Like clockwork every day, the sun rose over the sleepy little stretch of road on the outskirts of Brooklyn, illuminating the streets, and bringing life to the morning. Like clockwork, people filed out to their cars, sleepy and under-caffeinated as they prepared to start their long days in offices and jobs that kept food on the table, but barely fed the hopes of dreams of many New Yorkers of this day and age.
And like clockwork every day, Steven Grant Rogers would wake up, ready and eager to make the ten minute walk it would take him to get to work, all smiles and enthusiastic energy as he clambered from bed to shower and prepare for the long day ahead. Most people didn’t get their dream jobs. Most people weren’t so lucky.
Steve Rogers lucked out.
When people asked him what he did for a living, most wouldn’t expect the answer they got. Some people assumed soldier. Some people assumed athlete. Some people even went so far as to guess that Steve was some famous actor under wraps. After all, Steve was tall, well built, and handsome; he had sharp, piercing blue eyes, a head of striking blond hair, and a chiseled jaw. He wore glasses that made him look like he tumbled out of a GQ article for the latest Ray-Ban styles, and he had an infectious, cheerful personality that many people found ungodly attractive on this Adonis of a man. In short, Steve was a perfect specimen of a human being, and everyone that admired him thought he was the hottest thing since sliced bread.
So when people asked him “So Mr. Rogers… what is it you do for a living?” they expected some epic answer; something heroic and demanding, and completely fitting this Herculean supermodel standing before them.
That was not the answer they got. Instead, Steve would just give them a knowing look. Steve would laugh. Steve would always answer with a huge smile, ready to take them all by surprise. What was his answer?
“I bake cupcakes for a living.”
It wasn’t a sarcastic remark; it wasn’t even an underhanded jab at his life goals. Steve Rogers was genuinely excited to wake up every day, still smelling like sugar and baker’s chocolate, and make that ten minute walk down the block every morning and open up the shop he’d finally been able to afford to establish as his life’s work.
Needless to say, the reaction was evenly split down the middle: some people thought that baking cakes for a living was a complete waste of time and would walk away disappointed that this perfect human being did something so silly. Some people thought it was absolutely adorable and would find themselves even more drawn to this person.
Though often, Steve would get asked about how he kept his figure so built and lean working with sweets all day, and what he’d do if he let his work get to his waistline. Steve never really spoke to those people again.
Some people would think that working in a cupcakery was a hit-or-miss job. Some people just didn’t like sweets, and others wouldn’t make the drive just to buy a specific store’s wares. This may have been true on most occasions, but a specialty shop, now that was a different story entirely; owning one’s own cupcakery was actually a surprisingly fruitful business, and Steve didn’t hesitate to use his talents for the better part of his job. Having studied art in college, Steve was well known for designing custom cakes for customers on a dime, and his catering orders were always overflowing in his inbox. Kid’s parties, wedding receptions, office parties, any affair you could think of, and Steve’s business was always the first people would call for their delicious, handmade treats. It also helped that he’d won Brooklyn’s cake baking contest four years in a row.
Okay, so maybe Steve was a little famous in Brooklyn; still, he liked to think of himself as a humble man that put his life’s work into creating extraordinary cakes for any occasion one saw fit. But despite the fancy cakes people ordered for high class events, Steve’s staple product was, and always would be, cupcakes. And nobody was happier than Steve to get to create those delicious little pastries for the world to enjoy.
Of course, it wasn’t always fun and games; running one’s own business got to be a bit stressful without assistance, and after a year of business, Steve decided he needed some help; Steve hired on an organizer and bookkeeping manager to handle the banking and order forms while he worked diligently on his prized cakes. So just a few short weeks after making the hard decision of adding on some extra hands for work, Steve hired his friend, Tony, to help with the funds and booking for the business.
And boy, was business booming.
School was just getting ready to let out for the summer, which meant Steve constantly had to have a store of cupcakes of every variety on hand for kids to buy with their pocket change. A cupcake for $1.79, five for $5, or a baker’s dozen for $11 dollars. If someone wanted a custom cupcake made, well then that’s where Steve really made his money; because while his standard cupcakes or specialty flavored cupcakes were delicious and without competition, everyone wanted a custom cupcake, decorated by hand in front of them like some magic trick that no one seemed to get tired of. Oftentimes, people would walk in, talk to Steve for five minutes, and he’d have a custom decorated cupcake ready for them in just a minute, teeming with personality and design that always impressed the customer. Those cupcakes usually cost anywhere between $6 and $8 dollars, depending on how much effort and frosting went into a cupcake; despite the slightly lofty prices, they were always well received, and kept the patrons coming back for more.
It also helped that Steve used rather large tins for his mixes; people always complimented him on the size of his cupcakes. They were almost as big as mini cakes, small enough to hold in your hand but large enough that no one walked away dissatisfied, ever. They were dense, moist, delicious cakes, and Steve was proud to say that they came from his loving hands.
Without a doubt, Brooklyn loved “Star-Spangled Pastries”, and Steve loved his customers right back. In fact, Steve felt like his life was going rather well actually. He’d gotten his student loans paid off finally, he had a business he loved, he had good friends, and a nice apartment. There was just one tiny detail in Steve’s life that he felt was just slightly, maybe, a little bit overwhelming…
Steve was getting married.
Now if one asked Steve what his fiancée was like, he never had a bad thing to say about her. Sharon was a beautiful woman with a strong head about her, and a heart of pure gold. She was a very successful nurse, working her way up the medical ladder in life to become a nurse practitioner and she had plans and aspirations for the two of them once they finally tied the knot for a long, fruitful, and engaging married life. Steve and Sharon had been dating for 3 years now starting shortly after college had ended for both of them, and everyone’s opinion on the two of them was that they made a very handsome couple that most only aspired to be. Many often said that the two of them struck the mold as the perfect example of what a man and woman should be like together, and that they would make beautiful babies in the future; they would be the idyllic American couple that everyone would aspire to be like, their romance would be sung upon throughout the ages, all that sort of nonsense…
And that’s just what terrified Steve to no end.
He didn’t want to disappoint anyone, nor did he want to sully anyone’s opinion of himself and his life choices. He really did like Sharon, and knew that she was very good for him in his life; he wouldn’t have asked her to marry him if he didn’t care for her at all…
He was just beginning to wonder if all of this fuss was really worth the headache he was sporting over an engagement he’d proposed on the spur of the moment.
It was a Tuesday afternoon; business was rather slow that day, which gave Steve plenty of time to work on preparing batter for the morning, mixing up ingredients for the freezer, and generally getting the store ready ahead of schedule. Normally after a busy shift, Steve would have to work long into the night just to get things ready for future sales; it was a necessary evil he had to deal with when running a business, just in case he ran into a problem of the next day turning out to be a highly profitable time, and he never liked not being prepared for it. So if he had a slow shift, Steve would happily take advantage of the time given to him and be as completely ready as he possibly could be.
Sharon must have known that his store was empty that day, too; Steve swore she had some sort of radar for those dull moments because once again, she had been sitting on his back counter for the past three hours, throwing out wedding ideas to him while he worked over a piping hot oven and getting black food coloring under his fingernails. He didn’t mind the company at all… he just didn’t feel like thinking about such a huge, life changing, daunting affair looming in his near future while he struggled to get the consistency of batter just right for the fluffiest cakes he could make.
Plus the multitude of thousands of questions and options being thrown at him left and right were starting to really fucking annoy him.
“Steve, take a look at this place!” Sharon piped up. She held the binder she had, stuffed thick with papers and cut outs and photos of every possible flower arrangement, venue, dress, tux, earring, everything she could think of to plan ahead for their spring wedding, and had carefully mapped out everything with possible alterations and color combinations, should they need it. Steve knew he was getting a white tux, despite his protests that white only made his shoulders look impossibly wider than they already were, so part of his planning was already taken care of for him; thank mercy for small favors.
Steve shook his head when he heard Sharon’s voice clear behind him again; he looked up in time to see Sharon pointing to one venue on the paper in particular. It was a rather lavish looking location, with palm trees outside the establishment and white marble fronts; it looked fancier than the White House, for Pete’s sake. Nevertheless, Sharon beamed at him with a huge smile on her face, eyes dancing excitedly as she waited for his opinion. “Doesn’t this place look gorgeous?! We could host the ceremony and the reception here! That way everyone doesn’t have to trek around from one place to another.”
Steve sighed, wiping his floury hand across his forehead before looking down at the binder in front of his face. He carefully pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose to get a good look at the location, and shrugged a large shoulder at her. “It’s nice… It’s a little big though, don’t you think? And I thought you wanted to have that big stretch limo deal for the whole wedding party? I don’t thinks it’s gas-ethical to drive around in a limo just to arrive back at the same place we just got married at.” God forbid, they ditch the limo idea; Steve and Sharon had gone over the limo decision probably a good three dozen times before they finally agreed to have the service added to their affair. He really didn’t want the two of them to dump the limo idea after they had finally agreed on one. He might shoot himself if they did.
Sharon frowned and looked down at the binder in her hands as she contemplated his reasoning. After a moment, she must have agreed with him, because she shook her head and tossed out that venue’s listing. “Yeah, you’re right. Plus this place charges like 5 grand just to book it, so we should pick something smaller…”
Steve spluttered, tossing flour up with a choke as he whirled on her. Who in their right, honest mind, booked a venue for one day for that amount of money?! Now Steve was sure he was in way over his head with this whole ceremony. He stared at her for a long, painful moment through flour-speckled glasses, his eyes bugged from his head with shock. “5 thousand dollars just to book that place?! No way, toss that option right now. That’s insane. 5 grand for a room, that’s a horrible idea, Shar! Please don’t tell me you put a deposit down on it already!”
Sharon laughed loudly, tossing her head back with mirth. She leaned forward and wiped the flour from his glasses with her thumb before planting a kiss on his forehead. “Relax, I didn’t put a deposit down. These are just quotes I gathered over the weekend. Some of the other venues aren’t actually much less either, you know. A lot of them do come with catering services, but for most of them the cake and dessert are extra costs. Bright side, at least we know if we have to provide our own wedding cake, you can just bake it yourself!” she added with a bright giggle.
Having turned his back on her to focus on his current batter, Steve rolled his eyes to the ceiling with a barely concealed huff of air. If he had a dollar for every time she cracked that joke, he could probably pay for that venue in cash. He wasn’t really one to complain out loud, but frankly, he was starting to get annoyed with her mentioning that at every chance she got. He understood she was just trying to be cute, but for God’s sake, there was only so much a man could take before he popped. “Yeah, I guess I really could bake our own cake, now couldn’t I?” he asked in a monotone drawl; his voice only barely hedged on tired as he turned back to her with a forced smile. He had to be strong. ‘Sharon’s only trying to lighten the mood, Rogers… be cool.’ he thought to himself as he rested his hip on the counter; he had to wait for the first round of batter to set up a minute before he could add the final ingredients, anyway...
“Mhm, exactly! If we are going to provide our own cake, I want it to look classy, alright? White with white trim? Maybe a vanilla crème, you always do that one well!” Sharon said. She looked up from her binder, and stared at her fiancé for a moment before her eyes narrowed at the side of his nose. “Classy. Alright? Like the nose piercing you felt was so necessary to get is not.” Sharon sighed and scrubbed her hand through her yellow hair before continuing. “I dunno why you went and got that Steve. It looks really silly, like you have a pimple on your nose or something. Please tell me you’re going to take it out before the wedding. I’m sure the hole will close up before the ceremony.”
Once again, Steve’s shoulders bristled as he struggled to hold back the irritation that threatened to overtake him. He watched her scrutinizing over his appearance and his jaw ticked slightly before he looked away from her; it was really self-preservation at that moment, otherwise he was going to say something he was going to regret.
Needless to say, Steve didn’t look like the rough type. He wore cardigans, sweaters and light-print clothing, and he still tucked his shirts in at all times. He kept his hair neat and often slicked it to the side. He didn’t even have tattoos, and Steve didn’t have any urge to darken up his appearance in the slightest. So who could really blame him if he wanted to try something a little different? No one that he could think of, and in all honesty, all of his friends thought the piercing looked really good on him.
Steve had been nervous the night he had gotten it done. He and Sam had been out at the bar, enjoying a rare night off together and on a whim, Steve had stated he wanted a nose piercing. Sam, ever the supporting friend, went with Steve to the nearest tattoo parlor and sat in while the on-staff artist pierced the left-side bell of Steve’s nose. It had hurt pretty smartly, but by the time the artist was done, Steve was left with a piercing that was no bigger than a tiny silver chip that stood out against the reddened skin of his nose; when he had asked Sam how it looked, Sam gave him his honest opinion and told him it actually looked strikingly good on him, despite the initial swelling and inflammation that made him look like a 6’2 Rudolf. It took some getting used to, to not pick at it and to see that tiny speck of metal on his nose every time he looked in the mirror; sure the ache and the redness had taken a couple days to go down, and the tiny bump that had formed around it finally went away after a couple weeks, but by the time he had gotten used to its presence, Steve couldn’t picture himself without it. He just liked it that much.
Then, Sharon had come back from her birthday party travels and her volunteer nursing trip to Guatemala, complained to high hell about how stupid it looked on his face, and demanded he take it out for fear that it would ruin his reputation as an honorable baker (as if there were really some high standards to adhere to...). Normally, Steve would have done what he was told, but he’d had the piercing for a couple months at that point, and simply refused to take it out despite her insistence; they had argued over it heatedly for a few days, and finally Sharon gave up… though she still was adamant on reminding him at every opportunity she had that she absolutely despised it. Steve didn’t really let it bother him, normally.
Now, he was just tired and fed up with the whole headache of planning this wedding, and his patience was running thin. He gritted his teeth and took a deep breath to calm himself down before he could speak. “If it makes you feel any better, I’ll get a clear spacer to go in the piercing for the ceremony. You won’t even see it’s there in the pictures,” Steve replied finally, turning his attention back to the mixing bowl in his hand. God, almost a year later, and he was still getting an earful over it. He was never going to hear the end of it that was for sure…
Sharon whined, folding her hands in her lap hopefully. "Pleeaase, take it out, Steve. You look so beautiful without it. Plus, it’ll leave a shadow on your nose in the flash.” Sharon insisted, closing the binder with a slap. She sighed to herself and rolled her eyes to the ceiling with a disappointed air. “Still don’t understand why you felt like you had to go get it, you looked perfect without it… now it just makes your nose look dirty… we’re supposed to be having kids, what do you think that's gonna look like to them?”
Steve heard a thump from behind him, and he turned in time to see Sharon dropping down from the counter and approaching him. She had stuffed her binder back into her bag, and was currently plucking her sunglasses from her purse with a flourish. Grateful that she was at least letting the stupid piercing thing go for the time being, he put the bowl down to let the batter breathe for another minute, and turned to face her. “Got work now, honey?” he asked as he dried his hands off on a towel.
Sharon shrugged and sauntered up to his side. She threw her arms around his neck and leaned up to plant a kiss on his lips. Steve didn’t touch her hips as he leaned down to return the kiss for fear that he would get something on her clothes, though the kiss lingered for quite a few moments before they separated. “Sadly, yes. Have to take a nap before I pull another 12-hour tonight. At least I’m not in the infectious diseases ward, my rounds won’t be so exhausting this time.” Sharon smiled up at him and reached her hand up to his cheek; she flicked her thumb over his cheek, just below his right eye, and swiped away a spot of flour from his skin. “I’ll see you tomorrow, alright? Maybe we can do breakfast before I have to go to bed.”
Steve nodded, giving her a small smile before stepping back. “Sounds good. Have a good shift, okay?”
Sharon winked at him and waved before bustling for the front of the store. “You betcha! Have a good rest of your day, baby. Try to actually eat some real food tonight, and not take-away again. I already booked your tux and it wasn’t cheap, so try not to outgrow it before April, or we’ll never find another one in time.”
“Then I am really in the wrong profession, if we’re worried about that happening…” Steve sighed, and waved to her. Movement at the door caught his attention, and he looked away from Sharon in time to see Tony entering the cupcakery. He waved to his friend, and turned his attention back to the bowl he’d left on the back counter, just behind the kitchen wall. He could briefly hear Sharon and Tony talking for a second, before the tiny bell over the door chimed once again, signaling that Sharon had finally left. “Is she gone?” Steve asked, poking his head out from the wall to give his friend a searching look.
“You’re safe, Romeo, she just left,” Tony replied, marching straight for the register to grab the comp-reports for the month.
Steve sighed and thumped his forehead against the separating wall with an audible ‘thud’. “Ugh… thank God, I didn’t think she was ever going to stop. I can’t wait until this whole wedding is over with. It’s a bigger pain in the neck than anything I’ve dealt with.”
“That’s saying something. You’re friends with me, after all!” Tony quipped, looking over his shoulder at Steve. “Yeah, I can tell this is getting to you. You’re going gray already, Ebenezer!”
Steve scoffed at Tony and grabbed his bowl before marching over to the refrigerator to grab the pureed strawberries he’d prepared earlier. “I’m not going gray, now you’re just being a jerk. I don’t need this right now; I’m stress-eating again, Tony, and Sharon ‘already booked the Tux’.” Steve added with an exhausted laugh.
“Steve, you are the only person in the world that eats carrots and vegetables when he’s stressed. Have a Twinkie for once in your life, you work with cake for a living.” Tony barked, glancing over the rim of his sunglasses at the baker next to him. “And would it kill you to swear once in a while? I mean, seriously, you’re a rebel now! You went and got a nose-ring for God’s sake!”
“Tony…” Steve warned, shooting him a look over his shoulder as he dumped the pureed fruit into the bowl. “Don’t even start. I get enough from her about it. She thinks it’s immature and she wants kids in the future; according to her she wants our future family to be perfect. Which I understand, but...”
Tony simply laughed. “Yeah, because having a nose piercing is gonna turn your kids into prison brats. Alright, I get it, she just wants what’s best for your happily wedded future. She’s got a good head on her shoulders. She just needs to lighten up a little bit; methinks the wedding planning might be getting to her too.”
With that he let the subject drop; attention back on the register, his smile melted away to an irritated scowl, and he cursed under his breath. “Goddammit. Another 2% drop since last month. I swear to God, it’s that fucking garage across the street. It’s driving business away!”
Steve looked up from his cake tins where he carefully ladled out portions into each cup, and raised a brow at him. “I highly doubt it’s the garage. Kids are just getting out of school next week, you know it always gets slow around here right before class dismisses for the year. And parents don’t exactly feel the need to rush over and buy a cupcake for their kid if they’re in school.”
“Nope! You’re wrong, it’s definitely the garage.” Tony sighed, jotting down his numbers in his ledger before closing the register drawer again. “Ever since they opened a few months back, I’ve been watching a steady decline in our deposits. Pretty soon, no one is gonna come around here looking for a damn cake, and it’ll be tits up for “Star-Spangled Pastries”!”
Steve huffed and sat down in a chair to stare up at him with an incredulous eye. “You’re kidding, right? I checked the comps myself, we only dropped 300 dollars from last year, overall. I think we can bounce back from that. We’ll throw a sale or something. Make a Facebook page if we have to. We’re still the only bakery around here that gets regular business. Trust me, we’ll be fine.”
“As your financial advisor I say that’s horseshit, but what do I know?” Tony sniffed, before returning his ledger back to his satchel. “I gotta run. Try not to spill batter again, that shit costs us way too much money for you to be feeding the ants around here.”
“That was one time, Stark!” Steve shouted after Tony, watching him go with a toss of his wrist over his shoulder and a flourish. The bell tinkled loudly in the air, almost oppressive as he stared after his friend’s retreating back. If he didn’t hear that stupid bell again the rest of the day, it’d be too soon. Now, finally left to himself, Steve slumped back against the wall and stared at the ceiling with a tired groan. God, now he had a headache; he sort of wished he’d had the opportunity to stop for coffee this morning… maybe he should buy a coffee pot for the back room. Then again, Tony would yell at him for using up business funds on something so ‘trivial’ and try to return it on him. As if Starbucks was any cheaper...
Running one’s own business may have been fruitful, but boy was it a pain in the ass sometimes. Steve loved his business. He really did. He just wished everyone else would get with the program and love it for what it was too…
It was only June, and already the temperature was blazing hot in this damn garage. Bucky huffed in exhaustion and pushed his hand through his dark hair with a tired flick of his wrist. The long strands had fallen out of their ponytail tie again, and he stood up to retie the strands of hair from his face before they got damp with sweat. He could feel a couple hairs get tangled in the hoop of his left earlobe gauge again and as his pushed them back, they tugged on his scaffold piercing, making him hiss out in discomfort. Dammit; hot, crabby, and now sore, and the stupid, jet-black jumpsuit was really not improving his mood at all. Bucky knew he was being a spiteful bitch, but he really hated having to wear these coveralls day in and day out; a uniform was a uniform, but couldn’t it at least have been made with something more breathable?
Standing fully upright, Bucky cracked his back and rolled his shoulders to get the kinks out of his spine from being hunched over the guts of this car for a good 40 minutes straight. He glanced up and snatched a bottle of water from the shelf next to him and took a hearty swig before leaning his hip against the body of the car; Bucky called to the mechanic next to him and waited for an affirmative grunt. “I can’t fuckin’ figure out what the hell is going wrong with this thing, man. The whole engine’s shot. This guy needs a new carburetor, a new fuel injection pump, and the belts are being held together by duct-tape. And that’s not even what’s causin’ the problem! That customer is gonna be pissed when he finds out he’s better off just buyin’ a new car, than trying to fix this old beater.”
Brock, a veteran mechanic and nearly 15 years Bucky’s senior, was hard at work on his own vehicle as he listened to his co-worker complain; he slid out from beneath the car on his ugly plastic creeper, and stared up at Bucky with a grin on his tanned features. “You tell ‘im that, I dunno why yer bitchin’ to me about it. He’s your customer, I ain’t gonna be the one to drop that heartbreakin’ shit on him.”
“Oh goodie, it’s my lucky fuckin’ day.” Bucky sighed and scrubbed a non-greasy knuckle over his eyes. “Can’t we just blow the whole damn garage up and chalk it up to an unfortunate accident? Insurance can cover this old coot a new car, right?”
“I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear ya say that and get back to work on this PAS system. Stop bitchin’ and just go tell the guy to start makin’ funeral arrangements.” Brock laughed, and slid back under the car, effectively cutting Bucky off from any more conversation.
Bucky stared after his retreating friend, and flipped him the middle finger before slamming the hood of the car shut again. He hated this part of the job; having to tell someone that their car was dead to the world and the only cure was finding a loving replacement while it got junked never went well. He still remembered getting beaned in the heat with a purse by an angry old lady after he told her he couldn’t salvage her family vehicle. Oh well… time to go face the music once again.
Though, at the last possible second, Bucky was saved by the grace of God; as he approached the office to collect the customer’s phone number, Clint came out with his finger in his ear as he adjusted the volume on his hearing aid, and Bucky whistled to get his attention. “Hey Clint, got that old guy’s number? Gotta tell him his car’s shit and he needs a new one,” Bucky stated, sounding less than thrilled at the prospect.
Clint looked up at Bucky, and flashed him a grin. “Nah; I appreciate your honorability, but you don’t have to go through the trouble, actually. I need you to go take your break, and then Brock right after you; I gotta be outta here by one today. I’ll call and tell him myself.”
Bucky had never heard sweeter words in his life! “Praise Jesus, I actually get to go a day without getting yelled at!” Bucky exclaimed, throwing his arms up in the air in an exaggerated show of relief. Behind him, he heard the wheels of Brock’s creeper groaning as he slid back out from beneath the car once again, and the bark of laughter that echoed in the garage around them at his outburst actually got Bucky grinning. “You sure Brock and I can run this place without you for a whole hour until closing supervisor comes in? I mean, we are trouble, ya know.”
“The best kinda trouble we all are.” Clint smirked, and clapped Bucky on the shoulder. “I think you two can handle it. Go stuff your face. I’ll call that guy and let him know his Olds’ is in a better place.”
Bucky saluted him and turned to jog into the breakroom. As he walked, his mind wandered over what his options were for lunch that day, and his stomach rumbled in anticipation. Maybe he’d try that new Mexican joint down the block; it’d been open for a few weeks now, but Bucky hadn’t had a chance to stop in just yet; his interest had remained piqued however, as he’d smelled the cilantro a few times while walking and every time he did, his mouth watered like crazy. Yeah, Mexican sounded like a really good idea that day.
Stepping into the air-conditioned breakroom, Bucky spotted Brock standing at the water cooler, getting a drink to quench his thirst. He waved at him and walked over to his locker to fetch his clean jeans from inside. Only when he opened his locker and grabbed them, Bucky noticed a distinct lack of weight in the back pocket. He cursed under his breath and dug through all four pockets on his pants before grabbing his sweatshirt and searching through those pockets as well. All he found was his keys, and no wallet. There went his lovely burrito that day...
“Fuckin’ hell,” Bucky cursed under his breath and glared at his jeans; he remembered, quite suddenly, that he’d decided to grab his other pair of jeans for some unknown reason, and had thusly left his wallet behind in the neatly folded pair sitting on his kitchen counter that morning. Fat lot of good that did him.
“Whatdja do?” Brock asked, catching Bucky’s attention; Bucky turned and spotted the amused look on his friend’s face. “Forget your wallet?”
“Yep,” Bucky sighed, tossing his jeans back into his locker and closing it with a loud bang. “Guess it really is my lucky day.”
“This is why I bring my own damn food. You should prolly think about it sometime,” Brock teased, taking another drink of water. “I know, crazy idea, right? But there’s this magical fuckin’ place called a grocery store-”
“Shuddup, Rumlow.” Bucky growled, turning to face him. “You got any cash? I’ll pay you back tomorrow.”
Brock shrugged and grabbed his own wallet from his locker. Upon looking inside, he frowned and plucked out two singles, and held them up with a small smile. “Two bucks, s’all I got, man. Go buy yourself somethin’ nice, and don’t worry about payin’ me back. Consider it a charity case.”
“Thanks.” Bucky took the two dollars from Brock; while it wouldn’t get him that delicious meal he was thinking about, he could at least walk to the convenience store and get a bag of chips or something. It would do better than not eating anything at all. “Alright, guess I’ll see ya in 30.”
“Have fun. Don’t get lost, I ain’t comin’ to rescue yer ass, Barnes!” Brock called after him, waving with a grin.
Once again, Bucky flipped his middle finger at him, and the roar of laughter he got from Brock lifted his spirits at least a little bit.
Stepping out into the hot sun outside the garage, Bucky felt the oppressive heat bearing down on him, and he uttered a soft groan of protest. He really didn’t feel like walking all the way to the convenience store and all the way back, just for a two-bit bag of Cheetos. He was going to sweat his balls off before he even got back to work, and he really didn’t feel like stewing in his own body odor any more than he already had to. Maybe he could just sit out food for this time and give Brock back his two dollars. He could wait the couple hours he had left of his shift and just eat when he got home…
But just before he decided to find a cool, shady spot to crouch in for half an hour, Bucky’s eyes landed on a sign just across the street from him; it belonged to that bakery he saw from the open doors of the garage every single day. He hadn’t paid much attention to it, honestly, so he really didn’t know what kind of shit they sold; still, the large pastel sign in the window that screamed “CUPCAKES, $1.79 EACH” caught his attention. Cupcakes.. they weren’t exactly healthy, but it was better than not eating anything at all. Besides, the sugar rush might get him through the hump of the day, and it was much more preferable than walking in the sun for ten solid minutes wearing a jet-black jumpsuit.
With his mind made up, Bucky jogged across the street, and stopped in front of the bakery. “‘Star-Spangled Pastries’...” he muttered to himself as he read the sign with an incredulous blink; who the hell named a bakery with a patriotic theme? “Okay then… sure why not?” He shrugged his shoulders and pushed his hair back from his face before retying the rubber band around his hair once again. Once he was sure he was half decent looking, Bucky stepped inside the bakery and listened to the cheerful jingle of the door bell ringing as he stepped inside.
The place was tiny, relatively speaking. It probably could comfortably house about 20 people with standing room, and there were only two tables in the whole sitting area. The rest of the place was taken up by large glass counters filled with dozens upon dozens of different cupcakes, cake slices, and treats of every kind. The place was decorated in varieties of red and blue, with white stars on the walls, and it struck him as almost old-timey in appearance. It was quaint; that was the best word Bucky could think to describe it. Hell, it even had that little counter bell someone would ring if no one heard the doorbell at all. Even the register looked kind of old fashioned.
Suddenly, Bucky felt really out of place in this shop. It looked like it was probably owned by some elderly, little old lady with a dozen cats and a bible in every room in her house and here he stood, the greasy, sweaty, tattooed and pierced mechanic with two dollars in his pocket and enough oil stains on his knees to paint a fresco. Still, his stomach rumbled again and demanded attention; he couldn't back out now.
So with a defeated groan, Bucky gave the bell on the counter a sharp slap, and flinched as it rang out with a shrill chime into the still air. “Hello?” he called, hoping the owner wasn’t on lunch or something. “Anyone there?”
From the back, Bucky heard a metal bowl clanging as it was put down. Ah, someone was working back there. Bucky squared his shoulders and put on his best smile, hoping he didn’t offend the person that came out; images of tiny ladies came to mind and he sort of wished he’d remembered to put his silver gauges in, instead of the jet black monstrosities he usually wore. He really didn’t want to scare the person that greeted him.
Only, the person that came out was the last person Bucky expected to see.
The guy was tall; really tall, and built like a fucking Mack truck. He had a shoulder to waist ratio to die for, and well defined arms that bulged under the cuffed sleeves of his shirt. He had striking blue eyes, and blond hair, and a sharp jaw that could cut his hand if Bucky chose to slap him. The shirt he wore was a pastel blue button up tucked into a pair of jeans, and he had an apron around his waist; his whole front was flecked with specks of flour and chocolate stained his apron. Lastly, as Bucky looked back up to the drop-dead handsome face of the guy, he spotted a small chip stud in the side of his nose; for some reason, Bucky just knew that that tiny little piercing brought the whole, beautiful picture together like a Goddamn masterpiece. Bucky didn’t really believe in fairytales, but if falling in love at first sight was a real thing he’d hit rock-bottom, real fast.
The blond flashed an infectious grin at him and swiped his hand over his cheek to clean away the flour on his skin. “Hi there! Sorry, was in the back mixing up some batter and didn’t hear you come in. What can I get you today?” he asked, beaming at Bucky as he stepped up to the counter.
‘Fuck… I’d take a slice of you any day...’ Bucky thought to himself as he swallowed thickly. Slapping on a smile, Bucky stepped back up to the counter and glanced up at him. ‘Okay. Speak English. Don’t embarrass yourself...’ “Hi… Uhm… I work across the street and saw you sell cupcakes for like, a dollar or somethin’? I only got two bucks on me right now and was feelin’ a little hungry, so I thought I’d step in.” ‘Okay, not bad, Barnes… delivery was a little rough but not bad...’
The man chuckled and reached into his back pocket. “No problem. Yeah, basic cupcakes are $1.79. Specialty ones are about $3, and custom cakes are more than that. Got anything in mind you want?” As he spoke, the blond pulled out a pair of glasses from his back pocket and slipped them on with a practiced ease. Ray-bans. Of course they were fucking Ray-Bans....
‘Goddammit, he wears nerd glasses. He’s even more hot! Fuck!’ Bucky thought with a nervous swallow. He shrugged, and stared down at the counter to gather his wits before he could speak again. “No... not really. I don’t eat a lot of sweets to be honest with ya. Was just hoping for something… basic?” ‘Focus on your words, Barnes… don’t fuck up now...’
The blond nodded in understanding. “You don’t eat a lot of sweets? That’s alright, you came to the right place to try something new.” He paused, and seemed to regard Bucky for a long moment before grinning. “Tell you what. Since you’re a first timer here, and you seem to be really hungry, go ahead and pick out one of these.” With that, the baker stepped over to a second glass counter, and gestured to some rather ridiculously fancy cakes with a smile. “I’ll only charge you for a basic cake, alright?”
Bucky followed him to the counter and looked down at the treats inside; he frowned as he saw the price labels and he glanced up at him with pure uncertainty; was he being serious? Bucky had never encountered someone that just gave away expensive food at that price. “You sure? These are like 5 bucks a piece; I don’t wanna ruin your till tonight, ya know.”
“It’s fine. I own the place so what I say, goes. Pick out a cake. It’s really alright.”
Bucky looked up at him, surprised all over again; so the guy was ridiculously hot, charming, nice, and he owned a bakery. What Angel descended from Heaven on his lucky day, and kissed his ass this time? “Uh… okay then.” With that, he turned his attention away from the baker and began to observe the cakes inside. “Jesus these things are the size of my fuckin’ head…”
The blond laughed again and dropped down to his knee to watch Bucky through the glass. “Yeah, I like to make ‘em big. Makes the trip worthwhile you know?”
“No kidding,” Bucky muttered. There were literally over a dozen options to choose from, and he was starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Who really ordered a Triple Chocolate Chunk Mousse Cupcake with Raspberry Truffle? That was more words strung together in one name than he had ever seen in his life. After a while, his eyes landed on a brown cupcake with white frosting and a smattering of caramel on the top; he didn’t really know what it was but it looked simple enough to him. With his mind made up, Bucky nodded and pointed at it. “Uhmm... that one.”
The baker looked down and gave him an affirmative nod. “Praline. Good choice,” the blond said, standing up as he grabbed a wax wrapper from the box. Plucking the cupcake from the shelf, he held it up with a practiced grace to Bucky. “Would you like sprinkles on it? I swear it doesn’t cost extra.”
Bucky snorted, and eyed up the cupcake; it looked pretty Goddamn fancy as it was. He was pretty sure sprinkles were not needed for this monstrosity; besides, he wasn’t sure if he should add to the sugar coma he was going to develop later on. “Nah… no sprinkles. But thanks anyway.”
The blond nodded, and handed Bucky the cupcake from across the counter. “Alright. That’ll be $1.93.”
Bucky, balancing the cupcake in his palm, reached into his pocket and fished out the two dollars he had been given. He handed it over, and tried to ignore the electric zing that ran through his body the moment their fingers brushed. He could feel his cheeks heating up just slightly at the light touch, and he swallowed down his tongue as he fought the blush that he knew was threatening to crawl its way up his face and turn him into a fucking tomato. Luckily, the owner had just looked down at the register at that moment; Bucky took his chance to turn away from him and inhale a few deep breaths to get his heart to cooperate again.
He heard the drawer slide out with a click, and he turned back in time to take his seven cents from him. “Thanks. Uhm… mind if I sit in here and eat? It’s cool in here, and uh… y-yeah. I don’t wanna cramp your style or anything or drive away good business. I know I look a little disgusting and prolly smell, but-”
“Hey! It’s alright!” The owner chuckled; he held his hands out to him in a placating gesture, and motioned for the table. “It’s fine. You’re hot, it's hot out, I have the AC cranking. Those ovens back there get disgustingly hot too, so I know it’s nice to cool off when you can.” Once again, he motioned for the side table and flashed Bucky a wink. “Go sit down.”
Bucky couldn’t fight the blush that hit him like a freight train this time. Nodding dumbly, he crossed the room and sat down at the table, relishing the feeling of the cold air jetting down on him from the ceiling vent. “Thanks… I mean it.” Bucky offered; he smiled up at the owner once again before setting his cupcake down on the wax paper. He peeled away the paper cup from the treat and surveyed it carefully. It really was huge; bigger than any cupcake he’d seen at the grocery store that was for sure. It didn’t hurt that it smelled really amazing, too.
With that, Bucky plucked up the cake and took a small bite. Instantly, a symphony of flavor hit him as he chewed the sweet treat; he moaned, honest to God, moaned at the delicious flavor as he swallowed it down. “Holy shit, this is really good!” he exclaimed, licking crumbs from the corner of his mouth as he took another bite of the cake. This time, he tasted a dollop of something creamy inside the cake, and he looked down to see that the damn thing actually had a cinnamon-y filled center. “Like, I’m not even kiddin’ ya this is the best thing I’ve tasted in a really long time!”
The owner laughed, and wandered out from the counter. He sat across from Bucky (holy shit, he was sitting with him), leaned back in his chair like a fucking supermodel and smiled at him, flashing a set of pearly white teeth with delight. “Glad you like it. It’s a favorite of a lot of customers, actually.”
“I can see why. This is like… sex in a wrapper right here. I could get fat eating these.” Bucky said around another mouthful of cake. He swallowed and wiped the corner of his mouth off with a napkin, before setting the cake down on the wrapper. He didn’t want to rush; partially, he didn’t want to rush and make himself sick with all the sugar…
But mostly he didn’t want to rush because Mr. Universe was sitting across from him, actually talking to him and giving him the time of day, like he actually deserved it. Guys like him didn’t even spare a second glance at guys like Bucky. They were literally polar opposites, the clean-cut charmer and the inked tramp, sitting across from each other in a tiny little bakery like they were on a date or something.
He was shameful; Goddamn he was so shameful, but if Bucky could stare at him for ten minutes, he could go back to work and forget all about old men and their beat up cars and getting yelled at by soccer moms for their shitty mini vans all day.
The two of them fell silent, Bucky eating his food, and the blond just watching him. After a moment, the silence was broken by the baker speaking up. “So... I, uh… I don’t remember seeing you across the street at all, and that garage has been there for a couple months now. Did you just get hired? What’s your name anyway?”
Bucky swallowed his mouthful, a little surprised that this guy was actually interested in asking about him. Normally, people didn’t. He looked like an introvert; that’s what he told himself. It made the most logical sense, at least. Most people didn’t really want to talk to someone with motor oil under his fingernails and metal in his head. Sure, Bucky could hit it off well with the barflies and the bikers that littered the streets at night and bag a one-night stand if he really wanted, but he never really found any of those flings fulfilling. He liked the way he looked; he’d never change his style just to ‘fit-in’, but it definitely narrowed his options on finding a boyfriend, and he hated how black and white the romantic scene was when it came to who got to date whom. This, talking with the baker like an equal instead of getting looked at like he was going to mug him, was rather nice.
Oh right, he was asked a question. “Nah,” Bucky said as he cleared his throat. “I started working there when the garage opened. I just mostly worked in the back, but once I finished my training a couple weeks ago, they moved me to the front line. I ain’t gonna complain, at least I get to see the sun now. It’s gonna suck when winter hits though, ‘cause those doors usually stay open, and it’s gonna be freezin’ balls cold out there.” He paused, and wiped his hand off on a napkin before extending his hand to him. “Name’s Bucky, by the way.”
“Steve,” the blond replied, shaking his hand. “It’s nice to meet you. Yeah if you need it, I think we’re gonna sell hot coffee and cocoa during the winter. You could always run over and get a cup if you need it.”
Bucky laughed. “Thanks, Steve. I’ll keep that in mind.” As he leaned back, he saw a faint pink tint to Steve’s cheeks, and instantly his heart hammered to life in his chest. He really needed to stop ogling this poor guy before he freaked him out; so he tore his gaze away… or tried to at least. His eyes were like magnets as they darted back to Steve, locking on those blue eyes with laser point precision. God he had beautiful eyes...
Steve grinned, looking a little triumphant at his answer. “Good! I’ll even have a variety of flavors for customers, so if you get bored of just plain old chocolate, we’ll have something new for people to try. My finance manager has pretty good taste, so I’m sure he’ll insist on specialty brews for people to sample.”
“Wow, you people get really fancy around here dontcha?” Bucky asked, leaning back. He only had a few bites left of his cupcake, and his break was coming to an end soon. But... he figured he could spend a few more minutes talking to Steve. “So how is it running a bakery? Do you get swarmed by kids all the time? Birthday parties, and stuff?”
Steve smirked and rolled his eyes. “Yeah. You have no idea how busy it gets around here sometimes. It’s pretty slow today, and it’ll be slow for the next few days before the kids get out of school, but once it’s released for summer, we’ll be busy again.”
“And you work alone?” Bucky asked, sounding impressed. “I’d hate to be left to the tiny wolves and their pocket change all by myself. Hopefully they don’t break anything down in here. It’s really nice; kinda like some 1940’s style digs, ya know?”
“Thanks!” Steve exclaimed in overt enthusiasm as he beamed at him. “I was going for that look, actually. I was scouting out some cool vintage art on the internet to decorate the walls with, but I haven’t settled on anything particular yet. I think I went a little far with the patriotic thing, but it seems to attract a lot of people, so I won’t complain too much. I-I mean, not that you really care about that, but...”
As he spoke, Bucky’s eyes trailed over the baker’s features. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the sunlight streaming into the shop where they sat, but Steve’s face was beginning to turn red, and that hue was beginning to crawl its way down his neck under the collar of his shirt. Goddamn him, he was in trouble; if Steve could turn red like that from being warm, that meant he was a blusher, and a full-body one at that. ‘Holy hell, I have got to stop thinkin’ about this shit!’ Bucky thought to himself as he averted his gaze; still, the damage was done, and Bucky couldn’t shake the thought from his head that he’d love to be the reason Steve blushed like that, and wondered what it looked like crawling all over that broad chest of his.
The moment was broken by the sound of a shrill noise ringing to life, and they both jumped in their seats. Steve looked up, when he heard that buzzer going off in the back, and he offered Bucky an apologetic, almost-relieved smile. “S-sorry, I have to… uh, go check the oven. I think the next batch is done baking now.”
Bucky grinned, and waved his hand at him; he was a little grateful that the moment had been spoiled; he really didn’t want to think what horror would have transpired if he’d opened his big, dumb mouth one too many times and asked Steve something incredibly personal, like ‘Hey do you like guys, because I really wanna take you out on a date and then suck your face off’.
“Don’t be sorry, I gotta get back to work anyway.” He swallowed down his last bite of cupcake and dusted his hands off into the nearest trashcan before standing up, hoping like hell his legs cooperated with him enough to get him back to the garage; damn his heart, a ten minute conversation with Steve and already he was in way over his head. “S-so uh… anyway, thanks Steve. It was really nice to meetcha. Your cupcakes are awesome.”
Steve flushed a little harder and looked down at the floor; shyly he scuffed his foot on the tiles before looking up at him with that adorable grin of his. “Thanks. It’s nice to hear, you know? I put a lot of love and effort into these things, so to know someone appreciated it… just means a lot to me.”
Bucky nodded at him in understanding and turned for the door. But just before he readied to step outside, he heard a voice clearing behind him. Bucky turned on his heel and looked back at the baker. Steve was standing by the counter and giving him a wistful, almost longing smile.
“Uhm… by the way. You didn’t look too bad, just so you know; I don’t care what anyone says, everyone’s allowed to go where they please, no matter what. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re not allowed to go anywhere just because you don’t meet someone else’s standards. Don’t ever be embarrassed to wear that uniform, alright? Not a lot of people can fix cars; I know I sure as heck can’t.” Steve looked down at the floor, before he sighed. “Just… don’t be embarrassed to be yourself, alright?”
Bucky stared at him for a moment, completely blown over by the compliment he just received. He balked, completely unsure of what to say to that, before he swallowed and offered him a weak smile. “Thanks… really.” Steve really meant that, and that meant more to Bucky than he could ever really express; still, Bucky couldn’t help but read between those words and noticed that… maybe Steve was reminding more than just Bucky at that moment in time. Why Steve would feel the need to think that way Bucky had no clue, but he wasn’t about to bring it up. Bucky hedged by the door for a moment, his hand hovering just by the handle before he looked out the glass front to the garage. “Eh… thanks. I’ll… I’ll see you around, Steve.”
Steve nodded to him and waved. “Have a good rest of your day. Drink a lot of water, and don’t work too hard, Bucky...” His hand dropped, and he stared at him for a long, awkward moment. “… bye.”
With that, Steve turned and left the front of the bakery, disappearing into the back without a look over his shoulder.
Bucky stared after him, completely stunned by his words. ‘What... what the hell was that?’ Bucky wondered, feeling his cheeks turning beet red again. He stood there, at the door, for a long moment before his senses came back to him. He shook his head hard, and stepped out into the oppressive heat of the early summer sun; he sprinted across the street until he was shielded from the blaze by the garage once again and slipped inside on near-silent feet. He stepped up to the card-punch and ticketed his timestamp before he leaned his shoulder against the wall just as the reality of that whole event came crashing down on him.
He stood there, processing what had just happened before he glanced over at the bakery across the street again. He didn’t see Steve through the glass front of the store, but he knew… just knew, that blue eyes and blond hair was inside, working diligently on the most delicate treats someone could make. God… what the hell had he done to deserve such a nice day after all? He didn’t have to deal with the crotchety old loon and his broken sedan. He’d gotten a delicious cupcake to eat and enjoy. He got to talk to the hottest guy he’d seen in a long time.
This was definitely a good fucking day.
“What the hell are you grinnin’ about?” Brock’s voice cut in, startling Bucky from his thoughts. He looked up to see Brock staring at him, trying to get into the punch machine and take his own break.
Bucky stepped away from the machine and watched as Brock timed himself out for his half hour, and he shrugged, hoping like hell Brock would believe him. “I’m not grinnin’.”
“Yeah, you fuckin’ are, don’t lie.” Brock grinned; he punched Bucky in the shoulder before stepping away. “The hell didja go do on your break that you came back lookin’ like the cat that got his cream.”
Bucky rubbed his shoulder and winced at the dull ache that throbbed there. “Ow. Jesus man, that’s a new tattoo, don’t punch it,” he whined before glaring up at him. “I didn’t do nothin’, I went and got some food. Go eat your cold burger and shuddup.”
“A’right, a’right, don’t get yer panties in a twist.” Brock teased, before he stepped away again. “Go see Clint, he’s got a new chart for ya. And try not to piss yerself happy, ya dumbass. Stop grinnin’!”
‘I ain’t grinnin’!” Bucky shot after him; he rolled his eyes when Brock just waved at him over his shoulder and he turned away from him, frustrated at his teasing. Still, when his eyes landed on the bakery, he did feel the corners of his lips turning up as he thought of the handsome man he’d spoken to during his break. “Steve…” he muttered to himself, testing the name out on his tongue. it rolled off nicely; an obscene thought of what else about Steve would taste nice on his tongue crossed his mind, and he shook his head violently to clear those ideas. ‘Knock it off, Barnes,’ he thought to himself. ‘He’s clearly straight, for fuck’s sake. He wasn’t flirtin’ back with you, you made him nervous. Get your fuckin’ mind outta the gutter…’
With that, he turned away and headed into the office to get Clint’s newest chart for him; Still, he couldn't’ fight the urge and as he passed the front door, he glanced out at the bakery again. This time, he could see Steve at the counter, busy working on something, and his eyes lingered on him for a moment. ‘Maybe I’ll go over and get another cupcake soon… he wouldn’t mind me just talkin’ to him...’
With that thought in mind Bucky decided, then and there, that he was definitely going to go back over to ‘Star-Spangled Pastries’ soon. What shame did he have if he bought a delicious snack and got another chance to talk to that guy; even if it was all just a pipe dream, it was still a nice half hour to spend. There was no harm in ordering a cupcake from a hot baker… right?
Steve would never be more grateful for that faulty timer in his life. He’d vowed to get it fixed weeks ago, but his negligence had saved his ass from probably the most embarrassing moment of his entire life; he had been so stupid to think that it was a good idea to go and sit down with the poor, overworked guy and strike up a fucking conversation with him like he had the right to. And now what had he gone and done? He’d gone and developed a damn crush on him. In ten minutes!
The moment Steve had realized that he had encroached on some stranger’s private time without thinking, and he’d started feeling the stirrings of something highly inappropriate the longer he sat with him, Steve knew he had to make a quick break before he did or said something he’d completely regret. So the moment that stupid timer had gone off in the back, Steve took his chance and attempted to book it…
...before stopping and shoving his foot down his fucking throat by telling Bucky something completely sentimental and endearing. What the hell was he thinking? Why did Steve think that Bucky would want to hear someone swooning over him like that? Sure the guy was flustered and blushing, but maybe he’d just made Bucky uncomfortable; uncomfortable in that jumpsuit, all muscles and sex and long hair enough to tug on....
‘Oh God, I’m so screwed...’ he thoughtto himself as he tried to ground his erratic, aroused feelings before they got out of hand.
Steve wasn’t surprised that he found Bucky completely and irrevocably attractive; he had experimented in college, dating guys while he went to classes, but none of those dating experiences had ever really panned out. He unofficially classified himself as bisexual, but he had a feeling that most of his affections did lean towards men. He liked women well enough; they were beautiful, charming and lovely, but men… something about men struck him as exotic, delicious and downright sexy.
And Jesus Christ was Bucky fucking sexy. That guy just oozed masculinity and power from every pore on his body, and from his multiple piercings and the way his left sleeve pulled up on his wrist to showcase an obvious tattoo that lay underneath, he had the markings to prove it; Steve imagined that those tattoos crawled all the way up his arm like a beautiful, olive canvas of pictures and stories of every kind.
Honestly, when Bucky had started yammering on about looking disgusting and dirty and just out of place in his little shop, Steve had to stop those words before they got any farther out of hand; because while most people would have agreed with Bucky, Steve thought the exact opposite. He thought the dirt on Bucky’s face, the way his hair dangled haphazardly from the bun at the nape of his neck, his tired swagger, and the way his frame bulked out underneath that jumpsuit… Steve thought he looked like a wet-dream out of a dirty mechanic porno.
Steve inhaled slowly, trying to bring his heartrate down. He succeeded after a few long moments, though he was sure his entire face was still bright red. If anyone came inside, he’d have to make up some lie about the ovens in the back just to get out of this embarrassing situation. Fuck, the stirrings of attraction had even woken up his libido and he looked down at his groin, only to see the half-interested tent at the front of his jeans.
Shit. He hadn’t had an erection in months. Not for porn, not for magazines, not even for Sharon.
But for Bucky? He hadn’t had sex in months, but he was definitely on board with the idea of screwing that mechanic’s brains out the first chance he got.
“Stop… stop, stop fuckin’ stop…” he growled at himself, slapping the side of his head as he tried to think of disgusting things to bring down his half-arousal. He plucked his glasses from his face and scrubbed his eyes, willing his erection away with every second that passed. What the hell was wrong with him? Bucky was clearly straight. He was engaged for God’s sake; not as happily as he would have liked, but still!
Shit, he was fucking disgusting.
Still… as Steve finally managed to stifle his erection, and get his heart to gallop at a more sedate pace, he found himself wondering if Bucky really would come back to the bakery. He hoped like hell he hadn’t scared him off, because honestly, he would definitely like it if Bucky came back. He definitely wanted to talk to him and see him again (platonically, if he could manage it).
Finally calmed down, Steve found the courage to step back out into the main lobby of the bakery. He slipped behind the counter and fussed with the refrigerated glass casing, rearranging the cupcakes just to give himself something to do. He tried very hard not to think about Bucky, nor his spicy scent, nor the smell of mechanical oil in the air as he fixed up the counters and wiped them down, rather needlessly. He tried not to think of olive skin, a ponytail, and blue eyes as he adjusted the funds in the drawer. He tried like hell not to imagine what their next encounter would be like, when (if) Bucky came back.
Still, he couldn’t fight the urge for long, and he found himself looking up at the garage once again. He spotted Bucky standing by the office, and caught him looking back at the bakery for a moment before he turned his attention away. Steve stared at his profile and pushed his glasses up his nose to get a better view of him. Disgusting, he thought of himself as he openly admired Bucky’s figure from a distance. He was an engaged man. This was dangerous, and downright fucking forbidden…
Then again, there was no harm in just looking…
Here you go: