Buck sighed as he pushed up the sleeves of his black button-down shirt. He had been totally stressed all night, which was probably one of many reasons why the date hadn’t gone well. The fact that his date also learned that evening that she was allergic to shellfish and had to be carted off in an ambulance also had something to do with that. Not that the date had been going well before that, but it certainly wasn’t a great ending.
Buck was trying to put himself out there. He was trying to establish a life for himself and find that person who could eventually love him. After all the crap with his parents and the lies, Buck just wanted someone who was by his side and had his back and would love him unconditionally. Was that so much to ask?
Apparently it was because between the girls on dating apps who were just looking for hook-ups and the disastrous date he had just gone on, Buck was currently batting zero on finding someone.
He turned his car off, staring at the house before him. He probably should’ve texted beforehand but he had had a bad evening and just wanted to vent to his best friend. He grabbed the key from the ignition before getting out of the car. He jogged up to the front door and knocked, digging his hands into his pocket.
“Hola Buck!” He smiled when Isabel answered the door. “Come in, come in.” She stepped aside, allowing Buck to step into the warm house. “I was just finishing up making some enchiladas. Are you hungry?”
“I’m okay, just came from dinner actually,” Buck said as he followed her into the kitchen. “Hey, is Eddie here?”
“Oh no,” Isabel said and Buck tried not to deflate a little at that. “He’s out. I’m just watching Christopher for him.” Buck nodded, glancing towards the front door. “Why don’t you keep him company while I cook?”
“Are you sure?”
“Buck, you are always welcome here,” Isabel said with a smile. “Edmundo made that much clear.” Buck smiled a little and she went back to cooking. He walked through the dining room and into the living room. Christopher was sitting on the couch, watching a movie. He looked uninterested in the movie, a slight pout on his face.
“Buck!” He perked up quickly when he saw Buck, who grinned at the boy. He sat down next to him, just as Christopher hugged him. Buck expected it to be a quick hug and then Christopher would focus back on his movie. But he kept his arms wrapped around Buck, nuzzling closer to him.
“You okay, little man?” Buck asked, glancing down at the boy. Christopher shrugged, tightening his hold on Buck. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Promise you won’t tell my dad?” Christopher asked quietly. Buck frowned, worried this could be something serious. “I don’t like that my dad keeps going out with Ms. Flores.”
“Have you told him that?” Buck asked and Christopher shook his head. “Chris…”
“I want him to be happy,” Christopher said sadly, glancing up at Buck. “I don’t want him to be sad forever about mom. But, I don’t want him to go out with Ms. Flores. I know she's not a teacher at my school anymore, but if the kids at school find out, they’ll make fun of me.”
“It’s true,” Christopher said with a huff. “Layla said her mom heard that Ms. Flores was dating someone’s parent and she said it was weird.” Buck frowned, not sure what to say. Eddie had only gone on a few dates with Ana. He hadn’t said much about them, other than that the dates were nice.
“This is something you’re going to have to tell your dad,” Buck pointed out and Christopher pouted. “I know you want your dad to be happy, but how can he be happy if you’re unhappy?” Christopher nodded. Buck was about to continue when Isabel called for them.
“I’ll talk to dad when he gets home,” Christopher said, the frown still on his face. “But can you stay? I love my bisabuela, but whenever she babysits me, she spends half the time doing chores around the house.”
“Well at least you’ll have edible food,” Buck teased and Christopher giggled. “And of course I’ll stay, Superman. That means I get to hang with my favorite Diaz.” Christopher grinned before getting up and heading to the dining room. Buck sighed before following after him. He knew that there was a chance that Christopher didn’t tell Eddie how he was feeling. The Diaz boys were too alike sometimes and if it were Eddie, he’d avoid the subject.
But just had to hope that the sunshine kid who he adored could be honest with his dad.
Buck was sitting on the couch with Christopher an hour later when he heard the door open. Isabel had left after they ate, saying that she knew Christopher was in good hands. And Christopher was definitely in a better mood than when Buck had arrived. But it was clear he still was upset about Eddie’s date with Ana.
“Abuela?” Buck glanced away from the television as Eddie walked into the living room. He tilted his head when he saw Buck sitting there. “Buck? What are you doing here?”
“Thought I’d hang out with my favorite Diaz,” Buck said. “Your abuela left an hour ago. After making you dinner for the next week.” Eddie nodded, though his lips were pursed.
“Mijo, it’s bedtime.” Eddie headed towards the hallway, glancing back at Christopher.
“Talk to him,” Buck whispered to Christopher. The boy nodded before giving him a hug and then getting off the couch. Eddie was watching them with a raised eyebrow, almost like he was studying them.
Once both Christopher and Eddie had left the room, Buck got up, turning off the television and heading into the kitchen. Isabel had cleaned and put away all the dishes, so Buck didn’t have anything to do. He leaned back against the kitchen counter, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He figured Christopher’s chat with his dad would take a few minutes.
“Hey.” Buck looked up from the article he had been reading, almost surprised to see Eddie. “So, not that it’s not nice to see you, but why are you here? Didn’t you have a date tonight?”
“Ended early,” Buck said as Eddie opened the refrigerator. He saw a small smile cross Eddie’s face as he saw all the Tupperware containers that Isabel had left. Eddie turned back around, handing Buck a beer before grabbing one for himself. “It was actually kind of a disaster.”
“We had to call 9-1-1 because apparently she was allergic to shellfish.” Eddie made a face and Buck just nodded. “Not the first date that I’ve had that ended in calling 9-1-1, though I am glad it wasn’t me this time.”
“Well, I’m sorry your date wasn’t great,” Eddie said as he took a sip of his beer.
“It’s fine,’ Buck said with a shrug. “I wasn’t really feeling it anyways.”
“I know that feeling,” Eddie murmured, setting his drink down. Buck raised an eyebrow and Eddie sighed. “Christopher just told me he doesn’t want me dating Ana. He said that he told you that and you said he should tell me.”
“I’m sorry,” Buck blurted out, worried that he had over-stepped. “He just seemed upset when I got here and I just wanted to cheer him up…”
“Buck,” Eddie said, cutting him off. “I’m not mad at you. Actually, I’m mad at myself that I didn’t notice he was feeling like this sooner. Especially since I haven’t really been enjoying these dates.”
“What?” Buck asked, confusion stretching across his face. “But you’ve gone out with Ana like four times.”
“Because she’s nice,” Eddie said with a sigh. “She’s nice and attractive and I thought I felt a spark, but I just didn’t. And now knowing Christopher doesn’t want me to date her, it’s a no-brainer.”
“Well, you’ll find someone else.” Eddie just nodded, pursing his lips. “Unless dating isn’t your thing?”
“It’s not the dating that’s the problem,” Eddie said, shaking his head. “You know, when I was pushing myself to get back out there, to move forward, I had two worries. I was worried that Christopher was going to be upset that I was trying to replace his mom and that I wasn't ready to find someone new after Shannon. But there was something I didn’t consider.”
“And what’s that?” Buck asked, watching Eddie.
“That I already had someone.” Buck flushed under the intense gaze that Eddie cast down on him. He set his beer down and Buck just watched him, ignoring the thumping of his heart. He thought he had pushed those feelings away. He thought that when he had re-entered the dating field, he could ignore how head over heels he was for Eddie.
If Buck was being honest with himself, which much to Dr. Copeland’s chagrin, he wasn’t enough, then he would admit that he wanted Eddie to be that person in his life. He wanted Eddie by his side. He wanted Eddie to love him unconditionally. But he had always thought that Eddie just saw him as a best friend, that something like that wasn’t possible.
But with how Eddie was staring at him and how he was moving closer, maybe it wasn’t so impossible.
“You’re always here,” Eddie pointed out. “After I’ve had a bad day, after a rough shift, just because, you’re always here. I mean, you came here after a bad date.”
“I wanted to vent,” Buck said, swallowing as Eddie moved closer. “Figured you’d understand the woes of dating.”
“You’re always here,” Eddie whispered, taking the beer bottle from Buck’s hand and setting it on the counter. Buck just stared at him, trying to not shiver at the intensity in Eddie’s eyes. “You’re always right here.” Buck’s mouth dropped open a little as Eddie took his hand and placed it over his heart.
“I don’t need to find my someone,” Eddie said, one his hands wrapping around the nape of Buck’s neck. “You’re right here.” Eddie used his other hand to gently tug Buck forward. Buck followed, pliant to the touch and transfixed by Eddie.
When their lips came together, Buck thought his heart was going to beat right out of his chest. This was what he had been searching for. This was why he had re-downloaded every dating app under the sun. This feeling was what he had been in pursuit of. And he had found it, with the exact person he wanted to find it with.
Buck’s fingers curled into Eddie’s button-up, gripping hard, like he was afraid to let go, like he was afraid that if he let go then the moment would be gone. But Eddie just tugged at the nape of his neck, angling him to deepen the kiss. Buck gasped into the kiss as he felt Eddie back him into the counter. He could feel his blood pumping, could feel the minute details of the kiss going from passionate to dirty.
“Wait, wait,” Buck gasped, pulling away. He could feel his self-control going out the window with the way Eddie had been kissing him. And as much as he wanted that (because god it had been a long time), he just couldn’t do that. Not at least until he had a few more answers. “What about Christopher? You said…”
“Buck.” Gone was the intense look in Eddie’s eyes, replaced with a soft smile that had Buck melting backwards into the counter. “Christopher loves you. Maybe more than I do.” His hand came up to cradle Buck’s cheek and Buck felt himself getting lost in Eddie’s eyes. But then, something dawned.
“I love you,” Eddie said with a smile. Buck’s lips collided with Eddie’s, Buck pulling him so they were chest-to-chest. Eddie kissed him back with just as much enthusiasm, both of his hands cradling Buck’s face.
“I love you too,” Buck said when he pulled away. Eddie smiled before letting his forehead rest against Buck’s. “I never thought this was possible.”
“I guess we just needed to open our eyes to what was right in front of us,” Eddie said. “Do you want to join me in the living room and talk? Or maybe not talk?” Buck chuckled as he pulled away, ever so slightly to look at Eddie.
“I believe you’re propositioning me,” Buck pointed out and Eddie smirked. “You know, no one’s going to believe that you’re the horn-dog in this relationship.”
“Is that a yes to both things?” Eddie asked, offering Buck his hand. Buck just smiled, unable to fully express how happy he was in that moment.
“That’s a yes to everything with you,” Buck said. Eddie grinned back at him and Buck knew this was right. He knew that they were right.
And as his fingers interlaced with Eddie’s, he knew he had finally found his person. He had found the person who would love him unconditionally. And Buck was going to love him right back.