Bucky sat at the docks beside the Wilson’s boat, a beer in his hand as he enjoyed the warm weather and his brief break. Sam had hurried off to assist a neighbor, insisting he didn’t need Bucky’s help and telling the soldier to take five. Naturally, Bucky chose to trust Sam and accept the break.
“Bucky, right?” Someone called from behind him.
Bucky craned his neck to look at Sarah as she walked over to him. She made no effort to hide the sweet, friendly smile that tugged at the corners of her lips making Bucky involuntarily simper in return. With a radiant smile like that, how could he not grin like an idiot?
“Yeah,” Bucky confirmed after a short delay, “I mean, it’s not my name but it’s what people call me.”
“I figured,” she said as she sat down beside him.
He nodded, his smile never leaving his face as he searched for something to say. Bucky wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but he could generally come up with a little something to get his company talking. However, something about Sarah made his mind go rather... blank. All he could think about was her smile (he’d never get over it), her glistening eyes (they were so beautiful), and... and just Sarah in general.
At one point in his life, Bucky had been a five-star flirt— undoubtedly a lady’s man. Now, especially around someone he actually wanted to flirt with, it seemed he had forgotten what flirting was.
“I like your name,” Bucky blurted, scolding himself internally the moment the words left his mouth. That’s such a weird thing to say! I think? What am I supposed to say? God, I need to ask Sam.
“But it’s so common,” she pointed out, arching an eyebrow.
He shrugged, “it’s still pretty.”
Her smile broaden slightly and her heart fluttered excitedly— Bucky could see joy flickering in her eyes, making his own heart skip a beat. I guess that wasn’t as weird as I thought it was.
“Thank you,” she replied, then gestured to the boat, “and thank you for your help. It means a lot to me.”
Bucky nodded, “of course. I’m always happy to help.” He looked over at the vessel, his eyes scanning every dent and scratch— he would love to hear the stories behind them. “It’s a nice boat.”
“It really is.” She agreed, then her eyes lit up with an idea, “I should take you for a ride in it some day.”
Bucky raised his eyebrows in surprise, “are you sure? I mean, it’s a family boat, I wouldn’t want to... I don’t know,” he shrugged.
“Intrude?” She assumed and he nodded, “don’t worry about it. I’d love to take you.”
Bucky nodded, hoping his voice didn’t sound as weak as his knees felt— it was a good thing he was sitting down, “that- that sounds great.”
Sarah didn’t miss the slight waver in his voice, but opted to brush it off. Then, she continued, “my boys could come too, if you’re alright with it.”
Sarah nodded, “yeah- oh, you haven’t met them yet, have you?”
He shook his head slightly, “no, I haven’t.”
“You should meet them when they come home from school,” she offered, “would you be okay with that?”
He smiled and bobbed his head, “of course, I’d love to meet them.”
She beamed broadly and Bucky could already tell she was proud to be a mother. He couldn’t help but be happy for her (even though he hadn’t even known her a full day).
This also made part of him also wonder if being a mother meant she already had a partner. If she did, that was... fine. He just really, really hoped they deserved her— unlikely, but possible.
However, she hadn’t mentioned a partner, nor had he seen anyone around who seemed to play the part. That didn’t exactly strike Bucky as a good sign, so he chose not to bring it up— he would let Sarah ease herself into the topic if (or when) she felt comfortable with telling him.
Then, Bucky realized that neither he nor Sarah had spoken in a few moments. Yet, the silence didn’t really feel uncomfortable or awkward for either of them. They simply took the time to enjoy each other’s company in the heat of the sun and the light breeze that accompanied it.
“Hey, what’d I say about flirting with my sister?” Sam snapped from behind the two.
“I don’t know, Sam,” Bucky sighed as he and Sarah turned to look at him, “what did you say?”
“I said don’t you dare do it,” he reminded, “now let’s get back to work.”
“Yep,” Bucky stood up then looked back at Sarah with a sheepish simper, “bye, Sarah.”
“Bye, Bucky,” she waved slightly, mimicking his smile.
Their gazes lingered for a few moments extra and Sam raised an eyebrow. Oh hell no, he thought protectively. He had seen Sarah get hurt before— from shitty high school boyfriends, to her beloved husband dying— he wasn’t about to let that happen again. Bucky was a soldier— he put himself in harms way for a living. It was only a matter of time before he was met with an enemy he couldn’t beat or one bullet he couldn’t block. He would put too much stress on Sarah with her always wondering if he was okay or even alive and Sam wasn’t about to let that happen. But at the same time...
Her smile... Sam thought . No one’s made her smile like that in a minute. His gaze trailed to Bucky and the thought repeated itself: and I don’t think he’s smiled as much as he has in the past few hours as he has in years.
He let out a small sigh, silently deciding he would very, very carefully watch how their relationship would develop and handle things one step at a time. Truthfully, he did want them both to be happy.
“Let’s go,” Sam repeated.
“Right,” Bucky nodded then waved to Sarah one last time.
They would make a sweet couple.