“Do you sell those things I saw in the ad in the paper? You know those miniature tea sets?” Asked a frazzled parent with a little girl no older than six, maybe seven, her hand clenched in her mom’s hand.
Bucky blinked, pausing in putting up a large barbie house box on the top shelf of one of the countless rows in the toy department. Gritting his teeth in annoyance, trying, really TRYING to keep his patience intact, the long brown haired man said, “Just a sec, ma’am. Once I get this up here I’ll see if we have any.”
“Well, don’t you know off the top of your head? I have a hair appointment and Sally’s ballet appointment right after that so I kind of need to hurry. Do you or do you not have it?” The woman snapped.
What the actual fuck? Bucky almost felt like telling the woman to get lost, but that would be counterproductive, especially since he didn’t want to piss Steve off yet again for getting himself fired right before the holidays. So, Bucky swallowed his ire and finished getting the big box up and stable on the shelf, pretending not to hear the impatient huffs from the lady, and came back down the ladder. Once back on the ground, he turned to face her and offered a small hopefully nice looking smile before he motioned for her to follow him to one of the receptionist information desks.
After looking through the computer, he again almost lost it when the goddamned lady decided to tap her well manicured nails on the counter while she waited. Briefly he debated taking longer than necessary to find what the woman wanted, but then she’d be in his company longer, and that wasn’t a good idea, especially since he was going to be getting off work in a half hour.
Turning the monitor to where the lady could see it, Bucky asked, “Is this what you are looking for?”
“No, it was pink, definitely not nappy green,” The lady said, getting more perturbed by the minute.
“It comes in several different colors. Here is the pink option, what about now?” Bucky said, hoping the bitch would be satisfied once in for all.
“Oooh that’s pretty, mama, can I have it? Can Santa get me it?” Sally asked her mom, who pointedly ignored her.
“I said this wasn’t the right set,” The woman snapped, getting flushed in the face.
“Lady, you said it wasn’t the right color, so I showed you a different one. So sue me,” Bucky said, trying to lighten his tone with a joking lilt. He always was amazing with charming the ladies.
Apparently not this one.
By the time he clocked out, he was about three seconds from murder, and twenty seconds from calling Stevie to come help him with the disposal of the body. Bucky at least hadn’t spouted off at the lady in front of her little girl.
Ugh, all he wanted to do right now was go home and sleep for a year and shove a fuckton of Steve’s homemade pizza into his stomach, not necessarily in that order. Driving home was a hassle with more people being idiots out there on the road, but that wasn’t anything new. Once home he went straight into his bedroom and flopped down face first, not even bothering to chuck his coat or boots.
Steve found him like that a bit later. “Hey there, Buck. Long ass day?”
“You said it,” Bucky whined. “Could have committed murder so many times, omg. I even had a group of screaming batshit crazy adults get into fist fights in broad daylight in the fucking parking lot. Parking lot! I dunno why I have to work retail during holidays.”
“You say that every year. And that sucks, doll,” Steve said, taking the time to help Bucky turn over and get his coat and boots off. Giving one of his husbands a kiss on the lips, he managed to get the distraught man smiling, so that was a plus. “How about homemade pizza tonight?”
“God, I love you, Stevie,” Bucky said, hugging the blonde haired beauty to him. “How was your day?”
“Ugh, maybe not as bad as yours, but I did get a few people who thought they were experts on woodworking and tried to tell me how to do my job,” Steve admitted with a small scowl.
“Oh that’s the fucking worst,” Bucky said, following his husband into the kitchen where the blonde had lit some cinnamon smelling candles on the table.
“Perks of working at a hardware store. But, one more year, then I can finally have enough money to own my own practice,” Steve said, reminding himself moreso than Bucky.
While Steve fixed dinner, Bucky made homemade apple cider. While the pizzas were in the oven, Tony finally arrived, kissing each of his husbands on the lips before saying point blank, “I fucking hate retail at Christmas. The bank was a disaster! A DISASTER! We had so many people coming in wanting loans, Western Unions, and don’t get me started on the old ladies and gentlemen who want brand new hundred dollar bills for their kids and grandkids. I smell horrid, I just want to go take a hot shower and sleep for nine hundred years. Oooo, you are fixing pizza? God, I love you. Anyways, so you heard about my day, how was yours?” Tony blinked when both his husbands started snickering. “What?”
“Just, glad you are home, that’s all, sweetheart,” Bucky said, hugging the smaller man, feeling like with a family like his, he could find the strength to survive the retail holiday season.
But just barely.
Once the pizza was out on the table, potholders all over since Steve had a penchant for burning his hands on anything, the three men popped a squat and started munching away. Bucky tried hard not to wolf his whole pizza down but it was hard considering how ravenous he was. Working retail always tended to make him hungry for junk food in the worst sort of ways, but also racked up a lot of stress, so the odd mix usually made him not realize his hunger until he was off his shift and at home or on the way home.
It seemed to affect Tony and Steve in similar ways, Steve because he was lifting heavy boxes or stocking most of the day (it was a rare day that the warehouse needed him to run the registers), and Tony because there was no way in Santa’s ass crack that he was going to EVER be caught dead eating while working at the bank. People would be surprised and horrified to know just where their money came from and how dirty it was. Tony had a big tub of hand sanitiser at his Teller station that he went through faster than an Aries teenage girl going through five pints of chocolate ice cream and four bags of potato chips during their period.
Tony ate his pizza at a slower rate, but was no less hungry than Bucky. Steve was about the only one to be in a mostly optimistic mood, and therefore pulled up Netflix on the only TV they had in the living room to watch The Bells of Saint Mary’s.
Bucky wrinkled his nose at the movie choice, but let it go, figuring the three of them probably would fall asleep halfway through. That’s usually what happened every year when Steve insisted on Christmas movies. The Bells of Saint Mary’s might not necessarily be an actual Christmas movie, but Steve insisted on watching it because it had a happy ending, there was humor, and it was an older black and white movie. Plus, there was Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman in it, and Steve was all about old time singers and actors and actresses.
Tony and Bucky didn’t mind Christmas movies either, but their ideas of good classics were more along the lines of Christmas Story, Garfield’s Christmas, Muppet Christmas, Claymation’s Christmas, and more modern time stories. So they often switched off. If Steve watched an old movie, like the original Christmas Carol, or It’s a Wonderful Life, then Bucky or Tony would choose something else the following day. Bucky had already had them all watch The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Tony had already had them watch Frozen (just for the sake of Olaf and Sven because reasons).
However, Christmas music in general, was banned from the house completely until AFTER Christmas. There were three important reasons as to why that rule was enforced: 1) Hearing Christmas Carols of the same variety, sung by the same people all day every day at their places of work was like jamming pikes into their eardrums 2) Hearing the same songs whenever they went on break or grocery shopping, or ANYWHERE else for ANY kind of shopping or going out to eat was just as annoying and 3) Bucky was about ready to throw the next stereo system out the window if he had to listen to one more version of Last Christmas.
He was just a bit sensitive when it came to that particular song, since his last boyfriend before he met and fell in love with Steve and Tony broke up with him while that song was playing in the middle of Walmart of all places.
So the three just stomached the Christmas movies and that was about as far as it went. Steve, Tony, and Bucky did decorate for Christmas - that part was fun because it was in their home and it was a tradition. Tony dealt with the lights outside because he was an absolute genius when it came to making their house look like a gingerbread house. Bucky dealt with the Christmas Tree (they had a fake one due to Steve’s allergies), and made it look even more beautiful each passing year. And Steve dealt with the rest of the house with the help of the others if they had time. Steve did kind of go overboard with garland, mistletoe, Christmas candles, plushies, and artsy winter framed paintings.
Finishing up his pizza, Bucky blinked down at the huge empty pan in front of him in surprise - though he really shouldn’t have been, for Steve’s pizza was that good, and sighed. So much for hoping for leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. Steve snorted and patted his husband on the back. “Don’t worry Buck, I made an extra pizza for all of us to have for our lunches tomorrow.”
“Bless you, Stevie,” Bucky mumbled before leaning over for a kiss.
Steve returned it and then got pulled in for another grateful kiss from Tony, who still had a few slices of his mushroom, olive, sausage, and pepperoni pizza left on his plate. Steve, like Bucky, had wolfed down his pizza, so he was pleasantly full and drinking some pepsi as well as a mug of Bucky's homemade cider, because soda, cider, and pizza went hand in hand and was a beautiful thing. Once Tony was done with his pizza, he got up and helped Bucky do the dishes since Steve had cooked. Steve got out big tubs of Mint Chip Ice Cream and Rocky Road for their desserts.
Bucky blinked a bit at the ice cream once he was done turning on the dishwasher and asked Steve quietly, “Can we have popcorn, too?”
“Oh God, please yes,” Tony moaned, mouth watering at the thought of movie theatre drenched popcorn.
Steve snorted and nodded. “Yea, it’s fine. If you don’t mind making it?”
“Will do,” Tony offered, knowing full well that Bucky was a bit challenged when it came to microwaves and popcorn of any sort. Bucky breathed out a sigh of relief and helped take the bowls of icecream over to the oversized sofa they had, setting everything down on the coffee table while Steve did the same with their glasses of sodas, mugs of cider, and extra bottles. Tony joined them not much later, arms laden down with three large bowls of popcorn and all three settled in with blankets and their desserts to resume watching The Bells of Saint Mary’s.
By the time the credits of the movie started rolling across the screen, both Bucky and Tony were passed out, snoring away while Steve was scrolling down his phone to scowl at a text he just got from a coworker who was calling in sick for tomorrow. The only consolation he had was the fact that the man had contacted him tonight instead of waiting until morning. It still sucked, because now that meant he would have to cover a double shift instead of just an eight hour day shift. He’d been looking forward to getting off at five pm the next day. It was going to be one long ass day instead.
With a soft sigh, Steve turned off the TV and looked down at the two wonderful husbands of his who were curled up next to him, zonked out. His eyes softened. At least the extra work would give him a little extra for Christmas shopping. He had most of it done, just needed to buy a few things for stocking stuffers. He knew for a fact Bucky hadn’t even started, and Tony was already finished, had been for months (thanks to his friends Rhodey and Pepper for making him get it all done early to help with his stress levels).
Briefly debating whether or not to wake his two husbands or just leave them both there on the couch to sleep (the couch was amazingly comfortable), Steve decided on the former and gently shook them awake. Besides, he had to tell them about the extra shift.
“You know, you could always say you can’t do it, that you have plans,” Tony said grumpily, but softened when Steve pouted.
“Yea, it kind of makes them able to take more advantage of you if you keep saying yes. Sometimes it’s good to say no once in a while,” Bucky advised, hugging his blonde husband from behind and frog walked with him and Tony to the kitchen to clean up the rest of their dishes.
“I know, it’s just this time of year makes things more desperate for people. I don’t want to be the jackass that says no just because it’s inconvenient, you know?” Steve admitted later, once all three had gotten into bed, teeth brushed, and sleep boxers on.
Tony rumbled softly and snuggled in to Steve’s embrace, being the small spoon of the trio. “I get that, but this guy does this every friggin’ year at this time. It’s like he’s paranoid to ask for the time off.”
“Well, retail,” Bucky said, of which explained everything.
“Retail,” Steve confirmed tiredly.
They would just have to deal the best they could for now.