or give her a pillow to tear apart.

"I've been there. The last girl I dated was so sweet and funny when we first met and three months into the relationship, I thought I was in love with her but as soon as three months turned to four, I felt as if I was trapped. She had spun my words around and made me believe lies she told. She was manipulative and could get inside of your head really easily. She could make you rob a bank even if you were a preacher." Peggy nodded and rubbed her lips together.

"What did you do?"

"I, uh, I left her and didn't turn back. I sat her down in her apartment and told her I wasn't in love with her. Sounds harsh, I know but if you met her you'd do the same. She took it hard and I tried to comfort her but then she got really angry so I left. As soon as I closed the door I heard a lamp shatter against it." He chuckled. "How long have you really been dating Daniel?"

"Seven months." She looked bashful that she had just said that.

"When did he turn?" Peggy looked down again. Her eyes became glossy and she could feel her heart in her throat. Everything was rushing through her and she couldn't take it any longer.

"I have to go. I have an interview later." Peggy took her purse and hurried to the door.

"Peggy, wait!" Steve called but he heard the entrance door open and close. He slumped back on the couch and sighed heavily. "Shit..." He wanted to text her right away but she needed space. He didn't know what he said that could have hurt her but he packed away his things again and went to his car. Steve drove home where he drank several beers and sat down to watch Jimmy Kimmel. There she was again. Peggy seemed less happy than the interview before.

"Hi Peggy!" Jimmy exclaimed with a wide smile.

"Hi Jimmy."

"What's goin' on?" Jimmy was doing one of those bits where he makes them feel awkward. It made the show funnier because it displayed how celebrities act in uncomfortable situations.

"Just on your show." The interview went on for a few more minutes before they turned to more serious things.

"Great well anyways, I heard about the break up between you and Daniel. How is everything? Like are you okay? Was it mutual? What?" Steve could tell she practiced a smile for the show.

"Everything's good. It was just a misunderstanding, we're still together." The crowd cheered and Jimmy looked shocked.

"That's great! Is it young love?" He rested his chin on the palms of his hands like he was daydreaming.

"I wouldn't say that." Peggy giggled. "It's only been seven months." Jimmy quirked his eyebrows up.

"Seven? I thought it was three!" Peggy's eyes widened.

"Well, it's been public for three months."

"No, no, no you said you've been dating for three months in other interviews." Peggy waved him off. "Alright. That didn't happen! That didn't happen!" Jimmy told the audience as they all laughed. "Tell us more about yourself, Peggy. Who is Peggy Carter?"

"A friendly, clumsy woman who knows her value." Jimmy curiously smiled.

"Clumsy? You're a model you're not allowed to be clumsy." He dryly teased.

"I know, I know." Jimmy pointed to a bruise on her arm.

"Is this part of your clumsiness?" Peggy put her hand over the bruise.

"Yes, I bumped into my table at home. I thought I was running late and kind of rushed about but now I'm regretting my urgency." Peggy giggled.

The interview ended a few minutes later. Jimmy asked her a few more questions that were basic until one peaked Steve's attention.

"On your interview with James Corden, you said you were alone with your photographer..."

"Yes, I was."

"Any leaked pictures I should know about?" Peggy rolled her eyes with an amused smile.

"No. Who do you think I am?" Jimmy shrugged and chuckled.

"Well check out Peggy Carter on tomorrow's issue of Cosmopolitan! Peggy, thank you for coming! Up next DNCE will be performing their new hit song, "Cake by the Ocean!"

Steve saw she wasn't truly happy. He thought he should text her now.

Hey. I'm sorry about before. Coffee tomorrow?

Steve bit his nails with anticipation. He didn't want to offend her again.

I don't think Daniel would like me having coffee with other guys.

It's not a date. Just a friendly coffee at the studio with Sam and I.

I'm sorry. I can't.

Okay.

Steve went to bed with nothing but her well-being on his mind. He checked his laptop only to find more articles about her break-up, how she hid four months of their relationship, and articles about... him. ‘Peggy Carter's Mystery Photographer?’

Seems like Peggy Carter is hiding more than just her seven-month relationship. Her photographer has been mentioned in two interviews so far and she's claimed to be alone with him. Since she's been posing for the cover of Cosmopolitan he's seen her in lingerie. Which makes us wonder: what does Daniel think about this?

Steve closed the laptop. Bucky was right. They are going to try and find him. They'll ask him questions and mob him on the streets if they find out who he is. His phone buzzed. There was a text from Bucky. It was a photo of him and Natasha Romanoff looking awfully close together. Her hand was wrapped possessively on his shoulder and she was kissing his cheek. He was smiling wide.

Have fun.

You alright?

I'm fine. Don't worry Buck, have fun with Natasha.

Don't wait up!

Steve hummed a laugh and went to sleep. He didn't have a job tomorrow so it'd be a free day. On free days, he usually does stuff around the house. Never a day off. The only thing he needs to do straight away is pick up a Cosmopolitan magazine because he collects all the magazines he had been involved in. It should be sent to his house since he's subscribed. Every cover he hasn't had a part in, he tosses.

*

Steve slept in until ten in the morning. He had the heat on in his apartment so he could just walk around in his boxer briefs. He reluctantly got up from his bed and headed over to the balcony in the hall. It was snowing. He made coffee and drank from his favorite white mug as the steam painted its transparent condensation all over the glass. Steve watched the snow fall. He'd always been a fan of the winter season because he thought it was romantic. His first kiss was actually under a mistletoe at his parent's Christmas party. His sixth-grade girlfriend lured him under the mistletoe, wrapped her arms around his neck, and kissed a very scrawny and shocked Steve. His cheeks burst into a scarlet hue and he had no idea what to do. Looking back on it, he wasn't sure if he'd consider himself a dumbass or a Casanova because he had no intention of planting one on her. Steve laughs at the memory now.

There was a familiar thud near his apartment door. Probably his mailbox. He walked across his apartment while covering his lengthy yawn and opened the door. He searched through his mailbox where he found the magazine and some letters he flipped through. The neighbor from across the hall, Lorraine Davis, had always been fond of him. She opened her door and laid eyes on Steve. Forgetting he was half-naked, Steve just waved to her nonchalantly.

"Did you see the view outside?" Steve asked with a boyish grin and pointed to his balcony doors with his thumb. Lorraine looked him up and down and smirked.

"I'm enjoying the view inside." His cheeks flushed and he nodded.

"Well, I'll see you around."

"Hopefully soon." She slipped back into her apartment and Steve threw the rest of the envelopes on his table, next to his keys. He looked at the Cosmopolitan magazine and smiled. They picked his favorite one. It wasn't his favorite because she was half-naked or in red. He loved it because she was laughing at one of his jokes in the picture. He loved that she was smiling because of him and he loved that smile. He remembered this moment too. As soon as he pushed down the button to take the picture, it was his favorite. It had been his favorite when he was flipping through the pictures. Her smile had been real and not a practiced one. He picked up his phone and texted her.

I just got the magazine. Hope you're happy with the picture.

She responded seconds later.

I love the picture. Thank you so much! I'll be needing pictures next week for Christmas. Make sure you have a Santa hat for me.

Will do. See you next week.

Oh! I have an interview with Ellen tomorrow if you wanted to watch.

I wouldn't miss it.

Steve smiled and hung out for the rest of the day and continuously texted Bucky.

Dude, you took that picture of Peggy??

Yeah, why?

You gotta let me know. Real smile or fake?

We were joking around all day. Why so nosy?

Natasha was curious. I mean I was too but she's laying down right beside me so I figured I ask.

Wow, way to brag.

I think I have a right to.

*

The next day Steve was off again. He had already taken pictures for magazines that will be put on the market weeks from now. He found himself plotted in front of the TV, watching Ellen and waiting for Peggy to come on.

"Now our next guest, she's a model and on the cover of Cosmopolitan's newest issue, please welcome Peggy Carter." The crowd clapped as Peggy walked on smiling. She waved to everyone and embraced Ellen as she approached. They both sat down and the crowd quieted. "You look great!"

"Right now or on the cover?" They laughed.

"Both!" Ellen pulled out the magazine to show the crowd. "Doesn't she look great?" The crowd cheered and Peggy nervously laughed. "Looks like red's your color, huh?"
"Absolutely. The only reason I look great in that photo is because of how wonderful my photographer was." Ellen raised her eyebrows.

"You mean the same photographer you were alone with?" Peggy nodded. "And he took this picture?"

"Yes."

"You mean the same photographer everyone is trying to find?"

"Pardon?" Peggy tilted her head.

"You haven't heard?"

"No." Ellen took a deep breath.

"There are tons and tons of articles about this mystery photographer. Can we pull up a picture of all the results?" The screen on the back wall showed about ten links of Peggy and Steve but they called him the photographer or mystery man. He was slightly worried now that they'll actually find him and accuse them of having an affair.

"Why?" Peggy was laughing.

"Well I mean 'alone with the photographer' was a pretty good enough reason but what do I know?" Everyone began laughing.

"It was a photoshoot. It was his job. There's nothing more to it than that. If something were to be going on, I wouldn't have mentioned him at all. Daniel and I are perfectly happy with our growing relationship and there is nothing going on between me and my photographer."

Steve nodded in agreement. He wanted to believe there was nothing going on but there was just something there. He could feel it and if he could talk to her again, she would feel it. What he doesn't understand is Daniel. Why him? Steve didn't really care for him when they first met. Peggy did explain his rude upbringings but there was still something off.

'My photographer' I guess you're officially my client?

He was hoping that she'd answer him when the interview was over. He waited fifteen minutes until she walked off the stage and to her dressing room. Maybe she'd check her phone, he thought. Luckily, she did and with a smile on her face.

I guess so. And I'll be coming in tomorrow instead because you had a spot open and I have a runway show next week.

No problem, I'll be there. Christmas pictures?

Yes. It's that time of the year, one of my favorites.

Well I guess I gotta make your visits special then.

If you want to keep me.

Steve smiled to himself. As he laid down to go to bed that night, he was going to do a little extra for her photoshoot tomorrow and he was more than happy to do it. "It's just a crush, Steve. Get it together."

Chapter Text

Steve woke up that morning with a deep exhale through his nose. He hates mornings usually but Peggy's photo shoot was at ten so he woke up extra early to shower and look good. He knew she was dating Daniel but he might as well try. He wasn't desperate though. Steve was more than eager to earn her feelings towards him.

Do you see the snow?

Steve's eyes widened when he saw she had texted him first.

Haven't gotten out of bed yet. I'm not a morning person.

Well, it's beautiful out. You should go look.

Steve rolled straight out of bed and out to the hallway. He saw a winter wonderland. It was the kind of snow in movies on Christmas morning. Thick, white snowflakes covered the grass and his balcony. He couldn't see more than fifty feet away, it was so thick. Steve took a picture from his balcony and sent it to her.

Guess you're right. Winter is my favorite season too by the way.

The more the merrier. Be careful when you come to the studio.

You too. Quick question, do you like hot chocolate?

Love it.

Good.

What are you planning?

Absolutely nothing.

We'll see.

I guess we will.

Steve immediately took a shower and fixed his hair up just as he likes it. He put on cologne and a sweatshirt. Steve headed out the door, with his bags in hand, and to the nearest cafe.

*

"Buying me cocoa? You're the best boyfriend ever!" Sam said as he approached with a cocky grin.

"Shove it, Wilson." Steve teased and went back to assembling his set up.

"I decorated the dressing room by the way." Sam nodded his head to show Steve. There were Christmas lights all on the top parts of the walls and came down on the corners. A small Christmas tree with cheap plastic ornaments was in the back right corner and an elf on the shelf on the makeup table.

"Thanks. Looks good from here."

"Looks better inside."

"I'll come see it later." Steve tightly screwed the camera onto the tripod.

The door opened and Peggy walked in. Her lips were blue from the cold outside but her lipstick was still conquering. Snowflakes in her wavy, dark hair and on her tan coat.

"Hi, Sam! Steve." She hugged Sam and looked to Steve.

"Peggy," Steve said with a smile.

"You ready to get started?" Sam asked and she nodded. Steve grabbed the hot chocolate he bought for her.

"Peggy, wait." He handed it to her with a smile that asked 'did I make you happy?' Sure enough, he did. Peggy grinned and took the cup from his hand.

"Thank you."

"Where's Daniel?" Peggy smirked, knowing he'd ask.

"A meeting with the runway directors. Even for such a simple performance, it takes a lot of planning."

"Peggy? You comin'?" Sam called from the dressing room. Peggy turned around and started walking into the dressing room. Steve followed and leaned on the door frame.

"I wouldn't stand there too long, Steve."

"Why?" Steve tilted his head. Just then, Sam and Peggy looked above Steve. His eyes followed and they landed upon a mistletoe. "I guess you're right." Steve stepped into the dressing room fully. Peggy smirked and bit her nail.

"So," Sam took her attention away from Steve. "Santa hat, and I think you're just going to be in lingerie again."

"Sounds good to me." She said and looked at Steve who was staring at the floor. "Steve?"

"Huh?" He looked up into her stare and she realized he was deep in thought about something. She wryly smiled and giggled.

"Santa hat and lingerie?"

"Oh, yeah yeah. Sounds good." He said and walked out of the room, clearly flustered.

Steve sat in his chair and bumped his chin with the top of his phone. He was deeply in thought about many things. Why she was with Daniel, why he continuously catches her staring at him, the growing tension whenever they're in a room together, what she'll look like in lingerie…

He could go on and on about his endless curiosity. He'll know the last one in a few minutes but the others were the priority. Maybe he could ask her subtly, cause no suspicion, and find his answer. Steve heard the door squeak open and he looked over to see her leaning on the doorway. Her Santa hat was tilted slightly and she wore the same red lingerie from the last photo shoot.

Steve's mouth opened a bit from shock. Even though he told himself to keep his eyes above neck level, they were already wandering her body. It was perfect, flawless. Well, there were flaws but Steve could only classify them as perfection. She had a bruise on her rib. It was small but it needed to be covered up before they start. He slid his hands into his pockets and walked up to her. She was smirking and watching his every move. He stopped right in front of her and brought his eyes up with a deep breath.

"What? Do I make you uncomfortable?" She asked sarcastically.

"The only thing that makes me uncomfortable is that bruise on your rib." Peggy looked down at her side and realized there was one. "Sam?" No answer. "Sam!" Still nothing. "Come on, I'm sure we can figure out how to cover that up."

"You know, it would be nice to hear a compliment." Steve stopped in the dressing room and huffed. He turned around and looked at her dead in the eye.

"My apologies, Ms. Carter. I've never laid eyes upon such a gracious beauty. Good?" Peggy rolled her eyes and followed him. "I'll take that as a yes."

She sat in the makeup chair and handed him a tube of concealer. He put a little bit on his wrist and dabbed his finger in it to then spread the cream on the bruise. His touch was gentle and Peggy couldn't stop staring at his concentrated face. He was subconsciously polishing his bottom lip while his brows were furrowed. Peggy was thinking about running her fingers through his hair but she stopped herself. Only then did she remember she was dating Daniel.

"Why are you shaking?" He asked with a boyish grin.

"Am I?" Her voice was steady.

"Every time I touch you, you shiver." Peggy shrugged and Steve finished spreading the cream. Now he moved his thumb in circles so it could blend in with her skin. Peggy, in her mind, was begging him to stop. She felt her eyes roll to the back of her head. The whole area felt as if it was on fire. The sensation was tingling and Peggy could feel every part of it. From the soft surface of his thumb to the pressure he was applying. She bit her lip to keep herself from grabbing him, saying anything, or groaning. And then his warmth was gone. "Okay, I think that looks good enough. Where'd you get it anyways?"

"Assuming you watch my interviews, I told Jimmy I was clumsy." Steve nodded. He stood and put his hands on his hips.

"Maybe I should just put foam padding all around the studio." He chuckled.

"That would help." She giggled back. They kept eye contact with each other for a moment longer. Steve could feel the tension again. It was growing and he felt like he was levitating towards her but when he blinked, they were standing still.

"Well," He broke the stare. Steve didn't want to go after her if she has a boyfriend, no matter how much of an ass he may be. "We better finish the photo shoot before Daniel is finished with the meeting. I don't want him getting mad that you're half-naked in front of me." Peggy nodded silently and followed.

"My friend is actually picking me up today instead of Daniel."

"Do I know them?" He asked as they walked side by side towards the stage.

"Angie Martinelli?" Steve stopped in his tracks.

"Angie Martinelli? As in the actress, Angie Martinelli?" Peggy nodded with a smile. They began walking again. "Wow. She's really talented."

"I know. And a terrific baker." Steve nodded with a grin on his face. They finally arrived at the stage where Peggy stepped on and Steve went behind the camera. They took a few simple shots with just smiles.

"So," He began. "How are things with Daniel?"

"Complicated." She sighed.

"Is he still rude?" Steve asked cautiously. Peggy nodded and he looked at her with so much care in his eyes. "You can talk to me about this whenever you want. That offer still stands."

"I know but it's hard to make time. And besides, I wouldn't even know where to start."

"Whatever you feel like saying. I'm not gonna judge you if that's what you're worried about." Peggy smiled and Steve took the picture. "I just got an idea."

"Should I be worried?" She teased. He ran over to the dressing room door and pulled down the mistletoe.

"Oh, now you show up." Steve looked to Sam.

"Cool it, tough guy, I was in the can."

"I need your help actually. I wanna tie this to something and dangle it over her head for a few pictures." Sam shrugged and helped Steve anyways. They finally got it tied onto a pole that held up the curtains in the dressing room and Sam held it over her head.

"Hurry up, my arms are already gettin' tired."

"I'm going as fast as I can." Steve positioned the camera and took a few pictures. "Now look up to the mistletoe." He directed and snapped more pictures. They finished the photo shoot and Sam took his hand away.

"Man, I feel so old." He stretched.

"You look it too," Steve said with a cocky grin.

"Don't make me beat you with this pole." Sam threatened and Peggy laughed.

"Seems like you two have known each other long." Steve looked up and met her eyes.

"Since high school. We were in the same photography class. He always took pictures of birds 'cause he said he liked how free they were. I took pictures of people around me because I like to capture reality." He explained.

"What kind of people?" She asked.

"A few World War II veterans, couples that would hold hands on the street, people laughing with their friends. Stuff like that." Peggy nodded and they both went to the dressing room. Steve sat on the couch and crossed his ankles on the coffee table. He began flipping through his phone while Peggy was changing.

"It's freezing in here." She said as she came back into the room. Steve didn't hesitate to take his sweatshirt off for her to wear.

"You can wear this." He said and held it out for her.

"Are you sure?"

"Positive." Peggy put his sweatshirt on and immediately fell victim to the smell. She couldn't describe it, but she was completely in love with it. It was warm and big on her but she wanted to cuddle up with it. The smell alone could give her the best sleep she's ever had.

"Thank you," Peggy said softly and leaned on the arm of the couch. Her knees were bent and her feet almost reached his thigh. Steve was biting the inside of his cheek to restrain himself from touching her in any way. He heard the entrance door swing open and a familiar voice calling his name.

"Steve?" It was Bucky.

"In here!" He called back. A few moments later, Bucky was walking in and holding hands with Natasha. Both of them smiling mischievously.

"Oh, hey Peggy!" Bucky said before his eyes flickered to Steve and back to her again.

"This is Bucky. He's a real jerk." Steve chuckled.

"You're a real punk." He fought back.

"Hey Natasha, good to see you again." Steve waved and she waved back. "So what brings you here?"

"Just wanted to check in, make sure you're doin' alright and besides, I missed my friend. When's the last time we went to the bar?"

"Like a few days ago," Steve said with a smile.

"Let's go tonight." Steve yawned and covered his mouth with a fist.

"Okay." The door swung open again but this time Steve had no idea who it could be.

"Peggy?" Daniel's voice echoed in the main area.

"I'm in here." She called and quickly took the sweatshirt off. Daniel came in just after she put her hair back in place. "I told Angie to come get me. She and I were going to go to my place after."

"I called that off, we have more stuff to go over." Daniel walked closer to her.

"You said we finished that yesterday."

"Well, we gotta go either way. Come on." Natasha, Bucky, and Sam were shocked at his rude behavior. He didn't even introduce himself. Steve was rather infuriated. Peggy wasn't moving quick enough. "Come on! Get off your ass and let's go." Steve stood and put his hand up to Daniel.

"Woah. Woah. Daniel that's no way to talk to a lady or anyone. Cool it." He put his hands on his hips and stared menacingly at Steve.

"Mind your own business, bud."

"No, Steve's right. You don't talk to anyone like that." Bucky and Sam explained. Daniel tried to go over to Peggy but Bucky and Steve put their hands on his chest. "Just get outta here, man," Bucky said calmly. Natasha was just observing.

"Get your fuckin' hands off me," Daniel warned. Their hands didn't budge.

"Can we all just relax?" Peggy interrupted quietly. "Daniel's just a little stressed. He had no sleep, meetings all morning and later on, and he just wants to take me home. You didn't mean it right, Danny?" They turned to him.

"Guys, I'm sorry. She's right, I've had a long week. I just need some coffee and sleep then I'll be good as new." He sighed and offered a fake smile. Steve turned to her with unconvinced eyes. She nodded and he sighed as he dropped his hand. Bucky did the same and Daniel put his hand on the small of her back. "Guess I'm not too good with first impressions, huh?"

"Man shut the hell up," Sam said with crossed arms. Daniel nodded, defeated, and left the room. Peggy forgot her phone on the table and came back.

"Thank you, truly. It's okay though." She told them and picked her phone up. She looked at Steve who was still concerned and leaned up to kiss his cheek. The area felt like fire but Steve could barely feel the flames. He was more focused on her well-being. "And thank you for your sweatshirt."

"Anytime." He whispered and looked down at his shoes. Peggy then left the building with Daniel. When they got into the car, his voice raised because he smelled cologne on her, Steve's cologne from his sweatshirt. Needless to say, she was scared.

"Think she'll be alright?" Bucky asked.

"No," Natasha said. "I just met her today and I already know." She rubbed her lips together. "This isn't just this week. I've been involved with domestic abuse awareness and-" Steve put his hand up and walked towards her.

"Wait, you think she's... being abused?" He asked with innocence. Natasha nodded. "That explains the bruise." He mumbled under his breath.

"What bruise?" They all asked in unison.

"She had a-a-a-a bruise... on her rib. Peggy said she was just clumsy so I didn't really think anything of it but now..." Steve had a million thoughts running through his head. He needed to save her. Maybe they weren't out of the building yet...

Steve took off running. Out of the building and towards the parking lot. He saw Daniel's Mercedes pass by with a roar and Steve stopped in his tracks. "Shit..." He ran back upstairs to Natasha, Sam, and Bucky. "I gotta call her." Steve pulled his phone out and went to his contacts.

"Steve, no." Natasha came over to him. "If he finds those missed calls, it's gonna get worse. If he finds any other man giving her attention, he'll get worse. She already knows how he is, but we don't know what'll set him off." Steve lowered the phone and cursed under his breath. He put it in his back pocket and ran a hand through his hair.

"How do we fix this?"

"We can't. Not now anyways." Natasha put her hand on his shoulder and met his eyes. "If we tear them apart, she'll go back to him."

"Why?" His voice was wobbly.

"Because he showed her kindness before and she believes that same man is still in there. He apologizes after he does something violent. She thinks he's still the same man from when they met." Steve shook his head.

"Can I text her like usual?" Natasha thought about it.

"No."

"What if she texts me first?"

"Make it brief. If she's texting you for a long time, Daniel is going to notice she's been texting someone she's clearly interested in." Steve nodded. "For now, all we can do is observe him. There isn't any clear evidence for him to be convicted."

"You really like this girl," Bucky said as he put his hand on the small of Natasha's back.

"I would've helped anyone in her position." Bucky raised his eyebrows, looking for more. "What do you want from me? A confession?" Bucky stayed silent. Steve's sudden defense answered the question. He sat on the couch with his head in his hands. "I coulda saved her." He mumbled.

"You didn't know, Steve. How could you?" Buck reassured him. Steve stayed silent for a moment more before rubbing his hand over his eyes.

"I'm, uh, I'm gonna go home." Steve took his sweatshirt into the other room and packed away his belongings. Bucky and Natasha just watched him. He was moving as if his body was limp.

"We still on for that beer tonight?" Bucky asked carefully.

"Probably not. I'm not really in the mood anymore. Sorry, man." Steve's voice was monotone.

"Hey, it's alright. We'll reschedule for next week, before Christmas."

"Okay." Natasha and Bucky left while Steve just finished zipping his laptop case. Sam crossed his arms and leaned against the door frame.

"You gonna be okay, man?"

"It doesn't really matter about me. Knowing someone I genuinely like is being hurt or even knowing that she's scared is killing me. I wanna make her feel safe again."

"I get that. She and I got pretty close. I could call her up so the three of us can hang out or something." Steve turned his head slowly to him.

"What if Daniel comes?"

"Then I'll say he can't go. It'll be a girls night out kind of thing." Steve smiled briefly.

"Sam, I hate to break it to you, but you're not a girl." Sam rolled his eyes.

"You know what I mean, Rogers. Always gotta be such a wise ass." Steve shrugged and stood up as he pulled the strap to his case over his shoulders.

"But yeah, that sounds great actually. Maybe do me a solid and leave the room a lot?" He squinted his eyes and wordlessly begged.

"You really like this girl, huh?"

"Maybe," Steve said unconvincingly. He knew it was more than a crush now but that's not going to stop him from saying that it is.

"You got it." Sam smiled and they waved goodbye on Steve's way out of the studio. He wanted to text her extremely bad to tell her he knew. He couldn't though. It would put her in danger and he told Natasha he wouldn't either.

Steve went home that night and got drunk. He had a high tolerance for alcohol too. He was always the designated driver because he could have two beers without being affected. Bucky, on the other hand, could get drunk off of wine. It only took two refills of red wine during a bachelor's party to get him drunk. It was a weird party too because a group of men were drinking wine but Nick Fury was an extremely sophisticated man who had an extremely expensive taste in women. They went to a high-priced gentleman's club where Steve couldn't go to the bathroom without having his own shadow. The women followed him everywhere he went. They even offered to do things for free.

Steve laid down on his bed reminiscing the memory until his phone vibrated beside him. It was from Bucky.

Hey man, I know you're pretty down right now but if you need anything just ask. Don't do anything stupid.

Steve didn't reply back. He felt like something in his heart snapped. One of the most intelligent, selfless, kind, and beautiful women he's ever met is being disrespected and being physically hurt. Not to mention mentally and emotionally. If he knew where she lived, he'd probably drive over there without a doubt in his mind which is saying something because he's drunk. Steve would knock Daniel out and carry Peggy to his car to drive away. He wanted to rescue her like the princess she is and if that makes him a hero or knight, so be it. Steve just wanted her safe and happy.

Chapter Text

He woke up the next morning with a killer headache. No work today, it was Sunday. He had the whole day to recover from his hangover. Steve started with a freezing cold shower and drinking strong coffee while watching the snow fall. Christmas was in a week and he couldn't wait. He'd spend Christmas with Bucky and probably Natasha since they seem to be inseparable. Sam would be included in their gathering too, maybe even Peggy. He hoped. Steve unlocked his phone and squinted his eyes when he realized how bright it was. He went to lower it but the brightness was on the lowest setting. There was a message from Sam.

Talked to Peggy. Said she'd love to hang out at the studio and she made sure you were available too. That was all her, even said Daniel wouldn't want to go.

Thanks. What day?

She said she could do it tonight or Wednesday. You pick.

Wednesday would be better. I have a hell of a hangover.

Thought you didn't go out with Bucky last night?

I didn't. I was drinking at home.

You sure you're okay? Takes a lot to get you drunk.

I'm fine. I'll see you tomorrow.

Alright man, I'll see you.

He threw his phone back on the bed and collapsed on the mattress. He opened his laptop to see anymore articles or emails from Tony. Looks like he has to take pictures of Wanda Maximoff tomorrow in the afternoon. A few articles caught his eye. One of them being, ‘Natasha Romanoff and Her New Boyfriend? See ya, Bruce Banner!’

Natasha Romanoff has been seen all over with this new guy she's wrapped herself around. Tall, brown hair, lean, sounds like Mr. Perfect. His name still remains a mystery but their relationship is clearly not. The two have been inseparable since last week. Sorry Bruce Banner! Looks like this girl's got a new man.

He went back to see the other articles. ‘The Mysterious Photographer Revealed?’

Peggy Carter was alone with her photographer, the one who took pictures of her in lingerie and sexy clothing. The media has blown up with this hidden man and we're trying to find him. Everyone is and we can't wait until his face is all over E!.

Steve sighed. He knows they're going to find him soon but he didn't know when or where. His phone buzzed and Peggy's name was on the screen.

Heyy, you, me, and Sam are hanging out on Wednesday?

Yeah. I can't tonight.

Alright. You should invite Bucky and Natasha too.

Will do.

You okay?

Yeah sorry. Huge hangover from last night.

Damn. I've had a few bad ones before. Hope you feel better.

Thanks. When's your runway show?

Tuesday night at 8:00.

Alright. Maybe I'll watch.

Maybe? You'd better.

Or else what?

Or else you're fired as my photographer.

You wouldn't dare.

Watch me.

Steve knew she was being sarcastic, he could practically see her smirk while reading her texts. He had an idea pop into his head. A huge idea.

Sam, I just got this idea which may or may not be good.

Oh boy, let's hear it.

She has a runway show on Tuesday. What if we were to get tickets?

You're serious about this? Sounds good to me but Daniel is going to be there.

We'll avoid him. We could sneak around, it'll be fun.

I can't believe you're taking me to a runway show! I'll get the tickets right now, you can pay me back later.

Alright sounds like a plan. I gotta dress fancy to this thing, right?

For this specific show, yes. I just looked on the website and it says formal wear.

You gotta help me with the suit.

My pleasure. Tickets ordered you owe me $85.

Okay thanks, Sam. You're awesome.

I know.

Steve's hangover was killing him. It's cold outside, he may as well take a walk around the block. He pulled his black windbreaker on with a dark gray scarf and headed outside. The sidewalks were covered with pure snow, not the crappy mush or slippery ice, it was fluffy, white, and thick layer of snow. Steve loved winter for specifically this reason. It made the world seem unreal, a fantasy because of how beautiful and effortless snow was. Steve also liked the footprints because he believed they told a story. He was walking and spotted a bigger set of imprints next to small ones, like a child. He wondered if it was the mom or dad taking their little boy or girl for a walk. Steve pulled out his smaller camera, one he always takes with him and took the picture. It was snowing too so the footprints wouldn't last too long. Steve turned the corner and saw a group of men holding cameras. He guessed it was paparazzi.

Assuming they're still trying to find him, he kept walking to avoid suspicion. His scarf provided a big enough barrier to hide his nose and mouth but his eyes were left uncovered. As he approached the men, a few of them turned to him and nodded their heads. I guess they have no clue. He thought. Just as he was about to pass them, something fell out of his pocket. His camera. He cursed under his breath and turned around to pick it up. One of the paparazzi guys picked it up for him, inspected it carefully, and handed it to Steve. When they saw the fear in Steve's eyes, the photographer's eyes widened.

"Are you a photographer?" Asked the man and the rest of the group turned around.

"No." He said unconvincingly. Steve took the camera, gripped onto it tightly, and began running. He ran back the way he came because it was the faster route.

"Wait!" Yelled some of the men. Steve bolted all the way to his building and ran up to the elevator to his apartment. Luckily the doors closed before they even knew where he went. Steve leaned on the back of the elevator and took a deep breath. He didn't want them to know who he was. He figured it would make it even harder for Peggy. Steve went back to his apartment and rubbed his hand over his eyes. He pinched the bridge of his nose and took a deep breath before removing his coat. Steve was going to stay if for the rest of the day.

*

It was Tuesday. Steve had a job just before the event later on. The runway show was tonight and Steve was on his way to the studio with his favorite formal wear. It was simple: black tie, white button-down, black vest, and black suit. Little did he know that Sam had already provided better formal wear.

"Sam, what's all this? I already brought stuff."

"Well, I brought better stuff. I'd take advice from me, ya know, me being a stylist and all." Steve rolled his eyes and set his clothes down. "I thought grays and blues would look best on you."

"Thanks."

"Black is a little too dark for you. Let's save that for funerals, okay?" Steve chuckled.

"Okay." He said smiling.

The process took over an hour to complete and Sam wasn't even dressed yet. Steve went to the full body mirror and looked at Sam's masterpiece. It was a gray vest with a black tie and a baby blue button-down. The pants matched the vest and he pulled the sleeves up. Steve liked getting dressed up, especially when Sam picks his clothes out for him. Steve knew he knows best. Next, Sam put on a white button-down with a black tie and a dark red suit.

"What kind of fashion show is this by the way?"

"Victoria Secret. Looks like Peggy got to be a dark angel." Steve nodded.

"So... lingerie?"

"Yeah, but it wouldn't be the first time you've seen her wear it."

"True."

"And probably not the last," Sam mumbled.

"What'd you say?" Steve asked while straightening his tie.

"Nothin'. You ready to go?" Steve looked at himself one last time and nodded. They got into Sam's silver car and drove fifteen minutes to the show. It was packed and people were wearing crazy things. Steve didn't really have a mind for fashion but even he knew what to wear and what not. They gave their tickets to a man up front and entered. Steve sat down and kept his eye out for Daniel. He saw him walk in with a brown blazer but Steve was guessing Daniel went backstage to see her. No doubt he was stopped by security.

"I didn't expect this place to be this big," Steve said.

"I think they want to make it more elegant than it really is." Steve checked his phone and saw a text from Peggy.

You'd better be watching.

Believe me, I am.

"I'm gonna go to the bathroom."

"Good luck finding your way there." Sam laughed. Steve walked down the aisle and went into a small corridor where the restrooms were. He saw the men's sign and headed down that hallway. The bathroom door opened and Daniel walked out. Steve leaned against the wall, beside the corner, and watched what Daniel was doing. He walked towards the girl's dressing room and when he turned the corner, Steve bolted towards the men's room. He slipped in with ease and looked at himself in the mirror. He only went in to fix his hair in case Peggy saw him sitting down. There was only a small chance but Steve didn't want to risk it. He went back and sat next to Sam.

"Found him." He nodded to a seat closer to the stage.

"I know, I just saw him in the hallway."

"Did he see you?"

"Don't think so." Steve and Sam looked to the stage as the lights dimmed over the audience and the lights on the runway flickered on.

A few minutes went by and Sam had commented on a couple that he thought were unacceptable. Steve found the experience to be entertaining. Then she walked on. Steve silently cheered as she dominated the runway. Her lingerie had been elegant, dark, and sexy. Things Steve thought reflected her. She smiled brightly and didn't even look at Daniel who was on his phone. Steve's face twitched when he saw that not even her own boyfriend was watching her. Then when Daniel looked up and saw a man beside him inspecting a little too closely, he lunged for him.

A fight broke out and Peggy ran off to the back. Daniel threw the first punch and the camera's were flashing a great deal. The lights came back on as security weaved their way through the crowd. Pulling Daniel back, the other man simply walked away and rubbed his cheek. Steve immediately pulled his phone out and dialed Peggy. Sam waved him on, saying it was okay to go and they'll meet up later. He ran out to the corridor and followed the signs to the girl's dressing room. Other models passed by as his phone kept ringing. Finally, she picked up.

"Hey, are you okay?" He asked with worry in his voice.

"Yeah, just shaken up a little."

"Where are you?" The dressing room was only a few steps away.

"I'm at the show, what're you--" He stopped in front of the entrance and hung up the phone. She was standing there and looking back at him. Peggy lowered the phone and ran towards him with tears in her eyes. Peggy wrapped her arms around his neck as he wrapped his arms around her waist. She held on tight and sniffled as she pulled away. "What're you doing here?"

"You said I should watch."

"I meant at home, not actually come here." They smiled.

"I wanted to surprise you." He said softly. Peggy smiled hugely and tugged at his wrist.

"Come with me." They started walking towards one of the private rooms.

"Where are we going?"

"Somewhere away from all of the cameras." He just followed her into a changing stall where she shut the door behind them.

"Peg, what're you--" She hooked her hand around his neck and pulled his lips to hers gently. He felt everything she was doing. Her fingers that were gently brushing his hair to the way her lips felt. Her other hand was resting on his chest. It wasn't a heated kiss but it was filled with passion. He was sure he was wearing more lipstick than she was, but he didn't care. Steve was so shocked he hasn't even placed his hands on her. She slid her hand across his chest and down his arm to then drag his hand up. She then took away her other hand to put his other arm on the small of her back. She pulled away and looked into his eyes to see his reaction. Steve was pleasantly surprised. Peggy giggled but Steve was speechless. He smiled at the sound of her innocent laugh.

"I've been wanting to do that for a while." She confessed and hugged him. He rested his cheek on her head.

"Me too." Peggy put her head on his chest and heard how fast his heart was beating. It was faster than hers when she was walking down the runway. "But we shouldn't." Peggy pulled back and looked at him with her brows furrowed.

"What do you mean?" He took a deep breath.

"You're dating Daniel." He sighed.

"I'm breaking up with him." Peggy rubbed her lips together. "Tonight."

"I'm guessin' you saw him on his phone when you were walking?"

"And punch the other guy in the face? Yes, I've been made aware."

"Peggy, I know." He looked into her eyes deeply. Steve removed his hands from her waist.

"Know what?" She tilted her head. Steve grabbed her wrist and turned it over to reveal another dark purple bruise.

"About this." He pointed to the way he saw on her rib last time they took pictures. "And that one too. And all the others you cover up. You're not clumsy either because I haven't seen you look worried about walking in those heels."

"You don't know what you're talking about." She raised her voice slightly.

"I know enough." He rubbed her arm as she looked down with tears. "Peggy, I can help you. There's other people that can. All you need to do is ask."

"I never loved him." She said as a tear ran down her face. "I don't know why I can't leave him." Peggy hugged his waist as he bent down to kiss the top of her head.

"It's okay." He whispered. "It's okay." She pulled him tighter and all he wanted to do was hold her. "Hang on." Steve pulled his phone out and dialed Sam. "Hey man, you can go. I'm gonna call an Uber." Peggy looked up at him.

"Alright. I'll see you tomorrow."

"See ya." Steve locked his phone and put in his back pocket.

"Steve, you didn't have to--"

"I just wanna make sure you're okay for the night." Peggy smiled. "Come on, let's get ready to go." Steve opened the door for her and they walked out. She dressed out of the Victoria Secret lingerie and got into what she was wearing before. They called an Uber and waited outside. The car soon pulled up and Steve opened the door for her. As they drove to the studio, Peggy leaned on him.

"Thanks, have a good night," Steve said as they pulled up to the front of the building.

"You too." The driver said. Steve put his hand on the small of Peggy's back and they walked into the building together. Luckily, no one was snapping pictures of them. They went up to Steve's studio and he flicked on the lights. No one was there. They went to the dressing room where Steve helped her off with her coat and hung it up.

"Do you need anything?" He asked softly. She turned around and met his eyes.

"Your sweatshirt would be nice." Steve remembered he left it on his desk chair on accident. He totally forgot it after he packed his things.

"Give me a sec." He took it off the chair and handed it to her. Peggy immediately pulled it over her head and fixed her hair. She hugged him again.

"Thank you." Peggy whispered. He rubbed her back. As she pulled away, their eyes met. Steve broke it off.

"So," He sat on the couch. "Tell me all about the runway show." She sat with her back against the arm of the couch. Her legs were resting on his lap.

"Backstage was chaotic." She took a deep breath. "Since I'm supposed to be a dark angel, there were black wings all over the place. Those things get in the way."

"I could imagine. I have a question." She raised her eyebrows. "Do all dark angels have to wear black? What about other colors?"

"Only black and sometimes silver or gold. They're very strict."

"Bummer. I'm sure you would've loved to be in red." He smirked.

"I'm sure you would've loved it too," Peggy smirked and Steve looked away with a smile. She scooted over beside Steve and tilted his head towards her. "If it's any consolation, I'm wearing red right now." She whispered seductively. Steve went to object but she put her finger on his lips. "I know you said we shouldn't but I was never a stickler for rules." She smirked as she slowly removed her finger and replaced it with her lips. Now he was under her spell. Steve couldn't pull away if he tried. It was like kissing the forbidden fruit, so sweet but something that he couldn't have. Not yet anyway.

The kissing was heated and Peggy leaned down with her lips locked with Steve. They were now laying down with Steve hovering over her. His lips moved on to her cheek and neck. As soon as he kissed her pulse, she moaned quietly. He smirked as he did it again and got the same response. "You sure we should be doing this here?" He asked against her skin.

"Probably not." She breathed. "But if you stop now--" He moved his lips away and looked at her. She pouted as he put his lips back to hers again. Steve moved his arms around her waist and picked her up. He didn't want to do it there because other people sit on that couch. His lips were locked as they moved through the door and to his car. He dropped her for the sake of privacy but as soon as they were in the front seats, she was nipping at his neck.

"Don't blame me if we crash." He smirked and she giggled against his skin. Steve held onto her thigh possessively.

"Just keep your eyes on the road." Peggy teased and gently kissed his jaw.

Steve was speeding lightly all the way there. Enough to be ticketed but not enough to be under their radar. Steve fumbled with the keys to his apartment and eventually unlocked the door. It swung open while Peggy's legs were wrapped possessively around his waist. Steve kicked the door back with his heel and locked it. He walked straight to his bedroom and laid her down flat. Steve hovered over her and followed her lead. He didn't want to do anything she wasn't comfortable with. Peggy's fingers immediately went to his hair until she began to unbutton his vest then his button-down. As she did the last button, her hand slid up his stomach to feel his chiseled body. He shivered under her touch which she seemed to notice by her sudden smirk. Steve unbuttoned her pants as she shuffled them off. He put his hand on her bare thigh again as he broke off the kiss to grab her waist and move her up the bed.

Chapter Text

Peggy immediately used him as a pillow. She loved his scent and his build was more than comfortable. They lay there as they tried to catch their breath. "Do you think the media'll find out?" Steve asked.

"Eventually, maybe."

"Paps already found me by the way." She looked up to him but didn't dare move her body away from his. "I went on a walk and my camera fell out of my pocket just as I was about to pass them."

"Well, I guess they were tracking you down anyways. Far away from here?" He shook his head.

"Not even a block away." He sighed.

"I'm sure your picture will be out tomorrow or even sooner." Steve leaned down and picked his laptop up. He opened the lid and immediately saw news coverage of him on the street. "I told you--"

He put his finger up, "Don't say 'I told you so.'" She giggled.

"At least they're saying good things." He shrugged and checked his email. "Wait," She pointed to an email. "That's from Ellen."

"Degeneres?"

"Who else?" He clicked on the email and saw that she wanted him and Peggy to come on the show. "I'm going to have to break up with Daniel first."

"Definitely." He said, clearly bewildered.

"Let's do it. It'll be fun." She said as she wriggled in his arms and cupped his cheeks. "Please..." She begged. He looked deeply into her eyes and smiled.

"Okay." He whispered and she burst into joy. He laughed and wrapped his arms around her waist to flip her over. Steve kissed her nose.

"But I have one more thing to ask." He collapsed his head into the crook of her neck.

"And that is?" He mumbled against her skin, which he was now kissing lightly.

"I have tickets to the Oscars and I wanted to know if you'll go with me." He smiled and squeezed her tighter.

Steve had always wanted to go to the Oscars. It was a dream of his. He loved movies and loved getting dressed up for big events. He would meet his favorite actors and actresses while keeping in his internal screaming when he takes his seat. The red carpet was always huge for him too because he was offered to take pictures there once. He declined because Steve was new to the photography business then, still learning his specialties. Now, he's mastered his career but hasn't gotten an invite to the award show. Now he has his chance but he won't be taking pictures outside, he'll be on the red carpet next to the sexiest woman of the year.

"I'd love to go with you." He answered happily. He was aware of the stakes they'd be taking. He'd no longer be hidden from media, rumors about him stealing Peggy from Daniel, rumors of Peggy cheating on Daniel, and his career would be in danger or it would become greater. It was fifty-fifty.

"I guess we should delay the Christmas party with Sam." She sighed.

"Well if we let him pick our outfits out, he'll have his own little party. I'll text him now."

Hey, Sam, Peggy and I are going to the Oscars on Thursday. Help us pick out outfits?

My outfits on the red carpet? You're in a giving mood this Christmas.

So you'll do it?

Of course. I'll see you at the studio tomorrow.

Do we have a new job?

New job, old client. Sharon Carter at 1:00.

"Shit." He mumbled under his breath.

"What is it?"

"I have a job tomorrow with Sharon Carter." He rubbed his hand over his eyes.

"The problem...?"

"She always tries to sleep with me." Peggy raised her eyebrows.

"What does she do?" Peggy asked sternly.

"I've thrown her number out a few times, she touches me, she--" Peggy put her finger over his lips.

"Trust me, if she even lays a finger on you, it'll be the last thing she does." He smirked and grabbed her arm to then start kissing his way down.

"You might wanna watch out for my neighbor too. She's across the hall, name's Lorraine." Peggy groaned with jealousy.

"Has she touched you too?"

"No, but with her, I feel like she's mentally undressing me." Peggy let out an amused smile and hummed a laugh. "I'm sure if she was close enough, she'd touch below my belt."

"I'm not sure if you're trying to make me jealous or if you're just cocky."

"Little bit of both." He mumbled and closed his eyes. He rested his forehead against her neck as she petted his hair. "Why is your heart beating so fast?"

"Maybe because it feels like a boulder is on top of me." She sighed.

"Do you want me to get off?" She slid her hand down his back while the other was still combing through his hair.

"No. You're really warm."

"Good because I wasn't going to move anyways." She slapped his shoulder and he chuckled. Steve realized the room had grown darker since they were in there. "What time is it?" He reached over the bed and grabbed his phone. He squinted his eyes as he unlocked his phone. It was one o'clock in the morning. "Do you want me to drive you home or are you good?" He didn't really want her to leave.

"I'm good. Go to sleep, you have work tomorrow." Peggy kissed the top of his head and moved the strands of hair back. He smiled and turned to lay on his back. She instinctively nuzzled into him. Steve enjoyed the warmth and fell asleep to her scent. Tonight was the first night he hadn't recited his usual saying.

It's not just a crush anymore. He thought.

*

Steve woke up to his irritating alarm. He slapped it and continued to hug his pillow. Or what he thought was a pillow. Steve had just remembered Peggy was laying next to him. Makes sense considering his pillow isn't as comforting as she is. He then felt her hands make trails through his hair and he opened his eyes.

"Morning." He said.

"Morning, darling." Steve started to get up to make coffee.

"I'm coming with you to the photoshoot today so Sam can help me pick out a dress." He went into the hallway.

"And so you can spy on Sharon." He called with a smirk she couldn't see.

"Shut up." She giggled and stood up to follow him into the kitchen a few minutes later. He had set out a mug for her while he was sipping the one in his hand. "And besides, her eyes shouldn't be lingering on your body," Steve smirked as he lifted the mug to his lips. He watched her and put his mug down on the counter.

"So possessive of me." He sighed and came around the counter to hug her from behind. Steve rested his chin on her shoulder as his hands were on her stomach. "You've nothing to worry about. I'll be good, promise."

"It's not you I'm worried about." He kissed her shoulder and sat next to her.

"I'm sure if she sees you hanging on my arm, she'll think twice." He spoke softly and Peggy was grateful for his words. She was a little possessive over him because she really liked him. She nodded and sipped her coffee again.

"Will you come with me to Daniel's house tonight?" He nodded.

"Sure." Steve kissed the top of her head and went to take a shower. She went back to the bed and relaxed. Thoughts were running through her. How would we break it to Daniel? How would he react? There was no doubt that the paparazzi will be waiting just outside of his gate snapping pictures of Peggy. If it goes over well, they'll be headlines of the breakup by tomorrow.

*

"Hi, Sharon," Steve said as she walked through the front door with see-through skin-tight leggings. He could tell what color her underwear was from across the room.

"Hey, Stevie." Peggy heard her say from the dressing room. She immediately stepped out and saw Sharon place a hand on his shoulder. There was definitely flirting going on. Even though Sam was still helping her try on dresses for the award show, she stepped out anyway.

"Steve," She said and Sharon turned around to see who it was. Steve looked absolutely stunned. It was a black dress with silver linings throughout. The neckline plunged to just above her belly button and showed the perfect amount of cleavage. It was backless too, minus a few straps to keep it up. There was a leg slip to show her almost flawless calves. Almost flawless meaning there was a bruise just above her ankle meaning that she may have been kicked or something slammed into her. Either way, Steve was frowning internally but, for her own sake, Steve's jaw was dropped. Not that he felt any remorse giving her that kind of attention. He was absolutely in love with what he was looking at. Surprising himself that he wasn't drooling. "I think Sam needs you." She smirked.

Sharon walked towards the dressing room, passing and side-eyeing Peggy in the process. Sam didn't need Steve at all, everyone knew that. He walked towards her while he desperately tried to keep his eyes on her face. It was rough and an incredibly hard task. He stopped when he was toe to toe and he could see the small indentation of a dimple surrounding her quirked lips.

"You are allowed to look, you know." She clarified and he let his eyes feast upon the image upon him. Peggy looked at his hands and noticed he was pressing his nails into the palms of his hands so he wouldn't reach out for her. She wanted his hands on her so she had to tempt him. Peggy took a step closer and slid her hand up his torso to then have it rest in the center of his abdomen. She felt his heartbeat and his deep breaths, again she smirked. "You can touch too." She said lowly so Sam and Sharon couldn't hear her.

Steve put one hand on her waist and pushed her back into the wall beside the entrance of the dressing room. With the other hand, he lifted her leg and pinned it on his hip. She curled her leg around his waist and gently lifted the back of his shirt up with her foot. Steve's lips collided with her collarbone as he began to leave a love bite. She bit her lip and moaned quietly to risk detection of the others. His hand roamed from her waist down to her ass where he clawed lightly as he pressed deeper on her collarbone. She moaned softly into his ear and he could've taken her right then and there if he didn't have a job to do.

"Steve, can you come in here? I need your opinion on something." Sam called. Steve sighed against her skin, arousing her even more, and dropped his hands from her body.

"Be there in a sec." He said back. "You look amazing." He kissed her jaw. "Is this the dress you're gonna wear?"

"Probably not." He made a whimpering noise. "I'd rather surprise you on the red carpet so the cameras can capture your reaction."

"I assume we'll be arriving in separate cars." Peggy patted his cheek and smiled.

"Yes, sir." He nodded and went into the dressing room with Peggy not far behind. Sharon was standing in the middle of the room with an obviously annoyed expression on her face. Peggy walked up to her with an outstretched hand. "Hi, Sharon, I'm--"

"Peggy. Yeah, I gathered." She sighed as Peggy dropped her hand awkwardly and moved to one of the dressing room stalls. "What is she doing here?" Sharon whispered sternly to Steve.

"Uh, she wanted to come?" He said as if it was obvious. Steve tilted his head and laughed briefly before moving to the couch. "What'd you need my opinion on, Sam?"

"Blue or green for her?" Sam showed Steve two rompers that she'd be wearing in the shoot. One was a faded ocean blue and the other was a fluorescent sea green. Steve pointed to the green because her blonde hair would transition nicely.

"Why do you ask me anyways? This is your job." Steve dryly teased as Sam put his hands on his hips.

"My job is to make sure she looks good and for that to happen, I need the photographer's opinion so shut your mouth, pretty boy." Sharon snorted and Peggy opened the curtain while giggling. Steve's mouth was agape in an 'o' shape because he was trying to look offended.

"I hate you," Steve said with an amused smile on his face.

"Feeling's mutual." Sam handed the romper and silky shorts to Sharon as Peggy came out and handed the dress to Sam. "This the one?" He asked with raised eyebrows.

"No, I think I'm going to surprise him on the red carpet." She said quietly so Sharon couldn't hear.

"Let's check out a few more so you're sure." Peggy nodded with a smile and turned around to see Steve already staring at her. She walked over to him and put her lips a centimeter apart from his. Her hands pushed into the couch beside his thighs.

"You know, you really shouldn't be in the dressing room." She said lowly as a smirk grew onto her lips.

"Are you kickin' me out?" He asked with raspy voice that Peggy absolutely adored. She cupped his jaw and brought her lips to his as they began to kiss passionately.

"Still here, guys," Sam said, obviously uncomfortable. Peggy pulled away, still only a few centimeters away, as her lips were locked on his pink, swollen lips. Her hand warm on his chest as he still had both arms resting on the back of the couch.

"Yes," She walked backward and towards him again, "you are."

"I'm thinking red for you." He whispered and she nodded with a smile.

"He loves me in red," Peggy said as she picked up her issue of Cosmopolitan, showing her in red lingerie.

"I see that." Sam took a deep breath. "I think I got something for you." He held up a finger as Sharon walked out of the dressing room, phone and her other clothes in hand.

"Ready?" Steve asked.

"Lead the way, big guy." Peggy heard Sharon say. She was about to walk over there and make sure that was the last thing she said.

"Peggy?" Sam called again. She turned her head to him. "Third time I called. You okay?" He laughed.

"Yeah... yeah. I'm sorry, what were you saying?"

"Are you jealous?" He asked with a teasing smile.

"No, no, of course not." She said unconvincingly.

"Alright," Sam said sarcastically. "If it makes you feel better, she's offered to sleep with him multiple times but he always turns her down. Even before you." Peggy smiled and bit her nail as they continued to pick out dresses for her to wear. Nothing really stood out to her.

"Sorry, Sam. Maybe I can find something somewhere else." He shrugged.

"That's okay. I could recommend a few places if you're up for it." She nodded and he wrote down the names of a few dress stores ranging from expensive and average prices. "As long as I see you wearing a dress you're comfortable in, I'll be happy."

"I think he'll be happy too." She smirked and walked out of the dressing room.

As soon as she stepped out, Peggy saw Sharon walk towards him and kiss him. She was basically lying on top of him as the chair bent back. Peggy cleared her throat rather loudly. Sharon immediately pulled away and stood up from him.

"Peggy!" He was worried. He didn't want to kiss her, she just kind of lunged at him. Steve stood up and walked over to her. "Peggy, it's not what you think, I didn't want to." She looked like she wanted to cry. "Peggy..." She saw that he hadn't initiated it and it was all Sharon. Steve took her hands in his as he pleaded for forgiveness while Sharon was standing still next to the chair.

Sharon was still there.

Peggy shot daggers her way. If looks could kill Sharon would be ashes and if Steve hadn't let go of her, Peggy would have made sure she was good and dead. Steve saw the looks she was giving her and he didn't want to break up a cat fight he was sure Peggy would win.

"No, Peggy." He pleaded with her as he stood. "She's not worth it." He whispered. Peggy nodded and went back to the dressing room with her head hung low and her arms crossed. Steve turned around to the blonde. "Leave. I'm dropping you." He pointed to the door.

"This has never been a problem before." She argued.

"Well, it is now. Go." He demanded and she just left. Her stuff was already on his desk, not including her clothes she walked in with. "I'm throwing your clothes out if you don't take 'em."

"Go right ahead." She outstretched her arms as she walked out. "Those leggings were itchy anyways." Sharon walked out the door. Steve sighed and walked back to the dressing room.

"Sam, can I have Sharon's fitting measurements?" Sam rifled through a stack of notecards he keeps for every model they've ever shot pictures for in case they come back. He handed Steve the card and it was torn up immediately. The trash now held the shredded paper with unreadable numbers.

"What if she comes back?" Sam asked.

"She's not. I'm making sure of that." He huffed and put his hands on his hips. "I'm dropping her." Peggy smiled proudly behind him. Sam shrugged.

"Where are the clothes we let her borrow?"

"She... uh, she took them." Steve put his hands out in surrender. "I will pay for them, I promise."

"You damn right you will." He joked and slapped Steve on the back as he left the room to make a cup of coffee. Steve sat beside Peggy with his arm on the back of the couch, an open invitation to cuddle.

"Dropped her?" Peggy asked as she snuggled closer to him, placing a hand on his chest and the other snaked underneath his back.

"I'm refusing to work with her." He clarified and heard Peggy make a pleasing sound. "Did you find a dress?"

"Not yet." She sighed. "I have to go shopping for one and I'm sure you don't want to--"

"Okay." He interrupted.

"Okay?" She said looking to him.

"I'm gonna take you shopping." Steve smiled as he looked down to her.

"Steve, you don't have to." She laughed lightly.

"I know. I want to." He smiled at her. She pecked his lips.

"You're amazing."

"Uh huh." He agreed as she came up and began kissing him again. Steve wrapped his arms around her as she cupped his jaw and they slowly leaned back on the couch. Sam walked in with a mug in his hand.

"Seriously guys?"

*

Why did we decide on going to our separate houses tonight?

It's girls night. Why? Miss me?

Terribly. Maybe I'll go hang out with Bucky and Sam. Will you be with Natasha?

And Angie. I'll be sure to talk about you all night.

Probably not much to say.

There's enough.

Alright well, stay safe. I know how those paps get. Call me if they hurt you.

I'll manage but thank you. Maybe I'll come over tonight?

Whatever you wanna do.

Steve set his phone down and took a deep breath as he straightened his jacket for tonight. The press would be all over them too considering Bucky is Natasha's new boyfriend and Steve is pretty popular in media gossip. He drove to their bar and met with Bucky and Sam at the wooden table after going through a crowd of paparazzi and reporters.

"Do they ever take a break?" Steve asked.

"So far, no," Bucky said as he took a swig of his beer.

"You can't say it's the worse thing that's happened." Sam pointed out and the men shrugged.

"True." Steve agreed as one of the workers set his drink on the table. "I was invited on Ellen." The guys spit up their drink.

"When!" Bucky asked.

"Next week on Monday," Steve said.

"What are you wearing?" Sam asked.

"Not sure yet." He shrugged and Sam rolled his eyes.

"I'm picking stuff out for you." He insisted and Steve finally took him up on his offer. His phone buzzed and Steve saw Peggy's name across the screen.

Don't forget about Daniel tonight.

Don't worry. I'll be there for you. How's girl's night?

It's okay. I'm a little tired. Actually wishing I was in bed... with you...

Steve excused himself from the table and walked to the back of the building in the cold air. He called Peggy, hoping she excused herself too and moved to the restroom. Luckily, they thought the same way and she picked up a few seconds later.

"Hello." Steve could hear her smiling.

"Miss me, huh?" He teased.

"Little bit." She bit her lip as she leaned against the bathroom stall. "Can I sleep over tonight?"

"Of course." He answered right away. "You nervous for the whole break-up tonight?"

"Yes. I'm wondering how he'll react if he'll--" She couldn't say it.

"I'll be there. If he tries anything, I'll beat him to it. Don't stress, baby." Peggy was instantly calmed when he called her 'baby.' She took a deep breath and nodded.

"You're right."

"And we'll go shopping tomorrow for your dress if you still want to."

"Trust me I do." She was smiling again.

"Good 'cause I can't wait until you have another dress on." Peggy rolled her eyes with an amusing smile.

"You'll probably say you like all of them."

"Well, how could I not?" He chuckled then there was silence for a few seconds where they were both smiling. "Alright, well I'll let you get back to the girls. I'll see you later."

"I'll see you." They both hung up and Peggy went back to her table. She slid into the mahogany colored booth just as their drinks arrived.

"Did you tell Steve I said hi?" Natasha teased as she took a sip from her gin and tonic. Peggy nudged her shoulder.

"Shut up." She mumbled with a small smile. "My name isn't plastered all over the Internet for having a 'hunk' as a boyfriend."

"It will be soon." Angie pointed out. "Do you think Steve's got any more single friends?" She asked half-joking and half not.

"I could ask for you," Peggy said and reached out for Angie's hand. "You'll find someone. It's just a matter of time."

"Yeah, and besides, who would want to pass up Angie Martinelli: award-winning actress." Angie rolled her eyes with a smile.

"You guys are lame." She joked and they giggled. Peggy's phone buzzed.

I see what you mean by lying in bed with me. Kinda want to do the same.

Kinda?

Okay, I really really wanna go home and hang out with you. I mean I love my boys but it's been a long day.

I know what you mean. When we pair up again it'll get even longer.

Don't stress about it. He's not gonna do anything with me there.

Hopefully.

Now, when you said you wanted to be in bed with me, did you mean sleeping?

"Do I need to take your phone away?" Natasha smirked as Peggy rolled her eyes and Angie started laughing. "You've been smiling at that thing for the past minute."

"I'm sorry." Peggy frowned. "It's just that I'm going to breakup with Daniel tonight and he's been texting and calling me like crazy. Steve is making sure I'm okay right now." The girls nodded.

"What a sweetheart," Angie said.

"What are the chances of two good looking Brooklyn boys becoming friends and being gentlemen?" The girls shrugged as Peggy looked back down to her phone.

Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't.

You are a cruel woman.

I know. The girls are getting angry. I may have to stop texting for a while.

Do what you need to do. I'll see you in a couple hours.

Make it one hour. I want to see you.

You got it.

*

Later on that night, Steve left the bar and went to pick her up at a restaurant nearby. He was leaning against the car as she said goodbye to her friends. He waved to them then opened the door for her to get in.

"So, you ready?" He put his hand on her knee and leaned over to kiss her cheek.

"As I'll ever be." She sighed and the car engine roared alive. He drove according to Peggy's navigation and parked outside of a beautiful home with white walls, brown shudders and rooftops, and a gate in the front. Steve stopped just in front of the gate passage and pressed the button. A few seconds later, Daniel answered.

"Yeah?" Peggy leaned over Steve to talk out the window.

"It's Peggy. We need to talk." The buzzer rang at the gate began sliding open. He drove through and backed up so his car was facing the front. "You know he has anger issues right?"

"Yeah I know but I don't have these muscles to look the part." He smiled and got out of the car with Peggy then following his lead. The media was basically clawing the walls to get a peek. Daniel walked out with his robe on and a cup of coffee in his hand. "I'll be right behind you." He reassured her as he took a few steps back and she was there, facing Daniel.

"Hey, gorgeous." He said as he tried to kiss her lips. She moved away and he kissed her cheek instead. "What was that about?" His brows furrowing.

"I need to talk to you. About us." She started. Daniel nodded towards Steve.

"Is that the photographer?"

"Yes." She spoke softly in an attempt to keep him calm. It wasn't working and Peggy feared nothing would keep him sedated.

"Figures." He scoffed. "Shoulda never hired him."

"No, I should have never hired you." She spoke bluntly, realizing her soft voice wouldn't help in any way.

"'Scuse me?" He took a step forward, as did Steve.

"Daniel, we're over. It's been like that for a while." He seemed shocked, genuinely shocked, that she wanted to leave him. "You have anger issues, you're rude, you... hurt me... physically and mentally and emotionally and I can't take it anymore. I've had enough. You and I are done." She finished her statement. Daniel couldn't believe it, he thought he treated her so nicely.

"Baby--"

"Don't call me that." She interrupted. Only Steve had the right to call her that.

"Peggy, every time I hurt you is an accident. Like you said, I have anger issues, I completely agree with that and I'll work on it. Just give us another chance." He took her hands in his. She removed her hands like a reflex and took a step back.

"No. I'm with someone else and they actually treat me nicely." She took a few more steps back. "Come on, Steve."

"Hey! I am not done with you!" He grabbed her by the wrist and Steve stepped in.

"Let her go." He said sternly.

"Listen, pal, you got no right to even be here right now. You don't know what's goin' on so why don't you take a step back." Steve needed a distraction. He had to take all of the attention off of Peggy and put it on himself so he could let go of her. The only way to do that: pretend like he's going to fight then walk away unless Daniel throws the first punch.

"Peggy, get to the car." He said quietly.

"Steve--"

"Peggy," He looked into her eyes and touched her shoulder briefly. "Please." He begged and she moved away, her hand sliding out of Daniel's.

"Do you want to fight? Is that what this is about? Come on, tough guy," Daniel pointed to his cheek. "Gimme your best shot."

"No. I'm not here for that. I'm here to protect her, something you should have been doing." Steve started walking away until Daniel grabbed his shoulder.

"You're a pussy, you know that?" Steve shoved Daniel back so he'd stop touching him.

"Call me what you like." He sighed and continued to the car. He grabbed his shoulder again.

"I'm not gonna ask you again--"

"No! You know what! I'm done! I'm fucking done! You pretended to be polite to a young girl ready to fall in love but then you turned. You turned into this monster she's scared to be around. You turned a young girl into a broken mess because of all your problems. You blamed her for things she had no part in, so who's the real coward?" Steve shouted as Daniel took a step back. His eyes showed he realized what he did but his body pulled back a punch directed at Steve. He blocked it and hit Daniel square in the jaw where he fell down. He was knocked out cold. Being who Steve is, he carried Daniel under his porch roof in case it started raining. He went back to the car with a softened attitude.

"Did that just happen?" Peggy asked, glorified.

"I believe it did." Steve started the engine and drove out of the mansion, cameras flashing all around the car. "How do you feel?" It took her a moment to answer.

"Free." She finally said with a huge smile on her face which, in turn, made Steve crack a grin. "Can we go home now?"

"Yes, ma'am."

*

Steve and Peggy lay there after making passionate, passionate love. They held in each other with content and each loving the warmth. Steve pulled out his laptop and flipped the top open.

"Think there's anything new about us?" He began typing. After only pushing the 'p' key, the first suggestion was 'Peggy Carter and the Photographer.'

"Yes." He searched it up and there was a new link. A couple actually. They all had similar titles, mostly about the scandal. Then there was this one that stood out. "Click on that."

Steve did as he was told and began reading.

It's no secret that Peggy Carter is dating her photographer, but who is he and why him? Where's Daniel? What! A new photo was leaked of how they feel about each other. Pretty scandalous, right? This was taken in what we assume to be the dressing room of his studio. Feverishly making out like newlyweds, it's cute. If we weren't swooning already... Tune in for more pics. We're sure they'll be more.

"Who took that..." Steve began but trailed off. "Sharon." He whispered.

"I'm going to kill her," Peggy muttered.

"Could be a good thing." Steve pointed out.

"We're going to be swarmed every where we go." Steve shrugged.

"For right now. Once everyone gets over this, it won't be huge anymore. It'll be good." He rubbed her arm in reassurance.

"Alright. I trust you." She said quietly and slowly closed the laptop for him. He placed it beside the bed and sunk down into the mattress with her. He kissed the top of her head.

"Night." She moved over to shut the lamp off then quickly snuggled into him.

"Goodnight."

Peggy went to sleep that night with a smile. Spending these nights with Steve felt a lot better than those with Daniel. Sometimes they wouldn't go to sleep at the same time, sometimes they'd make love then he'd turn around and go straight to sleep, most of the time he didn't say anything and began snoring beside her. She hated that. She hated him for a lot of things. One of those being the lack of love he expressed in their relationship. With Steve, it felt good. She felt his love and even though he may or may not be in love with her, she still feels the warmth he displays. Not physical warmth... emotional.

Chapter Text

Peggy woke first, already facing Steve. His snoring was a quiet and innocent whistle. She smiled to herself and stretched carefully so he wouldn't stir. Steve was sound asleep and Peggy couldn't think of something better to watch. He looked so peaceful, his hair wasn't totally messed up, and his cheeks were a light color of pink. Her arm was already wrapped around his neck so she moved it further and petted his hair. He groaned happily as a smile spread across his lips. She put her lips on the shell of his ear.

"Wake up, darling." She said in a singsong voice. He groaned again, he was awake, she knew he was. "Steve..." She sang again as he groaned reluctantly. Steve loves when she plays with his hair and if he showed he was awake, she'd probably stop. Peggy splayed her hand across his chest and slid down to his abdomen. "Please wake up, darling." She whispered and kissed just under his ear.

"I'm awake." He said in his scratchy morning voice. Peggy clawed at his stomach to pull herself closer to him. "How are you feelin'?"

Peggy took a deep breath. How was she feeling since she broke up with Daniel? Free, independent, lonely, and scared. She knew she shouldn't be feeling lonely because Steve is there but it's common to feel something like that after someone plays a huge part in your life, no matter what he did to her. She was scared because she wasn't sure if Daniel would come back somehow and act to how he felt, causing her or Steve to feel unsafe. There is a certain theme running with Daniel: anger. He has so much pent up rage that she's scared for when he unleashes it fully. Peggy is also terrified on where he acquired these feelings. It could have many factors such as the stress of work, being born with a tendency of anger issues, or, the worst one: her. Peggy didn't want to anger him because it only made things worse. To answer Steve's question, she should give him the long and truthful answer, but she needs today to be good. She will tell him one day, but not today.

"Good. Thank you, Steve. I wouldn't have been able to face him without you." He sighed in relief.

"I'm glad to hear that." He opened his eyes then sat up slowly. She rolled to her back and watched his muscles work as he moved off the bed. "Is it you or is it hot in here?" He smirked as he looked over his shoulder.

"Cheeky." She snorted. He pulled his tee shirt over his head and threw it at her. "Rude." She said with an amusing smile as she threw a pillow at him. He caught it with a playful smile and crawled onto the bed to then climb over her body while placing his pillow back to his respective side. Steve kissed her gently as she caught his jaw in her hands. Her heels skimmed down the back of his calves as he pulled away.

"Coffee?" He asked.

"That sounds good." She admitted as he pecked her lips once more before moving away and making a fresh pot. Peggy scooted to the edge of the bed and stood up carefully. She walked over to the screen doors that led out to the balcony. The curtains were pushed open to reveal a winter wonderland. Peggy leaned beside the glass and watched the snowflakes land in front of her, only inches away. Steve crept up behind her with two mugs.

"Here." His voice was still raspy from sleep. She wrapped her hands around the warmth of the caffeine. Steve put his empty hand on the small of her back and kissed her temple as he moved to sit on the couch. "So where do you want to go for dress shopping?"

Peggy moved off of the wall and walked over to the couch. She sat in the crook of his arm and sipped her coffee. "Sam gave me a list of places. There's only a couple that I would like to see."

"You got it. What're you lookin' for? Obviously red and I'm guessin’ you like the leg slip." She made a pleasing sigh.

"Yes, I like those, but I'm not really looking for anything specific. Whatever I see that I fall in love with." He nodded.

"What if you don't find something?"

"There is a dress at the studio that was okay, but I'd rather get something better." Steve made a noncommittal sound as he tilted his head back and rolled it against the couch cushion.

"I wanna go back to bed." He mumbled.

"With or without me?" She smirked. Peggy already knew the answer.

"I'll leave that up to you." He softly smiled as he brought his head back at the sound of his mailbox clattering. "I think I'll shower though. Maybe that'll wake me up." He rubbed his hand over his eyes as he got up to retrieve the mail. As he opened the door, the neighbor's door also opened, Lorraine was there staring at his glorious body.

"Morning, Steve." She said lowly.

"Oh, morning." Steve didn't even seem the least bit interested in her. He was focused on reading the senders of the mail.

"Did you see outside? I can barely see it from my window, but I know you have a balcony--" Peggy walked up to Steve and placed her lips tenderly onto his bicep.

"Come back to bed, sweetheart." She whispered loud enough for Lorraine to hear and get the message. Peggy slid her hand down his arm and moved towards the bedroom.

"I will in a few, keep the blankets warm." He called as he shut and locked his mailbox.

"They're still warm from a few minutes ago." She called and Lorraine definitely heard that one.

"I'll see you around, Lorraine." He said and shut the door. Steve was smirking as he crossed over into the bedroom. "I love when you get jealous." He knelt down on the bed and pulled her towards him by her ankles. She gasped as he leaned over and placed his lips on her collarbone, next to the love bite he had given her yesterday.

"I am not jealous. Maybe a little protective, but not jealous." She breathed.

"I think you mean possessive." Steve pulled away from her skin and looked approvingly at the mark he had made on her. She cupped his cheeks again and looked into his eyes.

"I hope you don't mind that. I've been known to be a bit sentimental." Steve shook his head with a soft smile.

"No, I like that you feel possessive over me." He bent down and kissed her neck. "And besides, it was really hot." She giggled.

"What? Making up a story?" She asked as he moved away.

"Mhm." He agreed and walked out of the bedroom. "I'm takin' a shower." He called.

"Maybe I'll join you."

*

"Oh my god..." He mumbled as Peggy came out in a dress that was form-fitting, sexy and elegant. "Baby, you look..."

"Beautiful? Sexy? Amazing?" She lightly laughed. "Those are the three things you've been saying all day."

"I told you I wasn't gonna be much help." He sighed.

"I don't think this is the one. If it was, you wouldn't have seen it." She walked over to Steve then turned around to see herself in the full body mirror. She caught his stare in the mirror. "What?" She asked, smiling.

"I... nothing." He looked to the floor and smiled. Peggy knew there was something but she wasn't going to annoy him about it. Instead, she moved to the dressing room with Steve following, he had to zip her in and out of the dresses. "So I guess you're goin' with Sam's dress at the studio?"

"I suppose." Peggy sighed as he slowly unzipped the dress and kissed her bare shoulder.

"Well, whatever you decide on, I'm sure you'll look beautiful either way." He kissed her cheek before exiting the dressing room to give her privacy. Peggy looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. She was actually blushing. The dress pooled at her ankles as she stepped out of it and hung it back on the plastic hanger. On their way out, Steve stopped her in the middle of the store. "So you are one hundred percent positive you don't wanna look at anything else?"

"Yes." She said quietly and he began walking again. Peggy looked at a mannequin standing on the table with a beautiful black dress on. It had the leg slip and a perfect neckline to show her cleavage. She stopped and looked at it for a moment before Steve noticed she wasn't following. He walked beside her and looked at the dress her eyes were locked on.

"Try it on." He suggested. Peggy tore her eyes away and smiled tightly to him.

"No, we should get going. The snow settled down and it's not even in my color." He nodded.

"Alright, well, sorry we couldn't get your dress." He said and took hold of her hand. They walked out of the shop together, hand in hand, as cameras began snapping pictures rapidly. Steve turned around and made a mental note of the store's name.

"Peggy! Is this your photographer?" One of the men shouted at her. Steve had his hand laced tightly with hers.

"Peggy! Peggy! Where's Daniel?" Another shouted. Steve stopped. He knew she was extremely sensitive on the issue, she hadn't fooled him this morning. He turned around to the paparazzi and walked a few steps closer to them.

"Guys, do you mind not mentioning Daniel? It's kind of a sensitive issue." He told them and they nodded with a few apologies. They took pictures like animals, but at least they could understand. He turned back around with a thank you and proceeded to walk to their car.

"You're the photographer, right?" One of them asked.

"Yes, I am." He smiled and Peggy squeezed his hand. She was proud they were doing this.

"What's your name?" Another asked as they rounded the car. Steve opened the door for her and pulled his door handle.

"Steve Rogers." He answered and shut the door before driving off.

*

"I'm exhausted." Peggy groaned as they walked into their apartment. Well, it was his apartment but for the amount of times she stays over, they basically co-owned it.

"I'm going back to bed," Steve said as he sat on the edge of the mattress to kick off his shoes. Peggy did the same then got undressed to her undergarments. It was comfortable and Steve stripped down to just boxers. Without any context, a person might think they had just finished doing something. Peggy cradled into Steve as he held her against him. "Shall we check the news?" Peggy nodded and he opened his laptop. "How much do you wanna bet that they already have a story for the pictures they took?"

"I don't think they posted them yet." She said. Steve went to a social media site and the picture was nowhere to be found.

"Damn it." He muttered before closing his laptop completely and laid back down beside her. Steve turned his head and met her eyes.

"What?" She asked and lightly laughed.

"Nothin'. I just can't believe I'm laying in bed with Peggy Carter." He smirked as she rolled her eyes with an amusing smile.

"I can't tell if you're my boyfriend or my fan." She sighed and looked back to him.

"Am I either?" He asked carefully. Peggy rubbed her lips together. She wasn't really sure what they were. They hadn't gone out on a date, but he did more than that. He saved her.

"I don't know." He shrugged.

"As long as we're still together, it's fine." He smiled as his hand met her waist. She leaned in to kiss him hard and pulled him on top of her. Peggy, now lying on her back, cupped his jaw as he positioned himself.

*

"Thanks, Sam," Steve whispered and hung up. He placed his phone down on the nightstand then rolled over to Peggy who was sleeping.

"Darling, who was that?" She was half-asleep.

"It was just Sam. He wanted to know if you found a dress yet."

"Okay." Peggy went right back to sleep. Steve laid there for a few minutes, just watching her take in deep breaths and exhale slowly. Her hair was messy and spread out all over the sunken pillow her head laid on. Lipstick long gone but some of her eye makeup still remained. Even though he always calls her beautiful and she teasingly hates it, he's only speaking the truth. He has never met someone so beautiful in his life. He could wake up to her face for the rest of eternity.

The Oscars' were tonight. Sam was going to put him in a tuxedo later on, what he had already been fitted for. It was early in the morning and Steve probably woke Sam up. He cannot wait for tonight.

Chapter Text

"Come on, the Oscars are in three hours, we gotta start getting ready," Steve said as he jumped on her to wake up. She's been awake for most of the day but hasn't gotten out of bed. She moaned as he straddled her and shook her shoulders. "You gotta get up, baby, let's go!" He jumped off the bed as Peggy began laughing. She propped herself up on her elbow and watched him frantically look for his other shoe.

"Remember you kicked off your shoes last night? Before we..." He pointed at her.

"Right." Steve looked under the bed and found it. She crawled over to him and slid her hands on his back. She put her lips between his shoulder blades and made her way to the back of his neck. "Where are your shoes?"

"Beside the door." He put his hands behind him to pick her up. She gasped as he walked out of the bedroom to the door. She was giggling the whole time. Steve picked her shoes up with two fingers then set her back on the bed. He got down on one knee and placed her shoe on. "You know I can do this by myself."

"Oh really? I had no idea." He teased as he tied on one shoe. Steve put on the other and began tying.

"So you're nervous, I get that."

"I'm not nervous, I just wanna be there on time." Peggy was unconvinced. She stood up with both of her shoes on as he grabbed their coats. "Are the paps out there?" He asked as he pulled the lapels over his neck.

"Definitely." She sighed and they walked out of the building. There they were, almost a dozen men and women reporting and taking pictures.

"Are you two going to the Oscars together?" One of them asked before Peggy put her hands out to quiet them down. The flashing stopped and the microphones were turned on as only one camera was recording what she was about to say.

"Yes, we are going to the Oscars together but he won't be seeing my dress until we get there so you may want to capture his reaction." She finished with a smile and walked over to Steve who opened his car door for her. Steve entered on his side and they drove to the studio.

"Are you seriously nervous?" She asked.

"No, why?"

"Because your hand is shaking on my leg." She laughed lightly. Peggy wrapped her fingers around his bicep and leaned towards him. She pressed kisses on his shoulder and down his arm.

"I'm nervous for when we get to the studio." He confessed.

"Why?"

"You'll see." He squeezed her thigh briefly and she rubbed his arm.

They finally arrived at the studio and Steve went to the parking lot. He drove a few floors up and finally managed a tight space between a wall and another car. He shimmied out of the car while Peggy was laughing at his efforts. They went into the studio where Steve put his hand on the small of her back.

"So, the surprise I was tellin' you about... should be in here." Steve lead her into the dressing room where Sam was standing with a mischievous grin on his face.

"Steve..." She breathed as she saw the dress he had bought her. It was the one from yesterday but in red. "How did you..."

"Sam helped out. I know you liked it so I called him to get it in your size. It should fit--" Peggy wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. He smiled, without even knowing, and hugged her back. Steve opened his eyes to see Sam looking at the happy couple. He mouthed 'thank you' and Sam nodded with a sideways smile. Peggy pulled back and looked up to him. "Try it on. I'll be in the other room."

"Thank you, Steve." She whispered and leaned up to kiss him. She nuzzled her nose against his.

"No problem." He whispered and tilted his head to Sam.

"I'm just gonna get my tux and get out of your hair." He moved past her and grabbed his dress clothes in a zipped bag. It was just a simple black and white ensemble. "Treat her nice, Sam." He said half-jokingly half-not.

"Always do." He said smiling. Steve left the room to get ready and Peggy closed the door. She turned to Sam and smiled at the dress. "You really like it, huh?"

"I do." She sighed and looked to him. "He is so sweet." Sam's eyebrow quirked up, not believing what he was hearing.

"He's the devil." Sam pointed out jokingly.

"Maybe to you." She said simply. Her phone then began buzzing at a rapid pace. Two, three, four, and five text messages all from the same number: Daniel's. She then answered his phone call.

"Who is it?" Sam whispered.

"Daniel." She clarified and he looked shocked. Sam wasn't sure if he should stop it, get Steve, or let her work it out herself. It was too late and now she was talking to her abuser. "Hello? [pause] No Daniel. I thought I made it quite clear. [pause] No and at this time I think it's inappropriate for us to make an appearance together. You'll just have to watch from your TV at home. Do not call me again and if you ever feel so inclined to, you'll be answering to Steve or many of my other friends that you've been rude to. This is my choice." And with that, she hung up the phone. Sam smiled to himself, he knew she could take care of it and would not fall victim to his ruse. "Now, the dress?"

*

Peggy stared at herself in the full body mirror. She looked stunning with the red dress perfectly clashing with her creamy skin and the dark waves of her chocolate hair. She wore it like she always does, pristine waves falling down to her feminine shoulders and parted more to her right. Her neckline naked from jewelry or any bold colors that may have blocked her beauty from the public eye. She was delightfully tan and her charcoal eyes complimented nicely among the contrast. Although she lacked tons of makeup, she looks better without it. Peggy does feel more confident with a bit of mascara on and of course her blood red lipstick. Sam nodded approvingly as Peggy smiled to herself.

Steve knocked on the door and talked slightly louder so he could be heard from where Peggy and Sam stood. "Hey Peg, Bucky and Natasha are here so I'm gonna go. I'll wait for you there so just text me when you're close."

"Will do." She called back and turned to look at her defined backside. "Thank you, Sam."

"My pleasure. You ready to go?" Sam would be driving her there because Angie had to go a little earlier.

"Yes, I am." She took one last look in the mirror and followed Sam out the door. Her heels thudded on the floor all the way to his car in the lot. She held her dress up at her hip so it wouldn't slide all over the dirty cement.

"Do you wanna sit in the back so it's more comfortable?" He asked as he approached her side of the vehicle.

"Now that you mention it." Sam smiled appreciatively and opened the door for her to enter. He helped her up by offering her his hand and she got into the car with no trouble at all. Sam went to the driver's seat and hopped in.

"Your knight awaits." He said as he placed his hand on the passenger's seat to back up in the parking lot.

"Please don't call him that." She giggled.

"Alright, Carter." There was a moment of silence until Sam said, "So, I've been wondering. What are you and Steve?"

"As in relationship status?"

"Yeah." Peggy rubbed her lips together before answering. She's thought and thought about it but never came up with a straight answer. She definitely wants him around in her life but it hasn't been made official. There wasn't a date, there were jokes, care for each other, amazing sex that Peggy was left dazed from, but she doesn't know if it sincerely counts. They aren't friends, she has feelings for him and he reciprocates similar ones for her. She left Daniel for him, well, she left Daniel because of him. He was treating her horribly but only Steve could make her see that, her hero. She would trust him with her life, granted she already did. Maybe they weren't boyfriend and girlfriend, but they were definitely something.

"I'm still trying to figure that one out myself." She sighed and Sam looked at her in the rear view mirror.

"Maybe I can help. Tell me what you're feeling and I'll give you advice." He offered.

"I don't know, Sam." She shook her head with a light laugh.

"Oh come on, it's either that or we play I Spy." She rolled her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing.

"He saved me from Daniel. Even on the first day of pictures I immediately felt that connection with him. He was just so sweet and friendly and we got along straight away. Steve cares for me and even noticing I liked this dress in the shop shows that he cares about me more than Daniel ever has. I like waking up next to him every morning and messing up his dirty blond hair." She smiled to herself, remembering how messy his hair is when he wakes up in the morning. Steve always gets a case of bed head, but it's really attractive on him and don't get Peggy started with his sex hair. She absolutely adores it. It's made up in the front to create a perfect overlap going to the back of his skull while the hair on his sides are going every which way.

"So what's the problem?" He asked as if it seemed all that easy. Maybe it was that easy.

"We haven't committed any feelings towards each other. We both know they're there but neither one of us has said a thing." Sam took a moment to answer.

"Steve has been this way for the majority of his life. Growing up, he never really had girlfriends. Girls never really looked at him until he got his growth spurt and bulked up at eighteen. Now, they throw themselves at him."

"Figuratively and literally." Peggy sighed, remembering Sharon. Sam chuckled as he made a right turn.

"Yes, figuratively and literally." He echoed. "But he had a major inexperience with girls for the majority of his life so it might be hard for him to express his feelings. Especially because of his last girlfriend. She was batshit crazy." Peggy giggled a bit. "Seriously though, she was psychotic and he may have been more damaged than he'd like to admit."

"He has mentioned her a few times. One of which where she flew a lamp at his head." Sam nodded.

"Sounds like her. Just wait for him to tell you how he feels. Falling madly in love with someone then having your heart broken can really limit how much a person shares." She nodded silently. She knew that already.

They arrived in the long line of limos and black SUVs that held famous celebrities. She texted Steve.

I'm in the line, might take a few minutes.

Got it. I'm pretty close to the cars. Can't wait to see you in your dress.

What about out of it?

Is that how tonight's gonna go?

If you're lucky.

Steve smirked to himself as he locked his phone and slipped it back into his pocket. He looked to Bucky who had Natasha on his arm, whispering sweet things to one another. He was wearing an all black suit while she had a flowing white gown that contrasted against the red carpet and her hair. Together, they looked like life and death but made for good pictures and they looked amazing together. Steve walked down the carpet a couple steps because the photographers were basically begging him for pictures. They knew that Peggy would be arriving soon and that Steve hadn't seen her in the dress yet. It was only a matter of time.

A few minutes later, Steve was posing for a few more shots until Bucky tapped his shoulder rapidly.

"What?" He said and turned to him then saw her. The photographers were taking pictures faster than Steve could blink. She was walking towards him with her eyes locked on his lips. Steve blushed a feverish red as he covered his mouth with both of his hands. As she walked closer, he ran a hand through his hair and took a step back. "Baby... you look..." Steve couldn't finish his sentence. Her in her dress combined with the bright smile dancing across her scarlet lips, he would have scooped her up in his arms if there weren't cameras around. He took her hand in his and spun her around. The dress twirled with the bottoms swiping across his pant leg. "Oh my god..."

"I know right?" She teasingly asked with a large smile across her cheeks.

"I would kiss you but there's a ton of cameras." She nodded.

"Don't worry they'll be plenty of time for that later." Peggy winked as Steve's jaw dropped. She giggled as a smile grew on his lips, the photographers snapping the pictures as fast as they could.

"You look absolutely amazing though. I'm definitely havin' dreams about this tonight." He confessed as their eyes locked.

"And you look equally, if not more, ravishing." She smirked as she hooked his arm with his. They walked a few steps then posed for the press, she stepped forward while Steve was just watching her work. She knows this, she's done this before but Peggy likes it better when Steve is behind the camera. Peggy stepped back because they wanted pictures of the happy couple. Steve wrapped his hand around her and rested it on the lower side of her waist. She reciprocated the hold and squeezed his right ass cheek. Steve jumped and immediately moved her hand up while she began shaking with laughter beside him.

"Above the waist please, Ms. Carter." He teased as he cleared his throat and watched her pose for the cameras. He didn't care they weren't getting direct pictures of his face, he just wanted to watch her do her thing. "So, when does this thing start anyways?"

"Oh, Mr. 'I want to be there on time,' suddenly forgets when it starts." She dryly joked as they moved down on the carpet.

"Kinda had someone distracting me."

"That wouldn't have been me, would it?" She played innocent and burst into another fury of giggles as they stopped again. Steve watched her as they took pictures and moved on to the next checkpoint. "But it starts at eight officially."

Steve checked his watch and it was currently seven. He heard people began arriving around six. "Takes two hours to get people inside?"

"It is the Oscars, Steve." She squeezed his arm. "Just another hour, darling."

"Okay." He sighed. "You're killin' me with that dress."

"My apologies, Mr. Rogers, but I believe it was you who bought it." She smiled brightly at him.

"And I don't regret it." He smiled back. She had wanted to kiss him then, and if they behind closed doors, she'd do more than just that. There was something about seeing him all dressed up that made her want to pounce. Peggy never really cared to see a man in uniform, being around the glamorous tuxedos and blazers left her unamused and numb to the satisfying view, but seeing Steve made her regain that feeling.

They continued on the red carpet for a half hour more until an interviewer stopped them. Normally, they wouldn't care if she was there but since her name has been popular recently, it was almost impossible to go in freely. The interviewer was a beautiful woman with a high ponytail and an elegant white and gold dress. Her smile could make an entire room shine and her dark eyes had a hint of gold in them. Steve and Peggy walked up a few steps to the small platform she stood at. The interviewer greeted them with a warm welcoming and notified them the camera would be shooting live soon. Her name was Zoe Gamora.

"Hi, thank you Pepper, now I'm with Peggy Carter and her photographer, the one everyone was dying to know, Steve Rogers. So, Peggy, we've been wondering what the journey's been like so far." Zoe shifted the microphone to Peggy and Steve, giving him a chance to answer if he wanted to.

"Well, it's been... interesting to say the least. From keeping him a secret to then everyone finding out within a matter of a week or two, it's been hectic." Steve nodded and smiled, something you do when you've got nothing to say and you're told to stand there and look pretty. Peggy didn't say that to him at all but he figured she'd be best at answering most of the questions considering she's done this before.

"I could imagine. What are you guys classifying yourselves as?" The mic was shifted again and Peggy looked to Steve who seemed pressured by the question. He listened to her judgment because he didn't want to move things too fast and he wanted her to be comfortable. She rubbed her lips together and looked down at the foam receiver.

"We're... a couple. It was confusing at first because we both know our feelings are there but we haven't really spoken much about what we are. In a sense, I don't think it really matters if we enjoy being in each other's company." Steve smiled approvingly at her and Peggy looked up to him only to realize he completely agreed with her.

"That's a great answer." Zoe nodded. "I'll see you guys on the Ellen show next week right?"

"Definitely," Steve confirmed as he leaned to the mic.

"Everyone tune into Ellen on Monday! I can't wait for these two to tell us all about their relationship." Steve and Peggy walked down the steps and back onto the never-ending red carpet.

"She was nice," Steve noted and Peggy gave him a questioning look.

"Don't ruin your perfect streak, Rogers."

"How're my chances so far?" He watched her movements but Peggy only looked over her shoulder and her smirk said it all. In his head, there was celebration music playing but he played it off with a smile. "So a couple, huh?"

"I thought it was a good answer, don't you?" He smiled and nodded as she hooked around his arm.

"Amazing answer, couldn't have said it better myself." She kissed his cheek, not for the cameras, but for more of herself because she couldn't resist him for this long.

*

They were seated and already two hours in, the Oscars would be ending soon. Steve looked over at her enough times that she giggled and told him to stop. He complained that she was distracting him and the banter died down when they heard Angie's name nominated for best actress in a leading role. She was against Meryl Streep, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, and Amy Adams. Tough set of women to beat but Peggy and Steve were rooting for her.

"And the winner is..." Leonardo DiCaprio announced before fumbling with the card. "Angie Martinelli."

"Oh my god!" Steve and Peggy said in unison. They began clapping and their smiles were huge. Peggy was so proud of her friend, from the beginning Angie had always been acting in plays at their high school and the nearest theatre. She stayed with her when she was turned down, they celebrated when she was accepted, it was fun. Then she got into movies and it's been a much larger celebration each time she was accepted which was more often than not and even though her career skyrocketed, their relationship stayed the same throughout. Peggy was grateful for that.

Angie walked onto the stage wearing a mesmerizing, star-quality smile. She took the Oscar in her hands and stopped in front of the microphone. "Thank you! Thank you! I cannot believe this is happening! Oh geez, forty-five seconds, okay! I want to thank all of my family and friends, especially Peggy Carter." Angie smiled in their direction as the camera panned over to Peggy and Steve. The cameras captured their fingers laced together but they didn't even notice that they were holding hands in the first place. "She's been with me through it all whether it be support, celebrating, or even just being my friend. I'll never forget what she taught me just a few months ago when my audition didn't go very well. She said, 'You should know your value. Everyone else's opinion doesn't really matter.' I believed her because she was honestly so right. I got the part for the movie and here I am, so thank you, Peggy." The audience clapped as Angie was escorted off stage.

"You said that?" Steve whispered to her. She nodded with a proud smile on her face as she turned to him.

"I did. I've been going by that motto for years and whenever someone asks me to slim down, I backfire because my body is as good as anyone else's. We shouldn't put unrealistic standards for women on magazines, there needs to be realness somewhere and I'll be damned if I don't try to help." Steve squeezed her hand and Peggy couldn't tell what the look in his eyes meant. It sent shivers down her body and caused her to lose her breath. She could almost describe it as... loving?

"You continue to surprise me every day." He said as he brought her hand up to his lips. He began pressing kisses on each one of her knuckles. Jimmy Kimmel closed the Oscars for a commercial break. Some people got out of their seats to stretch while Steve went to the bathroom. He straightened his tie and fixed his hair then splashed cold water on his face. He exited the bathroom and as he was making his way down the hallway, he was pulled into a storage closet. The door immediately shut afterward and Peggy was kissing him.

"How's this for a surprise?" She giggled as she pushed his head back to her by the nape of his neck.

"You are one helluva woman." He said against her lips. They were kissing fiercely, with the intent of doing more when they get home. The announcements went off saying that they were going to continue the Oscars in one minute. She pulled back and grabbed the lapels of his tux.

"It seems our time is up. We can continue or go back to our seats, it's up to you, Rogers." She smirked and leaned up on her toes to him. Her eyes locked and a centimeter away from his pink, plump lips.

"You deserve more than a storage closet, even if we are at the Oscars." He wryly smiled as she put herself back at her own height.

"You look a right state." She said then licked the pad of her thumb to dab his bottom lip and all around it. She fixed his hair then reapplied her lipstick without a mirror. Steve just watched her, he didn't know how she did it so perfectly but maybe the years and years of experience helped. He opened the door for her and they walked out together, watching the lights flicker in the main room so the audience and celebrities know they are about to begin again. The couple sat just as the intro music permeated the air.

*

"And I thought we'd never leave," Peggy said as she opened his apartment door.

"I'm sorry. I guess I'm just irresistible." He laughed cockily. She unbuttoned the buttons to his tux and pushed it off his shoulders. The suit pooled behind his heels and Peggy took a step back to take in the entire image before her. Steve in a tight button down and a bow tie. She thought he looked absolutely delicious.

"You're downright edible." She giggled. He lifted her off the ground as if she weighed as light as a feather and carried her into the bedroom. "Would you mind unzipping me?"

"I'd love to." He kissed her cheek and set her down carefully. Peggy moved to the full body mirror and watched Steve walk behind her carefully. Steve put his hot lips on to her neck as he slowly unzipped her, the shoulders of the dress slowly falling and the skirt pooling around her ankles. Once the dress was totally on the floor, she stepped out of her heels as he held her for support. Peggy took a deep breath as she looked at herself in the mirror. The scars, the fading bruises, the healing scratches. There wasn't a huge amount of them but enough to displease herself.

Steve saw how she was looking at herself in the mirror. He walked over and wrapped his arms gently around her body. He kissed her cheek then rested his chin on her shoulder and looked at her in the mirror.

"You're beautiful." He whispered into her ear and smiled. She blushed and rubbed her lips together.

"You're just saying that." Steve spun her around and looked into her bashful eyes. He hated that she was like this all because of Daniel. Steve cupped her jaw and kissed her slowly to show her just how much he cared about her. Peggy held his shirt in fists and pulled it out from his pants as he kissed her softly.

"I'm not." He mumbled as he pulled back.

Chapter Text

It was Monday and they were to go onto Ellen today. Steve had made an effort to ignore all tabloids so Ellen could talk about something he wasn't aware of. Steve looked into their bedroom and saw Peggy was putting on her shirt for the day. He watched her get dressed. Peggy glanced at him in the mirror and smiled. "You're always staring." She turned and slid her phone into her back pocket while following Steve out of the room.

"Would you rather I didn't?" He asked innocently, receiving a gentle slap to the chest.

"Don't be ridiculous." Peggy sagely smiled and locked the apartment door.

"I've been thinking..." He started.

"Oh no." She giggled and leaned into his side as they entered the elevator.

"It's only if you want to, and I'm not tryna force you into anything, just please don't take this the wrong way--"

"Darling, out with it."

"Do you wanna move in together?" He blurted out. "I mean if you want to, you don't have to if you're uncomfortable with it." Peggy noticed his incessant mumbling and his nervous posture.

"I'd love to." He sighed in relief and pulled her to him then pressed a chaste kiss on her forehead. "I'm hardly at my flat anyway."

He wanted to tell her then but forced himself to wait. They walked to his car and drove to Ellen's - they weren't very far anyhow - and was greeted with flashing cameras when they exited the car. The couple laced their hands together and walked behind the building to the entrance they were told to go in.

*

Soon enough, Ellen was announcing them and that they would be arriving after the commercial break. Steve shook his leg and twiddled his thumbs. "Please tell me you aren't that nervous."

"I'll be fine once I get out there." He reassured her. Peggy cuddled in close to him, realizing they were all alone in the room they were in.

"You'll do great, darling." She whispered into his ear. Steve instantly calmed down when he felt her lip graze against his ear.

"As long as you keep your lips on me I'll be fine." He smirked and Peggy nibbled on his ear lobe. Steve groaned internally, loud enough for Peggy to hear and encourage her to keep going. "You're drivin' me crazy."

"I know. That's why I do it." She smirked deviously as the show was brought back from the commercial break. Ellen was standing at the center of the stage with a winning smile and her hands in her pockets. The producers came in and told Steve to go in front of the large doors that open.

"I'm sure you've heard of him, if you haven't I'm going to guess you live under a rock, please welcome, Steve Rogers." The doors swung open and Steve was standing there with a smile on his face as he walked towards Ellen. Everyone was clapping and swooning over him the closer he got. Ellen reached her hand out but Steve looked at her with a never-fading smile.

"I'm a hugger." He said to her and Ellen immediately embraced him. The crowd cheered, happy that they were finally meeting the mysterious photographer. Once the crowd settled down, Steve took a seat and Ellen sat down as well.

"I haven't seen this crowd as pumped since Justin Bieber." She joked as Steve smiled brightly. "This is your first show?"

"Yeah. Yes, it's weird being on camera." He put his hand up and scrunched his nose.

"You get used to it. So where are you from, what are your hobbies, who is Steve Rogers?" She leaned in and relaxed a bit.

"I just take pictures of models." He joked as the crowd laughed with Ellen. "No but seriously, I just have a good eye for beautiful things." Peggy smiled backstage, he may or may not have been talking about her but he was speaking the truth either way.

"Speaking of beautiful things..." Steve knew what was coming. There it was. A picture of Peggy Carter on the screen.

"Oh." He laughed and ducked his head down while his cheeks began developing a bright red hue.

"Yeah. 'Oh,' is right." She said while looking up at the image. The crowd whistled and laughed. "You took these pictures?" They were the ones on the cover of Cosmopolitan.

"I did." He nodded. "That was the first day we met actually." The crowd awed.

"Did you buy her dinner first?" Ellen teased as Steve duck his head down again and chuckled. "Peggy! Come on out!"

The doors opened and Peggy walked in with her confident walk and a bright smile as she waved to the cheering crowd. Steve stood and walked over to escort her up the small stairs by offering his hand. Peggy immediately embraced Ellen and asked how she was when they pulled back. She's been on her show for a few times now and they've grown to be good friends. They sat and the crowd settled.

"So you guys are dating?" She asked.

"We are, we are," Peggy said while glancing his way while he was staring at her with a smile.

"I got lucky," Steve said as Peggy slapped his shoulder playfully.

"Stop it, you're making me blush." Ellen laughed.

"I'm surprised you weren't blushing on the red carpet. Have you seen the photos?" They both shook their heads as images popped up on the screen. "Look at you two. He didn't look away from you and... wait, what's that picture?" Steve had a shocked look on his face as Peggy was smirking deviously at him.

"She, uh, she grabbed my ass." He chuckled.

"It was only a pinch!" She explained and smiled at Steve's giggling.

"Why did you do it?" Ellen said with a breathless laugh.

"He was getting smart with me!" She lied.

"I think I recall you saying I looked good in my tux." He looked at her and smirked.

"Well, he did. Right?" Peggy turned to the crowd who whistled and cheered while Steve's cheeks flared up again.

"You looked nice too," Ellen said and the screen changed to pictures of her in the red dress and also Steve's reaction when he first saw her.

"That was his actual reaction of seeing me in the dress," Peggy explained.

"He didn't see you before?"

"No. He saw the dress in a different color then had his friend order one in red for me. He surprised me with it the day of the Oscars." Steve smiled proudly.

"That's really sweet! Did you do anything?" Ellen asked Peggy.

"I showed up in it." Everyone laughed as Steve just looked at her. Peggy didn't know what the look was but it definitely made her whole body tingle.

"Alright, we'll be right back!" Ellen said as the camera zoomed out and they were off the air for a few moments. "I think we're gonna play Never Have I Ever if that's alright with you guys."

"Sounds good." Steve nodded as Ellen walked off stage to get the paddles.

"Are you better now, darling?" She turned to him as he placed his hand on her thigh.

"Much." He began rubbing her thigh without even knowing, it just felt so instinctive to him. Ellen came back a few seconds later with the paddles in hand and placed them on the table beside her.

"We're live in three... two... one!" One of the producers called as the camera leaned in closer to them.

"Welcome back!" Ellen smiled. "Okay, so, since we don't know much about you Steve, we're going to play 'Never Have I Ever.' Do you know how to play?" They both nodded.

"I'm quite familiar with it," Peggy noted as Ellen handed them the paddles.

"Alright, let's get this show on the road." She picked a card and smiled to herself as she read it. "Never have I ever taken a nude selfie."

"Just getting started right off the bat." Steve chuckled and switched his paddle to the 'I have not’ side. He leaned over to see Peggy's paddle saying 'I have.' "Oh, it's like that." He smiled.

"Just like that, darling." Peggy giggled as Ellen's paddle read 'I have.'

"You've never taken a naked picture?" Steve shook his head as the crowd cheered and whistled.

"Such innocence," Peggy mumbled as Ellen put the card face down.

"Never have I ever been drunk in front of my parents." Ellen switched the paddle to 'I have' while Peggy and Steve both haven't.

"Ellen," Steve said in a fake scolding manner.

"What? It was New Years!" She smiled and put the card face down. "Oh, this is a good one. Never have I ever snuck away with another person during a party. And we're telling stories with this one."

Steve and Peggy both turned their paddles to 'I have' as Steve covered his face with his free hand. Peggy looked at him and began laughing as Ellen turned her paddle to say she hasn't.

"What's the story?" There were a few seconds of awkward silence as Peggy turned to Ellen with a cheeky smile and slightly blushed cheeks.

"Do we really need an explanation?" Peggy said as she covered her face with the paddle.

"Not anymore." Ellen put the paper down and began laughing. "Can you tell us where?"

"No." Peggy's voice was higher pitched as she looked at Steve who was chuckling to himself while trying to hide his face.

"Was it recent?" Another pause.

"Maybe," Steve said as he cleared his throat and sat up. The crowd roared as Steve and Peggy were laughing at themselves.

"Alright, let's move on," Ellen said after letting out a few more cackles. "Never have I ever streaked." Ellen didn't. "I haven't." Peggy hasn't. Steve held his head in his hands as he slowly turned the paddle to say he did. Peggy looked at him with an open mouth that was resisting to quirk into a smile.

"It was a dare!"

"How old were you?" He paused a moment.

"It was my twenty-first birthday. I was drunk."

"Oh well, that makes it even better." Ellen joked and picked up the last card. "Never have I ever had sex somewhere I shouldn't have." Ellen flipped it to yes while Steve and Peggy were unsure. They looked to each other and the crowd went wild. Then they simultaneously turned their paddles to no. "Oh, you guys had to look at each other for confirmation." She was laughing breathlessly. The couple remained quiet and looked out at the crowd and Ellen.

"Yes," Steve said with his muffled voice because his hand was blocking his smile.

"We'll be right back!" Ellen walked off stage with the paddles to give back to the production assistants. Steve leaned over to Peggy's ear as the crowd sparked up into their own conversations.

"So when we get back home can we--"

"Yes." She didn't even hesitate or let him finish his question.

"You don't even know what I'm going to ask." He chuckled.

"Considering how your hand has been on my thigh for more or less than ten minutes and has moved from point a to point b, I think I know exactly what you were going to ask." Peggy smiled at him as he tried moving his hand back. She grabbed his wrist and placed his hand back while crossing her legs to keep it there.

"I wanna kiss you so bad right now." He breathed and squeezed her thigh lightly. She moaned softly, knowing he'd get more and more turned on. "I'm sorry, did I say kiss? I wanna do more than that."

"I know darling." She petted the back of his hair and leaned her head on his shoulder. "We really should have had sex in the closet at the Oscars."

"That would have been one hell of a story but there's always next year." Peggy bit her lip just thinking about the possibilities. Having sex in a place you aren't supposed to gives a certain thrill. A thrill of being caught, and so the adrenaline rises at the risk. "We coulda done it at the runway show in the dressing room."

"Oh, where we snogged in one of the dressing cubbies?"

"Don't say 'snogged.'" He chuckled. "I hate that word." Peggy was definitely going to use that on him later. "But yes, where we made out."

"I was still dating Daniel then."

"That didn't stop us when we went to my apartment." She laughed.

"Yes." She heard Ellen coming back and moved her head off of his shoulder and removed her leg off of his hand. He flexed his fingers to regain the feeling.

"Welcome back!" Ellen exclaimed and smiled into the camera. Steve and Peggy weren't sure what was going to happen next but they assumed it would just be talking and learning more about the couple. They were correct and soon enough, their interview was done. They headed backstage where they said their goodbyes to the producers and anyone else they met on their way in. Steve escorted Peggy to their car in the back and they raced home.

"Thank god we're home." Steve breathed as he opened the door then pressed her against it. "I've been waiting all day to get my hands on you."

Peggy leaned her head against the door, giving him access to her throat. "You and me both, darling." She ran her fingers through his hair and pressed his head onto her neck. He carried her into the bedroom and set her down with him hovering over her.

"You're so beautiful." He pecked her lips and smiled. "But before we get started, I gotta check something real quick." Peggy groaned as Steve moved off of her to grab his laptop.

"Must you do this now?"

"I... yeah. I gotta make sure I don't have anything for tomorrow 'cause I honestly wanna hang out with you all day." She smiled and laid against the pillow as he sat beside her. Steve opened the laptop as Peggy leaned against his shoulder. There were two new emails for him.
One of the emails from his boss, Tony.

Hey, you got a job tomorrow. Angie Martinelli at three.

The other was a new job offer in a month.

Hello Mr. Rogers,

My name is Gabe Jones and I'm doing a world photography shoot. Sounds confusing I'm sure. It's basically a trip to a few different countries to take pictures of women from different cultures to show diversity and unity of all people. Email me back by next week if you're interested, we leave the states in a month.

Thanks,

Gabe Jones

Steve furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "Gabe Jones?" He quickly searched the name and Jones is a popular photographer across the globe. He's in his early thirties, married, no kids, and owns his own company.

"How long would you be gone for?"

"I, uh... I don't know." Steve began writing a message back to Gabe asking him for specific dates and how long he'll be away for.

"It could boost your career."

"But you won't be coming with." He said coldly. He didn't want to leave her unless... no! He would not leave her here.

"Yes, but if it's to better yourself I think you should." Steve sat up straighter. "How long could it possibly take? A few weeks?"

"Depending on how many places he wants to go to... it could take a few months. We need to judge models based on their beauty and how exposed they are to the culture without overdoing it and it's just very... specific. I don't wanna be a few months away from you. I don't wanna be away from anyone really. I could pay a little extra money for my phone bill to stay in touch but I don't know if I could go a week without wakin' up next to you. I'd lose my mind. Yeah, we could call each other and stuff but it wouldn't be the same. And yeah, it could boost my career but I just... I don't know. I gotta think."

Peggy rubbed his chest and kissed his cheek. He sat there with his eyes glued to the screen so she shut the laptop and leaned over him to place it back on the floor. Steve's head was clearly elsewhere so Peggy laid next to him with her lips against his bicep. "Whatever you decide to do, I'll support you." He turned his head to her and kissed her forehead as his hands met her jaw. He kissed her gently and met her eyes when he pulled back. "Now make love to me." She whispered softly.

"Sure thing, baby." He whispered back and kissed her warmly.

*

"Did you decide?" She asked as he came out of the shower. His hair was still damp even though he was rubbing it with a towel. Steve was shirtless with boxer briefs on and a few water droplets on his chest. He shook his head with a sad look on his face.

He had thought about it through his shower but it was hard. He had listed the pros which were: discover the world, boost his career, make something he was proud of, and save those memories. The cons were that he'd be away from home, Peggy, it was a long period of time probably, and Steve would miss everything. He was a sentimental guy and the memories he'd be creating wouldn't have her in them.

"What if I come with you?" She suggested. Steve sat on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands.

"Your work is here. It wouldn't make sense for you to go." She scooted up next to him and rested her chin on his shoulder as she rubbed his back. "Besides, you'd be bored."

"I wouldn't be bored if you were there." She kissed his back.

"Can I tell you something?" Oh god. Am I really doing this? He asked himself.

"Of course." Steve turned to her and took her hands in his. He looked down at them to gather what he really wanted to say but also to prepare himself for it. He began rubbing her hand, her ring finger on her left hand to be exact. It wasn't intentional.

"I..." He took a deep breath and looked into her eyes. "I can't believe I'm sayin' this."

"What is it?" She laughed and smiled. "You're scaring me."

"You know, I used to tell myself that you were just a crush. Every single night, I'd tell myself. Some nights I wondered if I was just imagining things or if you liked me back. Now I'm debating if I should be leaving you or not." I can't do this. It's not the right time. My heart's in my throat and if I was gonna say it, it should come naturally right? "I guess what I'm trying to say is, I don't wanna leave what we have."

"I don't want you to leave either but it will be better for you if you go." Steve stood and wiped his hand over his face.

"It's not gonna be better."

"Steve, you haven't been there yet. You could like it." He hated this whole thing. He shuffled his pants on in a heated rage and he didn't even know why he was angry.

"If you don't want me to leave, why are you trying to make me go so bad?" He blurted out and put his shirt on roughly.

"Because you need to better yourself." Peggy noticed he had one shoe in his hand and was looking for the other. "Under the bed." She sighed. Steve pulled it out and sat on the edge as he put both shoes on. "Where are you going?"

"I got a job at three." She looked at the clock.

"It's twelve." She sighed. "Why are you getting so defensive?"

"If I'm gonna better myself this isn't the way to do it. If I wanted to better myself I'd be getting down on one knee with a ring in my hand." He froze when he realized what he said.

"What?" She tilted her head.

"Forget it." He sighed. "I'll be back to talk things out later." Peggy crossed her arms and sat on the bed. The door shut and she was alone in an apartment that wasn't even hers.

Chapter Text

Peggy came back from her old apartment building and called everything she's subscribed to make sure her mail gets sent to Steve's apartment. The final step was to be taken by him but it was two and he was probably setting up for his job with Angie. It's been a common thought about what Steve had said to her.

If I wanted to better myself I'd be getting down on one knee with a ring in my hand.

What did that mean? Was it what she thought he meant or did he just want to see how this relationship was going? The constant questions made her head hurt so she took a hot shower and a couple Ibuprofens. Her phone buzzed and she looked down to see Sam's name across the screen.

"Hello?" She answered.

"Hey, what happened? Blondie over here seems bummed out." She sighed.

"He was offered a job out of the country. He'll be away for weeks, months even. I support his decision either way but he thinks I'm pushing him towards going away." Peggy paced around the kitchen with her arms crossed.

"Well, are you?" There was a pause.

"I mean yes, but not to get him to leave. He'll get more business if he goes and apparently he's supposed to be working with Gabe Jones, I'm not sure if you know who that is."

"Famous photographer or somethin', right?"

"Something like that. I just want Steve to be happy and I feel like if things are going better at work, he'll enjoy it more." Sam sighed.

"Look, Steve's a sentimental guy. Anyone trying to push him away from a place he knows surrounded by people he loves, he's going to get defensive about it." She thought about it.

"I guess you're right."

"If you need anything else, don't hesitate to call." She smiled.

"Thanks, Sam."

"No problem. Just give him the day to cool off and he'll come back like a puppy." Sam chuckled and Peggy giggled.

"Bye, Sam."

"Later, princess." She smiled and hung up.

A few hours later, Steve was at the bar with Bucky and looking to get drunk. It's been awhile since he was totally shit-faced and it was a perfect opportunity.

"You alright, Rogers?" Bucky asked as Steve picked up his third beer.

"Peachy." He was a little buzzed but not totally.

"What's goin' on?" Bucky leaned in closer with his second beer in hand.

"I got a job." He gulped down a big sip. "I'll be gone for a few months probably. Me and this guy Gabe Jones are gonna take pictures of models across the globe."

"The problem?"

"I don't wanna leave home." Bucky exhaled and sipped his beer. "It sounds so simple, but--"

"It's not." Steve nodded. "So what're you gonna do? Get totally black out drunk and hope the problem goes away? You bein' in here isn't gonna solve anything, Steve."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. It's just tonight." Bucky nodded.

*

Later that night, Steve got to the studio and went to the couch. He was drunk, not black-out drunk, but enough. He dialed Peggy and it rang a few times before she picked up.

"Hello?" It was three in the morning and the phone had woken her up.

"Hey, baby." His voice was wobbly. "I went to the bar after work but I got to the studio a few minutes ago. I think I'm going to stay the night here anyways cause I have a job thing tomorrow."

"Alright." She dragged her hand across her eyes. "Are you mad?"

"No. I got a little defensive, that's all." Even though the room was spinning a little bit, he was being as truthful as he could be. "Did I wake you?"

"I was hardly sleeping." She only told him that so he wouldn't feel too bad. Peggy went to bed and fell asleep right away. The emotional exhaustion had definitely worn her out.

"Sorry if I did." Steve's voice was quiet and slightly raspy from the booze. "I wish I was there next to you. I miss you. I was being stupid and selfish, I'm sorry."

"It's alright, Steve. I completely understand why. We can talk about it tomorrow."

"Peggy..." His drunk stage was taking over. "I'm scared of love. Just loving someone terrifies me. I don't know if I have trust issues or somethin' but I don't want to leave because I know I'll be missing you and I know that if I miss you, then I love you but a whole day without you, the realization is inevitable." He took a deep breath. "Goodnight.”

He hung up and Peggy was speechless. She covered her mouth and leaned her head back on the pillow. She had thoughts running through her mind like it was a marathon. He loved her? She hasn't really thought about it but looking back... all of those looks he gave her. The ones she couldn't explain. Now she knows. Unless he's just drunk and thinks he loves her but it sounded like he was functioning well. Making out sentences with logical meanings, no stuttering, speaking in a soft tone. It was strange so she called Sam. Hopefully, he was awake.

The phone rang and rang, five times to be exact. "Come on... come on..." Then finally at the last moment, he answered.

"Hello?" He asked drowsily.

"Sam!"

"Listen, Peg, I know I said I'd be there if you needed something but I thought business hours were more your thing." He teased and Peggy rolled her eyes.

"I need to ask you something." She bit on her nail.

"Shoot."

"When Steve is drunk, how well does he function?" Sam chuckled.

"Better than he does normally. He's able to get things out and carry out simple tasks without causing too much of a mess. Why?"

"I just... nothing. I was just wondering."

"You okay?" He asked carefully and she paused. The last time she saw him wasn't okay, missing him now wasn't okay, nothing was okay. She didn't know what his feeling was. Maybe it was... no. Couldn't be. It was too early into their relationship. But damn, if she hadn't been thinking about him after their first photo shoot.

"I'm fine, thank you, Sam." He exhaled.

"It's okay to not be okay, Peggy. If you need anything, try to call when the sun's up." He teased again. "Night."

"Goodnight." Peggy hung up and put her phone face down on the nightstand. She felt like crying out of happiness or sadness, she did not know. Steve loved her. Sometimes, the truth comes out in people who are totally wasted, which he was. It terrified her and filled her with joy all at once. She didn't know what to feel, or even if it was true. What if he was just drunk? The truth isn't always there.

*

Peggy woke up that morning and rolled over to see his side empty. "Steve?" She called out, no answer. Peggy sat up and rubbed her eyes. "Steve?" She called again a bit louder but still no answer. She sighed and stood up to go shower and brush her teeth. Where was he? She had pondered this a million times but always came up with no answer. He could be at the studio, she thought. He could also be laying on a park bench or in Sam's house, wherever he lives.

Meanwhile, Steve had his head in a toilet, puking his brains out. His hangover had been conquering him throughout the night. He's totally regretting it now. Mostly because he vaguely remembers calling someone, but couldn't recall the conversation. He rubbed his head as he leaned on the cold tile behind him. His hands were clammy, as was his entire body. Hopefully, some memories could come back if he rubbed his forehead hard enough. The uneasy feeling becoming more and more uncomfortable as he drooled into the bowl. Throwing up and emptying himself again, Steve sighed and shook his head, tears beginning to form. Maybe it was just the emotion of throwing up, but the only thing on his mind was him walking out on her. Getting so angry and leaving.

Steve pulled out his phone and began checking his email. A reply from Gabe Jones showed up.

Glad you seem interested. We will be leaving in exactly two weeks from today. The trip will take a while to interview the models, take pictures, and move on to the next location so it could take about five months. We'll be going to eight locations: Jamaica, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Britain, Ethiopia, and India. If we need more models I'll set up two more locations max. I like the camera you take shots with so bring that and I'll have a few more lenses for you. The travel there will be paid including any hotels we stay at. I'd love to have a meeting in person today actually. Here's my number.

Jones

Steve copied the phone number into his phone and called him. "Hello?"

"Hey Gabe, it's Steve."

"Steve! Hey! I'm guessin' you got my email?" He sounded overjoyed to have Steve on board.

"Yeah, just read it now actually. We could talk over lunch today if you're available." Steve shut his eyes to prevent the room from spinning.

"Sounds great."

After setting up a lunch meeting at a place a few blocks over, Steve set his phone down and felt something bubbling up inside of him. He leaned over and puked in the toilet again.

*

"Thanks, Gabe, we'll definitely stay in touch." Steve reached over the table they were sat at for lunch and shook his hand.

"We'll set up another meeting so you can sign the contract but I must warn you, once you sign, you can't get out of it." Steve nodded.

"I'm fully aware," Steve said and smiled. "See you soon." Gabe waved and Steve exited the restaurant while sliding his coat on. Outside, paparazzi were huddled all next to the door with their cameras ready. The flashing began and he tried to get through them as best he could.

"Steve! Steve!" One of them needed his attention at the end of the line with a recorder and a camera man behind her. "Could we trouble you for a few questions?" He snapped his fingers.

"Zoe, right?" She smiled and nodded.

"You remembered!"

"It's hard to forget what happens on the red carpet." He chuckled. "Anyways, your questions?"

"We saw you having lunch with a famous photographer, Gabe Jones. How do you two know each other?" The cameras stopped flashing and began recording.

"He, uh, emailed me yesterday or two days ago I think, saying he wanted to take me on a tour to take pictures of female models across the globe. We were just discussing the specifics."

"Are you going to take the job?" Steve sighed and looked down at his shoes.

"I don't know. All signs point to yes but there's still something holding me back."

"Or is it someone?" She wiggled her eyebrows and Steve chuckled.

"You mean Peggy." Zoe nodded. "It's complicated. She wants me to go to better myself but I just... I don't want to leave her."

"And why's that?" Zoe pressed. Steve took a moment to respond gathering his courage and what he was going to say. The weight of his words affected almost everything. Saying the wrong thing could insinuate that Peggy is controlling and has Steve on a leash.

"I love her." He said strongly and meant every word. "I have for a while now."

The paparazzi went quiet, Zoe even looked stunned. Steve looked into the camera and nodded as he walked back to his car with his hands in his pockets. The media is gonna have one hell of a field day with that. He got into his car and drove off to his apartment to finally see her. To apologize and beg for her forgiveness but also to tell her his final decision.

Peggy was at home leaning on the wall and looking out into the snow-covered land. She had been doing this for about an hour without realizing how much time she spent against the wall. Her fingertips tapping against the ceramic mug in a beat. It was rapid and anxiety inducing. She wondered where Steve was and what he was doing. What he was thinking and when he'll be coming back. Suddenly, the doorknob jiggled and she snapped out of her thoughts. Steve walked in with a frown and she put her mug on the table next to the couch.

"Steve..." She breathed. Her heart jumping out of her chest at the sight of him.

"I'm sorry." He whispered and looked down to his feet. Peggy tilted her head out of confusion.

"Sorry?" She asked softly and walked towards him.

"For walking out, getting angry. If I could turn back time, I'd change a million things." He stated. Peggy just looked at him blankly. She stopped in front of him and put her hand over his heartbeat, feeling it thump at a rapid pace.

"It wasn't just you, you know." She sighed, knowing he carried all this weight by himself. Rubbing her lips together, Peggy looked to his eyes. "Stop blaming yourself. I know how it feels, Steve. I always blamed myself when Daniel hit me. I thought I was the problem when in reality, it was his fault. Luckily, we have a dual partnership in this situation. So if you're going to blame yourself, give me some of the blame too." She smiled which, in turn, made him grin. "It's selfish to keep it all for yourself."

"Well, there is something I wanted to talk to you about." He shuffled his feet a bit. Peggy, knowing everything was alright, moved away to put her mug in the sink. Steve followed her into the kitchen and leaned on the door frame.

"You didn't sleep with anyone else, right?" She teased.

"That's what you think of me?" He teased back. Peggy turned and rested her palms on the countertop behind her with a devious smirk on her lips.

"Answer the question." Steve walked towards her with a smirk of his own. He rested his hands gently on top of hers and made sure their bodies were close enough to feel each other's heat. She seemed overwhelmed within the close proximity. Shuffling her feet to look taller, rubbing her lips together, her hitched breathing, and her wandering eyes gave Steve his conclusion: she felt vulnerable. Not in a bad way, but in an I'm-comfortable-with-you sort of way. He found that reassuring.

"Answer mine first." He said lowly. Steve's palms began moving to her curves then her waist. Lifting her off the floor effortlessly, Steve sat Peggy on the countertop and stood between her legs. "I know you said I shouldn't blame myself for everything, but I'm sorry."

Peggy tilted his chin and kissed him. God, she missed that. "I missed you." A shiver went down Steve's body as if a switch just went on. He groaned internally when she pulled back. Peggy smirked and bit her lip. "I'm guessing you missed me too."

"Maybe a little bit." He mumbled and pressed his lips against her neck. Peggy tilted her head to give him better access and the light kisses turned into sucking. Then nibbling. Then the skin he was so determined on tasting was purple and red: the most perfect love bite. "Okay, I missed you a lot."

"Prove it." She whispered into his ear. Steve reacted immediately, taking her by the waist and carrying her to the bedroom. She giggled as he playfully threw her on the bed. She bounced once because of the impact but Steve soon had his body pressed against hers. Kissing her madly, he wrapped his arms around her and smiled. God, he was glad to be home.

Chapter Text

Peggy placed gentle kisses along his jaw as he smirked. He opened his eyes and turned his head to her. "Good morning." She said.

"That's one way of wakin' up." He smiled and rolled over to his stomach. The golden hairs flopping down over his forehead and giving Peggy a delightful view of his back, perhaps one of her favorite parts of him. "I don't deserve you." He whispered as he caught her eyes.

“Yes, you do.” She giggled and ran her fingers through his hair. He loved it. He closed his eyes and moved closer so she wouldn’t stop combing. He groaned sleepily and smiled. “In fact, you deserve a little bit more…” She trailed off in a heavily seductive whisper, flipping him over and kissing down his torso.

“Peg, you don’t have to-oh!” He jumped when she reached something he wasn’t expecting her to. Peggy began working as Steve tried to push back his moans. “I actually need to talk to you.” His voice hitched, exhaling after he talked.

“I can multitask,” Peggy said and continued her ministrations.

“Oh… alright.” He breathed heavily. “The whole global photography thing, I’ve… fuck…” It was hard to speak. “I’ve decided I’m gonna do it.” Peggy hummed her acknowledgment, sending vibrations all over Steve’s body. “And you’re okay with that?” She bobbed her head as a nod and Steve groaned. “I’ll be gone for months.”

“Mhm.” She hummed, sending more vibrations through him.

“I’ll call you.” Steve just kept saying things she would say yes to in order for her to hum again and again. “You’ll send me pictures?” Yes. “And I’ll send you some too.” Another yes.

Soon enough, Peggy sat up and wiped her mouth clean, licking any remnants off her thumb. Steve was laying flat with his eyes closed and his chest still heaving slightly.

“You’re seriously okay with it though?” He breathed as she sat back to her respective side.

“Yes.” Peggy really wasn’t okay with it. She wanted what was the best for him and if that meant shipping off for months, then so be it. Steve deserved happiness. She wished he could see that.

“I’m gonna miss you.” He said softly.

“I’ll miss you too. Just promise me you won’t sleep with any other models.”

“God, no. I’m not sure if I’ll be of help for the judging if I’m a little biased.” He smiled and winked at her. Peggy laid on her back and turned her head to him.

“You are annoyingly perfect.” She smiled. Steve rolled on top of her and kissed her neck as he got lower… and lower…

“Could say the same about you.” He mumbled on her stomach as he still traveled lower. Peggy’s fingers found his hair and he got lower still. When he seemed to stop moving, her breath hitched as he picked up a different kind of movement.

*

Two weeks went by and Steve had signed the contract with Gabe Jones. He was leaving today. Peggy watched him double check all of his luggage and didn’t put on a smile whatsoever. He managed to not look at her frown because if he did, he wouldn’t leave.

“Am I missing anything?” He looked around as he zipped his carry-on. Then he looked at Peggy. She had a watery smile and tears running down her cheeks, he immediately regretted the whole trip. He crawled to her on the bed wrapped his arms around her waist. “Please don’t cry, Peg.”

Peggy held his head under her chin as she let a few more tears fall. He pressed chaste kisses on her collarbone and pulled her as tight as he could. The time he’d be gone for would be longer than their entire relationship. Peggy wanted to wake up to him every morning, to have him smile sleepily at her, and talk in his raspy morning voice. To see the sun make his blond hair brighter than it is, have his eyes shine softly like a dim light, and to feel his warm skin around her. Her fingers tangled in his soft hair at the nape of his neck while he chuckled about something stupid one of them said. She wanted him to smile as they kissed, knowing he was comfortable in her presence. It’s all she ever wanted.

Love.

He showed her love like she’s never had it before. The kind of love that makes you feel warm and tingly inside and the kind of love that makes you smile just thinking about it. Peggy thought Daniel had damaged her beyond that feeling. She thought she was ruined for the rest of the world, and maybe she was until Steve came into her life. As if he was glue, he put her back together. Made her able to feel again.

But now he was leaving and she was afraid she’d fall apart again.

“I know, I know… I shouldn’t be crying. You have to go. You’re going to be late.” Peggy wiped her cheeks and sniffled.

“Baby, I don’t want to leave you like this.” He kissed the fading trails of her tears. “If you’re too upset when I leave, then-” Peggy put her finger on his lips.

“You’re going.” She said with a broken voice. “I’ll be fine. Just a little emotional, that’s all.” Peggy reassured him although she didn’t feel alright at all inside. She thought she would be fully prepared when this day came, but she was wrong. So very wrong.

Steve looked into her eyes, clearly seeing the pain she was keeping hidden just under the surface. He wanted to tell her then but he feared she would be hurt even more. “Do you need anything before I go?”

Peggy was silent for a moment, just trying to burn his features into her memory. When her eyes landed on his lips, she had to kiss him. Steve seemed to take notice and looked down with his cheeks already rosy, when he looked back to her, she had a small smile on her face. Steve gently put his palms on her cheeks and softly planted his lips onto hers. He tenderly caressed her tear-ridden cheeks, drying them and pushing her pain away. Peggy’s breath hitched as she felt his lips move against hers. She put more pressure into her kiss as another tear fell down, quickly being brushed away by Steve’s warm thumb.

Steve pulled back and rested his forehead against hers. He watched her open her watery eyes slowly to his icy blues. Her brown eyes faded from their usual confident and bold color. The light red arches under her eyes, the faded irises, the watery ducts, the tear trails, how her eyebrows arched to create a saddened expression, the way she seemed to be broken and asking for help, the way she was tightly gripping his shirt, the quiet sniffles of her runny nose, the frown, the small wrinkles of her chin because she was crying, the flushed cheeks, the way her brokenness spread to him. Guilt suffocated him. The fact that he was hurting her like Daniel, in a way, hurt her, killed him. It made his heart drop, his stomach turned as his adrenaline sped up, his nerves buzzing crazily like cicadas on a hot summer day.

He knew this would happen. Feeling guilty from head to toe because he left someone he cared about in tears but he thought the guilt would ambush him on the plane. Steve looked down and brushed his hand down her hair, feeling the softness and smoothness of her dark shiny hair. He looked back up to her as a tear fell down his own face. A watery smile broke out as he took his head away from hers to wipe the tear. “Alright, stop, you’re makin’ me cry.” He laughed lightly and sniffled. Peggy giggled briefly and wiped her tears quickly.

“Sorry.” She smiled again and sniffled. He stood and brought his bags to sit next to the front door. He turned back to say his final goodbye, she seemed happier than the past few minutes and some of his guilt left him. Peggy crawled to the edge of the bed and held her arms out as an invitation for an embrace.

“Oops, I forgot some of my luggage.” He joked and wrapped his arms around her waist. She giggled as he picked her up and her legs wrapped around his body. Peggy’s fingers traced shapes on the soft, short hair at the bottom of his skull. They silently spoke through eye contact and she could feel his warmth again. Her soul was heated because of him and his smile.

“Did you pack your suspenders?” She asked.

Steve tilted his head and furrowed his brows, “Yeah, why?”

“Could you do me a favor and take pictures in them?” Peggy bit her lip and Steve chuckled.

“Suspenders turn you on?” He laughed.

“No… men who are dressed up do.”

“All men?” He quirked his brow and adjusted her against his body.

“Mostly you.” She sighed with a smile. Steve set her back down on the floor while pecking her lips over and over again.

“I gotta go. I’m gonna be late.” He whispered and nuzzled his nose against hers with a smile. Peggy nodded and rubbed her lips together. “I’ll call you, and send pictures, and text and whatever else, whenever I can.” She nodded again. Steve held her head again and kissed her forehead. His lips lingered there as he took a deep breath. “See you around?” He whispered warmly against her skin.

"See you around." Peggy closed her eyes as Steve backed away silently, taking his bags with him and shut the door with a soft click. Peggy opened her eyes to an empty room. None of his bags, no smile, no Steve. He was gone and would be gone for five months at the very least. He promised to call and to text but somehow it wasn’t enough. The virtual feeling of him is nothing close to the physical feeling. Peggy’s watery smile reappeared across her reddened cheeks as a leftover tear trailed down her face.

*

A month later, Peggy woke up and rubbed her eyes to get adjusted to the natural light illuminating her room through the glass sliding door. She checked her phone with a reluctance to move from her comfortable position. Luckily, she set it charging next to her. When she pressed the home button, several text messages came up.

One from Angie.

Hey, English. Are we still on for later tonight?

One from Sam - who she calls Sammy now.

Coffee is ready for when you actually get up.

Sam was sleeping on the couch at her, originally Steve’s, place. Now that he signed her on for the lease, it was co-owned by them. Sam has been staying over ever since Steve left for comfort and it was nice to have him there too since he isn’t called on for jobs as much anymore.

The last text message was from Steve, possibly her favorite message to wake up to in the morning.

Is this what you meant by ‘take pictures in your suspenders?’

The image he sent was of him in black dress pants, black dress shoes, a white button down that was not buttoned at all. Showing his abs, pecs, and his, in Peggy’s eyes, perfect body. Loosened tie around the collar of his shirt, and suspenders that wrapped tightly around his torso. The whole image was in black and white and Steve wasn’t looking at the camera. He had one knee bent and was resting one of his arms on it while the other arm was laying across his other thigh. He was looking down with his mouth open slightly, looking awfully drained. His hair was flipped up and pushed to his left, all while looking desirably fluffy. His jawline was as sharp as a knife and the image looked professionally done. He looked absolutely edible in Peggy’s opinion.

Definitely better than what I had in mind.

The only problem with their communication was the time difference. She didn’t know where he was exactly or how long the time difference would be between them but she would have responded regardless. He’ll get the notification whenever he decides to check his phone. Peggy answered, ‘yes,’ to Angie’s question. They were to go out and have drinks with Natasha tonight.

Peggy finally stood and yawned as she moved across the room to the door. “Morning, Sammy.” She called to him. He was sitting on the couch with a steaming mug in his hand and the television remote in the other.

“Morning.” He lifted his cup as an attempt to wave then turned his head with a smile.

“How was your date last night?” She asked as she stepped into the kitchen and poured herself some coffee, adding one sugar and some milk into it.

“Amazing! He’s such a great guy and so so handsome.” Peggy smiled as she rounded the couch and sat down facing him.

“What was his name again?”

“Riley. He’s a pilot.” Sam smiled proudly.

“A pilot.” She smirked. “Maybe he flew my Steve over.”

“Yeah, maybe.” Sam laughed. “He’s a great guy though. Grew up in Manhattan, moved to Queens when he was eleven and he lives there now.”

“Wow. You remember all that?” She smiled and put her mug on the table.

“When it’s comin’ out of a pretty mouth like his, yes.” They both laughed as Sam pulled up a picture of him.

“He’s alright.”

“Alright?” Sam’s eyes opened wider like he couldn’t believe what she was saying. “This boy is better looking than America’s Top Model!”

“Sorry. After I met Steve, all of the other men aren’t as nearly as handsome.” Peggy unlocked her phone, searching for the image he sent her to show Sam.

“That’s a load of bulls-” Sam stared at the photo. “I always told that guy he should be a model.”

“I said something like that the first time we met.” She smiled and looked back to her phone. He was typing. Peggy leaned back on the couch so Sam couldn’t see what he texted her.

What did you have in mind then?

I thought it was just going to be a picture you took yourself. This is much better.

I’m not gonna disappoint my girl.

You really know how to make me smile. I better see you wearing that when you come back.

What if I wear less than that?

Oh, darling, I may need to see how that would look. You know, for confirmation…

Sure thing. Give me a sec.

Peggy bit her lip and smiled. “Oh, by the way, Angie, Natasha, and I are going out tonight.”

“That’s perfectly fine. Riley and I are having our second date tonight anyway.”

“Tonight? Wow, you guys are really hitting it off then.” She smiled as he nodded.

“Yes, we are.” He sipped his coffee.

“You know what the third date means though. Greater possibility for sex.” She wiggled her eyebrows as Sam laughed and nodded again.

“Hopefully.” He shrugged. Peggy’s phone buzzed and she saw an image of Steve. Peggy smirked and went to inspect it closer.

Steve was shirtless in front of the mirror with his hair flowing to his left again. The phone being cradled by three large fingers and his thumb on the other side and his other hand was pulling his waistband down but not enough to show anything. He was wearing his tight white boxer briefs with a black waistband. Peggy licked her lips, her eyes never left his torso or the seductive look on his face. He texted her again.

Good enough? Like I said, I don’t want to disappoint my girl.

Darling, you could never disappoint me. I need you here honestly.

I know, baby. I wanna be there too. Just a couple more months.

I might as well get on a plane right now, go to your hotel room, and… well, I’ll leave the rest up to you.

Leave it up to you to give a guy blue balls from Jamaica.

Sorry, sweetheart.

Sam was surfing through the channels and passed by what looked to be Steve’s interview. “Wait, go back.” Sam did as she said and read the headline ‘Leaked Footage of Steve Rogers’ True Feelings.’ Peggy immediately assumed the worst because when is a headline like that ever good?

The footage showed Steve exited a restaurant and adjusting his coat while Zoe Gamora was shouting his name with a microphone in her hand. The cameras were flashing like police lights and there was enough paparazzi there to give the impression that a celebrity was there. Steve was pushing through people that wanted his attention, looks like he was getting used to the rich life.

"Steve! Steve!" Zoe called for him at the end of the line and he smiled when he saw her. "Could we trouble you for a few questions?"

"Zoe, right?"

"You remembered!"

"It's hard to forget what happens on the red carpet." He chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. He leaned forwards towards her microphone as he shuffled his feet. "Anyways, your questions?"

"We saw you having lunch with a famous photographer, Gabe Jones. How do you two know each other?" The cameras stopped flashing finally.

"He, uh, emailed me yesterday or two days ago I think, saying he wanted to take me on a tour to take pictures of female models across the globe. We were just discussing the specifics." Peggy didn’t take her eyes off of the screen, she was confused. Why would they give this headline if it just seems to be normal questions about his job?

"Are you going to take the job?" Steve sighed and looked down.

"I don't know. All signs point to yes but there's still something holding me back."

“Do you think he’s talkin’ about you?” Sam asked.

“Shh!” Peggy put her finger up, wordlessly saying she’ll get back to him on that.

"Or is it someone?" Zoe wiggled her eyebrows and Steve laughed again.

"You mean Peggy." She gasped. His eyes lit up when he said her name and a smile appeared as if from thin air. "It's complicated. She wants me to go to better myself but I just... I don't want to leave her."

"And why's that?" Zoe asked innocently. Steve was quiet for a moment to think his words over. Peggy was praying that he didn’t say anything that could affect their careers.

"I love her. I have for a while now."

Everyone in the tape went quiet. Sam and Peggy went quiet. The reporter doing the story was silent as the camera cut to her. She wasn’t so much as shocked as she was letting her viewers settle with this new information.

“Did you know?” Sam asked after a moment. Peggy gulped heavily and cleared her throat.

“I think so. It wasn’t as if we said we loved each other, we technically aren’t even boyfriend and girlfriend. The question never came up.”

“You love him back?” Peggy thought for a moment then she realized that it was so clear she didn’t need to think about her answer.

“Yes! Yes, I do…”

“I’m guessin’ he doesn’t know?”

“You’d be correct.” Peggy texted Steve.

Darling, when was the last time you spoke to Zoe Gamora?

The reporter?

Yes.

I don’t know. Maybe last month, why?

There seems to be some leaked footage that just spread to the public.

Oh, that…

Peggy called him. She thought it best that if they couldn’t do it face to face, they might as well speak verbally rather than virtually. He picked up right away and sighed over the phone.

“You’re not gonna yell at me, are ya?”

“Why would you think that, darling?” She moved into her bedroom for privacy from Sam.

“‘Cause I didn’t tell you first.” Peggy began pacing around the room.

“Well I would have preferred seeing you get all teary eyed while you confessed your undying love for me, but-” She giggled.

“First of all, I wouldn’t have gotten teary eyed. Second of all, you are one hundred and ten thousand percent correct. I should’ve told you first but I was scared.”

“So that’s what that rant was when you were drunk…”

“What did I say when I was drunk?” Peggy laughed again.

“That’s for another time.” She smiled. After another minute of just smiling and yearning for one of them to travel through the phone, Steve spoke up.

“I miss you, Peg.”

“I know. I miss you too, love.” She gnawed on her bottom lip. “How many more months?”

“Five. Maybe six.” He answered gravely.

“We’ll have to plan a reunion.” Peggy sat down on the bed and rolled over to her stomach. Her head was on her pillow and she was facing the other side where Steve would be.

“Mm… sounds good to me.” He sighed. “Ya know, sometimes I think this is all a dream and someday I’ll wake up and you won’t have my number. And I’ll just be your photographer.” Peggy giggled quietly.

“Darling, never think that. I’ll always love you.”

“Yeah, I know, but it just feels way too good to be true.” Peggy smiled again. “Do you realize that I’m dating you? I’m dating Peggy freaking Carter. A model and one of the most selfless people in this world. God, I love you.” She was smiling even brighter.

“You can’t propose over the phone, Steve.” She laughed as did he.

He started talking to Gabe who was also in the room with him. “Hey, Peg, I gotta go. We’re picking models today.”

“Alright, darling, good luck.”

“Thanks. I’ll text you. Bye, baby.” They hung up and Peggy laid there for another minute. She was staring up at the ceiling with an unbelievable grin on her lips. Her phone lay on her steady-breathing chest. She has never been happier than today. To learn that Daniel hasn’t destroyed her totally was knowing that he had nothing on her. She could live her life without the fear of being looked down to. He hadn’t damaged her in the way she thought he did.

“Sam!” She yelled happily from the room and burst open her bedroom door to see him staring at her from the couch. “We have to celebrate!”

“Why?” He laughed. Peggy hopped over the top of the couch and grabbed his arms.

“Because he loves me! He loves me! God, he loves me…” She breathed as a single happy tear left her eye and dripped down her cheek. Sam embraced her and laughed beautifully in her ear. She’s never felt so much warmth in her life. A man that loves her for who she is, friends that support her through thick and thin, her fans that are proud of her and happy that she found someone she could love, and that evil bastard is out of her life. All she wants now is for Steve to come home.

Chapter Text

Five and a half months later...

Peggy couldn’t sleep. She was awake for the majority of the night and now feeling the effects. Coffee seemed like a good enough decision for her half-sleeping brain. Steve was coming home today via Uber. And he’ll be home in an hour.

His tour with Gabe was finished besides the editing and design of the front cover. They were looking at magazines such as Time and Cosmopolitan. Time because their developing magazine is about global diversity and culture. Cosmopolitan because a cover of beautiful women was no stranger to the magazine.

Peggy was sitting on the couch with a mug full of steaming coffee in her palms. Sam would have usually made the coffee like he did every morning, but he left the night before so he could give them some privacy. He said he wanted to stay over Riley’s house anyway. Peggy suspected that Sam was itching to stay over his boyfriend’s apartment for at least two months. She was impressed with how much those two fell for each other but then again, Steve and her had done the same. Watching the digital clock on her phone and any other device in her home was becoming quite tedious because it seemed as though time stood still. The numbers didn’t increase, as they should be because it felt like an hour every time the minute changed. She couldn’t wait and the clock was holding her up. Peggy had only wished for the clock to speed up a few times in her life. When she’s missing Steve, when Daniel was hurting her, and when she’s performing on the runway. One time when she asked time to slow down was when they were kissing or even just laughing together. She loved him more than words can describe.

Just a half hour now and her coffee was only swishing around droplets of whatever was left. She set the mug down and laid down on the couch trying to focus on whatever was playing on the television. It was a movie with Anna Faris and a man who shared a strangely similar resemblance to Steve but when she blinked, she realized the man looked nothing like Steve. Peggy rolled her eyes at her ridiculousness. She was missing him but could she really be missing him that much?

With fifteen minutes left, her eyes fell heavy. That movie was putting her to sleep or perhaps she was just exhausted from the restless night. Her excitement wasn’t enough to keep her awake. All of a sudden it felt like she was sleeping on a cloud, only able to hear the faint noises of the romantic comedy in the background. Her head felt heavy and then she felt nothing, heard nothing, thought nothing. She was asleep.

A few minutes later, Steve walked through the door with his luggage rolling behind him. He moved his head around, searching for her, with a grin on his face that didn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. Then he spotted her sleeping on the couch. Steve shut the door with a soft click, set all of his bags down, and walked carefully over to her. He crouched down and pushed her hair out of her face to place a chaste kiss on her forehead. His lips lingered on her forehead a moment, smiling against her skin, just breathing in her scent. He pulled back and found a blanket to pull on top of her. Steve kissed her hair again and made sure the blanket was covering her feet as well. Smiling at his girl, Steve moved away and began unpacking.

When everything was put away and Steve found Peggy still sleeping, he decided that she would be more comfortable in their bed. He carried her like a bride would be carried on a wedding day. Pulling the sheets back and tucking her in, Steve laid on his respective side of the bed to go to sleep himself. All of the traveling was getting to him.

*

Five hours later, Peggy woke up. She was blinking slowly, only just realizing that she was no longer on the couch. The background noise of the tv was off and it felt like there was added weight on the bed. She turned her head to look behind her and there he was. He was laying on his stomach with his arms underneath the pillow and his hair flopped down very messily. Peggy smiled at the sight of him. She sat on his back and leaned down towards his ear, kissing his cheek and neck. He groaned and pushed his head further into the pillow.

“Steve…” She whispered in his ear. No response. “Darling, I need you to wake up…” Peggy kissed his cheek and jaw several times before a smirk appeared on his lips. He was awake. Steve grabbed hold of her legs that were on either side of him, flipped them over so she lay on her back, and turned in her hold so he was now on top of her.

“Morning.” He said in his raspy voice.

“More like afternoon.” She smiled. Steve tilted his body to take a look at the clock. It was just past noon.

“I guess you’re right.” He dug his nose into her collarbone and pressed loving kisses over her heated skin. “Just had to fall asleep on me, huh?” He teased.

“I didn’t mean to. I couldn’t sleep very well over the excitement that you would be back in bed with me.”

“Is that all I am to you?” He was smiling like he had all the time in the world to just lay in bed with her. Which they most certainly did. “A body?”

“I didn’t mean it like that.” Peggy slapped his shoulder.

“And here I was, on the plane, thinking about what my welcome home would be like.” He shook his head in a teasing and disapproving matter.

“I’m quite curious now. What were you fantasizing about?” He relaxed now, laying more weight onto her which didn’t seem to bother her. He looked to the ceiling as if it held all of his thoughts.

“Well, I was thinking that when I came home, you’d run into my arms and we’d kiss for only a second but then that kiss would get really intense. We’d be stumbling to the bedroom like we usually do, then we’d… well, I’ll leave the rest up to you.” He teased, totally mocking their texts in the past and she was totally loving it.

“We could do the last part right now.” Peggy quirked her brow. “You know, to make up for all of those pictures we sent each other.”

“What? Like revenge?” He chuckled. “Cause you sent me some bad ones at the worst times.”

“Then let me make it up to you.” She purred and traced her fingers to the back of his hair. She knew he loved that. Steve tilted his head back into her touch and closed his eyes. Peggy flipped them so she could be true to her previous statement. His hands met her waist and slowly wandered down, taking grip and massaging her ass. She smirked as both of her fingers were brushing his sandy hair back.

“This is almost better than sex.” He mumbled in his raspy voice with a grin.

“Because you haven’t had any in months. Perhaps you’ve forgotten.” Peggy sat back and her hands roamed over his hidden chest. Steve’s hands rubbed her thighs up and down.

“Believe me, I haven’t forgotten.” He claimed but Peggy giggled briefly and patted his stomach.

“We’ll see.” Steve rolled his eyes and reached for the drawer’s handle to retrieve a condom. Peggy grabbed his wrist and he looked at her. “You don’t have to put one on Steve.”

“What if you get pregnant?” He didn’t sound concerned for himself, but for her. It was a purely innocent question.

“Darling, there’s a small chance it can happen the first time we do this and if I were to get pregnant, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, would it?”

“This is why I love you.” He chuckled and pushed the drawer closed.

“I love you too, Steve.” Peggy smiled. “Now, top off.” Steve sat up and pulled the back of his shirt over his head, tossing it to the ground, and laid back down on his pillow.

They were slow and careful to express every part of their vulnerable love together. Smiles were exchanged when they mumbled those three little words. Bodies tangled in a passionate ritual devoted to their love for one another. Mouths open wide in an ineffable pleasure that can only be explained by two lovers in their own paradise. In the simplest form, it was love.

*

“3… 2… 1.” The camera flashed and this time Steve wasn’t behind it, Sam was, and the well-known couple was posing for an article about their love story. Peggy had already done an interview with Natasha’s charity to promote domestic abuse awareness and now Peggy’s fan base knows about Daniel’s abuse. Daniel has been facing trial for his actions. Peggy and Steve have been nothing but star-crossed lovers. For the past few months of his return from the global tour, his pictures have been on the cover of People, Time, and Cosmopolitan. His service rates went up because teenage girls are beginning to swoon over him and the media is also a huge fan. He’s been stopped on the street a few times. Now he knows how Peggy feels.

“You don’t have to countdown every time, Sam.” Steve chuckled.

“Oh, let him work.” Peggy called out then turned to Steve and whispered, “Stay focused on me.”

He shuddered because of her low voice. “Easy enough.” He breathed and clenched his jaw. Even now she still takes his breath away and renders him nervous. But he seemed nervous for the majority of the day.

“I know you’re usually the photographer, Steve, but just relax.” He nodded, finding solace in her words.

“You’re right, you’re right.” He took a deep breath and continued to hold her. Peggy’s arms were around his neck like they were slow dancing. Steve looked at Sam and gave him a certain look, one that Peggy wouldn’t understand.

“3…” Steve reached into his inner suit pocket. “2…” He pulled out a little box and got down on one knee. Peggy’s mouth was open as the corners quirked into a small smile. Her eyes glowed. Steve was watching her smile with a glint in his own eyes and a bright smile.

“Peg, will you marry me?” Steve was getting choked up and Peggy covered her mouth with one hand and held out the other as she nodded.

“...1!”

The picture of the couple’s engagement was to be sent to whatever magazine that will want it, so most of them. Steve was on one knee in a gray suit, blue tie, white button down, and blue loafers. Peggy was wearing a dark blue lace dress, red stilettos, her signature red lipstick and nail polish. She had her hands over her mouth while Steve was smiling up at her with the ring box in his hand.

“Of course, I want to marry you.” She sniffled as he stood and slid the ring on her finger. Sam was snapping rapidly. Their lips crashed into each other in a sweet, chaste kiss. They were both smiling as a single tear fell from Peggy’s eye and Steve brushed it away. When they pulled back, Steve rested his head on Peggy’s forehead and she kept her fingers in his hair, showing the ring to the camera, as Sam took the photo. Peggy turned to him. “I think we’re done for today, Sammy.”

“‘Course. Congratulations, you two.” He applauded as he rounded around the camera with a crooked smile.

“You alright, Peggy?” Steve asked.

“More than.” She kissed him again and when she pulled back, Sam was no longer in the room. “I guess he just knows his cue to exit then.”

“Guess so.” Steve agreed and kissed her again.

Weeks later they were on the cover of almost every celebrity magazine known to man with headlines that congratulated the couple. They went through interviews discussing what the experience and the surprise was like. They had been paid generously for the photos, giving everything to Natasha’s charity. Daniel was in prison for a few years and Peggy was a bit disappointed that other offenders didn’t get arrested for doing the same crime. She thought it was because she was famous, but in her mind that meant nothing. Celebrities are people and there shouldn’t be a division when sentencing a felon. That’s why they donated the money. They set the wedding for next year and the magazines have begun a countdown for Steve and Peggy’s special day.

*

“You gotta be kidding me.” Steve breathed as he joined hands with Peggy. Her dress only then settling on the red velvet walkway of the church. She smiled and looked down at his glossy shoes then back to his even glossier blue eyes.

“Never thought you’d be a crier.” She teased and smirked as if he was the only one in the room.

“Well you gotta marry me now. Can’t leave me crying in a church.” He sniffled and wiped his eyes. Peggy breathlessly laughed.

“Only if I have to.” She teased back and nodded to the priest to begin the ceremony.

“We gather here today to unite this couple in holy matrimony.” Steve and Peggy watched each other and completely zoned out until they were asked the important questions and requested to repeat the priest’s words. When asked if the audience had any objections, everyone held their breath. No one would make a sound during the few seconds. It was dead silent, almost like no one was in the church. Peggy and Steve both smiled at the priest. “You all can breathe.” He joked and the families laughed.

“And now,” He began again. “You may kiss the bride.”

“Finally.” Steve breathed and kissed her firmly on the lips. Everyone applauded them with smiles on their faces. The couple laughed as their lips were pressed together. Cameras were flashing and one was suspiciously close to her face. When she pulled back, Peggy saw that Steve had a camera in his hand and took a picture of them kissing.

Peggy shook her head and bit her lip. “You’re ridiculous.” She kissed him again.

“You already married me. Too late now.” He joked.

“Cheeky bastard.” Peggy shook her head and turned to her family. “We should probably start walking down the aisle before it turns dark.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” He chuckled and they stepped down onto the sunken sitting area. As they walked on the red velvet carpet, the guests threw rose petals over their heads. Both of them laughing with smiles never fading and a youthful innocence in their eyes. The front doors of the church opened as more smiling faces and cameras were in their path. The paparazzi applauded them then took their pictures. Family and friends followed behind the newlyweds until they entered the limousine, with Bucky, Sam, Riley, Angie, Natasha, and Peggy’s parents, and made their way to the reception. Since the press was going to be there, Steve and Peggy thought that the family can congratulate them in a more hidden location. Everyone was talking except for Steve and Peggy at the end. They felt secluded while everyone else in the limo were intrigued in their own conversations.

“You look beautiful.” He whispered in her ear.

“And I think you look rather dapper.” She giggled and leaned her head against his shoulder. “I like your blue vest. Brings out your eyes.”

“What about the red tie?”

“Yes, you look very patriotic.” She snuggled closer to him and their hands met, lacing around each other.

“I thought I should add your favorite color into my outfit.” Peggy smiled to herself, nuzzling even closer to him if that was even possible.

“I love you, Steve.” She kissed his cheek.

“I love you too, Peg.” He squeezed her hand and they sat in silence. Listening to each other’s breathing and stealing each other’s warmth. The car was never quiet. Filled with their friend’s laughter and common sounds of New York passing them by. The sky was blue without a cloud in sight. The grass had never seemed greener and their smiles had never seemed warmer. Steve and Peggy were going to remember this day for the rest of their lives.

*

After the reception, people were running to their cars to get out of the rain and to spare their formal clothes. Steve and Peggy went outside to look at the night sky, although the clouds were blocking the stars. Steve had an idea. He has always wanted to do this.

He played a slow song on his phone and shoved it in his inside pocket then held out his hand to Peggy. “Dance with me?”

The sheepish grin and the hopeful eyes convinced her. She took his hand and they walked out into the heavy droplets of rain that was falling at a beautiful pace. His hand rested on her hip and held her hand while she clutched onto his shoulder. They swayed to the beat of the song while their clothes were slowly, but surely, getting drenched. His suit was already turning into a shiny color as drops were pouring off his sleeves. Peggy’s dress was ruined but she didn’t care. That’s not why she wanted this wedding.

Paparazzi took a few pictures and left. Finally being respectful as they should always be. They left the couple to their moment and as the four minutes of the song were up, the newlyweds kept dancing. No music needed. Peggy’s head was resting on his chest with her eyes closed when she giggled.

“What?” He smiled.

“Dancing in the rain. It’s a bit theatrical, isn’t it?” He chuckled at that.

“Suppose it is.” Peggy laughed against him again.

“Always so dramatic.” She added and then they were silent again. Swaying to the pitter patter of the falling rain. Nothing between them but the raw love they had created.