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Now We're Dating

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“I am not perpetually single, mother,” you scoffed, rolling your eyes. “I’m just picky.” 

Bucky snorted into his drink. “Yeah right,” he muttered, wiping away the beer foam that clung to his upper lip with the back of his hand.

You punched him in the thigh and stuck out your tongue. “I already RSVP’d. No, no plus one. Just me.”

Bucky flipped you off and snagged some of the cinnamon and sugar popcorn from the bowl between your criss-crossed legs. “Loser,” he mumbled playfully.

“Mom, I am literally begging you. Do not set me up again,” you snarked, glaring at the blue-eyed demon on your couch. “I don’t care how you think it makes you look that your oldest is single while your youngest gets married.” 

Sighing, Bucky made a move for the remote. The two of you had been halfway through Terminator when your mother called. You’d been expecting it. She hadn’t pestered you for almost three days. Your baby sister’s wedding was in six weeks, you were the maid of honor, and - insert audible gasp here - you were single. Still. Again. Either way, you were unattached, and it drove your mother crazy. 

You slapped the back of his hand with the remote, silently laughing at the way he cringed when the plastic bounced off his knuckles. “Don’t start, mom. It’s not happening.”

With an evil grin and glimmer in his eyes, Bucky cleared his throat. “You comin’ to bed, sugar?”

Never have you glared at someone so hard that it felt like your eyes were going to fall out of your head. You slid a finger across your neck and ‘threatened’ to kill him as your mother’s voice squeaked in your ear. 

“I’m watching a movie, mom,” you grumbled. “Don’t get your panties in a twist.”

After placing his beer on the table, Bucky trapped his bottom lip between his teeth and twisted until he was practically crawling up your body. You leaned away from him, glaring at him. 

Y/N , you left me all alone in bed,” he purred, and you hated the way your body responded. “Sugar. Baby. Doll , I need you.” 

“I have to go,” you shouted, skin flushed, heart hammering. You disconnected the call and punched him in the chest. “The fuck you doin’, Bucky?”

He wheezed in laughter, one hand against the spot your fist had just been. “Had to get her off the phone somehow. She’s cutting into movie night.” 

For the past eight months, Friday nights had been reserved for movies, pizza, and popcorn with your extremely attractive and bachelor of a neighbor. Peer pressure to date, be damned. The two of you watched movies until the sun came up or someone passed out. Whichever came first. You had recently taken to drinking espresso before Bucky came over because the one time you passed out before him, you woke up the next morning with cat whiskers drawn on your cheeks. It was pretty lame and tame, but the ‘damage’ had been done. 

“Do you have any idea what you’ve just done? My mother is -”

“A fucking nightmare?” he offered as he sat back, sneaking another handful of popcorn. 

You hated how you wanted his hand to miss the bowl and grab your thigh instead. Clearing your throat, you forced your face to remain neutral. “She thinks I have a boyfriend and she’s insisting that I bring him to the rehearsal dinner and to the wedding. Fuck, she wants me to bring him over!”

Bucky shrugged, munching on the oddly still-warm popcorn. “So?”

“I don’t have a boyfriend,” you ground out, reaching out to smack him again. 

“Ow,” he deadpanned. 

You shook your head and pinched the bridge of your nose. “I can’t believe you did that. I… I’m gonna call her tomorrow and tell her I broke it off. She’ll probably have a fucking mental breakdown, but it’ll be fine.”

“Why are you making such a big deal outta this?” he wondered, tongue darting out to gather the butter/sugar/cinnamon mixture from his fingers. “Just tell her it was a joke.”

Your mouth went dry at the sight and it felt as if your entire body just clenched. “No, she uh, she doesn’t do well with jokes.”

“Then what’re you gonna do ‘bout it?” Cerulean eyes sparkled over the rim of his glass as he took a drink. 

“We’re gonna date,” you blurted out. 

Bucky coughed and blinked rapidly several times. “I… I’m sorry, what ?”

You were nodding and turning in your seat. “Yeah. You… you got me into this mess.”

“I did no -”

“So, for the next six weeks, we’ll pretend to date.” It sounded so simple in your mind. “You’ll meet my parents and win them over with your charming attitude. We’ll do the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.” 

Bucky shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Six weeks?”

You nodded curtly. “We’ll ‘break up’ the day after the wedding and everything will go back to normal. Please, Bucky,” you begged, absentmindedly grabbing his hand. You hadn’t realized up until now just how much having a fake boyfriend would help. 

He looked down at your hand and shrugged. “I don’t know, Y/N. What’s in it for me?”

“You don’t get castrated with a dirty, dull blade,” you said flatly. 

“Well, in that case,” he huffed nervously. He turned his hand over and threaded his fingers with yours. “Y/N, would you be my girlfriend?” 

Six weeks of Bucky Barnes being your fake boyfriend in order to get your mother off your back about having a date to your sister’s wedding. You could do this, right? Yeah, you could most definitely do this. 

Your heart hammered and blood rushed in your ears as you answered. “Yes.”

Chapter Text

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Once inside the safety of your apartment, you stepped out of the heels and dropped onto the couch with a groan. 

“Thank Christ that’s over,” you moaned, draping your forearm over your eyes.

To say you had been nervous before bring Bucky to meet your mother and sister would have been stupid, like pointing out the fact that the sky was blue, but Bucky felt the need to do so any way. You’d elbowed him in the ribs and told him to ‘shut the fuck up’ before entering the lion’s den. 

Your mother and sister descended upon you like buzzards. Picking at the two of you, asking a million and one questions. Your sister flirted shamelessly with Bucky (she always was a lovey drunk), which of course he fed into without crossing any lines of impropriety. 

Speaking of Bucky, he was… perfect during the ordeal. He held your hand, answered all your mother’s questions correctly (only because you had grilled him for the last week), kissed your forehead, called you every adorable nickname under the sun (your favorites were doll and sugar), and stayed by your side. He brought you food, refilled your drink, and he was the buffer between you and your sister and mother. You loved those two, but God , you really didn’t like them most of the time. 

Being there with Bucky, you actually started to forget that you were single, that you were a huge disappointment to your family. You fed into the imagery of it all and actually started to believe that Bucky was madly in like with you. But as soon as you were home, the truth came crashing down on you like a rogue tidal wave. 

“Jesus,” Bucky ground out. “That was exhausting.” He handed you a beer and sat next to you, thigh pressed against yours. 

“Only five more weeks,” you assured him, knocking the neck of your bottle against his.

“Thank God.”

Your heart squeezed and the sting of disappointment burned under your skin. “You can back out, Buck. I’ll just tell them we broke up.”

“You kiddin’ me?” he snorted. “They love me. They’ll kill you if we break up.”

“Not if I tell them you were cheating me.”

“You wouldn’t,” he gasped, hand pressed to his chest. “I’ve never cheated on anyone, so don’t you dare start that rumor.”

You hid your smile at his admission behind a drink. “You’ve never cheated?”

Bucky looked at you with an eyebrow arched, and the storm in his eyes made your throat go dry. “ Never . You couldn’t pay me enough to destroy someone like that.”

You swallowed loudly. “Tha- that’s goo- good to know.” 

“So,” he hummed, turning in his seat, tucking one leg under the other. “Five more weeks.”

Even though your heart was beating wildly and a tremor ran through your hands, you mirrored him. “You sure you’re up for it?”

“I’m up for just about anything you got, doll ,” he purred. He chuckled deeply and took a long drink. 

It felt as if all the air in the room had been sucked out as your face flushed. You shoved yourself off the couch and drained the bottle on your way into the kitchen. Once the bottle was empty, you dropped it into the recycling receptacle and grabbed another from the fridge. You were panting, lungs burning, eyes watering by the time you were able to face Bucky again.

Shit, get it together. 

He had gotten up from the couch and had just stepped onto the linoleum when he queried, “You okay, doll?” 

Doll. It wasn’t even a new nickname, but every time he said it, you wanted to rip off your clothes and show him exactly what it did to you. 

“I… I’m fine,” you rasped, pushing a hand through your hair. “Just swallowed wrong.” 

Bucky didn’t look convinced, but gave a lopsided smile and nodded. “Well, it is pretty shitty beer,” he joked. “It’s a wonder you didn’t choke sooner.”

You slapped him in the chest. “Shut the fuck up.”

“Keep talkin’ to me like that, doll . You know how much I like it.” His eyes darkened and his tongue flicked out to catch a drop of beer from his top lip. 

Jesus Christ on a cracker . He’s going to be the death of me .

You snatched the mostly-full bottle from his hand and drained it in three heavy swallows. “Don’t like it, don’t fuckin’ drink it.” 

“You little shit,” he half-chuckled. 

“My beer, my apartment,” you shot back. 

Bucky hummed and stepped closer. The faded scent of his woodsy cologne washed over you and you held your breath, desperately trying not to breathe him in deeper. Too bad it was too late. 

“You wanna watch a movie?” he proposed, hands diving into his pockets. “We can order some pizza, I’ll bring some of the good beer from my place.” 

Your throat tightened as you peered up at him. “That depends.”

“On what?” 

“The movie.”

Bucky hummed again, eyes flicking over your face. “Mad Max.”

“Original or remake?”

He scoffed and rolled his eyes. “Original. I’m not a heathen.”

You gave a sigh of relief when he stepped back. “Well, you already took a shot at my beer.”

“With good reason.” 

“Shut up.” You put more space between you, because if he didn’t, you were going to do something really fucking stupid. 

Bucky winked. “I’ll go get the beer.”

“I’ll order the pizza and cue up the movie.” You hated how breathy your voice sounded and the way your heart lurched. Then there was the way your skin was tingling, like it missed the way his fingers brushed against it earlier in the day, how his fingerprints remained imprinted for several moments, red lines, swirling in on themselves. 

“See you in five, doll.” He dropped a kiss to your crown as he passed. 

As soon as the door closed, you blew out a bone-shuddering breath. “Shiiiiiiiit.”

Chapter Text

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“Run that by me again,” said Steve, dumbfounded at the revelation that two of his friends were ‘dating’. 

Bucky chuckled and signaled the bartender for another round. “We’re fake dating until the wedding to get her crazy ass family off her back. I met them last week, bro. They’re something .” 

Steve glanced over at Y/N who was currently kicking some guy’s ass at pool. “She must’a been desperate to ask you.”

“Man, shut the fuck up,” Bucky snorted, smacking his friend in the shoulder. 

“Tell me you see the problem with this brilliant idea of yours.”

Bucky shook his head. “Wasn’t my idea. She’s the one that asked.”

Stuve stared at his friend. “The way she tells it, you didn’t give her much of a choice.” 

“It was just a joke,” Bucky sighed. 

“Tell her that.”

Bucky twisted on the bar stool just in time to see her bend over the table. He swallowed heavily and tried to get his blood to stop rushing down to his groin. What he wouldn’t give to be standing behind her, hands on her hips, pulling her flush against him as he -

Steve cleared his throat. “Or do I need to tell you that.” 

Snapping out of his daydream, Bucky gave an uncomfortable chuckle. “What are you talking about?” 

“Stare at her any harder and her ass is gonna implode.”

Bucky rolled his eyes. “Don’t know what you mean.”

Steve barked out a laugh. “Dude, you’ve had a crush on her since minute one.”

“Have not.”

“Have so.”

“Nuh-uh.”

“Dude.”

“Jerk.”

“Punk.” Steve elbowed Bucky in the ribs. “Look, all I’m saying is that if you’re not careful, something’s gonna go wrong. One, or both of you will get hurt, and -”

“And what, Steve?” Bucky ground out. “I’ll lose my other best friend? Yeah, I know that, okay? Get off my back about it.” 

Steve took a long drink before saying anything else about it. “You’re my friend and I care about you, Buck. I just don’t want to see either of you get hurt.”

“You don’t have to worry about that, Stevie,” Bucky insisted. “We’re both handling the whole thing like the mature adults that we are.”

Another barking laugh from Steve. “Who the fuck are you, and what have you done with James Buchanan Barnes?”

Bucky went to go hit his friend in the shoulder when a booming voice caught his attention. His, and everyone else in the small bar. The guy whose ass Y/N had thoroughly kicked was refusing to pay up, getting in her face, trying - and failing - to intimidate her. Bucky was out of his seat and striding across the bar before he could blink. 

“If you think I’m going to back down like some scared and defenseless bitch , you got another thing comin’,” she snarled, poking him in the chest. 

The man towering over her glared at her, hands in fists at his sides. He had just opened his mouth when Bucky stepped behind Y/N.

“What’s goin’ on, doll?”

Dark eyes flicked to Bucky’s. “She belongs to you?”

“I don’t belong to anyone , asshole,” she spat out, her entire body thrumming.

“You heard the lady,” Bucky chuckled. 

The man sneered. “I don’t see no lady.”

“You owe me $300.”

Her opponent glared hard at her. “And I told you, I ain’t payin’. You cheated.”

“I hustled,” she clarified. “There’s a difference.” 

Bucky worked hard to smother his laughter, but it didn’t work very well. “Sugar, I thought we talked about not embarrassing the neanderthals tonight.” 

Next thing Bucky knew, he was on his ass, pain blossoming on his chin, stars in his eyes, and blood on his tongue. Y/N was on her knees and panicked, holding his face between her hands, asking if he was okay. Steve rushed over, along with the bartender, and made sure that was the only punch that was thrown. 

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Bucky hissed as Y/N dabbed antiseptic ointment against the cut on his lip. “Watch it.”

“I’m sorry ,” she muttered again. “Don’t want it to get infected.”

He felt like shit for snapping at her, but god damn , it hurt . “I shouldn’t have -”

“Gotten involved? No shit, Sherlock. I had it under control.” She ground her teeth as she dabbed at the cut again.

“You’re kidding, right?” Bucky scoffed, pulling away from her tender touch. He stormed out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, yanking one of the beers out of the fridge and chugging it, doing his best to ignore the burning in his lip. “That guy was not having it.”

She glared at him, hands on her hips, rage in her eyes. “Thought my beer was shitty?”

“For fuck sake,” he grumbled. “What else are you pissed about? You want the money you won, too? Fine .” He dug out his wallet, pulled out all the cash he had, and slapped it on the counter. “I’ll get you the rest in the morning.”

“What crawled up your ass?” she asked incredulously. 

“Me?” Bucky gasped. “You’re the one that’s been throwing shade since we left the bar.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re the one that stuck his nose where it didn’t belong.”

“So you wanted to get decked by a guy that bench presses Buicks all goddamn day?” He was shouting, the cut on his lip splitting open. “You’re crazy if you think I’d let anyone lay a goddamn hand on you, doll.” 

“I don’t need a knight in shining armor, Buck,” she argued back. 

“You don’t know what the fuck you need!” 

Y/N chewed on the inside of her cheek. “I need you to leave.” She grabbed the bills on the counter and shoved them into the pocket of his leather jacket. “ Now .”

“Fine,” he snarked. 

“Fine,” she shot back, arms crossed. 

“Whatever.” Bucky spun on his heel and stormed out, slamming the door behind him. 

The lock clicked loudly, followed by some grumbled curses. Bucky jammed the heels of his hands into his eyes and shook his head. He should have swallowed his pride, knocked on the goddamn door, and apologized, but he didn’t. He yanked his keys from his pocket, unlocked the door across the hall, and slammed it shut instead.

Chapter Text

Since the fight with Bucky, you’d gotten very little sleep. You were crabby, nodding off at your desk, biting everyone’s heads off, including your manager’s. On Friday, Phil called you into his office just before lunch and asked what was going on.

“Haven’t slept well,” was your pitiful, yet truthful, answer. You apologized, promised to keep yourself in check, and spent the rest of the day with your earbuds in, listening to stay-awake music. By the time you got home, you were dragging your feet and you were ready to crash. Thank God it was Friday. 

Shit, Friday. Movies, pizza, and beer with Bucky. You were not ready to see Bucky anytime soon, let alone at that moment in time. 

Because he got off work earlier than you, and would be showing up in an hour, you were quiet as you entered your apartment, moving slowly so as not to jingle your keys too loudly or shut the door too hard. Once inside, you let out a shuddering sigh and worked a hand through your hair. 

You wanted to text Bucky - it would be your first communication with him since the fight - and tell him you weren’t feeling good, that movie night would need to be cancelled. It would be the first time in eight months, but there was a first time for everything, right? As badly as you wanted to, you didn’t. Hoping the cool water would wake you up, you took a shower and put on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. 

As you turned on the Keurig, someone knocked tentatively on your door. 

“Right on time,” you murmured to yourself, looking at the clock. You pulled in a deep breath, crossed the room, unlocked the door, and opened it. 

Rather than Bucky’s face or a box of popcorn or a stack of movies, you were greeted with a large bouquet of colorful flowers. 

“What’s this?” you chuckled nervously.

Bucky lowered the bouquet and shrugged. “I’m sorry for acting like a jackass the other day.”

“So you got me flowers?”

Another shrug and he shifted on his feet. “Steve said -”

“The flowers are from Steve then?” You chewed on the inside of your cheek to keep from smiling. 

“Wha- no. They’re from me. I bought them.”

“But you said Steve.”

Bucky sighed. “I asked Steve what I should do.”

“And he said to get me flowers?”

“No, not… not really.” God, he was adorable when he was flustered. “He told me to apologize, that I should get you something.”

“Let me get this straight,” you mused, eyeing the large bouquet. “You’re apologizing because Steve told you to do it. Not for any other reason.”

Groaning, Bucky squeezed his eyes shut. “I’m apologizing because I fucked up, okay? I acted like a jackass and I feel really shitty about it. I’m sorry.” 

“Okay,” you said with a smile, snatching the flowers from his grip. 

He trailed you into the kitchen, shutting the door behind him. “Okay? So, that’s it? You’re not mad?”

“I was ,” you clarified, filling a vase with water, trying hard to ignore the man standing so close to you. “I also realized I wasn’t completely innocent that night either.” 

You set the flowers into the vase and pushed them around, rearranging them, killing time. You needed to apologize, you knew that, but the warmth of embarrassment prevented you from doing so right then. Clearing your throat of the emotion clinging to it, you finally looked at him. 

“I’m sorry, Buck,” you breathed, heart pummeling your chest cavity. 

One corner of Bucky’s mouth curled up and he reached over to hug you, one arm thrown over your shoulder, pulling in into him, your side pressed against his. 

“So we’re good?” he asked quietly.

“We’re good.”

“Good, but for real though, the next time you wanna hustle, make sure the guy can’t kick your ass with his pinky,” he partially joked.

You breathed in the spicy heat of his faded cologne and caught yourself before you did something even more embarrassing, like moaning or sighing heavily. “You gonna be my bodyguard?”

“Damn right,” he chuckled, kissing your crown. “Now, what do you say to some good old fashioned gratuitous violence?”

“What’d you have in mind?” You stepped out of his grip, shivering at the loss of his body heat. 

Bucky pulled a movie out from the inside pocket of his jacket. “John Wick!” 

You gave an exaggerated fist pump. “Gratuitous violence is my jam .” 

“I’ll put the movie in.”

“I’ll make the popcorn.”

Bucky gave a soft moan and slid off his jacket. “Can you make the sugar and cinnamon one again?”

“You want that or the cinnamon roll one?”

His eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas morning. “Yes!”

You couldn’t help but laugh. “Which one?”

“Both?” he proposed hopefully.

“It’ll take longer,” you informed him as if he didn’t already know.

He stepped out of his shoes and shrugged. “I’m here all night, remember?”

Like you could ever forget. “Fine,” you huffed in feign annoyance. “Don’t watch the previews without me.”

“You can’t stop me,” he laughed, turning on the television and Blu-Ray player.

“You wanna bet,” you shot back, hands on your hips. 

Bucky turned and stared hard at you. “Sugar, I bet .” 

Your mouth went dry and you had a hard time focusing what with your brain filling with vivid images of kissing Bucky, ripping his clothes off, taking him in your mouth, curling your legs around his waist, tasting yourself on his -

“Doll, you alright?” he asked, head tilted, eyebrows furrowed.

You cleared your throat and nodded. “Yeah, all good, Buck.” Without another word, you turned away and started making the popcorn.

Chapter Text

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It was two weeks before the wedding, and you were kind of freaking out. Alright, alright. You were freaking out. Your sister called the two nights before the bachelorette party and let you know that she and her fiancé wanted a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. Not only that, they wanted to do something fun . Your sister’s idea of fun was your definition of kinda lame. So, the party bus (non-refundable deposit), male strippers (also a non-refundable deposit), and obscene party favors (penis lollipops and pin the dick on the groom game) were traded for mini-golf and dinner at TGIFridays. 

When you had been under the impression that copious amounts of alcohol would be flowing, hanging out with a bunch of your sister’s friends was going to be enough of an evening for you. But now? The group had doubled in size, and you had to do it mostly sober. As if that weren’t bad enough, your sister insisted that Bucky attend. The night was going to be exhausting

After dinner and several rounds of drinks, you (involuntarily) got paired up with Bucky for mini-golf, thanks to your already half-drunk sister. 

“She always like this?” Bucky wondered, leaning close to keep from being overheard. 

“More or less,” you answered, pulling your hair back into a messy bun. 

Bucky nudged you with his elbow. “What’s goin’ on with you tonight?”

I want to rip off your clothes. With my teeth.

“Nothin’,” you sighed. 

“Know how I can tell when you’re lying?” 

“How’s that?” you scoffed.

Bucky trailed a finger along your right eyebrow. “Your eyebrow twitches.”

The blunt edge of his nail scraped along your skin and it drove a subtle shiver down your spin. You pulled away from his touch and shook your head. “Does not.” 

“Does so.”

You followed the rowdy group onto the course. “Don’t believe me? Fine. Ask me anything you want and you have to figure out if I’m lying.”

“What do I get when I win?” He was bouncing on his feet like an over-excited five year old. The too-tight t-shirt was doing nothing to hide his bouncing pecs. 

Me. You get me .

“Maybe you should focus on actually winning first.” 

“Fine,” he huffed, deflated. “But we’re still playing, right?”

“Mini golf or twenty questions?” you laughed. 

Bucky jumped in front of you and started walking backwards, hands shoved into the pockets of his dark skinny jeans. “Both.” 

You sighed in defeat. “Alright, fine. Ask your questions.”

He winked and gave a panty-melting smirk. “We’ll start easy. Have you ever been in a serious relationship?”

Caught completely off guard, you snorted. “You call that an easy question?”

“I’ll take that as a no. Do you want to be in a serious relationship?”

“Why are all these questions about relationships?”

Bucky shrugged. “That’s a yes.”

You rolled your eyes a little too hard. “Of course it’s a yes. Who doesn’t want to be in a serious relationship? Besides you, of course.” Well that was a low blow.

Bucky faltered a little. “Do you have a crush on anyone?”

It was time to have some fun at his expense. “Yeah, Steve.” 

He faltered a lot at that. “Wha- what?”

“I mean, he’s big and tall , and fucking sexy as hell,” you teased. “What’s not to like?”

“I… yeah, I suppose.”

You stood real close and batted your eyelashes. “Does that bother you, me thinking your best friend is sexy?”

He chuckled nervously and quickly stepped back, putting some distance between you, a hand diving through his hair. “No.”

“That’s good,” you sighed in relief. “I was worried that it would cause some friction between the two of you.”

“What are uh,” he cleared his throat, “you gonna do?”

“I’m gonna call him, of course,” you continued to tease him. “First thing when I get home.”

He swallowed heavily, his throat dry. “And tell him what exactly?”

You were in front of him again, bottom lip between your teeth, hand pressed to his chest. You could feel the heavy hammering of his heart against your palm. “That I want to ride him until we both can’t feel our legs,” you informed him breathily.

“Well, that ain’t gonna happen,” he growled, eyes flashing, shoulders twitching.

“And you’re not as good as you think you are, Bucky,” you chuckled, patting him in the chest. “Come on, you gonna play some mini golf, or stand there all night?” 

You stepped around Bucky and felt yourself go pale. That was too close.

Chapter Text

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You and Bucky didn’t talk much the week following your sister’s borderline-catastrophic bachelorette party. She got wasted , as did most of her friends, and shamelessly flirted with Bucky in a bid to make her fiance jealous. It worked a little too well. He got crazy-mad, pitched a huge fit, threatened to kick Bucky’s ass, and stormed off, calling for an Uber. The party dispersed quickly after that. You spent the rest of the night consoling your sister, biting your tongue to prevent yourself from saying something really stupid. 

You were used to exchanging texts multiple times a day, but lately… he hadn’t been as responsive. After mini-golf, he left you on read, and when he actually answered, it was one or two words only. It left you with an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. 

To be honest, you were surprised when he showed up at your door on Friday.

“We need a reason to break up,” you said out of the blue, startling Bucky. 

He pressed pause - the two of you were watching Titanic, of all movies - and stared at you. “What?”

“After the wedding,” you clarified. “We need a reason to break up. They’re going to ask me a thousand questions about it. What’s our reason?”

Bucky shoveled popcorn into his mouth and shrugged. “No cheating,” came out muffled and almost indiscernible. 

“I know that,” you huffed, smacking his arm. “But we need to fight at the rehearsal dinner.” 

He rolled his eyes. “Your mother is going to kill you.”

“I can handle my mother,” you said dismissively. “Oh, oh. What if you’re ditching me for your friends?”

“They won’t buy that,” he rebutted. “Not when I’m head over heels for you.” 

It was your turn to roll your eyes, working hard to ignore the fluttering in your chest. “Yeah, right. We’ve been ‘dating’ for two months. That hardly qualifies as being head over heels, Buck.”

“You just made my case for me. We’ve been ‘dating’ two months. I’m not gonna ditch you for my friends, doll.” 

Why did he sound so hurt?

“I know you wouldn’t,” you breathed, pinching the bridge of your nose. “Whatever the fight is about, it has to be believable. No cheating, no ditching me for your friends, fine, but it has to be good.”

“Why does it have to be you that breaks up with me?” he wondered. 

“Well… I mean, because -”

“I think it’d be more believable if I broke it off,” he mused. “It’s your family, they know how you are, and I -”

“Oh? They know how I am ?” you squeaked. “Enlighten me. How the fuck am I?” 

Okay, look, you shouldn’t be getting upset about it, but you were. Irritation simmered in your gut and you fought the urge to really smack him. 

Bucky sighed. “That’s not what I meant.”

“But you said it.”

“Yeah, but I meant they raised you, they hardly know me.”

“I brought you to dinner,” you needlessly pointed out.

Bucky snorted. “Once. Almost five weeks ago. Whenever your mom or sister calls, you change the subject or cut the call short.”

“Do not.” 

One of Bucky’s eyebrows shot up. “Really?”

You groaned loudly. “Fine, I just don’t see the point in delving too deep into this phony relationship only to end it. I don’t want them getting attached to you.” 

Bucky scoffed. “So you’re doing this for my benefit.”

“Well.. yeah.”

“This whole thing was your idea to get your mother off your back,” he snapped. “Don’t say you’re doing any of this to save any skin off my back.” 

“You agreed!”

Bucky shoved off the couch, bowl of popcorn almost tumbling to the floor. He set it on the table and stormed into the kitchen. “I shouldn’t have. Jesus Christ, I really shouldn’t have.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” You hurried after him, chock full of piss and vinegar. 

“It was a bad idea, that’s all,” he answered, a hand driving through his hair, whirling around to face you. “We’re both too stubborn and too quick to react. God, could you imagine if we really dated?”

Your mouth and throat went dry at the impact of his words and the way he was looking at you. You grew self-conscious under the weight of his gaze and shifted on your feet. “Why on earth would we do that? We’re friends, Buck,” you huff-chuckled.

Yuck, you hated the way those words tasted. 

“Yeah, friends,” Bucky murmured, eyes dark, features unreadable. “I’m gonna call it a night. Let me know when you figure it all out.” 

“Bucky,” you gasped. “I’m sorry for how I reacted. You don’t have to go.”

“I know.” His voice was rough, sending a shiver down your spine. “But I need to. I… I can’t be here right now.” 

You reached for his hand, but as soon as your knuckles brushed his, he jerked his hand away as if you’d struck him. 

“Goodnight, Y/N.” 

The door latching shut echoed in your ears and made you jump. Unwanted tears filled your eyes as you stood there, holding your breath, hoping he’d come back.

Chapter Text

It felt as if the night of the rehearsal dinner arrived before you could blink. Bucky hadn’t spoken to you since the Friday night before, so when he showed up to the hotel, overnight bag in hand, freshly-pressed tuxedo and suit in the other, you about sobbed in relief. 

He gave you a small smile before pressing a kiss to your cheek. “Your mom’s right there,” he breathed into your ear. 

Of course she is. Why wouldn’t she be?

You nodded subtly and hugged him despite the fact he couldn’t return it. “She’s been trailing me since I got here, asking when you were coming. To be honest, I didn’t think you’d show up.”

“I gave my word,” he said with a shrug. “So, do I have to check in?”

“No,” you answered reaching into the pocket of your dress . “I already did. They uh, they put us in the same room. If that’s not okay, I can see if they have another one available.”

“It’s fine,” Bucky said tightly, doing little to calm your already frazzled nerves. “I’ll be down in ten.” 

You gave him the key and told him the room number. Feeling the heavy weight of your mother’s gaze, you pushed up and kissed his cheek, leaving a smear of Sugar Pink lip gloss on his skin. “Hurry, please.”

“I will,” he assured you. He brushed past, the intoxicating mixture of leather and cologne enveloping you, fueling the dirty thoughts in your brain.

In the ballroom, you had narrowly escaped a conversation with your mother and had just approached the bar when Bucky was by your side. You peeked at the clock on the wall. True to his word, he had changed in under ten minutes. 

He ordered a whiskey, neat, double, and pressed his hand against your lower back as he leaned in. “I’m sorry about last week. I… I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.”

It was the first time you’d ever seen him in anything other than sweats or jeans, a t-shirt, and leather jacket. The suit he wore looked as if it were made just for him. It surprised you that the dark tones didn’t completely wash him out. You felt your cheeks flush at the images of it lying on the hotel floor, crumpled, buttons ripped off... 

“I’m sorry, too. You okay?” you wondered, mouth dry, peering up at him, reaching blindly for your drink.

“I’m fine,” he answered, shaking his head. “So, how are we gonna play this?” He thanked the bartender and steered you away. 

You blew out a breath and peered around the room. “Just be your charming self, I guess. We can figure out the whole break up thing later.”

“You sure?” he rasped, giving your mother a smile. She had pointed him out in conversation, no doubt telling your father’s side of the family all about the blossoming relationship.

He was standing close, too close. The heat of the whiskey mixed a little too well with the remnants of his cologne and you found yourself leaning in, bottom lip trapped between your teeth. Your hand itched to touch his hair, feel the chestnut strands between your fingers, pull him down, and -

“Doll, you sure?”

You cleared your throat and nodded. “Yeah, yeah. I’m sure.” 

He waited until you were done taking a drink before he said, “There is something I did want to talk to you about before we get this show on the road.”

“What’s that?”

Wearing a smirk, he bent down and pressed his lips to your ear. “There’s only one bed.”

Your eyes rolled back and you bit your tongue to keep from moaning. The timbre to his voice made your entire body clench, thrum with need. Your stomach flipped lazily and a kaleidoscope of butterflies exploded in your chest. You didn’t remember placing your hand against his stomach, but it was, and you curled your fingers into the smooth material of his jacket. 

“I uh, I noticed,” you stammered, hoping he couldn’t hear your hammering heart. “I was going to talk with the front desk and see if they could send up a trundle bed. Discreetly, of course. We can’t have our cover blown because of one bed.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Bucky informed you, standing tall, a glimmer in his eyes. 

“You’re not sleeping on the couch,” you argued weakly. 

He gave a wink that made your pulse race. “I don’t plan on it, doll.” 

I’m not sleeping on the couch, either,” you squeaked, face flushing deeper. 

“No, you’re not, sugar.”

You didn’t know how long you stood there, eyes wide, voice incapable of working before your mother’s announcement cut through the thick silence. 

“Come and eat,” she beckoned everyone. 

“Oh, thank God,” Bucky purred, fingers pressing deep into the small of your back. “I’m famished.”

Chapter Text

After the ceremony, Bucky found you in your sister’s dressing room, splayed out on the sofa, dress poofed up from all the tulle . It wasn’t vulgar, but you were off your feet so you didn’t really care how you looked right then. You were exhausted . Besides the alarm going off at six thirty that morning and running around all goddamn day, you hadn’t slept well. 

Bucky was right. Neither one of you were going to sleep on the couch, nor did you call for a trundle bed. The two of you were adults. You could handle sleeping in the same bed with one another, no awkwardness, no funny business, right? 

Right!

Wrong.

Being so close to a mostly-naked Bucky Barnes kicked your brain into overdrive. All you could focus on was Bucky; the heat radiating from him, the deep breaths, not-so-soft snores, how he slept with one leg kicked out from the sheets. At one point, he had rolled over and you found yourself reaching out to push away some wayward hair. Bucky shifted and groaned in his sleep, making your heart race at the risk of getting caught. With a grimace, you rolled over and played on your phone. 

To make matters ‘worse’, he had been a complete gentleman about the whole thing. Despite all the teasing during the rehearsal dinner, warm hand on your back, murmurs against your ear, and kisses to your crown, once the hotel room threshold was crossed, Bucky backed off. You wanted to grip him by the tie and kiss him, rip off that delicious suit and turn him to putty in your hands. Or did you want to be putty in his hands? Either way, someone would be a wreck. 

“You alright there, doll?” he chuckled. 

You peered at him from the corner of your eye and found him leaning against the door frame, hands in his pockets, one foot kicked over the other. He was devilishly sexy in his tuxedo , and your mouth watered at the sight of him. 

“Fine,” you lied. “Just getting a few minutes to myself before the reception.” 

Bucky strolled over and held out his hand. “You’ve been asleep for about an hour.”

You slid your hand into his and gave a disappointed groan as you sat up. “Seriously? Didn’t feel like it.”

“Well, you’ve had a long couple of days,” he pointed out, not letting go of your hand as you stood. “You ready to get this show on the road?”

You didn’t miss the sad tone to his voice or the way he suddenly wouldn’t look at you. You slipped your hand into the crook of his elbow and nodded. “Let’s go break up.”

Dinner. Drinks. Toasts. More drinks. More toasts. Drinking and toasts. At the rate everything was going, you were going to black out soon. 

While your sister and her husband danced, you drank two large glasses of water. You were panting and your heart was hammering by the time you were done, and you were pretty sure it had everything to do with Bucky and the upcoming ‘fight’. 

You had figured it all out that morning. You felt pressured by everyone around you (which was mostly true). You weren’t ready to settle down (which was a lie). You weren’t ready to be in that kind of relationship (another lie). You weren’t in love with Bucky (more lies). 

Just stick to the script and you’ll be fine . You can do this

After a quick scan of the room, you found Bucky sitting next to your mom. You gave him a shy smile and waved him over. 

“Now?” he rasped once he was standing in front of you.

“If not now, when?” you shot back. 

Bucky shrugged. “Never,” he suggested.

“Bucky, please. We have to get this over with,” you scoffed. “You said you’d do this. I need you to do this.” 

“Fine,” he bit out, features darkening. “But I’m gonna kick it off.”

“But we agreed that I wo-”

“Are you serious?” he half-yelled, taking you by surprise. 

On instinct, you looked over your shoulder and found half the room staring at you. “Bucky,” you hissed. “Don’t do this now. We’re at my sister’s wedding!”

“At least I’m not proposing like I wanted to! Imagine the scene that would cause.” 

Your heart was in your throat and the music behind you cut out. People were staring, which is exactly what you wanted. So, why did it feel like your heart was actually breaking?

“What kind of self-centered asshole proposes at someone else’s wedding?”

“The kind that’s madly in love with you, apparently,” he shouted. “Good thing I kept the receipt.”

That was when you noticed a small box in his right hand. The air rushed out of you and your chest went tight. Even though your mouth was bone-dry, you managed to say, “We just started dating! It’s too much, too soon.” 

“All or nothing, sugar,” Bucky ground out, tears filling his eyes. 

God, you felt pitiful, but you whimpered, “I can’t.” 

He tucked the box into his pocket and nodded, grinding his teeth. “Then we’re done.”

Your hand shot out on its own accord and grabbed his wrist. “Why? Why does it have to be all or nothing? Why can’t it be a little at a time?”

“Because I love you in a way you don’t love me. I can’t wait God knows how long for you to get there, doll. So, that’s it - we’re done.” 

Despite the fact that the break up was staged, there was a ring of truth in his words that shook you to your core.

You gave your head a minute shake and rasped, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”

He looked deep into your eyes when he said, “I know I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you, and I don’t know when it happened. But it did and I can’t stop it.” Bucky ripped his hand away. “Goodbye, Y/N.”

Chapter Text

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At the sight of Bucky disappearing, there was a sudden ache deep in the marrow of your bones. You wanted to reach inside and dig it out, to make unbearable pain stop . Tears stung your eyes, there was a knot of anxiety choking you, and your heart was pounding hard enough you briefly wondered if you were having a heart attack. Blood was rushing in your ears painfully loud and your slick hands were shaking.

What the hell just happened?

Your mother’s hand was on your shoulder, and it spurned you into action. You tore off after Bucky, wrenching open the door with a grunt (goddamn heavy ass oak doors), and hurried up the steps. There was a chance the elevator would have taken less time, but you weren’t thinking straight. 

You had to find Bucky. You had to make sure he was okay, because he definitely did not look okay. You had to tell him that whatever he said downstairs better have been part of the act. Otherwise, how were you going to live without him? You had to tell him that you were hopelessly, head over heels, irrevocably in love with him. You had to tell him that he was it for you. 

“Please, please, please,” you prayed as you sprinted down the hall. 

You burst into the hotel room and called for him, but he didn’t answer. When you found his overnight bag in the bathroom, you realized you should have run out of the hotel’s front doors rather than up three flights of stairs. 

“Shit, fuck,” you hissed. You kicked off the heels and shoved your feet into your sneakers. Grabbing your cell phone from the bed, you ran out of the room, down the stairs, and out the front door, tulle swishing loudly. 

You scanned the crowds, searching for a dark tux, a head of honey-streaked-caramel hair. There were simply too many people. You called for him, shouldering people out of the way, ignoring their loud protests, but it didn’t matter because Bucky wasn’t waiting for you at the end of that block, or the next, or on the other side of the street. He wasn’t anywhere. 

A sob shook your shoulders as you opened your phone and tried calling him. It rang, and rang, and rang, and rang some more before an electronic message greeted you. Refusing to leave a message, you hung up and redialed. This time, it went straight to voicemail. 

“Fuck,” you snarled, dialing the phone again. “Come on, Bucky. Please.” 

“The number you have dialed -”

You disconnected the call so hard, you broke a nail. After pulling in a series of shuddering breaths, you spun around and ran back the way you came, past the hotel by six blocks, and hurried down the subway steps.

Home. You had absolutely no doubt you would find him at home, and then you could talk to him, really talk to him. You just had to survive the bumpy ride. Twenty three minutes and forty five seconds later, you were pounding on Bucky’s door, pleading for him to come out and talk to you. 

“I’m sorry,” you cried out, tears streaming down your face. “Bucky, please. I… I love you.” 

Fifteen minutes. You stood out there for fifteen minutes before someone at the end of the hall cleared their throat. You whirled around, a gasping sob choking you. 

It was Steve, and he did not look amused. “He’s not here.”

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“I told him,” ranted Steve, cheeks ruddy, expression pinched. “I told him that someone was going to get hurt.”

“Wait,” you mumbled, wiping your nose with the back of your hand. Gross, yeah, but whatever. “You knew ?”

“About Buck being in love with you? Yeah,” Steve scoffed. “It’s pretty clear that the only one that didn’t know it was you.” 

You scraped a hand over your face and sighed heavily. The tulle scratched the back of your calves as you leaned against the wall. You watched Steve move about Bucky’s apartment, throwing items into a bag. 

“Where is he?” you pleaded.

Steve shook his head. “I can’t tell you that.”

“Is he staying with you?”

“I can’t tell you that,” he repeated, darker than before.

“I have to talk to him, Steve.”

“Call him.”

You’d tried four more times since following Steve into Bucky’s apartment. “I tried, he won’t answer.”

“Did you text him?”

“If he didn’t answer my call, you really think he’s going to text back?” you snorted. “Besides, his phone is off.” 

“Yeah, he said he was probably going to do that. Look, he just needs some time to think, Y/N.” Steve gave a tight smile as he zipped up the bag. 

“How much time?” you desperately needed to know. 

Steve stood in front of you and squeezed your shoulder. “I don’t know.”

“I fucked up, didn’t I?” you cried, hand over your mouth.

“You both did,” Steve murmured as he hugged you with one arm. 

You peered up at him with tears dripping off your lashes. “Will you at least tell him that I’m sorry, that I need to talk to him?”

“He won’t listen to me.”

“Please, Steve,” you implored. “Please.”

Steve blew out a heavy breath and nodded. “I’ll try.”

Chapter Text

Bucky was sitting on the couch, legs kicked up on the table, vest and tie undone. His hair was disheveled, sticking up from raking a hand through it, and his attention was solely on the small square box in his hand. He flipped it open and shut, the loud clack filling the room. Again and again. Clack. Clack. Clack. CLACK

He was trapped inside his own head, questioning every decision he had ever made, every word he had said to Y/N, every time he kissed her crown or cheek, every time he touched her. Agreeing to be her ‘boyfriend’ had been a bad idea, he knew that going into it, but his heart jumped at the chance, and like an idiot, he listened to it. He did more than that though, he allowed himself to fall deeper in love with her. 

“Should’a stuck to the fucking plan,” he bit out, angry at nobody but himself. 

Six weeks, that was all Y/N asked of him. He could do just about anything for six weeks, but apparently, pretending to be her boyfriend was asking too much. 

“Hey,” Steve greeted, locking the door behind him. 

Bucky snapped the box shut and forced a smile. “Hey. Thanks for getting my stuff.”

Steve set the bag down next to Bucky and waved a hand. “It’s no problem.”

“And for letting me crash here. I just… I can’t go back there right now.”

“I said it’s no problem, Buck,” Steve insisted, dropping into the chair. “Besides, what are friends for, huh?”

Bucky gave a sardonic chuckle. “Not for falling in love with, that’s what.” 

“Speaking of… I uh, I saw Y/N,” Steve admitted, watching Bucky, waiting for him to explode. 

His heart clenched painfully behind his ribs and he worked hard to hide the grimace. “Oh.”

“She’s a wreck, man.” 

Bucky rolled his eyes so hard it hurt. “I’ll bet she is.”

Steve bent over, draping his forearms over his knees. “She wanted me to tell you that she’s sorry.” 

“For breaking my heart? Okay, she’s forgiven. Can we please stop talking about it now?” he snapped, fist forming around the velvet box. 

“God, you’re an idiot,” Steve huffed, hands clenched together. “If you love her so goddamn much, go tell her.”

“I did,” Bucky ground out. “Look where that got me.”

Steve shook his head and laughed. “That shit at the hotel? That wasn’t real.”

“It was real to me.”

“Real feelings crept into a made up scenario, Buck,” Steve said gently. “That doesn’t make the entire thing real . Especially when you’re both to goddamn stubborn to sit down and talk about it like adults.”

Bucky glowered at his friend. “There’s nothing to talk about.”

“Oh, really?” Steve snorted. “How about the fact that you’re fucking in love with one another? Or the fact that you actually went and bought an engagement ring for your ‘fake girlfriend’? You were going to propose, Buck. For real ! To a woman that has no idea that you’re in love with her. Besides all of that , she had absolutely no idea you got her a damn ring.”

“I was not,” Bucky lied. 

Steve held out his hand. “Give me the box.”

Bucky shook his head and held the box tighter. “No.”

“Then open it. Show me I’m wrong.” 

Bucky stood abruptly and tossed the box at his friend. “I didn’t fucking buy it.” 

He stormed out of the room, grabbing the bag off the couch as he passed, and slammed the door of the spare bedroom closed behind him. With a weary sigh, he stripped out of the suit, leaving it in a crumpled pile in the corner after extracting his phone from the pocket (subsequently dumping it on the bed), and pulled on a pair of sweats and a plain t-shirt. Staring at the phone, he contemplated turning it on, calling Y/N back, returning her texts, but no matter how badly he wanted to reach out, he couldn’t bring himself to do it. 

Yawning, he worked a hand through his hair. He should crawl into bed and try to sleep, but his brain was still buzzing, a thousand and one thoughts zipping around the grey tissue. He left the room in search of beer. He found Steve, in the exact same spot, staring down at his hands, at the open box with a gold band and a glittering stone. 

“This was your grandmother’s ring,” Steve commented as Bucky opened the fridge.

He pulled out two beers, popped them open, and handed one to Steve in exchange for the ring. “Yeah, well, it’s going back in the safety deposit box on Monday.” Bucky gave a groan of discontent as he sat. 

“Talk to her, Buck,” Steve said. 

“Yeah, I know.”

“No, I mean really talk to her. Tell her how you feel,” he clarified. 

Bucky shrugged and took a healthy pull of the beer. “Part of me wants to.”

“And the other part?”

He stared at the ring for a few seconds before closing the box. “I’m scared, Steve,” Bucky admitted. 

“Of what? She’s as crazy about you as you are of her.” Steve nudged Bucky’s knee. 

“There’s no turning back. We can’t be friends after this.” Bucky swallowed the beer loudly, painfully. “If this doesn’t work, I… I can’t see her in any capacity, and that… Jesus, I can’t do that.” 

Steve squeezed Bucky’s knee. “Love’s scary enough without all the shit the two of you just put yourselves through. You thought you could fake it, that your real emotions wouldn’t get in the way. Lesson fucking learned, man. Now you know, and now you need to fix it. Just… don’t keep her dangling there, alright? I meant it when I said she’s a fucking wreck.” 

Bucky sniffled and nodded. “Yeah, okay. I’ll call her.” 

“Wise decision.”

Chapter Text

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After waking up from a restless and fitful night of sleep, the first thing you did - besides groan as your brain pulsed - was check your phone. Nothing. No messages or missed calls. He hadn’t even read the texts you sent. You fought the urge to call or send another message, but the last thing you wanted to do was scare him off. Although, it was probably too late for that. 

You dragged yourself out of bed, brushed your teeth, and took a hot shower where you spent way too much time overthinking. After drying off, you got dressed, and wandered into the kitchen, desperate for a cup of coffee. It had just begun percolating when there was a series of knocks on your door. 

Your heart jumped into your throat and throbbed

Jesus, calm down

Another series of knocks propelled you into motion. You crossed the apartment and unlocked the door, opening it to reveal a sleep-deprived Bucky Barnes.

“Hi,” he murmured, not willing to look you in the eyes just yet. 

You stepped to the side and opened the door wider. “Hey. You uh, want to come in? I just made some coffee.”

“Sure.” He cleared his throat and stepped inside, moving out of the way so you could close the door. 

The tension surrounding Bucky was unbearable, radiating into your soul . You reached back to scratch the back of your neck as you moved into the kitchen. Two mugs were grabbed with shaking hands, and as you filled them with steaming coffee, you silently prayed you wouldn’t spill any. 

When you turned around to hand a mug to Bucky, you found that he had already retrieved the creamer from the fridge. 

“Sorry,” he lamented. “Force of habit.”

“It’s fine, Buck.” 

The two of you stayed there, in the thick awkward tension for several minutes, stirring in creamer and taking the first hesitant sip. While you took in his tired features, he sat there, still not looking at you, mug in both hands, fingers laced together. His leg was bouncing and he was gnawing on his bottom lip, blunt teeth digging into the plump flesh. When he cleared his throat, anxiety exploded in your chest, blood surging through your veins like fire. 

“I’m just going to come out and say it.” Stormy eyes pierced through you when he finally looked up. “I love you. I’ve been in love with you for a while now. I… I thought I could handle pretending to be your boyfriend. I tried so goddamn hard to keep those feelings buried because I knew you didn’t feel the same way, but… obviously I failed.”

“Bucky,” you gasped, tears filling your eyes. “I -”

He shook his head. “Please let me do this.”

You clamped your mouth shut and nodded, working to keep your heart from bursting out of your chest. 

Bucky sucked in a shuddering breath and gave a small smile of appreciation. “I shouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place, but when you asked I found myself unable to say no. I… I let my emotions cloud my judgement and I fell impossibly harder for you. Y/N, you… you’re smart and funny as hell. You’re a gigantic nerd with an even bigger heart, and I… I don’t think I can be around you if -”

“If what, Buck?” you interrupted. 

The words rushed out of him, his voice shaking. “If you tell me you don’t love me, that you don’t want to be with me.”

“Jesus, Buck,” you sobbed, the dam in your chest exploding. “I’m in love with you, too.”

“Seriously?” he asked, doubt coating his tongue. “Then why didn’t you say anything?”

“I don’t know,” you answered, tears trickling down your cheeks. “It’s not a good answer, but it’s the truth. I guess I was afraid of losing the best friend I’ve ever had, and because hiding my feelings and being your friend is a hell of a lot better than not having you in my life at all.”

Bucky rolled his eyes and rounded the island. His hands were on either side of your face as he peered down at you. “Doll, I can’t live without you.”

You surged up and pressed your lips to his, fingers curling in the thin cotton shirt at his sides. Bucky’s chest vibrated against yours as you stood on your tip-toes, mouth slanting over his, tongue curling against his. He had a hand on the small of your back, holding you tight, not an inch between you. The other hand was in your hair, against the back of your head, fingers tangled in the strands, tips pressed against your scalp. 

With a growl in the back of his throat, Bucky pulled back, eyes closed, breathing heavy. “What a couple of idiots we are, huh?” he murmured, lips brushing against yours. 

You nodded, running the back of your knuckles under his chin. “I do have one question,” you practically giggled. 

“Shoot,” he purred. 

“Was there really a ring in the box?” 

Bucky tucked some hair behind your ear as he nodded. “It belonged to my grandmother. It was stupid, wanting to propose to you for real in the middle of a phony break up, but…” his eyes lost focus as his voice faded. 

“But what, Buck?” you asked gently, nudging his nose with yours. 

“I guess I just wanted to go for it. I meant it when I said I can’t live without you.”

You smeared a kiss to the pad of his thumb as it swept over your bottom lip. You were breathless when you said, “Ask me.”

Bucky’s brows drew together. “Ask you?”

You slid a hand into his pocket and withdrew the small box. “Ask me.”

“Yeah?”

Once again, tears were clouding your vision. “Yeah.”

His hand shook as he took the box and dropped to one knee. He opened the box, revealing a simple engagement ring

With his heart in his throat, he asked, “Will you marry me?”

“Yes,” you cried, butterflies swarming in your stomach, every inch of you tingling. 

Bucky slid the ring onto your finger, kissing your knuckles as he stood. He curled his arms around your waist and kissed you until neither of you could breathe.