Bucky groaned as he woke up and immediately got a headache from the sun coming through his bedroom window. He rubbed a hand over his face and really started to regret going out with Sam last night. He finally stumbled out of bed in search of a glass of water, pouring one for the friend on his couch, too.
He nudged Sam awake and handed him a glass, and they both sat and slowly sipped their waters.
Sam spoke first, “Hey, man, you might want to check your laptop. Not sure why.”
Bucky just grabbed his laptop and turned it on, wincing at the bright screen and lowering the brightness as far as he could. There were two open tabs, one open on a Craigslist ad. As Bucky looked closer, he realised with a sinking feeling that he was the one who posted it.
“Wanted: A Date to My Sister’s Wedding,” it read. “My family thinks I have a boyfriend, so I really need to show up to the wedding with a date. I’ll pay for food and a hotel I just REALLY need a date.” Bucky stopped reading for a second to try and remember writing this. He did have a very blurry memory of complaining to Sam that he couldn’t possibly show up to Becca’s wedding without a date.
“REQUIREMENTS:” the ad continued, “ I need a hero! You’ve gotta be strong, you’ve gotta be fast, and you’ve gotta be fresh from the fight. I need a hero!! You’ve gotta be sure, and it's gotta be soon (the wedding is in two weeks!!) and you’ve gotta be larger than life.”
Bucky wanted to go back in time and punch himself for ever writing this ad. Really? The lyrics to “Holding Out For a Hero”? He must have heard the song and thought it was a good idea. Sam was reading over his shoulder, laughing.
“You already have a few responses!” Sam said, and Bucky clicked over to the blinking notification on the other tab.
Predictably, most of the responses were from men who Bucky really did not want to take to meet his mom, but there was one that stood out to him. It was from some guy called Steve, who actually took the time to write out a really polite email.
Steve seemed nice, and after Bucky read through it he read it aloud to Sam.
“ Dear Bucky ,” he started, “can you believe that? ‘Dear Bucky?’ Okay, sorry. Dear Bucky, I understand where you’re coming from; my parents have been trying to get me to go out with someone for years. I believe I fill all of your requirements, though I’m not sure if I qualify as a ‘hero.’ I’m pretty tall (6’0) and have been in my fair share of fights. I can be pretty confident, too. Parents love me. I’m free the weekend of the wedding, and I definitely wouldn’t object to a free trip. I’ve attached a photo of myself along with my phone number, just to prove I’m a real person, I guess. Anyway, please let me know. Sincerely, Steve .”
Sam had to admit that Steve sounded like an okay guy as Bucky clicked open the attached image. While he was half expecting something inappropriate, the picture opened to show one of the most attractive men Bucky had seen in his life.
The picture was a surprisingly high quality image of a brightly smiling man with blonde hair, a short beard, and light blue eyes. He was scruffy in a very on purpose way, and Bucky was already half in love. “He’s perfect,” he said.
“Really?” Sam asked. “Yeah, he’s attractive, but you don’t think you should make sure you’re not being catfished?”
“Good point,” Bucky said. “I’m gonna email him back and see if he wants to go to Starbucks or something with me. Calm down, I’ll make sure to mention I’m bringing you along,” he said when Sam started to protest.
Sam reluctantly agreed, and Steve agreed to meet the next day at Bucky’s favorite Starbucks.
To: Sam 11:43 AM
HELP i have a Problem
To: Buck 11:44 AM
What?? Are you okay???
To: Sam 11:46 AM
I can’t decide what to wear to meet steve :(
To: Buck 11:53 AM
Really. That’s your emergency. I was WORRIED
To: Sam 11:55 AM
Well good you should be this is important :(
Should i wear that plaid or the plain blue
To: Buck 11:56 AM
And hurry up you’ve got like 15 minutes to get there
To: Sam 11:57 AM
Yeah yeah im coming
Bucky glanced at the mirror as he left and had to admit that Sam had good taste. Bucky looks good in a dark green and gray plaid button-up, with just enough of a beard to make it a Look.
He walked into the Starbucks about two minutes before the time they had agreed to meet and was surprised to see that not only was Steve real, but he was already there. Bucky hadn’t included a picture in his ad, so Steve didn’t know who he was until it was clear Bucky was walking towards him. Sam wasn’t there yet, but Bucky figured they were in a public enough place that he could at least say hello.
Steve stood up as Bucky got closer and, god, Bucky had thought his picture was attractive. It must have been a pretty recent picture, because Steve had the same beard and hair, and today he was wearing a loose-fitting gray t-shirt that didn’t quite manage to hide how good he looked. Somehow, he was even prettier in real life.
Steve smiled and held out his hand. Bucky shook it, smiling back. They stood there for a second, only realising they were still clasping each others’ hands when Sam showed up. They both stepped back a little, startled, and Bucky introduced Sam to Steve before they all sat down.
They made some polite small talk, taking a break at one point to go order something to drink.
“So, Steve, what do you do?” Sam asked, looking serious. Bucky barely stopped himself from rolling his eyes.
“Oh, I own a specialty bookstore a few blocks from here,” Steve said.
“That’s so cool,” Bucky said dreamily.
Sam was less convinced. “Okay, what I really want to know is why you responded to Bucky’s ad.”
Steve looked a little embarrassed. “I’m not really sure. It just seemed like a good idea? The ad made me laugh and I thought, what do I have to lose, right? And if it was a joke or you found someone else, no harm done to me. And, you know, not to be annoying, but I thought I fit the requirements, at least mostly. Plus I thought it might be fun. I like weddings, and I won’t argue with a free trip. So, uh, yeah,” he ended when he realised he had started to ramble.
Bucky was absolutely charmed. Sam had been subtly interrogating Steve since they sat down, but that was the first time he asked such a direct question. Steve handled the questions very well, telling Sam whatever he wanted to know. Sam begrudgingly and privately thought that he liked Steve too.
“Do you have any questions for me or Bucky?” Sam asked, like he was Bucky’s mom or something.
“Yeah, so, Bucky, what made you put up the ad?” Steve asked, turning those blue eyes on Bucky.
Bucky blushed and rubbed a hand over the back of his neck. “I, uh, I was kinda drunk when I posted that,” he said. “Me and Sam found it yesterday morning. I must have heard the song and thought it was a good idea.”
Steve smiled. “I hope it works out well for you,” he said.
Sam rolled his eyes and elbowed Bucky. He was pretty sure it meant that Sam liked Steve well enough to let Bucky take Steve with him.
“If you still want to go, the wedding is next Saturday. My sister’s name is Becca,” Bucky said before trailing off.
“You guys will have to stay in a hotel Friday and Saturday night,” Sam said, picking up what Bucky was saying when it was clear he wasn’t going to finish. “Don’t worry, Bucky’s family isn’t too conservative, so you guys will be fine. His mom will probably love you.”
“Sounds good,” Steve said, still looking at Bucky.
Sam sighed. Maybe these idiots would be good for each other. One could only hope.