“Why. Would you agree to something like that.”
“I don’t know,” Jane moaned in reply, her face in her hands. “Probably because I haven't been kissed since 2013.”
Darcy let out a long disbelieving sound. “ No way . Seriously? Then I rescind my judgment. Go blind date it up.”
“That’s another problem,” Jane added, still hiding her face.
“What, you're allergic to fun?”
“I thought you were done judging,” Jane said.
“I totally understand your need for smooches. I totally do not understand your inability to take a night off every once in a while.”
“Science is fun,” Jane returned, emerging from behind her hands.
“Fine, okay, whatever, agree to disagree,” Darcy allowed. “What is the other problem?”
Jane sighed. “It’s why I broke up with Thor,” she explained.
"Because he's super good at makeouts but terrible at all the actual boyfriend stuff?”
“Because he's not my Soulmate,” Jane told her, giving Darcy a look to inform her that she was not amused.
“Oh, that's easy!” Darcy exclaimed.
Jane amped up the look.
“No, really, it is. Just bet him twenty bucks that he can't guess what your Soulmark says.”
“Don’t you use that as a pick up line?” Jane returned incredulously.
Darcy rolled her eyes. “No, the pick up line is ‘can you guess where my Soulmark is.’”
Jane changed the look to one that said she disapproved but didn’t want to say so out loud.
“Yes, my misspent youth,” Darcy agreed. “But really. Bringing up your ‘Mark at the beginning of the date will let him know you're ready to find your Soulmate.”
“While completely scaring him off,” Jane added.
Darcy tilted her head, allowing this as a possibility. “It’s a blind date. That might not be a bad thing.”
Darcy meant to be in the lab first thing the next morning to hear all about Thirsty Thursday, but she ran into Erik on the way there, who excitedly dragged her into his lab and wouldn't let her leave until she helped him rearrange some of the furniture to allow for optimal flow of something something due to the recent shifts in spatial something something science whatever.
Following that charming and slightly unbalanced interlude, coffee was necessary, so when she finally got to Jane’s lab, Jane was already there.
With her face in her hands.
“Okay,” Darcy said, setting the coffee within reach. “Tell me all the things.”
"I did what you said," came the moaned confession from inside Jane's hands. "I was so embarrassed."
"But what did you say ." Darcy pressed.
Jane took a deep breath and emerged. "I walked in, and he was sitting there, and he's really attractive—" Here Darcy hummed encouragement and Jane rolled her eyes before continuing, "—and I was so nervous and felt so stupid that before I sat down I just spilled everything. Like, I told him that I felt ridiculous that I had to be set up on a blind date because I accidentally let a co-worker find out how lonely I am, but that didn't mean he was going to get laid or anything because what I was mostly looking for was a consequence-free cuddle, unless he happened to be my Soulmate, but even then we should take things slow."
Darcy had covered her mouth in shock and secondhand embarrassment, and only managed to utter, "Oh my god," before Jane went on.
"So guess what he said."
"Uh," Darcy removed her hand and tried to think of something that wouldn't hurt Jane's feelings. "'Goodbye, crazy person,' maybe?"
Jane shook her head. "He just smiled," she smiled herself and shook her head, "(He's really good looking,) and he said, 'If you can believe it, I've been waiting for you a hell of a lot longer than you've been waiting for me.'"
"Jane!" Darcy exclaimed, leaping up and running round behind the stool the astrophysicist was perched on. She tugged on the back of the lab coat and Jane's t-shirt, and Jane laughed, shrugging her shoulders so that Darcy could make out the Words between her shoulder blades. "Wait, oh my god, so does that mean that he has all your—"
Jane nodded. "I was sitting here beating myself up over it again when you got here."
"But why didn't you call me last night, or earlier this morning? I would have ditched whatever Feng Shui thing Erik roped me into!"
"I kind of..." Jane blushed. "I just got here myself. He, uh..."
"Spent the night ?!" Darcy gasped scandalously, grinning at her friend. "Jane Esmeralda Foster!"
"That's not my middle name," she laughed, then shook her head. "Don't worry, we just cuddled. He's very gentlemanly, just like everyone says."
"'Everyone says?'" Darcy repeated.
Jane blushed again, and nodded. "Darcy, it's... my Soulmate is Steve Rogers."
"Sorry about my friend," Steve apologized, as he stuck his phone back in his pocket. "Usually he's right on time. I guess there was a thing on the subway, and he'll be a few more minutes."
"Hey, it's fine," Darcy replied, as Steve reached across the table for Jane's hand. "I'm just gonna go... powder my nose."
When she reached the bar, Darcy turned back to see Jane and Steve in their own little bubble, no one in the world but themselves. It was adorable.
And disgusting. The next time she got invited out for drinks with those two, she was going to be the one faking "a thing on the subway."
Not that it was actually that bad sitting with them while they smiled happily at each other, but they were just so... cute. It made her very aware of her singleness, very aware that they were together and she was alone, very aware that the fourth person they were waiting for was "for" her. Nobody had said anything about a double date, but it was so painfully obvious that Darcy had to get away from the aura of happiness surrounding them before she started getting sympathetic looks from other patrons.
After hitting the bathroom and lurking for a convincing amount of time (her nose was fine; no powder necessary), she ventured back out and slid onto a stool at the bar with a decent view of their table. That way she could make her entrance after their fourth arrived (and had been subjected to at least a little of her 'third wheeling Soulmates' pain). Her new spot had the added bonus of being near the door, so she could eye anyone coming in.
A few minutes of watching, Darcy decided that this bar must have some kind of attractiveness requirement: "You must be at least this hot to enter." It made her feel good about herself. She was beginning to hope that Steve and Jane hadn't missed her (and a glance toward their table convinced her they hadn't) when the most breathtaking human she had ever seen stepped in the door.
Darcy had been tempted a couple of times to break out the old tried and true pickup line, but when he walked in, looked around the bar, saw her watching him, and smiled at her, Darcy knew she had to say something.
"Hey there," she began, sounding confident. "Wanna guess what my Soulmark says?" Wait. No, I screwed it up!
He smiled even wider and stepped closer to her, offering her his hand. Looks like it worked anyway, Darcy thought, with a rush of relief.
"I guess I don't have to," he said, the Words thrilling through her.
Darcy fell off the bar stool, and her Soulmate caught her, because her life was apparently a romantic comedy.
"Sam Wilson," he told her.
"Darcy Lewis," she breathed.
"Wanna get outta here?"
She nodded. "My friends—I should—"
"Yeah," he said, nodding toward Jane and Steve, "I think we're fine."
Darcy looked over and saw Jane grinning at her. Steve gave them a wave and a thumbs up, and she turned to see Sam doing the same.
"Wait, so... you were the one we were waiting for?" she asked him.
He turned that smile on her again, and said, "Waiting your whole life for me, huh?"
"I mostly meant tonight, but sure," she replied, and he slipped his hand into hers as they headed for the door.
Jane's chin was propped in her hands when Darcy arrived in the lab the next morning. Her eyes, face, her entire body begged for information.
"So, I hope you had a nice evening," Darcy offered nonchalantly, as she set Jane's coffee in front of her.
"Darcy Jasmine Lewis!" Jane exclaimed, quivering with excitement. "Don't do this to me! Spill!"
Darcy laughed and ignored the fact that that wasn't her middle name. "We went for a walk around the city, and then he walked me home. That's all."
"And?" Jane intoned, dragging the word out longer than necessary.
Darcy smirked. "Let’s just say he knows where my Soulmark is."