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Knock Three Times on The Ceiling

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Peggy Carter’s always been something of a mystery to Angie. They’d had a few elevator conversations the first few months they’d lived in the building - always a tad too short, as Angie is on the third floor and Miss Carter the fourth - but then the stairwell had been fixed and Angie had changed shifts at her job and with the exception of the one time she’d seen Peggy throwing furniture items out of her window - well, they haven’t had nearly the amount of interaction that Angie would’ve liked.

And Peggy Carter, with her English accent, odd scars, and odder business hours, seemed to have thoroughly left Angie doomed to an insatiable curiosity and a kindled attraction that had led to the first words she’d ever uttered to the lady being, “Oh God, you’re hot,” right in front of an equally outrageously attractive blond who had laughed and been introduced as ‘the boyfriend’.

None of this would have been a problem after the completion of the stairwell repairs, if not for the fact that, apparently, Miss Carter and her military beau Steven G. Rogers live in the rooms above her.

Directly above her, that is, just on the other side of Angie’s apparently very, very, thin ceiling. It seems as though they had the same layout as hers, because if their bedroom hadn’t been placed just above hers, Angie wouldn’t need to listen to the indecently loud thumps and occasional squeaks of a bed at two o’clock in the morning.

(… and, now that she’s on the subject, is that dust trickling from her air conditioning vent?)

Angie glares through the darkness of her dimly illuminated room as the vibrations actually rattle her precariously dangling ceiling fan. If they worked enough at it, would the fan fall from its fixture and pulverize her? Angie doesn’t particularly want to find out, but what’s she supposed to do - take the elevator up and say, “Hey, English, could you and your three-dimensional cut out Army boytoy keep it down for a few hours, or maybe just not break my ceiling?”

Yeah, that would go well on the bullet point written down as: ‘ minimize awkward interactions with ridiculously attractive fellow residents ’ on her to-do list.

Angie heaves a frustrated sigh, brushing the strands of still-wet hair out of her eyes and glaring at the hole in her right sock. While a significant part of her is trying very hard to not imagine the kind of acrobatics Ms. Carter and Mr. Steven G. Rogers must be capable of, she can’t help but wonder how, for the love of Jesus, they’re actually producing enough noise to keep her awake. Maybe if she lived next to them she’d understand it, but…

Superpowers. That has to be the answer. Clearly it would be the two ridiculously attractive people known to occasionally throw furniture out of the window that would moonlight as honest-to-god superheroes with bed levitation skills.

Okay, Ange, maybe that’s the sleep deprivation talking , she tells herself, and almost can’t believe it when her room actually falls silent.

Angie flops over, pulling the covers over her head and closing her eyes. Maybe she’ll be able to catch a few hours sleep before she’s due for her early morning shift.

She’s just on the edge of sleep when a particularly loud bang sends her jolting upright.

“Oh, that’s it, ” she says, and the wave of righteous anger sends her all the way down the hallway, up a flight of stairs, and in front of what she’s hoping is Peggy’s door.

Before rational Angie can catch up to tired Angie, she raps her knuckles three times against the door, the sharp noise insistent and embarrassed all in one.

There’s no answer, presumably because they’re so wrapped up in each other that they can’t feel how Angie’s bristling on the other side of their door.

Angie glares down at her holey sock, the tile floor and hallway just cool enough to make her suddenly aware that she grabbed neither slippers nor bathrobe before storming down the hallway. In fact, she’s just starting to feel grateful that she decided the a/c was working well enough for her to slip on a pair of yoga pants before bed when the noises pause. Thank God.

She takes the opportunity to hit the door four more times.

The noises don’t resume, and Angie takes it as a hopeful sign that they’re heard her assault on the door. A yawn’s just begun to worm its way out of her throat when she hears a latch click in front of her. Then another. And another. And another, because apparently Rogers and Carter are the type of people that figure if you have three locks, you may as well add a fourth.

“Hi?” a blond, tousled head pokes around the door. “Can I help you?”

Steven G. Rogers follows his words out from behind the door, and he smiles down at her. He has the type of body that makes a pair of backwards boxers look like they belong in a designer photoshoot, and suddenly Angie’s very aware of the fact that her toe’s poking through her sock and she hasn’t washed her pants in at least three days. She hadn’t quite gotten a good look at him before, but wow. It seems fitting and ridiculously unfair that two people so overwhelmingly attractive managed to find each other. She’s pretty sure his jawline could successfully defeat an entire alien invasion. God had freaking blessed America with this one.

“Hi,” she says out of reflex, because her Ma’d drilled in her in some form of manners before Angie’d hit the road. She stops there. It takes her a moment to remember why she’d come up at all and takes her another moment to tear her eyes from Steve’s bare chest to his eyes.  “Could you keep it down?”

“Sorry?” She’s not sure if it’s an apology, an expression of confusion, or simply a desperate request for further clarification.

“It’s just that I live right below you, and you two are really loud. Like, dust coming from my vents. It’s great that you have a healthy sex life and all, but could you please try not to pierce a hole through my ceiling? I have to be in early tomorrow and I do depend on tips, so if I don’t sleep I might not be able to do my laundry for another week, and I really like having clean sheets.” Everything comes out as a waterfall of words. “I hear some people enjoy countertops. I mean, you’d need to Windex them after, but they’re probably not too bad to clean off and they might give you nice variety with a lesser probability of falling through my ceiling.”

Steve’s mouth drops slightly open and oh god is he blushing? “Sorry,” he says again, and this time it’s definitely an apology, with an embarrassing level of sincerity. “I had no idea that you could hear us. That’s... Sheesh. You’re Angie, right?”

“I’m pretty sure the ground floor could feel that earthquake,” Angie says frankly. “But yeah. Angie. Hi again.”

It’s almost delightful to watch Rogers goes this brilliant shade of crimson just in time for Peggy to appear off his shoulder. Peggy is… well, she’s Peggy. A nightgown just thick enough to avoid being sheer halts a good hand above her knee, its crimson color keeping a daring edge to the outfit. Unlike Steve, who always manage to look like someone picked out his clothes for him, Peggy wears her ensemble like she wears those suits of hers - not a uniform, but a very extension of her being that gives her the appearance of being comfortable doing anything from frying bacon to kicking someone in the face. The soft gown doesn’t manage to at all muffle the dangerous edge of Peggy’s movements, even as her face softens in an almost-smile.

“Good morning, Angie,” Peggy says, delicately framing the words, and that sends a shiver down her spine. Or maybe it was just her numb toe from the hole in her sock meeting her imagination that causes the movement.

“Hi,” Angie says again, but isn’t quite able to remember the speech she’d given Steve. Her eyes, drawn from Steve to Peggy, aren’t responding to her silent attempts to break Peggy’s gaze.

“Are you here on business or pleasure?” Peggy continues when Angie doesn’t, and there’s something about the way Peggy frames the word pleasure that makes Angie blink. Peggy’s lips lift in a half-smile, and there’s a bit of a predatory look in her eyes that tempts Angie to flee to her room. The look confirms Angie’s suspicions that even though Steve could probably lift her and Peggy with a pinky, Peggy is clearly the more dangerous of the pair.

“Uh.”

Luckily Steve swoops in to save the day. “Apparently, Angie needs to go to sleep because she needs to be tipped in the morning, which she relies on having so her sheets can stay clean. She also recommends experimenting on kitchen counters when we-” he trails off, apparently unable to actually pronounce the word sex. “I’m sorry,” he says again. “I had no idea that-”

“I did,” Peggy says, saying the words the same way she’d said pleasure.

Angie’s not sure whose mouth falls open faster - hers or Steve.

“You’re that Angie,” Steve says, suddenly looking far less like he’d gotten his hand caught in the cookie jar and actually looking quite pleased.

“Is that a good thing?” Angie asks automatically, and maybe she’s more than a little weak in the knees about how both Peggy and Steve are suddenly, obviously checking her out.

What’s more, they clearly like what they’re seeing, despite the fact that Angie’s in her holey socks, a freebie shirt advertising a new gym a few blocks over, and once-black yoga pants whose color had been mottled by an incident with some bleach.

“Depends on how much sleep you need,” Peggy almost purrs , and yep. That’s it. Angie’s a goner. More than she’d been fifteen minutes ago, at least. Angie’s probably been a goner since Peggy had held the elevator door open for her.

Except, even though Angie wants to walk through what’s looking to be a very, very open door, the reasonable part of her mind is whispering don’t you have to pay rent this week ? and reminding her that she absolutely can’t be late to work one more time, which is a damn shame. College, intramural Angie would have practically kicked their door down at the invitation. Adult Angie, no matter how interested, remembers that her alarm’s set for five-thirty.

Peggy’s so close Angie can almost kiss her, the threads of a subtle and molasses sweet scent curling around her nose. Steve’s still blushing, not able to pull of provocative and seductive as well as Peggy can. In fact, he doesn’t appear to be trying to do so, which is a good thing because the whole sheepish puppy look is doing wonders for him.

Peggy takes Angie’s hand, her fingers curling around Angie’s. “What do you say?” she asks.

Although college Angie would have stumbled her way through some sort of explanation, Angie just smiles back. “I do need to sleep,” she says, and Peggy shuts off, any hint of warmth bleeding off. Before Peggy can step back to hide herself and Steve behind their quadruple locked door, Angie adds, “But another time?”

Peggy smiles back at her, and it’s a true smile that makes Angie forget about the fact that her toes are practically freezing against the tile, that she has to deal with the asshole customers in the early morning, and that her bed is probably covered in dust because they kept her up until what’s looking to be three in the morning. “Of course,” she says, stepping back.

“I’ll just tap on the ceiling, then, or something,” Angie says, and oh god, is that really the best she can do? Apparently so, because she takes a step back of her own. Steve chuckles, and it’s enough to make Angie laugh too. Then she keeps laughing over how absolutely ridiculous this entire thing is, because really, how is this her life?  Peggy rolls her eyes at her and Steve, but she gives another little smile that softens her face completely, just a hint of teeth flashing from behind her lipstick.

Steve, by contrast, doesn’t mind covering his face with one hand while his shoulders shake with laughter. Angie somehow - she’ll thank Mr. Marsden’s theater lessons for it - gets herself under control first, and takes a step back.

Peggy apparently takes that as a signal to break, giving Angie a little wink before she saunters back into the depths of the apartment. Angie follows her with her gaze, smiling the whole time, even as Steve tries to apologize again: “I’m still really, really sorry-”

“Don’t be,” Angie says, because as soon as she wakes up with a decent night’s rest behind her, she’s going to carpe the hell out of that diem and kick their door down without the slightest regret.