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All's Fair in Love and War - and Coffee

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The morning are always busy, but she comes in between the work rush and the college rush, so that Bucky is tapping his fingers on the countertop and checking to make sure everything is clean. Steve, his best friend and fellow barista, is pretty bored too. So, to pass the time they'll mix random drinks together, sometimes they find some really good ones and others not so much. A medium vanilla latte with some cinnamon is good. A large carmel macchiato with chocolate not so much.

When she finally does come in she's wearing track shorts and a tank top with her hair, the reddest hair he's ever seen, up in a ponytail; it takes all that he has in him to not stare at her or try to hit on her, because wow, Bucky didn't think a woman could look so good after working out.

"What can I get you?" He leans slightly against the counter and tilts his head sideways with a small grin, trying to seem as charming as possible, which he usually pulls off but she doesn't even blink. No smile or eyes racking him. Nothing.

Instead she crosses her arms over her chest and gives the smallest eye roll possible. "Large Cafe Americano."

"Any sugar or cream?" Bucky looked up from the cup that he was marking with her order and he hoped that didn't come across the way it sounded. It was just that women hardly ever ordered strong coffee without adding something to them.

The woman practically scoffs at him and finally he gets a grin out of her, only it scares him a little bit and suddenly he gets the fleeting impression that she is someone he shouldn't mess with. "No."

As he turns around to start making the drink he forgot that he didn't ask for her name, which he didn't know how he forget that since it was probably the thing he wanted to know most. "Sorry, what's your name?" And Steve is trying not to laugh next to him and Bucky just grits his teeth together.

"Natasha." And he can almost hear her suppress the smile.

 

The next day is the same routine, only when Steve comes in for his shift, Bucky told him everything.

"Red hair up in a ponytail and the charm didn't work on her, Steve. It always works!" He exclaims as he dumps two sugars into the coffee.

That makes Steve laugh and shake his head. Of course Steve would think that was funny. Of course he would be laughing at his struggles. "Maybe you're just losing your touch, Buck. Or maybe she's taken." He shrugs with a large grin before cleaning out one of the coffee makers and started making orders with him.

In the middle of when Steve comes and when Natasha came, Bucky thought something that gave him a little bit more hope. What if she comes in again today? Which prompted him to make a large caffe americano just before the time she came in yesterday. Yes, today he was not going to screw this up.

"What are you doing?" Steve asks with furrowed eyebrows as he sees him making a coffee for no one.

Bucky sighs and puts the cup down to face him. "I'm going to have Natasha's drink ready for when she comes in. She'll be impressed that I remembered. I'm flirting, Steve, don't get in the way of this."

Natasha comes in right on the dot and her coffee is still hot and Bucky was practically jumping up and down, which does make Steve laugh. One of these days Bucky was going to pour a shot of expresso on him. "Let me guess," He starts off with a sly smile that makes Natasha raise her eyebrows. "A large americano?"

What happens next makes his heart sink. "A medium carmel latte." She corrects him without even blinking an eye and his jaw drops slightly.

Mumbling under his breath about how easy it would've been to just order the same thing, he makes her new drink, which means he has to pour out the other one. "Here you go, Natasha. A medium carmel latte."

"You remembered my name." Which is all she says when she leaves and Bucky groans as Steve laughs.

"She came here once and you already tried making her drink in advance? Bucky, seriously, just talk to her." Steve shrugs as he pours coffee over some ice, something that Bucky could never like. Coffee is suppose to be hot.

Only Bucky was done talking about her for today, he would have another chance tomorrow and tomorrow he really wouldn't screw this up.

 

"Are you going to make a medium carmel latte?" Steve asks the minute he walks through the door and Bucky practically growls at him. "Oh lighten up, it's funny to see you trying to impress her so badly."

He was not going to make that mistake of making the drink in advance again. Maybe he really would try to just strike up a conversation with her. Besides, how difficult could that be?

Her hair is up in the ponytail again and he can't help but wondering why she always comes in after she works out. Why would you want something hot when you're sweaty? But he couldn't ask her that.

When she walks up to the counter he decided to talk to her first before asking for her drink order. No one was behind her, so he didn't have to worry about holding up the line. "How is day?" Only the moment the sentence leaves his mouth he knows it's wrong and he can feel Steve's eyes on him. Christ. As if it couldn't get any worse than yesterday. Immediately he turns around so that he can't see her reaction and because his face was as red as her hair.

The only good thing was that it makes her laugh…and laugh. And laugh. "My day is fantastic, thank you for trying to ask." Then she tells him her order, which was an iced coffee go figure, and she's out the door.

"Buck, I'd just give up on her. I mean, you keep embarrassing yourself pretty badly, I don't know how she isn't weirded out by you yet." Steve clasps his shoulder which makes him roll his eyes, because goddamn it he just wanted her phone number, he never wanted it to be this difficult.

Women always came in and he was always able to flirt with them no problem, but now one red head shows up and everything is different. He doesn't even want to flirt with the other women who come in, because he just wants to charm Natasha. She's gorgeous, Bucky figures the whole world knows that, but he knows that there's so much more under that. It's the way she really only reacts when his back is towards her. There's so much he doesn't know about her and he wants to know it all.

Day after day she comes in always at the same time and always something different to keep him on his toes. Soon he's getting the impression that she's just making stuff up so that she doesn't order the same thing twice. Steve still doesn't understand what's so special about her, but he's given up asking about it. Instead he'll just laugh at every ridiculous thing that he does.

There was the time that he tried his award winning smile which scared her more than anything because her eyes practically widened and Bucky was pretty sure that she even took a step back.

There was the time that Bucky spilt her coffee on himself and had to make her a completely new one. Natasha also made the comment about how at least she didn't change her order again after that.

There was the time that he tried to do something fancy with the foam, but instead just made blob and when Natasha saw it she just gave him a look that said "Don't quit your day job."

And how could he forget the time that Steve took her order, because of course he was taking care of someone else, and made sure to embarrass the shit out of him.

The only good thing was that Natasha was still coming and wasn't scared off. She actually seemed to be warming up because sometimes he doesn't make a complete fool of himself and he can actually say a sentence correctly. They would talk about their favorite brands or the best coffee they have ever had.

The bad thing was that every time they had one of those conversations he could feel himself falling for her more and more.

 

"Large cinnamon latte." This time Natasha snuck up on him and Bucky couldn't help but to jump a bit when he heard her voice, which of course made her laugh. If only he could make her laugh without doing something ridiculous. "I know, I'm really scary."

When he turned around to hand her the drink he smiled a bit. "Trust me, compared to some of the people that come in you're far from scary." That was a well delivered line for once and even Steve was impressed.

Too bad that got no reaction out of her and she just gave a short nod as goodbye before taking her cup and leaving.

 

"Bucky, seriously, I know you really want to get her number and I know you really like her, but I don't think this is going anywhere. I mean, you wear a name tag and she doesn't even say your name. Maybe it's time you just move on." Steve told him one day as they were closing down.

That made Bucky feel almost angry even though he knew that Steve was looking out for him and wanted the best for him. "I'm not giving up on her, Steve." Which was all that he said, because if he said anymore than he would realize how much Bucky liked Natasha.

 

It had been a few days after Steve and Bucky had their talk about giving up on Natasha, which Steve had come to realize was not going to happen any time soon. Bucky was determined to make this the day, the real day, he was not going to screw up anything.

Only when Natasha had come to the counter and she had given him her order, he still hadn't reacted. No way was he going to start a conversation about something so bland like the weather, but what else was there to say? Bucky was cracking under pressure.

"So," he finally starts off, "come here often?"

It wasn't what he was looking for, but he really didn't know what else to say and besides it was pretty funny and maybe it would work.

Natasha starts to grin and finally she's grabbing a napkin and pen as Bucky's making her coffee (can you believe she hadn't had plain black coffee yet?), so when he comes back she hands him her number. "Call me sometime."