"So, how does this work? Do I get your number, and we can do it again sometime?"
Buck shimmies back into his jeans, "sorry, I'm more of the hit it and quit it type."
The other man laughs, "hit it and quit it?" he asks through gasped breaths, "who actually says that?"
Buck grins, "I do."
"Alright, well, I appreciate the hit. I'll be thinking about it for at least three days."
"Aww, Eddie, only three?"
"Well, if I told you the truth it'd only inflate that already giant ego of yours."
"Mmm," Buck cages Eddie into the chair he's still sitting in, still naked and beautiful in, "so, what's the real number, then? Like a week? A month?"
"Yea. A whole month."
He grins again, and pushes himself back up, "thought so."
Eddie finally gets up, still laughing and shaking his head. He searches the room for his clothes while Buck is already tying his shoes. He watches Eddie's muscles bend and roll as he finds each piece and slips back into them.
He's a surprisingly gorgeous man. Buck wasn't expecting him that night, but he's glad he came across him.
"Look," Buck says, reaching for the pad and pen on the desk; scrawls his number down and hands it to Eddie, "if you're still thinking about me in a week, text me."
Eddie smiles, "will do, Cowboy."
"Sorry. Leftover from home. Not wrong though."
"Texas. El Paso."
"So, you're the cowboy."
"Maybe, but I bet you have a hat."
Buck laughs, "you can find out in a week. If you want."
"I guess we'll see."
They're both dressed. It's late, and it's started raining. They could easily stay in that room for the night - it's warm, and dry, and paid for. But that's not what this was about.
They walk together to the elevator, and ride down in the quiet.
"Well, bye, Buck."
"Wait, wait - " Chim holds his hands up, getting crumbs from his granola bar on the floor, "you hooked up with your date and the bartender?"
"Yes," Buck answers with a satisfied grin.
"At the same time?"
"No! No. Ashley left, and I went back to the bar."
"You are safe during all these conquests, aren't you? Hen asks.
"Of course I am. Check my pockets - six condoms at any time."
Chim shakes his head and walks away, Hen just laughs.
"Are you hearing this Bobby?" She asks, trying to steal a taste of the marinara sauce he's simmering on the stove.
"Unfortunately," he answers
"You guys are just jealous."
"That you bounce around from one meaningless relationship to another?"
"Can they even be considered relationships?" Chim asks from across the room.
Buck shoots a glare to all three of them, "I had a relationship. A real one. It didn't work out so great - this works better."
Hen laughs and shakes her head before she walks off. Buck hovers around Bobby like a kid too afraid to ask his dad for a cookie.
"It's not ready," Bobby tells him.
"I gave him my number," Buck says quietly.
"The bartender. I gave him my number - I never give out my number."
"Does that make this guy special, then?"
"No," Buck grins, "Just oddly charming."
"Has he called?"
"I told him not to "
"You gave him your number, but told him not to call?"
"Not exactly - I don't know. But I don't think I'm going to hear from him."
"Do you want to?"
Buck thinks for a minute. Eddie was brilliant. He was strong - fucking him from the chair with his fingers dug deep into his waist…
"Huh? Oh. No, no. I don't care. Probably best he doesn't."
Buck is exhausted. The fire was a bitch to put out, but at least the building was fully abandoned. He showered at the station, so he changes into sweats when he gets home, and grabs a beer before settling into the couch. His body could sleep, but his mind isn't there yet.
He thinks to check his phone - a message from his sister about dinner on Friday - Chim will be there too though, and Buck isn't sure how he feels about that yet, so he'll ignore it until he feels too guilty and says yes anyway.
There's another message from a number he doesn't know.
It really does pain me to say this, but I haven't stopped thinking about you.
Buck laughs at himself, and types off a response.
You remember me. I'm touched.
Of course I remember.
So, I'm thinking maybe we hook up again.
I told you, I'm not into relationships.
Neither am I. But I don't know anyone here yet, and you're interesting, and the sex was…
It was, wasn't it?
I'm just saying, I'd like to do it again.
Yea, okay. Why not?
You free tomorrow? I get off pretty late, but…
I start a new job tomorrow - probably get off later than you, but I'm free in the morning.
Morning sex? I could go for that.
Your place or mine?
3956 Rockbar Blvd #2A. See you then.
See ya, cowboy.
Buck smiles at his phone and tosses it next to him. He's not sure even his body could sleep now.
Buck doesn't actually remember when he finally did fall asleep, but when he wakes on the couch to the sun streaming into his eyes, he knows that at some point he did.
He checks his phone - 8:02
Shit. Eddie was going to be there soon.
He straightens up, starts a pot of coffee and jumps into the shower. It's 8:53 by the time he's dressed. A devious grin tugs at the corners of his mouth when he sees the cowboy hat on his wall.
The knock comes when he's halfway down the stairs.
"Hey," he says opening the door, and the first thing Eddie does is laugh.
"I knew you had a hat."
Buck smiles and steps aside to let Eddie in. He looks like a cozy fall morning, wrapped up in dark jeans and blue flannel.
"This is a nice place," he says
"Thanks. I was at my girlfriend's for a while, but it wasn't me."
"Didn't think you the kind to have a girlfriend."
"I'm not. Which is why she isn't anymore."
"Oh, so am I like a rebound?"
"You and a couple dozen others."
"Did you want coffee?" Buck asks, leading him into the kitchen.
"No," he says quietly, reaching for Buck's hand and pulling him against his chest, "just you."
It's so soft, and so unexpected - Buck's breath hitches in his throat for a second. He shrinks himself into Eddie's space, and Eddie sucks Buck's bottom lip - he can't help but moan a little.
They're kissing now; sharp and heated. Buck reluctantly - very reluctantly - lets go of his grip on Eddie's shirt to take off the hat, but Eddie stops him, bringing it down to rest over the buttons of his shirt.
"You keep that on, carino."
"Hey, whatever you say," Buck grins against his mouth.
Eddie hooks his fingers through Buck's belt loops and walks him backward. When he hits the edge of the counter, Eddie turns him around. He rucks Buck's shirt up to his neck and Buck shivers as Eddie kisses down his spinal column. He reaches around to undo Buck's jeans, slides them down to his ankles with his boxers.
They're flushed together - chest to back - as Eddie strokes Buck's cock, his knuckles knocking against the wood. Buck arches into the touch. It's the best thing he could ask for on a Wednesday morning.
"Why are you still dressed?" He asks.
Eddie chuckles behind him, breath hot against his neck.
"I'm gonna have to stop touching you if you want that change."
"In that case, keep em on."
Eddie laughs again. It's a low, husky chuckle that Buck thinks he should make his ringtone.
He keeps stroking, and it isn't hurried, but it's slow and luxurious like when you wade your arms through the blue waters of a cold pool on a hot, summer day. But Buck's breathing heavy, and his arms are starting to feel weak underneath his own weight, and from a deep desire to turn around and touch him.
A coldness hits him, and he whines when he realizes Eddie has pulled away from him.
"Why did you stop?"
"Because I actually do have to be undressed for this part."
He feels Eddie's movement behind him, hears his clothes drop to the floor, and he's oddly touched when he hears the foil of a condom wrapper opening - he brought his own.
Buck turns, because he has to. He has to embrace him, has to roam his fingers down Eddie's biceps, and taste his magnificent mouth.
Eddie doesn't seem to mind the interlude and meets the more frantic pace Buck has taken upon himself.
"Sorry," Buck says through nips at the thin skin of Eddie's neck, and then turns back around and puts his hands back on the counter.
"Nothing to apologize for," Eddie says to him.
Buck's eyes close and he breathes through the tension of Eddie pushing into him until he's filled, and Eddie starts to rhythmically pound into him, one hand casually clasped on Buck's shoulders to pull him back on each thrust.
He'd be lying if he said he wasn't thinking about this all week too.
Behind him, he hears Eddie grunt and groan, and Buck adds to the cacophony of sound, matching his strokes along his cock to the pace of the man behind him.
"Oh, god - " Buck bites out, suddenly hurled to the edge.
Eddie echoes him. His grip on Buck's shoulder falters between a bruising pinch, and a loose slide.
He's close too.
Buck cums over his hand, and Eddie lets out a guttural growl as he cums too.
That was amazing," Buck says, catching his breath against the counter. He definitely needed to sanitize it before he made breakfast.
"Yea," Eddie pants, "it was alright." He lifts himself from where he collapsed onto Buck's back.
Buck laughs, "time for you to go?"
"Probably should. But, text me later? Or whenever."
"Yea, I will. Maybe."
Eddie's dressed, and by the door. He reaches up to tug on Buck's hat when Buck meets him there.
"See you later, Cowboy."
"See ya, Eds."
"You need a nickname too. Everything else I thought of somehow sounded racist."
"You do know Eddie is a nickname, right?"
"Well, since we're sharing, Buck is a nickname too."
"Oh, thank God. I'd been wondering what kind of parents would name their child Buck."
"Evan. My name is Evan Buckley."
They laugh, and linger in the doorway until Eddie insists he has to go or he'll be on time for work, which he also insists would mean he's actually late.
Buck cleans his kitchen - and himself - again before he has a cup of coffee. He leaves a little early for work to grab a bite on the way.
When he walks into the firehouse, he catches his friends in a huddle upstairs and takes them two at a time to the top.
"Hey, guys, what's going on?" He asks.
Chim and Hen turn, breaking the circle just enough for Buck to slip in.
"We're just getting to know our new recruit." Chimney says.
"New guy, huh?"
And Buck wiggles his way in so he can see, and….shit.
This is not happening.
"Buck, this is Eddie Diaz. Top of his class," Bobby says with pride, "Eddie, this is Buck."
Eddie's blushing, and Buck is pretty sure he is too, but he takes Eddie's offered hand to shake it, as though it wasn't just pulling Buck down into his cock a few hours ago.
"Nice to meet you, Buck."
"Yea, you too, Eddie."
They hold the shake a few seconds longer, and fuck, Buck is going to laugh. He can feel his face getting hot, and the corners of his mouth twitch upward. He sees Eddie shake his head, but his brown eyes are dewy and wide - he's going to lose it too.
They fall into a fit of laughter, and everyone else just looks at each other, confused. Until Hen starts to connect the dots.
"Eddie, weren't you just telling us you were tending bar at the HoDo while going through training?" She asks.
"Um, uh huh - yea."
"Shit, Buck - he's your bartender?!"
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"You told them about our hookup?"
"He tells us about all of them," Chim says, "none of them have been this entertaining though."
"It's this going to be a problem with the two of you?" Bobby asks.
"No, Cap," Buck answers, "it was just. It was nothing. It's fine."
"It was a good ice breaker is what it was," Hen cackles.
Buck flips her off with an unamused smile, and goes downstairs. Eddie dismisses himself to follow.
"Buck? Buck, hold up."
They catch up to each other in the locker room.
"You didn't tell me this was your new job."
"And you didn't tell me you're a firefighter either," Eddie looks Buck up and down in his LAFD shirt and bespoke pants, "although, looking the way you do, what else would you be?"
"Eddie -" Buck is blushing again. This hasn't happened to him so many times since he was thirteen and took out his first real date.
Are you alright about this?"
"Yea, ya. I'm cool. Are you?"
"Yea. Obviously, we can't hook up anymore, though."
Shit. Did he just whine? No, Buck's a grown man, he definitely did not just whine to another grown man.
"Because we work together, and it's never a good idea to sleep with your colleagues. We can still be friends though. If you wanna keep texting or whatever."
Buck smiles, "I'd like that."
How was the rest of your shift?
Good. Are you on tomorrow?
I know what you're thinking, Buck, but I'm telling you we can't.
Though, I do appreciate the thirst.
Thirst? Please. You're just the only guy I've found who can keep up with me, and, sometimes that's what I want.
Instead of your endless string of women?
I still want them too 😝
I'm not sure that emoji is appropriate.
Oh, it's appropriate, alright
So, what? You're saying you don't want to come over and fuck me? on the couch this time? Or maybe the staircase? Let's see how much of my belongings we can stain.
I'm saying I need this job.
I'm not looking to get fired any time soon.
I have a son.
You have a kid? I love kids!
Yes, and I need this job to take care of him. I can't go ruining it for a pair of pretty blue eyes, and the best cock I've ever had in my mouth.
Had a lot of cock in your mouth, Eddie?
Enough to make that statement.
Fine. Fine. We can be friends that don't hookup. But I'm only doing it for your kid.
So, where are you? Are you in bed?
What are you wearing?
Eddie! Didn't you just get done lecturing me about hooking up with colleagues, and telling me we had to be sexless friends?
I'm just making conversation.
And a text isn't a hook up
It's the 21st Century, I'm pretty sure sexting is hooking up.
You're right. You're right.
Are those firetrucks on your boxers?
Now, you show me.
Why do you have a thousand pillows?
I have 5...
You're one person!
Lol. You're ridiculous.
Yea, you're that too.
Fuck, Eddie Diaz, you're going to be the death of me.
Not if you kill me first.
They don't touch. Not each other, at least. But touching themselves on the other's behalf is common. Buck's taken to password protecting his phone for all of the pictures of Eddie in varying states of undress he has stored in there. Buck can get the physical elsewhere - he has been getting the physical elsewhere. It's the friendship with Eddie he craves. The easy way in which they joke, how Buck knows if he's had a bad shift he can talk to Eddie about it, and he'll just get it - he'll listen and understand.
No one has ever really been Buck's friend. Most men look at him as competition, and women just want to fuck him. But Eddie seems to actually like him.
And it's terrifying.
They're at the bar after shift - a good set of rescues warranting a night out.
"Do you need me to be your wingman?" Chimney asks when Buck comes back to their table, dejected.
"No, I don't need you to be my wingman."
"Do you need me to be your wingman?" Eddie asks.
"God no. She'd probably go home with you instead."
"So, just give it up. It is possible that someone might not be into you."
"I don't care if she's not interested, but she laughed. She laughed at me."
"She saw through your bullshit. It's about time someone did." Hen says, casually.
Buck pouts into his empty glass.
"Okay, Cowboy," Eddie says, "let's get you another drink and find a different girl for you to bang in the bathroom."
Hen and Chim exchange looks, "cowboy?" They ask together.
"It's that some weird sex thing you two have going on?"
"No. I mean it's just a nickname. Sort of - see, Eddie -"
"Buck, they're not owed an explanation. Come on."
Eddie takes him to the bar and they occupy two empty stools to order more drinks.
"Let's start over. That brunette down there keeps checking you out." Eddie points to the end of the bar, and smiles at the woman who pushes a hair behind her ear and pretends to look away.
"She's pretty.," Buck says. "But, what about you?"
"Oh. Despite the way we met, I'm not really into the hookup culture. It happened once or twice - obviously - while I was tending bar, but -"
"No. I mean, what about if I just bang you in the bathroom?"
"Oh. Well, for one, our friends are here, and for two, we agreed not to do that."
"Eddie, we get off on each other almost every night. I could sell a thirty six year Hot Eddie calendar with all the photos of you I get off to. And I like it, I do. I get that this is what's best for us, but I want to touch you. Don't you want to touch me?"
Buck glides his hand over Eddie's thigh underneath the bar and up to the crotch of his jeans. He starts to palm against it.
Eddie closes his eyes for a second, almost forgetting they're in a public setting.
"Not the bathroom of a bar where our friends are waiting for us. My place. Christopher is with my Aunt tonight."
"But you can't stay, and we can't do it again."
"Okay. It's a deal."
He has no right to be this excited, but he's been wanting Eddie all night. When he showed up at the bar in those tight jeans of his and a leather jacket. Buck was gone to anyone else.
They take a round back to the table, knowing Hen and Chim aren't ready to call it a night, and play like they aren't planning to leave together, and fuck each other senseless.
The secrecy is kind of thrilling. Even more than the secrets they already keep, and by the time the night is over Buck is vibrating with energy in the back of their Uber, and jumps out the minute it stops.
Eddie is trying to unlock the door, laughing as Buck claws at him, trying to kiss his neck.
"Slow down, cowboy. Not trying to give my neighbors a show."
"I can't slow down. You hurry up."
Eddie laughs and pops the door open with his hip. He throws the keys somewhere absentmindedly and turns to take Buck's face fully in his hands and kiss him hard.
Maybe he wanted this just as much tonight, Buck thinks.
"I hate what you do to me," Eddie says through breaths as he's shucking off his jacket and trying to do the same to Buck's, "making me say yes every time I want to say no."
Eddie's pulling Buck's shirt over his head, and loosening the buckle of his belt. Buck's head is swimming at the fervor of it all. He's trying to find skin to hold onto, but Eddie won't stay still - kissing down his throat and his sternum.
"I just want to work with you, and be your friend, but dios mio, you are so beautiful, and I know the filthy things your smart mouth can do…"
"You think I'm beautiful?" Buck asks, and Eddie finally slows down his assault. He slithers up Buck's body, wraps his arms around his waist and brings his mouth to rest on Buck's ear.
"Muy hermoso," he whispers.
Buck needs him. Fuck, when did it change from want? He doesn't know, but he knows he's aching for Eddie now.
Eddie smiles, and steps back. Buck reaches out for him to take off his shirt. Eddie is pretty hermoso himself. Buck falls right to his knees, pushes Eddie's hands out of the way to finish undoing his belt and the fly of his jeans. He pulls them down, helping Eddie step out. He runs his hands up Eddie's shins, and to his thighs, kissing slowly upward.
Eddie's head falls back, and he lets out a huff of breath that isn't quite a moan, but is laced with pleasure nonetheless.
Buck's lips finally reach Eddie's cock, and he licks a long stripe on the underside, the tip of his tongue just grazing Eddie's balls.
Eddie does moan at this, and Buck takes him in his mouth with a satisfied grin. He works the base with his hand and rolls his tongue around the shaft and back up over the tip. He can taste the salty tang of pre-cum.
Eddie's fingers are gripped at the back of Buck's head, not forcefully, but almost in an attempt to keep himself upright. They haven't moved from the middle of the entryway.
"Oh, God, Buck-"
Buck keeps his pattern - sucking, rolling, tasting - and then suddenly he lets go with his hand, bringing it to smack Eddie's ass cheek and push Eddie in until he's reached the back of his throat.
"Oh! Jesus maltido cristo! Fuck, Buck! I'm not - I'm going to -"
Buck rubs small circles against Eddie's ass and up his back. Eddie is gripping onto Buck's neck for dear life as his cock is swallowed over and over again.
He shouts, and then Buck feels the spasm against his tonsils, and he waits just a few seconds before he starts to let Eddie slip back out, swallowing what was lost along the way.
Eddie collapses to the floor, his legs sprawled out, hand on his chest trying to catch his breath.
"That was fucking unbelievable. No way we could have gotten away with that in the bathroom."
"Just give me a minute to recover here. Do you think you could get me a glass of water?"
Buck gets up and finds his way to the kitchen. There's a yellow backpack sitting in one of the dining room chairs, and Buck thinks about Eddie as a dad.
He gets a glass from the cupboard and fills it with cold water from the tap before bringing it back to Eddie, now sitting up.
"Thanks." He drinks it down and sets the glass behind him.
"You didn't touch yourself," he says with brows knitted, seeing Buck still in his jeans.
"No, I didn't."
"And I haven't touched you yet."
"No, you haven't."
"Well, let's fix that."
Eddie crawls - fucking crawls - across the floor to breach the space between them, and pushes Buck down. The hardwood feels awful on his back, but he doesn't even care when Eddie is pushing down his jeans and boxers, and pressing his body down on Buck's. Eddie doesn't have his full weight on him - one arm holds him up just above Buck's head, but their cocks align and Eddie rolls his hips slowly, grinding them together in the most sinful, beautiful way.
Buck thought he wanted Eddie to fuck him, because god, it felt so good when he did, but this - this is what Buck needs. This languid, slow tempo climb to ecstasy.
"Eddie…" Buck whispers so small he's not even sure he's saying it.
"Eddie…" he whines louder, the pool of fire burning hotter in his belly
"Shh, it's alright."
Bucks arches his hips off the ground to meet Eddie's thrusts
"I'm gonna cum. Are you going to cum again?"
"Yes, Buck. You're going to make me come again."
The thought is dizzying, and Buck grips Eddie's shoulder blades, and they rock together, sweat dripping off Eddie's forehead, the cold metal of a St. Christopher medallion hitting Buck's chin. Buck can't look away from him, but Eddie's eyes are closed
"Buck - Evan" Eddie whispers his name, and that's it, Buck is done for. He cranes his neck so that he can kiss Eddie as he cums, and Eddie groans into his mouth when he follows just after.
"That was good," Buck says.
"Mhm," Eddie agrees, lying on top of him, "always is with you."
True to his word, Buck didn't stay.
Sobered up, he takes another Uber neck to the parking lot of the bar. His Jeep is still there, next to Eddie's truck. Buck wants to climb inside and inhale the leather and sugar scent that makes up Eddie.
God damn, Buck has it bad. And that's not good.
After Abby left - and never came back - Buck promised himself he wouldn't fall in love again.
The sacrifice, the pain once it was over - because it was always going to be over, wasn't worth the promise of companionship and sex, especially when it wasn't like those things were terribly difficult for Buck to come by anyway - at least not the sex. So, he went back to version 1.0, and he was having fun, and he forgot about Abby, and everything was good, but then there was Eddie.
If he had just gone home with Ashley like she asked after their quickie in the women's room stall, he wouldn't have gone back to the bar, he wouldn't have ordered a beer from Eddie, wouldn't have let himself get lost in his eyes and that too innocent smile, wouldn't have asked when he got off, and if maybe he'd like to get off when he did.
If he had just gone home with her instead, maybe he wouldn't be catching feelings for Eddie now. Maybe he would have fallen for her, and at least that would have made sense. Buck had no problems screwing other men; he didn't care much who anyone was if they wanted to have a good time, but he'd never felt anything for any of them. He only felt romantic toward women.
Maybe it was because they had a friendship too, and the lines were being blurred, and Buck was just confused.
That had to be it, because Buck was definitely not in love with Eddie.
It's hot, but not so much that the barbecue is going to be miserable. Still, Buck keeps himself by the ice cream coolers, far away from the grill Bobby is sweating over.
He hasn't seen Eddie all morning, not that he's been waiting for him - but he does wonder if he would show up to the annual firehouse barbecue on his day off when he probably has a million other things he could be doing.
But then there he is, across the sidewalk with a boy on crutches wearing red glasses.
He smiles at Buck, and waves, and Buck jogs away from his post to meet them.
"Hey," he says.
"Hi. You're a tiger."
"Huh? Oh yeah," Buck touches the side of his face forgetting he had it painted earlier. "So, this must be Christopher."
"Yea, it is."
Buck crouches to his level, and holds out his hand, "it's great to meet you Christopher, I'm Buck. Your dad's told me a lot about you."
Christopher smiles, "nice to meet you too, Buck."
"Are you hungry?"
*I want to get my face painted."
"Yea? How about your dad gets you a hot dog, and I'll take you to have your face painted."
Christopher looks up at Eddie who nods. He and Buck stop for a balloon animal first, introducing him to Chimney, and by the time Eddie catches up with them, Christopher's face has shining blue and silver scales on one side.
"See, that's funny, because when Buck walked away he had my son with him, but now he's with this fish, and what is a fish even doing outside at a barbecue?"
Christopher laughs, "daddy, it's me."
"Oh! It is!"
Buck knows he has a giant, stupid grin on his face as he watches Eddie spin Christopher around in his arms.
"Alright, Diaz, your turn," he says.
"I don't think so."
"Come on daddy."
"Yea, come on daddy," Buck blushes not thinking that one through, and he can see an amused smile on Eddie's face and a little flush creeping up his neck.
Eddie relents, "alright, what should I get?"
"A butterfly!" Christopher shouts.
God, Buck loves when he slips into Spanish.
Eddie sits in the chair, Buck and Christopher on either side of him. Buck is mesmerized by the delicate brush gliding over Eddie's skin like a gentle finger.
"Beautiful," Buck says under his breath when he's finished. Though he doesn't know if he means the purple and black painting or the man underneath it.
They walk Christopher to a grassy area and sit on a bench under the tree.
"He's a great kid," Buck says.
"Yea, he is."
"Where's his mom?"
"Uh, she left us. A couple years ago. Her mom got sick, and she went to care for her. Then she never came back." .
That feels familiar.
"I'm sorry. Do you hear from her at all?"
"She sends Christopher gifts, calls on holidays."
"Do you think she's going to come back?"
"I don't know. I don't even know if I'd even want her to."
"Do you still love her?"
"Sorry. You don't have to answer that. It's none of my business."
"It's fine. It's just, I don't really know, you know? I don't know if I actually miss her or if I just miss the idea of us being a family. Also, I'd been with her since highschool, so there's not many other relationships there."
"Highschool sweethearts? That's adorable."
Eddie laughs, "it was on and off cause you know - kids. And then when we went to college, and then I asked her to marry me, and she got pregnant, and I enlisted," Eddie trails off like he wants to say more, but instead he just looks sad.
"And things got complicated?" Buck offers.
They watch Christopher picking at the grass, watching the bugs and the birds fly around him.
"He's really a great kid." Buck tells him again.
"Yes, he is. Seems to like you too."
"Kids usually do."
"They must sense you're one of them."
Buck knocks his shoulder into Eddie's, laughing.
"Daddy?" Christopher calls, "can Buck come to dinner?"
"I think he's working tonight, Bud, but maybe another night. If he wants?"
"Yea - yes, I do."
"It would be weird, wouldn't it?" Buck asks.
He's sitting on Eddie's couch after another night of dinner and videogames with Chris.
"What would be weird?" Eddie asks, turning to look at him.
"If we hooked up now? After not - after all this normal time we've spent together? Might feel too real?"
He's enjoyed his time with Eddie like this, he really has, but he's been missing that other piece.
"Yea, it might. Might also feel really good."
"Oh, I can guarantee it would."
"Let's do it then."
Are you sure though? With Chris?"
"That boy could sleep through a freight train outside his window. But, uh - we will have to go to the bedroom."
"Oh, that's um - that's intimate."
"It's normal? I think, but if you don't -"
"No!" Buck says a little too eager, "I do. Why is this so much more difficult than it's been before?"
"Maybe you were right."
"That seems unlikely? Right about what"
"That our friendship ruined it."
"I thought friendship was supposed to make sex better."
"If you want to be in a relationship…"
"And we don't."
"Because my last relationship screwed me up."
"And I'm still married."
"Right. It was just an idea. I mean, I'm still getting it."
"Holy shit, you are? Who?"
"That blonde from the coffee house by my condo, and Felicia…"
"The nurse from the blood drive?"
"Yea, but the thing is…"
Eddie's eyes lower, he reaches across the empty space between them on the couch and his fingers tickle at Buck's bended denim knee.
"What's the thing, Buck?"
Eddie looks drunk, but not from the beer he's been barely sipping all night.
"Take me to bed," Buck says.
Eddie laughs, "do you want me to carry you? Like a proper southern lady."
"Like, you could."
"Is that a challenge, Evan Buckley?"
Eddie claps his hands together then bends to try and maneuver underneath him. Buck tries to swat him away, but he's laughing too hard.
"I can do it," Eddie whines.
"I believe you, just here - let me stand up."
Buck stands, and Eddie repositions himself to lift him up in his arms.
"This is weird," Buck says as Eddie carries him down the hall.
"Do you ever think you lift too much?"
"Put me down, you idiot."
"I'm almost there."
Eddie kicks open the half closed door, and tosses Buck down on the bed with a bounce. He backtracks to close the door again and lock it.
Buck already has his shirt off when Eddie turns back around, on his knees, waiting for him.
"Hermoso," Eddie whispers.
"I like when you speak Spanish to me."
"Do you understand it?"
"Some of it. I tended bar in Peru for a little while."
"Fuck me, Eddie."
"Si, el dios."
Buck's feeling good.
Tuesdays are for movies and pizza with Christopher.
Thursdays are for ice cream and games at the pier and Sundays…
Sundays are for Eddie.
Plus, he hasn't almost died at work in over a month.
So, when a stray brunette wanders into the firehouse on another perfectly sunny day, Buck should have recognized the bomb that was about to go off and blast shrapnel all over his happiness.
But he doesn't.
"Hi, can we help you?" Buck asks when he sees her.
"I'm looking for Eddie Diaz. He works here, right?"
"Yea, he does," Buck furrows his brows, "who are you?
"Shannon Diaz. His wife."
"Right, um. He's here. Can you hang on a second, I'll go get him."
Buck goes upstairs where Eddie sits on the couch with Hen and Chim trying not to get crushed by their overzealous competition on the PlayStation.
"Ummm, Eddie has a visitor," Buck says.
"I do?" He asks with a smile.
"Yea, it's your wife."
"Shannon's here? What is she doing here?"
"I don't know, man. I'm just the messenger. She's downstairs."
Eddie leaves the couch and slowly walks down the stairs. Buck leans over the ledge to see her.
Dark brown hair that cascades over her shoulders, big brown eyes that match Christopher's, and a big, toothy smile when she sees Eddie and hugs him.
"Did you know he was married?" Chimney asks.
"He told me."
"And you kept sleeping with him?"
"He told me she was out of the picture. It's not my place to tell him he can't cheat on his estranged wife if he wants to."
"Of course not."
Chimney walks away, but Buck stays and watches. They don't look uncomfortable in each other's presence; leaning into the other's space, Shannon picking at lint on Eddie's shirt, Eddie flipping the ends of her hair.
He can see exactly why they would have fallen in love with each other.
Eddie worries at the bottom of lip and looks up to Buck before he turns back to Shannon and nods.
Buck wonders what he's agreeing to, but doesn't have much time to really think about it before the alarm sounds.
"Bobby told you not to step so close to the ledge!" Eddie yells when they're back at the firehouse, full of mud and leaves from the over watered field that caused the mini mudslide for the treehouse full of children.
"Yea, but I did, and I'm fine. I'm always fine."
"One of these days, you won't be!"
"Eddie," Buck looks around them to make sure they're alone, and gathers his hand up to his face, "I'm always going to be okay. And if I'm not, I know you'll save me."
Buck watches Eddie's anger and worry wash away,"Are you sure you're okay?" He asks.
Eddie's hand falls off Buck's face, "I'd invite you over, but I kind of have plans."
"That's good, right?"
"I think so. I don't really get why she's back though."
"But she is. Do you have someone to watch Christopher?"
"I've been trying to get a hold of my Aunt, but she likes to go out Thursday nights."
"Drop him off with me."
"Drop him off, and I'll bring him back in the morning."
"I can pick him up later tonight."
"I'll bring him back in the morning."
"Okay. Thanks, Buck. You're a good friend."
"How did it go? Was he good?"
Buck hands Eddie Christopher's backpack from the doorstep after the father and son let go of their long hug.
"An angel. Not that I expected anything else."
"You wanna come in? I was just making coffee."
Buck follows Eddie inside - he surveys the room; empty wine bottle, burnt down candles.
"Looks like things went well here too," Buck says.
"Yea, they did."
"So, are you two going to try again?"
"We're going to try to try again. Whatever that means."
"I think it means you've got your family back."
Eddie smiles and it makes Buck's cracking heart melt. He's glad for him. Really he is, because what was going to happen between them anyway? They were never going to date . Neither one of them was ever going to be brave enough to make that happen, so it's better this way. Eddie has his wife, Christopher has his mother, and Buck still has his friend.
Only being Eddie's friend isn't easy. Not when guys night includes Shannon now.
Cooking them a proper meal instead of ordering pizza, trying to beat all their high scores in their games, rubbing Eddie's shoulders when he's starting to get tired.
And Buck likes Shannon. She's kind, and she's funny, and down to Earth. She never complains about Buck being there even though Buck probably sees Eddie more than she does, and he's happy to see Eddie so happy.
But still. He's jealous. Jealous that Sunday nights, Shannon takes him to bed instead of him. Well, every night, but the lonely realization stings more on Sunday.
Buck needs a distraction.
He needs to get laid.
He made the decision at hour 15 of his 24 hour shift. They passed the club on their way to a car accident, and Buck decided it was the only way.
He's home his next day off, dressed in dark jeans, and a tight maroon shirt. He's wearing more cologne than he actually thinks is necessary, and has his hair gelled back with just a little piece falling against his forehead.
He looks pretty good, if he does say so.
He's ready to go when there's a knock on his door.
Buck so does not need this right now.
"Wow," Eddie says on the other side of the door, "you look - wow. Are you going out?"
"Yea, I am. What's up?"
"Shannon is doing some mother/son bonding night with Christopher. I've been banned."
"Yea, but I was thinking it's been a long time since the two of us did anything together."
"But I'm going out now."
"I could go with you."
He sounds sad, and looks just as pathetic, but Buck needs tonight, and he's not going to let Eddie ruin it.
"I don't think it's your kind of place."
"Where are you going?"
"A gay bar, okay? I'm going to a gay bar."
"Oh. That doesn't bother me."
"Yea, I know. I guess, if you want."
"I completely accept I'll probably be going home alone. I just need something to do. And I'd like to do it with you."
"Okay," Buck agrees.
They take Eddie's truck, and are quiet on the way there. When they arrive, Buck orders a drink, downs it without giving it a taste and runs away to the dance floor.
He tries to ignore that Eddie is even there, but he's like a lurking lion, standing at the bar, holding his beer bottle effortlessly by the neck, making drinking the sexiest thing Buck has ever seen each time he brings it up to his lips. He doesn't go unnoticed by the other guys, but Eddie doesn't pay them any attention - he just stares across the crowd, eyes burning a hole into Buck.
"Jake!" The voice attached to the pretty face Buck is dancing with yells into his ear.
"My name is Jake!"
"Oh. I'm Buck!"
"Isn't that just perfect?"
Buck grins, and he swears he can feel himself start on fire when he pulls Jake closer to him. He doesn't look over to the ignition point, instead, thriving on the hot jealousy.
He knows exactly what's come over him as he grinds against this stranger, clinging onto him like his life depends on never letting go, and when he makes the decision to kiss him, he hopes that Eddie burns to the ground.
"You have someone you need to get home too?" Jake asks him.
Buck kisses him again, "just let me tell my ride I'm leaving."
He crosses from the dance floor to the bar. The burn that stoked him on is starting to sting under the collar of his shirt as he gets closer to Eddie, who looks like he's ready to punch someone with his fist balled at his side.
Buck swallows hard and pushes out all the unspoken words screaming inside his head, "hey, so I'm gonna go," he tells Eddie.
"Mine, I think."
"Oh. Well, I guess that's better than fucking him right here in the middle of the club. Not that anyone would notice the difference between that and what you were just doing."
"None of these people were paying nearly as close of attention to us as you were."
Buck, you don't even know this guy."
"I didn't know you either. Should have kept it that way. I told you, I didn't do numbers."
"Just go home, Eddie. Go home and be with your wife . I'll be just fine."
"You're drunk. I don't want you doing something you regret, or getting hurt."
"No one's gonna hurt me, Eds. No one, but you."
Buck turns around and finds Jake- ignoring Eddie as he screams his name over the music. Because, fuck him. Fuck him for every push he made to keep Buck underneath him only to drop him into the abyss the moment a perky pair of breasts showed up.
Jake has his hands all over Buck in the Uber. He likes it. He likes feeling desired by someone with strong hands, and stubble that scratches his cheeks. They're practically undressing in the hallway, nearly naked by the time they fall onto Buck's couch.
The sex isn't Earth shattering, and Buck can only guess how he's going to feel about it in the morning when he's sobered up, but right now it's what he needs to forget about his heart for a while.
The pounding won't stop, but Buck can't move. It hurts just thinking about it. But if whoever is on the other side of his door doesn't stop, Buck is pretty sure his head is going to explode.
"Alright!" He yells, the echo of his own voice drilling a hole inside his head.
"I'm coming - just shut up!" He drags himself off the couch and to the door.
It's the second time in two days he should have known who was going to be there.
"Did you lose your phone?" He asks.
"No. And hi to you too."
"You didn't answer me. All night."
"I guess I just didn't hear it. I was a little busy."
Buck picks his phone up from the table by the door, "Jesus, fifty text messages? Thirty missed calls?"
"I was worried."
"What, did you think he was going to chop me up into little pieces?"
"I think somewhere around the twenty-third call that thought might have crossed my mind."
"He was a nice guy, Eddie. I think."
"Is he still here?"
"Okay. Well, I just wanted to make sure you're okay."
"Stay. Make me coffee."
"And then I'll make us breakfast after I shower."
Buck leaves Eddie and pads across the carpet to the bathroom. He realizes he's only been his underwear, and strips them off. He steps underneath the spray, letting the water wash away the night before. If only it could wash away the last few months, float him back to the night he met Eddie, and do everything different, so that it never happened.
But it was going to happen, wasn't it? Buck was always going to meet him one way or another. Did that mean they were always going to want each other too? That Buck was always going to love him?
He's too lost in his head to hear the door of the bathroom open and close. He doesn't notice Eddie's shadow, undressing, on the other side of the curtain either, so he jumps when it's pushed back, and stunned when Eddie steps in with him and hugs him, arms tight around Buck's chest to hold him closer.
"I've missed you," Eddie says.
"You're married. Like really, truly married."
Buck glides his finger over the old silver band on Eddie's finger. He flashes back for one sad moment to the day it first appeared.
"Shannon was gone for two years, and I was angry, and I was sad, and I wanted her to come back, but I didn't actually miss her. I didn't ache for her in the middle of the night, or want to see her face when I woke up, but you-"
"I never went anywhere, Eddie. You did."
"I know, but I'd like to come back now. To you."
"Are you going to leave her?"
"Just give me some time to do it right. Neither of us are very good at that, and I owe it to Chris this time to do it right."
"God, Christopher, he's going to hate me for breaking up his family."
"Not possible. That kid loves you. And Shannon and I broke it a long time ago. Not you."
"How much time?" Buck asks, and if he sounds needy, he doesn't care.
"I don't know. A couple weeks maybe."
"I don't think I can wait even a day to be with you."
"You don't have to."
Buck turns in Eddie's arms and kisses him, the water beats against the back of his head, but he doesn't care. The ground could split in half and swallow them whole and Buck wouldn't care as long as he was still kissing Eddie.
"Missed you," Buck mumbles against his mouth.
"I'm right here."
"Mmm. Shower sex is really unsafe and I don't want this to get ruined by having to call 911."
Eddie laughs, "I promise I won't let you fall and break your leg."
"Now who's making who say yes when they wanna say no?"
Eddie drops to his knees, and looks up at Buck, his hair matted to his head, water droplets shimmering in his eyelashes, "try saying no now."
"That's hardly fair."
"Alright, we'll compromise. Foreplay in the shower, sex in the bed."
"Fine," Buck agrees, because he just wants Eddie to shut up and put his cock in his mouth.
And it's so good when he does. Worth accidently drowning under the spray, worth breaking his arm or his leg, hell even worth breaking a hip.
Eddie stands back up and kisses Buck, their hands slipping and sliding over each other's bodies.
This is it.
This is all Buck is ever going to need.
A good man who makes him feel good.
"Eddie -Eddie, please -"
"What happened to shower sex is dangerous?"
"I did say you were going to be the death of me, didn't I?"
"Turn around, carino."
Buck turns and grips the small bar where his washcloth hangs to keep himself from slipping down the wet tile of the wall he's pressed against.
"I'm sorry I was such an idiot," Eddie says into his ear when he's lined up behind Buck.
"You're forgiv- ahh- en"
Buck keens at Eddie inside him. It's like a drug, being fucked by this man. A drug Buck never plans to quit.
"Selfish today, are we?"
He brings one arm around Buck's waist and rubs the length of his cock.
"I'm sorry too. For last night. I wanted to hurt you."
"You succeeded, but I forgive you...I l-"
Whatever Eddie is about to say is cut off by a moan he doesn't seem to expect as he cums, still stroking and fucking Buck even as he starts to shiver from the over stimulation.
Buck cums too, and they fall to the shower floor, the water long gone cold falling over them.
"Death of me," Buck says, and Eddie laughs, pulling Buck in tighter.
Did you know that cider is only specific to apples?
Yea. Cider can only be made from fermented apples, so those pear ciders we had last week weren't actually ciders.
I thought those were shandys
No. A shandy is just any fruit juice mixed with a beer. What we had was definitely fermented pear.
Which isn't a cider?
Why do you know this, and why are you telling me?
I don't know.
Did you know that we only breathe out of one nostril at a time?
No, you didn't.
Christopher scored the winning goal!
Yes! I'm sorry I had to miss it. Tell him I'm proud of him.
He says you can see him do it next time.
You bet I will 😀
It's at the point where if I comment, I'll probably jinx us.
And then I won't be able to see you tonight.
Are you sure that's the best idea still?
You turned down three invitations already.
Not that I'm trying to pressure you or anything, but is there an ETA on when you might be telling your wife you're leaving her?
I'm trying Buck, but it isn't that easy. They don't exactly make a card for 'guess what honey, I'm kind of into guys now, well, one guy really, and I'd like to get divorced so he and I can be together.'
Ya know, seeing as this is LA, you'd think there would be a card like that.
You're such a fucking weirdo.
I always do
I'm not doing that again. That was torture.
I know. I'm sorry.
I'll tell her this weekend, I swear.
Shannon has the flu
Christopher will be next
I hope you all feel better soon.
Have I ever told you you're ass looks amazing in your uniform?
I thought you were mad at me.
I am, but I can still appreciate your ass.
Where are you?
This is why I said you shouldn't sleep with your colleagues
Because I'm not going to be able to stop thinking about fucking you on that dining table up there.
I can see you blushing from down here.
Did you know we're the only mammals who do that?
Sorry. It popped in my head.
You sure do know how to kill a mood.
Awe, you walked away from me.
Eddie, come back
What happened to your clothes?
Damnedest thing. I was sitting here, thinking of you, and just kind of took them off.
Yea? What did you do after that, Buck?
Still thinking about me?
God, that's it. I'm telling her. Tomorrow after my 24 hour. I'm coming home and I'm telling her.
"Edmundo Diaz! Are you here?!"
Buck drops the cup of water in his hand when he hears Shannon's voice echo through the firehouse. She's pissed. No, she's whatever is beyond that. Murderous, maybe?
He sees Eddie roll out from under an engine. The look on his face says he wishes the damn thing would fall on him to save him from the misery of the moment he's put himself in.
Bobby starts to walk towards her, ready to lecture her right back out where she came from, but Buck stops him with his arm across his chest.
"Shannon,"Eddie says, standing between her and Buck, making sure to keep his distance.
"You accidently took my phone today."
"Which wouldn't really be a big deal, because I can just use yours to make a phone call, right?"
"But do you know what's on your phone, Eddie?"
"Pictures of Christopher? A pathetically small amount of phone numbers? Takeout reciepts?"
"Promises!" She shouts.
"Promises to him," she points behind Eddie's shoulder to Buck, and Buck feels a million times smaller.
He wanted this, but he doesn't want to see it, and neither Eddie or Shannon deserve to have an entire firehouse watch it either.
"I thought we'd reconciled. That we were happy, and we're a family again."
"We did reconcile, I know."
"So, what then? He's some boy toy you're stringing along - to what; explore some part of you you never did? Because I can forgive that, but if you -" her voice cracks into a sob, "if you love him - do you?"
Eddie looks at her, his eyes are red and rimmed with tears.
He nods, and suddenly Buck can't breathe.
"That's what I was afraid of," Shannon says.
"I'm sorry. I wasn't expecting you to come back, and I wasn't expecting him at all. You are still Christopher's mother, and I'm not asking you to go away again - please don't leave again, but I don't think we should be married anymore."
"I think that's more than obvious."
"I'm sorry," he says to her again."
"Yea. I just don't know what to do with that right now, so I'm gonna go pick up our son from school, and go to the grocery store, and make dinner, and wait with him for you to come home, and maybe by then I won't want to kill you."
"Don't say anything else, Eddie."
She walks away and the firehouse is deathly quiet. Bobby's shoes are the only sound as he walks up to him.
"I'm fine. But, do you think I could have this next conversation in private?"
"Sure," Bobby claps him on the shoulder, "clear out guys - give them some space."
Everyone is gone, milling about like they don't know what's going on. Buck stands, just where he was, waiting for Eddie to finally turn.
"So, um, you love me?" He asks.
"Is that okay? I mean I know you just wanted to hit it and quit it."
"Buck laughs, "can I tell you a secret, Eds? I never wanted to quit you."
"Good. Good." Eddie grabs Buck's face and kisses him - hard and off center.
They laugh together when they hear the cheers and cat calls, and break apart.
"Oh, and hey," Buck says, "I love you too."