The dinner was a disaster. Steve didn't know what he'd expected, exactly, when Bucky had asked him out on a date earlier that week, but this was not it. The night had started out just fine. Steve had spent only about two hours on his clothes before settling for a button down shirt and skinny jeans. Even his hair had taken only half an hour, which was about an hour or so quicker than his usual date-night-hairstyling-session. After getting ready with an hour to spare, Steve had even put something on Netflix instead of sitting around worrying while Bucky arrived. Everything had been going great. Until Bucky arrived.
He came on time, had even brought a single plastic cornflower, remembering not only Steve's favourite flower but also his unfortunate allergies.
Bucky wasn't exactly the problem. Except that he was. As soon as Steve has opened the door to reveal Bucky waiting with a gentle smile and flower in hand, Steve knew that the night was going to be a disaster. Because staring at the man in front of him, Steve was struck by how genuine Bucky seemed to be.
The thing was, Steve didn't know how to handle that sincerity. So he'd clamped up, unable to speak properly with the thoughts rushing in his mind.
So they had passed the following hour in silence, accompanied by not-expensive-but-not-cheap food and occasional attempts by Bucky to spark a conversation.
Undoubtedly, it was a disaster, and not just in the confused turmoil of Steve's brain. He knew that he should say something, ask questions, do the regular things that would be a walk in the park at any other date. But the words all felt fake in the presence of Bucky's earnestness. Steve hadn't really expected this much effort and, to be honest, thought that the date would be at some crappy fast food restaurant with vomit coated toilets and greasy chairs. He'd expected to go out, have dinner and be on his way to having another date that ended with the beginnings of a friendship, like so many times before. But this, the clean cut of Bucky's jacket mixed with how carefully styled his hair was, all indicated a want to be more than friends.
So Steve said nothing.
When it was time to pay, the waitress that had been with the pair through the painful journey dropped off their receipt with a pitiful smile.
As Steve reached for his wallet, intending to foot at least his part of the meal, Bucky's hand shot out and stopped him.
"Put that away, Steve," he murmured, flashing his signature soft smile. "It's my treat."
A frown crept onto Steve's face as he leaned back into his seat. "But-"
"Let me handle it this time, yeah? You can pay next time."
Steve opened his mouth but no sound emerged. He watched with a mixture of disbelief and admiration as Bucky slipped the cash into the little brown book. He wanted another date? Not only that but Bucky had managed to win the argument while also simultaneously asking Steve out again. This guy was...something special, for sure.
"Did you wanna go outside?" Bucky asked, leaning forward in a way that felt strangely familiar. It created an air of intimacy around the pair that had been lacking throughout the rest of the dinner.
Steve nodded silently, brain struggling to come to reason with what the man in front of him was saying and doing.
Bucky smiled again and, wow, has Steve's stomach always felt this unsettled or had he just been poisoned? The food had tasted too well for that to be possible.
As the two climbed out of their seats, Steve noticed that Bucky's shirt was really tight. Like, super duper tight. He could make out individual abs, it was that tight. How had Steve not noticed that earlier? How had Bucky not noticed it earlier, maybe when he was putting on his shirt? Should Steve point out this new found fact? Nah, it wasn't worth the effort. Besides, it's not like the tightness looked bad on him. In fact, it sort of hugged his pecs perfectly. It all made Steve want to see how tight the fit was around Bucky's muscular arms. *Damn that jacket,* Steve thought bitterly.
"After you," Bucky gestured to the exit, reminding Steve that they were, in fact, about to leave the restaurant not ogle their dates.
As the two men exited into the cool night street, Steve realised that it was much colder than he'd expected. Of course, he'd forgone a jacket, naively assuming that the weather would be consistent. That showed how much Steve knew of his city.
As a chilling wind blew through the street, Steve desperately tried to suppress a shiver. No way did he want to show Bucky how stupid he was, not after everything the man had done for him.
Bucky, of course, noticed the shiver. It would've been hard to miss considering Steve shook like a loose branch in a storm from the chill.
"You look cold," Bucky commented, concern seeping into his voice. "I've got an extra jumper in my car if you want."
Steve wanted to say no, just on principle, to show he wasn't some weak idiot who needed saving. Luckily for everyone involved, the rational side of Steve's brain answered correctly, even adding a please to the end of the request.
Bucky lead the way to his car, Steve shuffling behind him as he struggled to set what he estimated was an appropriate amount of distance between them. So focused was he on that task that, when they reached the car, Steve overestimated his steps and bumped into Bucky's back.
An embarrassed flush rising to his cheek, Steve mumbled an apology, taking two large steps back and intending to just run away from the humiliating episode. But Bucky just chuckled and opened up the door to his backseat. He leaned into the car, presumably to get the jacket, but Steve didn't feel a need for extra warmth at the moment. Watching Bucky's ass, cradled so perfectly in the jeans, provided enough heat for Steve to survive the cold of the Arctic.
But Bucky was apparently determined to get Steve the jacket, regardless of his stellar heat-providing ass.
He lightly threw the jacket at Steve who, void of the previously mentioned and endorsed ass, was shivering again.
"Thanks," Steve said once the clothing was on him, providing the utmost protection from the cruel winds.
Bucky smiled again and opened his mouth before hastily closing it again. He opened his mouth again, this time letting words exit. "Did you wanna, like, have a walk or something? Just cause we didn't exactly get to talk in there." Bucky pointed to the restaurant, the warm, yellow light pouring from the building and onto the empty streets.
Steve considered his words carefully. On the one hand, it was late and a school night and Steve had a class at 7. On the other hand, Bucky was super cute. Oh, fuck it, Steve wanted to make up for the horrible time they'd both had earlier in the night.
So he smiled up at Bucky. "Sure," he said. "Why not? I kinda wanna make up for not speaking much tonight."
Bucky barked a laugh, apparently not expected that response. "Oh, I'd love for you to do that." With that, he gestured vaguely to the left and they set off, both eager to finally get to know each other.