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It was a Friday, the day everything shifted for Y/N. It was just another day in Brooklyn— the smoggy city air pressing in on all of her windows, and promising another busy day. She could look forward, however, to a few breaks today. Two, in particular— tonight, her gal friends would come over with comfortable clothes and wine and rum and would waste the night away among chatter and scandalous stories. Victoria would be bringing a new record she had yet to listen to, and it was a small treat for Y/N. However, this wasn’t the event which would pull Y/N from her pile of warm quilts and start the day. Twice a week, her and her best friends since grade school, Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes would take her out to lunch on her break, and for one sacred hour, she would be able to make the world around her disappear. Now, life wasn’t horrendous for Y/N— she was a young, single woman in the big city— but between a heavy pile of papers to edit and sort through waiting for her at work, and bills due by the end of the week, Y/N would very much be looking forward to a reprieve.

The commute was short— only a ten block stroll which Y/N took her time walking. Her mama told her that one should only need to rush when there was a need. The newspaper building appeared sooner than she would like— she had been having an intense daydream where she was winning an argument from high school that the back of her mind was not yet ready to let go.

The neutrals of the office were violently broken up this morning, due to a rather impressive bouquet of flowers that must have costed at least two weeks worth of coffee from a street vendor.

“Jeez, who’s the lucky lover, huh?” Y/N joked, taking her jacket and headscarf off, dropping her bag behind her own private desk— being the best editor on your floor came with perks, apparently.

The girls surrounding the flowers begun to giggle loudly, chittering amongst themselves before Gladys wrapped her manicured hands around the pretty vase and set it on Y/N’s desk.

“It’s for you, Y/N.” She winked, taking a step back and watching an astonished expression cross Y/N’s face.

“Wait, pardon?” Y/N gasped, excited over the idea of a secret admirer.

“Yeah! It’s from—“ Dorothy squealed. She had had a brief stint with Bucky a few years ago, and for a while, Y/N felt horrendously jealous of their relationship. Not because she liked Bucky— no, no, not at all. Dot had just taken up so much of Bucky’s time and energy that whenever Steve and Y/N saw him he would be so low energy they would just nap together. Once Dot had been moved tot he desk across from Y/N, however, She understood why Bucky had been so smitten with her— Dot was the full package, and Y/N wouldn’t deny having her own crush on the other woman.

“Shush!” Victoria hissed, picking the card from the bouquet of daisies and baby’s breath— two of Y/N’s favorite flowers. “Read it.”

So, Y/N rolled her eyes and plucked the card from her friend’s hands, and flipped it open, recognizing the messy scrawl immediately— Bucky had an adorable knack for remembering the smallest of anniversaries between the three of you. He had always prided himself on things which he would remember The sound of the other women giggling furiously seemed far away when she read the words.

‘i know you haven’t had the best of weeks, so I figured this would make you smile (and maybe even blush a bit). Happy Friday, Y/N/N.’ - JB

“We couldn’t figure out who Y/N/N was, but then Dot remembered that he used to call you that when you were in high school together. Cute.” Doris hummed— she reminded you of a snake. Nothing negative by any means, just slightly frightening until you showed her that you meant no harm and provided a warm place to make herself comfortable. Doris was one of Y/N’s all-time favorite people.

“You know,” Victoria hummed, “friends don’t do that for each other.”

It had been common for the girls to tease Y/N about her close relationship with her boys, despite Y/N defending herself and saying that they were like brothers to her.

‘That’s still legal in some states, I think.’ Doris had joked one day— it was the first day which she had actually begun to open up to the group of young women in the office.

“We’ve always been like this— it’s who me and Bucky are.” Y/N mumbled, unable to fight the smile or heat that rose to her face.

“We are all talking about this later tonight. One hundred percent.” Dot chirped, slinking into her chair while shooting a wink towards Y/N. “Now, move the vase a little so I can send you expressions whenever Boss speaks.”

Y/N snorted, moving it just slightly behind her pen holder. Bucky Barnes had brought beautiful, indescribable color into her life and for that, she was grateful.

________________

“Your flowers were a hit, Barnes.” She smiled over the table to her best friend. Bucky was sat across from her, while Steve perched himself in the hard metal chair facing towards the street. Both her and Bucky had joked that he was their little watchdog on many occasions, and this was just an instance that would prove their point. Steve was always the watchful one.

“Oh good, I figured Dot would like them.” He smirked, wiping his mouth with a disposable napkin and throwing it on his plate. Steve’s attention whipped from the large (and in his opinion), threatening man who had just walked by and smiled politely at Y/N.

“Seriously, Buck?” Steve groaned, his hard gaze piercing through Bucky. Bucky would have been affected like everyone else had it not been for the two decades they had spent together.

“You’re doin’ Dot again?” A few glances were shot at him as a result of his crude language— Steve had always had a mouth on him, and despite Bucky and Y/N trying to keep the vulgarity to a minimum in public, Steve continued. Y/N laughed loudly at his remark, pulling more attention towards him while Bucky tried desperately to smack some sense into his too-loud best friends.

“No, Jesus Christ, Stevie.” Bucky spat half-heartedly, a smile pulling at one of the corners of his mouth like an invisible string.

“Then what flowers are we talking about? I’m lost.” Steve smirked, watching Bucky trying to de-fluster himself.

“I sent flowers to our girl here. Because of this damn week.” Bucky nodded towards Y/N who crossed her legs under the table and slouched against one of the metal armrests. Steve’s smirk transformed into a knowing smile. Best friends didn’t send best friends flowers because of a bad week.

“And how much did that cost ya, Buck?” He asked, not taking his amused eyes off of a thoroughly blushing Y/N.

“Enough that my Ma would smack me on the back of the head,” Bucky mumbled, beginning to tear his previously crumpled napkin into little pieces. Y/N gasped and kicked Bucky under the table.

“It was a sweet gesture, James. Don’t ever do it again, though— I can’t have you going broke over a bunch of pretty daisies.” Y/N hissed, truly concerned for her friend’s frivolous spending habits. He has always treated money like it didn’t mean much— ‘money is never an object when it comes to the people you love’ he would always say. ‘tell that to your heating bill, dummy.’ Steve would reply. He proved this to be a firm belief over all of Bucky’s relationships— from saving money to buy Rebecca that toy she’d be pining over, or paying for Steve’s stitches at the clinic.

Plus, money was still a rather large concern— the Depression had only just ended due to the war overseas, and the trust of banks was still too low to get local economies flourishing.

“You know what happens when people tell other people to not push the Big Red Button?” Bucky asked, his smile sending a pleasant chill down Y/N’s spine.

“They push the Big Red Button,” Steve replied before Y/N could. God, he loved how truly idiotic his friends were— not realizing their feelings for each other and all. Steve was fine with it, now— the feelings had been there for a good seven years already, and they were practically an item by the way they were so touchy and protective of each other. They were touchy and protective of him too, just without the crippling sexual tension.

“Okay, then keep buying me flowers!” Y/N huffed, hoping reverse psychology would work on him.

“Fine, I will then,”

“No— James, don’t.”

“‘M gonna do it.”

“Bucky!”

_______________

Lunch was almost up, and Steve, who had just found a part-time job, had to rush off quickly. Bucky decided then, that he could manage to be late to work to walk his girl back to work. Not his girl— she was her own girl and at the very least, Bucky and Steve’s girl. For the second time that day, the sight of Y/N’s workplace creeping towards them was once more not too welcomed.

Bucky groaned playfully, stomping his foot when Y/N said her usual ‘well, I guess this is my stop’. He leaned against the wall, catching her elbow to stop her from leaving him just yet.

“What, James.” She sighed a grin already on her face. She stepped closer to him, placing one foot between his legs and clutching the strap of her bag tightly— some would say nervously. He pulled a cigarette from the pack in his pocket, and searched for a match to light it, coming up short. Y/N pulled the cigarette from his lips and clutched it in her fist.

“Sorry, doll.” He mumbled, sounding not unlike a child who had been caught stealing from the cookie jar. She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms.

“You can do it when me and Stevie aren’t around but I—“

“Don’t like the smell, I know.” He hummed. She rolled her eyes at his sass but hummed happily when Bucky’s hand came to play with the sleeve of her new dress. It was bright red, which was one of Bucky’s favorite colors on Y/N, and it fit her very well in all of the right places.

“You’re so pretty, Y/N.” He hummed, hand resting on her waist briefly before retracting it and shoving it into his pocket— too intimate, he thought.

Y/N blushed as red as her dress and wrapped one finger around one of his suspenders. He had changed out of his Army greens for lunch and had made special effort to wear his braces just for lunch. Y/N had a nervousness which came about in the way she needed to fiddle with something— a pen, and mug, his suspenders.

He could feel her finger skirt over his torso lightly, and it sent a delighted shiver through him. Y/N’s touch was a drug— and both he and Steve (maybe Bucky moreso) were completely hooked.

“You’re pretty snazzy yourself, Jamie.” She mumbled, still bright red. She looked up at him through her lashes, and Bucky had never desired a puff of his cigarette more in his life— his heart was racing so damn fast. ‘She must have not known what she was doing,’ he thought, ‘playing innocent and coy like that. She had to know it was one of his biggest reasons for attraction.’

“Bucky Barnes!” Came a voice, followed by the sound of elated giggles. Both Y/N and Bucky broke their gaze to see that the girls from Y/N’s floor were walking in. It was Dot who had spoken, a knowing and devious look in her eyes. Y/N rolled her eyes, knowing that she would be the topic of conversation for the next forever.

“Dot, you’re looking well.” Bucky crooned— their breakup had not been messy since Bucky had refused to have it end on bad terms. They had fought, and she had broken up with him in a screeching fit, but the next day, he was at her doorstep with a thermos of hot tea. He hadn’t returned to beg for her to take him back, like Dorothy had previously thought, but to talk and figure out ways that both of them could find closure. They had only been dating for a few months, but both had fallen hard. After the conversation, they hugged for far longer than necessary, wiped tears from the others faces and Bucky had left before kissing her forehead goodbye.

“I am well, thank you. So, you and Y/N, huh? ‘Bout time.” She almost laughed out loud at the way Bucky and Y/N jumped feet away from each other.

“No— I— We—“ Bucky stumbled over his words.

“He was just leaving.” Y/N said, surprisingly smooth. “And I was just about to follow you in and have very serious words with you all.” She growled through gritted teeth and heat she could feel on the tips of her ears. They only laughed and winked at the two before disappearing behind the heavy oak and glass doors.

“I’m sorry about them— they don’t—“ Y/N rushed, turning back to him. He stopped her with a hand to her cheek and a gentle smile.

“It’s okay, Sugar. I thought it was pretty funny, anyway.” He smiled. Y/N nodded shyly before beginning to back herself towards the doors, not yet ready to look away from Bucky.

“Okay, well I should go— oh!” She stopped herself just as she got to the doors, and rushed back to him, handing him the fisted cigarette along with a new pack of matches. When he looked up at her surprised, she shrugged.

“I like to keep some in my bag because I know you can never find your own.”

And with that, Y/N left Bucky in the street with a racing heart and a brain which had nearly stopped all form of thought completely.

____________________

The first bottle of Grigio had barely even been opened before the girls turned all of their attention towards Y/N— prodding and poking for her to just tell them about Bucky. He was known in Brooklyn neighborhoods for being a flirt, for being smooth and pretty, but all of that went out of the window when Y/N walked into the room. When Bucky could see Y/N, he became a bumbling fool who had never actually had a successful conversation with a woman before. The smooth Tom Cat that was Bucky Barnes became a puppy with ears so long he would trip over them.

“Seriously, I don’t understand how you can’t see it— Bucky gets all bumbling alpha male around you. It’s really sweet, actually.” Dorris said over her completely full glass.

Dot hummed, already curled under a blanket while Socks, Y/N’s cat, lay on the back of the chair, purring loudly enough for all of the women in the room to hear. “He never acted that way around me when we were dating. Jesus, he was still like that about you when his arm was on my hip.”

“Oh, whatever.” Y/N grumbled, not quite prepared enough to be on the hot seat this early into the evening. “He’s just protective. He’s like that way about Steve too!”

“Yeah, sure, I’ll give you that,” Dot said, “but Bucky doesn’t want to warm his cock in Steve, now does he?”

At Dot’s vulgarity, the girls squealed loudly, kicking their feet excitedly while all of Y/N organs flip-flipped in her body.

“Good god, I’ve never in my life seen anyone turn this red before!” Victoria giggled.

“I hate you all and I regret inviting you all over.” Y/N grumbled, pressing a bottle of white to her cheeks to attempt to cool them off.

“Cock warming out of the picture— what about that time he almost punched Mark out at last years Christmas party?” Gladys sighed dreamily. It was true— Mark had had too much to drink at the party and had gotten Y/N alone against a tight space at the bar. Y/N had never been so uncomfortable in her life— his breath smelled too bad, and he seemed to be unable to just take a hint.

The girls closest to her seemed to sense her distress, but before they could make any move towards her to pull her away from the situation, Bucky had appeared from the bathroom and zeroed in on him. His nostrils had flared angrily as he grabbed Mark by his disheveled collar and drug him outside of the venue, throwing him into the barren street and rolling up the sleeves of his dress shirt.

“You think you can touch a girl like that? My girl?” Bucky had snarled. Before Mark could even begin to defend himself, Bucky picked Mark up by his shirt and slammed him against the side of a parked car hard enough to set off the alarm. Someone cursed and hurried to shut off the alarm before anyone else decided to pay attention to the scene. The party had floated out of the venue to watch the spectacle, some of the braver patrons bringing their booze to sip while they watched what they hoped would be a marvelous fight.

“I— N-no, Sir.” Mark rushed, gripping Bucky’s wrists and trying to pull. Mark was no match for him, however, as Bucky had just returned from three months of straight Army training— basic training it was called. He had returned three sizes larger, muscles stretching all of his old clothing uncomfortably. He was no longer the tall, lanky man who was known for his quick dance moves. He was known now as the same guy, just absolutely shredded with muscle.

Just as Bucky raised a well-trained fist to collide with the mans face, Y/N had appeared, her soft touch wrapping itself around her best friends fist and her body wedging itself between the two men.

“James. Not here.” Y/N had hissed.

“He was touchin’ you—“

“This isn’t a back alley, James Buchanan. This is the middle of the street while all of my coworkers and their families are watching.” Bucky continued to glare over Y/N’s shoulder, only stopping his stare when Y/N’s soft hand came to rest on Bucky’s cheek.

“Hey, Jamie. Look at me. I’m here. Hi. Let’s get outta here, yeah? Go see Ma and Papa— they have homemade bread.” Y/N said, talking him down expertly. His almost black eyes looked at her, and he released a harsh breath from his lungs while the blue-grey of his eyes began to return.

“Hey, hi there, Honey.” Y/N had cooed. “Let’s go get our jackets and go get Stevie on the way home. There’s soup and bread callin’ your name.”

And with a nod, Bucky let go of Marks collar and spun around to collect his jacket, trudging back into the building with Y/N tight to his side.

 

“Yeah, I think Mark peed himself after that,” Gladys commented, giggling at the expense of the office slimeball.

“He so did! Oh, my God I had totally forgotten that. Has he spoken to you since?” Victoria asked, already beginning to feel the buzz of her whiskey.

“He apologized the next morning— couldn’t even get a sentence out without looking over his shoulder. I think he was half expecting Bucky to jump out from behind a potted plant and stab him in the throat with a knife or somethin’.” Y/N submitted to the girls prodding and storytelling. Maybe it was the wine— maybe it was something else. Y/N figured that she hadn’t ever seen Bucky that angry before, and maybe a little part of her wished she had seen him in his full, raging glory.

“Okay, okay. What about that time that he spent three bucks trying to get you that stuffed bear at Coney Island on July 4th?” Doris asked, her tough exterior beginning to melt away to reveal an eager (albeit nosey) young lady.

“Oh, the one with the red cape and blue suit and silver stars on its fur? Hold on.” Y/N asked, getting up and retreating briefly, only to return with the same bear tucked under her arm. She had slept with it every night since and had become almost dependant on it to get through the night without waking up. It was stupid, she knew, but the sentiment was sweet.

“Oh, my God.” Gladys squealed, watching at Y/N curled up in her chair and tucked the bear behind her curled up legs. “You still have him?”

“Why would I throw out Captain America?” Y/N scoffed playfully, puffing up the little white tuft of white hair on the top of his hair. The girls giggled in response. “I tried for three years to win this guy— I’m pretty sure the only reason James could get him was because the poor carnie felt bad he was spending so much money.”

“And what’s up with that? He won that in 1936, right? That was before the Depression ended!” Dorris commented with wide eyes and a slur to her speech.

“Bucky’s always been like that— he doesn’t seem to be able to get the concept that money is limited. He thinks that price isn’t a figure when it comes to happiness.” Y/N said fondly, taking a sip of her drink. The taste of the wine made her tongue curl in her mouth— she hated the taste of alcohol, but as long as it did its job, it was worth it.

“I bet you the carnie was disappointed James didn’t even get a kiss at the end of it— probably the main reason why he let him have it in the first place.” Dot commented, knowing that the last comment would get a rise out of one of her best friends. That, and the use of Bucky’s real name. Y/N was particularly short of patience when it came to anyone calling Bucky James unless it was her, Steve or Bucky’s own family.

“His name is Bucky, and why would I kiss him.” Y/N snapped, much to the girls delight.

“He spent a whole two bucks on you at Coney Island at a stupid carnie game just to see you smile! Don’t you see it?!” Dorris all but yelled, sloshing booze onto Y/N’s already damaged hardwood floors. “Bucky’s been bitten by the loooove bug.”

“You guys are just being dramatic.” Y/N said quietly, busying herself with another drink of wine.

“And you're not too innocent here either, Y/L/N,” Victoria said, raising her glass to point it accusingly at her friend.

“Excuse me?” Y/N spluttered, barely even swallowing her drink.

“Yeah, you constantly touching him in some way? You can’t go one day without playing with his damn suspenders. Jeez, you were practically leaning against him at lunch earlier today! Anyone with two eyes —maybe even one— would have been able to see how bad you have it for each other.” She continued. The rest of the party hummed in agreement, some even raising their drinks in solidarity.

“Yeah, and you don’t see it, but he turns bright red every time you do touch him.” Dot smiled kindly. Y/N sat up a little straighter, some part of herself preening under the new piece of information.

“…..He does?” Y/N asked, trying to pass the question off a coy and subtle, but getting a rise of shrieks and squawks in reply.

“He so does—“ Dot chirps excitedly. “God, he looks at you like you hung the damn moon and sun. Steve took care of the stars in his eyes, but you? You’re responsible for the moon and sun and the waves and the reason the Earth itself spins— he revolves around you. It’s real sweet, honestly.”

There was a period of bated silence before Y/N spoke again, finally playing into the hands of her best friends. “Okay… so what do I do?”

“Okay! Okay. So, have you guys kissed?” Dorris asked.

“I mean, once or twice— on the cheek, stop squealing- Ms. Humphrey is gonna have my head.” Y/N hissed over the women’s commotion.

“Holy shit okay. So, Ernie asked me to do this thing to him the other day— his construction buddies were talkin’ about it, but I never heard of it before, but it had him a mewling fuckin’ mess under me. It was amazing.” Dorris said, bringing a sudden anticipatory silence over the room.

“Holy shit— you had Ernie weak? Jesus, he hasn’t been weak since he as a babe.” Victoria gasped. It was true— a well-known piece of information that Ernie was a glorious man— six and a half feet of nothing but muscle and hair. He was the same age as the women, but the way he carried himself and looked made him seem like he was a well-seasoned man.

“I know, it was amazing.” Dorris half-moaned.

“What’d you do?” Victoria asked. All the girls were eagerly waiting with bated breath on the edge of their seats. Y/N had turned bright red with excitement at the key to making a strong man moan— the idea of Bucky moaning under her actions was almost too good to be true.

“Well, I got on my knees in front of him, and he got real hard and you know… I like, kissed him there and stuff.” Dorris fumbled, suddenly shy. Her vulgar personality suddenly replaced by a shy little virgin of a woman.

“You put his goods in your mouth? You nasty bitch!” Y/N gasped. She had never gone very far with a man— nothing more than a few kisses here and there— and at the age of twenty-one, still being a virgin was something that still gave her anxiety. Her mom had told her it was okay because Y/N had told her she was waiting for the right moment (unbeknownst to Y/N, her mother also knew of Bucky and Y/N’s stupidity).

“Well, it had him havin’ a crisis in about three minutes— and you all know how long we can go for.” Dorris grinned, watching over the rim of her tumbler at the girls jaws on the floor.

“Wow… I-- what’d it taste like?” Y/N said, hushed. It felt as if God would strike her down for her curiosity, but the idea of sucking a man off was all but unheard of. It was something that women making lives on street corners did— it was never something that upstanding citizens did. ‘But,’ Y/N thought, ‘they make good money for a reason.’

“Wanna be ready for one Mr. Barnes, huh?” Dot smirked. Y/N was surprised to see a blush coating her own cheeks because Dorothy never blushed. Y/N knew that she was thinking about how Bucky would taste, and a monster of jealousy threatened to wake in her stomach. Y/N knew, however, that Dot was fully for Bucky and Y/N getting over themselves, and would do no such thing to disrupt that. She had heard from both ends how far they had gone together (Dot had lost her virginity to Bucky— who, apparently was very gentle with her). Y/N tried not to blush at the information she had repressed.

“Oh, shut your mouth.” Y/N groaned, eliciting a chorus of giggles and ‘awes’. The girls were also aware of how innocent Y/N was, and when Dot (the last to know) found out, she gaped at Y/N. ‘So you and, you know, haven’t?’ She had asked.

“Well, okay.” Dorris was bright red now and her nose was scrunched up in discomfort and thought. “It tasted salty? I guess? And a little musky? But it also just tasted like him— like his essence or somethin’.”

There was a period of silence before Gladys spoke up.

“… His essence is salty?” And the girls crowed loudly with laughter.

“No! God, you’re so annoying— I don’t know how to explain it!” Dorris laughed into her hands. The girls' laughter was brought to a violent stop as someone angrily knocked on the door.

“LADIES! Bed.” The landlady, Mildred Humphrey crowed through the door. She had ignored the several noise complaints that were brought to her, as she had a particularly soft spot for Y/N Y/L/N and her family— they had done so much for this boardinghouse and even participating in local charities which gave aid to women in need. But, rules were rules and it was eleven o'clock.

“Yes, Ms. Humphrey.” The women chorused, covering their mouths to stop any more loud laughter from keeping the tenants of the boardinghouse awake.

“Goodnight, ladies.” Humphrey’s voice had easily lost its edge, and Y/N smiled in the direction of the door, not realizing that the landlady wouldn’t see it. It’s only another hour before the women begin to wind down under blankets and influence, and once Y/N had made sure all of her guests were comfortable, took Captain America to her room and fell asleep thinking (unabashedly) about the way Bucky Barnes may or may not taste.

_______________

Bucky Barnes needed flowers. He needed someone to buy him flowers because frankly, his week had been god awful. Firstly, his Major had been on his ass about being late to work after lunch on Friday and had been assigned double physical training. Secondly, his Ma and Pa had been tense— the rising conditions of the war had them worried sick about him, knowing that if the president deemed it so, he could very well be sent overseas. So, thanks to some stupid little man with an even stupider mustache, his home life had been suffocating.

And thirdly (most importantly, in his opinion) Y/N had been distant on all levels. She had canceled lunch on both Tuesday and Friday and said no to his request to go dancing later that night. He and Steve went to lunch both days, nevertheless, but they had been grossly unpleasant— Steve was on his ass, hounding Bucky and asking what he had done to piss her off. Between his interrogation, Steve was wracked with coughs that had him on the verge of vomiting— it was funny, Bucky though, because the only thing that stopped Steve from actually fighting God himself was his constant state of sick.

“Seriously, James.” Steve groaned, looking grumpily at the empty chair where Y/N usually sat— beside him, and across from Bucky. “What the fuck did you do?”

“I— I don’t know, okay? I walked her back to work last week, and we talked and stuff and she took my fag like she always does and then— oh, God.” Bucky groaned, leaning forward so much that his head thunked on the metal table.

“What.” Steve moaned pitifully. God, if Y/N was pissed at Bucky, by proxy she would be pissed with him and an angry Y/N was never something that anyone wanted.

“Dot teased us— said it was about time that we got together.” Bucky was sure Y/N didn’t like him now— not in that way anyway, and he truly didn’t know why the idea of her not liking him that way made him feel full of rocks. Steve blinked slowly at Bucky and felt it was appropriate in this moment in time to take the rolled up newspaper on the table and smack him over the head with it. The people sitting around them looked and furrowed their brows. Even the waitresses seemed concerned because as loud as they were, the three customers had become a great source of entertainment and happiness on their bi-weekly lunch dates. Now, the pretty dame was missing and the tiny, angry blonde was smacking the other boy with a newspaper— something was wrong.

“You’re so stupid, James Buchanan,” Steve grumbled, rising to his feet, tucking the paper under his armpit and coughing into his elbow. Bucky watched as his friend appeared to be leaving him, and quickly tried to defend himself.

“It wasn’t me, Steve! I did nothing! It was Dot who said somethin’!” Bucky almost cried, trying to keep Steve with him— they had only been here for half an hour, and Steve wasn’t due for his doctor's appointment for another hour.

“Exactly.” Steve hissed, and for the first time, Bucky held his breath in fear when Steve leaned in close. “You did nothing. Figure this shit out, Buck. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for you.” And with that, Steve Rogers left Bucky Barnes at the cafe, alone and confused.

At least the waitress pitied him enough to give him his meal for free and send him on his way with another free cheese danish.

__________________

Bucky had woken up for the third time that night, wracked with nightmares where everyone he held dear were screaming at him and yelling— angry about nothing in particular and everything at the same time. So, instead of turning over in his sweat-soaked sheets and hoping for sleep to take over he tore those sheets off of the bed, threw them in the dryer and went down to the kitchen to heat up a glass of milk to have while he waited. He knew that the bags under his eyes were gross and that his lashes were crusted with dry tears, but he didn’t care— it was almost ten and nobody was awake.

Or so he thought.

“Wow, Jamie.” His younger sister remarked from the bottom of the stairs. “You look like absolute shit.”

“Wow, thank you, dearest sister.” He grumbled, wiping the milk that got caught in his growing stubble— he hadn’t bothered to shave since Y/N had stopped talking to him. What was the point? He had nobody to impress. Why would he want to impress Y/N, anyway? She was his best friend, and falling for her would surely end in disaster. But damn, the way she felt pressed against him on the dance floor, her head thrown back in elated laughter as she was spun between her two best guys was one of the best things to him. Her touch had him craving more— as if he had done some new back alley drug and was unaware of how hooked he was until he couldn’t get it. He missed the way her pinky would wrap around his when they would walk through the crowds at Coney Island. He missed the feeling of her tugging his suspenders playfully and then laughing gleefully when she let go of them and it snapped against his chest. He missed her coming over to his home, wrapping her arms around his waist from behind and pressing her forehead to the spot between his shoulder blades while he cooked them some stupid snack.

He missed her— and not in a friendly way.

So, he did what all dignified men should do when they realize they’re in love with their best friend.

He sucks back a sip of warm milk, it does down the wrong tube, and instead of correcting itself, shoots out both nostrils.

“Holy cow, Jamie. You okay?” Rebecca asks, trying to not fall on the floor in a heap of laughter.

“Yeah, I just— uh. Just realized something is all.” He coughs, rushing to grab the dish towel in Rebecca’s hands and wiping his face and neck with it. Damn, he’d need to change his shirt and everything now.

“Oh yeah, okay. Spill.” She said, pulling herself to sit on the counter. “And not milk this time, okay?”

“Haha. Has anyone told you that you’re a comedic genius?” Bucky grumbles, rubbing his chest with his hand, trying to calm his racing heart. “And no, Becks— it’s okay.”

“James Barnes,” Rebecca barked, pulling out her well-refined mother voice. Sure, he was younger than him, but Bucky knew that when she spoke like this, Rebecca Barnes meant business. “Share.”

Bucky takes a deep breath, holds it and says the words he never imagined he would say. “I might be in love with YN?”

Rebecca’s face, in that instant, had never ever looked so dead to the world. Her eyes went dead, her eyebrows lost all of their arch, and her lips parted. Bucky waited for a few seconds, before poking her knee and calling her name.

“Beck. Are you okay?” Bucky asks once his sisters eyes focus on him once again.

“Is that it?”

“‘Is that it’? Becca this is huge.” He breathes.

“James. You’ve been in love with her since you guys were eleven. It’s taken you ten years to realize that. You oblivion is the only huge thing that is coming out in this conversation.” Rebecca sighs, speaking to him the same way his Ma did when he was a six year old.

“Wait, you knew?”

“Knew that you’ve been sweet on her for a decade or that the feelings are reciprocated? Because everyone has known both.”

“Wait, what?”

“Even Steve says you’re both stupid.”

“Wait— Rebecca.”

“Do what you will with this information.” She remarked, the stupidity of her brother making her exhausted once more. "I’m going to bed. If you need to talk to someone about this revelation, there’s a fire escape that leads directly to her apartment on the east side of her building. Night, dummy.”

At her sisters retreating form, Bucky placed his glass on the counter and stands fully. “Rebecca you come back here!”

“No. And change your clothes— you look like a milk-soaked hobo.”

________

Bucky walked around the block where Y/N lived three times before he got the guts to take the turn into the alley with the fire escape. God forbid he end up crawling into her bedroom while she was sleeping— she may be his best friend, but he would most certainly get an impressive black eye from that situation. Hell, it was Y/N that taught Steve how to throw a proper punch when they were kids— she had come from a rough part of Long Island, so she had shown both of her boys a few tricks. He would have to lie to his work buddies on the shooting range the next day— he got into a fight with a bunch of men to save Steve’s life or something.

Bucky peered over the window sill, gauging which room he would be tumbling through, and sighed in relief when he saw what looked like a workroom for when Y/N had to take editorials home for editing. ‘The chair across from the desk looked like it would be a good place to take a nap’, he thought, the soft chaise lounge almost calling to him. When he went to jimmy the lock on the window, he found that it was already unlocked. He made a mental note to chastise Y/N about leaving windows unlocked in the big city as he climbed in, only knocking a wooden chair slightly and making the lamp on the desk wobble. He cursed at the noises that seemed to be too loud for it being almost midnight.

He walked across the darkened room, taking off his shoes under the guise of him being polite and not tracking the city dirt through her sacred space (when, in fact, he was trying to be sneaky). He opened the office door, and shut it behind him, setting the shoes on the welcome mat before heading towards the rooms which had the most light. The kitchen, he assumed, had lights on— possibly even the living room.

Socks, ever the one for company, noticed Bucky and patted towards him all the while howling at him happily. For such a small cat, Bucky thought, the thing sure did have a set of lungs on him.

Before he could meet Socks halfway and bend down to meet the animal, he came face to face with the silver glint of a recently sharpened kitchen knife. The point was just barely touching his Adam's apple, and Bucky quickly raised his hands to the sides of his head so his best friend actually didn’t slice his throat on her expensive-looking new rug.

It took a second for Y/N to see who he was in the darkened hallway, but when she did, she flicked a light on and Bucky was met with the most deadpan expression she had to offer— one which rivaled Rebecca’s.

He took a second to fully drink her in. She was wearing nothing but a white nightgown, and the fabric which clung to her curves left little to the recently romantically-inclined imagination. Her hair was loose and hung around her shoulders— nothing like the intricate hairstyles which were trendy at the time. It was prettily haloed by the ugly yellow light in her hallway. Her face was bare of makeup and he finally noticed the natural redness on her cheeks and dark scars of acne. He noticed the freckles on her nose and forehead and saw the bags under her eyes which he wouldn’t find out until later were there for the same reason he had his.

He had never seen her this undone before, and his knees were almost weak at the idea that he may be one of the only people to be able to see her like this— natural and soft and flowing. The knife which was still pointed towards his face did nothing to help cool off the sudden heat in his stomach and cheeks, and the feisty glint in her eyes was almost enough for him to pop a boner right there.

“I um— hi.” He mumbled, scrambling for words that just wouldn’t come to him. She seemed to register that this was her James, and he wouldn’t harm her for all the money in the world, so she lowered his knife and rested a fist on one of her hips.

“James. What’re you doing here?” She asked, her tone almost sharp but laced with exhaustion. He blinked but didn’t take offense, as he could see the blush beginning to creep over her chest and face and ears in shame of her tone. Bucky didn’t give himself time to think about the other places she may or may not be blushing before he forced more words to come out of his mouth.

“I— uh, I wanted to talk.” He said lamely.

“Okay— um. Do you want some tea or coffee or water or anything?” She ushered him into her home as if it was the first time he was there, grabbing a silk robe off of the back of a chair. ‘Not helping,’ Bucky thought, willing the slight tightness in his pants to just go away.

“No, thank you.” He mumbled, fully aware of the odd tension that was suddenly too heady in the air. Neither parties seemed to be able to catch a full breath due to their hearts racing in their chests hard enough for them to almost ache.

She nodded, instead walking to the living room where she urged him to sit. He did so, spreading his knees comfortably, and resting his elbows on them. She joined him shortly after flitting around the room and turning on a few lamps around the room. ‘They give a comfier feeling than the light, I think.’ She had said one day when he asked her about it the one other time he had been up here. It was late as well last time, and she had snuck both he and Steve past the sleeping doorwoman all the while giggling breathlessly.

Little did Bucky know that she was trying to calm her nerves, killing time and trying to not think about the fact that the last time she had company in this room, she was talking about sucking James off, tasting him like nobody else had before.

“I— are you okay? You’re bright red.” Bucky said once she sat down to him. ‘Closer, please,’ he almost said.

“No— I mean, yeah. I just remembered something.” She hummed, pressing the backs of her cool hands to her cheeks and letting them flutter nervously to her lap.

“Oh. okay.” Silence.

“So, what’d you wanna talk about?” She urged, trying to keep the conversation going. They had never been like this before— conversation had always flowed easily, and when they didn’t speak, the silence was welcoming and warm and comfortable.

“Well, I feel like you’ve been distant this week, and I wanted to see if everything was okay?” He tried to bide his time before he spoke the words he could practically see hanging in the air.

“Yeah. Things are fine. Was that all?” She curses herself for sounding short, Bucky barely even registers the sharpness of her tone because, ‘were her lips always that soft-looking or was he just completely oblivious to everything about her?’

“No, actually. I— Jesus, my hearts in my fuckin’ throat— I just realized how much I missed you this week.” He finally confessed, his eyes glancing up at her nervously. He immediately wished he didn’t, as she had tilted her head to the side like a confused puppy, and it took almost everything in him to not jump across the couch and pepper her with kisses and words of adoration.

“What d’you mean?”

Bucky pulled his hands into fists to stop them from shaking. “I missed you touchin’ me.”

“I— what.” Y/N’s head whipped up from staring at her lap. She had noticed Bucky’s movements, and she ached to unfurl his fists like she usually did when the nerves and frustrations of Brooklyn and the Army got to him. Her cheeks flushed an embarrassing red when her mind immediately went back to the conversation on girls night, and the idea of touching him like that made her own hands get clammy and shaky.

“No, not like that- well, I mean- no, just bear with me.” He rushed, eyes widening at the pictures he knew were floating in her brain— I mean, god— the conversation didn’t have innocent undertones, and both parties had been blundering messes since Bucky tripped through her office. ‘Another thing that wasn’t helping,’ Bucky thought, ‘was that nightdress— I mean come on, it clings… to everything.’

“I missed you touchin’ my hand when we walked through crowds, and you tuggin’ at my suspenders, and just your hands on me. I missed it. Missed you.” Bucky said quietly, nervously. Y/N’s lips turned upwards slightly, and her eyes shot to the place on his body that his suspenders would usually rest. She noticed then, how his button-down shirt fit his shoulders so nicely— and wow, the physical training he did at work was really, truly paying off. The idea of touching his skin made Y/N’s mouth water slightly.

“I just— Dot, and Victoria and the other girls just brought to my attention how, um, physical I am with you, and I didn’t want to give you the idea that we were somethin’ more than best friends.” Y/N wanted to immediately take back the words that fell from her mouth— she had come to the realization that she wanted Bucky in all shapes and forms, and she most certainly wanted to give him that idea. Her main concern that maybe the girls were wrong and he didn’t feel the same way about her.

Bucky, in response to her words, felt his heart sink to his stomach and his body run cold. He looked up at her from his slouching position through his lashes, and decided that now was the time he would take a chance.

“Would— would that be such a bad thing?”

Y/N blinked slowly, then. Once. Twice. Feeling her body run horrendously cold before filling up with molten lava. She found that suddenly her nightgown felt too tight, and the room seemed too hot and too small. It seemed to Bucky that Y/N’s brain had genuinely stopped functioning, and she stared blankly at him, trying to comprehend what exactly he meant.

Before he could make the move to leave, she shot forward and grabbed his meaty hands in her own. They had always been large, but she had seen them do wonderful things— moving her furniture into her apartment, defending her and Steve, trailing across her face softly to wipe tears that sprung from her eyes after a bad day. God, his hands were so gentle, and strong, and just so… Bucky.

“Geez— I guess not, huh?” She said, refusing to overthink about this situation anymore.

“I like you, YN. I like your touch and your smiles and your silly rants about silly things. I like you, a lot, actually. Enough that I can barely go a few hours without wanting to see you.” He rushed, grip squeezing her own anxiously. She squeezed back, and that moment allowed for his shoulders to relax slightly— she was in this. For him, with him.

“I— I really like you too, Jamie. I think I have for a while, but I only just fully realized it this week. I guess that’s why I’ve been so distant?” She avoided his gaze, and instead played with the ring on his middle finger— a ring his father had given him a few years ago. It had been his grandfathers before his death, and Bucky continued to wear the ring for years. When Y/N first asked about it, he sighed and fiddled with it. He had only spoken when she wrapped his fist in her hands, unclenching it and twisted her fingers around his. He had said that it made him feel close to his Pop. ‘He had been a good man,’ Bucky said, tears flowing down his cheeks. Bucky made it a point that he would only cry in front of three people— you, Steve and his Ma. ‘I just want to have that reminder— to be good, I mean’. And Y/N had sighed and rolled her eyes and lifted his chin with one finger to look at him. ‘You are the best man I’ve ever known, James. You’re so good’ she would say, nosing his temple as he cried into her shoulder.

He leaned in closer, shuffling slightly so that their thighs were pressing against the others. When he spoke, his voice is impossibly low, and it rumbled in her chest. Their gazes were barely torn from the other's lips when Bucky found the will to speak— not out of fear, but out of pure desire.

“So, what do we do now?”

“Kiss me, James. Please.” She whimpered quietly to him as if he was the only one on this planet who needed to hear her voice.

So, James Barnes leaned forward, and brushed the tip of his nose briefly against her own— it’s just a ghost of a touch, but the nerves in her cheeks and jaw and scalp rippled in pleasure. Their breaths were choppy, giving away that they both are feeling the exact flood of emotion. His forehead touched hers, and they both sighed at the feeling of being anchored to each other. He sucked in a brief, anxious breath, and jutted his chin forward, pressing his lips tenderly to her own. She let out a tiny sound— something between a moan and a whine that would have been barely audible if one wasn’t listening for it.

Encouraged by the reaction, he pressed on, adding slightly more pressure. Their lips haven’t opened all that much— it’s as innocent as a first kiss can be— but Bucky already knew that he could taste her forever. She’s the taste of her buttercream lip balm, and toothpaste, and maybe even a hint of the fruit she had been cutting up for a midnight snack. There’s something underlying all that, however— a taste that’s so undeniably Y/N.

So, he pushed forward, the tip of his tongue barely poking from his lips and brushing hers, and the forwardness of the action ignited all of the nerves on the rest of their bodies. She doesn’t realize that her hands have moved until their woven in the hair on his head— longer than it had been in a while, and she makes a note to tell him just how much she likes his hair long— maybe even show him too, one day.

He let out a rumble of happiness at her grip on him, and pulled her into his lap. They moved clumsily together— not willing to break contact, but also needing to move in order to be closer. Finally, her knees were pressed into the couch, straddling him, and Bucky swore he was trying to ignore her heat pressing against his lower stomach, but he could feel it through his button down shirt and her (probably pretty, probably lace) panties. Her nightgown had since been pooled around her hips, his hands had ghosted over her legs the moment she straddled him, the soft skin of her thighs and calves dusted with hair which called to be touched by him.

He was pulled from his thoughts about her thighs and heat when her tongue ghosted his top lip, craving more taste and beginning to act on its own, which Bucky rewarded her bravery with a rumbling groan. Y/N, he had realized, had become desperate, wiggling closer to him in a way that he really just wished she wouldn’t right this moment, and threading both hands in his locks, pulling him impossibly closer. She let out periodic whimpers which coaxed him to open his mouth, just enough for him to give her a kitten lick— against her tongue and lips which nearly had her purring in response.

They could have been kissing for seconds, or minutes or years, Bucky thought. He found he could kiss her for eternity if God would let him. However, Bucky would turn blue in the face before that happened, and with a feeling that resembled Steve punching him in the chest, he pulled away, laughing lowly when Y/N’s lips chased his own. He let her peck him once, twice, three times before she brushed her nose against his neck and rested there. His hand traced the lines of her nightgown on her back, and she shivered, a plethora of goosebumps erupting across her person.

“That was nice.” She mumbled into his neck, placing a tiny kiss over his pulse point. There was a beat of silence before the two best friends burst into loud laughter. Before Ms. Humphrey could hear a mans laugh in the women’s boarding house, Y/N covered his lips with three fingers quickly. He only smiled in response and kissed them, making her jolt and pull her hand away in surprise. He caught her wrist with his left hand and pressed a kiss to the soft skin of her wrist which was left uncovered by the elastic band sleeves of her nightgown. When he pulled away, he didn’t let go of her wrist, instead, pressed her hand flat over the left side of his chest. She could feel his racing heartbeat under her fingertips, and found that her own wasn’t far off.

“Yours. My heart is yours, Y/N.” He whispered. Her mouth popped open, and she shuffled slightly on his lap.

“I’d do the same, but then you’d be touching my boob and I don’t know if we’re ready for that.” She whispered, and he tried to ignore the way her nipples poked out slightly, the thin sheet of her nightgown doing nothing to hide her arousal. “But, the feeling is very much mutual.”

“I’m crazy for you, Sugar.”

And, instead of saying something equally cheesy, Y/N pressed her very swollen lips to his own and sighed, melting wholly into him, her hand still pressed to his racing heartbeat.