Even from outside the bar is loud and dirty, and in every way disgusting. He falls in line with his friends and steps in something sticky, the nature of the puddle is unknown. Unable to contain his disgust, he considers just leaving. Hen must read his mind because she grabs his arm before he can do anything.
“Come on, Diaz! Let your hair down, its just one night. We are both childfree for one night, and we are damn well gonna make the most of it.” She scolds him as they make their way through filth to their booth at their usual bar. “who knows, maybe you’ll have fun. I heard Maddie is bringing her brother, I also heard that Buck is hot!”
“Yeah man, you have the night off. Just relax and enjoy it.” Chim added, with a firm grip on his shoulder. “As for Buck, he is indeed hot. So maybe, you guys will, ya know”
He glared at them, “Is that why you got Maddie to bring him? So, I can bang him?” only fuelling their laughter.
“No one said you had to bang him, Eddie. But you do you. Or do Buck, just have a good night.”
“I should have stayed home.” He muttered.
“Come on Eddie, it’ll be fine.” Bobby says, slapping his shoulder. Like it's that easy.
There’s never been a time in Eddie’s life where clubbing and drinking had been something, he was interested in. There were always too many people drunk and high, something always goes wrong, and he would rather be anywhere else. He’s not sure if he dressed well enough for a club, he just threw on his nicest pants and a button up and hoped for the best. He thinks he’s done okay, if the few girls making eyes and getting handsy as he walks through the club tells him anything. Eddie rolls his eyes and sighs, “I need a drink.”
“Mads running late. Should be here in about 10ish, said to blame Buck.”
Buck. Over the last 6 months of working at the 118, he's heard a lot about Buck. The good, the bad and a lot of the ugly. The only things they have in common is that Eddie is one hundred percent sure of; Maddie, liking kids, and both liking men. Although Eddie isn't all that sure about the latter. But a part of him can only hope.
“C’mon, Eds! Drink up!”
He doesn’t really want to, but he will. He’ll do anything to keep them off his back, and make this night go quicker. He drinks his share in the time it takes for the Buckley’s to arrive, he has a good buzz going but his eyes are too hazy for his liking, finding it too hard to focus on his friends faces.
His eyes are quick to focus when his hazy ones meet blue. Bluer than anything he’s ever seen before in his life. He’s not one to believe in love at first sight, but these eyes have already found a home in his brain and he wants to drown in them forever.
“Eddie! This is my little brother Buck! Buck, this is Eddie.”
Little is not the word that Eddie would use. He can’t help but feel vaguely like a predator while he eyes his whole body. There’s no other way to describe him other than beautiful. He’s tall, on some of the longest legs he’s ever seen, and thighs so thick they shouldn’t be legal. His white button-up clung to his body, everything is clinging to him in all the right places.
“Ed! Your gay is showing! I told you he was hot!” Hen slurs into his ear. Looking up, he sees Buck standing much closer with a small smirk on his face. Of course, he heard her. the club is loud but that’s no match for the level of volume coming from a drunk Hen.
That was an understatement if he had ever heard one Eddie thought, swallowing the lump in his throat as he coerced his body to breathe deep. He was staring face to face with possibly the most beautiful man he’d ever seen.
“Hiya Eddie, it’s really good to meet you.”
Eddie wasn’t going to lie, the emphasis on the really had hope rising in his chest.
“Hey man. Likewise.”
“I can't believe it's taken us this long to meet. You've been working with Chim for how long?”
“Uh about 6 months now. What is it you do again?”
“Do you wanna sit?” Buck shouts over the music, motioning to the booth their friends just climbed out of, Buck brushes past him to slide in, and Eddie let’s himself breathe in. He smells good, too good.
“So, tell me what you do?” He asked.
“I was a firefighter, now retired. So now I’m a teacher.” He beamed.
Eddie raises an eyebrow. “How old are you?”, eyeing Buck again. “You don’t look old enough to be a teacher. Or retired.”
Buck looks up at him with a grimace. For a while he just stares at Eddie, it feels like he can see his brain ticking away trying to think of a way to get out of this conversation. Guilt quickly rushes to the surface. An apology already waiting to spill out. “I’m sorry, that’s none of my business. You don’t have to answer.”
“No, it’s okay really. It’s not a secret.” He said quickly dismissing his apology. “It’s just not a first meeting kind of topic.”
“Say no more. I understand.” And he really. For years, everyone would press him for information about Afghanistan like he’d been away on vacation. It fucking sucks, and he would wish that uncomfortable experience on anyone. Especially Buck. He waves a thanks to the waiter that’s just placed another drink in front of him, not missing the way Buck pushes the other one to the other side of the table.
They sit in silence for a while before Buck breaks the silence. “I’m uh, 24. By the way. I got injured on the job, so while I was recovering, I started studying. I’m a Special Education teacher. It doesn’t require as much senior education so it’s easier to get into. It’s really great.”
“I wish my sons teachers love him that much.” He sighs. He’s shocked he even said it. He doesn’t really tell people about his personal life, especially about Chris. For the first 3 months of working with the n118, Bobby was the only one that knew and that’s because he needed help navigating the hours and his home life. He especially doesn’t tell pretty boys he wants to fuck.
“You got a kid? I love kids, man.” Unsurprising and cute.
“I love this one.” Fishing his phone out of his pockets to get up a pic. “Christopher, he’s 8.” The pure delight on Bucks face looking at the photo leaves him with an odd feeling in his stomach.
“He’s gorgeous man. That’s not surprising though.”
Eddie can’t recall the last time someone had ever hit on him so unashamedly. Sure, there was some mothers at the school that would be a tad too friendly and women on calls that would feel the need ‘find a way to repay him’ as they sop kindly put it.
Buck leans in, resting his head in his hands. His elbows surely sticking to the mess on the table. “I wanna know about you, Eddie.”
“Is this a date?” He blurts, feeling his face flush. It wasn’t what he meant to say, but that’s all his brain could find. He knows he should stop drinking to avoid spitting out anything else that’s this embarrassing, but Buck has him tongue tied, and he needs liquid courage if he’s going to make it any further tonight.
“Nope. Not a date, just hanging out with you. Why? You want one?” Buck chuckles, flashing a shit eating grin.
“What do you want to know?”
Buck leans completely across the ta, his bright eyes dancing with humour “Kind of wanna know where you stand on that date.”
They sat across from each other for most of the night, Buck quick to respond to anything Eddie said. His voice was soft, and he talked quickly. But even with light conversation, Bucks eye contact was intense. Bright blue piercing every dark part of Eddie.
Buck somehow manages to avoid talking about his family, only mentioning Maddie. He doesn’t talk about himself very much at all. So, Eddie just talks. He mostly talks about Christopher. He hates being the kind of person that only ever talks about their kids, but he can’t help it when his son is that cute and Bucks eyes shine a little bit brighter whenever he tells him something about Chris.
“Would you like to dance?”
“Oh. I don’t know if I’m drunk enough for that yet.”
“Too bad. I’m not drunk and I’m keen. You should be too.”
“Fuck it, let’s go!” Something ignites in Buck; a spark comes alive in his eyes. He grabs Eddie's hand and gently pulls him along. By the time they make it over to their group of the dance floor, the song has changed to something sultrier and slower. His golden hair, perfectly intact changing colours under the lights as they get deeper into the pit of people. There are lots of people making eyes at him, and Eddies only human, so if he feels a bit smug and holds his hand a little tighter, that’s no one's business.
“Buhk! Eds!” Hen hiccups, “you’re finally dancing, keep it PG though. I don’t need the trauma.”
And they do, for a while. Buck dances like he’s having the time of his life, throwing his head back laughing at Hen, he even dances on Chim. It’s contagious, and Eddie is quick to jump in and only pay attention to Buck. Something flashes across Buck's eyes as the songs get even slower, his eyes go dark as he pulls Eddie closer to his front and dances on him. Eddie is thankful for the darkness because he can feel he’s red all over. Bucks close enough to him that he can feel his breath on his neck, throwing caution out the window; he wraps his arms around Bucks neck and gives it a gentle tug on his hair to bring him closer.
“Do you want to get out of here?” Buck pants into his ear.
He’s heard the rumours about Buck, he knows what he's like and he really doesn't want to be added to the long list of his conquests. He looks up at Bucks face, and suddenly understands why there could be so many. There’s a devilish grin, a glint in Bucks eyes leaving a nervous feeling in Eddie's stomach, that is telling him this is a bad idea, he should go home. But then, Buck grabs his hand and holds it more gently than Eddie has ever been held in his entire life, and he’s feeling nervous for so many other reasons.
“Yeah. I really do.”
Eddie holds his hand tight, as Buck leads them past the group. He watches as Buck leans in and whispers something to Maddie, assuming he’s just letting her know they’re leaving, but then her eyes meet Eddie, and she giggles. His eyesight isn’t the best right now, but he can clearly see her mouth “use protection” and he wants the world to swallow him.
The cold air quickly sobers him up, wishing he still had the warmth of Bucks body against him.
“Where are we heading?”
“Don’t know yet. I just wanna hang out with you. Is that okay?”
Looking over to see Bucks blue eyes shining impossibly brighter, even outside. He knows that he wants to love this man for the rest of his life.
Buck doesn’t drive them to either of their houses, which leaves Eddie somehow feeling both relieved and incredibly disappointed. Instead, he pulls up to a small local 24-hour diner. With a hand on his low of back, Buck guides Eddie through the intimate dinner and into a booth.
“This is my hiding place. I’ve never brought anyone here before. Except you. I wanna know about you, Eddie.”
“What do you want to know?”
“All of it, obviously.”
“Uh, I’m 34. Christopher’s Mum isn’t in the picture. Served two tours in Afghanistan. I’m a firefighter now, with Chim. Moved here from Texas, the family was getting about forceful with their views on my parenting. Brought him here for a fresh start. It’s more diverse here, you know. Like the kids at school, there aren't as many assholes here like there is in Texas.”
“Army man. Hot.”
“Why is this place your hiding place?”
“I’m not gonna tell you that tonight, but maybe one day.”
One day. The promise of another night with Buck sends shivers down his spine.
They fell back into easy conversation with quick banter, gently poking fun at each other. They talked about their families; however, Buck was being a little more closed off on that topic but quick to boast about his sister. They were so engrossed in their conversation; Eddie hadn’t realised one of them had moved closer to the other at some point. It was probably only Eddie that did the moving, but he couldn’t deny that he felt a pull between them.
Stifling a yawn, Buck looks down at his watch. “It’s 3am, should I take you home?”
“You don’t have to.”
“Eddie, come on.” He scoffs. “I just drove you out here, I’m not just gonna leave you here.”
They walk side by side, shoulders bumping together, as they make their way back to Bucks Jeep.
All too soon, Buck pulled into his driveway bringing their night together to an end. They sit in a silence for a while. Unsure of whether he should get out straight away, playing with the end of his sleeves awkwardly. Looking up, he sees Buck jumping out and walking around to Eddie's side of the car, opening the door and bowing slightly.
“Thank you, kind sir.” Eddie giggles as he takes his hand. Eddie pauses awkwardly again, unsure of whether he should let go of Bucks hand. He really wishes he were better at this, maybe he’d have a fair chance with Buck. Like he knows what he’s thinking, Buck holds his hand a little tighter, halting his thoughts.
They walk to Eddies front porch in a peaceful silence, neither seem to want the night to end.
“Tonight, was fun. I’m glad Maddie dragged me out of the house.”
“Yeah, I am too.”
Buck steps in closer towards Eddie, close enough that he can smell his cologne again. For a moment it seems like he might kiss him. Instead, he leans forward and presses a chaste kiss on the corner of his mouth. “Not tonight. Not when you’ve been drinking.”
“So, there will be a next time?”
“Absolutely. Goodnight, Eddie.” He says gently, as he starts backing away towards his car.
“Drive safe, Buck.”
Buck flashes his biggest and brightest smile. So bright, it lights up Eddie's front yard. So bright, it’s all Eddie is going to see when he closes his eyes.
Once Buck is in his car and pulling out the driveway, Eddie steps inside and closes the door, and collapses against it.