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Keeping Score

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This weekend your sister having her engagement party and you couldn’t be happier for her. There was no one you were happier for. She found love and all that great, beautiful, wonderful, stupid bullshit. Great. Good for her. In all seriousness, you were actually very happy for her, but this just meant you had to sit through an entire weekend of your family asking why you’re still single and if you thought you would ever find someone who would want to marry you.

You decided there was no way in hell you were going alone. Even if you had to beg and plead. Or pay someone. At this point, you weren’t above paying a stranger to pretend to be your boyfriend. But first, you were going to beg your best friend until he felt so guilty he had to take you.

“Please, Steve. Please!” You sat up on the couch your knees sinking into the cushions as you grabbed his arms to keep him from walking away. “You don’t understand how awful it is. The constant questions and the judgment.”

Steve smiled down at you. “I would go if I could. I can’t. I’ve got that meeting with the gallery in SoHo. I can’t miss it. You know I can’t.”

Ugh. That’s right.

The slam from Bucky’s bedroom door made you look up in time to see his fists clenched at his side and hear a soft groan fall from his lips. You had no idea what you ever did to piss off Steve’s roommate but for whatever reason, he can’t stand you. It’s not like he’s great anyway. Just a big, cranky brooding jerk who brings home, countless women and isn’t attractive at all.  He’s absolutely an unattractive jerk with beautiful blue eyes.

You tear your eyes from Bucky and look back at Steve. “I guess I can call one of those escort things.”

Steve’s eyes go wide. “Uh, Y/n. No. You’re not allowed to pay some stranger to go on a date with you.”

Bucky comes around the corner with a freshly opened beer, grinning at you. “What? Can’t get a date on your own? You gotta trick them with cash?”  

“For your information,” You narrow your eyes at him as you sit back down in a huff. “I have to go to my sister’s engagement party this weekend. I need someone who can pretend to be my boyfriend. Not some random hook up. I’ve never had a problem in that department thank you very much.”

He cleared his throat and rolled his eyes.

You turned your attention back to Steve. “Look, I’ll give you $50 if you come with me to my family’s barbeque tomorrow so they’ll stop asking me when I’ll get a boyfriend.”

“Woah, Woah!” Bucky jumped up and walked over to where you were sitting. “If you’re paying someone I’ll go.” Steve quirked his brow at his roommate and Bucky shrugged. “Need the cash, Stevie. Not all of us are famous artists, okay?”

“You want to pretend to be my boyfriend?” You asked in disbelief. “You can’t even stand to be in the same room as me and you want to pretend that you’re madly in love with me?”

Steve laughed and patted him on the shoulder, grinning at the brunette. “Bucky is a great actor. After this weekend you might even think he is actually in love with you.”

He yanked his shoulder away from Steve, grumbling, “Freaking punk. Wait…” His head snapped back to you. “The whole weekend? You said barbeque!”

You smiled sweetly. “Well the barbeque is for my sister’s engagement but we would have to go the whole weekend. It’s in Bar Harbor. In Maine. It’s like a nine-hour drive from Brooklyn so we would have to leave Friday morning and do the whole weekend with my family.”

“Fine, but I want a hundred and fifty. Fifty bucks a day.”

“What?!” You screech.

“Hey!” He points his finger at you. “I have to pretend to be in love with you for three days.”

“Two days.” You counter. “Friday is all driving and Sunday we are leaving after lunch.”

Bucky groaned. “Okay. A hundred bucks plus unlimited road trip snacks and you got a deal.”

“Fine.” You shake his outstretched hand. “Deal. “  


Your feet were resting on the dash of Bucky’s car, tapping along to the song drifting through the speakers. “So,” You say as you bite off a piece of a gummy worm. “How did we meet?”

Bucky glanced over at you over his sunglasses, there was a flash of something in his eyes you couldn’t quite place and he quickly looked back at the road before you could figure out what it was. “I don’t know. Why don’t you just tell me what to say and I’ll say it and can you get your freakin’ feet off the dash?”

“Are you always grumpy or is it just around me?” You ask, sliding your feet off the dash and sitting up straight. “How about we met through Steve because that’s not a total lie and we’ve been dating for just a few months. We were friends first, then you asked me out and took me to Per Se. The night ended with a carriage ride around Central Park. We’ve been hooked at the hip ever since.”

He grimaced and shook his head. “No. Absolutely not. That’s not our story.”

“What? What the hell do you mean that’s not our story.”

“No one is going to believe that.”

“And, why is that?”

Bucky looked over at you. “Because I’m a struggling writer for one. I don’t have the cash to take to you to Per Se and there is no fuckin’ way I’m taking you to Per Se even if I had the cash. It’s not your taste.”

You cross your arms over your chest, pouting. “You don’t know anything about my taste James Barnes.”

He rolled his eyes but kept his eyes on the road. “Our first date was at Cacao Park in Red Hook. We did the chocolate and whiskey tour. Because you have an unusual obsession with chocolate, like an unhealthy love for it and I’m never gonna pass up whiskey. After that, we grabbed dinner at Table 87 because their pizza is fuckin’ amazing. Then we walked along the Heights Promenade till dark and then I took you home on the back of my bike because even though you say it scares you, you like how it feels when you have to wrap your arms around me and hold on real tight.”

For someone who acted like he hated you, he sure knew how to get your heart fluttering. You weren’t sure you could plan a date for yourself and it be that perfect. He hit everything. Although you’re not sure you agree with the whole bike thing. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if you could hold onto him though. Maybe. You blinked a few times before turning to look at him. “You just planned that all now? How the hell did you plan that so fast and what makes you think I would like all that anyway?”

His sunglasses were back over his eyes and he was doing everything he could to keep you from seeing his face while still keeping his eyes on the road. Even with all that you could tell he was nervous about something.

“You pretend to like all that fancy shit.” He said finally. “For your friends and your parents, but I know that’s not you. You want something simple. Someone who is gonna give you attention, affection. Little touches. You want someone’s time. You want to be able to relax and laugh with them. Price tag doesn’t matter.”

You sit back in your seat and look out the window at a lost for words. You have no idea what just happened but you don’t hate it.

“Okay.” You whisper just barely above the music. “That can be our story.”



When you pulled up to your parent’s place you could have sworn Bucky was nervous. He kept fidgeting with the dark blue button-up shirt you picked out for him and he must have pulled his hair in and out of bun at least ten times. He finally ended up leaving it down and tucked behind his ears like you had suggested, to begin with. At one point, you even heard him grumble, They aren’t gonna like me. I look like an accountant!

Of course, your sister’s fiance was an accountant. You tried to calmly point that out to Bucky but that only seemed to stress him out more because he was ‘just a broke writer.’ You couldn’t really get why he was nervous. It’s not like any of this was real. At the end of the weekend if your entire family hated him it wouldn’t make a difference.

All of this was one big facade and he would be back to hating you by Monday morning. You were about to point that fact out to him when your parents came rushing out of the house tackling you in a huge hug. You laughed and made yourself as small as you could to fit in the middle of their double bear hug, catching a glimpse of Bucky fondly watching the display before him.

You managed to wiggle your way out of your parents hold and reach for Bucky’s hand who immediately takes it and brings it up to place a kiss to your knuckles.

Real smooth. He was a real charmer.

“Mom. Dad.” You smile at them and look back at Bucky, crinkling your nose affectionately at him. “This is James Barnes. My… boyfriend.” Man, was that weird to say.

Your dad steps forward and holds out his eyes, playfully eyeing him. “James, huh?”

“Just Bucky sir. No one but my ma calls me James.” He shook his hand and kissed your mother’s hand.

“Bucky, huh? That’s an unusual name.” Your mother was starting already. Here we go. “When did the two of you meet?”

“Mom!” You snapped as gently as you could. “Can we get inside and put our bags down before you start to interrogate him please?”

Bucky chuckled and pressed a kiss to your temple. “It’s alright, doll. How about I grab our bags and then you can spend the rest of the night questioning me?” He grinned at your mother.

“Oh, I like him already sweetheart.” She winked at Bucky and waved for him to follow her. “Come on. I’ll show you where the two of you are gonna be sleeping.” He gave your hand a light squeeze before letting go to grab your bags following your mom into the house.

“So, Bucky huh?” You glanced up at your dad and smile, wrapping your arm around his waist. “Don’t be too hard on him. Let’s not scare him off before Aunt Lydia gets a hold of him okay? I kind of want to see him try to dodge her kisses.”

He stuck out his tongue as his arm lands around your shoulders, guiding you into the house. “Always on the mouth with that one. I swear. Well, if he can survive those he’s the one baby. Don’t let him go.”

The entire dinner went off without a hitch. Of course, it was just the pre-game. The opener before the front-runner goes on. The big event was tomorrow.  Tonight he only had to impress your parents and your sister. That would be nothing compared to the number of judgmental jerks he had to win over and convince tomorrow. It shouldn’t be too hard though. Bucky was great at pretending he didn’t actually hate you every other day of the year. He even managed to convince your mother that he was hopelessly in love with you.

“A whiskey and chocolate tour?” She wrinkled her nose. “Don’t they have hundreds of nice restaurants in New York.”

You opened your mouth to tell her how rude that was. You loved your first date and she could shut the hell up! Well, it wasn’t actually your first date but you loved that idea for a first date. Before you could tell her to quit being a prude Bucky just laughed and gently pulled you into his side tucking you under his arm.

“There are lots of good places, but they are all the same. Nothing unique about ‘em. And Y/n is anything but ordinary so I wasn’t about to take her on some ordinary date she’s been on a thousand times.” He looked at you, smiling fondly. The warmth and softness in his eyes had your heart racing. Has he always looked at you like that?

Nope, it’s all fake. It’s just fake. Fake. Fake. Fake.

You were so wrapped up in the way he was looking at you that you didn’t even hear your parents telling you they were heading up to bed. You only noticed because your dad flicked the lights off in the living room leaving you alone in the dark.

“Save it for the bedroom kids.” Your father snarked on his way towards their bedroom.

Bucky chuckled and stood up, holding his hand out for yours. “Come on, doll. We should probably get some sleep too. Tomorrow is the big day.” His fingers laced with yours and he tugged you along towards your bedroom upstairs and you could have sworn he blushed when you took his hand.

Fake! Fake! Fake!

The door to your bedroom closes behind you and you both relaxed, letting go of the tension from having to put on a front for everyone. Bucky slowly let go of your hand and kicked his shoes off before he began digging through his suitcase. He pulled his sweats out of the bag and tossed them on the queen bed in the middle of the room.

Did he actually think you were sleeping together? He was sadly mistaken.

“Uh, what do you think you’re doing?” You ask, gesturing towards his sweats.

“Gettin’ ready for bed. What does it look like I’m doing?”

“You can’t sleep in here. There is only one bed.”

Bucky unbuttoned the last button on the shirt that you had forced him to wear this morning in an attempt to please your parents. It was the very same shirt he later panicked about and your mother had complimented him on. He let his shirt hang open as he slowly sauntered towards you. You couldn’t help but stare at his naked chest peeking out from the opening in his shirt.

He curled his finger under your chin and titled your head pulling your eyes from his chest. He licked his lips and smirked at the want in your eyes. “Okay, darlin’. You go downstairs and ask your mom if there is another room for the boyfriend you’re so madly in love with.”

You stomped your feet and groaned, “Fine. Fine.”

He grinned and gently brushed his knuckles down your arm. “Come on, doll. It won’t be so bad.” So he could be sweet under all that cocky bravado.

“As long as you don’t snore like a freight train.” And he was back.

“You’re such a jerk.” You grumbled as you push him away from you, slipping your sweatshirt on over your t-shirt. There was no way you were getting naked in front of him. You narrowed your eyes as he watched you and motioned for him to turn around. He rolled his eyes and turned around while you did the same. You both got dressed in silence with your back turned towards each other.

“Did you ever stop to wonder that maybe that’s why you don’t have a girlfriend? Maybe if you were nicer you wouldn’t have just had a whole weekend free to pretend to be someone’s boyfriend. You could actually be the boyfriend.”

“I’ve got plenty of women to spend my nights with. Ever think maybe I don’t want more than that?” He asked as he climbed into bed and pulled the blanket down for her to get in.

The thought of Bucky spending his nights with a horde of different women sent a stab of jealousy into your chest and you didn’t like that one bit. You shouldn’t be jealous if he was sleeping with every woman in Brooklyn! He’s not yours and you don’t even like him! He’s rude and selfish and dumb and handsome and sweet and somehow he’s the absolute softest every time he looks at you.

“You gonna come to bed or just stare at me?” He just had to go and run it every chance he got.

Your eyes narrowed at him as you laid down on the bed in your childhood bedroom, staying as close to the edge as you could without falling off or touching him. “You’re taking up too much of the bed… “ You grumbled as he pulled the blanket up to your neck hiding your chest.

Bucky sighed and shoved you just a tad with his hip. “I’m all the way at the edge. How much further do you want me to go?”

You nudged him his your foot and smiled. “Do you really want me to answer that?”

He wiggled over and bumped you with his hip nearly making you fall off the bed. “Hey!” You snapped in a harsh whisper.

“This is ridiculous. C‘mere.” He reached over and pulled you against him so your arms were smashed up against each other. “It’s two nights. Just pretend the sight of me doesn’t make you sick so we can sleep, okay?” The pained tone in his voice made your heartache. Did he really think the sight of him made you sick?

“You don’t make me sick Buck…”

There was a long stretch of quiet before you heard a soft, “I meant what I said to your mom tonight. You’re anything but ordinary, Y/n.”

There was soft laughter and the buzz of eager chatter coming through the thin walls of your parents home as you began to stir. The air around you was thick and you were hot for some reason. It wasn’t this hot when you went to bed. You stretched as the smell of coffee slipped through the crack under the door and you sighed contently.

It was nice to be at home. You only manage to go home once or twice a year so it wasn’t so bad waking up to your dad’s loud booming laugh every now and then. You rolled over to bury your face in your pillow but it wasn’t your pillow. Two large arms wrap around you and tighten their hold as Bucky buried his face in your hair. Your entire body stiffened as his hands settled on your lower back.  This is why you didn’t want to sleep in the same bed! His-his hands!

You slowly rolled to your side not even bothering to fight the smile tugging at your lips. Bucky’s dark locks were laying over his face, his scruff had grown in just a touch more and you caught little strands of grey standing out among the dark brown. He looked so peaceful it was almost too painful to wake him up. You shifted towards him and his arms tightened around you again.

“Buck…” You whispered, brushing his hair out of his face and tucking it behind his ear. His nose wrinkled as the strands tickled him making you bite back a giggle.

“Hey. It’s morning Bucky.” You tried a bit louder. “It’s time to get up.” Your foot wrapped around his leg as you nudged him gently.

He slowly stirred and rolled onto his back, his hand rubbing down his face. “I never thought you would want this…” He mumbled sleepily. “Thought you always… With Stevie.”

What in the world was he talking about? You placed your hand on his jaw making him look at you. “Are you awake yet? I have no idea what you’re mumbling about but we have to go down and see my parents. The party is today.”

The hand on your waist suddenly tensed and was quickly pulled off you. He opened his eyes to find you laying nearly on top of him and he scrambled out of bed, pulling his arm out from under your head. He was up and out of bed so fast his legs were still tangled in the sheets and it had him hopping towards the bedroom door as he tried to get himself untangled.

“I- I um, I’m sorry about that. I was asleep and I sleep like a damn octopus. I didn’t know what I was doing or sayin’…”

You did your best to hide the hurt on your face. Jesus, he hated you that much that waking up with you made him fly to the other side of the room in disgust?

“O-oh. Okay.”

What else should you say? Sorry that I completely gross you out and I’m sorry you are stuck spending the rest of the day pretending to be hopelessly in love with me when you are clearly repulsed by me? You just sit in silence as you watch him gather up his clothes and scurry into the bathroom.

He couldn’t get away from you fast enough.

When Bucky met you at the top of the stairs he was back to his cool and collected self. He was showered, his hair was slicked back and he was wearing his leather jacket over one of the several button up shirts you bought for him to wear this weekend. That little bit of time away from you clearly did him well.

His eyes fell onto the light blue knee-length wrap dress you had on and it looked like he had the wind knocked out of him. “Damn. You look beautiful, doll.”

You wanted to be mad at him, upset that he needed to be away from you badly he ran from the room but it was hard to be mad when he was looking at you like that. Your shaking hands smooth over your dress. “Oh, um. Thank you.” You glanced around you. “There is no one around. You don’t have to pretend right now.”

“Game face on, doll. And just so you know, I wasn’t pretending.” He whispered into your ear as you reach the end of the stairs. Despite the ache in your chest from earlier you didn’t have to force your smile. He smiled back and was that blush on his cheeks?

No, no. No, it’s just hot in here. Really, really hot in here.

“There are the love birds.” Your mother sang happily as the two of you entered the kitchen, handing you both a cup of coffee. “You would think we were all here for your wedding, not your sisters.” You choked on your coffee and looked up at your mother, eyes wide and panicked. “Mom! You can’t just say that…”

Bucky chuckled and pressed a kissed to your temple. “Not like I haven’t thought about being married to you doll.” He whispered so softly it was clearly meant for your ears only but you knew your mother heard it. “I guess I’ll see what the men are doing out back? See you in a little bit, sugar.” He winked at you and headed out back, leaving you completely stunned.

Why on earth would he say that if he had only intended on you hearing it? Or maybe he knew your mom could hear it. Yeah, that had to be it. He wanted it to seem like a sweet moment between a happy couple. It was part of the facade for your family.

Completely and utterly fake.

“The way he looks at you baby… It’s only a matter of time before it’s your turn.” Your head snapped back to look at your mother.

‘What? No. No.” You stuttered helplessly trying to find a reason to deny what she was saying. There would be no wedding and in a few weeks, she was going to have to say they broke up. There would never be a wedding. Not with him at least.

“He doesn’t look at me like that. It’s not like that. He just doesn’t - I’m not.” You mother raised her brow and you sighed in defeat. “I mean, like that right now. We are not ready. I think that step is a long time away.”

“Maybe you’re not ready but he’s ready. You can see how much he loves you every time he looks at you sweetheart. You can’t force that kind of affection.”

You turn your head to find Bucky already watching you from outside, laughing at what you are certain is the lamest joke ever judging by the way your father is doubled over laughing. His smile widened when your eyes locked and your heart began to race. You didn’t like it. That’s not entirely true. You did like it. You’ve always liked the way your heart raced around him. Even when he was avoiding you.

After tomorrow night though everything would be back to normal. He would go back to hating you and sleeping with half of Brooklyn.

Only now, the thought makes you ache in a way you’ve never felt before.

“It’s not funny! Mom said it in front of him! We had been awake maybe twenty minutes and she’s picking out wedding venues. Stop laughing!” You scold your sister as you both break down in a fit of laughter.

“Can you blame her? You never bring a man home and then you bring him home? He’s gorgeous, sweet, laughs at dads dumb jokes and he looks at you like you hung the freaking moon. Seriously. There are like sixty people in our backyard right now and you’re all that boy sees.”

You rolled your eyes. If only she knew the truth. He was just good at playing this little game. In reality, he didn’t want to be anywhere near you.

“What’s so funny doll?” Bucky asked as you feel a warm large hand slip around your waist and pull you into him. Your sister glanced down at his arm and then back at you with a smirk on her face.

“I better go make some rounds.” She grinned at the two of you and wandered off into the crowd leaving the two of you alone. Bucky gave your side a gentle squeeze and smiled at him.“So? You gonna tell me what’s so funny?”

It’s fake. It’s fake. It’s fake. FAKE!

“Oh, nothing my mom was just saying that she thought we were next to get married. That the way you look at me there is no way it couldn’t be real.” You chuckled nervously.  “If only she knew how much you actually hate me.”

Bucky tensed next to you and his hand slowly fell from your side.  “I don’t hate you. I’ve never… you know what. Just forget it.”

“Wait…” Your eyes scan over him. His jaw was clenched, his hands balled into fists at this side and you have never seen that scowl on his face before. “Are you - Are you mad at me?”

“I said forget it, Y/n. Just spend some time with your family. I need a minute.” He pushed his way through the huge crowd of your family but there was no way you could miss him. His hair was tossed up in a small bun at the base of his neck and he was taller than almost everyone around him. You waited a few minutes before you followed after him, assuming he went up to hide in your bedroom. 

You closed the door behind you and leaned back against it, watching him for a moment. He didn’t look any calmer. He looked pissed and you didn’t understand what he had to be so mad about. It’s not like you haven’t known how he felt about you. It was bad enough you were in love with him and he hated you. Did he have to make it so damn difficult?

“I don’t get why you are mad at me.” You murmured softly. “You can barely stand to be in a room with me. You complain every time I come over to see Steve. You actually groan when you come out of your room and see me sitting on the couch. Groan Bucky. I hear you. It’s not like you even want to get married. I’ve seen how many women you bring home.”

He turned around but he didn’t look as mad anymore. Under all the anger there was a tiny bit of hurt in his eyes. “Did you ever stop to wonder why that was Y/n?” He shouted. “Did you ever stop to ask yourself why I find it so hard to be around you? Or why I jump from woman to woman to woman? Ever wonder why the hell they all look like you?”

“I.. I don’t understand.”

‘Christ…”He muttered angrily.

“You being a manwhore is somehow my fault?” You snapped. “And in all that I didn’t hear you denying the fact.”

“I’m in love with you!” He shouted back.

The angry confession brought their fighting to a quiet end as they both stared at each other. Bucky looked pained, exhausted from the confession and a little scared. You weren’t sure what he was scared of, his confession or your reaction.

“What did you just say to me?”

He slowly made his way across the room meeting you in the middle. “I’m in love with you.” He breathed. “I get upset when you come over because it kills me not to be able to touch you how I want. I hate watching you cuddle up to Steve during your little movie nights. It makes me want to break his damn jaw.”

“You want to break his jaw just for touching me?” A low growl slipped from his lips, his hands were on your the moment you were in arms reach pulling you against him. “Thought he was your best friend.” You gasped, fighting the grin tugging at your lips.

“Won’t be for much longer he keeps touchin’ you like that.” He grunted.

“No more girls?”

“No more girls.” He promised. “They were a sad stand-in for you. Not one holds a candle to you. You’re the only one I want to spend my nights with, doll. Even when you’re being a pain in the ass.”

You pressed your chest against his and gripped his biceps to help steady yourself now that your knees had gone weak. “So what do we say to everyone? I mean… everything we told them was fake and Steve will know! And - and-” He grinned and cupped the back of your head pulling you closer as you continued on. “And your mom! Our parents are going to talk. They will all know we lied!”

“Good lord.” Bucky groaned. “Just shut up would ya?”

Before you had a chance to start yelling he swooped in and captured your lips, pressing you against him. You sank into him and thankfully he arm was around your waist you would have melted right onto the floor. He nipped at your bottom lip and slowly pulled back, bumping his nose against yours. “It was the first date idea that made you fall in love with me wasn’t it?”

You chuckled and wrapped your arms around his neck, “I loved you way before that Buck. You’ve had me before you even knew you did.“

“Darlin’ you’ve had me since the moment you said my name.” He slowly pulled you back towards him, till your lips were barely touching and whispered, “Okay. This can be our story.”